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5151  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / China - Rere Earth Elements on: October 29, 2010, 11:16:39 AM
Washington Post wanders belatedly into this story:

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

Imagine that, shocked when totalitarian dictators do not live up to their social responsibilities.  (And we snubbed CANADA from getting on the UN security council.)
5152  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Politics: New Leader of the Senate - Chuck Schumer on: October 29, 2010, 10:58:19 AM
Assuming Harry Reid loses, the new Dem leader of the senate will be Schumer who I fear but I don't think has much more national appeal than Harry Reid. (Dick Durbin, if not Schumer.)  Probably Steny Hoyer becomes Dem leader of the House if R's win there assuming Nancy won't want to be minority leader and fly a smaller plane.
As Reid Falters, Schumer Subtly Stands in the Wings - NY Times
Speaker of the House is a big deal because for one thing is second in line behind VP to ascend to the Presidency.  Presumably Boehner keeps his leadership post for winning but I would hope R's start from scratch and pick their very best going forward.  Ryan or Pence come to mind.  And it can't be someone running for President.
5153  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Government programs, spending, process - Thomas Sowell on: October 29, 2010, 10:30:44 AM
Thomas Sowell (age 80) is on my short list for VP or maybe press secretary for the next administration.  This is about the election but really about spending and process jeopardizing our freedom.

A Crossroads Election
By Thomas Sowell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We have a strange man in the White House. This election is a crossroads, because either his power will be curbed by depriving him of his huge Congressional majorities or he will continue on a road that jeopardizes both our freedom and our survival.
5154  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness / Dude? on: October 29, 2010, 10:19:22 AM
Jon Stewart called him dude.  "You don't want to use that phrase, dude."  It took me quite a while to get the joke.  He was trying to say that Lawrence Summers (economic adviser while unemployment ran up to nearly 10%) did "a heck of a job".

Apparently that was the exact same phrase Bush used when his Katrina chief left and the show (I don't watch) made quite a theme out of it.
5155  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tax Policy politics, the FAIR Tax Trap on: October 29, 2010, 10:14:05 AM
Once again major publications are reading the forum here and taking our material, this time the WSJ.  smiley  If we were starting from scratch (we aren't), the fair tax has merit, but only at a far lower rate of spending and taxation.  A much higher taxer than Rand Paul is accusing him (rightly) of supporting a 23% (30%) tax on groceries,  forcing him to go on defense and say that is after we repeal the 16th amendment and take away the right of the federal government to tax income whatsoever- which feeds back into the line they are running against him that he is out of touch and out of the mainstream.  In an age where we elected Pelosi, obama, and name your favorite local liberal, let's say Boxer, we aren't going to repeal all taxation on income, state of federal.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our advice to the FAIR taxers is that voters will start to take the idea seriously once the income tax is on the road to repeal. Until then, our advice to candidates would be to avoid the FAIR tax and focus on goals that are more achievable and less politically self-destructive.
5156  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: October 28, 2010, 10:24:37 AM
The trend is bad but in my experience the supercomputer was made obsolete in the 1990s by American technology such as Fibre Channel that allow the linking of the processors of separate workstations at the speed of light eliminating the need or desirability of having massive number of processors in one box. Maybe that has changed by now in a lower price environment but I doubt the technology inside the box, processors and linking of processors, is of Chinese origin.
5157  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2010 Elections; 2012 Presidential on: October 28, 2010, 09:42:16 AM
"I gather than DE (O'Donnell) is going to fall Dem?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That did not come from having Republicans sound more like Democrats to win as many wanted in Delaware.
5158  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The electoral process, vote fraud, SEIU/ACORN et al, corruption etc. on: October 28, 2010, 09:22:03 AM
"In St. Paul, organizers from the Tea Party and related groups announced this week that they were offering a $500 reward for anyone who turned in someone who was successfully prosecuted for voter fraud.

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

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

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

Numbers of prosecuted cases may be low, but numbers of false votes cast all too often exceed the margin of victory.
5159  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: October 28, 2010, 09:10:35 AM
I hate it when our enemies are right about us.  OTOH, China and some other Asian economies have benefited greatly over the last 30 years IMHO by delegating their monetary policy to our Fed.
5160  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Communicating with the Muslim World on: October 28, 2010, 09:02:44 AM
I don't think Williams was expressing a phobia (irrational fear) of Muslims.  He was IMO expressing a rational wish to not die in a plane crash.  The intent of the horror of 9/11 and other attacks was not for the .001% of Americans who were killed, but to place the fear in the other 300 million people here and billions around the globe.  Juan Williams was saying that effect is still there for him.  The only issue is whether he should or should not have reported his honest feeling publicly.  The blame doesn't go to Juan Williams or to the peaceful Muslims, it goes to the people who so dramatically created that link.

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

Regardless of the author's other good works, this comparison is based on a false premise.
5161  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Homeland Security, Keith Ellison watch, Juan Williams statement on: October 26, 2010, 03:20:10 PM
"I'm thinking like Ellison is worthy of continued observation, perhaps on the Islam in America and/or the Homeland Security threads"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The flying imams were removed from the aircraft and interrogated while the USAirways flight went on its way. USAirways and the law enforcement defendants in the flying imams' lawsuit paid an undisclosed but tidy sum to the flying imams to settle their lawsuit. The flying imams prevailed; the next time around, it will be the imams who fly and the other passengers who stay behind.
5162  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california (or mountain west / top of the rockies) on: October 26, 2010, 01:43:44 AM
"The mountain west is far more attractive..."

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bored to death? JDN, you're a skier.  Just stay with us 1 day on the mountain for just 7 short hours, 9-4. Wear a helmet and carry a sandwich because we aren't stopping.  At the end I'll ask if you were bored.  smiley  
5163  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2010 Elections - Sen. Boxer: call me ma'am on: October 26, 2010, 12:25:08 AM
An ad or a spoof?  I don't know but very funny.

In the comments someone has the title I think she earned.
5164  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science on: October 25, 2010, 08:42:18 AM
"the enviro consequences of making the battery, generating the electricity that charges it, etc."

Also the transmission losses in the lines.

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

A gallon of gas is still the most safe, stable and transportable for the energy content that you need.
5165  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Pathological Science: Chevy Volt Fraud on: October 23, 2010, 07:06:37 PM
"Advertised as an all-electric car" - turns out it has a gas engine.

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

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

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

We heard GM's then-CEO Fritz Henderson claim the Volt would get 230 miles per gallon in city conditions. Popular Mechanics found the Volt to get about 37.5 mpg in city driving, and Motor Trend reports: "Without any plugging in, (a weeklong trip to Grandma's house) should return fuel economy in the high 30s to low 40s."
I have an 18 year old Honda that does better than that.
5166  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: October 23, 2010, 06:59:49 PM
Returning to ordinary bias, Here is Newsweek Editor Jonathon Alter's latest, entitled:
"The GOP’s agenda has to be stopped."
5167  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: October 23, 2010, 06:40:40 PM
"I think a rather productive firestorm has been ignited by JW's firing by NPR."

Yes.  smiley

There was a question on the board of whether the media had turned at all (from worship to just bias). 
This grilling by Chris Mathews of Rand Paul's opponent may surprise you:
5168  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2010 Elections; Rep. Keith Ellison D-Mpls. on: October 22, 2010, 01:14:57 AM
Thanks GM for the Muslim Brotherhood Ellison connection - moving this over from govt. spending.  He had some very bad friends before his affiliation with the jihad.  The al Qaida threat in Minneapolis is real with dozens Minneapolis area Muslims linked to Al-Qaeda indicted on terror charges in the last 2 years:

It is strange that he has no apology for his affiliations with terror in the face of this threat.  Even more strange that in the electoral world he faces no real challenge from any direction.  Gays will vote for a man because he is Democrat even though he won't renounce Muslim intolerance of gays.  Blacks will vote for a man whose policies since his first election doubled their unemployment etc.  One party rule and no challenge within his own party. 

No challenge, but also no enthusiasm.  Hard to get excited about the ideology of economic destruction during worse times.  The electoral difference this year is that a lot of urban liberals and black voters in Minneapolis will presumably not vote, and their absence could swing the gubernatorial election the other way.
5169  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / interesting thought pieces - The new, old world order - VDH on: October 21, 2010, 11:37:20 PM
Posting this wide-ranging interview into a different category and looking for comment. Download and set aside 37 minutes. He calmly makes some startling predictions and observations across the globe.  Worth listening more than once IMO.
5170  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Government spending, process: Keith Ellison ad on: October 21, 2010, 10:18:41 PM
I have enjoyed quite a time with no working television in the house fo much of the DTV era.  Now with just a few channels, and seldom on, I can catch a glimpse of the campaign commercial season and see what the others are basing their vote on.  Rep. Keith Ellison brags that he brought $120 million to Minneapolis.  Like that is a big number for a major city - out of a budget he authorized of $4 trillion.  Like it was something new.  Like it was free money.  Like it wouldn't have happened without him.  What was so striking was just what old-style of politics that message was, with no apologies.  I bring you pork.  You need to reelect me. I will bring you more pork.  Seriously.

Besides Muslim, Keith Ellison is black.  A black former community activist from North Minneapolis. "We don't get no justice, you don't get no peace", he used to chant. You would think he would chant something about easing barriers to startup capital or easing employment regulations or lowering commercial property taxes or about private sector growth.  North Minneapolis has almost no industry or employers.  We have the Urban coalition.  We have ACORN.  We have the heating assistance office.  We have welfare advocates.  Unemployment within this community is astronomical if we had a way of measuring it all.  No mention of that.  Ellison policies make it worse. No mention of that either. Pork is his business and not the kind that puts food on the table.  He is running with virtually no opposition and no media scrutiny.  He can say what he wants and not be questioned on anything else.  He holds a seat for life, if he wants.  The only thing anyone can do to limit his power is to have his side be the political minority party in the House.
5171  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues - Juan Williams on: October 21, 2010, 09:50:21 PM
I hate defending Juan Williams. But here goes.

He said something like: People dressed up in Muslim garb on airplanes make him nervous.

This means people dressed up like mass murderers make him nervous in a situation identical to those mass murders.

I wondered if "garb" is disrespectful.  Defined as: a fashion or mode of dress, esp. of a distinctive, uniform kind: in the garb  of a monk. Not judgmental but descriptive, so fitting here.

This does not mean all Muslims are terrorists.  We need to do some math processing here.  Islamic radicals are Muslims.  Islamic radicals are mass murderers.  Other Muslims are not.  It is easy to see the difference.  Just watch them carefully and with fear and worry for their whole life and see if they commit mass murder.  Then you will know if they are they radical extremists or the peaceful ones.  If someone especially a peaceful Muslin knows another way of telling the difference please let Juan Willians and the rest of us know.

If Juan's statement is true about his own reaction, should he have not said what was true or should he have pre-resigned for having those feelings?
5172  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics - What grows an economy? on: October 21, 2010, 10:25:47 AM
“The single most important contributor to a nation’s economic growth is the number of startups that grow to a billion dollars in revenue within 20 years.”

The U.S. economy, given its large size, needs to spawn something like 75 to 125 billion-dollar babies per year to feed the country’s post World War II rate of growth. Faster growth requires even more successful startups.
5173  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: October 20, 2010, 02:24:12 PM
Again I agree.  People forget how low prices from a consumer point of view raise our standard of living.  The benefit of freedom to trade goes both ways.  We would lose the low price and wide availability of widgets and happy meal toys. They would lose their second largest customer, cash flow they depend on and have widespread factory shutdowns and layoffs with a regime that derives its consent only from the security and continuous economic growth it can provide.  The damage of ending that relationship economically goes both ways. I think we could withstand the disruption and resulting economic depression better than they could, but not by much and not with any certainty.
5174  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2010 Elections; 2012 Presidential on: October 20, 2010, 02:09:58 PM
GM, I agree.

"I continue to worry."

Crafty, I will get back to you on Nov.3 with more about this.  smiley  There are some lousy polls out today. Basically we still have conservatives running even in blue states which is amazing and Dems getting crushed in red states.

Losing NY is normal. Merkowski is a Republican so RINOs too are playing a role in the divisiveness.  Merkowski and Castle lost but didn't accept the results of the process that got them there. We have been losing to Harry Reid since 1986. There are some serious drawbacks to having a person like Castle win in Delaware - to say he is a Republican and then vote against our interests 50% of the time - it gives future Dem candidates nationwide bipartisan cover for those positions and votes.  Castle lost because of lack of voter support, not some back room party decision.  Only a back room deal could have prevented the primary challenge, hardly preferable.

Taking the fight to both parties was the only way to a) get any positive change, and b) disrupt the argument that this is nothing but a 2006 or 2008 rematch, our reckless spenders against theirs.

The intra-party squabble fear is valid, but unavoidable. Taking the fight to them means you piss a few people off, but what was the alternative?  Without the rise up of the grass roots, the so-called tea party, we would 2-6 more years Pelosi-Obama leftist business as usual and maybe the collapse of the republic.  Because it was all grassroots and no leadership, we have some very inexperienced candidates. The damage done to the old Republican party by this uprising overall is a very good and necessary thing.  The brand name is partially repaired (being a Republican now means something) and we will have a whole lot more good candidates available at all levels in the future because of the events of this year.
5175  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: October 20, 2010, 12:18:28 PM
"Frankly I haven't seen any great exodus or rebellion amongst MSM."

Not a great rebellion, I think they moved slightly from worship and celebration to just traditional bias in coverage and questioning as he moved from Messiah to 50% disapproval.  They are covering the fact that he is in deep trouble now even if the motive is just to get people motivated to come out and support him, and they are covering the dismal economy somewhat but not like they would if it was a Republican administration.

The irregularities in the negotiating and passing of health care were maybe covered and questioned by the MSM I think, were they not?  Meet the Press guests etc. were questioned about the Cornhuisker Kickback,  the closed door negotiations and 'deeming' a bill passed, Sunday night votes etc.

One indicator is the Letterman Leno type shows. Letterman actually said around election and inauguration time that he had no idea what to poke fun at now, and then went on with old Bush is dumb jokes and Palin mockery. It took maybe a year and a half before I saw him tell a derogatory joke about anything to do with Obama, but they mix some in now.

Didn't Colbert or Stewart start doing a few rips on Obama, his advisers and czars?  I doubt if you will find one of those during the summer of 2008.

Washington Post carried a piece last week in defense of Sarah Palin by a Weekly Standard writer. You didn't see that during the campaign.

Newspapers sometimes seem to not care that their product is aimed at only half the market.  Now facing bankruptcy and with plenty of negative administration stories available, we at least see some opposition stories and columns IMO.
5176  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2010 Elections; 2012 Presidential on: October 19, 2010, 11:55:38 AM
Thank you GM.  That would be far more clever if it wasn't so true.
5177  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / re. It's the Catastrophic Claims, Stupid on: October 19, 2010, 11:48:28 AM
BBG,  This is a great post.  We have miniscule warming.  We have no idea what part of that is attributable to humans, but roughly within the margin of error of our ability to measure global temperatures.  We have no data we can trust.  And so we publicize the wildest claims and decide to shut down our economies and declare war on each other. 

Instead we should use our resources wisely and cleanly while we re-create the conditions of economic freedom that we know unleash human creativity.
5178  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China- Electronic waste on: October 19, 2010, 11:36:39 AM
Seems to me that like nuclear 'waste', e-waste could be condensed and stored safely as a future resource until the technology to safely mine it for resources catches up.  The original point remains, we pass production restriction laws here and then consume the same product produced elsewhere.  That saves the earth nothing, eliminates a US business, costs the consumer and enriches our competitor/ enemy.  In this case - China.

What bugs me most about ordinary recycling is that we think we save energy and the earth by requiring huge diesel trucks to drive regularly down all our streets, and charge us for it.
5179  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2010 Elections; 2012 Presidential on: October 19, 2010, 11:16:13 AM
Have no fears Crafty.  smiley This is a major shift of the landscape no matter what the final score is.  RINOs ran with, not against the so-called tea party movement.  McCain moved to the right instead holding his ground.  Lindsey Graham backed out of cap trade sponsorship and he isn't up until next cycle.  Fiorini said she welcomed Palin's endorsement. It was the success of the inexperienced tea party newcomers in the primaries that stole the whole campaign theme from the Democrats, which was to run against giving power back to the people who got us in this mess.  They have been mumbling with total incoherence ever since.

If Sharron Angle wins, the takedown of the majority leader in his own state is the cover story, and it won't be by some wishy-washy-sounding Dem-lite.  The campaign was waged directly against the major policies he supported.  The sound byte isn't some lofty better tomorrow theme, it was 'man up Harry Reid, these entitlements need addressing'.

If Reid wins, then the powerful majority leader barely held his own seat against a neophyte.  Hardly a victory.

Obama needs R's to take the house.  A bunch of scared Dems with a 1 vote margin won't give him cover for everything sure to go wrong for him.  When the recount artists finished stealing the 60th vote in the senate, Al Franken, they lost their bogeyman. Not George Bush, not Rush Limbaugh, not Republican senators blocking votes, nothing stopped them from doing whatever they wanted. So they did and we are now able to hold them accountable.  

It is not just our side reading the polls this way.  Gibbs gave away what he sees in the polls with a comment about how their wins in 2006 and 2008 were so widespread that they now have too many members defending seats (as Democrats to defend a liberal agenda) that are a mis-match in these (conservative, heartland) districts and states.

Look at Indiana.  Look at North Dakota.  They had no business trying to sell this agenda in those locations.  For a long time moderate Dems had carved out a thoughtful tack in states were heavily conservative.  But not possible with a Pelosi-Obama full speed ahead agenda.  Evan Bayh saw it first.  Then Byron Dorgan. "In his statement, Dorgan said his retirement was borne out of the desire to spend more time with his family."  The Republican now leads by almost 50 points in this open Dem seat.  In Indiana, it is almost 20 points.

Look at Wisconsin.  Feingold is a legend.  Down by 7.  Colorado is a hugely indicative battleground state. Obama won Colorado by 9 points.  Here is the latest Ken Buck ad, gives voice to both conservatives and independents:

The real problem is that if this turns out to be true, there still is so little policy change that can be accomplished quickly.

The real test in this campaign was about 6 months ago.  When they finished passing health care they thought people would breathe a sigh of relief and then jump on-board. The popular President will come to your district and support you if you support him.  Instead the polling kept getting worse.

The other test was the economy.  We pumped $3 trillion of crude, Keynesian deficit stimulus into this economy.  That should at least mask some of the underlying problems employers and investors face, yet unemployment stayed near 10% and the new taxes of Jan.1 and health care haven't even kicked in yet.

These policies are tied to failure.  After Nov. 2, we are still in an election year with the Presidential talk and candidates breaking out soon.  We will have divided government, with momentum on the issues and a crucial new election cycle looming.  Their side will no longer control the debate.  Neither side will control the senate in terms of 60 votes.  If popular legislation gets through both chambers, these will not be easy or cost-free vetoes for a man presumably seeking reelection.

2012 is a big test for the senate as well.  That is the 6 year mark for the 2006 sweep.  Blue senators in red states know that.  They are far more likely to triangulate than Obama.  That is the story i would watch.
5180  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Health Thread (nutrition, medical, longevity, etc) on: October 18, 2010, 12:06:32 PM
"the doctor who reluctantly is her physician"

The oath: do no harm?
5181  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Way Forward:The new congress and principled governing on: October 18, 2010, 11:16:34 AM
First a reply to the Pledge post above in this thread: The new pledge is not "Trust Us, Version 2.0" in the sense that these promises were made after the polls already were showing 'certain' victory.  So I read the pledge as a promise to themselves to govern in a principled fashion, made publicly so as to deliberately be held accountable.  In other words, they are not trying to win - they already have that based on the mis-direction of their opponents - they are trying to make this win in November mean something in January.

I would note that the pledge was largely ignored by the public and the media, but it will come back very quickly if they veer away from the promises they made.
The examiner is running a series on the way forward for the new congress on various issues this week.  This first one is on repeal and replace healthcare.  This could also go in healthcare politics but I post it more as addressing the larger question about incremental strategies today for principled governance - and look forward to their other installments.
* Bureaucracy: Every year, Congress passes appropriations provisions that forbid the use of funds for certain purposes. Next year's spending bills should bar the Department of Health and Human Services and other agencies from establishing the 159 boards, panels and programs in Obamacare. The Treasury appropriations bill should likewise remove all authority from the Internal Revenue Service for enforcing Obamacare's tax provisions.

* Stop medical lawsuit abuse: Trial lawyers kept medical tort reform out of Obamacare despite the fact such provisions could save at least $200 billion in unnecessary annual health care costs. Trial lawyers made sure Obamacare did include provisions encouraging state attorneys general to outsource litigation against health care providers to ambulance-chasing trial lawyers. The new Congress should put tort reform into health care reform and take the trial lawyers out of it.

* Abortion funding: Congress can and should also permanently bar Obamacare from ever using federal tax dollars to pay for abortions. Not using tax dollars to pay for abortions is one of the few measures on which opponents and defenders of the procedure agree, but more is required to make the ban effective than a meaningless presidential executive order.

* Burdens on small business: Congress should quickly challenge Obama to veto legislation repealing the Obamacare requirement that small businesses fill out and file 1099 Forms for every vendor with whom they have significant dealings.

* Wheelchair tax: Do Obamacrats really want to face a 2012 re-election campaign after voting to tax someone's wheelchair? We don't think so.

* Employer mandate: However it is ultimately replaced, the new health care reform to come should end the tax breaks that make employers the main source of health care insurance coverage. All Americans should have access to good health care insurance without worry they will be denied because of prior conditions. And they should be able to get their coverage from the provider they choose, wherever it is located.

* Individual mandate: Obamacare may be the first federal law in American history that requires every American to purchase a commercial product under penalty of law. If the Supreme Court has not already declared Obamacare's individual mandate unconstitutional, Congress should repeal it.

Repealing and replacing Obamacare must be done carefully and without undue haste. These recommendations are only the first steps, but they are the essential elements for all that follows.
5182  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Health Thread (nutrition, medical, longevity, etc) on: October 18, 2010, 10:49:43 AM
Regarding the 33,000 calorie lady, we used to have freak shows at the state fair.  Now we don't have the shows and they aren't called freaks anymore.  Obesity in general raises moral, moral hazard and libertarian issues. One argument to legalize drugs was the law of natural consequences and learning.  People can choose not to be a heroin addict if we allow that path and let people see where it leads.  One consequence of the 33,000 calorie lady is that at some point she would lose her ability to hunt and gather.  A self correcting problem.  Enter public policies.  As she becomes unable to function, the consequence is the opposite.  We put her on public payroll and buy her more food.  And healthcare, no matter the cost.  In the name and spirit of being humane we took away the corrective mechanism that worked for tens of thousands of years.
5183  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China - Krugman on: October 18, 2010, 10:08:36 AM
Did I just read a Krugman column where the whole thing almost made sense and the facts were  accurate?  Our environmental standards caused the surrender of a crucial market to China.

I especially like the part where Krugman is shocked and disappointed that a murderous, tyrannical, totalitarian, dictatorial regime hasn't yet risen to the responsibilities of their superpower status.  Who knew?

"China accounts for 97 percent of the world’s supply of rare earths, minerals that play an essential role in many high-technology products, including military equipment."

This Idaho editorial says that we closed our last rare earth mine for environmental risks that must not scare the Chinese:

"Fifteen years ago, the United States was the world’s largest producer of rare earth minerals. But the last major rare earth mine in the U.S. was closed in 2002. Last year China produced more than 97 percent of the world’s rare earth minerals even though it has only 36 percent of the world’s reserves."

A global production chart at Wikipedia shows that the US had the lion's share of the production as recent as the mid-1980s.

Small point of learning here.  When we think of passing a law to ban production of something here to save the earth but we know it will just be done by our competitors and enemies anyway, ask what is gained?  Production of wind turbines and hybrid cars according to our EPA pose unacceptable environmental risks (because of the mining of rare earth elements).  Once again, who knew that banning production here, buying it elsewhere and then subsidizing those purchases would cause a market imbalance threatening our leadership in technology and manufacturing.

I should add that I support 'urban mining' but the recycling of old computers and electronics as a primary strategy for developing new technologies sounds very much like a guarantee of never again being the leader in anything.

Decline is a choice.
5184  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2010 Elections; 2012 Presidential on: October 18, 2010, 09:33:56 AM
"she did not impress me as SoS."

 - Should fit in fine with this administration.  I believed there was something more to her thinking and her non-strategies that we would find out later.  No so. This book is about people in her early life.

"What has Condi Rice said about Clinton and Bamster?"

Rice said, "Nothing in this president's methods suggests this president is other than a defender of America's interests."

 - Isn't that pretty much the way candidate Obama spoke of the Bush administration? (sarcasm)

she praised her successor, Hillary Clinton: "I think she is doing a lot of the right things. ... She is very tough ... I think she has done a fine job, I really do."
5185  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Health obesity - Decline of your health is (sometimes) a choice on: October 17, 2010, 03:09:29 PM
CCP, interesting stuff.  Your position on this surprised me.  I learned some things from your posts and I have learned a lot from 5 rings as well.  He says he isn't a doctor but his view has the endorsement of ours. We all (IMHO) should acknowledge that in certain extreme cases obesity is caused by bodily defect like gland/hormone appetite metabolism dysfunction.  I think you are mainly talking about problems that set in after major weight gain.  It seems to me that losing weight is a different matter than maintaining good weight.  Curing chronic obesity on your own or with the quick fix plans is maybe as easy as getting your virginity back after a few years of shall we say undisciplined behavior. It sounds like the body of the obese sends false signals for more food than it needs.  So this wound may have started as self-inflicted, but grows into an illness.  I can buy that. From the point of view of the MD, prescribing a pill or a procedure may be a big part of the only strategy with a real chance for success.

But why is it so common for the masses was the question.  Because the right choice seems so distant or inconvenient or difficult in the environment we live in.  An environment of immediate gratification, widespread inactivity and the (almost) unlimited availability of lousy choices.

All of that said, I still side with the others as to the preponderance of obesity.  As I posted regarding economics, decline is a choice.

After my first full week of white shirt, dark tie and suit type work as a young adult I felt exhausted, but with nearly no exercise.  First order getting off non-physical work may be to go have a drink.  Add the social side to that and you find that people like to go out, which mostly means eat and drink.  After a drink or two and you don't crave exercise, you crave food.  Eat to excess and you still don't crave the exercise you missed.  More likely that person ends up on the couch at home until they start thinking about more food and then go to bed with a full stomach and still no exercise.

Add parenting to that. Stay home more and life revolves around the kitchen.  Drive the kids to soccer, tennis, scouts, you name it.  Cheer and support them all you want but you still end up tired, hungry and thirsty without exercise.

Crafty at some point went from white collar training to this very disciplined and physical career choice.  In my case I had a very strong involvement in more than one sport.  My decision to keep going in those sports as a young adult kept me with immediate feedback from opponents if and when i lose a step, and that kept me coming beck to reasonable levels of fitness for a number of decades.  It is easy to see how others without an interest in a sport or exercise could start to slide.

For the poor it gets even worse as I have previously posted.  You are paid for your unproductivity, paid to try to get a note from your doctor that you are incapable of substantial economic gain, paid to have more children - literally, and then given a virtually unlimited food card good at all grocers without supervision.

I don't buy that people are unaware when this is happening to them.  People know they had to replace their wardrobe every time they grew another size.

It comes back to what 5 rings wrote: "define choice"

Yes. That is exactly the nut of the matter.  The right choice might not have seemed like it was one of the choices offered. The choice maybe seemed to be go to the bar or drink at home or at friends' houses..  Choosing between the all you eat buffet or super-size fast food.  It was only 39 cents extra to super-size, batter value, why not? But those weren't really the only choices.  Go to the casino or read at home.  Watch television or pop in a movie.  Hire to have the lawn mowed or move to a place where they take care of that etc. Now we have video game and internet addiction to add to all of that. Some have a spouse who is a great cook but pushes the eating agenda even further to the top.  The right choice didn't always seem to be on the menu.  Push away from the table.  Portion your lunch and build it at home.   We can make exceptions for all people with a bodily or medical defect, but for the rest - choices were made along the way.  A choice not to do what it takes to stay reasonably fit.  A choice not to push away from the table when you knew that really was enough.  No one is saying easy choices if everything in your environment is pulling you the other direction.  Sometimes not obvious choices.  But they were choices that needed to be made to stay in any kind of shape.  Otherwise, decline of your health and fitness is your choice. (MHO)
5186  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2010 Elections; 2012 Presidential on: October 17, 2010, 01:11:55 PM
CCP hits another home run: "By the way what is Condi Rice doing praising Clinton and Bamster? I guess she wants another job."

I was just going to say she is selling a book.  I know she wants foreign policy to be non-partisan and the diplomats are always less hawkish than the conservative candidates and like Ge. Powell we don't really know her politics, but CCP nailed it.  She is the next Sec. of State, possibly very soon. 

Obama wanted very much to have one or two Republicans in his large cabinet and they need to be in places where they can't hurt him.  We know Gates is leaving.  We don't know Hillary is leaving, but is there enough writing on the wall?  Condi would be perfect for him politically and not harm his agenda one bit.
5187  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential: Mike Pence on: October 17, 2010, 01:02:50 PM
"I agree that he does not have the executive experience, and that is often a deal-killer. I hope his other attributes make up for it,"

First I think we call it 2 sets of rules.  Obama was a neighborhood activist, not a problem!

There is no perfectly positioned candidate that is going to appear this time so looking closely at each of these choices is extremely important.  These governors come in and study hard on national and especially foreign policy where they have no experience, while congressional members often have not governed or led a major organization.  Romney I think has the most executive experience but part of that was to usher in new government health care.  Given imperfect choices, I will take a candidate who is high on character, intellect and communications ability with clear, consistent and conservative stands on the issues over one who governed based on political shrewdness but without consistent, guiding principles.
5188  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2010 Elections; 2012 Presidential on: October 17, 2010, 10:02:15 AM
Interesting note that seemed to get lost is that Bill Clinton has been out there supporting Democrats.  Makes sense that he would go to places where the Clintons are popular.  Also true that politics is pay back and to buy favors forward.  Kind of a tough observation follows that he is only supporting candidates that backed Hillary.

Bill Clinton back out campaigning 'for everybody that helped Hillary run for president' against Obama

"Speculation about Hillary Clinton's continued presidential ambitions is rife. Husband Bill is back on the campaign trail, offering thanks to those who backed her in 2008 – and laying the foundations for another try in 2016."(?) [the story is theirs, the question mark on the year is mine.]
5189  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Politics post-election on: October 17, 2010, 09:44:41 AM
It will be strange governance and more difficult to assess blame if/when Republicans take the House, close in on the Senate and then nothing much gets accomplished.  As VDH put it, Obama doesn't mind that his agenda cost so many of his colleagues their jobs partly because of his narcissism and because:

"a sober reflection that a Republican Congress in 2011-12 can be blamed for cutting the “needy” while Obama can take credit for the upturn that will surely follow once business grasps his socialist agenda is stalled."
Just heard Gibbs say the people want to see the two parties to work together.  But people aren't moving toward Sharron Angle, Ken Buck, Marco Rubio for examples because they will work seamlessly with President Obama, they are voting against Harry Reid etc. because they did.

In the previous discussion in this thread, polls show Hispanic support weakening for Dems.  Crafty wrote "because [they] failed to push amnesty hard enough".

True. And he is setting up the same ambivalence for gays.  Dems are supposedly their ally yet he continues to mostly thwart the gay agenda based on polls and the old political reality of where else are they going to go.  Answer to that is that if there is no meaningful difference on one issue, they may vote on some other issue like the economy or not vote at all.
Dems carried congress in the 2008 election by 10.2% in total votes where polling has the possibility of that margin flipping nearly that far this year the other direction.  What changed?  One theory: voters to change Washington, but not to change our country.
5190  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Health Thread (nutrition, medical, longevity, etc) on: October 15, 2010, 12:31:56 AM
IIRC GM wrote that obesity is following the spread of wealth in China.  Wealth has not yet spread across the countryside and I would doubt that healthcare enough even to check them for obesity has spread that far either.  The proportion I think you are looking for would be 19 million out of how many checked and my curiosity would ask that out of the 19 million, how many are linked to newer wealth and how many are linked to poverty.  In America I think that obesity link goes both ways.  In China I doubt that coal miners, workers in the fields or kids in sweatshops are immersed in sugar and soda or suffering from inactivity.
5191  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Geopolitics and US Foreign Policy - Victor Hanson on: October 14, 2010, 12:08:25 PM
Speaking of someone who could hold his own in a debate with The One, meet Prof. Hanson.  Please set aside 37 minutes and watch/listen to this interview. Good questions with great answers on issues that that include Islam in Europe, defending Europe, the lack of a future for the E.U., Asia, Thomas Friedman's comments on China, the situation inside Mexico, California, the border, Russia, Iran, the possibility of taking out Iran's nuclear capability, etc.

Well informed, very clear thinking, logical, common sense answers and observations to wide ranging questions and issues today from around the globe.

Townhall has parts of this in segments.  This link has the interview in its entirety.
5192  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / How to Reform ObamaCare Starting Now- Look to the states on: October 14, 2010, 11:36:36 AM
How to Reform ObamaCare Starting Now  - WSJ
States should steer the mandated health-insurance exchanges in a pro-market direction and dare Washington to stop them.


The Republican rallying cry during this election season has been a promise to "repeal and replace" ObamaCare. The problem is that through at least 2012 President Obama would veto any law repealing his signature health-care legislation. What, then, can Republicans do in the next two years? Look to the states.

After November, more than 30 Republican governors (many newly elected) will have the opportunity to resist the legislation at the state level. They could refuse to implement the health-care exchanges that are the core of ObamaCare. Doing so would force the federal government to step in and run the exchanges for the states—a chore that would slow down federal implementation of ObamaCare but fail to provide any alternative solution to insurance coverage problems.

The more promising option is for governors to perform as much radical surgery as possible on the exchanges until a new Congress working with a different president can do something better. By offering their own market-friendly versions of exchanges, they will establish an alternative to ObamaCare and its one-size-fits-all health plans.

The feds may declare that these exchanges do not comply with federal rules and are not eligible for new federal subsidies beginning in 2014. But the Obama administration will be hard-pressed to find the resources to establish and run its own federal exchanges in time if enough states resist its dictates and appeal to their citizens with a better offer.

ObamaCare intends health-care exchanges to be a regulatory dragnet to trap insurers into offering a single government-prescribed set of health benefits. State-designed exchanges could, and should, do the opposite.

Any willing insurers already licensed to operate in a state should be able to offer plans. Their operating rules would focus on providing better information to consumers, rather than limiting the types of plans available. Exchanges should also enable easier allocation of private payments and public subsidies, simplify enrollment, and reduce transaction costs.

Once inside the exchange, consumers would be guaranteed the ability to renew their coverage without regard to changes in their health status, so long as they remain continuously insured. If individuals want to switch plans, they couldn't be hit with higher costs due to changes in health status as long as they stay within some baseline range of benefits that was largely equivalent to their previous plan. And a new Congress should make sure that consumers shopping in these market-based exchanges get the same tax advantages that employers do, eliminating the bias that now forces people to get coverage from their bosses.

Under this arrangement, there wouldn't be the incentive for gaming the system that exists under ObamaCare, which encourages forgoing coverage until one gets sick, or buying cheap policies and upgrading only after an illness strikes.

Of course, not everyone will be able to afford to purchase insurance in these exchanges. Poor people and those with major medical problems or chronic conditions that make them largely uninsurable would certainly need to be subsidized. But today we already subsidize many of these people through a patchwork of programs.

Taxpayers can provide targeted subsidies through expanded high-risk pools to cap out-of-pocket, risk-based premium costs for the most vulnerable. In the longer term, states could get waivers to "monetize" Medicaid medical benefits and allow these recipients to shop in the same exchanges. Recipients might well prefer a voucher option to Medicaid coverage that pays most providers half as much as private insurance and fails to deliver many of the benefits it promises. Subsidies should flow directly to consumers, rather than to the health plans as ObamaCare required.

The elements of these market-based exchanges are already buried deep inside ObamaCare. But they remain under a lethal dose of regulation that rules out every choice but those made by the bureaucrats working inside the president's "Office of Health Reform."

ObamaCare was not about fixing the insurance market. It was about seizing control of it. Thus it shouldn't be surprising that a new analysis by the Congressional Research Service says that states can use ObamaCare to erect a de facto single-payer system by simply excluding from their exchanges every plan but a state-run "public" plan. "There is no specific language in [the president's health plan] that would prohibit an exchange from denying certification to every private plan that applies," the analysis finds.

California is already headed down this road. Voters have opted for a "selective contracting" scheme in which a five-member board of unaccountable appointees will tightly control which insurers operate in the California exchange.

But other states, particularly Utah, are moving in the opposite direction with their own version of market-based exchanges before ObamaCare's regulations can catch up. The Utah Health Exchange is an Internet-based information portal that connects consumers to the information they need to make informed choices. In many cases, it allows them to buy insurance electronically.

Several other states are interested in establishing similar plans and daring the Obama administration to stop them. Replacing the command-and-control features of ObamaCare with a plan offering consumers a real marketplace is a change many people can start to believe in. And one Mr. Obama would be imprudent to oppose.

Messrs. Gottlieb and Miller are Resident Fellows at the American Enterprise Institute.
5193  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: October 14, 2010, 11:20:46 AM
Important in these matters to not weaken the Presidency just because we have a bad one.  The pre-oversight is the congressional authorization.  The ongoing oversight may be the congressional appropriations that fund operations.  Also we can have congressional review of actions taken by our military to expose past actions and influence the future ones, but still the Commander makes the real-time decision in war, not a committee.  The ultimate oversight is that new elections here are always coming.

Very little good has come out of this Presidency other than the rise of opposition to them, but one thing good IMO is to just imagine the uproar of left activists and lamestream media if these unmanned drone attacks in Paki-Waziristan tribal villages were being conducted by Bush or other R. administration.

The 9/18/2001 authorization looks like it covers these strikes unless rescinded.  After that we need to put some trust in the Commander in Chief in spite of the folly of who we last chose.

The real abuse was the threat or reality of siccing the IRS on political opponents, a much greater power than our military.

There are competing philosophies to defense and the war on terror (human caused disasters) to ague elsewhere and settle in the elections.  There is surrender entirely and unilaterally as many far leftists prefer.  There is the so-called Fortress-America view that some on the far right would like, meaning defend strongly here but end the missions outside our borders, and there is take the battle to the enemy.  Even the far leftist Obama believed war in Afghanistan is necessary, which should mean strikes anywhere harboring terrorists who threaten America are necessary too, until another viewpoint wins over at least one branch.
5194  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential: Mike Pence on: October 13, 2010, 11:44:01 PM
Michael, I approve of that message.  smiley

Positives that I see at least from reading this:  He is a consistent, common sense unapologetic conservative with the ability to articulate wise policies.  He is an adult who has been on the scene for quite a time, not a newcomer.  He is in leadership at a time when republicans stood united against Obamanomics , ObamaCare and ObamaDebt. No mindless follower, he opposed his party at all the right times it sounds, he voted against expansion of the federal government in Education, he voted against the new entitlement program and a bill supporting abortion rights.  "Conservative of the Year" by Human Events in 2007" probably means he is conservative enough and pro-free-trade means he is on the pro-economic-growth side of an issue that sometimes divides conservatives.

The flip side of that, like with Bolton, Palin and others, is he so conservative that he cannot attract independents and moderates?  I would say no, he will do fine being consistent and articulate as opposed to people like McCain and Romney who had to jump around on key issues.  Dems could compete for the middle by nominating a moderate, fiscal conservative, strong America centrist - but that would be a good thing.  Make my day.

Key factor missing IMO is executive experience.  Bush, Clinton, Reagan and Carter (and FDR and so on) were governors.  OTOH, Obama had none when elected, and nothing but a negative recin now. i would put an experienced House member in leadership on an equal footing with being a prominent senior senator.  HRC and Obama were junior senators but so was JFK.  Bush Sr and Truman were sitting VP's. Eisenhower general/war hero.  In context, no one on either side today is running with a full set of credentials so that question will all be comparative.
5195  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential: HRC on: October 12, 2010, 11:14:48 PM
Sorry to report this, but nothing with the Clintons happens by accident.  This AP story looks like a story they wanted written:

"As Democrats and Republicans fight for control of Congress in next month's midterms, the former first lady and senator will be sitting it out...barred by convention and tradition from partisan political activity as America's top diplomat...

"I am not in any way involved in any of the political campaigns that are going on up to this midterm election," Clinton said last week."
She was answering a question I think no one was asking. Wow, does that sound like someone who will soon be attacking the failures of this administration!

Please, please please, moderate and sensible Democrats, pick someone other than BO or HRC in 2012.
5196  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2010 Elections; 2012 Presidential on: October 12, 2010, 06:32:51 PM
Another perspective on a defeat in 53 seats of the House, a shift previously in 4 seats would have killed ObamaCare.
5197  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential on: October 12, 2010, 02:42:13 PM
Michael wrote: "Of all the perspective candidates for '12 that I see now, Mike Pence is my pick at this stage in the game. Very articulate, ultra-conservative, and very principled. I think he would make an excellent POTUS."

Thank you for posting that.  I will add Mike Pence to my short list to consider for first choice, and for certain I will support him if he is nominated.
5198  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Health Thread (nutrition, medical, longevity, etc) on: October 12, 2010, 02:15:26 PM
Reminds me of the smoking argument.  It IS an addiction yet people quit everyday, so there is both choice and addiction.  Food is as addicting i would think as a cigarette, probably more so because you always need to have some.  People eat out of boredom, a routine and availability probably more than out of hunger.  I think it is the deferred gratification argument.  What do you want most versus what do you want now.  Maybe you want a flat stomach and less load on yours knees, but what you want right now is to eat big, eat well, and eat often.  I am definitely on the 'choice' side of this argument for most people and we know people make good and bad choices about all kinds of things.  There are plenty of others where as the good doctor has pointed out, that it just won't ever happen and a staple in the stomach or a pill or other artificial solution is the best course of action.

Back to public policy and freedom, being out of shape is a lousy way to go through but shouldn't be illegal, shouldn't be decided by someone else and really isn't much of the government's business.  When we turn to the government for health care is when someone else's personal behavior seems to become everyone's business - and that is mostly wrong IMO. Part of the problem is a consequence of wealth and part is tied to paying other people to do nothing and part has to so with so many people becoming wealthy enough that the cost of unlimited food is no issue.  Either way, 25% of fresh foods get thrown out.  I notice that friends who travel with expense accounts tend to eat excessively well.  We have huge numbers of people who receive free food and have nothing but time available to consume it all because their productive activities were stopped by program eligibility requirements.  How are they supposed to round up the will power to limit their diet to match their inactivity when nothing much else going on?  Along with drug testing for welfare, we could put some limits on free food programs or change the structure of those programs for those who are unable to otherwise control their intake.
5199  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2010 Elections; 2012 Presidential on: October 12, 2010, 01:16:56 PM
53 seats recaptured would be nice.  If true, it makes a 106 vote swing- from 77 seats down to 29 seats up(?) or something like that.  Too early though to start counting totals before elections.  Send money instead and call people.  As Obama used to say, get in their face, lol.  Volunteer to be a poll judge.  There will be important close races and we will no doubt slide back into recount wars again.

O'Donnell never should have spoken out against America's favorite pastime; not the business of a small and limited government.  People should handle that decision on their own.  Still, I like O'Donnell.  You would think the opponent's flirt with Marxism would be worse for the country than a little youthful witchcraft.

If the momentum continues, the next races that need to swing are Calif. Senate (Boxer) and the MN Governor race.

Regarding likely voters and off-year elections, I honestly don't understand why someone rational would care about the Presidency but not enough about the congress to go out and vote.  A no-show is a form of a no confidence vote.  The lesser of two evils is still a very important decision.  
From BBG's link: Slavery Begins with Mandatory Volunteering
Right Wing Extremists: Jefferson, Adams, Madison and Me
Freedom is a Right, ( I like: Freedom is MY Entitlement Program)
5200  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Government spending: SSI on: October 11, 2010, 01:29:32 PM
Mentioned previously, 8 million people receive roughly $500/mo. ( mostly under the following loose disability rules:

"Disability means inability to engage in any SGA [substantial gainful activity] by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which...has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months."

Normally paid via cash card in addition to all other programs of eligibility.
My reason for posting was because of hundreds of personal observations of what I would consider to be abuse of the program.  Already answered by CCP as to what kind of situation it puts the doctor in.  One note from a doctor is worth 6k per year, year after year, and we pay for the doctor visit, and a taxi in some cases to get to the doctor.

Who is hurt most, the taxpayer or the recipient?  I say the one who learns to end the search for productive accomplishment within their own mental and physical capability.
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