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201  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: May 15, 2014, 09:35:14 AM
One of my fellow neurologist friend whose politics would fit well on this board said she was lucky to come out of it without (obvious) brain damage.   It is not my area, but my understanding from him is that some of these people do suffer strokes and permanent brain damage.

Of course she had immediate and top of the line care.  Suppose it was someone who was home alone.
202  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Remarkable life of a former slave: Robert Smalls on: May 13, 2014, 09:56:40 PM
Escaped slavery with others by hijacking a gun boat and dressing up as whites and sailed out of Charleston harbor.
Served for the Union as a civilian advisor and met Abraham Lincoln in 1862 helping to convince the President and Sec of War Stanton to allow Blacks to fight for the Union.
Later became a Republican Congressman and served several terms.

Wrote legislation that led to the first *mandatory* public schools in the country.

Wrote legislation that would have essentially provided for racial integration of the military but it was never "considered" roghly 80 years before the military was integrated.

Gotta love the next quote from him.  How times have changed:  


Smalls identified with the Republican Party, saying it was

"The party of Lincoln which unshackled the necks of four million human beings." In his campaign speeches he said, "Every colored man who has a vote to cast, would cast that vote for the regular Republican Party and thus bury the Democratic Party so deep that there will not be seen even a bubble coming from the spot where the burial took place." Later in life he recalled, "I can never loose [sic] sight of the fact that had it not been for the Republican Party, I would have never been an office-holder of any kind—from 1862—to present."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Smalls
203  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Benghazi and related matters on: May 11, 2014, 12:01:10 PM
Apparently the CIC feels it is none of the public's business where he was.

Could anyone imagine the MSM accepting that as an answer if it were Nixon?
204  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The "crises" on: May 11, 2014, 11:59:02 AM
Fits Hillary's narrative doesn't it?   Butchery in Africa.  Who knew?  How convenient:

http://news.yahoo.com/katie-couric-kidnapping-nigeria-bringbackourgirls-184944658.html
205  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: May 10, 2014, 12:37:46 PM
good point
206  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: May 10, 2014, 12:36:42 PM
"BARAQ THREW IT AWAY"

He would see it in his political interests that the mission is not a long term success.  Fits the Democrat/Socialist Party narrative.

No coincidence.
207  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: May 10, 2014, 10:30:16 AM
My post from last year.  I pointed out I agreed with Ezekial Emanuel that there IS NO shortage of doctors or at least primary care:

*****Follow up to previous post.  Went to meeting of the New Jersey american college of physicians few weeks ago and listened to Ezekiel's talk.

Basically he starts with a bunch of charts and graphs describing what we all know - health care costs are going up and are unsustainable.

His prescription is basically for provider groups to form and control costs by monitoring what they do "outcomes" and basically what managed care has been doing for decades now.   I guess the difference is really now the politburo types are requiring we do it on industrial scale with industrial level quality control with reems of data, measurements, more data of the data more measurements and every penny counted.  He gave one example from a gourp of several hundred physcians Caremont though I don't remember where they are located and I haven't looked into it - yet.

Supposedly they cut costs while increasing the bottom line.  Thus this is a model for all.

He also explains the cost rising is down form over 2% to around 0.8%.  Of course he is suggesting he and the rest of the politburo are responsible for cost savings - not that the economy is so bad for most people they can't aford their co pays their deductables their premiums and neither can as many employers.

I only had a chance for one question so I asked him about Clay Christiansens theory that Nurse Practitioners will supplant primary care doctors and it is inevitable and no stopping it.  He said PCP's are not replaceabale by nurses and that he doesn't think that would happen - though we are clearly seeing that trend.

He doesn't believe that there is a doctor shortage.  Indeed I agree with him on that.  There probably is a shortage of a few specialties and doctors in some low income urban areas or in the boondocks but certainly not in the north east and probably the West coast.

Indded if any group feels threateneed by the low wages of illegals /legal immigrants no where is this felt more than in health care.

All we see here are doctors born everywhrere else.  The schools of course also like to play the shortage gimmack so they can get more money to churn more graduates out and the nursing programs the same.

Getting back to Emanuel his personality is the same as his brother Rahm.    He ran out after one question after mine.  I guess he had his next speaking engagement.l****

The doctors exist and are being churned out left and right.  Except is some rural areas as always.  If there are going to be longer waits it would be a  result of some doctors refusing to accept patients our of principle or more they refuse to accept the lower pay coverage.   As always follow the money.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/05/10/obamacare-surge-primary-care-overload/8894227/
208  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / FEC chair was ? Republican on: May 10, 2014, 10:18:05 AM
A Republican trying to silence Drudge and Hannity?  Wow.  Is this an example of the Washington "Establishment" steamrolling conservatives OR just Democrat politics?:

http://www.fec.gov/members/goodman/goodman_bio.shtml
209  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / most defense projects go over budget on: May 10, 2014, 09:40:27 AM
With the recent announcement of the new multibillion dollar Presidential helicopter program the question remains will it even remain within the budget.  Answer is almost certainly no.   

http://gizmodo.com/5637188/is-this-the-reason-why-most-military-projects-go-over-budget/all
210  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / I wish I could be as optimistic as you. on: May 10, 2014, 09:31:45 AM
Doug writes,

"President Obama's magnificent political success can be attributed to one main cause:  weak opponents."

No doubt Republican candidates are all with flaws. 

But we are up against a very antagonistic media.

We are up against a very antagonistic educational class.

We are up against racial and gender and class politics.

We are up against buying of votes that cold hard taxpayer cash can buy.

Worse, "establishment Republicans" certainly are part of the problem.

Doug I hope your are right and I am wrong.   I think it is too late. 


211  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: May 10, 2014, 09:25:02 AM
The side by side comparison of the pictures is really creepy.   They are nearly identical in appearance.

Did his mother know this guy before he was born?  I am not clear.
212  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: May 10, 2014, 09:16:32 AM
Saddam,

" I like to call a spade a spade" when speaking of Zionists and Americans.  Just not himself or his sons.

Bush thought Iraqis would be dancing in the streets when we rid them of this monster.  Some Iraqis felt that way.  But not enough.   How many Iraqis died since then 100K?

Our country did a glorious deed.  Our troops are heroes to the World.  And look at the thanks we get.  Look at the Democrat Party twisting this for political gain.

Disgusting and sad.
213  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Foreign Policy on: May 08, 2014, 11:09:58 AM
" G.W.'s screw-up was thinking that we had any business (let alone any chance of success) in trying to institute a democratic, human-rights-based government in Iraq.  This is a society which has been governed by Islam, which is inherently anti-individual, and until and unless this changes, instituting a democracy there, or in any other Middle Eastern society is a fool's errand."

I agree with this.  I was wrong too because I was for getting rid of that monster Saddam.  But so was the hILL  wink  Ten years of "girl power" driven down our throats day in and day out.  Perhaps we can form an alliance with White, Black, Asian, Latino men  cheesy 
214  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the left on: May 08, 2014, 11:05:26 AM
Agree with two previous posts.  I am very pessimistic that it is already too late.  The left is winning big.
We have immense corruption in government, wall street and the rest.  We hear about "1% ers" when it suits the left's political purposes.  The answer is always to tax the rich and buy votes with the cash.  Obamster reduced funding for the FBI for white collar crime.  And yet the illegals get more legal help than the rest of us:


******Administration to pledge equal education for illegal immigrants
 .

By Benjamin Goad - 05/07/14 02:27 PM EDT

The Obama administration announced Wednesday it would issue new guidance requiring U.S. schools to provide equal education to all children, regardless of their immigration status.

Attorney General Eric Holder and Education Secretary Arne Duncan are expected to detail the proposal Thursday morning during a conference call with reporters.

The Justice and Education departments sought through 2011 guidance to ensure equal treatment for children living in the U.S. illegally in accordance with the Supreme Court’s 1982 Plyler vs. Doe ruling, which prohibited a school district from charging illegal immigrants extra tuition fees.

“The Obama administration continues to receive reports that school districts are adopting policies and practices that have the effect of discouraging, and in some cases preventing, undocumented children and children from immigrant families from enrolling in public schools,” the Justice Department said in announcing the follow-up guidance. “The new guidance is intended to help address these issues.“

The updated guidance is intended to help schools understand their responsibilities under Plyler vs. Doe and other federal civil rights laws..

Read more: http://thehill.com/regulation/205484-administration-to-pledge-equal-education-for-illegal-immigrants#ixzz318lrFiIR
Follow us: @thehill on Twitter | TheHill on Facebook
215  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / One of the biggest threats to our nation; under the Godless on: May 08, 2014, 10:46:36 AM
The cover up of Benghazi and the complicity of the entire Democrat establishment either by ideology, bribery, and extortion is one of the threats to our country @ this time.

I don't recall any other time in history wherein we had top members of a Presidential administration cover up a terrorist attack on Americans and just before an election and there appears to be No accountability.  

For those of us who are old enough to remember Watergate the comparison is stark.  I was 15 or 16 at the time and I remember vividly how the MSM in newspapers and TV news networks were ALL OVER this story driving it home till Nixon resigned before he was impeached.  Most people in the beginning didn't even pay attention or care.  Most people still favored Nixon.  In retrospect I am not even sure that when he resigned he might not still have had more favorable voters than not.

The MSM were tripping and stepping over each other to get him (the Republican) with hysteria and demonical fervor.  

Fast forward to the present.   Any objective person can say the Benghazi cover up is far worse then was Watergate.   Bernstein says, but Nixon's crimes were not just about Watergate but an entire "shadow" government.   Don't we see an entire shadow government and press now??

The entire integrity of the Presidential Office is at stake in my opinion.   If there is no accounting of this and it is allowed that it is OK for such deceit to be inflicted on our people without holding those responsible then we are finished.  Clinton started this kind of thinking.  He may be popular but he did great damage to the integrity of the Office or the Presidency as well as our country.  

Republicans must not let this stand.  Not just for political reasons but for the future integrity of that office and our country.  

If the MSM continues to threaten Fox, talk radio, Republicans away from this.   "They risk it backfiring", "nothing there", "already old story", " we already investigated this as did the (Democratic controlled) Senate and all the rest.

Almost all the Dow companies have ties to Clinton Foundation.  So what about the 1% ers?  Republicans have to reach out to the ALL voters and point this out.  
Today the Democratic Party is the Socialist Party.  Propaganda and all.  Big problem for our future.  
216  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: May 08, 2014, 10:28:41 AM
The hILL is already out along with Obamster on the talk circuit turning this into the her image of girl power.  Of course this is horrific.  Along with all the other horror stories that come out of Africa as long as I can remember.   Black on Black crime.  Remember Bush I going into Somalia for humanitarian reasons?

But she seizes on this to change the topic from Lewinsky and it fits her gender twist.  IF 200 Black boys were murdered she would have been silent.

Typical Clinton change the story, twist to her political game and benefit and the journalist MSM do everything to give HER free press.  Why is it her opinion even matters now on this?

Ten more years of the Clintons.... cry angry rolleyes
217  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / substances harder than diamonds discovered on: May 06, 2014, 09:38:44 PM
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn16610-diamond-no-longer-natures-hardest-material.html#.U2mb-xXD_b0
218  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / "E" cigarettes on: May 04, 2014, 09:34:53 AM
My 2 cents again.  I think E cigarettes are a great idea.  A patient told me he uses one without the nicotine and flavored which helps with the "habit" part of smoking: 


*******U.S. e-cigarette experiment inspires new medical device

Reuters
By By Toni Clarke 2 hours ago
 
Electronic cigarette vaporizers Cera and Luna by Thermo-Essence Technologies are pictured in San Carlos

(L-R) Electronic cigarette vaporizers Cera and Luna by Thermo-Essence Technologies are pictured in San …
By Toni Clarke

(Reuters) - When Noah Minskoff's mother died of lung cancer in 2007, e-cigarettes were just entering the U.S. market. Minskoff, who had just started medical school in Utah, wondered whether the devices might have saved his mother's life by helping her quit smoking. Later, he sent some samples to his boyhood friend Nathan Terry, a mechanical engineer, and asked for his opinion.

Terry, who was working in Germany for the French industrial firm Areva, took apart the products to see how they were made. What he found disturbed him: at the heart of the devices were heater wires of unknown quality wrapped around bundles of glass fibers and surrounded by steel wool, silicon, plastic, tape and adhesives.

Wires between the heater, circuit board and batteries were connected with lead solder and also housed in tape and plastic. Everything was close to the heat source, meaning consumers were at risk of inhaling fiber and metal particles as well as toxic fumes from hot plastic and lead.

"There were red flags everywhere," Terry said.

Still, he liked the concept and decided to design a version of his own, avoiding the use of fiberglass, plastic and solder and sourcing his materials entirely in the United States. In 2009 he reunited with Minskoff in California and formed a company, Thermo-Essence Technologies, to sell the product.

At $300 a piece, the e-cigarette serves a niche market, albeit one with a loyal following among medical marijuana patients and smokers looking for a high-end e-cigarette. As many as 30,000 have been sold.

But what began as a quest to develop a better e-smoke has broadened into an ambitious effort to design a new medical device: an inhaler that delivers measured doses of nicotine to help people quit smoking. The technology could also eventually be used as an abuse-resistant delivery device for other drugs, including opioid painkillers.

If successful, the inhaler could become the first new smoking-cessation product to emerge from the e-cigarette field and would compete with products such as GlaxoSmithKline Plc's nicotine gum and Pfizer Inc's antismoking drug, Chantix.

A STARTUP WITH BIOTECH FUNDING

To develop the inhaler, Terry formed a second company, Minusa LLC, which is based in Newtown, Connecticut. Minskoff left Thermo-Essence for family reasons and is not involved in Minusa. Terry himself is leaving Thermo-Essence, which is currently being sold, to concentrate on Minusa.

The new company obtained initial funding from Michael Breede, a commercial real-estate-turned-biotech investor whose father suffered from drug and alcohol addiction and who is eager to see an abuse-resistant painkiller device.

"This is in my wheelhouse," he said. "I think we can put a serious dent in this problem."

When Terry developed his e-cigarette he assumed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration would begin regulating the industry, as it has recently done, proposing a ban on sales to people under the age of 18 and requiring companies to register. Later it could impose product standard and quality controls.

Terry wanted to create a product that would pass any FDA inspection. He used a pure metal wire wrapped around a rod made from magnesia-stabilized zirconia, a highly durable ceramic material. Instead of meshes, tape and plastic he used novel porous ceramics and surgical-grade alloys, and instead of soldering parts together he connected them mechanically, fitting components together like Legos to complete the circuits.

He built on that design to create his drug-delivery device, known as Envi, a single-user, tamper-resistant, metered-dose inhaler.

Envi is about the size of a short cigar and comes with a spare in a case the size of a deck of playing cards.

The nicotine or other drug will come in a sealed cartridge that the patient will insert into the inhaler. To activate the device, the user will have to enter a code. The inhaler will be programed to deliver a certain amount of drug and then turn off.

When the device is returned to the case, which is required after each dose to activate it for the next dose, data on the patient's usage will be downloaded and available to be viewed electronically by the prescribing physician.

"It will only let you take your prescription," Terry said. "It will log your usage and transmit it in real time, and make it easier for the doctor to monitor and interact with the patient."

BUILDING A BETTER INHALER

Terry, 37, who grew up on an organic farm in Ohio to "hippy commune" parents and studied mechanical engineering at the University of Idaho, faces multiple challenges.

Inhalers are typically more expensive to develop than pills, and ensuring patients get the right dose is more complicated.

"I can see a lot of barriers, but the idea is certainly interesting," said Dr. Ben Forbes, a Reader in Pharmaceutics, broadly the equivalent of a U.S. professor, at King's College London who specializes in inhaled medications.

There needs to be a good reason to target a drug to the lungs, Forbes said. Drugs that are inhaled may work faster than pills, so a device that offered quick pain relief in an abuse-resistant form would be "brilliant" if it could be produced economically, he added.

"Changes in inhaler technology have been very incremental over the years, so maybe something like this would have a place."

In the meantime, big tobacco companies are developing alternative nicotine products they hope one day will carry a "modified risk" of harm. Some are dispensed through an inhaler.

Unlike Terry's smoking-cessation device, which he plans to file with the FDA's drug division, these products would be marketed as less risky alternatives to smoking and be processed through the FDA's tobacco division.

However smokers end up using the new products will be the subject of intense research by the FDA.

Terry believes he is creating a product that will survive any market configuration. Minusa has a long way to go, and human trials may be two years off. Eventually he hopes to partner with a big drug company.

"I think we can change how drugs are delivered."

(Reporting by Toni Clarke in Washington; Editing by Michele Gershberg and Prudence Crowther)

219  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / frack boom on: May 04, 2014, 08:47:05 AM
My 2 cents first:

I recall in the late 1990s how one expert said we were at peak oil and the world supply will forever begin to decline.
Fast forward -  yes the biggest obstacle now are the environmentalists and the liberals.  I do agree we can't allow the frackers to simply scorch the Earth and leave vast wastelands for our descendants but we needn't go the other extreme either.  Need to rid the World of Obama first.   Probably even the Clintons would sign on to the Keystone pipeline.  Even they were not that destructive of the USA as the present guy.  (They are as destructive in other ways - ethics, honesty, etc.)

 
************Jeff McMahon Contributor

Follow   

I cover green technology, energy and the environment from Chicago. full bio →


Tech 5/04/2014 @ 8:58AM 682 views

Fracking Insiders See No End To Boom
 
Despite official predictions that the U.S. energy boom will pop like a bubble in the next 20 years, people engaged in drilling for oil and gas—from the financiers to the frackers—see no end to boom times or low gas prices, industry insiders said in Chicago Friday.

Late last year the International Energy Agency predicted the U.S. would surpass Russia and Saudi Arabia to become the world’s largest energy producer by 2015 but would run out of gas, so to speak, in the 2020s. The U.S. Energy Information Administration made a similar assessment  last year, predicting production would decline after 2020 and then increased demand would drive up gas prices.

But such glum assessments underestimate not only the amount of domestic shale oil and gas, but also the ingenuity of those  tapping it, the insiders suggested Friday at the Energy Forward conference hosted by the Chicago Booth Energy Group.

“It’s amazing how much is out there, and we have very high confidence on most of these plays that they’re going to be very long lived,” said Robert Beck, who explores for Anadarko Petroleum Corp.

Most shale oil wells today start strong but taper off quickly compared to conventional wells, and some cease production in 7.5 to 8 years. But drilling technologies are evolving quickly to change that, said James King, a vice president for well competition with Baker Hughes, an oilfield services company.

“There are a lot of bright minds working today to make the wells have higher rates of production, slower decline curves, better terminal production and at less cost,” King said. “In the long term I think there will be technological solutions to fast decline curves and short-life wells.”

The U.S. will set records for oil production this year, King said. ”I would expect it’s sustainable. The technology didn’t just happen, it wasn’t just switched on, it evolved over time, and we’ll have better technologies than we did before.”

New technologies are likely to be employed re-fracking wells that seem depleted to current technologies.

“There’s nothing to keep you from fracking the same well a second time or a third time. As we go back to fracking these existing wells, what we might find is that we’ll have more patience and spend a little more money on the science up front to determine where to stimulate an existing well, and so we’ll be able to bring wells back on at least as strong as they were originally.”

The U.S. has an estimated 5 to 6 trillion barrels of oil locked up in shale, said Vance L. Scott of the management consulting firm A.T. Kearney—resources up to 15 times the size of the largest oil field in Saudi Arabia, he said. “To date we’ve used as a species, depending on the source, 700 billion to a trillion in oil.”

In its 2013 Outlook, the Energy Information Administration predicted gas prices would increase by 2040 to $7.65 per million BTU. The industry insiders at Friday’s conference, while not venturing so precise a prediction so far ahead, expect prices to stabilize at a lower level for the foreseeable future.

“Eventually we think the markets are going to balance between $4 and $5—$5.50 kind of the upper bound,” Scott said.

The financial advisory firm Lazard also expects gas prices to stabilize between $4.50 and $5. The firm hired “very contrarian thinkers” to try to burst the bubble of optimism within the industry, said George Bilicic, Lazard’s global head of power, energy and infrastructure.

“We hired a consultant about 18 months ago to do a very elaborate study for us on natural gas. We said, it cannot be that everyone is right about natural gas…. We said prove why everyone is wrong. And they came back—these very contrarian thinkers—they came back and said everyone is right.”

Asked how confident he was in Lazard’s $4.5o price estimate, Bilicic said “I’m not confident at all.” There’s an argument between bulls who see prices rising with economic growth and LNG exports and bears who expect the demand for gas to be undercut by energy efficiency, renewable energy, and environmental concerns. But Lazard’s calculations place the price in that range.

“We’re not so sure where gas prices will be over the long term. We do a highly proprietary and, of course because its Lazard, highly sophisticated levelized cost of energy analysis where we use long-term gas prices at about $4.50 or $5 across the U.S.”

 “When we look at the reserves and we look at people’s ability to drill it’s hard to see how you’re going to see anything other than” that price, Bilicic said.

Environmental concerns remain the most overt threat to the boom.

“If you look at the carbon effects of natural gas and carbon is the issue, the difference between an all natural gas system and the system we have now, it’s not that much better from a carbon perspective, even displacing a lot of the coal,” Bilicic said. ”So we’re a little worried, but we think that’s the right outlook on things right now.”

Constraints could also come from unforeseen directions. Two years ago, there was a shortage of guar gum from India, a component of fracking fluids, and this winter’s polar vortex slowed transports of fracking sand from Wisconsin.

“Who would have thought little bitty things like guar and sand could slow the unconventional growth curve,” said Beck from Anadarko. “That’s another way the industry is different nowadays.”

Follow Jeff McMahon on Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, or email him here.

220  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: May 04, 2014, 08:37:03 AM
"If the left didn't have double standards, they'd have no standards at all."

Good point.  No standards at all except what suits them.  Either personally or with their progressive agenda.
221  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Drudgereport giving me heartburn on: May 04, 2014, 07:21:39 AM
My second 'negative' pessimistic post of the day.  I wake up feel refreshed and then I go to Drudge just to get aggravated.  
The media had no problem with releasing the contents of an illegally recorded *private* conversation between Sterling and his essentially prostitute friend ("I should have paid her") because it fit their liberal narrative, but now suddenly how dare this guy release to the public Kerry's comments which are FAR more important to the world because it is not in *their* narrative:

****Josh Rogin 
Washington Bureau
  
05.02.14

Damn Right I Taped Kerry’s ‘Apartheid’ Talk

And if I had to do it all over again, I’d do it in the exact same way.

Ten years ago, when I was a rookie reporter for the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun, I looked up to Joseph Nye as a sacred figure, the preeminent American expert on Japan. So it hurt a little when Nye wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday to accuse me of “sneaking in” to a meeting of the Trilateral Commission last week in Washington, where John Kerry made explosive remarks warning that Israeli could become “an apartheid state.”




But I don’t blame Joseph Nye for accusing me of unethical journalism practices. He is not a journalist and he does not know the “rules” of journalism, both written and not so. I do. I’m a reporter. I know the rules and I follow them meticulously. In ten years of reporting for five different top news organizations, I’ve never broken an agreement with an official or a source and I never will. My living is dependent on that reputation and I worked hard to earn it.

If a reporter agrees that a conversation or event is off-the-record, then of course he cannot print what was said during that interchange. But the unwritten rule—the one that directly applies here—is that if a reporter enters an off-the-record event uninvited and has not agreed to the off-the-record terms, he is free to report what happens inside that event. It’s the responsibility of the event organizers to keep reporters from entering events without invitations. As long as the reporter does not misrepresent himself and does not attempt to conceal a recording device, the event is fair game. That’s the rule.

Did I enter the Trilateral Commission event with Kerry, tape it, and then reveal to the world what our Secretary of State is saying to influential world leaders behind closed doors?

Damn right I did.

Other outlets, including Politico, rushed to publish posts alleging I “sneaked” into the meeting and “secretly” recorded Kerry, based on the Nye letter. They reported “great frustration at the State Dept.” over the story. Politico also dredged up a story from 2009 when Jeffrey Goldberg accused me of being a bad Jew and worse for reporting on his interview of the Israeli ambassador at a local synagogue on Yom Kippur.

(I did issue a minor correction to that story. But on the charge of being a bad Jew? Like Hebrew National, I answer to a higher authority.)

The Daily Caller pointed out that even as Politico called me a “repeat offender,” its reporter acknowledged that although attendees agreed to keep the meeting off the record, “Rogin, who was not invited to the event, was not bound by this agreement.”

The Huffington Post pointed out that Nye didn’t actually present any real evidence that I was inside the meeting at all, saying only that I was recognized by a “friend” who was a member of the commission. The unnamed “friend” would not put his name in front of the accusation. Nye declined multiple times to explain why. But it really doesn’t matter.




“If Rogin attended and did not explicitly agree to any off-the-record ground rules, and did not misrepresent himself in the process, the comments are fair game to report.”

“If Rogin attended and did not explicitly agree to any off-the-record ground rules, and did not misrepresent himself in the process, the comments are fair game to report from a journalistic standpoint,” the Huffington Post explained.

Reporters can never reveal how they get their stories. Our processes, even our tricks, are sacred. They are the only advantage we have against the powerful people and organizations trying to keep information out of the public eye. They have hundreds of public affairs personnel, millions of dollars, and the ability to enforce tight control of media access to the leaders we trust with our national security and diplomacy. We have only our sources, our savvy, and our willingness to do what’s necessary to find out the things our government is trying to hide, within the bounds of the rules.

Nevertheless, in the interest of transparency, I will make this one time exception to my rule of never talking about my reporting process. Here is exactly what happened.

Friday morning I got a tip from a source that Kerry would be speaking at the Trilateral Commission meeting at the Mandarin Oriental hotel, a luxurious place just far enough away from downtown DC to avoid random foot traffic but still only 10 minutes from my office by taxi. The State Department had disclosed Kerry’s appearance there and marked it “closed press” in their daily scheduling note, but had not disclosed the location. I hopped in a cab.

I got there early so I parked myself in an empty room near the lobby and finished up another story I was working on. At about 2:30, the time of Kerry’s scheduled remarks, I walked over to the meeting room, walked straight to the front entrance of the room, nodded politely to the staffer at the door (she nodded back) and entered along with dozens of other people who were filing in.

Nobody ever asked me who I was. I didn’t have a name tag but many of the invited attendees weren’t wearing theirs so nobody thought anything of it. As the approximately 200 attendees got settled in for the Kerry speech, I found a seat in the corner, opened up my laptop, placed my recorder on my lap in plain sight, turned it on, and waited for the fun to begin.

A fellow journalist—I won’t say who, but you can read a list of the ones that attended the event here—spotted me in the hallway before the event. We made chit chat and talked about The Trilateral Commission in general terms. He mentioned that he was a member of the Commission. He didn’t ask me if I was a member or was invited and I didn’t volunteer any information either way. I have no idea if he is the “friend” who ratted me out to Joseph Nye.

Kerry stuck mostly to his script, but veered off at times, as he often does. I was focused on his remarks about Ukraine, when he seemed to reveal new information about intelligence collection on Russia and promised new sanctions. (I finished up a story from the room, and attributed Kerry’s remarks to “an attendee,” because there I was. Once I got home and had a chance to listen to the tapes, I sourced Kerry’s remarks to a recording obtained by The Daily Beast.) Kerry’s remarks on Israel were typical for him, until he dropped the now infamous A-bomb.

I left in the middle of the Q&A because I had another appointment. We will probably never know what else Kerry told the Trilateral Commission behind closed doors. I was proud to be able to bring my readers a story about what our top diplomat says about an important issue when he didn’t think the cameras were rolling. I expected some pushback and anger from the State Department. I was surprised that so many people bought the spin that I somehow I had done something unethical.

If I had to do it all over again, I would do it in the exact same way. Event organizers and public officials should be forewarned. The public disclosure of this episode may make it harder for me to enter rooms the powerful people don’t want me in, maybe not, we’ll see. If it does, no worries, I’ve got plenty of other ways to get important and true information about our government to my readers. I don’t have to break the rules to break news.

I will admit to one ethical indiscretion in the reporting of these stories. While I was waiting for Kerry to get to the meeting, I partook of the lunch buffet and made myself a plate of pork loin, chicken, and a very nice rice pilaf. Professor Nye, my apologies. Please send me a bill.****
222  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Clintons on: May 04, 2014, 07:09:23 AM
Sorry Doug.  As much as I wish you are right I beg to differ......

"And Geffen, who gave Obama his first big Hollywood fund-raiser in 2008 and broke with the Clintons because he felt they lied “with such ease, it’s troubling,” now says he will “absolutely” support Hillary in 2016, calling her “an extraordinary, smart, accomplished woman.”

This country is so screwed.  Barring an unforeseen event or events the Republican party which by the way also does NOT represent me, but is closer to my values, has NO chance of defeating this *machine*.  The machine is far greater than the Clintons themselves.  It truly is remarkable how all Crats consistently fall into line when needed.  Just remarkable.
Any semblance of honesty or ethics is right out the window.  Lock step Jack footed boots; in lock step, and marching forward:

****Maureen Dowd

42 and 45 Overpower 44
MAY 3, 2014

Maureen Dowd  
WASHINGTON — THE First Family is all over the news, discussing the management of the economy, income inequality, raising the minimum wage, the vicissitudes of press coverage and the benefits of healthy eating.

Everywhere you look, the Clintons rule.

Bill popped up on the front page of The Times giving a speech at his alma mater, Georgetown University, in which he defended his economic policies and chastised the press for its tendency to create a “storyline” that doesn’t match reality. (Sort of like the storyline the Clintons created about Monica Lewinsky being a delusional stalker.)

Hillary’s Apache dance with the press is detailed in the new issue of Politico Magazine, a piece that got a lot more buzz than the news the White House was excited about on Friday: a sharp drop in the unemployment rate.

Chelsea is serenely smiling from the cover of Fast Company for a story on how “the product of two of the most powerful brands in the world” is “carving out her own identity — by joining the family business,” as vice chair in charge of shaping up the tangled finances of the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation. Her impending baby is being treated with enormous fanfare and exhaustive political analysis, like America’s answer to Britain’s bonny Prince George.

Obamaworld was even paranoid that Hillaryland would hijack the B-list festivities associated with the annual White House Correspondents Dinner this weekend.

The former and future Democratic regime is clearly itching to get back in the saddle and relieve a president who is stalled on every front, and who never really got any joy from working the joystick of power or appreciated the value of the carrot-stick approach that helped Lincoln and L.B.J. bend history.

Both President Obama and Hillary have recently referred to leadership as a relay race. And if a fatigued and fed-up Obama looks ready to pass the baton early, the ravenous and relentless Clintons look ready to grab it — and maybe give him a few whacks over the head with it.

Obama’s reign has become increasingly bloodless, and while the Clintons are not new blood, they do convey more vitality than the formerly electrifying politician in the White House.

Things have now reached the point where it feels as though 42 and 45 have already taken over the reins of Washington power from 44, who is fading Snapchat-fast.

The Clintons now have Obama, as one top Democrat said, “totally at their mercy” because they “take the oxygen out of the room.”

Hillary’s stock is so high — almost as high as her speaking fees — that in The Daily Beast, Tina Brown urged the front-runner to skip the campaign and simply go straight to becoming “post-President.”

Just to make the Clintons feel completely at home as they ramp up to the restoration, there is even a congressional investigation spurred by the vast right-wing conspiracy.

House Speaker John Boehner announced Friday that he would call a vote to set up a select committee to look into the Benghazi debacle, and whether Congress was misled by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and others in the Obama administration.

As Slate’s Dave Weigel tweeted, “The nice thing about having a Benghazi select committee is you can roll it over into the Hillary presidency.”

Many of those who aroused the Clintons’ opprobrium and well-known taste for vengeance by supporting the rookie Barack Obama in 2008 thought they were headed to a fresh era in politics, moving past the gnarly braiding of the personal and political that led to chaos in the Clinton era.

But the Clinton machine, once described by David Geffen as “very unpleasant and unattractive and effective,” has a Rasputin resilience. And now those who broke away are in the awkward position of having to make nice with the woman they helped vanquish.

Samantha Power recently said that she regretted calling Hillary a “monster” and offered her new view: “She just brings such rigor and conviction to everything she touches.”

Claire McCaskill, who endorsed Obama in 2008 and said she didn’t want her daughter near Bill Clinton and confided to a friend that she was nervous to be alone in an elevator with Hillary, announced in June that she is “Ready for Hillary.”

Caroline Kennedy, whose endorsement in 2008 comparing Obama to her father was pivotal, told NBC’s Chuck Todd: “I would like to see her run if that’s what she wants to do. I think she would be great.”

The will take a 42 and 45 anytime over a 41, 43 and 45.
There's just enough time for Barry to resign, make Joe president and show Bill and Hill he door.
 
Geffen might note the Clinton's still lie at ease, but next to Obama, they sound like saints. Come to think of it, Richard Nixon was a saint...
 
 And Geffen, who gave Obama his first big Hollywood fund-raiser in 2008 and broke with the Clintons because he felt they lied “with such ease, it’s troubling,” now says he will “absolutely” support Hillary in 2016, calling her “an extraordinary, smart, accomplished woman.”

Elizabeth Warren, who criticized Hillary in a 2003 book for an unprincipled stand on a bankruptcy bill, siding with the big banks she needed to bankroll her political career, lets Hillary off the hook in her new book.

Leon Panetta, who served as chief of staff for Bill Clinton and secretary of defense for Obama, told The Times that Obama had not yet defined America’s 21st-century role in the world.

“Hopefully, he’ll do it,” Panetta said, “and certainly, she would.”

The president who dreamed of being “transformative” seems bummed, and that’s bumming out Americans.

But when you talk about batting singles, you’re just asking to be overshadowed by the next big draft pick. If you’re playing small ball and you’re articulating your diminished expectations, it’s only natural that someone is going to fill the void.

Some Obama aides get irritated when Hillary distances herself from Obama and when her advisers paint her as tougher than Obama, someone who wouldn’t be afraid to drop the hammer and sickle on Vladimir Putin.

And some in Obamaworld think she could have skipped her $200,000-plus speeches to Goldman Sachs and helped the stumbling president make his push on health care, given that the push was focused on moms and kids, an area of interest for the woman who would be the first woman president.
Continue reading the main story  239Comments
But they were hoisted on their own petard. It was the lone-cat President Obama who ignored the usual practice in politics — dancin’ with those who brung ya and dismantling your bitter rival’s machine — and encouraged the view of Hillary as the presumptive nominee over his unfailingly loyal vice president, Joe Biden. Three of his key political advisers — Jim Messina, Jeremy Bird and Mitch Stewart — have gone to super PACs supporting Hillary.

David Plouffe, the president’s former top political adviser, said Hillary could call him for advice and told Bloomberg’s Al Hunt that “there’s very little oxygen” for another Democrat to challenge her.

As Obama has learned, to his dismay, there’s now very little oxygen for him, too.
 
A version of this op-ed appears in print on May 4, 2014, on page SR1 of the New York edition with the headline: 42 and 45 Overpower 44. Order Reprints|Today's Paper|Subscribe  
223  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: May 02, 2014, 09:43:25 PM
Fair enough as long as you keep posting him when the market tanks as it inevitably always does.  OF course he or I know not when.  But he will still be talking his same schpeel.  (nicer Yiddish version of  bull shit).
224  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the left on: May 02, 2014, 09:39:15 PM
I only post this liberal propaganda because of this line:

"The Republican "more drilling brings the price down" argument clearly isn't working. It is, however, making oil companies a hefty profit at our taxpayer-subsidized expense."

I have to ask, since when does the left give a crap about taxpayers.  Leave it up these people and our taxes would be substantially higher.  Yet here he tries to sound like he is protecting taxpayers. 

******Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva Become a fan
Co-chair, Congressional Progressive Caucus

'Drill, Baby, Drill' Has Failed -- And Now We Can Do Something About It
 

 Posted:  05/02/2014 11:18 am EDT    Updated:  05/02/2014 11:59 am EDT   

 In the next few weeks, Congress will decide the country's Fiscal Year 2015 funding priorities. A lot is riding on whether we fund necessary environmental, clean energy and reclamation programs or leave them to wither. I'm hoping we do the right thing.

It's important to know the context. Americans paid an average of $3.57 for a gallon of gasoline last year. Compare that to the $2.40 per gallon average in 2009. The Republican "more drilling brings the price down" argument clearly isn't working. It is, however, making oil companies a hefty profit at our taxpayer-subsidized expense. We need a better national strategy.

This year President Obama requested about $6.9 billion for clean energy technology programs at the Department of Energy, the Department of Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency. Many parts of his proposal are smart investments in our environmental future. Unfortunately, the administration wants to accelerate the already rapidly expanding exploitation of domestic oil and gas fields. This would do grave damage to our already heavily stressed climate.

How stressed? Last month, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a series of reports finding once again that human activities are the leading cause of higher atmospheric greenhouse gas (GHG) levels and a warming climate. The reports find that CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and industrial processes have contributed 78 percent of total GHG emissions since 1970. The scientific community expects the volume to double -- some even say triple -- by 2050.

Unfortunately, my Republican colleagues have other things on their minds. In the guise of being worried about the economy, they have introduced a number of bad bills to allow oil and gas companies to drill and frack wherever and however they please. This won't help the consumer. Since 2008 oil production from federal lands and waters has gone up 7 percent and 35 percent, respectively. Despite that dramatic increase in extraction, gas prices haven't gone down since 2009.

More oil and gas activity adds more CO2 to the atmosphere, causing our climate to get warmer. The scientific consensus on those questions is overwhelming. The only debate today exists in professional climate change denial circles. If my conservative colleagues are concerned about the country we leave our children, my question is this: Is our environmental debt out of control? Is it time for us to scale it back?

Solving environmental degradation and curbing climate change are not easy tasks. But I believe we have the chance to do what's right for our future now, without waiting. We need to curb the carbon dioxide emissions already polluting our atmosphere; just as seriously, we need to start making sustained investments in a cleaner future. Part of the president's proposed budget would address this, especially through increased renewable energy production investments and through the Climate Action Plan.

Republicans keep arguing for sequestration as the only way to reduce the deficit. I think they're wrong, but their argument raises an important question: When you see a problem, when is it time to stop contributing to it? When is enough enough? When Congress finalizes the FY2015 budget, I hope my colleagues bear in mind the need to start chipping away at the environmental debt we're leaving our children. Coming generations of Americans will judge us harshly if we continue to pollute our atmosphere in the name of short-term profits, especially when there's a better way.

This post is part of a series from the Safe Climate Caucus. The Caucus comprises 38 members of the House of Representatives who have committed to ending the conspiracy of silence in Congress about the dangers of climate change. For more information, visit the Safe Climate Caucus website and like the Safe Climate Caucus on Facebook.*****
225  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / My thoughts on: May 02, 2014, 08:10:52 PM
Benghazi - just "right wing" hysterics because "they can't come up with anything else so says MSLSD's Chris Hayes pounding the table today @ the same time Fox is covering the story in an honest and legitimate way.

This is just as much BS as the Black Caucus Congressman saying anyone opposed to Obama is not opposed to him because he is a lying, manipulative, pompous, arrogant asshole who deceives, distorts, cons, robs, breaks laws, hates Jews, hates whites, hates America, hates capitalism, is a Communist, is a megalomaniac, but because, get this, he's black.   

No Congressman, you can talk stupid but many of us are not as dumb as you.
226  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: May 02, 2014, 07:58:02 PM
"Either way, Q1 is in the rear-view mirror and real GDP is set to accelerate sharply in Q2."

I told you.  Growth at minus 01%.   No biggy.   Oh growth is set to accelerate big time next quarter.

Sorry.  Yeah this guy happened to be right the last couple of years.  He is still a horses ass. 
227  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: May 01, 2014, 10:36:56 AM
"Howard Dean, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, warned that "The IPAB is essentially a health-care rationing body"

Well of course.  That is also what the whole electronic medical record, the expansion of codes by several times, the reporting of "data" are about.  It is all about control and cutting costs.  Under the guise of better "quality" care of course.

As for the rich being able to get better care - it has and will always be that way.  This is NOT new.  Anyone know of any famous person who could NOT get an organ transplant?

Name one!
228  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy, Big Brother (State and Corporate) and the 4th & 9th Amendments on: May 01, 2014, 10:32:05 AM
Government could be even more corrupt than private organizations.  Nothing in this piece surprises me.  I have patients who are Federal employees who have told me stories.

I have witnessed cover-ups first hand at the Copyright Office.

Very few watchdogs exist and from what I see they are up against people who may know more but fear for their jobs and will "sacrifice" or "get involved" to become a whistleblower,  massive backscratching among managers, bribery,  and agency lawyers who are more concerned about covering up the agencies problems for reputational reasons then rooting out illegal/unethical activity.

 
229  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Here it comes: "Save the political system" on: May 01, 2014, 10:23:15 AM
By making voting mandatory!
Voting is a right and a privilege.  Not a taxable offense if you don't vote.   First the comparison to jury duty is not equivalent.  People are screened before sitting on a jury.
Second, can anyone imagine the fraud if we all start voting from smartphones and other gadgets?  Third there is NO question this about progressives getting more of people who are big government advocates to dish them more money to vote.   All this will do is increase the centralization of power even more.  This will not fix the "system".  It will result in even more of our rights being taken away.   Fourth micro-targeting will not go away as suggested.   The battle for ideas will not go away.  Manipulating voters views will not go away.  Indeed it will likely and inevitably serve to have more ignorant people vote on emotional issues or whoever promises the most benefits to them.
Fifth, what if some people simply do not want to vote?  Now they commit a criminal offense?  This is purely a big moneyed Democrat trying to con us to coercing more Democrat votes.    (Didn't the napster punk steal the idea from someone else?)   These silicon guys may or may not be great business people but some still seem like punks to me.

The time should never come for this:   

****The time has come to make you vote

By Matt Bai 6 hours ago Yahoo News

Voting booths are set up in Waterloo, Iowa. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Word is that Sean Parker, the 34-year-old Web visionary who built Napster and then helped grow Facebook, is the latest billionaire with an idea to save the political system, or at least a lot of money in search of an idea to save the political system. Parker and other investors are said to be planning a startup aimed at organizing disaffected voters. They've hired some well-connected Washington consultants, because that's what you do when you really want to stick it to the status quo.

This isn't new space, exactly. A few years ago, some moderate operatives in both parties got together and started something called "No Labels," which sends a lot of admonishing petitions to Congress about partisanship and which has the backing of politicians who like to expound on the ugliness of our politics but don't actually want to do anything too controversial.

The truth is that incivility is more a symptom than a sickness; the root cause of our problem is the antiquated system by which we choose our leaders. And if Parker and his high-tech friends really want to "disrupt" our political stalemate in the way they disrupted record labels, then they should consider something more drastic than urging people to get involved. Maybe it's time we coerced them.

Let's first consider the situation in which we find ourselves. Once again this year, the two parties that dominate our politics will conduct parallel campaigns aimed at two distinct subsets of Americans, rather than engaging in any actual debate. One side will scream about liberal overreach and the other will scream about conservative greed and bigotry, and whoever arouses the most passion in their most reliable voters (generally the party out of power at the moment) will probably win.

It wasn't like this when we were a nation that joined and trusted institutions, including political parties. But now that fewer and fewer Americans feel compelled to support their local parties or even register as affiliated, primaries are dominated by an ever dwindling number of hardcore activists, and they're deciding options for the rest of us. And since more than half of voting-age Americans will find those options so uninspiring that they would rather stay home than vote this November, the vast majority of time and money on both sides will be focused on motivating voters who already agree with them.

There are some promising reform ideas out there. Californians have had some success with nonpartisan elections, which bypass the traditional primary system. There's a lot of talk about curtailing all the outside money flowing into campaigns, too – though the Supreme Court is unlikely to cooperate. Taking the responsibility for redistricting away from politicians is a no-brainer for everyone but the parties themselves, which continue to resist it.

But I recently heard a more radical argument from my friend Jonathan Cowan, who runs Third Way, the centrist Democratic think tank. Cowan has been kicking around the idea of compulsory voting – or, in other words, a government mandate just like the one that now forces you to buy health care insurance, except it would require everybody to vote.   

I first heard a version of this argument back in 2008, when I gave a series of talks in Australia. The Australians have compulsory voting and they're quite proud of themselves for it, and some of their politicians had fun engaging me in a spirited debate about whose democracy was really more of a model for the world, since they could boast 100 percent voter participation in every election.

The concept struck me then as essentially un-American. After all, as I argued to my Australian friends, part of being a free country is having the freedom to abstain. And anyway, as I rudely pointed out, a country whose Parliament can technically be dissolved by the British queen can hardly go around calling itself a democracy, much less a perfect one.

But Cowan makes a compelling case that compulsory voting in federal elections would actually be the most elegant way to revitalize our democracy overnight, without having to chase a series of piecemeal reforms in dozens of legislatures. Think about it: If voter participation suddenly went from, say, 40 percent in an off-year election to 95 percent (assuming there will always be some slackers and protesters who defy the law and risk the penalty), then the modern industry of voter turnout operations would magically go away.

No more arcane microtargeting and database wizardry. No more overwrought direct mail playing to the most irrational fears of gun owners or xenophobes. No more "base elections" where the only message is that the other guy is a Satan worshipper who will call forth the horsemen of the apocalypse if you let him win.

Suddenly candidates would have to think about ideas again – about how to persuade all of these skeptical, unaffiliated voters that they actually have a plan to govern. The parties would almost certainly open their primaries to independents, if not move entirely to nonpartisan elections, because it would be the only way to make sure their nominees had broad enough appeal to win. Candidates would have to be more responsive to the broad electorate than to the tiny number of wealthy contributors who currently help them get out the vote.

You'd have to decide, of course, whether to tax people who refuse to vote or whether to treat it as a criminal offense, like refusing to register for the draft. (Probably the former, practically speaking.) You'd have to make sure voters could still come to the polls and formally abstain, so there's no violation of free speech. And you'd have to make it a lot easier to vote than it is now, which means extending the voting period well beyond a single day and letting people e-vote from home.

(And before all you professors send me mail again telling me how the Internet can't even protect your credit card, much less protect your vote from Chinese hackers, let me just say: Yes, I know, online voting can never be as failsafe as, say, the days when we trusted some guy in Chicago to count up a box full of paper ballots and take them in his trunk to the county office. But I think we can figure it out.)

You could argue that Parker and his fellow investors would be wasting their time to campaign for something so hard to achieve. It's not entirely clear to scholars who've looked at the issue whether you could impose compulsory voting by statute, which would be pretty hard to do, or whether the Supreme Court would ultimately require a constitutional amendment, which might be nearly impossible.

But there's a value to starting a national conversation about ways to modernize the electoral system, which is long past due. And it's hard to imagine that even Silicon Valley's brightest minds can build a real movement of unaffiliated voters without having at least one big, serious proposal to rally them around.

Is compulsory voting un-American? No more so, now that I think about it, than making people serve on juries for their own civic good – which everyone complains about but no one really resents. I find the argument persuasive, which is more than you can say for our campaigns
230  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: May 01, 2014, 08:54:21 AM
Wesbury will talk down the deterioration of growth and say it is at least not yet anything to woryy about but something just to keep an eye on.  He will then spew his usual rant about how the economy is hunky dory, etc. 

231  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Benghazi and related matters on: May 01, 2014, 08:52:16 AM
Yep.  This is clearly a bigger scandal than Watergate ever was.   Only difference is that now it is *their* guy, so the MSM refuses to do anything about it.

Yet we here over and over again about Sterling's private conversations that were illegally taped and released to the media.  It is really terrible how the NBA players are treated isn't it?  tongue
232  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Charen on Race "preferences" on: April 29, 2014, 08:00:41 PM

What Race Preferences Hide

Mona Charen
By Mona Charen April 25, 2014 3:00 AM
   
Sonia Sotomayor is a wonderful role model. Truly. Through hard work, brains and rare self-discipline at an early age, she was able to overcome poverty and family dysfunction to become what she is today. She was diagnosed at the age of 7 with Type 1 diabetes, and because her father was an alcoholic and her mother a full-time nurse, it fell to her to manage the daily insulin injections and testing that are part of the required treatment. The image, in her memoir, of a small girl dragging a chair to the stove so she could sterilize her syringes before school is poignant indeed.

Any person attempting to overcome hardship can look to Sotomayor for inspiration. But as she demonstrated in her long, impassioned dissent in the case of Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, the experience of benefiting from race preferences has left her prickly and defensive on the subject. As others, including her Supreme Court colleague Justice Clarence Thomas, have argued, that kind of gnawing insecurity is one of the consequences of preferences. Others are never sure if you've achieved your position entirely on merit, and neither are you.

Sotomayor's argument rests entirely on a fallacy — that lowering admission standards for certain minority applicants is the only possible response to concerns about racial and ethnic disparities in American life. "Race matters," she scolded again and again in her dissent. Actually, she went further and argued that a Michigan constitutional amendment that explicitly forbids racial discrimination amounts to racial discrimination.

The contention that white, Asian and other students should be disadvantaged because of discrimination against blacks that ceased decades before they were born is facially unjust. Under the regime of preferences, the white child of a poor waitress from Scranton, Pennsylvania, who would be the first person in her family to ever attend college, will have to get SAT scores about 300 points higher (depending upon the school) than the black daughter of a dermatologist from Beverly Hills, California. An Asian student would have to score even higher, because that minority is, according to those who insist on counting by race, "overrepresented."

Admissions officers at selective schools pretend they are offering opportunity to "underserved" minorities, but in reality, they are simply lowering standards for already-privileged students with the preferred skin tone. Ninety-two percent of blacks at elite colleges are from the top half of the income distribution. A study a decade ago at Harvard Law School found that only a third of students had four African-American grandparents. Another third were from interracial families. The rest were children of recent immigrants from Africa or the West Indies.

Should mixed-race students get half a preference? Should their scores be 50 percent higher than students with two black parents? These are the kinds of absurdities our current system presents.

Racial and ethnic preferences are unjust — reason enough to abandon them — but there are other reasons as well. They serve to perpetuate, rather than combat, racial stereotypes. They encourage gaming the system (as when Elizabeth Warren claimed to be Native American). They permit students from certain groups to coast in high school knowing they will get an automatic golden ticket to college. They encourage intergroup resentment. They result in what Stuart Taylor Jr. and Richard Sander have rightly called "mismatching" students — so that all but the very top minority students wind up attending schools that are a little out of their league. This, in turn, causes more minority students to abandon demanding majors like science and technology (so necessary for the economy's flourishing), and to drop out in numbers far higher than other students. Black students are about a third more likely than similarly qualified other students to start college, but less likely to finish.

When California outlawed racial preferences in 1996, preference advocates predicted apocalyptic consequences. Instead, as Taylor and Sander reported, "Black and Hispanic students improved their academic performance, stuck more successfully to (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) majors, and graduated at stunningly improved rates."

Dropping preferences is not harmful to minority students; it's beneficial. It should not be the end of the story, though. The gap in achievement between some minority groups and others can and should be addressed. Contra Sotomayor, it's not so much that "race matters" as that schools matter. The shame of the nation is that poor children continue to be so trapped in terrible schools. That is the disgrace that race counters cloak.

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

COPYRIGHT 2014 CREATORS.COM
233  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: April 29, 2014, 08:00:25 AM
"Perez said construction began without checking water availability and now a dam would have to be dug to make the project viable."

We here of government project over runs here too.  I don't know the statistics but we here all the time of defense cost "overruns" on basically every single project.

Stadiums always cost more to build then "projected".  I don't understand why we don't have contracts that limit the amount available and the entity that accepts the contract must meet those limits.  Or they borrow money privately and then pay the overdrawn balance back.
234  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Off the Drudgereport on: April 29, 2014, 07:54:29 AM
I don't often post off of Drudge because I figure we all can see it easily but I think this video highlights the crucial problem facing "America" today.   It shows quite clearly the wrapped hatred of the liberals for our country and how they love to foster hatred, anger, jealousy, envy, racism, and the blame someone else game to garner support for more centralized governmental power.   This is the central issue we face in America IMHO.   Who is going to win this debate.  Unfortunately, as long as big gov keeps buying votes 40% will not even listen to the debate.  They won't care.  They just want subsidies paid for by others.  ("The rich")  Always the "rich".

The closest people able to respond to the socialist view are some talk show hosts and a few others like VDH etc.  I still have not heard one well known politician deal with this effectively.  We have no  mouth piece in politics.   No one represents many of us.   I liked Santorum's points on the 2016 Presidential thread that I posted a few days ago. 

www.deadline.com/2014/04/hot-trailer-dinesh-dsouzas-america/
235  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: April 29, 2014, 07:46:26 AM
Yes this is unbelievable.    cry   To think some of these idiots vote.   Of course 40% will always vote for the government to continue handing them more and blame someone else for their woes. 

These people interviewed appear to be born American.  At least they don't have any foreign accents.   I've heard years ago that immigrants used to be more up to date on our history than many born here. 

I don't think that is even remotely true now in the sense that the people coming here are much less of European ancestry and from countries with less in common than Europe had with us.

They are much more expectant of government subsidies today.   

 
236  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: April 28, 2014, 08:31:06 PM
One can notice that there is a pattern change around 10Am to trading though it could go up or down, but something does happen 1/2 hour in.

237  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: April 27, 2014, 07:32:37 PM
Good article by DVH on Harry Reid.

I recently read somewhere about the fortunes of past Presidents.  Many in the 19th century died with nothing or very little.  Unlike politicians of today who get wealthy either while in office or by selling their connections later.   Their families all seem to cash in too.
238  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / breaking law; no problem because it is politically correct on: April 27, 2014, 10:32:09 AM
With regards to the LA Clippers owner's reported "racist rant" that I understand was intended to be a private conversation between him and his girlfriend I see California is a "two party" state.  We have no information who taped this conversation or released it.  He did not post it online.  Perhaps he said it at a public game but he expected this to be a private conversation.  Even if his girlfriend was the one who taped it, in Kalifornicata both parties have to be privy thus he could sue and it violates state law as well:

*****Recording Phone Calls and Conversations
 
If you plan to record telephone calls or in-person conversations (including by recording video that captures sound), you should be aware that there are federal and state wiretapping laws that may limit your ability to do so. These laws not only expose you to the risk of criminal prosecution, but also potentially give an injured party a civil claim for money damages against you.

From a legal standpoint, the most important question in the recording context is whether you must get consent from one or all of the parties to a phone call or conversation before recording it. Federal law and many state wiretapping statutes permit recording if one party (including you) to the phone call or conversation consents. Other states require that all parties to the communication consent.

Unfortunately, it is not always easy to tell which law applies to a communication, especially a phone call. For example, if you and the person you are recording are in different states, then it is difficult to say in advance whether federal or state law applies, and if state law applies which of the two (or more) relevant state laws will control the situation. Therefore, if you record a phone call with participants in more than one state, it is best to play it safe and get the consent of all parties. However, when you and the person you are recording are both located in the same state, then you can rely with greater certainty on the law of that state. In some states, this will mean that you can record with the consent of one party to the communication. In others, you will still need to get everyone's consent. For details on the wiretapping laws in the fifteen most populous U.S. states and the District of Columbia, see the State Law: Recording section. In any event, it never hurts to play it safe and get the consent of all parties to a phone call or conversation that you intend to record.

Who must give permission to record a telephone or in-person conversation?

Federal law permits recording telephone calls and in-person conversations with the consent of at least one of the parties. See 18 U.S.C. 2511(2)(d). This is called a "one-party consent" law. Under a one-party consent law, you can record a phone call or conversation so long as you are a party to the conversation. Furthermore, if you are not a party to the conversation, a "one-party consent" law will allow you to record the conversation or phone call so long as your source consents and has full knowledge that the communication will be recorded.

In addition to federal law, thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia have adopted "one-party consent" laws and permit individuals to record phone calls and conversations to which they are a party or when one party to the communication consents. See the State Law: Recording section of this legal guide for information on state wiretapping laws.

When must you get permission from everyone involved before recording?

Eleven states require the consent of every party to a phone call or conversation in order to make the recording lawful. These "two-party consent" laws have been adopted in California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Washington (Hawai'i is also in general a one-party state, but requires two-party consent if the recording device is installed in a private place). Although they are referred to as "two-party consent" laws, consent must be obtained from every party to a phone call or conversation if it involves more than two people.  In some of these states, it might be enough if all parties to the call or conversation know that you are recording and proceed with the communication anyway, even if they do not voice explicit consent. See the State Law: Recording section of this legal guide for information on specific states' wiretapping laws.

Can you record a phone call or conversation when you do not have consent from one of the parties?

Regardless of whether state or federal law governs the situation, it is almost always illegal to record a phone call or private conversation to which you are not a party, do not have consent from at least one party, and could not naturally overhear. In addition, federal and many state laws do not permit you to surreptitiously place a bug or recording device on a person or telephone, in a home, office or restaurant to secretly record a conversation between two people who have not consented.

Federal law and most state statutes also make disclosing the contents of an illegally intercepted telephone call illegal. See the section on Risks Associated with Publication in this guide for more information.

What if you are recording the activities of the police or other government officials in public?

Special considerations apply when recording police officers or other public officials.  You may have a constitutional right to openly record the activities of police and other officials in public, so long as you do not interfere with those activities or violate generally applicable laws.  For more information, see the section on Recording Police Officers and Public Officials.
239  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Morris on: April 27, 2014, 09:51:38 AM
Brace For ObamaCare

By Dick Morris on April 23, 2014
   
Published on TheHill.com on April 22, 2014

ObamaCare has signed up 8 million people. Democrats are breathing a sigh of relief, but their trials have only just begun.

Now a large swath of America will experience firsthand the shortages of doctors, the limited access to hospitals, the high deductibles, the large co-pays, the significant co-insurance requirements and the long delays in care that will accompany Obama-Care’s implementation. These Americans will see, firsthand, what government-run medicine is like. And the rest of the electorate will have a front-row seat from which to watch the debacle.

The fundamental problem facing ObamaCare is the same as it was when the misbegotten program was launched: You cannot expand the number of patients without expanding the number of doctors. If you try, as the Affordable Care Act does, you will have long waits to see doctors, big increases in costs and unsatisfactory patient outcomes.

The increases in cost that we are now seeing in the healthcare sector come, of course, from an increase in demand with no commensurate rise in the supply. These price hikes will trigger the most deeply disturbing — and controversial — of ObamaCare’s provisions, the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).

Appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate, this 15-member board will be charged with requiring alterations in Medicare practice to hold down costs sufficiently to cut program spending by $500 billion over the next decade. The formulae it develops will, undoubtedly, be adopted by states seeking to contain Medicaid costs and by private insurance firms.

The IPAB has not yet come into existence because the rate of medical inflation has not required it. But now, with prices rising, it will become central.

Each January, the IPAB will issue a cost-reduction plan. It will proscribe the use of certain high-cost medicines, limit access to diagnostic tests and condition approval of certain surgeries and treatments based on the number of “quality-adjusted life years” left to each patient, all to bring Medicare costs into line.

Congress may override the IPAB recommendations by a three-fifths vote of each House. Otherwise, they automatically take effect by Aug. 15.

Each year, the administration will face a bruising fight over the IPAB recommendations. Patients will protest, and doctors will warn of bad outcomes. Sarah Palin’s “death panel” will begin its reign.

At the local level, cancer patients will find that the nearest and the best hospitals won’t take them. Pharmacies won’t fill their prescriptions. Doctors will turn away patients. As the ObamaCare bureaucracy struggles with the rising costs it caused, it will ration access to medicines, hospitals, surgeries and elective procedures for all in its reach.

Meanwhile, all Americans under the age of 65 who are not on Medicaid — both those on ObamaCare and covered by private plans — will find huge premium increases throughout the remainder of 2014 and during 2015. Deductibles will skyrocket. Stories of the financial hardship of paying the new premiums will abound.

And the cancellations will continue. Small employers will shut down their policies rather than accept the new higher premiums, and their workers will have to fend for themselves in the high-cost ObamaCare market. Those insured by large companies will see big increases in premiums and deductibles. And employees will continue to see a reduction in their weekly work hours as their bosses squirm and maneuver to limit ObamaCare’s universal coverage mandate.

Meanwhile, many of the 8 million enrollees will not pay up, eroding the program, and those who go without health insurance will hate every penny of the fine Obama will impose on them — or, they just won’t pay it.

For those who feel the political damage of ObamaCare is behind them, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

View my most recent videos in case you missed them!
240  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Ulysses S. Grant: A "controlled" alcoholic? on: April 26, 2014, 08:14:38 PM

Ulysses S. Grant's Lifelong Struggle With Alcohol
 
Originally published by America's Civil War magazine.  Published Online: June 12, 2006 

Despite Ulysses Simpson Grant's stature as one of the leading figures in American history, many mysteries remain about the man.1 Throughout his lengthy career Grant battled accusations that he was overly fond of the bottle, but did his alleged excessive drinking make him an alcoholic? For that matter, did he really drink that much more that the average man of the nineteenth century?

There was some precedent for alcohol abuse in Grant's family. Noah Grant, Ulysses' paternal grandfather, who came from a prominent New England family and had served in the Continental Army throughout the Revolutionary War, turned to alcohol after the death of his first wife. His alcohol consumption became so uncontrollable that it led to his financial ruin and premature death. Noah Grant's addiction became so bad that after the death of his second wife he abandoned his son, Jesse.2

Because of Noah's failure, Jesse Grant was forced at a very young age to make his way in the world alone, toiling as a laborer on local farms until he eventually found work at the home of Ohio Supreme Court Justice George Tod.3 His exposure to Tod's lifestyle and his memories of his father's destructive alcoholism bred in Jesse a fierce determination to succeed in life.4 At age sixteen, Jesse apprenticed himself to a tanner to learn a trade and soon began a business of his own. Eventually, through hard work and good business sense, Jesse became successful, and married Hannah Simpson in 1821. On April 27, 1822, not long after the couple settled in Ohio, their first son, Ulysses, was born.5 Even with continued business success and the birth of four more children, Jesse and Hannah Grant remained dedicated to the ideal of earnest labor and education. Both were stern and intolerant of those who were not willing to work hard and stay sober.6

Driven by his belief in hard work and desire to see his son succeed–and no doubt impressed with the austerity of a military education–Jesse Grant procured an appointment to the United States Military Academy for Ulysses. At West Point, Grant received passing grades but did not revel in the Spartan military lifestyle. Like many other young cadets, Grant became exposed to alcohol, but there is no evidence that he overindulged during his time there.7

In early nineteenth-century America alcohol consumption was an accepted facet of everyday life. Many Americans consumed liquor because they believed it was nutritious, stimulated digestion, and relaxed the nerves. Liquor was also consumed to help wash down food that was often poorly cooked, greasy, salty, and sometimes even rancid.8 By 1830, the annual per capita consumption of alcohol by Americans had climbed to more than five gallons.9 The small, professional army that Grant joined as a second lieutenant after his graduation in 1843 mirrored this widespread societal use of alcohol.

After graduation Grant was assigned to the Fourth Infantry Regiment at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, outside St. Louis. While there, he had an opportunity to become familiar with the family of his West Point roommate, Frederick Dent. During one of his visits to the Dents, Grant met Frederick's sister Julia. A relationship soon developed between Ulysses and Julia, with Grant spending as much time as possible with the young lady. These visits frequently caused Grant to be late for dinner at the post's officers' mess. Interestingly, the fine for being late to dinner was one bottle of wine.

The presiding officer for the mess was Captain Robert Buchanan, a rigid disciplinarian who enforced the rules with a stiff impartiality. The fourth time Grant was late returning to the post, Buchanan informed him that he would again be fined the requisite bottle of wine. Grant, who had already purchased three bottles of wine for the mess, had some words with Buchanan concerning the fine and refused to pay. This trivial confrontation was the beginning of a long-running feud between the two.10

Grant received a reprieve from his unpaid mess bills when rising tensions with Mexico caused his regiment to be transferred to Texas. The Fourth Infantry became involved in military operations against Mexico in 1846 and became one of the most heavily engaged regiments of the war.11 Even so, the regiment also experienced all of the boredom, inactivity, and drinking that was a feature of any army on campaign. It was during such lulls that Grant was known to drink with his peers.12 However, these episodes were confined to moments of boredom and monotony and were common among many of his fellow officers. Grant emerged from the Mexican War with two brevet promotions, a solid reputation, and a bright future.

Following the war and a brief period of occupation duty in Mexico, Grant returned to St. Louis and married Julia on August 22, 1848.13 After his honeymoon, Grant began his Regular Army duties. His first posting was to the isolated garrison at Sackets Harbor, New York, where Grant learned garrison duty was a far cry from his adventures in Mexico. While at Sackets Harbor, he was one of many officers who coped with the inactivity of peacetime by cycles of frequent drinking. Worried about his increasingly heavy drinking, Grant joined the Sons of Temperance in the winter of 1851 and became an active participant in the temperance movement. During the remainder of his stay at Sackets Harbor, his involvement with the Sons of Temperance seemed to alleviate the urge to drink.14

Grant's next post, Detroit, Michigan, took him away from the moral support of the Sons of Temperance and reintroduced him to the heavy drinking that was a feature of army life. Grant soon began to confront accusations that he drank too heavily. One of these accusations arose when he brought charges against Zachariah Chandler, a local storekeeper. Like most merchants, Chandler was often too busy minding his store to take the time to clear the ice from the sidewalk. One night, while passing in front of Chandler's home, Grant slipped and fell on the ice and injured his leg. He angrily filed a civil complaint against the storekeeper. During the subsequent court case, Chandler said in reference to Grant, 'If you soldiers would keep sober, perhaps you would not fall on people's pavement and hurt your legs.'15 Grant won his complaint, but the case grabbed the attention of the military community in St. Louis and only fed rumors among the officers that Ulysses S. Grant was overly fond of the bottle.

In the spring of 1852 Grant's regiment was ordered to Fort Vancouver, Oregon. After leaving Julia and his children with his in-laws in Missouri, Grant traveled to New York City for transport to Panama via the steamship Ohio.

Grant, then serving as the Fourth's quartermaster and responsible for many of the logistic matters that were involved in transporting an infantry regiment, shared quarters with J. Finley Schenck, the captain of Ohio. Schenck later said that Grant was a diligent worker and would continue to conduct his duties after Schenck had gone to bed. The captain remembered that Grant would come in and out of the cabin throughout the evening to drink from whiskey bottles kept in the liquor cabinet.16 This pattern continued until Ohio arrived in Panama. However, from the time of his coming ashore in Panama to his arrival at Fort Vancouver, Grant was kept so busy with his military responsibilities that he had no time to be idle, and there were no further problems with drinking reported.

Not long after arriving at Fort Vancouver, however, Grant began to battle the boredom and loneliness that came with prolonged separation from his family. Like other officers at the post, Grant turned to the bottle to help pass the time, and many men stationed at the fort later recalled seeing him drink.

Unfortunately for Grant, his small stature and frame ensured that he would start to show the ill effects of alcohol after only a few drinks. Grant's reputation was further tarnished because he had a tendency to be intoxicated in front of the wrong people. One of those who witnessed his drinking while at Fort Vancouver was future general George B. McClellan. Becoming intoxicated in the presence of officers like McClellan, considered to be among the Army's best and brightest, spread the question of Grant's drinking habits to increasingly important people within the Army.17

In September 1853 Grant was transferred to Fort Humboldt, California, to fill the captaincy of the Fourth Infantry's Company F.18 He was to find the fort more foreboding than any other post he was assigned to during his pre-Civil War career. Since the fort was located in an isolated area of northern California, Grant's military life became slow, tedious, and monotonous. He watched his subordinates do most of the routine work and the Indians in the area remained peaceful. Things were so boring that Grant spent much of his time at Ryan's Store, a local trading post that served liquor.19

The time that Grant passed at Ryan's did not go unnoticed by Fort Humboldt's commander, Lt. Col. Robert Buchanan. This was the same Robert Buchanan with whom Grant had argued at Jefferson Barracks many years previously. Buchanan still harbored a strong dislike for Grant. He used his position as the post commander to make life unbearable for the captain and helped spread rumors that Grant was intemperate.20

Made miserable by Buchanan and missing his family, Grant began to consider resigning his commission. One night he imbibed more than usual, and when he reported for duty the next day, he appeared to still be intoxicated. Buchanan became furious and put Grant on report for drunkenness while on duty, instructing him to draft a letter of resignation and to keep it in a safe place. After a similar instance of late-night drinking a short time later, Buchanan requested that Grant sign the letter of resignation he had drafted earlier or he would be charged with drunkenness while on duty.21

Facing a court-martial, Grant decided that it was time to resign. On April 11, 1854, he sent his signed letter of resignation to the secretary of war.22 Grant had served in the Army for fifteen years, performed well, and gained valuable experience. During those fifteen years, he had occasionally indulged in periods of drinking, but these generally had been confined to social occasions or when he had little to occupy his time and was separated from his family. There is no indication that prior to his resignation Grant drank more than was typical for a man of the time. Unfortunately, Grant incautiously allowed others to see him when inebriated, and he left the Army with a reputation as a heavy drinker.

With Colonel Buchanan, Fort Humboldt, and his army career now behind him, Grant turned his attention to farming. For three years he tried to make a living from the land before giving up in 1858. After the failure of the farm, he unsuccessfully attempted a number of jobs, and was eventually forced to return to his father's home and work in the family tanning shop in Galena, Illinois.23

Despite such disappointments, Grant was content. Reunited with Julia and busy with the demands of supporting his family, he had neither the time nor the inclination to drink and was able to lead a sober life.

After the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, the former army officer proffered his services to the recently appointed commander of Ohio's militia, Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan. When he did not get a response from McClellan, who no doubt remembered Grant from Fort Vancouver, Grant offered his services to Brig. Gen. Nathaniel Lyon in St. Louis. Again, he received no response.24 Evidently, Grant was haunted by his reputation as a drunk.

Frustrated, Grant returned to Galena to help process paperwork and muster local volunteers into service. Although he had hoped for a regimental command, this time spent mustering in raw recruits was important–it brought him to the attention of Congressman Elihu B. Washburne. Realizing his capability as a soldier and organizer, Washburne persuaded Illinois Governor Richard Yates to appoint Grant colonel of the Twenty-first Illinois Infantry Regiment. The Twenty-first had been a problem regiment, but Grant quickly brought discipline to the unit and turned it into an effective fighting force. Having proven his ability as a colonel, Grant was promoted to brigadier general in July 1861.25

Grant then went to see Maj. Gen. John C. Fremont, commander of the Army's Western Department, hoping to obtain a command in Missouri. Most members of Fremont's staff wanted him to ignore Grant, but Major Justice McKinsty, Fremont's aide, argued on Grant's behalf. Grant got the position, and it proved to be the break he needed. He rapidly moved through a series of departmental commands, and in early 1862 led the Tennessee expedition that forced the capitulation of Forts Henry and Donelson, vital Southern strongholds on the Tennessee River.26

While his victories at Henry and Donelson earned Grant higher command, they also carried the accusations of his drinking to a wider audience. Reporters and officers jealous of Grant's fast rise, as well as disillusioned civilians, used the perception of Grant as a drunkard in an attempt to explain the horrific losses suffered at the Battle of Shiloh in April 1862.

Shocked by the casualties of what up to that point was the war's bloodiest battle, many newspaper reporters wrote articles critical of Grant's command. These criticisms fed the rumors that Grant, who many believed had been forced from the Army because of his love of the bottle, had been caught drunk and off guard by Confederate General Albert Sydney Johnston's surprise attack.

The losses suffered by both sides at Shiloh had more to do with the nature of nineteenth-century warfare than the nature of Grant's relationship with liquor, but rumors of his affection for spirits now became generally accepted. Those who were jealous of Grant's success helped spread the rumors. While it was true that Grant had begun to drink again after avoiding alcohol in the years before the start of the war, there are no reported incidents of him drinking excessively prior to the start of the Vicksburg campaign in late 1862. Major John Rawlins, a close member of Grant's personal staff who took it upon himself to keep Grant temperate, went to great lengths to defend Grant against accusations that he had been drinking during the battle.

Despite the persistent rumors of his Shiloh drunkeness, Grant pressed on. In November 1862 he began his campaign to capture the Mississippi River port of Vicksburg, the key to Southern control of the river. Unable to quickly defeat the Confederate forces, by May 1863 Grant had been forced to begin a protracted siege of the city. It was during this lengthy siege, and while he was again separated from his family for a prolonged period of time, that the most well-documented instances of Grant's drinking took place.

The first occurred on May 12, 1863. Sylvanus Cadwallader, a newspaper reporter who had attached himself to Grant's staff and was following the progress of the campaign, was sitting in the tent of Colonel William Duff, Grant's chief of artillery, carrying on a casual conversation. Suddenly, Grant stepped in. Duff pulled out a cup, dipped it into a barrel that he had stored in his tent, and handed the cup to Grant. Grant drank the contents and promptly handed the cup back to Duff. This procedure was repeated two more times, and Grant left the tent. Cadwallader then learned that the barrel contained whiskey. Duff had been ordered by Grant to keep the barrel handy for his exclusive use.27

Less than a month later, Cadwallader recounted the most infamous tale of Grant's drinking during the war. It began on June 3 during an inspection tour to Satartia, Mississippi, on the Yazoo River. The siege was agonizingly slow, and Grant had been separated from Julia since April. To alleviate his boredom, he had decided to travel up the Yazoo. During his trip, Grant encountered the steamboat Diligence carrying Cadwallader downriver from Satartia. Grant decided to board Diligence, and according to Cadwallader: 'I was not long in perceiving that Grant had been drinking heavily, and that he was still keeping it up. He made several trips to the bar room of the boat in a short time, and became stupid in speech and staggering in gait. This was the first time he had shown symptoms of intoxication in my presence, and I was greatly alarmed by his condition, which was fast becoming worse.'28 For the next two days, Cadwallader tried unsuccessfully to stop Grant from drinking and did his best to keep him from trouble. By the time Grant finally arrived back at his headquarters, he had sobered up.29

The final incident occurred in July after the surrender of Vicksburg when Grant traveled to New Orleans to discuss operations with Maj. Gen. Nathaniel Banks. On September 4, Grant, Banks, and their respective staffs rode out to review the troops stationed in New Orleans. Banks had given Grant a large, untamed charger as a gift, and Grant elected to take the horse on the inspection. The animal proved very spirited, and following the inspection Grant had the horse moving at a fast gallop on the return trip into the city when the horse lost its footing and fell, severely injuring the general. Almost from the moment that the unfortunate beast slipped, rumors began circulating that the general had been drunk during the ride. However, there was never any evidence to prove that an intoxicated Grant caused the horse to fall.30

From the New Orleans incident until the end of the war in April 1865, there are no stories of Grant's drinking to excess. Rumors of alcohol abuse continued to hound him, but no evidence suggests that Grant ever repeated his bender of June 1863.

While the severity of Grant's drinking problem was clearly magnified by rumor, it does seem clear from his drinking that Grant had inherited some of his grandfather's fondness for the bottle. Yet, unlike his grandfather, Grant was largely able to control his drinking thanks to the help of people close to him and his own willpower and sense of duty.

Grant seemed to experience his greatest temptation to drink during long periods of inactivity or when he was away from his family. When he became commanding general of the Army, he was able to bring Julia and his oldest son to his headquarters. Julia had always been Grant's strongest supporter in his battle with alcohol, and with her present, Grant stayed sober.

By today's standards, Grant could be considered an alcoholic, but he was able to control his addiction. As Grant biographer Geoffrey Perret explained: 'The entire staff, as well as most of Grant's division and corps commanders, was well aware of his drinking problem. [Brig. Gen. John A.] McClernand tried to make capital out of it and one or two other officers expressed their disgust at Grant's weakness, but to the rest, it did not matter. A few were alcoholics themselves, but the main reason it was tolerated was that when Grant got drunk, it was invariably during quiet periods. His drinking was not allowed to jeopardize operations. It was a release, but a controlled one, like the ignition of a gas flare above a high-pressure oil well.'31

Grant learned how to cope with his addiction to liquor by learning when he could take a drink. Although difficult at times, Grant was able to control his sickness and rely on his ability as a natural leader to achieve victory on the battlefield. As historian James McPherson explained: 'In the end…his predisposition to alcoholism may have made him a better general. His struggle for self-discipline enabled him to understand and discipline others; the humiliation of prewar failures gave him a quiet humility that was conspicuously absent from so many generals with a reputation to protect; because Grant had nowhere to go but up, he could act with more boldness and decision than commanders who dared not risk failure.'32 Consequently, Grant was able to overcome personal failures and adversity and become a well-respected and adored man in later life.

1 Lyle W. Dorsett, 'The Problem of Ulysses S. Grant's Drinking During the Civil War,' Hayes Historical Journal (hereinafter referred to as Problem), vol. 4, no.2 (1983): 37.

2 Ibid., 39.

3 Geoffrey Perret, Ulysses S. Grant: Soldier & President (hereinafter referred to as Soldier & President), (New York: Random House, 1997), 7.

4 Ibid., 7.

5 Ibid., 9.

6 Dorsett, Problem, 39.

7 Mark Grimsley, 'Ulysses S. Grant: His Life and Times, a Special Issue,' (hereinafter referred to as Life and Times) Civil War Times Illustrated, February 1990, 21.

8 W.J. Rorabaugh, The Alcoholic Republic: An American Tradition (New York: Oxford University Press 1979), preface.

9 Ibid., 8.

10 William Hesseltine, Ulysses S. Grant, Politician (New York: Dodd, Mead & Co. 1935; reprint, New York: Frederick Unger Publishing Co. 1957), 10­11.

11 Grimsley, Life and Times, 24.

12 Dorsett, Problem, 39.

13 Grimsley, Life and Times, 24.

14 Gene Smith, Lee and Grant: A Dual Biography (hereinafter referred to as Lee and Grant) (New York: McGraw Hill Co., 1984), 64.

15 William E. Woodward, Meet General Grant (New York: H. Liveright, 1928), 125.

16 Charles G. Ellington, The Trial of U.S. Grant: The Pacific Coast Years, 1852-1854 (hereinafter referred to as Trial) (Glendale, California: Arthur H. Clark Co., 1987), 170; Perret, Soldier & President, 92.

17 Perret, Soldier and President,100.

18 Ulysses S. Grant, Memoirs and Selected Letters (New York: Library of America, 1990), 139.

19 Ellington, Trial, 178.

20 Laura Ann Rickarby, Ulysses S. Grant and the Strategy of Victory (New York: Silver Burdett Press, 1981), 45.

21 Smith, Lee and Grant, 65.

22 William S. McFeely, Grant: A Biography (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1981), 55.

23 Dorsett, Problem, 42.

24 Grimsley, Life and Times, 27.

25 Stewart Sifakis, Who Was Who In The Civil War, vol. 1, Who Was Who in the Union: A Biographical Encyclopedia of More Than 1500 Union Participants (New York: Facts on File, 1988), 161.

26 Bruce Catton, Grant Moves South (Boston: Little Brown & Co., 1960), 38.

27 Sylvanus Cadwallader, Three Years With Grant, ed. Benjamin P. Thomas (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1956), 71.

28 Sylvanus Cadwallader, Three Years With Grant, ed. Benjamin P. Thomas (New York: Alfred A. Knopf 1955; reprint Lincoln, Nebraska: Bison Books, 1996), 103.

29 Sylvanus Cadwallader, Three Years With Grant, ed. Benjamin P. Thomas (New York: Alfred A. Knopf 1956), 102­10.

30 Bruce Catton, Grant Takes Command (Boston: Little Brown & Co., 1968), 22­5.

31 Perret, Soldier & President, 262.

32 James McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom
241  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Santorum: I like his ideas on: April 26, 2014, 08:01:16 PM
AP Interview: Santorum undecided in 2016 bid

Associated Press
By PHILIP ELLIOTT 6 hours ago
 
Former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., poses for a portrait in his publishers office Wednesday, April 23, 2014 in Washington, before an interview about his recently released book titled "Blue Color Conservative." The once and perhaps future presidential candidate has lots of policy ideas for fellow Republicans seeking public office. He's just not sure he’ll be one of those hopefuls ever again. "Yeah, I don’t know if I can do this. It’s just tough," Santorum said about another White House run. In the interview, Santorum said the GOP will struggle to win races unless candidates came up with policies that help working Americans. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The once and perhaps future presidential candidate Rick Santorum has lots of policy ideas for fellow Republicans seeking public office.

He's just not sure he'll be one of those hopefuls ever again.

"Yeah, I don't know if I can do this. It's just tough," Santorum said about another White House run.

The former Pennsylvania senator tells The Associated Press in an interview that he isn't ruling out a 2016 candidacy.

But, he says, there are plenty of reasons why he wouldn't do it.

He is enjoying a second career as a movie studio executive. His daughter's health remains a concern.

And, Santorum writes in a new book, he can help shape his party's future from offstage.

In the interview, Santorum said the GOP will struggle to win races unless candidates came up with policies that help working Americans.

Victories will be tough, he said, unless elected officials stop being obstructionists.

Santorum said the libertarian streak running through his party distorts the definition of freedom, and that politicians wrongly look to President Ronald Reagan's policies to address today's challenges.

Then there's Santorum's slap at Republicans who demonize social welfare programs.

"Do Republicans really care less about the person at the bottom of the ladder than Democrats do? To be painfully honest, I would have to say in some ways 'yes,'" Santorum writes in his book, "Blue Collar Conservatives: Recommitting to an America That Works."

The tough talk raises questions about Santorum's viability in what could be a crowded 2016 primary field.

Also, he's not rushing to camp out in early nominating Iowa or New Hampshire again.

"A while. A year at least, probably," he said of his timeline to decide on a 2016 bid.

Santorum ran an upstart campaign in 2012, surviving long enough to be Mitt Romney's last remaining rival. He struggled to raise money or support among establishment-minded Republicans, but his socially conservative profile drew enough backing for Santorum to pick up victories in 11 states.

Even in victory, his disorganized campaign cost him, including failing to qualify for the ballot in Virginia.

"We cannot run the campaign we ran last time if we run this time," Santorum said.

How Republicans win is the focus of Santorum's latest book, to be released Monday.

Santorum offers ideas on energy, education, the economy and health care. It comes across as part think tank policy paper, part campaign playbook and part communications advice on how to connect with working-class voters.

For instance, Republicans should not focus exclusively on business leaders and "job creators" and should speak to employees, Santorum said.

Anxiety among those voters remains high, and Republicans have for too long talked to the top earners and not the workers.

"A rising tide lifts all boats — unless your boat has a hole in it. A lot of Americans, we've got holes in our boats," Santorum said. "Millions and millions of Americans (are) out there who want good lives but have holes in their boats. ... They just see the water level going up and their boat sinking."

That's why, he argues, candidates need to put forward policies to help those voters.

"I'm looking at 2014 and I'm thinking the Republican Party is heading toward No-ville, which is 'we're against this, we're against that, we're against this.' We're not painting a positive vision for America," Santorum said in the interview.

After the 2012 campaign, he signed on as CEO of EchoLight Studies, which produces movies rooted in faith and family.

"I saw an opportunity to do something in the space where we need to have movies that have a faith message in them that are better than the movies that have been done," Santorum said.

At home, 5-year-old daughter Bella keeps Santorum busy. She has a genetic disorder, Trisomy 18, which causes brain, heart and internal organ developmental abnormalities. Almost all children die within the first year of life.

Bella turns 6 in May and the senator is at work on a book about his daughter. Her difficult nights have sometimes kept Santorum at her bedside.

Santorum said family issues would drive his decision to run or not, and Bella would be a key factor.

His other six other children, Santorum said, are "all very open to dad doing this again."

But Santorum isn't rushing into anything. A primary might feature the libertarian wing of the party, led in part by two prominent tea partyers, Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas.

"There's a strain within the Republican Party now that smacks of the no-government conservatism," Santorum said. "That wasn't Ronald Regan. It wasn't Teddy Roosevelt. It wasn't Abraham Lincoln. It wasn't any Republican that I'm aware of. It wasn't Calvin Coolidge. And yet there seems to be this creation of this strain of conservatism that has no basis in conservatism."

Santorum said Republicans should respect Reagan, but he doubted the former president would offer the same policies today that he did during the 1970s and 1980s.

Santorum also includes plenty of incendiary rhetoric in his book that he acknowledges could haunt him should he run again.

In addition to the sentence about Republicans and social safety nets, Santorum writes that poor voters "took their lie about sex without consequences as gospel" and calls climate change a "hyped-up crisis."

___

Follow Philip Elliott on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/philip_elliott
242  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / from the Economist on: April 26, 2014, 07:10:43 PM
Buttonwood

Sound the retreat

Profits in America may have peaked for this cycle
 Apr 26th 2014  | From the print edition

ARE corporate profits at last running out of steam? The lead-up to the first-quarter results season on Wall Street was marked by an unusually large number of profit warnings, such as that from Chevron, an oil group. According to Morgan Stanley, an investment bank, earnings estimates for S&P 500 companies were revised down by 4.4 percentage points in the first quarter.

As is the custom, having lowered the bar, companies will now beat those revised forecasts, allowing Wall Street analysts to proclaim a “successful” results season. But when one removes the effect of exceptional items (such as writedowns the year before), American profits are now falling, not rising, according to data from MSCI (see chart).

In a sense, this is about time. The recovery in American corporate profits since the recession has been remarkable: they are close to a post-war high as a proportion of GDP. Bulls have a number of arguments why this is a lasting, not cyclical, phenomenon. Economic power has shifted from labour to capital thanks to globalisation, they say; companies can move production to parts of the world where wages are lower. But if that effect is so strong, why aren’t profits as high elsewhere? In Britain the return on corporate capital is below its post-1997 average.

An alternative, but related, line of reasoning is that foreign profits have boosted the earnings of companies in the S&P 500, making the relationship with domestic GDP less relevant. America may still be running a trade deficit but its global champions, the argument runs, are raking in the money overseas. Research by Audit Analytics found that the amount of profits held abroad and not repatriated nearly doubled to $2.1 trillion between 2008 and 2013.

But where will American multinationals make so much money in future? Not in either Europe or Japan, where the economies have barely grown in recent years. Emerging markets might seem more promising, but their economies have been slowing, as companies like Diageo, a drinks producer, and Cisco, a tech-components group, have reported. Several developing economies have seen their currencies fall sharply too. It seems unlikely that American multinationals are going to get a further spurt of profits from this source.

In any case, the global data do not bear out the overseas-profit argument. Just as in America, there have been regular disappointments. In 2012, according to Citibank, global profits growth was just 2%, compared with initial forecasts of 11%. At the start of 2013 profits were forecast to rise by 12%; the actual increase was 7%.

The stockmarket has been remarkably resilient in the face of these setbacks. In 2012 global equities rose by 13%; last year they managed 24%. In part, that is due to optimism about the economy’s future trajectory. The euro-zone crisis has disappeared from the headlines while the American economy has been showing signs of returning to healthy growth.

But it is also down to supportive monetary policy. Short-term interest rates have not budged for the past two years (in the developed world) and government-bond yields have been close to historic lows. Investors have accordingly turned to the stockmarket in search of higher returns. Low interest rates have also played their part in keeping profits high, by reducing borrowing costs and by encouraging companies to use their spare cash to buy back stock, thereby increasing earnings per share.

However, buying back shares suggests a certain lack of imagination on the part of chief executives, or a lack of profitable projects to back. That remains an odd aspect of the profits boom: in theory, if the return on capital is high, one would expect a lot of capital to be invested. The resulting competition would eventually cause profits to fall. The process acts as a natural check on profits growth, but has yet to occur this cycle.

Instead, chief executives are turning to that old device for boosting sluggish profits: takeovers. According to Thomson Reuters, the global value of mergers and acquisitions in the first quarter was 36% higher than in the same period of 2013. The right takeover can result in cost cuts through economies of scale—although in the long run, the academic evidence in favour of takeovers is mixed.

A takeover boom is a classic signal of the final stages of a bull market, a sign that financial engineering has taken over from genuine business expansion. And that is hardly a surprise: the current rally is already the fourth-largest and the fifth-longest-running since 1928.
243  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: April 25, 2014, 08:29:13 PM
On MSLSD last night, I think, the noted her great achievement as Secretary of State was the wise move it was to become a Sec of St under Obama.  They then showed her popularity in the poles soared while she was Sec of St and are now down again.

So the spin is not what she accomplished other than it improved her popularity - at least that is what I deduced the logic to be.

This kind of slime brings back the gut wrenching memories of the 90s.   

Unfortunately we don't have an honest person in the WH now either.
244  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / From the Huffington post; Trickle down never worked. 80's were a fluke. on: April 25, 2014, 07:47:50 PM
It is high taxation and transfer of wealth that built America.  Folks I can't believe we are still debating this.   Socialism is relentless:

Elizabeth Warren Simplifies Thomas Piketty: 'Trickle Down Doesn't Work. Never Did'
 
 Posted:  04/25/2014 2:52 pm EDT    Updated:  04/25/2014 3:59 pm EDT   
   
The No. 2 author on Amazon's best-seller list, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, weighed in Thursday night on the No. 1 book, identifying overlapping themes.

At a reading at the Harvard Book Store, the Massachusetts Democrat, author of A Fighting Chance, was asked about Thomas Piketty's new book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, and specifically about its contention that trickle-down economics "definitively do not work."

Warren cut in. "Can we say that part again? 'Definitely do not work,'" she repeated. "Not as in that's somebody else's opinion or this comes out of a long-held political opinion. The data don't lie on this. He's got good historical data, and boy, what it shows is trickle down doesn't work. Never did, doesn't work. Just so we're all clear on the baseline. I just saved you 1,100 pages of reading." (The book is shorter than that; Warren may have assumed the audience would also read the online technical index.)

Warren, whose own book was going to be titled Rigged but ultimately went out with a more hopeful title, said that while Piketty's book could elicit despair, she found a hopeful note in it, too.

"You can read his book and you just wanna say, 'Ugh.' Because it says over and over -- look, I'll tell you the basic theme: The rich get richer," Warren said.

Piketty argues that the 200-plus years of income and wealth data complied by him and a team of researchers demonstrates that returns on capital (r) significantly outstrip growth in the real economy (g), which relentlessly drives up inequality. His basic equation -- r>g -- has upended the way economists understand wealth and income distribution.

"Here's the hopeful part in Piketty's book: Piketty makes the point that although the data keep documenting this happening, it's not like an act of nature. It's not like gravity and you can't fix it," Warren said. "Piketty's book makes the point that how much equality there is ... is a matter of the policies you choose to follow and that, for example, progressive taxation and investment in everyone's education helps to level the playing field."

Warren pointed to the period from the Great Depression up through the deregulatory era that began in the 1980s as reason for hope -- a period that she noted Piketty found to be an aberration in many ways.

"It is a time when we made those investments that built America's great middle class and we made those decisions -- not we in this room, but our parents, our grandparents, they made those decisions. They said, 'You put a cop on the beat so nobody steals your pension, you do that on Wall Street.' But they also said, 'You tax progressively and then you make those investments.' For those who made it big, God bless 'em, that's great, but they've gotta pay a piece of that forward so the next kid has a chance to make it big and the kid after that and the kid after that. That's what defines America."

Piketty indeed credits high marginal tax rates on wealth in the middle of the 20th century as a driver of flattening U.S. inequality during that period, although he also cites the destruction of capital from the world wars and the anomalously high economic growth rates that carried into the late 1960s and, in some countries, into the 1970s. He describes that high growth as "catch up" and suggests it will be difficult to repeat such a phenomenon in the 21st century.

Piketty proposes a steeply progressive wealth tax, which Warren referenced favorably on Thursday. The suggestion was widely panned by the political class, but it is already earning dividends. On Friday, New York Times columnist David Brooks suggested that conservatives respond by embracing a "beefed up inheritance tax" and "progressive consumption taxes."

Warren also joked with the audience that they may find her book a bit more digestible. "Have you seen Piketty's new book?" she asked. "His book has tables and graphs; this book doesn't. It's one of my first books with no graphs in it, just pictures."

Watch HuffPost's interview with Piketty below.
245  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Breakthrough in cardiovascular disease? on: April 25, 2014, 06:34:26 PM

Scientists alter fat metabolism in animals to prevent most common type of heart disease

Working with mice and rabbits, Johns Hopkins scientists have found a way to block abnormal cholesterol production, transport and breakdown, successfully preventing the development of atherosclerosis, the main cause of heart attacks and strokes and the number-one cause of death among humans. The condition develops when fat builds inside blood vessels over time and renders them stiff, narrowed and hardened, greatly reducing their ability to feed oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle and the brain.

In a series of experiments, described April 7 in the journal Circulation, the Johns Hopkins team says it identified and halted the action of a single molecular culprit responsible for a range of biological glitches that affect the body's ability to properly use, transport and purge itself of cholesterol—the fatty substance that accumulates inside vessels and fuels heart disease.

The offender, the researchers say, is a fat-and-sugar molecule called glycosphingolipid, or GSL, which resides in the membranes of all cells, and is mostly known for regulating cell growth. Results of the experiments, the scientists say, reveal that this very same molecule also regulates the way the body handles cholesterol.

The Johns Hopkins team used an existing man-made compound called D-PDMP to block the synthesis of the GSL molecule, and by doing so, prevented the development of heart disease in mice and rabbits fed a high-fat, cholesterol-laden diet. The findings reveal that D-PDMP appears to work by interfering with a constellation of genetic pathways that regulate fat metabolism on multiple fronts—from the way cells derive and absorb cholesterol from food, to the way cholesterol is transported to tissues and organs and is then broken down by the liver and excreted from the body.

"Current cholesterol-lowering medications tackle the problem on a single front—either by blocking cholesterol synthesis or by preventing the body from absorbing too much of it," says lead investigator Subroto Chatterjee, Ph.D., a cardio-metabolic expert at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center. "But atherosclerosis is a multi-factorial problem that requires hitting the abnormal cholesterol cycle at many points. By inhibiting the synthesis of GSL, we believe we have achieved exactly that."

Specifically, the experiments showed that treatment with D-PDMP led to:
•a drop in the animals' levels of so-called bad cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein, LDL;
•a drop in oxidized LDL, a particularly virulent form of fat that forms when LDL encounters free radicals. Oxidized LDL easily sticks to the walls of blood vessels, where it ignites inflammation, damaging the vessel walls and promoting the growth of fatty plaque;
•a surge in good cholesterol or high-density lipoprotein, HDL, known to counteract the effects of LDL by mopping it up; and
•a significant drop in triglycerides, another type of plaque-building fat.
 

     

The treatment also prevented fatty plaque and calcium deposits from building up inside the animals' vessels. These effects were observed in animals on a daily D-PDMP treatment even though they ate a diet made up of 20 percent triglycerides—the human equivalent of eating a greasy burger for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In addition, the researchers say, D-PDMP appears to precision-target the worst byproducts of aberrant cell growth signaling, such as oxidized LDL and the activity of certain chemicals that fuel vessel inflammation, without altering cell growth itself.

D-PDMP, which is already widely used in basic research to experimentally block and study cell growth and other basic cell functions, is deemed safe in animals, the investigators say. For example, animals in the current study had no side effects even when given D-PDMP doses 10 times higher than the minimum effective dose, the study found. The research team is currently designing a compound drug with D-PDMP, which they soon plan to test in other animals and, eventually, in humans.

Mice used in the experiments were genetically engineered to lack a protein essential in the breakdown of fats and thus were predisposed to atherosclerosis. The researchers fed the animals a high-fat diet over the course of several months, but also gave a third of the animals a low-dose of D-PDMP. They gave a double dose of the same inhibitor to another third and placebo to the rest.

When scientists measured the thickness of the animals' aortas—the body's largest vessel and one that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body—they found striking differences among the groups. As expected, the aortas of mice that got placebo had grown thicker from the accumulation of fat and calcium deposits inside them. The aortas of mice on low-dose D-PDMP, however, were significantly thinner with little to no obstruction. To the researchers' surprise, Chatterjee says, mice eating high-fat foods and treated with high-dose D-PDMP had nearly pristine arteries free of obstruction, indistinguishable from those of healthy mice.

Next, the researchers measured how well and how fast blood traveled through the animals' blood vessels. Slower blood flow signals clogging of the vessel and is a marker of atherosclerosis. The vessels of mice fed a high-fat diet plus D-PDMP had normal blood flow. Mice receiving a high-fat diet without D-PDMP predictably had compromised blood flow.

When researchers examined cells from the animals' livers—the main site of fat synthesis and breakdown—they noticed marked differences in the expression of several genes that regulate cholesterol metabolism. The activity of these genes is heralded by the levels of enzymes they produce, Chatterjee says. Mice treated with D-PDMP had notably higher levels of two enzymes responsible for maintaining the body's delicate fat homeostasis by regulating the way cells take in and break down cholesterol. Specifically, the scientists say, the inhibitor appeared to stimulate the action and efficacy of a class of protein pumps in the cell responsible for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels by transporting cholesterol in and out of the bloodstream. In addition, mice treated that way had higher levels of lipoprotein lipase, an enzyme responsible for the breakdown of triglycerides. A deficiency in this enzyme causes dangerous buildup of blood triglycerides.

Treatment with a D-PDMP also boosted the activity of an enzyme responsible for purging the body of fats by converting these fats into bile, the fat-dissolving substance secreted by the liver.

In a final set of experiments, researchers compared the effects of treatment with D-PDMP in two groups of healthy rabbits, both fed high-fat diets, with half of them receiving treatment. Rabbits that ate high-fat food alone developed all the classic signs of atherosclerosis—fatty plaque buildup in the arteries and stiff, narrowed blood vessels. Their cholesterol levels shot up 17-fold. By contrast, rabbits treated with D-PDMP never developed atherosclerosis. Their cholesterol levels also remained normal or near-normal.

The World Health Organizations estimates that high cholesterol claims 2.6 million lives worldwide each year. More than 70 million Americans have high cholesterol, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Current cholesterol-lowering drugs, such as statins, do not work in about one-third of people who take them, experts say.
246  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Faster than Nolan Ryan!!! Wow!!! on: April 25, 2014, 03:34:17 PM

102.9 mph and rising? Royals' Yordano Ventura brings heat like no other starting pitcher

Jeff Passan
By Jeff Passan 13 hours ago Yahoo Sports
 
The hardest-throwing starting pitcher ever stands 6-foot on a really tall day, weighs 180 pounds if he's got a Costanza wallet in his back pocket and remembers vividly the first time he threw a baseball 100 mph. It was only 1 mph more than the 99 mph his arm generated hundreds of times before, but in that 1 mph a pitcher crosses the baseball Rubicon. For those who reach triple digits never, ever want to come back.

"It was in Arizona, my first time throwing 100," Yordano Ventura said. He's working on his English these days, getting better and better, and talking about that magical binary number extracts the best in him. "No scoreboard. Radar gun only. One of my teammates hold it. He told me, 'Hey. You throw 100 today.' "

Yordano Ventura has thrown 14 pitches in the 100 mph range this season. (USA TODAY Sports)

Ventura was 19. Two years earlier, Kansas City Royals scouts and executives looked past his slight frame and at his right arm, which birthed some of the smoothest, easiest fastballs any of them had seen. They offered him $28,000 to sign, a small bonus even by the deflated standards in the Dominican Republic. He accepted. They saw his potential. His fastball leaped from the mid-80s to mid-90s within months. They marveled. He crept up to 98, 99. They refined his mechanics. He hit 100. They pushed him. He went to 101, then 102. They gave him a rotation spot. And in his first start this season, Ventura threw the fastest fastball ever clocked from a starter, 102.9 mph, a number that boggles the mind because it's only April, and almost every pitcher throws harder as the season progresses.

With 14 fastballs at 100-plus mph already this season, Ventura owns the record for triple-digit heaters from a starter in April, according to calculations from the invaluable Dan Brooks, who uses PITCHf/x data to give the greatest insight yet into the fascinating speeds at which pitchers today throw. It's not just Ventura, now 22, either. Since 2008, when Brooks began running his website brooksbaseball.net, 77 pitchers have thrown 4,354 pitches at 100 mph or more.

The King of 100 is, not surprisingly, Cincinnati closer Aroldis Chapman, generally regarded as the hardest thrower in baseball history. He owns the two biggest 100-mph-pitch seasons with 356 last year and 332 the year before, and his 998 triple-digit pitches account for nearly 23 percent of the 100-plus pitches in the major leagues since 2008.

After a horrific line drive to the skull sidelined Chapman for the first month, Ventura ascended to the throne for the time being, accounting for nearly half of the 31 triple-digit pitches thrown by 11 pitchers this season. His average fastball sizzles at 97.8 mph. He's among the league leaders in swings and misses on fastballs. And as he makes his fourth start Friday night in Baltimore, the Camden Yards scoreboard will get to flex a muscle it rarely does. Even Tommy Hunter, the hard-throwing Orioles closer, has hit 100 just once this season.

Reaching 100 isn't the chore it used to be, not with the shoulder-strengthening exercises required of pitchers today helping generate excess velocity. Ryan Tucker, Tom Wilhelmsen, Al Alburquerque, Wily Peralta and Jake McGee all have touched 100 exactly once in their careers. Doing so consistently takes far more work. Just 31 players have hit 100 at least 10 times in one season. Just six have gotten to triple digits with triple digits. Ventura looks like a safe bet to beat the record for a starter: 61, by Justin Verlander in 2012.

The limited history of PITCHf/x does not allow the inclusion of Nolan Ryan, who hit 100-plus on radar guns, and Bob Feller, who used military equipment to register a fastball at 98.6 mph and swore he threw harder. It does ensure never again will we need to guess whether one pitcher threw harder than another. The cameras in the system will tell us, and scientists can do with the data what they please. Brooks, for example, sets his release point at 55 feet (more realistic than PITCHf/x's 50) and adjusts the numbers by park, because the system does have noticeable errors in certain stadiums.

Unquestionable is the power of the 100-mph fastball, the lore that comes with it and the number of pitchers who do everything they can in hopes some day they, too, can trigger the third digit to flicker.

"Mark McGwire used to always say, 'Anybody can throw double digits,' " Cardinals reliever Jason Motte said last spring, with 32 triple-digit notches on his belt. "What'd you hit? Ten? Ninety-nine? Still double digits. Only a few can throw three digits. So it's pretty cool if you can do that. Might as well try to do it every now and again."

Next to him sat Trevor Rosenthal, who took over as St. Louis closer after Motte blew out his right elbow. The previous fall, as the Cardinals romped to a World Series title, Rosenthal lit up radar guns, sitting in the high 90s and tickling 100 with scary regularity.

"I don't think God reached down and put a lightning bolt in my right arm … " Rosenthal said, trailing off, incapable of explaining why he can throw so much harder than most. Though he's onto something. It is a gift. Even as 90 mph is a necessity and 95 something of a requisite and 100 increasingly common, velocity remains romanticized by pitchers and executives alike.

Velocity with control, which Ventura flashed in his first two starts, is the sign of a star and the reason that after years of inapt comparisons to Pedro Martinez – Ramon Ortiz, Edinson Volquez, Jose Dominguez – Ventura might be the most reasonable facsimile yet. His changeup isn't Pedro quality yet, even though it decelerates through the strike zone at 90 mph. His breaking ball isn't as crisp, though it has better tilt than Pedro's hammer curveball.

While Ventura's secondary pitches will make him a star, his fastball is his meal ticket into the conversation, a legitimate game changer. The first time Royals center fielder Jarrod Dyson saw it, during an instructional-league intrasquad game, he couldn't fathom how someone so slight propelled a projectile with such force.

"He was about my size," said the 5-foot-9, 160-pound Dyson. "I was not expecting 100. The first fastball kind of jumped at me, and I'm like, OK, we got a gunslinger in here."

Now comes the toughest part: steadying the gun. Ventura's biggest issue, catcher Salvador Perez said, is that "he gets too excited and tries to throw 200 miles an hour." Which, if it were anatomically possible, Ventura might do. Being that 106 mph or so is a generally accepted ceiling before an arm goes kablooey, he does have room left to add a couple miles and challenge Chapman's record 105.1-mph pitch.

"I'd rather throw strikes and keep the ball down than throw 100," Ventura said.

Which is only partially true. Throwing strikes is nice. It helps. He will win lots of games because of it. But come on. No pitcher wants to be Jonathan Papelbon, hitting 100 mph three times in 2009 and sometimes struggling to crack 90 this year. Shoving a baseball at 100 mph connotes strength and power and animalism, the sort of thing that defines a pitcher.

"Sometimes you throw easy and it's 100," Ventura said. "I'd rather throw easy."

That's more like it. That's a man embracing who he is: the hardest-throwing starting pitcher ever, the one who crossed the Rubicon three years ago, hasn't come back since and has no plans to do so anytime
247  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Racist on Supreme Court on: April 24, 2014, 10:40:32 AM
Have we had such an obvious racist on the Supreme Court besides Justice Taney?:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/17/dogs-meet-sister_n_3455235.html
248  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / "Dogbrothers" on Huffington Post on: April 24, 2014, 09:11:29 AM
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/17/dogs-meet-sister_n_3455235.html
249  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / NYT polls: Dems are ok; don't worry socialists all is ok. on: April 24, 2014, 09:09:13 AM


By Scott Conroy - April 23, 2014

A new round of polls released on Wednesday offered generally upbeat news for Democrats in four U.S. Senate contests in Southern states considered key to the party's hopes of retaining its majority in November.  

According to the New York Times/Kaiser Family Foundation surveys, vulnerable incumbent Democrats are holding on to leads in Louisiana and Arkansas and effectively tied in North Carolina. Upstart challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes, meanwhile, is trailing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell by just a single point in Kentucky.

All four races are critical to Republicans’ hopes of netting the six seats they need to regain control of the upper chamber.

Though he narrowly lost North Carolina in 2012, President Obama was blown out by margins ranging from 17 to 24 percentage points in the other three states, suggesting that the Democratic Senate candidates are running strong campaigns in a region that has grown increasingly hostile to their party in federal elections.  

In North Carolina, Sen. Kay Hagan leads state House Speaker Thom Tillis -- the frontrunner in the Republican primary -- 42 percent to 40 percent, according to the new poll.

In Louisiana’s still largely unsettled contest, in which there are no primaries, Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu leads the Republican frontrunner, Rep. Bill Cassidy, by a 42 percent to 18 percent margin, with 20 percent of respondents having no opinion.

The most surprising result of the new surveys comes in Arkansas, where incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor enjoys a 10-point advantage over Republican Rep. Tom Cotton. Pryor has long been considered the most vulnerable Senate Democrat this November, but he leads Cotton by 2.2 percentage points in the latest RealClearPolitics polling average.  

National Democratic operatives moved quickly to highlight the Arkansas poll, in particular, on Wednesday morning. “DC convention wisdom is flat out wrong in Arkansas and there’s mounting evidence of Mark Pryor’s strength,” Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesman Justin Barasky said in an emailed statement.

Meanwhile, Republicans were eager to cast doubt on the polls’ methodology, noting, among other concerns, that the head-to-head surveys measured support among registered voters rather than likely voters. They also questioned the validity of the samplings.

The Weekly Standard noted that the percentage of respondents in each of the four Southern states who said they had voted for Obama was much higher than the actual 2012 results.

Scott Conroy is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at sconroy@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @RealClearScott.

Read more: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2014/04/23/senate_polls_buoy_southern_dems_gop_is_skeptical_122387.html#ixzz2zoRfkrK8
Follow us: @RCP_Articles on Twitter
250  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Justice Stevens: Make 6 Changes to the C. on: April 22, 2014, 09:12:01 AM
Didn't he vote against OBAMA CARE.  How come THAT is not mentioned.  Only the darn liberal issues are even mentioned:

*****Justice Stevens: Make 6 changes to Constitution

Associated Press
By MARK SHERMAN 10 hours ago

FILE - In this May 30, 2012, file photo, former U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens speaks at a lecture presented by the Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock, Ark. In the aftermath of the Connecticut school shootings that left 20 first-graders and six educators dead, retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens began thinking about ways to prevent a repeat. The result is Stevens' new book, his second since retiring from the court at age 90, in which he calls for no fewer than six changes to the Constitution, of which two are directly related to guns. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston, File)

In this May 30, 2012, file photo, former U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens speaks at a lecture presented by the Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock, Ark. In the aftermath of the Connecticut school shootings that left 20 first-graders and six educators dead, retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens began thinking about ways to prevent a repeat. The result is Stevens' new book, his second since retiring from the court at age 90, in which he calls for no fewer than six changes to the Constitution, of which two are directly related to guns. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — In the aftermath of the Connecticut school shootings that left 20 first-graders and six educators dead, retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens began thinking about ways to prevent a repeat.

The result is Stevens' new book — his second since retiring from the court at age 90 — in which he calls for no fewer than six changes to the Constitution, of which two are directly related to guns. Others would abolish the death penalty, make it easier to limit spending on elections and rein in partisan drawing of electoral districts.

His proposed amendments generally would overrule major Supreme Court decisions with which he disagrees, including ones on guns and campaign finance in which he dissented.

The book, "Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution," is being published Tuesday by Little, Brown and Co., two days after Stevens' 94th birthday.

Stevens said in an interview with The Associated Press that the Newtown, Conn., shootings in December 2012 made him think about doing "whatever we could to prevent such a thing from happening again."

He said he was bothered by press reports about gaps in the federal government database for checking the background of prospective gun buyers. Those gaps exist because the Supreme Court ruled in 1997 that states could not be forced to participate in the background check system. Stevens dissented from the court's 5-4 ruling in Printz v. United States.

One amendment would allow Congress to force state participation in gun checks, while a second would change the Second Amendment to permit gun control. Stevens was on the losing end of another 5-4 decision in 2008 in District of Columbia v. Heller, in which the court declared for the first time that Americans have a right to own a gun for self-defense.

He acknowledged that his proposed change would allow Congress to do something unthinkable in today's environment: ban gun ownership altogether.

"I'd think the chance of changing the Second Amendment is pretty remote," Stevens said. "The purpose is to cause further reflection over a period of time because it seems to me with ample time and ample reflection, people in the United States would come to the same conclusion that people in other countries have."

Justices often say that their dissenting opinions are written with the hope that today's dissent might attract a majority on some future court.

But Stevens has gone a step beyond by proposing the constitutional changes. Asked whether the book could in part be seen as "sour grapes," he readily agreed.

"To a certain extent, it's no doubt true, because I do think the court made some serious mistakes, as I did point out in my dissents," he said. "But I've been criticized for making speeches since I retired. Writing the book is not much different from continuing to speak about things I find interesting."

A recent example is the court's decision, again by a 5-4 vote, to strike down limits in federal law on the total contributions wealthy individuals can make to candidates for Congress and president, political parties and political action committees. Stevens said the decision follows from the 2010 ruling in Citizens United that lifted limits on political spending by corporations and labor unions. Again, he was in the dissent in another 5-4 ruling.

Those cases, he said, talk about the importance of public participation in the electoral process. But this month's decision on the overall limits is "not about electing your representative," Stevens said. "It's about financing the election of representatives of other people. It's about the influence of out-of-state voters on the election in your district. It sort of exposes a basic flaw in the recent cases."

Stevens marked his 94th birthday Sunday, still in excellent health, but lately feeling his age. Speaking to AP a few days before his birthday, he said, "It's going to come and pass. I'm not sure it's something to celebrate."*****
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