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3351  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: May 31, 2009, 12:58:16 PM
Where I am patients are triaged.  Waits for the true emergencies are low but when the ED is busy some could wait for hours.
I don't see any other way.
All our lives are going to be nothing more than following mandates.
For doctors it already is that way, but it will get worse.

You should only use so much electricity, water, sugar, gas, oil, than the government hopes you do use more because then they can tax you/us.

Flush more than once per day per person per household then more can be confiscated.
Pelosi wants to inventory "everything".

I assume there will be a tax for too much TV, sitting, blogging, message boards.  Hey if your not walking your fat.  We tax for cigarettes alcohol why not for each pound you are over a certain BMI?

A National sales tax is coming. 

On and on.  Crafty you are so right.  We are totally screwed.
3352  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: May 31, 2009, 12:49:17 PM
France's President Nicolas Sarkozy in October 2008 proposed a brilliant formulation. He said: "The financial crisis is not the crisis of capitalism. It is the crisis of a system that has distanced itself from the most fundamental values of capitalism, which betrayed the spirit of capitalism."

Sarkozy said this?

Interesting a European is looking to the right.  And the President we are stuck with is and always has been looking the other way.
3353  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: May 29, 2009, 10:20:13 AM
I was wrong. I thought the Clintons would control BO especially with many of his staff having been for them in the past.

****THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING CLINTONS
By Dick Morris 05.28.2009 Published on TheHill.com on May 26,2009

Asked why he was naming some of his rivals to top administration jobs, President Lyndon B. Johnson said it best: “I’d rather have them inside the tent pissing out than outside pissing in.” President Obama seems to echo Johnson’s management style in his handling of Bill and Hillary Clinton. By bringing them into his inner circle, he has marginalized them both and sharply reduced their freedom of action.


It may appear odd to describe a secretary of State as marginalized, but Obama has surrounded Hillary with his people and carved up her jurisdiction geographically. Former Sen. George Mitchell (D-Maine) is in charge of Arab-Israeli relations. Dennis Ross has Iran. Former U.N. Ambassador Dick Holbrooke has Pakistan and Afghanistan. And Hillary has to share her foreign policy role on the National Security Council (NSC) with Vice President Biden, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, CIA chief Leon Panetta, and NSC staffer Samantha Powers (who once called Hillary a “monster”).

With peers who are competitors and subordinates who can deal directly with the president, Hillary is reduced to announcing foreign aid packages for Pakistan while Holbrooke does the heavy lifting.

Part of Hillary’s problem is the institutional shrinking of the State Department. During the Bush years, while war raged, the Defense Department became more relevant to the conduct of foreign policy. And, under Obama, the financial crisis has propelled the Treasury into the forefront. State, with its emphasis on traditional diplomacy, has been forced to take a back seat. Even though Obama appointed Hillary, he clearly has not been willing to make her a co-president and confines her to the diminished role of her department.

For his part, Bill Clinton has been asked to be a special envoy to Haiti. Yes, Haiti. Obama’s predecessor asked the former president to orchestrate the response to the Asian tsunami and then to Hurricane Katrina. Obama gives him Haiti.

Meanwhile, both Clintons are effectively muzzled and cannot criticize Obama even as he reverses President Clinton’s free market proclivities and budget balancing discipline. Hillary, the supposed friend of Israel, must sit by quietly and watch Iran get the bomb while trying all the while to stop Israel from preventing it.

Bill can’t even make money. Denied the ability to accept speeches from foreign governments or their organs and fenced out of continuing his profitable relationship with the Emir of Dubai, he and his wife must accept the loss of the $13 million they spent on her campaign and sit by passively, unable to earn the money to replace it.

Just as Lincoln buried his rivals Seward, Chase and Stanton in the Cabinet and then on the Supreme Court, and Wilson buried Bryan at the State Department, so Obama has hidden his predecessor and his rival in plain sight at the upper reaches of the government.

How long will Hillary subject herself to this discipline? Likely as long as Obama is popular. Should his ratings fade, she might move away from the president and could even consider a primary contest against him in 2012. But while he is on top of his game, she’ll stay loyal.

But she is shrinking by the day. Once Obama’s equal — and before that his superior — she now looks tiny compared to the president. She doesn’t look like a president in waiting; she’s more like a senior staff member hoping to rise in the bureaucracy. No longer at the head of a movement or the symbol of rising women all over the world, she has faded into the State Department woodwork. She is much less visible than her predecessors Henry Kissinger, George Schultz, James Baker, Madeleine Albright or Condi Rice. She is even less in the public eye than was Al Haig during his one-year tenure. One has to go back to the likes of Warren Christopher or William Rogers to find a secretary of State as far down the totem poll. This diminished status has got to grate on her and on him. But they are trapped in Obama’s web and cannot easily escape.****
3354  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: May 29, 2009, 10:06:36 AM
And the dems said Bush was cocky?Huh

He's no Ronald Reagan.  Remember how Reagan got a lot done with *opposition* parties in both houses.

This guy is cruising through with essentially super majorities from the same party and an adoring news media who are of the same party persuasion:



Obama in L.A.: 'You ain't seen nothing yet' 
By Sam Youngman 
Posted: 05/27/09 11:51 PM [ET] 
LOS ANGELES — Even as he conceded there is still much hard work to do, President Obama was in a boastful mood Wednesday night, telling a star-studded crowd at a fundraising dinner that he "would put these first four months up against any prior administration since FDR."

The president, speaking to a dinner that included Hollywood A-listers like Kiefer Sutherland, Marisa Tomei, Jamie Foxx, Ron Howard and Steven Spielberg, lauded the legislation he has signed since taking office but added that he is "not satisfied."



 "I'm confident in the future, but I'm not yet content," Obama said.

The celebrity dinner, which cost couples $30,400 to attend, was followed by a larger, lower-dollar concert that all told raised between $3 million and $4 million for the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

Joining the celebrities feting Obama were Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Republican-turned-Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.), "the newest member of our caucus."

Obama was introduced by Dreamworks CEO and longtime Democratic donor Jeffrey Katzenberg. The president thanked Katzenberg, saying: "If it weren't for you, we would not be in the White House."

The trip here came on the heels of a fundraising jaunt to Las Vegas to raise about $2 million for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), according to aides.

The president, while seeking to bolster his record as president so far, warned both audiences that significant challenges lie ahead.



 At the concert, headlined by Jennifer Hudson and Earth, Wind and Fire, Obama responded to an audience member yelling, "Yes we can" by saying, "Yes we have. But we've got more work to do. We can't rest on our laurels.

"We didn't ask for the challenges that we face, but we don't shrink from them either," he said. "It won't be easy. There will be setbacks. It will take time."

The president conceded that his administration "had our fits and starts."

"I've made some mistakes, and I guarantee you I'll make some more," he said.

But Obama said in promising to continue to work hard, "Los Angeles, you ain't seen nothing yet."

Obama also lauded Judge Sonia Sotomayor, his pick to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice David Souter, repeating his line that she has more experience than anyone currently sitting on the bench when they were nominated.

He joked at the second fundraiser that she graduated summa cum laude, "not just magna or laude laude, but summa cum laude."

Obama is scheduled to leave for Washington early Thursday morning.
 
3355  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: May 28, 2009, 03:02:41 PM
"Why is obama marginalizing Israel?? he is going to force them to hit iran."

I was asking one of my patients who is Israeli about his thoughts on the Middle East:

"very bad, very very bad".

When I asked him about Iran,

"We have no choice but to hit Iran".

He added,

"I didn't vote for him but Bush was behind Israel 100%".

I guess he voted for Obama because I asked him why then are so many Jews for BO.  He just looked away.

He said Israel will wipe out all of Irans nucs but it will "take a million lives" with it.

I said how ironic the victoms of thousands of years of oppression (egyptians, hittites, babylonians, philistines, assyrians, persians, romans, most european countries, turks, and probably a dozen more) and the holocaust will now be put in the position of having to do this.

He said with a nod, "thank you" on that thought.

If and after they do this -

We know the world will of course blame the Jews, once again, or rather, as they always have.

BOs popularity will probably go up.  And that is what he is all about - staying high in the polls so he can rearrange the wealth of this country and in so doing make us weaker not stronger.

And the duped liberal Jews will of course make all sorts of excuses for him.








3356  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / or on: May 26, 2009, 12:05:14 PM
water boarding grin
3357  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: May 26, 2009, 09:50:35 AM
I believe BO is resgined to a nuclear Iran.
His comment about giving talks another year is a joke.

It is probably already too late.
Bush was hamstrung by politics.  If Rumsfeld and Cheney did not lose their political power this might very well have been dealt with before the Iranians had years to dig in.

BO is selling Israel down the river.  No surprise there. 
Ironic so many liberal Jews are helping him do it.





3358  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / credit card companies on: May 22, 2009, 05:59:29 PM
Couldn't agree more:

OBAMA’S CREDIT CARD REFORM IS A FRAUD
By Dick Morris And Eileen McGann 05.22.2009 The widely heralded credit card reform legislation making its way through Congress is a sellout to the credit card companies. Obama has proposed and Congress has passed a series of minor reforms that deal with the fringes of the problem - late billings, retroactive interest rate hikes, misapplication of payments and such - but fail to reform the most basic offense of the companies: their usury.

Congress explicitly rejected any limitation on the interest rate credit card companies can charge. It remains perfectly legal for them to charge rates that would make a loan shark blush.
In our book Fleeced, we explain how, until 1979, credit card interest was subject to usury limits of the various states. But the Supreme Court emasculated these limits by ruling that the state of the lender, not of the borrower, had the sole power to legislate interest rate limits. South Dakota swiftly jumped into the void the Court created, eliminating any usury limits. All the credit card companies moved there and took advantage of the regulatory vacuum to hike up their rates to unconscionable levels.

Competition can do nothing to force down rates since 90% of the credit cards are issued by a handful of companies. And states are paralyzed when it comes to regulating rates.

It is up to Congress to act. Yet the credit card companies’ massive campaign donations succeeded in buying off enough Democrats and virtually all the Republicans to kill any limits on interest rates. So companies can continue to charge basic rates of 18 percent and then up to 30 percent as punishment for minor offenses like being a few days late in making payments.

But Obama and his Democratic allies are loudly proclaiming their success in fighting for the consumer despite their failure to use their majorities to afford any real protection form usurious interest rates.

Congress should have legislated a ceiling on regular interest rates limiting them to five points above prime and on punitive rates requiring them to be no more than ten points above prime. But Obama and the Democrats (and, of course, the Republicans) caved into the special interests and left out any interest rate controls.

The high rates charged by credit card companies obviously do a great deal to impede consumer spending and drive families into bankruptcy. The average credit card balance for those who have such debt is over $13,000. A 30 percent interest rate means more than $300 per month in interest payments alone!

It is cruel to see Obama offering the illusion of hope for credit card victims while denying them real relief.
3359  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: May 22, 2009, 11:24:16 AM
I've come to the conclusion that BO is the most dishonest President in my adult lifetime.
Only rivaling him in this regard would of course be Clinton.

Once his poll ratings drop we might start to hear the MSM actually call him on the incredible incongruities of his speeches and waht is actually happening. 
 
Until then, he is adored and we continue to get screwed by him and his anti America socialist gang.
3360  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: May 22, 2009, 09:39:50 AM
"There is a Palestinian nation and an Israeli nation, and I care about both sides"

Unfortunately I doubt this is a majority opinion of most Palestinians.  It probably is from the Israeli point of view though I can't say for sure.

If it was we wouldn't be having Jews fighting for their lives.
3361  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / slight corrections to previous post on: May 21, 2009, 08:04:40 PM
One size or style or brand is best for all medical practice types or goals.

Correction: "is NOT best"

"Not least of which has been mentioned - gathering, monitoring, surveillancing health records for multiple imaginable purposes including but limited to control over

Correction:  "but NOT limited to"

Sorry. Sometimes I post without re reading and checking the language like I should.
3362  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: May 21, 2009, 07:58:03 PM
JDN,
Thanks for your response.
I agree that it seems classier and better for those who are no longer in office not to criticize those still in or those who replaced them.
But the continued visciousness of BO and the rest is unprecedented in my memory. 
Certainly Cheney would not be doing this if not for the unending, and nastiness of the attacks persisting long after BO and the Dems won.
3363  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: May 21, 2009, 03:51:41 PM
"if I recollect immediately after losing the election, he didn't spend his energy trying to be in the limelight criticizing the Republican Party or the new President."

oh really?

I don't recall previous Presidents along with their legislative hound dogs attacking mercilessly predecessor Presidents and VPs.
I don't other PRes. going around the world and mocking to the world our previous leaders.

I don't recall other Pres. allowing "criminal like invesigations" into policies they disagree with - even after they won the Presidency.

I say good for Cheney to speak up.  Why he should just fade away and let Bama and Pelosi and the rest destroy his integrity - over what?  For doing what was necessary to keep us safe?
 
3364  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: May 21, 2009, 03:46:15 PM
"Private insurance would face a host of new regulations, including a requirement to insure all applicants and a prohibition on pricing premiums on the basis of risk."

Personally I think it is necessary that insurance be available to all regardless of pre-existing conditions.  In reality many of these people go onto disability because that is the only way they can get medical care.  Or those who don't qualify wind up using more care down the road.

I do think that providing insurance to some should also come with the requirement that are partners in keeing costs down.  They follow doctors suggestions, at least make efforts to quit smoking, lose weight, take their medicines.  So I am not as sure that I agree with prohibition of pricing based on risk though - perhaps based on patient contribution to their own health and well being perhaps.

"Subsidies would be available to help middle-income people purchase insurance, while government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid would be expanded."

I dont know enough to commment on the merits of this.  But we all know that some of us will be bearing the extra burden of paying for these things.  Why is that fair?

"Finally, the government would subsidize and manage the development of a national system of electronic medical records."

There are so many vendors with so many products not all of which are compatible.  One size or style or brand is best for all medical practice types or goals.

I am not even sure how cost/benefit ratios work out for these.  But it is as inevitable as the internet is in general.
I am not electronic in my office.  I don't mind the government helping us subsidize this if it must be done.
But like anything the gov grants us it comes with strings attached.  Not least of which has been mentioned - gathering, monitoring, surveillancing health records for multiple imaginable purposes including but limited to control over delivery of care, outcomes data, rationing, delivery and following the adherence to "guidelines" ( to be developed by the big liberals in medical care at Yale and Harvard - many who are PhDs - not MDs), controlling and redirecting payments to providers based on their behavior as deemed appropriate not by them or their patients but by the bamas of the world.
3365  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The evil empire was us.The world according.2.Jeff Sachs on: May 19, 2009, 02:23:08 PM
Feingold Blocks Bill to Honor Reagan
By Jackie Kucinich
Roll Call Staff
May 19, 2009, 12 a.m.
Republicans are trying to pass legislation in the next few weeks to kick off the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s birth, and the only hurdle appears to be Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), who is refusing to let the Senate vote on the bill.

Yesterday I was at a commencement at Lehigh and the speaker was Jeff Sachs the ultra liberal author economist.

He spoke about world poverty and world climate change.  Fair enough. Then he got political.  Jimmy Carter started to promote solar unitl Reagan came along and mocked Carter.   Reagan then elevated our military presence in the Persian Gulf to open up the oil spigets that sent us on the planetary suicidal mission of destroying our planet, increasing war in the middle east, keeping us energy dependent all the while destroying hopes for world peace, the end of starvation, ignorance, and poverty, through US imperialism and world domination.

He implied we thus had Somalia, drought and the persistance of all the ills of the world and our collision course with the world population explosion was all due to Reagan's wrong headed theories. So for the last thirty years we were on the wrong trajectory.
The whole concept of "country" and culture is Midieval(sp?).

These are the kinds of people running America today.
To them, Reagan is a destroyer of worlds.


 

3366  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: May 19, 2009, 09:16:22 AM
JDN - that's it in a nutshell.  Speaking of vitual colonoscopy the imaging lobbyists who were set to make a bundle doing this test were of course outraged it was not approved for reimbursement by Medicare.  Of course it is all in the goal of better patient care.
And of course the gastroenterologist who may (or may not) lose out were delighted in the name of patient care that it was not approved.  Who does one believe?
Bottom line your right.  We either ration care, or we don't provide care to all, or/and we go broke.

And who does Gottlieb work for now?

"Medicare Shoots Down Virtual Colonoscopy Reimbursement (GE, SI)
Posted: May 12, 2009 at 4:26 pm

Today was a big day for the world of colonoscopies and the battle in detecting colon cancer and polyps.  The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a final decision that Medicare would not cover the reimbursement for virtual colonoscopies.  This is a blow for the medical imaging sector, particularly for leaders such as General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) and Siemens AG (NYSE: SI).  This is also a blow in the battle for detecting of polyps or early stages of colon cancer.

The CMS noted in its memo, “The evidence is inadequate to conclude that CT colonography is an appropriate colorectal cancer screening test….  CT colonography for colorectal cancer screening remains noncovered.”

Whether you have to get a colonoscopy done the old fashioned way or virtually it still requires the material you have to consume to clear out the bowels.  The difference of a virtual or traditional method is rather simple.  The CT machine scan is a relatively non-invasive procedure besides an ingestion of a chemical marker and requires no real sedation followed by a CT/MRI scan.  For the traditional exam, sedation is required and a fiber optic camera on a flexible tube is inserted through the anus and snaked up all the way through your intestine.  Guess which one is more desirable if you are the patient.

Detecting colon cancer while it is a mere polyp or in the very early stages is far better from a cost-basis, a quality of life basis, and on the basis of what is a better use of the medical system.  The belief is that there would be many more colonoscopies conducted if this was approved in a virtual manner, and in theory much fewer colon cancer cases.  The downside to the virtual colonoscopy is that if polyps (or worse are detected, then a traditional colonoscopy and then whatever procedure would be required anyhow.

This is perhaps one of the first tests of what may or may not be coming down the pipe with the new healthcare system, yet this decision may be independent of any of the comparisons between the healthcare system of today versus the system of tomorrow.  Some form of universal healthcare is much more likely than ever.  That will be a welcome wagon for the army of uninsured or underinsured Americans.  For the rest of us we all really want to know what the new system will really be, and what sort of service we can expect.

When it comes to old fashioned colonoscopies versus the virtual colonoscopies, the CMS just said “Up Yours!”… Quite literally in this case."

3367  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: May 18, 2009, 07:43:17 PM
I really don't have answers and was not playing coy.  It is that complicated.  Gottlieb it seems to me makes a lot of assumptions.
Some of his solutions are experimental.
Some doctors would do better if more people were covered, not worse.
I guess it depends on the saturation of doctors in the area.
Not many doctors could survive on cash only practices. No one would show up.
Or this one, Medicare's incentives are wrong.  Payments increase for those who stay sick.
Well of course.  The more one's legal problems persist the more one pays lawyers.  The more one's house falls apart the more we spend fixing it.
Were talking chronic progressives diseases.  Not problems that can be fixed forever in most instances.
Or pay based on outcomes?  Every human being and every situation is unique.

What about this one:

"The Burr-Coburn legislation notes that roughly 75 percent of American health-care expenditures go toward the treatment of five chronic but “largely preventable” diseases, and it would give states new incentives to lower the rates of these diseases. The bill would boost health-education efforts."

So is this implying if we live healthier 75% of health care costs could go away?

What kind of a statement is this?

Has this guy ever heard of aging?

I don't know.  The more I read about opinions on what should be done the more I think no one has a clue.


3368  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: May 15, 2009, 10:26:59 AM
The guy who is applauding and with Dem houses is responsible for the largest speding bills in our hsitory says this and the MSM (except for fox and talk radio) sits back and lets him get away with this:

****By Roger Runningen and Hans Nichols

May 14 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama, calling current deficit spending “unsustainable,” warned of skyrocketing interest rates for consumers if the U.S. continues to finance government by borrowing from other countries.

“We can’t keep on just borrowing from China,” Obama said at a town-hall meeting in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, outside Albuquerque. “We have to pay interest on that debt, and that means we are mortgaging our children’s future with more and more debt.”

Holders of U.S. debt will eventually “get tired” of buying it, causing interest rates on everything from auto loans to home mortgages to increase, Obama said. “It will have a dampening effect on our economy.”

Earlier this week, the Obama administration revised its own budget estimates and raised the projected deficit for this year to a record $1.84 trillion, up 5 percent from the February estimate. The revision for the 2010 fiscal year estimated the deficit at $1.26 trillion, up 7.4 percent from the February figure. The White House Office of Management and Budget also projected next year’s budget will end up at $3.59 trillion, compared with the $3.55 trillion it estimated previously.

Two weeks ago, the president proposed $17 billion in budget cuts, with plans to eliminate or reduce 121 federal programs. Republicans ridiculed the amount, saying that it represented one-half of 1 percent of the entire budget. They noted that Obama is seeking an $81 billion increase in other spending.

Entitlement Programs

In his New Mexico appearance, the president pledged to work with Congress to shore up entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare. He also said he was confident that the House and Senate would pass health-care overhaul bills by August.

“Most of what is driving us into debt is health care, so we have to drive down costs,” he said.

Obama prodded Congress to pass restrictions on credit-card issuers, saying consumers need “strong and reliable” protection from unfair practices and hidden fees.

“It’s time for reform that’s built on transparency, accountability, and mutual responsibility, values fundamental to the new foundation we seek to build for our economy,” the president said.

Obama called on Congress to send to him by May 25 a bill that would clamp down on what he says are sudden rate increases, unfair penalties and hidden fees. He also wants the measure to strengthen monitoring of credit-card companies.

House Bill

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the credit-card bill last month after adding a provision requiring banks to apply consumers’ payments to balances with the highest interest rates first. The bill also imposes limits on card interest rates and fees.

The Senate continued debating its version of the bill today. It would require credit-card companies to give 45 days’ notice before increasing an interest rate. It would prohibit retroactive rate increases on existing balances unless a consumer was 60 days late with a payment.

The president said Americans have been hooked on their credit cards and share some blame for the current system. “We have been complicit in these problems,” he said. “We have to change how we operate. These practices have only grown worse in the midst of this recession.”

The American Bankers Association, which represents card issuers, has warned lawmakers and the Obama administration against taking punitive action or setting requirements that are too stringent. Doing so, the lobby group says, would limit consumer credit and worsen a credit crunch.

Obama said that restrictions “shouldn’t diminish consumers’ access to credit.”

Uncollectible Debt

Uncollectible credit-card debt rose to 8.82 percent in February, the most in the 20 years that Moody’s Investors Service Inc. has kept records. Lawmakers have said they’re under increasing pressure from constituents to respond to rising interest rates and abrupt changes to consumers’ accounts.

Obama held a White House meeting last month with executives from the credit-card industry, including representatives from Bank of America Corp. and American Express Co. Afterward, he told reporters that credit-card issuers should be prohibited from imposing “unfair” rate increases on consumers and should offer the public credit terms that are easier to understand.

“The days of any time, any increase, anything goes -- rate hike, late fees -- that must end,” Obama said today at Rio Rancho High School. We’re going to require clarity and transparency from now on.”

He also said the steps he has taken to stimulate the economy and start the debate on overhauling the health-care system are beginning to take effect.

‘Beginning to Turn’

“We’ve got a long way to go before we put this recession behind us,” Obama said. “But we do know that the gears of our economy, our economic engine, are slowly beginning to turn.”

Taking questions from the audience, Obama repeated his stance that he wants legislation to overhaul the health-care system finished before the end of the year, saying it is vital to the economy.

Health-care costs are driving up the nation’s debt and burdening entitlement programs such as Medicare, the government- run insurance program for those 65 and older and the disabled.

The programs’ trustees reported May 13 that the Social Security trust fund will run out of assets in 2037, four years sooner than forecast, and Medicare’s hospital fund will run dry by 2017, two years earlier than predicted a year ago.****
3369  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: May 15, 2009, 10:19:23 AM
I disagree with most of this.
3370  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / FYI, Another forgotten plague on: May 13, 2009, 07:49:47 PM
"the Little Ice Age kicked off with the Great Famine of 1315.  Crops failed due to cold temperatures and incessant rain.  Desperate and starving, parents ate their children, and people dug up corpses from graves for food.  In jails, inmates instantly set upon new prisoners and ate them alive.

The Great Famine was followed by the Black Death, the greatest disaster ever to hit the human race"

While no one will ever now for sure of course, an earlier plague could have been evern worse.  Know as the plague of Justinian, a Byzantine emperor who were it not for this plague that killed him and perhaps 100 million others might have actually revived the Roman empire between 500 and 600 AD (This was on I think "Lost Worlds" an interesting cable science show):



****Plague of Justinian
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The Plague of Justinian was a pandemic that afflicted the Byzantine Empire, including its capital Constantinople, in the years 541–542 AD. The most commonly accepted cause of the pandemic is bubonic plague, which later became infamous for either causing or contributing to the Black Death of the 14th century. Its social and cultural impact is comparable to that of the Black Death. In the views of 6th century Western historians, it was nearly worldwide in scope, striking central and south Asia, North Africa and Arabia, and Europe as far north as Denmark and as far west as Ireland. The plague would return with each generation throughout the Mediterranean basin until about 750. The plague would also have a major impact on the future course of European history. Modern historians named it after the Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian I, who was in power at the time and himself contracted the disease.
The outbreak may have originated in Ethiopia or Egypt and moved northward until it reached metropolitan Constantinople. The city imported massive amounts of grain to feed its citizens—mostly from Egypt—and grain ships may have been the original source of contagion, with the massive public granaries nurturing the rat and flea population.

The Byzantine historian Procopius records that, at its peak, the plague was killing 10,000 people in Constantinople every day, although the accuracy of this figure is in question and the true number will probably never be known for sure; what is known is that there was no room to bury the dead, and bodies were being left stacked in the open. The Byzantine Emperor Justinian I ensured that new legislation was swiftly enacted so as to deal more efficiently with the glut of inheritance suits being brought as a result of the plague deaths (Moorhead, J., 1994).

Justinian had expended huge amounts of money for wars against the Vandals in the Carthage region and the Ostrogoth Kingdom of Italy. He had also dedicated significant funds to the construction of great churches like the Hagia Sophia. Amidst these great expenditures, the plague's effects on tax revenue were disastrous. As the plague spread to port cities around the Mediterranean, it gave the struggling Goths new opportunities in their conflict with Constantinople. The plague weakened the Byzantine Empire at the critical point at which Justinian's armies had nearly wholly retaken Italy and could have credibly reformed the Western Roman Empire. It also may have contributed to the success of the Arabs a few generations later in the Byzantine-Arab Wars.[1]

The long term effects on European and Christian history were enormous. Justinian's gambit was ultimately unsuccessful. The overextended troops could not hold on. When the plague subsided, they were able to retake Italy but not to move further north. They held it for the remainder of Justinian's life, but the empire quickly lost it after he died. Italy was decimated by war and fragmented for centuries as the Lombard tribes invaded the north.
Ancient historians did not hold to modern standards of fact-checking or numerical accuracy. The actual number of deaths will always be uncertain. Modern scholars believe that the plague killed up to 5,000 people per day in Constantinople at the peak of the pandemic. It ultimately killed perhaps 40% of the city's inhabitants. The initial plague went on to destroy up to a quarter of the human population of the eastern Mediterranean. New, frequent waves of the plague continued to strike throughout the 6th, 7th and 8th centuries AD, often more localized and less virulent. It is estimated that the Plague of Justinian killed as many as 100 million people across the world.[2][3] Some historians such as Josiah C. Russell (1958) have suggested a total European population loss of 50 to 60% between 541 and 700.[4]

After 750, major epidemic diseases would not appear again in Europe until the Black Death of the 14th century.****
3371  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: May 13, 2009, 07:35:16 PM
Frankly I don't believe for a second that BO changed course on the relese of the alleged torture pictures because he was concerned about the safety of our troops.  It seems far more likely to me this was his excuse to back out because of the exposure it would lead to his buddy liberal dems who knew and supported enhanced interrogation techniques from day one.

No question BO was left with a mess.  I think he is turning a mess into a disaster.
Now if only Repubs can groom some smart communicators.
I cannot be convinced though that simply saying less taxes, get out of the way and let the chips fall where they may is going to attract new people away from a party that promises everything for nothing.



3372  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / fascinating.eom on: May 13, 2009, 07:13:57 PM
eom
3373  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Anti-semitism & Jews on: May 12, 2009, 12:37:05 PM
With regards to Buchanan he has also been supporter of Israel's existence.
I can't seem to find any online evidence of him respoding to these criticisms though there is a lot about his comments over the years but more in the past (pre2000).  I would like to hear him respond now about it.

JDN's post about the difference with pointing out a truth that most studio heads in Hollywood may be Jewish is not the same as being anti semitic IMO.

As a Jew I am also comfortable saying that many Jews are the architects behind the big liberal Democrat machines such as the Clinton and Bama expresses.

I am dismayed that my fellow Jews think this is smart and so good for this country.
I've wanted but never took the time to ask radio host Mark Levin why he thinks this is so.
Being a strict Jewish conservative (not common) I would be interested in his take.
We have discussed this on this forum before and I have my theories.

I don't hate liberal Jews for being Jewish but I do hate that liberal Jews think that way. 
There is no changing their minds. 

One can be critical of Israel and or that Jews put Israel before America without being anti semitic.  But it is hard to be clear of motives of such ciritics.  And OTOHI can understand their sensitivities.   I mean Jews have for centuries been the object of oppression.  It often started as simple criticism.  Later to pogrums, inquisitions, and genocide.   
3374  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: May 12, 2009, 10:51:45 AM
"and limit government management over what are inherently personal transactions between doctors and patients"

One other thought.

Ther real question is thus should private insurance carriers limit care or government?

That is the "to be or not to be question" at the bottom line.

So who would one rather have limiting or controlling care?  Private insurance administrators or government bureaucrats?

Personally I don't have a fondness for either.
3375  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: May 12, 2009, 08:59:53 AM
Isn't this the same Gottleib who wrote a biotech newsletter for Gilder?

"Among the promising examples of private innovation in health-care delivery: In Pennsylvania, the Geisinger Clinic's "warranty" program, where providers take financial responsibility for the entire episode of care;"

This I want nothing to do with.  Do you want your doctor deciding between ordering more care or saving him/herself money at every turn?   This "option" is something that I am reading more and more about and its not a good idea.

"or the experience of the Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Virginia, where doctors are paid more for delivering better outcomes."  This is too general a statement.  If he means better BP control, better diabetes control - mabye.


"There are plenty of alternatives to Mr. Obama's plan that expand coverage to the uninsured, give them the chance to buy private coverage like Congress enjoys, and limit government management over what are inherently personal transactions between doctors and patients."

Why in the part above he points to ways that increase insurance carriers management between doctors and patients.  So it winds up being wealthier people can afford to pay off the carriers to not intrude into that relationship.

"Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D., N.Y.) has introduced a bipartisan measure, the Small Business Cooperative for Healthcare Options to Improve Coverage for Employees (Choice) Act of 2009, that would make it cheaper and easier for small employers to offer health insurance. Mr. Obama would also get bipartisan compromise on premium support for people priced out of insurance to give them a wider range of choices. This could be modeled after the Medicare drug benefit, which relies on competition between private plans to increase choices and hold down costs. It could be funded, in part, through tax credits targeted to lower-income Americans."

I don't know.  Lower income Americans already pay little in taxes.  Gottleib actually thinks this will make it easier and cheaper for Small Business to pay for employee health care?  Tax credits to these people?  Isn't the tax code already too complicated?

Folks, Gottlieb makes it sound like its so simple and the answers are staring us in the face.
There really is only one answer that is staring me in the face.  You want to hold down costs, you want to add tens of millions of people to the roles.  Than we have to ration care.   There is no other answer.  Paying providers based on "outcomes" is often a code word for this folks.  It is based on large populations, not an individuals unique medical situation.  You will have liberals in DC and Boston, and New Haven deciding what is  best and that will become the dictum. 
Yes waste can be squeezed out of the system but it will never do enough of what the politians are saying it will without significant rationing of care. 
3376  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / All the interst groups pledge to cut costs. on: May 11, 2009, 12:12:05 PM
Oh really?  How?
It sounds like special interest group panic at the thought of BO in charge.
All weird to me:

Obama lauds industry offer to contain health costs
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama has praised health industry groups for coming forward with an offer to reduce the growth of spending by $2 trillion a year to overhaul the system.

Obama appeared at the White House with an array of industry figures, including union representatives, and called it the occasion "historic."

Industry figures pledged that they would voluntarily slow their rate increases over the next 10 years.

Obama said the step the industry took Monday must be carried out as part of "a broader effort" to change the health care system, keep costs under control and provide health insurance for the some 46 million Americans who do not now have it.

He said, "I will not rest until the dream of health care reform is achieved in the United States of America."

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Health industry groups are promising to reduce the growth of spending by $2 trillion over 10 years by improving coordination, focusing on efficiency and embracing better technology and regulatory reform.

Hospitals, insurance companies, drug makers and doctors have told President Barack Obama in a letter that they'll voluntarily slow their rate increases in coming years. It's a move that government economists say would create breathing room to help provide health insurance to an estimated 50 million Americans who now do not have it.

The industry letter released Monday said "these and other reforms will make our health care system stronger and more sustainable."

It's a change from the time in the early 1990s when then-President Bill Clinton took on health care reform and industry leaders fought back.

3377  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Time to long term invest in the Rep. party? on: May 10, 2009, 02:33:52 PM
I recall a Dem pundit saying it was time to short Sarah Palin after her approval ratings soared after the Rep convention.
He was right.
I don't know if it is yet time to short Dems but I feel it is time to start ling term investment with Republicans.  When we start hearing talk about how the party is finished it is probably time to invest.

Yet the reps have alot of work to do to get it right and to work to appeal to the changing demographics.  They also need to find the right spokespeople.  Out of the darkness someone will emerge.  How about a Latino?
3378  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / He was just an "aid" who was acting on his own accord on: May 10, 2009, 02:29:50 PM
this was meant for the politics thread and inadvertently got misplaced:
 
    He was just an "aid" who was acting on his own accord
« on: May 09, 2009, 08:25:52 AM » 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
About the White House Military Office whose director, excuse me, I mean "aid", Loius Caldera, reportedly acting without any knowledge from anyone higher up ordered the Airforce One fly over of NYC.  He is taking the fall.  He will probably get another cushy consulting job somewhere to go away, resign, and be quiet:

THE WHITE HOUSE MILITARY OFFICE
The White House Military Office (WHMO) provides military support for White House functions, including food service, Presidential transportation, medical support and emergency medical services, and hospitality services. The office, led by WHMO Director Louis Caldera, oversees policy related to WHMO functions and Department of Defense assets and ensures that White House requirements are met with the highest standards of quality. The WHMO Director oversees all military operations aboard Air Force One on Presidential missions worldwide. The Deputy Director of the White House Military Office focuses primarily on the day-to-day support of the WHMO.

The WHMO's operational units are the most visible part of the WHMO's support to the President. The WHMO units include the White House Communications Agency, Presidential Airlift Group, White House Medical Unit, Camp David, Marine Helicopter Squadron One, Presidential Food Service, and the White House Transportation Agency. To assure proper coordination and integration, the WHMO also includes support elements such as operations; policy, plans, and requirements; information and technology management; financial management and comptroller; WHMO counsel; and security. Together, WHMO entities provide essential service to the President and help maintain the continuity of the Presidency.
 
3379  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / He was just an "aid" who was acting on his own accord on: May 09, 2009, 10:25:52 AM
About the White House Military Office whose director, excuse me, I mean "aid", Loius Caldera, reportedly acting without any knowledge from anyone higher up ordered the Airforce One fly over of NYC.  He is taking the fall.  He will probably get another cushy consulting job somewhere to go away, resign, and be quiet:

THE WHITE HOUSE MILITARY OFFICE
The White House Military Office (WHMO) provides military support for White House functions, including food service, Presidential transportation, medical support and emergency medical services, and hospitality services. The office, led by WHMO Director Louis Caldera, oversees policy related to WHMO functions and Department of Defense assets and ensures that White House requirements are met with the highest standards of quality. The WHMO Director oversees all military operations aboard Air Force One on Presidential missions worldwide. The Deputy Director of the White House Military Office focuses primarily on the day-to-day support of the WHMO.

The WHMO's operational units are the most visible part of the WHMO's support to the President. The WHMO units include the White House Communications Agency, Presidential Airlift Group, White House Medical Unit, Camp David, Marine Helicopter Squadron One, Presidential Food Service, and the White House Transportation Agency. To assure proper coordination and integration, the WHMO also includes support elements such as operations; policy, plans, and requirements; information and technology management; financial management and comptroller; WHMO counsel; and security. Together, WHMO entities provide essential service to the President and help maintain the continuity of the Presidency.
3380  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: May 09, 2009, 09:25:19 AM
"Justice Department officials are not likely to recommend criminal charges against the three Bush administration lawyers who the wrote the memos approving the interrogation methods, but two could face disciplinary action from their state bar associations."

Of course.  This was never about justice.  It was never about morality.  It was just to *get* Republicans.

Will Pelosi be held accountable?

3381  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The extreme Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: May 07, 2009, 07:44:09 PM
O'Reilly warned GB that the left would go after him with a vengence.  And it will get personal and include his family.  Like they are doing with Sarah Palin's daughter.

Anyway I don't know whether to laugh or cry when I read this:

"The Obama administration today unveiled program details of a $3.4 trillion federal budget for the fiscal year beginning in October, a proposal that includes substantial increases for a number of domestic priorities as well as a plan to trim or eliminate 121 programs for a savings of $17 billion."

Then says this:

"We can no longer afford to spend as if deficits don't matter and waste is not our problem," he said. "We can no longer afford to leave the hard choices for the next budget, the next administration -- or the next generation."

The lack of logic is (beyond) mind boggling and yet the MSM merrily trumpets his horn along for the ride.
3382  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: May 07, 2009, 02:29:41 PM
Dick Morris has become my favorite opinion guy along with Dennis Miller.  I guess because he says what I want to hear.

Who knows if he is right but he predicts the crash of BO.  Unfortunately we will all go down with him while he gambles:

By Dick Morris 05.6.2009 Publish on TheHill.com on May 5, 2009

President Obama’s vision of the future is, apparently, an economy guided, steered and — when the occasion demands — commanded by the federal government. Some of the companies will remain private. Washington will take others over. But all will look to the White House, as to an orchestra conductor, for signals as to how and when and where to proceed.

This summary is the vision that emerges from the Chrysler bailout.

Whether or not one believes the claims of attorney Thomas Lauria (I do) that the investment bank Perella Weinberg Partners was strong-armed by the administration, the fact remains that the four firms that accepted the piddling offer of 29 cents on the dollar are all awash in Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) money.

Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and JPMorgan Chase all dutifully approved the offer from Washington, while Perella Weinberg reportedly held out for 50 cents. Did the combined $90 billion the four compliant firms owed Washington in TARP funds make a difference in their passive acquiescence? You bet it did.

They shouldn’t have said yes. Clearly, Obama was not about to pull the trigger, which would have sent tens of thousands of autoworkers straight into unemployment. Politically, he would have had no choice but to cough up the $4.5 billion loan the feds just gave Chrysler with or without a debt settlement. The political pressures that have always operated on this Democratic president are still there and still in play.

Knowing the ultimate vulnerability of the administration position, any investment bank that was looking out for its clients would have demanded more than 29 cents. But Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and JPMorgan Chase all had a higher calling — they had to appease King Barack I. To its credit, Perella Weinberg put its investors first.

But this little vignette shows exactly what the new rules of the game will be under this administration. It won’t be Soviet-style socialism or Reaganesque capitalism. The system will more resemble the Japanese arrangement where MITI, the Ministry of Trade and Industry, informally guided companies and told them what to do. In Japan, a nod usually suffices to command. In the United States, one has to use a hammer. But the result will be the same: compliant capitalism.

Companies will not look out for their shareholders or their employees or even their customers so much as watch the smoke signals from Washington to decide what to do. The markets won’t control decisions. Washington will.

The same balance of government control and nominal private ownership is evident in the mortgage rescue plan and the efforts to rekindle consumer lending. It will be manifest in the cap-and-trade legislation and in the priority that the administration will accord to green lending and job creation.

The strong-arming that obviously led up to the Chrysler deal will also be typical of the Obama industrial policy. When the chips are down, JFK’s pressure on U.S. Steel to lower its prices in 1962 will be the model for the Obama years. While terrorists need not fear any violation of their constitutional rights, CEOs of Fortune 500 companies will not be so fortunate.

At the core of the new policy will be the simple assumption that Washington knows best.

But it doesn’t. The stagnation of the Japanese economy in the past 20 years is eloquent testimony to the fact that government usually gets it wrong. Sometimes it makes the wrong decision because it fails to anticipate the market (as Japan did when it downplayed laptop computers and stressed mainframes). More often (as is normal in Japan), it is so in the thrall of special interests that it ends up articulating a consensus of those who would divide up the pie among them.

One way or another, the government usually runs the economy into the ground, as it will under King Barack I.



3383  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: May 06, 2009, 01:49:12 PM
Doug,
I am not an expert on cancer research but from what I have read about ongoing research over the years suggests that Specker's remarks are no less ridiculous, absurd, and downright stupid.

There has been more money spent on cancer research than anything as far as I know.

Treating much less curing cancer is simply *that complex* and *that challenging*.  More dollars he implies?  What/who do you throw more dollars to?  There are only so many researchers.  There are only so many avenues that are discovered to explore at any given time.  There is only so much we can learn at a time. It takes *years* if not decades of study to prove anything one way or the other.  Why we haven't even been able to prove if doing a prostate screening blood tes (PSA) is beneficial or harmful after many years of trying to figure it out!

I am not clear how much of the confusion is based on *misunderstanding* by the media, politicians, public, etc.  I am not sure how much of it is grandstanding by scientists themselves who are no less interested in money, politics, power, fame, other agendas than the rest of humanity.  don't let the fact that they research cancer fool you into thinking they are all so noble and pure.  Quite the contrary.  Some of stories I have heard from researchers are not pretty with regards to pettiness.

I am really not sure.  But taken on the face of it, Spector's comments seem totally irresponsible.

As for your two ideas:

***Two ideas for government involvement in research:  a) offer rewards for results instead of funding for study, or b) consider buying up the best patents and then making 'the cures' available everywhere for free, a public good.****

I think the first is a bad idea because most research ends in failure.  *At least* to the tune of 90%.  So I think that will stiffle a lot of research.   Who wants to pay for something that has unusually high risk? 

As to the second, I think it is an *excellent* idea.

Just my two cents.

"




3384  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rest in Peace on: May 04, 2009, 10:33:06 AM
Doug,
I am curious as to what you think about this comment from Spector who IMO ranks up there with Benedict Arnold and is proving himself to be a selfish disgrace:

****Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Democrat, said part of the reason that he left the Republican Party last week was disillusionment with its health-care priorities, and suggested that had the Republicans taken a more moderate track, Jack Kemp may have won his battle with cancer.

Mr. Specter, responding to a question from CBS' Bob Schieffer over whether he had let down Pennsylvanians who wanted a Republican to represent them, said he thought his priorities were more in line with those of the Democrats.

"Well, I was sorry to disappoint many people. Frankly, I was disappointed that the Republican Party didn't want me as their candidate," Mr. Specter said on "Face the Nation." "But as a matter of principle, I'm becoming much more comfortable with the Democrats' approach. And one of the items that I'm working on, Bob, is funding for medical research."
Mr. Specter continued: "If we had pursued what President Nixon declared in 1970 as the war on cancer, we would have cured many strains. I think Jack Kemp would be alive today. And that research has saved or prolonged many lives, including mine."

Mr. Kemp died Saturday of cancer. He had been the running mate of 1996 Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole.****
3385  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Epidemics: Bird Flu, TB, etc on: May 02, 2009, 09:29:59 AM
Just a thought.  I wonder if I should believe the new and reduced number of flu deaths in Mexico.
It seems reasonable to question the motives and thus the validity of the *new* estimates of the the death toll from flu.
Mexico's economy is being hurt by this whole thing.  We hear corruption is rampant.  So now I hear that oh, its not nearly as bad as we thought.  Well is it or not?  I don't know what to believe.

****Lower Mexico flu death toll heartens nervous world 02 May 2009 12:46:21 GMT
Source: Reuters
 (For full coverage of the flu outbreak, click [nFLU])

* Mexico cuts suspected flu death toll to up to 101

* WHO says flu spans 15 countries, 615 people infected

* U.S. responding aggressively to flu outbreak-Obama

* China cancels Mexico flights, Hong Kong seals off hotel

(Adds Obama comments)

By Catherine Bremer

MEXICO CITY, May 2 (Reuters) - New laboratory data showed fewer people have died in Mexico than first thought from a new influenza strain, a glint of good news for a world rattled by the threat of a flu pandemic.

Mexico cut its suspected death toll from the H1N1 flu to up to 101 from as many as 176, as dozens of test samples came back negative. Fewer patients with severe flu symptoms were also checking into hospitals, suggesting the infection rate of a flu that has spread to Europe and Asia was declining.

The World Health Organisation said on Saturday 15 countries have reported 615 infections with the new flu virus A-H1N1, widely known as swine flu [nL2430119].

Italy later confirmed its first case, a man in the Tuscany region who returned from Mexico on April 24. He has recovered.

Almost all infections outside Mexico have been mild. The only death in another country has been a Mexican toddler who was taken to the United States before he fell sick.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agreed the outbreak may not be as severe as it looked a few days ago, citing many mild cases that were not immediately noticed. [ID:nN01346626]

President Barack Obama said the United States was responding aggressively to the new flu strain [nN01348184].

He outlined steps his administration was taking to address the virus, including school closures, and said antivirals were being distributed to states where they may be needed and new stockpiles had been ordered.

For Mexicans -- spending a second weekend stuck indoors with stores and businesses shuttered across the country and the capital, Mexico City, devoid of its lively restaurants, bars, cinemas and museums -- the data is cheering.

Health Minister Jose Angel Cordova acknowledged the numbers were encouraging but cautioned it was too early to say Mexico had control of the flu.

"For now it's unpredictable," Cordova said late on Friday. "We need more days to see how it behaves and whether there is really a sustained decline."

The new virus is only the third infectious disease experts regard as having pandemic potential in the past 10 years.

It has world health experts racing to find a vaccine and is wreaking havoc with a travel industry that flies hundreds of thousands of people to and from Mexico each week. [ID:nNN0129623]

China suspended flights to Mexico after Hong Kong authorities on Friday confirmed a Mexican man who flew via the Chinese mainland was infected with the flu strain.

HOTEL GUESTS QUARANTINED

Police in surgical masks quarantined 200 guests and 100 staff inside a Hong Kong hotel where the Mexican, 25, had been staying, saying they would be confined for a week. [ID:nT31820]

"They said everybody needed to go back to their rooms. I don't want to go to my room because I want to be out," an Australian man at the hotel told a TV reporter by telephone.

Hong Kong was badly hit by the SARS virus in 2003 and has had many episodes of H5N1 bird flu for more than a decade.

The Asian Development Bank said it was prepared to provide assistance to countries in the region to cope with the possible spread of flu, as it did during the SARS outbreak. [nJAK469756]

Several European countries have confirmed cases of the virus. The United States has been hit with 145 cases in 22 states. [ID:nN01348184]

Mexico has released a confusing batch of flu data in recent days but public hospitals have noted a steady drop in patients turning up with fevers, suggesting the infection rate may be declining as the nation dons face masks and hand gel.

"There are very few deaths worldwide," said Marcelo Musi, a salesman shopping for vegetables in Mexico City, where residents weary of masks, hand sanitizers and frightening headlines clutched at signs of an end to the crisis. "If there are no more cases, they say things will get better."

President Felipe Calderon ordered non-essential businesses to close for five days from Friday, extending a three-day holiday weekend over Monday and Tuesday. [ID:nN01340553]

Analysts say the move will further dent negative economic growth this year.

Countless families were devastated at having their long weekend ruined as restaurants, bars, playgrounds and parks that hold outdoor "cumbia" dances all stayed closed.

Cordova said of 159 files on suspected flu deaths, tests showed 58 died of other causes. He said 16 deaths are confirmed as caused by the H1N1 flu and 85 are being tested. (Additional reporting by Louise Egan and Anahi Rama and Tan Ee Lyn in Hong Kong, Laura MacInnis in Geneva, Silvia Aloisi in Rome; Editing by Janet Lawrence)****
3386  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: May 02, 2009, 08:26:22 AM
"We will stop 'intensive interrogations' in order to impress the Arab-street with our civility"

I think that is BO's delusion.
But for many liberals especially the likes of MSNBC it is all about getting the Repubs and beating them mercilessly.  For them it is politics not morality.
3387  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: May 01, 2009, 11:44:37 AM
BO has been succesful at hiding from and fooling the majority of Americans into thinking he doesn't  hate America and on his views that *America is the enemy* not the true enemies.

You know one almost has to start wondering if he works for our enemies.

He couldn't be a greater ally to them.

But the Cans still have no better alternative and most Americans are happy to go on the dole and be bought off apparantly - or so they think - until our taxes start to sky rocket.  the taxes will be hidden as best as possible. 
3388  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: April 30, 2009, 05:44:16 PM
When I see stuff like this all I can think of how exhausting this all is.  I just say enough already.  I am picturing this dumb stupid little broad in my mind.  Where do they grow liberals like this I ask? ("thrifty chicks"?):

 By Amy Hardin Turosak Amy Hardin Turosak – Thu Apr 30, 5:00 am ET
Denver – Thanks to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), I see that my serving of Honey Nut Cheerios has 110 calories. This, along with dozens of other data points on the box, helps me make educated choices to do right by my body. I'm ready to tackle the day as an informed consumer of food.

Wait! That box: What "ingredients" went into that? Ditto for the plastic liner and all those O's: How many "calories" did it take to manufacture them and then ship them to my table? What's the carbon footprint of my breakfast?

At the store, I can compare cereal carbohydrates but I can't compare how much they cost the planet. I'm not empowered to shop right by the health of the planet. I might as well put on a blindfold.

Americans need to broaden their understanding of energy and its cost. Nearly everything in our homes, from toasters to hair dryers, consumes energy (and emits pollution) from start to finish. But we don't think about that. We think that's the job of the energy companies. We turn down the thermostat and buy reusable bags at the grocery store, but that's about it.

Americans are voracious shoppers. We use more than our fair share of resources in this world. To embrace conservation, shouldn't we consider a product's carbon cost? Take appliances. Many come with an Energy Star rating. We all nod and feel good about it. But this label just shows the relative energy cost of ownership, not the absolute cost of manufacture. I wonder if it is confused with the car device OnStar; consumers may think washers have satellite connections offering emergency assistance for grass stains.

Think about all those products that companies dare to call "green." Unlike "organic," which is a federally regulated label, companies can affix "green" to just about anything, even petroleum-based plastic Easter eggs from China! Head slap. The manufacturers can't be trusted – they're colorblind. By "green," they must mean the color of money. Unless they start making edible sofas, this is beyond the FDA's scope, so who is going to settle this issue?

Misconceptions abound. Most runners don't think they have a negative environmental impact. The runner just runs, right? Hats off to Runner's World magazine for taking a hard look at this question in "The Runner's Footprint." The article showed that the carbon cost associated with a shoe's life cycle can be eye-popping. My husband is a runner. Runners don't like air pollution. So I know a shoe's carbon cost would weigh heavily on his choice.

If price and quality were equal, which widget would you buy – the one that cost 10,000 carbon points or 100? From jeans to washing machines, we need a common metric for the pollution costs that products incur during their life cycles. If we can list the nutritional value of a pickled egg, surely we can drive a healthier market and planet through system-cost comparison.

While we wait for that, we don't have to wait to be smarter shoppers. When we spend money on new products, we spend a great many carbon points. But when we buy repurposed goods at thrift stores, we spend close to zero carbon points. We have choices, but we need to be informed to make responsible ones.

Amy Hardin Turosak writes as Ms. Shopping Golightly at the Thrifty Chicks blog.
3389  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Some truths about flu on: April 30, 2009, 01:51:56 PM
This is an excellent book on the 1918-19 pandemic:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ISBN=0521541751/washingtonbiotecA/

I wrote an article for a local newspaper on the 1918 pandemic when it was the 75th anniversary of it in 1993.

One thing I have not heard mentioned has to do with the fact that most people who died back then did not die of viral neumonia but of secondary bacterial pneumonia.

Indeed the reason it was even named the influenza epidemic was because pathologists early into it identified on smears the heamophilus influenza BACTERIA.  So influenza got it's name by mistake.  Of course in those days they could not see or had no way to even know what a virus was.

So most of those people similarly sick today would not have died because we now have antibiotics to cure them.

So the threat with that kind of virus is much less serious for those of us in the US then it was.  Maybe in the thousands but definitely not in the hundreds of thousands or millions in the US.

That said for other countries, in sub Sahara Africa, remote places in Asia, S. America where access to care is less robust the death rate for such a virus could be very high.

Additionally, the virus could mutate into something nver seen before with death rates much higher than say the estimated 5% in 1918 more akin to Ebola or Hanta viruses.

So I don't take the potential threat lightly.

Should we quarentine those coming from Mexico or prevent those from going?

Of course I am not a world expert but my feeling is that even trying to prevent the spread of influenza is just a fantasy.

It can't be done.

Even in 1918-19 before the advent of mass travel and migration the virus made its way to EVERY single corner of the world where there was humanity.

All the South sea Islands, Eskimos etc.  There was no place to hide.  There was no palce that was not hit.  None!

This is not trying to prevent a few cased of drug resistent TB.  You put armed military on the border with Mexico.  Forget it.
Influenza will get here if it is destined to.

Of course the politicians will always try to put blame on the other side.

3390  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / MSM: disinformation propaganda machine on: April 28, 2009, 12:25:19 PM
"Barack Obama is the second most reviled newbie president of the last forty years. A gallup survey today published in the Washington Times shows Obama to have an approval rating of just 56 per cent. The only president to have performed worse than that at the end of his first 100 days in office was Bill Clinton"

Is this stat true?  Wow!

Listening to the main stream media one would think BO is the *most beloved* Pres of all time after the first 100 days!
3391  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / "phase four' says the WHO on: April 27, 2009, 05:04:29 PM
TORONTO, April 27 -- The World Health Organization has raised its pandemic alert system to level four -- sustained human-to-human transmission -- in response to the swine flu outbreak in the U.S., Mexico, and at least two other countries.

The Geneva-based WHO made the change from level three -- some human-to-human transmission -- on the advice of an expert panel meeting today.

Earlier today, acting CDC director Richard Besser, M.D., said the change won't affect the U.S. response to the outbreak.

"It really doesn't matter from our perspective what you call this," he said in a press conference. "Our actions are based on what's happening in our country and our communities."

Stepping up one phase, Dr. Besser said, "would not change anything that we are currently doing."

The pandemic threat level has six major levels. Phases one through three increase from strictly animal-to-animal transmission to some human-to-human transmission, sufficient to create small clusters of disease.

Level four requires sustained human-to-human transmission able to cause what the WHO calls "community-level outbreaks."

Levels five and six are the pandemic levels.

Phase five is characterized by human-to-human spread of the virus into at least two countries in a region, although most countries are not affected.

In phase six, there are community-level outbreaks in at least one other country in a different region. This level is regarded as a signal that a global pandemic is truly under way.
 

3392  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Epidemics: Bird Flu, TB, etc on: April 27, 2009, 03:36:19 PM
I would not yet jump to the conclusion this article suggests that this virus is not as dangerous as say the one in 1918 - at least not yet.

It is true the one then was an avian virus and this one from pigs.   Yet I read the people who are dying are not the typical young and old as in most influenza seasons but the young and healthy which is eerily like the one in 1918.  H1 or H5 this applies:

The scientists suspect that with the 1918 flu, changes in just 25 to 30 out of about 4,400 amino acids in the viral proteins turned the virus into a killer. The new work also reveals that 1918 virus acts much differently from ordinary human flu viruses. It infects cells deep in the lungs of mice and infects lung cells, like the cells lining air sacs, that would normally be impervious to flu. And while other human flu viruses do not kill mice, this one, like today's bird flus, does.
3393  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: April 27, 2009, 09:54:33 AM
It is not so much that there is a shortage of doctors as much as shortage in some areas.  In my area there is too many doctors.
But anyway:

Obama administration concerned about growing shortage of primary-care doctors
by Robert Pear/New York Times Sunday April 26, 2009, 9:59 PM
Washington -- Obama administration officials, alarmed at doctor shortages, are looking for ways to increase the number of physicians to meet the needs of an aging population and millions of uninsured people who would gain coverage under legislation championed by the president.

The officials said they were particularly concerned about shortages of primary-care providers who are the main source of health care for most Americans.

One proposal -- to increase Medicare payments to general practitioners, at the expense of high-paid specialists -- has touched off a lobbying fight.

Family doctors and internists are pressing Congress for an increase in their Medicare payments. But medical specialists are lobbying against any change that would cut their reimbursements. Congress, the specialists say, should find additional money to pay for primary care and should not redistribute dollars among doctors -- a difficult argument at a time of huge budget deficits.

Some of the proposed solutions, while advancing one of President Barack Obama's goals, could frustrate others. Increasing the supply of doctors, for example, would increase access to care, but could make it more difficult to rein in costs.

The need for more doctors comes up at almost every congressional hearing and White House forum on health care. "We're not producing enough primary-care physicians," Obama said at one forum. "The costs of medical education are so high that people feel that they've got to specialize." New doctors typically owe more than $140,000 in loans when they graduate.

Lawmakers from both parties say the shortage of health-care professionals is already having serious consequences. "We don't have enough doctors in primary care or in any specialty," said Rep. Shelley Berkley, Democrat of Nevada.

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, said, "The work force shortage is reaching crisis proportions."

Even people with insurance are having problems finding doctors.

Miriam Harmatz, a lawyer in Miami, said: "My longtime primary-care doctor left the practice of medicine five years ago because she could not make ends meet. The same thing happened a year later. Since then, many of the doctors I tried to see would not take my insurance because the payments were so low."

To cope with the growing shortage, federal officials are considering several proposals. One would increase enrollment in medical schools and residency training programs. Another would encourage greater use of nurse practitioners and physician assistants. A third would expand the National Health Service Corps, which deploys doctors and nurses in rural areas and poor neighborhoods.

Sen. Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana, chairman of the Finance Committee, said Medicare payments were skewed against primary-care doctors -- the very ones needed for the care of older people with chronic conditions like congestive heart failure, diabetes and Alzheimer's disease.

"Primary-care physicians are grossly underpaid compared with many specialists," said Baucus, who vowed to increase primary-care payments as part of legislation to overhaul the health-care system.

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, an independent federal panel, has recommended an increase of up to 10 percent in the payment for many primary-care services, including office visits. To offset the cost, it said, Congress should reduce payments for other services -- an idea that riles many specialists.

Dr. Peter J. Mandell, a spokesman for the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons, said: "We have no problem with financial incentives for primary care. We do have a problem with doing it in a budget-neutral way. If there's less money for hip and knee replacements, fewer of them will be done for people who need them."

The Association of American Medical Colleges is advocating a 30 percent increase in medical school enrollment, which would produce 5,000 additional new doctors each year.

"If we expand coverage, we need to make sure we have physicians to take care of a population that is growing and becoming older," said Dr. Atul Grover, the chief lobbyist for the association. "Let's say we insure everyone. What next? We won't be able to take care of all those people overnight."

The experience of Massachusetts is instructive. Under a far-reaching 2006 law, the state succeeded in reducing the number of uninsured. But many who gained coverage have been struggling to find primary-care doctors, and the average waiting time for routine office visits has increased.

"Some of the newly insured patients still rely on hospital emergency rooms for nonemergency care," said Erica L. Drazen, a health policy analyst at Computer Sciences Corp.

The ratio of primary-care doctors to population is higher in Massachusetts than in other states.

Increasing the supply of doctors could have major implications for health costs.

"It's completely reasonable to say that adding more physicians to the work force is likely to increase health spending," Grover said.

But he said: "We have to increase spending to save money. If you give people better access to preventive and routine care for chronic illnesses, some acute treatments will be less necessary."

In many parts of the country, specialists are also in short supply.

Linde A. Schuster, 55, of Raton, N.M., said she, her daughter and her mother had all had medical problems that required them to visit doctors in Albuquerque.

"It's a long, exhausting drive, three hours down and three hours back," Schuster said.

The situation is even worse in some rural areas. Dr. Richard F. Paris, a family doctor in Hailey, Idaho, said that Custer County, Idaho, had no doctors, even though it is larger than the state of Rhode Island. So he flies in three times a month, over the Sawtooth Mountains, to see patients.

The Obama administration is pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into community health centers.

But Mary K. Wakefield, the new administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration, said many clinics were having difficulty finding doctors and nurses to fill vacancies.

Doctors trained in internal medicine have historically been seen as a major source of frontline primary care. But many of them are now going into subspecialties of internal medicine, like cardiology and oncology.


3394  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: April 26, 2009, 01:54:05 PM
PS
It is more sickening than humorous to hear Chris Matthews now say that John McCain should have been the guy to win the Presidency in 2000.  Now that he is continuing to speak out against harsher interrogation techniques essentially supporting the left, AND no longer in a position to run for office and the Bama has safely beaten him,  he is again their Republican poster boy.

I recall Matthews cried when Gore made his concession speech in 2001.

3395  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: April 26, 2009, 01:48:01 PM
Doug says,

"And let's see if Obama prefaces his remarks by saying this isn't nearly as brutal as what is already happening everyday in these terrorists' own home countries"

The MSM is letting BO have his cake and eat it too.
He is clearly doing the triangulation thing, pretending he is above the politics of it all and is just doing the "moral thing" that "America is all about".  His apologists are all over the talk shows saying he doesn't want to proceed with special investigators and the rest.  That he is under tremendous pressure from the far left.  As if he is not far left.

BO is clearly on board with damaging the Republicans, humiliating the previous administration (and America) around the world, deflecting attention from his agenda and continuing the blame game and playing the savior who is going to straighten this country - and the world - out.

His whole personal history is this - of the liberal left wing radical.

I guess except for Lou Dobbs, Fox, WSJ, talk radio conservatives there is no one speaking up from the right that has the gravitas to offer another alternative.

I don't know if this will change or not.  As long as government expands exponentially and more and more people are on the dole, and the new age immigrants who expect far more than they did historically continue to change the demographics it will be an uphill battle.

It is infuriating to me to see the Dems out in force talking about the interrogation issues like they are.
Except for the die hard dems who are glad to use any excuse to get Bush I think most Americans would agree with me.
FBI agents of Muslim heritage excepted.  And I mean no disrespect otherwise to him or the agency but I can't help wonder his agenda here.



 

3396  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: April 25, 2009, 09:02:16 AM
Ok, this is not racist.  wink  BO is different from all the previous "white" presidents because he is "hip".

Is this code for, "he is black enough"?  I don't know.

Well, if 6'4" Abe played, if there was a basketball in his day, he would have kicked BO's ass in B ball.



***For Obama, hipness is what it is
 
 Sam Fulwood III Sam Fulwood Iii – Fri Apr 24, 5:06 am ET
During his first 100 days as president of the United States, Barack Obama revealed how different he is from all the white men who preceded him in the Oval Office, and the differences run deeper — in substance and style — than the color of his skin.

Barack Hussein Obama is the nation’s first hip president.

This, of course, is subject to debate. But watch him walk. Listen to him talk. See the body language, the expressions, the clothes. He’s got attitude, rhythm, a sense of humor, contemporary tastes.

This much is clear: Whether dealing with the Wall Street mess, shifting troops from Iraq to Afghanistan or fumbling to fill his Cabinet, Obama leans heavily on personal panache to push political policies. Truth be told, his style is rooted in something elusive and hard to define. Pure and simple, it’s hip.

“Being hip is being able to navigate your environment and others’ environments,” like the way Obama traverses racial boundaries, said John Leland, author of the definitive book “Hip: The History.”

“Obama has this awareness that other presidents haven’t had. He’s white, and he’s black. He’s an elitist, and he’s regular folk. He’s not pinned down to a perspective.”

Young is to hip as old is to fogey — an essential characteristic. Obama has modern instincts and attitudes that appeal to younger people, and more than any other president in recent memory, that makes him a role model. He is green, open, athletic, tech-savvy, healthy. And his hip image certainly isn’t hurt by his wife, who is so obviously cool — setting trends (Sleeveless! Tending her own garden!), confidently mingling with superstars, gracing magazine covers coast to coast.

Consider how, during the campaign, Obama used his personality — the smile, the jaunty stride and the hip-hop verbiage — to disarm critics, charm supporters and persuade fence sitters to elect him president. In an against-the-odds campaign, Obama never lost his poise as he forged a rapport with a new generation of voters while keeping old heads on his team. He could go professorial on the need for health care reform or describe the minutiae of Middle East politics. Still, he begged to bring his BlackBerry into the Oval Office, a signal that he intends to remain in touch with the 21st century. Very hip!

Once he settled into the White House, the hip parade didn’t subside. Early guests included pop artists Stevie Wonder (a campaign supporter), Alicia Keys, Will.i.am and Sheryl Crow — but also Sweet Honey in the Rock, a group of socially and politically active a capella singers with an indie, underground vibe.

Obama strutted onto Jay Leno’s stage and plopped down on the couch, making him the first sitting president to do that. He unveiled his March Madness basketball bracket from the Oval Office. And speaking of basketball, who missed the sight of POTUS dressed in all black, sitting courtside at a Bulls-Wizards game with a cup of beer and high-fiving a trash-talking fan? How hip was that?!

It’s so hip that school kids in Albany, N.Y., coined a term for it: “Baracking.” And it doesn’t stop there. Those in the know at Albany High greet each other by saying: “What’s up, my Obama?” and they respond to a sneeze with “Barack you.” Misbehavior is peer-corrected with the admonition, “Barack’s in the White House,” which translates, “Show some respect.”

Deborah Tannen, professor of linguistics at Georgetown University, said it was “just really stunning” that kids were co-opting the president’s name as a term of endearment and identification.

“This is the most emblematic, positive thing that kids could say,” she said. “It’s connecting them to him, saying that there’s something special in the connection between them.”

John F. Kennedy understood the nexus of Hollywood glam and Washington power, but he wasn’t a hipster. Bill Clinton looked good in Ray-Bans and did a nice turn with the saxophone on “The Arsenio Hall Show,” but in his heart of hearts, Ol’ Bubba was a country boy from the Ozarks with a need-filled, wonky core — not hip.

 

Obama’s hipness reinforces that he’s different, yet he’s comfortingly familiar to Americans who want to revere their presidents as pedestal material while demanding that they be approachable as the guy next door.

So what’s hipness got to do with public policy? For Obama, everything.

His personal charisma is a nonverbal form of communication, sending seemingly conflicting messages: the need for radical and sacrificial change, yet the reassurance to Americans that he’s as sane and stable as the guy in the next barber’s chair, said Roger Wilkins, who recently retired as a history professor at George Mason University.

“Hipness is a way of presenting to the world that you know what’s going on and that you’ve got things under control,” said Wilkins, who served in the Johnson administration and has had up-close dealings with every president since Kennedy.

“For Obama, his hipness exudes power. He just keeps on moving, no matter what comes his way, and he doesn’t lose it. That’s being hip — and I don’t see any contemporary public figures whom I would think of as hip.”

True, Obama uses his hipster personality as a weapon. His enormous popularity is a bludgeon that demands political respect, if not support. For example, almost immediately after settling into the White House, Obama left Washington to campaign in Ohio, Michigan and other hard-hit states to sell his economic stimulus plan. It was an effective effort at charm-school diplomacy, garnering outside-the-Beltway support and applying pressure on Washington insiders to get on board the Obama train.

The implication was that if you were not on board, you were not hip — you were square. And who wants to be so uncool as to be on the wrong side of the hip president, other than a few vocal anti-cools, such as radio yakker Rush Limbaugh, House Minority Leader John A. Boehner and former Vice President Dick Cheney?

There have been a few other nationally recognized hip politicians: the late Rep. Adam Clayton Powell of New York; former California Gov. Jerry Brown, who is currently the state’s attorney general; and former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown come to mind. For a brief period in the 1970s and 1980s, one might argue that Washington’s eternal pol Marion Barry was hip; that was before drugs, booze and women brought him low.

To be sure, the track record for hip politicians isn’t promising. History suggests that the power of personality has limitations in politics. It sours under public scrutiny.

So can it last? Can Obama’s hipness survive the weight and responsibility of the office? Maybe there’s a reason presidents aren’t hip. War-making, secrecy, aging, unpopularity, sternness and sobriety — these are decidedly unhip. And all that could come in the next 100 days, because hipness is a trendy thing, subject to popular whim.

For now, with approval ratings over 60 percent, Obama is hip. But he will have to find a balance between being hip and being powerful while sitting in the world’s most watched fishbowl.

“Hipness is what it is! And sometimes hipness is what it ain’t,” goes the famous song by Tower of Power. “There’s one thing you should know. What’s hip today might become passé.”

Sam Fulwood III wrote about race and politics for the Los Angeles Times’ Washington bureau for more than a decade and is a frequent contributor to The Root.com.***
3397  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Tamiflu may help on: April 25, 2009, 08:33:35 AM
WHO ready with antivirals to combat swine flu
Fri Apr 24, 2009 5:11pm EDT  Email | Print | Share| Reprints | Single Page[-] Text
By Stephanie Nebehay

GENEVA (Reuters) - The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday that it was prepared with rapid containment measures including antivirals if needed to combat the swine flu outbreaks in Mexico and the United States.

The Geneva-based agency has been stockpiling doses of Roche Holding's Tamiflu, known generically as oseltamivir, a pill that can both treat flu and prevent infection.

The new virus, not previously detected in pigs or humans, has proved sensitive to the drug, the WHO said in a statement.

The WHO and its regional office in Washington, D.C., are also sending experts to Mexico to help health authorities with disease surveillance, laboratory diagnosis and clinical management of cases.

Mexican health officials have reported more than 850 cases of pneumonia in the capital, Mexico City, including 59 who died. In San Luis Potosi, in central Mexico, 24 cases including 3 deaths have been detected.

They have also informed the WHO about a third suspected outbreak of swine flu in Mexicali, near the U.S. border, with four suspect cases and no deaths so far.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control have said there were 8 cases of swine influenza in California and Texas and no deaths.

Health authorities in the two North American countries have the resources required already in place, including Tamiflu, and are "well equipped," according to the WHO.

"WHO is prepared with rapid containment measures should it be necessary to be deployed," WHO spokeswoman Aphaluck Bhatiasevi told Reuters.

The United Nations agency saw no need at this point to issue travel advisories warning travelers not to go to parts of Mexico or the United States. "However, the situation may change depending on what the situation in the field is," she said.

The WHO will convene a meeting of its Emergency Committee on international health regulations, probably on Saturday afternoon, she added.

WHO director-general Margaret Chan was flying back to Geneva overnight from Washington, D.C., for the emergency discussions which would link public health authorities and experts in various parts of world in a virtual meeting, she said.

The emergency committee could make recommendations including whether to change the pandemic alert level, she added.

"Because there are human cases associated with an animal influenza virus, and because of the geographical spread of multiple community outbreaks, plus the somewhat unusual age groups affected, these events are of high concern," the WHO said in a statement.

3398  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: April 24, 2009, 09:56:47 AM
Quite the contrary to the Dems working hard to politically demolish the Republican party BO IMO has done more to damage our reputation around the world than all previous presidents combined.  This is unprecedented and damaging long and short term than anything previous.  That the mainstream media runs along for the ride says it all about them:


Obama Administration to Release Detainee Abuse Photos; Former CIA Official Says Former Colleagues 'Don't Believe They Have Cover Anymore'
April 24, 2009 10:23 AM

In a letter from the Justice Department to a federal judge yesterday, the Obama administration announced that the Pentagon would turn over to the American Civil Liberties Union 44 photographs showing detainee abuse of prisoners in Afghanistan and Iraq during the Bush administration.

The photographs are part of a 2003 Freedom of Information Act request by the ACLU for all information relating to the treatment of detainees -- the same battle that led, last week, to President Obama's decision to release memos from the Bush Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel providing legal justifications for harsh interrogation methods that human rights groups call torture.

Courts had ruled against the Bush administration's attempts to keep the photographs from public view. ACLU attorney Amrit Singh tells ABC News that "the fact that the Obama administration opted not to seek further review is a sign that it is committed to more transparency."

Singh added that the photographs "only underscore the need for a criminal investigation and prosecution if warranted" of U.S. officials responsible for the harsh treatment of detainees.

But some experts say the move could have a chilling effect on the CIA even beyond President Obama's decision last week to release the so-called "torture memos."

Calling the ACLU push to release the photographs "prurient" and "reprehensible," Dr. Mark M. Lowenthal, former Assistant Director of Central Intelligence for Analysis and Production, tells ABC News that the Obama administration should have taken the case all the way to the Supreme Court.

"They should have fought it all the way; if they lost, they lost," Lowenthal said. "There's nothing to be gained from it. There's no substantive reason why those photos have to be released."

Lowenthal said the president's moves in the last week have left many in the CIA dispirited, based on "the undercurrent I've been getting from colleagues still in the building, or colleagues who have left not that long ago."

"We ask these people to do extremely dangerous things, things they've been ordered to do by legal authorities, with the understanding that they will get top cover if something goes wrong," Lowenthal says. "They don't believe they have that cover anymore." Releasing the photographs "will make it much worse," he said.

Even though President Obama has announced that the Justice Department will not prosecute CIA officers who were operating within the four corners of what they'd been told was the law, Lowenthal says members of the CIA are worried. "They feel exposed already, and this is going to increase drumbeat for an investigation or a commission" to explore detainee treatment during the Bush years, he said. "It's going to make it much harder to resist, and they fear they're then going to be thrown over."

The Bush administration argued that releasing these photographs would violate US obligations towards detainees and would prompt outrage and perhaps attacks against the U.S. On June 9 and June 21, 2006 judges directed the Bush administration to release 21 photographs depicting the treatment of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan, and last September, the Second Circuit Court affirmed that decision.

The Bush administration had argued that an exemption from FOIA was needed here because of the exemption for law enforcement records that could reasonably be expected to endanger “any individual." The release of the disputed photographs, the Bush administration argued, will endanger United States troops, other Coalition forces, and civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But the court found that the exemption was not intended "as an all-purpose damper on global controversy."

The Bush administration had also argued that releasing the photographs would violated the Geneva Conventions, which protect prisoners of war and detained civilians “against insults and public curiosity." The court ruled that the Geneva Conventions "do not prohibit dissemination of images of detainees being abused when the images are redacted so as to protect the identities of the detainees, at least in situations where, as here, the purpose of the dissemination is not itself to humiliate the detainees."

Moreover, the court found that releasing "the photographs is likely to further the purposes of the Geneva Conventions by deterring future abuse of prisoners."

"There is a significant public interest in the disclosure of these photographs," the court ruled. "The defendants concede that these photographs yield evidence of governmental wrongdoing, but nonetheless argue that they add little additional value to the written summaries of the depicted events, which have already been made public. This contention disregards FOIA’s central purpose of furthering governmental accountability, and the special importance the law accords to information revealing official misconduct."

A November 6, 2008, petition for a re-hearing was denied last month.

The Obama administration could have opted to go all the way to the Supreme Court to try to keep these photographs from public view, but yesterday Acting U.S. Attorney Lev L. Dassin wrote to District Judge Alvin Hellerstein and said the Pentagon was preparing to release 21 photos at issue in the appeal, in addition to 23 others "previously identified as responsive."

The materials will be released to the ACLU no later than May 28, after which the ACLU says it will make them public. This release will come just days before President Obama travels to the volatile Middle East.

Dassin wrote that the Pentagon also was "processing for release a substantial number of other images contained in Army CID reports that have been closed during the pendency of this case."

Singh said in a statement that the photographs "will constitute visual proof that, unlike the Bush administration's claim, the abuse was not confined to Abu Ghraib and was not aberrational. Their disclosure is critical for helping the public understand the scope and scale of prisoner abuse as well as for holding senior officials accountable for authorizing or permitting such abuse."

Lowenthal said his former colleagues at the CIA were "put off" by President Obama's trip to the CIA earlier this week. "I don't think the president's speech went down very well, particularly the part when he said they made mistakes. They don't think they made mistakes. They think they acted to execute policy. And those in the intelligence service don't make policy."

Those in intelligence are "gong to become increasingly wary about doing dangerous things," Lowenthal said. "They feel at the end of the day they won't be covered. It's not irreparable right now, but it's problematic."
3399  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / More like a teflon butt on: April 24, 2009, 09:09:21 AM
"Reality bites BO in butt again"

The only ones being bitten in the butt are the American people.

BO is already getting the rave reviews for his "first 100 days" in the MSM.

Of course Carville gives him an A- but when Ed Rollins gives him a B.........

BO is comfortable doing the "triangulation" thing with the purported "torture" (non) issue letting the legislatures deal with the prosecutions while he sits back and pretends he is above it all.  All he did was selectively release information so his blood hounds in the House/Senate can do the dirty work.  Recall Pelosi's statement that they will "cover his back".

It is all pay back time for the independent counsel that went after Clinton and the subsequent impeachment.


3400  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / remember Dershowitz on torture? on: April 23, 2009, 02:41:54 PM
Dershowitz: Torture could be justified
Tuesday, March 4, 2003 Posted: 0431 GMT (12:31 PM HKT)
Ken Roth and Alan Dershowitz

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Following the capture of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the question has become whether the senior al Qaeda leader will reveal key information about the terrorist network. If he doesn't, should he be tortured to make him tell what he knows?

CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer posed this question to noted author and Harvard University law professor Alan Dershowitz and Ken Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch.

BLITZER: Alan Dershowitz, a lot of our viewers will be surprised to hear that you think there are right times for torture. Is this one of those moments?

DERSHOWITZ: I don't think so. This is not the ticking-bomb terrorist case, at least so far as we know. Of course, the difficult question is the chicken-egg question: We won't know if he is a ticking-bomb terrorist unless he provides us information, and he's not likely to provide information unless we use certain extreme measures.

My basic point, though, is we should never under any circumstances allow low-level people to administer torture. If torture is going to be administered as a last resort in the ticking-bomb case, to save enormous numbers of lives, it ought to be done openly, with accountability, with approval by the president of the United States or by a Supreme Court justice. I don't think we're in that situation in this case.

BLITZER: Well, how do you know ...

DERSHOWITZ: So we might be close.

BLITZER: Alan, how do you know he doesn't have that kind of ticking-bomb information right now, that there's some plot against New York or Washington that he was involved in and there's a time sensitivity? If you knew that, if you suspected that, you would say [to] get the president to authorize torture.

DERSHOWITZ: Well, we don't know, and that's why [we could use] a torture warrant, which puts a heavy burden on the government to demonstrate by factual evidence the necessity to administer this horrible, horrible technique of torture. I would talk about nonlethal torture, say, a sterilized needle underneath the nail, which would violate the Geneva Accords, but you know, countries all over the world violate the Geneva Accords. They do it secretly and hypothetically, the way the French did it in Algeria. If we ever came close to doing it, and we don't know whether this is such a case, I think we would want to do it with accountability and openly and not adopt the way of the hypocrite.

BLITZER: All right. Ken, under those kinds of rare, extreme circumstances, does Professor Dershowitz make a good point?

ROTH: He doesn't. The prohibition on torture is one of the basic, absolute prohibitions that exists in international law. It exists in time of peace as well as in time of war. It exists regardless of the severity of a security threat. And the only other comparable prohibition that I can think of is the prohibition on attacking innocent civilians in time of war or through terrorism. If you're going to have a torture warrant, why not create a terrorism warrant? Why not go in and allow terrorists to come forward and make their case for why terrorism should be allowed?

DERSHOWITZ: Well, in fact, we've done that. Of course, we've done that. We have bombed civilian targets during every single one of our wars. We did it in Dresden. We did it in Vietnam notwithstanding these rules. So you know, having laws on the books and breaking them systemically just creates disdain ... It's much better to have rules that we can actually live within. And absolute prohibitions, generally, are not the kind of rules that countries would live within.

I want to ask you a question. Don't you think if we ever had a ticking-bomb case, regardless of your views or mine, that the CIA would actually either torture themselves or subcontract the job to Jordan, the Philippines or Egypt, who are our favorite countries, to do the torturing for us?

ROTH: OK, there is no moral or legal difference between torturing yourself and subcontracting torture to somebody else. They're equally absolutely prohibited.

DERSHOWITZ: But we do it.

ROTH: In the case -- the fact that sometimes laws are violated does not mean you want to start legitimizing the violation by getting some judge to authorize it. Imagine, you're always thinking about the U.S. Supreme Court, but any rule you apply to the United States has to be applied around the world. Do you want Chinese judges authorizing torture of say, Muslim dissidents?

DERSHOWITZ: It wouldn't make any difference. They just torture anyway. It wouldn't make any difference. They torture now.

ROTH: Once you open the door to torture, once you start legitimizing it in any way, you have broken the absolute taboo. President Bush had it right in his State of the Union address when he was describing various forms of torture by Saddam Hussein and he said, "If this isn't evil, then evil has no meaning."

BLITZER: Well, let me interrupt, Ken. Let me ask you about a hypothetical case. Professor Dershowitz talks about it in one of his articles and one of his books. There's a terrorist attack. A lot of people have just been killed in New York. They capture one of the terrorists, who says, "Guess what, there's another bomb out there, it is going to kill a lot more, but I'm not telling you where it is."

ROTH: Yes, that's the ticking-bomb scenario, which everybody loves to put forward as an excuse for torture. Israel tried that. Under the guise of just looking at the narrow exception of where the ticking-bomb is there and you could save the poor schoolchildren whose bus was about to be exploded some place. They ended up torturing on the theory that -- well, it may not be the terrorist, but it's somebody who knows the terrorist or it's somebody who might have information leading to the terrorist.

They ended up torturing say 90 percent of the Palestinian security detainees they had until finally the Israeli supreme court had to say this kind of rare exception isn't working. It's an exception that's destroying the rule. We have to understand the United States sets a model for the rest of the world. And if the United States is going to authorize torture in any sense, you can imagine that there are many more unsavory regimes out there that are just dying for the chance to say, "Well, the U.S. is doing it, we're going to start doing it as well."

DERSHOWITZ: And I think that we're much, much better off admitting what we're doing or not doing it at all. I agree with you, it will much better if we never did it. But if we're going to do it and subcontract and find ways of circumventing, it's much better to do what Israel did. They were the only country in the world ever directly to confront the issue, and it led to a supreme court decision, as you say, outlawing torture, and yet Israel has been criticized all over the world for confronting the issue directly. Candor and accountability in a democracy is very important. Hypocrisy has no place.

ROTH: So let's learn the lesson from the Israelis, which is you can't open the door a little bit. If you try, you end up having torture left and right. The other alternative, rather than legitimizing with torture warrants, is to prohibit it and prosecute the offenders. And we have murder on the street every day. We don't ask for murder warrants.

BLITZER: Ken, let me just get back to that ticking time bomb scenario. You would -- you could morally justify letting this terrorist that you've captured remain silent and allow hundreds of people to die?

ROTH: Look, we just heard from the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. You just had him on your show, Wolf, who said the interrogators at Bagram Air Base or wherever Mohammed is, they don't need torture. They have other, legitimate ways of getting at the truth. They're listening in through various wiretaps and the like.

Torture is not needed. If you start opening the door, making a little exception here, a little exception there, you've basically sent the signal that the ends justify the means, and that's exactly what Osama bin Laden thinks. He has some vision of a just society. His ends justify the means of attacking the World Trade Center. If we're going to violate an equally basic prohibition on torture, we are reaffirming that false logic of terrorism. We are going to end up losing the war ...

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