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5851  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The electoral process, vote fraud (ACORN et al) and more on: January 05, 2009, 12:11:15 PM
"Franken [kept] demanding recounts after recounts until they can come up with a total that puts him ahead and then suddenly the process is over and the Democratic machine [declared] him the winner."

Like Florida, they always look harder for votes in the areas known to be liberal.  They found ballots in trunks of cars and they 'recounted duplicates' where no originals exist.  If they needed more they were ready to look in Sandy Berger's briefs.  All but one update I think had Franken gaining.  Amazingly with all ballots opened, found or read with a crystal ball, there were no additions to the other totals such as third party candidate who had an impressive 15% to begin with, and no corrections or updates on any other race.

Perhaps this race was lost when the voters removed a perfectly good, fair, competent and scandal-free Secretary of State, Mary Kiffmeyer, and put in the move-on-dot-org replacement in an expensive, energetic and needlessly vicious battle on an off-year.  The new Secretary of State made himself the tie-breaking vote on the balanced recount panel.  Go figure.

Now they have the total vote margin just higher than each of the shenanigans that led to the shift in the lead so that any one court ruling will not change the result.
---

My proposal is extreme, but effective.  Since elections are a form of counting heads, in the spirit of sharia law I propose that we behead those guilty of election fraud.  Then when we count again or vote again we won't mistakenly include them.
5852  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues, economist magazine on: January 05, 2009, 11:34:57 AM
Adding my comment to some positive and negative comments made regarding bias and quality at 'The Economist'.  To me, they have high quality writing and analysis.  I particularly liked the coverage and clarity in succinctly written stories from other parts of the world.  I canceled my subscription over bias that I just wasn't going to support on American politics.

The issue that lost me was 'HillaryCare'.  They wrote a short piece debating the pros and cons of some little detail healthcare proposal in the works - like the arrangement of deck chairs on the Titanic (Ibuprofen coverage or something serious like that) - with the presumption nationalized health care was both a good thing and a sure thing.  They missed the political outrage coming at the over-reach of the health care initiative which was based on Clinton's mandate from winning 43% of the vote and his need to give his wife a job. Socialized medicine in 1993 was not the direction of this country and led to the congressional revolution that held for 7 congressional terms.

Maybe just a sentence acknowledging that half the country would be up in arms about nationalizing our most important industry as we tear up the tenets of limited, constitutional government would have sufficed to hedge against perceived bias as they wrote about the secret task force negotiations.
5853  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Vehicles, driving skills, crime, related issues on: January 05, 2009, 11:05:06 AM
Following up on some excellent info GM posted in 'politics' page 5 regarding speed, driving skills and accidents.  We accept a lot of carnage for mobility.  We also trade away some liberty, such as how fast to drive on an empty freeway, in exchange for attempts at safety and conformance including speed limits that are often established from far away. 

No question speed magnifies the damage in collisions and I wholly subscribe to the cushion of air theory where you refuse to let people follow in your blind spot and refuse to allow trucks (or anyone else) to surround you in a center lane of a freeway.  I quibble slightly with a few smaller points made.  Following distance IMO depends also on visibility PAST the vehicle you are following and other factors like equipment and attentiveness.  3/4 of a second may be average but I would certainly like to think that I am faster than that to begin applying brakes.  A second sounds fast but counting them out: one-thou-sand-one-pause-one-thousand-two... an attentive, anticipative driver should not take 3/4 second to get started.

A quote regarding ABS brakes: "we strongly recommend that buyers choose a car equipped with antilock brakes (ABS)...in order to get the most out of ABS in emergency braking situations, you have to know how to use it. And really, it couldn't be easier; you just stomp on the pedal...Many new cars come with antilock brakes as standard equipment, but you must often purchase them as an option on low- to moderately priced cars.

Of the vehicles I drive, 2 have ABS, 2 don't and on 2 others I'm just not sure.  Now let's assume a child darts out on one of our snowy-salty-icy Minnesota streets.  Would you really like my reflex to be to "just stomp on the pedal" rather than the old fashioned way of trying to maximize braking without locking up? 
5854  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science on: January 04, 2009, 08:34:18 AM
Thanks BBG.  Each study and each story that questions the myth that humans have played the central role in climate change seems like it should be categorized a media issue more than a scientific breakthrough, always begging the question: why won't NY Times etc. cover this? Now the Huffington Post actually prints it and my reaction again is to wonder about the site - are they in search of honesty and balance or did this slide through on a weekend by accident?

The reaction of course should be that this is further evidence of great news.  The planet is alive and well.  There is no warming where I live and no warming on Antarctica.  Everytime we find alarming temperature data we also find that someone with an agenda has tweaked the data.

As the author indicates, when propogandists alarm at ice melting in one place, they neglect to mention record ice masses at another.  It's refreshing to read a straight story.
5855  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Coming Cognitive Dissonance, Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST) etc. on: January 01, 2009, 04:43:22 PM
Warning: the author has conservative views on some subjects, and disclosure: I omitted the last part of the column where she went on to criticize the chance that Obama will favor free trade... one of the few things that Bill Clinton got right.

Comments about the UN came up here recently on a different subject.  Same goes for Law of the Sea Treaty - don't join organizations where countries like Cuba have an equal vote to that of the U.S.  Even if they gave us 50 votes we should stay away from treaties that lead to international taxation and-or loss of freedom and sovereignty.     - Doug
----------------

Obama's Plan to Rejoin the World Community
by Phyllis Schlafly
http://townhall.com/columnists/PhyllisSchlafly/2008/12/23/obamas_plan_to_rejoin_the_world_community?page=full&comments=true

When Candidate Barack Obama declared himself a "citizen of the world" before thousands of cheering German socialists, and later pledged to "rejoin the World Community," those weren't just his usual platitudes about "change." Those words sounded the trumpet for his specific and far-reaching globalist agenda.

Obama plans to use his presidential power to get the Democratic-majority Senate to ratify a series of treaties that would take us a long way toward global rule over our money, our laws, our military, our courts, our customs, our trade and even our use of energy. Here are the treaties he says he wants.

The U.N. Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST), which Ronald Reagan rejected in 1982, is high on Obama's list. LOST has already created the International Seabed Authority (ISA) in Jamaica and given it total regulatory jurisdiction over all the world's oceans and all the riches on the ocean floor.

Corrupt foreign dictators dominate LOST's global bureaucracy, and the United States would have the same vote as Cuba. Likewise for LOST's International Tribunal in Hamburg, Germany, which has the power to decide all disputes.

Even worse, LOST gives the ISA the power to levy international taxes. The real purpose of the taxing power is to compel the United States to spend billions of private-enterprise dollars to mine the ocean floor and then let ISA bureaucrats transfer our wealth to socialist, anti-American nations.

Next on Obama's list is the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which was signed by Bill Clinton but rejected by the Senate in 1999. It would prohibit all nuclear explosive testing and thereby allow our nuclear arsenal to deteriorate until the American people are defenseless against rogue regimes such as Iran and North Korea.

A new Global Warming Treaty is starting to be written at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Poland in order to replace the Kyoto Agreement, which George W. Bush and our Senate refused to ratify. The new treaty would force dramatic reductions in our use of energy -- i.e., our standard of living -- and impose the "strong international norms" that Obama seeks.

Obama is toadying to his feminist friends by pushing ratification of the U.N. Treaty on Women, known as CEDAW. It was signed by Jimmy Carter in 1980 and persistently promoted by Hillary Clinton, but the Senate has so far had the good judgment to refuse to ratify it.

This treaty would require us "to modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women," to follow U.N. dictates about "family education," to revise our textbooks to conform to feminist ideology in order to ensure "the elimination of any stereotyped concept of the roles of men and women" and to set up a federal "network of child-care facilities."

Article 16 would require us to allow women "to decide number and spacing of their children." Everyone recognizes this as feminist jargon for a U.N. obligation to allow abortion on demand.

Like all U.N. treaties, the U.N. Treaty on Women creates a monitoring commission of so-called "experts" to ensure compliance. The monitors of the Treaty on Women have already singled out Mother's Day as a stereotype that must be eliminated.

Another U.N. Treaty on the list is the U.N. Treaty on the Rights of the Child, which was signed in 1995 by Bill Clinton but wisely never ratified by our Senate. This is a pet project of the people who believe that the "village" (i.e., the government or U.N. "experts") should raise children rather than their parents.

This treaty would give children rights against their parents and society to express their own views "freely in all matters," to receive information of all kinds through "media of the child's choice," to use their "own language," and to have the right to "rest and leisure." This treaty even orders our schools to teach respect for "the Charter of the United Nations."
5856  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues - 2008: Man-made global warming was disproved on: December 29, 2008, 03:49:48 PM
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/3982101/2008-was-the-year-man-made-global-warming-was-disproved.html

2008 was the year man-made global warming was disproved

By Christopher Booker
Last Updated: 10:59AM GMT 28 Dec 2008

Looking back over my columns of the past 12 months, one of their major themes was neatly encapsulated by two recent items from The Daily Telegraph.

The first, on May 21, headed "Climate change threat to Alpine ski resorts" , reported that the entire Alpine "winter sports industry" could soon "grind to a halt for lack of snow". The second, on December 19, headed "The Alps have best snow conditions in a generation" , reported that this winter's Alpine snowfalls "look set to beat all records by New Year's Day".

Easily one of the most important stories of 2008 has been all the evidence suggesting that this may be looked back on as the year when there was a turning point in the great worldwide panic over man-made global warming. Just when politicians in Europe and America have been adopting the most costly and damaging measures politicians have ever proposed, to combat this supposed menace, the tide has turned in three significant respects.

First, all over the world, temperatures have been dropping in a way wholly unpredicted by all those computer models which have been used as the main drivers of the scare. Last winter, as temperatures plummeted, many parts of the world had snowfalls on a scale not seen for decades. This winter, with the whole of Canada and half the US under snow, looks likely to be even worse. After several years flatlining, global temperatures have dropped sharply enough to cancel out much of their net rise in the 20th century.

Ever shriller and more frantic has become the insistence of the warmists, cheered on by their army of media groupies such as the BBC, that the last 10 years have been the "hottest in history" and that the North Pole would soon be ice-free – as the poles remain defiantly icebound and those polar bears fail to drown. All those hysterical predictions that we are seeing more droughts and hurricanes than ever before have infuriatingly failed to materialise.

Even the more cautious scientific acolytes of the official orthodoxy now admit that, thanks to "natural factors" such as ocean currents, temperatures have failed to rise as predicted (although they plaintively assure us that this cooling effect is merely "masking the underlying warming trend", and that the temperature rise will resume worse than ever by the middle of the next decade).

Secondly, 2008 was the year when any pretence that there was a "scientific consensus" in favour of man-made global warming collapsed. At long last, as in the Manhattan Declaration last March, hundreds of proper scientists, including many of the world's most eminent climate experts, have been rallying to pour scorn on that "consensus" which was only a politically engineered artefact, based on ever more blatantly manipulated data and computer models programmed to produce no more than convenient fictions.

Thirdly, as banks collapsed and the global economy plunged into its worst recession for decades, harsh reality at last began to break in on those self-deluding dreams which have for so long possessed almost every politician in the western world. As we saw in this month's Poznan conference, when 10,000 politicians, officials and "environmentalists" gathered to plan next year's "son of Kyoto" treaty in Copenhagen, panicking politicians are waking up to the fact that the world can no longer afford all those quixotic schemes for "combating climate change" with which they were so happy to indulge themselves in more comfortable times.

Suddenly it has become rather less appealing that we should divert trillions of dollars, pounds and euros into the fantasy that we could reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by 80 per cent. All those grandiose projects for "emissions trading", "carbon capture", building tens of thousands more useless wind turbines, switching vast areas of farmland from producing food to "biofuels", are being exposed as no more than enormously damaging and futile gestures, costing astronomic sums we no longer possess.

As 2009 dawns, it is time we in Britain faced up to the genuine crisis now fast approaching from the fact that – unless we get on very soon with building enough proper power stations to fill our looming "energy gap" - within a few years our lights will go out and what remains of our economy will judder to a halt. After years of infantile displacement activity, it is high time our politicians – along with those of the EU and President Obama's US – were brought back with a mighty jolt into contact with the real world.
   
5857  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: December 29, 2008, 03:40:44 PM
JDN: "no one questions the right of Israel to exact retribution, but it seems to be a disproportionate reaction."

I'm no expert but I think the disproportionality you correctly notice is an intentional part of Israel's goal of deterrence.  Often we see - a) attack and no consequence.  You suggest  - b) receive attack then kill back the same number(?)  Israel it seems is saying - c) attack and you will consistently receive a disproportionate response until as one insightful analyst put it - they say uncle.

Also, if your enemy is committed to destroy you and you have provocation, justification and opportunity, taking out their ability to wage war against you - while you can - seems prudent. 
5858  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics - Caroline Kennedy's 168 'you knows' on: December 29, 2008, 02:52:11 PM
Hard to compare a Kennedy with Sarah Palin. Besides the Alaska energy commission and the nation's largest state, what had she ever run...  Palin never inspired a Neil Diamond song.  Kind of creepy though, in 1969 Neil Diamond was pushing 30 and Caroline was going on 12.

"Who'd believe you'd come along -
Hands, touching hands, reaching out
Touching me, touching you
Oh, sweet Caroline"


5859  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The American Creed: Our Founding Fathers: on: December 29, 2008, 01:06:56 PM
I found this critique of Theodore Roosevel trelevant to the topic of the view of the founding fathers (and how we have strayed). 

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123033881006136515.html

Theodore Roosevelt Was No Conservative
There's a reason he left the GOP to lead the Progressive Party.

By RONALD J. PESTRITTO

We know that Barack Obama and his allies identify themselves as "progressives," and that they aim to implement the big-government liberalism that originated in America's Progressive Era and was consummated in the New Deal. What remains a mystery is why some conservatives want to claim this progressive identity as their own -- particularly as it was manifested by Theodore Roosevelt.

The fact that conservative politicians such as John McCain and writers like William Kristol and Karl Rove are attracted to our 26th president is strange because, if we want to understand where in the American political tradition the idea of unlimited, redistributive government came from, we need look no further than to Roosevelt and others who shared his outlook.

Progressives of both parties, including Roosevelt, were the original big-government liberals. They understood full well that the greatest obstacle to their schemes of social justice and equality of material condition was the U.S. Constitution as it was originally written and understood: as creating a national government of limited, enumerated powers that was dedicated to securing the individual natural rights of its citizens, especially liberty of contract and private property.

It was the Republican TR, who insisted in his 1910 speech on the "New Nationalism" that there was a "general right of the community to regulate" the earning of income and use of private property "to whatever degree the public welfare may require it." He was at one here with Democrat Woodrow Wilson, who had in 1885 condemned Americans' respect for their Constitution as "blind worship," and suggested that his countrymen dedicate themselves to the Declaration of Independence by leaving out its "preface" -- i.e., the part of it that establishes the protection of equal natural rights as the permanent task of government.

In his "Autobiography," Roosevelt wrote that he "declined to adopt the view that what was imperatively necessary for the nation could not be done by the President unless he could find some specific authorization to do it." The national government, in TR's view, was not one of enumerated powers but of general powers, and the purpose of the Constitution was merely to state the narrow exceptions to that rule.

This is a view of government directly opposed by Alexander Hamilton in Federalist 84. Hamilton explains there that the fundamental difference between a republican constitution and a monarchic one is that the latter reserves some liberty for the people by stating specific exceptions to the assumed general power of the crown, whereas the former assumes from the beginning that the power of the people is the general rule, and the power of the government the exception.

TR turns this on its head. In his New Nationalism speech he noted how, in aiming to use state power to bring about economic equality, the government should permit a man to earn and keep his property "only so long as the gaining represents benefit to the community." The government itself of course would determine what represented a benefit to the community, and whether society would be better off if an individual's wealth was transferred to somebody else.

We can see the triumph of this outlook in progressive income taxation, which TR trumpeted in his speech (along with progressive estate taxes). We may also see this theory in action when a government seizes private property through eminent domain, transferring it to others in order to generate higher tax revenues -- a practice blessed by the Supreme Court in its notorious Kelo v. New London decision of 2005.

Some conservatives today are misled by the battle between TR and Wilson in the 1912 presidential election. But Wilson implemented most of TR's program once he took office in 1913, including a progressive income tax and the establishment of several regulatory agencies, such as the Federal Trade Commission.
5860  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics- The Great Depression and any similarities to 2008-2009 on: December 29, 2008, 12:48:01 PM
Start this by noting Crafty's reference to Jude Wanniski's book and Guiness' Nov. post regarding 5 myths of the great depression.  I heard a television commentator, I think it was an Obama adviser, saying that the reason the great depression won't be repeated is because we don't suffer from the same economic ignorance of the 1920s-1930s...  I beg to differ.

This piece, "A tale of two pundits: Sowell v. Huffington" by Roger Kimball
http://www.pajamasmedia.com/rogerkimball/2008/12/23/a-tale-of-two-pundits-sowell-v-huffington/?print=1
takes a look at 2 sides of an important argument.  He links and quotes Ariana Huffington who perpetuates the myth that the great depression was the result of the failure of free market capitalism.  Then he contrasts that with a counter-view from Thomas Sowell that the economy could have survived the financial crash if not for the blundering of the government policies that followed, perpetuating, worsening and deepening the economic damage.

So here we are again, trying in every way possible to block the market forces that strive to correct the prices of assets and allow the flow of resources to their most productive use.
-------------------------
December 23, 2008
Another Great Depression?
By Thomas Sowell

With both Barack Obama's supporters and the media looking forward to the new administration's policies being similar to President Franklin D. Roosevelt's policies during the 1930s depression, it may be useful to look at just what those policies were and-- more important-- what their consequences were.

The prevailing view in many quarters is that the stock market crash of 1929 was a failure of the free market that led to massive unemployment in the 1930s-- and that it was intervention of Roosevelt's New Deal policies that rescued the economy.

It is such a good story that it seems a pity to spoil it with facts. Yet there is something to be said for not repeating the catastrophes of the past.

Let's start at square one, with the stock market crash in October 1929. Was this what led to massive unemployment?

Official government statistics suggest otherwise. So do new statistics on unemployment by two current scholars, Richard Vedder and Lowell Gallaway, in their book "Out of Work."

The Vedder and Gallaway statistics allow us to follow unemployment month by month. They put the unemployment rate at 5 percent in November 1929, a month after the stock market crash. It hit 9 percent in December-- but then began a generally downward trend, subsiding to 6.3 percent in June 1930.

That was when the Smoot-Hawley tariffs were passed, against the advice of economists across the country, who warned of dire consequences.

Five months after the Smoot-Hawley tariffs, the unemployment rate hit double digits for the first time in the 1930s.

This was more than a year after the stock market crash. Moreover, the unemployment rate rose to even higher levels under both Presidents Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt, both of whom intervened in the economy on an unprecedented scale.

Before the Great Depression, it was not considered to be the business of the federal government to try to get the economy out of a depression. But the Smoot-Hawley tariff-- designed to save American jobs by restricting imports-- was one of Hoover's interventions, followed by even bigger interventions by FDR.

The rise in unemployment after the stock market crash of 1929 was a blip on the screen compared to the soaring unemployment rates reached later, after a series of government interventions.

For nearly three consecutive years, beginning in February 1932, the unemployment rate never fell below 20 percent for any month before January 1935, when it fell to 19.3 percent, according to the Vedder and Gallaway statistics.

In other words, the evidence suggests that it was not the "problem" of the financial crisis in 1929 that caused massive unemployment but politicians' attempted "solutions." Is that the history that we seem to be ready to repeat?

The stock market crash, which has been blamed for the widespread suffering during the Great Depression of the 1930s, created no unemployment rate that was even half of what was created in the wake of the government interventions of Hoover and FDR.

Politically, however, Franklin D. Roosevelt could not have been more successful. After all, he was the only President of the United States elected four times in a row. He was a master of political rhetoric.

If Barack Obama wants political success, following in the footsteps of FDR looks like the way to go. But people who are concerned about the economy need to take a closer look at history. We deserve something better than repeating the 1930s disasters.

There is yet another factor that provides a parallel to what happened during the Great Depression. No matter how much worse things got after government intervention under Roosevelt's New Deal policies, the party line was that he had to "do something" to get us out of the disaster created by the failure of the unregulated market and Hoover's "do nothing" policies.

Today, increasing numbers of scholars recognize that FDR's own policies were a further extension of interventions begun under Hoover. Moreover, the temporary rise in unemployment after the stock market crash was nowhere near the massive and long-lasting unemployment after government interventions.

Barack Obama already has his Herbert Hoover to blame for any and all disasters that his policies create: George W. Bush.
5861  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq, new study - Gore would have gone to war in Iraq also on: December 24, 2008, 07:49:44 PM
Maybe a sign of success that there are no war posts for a couple of weeks and most posts now are reflective / looking back or about how it will be viewed from the future.

This study:
http://www.cdfai.org/PDF/President%20Al%20Gore%20and%20the%202003%20Iraq%20War%20A%20Counterfactual%20Critique%20of%20Conventional%20Wisdom.pdf
concludes that Gore would have faced the same pressures, received the same intelligence, listened to his advisers advise war, seen the same public support and made the same decision, but perhaps gone in initially with more troops.  Interesting read.
5862  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Humor on: December 22, 2008, 06:10:48 PM
This could have gone under media matters or topics on the new administration, but I'll put it under humor because it is fiction/prediction.

Following link is a good spoof of the NY Times from NEXT July 4 reporting on the Obama world that we live in.

http://www.nytimes-se.com/

A few of the stories:

Iraq War Ends
    *
      World »
          o Last to Die in Battle Remembered, American and Iraqi
          o United Nations Unanimously Passes Weapons Ban
          o Court Indicts Bush on High Treason Charge
    *
      U.S. »
          o Education Department Plans National Tax Base for Schools
          o Crumbling Infrastructure Brings Opportunities
          o National Health Insurance Act Passes
         
    *
      Business »
          o Maximum Wage Law Passes Congress
          o Harvard Will Shut Business School Doors
          o Senate Gets Tough On “Limited Liability” to Rein in, Humanize Corporations
          o Biofuels Ban Act Signed Into Law, Seeks to Ease Food Shortage
         
         *
      Opinion »
          o Fog of Peace
          o Public Health Opportunities in Cuba
         
      Health »
          o National Health Insurance Act Passes
          o Pharmaceutical Law Revised to End Corruption
    *
      Education »
          o Education Department Plans National Tax Base for Schools
          o All Public Universities To Be Free
         
5863  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues, re Friedman on Felt/Woodward/Nixon on: December 22, 2008, 05:53:43 PM
What a great post, very insightful.  True that an informant and a newspaper exposed bad conduct and brought down a presidency.  Also true was the the informant and his base of power, J. Edgar Hoover's FBI, was also a story of other government misconduct, far exceeding its authorized powers that deserved exposing, but was never pursued. 

Similar stories happened throughout the Bush administration as the NY Times for example kept exposing the processes that were keeping us safe.  It always seemed that no one looked deeper into the leakers and their own obvious violations.

The media, like the regulators, missed the failures and collapses of everything from Enron to Fannie Mae, AIG, Bear Stearns (and the Soviet Union)  etc. etc. and the ability of the ones we consider mainstream to investigate anything just keeps getting smaller and smaller.  So the news stories become selected by the call-in leakers instead the so-called editors or publishers.
5864  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Russia-Georgia, Turkey, Caucasus, Import duties in Russia on: December 22, 2008, 05:37:18 PM
The story is about unrest, but it also brings to the forefront the contest between free trade versus 'protectionism'  that applies everywhere.  A story at the link tells of a consumer who won't be able to buy his dream (Japanese) car and concludes with: "Many Russians say they have a right to buy what they want on the free market and do not want to pay to support the Russian auto industry."

The protests in Vladivstok highlight the fact that jobs are tied to the trade business as well, as we see another case of government picking winners and losers. 

If you can't secure a competitive contract with your own workers, if you can't build a product that consumers want at competitive prices or if your business is not strong enough and flexible enough to survive a downturn, then go to the government and have them put a tax on your competitors or demand operating capital from the government - from the taxes paid by the workers of successful businesses - to put into the losing enterprise.  This could never happen in America... Oops.
5865  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics, speed limits on: December 18, 2008, 06:06:03 PM
"One hopes policy makers will heed the findings rather than reflexively lowering speed limits."

I recall reading an idea I liked for setting speed limits - leave the road unposted for a short time and observe the flow of safe traffic.  Set the limit at the 85th percentile of observed speeds to include the safe drivers familiar with the road but leaving out enough to account for idiots, ego cases and drivers of full term pregnant woman whose water has broken.
5866  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues, Nature, not human activity, rules the climate on: December 17, 2008, 04:57:53 PM
I recommend the 50 page pdf at the link for a fact-filled rebuttal to the latest IPCC over-hype of man's role in climate change.  http://www.heartland.org/custom/semod_policybot/pdf/22835.pdf
5867  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues on: December 15, 2008, 06:11:26 PM
I am a big fan of the CFL's but NOT of the coercive legislation.  The drawbacks mentioned are at least partly true - they don't fit in specialty sockets, they don't work with dimmers, start very dim in the cold, contain toxic waste, etc., but still... lower energy usage is generally a good thing. 

For one thing, I am proud to have lower energy usage than my any of my liberal friends who tell me I am killing the planet.  A 40 mpg older car (without hybrid), an 80 mpg motorcycle, a $23 summer electric bill and a zero emission catamaran harnessing the wind at exhilarating speeds all give me a little pride.

People should at least put a CFL in the lights they leave on just to make the home look lived in.  As a landlord of older houses, I strongly believe that running less current through old wires, fixtures, circuits and switches is an important step for safety.   A large percentage of house fires come from heating up the old, deteriorated wires especially in the old light fixtures.  Get those removed and rewired if and when you can, but running 1/4th the current is also helpful. 

I put CFLs in my rental units as much as I can.  When I talk to new tenants about using less energy they think I am a good Democrat like them, lol.  Fact is that I need them to be aware of other utility issues such as excess water usage and overworking the furnace, things that mean more wear and tear on the equipment or lead to charges that can come back to me even if they are the primary utility bill payer.

I got tired of my daughter leaving her bathroom light on.  Now I have her down to a 9 watt CFL.  It lights the small room fine with a cost down to about that of a nightlight.  I also use a 9 watt in our outside entryway.  At 5-below this morning, it lit up v e r y  s l o w l y... but it gives plenty of illumination to walk through safely, not for reading fine print.  Motion detectors and timers also add a great deal to getting things on and well lit but just when needed.

My worst CFL problems have been with breakage.  I had one that was defective out of the package and at least 3 that I've broken either from moving things around or tipping things over.  In order to save the planet, we have 3 huge diesel trucks come down our tiny, one house dead end every week taking a trash bag, 3 aluminum cans and no yard waste.  I can't opt out of these services, nor can I get them to take the things I need recycled most, those containing trace levels of toxic elements like a cfl.  I have no public comment on what might or might not have happened to these broken bulbs, but I no longer own them...

Back to opposing coercion, people should have the right to put a spot light with any type bulb they want on the Rembrandt in their living room when they want a higher quality of illumination -  if this is going to continue to be America, the land of the free and the home of the brave.  Opposing government or federal mandates has nothing to do with preferences for light bulbs.
5868  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena, Obama, Emmanuel, Blagojevich and Fitzpatrick on: December 15, 2008, 12:02:11 PM
I notice that I am about the only one that believes it was Obama that blew the whistle on the corrupt Gov, setting himself up to be the ethical hero of the century as he takes the oath.

It really is a no-brainer to me since he should be impeached if the facts turn out otherwise.

First, look at the interest in the MN recount here. It matters who becomes Senator, for every seat.

Who has the biggest interest in the Obama seat for continuity purposes? Obama.

Who has to work with the senators of his own party to get things done? The future Pres.

Who submitted a list of 'approved' candidates for the position??? Barack Obama.

Just having a list of approved applicants indicates that Obama believed he had a rightful and high place in the appointment decision process.

If all contact was done through his staff, it wasn't done randomly through his staff, like through the chef, housekeeper or valet car parker. It was through his Chief of Staff who was in CONSTANT contact with his boss and with the corrupt Gov.

If the corrupt Gov. Blag had demands, then who knew first? The person who had the greatest stake in the outcome, Barack Obama.

Everyone in power knows how to trade political favors and understands power brokering, but those who play the game smartest, hardest and best are most aware of the line that cannot be crossed. Obama fits the bill all the way, brokering deals with bill Richardson, Hillary, Daschle and who knows who else along the way. Really everyone he came in contact with in some way shape or form was offered something for what he wanted back, their support, their withdrawal, their money, etc. etc.

So Obama was keenly aware of exactly what was going on in the corrupt Gov's office and on his phone line, he is acutely aware of the limits of blatancy in horse trading and mutual back scratching, he was cut out of the process for not playing the game, and he is not exactly the type to give up easily and leave with his tail between his legs.

So Obama blew the whistle.

The result is that the appointment of a non-Obama-approved candidate was stopped in its tracks, the politician even and especially from his own party who wouldn't surrender his power had it taken from him along with his freedom, and the new kind of politics can ride into inauguration on a white horse, or mixed color horse as the case may be, as the hero of a new generation, and everyone in and around his new administration sees who is in charge as they contemplate their next four years of serving, leaking, backstabbing, selling, trading and self promoting.
   
5869  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care, soda tax etc. on: December 15, 2008, 11:20:36 AM
"The soda tax does not make much sense.  There is ZERO evidence that people who stop drinking soda alone will lose weight.  There is even some evidence (in animals) that the calorie free sodas with the artificial sweeteners actually cause weight gain." 

 - And if there was a study proving the soda/weight connection, how about we publicize the information instead of changing the tax code.  My understanding is that there is a reverse correlation in that skinny people tend to drink the real soda and heavier people more likely tend to choose the diet version.

"How about taxes on political contributions?  How about windfall profits taxes on the incomes of any politician above whatever it was before they took office?...
How about a tax on all white men? ...How about a luxury tax on all cosmetic procedures?"

Very funny.  It's all tempting.  Tax everything we don't like when it's our turn to be in power.  They tried the most obvious one - luxury tax on new yachts.  It lasted about a minute.  Turned out that most rich yachters already had a perfectly good boat and the Democrat leader of the Senate (Mitchell D-Maine) was from a yacht building state...

Call me old fashioned but how about we tax each dollar of income the same no matter the source and each dollar of consumption the same no matter the destination, i.e. equal treatment under the law.  People might have a different view of demanding or tolerating free services if they didn't believe someone else was paying for it. 
5870  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Venezuela Pol?tica, Why Chavez will Fail on: December 12, 2008, 10:44:48 AM
That was a very impressive analysis and history.  Looks to me like the outline of a new campaign and candidacy to defeat him. 
5871  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: December 11, 2008, 09:25:02 AM
A blathering politician with a flash at fame or a great President, Barack Obama faced his first test early.  If Obama's corrupt Gov. knew that Obama's team would not put out for the appointment for sale, then most likely or most certainly Obama, at least through his henchmen, knew his US Senate seat was for sale and knew it first.  The FBI got the wiretaps approved in late October.  If Obama was the one who blew the whistle, that will send a most powerful signal to all potential incoming administration members that none of this BS, like appointments, Lincoln bedrooms and pardon for sale, will be tolerated in his administration.

We will see.
5872  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Vote Fraud? aka the Al Franken campaign on: December 09, 2008, 12:24:24 AM
Still not knowing where to post this other than under vote fraud, vote discrepancies and ACORN which rules the disputed districts in liberal, urban Minneapolis...

Ahead of the Drudge Report, the StarTribune the MN Sec. of State, I am declaring the recount over and Norm Coleman the winner.  Coleman won the original vote count with 100% of precincts reporting.  He won the recount with 100% of the precincts reporting.  Friends of Franken have found ballots in places that would make Sandy Berger blush, but not enough to close the gap. Now they want counted the votes they canNOT find.  Since these ballots don't exist anywhere for the recount, most likely they were just run twice by the helpful and honest ACORN workers running the polling place on election day.

The 'campaigns' have raised at least another $4 million combined since the campaign ended, just an interesting side note.

Another sidenote is that Obama received almost 30% more votes in Minnesota than the Democrat endorsed senate candidate Al Franken.

What remains now is the challenge of the individual scoring of ballots in the recount.  There is a sample of challenged ballots at the CBS affiliate television station website if you want to try your luck at ruling on them: http://wcco.com/slideshows/senate.race.recount.20.877400.html

Powerline has had good coverage all along on this ongoing story with an update tonight: http://www.powerlineblog.com/

Minneapolis Gives Up On "Missing" Ballots

December 8, 2008 by John Hinderacker at 10:59 PM

The City of Minneapolis announced tonight that it is giving up its search for the 133 "missing" ballots from a Dinkytown precinct near the University of Minnesota. Reactions to the announcement were counter-intuitive; the Al Franken campaign took it calmly, while Norm Coleman's campaign "questioned suspending the search."

The Coleman camp apparently thinks that calling off the search is a prelude to Franken's effort to have the results of the hand recount rejected in favor of the tally shown on the precinct's tape at the end of the day on November 4. I'm sure they're right about that; Franken will argue that the ballots are gone, but the best evidence of how they were cast is the contemporaneous record of the tape from the voting machine.

That position is not without logic, but it raises an obvious question: if we trust the tapes on the voting machines more than the results of a hand recount of paper ballots, why are we doing the recount at all? There is no obvious good answer to that question, although the precinct's record of the number of voters tallies with the higher number.

The 133 ballots at issue apparently netted Franken 46 votes; whether they were legitimately-cast ballots or, perhaps, the result of someone running ballots through the machine twice or some similar shenanigans is the question at issue. The bottom line is that Norm Coleman will emerge from the recount (pending resolution of challenged ballots) by either 192 votes or, if the 133 "missing" ballots are not counted, 238 votes.
5873  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena, birth certificate on: December 08, 2008, 11:28:28 PM
The document is in perfect order because one person, the director of the Hawaii Dept. of Health has seen and verified it and so that's that.  I think JDN has it right that the will of the people has already been expressed, also that no real evidence otherwise exists and so the mortals of the court aren't going to go anywhere near this.

That said, I would find it to be a wonderful irony if this man who had his first opponent removed from a ballot for not having her documents in order found his own name removed from reelection in 2012 for the same reason, with real evidence and prior to the will of the people being expressed.
5874  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: December 08, 2008, 11:05:59 PM
CCP: "I predict that we will look back on W as having achieved the greatest success in the advancement of the Middle East towards peace in decades"

I personally agree and would say it was an amazing achievement for America under Bush to have acted so strongly and determinedly to see this through to the point where you can find areas of Chicago now more dangerous than Iraq.

There was a very legitimate debate on the way to war where I concede that certain opponents of war were correct for predicting how difficult this would be.

Many war opponents though I think only discovered their dissent when the going got tough and used it opportunistically as an an outlet to vent against Bush.

Stockpiles of WMD weren't found, nonetheless Saddam had and used WMD prior to the war and retained the means and intent to start again.  We were 5-7 years away from a world where Saddam Hussein had nuclear weapons, according to the Iraq Study Group, 5-7 years ago.  Saddam had attacked 4 of his neighbors and consistently violated his surrender agreement with America, yielding away his right to sovereignty. 

Saddam was not found to have a collaborative, operational relationship with Al Qaeda but he did have ties, communications, cooperations and safe havens with known terrorists.

If nothing else, the fact that he paid huge sums to families of suicide bombers outside his borders should have been grounds enough for his elimination.

I am most proud of the newly freed Iraqis who gave Saddam Hussein a fair trial for the DuJail Massacre and performed a very successful execution.

Those who said we went there to take Iraq oil were wrong as were those who thought we wanted too rule the place.  American theft of Iraqi resources just didn't happen.  We paid for the rebuild of their oil industry and didn't take the oil, or even demand our own money back.

Those like bin Laden who thought we would cut and run at the first sight of heavy casualties were wrong (but very nearly right).  America stayed and finished the job, or so it looks at this point in time.

Those who thought this battle had nothing to do with al Qaeda were wrong, from al Qaeda's point of view.

Those most pleased with the liberation should be the feminists of the world.  Who could have imagined a short time ago that women would attain any rights much less the right to vote.  Women tend to oppose violence and now have a voice.

Those (like Joe Biden) who wanted the America out by splitting the Iraqi territory into ethnic thirds and handing the bulk of the country and it's natural wealth over to the control of Iran as the only way of achieving peace... those people were wrong.

I don't know what the future will bring for Iraq or the Middle East and sometimes democracy has nasty results in places, but these people now have freedom and the opportunity to achieve peace and prosperity within their grasp for the first time in many people's lifetimes.

Like CCP implies, this has implications for Israel and the greater middle east peace.  But, if real and lasting peace is achieved in short order, expect the credit to go to Hillary, not W, and we can discuss it on the media thread, lol.
5875  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: December 05, 2008, 08:37:02 PM
BBG - That was an excellent video.  I looked at his website and saw that he has a martial arts background.  Here is another video of his, Alfonso Rachel vs. a pretend Obama,  political debate mixed with fight scenes:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbW64215HA8
5876  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Coming Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: December 05, 2008, 11:34:50 AM
I also look forward to more from Crafty and others on this.  Especially for CCP to offer specific ideas of what middle ground we can find between free enterprise and a centrally planned, social engineering based model.

The answer I believe to runaway profits and greed is competition. There isn't a problem with people acting in the best interest of themselves, their family or their business until we build artificial barriers for new competition.  I would be hard-pressed to point out obscene wealth without finding some form of government imposed barriers to competition.

You might recall the books by Harvard Prof. Clayton Christensen regarding creative destruction.  Technological monopolies are temporary and the one who holds the monopoly is in the worst position to develop and introduce the new, disrupting technology of the next cycle.

Same with heirs and second generations of wealth.  Which Rockefellers for example now control new business sectors with risk taking and new innovation or are they all just in the business of giving it away?

Obscene profits from energy and oil come from anti-supply legislation.  Drilling restrictions would seem to hurt the suppliers, but as OPEC knows so well is that anything that artificially restricts supply and locks out competition actually boosts the profits of those who already have supply.  Just like minimum wage laws mostly boost those who already have a job.

In auto manufacturing, no one but a UAW member with the exact same contract can work any particular job.  There is zero competition and zero incentive for innovation. 

Yet look at freer industries and you sees products improve faster, prices fall faster and new products overtake old one faster.

CCP: "it is [Republi]Cans *responsibility* to explain in a thoughtful way why this (freedom in markets) is best."

Absolutely, that is the key IMO.  Very few can explain the benefits of free markets and certainly not in soundbites. Also it is next to impossible in the context of your opponent running millions of dollars of simplified soundbites, e.g. 'my opponent voted against the minimum wage' or supported 'tax cuts for the wealthy'. Explaining that the alternative would involve choosing government at the federal level to establish private sector wages at the local levels, and to explain the oddity that real tax cuts necessarily go to those who pay the taxes just isn't that easy.

Rightsizing government involves getting the public sector to do what it does best and the private sector to do what it does best, a question that never seems to get asked.  We need to stop the blending and overlap of private and public, GSEs, fannie Mae, and governments picking winners and propping up losers.  It isn't that we don't have or need investigators and regulators like the SEC, Justice Dept. and Senate Banking Committee. It's that they need to get focused and up to speed with stopping frauds and the anti-competitive schemes of our time.

On the other extreme, Obama could not even put someone into his administration from the private sector to head "Commerce" and has no one on his economic team that ever started a business.
5877  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Venezuela Pol?tica on: December 05, 2008, 01:01:33 AM
I appreciate very much Denny's contributions from the front line of Venezuela.  I don't know enough Spanish but with a help from freetranslation.com offer a rough translation of the story (?)

Arrived in the email... 

The History of the Rat

One day, a man entered a store and remained looking at a beautiful statue of a rat, in natural size. 

Very keen on the beauty of that work, the man asked the price of the salesperson: 

"¿How much does it cost?” 

"The statue is worth $50 and the history of the rat costs $1,000." 

“¿Are you crazy. ..?  I will take only the statue." 

Happy, the man left the store with the statue under the arm.  As he walked, he realized, scared to death, that thousands of rats, the scavengers from the pits of the street, began to follow. 

Running desperately, the man arrived to the spring of a port and with all his force, he launched the statue to the sea.  Incredulous, he saw that all the horde of rats were launched to the sea after the statue, dying all drowned. 

Still without being replaced of the scare, the man returned to the antique shop, and the shopkeeper says to him: 

"You returned to buy the history?” 

"No, no, no, simply I want to know if you by coincidence might have the statue of (Hugo) Chávez." 
5878  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Reproductive issues. Denial logic on: December 02, 2008, 11:19:59 PM
Rachel, I am amazed by your words and their implication, that it's not a life, not a minute before birth.  Sorry I don't see an analogy between willful killing (choice) and the quirk of God's creation that identical twins have identical genetic code and I don't understand comparing any other tragedy whether it is traffic accidents, earthquakes or miscarriages with willfully slaughtering your young.

"You are really arguing about souls not genes."   - Agree.  "Religiously we disagree." -   I don't think our core beliefs are much different; I think you aren't listening to yours. sad

"The born infant actually does not need a mother to survive" - My point related to a specific woman, and I attached the link.  She gave birth in private and you are wrong in this case -  THAT infant needed THAT mom to want her to live... just like all fetuses headed for abortion. 

I take from your writing that a 6th month or 24th week 'little one' who is killed on a contract from her mother to be an equal moral event to a sperm discarded without the opportunity to become a new life.  Like I said, I am amazed.  Would you ever acknowledge that a fetus partially developed is an amazing new life and deserves at least some benefit of a doubt of a chance with at least a little protection during gestation a day or two before the 3rd trimester?

Quoting Rachel: "Inside the mothers womb is a different issue altogether the baby can't survive without using great resources from the mother.  The unborn life can not be separated from the mothers life. A born infant  life can be separated from the mother."

 - Denial logic illustrated IMO. For as hard as people try to control the words that define this issue, that was quite a slip-up.  Stephen Breyer made that same error, accidentally referring to the woman carrying the unwanted cellular tissue in her womb a "mother".  Maybe she already had kids and that's why he referred to her as a mother, but how did he know that?  The woman is a mother of WHAT???  In your case you have referred to the fetus as  "the baby" AND the woman as "the mother".  Don't we all know that there is a life involved?

I don't think I'm smarter or more moral than you. I think you know at some level that it is a life and jump all around from rape and incest to 3rd trimesters, viability and identical twins to avoid facing that reality.

I remember hearing from a mother who took her daughter to a peaceful demonstration at an abortion clinic.  She was careful to explain to her daughter that although we believe the fetus is a life and deserving of protection, please don't disrespect the doctors at the clinic.  In their mind it is not the taking of a human life because they don't recognize the unborn as a live, human being.  To that, the daughter responded the obvious: " what else would it be?"  - Doug

5879  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Reproductive issues on: December 02, 2008, 12:17:10 PM
Sorry JDN but I stipulated non-criminalization as clearly as I could at least THREE TIMES in this discussion.  You can keep bringing it up with my name attached but it looks like a straw man argument to me when you do.  Can't we trust the people of the states and their representatives to set proportional penalties and if not which other areas of law should be taken from the states?

Contrary to your previous post, acts can be prohibited without being criminalized - even in Wisconsin. (Wisc. Statute 939.12) 

If this wrongly decided case was overturned, yes we might have an overly-restrictive law passed by an individual state.  On the flip-side, you would also still have the power to make all abortions legal, free of expense and free of any restrictions in all 50 states, but done through the legislative process as specified in the constitution.

Curious, was the life imprisonment sentence handed to this woman for committing an act that was perfectly legal for her to do just seconds earlier inside the womb also 'draconian'?
5880  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Coming Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: December 02, 2008, 09:45:41 AM
"Barack Obama's choice of Hillary Clinton to be his Secretary of State is either a political master stroke, or a classic illustration of the signature self-confidence that will come back to haunt him. We're inclined toward the latter view, but then Mr. Obama is the one who has to live with her -- and her husband."

I think it was VDH who wrote before the election that the only people you see with this much confidence are Ivy League Sophomores, certainly not someone who has ever run a business.

I noticed in his Hillary intro that he took the opportunity to trivialize the sincerity of anything either may have uttered in the context of a contested campaign.  Don't confuse marketing with governing.  Saying what needed to be said to win votes doesn't mean he meant any of it.  Shame on the voters who thought otherwise.
5881  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Reproductive issues - Abortion on: December 02, 2008, 09:05:44 AM
During this little abortion debate the horrific attacks of Mumbai broke out which could be world changing.  Death toll was 174.  Now back for a moment to aborting 20,000 unrecognizable blobs of tissue per week in the US, 98% for convenience reasons.

There were some questions and answers on abortion.  One reply related to what I called unanswered questions but what I saw was a re-post of why the poster thinks my questions are unworthy of answer.

What is there to debate anyway with those who don't acknowledge that a life involved.  If not for that, I certainly don't want government involvement either in decisions that affect no one else.

The question of criminalization keeps coming up. Maybe our state is unique but state licensing is civil, not criminal and our state makes a clear distinction in law between conduct that is prohibited and conduct that is criminal.
2008 Minnesota Statutes - https://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/statutes/?id=609.02
"609.02 DEFINITIONS.
Subdivision 1.Crime.  "Crime" means conduct which is prohibited by statute and for which the actor may be sentenced to imprisonment, with or without a fine.
Subd. 4a."Petty misdemeanor" means a petty offense which is prohibited by statute, which does not constitute a crime and for which a sentence of a fine of not more than $300 may be imposed."

We were told that it is meaningless to say that a fetus is alive and human because so is a sperm.  I'm sorry for trying to keep things simple  but when I asked about a fetus having a distinct genetic code from the mother, I meant a COMPLETE SET of genetic code.  I'm no expert but highly doubt that a sperm has a complete set of human code ready to grow into what we at least later recognize as a person.  It's hard for me to believe the poster seriously sees a fetus as genetically more like an sperm than like an infant.  The sperm is missing a few things.  What is a fetus missing?  Food, water, nurturing, time to develop?  So is an infant. 

We are told a fetus at the stage of most abortions is un-viable so killing it is irrelevant, but why do they kill it before they remove it? You wouldn't want to say for humane reasons or so that it won't feel pain or suffer, like a human.  It is killed inside the mother for legal, not medical reasons.   If you kill it after you remove it from the mother you have committed what? (a crime)  Because it is a what? (a person?)

The news story of the moment here locally is of a girl, now 19, who hid her pregnancy, delivered it herself, hid the birth, stabbed the baby, hid the remains, got caught and was just sentenced to life in prison.  http://www.startribune.com/local/east/35323774.html?elr=KArksi8cyaiUgOahccyiUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aUU

Somehow we almost all agree stabbing the newborn is a horrific crime, yet only minutes earlier the stabbing would be a constitutionally protected (Huh), legal of her personal privacy and dignity.  I notice no reply to GM's question about 'criminalizing' 3rd term abortions.  Does any abortion extremist ever admit that while the earliest fetus may look nothing special, it is a life and that becomes obvious gradually, recognizable and worthy of protection as the new life that it is.  We value the life and health of the mother higher but in cases like this it would be easy to hold the unknown value of the innocent unborn or newly born higher than the better known value and deficient character of the convicted killer if we are to play God with these choices.

I find Rachel's view: "Either A women are equal have a right to control their body or B women  are vessels/objects" to be even more extreme than mine, that we ought to recognize a human life and treat it with dignity.  IMO, the woman in the story was still the 'vessel' after she cut the cord and the infant was still un-viable without the support of the mother.

Besides the plight of the unborn, frankly I'm amazed and offended with the position that are not 'equal' unless men have zero rights in the matter.  With zero rights, I really shouldn't be discussing this. 
5882  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Reproductive issues on: November 26, 2008, 03:57:27 PM
JDN,  Thanks for replying.  I am alleging that the woman would not be prosecuted.  I don't know of any serious or winning politician that would prosecute the woman.  I gave the example of Sarah Palin who was asked that point blank in her ALaska Gubernatorial debate. She said no.  We restrict where you can put your car too, but we don't jail you.  I work in a licensed profession and I disagree with many of the regulations.  If I act badly or fail to act in certain situations, there is a process where I ultimately lose my license.  A doctor performing a prohibited procedure obviously could lose his license.  That is a heavy and costly consequence and one he is choosing in that situation.  That is NOT criminalization and it is NOT lockup.  Criminalize is not a vague term. I stand by my statement that criminalization is intentionally inflammatory.

JDN, is your state further red than South Dakota that recently voted down the abortion ban.  If not, you won't have to go anywhere to have an abortion if the highest court strikes down a wrongly reasoned decision and leaves the issue rightfully for the states and the people to decide.

Third trimester? Obama's point is in contradiction to his failure to support treatment for living abortion survivors.  Please quote, link or list any pro-abortion advocacy group that favor the restriction you quote from Obama: "he is against abortion during the third trimester unless the mother was in danger."  I know of none.

SB Mig: Interesting range of liberties.  Obviously a libertarian opposes government involvement in the matter - right up until the point where they recognize that the unborn involves a life.  I had that question about Libertarians and was pointed to the view of Ron Paul who I believe is pro-life.

Quoting the ending:"Murray Rothbard's position that "no being has a right to live, unbidden, as a parasite within or upon some person's body" and that therefore the woman has a right to eject the fetus."

As a landlord I find myself ejecting parasites from time to time, but they are entitled to their day in court and even if they lose in court I am not allowed to kill them on the way out.
5883  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Reproductive issues on: November 25, 2008, 11:52:47 PM
Interesting question GM.  Maybe you will get a direct answer.  I don't think any of my points on this topic ever did.

What I see instead is the intentionally inflammatory  "What does a state where abortion is criminalized look like?"

Who said criminalize??? The most extreme pro-life voice on the national stage was Sarah Palin and she didn't.

What a state might look like if they no longer sanction abortion, we could speculate about South Dakota if the ballot issue had not failed.  Right now, they have one "doctor" who flies from Minneapolis to Sioux Falls once a week to perform the abortions. If the law had changed in South Dakota I suppose a few cars a week would potentially have to travel roughly 20 miles further to reach inside the border of Minnesota, Iowa or Nebraska, and have the procedure performed -  safe, legal and rare. 

In order to appreciate the inconvenience, 20 miles of extra travel to have your young terminated, we would need to know how often people like to exercise this popular, unenumerated right.

Did I read the presumption in the post correctly that besides abortion law, other relevant factors between this third world country and any unspecified US red state are essentially equal?

From the Brazil piece, "Human rights and women's organisations have complained that the process has been humiliating for those involved..." - How do you think the fetus feels?

Nearly 3 million views on an Alaskan television interview, not counting broadcasts by Leno, Letterman, Colbert or Stewart,  as liberals across the country are SHOCKED by the sight of a couple of turkeys being prepared for Thanksgiving.  I wonder if Palin could move her next big interview to the garbage bin of a busy abortion clinic and we'll see who's still hungry for dinner. 

My questions unanswered: Is it alive, is it of the human species and does it have genetic code distinct from the mother?

My proposal unanswered: If it is believed to be just early, unviable tissue, why not keep the mother's right to remove it from her body, but not the right to kill it except in self defense. 

My mother's view is far more extreme -  Forget 3rd trimester she thinks the mother should have the right to choose until the 'fetus' reaches the age of 18. She believes women would make more informed choices that way.
5884  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Coming Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: November 24, 2008, 11:34:24 PM
A 3rd Bush term is what  Obama called a McCain Presidency.  But if Obama wants to delay all tax cuts and delay all tax increases, isn't he saying that the current Bush tax rates are JUST RIGHT!  Let's see what his new team says...  - Doug
-----

Obama’s Pro-Growth Economic Team?
A liberal-conservative consensus?

By Larry Kudlow

When President-elect Obama had a chance to squash the tax-hike threat once and for all at his news conference Monday, he took a pass and let the question linger for another day. But his new economic cabinet appointments strongly suggest there will be no tax hikes next year.

Stocks, for one, like what they’re seeing from Obama’s latest cabinet selections. On Friday, Obama announced Tim Geithner will be his Treasury man, and on Monday he made Larry Summers his White House economics tsar and named Christine Romer to the top spot in the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA). Stocks rallied 900 points across this stretch. That’s not the end of the stock story. Markets also like the new super-TARP government plan to bailout Citigroup, which effectively guarantees the banking system with a massive insurance-like policy. But markets may also sense a little pro-growth good news in the Obama policy mix.

When asked about tax hikes on Monday, Obama said the debate is between repeal and not-renewal. In other words, repeal the Bush tax cuts in 2009, thereby raising tax rates on capital gains and successful earners, or wait until the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of 2010. Investors want to hear the latter, and Mr. Obama said his team will make a recommendation.

Here’s my thought on his team. Summers, Geithner, and Romer will all recommend no tax hikes in a recession. Maybe for Keynesian reasons; maybe a nod to supply-siders. Obama talked about a liberal-conservative consensus. But what’s especially encouraging is the appointment of Ms. Romer, who easily could serve as CEA head in a Republican administration (just like Geithner could have been McCain’s Treasury man).

About a year and half ago economist Don Luskin sent me a long article about taxes by Christine and her husband David Romer, who were writing for the National Bureau of Economic Research. From the introduction: “The resulting estimates indicate that tax increases are highly contractionary. . . . The large effect stems in considerable part form a powerful negative effect of tax increases on investment.”

Later in the article, the Romers write: “In short, tax increases appear to have a very large, sustained, and highly significant negative impact on output.”

That’s what makes the Romer appointment so interesting. In fact, there is no question that Obama’s economic team is right of center. All three are market-oriented. They’re also pro-free-trade. Hopefully Summers and Geithner maintain the Robert Rubin King Dollar policy of the Clinton years. And if Ms. Romer can stop tax hikes, that will help the greenback even more.

At a minimum, both Romer and Geithner could have served under Gerald Ford or George H. W. Bush. But they may be more pro-growth than that. Romer’s study of the damage of tax hikes on the economy and her emphasis on investment are right on target. In a New York Times story, a former Treasury colleague of Geithner’s says, “he’s no liberal.” As for Summers, while he has been mau-maued by Democratic feminists and some of the unions, he is a tough, clear-headed thinker who has for years tried to merge Keynesian and supply-side policies. No mean feat.

Now here’s the rub: all this talk about a $700 billion stimulus package. I hate to be the one to pull the plug, but government cannot spend our way into prosperity. The wish list of Democratic spending initiatives includes short-term tax rebates, massive new transportation bills, even more education money, exotic green-technology spending, a big-government embrace of health care, and heaps of cash for UAW-Detroit carmakers. None of that will stimulate economic growth.

Economist Paul Hoffmeister has it right: We need to invigorate incentives to produce and invest. Let me take it even further. We need to revive the dormant animal spirits, which have been beaten down by a brutal bear market in stocks, the ongoing housing slump, and all the myriad blockages to credit availability. A bunch of new spending won’t do the trick. Lower tax rates will.

Government policy must make it clear that new successes will be handsomely rewarded. This will be Obama’s greatest challenge. While he may not raise taxes in 2009 — a good thing — he hasn’t yet come up with a new bolt of electricity that will hardwire the serious risk-taking that lies at the heart of free-market capitalism. Right now, the missing electric bolt is lower tax rates and greater rewards for new risk investment by investors, successful earners, and business.

On the plus side, however, Mr. Obama talks optimistically. That’s good. He says he’s hopeful about our future. And he says he is confident that American spirits will be resilient in this difficult time. That’s Reagansesque, Kennedyesque, and FDResque. But while FDR’s big-spending and regulating prevented economic recovery, Kennedy and Reagan opted for across-the-board supply-side tax-rate reductions to get America moving again.
5885  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq - The War is Over on: November 24, 2008, 11:28:35 PM
By MICHAEL YON
November 24, 2008, BAGHDAD

THE Iraq War is over.

Flames still burst from various sources and wild cards remain, such as the potential that Muqtada al-Sadr might stomp his feet and encourage his diminished militias to attack us. Yet support for Sadr among Shia is hardly monolithic. In fact, many Shia view him as a simpleton whose influence derives strictly from respect for his father. Others cite the threat from Iran, but the Iranian participation in the fighting here remains overstated.

Nobody knows what the future will bring, but the civil war has completely ended.

The Iraqi army and police grow stronger by the month, and even the National Police (NP) are gaining a degree of respect and credibility.

As recently as last year, the NPs were considered nothing more than militia members in uniform who murdered with impunity. To go on patrol with NPs was to invite attack. But the Americans worked to help alleviate the disdain.

On one occasion, US soldiers peacefully disarmed a local militia that was apparently about to ambush NPs who had harassed it the same morning, and the soldiers sent the NPs to their station and later gave the locals back their guns. The next day, we were at the NP station as the US commander, Lt-Col. James Crider, gave professional instruction to the NP commanders.

Over time, the extremely frustrating process of mentoring the NPs worked. Last week, I went on foot patrol with US forces and NPs in the same Baghdad neighborhood. Kids were coming up to say hello. And the same people who used to tell me they hated the NPs were actually greeting them.

Similar dynamics have occurred in places like Anbar, Diyala and Nineveh. Tour after tour of US soldiers carried the ball successively, further down the field.

Through time, trust and bonds have been built between the US and Iraqi soldiers, police and citizens. The United States has a new ally in Iraq. And if both sides continue to nurture this bond, it will create a permanent partnership of mutual benefit.

Surely, one could pick up a brush and approach a blank canvas using colors from the palette of truth, and, with a cursory glance, smear Iraq to look like a Third World swamp. But Iraq is a complicated tapestry with great depth and subtle beauty. This land and its people have great potential to become a regional learning center of monumental importance.

Iraqis are tired of war and ready to get back to school, to business and to living life as it should be.

Last week, I shed my helmet and body armor and walked in south Baghdad as evening fell. The US soldiers who took me along were from the battle-hardened 10th Mountain Division; about half the platoon were combat veterans from Afghanistan and/or Iraq. Though most were in their 20s, they seemed like older men. None had even fired a weapon during this entire tour, which so far has lasted more than eight months, in what previously was one of the most dangerous areas of Iraq.

Americans and Iraqis had, in those earlier times, been killed or injured on the very streets we patrolled that day. Patched bullet holes pocked nearly every structure as if concrete-eating termites had infested, and there was resonance of car bombs once detonated on these avenues.

Now, the SOI (Sons of Iraq; what pessimists used to scathingly call "America's Militias") are monitoring checkpoints. I talked with an SOI boss and found that he was getting along side-by-side with the neighborhood NP commander, and in fact they were laughing together. Those who derisively called the SOI "America's Militias" have lost much credibility, while the commanders who supported the movement have earned that same credibility.

Though we are still losing American soldiers in Iraq, the casualties are roughly a tenth of previous highs. Attacks in general are down to about the same.

I asked some Iraqis, "Why are the terrorists attacking mostly Iraqis instead of Americans?" One man explained that the terrorists see the Iraqi army getting stronger and unifying with police, and the terrorists fear the Iraqi government.

Focusing on a few "Iraqi trees," one could make the argument that the war is ongoing and perilous. But to step back and look at "the forest," one cannot escape the fact that Iraq's long winter is over, and the branches are budding.

Iraqis and Americans aren't natural enemies. We have no reason to fight each other, and we understand each other far better than we did back in 2003. True bonds have been formed. Iraq and America realize that we have every reason to cooperate as allies.

But the greater, much more important, milestone will be the day when American, British and Polish students are studying in Iraq, while Iraqi students are studying in our countries. Cementing these ties takes time and patience. But we can do it.

Michael Yon has been reporting on the War on Terror since December 2004 at Michaelyon-online.com. His latest book is "Moment of Truth in Iraq."
5886  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Vote Fraud (ACORN et al) - Minneapolis recount on: November 24, 2008, 10:25:21 AM
Speaking of pirates, Horn of Africa, Sharia Law, Islam in America and which thread to put things in, I think I'll put this one straight into voter fraud...  Somalis form the largest bloc of African immigrants to the United States and the Twin Cities is home to the largest population of Somali immigrants in the United States. Links in the original to this story report widespread false family tie immigration in the Somali community.  Rather than call in the feds, our congressman Kieth Ellison calls in the real Somali leaders(aka al qaida?) to campaign for Al Franken and get out the vote for the filibuster proof majority for an Obama and Pelosi friendly senate.  One in 5 who voted in Minneapolis registered same day and it is illegal to ask for ID???

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2008/11/022145.php

 From Mogadishu to Minneapolis
Share Post   Print
November 24, 2008 Posted by Scott at 5:57 AM

The Twin Cities is home to the largest population of Somali immigrants in the United States. In her latest Washington Times column, Diana West reports the discovery of immigration fraud involving the P-3 family designation in the current United States Refugee Admissions Program:

    Within the last week...the State Department confirmed that massive immigration fraud has been perpetrated overwhelmingly by Africans claimed as close kin (parent, spouse, minor child) by legal residents in the United States. (According to a report in the City Pages in Minneapolis, this scam has been netting some unknowns along the food chain up to $10,000 per head.) Given that Somalis form the largest bloc of African immigrants to the United States, this becomes another story with Somalis playing a starring role.

West's column cites this City Pages article and this State Department fact sheet on the fraud. West concludes her column with a look at the ramifications on Minnesota politics:

    Rep. Keith Ellison, Minnesota Democrat, who famously swore his 2007 oath of office on the Koran as the first Muslim elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, routinely declares that his 7,000-vote margin of victory came from Somali Muslims. Last month, Mr. Ellison was campaigning for that same Somali Muslim vote on behalf of Mr. Franken.

    And what's newsworthy about that? In this case, the point is not that Mr. Ellison was campaigning for the Somali vote, but rather with whom he was campaigning. According to AsianTribune.com, after Mr. Ellison made a standard, if Somalii-oriented campaign pitch on behalf of Mr. Franken before a gathering of Minnesota Somalis, another speaker appeared before the crowd.

    Described in the report as a "highly regarded prominent Somali traditional leader" -- i.e., a Somali leader from Somalia, not Minnesota -- Abdullahi Ugas Farah spoke on behalf of the Ellison-Franken cause. "In order for Keith to be helpful to the situation in Somalia, you must also elect Al Franken to the Senate," he said.

    Now, there's something new on the American hustings: a "Somali traditional" leader. Curious, I Googled Mr. Farah and came up with one news story, a 2003 brief from the Asia Africa Intelligence Wire headlined, "New Islamic court opens in Mogadishu." The story reported that Mr. Farah was one of two speakers who presided over the opening ceremony for a new Sharia court in Mogadishu's Shirkole area. From Sharia courts in Mogadishu to an Al Franken rally in Minnesota.

    Only in ... America?

West notes that the State Department is punting the question of what to do with fradulently admitted Somalis over to the Department of Homeland Security. And what is DHS doing with it? My guess is that the fraudulently admitted Somalis have about as much to fear from DHS as does President-elect Obama's deportable auntie Zeutuni. Help is on the way!
5887  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: November 24, 2008, 10:10:01 AM
"physicians and hospitals will be compensated for outcomes -- rather than volume of visits and procedures"..."There is ongoing research on this model now by many groups.  Many different interests from providers, insurers, government, vendors, pharma, pharmacies, patients, cottege industries. Its premature to say how this is going to work.  In theory there are pros and cons, but I like the idea..."

My daughter's orthodontia (braces) is set up this way.  One lump sum / payment plan all specified up front, includes the full program.  Excludes certain things especially any service needed from others such as the dentist or oral surgeon.  No additional charge for minor follow up visits scheduled or unscheduled.  Somehow they cover it out of the first six grand.  You don't ever have to second guess motives on how often to come in.  And they don't get started in a service that isn't financed to completion - like a house.

For all my whining about the cost I have my (14yo)daughter considering orthodontics as a profession.

5888  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Piracy on: November 23, 2008, 12:39:55 PM
Seems to me that Somalia is one place where we fought al Qaida and surrendered.  Like Saddam's Iraq who attacked 4 of his neighbors prior to the current war, if Somalia gives safe haven and docking rights to whoever is doing this, they have no sovereignty and are fair game for military action anytime the free world decides that is a course worth pursuing. 

I would apply a corollary of the Powell Doctrine, if it is broken before we get there, we will NOT be staying to fix it. 

Obama, I suppose, will want to arrange a summit with their leaders and explore mutual areas of interest.
5889  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics - mis-measuring poverty on: November 22, 2008, 10:13:48 PM
Thanks BBG for a great post.  I agree with their analysis and learned some details I didn't know.   I've complained here and elsewhere about the taxpayer-billed farce of the Census Bureau mis-measuring poverty.  This study shows that the poor are  spending double what we measure for their income which means we are NOT measuring their income, just paying for the studies and basing policies and politics on false information.

My beef is that the Census Bureau does not count non-cash subsidies as income.  They don't count the food stamp debit card, the free clothing, free health care and they don't count Section 8  voucher paid housing.  We pay it by the trillion.  They receive it.  And none of it counts.  Then the 'experts' just keep telling us the disparity keeps getting worse, we aren't doing enough and they point to 'unimpeachable' sources like the Census Bureau.

FWIW  I don't think the non-counting of non-cash subsidies explains the 100% error the study found in comparing income with consumption.  I think it is an additional defect making the total error perhaps 200% or more.  All about something I think is none of our business, how much money other people make.

5890  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: November 21, 2008, 06:36:55 PM
"I wasn't necessarily suggesting the government had to come up with *government* solutions." - I know and I don't mean to imply I support total laissez faire.  I think that you can get away with a carrying a small anchor on business such as paying about to 17-19% of income in taxes and reasonable regulation.  But when government starts to micromanage businesses or place disproportionate burdens, I think creativity and innovation get quashed.

I especially oppose unequal treatment under the law (everyone should oppose it; it's in the constitution) and these bailouts are great examples.  We help one business and not another.  Same with nearly all types of public private partnerships.

The credit bailout gives me a rotten feeling too, but at least there we are talking about part of the public infrastructure, like bridges and airports.

Back to wealth disparity. I know that plenty of people share your concern.  I think it is 5% that pay >50% of the taxes.  I don't begrudge them for that.  More important IMO is to look at the gains of any individual, family or class of taxpayer and see how they are improving their lives rather to compare with others in other circumstances.  If the middle class is not showing enough upward mobility, that is more of a concern to me than who or how many make more or have more.

5891  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics - Pat Buchanon on the auto bailout on: November 21, 2008, 11:34:30 AM
"I am not inclined to bailout the Big three."  - Me neither.

"The one thing that does bother me is the loss of manufacturing industry." - Yes, but do we want government picking winners and losers.

"Could Detroit be consolidated and converted into a manufacturing force that will lead the world into making only fuel efficient cars akin to there being used to make tanks during WW2?"  - And there is the beauty of business failure and bankruptcy, allowing assets from failed firms to flow to their most productive and valuable use.  (Why do the basic tenets of free enterprise sound like a foreign language in this political environment?)

"We are an economy of fast food and government employees." - NO.  Architecture, engineering and open heart surgery are service industry jobs as well.  As we became more prosperous and automated, manufacturing jobs dropped in importance.  Conversely, as we lost manufacturing jobs, we gained in total jobs and prosperity.  Interestingly, China has lost more manufacturing jobs than the US.

Pat kind of strikes me as more finger pointing by the right.  - PB is often not on the right with his views; I think he has opposed all free trade agreements as he implies in this piece. 

"We don't hear anything about solutions going forward."  - Letting failing enterprises fail just doesn't sound pretty.  If it is government's job to rescue these manufacturers, we should first do a full admission of how it was government's FAULT that they are failing, Pat points out most of those.  The other impediment to ever outgrowing their problems is the big, fat hold of the union.  If we do nothing right now, that problem corrects itself.  Why are we so desperate to prevent a much needed correction?

"Until we start hearing about ideas to help us get out of our messes the Republicans will remain where they rightly find themselves." - There isn't a government 'solution' for every problem especially when a large part of the problem in the first place was too many government solutions.
5892  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science, power use down on: November 21, 2008, 10:51:02 AM
"Xcel Energy...saw home-energy use drop 3% in the period from August through September, "the first time in 40 years I've seen a decline in sales" to homes... doesn't think foreclosures are responsible for the trend."

I wonder why not.  50% of home sales are 'bank mediated'.  Aren't most foreclosure homes empty?

Nonetheless, we need real increases in power and grid capabilities if we are thinking of plugging in a major part of the transportation sector within a couple of years.  Doesn't a nuclear plant take 10 years to build?  (Obama thinks we should "look into it...") I don't see how anyone can make strategic plans with all this uncertainty and with the direction of the economy dependent on government indecision.
5893  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: November 20, 2008, 11:09:57 PM
I agree, nice read.  The professor correctly points out the problem with definitions and words.  Words like liberal, conservative and capitalism have a wide range of meanings.  The one who defines the issue early tends to win it.  Watch how our reproductive issue advocate won't call her opponents pro-life, they are only anti-choice or anti women's rights.

A selection I appreciated from the piece: "...libertarians defend “our free-market health-care system” against the alternative of socialized medicine, as though the health care system that prevails in the United States were the product of free competition rather than of systematic government intervention on behalf of insurance companies and the medical establishment at the expense of ordinary people."

He articulates a point I keep attempting to make - when we hear how free markets have failed, critics always point to the sectors that are the furthest from free, bungled up with endless, incompetent government meddling.  They keep winning the argument that the 'market' is messed up, the result is then another left turn toward even greater government bungling, and the cycle continues.

It is very hard to articulate a positive, free market position when the key terms have been flipped upside down.

There are endless other examples, another is affordable housing which refers to housing in need of public subsidy, i.e. NOT affordable.  Or the fairness doctrine which means losing your freedom of speech and having your rights handed over to a government oversight board.  What's fair about that?  And 'spreading the wealth'.  Since when does receiving welfare make you wealthy???

Hard to win the argument if you first have to convince people that the words we use have no meaning.
5894  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics, Scott Grannis - a different bailout proposal on: November 19, 2008, 10:32:14 AM
Of course he is right, but given that this electorate has chosen the furthest left liberal and Pelosi-Reid supermajorities over the furthest center of conservatives by a clear margin, right in the face of stagnation/collapse, perhaps this serious proposal for pro-growth policies should be moved to the good humor thread.  sad angry cry
5895  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for Reps/Conservatives on: November 19, 2008, 10:21:51 AM
Crafty wrote: "not so many years ago, the incumbency re-election rate was well above 95%!"

Here is a link for your stat: http://www.opensecrets.org/bigpicture/reelect.php  In the years 1998, 2000 and 2004 the reelection rate was 98%!  2002 was 96% and during the changeover of congress in 2006 it was still 94%.  This year was also extremely high even though the approval rate for congress was 17% or so.  I have seen statistics claiming that 92% of election money spent is by the incumbents.

If not for the fun and sport of earmarks, pork, over-regulation and corruption, maybe these brave public servants wouldn't want to stay in Washington so long.  On the flip side, if your industry (free enterprise for example) exists only on the whim of some congressional committee, making heavy donations to both sides is extremely rational.
-----

Limbaugh and Hannity are not leaders of anything.  Hannity show is relevant because of his guests.  Rush often has spot-on political commentary but he is REACTING to the stories of the day, not setting an agenda.  Not as extreme as Coulter, but these guys have the job of holding/pleasing an audience, not solving problems or setting the agenda.  I think Rush offends CCP by his tone and attitude more so than by his positions and I highly doubt that the Economists editors listen consistently to the radio shows.  Both of these  conservatives failed to give any verbal backing to a candidate, then whined about the result.  Oprah did better than that.
-----

SB's question about 'intelligentsia' remains unanswered and I am still pondering it.  If the college educated favored Bush 04 by a couple of points and Obama 08 by a couple of points then they appear to be caught up in the same excitement of the moment as the less educated, whether that is excitement for Obama or excitement to be rid of a bad bunch of Republicans.  Meanwhile they sell off their assets in anticipation of the new confiscatory regime.

Every issue presents an opportunity look for some intelligence-based book learning wisdom; today it is the auto bailout.  Any first look at the issue is - 'big three are failing, Oh that's bad.  Many will be hurt.  How can we stop it.'

Any thoughtful, intelligence based look at capitalism such as Thomas Sowell's book 'Basic Economics' would tell you in a longer sound bite that things like foreclosure, bankruptcy and being fired from a job that you are lousy at are all very GOOD things for the economy.  Immobility of resources is a terrible thing.  The fact that all these people have no clue about any other way to make a living except to show up 9 to 5 and have a union shakedown a losing business for 3 times the industry value only to have your congressman lobby the feds for a stopgap measure that won't change the underlying fundamentals is pathetic, from an intelligence-based analytical perspective.

But what happens in the knee jerk media and with the emotions based electorate when a conservative supports allowing failing businesses to fail?  He/she will be destroyed and some spineless, mushy, 'compassionate' new politician will be found to take the seat and the nationalizations and bailouts will continue until no industry is untouched or self sufficient.  JMHO.

5896  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues - solar panel manufacturing causes global warming on: November 18, 2008, 10:40:55 AM
BBG, I saw that report also of the false temp data, thanks for posting here.  All these scientific posts could just as well go into media issues for the lack of coverage elsewhere.  Here's another one: The manufacture of solar panels releases a deadly greenhouse gas and causes global warming!

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=electronics-industry-contributes-new-greenhouse-gas

Electronics Industry Changes the Climate with New Greenhouse Gas
An effort to be more environmentally friendly when making semiconductors may have real climate-changing consequences

By Prachi Patel-Predd

MISSING GREENHOUSE GAS: The manufacture of LCD panels like those pictured here is contributing an unknown amount of a greenhouse gas 17,000 times better than carbon dioxide at trapping heat.

Emissions of a greenhouse gas that has 17,000 times the planet-warming capacity of carbon dioxide are at least four times higher than had been previously estimated. Nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) is used mainly by the semiconductor industry to clean the chambers in which silicon chips are made. The industry had in the past estimated that most of the gas was expended during the cleaning process and only about 2 percent escaped into the air. But the first-ever measurements of nitrogen trifluoride levels in the atmosphere, published recently in the journal Geophysical Research Letters show that emissions could be as high as 16 percent.

The results might not have immediate repercussions—nitrogen trifluoride currently adds 0.04 percent of the global warming effect created by carbon dioxide emitted from sources such as coal-burning power plants and cars. More and more gas will be needed, however, as flat-panel LCD televisions become standard in American living rooms and the fledgling thin-film solar cell industry takes off; nitrogen trifluoride is used as a cleaning agent in the manufacture of both.

The production of the gas is nearly doubling every year, says Michael Prather, atmospheric chemist at University of California, Irvine, who had predicted earlier this year that emissions would likely exceed the industry's claim that only 2 percent of the gas is released into the atmosphere.

Despite its potential consequences, the gas is not regulated and electronics companies are not required to keep a record of how much they use or emit. "Nobody really knows how much [nitrogen trifluoride] is used…we don't know how much is being produced and also don't [know if the emissions rate] is correct," says Ray Weiss, a geochemist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, who led the new work.

Emissions numbers conflict depending on whom you ask. The semiconductor industry started to use nitrogen trifluoride as a greener alternative for cleaning chipmaking equipment in the late 1980s. Making integrated circuits involves depositing layers of materials such as semiconductors and metals on a silicon wafer. These materials also stick to chamber walls. So after each layer is deposited, nitrogen fluoride is pumped into the chamber and is split to release highly reactive fluorine atoms that clean the walls. Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., based in Allentown, Pa., which manufactures a third of the world's nitrogen trifluoride, claims that most of the gas is utilized during the process and what is leftover is trapped and destroyed in a special waste system.

But conditions in a silicon chip–fabrication facility are anyone's guess due to the lack of regulation or regulatory oversight, Prather says. The waste systems might be designed to destroy 97 percent of the gas, but that is under perfect conditions. "Most [semiconductor manufacturers] don't achieve that because they're hurrying in production," he says. The gas tanks themselves might leak or be mishandled during transport and disposal. Besides, manufacturers might not even be using control measures. "There is a whole chain of events, so I don’t think two to three percent [emission] is real."

Weiss's study lends proof to Prather's worries. The concentration of nitrogen trifluoride in the atmosphere is about 0.5 part per trillion, making it very hard to measure. Weiss had to distill, heat and pass the air samples over adsorbents to remove gases such as carbon dioxide and krypton that could foul the extremely sensitive detector. He found that about 563 metric tons of nitrogen trifluoride was emitted in 2006. From his measurements, he calculates that the emissions have already increased to 620 metric tons in 2008, which is about 16 percent of the 4,000 metric tons that Prather estimates will be produced and used this year.

The emissions will escalate as nitrogen trifluoride's use increases. Although a chipmaking chamber is about the size of a refrigerator, those used to make LCD panels are the size of a van, says Steve Pilgrim, global marketing manager at Munich, Germany–based The Linde Group, a nitrogen trifluoride producer. Meanwhile, thousands of megawatts worth of thin-film solar cells are in the manufacturing pipeline. "For every megawatt of solar panel capacity, you'll need a ton of NF3 for cleaning the equipment," Pilgrim says.

Air Products claims that worldwide production of nitrogen trifluoride has reached 7,300 metric tons. The company is now building a 500-metric ton plant that will take the company's capacity to about 2,400 tons next year.

Some companies are solving the problem by adopting alternatives to nitrogen trifluoride. Toshiba Matsushita Display, Samsung and LG have installed systems that generate fluorine on-site at some of their LCD and semiconductor facilities. The system, made by Linde, splits hydrogen fluoride into fluorine. That takes less energy than splitting nitrogen fluoride and there is no global warming risk, Pilgrim says. However, the system does need upfront costs that smaller LCD manufacturers might not want to bear. Any accidental release of fluorine could also be an issue: Fluorine is a toxic and corrosive gas and, at high concentrations, can retard plant growth and damage teeth and bones.

Prather says we should now be following nitrogen trifluoride concentrations in the atmosphere closely. There needs to be pressure on the electronics industry to report emissions, he says. A good start would be including nitrogen trifluoride in the list of greenhouse gases being regulated by the Kyoto Protocol, which aims to reduce discharges of carbon dioxide and six other greenhouse gases by assigning emission limits to countries that have ratified it. "The real issue is we're missing international reporting," he says. "We should start reporting it immediately and measuring it, and then we'll find out how important it is."


5897  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: November 18, 2008, 10:28:27 AM
CCP wrote: "I don't see what all this talk of her being such a great SOS is all about anyway.  Again the Clinton spin.  What are her credentials oversees that makes her so great?"

As First Lady she traveled to China and spoke out against women's rights abuses.  Then she agreed to have all mention of that removed from her book for the Chinese translation in order to sell it a few million more books.  How's that for backbone?
5898  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for Reps/Conservatives on: November 18, 2008, 10:21:22 AM
"DMcG, your solution of fair and balanced education looks suspiciously like a 'fairness doctrine' type of equation. Let each subject that is taught be examined equally from both sides, right? So who decides the equal balance? A government entity? The school board? The parents? I find a ton of problems with the state of education across the board, and d*mn if I can think of a solution."

SB, I agree with you and did NOT mean to imply a government solution.  Institutions filled with indoctrination will face the wrath of me whining on this board, not a federal balance enforcement board.  School choice is one solution.  but often the choices look a lot alike.  Entrepreneurs and capitalists don't generally go into teaching.  K-12 is largely a creature of the teacher's unions unless parents, voters, school boards or legislators speak out and they rarely do.

Schools were loaded with bias in the 1970s too but many kids grew up and voted for Reagan.  Kids eventually can smell BS it just takes some time to sort things out.  When I was in Jr. High we were told that the world would run out of natural gas in 1982.  Either we were lied to or their theory just had some holes.  I see many of these new Obama voters as conservatives of the future, just give them time to experience a few of life's real-world experiences.
5899  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for Reps/Conservatives on: November 17, 2008, 06:50:47 PM
(Butting in here), if I understand the conversation correctly, there was a request for examples  of "leftist indoctrination mills" in higher education.  Maybe the most obvious example IMO would be the presentation of the anthropogenic global warming theory without also presenting obvious holes and flaws in the theory.  Millions and millions of children I believe have been either shown directly the Al Gore movie, from elementary school to PhD, while few have been taught about the revisions and corrections to the selected data presented.  Almost none of the children are taught about the plethora of other interest facts (Arctic ocean level falling, for example) that would lead one to at least partially doubt the alarmist conclusions implied by the warminig view - that a major portion of the United States will be lost to the ocean levels in this century, for example, and that temperatures can only accelerate upward and man is the cause even though temps haven't gone up in ten years.

Besides Al Gore's movie, examples of unbalanced reporting comes from sources as trusted as Weekly Reader, Scientific American and of course the NY Times.

After consistently teaching 'an inconvenient hypothesis' as truth and fact and testing on the fundamentals of human caused warming, then we poll young voters on the topic and are surprised and impressed by the degree of  'consensus'.

Another area would be the widespread focus in higher education on flaws in the free enterprise-based, capitalistic  system without the context of also teaching the amazing mechanics and merits of the system.

Would you agree and can others add more examples...

Obvious solution to climate change indoctrination is to have all who are taught the theory to be also taught the view of the most prominent skeptics, that anthropogenic causes are likely a minor part, that the data is inconsistent and that many other factors are still largely not well understood.

Solution for economic teaching is to require the teaching of our economic system to all children with all its successes before teaching its flaws, shortcomings and the alternative systems with their own strengths and weaknesses.
5900  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race - surfers and sneers on: November 12, 2008, 11:21:49 PM
Thanks BBG for that post.  I disagree slightly on the Ayers perspective.  The attack on Obama regarding Ayers was bungled in my opinion because it put the focus on terrorism instead of politics.  The implication became that maybe this Obama guy is secretly a terrorist too and that was a non-starter.  Terrorism was a symptom that Ayer's political views were not within any mainstream-acceptable spectrum, not the goal.  The questions should have been - what are Ayers political views and which of those does Barack Obama share?  If Ayers view was to reintroduce inheritance taxes at 50% instead of 45%, then I doubt that he would be blowing things up to achieve it.  But if his political view was to dismantle the free market based capitalist system as we know it then maybe he would want to blow things up.  We know Obama never shared Ayer's explosive view of how to get there, the question was  - what part of the end-of-capitalism ideal does he share?  I don't the president-elect yet knows the answer to that.
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