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5051  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Foreclosure Recidivism at 70% on: January 06, 2010, 11:46:40 AM
This story is from last May.  Happy to look at new numbers for failed programs.  Posting this separate from the argument that forced negotiation is wrong; it also doesn't work.  If you identify that someone cannot afford a place, then show them there is a positive consequence for defaulting... what is (70%)most likely to happen next??  I wonder if it cost us $4-$6 to give away each dollar like it did with cash for clunkers.

http://www.housingwire.com/2009/05/22/fannie-program-sees-70-recidivism/
Fannie Program Sees 70% Recidivism
A program aimed at helping delinquent borrowers become current once more on their mortgages will likely see decreased volumes at mortgage giant Fannie Mae (FNM: 1.12 -2.61%) after the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) noted a significant majority of participants soon redefaulted after receiving aid.
5052  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate on: January 06, 2010, 11:31:11 AM
"...the damage done is deep, profound, and long lasting."

So true.  A mortgage is the claim against the property guaranteeing the payment with a specific right to take it back if necessary.  Eliminate that right and everything is an unsecured loan.  Or make ever-changing rules and restrictions that are applied unevenly and what you get is called a third world country.

People under-appreciate things like foreclosure, bankruptcy, right to fire employees etc.  They all sound so negative but are part of our freedoms, part of free markets, dynamic capitalism and a stable set of ground rules needed to make large, long term investments.  You don't give up your first born and they don't chop off your arm.  But they do get to take your house if you don't pay and they should get to hire someone else if they don't think you do your job well enough.  You get to start over, find new work where you are more appreciated, get a smaller house if necessary or play a part in rejuvenating an older part of town that lost some value.

Who benefited when values were only going up and up and up, artificially and beyond affordability?  I would argue the answer is really no one.  Mine went up 8-fold, and all I really had was the same property with richer neighbors and higher property taxes.
5053  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Latin America on: January 06, 2010, 10:56:34 AM
Denny: "Brazil is and has always been Brazil centric. As far as they are concerned, Brazil is the center of the Universe."  - Same is true for Green Bay Packer fans, so maybe that lesson applies to some extent any direction we travel.

"Did Ms. Susan Kaufman Purcell think Brazil would be an American puppy dog? If so, she certainly does not know or understand Brazil."

From my point of view no one expects a lapdog or even an ally, just wishfully thinking that an independent democratic process far away might look at same or similar facts and come up with similar viewpoints and strategies.  But we can't get it right here, so our expectations elsewhere should be not much more than a curiosity, at least until they start partnering with our enemies.

Brazil congratulated Ahmadinejad, but the US under Bush with Sec. Powell using election observer Jimmy Carter wrongly congratulated Chavez.  More recently, as pointed out, we sided wrong in Honduras.

Still I favor the association of democracies.  To the extent that we all disagree, then the meetings could end without big press conferences or emissions treaties, but at least the participants would have some legitimacy.

ps. Are you still sailing?
5054  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government Programs, spending, budget process on: January 05, 2010, 12:52:00 AM
CCP: "One in eight Americans now receives food stamps, including one in four children.  Incredible...
Yet Americans cannot find a job."

I can't add much to what you wrote, just appreciate that someone else notices this stuff.  With unemployment pay, you are required to job search or pretend job search and fill out forms.  With food stamps - no such thing.  They are marketed on television as being cool and for almost anyone.  There is no stamp anymore, just a free credit card with money put on it automatically on a regular basis.  There are restrictions on what you can buy with it but the restricted free dollars are very openly sold in the inner cities at fifty cents on the dollar for cash that can be used for the other necessities of life like booze and drugs.

As an inner city landlord what I am noticing more is how it seems almost everyone gets a disability check, SSI for kids, adults, anyone.  No visible disability ever it seems.  Sometimes I ask and hear about a healthy twenty something year old with a bad back while my 85 year old parents both keep working because they can.  Sometimes I think it may be something more like ADHD or learning disability but it always seems to be something subtle. No wheelchairs or amputees in my experience.  Steep stairs, no problem.  They move the beds and dressers in and if they need a refrigerator or washing machine moved in somehow they find a way to get it done, but not work or job hunting.   - From the original story, "she did have a $600 government check to help her care for (her own daughter!) Ashley, who has a developmental disability."

The new healthcare bill puts people at 400% of the poverty rate in the subsidy pool.  Families of 4 making $88,000 on welfare - the public dole.

What is sad is that it is the government's goal to get more and more people on assistance (and politically supporting the programs) when it seems to me the goal should be to get more and more people OFF of assistance.

CCP, you, me, Crafty?, and about 7 other people on earth seem to get this and everyone else seems to have that 'see no evil', 'what's the problem' reaction to it all as it grows and grows and continues to swallow up more and more people in more and more ways enticing them to move away from work ethic and individual responsibility toward a dependency mentality and adopting the 'welfare rights' agenda.   - The underlying point of the original NYT piece was: why aren't these programs much bigger and easier to get!

The immigration aspect is whole 'nother deal.  I first tried to post the swedish muslim riot video under the health care thread.  They come for the world's greatest free benefits  - for doing nothing.  Same goes for the riot videos from Chicago.  Minneapolis has shorter lines, better services and higher benefits, so if you are a 4th generation welfare recipient in Chicago and want to make a 'better life' for you and your family, move to Mpls. and start applying for all the programs, free health care, free food, free clothing, cab rides to your appointments, section 8 housing, and on and on.  And they come.  The largest US Somali population is in Mpls.  The largest Hmong location is Mpls-St.Paul.  Yet the inner city neighborhoods have no major employers.  Unfortunately, that is no problem because they didn't come looking for employers.
5055  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Pathological Science and WTF on: January 04, 2010, 09:45:46 AM
I love the whistle blower enticement post.  I hope all who can come forward with any true stories  about public and institutional monies used to mislead the public for the purpose of this left turn to halt our economy.
-----
As the climate and weather runs through its natural cycles, zealots used to pick a warm stretch to tell us that we are deniers if we won't admit that we notice a tenth of a degree per decade change.  But scare-mongering became a fully funded, year-round industry resulting in the embarrassments of being snowed and frozen out of events in NYC, DC and Copenhagen.

If we only fly to Alaska or Kilimanjaro (in summer) we are told, that we can witness global warming first hand.  But those affects would be regional and cyclical just like whatever temps and changes we might experience right out our own doors across the heartland. 

Those of you in sunny southern Cal might want to put on a sweater before you read the following morning temps that millions are facing here in the twin cities (and similar for most of the country), 4 Days actual, 5 days forecast, note the warmup at the end.  We truly look forward to it:
Dec31: -2
Jan 1: -10
Jan 2: -18
Jan 3: -17
Jan 4: -10
Jan 5: -5
Jan 6: -9
Jan 7: -15
Jan 8: -8
Jan 9: 2 °F
Wonder what the temps these mornings would be without man caused global warming.  Was it really colder when we were kids?  But this is winter, what about summer? The summer update here is that my home air conditioner has been off for over ten years and my car air conditioners have all died from non-use.

I also get a heat bill for an old house high in the mountains of Colo.  This winter so far has been six degrees colder than last.  Not tenths of a degree, 6 degrees colder on average - morning, noon, night and everything in between, for a region over an extended period. 

Maybe God knows more about these fluctuations, the scientists don't.

Meanwhile, CO2 is still an atmospheric trace element measured in parts per million.  It is NOT trapping huge amounts of heat in, across the globe.
5056  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Islam in Europe: Torched cars around Paris on: January 02, 2010, 12:16:06 AM
PARIS (Reuters) - Youths burned 1,137 cars across France overnight as New Year's Eve celebrations once again turned violent, the French Interior Ministry said on Friday.

World

Car burnings are regular occurrences in poor suburbs that ring France's big cities, but the arson is especially prevalent during New Year's Eve revelry.

The number of vehicles torched was only 10 short of the record 1,147 burned this time last year, even though the Interior Ministry mobilized 45,000 police during the night -- 10,000 more than 12 months ago.

It said police detained 549 people overnight, compared with 288 in 2009 New Year celebrations.
5057  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Islam in Europe, Danish police shoot intruder at cartoonist's home on: January 01, 2010, 11:51:54 PM
A 28 year old Somali.  (Elsewhere today Somali pirates take another vessel.)  Danish Police didn't read him his rights.  They came in and shot him. Like it or not, Mr. President, we are at war.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8437433.stm

Danish police have shot and wounded a man at the home of Kurt Westergaard, whose cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad sparked an international row.

Mr Westergaard was at home in Aarhus when a man broke in and threatened him. He pressed a panic button and police entered the house and shot the man.

Danish officials said the intruder was a 28-year-old Somali linked to the radical Islamist al-Shabab militia.

The cartoon, printed in 2005, prompted violent protests the following year.

   
ANALYSIS
Malcolm Brabant
By Malcolm Brabant, BBC News
This attack will force the Danish secret service Pet to review whether their protection is adequate.

Mr Westergaard's house was supposed to have been turned into a fortress. The windows were supposed to be blast proof, and yet a determined individual came within a whisker of killing a man regarded by Islam as a pariah, but by his supporters, as one of the bravest defenders of free expression.

One of 12 cartoons published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten, it depicted the Prophet Muhammad with a bomb in his turban.

In 2006 the paper apologised for the cartoons, but other European media reprinted them.

Danish embassies were then attacked by Muslims around the world and dozens killed in riots.

Mr Westergaard went into hiding amid threats to his life, but emerged last year saying he wanted to live as normal a life as possible.

His house has been heavily fortified and is under close police protection.

'Shocked'

Police said the man had entered Mr Westergaard's house armed with a knife and had shouted in broken English that he wanted to kill him.

Anti-Danish protest in Pakistan 2006
The cartoons prompted anti-Danish outrage across the Muslim world

He said he had grabbed his five-year-old granddaughter and run to a specially designed panic room where he raised the alarm.

Mr Westergaard told Jyllands Posten he was shocked that his granddaughter had witnessed the attack.

He has now been taken to a safe location, but said defiantly that he would be back, the newspaper reported.

Jakob Scharf, who heads the Danish intelligence service Pet, said the attack was "terror related" and that the suspected assailant has close contacts to Somalia's al-Shabab group.

He had been under surveillance for activities unrelated to Mr Westergaard, Mr Scharf said.

Police said he was shot in the knee and the shoulder after threatening officers who tried to arrest him. Preben Nielsen of Aarhus police, said the man was seriously hurt but his life was not in danger.

The BBC's Malcolm Brabant, who interviewed Mr Westergaard when he emerged from hiding, says the incident will raise questions about security measures put in place by the Danish secret service to protect the artist.

Islamic militants have placed a $1m price on Mr Westergaard's head.

Although he is one of 12 cartoonists whose drawings of the Prophet were published in Jyllands-Posten, he has the highest profile, our correspondent says.
5058  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glibness and gaffes - The Year in Review on: January 01, 2010, 02:54:19 PM
Excerpts from a VDH piece 12/23/09:

...Obama administrationincapable of effective governance.  Here is a random selection, no chronology or theme. Nor do I judge the relative importance of any one incident. The point is only that each was a fissure, some small, some major...

Constant apologies abroad for everything from slavery to Hiroshima

Bows to Saudi royalty, the Japanese emperor, and Chinese autocrats

The on-again/off-again Guantanamo shut-down mess

The fight with the former CIA directors

The public show trial of Khalid Sheik Mohammed

The reach out to Ahmadinejad Castro, Chavez, and assorted thugs

The Honduras fiasco

Czars everywhere

The serial “Bush did it”/reset whine abroad

The Queen of England/I-pod fiasco

Gordon Brown gets snookered in his gift-giving

Unceremoniously shipping back the Churchill bust

The end of the special relationship with the UK

The New York on-the-town presidential splurge

Anita Dunn and her Mao worship

Timothy Geithner/Tom Daschle/Hilda Solis and their taxes

What ever happened to Gov. Richardson?

“No lobbyists” = gads of them

The Podestas’ insider influence-peddling empire

Sotomayor’s “wise Latina” chauvinism

The Special Olympics silly quip

Trashing Nancy Reagan

The Skip Gates/police acting “stupidly” mess

The get-Chicago-the-Olympics jaunt to Copenhagen

Cap-and-trade boondoggle

“Millions of green jobs”

Ignore gas, oil, coal, and nuclear power production

Cash-for-clunkers

The Joe Biden gaffe machine

Jobs “saved” or “created” rather than references to the actual unemployment rates

Van Jones, the racist and truther

Desiree Rogers won’t testify

The blowback from, and silence about, the Rangel/Dodd corruption

The White House party crashers plan to take the 5th Amendment

The ‘bipartisanship’ con

The pork-barrel stimulus spoils

The demonization of the Town-Hallers

The Acorn Mess

The Kevin Jennings/Safe School Czar embarrassment

The SEIU direct access to the White House

The Asian Tour comedown

The politicization of the take-over of GM and Chrysler

The Obama readjustment in the order of paying back car creditors

Car dealerships closed on shaky criteria

Obama as “Caesar”

The Emanuel “never let a serious crisis go to waste” boast

The Black Caucus/Rangel/Waters bid to bail out the inner-city radio stations

Yosi Sergant and the NEA

$1.7 trillion deficit

The planned $9 trillion added to the national debt

New income tax rates; health care surcharge talk; and payroll tax caps to be lifted

Rahm Emanuel’s promised payback to those states that trash the stimulus

The supposed C-span aired health care debate

The promised website posts of pending legislation

Czechs and Poles sold out on missile defense

Sermons to and finger pointing at the Israelis

The failed ‘Putin helps to stop a nuclear Iran’ gambit

Voting present on the Iranian reformers in the street

Serial but empty deadlines to Ahmadinejad

The good war/bad war twisting and turning on Iraq/Afghanistan

The months-long dithering over Afghanistan

Renditions, tribunals, Patriot Act, etc. once trashed, now OK

Healthcare take-over

The 2,000 page proposed new health code

The embarrassing Nobel Peace Prize nomination

The attacks on surgeons, Chamber of Commerce, Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, etc.

The Islam mythologies in the Cairo Speech

The al Arabiya “Bush did it” interview

Obama’s TV “my Muslim faith” gaffe
5059  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Way Forward? on: January 01, 2010, 01:22:35 PM
Received this from a friend on the RNC written by a fellow committeeman who fled Communist China as a young man, seeking freedom.  He writes about fighting for freedom and holding the party, its candidates, and its officeholders accountable to the voters for their faithfulness to conservative principles. (published in the Wash. Times)

As others have described it, the 'big tent' strategy is to stand consistently for solid and proven principles like freedom, prosperity and security and invite all to join us, not as our opponents do - to calculate each demographic's special interest and compromise on principles enough to eek out a majority.

-----
Solomon Yue:

On Jan. 29 in Honolulu, the 168-member Republican National Committee, the Republican Party's governing body, will debate a resolution over whether the RNC should continue to finance candidates who do not support many key principles in the party's platform. The resolution would set a standard -- some call it a "litmus test" -- to judge whether a candidate qualifies for RNC financial support.

Last month, the special congressional election in New York was a fiasco because the RNC backed liberal Republican Dede Scozzafava over a conservative Republican who wound up running on the Conservative Party line. Mrs. Scozzafava then quit and endorsed the Democrat candidate, who went on to win.

That raised some profound questions: Should the RNC maintain a balance between simply electing more Republicans on the one hand and ensuring that those elected defend the party's conservative principles on the other? To regain public trust, should the RNC match deeds with words by offering concrete steps to hold elected Republicans accountable?

As an immigrant from Communist China, I never had freedom until I got to the United States in 1980. I joined the Republican Party because of Ronald Reagan's pro-freedom agenda. He hastened the fall of the "evil empire" by putting unbearable pressure on its long-crumbling economy. Millions were liberated.

Back then, the Grand Old Party stood for freedom. But I began to share the tea-party activists' frustrations about broken promises, from earmarks to deficit spending. Those broken promises represented this party's failure to stand for principles.

After the 2008 defeat, broken promises continued, with the usual lip service. Republican leaders asked voters to trust them to reassert party principles, while some continued to back the stimulus bill, deficit spending, cap-and-trade plans and Obamacare. Those Republicans not only continued to erode the party's brand name, but also aided and abetted President Obama's march to socialism. Some fear that a candid debate could relegate the Republican Party to indefinite minority status; that the party needs those promise-breakers for a "big tent" to regain the majority.

During the debate at the RNC on a resolution declaring the Democratic agenda as socialist, party leaders put their concern for how the media perceived them above their standing up for conviction. Some of us ask, "At what price?" and wonder whether the tent is big enough for the tea-party activists.

While the RNC debated what the Republican Party should call the Obama agenda, individual freedom eroded at an accelerated rate. The activists saw Republicans as those who voted to take away not only their freedom, but also their children's and grandchildren's freedom while the party stood by. They perceived the GOP's failure to defend individual freedom as its acceptance of partial tyranny for the sake of "bipartisanship."

The anger at an out-of-control Washington has driven those activists to protest in town halls and a march on Washington. They blame both parties for taking away their freedom. I can see their point, since I am now partially owned by the same tyrannical regime that I thought I escaped 29 years ago: China remains the number one holder of U.S. bonds, valued at $799 billion.

The Republican Party is at a crossroads. The fear of becoming a permanent minority party, which caused the RNC not to hold Republican leaders accountable, now becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The latest Rasmussen polls showed, despite Republican victories in New Jersey and Virginia, a generic "tea-party" candidate in a 2010 congressional race would finish ahead of an unnamed Republican, by 23 percent to 18 percent.

The Whig Party's failure to stand up for black freedom gave birth to the Republican Party. What would happen to this party if it fails to stand for individual freedom? A political party ceases to exist when it no longer stands for principles. If the Republicans were to break into two or three smaller parties, would this Republic survive eight years of Mr. Obama's socialism?

After broken promises and more broken promises, would another "trust us" approach, without any teeth, be enough to save the Republican Party? Clearly, it is not enough. The RNC must offer concrete steps to ensure that party leaders will defend freedom.

First, the RNC must close the credibility gap caused by ideological inconsistencies. If this is the party of small government, lower taxes, less spending, free enterprise and individual freedom, the RNC must make sure candidates not only run as fiscal conservatives, but also govern that way.

Second, the Republican establishment must resist the urge to endorse a moderate candidate in a contested primary. This not only is divisive, but also raises questions about the party's commitment to conservatism. It further undermines the trust the RNC wants to rebuild.

Finally, the RNC must hold the party's elected lawmakers accountable to the voters by matching their promises with their records when their funding requests are considered.

Facing extinction as a party, the Republican Party must not fail. Benjamin Franklin reputedly said on the adoption of the Constitution, "We have given you a republic - if you can keep it."

Making elected Republicans accountable is one way to keep the republic.

• Solomon Yue, an Oregon businessman, is an elected member of the Republican National Committee and a founder of two conferences within the RNC: the 24-member Republican National Conservative Caucus and the 96-member Conservative Steering Committee.

 
5060  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: January 01, 2010, 11:13:17 AM
Something seems amiss if you are trying to get at all the information necessary to protect our country in a time of war but when you capture a foreign terrorist suicide mass murderer in the act, the first things you say are that you have the right to remain silent and make a phone call - while thousands of other airliners are still in the air.  That is what you might say to a shoplifter or a pickpocket in an airport.  Waterboarding and being told you don't have the right to remain silent or comfortable would seem a little more appropriate for trying to recreate the terror of 9/11/01.
5061  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Economist: Waziristan, The Last Frontier on: January 01, 2010, 10:45:40 AM
Fascinating and wide ranging piece, a bit long to post.
http://www.economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=15173037
5062  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Government Programs, spending, budget process - Stansberry piece on: December 31, 2009, 01:11:18 PM
'Minneapolis car rental tax 60%.'  His itemization missed the sales tax surcharge for the outdoor ballpark totally unusable here in April and November.  I recall that in Denver car rental tax is worse, a lower tax state but a newer airport.  They think it is free money since the tourist doesn't get to vote.  Then they dream up subsidy schemes and incentives because tourism is down.  Go figure.  The home phone tax is also 60% with a similarly long list.  Hurts the poor worst who do not even pay it because they no longer afford landlines.  When their prepaid cell minutes run out they are out of luck, out of touch, out of job contact etc.  Same for the energy bill, quite a few fees before the first kilowatt hour gets billed.  In the land of lakes we have the 'cabin tax'.  Again tax the non local resident at a higher rate since they can't vote in the district or do anything about it, then up go the new schools and government centers of construction to make the great pyramids blush.  My total property taxes alone are more than food, clothing and shelter costs combined.  That's before federal and state income taxes and the returning 55% death tax.  Ahhhh...  freedom and limited government in the greatest country on earth.  What could possibly go wrong?
5063  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Abortion - New England Journal of Medicine on: December 31, 2009, 12:28:45 PM
One add'l comment from the mind-boggling ending of NEJM about abortion funding over on Politics of Healthcare today:

"...social justice and equality between the sexes"

I would love to see this answered from a religious perspective, but is that really what we seek - what women seek, equality meaning identical-ness between the sexes?  That a man can have unprotected sex with a stranger, pick up herpes and the rest, be shot by her husband,r pay child support the rest of his life, or be denied access to his children etc. etc. but he does not get pregnant... therefore a woman should be able to have unprotected recreation sex without consequence.  Termination, it's all about 'me' and no one else is affected.  Is that what God wanted designing the differences in the sexes?  For us to undo His work with a fully funded and medically safe 'procedure'?  Would that even make sense to an atheist who believes this amazing design is by accident?
5064  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: NEJM on abortion funding on: December 31, 2009, 12:09:22 PM
Thanks CCP,  If I read through their spin correctly they are saying don't let abortion details kill the bill.  Set it aside, get it passed and add it back later.  In 99+% of the cases, the issue has nothing to do with health care, except to keep women from harming themselves, assuming (falsely) that they would get pregnant and terminate at the same rate if medical services, free ones in particular, were not readily available. Funding solution could be simple, just dedicate all the dollars spent on marketing, legal and political for the abortion industry and the terminations would be fully funded.  But then the liberal law firms and lobbyists would be defunded. 

The ending description for abortion just can't be ignored: "...social justice and equality between the sexes", just as provocative as my description of it as slaughtering your young.

China is different, but as far as I know we terminate equally between the genders.  The social justice elephant in the room they won't say isn't free terminations, it is that we terminate black babies at 3.1 times the rate of white babies and that rate is even higher for taxpayer funded abortions.  Assuming abortion on demand is a good thing for women, it looks like white women are being treated unfairly.  The unspoken racist argument implied is that these unwanted, mostly inner city babies would live miserable lives and be a net drain on our society anyway.  That's quite a judgment!  If true that issue should be aimed back at those 'parents' not the innocent unborns who have yet do anything wrong IMHO.
5065  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Newt, The Way Forward on: December 31, 2009, 12:36:42 AM
Newt is very impressive, reminds me of the Newt of old, challenging the establishment before he won the majority and the speakership.  He speaks without teleprompter and almost without notes.  If an election were about ideas and issues he would be quite an adversary for the current President.  

I like that he does not name Obama.  It is not enough to stand against one man, candidate or administration; the argument is against a line of thinking or governing that takes us in the wrong direction.  The urgency to bring down Hillary once seemed paramount, but the agenda grew stronger without her.

He makes a point I agree with but think many will find controversial, that the 'weakest' branch (judiciary) should not run roughshod over the two elected branches.  

Another point I like is that he challenges BOTH parties to engage in common sense thinking.  I doubt he has any pull within the Dem. party but the challenge is right on the money.  Security, healthy economy, liberty and privacy - these should not be partisan, only the smallest details should be our differences.  Like the Ben Nelson situation, if moderate and reasonable Dems can't find traditional and successful American principles in the politics of their leaders then they may cross over as they did with Reagan.
5066  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Unconstitutional Health Care Reform on: December 30, 2009, 01:24:59 PM
Acouple of asides: Despite the deafening silence here at my attempt to get at the right and wrong of abortion, it may be the (side) issue that brings down this horrendous, limited government ending legislation.

Only 17% of Nebraskans support the special deal to buy Ben Nelson's vote.  That question should push-polled to death across the rest of the states and publicized nationally:  Do you know of the special deal where 49 states pay expenses for one state too buy their spineless Democrat's vote on health care and do you favor or oppose this form of legislated unequal protection under the law??

Now the (un)constitutionality of the individual mandate: Obviously there are liberal scholars who will say it is fine or they wouldn't be able to write and support any of these liberal policies that violate the founding tenets of our republic.  They can make lame and pretend arguments such as that we already require auto insurance, but how do they hold water compared to these:
--------
http://www.heritage.org/Research/LegalIssues/lm0049.cfm
(This piece is long so I will just quote one section.  Please follow link to read in its entirety!)

Personal Health Insurance v. Drivers' Auto Liability Insurance

Some have argued that a federal mandate requiring all citizens to obtain health insurance is no different than state laws that require licensed drivers to carry proof of auto insurance when driving on the public roads.[37] But there are several important constitutional differences that render the comparison decidedly inapposite.

First, there is a fundamental constitutional difference between the inherent police powers of the states and the enumerated powers of the national government. A bedrock principal of the American republic is that, whereas states enjoy plenary police powers (albeit subject to various constitutional limits), the national government is limited to the enumerated powers "herein granted" to it by the Constitution. Thus, states may craft numerous regulations for the protection of their citizens which are beyond Congress's power. In striking down the federal Gun-Free School Zones Act, the Lopez Court acknowledged that the states already enforced similar criminal laws even though Congress could not. Likewise, when it struck down the federal tort action for rape in Morrison,the Court did not question state laws allowing similar causes of action. State laws regulating the level of insurance that licensed state drivers must have to operate on state roads stem from a completely different source of constitutional authority--a state's police power--than Congress can invoke. Congress has never been thought to have such power, and the Supreme Court has always denied that such plenary federal power exists.

Second, automobile insurance requirements impose a condition on the voluntary activity of driving; a health insurance mandate imposes a condition on life itself. States do not require non-drivers, including passengers in cars with potentially bad drivers, to buy auto insurance liability policies--even though such a requirement undoubtedly would lower the auto insurance premiums for those who do drive. The auto insurance requirement is linked to driving and to the possibility that bad driving may cause injuries to others, including passengers in the driver's car, not to those who benefit from roads generally.

Third, state auto insurance requirements are limited to those who drive on public roads. The public roads are mostly constructed, owned, and maintained by the government, or in some other cases, are built on public rights of way or through the use of eminent domain. What a state (or private citizen) may require of someone using its property is wholly different than what it may do to control their purely private behavior. Driving on government roads is a privilege--one easily distinguished from merely living. For those who choose to drive on public roads, the state can establish terms and conditions reasonably related to preventing injury to others. States may issue drivers licenses, establish and enforce traffic laws, and may require that all those driving on their roads be adequately insured to compensate others for their injuries. These same rules do not extend to driving on private roads or property. Indeed, one may drive vehicles on private property without ever obtaining a state driver's license.

Finally, states require drivers to maintain auto insurance only to cover injuries to others.[38] The mandate does not require drivers to insure themselves or their property against injury or damage. Thus, the auto insurance requirement covers the dangers and liabilities posed by drivers to third parties only, even though many of those same risks apply to the driver himself. The auto insurance mandate seeks to avoid the all-too-common problem of an uninsured and insolvent motorist severely injuring a third party on a public road, leaving the injured party to cover her own medical expenses. But the driver remains free to assume the risk that she will injure herself, even if she is insolvent to pay for her own expenses. Thus, states only seek to ensure that drivers can pay the equivalent of tort judgments for their wrongful conduct to others on state roads; they do not tell drivers how to take care of themselves.
5067  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Media Issues: PBS News Hour on: December 29, 2009, 04:55:43 PM
"...Lehrer NewsHour and its trademark two-side analysis of major news"

Within the constraints of broadcast TV this was one of the best for me.  Used to make a ritual of watching Paul Gigot for 5 minutes on Fridays and getting a good feel for what was going on in Washington that week.  After he was promoted at WSJ and replaced at PBS with David Brooks, it became a moderate Obama supporter bantering with a totally partisan leftist for pretend political balance and all value lost for my point of view.  I quit watching so I missed the balance lost on climate, but keeping one side off is shameful.  I'm glad someone is holding PBS feet to the fire.  It would be very interesting if correspondence about this shows up in the climategate emails.  Would not surprise me, very much like the Orwellian fight to keep opposing views out of peer review.  Shame on the News Hour for succumbing to that pressure.  I wonder if there is enough taxpayer dollars involved to qualify for a freedom of information act inquiry into the correspondence around the time balance was dropped.

BTW, I always thought Jim Lehrer was the best in the business at asking both sides good questions and keeping whatever his own views are out of it.  The balance was so good that my liberal cousin and I had the same favorite news show while taking the exact opposite lessons from it.
5068  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Homeland Security on: December 28, 2009, 11:32:16 PM
I agree with profiling and the Israeli model, mostly just a commitment to think clearly and try to stay a step ahead of the enemy, across the globe, 24/7.   If TSA was any kind of an intelligence agency instead of a bureaucratic logistics operation of managing lines, gates, shifts and breaks, then by now they would know and recognize most of their law abiding regular customers.  Every man-minute that they spend frisking my frequent business traveler sister is a minute they don't spend updating their system with Abdul Farouk Umar Abdulmutallab's Yemeni terror training certification.  For some reason TSA can't stand it that I wrap my skis inside my ski bag inside of ski pants and a jacket to protect and cushion them a little flying to a ski destination; they always get opened and picked apart.  But when a known terrorist buys a cash ticket to a major US airport, flies internationally trans-Atlantic, without luggage, on the only religious US federal holiday, after applying for student visas to bogus colleges...  For the money we spend and the privacy we give up for this operation, we deserve a little more competence and some mission focus.

Or as the man made disaster Czar says, the system worked.
5069  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics - Deflation? on: December 28, 2009, 04:04:46 PM
Ran across the piece below at the American Thinker over the holidays.  I have warned others that if/when the economy comes back we will see inflation and high interests rates because we have already 'inflated' the currency with 'printed money' and price increases are a result or symptom of the already inflated currency.

One flaw and one omission to that line of reasoning.  The omission is in the if/when the economy roars back.  Under today's policies, why would it?  The reported 3rd qtr growth was adjusted down and looks to be government sector only.  If you hire, earn or save, you are screwed.

The flaw in inflationary thinking is that while we are 'printing' or injecting a couple trillion a year in the U.S. we have also destroyed 50 trillion of wealth wordwide.  For every bank loan dismantled and asset de-leveraged, there is a shrinking of money besides the loss in value.

Look at the Fed.  Looks like everything they are doing is inflationary with 0% interest etc.  Maybe  with all the info they have they think the strongest need is still fighting off deflation.  At roughly zero interest, they don't have room to go any further.

We had this discussion before I believe and it is important to understand that deflation is not the opposite of inflation.  It is just another ailment like strep vs. viral infection or heart attack vs. stroke.  They are both the opposite a vibrant, healthy economy with a stable currency and positive public policies guiding it like reasonable incentives to produce, save, invest, hire, etc.

BTW, I don't know anything about the credibility of this author.
------
http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/12/the_defaltion_threat.html

December 22, 2009
The Deflation Threat
By Paul Berkowitz
Contrary to what you are hearing in the media, the worst economic news may still lie ahead: A deflationary depression is descending upon us.

Breakneck federal printing of debt and dollars, gold and stocks rising, the dollar falling -- surely these trends presage inflation, or even hyperinflation. So goes the narrative across the media. But a contrarian and increasingly likely view is that deflation, not inflation, awaits.* What is deflation? How will it develop? How will it affect us?

Most of us have known only inflation, in which prices rise over time. In deflation, prices fall. The last time this happened in the U.S. was during the Great Depression. Japan has been living it these last fifteen years.

A falling price trend is at first a benefit to consumers. But then it leads to a spiral of economic decline: a depression. Deflation occurs when money for whatever reason becomes scarce, and therefore more valuable. Lower prices are the effect. Producers starve for profits, which leads to layoffs, loan defaults, and bankruptcies. Borrowers find they have to repay with more expensive dollars, so they pay off their debts. Low debt throttles growth and slows purchases. Expensive dollars make exports less competitive. Unsold inventories waste away on the shelf, crumble in value, and must be sold at deep discounts. Prices fall further, and so on, in a vicious circle.

Normal downturns are triggered by cyclic imbalances in which supply temporarily exceeds demand. Growth pauses while inventory excesses are liquidated. This time, however, things are different. The triggering event was an asset valuation bubble -- high stock and real estate prices -- boosted excessively in a buying mania fueled by cheap credit during the last fifteen years. Lots of borrowing creates financial leverage, which pumps up profits during good times and wipes them out during bad. Consumer credit swelled with the aid of cheap mortgages and home equity lines. Businesses borrowed cheap short-term money and invested long-term, expecting to roll the loans over as profits expanded. Most significantly, bankers ran high ratios of what they lent out versus what they took in. All of this borrowing was encouraged by the Federal Reserve Board and Congress to foster social goals like full employment and high levels of homeownership.

But the system eventually became unstable. The real estate that served as collateral for trillions of dollars of debt on the banks' (and the bank-like Fannie and Freddie) balance sheets became priced too high, and for the first time in seventy years, prices began a serious decline. Many highly leveraged borrowers had their equity wiped out, so they threatened to default. An increased sense of risk rippled through these debt pools, erasing much of their value and rendering them unsalable, or "toxic." Soon, a "run," or loss of general confidence, pervaded the U.S. and European economies. Though it has come to be called the housing bubble recession, a better name is the great credit bubble depression.

Deflation stems from a shortage of money. Isn't the Fed creating trillions of new dollars that they lend to banks and to the Treasury for disbursement in "stimulus" programs? Yes, but even as the Fed has recently created $2 trillion in new assets, many times, more money has been and will continue to be taken out of the world's economy through the process of de-leveraging -- that is, the paying off or writing off of a portion of the hundreds of trillions in credit floated around the world. Despite talk of TARP success and nascent recovery, those toxic assets are still on the books, some with the banks and some with the Fed itself. Eventually, much of this money will become worthless. As fast as the Fed is printing new money, money is being destroyed as debt is taken off the table. In the end, the Fed will lose as the quicksand of depression sucks more and more money into its muck.

Ironically, the 60% stock market rally of 2009, which in itself is anti-deflationary, is no source of comfort. Though it's hard to prove why stocks move, the recent rally is most likely due to a "carry trade," in which banks borrow cheaply from the Fed and invest in high-return risk markets like stock, gold, or even foreign currencies. The Fed is encouraging this with low rates precisely because this asset re-inflation makes the dollar less valuable. They are fighting the inevitable deflation.

But they are also creating a new asset bubble just like the one that imploded last year. They have lowered short-term interest to zero. As prices correct downward and the dollar rises as deleveraging continues, the Fed can take rates no lower. The last remedy available is for the Fed to buy government and corporate debt in the open market, literally printing money at will -- adrenaline for a burst, perhaps, but not sustainable. Other government measures like deficit spending and expansion of primarily public sector jobs in the "Stimulus" program are simply wasteful, destroying more dollars in the present and creating public debt to burden the future. These effects are deflationary.  Obama's plans for new taxes and regulations, which extinguish dollars, are also deflationary.

What about the oft-cited signs of recovery like upticks in GDP, consumer sentiment, and retail sales? Well, even in a trending economy -- and ours is trending down -- it is normal to see short blips, zigs, and zags against the trend. The numbers are also somewhat cooked for political effect. You'll know that the grip of deflation is tightening if you continue to see more of the following: discounts, price reductions, joblessness, real estate vacancies, bank failures, business failures, public finance failures, pension defaults, loan defaults, shrinking debt and credit, higher savings ratios, and frugal spending.

Obama's economists, Larry Summers and Ben Bernanke, are smart enough to understand and see the lurking deflation, even if they publicly brag that the worst is over. They might even quietly suspect that their current policy mix will not stop deflation. So what have they told the boss? If they are speaking honestly, then Obama must already know how much pain is coming our way. Or are these generals cowering before their stern commander, who will shoot a messenger bringing unwelcome news? The mood must be pretty tense.

*While the forecast is deflation for the next few years, inflation is still a long-term threat. Economic trends swing to and fro. A mild deflation could be followed by a mild inflation. Unfortunately, we may see a very deep deflation change into a hyperinflation as panicky anti-deflationary policies overshoot their mark.
5070  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics: US bankruptcy? on: December 28, 2009, 11:57:51 AM
The Porter Stansberry piece is very interesting.  I don't take the US bankruptcy worry very seriously because we already are in a sense.  Question IMO is just how much more damage.

Clinton saved billions with a very high risk by financing with short term debt.  The risk really at what cost will be the replacement debt.

The U.S. Treasury does not risk not being able to find buyers for bonds.  We currently use the Bernie Madoff technique on steroids.  We just print (monetize) as they come due and sell replacement bonds as we see fit.  If they sell - they sell.  If not - then it stays monetized.  Like issuing more stock instead of borrowing.  The current owners shares just get a few trillion more diluted.  We can't default in our own currency under our own rules.  It is all play money in a sense from the point of view of the policy makers.

For the zillionth time, I ask the question, what right does a congress today have to obligate a congress of tomorrow?  It violates the principle of consent of the governed.  Tomorrow's voter is boxed in without choices.  What if in the future they want a lower tax, lower spending society or different programs from the flawed ones of today?  The establishment of these long term entrenched programs takes choices away from future voters and that is WRONG IMHO.
5071  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: December 22, 2009, 10:42:13 PM
"How does one handle this debating method?"

Admit it.  They are better at getting their message out.  Think what they could do with a better message.

Did I really hear them all say at the end that they pledge allegiance to the government??
5072  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / electoral process, vote fraud (ACORN) - Yes, MN was stolen. on: December 22, 2009, 10:33:51 PM
"Doug, not that it matters at this point but do you think Coleman was robbed of the election?
The msm of course is dead silent on this issue."

Please watch the video at the link: http://kstp.com/article/stories/S1222327.shtml?cat=5  This is the definitive piece on the recount IMO.  8 minutes of investigation reporting by the local ABC affiliate, no follow up, and like CCP said, the national media didn't pick up on it at all.  They got what they wanted.  The report closes by saying we haven't heard the end of this.  That was a month ago.  I guess we did.  They even let the link fall off their website already. 

Basically the election was a tie.   Coleman won with the original data.  Franken won with the 'adusted' data.

Ballots were counted in liberal strongholds that wouldn't have been counted elsewhere in the state - enough to win.  ACORN and George Soros picked Sec of State says he didn't bring his reading glasses to the interview - didn't know he was going to have this sprung on him.
5073  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rant - Strange Bedfellows on: December 22, 2009, 01:04:47 AM
I now find myself more closely allied politically with Communist China, Russia, Dictatorship of Cuba and the ACLU than I am with the current power within the US government:

a) Communist China has more power than 40 Republican Senators to curb the growth in spending and the increase in government debt.  http://www.shanghaidaily.com/article/print.asp?id=423054  "The world does not have so much money to buy more US Treasuries."

b) Russia broke the Climategate story and also is whistlblowing on these pretend-science cleptocrats for tampering with the non-warming temperature data coming out of Russia.  If Russia isn't warming, Antarctica isn't warming and Minnesota isn't warming, then it makes you wonder if the other anecdotal stories are truly global. http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100020126/climategate-goes-serial-now-the-russians-confirm-that-uk-climate-scientists-manipulated-data-to-exaggerate-global-warming/  "now the Russians confirm that UK climate scientists manipulated data to exaggerate global warming"

c) Cuba says Obama lied in Copenhagen.  http://apnews.myway.com/article/20091221/D9CO04700.html  "Cuba and other poor nations have refused to recognize the agreement because they weren't permitted to participate in its development."  - an agreement not binding on them is not binding on us??

d) The ACLU has made a better case for privacy in Health Care records than any Republican or conservative: http://action.aclu.org/site/MessageViewer?dlv_id=57541&em_id=56521.0
The ACLU is Against Obama Health Care
Jul 21, 2009 ... If Obama digitizes health care records the ACLU could be all that stands between Pizza Palace and your privacy.
www.thorschrock.com/2009/07/21/aclu-against-obama-health-care/
5074  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Gubernator - a house divided on: December 22, 2009, 12:26:47 AM
"...he has been utterly pussywhipped by his wife's crowd and his disease to please them.  He IS a Democrat.    No respect left from me."

Let this be (another) case study on insecure, happily married men.   In politics they always parade the photogenic family for what it brings in for votes.  We had an R-Senator with Ahnold's problem.  Wife was liberal and he was a moderate R, now called RINO.  On the biggest issues, these selfless men put their family first... unfortunately I would not have voted for the wife.  Most Republican Californians would not have voted for Ted Kennedy's agenda.  Beware of this (for life) while choosing future leaders. 
5075  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hall of Shame: re. missing Lockerbie bomber had Swiss bank account on: December 21, 2009, 08:45:33 AM
Will be hard for the Obama administration to protest as they release 12 more terrorists to their home countries.  4 to Afghanistan, 2 to Somali, 6 to Yemen, more to come, what could possibly go wrong with that?
-----------
US transfers 12 Gitmo detainees to home countries

(AP) – 12 hours ago

WASHINGTON — The U.S. has transferred a dozen Guantanamo detainees to Afghanistan, Yemen and the Somaliland region as the Obama administration continues to move captives out of the facility in Cuba in preparation for its closure.

The Justice Department said Sunday that a government task force had reviewed each case. Officials considered the potential threat and the government's likelihood of success in court challenges to the detentions.

Over the weekend, four Afghan detainees were transferred to their home country. Two Somali detainees were transferred to authorities in Somaliland, the semi-autonomous northern region of Somalia. Six Yemeni detainees also were sent home.
5076  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care rant on: December 21, 2009, 08:32:21 AM
Politics:  I am amazed that not one democrat senator from any of the other 49 states has enough backbone to stand up to the special rewards offered to Nebraska to purchase Ben Nelson's vote, to Louisiana to purchase Mary Landeau's vote or to the mystery state that will receive a free hospital on the federal taxpayers' dime. 

Legal issue:  I will also be amazed if a court can twist original meaning of the constitution far enough to uphold special treatment of states in the legislation to buy votes can somehow be considered to be 'equal treatment under the law'.

Voter fraud:  The ACORN takeover of Mn Secretary of State and Minneapolis vote count control provided the 60th vote with uneven counting standards applied to heavily liberal voting precincts.  Who says crime doesn't pay?

Even if there is a major political shift and Dems lose both the house and senate, almost impossible, it is still impossible to repeal legislation without a veto-proof majority.

Whatever happened to the concept in law that one congress should not have the power to bind future congresses.  We deserve these liberal policies, marxism, socialism, statism, released terrorists, you name it for these 2 years.  Then a new congress should come in and pass news laws, funding etc. based on THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE.

60% oppose this legislation.  60 senators voted for it.  I have not seen numbers like that since Chavez exit polls showed him losing 40-60 and sure enough he 'won' by 60-40.
5077  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Pathological Science, Ice Melting on: December 15, 2009, 12:30:26 AM
Two follow up points that I think weaken the melting ice masses argument, one is a post from 2006 via UPI, the BBC and a Dutch-British research team analyzing radar altimetry data gathered by the European Space Agency's ERS-2 satellite that discovered that in spite of Arctic ice mass loss, the Arctic oceans levels are falling.  Not what they expected and they have no idea why.  http://www.physorg.com/news69600618.html

Second is the conflicting info coming out of Antarctica.  I suppose it depends on where you look and when. This report indicates that Antarctica contains 90% of the world's land based ice and at least at that writing it was gaining ice mass: http://www.ecoworld.com/climate/antarcticas-ice-mass-is-it-really-losing-ice-gaining-ice-or-both.html

“In the March 25 2008 issue of EOS, there was a News item by Marco Tedesco titled “Updated 2008 Surface snowmelt Trends in Antarctica” (subscribers only). It reports the following:

Surface snowmelt in Antarctica in 2008, as derived from spaceborne passive microwave observations at 19.35 gigahertz, was 40% below the average of the period 1987–2007. The melting index (MI, a measure of where melting occurred and for how long) in 2008 was the second-smallest value in the 1987–2008 period, with 3,465,625 square kilometers times days (km2 × days) against the average value of 8,407,531 km2 × days (Figure 1a). Melt extent (ME, the extent of the area subject to melting) in 2008 set a new minimum with 297,500 square kilometers, against an average value of approximately 861,812 square kilometers.”

This evidence suggests that Antarctica, where 90% of the land based ice in the world resides, is increasing in mass. And this fact is ignored or downplayed in virtually every mainstream report available today, and indeed the mainstream press continues to infer that Antarctica is melting at an alarming rate. But on balance, the ice mass in Antarctica is not melting, it is probably getting bigger."

Other links: http://www.physorg.com/news4180.html   East Antarctic Ice Sheet Gains Mass and Slows Sea Level Rise, Study Finds

http://climatesci.org/2008/04/07/recent-data-on-surface-snowmelt-in-antarctica/  Recent Data On Surface Snowmelt In Antarctica

This site: http://www.skepticalscience.com/antarctica-gaining-ice.htm intending to debunk skeptics finds a 3 year trend of land ice decreasing and a 30 year trend of sea ice increasing.

My advice Crafty unfortunately is to not look for simple answers to climate questions.
5078  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Pathological Science, Glacial Melting on: December 14, 2009, 02:50:50 PM
No simple answer except to note that reports come with an agenda.  They note the places and periods of ice loss.  Net ice loss is expected though, with or without man, as BBG noted, because we are still coming out of an ice age and that is the trend  (There was no hockey stick.).  If the last decade was the warmest or second warmest in our short recorded history, even though no warming occurred during the decade, then continued ice loss is a result, with or without the puny contribution from man.

When ice masses were increasing on Antarctica, that was attributed to global warming as well.  Warming caused the excess snowfalls in winter more htan could melt in summer.

We saw a similar argument for water levels in the great lakes.  In fact it is amazing how stable they are considering the huge amounts of water that go in and are evaporated every minute, every year.  Other factors there may tell the story, such as usage of water taken from the incoming stream sources.  

After climategate it is really hard to know temps or changes etc. with any real accuracy.  At best I think we see only  the smallest of samples, tweaked results and desired, catastrophic conclusions.  Still we are only seeing temperature variances of tens of a degree Celsius over a millenium.  Those who say they can notice a difference in local weather from their childhood deceive themselves.  Forecast here for tonight is -7 F (-22 C).  A century ago, that would be -22. and a fraction.  You won't convince me that a person or polar bear can tell the difference.  A glacier may know the difference over time but it is still a sample of the planet.

As Kilimanjaro and Himalayan reports indicate, perhaps it was unique weather patterns of the past that allowed that glacier to last unusually long as the rest of the remnants of the ice age around it have disappeared.

What's missing in this though is man's tiny part in it.  The melting of the glaciers argument implies that the melting is caused by us.  The burden has to go back to those who make that  implication.  What would the temp be if not for man-made CO2?  The answer is that man's contribution probably between 0.1% and 2.0% of the warming is well within the existing margin for error, so the glaciers would be melting anyway.

Also flawed are any projections forward because of the flawed assumptions in the model(s).  Will the next decade be warmer or colder than the last 10 years?  We don't even know that except to know that they were wrong for the last decade and roughly 5 of the last 10 decades if todays models had been used then.
-----
In my last 'debate' on this topic with a liberal friend, he posed that: the earth is warming (and man is causing it) or its not.  I insisted on changing the debate to: the science is settled on this or its not.  It didn't take many of the studies posted on this forum to 'prove' that the science is not settled, which leaves all other questions unanswered.

Water vapor is another emission, rarely mentioned, from burning hydrocarbons.  Water Vapor is a major greenhouse gas, but cloud cover has offsetting characteristics.  

And no one has proven whether CO2 causes warming of if warmer air simply holds more CO2, also true.
-----
If I ever see a comprehensive global ice mass loss chart, not selected places and periods, I would like to compare it with the chart of ice loss without man's involvement or ice loss after implementingKyoto / Copenhagen / economic collapse etc. or whatever they are proposing to do with the chart.
5079  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics: Christina Romer on Meet the Press on: December 13, 2009, 10:34:00 AM
Romer, who heads the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said: "no one is talking about raising taxes during a recession..."

She didn't say why not.  I wish she would spell that out.  Maybe she would say that raising tax rates   reduces the incentives to take on economic risk, to hire, to invest, to make capital purchases, to make larger consumer purchases, etc, etc, etc.  Everybody knows that (?).

We've been through this here before, but a very important economic point is that the promise of raising tax rates has the EXACT SAME AFFECT on stifling new investment.  Or perhaps worse as investors sit out the uncertainty rather than respond to a new, worse set of rules.

Pelosi to the speakership, Obama into the senate majority in 2006 and obviously Obama to the White House... this group came to power on the promise of significantly raising key tax rates on Americans who hire and invest.  They still hold the promise of doing that as soon as they see a little bit of life in the economy.

That promise, even yet largely unfulfilled, more than anything else IMO, killed off this economy.

Where I part with Keynes and these current demand siders is that I would not ever do in good economic times what everyone knows would be harmful in bad economic times.
5080  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glibness and Mrs. on Oprah on: December 11, 2009, 11:34:48 PM
I'm sure it's just me but watching a few promos for the Oprah at the White House Sunday special - it looks a little creepy to me.  I know this is a payback for Oprah's campaign endorsement along with Obama's understanding of the endless campaign and his need to be in the spotlight, but this level of lightness seems a little weird in the context of ... 2 wars, a surge starting, a surge ending, OBL still frolicking at Tora Bora, Copenhagen, Oslo, the EPA ruling, health care takeover, proposed new record energy taxation, record deficits and piling debt, income and estate tax cut expirations, collapsing auto makers, foreclosure increases, a jobless double-dip recession, 'the earth has a fever' and if we don't act within 10 days it will be unreversible, not to mention a religious holiday and still no new reverend.  In context, the Oprah special looks to be reminiscent of when MTV asked Clinton about boxers or briefs.
5081  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics: Top Down vs. Bottom Up on: December 11, 2009, 10:38:41 PM
"politicians are acting either in ignorance of specialist knowledge or by manipulating and misusing it in the conviction that central planners can organize and control human behavior better than individuals can through markets and voluntary action"

Stealing a thought from Michael Barone's column at the DC Examiner, 4 examples:

"Writing in Policy Review, economists Paul Gregory and Kate Zhou compare the success of market reforms in China and their failure in Russia. They point out that reform in China was bottom-up: Peasants started producing food for private sale and, as markets thrived, Communist leader Deng Xiaoping winked at their rule-breaking and changed the rules. The economy mostly thrived.

In contrast, reform in Russia was top-down: Mikhail Gorbachev changed the rules, but that allowed apparatchiks to gobble up state industries and created new monopolies, over which Vladimir Putin's government re-established control. The economy mostly stagnated.

The Democrats' health care and cap-and-trade bills are classic top-down legislation. Many inside players have bought into the changes and are preparing to game the new systems. Far from banishing lobbyists from Washington, Barack Obama has provided them with enormous amounts of new business.

An alternative approach was taken in George W. Bush's major domestic legislation. Tax cuts, the education accountability bill and the Medicare prescription drug benefit law opened up areas where markets and incentives could operate. Costs came in lower and revenues higher than projected. An economy stalled by recession proved capable of creating new jobs without direction from central planners."
 http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2009/12/10/the_problem_with_expanding_government_power.html
5082  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: December 07, 2009, 11:42:28 AM
CCP, My favorite analyst might well be Scott Ott over at Scappleface  smiley We report, You decipher
--------
Obama Brings Afghan Strategy to Health Care Reform
by Scott Ott for ScrappleFace

(2009-12-02) — President Barack Obama announced he would apply his Afghanistan war strategy to domestic health care reform.

“It’s important that we seize the initiative,” the president said, “and put the resources in place so that we can withdraw them in 18 months, leaving the uninsured with the capacity to take care of themselves, to buy their own health insurance on the open market.”

The president said he’ll commit 30,000 new bureaucrats to this effort, who will begin deploying in early 2010, to train the uninsured in how to buy health insurance, and to equip the unemployed to find work, or to start businesses, so that they, too, can buy health insurance.

The president said the entire objective of his health care reform plan is to “hand over responsibility to the people, and then get our government forces out of their lives as quickly as possible.”

“This effort must be based on performance,” said Mr. Obama. “The days of providing a blank check are over. And going forward, we will be clear about what we expect from those who receive our assistance.“
5083  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: December 07, 2009, 11:32:55 AM
"It was pure politics that led to mammograms before 50 to be approved by some groups years ago. "

I don't know enough to argue statistically, but know kids who grew up without a mom because of breast cancer in her 40s, and just lost a friend to colon cancer prior to his first recommended screening also.  I don't know the answer but I do know that the latest word from the best professionals in the world on matters like these changes over time.  Which brings us to your other point:

"A mammogram is only a couple hundred dollars - if women want it why can't they pay for it?"

Close to my view, get the cost of all healthcare down and let people decide how much of it they want.

New jewelry, Mammogram? New jewelry, Mammogram? I can't decide.  Maybe the government knows better.  Maybe I can buy the frivolous and get the entitlement free...
5084  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Media Issues, Mara Liasson on Fox panel on: December 07, 2009, 11:12:41 AM
Worst part of this story (?) is that Obama through Anita Dunn is the force that caused the scrutiny.

Should the inmates be handpicking the guards at the asylum?

If Fox was guilty of bias, wouldn't critics want more not fewer Mara Liasson's on the panels and more liberals not fewer as guests?

What they really want is to hurt your career and your income if you criticize or affiliate with administration critics.

If I could I would cut back on my donations to NPR.
------

Meanwhile, no word yet (?) from ABC, CBS, NBC or the news pages of major liberal bankrupt newspapers about the 16 day old largest scandal of our time - climategate.
5085  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: December 04, 2009, 08:59:11 AM
GM you are right about shredding.  My volume of paperwork is overwhelming; I think I will go back to separating personalized paperwork, including a lot of junk mail, from the trash and burning it in the occasional home campfire.  Unfortunately all that extra effort doesn't save me from the larger identity risks out there.  Almost every bank in North America already knows my mother's maiden name.  If I ever forget it, I can probably buy a used hard drive on eBay and just look it up.

The bank gets my info because I want/need their service and thus agree to their terms.  What about car insurance companies?  I prefer self insurance but do business with them by government mandate.  But I choose to drive on a public street and need to pay by automatic means to be punctual so that makes it consensual.  Then comes health care.  Rhetorical, but why do they get to know everything? Now comes the mandate.  Even if I refuse to be treated I need to 'buy' the policy and disclose all info including health, financial, credit and behaviors.  If you have taken a kid in for a checkup lately you have been asked if there are guns in the house, among other things.

We need a resurgence in privacy.  Not from law enforcement when a crime was committed, but for just living and going about your business when you are not harming someone else.
5086  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: December 03, 2009, 08:06:24 PM
There is a lot of parsing going on with the gate crashers.  IMO they were waved in by someone, maybe a czar.  Hopefully we will find out.  Maybe the Obama'a were comfortable with the breach but another major world leader should not be put in that situation.  BTW, when did state dinners drop to the level of picnic in a tent...
----
NY is not one of the states that passed further restrictions after Kelo so that decision will be interesting to look at.
----
Regarding the privacy of garbage: Considering other decisions like Roe and Kelo standing the test of time, I'm not surprised to find I disagree with the court over garbage.  If someone sees a couch discarded at the curb and picks it up, that is one thing.  No harm done.  If someone combs for account numbers and personal correspondence maybe a well organized militia could be the remedy or deterrent.  smiley  I shouldn't need to shred everything when I pay a private company to dispose of it.

Once again, LE with serious reason to believe is another thing IMO. What they see and what they find still remains private (just my view) except for how it may apply toward solving a case. 
5087  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: December 02, 2009, 10:47:00 PM
For a slightly different angle... Your cell phone signal and its records are private, your health care with its records are private, your banking and credit card records are private and yes, your garbage is private.  My garbage cans are on my property.  My contract with my hauler is to take it carefully and professionally and dispose of it, not to share it, sell it or data mine it.  Guess I won't be chosen for the court anytime soon.

The syllabus started: "Having reason to believe " which sounds vaguely like probable cause.  That changes things back to giving law enforcement the tools to do their job and making search reasonable.  If those who we trust abuse that power, knowingly dummy up the 'reason to believe', then they are violating the constitution and should be fired, fined, sued and caned IMO.  Fair enough?
5088  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors: "Balderdash" on: December 01, 2009, 10:33:23 PM
Ronald Reagan "...The sale of AWACS, just the tip of a massive arms sale and a realignment of US policy to embrace Saudi Arabia, took place under Reagan's watch..."

   - True.  I'm not aware of how Israel was harmed by that.

"Arms to Israel were embargoed and delayed after the 1981 Osirak reactor bombing..."

    - For the complicated web we weave, the US supported Israel on that one with its silence and its UN Security Council veto while the entire rest of the world demanded condemnation for the preemptive attack if I recall correctly.

"... the Pollard affair pulled the US-Israel relationship to new lows."

    - Pollard was a spy stealing national secrets and caught red-handed.  Separately there is a process for allies sharing secrets.  What was Reagan supposed to do?

"[relations]...worsened when his secretary of state, James Baker, was quoted as saying, "F*** the Jews, they don't vote for us anyway."

    - He uses the quotation marks but omits the source, context or link.  (Sometimes insiders try hard to sell books.) If true (is there a youtube?), it sounds like back room, private, inappropriate, profane, political banter of standing up to interest groups, not likely to be said aloud if the hatred was real or the intent was to harm Israel.

The whole recap reminds me of a famous American who found nothing to like about America before Barack.
5089  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Abortion - It ain't a tree on: December 01, 2009, 12:46:21 PM
Thanks Guinness,

Quoting: "Every time an anti shows me pictures of aborted fetuses I ask 'em what they had for breakfast; if it included a pork product ask if I showed them pictures of fetal pigs would they stop eating bacon and, if not, why they expect their appeal to emotion to be any more successful."

Disagree. The point to me of the fetal photo is an appeal to logic more than emotion.  Logic, visuals, science etc. tell you the thing has 2 arms, 2 legs, a head, heartbeat, fingerprint etc, although kind of ugly - like a newborn.

Your pork comparison also works in reverse.  We kill for self defense, war, food.  Even good hunters and fisherman are committed to eat what they kill, not to waste one of God's creatures, even with 4 legs or scales and gills.  A pig farmer does not kill and discard.  Repugnant,  but abortive 'mothers' might imagine that standard and think twice before shooting. 

I read the Thompson piece and will be happy to comment as I offend more and more people here.  An acorn is not an oak tree, true, but an oak tree is not a human being.  We tear down an oak tree to build a house or a road in the best location.  We hopefully don't do that indiscriminately but we do cut them down when we decide they are in our way.  The real failure of the acorn analogy is that the tree develops its value gradually; it is not just an acorn or a mighty oak, but also a scrawny seedling along the way.  The newborn, like a fetus, is also an undeveloped, two-bit seedling, totally unviable without assistance, with nothing invested in the real world and nothing to show for accomplishments.  Environmental extremists don't protect a one inch tall sprouted acorn.   Should the newborn's rights only develop gradually as it grows and proves its salt? They don't and no one says they should. 
5090  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Abortion on: December 01, 2009, 08:01:06 AM
Hard to set policy right if we can't agree (or discuss) when life begins. 

"wish to be left alone...without the government interfering with laws about morality"

Some feel that way about domestic abuse in the privacy of their own home.  It depends on whether or not one believes a separate life worth protecting is involved.
5091  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / When Life Begins on: November 30, 2009, 10:33:23 PM
From Rick Warren, author of "The Purpose Driven Life", on Meet the Press apparently quoting Peggy Noonan:  She said, you know, "If you ask the question when does life begin," she said, "any 16-year-old boy who's bought a condom knows when life begins."

5092  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Way Forward - VDH - Change We Can Believe In on: November 30, 2009, 10:25:22 PM
Prof. Hanson writes a blog at Pajamas Media called Works and Days.   Most recent entry fits well into the discussion of the way forward and ideas for the points of the new contract with America, my personal favorite: moving the UN headquarters to Lagos!
-------------
 November 29th, 2009 9:24 am
Change We Can Believe In

So, fellow critics of Obama, what would we do instead? It is easy to harp, as Obama did in 2007-8, but hard to govern, as Obama learned in 2009. So for all the criticism, let us put up some sample proposals of our own.

Ok, try the following.

1. Pay as you go, balanced budget—whatever you wish to call a return to fiscal sanity. Conservatives need to stop talking about tolerable deficits in terms of GDP; and liberals should cease the charade that trillion-plus annual borrowing is great stimulus.

The psychological effect on the American people of paying down the debt through annual surpluses would be incalculable. “Decline” is as much psychological as real, and begins with perceptions of financial insolvency. We have a $11 trillion economy, so balancing the books is not impossible. Note how Obama intends to “address the deficit” only after he has set two budgets that will increase it by nearly four trillion dollars. Note how Bush’s sin of running up large annual deficits is used to excuse Obama’s mortal sin of doubling them. Note how Democrats, after lining up for a trillion-dollar federal take-over of health care, are worried about a multi-billion dollar expense in Afghanistan.  Cuts in defense, as the later Romans knew, are always the first reaction to profligate domestic spending and entitlement.

2. Freeze federal spending at the present rate, and let increased revenues balance the budget. The idea that we could ever cut outright the budget seems long ago impossible—given the culture of complaint and the melodramatic rants about starvation and murder if another entitlement is not granted. Still, some sort of leadership is required to remind the American people that much of what their government does is not just unnecessary, but counter-productive and they would be better off without it.

Apparently, Obama simultaneously believes (a) he can create a permanent loyal constituency of millions who either receive or disperse federal “stimulus”, in the fashion of the old Roman turba; (b )he can borrow so much money that higher taxes will be seen as vital and therefore the original intent of income redistribution accomplished; (c) that, having had little experience in the private sector, but much financial success as a community or government employee, he can assume that money comes out of thin air and is to be dispersed non-stop through public benefaction; (d) the upper-middle class, which strives to be as rich as he is, is somehow culpable. A common theme throughout history is a paradoxical hatred of the equestrian, productive class, by both the idle aristocratic and entitlement constituents, who hand in glove need each other.

3. Some sort of fair or flat tax that ends the trillion-dollar industry of tax preparation, avoidance, and fraud.  For about a quarter of the population April 15 is a spooky sort of Halloween. Instead, we need a tax system in which one can complete the necessary preparation in about 2 hours. Whose bright idea was it to excuse nearly half the American households from income tax exposure (Clinton and Bush, and now Obama?)—a fact that explains why in Pavlovian fashion recently Senators have been saying that we can add on a new war tax, a health-care surcharge, and a new high rate on “them”? The justification of a 40% income tax, 10% state income tax, 15.3% payroll tax, and new war and health care surcharge taxes can only be that one’s income was undeserved, ill-gotten, and thus better “rectified” by more enlightened federal redistributors.

4. Close the borders to illegal immigration, through completion of the fence, biometric IDs, employer sanctions, beefed up enforcement—coupled with a radical change in legal immigration law that favors education and skill, rather than simply family ties. The present mockery of existing law undermines the sanctity of every law. Those who knowingly break immigration laws, and know that they will not in the future be enforced, naturally assume that other laws likewise will not apply to them, from tax reporting to the vehicle code. We really must ask—why the national outcry over whether illegal aliens will be included in the new health care plan when $50 billion is sent back as remittances to Latin America each year? In rough math, each of the supposedly 11 million illegal aliens sends out on average around $4000-5000 per year southward. Perhaps we could tax remittances to fund their health care? Something is strange about the attitude of “I must send $400-500 a month home to support my family, but now I am broke and need someone to pay for my care at the emergency room, etc.”

5. A can-do energy plan. Offer tax incentives for development of nuclear power. Promote exploitation of gas and oil reserves in, and off, the United States, as a way to transition over 20 years to next generation fuels without enriching our enemies or going broke in the process. I never understood why nuclear power for electricity and natural gas/hybrids for transportation—we could be nearly energy independent through both—were declared environmentally incorrect when dotting pristine fields, deserts, and mountain passes with ugly wind turbines, acres of solar panels, and miles of access roads was considered “green.” Does Obama really think that the truther Van Jones knows more about power production than the head of a natural gas or oil company, or the engineer of a nuclear power plant?

Now the symbolic and randomly odd suggestions:

1. For grades 8-12, teachers could choose either the traditional credential or the MA degree in an academic subject. Few laws would have wider ramifications in curbing the power of the education lobby and its union partners, and vastly improve classroom teaching performance.

It would cost nothing and do more for educational progress than anything of the last three decades (high school students can sense who wrote a MA thesis on the Civil War and who got a teaching credential taking Bill-Ayers-like courses on race, class, and gender stereotyping). Why can PhDs and MAs in American history walk into a JC classroom, but not a high-school history class? Eliminate tenure for teachers and professors, replaced by 5-year renewable contracts, subject to completion of contracted targets on classroom performance and continuing education. The combination of a therapeutic curriculum, with an increasingly illiterate student, has resulted in a national disaster. Hint: when students arrive ill-prepared from dysfunctional families as was common in the last few decades, they need more math, grammar, and basics, not more self-esteem and “I am somebody” pep courses. Each year I taught, I was struck by the ever more common phenomenon of students ever less prepped in grammar, syntax, and “facts”, but ever more ready to expound on something—anything really—about themselves, usually with the theme of their own victimhood.

2. Transfer the UN headquarters to an African or South American capital closer to the problems of hunger, disease, and poverty. I suggest either Lagos or Lima. Global elites could not walk from five-star hotels  to the CBS studios to grandstand about US pathologies. But delegates could match their solidarity rhetoric by concretely living with the other. We would get away from the “U.S. did it”.  UN forces could ring UN headquarters when a nearby Chavez or Mugabe was rumored to be saber-rattling and crossing borders. When the Kofi Annans of the world got upset stomachs from their luncheon salads, perhaps they could address world sanitation and government corruption rather than Israel.

3. An end to affirmative action based on race. If “help” is needed, it should be based on class and income. Why should Eric Holder’s children be classed as in need while someone from the Punjab (of darker hue) or Bakersfield (with less capital) is considered ineligible? Why should a Carmel female at the corporate level be seen as progress, but not a son of Appalachian coal miners? The entire corrupt system is redolent of the 1/16 laws of the Old Confederacy, as almost every American is conning some sort of Ward-Churchill-like heritage to pull off what Ward Churchill did—get some edge over the competition for something that they otherwise might not obtain. Whether intended or not, affirmative action has become the pet project  largely of elites, who feel their own capital and insider connections will ensure their own do not suffer from the unspoken quotas they impose on others—as a sort of cheap psychological penance for their own guilt over their own privilege.

4. Return of the US Homestead Act and expand it to urban areas. Instead of redevelopment for wealthy insider grandees who tear down neighborhoods for convention complexes, state and local government should be encouraged to deed over idle properties to individuals willing to build homes and stay 10 years on the property. Shedding, not adding to, government land-owning makes more sense.  Who knows, one might find self-help recolonization projects in downtown Detroit. Maybe Californians and some of their industries might move to the empty top third of their state, rather than families paying $1 million for a 800 sq foot bungalow in congested Menlo Park.

5. Outlaw the naming of federal projects after any living politicians. Don’t laugh. Without their names on highway stretches, bridges, and “centers”, most of these projects would not be built. Once a senator or congress-person accepted that there would never, never be  “The Hon. Tadd Burris Community Center” or “Mt. Bud Jones Wilderness Area”, much of the earmarks would cease. What is the logic behind the notion that we immortalize a senator or congresswoman who uses someone else’s money to build a bridge, or lobbies for an earmark for his district, or, at best, simply does his job? Should carpenters get every fourth tract house named in their honor for their work? Should teachers have their classrooms forever emblazoned with their own names (Instead of “room 11,” we would get The “Skip Johnson English room”?)? Should doctors have surgery rooms with their own names on the door? People who give their own money have a right to eponymous monuments, but not those who do it as part of their job descriptions and with someone else’s capital. Our political class, not content with being increasingly corrupt, is now buffoonish as well. The career of the court-jester John Murtha is emblematic of the age.

There!—some modest suggestions for change we can believe in.
5093  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science - Stop Dithering on: November 30, 2009, 10:04:10 PM
Thanks CCP, I like the way you are thinking.  To me, it is not total energy independence that we need, but at the least we should be able to survive with what can be produced in partnership with a friendly Canada and stop enriching enemies and shipping crucial supplies through faraway, difficult to defend waters.

I was planning to post a plan from Victor Hanson in 'the way forward' and I still will, but here is his energy component:

VDH: "A can-do energy plan. Offer tax incentives for development of nuclear power. Promote exploitation of gas and oil reserves in, and off, the United States, as a way to transition over 20 years to next generation fuels without enriching our enemies or going broke in the process. I never understood why nuclear power for electricity and natural gas/hybrids for transportation—we could be nearly energy independent through both—were declared environmentally incorrect when dotting pristine fields, deserts, and mountain passes with ugly wind turbines, acres of solar panels, and miles of access roads was considered “green.” Does Obama really think that the truther Van Jones knows more about power production than the head of a natural gas or oil company, or the engineer of a nuclear power plant?"
----

The answer of course is all of the above.  We can keep expanding wind and solar and developing 'next generation fuels' but still need to power the economy in the meantime. 

Hanson writes:  "nuclear power for electricity and natural gas/hybrids for transportation".

I wrote similarly in the nuclear thread (8/11/09): "If we substitute nuclear for natural gas in electricity and American natural gas in place of foreign oil in transportation, besides solving the CO2 spiral we would also be sending fewer dollars sent to Chavez and the Mullahs.  It would be good for the currency, simplify foreign policy and ease the cost of national defense."

Instead we dither.
5094  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / NBC Meet the Press today, outrage? on: November 29, 2009, 11:48:49 AM
I was rebuked strongly (understatement) for comparing something horrific with something horrific in a post of mine in this thread in October.  

Dr. Rick Warren, author of "The Purpose Driven Life" hardly a fire-brand far right wing extremist, was a Thanksgiving weekend guest of David Gregory on NBC's 'Meet the Press' and shared his otherwise sensible views on many subjects but also used the h-word to describe the tragedy of 46 million killed since Roe v. Wade.  http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3032608/# , http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34079938/ns/meet_the_press/page/3/
5095  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / How they got the 60th vote on: November 29, 2009, 11:20:42 AM
Al Franken couldn't hold a 14 point Obama margin against popular centrist Republican incumbent Norm Coleman, but he did hold his election to a zero point margin, and that was enough because of the victory guarantee program his party had put in place ahead the election.

The near sweep of 2006 included replacing a competent (R) Secretary of State with one that was hand-picked by and heavily supported by the left-wing activist group moveon.org.  At the tiime no one outside of the Bush-Gore inner fight understood the significance.  Simultaneous to state change and even preceding it was the takeover of the inner city election process by ACORN.

Twin Cities ABC affiliate KSTP-5 just ran an extensive investigative report concluding that whether or not your questionable or clearly defective ballot was accepted or rejected depended wholly on what jurisdiction you lived in.  In the outlying areas, state law was followed.  In the liberal inner cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, ballots without signatures, witnesses or addresses were commonly accepted.

They interviewed the MN Sec. of State for 90 minutes and he refused to break out his reading glasses to look at any of the material they presented, sticking to generalities that prevailed in the court challenge to the end result.
5096  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Continuing to fund the criminal enterprise that helped elect President Obama on: November 28, 2009, 09:42:17 PM
http://www.boston.com/news/politics/politicalintelligence/2009/11/republican_blas.html

Republican blasts ACORN reprieve
Foon Rhee, deputy national political editor November 27, 2009

A top House Republican today blasted a ruling by the Justice Department that allows the Obama administration to pay ACORN for services provided under contracts signed before Congress passed a law banning the community advocacy group from receiving taxpayers money.

Republicans have been on the warpath against ACORN since its voter registration efforts came under scrutiny during the 2008 presidential campaign. After conservative activists, who posed as a prostitute and pimp, released videos appearing to show ACORN staffers advising them how to skirt the law, Democrats joined in the outrage, leading to the congressional funding ban that Obama signed on Oct. 1.

Since 1994, ACORN, which stands for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, has received about $53 million in federal aid, much of it in grants to help poor people obtain affordable housing. The Justice Department asked whether the funding ban applied to prior contracts. In a ruling first reported by the New York Times, a department lawyer said the payments under prior contracts should continue because the language of the law did not expressly wipe them out.

But Representative Darrell Issa, the top Republican on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said "the bipartisan intent of Congress was clear -- no more federal dollars should flow to ACORN."

"It is telling that this administration continues to look for every excuse possible to circumvent the intent of Congress," Issa said in a statement. "Taxpayers should not have to continue subsidizing a criminal enterprise that helped Barack Obama get elected president. The politicization of the Justice Department to payback one of the president’s political allies is shameful and amounts to nothing more than old-fashioned cronyism."
5097  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science, Washington Post on the Emails on: November 27, 2009, 10:24:29 PM
This should really be in 'Media Issues' since the silence of the "Lamestream Media" on the biggest story of the decade has started to become the story and the piece has no science or substance.  The Editorial has to explain about the email leak since the news department seemed to miss it, then explain that the conclusions remain the same, obviously, even though all the supporting data is now in doubt.  That makes sense to them, I suppose.

I post this both to rip them and to cover what the 'other side' is saying in the absence of dissent on the forum.

Like most liberal pieces, it starts with a lie in the first sentence and throws in a name-call for good measure: "Stop hyperventilating, all you climate change deniers."

In fact, the hyperventilating is coming from the alarmists, 'we must act now or the planet will die of a fever' and the people he calls deniers of a normal cycle, climate change are climate change rationalists, not deniers.  The reality deniers are the ones who see a 0.5 degree rise over a century and call it 'unprecedented'.   
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http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2009/11/27/purloined_e-mails_dont_change_the_facts_99317.html

E-mails Don't Prove Warming is a Fraud
By Eugene Robinson,  Washington Post

WASHINGTON -- Stop hyperventilating, all you climate change deniers. The purloined e-mail correspondence published by skeptics last week -- portraying some leading climate researchers as petty, vindictive and tremendously eager to make their data fit accepted theories -- does not prove that global warming is a fraud.

If I'm wrong, somebody ought to tell the polar ice caps that they're free to stop melting.

That said, the e-mail episode is more than a major embarrassment for the scientists involved. Most Americans are convinced that climate change is real -- a necessary prerequisite for the kinds of huge economic and behavioral adjustments we would have to make to begin seriously limiting carbon emissions. But consensus on the nature and scope of the problem will dissipate, and fast, if experts try to obscure the fact that there's much about the climate they still don't know.

Here's what happened: Someone hacked into the servers at one of the leading academic centers in the field -- the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England -- and filched a trove of e-mails and documents, which have been posted on numerous Web sites maintained by climate skeptics.

Phil Jones, the head of the Climatic Research Unit, released a statement Wednesday saying, "My colleagues and I accept that some of the published e-mails do not read well." That would be an example of British understatement.

In one message sent to a long list of colleagues, Jones speaks of having completed a "trick" with recent temperature data to "hide the decline." The word "trick" is hardly a smoking gun -- scientists use it to refer to clever but perfectly legitimate ways of handling data. But the "hide the decline" part refers to a real issue among climate researchers called the "divergence problem."

To plot temperatures going back hundreds or thousands of years -- long before anyone was taking measurements -- you need a set of data that can serve as an accurate proxy. The width of tree rings correlates well with observed temperature readings, and extrapolating that correlation into the past yields the familiar "hockey stick" graph -- fairly level temperatures for eons, followed by a sharp incline beginning around 1900. This is attributed to human activity, primarily the burning of fossil fuels and the resulting increase in heat-trapping atmospheric carbon dioxide.

But beginning around 1960, tree-ring data diverges from observed temperatures. Skeptics say this calls into question whether tree-ring data is valid for earlier periods on the flat portion of the hockey stick -- say, 500 or 1,000 years ago. Jones and others acknowledge they don't know what the divergence means, but they point to actual temperatures: It's warmer now than it was 100 years ago.

Another e-mail -- from Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. -- is even more heartening to the skeptics. Trenberth wrote last month of the unusually cool autumn that Colorado was experiencing, and went on: "The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't."

He appears to be conceding skeptics' claim that over the past decade there has been no observed warming. In truth, though, that wouldn't be much of a concession. At issue is the long-term trend, and one would expect anomalous blips from time to time.

From my reading, the most damning e-mails are those in which scientists seem to be trying to squelch dissent from climate change orthodoxy -- threatening to withhold papers from journals if they publish the work of naysayers, vowing to keep skeptical research out of the official U.N.-sponsored report on climate change.

In his statement, Jones noted that the e-mail hack occurred just days before the climate summit in Copenhagen. "This may be a concerted attempt to put a question mark over the science of climate change," he said. There's that understatement again.

The fact is that climate science is fiendishly hard because of the enormous number of variables that interact in ways no one fully understands. Scientists should welcome contrarian views from respected colleagues, not try to squelch them. They should admit what they don't know.

It would be great if this were all a big misunderstanding. But we know carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, and we know the planet is hotter than it was a century ago. The skeptics might have convinced each other, but so far they haven't gotten through to the vanishing polar ice.
5098  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Glen Beck on: November 27, 2009, 08:32:16 PM
I noticed that Crafty mentioned watching Glen Beck daily and the LA TImes entertainment writer didn't.  Someone told Tim Rutten that Glen Beck was overly provocative and the audience of  vulnerable adults is dangerous so he wrote a piece about it.  Rush has gone through that for 2 decades.  Haters collect quotes and clips eliminating meaning and context.  Then they post at the NY Times and left-wing sites and elites feel justified hating and ripping the program and its following.

I've listened to Glen Beck on radio plenty.  His 'conspiracy' charge is that this administration's playbook is right out of extremist Saul Alinsky's radical rules.  That happens to be true whether by design or coincidence.  Rutten is accusing Beck of correctly noticing it and pointing it out.   He suggests that Beck should be pulled off the air for doing so.

Also like Rush critics, he assumes the audience has no mind of their own and considers it dangerous for them to hear (honest) criticism of the President.

Why not take on ANY of Beck's points head-on, like that Valerie Jarret is a radical, Jeremy Wright - obviously, Van Jones and on and on and on.  The attacker declined to do that.

I have no idea of the Hitler context, just know from listening that he has it wrong and that he was mum when worse was done to Bush, when Kerry, Durban, Murtha called our own troops terrorists, when Harry Reid declared the Iraq War lost, and when Obama and his Proxies ran a full page to say our commanding General was perhaps 'Betraying us'.  

The selective outrage is sickening.

Regarding  the Anti-defamation League: I assume ADL was once a respected group looking out for Jewish interests and unfair treatment.  I regret linking them here when looking into the Pat Buchanan complaint because what I learned by looking was that besides some serious charges against PB's words, they went on and on accusing him of other bigotry that simply wasn't.  For example, castigating him for not backing the gay preferred rights agenda or equating anti-welfare stances with racism.  Those to me say something about their politics and agenda and nothing about him, and they dilute, weaken and cheapen their original point IMO assuming it had any validity in the first place.
5099  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Way Forward for conservatives: on: November 26, 2009, 10:09:54 PM
Clarity

If we don't want to go down this rat hole of socialism and decline, we better get clear right now about what it is exactly that we want, why that is a better path than the one we are on, and start speaking out, and writing, showing up, etc.  Whatever it takes.

The word for Republicanism of recent past might have been fogginess.  Sometimes the principles were ignored; sometimes sold, almost always they were compromised or invisible and inaudible.  Sometimes the policies were right but the explanations were wrong, missing or mumbled. 

We need clarity as in easy to understand, distinctness, precision.  Clarity as a consequence of being explicit.  Clarity where actions and words are consistent with clear, stated principles that our great nation has already agreed on.
5100  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: November 26, 2009, 09:20:22 PM
Thanks BBG regarding VDH post.  My thoughts exactly, just expressed far better.  How can anyone be very optimistic economically when everything we are doing and likely to do is the opposite of what needs to be done to grow back a healthy, vibrant economy.

Gas prices are reasonable right now, only because of global recession.  Every year gone by is another year we didn't allow expansion or domestic sources, increase refining capacity, convert transportation to CNG or get started on new (carbon-free) nuclear plants.  Any new economic growth will be choked out by the resulting energy cost escalation.  Instead of action or solution, we plan the opposite - highest in history new energy taxes and regulations.  All increases in energy purchases will result in equal problems of trade, payment and currency imbalances.

Interest rates are at zero out of the Fed.   If they need to lower them further, they can't.  But they will need to raise them, and the cost of anything burdened in debt (consumers, homeowners, federal governments, states, school districts, businesses, you name it) will go up drastically with no visible, offsetting benefit.

Taxes will go up and public spending will not go down as deficits continue no matter what the election gains are in 2010.  Regulations in general aren't going to be eased in any foreseeable timeframe.

We can't go this far or this fast down a road in the wrong direction and turn it around on a dime - especially when we don't have consensus that we are headed in the wrong direction.

If this Keynesian stimulus appears to work with a short term uptick, we will follow it with what? More of what appeared too work, more public spending with more trillions in debt and more government takeovers of industries, choices and liberties.

If we add a 2 1/2 trillion dollar federal healthcare control system and find out that cost level isn't enough to do the job, we will then do what? Scrap it?  No.  We will be trapped and guilted into increasing taxes, debt and funding just like we still do with the first thousand-plus federal social spending programs.

Hard to be optimistic with these leaders facing these problems.
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