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5851  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: jobs created or saved on: November 05, 2009, 11:48:20 AM
"Obama's accountants are beginning to look like a long line of mathematicians getting out of a clown car. . ."

When they cleverly invented that turn of phrase, created or saved, we were put on notice that there would be no real accounting for the results of the trillions and that they already knew there may be no net job creation whatsoever in the private sector.

If the purpose of the public investment is to jump-start the PRIVATE economy, the only job creation that count are new, real jobs in the private sector that stand on their own AFTER the stimulus is done.

At this point it will take hope, change and a conservative takeover of the government to get that number back up to ZERO.
5852  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: November 05, 2009, 10:32:46 AM
BBG: "Wouldn't it be amusing if our current, misguided energy policy left us on top of huge reserves we could charge high prices for down the line?"

Very possible.  Ironic is the fact that the forbidden cheap energy around us is one of the forces preventing the move to the next solution (that will save the planet).  Artificial regulations force prices up but people can still see the low hanging fruit.  Why would people freely pay 15X for solar when clean coal is abundant, for example.

When the easy to access oil gets used up and the easy to access natural gas starts getting depleted, then market innovations of necessity will happen - if you believe in all that freedom and capitalism nonsense that made us the wealthiest civilization in history.
5853  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / States Rights: Secession, Opting Out ?? on: November 05, 2009, 10:22:52 AM
"If the people of a state vote to leave the Union then so be it."

(Skipping past slavery, I think GM makes good points there, and just looking at the question for today or tomorrow.)

I don't know exactly what I think about the right to secede but what a great question it opens.  I remember that slam against Alaska politicians.  Anyone conservative in Alaska wasn't more than 1 person removed from someone who had contemplated secession.   Except for national defense, could Alaskans stand on their own?  They could adopt the same constitution - and then UPHOLD it.  Maybe they would even be rich enough to purchase adequate defense.  Texans have a movement.  I see both as mainly talk, and a reminder to federal powers in Washington that there are limits to how far people will be pushed.  Except for occasional wacko groups, we don't really see serious separatist militias forming.

Today we stomp on the constitution and founding principles, still I believe we can swing the pendulum back in the other direction with articulation, persuasion and voting.  With every day and every new entitlement and dependent American created, that becomes less and less possible.  What if we can't ever return to limited government and founding principles?.  Do we have to live in their tyranny forever or can free people 'opt out'?
A microcosm of it in a local issue, we have the same problem with our county.  Minnesota is an average sized state with 87 counties, but one county is nearly one half the state population and economy.  Our county in those terms is larger than 8 states.  Remove the City of Minneapolis from our county and it is still bigger than several states.  It is run from the central city where the richer outer suburbs pay for the problems of the otherwise bankrupt inner city - everything from free everything for illegals to a new baseball stadiums for the business class.  Under this rule, they don't need state votes for controversial issues.  For illustration, my property taxes are 20 times higher here than for my house in Colorado, equal setting and condition, same square footage.  In order to opt out, the payers would need the support of the people assessing and receiving the money which can never happen.  I have brought this up to county commissioners even in the most conservative areas and only been laughed at.  Why can't our city or region secede from our county?  Besides the problem of the feds taking all powers not theirs, I have no right to local government.
5854  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela, water rationing on: November 04, 2009, 10:49:36 PM
Amazing photos, Denny.  I wondered what part of this is natural disaster - drought - and what part is failed public leadership.  My thought is that poor countries often lack safe drinking water, but Venezuela is/was oil rich in a time of record oil prices.  If they did not build sufficient water infrastructure with their confiscated wealth, whether it should have been more reservoirs, rain capturing, purification, pipelines or desalination, then it was human failure. 

FYI for Chavez, swimming pools do not actually destroy water, nor do showers or toilets.

Al Gore has a company with waterless urinals.  Chavez could look into that.  Maybe their mutual friend Obama could hook them up. 

Obama in this situation would blame it on Bush, but Chavez with his endless term-stretching has no predecessor to blame anymore.
5855  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: November 03, 2009, 01:14:29 PM
BBG,  Interesting piece.  In the abortion debate, everything was about total privacy between woman and her doctor.  Same folks now have no qualm about opening everything else to do with your health care decisions up to the bureaucrats, policy makers and even the IRS. Third party pay means third party decision making - mandated.  This crowd isn't curious if their bill is constitutional; remaking the court and the meaning of that 'outdated' document is next on their agenda.

CCP, Thanks always for insights from the inside.  I agree that pretending to quantify frivolous lawsuits or unnecessary tests in the aggregate isn't going to give you good numbers - just like measuring jobs created or saved.  Is a one in a hundred or one in a million test worth it and at what cost?  All you really can do is judge it intuitively and anecdotally, compare it with other risks we take on like putting the car on the road in difficult conditions, or martial arts, sports, etc. and keep the decision with the person who has to live with it, both cost and consequence.   I don't want or need anyone from DMV there when I consider difficult choices with my doctor.

Seems to me that without malpractice lawsuits, you can still have doctors by the short hairs with licensing.  If their practices are not up to snuff, if their errors are excessive, if their procedures are sloppy, etc. the state can investigate and pull their license.  That I assume is a multimillion dollar penalty and then some.  I know of a situation right now that involves state licensing but not an MD - one bogus complaint in a half century of practice and everything is under review.

If there is a shortage of doctors, it is a managed or contrived shortage.  Seem to me that medical schools do everything they can to keep people who want to be doctors out.  In most cases, thank goodness, but I'm sure plenty of capable and competent applicants get turned away.  The Hillary-Obama-socialist view is that more doctors mean more pay and cost, so we need to get by with fewer.  In a market based world, more supply to keep up with demand is what keeps the cost per visit or procedure down and affordable.  If drought causes food prices to go up, and oil shortage or refinery outages shoots gas prices go up, why would an adequate supply of available doctors and specialists cause a higher cost to the patient (if there was any semblance of a market in place)? 
5856  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela - water rationing on: November 03, 2009, 10:34:29 AM
This could have gone in the water thread but looked to me like it exposes more weaknesses of the ruler and his governing competence.  I thought that under fascism-socialism you give up your freedoms but the trains run on time.  Solution is easy - ration service, blame the rich.  Sounds familiar.  Speaking of rich, I wonder if the Presidential 'Palace' has its water service rationed...

Water rationing for Venezuela's capital city
Nov 2 02:13 PM US/Eastern

Residents Face Cuts in Water Service for as Much as 48 Hours per Week

Residents of the Venezuelan capital face cuts in water service for as much as 48 hours per week, after the government imposed rationing to stem a 25 percent shortfall in the city's supply, officials said Monday.

Officials said cuts in water service were to be staggered throughout Caracas through the duration of the current dry season, which is not expected to end until May 2010.

Weather forecasters blame the "El Nino" weather phenomenon, saying the periodic weather system has markedly reduced rainfall and created drought conditions.

Others blame the shortage on poor government management of the country's water resources, while President Hugo Chavez faulted the excesses of capitalism.

"What will the rich fill their swimming pools with?" the country's leftist leader asked recently.

"With the water that is denied inhabitants in the poor neighborhoods," he said, blaming the lack of sufficient water on "capitalism -- a lack of feeling, a lack of humanity."

The government recently created a ministry of electricity to help conserve the use of power, which also is in short supply.

Officials also urged the public to employ better conservation practices, like shorter showers and the use of less water when brushing teeth.
5857  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The "Costs" of Medical Care on: November 03, 2009, 10:22:15 AM
November 3, 2009
The "Costs" of Medical Care
By Thomas Sowell

We are incessantly being told that the cost of medical care is "too high"-- either absolutely or as a growing percentage of our incomes. But nothing that is being proposed by the government is likely to lower those costs, and much that is being proposed is almost certain to increase the costs.

There is a fundamental difference between reducing costs and simply shifting costs around, like a pea in a shell game at a carnival. Costs are not reduced simply because you pay less at a doctor's office and more in taxes-- or more in insurance premiums, or more in higher prices for other goods and services that you buy, because the government has put the costs on businesses that pass those costs on to you.

Costs are not reduced simply because you don't pay them. It would undoubtedly be cheaper for me to do without the medications that keep me alive and more vigorous in my old age than people of a similar age were in generations past.

Letting old people die would undoubtedly be cheaper than keeping them alive-- but that does not mean that the costs have gone down. It just means that we refuse to pay the costs. Instead, we pay the consequences. There is no free lunch.

Providing free lunches to people who go to hospital emergency rooms is one of the reasons for the current high costs of medical care for others. Politicians mandating what insurance companies must cover is another free lunch that leads to higher premiums for medical insurance-- and fewer people who can afford it.

Despite all the demonizing of insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies or doctors for what they charge, the fundamental costs of goods and services are the costs of producing them.

If highly paid chief executives of insurance companies or pharmaceutical companies agreed to work free of charge, it would make very little difference in the cost of insurance or medications. If doctors' incomes were cut in half, that would not lower the cost of producing doctors through years of expensive training in medical schools and hospitals, nor the overhead costs of running doctors' offices.

What it would do is reduce the number of very able people who are willing to take on the high costs of a medical education when the return on that investment is greatly reduced and the aggravations of dealing with government bureaucrats are added to the burdens of the work.

Britain has had a government-run medical system for more than half a century and it has to import doctors, including some from Third World countries where the medical training may not be the best. In short, reducing doctors' income is not reducing the cost of medical care, it is refusing to pay those costs. Like other ways of refusing to pay costs, it has consequences.

Any one of us can reduce medical costs by refusing to pay them. In our own lives, we recognize the consequences. But when someone with a gift for rhetoric tells us that the government can reduce the costs without consequences, we are ready to believe in such political miracles.

There are some ways in which the real costs of medical care can be reduced but the people who are leading the charge for a government takeover of medical care are not the least bit interested in actually reducing those costs, as distinguished from shifting the costs around or just refusing to pay them.

The high costs of "defensive medicine"-- expensive tests, medications and procedures required to protect doctors and hospitals from ruinous lawsuits, rather than to help the patients-- could be reduced by not letting lawyers get away with filing frivolous lawsuits.

If a court of law determines that the claims made in such lawsuits are bogus, then those who filed those claims could be forced to reimburse those who have been sued for all their expenses, including their attorneys' fees and the lost time of people who have other things to do. But politicians who get huge campaign contributions from lawyers are not about to pass laws to do this.

Why should they, when it is so much easier just to start a political stampede with fiery rhetoric and glittering promises?
5858  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Health Care Control, word search: "Shall" = 3,424 times, is there a new G_d?? on: November 01, 2009, 01:12:39 PM
Link to the mis-named house bill 'Affordable Health Care for America Act' of October 29, 2009

Just a note to remember as you read the 2000 pages, the poor in America already have free health care, totally free.  Without any thanks, YOU are already paying for it. 

This bill is about the CONTROL of the rest of the health care system - toward COERCION and away from personal responsibility and market choices.

If you have a doubt, please word search the coercive proclamation "Shall" and you will find it 3,424 times! The framers used the word shall to organize the government, there shall be 2 senators from each state etc. and for what the government 'shall not' do, such as congress 'shall not' pass any law infringing on free speech or right to bear arms, or so it says.  This bill states what 'shall' be more than 3000 times more than does the U.S. Constitution.

From my count, God only needed the word 'Shall' 8 times in the Ten Commandments to guide our behavior as humans.

Maybe that answers the obvious question about this political machine, who do they think they are?
5859  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Palin phenomenon, an update on: November 01, 2009, 12:37:06 PM
I already posted that I thought she was the wrong choice for McCain's VP running mate mostly because it mooted the main weakness of Obama, his lack of experience and readiness for President and Commander in Chief.  She showed areas of weakness while being blindsided by the national media but also held her own both in terms of campaign excitement and in debating Washington-insider Joe Biden.

Palin is an intuitive conservative, one who knows big government isn't the answer for everything without having read every VDH column or Heritage study.  That said, in the first post of this thread I posted a C-SPAN link to the Alaska gubernatorial debate in which she was articulate, poised, principled and extremely knowledgeable on all the state issues that came up.

To move forward, as others have said, she will need to get fully up to speed on all national issues and make another first impression if that's possible with moderates and independents in the country.  Conservatives and liberals have already made up their minds about her, unchangeably.

Besides coming out with a book to tell her side of the campaign story and whatever else, she is taking stands on issues and on candidates for the direction for the party, like it or not.  Congressional District NY-23 is the hot spot of the moment.  She came out early for the cause of conservatism and against the party.  That stand is looking better all the time.

This piece contrasts her with Newt.  At the alienating those here who are fans of Newt (including me), his very successful contract with America was very poll-based, his experience is congressional not executive and his reforms were not lasting.  His support of Cap and trade (some other version), like Mitt Romney's past support for govt health care, works to blur the lines and weaken the arguments of the day IMO.  - Doug

Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich: The Visionary and the Hack
By Claude Sandroff
Two weeks after Sarah Palin's unique exit from public office, Newt Gingrich offered up some unsolicited counsel for the former governor in an interview with POLITICO. Apparently, Newt was certain that Palin's reputation needed serious burnishing, and he was all too ready to provide it by offering substantial details on the range and style of speeches that would be most appropriate for Palin to deliver to various audiences in order to sustain a public revival.  Exactly why he felt she needed his help remains a bit of a mystery, except that Gingrich, like Karl Rove, seems absolutely certain that the world is always on edge awaiting his next tactical stroke of genius.

Now that an intense internecine battle is raging over how Republicans should react to Doug Hoffman's Conservative Party bid for New York's 23rd , one thing is certain: it is Newt whose reputation is in shambles, and it is he who should seek political advice from Palin as to how he might regain his lost stature. And this will remain true whether Mr. Hoffman wins or loses.

By unconditionally supporting the Republican machine candidate Dede Scozzafava -- one of the most liberal candidates ever offered by the party in any race -- Newt has forfeited any remnant of respect he might have retained as the standard-bearer of the conservative congressional revolution of 1994.

Scozzafava supports the same extreme political positions (card-check, Obama stimulus) as any adolescent left-wing blogger. She maintains deep alliances with the most radical and odious groups (Acorn, Working Family Party) associated with the Democratic Party. By standing with her, Newt Gingrich has earned that dreaded label he once affixed to Nancy Pelosi. Newt has become a partisan and trivial politician. He has become a common hack.

In contrast, Sarah Palin just compiles conservative esteem. When she railed against the compromised Republican machine in its support of Scozzafava, it felt like a stiff, clean, purifying breeze. In her October 24th Facebook Note announcing her support for Hoffman, Palin argued with deep philosophical references to conservative ideals. Her support and conviction were not products of a focus group.  The note moved many a radio talk show host who read it aloud, from Mark Levin to Tammy Bruce. It was the reasoned stance of a visionary.

Palin evoked Ronald Reagan, mentioned the importance of establishing sharp contrasts with opponents, and stressed the primacy of principle over party. Palin continues to be the antithesis of the trivial politician.  She has that unique ability to convey the highest sense of personal honor without ever projecting any of the usual political pomposity. Perhaps the highest compliment we can pay Palin is that she is always interesting and always surprising.

This is the reason so many political junkies from the right and left have undisclosed part-time jobs as Palin observers. You can never get enough of authenticity. Near the end of her farewell speech, Palin promised that by removing the confining yoke of office she'd be able "to work even harder for you. For what is right. And for truth."

What she meant by those almost biblical cadences wasn't clear then, but now it is coming into focus. And what is most stunning is that she is attaining her goals not by speaking in front of audiences, but through her writing. We all know how mesmerizing she is on the stump. But none of us had any idea that she was a gifted prose stylist: succinct, witty, and memorable.

But she has chosen Facebook, not YouTube, as her preferred mode of communication, at least for now. And over and over again, she has proven highly effective and influential, whether discussing health care, energy, China policy, defense, or congressional elections.

It's an effectiveness gained through focus, a focus that we can only hope other politicians begin to emulate. Free markets, individual liberty, small government, strong national defense, and low taxes are the constant themes she invokes. Along with those values, she makes constant mention of the two political giants of the 20th century who embodied them, championed them, and communicated them tirelessly: Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.

While pundit after pundit argues that we should throw Reagan over the side in pursuit of Obama-lite, Palin is bringing us back to the principled, universal roots that Reagan shared with the Founders. While many columnists anguish over immoderate candidates, Palin warns against "blurring the lines" and writes a Facebook birthday tribute to Margaret Thatcher.

A recent Gallup poll shows that in America, conservatives outnumber liberals by two to one. We know from history that conservatives can win landslide elections. But conservatives need to be confident to be resurgent. None of us knows what Sarah Palin has in mind for 2012 and beyond. But if she is the force that helped us regain the confidence of our convictions, then she will have given us a gift beyond repayment.
5860  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Liberalism, progressivism, Marxism, fascism vs. moderate Democrats on: November 01, 2009, 11:59:16 AM
I would like to see a moderate Democrat, maybe even someone who hasn't posted anything political on the board yet, start a discussion thread regarding 'the way forward for moderate Democrats'.  I am not a moderate Dem so it won't be me, but there must be people out there who are Democrats in a more conventional sense, that resent the takeover of their party from the extreme left but are not inclined to join conservatives or Republicans.  Just a thought.
5861  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Way Forward for Conservatives, comments with encouraging polling data on: November 01, 2009, 10:30:47 AM
Republican is a brand name that is supposed to be larger than its conservative base to include moderates that share some of the philosophy (and  oppose Democrats).  There is always a struggle between factions in the party of whether to choose candidates with core conservative principles or to choose more centrist, compromising candidates for electability by appealing to moderates, independents and conservative Democrats.  In spite of media hype and conventional wisdom to the contrary, the centrists generally dominate, at least once they are elected,  because they know the more conservative base has nowhere else to turn while moderates can cross over any time they choose.

Another strategy would be for the candidate to have clear principles, limited government etc, and set a contrast with the opponent, then try to persuade voters in the middle why this philosophy is a better course.  There is always a risk that the opponent will move to the middle, but in this environment, with Pelosi-Obama and the Czars, that doesn't look like the case.

Individual Democrat incumbents and candidates for congress and senate make their own cases for independence and moderation especially in conservative districts and red states but their defining vote is really the first one when they decide on the leadership and who will control the committees.

Strange that with all the negative polling of the Pelosi congress, the generic ballot of the two parties is pretty even.  Real Clear Politics average of polls gives Dems about a 5 point edge consistently, but they are averaging polls that count anyone who answers the phone with other polls that attempt to measure likely or registered voters and get very different results.

Adding confusion to it all is that no one really knows what the tarnished brand name Republican means today.  In 2006 and 2008 it probably meant something akin to how well do you like the scorned President George W. Bush who was unable to communicate and all over the map with his stands on different issues from taxes, spending, deficits, entitlements, immigration, war, security, etc. and a congress that increased spending faster than anyone imagined possible.

What it most interesting today is that the 'conservative' brand name has never been better.  Take a look at this Gallup poll:

There was only a slight surge in liberalism during the elections of the Pelosi congress and the Obama adminstration and a great surge in conservatism now.  Latest numbers have Conservatives at 40%, Moderates at 36% and Liberals at 20%. 

Rasmussen has likely voters choosing more trust in Republicans over Democrats on ALL of the top ten issues in the country (story follows). 

It should NOT be a long shot or impossible task to paint this congress and this administration as too liberal/socialist for the nation and to form a winning coalition with some kind of consensus on some other way of governing this great country.   - Doug

Trust on Issues
Voters Trust Republicans More On 10 Top Issues

For the first time in recent years, voters trust Republicans more than Democrats on all 10 key electoral issues regularly tracked by Rasmussen Reports. The GOP holds double-digit advantages on five of them.

Republicans have nearly doubled their lead over Democrats on economic issues to 49% to 35%, after leading by eight points in September.

The GOP also holds a 54% to 31% advantage on national security issues and a 50% to 31% lead on the handling of the war in Iraq.

But voters are less sure which party they trust more to handle government ethics and corruption, an issue that passed the economy in voter importance last month. Thirty-three percent (33%) trust Republicans more while 29% have more confidence in Democrats. Another 38% are undecided. Last month, the parties were virtually tied on the issue.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

A recent Rasmussen Reports video report finds that voters are more disappointed lately with Obama’s performance in dealing with corruption in Washington.

Among unaffiliated voters who see ethics as the most important issue, 26% trust the GOP more while 23% trust Democrats more. Most (51%) are not sure which party they trust.

On the highly contentious issue of health care, voters now give the edge to Republicans 46% to 40%. The parties tied on the issue last month, after Republicans took the lead on it for the first time in August.

Separate polling released today shows 49% of voters nationwide say that passing no health care reform bill this year would be better than passing the plan currently working its way through Congress. Most voters (54%) oppose the health care reform plan proposed by the president and congressional Democrats, but 42% are in favor of it.

On taxes, Republicans are now ahead of Democrats 50% to 35%, nearly doubling their September lead on the issue. Prior to July, the percentage of voters who trusted the GOP more on taxes never reached 50%. It has done so three times since then.

Thirty-eight percent (38%) of voters say cutting the federal budget deficit in half in the next four years should be the Obama administration's top priority, while 23% say health care reform is most important.

Republicans are down to a seven-point lead on immigration after enjoying a 13-point advantage last month. Recent polling shows that 56% think the policies of the federal government encourage people to enter the United States illegally.

Voters trust Republicans more on Social Security by a 45% to 37% margin, after the GOP trailed Democrats by two points on the issue in the last survey.

The president is proposing a one-time $250 payment to seniors who for the first time in years won't be getting a cost of living increase in their Social Security checks because inflation's down. While half of voters support this idea, they are more skeptical when told how much it will cost.

Republicans lead on the issue of education 43% to 38%. Last month Democrats had a five-point lead.

Voters also trust Republicans more on the handling of abortion 47% to 35%.

The GOP advantage over Democrats increased from two points to five in the latest edition of the Generic Congressional Ballot. Forty-two percent (42%) would vote for their district’s Republican congressional candidate while 37% would opt for his or her Democratic opponent.

But 73% of GOP voters nationwide think Republicans in Congress have lost touch with their voting base.
5862  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Government Programs: 10 Stimulus Projects To Remember, Where in the C. ?? on: October 31, 2009, 11:09:29 PM
Snowmaking in Duluth, and I wonder if you have to melt down your Lexus to get the golf cart credit (you don't).  My personal favorite has got to be no. 3. $219k to study the sex lives of female college freshmen.  I know people who would do that thankless work for nothing - for the good of the country.

Where in the C (Constitution) is the federal authority to build baseball training parks in 2 cities, to neuter in Wichita, to make snow in Duluth, to see if the girls are getting any?  Seriously, this stuff isn't funny.
10 Stimulus Projects To Remember
Mapping Rabbit Feces, Studying Facebook, And Building MLB Spring Training Facilities Are All Financed By The American Taxpayer

    “A Week Mapping Radioactive Rabbit Feces With Detectors Mounted On A Helicopter Flying 50 Feet Over The Desert Scrub. … $300,000 In Federal Stimulus Money.” “A government contractor at Hanford, in south-central Washington State, just spent a week mapping radioactive rabbit feces with detectors mounted on a helicopter flying 50 feet over the desert scrub. … the helicopter flights, which covered 13.7 square miles and were paid for with $300,000 in federal stimulus money, took place in an area that had never been used by the bomb makers. … Marylia Kelley, the executive director of a California group called Tri-Valley Communities Against a Radioactive Environment, said the rabbit cleanup was ‘kind of funny, in a sick way.’” (“Even Rabbit Droppings Count In Nuclear Cleanup,” The New York Times, 10/14/09)

    “President Obama’s Stimulus Plan… Is Now Paying Americans To Buy That Great Necessity Of Modern Life, The Golf Cart.” “Thanks to the federal tax credit to buy high-mileage cars that was part of President Obama's stimulus plan, Uncle Sam is now paying Americans to buy that great necessity of modern life, the golf cart. The federal credit provides from $4,200 to $5,500 for the purchase of an electric vehicle, and when it is combined with similar incentive plans in many states the tax credits can pay for nearly the entire cost of a golf cart.” (“Cash For Clubbers,” The Wall Street Journal, 10/17/09)

     “Five Hundred Syracuse University Freshmen Will Divulge The Details Of Their Sex Lives … $219,000 In Stimulus Funds For The Study.” “Five hundred Syracuse University freshmen will divulge the details of their sex lives as part of a women's health study called ‘The Women's Health Project,’ being conducted by Michael Carey, SU professor of psychology and medicine. Carey has found himself the target of nationwide criticism from conservatives since he received $219,000 in stimulus funds for the study, which looks at the sex patterns of college women.” (“SU Sex Study Raises Concern,” The [Syracuse] Daily Orange, 9/8/09)

    “Sunset Boulevard, Also Known As ‘The Sunset Strip’ And One Of The Most Famous Streets In The World, Will Be Getting A $7 Million Facelift After More Than 75 Years Of Use, With A Free Million Dollar Nose Job Coming From Uncle Sam. The City of West Hollywood Council received one million dollars in federal funds from the Federal American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA), (otherwise known as the $700 billion federal stimulus package), for the long-planned Sunset Strip Beautification Project, which is scheduled to break ground soon. The guaranteed funding will allow the City to increase the already nearly $7 million budgeted for this project by an additional $1,105,000, meaning enhancements to a project that already included the resurfacing of the roadway, sidewalk and improved landscaping.” (“Feds Stimulus Sunset Strip Beautification Project,” WeHoNews, 9/28/09)

    “$2.3 Million” “Federal Economic Stimulus Cash” For “Rearing Large Numbers Of Arthropods” Such As “Nasty Invasive Insects Like The Asian Longhorned Beetle, The Nun Moth, And The Infamous ‘Predator Of The Hemlock,’ The Woolly Adelgid.” “‘Rearing large numbers of arthropods’ probably isn't the first thing that comes to mind when you think about using Connecticut's $3 billion in federal economic stimulus cash. But the U.S. Forest Service is using part of the $2.3 million it's spending here to fix up a quarantine research facility in Ansonia. (The arthropods, by the way, are nasty invasive insects like the Asian longhorned beetle, the nun moth, and the infamous ‘predator of the hemlock,’ the woolly adelgid.)” (“Money For Nothing,” New Haven Advocate, 9/1/09)

    “The Other Third Of The Stimulus, Government Infrastructure Spending, Has Been The Most Controversial From The Start. Some Proposals Have Been Criticized As Wasteful, Such As A $6 Million Snowmaking Facility In Duluth, Minn.” (“The Challenge In Counting Stimulus Returns,” The Wall Street Journal, 10/27/09)  (Top 101 Cities With The Highest Average Snowfall In A Year (Population 50,000+))

    “A $498,000, Three-Year Grant” To Study “Social Networks Like Facebook.” “Millions of Internet users have been enjoying the fun -- and free -- services provided by advertiser-supported online social networks like Facebook. But Landon Cox, a Duke University assistant professor of computer science, worries about the possible down side -- privacy problems. … To delve deeper into these issues and begin the search for alternatives, Cox recently won a $498,000, three-year grant from the National Science Foundation. The funding is part of the federal stimulus package called the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).” (“Seeking Privacy In The Clouds: Research Aims At Isolating Social Network Information From ‘Control Of A Central Entity,’” Science Daily, 10/15/09)

    “The City Recently Launched A $55,000 Project To Spay And Neuter Pets Owned By Low-Income Residents. Unwanted Pets Ultimately Cost $240 Apiece To Collect, Board And Euthanize, the city estimates, so the program covering 800 animals should save taxpayers money in the long run. The stimulative effect? That is harder to gauge. With the $380,000 overall Wichita has received from its share of the stimulus, the city estimates that it is directly funding 32 jobs so far. The bigger job producers, such as construction and transit projects, are due to start in the coming months.” (“The Challenge In Counting Stimulus Returns,” The Wall Street Journal, 10/27/09)

    “The Other Third Of The Stimulus, Government Infrastructure Spending, Has Been The Most Controversial From The Start. Some Proposals Have Been Criticized As Wasteful, Such As … A $3.4 Million ‘Ecopassage’ To Help Turtles Cross A Highway In Tallahassee, Fla.” (“The Challenge In Counting Stimulus Returns,” The Wall Street Journal, 10/27/09)

    “A Big Chunk Of The Money That Will Pay For A New Spring-Training Baseball Complex On Tribal Land In The East Valley Will Be Delivered Via A Financing Program That's Part Of The Federal Economic-Stimulus Plan. The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community says it may borrow as much as $30 million of the estimated cost of the $100 million complex near Scottsdale that will become the spring home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies.” (“Stimulus To Help Tribe Build Baseball Complex,” The Arizona Republic, 9/17/09)

5863  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: October 30, 2009, 10:58:51 PM
BBG,  Nice piece!  I would sell that one to their conservative competitors if they don't want it - Wash Times, DC Examiner, Townhall or even Real Clear Politics.

I don't think you would have liked having their editors cut through your work.  I wrote a counterpoint published by the Mpls paper alongside their endorsement of a young Bill Clinton in 1992.  They cut out one paragraph probably because they didn't understand the significance of it but it destroyed the meaning and originality of the entire piece from my point of view.  I had a couple of other run-ins with them and then started writing - no changes without permission - on my work.  They never published anything I wrote again.
5864  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / re. Cash for Clunkers on: October 30, 2009, 10:43:04 PM
If the average cost to the taxpayer for the credit was 24k and the average cost of the car was 24k, one would think they could have just given away the cars they want us to drive.

Of course they couldn't.  It would have cost the government over 96k to give away 24k.  It isn't as easy as it looks.  These are professionals; don't even think of trying it at home.
5865  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Do They Need the Public Option? on: October 30, 2009, 10:36:59 PM
"you can force insurance companies to "cover" preexisting conditions, but the resulting product is not insurance. You cannot insure against something that has already happened. It is merely a bill-paying mechanism."   
 Do They Need the Public Option?
October 30, 2009 John Hinderacker,

Much discussion of the House Democrats' health care bill has focused on its inclusion of the "public option," which most observers see as a Trojan Horse intended to serve, ultimately, as the vehicle for socialized medicine as private insurers are driven from the market--a process that President Obama has said may take ten to twenty years.

What strikes me as I read the House bill, however, is how closely it approximates socialized medicine even without the public option. The bill is classic national socialist legislation, in that it takes ostensibly private entities, the health insurance companies, and perverts them into instruments of the state, run top-down and barred from competing among themselves.

Under the House bill private health insurance companies will still exist, but to what end? They will be legally prohibited from competing in any meaningful sense. They will be required to issue substantially the same coverages at substantially the same rates, changes in which must be justified to the government. They will be prohibited from underwriting insurance risks in any rational way: they must pay all bills resulting from preexisting conditions, and they will be prohibited from charging lower-risk customers lower rates.

As I wrote here, you can force insurance companies to "cover" preexisting conditions, but the resulting product is not insurance. You cannot insure against something that has already happened. It is merely a bill-paying mechanism. Likewise, the House bill prohibits insurance companies from charging premiums on any rational basis. Section 213, titled "Insurance Rating Rules," provides:

    The premium rate charged for a qualified health benefits plan that is health insurance coverage may not vary except as follows:

    (1) LIMITED AGE VARIATION PERMITTED.--By age (within such age categories as the Commissioner shall specify) so long as the ratio of the highest such premium to the lowest such premium does not exceed the ratio of 2 to 1.

So young people--who, remember, will now be forced to buy health insurance--will subsidize older people.

    (2) BY AREA.--By premium rating area (as permitted by State insurance regulators or, in the case of Exchange-participating health benefits plans, as specified by the Commissioner in consultation with such regulators).

    (3) BY FAMILY ENROLLMENT.--By family enrollment (such as variations within categories and compositions of families) so long as the ratio of the premium for family enrollment (or enrollments) to the premium for individual enrollment is uniform, as specified under State law and consistent with rules of the Commissioner.

That's it. A lower premium for non-smokers or the non-obese? Forget about it. It's illegal.

Under the House bill, it is scarcely an exaggeration to say that health insurance companies are no longer in the insurance business. They can't rate and underwrite risks, which is the essence of insurance. That's illegal. They can't decide to whom they will issue policies; that's illegal, too. They can't offer novel or innovative coverages; their coverages are dictated by law. To a limited extent they can make decisions on paying claims, but under the watchful eye of government regulators. Meaningful competition among insurance companies will be, in effect, illegal. (In that context, it is a sick joke that the Pelosi bill also subjects health insurance companies to the antitrust laws, from which they had been exempted in consideration of their regulation by state, not federal, authorities.)

In the world that the House bill would create, the money we will pay to insurance companies won't really be insurance premiums. Insurance premiums are contractual payments which the parties voluntarily agree upon and which are based on a mutual assessment of risk. Rather, the checks we write to insurance companies will be taxes--legally compelled, at rates set by the federal government that are designed to punish some and subsidize others.

Isn't this socialized medicine in all but name? The only difference, perhaps, is that when things start to go badly, as they inevitably will--spiraling costs, long waits for treatment--Nancy Pelosi and her colleagues will have someone to blame: the insurance companies. Maybe old-fashioned socialized medicine would be better. Then, at least, the government would have to take responsibility for its folly.
5866  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Pathological Science: 2 More Legs to the Stool on: October 29, 2009, 07:56:10 PM
First, I second the question: If the science is settled, why are there still multiple climate models? Lol.
BBG, Freki, all,
The last post along with the recent debate reminds there are 2 more legs warming stool in order for fossil fuel use to destroy the planet.

Paraphrasing the first 2 false premises from the global waring debate:

Premise 1) The earth is warming, significant, consistent and accelerating warmth. (false)

Premise 2) The cause is human, primarily CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use, at least 51% causation.  (false)

Even if those were true (they aren't), the next 2 must also be true to require government action to avoid our demise:

Premise 3) Net positive feedback, not net-negative feedback. (false)  In other words, does the warming lead to more warming in an uncontrolled, accelerating spiral, or is there a net correction mechanism?  In fact, the history of the earth and its cycles demonstrates that negative feedback mechanisms prevail.  For example, increased CO2 levels cause faster and greater plant growth which in turn consumes more and more CO2 from the atmosphere, aka earth's cycles.

Premise 4) The period of time that humans will power with fossil fuels will be endless until planetary failure in a free economy (false) requiring a giant, coercive government to stop it (false).  A better estimate would be that our dependency on fossil fuels is already near it's peak and would actually be shifting faster to cheaper, carbon free sources if not for the plethora of big government mechanisms preventing the buildout of carbon-free nuclear.  Even if the transition to new technologies takes 50 years, it is a blip in time in the context of the history of the planet and its ecosystems.

5867  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2010 Elections: Pelosi-Reid vs. Madison on: October 29, 2009, 12:20:01 PM
From the previous post: ""If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one..." - James Madison

Perhaps the upcoming referendum on the direction of congress should be entitled:

Pelosi-Reid vs. Madison
5868  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / ACORN Mounts a Comeback on: October 29, 2009, 10:27:33 AM
The ACORN thread was supposed to be a place for a few side note comments about an obscure organization that operates in the inner cities of America that recruits 'welfare rights' support quietly without really telling people that they oppose all of the founding principles of our country.  Now they have entrenched power all the way up to the Oval Office and the funding committees in congress. 

A liberal 'friend' of mine was sarcastically making fun of conservatives by saying that  some little "acorn" is now the greatest threat this country has ever faced.  I waited my turn and replied that except for the sarcasm, I agree whole-heartedly; we face a threat from within that is greater than any foreign enemy we have ever faced.

ACORN Mounts a Comeback
October 28, 2009 Posted by John at 6:37 PM

Just a few weeks ago, the criminal enterprise called ACORN was on the run. Both House and Senate voted to de-fund the organization, but in different ways that were, in effect, more symbolic than real. The Democrats, having laid low for a while, are now moving to restore ACORN to a more powerful position than ever.

Byron York explains last week's maneuvering in the House Financial Services Committee. Republicans led by Michele Bachmann matched wits with Maxine Waters and the Democrats. That sounds like a mismatch, but the Dems prevailed by aiming higher than the Republicans had anticipated.

What is at stake is the administration's proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency. The House bill creates an Oversight Board that will advise the administrator of the agency. The Oversight Board consists of high-ranking officials like the chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve and the Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission. Only, under Waters's amendment, the Oversight Board would also include five members selected for their "expert[ise] in financial services, community development, fair lending and civil rights, and consumer financial products or services." Read, ACORN and assorted partners in crime.

The Waters Amendment passed, but the war isn't over yet. When the bill gets to the House floor, Republicans will offer an amendment intended to force Democrats to go on record as voting to empower the corrupt organization. Will that work? Hard to say, but one thing is certain: ACORN is a hard organization to put out of business.

How Dems outmaneuvered GOP on ACORN
By: Byron York
Chief Political Correspondent
October 27, 2009

Last Thursday was a confusing day at the House Financial Services Committee. The committee was preparing to vote on legislation to create a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency when a fight erupted over ACORN, the community organizing group that was defunded by Congress after videos surfaced showing ACORN workers involved in a variety of corrupt practices.

Although the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency -- designed to deal with issues like mortgages and credit-card fees -- has nothing to do with community organizing, Democrats offered an amendment that could allow ACORN and groups like it to participate in the new agency. Republicans offered an amendment of their own, designed to stop the Democratic one. An argument ensued. It was complicated, with lots of different proposals and a good bit of misunderstanding. But when the dust settled, Democrats had outmaneuvered Republicans, and the new bill they approved could allow organizations like ACORN to play a role in the highest levels of the new consumer protection agency.

The bill creates two boards. One, the Oversight Board, will be the key panel giving advice to the director of the new agency. The bill says the Oversight Board will have seven members and specifies who those members will be: the chairman of the board of governors of the Federal Reserve; the head of the agency responsible for chartering and regulating national banks; the chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; the chairman of the National Credit Union Administration; the chairman of the Federal Trade Commission; the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development; and the chairman of the liaison committee of representatives of state agencies to the Financial Institutions Examination Council.

That's the Oversight Board. The bill would also create a second board, the Advisory Board, which would offer general advice to the director of the new agency. The bill does not specify how many members the Advisory Board will have, nor who they will be. It just says they should be "experts in financial services, community development, fair lending and civil rights, and consumer financial products or services."

The Oversight Board, made up of some of the most powerful people in the U.S. government, is clearly the more powerful of the two boards. Since the makeup of the Oversight Board is specified in the bill, Republicans did not expect Democrats to try to open up that board to include openings for ACORN and similar groups. Instead, Republicans expected Democrats to offer an amendment which would make it possible for representatives from ACORN and other groups to serve on the Advisory Board. With that in mind, Republicans prepared an amendment of their own banning ACORN from the Advisory Board. (The central part of the amendment did not go after ACORN by name, but barred individuals from organizations that have been indicted for federal or state election law violations from serving on the board.)

It turns out Republicans were mistaken. On Thursday, Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters introduced an amendment that would add five members, not to the Advisory Board, but to the Oversight Board, with all five chosen from among "experts in the fields of consumer protection, fair lending and civil rights, representatives of depository institutions that primarily serve underserved communities, or representatives of communities that have been significantly impacted by higher-priced mortgage loans." That description could easily fit ACORN, or any number of other pro-Democratic groups. In any event, these new members would serve alongside the top officials from the Fed, FDIC, HUD, and the rest of the Oversight Board. Waters did not waste her time with the lower-level Advisory Board; she went straight for the top, the Oversight Board.

But Republicans had prepared an amendment which covered just the Advisory Board. "We can only anticipate what she's going to offer," says Rep. Michelle Bachmann, who introduced the Republican amendment, referring to Waters. "We anticipated the Advisory Board."

"Did Rep. Waters aim higher than you thought she would?" Bachmann was asked. "She certainly did," Bachmann answered.

If Waters surprised Bachmann, it also appears that Bachmann surprised Waters. The California Democrat appeared to expect Bachmann to attack the proposal to add community activists to the Oversight Board, and Waters seemed confused that Bachmann's amendment addressed the Advisory Board instead. Waters was prepared to fight, and then discovered the other side had missed the real target. "I do not know what we are doing here," Waters said at one point. "She [Bachmann] is amending the wrong board."

But committee chairman Rep. Barney Frank knew what was going on. Seeing that Bachmann's amendment did not cover the more important Oversight Board, Frank made sure Waters' amendment remained untouched. "We are simply trying to make sure that [Bachmann's] amendment does not inadvertently undo the amendment the gentlewoman from California previously offered," Frank said, before quickly ordering a vote on the amendments. The committee approved both Bachmann's and Waters'. The result was that the Oversight Board will be expanded with members of community organizations, including ACORN. Democrats did not seem to mind that ACORN was banned from the less-important Advisory Board.

In the end, the committee approved the bill, with amendments, by a vote of 39 to 29. And that was it for the day. But the issue is not yet settled.

Bachmann knows that Democrats managed to open up the Oversight Board to ACORN and other groups without even being forced to publicly defend the decision. Now, she hopes they will be forced to vote up or down on a proposal to bar ACORN from the Oversight Board. "What we're going to try to do is offer an amendment when the bill goes to the floor," says Bachmann. "That's the goal -- to keep people who are from ACORN from serving on the Oversight Board."

So there will be another test. Will Democrats vote to negate Waters' amendment, to keep ACORN and other organizations from playing key roles in the new Consumer Financial Protection Agency? Or will they take a stand for ACORN when it comes to the final debate on the bill? The answer could determine whether ACORN finds an important place in a large and powerful new government agency.

Byron York, The Examiner's chief political correspondent
5869  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / re. Federal Homebuyer Credit on: October 29, 2009, 10:08:07 AM
My apologies to the board, but I can't find a nicer way of saying this, but what a bunch of brain-dead, Marxist dumb-f*cks we have in power and unfortunately that reaches most of the way across to both parties.

What went wrong with housing in the first place?  A bubble in values grew and grew far beyond the intrinsic value of the properties and far beyond the ability of buyers to continue to afford them.  How could or why would something sell above its 'value'?? One word: Market Tampering (okay, two words).

Besides government skewing of values in the form of deductibility of interest that constitutes mostly a luxury item, besides the allowance of deductibility of property taxes, which takes away from the electorate pressure to LOWER the property taxes, we invent all these other non-market concoctions to skew the values.  Or we are just brain dead to the idea of UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES.  Worst was the CRA P rogram that pressured banks to make non-creditworthy loans.  Next came the disguising and packaging of bad loans by federally insured institutions without oversight.  Then put on top of that FREE MONEY in the form of the first time homebuyer federal credit to further encourage people to buys homes they can't afford and to END the practice of SAVING and putting some of their OWN hard-earned money on the line before the bank puts up the rest.

So what do we do after the crash?  More and more and more of the same.

Then we are SURPRISED by the result.  Shame on us.
5870  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / BO's friends and appointments: Joe Biden? on: October 28, 2009, 10:31:27 PM
The Paul Volcker observation is telling.  Like Colin Powell, a very impressive endorsement during the campaign.  He was showcased for credibility just when he was needed.  Now he is ignored.

 But Biden!?!  This thread can't cover Obama's choices without looking into this one.  It was disguised as a conventional, balancing reach for the ticket to the center of the party and to the senior, establishment player.  But after learning of Rev. Wright, Bill Ayers, Van Jones, Anita Dunn, the NAMBLA guy and on and on, I am forced to think that Joe Biden was strategically a head-fake.  We were to think that Obama would move to the center no matter how incompetent a pick he would have to settle with.  Instead we got clever and strategic Marxists and ruthless Chicago thugs.  Like a good magician, we were looking at Biden while Obama was hiring czars away from Stalin and Mao. (JMHO)
5871  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glibness - Opt Out? on: October 27, 2009, 10:37:25 PM
Pres. George W. Bush had Katrina.  It really had very little to do with him, but he had been weakened enough before it happened to be vulnerable for the blame - in all the confusion.

Bush senior had the breaking of his 'no new taxes' pledge moment.  His opponents pressured and pressured and pressured him to raise taxes.  He did, and they turned on him and ripped his credibility away forever.  They actually wanted far more new taxes but this was his very famous promise he was discarding.  For Carter it was telling the American people our best days were behind us.  Reagan was well into his second term but I think Iran-Contra took quite a toll on the end of his Presidency.

Cheney shot the attorney and never made it back to center stage.  Of course it had more to do with the Iraq war going badly.

Dukakis - it was the driving the tank photo.  Gary Hart - it was called 'monkey business'.  Hillary didn't really have the moment - there was just a general feeling that people wanted anyone but Hillary.  For Edwards, he fizzled politically before his own bombshell hit.  Some have that specific moment, some don't.

Back to Obama.  Does anyone else sense the weakening of his mystique, the armor falling, that the perfect campaign in a perfect storm has not turned into perfect leadership or perfect governance?  That people are starting to see that and he is becoming more and more vulnerable to being defined and boxed in by his next big screw up?  And it may not even have to be a big one. 
The latest curve ball coming by is the "Opt Out" clause.  Liberals want 'the public option' in the bill, moderates want it out, conservatives - well, don't really matter.  So they take the public option out to get it through committee, lose some support  and put it back in, lose some other key votes and take it back out, and then suddenly they think of something almost too clever to be true:  Put it in and give states the ability to "opt out".

What could be better?  Harry Reid can tell Nevada there is no public option but tell his leftmost colleagues there still is.  Nancy Pelosi can tell the San Francisco electorate their sex change operations are covered.  Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad from North Dakota can tell their ranchers no mandate.  Opt Out might even muddy the constitutional question because the individual mandate would then come from the state - well sort of.

It all seems a little too slick.  Do we also get to opt out of paying for it?  Or just opt out of receiving our share of each new trillion spent?  The federal tax rate would then be lower in Nebraska than Massachusetts?  If so, what else is negotiable?  What else involves federal taxing and spending not authorized by the constitution can states opt out of and not pay for?  I could learn to like this approach.  Slick and clever but not fully thought out by the coercive government people.  Maybe this is one of President Obama's deep thoughts (even if it came from congressional staffers) that could backfire on him quite badly.  If this played out to its logical conclusion, wouldn't the two systems and red and blue state program mixes look a lot like the split we had in the country coming into the civil war?  Just curious.
5872  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Way Forward: 10 Cannots on: October 27, 2009, 09:19:53 PM
Freki, all,  We should add this wonderful list of truths (from Freki) to 'the way forward' thread as well.

What clarity!

The 10 Cannots

1.  You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
2.  You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong
3.  You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich.
4.  You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
5.  You cannot build character and courage by taking away man's initiative and independence.
6.  You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.
7.  You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
8.  You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.
9.  You cannot establish security on borrowed money.
10  You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they will not do for themselves.

(1942 by William J. H. Boetcker)

5873  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: October 26, 2009, 11:16:43 PM
A thought sparked by the B.O. & friends thread:  It is not enough to point out when these people, President Obama and his inner circle, are Marxists, support terror against our country, believe our country deserved attacks of 9/11, were never proud of our country, think Americans are cowards, respected and admired Chairman Mao, want to disarm America, want to curtail free speech, stop out investment incentives, nationalize industries, subsidize the press, bankrupt our energy sources, etc etc etc.  Unfortunately, you/we must always also take the time on each point to say or write the part we think goes without saying --- why that is a bad idea!
5874  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The United Nations/ US Sovereignty on: October 26, 2009, 11:00:45 PM
Comments to the recent posts in the thread. Regarding the IMF, very clever not using the terms debtor, creditor!  Wouldn't want to get a stigma.  Just like food stamps re-named 'Snap' for better brand appeal.  My understanding is that IMF is mostly non-US control where the World Bank is more U.S. dominated.  I assume US is the main funder of both.  My opinion: funding from the US should be decided by the US on a case by case basis with recorded up or down votes by the people's elected representatives, not diverted to these multinational institutions including the UN.

Interesting take on the US ceding control of the internet - to countries and intl organizations more prone to global regulation and taxation.   No one else seemed to pick up a negative take on our country giving up another valuable asset.  I'm sure they will still want disproportionate US funding.

Also should note in this thread that references elsewhere to the controversial IPCC study regarding alleged global warming always seem to leave out the first name of the group of agreeing scientists, it is not just a random group of single minded scientists; it is the the UN - IPCC.
5875  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rules of the Road/Fire Hydrant on: October 24, 2009, 08:37:45 PM
The question: "At what point is someone beyond the social pale for all areas because of the views held in some areas?"

Discuss that, but my view is that CCP should decide what goes into CCP posts until HE crosses the line - and he hasn't!  Same goes for the right of anyone here to criticize any quote or person quoted. 

Alleged or implied of Buchanan was: "diminished the Holocaust and made somewhat supportive  statements of Hitler and made antisemitic and anti Israel statements."

I think I was the only one to actually back that up with this link to the anti-defamation league: "search the anti-defamation league website for 'Buchanan' at website".  There are a bunch of over the top quotes there especially from his books.  In and amongst the real objections are many quotes that are not so objectionable but just different than their own viewpoint, for example Buchanan opposes gay marriage which makes it harder to sort out the context where he made  bonehead remarks like not knowing the CO levels of diesel engines.

Interestingly we just had Rush Limbaugh have his liberty taken due to quotes originating from a blog, picked up by the St. Louis Dispatch and CNN.  Pretty good sources.  Happened to be patently false.  Same goes for context on the rest of what he says.  The NY Times quotes him without noting that he points out absurdity by using absurdity; it is one of his techniques, so the quotes are real while the meaning and the context is lost.  No one who listens regularly thinks he is racist or wants America to fail but every liberal who gets his words from elsewhere thinks exactly that.  So he was denied a right within our economic system - to buy into a business of his choosing.

Crafty, recall also that Jude Wanniski was not exactly a friend of Israel.  He was a defender of Saddam - one who paid people to kill Israelis, a denier of gassing the Kurds, but brilliant on  economics.  Off the board??

Back to the question, no one Muslim and certainly not Ahmadinejad could be posted if we ever took the wider and longer view.  Nothing from Obama on this board it follows because he is on a quest to sit down with the guy, etc.

Of course I should have stopped there, but it was Rachel who wrote the most offensive view I've read here, and in return I'm sure vice versa.  She basically said tough luck to the consequence of her abortion view which is current law, (like the treatment of Jews in Nazi Germany) that nearly cost my daughter her life, defending the complete right of the mother to kill her unborn for any reason, in this case during a bipolar mood swing with the motive of spite, and that all men, the father in particular and the other relatives should have no say whatsoever in the process or in setting the law.  Please correct me if wrong; I have no intention of overstating that point.

The silence of others here on abortion is deafening but the analogies to Hitlerisms never end - a primitive life form of lower value, not worth preserving.  Where have I heard that before?  'Diminished the tragedy and made somewhat supportive statements of [those who choose to kill] and made anti-fetal statements' - 'not much different than a sperm and so what if it is alive with unique DNA', etc.

Yet I find her views on other subjects and other posts here extremely valuable and worthwhile.  For example, I find this contribution yesterday brilliant, and not something I would run into elsewhere during my typical day: "According to the Midrash, the Third Commandment, "You shall not take G-d's name in vain," and the Eighth Commandment, "You shall not steal," are one and the same. Indeed, the Torah (in Leviticus 5:20) refers to financial fraud as "a betrayal of G-d." "Because," explains the great Talmudic sage Rabbi Akiva, "in defrauding his fellow, he is defrauding the Third Party to their dealings."

I wouldn't want my previous disagreement to prevent me from learning this kind of insight.   - Doug
And since this is the fire hydrant, will someone tell me why we call God "G-d"?  I think he knows we're talkin' about him.
5876  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Pathological Science: The Carbon Con Game on: October 23, 2009, 08:21:01 PM
Until this, I hadn't read anything critical about China's new PR campaign and the American Obamagasm over it that China will soon lead the world in green-everything if we don't get our coercive-big-government act together right now...

The Carbon Con Game
Peter Huber, 10.15.09, 10:20 PM EDT
Forbes Magazine dated November 02, 2009

China is the largest emitter of greenhouse gas on the planet. We burn more carbon per person, but China has more people, and both its population and economy are growing much faster than ours. For many members of Congress, a vote for strict carbon limits will be politically suicidal if constituents continue to believe--correctly--that the vote will propel a massive shift of jobs, wealth and emissions from Peoria to Beijing. So in the coming months watch out for brazenly false claims that China is blazing the green trail, and getting richer by doing so, and that to compete we must outgreen them. China is of course delighted to jigger numbers to help frame the story.

"China attaches great importance to tackling climate change," China's climate commissar recently declared. The Middle Kingdom therefore promises to lower its energy consumption per unit of GDP. Translation: "We promise to get richer." Energy consumption per unit of GDP always falls as a country gets richer. The poorest countries in Africa spend 100% of their GDP on food, the most primitive form of energy. Bill Gates, on the other hand, has the lowest energy consumption per unit of household GDP on the planet. Carbon emissions per unit of GDP follow the same trajectory. China's are about twice as high as ours, Africa's three times as high. The global climate, however, doesn't care a fig about hyphenated emissions, whether per capita, per dollar or per unit of sly political prevarication.

"China also sets an objective of increasing the proportion of renewable energy in the primary energy mix to 10% by 2010, and to 15% by 2020." Translation: "We'll keep on burning the stuff that poor people burn until we get rich." Biomass accounts for 10% of the global energy supply but less than 4% in the developed world and closer to 2% in the U.S. The poor always burn more carbohydrates, fewer hydrocarbons. Calling something "renewable" doesn't mean that it saves carbon. Agriculture, forestry and deforestation already cost the planet more than twice as much in carbon equivalents as transportation--over 30% of all emissions. Since nobody can track how many twigs, cowpats and rice husks a billion peasants burn--or alternatively, leave to fungi to convert into methane, a powerful greenhouse gas--China's carbon accountants can make its renewable numbers come out anywhere they like.

China is proud to report that it has been shutting down "small thermal power-generation units." Translation: "We're replacing diesel generators with big coal-fired power plants." Big, central power plants burn much cheaper fuel much more efficiently, and therefore generate much cheaper power, and therefore boost energy consumption, emissions and GDP even faster.

China touts its new wind, hydroelectric and nuclear capacity. Translation: "China's energy policy is--and will remain--solidly anchored in coal." The word "capacity" next to "wind" misleads by a factor of five or so, because much of the time the wind doesn't blow. China's nuclear plants and its gargantuan hydroelectric dams will indeed make a real dent in the carbon intensity of its energy supply. But mushrooming coal consumption will utterly swamp the savings for as long as anyone can possibly foresee.

China says it "has increased its carbon sinks by promoting reforestation." Translation: "Your sinks don't count." North America has been reforesting since 1920, and continues to do so. So fast, in fact, that we're currently sucking about two-thirds of our carbon emissions back into our forests and soil. Europe and Japan hate all such talk, at least when it's America that's talking, because we have lots of land to reforest and they don't. U.S. greens do their best not to talk about it too, because--well, it gets in the way of other agendas.

China says because it's poor and we're rich, we must slash our emissions--absolute emissions, not the per-GDP kind--by 25% to 40% in the next decade, and also pay China and other developing countries in both cash and technology transfers to help them curb theirs. Translation: "You're responsible for our sorry past."

Agricultural footprints shrink, forests recover and birth rates decline as people get richer. Our 19th-century birth rates were as high as China's and India's were through most of the 20th. Their huge, impoverished populations reflect economic and political choices that stifled economic growth in their countries during the century when we got rich, stabilized our populations, reforested our land and dispatched would-be global tyrants to the dustbin of history. China, not America, is responsible for the economic and demographic legacies of Puyi, Yuan, Sun, Chiang and Mao.

Peter Huber is a senior fellow of the Manhattan Institute and coauthor of The Bottomless Well
5877  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / re. Where in the constitution...power to mandate Americans buy health insurance on: October 23, 2009, 08:12:06 PM
"Where in the Constitution is the authority to mandate that Americans buy health insurance?"

I passed that excellent question to my liberal senators, Amy Klobuchar and the Honorable Al Franken as well as Congressman Keith Ellison and one friendly Republican.  Will keep the board informed of any interesting answers.

Maybe the federal authority to mandate health insurance is hidden in between the federal power to forbid states from limiting the right to kill your young and the search exemption for pleasure crafts.  sad

A constitutional convention is a bad idea in a climate where the existing provisions are already ignored and when the opponents of limited government are clearly in power. 

Instead it seems to me that each time federal authorities step on the constitution we should push for an up or down vote on repealing that constitutional protection, and see where they stand.  For example, McCain-Feingold should have been coupled with a demand for congress to vote yea or nay on repeal of the 1st amendment.  Couple Coast Guard funding with a demand for a vote to repeal the 4th amendment, and health reform with a demand for a vote for or against repealing the 10th.  If 2/3 of the House and 2/3rds of the Senate vote repeal, off it goes to the states.  I'm assuming that most people like constitutional limits on power, but like Pelosi - they just forget we have them.
5878  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: October 23, 2009, 10:34:12 AM
I hope we don't hold out the same harsh treatment for those who sympathize with or deny the existence of the holocaust of our time. 
5879  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / US Foreign Policy: Dick Cheney, October 21 2009 on: October 22, 2009, 10:32:07 AM
I found this speaker/author to be well-informed.  - Doug

Most anyone who is given responsibility in matters of national security quickly comes to appreciate the commitments and structures put in place by others who came before. You deploy a military force that was planned and funded by your predecessors. You inherit relationships with partners and obligations to allies that were first undertaken years and even generations earlier. With the authority you hold for a little while, you have great freedom of action. And whatever course you follow, the essential thing is always to keep commitments, and to leave no doubts about the credibility of your country's word.

So among my other concerns about the drift of events under the present administration, I consider the abandonment of missile defense in Eastern Europe to be a strategic blunder and a breach of good faith.

It is certainly not a model of diplomacy when the leaders of Poland and the Czech Republic are informed of such a decision at the last minute in midnight phone calls. It took a long time and lot of political courage in those countries to arrange for our interceptor system in Poland and the radar system in the Czech Republic. Our Polish and Czech friends are entitled to wonder how strategic plans and promises years in the making could be dissolved, just like that - with apparently little, if any, consultation. Seventy years to the day after the Soviets invaded Poland, it was an odd way to mark the occasion.

You hardly have to go back to 1939 to understand why these countries desire - and thought they had - a close and trusting relationship with the United States. Only last year, the Russian Army moved into Georgia, under the orders of a man who regards the collapse of the Soviet Union as the greatest geopolitical disaster of the 20th century. Anybody who has spent much time in that part of the world knows what Vladimir Putin is up to. And those who try placating him, by conceding ground and accommodating his wishes, will get nothing in return but more trouble.

What did the Obama Administration get from Russia for its abandonment of Poland and the Czech Republic, and for its famous "Reset" button? Another deeply flawed election and continued Russian opposition to sanctioning Iran for its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

In the short of it, President Obama's cancellation of America's agreements with the Polish and Czech governments was a serious blow to the hopes and aspirations of millions of Europeans. For twenty years, these peoples have done nothing but strive to move closer to us, and to gain the opportunities and security that America offered. These are faithful friends and NATO allies, and they deserve better. The impact of making two NATO allies walk the plank won't be felt only in Europe. Our friends throughout the world are watching and wondering whether America will abandon them as well.

Big events turn on the credibility of the United States - doing what we said we would do, and always defending our fundamental security interests. In that category belong the ongoing missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the need to counter the nuclear ambitions of the current regime in Iran.

Candidate Obama declared last year that he would be willing to sit down with Iran's leader without preconditions. As President, he has committed America to an Iran strategy that seems to treat engagement as an objective rather than a tactic. Time and time again, he has outstretched his hand to the Islamic Republic's authoritarian leaders, and all the while Iran has continued to provide lethal support to extremists and terrorists who are killing American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Islamic Republic continues to provide support to extremists in Syria, Lebanon, and the Palestinian territories. Meanwhile, the regime continues to spin centrifuges and test missiles. And these are just the activities we know about.

I have long been skeptical of engagement with the current regime in Tehran, but even Iran experts who previously advocated for engagement have changed their tune since the rigged elections this past June and the brutal suppression of Iran's democratic protestors. The administration clearly missed an opportunity to stand with Iran's democrats, whose popular protests represent the greatest challenge to the Islamic Republic since its founding in 1979. Instead, the President has been largely silent about the violent crackdown on Iran's protestors, and has moved blindly forward to engage Iran's authoritarian regime. Unless the Islamic Republic fears real consequences from the United States and the international community, it is hard to see how diplomacy will work.

Next door in Iraq, it is vitally important that President Obama, in his rush to withdraw troops, not undermine the progress we've made in recent years. Prime Minister Maliki met yesterday with President Obama, who began his press availability with an extended comment about Afghanistan. When he finally got around to talking about Iraq, he told the media that he reiterated to Maliki his intention to remove all U.S. troops from Iraq. Former President Bush's bold decision to change strategy in Iraq and surge U.S. forces there set the stage for success in that country. Iraq has the potential to be a strong, democratic ally in the war on terrorism, and an example of economic and democratic reform in the heart of the Middle East. The Obama Administration has an obligation to protect this young democracy and build on the strategic success we have achieved in Iraq.

We should all be concerned as well with the direction of policy on Afghanistan. For quite a while, the cause of our military in that country went pretty much unquestioned, even on the left. The effort was routinely praised by way of contrast to Iraq, which many wrote off as a failure until the surge proved them wrong. Now suddenly - and despite our success in Iraq - we're hearing a drumbeat of defeatism over Afghanistan. These criticisms carry the same air of hopelessness, they offer the same short-sighted arguments for walking away, and they should be summarily rejected for the same reasons of national security.

Having announced his Afghanistan strategy last March, President Obama now seems afraid to make a decision, and unable to provide his commander on the ground with the troops he needs to complete his mission.

President Obama has said he understands the stakes for America. When he announced his new strategy he couched the need to succeed in the starkest possible terms, saying, quote, "If the Afghan government falls to the Taliban - or allows al-Qaeda to go unchallenged - that country will again be a base for terrorists who want to kill as many of our people as they possibly can." End quote.

Five months later, in August of this year, speaking at the VFW, the President made a promise to America's armed forces. "I will give you a clear mission," he said, "defined goals, and the equipment and support you need to get the job done. That's my commitment to you."

It's time for President Obama to make good on his promise. The White House must stop dithering while America's armed forces are in danger.

Make no mistake, signals of indecision out of Washington hurt our allies and embolden our adversaries. Waffling, while our troops on the ground face an emboldened enemy, endangers them and hurts our cause.

Recently, President Obama's advisors have decided that it's easier to blame the Bush Administration than support our troops. This weekend they leveled a charge that cannot go unanswered. The President's chief of staff claimed that the Bush Administration hadn't asked any tough questions about Afghanistan, and he complained that the Obama Administration had to start from scratch to put together a strategy.

In the fall of 2008, fully aware of the need to meet new challenges being posed by the Taliban, we dug into every aspect of Afghanistan policy, assembling a team that traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan, reviewing options and recommendations, and briefing President-elect Obama's team. They asked us not to announce our findings publicly, and we agreed, giving them the benefit of our work and the benefit of the doubt. The new strategy they embraced in March, with a focus on counterinsurgency and an increase in the numbers of troops, bears a striking resemblance to the strategy we passed to them. They made a decision - a good one, I think - and sent a commander into the field to implement it.

Now they seem to be pulling back and blaming others for their failure to implement the strategy they embraced. It's time for President Obama to do what it takes to win a war he has repeatedly and rightly called a war of necessity.

It's worth recalling that we were engaged in Afghanistan in the 1980's, supporting the Mujahadeen against the Soviets. That was a successful policy, but then we pretty much put Afghanistan out of our minds. While no one was watching, what followed was a civil war, the takeover by the Taliban, and the rise of bin Laden and al-Qaeda. All of that set in motion the events of 9/11. When we deployed forces eight years ago this month, it was to make sure Afghanistan would never again be a training ground for the killing of Americans. Saving untold thousands of lives is still the business at hand in this fight. And the success of our mission in Afghanistan is not only essential, it is entirely achievable with enough troops and enough political courage.

Then there's the matter of how to handle the terrorists we capture in this ongoing war. Some of them know things that, if shared, can save a good many innocent lives. When we faced that problem in the days and years after 9/11, we made some basic decisions. We understood that organized terrorism is not just a law-enforcement issue, but a strategic threat to the United States.

At every turn, we understood as well that the safety of the country required collecting information known only to the worst of the terrorists. We had a lot of blind spots - and that's an awful thing, especially in wartime. With many thousands of lives potentially in the balance, we didn't think it made sense to let the terrorists answer questions in their own good time, if they answered them at all.

The intelligence professionals who got the answers we needed from terrorists had limited time, limited options, and careful legal guidance. They got the baddest actors we picked up to reveal things they really didn't want to share. In the case of Khalid Sheik Muhammed, by the time it was over he was not was not only talking, he was practically conducting a seminar, complete with chalkboards and charts. It turned out he had a professorial side, and our guys didn't mind at all if classes ran long. At some point, the mastermind of 9/11 became an expansive briefer on the operations and plans of al-Qaeda. It happened in the course of enhanced interrogations. All the evidence, and common sense as well, tells us why he started to talk.

The debate over intelligence gathering in the seven years after 9/11 involves much more than historical accuracy. What we're really debating are the means and resolve to protect this country over the next few years, and long after that. Terrorists and their state sponsors must be held accountable, and America must remain on the offensive against them. We got it right after 9/11. And our government needs to keep getting it right, year after year, president after president, until the danger is finally overcome.

Our administration always faced its share of criticism, and from some quarters it was always intense. That was especially so in the later years of our term, when the dangers were as serious as ever, but the sense of general alarm after 9/11 was a fading memory. Part of our responsibility, as we saw it, was not to forget the terrible harm that had been done to America ... and not to let 9/11 become the prelude to something much bigger and far worse.

Eight years into the effort, one thing we know is that the enemy has spent most of this time on the defensive - and every attempt to strike inside the United States has failed. So you would think that our successors would be going to the intelligence community saying, "How did you did you do it? What were the keys to preventing another attack over that period of time?"

Instead, they've chosen a different path entirely - giving in to the angry left, slandering people who did a hard job well, and demagoguing an issue more serious than any other they'll face in these four years. No one knows just where that path will lead, but I can promise you this: There will always be plenty of us willing to stand up for the policies and the people that have kept this country safe.

On the political left, it will still be asserted that tough interrogations did no good, because this is an article of faith for them, and actual evidence is unwelcome and disregarded. President Obama himself has ruled these methods out, and when he last addressed the subject he filled the air with vague and useless platitudes. His preferred device is to suggest that we could have gotten the same information by other means. We're invited to think so. But this ignores the hard, inconvenient truth that we did try other means and techniques to elicit information from Khalid Sheikh Muhammed and other al-Qaeda operatives, only turning to enhanced techniques when we failed to produce the actionable intelligence we knew they were withholding. In fact, our intelligence professionals, in urgent circumstances with the highest of stakes, obtained specific information, prevented specific attacks, and saved American lives.

In short, to call enhanced interrogation a program of torture is not only to disregard the program's legal underpinnings and safeguards. Such accusations are a libel against dedicated professionals who acted honorably and well, in our country's name and in our country's cause. What's more, to completely rule out enhanced interrogation in the future, in favor of half-measures, is unwise in the extreme. In the fight against terrorism, there is no middle ground, and half-measures keep you half exposed.

For all that we've lost in this conflict, the United States has never lost its moral bearings - and least of all can that be said of our armed forces and intelligence personnel. They have done right, they have made our country safer, and a lot of Americans are alive today because of them.

Last January 20th, our successors in office were given the highest honors that the voters of this country can give any two citizens. Along with that, George W. Bush and I handed the new president and vice president both a record of success in the war on terror, and the policies to continue that record and ultimately prevail. We had been the decision makers, but those seven years, four months, and nine days without another 9/11 or worse, were a combined achievement: a credit to all who serve in the defense of America, including some of the finest people I've ever met.

What the present administration does with those policies is their call to make, and will become a measure of their own record. But I will tell you straight that I am not encouraged when intelligence officers who acted in the service of this country find themselves hounded with a zeal that should be reserved for America's enemies. And it certainly is not a good sign when the Justice Department is set on a political mission to discredit, disbar, or otherwise persecute the very people who helped protect our nation in the years after 9/11.

There are policy differences, and then there are affronts that have to be answered every time without equivocation, and this is one of them. We cannot protect this country by putting politics over security, and turning the guns on our own guys.

We cannot hope to win a war by talking down our country and those who do its hardest work - the men and women of our military and intelligence services. They are, after all, the true keepers of the flame.
5880  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glibness, Who pulls the strings? on: October 22, 2009, 10:27:58 AM
"There is also the heavy whiff of politics in the (Obama) administration's war deliberations. The president's senior political adviser, David Axelrod, apparently attends war cabinet meetings—something I did not do as President Bush's senior political adviser."  - Karl Rove
5881  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / His Glibness - Zero Executive Experience on: October 21, 2009, 11:48:00 PM
Afghanistan - Obama did not use the word 'victory' to describe the criteria for his delayed and awaited decision on troop levels.

His brief background in the Illinois legislature and even more brief background as one of 100 senators did not put him in a position to face small executive decisions before being faced with serious Commander in Chief choices.  Nor did his experience as community organizer or ACORN defense council help. 

Obama logged 143 days of experience in the Senate before announcing his run for President. That's how many days the Senate was actually in session and working.

Chief executive of his campaign was his executive experience before being sworn into office.

Gibbs:"... a decision will be made in the coming weeks as the president goes through an examination of our policy"

Perhaps that is the amount of time the focus groups require to do their work.  We know Obama isn't pulling all-nighters with Gen. McChrystal.  Maybe he will also soon come to a decision on the vote he missed to condemn the General Betray Us ad:
"In the latest round of maneuvers over last week's ad attacking Gen. David Petraeus, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton today voted against a Senate resolution that condemned the ad and supported Petraeus. Sens. Barack Obama and Joe Biden did not vote on the measure."
5882  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics, John Maynard Keynes anti-capitalism quotation on: October 21, 2009, 11:07:08 PM
First my comment on the previous post here.  The Yen in one currency mentioned for the replacement of the dollar.  Japan is/was the world's no.2 economy yet countries hold a whopping 3% of their foreign reserves in Yen.  I will criticize Europe later but point out for now that the only threat to our own currency is economic mis-management from within.

Saw this on a bumper sticker today next to some save the earth stickers:

“Capitalism is the extraordinary belief that the nastiest of men for the nastiest of motives will somehow work for the benefit of all.” - John Maynard Keynes

Substitute the word liberty for the word capitalism in the quote for that is what they are really saying.  They can't curtail your free ability to buy, sell, work, save, invest or retain a fair portion of the fruits of your labor without curtailing your liberties. 

The nastiest of men for the nastiest of motives is their way of describing hard working Americans who are trying to bring prosperity and economic security to their families.  Keynes is dead but he is still the chief economic adviser to the current administration.  At room temperature he still believes that a large deficit is the ONLY way that our flawed free market can rescued.

There isn't a capitalist in today's world who can take away 40% of your family's income.  Big government can.  A bit unusual but my total taxes paid for 2008 were 4 times larger than my take home income.  To say that taxes are greater than food, clothing and shelter combined would be pure sugar coating for the magnitude of this taking.
5883  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Rant / Pat Buchanan - continued on: October 21, 2009, 10:37:18 PM
CCP: "Yet I find him to be the only one who will state what others are literally afraid to state."

That is very true in some cases.  Digressing a little, there is a politician in Sweden charged with “hate speech” for writing an opinion piece in which he calls Islam the biggest threat to his country since World War II.  On the board we have seen videos and threats caused by the newcomers to western European countries.  In the US, it would be Buchanan to point out what everyone sees.  Buchanan opposes a lot of the legal immigration we currently have and all of the illegal immigration.  I might disagree with him on legal immigration but it should not be wrong or illegal to lament that there used to be a day when city notices didn't need to be printed in 13 languages and to comment that in those days the cities were stronger and the crime rate was lower, if that in fact was the case.

My point about protectionism was only that I disagree with him.  Same goes for Iraq.  The view he takes is certainly welcome on the board for discussion or debate IMO.  Opposing WWII intervention is consistent with anti-Iraq-war views - I don't agree with it but it's worthy of discussion.  I don't know the context of the Lincoln remark, but certainly by today's common rhetoric he led us into a bloody war.  Hard to explain but bloody war can be a good thing, like war to stop Hitler and showing our massive destructive capability and proving the willingness to use in order to stop the Pacific war of WWII.

Suspicion of the Israel lobby in America is valid and healthy.  Plenty of people think they have too much influence and it should be okay to say it aloud over the airwaves.  My objection is that when they say we only have a policy because of money from Israel, misplaced loyalties or Haliburton (or coal companies etc.),  but I favor the policy and I didn't receive any money, then I personally find that comment naive and condescending, still worthy of posting for discussion if for no other reason than that the view is widely held and deserves an opportunity to be answered and refuted.
5884  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: October 21, 2009, 11:35:58 AM
Strat has the analysis of the Afghan situation as good as any I've read.  Obama doesn't have the commitment to go in and do what is necessary in the urban centers and take heat like Bush took over casualties and mistakes.  If he tries without full commitment it will fail because the trust of the people necessary to get good intelligence won't happen.  Retreating to the horizon will fail for the lack of on-the-ground intelligence and because air strikes would take casualties making things worse.  Lack of a commitment to win (or exit) means perpetual war favoring the side willing and able to take the most casualties, and unless I'm missing something, we lack the commitment.

Strat: "The problem is that regardless of how secure Afghanistan is, jihadist forces can (to varying degrees) train and plan in Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Indonesia — or even Cleveland for that matter."

Yes but I draw a distinction.  It is very important that the terrorists over time have a smaller map to operate in and they not get too comfortable in any of their locations.  

The fact that the governments of Indonesia and Pakistan are at least trying to end/prevent safe havens is important - governments of Cleveland, Detroit and Minneapolis could take a lesson from them.  

Joining the jihad is not glamorous, even for a suicide bomber, when your side is losing.  OBL knows that; recall the importance he put on winning in Iraq.  

Obama's goal is political, to keep the conflict from getting worse and to find cover.  He needs to make peace with his fellow contributors to the 'General Betray Us' ad from when the General was sworn in to take condescension from then-Sen. Hillary et al.  Remember that LBJ was removed by his own party.

If Obama allows global terrorism to fester and we are attacked after his term he won't be harmed any worse than Bill Clinton was in his legacy. From what I can see, this is about him and about not losing political power to wield at home.  How could anyone read his statements and positions over his brief career and think his focus is national security?
5885  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Top 20 signs from the tea party on: October 20, 2009, 09:51:30 AM
I liked this one:

Also: "Don't tell Obama what's after a trillion"
        "Put the Constitution on your Teleprompter"
5886  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Environmental issues on: October 19, 2009, 11:44:13 PM
Jumping in and guessing Rachel's issue with Buchanan... CCP, you may want to search the anti-defamation league website for Buchanan,  They have quite a focus on him for not being a friend of Israel to put it lightly. 

Buchanan was a huge early critic of Iraq war, which is fine, but I don't like when people imply Israel has too much power in America and that's why we went.  Like the war or not, we didn't go because some group has both parties on puppet strings.

Other areas: He is a consistent opponent of freedom to trade, opponent of free trade agreements etc. which is a political philosophy opposite to mine at least in that area.  He is a critic of immigration, and not just the illegal kind.  Also very pro-life and he is pro-limited government in most other policy areas.  I think he is pretty much right-on with this piece on climate change legislation.  But as mentioned previously, conservatism needs better leaders.
5887  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for Reps/Conservatives/the American Creed on: October 19, 2009, 02:46:18 PM
Crafty: "Exactly why I don't take them seriously."

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

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

   - Yes.  That's a big problem, but so is credibility.  You don't persuade people in the middle when they see you don't believe in what you say either.  George H.W. Bush was kicked out mostly for breaking his pledge of no new taxes.  He was replaced with someone who admitted he would raise taxes.  Bill I-didn't-inhale/Gennifer-Flowers Clinton was perceived as more honest?  I don't know, just know that the brand name didn't stand for anything at that point and people were open to change and compassion instead.
5888  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for Reps/Conservatives/the American Creed on: October 19, 2009, 11:19:15 AM
Gallup, like a lot of polls, samples all Americans not likely voters to get their numbers.  Still their Obama approval spread fell from about 60 points to 12.

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

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

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

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

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

This board has a wide enough range of conservative and libertarian thought to come up with the next Contract with America to steer next year's candidates in the right direction.  Anyone care to take a stab at it?
5889  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Negative Temperature Feedback Factors Measured at MIT on: October 19, 2009, 10:52:41 AM
Climate feedback assumptions in all the UN IPCC models are proven false by actual data.
Peer reviewed, published study by credentialed scientists from the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at M.I.T.  Good luck to the debate partners in refuting the data.  May I predict their reaction will be to personally smear the authors...

Climate feedbacks are estimated from fluctuations in the
outgoing radiation budget from the latest version of Earth
Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE) nonscanner data.
It appears, for the entire tropics, the observed outgoing
radiation fluxes increase with the increase in sea surface
temperatures (SSTs). The observed behavior of radiation
fluxes implies negative feedback processes associated with
relatively low climate sensitivity. This is the opposite of
the behavior of 11 atmospheric models forced by the same
SSTs. Therefore, the models display much higher climate
sensitivity than is inferred from ERBE, though it is difficult to
pin down such high sensitivities with any precision. Results
also show, the feedback in ERBE is mostly from shortwave
radiation while the feedback in the models is mostly from
longwave radiation. Although such a test does not distinguish
the mechanisms, this is important since the inconsistency of
climate feedbacks constitutes a very fundamental problem
in climate prediction. Citation: Lindzen, R. S., and Y.-S.
Choi (2009), On the determination of climate feedbacks from
ERBE data
5890  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Dollar's Fall: Deal With It - Donald Luskin on: October 17, 2009, 04:54:22 PM
Luskin:  "obviously, a currency undergoing inflation is worth less than a currency not undergoing inflation"

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

The Dollar's Fall: Deal With It

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

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

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

Here's why.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Third, the Treasury will be actively pursuing diplomacy to get China and other exporters to strengthen their currencies, so the dollar is going lower.
5891  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Pathological Science - the debate on: October 17, 2009, 12:18:57 AM
Freki,  I'm finding the debate very entertaining. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Global warming, lower atmosphere from Satellite data,

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

2000 Years of Global Temperatures

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

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

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

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

5892  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Abortion on: October 16, 2009, 10:14:34 PM
Thanks Howie for writing.  Great post.  With today's imagery or in your case seeing them born early and tiny, it is hard to deny what is real and in front of you.  Last time this digressed into details about criminalization issues, that unique DNA isn't important because identical twins have same DNA, that sperm is alive so it isn't important that that a fetus is alive and whether or not someone personally thinks he/she is/isn't more moral than someone else.  Before we decide what to do about abortion and separate from finding quirks of nature to confuse or undermine the point, separate from personalizing this to who is or is not more moral than someone else, can't we all look and see that the little one is a developing, live human being.  It is alive, it is human, it has its own genetic code separate from the mother and the father, and it is too young to survive on its own - like a baby.

Before figuring out what to do about it, can't we agree that because it is a live, developing human being trying to grow, develop and survive, to kill it for convenience reasons - which fairly characterizes 98% of abortions in America - is wrong.
5893  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-Russia on: October 16, 2009, 11:34:30 AM
Two quotes onthe current situation:
To Russia With Love. Do you laugh or cry about our policy with Russia? When we serially cried out “reset” button, blamed Bush for the new Cold War with Russia, and promised to “listen”, we knew the US was walking blindfolded up the steps of Putin’s guillotine. So we humiliated the Czechs and the Poles (who have suffered far worse from the Russians) in exchange for the mythical “help” with sanctions on Iran. Today, Putin’s brief verdict of “premature” on sanctions said it all. If we can reconstruct the Obama/Hillary disaster, it goes something like this: Putin always liked the win/win/win/win idea of a nuclear Iran (the missiles point at the U.S., good profits for Russian companies, tensions in the Gulf always a help with high oil prices, everyone begs Russia to “leash” their new feral nuclear bulldog). So he entraps the idiotic Americans by vague promises of Iranian sanctions in exchange for reestablishing Russian fear and obedience in the former Soviet sphere—while revealing how America’s economic dive and strategic hesitation are proof of a more endemic decline. When Hillary talks of how delighted she is that Russia is “so supportive”, are we to cry for the beloved country? It is as if Putin not only knew he would win on this one, but get the added bonus of showing the world how obsequious, naïve, and impotent the new U.S. was in the bargain.
Throughout the Cold War, except to some extent during the Carter years, the U.S. responded more or less in kind to Russian hard-bargaining. In the modern era, President Bush, prodded by Vice President Cheney, eventually did so as well.

It probably never occurred to the Russians that a U.S. president would come to power hoping to "reset" relations with Russia on some basis other than the hard bargain and the "trust but verify" mentality. Yet this is precisely what has fallen into the Kremlin's lap. From what I've heard, the Russian elites can neither believe their good fortune nor hide their amusement.
5894  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Interconnected Economics and the Magic of Numbers in Politics, Thomas Sowell on: October 16, 2009, 11:22:31 AM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More than two centuries ago, Edmund Burke said, "Nothing is good but in proportion" — that is, when weighed as a trade-off. But a prudent weighing of trade-offs does not produce the political melodrama of pursuing a "good thing" measured by some magic number.
5895  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Abortion, pick on someone your own size on: October 15, 2009, 06:58:39 AM
Estimate that a little more than a million slaughtered since the last post here justifying abortion and maybe 3/4 million killed since the last on the Reproductive Issues thread insisting that a beating heart with unique fingerprints is a 'potential life'.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    It was one of the more raw moments in my life. Doing second trimester abortions did not get easier after my pregnancy; in fact, dealing with little infant parts of my born baby only made dealing with dismembered fetal parts sadder.
5896  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science on: October 14, 2009, 05:25:59 PM
Freki,  People like that are fun to discuss science with. Besides counting scientists, I particularly like the way he condescends, as if you weren't able to google without some steering.  Seriously I like the way you don't show all your cards.  Just within the discussions here is enough material to rip the report to shreds, but that's not the way to begin.

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

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

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

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

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

As soon as you can pin him down on an alarming amount of continuous and accelerating, measured warming and that human causes are the main cause, say at least a third or a half of that, then his alleged consensus of scientists will quickly disappear, I predict.
5897  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glibness: Top Twenty Things Obama Doesn't Say on: October 13, 2009, 12:47:33 PM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        20. It has become clear to me after meeting with military experts that their recommendations should be implemented in our current situation; this is not an area in which politics can be allowed to interfere.
5898  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glibness: Unfulfilled Pledges on: October 13, 2009, 12:45:06 PM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10. PROMISE SIDELINED. Mr Obama promised to end warrantless wiretaps on the domestic communications of Americans and to "update the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to provide greater oversight and accountability". So far, he has taken no action.
5899  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Music on: October 13, 2009, 11:26:20 AM
CCP, My daughter went to see Taylor Swift this past weekend sad  The question of who writes her songs is asked on Yahoo.  Then it is answered by young fans who vote on each other's answer and so it is now a resolved question sad

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

What I don't understand, if there are millions to be made why they can't, as Jackson had to here with Paul Anka, buy and pay for the help they receive.  Maybe the answer is in the fan comments on Taylor Swift.  They are so sure that she is singing directly to them from the heart, not reading a teleprompter.  Even then, couldn't they privately buy the right to take full credit?
5900  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: A second Great Depression is still possible on: October 13, 2009, 10:55:00 AM
First regarding Bloomberg on the Obama dollar, normally a weak dollar boosts exports i.e. self correcting, but combine that with the decimation of industry, what is there to sell anymore and the dollar was already low.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Decline is a choice. (See

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

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

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

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

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

Repeating, decline is a choice.  We are choosing it.  Maybe you and I didn't vote for Pelosi or Obama, but we also are not successfully putting out clear, pro-growth alternatives and arguments up for consideration.
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