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5501  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: June 07, 2012, 12:25:41 PM
Translating the Wisconsin exit poll to the Presidential in rough terms.  Widely reported is that 17% of Walker voters say they plan to vote for Obama.  Not reported was that 5% of Barrett voters say they will vote Romney bringing that down to a net 12.  The exit poll predicting a tie was wrong to the Dem side by 7 points, so that means (to me) (all other things equal) Obama will do 5 points better in Nov than Barret's actual result, which (again) was losing by 7.

That is very rough analysis because I don't buy the idea that in a highly partisan contest pitting neighbor against neighbor that any Walker vote is a decided vote for Obama or any other Dem.

National politics are different than state politics? True, but businessman Ron Johnson beat popular hometown incumbent liberal Russ Feingold for the US Senate seat statewide in Wisc by 5 points  in 2010:  It can happen.

If Wisconsin is close, that means Romney already won about 40 other states.  We will see.
5502  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics - Wesbury goes political on: June 07, 2012, 12:08:44 PM
Posted in Obama Phenomenon is an IBD rebuttal to any positive spin on the Obama record.  I was wondering what Wesbury might have said in his  Monday morning response to Friday's dismal economic news.  First some positive spin "acceleration in the household number suggests the job market is not as bad as it was made out to be", then a clarification on his "Plowhorse Economy" designation:

[The reasons we have a plowhorse economy are the] "the same reasons Europe had slow growth and a high unemployment rate for the past three decades: government spending, taxes, and regulation have been a huge burden."

"Government is a burden which slows growth and reduces job opportunities. The only way to get a permanent acceleration – in real GDP, incomes, and job growth – is to lighten the load. The good news for the US is that there is a four step plan to make this happen and we’re going to face all of them this year.
First is the recall election on Tuesday for Scott Walker as Governor of Wisconsin. Democrats in Massachusetts and Rhode Island – even Rahm Emanuel in Chicago – have also carried out reforms for government workers, but Walker’s efforts created a massive political backlash. A Walker victory would set the stage for more reforms in other states.
Second is the late June Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare. Health insurance is an important issue and many reasonable people disagree about inequities in that market, but a government takeover would signal further growth in government spending and regulation, which would dampen the entrepreneurial spirit and increase uncertainty.
Third is the November 7th presidential election, when voters across the country get the chance to signal a desire to roll back the size and scope of government. “Core” government spending – outside of defense, TARP, interest and entitlements – has hit a record high in recent years. A change in leadership would mean a chance to greatly reduce the share of GDP controlled by Washington. Finally, the scheduled tax hike on income, capital gains, and dividends in 2013 has become a wall of uncertainty for business to overcome. If the first three steps happen, this one will too.
These steps will decide whether the US heads toward a European-like future or remains a bastion of free market capitalism. As each step unfolds, the momentum of the decisions will also become more visible. We remain confident America is a “center-right” country that respects its Constitution. If so, look out. The Plow Horse may turn into a thoroughbred."

5503  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics, What Makes Countries Rich or Poor? on: June 07, 2012, 12:00:42 PM
Responding to BD's previous post in the thread, that is a very important question and sounds like a great book suggestion.  I find the points made in the review extremely valid.

Within the question of rich or poor countries I think are two questions, why do great nations fall and how come most places never develop any wealth in the first place.

Two other books of note on this topic:

"Conquests And Cultures: An International History" by Thomas Sowell
Detailed studies and wisdom from across the globe and throughout history.

Also a 14th century Arabic book by Ibn Khaldun that I searched out after Arthur Laffer called him the first supply side economist.  'The Muqaddimah' (introduction to history) covers timeless economic principles from 1377, now published at

This is an excerpt in translation that I picked out his economic observations:

"In the early stages of the state, taxes are light in their incidence, but fetch in a large revenue...As time passes and kings succeed each other, they lose their tribal habits in favor of more civilized ones. Their needs and exigencies grow...owing to the luxury in which they have been brought up. Hence they impose fresh taxes on their subjects...[and] sharply raise the rate of old taxes to increase their yield...But the effects on business of this rise in taxation make themselves felt. For business men are soon discouraged by the comparison of their profits with the burden of their taxes...Consequently production falls off, and with it the yield of taxation."
5504  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Obama Record - Another look at the pathetic legacy - this one from IBD on: June 07, 2012, 11:33:13 AM
Investors Business Daily takes a try at summarizing the Obama economic record with data from a number of reliable sources.  Sad but true:

The Obama Record

The Obama Record: May's weak jobs report further confirms the president's policies are failing to help the economy. This is, indeed, the worst recovery since the Depression.

Negative superlatives associated with this presidency keep piling up. The toll so far:

• The share of Americans who've been out of work a long time — now at 42% of the unemployed — is the highest since the Great Depression (source: Labor Department).

• The proportion of the civilian working-age population actually working, at 58%, is the smallest since the Carter era (Labor Department).

• Growth in nonfarm payroll jobs since the recovery began in June 2009 is the slowest of any comparable recovery since World War II (Hoover Institution).

• The rate of new business startups — the engine of job growth — has plunged to an all-time low of 7.87% of all businesses (Census Bureau).

• 3 in 10 young adults can't find jobs and live with their parents, highest since the 1950s (Pew Research).
mp3Subscribe to the IBD Editorials Podcast

• 54% of bachelor's degree-holders under the age of 25 are jobless or underemployed, the highest share in decades (Northeastern University).

• Black teen unemployment, now at 37%, is near Depression-era highs (Labor Department).

• Almost 1 in 6 Americans are now poor — the highest ratio in 30 years — and the total number of poor, at 49.1 million, is the largest on record (Census).

• The share of Hispanics in poverty has topped that of blacks for the first time, 28.2% to 25.4% (Census).

• The number of Americans on food stamps — 45 million recipients, or 1 in 7 residents — also is the highest on record (Congressional Budget Office).

• Total government dependency — defined as the share of Americans receiving one or more federal benefit payments — is now at 47%, highest ever (Hoover).

• The share of Americans paying no income tax, at 49.5%, is the highest ever (Heritage Foundation, IRS).

• The national homeownership rate, now at 65.4%, is the lowest in 15 years (Census).

• The 30-point gap between black and white Americans who own their own homes is the widest in two decades and one of the widest on record (Census).

• Federal spending, now at 23.4% of GDP, is the highest since WWII (CBO).

• Excluding defense and interest payments, spending is the highest in American history, at 17.6% of the economy (First Trust Economics).

• The federal debt, at 69% of GDP, is the highest since just after WWII (CBO).

• The U.S. budget deficit, now at 9.5% of the economy, is the highest since WWII (CBO).

• U.S. Treasury debt has been downgraded for the first time in history, meaning the U.S. government no longer ranks among risk-free borrowers (S&P).

This is what Obamanomics has wrought. Fiscal promiscuity. Trickle-up poverty. Shared misery.
  - but we're on the right track and need to do more of the same...   huh
5505  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california on: June 07, 2012, 11:23:26 AM
Broken record, but "... sometimes additional money is necessary" is true but additional money means raising tax revenues which are tied to growing the economy, not raising nominal, marginal tax rates on some guy hiding behind a tree.

Growing the economy also would alleviate some spending burdens. 

I've yet to see a study even out of California that ties disinvestment to positive economic growth.
5506  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics: John B Taylor, The problem is Policy on: June 06, 2012, 10:13:44 AM

(Video at the link)

John B. Taylor On Economy: "The Problem Is Policy"

John B. Taylor, the Mary and Robert Raymond Professor of Economics at Stanford University and the George P. Shultz Senior Fellow in Economics at Stanford's Hoover Institute, delivers the Manhattan Institute's Eighth Annual Hayek Lecture.

(Transcript begins at 2:10)

"Let me start and talk a little bit about this book, 'First Principles.' It starts with the fact that the American economy is just not doing very well. That's pretty obvious. We had a growth rate of just 1.9 percent [according to] the most recent data, unemployment is very high, long-term unemployment astronomically high. We've just gone through a deep financial crisis and a very serious recession, and the recovery is by any definition unprecedentedly weak compared to American history. So, we've got a problem here. And, also, as Paul [Gigot] mentioned in his introduction, our debt is exploding.

"And my view, looking at this and thinking of alternative explanations, I think the problem is policy. And the way I put it simply is that policy has deviated from the basic principles of economic freedom. Now, if Hayek were here, he'd be saying, 'Tell us what you mean. What do you mean by economic freedom, Taylor?' What I mean is the situation where individuals, families decide what to buy, what to produce -- they decide where they will work, they decide how they're going to help other people. But they do this within a framework. It's kind of the American vision, if you like. And that framework involves five things: 1) predictable policy, 2) rule of law, 3) a reliance on markets, which generates 4) good incentives, and 5) a limited role of government.

"And when you think about America, those five principles have pretty much defined the country since its founding, and I think that's why it's done well. That's why so many people have come here and how so many people have done well by coming here. And we're certainly, over the long span of time, much better than any other country. But we've had our ebbs and flows in the degree to which we adhere to these principles of economic freedom. And I think we can learn a lot from those ebbs and flows, see what happens when you move one way or the other in terms of policy.

"So, just think of it, just think of history. The Great Depression. We deviated from a reasonably predictable policy by cutting money growth. The Federal Reserve did that. Friedman and Schwartz pointed that out long ago. Started things off, made what may have been a minor downturn much worse. So, that's the first deviation, if you like, from good principles. We raised taxes, we raised tariffs big time, and then we put in place this National Industrial Recovery Act, which was price controls, discouraging competition by allowing collusion, all the things that you would define, I would define, based on that definition, as deviations from basic economic freedom. Well, what's happened? Of course, we don't have to repeat that mess in describing it.

"Another example: In the mid-60s all through the 70s, policy also deviated from these principles. We started these kind of temporary stimulus packages, the Federal Reserve was go-stop, go-stop, we had wage and price controls for this entire economy. The performance was terrible. Double-digit inflation came, double-digit unemployment came, growth slowed down dramatically. Of course, interest rates were astronomical.

"OK? Next period: The 1980s, 90s until recently, we seemed to move back, if you like, towards these principles. Temporary stimulus packages of the unpredictable variety, discretionary variety were out. Long-term tax reduction, tax reform was in. Go-stop monetary policy was out. Steady as you go monetary policy came in, focused on price stability, largely under [Paul] Volcker. The remnants of price controls were removed. A major federal welfare program was devolved to the states, a reflection on more limited federal government power. The performance was unbelievably good. Unemployment trickled down all that period, inflation came down, growth started to pick up pretty dramatically, productivity growth. Economists call it the Great Moderation. It was such a good time for performance.

"Unfortunately, now, we've drifted back, in my view, away from these principles. And I can go on with a long, long list in this case. The Federal Reserve, I think, in leading up to the crisis deviated from the kind of rules it was using by and large for most of the 80s and 90s. And they held interest rates too low. The mantra these days is 'too low for too long.' That set off some of the excesses, the housing boom, in my view, particularly. Regulators, I think, of financial institutions failed to enforce the rules. That's a deviation from a rule. On the major financial institutions, risk-taking rules, and especially on institutions like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

"Then the crisis came, and we had massive deviations from predictable policy with the bailouts. I'll come back to the bailouts in a few minutes, but whatever what you think about those, they were massive deviations from predictable kinds of policies. Then we had the stimulus packages. We had one in 2009, but don't forget, we had one in 2008. We had 'cash for clunkers' and first-time home buyers. And we had temporary reductions in the payroll tax…for two months. We had quantitative easing, unprecedented amount of intervention by the Federal Reserve. And policies which will apparently try to hold interest rates to zero through 2014.

"If you look at just some data here, in the three years around 2000, there were 11 provisions in the tax code that were up for grabs, up for a change. Now, there's 131, a massive amount of increase in unpredictability, if you like. And just think of this 'fiscal cliff' everyone's talking about. That just wasn't dropped on us. That is a self-inflicted policy. That is sort of the epitome of unpredictable policy put in place, and rightly, people are concerned about that.

"So, as I look at this situation, it seems to me the evidence is pretty clear, and you can debate this and go back and forth, but I just think it's so powerful, the evidence. And the implications are very clear, aren't they? We should apply those principles, and we should apply them to the current circumstances that we're in."
5507  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics on: June 06, 2012, 10:04:31 AM
Very interesting series of posts, many valid points going in all directions.  I don't buy that there is some currency to take the place of the dollar, IMF special drawing rights or anything else.  The world IMO does not have an economic plan that does not include a safe, strong America leading.  A short term chart of the dollar gaining strength against the Euro while the EU implodes is very unpersuasive.  Same for Crafty's point that gold has retreated but from what levels.

I see things more simply.  Fix what we know is wrong and quit trying to figure how far we can drive with a broken engine and a missing suspension.  A couple of years ago it was agreed widely on the board that this is a two election fix.  Grannis sees the second leg of that coming, even uses the L-word (landslide).  I see that too but my certainty level is way too low.

Interesting that the deficit to GDP ratio shrank, but the debt of the earlier years is still there along with the trillion a year plus still accumulating.  Borrowing 7.4% of GDP on top of our tax burden is still outrageous.  What is the debt burden of the current projection after interest rates return to 5-6% if not 13%.

Beyond whether the policy arrow can shift in Nov, the question becomes what kind of medium growth policies can follow in a still bitterly divided country and a closely divided Senate? 

On the regulatory front, repeal of Obamacare is one big piece but only gets us back to where we were when we imploded.  What other regulatory changes can happen on the employment front? None?  Some movement on energy is about all that I see and maybe repeal of the administrative ruling that CO2 is a poison.

On the spending front, the Ryan plan is getting badly demagogued.  Maybe holding spending at record high levels is what we will call victory on 'spending restraint' and the rest comes down to growing our way back to sane ratios.

On the tax side, is there going to be a consensus for sweeping reforms that come out of this election?  Is there going to a lowering of marginal rates, removal of loopholes and an end to this terrible tradition of making tax rates temporary and uncertain?  I don't know. 

What about the other electoral outcome.  Obama is still ahead in polls; Dems could take the House and hold pretty steady in the Senate.  How do we survive this then?
This following exchange excerpt was particularly interesting, excellent question Crafty!

"...If I have my numbers right, the Feds borrow 40% of what they spend and get 60-70% of that by printing it!..."

SG: "To begin with, the Fed has not been printing money, contrary to what everyone seems to believe. The Fed has bought $1.6 trillion of notes and bonds, but they have paid for them not with printed-up dollar bills, but with bank reserves. The vast majority of those reserves have never seen the light of day (in the form of actual money used to run the economy). They are sitting on the Fed's balance sheet. What the Fed has effectively done is to to a massive swap with the rest of the world: the Fed has handed out massive amounts of T-bill substitutes (i.e., reserves that pay interest equivalent to T-bills) in exchange for an equal amount of notes and bonds. Since the dollar has not collapsed and inflation has not gone to the moon and the M2 money supply has not exploded to the upside, we can pretty confidently conclude that the Fed's actions were almost exactly what the world demanded. In short, the Fed expanded the supply of safe-haven dollar liquidity in order to accommodate the world's almost insatiable desire for such liquidity. When money supply rises in line with money demand, this is not inflationary.

In that he knows more than me that is partly reassuring.  My theory is that when we are not taxing 40% of what we spend, there is no monetary policy that covers for that kind of fiscal irresponsibility.  It sounds like they did as well as they could, though that is very hard to follow.  We are now invested in Europe's failure too, so one currency is no longer much of a hedge against the other?  My theory further is to judge things like gas prices, interest rates and inflation after demand is restored.  If gas is $4 while people are not working or buying it, what will be the price at these levels of supply in a fully functioning economy?  The amount of liquidity injected matched the shortfall in a disastrous downturn.  How will those expansions look later, assuming we correct our other problems and re-start robust growth? 

One of Crafty's points remains unaddressed, the whole concept of saving has been destroyed for a generation if not forever.  Money to loan doesn't come from savers anymore, it comes from something like that paragraph above of Scott's, "the Fed has handed out massive amounts of T-bill substitutes", etc.  Another consequence of artificially low interest rates is that home mortgages are still being Fed subsidized.  The bubble is far less inflated than it was, but still these phenomena are not free markets but public policy constructs with no end or phase out in sight.
5508  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: June 05, 2012, 11:40:31 PM
All (partially) true.  Except that it was Dems who first nationalized the issue and the race and are you really a real Dem voter if you voted for Walker?  Maybe you are a former Dem voter.

"many Dem voters didn't think a recall was called for"

Yes.  He turned a $3B deficit into a surplus without a tax increase.

True that Obama polls better in Wisc than Barret.  Also possibly true that Obama polls better than his own future vote count. 

Coming into 2010, the Gov races in Virginia, New Jersey and the Scott Brown senate race were all unique, not a certain indicator of times to come.  All you can say is that it's a start - and a lot better than losing.

5509  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics- Networks calls Wisconsin for Walker, recall loses on: June 05, 2012, 10:36:29 PM

Up 9 points with 83% reporting at the moment.

Quite a defeat for thepublic union lobbies.  Quite a defeat for the Pres. who mailed his support in the night before via tweat:


"It's Election Day in Wisconsin tomorrow, and I'm standing by Tom Barrett. He'd make an outstanding governor. -bo"

In fact, the Pres. was not standing by Tom Barrett and isn't 'bo' the White House dog?  Woof!

12% of sconis considered restoring public sector union rules their main concern.  Maybe some other states can balance their budgets too.
5510  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Sen. Marco Rubio earning respect in Senate for foreign-policy work on: June 05, 2012, 07:02:00 PM
On the previous point I agree with JDN.   grin  Madison Wisc is on a pace to hit 119% turnout.

Sen. Marco Rubio earning respect in Senate for foreign-policy work
Political pundits focus on Sen. Marco Rubio as a vice-presidential shortlister, but Senate colleagues from both parties say the freshman Republican is becoming a key foreign-policy player.

By Marc Caputo

Marco Rubio had just stepped off the plane from his first visit to Cuba, the homeland of his forebears, a land at the heart of his political identity.

Did he at least bring back a souvenir?

“No,” he said Tuesday evening.

No sand? No water? No rocks?

“No,” he smiled.

For Rubio, who traveled to Guantanamo Bay Naval Base as a member of the Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence, the trip was all business. And that’s pretty typical for the Republican freshmen senator, according to colleagues like Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry and Rubio’s fellow foreign-policy hawk Sen. Joe Lieberman.

“Marco’s not a show horse,” Lieberman said. “He’s a workhorse.”

One day he’ll be giving a speech at the Brookings Institution in Washington or the Council on Foreign Relations in New York on Thursday. Next, he’ll be lugging Henry Kissinger’s “Diplomacy” tome to a Munich conference, stopping along the way in Madrid to chat with Spain’s prime minister in Spanish as his unilingual Anglo colleagues twiddle their thumbs. He also has travelled to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Malta, Libya, Haiti and Colombia.

The nation’s political chattering class focuses most heavily on Rubio as a vice-presidential shortlister, but his Senate colleagues can’t help but talk about him becoming a key foreign-policy player as a member of the intelligence and foreign-relations committees.

Lieberman and Kerry are Senate experts both in foreign policy and running in a presidential election. Kerry was the Democrats’ presidential nominee in 2004; Lieberman the Democrats’ vice-presidential candidate in 2000 before becoming an independent.

Both say Rubio is able to handle the rigors of the national campaign trail and the Senate at the same time.

“I’ve been impressed by his thinking — doing the homework necessary to earn the credibility with respect to your approach to things. I think that’s constructive,” Kerry said.

“A lot of the colleagues around here, obviously, are interested in substance and interested in people who do the work and are not impressed by people who are prone to play the political end of something and hold a press conference and not do the work,” Kerry said. “They want to see someone buckle down and learn the ropes. And I think he’s clearly been doing that in a very positive way.”
(excerpt only, more at the link)

5511  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Romney targets Hispanics on: June 05, 2012, 06:32:21 PM

"The Obama campaign recently released a Spanish-language web ad asserting that 'we're on the right path,'" the Romney campaign says with the release of this ad. "Mitt Romney disagrees and believes that rising unemployment and more Hispanics in poverty is not the 'right path' for our country. America can do better and, with Mitt Romney as president, we will."
5512  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama Phenomenon: The Pathetic Legacy of Barack Obama on: June 05, 2012, 02:02:59 PM
John Hinderaker, founder of Powerline, ends the media sugarcoating of the Obama record:

The Pathetic Legacy of Barack Obama

A week or so ago, an online liberal floated the absurd proposition that Barack Obama has been a fiscal conservative. He claimed that Obama has presided over the second-slowest increase in federal spending in recent history. Given that the Obama administration has run up $5 trillion in new debt while spending vastly more than any administration in history, how was this feat of legerdemain performed? We explained it here and here: (

Briefly, the claim depends on attributing all of FY 2009 spending to the Bush administration. FY 2009 represented the biggest increase in federal spending in history, by a very wide margin, and Bush had little or nothing to do with it. That was the year of the stimulus, and the Democratic Congress assiduously avoided passing a budget until Obama had been sworn in, in January 2009. Obama and the Democrats own FY 2009 spending lock, stock and barrel. The remarkable thing is that even though “stimulus” spending is over, the Democrats haven’t cut overall spending at all, but rather have increased it even further from the astronomical FY 2009 level. The attempt to paint Obama as a fiscal conservative was so transparently stupid that even the Washington Post and the Associated Press denounced it.

But that hasn’t stopped Obama himself from going back to the well. Today he said, at a New York fundraiser with Bill Clinton:

    Even when it comes to their big issue, the deficit and the debt, as President Clinton just mentioned, you know, the truth is that the two presidents over the last 30 years, 40 years, who had the lowest increases in government spending, you are looking at them right here. They’re on this stage.

Forget for the moment how utterly dishonest this is, and how sad that Obama continues repeating the lie even when his own most loyal supporters in the media have deserted him. What I want to focus on here is how pathetic it is that Obama is now reduced to posing as a fiscal conservative. Did Obama run in 2008 on a platform of restraining federal spending? Of course not. He represents the left wing of the Democratic Party, whose main objective is increased federal spending. To the extent that he has influenced legislation, has it ever had the purpose of limiting federal spending? Don’t be ridiculous! His signature legislative “achievements,” the stimulus and Obamacare, entailed billions of dollars in new federal appropriations. Has he ever even proposed to limit spending in any meaningful way? No. On the contrary, his budgets have been so flamboyantly profligate that in the last two years, not a single Senator or Congressman has been willing to vote for them. Obama has never been, or tried to be, anything but a far-left spendthrift. So the fact that he now is reduced to posing as a green-eyeshade cost-cutter is simply pathetic.

The same thing has happened in foreign policy. Obama ran as a classic foreign policy leftist, skeptical of his own country’s history and interests. He denounced “torture,” a reference to the three hard-core terrorists who had been waterboarded years earlier, and vowed to close Guantanamo Bay. He thought he could influence the Muslim world by virtue of his middle name and his Indonesian boyhood. All of that is now ancient history. Obama’s proudest boast, as he runs for re-election, is that he didn’t prohibit the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Recently, the White House has leaked the claim that Obama himself chooses the terrorists to be killed by Predator missiles. In the 1960s, when the press reported that Lyndon Johnson was personally selecting bombing targets in Vietnam, it was one more nail in Johnson’s political coffin. Today, Barack Obama, having completely failed to achieve anything he intended when he took office, is so desperate that he has nothing better to offer: he presents himself as not just a skinflint, but a bloodthirsty one. It is, as I say, a pathetic legacy.
5513  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / MA Dem convention requiring voter ID on: June 05, 2012, 08:41:55 AM
Many states have Voter ID on the ballot this year.  Democrats vehemently oppose it; it will block people's right to vote.

Meanwhile quite humerous is that at the Mass. Dem convention this weekend endorsing Elizabeth Warren, the convention required voter id.  It seems that they wanted to be certain who each person was because the vote is important and they don't want any fraud.  Hmmm.  What about the disenfranchised.  Who looks out for them?

Voter ID is good for me, but not for thee.
5514  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness- Wisconsin on: June 05, 2012, 08:35:37 AM
Followup to what I wrote 6/1, but it is mind-boggling that Pres Obama, who does all things political, is flying around Wisconsin air space trying to look like Wisconsin recall is not his fault.  The biggest vote short of Nov is today.  Who knows the outcome...  But if the recall effort fails and Obama didn't help, how is that better for him than if it fails and he did help?  What will he be saying when he finally does come to Wisconsin, Badger stadium in October: 'Wisconsin, I need your help.  I can't do this without you.'

Pres. Clinton gets it.  Came to Wisconsin.  Praised Romney's Sterling business career.

Magic touch or emperor has no clothes, Pres. Obama ever since delivering the presentation about himself to the Olympic committee can no longer say "Harry, I have a gift."
5515  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races on: June 04, 2012, 05:29:57 PM
Budgets only take a simple majority and they haven't passed one of those either.  Blame Republicans all they want but Senators like Ron Johnson, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Mike Lee, Jim Demint, etc did not go to Washington to support Harry Reid's agenda.  The majority needs to find common ground and attract crossover votes.  A lot of that bridge was burned in the shenanigans of Pelosi-Obamacare where they sought out no Republican vote.

The most government we should (IMHO) ever have is what 60 Senators can agree on.

Wikipedia has a nice summary of the changes in cloture.  As I understand it, a real filibuster used to require someone actually continuing the debate while less than 60 support cutting off debate and calling the question.

Dems are hesitant to reduce the power of the minority in the Senate back just months before becoming the minority.
5516  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Abortion on: June 04, 2012, 02:03:36 PM
Unmarried, unemployed and 3 kids already, the man who had impregnated her had just been sent to jail for robbery.  She ought to have the freedom to kill off at least one of the others too.  Aren't they all equally unwanted?

Morally equal and far more effective might be to kill off the mother before it happens again.
5517  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: June 02, 2012, 04:57:26 PM
"The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press yesterday released a survey indicating that public opinion of the high court is currently at a quarter-century low."

Give some credit to the President for calling them buffoons on camera in front of the nation and the world.  The recent audio coverage of the healthcare hearing with clips of it in the media was also a strange way for the layman to view their work.  They look and sound better behind closed doors.

"there is very little partisan divide as Republicans, Democrats and independents all responded with relatively unfavorable ratings"

Add the dissatisfaction of the left on Citizens United plus Bush v. Gore to how conservatives view the abortion and takings rulings and you have some discontent.  I suppose independents just see 4 hardened extremists on each side and one unpredictable justice deciding all close issues.   

Meanwhile a divided congress gets about a 14% approval.  You would think it would be zero, what is happening there for any side to approve? 

It is early June with a landmark decision on healthcare coming late this month.  I hope veryone who is interested will take the time to write their own healthcare decision.  What is the strongest argument of the other side to your decision and what is the crucial argument that trumps that.  Bigdog and others, I would love to hear from you, your students or from your readings prior to those 9 people getting the last word. 
5518  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Marriage and Family - The single-mom catastrophe on: June 02, 2012, 03:54:55 PM
"The single-mom catastrophe
The demise of two-parent families in the U.S. has been an economic catastrophe for society."

Thanks JDN for a great post.  As a single parent with custody since almost birth I can tell you that while you play the hand that life deals you, you don't in fairness to the kid choose or plan a home environment that does not include a mom and a dad, married, in love, all under one roof.

Not only welfare programs, but also so-called feminism and liberalism in movies, television, schools etc that act to break down our society from its foundation.  Too bad. 
5519  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races, Elizabeth Warren on: June 02, 2012, 12:59:46 PM
It should have been the smallest of meaningless mistakes but it builds and grows and spreads as she stubbornly sticks to it.  2 days ago the Boston Globe finally jumped in and said she needed address it.  Yesterday she was doubling down on her falsehood.  Today we see more from Brietbart, Crafty's post.  Her lips move and no truth comes out.  Also today she will be endorsed by her state party to run for the U.S. Senate, to seek truth and a more perfect union, ratify treaties and confirm Supreme Court Justices.  

It's only be a Massachusetts race and seat but these elections are national.  The story is about things broken in politics, like government, logic and honesty. 

Mass. Dems were thrilled to field a nationally prominent liberal with close ties to Obama to run for the 'Kennedy' senate seat.  It was the only obvious pickup in the senate for the Dems before Olympia Snowe announced she was leaving in Maine

Obama and Warren are both personally enthralled with their own personal stories.  Why would we care who their ancestors are, but Obama's must tell us his freed the Auschwitz camp - apparently fighting for the Soviets.  He put out the most autobiographies of any President in history, and that was before he was President and without even writing them.  She is at least 31/32nds Caucasian- white irish? anglo-saxon? protestant.  BORING.  The girl needed some color and a story to match it.  She needed to share old family recipes even if they just come from research aid plagiarists.

Assuming people have a short attention span and we need reform on every aspect of public policy, why would either of these people, Obama or Warren, spend a precious second talking about themselves instead of their ideas?

Did Harvard or anyone else rely on her false story to hire her, promote her, tenure her and raise her to national prominence?  We will get that information the same day we see President Obama's complete educational records.
5520  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness, Rock the vote? on: June 02, 2012, 01:41:40 AM
It was nice to see the President in the neighborhood today.  You can see Wisconsin from here. Scott Walker is rolling to victory on Tuesday.  For some reason the President does not want to weigh in on a fundamental red vs. blue governing question in a strongly blue state. 

Obama won Wisc in 2008 by 14 points and had over 70% of the vote in both Milwaukee and Dane County (Madison).  Now its just flyover country for him.  If Obama loses Wisconsin in Nov it will mean Romney has won 40-44 states.
5521  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics, DB Poster GM kicks Wesbury 'below the Mendoza line' on: June 02, 2012, 01:22:39 AM
Mr. Obama, YOU are the "serous headwind" the US economy is heading into.

Unemployment up.  New jobs down.  Previous months new jobs revised down.  The number of long term unemployed up.  Worker participation rate down.  Average work week down.

Who could have seen this coming?

Wesbury has 2 days to put together his Monday morning outlook:  'After Fridays market collapse we see even greater buy opportunities?', 'we feel good about the worst recovery ever'
"The U.S. economy has “slipped back under the Mendoza line,” JPMorgan Chase (JPM) Chief U.S. Economist Michael Feroli said Thursday, before the jobs report came out but after another discouraging report—the news that the U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of just 1.9 percent in the first quarter. The Mendoza line is baseball lingo that has made the jump into business. It’s a reference to Mario Mendoza, a shortstop for Pittsburgh, Seattle, and Texas in the 1970s and 1980s whose batting average (below .200 in five of his nine seasons) has come to stand for the dividing line between mediocrity and badness."
"The economy bottomed out in Q2 of 2009, before a single Obama policy had taken hold.
The economy has been sputtering along that natural bottom ever since.
It now takes $2.52 in new debt to raise GDP by $1.00
 - from GM's post Apr 28 2012
A billion dollars of political ads doesn't make this look any different.

Economic decline was a political choice.

5522  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california on: June 01, 2012, 09:49:21 AM
"With roughly 11% of the state’s budget dedicated to incarceration,"

There is a theory that the welfare culture plays a contributing role turning the lives of men in particular toward crime and incarceration.  See writings by Thomas Sowell, or books by George Gilder including 'Wealth and Poverty' and 'Men and Marriage'.   The government and the welfare system takes the place of what used to be the role of the husband and father as the provider.  Under our system it is primarily the female with child/children who get most assistance.  For every woman or girl with a baby who take public support, not as a temporary assist but as a way of life, the male is then free of that responsibility, free to impregnate elsewhere, and to pursue a life of survival, recreational drugs and crime on the streets.  He can shack up with a single woman on assistance and not be bound by rent, mortgage, healthcare payments, buying groceries and not have to get up and go to work on a regular basis.  The theory holds that the adult human male needs the responsibility of family or is otherwise prone to fill that void with less responsible pursuits. The people operating outside of our productive economy are available for other diversions like drug or gang activity which tend to be outside of the law and many eventually experience incarceration.

Of course we also incarcerate fully employed white collar criminals too, embezzlers, insider traders, etc. family men, but I don't think that is where the numbers are.  It would be interesting to know what portion of the 11%, a huge budget item in Calif, is indirectly an offshoot of our big hearted, good intentioned welfare system.

It is quite old fashioned, but there used to be a culture that the man did not get to have sex with the pretty girl unless he committed to take care of her and any young ones until death do they part.  Men would not only agree to that but be better off for it.  Not so much anymore.
5523  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california on: May 31, 2012, 01:54:10 PM
"It IS a subsidy.  You get the same public benefits/services as someone who buys their house this year, yet because you bought you home years ago, you pay much much less."

No.  You are playing with words here.  Your property tax is not a usage fee.   Property tax is theoretically based on your ability to pay.  Your school tax does not depend on whether or not you have school age children.  Your fire cost does not change with brick vs. wood construction, we don't charge welfare recipients for using welfare services, etc.  Arguably original purchase price is a better benchmark for ability to pay than current market value when market values run wild, and 'current market values' have proven to be grossly overinflated and false. 

The person paying on a 20 year old value is still probably paying in more than his cost for government services, just not more than his share of total costs.

All rates need to be lower so that equalizing the rates will not put families out of their homes.

It frankly would be fairer to base your tax assessment on the way you vote than where you live.
5524  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: May 31, 2012, 01:39:00 PM
"Did Romney actually have a poor jobs record?"

In a high growth economy I believe the Perry people were saying Mass. was 47th best.  That is still more jobs growth (any positive number) than Obama got in all 50 states (slightly net-negative).

"And if MA's record during his term was poor, how much of that is due to MA being a arch-progressive state?"

That Romney's state was screwed up by Dems makes a lousy defense for Romney, but an even worse line of attack for Obama.  I suppose Romneycare impending was a job growth killer.  Which one of them wants to make that point?

With huge Dem majorities in both houses, there was not going to be a lot of supply side reform no matter what Mitt's view or effort was.  On that point I would add with certainty that Romney cannot solve our national problems either if sent to Washington with huge Dem majorities in congress to manage the status quo. 

Massachusetts may have other unique factors in that time.  I know they are a high-tech state, maybe they were slower to come out of the tech crash Clinton Gore recession.

In any case, it is Obama's people not Romney saying to take a closer look at Massachusetts.  If people do, they will find that he was not 'severely conservative', he was a pragmatic Massachusetts moderate, constrained by blue state realities, which will not fit the beholden to the far right picture they are otherwise trying to paint.

The attacks on Romney keep circling back to just judging Obama on his record.  Are you better off now than you were 6 trillion dollars of new debt ago?
5525  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california on: May 31, 2012, 12:00:26 PM
"Texans on average pay more than double CA's property tax rate.  A lot of states pay double our tax rate."

The argument pro and con over Prop 13 is important, but comparing property tax rates to a zero income tax state is quite a bit misguided IMO.  Also missing in the "double" argument is that property tax is roughly the same percentage of income in Texas (3.65%) as in California (3.59%) - and they have no income tax.

Tax issues are interesting but IMHO there is no tax rate solution for that level of excess spending.

"I bet if we raised our property taxes to the nations average, more important taxed every building the same percentage, we could lower our state income tax rate quite a bit."

No.  If you could tax more, spending would go up even further.  Look at the record.  State and local spending up 250% in the last 18 years?
5526  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: May 31, 2012, 11:33:51 AM
"Also very much worth noting is that TARP, Stimulus 1, 2, etc were all supposed to be one time propositions, not permanent increases to federal spending-- which was 20% under Bush and is now 24% under Baraq."

Yes.  As much as any other force, the Pelosi-Reid-Obama caused the downturn.  They passed all the temporary emergency spending.  They score it all in the 'before inauguration' category, even the parts that weren't.  They went on to make temporary emergency spending levels permanent. (Who could have seen THAT coming??) Then claim they exercised spending restraint, blaming their predecessor.  But their predecessor WAS the Pelosi-Reid-Obama congress.  They were IN power before they took power. (Bush deserves blame too, but that has already been thoroughly accomplished!)

On top of all that, they describe the spending at 24% of GDP problem as temporary, a glitch in accounting just because GDP happens to be unusually low.  But lowered GDP was the policy choice, not some earthquake or meteor that hit us from somewhere unforeseen.  Fannie Mae, CRAp, the Fed, the debt, the bubble, the excessiver regulations, the impending tax increases, their fingerprints are all over all of it.

They expressly wanted to give up economic growth for fairness and they got us neither.
5527  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: May 31, 2012, 11:14:08 AM
Team Obama keeps losing traction on its campaign initiatives starting with the Romney dog story trumped by the man eats dog story and comments on the flavor.  The bully story is matched with quite a book revealing a lot of Obama's youth, the interceptor, the total absorption method.

The Bain private equity story was trumped by the failures of the Obama public equities failures.

The latest attack is the mediocre record of Mitt Romney as a one-term Governor of Massachusetts. 

Funny thing is that compares quite favorably with Obama's partial term record as US Senator from Illinois.

Romney was elected to a 4 year term and left the state largely as head of the national governor's association, was focused on springboarding to the Presidency.  Obama left a 6 year term to announce and campaign for the Presidency.

Romney had a lousy job creation record.  Obama's record for 50 states is even worse.

Romney passed state healthcare with a mandate, now opposes national healthcare with a mandate.  Obama's passed national healthcare, perhaps violating the constitution - we will see.  Romneycare was passed within the constraints of the Mass. constitution.

Romney is a flip flopper, changed his view on abortion.  Obama changed his view on gay marriage - back to what it was before he changed it last time.

When the games chapter of the campaign is over, maybe we could compare the two different governing philosophies and choose one.
5528  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / (Famous people reading this forum) The Obama Spending Record on: May 31, 2012, 10:56:51 AM
Also could be entitled famous people reading the forum.   wink

The Obama Spending Record

Every journalist not in the re-election tank has been shredding President Obama's recent claim that spending growth has been modest on his watch. But kudos in particular to the Associated Press for hitting several White House accounting gimmicks in a dispatch last week.

Team Obama has lately been arguing that the astronomical spending blowout of fiscal 2009 was President Bush's fault and that outlays have since climbed only moderately. This means ignoring that Mr. Obama's $831 billion stimulus was enacted during that notorious fiscal year that straddles both presidencies. And AP cataloged various other distortions embedded in the Obama claim. For example, early in his term Mr. Obama signed an omnibus appropriations bill that also increased spending in fiscal 2009. This was less than a month after the stimulus.

Beyond the AP report, it's also worth noting that Mr. Obama endorsed other 2009 spending that he now blames for today's deficits. As a senator, Mr. Obama was habitually absent during significant votes. But one that he did show up for in 2008 was the Senate's vote on the 2009 budget resolution, and he voted "yes." Mr. Obama showed up again in the fall to vote for TARP. One can reasonably label this as Bush spending, but it occurred with an explicit Obama approval.

Where Senator Obama did oppose the spending patterns of the Bush years, it was often, as with Medicaid, because Mr. Obama wanted to spend more. Speaking of health care, and given all of this attention on the Obama spending history, it should not be forgotten that the big taxpayer bills generated by ObamaCare are still to come.

Is federal spending really the issue that Barack Obama wants at the center of this campaign?
5529  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california on: May 31, 2012, 10:48:27 AM
I leave the underlying problems of the inner city for another thread and my views are out there.  The analogy point was that in-migration / out-migration at the margin matter immensely at balancing a public budget.  You need all these factors moving in the right direction - and then some.  And they aren't.   I agree that Gov. Brown cannot solve problems without the electorate and the assembly on the right track.  I have not followed Brown closely, but my guess is that if all he has proposed were enacted it would not improve or solve things.

I don't know how to say it more persuasively, but another 2% tax (20% tax increase on job creators) won't bring in another 2%.  Experience says it will bring in about the same amount or less and if investment leaves, jobs leave. The rich adjust their behavior; they are already paying all of what they are willing to pay.

Both Brown and Schwarznegger were mavericks at one point in their own parties with the potential to do some straight talk and push for sweeping change.  None of that to my knowledge is happening.

You're entitled to your own state governance.  My problem is that I don't see how America gets healthy with California in hospice.
5530  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Anti-semitism & Jews on: May 31, 2012, 10:07:29 AM
Okay, point taken.
5531  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california on: May 31, 2012, 09:57:38 AM
JDN, Of course Calif is beautiful, so is Greece.  Solving the economic problems is a matter of moving things in the right direction in terms of business climate and productive investment.  California needs robust growth going forward to survive, not a gradual erosion of its economic greatness, Silicon Valley, etc. Those other states are doing something right.  Calif, not Wisconsin or Iowa, leads this nation economically, at the moment it is in the wrong direction.  Calif can't survive having so many factors moving against them, lower workforce participation rates, out migration of workers, business investment out or down, (still) increasing regulations on business, failure to develop natural resources, inflationary capital gains taxed at very high ordinary income rates, the worst corporate tax rate in the developed world, etc. etc.

Remember the economic greatness of Japan and how it stalled.  At the start of the stall, it was said (WSJ I believe) that what Japan's economy needed was bold action on a number of policy fronts, and that what Japan's political system was incapable of is bold action.   

California's economic problems today are far worse.  Long term unemployment is undermeasured at 10-11%,  underemployment at 20%, workforce non-participation rate dropping toward 50%, and productive resources in a net-outflow direction?  What they need (MHO) and are incapable of is a sharp turn toward red-state style governing, Scott Walker style public sector reforms, sharp public spending cuts, sweeping deregulation (the excessive ones, not pollution, corruption etc.) and tax rates competitive with its neighbors and competitors.  JDN, you may support some of this but really these ideas are not even on the table.
Here is a different example of a net in-migration solving budget problems, my daughter's outer ring suburban school district.  They have conservative governing principles, a strong academic focus, a 99% graduation rate and a 93% on-to-college rate, and put out color glossy annual reports and advertising to tout it.  That shouldn't matter in the public sector but MN has a public school open enrollment policy so kids (parents) can choose their school district without moving if the district has the space to accept them.  Roughly 10k/year of state funding follows the kid to the district.  The net inflow to the good districts allows them to fully utilize existing resources and hold the line against new tax levies.  With a class size close to 30, $10,000 per kid per year is a revenue stream of close to 300k per classroom, enough to hire a teacher, a smartboard and pay for quite a bit of overhead (hockey arena, domed stadium, orchestras, foreign language immersions, college programs etc.  In Mpls OTOH, they probably have far better diversity training, Head Start participation and other programs, friendship camps etc. but the graduation rate is 50%, the outflow of students and money in massive, the cost is double at 20k/yr/student and the budget situation is a mess. When they closed North high, hardly anyone noticed because the enrollment was a fraction of what it once was.  It isn't just the out-migration that is killing them (or Calif), it is that the underlying causes of that movement keep going unaddressed and unsolved.
5532  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Anti-semitism & Jews on: May 30, 2012, 10:05:38 PM
"some did hold thumbs up watching Jews pass by on trains to death camps" - comment below

"For centuries Poland was indeed tolerant of Jews."  - agree.

It was just movie but one thing I took from Schindler's List was that even people in the line were not fully aware of what was happening.  The crime was so horrendous the victims couldn't comprehend it.  Who knows what an outward sign of approval meant.
5533  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california on: May 30, 2012, 05:12:38 PM
"I can't imagine moving to Iowa from CA"

The post was empirical, not imaginary.  It didn't say you would move; it said others already have.  A serious rebuttal would be to quote a study to the contrary or point out what is wrong with their methodology.  Nothing but silence on those scores.

JDN's reaction to be called out on condescension for the heartland is to pile on more of it.  What a shame.  Iowa jokes are big here.  Keyword is joke, not just snobbery - like you and the bitter clingers guy.  What part of half the unemployment rate and friendlier to business (and cleaner air, cleaner water, better education and lower crime rate) don't you get? That only applies to people out of work?  Okay, but by that definition it still applies to millions of people.  Of course they are too poor or too stupid to matter?  What wealth do unemployed people have is just more snobbery.  One thing each unemployed, willing-to-work person has is perhaps 1-5 million dollars or more of future earnings.

It is no joke here in the Twin Cities that the income tax rate across the border in South Dakota is zero.  Look at what they don't have culturally that we do... still jobs leave.  Not all jobs leave but some do.  3M (Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing) fought for years with the state government over taxes, then expanded in a lower tax state:

We've had this discussion before.  That you won't admit what happens at the margin is CRUCIAL in economics, doesn't mean it isn't so.  There is a force pulling economic activity out of California.  That doesn't mean all economic activity leaves.  But a net out-migration of productive human resources is a force large enough to prevent you from solving your state budget mess without having to do even more painful root canal work.  Keep in mind you do not have to leave Calif to make some of your US income taxable in other states.

Another choice for Californians besides leaving or ignoring what is wrong or mocking those who govern responsibly would be to fix what is broken.  Good luck solving your problems without admitting them, or caring.

Unemployment rates by state, April 2012, BLS, link above
Rank   State   Rate
1    NORTH DAKOTA    3.0
2    NEBRASKA    3.9
3    SOUTH DAKOTA    4.3
4    VERMONT    4.6
5    NEW HAMPSHIRE    5.0
5    OKLAHOMA    5.0
7    IOWA    5.1
8    WYOMING    5.3
9    MINNESOTA    5.6
9    VIRGINIA    5.6
11    UTAH    6.0
12    KANSAS    6.1
12    MONTANA    6.1
14    HAWAII    6.3
14    MASSACHUSETTS    6.3
16    MARYLAND    6.7
16    WEST VIRGINIA    6.7
16    WISCONSIN    6.7
19    DELAWARE    6.8
20    ALASKA    6.9
20    NEW MEXICO    6.9
20    TEXAS    6.9
23    LOUISIANA    7.1
24    ALABAMA    7.2
24    ARKANSAS    7.2
24    MAINE    7.2
27    MISSOURI    7.3
28    OHIO    7.4
28    PENNSYLVANIA    7.4
30    CONNECTICUT    7.7
30    IDAHO    7.7
32    TENNESSEE    7.8
33    COLORADO    7.9
33    INDIANA    7.9
35    WASHINGTON    8.1
36    ARIZONA    8.2
37    KENTUCKY    8.3
37    MICHIGAN    8.3
39    NEW YORK    8.5
39    OREGON    8.5
41    FLORIDA    8.7
41    ILLINOIS    8.7
41    MISSISSIPPI    8.7
44    SOUTH CAROLINA    8.8
45    GEORGIA    8.9
46    NEW JERSEY    9.1
47    NORTH CAROLINA    9.4
49    CALIFORNIA    10.9
50    RHODE ISLAND    11.2
51    NEVADA    11.7
5534  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the Republicans, Polish Death Camps? on: May 30, 2012, 04:28:18 PM
Analogy would be if Romney's teleprompter said 'Amercia' and he pronounced it "a-mer-see-a".

Republicans are used to being held to a double standard on areas they are purported to be strong on, such as moral behaviors.  I don't a lot of sympathy for Mark Foley and the young pages or the Idaho Senator soliciting in the MSP men's room. Out they go often taking the party and the principle with them.

"give Obama the same break"

Obama has been held out to us as the smartest guy to set foot in the oval office, Rhodes scholar Clinton notwithstanding.  I believe it was JDN that pointed out in 2008 that McCain finished last in his naval academy class meaning that intelligence matters and that we will point out all evidence to the contrary.  (McCain knows how to pronounce 'corpsman'.) Obama still chooses to not let us know how he got where he got, whether it was based on merit or on something else.  I wonder how many times Bush was ridiculed for saying nuc-yular or other Bushisms.  When people see evidence that this emperor has no clothes and the msm take a pass on it, it is going to be circulated around the other places where people point things out to each other.

His teleprompter writer needs to write Corpsman as core-man to cover his ignorance and lifetime disinterest in all things military.  His handlers who proofread his speeches are so careful and thorough in honoring great American socialists but could give a rat's ass about offending our allies.  They should be replaced with better ones if he is interested in a second term.  Assuming Pres. Obama knows better, it tells me he is too bored with his own speeches to listen carefully while he delivers them.

Speaking of gaffes, his first real Presidential decision was to choose Joe Biden, a clean and articulate Senator, as the second smartest person in the land, assuming smarts are paramount.  His governing philosophy from Obamacare to Solyindra to carbon tax to cash for clunkers is that the smart people in Washington know better than you what is best for you.  I not only don't want to be ruled by people smarter than me but I also stubbornly deny that they in fact are.
5535  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the Republicans on: May 30, 2012, 02:01:56 PM
Speaking of gaffes  shocked
"But the Web was taking no shortage of presidential potshots Wednesday over Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s new mobile app, which embarrassingly misspelled “America.”
Yes, Internet. Welcome to AMERCIA."
This will be exploited by the 57 states/CorPsman guy?  We may look back and say this cost Romney the election.
5536  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california on: May 30, 2012, 01:56:27 PM
While you were asking how they could possibly leave with the condescension that no state in the heartland is livable after living in California, $10.6 billion of lost economic activity left.  Much of Calif FYI is not on the beach.

The idle ivory tower, liberal think tank, second and third generation, never-built-a-company wealth might never leave.  Those striving for future wealth are leaving in droves.

The article isn't about whether I think people could possibly out-migrate; it is about the part that is already happening.

Let's try asking another way about the desirability of building products in California.  Of all the great products made by great California companies (like Apple, Intel, Standard Oil of Calif and all the rest) what portion of those products are made in California employing another generation of Californians?  None??

5537  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: May 30, 2012, 01:37:34 PM
"A brief search on the subject.   Amongst Jews there were many memories of Poles very happy to see them exterminated.  Is this fair?..."
CCP, This quote from your link says it all:
"Poland was the only country in occupied Europe where giving any kind of help to the Jews resulted in summary execution of the helper and his or her family."

When death to your family was at stake in a Nazi military occupation, it is hard to judge any lack of resistance.  I assume there was no death camp in Poland that preceded Nazi-occupation.  Poles suffered enough in WWII and don't need to be blamed in American President misspeak for hosting the Holocaust. 

You would think the President pushing anti-wall street / anti-wealth rhetoric now, not much different from 1930s politics, would be more careful.

Obama has shown his lack of historic knowledge previously: "I had an uncle who was part of the first American troops to go into Auschwitz and liberate the concentration camps." 

Auschwitz was 'liberated' by the Soviets.
5538  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance Glibness - Obamanomics is polling no confidence on: May 30, 2012, 12:56:02 PM
IBD Editorials takes a look at performance and confidence in this 'recovery' compared to Reagan recovery and even the Bush economy.

A No Confidence Vote For Obamanomics
05/29/2012 06:45 PM ET

Economy: Consumer confidence took a "surprise" tumble in May, as home prices hit 10-year lows. Tell us again why economists keep calling bad economic news about Obama's so-called recovery "unexpected"?

Analysts had predicted the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index would climb to 70 in May. Instead it dropped more than four points to 64.9, the biggest drop since last fall.

It's the latest in another round of disappointing numbers. Just a few weeks ago, new jobs came in "unexpectedly" low. And before that, GDP data disappointed.

Underperforming economic indicators have been so common under Obama that the only mystery is why the experts keep getting caught off guard.

In the case of the Consumer Confidence Index, the current number — bad as it is — doesn't even tell the whole story.

First, it's worth noting the index has fallen for three months. Even if it had hit forecasts, it would still be well below 90, which signals a healthy economy.

The current reading is worse when you realize that under President Bush — you know, the guy who Obama says ruined the economy — confidence averaged 88.

That's despite two recessions, a terrorist massacre and two long wars. Throughout Obama's "recovery," the index has averaged 57.

To really get a sense of how dismal Obama's confidence ratings have been, you need to compare them to those during the Reagan recovery (for a visual display, see chart).

The 1981-82 recession lasted almost as long as the last one — 16 months vs. 18 months — and pushed unemployment higher. Yet confidence roared back as Reagan's economic policies powered a strong and sustained recovery, with the index topping 100 most months.

What reason do people have to feel confident today?

Almost three years into the recovery, unemployment is still above 8%, household incomes are down more than 5%, gasoline prices remain at historic highs, and the economy can only eke out meager gains.

On top of this, we learned this week that housing prices are back at their mid-2002 levels. So, naturally, Obama's again making excuses and shifting blame.

It's the fault of the long recession, he says. The economy is still facing "head winds." The GOP is "standing in the way" of his new stimulus spending plans and creating "uncertainty" with its calls for more spending cuts in exchange for another debt ceiling increase.

The real reason the economy is so vulnerable to "head winds" is because Obama's recovery has been so lousy. That has nothing to do with the recession, since deep recessions are typically followed by even more powerful recoveries.

Indeed, the only reason the economy continues to struggle for breath is because Obama continues to choke off its air supply. Even now, he has no clue how his policy prescriptions of vast new federal spending, gargantuan debt, massive regulation, a government health care takeover, and endless bashing of businessmen, profits and the "rich" are hampering growth.

Still, we are confident of one thing. The economy will come roaring back to life once all that stops.
5539  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / California's net out-migration: $10.6 billion in lost economic activity on: May 30, 2012, 12:43:23 PM
In order to truly raise taxes on the rich, you must first bar the exits.

Editorial: Still heading for exits from California

Tax group finds 125,000 more people left California than arrived in most recent period.

The 1996 Kurt Russell movie "Escape from L.A." might be remade as "Escape from California." New data show record numbers of Californians "outmigrating" to other states. The state's population is still growing, although at a slower rate, because of in-state births and immigration from other countries. However, recent immigrants generally have lower incomes than citizens, thus lowering the tax base.

The figures come from a new calculator created by the Tax Foundation, a taxpayers' rights group. It's online at:

During 2009-10, the latest period available, 406,833 Californians migrated to other states, while 281,521 people came here. Net outmigration: 125,312. Lost economic activity from those who left: $10.6 billion. Given that state and local taxes take about 10 percent, that comes to about $1.6 billion in lost tax revenue – for just one year.

Let's calculate the past decade, 2000-10. During that time, 4.9 million left the state, 2.5 million came in. Net out-migration: 1.4 million. Yearly lost economic production: $146 billion. Lost tax revenues, about $14.6 billion a year. That's almost twice the $8.5 billion Gov. Jerry Brown seeks in his tax increase on the November ballot.
(Much more at the link)
5540  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: May 30, 2012, 12:33:13 PM
No one is going to lose their health plan.  Really??  (I lost mine.)

Both sides of this debate need a plan to follow the Supreme Court decision, either way, next month.

Obamacare diagnosed as quackery
Court, Congress advised to quash it
By Sally C. Pipes
Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - Updated 1 day ago

The Supreme Court hasn’t yet rendered its verdict on Obamacare, but the nation’s doctors have. And they think it will wreck America’s health care system.

The latest evidence comes from a new survey of young doctors by the Physicians Foundation. Nearly 60 percent of doctors aged 40 and under are pessimistic about the future of American health care. Just 22 percent are optimistic.

The number-one reason doctors cited for their pessimism? Obamacare, which was singled out by more than a third. Add in related concerns — like distrust of government to do the right thing and the feeling that government intervention hurts patient care — and the docs’ hostility to Obamacare becomes even more intense.

When asked specifically for their diagnosis of Obama- care, just 23 percent say it will have a positive impact on their practice. Half say the effect will be negative.

These findings line up with an earlier survey of doctors by consulting firm Deloitte, which found that two-thirds of all doctors expect the quality of health care to decline under Obama- care.

Physician pessimism is understandable, as Obama- care’s promises are crumbling even before the law takes full effect.

For example, Americans were promised repeatedly that they could keep their insurance if they liked it. But the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) now admits that as many as 20 million people could lose their employer-provided coverage and have to buy insurance on government-run exchanges.

Obamacare was also supposed to bend the health care cost curve down, but the government now estimates that it will add more than $300 billion to the nation’s health tab over the next decade. According to the CBO, the cost of the law over the decade commencing in 2010 has risen to $1.76 trillion — almost double the original estimate of $940 billion.

Why should doctors trust that Obama- care’s other promises about improving the quality of care will be any more reliable? After all, Obamacare contains several provisions expressly designed to limit doctors’ ability to effectively treat their patients.

Take the law’s Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). These integrated networks of health care providers are supposed to improve the coordination of Medicare patients’ care by bringing multiple doctors under one roof.

Improved communication among doctors should lead to less waste and lower costs — or so the theory goes.

But according to the Cleveland Clinic — one of the health systems that inspired the ACOs — the administration’s rules are “replete with prescriptive requirements that have little to do with outcomes” and “detailed governance and reporting requirements that create significant administrative burdens.”

In other words, ACOs will effectively dictate to doctors how they must treat their patients.

Or consider the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). The board has broad authority to force Medicare to meet pre-set spending targets.

But the panel cannot make any changes to Medicare’s fee-for-service structure or adjust the level of benefits that seniors receive. So the board has only one legitimate option for getting Medicare spending under the targets — lowering reimbursement rates for doctors, nurses and hospitals.

Lower reimbursements may cause some providers to reduce the number of Medicare patients they’ll see — or refuse to treat them altogether.

Already, some doctors are shutting their doors to senior citizens. An American Medical Association survey found that nearly a third of primary care physicians restrict the number of Medicare patients they will see.

Another Obamacare creation, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, will be just as destructive as IPAB. It is supposed to improve health care quality by comparing the effectiveness of different treatments.

But this “outcomes research” will likely be used to create top-down treatment guidelines that physicians will be expected to follow in order to get paid — even if the recommendations contradict their judgment of what’s best for a particular patient.

Such research led federal officials to recommend three years ago that women avoid getting regular mammograms in their 40s, even though breast cancer is the leading cause of death in women aged 35 to 50.

The Supreme Court could invalidate Obamacare in its entirety this June, when it renders its verdict on the law’s constitutionality. If it doesn’t, then Congress will need to heed the warning coming from the nation’s doctors that Obamacare is the wrong prescription for the nation’s health care system.

Sally C. Pipes is president and CEO of the Pacific Research Institute.

5541  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate, Housing values down on: May 30, 2012, 12:24:32 PM
Beating Wesbury to his positive spin take on this, keyword with continued downtrend is "surprising".

US pending homes sales post surprise fall in April

Wed May 30, 2012 11:12am EDT

* U.S. pending home sales fall 5.5 percent in April

* Mortgage applications drop 1.3 percent in latest week

By Jason Lange

WASHINGTON, May 30 (Reuters) - Contracts to purchase previously owned U.S. homes unexpectedly fell in April to a four-month low, undermining some of the recent optimism that the housing sector was touching bottom.

The National Association of Realtors said on Wednesday its Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed last month, fell 5.5 percent to 95.5, its lowest level since December, after a downwardly revised 3.8 percent increase in March.
"The drop in pending home sales is clearly disappointing," said Pierre Ellis, an economist at Decision Economics in New York. "It remains to be seen whether this is the beginning of a real downturn."  - WHAT??
Wednesday's report showed contracts fell 12 percent in the western United States and 6.8 percent in the South. They edged lower in the Midwest and rose slightly in the Northeast.
The yield on 10-year U.S. Treasury notes sank to the lowest in 60 years.
Housing is still roughly 100% subsidized by the Fed - what would interest rates and mortgage payments be if the Fed's job was to protect the value of the dollar?.  Other than that, where is the recovery??

5542  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness: Polish death camps? on: May 30, 2012, 11:37:42 AM
In Poland they prefer to call them Nazi death camps. You would think a Harvard Law Review Editor would be an expert at catching this kind of error blamed on his teleprompter writer.

This is the lack of global awareness we would expect from a repub who reads nothing but hunting magazines..

It's not like it's a pattern snubbing our allies the Poles, although he did choose to play golf on the day of the funeral of the Polish President Lech Kaczynski, the Polish First Lady, and 94 senior officials who perished in the Smolensk air disaster, eight months after he humiliated Warsaw by canceling the agreement to place a missile defense site in Poland(and the Czech Republic).
5543  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential - Romney Ad, Not Even Half on: May 29, 2012, 03:08:06 PM

Look and see where our money is going.  This is a good ad IMO.
5544  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Real federal deficit dwarfs official tally on: May 28, 2012, 04:23:43 PM
Deficits and debt hurt everyone going forward, especially the youth.

"the government ran red ink last year equal to $42,054 per household — nearly four times the official number reported under unique rules set by Congress."

In 2008 candidate Obama won the youth vote (18-29) by 68% to 30% for McCain.  The youth vote in particular needs to look very critically at the accumulating debts, what led to them and what the choices are going forward.

In rough numbers, half of America is not in the workforce and half of the workforce does not pay a significant part of the burden.  Therefore those who significantly pay in are on the hook for far more than even what is reported here.

My daughter will vote this year.  She is stubbornly non-political now and was only 13 years old at this point 4 years ago during Obama's historic rise to the Presidency.  We will see with this one voter, but all young voters are faced with a starkly different set of facts coming into 2012 than in 2008.  Hope and change has a scorecard.  The are-you-better-off-now-than-you-were-$6trillion-ago question may pack a bigger punch with the younger crowd than is currently projected.  The productive part of their generation just took on another home mortgage - and didn't get a home for it.
5545  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: May 28, 2012, 03:44:35 PM
Bigdog.  Your point is well taken, the Perot vote was much larger than Clinton's margin of victory in those states.  That does not mean those disaffected voters otherwise go to Bush; staying home and crossing over are two other ways besides a 3rd party vote to show discontent.  Perot voters in those states were willing to see Clinton win and Bush lose as a consequence of their choice.   We do not yet know whether 2012 is another big 3rd party year, or who that would favor.  

In Florida 2000, Dems say the 'Gore voters' who chose Nader more than cost him the election.  Nader argues more accurately that those were not Gore voters.

In the Montana 2006 Senate race, the Dem won by 3000 votes to join the new Pelosi-Reid-Obama majority while the Libertarian won 10,000 votes.  But all of the those 10,000 knew or should have known their vote was needed for a Republican victory and still chose to vote no.  The enthusiasm gap matters.  In the above examples, the customer was not sold on the product.  

In contrast, 1980 had a strong third party challenge a moderate Republican. Reagan won 44 states.

The disaffection of Dem voters from Obama in these 4 states is most importantly a warning sign of weakness in parts of Ohio, Pennsylvania and other crucial states.   Bitter clingers (people not sold on the Obama agenda) are not all Republicans.
5546  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces on: May 28, 2012, 03:18:48 PM
"Is there a URL for that?"

Oooops.  Here, and added back to original post.
5547  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Abortion on: May 28, 2012, 02:24:05 PM
These are great contributions by BD and CD. 

"[Blackmun] ... said the right to privacy is fundamental."

I will agree to that.  In the context of other applications of the right of privacy, I would be most appreciative of a written expression of what that right is. 

"The viabilty question is medical, no matter how you word it."

Yes, but:  a) the point underlying the question of viability is the acknowledge that the unborn is a distinct human life, and b) medical viability is perhaps a moving target unlike trimesters on a calendar.  Pro-life extremists argue life begins at the instant of conception.  Pro-choice extremists argue there is no life in there of any value or notice until the moment of birth.  Blackmun is saying (my read on what is posted) that life begins at viability.  That is as good of a political or logical compromise as any other, but if I read Crafty's question correctly, where did the Judicial Branch of the federal government derive the authority to make that determination and settle the matter for the states?

While 5 people including Blackmun looked at viability, I doubt in early 1970s imagery they were also able to look at the formation of arms legs and a beating heart at 6 weeks that also could influence what one thinks medically about when life begins. 

5548  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential, Dick Morris on: May 28, 2012, 01:25:21 PM
Interesting that 3 of these 4 states of no consequence to Democrats were carried by Bill Clinton.  That the Dem national party turns away from even their own voters in an entire region and a significant piece of the electoral puzzle elsewhere is a political decision that they made.  In Nov we will find out if it hurt them.  One of my more recent discoveries (of the obvious) is that margin of victory matters.  What both Morris and Taranto point out is telling about Dem side enthusiasm.  So will be the June 5 Wisconsin vote.  The Obama/public employee union side of the vote did not even win the Dem primary.
5549  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rant interesting thought piece- Bill Whittle, Why the Euro has Failed on: May 28, 2012, 12:59:26 PM
Entitled "Why the Euro Failed", this is way too wide ranging to put in the Euro category.  The first half is about why Flight 447 failed and he continues the analogy through the Civil War, Greece, Germany, the Euro and Wisconsin. 6 minutes of your time well spent IMO.
5550  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential- Nobody is challenging Obama in the Primaries, and doing well on: May 26, 2012, 12:41:20 PM
James Tarranto of the WSJ has a great sense of humor. He posts a free column during the day called Best of the Web.  Very insightful.

Nobody is challenging Barack Obama in the Democratic primaries this year--and is doing surprisingly well. One of the reasons some commentators thought Obama would be a shoo-in for re-election is that like Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, he drew no serious primary opposition as an incumbent president. By contrast, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and Bush père were challenged by Reagan, Ted Kennedy and Pat Buchanan respectively. Lyndon Johnson abandoned his 1968 re-election bid after Eugene McCarthy's surprisingly strong showing in New Hampshire and Robert F. Kennedy's late entry.

The theory goes that presidents lose re-election when they have a strong primary opponent and win when they don't. This requires treating Buchanan as a "serious" opponent, even though he didn't win a single primary in 1992 and his best showing, in New Hampshire, was 37%.

Writing at RealClearPolitics, the delightfully named Sean Trende reformulates the rule and carries it back a century: "There are only seven sitting presidents who have ever received less than 60 percent of the vote in any primary: Taft in '12; Coolidge, '24; Hoover, '32; LBJ, '68; Ford '76; Carter, '80; and Bush '92. All of these presidents, with the exception of Coolidge, were not re-elected." One of Coolidge's challengers, Robert LaFollette, ran a third-party challenge. He ended up with 16.5% of the nationwide popular vote and carried his home state, Wisconsin.

Nobody can beat Obama, they said.

Actually, there's an eighth sitting president who received less than 60% in a primary--in more than one, in fact. That would be Obama in '12, who, as Trende points out, received just 58.4% in Arkansas, 57.9% in Kentucky, 57.1% in Oklahoma and 59.4% in West Virginia. In Kentucky, his main opponent was "Uncommitted," another name for Nobody.

If the Trende trend is predictive--admittedly, a big if--Obama is much likelier than not to lose in November. "I think we can reasonably begin to view this as a sort of organic primary challenge to Obama," Trende writes. "Obama's not likely to lose any states outright in the primaries; think of this more like Buchanan's run against George H.W. Bush in 1992."
We now have seen Obama held under 60% by a slate of three candidates--antiabortion extremist Randall Terry, federal prison inmate Keith Judd and Tennessee lawyer John Wolfe--not to mention Nobody. Unlike the recently re-elected presidents, Obama does not have the full support of his party.
By all accounts, progressives and blacks are sticking with Obama. Yet the primaries in Arkansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma and West Virginia suggest that Obama is dividing his party anyway. No, he doesn't need any of those states to win, and he didn't carry them in 2008. But four states Obama did carry "have substantial populations in areas geographically and culturally similar to these 'problem areas': southwestern Pennsylvania, western Virginia and North Carolina, and southeastern Ohio." If Obama loses those four states plus Florida...he is a one-term president.
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