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5501  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Environmental issues on: October 02, 2010, 11:40:13 AM
BBG, That video was unbelievable without even considering that it was produced by advocates of the policy or that taxpayer funds (UK) played a major role along with major corporations.  Nice rip in the 'Telegraph' story: Be not surprised that The Guardian is their ‘media partner’.

The non apology in the story: "Many people found the resulting film extremely funny, but unfortunately some didn’t and we sincerely apologise to anybody we have offended." (Any strange individual who may be offended by young schoolchildren blown up into strewn blood, guts and body parts for not following the totalitarian state thought police guidelines gets their sincerest apology.)
5502  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China and Taiwan on: October 02, 2010, 11:27:30 AM
Looks to me like the Taiwan Relations Act was an act of congress (signed by Jimmy Carter) rather than a treaty. Since I believe the UN is worthless, I am not saying start a war over this issue, but it is a card that any serious President should be ready to consider.  Especially when it always seems that China holds all the cards, like the game playing they do with NK and this latest spat with Japan.

The one-China concept is simply de facto false today.  Taiwan will never rule China, and Taiwan will never peacefully accept PRC rule.  They can reunite later after China is free like East and West Germany did, but right now they are 2 countries.  Taiwan is as worthy of international acceptance as any nation or territory I can think of.
5503  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: October 02, 2010, 11:14:03 AM
Whitman has a hypocrisy problem, but she is running against Jerry Brown so will see what high standard voters hold her to, lol.

What I don't get in the Whitman maid case is if the Feds KNOW she is illegal and where to find her during the day, why are they putting law enforcement responsibility on the citizen or business?  What would it accomplish for Whitman to have chased her out of their employ.  Is the thought that she would then never again find work, starve and die or walk back toward her old home through the gang controlled border crossings?  Not when every welfare agency in the state would welcome her with open arms.  Point is there is no enforcement, no consistency, no consequence. 

This discussion tells me we need to hold public services and employment to the same standard.  Why we would stop someone from working and then let them stay in the US to use public services? That doesn't make sense. 

It points back to - secure the borders first and then deal with who is here.
5504  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / China: Is Obama ready for a staredown? on: October 01, 2010, 11:50:14 PM
One peaceful way to say he is ready for a staredown with China would be for this Nobel prize winning peace artist to sponsor the nation of Taiwan to join the United Nations and to quietly with no fanfare put our own membership and financial support for the organization on hold until it is accomplished. 

(The answer is no, I don't think he is ready.)
5505  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Immigration issues, another burden on business on: October 01, 2010, 11:32:09 PM
"See my post #415 of 9/4/10."

"Employers who hire illegal immigrants can be fined, but the Obama administration warned this week that they also can be fined for asking legal immigrants to show their green cards before hiring them."
Thank you.  Unbleepingbelievable.  We find a legitimate function for the federal government and they refuse to do it, refuse to let anyone else do it and then blame us back for the problem.  Time to throw the tea into the harbor and rattle their cages electorally until we get someone's attention.

If the Feds were all over the border security function and actively finding and deporting illegals and undocumented people, then requiring the reasonable cooperation of businesses would make perfect sense.

You can't scrutinize a non-English speaking Hispanic person, airport security can't target a young Muslim male with a one way cash ticket any more than they would your grandmother, and up here are we supposed to card check or ignore it when we catch someone finishing a question with... eh?
5506  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Latin America on: October 01, 2010, 02:15:36 PM
Denny,  That is some serious gerrymandering!  That is a quite a good breakthrough here for the Washington Post to get the story straight after a previous election where the Bush administration took the word of Jimmy Carter and advice of Colin Powell and accepted a stolen election.  Still I am shocked by the fact that 48% think the Chavez path is acceptable.  Margin of victory matters.  It makes it harder to steal elections as we learned here where my newest senator is the same Al Franken that we defeated on election night.
5507  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: October 01, 2010, 02:01:09 PM
"I think many employers are profiting by the relationship."

I know that is true, but you are missing the word knowingly.  Sort of knowing it because tens of millions of them are illegal is not knowing it.

"Perhaps if you apply penalties to employers and enforce those penalties,
we will have fewer illegal aliens working here."

Penalties without again using the word " knowingly"?  I don't mean should have guessed it by how they look or speak, but knowing with certainty in individual cases.  Should not the same penalty apply to anyone else who does business with the illegal and benefits from it like the grocer?

"I don't think it's onerous for employers to require a Driver's License at time of employment and to keep a copy thereof."

Require a DL for a non-driving job? To pick fruit or for heavy lifting or to work on a roof?  Or maybe only for Hispanics with a suspicious heavy accent?

"I'm not necessarily asking the employer to turn the person in to ICE..."

Which is someone else who will do nothing about it.

What about the welfare agencies.  They are an employer of sorts.  Same penalties, same requirements?  What about the public school?  They benefit.  Using local numbers, they get about 10k per year per student, legal or illegal.  What about the emergency rooms?  They benefit financially.  They do business and bill back (us) for their services.  We (the federal government suing Arizona) don't even let police officers do the type of scrutiny that we want to asking of business.  A police officer could stumble into an identity fraud racket and make a lasting difference.

"the employer should understand that if he knowingly hires an illegal employee he will suffer financial consequences"

 smiley  Okay, you came through for me with the word knowingly, but HOW?  All the employer can do it seems to me is require of the applicant what the government requires them to require and pass it to the government for a determination of authenticity.  These employers aren't receiving documents that certify someone is illegal and then going ahead with business.  Try turning people away for ethnicity based reasons and see how busy your legal department gets.

We aren't far apart here, the point is (like CCP says) that it doesn't make any sense until the government agrees to do their part FIRST and then require the rest of us to cooperate REASONABLY and comply.   

I can't get all fussy with someone who looks different or talks different than me in my business.  I have to treat everyone exactly the same under the strict laws that prohibit discrimination based on ethnicity and a host of other things.  If I would hire my brother without an ID and a background check then I have to give a Canadian looking person the same treatment.
5508  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Monetary Policy, & the US Dollar on: October 01, 2010, 01:29:52 PM
JDN: "However, not to argue semantics, there is a potential "gain" in the value of gold.  Just like (vacant land) property (gold is gold; property is property; an acre is an acre) if property goes up in value there is a gain and if sold, there is a tax. "

You missed my point or you disagree which is fine.  I don't question that the IRS deems it a gain.  I'm saying they are wrong and it is unconscionable.  Property is different; vacant land can change by getting closer to development for example, though you are right that most of those gains are inflationary as well and I am saying that component of the gain is no gain at all.  You have no right to be taxed on the fact that they devalued our currency while you held the asset.

If you look historically at gold prices you will see it is the dollar that goes down and not gold that goes up. There is no gain when the money you bought with deteriorates and the commodity you purchased held its value.   Not semantics, that a crucial difference of opinion.

In the '70s, OPEC quadrupled the dollar price of oil yet the gold price of oil remained remarkably stable.  It is the dollar that devalues in times of inflation yet there is no mechanism in the tax code other than long term capital gains rates for accounting for that.

JDN: "That means a rate of as much as 35%. On a $100,000 gain, that's $35,000 you pay to the government"

More like as high as 50% if held less than a year. The top rate, in place now, for buying today with a sale after Jan. 1 is (I believe) 39.5% and that does not include STATE TAX which is roughly 10% where I live and has no mechanism whatsoever for income averaging, inflation adjusting or long term capital gains preference no matter how poor you were before or after you made the one time sale with a pretend gain of an inflated asset.
5509  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: October 01, 2010, 01:00:14 PM
JDN,  I did not listen to the clip but follow you on one point: how is an employer receiving forged documents supposed to know?  How did Gen. Colin Powell 'know' his contractor had illegals working in his house.  Did they look Hispanic and speak with an accent?

I have a family member who works with employers in the Human Resources field and is not in favor of putting more burdens on employers to solve this problem.  My thought is that the government can ask the employer to disclose who they hire and they could require documents or copies of identification for the new hires be faxed to them for enforcement, but not to require the business to do the federal government's job for them (when they won't even let the states do it).  If the business is in the conspiracy to produce or accept fake documents, that is another matter.

Why should a business have to be tougher than a police officer would be in a routine traffic stop?
5510  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Monetary Policy, & the US Dollar on: October 01, 2010, 12:31:59 PM
"Are you saying that the 1099 reporting requirement includes a self-employed person buying gold?  Wouldn't th requirement be limited to business expenses?  Elsewise perforce food purchases would be included too, yes?"
Crafty, I am not at all an expert on it.  Your questions hint at why these types wanted it buried in a big bill and not to stand on its own merit or popularity.  They are taking what steps they can take to track the buys and sells of gold for the purpose of increasing capital gains collections.  Also to increase tax avoidance prosecutions which is how you improve compliance with an unjust, invasive law.  As Sowell implies, they would also like to dissuade you away from gold and into dollar assets where they exert more control. The food example is also true but less likely to be purchased with the intent of making a gain.  Still they might want to track your purchases of everything to try to determine how much gold you might be hiding, buying or selling.

If they can track your gold purchases, then they can later pass an asset tax (and then increase it like my property taxes until it grows like mine to exceed the cost of food, clothing and shelter for my family) or they could demand to see your gold to prove you did not sell at a gain, or they could presume it sold, impute the gain and assess the tax until you prove otherwise, as IRS logic runs in other areas of tax policy.

I remember Obama's promise for transparency but I don't recall when this issue was debated on C-SPAN.
5511  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Monetary Policy, & the US Dollar on: October 01, 2010, 10:55:15 AM
People buy gold with after tax money like I buy distressed real estate, with the thought if and when everything else goes to hell they will at least still own the gold that they bought and held and could sell barter or trade portions of the holding to acquire the essentials in life to protect, house and feed their family.  But in that situation, you don't really own your gold because you don't own the 'gain' on your gold.  Like gun laws, the government would like to track that and track you and in the event of a 'meltdown' they will be there to find you and tax, confiscate or jail you.

There is no gain in gold.  Gold is gold.  An ounce is an ounce.  It is the most stable of all commodities, sometimes called 'the gold standard'.  If the dollar collapses to almost nothing and you lose everything you own except for your gold which is still the same quantity and quality of gold that you bought previously with after tax money and held with no return, who besides a tyrannical totalitarian leftist would categorize that experience to your family as a taxable gain??
5512  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Monetary Policy, & the US Dollar on: October 01, 2010, 10:39:54 AM
"Specifically what does the Obamacare law say about gold?"
Section 9006 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will amend the Internal Revenue Code to expand the scope of Form 1099. Currently, 1099 forms are used to track and report the miscellaneous income associated with services rendered by independent contractors or self-employed individuals.

Starting Jan. 1, 2012, Form 1099s will become a means of reporting to the Internal Revenue Service the purchases of all goods and services by small businesses and self-employed people that exceed $600 during a calendar year. Precious metals such as coins and bullion fall into this category and coin dealers have been among those most rankled by the change.

This provision, intended to mine what the IRS deems a vast reservoir of uncollected income tax, was included in the health care legislation ostensibly as a way to pay for it. The tax code tweak is expected to raise $17 billion over the next 10 years, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.
5513  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Media Issues: Gallup mis-titles polls and big stories are lost on: October 01, 2010, 10:33:54 AM
In the August 14, 2009 poll, conservatives outnumbered liberals in virtually all of the fifty states, even in hotbeds of radicalism like Massachusetts and Vermont. What was the title of that poll? "Conservative Label Prevails in South." On February 3, 2010, Gallup repeated the poll. The results were the same (every state was more conservative than liberal), but what was the title of that poll? "Three Deep South States Are Most Conservative" (not something like "Conservatives Still Outnumber Liberals in Every State"). On August 2, 2010, Gallup tested the waters again. This time, there were more liberals than conservatives in one state, Rhode Island, leading Gallup to give this poll the reasonable title of "Wyoming, Mississippi, Utah Rank as Most Conservative States."
5514  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: October 01, 2010, 10:29:55 AM
We had quite a discussion a month or 2 ago about how impossible it will be for conservatives to win over the Hispanic vote.  Meanwhile, the Dems margin of winning that vote has shrunk from a 32 point margin to 13 in 2 months.
Barely half of Hispanics in September planned to vote Democratic

5515  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Monetary Policy, & the US Dollar on: October 01, 2010, 10:14:11 AM
A Thomas Sowell piece that covers gold and dollars.  This really is about Glibness and the ruling regime sneaking a clause into the heathcare legislation about government control of private gold ownership, but includes a good historical perspective.
Politics Versus Gold
By Thomas Sowell

One of the many slick tricks of the Obama administration was to insert a provision in the massive Obamacare legislation regulating people who sell gold. This had nothing to do with medical care but everything to do with sneaking in an extension of the government's power over gold, in a bill too big for most people to read.

Gold has long been a source of frustration for politicians who want to extend their power over the economy. First of all, the gold standard cramped their style because there is only so much money you can print when every dollar bill can be turned in to the government, to be exchanged for the equivalent amount of gold.

When the amount of money the government can print is limited by how much gold the government has, politicians cannot pay off a massive national debt by just printing more money and repaying the owners of government bonds with dollars that are cheaper than the dollars with which the bonds were bought. In other words, politicians cannot cheat people as easily.

That was just one of the ways that the gold standard cramped politicians' style-- and just one of the reasons they got rid of it. One of Franklin D. Roosevelt's first acts as president was to take the United States off the gold standard in 1933.

But, even with the gold standard gone, the ability of private individuals to buy gold reduces the ability of the government to steal the value of their money by printing more money.

Inflation is a quiet but effective way for the government to transfer resources from the people to itself, without raising taxes. A hundred dollar bill would buy less in 1998 than a $20 bill would buy in the 1960s. This means that anyone who kept his money in a safe over those years would have lost 80 percent of its value, because no safe can keep your money safe from politicians who control the printing presses.

That is why some people buy gold when they lose confidence in the government's managing of its money. Usually that is when inflation is either under way or looming on the horizon. When many people start transferring their wealth from dollars into gold, that restricts the ability of politicians to steal from them through inflation.

Even though there is currently very little inflation, purchases of gold have nevertheless skyrocketed. Ordinarily, most gold is bought for producing jewelry or for various industrial purposes, more so than as an investment. But, at times within the past two years, most gold has been bought by investors.

What that suggests is that increasing numbers of people don't trust this administration's economic policies, especially their huge and growing deficits, which add up to a record-breaking national debt.

When a national debt reaches an unsustainable amount, there is always a temptation to pay it off with inflated dollars. There is the same temptation when the Social Security system starts paying out more money to baby boom retirees than it is taking in from current workers.

Whether gold is a good investment for individuals, and whether the gold standard is the right system for a country, are much more complicated questions than can be answered here. But what is clear is that the Obama administration sees people's freedom to buy and sell gold as something that can limit what the government can do.

Indeed, freedom in general cramps the government's style. Those on the left may not be against freedom in general. But, at every turn, they find the freedoms granted by the Constitution of the United States hampering the left's agenda of imposing their superior wisdom and virtue on the rest of us.

The desire to restrain or control the buying and selling of gold is just one of the many signs of the inherent conflict between the freedom of the individual and the left's attempts to control our lives.

Sneaking a provision on gold purchases and sales into massive legislation that is supposedly about medical care is just one of the many cynical tricks used to circumvent the public's right to know how they are being governed. The Constitution begins, "We the people" but, to the left, both the people and the Constitution are just things to circumvent in order to carry out their agenda.
5516  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Nuclear Power: Fusion post on: October 01, 2010, 12:49:54 AM
Rarick posted: "The fusion process he describes does not release radiation, can put a reactor in the space of a Gas Station and make 100 Mw, if I am understanding this correctly."

My vision or prediction, consistent with that, is that something about the size of a personal backpack and probably fusion-based will someday carry all the energy one person might need for transportation, heating, air conditioning etc. anywhere/everywhere you go - making the memory of fossil fuel use look silly.

I know they have some details to work out on it.
5517  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Nanotechnology: Solar efficiency gains on: October 01, 2010, 12:45:28 AM
Freki:  Great find!  I used to have that site bookmarked several computer crashes ago.

Rarickwrote: "The article claims a 12 fold increase. solar cells are about 15-20% efficient- call it about 200watts/m2 for the 1000 watts insolation that was tested and verified in the soutwest usa."

My guess is that this technology and others  will show that the potential for energy capture is far greater than we thought.  Also we are not all in the southwest.  The sun also lights and heats the earth in places like Seattle as well where I doubt the solar efficiency of current systems is anywhere near the 15-20% range.

Except to judge the credibility of the author, it doesn't matter to me whether the gain from one breakthrough is 10% or 10-fold.  The point is that good things are coming and government should not be paying you or mandating you to make a fifty year investment in a technology that constantly improving and obsolescing the old.  Only free choices can fairly settle the questions of if, when and how to commit to an investment of that scope.
5518  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Emergency Tips: Continuous Chest Compression CPR on: September 28, 2010, 10:28:14 PM
You never know when you will wish you were prepared for inevitable emergencies.

My daughter worked her first hour of her first job ever last weekend at the desk of a small tennis club and a man dropped to the ground with a heart attack, not breathing.  Lucky for her and the man, the club manager/ my friend, was there.  He dialed 911 handed the phone to her and headed out with a defibrillator I believe, while someone else had CPR started.

Backtracking here, a Marine friend of mine emailed this video a few weeks ago saying it is the newest, best and simplest way to perform CPR. Please watch and forward/share.  (If someone here knows better, please post.) 
5519  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Emergency Tips: face mask on: September 28, 2010, 10:00:13 PM
Very funny, and practical. 

For those of us who don't have a quick release bra handy, I keep a very heavy duty ($30-40) face mask hanging within reach of the bed.  In a fire, they say it is the smoke that gets you before the flames.  If it works, I should be able to put it on in a matter of seconds of the first smoke alarm going off and maybe have a chance at rescuing a family member and/or getting myself out.  I also recommend having a baseball bat or 2x4 etc. by the escape window for every family member in case the window doesn't open easily to smash your way out the way a fireman would.

A fire in your home is slightly more likely than a nuclear meltdown, but they do make masks for biological/chemical warfare, also for carbon monoxide protection:
5520  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela vote on: September 28, 2010, 01:17:39 PM
Rough translation ( of one paragraph of Denny's last Spanish post:

Opposition wins same number of votes to Chavez party but they win 37 fewer seats.  Why is that? No answer, attack the questioner.
More than a question, was "the" question:  "The difference among the votes obtained by its party, the Socialist Party United of Venezuela (PSUV), and the ones that has achieved the Table of the Democratic Unit (MUD) is of barely 100,000.  And it is difficult to understand that having obtained almost the same number of votes, the opposition have reached 37 seats less than the PSUV [finally would be from 33 the difference].  I ask me if would be being confirmed the thesis of the opposition that maintains that the redistribution of the electoral circuits was done with the intention of favoring to the PSUV or that perhaps the vote of the PSUV is worth for two. ..”.  What responded him Chávez?  Nothing.  Did not it know that to respond him and, faithful to its style, attacked against her. 
5521  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Politics of Health Care: Richmond VA Times Editorial on: September 28, 2010, 09:10:21 AM
Obama says he doesn't explain it well enough which means of course that you unwashed out there are too stupid to understand that rule by the elite and handing your private decisions is going to be good for you...

HEALTH CARE: 'You Dummies'

Several months ago President Obama promised that Democrats would be proud to campaign on the new health care overhaul. With campaigns now peaking, the only Democrats who mention the law these days are the ones who voted against it. So supporters have decided to try a new approach: calling voters dimwits.

That's not how they're putting it, of course. Obama, for instance, says he faults himself "for not being able to make the case "more clearly to the country." Maybe if he spoke louder and used small words . . . .

Funny thing, though: The president said precisely the same thing nine months ago, during his State of the Union address, when health-care reform was still being debated: "This is a complex issue . . . .I take my share of the blame for not explaining it more clearly to the American people."

Wait a second. Received wisdom tells us Obama is the greatest orator since Ronald Reagan, if not Cicero. He's so eloquent he could talk the ticks off a dog. He's known for nine months that he needs to do a better job of selling the health care overhaul -- and he hasn't been able to do it. Did he suddenly get tongue-tied? What's the real problem here?

The problem is not that people just don't understand a complex law, or even that -- as a recent AP story spun it -- Obama "has yet to find the right wavelength for communicating information that's relatively straightforward." After all, congressional Democrats conceded they didn't understand what was in the bill, either. But that didn't keep them from voting for it.

The problem is that the law stinks. The critics' predictions -- it's going to raise health care costs, the deficit, taxes, and insurance premiums, make getting medical care more complex, and help fewer people than advertised -- are coming true already. Members of the public understand this all too well.

When someone says, "I'm sorry you took it the wrong way," the listener knows the speaker is not really apologizing -- he's calling the listener oversensitive. And when a politician says, "I'm sorry I didn't explain things clearly enough," the voters know he's not really admitting a personal failure -- he's calling them stupid.

Democrats and an often sympathetic media are trying, once again, to tell voters they would like a lousy law if only they had enough brains. No wonder the Republicans are poised on the verge of an electoral sweep.
5522  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Way Forward: A Pledge to America on: September 27, 2010, 04:21:51 PM
A document of values and direction was released last week by the Republicans trying to take Congress while I was out.  Does anyone here have any comments either on how good or effective this will be as a governing document or as to how good or effective it will be as a political tool in the election.

My impression so far is that it is mostly right on the money.  Some critics call it the same rhetoric but putting it to writing creates a record that incumbents can be held to and judged by.  Some say too long for independents or ordinary voters to choose to read, but still they will know that it is there - a series of promises and commitments have been made - in writing.

Also removes the label that the challengers are only running against someone or that voters are only voting against something.  Some of the commitments are rather specific:
5523  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glibness: Self-evident truths, inalianable rights, endowed by our WHAT? on: September 27, 2010, 03:50:08 PM
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, endowed ?? with certain inalienable rights, Life and Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."

FYI Mr. President, the original text went more like this:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Unfortunately the Declaration of Independence is inked and engrossed in parchment, not subject to amendment or line item rescission by a later executive.
5524  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Venezuela: Chavez fails to reach critical two-thirds majority on: September 27, 2010, 03:30:38 PM
Thank you Denny for firsthand accounts.  The whole Chavez story is very sad for the people.  I hope you will tell us what you think the U.S. can do to help; I assume it is nothing.  Here we seem to be headed down a similar road.  Now we have an uprising, the tea party, and maybe a shift in one body of congress.  After that I fear we will head further down the same road, what you call 21st century socialism, forced redistributionism and a dismantling of the freedoms and pillars that used to make this a great place.

Chavez fails to reach critical two-thirds majority in Venezuelan assembly
By Juan Forero
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, September 27, 2010; 10:51 AM

Voters in Venezuela have stopped President Hugo Chavez from obtaining the two-thirds majority the Socialist leader said he needed in the National Assembly to effortlessly pass what he calls critical reforms.

According to incomplete returns released Monday, Chavez's United Socialist Party on Sunday won at least 94 of 165 seats, while his most ardent foes took 60. The rest of the votes had either not been determined or went to a small leftist party...
5525  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics on: September 27, 2010, 10:57:47 AM
I should add to my previous, that if China can actually for once develop the very best technology for anything such as electric storage and propulsion, maybe we should copy and freely reproduce it here for less until they begin complying with international patent, trademark and copyright laws.
5526  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Economics: Friedman, China and electric cars on: September 27, 2010, 10:44:12 AM
"OK freemarketeers, analyze this [Tom Friedman/NY Times]:

To my thinking, Friedman is always answering the wrong question, in this case - what should we do next assuming we are also a centrally planned economy with no constitutional restriction on having the government participate in our private economy?

The electric car is an interesting idea, a partial solution at best to something.  Private transportation is only a part of oil use.  All-electric cars will address only a small part of private transportation needs.  For propulsion for small distances it has limitations, but also people look to their vehicle to supply heat and defrost capabilities, in some areas air conditioning is a requirement.  Go home, Tom Friedman, and try running your most efficient air conditioner or small furnace with a battery.

I am all for electric cars, supplied by the private sector and chosen by the consumer.  I could not possibly accomplish all my current transport needs however with one.  What Friedman of course is proposing is a mandate, not a choice, made by explicitly destroying our alternatives, namely tax the fuck out of gasoline until people will quit using it and buy into the preferred system.  Missing in his logic string besides the tromp on our freedoms is that the destruction of our current system of transport and livelihood would not likely leave us in an economic position to purchase in large numbers the overpriced, under-performing, more desirable alternative.

Comparing our security needs and decisions to a centrally planned dive into one element of technology innovation is a straw man argument.  Our technology investment is not in Afghanistan and we did not create all our security needs, our enemies helped with that.  In our economy the wars in 2 countries would be  barely more than a rounding error if those were our only wasteful and unproductive public policies.  If we want more investment in technology, our current system as I understand it provides that we get out of the way and let the private sector filled with free people making free choices do it.

Friedman has an often expressed envy of the totalitarians and rule by the elite though I'm sure he would keep our democratic system and just wish us to choose collectively more central planning and the government interventions by the elites that are obviously so preferable to him than economic freedoms and decentralized choices.

From this 3-time Pulitzer winner I ask, where is the data to support the premise that central planning with massive interventions is more efficient or that a dynamic and free economy?  Where is the data to support his contention that a free and unplanned economy cannot innovate fast enough on its own?  Absent from anything I have read by him and absent from our experience in a world of data.

FYI to Friedman, we ARE taxing gasoline - heavily.  Besides federal and state fuel taxes, the main tax on fuel is the regulation that  prevents it from being sufficiently produced domestically and competitively distributed. Meanwhile we are NOT upgrading our electrical capabilities to take on the transportation sector.  That is an area where public policy could actually have gotten ahead of the game, but didn't.  FYI further, electric cars are not necessarily the only or best alternative to gasoline and diesel fuels.  I would refer you to CNG (compressed natural gas) as a very real and plentiful domestic source, but still inferior to a gallon of gas in its energy content and transportability.

Mostly what I would say to Friedman is that a free people operating in free market will out-perform his central planned system.  We should go through every tax, regulation, employment law and spending item on the books and see what we can pare down until we unleash a level of creativity, expansion, innovation and production that will blow the lid off the Chinese, rule by the elite, system.
5527  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: September 21, 2010, 10:17:22 AM
A postcard is protected by federal law if it sits in your mailbox and would require a search warrant if it sat on your kitchen counter and the authorities were not already in your kitchen, it seems to me.  Email boxes are password protected, an expectation of privacy at least at your end.  At work, the email account, the network and all the hardware may likely be the property of the employer - more like setting your postcard on someone else's counter.
5528  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Government spending & Obama's Aunt Zeituni:'System Took Advantage Of Me' on: September 21, 2010, 08:23:31 AM
This story of course would go unnoticed if not for her famous nephew, leader of the free world.
Taxpayer funds were paying her to live here illegally long before he became famous.  Do you wonder how many million others?

I agree with her on one point, it is the voters fault for the programs, not the recipient for taking it.
Aunt Zeituni: 'The System Took Advantage Of Me'
President Obama's Aunt Speaks Exclusively With WBZ-TV

"If I come as an immigrant, you have the obligation to make me a citizen." Those are the words from 58-year-old Zeituni Onyango of Kenya in a recent exclusive interview with WBZ-TV.

Onyango is the aunt of President Barack Obama. She has been living in the United States illegally for years, receiving public assistance in Boston.

Aunt Zeituni, as she has come to be known, first surfaced in the public light in 2008, in the final days of the Presidential election. Then-candidate Obama said that he was not against the possible deportation of his aunt. "If she has violated laws, then those laws have to be obeyed," he told CBS's Katie Couric. "We are a nation of laws."

Onyango had violated the law, and she knew it.

"I knew I had overstayed" she told WBZ-TV's Jonathan Elias when the two sat down one-on-one.

Zeituni Onyango said she came to the United States in 2000 and had every intention of leaving. Then, however, she says she got deathly ill and was hospitalized. When she recovered, she said she was broke and couldn't afford to leave.

For two years Onyango said she lived in a homeless shelter, before she was moved into public housing. "I didn't take advantage of the system. The system took advantage of me."

"I didn't ask for it; they gave it to me. Ask your system. I didn't create it or vote for it. Go and ask your system," she said unapologetically.

And she's right. The system provided her assistance despite her status as an illegal immigrant.

In 2004 a judge ordered Zeituni Onyango out of the country, but she never left. She stayed, hiding in plain site. In 2005 she attended her nephew's swearing in as the junior Senator of Illinois. In 2008 she traveled to D.C. for President Obama's inauguration.

Onyango hired a top immigration lawyer from Cleveland to help fight her case. We asked how she afforded that lawyer, when she claimed poverty.

"When you believe in Jesus Christ and almighty God, my help comes from heaven," she responded.

When asked about cutting in line ahead of those who have paid into the system she answered plainly, "I don't mind. You can take that house. I will be on the street with the homeless."

In May 2010, Onyango's case went back before the same judge who ordered her out of the country in 2004. This time she was granted asylum in the United States. The ruling said a return to Kenya might put Onyango in danger.

So she is now here legally, still living on public assistance and hoping that the spotlight on her will dim.
5529  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glibness/ What D'Souza doesn't get quite right (about Obama) on: September 20, 2010, 10:36:01 AM
Just wanted to re-visit a Forbes piece by Dinesh D'Souzaa I posted recently with a contrary opinion.  These authors have competing books coming out.  I think both are partly right but this author seems to have his facts better documented.

Jack Cashill (link below from American Thinker) thinks D'Souza takes too much from Obama's book without acknowledging that it was largely written by Bill Ayers with Obama's notes and memoirs.  So Obama Sr. was an anti-colonialist and our Obama picked up some of that but really never knew his abandoning father from Kenya, likely didn't meet him the first 10 years, never grew up with him and skipped his funeral.  More likely Obama took his foundations of American leftism from his abandoning mother from Kansas and the characters like Ayers he would meet along the way.

Cashill takes several examples of overlap between Obama's book 'Dreams' and Ayers other writings to conclude that the storyline of the father he never knew growing up wasn't the writing of young Barack's in the first place.  Barack the future President set out to write a book about race relations, it stalled out as his bills mounted and then he asked Ayers for help (handed the project over to him).
5530  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: September 17, 2010, 09:08:05 AM
P.C.:"I would refer them to the 10th Amendment: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Crafty: "I would also add a reminder of the 9th Amendment as well as the 10th."
9th Amendment: "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

Yes, the 10th would be the basis for the Massachusetts system and fewer people are being hurt by that and easier to dismantle than a federal program.

9th amendment is where they found the right to privacy (IIRC), an unenumerated right  that the Roe v. Wade rests on.  ObamaCare is an gigantic invasion of privacy.  How can you participate in the system without the compulsory taking of very very personal information?  
Don't forget the 1st amendment and I believe there is a religious out-clause in Obama-Care.  What I don't get in terms of a right of privacy and freedom of religion is why anyone would have to disclose their religion to qualify and then have the validity of the objection scrutinized by big government.  That is not freedom of religion.

My religion, home churched, has opposition to big government and socialized medicine right in the core beliefs derived from the ancient biblical principles of thou shalt not steal and thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's health coverage (or his wife or his ass).  God endowed and entrusted each one us with the capability to negotiate our own coverages and contracts in a free society and every infringement on that is a punishable sin.
Crafty, Perhaps a constitutional amendment could be constructed to overturn Wickard v. Filburn, the case where growing 'wheat' on private property for personal consumption only was deemed to be a form of interstate congress.  We shouldn't need one, but that could give the liberal justices something new to study rather than dream up new expansions to the commerce clause.  Might get the support of another generation that wants to grow more than wheat.
P.C.'s distinction between regulating and participating in commerce is brilliant! ... if not something that should be obvious to all of us.  Without drifting subjects here but this is all tied to things like removing General Motors' CEO, restructuring Chrysler's debt, arbitrary market interventions like cash for clunkers, choosing which investment houses get merged and bailed and which get closed and sold, etc.  The health care bill is all part of that runaway process of government meddling and participating, not regulating.
5531  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2010 Elections; 2012 Presidential on: September 17, 2010, 08:19:33 AM
"There goes one possible seat change?"

From a national point of view, it is the Gov. race that is screwed up, not the Senate race though trouble could certainly spill over.
5532  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Constitutional Law, Prop 8 Calif: Equal Protection, if similarly circumstanced? on: September 15, 2010, 03:06:07 PM
Another hot issue I would love to hear Bigdog's take on is Prop. 8 Gay marriage in California.  In that case the judge did strike down the will of the people so I would think the Court will step in or else it becomes settled law by one lower judge.

The 'fundamental right' at stake is marriage, but marriage has always been recognized as one man and one woman becoming husband and wife so some new combination of that  a new right and a new recognized relationship(IMO).

The legal concept at stake is Equal Protection, that is, equal protection if similarly circumstanced.

Progressive taxation allows one taxpayer to be taxed on their last or next dollar of income at very different rates and in some cases to be taxed not at all.  This passes constitutional muster in terms of equal protection under the law because it is 'equal protection, but different circumstances.

Jumping to gay marriage,  a law (state constitutional amendment) that allows a citizen to marry only only person of the opposite gender fits that exact mold in my view.  Gay people coupled and single people without a partner are not denied the right to marry one person of the opposite gender, they are just in a different circumstance.

I don't see how the Supreme Court can reject the equal protection - different circumstance argument without undermining our uneven taxation system and a host of other unequally distributed programs.   But it does sounds like a pretty good trade to me.
5533  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: September 15, 2010, 02:42:12 PM
"As a loved, but errant minor child dependent upon his parent for substance"

JDN, Not so dependent anymore.  I think roughly 1% their GDP comes from US aid; this is not like Soviets propping up Cuba.  I would assume intelligence for security in the region flows both ways.  I'm no history expert, but I think the 'parent' was the U.N.  Either way you might say the kid grew up pretty well in spite of living in a bad neighborhood and having an absent, dysfunctional parent, if that is the metaphor.

"Israel should understand, respect and carefully listen to our wishes."  - respectfully, bullsh*t IMHO.  What other ally does that?  I see more a relationship of peers or equals.  We have recently spit on them. They can listen to us and ALL the signals around them and then do what makes sense for security and survival.

There is no way today they realistically count on unwavering or timely support from the U.S. and probably not since our first lady now Sec. State played kissy-face with Mrs. Arafat or even before that.  Obama will be President for 2 more years and annihilation of Israel, the stated goal of their enemies, can take place in minutes.
Regarding the posts while I typed, the GM translation is the Muslim claim on the Iberian Penninsula (Spain) and extremists have already bombed Madrid.  It IS in the best interests of the U.S. that we help prevent the annihilation of Israel or any other ally and most any other country or civilization.  The difference with Israel is that threat is stated, published, promised and repeated by some pretty bad and well-armed actors. Not some wild hypothetical.  The cultural, family, political and trade connections to the US are very real also JDN and should not be discarded or discounted.
5534  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: September 15, 2010, 11:13:35 AM
Thank you Bigdog for a very helpful analysis.  I think you have it right in the sense that this court will be unlikely to jump in as it sits and for the reasons you stated, mainly that the legislation can still be scrapped, rewritten, confirmed or expanded in the political process without court intervention.

I agree that since no judge or lower court has not struck down any part of it so far, it puts no real pressure on the Supreme Court to select the case.

There was a post by Marc from the WSJ further up this thread that I thought gave very reasonable advice to a potential new congress on what to do in terms of opposition to ObamaCare.  In a nutshell, de-fund it, delay implementation, dismantle key portions and delegate powers to the states, etc.   Options are still available for derailing this without a court intervention.  

On the legal issue, Bigdog introduced Article I, section 8, clause 18 of the constitution.  Let me please quote the clause here in its entirety for those of us not as recently familiar with it:

Article 1, Section 8, Clause 18

"To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Power, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof."

I take that to mean that the power of congress in the larger sense needs to be granted elsewhere in the constitution and then the laws necessary and proper to carry it out are granted here.  So where in the constitution is the larger power of the congress granted to run the nation's and the individual's healthcare?  

That power to regulate is arguably derived from the Commerce Clause, but the choice or fact alone of no insurance is a non-economic activity.

The Commerce Clause reads: [The Congress shall have Power]"To regulate Commerce ... among the several States..." - Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3

Healthcare I'm sure meets current standard for constituting interstate commerce. This legislation though goes further in my opinion than regulation of private companies providing services in the sense that it eliminates individual choices that millions choose today.  A strong argument can be constructed either direction about whether this is not a necessary and proper way of regulating that commerce in a limited government context.  As BD pointed out, neither side of this divided court should be confident enough that their side would prevail to unnecessarily risk establishing a new precedent against their own view.

For me, the Commerce Clause has already been used far too expansively.  I can see a constitutional power for reasonable regulations of the firms who provide interstate healthcare, like requiring an MD for certain procedures or requiring surgeons to cut with clean knives, but I have no idea where they were given the power to even ask me about my non-coverage, health history or personal data beyond my name and address for census and income for taxes.

Easy to find opinions on either side of this.  Here's one by authors who worked in the Reagan and HW Bush Justice Departments, written before the final bill was negotiated, with key paragraphs excerpted:

The otherwise uninsured would be required to buy coverage, not because they were even tangentially engaged in the "production, distribution or consumption of commodities," but for no other reason than that people without health insurance exist. The federal government does not have the power to regulate Americans simply because they are there. Significantly, in two key cases, United States v. Lopez (1995) and United States v. Morrison (2000), the Supreme Court specifically rejected the proposition that the commerce clause allowed Congress to regulate noneconomic activities merely because, through a chain of causal effects, they might have an economic impact. These decisions reflect judicial recognition that the commerce clause is not infinitely elastic and that, by enumerating its powers, the framers denied Congress the type of general police power that is freely exercised by the states.  ...

The other obvious alternative is to use Congress's power to tax and spend. In an effort, perhaps, to anchor this mandate in that power, the Senate version of the individual mandate envisions that failure to comply would be met with a penalty, to be collected by the IRS. This arrangement, however, is not constitutional either.

Like the commerce power, the power to tax gives the federal government vast authority over the public, and it is well settled that Congress can impose a tax for regulatory rather than purely revenue-raising purposes. Yet Congress cannot use its power to tax solely as a means of controlling conduct that it could not otherwise reach through the commerce clause or any other constitutional provision. In the 1922 case Bailey v. Drexel Furniture, the Supreme Court ruled that Congress could not impose a "tax" to penalize conduct (the utilization of child labor) it could not also regulate under the commerce clause. Although the court's interpretation of the commerce power's breadth has changed since that time, it has not repudiated the fundamental principle that Congress cannot use a tax to regulate conduct that is otherwise indisputably beyond its regulatory power.
5535  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: September 14, 2010, 02:18:32 PM
CCP, I lean that way too, but...  All we can do is elect better leaders to see the best information and make the best decisions.  We also need to get better intelligence.  If not Bush, then Cheney would have been strong on this, but there was no word that any hawk in that administration was pushing for a full attack on Iran.  Like you said, even Bolton is not saying strike now.

Netanyahu is a strong leader and he isn't doing it. You and I might not trust Obama, but if he saw a low risk opportunity to end a rogue nuclear weapons program, who knows.  I think it was Strat that wrote about the aftermath of a strike in the gulf with the Straits mined and closed, a shutdown to the global economy that we are not ready for in addition to whatever battles or war would break out. 

Maybe the strategy has to be wait, gather intelligence and counterpunch.  If/when Iran strikes somewhere, then strike back instantly with devastation to their programs.  Can't be labeled the aggressors, you know.  Perhaps a discovery and capture of bin Laden in Iran planning more attacks would justify a dismantling by force of their weapons program.

I assume we sell rather than give arms to Saudi and have done that for decades. Saudi unfortunately is the balancing power in the region and other than Israel and Iraq the place most threatened by Iran. Their system fosters evil but I don't think their monarchy is our enemy or would threaten our interests.  Like Crafty said about Pakistan, the risk will be with who later gets control of those weapons.  In one part we don't want to be the world's policeman and in another we don't want these fair weathered friends like Saudi, China, Russia, India, Brazil, you name it, to be fully armed and ready to do the work in place of us.  We learned though that help won't come from Europe when we need reliable allies with defense capabilities.

I'm glad we don't also have Saddam to worry about in that neighborhood.  I remember learning that he wasn't an immediate threat because he was really 5-7 years away from nuclear weapons when the decision to go in was made; that was 9 years ago.

Ahmadinejad is a loud mouth provocateur with his holocaust denial talk for example but to the extent that they support war against our interests outside their borders through Hezbollah, Hamas and surrogates in Iraq, they should be met with war inside their borders, it seems to me.

Also too bad we are committed to a policy of worsening our dependence on foreign oil at a time when a responsible defense action can't be taken because it could lead to a closing the shipping lanes of oil out of the gulf.
5536  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Economics: Income Mobility on: September 14, 2010, 09:20:30 AM
A report from 2007 that I came across today looking up this subject:
50% move up and out of the lower quintile in just 10 years.  Please watch for misleading quintile analyses that don't chart the improvement and movement of individuals in the economy.  This Treasury data refutes the claim that only the rich got richer.

November 13, 2007

Treasury Releases Income Mobility Study

Washington DC--The Treasury Department today released a study on income mobility of U.S. taxpayers from 1996 through 2005.

The study showed that, just as in the previous 10-year period, a majority of American taxpayers move from one income group to another over time.  The study also recognizes that the dynamism of the U.S. economy significantly contributes to income mobility.

The key findings of the study included:

    * Income mobility of individuals was considerable in the U.S. economy during the 1996 through 2005 period with roughly half of taxpayers who began in the bottom quintile moving up to a higher income group within 10 years.
    * About 55 percent of taxpayers moved to a different income quintile within 10 years.
    * Among those with the very highest incomes in 1996--the top 1/100 of one percent--only 25 percent remained in the group in 2005.  Moreover, the median real income of these taxpayers declined over the study period.
    * The degree of mobility among income groups is unchanged from the prior decade (1987 through 1996).
    * Economic growth resulted in rising incomes for most taxpayers over the study period:
       Median real incomes of all taxpayers increased by 24 percent after adjusting for inflation;
      Real incomes of two-thirds of all taxpayers increased over this period; and
      Median incomes of those initially in the lower income groups increased more than the median incomes of those initially in the high income groups. 
5537  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Clunkerconomics on: September 14, 2010, 08:38:16 AM
A George Will piece posted from Sunday was excellent. link follows.

A well intended piecemeal program of targeted leftism that mostly benefited Honda and Toyota with new car sales, got a few people with plenty of cash in their pocket into new wheels with taxpayer help and left ordinary working or poor people with an 11% higher price to pay for the remaining stock of used cars in the government tampered market.

I wonder if even one left-leaning moderate can read a true and recent story of another command economy experiment failing for the people like that and learn something about how freedom to make our own choices, good or bad within reason, is a better way to run the private economy.

Let government focus on core issues of governing, not try to run the private sector for us too.

The clunker school of economics
Sept. 13, 2010

Looking back with pride, the British are commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, when Churchill said of the pilots fighting the Luftwaffe: Never "was so much owed by so many to so few." Looking ahead with trepidation, Americas are thinking: Never have so many of us owed so much.

Actually, they owed slightly more when the recession began, when household consumer debt was $2.6 trillion. The painful but necessary process of deleveraging is proceeding slowly: Such debt has been reduced only to $2.4 trillion. Add to that the facts that the recession has reduced household wealth by $10 trillion, and that only 25 percent of Americans expect their incomes to improve next year. So they are not spending, and companies are worried. Hence, rather than hiring, companies are sitting on cash reserves much larger than the size of last year's $862 billion stimulus.

Democrats who say another stimulus is necessary for job creation, but who dare not utter the word "stimulus," are sending three depressing messages: The $862 billion stimulus did not work; the public so loathes the word that another stimulus will not happen; therefore prosperity is not "just around the corner," as Herbert Hoover supposedly said (but did not). Consumers and businesses are responding to those messages by heeding Polonius' advice in Hamlet: "Neither a borrower nor a lender be."

Hoover — against whom Democrats, those fountains of fresh ideas, have been campaigning for 78 years — is again being invoked as a terrible warning about the wages of sin. Sin is understood by liberals as government austerity, which is understood as existing levels of government spending, whatever they are, whenever. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner recently said that Germans favoring reduced rather than increased state spending sounded "a little bit like Hoover." Well.

Real per capita federal expenditures almost doubled between 1929, Hoover's first year as president, and 1932, his last. David Kennedy, in Freedom from Fear, writes of Hoover:

"He nearly doubled federal public works expenditures in three years. Thanks to his prodding, the net stimulating effect of federal, state and local fiscal policy was larger in 1931 than in any subsequent year of the decade."

Barack Obama has self-nullifying plans for stimulating the small-business sector that creates most new jobs. He has just endorsed tax relief for such businesses but opposes extension of the Bush tax cuts for high-income filers, who include small businesses with 48 percent of that sector's earnings. The stance of other Democrats seems to be that the Bush cuts were wicked in conception, reckless in execution — and should be largely, and perhaps entirely, extended.

Does this increase anyone's confidence? About as much as noting the one-year anniversary of the end of another of the administration's brainstorms.

The used car market is an important mechanism for redistributing wealth to low-income persons: The price of a car drops when it is driven out of the dealership, but much of its transportation value remains when it enters the used car market. Unfortunately for low-income people, the average price of a three-year-old automobile has increased more than 10 percent since last summer. This is largely because the Car Allowance Rebate System, aka "cash for clunkers," which ended in late August 2009, cut the supply of used cars.

Cash for clunkers provided up to $4,500 to persons who traded in a car in order to purchase a new car with better gas mileage, but stipulated that the used car had to be scrapped. A study by shows that all but 125,000 of the 700,000 cars sold during the clunkers program would have been bought even if no subsidy had been available. If this is so, each incremental sale cost taxpayers $24,000.

Obama is desperately urging consumers and investors to have confidence in his understanding of economics. They may, however, remember his characteristic certitude that "cash for clunkers" was "successful beyond anybody's imagination."
5538  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: September 13, 2010, 11:11:44 PM
"Virginia is asserting that if it prevails on its substantive claims, the whole law is unconstitutional."

 - I can't answer that technical point legally but I can address it logically.  The votes for that package were carefully sought out and chosen based on the bill's entirety.  Recall the cornhusker kickback, the hospital in Connecticut, 10 years of taxes to pay for 6 years of benefits because of such delicate budget issues etc.  If the Court strikes down anything that changes the financial substance of the bill, and the purchase mandate is the largest piece of that puzzle, then you can not assume that all the pretend budget hawks in those narrow vote margins would have still voted 'yea' for the new court-broken, budget breaking package.  It seems to me any Supreme Court decision that would hold up the remaining parts of a bill that obviously would not have passed without including the unconstiututional portions would be flawed logic and wrongly decided IMHO.

Maybe Bigdog wants to jump in on this.
5539  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The Power of Word on: September 13, 2010, 10:11:03 AM
Posted in the context of the important issues of the day facing our society, including forced redistribution and the idea of raising taxes punitively only on the rich:

THE 10th COMMANDMENT  (Exodus 20:17)

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor's.


A very strong argument (Commandment) in support of private property rights.  I am very interested in arguments of how that could be interpreted otherwise.
5540  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Prayer and Daily Expression of Gratitude on: September 11, 2010, 11:26:50 AM
Grateful for a glorious summer, in a place that has extremely distinct seasons.
5541  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Science vs. God on: September 11, 2010, 11:20:52 AM
Rarick wrote: "I do not see the need for a vs. in there."

Agree.  Science is (IMHO) only our puny and primitive understanding of a creation we cannot begin to fathom.  Sort of a journalistic tool to write and talk about things.  Take gravity or the speed of light for examples.  We can observe and measure and ponder and predict things, maybe even find better ways to make use of forces already occurring in nature, but we have no clue how it really happens or how to make it happen.  Because we don't really understand how things work we keep finding we were wrong about assumptions and conclusions and keep updating the 'science'.

Beware anytime you hear the words: 'the science is settled'.  I doubt the best intergalactic scientist alive today knows 1/10th of a percent of how it all works, same for the best in medical science truly understanding human physiology.

The science is the study of..., not ever the full knowledge of it.  It really is the system of trying to acquire knowledge.  When we are honest about it we call our best practitioners specialists, not experts.
5542  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: September 10, 2010, 09:42:08 PM
I like the message of this candidate, Ryan Frasier running for congress in the Denver north metro, Colorado's 7th district.  He is currently one point up in a Dem. district.
5543  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science on: September 09, 2010, 08:49:28 PM
Mark me down as vindictive but the people that perpetrated this fraud on the public and on our policy making should have a price to pay for their role in it.  Science has been set back 50 years and so has our economy.
5544  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance/Glibness: The Way Obama Thinks on: September 09, 2010, 10:22:53 AM
This Forbes piece today by Dinesh D'Souza that was helpful to me in understand the guy.  My own leftist/Marxist view of him doesn't explain all of his bizarre thoughts and decisions.  This piece does that the best I have read.  5 internet pages, too long to post so just a link and an excerpt here.  2 strikes against piece when I started, I remember not liking this author on something else and I hate pieces about how conservatives think written by non-conservatives.  Usually no insight is gained.

Key points, his father was tribesman, a polygamist, a drunk and a socialist, but he was also a Harvard educated economist.  Barack Jr. spent his formative years off of the mainland of the US in Hawaii but also Indonesia, Pakistan with roots from Kenya.  The main theme is anti-colonialism.  (This gets diluted in policy and speech I think because Obama's advisers are mostly run-of-the-mill-leftists.)  We see anti-Americanism, but he sees the world a better place if America had less exceptionalism.  US funding of off-shore drilling for Brazil to keep oil in Brazil while banning it here makes sense for example with this view.

He named his book 'Dreams from my Father', not dreams of my father.  Excerpt quoting D'Souza:

"Obama Sr. was an economist, and in 1965 he published an important article in the East Africa Journal called "Problems Facing Our Socialism." Obama Sr. wasn't a doctrinaire socialist; rather, he saw state appropriation of wealth as a necessary means to achieve the anticolonial objective of taking resources away from the foreign looters and restoring them to the people of Africa. For Obama Sr. this was an issue of national autonomy. "Is it the African who owns this country? If he does, then why should he not control the economic means of growth in this country?"

As he put it, "We need to eliminate power structures that have been built through excessive accumulation so that not only a few individuals shall control a vast magnitude of resources as is the case now." The senior Obama proposed that the state confiscate private land and raise taxes with no upper limit. In fact, he insisted that "theoretically there is nothing that can stop the government from taxing 100% of income so long as the people get benefits from the government commensurate with their income which is taxed."

Remarkably, President Obama, who knows his father's history very well, has never mentioned his father's article. Even more remarkably, there has been virtually no reporting on a document that seems directly relevant to what the junior Obama is doing in the White House."
5545  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: September 08, 2010, 01:23:48 PM
JDN: "I guess my question is whether being raised by two loving successful intelligent lesbians for example is that much worse (or better) than being raised by a single parent?  I find it
a bit odd that a successful single man or single woman can adopt and/or have a child and be commended and applauded yet a successful lesbian couple adopting or having a child is frowned upon."

GM: "I don't applaud single mothers who are single by choice."
I agree with GM and lost a dear friend with that advice.  I disclosed in my post " a single father raising a daughter the best I can I don't say that from some lofty perch of perfection."  One of the keys to success that has worked for me taking custody virtually at birth was to make sure at least 6 loving adults to bond closely in her life, people she would see and spend time with at least every week of the year in the formative years, in particular having her experience the loving and nurturing hetero-marriage household of her maternal grandparents.  I knew she needed a positive female role model to be close like a mother and needed also to witness and experience the relationship they have with each other.  With some braggart I can say she is better off with me than aborted or abandoned, but I would never say this situation is preferable to having your one loving mother married to your one loving father married and with you in one loving household.

JDN, Your comparison of gay or lesbian adoption to single parenting or adoption is interesting.  I would not want to judge one against the other -  but will.  Certainly having two is an advantage in some ways and there typically is some degree of femininity and masculinity distinction between the two.  OTOH, with only one I can say that when times are difficult there no question in the mind of the parent or the child or anyone else who is the father (singular), not Daddy-Tom and/or  Daddy-Bill, or who is the mother singular.  With two of this or two of that; no one can stand up and say I am the father, or I am the mother (singular).  I also don't like the first name familiarity required with the duplication.

I am not against gay parenting or gay adoption.  I am simply against putting that concept alongside of hetero-marriage and hetero-parenting (a lot of hyphens are required) and saying that any combination is fine or equal.  I don't believe God was wrong to make it so structured: "Honor your father and your mother".

Some kids are troubled, disadvantaged or otherwise not in demand for adoption.  Similar to what I said for my situation, I would rather see a kid adopted by a gay or lesbian couple (or a single person) who sincerely want to take that on than have the kid aborted, abandoned or left without family.
5546  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: September 07, 2010, 10:41:40 PM
Crafty, I think you have nailed the direction of the gay rights issue of today with the Australia story.  A short time ago gays were coming out with a plea that said: accept us, we are different from you.  We are different but we still have a right to happiness, employment, housing, education, etc.  So far, so good.  Somewhere along the road it changed to a demand: accept us we are the same as you.

No one is a perfect father or mother and no married couple with children are perfect parents.  Some hetero-marriages are not for the purpose of procreation such as when my grandpa re-married at age 80.  But marriage is mostly I think about building a home and a family and married heteros in one bed commonly leads to having and raising children.

Children have the best chance at the good things in life if they are raised in a loving home with one mother and one father married to each other and complementing each other's traits and strengths and weaknesses.  If you don't see that principle coming from God's creation and intelligent design, maybe you can observe it or measure it empirically. 

Recently there was a study concluding that children of gay parents were just as happy or happier than children of hetero-parents.  That story line ran for about one day until critics of the study pointed out that the data all came from self-reporting by the parents about the happiness of their children and was funded by a gay adoption advocacy group. The study was part of an agenda (IMHO) to lead toward no distinction between genders with parenting being the end they seek. (Gay parenting by definition involves adoption.) 

Separate from gayness, does anyone think children in general would do better with 2 fathers in their household instead of one father and a mother in a loving marriage with each bringing different qualities in terms of toughness, nurturing, different sensitivities and different role models to the household?  Would two women with two hyphenated mommy-someone names competing to out nurture each other give, in general, the full balance that children might receive with one mother and one father - each one the only mother and the only father, not one of two?  I don't think so and as a single father raising a daughter the best I can I don't say that from some lofty perch of perfection.

The end of gender distinctions after we eliminate the terms like bride, groom, husband, wife, father, mother, will be to update our religious books to command us to: Honor your gender-neutral parent-one and honor your other parent-one.

5547  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: VIDEO CLIPS OF INTEREST on: September 03, 2010, 01:49:55 PM
Besides nosebleed section, you can see the top of the stadium, this is a very early round in the tournament, but still an expensive sports ticket and people deserve a little peace and quiet to try to experience it from so far away.  The view of the match is far better in your living room.  Looked to me like the younger guy was admittedly disruptive and totally to blame, up until the physical stuff started.  Even when she slapped him he only laughed at her.  He said something else provocative as he sat down but it looked like the older guy was already planning to step in on him.  

Crowd asked a good question, 'where is security?'  They were also saying throw the bum out meaning for sure the young guy.  

I was guessing the young guy gets a disorderly conduct, the woman a 3rd or 5th degree assault - a slap charge, and the older guy a serious charge for going in to hurt him.  NY Post coverage says otherwise: "“It’s a hot night in New York. Things happen,” Chris Widmaier,a US Tennis Association spokesman said of the tussle, which resulted in no arrests.

I should add that if they are still looking at film maybe they will still issue a citation or 2.
Djokovic went on to beat Petzschner 7-5, 6-3, 7-6 (8-6).
5548  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces on: September 03, 2010, 10:39:40 AM
Very well put CCP, the Truman center in Hiroshima.  We didn't build that and we can't put a church or synagogue anywhere in a Muslim land. This is a fascinating and emotionally charged upside-down issue.  True free market thinking says this site goes to the high bidder - strip club, pot shop, shooting range, what ever.  NY of course is a heavily zoned and regulated town, what gets built is what they want to get built.  Do developers survive without political contributions? I don't think so and why, because jobs don't get approved by just showing up with permit fees.

The whole issue is about bad taste.  A mosque is a monument to honor Islam and there are 100 of them operating freely in New York.  This isn't near ground zero; this is where blood stained plane parts landed. I think people forget the hundred in the planes died too, not just in the building. Blood of mass murder is sacred ground, if you believe in that sort of thing.  The city could 'take' the property for public purposes and under Kelo the city could 'take' the property for any private purposes that it sees fit. I didn't see Obama slamming that Supreme Court decision that gives local government complete control over what goes where.

The strangest part of it is to see no objection because it is not our place to say what can be built or cannot be built on sacred ground in New York City because of unbending principle and tolerance and meanwhile with a straight face tell Israel what religions of people can build in what areas of their land.  Go figure.
5549  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2010 Elections; 2012 Presidential on: September 03, 2010, 10:12:51 AM
Roughly Labor Day, if the election were held today - and it isn't - the Republicans would take the House.  Discussed elsewhere are some things they could do, but they could pass nothing that would be veto proof. 

The senate today is still in question.  Real Clear Politics has it at 48 Dems, 45 R's (already a nice gain) and 7 highly contested, 6 of those 7 were Dem seats.  The vice President breaks the tie so 50 means nothing.  R's need 6 of those 7 for a majority and still would be nowhere near 60 to force any vote and nowhere near veto-proof.

Here are the seven most contested: 
CA: Boxer (D)
CO: Bennet (D)
FL: Open (R)
IL: Open (D)
NV: Reid (D)
WA: Murray (D)
WI: Feingold (D)

All would seem impossible for Republicans a short time ago, even Florida with 2 (alleged) Republicans running.  Logic might assume even races break randomly.  History might give the close race to the incumbent for that advantage.  The energy and movement this year may say the opposite - that they all break against the failed and unpopular ruling regime.

As a partisan, I will take any win I can get, but Republicans might be better positioned into 2012 for congress and President to still be fighting as the outsiders.  For the good of the nation IMHO they must take at least one chamber to at least slow this train wreck.

If that many blue states swung against Obama and his big government 'spread the wealth' economic policies were still failing, it would be interesting to see if he would still hunker down on ideology or read the message, adapt and try to survive as Clinton did by partially working with the other side in the direction of economic growth.  At this point, I think everyone sees Obama as unbendable and every key issue would be an unsolvable stalemate.
5550  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Clinton prepares to jump from the SS Obamatanic on: September 02, 2010, 10:35:54 PM
CCP:  She looks more dignified there ( than when she was kissing Mrs. Arafat as they celebrated her anti-Israel tirade.
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