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3001  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government Programs, spending, budget process on: January 05, 2010, 10:38:42 AM
I have had a few people say they are being told more and more that people who supported Bama are now admitting they were wrong about him.

This is purely anecdotal but I hope the tide has turned.
3002  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: January 05, 2010, 10:36:01 AM
I must admit I have called Rush a blow hard and sometimes he is just that.

But I was worried when he was reportedly in the hospital.
The thought of losing him is the thought of losing this country to liberals.

I don't always agree with him but I feel that we need voices like him to preserve this country or we are lost.
As yet there are no politicians who can do what he does.  There is no one on the horizon who can help us get us back to where we are track to stay the greatest place on the planet.

Liberals are dead set on giving it all away - for votes. for power, for their own enrichment.
3003  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government Programs, spending, budget process on: January 05, 2010, 10:30:40 AM
I can only pray we get someone who is a spokesman for the Americans who are still probably slightly in the majority who have to pay for all this abuse of the "system" and hence them before they become the minority.  This critical tipping point seems nearer and nearer.

There is no question in my mind this is part of the grand design of the people who chose Bama as their One spokesperson.
Make no mistake he believes in this socialistic agenda fervently.
He only pretends to believe in the American just enough to hold onto power.

He is only coming out with a big mouth now on terrorism in words only and only precisely because he IS falling in the polls and he knows he is vulnerable on this.  Don't think for one second this guy is tough on terror.

But I think I preach to the choir here unfortunately. Except for Fox and talk radio this country is screwed.

3004  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / I just don't get it on: January 04, 2010, 12:27:36 PM
One in eight Americans now receives food stamps, including one in four children

Incredible.

But I just don't get it. 

We have illegals coming here by the millions and finding work and yet we have people who ?are Americans (some probably are also illegal) who claim they cannot find any job at all?

Why is this NEVER addressed by the mainstream propaganda media??

Yet we have foreigners going to our schools, getting Medicaid and Medicare - I think I know how they do it - the have relatives who come here and work or own businesses and they put their relatives on a payroll claiming payroll taxes and then later they get them Medicare.

Yet Americans cannot find a job.

And the liberal answers to everything.  Tax and give out more handouts.

3005  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Nuclear War, WMD issues on: January 02, 2010, 11:45:49 AM
NYTimes.comReport an ErrorTimes Topics > People > I > Ivins, Bruce E.Sign in to Recommend
E-MAILBruce E. Ivins
Usamriid/ReutersBruce Ivins, 62, died of an apparent suicide on July 29, 2008, after learning that federal prosecutors were preparing to indict him on murder charges in the 2001 anthrax attacks that left five people dead.

To some of his longtime colleagues and neighbors, the charges against him marked a startling and inexplicable turn of events for a churchgoing, family-oriented germ researcher known for his jolly disposition.

For more than three decades, Dr. Ivans had worked with some of the world’s most dangerous pathogens and viruses, trying to find cures in case they might be used as a weapon.

Dr. Ivins, the son of a pharmacist from Lebanon, Ohio, who held a doctorate in microbiology from University of Cincinnati, spent his entire career at the elite, Army-run laboratory that conducted high-security experiments into lethal substances like anthrax and Ebola.

Read More...

He turned his attention to anthrax — putting aside research on Legionnaire’s disease and cholera — after the 1979 anthrax outbreak in the Soviet city of Sverdlovsk, which killed at least 64 after an accidental release at a military facility.

Dr. Ivins was among the scientists who benefited from the post September 11 surge in federal funding for research on potential biological weapons, as 14 of the 15 academic papers he published since late 2001 were focused on possible anthrax treatments or vaccines. He even worked on the investigation of the anthrax attacks, although this meant that he, like other scientists at the Army’s defensive biological laboratory at Fort Detrick, Md., was scrutinized as a possible suspect.

Dr. Ivins and his wife, Diane Ivins, raised two children in a modest Cape Cod home in a post-World War II neighborhood right outside Fort Detrick, and he could walk to work.

He was active in the community, volunteering with the Red Cross and serving as the musician at his Roman Catholic church. He showed off his music skills at work, too, playing songs he had written about friends who were moving to new jobs.

In the weeks before his death, Dr. Ivins’ behavior became increasingly erratic. At a group counseling session at a psychiatric center he announced that he had bought a bulletproof vest and a gun as he contemplated killing his co-workers at the nearby Army research laboratory.

3006  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / "state actor"? on: January 02, 2010, 11:40:45 AM
"state actor"

Does anyone know what he is talking about by this phrase?

Does this mean someone who works for the State Dept., the government in general, or an actor like J.W. Booth?

Their was a documentary about this case on one of the cable shows I don't remember which one regarding the suspect.
Colleagues and friends argued there was abosuletly no hint he was thinking along these lines.
The evidence was all circumstantial, and suggestive though not completely conclusive beyond a reasonable doubt IMO.

This guy should have had the same laywers falling all over themselves to defend the 911 bombers.
3007  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: January 01, 2010, 05:36:23 PM
Healthcare take-over

A doctor today told me heard that NJ has a new law that doctors must do some free charity care.
I don't know if it is true.

If I didn't have my problems with Katherine I would definitely leave the state if that were true.

Can anyone imagine a government edict to a single group of citizens telling them they either work for free or what?

Go to jail?  Lose your license to work in your profession?

Yet bankers are being given billions and obviously pilliging God knows how much of it. 
And I have to now pay for the cadillac care of union auto workers while I may be forced to work for free.

No one will feel sorry for doctors so I am not kidding myself thinking I would get any sympathy.

My point is let this be a warning for the rest of this country as to what Obama and Pelosi and the liberals have in store for them as well as us physicians.

I guess the only ones safe are lawyers, union members and Federal government employees.

3008  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The NEJM and abortion on: December 31, 2009, 10:46:21 AM
Doug,

A topic close to your heart.
I think you can see in full bloom the liberal bias of a frequent contributer to NEJM.
Notice he cannot just give us the legal perspective but he has to shove at the end his true political bias.
Many of the public health people from the giant liberal "think tanks" of liberal academia are the true architects of this huge health care legislation that began 16 years ago and lied dorment while awaiting the right political moment to re-emerge its cancerous (IMHO) metastesis.  Liberals just cannot help themselves, they seem to have some disease that drives them to tell the rest of us what we ought to do.

Notice, not one comment about poor women should not be getting pregnant to start with just that it is their right to have taxpayers pay for their abortions.

Anyway it is people like this, behind the scenes who crafted the legislation.  I wonder how much this "humanitarian" makes?

***from the publishers of
the New England
Journal of Medicine
Abortion Politics and Health Insurance Reform
Posted by NEJM • December 2nd, 2009 • Printer-friendly
George J. Annas, J.D., M.P.H.

President Barack Obama has made it clear that he does not want abortion politics to sabotage health care reform. In his September 10 speech about health care to a joint session of Congress, he said, “Under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions.” Nonetheless, the centrality of abortion in U.S. politics makes it likely that abortion funding will play a major role in determining whether there is any health care reform law at all. The current abortion controversy concerns the Stupak amendment, whose presence or absence from the final bill may determine the votes of enough members of Congress to determine the outcome. This makes it critical to understand both this amendment and the current state of the law on federal funding for abortion.

The Stupak amendment provides that “No funds authorized or appropriated by this Act . . . may be used to pay for any abortion or to cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion, except in the case where a woman suffers from a physical disorder, physical injury, or physical illness that would, as certified by a physician, place the woman in danger of death unless an abortion is performed, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself, or unless the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest” (italics added).

The House passed this amendment by a vote of 240 to 194, with 64 Democrats voting in favor (the House health care bill itself passed 220 to 215). Many have blamed the Catholic bishops who lobbied fervently for passage of the Stupak amendment. More influential, however, has been the previously secret fundamentalist Christian political leadership group known variously as the Family or the Fellowship, which includes among its members both of the amendment’s main sponsors, Bart Stupak (D-MI) and Joe Pitts (R-PA).1

The Stupak amendment has been defended as merely continuing the practice created by the Hyde amendment. That amendment, named after the late Congressman Henry Hyde (R-IL), which has been attached to every Health and Human Services Appropriations Act passed since 1976 (and has been added to appropriations legislation for the Defense Department, the Indian Health Service, and federal employees’ health insurance plans) prohibits the use of federal funding for “any abortion” or for any “health benefits coverage that includes abortion,” unless the pregnancy is the result of “rape or incest” or “would, as certified by a physician, place the woman in danger of death unless an abortion is performed.” Under the Hyde amendment, states may use their own funds to finance abortion services through their Medicaid programs, and 17 states currently do so.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled on the government funding question twice. The first case, in 1977, involved a Connecticut regulation that limited state Medicaid funding to “medically necessary” abortions, thus excluding those not necessary to preserve a woman’s life or health. The Court ruled that women have a constitutional right to choose to have an abortion, but the state has no obligation to pay for the exercise of this right and may constitutionally encourage women to continue their pregnancies to term by providing funding for childbirth and not abortion. The state may not constitutionally create obstacles to abortion, but it has no obligation to remove obstacles, such as poverty, that are not of its own making.2

Three years after the Connecticut decision, the Court upheld the Hyde amendment, which prohibited federal funding for medically necessary abortions.3 Under this ruling, even low-income women who would have devastating health outcomes if they continued a pregnancy could not have an abortion paid for by Medicaid. In both cases, the Court ruled that the government could make “a value judgment favoring childbirth over abortion and [implement] that judgment by the allocation of public funds.” There is no constitutional requirement for the federal government to fund any abortion. Federal funding is a political question to be addressed by Congress.

The current version of the U.S. Senate bill on health care reform, which Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) created by blending bills from two committees, does not contain the Stupak amendment but specifically excludes federal funding for abortions as prohibited by any federal law (including the Hyde amendment) that was in effect “6 months before the beginning of the plan year involved.” States must also ensure that “no federal funds pay or defray the cost” of abortion services in new health plans that cover abortion. Moreover, states are required to offer at least two plans in the proposed health insurance exchanges (where most people who currently lack coverage will purchase insurance): one that covers abortion services and one that does not. Nonfederal funds for abortion coverage in any plan must be segregated, and payment must be made separately, in an amount estimated by the secretary of health and human services, to cover this benefit.

The primary promoters of the Stupak amendment in the Senate, Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Sam Brownback (R-KS), who is also a member of the Family,1 would not vote for a health care reform bill even if it outlawed federal payments for all abortions because both men object to more government involvement in health care. Since 51 votes would be required for the Senate to adopt the amendment, it seems unlikely that it will be added to the Senate bill.

Three major questions have been raised about the House and Senate approaches: Do they fulfill Obama’s no-federal-funding promise? Do they follow the Hyde amendment “tradition”? And do they represent good health insurance policy?

As for the first question, the Senate version fulfills the President’s promise by requiring abortion funding to come from sources other than federal tax dollars. This aspect of the provision has been denigrated as a “bookkeeping trick,” but all payments involve bookkeeping. Even federal employees who pay for abortions with their government salaries are using funds that came from federal tax dollars. As for the second question, the Stupak amendment goes far beyond the Hyde amendment by prohibiting the use of federal tax dollars not only for abortion itself but also for any health plan available on the proposed exchanges that covers abortion. The goal is to limit access to abortion, even when no federal funds are being used for it.

The third question relates to public health policy. The Hyde amendment institutionalizes the moral view of some members of Congress that even medically necessary abortions should not be considered health care. This view, for example, led Congress to criminalize an abortion procedure without an exception for the health of the pregnant woman.4 These are the types of federal government intrusions into health care that opponents of public insurance plans usually decry.

President Obama is nonetheless on solid political ground in leaving for another day the toxic issue of federal funding for abortions. Should the current Senate bill get to conference committee, the Senate conferees should insist that their abortion-funding–neutral language be adopted in the final bill. The House conferees are unlikely to object. The Stupak amendment cannot be fairly termed a health care bill because it further restricts funding, and voting against it seems to me a reasonable response from senators and representatives who support social justice and equality between the sexes.***
3009  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / limerick on: December 30, 2009, 06:48:40 PM
There once was a Muslim from Nigeria
Who for fun joined Al Queda
He loved to kill Americans for sport
So he got right through the airport
With a bomb in his shorts
The dynamite fizzled
His testicles sizzled
And instead of a fundamentalist hero
He wound up a jailed zero.

There once was a man named Osama
Who had a good friend named Obama
The former sinned
The latter grinned
And the ACLU winned
The former drinks moletovs
The latter drinks beer
And Americans lived in fear
Our hero Biden
Came out of hiden
First to go thru a scanner
Our enemies cheered with laughter
At his latest gaffer
In Uncle Sam has never before
A leader not known the score
We will all wind up dead or poor.

3010  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / DINO on: December 28, 2009, 11:34:21 AM
This is the first time I heard this.  DINO - RINO we have - next is LINO (Libertarian in name only) - AINO - (American in name only) - OREO (we already know this one).

 OPINION: DECLARATIONS DECEMBER 26, 2009 'He Just Does What He Thinks Is Right' By PEGGY NOONAN
 
Cannon to the left of him, cannon to the right of him, cannon in front of him volley and thunder. That's our president's position on the political battlefield now, taking it from all sides. And the odd thing, the unique thing in terms of modern political history, is that no one really defends him, no one holds high his flag. When was the last time you put on the radio or TV and heard someone say "Open line Friday—we're talking about what it is we like best about Barack Obama!" When did you last see a cable talking head say, "The greatness of this man is as obvious as it is unnoticed"?

Is the left out there on the Internet and the airwaves talking about him? Oh, yes. They're calling him a disappointment, a sellout, a DINO—Democratic in name only. He sold out on single-payer health insurance, and then the public option. He'll sell you out on your issue too.

The pundits and columnists, dreadful people that they are, call him cold, weak, aloof, arrogant, entitled.

So let's denounce him again.

Wait—it's Christmas. Let's not. There are people who deeply admire the president, who work with him and believe he's doing right. This week, this column is their forum. They speak not for attribution to avoid the charge of suckupism.

***
We start with a note from an accomplished young man who worked with Mr. Obama on the campaign and in the White House. He reminded me this week of a conversation we'd had shortly before the president's inauguration. "I remember you asked me back in January if I loved my guy. And in light of all that's happened in this first year, I still do. Even more so. And I also have a strong sense—based not just on polls but on a lot of folks I've talked to who don't always pay attention to politics—that he DOES have that base of people who still love him too.

"It's hard to detect, because the part of the 'base' that's represented on cable and on blogs is so vocal (and by vocal I mean shrill), but it's there. I also read it in the letters he gets. Some of them are amazingly poignant and appreciative of what he's done and what he's doing. Some of them are tough—very tough—but still respectful and hopeful that he's doing the right thing. Even if they're unsure right now, they want him to succeed. . ."

He sees them as a kind of quiet majority, or at least quiet-but-large-group-within-the-electorate.

"[T]hey're not going to run out and defend him on the blogs or start screaming back at his detractors, because they know its fruitless and they're sick of all that Washington nonsense anyway." They want him to cut through the mess and "get things done for them. And they're willing to give him that chance. Still."

The president, he suggested, tends toward the long view and the broad view. "Here's what I know about him. He still has this amazing ability to tune out the noise from Washington, read the letters from the people, listen to their concerns, listen to his advisors, hear both sides, absorb all the information, and make the decision that he honestly feels is right for the country."

He does this "without worrying too much about the polls, without worrying too much about being a one-term president. He just does what he thinks is right. And that consumes a lot of his time. Most of it, in fact."

He is aware that Obama is "perceived as alternately too weak and too Chicago, too left and too right, too willing to compromise and too beholden to his majority, too detached and too much meddling in too many things." The administration needs "to do better in resetting the story and telling it the way we want it told." But "the fractured, petty, biased-towards-the-sensational media today makes that more difficult than ever before."

He knows now, he said, "how the Bushes and the Clintons must have felt," and wonders "if that just happens to all White Houses. I don't know. But I do know that we have some very big, very unique problems right now. And we live in a very cynical . . . time where it's difficult to maintain the benefit of the doubt as you're navigating through the storm." They're giving it their best. "Lots of good people are trying. We won't fix it all, but I think we'll succeed (and think that in some cases, we already have!) at fixing a good deal."

***
Another staffer spoke warmly of President Obama's warmth. "He's interested in who you are, and it's not manufactured." He sometimes finds himself briefing the president before events. "I know he's just come out of a meeting on Afghanistan" and maybe the next meeting isn't as important, but he wants to know who they are and where they're from and has a gift for "making them feel important."

"He's a young president, young in terms of youthful." Sometimes people come in to meet him and find "they came for a photo and he gives them a game" of pick-up basketball on the White House court. "Those are the things from a human perspective that make him so accessible. Accessible is the right word. He's emotionally available."

He is appreciative of his staff's efforts. "When you're working hard for your country and you know [he cares] it is huge." How does he show his thanks? "It's a little like a basketball game—'Thanks for that, I know what you did.' It's not a note or a pat or a call, it's a guy-to-guy thank you, 'That's cool, that's good.' You think, 'My coach got that I worked my ass off.'"

"As a person he is just an incredible human being who you can't help but love."

A third Obama staffer spoke of last week's senior staff dinner, at which the president went around the table and told each one individually "what they meant to him, and thanked the spouses for putting up with what they have to put up with." He marks birthdays by marching in with cakes. He'll walk around the White House, pop into offices and tease people for putting their feet on the desk. "Sometimes he puts his feet on the desk." He's concerned about much, but largely unruffled. "He's not taken aback by the challenges he has. He seems more focused than he's ever been. He's like Michael Jordan in that at the big moments everything slows down for him." He's good in the crunch.
I end with a story told to me by an old Reagan hand who, with another former Reagan administration official, was being given a private tour of the White House by Michelle Obama. This was last summer. Mrs. Obama led the two through the halls, and then they stopped by the Lincoln bedroom. They stood in the doorway, and then took a step inside, but went no deeper. Everything looked the same, but something was different. "We don't allow guests to stay in this room anymore," Mrs. Obama explained. She spoke of it as a place of reverence. They keep it apart, it's not for overnights.

Unspoken, but clearly understood by the Reagan hands, was: This is where he signed the Emancipation Proclamation. A true copy of it is here, on the desk. He signed it: "Abraham Lincoln." The Reagan hands were impressed and moved. It is fitting and right that the Lincoln bedroom be held apart. It always should have been. Good, they thought. Good.

Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page A11
Copyright 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. Distribution and use of this material are governed by our Subscriber Agreement and by copyright law. For non-personal use or to order multiple copies, please contact Dow Jones Reprints at 1-800-843-0008 or visit
3011  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: December 24, 2009, 11:25:50 AM
Maybe this is why Schwarzenegger is sucking up to history's greatest human being:

Seeks Obama’s Help for Deficit Relief (Update3) Share Business ExchangeTwitterFacebook| Email | Print | A A A
By Michael B. Marois and William Selway

Dec. 24 (Bloomberg) -- California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, anticipating a $21 billion budget deficit, plans to ask President Barack Obama to ease mandates and minimums on social programs to save as much as $8 billion.

The Republican governor plans to seek the relief, according to a California official who asked not to be identified because details haven’t been resolved. Instead of seeking one-time stimulus money or a bailout, the most-populous state wants the U.S. to reduce mandates and waive rules stipulating expenditures on programs such as indigent health care, the official said.

California is among states most affected by the economic recession. It has the lowest credit rating and recorded the nation’s second-highest rate of home foreclosures, trailing only Nevada. Unemployment peaked at 12.5 percent in October amid the loss of 687,700 jobs from the year before, when the jobless figure was 8 percent. Wealth declined as the stock market lost 40 percent of its value in 2008.

The White House is aware of news reports about a request from California but didn’t have any details or comment, said Dan Pfeiffer, Obama’s communications director.

“The problem is that there are no easy solutions left,” said Jean Ross, executive director of the California Budget Project, a Sacramento-based research group concentrating on issues facing the poor. “Where do you go to cut that doesn’t permanently compromise the level of public services that this state needs to remain economically competitive and to have some semblances of a safety net left for vulnerable populations.”

Taxes and Cuts

Schwarzenegger and lawmakers worked to close a record $60 billion gap from February through July with $32 billion in spending cuts, $12.5 billion of temporary tax increases, $8 billion of federal stimulus money and more than $6 billion of other one-time fixes.

California’s deficits show how local governments are being forced to chose between raising taxes or cutting more funding for schools, health care and other programs, even as the economy is emerging from the recession that began in December 2007. The nascent recovery has yet to produce any job gains, a drag on states that rely on income and retail sales taxes.

Nationally, 35 states and Puerto Rico expect to have $56 billion less next year than they will need to pay for all of their programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In Nevada, Arizona and New Jersey, the difference amounts to more than one-quarter of their budgets, the conference said. Funds from the $787 billion federal economic stimulus bill enacted in February run out at the end of next year.

Last Chance

Schwarzenegger, 62, will detail his request for help when he delivers his annual State of the State address on Jan. 6 and unveils his budget on Jan. 8, his last chance to reshape California’s fiscal policies before he leaves office in January 2011 after seven years.

This time, Schwarzenegger’s arsenal of one-time accounting maneuvers he and lawmakers have previously used to temporarily paper over parts of the gap -- such as accelerating income-tax collections -- has been mostly depleted, making efforts to erase the latest $21 billion deficit more difficult.

The state also has struggled to implement cost-cutting measures that were part of the $85 billion spending plan approved in July. Courts blocked part of the budget that cut funding for home care for the disabled and another part that borrowed $800 million from an account that sets aside money for local transportation agencies.

‘Low-Hanging Fruit’

An accounting error means the state has to spend almost $1 billion more on schools than budgeted. Officials also underestimated the cost of health care for the poor by $900 million, and lawmakers failed to pass legislation to realize $1 billion less in anticipated prison spending.

Combined, the state faces a $6.3 billion gap in the current year and another $14.4 billion in the next.

“We’ve already gone after the low-hanging fruit and the medium-hanging fruit and the higher-hanging fruit, so it’s going to get tougher and tougher now to balance the budget,” Schwarzenegger told reporters in November.

The governor has said he won’t increase taxes again to close the gap. That means more cuts, complicated by mandated expenditures for programs such as Medicaid health-care for low- income residents. With reductions already made to programs for the poor, additional trims jeopardize those federal funds.

Biggest Issuer

“In terms of programmatic reductions, we have to keep an eye on the fact that in some areas -- be it education or health and human services -- if you run afoul of federal maintenance of efforts requirements, you risk the loss of federal dollars,” said Schwarzenegger’s budget spokesman, H.D. Palmer. “As tough as 2009, these factors are going to make 2010 even more challenging.”

The state was the biggest bond issuer this year, selling $36 billion of debt. It may come to market with at least $5 billion more of public-works obligations in the fiscal year that begins July 1, state Treasurer Bill Lockyer said.

California’s general-obligation debt rating from Moody’s Investors Service is Baa1, the company’s eighth-highest investment grade, and A from Standard & Poor’s, the sixth- highest. By comparison, Greece, the poorest member of the 16- nation euro region, is rated two steps higher at A2 by Moody’s and two lower at BBB+ by S&P.

“California, which is more than three times bigger than Greece, is running out of money,” T.J. Marta, chief market strategist at Marta On The Markets LLC, a financial-research firm in Scotch Plains, New Jersey, told Bloomberg Radio today.

Higher Interest Rates

A Standard & Poor’s/Investortools index of California state and local debt has returned 13.1 percent this year through Dec. 23, about 1.5 percentage points less than the national average.

Investors have demanded higher interest rates from California, compared with other borrowers. The state’s 10-year bonds yielded 4.6 percent by the end of last week, 1.51 percentage points more than top-rated municipal borrowers, according to Bloomberg indexes. Three months ago, that difference was as little as 1.06 percentage points. Greek 10- year bonds yield 5.72 percent, Ireland’s 4.78 percent and Spain’s 3.93 percent.

In California, “it’s never a quick budget, it’s always prolonged and when it’s prolonged the headlines get worse and spreads widen,” said Peter Hayes, who oversees $115 billion in municipal bonds for New York-based BlackRock Inc., the world’s largest asset manager.

Opposition to Cuts

Democrats, who control both chambers of the Legislature, are expected to oppose wholesale cuts to health and welfare programs. Such resistance, along with Republican opposition to tax increases, will be exacerbated as election-year politics heightens the partisan divide. Half of the state’s 120 Assembly and Senate seats go before voters in November.

Budgets and tax increases in California must be approved by a two-thirds majority, and Democrats are two votes short in the Senate and six in the Assembly.

“When you are looking at a deficit in the size we have, everything needs to be on the table,” Assembly Speaker Elect John Perez, a Democrat from Los Angeles, told reporters on Dec. 11. “The reality is that the likelihood of passing taxes in this environment is slim, but everything has to be on the table. We have to come up with a resolution to this budget crisis that asks everyone to sacrifice, not just the people that are in the greatest need.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Michael B. Marois in Sacramento at mmarois@bloomberg.net; William Selway in San Francisco at wselway@bloomberg.net

Last Updated: December 24, 2009 11:49 EST
3012  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: December 23, 2009, 05:01:13 PM
"Logic is the dominant modality in only 10% of the population whereas, IIRC, emotion is the dominant modality for LOTS more people"

This would certainly explain the continued undying blind support for Obama from American Blacks.

I cannot understand their continued support for a man who is giving away their country just when at the same time proved they can reach the top if they want to.

Why do they support a party that is more interested in giving away our benefits to those who are recent and illegal arrivals as opposed to those who came here legally or are the descendants of those brought here in chains?

The Rebublican party needs to see this opening.  They need to show Blacks the bigger picture.  Forget exponentially increasing Black reliance on government.  Obama is doing more damage to Blacks by hurting their country, by increasing their reliance on doles than any conservative.

The One gives us the lines about education, about self reliance all the while promoting just the opposite.  That is because it is not about American Blacks.  For Obama it is about leading the world.  It is about socialism, one government, one leader, total world control.  He is the greatest megalomaniac since I don't know when.  Hitler?  Napolean?  Ghengis Khan?  Alexander?

I guess the difference is soft vs military force.  Not just soft tyrrany but "soft" world domination.
3013  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The United Nations/ US Sovereignty on: December 23, 2009, 04:45:45 PM
This is utterly remarkable.
The guy Bama is not our President working in the best interests of us.
He is a Manchurian President though he is well aware of what he is doing selling the US down the river unlike the movie wherein the guy's mind was controlled by outside forces.
3014  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Anti-semitism & Jews on: December 22, 2009, 04:05:25 PM
I lived in Boca for two and a half years.
One estimate was it was 70% Jewish.

I've seen Santa at Toojays in the off season.
How do you think he got that belly. smiley
3015  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / myhrovolds-to save the world?or our economy? on: December 22, 2009, 02:41:16 PM
What a nightmare for the libs!

For those who don't read drudgereport.  Acually Myhrvold was discussing this on Fareed Zakaria this past weekend.  Fareed asked him, so why is pumping sulfur into the atmosphere "good for us"?   Here is the theory.  Libs will trample all over themselves trying to shoot this down but it could (if it worked) completely negate any urgency to do cap and trade or any other unilateral disarming byt the "Bamas" (my new name for the radical libs, left, progressives or whatever name they change it to of the day).

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2511875/nathan_myhrvolds_anti_global_warming.html?cat=15
3016  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: States Rights on: December 22, 2009, 01:35:34 PM
"Reid was buying the votes of senators whose understanding of the duties of representation does not rise above looting the nation for local benefits."

I assume some are looking at the Supreme Court angle at this.  Usurping some State's rights to buy off representatives from other states.

****Obama's dubious ‘wins’ in Copenhagen and Congress

By George Will

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It was serendipitous to have almost simultaneous climaxes in Copenhagen and Congress. The former's accomplishment was indiscernible, the latter's was unsightly.

It would have been unprecedented had the president not described the outcome of the Copenhagen climate change summit as "unprecedented," that being the most overworked word in his hardworking vocabulary of self-celebration. Actually, the mountain beneath the summit — a mountain of manufactured hysteria, predictable cupidity, antic demagoguery and dubious science — labored mightily and gave birth to a mouselet, a 12-paragraph document committing the signatories to . . . make a list.

A list of the goals they have no serious intention of trying to meet. The document even dropped the words "as soon as possible" from its call for a binding agreement on emissions.

The 1992 Rio climate summit begat Kyoto. It, like Copenhagen, which Kyoto begat, was "saved," as Copenhagen was, by a last-minute American intervention (Vice President Al Gore's) that midwifed an agreement that most signatories evaded for 12 years. The Clinton-Gore administration never submitted Kyoto's accomplishment for ratification, the Senate having denounced its terms 95 to 0.

Copenhagen will beget Mexico City next November. Before then, Congress will give "the international community" other reasons to pout. Congress will refuse to burden the economy with cap-and-trade carbon-reduction requirements and will spurn calls for sending billions in "climate reparations" to China and other countries. Representatives of those nations, when they did not have their hands out in Copenhagen grasping for America's wealth, clapped their hands in ovations for Hugo Chavez and other kleptocrats who denounced capitalism while clamoring for its fruits.

The New York Times reported from Copenhagen that Barack Obama "burst into a meeting of the Chinese, Indian and Brazilian leaders, according to senior administration officials. Mr. Obama said he did not want them negotiating in secret." Naughty them. Those three nations will be even less pliable in Mexico City.

At least the president got a health-care bill through the Senate. But what problem does it "solve" (Obama's word)? Not that of the uninsured, 23 million of whom will remain in 2019. Not that of rising health-care spending. This will rise faster over the next decade.

The legislation does solve the Democrats' "problem" of figuring out how to worsen the dependency culture and the entitlement mentality that grows with it. By 2016, families with annual incomes of $96,000 will get subsidized health insurance premiums. Nebraska's Ben Nelson voted for the Senate bill after opposing both the Medicare cuts and taxes on high-value insurance plans — the heart of the bill's financing. Arkansas's Blanche Lincoln, Indiana's Evan Bayh and Virginia's Jim Webb voted against one or the other. Yet they support the bill. They will need mental health care to cure their intellectual whiplash.

Before equating Harry Reid to Henry Clay, understand that buying 60 Senate votes is a process more protracted than difficult. Reid was buying the votes of senators whose understanding of the duties of representation does not rise above looting the nation for local benefits. And Reid had two advantages — the spending, taxing and borrowing powers of the federal leviathan, and an almost gorgeous absence of scruples or principles. Principles are general rules, such as: Nebraska should not be exempt from burdens imposed on the other 49 states.

Principles have not, however, been entirely absent: Nebraska's Republican governor, Dave Heineman, and Republican senator, Mike Johanns, have honorably denounced Nebraska's exemption from expanded Medicaid costs. The exemption was one payment for Nelson's vote to impose the legislation on Nebraskans, 67 percent of whom oppose it.

Considering all the money and debasement of the rule of law required to purchase 60 votes, the bill the Senate passed might be the only bill that can get 60. The House, however, voted for Rep. Bart Stupak's provision preserving the ban on public funding of abortions. Nelson, an untalented negotiator, unnecessarily settled for much less. The House also supports a surtax on affluent Americans and opposes the steep tax on some high-value health insurance plans. So to get the bill to the president's desk, the House, in conference with the Senate, may have to shrug and say: Oh, never mind.

During this long debate, the left has almost always yielded ground. Still, to swallow the Senate bill, the House will have to swallow its pride, if it has any. The conference report reconciling the House and Senate bills will reveal whether the House is reconciled to being second fiddle in a one-fiddle orchestra.****







3017  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / "Lincoln weeps" on: December 22, 2009, 11:11:23 AM
"President Obama acknowledged this in April, when asked by a European reporter if he believes in American exceptionalism. The president's response: "I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism."
 
This is a longer more confusing way to simply say NO, I do not believe in American exceptionalism.

To think our own President would be able to say such a thing.  And get elected to power.  To stay in power.  To have a media that adores him.

It is all so incomprehensible to me.

Lincoln is not the only one weeping.  So do I and many Americans.  Is there enough of us left who care?

Who is the ONE that can save this country from a Manchurian candidate hell bent on destroying it?

The attempt to extend Medicare to those 55 and older, the closing of the "donut" hole is the most cynical disgusting way of trying to bribe back seniors who have been more and more as evidenced by polls dropping support of the ONE.

LIke I learned from my own personal ordeals there just is no one who cannot be bribed.  Even our own countrymen will be most happy to give away our future for a dole.

Not only do my personal travails make me weep, I have to watch the same thing happen to America.

And Obama is NOT honest.  Occasionally he lets slip out his true feelings.  The rest is just a gigantic con.

3018  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: December 22, 2009, 10:08:47 AM
And he was a moderate R, now called RINO.

Perhaps I am a Rino.  I don't know.

Doug,

Do you actually think the Republicans can win by simply "going back to their roots?"

IMO such talk is only singing to the choir.  This alone will not move that party into power.  This alone will not appeal to the middle which cans need.

It seems to me the electorate keeps going back and forth from one party to the other because they don't like either one.

It always seems to boil down to the lesser of two evils come election time.

Just my opinion.  I am certainly no expert on this.
3019  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: December 22, 2009, 09:42:47 AM
 "In politics they always parade the photogenic family for what it brings in for votes"

True.  And in this case we all KNOW why he married Shriver.  It was obviously a designed step towards power from day one.

I wonder if we are finally rid of the Kennedys with the passing of the murderer who got away with it.

I wonder if Ahnold thinks he can be the next chosen one to carry on the Kennedy torch??
Perhaps that is why he is suddenly a gigantic liberal.  It is and always was all about him.  And only about the "people" for as long as that populist facade could garner him votes.

We know he won't go away.  He obviously needs the limelight.





3020  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Turncoatinater on: December 21, 2009, 09:44:36 AM
And now today he is on Drudge giving Obama an *A*.

And telling him to hang in there, he'll get it all done, etc. 

The Kennedys are that hypnotic???

I don't get it.

He must want to stay relevant and want a job.

there is something pathetic when a once charismatic principled man who lead by example is suddenly completely different with his values.  It just goes to show you he is more about himself then his ideas.  If you can't beat them join them I guess.
3021  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: December 21, 2009, 09:39:01 AM
"Voter fraud:  The ACORN takeover of Mn Secretary of State and Minneapolis vote count control provided the 60th vote with uneven counting standards applied to heavily liberal voting precincts."

Doug, not that it matters at this point but do you think Coleman was robbed of the election?
The msm of course is dead silent on this issue.
3022  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / PCPs are done as probably is our way of life. on: December 20, 2009, 03:57:06 PM
Dr. Rich is dead on.
Primary care physicians will die out and be replaced completely by nurses in a decade.
Already we are hearing not "consult your doctor" but consult your "health care provider".
What you will see is specialists using their extra dollars hiring nurse practitioners and physician assistents and taking all the primary care under their wing because they can make dollars off it.  Esp. so when their own reimbursements go down.

Patients will not see doctors for basic care - they will be treated by nurses.

Clayton Christensian pointed this out ten years ago with his disruption theories.  Of course he is from Harvard where all this is stuff is being seeded from anyway.

Primary care will not be strengthened but will be "dumbed down".  They will give prmary doctors a laughable 1-2% raise like that is going to do anything and all the while increase taxes from some other end to get the money and back at an even higher rate.

PCPs and doctors in general are already controlled and are de facto government employees - just with NO benefits.  Only edicts.

That said I am not sure why anyone would want to become a doctor at all and not just a primary care doctor.
Specialists will tell you medicine is not a pleasure anymore.

As for "even with a major Tea Party type of a groundswell".
I fear this will not happen.  I am not sure Obama is going down in polls so much because of his socialist agenda.  I think some of his drop in the polls is due to liberals who are annoyed he is NOT socialist enough.

It was a pleasure to have a woman who was born in Chechnia in the office the other day giving me cookies made there.
She said this is still the greatest country in the world.  I feel many of the Eastern Europeans do feel this way. It seemed when I was growing up this is what I would usually hear.  How could one not feel proud of one's country?  Now we have a President and government in general that has an intense visceral dislike of this country. 

I am not sure about the Asians and certainly I question many of the Latinos who come here and vote for handouts in droves.  OTOH there are many Latinos in the military which make me proud and grateful of them.   Some of the Africans I have as patients are hard working. If I see one more unmarried young mother who states everyone should get health care in this country.....the government should be providing it!!!!

The bottom line I guess is if they can come here and play a system that will give them handouts and benefits paid for by taxpayers they figure why not.
Only Eastern Europeans who were previously under totaltarism (sp?) seem to have the work ethic without the outstretched hand.  The Indians and Chinese have work ethic but also learn to play the system.

Just my anecdotal take.
Of course some would immediately claim I am a bigot and pig for even stating such observations.
How dare I state what I see?
3023  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / PhD computer prof. who I allege robbed us on: December 19, 2009, 02:38:52 PM
I took a few computer courses at University of Central Florida aournd 1999.  After we realized Katherine was getting robbed we niavely looked for a computer expert who could dig up evidence on our hard drives.  I called the school and asked my professor if he does that and he said he was too busy but he would put me in touch with someone else.  After around 2 or 3 more people said the same thing I eventually got a call back from this guy, John Joseph Leeson.  He agreed to "help" us do searches and came to our house to copy our drives.  It was a set up from day one.  The people robbing us were, we later realized, listening to our phone calls and this guy was already approached, bribed, and bought and sold when he came to our house I think it was in around February of 2000 though I could be off on the dates.
He basically tampered with ur drives, some of which were probably switched altogether.  I made the mistake of giving him access to call our computers.  We had one or two desk tops and a few laptops.  He thus had all the codes and access information and them we were from that point on unable to stop them from networking in and swiping songs.  I was typing around thrity songs onto a laptop one time in the kitchen when suddenly they all disappeared off the memory.  Well they would then know if we made any copies by scanning printing or making discs or CDs.  Thus they knew what we had with regards to songs and everything they needed to do to steal any evidence we had.

Any songs we had that we might have had a copy they would thus know about and not let their singers do until they were sure we had nothing on them.  This piece of garbage who purports to be a forensic crime fighter actually did all he could to continure robbing us.  He even got flustered one day and blurted out, "what's my own ITP address doing on your computer".  Later we also found out his latino wife was some sort of a musician and singer.  For people who have not been through this kind of thing it feels like we were robbed, my wife was raped and our lives destroyed.  And this guy goes merrily on his way and gets lauded as some good guy crime fighter.  I wonder how many others he robbed while playing the role of a forensic computer hack.

And just by coincidence I find this article that was published (no coincedence at all) shortly after we made contact with this alleged thief and total dirtball.  I see he appears to have retired in 2007.  I believe he made hundreds of thousands for what he did to us:

Computer Forensics Teams Learn to Follow Digital Footprints
By DENNIS BLANK
Published: March 9, 2000
JOHN LEESON smiles as he straightens out a paper clip and inserts it in the back of a portable Zip disk drive of a personal computer that he has put into standby mode. The disk, which contains an unknown password that allows access to the computer's hard drive, pops out and Dr. Leeson inserts another disk. When prompted by an on-screen message, he chooses ''remove protection'' and enters a new password that will give him access to valuable information on the hard drive that had previously been blocked.

That is just part of a bag of tricks -- some easily available on the Internet -- that Dr. Leeson uses to teach his class of police officers and lawyers ways to retrieve information from computers.

Dr. Leeson, 55, an associate professor at the School of Computer Science at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, is a teacher and practitioner of what is known as computer forensics. In addition to teaching, he also helps the campus police department and the local sheriff's office with computer-related investigations.

''John is one of a couple of pioneers in this area,'' said Mark Politt, unit chief of the computer forensics laboratory at the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Washington. ''The need for computer forensics is growing exponentially, and we need more people trained in the basic fundamentals.

''The use of computers both as tools and storage devices for crimes is growing. Investigators need to build up teams because things have become so complex, one person doesn't have all the knowledge.''

There is a great demand for more law enforcement investigators trained in digital crime-solving techniques, said Carrie Whitcomb, director of the National Center for Forensics at the University of Central Florida, and the university is developing a graduate certificate program. Dr. Leeson's course, which is offered in the summer, is part of the program.

Digital evidence can come from many sources in addition to PC's, Dr. Leeson said. Investigators can also find evidence in Palm devices, fax machines, cell phones and other equipment that keeps or produces data or a record of users' activities.

''How do you catch a criminal?'' Dr. Leeson said. ''You try to follow the digital trail, just like the gumshoe would follow the trail of evidence.''

In a criminal case, if a computer can be seized by law enforcement authorities, then time is on the side of the investigators as they peel off the necessary information: e-mail and Web site records and hard drive data. If a computer cannot be confiscated, tracking a suspect becomes more difficult.

''Digital is like footprints in the sand,'' Dr. Leeson said, ''and it will disappear rather quickly over time because information is being overwritten constantly. If you overwrite in the digital world, it is virtually impossible to recover it.''

Standard detective work may be all that is necessary to recover things like Web site passwords. ''People leave information lying around,'' Dr. Leeson said. Often, a sticky note with a password might be in an obvious place, like on the PC monitor or underneath the keyboard. Pictures of a pet, grandparents or a friend, if they can be identified, may all be clues to a password.

A typical investigation might involve tracing the electronic path of someone suspected of downloading child pornography. If certain images are hidden or encrypted, Dr. Leeson said, ''it adds another layer to the hunt.'' If a suspect has used a ''very good encryption program, it goes from difficult to virtually impossible to unscramble,'' he said.

One of the hypothetical cases he discusses with his students is that of someone who receives a pipe bomb in the mail. In this case, an estranged wife is suspected. After the authorities get a search warrant, the hard disk on her computer reveals that she has been surfing the Internet and visiting sites that explain how to make the kind of bomb used in the crime. That kind of evidence, though circumstantial, can help link a person to a crime.

There are other, tougher cases, Dr. Leeson said, particularly those involving hackers who have used others' computer systems to do their damage. In those cases, he said, the investigator has to backtrack to determine how the hacker got into other people's computers.

Often that entry is through the Internet. ''The World Wide Web was not designed with security in mind but was designed to share research,'' Dr. Leeson said.

But the Web also has features that can aid a forensic computer scientist. Once a user is online, search engines are logging ''the fact that you are there and where you are coming from, and those log records can be used to track their way back,'' Dr. Leeson said. Cookies, tiny data files automatically placed by some sites on a computer's hard drive with a unique tracking number, are another way that a user's Web surfing habits are tracked.

''It is possible to falsify your tracks, and that makes the job of finding you much more difficult,'' he said.

Dr. Leeson acknowledges that some of what he taught in his first introductory graduate course on computer forensics may be old hat when he teaches the popular class again this summer. For one thing, Windows 2000 may pose some new security issues, while new state laws may have been enacted that will have an impact on the course.

''Any crime that you can conceive of,'' Dr. Leeson said, ''a computer can be an instrument of that crime.''

Photo: John Leeson of the University of Central Florida in Orlando teaches lawyers and the police to be digital detectives. (Linda Blank for The New York Times)

A version of this biography appeared in print on March 9, 2000, on page G8 of the New York edition.
 
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3024  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / correction on: December 19, 2009, 11:06:34 AM
"And what is worse it is not even for Americans"

I meant to say it is not even *only* for Americans.  Plenty of Americans certainly have their hands outstrected.

The *roles of people on the doles* is expanding exponentially thanks to the ONE and his merry widely spending clowns in the Congress and Senate. 

Cicero's words, as posted by Crafty circa 50 BC certainly ring true today here in the US.  Rome last over another 400 years.   But will we?

I don't know.  Trememdous damage has been done by the liberals.  It may not be too late.  Our multiple enemies overseas are laughing their brains out at what fools we are.
3025  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: December 19, 2009, 10:04:56 AM
It was inevitable with 60 crats.  My Federal tax dollars are going to fund medicaid programs in states like Louisianna, Nebraska and who knows where else.

Why try to pay one's own bills or be a success when it is easier just to get on line and have others pay for all your bills, health care, employment, retirement, diasabilities, food stamps and eveything else?

And what is worse it is not even for Americans.  It is for illegals and for all those who were born here from illegals.  This has to be at least 20 if not more like 30 million people.
I have pts who cannot speak one word of English who could not have been in the US for even a few years and they walk into my office with Medicare cards.  Why?  Because there must be some loop hole that extends to them from their relatives who are citizens.

And we wonder why we are going broke?  It ain't the bankers you Democrat f**ks!

***Sen. Ben Nelson to announce support for health-care bill

By Shailagh Murray and Lori Montgomery
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, December 19, 2009; 10:55 AM

Sen. Ben Nelson (Neb.), the final Democratic holdout on health care, announced to his caucus Saturday morning that he would support the Senate reform bill, clearing the way for final passage by Christmas.

"We're there," said Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), as he headed into a special meeting to outline the deal.

Democratic leaders spent days trying to hammer out a deal with Nelson, and worked late Friday night with him on abortion coverage language that had proved the major stumbling block. Nelson also secured other favors for his home state.

Under the new abortion provisions, states can opt out of allowing plans to cover abortion in insurance exchanges the bill would set up to serve individuals who don't have employer coverage. Plus, enrollees in plans that do cover abortion procedures would pay for the coverage with separate checks - one for abortion, one for rest of health-care services.

Nelson secured full federal funding for his state to expand Medicaid coverage to all individuals below 133 percent of the federal poverty level. Other states must pay a small portion of the additional cost. He won concessions for qualifying nonprofit insurers and for Medigap providers from a new insurance tax. He also was able to roll back cuts to health savings accounts.

"I know this is hard for some of my colleagues to accept and I appreciate their right to disagree," Nelson told reporters at the Capitol, of the many changes made at his behest. "But I would not have voted for this bill without these provisions."

With Nelson on board, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid unveiled the final version of a sweeping overhaul of the nation's health insurance system that would expand coverage to an additional 31 million Americans, coming closer to attaining the Democrats' long sought goal of universal medical coverage.

The package closely tracks the $848 billion measure Reid (D-Nev.) drafted this month, before he entered into negotiations aimed at winning the 60 votes he needs to avert a GOP filibuster, aides said. Since then, Reid has made numerous concessions to moderate Democrats, scrapping an effort to create a government-run insurance plan and beefing up prohibitions on spending federal funds for abortion coverage, a change demanded by the final holdout, Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska.

Instead of a public option, the final product would allow private firms for the first time to offer national insurance policies to all Americans, outside the jurisdiction of state regulations. Those plans would be negotiated through the Office of Personnel Management, the same agency that handles health coverage for federal workers and members of Congress.

Starting immediately, insurers would be prohibited from denying children coverage for pre-existing conditions. A complete ban on the practice would take effect in 2014, when the legislation seeks to create a network of state-based insurance exchanges, or marketplaces, where people who lack access to affordable coverage through an insurer can purchase policies.

Insurers competing in the exchanges would be required to justify rate increases, and those who jacked up prices unduly could be barred from the exchange. Reid's package also would give patients the right to appeal to an independent board if an insurer denies a medical claim. And all insurance companies would be required to spend at least 80 cents of every dollary they collect in premiums on delivering care to their customers.

Every American would be required to obtain coverage under the proposal, and employers would be required to pay a fine if they failed to offer affordable coverage and their workers sought federal subsidies to purchase insurance in the exchanges. Reid's package would offer additional assistance to the smallest businesses, however, increasing tax credits to purchase coverage by $12 billion over previous versions.

The overall cost of the package was not immediately available, but aides said it would be more than covered by cutting future Medicare spending and raising taxes in the health sector, including a 40 percent excise on the most expensive insurance policies. The package would reduce budget deficits by $130 billion by 2019, aides said, and by as much as $650 billion in the decade thereafter.

Reid officially filed the package early Saturday with plans to hold a first critical vote after midnight Sunday. Barring unexpected delays, Democrats were still hoping to push the package to final passage by Christmas Eve.****

3026  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Krauthammer on: December 18, 2009, 11:34:54 AM
"The idea of essentially taxing hardworking citizens of the democracies to fill the treasuries of Third World kleptocracies"

Perhaps a new thread should be started on the "assualt on the working American taxpayer" or "the new slavery" wherein hardworking American taxpayers are now expected to pay for all those who claim hard times here in our own country and all around the world as well.   Whether or not a tea party could really gain momentum or should merge with Republican party I don't know.  It is not simply as Hannity says we need to go back to our roots.  Republicans are just as corrupt as the Dems.  Their earmarks, their pork, their lobby money.  IN any case,

****The new socialism

By Charles Krauthammer

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In the 1970s and early '80s, having seized control of the U.N. apparatus (by power of numbers), Third World countries decided to cash in. OPEC was pulling off the greatest wealth transfer from rich to poor in history. Why not them? So in grand U.N. declarations and conferences, they began calling for a "New International Economic Order." The NIEO's essential demand was simple: to transfer fantastic chunks of wealth from the industrialized West to the Third World.

On what grounds? In the name of equality — wealth redistribution via global socialism — with a dose of post-colonial reparations thrown in.

The idea of essentially taxing hardworking citizens of the democracies to fill the treasuries of Third World kleptocracies went nowhere, thanks mainly to Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher (and the debt crisis of the early '80s). They put a stake through the enterprise.

But such dreams never die. The raid on the Western treasuries is on again, but today with a new rationale to fit current ideological fashion. With socialism dead, the gigantic heist is now proposed as a sacred service of the newest religion: environmentalism.

One of the major goals of the Copenhagen climate summit is another NIEO shakedown: the transfer of hundreds of billions from the industrial West to the Third World to save the planet by, for example, planting green industries in the tristes tropiques.

Politically it's an idea of genius, engaging at once every left-wing erogenous zone: rich man's guilt, post-colonial guilt, environmental guilt. But the idea of shaking down the industrial democracies in the name of the environment thrives not just in the refined internationalist precincts of Copenhagen. It thrives on the national scale, too.

On the day Copenhagen opened, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency claimed jurisdiction over the regulation of carbon emissions by declaring them an "endangerment" to human health.

Since we operate an overwhelmingly carbon-based economy, the EPA will be regulating practically everything. No institution that emits more than 250 tons of CO2 a year will fall outside EPA control. This means more than a million building complexes, hospitals, plants, schools, businesses and similar enterprises. (The EPA proposes regulating emissions only above 25,000 tons, but it has no such authority.) Not since the creation of the Internal Revenue Service has a federal agency been given more intrusive power over every aspect of economic life.

This naked assertion of vast executive power in the name of the environment is the perfect fulfillment of the prediction of Czech President (and economist) Vaclav Klaus that environmentalism is becoming the new socialism, i.e., the totemic ideal in the name of which government seizes the commanding heights of the economy and society.

Socialism having failed so spectacularly, the left was adrift until it struck upon a brilliant gambit: metamorphosis from red to green. The cultural elites went straight from the memorial service for socialism to the altar of the environment. The objective is the same: highly centralized power given to the best and the brightest, the new class of experts, managers and technocrats. This time, however, the alleged justification is not abolishing oppression and inequality but saving the planet.

Not everyone is pleased with the coming New Carbon-Free International Order. When the Obama administration signaled (in a gesture to Copenhagen) a U.S. commitment to major cuts in carbon emissions, Democratic Sen. Jim Webb wrote the president protesting that he lacks the authority to do so unilaterally. That requires congressional concurrence by legislation or treaty.

With the Senate blocking President Obama's cap-and-trade carbon legislation, the EPA coup d'etat served as the administration's loud response to Webb: The hell we can't. With this EPA "endangerment" finding, we can do as we wish with carbon. Either the Senate passes cap-and-trade, or the EPA will impose even more draconian measures: all cap, no trade.

Forget for a moment the economic effects of severe carbon chastity. There's the matter of constitutional decency. If you want to revolutionize society — as will drastic carbon regulation and taxation in an energy economy that is 85 percent carbon-based — you do it through Congress reflecting popular will. Not by administrative fiat of EPA bureaucrats.

Congress should not just resist this executive overreaching, but trump it: Amend clean-air laws and restore their original intent by excluding CO2 from EPA control and reserving that power for Congress and future legislation.

Do it now. Do it soon. Because Big Brother isn't lurking in CIA cloak. He's knocking on your door, smiling under an EPA cap.*****

3027  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: December 17, 2009, 07:44:44 PM
Noonan seems to be thinking the same as me about BO's apparent attempt at sounding more mainstream.
I suppose many voters could fall for it.  I don't know, but I hope not.


OPINION: DECLARATIONS DECEMBER 12, 2009 Obama Moves Toward Center Stage By PEGGY NOONAN
 
The political headline this week is that President Obama appears to be attempting to move toward the center, or what he believes is the center. We saw the big pivot in two major speeches, one on the economy and the other, in Oslo, on peace.

If it is real—if the pivot signals a true, partial or coming shift, if it is not limited to rhetorical flurries—it is welcome news in terms of public policy. It also tells us some things. It tells us White House internal polling is probably worse than the public polls telling us the president has been losing support among independents. It tells us the mounting criticism from Republicans, conservatives and others has had a real effect. It tells us White House officials have concluded they were out on a cliff. It tells us they are calculating that after a first year of governing from the left, and winning whatever they win on health care, they believe they can persuasively shift to the center, that it will work.

Which is the great political question: Will it work? With congressional elections a year away, will it help make Democrats safe and keep Congress?

The disadvantage of a pivot is that it will further agitate the president's base, which feels he's already been too moderate. (This actually carries some benefits: When the left rails at Mr. Obama, he looks more moderate.) The upside is clear. In a time of extended crisis, voters are inclined to reject the radical. And a shift will represent a challenge to the president's competitors. It is one thing to meet a president's policies with effective wholesale denunciations when they are wholesale liberal. It's harder when those policies are more of a mix; it's harder to rally and rouse, harder to make criticism stick. Bill Clinton knew this. Maybe the White House is learning it, and the same way he learned it: after a bruising.

The economic speech took place Tuesday at the Brookings Institute, the generally left-leaning think tank in Washington. The president put unusual emphasis on—and showed unusual sympathy for—Americans in business, specifically small businesses. "Over the past 15 years, small businesses have created roughly 65% of all new jobs in America," he said. "These are companies formed around kitchen tables in family meetings, formed when an entrepreneur takes a chance on a dream, formed when a worker decides it's time she became her own boss." This is how Republicans, moderates and centrists think, and talk.

The president claimed success in reducing taxes—"This fall, I signed into law more than $30 billion in tax cuts for struggling businesses"—and announced a new cut: "We're proposing a complete elimination of capital gains taxes on small business investment along with an extension of write-offs to encourage small businesses to expand in the coming year." He called it "worthwhile" to create a new "tax incentive to encourage small businesses to add and keep employees."

All this was striking, and seemed an implicit concession that tax levels affect economic activity. It was as if he were waving his arms and saying, "Hey taxpayer, I'm not your enemy!" The only reason a president would find it necessary to deliver such a message is if he just found out taxpayers do think he's the enemy. The emphasis on what it takes to start and build a business, seemed if nothing else, a bowing to reality. And if you're going to bow to something, it might as well be reality.

Thursday, at his Nobel laureate speech in Oslo, the president used an audience of European leftists to place himself smack-dab in the American center. He said, essentially: War is bad but sometimes justified, America is good, and I am an American. He spoke of Afghanistan as "a conflict that America did not seek; one in which we are joined by 43 other countries—including Norway—in an effort to defend ourselves and all nations from further attacks." Adroit, that "including Norway." He said he had "an acute sense of the cost of armed conflict" and suggested America's efforts in Afghanistan fit the criterion of the concept of a "just war." It continues to be of great value that a modern, left-leaning American president speaks in this way to the world. "The world" didn't seem to enjoy it, and burst into applause a resounding once.

He quoted Martin Luther King, when he received the Peace Prize: "Violence never brings permanent peace. It solves no social problem: It merely creates new and more complicated ones." But Mr. Obama added that "as a head of state sworn to protect and defend my nation," he could not be guided only by Dr. King's example. "I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people." Evil exists: "A nonviolent movement could not have halted Hitler's armies. Negotiations cannot convince al Qaeda's leaders to lay down their arms."

He acknowledged Europe's "ambivalence" about military action, and "a reflexive suspicion of America, the world's sole military superpower." But the world should remember what America did during and after World War II. "It is hard to conceive of a cause more just than the defeat of the Third Reich and the Axis powers," he said—and he pointedly noted America's creation of the Marshall Plan and contribution to the United Nations, "a legacy for which my own country is rightfully proud. . . . Whatever mistakes we have made, the plain fact is this: The United States of America has helped underwrite global security for more than six decades with the blood of our citizens and the strength of our arms."

All of this, as William Safire used to say, was good stuff. There were wiggy moments—his references to John Paul II in Poland and Richard Nixon in China were historically unknowing to the point of being utterly inapt—but they did no particular harm.

***
There continues to be a particular challenge for the president, and it is an affection gap. It is not hard to respect this president, not hard to want to listen to his views and weigh his arguments. It is a challenge, however, to feel warmly toward him. This matters politically because Americans like to feel affection for their presidents, and are more likely to forgive them for policy differences when they do. There's the stony, cool temperament, and also something new. The White House lately seems very fancy. When you think of them now, it's all tuxedoes, gowns and Hollywood. There's a certain metallic glamour. But metal is cold.

White House image masters will think the answer is to show pictures of the president smiling at children and walking newly plowed fields. Actually this is part of the mystery of politics—what to do with the clay of your candidate, how to make your guy likable.

I remember when everyone was turning against Bill Clinton after the financial scandals and the smallness of his first term. I thought for a while that Bob Dole would beat him. What I didn't take into account was a small thing that wasn't small. When people slammed Clinton in interviews they were often smiling as they spoke. "The rogue." "Ol' Bubba." Those smiles said something. They liked him. When they like you they forgive you a lot. Mr. Obama needs to make them smile. He doesn't. He leaves them cool as he is.

Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page A19
Copyright 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved
3028  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Governator on: December 16, 2009, 11:54:44 AM
I remember an old college friend telling me in the 70's that Schwartenegger was his idol.  There is no question he was/is a great self promoter and very smart.  He was a great bodybuilder.  He did whatever it took.  He swindled Lou F. and obviously took steroids like the rest of them.  But he also worked hard and built the best body of his day.

He started in laughable movies and overcame that accent to become the biggest Movie draw of his day for a time.  That is remarkable when one thinks that he is not a very good actor.  He did it almost by sheer charisma.  I remember I used to look forward to him a guest on the "tonight " show.  I would wait till the end of the show when Johnny would have him come out and look forward to hearing him talk.  I was never a body builder but I like working out with weights so I had an interest.

I remember how he single handedly took the activity of body building from a looked down upon side show and made it more mainstream and appealable and accepted as  "sport."  Joe Weider could never do that.

Even Johnny Carson told him once on one of his many visits "you are very smart".
This after an idiotic Susan Pleshette questioned the Arnold, "can you tell me any exercises I can do while I am driving".
To which Arnold replied, "why do you want to exerciing while you are driving. When you are driving you should be concentrating on driving" to a laughing and nodding crowd and Johnny C.

I remember another person I met in the 80's who was trying to hit it big in show business tell me that Arnold's reputation in Hollywood was having been one of being considered the greatest self promoter anyone had ever seen.  That's saying a ton when one thinks of the BS artists, cons, and self marketeers in that town.

In my mind there is no question his gigantic narcissm coupled with a sharp, witty, and incredibly focused mind, workaholism, and iron will is together  a genius that got him to where he is.

That all said I don't know what to make of him now.  He looks like a failed governor in a liberal state full of Democrats on the dole, and who is desparately trying to stay relevant.

He states he is for the people and wants to do what is right but he has become increasingly more populist, and falling into the liberal line.  His latest push into the typical climatology-Hollywood-mantra looks phoney and cheap to me.

Perhaps it is the Kennedy influence on him.  I don't know.

I only know I just don't find him likable anymore.

Any thoughts from those in Kollyphornia?
3029  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: December 15, 2009, 12:19:29 PM
I am not quite clear what Newt thought was so wonderful about this speech.  Except that some of the thoughts are less delusionary than usual for the ONE.  Any idealistic college history major could easily have written this.

It does in fact, IMO, signal that the ONE is painfully aware of his falling poll numbers and is thus shifting his projection of America as a dirty no good nation out for itself to one that is the leader of peace in the world.

Fortunately for Republicans this guy is far more of an idealogue than Clinton and appears not willing to completely change his tune to whatever the polls tell him to do and thus stay popular despite being one of the world's biggest con artists.  Clinton was able to with completely straight face say one day the complete opposite of what he said one day earlier and the media seemed to think that was so adorable.  Obama is just as capable as Clinton at saying total fabrications and falsehoods with a straight face but he appears not willing to cave to polls as Clinton did.  Unfortunately, Clinton proved that following the messages in the polls will keep a President popular even if not necessarily good for the nation.

-Text of Obama's speech after winning Nobel Prize
 
Assotiated Press, Friday October 9, 2009, Washington 
Text of President Barack Obama's remarks at the White House Friday on winning the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, as provided by the White House:

"Good morning.

Well, this is not how I expected to wake up this morning. After I received the news, Malia walked in and said, "Daddy, you won the Nobel Peace Prize, and it is Bo's birthday!" And then Sasha added, "Plus, we have a three-day weekend coming up." So it's good to have kids to keep things in perspective.

I am both surprised and deeply humbled by the decision of the Nobel Committee. Let me be clear: I do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments, but rather as an affirmation of American leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people in all nations.

To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who've been honored by this prize -- men and women who've inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace.

But I also know that this prize reflects the kind of world that those men and women, and all Americans, want to build -- a world that gives life to the promise of our founding documents. And I know that throughout history, the Nobel Peace Prize has not just been used to honor specific achievement; it's also been used as a means to give momentum to a set of causes. And that is why I will accept this award as a call to action -- a call for all nations to confront the common challenges of the 21st century.

These challenges can't be met by any one leader or any one nation. And that's why my administration has worked to establish a new era of engagement in which all nations must take responsibility for the world we seek. We cannot tolerate a world in which nuclear weapons spread to more nations and in which the terror of a nuclear holocaust endangers more people. And that's why we've begun to take concrete steps to pursue a world without nuclear weapons, because all nations have the right to pursue peaceful nuclear power, but all nations have the responsibility to demonstrate their peaceful intentions.

We cannot accept the growing threat posed by climate change, which could forever damage the world that we pass on to our children -- sowing conflict and famine; destroying coastlines and emptying cities. And that's why all nations must now accept their share of responsibility for transforming the way that we use energy.

We can't allow the differences between peoples to define the way that we see one another, and that's why we must pursue a new beginning among people of different faiths and races and religions; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect.

And we must all do our part to resolve those conflicts that have caused so much pain and hardship over so many years, and that effort must include an unwavering commitment that finally realizes that the rights of all Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace and security in nations of their own.

We can't accept a world in which more people are denied opportunity and dignity that all people yearn for -- the ability to get an education and make a decent living; the security that you won't have to live in fear of disease or violence without hope for the future.

And even as we strive to seek a world in which conflicts are resolved peacefully and prosperity is widely shared, we have to confront the world as we know it today. I am the commander in chief of a country that's responsible for ending a war and working in another theater to confront a ruthless adversary that directly threatens the American people and our allies.

I'm also aware that we are dealing with the impact of a global economic crisis that has left millions of Americans looking for work. These are concerns that I confront every day on behalf of the American people.
Some of the work confronting us will not be completed during my presidency. Some, like the elimination of nuclear weapons, may not be completed in my lifetime. But I know these challenges can be met so long as it's recognized that they will not be met by one person or one nation alone. This award is not simply about the efforts of my administration -- it's about the courageous efforts of people around the world.

And that's why this award must be shared with everyone who strives for justice and dignity -- for the young woman who marches silently in the streets on behalf of her right to be heard even in the face of beatings and bullets; for the leader imprisoned in her own home because she refuses to abandon her commitment to democracy; for the soldier who sacrificed through tour after tour of duty on behalf of someone half a world away; and for all those men and women across the world who sacrifice their safety and their freedom and sometimes their lives for the cause of peace.

That has always been the cause of America. That's why the world has always looked to America. And that's why I believe America will continue to lead.

Thank you very much."     
 
3030  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: December 14, 2009, 02:02:48 PM
"Mr. Orszag proposed another option, citing academic research observing that as much as 30% of health spending is "waste" that doesn't affect outcomes. He argued the country could save $700 billion a year without harming quality—more than enough to pay for universal coverage"

LOL if this wasn't such a ridiculous statement.
Just the definition of this word alone:  "outcomes" could stimulate debates that could roar on forever.
Who decides what is the proper "outcome"?

Does he mean death or hospitalization?

Where is the *academic research* on the waste in government?

3031  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 55 BC-wow-sounds the same as now!eom on: December 08, 2009, 06:12:19 PM
eom
3032  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Marek Edelman on: December 08, 2009, 12:20:33 PM
""Man is evil; by nature, man is a beast," he said, and therefore people "have to be educated from childhood, from kindergarten, that there should be no hatred."
He also felt obliged to appeal repeatedly to the world for freedom and peace -- even when it had to be won in a fight.
"When you cannot defend freedom through peaceful means, you have to use arms to fight Nazism, dictatorship, chauvinism," Edelman said last year.

Obama would be wise to shut up, stop lecturing us, and listen to this man who lived a thousand more lives than Obama will ever live.

As someone who has seen evil on a lessor less violent scale on a daily basis from everyone and their brother I can vouche that evil is in all of us and is due to our very nature.

If Obama and the rest of the crazy liberals have their way we will be sorry.

 
3033  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The vast left wing conspiracy: BO's friends, appts, and running dogs on: December 08, 2009, 12:11:28 PM
There is probably a connection between this Jewish man and those who work for Obama and the push for stoppage of settlements in Israel and the appeasement of Palestinians as some sort of solution the the Middle East.

There appears to be a whole spectrum of philosophers but this guy is obviously a socialist (didn't history already prove that system of government doesn't work?)  and probably a person who agrees with Obama's strategy for Israel.

My mother once said there was an ancient saying, something to the effect that if you put 100 Jews in a room you will get 100 different opinions.

Behold what appears to me a confusing mess of theorist groups:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labour_Zionism
3034  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The United Nations/ US Sovereignty on: December 08, 2009, 11:20:10 AM
To all liberals:

I apologize to no one for any success I have.  The US need not aplogize for it's success.

Stop apologizing to the world for me or my  country.  You want to redistribute wealth then give away your own and stop telling everyone else what to do.

Thank you, I get of my soap box now. eom

3035  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Military Science on: December 07, 2009, 05:07:25 PM
Hi Rachel,
thanks for the response.
I guess one could argue that war is NOT an inevitable outcome of mankind's flaws.
Fareed Zakharia admits that Obama is taking a "risk" with his policies.  I don't see how Israel, or we, can do the same with regards to Iran.  Obama seems to bet the farm in several ways.  What if he is wrong (as I believe) on all counts?  Or even one?

I don't know about Afgan-pakistan.  That situation seems less clear cut to me with regard to what we should do.

"I certainly voted for Obama though he is currently off the New Year's Card list"

Just curious.  Is this because of his domestic or / and foreign policy?

You certainly sound open minded and I gotta like the evidence that shows you study BOTH sides of the political spectrum.

3036  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: December 07, 2009, 01:08:05 PM
Hi Doug,

"I don't know enough to argue statistically, but know kids who grew up without a mom because of breast cancer in her 40s, and just lost a friend to colon cancer prior to his first recommended screening also.  I don't know the answer but I do know that the latest word from the best professionals in the world on matters like these changes over time."

Breast cancer before age 50 is not rare.  ie the parade of woman telling us their stories on the news.

I agree with you -

That said, no one thinks they should all get cancer and die just to save a few bucks.

Yet -
if doing mammograms were saving lives before age 50 then why is it so hard to show the benefits?

It seems against common sense to think that it doesn't catch some cancers earlier than otherwise would be found and hence earlier treatment and hopefully earlier treatment means less deaths.  I even ask myself how could it not save lives?

Yet the studies fly in the face of expectations.  And we see little comment on the cancers all the extra radiation may be causing.

We do this a lot in our society.  We aggravate and make the majority pay for the few or even rare problems that occur.  Get a couple of outbreaks of salmonella and we get the calls the FDA is not doing their jobs, we are all at risk of dying.  And yet there are millions of eateries all over the US who have no problem.
We all cater to those with disabilities.
We sue and torture pharm companies for the rare side effects of drugs.

Where does it end?

We expect perfection from our police officers.   

We are expecting perfection in every corner of our society.  The cost is obvious.  We are all forced to pay for every little ditsel of imperfection.  And we go broke.

Thanks to the liberals who see financial opportunity with every "cause" they can uncover from under every rock.
3037  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: December 07, 2009, 10:54:53 AM
I am not sure I get the just.  Why should insurers pay for a test that is unproven to have value?

A mammogram is only a couple hundred dollars - if women want it why can't they pay for it?

Or pay for the cadillac insurance that would cover it?

There are woman who are at higher risk who might benefit from it but not woman of avergae risk.

GM you are using this for political purposes.

I don't agree.

It was pure politics that led to mammograms before 50 to be approved by some groups years ago. 

It continues to be a political football.

Who are the powers to be who decided it is ok to have mammograms every 1 to 2 yrs is a great idea?

Why not MRIs every one to two years?  They are better tests than mammos and don't cause cancer like the radiation spewing mammograms?  So they are too costly yet mammograms are acceptable cost?

Who decided this?

My pointy is someone has to make these decisions or we all go broke.
3038  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Forget privacy on: December 07, 2009, 09:36:02 AM
From one who has had my total privacy invaded I find this interesting.  When one sees the close up picture of Schmidt one can understand how money can but anything - including lots of girlfriends (he would make a good catch for Susan Boyle):

Google CEO: Secrets Are for Filthy People
Eric Schmidt suggests you alter your scandalous behavior before you complain about his company invading your privacy. That's what the Google CEO told Maria Bartiromo during CNBC's big Google special last night, an extraordinary pronouncement for such a secretive guy.

The generous explanation for Schmidt's statement is that he's revolutionized his thinking since 2005, when he blacklisted CNET for publishing info about him gleaned from Google searches, including salary, neighborhood, hobbies and political donations. In that case, the married CEO must not mind all the coverage of his various reputed girlfriends; it's odd he doesn't clarify what's going on with the widely-rumored extramarital dalliances, though.

Schmidt's philosophy is clear with Bartiromo in the clip below: "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place." The philosophy that secrets are useful mainly to indecent people is awfully convenient for Schmidt as the CEO of a company whose value proposition revolves around info-hoarding. Convenient, that is, as long as people are smart enough not to apply the "secrets suck" philosophy to their Google passwords , credit card numbers and various other secrets they need to put money in Google's pockets.


3039  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / VictorHanson.Iran.Israel.Rachel on: December 06, 2009, 12:47:45 PM
From Doug's favorite theorist/educator.  Mr. Hanson outlines quite well the problems with modern Western approach to war to a large extent.

He outlines the problems.

But I am not clear what he prescribes to do about them. Now what do we do about it?

My Rx:

I say this - I agree with the premise that war will always be with us - unless one subscribes to a single "world government" with total control over all of us around the world by one single entity (with of course the Chosen One in charge leading mankind to Eden) .  I don't beleive or want a single government controlling the world.

So instead, like the Roman general said, "you want peace we will give you peace, you want war we will give you war, it makes no difference to us", I say we do everything possible to destroy all of Irans nuclear sites even using nuclear weapons if needed to do the job right.  IF we don't do this it seems evident we will be sorry when we do have a nuclear armed Iran and the situation will be far worse.

Yes we will likely make generations of US hating Muslim radicals.  But these people are never going to love us anyway so I say we stop them now and the sooner the better.

The only other two alternatives though neither any good when one thinks them through:

1)  We somehow promote regime change in Iran. There is clearly some seeds of that already but I don't know how we can speed it up or if we can.  I suspect Nationalism will trump the desire for Western materialism.

2) Only other thing I can envision is that we go all out to become *energy self sufficient* so we don't keep funding Iran's regime with free dollars.  The two problems with this is it would take a decade and it is already too late for this.  Second thing is other countries like China, India, and the rest of the Stans would simply fill the void and send money to the Tollahs of Iran and are aleready doing this.

So really, we either accept a nuclear Iran - which to me is NOT acceptable - or we make their military/nuclear capabilities parking lots.

Yes it will cause financial turmoil.  Yes the horror of the carnage to those on the receiving end.  But sitting back and letting Iran have nucs would in my opinion (I am a world class genius here in arm chair) be far worse.  We either deal with it now or pay a higher price later.

As for Israel there really is NO choice.  Either deal with it militarily or expect to be annhilated.   The Iranian regime is quite explicit in their goals.  They are saying it up front.  AND their actions *prove* they mean what they say.

If anyone has any other solutions please chime in.  Rachel how about you for starters.  You are clearly, like me a supporter of Israel, and (not like me) Obama.  As O'Reilly would ask, "what say you?" 

****November 2009
Victor Davis Hanson

Distinguished Fellow in History
Hillsdale College

The Future of Western War
VICTOR DAVIS HANSON, the Wayne and Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History at Hillsdale College, is also a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a professor of classics emeritus at California State University, Fresno. He earned his B.A. at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and his Ph.D. in Classics from Stanford University. He is a columnist for National Review Online and for Tribune Media Services, and has published in several journals and newspapers, including Commentary, the Claremont Review of Books, The New Criterion, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. Dr. Hanson has written or edited numerous books, including The Soul of Battle, Carnage and Culture, and A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War.

The following is adapted from a lecture delivered at Hillsdale College on October 1, 2009, during the author's four-week teaching residency.

I want to talk about the Western way of war and about the particular challenges that face the West today. But the first point I want to make is that war is a human enterprise that will always be with us. Unless we submit to genetic engineering, or unless video games have somehow reprogrammed our brains, or unless we are fundamentally changed by eating different nutrients—these are possibilities brought up by so-called peace and conflict resolution theorists—human nature will not change. And if human nature will not change—and I submit to you that human nature is a constant—then war will always be with us. Its methods or delivery systems—which can be traced through time from clubs to catapults and from flintlocks to nuclear weapons—will of course change. In this sense war is like water. You can pump water at 60 gallons per minute with a small gasoline engine or at 5000 gallons per minute with a gigantic turbine pump. But water is water—the same today as in 1880 or 500 B.C. Likewise war, because the essence of war is human nature.

Second, in talking about the Western way of war, what do we mean by the West? Roughly speaking, we refer to the culture that originated in Greece, spread to Rome, permeated Northern Europe, was incorporated by the Anglo-Saxon tradition, spread through British expansionism, and is associated today primarily with Europe, the United States, and the former commonwealth countries of Britain—as well as, to some extent, nations like Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea, which have incorporated some Western ideas. And what are Western ideas? This question is disputed, but I think we know them when we see them. They include a commitment to constitutional or limited government, freedom of the individual, religious freedom in a sense that precludes religious tyranny, respect for property rights, faith in free markets, and an openness to rationalism or to the explanation of natural phenomena through reason. These ideas were combined in various ways through Western history, and eventually brought us to where we are today. The resultant system creates more prosperity and affluence than any other. And of course, I don't mean to suggest that there was Jeffersonian democracy in 13th century England or in the Swiss cantons. But the blueprint for free government always existed in the West, in a way that it didn't elsewhere.

Just as this system afforded more prosperity in times of peace, it led to a superior fighting and defense capability in times of war. This is what I call the Western way of war, and there are several factors at play.

First, constitutional government was conducive to civilian input when it came to war. We see this in ancient Athens, where civilians oversaw a board of generals, and we see it in civilian control of the military in the United States. And at crucial times in Western history, civilian overseers have enriched military planning.

Second, Western culture gave birth to a new definition of courage. In Hellenic culture, the prowess of a hero was not recognized by the number of heads on his belt. As Aristotle noted in the Politics, Greek warriors didn't wear trophies of individual killings. Likewise, Victoria Crosses and Medals of Honor are awarded today for deeds such as staying in rank, protecting the integrity of the line, advancing and retreating on orders, or rescuing a comrade. This reflects a quite different understanding of heroism.

A third factor underlies our association of Western war with advanced technology. When reason and capitalism are applied to the battlefield, powerful innovations come about. Flints, percussion caps, rifle barrels and mini balls, to cite just a few examples, were all Western inventions. Related to this, Western armies—going back to Alexander the Great's army at the Indus—have a better logistics capability. A recent example is that the Americans invading Iraq were better supplied with water than the native Iraqis. This results from the application of capitalism to military affairs—uniting private self-interest and patriotism to provide armies with food, supplies, and munitions in a way that is much more efficient than the state-run command-and-control alternatives.

Yet another factor is that Western armies are impatient. They tend to want to seek out and destroy the enemy quickly and then go home. Of course, this can be both an advantage and a disadvantage, as we see today in Afghanistan, where the enemy is not so eager for decisive battle. And connected to this tradition is dissent. Today the U.S. military is a completely volunteer force, and its members' behavior on the battlefield largely reflects how they conduct themselves in civil society. One can trace this characteristic of Western armies back to Xenophon's ten thousand, who marched from Northern Iraq to the Black Sea and behaved essentially as a traveling city-state, voting and arguing in a constitutional manner. And their ability to do that is what saved them, not just their traditional discipline.
Now, I would not want to suggest that the West has always been victorious in war. It hasn't. But consider the fact that Europe had a very small population and territory, and yet by 1870 the British Empire controlled 75 percent of the world. What the Western way of war achieved, on any given day, was to give its practitioners—whether Cortez in the Americas, the British in Zululand, or the Greeks in Thrace—a greater advantage over their enemies. There are occasional defeats such as the battles of Cannae, Isandlwana, and Little Big Horn. Over a long period of time, however, the Western way of war will lead us to where we are today.

But where exactly are we today? There have been two developments over the last 20 years that have placed the West in a new cycle. They have not marked the end of the Western way of war, but they have brought about a significant change. The first is the rapid electronic dissemination of knowledge—such that someone in the Hindu Kush tonight can download a sophisticated article on how to make an IED. And the second is that non-Western nations now have leverage, given how global economies work today, through large quantities of strategic materials that Western societies need, such as natural gas, oil, uranium, and bauxite. Correspondingly, these materials produce tremendous amounts of unearned capital in non-Western countries—and by "unearned," I mean that the long process of civilization required to create, for example, a petroleum engineer has not occurred in these countries, yet they find themselves in possession of the monetary fruits of this process. So the West's enemies now have instant access to knowledge and tremendous capital.

In addition to these new developments, there are five traditional checks on the Western way of war that are intensified today. One of these checks is the Western tendency to limit the ferocity of war through rules and regulations. The Greeks tried to outlaw arrows and catapults. Romans had restrictions on the export of breast plates. In World War II, we had regulations against poison gas. Continuing this tradition today, we are trying to achieve nuclear non-proliferation. Unfortunately, the idea that Western countries can adjudicate how the rest of the world makes war isn't applicable anymore. As we see clearly in Iran, we are dealing with countries that have the wealth of Western nations (for the reasons just mentioned), but are anything but constitutional democracies. In fact, these nations find the idea of limiting their war-making capabilities laughable. Even more importantly, they know that many in the West sympathize with them—that many Westerners feel guilty about their wealth, prosperity, and leisure, and take psychological comfort in letting tyrants like Ahmadinejad provoke them.

The second check on the Western way of war is the fact that there is no monolithic West. For one thing, Western countries have frequently fought one another. Most people killed in war have been Europeans killing other Europeans, due to religious differences and political rivalries. And consider, in this light, how fractured the West is today. The U.S. and its allies can't even agree on sanctions against Iran. Everyone knows that once Iran obtains nuclear weapons—in addition to its intention to threaten Israel and to support terrorists—it will begin to aim its rockets at Frankfurt, Munich, and Paris, and to ask for further trade concessions and seek regional hegemony. And in this case, unlike when we deterred Soviet leaders during the Cold War, Westerners will be dealing with theocratic zealots who claim that they do not care about living, making them all the more dangerous. Yet despite all this, to repeat, the Western democracies can't agree on sanctions or even on a prohibition against selling technology and arms.

The third check is what I call "parasitism." It is very difficult to invent and fabricate weapons, but it is very easy to use them. Looking back in history, we have examples of Aztecs killing Conquistadors using steel breast plates and crossbows and of Native Americans using rifles against the U.S. Cavalry. Similarly today, nobody in Hezbollah can manufacture an AK-47—which is built by Russians and made possible by Western design principles—but its members can make deadly use of them. Nor is there anything in the tradition of Shiite Islam that would allow a Shiite nation to create centrifuges, which require Western physics. Yet centrifuges are hard at work in Iran. And this parasitism has real consequences. When the Israelis went into Lebanon in 2006, they were surprised that young Hezbollah fighters had laptop computers with sophisticated intelligence programs; that Hezbollah intelligence agents were sending out doctored photos, making it seem as if Israel was targeting civilians, to Reuters and the AP; and that Hezbollah had obtained sophisticated anti-tank weapons on the international market using Iranian funds. At that point it didn't matter that the Israelis had a sophisticated Western culture, and so it could not win the war.

A fourth check is the ever-present anti-war movement in the West, stemming from the fact that Westerners are free to dissent. And by "ever-present" I mean that long before Michael Moore appeared on the scene, we had Euripides' Trojan Women and Aristophanes' Lysistrata. Of course, today's anti-war movement is much more virulent than in Euripides' and Aristophanes' time. This is in part because people like Michael Moore do not feel they are in any real danger from their countries' enemies. They know that if push comes to shove, the 101st Airborne will ultimately ensure their safety. That is why Moore can say right after 9/11 that Osama Bin Laden should have attacked a red state rather than a blue state. And since Western wars tend to be fought far from home, rather than as a defense against invasions, there is always the possibility that anti-war sentiment will win out and that armies will be called home. Our enemies know this, and often their words and actions are aimed at encouraging and aiding Western anti-war forces.

Finally and most seriously, I think, there is what I call, for want of a better term, "asymmetry." Western culture creates citizens who are affluent, leisured, free, and protected. Human nature being what it is, we citizens of the West often want to enjoy our bounty and retreat into private lives—to go home, eat pizza, and watch television. This is nothing new. I would refer you to Petronius's Satyricon, a banquet scene written around 60 A.D. about affluent Romans who make fun of the soldiers who are up on the Rhine protecting them. This is what Rome had become. And it's not easy to convince someone who has the good life to fight against someone who doesn't.

To put this in contemporary terms, what we are asking today is for a young man with a $250,000 education from West Point to climb into an Apache helicopter—after emailing back and forth with his wife and kids about what went on at a PTA meeting back in Bethesda, Maryland—and fly over Anbar province or up to the Hindu Kush and risk being shot down by a young man from a family of 15, none of whom will ever live nearly as well as the poorest citizens of the United States, using a weapon whose design he doesn't even understand. In a moral sense, the lives of these two young men are of equal value. But in reality, our society values the lives of our young men much more than Afghan societies value the lives of theirs. And it is very difficult to sustain a protracted war with asymmetrical losses under those conditions.

My point here is that all of the usual checks on the tradition of Western warfare are magnified in our time. And I will end with this disturbing thought: We who created the Western way of war are very reluctant to resort to it due to post-modern cynicism, while those who didn't create it are very eager to apply it due to pre-modern zealotry. And that's a very lethal combination.****

3040  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Politics of mammograms (female *voters*) on: December 04, 2009, 02:24:45 PM
Commentary Mammogram advice based on science

Breast Cancer
Hospitals and Clinics By Miriam Alexander
 
December 4, 2009

We at the American College of Preventive Medicine support the updated United States Preventive Services Task Force recommendations on breast cancer screening. On Nov. 17, the task force released recommendations that women age 50 and older should have screening mammography every two years, and women in their 40s should decide whether to have screening mammography on an individual basis after talking with their doctors. Since then, misinformation and conspiratorial rumors have been rampant, including allegations that the task force is a mechanism for government or insurance industry cost-cutting at the expense of women's health.

Much of the response by media, pundits and policymakers is a result of two converging factors. The first is a lack of understanding about how the task force operates and how to interpret its findings. The second is a politically charged environment generated by the health care reform debates.

Let's set the record straight: The task force is not a government body. It is an independent panel of health care professionals, mostly primary care physicians - pediatricians, family physicians, internists, obstetricians and gynecologists - many of whom teach at prestigious academic medical centers. To characterize the task force as a collection of stooges for the insurance industry is simply disingenuous. In fact, the task force does not consider cost as a factor in making its recommendations. It conducts rigorous evaluations of the evidence to provide primary care clinicians with evidence-based guidance on using patient-directed clinical preventive services.

The task force concerns itself with clinical services aimed at patients who are healthy or do not have symptoms; it therefore deals with screening to detect early disease in which treatment or intervention will make a difference in ultimate health outcomes. The recommendations are not intended for people who are already ill or have symptoms. We agree with the task force that the tolerance for risk vs. the benefit of any service delivered in an asymptomatic population is different than in individuals who may already be ill.

Any competent doctor will tell you how important it is to consider both the benefits and the drawbacks of any treatment or screening service that they offer. The task force, using rigorous methodologies, examines the scientific evidence for preventive services. It carefully weighs the benefits and the drawbacks before making its recommendations - based on what's best for whole populations, not each individual.

Ideal preventive care for healthy individuals should "do no harm," as is stated in the Hippocratic Oath. Mammography may lead to harms such as false positives and subsequent unnecessary tests and biopsies. Furthermore, though unquestionably able to pick up true disease that needs treating, mammography also detects certain breast cancers will never spread and will never cause signs or symptoms. Our challenge in the medical community is that at the time of diagnosis, we do not know which cancers will lie dormant or regress and which will go on to cause significant suffering. We therefore move forward on treating essentially all cancers detected. A recent study suggests that 1 in 3 breast cancers detected on screening results in unnecessary surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.

This recommendation also has nothing to do with health care reform. The task force voted on this recommendation more than a year ago - before the current administration took office and before health reform became a centerpiece of public policy. This recommendation is not about rationing, health care costs or politics. It is all about making intelligent decisions from a scientific perspective as to what works and what does not, and weighing medical benefits against negative outcomes.

As preventive medicine physicians, we support the value of mammograms for early detection of breast cancer. We know mammography screening saves lives. But it is important for women to be informed about the risks and benefits and make their decision in conjunction with their doctors. Let's not politicize this issue and these recommendations. Too many lives are at stake.

Dr. Miriam Alexander is president-elect of the American College of Preventive Medicine. She is on the faculty at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and is director of the school's General Preventive Residency Program. Her e-mail is mhalexan@jhsph.edu.
Copyright © 2009, The Baltimore Sun
3041  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: December 02, 2009, 12:24:44 PM
      "Anti-Semitism and crises in the US-Israel relationship have existed in the past, and there is simply nothing like it in the current      US    administration"

Simply nothing like it in the current administration?

What??

As for the prominant Jews in the administration - they love and worship their own power more than Israel.

    "How can anyone accuse these individuals of being "self-hating Jews,"

Completely wrong.  These Jews who veiw anything Repubublican is worse than Nazism LOVE themselves.  I, a Jew who leans right detests them.  They are frauds, phoneys, hypocrits in my mind.
There are other Jews I relate to more.  I am proud of my fellow Jews but not these fraudulent "liberals".  If they want do good for the poor that is wonderful.  I applaud anyone who wants to help others.  Where I part ways is they want to tell the rest of us what to do.  They want to take our freedoms and give it to THEIR causes, and advance their socialistic agenda.  As for me they can do what they want with their lives, their money, but stop telling the rest of America what we ought or should be doing and how the rest of us MUST live, spend our money, how much taxes we should pay and all the rest.

    "So why the pervasive malaise about the Obama administration - a distrust so deep that Obama's popularity in Israel is equal to the margin of error?"

Baloney.  Most Israelis know Bush was a far greater friend to Israel than Obama.

   "The diplomatic failures led the New York Times editorial board to conclude on November 28, "We don't know exactly what happened but we are told that Mr. Obama relied more on the judgment of his political advisers - specifically his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel - than of his Mideast specialists."

We are seeing a pattern constantly popping up in the MSM.  As Obama's policies become more obviously a failure - blame someone else and give cover to Obama.  Oh I get it.  Obama was just listening to his advisors who were trying to do a mitzvah.  I would laugh outloud if this wasn't such a blatant lie.  Obama, the most radical, leftist Presedent we have ever had, whose father was a Muslim, as was he early in his life, and then converted to Christianity and sat in a Church for a quarter century run by a guy who is an obvious anti-semite.  NOw we are supposed to believe Obama was just getting wrong advice from his advisors.
The excuse business is going to be gargantuan over the next couple years.




3042  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Father a corrupt Congressman on: December 01, 2009, 12:00:12 PM
Well Chelsea's future father in law as a felon fits right in with the family.
I assume he has money so he can finance her eventual run for office.
Unfortunately another very liberal Jewish guy who spends all his time making every cent he can then turns around and pleads he is worried for the world's poor and hence MUST be a Democrat.  I don't understand the hypocracy of my some of own people.  I guess it is guilt for some.

****Will Father of the Groom Be Welcome Figure at Chelsea Clinton's Wedding?
Convicted Felon Ed Mezvinsky Cheated Friends and Family Out of Millions of Dollars
By JOSEPH RHEE and DREW SANDHOLM
Dec. 1, 2009 
5 comments Font Size   PrintRSSE-mailShare this story with friendsFacebookTwitterRedditStumbleUponMore
If Ed Mezvinsky, the disgraced father of Chelsea Clinton's newly-announced fiancé Marc Mezvinsky, attends his own son's wedding, he might want to consider ducking out before the reception. Mezvinsky was convicted in 2002 of bilking his associates, friends and family members -- even his own late mother-in-law -- out of millions of dollars. Despite being released in April 2008 after serving five years in prison, Mezvinsky remains on federal probation and still owes almost $9.4 million in restitution to his victims.

Chelsea Clinton and fiancee Marc Mezvinsky are shown in this file photo, left./Marc's father, Edward M. Mezvinsky, is shown in this file photo.
(AP Photo/Reuters)
More PhotosAn ABC News investigation revealed that Mezvinsky, a former Democratic Congressman from Iowa, had been caught up in a series of Nigerian e-mail scams and began to steal from people to further his schemes.

"He was always looking for the home run. He was always trying to find the business deal that would make him as wealthy as all the people in his social circle," said federal prosecutor Bob Zauzmer. According to Zauzmer, Mezvinsky, who is now 72, will be on supervised release, the federal version of probation, until 2011.

Related
PHOTOS: Inside Look at Nigerian Scam ArtistsPHOTOS: The Secrets Behind the 'Black Money' ScamMore from Brian Ross and the Investigative TeamABC News was unable to reach Ed Mezvinsky for a response, but did reach his wife Marjorie. Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky refused to comment on whether or not her husband would be attending their son's wedding, referring all questions to a Clinton family spokesperson. Margolies-Mezvinsky did confirm that no wedding date has yet bAsked whether Ed Mezvinsky would be attending the wedding, a spokesperson for former President Bill Clinton said he didn't know. "I don't know anything at this point beyond the fact that they're engaged," Matt McKenna told ABC News in an e-mail.

In their heyday, Ed Mezvinsky and his wife Marjorie, herself a former Democratic congresswoman from Pennsylvania as well as an ex-TV reporter, were part of the political and social elite in Philadelphia. The Mezvinskys were close to Bill and Hillary Clinton and were frequent guests at the White House. Prosecutors say Mezvinsky exploited his ties to the Clintons, including his son's relationship with Chelsea, to woo investors to contribute more money to his schemes.


  Suspected Con MenMarc Mezvinsky's Dad Served Time For Nigerian E-mail Scam
Mezvinsky used those funds to travel to Nigeria to pursue one hare-brained scheme after another. He ultimately lost more than $3 million to the scammers, falling especially hard for the notorious "black money" scam, where victims are told millions of dollars have been coated with black ink so the money could be smuggled out of Nigeria. The scammers then offer to sell a special, expensive chemical to clean the ink off of the money. Prosecutors say Mezvinsky fell for at least three separate "black money" schemes.

Mezvinsky pleaded guilty to more than 30 counts of fraud, and was sentenced to 80 months in federal prison. He has blamed bipolar disorder for his behavior.

In an interview with Des Moines Register from prison in 2003, Mezvinsky said he found the scam convincing. "The man later came out with a chemical, threw it on the money, and it all turned to $100 bills. He gave me 10 to have them tested back home. And they were real," Mezvinsky told the Register.****
3043  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / "just because they say you're stupid doesn't mean you're Lincoln" on: December 01, 2009, 10:23:20 AM
LOL at that line.
Noonan who once pointed out BO is "no Abe LIncoln", than had a little egg on her face when he got elected can no bring that line up again - touche!

We are hearing it all now.  Lincoln was disliked early in his Presidency etc so why not OBama?

"OPINION: DECLARATIONS NOVEMBER 30, 2009 He Can't Take Another Bow By PEGGY NOONAN
Text 
Last week, two points in an emerging pointillist picture of a White House leaking support—not the support of voters, though polls there show steady decline, but in two core constituencies, Washington's Democratic-journalistic establishment, and what might still be called the foreign-policy establishment.

From journalist Elizabeth Drew, a veteran and often sympathetic chronicler of Democratic figures, a fiery denunciation of—and warning for—the White House. In a piece in Politico on the firing of White House counsel Greg Craig, Ms. Drew reports that while the president was in Asia last week, "a critical mass of influential people who once held big hopes for his presidency began to wonder whether they had misjudged the man." They once held "an unromantically high opinion of Obama," and were key to his rise, but now they are concluding that the president isn't "the person of integrity and even classiness they had thought."

She scored "the Chicago crowd," which she characterized as "a distressingly insular and small-minded West Wing team." The White House, Ms. Drew says, needs adult supervision—"an older, wiser head, someone with a bit more detachment."

As I read Ms. Drew's piece, I was reminded of something I began noticing a few months ago in bipartisan crowds. I would ask Democrats how they thought the president was doing. In the past they would extol, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, his virtues. Increasingly, they would preface their answer with, "Well, I was for Hillary."

This in turn reminded me of a surprising thing I observe among loyal Democrats in informal settings and conversations: No one loves Barack Obama. Half the American people say they support him, and Democrats are still with him. But there were Bill Clinton supporters who really loved him. George W. Bush had people who loved him. A lot of people loved Jack Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. But no one seems to love Mr. Obama now; they're not dazzled and head over heels. That's gone away.

He himself seems a fairly chilly customer; perhaps in turn he inspires chilly support. But presidents need that rock-bottom 20% who, no matter what's happening—war, unemployment—adore their guy, have complete faith in him, and insist that you love him, too.

They're the hard 20 a president always keeps. Nixon kept them! Obama probably has a hard 20 too, but whatever is keeping them close, it doesn't seem to be love.

***
Just as stinging as Elizabeth Drew on domestic matters was Leslie Gelb on Mr. Obama and foreign policy in the Daily Beast. Mr. Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations and fully plugged into the Democratic foreign-policy establishment, wrote this week that the president's Asia trip suggested "a disturbing amateurishness in managing America's power." The president's Afghanistan review has been "inexcusably clumsy," Mideast negotiations have been "fumbling." So unsuccessful was the trip that Mr. Gelb suggested Mr. Obama take responsibility for it "as President Kennedy did after the Bay of Pigs."

He added that rather than bowing to emperors—Mr. Obama "seems to do this stuff spontaneously and inexplicably"—he should begin to bow to "the voices of experience" in Washington.

When longtime political observers start calling for wise men, a president is in trouble.

It also raises a distressing question: Who are the wise men and women now? Who are the Robert Lovetts, Chip Bohlens and Robert Strausses who can came in to help a president in trouble right his ship? America seems short of wise men, or short on those who are universally agreed to be wise. I suppose Vietnam was the end of that, but establishments exist for a reason, and it is hard for a great nation to function without the presence of a group of "the oldest and wisest" who can not only give sound advice but help engineer how that advice will be reported and received.

***
Mr Obama is in a hard place. Health care hangs over him, and if he is lucky he will lose a close vote in the Senate. The common wisdom that he can't afford to lose is exactly wrong—he can't afford to win with such a poor piece of legislation. He needs to get the issue behind him, vow to fight another day, and move on.

Afghanistan hangs over him, threatening the unity of his own Democratic congressional base. There is the growing perception of incompetence, of the inability to run the machine of government. This, with Americans, is worse than Mr. Obama's rebranding as a leader who governs from the left. Americans demand baseline competence. If he comes to be seen as Jimmy Carter was, that the job was bigger than the man, that will be the end.

Which gets us back to the bow.

In a presidency, a picture or photograph becomes iconic only when it seems to express something people already think. When Gerald Ford was spoofed for being physically clumsy, it took off. The picture of Ford losing his footing and tumbling as he came down the steps of Air Force One became a symbol. There was a reason, and it wasn't that he was physically clumsy. He was not only coordinated but graceful. He'd been a football star at the University of Michigan and was offered contracts by the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers.

But the picture took off because it expressed the growing public view that Ford's policies were bumbling and stumbling. The picture was iconic of a growing political perception.

The Obama bowing pictures are becoming iconic, and they would not be if they weren't playing off a growing perception. If the pictures had been accompanied by headlines from Asia saying "Tough Talks Yield Big Progress" or "Obama Shows Muscle in China," the bowing pictures might be understood this way: "He Stoops to Conquer: Canny Obama shows elaborate deference while he subtly, toughly, quietly advances his nation's interests."

But that's not how the pictures were received or will be remembered.

It is true that Mr. Obama often seems not to have a firm grasp of—or respect for—protocol, of what has been done before and why, and of what divergence from the traditional might imply. And it is true that his political timing was unfortunate. When a great nation is feeling confident and strong, a surprising presidential bow might seem gracious. When it is feeling anxious, a bow will seem obsequious.

The Obama bowing pictures are becoming iconic not for those reasons, however, but because they express a growing political perception, and that is that there is something amateurish about this presidency, something too ad hoc and highly personalized about it, something . . . incompetent, at least in its first year.

It is hard to be president, and White Houses under pressure take refuge in thoughts that become mantras. When the previous White House came under mounting criticism from 2005 through '08, they comforted themselves by thinking, They criticized Lincoln, too. You could see their minds whirring: Lincoln was criticized, Lincoln was great, ergo we are great. But of course just because they say you're stupid doesn't mean you're Lincoln.

***
One senses the Obama people are doing the Lincoln too, and adding to it the consoling thought that this is only the first year, we've got three years to go, we can change perceptions, don't worry.

But they should worry. You can get tagged, typed and pegged your first year. Gerald Ford did, and Ronald Reagan too, more happily. The first year is when indelible impressions are made and iconic photos emerge.

Printed in The Wall Street Journal Asia, page 15
Copyright 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved"
3044  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: November 30, 2009, 02:50:08 PM
Doug suggested we come up with a new contract with America.  One of the promises I thought of is that Republicans promise to make America self sufficient when it comes to our energy needs.  I did a search for this but all I pull up is lefitst rants about alternative energy like solar, wind etc, and/or biofuels.
I went to Newt's webite and he has a column for energy but he points out near the bottom is "we have to come up with an alternative to what the Democrats are offering now".

I don't see why we can't do all of it as well as using our own offshore reserves, nuclear, Canada shale etc. instead of shooting ourselves in the head like BO and the rest of the socialists (and the rest of the laughing world) want us to do.

In any case we need a showdown on energy policy to help knock the liberals out of power.
Probably most Americans would buy it if we can surmount the MSM propaganda machine.
3045  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / A banker on: November 30, 2009, 09:46:09 AM
and possibly a nice Jewish boy.
But is he politically correct in his views?
Anyone care to bet if he is a secret Beck admirer?

Clinton daughter Chelsea engaged to be married
         NEW YORK – Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton has become engaged to her longtime boyfriend.

Matt McKenna, a spokesman for former President Bill Clinton, confirmed that 29-year old Chelsea and investment banker Marc Mezvinsky got engaged on Thanksgiving and announced it in an e-mail to friends.

Chelsea is the only daughter of the former president and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. The couple was rumored to be getting married last summer in Martha's Vineyard but the stories turned out to be premature. The engagement was first reported by ABC News.

3046  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Calling Obama the radical he is is a new McCarthism on: November 28, 2009, 01:43:31 PM
Has anyone noticed the MSNBC types trying to marginalize the efforts to expose BO for what he is as a new version of "McCarthyism"?

Trying to link the Becks et al with what possibly was historically rewritten that McCarthy efforts were so terrible in the 50's.
Ah the poor liberals of HWood whe were smeared and black listed.  How they suffered yadda yadda.
3047  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / David Alinsky: Obama learned his lesson well on: November 28, 2009, 01:39:35 PM
Doug writes:

"I've listened to Glen Beck on radio plenty.  His 'conspiracy' charge is that this administration's playbook is right out of extremist Saul Alinsky's radical rules.  That happens to be true whether by design or coincidence."

It IS by design.  From Saul Alinsky's own son who blows the cover by pointing out the connection with Obama and his father is no coincidence:

 
****Communist guru
Saul Alinsky’s son: “Obama learned his lesson well”

By Judi McLeod  Tuesday, September 2, 2008
In Artful Dodger style, Barack Obama, plays down his mentorship with Communist author Saul Alinsky.  But Alinsky’s son, L. David Alinsky, credits Obama for “learning his lesson well” from the Communist guru.

  Indeed, Alinsky Jr. who credits his late father for the success of last week’s Democratic National Convention, may have done something that Obama’s detractors couldn’t: blown the cover on the presidential hopeful’s communist leanings.

  No one can blame Alinsky for the pretentiousness of the Ancient Greek Temple from which Obama addressed plebes, or for the tacky neon colours on display at the Pepsi Centre, but it was Alinsky who wrote Rules for Radicals, the bible of the far left.

Says Alinsky’s son L. David Alinsky of his father’s influence at the Dem Convention: “ALL the elements were present: the individual stories told by real people of their situation and hardships, the packed-to-the rafters crowd, the crowd’s chanting of key phrases and names, the action on the spot of texting and phoning to show instant support and commitment to jump into the political battle, the rallying selections of music, the setting of the agenda by the power people.”

  “The Democratic National Convention had all the elements of the perfectly organized event, Saul Alinsky style, the Communist guru’s son wrote in a letter published yesterday in the Boston Globe.

  The Artful Dodger may be less than pleased that he has been pegged as a Saul Alinsky Poster Boy by the guru’s own son.

  “Barack Obama’s training in Chicago by the great community organizers is showing its effectiveness,” Alinsky Jr. wrote to the Globe.  “It is an amazingly powerful format, and the method of my late father always works to get the message out and get the supporters on board.  When executed meticulously and thoughtfully, it is a powerful strategy for initiating change and making it really happen.  Obama learned his lesson well.

  “I am proud to see that my father’s model for organizing is being applied successfully beyond local community organizing to affect the Democratic campaign in 2008.  It is a fine tribute to Saul Alinsky as we approach his 100th birthday.”

  Alinsky should be reminded that the West has stared down communism everywhere it has raised its hideous head.

  influencing a Democratic convention from the grave pales in comparison to the results that followed President Ronald Reagan’s famous words, “Mr. Gorbachev, take down this wall.”

  The commonsense and freedom-loving Gipper would have chuckled at the audacity of Obama’s Ancient Greek Temple stage setting and would have told Obama what he told the world:  “All great change in America begins at the dinner table.”

  Reagan also said: “I have seen the rise and fall of Nazi tyranny, the subsequent cold war and the nuclear nightmare that for 50 years haunted the dreams of children everywhere.  During that time my generation defeated totalitarianism.  As a result, your world is poised for better tomorrows.  What will you do on your journey?”

  “Alinsky considered himself a realist above all, the ultimate pragmatist.” (American Thinker, Aug. 30, 2008).  “As a confirmed atheist, Alinsky believed that the here and now is all there is, and therefore had no qualms about assorted versions of morality in the pursuit of worldly power.  He didn’t coddle his radical acolytes or encourage their bourgeois distinctions between good and evil when it came to transferring power from the Haves to the Have Nots.  Alinsky saw the already formed church communities as being the perfect springboards for agitation and creating bonds for demanding goods and services.”

  Obama followed the same path.

  It is a fact that activist-cum senator Barack Hussein Obama started off his career as an activist with a position as a community organizer for the Developing Communities Project (DCP) of the Calumet Community Religious conference (CCRC) in Chicago. Both the CCRC and the DCP were built on the Alinsky model of community agitation, wherein paid organizers learned, in Alinsky’s own words,  how to “rub raw the sores of discontent”.

  Meanwhile L. David Alinsky, perhaps unwittingly put Obama into the proper perspective by stating without reservation: “Obama learned his lesson well.”****
 
3048  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science on: November 24, 2009, 01:30:48 PM
When it comes to what we should do in Afghanistan BO takes his time - I mean we should think this through - but when it comes to thinking through the claims of climate change - well that is defferent.

I mean why call into question the whole theory of climate change just because some of its promoters are clearly perpetuating a giant fraud on all of us? wink

I mean why do this when we can exponentially expand governement control and further the demise of American leadership in the world?  Is not BO exposed over and over and the mainstream press still calls those who call THIS fraud on it's face value fringe of the fringe?

"Obama says 'step closer' to climate deal
Nov 24 12:25 PM US/Eastern

US President Barack Obama said Tuesday the world has moved "one step closer" to a "strong operational agreement" on climate change at next month's Copenhagen summit after his talks with Indian and Chinese leaders."
3049  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The vast left wing conspiracy: BO's friends, appts, and running dogs on: November 24, 2009, 09:33:02 AM
I couldn't agree more with this analysis.  It is obvious to anyone who is objective.
Propaganda - it is a major tool of facism, naziism, communism and progressism.
BO is a major league propagandist.

I watched this AM on CNN the meeting with India's PRime minister while they played the National Anthem and there is BO with his patent camera pose; chin up, head slightly turned and hand over his heart (as though his bust is on Mt. Rushmore).  All I can think of is how paradoxical - this guy hates America and he stands during the National Anthem like he admires and is a proud of our country.
Photo op - while he leads us into socialism.  What a joke on real Americans.
3050  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / World still with lots of oil, gas, coal on: November 23, 2009, 11:10:16 AM
From the other George W.
 
****By George Will

 http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | What city contributed most to the making of the modern world? The Paris of the Enlightenment and then of Napoleon, pioneer of mass armies and nationalist statism? London, seat of parliamentary democracy and center of finance? Or perhaps Titusville, Pa.

Oil seeping from the ground there was collected for medicinal purposes — until Edwin Drake drilled and 150 years ago (Aug. 27, 1859) found the basis of our world, 69 feet below the surface of Pennsylvania, which oil historian Daniel Yergin calls "the Saudi Arabia of 19th-century oil."

For many years, most oil was used for lighting and lubrication, and the amounts extracted were modest. Then in 1901, a new well named for an East Texas hillock, Spindletop, began gushing more per day than all other U.S. wells combined.

Since then, America has exhausted its hydrocarbon supplies. Repeatedly.

In 1914, the Bureau of Mines said that U.S. oil reserves would be exhausted by 1924. In 1939, the Interior Department said that the world had 13 years' worth of petroleum reserves. Then a global war was fought, and the postwar boom was fueled. In 1951 Interior reported that the world had . . . 13 years of reserves. In 1970, the world's proven oil reserves were an estimated 612 billion barrels. By 2006, more than 767 billion barrels had been pumped, and proven reserves were 1.2 trillion barrels. In 1977, scold in chief Jimmy Carter predicted that mankind "could use up all the proven reserves of oil in the entire world by the end of the next decade." Since then the world has consumed three times more oil than was then in the world's proven reserves.


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But surely now America can quickly wean itself from hydrocarbons, adopting alternative energies — wind, solar, nuclear? No.

Keith O. Rattie, chief executive of Questar, a natural gas and pipeline company, says that by 2050 there may be 10 billion people demanding energy — a daunting prospect, considering that of today's 6.2 billion people, nearly 2 billion "don't even have electricity — never flipped a light switch." Rattie says that energy demand will grow 30 to 50 percent in the next 20 years and there are no near-term alternatives to fossil fuels.

Today, wind and solar power combined are just one-sixth of 1 percent of American energy consumption. Nuclear? The United States and other rich nations endorse reducing world carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050. But Oliver Morton, a science writer, says that if nuclear is to supply even 10 percent of the necessary carbon-free energy, the world must build more than 50 large nuclear power plants a year. Currently five a year are being built. Rattie says that as part of "a worldwide building boom in coal-fired power plants," about 30 under construction in America "will burn about 70 million tons of coal a year."

Edward L. Morse, an energy official in Carter's State Department, writes in Foreign Affairs that the world's deep-water oil and gas reserves are significantly larger than was thought a decade ago, and high prices have spurred development of technologies — a drilling vessel can cost $1 billion — for extracting them. The costs of developing oil sands — Canada may contain more oil than Saudi Arabia — are declining, so projects that last year were not economic with the price of oil under $90 a barrel are now viable with oil at $79 a barrel.

Morse says new technologies are also speeding development of natural gas trapped in U.S. shale rock. The Marcellus Shale, which stretches from West Virginia through Pennsylvania and into New York, "may contain as much natural gas as the North Field in Qatar, the largest field ever discovered."

Rattie says that known U.S. reserves of natural gas, which are sure to become larger, exceed 100 years of supply at the current rate of consumption. BP recently announced a "giant" oil discovery beneath the Gulf of Mexico. Yergin, writing in Foreign Policy, says "careful examination of the world's resource base . . . indicates that the resource endowment of the planet is sufficient to keep up with demand for decades to come."

Such good news horrifies people who relish scarcity because it requires — or so they say — government to ration what is scarce and to generally boss people to mend their behavior: "This is the police!" Put down that incandescent bulb and step away from the lamp!"

Today, there is a name for the political doctrine that rejoices in scarcity of everything except government. The name is environmentalism.*****
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