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5251  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Europe: Austerity caused double dip recession, or austerity was not tried? on: May 08, 2012, 10:51:49 AM
The stalled economy of Europe is 50% government.  If larger and larger government could cause economic growth, European countries would be swimming in it.
"Austerity? Spending has boomed in the EU over the last decade. During the 2000s, EU member nations collectively boosted government outlays by 62%. Average government spending by EU nations today stands at about 49.2% of GDP — vs. 44.8% in 2000."

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

Did that decade-long spending increase boost GDP growth? No. During the 2000s, average annual GDP growth in the EU fell to 1.2% from 2.2% in the 1990s.
1.2% growth for a decade!?  - Or what our President might call a model for our economy going 'forward'.
5252  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Alan Reynolds: Rasising Tax Rates Excessively is Counterproductive on: May 08, 2012, 09:11:39 AM
Economist Alan Reynolds is always worth the read IMO, challenging politicians, and economists who ignore elasticity.  It reminds me of the arguments made to raise minimum wage a dollar. It there is no ill effect, why not raise it $20 or $50.  If 50% or 70% tax rates have no ill effect, why not go to 100%?  Those who project no revenue loss are using the wrong elasticity multiplier, Reynolds argues.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mr. Reynolds is a senior fellow with the Cato Institute and the author of "Income and Wealth" (Greenwood Press, 2006).
5253  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: European matters on: May 07, 2012, 10:20:02 AM
One take is anti-incumbency,ery much like America in 2006, 2008.  I understand that people were tired of Bush and anyone like him then, and Sarchozy now.  I don't understand why that change has to be in the direction statism instead of freedom.

Just what the world needs is another leading nation to re-learn the failures of socialism.  Didn't we already have enough data on that?
5254  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Corruption etc: Detroit Looted by its Elected Officials on: May 07, 2012, 10:13:47 AM
Walter Russell Mead makes a great point that this man-made disaster is right in one of America's once great cities and no one seems to care.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As there should be.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Mead is a Democrat who voted for Obama.)
5255  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential - Marco Rubio on: May 07, 2012, 08:41:49 AM
Ditto, thanks Bigdog. I was thinking of the numbers constraint, hearing 70 cases out of 10,000, but also that this might not be the 'right' case in the sense of emergency actions versus how long a case would take in the Court.
Marco Rubio interviewed by Chris Wallace, always worth a listen IMO.  Put him on the ticket and you would have a 16 year plan for prosperity.  It struck me that a son of Cuban immigrants will be a quick study on the oppressors in China.
5256  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glibness: Without the first-person pronouns, the man would fall silent. on: May 06, 2012, 09:03:41 PM
George Will nails it, asked and answered in 50 seconds.

“If you struck from Barack Obama’s vocabulary the first-person singular pronoun, he would fall silent, which would be a mercy to us and a service to him, actually,” Will said. “Because he was been so incontinent for the last three years that you wind up with, as you said, [an] Ohio State University with empty seats.”
5257  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The phoniest women's right issue on the planet; Jane Roe recants on: May 06, 2012, 05:49:25 PM
"nor should they [women who have had abortions] think any less of themselves."  You write so freely and confidently about what you know nothing.  You oughtta ask JANE ROE about her decision before driveling about who ought not feel what and who doesn't need accurate information to make life and death decisions. (text below)

Yes I do in fact openly question and oppose MANY supreme court decisions.  You OTOH often say or imply that because it was ruled, that is that. Settled law.  Good that we are back to questioning, not acting like sheep.  Texas drew up its law within the guidelines set up by the Court in Planned Parenthood v. Casey.  If you know otherwise, please cite.
Chief Judge Edith H. Jones used her opinion to systematically dismantle the argument that the law infringes on the free speech rights of doctors and patients, the key argument against the law. “The required disclosures of a sonogram, the fetal heartbeat, and their medical descriptions are the epitome of truthful, non-misleading information,” Judge Jones wrote.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Diane Dauplaise

Published: Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Updated: Monday, January 18, 2010 16:01

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4-3 Roe by Erik.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"I'm glad she came," said Lauren Colello an 8th-semester molecular and cellular biology major. "She showed that it's important to keep questioning yourself and to be humble."
5258  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics - Big tents are for circuses on: May 06, 2012, 03:27:33 PM
Inclusiveness for a political party is to include people who mostly share your principles and values.  The former Gov has it backwards.  Republicans and conservatives generously included him as electable in the 'big tent' theme.  He got elected and he spit on them.  What governing principles does Arnold Schwarzenegger share with American conservatives?  He has a record now.  

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

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

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

Republicans should have a trademark and take back the 'R' when people like Nixon and Schwarzenegger govern like they did.
5259  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Abortion - Unregulated medicine? on: May 06, 2012, 02:53:24 PM
Are you saying there should be no regulations about doctors informing patients before a procedure or just not on this one- because killing a human heartbeat is shameful?  I kind of like it your way, no government regulations whatsoever on doctors and medicine.  We are all big kids now.  We can do our own due diligence?

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

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

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

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

With logic one might think that being fully informed would help to prevent the shame after the fact that so many experience.  What do you think of THAT for a women's right, a law requiring women to be fully informed before killing their young.  Ooops, you already answered it.  You oppose it and show no deference for a ruling already made by the highest Court in the land on the matter, not the Texas GOP, the U.S Supreme Court.
As an aside, the Democrat party controlled Texas for a hundred years up through the mid 1990s. The GOP doesn't control Texas or write the laws, the people do.  Dems lost control, FYI, because the national party went nuts on issues like this one.
5260  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Abortion on: May 05, 2012, 05:50:50 PM
Perfect if straw is your only argument. We have a humor thread if you think that's funny.

Why wouldn't you want to hear it's heart beat before you kill it?
5261  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Parenting Issues, Jon Will on: May 05, 2012, 03:01:47 PM
A couple of follow up thoughts on the beautiful George Will story about his son.  He closes by saying his son will enjoy his birthday at his favorite activity, a baseball game.  Later I recalled what a baseball enthusiast and Red Sox fan the father is.  There is quite a joy in finding that your offspring end up loving some of the same things in life that you do.  Personally I'm grateful my daughter loves the same sports that I do.  No idea how that happened.  Her favorite orchestral piece that they performed this spring is perhaps a favorite of 3 generations before her.
5262  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Abortion on: May 05, 2012, 03:00:08 PM
The same George Will piece above ran in our local paper and I noticed a letter to the editor later in follow up said that his joy and pride should not mean that the other 90% should be judged in the decisions they made to kill off these imperfect, innocent family members developing in the womb upon learning of their defects.  My view: Yes, you will be judged for that.
In other news, some states require in the abortion process a viewing of the ultrasound and a listening to the heart beat and a lady is donating iPods to the clinics to make that 'listening' less informing.
5263  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Issues in Constitutional Law: General Motors bailout on: May 05, 2012, 02:39:01 PM
Taking some discussion from the Presidential 2012 thread over to here. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I disagree with the result, but let's say he is right about the ends, where was the power to do that authorized in the constitution?
5264  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential: General Motors should have gone through reorganization on: May 04, 2012, 11:24:57 PM
Yes.  In bankruptcy the last thing they do is close the cash register.  The immediate change is that the bankruptcy judge becomes the de facto CEO and CFO deciding what bills get paid in what amounts. They reorganize, not close the town.  They don't come in and put boots on all the tires or shut down all operations.

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

GM was mainly a healthcare company that also made and sold some cars.

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

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

Now they call it the model for what they can do for the rest of the economy in a second term.
5265  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness: Bahr-ruck on: May 04, 2012, 01:32:26 PM
"I adopted a more formal, mature name at 19.  I have a friend who changed names at 30. "

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

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

I get the part where he went from Barry to Barack and dropped the last name of a step father period of his life gone by.  Maybe the confusion over pronunciation was due to the absence of his father but his mother knew his father and no doubt used his long name a time or two.
" (From the book):   She called him Bahr-ruck, with the accent on the first syllable, and a trill of the r’s. Not Bear-ick, as the Anglophile Kenyans pronounced it, and not Buh-rock, as he would later be called"
5266  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california on: May 04, 2012, 12:40:36 PM
"My daughter told me this morning that she hopes we will be able to stay in CA."

There are other beaches and plenty of places to keep horses, but it is very hard to pack up and move kids away from their friends depending on their age and other factors.
5267  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: May 04, 2012, 12:34:17 PM
I know 2008 is the starting point for all the analysts, but this year has no similarity.

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

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

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

5268  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential, workforce % worst in 30 years on: May 04, 2012, 10:49:50 AM
In April, the percentage of adults working or looking for work fell to the lowest level in more than 30 years.

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

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

End this nightmare.
5269  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / President's early years: Barry, Bahr-ruck with a trill of R's, before Buh-rock on: May 04, 2012, 10:40:23 AM
Stranger than dating a composite girlfriend and writing about a life changing racial incident that never happened is that at 22, he didn't know his name:
John Hinderacker: 

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

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

JH: I find that very odd. Think how fundamental a part of you your name is: when you were in elementary school, did you have any doubt about what to call yourself? At 22, Obama was still trying out names.
5270  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / (States that california could learn from): Wisconsin Recall Amnesia on: May 04, 2012, 10:29:23 AM
Wisconsin Recall Amnesia   WSJ excerpt:( Subscribe half price at
Why aren't Democrats running against Scott Walker's union reforms?

Remember the Greek-style protests in Madison, the union sit-ins, the lawmakers who fled to Illinois to avoid voting on Scott Walker's collective-bargaining law last year? Now that the recall election of Mr. Walker is in full swing, Big Labor must be wondering where the outrage went.

Since last summer, unions have been throwing millions at defeating the man who reformed collective bargaining for government workers and required union members to pay 5.8% of their paychecks toward pensions and 12.6% of their health insurance premiums, modest contributions compared to the average in private business. As the May 8 Democratic recall primary nears to determine who will run against Mr. Walker on June 5, this should be their rhetorical moment ne plus ultra.

So, let's see. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, the front-runner, has focused his campaigns on jobs, education, the environment and "making communities safer." One of Mr. Barrett's ads singles out "Walker's War on Women," with nary a mention of collective bargaining. Former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk is heavily supported by union groups, but even her issues list makes only passing reference to collective bargaining.

No wonder. Since Mr. Walker's reforms went into effect, the doom and gloom scenarios have failed to materialize. Property taxes in the state were down 0.4% in 2011, the first decline since 1998. According to Chief Executive magazine, Wisconsin moved up four more places this year to number 20 in an annual CEO survey of the best states to do business, after jumping 17 spots last year.

The Governor's office has estimated that altogether the reforms have saved Badger State taxpayers more than $1 billion, including $65 million in changes in health-care plans, and some $543 million in local savings documented by media reports. According to the Wisconsin-based MacIver Institute, Mayor Barrett's city of Milwaukee saved $19 million on health-care costs as a direct result of Mr. Walker's reforms. Awkward turtle.

Some of the good news has been in the schools, because districts have been able to avoid teacher layoffs and make ends meet because of flexibility created by the changes. In the Brown Deer school district, savings created by pension and health-care contributions from employees allowed the school to prevent layoffs and save some $800,000 for taxpayers.

In Fond du Lac, school board president Eric Everson says the district saved $4 million as a result of last year's reforms, including $2 million from the changes in employee contributions to their pensions.

Another 52 schools across the state saved an average of $220 per student thanks to the ability to introduce competitive bidding for health insurance, rather than automatically going through WEA Trust, the favored provider of the Wisconsin Education Association Council. If the savings are even half as large as the Governor's surveys indicate, they are still enormous.

All of this is making an impression on Wisconsin voters. According to a Marquette University Law School poll released Wednesday, only 12% of Wisconsin voters say "restoring collective bargaining rights" is their priority, which explains the Democratic decision to fight on other issues.
Mr. Walker's reforms were a modest but necessary response to the state's fiscal problems, and the proof is in the emerging results. The union reaction was so ferocious because the reforms reduced Big Labor's clout over state and local taxpayers and thus its ability to milk taxpayers year after year without challenge.

Democrats and unions will still do all they can to recall Mr. Walker to prove to would-be reformers nationwide that unions can't be crossed. But it speaks volumes that Democrats are running on everything except their real goal—which is to restore the political dominance of government unions.
5271  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Foreign Policy: Michael Scheuer, President Paul on: May 04, 2012, 10:09:23 AM
Scheuer and Paul are entitled to their view of non-intervention and voters deserve that as an option to current policy.  The competing view is peace through strength and, as suggested with Chinese dissident, help those when we can around the world gain their liberty.

Should the US have intervened in WWII?  In hindsight, yes (MHO).  In hindsight then, when?  Perhaps sooner, at least for European nations like France watching Hitler 'not threatening their national security'.  We lost nearly a half million Americans as it was, 60 million people killed overall.  If that could have been stopped sooner, it should have been. 

Paul: bin Laden and al Qaida attack because we violate their sovereignty with our presence in their lands.

Some truth, and some not.  He operated from Afghanistan.  Our presence there (prior to embassy bombing, USS Cole, 9/11) was to protect their sovereignty.  He is from Saudi.  In 1990 we moved in and protected their sovereignty.  Many other examples of Americans on the side of Arabs and Muslims that OBL rhetoric (and Ron Paul) ignore.  Kuwait, Bosnia, Kosovo come to mind, along with examples from WWII.  It was Arab Muslims we were trying to free in Iraq.  Not take their oil.  We were blamed for encouraging an uprising previously and leaving them for slaughter.  Saddam is now out; it isn't a 51st state and we pay full price for oil.

They kill because we breathe.  We exist, we are infidels.

They kill because we protect Israel.  To not protect Israel is unthinkable.  MHO.  What other allies do we not stand by?  And how would that increase our security?  Nonsense.  Give them just that one victory/takeover in Israel, wherever and they will stop.  Like Hitler??

Weakness is what Hitler saw in Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland.  Strength is what Khrushchev, Brezhnev, Gorbachev saw in America - in varying degrees over time.  Peace through weakness and non intervention is not as effective as peace through strength.  Just an opinion - backed up in history.

Scheuer: "Nearly alone among Republicans and Democrats, Paul knows... the founders' warning against nonessential intervention in foreigners' affairs would be ruinous for America."

Thomas Jefferson is considered one of the Founders, wrote the Declaration of Independence, served as the first Secretary of State under Washington, second Vice President under Adams and third President of the United States.  Jefferson immediately into his Presidency stood up to the Muslim militants and went to war with them over commercial shipping lanes, analogous to the free flow of oil out of the gulf today, not over genuine U.S. national security interests at our shore as defined by Ron Paul. 

We were wrong to restore Kuwait.  We were wrong to enforce the surrender agreement made by Saddam.  We are wrong to defend Israel and were wrong in Desert Shield to stop Saddam from continuing his march.  Then what?

What struck me about the Libertarians versus conservatives/neocons (and Democrats) during the Iraq war debate was their interest was only in our liberty, not anyone else's.  But a lesson of our liberty is that it was won only with crucial help from overseas.  The founders knew that.

The world is safer with east Europe free and Putin's Russia down to one republic than it would be if Soviet expansionism was allowed to continue.  That was not very long ago and would NOT have been stopped without the credible threat of American interventionism.

Paul says we are attacked by bin Laden because we are in the Middle East, and he says bin Laden attacked us to draw us into the Middle East.  Which is it?  He says the mission was to kill one man.  He does not acknowledge that our mission was the prevention of future attacks.
5272  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Senate races 2012: Elizabeth Running Joke Warren, wanted to make new friends... on: May 04, 2012, 08:53:50 AM
"for most scholarships awarded to Native Americans, there is 1/4 requirement "

That nixed the Warren plan I had for my daughter (blue eyes, red hair) to change her middle name to 'running bear' for her college applicaitions.

I heard some other middle names suggested for Warren: 'wounded economy', 'running joke', 'broken left wing', 'Pinocchio-hontas', 'running joke'.

What past discrimination did she need her leg up from?

Latest story, she did that to make friends.  

It reminds me of former Washington DC  Mayor Marion Barry's outreach program to destitute prostitutes, reaching into his own stash of crack cocaine and sharing, to help the poorest among us.

She deceived to get hired and to get tenure as a Harvard Professor.  She got tenure, then dropped the minority status.  How does one drop their blood content status?

Most Harvard Law professors went to Harvard Law School.  Most of the rest went to other top Ivy League schools.  One, Warren, went to Rutgers, a FINE school, but not equal to Harvard. When Warren was hired, there was a huge push on to hire more minorities.  Blonde, blue eyed minorities?  Is that what Derrick Bell was fighting for?

Victimless crime?  

Like Hillary's dirty commodities trades.  No one was hurt... except the people those profits rightfully belonged to.

No one was hurt by Warren's deception, except for the person who deserved that job.  Except for the students who deserve the best possible professor.  Except for the integrity of the process, compromised.  Except the reputation of the institution, stained.  
5273  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: May 03, 2012, 02:18:38 PM
"The Obama administration is employing an aggressive ground game to build support for its controversial healthcare law that often reaches beyond the Beltway."

True.  But the 'popular' provisions for the most part were on the table in Republican proposals at the time Dems chose to go it alone.

Romney and supporting groups have been quite proficient converting facts into negative ads.  The Pelosi-Reid congress and Obama are all on the ballot this time, exposed for one thing on the process of passing healthcare.
IF ACA is struck down the above bet changes.  Both camps will need to respond with a new proposals within the constraints laid out by the Court.  The President might get a Mulligan - to lock in a new deal with only the popular provisions included, acceptable to maybe a third of House Republicans, passed and signed.  Or he can carry the issue into the election.
5274  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Abortion - 90% of Down Syndrome babies are aborted. Others live well. on: May 03, 2012, 01:40:55 PM
"Judging by Jon, the world would be improved by more people with Down syndrome, who are quite nice, as humans go." (George Will below)  First a quote from the previous posts in the thread with my comment:
"...I doubt they'd look at 4D images of very young fetuses and rule that they were not human."

Besides images, we have the magic of time travel.  We don't have to look at a developing growth inside the womb and wonder what it is or will become.  We already know, it becomes it's own unique, alive, human family member.  We all went through the process, living in the womb, minus the violent ending.  (My own botched-abortion daughter now has over 740 facebook friends, was highly recruited for sports and music and is heading off to one of the top local small colleges on an academic merit scholarship, from a blob once scheduled for 'termination'.)  It is NOT some mystery or controversy that what you see in the image is a developing family member in need of your protection.

Linking from Parent Issues:
George Will column honoring the 40th birthday of Jon Will.

Will: "This era has coincided, not just coincidentally, with the full, garish flowering of the baby boomers’ vast sense of entitlement, which encompasses an entitlement to exemption from nature’s mishaps, and to a perfect baby. So today science enables what the ethos ratifies, the choice of killing children with Down syndrome before birth. That is what happens to 90 percent of those whose parents receive a Down syndrome diagnosis through prenatal testing.

    Which is unfortunate, and not just for them. Judging by Jon, the world would be improved by more people with Down syndrome, who are quite nice, as humans go. It is said we are all born brave, trusting and greedy, and remain greedy. People with Down syndrome must remain brave in order to navigate society’s complexities. They have no choice but to be trusting because, with limited understanding, and limited abilities to communicate misunderstanding, they, like Blanche DuBois in “A Streetcar Named Desire,” always depend on the kindness of strangers. Judging by Jon’s experience, they almost always receive it.
5275  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Parenting Issues on: May 03, 2012, 01:09:33 PM
"This would also be a nice fit in the abortion thread."

My thought exactly.  But if I put it there you would have sent me here.   grin

Of course abortion is a parent issue too as the kid has no say in the matter...
These kids often grow up to work jobs that offset only part of their cost.  Unfortunately that is far better than a whole lot of no-excuse, able mind and body Americans.
5276  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Bin Laden dead - attacks on fellow Muslims on: May 03, 2012, 12:57:49 PM
Thanks BD.  The writings of this character help to tell a historic story.

The death of bin Laden was important and symbolic, but it was the death of his ability to operate freely and command effectively a worldwide terror group that was crucial.

"bin Laden was frustrated with the groups’ attacks on fellow Muslims"

This was a confused man.

IIRC the leaders were laughing in their video at the fate of the suicide volunteers who did not know their ending as they prepared for their mission.  A suicide bomber IS an attack on a fellow Muslim no matter how many infidels it kills.  I wonder how many Muslims died in his attacks and their aftermath with the wars he intentionally set off:
"...28 Muslims who died in the twin towers of the World Trade Center, in addition to three Muslims who were among the passengers on two hijacked planes; one of them crashed on a Pennsylvania field before it reached its target, and the second one hit the Pentagon.  The Muslims victims in the 9/11 attacks were as follows: six from Pakistan, six from Bangladesh, four from Guiana, two from Sri Lanka, two from Gambia, two from Ivory Coast, and 1 from Yemen, one from Iran, one from Ethiopia, one from Turkey, one from Trinidad and Tobago, one from Burma, one from Albania, one from Greece and one from India, representing 1.07 percent of the total number of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks, which is the same percentage of Muslims in the United States."
In the aftermath of 'bin Laden Dead' it would be nice if the regret of attacks against fellow Muslims was what a billion Muslims take forward from this global nightmare.  Setting off 'necessary' wars in Muslim lands is not consistent with regretting attacks against fellow Muslims.  Of course he meant Muslim on Muslim attacks, but the result of his Muslim on 'infidel' attacks was the same.
5277  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Parenting Issues - Living (well) with Down Syndrome on: May 03, 2012, 12:02:05 PM
George Will: ..."the world would be improved by more people with Down syndrome, who are quite nice, as humans go."
Another story that doesn't fit neatly into existing threads, but Down Syndrome becomes the life of the parents as well as of the child.  90% of Down's kids are now aborted; the remaining parents bond quite strongly together, living with a common challenge and joy.  In our (extended) family, a beautiful Down Syndrome girl is for sure our favorite relative.  She is the one always most excited to see you, most excited about meals, dessert, presents, birthdays, even naps.  I call it 'up syndrome'.  Anything more about her needs to go in the gratitude thread.

Anyway, George Will has a column about his oldest son Jon Will, now turning 40.  His love and pride shines through the story. 
----  Read George Will’s Touching Column on Raising His Now-40-Year-Old Son With Down Syndrome  "Jon Will’s gift"  by George Will

"The day after Jon was born, a doctor told Jon’s parents that the first question for them was whether they intended to take Jon home from the hospital. Nonplussed, they said they thought that is what parents do with newborns."   (Subtly written in the third person for perhaps the most powerful moment in their life.)
"This era has coincided, not just coincidentally, with the full, garish flowering of the baby boomers’ vast sense of entitlement, which encompasses an entitlement to exemption from nature’s mishaps, and to a perfect baby. So today science enables what the ethos ratifies, the choice of killing children with Down syndrome before birth. That is what happens to 90 percent of those whose parents receive a Down syndrome diagnosis through prenatal testing.

    Which is unfortunate, and not just for them. Judging by Jon, the world would be improved by more people with Down syndrome, who are quite nice, as humans go. It is said we are all born brave, trusting and greedy, and remain greedy. People with Down syndrome must remain brave in order to navigate society’s complexities. They have no choice but to be trusting because, with limited understanding, and limited abilities to communicate misunderstanding, they, like Blanche DuBois in “A Streetcar Named Desire,” always depend on the kindness of strangers. Judging by Jon’s experience, they almost always receive it.

Will’s column concludes on a hopeful note, noting that Jon will spend his 40th birthday at a baseball game, where he is, apparently, at his happiest."

5278  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Freedom of religion... on: May 03, 2012, 11:22:51 AM
"Perhaps we should merge the two threads?"  - Yes.  Many including me think of the First Amendment as freedom of speech but of course it is much more than that:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

The follow up to Barton's book about Jefferson can go in the Founders thread, but this interview was all about Stewart trying to challenge the author's personal views on free exercise of religion.
5279  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Newt Gingrich, almost the next Reagan on: May 03, 2012, 11:14:47 AM
For quite a long time the country has searched and given up searching for the next Reagan, who was not perfect either.  Newt was something like Reagan but with important differences.  Different levels of self discipline and consistency were part of it. 

With Reagan it was all about America, not Ronald Reagan, always.  All about freedom, never about him.  Reagan did not get bored with chasing the same 3 things every day, limited government, a strong America standing up to communism and a vibrant, free economy.

Newt's successes were that way, his best speeches, his best debates, his best policy ideas, and in the organizations he set up to chart a new path for America.  In other ways it was apparent that Newt was about Newt. 

Much of his past demise as Speaker was unfair.  They filed charges against him on everything and when he settled what he couldn't afford to fight, he was called guilty.  A speaker doesn't have the power of the Presidency to communicate back when his perfectly sensible words (a bureaucratic agency that would 'whither on the vine') were clipped and used wrongly against him.  He had nothing like the Edwards guilt in his scandals but he had allowed that vulnerability too, with secrets he needed to keep and a woman with 'good tastes' to placate.  Thousands in jewelry and a trip to the Mediterranean when your focus is the highest office is not focus or discipline. 

Reagan by the end of 8 years also had problems, worn down by the process, the opposition, the media and perhaps his impending illness.  His administration barely survived Iran-Contra, but Iran-contra was about doing everything possible to fight communism, nothing about personal advancement or gratification.  What brought Reagan back to prominence in history was that his policies were largely still in place - and they worked.  Growth was robust, he got his successor elected on a promise to continue the policies, revenues doubled in a decade, the wall came down and so did the Soviet empire.  He had won 49 states in reelection but the real results were not apparent until he was gone.

Had Gingrich survived 8-10 years of Speakership and kept focus and discipline on the core principles underlying the 'Contract', being elected President would not have been a stretch.

Newt IMO should have settled much earlier for a behind the scenes role with someone else on the stage, but that is not who he is.  I wish him all the best in private life.
5280  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Young Barack Obama in Vanity Fair on: May 03, 2012, 12:05:24 AM
One thing said about Barack Obama is that there was almost no record of him, no ex-girlfriends, no college roommates, no writings, no grades etc. meaning no vetting or that we don't really know who he is.  Part of that is solved with a new book coming out by a Wash Post reporter.  Vanity Fair has a 6 page excerpt:

I take from it two things, he is more real and genuine for having some past revealed and some relationships.  Second is that my belief that he did not write his own books was reinforced.

"In Dreams from My Father, Obama chose to emphasize a racial chasm that unavoidably separated him from the woman he described as his New York girlfriend.

    One night I took her to see a new play by a black playwright. It was a very angry play, but very funny. Typical black American humor. The audience was mostly black, and everybody was laughing and clapping and hollering like they were in church. After the play was over, my friend started talking about why black people were so angry all the time. I said it was a matter of remembering—nobody asks why Jews remember the Holocaust, I think I said—and she said that’s different, and I said it wasn’t, and she said that anger was just a dead end. We had a big fight, right in front of the theater. When we got back to the car she started crying. She couldn’t be black, she said. She would if she could, but she couldn’t. She could only be herself, and wasn’t that enough.None of this happened with Genevieve. She remembered going to the theater only once with Barack, and it was not to see a work by a black playwright.

“It is an incident that happened,” Maraniss quotes Obama as saying in a decades-later interview, but it wasn’t with her.

“That was not her,” he said. “That was an example of compression I was very sensitive in my book not to write about my girlfriends, partly out of respect for them. So that was a consideration. I thought that [the anecdote involving the reaction of a white girlfriend to the angry black play] was a useful theme to make about sort of the interactions that I had in the relationships with white girlfriends. And so, that occupies, what, two paragraphs in the book? My attitude was it would be dishonest for me not to touch on that at all … so that was an example of sort of editorially how do I figure that out?” "

They found the girl he went to the play with and one other girlfriend andjournals and letters.  The incident did not happen.  It was, in my conjecture only, a stereotypical race relations discussion between sort of black man and white woman, fictionalized by someone else.  The composite story is interesting but there have been other indicators that his notes were the take off point for whomever wrote the rest.
5281  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Freedom of religion, David Barton, author ofThe Jefferson Lies on Jon Stewart on: May 02, 2012, 11:42:56 PM
I started to post this on Founding Fathers while listening but they never in this interview really got to Jefferson.  So let's call it Freedom of religion.

I heard David Barton on a re-run of Glenn Beck radio over the weekend.  One thing he said was that Jefferson's Koran had some writing inside the front cover and I wanted to know what it was.  Didn't find out.  Searching, 'The Blaze' said this interview was the number one google search of the day.

Keith Ellison took his oath on the Koran and said it was Thomas Jefferson's Koran, thus making it okay?  But as I suspected, Jefferson had the first English translation of the Koran to read in order to understand the enemy he would go to war against that killing and enslaving Americans (and people from other non-Islamic countries) that would pass through the Straits of Gibraltar.

Barton is a conservative Christian historian involved with 9 Supreme Court cases.  Stewart is a liberal Jew, a comedian, trying partly to do a Charlie Rose style interview and partly to debate him.  Odd interview/debate but interesting.

A point Barton makes is that Freedom of Speech should not exclude religious speech.  Stewart can't comprehend how if America is 84% Christian that they could ever think they get unfair treatment.

On the radio, Barton defended Jefferson against quite a few myths that are out there about him; that is the core of the book.  Buy the book and tell us the rest:
5282  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia:IBD - One word missing in President's end of the war speech on: May 02, 2012, 02:49:49 PM
"Better in the Afpakia thread , , ,"   Okay, so moved.
I had to read to the end of a good piece, critical of the President, to find out the word missing was "victory".
"the document he signed with Afghan President Hamid Karzai is a meaningless basic agreement to talk later about forging a real agreement."
"Tuesday night's speech from Kabul emphasizing withdrawal was his first substantive statement in eleven (11!) months. Nothing to the nation from its leader on an ongoing war for nearly one year, while finding time for 124 campaign fundraiser speeches, more golf games and vacations."
"One little-noticed provision of the agreement Obama and Karzai signed Tuesday, however, is that American troops will remain in Afghanistan for not one, not two, not even three more years. They will be there for 12 more years, until 2024, helping. So, John McCain was correct after all about lengthy U.S. troop stationings."

(More plus full text of the President's remarks at the link.)
5283  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / re. reporting of war deaths in Afghanistan on: May 02, 2012, 02:43:31 PM
'This week with David Brinkley George Stephanopolous' ABC Sunday mornings also has kept their feature of naming and honoring the dead.  A credit to them.

I don't watch evening network news but it would be interesting to know if there is consistency.  My selective memory recalls it being the lead if not only story every day from Iraq under Bush until they finally had a bad economy to crow about.
5284  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: May 02, 2012, 01:28:54 PM
"Some outlets don't know what the hell they are talking about."

As lamented on Media Issues, I very much regret the need to get so much of my information from biased right wing sources, and I very much appreciate that this format makes it possible to get misinformation cleared up very quickly.

Your distinction of not staying a second term versus that I wrote 'leaving' is quite valid.  Most cabinet members I'm sure serve no more than one term.  It does not mean a rift or anything like that.  She has been 100% loyal in her position.  More dedicated to her job than her boss has been to his. (MHO)

It's just that with the Clintons there is some history that precedes her service in this capacity.
5285  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: May 02, 2012, 12:45:06 PM
"Who says Sec. State Clinton is leaving the administration?"
Hillary Clinton Would Not Serve Second Term In Obama Cabinet

I did not mean to say sooner than that, just that she won't be staying on.

"She can't go to the convention, because the SecSt is meant to be a non-partisan position, and it is inappropriate to attend."

That is a good point of clarification.  Some outlets ran it to mean more than that.

The idea that foreign policy is meant to be non-partisan has a sad element of humor and nostalgia to it, while her husband stars in a highly partisan campaign commercial - about foreign policy - running right now. 

5286  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Media Issues: MSNBC mixing 'we' and 'White House' on: May 02, 2012, 11:39:48 AM

Innocent slip up? Andrea Mitchell, MSNBC:

"What do you think of the Republican criticism that we are politicizing it -- that the White House, I should say, is politicizing it?"
Worried about my previous commingling, is she news or opinion?  wink
5287  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The fight for the US Senate: On the Reservation with Pocahontas Warren on: May 02, 2012, 11:30:43 AM
There is an upside down race in the fight for the US Senate, the so-called Ted Kennedy seat is a left state seat held by a Republican (Scott Brown), so it is an obvious pick up opportunity for the Dems to offset likely losses elsewhere.

Elizabeth Warren is the perfect candidate, an articulate leftist and Harvard professor.  She should be able to mail it in and win.  But...

This accomplished white woman, it turns out, needed to compensate for a past of discrimination against her for her 1/32nd Cherokee Indian heritage.  Who knew?

Ripped in a local paper:

White and wrong: On the reservation with Elizabeth Warren
By Howie Carr  Wednesday, May 2, 2012

We all know about “undocumented workers.” Now we have Elizabeth Warren, the undocumented Indian.

Funny thing, I think Ted Williams was one-fourth Mexican. He was white. Johnny Bench is one-eighth Indian. I always think of him as white. And then there’s Pochantas Warren, the blue-eyed, one-32nd Cherokee (or so we’re told) who went from the Southwest Conference to the Ivy League over the course of a decade in which she was claiming to be a “minority professor.”

But once she’d parlayed the racial-spoils racket all the way to a tenured position at Harvard Law, she decided to ... pass, as they used to say in the old South. Once she’d reached the pinnacle of her trade, she ditched the fake-Indian routine. Maybe White Eyes Warren saw the smoke signals and figured out that someone was going to call her out on her ancestry. She was right.

Still, all’s well that ends well. She has her $1.7 million wigwam in Cambridge. Greedy Wall Street lawyers slurp top-shelf firewater at her $1,000-a-head Manhattan fundraisers. Maybe someday she’ll even smokum peace pipe with Tim Geithner.  (more at the link)

5288  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / North Korea: The Day After (the regime falls) - Bill Keller, NYT on: May 02, 2012, 10:53:34 AM
I enjoyed this opinion piece by former NY Times Editor Bill Keller.  I like things that indicate the end of something unimaginably evil is either possible or inevitable, like the PRC and the DPRK.  He is saying we should be preparing now for the aftermath of the regime.    Excerpt:

"The big question we should be asking is: What about the Day After? If the regime’s days are numbered, the end is likely to be messier than anything we’ve seen in the Arab Spring. Why aren’t we sitting down with the Chinese, South Koreans, Japanese and Russians and making a plan to prevent nuclear material from being sold to the Russian mafia or the Chinese triads; to keep some panicky general from incinerating Seoul (minutes away as the artillery shell flies); to dissuade China or Russia from sending in troops to take advantage; to prevent Nuremberg-minded prison commandants from bulldozing the evidence into mass graves; to fend off an even more monumental human calamity than the famine of the mid-90s? Then, how do we reunify Korea without bankrupting the South? "
5289  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: May 02, 2012, 10:00:00 AM
Both the NYT and the USA Today have fallen troops section of their front section.  That isn't silence or ignoring. ... 

This is an interesting point and a credit to those publications missed by those of us who read around on the internet.
5290  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential, I killed OBL and you didn't on: May 02, 2012, 09:57:26 AM
I agree that there are going to be mistakes in the heat of battle.  But this one is a doozy.  It is a not an ad hoc remark or hot mic moment but a highly planned out ad, timed with the anniversary of the greatest operation in recent times, utilizing the celebrity status of a former President, and orchestrated with the followup from the Vice President.  The powers of incumbency and the powers of having a huge campaign war chest ran amok.  Wrong to spike the football came right from the President, not the opponents, and it had to do with not inciting more attacks on Americans, not politics at home.

Of course Obama deserves credit for the OBL kill, just like Nixon does for approving the landing of the first man on the moon.  

The campaign is pairing the magnificent performance of our special operations with a gotcha attempt on Romney quote, vague and clipped, where he said he wouldn't move heaven and earth to get one man.

The Romney point in 2008 I think was to remember there are other metrics in the war on terror of how we are doing like not having our cities and planes blown up  He was saying don't publicly build up the international importance of getting this one man.  Not saying don't kill him.

There were too many "I"s in the original Obama announcement.  He didn't get it that it was enough that he was the one got to make the amazing announcement to the country and to the world.  The political bump was there but relatively small and short lived.  If another 3 week bump was possible, they needed it in Oct, not April.

Soon they will be saying Romney's foreign intervention policies will be too aggressive and dangerous.  He is too willing to go after targets like this and prosecute a war on terror when we should be pulling away.  (The Mission was Accomplished.)

President Obama's foreign policy record is cheapened by the bravato.  Republicans will certainly criticize his record and he could have said in rebuttal, 'hey, I got us out of 2 wars and killed Osama bin Laden'.  Instead it looks more like two surrenders and a no-brainer.

This attack made it through the highest levels of the campaign, which means the idea came from someone with so much pull that no adviser could say it was ill-advised.  Most likely came fromthe President himself, or the first lady?

The other explanation is that the idea was pushed forward by Bill Clinton, a political genius, but in intentional sabotage.  Funny how he is right in the middle of it - while his wife is leaving the administration, not going to the convention.  No one is that cynical.   wink

5291  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential, spiking the football "despicable" on: May 01, 2012, 05:42:09 PM
re. Seals Slam Obama:  Why, is there something wrong with "spiking the football"?

Obama managed to piss off David Brooks and Arrianna Huffington, his own allies, with his only accomplishment.

Brooks: "Last week, the Obama campaign ran a cheap-shot ad on the death of Osama bin Laden. Part of the ad was Bill Clinton effectively talking about the decision to kill the terrorist. But, in the middle, the Obama people threw in a low-minded attack on Romney. The slam made Clinton look small, it made Obama look small, it turned a moment of genuine accomplishment into a political ploy..."

Huffingtom:  "this line of attack -- that a combination of an opponent's lack of patriotism and low machismo makes him a national security threat, and therefore unelectable -- is particularly "despicable" ..."

5292  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Economics: The Interconnected Economy on: May 01, 2012, 03:19:35 PM
This statement of Crafty's in the Calif thread makes a great point that has widespread implications in economics:

"...the high unemployment rate and the closely related decline in discretionary income with its attendant decline in discretionary spending-- which unfortunately for me is how most wives see martial arts-- are really hitting the portion of my income based upon local spending"

We keep trying to target groups for taxation, only the rich, only the business owner, only the other business owner.  But you cannot tax or punish the other guy ("crucify" in the case of coal companies) without taxing yourself or your own family.

In this particular case, let's say we design a big tax increase so carefully that it hits every business except martial arts schools.  Up goes unemployment, down goes take home and discretionary income and instantly the martial arts school is taxed in lost income.

It isn't trickle down; it is interconnectedness.  Tax the business owner, the employees suffer.  Tax the store, the customer gets hit.  Tax the energy used in manufacturing driving costs up, factory jobs go overseas.

If we spend to excess and then don't tax anyone to pay for it, just borrow and print money, everyone is still hurt by the declining value of everything else in diluted dollars.
5293  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Monetary Policy, Inflation, US Dollar & other currencies, & Gold/Silver on: May 01, 2012, 11:31:14 AM

Two thought leaders, from both extremes. 

Ron Paul is right about inflation being theft but a little off and confusing to me on monetary and Fed issues.  He says in his book 'End the Fed' if you read it closely he does not say end the Fed but end the monopoly of the Fed.  Okay, but IMHO:  We just need a better managed, sole function Fed, manage our currency to protect its value; our currency value should not be manipulated to compensate for policy errors elsewhere in government.  We don't need a full return to gold convertibility, but to track a 'basket of goods and commodities' that includes gold.  We already track it we just don't act on the information.

Krugman doesn't say we are in a recession, he says we are in a depression.  We should expand the monetary base and deficit spending far far more than we are right now in his view.

Interesting disagreement over their citing of Milton Friedman on the Fed's role in the (other) Great Depression.
5294  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california on: May 01, 2012, 10:41:19 AM
Without a doubt California is a beautiful place and JDN's pride is a positive thing.  It is more than a coastline but plenty of the rest is beautiful and abundant too.  Plenty of human assets with great universities and historically great businesses.  As CCP suggests, the point of the criticism is that it is a very badly governed place and more than a warning to the rest of us.  So bad that a moderate Republican couldn't turn the corner, nor now can a moderate Dem.  Like CCP says, the spending is so large and out of control there is no faucet any more for lawmakers to even slow the spending.

Personally I don't understand how leaving future voters and taxpayers to pay legacy costs of past workers work in  the form of pensions and healthcare passes any test of consent of the governed.

The migration out is huge phenomenon.  JDN argues that the successful are the ones staying.  I don't believe that but if true, look at what problems they are exporting to the other 49.

Victor Davis Hanson often writes interesting personal stories from living on a family farm in one of California's poorest areas in the country to commuting to Stanford in one of the world's richest areas.  VDH blog:
This excerpt is from a post about Europe:

Munich and Athens in California  February 12th, 2012

"I drive each week from one of the poorest areas in the U.S. to one of the wealthiest. A man from Mars after walking in west Selma and then downtown Menlo Park could tell you exactly why the gap is not three hours, but more like three centuries. One-quarter mile from my house about 30 people live in wrecked trailers behind a farmhouse with an assortment of barn animals wandering about the premises; about 100 yards from my tiny studio apartment in Palo Alto, Facebook zillionaires bid upwards of $2 million for a tiny house worth about $70,000 in Fresno.

But both these extremes at least share common laws — in theory a common language, the same constitution, and an identical popular culture. In contrast, when I go from the Peloponnese to the Rhine I see about the same vast economic divide, but one in which different histories, languages, cultures, and ethnicities acerbate — not mitigate — the gulf. In fact, if I were to dream up a way of having central, rural California go to war against the wealthier coastal strip from San Diego to San Francisco, I would simply have them first craft a EU-like arrangement for a few years."
5295  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california on: May 01, 2012, 12:20:34 AM
Complete denial of a problem?

Didn't they use to be the 5th largest economy in the world?  1984-1985.  Now smaller than Italy.

Amassing a small fortune.  By starting with a large one.
5296  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential - wasting time on: May 01, 2012, 12:06:24 AM
"In my fraternity house in college I got what was called the "silver spoon award". It was a joke; it's given to the poorest pledge; that was me. "

Silver spoon funny for poor kid but you weren't joking and maybe we aregetting at the root of your hate.  Yours was an attack on the person and you keep defending it and expanding on it.  I gave you synonyms to fix that, he was raised to be successful.

"As for housing cost, Romney did pay more for his house in one year than he paid for taxes.  Further, he got a mortgage deduction for his $20million dollar beach house."

You say rich beyond comprehension, successful to a fault, and in the next sentence say he had to borrow to buy his second house.  No he didn't.  You say it 3 times and don't link it.  Rich people don't need to borrow, they lend. There is no issue about Romney taking inappropriate deductions.  It is still just an attack against the person, the Latin that  is ad hominem.  Be civil.  Stop doing that.  

You miss the main point anyway.  If he pays 20 million for bricklaying, electrical, plumbing, roof installations, cabinet work, counters, custom closets, nice windows put in etc.  WHO BENEFITED FROM THAT??  He is out the $20 million though got his money's worth so he is about even, but the bricklayers, framers, sheetrockers, cabinet makers, the guys that paint the lines on the tennis court, etc. - collectively they are up about $20 million, getting their bills paid and hopefully putting their kids through college.  While the best perhaps were busy on this house other workers won bids on other projects etc and the other businesses in the area all benefit fromthe chain of events coming from a major new construction site.  What is the downside of this?  For all you obsess on it you just won't say what is wrong.  What is wrong with good, healthy, private, consensual, adult, hard earned economic activity to liberals?  What is wrong with having a beach house?  Using it or having the freedom to not use it.  I just don't see the problem and you won't say what it is.  Because if HE owns it someone else doesn't?  So no one should??  You just keep ripping it like we all already know how bad it is.  But I don't hate rich people or resent successful people.  We don't all attack and divide.  Our side doesn't hate poor people, we want them to have the opportunity to earn whatever they want.  We want people set financially or at least able to pay their bills.  Rich means one more person we don't have to support.  It's not filthy.

Who was it, I forget, who said "don't covet your neighbor's house"?

The President's job is not to individually counsel food stamp recipients on how to pay electric bills without money and to know from experience how it feels.  He or she IMO is supposed to (among other things) set with congress our public policies so that every American has the best conditions conducive to long term economic growth and prosperity that are possible.  It was the 'liberal' party that used to say "a rising tide lifts all boats".   Anybody remember THAT?  

Finally, yes, be civil.  Parroting hate speech is hate speech.  Don't do it.  Do you think the us vs. them, divide-America line is okay because everyone you know is doing it?  In a we-the-people country, somebody is going to call you on it.
5297  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics on: April 30, 2012, 06:08:40 PM
GM,  It would be interesting to get a version of that clock that shows the debt since Democrats took power in Nov 2006 / Jan 2007 - and the 'growth' we bought with it.  The new Senators that year are up for discipline (re-election) this year.  The majority of women in 2010 already voted the first woman Speaker.   The de facto leaders of the Senate then and Executive Branch now, Obama, Hillary and even Biden are also up for second thoughts by the electorate.

All they can say it was worse before they "got here' and point to when they instead controlled congress.
5298  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: April 30, 2012, 05:52:12 PM
The examples I gave were of hate speech.  The qualifier meaning 'lots of' in front of rich is not "filthy".  Silver spoon is phrase about hatred, not about utensils.  That you would hate and vote for him shows contradiction and nonsense.  Given the disapprovals of both sides of congress, maybe hate is what people want to feel. If it informs you about how he will govern, inform us what you found out instead of the same repetition.

Housing cost is a per month or per year measure.  You compare a one time investment that likely does not go down in value at all and say it is larger than a per year tax expense?  You are not that stupid...  GM, is he?

The feeling I and others hold toward President Obama is about how he IS governing us.  I hate it, not him.  I wish him private sector success, just like George McGovern who turned on a dime after he started in business and fought the red tape.  Obama's association with these radicals told us in advance how he would govern.  These terrorists were not free market advocates. (  The words you have expressed toward Gov. Romney are about ad hominem hatred - against the person.  Did you oppose his health care plan, his tax plan more moderate than Huntsman's, his moderate view on climate change?  No.  His person.

Does one have to be poor to understand growth economics?

A different view is that to study poverty is to study nothing because poverty is the absence of something, not a quality in itself.  Like studying particles in a vacuum.  They aren't there.  I don't want someone experience at being destitute.  I want someone who knows the way out.  If one accepts that wealth is good, one can study the conditions conducive to it growing and spreading it, not taking it.  You in at least one side of your posting do not admit or accept that wealth is good.  Without that acceptance, growing it or spreading it is of no value.

When I meet successful people I am overwhelmed with curiosity, not envy or hatred.  The amount of wealth alone tells me NOTHING about how they will govern.  Especially true for Romney for the reasons you suggest.  He sort of grew up wealthy but his family started with nothing, made most of it after he grew up and he made his fortune on his own with of course the advantage that he was close kin with an important man.

Billy Carter beer brand, Neal Bush of Siverado S&L, Hugh Rodham of pardon fame, and Obama's aunt on food stamps all also came out of close kin with important people.  It is an advantage of great potential but not determinative of your future.  Nor any indication of how you will govern.

Romney is now the blank slate that Obama once was.  Paint what you like on his canvas.  Obama is inescapably tied to his record.  He painted all over our canvas and people are finding it ugly.
5299  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential - Keep looking for shiny objects, here! No, over here! on: April 30, 2012, 09:40:28 AM
Don't look at the President's presidency, his policies, his results.

The thing about your hatred of Romney, JDN, "filthy rich" "OPULENT" "silver spoon" etc is that it sheds light only on you; it tells us nothing about him or how he would govern.  

Why would a loving family man want to be rich?  So he is beholden to no one, so he can take care of his own, without anyone else's help, so he can go on to other activities etc.  You fail to show a negative in it and amazingly keep saying "so what" to your own arguments!

Did Mitt Romney spend more on housing than he paid to the government?  Did he spend more on housing than he gave to charity? Did he spend more on housing than the federal affordability guideline of spending roughly one third of your income on housing?  No. No. And no.  He spent more than you - that's about all we know.  You link a picture but I've seen nice places before; I enjoy knowing successful people.  Is 6 hours on his bed better than the 8-9 hours of deep sleep I got last night.  I doubt it.  He doesn't have to fix his own toilet flapper if it leaks but neither do my tenants.  It looks like he gives his neighbors greenery and privacy out their door and windows.  Unless he plays music too loud, there is not much at the Romney compound to complain about. How many workmen made how many dollars building his homes, to help pay for their own?  He has a tennis court but also he has a wife, 5 sons, 5 daughter in laws and 15 grandchildren. I would have gone with at least 2 courts in his situation but it looks like they preferred to keep the trees and were a little cramped for space.

What kind of house SHOULD he live in?  Should he have stopped making money when he had enough.  Actually he is one of the few who did; that did not slow the hatred.  When he is on the west coast, should he have to stay in hotels, cut rate  hotels,  if he can afford his own place?  Should we have laws restricting second home ownership or second home size, further killing that market?  If so, who does that hurt most?  Or is this NOT about POLICY in the first place?

When we figure out what JDN really hates, maybe we could have a thread about that and stop muddling up the important political threads.  There's going to be an important election this year.  Someone should make a coherent argument why we should stay on the same course or else we should change course.

FIVE tries at the martian joke and still no one knows what JDN is talking about.  Someone other than me should tell JDN we don't hear those voices.
"Whatever his past, Ayers is now a respected member of the Chicago intelligentsia ...  solid academic credentials and "passion for social justice.""

Whatever his past, you wanted Osama bin Laden dead or in the Islamist intelligentsia?
"Barack was very well known in Chicago, and a highly respected legislator."

His signature piece was the right to kill babies AFTER they pop out the womb alive.  Or as they say on the left: a  "passion for social justice."
What you JDN don't see or won't admit here is that we have been moving America in their direction every minute since the election of Nov 2006 and everything has gotten worse.  It got worse for the rich.  It got worse for the poor.  It got worse for working people and it got worse for people looking for work.  The prospects for the future from the unborn to the college seniors got worse.  We all share ONE economy.  It is not us vs. them; it is "we the people".  It is policies for growth versus policies for decline.  But saying they offer policies for decline doesn't sell, so again and again it is 'hey, look at this other shiny object - over here!'  Romney's dog, Romney's wife, Romney's religion, Romney's house, Romney's other house.  

With a slight correction in the CPI calculation, we are at 0.00% growth, equal to John Belushi's seven year GPA in Animal House.  0% growth at the bottom of the cliff AFTER FIVE TRILLION IN NEW DEBT.  Obama's previous budget failed in a Dem Senate by a vote of 99-0.  They asked his latest budget chief when this new budget balanced.  He stuttered like seeing Obama trying to explain to the rest of America why he liked Rev. Wright's sermons.  The answer for our economy repairing under their policies is never.  

We grow out of this after we vote out these losers and their policies.  Not one minute sooner.
5300  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: April 29, 2012, 03:52:38 PM
Yes, blah, blah.  What is the functional difference between flushing a million dollar toilet and a zillion dollar one.  A tenfold difference, lol. Even Obama defines both lifestyles as the 1%, labeled and categorized, whereas I would call each of them the family home, unjudged by me except for the gangster origins of the one.  Still no comparison to Kerry, Edwards, Gore or the Kennedys because that is different.  Still even a preference for the gangster money versus the earned. 

There is nothing to argue about in terms of how to move the country forward when we share no values or desired direction for the country in common.  We are running against the if-I-wanted-America-to-fail braintrust and they are a clever bunch.
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