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5751  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for Reps/Conservatives/the American Creed on: October 19, 2009, 02:46:18 PM
Crafty: "Exactly why I don't take them seriously."

   - And the other way forward for conservatives is ....... ?

CCP: "What I am not sure about is how many Americans this [limited government] really appeals to."

   - Yes.  That's a big problem, but so is credibility.  You don't persuade people in the middle when they see you don't believe in what you say either.  George H.W. Bush was kicked out mostly for breaking his pledge of no new taxes.  He was replaced with someone who admitted he would raise taxes.  Bill I-didn't-inhale/Gennifer-Flowers Clinton was perceived as more honest?  I don't know, just know that the brand name didn't stand for anything at that point and people were open to change and compassion instead.
5752  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for Reps/Conservatives/the American Creed on: October 19, 2009, 11:19:15 AM
Gallup, like a lot of polls, samples all Americans not likely voters to get their numbers.  Still their Obama approval spread fell from about 60 points to 12.

Rasmussen measures Strongly approve versus strongly disapprove, groups more likely to show up.  Strongly disapprove numbers stand at about 40% which would be a pretty good combined measure of the different types of conservatives out there.

The commentators don't need more than 40% market share to be very successful.

The Obama vote included people not fully sold on the agenda.  The excitement of blacks which went 95% to Obama is not likely to be energized in the off-year of 2010.  I wouldn't think the Jewish or Israel supporting groups would be energized either.  Obama has had double digit losses of popularity in the 18-24 groups among others as hope and change starts to get specific.  Gallup story is a little slow since the Republican losses were well known since 2006.  The Obama slippage and Pelosi congress disaster polls stories would be more timely stories.

The Republican brand name hasn't meant anything specific or positive, especially to conservatives, for a very long time.  (Crafty just expressed that very succinctly.) Bush cut tax rates twice and never articulated why.  The so-called Bush Doctrine was dropped by the Bush administration at about the time of the Harry Whittington shooting.

Elected Republicans have had no real, observable tie to limited government for as long as any voter can remember, and no one is out front right now making a persuasive case for common sense conservatism.

This board has a wide enough range of conservative and libertarian thought to come up with the next Contract with America to steer next year's candidates in the right direction.  Anyone care to take a stab at it?
5753  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Negative Temperature Feedback Factors Measured at MIT on: October 19, 2009, 10:52:41 AM
Climate feedback assumptions in all the UN IPCC models are proven false by actual data.
Peer reviewed, published study by credentialed scientists from the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at M.I.T.  Good luck to the debate partners in refuting the data.  May I predict their reaction will be to personally smear the authors...

Climate feedbacks are estimated from fluctuations in the
outgoing radiation budget from the latest version of Earth
Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE) nonscanner data.
It appears, for the entire tropics, the observed outgoing
radiation fluxes increase with the increase in sea surface
temperatures (SSTs). The observed behavior of radiation
fluxes implies negative feedback processes associated with
relatively low climate sensitivity. This is the opposite of
the behavior of 11 atmospheric models forced by the same
SSTs. Therefore, the models display much higher climate
sensitivity than is inferred from ERBE, though it is difficult to
pin down such high sensitivities with any precision. Results
also show, the feedback in ERBE is mostly from shortwave
radiation while the feedback in the models is mostly from
longwave radiation. Although such a test does not distinguish
the mechanisms, this is important since the inconsistency of
climate feedbacks constitutes a very fundamental problem
in climate prediction. Citation: Lindzen, R. S., and Y.-S.
Choi (2009), On the determination of climate feedbacks from
ERBE data
5754  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Dollar's Fall: Deal With It - Donald Luskin on: October 17, 2009, 04:54:22 PM
Luskin:  "obviously, a currency undergoing inflation is worth less than a currency not undergoing inflation"

'Inflation' is the creation of the excess money.  Price increases are a symptom likely to follow.  So is devaluation.  'Decline is a choice.'  Our reckless policies were enabled by our fading, privileged status as the world currency.  Unlike third world countries, our debt is in our own currency.  Devalue the currency and you devalue the debt.   - Doug

The Dollar's Fall: Deal With It

The dramatic recent fall of the value of the U.S. dollar grabs headlines every day, even as the U.S. stock market surges to new recovery highs. People are talking about a "dollar crisis," and it's not just the usual rant-and-rave topic on CNBC. There are serious hints from government authorities around the globe that maybe we should think about dethroning the U.S. dollar as the "reserve currency" held by the world's central banks, and maybe global markets like oil should stop being priced in dollars.

There are some currencies that are as weak as the dollar now, such as the British pound. And there are some that are weaker, such as the Malaysian ringgit. But against a basket of the world's major currencies, the dollar has fallen 15% in just seven months. That's a big move in any market, but for a currency it's practically a crash. If it falls another 6%, it will make historic all-time lows.

You'd think with all this going on, officials at the U.S. Treasury would be running around in a flat-out panic. But they're not. This week I met in Washington with a group of the most senior men at Treasury (please forgive me if I don't name names), and I was surprised to learn that they are not terribly worried.

Here's why.

First, they think that the 15% decline in the dollar is actually a sign of economic strength. They point out, quite correctly, that the value of the dollar surged during the recent credit crisis, as investors around the world suddenly craved the safety of dollar liquidity. At the most, the dollar soared 24%, reaching its top on exactly the same day last March that the stock market made its bottom.

That puts the 15% drop in context. And it also helps to explain why foreign governments are suddenly so interested in dropping their dependency on the U.S. dollar. It's not so much because the dollar is weak. It's because the credit crisis revealed that the dollar is intolerably unique.

By that I mean that when the world economy came off the rails last year, everyone in the world needed dollars — not pounds, not euros, not yen, not yuan, not ringgits — because the U.S. dollar is the de facto unit of global trading and investment. Why should the economies of the world be so dependent on a single nation's currency?

So while it may feel like a blow to our national prestige to have the dollar be just another currency, that's probably inevitable — and probably all for the best. It's in America's interest to live in a world more resilient to credit shocks than the dollar-dominated world turned out to be.

Another reason the Treasury isn't in a twist about the dollar is that they recognize there is nothing they can do about it. Oh, sure, Secretary Tim Geithner could give a speech or two about his "strong dollar policy," for all the good it would do, which would be precisely none. By the way, when I visited Treasury, nobody even mentioned the expression "strong dollar."

The reality is -- and the Treasury knows this -- that it's the Federal Reserve that ultimately determines the value of the dollar. That's because the Fed's monetary policies are what determines inflation —and obviously, a currency undergoing inflation is worth less than a currency not undergoing inflation. So if you want a strong dollar, write a letter to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, not Geithner.

There is one thing that the Treasury could do to support the dollar. But what I heard this week in Washington convinces me that they aren't going to do it. They are going to do the exact opposite.

What I mean is that the Treasury is going to every diplomatic means at its disposal to get countries like China to make their currencies more valuable vs. the dollar. Rightly or wrongly, the Obama administration's Treasury believes — exactly as the Bush administration's Treasury did — that China, and other giant exporting nations manipulate their currencies, to keep them cheap so that their exports will be cheap on world markets.

U.S. consumers benefit from cheap foreign goods at Wal-Mart. But U.S. manufacturers can't compete with the foreign manufacturers that make those cheap goods. And U.S. manufacturers make bigger political contributions than U.S. consumers. So the Treasury, naturally, is committed to getting governments like China to effectively raise their prices by appreciating their currencies.

Now when Treasury officials talk about this, they don't admit that they're trying to get China to stop manipulating its currency lower and start manipulating it higher. Instead, they say they want China to stop manipulating it altogether, on the theory that when the yuan floats freely on world markets, it will inevitably move higher.

Maybe it will and maybe it won't. But there's one inescapable truth here — at least when it comes to the Chinese yuan and several other exporting nations' currencies: They want the value of the dollar to be lower. There's no way around it. If you want the yuan to be higher relative to the dollar, then you necessarily want the dollar to be lower relative to the yuan.

So let's put it all together. I'm not worried that there's going to be some kind of "dollar crisis." But all the facts do point to a lower dollar.

First, if the Fed ultimately controls the dollar's value, then the dollar is going lower — with interest rates at zero for as far as the eye can see, inflation is inevitable.

Second, if the dollar gets stronger during times of credit stress, the dollar is going lower — because global credit markets are recovering, and getting stronger every day.

Third, the Treasury will be actively pursuing diplomacy to get China and other exporters to strengthen their currencies, so the dollar is going lower.
5755  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Pathological Science - the debate on: October 17, 2009, 12:18:57 AM
Freki,  I'm finding the debate very entertaining. 

The 95% issue is funny to me.  If you or your brother misunderstood the meaning of it, that is perfect - because it is designed to be misunderstood, to sound like scientists are alleging something quantifiable.  So you confronted him with backing up the idea that a group of scientists believe that humans are causing 95% of the warming.  Now the debate falls on its ear.  He is trying to explain to you that they never said humans caused 95% of the warming.  They just said they are 95% sure (whatever that means) that we caused a lot of it (whatever that means!)... begging the questions you opened with and repeated politely and repeatedly, still not answered - how much warming is there and how much of that did we cause, how do we know, and what is causing the rest of it, in what proportions?

He reverts to calling one site political and noting that another critic has [only a] a bachelor's degree as he leaves all relevant questions unanswered.  Why?  Because scientists just don't know.

I stumbled into this I think in the 1990s with an NOAA ( report with similar alarmist headlines, so I actually went in and read the report.  It was loaded with data.  But the conclusions weren't borne out in the data; there was a disconnect. The analysis showed a possibility of something but then the conclusions made the liklihood sound stronger. And the headlines and press reports went much further still obviously not written by the scientists collecting the data and writing the analysis.  As it went from data to analysis to conclusions to headlines that grab attention, it also went from imperfect science to reckless fiction. 

Same goes for the IPCC.  Yes they have many scientists.  Yes they choose from those who already agree with the cause.  Yes they publish thousands of pages.  Yes there is CO2 growth.  Yes there is warming, at times, though not large, continuous or predictable.  Yes the chart looks steep if you choose your time frame carefully, choose and tweak your data, and work with the scale. 

Here is the same data as theirs graphed more honestly, see environmental issues thread Mar-Apr 2009 (
(also see:

First, here is the CO2 increase, viewed honestly.  Alarmists HATE this picture.  Really, it is the same data they chart, but they chart without a zero base showing in order to make the slope and the increase look alarming:

Fifty years increases in Atmospheric CO2 content as measured at Mauna Loa by the NOAA

Back to the hockey stick, now discredited.  It implied that earth temps were stable and predictable until the acceleration of the industrial age and then the temps just went through the roof.  Besides the data errors they made, the temperature increases look different with either a shorter or longer view.  Here is the time frame he was choosing - since the 1970s:

Global warming, lower atmosphere from Satellite data,

Or look at a longer view.  It is not particularly warm now.  Earth has had wide ranges of temperatures, long cycles and wide swings - long before automobiles or coal plants:

2000 Years of Global Temperatures

Source: ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT, VOLUME 18 No. 7+8 2007

Look at the cooling cycle now, the warming cycles of the past, the variances on other planets, the resilience of the planet, and what I think is the obvious observation that we won't be hooked on fossil fuels for more than a blip in time in terms of the life of the planet - with or without government intervention.  When you look at all of that objectively should we be alarmed now?  We are talking about warming over a good part of a century in the tens of a degree.  We are calling something a "contaminant" and a danger that we all exhale and that is the lifeblood of all plant life.  We are talking about a phenomenon where we know that earth has self-correcting mechanisms, scientists call them negative feedback factors, such as the resulting increase in plant health and growth will consumes a portion of the increased CO2.   We are talking about warming where we have little or no understanding about how so many other factors, wind, clouds and sun variances for example - factor in  And we are talking about a temporary fuel source.

Referring back to the alarming CO2 chart with a 38% increase (worth showing again)

I would be more 'alarmed' if the levels of this life essential molecule, that still comprises less than one half of one tenth of a percent of atmospheric content, were decreasing!

5756  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Abortion on: October 16, 2009, 10:14:34 PM
Thanks Howie for writing.  Great post.  With today's imagery or in your case seeing them born early and tiny, it is hard to deny what is real and in front of you.  Last time this digressed into details about criminalization issues, that unique DNA isn't important because identical twins have same DNA, that sperm is alive so it isn't important that that a fetus is alive and whether or not someone personally thinks he/she is/isn't more moral than someone else.  Before we decide what to do about abortion and separate from finding quirks of nature to confuse or undermine the point, separate from personalizing this to who is or is not more moral than someone else, can't we all look and see that the little one is a developing, live human being.  It is alive, it is human, it has its own genetic code separate from the mother and the father, and it is too young to survive on its own - like a baby.

Before figuring out what to do about it, can't we agree that because it is a live, developing human being trying to grow, develop and survive, to kill it for convenience reasons - which fairly characterizes 98% of abortions in America - is wrong.
5757  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-Russia on: October 16, 2009, 11:34:30 AM
Two quotes onthe current situation:
To Russia With Love. Do you laugh or cry about our policy with Russia? When we serially cried out “reset” button, blamed Bush for the new Cold War with Russia, and promised to “listen”, we knew the US was walking blindfolded up the steps of Putin’s guillotine. So we humiliated the Czechs and the Poles (who have suffered far worse from the Russians) in exchange for the mythical “help” with sanctions on Iran. Today, Putin’s brief verdict of “premature” on sanctions said it all. If we can reconstruct the Obama/Hillary disaster, it goes something like this: Putin always liked the win/win/win/win idea of a nuclear Iran (the missiles point at the U.S., good profits for Russian companies, tensions in the Gulf always a help with high oil prices, everyone begs Russia to “leash” their new feral nuclear bulldog). So he entraps the idiotic Americans by vague promises of Iranian sanctions in exchange for reestablishing Russian fear and obedience in the former Soviet sphere—while revealing how America’s economic dive and strategic hesitation are proof of a more endemic decline. When Hillary talks of how delighted she is that Russia is “so supportive”, are we to cry for the beloved country? It is as if Putin not only knew he would win on this one, but get the added bonus of showing the world how obsequious, naïve, and impotent the new U.S. was in the bargain.
Throughout the Cold War, except to some extent during the Carter years, the U.S. responded more or less in kind to Russian hard-bargaining. In the modern era, President Bush, prodded by Vice President Cheney, eventually did so as well.

It probably never occurred to the Russians that a U.S. president would come to power hoping to "reset" relations with Russia on some basis other than the hard bargain and the "trust but verify" mentality. Yet this is precisely what has fallen into the Kremlin's lap. From what I've heard, the Russian elites can neither believe their good fortune nor hide their amusement.
5758  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Interconnected Economics and the Magic of Numbers in Politics, Thomas Sowell on: October 16, 2009, 11:22:31 AM

Back in the days of the Soviet Union, two Russian economists who had never lived in a country with a free market economy understood something about market economies that many others who have lived in such economies all their lives have never understood. Nikolai Shmelev and Vladimir Popov said: "Everything is interconnected in the world of prices, so that the smallest change in one element is passed along the chain to millions of others."

What does that mean? It means that a huge increase in the demand for ice cream can mean higher prices for catchers' mitts, among other things.

When more cows are needed to produce more milk to make ice cream, then fewer cows will be slaughtered and that means less cowhide available to make baseball gloves. Supply and demand mean that catchers' mitts are going to cost more.

While this may be easy enough to understand, its implications are completely lost on many people in politics and in the media. If everything is connected to everything else in a market economy, then it makes no sense to have laws and policies that declare some given goal to be a "good thing," without regard to the repercussions, which spread out in all directions, like waves that spread across a pond when you drop a rock in the water.

Our current economic meltdown results from the federal government, under both Democrats and Republicans, declaring home ownership to be a "good thing" and treating the percentage of families who own their own home as if it was some sort of magic number that had to be kept growing — without regard to the repercussions on other things.

We are now living with those repercussions, which include the worst unemployment in decades. That is the price we are paying for increasing home ownership from 64 percent to 69 percent.

How did we get from home ownership to 15 million unemployed Americans? By ignoring the fact that there was a reason why only 64 percent of families owned their own home. More people would have liked to be home owners but did not qualify under mortgage lending standards that had been in place for decades.

Politicians to the rescue: Federal regulatory agencies leaned on banks to lend to people they were not lending to before — or else. The "or else" included not having their business decisions approved by the regulators, which could cost them more money than making risky loans.

Mortgage lending standards were lowered, in order to raise the magic number of home ownership. But, with lower lending standards, there were — surprise! — more mortgage payment delinquencies, defaults and foreclosures.

This was a problem not only for banks and other lenders but also for those in the business of buying mortgages from the original lenders. These included semi-government enterprises like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as Wall Street firms that bought mortgages, bundled them together and issued securities based on the anticipated income from those mortgages.

In other words, all these economic transactions were "interconnected," as the Russian economists would say. And when the people who owed money on their mortgages stopped paying, the whole house of cards began to fall.

Politicians may not know much — or care much — about economics, but they know politics and they care a lot about keeping their jobs. So a great distracting hue and cry has gone up that all this was due to the market not being regulated enough by the government. In reality, it was precisely the government regulators who forced the banks to lower their lending standards.

The other big lie is that this was a failure of economists and others to foresee that the housing boom would turn to bust and set off financial repercussions across the economy.

In reality, everybody and his brother saw it coming and said so — including yours truly in the Wall Street Journal of May 26, 2005. As far away as London, The Economist magazine warned about the danger. So did many American publications and individuals. The problem was that politicians refused to listen. They were fixated on the magic number of home ownership and oblivious to the economic interconnections that Russian economists saw long ago and from far away.

It is understandable that many people do not pay nearly as much attention to political issues as they do to practical decisions that they have to make in their own lives. For one thing, they have only one vote among millions, so their influence on what policies the government will follow is in no way comparable to the weight of their decisions in their own personal affairs.

One consequence is that politicians can get away with half-baked arguments that people would never accept in their personal lives, where they apply a lot more scrutiny.

People who would never let some high-pressure salesman rush them into signing a contract to buy a car, before they have a chance to read the contract, may see nothing wrong with a President of the United States trying to rush Congress into passing a thousand-page bill before anybody has a chance to read it all.

Numbers, as well as words, get more scrutiny in private life than in political issues. Politicians love to cite magic numbers that are supposed to tell us whether some policy is a "good thing" or not. By sheer repetition, it is claimed that bigger numbers mean better results, whether the number is the percentage of families that own their own homes or the miles per gallon that automobiles get.

Administrations of both political parties, going back as far as the 1920s, have from time to time pushed the idea that a higher percentage of people owning their own homes is a "good thing," completely ignoring such repercussions as rising foreclosure rates in the wake of extending mortgage loans to people who are unlikely to be able to keep up the payments.

One of the other magic numbers that is popular in politics is the average miles per gallon of gas that cars are supposed to get, in order to meet standards set by the government. No matter how big this number gets, it can always get bigger, so there is no logical stopping place — which means a never-ending political crusade to increase that magic number.

The open-endedness of magic numbers is not their only problem. The more fundamental problem is that the costs entailed by a magic number are often either ignored or downplayed. More miles per gallon, for example, are usually achieved by having lighter cars — and lighter cars mean less protection from the consequences of automobile accidents. Bluntly, it means more severe injuries and death.

Many of the same people who protest against "trading blood for oil" when it comes to military interventions in the Middle East seem not to see that higher miles per gallon can also mean trading blood for oil.

The magic number du jour is the number of Americans without health insurance. Apparently getting more people insured is another "good thing" — which is to say, it is something whose costs are not to be weighed against the benefits, or whose costs are to be finessed aside with optimistic projections or a claim that these costs can be covered by eliminating "waste, fraud and abuse."

In real life, people weigh one thing against another. But in politics one declares one thing to be imperative, so the issue then becomes how we do it. In real life, all sorts of desirable things are not done, either because of other desirable things that would have to be sacrificed to do it or because of the dangers incurred in achieving the desired objective are worse than the problem we want to solve.

Almost never are the dangers of having uninsured people weighed against the dangers of having government bureaucrats over-ruling doctors and deciding whether money would be better spent saving the life of an elderly person or paying for an abortion for some teenager.

The crowning irony is that the problems caused by insurance companies refusing to pay for certain medications or treatment are to be solved by giving government bureaucrats that same power, along with the power to prevent patients from using their own money to pay for those same medications or treatments.

More than two centuries ago, Edmund Burke said, "Nothing is good but in proportion" — that is, when weighed as a trade-off. But a prudent weighing of trade-offs does not produce the political melodrama of pursuing a "good thing" measured by some magic number.
5759  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Abortion, pick on someone your own size on: October 15, 2009, 06:58:39 AM
Estimate that a little more than a million slaughtered since the last post here justifying abortion and maybe 3/4 million killed since the last on the Reproductive Issues thread insisting that a beating heart with unique fingerprints is a 'potential life'.

The women's rights argument should keep in mind that roughly half of the victims, who only want to be born, would otherwise grow up to be women - with rights - such as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Update from the trenches: An 18 week pregnant abortionist describes terminating an 18 week fetus as she briefly contemplates the ongoing development of her own, soon to be, cute little pre-schooler.  Be warned - you might not want to visualize this process over breakfast lunch etc.  Photo is not actual; the fetus is removed in parts.  

    When I was a little over 18 weeks pregnant with my now pre-school child, I did a second trimester abortion for a patient who was also a little over 18 weeks pregnant. As I reviewed her chart I realized that I was more interested than usual in seeing the fetal parts when I was done, since they would so closely resemble those of my own fetus.

    I went about doing the procedure as usual, removed the laminaria I had placed earlier and confirmed I had adequate dilation. I used electrical suction to remove the amniotic fluid, picked up my forceps and began to remove the fetus in parts, as I always did. I felt lucky that this one was already in the breech position – it would make grasping small parts (legs and arms) a little easier.

    With my first pass of the forceps, I grasped an extremity and began to pull it down. I could see a small foot hanging from the teeth of my forceps. With a quick tug, I separated the leg. Precisely at that moment, I felt a kick – a fluttery “thump, thump” in my own uterus. It was one of the first times I felt fetal movement. There was a leg and foot in my forceps, and a “thump, thump” in my abdomen.

    Instantly, tears were streaming from my eyes – without me – meaning my conscious brain - even being aware of what was going on. I felt as if my response had come entirely from my body, bypassing my usual cognitive processing completely. A message seemed to travel from my hand and my uterus to my tear ducts. It was an overwhelming feeling – a brutally visceral response – heartfelt and unmediated by my training or my feminist pro-choice politics.

    It was one of the more raw moments in my life. Doing second trimester abortions did not get easier after my pregnancy; in fact, dealing with little infant parts of my born baby only made dealing with dismembered fetal parts sadder.
5760  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science on: October 14, 2009, 05:25:59 PM
Freki,  People like that are fun to discuss science with. Besides counting scientists, I particularly like the way he condescends, as if you weren't able to google without some steering.  Seriously I like the way you don't show all your cards.  Just within the discussions here is enough material to rip the report to shreds, but that's not the way to begin.

He starts his IPCC point saying with hundreds if not thousands presumably support him and closes saying it's thousands.  Guess that sounded bigger.  But he didn't even try to quantify what the scientists are saying, even though you asked very specifically.  If he thinks only one or two 'prominant' scientists have a question then you have already done more research than him.

He did say, you pick the time frame - you already did.  Then he wants to steer you past the 70s because of inaccurate data but the two decades without warming coming into the 70s led to the Time Magazine headline warning us of the danger of a new ICE AGE:,9171,944914,00.html.  This of course was the consensus of the best scientists and most accurate information available.  He says the measurements weren't accurate then, and they aren't accurate now either, but I wouldn't go there.  Just look for the data.  Also he would like to steer you away from 2008-2009 because that indicates another decade, since 1998, without warming that NONE of the models of the greatest scientists in the world could explain or predict.

But since he says you pick the time frame and you did, middle of the last century until and including 2009.  I would re-iterate the 2 questions already posed and if he prefers that you just do your own research, you can easily delay, read the IPCC study, note that the answers aren't in there in spite of thousands of scientists checking and double-checking each other's work and agreeing with each other - qualitatively - that man's impact is large and something must be done.

You have clearly won the debate over bias and I would accept your victory silently and drop it.  If a scientist would not tilt his view or his emphasis over funding then same obviously applies for scientists with 'other' funding, or vice versa.  What he doesn't see is that even if 90% agree with today's conventional wisdom and 10% don't, nothing inherent in the science tells us which group has it right.  History includes plenty of examples of when the consensus was mistaken, see Time magazine 1974 regarding global cooling or anything in the last two centuries that pertains to quantum entanglement.

BTW, IPCC doesn't publish measured temperatures from anywhere.  They run their analysis on data that has been adjusted by ever-changing, unpublished 'correction' algorithms.  What is the margin of error?  They don't say.

As soon as you can pin him down on an alarming amount of continuous and accelerating, measured warming and that human causes are the main cause, say at least a third or a half of that, then his alleged consensus of scientists will quickly disappear, I predict.
5761  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glibness: Top Twenty Things Obama Doesn't Say on: October 13, 2009, 12:47:33 PM

Despite countless speeches and news conferences, did you ever hear President Obama express the following ideas?

        1. Not everything is a federal issue; some things are for the states to decide.

        2. I hear what you're saying and you have a good point.

        3. One of the beautiful things about our constitution is the liberty given to individuals to pursue their dreams.  There is great opportunity in our country to succeed.

        4. In an effort to stimulate job growth and despite the objections from my party, I am working with Congress to reduce taxes for small businesses.

        5. I am saddened by the cycle of poverty that exists in our major cities, and here is a way we can empower the next generation to break the cycle and fulfill their God-given potential....

        6. The folks at the town hall meetings and those who came to Washington on 9/12 were exercising one of the greatest rights we have as Americans, freedom of speech.

        7. Stop already with all forms of ‘cult of personality' behavior.  I am a public servant, just like all those who have served before and all who will come after my term is complete.  It's not about me, it's about the country.

        8. I heard a great message Sunday morning at church.

        9. History teaches us that evil exists in the world; for this reason the United States must remain strong, ready to defend itself and its allies.

        10. I didn't realize a communist was part of my administration.  It won't happen again.

        11. The billions siphoned out of health care into lawyers' pockets never healed a single person.

        12. No other country on earth offers its citizens the opportunity to pursue life, liberty, and happiness as does the United States of America.

        13. The experts have looked at the proposed (fill-in-the-blank) program, and when it is extrapolated out beyond just the initial offering there is clear evidence it will cost too much money and will eventually fail.

        14. I disagree 100% with the Cloward-Piven strategy of increasing the welfare rolls and overwhelming the financial system, and I am not affiliated in any way with the implementation of such an idea.

        15. I don't know the answer to your question but I will give it some thought.

        16. The goal of my presidency is not to implement a political ideology, but to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.

        17. Every person has value regardless of age, gender, color, physical characteristics, or any other factor.

        18. Any healthcare bill I sign must include a provision to exclude the rationing of care, keep the door open for competition among insurers, and promote the opportunity for our young people to pursue an education in the medical fields to ensure future supply meets future demand.

        19. It is important for legislators to remember that what helps someone in the short-term may actually hurt them in the long-term, and we must avoid this kind of scenario.

        20. It has become clear to me after meeting with military experts that their recommendations should be implemented in our current situation; this is not an area in which politics can be allowed to interfere.
5762  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glibness: Unfulfilled Pledges on: October 13, 2009, 12:45:06 PM

Here is the top 10 list of most glaring examples of Mr Obama falling short in key areas he trumpeted during his campaign.

1.PROMISE BROKEN. Mr Obama said he would "not sign any non-emergency bill without giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House website for five days". But the "sunlight before signing" promise has already fallen by the wayside with Mr Obama signing three major bills without public scrutiny.

2.PROMISE BROKEN. Mr Obama repeatedly said he would negotiate health care reform in televised sessions broadcast on C-SPAN, the public service network. Instead, he his approach has been no different from his predecessors, holding talks behind closed doors at the White House and Congress.

3.PROMISE BROKEN. Mr Obama solemnly pledged that "no political appointees in an Obama-Biden administration will be permitted to work on regulations or contracts directly and substantially related to their prior employer for two years". In practice, Mr Obama has granted several waivers to this rule, allowing lobbyists to serve in the top reaches of his administration.

4.PROMISE BROKEN. Mr Obama said he would end income tax for the elderly making less than $50,000 per year, thereby eliminating taxes for seven million of them. This has not been part of his economic stimulus bill, his first budget outline or any legislation proposed by the White House.

5.PROMISE STALLED. On taking office, Mr Obama announced with great fanfare that the Guantanamo Bay prison camp would be closed within a year of his inauguration on January 20th. Defence officials now concede that this self-imposed deadline will not be met.

6.PROMISE SIDELINED. Mr Obama promised to end the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy that prohibits openly gay personnel from serving in the United States armed forces. Despite reiterating the pledge this weekend, Mr Obama shows no signs of taking concrete action on the issue.

7.PROMISE BROKEN. Mr Obama said that in 2009 and 2010 "existing businesses will receive a $3,000 refundable tax credit for each additional full-time employee hired". Democrats on Capitol Hill opposed this and Mr Obama has quietly abandoned the proposal, omitting it from his list of requirements for draft legislation.

8.PROMISE BROKEN. During the campaign, Mr Obama promised that "as President I will recognise the Armenian genocide" carried out by the Ottoman Empire after 1915. Once in office, he traveled to Turkey and made no mention of genocide. In a statement in April on the memorial day for the genocide he spoke of the "heavy weight" of history and the "terrible events " of the period but failed the use the g-word.

9.PROMISE SIDELINED. As a candidate, Mr Obama highlighted his support for abortion rights, stating he would back this up "by passing the Freedom of Choice Act as president". At a press conference marking his first 100 days, Mr Obama said this was "not my highest legislative priority" and that it was important to "focus on those areas that we can agree on".

10. PROMISE SIDELINED. Mr Obama promised to end warrantless wiretaps on the domestic communications of Americans and to "update the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to provide greater oversight and accountability". So far, he has taken no action.
5763  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Music on: October 13, 2009, 11:26:20 AM
CCP, My daughter went to see Taylor Swift this past weekend sad  The question of who writes her songs is asked on Yahoo.  Then it is answered by young fans who vote on each other's answer and so it is now a resolved question sad

In my day... for one thing each band succeeded by creating something new and original. I doubt if Bob Dylan stole songs or poems.  Nobody ever said he sounds just like - fill in the blank. The lead singers of the Grateful Dead each had a lyricist and they gave and took shared credit on every song.  They played plenty of other people's material and even if they re-worked it musically or even if it was never previously famous they didn't claim they wrote the song.  Similar for bands like Yes, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Supertramp, Steely Dan, Jethro Tull, etc. They didn't come out with a new song to the reaction that it sounds remarkably like someone else.  More likely they could be accused of it sounding to much like own of their own previous works.

What I don't understand, if there are millions to be made why they can't, as Jackson had to here with Paul Anka, buy and pay for the help they receive.  Maybe the answer is in the fan comments on Taylor Swift.  They are so sure that she is singing directly to them from the heart, not reading a teleprompter.  Even then, couldn't they privately buy the right to take full credit?
5764  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: A second Great Depression is still possible on: October 13, 2009, 10:55:00 AM
First regarding Bloomberg on the Obama dollar, normally a weak dollar boosts exports i.e. self correcting, but combine that with the decimation of industry, what is there to sell anymore and the dollar was already low.

The Financial Times piece: a good chance the US economy will experience a second dip followed by extended stagnation that will qualify as the second Great Depression.

I agree with GM, absolutely possible and almost certain.  But also totally PREVENTABLE.

All of our policy levers are currently headed in the wrong direction.  Pro-growth economics has been replaced with assumed growth economics that makes it okay to keep adding burdens and inefficiencies to the productive economy until it collapses on its own weight.

"The economic crisis represents the implosion of the economic paradigm that has ruled US and global growth for the past thirty years. That paradigm was based on consumption fuelled by indebtedness and asset price inflation, and it is done."

   - There was a little more to it IMO but he has his time line correct.  30 years ago we were in the Jimmy Carter era of stagnation and stagflation.  Carter's answer was to do everything possible to make it worse while correcting none of the underlying weakness.

Today, if the problem was debt, our answer is debt on steroids??

Decline is a choice. (See

Pro-growth policies are a different choice.  True pro-growth policies such as those of JFK, Reagan, and even Clinton after the Gingrich takeover, are rather simple and always available. 

Investors don't even know what their tax rate will be on returns from productive investments made now.  Taking a widespread, wait and see approach chops off new job growth before it can get started.  The left machine certainly promised huge hikes on all the larger players.  Complicating that is that fact that their word is worthless, their policy aprovals are negative and the context they operate in has changed.  Even though they haven't really raised taxes yet, the uncertainty causes all the economic damage we would expect if they had.

Employers don't even know what the burden of hiring an employee today will be.  With space and time not allowing a full laundry list of all the known burdens and coming burdens (cf. employee leave, layoff notification laws, health care burdens...).  Hillary said it best and Obama and Pelosi are definitely to her left; it goes something like this: You can't afford all the ideas I have for the economy.

Consumers, citizens, taxpayers and voters, whatever we like to call ourselves, we don't even know if we will have $2000 added to our energy bill, $4000 added to our health care bill, and who knows what added to our tax bill, not even counting state and local taxes.  Property taxes, energy taxes, health care costs and more are not costs that go down when you lose your job or close your company.  Then what?

What else did they do to really dig deep for the first great depression?  Smoot Hawley.  So what did Obama do as the hole keeps expanding: "Obama slaps tariff on Chinese tires - MarketWatch  Sep 11, 2009 ... The Obama administration will slap a special tariff on Chinese-macde tires."  Also canceled out of a free trade agreement in Latin America.  Does that mentality from the world's largest economy cause others to open the doors a little more to free enterprise and free trade?  I think not!

Repeating, decline is a choice.  We are choosing it.  Maybe you and I didn't vote for Pelosi or Obama, but we also are not successfully putting out clear, pro-growth alternatives and arguments up for consideration.
5765  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The War on Drugs - George Shultz on: October 12, 2009, 03:02:56 PM
Very interesting.  A huge problem with no easy solution.  Nothing really gets legalized in this country as lemonade stands get shut down for licensing issues and tobacco gets sold on the black market as taxation goes sky high, so I think that can be a misnomer.

I can see decriminalization for consumers to a point as Crafty described in this thread agreeing with Obama.  I can see reevaluating all penalties and trying to get them in proportion to the amount of damage done to others.  A renewed campaign with honest science to inform people of risks makes sense.

An advantage of legalization would be labeling for potency and content, but that really isn't legalization if buying and selling as it is known today is still a violation of all FTC (and IRS) laws.

Here is a question (or two) for our libertarian friends here in favor of full legalization of drugs, what would you do then about prescription drugs?  Cocaine you can buy and sell but for Valium or Viagra you need a Doctor and a Pharmacy reaping fees and profits? That doesn't make sense.  And further, if could trust ourselves with medicines, why can't we trust we the people with 'medical' devices and procedures?  Today that can be a felony with years in jail.
5766  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward - pundits and leaders on: October 12, 2009, 02:24:01 PM
CCP: "It seems to me many participants in the tea party would find Levin and Beck appealing.
I really don't know how much they are simply preaching to the choir or are actually finding growing support among independents.  Couldn't they be leaders of the tea party?"

Not speaking for the movement but if I get to choose a leader from among the right wing punditry I think I will go with Prof. Victor Davis Hanson.

Let the left wing media try to take him apart.  Katie Couric can ask him what he reads, Charlie Gibson can see if he understands the Bush Doctrine, and maybe George Stephanopoulos can try to trip him up on the names of leaders around the world.   smiley
5767  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues - Fox News on: October 12, 2009, 12:56:47 PM
I often hear top of the hour radio news from Fox and find they often let the same liberal spin fall into news stories that we would expect from ABC, NBC, CBS, AP, etc.  A good conservative editor would question the wording and framing of the stories and no one is doing that IMO.

I don't watch the cable shows but see Fox News Sunday.  Of the usual panelists, obviously 2 are right wing.  The others for balance are less flaming in their leftism than typically found on the other Sunday shows.  Chris Wallace is the most balanced of the moderators.  I would compare him to Jim Lehrer in his ability to keep his personal views out of the way and do his job.

Hannity is an opinion show.  I know him only through radio.  Obviously a lighter weight than Rush but  he brings on insightful and relevant guests, right and left.  To have him on prime time must ruffle the lefty feathers but his success, like Rush, is based on the void left by the rest of the media.

Crafty,  I am curious to read more about your observation that the WSJ opinion page has changed for the worse since the Murdoch took over.
5768  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward - does not go through David Brooks on: October 12, 2009, 12:33:36 PM
David Brooks is from the Obama wing of the Republican Party IMO.  He is infatuated with Huckabee only as it relates to a split among conservatives.  There isn't a snowball's chance in hell that Brooks would vote for Huck.   Rush is a radio show based on one person's opinion.  He doen't hold Get-out-the-Vote rallies.  To the extent that his views resonate with others he attracts and holds listeners.  That he doesn't change minds could be said about any of them including Obama whose electoral win didn't translate into support for his policies.  I listened to Rush more than Brooks did and Rush DID NOT ENDORSE ANYONE for President in the primaries. Even Oprah took a side.  Fred Thompson was largely ignored.  No one trashed Huckabee.  Plenty of conservatives exposed his policies and rhetoric that is/was not conservative.  Isn't that what a conservative, opinion commentator should do?  No one melted over Romney.

Social conservatives felt threatened by Giuliani but Huckabee knocked him out (and Thompson) in the first state.  Then Republicans held their nose and nominated the most centrist and anti-Republican of all the choices hoping that would bring moderates, centrists and independents to the cause in a bad year.  The opposite happened.

Huckabee is interesting to the left because his charisma and partial success help to widen the divide among conservatives. 

Brooks: "So the myth returns. Just months after the election and the humiliation, everyone is again convinced that Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity and the rest possess real power."  - In this case "everyone" refers to the people he shares elevators with at the NY Times.  He perhaps should take Rush's advice that the NY Times should send 'foreign correspondents' out to the heartland and find out what the people there really think.

On the right, people are fascinated with the so-called tea party movement that really is the groundswell without a leader.
5769  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Job Creation 101 - WSJ on: October 12, 2009, 11:27:45 AM
Obama and the left machine is actually proposing a TEMPORARY program to boost employment?  Is that what we want?  Temporary hiring? A government program to boost private sector employment?  They are also proposing the largest tax ever (cap and tax) on heavy manufacturing and a takeover of health care, housing, banking, energy and auto manufacturing...

Job Creation 101
A hiring tax credit returns from the dead.

The White House is finally coming to realize that taxes affect job creation. Terrific. Its solution seems to be to bribe employers for hiring new workers, albeit only for a couple of years. Less than terrific.

Alarmed by the rising jobless rate, Democrats are scrambling to "do something" to create jobs. You may have thought that was supposed to be the point of February's $780 billion stimulus plan, and indeed it was. White House economists Christina Romer and Jared Bernstein estimated at the time that the spending blowout would keep the jobless rate below 8%.

The nearby chart compares the job estimates the two economists used to help sell the stimulus to the American public to the actual jobless rate so far this year. The current rate is 9.8% and is expected to rise or stay high well into the election year of 2010. Rarely in politics do we get such a clear and rapid illustration of a policy failure.

This explains why political panic is beginning to set in, and various panicky ideas to create more jobs are suddenly in play. The New York Times reports that one plan would grant a $3,000 tax credit to employers for each new hire in 2010. Under another, two-year plan, employers would receive a credit in the first year equal to 15.3% of the cost of adding a new worker, an amount that would be reduced to 10.2% in the second year and then phased out entirely. Why 15.3%? Presumably because that's roughly the cost of the payroll tax burden to hire a new worker.

The irony of this is remarkable, considering the costs that Democrats are busy imposing on job creation. Congress raised the minimum wage again in July, a direct slam at low-skilled and young workers. The black teen jobless rate has since climbed to 50.4% from 39.2% in two months. Congress is also moving ahead with a mountain of new mandates, from mandatory paid leave to the House's health-care payroll surtax of 5.4%. All of these policy changes give pause to employers as they contemplate the cost of new hires—a reality that Democrats are tacitly admitting as they now plot to find ways to offset those higher costs.

Alas, their new ideas are little more than political gimmicks that aren't likely to result in many new jobs. Congress doesn't want to give up revenue for very long, so it would make the tax credits temporary. Thus anyone who is hired would have to be productive enough to justify the wage or salary after the tax-credit expires—or else the job is likely to end. An employer would be better off hiring a temp worker and saving on the benefits for the same couple of years.

The tax credit would also inevitably go to some employers already planning to hire, or reward companies that lay off some workers only to hire others to take advantage of the tax credit. And it would reward parts of the country that are growing, such as Texas, at the expense of those that aren't, such as Michigan. In other words, it is a very inefficient business subsidy.

We know all this because a new jobs tax credit has already been tried—in the Carter Administration. In 1977 as he entered the White House, Jimmy Carter proposed a jobs credit and a Democratic Congress passed it. Its unfortunate history was recounted in 1980 by then-Treasury official Emil Sunley in a chapter of "The Economics of Taxation," a book edited by Henry Aaron and Michael Boskin for the Brookings Institution.

As Mr. Sunley summarized: "The impact of the credit on jobs was slight. In many firms those who make hiring decisions did not understand the firm's tax status." He added that, "Because the capital stock is fixed in the short run, to increase employment significantly, demand for output must increase. An incremental tax cut tied to employment will not by itself generate that increase in demand. Moreover, a temporary incremental credit is unlikely to affect significantly the long-run substitution of labor for capital." Call this Job Creation 101.

President Obama first floated the hiring credit in January, but it died after opposition from Democrats who seemed to get the joke. "If you have a company and you're selling fewer shingles, $3,000 isn't going to get you to hire somebody when your sales are shrinking," said Senator Chuck Schumer. Yet now even some Republicans, such as House GOP whip Eric Cantor, are saying they're receptive to the idea. Mr. Cantor ought to know better.

The lack of U.S. job creation is a big problem, but the quickest way Washington could help would be to stop imposing more financial burdens on hiring. And if Democrats really want to reduce taxes on labor, the cleanest way would be to reduce the payroll tax rate. They could finance a permanent payroll cut by using the $300-$400 billion or more in unspent stimulus money, rather than continuing with the transfer payments and pork barrel spending that have failed so miserably to create jobs.
5770  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science on: October 12, 2009, 11:10:18 AM
Freki - I wanted to add the names Richard Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT and Dr. Roy Spencer, climate change research scientist for the Univ. of Alabama Huntsville to your list as sensible minds on the subject with ample qcredentials, but they are already both quoted in BBG's last post.  I'm sure the alarmist is aware of their work and has left wing hate site dirt ready to smear them personally rather than address their scientific studies. 

The idea that the coal industry for example, as it is directly threatened with tax and regulatory extinction, should not be funding any scientific atmospheric research regarding the result of their process is antithetical to the founding concept of freedom.

5771  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Nuclear War, WMD issues on: October 12, 2009, 10:43:57 AM
"I thought that the BMD system had been canceled due to budget."

The Russians opposed missile defense sites in Czech and Poland.  Obama wanted Russian cooperation on Iran.  Obama canceled those sites, backstabbing our allies.  Later Sec. of Defense Gates wrote that we have a much better missile defense plan in the works, unbeknown to the Czechs and Poles and likely to be again canceled later.  Now Russia is allegedly upset about that and can still sabotage cooperation against Iran.

A government 2 trillion out of balance is not likely to feel constrained by a budget.
5772  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: ACORN - the firewall on: October 11, 2009, 03:31:40 PM
"What would stop them from zapping off one copy of personal information for themselves as they submit it to the Census Bureau?  The federal government We will essentially be paying organized labor and “social justice” organizations to recruit new members."

Luckily they have a "firewall" (Lol) between activities partisan-political and all the taxpayer funded, Marxist do-gooding that they do.  I heard that directly from the head of ACORN.  

Also reassuring is that the incident in Baltimore (and in New York, Washington, Houston, Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Boston, Minneapolis, San Diego and Seattle) was an isolated incident.  

If anyone out there has ever seen a picture of this firewall, please post it.

The constitution authorizes and mandates the count of the number of people in your household.  Where in the constitution does it empower the federal government to coerce answers on anything else??

The list of 'Census Partners' is scary and obnoxious.  What about naming rights, will it soon be called the Pepsi or Bud Light Census?  In the meantime maybe we can just call it the ACORN or Bill Ayers Census.

Did I really see La Raza in charge of counting legal immigrants for congressional representation?  sad
5773  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science on: October 11, 2009, 12:29:59 PM
I agree with all of what BBG wrote.  I wrote previously that polling scientists is not science and would add that credential-checking scientists is also not science.  Before all major breakthroughs in science, nearly all scientists agreed that the opposite was true.

If I were you I would ignore the side-fights of credentials and personalities, knowing that plenty of able and respected people will back you up, and as a first reply I would only ask to clarify what he is alleging.

"Man is causing/contributing greatly..."  When they ask for more money at my daughter's school they say that ninety-some percent rate the school district as good or excellent.  Well there is a BIG difference between good and excellent in the school business.  Why do they lump those together? Obviously to skew a point and make good sound like excellent instead of like fair or mediocre or adequate.  Obama's stimulus has "created or saved xx million jobs.  How many did it create and how many did it save and why did they lump those together.  Obviously to make an inference while making it impossible for you to refute what isn't even really alleged.

But your rival and the media of our time writes: "2) Man is causing/contributing greatly to this." What the hell does that mean?


I would only reply in the first inning with a clarification request:

"Lets define Global warming -- it has two major premises."  - agree

"1) The average temperature of the earth is rising."  - Let's clarify so we know what we are agreeing on here.  What is the rise (very exact or within a specific range) since say the middle of the last century until now?

"2) Man is causing/contributing greatly to this."  - Must know what you mean by cause or contributing greatly in order to answer this.  Please specify what portion of the rise, precise or within a range, is directly attributable to CO2 emissions (that is the issue of the day) and what the other specific portions of the rise are attributable to each of the other factors, if any, that play a role in warming.


If he says that on both counts scientists don't know, then he is honest and you are done.  If he sidesteps and fires back again with 'everyone who is anyone agrees...' then I would ignore him until he can put to words and numbers what it is that he is alleging.
5774  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: October 11, 2009, 11:56:16 AM
Sorry no sound bites.  sad

Their main argument is a fictional picture that Obama and Edwards drew in the 2008 Democrat debates where the viewer is led to believe that American snipers, high in the mountains, had Osama bin Laden surrounded and in their sights, ready to shoot, but received instead a radioed message from President Bush telling them to quickly lay down their rifles and leave the mountains of Tora Bora immediately, and take the next train to Fallujah lol because that is now the central focus of the war on terror.  It just didn't happen that way.  The politicians in Washington did not micro-manage the commanders in either war, they weren't denied resources to track terrorists in the mountains and no one ever had bin Laden in their sights much less turn back, unless you count the opportunities we passed up under President Clinton.

Ironically, the intelligence that could have prevented the 'unnecessary' war was not available perhaps due to the gutting of the intelligence agencies by the appeasers who took power after the cold war threats were settled without a shot fired by the trigger happy Pres. Reagan.  The prevention opportunity for the attacks on America on September 11, 2001 would have been to massively and fatally strike al Qaeda after one of the many previous attacks they made on Americans and American interests such as the USS Cole bombing in Aden in 2000 or the Embassy attacks in Africa in 1998.

Post-9/11/01 is when bin Laden truly knew to hide because (other than Saddam Hussein as published in his own state newspaper 51 days prior- only al Qaeda knew of the attacks that were coming.

Both Bush and the Nobel peace laureate have authorized major strikes into the 'safe' areas of Pakistan.  It is ridiculous and counter-productive to make the choices we face now out to be political or partisan.
5775  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan - Frank Rich NY Times on: October 11, 2009, 10:37:54 AM
"I find Frank Rich to be a typical Pravda on the Hudson douche bag" - Reading only this piece I would say you are sugar-coating it.  Good to know what post-partisan liberal journalism looks like.  Can't we all just get along?  His obsession with McCain makes me want to write an attack piece on Walter Mondale, and see what readership I get.  No wonder they are bankrupt and seeking federal bailouts.  Does he know that Republicans and conservatives especially can no longer declare war, fund war, stop war or even participate in committee meetings?  What an *sshole.

I just hate reading a piece where the first sentence is a lie but that is how today's liberals start an argument: "...America divert its troops and treasure from Afghanistan to Iraq in 2002 and 2003".

  - I would like to see the supply route aerial photos of our troops and treasure leaving Kabul on the long journey to Baghdad.  

In fact the Afghanistan war was the model of a multi-lateralist intervention and Iraq at least according to this scumbag was a go-it-alone venture.  In Iraq, we won - not mentioned in the piece.  In Afghanistan, apparently there is still a problem and why would allies stay committed if we are happy to do it for them.

"these hawks insisted that Iraq was “the central front in the war on terror” when the central front was Afghanistan, so they insist that Afghanistan is the central front now that it has migrated to Pakistan. When the day comes for them to anoint Pakistan as the central front, it will be proof positive that Al Qaeda has consolidated its hold on Somalia and Yemen."

  - If we keep winning, the world they operate in keeps getting smaller and smaller.  BTW, it was bin Laden who put the central focus on Iraq and who chose Afghan for an ungoverned safe haven that this author infers that he would prefer.  Also curious about his writings that propose a US war right now in Pahkistahn or is this all just hot air and bullsh*t?

Side note, how would it affect the pressure we want to put on Iran right now to prevent them from going fully nuclear if Saddam had just this week successfully tested his own new nuclear weapons.  That is what the Iraq Study Group predicted: he was 5-7 years away, more than 5-7 years ago... not mentioned in the hit piece.

"[McCain] hyped the faulty W.M.D. evidence to the hysterical extreme of fingering Iraq for the anthrax attacks in Washington. Or that he promised we would win the Iraq war “easily.” Or that he predicted that the Sunnis and the Shiites would “probably get along” in post-Saddam Iraq"

  - The WMD evidence came through all the best intelligence agencies in the world, why would you not 'hype' it if you gave a damn about American security.  The part that was faulty originated with Saddam himself over-hyping his ability to impose destruction - even after he had attacked FOUR of his neighbors: Iran, Kuwait, Israel and Saudi.  Besides the Bush hatred, or in this case McCain just to mix it up, the only response these armchair hate writers have had to Saddam taking Kuwait, Saudi and maybe Israel, shooting American aircraft, defying UN resolutions and their own surrender agreement and going fully nuclear would come from Paul McCartney lyrics (to the beautiful melody): "Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be. There will be an answer,let it beeeee."

"they promoted their strategy (war in Iraq) as a way of preventing another 9/11 — even though no one culpable for 9/11 was in Iraq."  

  - I wonder if they don't read their own words, but we weren't trying to prevent the attack that already happened, we are trying to prevent future attacks by taking battle to our declared enemies.  Not mentioned as usual is that future attacks were stopped and BTW, Saddam did not go nuclear or restart his chemical or biological programs.

"If you listen carefully to McCain and his neocon echo chamber, you’ll notice certain tics. President Obama better make his decision by tomorrow, or Armageddon (if not mushroom clouds) will arrive."

  - No.  I don't think he said that, lol.  What they perhaps are saying is that the Commander in Chief, Lyndon Baines Obama,  should make clear to the troops in harm's way whether we are in this war to win or are we out or are we content to settle for a quagmire under his watch.

"Most tellingly, perhaps, those clamoring for an escalation in Afghanistan avoid mentioning the name of the country’s president, Hamid Karzai, or the fraud-filled August election..."

  - But he would return our troops to America? With the ACORN prosecutions in full force and the ACORN legal defense team in charge??? Lol.  That election (Afghanistan in August) took place under Obama's new plan for Afghanistan and uner his watch and command.  Not McCain.  Did I miss a news story where Obama alled for a re-vote or a re-count?

"Those demanding more combat troops for Afghanistan also avoid defining the real costs. The Congressional Research Service estimates that the war was running $2.6 billion a month in Pentagon expenses alone even before Obama added 20,000 troops this year."

  - Those demanding more troops are Obama's chosen command team.

"Gen. David Petraeus stipulates that real counterinsurgency requires 20 to 25 troops for each thousand residents. That comes out, conservatively, to 640,000 troops for Afghanistan (population, 32 million)."

  - I don't think the major battle areas of Afghanistan encompass the whole nation or the whole population.

Frankly this anti-war piece could more logically be written attacking Obama.  Even if some points are valid, what is his plan to protect America while allowing all known safe havens to fester?
5776  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: America's Inner City on: October 10, 2009, 02:13:33 PM
 Oct 7, 2009
Fight At Fenger While Officials Discuss Violence   CHICAGO (CBS)

    U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan arrives at the Four Seasons Hotel, 120 E. Delaware Pl., for a discussion on combatting violence among Chicago youth.  President Barack Obama was so shocked by the deadly beating of a Fenger High School student that he dispatched two members of his cabinet to address the problem.  But on the day Attorney General Eric Holder and Education Secretary Arne Duncan met with local officials to discuss youth violence, there was another fight at Fenger.

As CBS 2's Mike Puccinelli reports, students said what happened Wednesday is typical of what happens every day. Students from Altgeld Gardens got into a fight with students who live in the area surrounding the high school, an area known as "The Ville."

Altgeld Gardens resident Tommie McCoy said Holder and Duncan should have visited Fenger and Altgeld Gardens, not just met with Mayor Richard M. Daley and other local officials in downtown Chicago.  If Holder, Duncan and Daley had been outside Fenger on Wednesday when school let out, students said they would have gotten an eyeful.

"They was fighting," one girl said.

Another student said, "Some boys they got off the bus fighting and that. Then the police came over there breaking up the fight."  As soon as the punching stopped at Fenger, the students and the simmering tension moved south to Altgeld Gardens a few miles south.

Luevinne Leggett, a senior at Fenger, said she doesn't feel welcome there.  "I don't feel welcome because I get chased home from school every day," Leggett said. "I try and avoid the problem by walking and they chase me. The police not doing nothing. They sit out there and they watch people get chased."

Vashion Bullock said he feels similarly. He was involved in the fight that claimed the life of 16-year-old Derrion Albert last month. Bullock's brother is one of four teens charged with murder.  Bullock said Duncan is wrong if he believes that the problems don't stem from making Carver a selective enrollment school. He said he gets attacked by students who live close to Fenger because he is from Altgeld Gardens.  "Before I went to this community school (Fenger), I didn't have no fights, no nothing; until I went outside the (Altgeld Gardens) community," Bullock said.
5777  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science on: October 10, 2009, 01:56:49 PM
Freki, please post his arguments here as long as there is nothing confidential about wanting to save the planet.  BBG has it right, proving something doesn't exist is a bit tough.  Your first move IMO is to draw the allegations out of him and sampling scientists isn't science.  For example, in the last 60 years - that should cover most of our lifetimes - how much is he alleging that the earth has warmed?  (The answer is almost zero, maybe a half degree C and certainly within the margin of measurement sampling error.)  If he doesn't like the time frame compare now with the 1930s, lol. And second, draw out from him what portion of that warming is caused by human CO2 emissions - that is the part they are trying to regulate and specifically how much is cased by each of the other top 5 or 10 causes. If he says that scientists have no idea, then you have met an honest man, lol. (Last time I looked into this I came up with numbers that human caused CO2 is about 2% of total CO2 production, warming from CO2 is about 2% of total warming and that total warming isn't more than about a tenth of a degree per decade.  If he concedes anything at all resembling these numbers then I would concede to him that humans caused CO2 emissions are likely a 0.0004 contributor to the tenth of a degree warming that has plagued our planet, and that we should all be more careful - but not shut down our economic system.

For a control group, I would like to know what the greenhouse gas effect would be if 7 billion people on earth owned a horse and buggy and heated their home with firewood.
5778  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Decline is a Choice, Krauthammer on: October 10, 2009, 01:27:19 PM
Decline is a Choice, by Charles Krauthammer is a fairly long read.  I recommend reading it slowly - in its entirety.  Krauthammer does a nice job of showing how Obama's policies favor American decline for both economic and foreign policies.

Decline Is a Choice
The New Liberalism and the end of American ascendancy.
by Charles Krauthammer
10/19/2009, Volume 015, Issue 05

(go to the link, article didn't fit in a post)
5779  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: October 09, 2009, 11:39:44 PM
Copied here for follow up.  "For China I think the situation is the opposite of Russia.  They are highly dependent on the US economy, the dollar and the value of their already sunken investment."

GM:"I disagree Doug. China has us by the short and curlies. They couldn't build a military that could defeat ours for the amount of money they used to buy our debt. Now, they are using their financial leverage to bend us to their will. Unrestricted warfare, financial edition."

That's good.  We haven"t had enough disagreement around here since the French supermarket uprising.  smiley

Based on the size of the Chinese investment in the dollar already and the importance that US purchases of Chinese goods plays in their economy and based on my personal conjecture that their economic growth is built partly on a house of cards...

I just have to believe they are more worried than we are about whether the economic scare of the past year could turn sharply further for the worse and whether their political system, with a hundred people ruling a billion, would survive the chaos of a severe and prolonged economic crisis.  jmho

That said, they are of course our competitor and arch-rival in every other market in the world and somewhere between annoyance and enemy on nearly all matters of geopolitics.

But they don't win by crushing us economically.  They win more like a parasite feeding off of us as I see it.
5780  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: October 09, 2009, 10:59:26 PM
"For the record the US is by far the world's largest arms merchant and we are not always very careful about to whom we sell."

Can you give an example as egregious as selling mines to Iran for them to terrorize a crucial shipping lane in international waters?
5781  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: BO's friends and appointments on: October 08, 2009, 11:55:30 PM
"anyone have something on this matter from a more definitive source?"
U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D. Toledo) whipped the crowd up before Mr. Obama took the stage yesterday telling them that America needed a Second Bill of Rights guaranteeing all Americans a job, health care, homes, an education... 10/13/2008

Powerline wrote about Sunstein a year ago: and the book is partially published online at googlebooks:
One thing unique about these Marxists and the right to healthcare, a job, a home, an education and the rest of the Second Bill of Rights is that with the original Bill of Rights, your right to speech, bear arms, be free of unreasonable search etc. did not create a burden on someone else to provide something for you.

From Powerline Oct. 2008:

Obama's Constitution
October 28, 2008 Posted by Scott Johnson at 5:36 AM

Yesterday the Obama campaign called on University of Chicago law professor Cass Sunstein to tamp down the furor over Obama's advocacy of "redistributive change" and overcoming of the Constitution's "negative rights" in his 2001 radio interview. Politico's Ben Smith reliably channelled Professor Sunstein's spinning on behalf of Obama.

Professor Sunstein was actually the right man to call on to explain Obama's remarks. They derive directly from Sunstein's advocacy of Roosevelt's so-called second Bill of Rights. Sunstein devoted a book to the subject in 2004 -- The Second Bill of Rights: FDR's Unfinished Revolution and Why We Need It More Than Ever. Roosevelt set forth his "second Bill of Rights" in his January 1944 State of the Union Address:

    In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all--regardless of station, race, or creed.

    Among these are:

    The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;

    The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

    The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

    The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

    The right of every family to a decent home;

    The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

    The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

    The right to a good education.

Tom Palmer usefully explicated the political thought underlying Sunstein's argument in his review of the book. By contrast with the doctrine of rights conferred by God and nature set forth in the Declaration of Independence, Sunstein holds:

    You owe your life -- and everything else -- to the sovereign. The rights of subjects are not natural rights, but merely grants from the sovereign. There is no right even to complain about the actions of the sovereign, except insofar as the sovereign allows the subject to complain. These are the principles of unlimited, arbitrary, and absolute power, the principles of such rulers as Louis XIV. Intellectuals have assiduously promoted them; think of Jean Bodin and Thomas Hobbes.

Thus Palmer deems Sunstein a "new intellectual champion of absolutism" who advances "the radical notion that all rights -- including rights usually held to be 'against' the state, such as the right to freedom of speech and the right not to be arbitrarily imprisoned or tortured -- are grants from the state."

At the American Constitution Society's "Constitution 2020" jamboree at Yale Law School in 2005, according to my daughter's notes, Sunstein explained:

    * With growth and change, political rights enshrined in Constitution are inadequate.

    * Need economic bill of rights. Ingredients of Second Bill of Rights--only with these rights will we have security

    * Long tradition of American political thought--states owe to every citizen a degree of subsistence. Second Bill of Rights made possible by attack on distinction between negative and positive rights. Effort to separate them is unfit for the American legal framework.

    * Roosevelt . . . did not favor return to narrowly construed judgments of those who drafted the Constitution.

    * By 2020, it's going to be about time for the Second Bill of Rights to be reclaimed. . . . Beauty of Roosevelt's Second Bill of Rights is its concreteness--right to education, etc.

The debate on the left, alluded to in Obama's remarks and addressed in Sunstein's book, has been whether Congress or the courts should promulgate the welfare state agenda. Three years ago Sunstein et al. modestly posited the fulfillment of their welfare state dreams in 2020. With left-wing Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress, and with Obama's ascendance, it looks like the future is now..

UPDATE: Via RealClearPolitics I see that Professor Sunstein is also spinning directly on behalf of Obama over at TNR. Maybe he'll explain some time after the election, if candor ever becomes the order of the day, what Obama meant when he referred to "the tragedies of the civil rights movement."

And from the Buckeye state, a reader reports:

    I live in Toledo, Ohio. Prior to Obama's trip here in which he met Joe the Plumber, the October 12 issue of The Toledo Blade had a signed statement by the co-publisher and editor-in-chief on the first page asking Obama whether he would agree with FDR's "Second Bill of Rights" guaranteeing "the right to a job, the right to a decent home, the right to adequate medical care, and the right to a good education." The statement includes a link to the audio clip and transcript of FDR proposing it.

    The letter was accompanied by a front page article discussing it, claiming "many" believe these ideas should be invoked, including Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). The article stated that an answer from Obama as to whether he supports the idea is important to all Americans. The Blade claimed Obama agreed in principle to the ideas expressed in the second Bill of Rights: "Mr. Obama declined to give a simple yes or no answer, but in a written response and in an answer to the same question shouted at him, Mr. Obama appeared to agree in principle."

    Here's the article in the Blade detailing Obama's visit, noting: "U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) whipped the crowd up before Mr. Obama took the stage yesterday telling them that America needed a Second Bill of Rights guaranteeing all Americans a job, health care, homes, an education, and a fair playing field for business and farmers."

    This is scary stuff, but it obviously has the support of the Blade, Sen. Brown and Rep. Kaptur. I've frankly been surprised this hasn't received more attention as I think it sounds nutty to most Americans. At least I hope so.

Hope! Maybe that's the missing ingredient in the McCain campaign.

5782  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: October 08, 2009, 11:34:40 PM
"The claim that doctors would leave medicine or retire is just a lot of hot air."

If I understand correctly, the plan isn't in place until 'Obama's 2nd term'.  I think the more the plan looks like public employee union civil service work in place of private practice, the more likely a certain number will be to re-evaluate their future during the interim rather than join and learn the new system.  it wouldn't take too many planned retirees plus early retirees to totally screw up the already screwed up numbers in the plan IMO.  The same number of doctors and nurses at the same cost are already planning to treat 20-30 million more people as it stands? As I look for a Dr. myself it seems all the ones I know are already too close to retirement to be of much use to me in my upcoming old age.

If they eased the burden of malpractice lawsuits and insurance, an aging MD could continue to practice on an eased up schedule longer instead of taking normal retirement.  Seems to me that keeping them in practice a little longer would be a better course than forcing them out if we were trying to give better treatment to more patients.  But we aren't headed in that direction right now.
5783  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Nuclear War, WMD issues on: October 08, 2009, 11:09:25 PM
Stratfor can be so good in their analysis and writing that it can be easy to forget that most conclusions are admittedly based on conjecture.  Even within the responsible agencies and with all the security clearances, much intelligence is false and much of what is needed just doesn't exist.  I think Strat is valuable so often just for asking the right questions even if their answer is just one opinion.

Maybe a military action (against Iranian nukes)would be a disaster or maybe a short, sharp air and naval campaign to set them back a generation is possible.  From our point of view in the armchair, the strike now question is hypothetical - assuming that we can.  But we don't know that.

With Osirak 1981, the Iraqis might not have known the Israelis could do that. With SDI, the enemy thought we could and the Americans thought we couldn't. Nuclear disarmament, forcible or negotiated is tricky business.
Freki, What you write about Russia is true.  I would add that as an energy producer, Russia wants higher prices for oil regardless of how it affects us, and for the US as we choose to leave our energy in the ground and choose to pay enemies for energy - the price spikes that threaten our economy and our security are our own damn fault. 

For China I think the situation is the opposite of Russia.  They are highly dependent on the US economy, the dollar and the value of their already sunken investment.
5784  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: October 08, 2009, 11:14:28 AM
"U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will travel to three Central European countries to discuss ballistic missile defense infrastructure and bilateral security ties. The purpose of Biden’s visit is twofold: to reassure Poland, the Czech Republic and Romania that the United States is still a powerful security guarantor, and remind Russia that the United States has clout in its geopolitical backyard."

Russia must bee worried to see Obama send Biden to Poland, lol.

Yes, our very highest official to reassure our wonderful allies that we will never let down or sell out (sarc).  It is our very highest priority to reassure them of our commitment, after just blindsiding them with surprise missile defense site cancellations, but first Biden must attend his even higher priorities, visiting the home of MN Twins owner to raise 8k a plate for the DNC.  Who pays 8k a plate to dine with Biden that isn't looking for a corporate backscratching?  Pohlad owns hundreds of banks - I don't suppose their are TARP funds in the banking industry...

Joe Biden to visit Twin Cities next week
Tom Scheck, Minnesota Public Radio  October 6, 2009

St. Paul, Minn. — Vice President Joe Biden will travel to the Twin Cities next Thursday for a fundraising dinner at the home of Robert Pohlad, son of the late Minnesota Twins owner Carl Pohlad.  The Democratic National Committee and Organizing for America will host the $7,600 a plate fundraiser. 
This will be Biden's second visit to Minnesota since the inauguration. He visited a bus manufacturing facility in St. Cloud in March.

Whoops, no mention of the layoffs that followed at that mfr where he bragged about 'stimulus' money and its coming affects on the local economies across the heartland.
5785  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: October 08, 2009, 10:55:23 AM
"Over the years, Tehran has amassed thousands of mines, largely from Russia and China."

For all the billions invested and bullsh*t exchanged in all these multilateral diplomacies, is there no international law or UN resolution prohibiting China and Russia from conspiring with a terrorist nation to mine international waters for random, massive destruction?

Perhaps the west should detonate one Chinese ship in international waters for each oil vessel damaged until they bring their own central party swimmers in to round up each and every explosive until the waters are clear.

More likely we will have another multilateral commission look blindly into the matter and get back to us with no solution at some later date yet to be determined.
5786  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The United Nations/ US Sovereignty on: October 06, 2009, 10:52:15 AM
Shoulder to shoulder to shoulder, pictured as they stood up to Iran, Sarkozy with the youthful glibness and dead-man-walking Gordon Brown... missing were Putin and Hu.  We are not part of a united nations whether keep holding meetings and photo-ops, passing resolutions or not.
5787  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Intel Matters, Iran ended nuclear weapons program in 2003? on: October 06, 2009, 10:42:39 AM
While we are investigating the questioning methods of terrorists that saved thousands of innocent lives, why is there no push for a congressional investigation and prosecution of the lying, backstabbing, partisan traitors in the intelligence agencies that brought us the known-FALSE report in 2007 that Iran had ended its pursuit of nuclear weapons in 2003?  Just curious.

I would hope that these negligent contributors to future genocides would receive fair trials with plenty of lengthy and expensive appeals, and then be executed for treason.
5788  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Latin America on: October 06, 2009, 10:29:56 AM
Honduras:  More fitting with his professed foreign policy philosophy, that the U.S. doesn't have all the answers, would have been wise to not comment on Honduras instead of taking the wrong side and making things worse.

"...while not an American taxpayer..."  - Denny, don't worry, most people here don't pay US taxes either.  sad

The Winston Churchill quote is just perfect ("You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else.")  - People were ready for hope and change but not necessarily choosing the sharp left turn that they got. 

"It is utterly disgusting to see Obama in bed with Chavez, Morales, Correa, Zelaya, Castro and Ortega. These people are the scum of Latin America."   - Add Rev. Wright, Bill Ayers, Van Jones, Valerie Jarrett and the ACORN organization to the foreign friends list and people should get a feel for where the guy is coming from, as well-meaning as he might be.  I wish more people here were clear on that.

After the Obama exuberance finishes winding down we are really only returning to an evenly and more angrily divided nation IMHO.
5789  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / corruption fraud etc. ACORN loses foundation funding on: October 05, 2009, 11:04:19 AM
The failure of the crony contracts to build the Olympic village may turn out to be a blessing in disguise for the young President.  He gets the credit at the home precinct for putting it all on the line for them and averts the scandals that were certain to follow.
Beware you charity givers that most do-gooding in the inner cities is welfare and dependency supporting redistribution along with opposition to private property rights and support for public and private takings, laced in scandal and corruption (my humble observation). 

ACORN Losing Funding From Big Foundations
By Susan Kinzie
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, October 3, 2009

The liberal political organizing group ACORN, battered by the release of embarrassing videos and allegations of financial mismanagement and fraud, has also been losing support from several major foundations.

The Ford Foundation, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Marguerite Casey Foundation and Bank of America have stopped funding the group and its affiliates over the past year and a half.

The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, a network that helps low-income families with housing, voter registration and other issues, receives about 10 percent of its $25 million annual budget from federal grants, according to Brian Kettenring, deputy director of national operations. The rest comes from foundations, membership dues and private donations.
5790  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Humor/WTF on: October 05, 2009, 10:40:44 AM
"Sounds awfully like the rumors of Hitlers partial Jewish ancestry."

I remember that and believe it was debunked.  With Makmood I think it irrelevant what makes him the way he is - I see him more as a puppet than a leader - so I put it under WTF. 
5791  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / WTF? Mahmoud Ahmadinejad revealed to have Jewish past on: October 05, 2009, 09:47:20 AM
Home  News World News Middle East Iran

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad revealed to have Jewish past
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's vitriolic attacks on the Jewish world hide an astonishing secret, evidence uncovered by The Daily Telegraph shows.
By Damien McElroy and Ahmad Vahdat
Published: 7:30AM BST 03 Oct 2009
Ahmadinejad showing papers during election
Ahmadinejad showing papers during election. It shows that his family's previous name was Jewish

A photograph of the Iranian president holding up his identity card during elections in March 2008 clearly shows his family has Jewish roots.

A close-up of the document reveals he was previously known as Sabourjian – a Jewish name meaning cloth weaver.
The short note scrawled on the card suggests his family changed its name to Ahmadinejad when they converted to embrace Islam after his birth.

The Sabourjians traditionally hail from Aradan, Mr Ahmadinejad's birthplace, and the name derives from "weaver of the Sabour", the name for the Jewish Tallit shawl in Persia. The name is even on the list of reserved names for Iranian Jews compiled by Iran's Ministry of the Interior.

The Iranian leader has not denied his name was changed when his family moved to Tehran in the 1950s. But he has never revealed what it was change from or directly addressed the reason for the switch.

Relatives have previously said a mixture of religious reasons and economic pressures forced his blacksmith father Ahmad to change when Mr Ahmadinejad was aged four.

During this year's presidential debate on television he was goaded to admit that his name had changed but he ignored the jibe.

However Mehdi Khazali, an internet blogger, who called for an investigation of Mr Ahmadinejad's roots was arrested this summer.
5792  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Glibness - Running a small 'r' republic on: October 04, 2009, 12:05:55 PM
Going back a week or so I agree with how perceptive the BBG/VDH post is about this President thinking he is running a University.  Jay Cost at Real Clear Politics has a slightly different take on Obama's problem with the presidency:

RealClearPolitics HorseRaceBlog
By Jay Cost

Does Obama Have a republican Problem?

We all know that President Obama has a Republican problem, namely the 200 or so Republican members of Congress who refuse to go along with his health care reform plans. However, I think he might also be developing a republican problem. Namely, I think he is having trouble keeping his ego within the boundaries of an office that fundamentally reflects the republican quality of this country.

It is difficult to nail down precisely what "republicanism" means. It has had different meanings in different places at different times. In the United States, it conjures up the notion of self-government: the people are capable of ruling themselves, and the authority of the leaders derives from the consent of the governed, rather than some aristocratic pedigree or superior position in life.

The evidence of American republicanism is all around us. Consider, for instance, the title of address for the President of the United States. Originally, Federalists like John Adams desired a grand title, something like "His Highness." However, the simple phrase "Mr. President" was ultimately adopted.

Anybody who walks down the 1600 Block of Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. will notice that the house of the most powerful person on the planet lacks the grandiosity that one might otherwise expect.

Compare this residence to the head of the House of Windsor.

Or how about the old home of the French House of Bourbon.

The first home is the residence of a republican leader. It is formal and respectable, but not grandiose. In square footage terms, your place might be larger than the President's. You might also make more money than the President. Lots of people do, seeing as how we do not pay him that much. George Washington wanted to turn down the princely sum that the First Congress was prepared to pay him for his tenure. Generally, Washington's modesty and self-restraint helped establish the republican quality the office retains to this day.

Ironically, the sense that the President is no better than any of us is a major reason why the office is so powerful, or at least why it can be. A President who appears to be of the people, rather than above them, can more easily rally them to his cause, thereby forcing the Congress to do as he likes. It is not coincidental that the first stirrings of the modern, powerful presidency can be seen in the administration of Andrew Jackson, who was thought by his opponents to be the leader of a mob.

Since he emerged on the national stage, Barack Obama has not been the model of American republicanism. This was the case during the campaign, and it continues today. Juxtapose the simple respectability of the White House with these images taken from the Obama-Biden campaign website.

This is why I was not surprised to see that video of schoolchildren being taught to praise President Obama like he is a deity. Ultimately, the campaign that President Obama waged hinted at such ideas. Is it a shock that a few, overly enthusiastic supporters thought it appropriate to proselytize in such a fashion?

That "Progress" picture is easily the most non-republican of the bunch. The image suggests that Obama's campaign is somehow a source of goodness for the people. From a republican standpoint, the imagery in the picture should be reversed, with the people being the source of goodness from which the candidate benefits.

I had hoped that the President would find his inner republican upon ascension to the office. I have been disappointed. His speeches are too full of references to himself. His omnipresence suggests a disregard for the people's tolerance levels, as well as for the idea that ours is a limited government and we are entitled to enjoy our lives without these constant executive impositions. Additionally, I share Michael Gerson's sentiments regarding his address to the U.N., which was typical of other speeches he has given to the international community:

    Obama's rhetorical method in international contexts -- given supreme expression at the United Nations this week -- is a moral dialectic. The thesis: pre-Obama America is a nation of many flaws and failures. The antithesis: The world responds with understandable but misguided prejudice. The synthesis: Me. Me, at all costs; me, in spite of all terrors; me, however long and hard the road may be. How great a world we all should see, if only all were more

    On several occasions, Obama attacked American conduct in simplistic caricatures a European diplomat might employ or applaud. He accused America of acing "unilaterally, without regard for the interests of others" -- a slander against every American ally who has made sacrifices in Iraq and Afghanistan. He argued that, "America has too often been selective in its promotion of democracy" -- which is hardly a challenge for the Obama administration, which has yet to make a priority of promoting democracy or human rights anywhere in the world.

There are two problems with the attitude that Gerson has correctly identified. First, it's fair to criticize the actions of the previous administration to a point, but speeches like his U.N. address often move beyond that to suggest a broader failure, one that implicates the mass public. For instance, the best rejoinder he has to those who question the "character" of his country is: "look at the concrete actions we have taken in just nine months," which he suggests are "just a beginning." This rhetoric does not befit the leader of a democratic republic, especially one as great as the United States of America. The President should be willing and able to defend the "character" of his country beyond his own, inconsequential-to-date actions.

Second, the implication here is that his administration has sanctified our character. No administration can do that in a republic because no administration possesses the moral standing to offer such a blessing. He is the equal of the people in every measure. He temporarily holds an office whose magnificence is dependent upon the goodness of the people he represents. Yet this President implies a claim to such moral superiority - in the above quoted sentence, then later on when he says: "The test of our leadership will not be the degree to which we feed the fears and old hatreds of our people." No President should suggest that his people would fall prey to fear and hatred were it not for his leadership - even if he thought this were true. And he surely should not air such "dirty laundry" to an international audience that does not understand how this country actually functions. Instead, he should claim that he leads a great people who have the wisdom and equanimity not to fall prey to such fears, and it is his hope that he can emulate them.

Ultimately, this President stands a better chance of success if he embraces the republican character of the people who imbue his temporary position with its power and majesty. The fact is that we are a republican people who tend not to think that anybody is better than we. If we begin to intuit that the President thinks he is better, it could impede his efforts to rally us to his side.

It is also a fact that staunch republicans created the presidency, and the office reflects their preferences even after 220 years of intervening history. By explicit design, the President is not a leader-for-life. Instead, he must face the judgment of his peers just 48 months after he wins the office. The Constitution endorses the view of the supremacy of the people because it delineates a timeline for when the executive power leaves the President and returns to the people (originally, as represented by the state governments). As if that were not enough, the 22nd Amendment forbids a President from seeking a third term, meaning that the people of this democratic republic will be around long after the Obama Administration has come to an end.
5793  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Way Forward - Victor Davis Hanson: 10 random suggestions on: October 04, 2009, 11:42:04 AM
We Should Vote for Anyone . . .

Who offers a coherent systematic agenda of reform. What do most want? Not necessarily a Republican or Democrat, or at this 11th hour to be mired in messy issues like gay marriage (I’m opposed to it), but rather fundamental matters of finance, investment, and defense. Here are ten random suggestions; dozens more could be adduced.

I will add one, McCain should have picked VDH for running mate and so should the next nominee.  That would keep the issue and policy debates on track.

1)   Fiscal sanity that leads to federal spending freezes and a balanced budget that in turn soon allows a paying down of the debt.

2)   An oil/nuclear/coal/natural gas rapid development effort (again, to exploit especially new fields in Alaska, California, the Gulf, and North Dakota) to tide us over until alternate energy and new conservation lessen dependence. The alternative is to dream on about “green jobs” while we go broke trying to pay for scarcer imported oil, and lose our autonomy in the next price hike or Mideast crisis, even as we suffer amoral rants from oil-rich unhinged thugs like Ahmadinejad, Chavez, Gaddafi, and Putin.

3)   A new national consensus on security to decide that when and if we go to war, to see the effort through, on the principle that whatever the mistakes we commit in battle are far outweighed by the cost of defeat.

4)   A bad/worse choice gut check reform on entitlements, especially concerning those unsustainable like Social Security and Medicare, that calibrates payouts in terms of incoming capital—whether by raising age eligibilities or curbing automatic cost of living hikes.

5)   Clear, demarcated, and enforced national borders, and an end to illegal immigration through greater enforcement, employer sanction, border fortification, and a change in national attitudes about unlawful entry.

6)   Zero tolerance on government corruption. There is no reason why someone like a Charles Rangel is still the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

7)   Tort reform, including limits on personal injury settlements and loser-pays law suit reform.

Cool   A renewed commitment to national and regional missile defense, on the expectation that the next two decades are going to be terribly dangerous, as lunatic regimes may well threaten to hold an American city or ally as nuclear hostage.

9)   Federal investment in hard infrastructure projects, not redistributive entitlements or Murtha-like earmarks, such as freeways, dams, water projects, electrical grids, ports, rail, etc., with regional needs adjudicated by national bipartisan boards.

10)       A move to lower taxes, preferably by alternatives to the present income tax system, whether by a consumption tax or flat taxes, calibrated to commensurate spending cuts.
5794  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Afghanistan-Pakistan, re. 10 steps worth a serious look on: October 04, 2009, 11:18:59 AM
To summarize, if we continue on the course we are on we will fail.  If we increase our presence and the foreign footprint we will increase the flow of nationalists into suicide bomber missions and fail.  And if we retreat or withdraw, terrorists will retake, set up terror training camps and we fail.

Certainly this is a most difficult conundrum.  I can see now why Pres. Obama took 25 minutes out his Olympic journey to meet with our commander.

I don't suppose the villagers along the countryside notice the American lack of commitment shown by our Commander and Chief, while troops are in harm's way,  taking several weeks to re-evaluate our commitment to their security and freedom.

One reason the Iraq surge worked was that the people of Anbar for example saw a) an American President not hedge, flinch or waiver with all the setbacks, b) got re-elected by the American people in spite of it all, and then c) raised up the commitment to win - noticeably - at ground level.
04 Oct 2009: Eight US soldiers killed as Taliban storm outpost
Nato-led forces have suffered their bloodiest attack in more than a year after eight American soldiers were killed in a multi-pronged assault on outposts near the Pakistan border.

5795  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: October 03, 2009, 02:44:33 PM
Getting back to you CCP: "Doug, Don't you just love this stuff from liberal academia.
Like the one that came out recently from Boston (of course) that 44K people die every year because they don't have insurance.

Like this one  that holds our standing in the World has had a sharp increase since Obama is President.  Though it may be too late to turn the downward trend.

Of course we are popular - he wants to give all away."

I would like to see 44k signed death certificates saying that the cause of death was 12 years of neglect by frugal Republican congresses, lol.

US popularity when we were a great nation would be like asking other cities about the popularity of the Yankees when they were winning all the World Series.  How high were their approval numbers among Cubs and Cardinals fans?  Not so good I would suspect.  I would measure it differently - by actions, not polls.  Where do they send their kids for higher ed.  Who do they call when Saddam invades their country, for missile defense, life saving meds, information  technology, etc? 

These questions may be moot as we unilaterally give up all of our advantages in pursuit of fairness and mediocrity.
5796  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: America's Inner City on: October 03, 2009, 02:19:47 PM
Meanwhile back in Chicago... "freshman's skull fractured in Edgewater attack
October 1, 2009   A 14-year-old boy severely beaten in Chicago's Edgewater neighborhood was able to talk to detectives today after undergoing surgery for a fractured skull, police said. The boy, a freshman at Mather High School, was chased down the xxx block of on Wednesday evening by three males who beat him, police said. One hit him with a pipe, they said.

In Detroit: "Too broke to bury their dead.  Money to bury Detroit's poor has dried up, forcing struggling families to abandon their loved ones in the morgue freezer.
Unclaimed bodies piling up in the Detroit morgue. can smell the plight of Detroit.  Inside the Wayne County morgue in midtown Detroit, 67 bodies are piled up, unclaimed, in the freezing temperatures. Neither the families nor the county can afford to bury the corpses.

And my latest landlord story this week in Minneapolis.  I looked up the backgrounds on my tough looking applicants for a house rental after being assured they have no problems with credit, criminal record or evictions and found among other things that they get their welfare money through other people and that one had a recent conviction for felony strangulation.  Wish a had a couple of you with me when I needed to gently give them the bad news.

There is a large part of America that does not participate in the productive economy and people that are not saddled with responsibilities find other ways to keep themselves occupied. 
5797  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: October 03, 2009, 02:01:54 PM
Narcissistic IMO for Obama to make America's bid about him.  If we won and especially if Obama was in a second term it would be all become a tribute to him.  Meanwhile Chicagoans were apathetic about it.  Recall that Colorado won the 1976 Winter Olympics and then the voters of Colorado voted it down.  They already had enough tourists and didn't want access to the ski resorts interrupted.

Also strange was to see Obama take a sudden stab at proclaiming American exceptionalism, in direct contradiction to all his other overseas speeches and to exactly the wrong audience for that message -  that we are the greatest nation on the planet and that Chicago is the second or now third greatest city in the greatest nation.  The reality is that core areas of Chicago more closely resemble a third world country, lacking what makes the rest of America great.  And the governance of Chicago has no semblance to consent of the governed, limited government or any other principle espoused by the founders.

Maybe the humiliated, "Harry, I have a gift" Glibness can go back to Chicago between world tours, take a page out of the Bill Cosby responsibility book and be the real leader these people so desperately need.
5798  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: October 01, 2009, 12:52:43 PM
"our top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, has told CBS's "60 Minutes" that he has spoken with President Barack Obama only once"

Obama economic advisers get the same treatment according to CNBC Editor in the NY Post: 

"Obama economic counselor Paul Volcker, the former Fed chairman, is barely consulted at all on just about anything -- not even issues involving the banking system, of which he is among the world's leading authorities."   
5799  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Nuclear War, WMD issues on: September 29, 2009, 10:29:51 AM
"This erroneous conclusion was made public before OBama became President.
W very much let Israel drift in the wind at the end of his second term."

True, thanks.  It was not Obama but it was from similar forces from within Bush's own agencies that undermined any coherent response to an obvious and growing threat.

Bush let his presidency drift or end long before its term other than the amazing success of the surge in Iraq.  Cheney was distanced from being a close adviser and no one with wisdom replaced him.  Especially from a public relations point of view of arguing for your own policies and philosophies, Bush had quit his job by early 2005.
Iran stopped weaponization.
Iraq never posed a threat.
If we would just talk to the murderous thugs...
   - I often wish liberals were right so we could end this tiring effort of opposing them.

5800  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / America's Inner City; Urban Issues on: September 29, 2009, 10:06:10 AM
Brutal video showing a glimpse of a day going home from a high school in Chicago last Thursday:

More info after arrests:
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