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5501  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Middle East War on: August 19, 2010, 01:00:14 PM
"Nice find on that clip of President Clinton."

I'm glad it was appreciated.  Really just hollow words though without the followup video made possible by the policies of his successor and the American military; Saddam Hussein's hanging is at about the 1:37 mark of this clip12/30/2006:

In both cases you would think the availability of google, youtube and camcorders everywhere would begin to persuade world leaders to behave better.
5502  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: August 18, 2010, 11:37:46 PM
"a strong case can be made that China is a huge bubble.  Furthermore its unique demographic profile presents deep questions."

During the last expansion here, we had more GDP growth in part of a decade than they have in total GDP. China cut a corporate tax rate (Jan.2008) that was already below ours, right as our taxes were promised to get worse and right as our economy was starting to tank and needing the same type of real production stimulus.  Their economy is more dependent on ours than ours is on theirs, IMO.  If they outperform us going forward, the fault is all our own.  They have had phenomenal growth but as Crafty hints, there is plenty wrong in China.

A healthy Chinese economy and a growing world middle class is a healthy thing for the U.S. economy, assuming we also choose to engage and compete, except for the aspect and the extent to which they are military enemies of us.
5503  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Fascism, liberal fascism, progressivism: on: August 18, 2010, 11:20:08 PM
Looks to me like the Univ. of Texas administrators were trying to balance these rights, the students, the security of a Presidential visit, accommodate but contain the protest, etc. and just got it wrong in the sense of overly restricting the protest.  The police were determined to enforce the rule but seemed like they were trying very hard not to further cause the situation to escalate.

OTOH, these campus restrictions and protest restrictions are not wholly the same thing as losing your right to free speech.  In both the example of the GOP convention that I gave and with the Obama visit, the protesters are piggybacking off of the popularity of the main event.  Yet they still have the same right to book the same convention center, bring 50,000 of their own people in, speak to their hearts' content, sell the networks on the idea of coverage or broadcast their own message out, even form a party, endorse a ticket and get their names on the ballot.  At Univ. Texas, same thing.  I assume John Bush could rent an auditorium on campus, host an event, get a park permit for an event somewhere in town, draw his own crowd and speak all day on anything short of inciting violence.  To some extent the protesters are trying to take something away from the scheduled event - the easy way out - instead of throwing their own event and taking on the burden of drawing their own crowd and putting out their own message.
5504  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: August 18, 2010, 10:54:18 PM
"service members who are in the lower 3 ranks with kids can qualify for some welfare programs"
Of course it shouldn't be that way but there are some factors to consider: a) a lot of their compensation is deferred, b) a significant part is not counted as income such as education benefits, housing, food, medical care, etc. c) our social welfare programs are screwed up so qualifying doesn't for sure mean you are poor, and d) there is some market aspect to military recruiting - they have budget constraints but they have to come up with packages sufficient to recruit the numbers needed in the ranks. 
5505  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Middle East War on: August 17, 2010, 02:24:18 PM
Very interesting Strat, as always.  Seems to me they exaggerate our goal number 3, ending with a pro-American government.  Pro-American is a little hard to arrange.  We would I think settle for anything that involves stability, self-determination and not actively planning (or harboring) attacks against American interests. 

Iran is a key player and factor but I wonder if Stratfor overestimates how much the Iraqis, even Shia, want to be controlled by Iran. 

Iran has some stability issues of its own with 70 million oppressed people.  The USA by now should have some covert destabilization contingency plan of its own ready to deploy in Iran, short of an invasion.  In Iraq it was the previous Dem administration in 1998, candidate Gore in 2000 as well as many inconsistent, antiwar Democrats of the 2000s who kept alleging that "regime change" policy did not mean all-out military invasion.  Similarly could be covert destabilization efforts could be launched or threatened within Iran.  Even if unsuccessful, they could keep the tyrannical regime busy with problems of its own.  Here is Clinton '98 discussing efforts to destabilize Iraq toward regime change:

For all the talk by Obama and his cronies about political rather than military solutions in conflicts, in Iraq it is the military effort succeeding and the political situation failing at the moment, yet he has his ace number one chief diplomat HRC assigned elsewhere.  If I were President Barack "I have a Gift" Obama, friend of all Arabs and Muslims, I would send myself to the negotiating table (the photo-opp of the century) and sit down now with all the factions, here them all out and then settle the issues, letting each side believe that they won all they could win in the negotiations for power. 

After we leave and destabilization comes back and spreads across the country, that opportunity to negotiate and settle power may never again be possible.
5506  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics: Police costs on: August 16, 2010, 03:23:12 PM
Deficits and out of control public spending are not caused by police costs.  Real governing and public service functions make up a tiny fraction of the total we pay.  Police forces are cut first to punish us for wanting to cut or even contain costs.

OTOH, real public functions like police work don't have much market discipline to control costs.  Requires wise and responsible management to look for innovation and searches for new efficiencies.  Often their hands are tied with work rules and union contracts.

Our small town contracts with other neighboring towns for police and some other services.  We can negotiate a half of a cop of coverage or we can contract with a different neighboring force for cost sharing so there is in fact some choice and competition.  But we have almost no crime.  Problem here is that in a county larger than several states we are also paying for all the third world behaviors and the welfare-destroyed culture of a major inner city with all its problems spilling over to the inner ring suburbs.
5507  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Way Forward: Karl Rove? on: August 16, 2010, 02:15:34 PM
"if... Rove is consolidating his political behind the scenes power in the party, than what does that mean for the future of the party?"

IMHO Rove was never the problem.  He is an adviser, not a politician or a leader.  Presidents need political advisers to figure out the political implications of things.  Rove made mistakes, all of them did.  This is a different time and his political advice would be different.  Rove's name is political poison to some I'm sure but I think he is a conservative with a keen insight.  Rove has value, skill, weaknesses and baggage, but I don't think he has any power or ever will other than the power of his ideas. Bush probably used him beyond his area of expertise and that was the Presdent's fault. I don't think any candidate would hand the whole campaign or agenda over to him today. A real leader has to take in all the advice in different directions and then do the right thing.

If I were a candidate, I would love to hear his advice, especially if I could get it in private without being tied publicly to advisers that brought us the failures of the past (and a number of successes).   Same with Dick Morris, though I wouldn't buddy around with him in public, but I would hear him out.  You have to win elections to govern and to prevent people like Pelosi-Obama from governing.  I would also consult and train with all the others I could find who have shown great skill at simplifying, clarifying and articulating the conservative message and define a realistic platform and agenda for this unique time in history.

I don't think Rove (or Cheney) ever controlled Bush or congress; I don't think Rahm or Axelrod control Obama, or Carville or Stephanopoulus controlled Clinton.  HW Bush caved in to his advisers but that again was his fault and his responsibility. We have just had a series of inconsistent or wrong headed leaders unfortunately.
5508  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics: Civil servant compensation and retirement on: August 16, 2010, 01:36:35 PM
It is not (IMO) the amount civil servants are paid, it is the process that is screwed up.  I don't know what amount of money it would take to hire and retain good people for key positions in any location but we all know stories of where it is all skewed.  I remember my daughter's principal saying he had one thousand applicants for each teaching position open - this was during economic boom, not recession. You could call it high pay or low pay, fair or unfair pay, but we know for certain it is above market pay. That principal went on to retire right as he entered what would have been the peak of his business executive career at age 55, left the community, draws a good check, and entered another career.  A family member retired from the federal government with full pension in his 40s, an air traffic controller. They want the controllers out of traffic control because of the stressors, but same employer also hires national park attendants or whatever.  Move the beat cop to detective if deserving or other position that fits his/her current abilities.  If still on the beat at 55-65, I would give the deserving officer a firearm with a little better range.  In Minneapolis, the police don't run down muggers or investigate the crime anyway, so here age shouldn't be an issue.  Note that I did see DBMA video of a youthful aging athlete training on hills with very heavy packs at beachside and I (similar age) still enjoy defeating college athletes at my sport (tennis), though the aches and pains do increase over time.  My parents age 85 self-employed still work, by their own choice.

I wouldn't want to judge the real value of what anyone does, the danger that military, fire or police officers face, nor would they want to pay full value for my sacrifices and dangers as an inner city landlord.  We get what the market will bear and what it will take to get the right person to come in and do the job.

What I hate is when they disguise or deny the money we pay.  Telling us a teacher makes 50 or 60k when we pay out 90k because they aren't counting the deferred money or the benefits as pay. It is all pay. If they want portions of their pay in forced savings, health benefits, pension funds, taxes or anything else, that is their business.

The concept of public employees union violates the reason I thought that workers needed to organize - the greedy capitalist has disproportionate power over the lowly worker.  How can it be that a government of the people, by the people and for the people needs it's power to negotiate curtailed? 
5509  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The State of the War in Afghanistan - NY Times on: August 15, 2010, 07:13:42 PM
3 page editorial basically favoring the war and stating that we have a long way to go.  My take on their take: There is currently a Presidential promise in place to end our commitment in less than one year.  If kept that means all we sacrificed so far and for the next year will be lost.  Gen. Petraeus seems to have the job of explaining to everyone sensible that we will stay longer.  The NY Times apparently has taken the assignment of explaining it to the liberal elites, the academics, the arts crowd and the kooks that make up the rest of the (Obama) ruling coalition. The President will follow later with some fireside chat and explain to us what we already knew from these surrogates.  As the NY Times puts it: "Americans need regular, straight talk from President Obama about what is happening in Afghanistan, for good and ill, and the plan going forward."  I'm sure it is coming - as soon as his pollsters and political advisers tell him it is time to do that.
5510  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glibness: My Top Priority is... these 13 things on: August 15, 2010, 05:34:20 PM
The dictionary defines "top" as a singular entity: "the part of anything that is first or foremost."

August 13, 2010 3:34 PM
How Many "Top Priority" Issues Does Obama Have?
Posted by Mark Knoller

After the Senate passed that $600 million Border Security Bill yesterday, President Obama issued a statement asserting that securing the southwest border has been "a top priority" since he took office.

But if you think Mr. Obama can have but a single "top priority," you'd be wrong. He's got a load of them.

In an Address to the Nation two months ago, Mr. Obama declared "our top priority is to recover and rebuild from a recession that has touched the lives of nearly every American."

More than any other issue, he has used the phrase "top priority" about digging the economy out of the recession and creating jobs. And on this issue, he drew a distinction between "a" top priority and "the" top priority.

"Creating jobs in the United States and ensuring a return to sustainable economic growth is the top priority for my Administration," he said in an Executive Order last March on his National Export Initiative.

Early in his administration, Mr. Obama also assigned the "top priority" label to his campaign promise to overhaul America's health care system. But a check of his speeches since taking office, reflect a bevy of other "top priorities:"

FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS: "...that's something that's going to be a top priority." (4/27/10)

ENERGY SECURITY: "And that's why my energy security plan has been one of the top priorities of my Administration since the day I took office." (4/28/10)

EDUCATION REFORM: "To train our workers for the jobs of tomorrow, we've made education reform a top priority in this Administration." (2/24/10)

STUDENT LOAN REFORM: "This is something that I've made a top priority." (2/1/10)

EXPORTS BY SMALL BUSINESSES: "This is going to be a top priority." (12/3/09)

HEALTH ASSISTANCE TO 9/11 FIRST RESPONDERS: "I'm not just talking the talk, we've been budgeting this as a top priority for this Administration." (2/3/10)

END HOMELESSNESS AMONG VETERANS: "I've also directed (Veterans Affairs) Secretary Shinseki to focus on a top priority: reducing homeless among veterans." (8/17/09)

HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS: "Our top priority is ensuring the public safety. That means appropriate sheltering in place or if necessary, getting as many people as possible out of harm's way prior to landfall." (5/29/09)

H1N1 FLU VACCINATIONS: "And throughout this process, my top priority has been the health and the safety of the American people." (5/1/09)

SUPPORT FOR MILITARY FAMILIES: "These military families are heroes too. And they are a top priority of Michelle and me. And they will always have our support." (5/30/09)

STRENTHENING TIES WITH CANADA AND MEXICO: "We're going to make this a top priority..." (10/16/09)

CONSUMER PROTECTION: "During these challenging times, the needs of American consumers are a top priority of my Administration." (2/11/09)

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION: "So this is going to be a top priority generally improving our environmental quality." (11/5/09)

The dictionary defines "top" as a singular entity: "the part of anything that is first or foremost."

By designating a multitude of "top priorities," Mr. Obama can be seen trying to score political points with the constituencies for all of these issues.

Mark Knoller is a CBS News White House correspondent.
5511  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: August 15, 2010, 01:23:00 PM
JDN, I took this quote (away from context)over to politics to answer:" Until Bush came along I was a life long Republican.  The Republican core ideals can and do apply to all ethnic groups.  I blame it on poor Republican leadership and vague or unrealistic platforms.  The core (good) story of the Republican party is just not getting out."

Not just Bush, but the R. congress of that time needs to be answered.  Some here are conservatives, some are libertarians.  I'm sure some are neither, but among those who are like-minded we need to find areas of overlap such as founding principles and apply and promote the message.

Putting an R by your name doesn't make Bush, McCain or anyone else a Republican, a conservative, a libertarian or anything else.  Looking back, I give the Nixon presidency to the Dems (of today), the JFK tax cuts to the R's of today and the Clinton and Bush Presidencies mixed reviews. What I like to do is argue out are the policies and the vision, not the people and their blemishes. 

Bush created a huge new entitlement.  At that moment he was a Democrat by my labeling.  Likewise for No child Left Behind.   Whether they got the policy details right or wrong, it was a federal expansion into a non-federal area and that was wrong.  Problem with those reachout and crossover moves was that his new friends were backstabbers while he started to lose his old friends.  Bush siding with Dems on 'amnesty'. It was realpolitik idea for Republicans, like you suggest, but not a conservative, enforce our laws and our borders direction. Other policies of Bush were economically expansive or national security based, in crude modern terms things I call conservative.  Overall spending along with the earmark political payoff spending was obscene - and that congress were punished, politically, as was our nation.

Roughly 40% of the electorate is politically conservative and 40% liberal.  When a President's approval drops below 50% approval, he is losing support from moderates.  Dropping below 40% means losing the base. 

The Pelosi-Obama fiasco has given the Republican-conservative-libertarian movement a teachable moment, and remember that power in Washington shifted in Nov. 2006, not Jan. 2009.

There is a set of ideals and policies that we need in this country.  We will argue over what those are, but we need to settle some of the basic questions as a coalition if we want a direction changing election to have any meaning or mandate. 

If we can get that roadmap, blueprint, platform right, and get that very clear message out, then I don't care so much who joins in or who opposes us. 

What we had previously was muddled policies, muddled directions, muddled leaders and muddled elections.  What we learn from that is nothing IMO.  I agreed with the sentiment of 2006/2008 of throw the bums out.  I just think what followed should have been a clear and careful turn to the right instead of a sharp blind turn to the left.  That choice was never on the ballot.

5512  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Fascism, liberal fascism, progressivism: Free speech on campus? on: August 15, 2010, 12:28:52 PM
Quoting GM: I'm guessing this "John Bush" had no student status on the campus and had been asked to leave, refused to do so and was then arrested as a result. A press pass is not some sort of "get out of jail free" card.

There were some updates here:
"John was officially booked and charged with Criminal Trespassing. He is at the Austin jail located at 500 W 10th St."  Also a reply from the Univ.Texas President: "In order to mitigate any public disruption to the teaching and research mission of the institution, the University temporarily created a limited area for public protest on the East side of the Perry-Castaneda Library on August 9"

Bush did not claim to be a student, only that campuses are traditionally the center of free speech, particularly protest speech.  Missing in the video is the Presidential visit.  Areas are often secured for events like these, but that was not the issue here.  I find a few things peculiar.  As the video begins, the police are already on the scene.  If he is already guilty of the criminal trespass, a serious charge, why is he offered the freedom to leave without arrest?  I agree that one's free speech rights don't spill over onto my property, but is a public university really private property?  I assume yes, but even the public streets and sidewalks that run through it?  The video shows quite a large group of onlookers in the same "criminal trespass" location, the videographer and the chanters and so on, why are they not handcuffed and hauled off?  Are protesters of other causes on other days given the same or comparable treatment? (I doubt it.) Was there really any classes in session on UTA or research being conducted within earshot of the spirited discussion on Aug. 9?  Were students and staff really disrupted by the spirited discussion or was the President's security breached by the protesters?  Accuweather says it was 99 degrees, and the August classroom windows would be open?

I recall the Republican convention in St. Paul MN 2008.  Really the 50,000 conventioneers were the trespassers in that totally liberal, Democrat city and the civil servants enforcing the protest area designations were mostly Dems and protest sympathizers charged with doing their jobs. Public streets around the convention center and public grounds were off-limits to protesters.  Real violence occurred and serious terrorist threats existed. Arrests were made and very angry protesters posted their youtubes.  Everyone in this age of blogging has a press pass, but not one issued or cleared by the event. 

The question it all centers on IMO is whether the security or threat of disruption justified the location and free speech restrictions.  In the St. Paul example, I think all the people arrested but not tied to violence or threats were released and not charged.  The UTA example is different I think because people were allowed in those areas, with or without student/staff status, as long as they DID NOT SPEAK.   sad   His arrest was about conduct not location or status from all that I can see.

5513  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: August 15, 2010, 11:12:56 AM
JDN, Thanks for the reply.  As CCP put it, I would also like to agree to disagree, just try to clarify my own view without too much repetition. 

Finding a workable solution does not equal blanket amnesty.  You are courageous to use that term amnesty as it doesn't poll well at all.  In the business of processing people who broke the law I would use the term plea bargain rather than amnesty.  If we process some of the undocumented onto a path toward citizenship, some into work visas with an end date and some out now, that might be a comprehensive solution that involves compromise, but how do you sort that out under equal protection?

You say give citizenship to Mexicans and Republicans need to adjust their views to attract Mexicans  sad  I assume you mean to refer to them as 'Americans', but as you again courageously admit, they are not.

Yes I was referring to the illegal vote of the illegals.  The 60th vote in the senate that enabled healthcare overhaul came from a state that does not verify citizenship.  I was there and watched it happen. You need nothing but a voter registered in a precinct to vouch for your ADDRESS, not your citizenship, or a STUDENT ID, or one of many other documents that DO NOT VERIFY CITIZENSHIP:  To vote, a non-citizen would have too check the box marked citizen, but that is well-known to be unverified and unverifiable. (Note that they are already breaking the law and wishing to vote.)

One interesting point of JDN is that border crossing is down.  With both the precise number of 12 million and the measured trend line, I wonder how we know and I wonder why that trend might be down. My guess is that double digit unemployment explains that far more than anything US border enforcement is doing.  Also it looks to me like border enforcement has shifted to the gangs in charge.  They require a high fee which most don't have, and they require you to use their service.  Free spirited individuals setting up to cross in their territory without paying the fee are likely killed or captured on one side of the border or the other - and dealt with accordingly.  I didn't eyewitness this but have other first hand knowledge about how gangs protect their economic interests.  Violence statistics on both sides of the border offer some corroboration of that theory.

Lastly, no I don't assume that 600M worth of public employee union members sent to vacation near the border (sorry for the cynicism) with rules of engagement that include don't ask don't tell will make a significant impact on anything except making possible a line in an upcoming campaign or state of the union speech of this administration stepping up border enforcement.  In other words, we would have to clarify the mission, commit to the mission and change the rules of engagement before sending more money will make a difference IMHO. 

5514  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: August 14, 2010, 10:11:15 PM
"I'm having trouble wrapping my head around this story. Is there some fiscal restraint implicit in the gutting of one untouchable program to fund another?"

Sorry BBG but you won't be able to see their logic with your brain screwed on frontwards; you have to turn it around backwards and tilt it a bit.

The First Lady's pet program has to be paid for, even though nothing is paid for when we already spend a trillion and a half a year more than revenues.  Food for the poor never has to be paid for, even though that is a meaningless designation anyway.  Democrats are confident in their ability to restore spending from food stamp cuts blindfolded, in their sleep, before breakfast, even restore the spending from their new position - in the minority.

Putting the poor and their self-centered needs for food aside for a moment, the main thing is that the first lady gets what the first lady wants.
5515  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: August 14, 2010, 12:39:22 PM
JDN,here are a few points back.  a) I don't bash Obama because it's fashionable. I post heartfelt views here because I can.   b) If 0.6B extra for one of our greatest problems out of 4000B in spending strikes you as 'significant', I don't know what to say except we can watch and see what the results will be.  It strikes me as small, insignificant and coming 100% from political advisers saying that is enough to say we did something, and not at all from border security advisers that see this for what it is to me, an invasion threatening our national security.  c) I can't imagine that this small step could begin to offset the acceleration of the surge inward that I would expect from all the loose talk about amnesty for those who do come in.

"With 12 million plus illegal immigrants some form of amnesty needs to be worked out."   
   - Where else could that level of logic be applied?  How about tax evasion or child abduction.  Look, everyone is doing it.

"I prefer to have illegals in school versus running wild on the street or in gangs."
   - Do I prefer if I am mugged that the money that was formerly mine go toward nutritional snacks for the mugger's children?  Again, I have no ability to follow your logic past the word illegal or that a crime was committed.  And why would you think that they don't vote?  They are counted in the U.S. Census, correct? Propose making the borders open and unattended if that is your wish, and have an up or down vote on it, but do we have to keep playing games with national security and national sovereignty.

"...on Bush's watch ... Where was the outrage then?"
   - Come on JDN, at least argue seriously.  I refuse to believe as informed as you are that you were not aware of the earthquake sized fault line in the Republican Party over borders and immigration under Bush.  For an indicator, political conservatives make up about 40% of the electorate.  When Bush's approvals dropped into the 20s after proposing 'comprehensive' immigration reform that put him close to the proportion of people in the poll who did not understand the question.

"frankly, I don't understand why the Republican party cannot appeal to Mexicans."
    - There it is, the nut of the matter.  We have a hard enough time selling the outrageous idea of having a little freedom and security to Americans in 50 states.  They had to witness Obama-Pelosi economics in action to get any idea what we were talking about.  Now we have to translate and sell to 3rd world countries.  Maybe run political ads in the prestigious Mexico City market or a comprehensive reachout program to the gangs in Nuevo Laredo to start exposing them to our ideas and founding principles before they come and before they are told on the way in to always vote Dem if you want to get the benefits, amnesty and programs that you deserve for your troubles.  What about the Chinese, JDN?  Why don't they have equal rights in America?  If we are going to not enforce borders over land, why is it fair to check everyone at our airports and sea ports?  How many of the 3879000000 disadvantaged people from Asia would need to come here before you would see a security or sovereignty problem?
5516  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Esquire: Long piece on Gingrich on: August 14, 2010, 12:00:11 AM
First must comment on CCP's post of Geo. Will writing about Netanyahu.  I love it that one of his heroes/mentors is Churchill, and no he was not bound to become a close personal drinking buddy with Barack Obama, lol.

I thought I was clicking on a positive piece on Newt when I clicked on "Newt Gingrich: The Indispensable Republican" and kept the tab open until I had time to read it in its entirety.  Apologies in advance for posting/linking a second hit piece on Gingrich in a short time, but this is what is being written.  I didn't realize that Newt is already the front runner in polls and in money. I'm sure that is why the attacks have begun.  If you can wade through the obviously anti-Newt, anti-conservative, anti-Republican slant of the writing, I think you will find in this long piece covers his strengths and accomplishments and his weaknesses and vulnerabilities very thoroughly.  The bizarre writing style wanders in and out of interviews with none other than the ex-wife Marianne and with Newt.  He writes what people said sometimes in quotes and sometimes not. I wouldn't assume any/all of the covered facts or personal accusations and stories are completely true but I will guess that contents of this will become the centerpiece of the future attacks against him.  I don't expect him to answer any of it, just to move forward with whatever his new blueprint for the country will be.
5517  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: August 13, 2010, 06:10:36 PM
CCP, I brought this quote over from your Cheryl Crow story:  "I remember someone who was not an American citizen once told me (decades ago) "the world is a joke,  Always Remember I tell you this.  The world is a joke".  His context was that it wasn't fair I was an American citizen and he was not.  I had privileges and lived in the greatest country and he did not - only because of a twist of faith.  I was born here he was not.  The longer I live the more I have come to agree he was right.  I always remembered he told me that wondering if one day I would agree with him."

The world is not a joke; it is more of a puzzle, and figuring things out for ourselves isn't good enough.  We need to articulate and persuade and hold certain things without compromise and sometimes to rise up and sometimes to risk all and fight wars to preserve that which we value.

We have (or had) the greatest country on earth.  We need to protect what we have.  We exclude most outsiders, but we don't prevent them from adopting our principles or copying any of our good qualities such as personal and economic freedom, limited government and a market-based, competitive economy into their homeland.

Instead people in these same countries where they love to escape speak mostly the language of anti-Americanism and choose governments opposite to our founding principles. And so do we.
5518  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Non-market Economics vs. market discipline on: August 13, 2010, 05:51:09 PM
CCP: "And make no mistake about it - you can't give access to care to 45 million without costs skyrocketing.  Thus we will have rationing, restrictions, waits, and the rest."

A market has participants like buyers, sellers, investors, etc.  A non-market like Healthcare has who knows what anymore, lobbyists, interests, special interests, union representatives, gatekeepers, caseworkers, and former professionals who are now public employees or worse.

My experience currently that I find relevant is with a public utility which is a government sanctioned monopoly.  Aug. 1,  I called for electrical service because it was shut off on my tenants who had moved out.  (Aug. 1 was a Sunday, they don't answer phones.) August 2, never got passed 'on-hold'.  Aug. 3 got my urgent need heard and secretly entered.  Unfortunately they didn't tell anybody and my request died.  Aug. 11 reached again told same thing.  Aug 12, got someone out to verify old tenant gone.  He said power back on probably 'tomorrow. Aug 13, told possibly 2 more weeks to get electric service - which involves re-connecting 3 wires on the pole, 5 minutes of work once a truck actually pulls in. 

3-4 weeks without electricity, is this a 3rd world country? No, it's one of the wealthiest metros in the world.  A rental home is my place of business.  I can't  clean carpets, light or show the place or collect any revenue while I wait - like a fool.  I even bought a generator and created a new set of problems without solving any.  Meanwhile, major damage sets in.  I am unable to operate a sump pump or a dehumifier, water damage and mold is setting in.  'Customer Service Rep' today said, "we don't care about that..."

Why did this happen?  No competition.  Where else am I going to go?  Nowhere and they know it.  And frankly, no oversight.  I contacted the public utility commission.  They wrote back saying to download forms and file a complaint if not resolved.  That is a neat trick without electricity.  I'll use maybe a magic wand. 

Soon that will be ALL of healthcare.  One supplier, government sanctioned.  If they tell you to wait in line, you can wait in line.  If you leave and come back - go to the end of the line.  If you ask how long, they can tell you any answer, or no answer, with no consequence and no oversight.  If you wish to file a complaint, again - wait in line - you weren't the first to think of that.

I let my health coverage lapse lately.  10+ plus years self employed with absolutely no payout from the policy.  New laws say they will have to let me back in at the same price as the people who kept coverage.  That is not insurance and the new system will have no resemblance to a market.
5519  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: August 13, 2010, 05:03:33 PM
"The alleged serial killer is a Christian from  Ramle."

I respectfully offer different wording, alleged Christian, former Christian, pretend Christian,was born to a Christian family, or raised Christian, etc.  Practicing Christians are constrained by the  Commandments.
5520  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Kagan confirmed, decades of bad votes and opinions to follow on: August 08, 2010, 11:16:01 PM
I would love to eat my words on this.  Maybe she will grow from who she is to being a serious interpreter of the law.  But she got there without any indication of it. What I hoped from this process is that from the conservative questioners people would get an idea of how a great justice would approach the job.  I never had an opportunity to watch, listen or read the proceedings.  Unfortunately I don't think anyone else except a few insiders did either.  So on we go with another lifetime appointment of someone committed to uphold liberal programs and causes no matter what the words of the framers specifically say.  The only good thing that happened was that the opponents didn't at all hold up the choice of the President or the vote of the majority as required by the constitution.  Maybe that will pay off someday soon when the tables politically are turned.  - Doug
August 5, 2010 Paul Mirengoff

The Senate has confirmed Elena Kagan. The vote was 63-37. Five Republicans joined every Democrat except Ben Nelson to vote "yes." The five Republicans were, as expected, Senators Snowe, Collins, Graham, Gregg, and Lugar.

The "no" vote tally was pretty high -- up from 31 in Sotomayor's case -- but there's really no way for conservatives to put a positive spin on Kagan's confirmation.

To get a sense of what it means, think of the three big constitutional decisions rendered by district courts in the past week or two. They are: (1) Judge Bolton's grant of a preliminary injunction blocking key portions of Arizona's immigration enforcement law, (2) Judge Hudson's ruling permitting the Commonwealth of Virginia to proceed with its lawsuit challenging the portion of Obamacare that requires individuals to purchase insurance, and (3) Judge Walker's outrageous ruling that California's Proposition 8, which bans gay marriage, is unconstitutional.

If these matters reach the Supreme Court, as seems likely, I have no doubt that Kagan will side with those who challenge the Arizona immigration law and Proposition 8, and with the government in the case of Virginia's challenge to Obama care. But that's just the tip of the iceberg -- probably less than one year's worth of bad jurisprudence. Kagan is only 50 years old, so we can expect at least 25 years of the same sort of leftist assault on our traditional freedoms and the rights of our states.

The only way Kagan's confirmation doesn't become a disaster is if we are able to elect Republicans presidents pretty consistently during the next 22 years or so, starting in 2012, and thus can keep Kagan busy writing dissents.
5521  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics: Ryan answers Krugman on: August 08, 2010, 02:17:53 PM
I know no one here is reading or following Krugman, our nation's Keynesian-Marxist spiritual leader, but here is Paul Ryan's reply to Krugman's latest attack on the 'Ryan Roadmap':

Despite watching European welfare states collapse under the weight of their own debt, those running Washington are leading us down precisely the same path. With the debt surpassing $13 trillion, we can no longer avoid having a serious discussion about how to address the unsustainable growth of government.

Unfortunately, rather than make meaningful contributions to this conversation and bring solutions to the table, Democrats have attempted to win this debate by default. Relying on demagoguery and distortion, the left would prefer that entitlements - often labeled the "third rail" of American politics - remain untouchable, and the column by Paul Krugman of The New York Times is indicative of the partisan attacks leveled against the plan I've offered, a "Roadmap for America's Future."

When I introduced the "Roadmap," my hope was that it would spur an open and honest discussion about how our nation can address its fiscal challenges. If we are truly committed to developing real solutions, this discussion must be free of the inflammatory rhetoric that has derailed past reform efforts. In keeping with this spirit, it is necessary to clarify some of the inaccurate claims and distortions made recently regarding the "Roadmap."

The assertion by Krugman and others that the revenue assumptions in the "Roadmap" are overly optimistic and that my staff directed the Congressional Budget Office not to analyze the tax elements of the "Roadmap" is a deliberate attempt to misinform and mislead.

I asked the CBO to analyze the long-term revenue impact of the "Roadmap," but officials declined to do so because revenue estimates are the jurisdiction of the Joint Tax Committee. The Joint Tax Committee does not produce revenue estimates beyond the 10-year window, and so I worked with Treasury Department tax officials in setting the tax reform rates to keep revenues consistent with their historical average.

What critics such as Krugman fail to understand is that our looming debt crisis is driven by the explosive growth of government spending - not from a lack of tax revenue.

Krugman also recycles the disingenuous claim that the "Roadmap" - the only proposal certified to make our entitlement programs solvent - would "end Medicare as we know it."

Ironically, doing nothing, as Democrats would prefer, is certain to end entitlement programs as we know them, and in the process, beneficiaries would face painful cuts to these programs. Conversely, the "Roadmap" would pre-empt these cuts in a way that prevents unnecessary disruptions for current beneficiaries.

It reforms Medicare and Social Security so those in and near retirement (55 and older) will see no change in their benefits while preserving these programs for future generations of Americans. We do not have a choice on whether Medicare and Social Security will change from their current structure - the true debate is if and how these programs will be made solvent.

Far from the "radical" label that critics have tried to pin on it, the Medicare reforms in the "Roadmap" are based on suggestions made by the National Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare, chaired by Sen. John Breaux (D-La.). That commission recommended in 1999 "modeling a system on the one members of Congress use to obtain health care coverage for themselves and their families." With respect to Medicare and Social Security, the "Roadmap" puts in place systems similar to those members of Congress have. There has been support across the political spectrum for these types of reforms.

By dismissing credible proposals as "flimflam," critics such as Krugman contribute nothing to the debate. Standing on the sidelines shouting "boo" amounts to condemning our people to a future of managed decline. Absent serious reform, spending on entitlement programs and interest on government debt will consume more and more of the federal budget, resulting in falling standards of living and higher taxes as we try to sustain an ever larger social welfare state.

The American people deserve a serious and civil discussion about how to reduce our exploding debt and deficit. By relying on ad-hominem attacks and discredited claims, Krugman and others are missing an opportunity to contribute to this discussion and are only polarizing and paralyzing attempts to solve our nation's fiscal problems.

I reject the notion that these problems are too big or too difficult to tackle or that it is acceptable to leave future generations of Americans an inferior standard of living than we enjoy. The "Roadmap" shows that a European-style social welfare state is not inevitable, that it is not too late for our nation to choose a different path and that we can do so in a way that preserves our freedoms and traditions.

5522  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: August 08, 2010, 02:03:36 PM
"Panic setting in at WH over economy"

The panic at the White House is over the loss of political power.  The economic carnage is really not that surprising based on their stubborn adherence to anti-growth policies.

Kudlow is right.  4% growth is needed to move at all out of this conundrum. Economists typically consider breakeven 'growth' to be around 3.1%  Anything less is moving in the wrong direction.

But sustained 4% growth is not possible with anti-growth, anti-wealth, anti-private-sector policies.  Divided government alone, after the election, is not going to fix that.  The Dem party needs to reform its views economically from the inside, but it is the liberals representatives in liberal districts that will survive this and the moderate Dems in conservative leaning districts that will be leaving congress.
5523  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics: Chief Economic Adviser Cristina Romer - Out on: August 08, 2010, 11:06:41 AM
Regarding the Romer research paper that demonstrated that an exogenous tax increase, like the one coming Jan. 1, will be HIGHLY CONTRACTIONARY.  Crafty wrote (over at Tax Policy): "Isn't C. Romer that chunky bureaucratic drone female who is BO's chief economist?  Fascinating that she would think this AND publish it!'

We were all over this one, Romer is OUT.  Gone like McChrystal. Publishing economic consequences of irresponsible policies is now considered insubordination.  Let me guess, she wants to spend more time with family...

Christina Romer, chair of Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, to resign

5524  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Way Forward - Need Leaders and Leadership on: August 08, 2010, 10:38:32 AM
I watched R-leader Rep. Boehner today on Meet the Press.  Very lousy interview mostly because of the interviewer.  Boehner looked a couple of times like he needed a script and much of the times like he was reading from one.  He was being careful to not make news by saying something controversial, mostly missed the opportunity to set a positive agenda and draw in new people to the cause.  Mike Pence followed and was far more personable.  Paul Ryan is more articulate, disciplined and persuasive.  Boehner is a good guy and I would give him a B as minority leader but someone new, more dynamic and visionary should be the next Speaker.  Boehner did say they would be introducing something of an agenda or campaign platform after Labor Day.  Looking forward to it!

At the RNC, I might give Michael Steele a D for his job performance so far, yet would still probably keep him for his term.  More important over there is the behind the scenes work at the RNC which is probably D work too, but who knows.  I don't understand that a first black President spends his time reaching out to liberal elites, offers the inner city of America only free, borrowed money, and then a black RNC Chair reaching out only to known rich Republican donors.  Where is the real outreach?  Michael Steele IMO should use his position to round up a rainbow coalition of free thinkers and take the message directly into the worst inner-city neighborhoods in this country that it is the economic freedoms, not the government programs, that brings prosperity.  Not with the expectation of suddenly winning the minority vote, but to at least put the word out that there is a conservative viewpoint to consider and plenty of intelligent people of color and different ethnicities are joining in.

Nationwide, the grassroots tea party movement and the broadbased rejection at the opinion poll level of the Pelosi-Obama agenda has been phenomenal.  Leadership for the most part is lagging or missing so far.
5525  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: August 06, 2010, 11:03:46 AM
Hey CCP,  (You should bring your last post over to here)
"why don't [networks] give us the real objective picture about illegals."

The latest news from our metro we are up 19 Somalians from Minneapolis charged with Al Qaida-tied terrorist activities.  This is not about heritage, it is about right to know and control who comes in, what for, and how long they will be staying.

As argued on L. issues, our cops can follow any one of us for nothing and watch for a screwup to pull us over, but feds don't track people they know came in, then insist we play 'don't ask, don't tell' across the fruited plain.

It's not good for security.  The good news is that now it is on the radar screen politically and this is a pivotal year.
In Minneapolis, 19 people have been charged in the FBI's investigation into a terror recruiting operation
Read the detailed timeline too long to post. The ties of terror to twin cities communities and the revolving door travel in and out of MN to terror locations is freightening and that is just the part we know about.
5526  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Prop 8 Gay Marriage on: August 06, 2010, 10:28:17 AM
As I understand it a Calif. Federal judge struck down Prop.8 which was the right of the state to define the participants in a marriage.  The judge recognized marriage as a fundamental right and therefore too heavy a burden for any other factor to justify denying anyone that right.

But the fundamental part of marriage is that one man and one woman can make this commitment to become what we call husband and wife.  Anything else is a new right, a new definition, a new tradition.

There was an important point made on another issue on the board about equal circumstance that applies and the entire progressive tax collection systems and entitlement payment systems are built on it, called equal circumstance  One taxpayer is taxed differently on his next dollar earned than another taxpayer. The reason that passes for 'equal protection' is that IF either person were in the other's circumstance, they would be treated the same as the other.

Isn't that EXACTLY the same as a gay person's opportunity to marry.  One gay man has the same right to fall in love and marry one woman and become husband and wife as anyone else does, and receive all the rights, burdens and privileges.. A former governor of New Jersey comes to mind; he had children, filed joint returns, spousal privilege, all of it.  Same with Billie-Jean King, a married woman who happened to be lesbian, and I assume thousands or millions of other people.  They didn't get all they wanted in life out of their marriage; neither do plenty of heteros, but they did have the fundamental right.  Man-woman marriage for a gay person is just as likely and accessible as other areas of established law such as the possibility of an actively practicing physician qualifying for food stamps of a homeless man being levied with a yacht tax.  It is what we call equal protection, different circumstances.

This issue will be settled once and for all just like all the other great divisive issues of our time.  It will come down to what mood Anthony Kennedy is in that day.
5527  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Coulter on anchor babies and the 14th on: August 06, 2010, 09:35:04 AM
I regret to say that Ann Coulter makes more sense on this than our friends here who argued the opposite.  Quotes like this if actual are very persuasive: 

The very author of the citizenship clause, Sen. Jacob Howard of Michigan, expressly said: "This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers."
5528  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Iraq- Mission Accomplished version 2.0, Obama's weird victory lap on: August 06, 2010, 09:24:19 AM
Ralph Peters in the NY Post has a good read on the situation IMO:

President's weird 'victory' lap

One president gave his premature "Mission Accomplished" speech about Iraq on the deck of an aircraft carrier. Now another has given his own version as part of a Chicago-ward-politics sales pitch to disabled veterans.

The difference is that the first guy was sincere.

President Obama's pork-barrel speech to the Disabled Veterans of America yesterday (if you want to help our vets, shut up and do it) would have drawn a blush from those Soviet propagandists who cropped purged Politburo members from Stalin-era photographs.

Ignoring his own opposition to the liberation of Iraq, supporting our troops and the surge, Obama spoke as if all's well in Baghdad -- thanks to him.

As part of his weird victory lap, the president rightfully praised the way "our troops adapted and adjusted" to the insurgency in Iraq, then stressed that 90,000 service members have come home during his administration.

He preened that we'll meet his Aug. 31 deadline to transition "from combat to supporting and training Iraqi security forces" and reaffirmed that we'll remove the last of our troops in 2012. But the portion of yesterday's speech that focused on Iraq left out . . . Iraq.

While that country has passed its military crisis, it's now in political turmoil -- from which our government has utterly disengaged. We won that war, but we still can lose the peace. Obama shunned the fact that, almost half a year after its last national election, Iraq doesn't have a new government. Determined to abandon "Bush's war," Obama's been AWOL in Baghdad.

His neglect may prove disastrous. And the saddest aspect is that the Iraqis wanted us to step in and act as referees, to press them to get past their political differences.

The Iraqi elections were so close that both main camps claimed victory. In the macho atmosphere of Iraq, neither side could back down or compromise after that without an excuse ("Those mean Americans made me do it!"). Our essential and dirt-cheap role would have been to hand the posturing parties a fig leaf.

We've seen this before, in the Balkans, where all sides wanted to stop fighting but were too macho to be the first to suggest a truce. When American troops arrived, they had their excuse. We just don't get it that a key role for our soldiers and diplomats is to enable foreign parties to do what they already want to do themselves.

The situation in Iraq this year didn't call for more troops. Those force reductions were fine. But after hearing for years about the supremacy of political over military solutions, it was odd to witness this administration's neglect of basic statesmanship (which opened the door to the Iranians).

The problem is that this White House and its left-wing base now believe their own propaganda that Iraq was just a distraction, that Afghanistan's all that matters.

So when his script reached the part about Afghanistan yesterday, the president spoke with the rhetoric of a warlord, insisting that "we are going on the offensive against the Taliban" and "we will disrupt, we will dismantle and we will ultimately defeat al Qaeda."

Apart from sounding like George W. Bush (after extensive training by a public-speaking coach), it was noteworthy that, in the course of rattling his light saber, Obama didn't mention his deadline for troop withdrawals from Afghanistan next year.

We'll see how that one goes. Meanwhile, the really-big-booboo aspect of his speech was Obama's utter refusal to acknowledge that Iraq matters to us at all, that it has any strategic value. Yet Iraq, not Afghanistan, lies at the heart of the Middle East, has a profound psychological grip on the Arab world, possesses a critical geo-strategic location -- and, yes, has a lot of oil.

Even a sloppy, kinda-sorta, not-downright-awful outcome in Iraq improves the Middle East enormously. But all this administration cares about is getting out. We're in danger of throwing away seven years of sacrifices -- many made by those disabled veterans to whom Obama pandered -- because our president won't tell our diplomats to step up.

Sure, some on the left would delight in a belated disaster in Iraq to spite the long-gone bogeyman, George W. Bush. I do not believe President Obama is among them. He just doesn't understand the stakes in Baghdad -- and doesn't want to.

But, then, he never has.
5529  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: August 06, 2010, 07:57:53 AM
Craftt  VERY interesting post, very plausible.  All makes sense except for asking what Obama will do?   Calculate exactly what the right thing is and he will do the opposite.  If a response fast and strong is called for, he will announce commissions, sponsor UN resolutions and condemn the wrong side.
5530  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: August 05, 2010, 11:15:04 AM
The pardon question is interesting.  I don't see how that would grant citizenship.  For the Pres. to grant blanket citizenship appears to be outside of his powers. If it requires congress, hard to believe any amnesty deal could get through right now that allowed immediate voting to change the next election.  He would love to have the amnesty citizenship legacy with healthcare, even as a one-termer, still I don't think he could get a that deal through 60 senators before or after the correcting midterms and not through the House either.  People are upset about this in places like Nebraska, not just Arizona.  Suing AZ and stirring up the controversy is helping him presumably with Hispanics and maybe that is his intent, but it is not helping him overall - his Gallup approval sunk to 41 this week.

An email is circulating that attributes the following to Gov. Jan Brewer.  I can't find that she said it, but these are the points she could have / should have made back to the protesting Phoenix Suns.  Those who complain about Arizona law seem to have their own obsession with 'secure borders'.

'What if the owners of the Suns discovered that hordes of people were sneaking into games without paying? What if they had a good idea who the gate-crashers are, but the ushers and security personnel were not allowed to ask these folks to produce their ticket stubs, thus non-paying attendees couldn't be ejected. Furthermore, what if Suns' ownership was expected to provide those who sneaked in with complimentary eats and drink? And what if, on those days when a gate-crasher became ill or injured, the Suns had to provide free medical care and shelter?'
5531  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Maxine Waters on Corruption on: August 04, 2010, 12:02:49 AM
We could all use a little talk about the evils of corruption.  Here is Maxine Waters 1995 giving an impassioned lecture about the (bogus) accusations against then Speaker Gingrich:

Compliments of CSPAN and pointed out by Drudge.

"The American public does not appreciate double standards."  "...[Gingrich] must account for any and all of the wrongdoing!" [and suffer the consequences]

5532  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Abortion - Partial Birth, After Birth, What is Birth? on: August 03, 2010, 06:15:25 PM
If anyone admitted being offended by abortion, by partial birth abortion, or by the thought of a Doctor chasing a botched abortion newborn around the hospital room to fulfill her 'choice' , then maybe they could use this footage of Barbara Boxer equivocating on the senate floor some years ago against her now.  George Will mentioned this video after being accused of taking her statement below out of context.  What she did say is that a baby is born when the mom takes it home from the hospital.  Pressed harder she said, it's born when the mom holds it in her arms. She clearly didn't like being asked if it had constitutional rights when all but a foot or a toe is delivered. 

Remember that our sinking Commander in Chief is just to the left of Barbara Boxer on this issue.

Will wrote: "when asked during a Senate debate whether the baby has a right to life if it slips entirely out of the birth canal before being killed, she replied that the baby acquires that right when it leaves the hospital: “When you bring your baby home.” Fiorina believes that science—the astonishing clarity of sonograms showing the moving fingers and beating hearts of fetuses; neonatal medicine improving the viability of very premature infants; the increasing abilities of medicine to treat ailing fetuses in utero—is changing Americans’ sensibilities and enlarging the portion of the public that describes itself as pro-life."

Maybe we will see just how pro-life the elusive Republican Hispanic vote is in this contest when forced to choose between basic values and massive government.
5533  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Politics of Health Care: New Heath Care System Chart on: August 03, 2010, 12:22:03 PM
Somehow last week I put this under Health Thread instead of Politics of Health Care.  This is no joke; this is actual charting of the new system as researched and published at the Joint Economic Committee.  Please click on the link and enlarge the pdf to see the details:
5534  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Music: Jerry Garcia on: August 03, 2010, 12:14:48 PM
A nice post on powerline over the weekend about one of my guitar heroes.  Unlike CCP's experience, Garcia always gave credit to his lyricist and to the original writers of the songs he performed even though he normally changed the songs musically to his liking.  The song below is from BB King. 

Today is the anniversary of Jerry Garcia's birth and an appropriate occasion to remember his contribution to American popular music. Garcia made his mark as a musician and songwriter with the Grateful Dead, but at heart he remained an unreconstructed devotee of folk, bluegrass and country music. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of folk music in particular. Garcia's devotion to traditional American music was the source of the Dead's commercial breakthrough with the beautiful Workingman's Dead and American Beauty albums in 1970 .

Garcia's inventive work with the Dead on electric guitar is well known; less so is his work on acoustic guitar with mandolin virtuoso David Grisman. Garcia had a long friendship with Grisman dating back to 1964 based on their mutual love of bluegrass music. Garcia recruited Grisman to make a key instrumental contribution to American Beauty. In the mid-1970's Garcia joined forces with Grisman in the bluegrass ensemble Old and In the Way.

Garcia played distinctive Scruggs-style banjo while Grisman, Peter Rowan (guitar), John Kahn (bass) and Vassar Clements (fiddle) filled out the group.

Garcia and Grisman continued recording together mostly for fun over the years. In the atmospheric video below they play an acoustic version of B.B. King's "The Thrill is Gone." In his biography of Garcia, Blair Jackson quotes the director of the video (the son of one of the Dead's drummers) regarding Garcia: "We cut his hair, put him in a suit and tie, and had him there for twelve hours." The director quotes Garcia saying, "I'd never do this for the Grateful Dead, never in a million years."

Garcia died of a massive heart attack at age 53 in 1995 while in treatment for a nasty heroin habit. Jackson suggests that Garcia was persuaded to enter treatment because of the toll his habit was taking on his health and his playing. The devastation wrought by drugs on so many talented musicians of the 1960's is a story that remains to be told.
5535  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / ObamPelosiCare makes more sense when you see this simple flow chart on: July 29, 2010, 03:14:13 PM
5536  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues: Prop 187 on: July 29, 2010, 02:58:34 PM
Curious Crafty if you could expand on your observations from Prop. 187.  There are/were a minority of Republicans in the state but a majority of Californians supported it, so how was it so completely spun against R's?  Did it go too far or are you saying it shouldn't have been pushed at all??

I still thing the best course besides securing the border is to scale back welfare and transfer payments of all types to all people, so that illegals or Hispanics are not singled out and illegals aren't lured in for the wrong reasons.

Every amnesty card should include an enforced promissory note for one share of our total debt paid over let's say 30 years with interest.
5537  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: July 29, 2010, 02:45:25 PM
"What freedom don't you have now that you had pre-PATRIOT act?"

I would second that question.  I'm angry about freedoms we have lost, but the Patriot Act isn't of that at least on my list.  If Khalid from Pashtun tries to reach Ahkbar in the London subway with some last minute details and because some sand got in his phone keyboard he dials your number instead, 10 minutes before detonation, and then his phone is recovered with your number in it, you might expect to have a little scrutiny coming from a curious government. I would hope. 

The Healthcare Act OTOH is going to take away all kinds of liberties, choices and privacies that we once enjoyed.
5538  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Health Thread (nutrition, medical, longevity, etc) on: July 29, 2010, 02:29:46 PM
CCP,  The female equivalent might be shopping, not gazing at men.  I think the brains are wired differently.  Who thinks up these studies anyway, charts the minutes that they stare, proves they lived longer and then bills back the government for research?  Pretty good work if you can arrange it.
5539  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / stocks and savings on: July 28, 2010, 02:58:07 PM
The 10 myths are excellent.  I have become pro-mutual funds, but buying 2 or 3 similar ones is not diversification.  A couple of thoughts on the topics:

We live in a debt society now.  Your total savings for rainy day 'is now called 'available credit'.  Tucking money away is when you buy down your debt, high interest first.  Making a bold move toward security is to max up those equity credit lines while you can.  I can't imagine tucking money away intentionally in a bank at 1% when you expect inflation to be 3% going possibly to the mid-teens. 

My grandpa said about business, don't take on partners.  The stock is a share of ownership but you share that ownership with fickle people that lean with the wind regarding their ownership and with people who buy and sell in the millisecond with realtime computer programs - not exactly teammates.  I used to chase after the individual stocks.  Now I would say invest in your own business if you can, where you have some control over it, or pick out a fund from a place like T Rowe Price ( where you can get any fraction of it in or out any day without a direct fee and yet can participate in the market with at least some level of professional management.  (MHO)
5540  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: July 28, 2010, 02:16:41 PM
A true story can come from anywhere, but it seems when they brag about superior healthcare in other countries, they refer to coverage more than outcomes.
5541  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The electoral process, vote fraud, SEIU/ACORN et al, corruption etc. on: July 28, 2010, 02:11:40 PM
CCP, I don't know anything about her either but I also suspect she will be known (and attacked) soon.  I know that on Obama's statements he is more false than true on every point.  This will spill over to media issues quickly because so far nine out of nine hits searching 'Google News' with her name point to blog or opinion sites, not network, wire or newspaper coverage. 
5542  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WhisleBlower Files FEC Complaint: ACORN-Obama Campaign Illegal Coordination on: July 28, 2010, 10:46:59 AM
Candidate Obama lied in a Presidential debate about his (illegal) relationship with ACORN.

Anita Monchief released ACORN's version of the Obama Donor list that is more complete than anything the FEC or public had:   Obama has denied this is the list.  She has put it out now for the public to judge.

The purpose of Obama giving the secret list to ACORN was for them to work the list again and get around the laws regarding maxed-out presidential donors for additional contributions. 

She went to the New York Times MONTHS before the election with the list.  They wouldn't report anything they found to be "game changing" so close to the election.  Now she is filling a formal FEC complaint:

"As a confidential source for the New York Times, I turned this document over to reporter Stephanie Strom months before the 2008 presidential elections and though the list includes information more complete than what the Obama campaign turned over to the Federal Election Commission, the NYT decided to bury the story."

"Strom and I used pseudonymous e-mail addresses while communicating and in 2008, Strom wrote:"

    “I’m calling a halt to my efforts. I just had two unpleasant calls with the Obama campaign, wherein the spokesman was screaming and yelling and cursing me, calling me a rightwing nut and a conspiracy theorist and everything else…”

After this weeks revelations about the efforts of the liberal media to cover-up or spike stories damaging to Obama, Strom’s next words are even more telling:

    “What’s happened is that the campaign has answered some of my questions on the record — but when I sought on-the-record answers to my questions about the meeting and about the list, the campaign insisted on speaking only on background. When I asked why, I got the barrage I described earlier. Clearly, I’ve hit a nerve with what you’ve told me. The campaign knows that having the allegations of meeting attributed to ‘former employees’ — and there are more than one of you talking — and having an anonymous denial of the meeting makes it harder for me to get it into the paper.”

In 2008 the liberal media provided the cover needed for Obama to get elected, but two years later, questions remain about his relationship with ACORN and it has been clear that Obama has lied repeatedly to the American people. Its time to get Obama and ACORN on the record about what really happened with the donor lists in 2007 and 2008.

The release of the Obama donor list to the public will be followed by a formal complaint to the FEC, which both Obama and ACORN will have to respond to – on-the-record.

In 2009, the Democrat controlled Judiciary Committee heard testimony from attorney Heather Heidelbaugh, who read my 2008 testimony against ACORN into Congressional record. Evidence, and sworn testimony were among the facts ignored by the members of the committee:

    “Based on the testimony, Project Vote, ACORN and other ACORN affiliated entities illegally coordinated activities with the Obama presidential campaign, converting the expenditures by Project Vote, ACORN and ACORN affiliated entities to illegal, excessive corporate contributions to the Obama presidential campaign, in violation of federal law.”

Video from the final 2008 debate, ACORN answer at the 2 minute mark, but watch it all for context and see: Lie, lie, lie.
5543  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: July 28, 2010, 09:52:01 AM
"The lobbies are financing elections and reelections, that has corrupted the process."

The lobbyists and campaign contributions make perfect sense when they are used to defend the business or industry against legislation that would harm them.  But you would think that any proposed legislation designed with preferential treatment for an individual business or industry would be instantly rejected as opposing our founding principles.  Not so. 

5544  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tax Policy: Dick Armey on: July 27, 2010, 06:03:47 PM
I heard this on the radio without knowing the discussion:

"After they take your income, they will come for your things."

Property tax is one example where you are taxed for mere ownership, even though the ownership is lawful and made with after-tax dollars.  My property taxes are greater than my income.

The other of course is the estate tax where is taxed for the mere accumulation of AFTER TAX DOLLARS!

Both are going up.  They raise for the rich first, and then on you.   Fight them at every step.  Don't agree to any new taxes or any increases IMO.  It is much like parenting of 2-3 year olds.  How else will they ever learn to behave within limits?
5545  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / ACTION item: Retire Harry Reid, Support competitive Senate and House candidates on: July 27, 2010, 02:19:50 PM
Rarick and Crafty's posts on Sharron Angle are right on the money.  She would be a breath of fresh air in the senate.  She could send Harry Reid packing and take away any charge that a new Republican congress would be a return to politics of the past.  Republican leadership of the past will have a very hard time controlling people like Sharron Angle or Rand Paul.

Harry Reid symbolizes all that is wrong - for Nevada and for the U.S.  Very seldom is there much we can do to change the course of history, but everyone should stop right now and look at where they can best make a difference within their own means.  Pick out some meaningful house races and a few senate races if you can and send in something.  My theory is that if your contribution is small it still improves their momentum in terms of money and contributor count and smaller amounts help the PR campaign by lowering the average contribution.  Or send large amounts or make your own sign - whatever it is you can do.  I mostly sat and watched as Al franken stole our state and nationalized healthcare.  Do whatever it is that will leave you in November and the next 2 years with no regrets.  Do it EARLY in the election cycle where it can do the most good.  Harry Reid is well funded, but really better suited for retirement.

Take back this country!

Donate to Sharron Angle, $61 for her 61st birthday or ??

Rand Paul:

Other competitive races can be identified here as races that lean or are toss-ups -
5546  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Politics: A few cracks in Obama's Hispanic support on: July 27, 2010, 01:21:40 PM
First, Freki - the Thomas Sowell clip was excellent.  You can put him in with Madison and Jefferson for timeless wisdom in my view.
Posted previously, Dems generally win Hispanic vote by about 60-40.  For Obama that was 67% to 31%.  Getting back to 60-40 would be something and anything approaching 50-50 would be political landscape changing.  With immigration fights heating up, things could also turn the other way unless Republicans are able to SOON make a strong, winning argument  about economic growth and opportunity issues.  (Abortion opposition and family issues comprise another area of potential Hispanic-GOP agreement. According to Zogby, Hispanics support a pro-life position by a 78-21 percent margin.)  Business as usual for the GOP  brings a fall in Hispanic Dem support, not a rise in GOP support.  Note that the President of mixed color with his own personal appeal is not on the ballot, so this year the choice will fall back to issues and the quality local candidates.

Poll: A few cracks in Obama's Hispanic support

By LIZ SIDOTI (AP) – 9 hours ago

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama's once solid support among Hispanics is showing a few cracks, a troubling sign for Democrats desperate to get this critical constituency excited about helping the party hold onto Congress this fall.

Hispanics still overwhelmingly favor the Democratic Party over the GOP, and a majority still think Obama is doing a good job, according to an Associated Press-Univision poll of more than 1,500 Hispanics.

But the survey, also sponsored by The Nielsen Company and Stanford University, shows Obama gets only lukewarm ratings on issues important to Hispanics — and that could bode poorly for the president and his party.

For a group that supported Obama so heavily in 2008 and in his first year in office, only 43 percent of Hispanics surveyed said Obama is adequately addressing their needs, with the economy a major concern. Another 32 percent were on the fence, while 21 percent said he'd done a poor job.

That's somewhat understandable, given that far more Hispanics have faced job losses and financial stress than the U.S. population in general.

An unfulfilled promise to overhaul the nation's patchwork immigration system, which Hispanics overwhelmingly want to see fixed, also may be to blame. That's despite the fact that Obama is challenging an Arizona law that requires police, while enforcing other laws, to question a person's immigration status if officers have a reasonable suspicion he or she is in the country illegally.

Still, 57 percent of Hispanics approve of the president's overall job performance compared with 44 percent among the general population in the latest AP national polling.

"It's been tough, but I think he's been doing a fair job," says Tony Marte, 33, a physical education teacher in Miami who is a Nicaraguan native. He voted for Obama in 2008 and, so far, likes how Obama has handled the economy.

But Marte's not satisfied with Obama's work on immigration reform. "Nothing has been done," he says, adding that between now and 2012, Obama should "be looking out for the groups that put him up there. The Latinos. The minorities." He says he'll probably back Obama again but "we'll see."

The political power of Hispanics now and in the future cannot be overstated. They are the nation's fastest-growing minority group and the government projects they will account for 30 percent of the population by 2050, doubling in size from today.

Democrats long have had an advantage among Hispanics and maintained it even as George W. Bush chipped away at that support. Obama erased the GOP inroads during his 2008 campaign, winning 67 percent of their vote to 31 percent for Republican nominee John McCain. And Hispanics consistently gave Obama exceptionally strong marks in his first year as president.

With the first midterm congressional elections of Obama's presidency in three months, the poll shows a whopping 50 percent of Hispanics citizens call themselves Democrats, while just 15 percent say they are Republicans.

Among Hispanics, 42 percent rate the economy and the recession as the country's biggest problem; unemployment and a lack of jobs come in at 23 percent.

Ascencion Menjivar, a Honduran native who is a cook in Washington, isn't sold on the administration's approach to creating jobs and is waiting for a solution to get the economy back on track. "I think it'll be a long process," says Menjivar, 30. Still, he says Obama — "a genius" — eventually will make it happen.

Patricia Hernandez Blanco of Miami, 38, is less confident that recovery is under way. "I'm not sure it's improving," she says. Even so, this Cuban who voted for McCain says she would now cast a ballot for Obama.

Re-electing Obama would be "really stupid," counters Carlos Toledo of Puerto Rico, an independent voter, clothing store manager and self-defense instructor in Washington. Toledo, 35, disagrees with Obama's economic policies and says he worries about joblessness as budgets are cut and money is spent on wars despite the country's debt.

Behind economic woes, immigration comes in second in importance.

Since the controversy over the Arizona law erupted in April, Hispanics who mostly speak English at home gave Obama higher marks on his handling of their top issues than did Hispanics who primarily speak Spanish and who tend to be more recent immigrants or non-citizens.

Analysts say it's possible that the more English-dominant Hispanics rallied around the president following the enactment of the Arizona law and his challenge to it; some 40 percent of them approved of his performance on their key issues before Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed the law in April, but the figure rose to 52 percent in the weeks after.

The poll also showed that two years after witnessing Hillary Rodham Clinton's White House bid, Hispanics are twice as likely to expect to see a woman than a fellow Hispanic become president.

Some 59 percent said it is likely that a woman will be elected president sometime in the next two decades, while just 29 percent thought it likely that a Hispanic will be elected president over that period. And, 34 percent of non-citizen Hispanics thought the country is likely to have a Hispanic president, compared with 27 percent of citizens.

A significant percentage of Latinos — 41 percent — said they are more likely to vote for a candidate who is Hispanic.

The AP-Univision Poll was conducted from March 11 to June 3 by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. Using a sample of Hispanic households provided by The Nielsen Company, 1,521 Hispanics were interviewed in English and Spanish, mostly by mail but also by telephone and the Internet. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Stanford University's participation in the study was made possible by a grant from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
5547  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Way Forward? Hit piece on Gingrich on: July 27, 2010, 12:39:05 PM
I like Newt and I will vote for him if he is the nominee.  I don't endorse these criticisms.  If any or all are partly true that still doesn't tell a fraction of the amazing story of what Newt accomplished.  This criticism comes from the right but these things always get lapped up by leftists  Supporters of Newt should aware and ready to answer the critics' charges against him - that's all I'm saying by posting (linking).
On Gingrich: A legacy of surrender
By HOWARD RICH | 7/26/10
(Howard Rich is chairman of Americans for Limited Government.)
5548  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Border Violatons - How they are handled in countries around the world on: July 27, 2010, 12:25:12 PM
Reader beware, unsourced, but I can verify part of it knowing the family of one of the hikers held in Iran.

Border Violatons - How they are handled in countries around the world

If you cross the North Korean border illegally you get 12 years hard labor.

If you cross the Iranian border illegally you are detained indefinitely.

If you cross the Afghan border illegally, you get shot.

If you cross the Saudi Arabian border illegally you will be jailed.

If you cross the Chinese border illegally you may never be heard from again.

If you cross the Venezuelan border illegally you will be branded a spy and your fate will be sealed.

If you cross the Mexican borders illegally you will jailed for two years.

If you cross the Cuban border illegally you will be thrown into political prison to rot.
If you cross the United States border illegally you get:
1 - A job
2 - A driver's license
3 - A Social Security card
4 - Welfare
5 - Food stamps
6 - Credit cards
7 - Subsidized rent or a loan to buy a house
8 - Free education
9 - Free health care
10 - A lobbyist in Washington
11 - Billions of dollars in public documents printed in your language
12 - The right to carry the flag of your country - the one you walked out on - while you call America racist and protest that you don't get enough respect.
5549  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics: Corporate profits decoupled from jobs, Robert Reich on: July 27, 2010, 12:22:01 PM
Time permitting I will try to post and answer the thought leaders of left-economics like Krugman, Reich and Obama.  Reich hits his facts mostly right on this one.  These companies scaled back unprofitable operations, improved productivity and made money.  Problem is that he mentions ONLY big businesses that are CLOSELY TIED to big government: GM, Ford, GE.  These companies IMO have more in common with big government than they do with free enterprise.  He fails to mention the reasons WHY they move operations off-shore: tax rates, regulations, energy availability, labor rules etc. etc. All the things he favors.

In this story, we see the 'success' of the chosen companies with their teams of lawyers and lobbyists that have successfully gamed the system to make money while employing fewer and fewer in the US.  That is an accomplishment for them - at our expense with wind turbine tax credits for GE, hybrid tax credits for auto makers, artificial barriers to entry keeping competition down, etc.  The story of the American economy today is everything that is not in this story.  What are the rest of us supposed to do, the ones who did not have lobbyists cutting special deals, the ones who play by the rules and end up just having to pay for all the burdens we put on investors, employers, risk-takers and heaven forbid anyone who ends up eeking out a profit.

As an alternative, how about we all compete EVENLY on a level playing field, in a system designed to compete successfully in the 2010's globally competitive markets.
The Great Decoupling Of Corporate Profits From Jobs
Robert Reich |  Jul. 27, 2010
5550  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Liberal Environmentalist says Manmade GW case is Tenuous, no evidence on: July 27, 2010, 11:58:43 AM
Very persuasive IMO.
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