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5001  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Monetary Policy, Inflation, & the US Dollar on: February 13, 2011, 01:33:50 PM
"If I have my zeros correct, that is $200,000 per job?!?"

Even then, 3 million jobs saved meant unchanged 10.3% unemployment, so there is no multiple of $200,000 investments that would brings the rate down to 4-5% where it started.

I hate to one-up Bernanke but while he was saving 3 million jobs and record unemployment remained unchanged, I was helping to keep the sky blue and making sure the sun rose;I have similar proof of results.  Good grief.
5002  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate on: February 13, 2011, 01:22:46 PM
Not quite that simple, depends on which assets, when, and if indirectly on the hook has the same legal meaning as a direct guarantee.  A lot has changed since the fall 2008, huge amounts I believe, were brought in and directly guaranteed. Pose this to Scott G...
5003  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate on: February 13, 2011, 12:36:37 PM
Crafty: "Is the US government obligated as a matter of law to cover the FMs debts?"

IIRC, during the collapse of 2008 the answer to that question was 'no' for most of those assets as a strict, direct, legal obligation, but 'yes' as a practical matter that the full faith and credit of the USA was being used to sell the securities.  In other words the guarantee was with the GSE, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, but everyone knew that the GSE is the US Government.

That was then, I don't know what changes are in the latest 'financial reform' or other new laws.  My understanding is that from 90% of mortgages going through the federal government (citation needed for article authorizing that) we are moving toward 100%.
5004  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Fed Monetary Policyr: Paul Ryan, Bernanke: QE2 will be reversed on: February 13, 2011, 11:55:30 AM
A couple key points:  Ryan has called for the end of the 'dual mission' (again, more famous people caught reading the forum).

Bernanke said: "Bernanke said a Federal Reserve study found that the QE policy has created or saved as many as 3 million jobs."  - Right out of the Krugman Obama school of economics.  A Nobel Prize coming?

(Next is inspired by Clapper calling the MB secular), Bernanke said that the QE policy did not represent “a permanent increase in the money supply,” calling it a “temporary measure that will be reversed.”

Either that statement is true and a relief to know we worried for no reason, or he should be tried (and hanged) for treason. I'm not seeing middle ground here.
Warning, Federal Reserve hearings aren't like seeing Allen West speeches.
5005  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential: Allen West on: February 13, 2011, 11:49:08 AM
Wow. I will be happy to have him lead this country.  Sharing our values is one thing, but choose for President the one who best articulates them. 

On Meet the Press he was soft spoken and humble, so they showed a video of his passion at the rallies making a strong claim about the administration.  West calmly stood by what he said and gave specifics to demonstrate that it was true.

Allen West is President Obama's worst nightmare.  He won't walk into a Presidential debate unsure about what he believes or how to express it.  Let's see the one with the community background or ordinary Republicans question his experience or readiness to serve and to lead, 20 years in the U.S. Army he served in Operation Desert Storm, in Operation Iraqi Freedom, was battalion commander for the Army’s 4th Infantry Division, and in Afghanistan, where he trained Afghan officers to take on the responsibility of securing their own country.

2 Masters degrees I see, West is 'an avid distance runner, a PADI Master certified SCUBA diver, motorcyclist, ...His wife, Angela, holds an MBA and PhD. and works as a financial planner.'

So many points in the speech (the constitution is a restraining order is against big government) I hate to single any out, but West picked up the point that cash for clunkers is a symbol of our current, failed leadership (famous people read this forum).

Allen West, Take your own advice, "the time is now". Good leaders don't come around very often. 
5006  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics: Unemployment 10.3%, U6 almost 20% on: February 12, 2011, 08:14:33 PM
GM posts the Gallup data, unemployment at 10.3% and so-called U6 the larger measure at 19.7% and asks: "**Whom to believe?"

The government publishes two main measures, the unemployment rate from BLS and another figure measured completely differently the household survey from the Census Bureau.  The Gallup figure gives you a third source.

Serious answer on economic data is trust none of them precisely.  More practical is to use all of them for trends from previous measurements, commonalities, differences, being careful to know how they measure and what the weaknesses or flaws are.  A good opportunity to remember that all economic data is loaded with measurement errors.  Best follow up is to read economists you learn to trust who watch this closer than we do and see how they analyze what comes in.  On this board those have become Brian Wesbury and Scott Grannis who are honest about numbers published, separate from having their own take on the future.  Other sources of analysis: look at the Fed's own analysis or look to other economists.

Simple answer to unemployment numbers is that they are too damn high by more than two-fold;  tenths of a point are not significant.  U6 is an interesting measure including underemployment, or to measure by sub-group like black teenagers, or by state: MN is in the 6% range and ND is 3.5,  meaning the colder it is the harder people work, or just some states lure in fewer lazy, confused workers than others.
5007  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: February 12, 2011, 07:45:43 PM
First off for JDN, I asked for your views and you elaborated nicely so I thank you! Secondly we have areas of agreement and disagreement we can followup on.

I have to brush up on my history, off hand I would say I'm no fan of T.R. but would be happy to return to the tax, spend and regulatory levels were during his Presidency 1901-1909.  I like that you picked a period prior to the 1913 16th amendment authorizing income taxes.  I may be to the left of you; I favor keeping the income tax. but limiting it to a high single digit percentage.

To just pick a year of his progressive Presidency, 1906 revenues were 595million, spending  570million and surplus 25million. (p.25)

Spending and taxes were roughly 8% of GDP which is about right to me. I would go up to about 9.9% today but would fight to keep it in single digits.   In 2011 the numbers are roughly spending $4 Trillion, revenues $2.5 Trillion and deficit $1.5 Trillion, about 27% of GDP for spending not counting state, local etc.  Note we skipped over billions unit somewhere in there. We jumped form millions to trillions.  A trillion is a million million, so spending jumped roughly 2000-fold since then.
5008  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Egypt - Freedom and Democracy / consent of the governed on: February 12, 2011, 11:37:15 AM
Buzzwords like democracy can be easliy mis-used.  I don't know how it translates in Arabic.  To us, democracy is shorthand for consent of the governed.  Rule by the majority (mob rule, MB rule) is  the exact opposite.  When Reagan discussed the subject, it was "freedom and democracy" and spelled out that freedom includes religious freedom along with the other freedoms.  Religious freedom includes in this case the right to be Muslim, the right to not be Muslim, the right to practice Christianity, even to be Jewish??, the right to be of no religion at all, and the right to NOT be ruled by someone else's religion.  When that does not happen, you do not have consent of the governed, which was the point of removing the dictator.
5009  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Intel Matters: single most foolish statement ever on: February 12, 2011, 11:15:36 AM
Mark Steyn has it right.
John Bolton: "It's a sad day for the intelligence community.  That statement made by Clapper I think is the single most foolish statement ever made by a senior intelligence official." time stamp 6:40 on this interview.
Surprised to find out Clapper is an 'idiot'?  Obama also picked Joe Biden.

Politico points out bipartisan opposition to the Clapper appointment, PeterHoekstra was the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee related the existence of "bipartisan opposition" to Clapper's nomination, and complained that Clapper failed to brief Congress on "an extraordinarily sensitive program."

Powerline suggested that the American intelligence community badly needs The Muslim Brotherhood for Dummies, unfortunately, the book doesn't exist.
5010  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: February 12, 2011, 10:49:59 AM
[The Gipper] "is an expression I've heard long before (I'm old)Reagan was President"

True, but the point wasn't that Reagan claimed authorship; it is an association that everyone our age has with Reagan that Obama who recently studied up on Reagan intentionally co-opted for himself.

"I don't think any disrespect was meant to President Reagan."

True, it was just the opposite.  Again the point was to falsely self-compare, something Dan Quayle would have been well-advised to have avoided.

The parallel in a nutshell is this.  Both were elected in a mess.  Both took on transformation - in polar opposite directions.  Both had popularity issues at this point in their Presidency.  In Obama's case his main problem is popularity with his policies.  At Reagan's low point, his policies that would set off a quarter century of economic growth, bring down the Soviet empire and end inflation were already in place.  He had the confidence of knowing the American economic engine was going to roar and it did at growth rates almost never seen before and went from popularity in the 30s to winning 49 states.  President Obama has none of that going for him, talks out of both sides of his mouth, and would like to win 49 states.

I'm not a crook was a far more memorable moment but equally false.  In the age of youtube and a billion(?) to be spent on reelection, don't think we are done seeing whatever turn out to be symbols of his failures.  See GM youtube post for an example.  His longing to be like Reagan I am saying could very easily and likely backfire on him.

Nixon was multi-faceted. With hindsight on past Presidents and their stewardship of economies, I can't get past something he did called the price-wage freeze by government on the entire private economy (Fascism, no?) to squeeze out 7% inflation that continued in spite of that up to 14% by the end of the decade.  Add Gerald Ford's program (in Nixon's second term) of wearing buttons called Whip Inflation Now, the idea that inflation is caused by citizen's greed and solved by talking people out of acting in their own self interest or by tying their hands.  These are(IMO) dunce level understandings of economics and examples of why I draw a distinction between supporting conservative policies and supporting people who place an R by their name to get elected.
5011  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness - The Gipper??? on: February 11, 2011, 11:16:47 PM
Any one of these slips is the downfall for ordinary politicians.  It takes a little more to bring down a religious figure.  You recall he starting biting his lower lip to show compassion after studying predecessor game films.  I mentioned on the other thread that the 'cadence' was developed sometime after 1995 tape.  His whole oratory style is learned or contrived.

Calling himself The Gipper, coincidentally with this Reagan birthday - unbelievable.  Like Dukakis on the tank, Nixon I'm not a crook, Dan Quayle called out on comparing himself to JFK, Clinton I did not have sexual relations with that woman Ms. Lewinsky, George Herbert Walker Bush amazed to see grocery checkout.  I don't know which of these personal stories or political mis-steps will become the symbol for his failure.  I thought it would be "Cash for Clunkers - The Documentary of a Disappointing One Term Presidency".
5012  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential - backwards thinking on: February 11, 2011, 11:00:40 PM
GM,  That youtube is quite revealing.  Side note is that we hear the same voice before he learned the cadence that makes him sound like... Obama impersonators.

FYI to the CiC, White executives out in suburbs actually do pay taxers that pay for inner city youth, even in the dark ages of 1995.  It is the other way around.  Fathers and mothers of the poorest inner city youth that aren't paying for the white executives kids to go to school - or for their own.  Or paying for their own housing, food or healthcare.  The wealthy who wouldn't pay their fair share he put in the cabinet.

The theme of inner city community organizing was welfare advocacy and welfare rights, not self sufficiency or individual excellence.  If you succeed, then he cuts you down - or does that depend on your race.

The healthcare law is 2000 pages about redistributionism and zero pages about new surgical procedures or life saving drug advancement.

I like what JDN wrote about creativity and entrepreneurship.  That is how you judge tax rates, regulating schemes and welfare dependency.  Do the policies in total leave the people across the whole spectrum wanting to innovate, create, build something, start something, risk, borrow, invest, hire, expand etc, etc or more like now - fight with each other and mostly sit on the sidelines and argue over who gets what.  The answer at this point in time is mostly negative.

5013  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The United Nations/ US Sovereignty on: February 11, 2011, 12:47:53 PM
Exactly assbackwards.  The UN should be kept, downsized and de-emphasized.  If America hosts it, these dignitaries like Ahmadinejad and Chavez should visit Peoria or Sioux Falls instead of NYC with all its distractions.  If the US gets one seat and one vote, then the US pays one share - whatever Djibouti is paying. It should exist as a discussion and networking hall, not a voting or governing body, or a taxing authority.

We should know now if not sooner that we don't have friends or reliable allies and neither do they.  We sometimes have other nations who at the moment share a common interest on a particular matter.  We need open communications with all these players.  Skype is more cost effective.
5014  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: February 11, 2011, 12:14:05 PM
JDN, That was good but what I was trying to draw out was what about Obama's governance gives you inclination to vote against him, if an acceptable alternative emerges.  

Cap and trade, and 'smart growth' advocacy were concerns that your good post about his conservatism made me forget about Huntsman.

On the positive side, what caught my attention to Huntsman was his leadership on CNG in cars.  Much of the population of Utah is in a valley where the air gets trapped in by a wall of mountains.  For each cloud to get through, it must first drop its weight - to the tune of 500 inches/yr. of snow at Alta.  CNG (compressed natural gas) burns much cleaner, 20-25% less CO2 is emitted, better cost and mostly north American origins. (Hardly should need subsidizing) Great idea with a cart before the horse problem - if there are no stations, there are no vehicle sales.  Leadership made sense and the cause is a good one, but huge subsidies to the tune of getting other taxpayers to buy a big part of your ride does not.

Cap and trade is up there with Romney care in importance.  With the Climate gate exposure being only a year or so old and plenty of new reports to refute alarmist urgency, people like Newt and Huntsman may get a chance to reconsider proposals to turn our economy upside down.

'Smart growth' is an innocent sounding phrase meaning that elitist leaders know better where your family should live than you freedom seekers do.  Utah has unique geography for some justification, but the nationwide movement is the antithesis to conservative values or a red state map.  Often liberal Utopians want us all to live in high density near light rail stations that they will locate for us at the mercy of government services provided, instead of further out, on our own, in Republican 'xurbs' where you can have a driveway, a yard and a distance to your nearest neighbor, not a shared wall.  I don't mean a yard with one chair in the shade of a high rise, I mean room to hit a pitching wedge, set up a soccer game, have a horse if you want, in our case a boat, a dock and a skating rink. Perhaps not a national issue, but his affinity to the cause of the moment could be an indicator of governing philosophy.
5015  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: February 11, 2011, 12:20:11 AM
True, Mandarin is important because of our friendship and common interests with ... Taiwan.   smiley

JDN, Great post.  Now can I ask it the other way, if Republicans can come up with a good candidate, still what would motivate you want to vote against Pres. Obama?
5016  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential - John Thune on: February 10, 2011, 02:52:43 PM

Something like 8 times the experience that candidate Obama had. Served both in the House and Senate. Knocked off (electorally) a sitting Senate Majority Leader.  Married to his (first) wife.  Never socialized medicine.

Watch for conservatives to speak at CPAC this week.
5017  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Egypt on: February 10, 2011, 01:28:35 PM
Good news today from our intelligence, Muslim Brotherhood is secular.  Who knew?    huh

Close the thread.  We worried for no reason.
5018  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Newt Gingrich on: February 10, 2011, 01:23:39 PM
Very funny work their by our moderator! 

JDN, Huntsman, why? "He seems trustworthy and capable." You base that on ...
(maybe answer over on Pres. 2012)
5019  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Well-armed People - Tucson continued on: February 10, 2011, 01:02:23 PM
Ann Coulter has one thing right.  The Tucson shooting needed one conceal carry citizen to emerge sooner.  Concealed carry was legal there which is why the shooter was saying good bye before he started.  A suicidal, certifiable nut, whatever the medical or legal term may be. 

Concealed carry resurgence has been a great trend both for safety and a symbol of retaining one founding right and a seriousness about keeping the rest.
PC wrote previously: "It's already illegal for a confirmed nut to buy or own a gun."

What I want is for that one safeguard only to happen. If you qualify for the insanity plea for example, we need to know that sooner whenever possible.

I oppose fetal thumb or trigger finger removal.  smiley
5020  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Education - Parent choice, Local control on: February 10, 2011, 12:21:40 PM
Home school works like this for us:  My daughter loves school so I just threaten home school with Dad all day and any problem is solved.  smiley

My nephew began home school this year.  Bright kid with some learning 'differences' was being left behind by a big public school and testing below grade level.  We will see how that goes.  He hated school so has to get his work done or he goes back.  Choice, competition, alternatives.

The name home schooling understates the resources, curricula and networking that these highly organized moms have in place, as I'm sure the documentary will show.

The education dollar here is about 10k per kid per year, 30 to a classroom and the teacher supposedly makes on average 52k - an almost negligible part of that 300k. If the dollar followed the kid with school choice, two things would happen, marvelous alternatives get funded and the public school sees real incentive to improve.

I remember Jesse Jackson arguing with George Will on 'This Week' against vouchers and how bad that would be for the already failing DC public schools.  Will closed with: we will just have to agree to disagree - see you tomorrow at school.  Their kids were in the same elite Washington private school, same as Sasha and Malia now, as their parents fight against opening up parent choice.

Innovation in the public sector, government or education, will begin IMHO the day that public unions are disbanded.
5021  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Egypt on: February 10, 2011, 09:49:54 AM
"Know how the Saudis could afford to bankroll Egypt?"

We drove up the world price of oil from $20 to $100 with our failure to produce or use our own energy?

Woolsey makes perfect sense, but how other than 'benevolent' military rule do you accomplish that? Parties must renounce non-democratic governance to participate, but falsely renounce is what they do. He gave examples from across the planet and across the last century, not just MB.  What then?  No freedom or real vote for others ever because no one can sort out who really supports freedom and democracy?
5022  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Science vs. God on: February 09, 2011, 08:04:01 PM
Just teasin' a little for fun.  I am very appreciative of fact corrections (as well as other opinions).  I remember a pass around email about Oliver North in the 1980s needing security because of threat from Osama bin Laden that was false and I hated that I had retold that false story.  This format is great for the opportunity to get a quick correction before we get headed too far in the wrong direction.  Crafty's story stands fine on its own as a story without the name drop at the end.

Regarding the Science v.God question, if God as a concept is a being far beyond our intelligence or comprehension, why do both sides keep claiming knowledge or definition.  To the most intelligent of the disbelieving scientists I would like to hand them a bucket or basket of molecules and say make me a mammal or a reptile or an ecosystem if it's so easy. 

Science at any point IMO is a very, very primitive human attempt to understand very, very little about God's creation.  But our curiosity and intelligence came from our Creator so we keep on trying.
5023  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Science vs. God on: February 09, 2011, 04:22:37 PM
That is a great post.  Don't let GM or Snopes spoil a great story.  I kept checking to see if I was in the humor thread.

Continuing to the science of economics:

There is wealth.  You can see it, touch it, feel it, smell it and hear it.

There is no such thing as poverty.  Poverty is an absence of wealth.

You can study wealth.  You can study all the factors that contribute to earning wealth, creating wealth, accumulating wealth, protecting wealth.

You cannot study poverty, it is the absence of something.  You can't study the absence of something.  You can only study wealth and then look at its absence to figure out what else regarding wealth creation is missing to cause its absence.
The roughly is my memory of how the book Wealth and Poverty by George Gilder begins.  Before snopes nails me, I picked up a copy to try to get it right and  oops, that isn't how it starts. (30 years slipped by.)  Anyway, something like that I think is in there somewhere.  His last chapter studying wealth is called The Necessity for Faith.
5024  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tax Hike Damage without tax rate increases, Mr. President on: February 08, 2011, 04:15:19 PM
A few of us have been pointing this out here, but it bears repeating in the face of our President's economic ignorance.

From Nov. 2006 on, the economy faced the promise of increased tax rates on new investment.  Returns follow investment years later so the tax rate facing investment decisions (build a plant, hire people etc) is the future rate, not the present one.  As the Obama Presidency became a reality to join the Pelosi-Reid majorities in congress and pass the tax rate hikes they promised, that impending increase played a big role in the asset and investment selloff of 2008 that tanked this economy.  In order to sell for value, sellers had to get ahead of those increases and ahead of the other sellers and acceleration (if not panic) set in. The selloff, collapse in value and doubling of unemployment delayed the tax hikes for 2 years and the shift back of congress created even more uncertainty with no settlement reached until the final hour temporary deal was struck with the outgoing congress.  That temporary deal means two more years of uncertainty continuing to put the brakes on new investment.  Obama's point is that the rates never went up, but his continuing promise to  raise them does the same economic damage or worse adding in the uncertainty.

The fact check articles list 2 dozen tax hikes under Obama from the healthcare bill, but the real ws damage done by this mismanaged sequence of events, and was largely unreported.  

Government revenues got the worst of both worlds: income lowered by the (impending) increases, but taxed only at the old, lower rate, leaving us trillions short, compounding the uncertainty of the policies going forward.

Uncertainty and unpredictability is what makes third world countries poor.  We gave it a try, suffered badly and learned nothing from it.
5025  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: February 08, 2011, 01:14:25 PM
Bigdog,  Thank you and I respect that. I understand from a citizen and layman's point of view the importance of stare decisis, a higher standard required to overturn what was wrongly decided, and I believe this case  gives ample wiggle room to each Justice to either say as Prof. Tribe did, that this is no different than what they have always done, as well as to very reasonably say this goes considerably further than we have ever read that ever-expanding power to go. (Same newspaper predicting precedents will fall unpredictably in this Court:

Having read Prof. Tribe on many occasions, I find him to be more effective as an advocate for one side of interpretation than as a predictor of how others will reason and decide a case.  You disagree?  In this piece I read him to be taunting or leading the so-called other side to see this as a continuation of past decisions rather than a serious prediction that Scalia and Kennedy are "open and shut" with him because of the established power to regulate and that no rights of any value are violated in the process.

The Florida judge said (something like) if this power isn't limited, what power would be?  I posted the food insurance question and Obama when opposing the mandate suggested facetiously that we could mandate home purchases to end homelessness. I can't say whether he thought that was unconstitutional or just a stupid idea, but unlimited power certainly was not the intent or language used to define central government power.

I agree Scalia (or any of those 5) would vote against his presumed political position to be consistent in his constitutional interpretation. I don't find Tribe persuasive though.  As I pointed out, he started with a false premise (that is a big deal to me in logic) and then trivialized a right of private affairs to not have terms and choices of private contracts coerced and tracked by central authorities. Even auto insurance is a state mandate and avoidable by choosing other OR NO transportation. Kennedy I find unpredictable but people say he is strong on states' rights.  Regulating commerce across state lines has not meant in most other industries that there can only be one set of rules.  There were state based solutions available to address this issue that disappear with a federal mandate. Separate from merit, 26 states suing is a pretty strong indicator that states' interests are being tromped on, at least in their view.
Prof. Tribe: "Since the New Deal, the court has consistently held that Congress has broad constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce." - True.

Synonyms of 'regulate' :
manage, organize
adapt, adjust, administer, allocate, arrange, balance, classify, conduct, control, coordinate, correct, determine, direct, dispose, fit, fix, govern, guide, handle, improve, legislate, measure, methodize, moderate, modulate, monitor, order, oversee, pull things together, put in order, readjust, reconcile, rectify, rule, run, set, settle, shape up, square, standardize, straighten up, superintend, supervise, systematize, temper, time, true, tune, tune up
* Thesaurus ran through the whole alphabet without hitting 'mandate', 'coerce', or 'participate'.
Synonyms  of verb 'mandate':
delegate, designate, depute, assign
order, prescribe, dictate
* Accepted interpretations of the English language include the root word of 'dictatorship' but not 'regulation'.
5026  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Politics of Health Care: Lawrence Tribe, a house of cards on: February 08, 2011, 08:43:20 AM
BD, Okay interesting. Surprisingly, I disagree with his reasoning and conclusion. 

Usually I stop reading commentary when I reach the first falsehood:

"Individuals who don’t purchase insurance they can afford have made a choice to take a free ride on the health care system."


There is also the possibility of fee for service, pay on the spot or mail me a bill, which has worked in almost every other industry since founding of the Republic, and then some.  Fee for service worked fine in health care until government meddling (and other factors) drove costs beyond normal reach.  Insurance does not bring down cost, it smooths out variable costs - at a higher level than they would otherwise be to pay for administration of the insurance and to pay for how the coverage increases usage. Under a nationwide program, more people, not fewer will be taking a free or subsidized ride on the health care system. Is there not any way to arrive at constitutionality without starting with a false premise??

"...confused assertion that what is at stake here is a matter of personal liberty — the right not to purchase what one wishes not to purchase... "

Is that not clearly spelled out in the 9th amendment, almost word for word?  smiley  ...competing with the unenumerated power of government to PARTICIPATE in interstate commerce.

Just as the Professor dismisses the view of two judges so far, he will disagree with the Court when this is decided. Delusional IMO to think this is a 9-0 uphold certainty because: "Since the New Deal, the court has consistently held that Congress has broad constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce."

There are plenty of people on and off the Court that think that power has already been read too broadly.  Trivialize it as political or "a misunderstanding of the court and the Constitution" if that is expedient, better yet call it a fundamental disagreement in principles.

BD or LT, do you support the constitutionality of mandatory national food insurance, food crossed state lines, and then what is next after that?
5027  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Egypt on: February 07, 2011, 11:43:07 PM
"Are you saying every single individual in Egypt wants a totalitarian theocracy?"

I was going to pose something similar.  The Pew research numbers are scary, but they can be read to different conclusions.  If 100% of the people want barbaric rules, what do we do, what CAN we do... but it isn't 100% and we know that. Let's say it's 40% and I think that will drop more toward 20%. Not a majority, but if it is a 51% that want to go back to the dark ages, how can we keep them from dominating the others, stoning and mutilating the women etc? 

These were questions we luckily faced recently in Iraq and in Afghanistan.  Not that we're great at steering the process, but we have some people with some knowledge and some experience.  Mistakes to learn from.

Like GM says, we need skill, agility, persuasion, Arabic mastery of language, culture, religion, thinking and subtleties. Not to fall for false statements and translations. If I am Obama, I need the smartest guy in the room on our side and on this mission, authentic Egyptian, and he doesn't need a coat full of rank and medals.

We won't get a seat at the table, but we hopefully have enough pull to get a set of eyes and ears in the room, and access to whatever parties to the discussion will give us access. 

The first part of this process up to elections in August is 6 months. How it's all structured is crucial.  Someone has to have a vision of how this all ends in order to know how it needs to start.  From what we've learned elsewhere, after the first election is where the process of writing a constitution and forming a government begins.

Some of our leverage comes from Mubarek, assuming he stays until the elections.  Too bad he is under the bus.  On that note, too bad the CIA Director is a political hack, but maybe I underestimate and maybe we have a workup already in place on each of the players and groups as thorough as the Steelers know Green Bay (bad example) - with levers and access points.

If I were Obama I would be meeting with Petreus and Crocker yesterday morning to find out who they know that knows how best to do this. Talk to Allawi,. Maliki, Karzai, whoever else might have insight.  The parties don't know how to do this either.  If you build their trust maybe you become the moderator, what is Arabic for facilitator? 

Then I would turn to the Rumsfeld doctrine and focus on what we don't know that we don't know. 
5028  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Egypt on: February 07, 2011, 04:27:28 PM
GM,  Good questions and I don't have answers or solutions.  That's why I am in the armchair position - available for comment.  8 million Christians are at risk and 80 million Egyptians overall, and no, I don't trust the Obama administration to make sure true consent of the governed happens.  I also don't see a path backwards.  Mubarek is leaving.  We aren't going to install or control a new strong man.  Like leaving Iraq in a fragile democracy, we can have some influence but we have to hope that given the opportunity the people will rise up and keep the extremists in a minority position, busy trying to convince their countrymen that they will be peaceful and inward focused - worthy of the seats they win in the assembly.  We can try to influence that positively and we have to prepare for the other possibility.

I hear your valid concerns, but I also hear people like Ragui Assaad, professor at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs from Cairo that tear at the idea of freedom back home the way we do thinking about our Founders' Declaration.  He is a liberal academic with many friends and family back home including his 80 year old mother who says she would join the protest if she were able.  I don't trust his wisdom, or hers, but I trust their honesty.  Everybody deserves a shot at freedom.  I hate cliches but this toothpaste isn't going back into the tube.  Change is coming in Egypt and we have a Commander in Chief who is an expert on having opponents removed from ballots to represent us to make sure ordinary Egyptians get their say.  Pray for us.  Pray for them, and prepare for war.

From my business background  I understand that risk and uncertainty run in multiple directions.  You have been articulate and correct on the downside risk, which is quite probable and truly catastrophic.  There is upside risk here as well.  Put these people and I mean the peaceful ones in charge of making their own economy function, jobs, food, apartments affordable, and the trains (or camels) running on time.  As they experience their own landmarks and people blown up, sympathy for radicals may diminish and we could find a reasonably good, self governed partner in our own fight against the extremists.

Besides security interests, we need these horribly run third world countries to break out of oppression and poverty.  If achieved, that will have a global security benefit.

A story from my export past: my strongest area  was the Middle East mostly because of the knowledge of the owner who was of Middle East origin, secular, but with one of the those common religious first names.  I had 12 distributors in Kuwait when it fell to Saddam, many in UAE, a distributor in Bahrain that sold throughout the region, etc, even sold to Bin Laden Telecom in the Kingdom.  When Kuwait was rescued we had great successes including the supply contract for a nationwide fiber optic network.  For all the times my boss and I went over country lists and strategies to represent several American manufacturers, every time I brought up selling in Egypt he said don't waste your time.  Business-wise, I'm sure he was right: 80 million people - don't waste your time.

For a shot at freedom though, 80 million people deserve a chance.

(Sounds like Netanyahu is saying something similar.  Like it or not, this spinning ship is going to end up aimed in one of a number of directions.)
5029  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Iran: Hikers on trial on: February 07, 2011, 02:35:55 PM
I previously mentioned friendship with the family of one of the hikers going on 'trial' this week in Iran.  Even Ahmadinejad seemed to admit they were nothing more than hikers upon confrontation while in America and promised to push for 'leniency'.  My first reaction was something like what on earth were they thinking; they deserve what they get. That was 18 MONTHS ago.  They DON'T deserve this. Young American adults living in Damascas, traveling in Iraq - during a war - and probably looking over a hillside saying wow, that is Iran - right there. Not dressed, trained or equipped for 'espionage'. It was a COMPLIMENT to the regime for them to underestimate the savagery of the regime.  They have been held in isolation for a significant part of their young adult lives strictly as pawns for other prisoners of which they have absolutely no knowledge or control.  Please pray for release and don't fall for the humanitarian, worldwide photo opp if they are lucky enough to be released. This has been a humanitarian nightmare for the captured and for their families.

Big wars start over small issues.  There should be large consequences to the regime if they do further harm to innocent Americans.
5030  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Islam in Europe: David Cameron Bold Speech on: February 07, 2011, 02:12:42 PM
Very rarely it seems that a leader tells the truth, straight on.  I did not want to let the U.K Prime Minister's speech of last week go by without mention:

    We will not defeat terrorism simply by the action we take outside our borders. Europe needs to wake up to what is happening in our own countries… We have got to get to the root of the problem, and we need to be absolutely clear on where the origins of where these terrorist attacks lie. That is the existence of an ideology, Islamist extremism.

    … And if we are to defeat this threat, I believe it is time to turn the page on the failed policies of the past. So first, instead of ignoring this extremist ideology, we – as governments and as societies – have got to confront it, in all its forms. And second, instead of encouraging people to live apart, we need a clear sense of shared national identity that is open to everyone.

    Governments must also be shrewder in dealing with those that, while not violent, are in some cases part of the problem. We need to think much harder about who it’s in the public interest to work with. Some organisations that seek to present themselves as a gateway to the Muslim community are showered with public money despite doing little to combat extremism. As others have observed, this is like turning to a right-wing fascist party to fight a violent white supremacist movement.

    So we should properly judge these organisations: do they believe in universal human rights – including for women and people of other faiths? Do they believe in equality of all before the law? Do they believe in democracy and the right of people to elect their own government? Do they encourage integration or separation? These are the sorts of questions we need to ask. Fail these tests and the presumption should be not to engage with organisations – so, no public money, no sharing of platforms with ministers at home.
5031  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Media Issues: New Civility? on: February 07, 2011, 01:24:53 PM
Going back a couple of days to the white Common Cause progressives calling for the lynching Clarence Thomas, the issue (not mentioned I think) they were so upset about was the Citizens United decision.  I would have thought it was war, torture or Roe v. Wade fears, not opposition to freedom of political speech. 

The media aspect of this is that these comments (largely unreported) are somewhat consistent and documented on video, whereas the racist allegations at a Tea Party rally were widely reported, totally unverified and likely untrue.

Lynching, tie them up, and torture them ideas are beyond racist and likely apply to Scalia and others as well as Thomas.  Racism as more like saying you won't play with someone or work with them because of skin color.  These comments strike me more as terroristic, and the incitement trail (for anger, not violence) leads directly to publicly made falsehoods uttered by the chief in the 2010 SOTU.  (Please correct me if I am wrong.)

Disclosure to be consistent: I cannot guarantee that I would not make similar utterances at a far-right-wing-hate-rally regarding Kelo, if I was the rallying type.
5032  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Egypt on: February 07, 2011, 12:44:30 PM
I hedge to write this every time I see a riot video, but in spite of all that is posted, I say we err on the side of trying and supporting democracy in this pathetic third world country. (I think that means i support President Obama on this important question - mark that down!)  If they turn out to be anti-American - so be it.  If they begin to export terrorism, we can start planning now for an effective response to that. 

Everyone seems to agree that foreign oversight will be required to pull off free and fair elections.  Can we please learn from the failed Venezuelan experience and take democratic authentication seriously this time.
5033  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: February 07, 2011, 10:37:05 AM
That was probably Obama's best interview I've seen, mostly honest and mostly persuasive (exceptions noted).  Without taking cable I don't see O'Reilly much.  Measured by ratings he is probably the best in the business.  Jim Lehrer was the best in my estimation but also haven't watched him in a long time.  O'Reilly is actually very similar except Lehrer never lets you know his own view. The mostly positive interview makes the 2 year boycott of Fox look rather childish. Also the questions about hatred of the President, which he handled very well, makes one question the way Obama harnessed, exploited and exacerbated hatred of Bush to get where he is.

A few dishonest moments:

(Q: Do you deny that you are a man who wants to redistribute wealth?) "Absolutely." "Bill, I didn't raise taxes once.  I lowered taxes over the last 2 years"

What a crock of an answer to the question muddled with a deceptive, true statement.  Because he was backed into a tax rate continuation agreement, he is "absolutely" not a man who wants to redistribute wealth??  In the State of the Union (that was what - 2 weeks ago??), he had fighting words about continuing his quest to get the people who now pay by far the most to pay far more. "The top 2%".  Did he think no viewer on this Sunday saw his State of the Union, or in the campaign, or will see him next time when he calls for that again? And he will! Or that we can't put 2 and 2 together??  Very telling about anyone's ability to look you in the eye and lie to your face about a crucial point in governing philosophy that is easily proven false by looking backward or forward in time - at his own words.

"What we said was, if you've got healthcare that you like, you keep it."

My God, has he been under a rock the last year while plans that people like, like mine, have been disappearing?  Yes, that is what they've been saying -  and it is patently false.

President Obama knows his football and he knows the WSJ Editorial Page but if he knew Paul Gigot (the editor) was from Green Bay maybe would have taken sides on the game.
5034  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The American Creed: Our Founding Fathers: on: February 07, 2011, 09:57:02 AM
BD,  That was beautiful and I had missed it trying to avoid the 14 day pre-game show.

In the context of today, I feel very much like I live in the pre-Declaration United States, ruled with a heavy hand from afar than the model of liberty and limited government that they pledged their lives and fortunes to begin.
5035  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues - cfl on: February 06, 2011, 05:06:22 PM
Part of the healthcare mandate might be to read the 30 page EPA document (no exaggeration, see GM's link) on required cfl light bulb disposal.

Only by the federal mandate are you required to read page 2, "This page intentionally left blank".  It could be just me, but why not move the rest of the material forward?  They lost me right there.

I was very close with my yellow tape and superfund site guess for cleanup (do not sweep, do not vacuum). I assure you I have always used all proper procedures as far as you know.

In my county, larger than several states, I can easily take a broken light bulb to a drop off center during limited and changing dropoff hours, prove residence, fill out a couple of forms, for just the cost of a $50 tank of gas (whoops, more emissions), a half day of work; the cost is in my property taxes that are greater than food clothing and shelter for our family.  (Luckily they do not require the long form birth certificate.) I will just need some special markers and flashers for my vehicle and to not travel through any hazardous waste prohibited routes.  What's so hard about that?

5036  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues on: February 06, 2011, 03:03:25 PM
" You ready to deal with the toxic aftermath of a broken CFL bulb, Doug?"

Are you insinuating that some laws have unintended consequences?

I have broken at least a dozen so far.  It's actually very simple.  Just contact the local branch office of the federal government and request a superfund toxic cleanup site crew, set up those yellow tapes to keep people back and wait patiently while they rush over.  For the record, I like the energy savings, not the mandate. I install them for tenants as a symbol of going easy on the utilities.  We want their hard earned (taxpayer) money to go more to rent than utilities.   Also as the self insurance company, I like to see lower amperage travel through those old electric wires.
5037  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: February 06, 2011, 02:45:43 PM
GM,  I did see that story (milk spill legislation) in the WSJ.  Much as I would like to avoid sarcasm in political commentary, how else can a sane person react and keep going.  Who knew that milk spills were crossing state lines like jet powered aircrafts and can you imagine the chaos and confusion we would have in this country if we had 50 different sets of milk spill standards.  What if those poorly educated southern (red) states had NO standards at all on milk spills?? (Do you think Glen Beck could be behind these spills?)

Tell me how that will cut 5 points off the unemployment rate or bring a better democracy to Bangladesh and I will be all over it.

I will regret writing this but while I floundered with no success to bring an awareness on the board to my perceived unfairness of killing off 40+ million or so partially developed human unborns in this civilized country over the years, 98% for convenience reasons, one articulate denier/opposer  of that unfairness posted elsewhere about the unfairness and discomfort of chickens cooped up in undersized chicken coops (true, no doubt).  I do not claim an understanding of other people's priorities.
5038  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues on: February 06, 2011, 01:52:51 PM
Excellent post Tim.  Brings up many questions, how much is it warming, how much of that is attributable to human excesses, and what is the future of it all.  This issue has been tied to a political agenda, perhaps on both sides and reasonable people are left with very little information to use to determine if what we are doing is harming or threatening nature as we know it. 

Just the Antarctic ice mass as you suggest is quite a subject of controversy.  When it increases, they say because warming causes the additional snow to fall and when it decreases that means warming.  Increasing and decreasing in mass is what ice masses do.  Neither observation in itself tells anything about man's role in it.

"What does the data show from scientists who are not being paid to hedge their research?"

We honestly don't have anything yet to start with on that.  Global temperatures are sampled not measured and they are tweaked with secret, changing algorithms to fit into preconceived notions, unfortunately.  Reports are titled and summarized with an agenda, usually that agenda is political change or just additional funding.  Skeptics are often accused of being funded by coal etc.

We have plenty of information available to back up the theory that warming and cooling on earth goes in cycles, as do the size of glaciers and ice masses.  We know of negative feedback cycles, meaning the more it swings in one direction the stronger the natural forces to swing it back in the other directions.  We have no valid information to back up the theory that warming on earth is continuous or accelerating, which is a key premise of the alarmist theory.

In Consensus theory (unscientific) they ask a vague question, such as are you 90% certain man is contributing to warming.  If one man has one asphalt roof or asphalt driveway where once there was prairie grass, mankind with 90% certainty is contributing to warming.  Question is how much.  Burning a hydrocarbon gives off CO2 with certainty which is a (very minor) greenhouse gas, meaning it traps heat in.  Only question again is how much.

Here is a CO2 chart measured at Mauna Loa Hawaii, same one the alarmists use, but with a zero based scale for honest representation of the scope of the change in a molecule that makes up a very minor component of the atmosphere:

If it is land use and not CO2 emissions that make up the man made component, then the current thrust of new regulations get you nowhere.

"Has anyone here seen photos or talked to people or gone to the Alps in France, there isn't nearly the ice there was in many places. The Andes in South America where ice has shrunk over the years, the thawing permafrost in Alaska where old-timers and Natives have lost their lives by the dozens falling through unsafe ice that does not match their experience of what constitutes safe ice at certain times of the year? Why are southern forest pests and diseases spreading north? That does hint at warming. Is all this a left-wing conspiracy? "

Locations and time frames are cherry picked to make a list of examples more dramatic.  Elsewhere Glaciers have grown in western Norway, New Zealand’s South Island, parts of Asia and the Tierra del Fuego in South America, and in areas where complete disappearances were predicted, those predictions have been withdrawn or were mis-characterized in the first place.  Overall, things are warming very slightly, but if I unplug my freezer, I don't find that some parts get warmer while other parts get colder.  The earth is warming, again the question is by how much, and how much of that is from specific, changeable human causes.  The human component of it I think is smaller than our accuracy or error range to measure the warming in the first place.

As GM infers, without humans the earth would be warming or cooling now also, most likely warming, and pine tree beetles would be creeping north or south anyway etc.

Key point besides zero acceleration in warming (acceleration of warming was a false prediction) is that man's use of fossil fuel is but a blip in time on the planet.  Plenty of economists, geologists, etc. contend that we already passed the point of 'Peal Oil' where usage is already poised to decline.  If not we are close, probably within a couple of decades, with or without the latest State of the Union speech.

Some other resources, a 50 page scientific rebuttal to the IPCC from scientists who were kicked off for disagreeing:, many answers to common questions:, Rebuttal data to the theory that oceans are rising due to arctic thaw: ("Arctic Ocean level is decreasing"), are links I found interesting.

I take many steps everyday to limit my energy usage without governmental bans or proven science.  I have bought hundreds of CFL light bulbs, I own several wind-only powered boats, several solar chargers, my summer electric bill is under $20 most of that taxes and fees, I drive a 40mpg car (an old Honda, not a govt sponsored hybrid) when I can and even an 80mpg motorcycle when I have the nerve, I make my daughter combine trips, share rides and I keep my living room cold enough in the winter to refrigerate beer.  I have not plugged in an air conditioner in nearly 20 years. I rarely fly.  Conserving resources is great and having thoughtful discussions is wonderful.  But the thought of having the G*d D*mned know-everything, know-nothing government come down harder on us with an oppressive heavy hand, based on bad information, or worse yet, world government control, mostly because they want to, I find sickening and uncalled for.  Just my humble two cents.   smiley 
5039  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: February 06, 2011, 11:21:25 AM
Very funny! I also agree, those planes often cross state lines - with commerce! 

Not to rain on this lovefest, but there is a difference between being uncompromising on principles and just being wrong.  Compromise with an over-regulated economy would have been for the proponents of the new regulation to repeal one or more bad laws with it, then see what - Rand Paul - would do.

Of the new Senators, I am more interested in what Marco Rubio will do.  On this issue he turned into quite a centrist compromiser.  smiley
5040  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Politics: Rand Paul on: February 05, 2011, 11:50:31 PM
Interesting story BD.  I was struck by a few things, he spoke to a nearly empty chamber - I guess they aren't required to hear each other ramble on.  Milbank had a pretty funny line that Henry Clay was already eulogized - in 1852, and of course the date of this story - Feb. 2 - perhaps a bit early to know what kind of compromiser Rand Paul will be.  In an example of lousy reporting, the inference is made that Rand's obsession is lower taxes, but there isn't any proposal for that on the table or any word uttered yet that I know of.  Far as I know he is committed to cutting spending first and isn't afraid to cut everything.

Rand Paul was the '1 in a 96-1 vote to ban aiming pointing devices at airplanes (Different story:  'Paul told reporters after Thursday's vote that he believed the laser-pointer issue was one best handled by the states, not the federal government.'

Like Michele Bachmann and others, Rand Paul will be a mixed blessing for conservatives.  I like that he will be questioning whether things are appropriately a federal issue rather than just vote on what sounds good.

Cutting aid to Israel didn't need to be the first order of business with the turmoil in Egypt, but off he goes on that.  He probably never will vote to raise the debt limit, but they don't need 100 votes to do business.  I wonder if Milbank has done any stories on the compromises of Dick Durbin or Barbara Mikulsky...  Sen. Obama, another non-compromiser, voted against raising the debt limit, against the surge, and against all Presidential picks to the Supreme Court, even against Roberts who won 78 votes in the Senate.  It didn't seem to hurt his career.

I watched a full debate in that KY Senate race.  Rand faced a very moderate, reasonable, articulate opponent.  All Conway had to do to win IMO was say he would organize with the other side, not with Pelosi-Reid-Obama who are not exactly political mainstream in KY.  Conway could have passed for a moderate Republican, but I assume he was beholden to the people who got him there.

The political center of the Senate I think is where the action will be, if there is any, including the list of Dem Senators facing reelection in not very blue states.
5041  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: February 05, 2011, 01:23:39 PM
I enjoyed both the question as well as the answer regarding a botched stock market prediction.  I have given this some thought.  How can the market go up when everyone knows the economy is lousy and nothing has been fixed.  This is what I came up with: More money chasing fewer companies.
Why would things get better when we have done nothing to fix what is wrong?

Here is The Economist with some comment on the lousy jobs report that just came out:

So this is the new year?

Feb 4th 2011, 14:15 by R.A. | WASHINGTON

LOOK almost anywhere in the recent economic data and the signs point to an accelerating recovery. A solid fourth quarter GDP report contained a truly blockbuster increase in real final sales. Manufacturing activity is soaring. Consumer spending is up and the trade deficit is down. Markets are trading at their highest level in over two years. And so economists anxiously awaited the first employment figures for 2011, hoping that in January firms would finally react to better conditions by taking on lots of new help.

Instead, the Bureau of Labour Statistics has dropped a puzzler of an employment report in our laps—one which points in many directions but not, decidedly, toward strong job growth. In the month of January, total nonfarm employment grew by a very disappointing 39,000 jobs. This was not at all what forecasters were expecting. Earlier this week, an ADP report indicated that private sector employment rose by 187,000 in January; the BLS pegged the figure at just 50,000. There were some compensating shifts. December's employment gain was revised upward from 103,000 to 121,000. November's employment rise, which was originally reported at 39,000, has been revised to a total gain of 93,000.

But there is bad news, as well. The BLS included its annual revision of the previous year's data in this report, and while job growth over the year looks stronger than before, the level of employment looks worse. In March of last year, 411,000 fewer Americans were working than originally reported. And thanks to a weaker employment performance in April through October, 483,000 fewer Americans were on the job in December than was originally believed to be the case. For now, the economy remains 7.7m jobs short of its previous employment peak.

The labour market picture becomes foggier still when one turns to the household survey data. America's unemployment rate fell 0.4 percentage points in January for a second consecutive month, dropping the rate to 9.0%. Why? According to the household data, employment grew by 117,000 over the month while the number of unemployed Americans fell by 622,000. A word of caution is in order: new population estimates are used each year to compute the household figures, which means that the January household survey numbers are not directly comparable to the December figures. It would seem from this report that the decline in the unemployment rate is mostly driven by departures from the labour force (which fell substantially), but the employment-population ratio actually rose for the month, thanks to a reported decline in the population of working adults. But according to the BLS, practically the entire drop in the labour force total is due to the population adjustment. If one were going to compare December numbers to January numbers by stripping out the annual adjustment (and this is a dicey proposition) the household survey would show a slight rise in the labour force and a substantial gain in employment (of 589,000) nearly equal to the drop in unemployment (of 590,000).

But the sample size of the household survey is quite small, which means that it would be unwise to read too much into any one aspect of the report. Meanwhile, economists are pointing to the annual adjustments and to bad weather as major factors clouding the picture. But we can say a few things with some certainty. The 39,000 payroll increase will almost certainly be revised upward in coming months. Apart from construction, private sector employment continues to grow, and in manufacturing it is growing strongly. But for another month, the economy has not added the number of jobs we would expect to correspond to the level of observed economic activity. And far too much of the drop in unemployment appears to be due to the exit from the labour force of long-term unemployed workers and early retirees.

So for another month, Americans will wait, frustrated and uncertain, to see when growth will once again mean new employment opportunities.

5042  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Egypt on: February 05, 2011, 01:00:40 PM
Reagan answered a question regarding his criticism of the Carter administration during the change of power in Iran during an Oct 1984 debate that has some parallels with Egypt today:

FWIW, I would love to see democracy in both places.  I just don't know what road leads there.
5043  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2012 Senate on: February 05, 2011, 10:44:25 AM
Morris says: "If we switch seats in North Dakota, Florida, Nebraska, Virginia, and Montana – red states all – we get control by 52-48.

But he went on to mention 8 others, all plausible: Wisconsin, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri, Michigan, West Virginia and New Jersey.

He didn't want to say it but in a sweep that makes 60. Morris is about right for today, but the momentum it seems is going to turn one way or the other from here.

I called for clarity and 100% of R's in the Senate voted for repeal and 100% of D's voted against repeal of a bill twice (out of 4 tries) declared unconstitutional.  (Both sides read the forum?)  Differences don't get much clearer.

Meanwhile I think R's have to defend Scott Brown and Olympia Snowe.

(Wherever you are, get involved early and help somebody.)
5044  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: February 04, 2011, 07:06:42 PM
Strategically, we probably shouldn't have given Obama the numbers and locations of our arsenal either.  Voters should be able to make one small mistake without losing all their security (and freedoms).  I suppose wikileaks would have found that out too.
5045  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: February 04, 2011, 02:00:46 PM
True we had pieces of a puzzle for 9/11.  The fall of the Soviet Union was a better example that Dick Cheney gave for large events missed by U.S. Intelligence.  We rightfully worry about Egypt now, but maybe larger dangers are looming in Yemen or Pakistan or ?

I don't have any information yet that the affects of the events in Tunisia were negative except for the first lady taking a ton and a half of gold out.  A very different population, history and location than Egypt. If I were a 'reformer' in Egypt I would set Mubarek up with a decent place inside of Egypt to live comfortably and die of old age instead of watching another poor country get looted by the kleptocrats.

Very strange for Obama to support reformers in Egypt and not in Iran.  Obviously based on projected outcome, not principles that we would understand.
5046  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate: 11% of homes vacant on: February 04, 2011, 01:35:26 PM
First a comment on GM's post on Political Economics: "Coming Soon: A 300-Percent Increase in Foreclosures"

I don't buy the conclusion in the title (they do back it up with numbers), but the article has excellent reporting.  Much of the information presented is in clickable links for sourcing.

I would add that lots of people are so-called underwater in value and keep paying because they don't want to move and don't want to default.

Remember, foreclosure is the good part - the contract as the parties originally agreed working as designed to get the asset (and the family leaving) back to the market.  The fact that the borrower quit paying their obligation - that was the bad part and that is well into past by the time foreclosured home hit the market.

In light of the demonstrated failure of programs that slow the foreclosure process to keep people in the wrong home for them, we should consider the opposite, speedier returns to market and fully privatized renegotiations.

18.4 million homes are vacant, 11% in Q4 2010 according to Census numbers.  Here on CNBC:  I saw that go by on drudge a couple of weeks ago but didn't see it on the forum.  That is a very scary number, though in my business, an 11% vacancy rate or a theoretical 89% collection rate would be a dream.

Remember there are many many bureaucratic barriers to bringing vacant homes back to market depending on where you are and a good number of the foreclosures are in highly regulated municipalities.  In Minneapolis as an example, there is a $1000 fine/fee in addition to the annual rental license fee to bring a house into the rental market, and a far more expensive, complied-with truth-in-housing report required for a sale.  In other words the old 'fixer-upper' 'sweat equity' bargain idea is highly illegal and could trigger something called a 'Code Compliance' order requiring an old house to be brought up to new code, which is financially akin to condemnation in a low end property.
These regulation mean that these properties can be bought only with high-risk cash, not mortgages as they are not insurable, or legal to rent or live in.

Foreclosed homes often have the furnace or even entire kitchen stripped etc. and sold as they leave.  I've bought them with the electrical panel removed and feed wires dangling hot.  As they sit empty the copper pipes get stolen.  Banks rarely will do more than empty and mow to protect their value.  Before the crisis, banks we worked with wanted the property sold at best price / any price usually in less than one day because they didn't want the liability of ownership.  Anyone in the business of buying these properties has got to be tapped out at this point no matter what you started with.
5047  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: February 04, 2011, 12:24:39 PM
"US intel missed Tunisia, Egypt uprisings"

They also missed the end of cold war and the 9/11 attacks.
5048  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / re. Baseline Budgeting and budget cutting on: February 03, 2011, 01:12:43 PM
"Baseline Budgeting - IMHO this is one of the most important issues there is when it comes to rolling back spending and establishing honest, sound policies..."

I agree wholeheartedly but it is easier said than done.  I believe this is something Newt promised and could not / did not deliver.  We actually should approach him now on answering this.

In my sales past I had the opportunity to sell office systems to government agencies State and Federal.  There literally were rushes in certain cases to spend up money at the end of fiscal years to avoid having next year's agency or office budget start lower, in other words a reverse incentive from cost savings, efficiency and results.  Now budgets mostly have been squeezed and extra money isn't so freely floating around, but the nature of the beast has not changed.

From my armchair I say we need zero-based budgeting.  You justify your mission, your results, your collateral damage and your budget needs each year starting up from zero.  In the real world, these people can't even be fired or have their pay cut, leases on office spaces have financial commitments, so do computer systems etc.  Still the baseline could be set at zero increase, with some offices, agencies or overlapping functions facing percentage cuts or extinction.  The problem there is political. You have to be able to face the advocates of big government who say the usual, food to the hungry, meds to the elderly etc. 

Zero increase is how far Obama went (with his latest head fake). But he means lock in the trillions of temporary, emergency increases, call it a freeze, then not stick to it for the same reason, fat children could die of starvation or whatever the latest poll tested line is.

Overlapping functions of govt is huge IMO.  Getting the Feds out of many of its current functions and sending it with the money back to the states can get rid of some overlap.

Mostly it is definition of government.  If we asked it do less, key functions that remain would be more manageable.  Of course we are still headed full steam in the opposite direction, see health care flow chart, cash for clunkers, electric car programs, high speed rail, light bulb selection agency, CO2 is a poison program, insulation credits and monitoring, 1099s for lawn mowing, federal auto manufacturing agency, ownership of the private mortgage market, ATM fee control agency, federal utility bill assistance as a compensator for raising your rates with excessive regulations elsewhere, etc, I could go on.

Back to the first point about immovable costs: some end or control of the public employee union phenomenon will necessarily precede any real budget or efficiency improvements or innovations - and no one has proposed that.
5049  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tea Party, Glen Beck and related matters on: February 02, 2011, 11:02:47 AM
No intent to pile on here, just offering my own two cents.  BD can defend himself, but the question was posed about where the anti-Semitic charge came from and this article (without merit) is at least an example.

"There is no evidence anywhere that Beck has made a clearly anti-Jewish statement. He is a supporter of Israel."

That is the quote of substance from the BD link at the Guardian.  The author then reaches for a different conclusion, but I don't see why any reader would based on any information presented.

Quoting the article again: "Beck...did one show called the "Big Lie", which identified numerous people as enemies of freedom. Of nine people given prominence in the show, eight of them were Jewish: ranging from New York academic Frances Fox Piven to Sigmund Freud (and, naturally, Soros). Beck, of course, never mentions their ethnicity."

Once again, the author reaches for one conclusion, but the reader or viewer does not have any reason I see to draw that conclusion.  Beck has staff but not necessarily enough to say to someone, get me the religion and ethnicity of each person I am about to slam for their political views or insincerity before I go on the air, and balance it out with different people to attack if there is a problem.  

When you are not anti-Semitic, you are sensitive to all the subtleties of avoiding the accusation.

Reminds me of Rush and the attacks of racism.  Rush wants nothing more than for people to individually achieve greatness on their own (and for millions to tune in everyday to the broadcast). His closest business confidant is black; his agenda is political policy, not groups.  When lies surfaced, they had 'credibility' because Rush is white and Rush is conservative.  With that logic, the racist is the accuser.

I was taught the theories of Sigmund Freud in the public sphere.  I was not taught about his religion or private life.  Was his publicly recognized work tied to his religion?  I don't know.  Soros to me is a very wealthy liberal activist trying to leverage his wealth and power to elect people all over of polar opposite political beliefs to mine, not a Jew. In private I assume he is Jewish from what is said.  That point is completely irrelevant to me and to Glen Beck I am assuming unless you read his mission to be something other than what it is.  Soros is tied to  That group ran the most despicable anti-American (IMO) ad in my lifetime - General Betray-Us.  He can receive hatred back or at least intense, public, verbal political attacks back for the rest of his life and longer as far as I am concerned.  To say Soros shouldn't be harshly singled out and criticized or can't handle verbal attacks coming back because he is Jewish, or that groups to be criticized need to have their religion checked first, to me is anti-Semitic.  

Reminds of a friend who is Jewish taking some offense quoting McCain in the primaries saying he wanted the next President to be a Christian.  What McCain meant was that HE is Christian and supporting himself for President.  His best friend politically is Joe Liebermann (Jewish) and that was probably McCain's first choice for President if he could not serve.  Again, sensitivities to how that is heard are missed when you are not anti-something.  Beck is anti-liberal, anti-Marxism/leftism/socialism, anti big government etc.  I don't listen much or watch but I'm sure he singles out Obama plenty too, who is not Jewish, or Hillary Clinton if she had won.  And that is not anti-half-black or anti-woman.  It is anti- a governing philosophy.  
5050  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Japan on: February 02, 2011, 10:09:12 AM
"I think the first generation always has one leg in the country of their birth and one in...their adopted country."

Makes sense to me - and to the founders.  What are you trying saying about our President? (just kidding)
JDN,  Nihongo wakarimasu ka?

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