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2851  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Yes this is about power not jobs not workers rights on: March 02, 2011, 12:39:00 PM
Rachel fled the board so I will post a Buchanan piece.  I admit he probably is a bit of an anti-semite but his articles are far more in the real world than her philisophical postings which are nice for college students to fantasize about but have no place in the real world IMO:

****CommentsWhy Scott Walker Must Win
by Patrick J. Buchanan


The anti-democratic methods President Obama's union allies are using in Wisconsin testify to the crucial character of the battle being fought.
Teachers have walked off in wildcat strikes, taking pupils with them. Doctors have issued lying affidavits saying the teachers were sick, a good example of ethical conduct for the school kids.
Thousands of demonstrators have daily invaded the Capitol, chanting, hooting, banging drums. Hundreds have camped out there and refused to leave so the Capitol building can be cleaned.

Is this democracy in action? Is this what 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green went out to see that Saturday morning in Tucson?
Picketers have carried placards with the face of Gov. Scott Walker in the cross hairs of a gun sight. He has been compared to Hitler, Mussolini, Mubarak. Democrats have fled the state to deny the elected Wisconsin Senate a quorum to vote.
Such tactics cannot be allowed to triumph in a republic.
Why is the left behaving with desperation? Because it senses what this battle is all about. Not just about pay, but about power.
The Republicans are not only resolved to guarantee government workers pay a fair share of the cost of their pensions and health care. They are in a purposeful drive to disarm and demobilize the tax-subsidized armies of the Democratic Party and end sweetheart deals between unions and the poodle politicians they put into office.
"Walker wants to end collective bargaining," is the wail.
Actually, what the governor wants to end is the scandalous practice of powerful unions raising millions and running phone banks and get-out-the-vote operations for politicians who thank them with wages, benefits and job security no private employer can match.
Since the 1960s, government unions have been able to sit behind closed doors with the politicians they put in office and write contracts, the cost of which is borne by taxpayers who have no one at the table.
They call this collective bargaining. A more accurate term is collusive bargaining. And Walker means put an end to the racket.
When Ford sits down with the UAW, Ford negotiators represent the executives, directors and shareholders. Should they give away the store and Ford have to raise prices, and be undercut by Honda, all Ford workers, shareholders and executives suffer.
This is a healthy adversary procedure where Ford and the UAW each represents the interests of those who sent them, and both share a stake in keeping Ford prosperous.
When government unions sit down with the politicians they put into office, the relationship is not adversarial. It is not healthy. It is incestuous. And taxpayers must pay the cost of their cohabitation.
Gov. Walker also seeks to end the practice of having the state government collect union dues from state workers.
Indeed, why should a Republican administration collect dues for the benefit of union bosses who constantly labor to see to it those Republicans are not re-elected? Let the unions collect their own dues.
Walker would also require public service employee unions to hold annual elections by secret ballot to determine if state workers want the union to represent them, or if they would prefer to have their deducted union dues put back in their paychecks.
Legislators submit to voters every two years.
Why ought not unions to do the same?
In Wisconsin, the die is cast and Walker cannot yield.
For if he yields, the state and its 3,000 cities, counties, towns and school districts will be forever at the mercy of these unions.
If he yields, it will be a triumph for the tactics of intimidation, wildcat strikes and mass demonstrations to block legislative action.
The senators who fled will come home heroes, and Walker will have broken the hearts of the people who put their faith in him.
If Walker yields, governors and legislators across America will read the tea leaves and back away from taking on government unions. That means higher and higher taxes, as in Illinois, and eventual sinking of the states into unpayable debt and default.
The correlation of forces is in Walker's favor. Time is on his side. When you are holding a winning hand, you do not offer to split the pot.
After his opponents invaded the Capitol, called him Hitler, fled the state, and tried to shout down and shut down the legislature with raucous demonstrations, what other cards do they have left to play?
Walker has recalled Ronald Reagan's firing of the air traffic controllers as an example of how a strong leader must stand up even to a popular union when it is wrong.
There is an earlier example. When the Boston police went on strike and criminals ran amuck, and Sam Gompers came to the defense of the cops, Gov. Calvin Coolidge sent a telegram to that founding father of the American labor movement, "There is no right to strike against the public safety by anybody, anywhere, any time."
Scott Walker cannot lose this fight, because his country cannot afford to have him lose it.****

2852  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Unions on: March 02, 2011, 12:15:48 PM
On O'Reilly yesterday  Stossel went out onto the streets of NYC and asked pedestians what they thought of what is going on in Wisconsin.  He estimated roughly half the people had no clue about it.  Yet when we hear polls telling us a majority are for the collective bargaining "rights" it is clear most people don't really understand all the implications.  I doubt very much most people would support government union collective bargaining if they understood how it really affects them or this country as a whole and how corrupt it really is. 

O'Reilly has really changed his strategy in his overall presentation.  It is obvious he has plays his guests as straw men while he pretends to be the reasonable middle of the road one.  By doing so he can attract Bamster and others to appear on his show and boost his own ratings.

I think many viewers have caught on to his ruse.  But that is another story.

****John Stossel takes to the streets
Fox Business anchor John Stossel set out to determine how much ordinary citizens know about the political battle in Wisconsin. "I would say half the people were clueless," Stossel reported, "but it's not that complicated - all you have to do is watch a few news shows and read a bit." Given the public's lack of knowledge, Stossel took issue with how recent polls are worded. "The polls game the language, and even you use the term 'collective bargaining rights. Who's to say it's a right? Let's call it collective bargaining power." The Factor contended that most Americans inherently sympathize with unionized workers: "There is a lot of suspicion that government is corrupt, Wall Street fat cats are corrupt, but workers just want enough to feed their families and send their kids to college."**** 
2853  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Last doughboy gone on: February 28, 2011, 11:47:37 AM
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Frank Buckles, Last World War I Doughboy, Is Dead at 110

Published: February 28, 2011
Frank Buckles, who drove an Army ambulance in France in 1918 and came to symbolize a generation of embattled young Americans as the last of the World War I doughboys, died Sunday at his home in Charles Town, W. Va. He was 110.

His death was announced by a family spokesman, David DeJonge, The Associated Press said.

He was only a corporal and he never got closer than 30 or so miles from the Western Front trenches, but Mr. Buckles became something of a national treasure as the last living link to the two million men who served in the American Expeditionary Forces in France in “the war to end all wars.”

Frail, stooped and hard of hearing, but sharp of mind, Mr. Buckles was named grand marshal of the National Memorial Day Parade in Washington in 2007. He was a guest at Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day 2007 for a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns. He was honored by Defense Secretary Robert Gates at the Pentagon and met with President George W. Bush at the White House in March 2008.

United States Senators played host to him at the Capitol in June 2008 for the impending 90th anniversary of the World War I armistice. And he appeared before a Senate subcommittee in December 2009 to support legislation named in his honor to bestow federal status on a World War I memorial on the National Mall built in the 1930s.

Sought out for interviews in his final years, Mr. Buckles told of having witnessed a ceremony involving British veterans of the Crimean War, fought in the 1850s, when he was stationed in England before heading to France. He remembered chatting with General John J. Pershing, the commander of American troops in World War I, at an event in Oklahoma City soon after the war’s end.

And he proudly held a sepia-toned photograph of himself in his doughboy uniform when he was interviewed by USA Today in 2007. “I was a snappy soldier,” he said. “All gung-ho.”

Frank Woodruff Buckles was born Feb. 1, 1901, on a farm near Bethany, Mo. He was living in Oakwood, Okla., when America entered World War I and he tried to enlist in the Marine Corps at age 16, having been inspired by recruiting posters.

The Marines turned him down as underage and under the required weight. The Navy didn’t want him either, saying he had flat feet. But the Army took him in August 1917 when he lied about his age, and he volunteered to be an ambulance driver, hearing that was the quickest path to service in France.

He sailed for England in December 1917 on the Carpathia, the ship that helped save survivors of the Titanic’s sinking in 1912. He later served in various locations in France, including Bordeaux, and drove military autos and ambulances. He was touched by the war’s impact on the French people.

“The little French children were hungry,” Mr. Buckles recalled in a 2001 interview for the Veterans History Project of the Library of Congress. “We’d feed the children. To me, that was a pretty sad sight.”

Mr. Buckles escorted German prisoners of war back to their homeland after the armistice, then returned to America and later worked in the Toronto office of the White Star shipping line.

He traveled widely over the years, working for steamship companies, and he was on business in Manila when the Japanese occupied it following the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. He was imprisoned by the Japanese, losing more than 50 pounds, before being liberated by an American airborne unit in February 1945.

After retiring from steamship work in the mid-1950s, Mr. Buckles ran a cattle farm in Charles Town, and he was still riding a tractor there at age 104.

In April 2007, Mr. Buckles was identified by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs as one of the four known survivors among the more than 4.7 million Americans who had served in the armed forces of the Allied nations between April 6, 1917, when the United States entered World War I, and the Armistice of Nov. 11, 1918.

Two of the four — J. Russell Coffey and Harry Landis — had served stateside in the American Army. Mr. Coffey died in December 2007 at 109 and Mr. Landis died in February 2008 at 108. John Babcock, who was Canadian born, served in Canada’s army in Britain in World War I and held dual American and Canadian citizenship, died in Spokane, Wash., in February 2010 at 109.

The last known veterans of the French and German armies in World War I, Lazare Ponticelli and Erich Kästner, died a few months apart in 2008; Harry Patch, the last British soldier, died in 2009. A former nurse and a former sailor, both English, are thought to be the only two people still living who served in any capacity in the war.

Mr. Buckles is survived by his daughter, Susannah Flanagan. His wife, Audrey, died in 1999.

More than eight decades after World War I ended, Mr. Buckles retained images of his French comrades. And he thought back to the fate that awaited them.

“What I have a vivid memory of is the French soldiers — being in a small village and going in to a local wine shop in the evening,” he told a Library of Congress interviewer. “They had very, very little money. But they were having wine and singing the ‘Marseillaise’ with enthusiasm. And I inquired, ‘What is the occasion?’ They were going back to the front. Can you imagine that?”
2854  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Newt Gingrich on: February 27, 2011, 05:15:47 PM
I hope he runs.  At least give a go.

If he doesn't do well at least he will have tried.  We'll never know otherwise and always question not doing so.

Go for it Newt!
2855  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / JDN: Good point! on: February 27, 2011, 05:12:18 PM
"Yet Obama was criticized for "standing up for democracy" in Egypt.  If we follow this new Republican suggestion, maybe we should "stand up for democracy" and oust
the dictatorships in in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Tunisia, Bahrain, Kuwait, et al and return their government to the "people". "

JDN, I agree with your point 100%  grin  grin  grin

Both parties Dems and Cans are schizophrenic with regards to which way to go - support "Democracy" or not depending on the political advantage at the time.

I hear some Republicans criticizing Bamster no matter what he does and I don't hear many if any Dems giving W high grades for promoting "freedom" around the Middle East.   The make love not war anit American 60's libs who control the Democratic party today should be holding W up as some sort of Saint if you listen to them.  But then, how could they blame him for everything, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.

The whole political aspect to this thing is a big joke.  And the joke is on the US.

2856  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Jonah Goldberg on Obama reversal on: February 25, 2011, 12:38:44 PM
"President Obama says DOMA is unconstitutional, and yet the “law professor” says he will continue to enforce it. In a properly ordered constitutional republic, this would be a scandal. But in America today, it’s cause for eye-rolling, shrugs, and platitudes about the demands of politics."

I think it is likely a political move.  He needs the gay hordes led by MSNBC as his poll numbers are falling again.  I think he is holding back on support for gay marriage for the political opportune time not for their benefit but for his.   Just IMHO.

***Jonah Goldberg

February 25, 2011 12:00 A.M.

Throwing in the Towel on the Constitution
Obama violates his oath of office

Article 2 of the U.S. Constitution requires that each new president take the following oath:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

President Obama announced this week that he will violate that oath.
In a decision hailed by gay-rights activists, the White House announced that it will no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) on the grounds that it has suddenly dawned on the president and attorney general that the law is unconstitutional.

DOMA, signed into law by President Clinton, bars the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. Obama has always opposed the law, but as president his administration has enforced it and defended it in court. Although it should be noted that Obama’s Justice Department has not defended DOMA vigorously, as Justice Department guidelines require.

As Ed Whelan, a legal scholar and president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, has detailed at some length, the DOJ has been, in effect, tanking the fight in court for the last two years by tailoring its arguments in ways beneficial to gay-marriage activists. Now Obama’s lawyers are simply taking a dive by flatly declaring the unconstitutionality of the law.

Obama, who fancies himself a scholar of the Constitution, never said a peep about the law being unconstitutional until this week.

Why the public change of heart?

There’s good reason to believe that Obama has always been lying — yes, lying — about opposing gay marriage. For example, in 1996, he told the Windy City Times, “I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.” But by 2004, Obama very much wanted to be president, and he understood that supporting gay marriage would be a political liability. So he opted for something other than honesty. And in a 2004 interview with a gay publication, Obama strongly hinted his opposition was strategic, not philosophical.

“Everything we know and admire about President Obama makes the claim that he doesn’t support the freedom to marry very unconvincing,” Evan Wolfson, the director of the gay-rights group Freedom to Marry, told the Huffington Post last August.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney insists that the president still opposes same-sex marriage. But Carney was quick to note that the president has said his views on the matter are “evolving.” Translation: He could completely change his mind at any moment.

And you know what? That’s fine. Lots of people change their minds about issues like these. Support for gay marriage and gay rights generally has been on the rise for years. My own views have been evolving as well.

But that is all irrelevant. The politics are irrelevant too. I don’t know if this is a politically smart move on Obama’s part or a dumb one, though I have my theories.

Either way, what Obama is doing is flatly outrageous. Carney says that “the president is constitutionally bound to enforce the laws and enforcement of the DOMA will continue.”

No, he is not.

There’s a myth out there that only the Supreme Court determines what is, or is not, constitutional. It’s a bipartisan myth. “We can’t have presidents deciding what laws are constitutional and what laws are not,” Sen. Scott Brown (R., Mass.) said in a statement. “That is a function of the judicial branch, not the executive.”

President Bush made a similar, indefensible error when he signed the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance bill, even though he believed portions of it were unconstitutional (and he was right; the Supreme Court overturned it in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission last year).

The problem is that the Constitution doesn’t say any such thing (and, no, it’s not in Marbury v. Madison either). The president doesn’t take an oath to “preserve, protect and defend” the Supreme Court. He takes an oath to defend the Constitution.

Imagine if Congress passed — hopefully over a presidential veto — a law that brought back slavery. Such a law would be plainly unconstitutional, and no president worthy of the job would wait for the Supreme Court to tell him as much. More to the point, once the president concluded that the law was unconstitutional, he would be bound by his oath to ignore it, and challenge it in every way possible.

President Obama says DOMA is unconstitutional, and yet the “law professor” says he will continue to enforce it.

In a properly ordered constitutional republic, this would be a scandal. But in America today, it’s cause for eye-rolling, shrugs, and platitudes about the demands of politics.

—Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online and a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. © 2011 Tribune Media Services, Inc.***

2857  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate on: February 25, 2011, 11:43:03 AM
This is exactly why tax codes should not be tinkered with in regards to social engineering.  They should be the same for everyone, flat, no write offs, no loopholes.
How could government employees under assault not be outraged?  This is classic the rich get richer and reap unfair benefits.  Repubs would do well to at least recognize this and say/do something about it.  The silence from them on issues like this is deafening. 

****Tax breaks on real estate deals for people like A-Rod cost city 900M a year
Juan Gonzalez - News

Friday, February 25th 2011, 4:00 AM

Sipkin/NewsA city program gives huge tax abatements to condo owners in newly built housing. A-Rod, for instance, will pay just $100 a month in taxes on his new $6 million bachelor pad. Related NewsLupica: A-Rod out of the spotlight? For Yanks to win, he'd better find itA-Rod: Bombers will survive without LeeLupica: Hamilton shows A-Rod how its doneA-Rod expects to be in top form next seasonA-Rod confronts Grim realityLupica: It's time for Alex to be GreatYankees star Alex Rodriguez will pay virtually no property tax for a $6 million apartment he is buying on the upper West Side.

Rodriguez will be billed around $1,200 this year in real estate tax for his 3,000-square-foot, five-bedroom penthouse with spectacular views of the Hudson River.

Over the next 10 years Rodriguez and his fellow residents will continue to receive huge discounts on their tax, a city housing official said.

For Rodriguez, a full tax bill would be at least $60,000 annually, the latest city assessment records show.

A spokeswoman for Extell, the company that built the 2-year-old luxury Rushmore Towers near the West Side Highway, declined to discuss the taxes on the slugger's new bachelor pad.

But the only two penthouses that went into contract this month at the Rushmore, each of which was listed at more than $6 million, have been assessed at a little over $100 per month in taxes, one real estate expert told the Daily News.

So how is it possible that tens of thousands of ordinary city residents struggle each year with soaring tax bills for their co-ops, condos and homes, while the Yankees' $33-million-a-year star gets to pay next to nothing?

Well, Rodriguez and many other well-heeled New Yorkers have learned to take advantage of a little-known tax abatement program that has existed for decades.

The politicians and real estate insiders call it the "421A" program. It grants as much as a 98% percent tax abatement for up to 25 years to condo owners in newly built housing.

The bulk of the 421A benefit has gone to luxury housing in Manhattan, though a few reforms by City Hall and the Legislature in 2007 at least required developers to build 20% affordable housing to qualify for the tax abatement.

This year alone, the 421A program will cost our city more than $900 million in lost revenues, the Independent Budget Office says.

That's money that could prevent layoffs of firefighters and teachers. That could fund senior citizen centers and pay for after-school programs.

You haven't heard much about this, but the 421A program ended in December for any new construction. But the city's powerful real estate industry is determined to get it renewed and even get it expanded. Its lobbyists are working feverishly behind the scenes to pressure Council and lawmakers in Albany.

Brooklyn City Councilman Brad Lander has been leading the fight against that renewal.

It's too much of a giveaway to developers, Lander says, especially since there's already a glut of luxury housing in this town.

The developers want to link any extension of rent stabilization laws for tenants, which the Legislature must vote on by June, to a deal on extending the 421A tax abatement for builders.

The industry hopes Gov. Cuomo, who made a name for himself a long time ago as an advocate for affordable housing, will take their side.

In so many ways, big and small, the minority who have the big money keep trying to get government to give them more financial breaks at the expense of the rest of us.

"Where's the fair share if people who have paid millions of dollars for an apartment get away with paying no real estate taxes, when people in co-ops are being slaughtered?" said Bayta Lewton, of the Coalition for a Livable West Side.

Even before the pennant race begins, A-Rod has become the poster boy in another race - to end these tax abatements that have run amok.****

2858  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Beck apologizes on: February 25, 2011, 10:04:57 AM
Lawrence of MSNBC has been crusading against Beck.  Apparantly Beck said a few things about the reformed rabbies who critcized him.  I am not that familiar with the whole thing.  Rachel who disappeared from this board after her post about Beck and Rabbie complainst and I came back and criticized Soros would probably find this apology inadaquate.  I am not sure what to say specifically on the issue of Beck on this though I stand by my comments on Soros.  As for criticizing Obama on not speaking out enough ON Ghaddafi I think this wrong headed and political.  There are thousands of Americans trapped in Libya and their lives are at stake.  It is not a leap to worry that US over - condemnation could cost them their lives.
2859  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Morris' poll on Wisconsin on: February 24, 2011, 07:31:38 PM
MSNBC announcers with great glee yesterday citing polls that people of Wisconsin are "breaking" with Governor Walker.  I am a bit surprised (and disappointed) that most people appear to think collective bargaining for government employees is OK.  I don't get it.  They like paying for the largess.  Without limiting this won't taxpayers always have to be at risk of being held up for more money?

By Dick Morris02.24.2011

February 24, 2011

Dick Morris, a veteran pollster with thirty years of experience in national and international polling, is announcing the launch of The Dick Morris Poll, which will focus on timely political issues and candidates. Drawing on his polling expertise, Dick will provide the results and an analysis of each poll.

Dick Morris was President Clinton’s pollster for 20 years, and has done polling for 30 Senators and Governors and 14 presidents or prime ministers in foreign countries.

The Dick Morris Poll, to be published at least once a month, will use the traditional polling method of telephone calls to registered voters. On occasion, internet polls will be done of a carefully drawn random sample of likely voters – in order to avoid the bias of relying only on those participants with a political predisposition.

The initial poll is the first published poll of voters conducted within the state of Wisconsin and was completed on Monday, February 21, 2011 and Tuesday, February 22, 2011.


The Dick Morris Poll conducted a telephone survey among 409 likely Wisconsin voters. The survey has a margin of error of +- 4%.

Findings: Wisconsin voters break almost evenly on Governor Walker’s proposed reforms, supporting them by a margin of 51-47.

They support many aspects of the proposal by significant numbers:


• By 74-18, they back making state employees pay more for their health insurance.
• By 79-16, they support asking state workers contribute more toward their pensions.
• By 54-34, Wisconsin voters support ending the automatic deduction of union dues from state paychecks and support making unions collect dues from each member.
• By 66-30, they back limiting state workers’ pay increases to the rate of inflation unless voters approve a higher raise by a public referendum.


On the issue of limiting collective bargaining to wage and benefit issues, however, they break with the Governor, opposing the proposal by 41-54.

If the issues to be taken off the bargaining table are related to giving schools flexibility to modify tenure, pay teachers based on merit, discharge bad teachers and promote good ones, however, they support such limits on collective bargaining by 58-38.

ANALYSIS: Voters back the principal of collective bargaining. But they are also willing to limit these negotiations so that they would not impede education reforms.

For Governor Walker to prevail, he must focus on his goal of achieving reform in schools. He will not prevail as long as his proposal is essentially negative in nature (i.e. limiting collective bargaining). But if he emphasizes the positive intent that lies behind the proposal (i.e. giving schools the flexibility and freedom to implement education reforms), he will find a solid public majority behind him.

2860  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / King vs. Piers on: February 24, 2011, 07:21:49 PM
I thought Piers is pretty good but I guess his ratings have fallen.  I am surprised Larry King criticized him.  It is interesting that one of King's complaint is Piers "is not dangerous enough".   I kind of thought King was always rather wishy washy himself:

Piers Morgan, Larry King spar over CNN veteran's jibe
 – British journalist Piers Morgan (pictured) sparred verbally with his CNN predecessor Larry King, after … – Thu Feb 24, 3:22 am ET
LOS ANGELES (AFP) – British journalist Piers Morgan sparred verbally with his CNN predecessor Larry King, after the US veteran criticized Morgan's talk show technique.

Morgan, who took over in January after King bowed out following 25 years as host of "Larry King Live," light-heartedly suggested he would have to punch the 77-year-old following his jibes in a BBC interview.

"I have spent the last few months saying following you is like following Sinatra. I couldn't have paid you higher praise. And you go in my back yard and say I'm... oversold, undangerous," said Morgan.

King told BBC radio last week he thought Morgan had been "oversold" when he started at CNN, saying: "He's good, but not that dangerous. I think they might have been better off starting quietly."

Damning with faint praise, King added: "He's certainly not bad. He's certainly an acceptable host. He asks good questions, maybe he interrupts a little too much at times."

Defending himself on Morgan's show, King insisted he didn't think the British host was dangerous.

Morgan replied: "We couldn't come in and undersell me. I'm following a legend. You can't follow Sinatra in Vegas and say 'By the way, I'm not very good, and this is going to be useless.'"

King, deadpanning: "Why can't you just say: 'Piers Morgan. I'm coming. Watch me.' What's wrong with that?"

After briefly squaring up for a pretend across-the-table punch -- King said he had heard that Morgan had suggested he would punch him for the BBC jibe -- the British host agreed to change the subject.

But they came back to it at the end of the interview, when Morgan presented King with a pair of suspenders -- the CNN veteran's onscreen trademark -- with a Union Jack flag pattern.

The pair then got into another pretend verbal tussle over the fact that "suspenders" in British English are an item of women's underwear, the British word being "braces."

"So I've been wearing ladies' underwear all these years?" asked King.

"That's what the Brits think," replied Morgan.

"You're dangerous," joked King.

2861  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / radical community organizer meets with companies that control flow on internet on: February 24, 2011, 02:57:59 PM
Supposedly the meeting is for job creation.  That said, Obama meeting with Google owners, CEOs etc should raise eyebrows and questions.  This is all the more reason net neutrality may very well be a good idea.  Do we really want the most radical guy in the WH we have ever had meeting with those who can control the flow of information, and commerce and all communication on the internet without some sort of controls or regulation?  Very thought provoking.

*****Hosted by      Back to Google NewsObama meets with heads of Facebook, Apple, Google to discuss job creation
By Darlene Superville (CP) – 6 days ago

WOODSIDE, Calif. — President Barack Obama assembled some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley to confer on jobs and innovation, trying to get leaders from companies like Google and Apple behind his push to keep spending on high-tech initiatives even as Republicans are out to slash the budget.

Wunderkind Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg, Google chief executive Eric Schmidt, and Steve Jobs, the Apple founder and CEO who announced last month that he was taking his third medical leave, were among a dozen business leaders who met with Obama in California Thursday evening. Also attending were the heads of Twitter, Yahoo!, NetFlix and Oracle, and the president of Stanford University.

The dinner at the home of John and Ann Doerr in the San Francisco Bay area was closed to the media. Doerr, a partner at the venture capital firm of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, attended the meeting.

Obama wants to spend billions on clean energy, education, high-speed Internet and other programs even as his new budget proposal calls for a five-year freeze on domestic spending in certain other areas. The approach is getting a frosty reception from newly empowered Republicans on Capitol Hill, who are pushing steep cuts to a wide range of programs and balking at new spending.

The president argues that targeted spending, including education initiatives aimed at producing a more sophisticated workforce, is crucial for job creation and future U.S. competitiveness with other nations. A stamp of approval from the Silicon Valley's leading innovators and job creators could help.

At the same time, the president's meeting Thursday extends outreach to the business community that he's embarked upon since Democrats suffered steep losses in the November midterm elections. With unemployment stuck at 9 per cent, Obama has been pleading with corporate America to hire.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said Thursday that the high-tech sector has been "a model, really, for that kind of economic activity that we want to see in other cutting-edge industries in the U.S. where jobs can be created in America and kept in America, and that's what he wants to talk about."

After his stop in California, Obama was planning to tour Intel Corp.'s semiconductor manufacturing facility in Hillsboro, Ore., on Friday with CEO Paul Otellini. Otellini, who was among a group of CEOs who met privately with Obama in December, has criticized Obama's policies as creating uncertainty for business.

Obama has left Washington weekly since his Jan. 25 State of the Union to highlight his plans to boost education, innovation and infrastructure. Education is this week's theme.

Obama last visited California and Oregon, both states he won easily in 2008, during a four-state swing in October.


AP White House Correspondent Ben Feller and Associated Press writers Julie Pace and Erica Werner contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2011 The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.
2862  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Unions on: February 24, 2011, 02:16:11 PM
teachers bargained in good faith; they have a contract and the
State signed and agreed."

Well, a little more accurately, the Democratic party machine signed and agreed.
Taxpayers had no clue.
2863  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate on: February 23, 2011, 12:51:37 PM
Isn't Brian Wesbury a bull 100% of the time.  I don't recall him every saying anything negative.

Then again I don't follow him much anymore.
2864  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Unions on: February 23, 2011, 10:36:27 AM
Wow, Fareed Zakaria let this through (editor of Time)!

It is really an outrage how the Dems are out in force demogagueing this.  We should be grateful to them for weekends, the 8 hour day. rolleyes
Collective bargaining is a *right* akin to voters rights, the right to liberty, the right to property etc etc. rolleyes

This turns back 50, 60, 80 years of "progress". rolleyes

The average Joe has the right to tell their prosepctive employer what their salary should be and not told what their pay should be. rolleyes

All people who own property or pay state income/sales or other taxes should be the ones outraged.   angry
2865  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Net neutrality. Good,Bad,Ugly on: February 22, 2011, 12:01:16 PM
After reading this article and now understand the reasoning for "net neutrality".

From Scientific American:

Keep the Internet Fair
The government's net neutrality compromise fell flat. Here's a simple fix

By The Editors  | March 3, 2011 | 6
The island of Key Biscayne, Fla., sits in the Atlantic Ocean 10 miles southeast of Miami. Its 10,000 residents depend on the Rickenbacker Causeway, a four-mile-long toll bridge connecting the island to the mainland, for all their supplies. Right now all vehicles passing through must pay a set toll—$1.50 for cars, $9.00 for three-axle cargo trucks, and so on. But what would happen if a bridge owner decided to charge a toll based not on the size of a vehicle but on the cargo it was carrying? He could let his brother’s lumber-supply company through for free and make its chief competitor pay through the nose. He could force the Winn-Dixie grocery store to double its prices, pushing area residents to local restaurants. In short, the bridge owner would have the power to control everything that the residents of Key Biscayne have access to.

This is the essence of the widely discussed but little understood concept of “net neutrality.” The bridge, in this case, represents the lines that carry the Internet to your home computer or smart phone. So far Internet service providers have for the most part treated all content equally. The worry is that, sensing a business opportunity, they might strike deals with certain content providers to deliver faster access for a fee or to block some information entirely. The worry isn’t completely theoretical; Comcast recently told the company that delivers Netflix streaming videos that it needed to pay up if it wanted to access Comcast’s customers. (Lost on no one was the fact that Netflix directly competes with Comcast’s own video-on-demand service.)

To make matters worse, most Americans have only one choice of high-speed broadband provider; the most fortunate have two. Unhappy subscribers cannot just leave and get their Internet elsewhere. This effective monopoly leaves consumers with little protection from a provider that has the means to filter everything that they can buy, watch and read.

Internet service providers contend that they must retain the flexibility to manage their networks in the way they see fit—slowing or blocking some high-bandwidth applications to ensure reliable service for all. Network management is a serious concern, but it must not become a cover for policies that censor any content displeasing to the corporate gatekeeper. The Federal Communications Commission approved a rule last December that was intended to ensure equal treatment of content providers. Yet while the FCC rule prohibits “unreasonable” discrimination of network traffic, it fails to spell out what unreasonable behavior entails. The ruling is vague in ways that only a Washington, D.C., lawyer could love; the only certainty it gives is of the tens of thousands of billable hours to be spent arguing over the meaning of “unreasonable” in federal court.

The fix, however, is simple. As the FCC goes about enforcing this ban on so-called unreasonable policies, it should clarify that the only kind of unreasonable discrimination is discrimination against particular applications.

What would this mean in practice? Instead of the “all you can eat” data plans of today, Internet service providers could sell customers access by the gigabyte. They could limit performance at peak times of the day to help balance network load or offer superfast plans at higher prices.

Internet service providers would not, however, be able to determine which applications go fast and which go slow. They would not be able to reach a deal with Facebook to speed up that site’s page loads while slowing down LinkedIn. They could not put Skype calls through a bottleneck or throttle back all video-streaming sites, because these are all judgments based on application. This clarification gives Internet service providers the leeway they need to maintain healthy networks, as well as plenty of incentive to invest in advanced network infrastructure for those customers willing to pay for ultrahigh-speed service. But it takes away the power of Internet service providers to choose winners and losers. We can accept that a bridge owner can charge vehicles based on their size—$1.50 for cars, $9.00 for three-axle cargo trucks—but a democratic society can’t abide discrimination based on content.

2866  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Anti-semitism & Jews on: February 22, 2011, 10:09:18 AM
I thought you are a TR man, you know, speak softly and carry a big stick.
Unlike Obama who is speaks softly and carries a little stick.

TR strentghened us overseas not weakened us.  I doubt very much he apologized for us either.

As for TR, well;
TR was the guy who on San Juan Hill after shooting a guy in the belly while running up the hill cackled with glee and excitement at the experience OF SHOOTING ANOTHER HUMAN BEING!.  War is/was war no doubt.  However, his own record of how great he thought shooting someone else was, is something I never could forget about him.  Could anyone imagine the same of say Grant, or Eisenhower?

Ans , you know the same guy whose pleasure was to go around the world and kill animals for sport.
2867  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Anti-semitism & Jews on: February 22, 2011, 09:20:58 AM
Great post and thank you for your thoughts.

"Obama is perceived as not quite so ready to resort to military action, as was his predecessor and those around him (Cheney, et al)."

And to add to Crafty's comment,
Our enemies certainly love Obama for the this reason IMHO.

2868  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Anti-semitism & Jews on: February 21, 2011, 02:13:16 PM
Thanks for the inside scoop.

One question on this statement you made,

 "In fact, I have also heard many Greeks declaring that they dislike Americans (or more specifically American Foreign Policy)"

Here the main stream media would have us believe that Obama has done alot to improve our image overseas.
Do you think this is true from you vantage point?
2869  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / GWill: A Mitch Daniels fan on: February 21, 2011, 02:08:09 PM
Mitch Daniels' case for a less strident conservatism

By George Will 2/17/11 | At first, the banquet audience at the 38th annual Conservative Political Action Conference paid Mitch Daniels, Indiana's Republican governor, the conventional compliment of frequently, almost reflexively, interrupting his address with applause. But as they realized they were hearing something unconventional - that they were being paid the rare compliment of being addressed as reflective adults - they reciprocated his respect with quiet attention to his elegant presentation of conservatism for grown-ups.

America, he said, faces "a survival-level threat," a new "Red Menace" consisting of ink. No enterprise, public or private, "can remain self-governing, let alone successful, so deeply in hock to others as we are about to be." Some people accept or "even welcome" a "ballooning of the state" that consigns America to "a gray parity" with other profligate nations. Such people believe history is controlled by a "leftward ratchet," always - never mind "the Reagan Interruption" - moving toward a more powerful state.

For such people, the task now is merely defensive: The Obama administration's spending commitments - e.g., the health-care law is designed to "engulf private markets and produce a single-payer system or its equivalent" - will produce a leviathan state and reduce the American world preeminence some people deplore.

Focusing on earmarks (a "pernicious practice" but a "trifle") and "waste, fraud and abuse," says Daniels, trivializes the task of administering "bariatric surgery" to a "morbidly obese" government. He favors restoring to presidents the power to impound appropriated funds ("you'd be amazed how much government you'll never miss"). But the big twofold task is to reform entitlements and produce economic growth - "a long boom of almost unprecedented duration."

Americans must say "an affectionate thank-you" to the last century's major social welfare programs - then sunset them, after those Americans "currently or soon to be enrolled" in them have passed from the scene. Social Security and Medicare should be updated to conform to Americans' "increasing longevity and good health." Medicare 2.0 should respect Americans' dignity and competence by empowering them to make "their own decisions" by delivering its dollars directly to individuals and expecting them to "pay for more of their routine care like the discerning, autonomous customers we know them to be."

To spur economic growth, we must "untie Gulliver": "The regulatory rainforest through which our enterprises must hack their way is blighting the future of millions of Americans." Barack Obama's recent executive order to prune the forest was, Daniels said, akin to the world's leading rap music producer suddenly expressing alarm about obscenity. And Daniels thinks conservatives' "first thought" should be about "those still on that first rung of life's ladder":

"Upward mobility from the bottom is the crux of the American promise, and the stagnation of the middle class is in fact becoming a problem, on any fair reading of the facts. Our main task is not to see that people of great wealth add to it but that those without much money have a greater chance to earn some."

Author of the most succinct characterization of the Obama agenda ("shock-and-awe statism"), Daniels has practiced the lean government he preaches. Under him, Indiana has its fewest state employees since 1978, the nation's lowest state-government employment per capita, the lowest effective property taxes and the third-lowest per capita spending. So he has the credentials to counsel conservatives about the need to compromise in the interest of broadening the constituency for difficult reforms.

"Change of the dimension we need," says Daniels, "requires a coalition of a dimension no one has recently assembled," including people who "surf past C-SPAN to get to SportsCenter." Which may mean ideological dilution: "Purity in martyrdom is for suicide bombers" and "King Pyrrhus is remembered, but his nation disappeared." Daniels has "no interest in standing in the wreckage of our Republic saying, 'I told you so' or 'You should've done it my way.' "

He reminded his listeners that when he was serving Ronald Reagan, the president admonished him and others that "we have no enemies, only opponents." The case for less strident conservative rhetoric is practical: "As we ask Americans to join us on such a boldly different course, it would help if they liked us, just a bit."

Do not, Jefferson warned, undertake great departures on "slender majorities." Conservatives criticized Democrats for doing just that regarding health care. Big changes, Daniels knows, will require a broad majority, perhaps one assembled after 2012 by someone with his blend of accomplishments, aversion to pandering and low-key charisma of competence.

2870  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Yahoooo! on: February 21, 2011, 12:38:44 PM
Check out Vermont - the only red in the whole NorthEast.  Perhaps I should move to Wyoming abuild a fort.  Yes Frank Rich.  Americans are behing the unions in Wisconsin!  Dream on you demagogue.  The One's faint to the right is NOT working.  grin smiley cool cheesy
2871  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Yeehah!!! on: February 21, 2011, 09:57:57 AM
So Frank Rich is deluding himself into thinking this is because the ONE is to right.  He is not left enough.  So far so good.  Obama is not pulling a Bill Clinton.  Or at least he is not succeeding.  I think Bmasters collusion with the fabulously rich founders of Google, Facebook, GE, MSFT would make a nice picture of replacing Mousilini.  I think this does fall into the category of Facism.:

 « Monday, February 21, 2011
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Monday shows that 23% of the nation's voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as president. Forty-one percent (41%) Strongly Disapprove, giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -18 (see trends).

Yesterday and today mark the president’s lowest ratings since mid-December. It remains to be seen whether this is merely the result of statistical noise or a change in perceptions of President Obama. For most of 2010, more than 40% of voters voiced Strong Disapproval of the president. However, following his December agreement with Senate Republicans to extend the Bush tax cuts, the level of Strong Disapproval had declined.

It’s President’s Day, and 93% have a favorable opinion about Abraham Lincoln. Ninety-one percent (91%) say the same about George Washington.

Most voters continue to favor repeal of the health care law.

The Presidential Approval Index is calculated by subtracting the number who Strongly Disapprove from the number who Strongly Approve. It is updated daily at 9:30 a.m. Eastern (sign up for free daily e-mail update). Updates are also available on Twitter and Facebook.

Overall, 44% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the president's performance. Fifty-five percent (55%) disapprove.

Thirty-seven percent (37%) of voters now think a group of people selected at random from the phone book could do a better job than the current Congress. Only 41% disagree.
2872  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Unions on: February 21, 2011, 09:40:42 AM
I pray you are right.
2873  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tea Party, Glen Beck and related matters on: February 21, 2011, 09:39:55 AM
"Obama’s outspokenness about the labor battle in Wisconsin offers a glimmer of hope that he might lead the fight for what many Americans, not just Democrats, care about — from job creation to an energy plan to an attack on the deficit that brackets the high-end Bush-era tax cuts with serious Medicare/Medicaid reform and further strengthening of the health care law."

Frank Rich is nuts.  "many Americans" are for the labor battle in Wisconsin???  Oh really?  So he thinks most Americans are for bailing out government unions benefits, pensions and fully covered health care with their hard earned money?

On job creation Obama gets an F.

On energy plan, Obama is doing everything to weaken the US.  50Bill for a couple of train tracks?

Strengthening health care?  Nice try putting it that way - sound pretty damn phoney to me.

Serious MeidcareMedicaid reform.  First the Dems say that can't be touched and that is obviously why Obama and MSM jornolists are hoping the Repubs will make bold moves - so the ONE can demagogue them to death till his election.

Rich is a typical liberal.  Still dreaming that most Americans are for progressivism.  This country is still right of center - not way to the left.
2874  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: February 19, 2011, 02:04:36 PM
Israel's good friends in the UN Security Council all of whom except the US voted that the settlements were "illegal".  The US simply had Hill girl state that the settlements were "illegitimate" but not illegal; essentially a technicality.  If Israel were an oil powerhouse it would be different.  But for a couple of millions of Jews - who cares? cry

Permanent members
People's Republic of China which replaced the Republic of China in 1971
Russian Federation which replaced the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1991
United Kingdom
United States
Non-permanent members
Bosnia and Herzegovina
South Africa
2875  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Taxpayer union on: February 19, 2011, 01:53:39 PM
Or perhaps,
taxpayers should form our own union!
2876  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Retirement a privilege not a right on: February 19, 2011, 01:34:47 PM
There was an article in one of the medical journals some years back that addressed the plight of the elderly in history.  Many elderly worked till they died.  Others, lived with family.  Others wound up at flop houses or begged.  Compare that to today's expectations.  (unfortunatley I cannot find the article now but it was extraordinarily illuminating from someone born in the 50s to see how hard it really was for many people who were lucky enough to live to old age.  After reading that I found it hard to feel sorry for the elderly of today.  No one wants to get old but.....

****Early Retirement, retirement

After last week's post, I started thinking about what our societal expectations are about retirement.  So I brushed the dust off of my pocket-sized copy of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.  After perusing them, I was reminded that these beloved documents spell out many God-given rights that government is obligated to protect while allowing humankind to pursue life, liberty and happiness.  (Note to the courts:  Constitutional law still exists).  But what is expectantly absent from the Bill of Rights is the right to an easy, stress-free life.

What does this have to do with retirement, one might ask?  There are no Constitutional rights to retirement, much less an easy retirement.  Retirement is made possible by the structure of entitlement programs, the effort of workers and savers, and the generosity (hopefully) of the next generation to care for their aging parents.  But the Constitution says nothing about retirement.  Specifically:

1)  There is no Constitutional right to early retirement.  The full retirement age when people receive their full Social Security benefits for most of today's workers is now 67.  While retiring at age 55 may be the plan for many, there are no guarantees.  So if your 401(k) account derailed your plans to retire early last year, this matter does not justify a goverment bailout.

2)  There is no Constitutional right to home equity for retirement income.  While the Constitution protects your property from unreasonable search and seizure, there is no right to property earning a 200 percent rate of return that will enable you to downsize and retire comfortably from the sale of your existing home.  The current mortgage mess has affirmed that this right does not exist.

3)  There is no Constitutional right to entitlement programs.  Sadly, the government has mislead people into thinking that Social Security alone can and will solve any retirement financial problems, and that there will always be money to fund entitlement programs.  But the $102 trillion future deficit held by Medicare and Social Security as it stands today means that the program will exist in its current form – only as far as the government is willing to borrow and people are willing to fork over payroll taxes.

4)  Finally, there is no Constitutional right to a "wealthy" standard of living at retirement.  I am reminded of the elite elderly couple Thurston and Lovey Howell from the 1960s TV show "Gilligan's Island."  While they were shipwrecked on an uninhabited island, we learn little about how these millionaires made their money, but it was obvious by their dress and demeanor that they had no financial worries in their later years.  Such is usually not the case for real-life retirees.  Some baby boomers may approach retirement with the resources to purchase a yacht or a month-long cruise, while many others may have to settle for a three-hour tour.

In other words, there are no guarantees in life, or in retirement outcomes, for that matter.   But careful thought and planning can minimize the risk of plans going awry.

Have a good weekend!***

2877  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: February 19, 2011, 01:13:55 PM
""predominantly white"

Except for Jesse Jackson who took time off from his work for Obama.
2878  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Anti-semitism & Jews on: February 19, 2011, 11:15:23 AM

Yes, I am proud of my fellow Jews accomplishments!


"Jews are "progressive"?
I didn't know that was bad!"

Yes this IS bad and annoying and actually infuriating to me as well as to many other Jews who consider themselves (if not) strict conservatives at least Republican.

Such Jews like Jackie Mason, Aaron Klein, David Horowitz, Marc Levin,  Bernine Goldberg, Jonah Goldberg, Eric Cantor, etc.

Indeed it is very bad.  Bad for the United States and a big phoney fraud in my opinion.  Actully quite hypocritical.   Think Soros.  I despise what he is doing.

I respect him only as a holocaust survivor but not otherwise as a person.  He is full of BS and a selfish, hypocrite IMO.
2879  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Anti-semitism & Jews on: February 18, 2011, 03:37:54 PM
Interesting two post above about Paul.

I didn't have any clue of that.  David Horowitz is a strong conservative.

"international banker conspiracy"

I don't think there is a Jewish conspiracy in that regard but there may be a disproportionate number of Jews who are bankers, like doctors, and lawyers.

There is without a doubt a disproportionate number of Jews who are progressive.

From the alleged jornolist posted on this board a fully 40% of the names were consistent with Jewish names.  Jews make up what? 1 or 2% of the US population.

My guess is Jews are not running around trying to get non Jews but happen to just be active in this area and since there is a disprotionate number of them in the forefront it may give the appearance of a "conspiracy".

As for a "conspiracy" for supporting Israel - I would prefer to look at it as Jews working hard to preserve and protect fellow Jews who are threatened with annhilation every day. 
2880  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Maddow:Wiscon is "existential threat" to Dem Party on: February 18, 2011, 10:40:11 AM
Last night Madcow was actually in obvious *panic* mode over what is happening here.  She was ranting raving (more than the following video) as fast and nervous as possible that what is going on in Wisconsin is an "existential" threat to the survival of the Democratic party!

I disagree with this premise to start with but the larger more important point to the overwhelming Americans who are NOT government employees is to have it laid bare for all of us to see how the unions have outright corrupted our political process.  Raise (occasionally steal- no choice) money from your members, siphon plenty off for their own personal benefit and than send payoffs to Democrats running for office, then if they get elected they always return the favor by making back-room deals with the unions.  Always at taxpayer expense.

Thank God we are having this fight.  It is about time.

Madcow says this is politics!  Yup it certianly is.  This is not about educating children, this is not about law enforcement, firefighting.  This is about corruption of one of the two large parties in the US while other voters taxpayers are oblivious to what is going on.  Well no more.  That said she is wrong or lying about that this is an existential threat to the Dem party.  Perhaps she is just panicking.  Perhaps she is just trying to get all Dems riled up and on board with backing the unions.  I am not sure which.
2881  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Unions on: February 17, 2011, 04:46:13 PM
As a taxpayer I feel like my rights are being infringed.

No one ever asked me to the government-union-employee  bargaining table to decide where my tax dollars go.

Their unions buy and pay for their Democratic candidates.  Then they turn around and make deals behind the rest of our backs.  Now the states are broke, they are annoyed?

I don't want to hurt these people but the money isn't there.  And no, I am not for raising taxes on the "rich", the middle class, businesses or anyone else.
2882  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Unions on: February 17, 2011, 04:08:04 PM
It used to be one thing seeing unions picket outside private companies.  But to see the state unions picketing outside state capitols and refusing to go to work.

Even FDR knew that it was wrong to let government employees hold taxpayers/voters hostage.

None of these picketers get one ioda of sympathy from me.

Here I NJ we pay the highest property tax in the country - enough. 

Those who disagree are welcome to take shots at me.

I say non government union people should start picketing across the street.
2883  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: February 17, 2011, 01:58:18 PM

As a matter of fact, Ed the dead, and Lawrence OF o'donnell and Chris hard on Matthews have been going wild making every link of Clarence with the Coke-Cola "brothers".
They claim he should have recused himself from a case since he apparently met with them and may have received gratuities.  It (at lest they claim)  the appearance of a conflict of interests.  They are also going hog wild trying to get him on his wife's policital activities.


The Left, of course, has always been outraged by a  Black conservative on the Court.  Now more than ever they are trying to destroy him.  Naturally so their front man, the One, could replace him and tip the balance in the Progressive's favor.

I usually watch for short periods of time.  Naturally after at most 10 minutes I get disgusted and switch to another station.

One could simply say that this is the left version of Beck going after (exposing in my view) links between Soros and every single progressive movement in the World.  Which by the way seems to be true.  Soros' fingerprints are showing up on everything.  What with seventy* (*Wikipedia) - count them - progressive front (whoops, I mean "philanthropic"), and investment vehicles, tax write off, etc. organizations.
2884  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: February 17, 2011, 01:35:55 PM
Crafty posted before some concerns about Haley Barbour and possible past links to racism.

Last night Chris Matthews appeared to be aroused by the accusation that Haley Barbour "refused" to denounce an attempt to have the state in Mississippi sponser a Nathan Bedford Forrest license plate.  Remember this guy was not only a Confederate army officer, but the first Grand Wizzard of the KKK.

Barber did come out and say the law will never pass but would not criticize the Sons of the Confederates who sponsored it.

Personally, I think it very reasonable Blacks would be outraged.  I would be too.  It remains to be seen if Barbour comes out and denounces this but if he doesn't that is it for me.  I would never vote for this guy if he can't/won't acknoweldge how wrong this proposal is.  Perhaps I am missing something taken out of context.  Perhaps I am just a damn Yankee but I am sick and tired of Southerners making the Confederacy about State's rights.  It was about Slavery.  Let's leave it in the past.  Remember it for what it was and what it means now and stop playing sentimental crap with Gone With The Wind.  Its over -thank God.
2885  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Greece, woops I mean Wisconsin on: February 17, 2011, 01:21:09 PM
I think this is a "union" thread post, not "education".

From Michele Malkin:

"The Badger State (like New Jersey before it, California and New York now close behind) is doing what needs to be done to challenge the unions’ grip without having to declare bankruptcy, as some GOP strategists, celebs, and 2012 aspirants including Newt Gingrich and Jeb Bush have recommended."

Is that true?  Newt and Jeb have recommended these states just declare bankuptcy?  Wouldn't bankruptcy be worse for the government empolyees?  Couldn't they in such a scenerio lose more?

Full article below:

*****Michelle Malkin  Lead StoryWatch Wisconsin, Part III: A state government employee speaks; Madison schools, plus 7 other districts shut down a second day; Michael Moore says Wisconsin is the “new Cairo;” Dems boycott legis. debate
By Michelle Malkin  •  February 17, 2011 01:23 AM Scroll down for breaking updates…

Public employee unions who force state workers to join and force them to fork over dues have a lot of chutzpah posing as freedom-fighters, don’t they?

The letter of the day reprinted below comes from one of those dissenting state workers in Wisconsin, where the SEIU Purple Army and assorted Big Labor enforcers are trying to bring the state to its knees over the brave and necessary fiscal discipline that GOP Gov. Scott Walker has introduced.

The AFL-CIO is digging in its heels. The rent-a-mobs are fully activated and marching on Gov. Walker’s home. Mission: Persuasion of power.

As I said yesterday: As Wisconsin goes, so go the rest of the nation’s bankrupt and near-bankrupt states.

One compelling aspect that must be noted as we continue our Watch Wisconsin series (Part I here and Part II here):

The Badger State (like New Jersey before it, California and New York now close behind) is doing what needs to be done to challenge the unions’ grip without having to declare bankruptcy, as some GOP strategists, celebs, and 2012 aspirants including Newt Gingrich and Jeb Bush have recommended. As E.J. McMahon pointed out in the WSJ last month: Politicians already have the power to tame public unions without roiling municipal bond markets. They merely have to use it.

Indeed, they are walking the walk in Wisconsin. No top-down federal intervention from Newt or another Bush or anyone else in Washington.

Start spreading the news. Big Labor’s heaving today…


From reader “Proud 5th Column Member in Wisconsin:”

“I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.” – Thomas Jefferson

“Michelle, there are a significant number of conservative full time state employees in Wisconsin that support Scott Walker, but our voices are not heard and certainly not covered in the press. Many of us are afraid to get too public for fear of personal attacks at work and at home. Besides, it would not be reported or covered by the insanely liberal press in Madison, WI anyway. The only voice we have in Madison is Vicki McKenna on the AM radio, a conservative talk show host of some fame in the Madison area. We are jokingly calling ourselves The 5th Column like the counter insurgents on the “V” TV show. The unions are scared to death they will lose their gravy train, you are forced to join the union upon state employment as a condition of employment, what is more tyrannical than that? So, now, the workers would be able to CHOOSE to join the union or not, and many will leave it. The rest will have to cut an actual check to the union each month, instead of having it garnished from their check, and the union knows people will get tired of that. THAT is what this is really about.

Our benefit package in WI is almost 2nd to none in the US for state workers, this is a minor sacrifice when all is said and done. Under our former Democratic Governor, we had to take a 3% paycut the last two years in the form of mandatory furloughs. Walker intends to stop that, so we could regain that money, couple that with union dues we get back for quitting the union and it’s nearly a wash on the slight increase in pension and health care costs. That proves this is not about those changes, but about a political agenda by the left and the unions being threatened.

God speed Michelle. Long live the 5th Column!!”


And now, illegally striking teachers have succeeded in shutting down schools in Madison and seven other districts for a second consecutive day.

Madison public schools are closed again Thursday because too many teachers are taking the day off to protest Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to limit union bargaining.

Several other school districts in the area have also canceled classes Thursday.

It’s the second consecutive day the Madison Metropolitan School District has canceled classes “due to substantial concerns about staff absences.”

The district said it has received reports Wednesday evening that there will again be significant staff absences in the district on Thursday in protest of the governor’s proposed changes in labor law.

…Superintendent Dan Nerad said teachers who are taking a sick day will be asked to show proof of a medical reason.

Many teachers in the Madison Metropolitan School District spent Wednesday at rallies at the Capitol in opposition to Walker’s collective bargaining proposal.

Other area school districts that have also canceled classes Thursday include the Oregon School District, the DeForest Area School District, Edgerton Schools, Monona Grove Schools, Middleton-Cross Plains Schools, Verona Schools and Waunakee Schools.

2886  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Newt-a start on: February 16, 2011, 11:35:28 AM
"I proposed an aggressive, all-American energy strategy that would dramatically boost all sources of energy production in our country. " grin  Great

"I also proposed replacing the Environmental Protection Agency with a new Environmental Solutions Agency"  huh  I don't like this. 

"All this was possible because we understood that President Clinton would eventually yield to the demands of the American people. That's why after twice vetoing another one of our principal goals, welfare reform, Clinton eventually signed it in 1996, before he ran for reelection. He knew he wouldn't be able to stand the heat from the American people if he didn't"  True except with the government stalemate that toppled Newt.

"His [Obama] signature achievements were passed despite the will of the American people, not because of their support."  Not only that.  They were passed despite Obama not because of him (the ONE)

"We will need a new Contract with America in 2012."  Good idea.  Perhaps it is better to wait to not let the Bamster try to co-op them.  At least with phoney rhetoric.

2887  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: February 16, 2011, 09:18:29 AM
"A tough, determined Republican budget offensive, embracing all these elements and fought in this guerilla style, will frustrate both and lead to his defeat."

With walking the fine line not to appear like they are "shutting down" government and avoiding the cruetly label,
"you are throwing people onto bread lines"
"you are depriving children of an education"
"you are denying health care to the poor"

Notice the libs are just drooling at the chops trying to get the Republicans to say they need to cut Medicare, Medicaid, and SS!

They can't wait, the pols and the MSM to get Boehner saying this.  They clearly have the jornolist onslaught just ready to hit every media outlet with a back lash and every senior, poor person, student teacher, mnority, Latino and every one else waiting to give their sob story  on SoloDADs and ODonnels, and Mr. Ed's shows.
2888  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: February 15, 2011, 11:00:18 AM

Thanks for the detailed answer.

"To destroy this invisible Government, to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day."

TR tried to address problems that did and still do exist.  Seems reasonable attempts at fixing true corruption and an unfair world.

There is no question the rich and wealthy businesses have very unfair advantages.  In 1980 the top 1% had 10 % of the country's wealth.  Now the estimate is 18%.

This is a problem without any answer from the Crats or the Cans.  Free markets make this worse.  Yet redistribution doesn't work either.  The more we have social programs the lazier and more dependent people become.

We are still being robbed by Wall Street.  Big businesses squash smaller ones.  Katherine and I are destroyed by the music/entertainment industry while pigs like Gaga tell us how they write stolen lyrics while smoking dope.  And we have the President of the USA inviting JLo to the WH for the super bowl even though she claims she wrote or co wrote some lyrics that were stolen from us.  So you don't have to convince me about corruption.

I feel the issue is not more regulation per se.  I think it just means enforce the laws that already exist with updates for electronic crimes etc.  Then again all humans including police, lawyers, government officials, elected officials are all corruptable.  It just is this way.  Always has been and always will be.  Nothing will ever stop this.

***I just come down on the side of more freedom vs more and more and more government that will stifle us till we turn into total wards of the state.***

Neither approach is perfect or great. 

2889  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / military-industrial complex?G.Will on: February 14, 2011, 03:55:32 PM
The GOP's defense budget mystery

By George Will | Tall, affable Buck McKeon sits, gavel in hand, at the turbulent intersection of two conflicting Republican tendencies. The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee embodies the party's support for a "strong" defense, which is sometimes measured simply by the size of the Pentagon's budget. But the 35 Republicans on his 62-member committee include 13 first-term legislators, some of whom embody the Tea Party's zeal for cutting government spending.

The United States spends almost as much on military capabilities as the rest of the world spends, and at least six times more than the second-biggest spending nation (China). But McKeon says, "A defense budget in decline portends an America in decline." And: "I've been around a long time, and I've seen us cut defense investments over the years after wars. . . . But I've never before seen us make cuts during a war. Cuts to defense investment in the midst of two wars is unacceptable." Asked, however, about the immediate future of the defense budget, he says, after a long pause: "It's probably going to be smaller."

One war, in Iraq, will, the president promises, end this year with the withdrawal of U.S. forces. The other, in Afghanistan, probably will not become more expensive because the number of troops there probably will not be increased. Furthermore, since fiscal 2001, what is called the military's "baseline budget" has increased 80 percent, to $534 billion. That number is, however, much less than what is actually being spent, and not just because it doesn't include much of the spending on the two wars.

The Obama administration wants to cut $78 billion over five years, in addition to cuts already planned. McKeon and others are resisting, starting with Defense Secretary Robert Gates' decision to halt work on a $14.4 billion Marine program for a new Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, a 39-ton landing craft and tank that can deliver 17 Marines in an amphibious assault.

Although the Marines' last opposed landing was in 1950 in Korea at Inchon, some legislators think ending the EFV program strikes at the Marines' core mission. McKeon wonders: What if the next "denied space" the Marines must enter is along the Strait of Hormuz? The Inchon landing craft, which traveled only 6 mph, had to leave from ships close to shore - too close for today's shores perhaps bristling with anti-ship missiles. The EFV travels 20 knots from 25 miles offshore - and sprints 45 mph on shore.


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The average age of America's amphibious assault vehicles is 38 years, more than that of strategic bombers (34 years) but less than that of tanker aircraft (46 years). Gates favors finding a more affordable ship-to-shore vehicle. Lt. Gen. George Flynn, the Marines' deputy commandant for combat development and integration, says the EFV program "was unaffordable." Was. Past tense.

Such statements are in the subjunctive mood until Congress speaks. But some congressional voices are impatiently insisting that no one can say how much is being spent on defense, or how.

After listening to recent Defense Department testimony, Randy Forbes, a six-term Virginia Republican on McKeon's committee, was exasperated. He said that for four years the department, whose $708 billion budget - his number - is the size of the world's 22nd-largest economy (the Netherlands), has not complied with the law requiring auditable financial statements. And he charged that "none" of the budget is "even in a position to be audited." He said that the department is not "qualified" to talk about efficiencies if it "does not know where our defense dollars are going" and that it cannot comply with the law if it "does not even have mechanisms in place to perform the audits."

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), writing to Adm. Gary Roughead, chief of naval operations, said that "the Pentagon is one of the few agencies in the federal government that cannot produce auditable financial statements in accordance with the law." So "I will continue to push for a budget freeze of all base budget non-military personnel accounts at the Defense Department until it complies with the law regarding auditable financial statements."

To govern is to choose, always on the basis of imperfect information. If, however, the strong language of Forbes and Coburn is apposite, Congress cannot make adequately informed choices about the uniquely important matters that come to McKeon's committee. This fact will fuel the fires of controversy that will rage within the ranks of Republicans as they come to terms with the fact that current defense spending cannot be defended until it is understood.

2890  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: February 14, 2011, 02:39:44 PM
"As a person, I don't think he is a bad person, just misguided."

We disagree on that point.  I think any President who persistantly deceives the American people on his true intentions, is by definition a bad person.
At least Jimmy Carter was honest.  I disagreed with him completely yet I respected him as a person.  Remember there was a time when he was the most respected ex-president (though no more).  I feel we knew where Presidents stood until Bill Clinton turned it into a fashion statement that lying, deceiving, twisting the truth etc is cool.

You think Omama's intentions are good?  A guy who sits and says he is not into distirbuting wealth when anyone can see he is (only for openers)?  When did the country lose the concept that honesty is part of a person's character?  I guess with Clinton.  The left seemed to get more and more excited over his bs.  They were gitty with glee at lines like, "what is is"?

BTW, what is a TR progressive?

I cannot figure out your position. 

2891  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: February 14, 2011, 12:12:10 PM
"Allen West is President Obama's worst nightmare."

Yes, and that is why MSLSD goes after him every way they can dream up.
The libs can't tolerate a conservative black anymore than a conservative woman now can we?

He seems ready and capable to handle the pending onslaught into his life.

2892  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: February 12, 2011, 01:56:13 PM
"I must admit, I am becoming disillusioned with Obama"

Disillusioned with Obama or his policies?

He has done what he set out to do though not as much as he would like.  He has not been able to tax near as much as he could.  He hasn't gotten the energy bill passed, he hasn't gotten citizenship pathway for for the hordes of potential Democrat voters (yet).

But he has pretty much been, by far, the most progressive Presdient we have every had though he tries to hide it and deny it.

So what is disappointing to you about him?

Could it be that you are coming to realize he is selling America down the drain by giving away our sovereignty around the world and spending us into oblivion and trying to answer every single humanity discomfort with more government programs?
2893  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: February 12, 2011, 11:51:18 AM
"And so far, I agree, Obama isn't close to being Reagan."

And "so far"?

Why, he never has been or could he be.

And in that case don't you find it odd he is trying to pretend he is like Reagan?

You don't find it an insult to your intelligence?

JDN you seem like a good guy but you are incredibally naive.
Obama and his managers are trying to manipulate his image.

All the while he is a radical progressive.
He jammed down our throats his agenda and only now that he doens't own Congress he is playing the same con that kept Clinton in the game.
It is a proven winning strategy and you falling for it shows how easy it is to manipulate people.  I posted multiple times my biggest fear was Obama would pretend he is moving to the center and fool the swing voters and his ratings would go up - just like Clinton did.

The jornolist people are helping him get this total nonsensical transformation of his image out there.

2894  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: February 12, 2011, 11:05:50 AM
***"I don't think any disrespect was meant to President Reagan."

True, it was just the opposite.***

IT is meant to appear like he is admiring of Reagan.  Truth be - he absolutely is not!

It is again the scam - pretend you are one of them and then you can change them!

Some years back I posted Jeffrey Sachs politically charged commencement speech at my nephews graduation wherein he reiterated Carter was/is a hero and was ahead of his time.  He pointed out the countries and sovereingty is "medeval" and outdated.  He stated that after Carter came Reagan and he set us on the wrong path to continued sovereingty, oil, big business, world poverty, and the rest.  And now here we are 30 years later and we are seeing global warming, continued war, over population, population shifts, continued world poverty and relative affuence in other parts of the world.  It is all the same theme of the progressives who want one world government, socialism, and windmills.  Obama has historically surrounded himself with these people and has always been of this nature.

He does not admire Reagan.  Progressives like him *despise* Reagan.  JDN - wake up.  This is all a ruse.  Like I said - you can fool some of the people all of the time.

2895  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: February 11, 2011, 04:24:45 PM
I don't know.  Am I too sensitive or what?  Am I the only one who finds Obama's trying to copy or compare himself to Reagan as quite offensive?  He is the exact opposite in Reagan in personality and in beliefs and in policy.  I find his own comparisons to the real "gipper" as quite insulting:

***Obama Refers To Himself As "The Gipper" In Farewell To Gibbs
President Obama recounts an anecdote about the 2004 Democratic National Convention at White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs' final press briefing:

"The most challenging problem was what tie to wear. And this went up to the very last minute. I mean, 10 minutes before we were about to go on stage we were still having an argument about ties. I had bought five, six ties. And Michelle didn't like any of them, Axelrod didn't like a couple of them -- him being one of the best dressed men in the world. So we really valued his opinion.

"And then somebody -- I don't remember who it was -- turned and said, 'You know what? What about Gibbs' tie? What about Gibbs' tie? That might look good.' And, frankly, Robert didn't want to give it up because he thought he looked really good in the tie. But eventually he was willing to take one for the gipper, and so he took off his tie, and I put it on. And that's the tie that I wore at the national***
2896  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: February 11, 2011, 03:23:10 PM
And sits in front of millions of Americans and says things he knows to be lies with a totally straight face,
like he is absolutely *not* for redistributing wealth.
2897  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Towards the ultimate goal of one world government on: February 11, 2011, 11:15:11 AM
More prorgressism towards the ultimate goal of one world government with you guessed it, the ONE in charge:

Susan Rice kicks off U.N. series
“Because of the U.N., the world doesn’t look to America to solve every problem alone. … We’re far better off working to strengthen the U.N. than trying to starve it — and then having to choose between filling the void ourselves, or leaving real threats untended.”“The U.N. provides a real return on our tax dollars by bringing 192 countries together to share the cost of providing stability, vital aid and hope in the world’s most broken places,” Rice said in prepared remarks.
2898  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: February 11, 2011, 10:27:37 AM
"American officials said Mr. Panetta was basing his statement not on secret intelligence but on media broadcasts"

I don't know who the "American officials" are.

I don't know that I believe the above statement.

Take nothing the media tells us as "truth".  Take it all with a "grain of salt".

We don't know and will likely never know the truth here.

Either way Panetta looks bad.  But the above way makes him the fall guy - the other way Obama looks bad too.

2899  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces on: February 09, 2011, 02:14:20 PM
a) FWIW IMHO the problems in which we find ourselves are not due not enough compromise by Republicans-- quite the contrary.

b) Given the results of his support for amnesty for illegal aliens (which I supported at the time) if he were still with us, I suspect were he with us today regarding current efforts I suspect he would be saying something like "Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me."

Asw for 'A', I have come around to agreeing with you.  The problem with comprosing with liberals is in the end there is no compromise.  WE find ourselves every election cycle compromising and little by little they take more and more.  When they are in power they are as Jonas Goldberg stated Huns at the gates taxing and then raping and piliging the treasury spending like drunken fools.

Then when they don't have the cart blanch power (like now) suddenly the Republicans are held to task (by the Dems and their media cohorts) that if they do not "compromise" or act in an honorable "bipartisan" manner carrying on the task of "good" governance they are NO good. 

As for 'B', I would think Reagan would not have been happy about how illegals have abused our system.  He was being quite generous with his pardon of them. To think that his precedent can arguably have led to the situation being many several times worse now would not have changed his mind seems incredulous.

I had a Latino patient who translates for his wife who speaks not word of English.  He laughed when I tried a few Spanish words and said with a big grin that I could never run for any political office.  I need to learn Spanish now!

Yes CNN can pick and show adorable "nice" illegals who do back breaking work.  Yet they come here for whatever they can get.  And they mock us and take advantage of us and make fools of us.  And I don't mean just Latinos.  I mean any illegal.  Israelis included.

I tend to agree with Bob Grant.  It is probably already too late.  At least in places like California.
2900  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Some thoughts on mental illness and guns on: February 09, 2011, 01:56:49 PM
One psychiatrist agreed with me on two things:
1)  It is very difficult to predict someone's future behavior with regards to violence.  Like one forensic psychiatrist told me years ago most of the "criminally" insane could be released without them ever being a danger.  Yet determining who is the one that will go on a rampage and hurt someone and the majority who don't is very hard.
2)  People with personality disorders who lack conscious are in general much more dangerous than those who are schizophrenic or delusional.
The latter are usually unable to have the organzied thinking capacity to plan a murder ahead of time - though not impossible.  The former are quite capable of planning to kill someone and appear totally "normal".

****Giffords Shooting Raises Questions About Guns and Mental IllnessJan 11, 2011 – 7:39 PM
Andrea Stone
 Senior Washington Correspondent
WASHINGTON -- It takes a lot to be considered too crazy to own a gun in Arizona.

As authorities investigate the mass shooting that killed six people and left Rep. Gabrielle Giffords critically wounded, it appears clear that a growing list of troubling warning signs would not have prohibited suspect Jared Loughner from buying the Glock 19 semiautomatic pistol he is accused of using in the attack.

Gun-control advocates say the 22-year-old Loughner was technically within his rights to buy the weapon. And that's why they say stricter background checks and a new strategy for keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill is needed.

Karen Bleier, AFP / Getty Images
Gun-control advocates say the country needs a better way to ensure that mentally disturbed people and drug users cannot buy firearms."He was dangerous enough to get kicked out of algebra class, but that's not enough to get him disqualified from buying a gun," said Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. "Something is wrong with that system."

Despite ample warning signs that Loughner may have been mentally ill -- including behavior unsettling enough to get him kicked out of Pima Community College -- the suspect was eligible to buy and possess a gun.

Under the federal Gun Control Act of 1968, it is illegal for people to possess a firearm if they have "been adjudicated as a mental defective" or "been committed to a mental institution."

Neither applied to Loughner.

The federal law also bars drug users from owning a gun.

Yet a 2007 charge for possession of drug paraphernalia was expunged from court records after Loughner completed a diversion program. When he later tried to enlist in the Army he was turned down, according to Time magazine, for admitting that he used marijuana frequently.

Those facts did not show up in the federal database that cleared Loughner to buy the handgun at a Tucson, Ariz., store on Nov. 30, authorities say.

Andrew Arulanandam, a spokesman for the National Rifle Association, would not answer AOL News' questions about whether existing gun laws provide enough safeguards to prevent mentally ill people from purchasing firearms.

"At this time, anything other than prayers for the victims and their families would be inappropriate," he said in an e-mail.

But gun-control advocates say it is past time to speak out.

"Just enforcing the laws on the books isn't enough," Helmke said. "We need a stronger definition that covers somebody like this guy."

What that definition might be is complicated.

"This is a tough problem. It requires balancing of so many competing interests and imperatives," writes Jill Lawrence of Politics Daily. Among them: "gun and privacy rights versus a system that prevents weapons sales to unstable people."

For now, that latter priority is taking center stage. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who heads Mayors Against Illegal Guns, called today for "commonsense fixes to some of our broken gun laws." Among them: tougher background checks to prevent drug abusers from getting around the system.

Other elected officials from New York, home to some of the nation's toughest gun-control laws, also are proposing measures. Republican Rep. Peter King plans to introduce a bill to make it illegal to bring a gun within 1,000 feet of a government official. Democrat Rep. Carolyn McCarthy wants to restrict the sale of high-capacity ammunition clips like those used in Saturday's deadly shooting.

Yet as the newly revived debate over gun control heats up, advocates say a top priority is to keep weapons out of the hands of the dangerously unbalanced.

"Everyone and his mother knew this kid was severely deranged," said Ladd Everitt of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, citing Loughner's run-ins with police and school officials.

He noted that a Google search would have been more effective than looking in the federal government's database because it would have turned up Loughner's now-removed MySpace post last month in which he wrote, "I don't feel good: I'm ready to kill a police officer!"

Arizona law allows anyone to petition the court for a psychiatric evaluation of a person who is acting strangely and is suspected of being a danger to himself or others. Despite concerns about Loughner, no one went to court.

The state's weak gun laws require only the most perfunctory background check and no permit. Had Loughner tried to buy a gun in New York, for instance, he would have had to undergo a licensing check by law enforcement officials. That might have uncovered online clues to his mental state as well as his problems at the Army recruiting office and school.

Helmke urged Congress to hold hearings to explore how federal background checks can pick up potentially dangerous people who don't fall within the narrow range of prohibited gun owners. He noted that states improved their reporting systems after the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech by a man adjudicated as mentally ill whose record didn't show up in the federal database.

Since 2008, the names of nearly 1.1 million people disqualified from possessing firearms because of mental illness have been added to the federal system. Another 2 million names are still awaiting entry into the database.

At the time of the Virginia Tech shooting, Arizona had not submitted any mental health records to the federal government, according to government records. It has since listed 4,465 Arizonans and estimates there are nearly 122,000 others who still are not in the system.

Sponsored LinksYet even with better record-keeping since Virginia Tech, there have been several cases of accused killers with a history of mental illness who bought their weapons legally.

"Maybe crazy people will do crazy things," Virginia Tech survivor and gun-control activist Colin Goddard writes in a column for AOL News. "But why, I ask my country, my president, my representatives in Congress, why do we make it so damned easy?"

The answers aren't easy, said Michael Stone, a Columbia University forensic psychiatrist unrelated to this writer. Short of "preventive detention" for those who act strangely but don't break any laws, only the "extremely delusional and bizarre" can be stopped from obtaining firearms.

"It's very difficult to prevent a paranoid person from buying a gun who is able to present himself in a rational and coherent manner, as many are able to do," he said.****
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