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3101  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Cross between ET and Cousin IT on: February 28, 2012, 02:14:30 PM
http://www.westminsterkennelclub.org/2012/results/bis/index.html
3102  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: February 28, 2012, 01:30:41 PM
I would also add that when the consensus is the market is going higher that might be an indicator to sell.

In any case Webury on one hand states one cannot predict the future so long term holding is the answer.

OTOH he predicts we are going up another 20% this year.

Well, if we do I hope its after November 2 - not before.
3103  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Santorum on: February 28, 2012, 11:01:12 AM
Some have been reporting that Michigan primary is a bit of an anomaly in that Democrats can vote in it.   Something about unions are getting some of their members who are able to vote in this and mess up the Republicans - ie. help Romney lose.

I really question how much of the "support" for Santorum is more cynically driven rather than real blue collar support.
3104  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: February 28, 2012, 10:57:29 AM
"Wesbury has called the past year better than we have"

Absolutely.

This time.
3105  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The Power of Word on: February 28, 2012, 10:02:49 AM
JDN

Sure Jew could be used in a way that is more of an insult.   Like "that Jew".  Could be for anything I guess.  Like that "American".

Like that "Arab".   Like that "Communist"  that "Nazi". 

Fitzgerald - made up by founder.

I forgot you did mention that.

Yes it does sound like the firm may have been run with faith based nepotism in mind.  Perhaps it just gravitated that way.

As for labels many inferences are best understood only in context.

Like calling one a liberal could just be a form of adjective describing/summarizing one's political views.

OTOH when I call someone a liberal I am clearly thinking derrogatory thoughts.   wink
3106  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Unions on: February 28, 2012, 09:53:35 AM
Mention the word Ponzi scheme and your are vilified as a cook, a jerk, an idiot by the liberal MSM.

The endless shell games by those in power.

Private concerns would be subject to laws, law suits.

The government can do whatever it wants.
3107  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: February 28, 2012, 09:44:24 AM
"but it’s the long-term bulls, who believe in the steady progress of technology and wealth creation, that make money most consistently."

I thought the same thing just before the tech crash and lost a lot.

Of course one can do index funds, berkshire hathaway stuff that was not "dotcom".


 
3108  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: February 27, 2012, 01:47:20 PM

what is your analysis of the politico report?
3109  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The Power of Word on: February 27, 2012, 11:24:26 AM
"is the word "Jew" offensive?"

Of course I only speak for myself.  As for me the answer is no.

Anymore than I would think calling one Irish, Mormon, Catholic, Polish would be offensive.


Let me ask you this though:

"Cantor Fitzgerald; a Jewish firm"

I am not sure what this means.  Was Cantor Fitzgerald owned and run by Jews as a "Jewish" firm?

Fitzgerald?  WHy not a Jewish/Irish firm?

You worked there and are not Jewish.


3110  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / polls all over the place on: February 27, 2012, 11:14:22 AM
Politico headlines Obama approval at 53% and kicking the behinds of all Republican comers.

Rasmussen on Drudge has hime losing to most Repubs and getting less than I think 45%.

I suspect Rasmussen is closer to the truth. 

To me Brock is getting more and more desperate.

We heard "class" card now "race" card on Drudge.  These are desperation moves IMO.

Anyone want to wager that once Romney gets the nomination and he gets to focus he will win in November?

I'll make that bet now.  How about the cost of one postage stamp?
3111  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The sister article from economist on: February 27, 2012, 09:13:26 AM
Of course we don't know what the truth is behind all these analyses.  Does Israel really know what is going on in Iran or the US or is what they know what we are reading?  This analyses includes what Israel can and cannot do conventionally.  Their air power is somewhat limited.   Waiting HAS allowed Iran to dig deeper.  According to this article US airpower would be better but it sounds like the long term is to go after the scientists as well as the sites.  This would require hitting civilian sites and some sort of ground game.

The world kept kicking the can down the road (I agree with GM) constantly avoiding the military option hoping for a peaceful solution.   Now that that choice has led us to here we can either choose to accept a nuclear Iran or not.

It is worth noting that in one of the articles I posted it was pointed out that after the US bombed and invaded Iraq Iran actually may have backed away from their nuclear program suggesting that they may well have feared a forceful intervention and THAT THAT had a desired affect.   Maybe there is a lesson in that.

****Attacking Iran
Up in the air
The probability of an attack on Iran’s nuclear programme has been increasing. But the chances of it ending the country’s nuclear ambitions are low
Feb 25th 2012 | from the print edition

..
 
THE crisis has been a long time coming. Iran started exploring paths to nuclear weaponry before the fall of the shah in 1979. Ten years ago the outside world learned of the plants it was building to provide “heavy” water (used in reactors that produce plutonium) and enriched uranium, which is necessary for some types of nuclear reactor, but also for nuclear weapons. The enrichment facilities have grown in capability, capacity and number; there has been work on detonators, triggers and missile technology, too.

Iran wants, at the very least, to put itself in a position where it has the expertise and materials with which to build deliverable nuclear weapons quickly. It may well want, at some point, to develop the bombs themselves. This is deeply worrying to Israel, which is threatened by Iran’s proxies in Lebanon and Gaza and disgusted by the anti-Semitic rants of Iran’s leaders. It also alarms Arab states, which fear Iranian power (and their own Shiite minorities). That alarm could lead some of them—Saudi Arabia, Egypt, perhaps Turkey—to seek nuclear weapons of their own. Many fear that this would make the region even less stable than it is. Even if it did not, it would make the possible consequences of instability much more terrible.

In this section
»Up in the air
Stalled
From half-hearted to harsh
Reprints

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Related topics
United States
Armed forces
Nuclear proliferation
Nuclear weapons
International relations
Outside powers, especially America, would give a great deal to avoid the prospect of an emboldened, nuclear-armed Iran. Hence ever-stronger sanctions designed to get Iran to cease enrichment and content itself with reactor fuel made elsewhere. Hence, also, a willingness by America and others to keep open the option of military strikes.

In Israel that willingness has hardened close to the point of commitment. Israel has nuclear weapons itself, including submarine-based weapons that could posthumously annihilate any aggressor who destroyed the country. But this deterrent is not enough to stop Israelis from seeing a nuclear Iran as the precursor to a second holocaust. The problem is that military action will not necessarily bring about what Israel wants—and could, in the medium to long term, make matters worse.

Short fuses

The possibility of an Iranian bomb comes closer with every revolution of the centrifuges in its underground enrichment plants (see article). Israel’s director of military intelligence, Major-General Aviv Kochavi, says that Iran has obtained 4 tonnes of uranium enriched to 3.5% and another 100kg enriched to 20%, which the Iranians say is for a research reactor in Tehran. If further enriched to 90% (which is not that hard once you have got to 20%) the more enriched uranium would be enough for up to four nuclear weapons. General Kochavi says that from the moment Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, gave the order, it would take the Iranians a year to make a crude device and another year or two to put together a nuclear warhead that would fit on a ballistic missile. American analysts, who imagine a broader-based approach to developing a nuclear capability, rather than a crash programme, think it would take a bit longer.

Israel’s defence minister, Ehud Barak, talks of the Iranian programme entering a “zone of immunity” well before any bombs are built. This year some of Iran’s centrifuges have been moved to a previously secret facility near the holy city of Qom. This site, Fordow, is buried deep within the bowels of a mountain; hence Mr Barak’s talk of Iran reaching a stage “which may render any physical strike as impractical”.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says Fordow has room for 3,000 centrifuges, compared with the 9,000 Iran claims at its first enrichment plant, Natanz. Mr Barak fears that once Fordow is fully equipped Iran will leave the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). That would bring the IAEA’s inspections to an end, as well as its safeguard procedures aimed at tracking nuclear material. North Korea left the NPT in 2003, two years before announcing that it had the bomb and three years before testing one.

Not all Israeli security officials agree with Mr Barak. Some think that the time may already have passed when Israel on its own could carry out such a strike; others reject the idea that Fordow is a uniquely difficult target. Many of their American peers see a focus on Fordow as too narrow. There are less well defended facilities that are also critical to Iranian nuclear ambitions: sites that make centrifuges and missiles, for example.

Iran’s decreasing vulnerability is not the only reason for thinking that, after talking about it for many years, Israel might actually be about to strike. It has been building up its in-air refuelling capacity, and thus its ability to get a lot of planes over targets well inside Iran. And the Arab spring has reduced Iran’s scope for retaliation. The plight of the beleaguered Assad regime in Syria removes Iran’s only significant Arab ally from the fray. A year ago both Hizbullah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza might have been relied on to rain missiles on Israeli targets after a strike against Iran. Now Hamas is realigning itself away from Iran and towards Egypt, and the situation in Syria means that Hizbullah cannot be certain that, if it fires at Israel, its Iranian-supplied arsenal will be replenished.

Awkward allies

Then there is the American presidential election. Like the Bush administration before it, Barack Obama’s White House sees Iran’s nuclear ambitions as a huge concern. But it worries that the consequences of an attack on Iran, whether by Israel or America, are unpredictable and scary: oil prices would rocket—at least for a while—endangering the economic recovery; allies in the Gulf already shaken by the Arab spring could be further destabilised; jihadist terrorism could be re-energised; America could be deflected from its primary goal of balancing the power of a rising China in the western Pacific.

Leon Panetta, America’s secretary of defence, says an Israeli attack might delay the advent of an Iranian bomb by “maybe one, possibly two years”, which looks like too little reward for such risks. Mr Obama has insisted that the Israelis give more time for diplomacy, an ever-tightening sanctions regime and intelligence-led efforts to sabotage Iran’s progress. In the period between September last year and January this year Mr Panetta and the chairman of the joint chiefs, General Martin Dempsey, both warned Israeli leaders that if they attacked they would be on their own.

But the election may give Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, something to bargain with. In the face of a hawkish Republican rival and in front of an electorate that is in parts fiercely pro-Israel, Mr Obama may feel he has to welcome, or even build on, an Israeli fait accompli in a way he would not have done earlier and might not do after his re-election, should it come about. In March Mr Netanyahu is planning a trip to Washington. He is likely to remind a broadly sympathetic Congress where America’s duty lies in confronting the “existential threat” to Israel. Although Mr Netanyahu is a more cautious character than some suppose, it would be a mistake to think he is bluffing when he says privately that on his watch Iran will not be allowed to take an irreversible step towards the possession of nuclear weapons.

In early February Mr Panetta appeared to reflect the sense that an Israeli attack was becoming increasingly likely when sharing his thoughts with a journalist from the Washington Post. He said he now believed there was a “strong likelihood” that Israel would attack Iran between April and June this year. Other sources put the odds of an attack this year a bit over 50%.


Such an attack would be a far more complex undertaking than the Israeli strikes against Iraq’s Osirak reactor in 1981 and Syria’s reactor near al-Kibar in 2007. The Iranian nuclear programme looks as if it has been set up with air strikes in mind. Its sites are spread across more than a dozen supposedly well-defended locations.

Israel would probably pay particular attention to the enrichment plants at Natanz and Fordow; after them would come the facility at Isfahan that turns uranium into a gas that the centrifuges can work with and the heavy-water reactor under construction at Arak, both of which are above the ground. The larger Russian-built reactor at Bushehr would probably escape unscathed; it is less relevant to weapons work and damage to it could spread contamination across the Gulf.

Israel’s main attack force would consist of two dozen F-15Is and 100 F-16Is, variants of American fighter bombers that have been adapted for long-range missions, along with tankers for aerial refuelling, perhaps supplemented by armed drones and submarine-launched cruise missiles. The planes’ most likely route would be over Jordan and then Iraq, which has almost no air defences. Iran is defended, but mainly by Soviet-era surface-to-air missiles of a kind the Israelis have dealt with before. Iran has fighter aircraft, too, but the Israelis are not too concerned about them.

Plans of attack

Israel has at least 100 two-and-a-quarter tonne (5,000-pound) GBU-28s precision-guided bunker-busting bombs and even more of the smaller GBU-27s. Natanz would be vulnerable to these if they struck with sufficient accuracy and in sufficient numbers.

The biggest question is whether an Israeli strike would have any impact on the centrifuge chamber at Fordow, said to be buried 80 metres deep. According to Austin Long, an academic who used to work for the RAND Corporation, if every one of the F-15Is aimed the GBU-28 it was carrying, along with both its GBU-27s, at a single point, there would be a 35-90% chance of over half the weapons arriving at just the right place and at least one bomb would penetrate the facility. So if carried through with impeccable precision an attack on Fordow would have a reasonable chance of inflicting a bomb’s worth of damage.

But even if things went off without a hitch Iran would retain the capacity to repair and reconstitute its programme. Unless Israel was prepared to target the programme’s technical leadership in civilian research centres and universities the substantial nuclear know-how that Iran has gained over the past decades would remain largely intact. So would its network of hardware suppliers. Furthermore, if Iran is not already planning to leave the NPT such an attack would give it ample excuse to do so, taking its entire programme underground and focusing it on making bombs as soon as possible, rather than building up a threshold capability. Even a successful Israeli strike might thus delay Iran’s progress by only three or four years, while strengthening its resolve.

An American attack might gain five years or even ten; it could drop more bombs on more of the sites, and much bigger bombs—its B-2s carry GBU-57 “Massive Ordnance Penetrators”, weighing almost 14 tonnes. Mindful of its greater capability, in May 2008 Israel’s then prime minister, Ehud Olmert, asked George Bush whether America would, if needed, finish the job that Israel had started and stand by its friend no matter what the consequences. Mr Bush, preoccupied with Iraq, turned him down.


 What are friends for? .
Mr Obama, whose relations with Mr Netanyahu are much cooler than were Mr Bush’s with Mr Olmert, says he is “leaving all options on the table”. An American attack thus remains a possibility, and will continue to be one up to the day Iran fields weapons. But America is unlikely to rush into a strike following an Israeli mission. Administration officials suggest that America would aim to stay firmly on the sidelines, though they are resigned to the fact that, however strong its denials, its complicity would be widely assumed. America would, however, respond vigorously to any attack on its own forces, the oil installations of its allies, or shipping.

Despite a lot of huffing and puffing from Iranian commanders about closing the Strait of Hormuz, through which about 35% of the world’s seaborne oil passes, Iran lacks the ships and firepower with which to mount a conventional blockade. Mines, torpedo-carrying mini-submarines and anti-ship missiles would still allow the Iranians to damage poorly defended tankers. But a spate of such attacks would probably bring an overwhelming response from the carrier groups of America’s Fifth Fleet, based in Bahrain. Iranian action that managed to be more than a nuisance while not provoking a decisive counter-attack by America would require finely judged and innovative tactics.


 
Wars at home

Nevertheless, to maintain its credibility the Iranian government would feel compelled to retaliate. As well as threatening shipping, it has also said that it will strike back at any Gulf state from which attacks on it are launched. America has bases in Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates; those countries could become targets if Iran chooses to see America as directly implicated in any attack. Iranian strikes on the Gulf states could, in turn, lead America to retaliate against non-nuclear targets in Iran.

Then there are attacks on Israel proper. Although Hizbullah and Hamas may not launch attacks as fiercely as they might have done a year ago, they could still do damage. Iran may also try to hit Israel with its own ballistic missiles, though this would come up against the obstacle of Israel’s missile defences, and could also spur a forthright American response.

A regional conflagration cannot be ruled out. But the biggest downside of an attack on Iran may be the possibility of revived patriotic support for an unpopular and incompetent regime. Even the most virulently anti-regime Iranians today fear that an attack on the country’s nuclear installations could rekindle the revolutionary Islamic patriotism of the Iran-Iraq war, validating decades of paranoid regime propaganda and cementing the Revolutionary Guard’s increasingly firm hold on politics and the economy.

Although such fears may be overdone, so too may be the hopes of some outside Iran that an attack could have the opposite effect, with Iranians turning against the regime. It is true that Iran is embroiled in a power struggle (see article). Parliamentarians have summoned the president for questioning for the first time since the 1979 Islamic revolution. Given the level of public disaffection with the regime following a post-election crackdown in 2009 and the economic downturn caused by sanctions (see article), the government can expect only limited sympathy from the public. If retaliatory strikes against shipping, or Gulf oil terminals, or Israel, brought on a subsequent wave of American attacks it might lose even that. This is a reason to expect a relatively restrained reaction to any raid, or one expressed through terrorist attacks far away—such as those mounted last week on Israeli diplomats in New Delhi, Tbilisi and Bangkok.

But discontented though they may be, Iranians are for the most part quite proud of their nuclear programme, seeing no reason why so ancient and grand a nation should not have nuclear weapons. They point out that Pakistan is a far less stable and more dangerous member of the nuclear club than Iran would be, and that Western powers are hypocritical in their tacit acceptance of Israel’s nuclear weapons. Iran, they say, has not launched a war since the 19th century; Israel has never been completely at peace.

This adds to the case that, although bombing could delay Iran’s nuclear ambitions, it stands little chance of diminishing them; further entrenching them looks more likely. Perhaps, in the time gained by an attack, today’s regime might fall, its place taken by one less committed to nuclear development. But it is also possible that reinvigorated sanctions might convince even today’s regime that the cost of becoming a nuclear power was too high. Coupling sanctions with the threat of an attack may make them yet more convincing—even if, paradoxically, an actual attack would lessen their force.

The sanctions have become so tough, though, only because the world takes the risk of an Israeli attack seriously and it needs an alternative. Sword-rattling can sometimes have its place. But the swords are sharp—and double-edged.


 Nearing a point of no return***
3112  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Google fu aka kung fu on: February 26, 2012, 12:38:29 PM
I understand the clarification cool
3113  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: February 26, 2012, 12:19:24 PM
"Yes, it is hard to believe that Clarence Thomas would ever be the Republican nominee. Then again, most people thought an inexperienced African-American often mistaken for a Muslim could never defeat presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton, much less be elected president"

Yes but the huge difference one is a politician and the other has never run for office or given any indication he could have any talent to do that.
3114  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Economist bombing Iran not the answer on: February 26, 2012, 12:16:58 PM
Authors conclude that at best bombing Iran would delay their program 10 years and risks them becoming even more determined to get one later.  Additionally all the other problems that might arise, increasing nationalism among those who are disenchanted with the present regime, terrorism around the world, missles fired from Gaza, Lebanon, etc. 

I disagree with the analysis.  Israel will have no choice what to do.   And waiting this long has not changed anything except allow the Iranians to dig in their defenses against any attack.  A prospect of a middle East with several nuclear capable countries is worse.  If not for the US than certainly for Israel which can easily be wiped out with just a few bombs.

****Bombing Iran
Nobody should welcome the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran. But bombing the place is not the answer
Feb 25th 2012 | from the print edition
 
FOR years Iran has practised denial and deception; it has blustered and played for time. All the while, it has kept an eye on the day when it might be able to build a nuclear weapon. The world has negotiated with Iran; it has balanced the pain of economic sanctions with the promise of reward if Iran unambiguously forsakes the bomb. All the while, outside powers have been able to count on the last resort of a military assault.

Today this stand-off looks as if it is about to fail. Iran has continued enriching uranium. It is acquiring the technology it needs for a weapon. Deep underground, at Fordow, near the holy city of Qom, it is fitting out a uranium-enrichment plant that many say is invulnerable to aerial attack. Iran does not yet seem to have chosen actually to procure a nuclear arsenal, but that moment could come soon. Some analysts, especially in Israel, judge that the scope for using force is running out. When it does, nothing will stand between Iran and a bomb.

The air is thick with the prophecy of war. Leon Panetta, America’s defence secretary, has spoken of Israel attacking as early as April. Others foresee an Israeli strike designed to drag in Barack Obama in the run-up to America’s presidential vote, when he will have most to lose from seeming weak.

A decision to go to war should be based not on one man’s electoral prospects, but on the argument that war is warranted and likely to succeed. Iran’s intentions are malign and the consequences of its having a weapon would be grave. Faced by such a regime you should never permanently forswear war. However, the case for war’s success is hard to make. If Iran is intent on getting a bomb, an attack would delay but not stop it. Indeed, using Western bombs as a tool to prevent nuclear proliferation risks making Iran only more determined to build a weapon—and more dangerous when it gets one.

A shadow over the Middle East

Make no mistake, an Iran armed with the bomb would pose a deep threat. The country is insecure, ideological and meddles in its neighbours’ affairs. Both Iran and its proxies—including Hizbullah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza—might act even more brazenly than they do now. The danger is keenly felt by Israel, surrounded by threats and especially vulnerable to a nuclear bomb because it is such a small land. Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, recently called the “Zionist regime” a “cancerous tumour that must be cut out”. Jews, of all people, cannot just dismiss that as so much rhetoric.

Even if Iran were to gain a weapon only for its own protection, others in the region might then feel they need weapons too. Saudi Arabia has said it will arm—and Pakistan is thought ready to supply a bomb in exchange for earlier Saudi backing of its own programme. Turkey and Egypt, the other regional powers, might conclude they have to join the nuclear club. Elsewhere, countries such as Brazil might see nuclear arms as vital to regional dominance, or fear that their neighbours will.

Some experts argue that nuclear-armed states tend to behave responsibly. But imagine a Middle East with five nuclear powers riven by rivalry and sectarian feuds. Each would have its fingers permanently twitching over the button, in the belief that the one that pressed first would be left standing. Iran’s regime gains legitimacy by demonising foreign powers. The cold war seems stable by comparison with a nuclear Middle East—and yet America and the Soviet Union were sometimes scarily close to Armageddon.

The dream of pre-emption

No wonder some people want a pre-emptive strike. But military action is not the solution to a nuclear Iran. It could retaliate, including with rocket attacks on Israel from its client groups in Lebanon and Gaza. Terror cells around the world might strike Jewish and American targets. It might threaten Arab oil infrastructure, in an attempt to use oil prices to wreck the world economy. Although some Arab leaders back a strike, most Muslims are unlikely to feel that way, further alienating the West from the Arab spring. Such costs of an attack are easy to overstate, but even supposing they were high they might be worth paying if a strike looked like working. It does not.

Striking Iran would be much harder than Israel’s successful solo missions against the weapons programmes of Iraq, in 1981, and Syria, in 2007. If an attack were easy, Israel would have gone in alone long ago, when the Iranian programme was more vulnerable. But Iran’s sites are spread out and some of them, hardened against strikes, demand repeated hits. America has more military options than Israel, so it would prefer to wait. That is one reason why it is seeking to hold Israel back. The other is that, for either air force, predictions of the damage from an attack span a huge range. At worst an Israeli mission might fail altogether, at best an American one could, it is said, set back the programme a decade (see article).

But uncertainty would reign. Iran is a vast, populous and sophisticated country with a nuclear programme that began under the shah. It may have secret sites that escape unscathed. Even if all its sites are hit, Iran’s nuclear know-how cannot be bombed out of existence. Nor can its network of suppliers at home and abroad. It has stocks of uranium in various stages of enrichment; an unknown amount would survive an attack, while the rest contaminated an unforeseeable area. Iran would probably withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, under which its uranium is watched by the International Atomic Energy Agency. At that point its entire programme would go underground—literally and figuratively. If Iran decided it needed a bomb, it would then be able to pursue one with utmost haste and in greater secrecy. Saudi Arabia and the others might conclude that they, too, needed to act pre-emptively to gain their own deterrents.

Perhaps America could bomb Iran every few years. But how would it know when and where to strike? And how would it justify a failing policy to the world? Perhaps, if limited bombing is not enough, America should be aiming for an all-out aerial war, or even regime change. Yet a decade in Iraq and Afghanistan has demonstrated where that leads. An aerial war could dramatically raise the threat of retaliation. Regime change might produce a government that the West could do business with. But the nuclear programme has broad support in Iran. The idea that a bomb is the only defence against an implacable American enemy might become stronger than ever.

Get real

That does not mean the world should just let Iran get the bomb. The government will soon be starved of revenues, because of an oil embargo. Sanctions are biting, the financial system is increasingly isolated and the currency has plunged in value. Proponents of an attack argue that military humiliation would finish the regime off. But it is as likely to rally Iranians around their leaders. Meanwhile, political change is sweeping across the Middle East. The regime in Tehran is divided and it has lost the faith of its people. Eventually, popular resistance will spring up as it did in 2009. A new regime brought about by the Iranians themselves is more likely to renounce the bomb than one that has just witnessed an American assault.

Is there a danger that Iran will get a nuclear weapon before that happens? Yes, but bombing might only increase the risk. Can you stop Iran from getting a bomb if it is determined to have one? Not indefinitely, and bombing it might make it all the more desperate. Short of occupation, the world cannot eliminate Iran’s capacity to gain the bomb. It can only change its will to possess one. Just now that is more likely to come about through sanctions and diplomacy than war.****

3115  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Question on: February 26, 2012, 12:04:09 PM
"Fu"

Did you mean "follow up"?
3116  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Here is one allusion to Kissinger on: February 25, 2012, 10:01:22 AM
A little vague but there is a vague allusion to Kissinger being on the take to a Chinese government's technology tech company.

Well I guess he had to impress his celebrity girlfriends (Jill St John among others) somehow (money?).  Certainly not his looks though I guess it could have been his brains:

http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1891&dat=19830810&id=TZ8fAAAAIBAJ&sjid=HNYEAAAAIBAJ&pg=3089,1858930
3117  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Xi Jinging "we welcome China" on: February 25, 2012, 08:39:12 AM
Stated by Obama to the presumed next leader of China.  He has children going to Harvard and does business here in the US frequently.   He is also a son of a Mao Communist and perfectly capable of poltical crackdowns at home.

Seems to me Sun Tzu would be very proud.  They are not just "competing" with us.  They are at war with us for dominance IMO.

Larry Ellison the CEO of Oracle operates his business like a Samurai warrior.  Sun Tzu sells as much as a businees book as for military doctrine.

At the very least it seems clear to me China is competing with us as warriors. 

So do we play dumb in public like Obama and play rough behind the scenes (I think, I hope we are doing that) or do we publically call their bluff?

*** Breaking Now:Obama CampaignMiddle EastNational SecurityThe Obama EconomySearch   Xi Jinping: The Princelings’ Prince
Next leader of China sends daughter to Harvard, crushes dissent

Xi Jinping / AP
   
BY: Bill Gertz - February 16, 2012 5:00 am
During Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping’s visit to Washington, D.C., this week, the media glossed over several facts about the man expected to be China’s next supreme ruler, including his ties to the Chinese military, his connections to U.S. business interests, and his past role in violations of Tibet’s human rights.

Xi is the most powerful of China’s “princelings,” the term for powerful offspring of Chinese communist leaders past and present. Princelings control key sectors of China’s government and economy, drive western luxury cars, and send their spouses and children to the United States to live and work.

Xi is no exception.

At the powerful Central Military Commission (CMC), Xi worked as an office secretary under Gen. Geng Biao for three years beginning in 1979. The work for the military commission is significant since it holds the key to power in China.

Geng’s fortunes rose after he was ordered to take control of broadcast and television stations from the communist faction headed by Mao’s wife and three others known as the Gang of Four. The quelling of the gang led to the rise of reformer Deng Xiaoping, who put China on its current modernization path and away from the turmoil of the Cultural Revolution.

Xi’s wife is a singer in the People’s Liberation Army and performs in a PLA uniform, further highlighting his ties to the military. His daughter, Xi Mingze, secretly attends Harvard under a cover name and her two-dozen man security detail may be collecting intelligence for the Chinese, according to U.S. officials.

The son of Xi Zhongxun, a first-generation communist revolutionary who died in 2002, Xi was picked several years ago to become the party’s General Secretary in place of current Secretary Hu Jintao during a major conference expected this fall.

If the communist succession takes place as planned, observers predict Xi likely will get only half the power at first and Hu will remain head of the CMC, the party organ that runs the military and is the ultimate power in China.

Xi is one of a number of several princelings who have come under scrutiny in China from more doctrinaire communists. The power of the hardline element continues to grow in China; though they welcome China’s growing prosperity, they believe the regime is insufficiently Marxist-Leninist as developed under Mao Zedong.

One such hardliner is Bo Xilai, the provincial Party chief in Chongqing accused of corruption by deputy mayor Wang Lijun, a subordinate who tried to defect to the U.S. consulate in Chengdu but was turned away after spending the night in the consulate.

Bo is considered a “neo-Maoist” and is pushing for a seat on the nine-member Politburo Standing Committee, the collective dictatorship that controls China.

Bo, like Xi, is a princeling and his son, like Xi’s daughter, is a student at Harvard.

Many of the communist princelings live or travel frequently to the United States and are engaged in business dealings, interacting with and influencing American policy analysts and businessmen.

For example, during Xi’s Washington visit, the incoming leader met with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who runs Kissinger Associates and who helps U.S. companies get business deals in China. Xi also met former Clinton administration National Security Adviser Sandy Berger during the visit. Berger’s Stonebridge International also does business in China.

Xi met with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and a spokesman said the meeting included a “wide-ranging discussion, with Xi urging the U.S. and China to strengthen military exchanges.”

But a U.S. official said that Panetta was surprised by Xi’s lack of candor or response to questions regarding cyber intrusions and advanced weapons, among other issues.

A second U.S. official also said Panetta would travel to China.

Owing in part to his family position and in part to his future place in the Chinese hierarchy, it is difficult to pin down Xi’s exact policy sentiments.

Human rights issues are a stumbling block for Xi and his U.S. counterparts; human rights watchdogs have criticized Xi during the visit for his role in ongoing repression in China.

The group Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) issued a report that said the wining and dining of the communist leader in Washington is taking place at the same time China is cracking down on dissidents.

Tibet has been a major target of the Chinese in recent months, as several Tibetan monks have set themselves on fire to protest Chinese repression.

Xi traveled to Tibet in July with Chen Bignde, chief of the military’s general staff to celebrate the 60th anniversary of what China calls the “peaceful liberation of Tibet.” The Chinese takeover involved a military assault on the mountainous region that included mass killings and shelling of Buddhist monasteries.

“This seems a strange time for the U.S. to engage in diplomatic niceties or goodwill overtures to China’s likely future president,” said CHRD International Director Renee Xia. “The U.S. should instead hold Xi and other Chinese leaders to account for the Chinese government’s escalating human rights violations at home and its heartless position towards the suffering of the Syrian people.”

China vetoed a U.N. resolution earlier this month that would have condemned Syria’s government for the brutal crackdown in Syria.

Xia said the Obama administration should highlight the worsening human rights abuses in China.

President Obama, Vice President Joseph Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta made only vague references in public during the Xi visit to China’s human rights abuses, its unfair trade and industrial practices, its military buildup, and its weapons proliferation to rogue states.

The CHRD said that it is “uncertain” whether Xi’s rise to power later this year will lead to improvements in China’s human rights or for future political reform.

CHRD said Xi was Communist Party secretary in Zhejiang from 2002 to 2007, one of the worst periods for democracy and human rights activists in the affluent coastal province, where rampant human rights violations were reported and for which Xi was not held accountable.

“While Xi held a position with the highest authority in the province, the Zhejiang government stood out in its zealous persecution of political dissidents, writers, underground Christians, and human rights activists,” the group said.

Xi also directed the round up and repression of democracy and rights advocates in China prior to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

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3118  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Free Speech vs. Islamic Fascism (formerly Buy DANISH!!!) on: February 24, 2012, 02:28:07 PM
"The Judge not only ruled in favor of the defendant, but called Mr. Perce a name and told him that if he were in a Muslim country, he’d be put to death."

I guess the fact we are in the US is no reason to uphold the law.   So here is an activist judge enforcing Sharia law in the US?

"**Imagine if the roles were reversed. You'd have national media coverage and the DOJ would be investigating.**"

That is the truth. 

I suppose Obama is going to apologize for this?



3119  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: February 24, 2012, 10:19:34 AM
Sort of like Marc Levin's broadcast last night who responded to Brockster's assertion that went something like, "Republicans have three answers for the gas problem: drill drill drill."

Levin pointed out the shear stupidity and contempt for Americans by this comment.  Gas doesn't come from gas pumps.  Yes to get  it we have to drill.  And no we can't replace oil with wind and solar.

3120  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Brock is a bit nervous if you ask me on: February 23, 2012, 04:30:45 PM
Brock also with corporate tax plan.  At least the idea of fixing taxes has traction if the biggest White House liberal is running scared enough to try to beat the Repubs to the punch with his won tax plan before his election.

Let's see him running for cover -

Suddenly he is a big fan of natural gas.

Suddenly whispers from the WH that military force in Iran may be needed.

Suddenly the Bamster is for corporate tax streamlining.

Doesn't fit with his usual narative does it.

Of course we have also lerned not to trust what he says but watch what he and his minions (like Eric Holder) do.
3121  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: February 23, 2012, 01:51:45 PM
Crafty,

Take heart from this poll just off drudge.  Like DMG pointed out, its way to early:

http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/gop-presidential-primary/212225-gallup-romney-leads-obama-by-four-points
3122  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The American Creed: Our Founding Fathers: on: February 22, 2012, 02:48:21 PM
Coincidence you post quote from T. Jefferson.  while looking around the webiste of the National Muesem of African American History and Culture I came across this photo of "Jefferson", aka Isaac Granger who died a free man in the 1840s and hence this photo of him exists.  He, his two brothers, and parents were slaves of Jefferson:

http://www.slaveryatmonticello.org/slavery-at-monticello/enslaved-families-monticello/granger-family

Question posed:

"how could the author of the Declaration of Independence have also been a slave owner?"

I don't know how to answer that except that the Declaration can be seen as aspirational and since no one was or is perfect we all strive to live up to its stated goal.
3123  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender, Gay, Lesbian on: February 22, 2012, 01:57:13 PM
Bigdog,

No offense taken and your posts are very informative.

"law, writ large, has said that they... and people and political institutions have accepted and acquiecsed." 

My only question would be have the "people" really accepted and acquiesced.

The people don't have a say in Court decisions.   Most don't even know what is going on.  And I don't recall ever being asked if it was OK to hoist on the "majority" requirements for wheelchair parking spots and wheelchair ramps.

As for the disabilities thing I guess it is part legislative and part judicial.

As for the gay marriage issue I suppose it is part "the squeaky wheel" - gay infatada, mass media opinion, demogaguery, party politics.
I do not beleive most people in the US believe in gay marriage or adoption.  I do believe that most probably don't care about bothering gays otherwise.  A poll that is announced that most believe gay marriage is ok?  Oh comon!

But that is media manipulation. 

I am rambling here.

"the Constitution, and also that it has holes, and also that there has to be interpretation"

Back to your point - agreed.


3124  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / special accomodations for disabled. on: February 22, 2012, 12:56:51 PM
As a physician I know we are not loved.  Now we are part of the 1% (thanks to Columbia Univerity professor Jeff Sachs - who I am sure has donated every cent from his books, magazine writings, salary and MSNBC appearances to starving children all around the world). 

I don't complain much about malpractice and there are many excellent ethical attorneys.  But this?

http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2009/01/05/prca0105.htm
3125  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender, Gay, Lesbian on: February 22, 2012, 12:45:38 PM
Bigdog,
There is no end to the situations that can arise.

One aspect of the the disability situation is the requirement for disabled parking places mandated.  And wheelchair access.

I was thinking a lot about this.   While it is a "nice" and compassionate I still don't get why everyone else is required to circumnavigate these accomodations and business entities must pay for all this for the minority disabled.

Yes, if I ever get stuck in a wheelchair I will think differently due to emotion...

I don't get the "entitlement" adjective to this.  Why are there so entitlements that cost many people money to pay for?

Why are not the payers entitled to their money?
3126  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: February 22, 2012, 12:31:50 PM
"What is needed is a Palestinian version of the Arab revolutions that have swept the region: a mass movement demanding freedom, dignity, a just peace, real democracy and the right to self-determination. We must take the initiative, practice self-reliance and pursue a form of nonviolent struggle that we can sustain without depending on others to make decisions for us or in our place."

 Well all you need do is recognize Israel "guarantee" a peaceful co-existence and you won't have to go on hunger strikes.

 

3127  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Santorum on: February 21, 2012, 04:15:49 PM
"That pretty much says it all. With Santorum launching one social issues bomb after another, there is no time to talk about the economy. Is this the Democratic Party’s dream, or what? In a national poll that came out today, Santorum is leading Mitt Romney by eight points among likely Republican voters. Can Republicans possibly be that foolish? Is it conceivable that a president with Obama’s lousy record could coast to victory, virtually by default, because the Republicans nominate a candidate who would rather talk about gynecology than debt? At the moment, that prospect does not seem far-fetched."

I think a lot of Repubs active in primaries are tea party types and libertarians.  The latter are Ron Paul followers and the former are anyone with extremely strict conservative values that is willing to take a stand and fight.

Radio hosts like Levin are staunchly for these candidates like Santorum.  He was a giant supporter of Bachman, Palin and that girl in Deleware and the one in Nevada.   They did get some elected.

While I personally support most of all their views to ignore the middle of the road voters who vote with what ever the whim of the day is is suicide for the party.  Levin is wrong.  We cannot just get anyone in there just because they are conservative.  We will lose.  And that IS worse - not better.

None of these people have the charisma to charm over the "independents" or whatever else that voting group(s) is called.  Maybe Newt could have if he wasn't as Crafty aptly put, "flawed".

Mitt doesn't have a lot of charisma but his views are more mainstream and hopefully will appeal to the deciding block of voters that somehow always seem to go with the flow.  And the flow is can Obama bribe more of them then could be convinced they are not better off then four years ago and Mitt can improve upon that.

Since Mitt is not charismatic the election may well be determined as some predict - by how the economy  is doing in Nov.

I am hoping the economy tanks - for one month before the election and rebounds in time for Mitt in 01/14.  grin
3128  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender, Gay, Lesbian on: February 21, 2012, 04:01:53 PM
"A gay person can stay single of course, but they do not have the right to pursue their happiness and marry the person of their choice.  It's like black and white.  And by not being able to marry the person of their choice, besides the personal issues, they are denied numerous other benefits of a married couple."

JDN,

You are missing the point.  They do have the right to live with whomever they want and persue their happiness.

But you hit the nail on the head about the benefits.  A lot of this is all about money.

It is not "black and white" which of course is always used as the argument.  It is not race.

I guess we could say it is gender.  Certainly exact gender equality IS an agenda with liberals.

The family structure is suffering from all this.  That is a price we are paying.
3129  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender, Gay, Lesbian on: February 21, 2012, 02:07:15 PM
"but they are entitled to certain accommodations because a federal law was passed by the people's representatives and signed by the President.  It was not an unenumerated right found in the constitution"

Exactly.  Accomodations that the majority now have to make for disabled minority is only because of laws passed by laws intended for compasionate reasons.   

A law can thus be passed that makes virtually anything an entitlement by people's "representatives".

In a way however this law does make the majority actually have ot make way for SPECIAL accomodations for the disabled.

I suppose laws that held for racial considerations in say college admissions could be also thus categorized.

I suppose that passing gay marriage into a law is not 'special' per se but allowing that minority the same government recognized privilege as non gays.

The gay marriage thing is a movement that will continue on ithrough infinity till they get what they insist on.

The majority can argue forever it is just a matter of time before the mority says al right we have had enough.

Here is what you want now will please stop the "reverse harrasment".

3130  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: February 21, 2012, 10:06:23 AM
Doug,

Good point.  No need to panic as it is way too early.   The Repubs have not consolidated and are not focused on Obama and the MSM is having a great time yucking up their attacking each other.   

When reporters go out on the street and ask pedestrian basic questions about politics, the direction of the country, history, etc.  It is amazing how little people know.  It seems most people are not paying attention or thinking beyond the headlines if even that.

I guess that is one reason why it is so easy to bribe people for votes and blame the "rich".

Gallup says the unempolyment rate is 9% - watch for all sorts of explanations why this is wrong for the OBama outlets, why their calculations are misleading and for the WH to dispute the numbers, and finally "it would be far worse without Obama".  Anything but the truth and accepting any responsibility.
3131  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Scientific American Michael Mann on: February 20, 2012, 02:40:35 PM
I am not for or against "climate change" resulting from human behavior.  I am simply confused.

***Michael Mann Defends Climate Computer Models
Penn State climate modeler Michael Mann talks about what computer models can tell us--and what they don't need to. David Biello reports

January 10, 2012 | 120

"Even in high school my idea of a good time was sitting in front of a computer and solving problems." Climatologist Michael Mann. “And that has always been true. I love using computational methods to learn about the way, hopefully, the way the world actually works.”

Some critics, such as physicist Freeman Dyson, charge that climate change science relies too much on such computer models. And even worse, that the climate scientists behind them are too much in love with their computational creations. Such mathematical approximations are crude, failing to capture the real world climate impacts of a cloud, for example. That makes them useful for understanding climate but not for predicting climate change, Dyson has argued. I asked Mann in a recent phone interview how he responded to such arguments.

"I have to wonder if Freeman Dyson will get on an airplane or if he’ll drive a car because a lot of the modern day conveniences of life and a lot of our technological innovations of modern life are based on phenomena so complicated that we need to be able to construct models of them before we deploy that technology.

“In the case of the climate, of course, there is only one Earth, so we can’t do experiments with multiple Earths and formulate the science of climate change as if it’s an entirely observationally based, controlled experiment. We need to rely on conceptual models of the system we’re studying and it’s no different in any other field of science. In fact, the way science progresses is by conceptual models being put forward and then testing them against observations. One of the most, I think, striking examples of that was just within the last month, this announcement, the Higgs Boson.

“Its existence was predicted by the standard model of particle physics and the fact that there’s—we got a glimpse of it, it looks like it may very well be there—is a real victory for that model of science where you test, you put forward conceptual models of the way the world or the universe works and test those models against the observations and see the extent to which they can predict new observations and when they do, it gives you increased confidence in the models.

“It’s no different in the case of climate change.  The models are simply at some level a formulation of our conceptual understanding and when someone says they don't like models then I’m wondering what alternative they have in mind.

“How do they formalize their conceptual understanding? Through back-of-the-envelope, poorly conceived thought experiments?  It's somewhat bewildering when I hear something like that from a premier scientist, and I think it belies a misunderstanding of the way models are used. In climate science, for example, where we don't need an elaborate climate model to understand the basic physics and chemistry of greenhouse gases, so at some level the fact that increased CO2 warms the planet is a consequence of very basic physics and chemistry.

“The details, how much warming you get, depend on things like feedbacks. And you can’t incorporate feedbacks through a back of the envelope approach.  You actually have to critically think about the interactions that take place in this very complex system. And those feedbacks ultimately determine the extent to which that initial warming will be amplified, but they don’t even change the fact that you elevate greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere and you’ll get a warming of the surface. That’s basic physics and chemistry and people who claim that they don’t believe that, they don’t believe we’re warming the planet through increasing CO2 levels because of climate models, they don’t understand the fact that you don’t need a climate model to come to that conclusion. It's basic physics and chemistry.

“The climate models come in because we wanna know how that's modified by feedback.  What are the important feedbacks?  How will atmospheric circulation patterns change? And again, does Freeman Dyson, assuming he is willing to get on an airplane even though models have been used to test the performance of the airplane, assuming he does and he knows he’s going somewhere where they’ve predicted, where weather models have predicted rainfall for the next seven days, does he not pack his umbrella because he doesn’t believe the models? It's just in that case the worst that will happen is somebody gets wet when they wouldn’t otherwise have. In this case, the worst that can happen is that we ruin the planet.”

—David Biell


Makes you wonder why to spite such easily obtained search results the science ignorati continue to insists the models are wrong. It is like they have no interests in the science but protecting some int
2. pterostyrax
12:02 PM 1/10/12Freeman Dyson has it right and Michael Mann has it wrong.

Here are just a few of the areas in which the GCMs and conclusions drawn from them are unequivocally wrong.

1. GCMs do not solve the original partial differential equations describing all of the mechanisms included in the models. They solve modified equations that are approximations of the originals, which, by definition, introduce errors in the solution.

2. GCMs require numerical rather than exact solutions of the equations. The numerical solutions introduce additional errors in reproducing the modified equations particularly with regards to the temporal/spatial scales used in the solution and the type of grid chosen to define the physical space modeled.

3. Once the forms of the modified equations and the temporal and spatial scales have been chosen, then one must setup initial and boundary conditions that define and then drive the simulations. Huge errors are introduced in the simulations as a result of uncertainties in defining these boundary conditions for all the myriad processes necessary in GCMs. Give the same model to 10 different modelers, and you will have 10 different results depending upon how the boundary conditions are specified.

4. The myriad processes involving physical, chemical, and biological interactions have their own problems including important processes left out and incomplete mathematical descriptions of the ones included with numerous simplifying assumptions, but the greatest problem is how the processes are parameterized and the specification of these parameters. Give the same model to 10 different modelers, and you will have 10 different results depending upon how the parameters are specified.

5. Even if all the previously described problems could be eliminated, GCMs, or any model for that matter, cannot predict the future. They can only say what would have happened given the proscribed initial and boundary conditions. No one can know the boundary conditions for the future.

Admittedly, the previous is a very brief discussion of why Dyson is right and Mann is wrong. I could easily write a long paper or even a book on the subject, but I will exit this comment with the following statement - If you can give the same model to 10 different modelers and obtain 10 different results, then that aint science, or at least what I have always believed to be science.


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3. pterostyrax
in reply to Trent1492
 
12:13 PM 1/10/12Riddle me this. Why are four different model output runs included when comparing to "observed" temperatures? Additionally, on another graph in the IPCC report, why are the results of 14 (I believe this number is correct) different GCMs averaged and then included in the comparison of computed versus observed temperatures?

I am fairly certain I know why.

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4. Trent1492
12:32 PM 1/10/12pterostyrax Says: Riddle me this. Why are four different model output runs included when comparing to "observed" temperatures?

Trent Says: Each models makes different assumptions about the future input of CO2. If you had even a smidgen of knowledge you would have know that one, Riddler.

http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch10s10-2.html

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5. Trent1492
12:35 PM 1/10/12Anyone else wondering why Pterostyrax will not address the fact of the models and temperature match that is found in the peer reviewed literature? It is like he is in denial of reality. Funny that.


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6. pterostyrax
in reply to Trent1492
 
12:56 PM 1/10/12This graph is a comparison to computed versus OBSERVED temperatures. Four different carbon inputs for FUTURE inputs of carbon are irrelevant.

I do not mind the ad hominem, but at least get it right when you conduct one.

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7. Trent1492
01:13 PM 1/10/12Pterostyrax Says: This graph is a comparison to computed versus OBSERVED temperatures. Four different carbon inputs for FUTURE inputs of carbon are irrelevant.

Shorter Pterostryax: Please ignore the graph with observed temperatures and the models that reproduce them.




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8. just1observer
01:41 PM 1/10/12Michael Mann speaks the truth.

I believe that for Freeman Dyson to malign the accuracy of the current versions of weather models is a false issue and a cheep shot at weather scientists in general. Moreover, arguing over the accuracy of various weather models misses the main issues about the science of weather prediction and global warming.

There are a few things that we know from weather scientists with a high degree of confidence: (1) the earth is indeed warming; (2) human activity is indeed making a meaningful contribution to that global warming; (3) global warming is changing and will continue to change global weather patterns through a very complex set of interactions that we are only just beginning to identify, better yet fully understand, and (4)weather scientists who construct these models to try to identify and understand these interactions and then predict the consequences to test and improve their models are very much on the right track.

These scientific efforts should be supported by the larger scientific community as well as the public. It is an imperative for this science to advance.

If we were to stop or slow the creation, evolution, continuous testing, and improvement of these models we would be doing the world a great disservice.

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9. Trent1492
01:46 PM 1/10/12I think at least one note of clarification needs to be put here. It is blatantly obvious that Pterostyrax is engaging in obfuscation. Climate science has been making predictions and successful observations of those predictions since 1896. When Svante Arrhenius constructed a model of the atmosphere using nothing more than pencil and paper he made several key predictions:

1. Nights would warm faster days.

2. Winters would warm faster than Summers.

3. The Arctic would warm faster than anywhere else.

All of these predictions have been observed in the 20th and 21st century. Pterostyrax and friends want the public to not know of these and other successful predictions because their interests lay in the public being confused and ignorant. That is why they never ever address them. Ever.


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10. pterostyrax
in reply to just1observer
 
02:21 PM 1/10/12"If we were to stop or slow the creation, evolution, continuous testing, and improvement of these models we would be doing the world a great disservice."

No argument here. My and Dyson's argument is that the models are currently not ready for prime time for the reasons I elucidated among many more that could be brought to bear on the efficacy of GCMs. Because one can throw a host of equations at the real world does not mean that the set of the previous has any bearing on the latter. Point in question - Long Term Capital's economic numerical models.

However, the need to improve the modeling efforts does not change the fact that the current status of GCMs in providing some semblance of the real world and conclusions drawn therefrom is greatly lacking any firm basis regarding sound science.

3132  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: February 20, 2012, 01:01:45 PM
" is beginning to prepare for a face-off with [Rick] Santorum, just in case the former Pennsylvania senator captures the Republican nomination. The conventional wisdom among both Democrats and Republicans is that Obama would seek to tear Santorum limb-from-limb with attacks on his positions on abortion, contraception, and, now, prenatal testing."

Absolutely.  CNN and MSNBC are immediately all over this.  I don't recall whether it soloDAD or Kyra Phillips this AM with a sarcastic tone and detectable smug look asked someone about Santorum with, " I hear he is questioning Obama's theology"?

Never do any of these people ever question a peeping thing about Obama or use sarcastic tones and facial expressions.

Could anyone imagine her asking, "I heard Obama said they cling to their religion and guns" with any tone of disrespect?

I have to say though Santorum did not *sound* great defending himself this AM.
3133  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The only new thing is a Presidential election on: February 20, 2012, 10:58:19 AM
The only thing new about Iran and nuclear weapons is the US election.   Nothing has changed.  All along it is obvious they are hell bent on getting them and nothing can stop them short of military force or some unexpected miracle.

The Republicans have sided with Israel on this.  Apparantly Obama is feeling the heat before his election and now he must decide what to do for his own skin - not Israel's.
3134  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs & regulations, spending, deficit, and budget process on: February 19, 2012, 11:39:57 AM
"The tenor of this piece is at considerable variance from GB."

Exactly my thoughts.  That is why I question the veracity or intellectual honesty of the author of the Wikipedia piece.  Based on that piece I question why GB and others (Hannity) hold Sunstein out as a looney liberal.  OTOH are GB and others the ones who are exaggerating?   I doubt they are.  Far more likely the Wikipedia piece is tempered to camouflage the truth.
Just like Obama conceals who he really is.  All the same with liberals.  They cannot tell us what they really think and aspire to.

Not if they want to stay in office unless they are from Barney Frank's (now ANOTHER freakin Kennedy's) or Pelosi's districts.
3135  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Marriage and Family on: February 19, 2012, 11:33:13 AM
Well it is ironic that on one hand we have the gays making a big deal out of gay marriage (I can only wonder if it is all about the money somehow with regards to estates, taxes etc) while at the very same time we have a collapse of the insitution in the heterosexual side of the country. 

Divorce rates over 50%, single parenthood over 50% under age 30 and especially for the blue collars, minorities etc.

I guess one could argue that homosexuals fighting for this "right" is in a way a fight to preseve it as an insitution.

Yet nothing is stopping them from living together, working and the rest.  It has to be either some sort of in your face to the non gay community, or, gays are just as normal as non gays and not just living an alternative lifestyle, or about financial issues that come up related to marriage.  Or a combination thereof.

Who cares anymore when someone is gay?  I am fatigued by all this infatada about marriage, adoption, bullying (for God's sake if I turn on CNN one more time to see Anderson Cooper making a school bullying incident into an international scandal....)... the point is now I feel like I am the one being harrassed.  Yes I know I can change the TV station.
3136  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs/Sunstein on: February 19, 2012, 11:15:06 AM
The Economist has a lot to say about US government *over*regulation in this week's issue.  I saw this article on Cass Sunstein who is decried from the right as a big liberal.   Sunstein is marketed by the WH as being this big government 'spending/cut' Czar.   A lot of smoke and mirrors as one would expect from the Obama WH.  That said not all of Sunstein's opinions are that liberal though his stance on taxes certainly is one of a big liberal government cheerleader (see the Wikipedia piece on him below; I read with some skepticism for the objectivity of what shows up in Wikipedia).   

Certainly in making its analyses the OIRA appears to exaggerates the benefits, and minimize the costs of  any government program the WH wants to promote or conversely cut:

****..Deleting regulations
Of Sunstein and sunsets
Many barriers impede regulatory reform. The poor quality of the laws Congress produces is among the biggest
Feb 18th 2012 | NEW YORK | from the print edition

The busy nudgemeister .
CHEERS greeted Barack Obama’s hiring of Cass Sunstein away from the University of Chicago. Mr Sunstein, a lawyer, now head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, is in charge of lifting the heavy hand of regulation from America’s economy. Known for his clever economics, Mr Sunstein favours a “libertarian paternalism”; policies that nudge, but do not force, people to do the right things. For example, making people opt out instead of opting in to pension plans makes many more sign up, to their benefit. And Mr Sunstein has been involved in redesigning dietary recommendations and fuel-efficiency stickers for cars, making formerly confusing information more useful.

Mr Sunstein is now in charge of overseeing a year-old executive order from Mr Obama telling every agency to slim its rule book. Mr Sunstein says every one has complied, with 580 proposals received from the departments under his purview. (Independent agencies like the Securities and Exchange Commission are not among them.) And he says real savings are on the way. Lifting a requirement for states to require pollution vapour-recovery systems will save $400m in five years. Making it easier for doctors and hospitals to participate in the Medicare programme for the elderly will save $5 billion. He adds that agencies have responded not grudgingly (the old stereotype of bureaucrats loth to surrender cash or power), but eagerly.
But the Obama administration has added to the rule book at the same time as it is trimming. And many of the rules are big: 194 of them, each with an economic impact (not necessarily a net cost) of $100m or more, have been published in the Federal Register. In George Bush’s first three years, 141 hit the books. Even if most have more benefits than costs, as the agencies’ economists calculate, the scope of regulation is not shrinking. The overall cost of regulation is unknown, and measurement controversial. One study for the Small Business Administration found that regulation cost $1.75 trillion a year in 2008, though many object to the analysis. It relies on a methodology, invented at the World Bank, which one of the bank’s researchers says was misused, and Mr Sunstein dismisses it as “an urban myth”.

Meanwhile, the executive agencies are accused of minimising costs by counting only hours spent on paperwork or money spent on kit to comply with regulation. The real costs may be found in the hard-to-calculate perversion of behaviour that over-regulation causes. At the same time, the benefits tallied up by regulators may be overvalued (see article). The agencies calculate their own numbers, using their own methodologies. But what no one doubts is that compliance with the ever-expanding rule book is wearisome and hard.

Furthermore, the politics of removing regulations is harrowing. Each removal must go through the same cumbersome process it took to put the regulation in place: comment periods, internal reviews and constant behind-the-scenes lobbying. Ironically, regulated industries may actually not want regulations removed. They have sunk costs into compliance, and do not want those costs taken away to the benefit of upstart competitors.

Many proposals are floated to deal with this last problem. One, supported by the Republican candidate Mitt Romney, is to remove one regulation for each new one that is proposed. A second idea is to create a truly independent scorer for regulatory costs and benefits, modelled on the widely respected Congressional Budget Office. A third is to create a board of outside grandees to help break political deadlocks, like the Base Realignment and Closure commission, which was able to prod Congress to shut down military bases. And yet another is creating a full-time advocate for regulatory rollback: one state, Kansas, has created an “Office of the Repealer”, which aggregates complaints and suggests repeals to the governor and legislature. Lastly, automatic “sunsets” of laws have their fans, though Congress could mindlessly reauthorise laws gathered up in omnibus bills (and a bitterly divided Congress might allow good laws to lapse).

Finally, one bad idea is the REINS bill. Passed by the House, it would involve Congress more heavily in rule-making. If there is a body worse than the executive agencies at this kind of thing, it is Congress. A 1999 study by the OECD found that poorly written laws, not subsequent rule-writing, were at the heart of America’s regulatory woes. (No one has been foolish enough to suggest that Congress has become wiser since then.) Jim Cooper, a Democratic House member from Tennessee, says of his colleagues: “People vote on things they have not read, do not have the time to read, and cannot read.” He further despairs of the power of special interests to bend Congress’s will: “There is a pimento lobby,” he says of those who fight for the interests of those who grow the small red peppers served inside olives. “You do not want to cross the pimento people.” In such an environment, getting things undone is at least as hard as getting them done, and perhaps harder still.****


More on Cass - he is a dog person  grin:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cass_Sunstein
3137  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / No Mars gold rush in 20"49" on: February 19, 2012, 09:48:46 AM
http://news.discovery.com/space/mars-prospecting-ores-gold.html
3138  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: NASA, Space programs on: February 19, 2012, 09:45:46 AM
I wonder if there is any gold on Mars?   The trip could pay for itself
3139  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Decline, Fall, (and Resurrection?) of America on: February 19, 2012, 09:42:53 AM
Great post BG.  Fascinating discussion.  Lots to talk about.  Just some thoughts:

There is no mention (unless I missed it) of the difference between the nation wrecking entitlements we have in the US compared to China.  Does China face this problem.  Demographically doesn't China have a problem down the road with its one child policy essentially creating a future aging demographic burden  which is I read already an issue in Japan?

The economic interdependence of powers does indeed seem to make the prospect of destructive forms of war less likely.

But what about "soft" war?   (akin to soft power).  For example disabling our military through controlling the electronic brain center.

The people of our country now are far more focused on who is going to pay for the soaring costs health care, their retirements, help for increasing children of single parents, the soaring cost of higher education, etc.

Transfering wealth from those who have more to those who have less is not going to keep this country number one.  WE have become a nanny state.

3140  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Gertrude Stein - unusual and complex on: February 18, 2012, 01:49:53 PM
Certainly I have had some conflicts with my fellow Jews, particularly those who are liberal but nothing like this from one of the first openly lesbian celebrities who was a life long Republican, anti Roosevelt an New Deal dissenter.   Interesting since she was gay and female at a time when that was far more taboo than now.   Yet to nominate Hitler for the Nobel Peace prize in part for ridding Germany of Jews??  Wow. 
What was that all about?   
She later speaks of Roosevelt along with Trotzky, Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin in the same breath.  She certainly sounds like she believed in personal responsibility and freedom of thought and I think, at least later on from government.

****Institute for Historical Review

Gertrude Stein's Complex Worldview
Nobel Peace Prize for Hitler?
By Mark Weber

Scholars of the life of Gertrude Stein were recently startled to learn that in 1938 the prominent Jewish-American writer had spearheaded a campaign urging the Nobel committee to award its Peace Prize to Adolf Hitler. This was disclosed by Gustav Hendrikksen, a former member of the Nobel committee and now professor emeritus of Bible studies at Sweden's Uppsala University, in Nativ, a political magazine published in Israel. (Reports about this appeared in the New York Jewish community weekly Forward, Feb. 2, June 14, and Oct. 25, 1996.)

Hendrikksen, an avowed friend of Israel who is now in his late 80s, recalled that the Nobel committee rejected Stein's proposal "politely but firmly, citing among their reasons the attitude of the Nazi regime toward the Jews."

In the decades before her death in 1946, Stein was a widely acclaimed literary icon. As monarch of the "lost generation" of American expatriates in Paris during the 1920s and 1930s, she cultivated and influenced such literary figures as Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, as well as such artists as Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. Her Paris home was a mecca for writers and artists. Stein's own "modernist" novels, memoirs, lectures and plays -- once celebrated as stylishly avant garde -- have not aged well. Today she is remembered almost as much for who she was as for what she wrote.

Born in Pennsylvania of a wealthy German-Jewish family, she was raised in the United States, and attended Radcliffe and Johns Hopkins universities. But it was during her years of expatriate living in France that she made her lasting mark.

'Hitler Ought to Have the Peace Prize'
Stein's seemingly paradoxical views about Hitler and fascism have never been a secret. As early as 1934, she told a reporter that Hitler should be awarded the Nobel peace prize. "I say that Hitler ought to have the peace prize, because he is removing all the elements of contest and of struggle from Germany. By driving out the Jews and the democratic and Left element, he is driving out everything that conduces to activity. That means peace ... By suppressing Jews ... he was ending struggle in Germany" (New York Times Magazine, May 6, 1934).

As astonishing at it may seem today, in 1938 many credited Hitler for his numerous efforts to secure lasting peace in Europe on the basis of equal rights of nations. After assuming power in 1933, he succeeded in quickly establishing friendly relations with Poland, Italy, Hungary, and several other European nations. Among his numerous initiatives to lessen tensions in Europe, the German leader offered detailed proposals for mutual reductions of armaments by the major powers.

In a 1940 essay, Stein wrote positively of the appointment of "collaborationist" Henri Philippe Petain as France's Chief of State, comparing him to George Washington. As late as 1941, she was urging the Atlantic Monthly to publish speeches by Marshal Petain, which she had translated into English. In spite of her background, Stein continued to live and write in France during the years of German occupation (1940-1944).

She also maintained a friendship with Bernard Fay, who headed France's national library, the Bibliotheque Nationale, during the Petain era. According to a new biography of Stein, Favored Strangers: Gertrude Stein and Her Family, by Linda Wagner-Martin, Fay and Stein often discussed "the Führer's qualities of greatness" in the years before the outbreak of war in 1939. Even after the war, when he was convicted as a collaborationist, Stein and her close companion Alice Toklas remained good friends with Fay and lobbied to free him from prison.

Conflicted Sense of Jewishness
Like many of this century's Jewish American intellectuals, Stein's relationship to her own Jewishness was complex and conflicted. She was sensitive to anti-Jewish sentiment, and sometimes expressed criticism of Hitler. In 1936 she wrote: "There is too much fathering going on just now and there is no doubt about it fathers are depressing. Everybody now-a-days is a father, there is father Mussolini and father Hitler and father Roosevelt and father Stalin and father Trotzky ..."

Estranged from the organized Jewish community, in part because of her eccentricity and lesbianism, she nevertheless retained an acute and proud sense of her Jewishness. According to Wagner-Martin, Stein once said, "all men of genius had Jewish blood," and even developed a theory that Abraham Lincoln was part Jewish.

During the first decade of this century, Stein became enamored of Austrian-Jewish psychologist and philosopher Otto Weininger, whose major work, Geschlecht und Charakter ("Sex and Character"), had tremendous influence on European thinking. Following its first publication in 1903, the book was quickly translated into various languages, and went through 30 editions. Weininger contrasted the masculine "Being" of Aryanism and Christianity with the feminine "non-Being" of Judaism. Jesus was the only Jew to overcome Judaism, he argued. Zionism, in Weininger's view, is the negation of Judaism, because it seeks to ennoble what cannot be ennobled. Whereas Judaism stands for the world dispersion of Jews, Zionism strives for their ingathering.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
From The Journal of Historical Review, Sept-Oct. 1997 (Vol. 16, No. 5), pp. 22 ff.
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3141  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Mayo Proceedings psychiatrist on marijuana on: February 18, 2012, 11:02:06 AM
I received free a copy of the journal.  I glanced through a somewhat long article but have not spent the time reading it.

This physician supports the use of it for medical purposes.  I am not convinced we need another psychoactive drug out there.  OTOH it is out there anyway I guess.   Here he is giving a 10 minute chat about it:

http://www.scivee.tv/node/39225
3142  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: February 18, 2012, 08:59:18 AM
Drudge reporting "sources" in the WH now saying military action against Iran now "more" likely.

Give me a break.  If this is not now the tail wagging the dog!

After all this suddenly the WH has decided sanctions are not working.

Throw the Jews/Israel under the bus.  Now he needs them and their donations.   Suddenly the picture has changed.

I am all for helping Israel.  But at the expense of another four years of this guy....

Democrats will stop at nothing.
3143  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender, Gay, Lesbian on: February 17, 2012, 04:17:08 PM
"Why not polygamy/polyandry as well?"

GM,
Why stop there?  Why not just take it to the end game -
Why even have marriage altogether?

Just abolish it.  We have divorce at over 50%.  We have all these people fooling around.   We have children of single or unmarried parents all over the place.

Now gays are hoisting their agenda on the rest of us.

Perhaps we could tax individuals more and stop deductions, so the State would be happy to rid of marriage.

Just get rid of it.  It is nealy meaningless or going in that direction every day anyway.

We celebrate celebrities who have kids out of wedlock.  We celebrate gays having children.  We see everyone and their uncle so to speak having affairs (JFK with a teenager and running the WH like a Damn personal brothel)

I can go on.

Just get rid of the antiquated and fast becoming worthless institution.

So a few "chapels" on the Vegas strip will go out of business.
3144  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender, Gay, Lesbian on: February 17, 2012, 01:14:17 PM
Bigdog says,

"Moreover, in some areas of civil rights, such as handicapped, special accommodations are exactly what they are entitled to.  Ramps, tutors, Braille books, sound emitting cross walk signals?  Gay rights, like race and handicapped, are civil rights questions."

Specifically,

"special accommodations are exactly what they are entitled to"

Wow.   We are forced to accomodate to disabilities because of laws passed for compassionate reasons.  Yes all of us can become disabled at any time.   The problem is the word "entitlement".  There is NO end to extrapolation of using this word to endless areas of our society our culture.

The left has used this word in no small way to ever increase entitlements (and the government to enforce it - and the costs of others to pay for it) endlessly.

There is still no end in sight.  And there will not be.  Not unitl the entire world all 7 billion of us are exactly the same.
3145  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Napolitano on: February 17, 2012, 11:45:26 AM
Beck gone now Napolitano.   Ratings are down I guess.  Truthfully it seems like these shows will only appeal to certains groups and go only so far.   I say with disappointment that the strict conservative message is not going to get us the independents.  Just won't happen.  It is just too late, like it or not.

Proof in point, the country's "greatest generation" is now the country's biggest "entitlement generation" - by FAR.  Medicare and SS alone will bankrupt us while the politicians and the few who control the world economy continue their shell game.

In any case back to Freedom Watch:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/14/andrew-napolitano-fans-fox-email_n_1276468.html
3146  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The electoral process, vote fraud, SEIU/ACORN et al, corruption etc. on: February 17, 2012, 10:01:56 AM
I saw this last night.

Yes.   One has to wonder are there the result of incompetence, honest mistakes, or outright bribes or just political operatives doing stuff for their guy?

We will never know.

Romney has money.
3147  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: February 16, 2012, 07:43:35 PM
"The Obama Farewell Speech of 2012" grin

I wouldn't put it past him to pull a "Cleveland" in 2016. shocked
3148  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Chinese buying lots of gold on: February 16, 2012, 07:39:30 PM
I don't know if this accounts for the price but China is buying large amounts.  Indians are buying too though I don't know if as much:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/gordonchang/2012/01/29/why-are-the-chinese-buying-record-quantities-of-gold/
3149  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender, Gay, Lesbian on: February 16, 2012, 03:17:30 PM
For those of you who want to spend time reading 29 pages of this "study" which has a lot diatribing in it while in the same paper admits that actual research looking into the this is "scant" one can knock yourself out here:

http://www.psychology.org.au/Assets/Files/LGBT-Families-Lit-Review.pdf

So the authors blab and blab and blab at some points saying certain things are "well established" and later contradicting the whole thing with there is scant evidence.

It reminds me of "field" of  graphology wherein people claim to be ble to determine a person's personality from their handwriting.

A retired FBI documents examiner explained that he reviewed the books written on the subject and concluded there was no scientific continuity.  They all used different criteria and had different conclusions.


3150  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender, Gay, Lesbian on: February 16, 2012, 02:42:07 PM
"Actually nearly all the national medical groups agree (I wouldn't call them "progressive special interest groups")"

I am not sure who does these kinds of studies but it is more likely they are gay researchers with an agenda than conservatives trying to advance their conservative values.

That said I don't know whether it is harmful or not.

I am not sure why anyone would care enough to spend time and money unless gay and that would bias the study.

 
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