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5501  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The War on Drugs on: November 03, 2010, 09:43:34 PM
BBG, thanks for posting. I prefer decriminalization (portugal) over legalization(that failed in Calif), but I don't like that they include all illicit drugs.  I am thinking of meth but other illicit drugs or prescription drugs are dangerous or highly addictive and don't need more sanctioning, encouragement or tolerance.  If penalties are absurd or disproportional, get them down to where the system can plea bargain an addict into treatment instead of wasting our limited space in jail.

Even if legalization is right, it isn't the focus we should have right now in terms of divisive social issues.  I personally would not like to see full libertarian legalization with consequences for the addicts before I receive full libertarian freedom to not pay a damn penny for any of the choices that they make including drugs, food, shelter or healthcare.

OTOH, (I've posted this before but) whenever the Court determined that growing one pot plant on your own property for your own consumption is a form of interstate commerce started a constitutional problem much larger than drug use.
5502  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Way Forward ... on: November 03, 2010, 01:17:51 PM
CCP, From the thread 'California' I thought I would move my reply over to 'The Way Forward' as I wander with my answer.

"Doug, What is your take with California?  The state that gave us Reagan in the 70's? Rush was saying Fiorina and Whitman lost because they are "RINOS". He actually believes a stricter conservative would have won."

No. Some things aren't winnable, but in general a more consistent pro-freedom message is more persuasive than the we are just like them but not as bad message, with no mention or commitment to core governing principles.  The next Presidential race needs to be won without California unfortunately, just like Obama was able to win his Presidency without getting my vote.  Some people you need to persuade - some people you need to defeat.  Rand Paul wouldn't win in Calif. but he can play a role in this.  No bailouts for failed states.  Bailouts prevent error corrections.  I have no idea what it would take to make California look like the land of opportunity again, but right when political turnarounds seem impossible is when they can happen suddenly.

"Who do you think all these maids, grass cutters, nail hammerers, housekeepers, apple pickers are going to vote for?"  - They sound like very dedicated, principled, hard working people in a country where people can jump classes and quintiles in less than a generation.  I would think they would support economic freedoms but one good leader or candidate can not always cut through the rest of the noise they are hearing, and no one is really trying.  

"Savage lays out a proposal for repubs in his book though I haven't read it.  He says the new "contract" or whatever you want to call it is lame. I think he may be right."

 - I disagree.  The 'Pledge' is a governing philosophy that would have prevented most of this economic carnage if those basic fundamentals had been adhered to a few years back.

"the pocketbook issue"  - Yes.  There are hundreds of issues out there. My opposition to abortion and yours to immigration are not starting points - they follow things like giving responsibilities back to the states and having a federal government provide for our security. The focus needs to be on what rescues the republic right now and that requires a focus on what unites the coalition, what unleashes the economy, what balances the books, and what policies will get the government back to governing, not running the economy.  A maid may be on the free-ride side of current federal taxation, but does she really believe that her beautiful and smart children in school and her grandchildren not yet born will never amount to anything and will never be burdened by the debt and bureaucracy that we are now growing?  I don't think so.  Someone needs to make that case with every bill, every vote and every issue that we face.  This relates to what I posted about the tea party alienating young voters, and  blacks, Hispanics, gays thinking they have more economic opportunity and freedom under Dem rule.  At double digit unemployment, the facts indicate otherwise.  Right now the focus needs to be (IMHO) control spending first, stop the expansion and pull the government back out of private industries other than to provide reasonable and necessary regulation.

No time now but I would like to come back to this thread and post answers Marco Rubio gave to basic liberal questions (how can government create more jobs etc.) in his debates in a very key swing state.  He sounded more like Reagan than like Keynes or Krugman or a typical Dem-lite RINO. He won a swing state by a million votes over a (formerly) popular sitting governor.
5503  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2010 Elections; 2012 Presidential on: November 03, 2010, 12:24:10 PM
This was an amazing year. Historic wins but also some key losses and a sitting President not likely to change much.  Maybe 65 seat gain in the House (which I see as a 130 vote swing).  Huge wins in swing states Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida.  Disappointing losses in Colo and left coast.

One reason R's did better in house seats than senate was a shortage of qualified and experienced conservative candidates due to the big losses the last 2 cycles and that the House is better suited for entry level candidates.  Crafty posed the question a few days ago regarding the fight between tea party and establishment GOP.  That will certainly play out strongly in the upcoming Presidential contest as well as with policy positions and votes in the meantime.

A few of the tea party surprises turned out to be disappointments, but some of those were no-win situations.  O'Donnell was the focus, but putting a RINO in for 6 years who votes with your opponents half the time has its own drawbacks, would not have won the senate and gives permanent bipartisan cover to those votes taken by Dems, whatever the issue.  It was worth a couple losses to send a message to BOTH parties.  Delaware is frankly not a red state and Nevada Hispanics I guess will have to live with 15% unemployment while they negotiate their border and amnesty differences with the party that supports their legal, economic freedoms. 

Next time, in most of these cases, there will be better candidates available for senate races due to all these wins in the House, the Governorships and the state houses, though I fear we face a similar lack of readiness for a qualified Presidential candidate this cycle through most of the field.  (Very interesting development regarding Mike Pence!)

Some stars were born: One is to give credit to Chris Christie (IMO) for starting this.  Rubio! and may I be the first to nominate Mrs. Rubio for First Lady. Ron Johnson changed Wisconsin, first time candidate, ran like a pro and never flinched or looked back. Kristi Noem, already mentioned. Alan West!  Rand Paul ran a tough race with everything thrown at him and will be quite a thorn if RINOs start talking about new entitlements or expanding federal programs.

Give credit where credit is due (from the NY Post),  Democrats stubbornly built this backlash.

Among the OUT, Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-MN)  Chairman of the powerful House Transportation Committee, representing an old time blue district from Duluth to the iron range cities for nearly 40 years ... OUT!

Republicans gained votes in every congressional district in the country!  Unfortunately, any Dem that won this year is likely safe forever so don't look for any bipartisanship in the House. 

I am wondering which of the Dem Senators from red states up in 2012 will be negotiable with the 48 R's and the House to move any legislation to Obama for key vetoes to be challenged in the next election.  Here are 11 possibilities:  Bill Nelson of Florida, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Jon Tester of Montana, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Bob Casey, of Pennsylvania,  Jim Webb of Virginia, Joe Manchin of West Virginia (has to run again), and Herb Kohl of Wisconsin.

I will love to see how the new Congressional Black Caucus Meetings go with the new members joining (see Alan West video).  I don't see a teleprompter writing his script.   smiley
5504  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california on: November 03, 2010, 11:12:25 AM
Comments written by friends of from California while awaiting the results.  Interesting that while some may have favored Prop 19 from a libertarian perspective, having it on the ballot likely brought out the people, otherwise non-political, who give you 6 more years of Boxer and a state govt of fiscal madness.
    "I expect both Brown and Boxer to win [handily]. This is based on my experience of living here all my life. The population is radically different from what it was in the 1970s. The public employee unions are ultra-powerful, the blacks are solidly Democratic, and the millions of Hispanics are led by leftists, even though the average folks are more moderate. Then you have the Silicon Valley elitists, the Hollywood crowd, and, finally, the gays, many of whom are one-issue voters and rabid liberals. As an aside, when I dropped off my absentee ballot this morning, I realized that, judging from the appearance of the some of the people in line, the heavy turnout in my precinct was likely prompted by Proposition 19, marijuana legalization."
Same conclusion based on different reasoning:

    "After watching (too much) TV, and the overwhelming number of Boxer and Brown ads, [my non-political wife] is convinced that Fiorina and Whitman have just spouted cliches without substance and that they are exploiters of the working class. Fiorina and Whitman have allowed the ads to define them negatively, the Brown ads (painting himself as a born-again Tea Partier) and Boxer ads (painting Fiorina as a ruthless, self-serving protiteer). Neither Whitman nor Fiorina have connected emotionally with the open minded voters."
5505  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The electoral process, 380,000 vote double count in Minneapolis on: November 03, 2010, 10:53:03 AM
"Doug: Keep us posted on that please!"

No worries.  The error that allowed Hennepin County (Mpls and S and W suburbs), a county larger than 8 states, to be counted twice and not noticed was due to a computer glitch.  The R candidate for Gov was down 12 points while this was discovered, now losing by less than 1/2% going into automatic recount - to be overseen by re-elected MN Sec State Mark Ritchie of roots.  An overcount of 380,000 went unnoticed, but everything else is fine, we are assured.  sad

Prior to this election, Dems had super-majorities in both houses held in check by a somewhat moderate R Governor (Tim Pawlenty). Interestingly, all the statewide races were won by Dems, but the precincts outside of ACORN and Urban League vote count control swung so far the other way the R's took both the state House and State Senate for the first time since party designations were put on the ballot.

5506  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2010 Elections; 2012 Presidential on: November 02, 2010, 11:21:48 PM
Speaking of double wins, Feingold OUT of the senate ... and available to run for President.

Sampling the heartland, North Dakota is currently a Dem Senate seat (equal in value to the Boxer seat).  The R leads 78-22.

Republican Gov for Wisconsin.  Republican Gov for Michigan - by 20 points!

Kristi Noem leading slighlty for the South Dakota house seat - too close to call.

Hennepin County (Mpls), home of Keith Ellison and where all the shenanigans for Al Franken took place, is reporting a 400,000 vote overcount.  Details to follow.  sad
5507  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate on: November 02, 2010, 04:47:06 PM
Marc,  What your friend writes makes perfect sense to me.  Very nice detail on the lead up and buildup to the collapse and right on the mark regarding the prescription from here.  Foreclosures need to go forward.  That is the mechanism for the correction and the correction needs to happen.  Maybe some errors were made in a few foreclosures but it didn't make any sense to me that foreclosure firms don't know how to do foreclosures or that they would use robo Signatures if those weren't allowed.  

I agree with GM but would like to substitute 'let it correct' for let it crash.  We shouldn't need to approach zero or far over-correct in order to right-size these values.  Unfortunately there are others factors causing uncertainty and over-correction in housing, same as for the lack of investment and hiring in the rest of the economy, compounded by homeowners or potential homeowneers not finding work or with depressed or stagnant incomes.  In other words, if employment had recovered and incomes were growing and housing was the only problem we could have grown out of this somewhat quickly, without this prolonged death recovery.

My place went up 8-fold in 2 decades to the peak. The bulk of that came from artificial and inflated factors.  I was proud of my investment when it doubled.  After that it just became bizarre with pretend values with runaway taxes until property taxes exceeded food, clothing, transportation and shelter combined.  Now I have paid more in real estate taxes than I paid for the house, but I digress...

I wonder when we will learn anything from the events described.  Why would we want to get people into homes they can't afford?  Why do we still want values to be artificially high?  Why would we want markets and values to be constantly changing, unstable and out of whack, high or low? Why would we want to prevent or delay a correction?  Why do we keep doing things that over inflated the market?  We were still offering multiple thousand dollar home buyer credits long after the crash which is a federal stimulus spending program that Democrats are still passing off as a "middle class tax cut'".

A different way to encourage home ownership might be lower property taxes and to reduce economic penalties for hiring, earning and creating and retaining wealth.

Today it seems equally bizarre to me how low some foreclosure prices have gone, down to 14 cents on the dollar of previous purchase in some cases. Buyer exhaustion, and it keeps getting worse as the inventory keeps coming.  The wild fluctuations and high levels of uncertainty are still screwing up the efficiency and integrity of the market.  

One observation about foreclosure owners is that they do almost nothing to make the houses ready for sale beyond emptying them.  I can't understand why they won't do basic, neglected repairs and small investment to protect their asset value, bring the house up to at least their own lending standards and slow the free fall of prices.
5508  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 01, 2010, 12:38:47 PM
"one might think that securing the cargo industry would have taken a higher priority.  The bigger question here isn’t how we missed the plot, but whether the administration gave us the straight truth in the aftermath."

I recall that the failure to secure the cargo industry, like the oil spill, is Bush's fault. 

Frankly I care more that our own security apparatus tells each other the straight scoop and takes aggressive action.  Saudi is a very strange and questionable ally, but possibly more reliable than Britain, France and Germany combined.
5509  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2010 Elections: No October surprise - Let's Get Out The Vote! on: November 01, 2010, 12:32:05 PM
I am amazed that there has been no change in the political fundamentals since the health care bill passage in March, against the will of the people.  The gulf oil spill came and went.  The opportunity for Dems to steal a couple of pro-growth economic ideas from their opponents and at least partially fix things came and went.  The only thing that has changed has really just been voters becoming more and more certain that they don't like what they see.

Republicans released a governing agenda that went by largely unnoticed.  Divided government will be a mess but better than most of the alternatives.

Tomorrow, everyone needs to call everyone they consider like minded with their own 'get out the vote' campaign.

I was thinking that for your liberal friends and family you might want to check in on them in person tomorrow, fairly early, buy and drop off a couple of DVDs each of maybe a season of their favorite show or favorite concert DVDs and a couple of bottles of nice wine (or Jack Daniels) to make staying at home for the day more comfortable and enjoyable.
5510  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Way Forward: Young people on: November 01, 2010, 11:09:18 AM
No surprise, but a terrible tragedy that young people, current President included, are only taught Alinsky-onomics through the age of 30 and need to find out real info by accident or by making political-economic mistakes.  We will never have an economy hitting on all cylinders consistently while we keep the fundamentals of how it works a secret from the newer participants.

The citizens on Communist China, a totalitarian, dictatorial regime with zero consent of the governed are receiving, in some ways, better economic governance than we are.
5511  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Way Forward: Tea party movement alienating young voters? on: October 31, 2010, 10:40:13 PM
This article was linked at conservative Townhall and says that young voters are alienated by certain aspects of the tea party movement.  What I take from it is the need for one thing to keep a sharp focus on who will pay most for the trillions of excess today.  Young people by their nature come from a dependent class, used to having others pay their bills, needing tuition subsidies etc.  It is a rare talent in conservative leaders to be able to explain why pro-growth policies with economic freedoms are preferable to redistributionism and dependency.  In the current cycle one person with that gift i think is Marco Rubio.  We will need way more people to understand it and articulate if we want to be successful in 2012.  OTOH, reader beware, the underlying study comes out of Harvard.  People in their 20s are too young to know that liberalism, socialism and communism were all tried and failed. It's not still an open question.

Tea party movement alienating young voters

The tea party is failing to woo young voters despite a loose structure that could make it easier for those under 30 to achieve leadership roles, analysts and political activists say as the grass-roots movement prepares to flex its muscles in midterm elections.

A survey released Oct. 21 by Harvard University's Institute of Politics showed that only 11 percent of those 18 to 29 consider themselves supporters of the tea party, and analysts say the leaderless movement's ties to social conservatism and rhetoric in favor of an earlier America are hampering its appeal.

Despite widespread voter anger ahead of Tuesday's midterm elections, the tea party has been a hard sell to young voters because many equate joining with embracing conservative social values, said Peter Levine, director of CIRCLE, a Tufts University group that conducts research on the political involvement of young Americans. He said this holds true even for those who would otherwise identify with the party's call for stricter fiscal conservatism.

"A lot of young people, whether it's from the media, professors or other sources, come to the opinion that the tea party is just a bunch of right-wing extreme radicals, racists _ whatever," said Patrick Kelly, a tea party activist and freshman at Elmhurst College in Elmhurst, Ill. "That's the biggest deterrent."

Tea party supporters want to open the door for young voters, and FreedomWorks president Matt Kibbe said the movement can win over those under 30 by placing them in leadership roles. FreedomWorks was founded by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, and has fueled much of the movement's growth.

"More young leaders begets more young participants," Kibbe said. He said that young voters are tougher to organize but that the tea party can engage them through things they enjoy. "The tea party is different," he said. "We have music, we have fun, we do protests. It's a different set of activities than your typical, canned Republican stump speech that was driving people away in droves."

Matthew Segal, the 25-year-old executive director of the nonpartisan Student Association for Voter Empowerment, said the tea party's opposition to government action also turns off young voters. "The tea party is based on an anti-government premise, and young people are the most trusting constituency of government," said Segal, whose Washington-based organization promotes electoral participation by students.

And while the tea party often seems to be recalling earlier times, with rhetoric harkening back to the Founding Fathers, American youth don't always share those sympathies. Even the movement's name refers to an insurrection more than two centuries ago, notes Christopher Kukk, who teaches political science at Western Connecticut State University.

"It's all about keeping America, preserving America, not changing America," Kukk said. Young people, he said, are "talking about changing America."

Many young voters also recoil at the tea party's homogenous racial makeup. According to the Pew Research Center's October political survey, 85 percent of registered voters who agree with the tea party are white. Just 2 percent are black.

"The young generation is just by the numbers the most diverse generation in American history," Levine said. "You can't get that much purchase on this generation if you look like you're all white."

Supporters agree that a large part of the party's problem with youth is perception. Although some tea party groups are libertarian and don't espouse socially conservative values, voters and the media rarely make that distinction, said Emily Ekins, a UCLA doctoral student who studies the movement's different, and sometimes opposing, philosophies.

Some tea party backers also note the generational gap when it comes to all the talk about history. Joel Pollak, a tea party-endorsed Republican trying to unseat Democrat Jan Schakowsky in Illinois' 9th Congressional District, said young voters' lack of Cold War memories prevents them from recognizing the threat that overreaching government policies pose to American freedom.

"Young people today grew up with very little knowledge of communism and socialism," the 33-year-old Pollak said.

Still, observers see an opportunity for a third-party group to make headway. More than 40 percent of voters under 30 don't identify with a major political party, according to Harvard University's October poll.

"There is room for an independent party to rise up and grab young people," Segal said. "If the tea party numbers don't show that, then they clearly aren't resonating with young voters."
5512  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tax Policy: New Death Taxes are coming, people to do what now to avoid them? on: October 31, 2010, 10:08:56 PM
With capital gains tax rate increases coming, people sell off assets before the end of the year.  With new death taxes coming Jan.1, people will want to do what in December to avoid the new tax??

Wyoming Rep. Lummis: Estate tax rise has some planning death

By BEN NEARY - The Associated Press | Posted: Saturday, October 30, 2010

CHEYENNE -- U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis says some of her Wyoming constituents are so worried about the reinstatement of federal estate taxes that they plan to discontinue dialysis and other life-extending medical treatments so they can die before Dec. 31.

Lummis, a Republican who holds her state's lone seat in the House, declined to name any of the people who have made the comments.

But she said many ranchers and farmers in the state would rather pass along their businesses -- "their life's work" -- to their children and grandchildren than see the federal government take a large chunk.

"If you have spent your whole life building a ranch, and you wanted to pass your estate on to your children, and you were 88 years old and on dialysis, and the only thing that was keeping you alive was that dialysis, you might make that same decision," Lummis told reporters.

Lummis and other Republicans are fighting to renew the Bush-era tax cuts, which expire at the end of the year. The cuts exempt large inheritances as well as certain wage income, interest, dividends and capital gains. She said the estate tax would go from zero this year to a maximum of 55 percent next year.

Lummis said the children of some people choosing death over taxes told her of their parents' decision. She wouldn't identify them and said it would be their decision to come forward.
5513  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential on: October 29, 2010, 12:16:13 PM
"Agreed. Gingrich is damaged goods."

I have to say same for Palin.  She had a choice of continuing to make a huge national impact or completing her term as Governor.  I think she made the right choice but a resigned Governorship, her strongest credential, is not the path to the Presidency.
5514  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: October 29, 2010, 12:03:40 PM
"at least he didn't bow to [Jon Stewart]"  - Very Funny!!

"a deepening disenchantment with Barack Obama himself. (He has a meager 37% approvalrating by the latest  Harris poll"

That poll is a bit of outlier but approvals stuck in the 30s could be the norm as even his own side loses confidence in him.

I remember candidate John Kerry headed into this conundrum.  He needed to move to the center and be called a flip flopper or be too liberal to govern.  Obama needs to abandon leftist principles or preside over country in decline, which means his Presidency in decline.  There is no win there for him and it is something, unlike Clinton, that he has no skill or experience at doing.  He won't resign but the country might be better off with Joe Biden... sad  shocked  huh  angry  embarassed  undecided  ... who could at least hire an economist and wouldn't bat an eyelash about changing his small mind.

I have long contended that Obama has never read a book about economics that did not oppose our economic system.  Adviser Romer warned that looming tax increases would have a 'contractionary effect' on the economy already in the dumps.  Result?  She's gone.  Lawrence Summers knows some economics - gone.  Paul Volcker is highly respected in certain ways, especially in a fight against future spiraling inflation - never consulted.  Volcker needs to go through Valerie Jarrett to get to the President.

The public is not going to like the fight they are about to get between the new, energized house and the old, stuck on redistributionism administration.
5515  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential - Gingrich? on: October 29, 2010, 11:39:38 AM
Washington Post weighs in on Gingrich.  Pretty fair and it takes them until internet page 3 to say: "Then there is the question of whether the religious conservatives who are an important part of the GOP base could embrace an admitted adulterer who has been married three times."

Obama had his birth certificate question, his Marxism ties, his radical reverend, past cocaine use, no college records, no executive experience, no foreign policy experience, no senatorial experience, etc. etc. but they never got him for being unfaithful to his wife.  Clinton is his own exception, no one can get away with what he can.  Everyone knows that Republicans are held to a different standard.  Reagan was a divorced and re-married man, but that was 3 decades before running, 4 years between wives and at a different time and had no other reason to make anyone look any further into it.  Gingrich's issues were during his power and during Clinton's impeachment.

I honestly think this is a deal-killer.  Newt is brilliant - the closest we have to someone prepared to step up, run and lead.  If John Edwards and Gary Hart can't come back on the Dem side, no one can overcome this on the R side.  Obama can lie cheat and openly steal and then run for reelction as the more moral alternative.  Characters matters for the highest office.

Crafty, CCP, others, what say you?
5516  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / China - Rere Earth Elements on: October 29, 2010, 11:16:39 AM
Washington Post wanders belatedly into this story:

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

Imagine that, shocked when totalitarian dictators do not live up to their social responsibilities.  (And we snubbed CANADA from getting on the UN security council.)
5517  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Politics: New Leader of the Senate - Chuck Schumer on: October 29, 2010, 10:58:19 AM
Assuming Harry Reid loses, the new Dem leader of the senate will be Schumer who I fear but I don't think has much more national appeal than Harry Reid. (Dick Durbin, if not Schumer.)  Probably Steny Hoyer becomes Dem leader of the House if R's win there assuming Nancy won't want to be minority leader and fly a smaller plane.
As Reid Falters, Schumer Subtly Stands in the Wings - NY Times
Speaker of the House is a big deal because for one thing is second in line behind VP to ascend to the Presidency.  Presumably Boehner keeps his leadership post for winning but I would hope R's start from scratch and pick their very best going forward.  Ryan or Pence come to mind.  And it can't be someone running for President.
5518  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Government programs, spending, process - Thomas Sowell on: October 29, 2010, 10:30:44 AM
Thomas Sowell (age 80) is on my short list for VP or maybe press secretary for the next administration.  This is about the election but really about spending and process jeopardizing our freedom.

A Crossroads Election
By Thomas Sowell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We have a strange man in the White House. This election is a crossroads, because either his power will be curbed by depriving him of his huge Congressional majorities or he will continue on a road that jeopardizes both our freedom and our survival.
5519  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness / Dude? on: October 29, 2010, 10:19:22 AM
Jon Stewart called him dude.  "You don't want to use that phrase, dude."  It took me quite a while to get the joke.  He was trying to say that Lawrence Summers (economic adviser while unemployment ran up to nearly 10%) did "a heck of a job".

Apparently that was the exact same phrase Bush used when his Katrina chief left and the show (I don't watch) made quite a theme out of it.
5520  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tax Policy politics, the FAIR Tax Trap on: October 29, 2010, 10:14:05 AM
Once again major publications are reading the forum here and taking our material, this time the WSJ.  smiley  If we were starting from scratch (we aren't), the fair tax has merit, but only at a far lower rate of spending and taxation.  A much higher taxer than Rand Paul is accusing him (rightly) of supporting a 23% (30%) tax on groceries,  forcing him to go on defense and say that is after we repeal the 16th amendment and take away the right of the federal government to tax income whatsoever- which feeds back into the line they are running against him that he is out of touch and out of the mainstream.  In an age where we elected Pelosi, obama, and name your favorite local liberal, let's say Boxer, we aren't going to repeal all taxation on income, state of federal.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our advice to the FAIR taxers is that voters will start to take the idea seriously once the income tax is on the road to repeal. Until then, our advice to candidates would be to avoid the FAIR tax and focus on goals that are more achievable and less politically self-destructive.
5521  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: October 28, 2010, 10:24:37 AM
The trend is bad but in my experience the supercomputer was made obsolete in the 1990s by American technology such as Fibre Channel that allow the linking of the processors of separate workstations at the speed of light eliminating the need or desirability of having massive number of processors in one box. Maybe that has changed by now in a lower price environment but I doubt the technology inside the box, processors and linking of processors, is of Chinese origin.
5522  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2010 Elections; 2012 Presidential on: October 28, 2010, 09:42:16 AM
"I gather than DE (O'Donnell) is going to fall Dem?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That did not come from having Republicans sound more like Democrats to win as many wanted in Delaware.
5523  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The electoral process, vote fraud, SEIU/ACORN et al, corruption etc. on: October 28, 2010, 09:22:03 AM
"In St. Paul, organizers from the Tea Party and related groups announced this week that they were offering a $500 reward for anyone who turned in someone who was successfully prosecuted for voter fraud.

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

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

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

Numbers of prosecuted cases may be low, but numbers of false votes cast all too often exceed the margin of victory.
5524  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: October 28, 2010, 09:10:35 AM
I hate it when our enemies are right about us.  OTOH, China and some other Asian economies have benefited greatly over the last 30 years IMHO by delegating their monetary policy to our Fed.
5525  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Communicating with the Muslim World on: October 28, 2010, 09:02:44 AM
I don't think Williams was expressing a phobia (irrational fear) of Muslims.  He was IMO expressing a rational wish to not die in a plane crash.  The intent of the horror of 9/11 and other attacks was not for the .001% of Americans who were killed, but to place the fear in the other 300 million people here and billions around the globe.  Juan Williams was saying that effect is still there for him.  The only issue is whether he should or should not have reported his honest feeling publicly.  The blame doesn't go to Juan Williams or to the peaceful Muslims, it goes to the people who so dramatically created that link.

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

Regardless of the author's other good works, this comparison is based on a false premise.
5526  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Homeland Security, Keith Ellison watch, Juan Williams statement on: October 26, 2010, 03:20:10 PM
"I'm thinking like Ellison is worthy of continued observation, perhaps on the Islam in America and/or the Homeland Security threads"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The flying imams were removed from the aircraft and interrogated while the USAirways flight went on its way. USAirways and the law enforcement defendants in the flying imams' lawsuit paid an undisclosed but tidy sum to the flying imams to settle their lawsuit. The flying imams prevailed; the next time around, it will be the imams who fly and the other passengers who stay behind.
5527  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california (or mountain west / top of the rockies) on: October 26, 2010, 01:43:44 AM
"The mountain west is far more attractive..."

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bored to death? JDN, you're a skier.  Just stay with us 1 day on the mountain for just 7 short hours, 9-4. Wear a helmet and carry a sandwich because we aren't stopping.  At the end I'll ask if you were bored.  smiley  
5528  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2010 Elections - Sen. Boxer: call me ma'am on: October 26, 2010, 12:25:08 AM
An ad or a spoof?  I don't know but very funny.

In the comments someone has the title I think she earned.
5529  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science on: October 25, 2010, 08:42:18 AM
"the enviro consequences of making the battery, generating the electricity that charges it, etc."

Also the transmission losses in the lines.

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

A gallon of gas is still the most safe, stable and transportable for the energy content that you need.
5530  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Pathological Science: Chevy Volt Fraud on: October 23, 2010, 07:06:37 PM
"Advertised as an all-electric car" - turns out it has a gas engine.

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

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

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

We heard GM's then-CEO Fritz Henderson claim the Volt would get 230 miles per gallon in city conditions. Popular Mechanics found the Volt to get about 37.5 mpg in city driving, and Motor Trend reports: "Without any plugging in, (a weeklong trip to Grandma's house) should return fuel economy in the high 30s to low 40s."
I have an 18 year old Honda that does better than that.
5531  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: October 23, 2010, 06:59:49 PM
Returning to ordinary bias, Here is Newsweek Editor Jonathon Alter's latest, entitled:
"The GOP’s agenda has to be stopped."
5532  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: October 23, 2010, 06:40:40 PM
"I think a rather productive firestorm has been ignited by JW's firing by NPR."

Yes.  smiley

There was a question on the board of whether the media had turned at all (from worship to just bias). 
This grilling by Chris Mathews of Rand Paul's opponent may surprise you:
5533  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2010 Elections; Rep. Keith Ellison D-Mpls. on: October 22, 2010, 01:14:57 AM
Thanks GM for the Muslim Brotherhood Ellison connection - moving this over from govt. spending.  He had some very bad friends before his affiliation with the jihad.  The al Qaida threat in Minneapolis is real with dozens Minneapolis area Muslims linked to Al-Qaeda indicted on terror charges in the last 2 years:

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

No challenge, but also no enthusiasm.  Hard to get excited about the ideology of economic destruction during worse times.  The electoral difference this year is that a lot of urban liberals and black voters in Minneapolis will presumably not vote, and their absence could swing the gubernatorial election the other way.
5534  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / interesting thought pieces - The new, old world order - VDH on: October 21, 2010, 11:37:20 PM
Posting this wide-ranging interview into a different category and looking for comment. Download and set aside 37 minutes. He calmly makes some startling predictions and observations across the globe.  Worth listening more than once IMO.
5535  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Government spending, process: Keith Ellison ad on: October 21, 2010, 10:18:41 PM
I have enjoyed quite a time with no working television in the house fo much of the DTV era.  Now with just a few channels, and seldom on, I can catch a glimpse of the campaign commercial season and see what the others are basing their vote on.  Rep. Keith Ellison brags that he brought $120 million to Minneapolis.  Like that is a big number for a major city - out of a budget he authorized of $4 trillion.  Like it was something new.  Like it was free money.  Like it wouldn't have happened without him.  What was so striking was just what old-style of politics that message was, with no apologies.  I bring you pork.  You need to reelect me. I will bring you more pork.  Seriously.

Besides Muslim, Keith Ellison is black.  A black former community activist from North Minneapolis. "We don't get no justice, you don't get no peace", he used to chant. You would think he would chant something about easing barriers to startup capital or easing employment regulations or lowering commercial property taxes or about private sector growth.  North Minneapolis has almost no industry or employers.  We have the Urban coalition.  We have ACORN.  We have the heating assistance office.  We have welfare advocates.  Unemployment within this community is astronomical if we had a way of measuring it all.  No mention of that.  Ellison policies make it worse. No mention of that either. Pork is his business and not the kind that puts food on the table.  He is running with virtually no opposition and no media scrutiny.  He can say what he wants and not be questioned on anything else.  He holds a seat for life, if he wants.  The only thing anyone can do to limit his power is to have his side be the political minority party in the House.
5536  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues - Juan Williams on: October 21, 2010, 09:50:21 PM
I hate defending Juan Williams. But here goes.

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

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

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

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

If Juan's statement is true about his own reaction, should he have not said what was true or should he have pre-resigned for having those feelings?
5537  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics - What grows an economy? on: October 21, 2010, 10:25:47 AM
“The single most important contributor to a nation’s economic growth is the number of startups that grow to a billion dollars in revenue within 20 years.”

The U.S. economy, given its large size, needs to spawn something like 75 to 125 billion-dollar babies per year to feed the country’s post World War II rate of growth. Faster growth requires even more successful startups.
5538  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: October 20, 2010, 02:24:12 PM
Again I agree.  People forget how low prices from a consumer point of view raise our standard of living.  The benefit of freedom to trade goes both ways.  We would lose the low price and wide availability of widgets and happy meal toys. They would lose their second largest customer, cash flow they depend on and have widespread factory shutdowns and layoffs with a regime that derives its consent only from the security and continuous economic growth it can provide.  The damage of ending that relationship economically goes both ways. I think we could withstand the disruption and resulting economic depression better than they could, but not by much and not with any certainty.
5539  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2010 Elections; 2012 Presidential on: October 20, 2010, 02:09:58 PM
GM, I agree.

"I continue to worry."

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

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

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

The intra-party squabble fear is valid, but unavoidable. Taking the fight to them means you piss a few people off, but what was the alternative?  Without the rise up of the grass roots, the so-called tea party, we would 2-6 more years Pelosi-Obama leftist business as usual and maybe the collapse of the republic.  Because it was all grassroots and no leadership, we have some very inexperienced candidates. The damage done to the old Republican party by this uprising overall is a very good and necessary thing.  The brand name is partially repaired (being a Republican now means something) and we will have a whole lot more good candidates available at all levels in the future because of the events of this year.
5540  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: October 20, 2010, 12:18:28 PM
"Frankly I haven't seen any great exodus or rebellion amongst MSM."

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

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

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

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

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

Newspapers sometimes seem to not care that their product is aimed at only half the market.  Now facing bankruptcy and with plenty of negative administration stories available, we at least see some opposition stories and columns IMO.
5541  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2010 Elections; 2012 Presidential on: October 19, 2010, 11:55:38 AM
Thank you GM.  That would be far more clever if it wasn't so true.
5542  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / re. It's the Catastrophic Claims, Stupid on: October 19, 2010, 11:48:28 AM
BBG,  This is a great post.  We have miniscule warming.  We have no idea what part of that is attributable to humans, but roughly within the margin of error of our ability to measure global temperatures.  We have no data we can trust.  And so we publicize the wildest claims and decide to shut down our economies and declare war on each other. 

Instead we should use our resources wisely and cleanly while we re-create the conditions of economic freedom that we know unleash human creativity.
5543  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China- Electronic waste on: October 19, 2010, 11:36:39 AM
Seems to me that like nuclear 'waste', e-waste could be condensed and stored safely as a future resource until the technology to safely mine it for resources catches up.  The original point remains, we pass production restriction laws here and then consume the same product produced elsewhere.  That saves the earth nothing, eliminates a US business, costs the consumer and enriches our competitor/ enemy.  In this case - China.

What bugs me most about ordinary recycling is that we think we save energy and the earth by requiring huge diesel trucks to drive regularly down all our streets, and charge us for it.
5544  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2010 Elections; 2012 Presidential on: October 19, 2010, 11:16:13 AM
Have no fears Crafty.  smiley This is a major shift of the landscape no matter what the final score is.  RINOs ran with, not against the so-called tea party movement.  McCain moved to the right instead holding his ground.  Lindsey Graham backed out of cap trade sponsorship and he isn't up until next cycle.  Fiorini said she welcomed Palin's endorsement. It was the success of the inexperienced tea party newcomers in the primaries that stole the whole campaign theme from the Democrats, which was to run against giving power back to the people who got us in this mess.  They have been mumbling with total incoherence ever since.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2012 is a big test for the senate as well.  That is the 6 year mark for the 2006 sweep.  Blue senators in red states know that.  They are far more likely to triangulate than Obama.  That is the story i would watch.
5545  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Health Thread (nutrition, medical, longevity, etc) on: October 18, 2010, 12:06:32 PM
"the doctor who reluctantly is her physician"

The oath: do no harm?
5546  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Way Forward:The new congress and principled governing on: October 18, 2010, 11:16:34 AM
First a reply to the Pledge post above in this thread: The new pledge is not "Trust Us, Version 2.0" in the sense that these promises were made after the polls already were showing 'certain' victory.  So I read the pledge as a promise to themselves to govern in a principled fashion, made publicly so as to deliberately be held accountable.  In other words, they are not trying to win - they already have that based on the mis-direction of their opponents - they are trying to make this win in November mean something in January.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Repealing and replacing Obamacare must be done carefully and without undue haste. These recommendations are only the first steps, but they are the essential elements for all that follows.
5547  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Health Thread (nutrition, medical, longevity, etc) on: October 18, 2010, 10:49:43 AM
Regarding the 33,000 calorie lady, we used to have freak shows at the state fair.  Now we don't have the shows and they aren't called freaks anymore.  Obesity in general raises moral, moral hazard and libertarian issues. One argument to legalize drugs was the law of natural consequences and learning.  People can choose not to be a heroin addict if we allow that path and let people see where it leads.  One consequence of the 33,000 calorie lady is that at some point she would lose her ability to hunt and gather.  A self correcting problem.  Enter public policies.  As she becomes unable to function, the consequence is the opposite.  We put her on public payroll and buy her more food.  And healthcare, no matter the cost.  In the name and spirit of being humane we took away the corrective mechanism that worked for tens of thousands of years.
5548  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China - Krugman on: October 18, 2010, 10:08:36 AM
Did I just read a Krugman column where the whole thing almost made sense and the facts were  accurate?  Our environmental standards caused the surrender of a crucial market to China.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Decline is a choice.
5549  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2010 Elections; 2012 Presidential on: October 18, 2010, 09:33:56 AM
"she did not impress me as SoS."

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

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

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

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

she praised her successor, Hillary Clinton: "I think she is doing a lot of the right things. ... She is very tough ... I think she has done a fine job, I really do."
5550  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Health obesity - Decline of your health is (sometimes) a choice on: October 17, 2010, 03:09:29 PM
CCP, interesting stuff.  Your position on this surprised me.  I learned some things from your posts and I have learned a lot from 5 rings as well.  He says he isn't a doctor but his view has the endorsement of ours. We all (IMHO) should acknowledge that in certain extreme cases obesity is caused by bodily defect like gland/hormone appetite metabolism dysfunction.  I think you are mainly talking about problems that set in after major weight gain.  It seems to me that losing weight is a different matter than maintaining good weight.  Curing chronic obesity on your own or with the quick fix plans is maybe as easy as getting your virginity back after a few years of shall we say undisciplined behavior. It sounds like the body of the obese sends false signals for more food than it needs.  So this wound may have started as self-inflicted, but grows into an illness.  I can buy that. From the point of view of the MD, prescribing a pill or a procedure may be a big part of the only strategy with a real chance for success.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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