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201  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Malken: Chamber of Comm. = cronyism on: January 25, 2014, 09:20:39 PM
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce vs. America

By Michelle Malkin  •  January 24, 2014 09:03 AM


The U.S. Chamber of Commerce vs. America
 by Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2014

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is a politically entrenched synod of special interests. These fat cats do not represent the best interests of American entrepreneurs, American workers, American parents and students, or Americans of any race, class or age who believe in low taxes and limited government. The chamber’s business is the big business of the Beltway, not the business of mainstream America.

If you are a business owner who believes your country should strictly and consistently enforce its borders and deport illegal immigrants who violate the terms of their visas, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce doesn’t represent you.

If you are a worker who believes the feds should punish illegal aliens who use fake documents to obtain jobs instead of rewarding them with “legal status,” the U.S. Chamber of Commerce doesn’t champion you.

If you are a parent or educator who opposes top-down federal education schemes such as Common Core that undermine local control, dumb down rigorous curricula and threaten family privacy while enriching big business and lobbying groups, the U.S. Chamber od Commerce doesn’t speak for you.

If you are a taxpayer who has had enough of crony capitalism and publicly funded bailouts of failing corporations, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce doesn’t work for you.

Last year, the chamber poured more than $52 million into K Street lobbying efforts on behalf of illegal alien amnesty, Fed Ed Common Core programs and increased federal spending. This year, chamber bigwigs are paving the perilous pathway to GOP capitulation. The left hardly needs to lift a finger against tea party candidates and activists who are bravely challenging the big government status quo. The chamber has already volunteered to spend $50 million subsidizing the Republican incumbency protection racket and attacking anti-establishment conservatives.

Allow me to say, “I told you so.” In 2010, when President Barack Obama hypocritically attacked the chamber for accepting “foreign donations” just before the midterm elections, many on the right rushed to the group’s side. But as I warned then, the purported enemy of my enemy is … sometimes my worst enemy. Barely three months after their Kabuki campaign fight, Obama and the chamber had already kissed and made up.

The chamber joined hands with the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations on a joint campaign to support Obama’s increased government infrastructure and spending proposals, stuffed with Big Labor payoffs.

The chamber is one of the staunchest promoters of mass illegal immigration, and joined with the AFL-CIO and American Civil Liberties Union to oppose immigration enforcement measures.

The chamber opposed E-verify and sued Arizona over its employer sanctions law.

The chamber supported a pro-Obamacare, pro-TARP, pro-stimulus, pro-amnesty Democrat in Arizona over his free-market GOP challenger.

The chamber supported the George W. Bush/Obama TARP, the Bush/Obama auto bailout and the billion-dollar, pork-stuffed stimulus.

This isn’t about letting the best ideas and businesses thrive. It’s about picking winners and losers. It’s about “managing” competition and engineering political outcomes under the guise of stimulating the economy and supporting “commerce.” What’s in it for the statist businesses that go along for the ride with Obama and his team of corruptocrats? Like they say in the Windy City: It’s all about the boodle — publicly subsidized payoffs meted out to the corruptocrats’ friends and special interests.

In the case of Common Core, the chamber has made common cause with the left-wing, corporate-bashing Center for American Progress in a new Baptists and Bootleggers coalition. They are seemingly strange bedfellows who both profit from increased federal government intervention. For giant corporate publishers, such as Pearson and other big-business ventures backed by the chamber, it’s all about cashing in on the public schools’ Common Core captive guinea pigs in testing, teaching, data collection and data analysis.

For big government advocacy groups, such as CAP, it’s all about diminishing state, local and parental control over local education and curricular decisions; expanding Washington’s regulatory reach into the classroom; and ensuring the perpetuation of the Fed Ed bureaucracy.

When businesses get in the government handout line, it’s not a “public-private partnership.” It’s corporate welfare. Venture socialism. Whatever you call it, it stinks as much under Democrat administrations as it does under Republican ones.

Always beware of Washington business-boosters wearing false free-market facades.
202  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Images of Sochi - a Black Sea resort on: January 24, 2014, 09:10:47 PM
https://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images;_ylt=A0oG7havKuNSLF0AgVJXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTB0bHRnZzgyBHNlYwNzYwRjb2xvA2FjMgR2dGlkA1ZJUDA0OF8x?_adv_prop=image&fr=yfp-t-200&va=sochi
203  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Dick Morris and the class action ambien attorney on: January 24, 2014, 08:10:52 PM
http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2014/01/22/dick-morris-speaks-with-attorney-susan-chana-lask-about-ambien-allegedly-triggering-bizarre-behaviors/

PS  Lunesta is not used nearly as much for one reason - it ain't generic.  No one wants to pay for it.
204  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The War on Drugs on: January 24, 2014, 07:52:18 PM
"by introducing alternative "drug courts" that offer treatment and softer penalties for minor offenses,"

Offer treatment?  What does he mean?  What treatment?  Who pays for that?  For smoking dope?

How the hell do you treat that?

Minor offense?   

This sounds ridiculous. 

Why bother with half measures.  It is either legal or not. 

Perry is trying to have it both ways and at least to me sounds even more absurd by muddying the issue even more.
Might as well make it legal.
205  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Demographics on: January 24, 2014, 07:45:58 PM
"Here 99 percent of the 313 pupils have an immigrant (Muslim) background. For 285 of those, the parents receive financial support from the state."

Velcome to Germany.   The immigrants of today are not the immigrants of my grandparents.  Even in Germany it appears.
206  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science on: January 22, 2014, 06:49:50 PM
I am not sure you understood my question.

"However, science must rule and the global warming hypothesis is fairly challenged e.g. in this thread"

My point is I don't know which science to believe.  I don't know what to conclude.   I don't know who to believe. 
207  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: January 22, 2014, 12:19:11 PM
"they are targeted for destruction by both the Democrat establishment and the media, and even establishment Republicans"

Yup.
208  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: January 22, 2014, 12:18:28 PM
The left MSM blitz/tsunami on girl power like the gay infatada before it is going to badger us like no tomorrow.  All in setup for their hero - Hillary.

To think they glamorize a filthy mouth like Sarah Silverman just further goes to show us how demeaned our culture has become:

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Hollywood/2014/01/21/pbs-women-honors-sarah-silverman-dunham
209  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces on: January 22, 2014, 11:11:25 AM
Why in the world would they accept gifts like this?  The gifts were to family members which under Virginia is legal though they maybe avoided reporting them which is not.
The investigation seems to have sprung unexpectedly from some items stolen from a kitchen by a chef who was obviously given some plea deal in exchange for dirt on the bigger fish. 

Yet I wonder why Federal investigations seem to be successful against Republicans but seem to go no where with Democrats.   And to think McDonnell's gifts of 160K were such a big deal when Virginia just elected a far bigger crook McAullife as governor?  That guy has become a multimillionaire with his insider deals.   Some people are just wiser at skirting the laws when they take bribes I guess. 

****Ex-Governor of Virginia Is Indicted on Charges Over Loans and Gifts


By TRIP GABRIELJAN. 21, 2014
Former Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, could face decades in prison if convicted. Steve Helber/Associated Press

Former Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia and his wife, Maureen, were indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury on charges of accepting more than $140,000 in loans and gifts in exchange for promoting the business of a political patron who was seeking special favors from the state government.

The 14-count indictment filed by the United States attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia included charges of fraud and soliciting loans and gifts from Jonnie R. Williams Sr., the chief executive of Star Scientific, a maker of dietary supplements, who hoped to use the governor to promote his products.

The indictment accuses the McDonnells of accepting some $135,000 in cash from Mr. Williams, thousands of dollars in golf outings, designer clothing and a Rolex watch engraved “71st Governor of Virginia” on the back. It accuses the former first couple of lying about the gifts on loan statements and to government investigators.

Once a rising Republican star, mentioned as a possible running mate for Mitt Romney in 2012 and as an aspirant for his party’s 2016 presidential nomination, Mr. McDonnell has taken a spectacular fall since details of his relationship with Mr. Williams surfaced last spring. Under Virginia law, he was limited to one four-year term, but details of his relationship with Mr. Williams and the threat of his indictment colored the race to succeed him.

“Today’s charges represent the Justice Department’s continued commitment to rooting out public corruption at all levels of government,” the acting assistant attorney general, Mythili Raman, said in a statement. “Ensuring that elected officials uphold the public’s trust is one of our most critical responsibilities.”

At a news conference in Richmond on Tuesday night, Mr. McDonnell said he had been “falsely and wrongly accused” and that prosecutors had “stretched the law to its breaking point” to bring charges. He said he did no special favors for Mr. Williams. He appeared with his wife and took no questions.


Earlier, a lawyer for Ms. McDonnell, William Burck, said she was innocent.

Mr. McDonnell, who last summer announced that he was returning the gifts and loans, has long maintained that he never did anything for Mr. Williams or his company that he would not have done for any other Virginia business.

He apologized in his last address to the General Assembly on Jan. 8 for the scandal, which cast a shadow over the campaign of the Republican candidate who sought to succeed him, Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II. Mr. Cuccinelli lost in November to the current governor, Terry McAuliffe.

A lawyer for Mr. Williams, Jerry W. Kilgore, declined to comment. Mr. Williams stepped down as chief executive of Star Scientific last month and the company changed its name.

If convicted, the McDonnells could face decades in prison.

As detailed in the 43-page indictment, Mr. Williams ingratiated himself with the McDonells by giving them lavish gifts and loans, many of which it said Ms. McDonnell solicited with the promise that she and the governor could help his company.

Mr. Williams, an entrepreneur whose publicly traded company developed dietary supplements and cosmetics derived from a tobacco extract, sought to use the McDonnells to impress investors, as well as to enlist the governor’s support in winning state-funded research on his product.

In April 2011, the government charges, Ms. McDonnell asked Mr. Williams to buy her an Oscar de la Renta gown in New York for a political event at the Union League Club. She promised to seat him next to the governor.

Later that year, the indictment charges, Ms. McDonnell told Mr. Williams that she and her husband were having severe financial difficulties because of real estate investments in Virginia Beach. She asked for a $50,000 loan. Mr. Williams agreed to lend the money, telling the governor that “loan paperwork was not necessary,” according to the charges.

ELSEWHERE ON NYTIMES.COM
 

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nytimes.comVideo




Shortly after, Mr. Williams paid $15,000 to cater the wedding of the McDonnells’ middle daughter, and Ms. McDonnell agreed to fly to Florida on Mr. Williams’s private jet to promote a dietary supplement called Anatabloc, made by Star Scientific.

“Thanks so much for all your help with my family,” the governor wrote to Mr. Williams, in an email included in the indictment. “Your very generous gift to [CM] was most appreciated as well as the golf round tomorrow for the boys,” he added, with “CM” apparently a reference to the governor’s middle daughter.

“Maureen is excited about the trip to fla to learn more about the products,” he added.

At the governor’s request, according to the indictment, the Virginia secretary of health asked policy advisers to meet with Mr. Williams, who was interested in having Virginia’s public universities conduct scientific studies of the health benefits of the active ingredient in Anatabloc, which he would be able to point to for investors.

In a meeting with the health policy adviser, Mr. Williams said he had discussed with the governor having the studies paid for by the State Tobacco Commission.

Later, when the governor met with a top state official about ways to reduce health care costs, Mr. McDonnell pulled out some Anatabloc from his pocket, said he took it personally and asked the official to “reach out to the ‘Anatabloc people’ and meet with them,” according to the indictment.

In the summer of 2011, when Mr. Williams offered a mountain lake home he owned to the McDonnells for a getaway, Ms. McDonnell asked if Mr. Williams’s Ferrari would be available for their use. Mr. Williams had an employee drive the car to the lake house for the McDonnells’ enjoyment, according to the indictment.

The government charges that after Ms. McDonnell met with investigators in February 2013, she wrote a note to Mr. Williams trying to cover her tracks by making it appear that she had agreed to return the designer luxury goods to him rather than keep them.

The governor was charged with routing Mr. Williams’s loans and other largess through family members and “corporate entities” to avoid revealing them on annual gift disclosure filings. When details of some of the gifts emerged publicly last year, Mr. McDonnell said they had been made to family members, not himself, and therefore he was not required to disclose them.

Speaking to radio listeners last spring, Mr. McDonnell said, “I think it’s important that the people of Virginia know that nothing has been done with regard to my relationship with Mr. Williams or his company Star Scientific to give any kind of special benefits to him or his company.”

Although Mr. McDonnell said he had returned all the gifts, the indictment includes a list of property that he and his wife would be required to forfeit if they are convicted. The list includes Mr. McDonnell’s silver Rolex, two gold Oscar de la Renta dresses, an Armani jacket and matching dresses, two pairs of Foot Joy golf shoes, a baby blue striped Peter Millar golf shirt, a Ping Kinloch golf bag, two sets of golf clubs, two iPhones and 30 boxes of Anatabloc.****
210  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Organized Crime - bigger than ever - just less violent; Economist on: January 22, 2014, 10:24:08 AM
Only when it was violent and too political to ignore.  Now it is worse because of the electronic world we live in and the international nature of some of it.  I as everyone has heard ad nauseum noted what I experienced in the music industry and how law enforcement does essentially nothing to even try to stop it.  The growing and exponential spread of big data will hitting everyone now in ways they don't even see or realize.  There is not and has not been enough outrage to get the politicians or law enforcement people even remotely interested in protecting us.  The focus is on Muslim terrorists.  What about the other form of white collar terrorism?  Yeah so there are not dead bodies strewn around.   Until people get serious about theft and other forms of corruption we will all continue to be victims.

****Organised crime

Earning with the fishes

As globalised gangs profit from new regulations and markets, governments are struggling to keep up
 Jan 18th 2014  | LONDON AND NEW YORK  | From the print edition

SOME lawmen chase villains down mean streets. Others chase fraudsters across balance-sheets. In the stomach-churning stench of the Vetport at John F. Kennedy International Airport, yet others don surgical masks, goggles and rubber gloves, and peer with penlights into crates holding thousands of little birds.

These inspectors with the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) examine not just live animals entering America—such as the 45 outlaw jays they found lurking in a legal shipment of thousands of birds—but plants and animal products such as handbags and caviar. In 2011 FWS agents raided Gibson Guitar facilities in Tennessee and seized wood worth hundreds of thousands of dollars that they suspected had been illegally imported from India and Madagascar.

The buyers may be besotted ornithophiles, air-brained fashionistas or greedy gourmets. But the sellers are crooks, supplying a market which, according to America’s Congressional Research Service, is worth as much as $133 billion annually. Commodities such as rhino horn and caviar offer criminals two benefits rarely found together: high prices and low risk. Rhino horn can fetch up to $50,000 per kilogram, more than gold or the American street value of cocaine. Get caught bringing a kilogram of cocaine into America and you could face 40 years in prison and a $5m fine. On January 10th, by contrast, a New York court sentenced a rhino-horn trafficker to just 14 months.

The appeal of such trade is increased, however unwittingly, by governments trying harder to protect what is precious and rare. “When we finally get it together to agree that we’ll only take ten tuna out of the water this year because that’s all we can afford to take, that 11th tuna will be worth a lot of money,” says Theodore Leggett of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). As with tuna, so with ebony, ivory and rhino horn—all being regulated more tightly, and all still desirable.

The world is their oyster

Organised crime is globalising and diversifying. Mono-ethnic, hierarchical mafias are being replaced by multi-ethnic networks that operate across borders and commit many types of offence. In an ongoing investigation into rhino-horn trafficking, the FWS arrested Irish travellers using indigent Texans to procure material for Chinese and Vietnamese buyers. Europol, the European Union’s law-enforcement agency, estimates that just a quarter of Europe’s roughly 3,600 organised-crime groups have a main nationality, and that some operate in dozens of countries. A third are involved in more than one criminal enterprise, with half of those linked to drug-trafficking.

And though traditional trafficking in drugs, guns and people is still lucrative, gangs are increasingly moving into lower-risk, higher-reward areas—not just wildlife, but fraud and illegal waste-disposal. The UNODC says the value of cross-border trade in counterfeit goods could be as much as $250 billion a year. On January 14th it launched a campaign to tell consumers about the dangers posed by fake electronics, food, medicines and the like—and how the buyers of knock-offs enrich some highly unpleasant people.

Gangs in Britain make around £9 billion ($14.8 billion) a year from tax, benefit, excise-duty and other fraud—not much less than the £11 billion they earn from drugs. In America cigarette-trafficking deprives state, local and federal governments of $5 billion in tax revenues annually. The European Union estimates that losses within its borders from cigarette smuggling, tax fraud and false claims on its funds by organised groups total €34 billion ($46.5 billion) a year. But member states bring fewer than ten cases each a year for defrauding the EU, and sentences tend to be light.

According to the FLARE Network, an international group of campaigners against organised crime, criminal groups in Italy make around €14 billion a year from being mixed up in agriculture. In some parts of the country mafias control food production and distribution; Franco La Torre, FLARE’s president, says they also enrich themselves through fraudulent claims on EU agricultural funds. Increasingly strict regulation of waste disposal has created another profitable opportunity for organised crime in Europe—particularly, according to Europol, for the Italian Camorra, ’Ndrangheta and Cosa Nostra.

Where politics is corrupt and law enforcement weak, as in much of Latin America, gangsters still look much as they have for decades: brutal and keen on the brand-enhancing effect of highly visible violence. But in the rich world, the shift to new lines of business is changing the face of organised crime. The FBI estimates that the four big Italian Mafia groups still have 3,000 members and affiliates in America. But as traditional industries have shrivelled so, too, have the unions and tight-knit neighbourhoods that were once their fertile breeding grounds.

Old-style loan sharks and drug-dealers are finding a new role as distributors for the modern mobsters who manage the supply chains, marketing, finance and human resources needed to move goods, money and people across borders. “The new generation are very talented businessmen and technologically advanced experts,” says Mr La Torre. They prefer invisibility to showy violence. Many also have legitimate business interests.

Clever criminals acting across borders are extremely difficult to prosecute. They profit from gaps in enforcement and regulation, and conceal their illegal acts in complex supply chains. If a network of Nigerian scammers based in Amsterdam defrauds French, Australian and American credit-card holders, where does the crime occur? And who has the motivation, not to mention the jurisdiction, to prosecute?

A commodity such as oil, ivory or fish will be transported on a ship flying a flag of convenience, explains Mr Leggett. The ship will be owned by a holding company registered in a tax haven with a phoney board. Thus the criminals can disguise the provenance of their ill-gotten goods and middlemen can plead ignorance.

Governments are reacting by getting law-enforcement agencies to work together. America is trying to improve the flow of information between them. Britain’s recently created National Crime Agency will have the power to order local police forces to make arrests, unlike the body it replaced. Europol analyses and distributes information from EU member states.

But organised crime sells things that people want—not just drugs and sex, but handbags, sushi and wardrobes, too. Businesses and consumers will have to accept, says Mr Leggett, “that there is no such thing as just wood. It has to be wood from somewhere.” And they will have to agree not to sell or buy illegally harvested wood, however beautiful or cheap.

Until then, illicit goods will keep coming in quantities too great for governments to stop. One FWS inspector estimates that for all the peering, prodding and chirping, for all the rewards promised and rhino-horn traffickers caught, the agency picks up perhaps 5% of wildlife brought illicitly into America. For criminals, that is merely a light tax on the profits from the rest.

Copyright © The Economist Newspaper Limited 2014. All rights reserved.
                   

   
 
211  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: January 22, 2014, 10:12:17 AM
Good post.  This is precisely why the left, including Democrat Blacks will go after any Blacks like Sowell, like Carson, or recently like that NAACP guy went after Senator Scott with a vengeance and with putrid virulence.   They fear they are right.  In their hearts they cannot bear the truth.  Unfortunately the left controls most of the education system AND the media.   And of course it is easy to buy off voters with the "Christmas gifts".

Why cannot the right come up with their Barack Obama?  Let them call him or her an Uncle or Aunt Tom.   The message needs to get out and wake some people up.

As for history it truly is remarkable how fast people forget.   Within a single generation lessons are lost into the sunset of time. 
212  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the left on: January 22, 2014, 10:06:15 AM
GM says:

"One website says Kruggy has a personal wealth of 2.5 million.

I'm sure he's given it all away to the poor, right?"

I have been an advocate of the left's wishes on this board a number of times.   All wealthy liberals should be taxed at 90% and their wealth handed over to big government welfare programs.  The rest of us can be left alone.

Doug,

Sowell does it again.  I am sick and tired of hearing how women do't get paid the same as men.  I can tell you in health care that is simply bogus.   Women may make less than men overall but that is by THEIR design.  There is NO conspiracies going on to KEEP WOMEN DOWN.  They get reimbursed the same from Medicare, Medicaid, insurers the same as the rest of us.  They may make less because THEY choose jobs that have easier hours.   To some extant this is so they can take time off for pregnancy leave with generous guarantees their job is secure and waiting for them when they choose to come back.

They also do not choose high paying surgical careers as much.  These tend to have long hours and be more demanding.  Yes, surgeons historically had been an all boys club, no doubt, but this is not the case now.  Women have quite good.  They have it both ways.  Nonetheless we will be hearing the none stop propaganda machine from the left MSM setting up for Hillary.  It is all about getting her elected now.   
213  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science on: January 22, 2014, 09:55:06 AM
I don't know who to  believe or what to think.  ON Drudge is posted two agencies one being NASA that claim the hottest years globally on record are recent.   I am not fan of lets all drive electric junk and  tax how many times I flush my toilet but if the world is being affected to humanities future detriment what do we do?  I'll be long dead I guess....
214  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / How would we know? on: January 22, 2014, 09:51:13 AM
"We are repeatedly told by defenders of the NSA bulk data seizure program that there has not been a single example of any abuse by the NSA of this database. Set aside the information that the NSA regularly violated its own rules. Set aside the fact that the so-called FISA “court” lacks the independent information needed to oversee such abuses.  Set aside the information we have that some NSA employees used their access to this data to cyberstalk their love interests, giving rise to the internal nickname “LoveINT.”  Set aside the fact that Edward Snowden managed to get his hands on “literally everything” without authorization. Set aside that this was likely made possible due to the absence of internal monitoring of data collection at the NSA, so it cannot be effectively audited and held accountable.  And, above all, set aside the fact that this is a top secret program, the operational details of which we have no direct knowledge. Query whether government officials such as the Attorney General, or even the President himself, are privy to how the program actually works. After all, the concept of “deniability” was invented to shield them from such information so they can deny any such knowledge."

That was exactly my point when I heard Congressman King on Geraldo ranting about "show us one shred of evidence of abuse".

Sorry folks.  I will never ever support this guy for anything.  Anyone who talks like that is either naïve, stupid, or a liar.

How the heck are we the people supposed to come up with evidence against the NSA?  You  tell us KIng you stupid bastard.   HOw can we even know?  
215  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Hedy Lamarr helped invent CDMA on: January 21, 2014, 10:57:09 PM
http://www.bubblews.com/news/1938391-hedy-lamarr-and-the-cellphone
216  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The moustache in Iraq on: January 19, 2014, 06:19:39 PM
Mustache mania

Posted 5/11/03

BAGHDAD--Want to insult a man in Iraq? Threaten to shave off his mustache with your shoe. But be prepared: Nothing is a bigger symbol of manhood here than the mighty 'stash. "A mustache means strength and manliness. A full and long mustache gives a man a strong face, and you know he is a good person," says Farris Al-Timini, proprietor of the Al Fen Nanin barbershop, as his customers get their bushy black lip-toppers trimmed. "The people in our country like to look like their leaders. If a leader has a big mustache, then the men will grow big mustaches."

A flier circulating around Baghdad shows Iraq's 55 "most wanted" individuals. Most sport an abundance of autocratic facial hair. Apparently, the Great Father--well known for his own thick whiskers--worked hard to promote the cult of facial fur. "Saddam used to give bonuses to some of his soldiers if they grew longer mustaches because it made them look angrier," recalls Muttaz Al-Abbas, 31, who runs an ad agency. "When he spoke of the Israelis, he said that the people of Iraq must fight them so hard that their mustaches will tremble," adds Al-Abbas, who sports a neat goatee, popular with a younger generation of Iraqis trying to bring more panache to the facial-hair sweepstakes.

Real men. Actually, Iraq's love affair with the mustache long predates Saddam Hussein; there are endless tales and proverbs about its powers. Tribal chiefs, for instance, measure a man's worth by his mustache. To wit, the old adage: An eagle can land on a great man's mustache. To swear on one's mustache here is to swear on one's honor. Tell a friend that he's "in your mustache," and you're vowing to protect him, perhaps for life.

More practically, Iraqi women are loath to pick a mustacheless partner. Hairdresser Hanan Al-Azawi, 35, takes great pride in her husband's lustrous mustache; without it, she says, she would never have married him. "A man with no facial hair is not attractive," she shrugs. "It is very important for a man to have a mustache. It means he is a real man." -Ilana Ozernoy 

This story appears in the May 19, 2003 print edition of U.S. News & World Report.
217  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Education on: January 18, 2014, 10:26:15 PM
Obama Administration Mandates Racism in Schools

Mona Charen's column is released once a week.

Mona Charen
By Mona Charen January 17, 2014 3:00 AM
 
The Departments of Education and Justice have teamed up to make the lives of students in tough neighborhoods even tougher. Framed as a measure to combat discrimination against black and Hispanic children, the guidelines issued by the Obama administration about school discipline will actually encourage racial discrimination, undermine the learning environments of classrooms and contribute to an unjust race-consciousness in meting out discipline.

Claiming that African-American and Hispanic students are more harshly disciplined than whites for the same infractions, the Obama administration now advises that any disciplinary rule that results in a "disparate impact" on these groups will be challenged by the government.

"Disparate impact" analysis, as we've seen in employment law, does not require any intentional discrimination. It means, for example, that if an employer asks job seekers to take a test, and a larger percentage of one ethnic group fails the test than another, that the test is de facto discriminatory because it has a "disparate impact."

In the school context, the federal government is now arguing that if a disciplinary rule results in more black, Hispanic or special education kids being suspended or otherwise sanctioned, the rule must be suspect. The "Dear Colleague" letter explains that a disciplinary policy can be unlawful discrimination, even if the rule is "neutral on its face ... and is administered in an evenhanded manner," if it has a "disparate impact" on certain ethnic and other groups.

The inclusion of special education students is particularly perverse, as special ed students frequently get that designation because their emotional disturbances cause them to misbehave in various ways. So if a rule against, say, knocking over desks, is found to be violated more frequently by special ed than regular ed students, then the rule must be questioned? That's circular.

As the CATO Institute's Walter Olson notes, the federal guidelines pass over one example of disparate impact with no comment — namely the dramatically more males than females who face disciplinary action nationwide. If we are to judge a rule's lawfulness by the disparate impact on males, no rule would survive the inquiry. Is it possible that more boys misbehave in the classroom than girls? To ask this question is to venture into an area the federal government would have us avoid. Actual infractions by individuals are not the issue. We must have group justice, not individual justice.

We've actually been down this road many times before. Various state and federal agencies have raised concerns about the large numbers of black and Hispanic students facing disciplinary action. Such concerns helped to generate the rigid "zero tolerance" policies the administration now condemns. Zero tolerance is a brainless approach to a subject that requires considerable finesse and deliberation, but the disparate impact rule is even more pernicious.

Under the new dispensation, teachers, principals and other officials will have to pause before they discipline, say, the fourth black student in a month. "How will this look to the feds?" they'll ask themselves. Will the student's family be able to sue us? A variety of solutions to the federally created problem will present themselves. School officials can search out offenses by white and Asian students to make the numbers come out right. Asian students are disciplined at rates far below any other ethnic group. Is this due to pro-Asian bias in our schools, or is it because Asians commit many fewer infractions? Oops, there we go into territory forbidden by the federal guidelines.

Another solution will be to ignore misbehavior by blacks and Hispanics. For classes with large numbers of minority students, this guarantees that the learning environment for the kids who actually want to learn will be impaired as teachers — reluctant to remove troublesome students — expend precious time on kids who are rude, threatening, loud or otherwise disruptive. Every minute of the school day taken up by bad kids is taken away from good kids. It's a true zero-sum game.

So the Obama administration's pursuit of group justice actually leads to injustice to individual students. Whites and Asians will be disciplined more than they merit it by their conduct, and fewer students of all groups will get the kind of classroom atmosphere that is conducive to learning. Even the students who get a pass on their bad conduct are disserved, as they will not have learned that disrespectful language, tardiness and even violence are unacceptable in society.

Everyone loses. Obama strikes again.

To find out more about Mona Charen and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2014 CREATORS.COM
218  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy, Big Brother (State and Corporate) and the 4th & 9th Amendments on: January 17, 2014, 09:38:13 PM
The next step would be tag every person with data collecting devices like biologists tag animals to track their behavior.

Anyone who thinks this kind of power will not be abused is a total nut job.  And that includes Peter King who on Geraldo radio this AM was claiming about the NSA.

What did the fool say?  These are professionals dedicated to our safety?  Can anyone prove one shred of evidence of abuse?

My answer is simply yes - Ed Snowden just did. 

How could the rest of us prove anything King?  How would anyone even know?


What is he kidding?

King is way off my list.  I would rather vote for Hillary.  Is this what Republicans have to offer?
219  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces on: January 16, 2014, 09:20:24 PM
That is the best lesson on socialism I have ever heard.

220  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: January 15, 2014, 09:00:28 AM
Crafty,

It seems most people in NJ agree with you.  The believe Christie.  Some people I spoke to think, "he couldn't be that dumb" to have known this.   I guess that is the new defense now.   Unless new information ties him to this he will now come even stronger.   The establishment will point to this as another credential on his resume for the RNC controlled run for 16:

http://www.truthrevolt.org/news/despite-bridgegate-christies-approval-new-jersey-still-59
221  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 50K for the talking shmoe? on: January 15, 2014, 08:30:46 AM
My question is who in their right mind pays 50 grand to hear THIS guy talk?

****The Mirror

MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough: Is he violating a network rule?

At NBC, there’s a rule that if anchors give a paid speech to a for-profit enterprise — the kind they may be covering in their role as journalists — they have to give the money they receive to charity. It’s not a secret rule. It’s been in place for nearly 20 years to prevent conflicts of interest. Everybody knows about it. But is everyone following it?

How about Joe Scarborough?

According to a well-placed source at MSNBC, the “Morning Joe” co-host may have been pocketing the proceeds from some of his many highly paid speeches, in direct violation of network policy. That’s what some of his co-workers suspect anyway, and they’re resentful about it.



There’s no doubt Joe has been doing a lot of speaking lately. He is repped by William Morris Endeavor chief (and Entourage prototype) Ari Emanuel, and exclusive to the Leading Authorities speakers bureau in Washington. The details — and fee structures — are all over the web: If Joe speaks east of the Mississippi, he gets $51,000, swanky hotel not included. For a trip to the West Coast, the fee jumps to $56,000, again hotel not included. When he speaks in New York, Joe doesn’t need a hotel, since he already works there, but he still makes $45,500. Not bad for an hour of talking. His co-host Mika Brzezinski frequently joins him on stage.

That kind of money could make a host pretty sympathetic to the people who are paying him, some of whom might wind up in the news some day. You can see why the networks are concerned about conflicts. NBC laid down its policy in 1996, when it banned employees from accepting money from corporations and trade associations that lobby government or take public positions on issues. All paid appearances must be approved by management.

Does Joe follow these rules? The Daily Caller‘s Mirror blog reached out to Scarborough, as well as to MSNBC’s PR department with that question. Does Joe give the money to charity or keep it for himself? If he’s following NBC policy, could we see the relevant portion of his tax return? But they ignored us. Neither even responded.

They may have to respond in coming days. Spend just 10 minutes on Google and all kinds of questions about Joe’s speaking career arise. For example, is there a connection between paying Joe for a speech, and appearing as a guest on his show?

You decide. In late May of 2013, Joe and Mika gave what appears to be a paid speech at a conference sponsored by the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce. Exactly three months later, the Detroit chamber’s CEO, Sandy Baruah, appeared as a guest on “Morning Joe.” The show was broadcast live from the factory floor of one of the chamber’s most important member companies, Ford Motors. The discussion topic: What can Detroit do to earn more government bailout money


Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2014/01/13/msnbcs-joe-scarborough-is-he-violating-a-network-rule/#ixzz2qTezjcP0****
222  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces on: January 15, 2014, 08:08:28 AM
About the author who hails from the political left; Mondale, Gore, Clinton.

The left loves to opine, "what about the poor".   I also ask what about the middle class?   70% live from paycheck to paycheck.  That is more than just the poor.

And what about the remarkable advantages the wealthy have that are not available to others? 

Some on the right speak we should not even focus on class.   America is not about classes.  We are not to be divided into such groups. 

I like Galston's attempt at trying to find some common ground.  But he still seems bent on what can the State do about it?   For example.  Today we know that a fair chance to succeed includes reaching Kindergarten with the ability to read.  Is this true?  I don' t remember anyone reading before school.   I learned to read in school.   Also I read that the pre Kindergarten programs as advocated by the One and his crew simply don't work.  Obviously it does come from the home.  So how are more social programs going to help those noncompetitive parents?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Galston
223  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: January 14, 2014, 08:04:08 AM
Don't agree with all of this.  Few good points.  OTOH the Dems only have Clinton.  Once she is out of the way the Dems will also have to find new blood for the national scene.



****Who But Christie Can Beat Hillary?

By Myra Adams 3 hours ago The Daily Beast
   
As a Republican hoping that my party will retake the White House in 2016, I watched with intense interest as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie talked and talked and talked his way out of ”Bridgegate.”

The general consensus is that Christie did a decent job bemoaning his circumstances and keeping his cool, considering that the damaging political/ legal issues have only just begun.

But it was Christie’s "I am not a bully" persona that reminded me just how truly weak the entire bench of Republican presidential hopefuls is for 2016.

Sure, before “Bridgegate” and just after Christie’s victory in New Jersey there were a few national polls that showed Christie either tied or slightly leading Hillary Clinton. Indeed, dealing with Bridgegate could even make Christie a stronger candidate. However, national polls mean nothing three years before a general election. (Just ask the 2006-2007 presidential “front runner” Rudy Giuliani how that early status worked out for him.)

The problem for the GOP in 2016 goes so much deeper than whether Christie can overcome his first big crisis. (Sorry, unlike some Republicans I do not count Christie’s embrace of President Obama during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in 2012 as a hurdle that he needs to overcome.)

But what I am referring to is the Herculean task set before Christie of winning the 2016 Republican nomination given that the conservative wing and primary-controlling base voters are ferociously anti-Christie for numerous political and policy reasons, among them Medicaid expansion and gun control just for starters.

Here is a representative comment written by your average right-leaning Republican on RedState, the influential conservative website, in response to this negative piece about Christie’s prospects in 2016:

We don't need another McCain/Romney that's what Christie is in fact, he's further to the left than either of them. If Christie is the nominee then its time for a 3rd party because the base of the party isn't being represented.

Thus, here are the some possible Christie scenarios for 2016:

Christie manages to win the nomination and the GOP civil war officially begins.

Christie’s nomination launches a breakaway third party.

Christie’s nomination is the reason the base stays home.

Therefore, you can add “and Hillary wins” to the end of each sentence.

So if Christie runs and fails to get the nomination or decides against running at all who is left (I mean right) who can defeat Hillary?

The first name that comes to mind is Senator Rand Paul.

He has been working non-stop gaining national stature, dropping hints about running in 2016, but he is only a freshman senator and is also up for reelection in 2016. (Red flag alert: Freshman senator running for president.)

Under Kentucky state law Senator Paul can not run for both the U.S. Senate and president. Therefore, he must make a decision whether to run for president no later than early in 2015 -- in order to give another GOP Senate candidate time to launch a bid. But then, if things don’t work out on the presidential primary trail, Senator Paul –rather Dr. Paul— will be back practicing medicine under Obamacare.

A safer bet would be for Senator Paul to run for reelection, build up his “brand” both in the Senate and across the nation and then wait another four or eight years.

Then there is Ted Cruz of Texas, who won his Senate seat in 2012 and not up for reelection until 2018.

Cruz, although a laughing stock in the mainstream media, is extremely popular among primary base voters. So conceivably he could win the nomination and then the Democrats would likely “Cruz” to a Johnson vs. Goldwater-style landslide. 

We’re not through with Texas yet because the word is Governor Rick Perry is planning on making a serious run for the 2016 nomination (at least more serious than his abysmal 2012 campaign.

Do not underestimate Governor Perry, because he has a record to run on that sings a real song of hope, change, and job creation. You can’t help but admire Perry as he touts his big Texas economic success story. However, my 2016 forecast for Perry is cloudy with a 10% chance of winning.

And what about former Arkansas Governor turned Fox News host, Mike Huckabee? He hinted late in 2013 that he might run again in 2016. But will he be willing to forsake his lucrative gig at Fox News to grind it out on the campaign trail? Probably not, but even talk about running is good for his ratings.

Don’t forget about Wisconsin congressman and former 2012 vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan. He is the one who many in the party believe has the best chance of defeating Hillary. Well, they can keep dreaming because Ryan probably has his eye on a bigger job in the House.

Finally, you can forget about former golden boy, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida running for president in 2016. Rubio too is up for reelection that year and cannot be on the same ballot twice.

So back to my original question, “Who does the GOP really have who can lead the charge against Hillary in 2016?” (Who won’t tear apart the GOP in the process.) The answer did not appear in recent piece by Keith Koffler entitled: The GOP Needs a Conservative in 2016.  Where Koffler makes the case why the GOP needs a conservative in 2016 but neglects to put a name to the need. Unfortunately the word “conservative” cannot appear on the ballot opposite Hillary Clinton.
224  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: January 13, 2014, 09:19:09 PM
http://www.bankrate.com/finance/taxes/top-1-percent-earn.aspx
225  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Evolution of Anti-Semitism at Elite Universities on: January 12, 2014, 06:58:04 PM

The evolution of anti-Semitism at elite universities
Posted on February 27, 2012 by Rivka Teitz Blau/JNS.org and filed under Features, Opinion, U.S..
Click photo to download. Caption: Princeton University. Credit: PD.



“Rabbi, did you ever think you would see this day?”

It was 1971, and the university official who asked this question was inviting the rabbi to the dedication of the kosher dining room in Stevenson Hall on the campus of Princeton University.

In light of the anti-Semitism that had prevailed at elite schools until the 1950s, the official was right. But the rabbi he invited was Rav Mordechai Pinchas Teitz, zt”l, who would indeed have imagined this moment could come.

Rabbi Teitz called America “golus [exile], but the best golus the Jewish nation has experienced.” He thought President Harry Truman, Vice President Hubert Humphrey, and New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean represented the best qualities of America: a commitment to fairness with a generosity of spirit.

True, these qualities had not always been evident in the Ivy League and Seven Sisters colleges.

Barnard College, for example, had been founded and supported by Annie Nathan Meyer, and later received large donations from Jacob Schiff, both of whom were Jewish. But when Virginia Gildersleeve became the head of Barnard in 1911, her spirit of anti-Semitism prevailed.

In 1916 Schiff gave half a million dollars for the construction of the main building, which was called Students’ Hall. In 1926, after Schiff’s death, the building was named Barnard Hall rather than for the donor. Annie Nathan Meyer protested the blatant anti-Semitism and the pain caused to the Schiff family, but Gildersleeve—who had the support of Columbia’s Nicholas Murray Butler in her approach—did not retreat.

The sole memorial of Schiff’s generosity is a marble plaque set in the floor of the Barnard Hall lobby; when I was a student there we referred to meeting in the lobby as meeting “on Jake,” but we did not know the story behind this.

Gildersleeve and Butler were also perturbed by the number of Jews enrolling in their schools, particularly those whose families had come from Eastern Europe and had excelled in high school here.

Before World War I, forty percent of Columbia’s students were Jewish, and Barnard in the 1920s was heading toward the same percentage. They agreed to stop basing admission on academic achievement and to instead consider interviews, letters of recommendation, and “geographic distribution” as criteria. The last phrase is a code name for non-Jews since Montana, Idaho, and similar locales could be counted on for fewer Jews than the East Coast. Hewitt Hall, a dormitory at Barnard, was built to enable students from distant parts of the country to live on campus.

The irony is that a number of the professors who made these schools renowned were Jewish, at least one of them born in Lithuania—the supposedly “uncultured” Eastern Europe—Meyer Schapiro, who made the department of art history a force in American culture.

Other Jewish notables in the ensuing decades included Isidor Rabi, who won the Nobel Prize in physics in 1944, Lionel Trilling in English literature, and Franz Boas at Barnard, who developed the fields of anthropology and linguistics.

Gildersleeve was so intent on favoring admission of women from rich Protestant families that she organized the Seven Sisters with Bryn Mawr, Mt. Holyoke, Radcliffe, Smith, Vassar, and Wellesley to promote her policy of excluding Jews. When she left the deanship in 1947, she lobbied against the establishment of a Jewish state in the British mandate of Palestine.

But change was coming. After World War II there was an increased sensitivity to the horrific consequences of anti-Semitism. Although other groups had not suddenly become philo-Semites, outright discrimination was becoming unacceptable. And the pioneers in Israel upended all the old stereotypes of Jews.

Day schools opened across the United States and Canada. In the middle of the nineteenth century Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch had initiated the model of a school with both Jewish and secular studies. Before World War II there were day schools in New York, Baltimore, Boston, Elizabeth, and a handful of other cities. In the postwar years tens of new schools were established. The law of unintended consequences operated; many of the teachers in these schools were European refugees who had managed to arrive in America after the war.

At the end of the 1950s and the beginning of the ‘60s a few graduates of yeshiva high schools were admitted into the top colleges. College administrators were nonplussed by the requirements of observant Jewish undergraduates. No exams on the Sabbath? Who ever heard of a holiday in May called “Shavuot”? Kosher food?

I recall that when I asked to defer a final that was scheduled for Shavuot, the registrar at Barnard said, “Miss Teitz, I’ve heard of your New Year; I’ve heard of your Day of Atonement; I think you’re making this holiday up.”

My sisters and I came to Barnard in the first place because of anti-Semitism. In a public high school in New Jersey, a teacher had said to a student, “I graduated from Barnard, but you will never be accepted there. You’re a rabbi’s daughter; your letter of rejection is guaranteed.” It was 1931, in an era when a Jewish student could not protest such a remark and such a policy. The rabbi’s daughter was my mother, who determined that if she had daughters they would attend Barnard.

This story first appeared in The Jewish Press and is re-distributed with the permission of that newspaper.
226  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: January 12, 2014, 05:56:10 PM
As for the sex - means nothing.  It is only sex. tongue

Hacking and erasing years of emails and other documents.  Sounds familiar.

They can also determine if copies were made.  They could also plant spyware into computer and keep tabs.  Communicate with the printer or phones.

If copies are made they will get into the house without leaving a trace or bribe someone else to do so or set up a contractor.  Oh you need an electrician.  We will have our coincidently leave a flier on you door - 10% discount. 

Maybe you need phone or cable service.  No sweat.

I can go on.  Think it don't happen?  Think it is only the government.  Think people who were/are in government don't work with organized crime to do this?

Yes.  Snowden is right ( I am not referring to whether he is a traitor or not - different issue).  Only the naïve think otherwise.

And I am not referring to people on this board.  Just too many naïve people in this world.

227  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the left on: January 12, 2014, 01:03:12 PM
Crafty,

This is the most cynical post I've seen you make in all the years "boarding" with you.

If that is the case then why do we care about Benghazi, the IRS, Fast and Furious?

If we cannot get honesty from our leaders than they can do anything and later deny and cover it up.

We cannot accept dishonesty.  Christie has got to go.  Of course he is denying he knew.  That is his last play here.  He had no problem with the bridge thing until emails were exposed.    To think he wasn't a least bit curious as to why the GWB was blocked off to Ft Lee because of a "traffic study"?  He ignored all the complaints prior.   Oh yes he takes "full responsibility". 

You can't really mean this.

228  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Off G Beck website on: January 12, 2014, 11:55:20 AM
http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/01/10/another-wild-price-is-right-clip-thats-sure-to-go-viral-and-it-involves-a-major-tumble-and-tackle/
229  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the left on: January 12, 2014, 11:26:56 AM
Maureen Dowd - a lib - who I usually do not agree with. On this I mostly agree.
You can fool some of the people all of the time.  Legal diatribe arguments that split hairs help.  And of course the political consequences play a huge role in who is protected.  The left with Clinton for example and now the establishment DC right with Christie all coming to his defense.

****JAN. 11, 2014

 Maureen Dowd   

WASHINGTON — I HAVE learned two things covering politics.

One, first impressions are often right. John Edwards is slick. Hillary Clinton is expedient. W. was in over his head. Barack Obama is too much in his head. Chris Christie can be a bully.

Politicians are surrounded by spinners who work tirelessly to shape our perceptions of the characters of their bosses. Pols know how to polish scratches in their image with sin-and-redemption news conferences, TV confessionals and self-deprecating turns at hoary Washington press banquets. As Carter spokesman Jody Powell joked, if Hitler and Eva Braun came on stage at the Gridiron Dinner and mocked themselves in a song-and-dance routine, Washington chatterers would say, “Oh, they’re not so bad.”

After being showered with spin, you say to yourself, maybe that first impression was wrong. But often it isn’t.

Christie’s two-hour “I am not a bully” news conference was operatic about an act of malice so petty it did not merit being called “authentic Jersey corruption,” as New Jersey native Jon Stewart said, adding that it was unworthy of a state with a severed horse head on its flag.

If you’re going to wage a vendetta, at least make it a well-thought-out one. How can Christie & Co. run a national campaign when they can’t even aim straight? How moronic to think the mayor of Fort Lee would get blamed for problems on a bridge that everyone knows is controlled by the Port Authority. If you want to be malicious, it would be so easy to put a project close to the mayor’s heart on hold for a few months or redirect 60 state snowplows the night before a storm.

The governor groveled to New Jersey residents after his aides so gleefully burned them (even joking about children being late for the first day of school because of the orchestrated gridlock on the George Washington Bridge).

After zapping Obama for being so clueless that he couldn’t find “the light switch of leadership” in a dark room, Christie is trying to salvage his once blazing career by claiming he was in a dark room, clueless to the bogus traffic study masking a revenge plan that top aides were executing in plain sight.

The epic news conference felt like a scene out of the governor’s favorite movie, “The Godfather”: Christie offering his tremulous, grandiose, self-pitying public apologia while in cross-cut scenes, his henchmen were getting rid of those who threatened his operation.

Calling his deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly “stupid” and “deceitful,” he threw her off the bridge, without talking to her himself or, as Niall O’Dowd slyly wrote in IrishCentral.com, even extending the courtesy of the old Irish wedding night admonition: “Brace yourself, Bridget.”

He also disappeared his two-time campaign manager, Bill Stepien. His cronies at the Port Authority, Bill Baroni and David Wildstein, fell on their swords last month.

Christie took a line straight out of the Robert DeNiro handbook, lamenting: “I am heartbroken that someone who I permitted to be in that circle of trust for the last five years betrayed my trust.”

Yet we know workplaces are chameleon-like. I once had a publisher who loved the Audubon Society, so we ran a lot of bird stories. I had another boss who wore suspenders, so guys in the office started wearing suspenders.
 
Shades of Watergate: Since they were headed toward a landslide, you’d think the Christie crew would have been in a more benevolent mood. But given the governor’s past flashes of vindictive behavior, this was probably a wink-wink, nod-nod deal. Question: Who will rid me of this meddlesome mayor? Answer: The “little Serbian” has been dealt with.

The second thing I’ve learned from covering politics is that we can debate ad nauseam whether Christie was telling the truth, shading it or bluffing. But we can’t gauge that from his impressive, marathon Trenton performance art.

No matter how jaded we feel in the news business, we are still suckers for the big lie. It’s tough to wrap your head around a stunning level of duplicity.

I learned this lesson the hard way covering Paul Tsongas’s presidential surge in 1992. When The Times’s Dr. Larry Altman came on the campaign trail to interview Tsongas, he was skeptical about the candidate’s claim that his lymphoma had not recurred. I told Altman it was impossible for me to believe that Tsongas, who prided himself on his honesty and who was so straightforward he was mocked as “Saint Paul” by Clinton aides, could lie about that — especially given the profound political consequences.
Dr. Altman was right, as Tsongas later admitted. The candidate and his doctors at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston repeatedly said he was cancer-free when he was not.

A cascade of subsequent outraged denials about transgressive behavior delivered with bravado and finger wagging, from Gary Hart to Bill Clinton to John Edwards to Anthony Weiner, has persuaded me that politicians — who are narcissists and, in essence, actors stuck in the same role — can persuasively tell the big lie if they believe their futures are on the line.

The Christie saga is still unraveling. Maybe he was a dupe in the dark. Maybe the man in the fleece jacket is fleecing us. Let’s just say, I’m not yet permitting him in my circle of trust.
 
A version of this op-ed appears in print on January 12, 2014, on page SR11 of the New York edition with the headline: Thunder Road. Order Reprints|Today's Paper|Subscribe**** 
 

230  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: January 11, 2014, 09:57:31 PM
I saw this some months ago.  There is no infrastructure there.  It will take years to develop from what I read.

231  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the left on: January 10, 2014, 08:36:01 AM
Bigdog,

Just one question.  Why is your response to any criticism of a left politician that the Republicans do it too?

As for Christie I admit if he is thrown out (he won't resign) I know my taxes will go even higher.   And half of NJ will be cheering for that.

Yet I won't accept a liar.  I won't accept anyone who abuses his/her power.   He is full of crap.  He knew.  Just like Obama knew.  Just like the Clintons knew.

This kind of behavior from right OR left has got to stop.

We need people who are honest.  First and formost.   For God's sake is this too much to ask?

Unfortunately McCain was partly right about campaign finance reform.  It just takes so much money to run a national campaign there seems no way to keep corruption out.

I am not sure his fix was the best answer but he is right in theory.  
232  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: January 10, 2014, 08:30:52 AM
In my experience it is obvious the big IT companies were very willing partners in rigging IT systems to be hacked, tracked, and without any chance of privacy.

For years my experience has been it is totally impossible to keep a determined hacker out of one's system.  One can turn off the internet networking connections or take out the cards etc.  Still this will not totally work.  I remember speaking to someone 10 yrs ago from the David Gordon board that I suspected the private companies are using government sponsored terrorism strategies as an excuse to claim they HAD to be able to have ways to get into everyone's electronic devices.  I was right.  (I wish I could pick stocks as well  cry)

The IT companies all know what they were doing.  The are totally complicit. 

I am not sure that they were not already doing this before 911.   Some people still don't get it. 

I had one young man yesterday who is in IT say he doesn't see the big deal if anyone reads his emails.  "1981 so what"?

People don't get the freedom they are losing till it is gone.  Younger people will never even know what hit them. 
233  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Epidemics: Bird Flu, TB, AIDs, Superbugs etc on: January 09, 2014, 09:21:45 AM
Bigdog,

I haven't seen the CDC reports on this.  I am sure my ID colleagues have.  In NJ we are seeing ESBL infections.  These are the enterobacterioraceae that respond to "penem" and sometimes other antibiotics.   This one would be tough.
234  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the left on: January 09, 2014, 09:17:56 AM
Has anyone read anything as nuts as this?  Christie should save his career by coming clean and being transparent and, get this emulate a Clinton! angry

He should change the subject, after coming clean, with a *sister soldier* moment.   No peep from this lib that both Clintons are the ROLE MODELS for how to cover up and get your corruption swept under the rug. 

No Fournier,  Christie should do the opposite of Clinton.  He should resign.  Instead he will follow the role model Clintons with clever lies, cover-ups and the rest.

Amazing how a few emails give the left credibility on this.  Yet when Obama, Rice, Clinton where all over the place lying about an event before the election which is even worse they just sweep it under the rug.  Simply not one email turned up.


*****Politics

How Chris Christie Can Save His Career

Transparency and accountability would transcend politics of today.
 Ron Fournier

January 9, 2014

Since 1992, when Bill Clinton moderated the Democratic Party's image by criticizing a hip-hop artist for her racially incendiary comments, politicians have searched for their "Sister Souljah moment" – when a candidate takes what appears to be a brave stand against extremes in their party.

Related Stories
Republican Leaders Assess Scandal Damage to Christie
Christie Says He Was 'Misled' on GW Bridge Closings
Christie Administration Implicated in a Very 'New Jersey' Scandal

In 2000, George W. Bush caricaturized conservative jurist Robert Bork in an attempt to appear more compassionate than the GOP brand.  That same year, Republican presidential candidate John McCain demonized the far right's "agents of intolerance." Eight years later, Sen. Barack Obama distanced himself from his own pastor, calling Jeremiah Wright's racially charged comments "a bunch of rants that aren't grounded in the truth."

The sordid George Washington Bridge scandal offers Chris Christie two choices: Continue to deny, deflect and dissemble in a manner that is so common in the politics of today, and most recently exhibited by President Obama during a spate of controversies in 2013; or … pull a Super Sister Souljah.

A Super Sister Souljah goes beyond distancing one's self from extremes within your party. It is when a candidate to take what appears to be a brave stand against politics as practiced by both parties. It is what I had in mind Wednesday with this tweet:

Christie needs to come clean about his involvement in the bridge-lane closures, if any, and provide a more believable explanation of when he learned about the activity. Instead of hiding behind spokesmen, lawyers, press releases and smug assertions, the New Jersey governor needs to apologize, accept responsibility, and release every document and electronic communication about the closures. He should call for an independent investigation and order his advisers to comply.

Finally, he should do as I urged Obama to do last year: Clean house. Fire anybody who knew or should have known about the closures and replace them with people who will change the culture of his office. These charges are sticking to Christie because they fit so neatly into his office's reputation for bullying and arrogance. "He and his staff operate as divas," conservative blogger Erick Erickson wrote in a post titled, "The Politics of A-Holes."

The challenge for Christie is overcoming the damage to his reputation caused by his office's role in shutting down some access lanes to the George Washington Bridge, an act of political retribution that endangered lives. The scandal is an easy-to-understand antithesis to Christie's carefully cultivated image of a leader capable of transcending petty politics to serve the public good. Here's how New Jersey Star-Ledger editorial team assessed the situation:

Until yesterday, the official line from Christie's lieutenants at the Port Authority has been that this was all part of some secret "traffic study"; that they were simply curious to see what sort of mayhem would ensue if two of Fort Lee's three access lanes to the George Washington Bridge were cut off, suddenly and unannounced.

That's clearly a bogus story. But was the governor lying, too?

Christie originally said that after checking with his staff, he determined that no one from his office was involved in these lane closings. He scoffed at the very idea that it was political retribution against the Fort Lee mayor for refusing to endorse Christie's re-election, and joked that he had moved the traffic cones himself.

His attempts to laugh this off now appear to be dishonest, though we can't yet be sure that he personally knew about the doings of one of his top aides. Either way, though, Christie bears responsibility. If it turns out he did know, he is obviously lying and unfit for office — let alone a 2016 presidential run.

And even if he did not, his officials are liars. If Christie can't control them, how can we trust him as a potential future leader of our country?

Those are fair questions that go right to the issue of leadership, which John Dickerson of CBS News and Slate covers religiously. He wrote of Christie:

This is a political problem for Christie, but more importantly, it's a leadership test. Since the governor arrived on the national stage, he has given various ad hoc seminars on leadership and the qualities required for greatness. He talks a great deal about the topic and offers himself as an expert. Before he became partners with Barack Obama in responding to Hurricane Sandy, he gave a very astringent critique of the president's shortcoming. Recently Christie advised the president to apologize for his promise that if people wanted to keep their insurance they would be allowed to. "When you make a mistake, you should own up to it and apologize for it," he said.

Will Christie do that here? Christie now faces problems that echo ones this president has faced, most recently in the rollout of the Affordable Care Act: Does he apologize, and how fully? Does he take responsibility for the actions of his aides? Does he admit mistakes? Does he fire someone? Does he increase his famous bluster or does he step back from it? Christie is very good at giving advice on these matters. Now he can show rather than tell.

If he's lying, his career is over. But if Christie truly was not involved, he can show some accountability and transparency, which in this era of no-responsibility politics, would be a Super Sister Souljah moment.
235  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces on: January 07, 2014, 09:36:08 PM
excellent and refreshing take on digital networks.

236  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Environmental issues on: January 05, 2014, 04:41:26 PM
"“The Government is irresponsible to jump on a bandwagon that has no base in scientific evidence. This is one of many examples where you get bad science leading to bad decisions which are counter-productive. Attacking plastic bags makes people feel good but it doesn’t achieve anything.”

Yup.  Beware the academic industrial government complex.

Most studies in health care are of little value.  Even ones we think are helpful often later are found to be mistaken.

I don't see why it would be any different in other fields.

237  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: January 05, 2014, 01:41:15 PM
Good point.   I don't hear many making the point we should use military force to prevent proliferation of nucs.

Has any country other than Israel actually done so?
238  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: January 05, 2014, 12:58:10 PM
"OTOH if we abandon Israel, do you think the fascist fundamentalists will stop there, or will they be emboldened?"

Unfortunately this question is already answered.   Hopefully the next Presidential candidate will make a your case if not too late at that point.  Then again it probably already is too late unless massive military or even nucs are used from my armchair public online intelligence gathering seems to indicate.

With regards to "our" interests;  as we keep attaining near energy independence what exactly are our interests in the Middle East.

Hasn't it always been about oil?
239  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: January 05, 2014, 11:51:22 AM
"Unfortunately, and perhaps soon to be tragically, it looks like I was quite prescient when I commented here that it would prove to be a historical error when Israel pulled back before the job was done the last time it went into Lebanon."

I think you were right too. 
I feel the same way about Iran going after nucs as I think you agree with that too.

The problem is nearly the whole world is against Israel from a PR point of view.

And with Brock and the military planners who have already made it quite clear from their actions (not their public comments) that they have no intention of using military force and Cold war style containment or assured destruction.

Brock has risked the safety and security of Israel.

As a Jew it is very emotionally hard for me to wonder if it is not in the better interests of the US not to get dragged into a major Mid East war for a tiny country.

OTOH if we don't stick with our friends in need than we have no friends. 

240  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: January 03, 2014, 11:00:09 AM
****"One thing I've noticed about you is that you are all too willing to grovel before anyone you think has the proper credentials. It's what academia does, I know. Unfortunately all that time in the ivory tower prevents one from tangible real world experience, which might allow one to discern bullshit, even when it's wrapped in an academically compliant or MSM shiny package."

I actually came back to edit the beginning of my previous post. I was frustrated about something else. Too late for that, but thanks for making my point for me. You are probably right. I can't imagine how some who "previously served as a senior director at Israel's National Security Council where he was responsible for developing policy recommendations in areas of national security for the prime minister and the cabinet" might have proper credentials to know a damn thing about Israeli homeland security.****

From the education thread is my proposal to beware the academic industrial government complex.

OF course there is much to learn from our scientific community.  But much harm can come from it too.

We are seeing an infinite exponential rise in "studies" and experiments the vast majority of which are total BS.  We see it in the health field ALL the time.  If one or two percent of all the research done actually gives us new meaningful information that changes the way we practice medicine that is a lot.

Indeed look at how many times over the last decade we in the medical community have kept changing our recommendations.

For example I just read online that Vit E supposedly helps delay Alzheimer's ( a tad by maybe six months - at best).  In the nineties this was claimed too until additional tests suggested it might worsen or not help.  So which the "f" is it?   I would not recommend anyone waste their money on high doses of Vit E (2,000 IU per day).

I guarantee one thing.  We will hear over the radio, the cable, the online airwaves many shysters selling us their Vit E promoting with this study as the evidence that it is real.

I do question whether these professors have already cut deals with the promoters of these products to cash in.   They are supposed to report "conflict of interests".  Don't count on it.  And don't think for one second this doesn't happen either.   

There are many great men and women in academia.  But there are just as many scum bags as every other sector of society.  So GM is absolutely correct in taking academic's claims with some skepticism.   

The spread of controlled trials into economics is just another example of the tumbleweed spreading of "science".  Also I have shown in posts years past how anyone can often juggle the data to suggest any outcome best for their cause. 

The academic industrial government complex.  To all of us - BEWARE.


 
241  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Beware the ***academic industrial government complex*** on: January 03, 2014, 10:43:16 AM
Recalling Eisenhower's warning "beware the industrial military complex" I know propose this warning:

"Beware the academic industrial government complex"

It is very self serving and just as much greed error and hubris as every other sector of humanity. 

Here is one example:

****Impervious to Evidence, Liberals Ride Again

Mona Charen
By Mona Charen 8 hours ago
     
"We will restore science to its rightful place ... " So intoned a "dismissive and derisive" President Barack Obama in his first inaugural. It's been oft quoted in the five years since (frequently by me, I'll confess) for its arrogance and condescension, which has continuing relevance, but before turning to the left's latest departure from scientific rigor, I cannot resist a fuller quotation. The second part of this sentence from Obama's first inaugural reads " ... and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost." Hmm.
In his second inaugural (compared to Abraham Lincoln's second by Chris Matthews), Obama proposed a vast new program ($150 billion in combined federal and state funds) for universal preschool serving 4-year-olds. "Every dollar we invest in high-quality early childhood education can save more than $7 later on — by boosting graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, even reducing violent crime ... We know this works."

Universal preschool is universally popular with Democrats. Nancy Pelosi has hailed Head Start as "one of our most effective investments," while the newly minted progressive heartthrob New York mayor, Bill de Blasio, proclaims, "We will ask the very wealthy to pay a little more in taxes so that we can offer full-day universal pre-K and after-school programs for every middle school student."

Before getting to science, let's talk politics. The federal government already runs a preschool program called Head Start. Democrats love it because they can claim to be doing something beneficial for poor children. Republicans decline to oppose it because they fear ads saying "Rep. X wants to deny education to poor children ... "

Now, let's talk science. Head Start, a product of Lyndon Johnson's Great Society, has been carefully evaluated by the Administration for Children and Families within the Department of Health and Human Services. The study examined 4,667 3- and 4-year-olds across 23 states. It compared children who had applied for but not been accepted into Head Start to those who had participated in it. The children were evaluated by their teachers, parents and outside examiners both before and after. As David Armor and Sonia Sousa relate in the winter issue of National Affairs, the Head Start Impact Study found almost no positive effects of the program.

While children in the program showed some positive results on measures of cognitive skills and social/behavioral ratings while in the program, those results lasted only so long as the children were enrolled and did not carry through to kindergarten or early elementary school. The principle positive effect noted in the HSIS was in social skills for 3-year-olds, but these results were reported only by parents and not replicated by outside examiners. Teachers, by contrast, noted a negative effect on social/emotional skills for the 4-year-old cohort.

The point of Head Start is the promise that it offers poor children a leg up and prepares them for school. It would be nice if it worked, but it doesn't. It does provide jobs for teachers and federally subsidized day care. But taxpayers have spent $180 billion since 1965 for a program that fails to achieve its objectives.

Other studies have examined the effect of preschool more generally on school performance and have found effects ranging from very small to none.

What then was Obama referring to when he insisted that "high-quality" preschool "boosts graduation rates," "reduces teen pregnancy" and so forth? In a post titled "Obama's Preschool Proposal Is Not Based on Sound Research" on the center/left Brookings Institution website, Russ Whitehurst explains that the studies the president and other advocates of universal pre-K rely on are flawed. They do not involve randomized controls (as the HSIS did) but instead employ something called "age-cutoff regression discontinuity."

Due to state-mandated birthdates for enrollment in preschool, the studies wind up comparing kids who are actually enrolled in play-based programs for 3-year-olds with those enrolled in academically oriented preschool for 4-year-olds. These regression discontinuity studies also fail to account for dropouts from the program. The Brookings post, to which Armor also contributed, concludes: "Because 'gold standard' randomized studies fail to show major impacts of present day pre-K programs, there are reasons to doubt that we yet know how to design ... a government funded pre-K program that produces sufficiently large benefits ... "

Armor and Souza suggest in National Affairs that those truly respectful of science would propose: "A national demonstration project for pre-K in a selected number of cities and states, accompanied by a rigorous randomized evaluation that would follow participants at least into the third grade. This demonstration project should also examine whether 'preschool for all' closes achievement gaps between rich and poor, since it is possible that middle-class children will benefit more than disadvantaged children."

This would put science in its "rightful place," but don't hold your breath. Many liberal nostrums are impervious to evidence.

To find out more about Mona Charen and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2014 CREATORS.COM****
242  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / along with 300 senior officials on: January 03, 2014, 09:54:01 AM
Let this be a lesson to the rest of you:

(the inhumanity of man to man just never ceases does it?  I wonder what Dennis Rodman will say. 

PS My Rodman story:
Katherine and I driving in a rental in our short stay in Los Angeles back around 1998 on hiatus to Hawaii.  I noticed a Rolls Royce.  Pulled up along side it and looked over.  The driver then looked back at me - it was Dennis.  In the passenger side was a comedian whose name I forever forget.  The comedian saw Katherine and jested that I roll down our window as he tapped Rodman on the shoulder.  I do not want to imagine what he was thinking.  Needless to say I didn't.   We pulled into the hotel and Rodman behind us.  I just remember thinking that he didn't look as wide as on TV.  Same impression I had when I saw Shaquille in Orlando airport in 1996.  They are huge of course and large shouldered.  But when they are that tall proportionately one just seems to notice the height.  I recall seeing Shaq get on an elevator suddenly and the shock on the faces of the people already standing in the elevator as he ducks to get inside.)

Back to a quick respite from evil:

Kim Jong Un fed his uncle to 120 starving dogs: report

Olivier Knox, Yahoo News
By Olivier Knox, Yahoo News 46 minutes ago
 
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (R), accompanied by his uncle Jang Song Thaek (L), waves as he inspects a parade of the Worker-Peasant Red Guards at Kim Il-Sung Square in Pyongyang, on September 9, 2013

Forget the hangman’s noose, the firing squad or lethal injection: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un executed his uncle and a handful of the man’s aides by feeding them to a horde of 120 starving dogs, according to a shocking account.

Jang Song Thaek, the former No. 2 official in the secretive regime, was stripped naked and tossed into a cage along with his five closest aides.

“Then 120 hounds, starved for three days, were allowed to prey on them until they were completely eaten up. This is called ‘quan jue’, or execution by dogs,” according to the Straits Times of Singapore. The daily relied on a description of the execution in a Hong Kong newspaper that serves as the official mouthpiece of China’s government.

“The entire process lasted for an hour, with Mr. Kim Jong Un, the supreme leader in North Korea, supervising it along with 300 senior officials,” the Straits Times said in a piece published Dec. 24, 2013, but only now getting traction in the United States. Two American national security officials contacted for comment said they had not heard that account, which first appeared in the Wen Wei Po newspaper on Dec. 12, 2013.

While China acts as North Korea’s patron, relations between the two have been strained. The United States wants Beijing to take a more active role in pressuring Kim’s Stalinist regime in Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons. The Straits Times suggested that China’s government leaked the account of the December execution to signal its anger at Kim’s government.

The United States has labored to get a grip on what kind of leader Kim Jong Un will be, amid worries in Washington that he is more reckless than his father, Kim Jong Il, whom he succeeded as supreme leader in December 2011.
243  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Radio "jock" Bob Grant on: January 03, 2014, 09:39:18 AM
Occasionally some of his remarks were over the top but 95% of the time he got it right from my point of view.  He loved America.  I saw him give a talk once.  Must have been around 1989 at some synagogue in North Jersey somewhere. 

He was Italian.  He was always a friend of Israel.

OF course his controversial remarks will be the headlines and anything rational logical and pro American will be ignored by the MSM.   He was far more objective than any of those on the far left.  For example he recently (about a year ago) praised Cuomo for doing a good job in NY.   How is that for crossing party lines?   Has anyone from the NYT or MSNBC EVER given a good word for a Republican?

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/01/03/conservative-radio-host-bob-grant-dies-at-84/
244  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / No cash for public defenders on: January 03, 2014, 09:13:16 AM
The answer to the cash squeeze is simple.  Single payer government controlled legal system.  That is the best and only real answer.  That way people who cannot afford attorneys can have access to legal rights including adequate competent representation not only if they are arrested but for preventative legal care.   Chuck Schumer stated no doctor should make more than $80K a year.  I propose that no lawyer should make more than 40K per year.  They have three years training beyond college.  Physicians go on to have 7 to 11 years training after college.  That is fair.   Why no out cry for this?  Everyone knows legal representation in the US is unfair.

***Federal courts continue warnings about budget and the Sixth Amendment

National Constitution Center
By Scott Bomboy 3 hours ago
 
As a new year starts, the Chief Justice of the United States and top officials in the federal court system continue to warn about budget cuts that will make it harder for people to have access to public defenders.

.roberts640Chief Justice John Roberts has repeated warnings he issued in 2012 about the lack of funding for the federal court system, which he helps to oversee. Those warnings came about three weeks after similar requests from two top officials at the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

On December 5, 2013, Judges John D. Bates and Julia S. Gibbons wrote Congress about the dire need for more funds for a federal court system that was strained before mandated sequester cuts took effect after the 2013 budget battle in Congress.

“Sequestration cuts to the Defender Systems program threaten the ability of the Judiciary to provide court-appointed for persons accused of a federal crime,” said Gibbons and Bates, who said that federal defender programs were cut by 11 percent during the sequester period last year.

About 90 percent of people in federal criminal cases use court-appointed counsel.

The letter was issued just before a budget deal was reached in Congress to restore some funding to government agencies.

In the budget deal cut by Representative Paul Ryan and Senator Patty Murray, some money for the next two years will be coming back to discretionary programs run by federal agencies. But the amount of funds restored will be decided by appropriations committees in Congress in mid-January.

And that isn’t enough to satisfy Chief Justice Roberts, who spelled out his concerns in a 15-page report issued on New Year’s Eve.

Among the arguments made by the Chief Justice to Congress is the fact that most federal court spending is on programs mandated by law, and the federal justice system just doesn’t have many discretionary programs to cut. In fact, it will need to cut its budget by 3 percent to accommodate “must pay” programs- before funds are restored from the sequester.

“Those cuts would lead to the loss of an estimated additional 1,000 court staff. The first consequence would be greater delays in resolving civil and criminal cases,” Roberts said. “In the civil and bankruptcy venues, further consequences would include commercial uncertainty, lost opportunities, and unvindicated rights. In the criminal venues, those consequences pose a genuine threat to public safety.”

And the more basic threat is to the sanctity of the Sixth Amendment, Roberts said, if sequester cuts are restored.

“There are fewer public defenders available to vindicate the Constitution’s guarantee of counsel to indigent criminal defendants, which leads to postponed trials and delayed justice for the innocent and guilty alike,” he said.

The public defender system has greatly expanded in the past 50 years after the 1963 decision in Gideon v. Wainwright. The highly publicized case led the Supreme Court to conclude that the Constitution required state-provided legal counsel in criminal cases for defendants who are unable to afford to pay their own attorneys.

The Gideon decision touched on three amendments—the Sixth amendment, the 14th Amendment and the Fifth Amendment. But the Sixth Amendment was at the decision’s core.

The Court ruled that the Constitution’s Sixth Amendment gives defendants the right to counsel in criminal trials where the defendant is charged with a serious offense even if they cannot afford one themselves; it states that “in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to … have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.”

Last fall, when the sequester cuts went into place, there was heavy criticism from legal circles of its effects on the federal public defender system.

In an op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal, jointly signed by conservative Paul Cassell and liberal Nancy Gernter, the former federal trial judges lamented the drastic impact of sequestration on budgets for public defender offices.

“[D]ue to the combination of general budget austerity and sequestration, the federal public defender system — a model of effective indigent defense for the past 40 years — is being decimated. As former federal judges from opposite ends of the ideological spectrum, we both understand that these shortsighted cuts threaten not only to cripple the federal defender system, but to disrupt the entire federal judiciary—without producing the promised cost savings,” they said.

U.S. attorney general Eric Holder also submitted his own op-ed piece to the Washington Post on the same topic.

“Despite the promise of the court’s ruling in Gideon, however, the U.S. indigent defense systems — which provide representation to those who cannot afford it — are in financial crisis, plagued by crushing caseloads and insufficient resources,” said Holder.

“Five decades after the Supreme Court affirmed that adequate legal representation is a basic right, sequestration is undermining our ability to realize this fundamental promise. The moral and societal costs of inadequate representation are too great to measure,” he added.

What happens next in the budget process is uncertain, but in an appendix to his annual report, Chief Justice Roberts said that while civil case filings at U.S. district courts were up 2 percent in 2013, there were declines in case loads in other courts.

For example, filings for criminal cases fell by three percent to 91,266. But that doesn’t necessarily represent the case load for people seeking defense help in federal cases.

Chief Justice Roberts is hoping for $1.04 billion in funding for 210,000 defense representations next year, with part of that money going to pay bills that were delayed in last year’s sequester.

In the current continuing resolution (CR) that is funding the federal government, about $26 million was restored from the sequester to pay for some vouchers related to the public defender program.

The Defender Services Office, which trains attorneys who work as public defenders in federal cases, has been blunt in its opinion about the budget cuts.

“There is no indication of what the funding situation will be beyond the expiration of the CR in January. Without a full-year appropriation that is greater than the CR level, [federal defender offices] will continue to see a budget shortfall,” the division said on its website.

In July 2013, Judges Bates and Gibbons told the Senate that reduced funding for public defenders represented a broader problem.

“Our nation recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of the 1963 landmark Supreme Court decision in Gideon v. Wainwright, which guaranteed an individual the right to court-appointed counsel,” they said.  “Funding cuts are threatening that very right, a right that has been a bedrock principle of our criminal justice system for half a century.”***

245  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Democrat Doctor calling us to fall into the "Party" creed on: January 01, 2014, 08:09:02 AM
I've already posted how some doctors have already made their personal mea culpa and come to the conclusion that for them they think single payer is better.  Which is worse for doctors one gigantic government run system or myriads of private greedy business men controlling them? 

I have made clear I don't want government controlling my life.   But others in my profession have concluded otherwise.  Many are my fellow Jewish doctors as this one here.  They are all die hard Democrats.  I must ask if they would feel so strongly about this if a Republican was promoting AHA.  I doubt it.  Some of my fellow Indian and Muslim and African colleagues also have expressed a desire for single payer.   Doctors from the Eastern Europe theater tend to be disgusted with the shift to totalarism (sp?) exactly what they fled.

One must also keep in mind "correspondents" or whatever she is called like Snyderman make at least hundreds of thousands a year for the networks in these mouthpiece positions.  Either way she is doing great.  I wish I could get paid handsomely telling others to get in line with the State.

I can tell you this line is complete nonsense:

"Increase the bottom line for doctors so they don’t feel like they’re being nickeled and dimed with 10% less than Medicare, 5%... Docs just want to be reimbursed a fair amount for hard work."

I have never heard a doctor accuse Medicare of paying them a fair wage.  In fact it is just the opposite.  Insurers often follow Medicare reimbursement cuts.   So this claim is  ridiculous.  Nonetheless some doctors have concluded that for their pocketbooks Medicare is the less of two evils.   Personally I look at the broader picture beyond my pocketbook.  I see the Government taking over our lives.  Doctors, patients, all of us.  To call signing up to Obamacare our patriotic duty is right out of the Communist Party playbook.

*****NBC’s Chief Medical Editor Forced Her Kids to Sign Up for Obamacare as Their ‘Patriotic Duty’

"So I made my kids sign up, because I just said this is your patriotic duty."

On Morning Joe Monday, NBC’s chief medical editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman, after arguing that the “biggest fix” for the American healthcare system would be single-payer, proudly declared that she had forced her own kids to sign up for Obamacare as their “patriotic duty.”

Snyderman was brought on to discuss a number of issues, but when hosts Harold Ford, Jr. and Wes Moore turned the discussion to Obamacare, Snyderman revealed just how far left her expert opinion leans, using the failures of the ACA as a means to push for a single-payer system.

Ford: As a physician, what’s the biggest fix that can be done to ensure that better care, affordable care gets to people that don't have it?

Snyderman: I think there should be a single-payer system. And, increasingly, you're seeing physicians in their late 50s, 60s, and 70s, who are saying, “You know what, we got it wrong. We should have taken Medicare, expanded it, and done it smarter. Increase the bottom line for doctors so they don’t feel like they’re being nickeled and dimed with 10% less than Medicare, 5%... Docs just want to be reimbursed a fair amount for hard work. This is making the terrain much, much, much, more difficult.

With Snyderman’s comments about Obamacare turning increasingly critical, Moore stepped in and tweaked the direction of the conversation to a more solution-based talking point:

Moore: You know what's interesting? So you talk about your kids and you talk about... one of the big challenges for Obamacare and the rollout so far has been how do we get the young and how do we get the healthy to sign up for healthcare? Which was a dynamic prior to Obamacare. How do we get the young and how do we get the healthy... That's the reason they came up with the plan.

Snyderman: So I made my kids sign up, because I just said this is your patriotic duty.

The expert opinion of NBC’s chief medical editor.*****
246  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We should only be so lucky on: December 29, 2013, 12:32:10 PM
Yet as Levin aptly points out.  He was only the chosen front man of a huge political/business/criminal enterprise called the progressive movement.  There are many more where he comes from.   I think the only way to temporarily sweep their propaganda/philosophy under the rug for a generation is to hope that it will fail while offering the superior alternative.   

http://dailycaller.com/2013/12/28/dnc-sends-email-defending-obama-from-impeachment-possibility/
247  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: December 29, 2013, 12:22:00 PM
***If you can see a way the dems can fix obamadoesntcare, you are way ahead of the dems.***

GM.  The truth doesn't matter.  You can fool some of the people all of the time.  The rest one party needs to gain a 51% majority can easily be bribed:

http://www.politico.com/story/2013/12/obamacare-launch-white-house-101583.html
248  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Recommend to you children on: December 29, 2013, 10:27:22 AM
To become administrators of liberal causes.   Seems like a good profession to be in:

Just the other day I was reading the Greens fighting oil, gas, and coal companies with huge complicated legal challenges all over the place.  I was thinking where do they get the money for this?  Must be Soros and others like him.

Answer, it is:

*****Indiatimes|The Times of India|The Economic Times|

Wall Street tycoon donates fortune, kills self
Jenn Selby,The Independent | Dec 29, 2013, 04.57 AM IST
A renowned Wall Street tycoon gave away his $800 million fortune before falling to his death in a suicide jump this week.

 Hedge fund multi-millionaire Robert W Wilson, who was 87-year-old, leapt from the 16th floor of his San Remo apartment building in New York's Upper East Side.

 According to the New York Police Department, he left a note at the scene. He had suffered from a stroke just a few months before.

 "He always said he didn't want to suffer," close friend Stephen Viscusi said. "His plan was to give all his money away. He told me recently, 'I only have about $100 million to go,'" he said.

 He has since been praised as a "legend" by his peers, after pledging his entire worth to charity some years before he ended his life. He gave the last $100 million of his money to not-for-profit environmental advocacy group the Environmental Defence Fund(EDF).

 Fred Krupp, the president of the EDF, said of the group's biggest benefactor: "Robert was a Wall Street legend who became a prominent philanthropist," he said. Other beneficiaries of his money include the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, the World Monuments Fund, the Nature Conservancy and the Wildlife Conservation Society, each of which received $100 million before Wilson passed away.

 "I realized that Catholic schools were closing all over the country, and Bill Gates probably didn't have enough money to save them," Wilson said in 2010 when asked about his decision to donate such a large sum to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York.

 Wilson is survived by his brother William, 88. He had no children.


249  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces on: December 29, 2013, 10:17:41 AM
I don't agree with all of this but she makes some good points.   Since no political party adequately addresses this (or in the case of Republicans even admit to the existence of thi) I personally feel that NO party in this country represents me. 

****INCOME INEQUALITY CREATES HUGE GAPS IN OPPORTUNITY

Cynthia Tucker
By Cynthia Tucker December 28, 2013 12:00 AM
     
By now, you've surely heard of the Texas drunken driving case that has sparked national outrage -- angering victims, upsetting psychologists and sending Twitter into overdrive. A 16-year-old who killed four people while legally intoxicated was sentenced to 10 years' probation and treatment in a tony rehab facility.

As unusual as that example of mercy may be, it was the rationale offered by a defense expert that drove observers into a frenzy. A psychologist hired by defense attorneys told the court that the young man's tragically irresponsible actions were the fault of his rich parents, who didn't rear him with sufficient discipline. As a consequence, G. Dick Miller said, the teenager suffered from "affluenza" and didn't know right from wrong. (Many other psychologists have disagreed vociferously, saying there is no such diagnosis.)

It's hard to stomach that notion, especially since Judge Jean Boyd of the Fort Worth Juvenile Court seems to have swallowed it whole. I can't imagine how bitter and resentful -- not to mention mystified -- the victims' families must be.

But Boyd might have unintentionally done us a favor by opening the door to a dank, dark room that we have worked too hard to keep closed. She has let out the putrid aromas of economic inequality, which we have long ignored. Wealthy people, the judge's sentence reminds us, have huge advantages over ordinary folk, despite an American mythology about equal opportunity. And the opportunity gap is growing as inequality cleaves the country into haves and have-nots.

The very terms "wage gap" and "disappearing middle class" have become cliches in Washington, often muttered by pandering politicians and comfortable journalists who have little real understanding of the effect that income inequality has had on the lives of ordinary Americans. But the fallout is real enough.

Since the 1970s, the wages of working-class Americans -- those without college degrees -- have stagnated and fallen further and further behind. Meanwhile, the wealthy have only become more prosperous.

Despite what you may believe to be true, the individual's work ethic has little to do with those results. No matter how hardworking you are, a job at Wal-Mart won't give you much in the way of financial security. And if you are born to parents who can give you a trust fund, it doesn't matter how little you work; you'll still have plenty of security.

The trends that have eaten away at the great American middle -- including globalization and technological gains -- have been evident for decades, but the Great Recession accelerated the consequences. Even as economic data show huge gains in productivity, the jobless rate remains high, stuck at around 7 percent. (Translation: Companies have found ways to get more and more work done with technology, whether it's through eliminating bank tellers and installing more ATMs, or using more robots in factories.)

This is a complex problem with no easy answers, but we could make a start toward solutions by looking squarely at the issue and refusing to call it by other names. Here are a few things it's not: indolence, racism, the failure of the welfare state.

Mitt Romney became appropriately infamous for his condescending dismissal of the "47 percent" who he claimed doesn't want to work, but that wrong-headed idea doesn't stop with Romney. U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., running for the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate, has proposed that poor children sweep school cafeteria floors in exchange for free or reduced lunches, a deal that would get the "myth out of their head that there is such a thing as a free lunch," he said.

But liberals often get it wrong, too -- confusing rampant income inequality with racism. The legacy of racism has certainly contributed to the wealth gap between black and white Americans, but class is now a bigger factor in a child's future than race. President Obama's children are virtually assured a bright future, while millions of their cohort among the working classes are not.

The class divide is one of the biggest problems now facing the country, and it's time we started to confront it. Judge Boyd's unjust sentence is just the provocation to force us to take it on.

(Cynthia Tucker, winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, is a visiting professor at the University of Georgia. She can be reached at cynthia@cynthiatucker.com.)****
250  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The Power of Word on: December 26, 2013, 11:45:12 AM
Terrific post Crafty.  Where did you get this from?  Can I email this to others?
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