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3401  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: April 20, 2009, 04:05:53 PM
***He has published the memos authorizing torture to make this entirely a Bush administration problem***

And that's it folks.  It is less about morality than politics.

Bush is the deamon.  Not those who attacked us.

Thus strip Bush of his biggest claim to fame - that he protected us.

He didn't make us safer he made us less safe.  So their argument goes. 
3402  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: April 20, 2009, 03:30:08 PM
"President Obama plans to visit C.I.A. headquarters Monday and make public remarks to employees"

I hear on the radio he told empolyees "not to be discouraged" by the release of memos that this is how you learn from your mistakes.

Imagine.  The leader of our country humiliating those who did their best to protect us.  And doing for his political gain in for international media.

I don't recall Jimmy Carter who was a Navy veteran, or any other President for that matter, going around disgracing us this way.
3403  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Part two on: April 20, 2009, 09:40:21 AM
Part two:

From the May 2009 Scientific American Magazine

*****The Costs of Expanding the Government's Economic Role
Obama's reexpansion of the government's economic role is vital--and we will have to pay for it
By Jeffrey D. Sachs   

Obamas budget plan aims to reduce the deficit to 3 percent of GNP by 2013, and to level off till 2019. This deficit is relatively large, but even that target will be very difficult to achieve and sustain as planned. With significant increases in entitlements spending and higher interest payments on the rising public debt, the plan is to cut the deficit mainly through higher taxes on the rich, reduced military outlays for Iraq and Afghanistan, new revenues from auctioning carbon-emission permits and, finally, a squeeze on non-defense discretionary spending as a share of GDP (which is programmed to decline from 4.7 percent in 2010 to 3.2 percent in 2019). Such a squeeze on non-defense spending seems unlikelyand indeed undesirableat a time when government is launching several much-needed programs in education, health, energy and infrastructure.

The truth is that the U.S., like Europe, will probably have to raise new revenues by a few percent of GDP if government is indeed to carry out its vital roles in protecting the poor, promoting health and education and building a modern infrastructure with 21st century sustainable technology. Ending the Bush-era tax cuts on the rich certainly is merited, but further taxing the rich much beyond that will come up against political and practical limits. Within a few years, well probably see the need for new broader-based taxes, perhaps a national sales or value-added tax such as those widely used in other high-income countries. If we continue to assume that we can have the expanded government that we need but without the tax revenues to pay for it, the unacceptable build-up of public debt will threaten the well-being of our children and our childrens children. No parent, or citizen, should find such an approach acceptable. 

This story was originally published with the title "Paying for What Government Should Do"

ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
Jeffrey D. Sachs is director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University (www.earth.columbia.edu).****
3404  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tea paries are right. pro Obasma MSM ignores on: April 20, 2009, 09:37:17 AM
What the main stream media will not tell you is what this extremely liberal pro OBama writer admits:
That taxes will need to soar to pay for all his spending.  Bama tells us about the 250 or whatever pcoket change rebate now but we will be paying that back in huge multiples for the rest of our lives, probably after he gets re elected in 2012.

The tea parties are correct.  But the liberal MSM covers for the bama.  I don't agree with all of Mr Sachs assumptions but I agree with his admirable admission that the spending will require new taxes to pay for it all at some point.

PART 1:

****From the May 2009 Scientific American Magazine

The Costs of Expanding the Government's Economic Role [Extended version]
Obama's reexpansion of the government's economic role is vital--and we will have to pay for it
By Jeffrey D. Sachs   

The 10-year budget framework that President Barack Obama released in February, called “A New Era of Responsibility,” is as much a philosophy of government as a fiscal action plan. Gone is the Ronald Reagan view that “government is not a solution to our problem; government is the problem.” Obama rightly sees an expanded role for government in allocating society’s resources as vital to meeting the 21st century challenge of sustainable development. 

The scientific discipline known as public economics describes why government is needed alongside markets to allocate resources. These reasons include: the protection of the poor through a social safety net; the correction of externalities such as greenhouse gas emissions; the provision of “merit goods” such as health care and education that society deems to be essential for all of its members; and the financing of scientific and technological research that cannot be efficiently captured by private investors. In all these circumstances, the free-market system tends to underprovide the resource in question—whether income support for the poor, abatement of carbon emissions, low-cost primary health care, or R&D for renewable energy.   

After a decade of macroeconomic instability, Reagan came to office in 1981 on a platform of shrinking the public sector to free resources for market-based allocation. Federal revenues and outlays remained relatively unchanged as a share of national income from 1981 to 2008, at around 18 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) for revenues and around 21 percent of GDP for outlays. The U.S. ran budget deficits during most of that period, with a long and chronic stalemate between those who would raise taxes and those who would cut spending. By and large, the public resisted cuts to spending programs but also resisted calls for tax increases.

The result is in strong contrast with Europe, where both taxes and spending are notably higher. Counting all levels of government (federal, state, and local), government revenues in the U.S. are about 33 percent of GDP, compared with 45 percent in Europe; spending stands at 38 percent of GDP in the U.S. and 46 percent in Europe. Yet because U.S. taxes are even lower than spending as a share of GDP, U.S. deficits are chronically higher. The main predictions of public economics are also supported. The U.S. lags behind Europe in several areas where public spending makes a vast difference: U.S. health outcomes are worse (for example, lower life expectancy with a much more costly private system); U.S. poverty is much higher; U.S. educational outcomes are worse (poorer outcomes in science, math, and functional literacy); and public infrastructure is superior in many European countries (for example, better mass transit and broadband penetration).   

Obama’s budget plan properly focuses on areas that public economics identifies as priorities and where the U.S. discernibly lags behind many parts of Europe: health (the costly private U.S. system yields a lower life expectancy), education (worse science, math and functional literacy), public infrastructure (for mass transit and broadband, for example) and research and development (especially on sustainable energy). The emphasis is on public-private partnerships (PPP), combining public financing and private sector delivery. Among other major efforts, the PPP model will be used to promote the next generation of electric automobiles (plug-in hybrids, all-battery and fuel cells), a smart grid to tap renewable solar and wind energy in a resilient and efficient national network, and the testing of carbon-capture and sequestration at coal-fired power plants.

Obama’s vision of an expanded federal role is on-target and transformative, but the financing will be tricky. This year’s deficit will reach an astounding $1.75 trillion, or 12 percent of GDP, as a result of a collapse of tax revenues, bank bailouts and stimulus spending. Under the plan, the government debt held by the public will balloon from 40.8 percent of GDP in 2008 to 65.8 percent in 2013, a level that will weigh heavily on the budget for years.

end of part one*****


3405  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Bo/2.Israel.leave.the.settlements.or.we.will.not.support.you on: April 18, 2009, 10:33:05 AM
I am not sure if this ruse is really the beginning of demands for concessions from Israel or the stumbling block.  I don't know enough to have an opnion as to whether Israle should or should not give up the settlements.  I believe it is a contested issue even in Israel.
However, the tone of BO who I believe truly is an antisemite (I don't care how many party loyal career liberal Jews he has wrking for him) certainly has the appearance of arrogance to Israel and conciliatory and sympathetic to Palestians.
Remember hsi middle name is Hussain not Joshua.

****The Age - Business
Obama's stance worries Israelis
Jason Koutsoukis
April 18, 2009
Page 1 of 2 | Single Page View
CAN Israel still call the United States its best international friend? Apparently not, if you believe the tone of the local media.

Watching the drama unfold inside Israel, the increasingly tense dialogue between US President Barack Obama and new Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is taking on all the trappings of a duel.

Almost every day brings news of another sore point between the two countries, a source of yet further inflammation of their once warm relations.

One could be forgiven for thinking that the more immediate threat to Israel's national security lay across the Atlantic rather than from closer to home.

It is bad enough that President Obama uses almost every opportunity he can to set the parameters of a final peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. Now US officials are openly using Israeli anxiety over Iran's fledging nuclear program as a bargaining chip to force Israel's hand on giving up control of the West Bank Palestinian territory.

No less a figure than White House chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel — whose father fought with the militant Zionist group the Irgun, and whose appointment had provided such reassurance to Israeli officials — was quoted this week laying down the law to Israel.

If Israel wants US help to defuse the Iranian threat, Mr Emanuel was reported to have told Jewish leaders in Washington, then get ready to start evacuating settlements in the West Bank.

Talkback radio blazed with fury across the country the same day, as Israelis protested that no US official had the right to tell them where to live.

Then on Thursday came the news that Mr Netanyahu's planned first meeting with President Obama in Washington next month had been called off.

Mr Netanyahu had hoped to capitalise on his attendance at the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in Washington to visit the White House.

But Administration officials informed Mr Netanyahu's office that the President would not be "in town". Continued...

3406  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The electoral process, vote fraud (ACORN et al), corruption etc. on: April 18, 2009, 09:59:24 AM
Doug,
What is your opinion of the "recount" process?
It seems the Dems always challenge the close contested contests and keep the counting going till they get a postive outcome then of coruse just stop.
Was the process as legit as it could be in your opinion?  One can never tell who to believe in these situations and with obvious media bias and loss of even semblence of even an effort of objectivity we don't know what to believe anymore.
3407  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Music on: April 14, 2009, 05:20:15 PM
Jessica Simpson country career *may be over* ; since my "mother" in law has not come back into the house they have not been able to steal song lyrics.  Simpson will be back if they can steal more.  Or else get them from somewhere else.
We are finally hearing fewer and fewer of Katherine's lyrics.  It is amazing how they can extend the life of the stolen material.  They make new videos of second and third tier songs from the albums released and present them as new.  Or they start coming out with greatest hit albums.  Or when the season is right (esp. with Alan Jackson) Christmas or Easter covers.
Many of the stars are taking breaks for all sorts of excuses , family , childrearing, death of a loved one, divorce.  They might change the type of music they sing or play because they can't get it from the original writer.  I love when they do that and claim 'yeah we are experimenting with our versatility" yadah yadah etc. 
John Rich on Hannity singing his supposed songs.  The last two we heard may actually have been his writing because they were not Katherines's.  And IMO they sucked.  Because he really can't write no matter what he claims.  What a joke.  This guy sits there and talks about America and freedom, love of country, individualism on Hannity and he got famous singing stolen songs and claiming he wrote them. 

 Concerts Jessica Simpson's country career hits sour note
AP, Apr 14, 2009 6:00 am PDT
 
Jessica Simpson's courtship with country music seems to have had a shorter shelf life than her marriage.After lackluster sales for her country debut, "Do You Know," Simpson and her Nashville record label have parted ways, leaving many wondering what's next for the 28-year-old entertainer.
"Right now it seems like she's taken a break from recording. There is nothing else on the books," said Ian Drew, senior music editor at Us Weekly magazine.
A spokeswoman for the one-time pop princess says Simpson remains part of the Sony Music Group on the Epic label, but is no longer working with the company's country division, Sony Music Nashville.

 
"She was on loan to Sony Nashville for her country album," said Lauren Auslander.As for her future in country music? "We don't know yet," she said.
"Do You Know" started strong but faded fast. The lead single, "Come on Over," a flirtatious, steel guitar-laced slice of country pop, peaked at No. 18 last summer and the album debuted at No. 1. But the second single, "Remember That," stalled at No. 42, and the third, "Pray Out Loud," failed to chart.
To date, the disc, Simpson's fifth studio release, has sold around 178,000 copies — a long way from her 3 million-selling 2003 disc, "In This Skin."
"Everywhere I saw her around the U.S. at different radio station events she was always well-received," said Lon Helton, editor and publisher of the industry trade publication "Country Aircheck." "For whatever reason, the music did not resonate."
Simpson came to country after her 2006 pop outing, "A Public Affair," fell flat. The Texas-born blonde touted the move as a return to her roots. She performed on the Grand Ole Opry, signed autographs at the Country Music Association's annual festival, and toured with country's multiplatinum trio Rascal Flatts.
But she got more publicity for her life outside of music, most of it far from positive. She was ridiculed when it seemed as if she had gained a few pounds, and the status of her romance with Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo was constantly scrutinized.
She was also criticized for a few erratic concert performances. At a February show in Michigan, Simpson apologized to fans after she forgot the lyrics to a song and asked her band to start over on another.
Some detractors viewed her country career as a calculated attempt to follow other pop stars who have found success on country radio.
"Working the country market is very different. You really have to work it at country. You have to spend your life on the road building an audience and she didn't really put the work in," Drew observed. "She walked the walk and talked the talk, but she didn't have the street cred that she needed to make it work."
But others say Simpson shouldn't bail too soon. She may just need more time to find an audience.
"It doesn't seem like she was even on the country music scene long enough to prove what she is capable of doing for this industry. She never got the chance," said Neely Yates, music director for country station 96.3 in Lubbock, Texas.
Helton wondered whether the singer was a victim of bad timing. Pop rockers Darius Rucker and Jewel were crossing over to country about the same time, which he called unusual in country music.
"What was the ability of the market to absorb and focus on more than one pop singer at a time coming over?" he asked.
The question now is whether Simpson will keep her record deal. After two disappointments, Epic may be ready to move on without her.
"She's never really sold a lot of records except for the album out at the height of 'Newlyweds,'" said Drew, referring to her popular reality TV show, "Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica," which chronicled her ill-fated marriage to Nick Lachey. "Other than that, she's never been able to sell much of anything."
But in a recent interview, Rascal Flatts' Gary Levox said Simpson is in a no-win situation with her critics: "She's in a spot where whatever she does, they pick her apart. They need to just leave her alone and just let her sing."
"She's a wonderfully gifted singer," added bandmate Jay DeMarcus. "All the other stuff overshadows what she's really about and it's unfortunate, because there's more to her there than just tabloid fodder."
3408  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Another interesting legal analysis by GWill on: April 14, 2009, 10:43:53 AM
It would be hard to believe that some form of nepotism or and bribery did not cause "lawmakers" to decide it is OK to confiscate money from casinos to give to horse racing tracks.  Did this subtle type of corruption also influence the courts?

Probably. 

****Racing Past the Constitution

By George Will

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Rampant redistribution of wealth by government is now the norm. So is this: This redistribution inflames government's natural rapaciousness and subverts the rule of law. This degeneration of governance is illustrated by the Illinois legislature's transfer of income from some disfavored riverboat casinos to racetracks.

Illinois has nine licensed riverboat casinos and five horse-racing tracks. In 2006, supposedly to "address the negative impact that riverboat gaming has had" on Illinois horse racing, the legislature -- racing interests made huge contributions to Gov. Rod Blagojevich -- mandated a transfer of 3 percent of the gross receipts of the four most profitable casinos, those in the Chicago area, to the horse-racing tracks. This levy, subsequently extended to run until 2011, will confiscate substantially more than $100 million.

What is to prevent legislators from taking revenue from Wal-Mart and giving it to local retailers? Or from chain drugstores to local pharmacies? Not the tattered remnant of the Constitution's takings clause.

The Fifth Amendment says that private property shall not "be taken for public use without just compensation" (emphasis added). Fifty state constitutions also stipulate taking only for public uses. But the Illinois Supreme Court ignored the public-use question. Instead, the court said it is "well settled" that the takings clause applies only to government's exercise of its eminent domain power regarding land, buildings and other tangible or intellectual property -- but not money.

Conflicting rulings by state courts demonstrate that that question is chaotically unsettled. That is one reason the U.S. Supreme Court should take the Illinois case and reject the preposterous idea that money is not property within the scope of the takings clause -- an idea that licenses legislative confiscations. Another and related reason the court should take the case is to reconsider its 2005 ruling that rendered the "public purpose" requirement empty.

The careful crafters of the Bill of Rights intended the adjective "public" to restrict government takings to uses directly owned by government or primarily serving the general public, such as roads, bridges or public buildings. In 1954, in a case arising from a disease-ridden section of Washington, the court broadened the "public use" criterion. It declared constitutional takings for the purpose of combating "blight" that is harmful to the larger community.

Every weekday NewsAndOpinion.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". HUNDREDS of columnists and cartoonists regularly appear. Sign up for the daily update. It's free. Just click here.
 
In 2005, however, in a 5 to 4 decision, the court radically attenuated the "public use" restriction on takings, saying that promoting "economic development" is a sufficient public use. The court upheld the New London, Conn., city government's decision to seize an unblighted middle-class neighborhood for the purpose of turning the land over to private businesses which, being wealthier than the previous owners, would be a richer source of tax revenue. So now government takings need have only some anticipated public benefit, however indirect and derivative, at the end of some chain of causation hypothesized by the government doing the taking and benefiting from it.

In a brief opposing the Illinois legislature, the American Legislative Exchange Council, an organization of state legislators, makes this argument against "predatory taxation": Suppose Congress, eager to aid newspapers hurt by competition from new information technologies, decides to take a percentage of the assets of Bill Gates and half a dozen other beneficiaries of those technologies and give the money to newspapers. Would not this "take and transfer" scheme be unconstitutional? Targeting specific, identifiable persons or entities for unfavorable treatment, and transferring their assets to equally identifiable persons or entities, surely also raises equal protection issues. Unquestionably a legislature can impose a levy on casinos if the revenue becomes subject to what the state legislators' brief calls "allocation via the familiar push and pull of political decision-making." But Illinois' confiscation of riverboat revenue is a private-pockets-to-private-pockets transfer, without even laundering the money through the state treasury.

The Supreme Court has held that "one person's property may not be taken for the benefit of another private person without a justifying public purpose." But in the aftermath of the court's ruling in the New London case, the Illinois legislature merely seeks judicial deference toward its judgment that transferring wealth from casinos to racetracks serves the public purpose of benefiting "farmers, breeders, and fans of horse racing."

The court's virtual nullification of the "public use" requirement encourages lawlessness, which will proliferate until the court enunciates the constitutional principle that the takings clause protects money, like other forms of property, against egregious seizures. Enunciating such a principle would be a step toward restoring meaning to the "public purpose" clause.****

3409  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Iran:nuclea power numero nine on: April 13, 2009, 12:18:17 PM
Marvin Kalb was on cable yesterday and he came out and said war is not an option to talks with Iran.
BO is clear that is his position also though he doesn't say it.
Unless of course he is giving Iran a head fake as to not tip them off and will bomb their nuc sites but I certainly find that hard to believe.

So Iran will become the ninth nuclear power?

3410  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Piracy on: April 11, 2009, 09:56:24 AM
The piracy probelm has the potential to turn into another terrorist problem.
Remember the name Al Shabab:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/10/AR2009041003734.html?

The US is weak.
The rest of the world is happy.
3411  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / more health care propaganda on: April 11, 2009, 09:42:40 AM
Dear Mr. Ricardo Alonso-zaldivar,

They may not be a "lobbying" group but they certainly do have and use a voice - its called voting.  The same for those who pay no income taxes.  They express their "voice" with their votes!  And I don't need a poll to tell me which party they overwhelmingly vote for:

****Associated Press Writer Ricardo Alonso-zaldivar, Associated Press Writer – 1 hr 19 mins ago
WASHINGTON – If the uninsured were a political lobbying group, they'd have more members than AARP. The National Mall couldn't hold them if they decided to march on Washington.

But going without health insurance is still seen as a personal issue, a misfortune for many and a choice for some. People who lose coverage often struggle alone instead of turning their frustration into political action.

Illegal immigrants rallied in Washington during past immigration debates, but the uninsured linger in the background as Congress struggles with a health care overhaul that seems to have the best odds in years of passing.

That isolation could have profound repercussions.

Lawmakers already face tough choices to come up with the hundreds of billions it would cost to guarantee coverage for all. The lack of a vocal constituency won't help. Congress might decide to cover the uninsured slowly, in stages.

The uninsured "do not provide political benefit for the aid you give them," said Robert Blendon, a professor of health policy and political analysis at the Harvard School of Public Health. "That's one of the dilemmas in getting all this money. If I'm in Congress, and I help out farmers, they'll help me out politically. But if I help out the uninsured, they are not likely to help members of Congress get re-elected."

The number of uninsured has grown to an estimated 50 million people because of the recession. Even so, advocates in the halls of Congress are rarely the uninsured themselves. The most visible are groups that represent people who have insurance, usually union members and older people. In the last election, only 10 percent of registered voters said they were uninsured.

The grass-roots group Health Care for America Now plans to bring as many as 15,000 people to Washington this year to lobby Congress for guaranteed coverage. Campaign director Richard Kirsch expects most to have health insurance.

"We would never want to organize the uninsured by themselves because Americans see the problem as affordability, and that is the key thing," he said.

Besides, added Kirsch, the uninsured are too busy scrambling to make ends meet. Many are self-employed; others are holding two or three part-time jobs. "They may not have a lot of time to be activists," he said.

Vicki and Lyle White of Summerfield, Fla., know about such predicaments. They lost their health insurance because Lyle had to retire early after a heart attack left him unable to do his job as a custodian at Disney World. Vicki, 60, sells real estate. Her income has plunged due to the housing collapse.

"We didn't realize that after he had the heart attack no one would want to insure him," said Vicki. The one bright spot is that Lyle, 64, has qualified for Medicare disability benefits and expects to be getting his card in July.

But for now, the Whites have to pay out of pocket for Lyle's visits to the cardiologist and his medications. The bills came to about $5,000 last year. That put a strain on their limited budget because they are still making payments on their house and car.

"I never thought when we got to this age that we would be in such a mess," said Vicki, who has been married to Lyle for 43 years. "We didn't think we would have a heart attack and it would change our life forever."

While her own health is "pretty good," Vicki said she suffers chronic sinus infections and hasn't had a checkup since 2007. "I have just learned to live with it," she said.

The Whites' example shows how the lack of guaranteed health care access undermines middle-class families and puts them at risk, but that many of the uninsured eventually do find coverage. Lyle White has qualified for Medicare, even if the couple must still find a plan for Vicki.

Research shows that nearly half of those who lose coverage find other health insurance in four months or less. That may be another reason the uninsured have not organized an advocacy group. At least until this recession, many have been able to fix the situation themselves.

"The uninsured are a moving target," said Cathy Schoen, a vice president of the Commonwealth Fund, a research group that studies the problems of health care costs and coverage.

But even if gaps in coverage are only temporary, they can be dangerous. "Whenever you are uninsured, you are at risk," said Schoen. "People don't plan very well when they are going to get sick or injured."

Indeed, the Institute of Medicine, which provides scientific advice to the government, has found that a lack of health insurance increases the chances of bad outcomes for people with a range of common ailments, from diabetes and high blood pressure to cancer and stroke. Uninsured patients don't get needed follow-up care, skip taking prescription medicines and put off seeking help when they develop new symptoms.

Such evidence strengthens the case for getting everybody covered right away, Schoen said. But she acknowledges the politics may get tough. "It certainly has been a concern out of our history that unorganized voices aren't heard," she said.****

___

3412  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: April 11, 2009, 08:52:58 AM
Medical Personnel Accused of Helping CIA Torture Prisoners
By Todd Neale, Staff Writer, MedPage Today
Published: April 09, 2009
   
 
LITTLE FALLS, N.J., April 9 -- Some medical personnel allegedly took part in the torture of "high-level detainees" at CIA detention centers as part of the war on terrorism, according to a report from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

The "strictly confidential" report, written in 2007 and published recently on the Web site of the New York Review of Books, detailed interviews the agency conducted with 14 prisoners -- including the alleged mastermind of the September 11th attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed -- after they were transferred to the detention center at Guantanamo Bay.


The prisoners described a wide array of psychological and physical abuse while in CIA custody lasting up to four-and-a-half years. The tactics amounted to "torture and/or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment," according to the report.


Specific acts included near-suffocation by water (water boarding), forcing prisoners to stand with their arms chained above their heads, beatings, confinement within a box, prolonged nudity, sleep deprivation, exposure to cold temperatures, prolonged shackling, exposure to constant loud music, threats to the detainee and his family, forced shaving of the head and facial hair, and food restrictions.


The prisoners said that, in addition to routine medical checks before and after transfers and the provision of healthcare for routine ailments -- which was described as "appropriate and satisfactory" -- medical personnel actively monitored or directly engaged in torture in some cases.


"It was alleged that, based on their assessments, health personnel gave instructions to interrogators to continue, to adjust, or to stop particular methods," the report said.


Mohammed claimed that during one water-boarding session a doctor placed a clip on his finger, which, from the description, "appeared to be a pulse oximeter," according to the report.


"I think it was to measure my pulse and oxygen content in my blood," Mohammed was quoted as saying. "So they could take me to breaking point."


Another detainee "alleged that a health person threatened that medical care would be conditional upon cooperation with the interrogators," the report said.


The ICRC said the consistency of the detainees' accounts gave credibility to their allegations.


If the accounts are true, the agency said, the medical personnel acted unethically.


"The alleged participation of health personnel in the interrogation process and, either directly or indirectly, in the infliction of ill-treatment constituted a gross breach of medical ethics and, in some cases, amounted to participation in torture and/or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment," the report said.


"The role of the physician and any other health professional involved in the care of detainees is explicitly to protect them from such ill-treatment and there can be no exceptional circumstances invoked to excuse this obligation."


Both the American Psychiatric Association and the American Medical Association have policies prohibiting physicians from participating in government interrogations. (See: AMA to Examine Ethics of Physician Involvement in Prisoner Interrogations)


The American Psychological Association instituted a similar policy last year. (See: New APA Policy Bars Psychologists From Helping in Illegal Interrogations)


President Barack Obama has renounced the use of torture in dealing with prisoners but has opposed efforts to punish interrogators who might have been guilty of abuses during the Bush administration.
 
3413  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / More politics from the liberal rag on: April 10, 2009, 01:12:16 PM
If one doesn't think the NEJM is a liberal rag this is from the same issue:

Conscientious Objection Gone Awry — Restoring Selfless Professionalism in Medicine

Julie D. Cantor, M.D., J.D.
 
 A new rule from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has emerged as the latest battleground in the health care conscience wars. Promulgated during the waning months of the Bush administration, the rule became effective in January. Heralded as a "provider conscience regulation" by its supporters and derided as a "midnight regulation" by its detractors, the rule could alter the landscape of federal conscience law.

The regulation, as explained in its text (see the Supplementary Appendix, available with the full text of this article at NEJM.org), aims to raise awareness of and ensure compliance with federal health care conscience protection statutes. Existing laws, which are tied to the receipt of federal funds, address moral or religious objections to sterilization and abortion. They protect physicians, other health care personnel, hospitals, and insurance plans from discrimination for failing to provide, offer training for, fund, participate in, or refer patients for abortions. Among other things, the laws ensure that these persons cannot be required to participate in sterilizations or abortions and that entities cannot be required to make facilities or personnel available for them. And they note that decisions on admissions and accreditation must be divorced from beliefs and behaviors related to abortion. On their face, these laws are quite broad.

But the Bush administration's rule is broader still. It restates existing laws and exploits ambiguities in them. For example, one statute says, "No individual shall be required to perform or assist in the performance of any part of a health service program or research activity funded" by DHHS if it "would be contrary to his religious beliefs or moral convictions."1 Here the rule sidesteps courts, which interpret statutory ambiguities and discern congressional intent, and offers sweeping definitions. It defines "individual" as physicians, other health care providers, hospitals, laboratories, and insurance companies, as well as "employees, volunteers, trainees, contractors, and other persons" who work for an entity that receives DHHS funds. It defines "assist in the performance" as "any activity with a reasonable connection" to a procedure or health service, including counseling and making "other arrangements" for the activity. Although the rule states that patients' ability to obtain health care services is unchanged, its expansive definitions suggest otherwise. Now everyone connected to health care may opt out of a wide range of activities, from discussions about birth control to referrals for vaccinations. As the rule explains, "an employee whose task it is to clean the instruments used in a particular procedure would also be considered to assist in the performance of the particular procedure" and would therefore be protected. Taken to its logical extreme, the rule could cause health care to grind to a halt.

It also raises other concerns. In terms of employment law, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which applies to organizations with 15 or more employees, requires balancing reasonable accommodations for employees who have religious, ethical, or moral objections to certain aspects of their jobs with undue hardship for employers. But the new rule suggests that if an employee objects, for example, to being a scrub nurse during operative treatment for an ectopic pregnancy, subsequently reassigning that employee to a different department may constitute unlawful discrimination — a characterization that may be at odds with Title VII jurisprudence.2 As officials of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission remarked when it was proposed, the rule could "throw this entire body of law into question."3

Furthermore, although the rule purports to address intolerance toward "individual objections to abortion or other individual religious beliefs or moral convictions," it cites no evidence of such intolerance — nor would it directly address such intolerance if it existed. Constitutional concerns about the rule, including violations of state autonomy and rights to contraception, also lurk. And the stated goals of the rule — to foster a "more inclusive, tolerant environment" and promote DHHS's "mission of expanding patient access to necessary health services" — conflict with the reality of extensive objection rights. Protection for the silence of providers who object to care is at odds with the rule's call for "open communication" between patients and physicians. Moreover, there is no emergency exception for patient care. In states that require health care workers to provide rape victims with information about emergency contraception, the rule may allow them to refuse to do so.

Recently, the DHHS, now answering to President Barack Obama, took steps to rescind the rule (see the Supplementary Appendix). March 10 marked the beginning of a 30-day period for public comment on the need for the rule and its potential effects. Analysis of the comments (www.regulations.gov) and subsequent action could take some months. If remnants of the rule remain, litigation will follow. Lawsuits have already been filed in federal court, and Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who led one of the cases, has vowed to continue the fight until the regulation is "finally and safely stopped."4

This state of flux presents an opportunity to reconsider the scope of conscience in health care. When broadly defined, conscience is a poor touchstone; it can result in a rule that knows no bounds. Indeed, it seems that our problem is not insufficient tolerance, but too much. We have created a state of "conscience creep" in which all behavior becomes acceptable — like that of judges who, despite having promised to uphold all laws, recuse themselves from cases in which minors seek a judicial bypass for an abortion in states requiring parental consent.5

The debate is not really about moral or religious freedom writ large. If it were, then the medical profession would allow a broad range of beliefs to hinder patient care. Would we tolerate a surgeon who holds moral objections to transfusions and refuses to order them? An internist who refuses to discuss treatment for diabetes in overweight patients because of moral opposition to gluttony? If the overriding consideration were individual conscience, then these objections should be valid. They are not (although they might well be permitted under the new rule). We allow the current conscience-based exceptions because abortion remains controversial in the United States. As is often the case with laws touching on reproductive freedom, the debate is polarized and shrill. But there comes a point at which tolerance breaches the standard of care.

Medicine needs to embrace a brand of professionalism that demands less self-interest, not more. Conscientious objection makes sense with conscription, but it is worrisome when professionals who freely chose their field parse care and withhold information that patients need. As the gatekeepers to medicine, physicians and other health care providers have an obligation to choose specialties that are not moral minefields for them. Qualms about abortion, sterilization, and birth control? Do not practice women's health. Believe that the human body should be buried intact? Do not become a transplant surgeon. Morally opposed to pain medication because your religious beliefs demand suffering at the end of life? Do not train to be an intensivist. Conscience is a burden that belongs to the individual professional; patients should not have to shoulder it.

Patients need information, referrals, and treatment. They need all legal choices presented to them in a way that is true to the evidence, not the randomness of individual morality. They need predictability. Conscientious objections may vary from person to person, place to place, and procedure to procedure. Patients need assurance that the standard of care is unwavering. They need to know that the decision to consent to care is theirs and that they will not be presented with half-truths and shades of gray when life and health are in the balance.

Patients rely on health care professionals for their expertise; they should be able expect those professionals to be neutral arbiters of medical care. Although some scholars advocate discussing conflicting values before problems arise, realistically, the power dynamics between patients and providers are so skewed, and the time pressure often so great, that there is little opportunity to negotiate. And there is little recourse when care is obstructed — patients have no notice, no process, and no advocate to whom they can turn.

Health care providers already enjoy broad rights — perhaps too broad — to follow their guiding moral or religious tenets when it comes to sterilization and abortion. An expansion of those rights is unwarranted. Instead, patients deserve a law that limits objections and puts their interests first. Physicians should support an ethic that allows for all legal options, even those they would not choose. Federal laws may make room for the rights of conscience, but health care providers — and all those whose jobs affect patient care — should cast off the cloak of conscience when patients' needs demand it. Because the Bush administration's rule moves us in the opposite direction, it should be rescinded.

Dr. Cantor reports representing an affiliate of Planned Parenthood in a legal matter unrelated to conscientious objection. No other potential conflict of interest relevant to this article was reported.
Dr. Cantor is an adjunct professor at the UCLA School of Law, Los Angeles.

This article (10.1056/NEJMp0902019) was published at NEJM.org on March 25, 2009.

References

42 U.S.C.A.  300a-7(d).
Shelton v. Univ. of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey, 223 F.3d 220 (3d Cir. 2000).
Pear R. Protests over a rule to protect health providers. New York Times. November 17, 2008:A14.
Press release of the State of Connecticut Attorney General's Office, Hartford, February 27, 2009. (Accessed March 20, 2009, at http://www.ct.gov/ag/cwp/view.asp?A=3673&Q=434882.)
Liptak A. On moral grounds, some judges are opting out of abortion cases. New York Times. September 4, 2005.

3414  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Here it comes: Sugar taxation on: April 10, 2009, 01:06:51 PM
From the New England Journal of Medicine (a liberal rag) which frankly is more liberal then Newsweek.  Since it is genreated from the ivory towers of the Boston Medical establishment is loaded with flaming liberals. This issue has an article which makes the case for tax on sugar.  Note the quotation from Adam Smith which of course is there to silence conservatives on the issue right from the start.  More intrusion into our freedoms is on the way folks: 

****Published at www.nejm.org April 8, 2009 (10.1056/NEJMp0902392) 

Ounces of Prevention — The Public Policy Case for Taxes on Sugared Beverages

Kelly D. Brownell, Ph.D., and Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H.

Sugar, rum, and tobacco are commodities which are nowhere necessaries of life, which are become objects of almost universal consumption, and which are therefore extremely proper subjects of taxation.

— Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, 1776

The obesity epidemic has inspired calls for public health measures to prevent diet-related diseases. One controversial idea is now the subject of public debate: food taxes.

Forty states already have small taxes on sugared beverages and snack foods, but in the past year, Maine and New York have proposed large taxes on sugared beverages, and similar discussions have begun in other states. The size of the taxes, their potential for generating revenue and reducing consumption, and vigorous opposition by the beverage industry have resulted in substantial controversy. Because excess consumption of unhealthful foods underlies many leading causes of death, food taxes at local, state, and national levels are likely to remain part of political and public health discourse.

Sugar-sweetened beverages (soda sweetened with sugar, corn syrup, or other caloric sweeteners and other carbonated and uncarbonated drinks, such as sports and energy drinks) may be the single largest driver of the obesity epidemic. A recent meta-analysis found that the intake of sugared beverages is associated with increased body weight, poor nutrition, and displacement of more healthful beverages; increasing consumption increases risk for obesity and diabetes; the strongest effects are seen in studies with the best methods (e.g., longitudinal and interventional vs. correlational studies); and interventional studies show that reduced intake of soft drinks improves health.1 Studies that do not support a relationship between consumption of sugared beverages and health outcomes tend to be conducted by authors supported by the beverage industry.2

Sugared beverages are marketed extensively to children and adolescents, and in the mid-1990s, children's intake of sugared beverages surpassed that of milk. In the past decade, per capita intake of calories from sugar-sweetened beverages has increased by nearly 30% (see bar graph)3; beverages now account for 10 to 15% of the calories consumed by children and adolescents. For each extra can or glass of sugared beverage consumed per day, the likelihood of a child's becoming obese increases by 60%.4


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   Daily Caloric Intake from Sugar-Sweetened Drinks in the United States.
Data are from Nielsen and Popkin.3

Taxes on tobacco products have been highly effective in reducing consumption, and data indicate that higher prices also reduce soda consumption. A review conducted by Yale University's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity suggested that for every 10% increase in price, consumption decreases by 7.8%. An industry trade publication reported even larger reductions: as prices of carbonated soft drinks increased by 6.8%, sales dropped by 7.8%, and as Coca-Cola prices increased by 12%, sales dropped by 14.6%.5 Such studies — and the economic principles that support their findings — suggest that a tax on sugared beverages would encourage consumers to switch to more healthful beverages, which would lead to reduced caloric intake and less weight gain.

The increasing affordability of soda — and the decreasing affordability of fresh fruits and vegetables (see line graph) — probably contributes to the rise in obesity in the United States. In 2008, a group of child and health care advocates in New York proposed a one-penny-per-ounce excise tax on sugared beverages, which would be expected to reduce consumption by 13% — about two servings per week per person. Even if one quarter of the calories consumed from sugared beverages are replaced by other food, the decrease in consumption would lead to an estimated reduction of 8000 calories per person per year — slightly more than 2 lb each year for the average person. Such a reduction in calorie consumption would be expected to substantially reduce the risk of obesity and diabetes and may also reduce the risk of heart disease and other conditions.


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   Relative Price Changes for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, Sugars and Sweets, and Carbonated Drinks, 1978–2009.
Data are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and represent the U.S. city averages for all urban consumers in January of each year.
Some argue that government should not interfere in the market and that products and prices will change as consumers demand more healthful food, but several considerations support government action. The first is externality — costs to parties not directly involved in a transaction. The contribution of unhealthful diets to health care costs is already high and is increasing — an estimated $79 billion is spent annually for overweight and obesity alone — and approximately half of these costs are paid by Medicare and Medicaid, at taxpayers' expense. Diet-related diseases also cost society in terms of decreased work productivity, increased absenteeism, poorer school performance, and reduced fitness on the part of military recruits, among other negative effects.

The second consideration is information asymmetry between the parties to a transaction. In the case of sugared beverages, marketers commonly make health claims (e.g., that such beverages provide energy or vitamins) and use techniques that exploit the cognitive vulnerabilities of young children, who often cannot distinguish a television program from an advertisement.

A third consideration is revenue generation, which can further increase the societal benefits of a tax on soft drinks. A penny-per-ounce excise tax would raise an estimated $1.2 billion in New York State alone. In times of economic hardship, taxes that both generate this much revenue and promote health are better options than revenue initiatives that may have adverse effects.

Objections have certainly been raised: that such a tax would be regressive, that food taxes are not comparable to tobacco or alcohol taxes because people must eat to survive, that it is unfair to single out one type of food for taxation, and that the tax will not solve the obesity problem. But the poor are disproportionately affected by diet-related diseases and would derive the greatest benefit from reduced consumption; sugared beverages are not necessary for survival; Americans consume about 250 to 300 more calories daily today than they did several decades ago, and nearly half this increase is accounted for by consumption of sugared beverages; and though no single intervention will solve the obesity problem, that is hardly a reason to take no action.

The full impact of public policies becomes apparent only after they take effect. We can estimate changes in sugared-drink consumption that would be prompted by a tax, but accompanying changes in the consumption of other foods or beverages are more difficult to predict. One question is whether the proportions of calories consumed in liquid and solid foods would change. And shifts among beverages would have different effects depending on whether consumers substituted water, milk, diet drinks, or equivalent generic brands of sugared drinks.

Effects will also vary depending on whether the tax is designed to reduce consumption, generate revenue, or both; the size of the tax; whether the revenue is earmarked for programs related to nutrition and health; and where in the production and distribution chain the tax is applied. Given the heavy consumption of sugared beverages, even small taxes will generate substantial revenue, but only heftier taxes will significantly reduce consumption.

Sales taxes are the most common form of food tax, but because they are levied as a percentage of the retail price, they encourage the purchase of less-expensive brands or larger containers. Excise taxes structured as a fixed cost per ounce provide an incentive to buy less and hence would be much more effective in reducing consumption and improving health. In addition, manufacturers generally pass the cost of an excise tax along to their customers, including it in the price consumers see when they are making their selection, whereas sales taxes are seen only at the cash register.

Although a tax on sugared beverages would have health benefits regardless of how the revenue was used, the popularity of such a proposal increases greatly if revenues are used for programs to prevent childhood obesity, such as media campaigns, facilities and programs for physical activity, and healthier food in schools. Poll results show that support of a tax on sugared beverages ranges from 37 to 72%; a poll of New York residents found that 52% supported a "soda tax," but the number rose to 72% when respondents were told that the revenue would be used for obesity prevention. Perhaps the most defensible approach is to use revenue to subsidize the purchase of healthful foods. The public would then see a relationship between tax and benefit, and any regressive effects would be counteracted by the reduced costs of healthful food.

A penny-per-ounce excise tax could reduce consumption of sugared beverages by more than 10%. It is difficult to imagine producing behavior change of this magnitude through education alone, even if government devoted massive resources to the task. In contrast, a sales tax on sugared drinks would generate considerable revenue, and as with the tax on tobacco, it could become a key tool in efforts to improve health.

No potential conflict of interest relevant to this article was reported.
Dr. Brownell is a professor and director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, Yale University, New Haven, CT. Dr. Frieden is the health commissioner for the City of New York.
This article (10.1056/NEJMp0902392) was published at NEJM.org on April 8, 2009. It will appear in the April 30 issue of the Journal.

References

Vartanian LR, Schwartz MB, Brownell KD. Effects of soft drink consumption on nutrition and health: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Public Health 2007;97:667-675. [Free Full Text]
Forshee RA, Anderson PA, Storey ML. Sugar-sweetened beverages and body mass index in children and adolescents: a meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr 2008:87:1662-71.
Nielsen SJ, Popkin BM. Changes in beverage intake between 1977 and 2001. Am J Prev Med 2004;27:205-210. [Erratum, Am J Prev Med 2005;28:413.] [CrossRef][ISI][Medline]
Ludwig DS, Peterson KE, Gortmaker SL. Relation between consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks and childhood obesity: a prospective, observational analysis. Lancet 2001;357:505-508. [CrossRef][ISI][Medline]
Elasticity: big price increases cause Coke volume to plummet. Beverage Digest. November 21, 2008:3-4.****

3415  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Culture philosophy on: April 10, 2009, 11:52:19 AM
Some thoughts on philosophy about our culture:

I was watching a cable show and the topic was that school prayer is offensive to some.
I am wondering if we don't have religion than where do we get values from?
Pop culture?
Blogs?

Those who are against any form of religion in the public domain, school, government, courts, etc are I think called secularists.

They don't believe in a higher power, a God, or a power greater than us.

So what do they believe in and where are we/our children supposed to get values that makes us good citizens, neighbors, family members, friends?

I conclude that there values is what would be so called political correctness.  Political correctness trandscends previous values, religion.  Live and let live,  make love not war.  Do not dare offend anyone for their lifestyle. In the extreme it is even more.  We are not responsible for anything.  Murderers did not decide to kill.  *They* are the victims of bad genes, bad upbringing, childhood abuse etc.

Bin Laden is a killer but the US in its arrogance and capatilistic imperialism brought on his hatred.

All lifestyles are OK.  Anyone who disagrees with that is not.

These are the values, the "codes" the left has decided we should all live by.

Political correctness is the new "Ten Commandments" taught by the liberal educational majority to children now.

It is only by progression, by extension that socialism, facism or the like also is taught.

Capatilism is not correct.

Democracy only is correct as long as the majority hold to political correctness.

Freedom of speech is only acceptable to the extent it is politically correct.



3416  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: April 08, 2009, 06:36:16 PM
Well at least the Crats are consistent.  No longer do Americans help themselves.  It has become, "what can goernment do for me?"
The national scene is the same.  No longer does a liberal led America ask what it must do for itself whan faced with a problem.
As per Hillary and the rest of the crew it is now, "we must ask the *world* to deal with our problems.
We must go the UN.  We must join hands with the world and let them tell us what to do.


****Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Wednesday for world action to "end the scourge of piracy" as U.S. warships raced to confront pirates who hijacked a U.S.-flagged ship off the coast of Somalia.

American crew members aboard the hijacked ship were able to regain control of the vessel Wednesday, but the ship's captain still is being held hostage on a smaller boat.

"We are deeply concerned and we are following it very closely," Clinton said.

"Specifically, we are now focused on this particular act of piracy and the seizure of a ship that carries 21 American citizens. More generally, we think the world must come together to end the scourge of piracy," she said.

U.S. Navy officials told FOX News on Wednesday afternoon that its closest ship was 300 miles away, which would place it 15 hours from the vessel, known as the Maersk Alabama.

A defense official said the ship's captain is being held captive on board a lifeboat belonging to the ship. Four pirates are in the lifeboat and according to the official there is no clear evidence that a pirate remains captive with the U.S. crew.

"We are able to confirm that the crew of the Maersk Alabama is now in control of the ship," said Kevin Speers, a spokesman for Maersk Lines Limited. "The armed hijackers who boarded this ship earlier today have departed, however they are currently holding one member of the ship's crew as a hostage. The other members of the crew are safe and no injuries have been reported."

Speaking on the ship's satellite phone, one of the 20 crew members said they had been taken hostage but managed to seize one pirate and then successfully negotiate their own release.

"All the crew members are trained in security detail in how to deal with piracy," Maersk CEO John Reinhart told reporters. "As merchant vessels we do not carry arms. We have ways to push back, but we do not carry arms."

John Harris, CEO of HollowPoint Security Services, which specializes in maritime security, said that the crew's overtaking the pirates could help prevent future hijackings, especially since the military can't protect the entire high seas.

Related StoriesFor Somalis, Piracy Road to Power, Prosperity
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"Any time you can get intel from them, they can give you any kind of significant information, they more than likely will not, but anything we can get will always help us in the future," Harris told FOX News.

"Naval vessels ... can't be everywhere at one time, just like law enforcement," he said, noting that the U.S. Navy has been protecting the most vulnerable shipping lanes in the Indian Ocean.

"If you saturate an area long enough in the shipping lanes, if you saturate it with war ships long enough, they venture out. In this case that's what they did. They want 350 miles out of the coast where no Naval vessels were present," he said.

Click here for photos.

As for the boldness of the pirates taking a ship operating under a U.S. flag, Harris said pirates don't care which ship they grab.

"We have not seen it matters at all. This is a business to them. They are not intended on carrying what cargo we're carrying. All they want to do is see a dollar figure. They know if they catch a big ship, they get big money. All they want is ransom out of this. They are not worried about crew or cargo," Harris said.

Pentagon Spokesman Bryan Whitman said earlier Wednesday he has "no information to suggest the 20 crew members of the Maersk Alabama have been harmed by the pirates."

During its one communication with the ship, Maersk was told the crew was safe, Reinhart said. He would not release the names of the crew members.

Cmdr. Jane Campbell, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Navy's Bahrain-based 5th Fleet, said that it was the first pirate attack "involving U.S. nationals and a U.S.-flagged vessel in recent memory."

Wednesday's incident was the first such hostage-taking involving U.S. citizens in 200 years. In December 2008, Somali pirates chased and shot at a U.S. cruise ship with more than 1,000 people on board but failed to hijack the vessel.

The top two commanders of the ship graduated from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, the Cape Cod Times reported Wednesday.

Andrea Phillips, the wife of the captured captain, Richard Phillips of Underhill, Vt., said her husband has sailed in those waters "for quite some time" and a hijacking was perhaps "inevitable."

The Cape Cod Times reported his second in command, Capt. Shane Murphy, was also among the 20 Americans aboard the Maersk Alabama.

Capt. Joseph Murphy, a professor at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, says his son is a 2001 graduate who recently talked to a class about the dangers of pirates.

The newspaper reported the 33-year-old Murphy had phoned his mother to say he was safe.

The 17,000-ton Maersk Alabama was carrying emergency relief to Mombasa, Kenya, at the time it was hijacked, for the Copenhagen-based container shipping group A.P. Moller-Maersk.

Robert A. Wood, Deputy State Department Spokesman, told reporters the ship was carrying "vegetable oil, corn soy blend and other basic food commodities bound for Africa."****
3417  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-Russia on: April 07, 2009, 09:54:57 AM
***which is an American problem, not a Republican one***

I don't recall a sitting president continue to stoop so low as to endlessly blame the previous administration on so many problems.
And to go over seas and make public appearances while humiliating the previous pres.!

It is really disgraceful.

Reagan could have done the same to Carter but he had class and stood up for his country and not criticized it to the world.

3418  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Geology on: April 06, 2009, 12:32:38 PM
I wonder what should have been done.  You ask everyone to evacuate?  Give how to survive an earthquake lessons?
Warn everyone and those who want to leave the area can?

Have emergencies on alert?  What actually would we do?

Suppose a scientist starts warning LA there is an imminent Eq. What should be done? 

Now that we have made natural disasters the fault of someone such as Katrina, et al.

Naturally, we can now say this was someone'e fault.  Hey you were warned and the dirty gov covered it up.

***Italy muzzled scientist who predicted quake
 

          ROME (Reuters) – An Italian scientist predicted a major earthquake around L'Aquila weeks before disaster struck the city on Monday, killing more than 100 people, but was reported to authorities for spreading panic.

The government on Monday insisted the warning, by seismologist Gioacchino Giuliani, had no scientific foundation but Giuliani said he had been vindicated and wanted an apology.

The first tremors in the region were felt in mid-January and continued at regular intervals, creating mounting alarm in the medieval city, about 100 km (60 miles) east of Rome.

Vans with loudspeakers drove around the town a month ago telling locals to evacuate their houses after Giuliani, from the National Institute of Astrophysics, predicted a large quake was on the way, prompting the mayor's anger.

Giuliani, who based his forecast on concentrations of radon gas around seismically active areas, was reported to police for "spreading alarm" and was forced to remove his findings from the Internet.

"Now there are people who have to apologize to me and who will have what has happened on their conscience," Giuliani told the website of the daily La Repubblica.

Giuliani, who lives in L'Aquila and developed his findings while working at the National Institute of Nuclear Physics in the surrounding Abruzzo region, said he was helpless to act on Sunday as it became clear to him the quake was imminent.

"I didn't know who to turn to, I had been put under investigation for saying there was going to be an earthquake."

AGENCY REASSURED TOWNSPEOPLE

As the media asked whether, in light of his warnings, the government had protected the population properly, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi seemed on the defensive at a news conference.

He said people should concentrate on relief efforts for now and "we can discuss afterwards about the predictability of earthquakes."

Italy's Civil Protection agency held a meeting of the Major Risks Committee, grouping scientists charged with assessing such risks, in L'Aquila on March 31 to reassure the townspeople.

"The tremors being felt by the population are part of a typical sequence ... (which is) absolutely normal in a seismic area like the one around L'Aquila," the agency said in a statement on the eve of that meeting.

It said it saw no reason for alarm but was nonetheless carrying out "continuous monitoring and attention."

The head of the agency, Guido Bertolaso, referred back to that meeting at Monday's joint news conference with Berlusconi.

"There is no possibility of predicting an earthquake, that is the view of the international scientific community," he said.

Enzo Boschi, the head of the National Geophysics Institute, said the real problem for Italy was a long-standing failure to take proper precautions despite a history of tragic quakes.

"We have earthquakes but then we forget and do nothing. It's not in our culture to take precautions or build in an appropriate way in areas where there could be strong earthquakes," he said.***
3419  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Nuclear War? on: April 06, 2009, 11:39:39 AM
Well yes,
I saw this but I am not convinced it's not just a bluff.

 
U.S. Could Shoot Down Missile
2009-03-19
Top brass in the U.S. military say they can probably shoot down any North Korean missile. But will they?

Adm. Timothy Keating speaks at a meeting with the Japanese defense ministry in Tokyo, Feb. 19, 2009.

WASHINGTON—Two high-ranking U.S. military commanders say U.S. forces are prepared to shoot down any North Korean missile following a planned rocket launch in April.

"We'll be prepared to respond," the top U.S. commander in the Pacific, Adm. Timothy Keating, told a Senate panel.

He cited a "high probability'' that the United States could shoot down a North Korean missile.

I'm sure there's been a lot a contingency planning within the Pentagon."

3420  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Nuclear War? on: April 06, 2009, 10:57:34 AM
"Refusing to use missile defenses to shoot down the TD-2"

Do we know even if we really can even if BO wanted to?
I am dubious.
3421  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Krauthammer.is.a.little.short.in.scope.but.dead.on.in.principle on: April 03, 2009, 04:29:13 PM
Krauthammer is only partly correct.  Yes BO's ultimate goal is socialism by taking from the upper classes in the US and giving to the lower classes.  But it is far worse, delusional, and crazy.  He wants to take from the haves in the US and give to the lower classes of the world!  His presidency is not about advancing the interests of US citizens, but is about advancing socialism around the world using his position here to do it!

BO obviously doesn't believe in the US model that *everyone has a chance*.  BO obviously believes that the successful have unfairly beaten or kept down the less successful.  He is fully of the philisophical camp that beleives the US is to blame for much of the world's ills.  We are an imperialist selfish money grubbing nation that has caused climate change, and for everyone to righly hate us because we "dictate" to the world rather than "listen".  The fact that most of these same haters would love to come here goes unnoticed (including his own family many of whom are illegally here).  Yes, BO beleives it is the responsibility of those with any money whatsoever, (no matter how hard they worked for it or earned it) to give it away to those who have less. 

What is even more nuts, and Charles doesn't take it to this next logical conclusion, is that BO applies this attitude not only to the classes here in the US but between classes in the US and around the world.  It is now the responsibility of the those who earn anything in the US to support the world.  The world's obligation to us is merely to spend our money "wisely".

Folks the nerve of this guy to stand there in France and say how he will gladly give more money to countries in need if only their officials just don't steal it.  Whose money is he giving away?  It ain't his.  When are Americans going to stand up to this cook?

And the liberal, crat-leaning MSM is following this nut down the path of leading the US to I have no idea but it ain't what it has been for 200 years.  Why?  Some believe in this I guess.  Some just hate Repubs so much they will follow any crat to oblivion I guess.

In any case, here is Charles's article but he falls short the last step I outlined above:

****Obama's Ultimate Agenda

By Charles Krauthammer

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Five minutes of explanation to James Madison, and he'll have a pretty good idea what a motorcar is (basically a steamboat on wheels; the internal combustion engine might take a few minutes more). Then try to explain to Madison how the Constitution he fathered allows the president to unilaterally guarantee the repair or replacement of every component of millions of such contraptions sold in the several states, and you will leave him slack-jawed.

In fact, we are now so deep into government intervention that constitutional objections are summarily swept aside. The last Treasury secretary brought the nine largest banks into his office and informed them that henceforth he was their partner. His successor is seeking the power to seize any financial institution at his own discretion.

Despite these astonishments, I remain more amused than alarmed. First, the notion of presidential car warranties strikes me as simply too bizarre, too comical, to mark the beginning of Yankee Peronism.

Second, there is every political incentive to make these interventions in the banks and autos temporary and circumscribed. For President Obama, autos and banks are sideshows. Enormous sideshows, to be sure, but had the financial meltdown and the looming auto bankruptcies not been handed to him, he would hardly have gone seeking to be the nation's credit and car czar.

Obama has far different ambitions. His goal is to rewrite the American social compact, to recast the relationship between government and citizen. He wants government to narrow the nation's income and anxiety gaps. Soak the rich for reasons of revenue and justice. Nationalize health care and federalize education to grant all citizens of all classes the freedom from anxiety about health care and college that the rich enjoy. And fund this vast new social safety net through the cash cow of a disguised carbon tax.

Obama is a leveler. He has come to narrow the divide between rich and poor. For him the ultimate social value is fairness. Imposing it upon the American social order is his mission.

Fairness through leveling is the essence of Obamaism. (Asked by Charlie Gibson during a campaign debate about his support for raising capital gains taxes — even if they caused a net revenue loss to the government — Obama stuck to the tax hike "for purposes of fairness.") The elements are highly progressive taxation, federalized health care and higher education, and revenue-producing energy controls. But first he must deal with the sideshows. They could sink the economy and poison his public support before he gets to enact his real agenda.

The big sideshows, of course, are the credit crisis, which Obama has contracted out to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, and the collapse of the U.S. automakers, which Obama seems to have taken on for himself.

That was a tactical mistake. Better to have let the car companies go directly to Chapter 11 and have a judge mete out the bitter medicine to the workers and bondholders.

By sacking GM's CEO, packing the new board, and giving direction as to which brands to drop and what kind of cars to make, Obama takes ownership of General Motors. He may soon come to regret it. He has now gotten himself so entangled in the car business that he is personally guaranteeing your muffler. (Upon reflection, a job best left to the congenitally unmuffled Joe Biden.)

Some find in this descent into large-scale industrial policy a whiff of 1930s-style fascist corporatism. I have my doubts. These interventions are rather targeted. They involve global financial institutions that even the Bush administration decided had to be nationalized and auto companies that themselves came begging to the government for money.

Bizarre and constitutionally suspect as these interventions may be, the transformation of the American system will come from elsewhere. The credit crisis will pass and the auto overcapacity will sort itself out one way or the other. The reordering of the American system will come not from these temporary interventions, into which Obama has reluctantly waded. It will come from Obama's real agenda: his holy trinity of health care, education and energy. Out of these will come a radical extension of the welfare state; social and economic leveling in the name of fairness; and a massive increase in the size, scope and reach of government.

If Obama has his way, the change that is coming is a new America: "fair," leveled and social democratic. Obama didn't get elected to warranty your muffler. He's here to warranty your life.****

3422  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: April 03, 2009, 04:06:45 PM
Freki,
I don't have flashplayer.
What does it do?

3423  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / "merci beaucoup"? on: April 03, 2009, 12:37:13 PM
Remember when the savior of the world stated Americans need to speak more than English?

"We need to say more than merci beaucoup".

How come he wasn't speaking French to the French when he was there giving a town hall meeting?

Yet he has not problem humiliating our own country by going around the world stating we tortured people.

The Russians, the Indians, the Chinese, the Iranians - they must all be happy beyond belief at having a anti-American demigogue as President.   The Europeans of course love the guy who is going to give away control of the world's richest country's economy to Europeans.

And yet our own MSM hails BO.

 angry
3424  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: BO's National Civilian Voluntary (sic) Service on: April 03, 2009, 10:10:01 AM
Not one peep from the MSM.
3425  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Speaking of prisoners.... on: April 02, 2009, 05:02:05 PM
Rachel Maddow gleefully put on her show (anyone who will disrepute Bush and or Rep in general) a former Gitmo soldier who stated he was ashamed of the abuse he witnessed of prisoners.  Abuse which according to his account included someone punching one of the prisoners in the face and another time a prisoner thinking he was going to be executed when he was asked to kneel (obviously because in his country this would have meant he was going to have his head chopped off).

Of course such incredible abuse and along with a few seconds or minutes of waterboarding places Bush/Cheney/Rumsfiled up there with Stalin, Hitler, Saddam and all the rest of the butchers in modern history.

I am not ashamed of W et al, just of the left that mocks them for political reasons.

It sounded to me that any high school football player receives more abuse than any of these prisoners; at least from this eye witness account.
"Torture" - what a joke!

3426  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / GWill/Congress.granted.BO unconstitutional power on: April 02, 2009, 02:39:19 PM
Bailing Out of the Constitution

By George Will

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It is high time Americans heard an argument that might turn a vague national uneasiness into a vivid awareness of something going very wrong. The argument is that the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (EESA) is unconstitutional.

By enacting it, Congress did not in any meaningful sense make a law. Rather, it made executive branch officials into legislators. Congress said to the executive branch, in effect: "Here is $700 billion. You say you will use some of it to buy up banks' 'troubled assets.' But if you prefer to do anything else with the money — even, say, subsidize automobile companies — well, whatever."

FreedomWorks, a Washington-based libertarian advocacy organization, argues that EESA violates "the nondelegation doctrine." Although the text does not spell it out, the Constitution's logic and structure — particularly the separation of powers — imply limits on the size and kind of discretion that Congress may confer on the executive branch.

The Vesting Clause of Article I says, "All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in" Congress. All. Therefore, none shall be vested elsewhere. Gary Lawson of Boston University's School of Law suggests a thought experiment:

Suppose Congress passes the Goodness and Niceness Act. Section 1 outlaws all transactions involving, no matter how tangentially, interstate commerce that do not promote goodness and niceness. Section 2 says that the president shall define the statute's meaning with regulations that define and promote goodness and niceness and specify penalties for violations.

Surely this would be incompatible with the Vesting Clause. Where would the Goodness and Niceness Act really be written? In Congress? No, in the executive branch. Lawson says that nothing in the Constitution's enumeration of powers authorizes Congress to enact such a statute. The only power conferred on Congress by the commerce clause is to regulate. The Goodness and Niceness Act does not itself regulate, it just identifies a regulator.
 
The Constitution empowers Congress to make laws "necessary and proper" for carrying into execution federal purposes. But if gargantuan grants of discretion are necessary, are the purposes proper? Indeed, such designs should be considered presumptively improper. What, then, about the Goodness and Niceness Act, which, as Lawson says, delegates all practical decision-making power to the president? What about EESA?

Writing in the New Republic, Jeffrey Rosen of George Washington University Law School makes a prudential point: "The military-spending scandals during World War II, exposed by the Truman Committee, showed the risks for corruption and fraud when the executive branch is given a free hand to spend vast amounts of money." But even in the unlikely event that the executive branch exercises its excessive EESA discretion efficiently, the mere exercise would nevertheless subvert the principle of separation of powers, which, as Justice Louis Brandeis said, was adopted "not to promote efficiency but to preclude the exercise of arbitrary power."

As government grows, legislative power, and with it accountability, must shrink. The nation has had 535 national legislators for almost half a century. During that time the federal government's business — or, more precisely, its busy-ness — has probably grown at least twenty-fold. Vast grants of discretion to the executive branch by Congress, such as EESA, may be necessary — if America is going to have constant governmental hyperkinesis. If Washington is going to do the sort of things that EESA enables — erasing the distinction between public and private sectors; licensing uncircumscribed executive branch conscription of, and experimentation with, the nation's resources.

Since the New Deal era, few laws have been invalidated on the ground that they improperly delegated legislative powers. And Chief Justice John Marshall did say that the "precise boundary" of the power to "make" or the power to "execute" the law "is a subject of delicate and difficult inquiry." Still, surely sometimes the judiciary must adjudicate such boundary disputes.

The Supreme Court has said: "That Congress cannot delegate legislative power to the president is a principle universally recognized as vital to the integrity and maintenance of the system of government ordained by the Constitution." And the court has said that properly delegated discretion must come with "an intelligible principle" and must "clearly delineate" a policy that limits the discretion. EESA flunks that test.

With EESA, Congress forces the country to ponder the paradox of sovereignty: If sovereign people freely choose to surrender their sovereignty, is this willed subordination really subordination?

It is. Congress has done that. A court should hear the argument that Congress cannot so divest itself of powers vested in it.

3427  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: More arrogant bumbling from the Empty-suit on: April 02, 2009, 01:51:33 PM
As long as the market is improving BO is unstoppable.

I now wholely agree with Crafty that by the time it is obvious to the majority that BO is reversing 200 years of greatness it will be too late.

It seems to me that this guy whose roots are from another country and who has spent time growing up overseas is more interested in using America to advance his idealistic benefits for the world - and not advancing our interests.

The component of the left who hates America surely has their man.

Never again should Republicans elect someone who can't give an intellectual argument.


3428  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for Reps/Conservatives/the American Creed on: March 28, 2009, 01:14:26 PM
"Conservatives answer this kind of bs but they are only heard and read by conservatives.

Luckily, some truths are so true and so obvious that even unspoken they can become known truths"

Doug, well said.  And that is the thrust of my concerns about "conservatism" whatever the reitierations.  It doesn't seem to be heard by those who are not already "conservatives".  Or the message just does not appeal to others.

I am hoping the new contract with America will appeal to all of us with common sense.

3429  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: March 27, 2009, 01:42:41 PM
Well now you are getting to the question:  is health care a right or a privilege that is earned?

I just tried to look up if there are any polls conducted on the opinions of people on this issue.  I do not find much.
Clearly BO feels it is a right and in conjuction, a responsibility for those who can and do pay to do so for those who can't or won't.
I don't know where the majority of Americans are on this issue.  I suspect most feel it is a right but I could be wrong. 
What do I feel?  Well of course as a doctor I am expected to be kind, thoughtful, and a true humanitarian and philanthropist, and alive and working only for the public good. 
All the while my wife and I are getting stalked and robbed. 
And everyone and their sister has an opinion about how much doctors should or shoudn't make.
So is it a right or a privilege?  Personally I am tired of philosophy and I frankly don't even give a darn.
My thoughts don't mean anything anyway. 

I suspect one reason BO is so popular is because most agree with him.
3430  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: March 27, 2009, 10:54:55 AM
The proper mechanism is called "price".

I don't follow you. huh
3431  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: March 27, 2009, 10:03:02 AM
I agree with the post but,
I am afraid that one can find statistics that buttresses both sides of the argument. For or against national or single payer care.
I am not for big government care.  But at this point the free market's answer appears unsustainable with regards to costs.
The electronic medical  records may or may not decrease costs - the jury is out - as is the concept that preventative care reduces costs (evidence suggests it increases costs in many cases). 
There is simply no way to insure another 40 mill people and not ration care.
That said we will need to ration care anyway at some point.

People are living longer and the result is more health care needs.  As well of course the baby boom thing.

The best hope in my opinion still comes ironically from the pharmaceutical industry.

For example it is becoming apparent that diabetes 2 is possibly an intestinal disease and bariatric surgery which was used for weight loss results in reversal of diabetes far more than expected for any degree of weight loss.  This seems to have been discovered by accident.  It is also clear that some people who are NOT overweight still will have diabetes reversed by this surgery.
Thus a treatment with goal of cure for this is surgery.  At this time it costs several thousand dollars.  Yet in the long run thses procedures may reduce costs.

If the drug industry can find a real cure or better treaments for obesity and other conditions than costs may actually decrease.

It is all too complicated.  I could work towards a Phd thesis and still not know the answers though I would have a better handle on the problems.
3432  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for Reps/Conservatives/the American Creed on: March 27, 2009, 09:51:46 AM
Well, I am not sure we disagree.
I am not saying we should not articulate conservative values.  What I am saying is the majority of Americans do not think conservative values will benefit them - hence BOs continued popularity. So are you saying rep should come up with a plan and articulate it or are you saying is the plan is to let the markets crash and burn because that is the best long term course of action?
It does not appear most in this country want to hear that.
While I hate BO's politics I am not clear strictly leave the markets alone to "repair" themselves is enough either.  Certainly the majority of Americans don't want to hear that. 

That is why I like Newt.  He recognizes this shortcoming and is searching for ideas that take conservatism foward in a way that applies to todays problems at least in a practical and sensible way.
One risk of articulating your plan now is the other side will steal the ideas for themselves and take the credit.  That is what Clinton always did.  The great example is welfare reform. 
But you certainly raise a good point that that risk is a far better alternative to allowing BO, Pelosi and the other cooks to have their way and destroy what made this country great.
3433  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for Reps/Conservatives/the American Creed on: March 27, 2009, 08:23:49 AM
BOs poll ratings will not come down as long as the majority of Americans think they will not be footing the bill for the unprecedented budgets he is proposing.  Until events prove that they too are screwed, along with those of us who know they are his poll numbers will be over 50%.
At this time the Republicans have not convinced many of this IMO.
The Dems keep throwing the chant Rep are the party of "no" and offer no alternatives.  I am not sure it is in the interest of Rep to present an alternative while they are out of power and most elections are still a bit off.
OTOH I don't know anyone but Newt who could articulate a message that would get through the left MSM filter.
Perhaps it is best to keep up the no tactics and let BO;s policies eventually fail as I believe will by themselves.


3434  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: March 27, 2009, 08:17:19 AM
Well for those people who for whatever reason have no health coverage now, rationed care is better than no care.  They will be quite pleased to have someone else pay for their health care - rationed or not.
For the rest of us who will have to foot the bill - we are screwed.
3435  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: March 26, 2009, 05:45:29 PM
Emanual made hundrds of thousands for sitting on a board and doing little.  It is amusing how we hear over and over again how board members are asleep at the wheel. Well what the heck does anyone expect.  Some of these boards pay their "members" ridiculous sums for almost no work.  What do they do go and sit at a meeting once a month for hundreds of thousands a year.  If these are not payoffs than what is?

Folks they are all stealing at the top.  Some of these board members are essentially stealing.  Because they can.  It is like asking the foxes to guard the hen house.

I am not going to lose sleep over these guys/gals who are getting scrutiny. 

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/obama/chi-rahm-emanuel-profit-26-mar26,0,5682373.story
3436  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: March 26, 2009, 02:52:08 PM
This is outrageous.

"gave thousands in Madoff donations to charity"

Why aren't they giving it back to a fund for those robbed?
3437  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Chinese intelligence defector on: March 25, 2009, 05:57:14 PM
From Bill Gertz.  A Chinese intelligence officer defects to the US and is seeking asylum tell all (was it water boarding, cash, or idealism, or seeking a better life that did it?):

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/mar/19/exclusive-chinese-spy-who-defected-tells-all/
3438  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Noonan on BO (lite) on: March 24, 2009, 10:11:23 AM
Watching for a few minutes (all I can stand) BO on 60 minutes leaves me with the impression this is guy maked Clinton't narcissm look mild.  But Clinton didn't come off as pompous and arrogant as this guy.  Plus Clinton was more of a realist while this guy is a true idealogue.  One can see the more power this guy gets, seizes, the more euphoric he appears.  He is in my opinion far more dangerous to this country and the world than Jimmy Carter:

OPINION: DECLARATIONS MARCH 20, 2009 Neither a Hedgehog Nor a Fox The unbearable lightness of Obama's administration.By PEGGY NOONAN
He is willowy when people yearn for solid, reed-like where they hope for substantial, a bright older brother when they want Papa, cool where they probably prefer warmth. All of which may or may not hurt Barack Obama in time. Lincoln was rawboned, prone to the blues and freakishly tall, with a new-grown beard that refused to become an assertion and remained, for four years, a mere and constant follicular attempt. And he did OK.

Such impressions—coolness, slightness—can come to matter only if they capture or express some larger or more meaningful truth. At the moment they connect, for me, to something insubstantial and weightless in the administration's economic pronouncements and policies. The president seems everywhere and nowhere, not fully focused on the matters at hand. He's trying to keep up with the news cycle with less and less to say. "I am angry" about AIG's bonuses. The administration seems buffeted, ad hoc. Policy seems makeshift, provisional. James K. Galbraith captures some of this in The Washington Monthly: "The president has an economic program. But there is, so far, no clear statement of the thinking behind the program."

 
Associated PressThis in part is why the teleprompter trope is taking off. Mr. Obama uses it more than previous presidents. No one would care about this or much notice it as long as he showed competence, and the promise of success. Reagan, if memory serves, once took his cards out of his suit and began to read them at a welcoming ceremony, only to realize a minute or so in that they were last week's cards from last week's ceremony. He caught himself and made a joke of it. One was reminded of this the other day when Mr. Obama's speech got mixed up with the Irish prime minister's. Things happen. But the teleprompter trope has taken off: Why does he always have to depend on that thing?

There is a new Web site where the teleprompter shares its thoughts in a breathless White House diary. It's bummed that it has to work a news conference next week instead of watching "American Idol," it resents being dragged to L.A. in Air Force One's cargo hold "with the more common electronic equipment." It also Twitters: "We are in California! One of the interns gave my panels a quick scrub and I'm ready to prompt for the day." And: "Waiting for my boss's jokes to get loaded for Leno!"

More Peggy Noonan
Read Peggy Noonan's previous columns.

And click here to order her new book, Patriotic Grace.The fact is that Mr. Obama only has two jobs, but they're huge. The first is to pull us out of an economic death spiral—to save the banks, get them lending, fix the mortgage mess, address unemployment, forestall inflation. TARP, TALF, financial oversight and regulation of Wall Street—all of this is enormously complex, involving questions of scale, emphasis and direction. All else—windmills, green technology, remaking health care—is secondary. The economy is the domestic issue now, and for the next three years at least.

So one wonders why, say, the president does not step in and insist on staffing the top level of his Treasury Department, where besieged Secretary Tim Geithner struggles without deputies through his 15-hour days. Might AIG and the bonus scandals have been stopped or discovered sooner if Treasury had someone to answer the phones? Leadership is needed here. Not talkership, leadership.

Mr. Obama's second job is America's safety at home and in the world. Dick Cheney this week warned again of future terrorism and said Mr. Obama's actions have left us "less safe." White House press secretary Robert Gibbs reacted with disdain. Mr. Cheney is part of a "Republican cabal." "I guess Rush Limbaugh was busy." This was cheap.

A journalist, watching, said, "They are like two people fighting over a torn bag of flour." It may be hard cleaning it up.

Mr. Cheney's remarks, presented in a cable interview, looked political and were received as partisan. The fact is he was wrong and right, wrong in that a subject so grave demands a well documented and thoughtful address. It's hard to see how it helps to present crucial arguments in a cable interview and in a way that can be discounted as partisan. Nor does it help to appear to be laying the groundwork for a deadly argument: Bush kept us safe, Obama won't. It is fair— and necessary—to say what the new administration is doing wrong, and to attempt to correct it, through data and argument. The Bush administration made a great point of saying, when they were explaining what U.S. intelligence is up against, that the challenges are constant and we only have to be wrong once, fail once, for the consequences to be deeply painful. What the Bush administration was doing, in part, was admitting that they might be in charge when something happened. The key was to remain focused and vigilant. This is still true.

But Mr. Cheney was, is, right in the most important, and dreadful, way. We live in the age of weapons of mass destruction, and each day more people and groups come closer to getting and deploying them. "Man has never developed a weapon he didn't eventually use," said Reagan, without cards, worrying aloud in the Oval Office.

What can be used will be used. We are a target. Something bad is going to happen—don't we all know this? Are we having another failure of imagination?

A month ago FBI Director Robert Mueller, in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, warned of Mumbai-type terrorist activity, saying a similar attack could happen in a U.S. city. He spoke of the threat of homegrown terrorists who are "radicalized," "indoctrinated" and recruited for jihad. Mumbai should "reinvigorate" U.S. intelligence efforts. The threat is not only from al Qaeda but "less well known groups." This had the hard sound of truth.

Contrast it with the new secretary of homeland security, Janet Napolitano, who, in her first speech and testimony to Congress, the same week as Mr. Mueller's remarks, did not mention the word terrorism once. This week in an interview with Der Spiegel, she was pressed: "Does Islamist terrorism suddenly no longer pose a threat to your country?" Her reply: "I presume there is always a threat from terrorism." It's true she didn't use the word terrorism in her speech, but she did refer to "man-caused" disasters. "This is perhaps only a nuance, but it demonstrates that we want to move away from the politics of fear."

Ah. Well this is only a nuance, but her use of language is a man-caused disaster.

Our enemies are criminals, and criminals calculate. It is possible they are calculating thusly: America is in deep economic crisis and has a new, untested president. Why not move now?

Mr. Obama likes to say presidents can do more than one thing at a time, but in fact modern presidents are lucky to do one thing at a time, never mind two. Great forces are arrayed against them.

These are the two great issues, the economic crisis and our safety. In the face of them, what strikes one is the weightlessness of the Obama administration, the jumping from issue to issue and venue to venue from day to day. Isaiah Berlin famously suggested a leader is a fox or a hedgehog. The fox knows many things but the hedgehog knows one big thing. In political leadership the hedgehog has certain significant advantages, focus and clarity of vision among them. Most presidents are one or the other. So far Mr. Obama seems neither.

3439  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Nuclear War? on: March 23, 2009, 09:53:30 AM
***The Obama administration should take the growing threat of nuclear proliferation seriously. It should try to provide leadership in forging a united response by the major powers to what could become the world's No. 1 security concern within the next few years.***

Blah blah blah. angry

Why do we keep denying the obvious? we must use military force to damage their program, or in the less likely pray for some sort of regime change.
Simple talking is NOT going to work.  Hasn't ten years of Iran proceeding with their program made this obvious?
God, are we weak.
3440  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Euthanasia - humane? or just simply a way to cut costs? on: March 22, 2009, 09:16:45 PM
this is a very difficult topic. Euthanasia.  I feel very uncomfortable about it.  I have "pulled the plug" with family permission only on patients that were brain dead but the idea of helping someone die even if they are terminal and suffering would be very hard for me to do.  Yet this debate is only going to get bigger.  The worst part is the reason won't be for the goodness of humanity.  But for dollars and cents.  I worked for 30 days with other physicians to keep alive an 85 year old lady.  She made it and went off to the nursing home.  I recently got word she died after two weeks there anyway.

Not only was I saddened by her passing - she was a sweet little old lady - but saddened by the fact she really suffered for a month struggling to survive and pull through - only to die anyway.  that said the issue to society that is going to cause this to be something we will hear about a lot in the near future is the cost>
suppose she died 6 weeks earlier.  100k Would not have been spent.  Something like a quarter of all health care expenditures are for the last 6 months of life.  With a broken system that is going bankrupt and driving us all into the gutter people are going to start to raise the taboo questions we all try to avoid:

http://medicaleconomics.modernmedicine.com/memag/article/articleDetail.jsp?id=587095&sk=a76544f67ebabb8029168ea3bd20baae
3441  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: March 22, 2009, 09:05:24 PM
GM, that piece is very thought provoking to me.  After the worst ten years of my life watching everyone around us willing to take bribes to rob us of Katherine's music lyrics I no longer have much appreciation for humanity in general.  When it comes to money people are truly a disappointment to say the least.  The phrase, "everyone has a price" is if not completely true than nearly so from what I have seen.  Like one of the victims of the ponzi scheme of the guy who crashed his plane in Florida said, "I have never witnessed this level of dishonesty in my whole life, I at the age of 51 (now) can certainly relate.  Only my expereince was and still is 100 times worse.  Friends, family, neighbors, young, old white, black, Latino, mothers, fathers, it made no difference.  When it came to money, or getting back stage passes, or getting in on the easy action any concern for me or my wife with any common decency, respect, fairness, or the usual politeness went right out the window.

All I can say when one experiences such inhumanity one starts to ask questions that have probably been asked for thousands of years by millions throughout the history of mankind.

I have often been questioning myself and wondering if it is "this generation" or just that we know more about ouselves, and more about the human race than we ever did that seems so depressing?

I am not sure.  Surely there were terrible people before.  Just look at the slavery, the butchery, the inhumanity throughout history.
Did anyone else catch the show on Nat Geo - Washington unbuckled - George W. - no not this one - the original one - George Washington had a child from a slave.  As did (we all know now, Thomas Jefferson).  Woodrow Wilson's second wife fooled the entire country for months about the real condition of the Pres after he had a devastating stroke so that he and she would not have to relinquish power to the VP.  Calvin Coolidge was supposedly caught in the closet with a teenage girl.  Franklin Roosevelt we now know had his girlfriend(s), while so did Eleanor have hers and maybe a male military officer to boot ("bi" - i guess?).  John Kennedy not only had steady streams of hookers but one who was probably an East German spy.  Herbert Hoover who appeared to have a file on every politician in Washington got Kennedy off the hook in return for continuing on as FBI chief.  Similar extortion scams with dirt on every important person within the beltway kept him as the head of the FBI for 47 years.

So in context, what Clinton did was really not such a big deal.  Yet, it is a big deal. It is a big deal when our leaders and the system they work in are and is so corrupt.   Maybe it just isn't new.  It's just that it is in our faces all day long now.  Maybe it's not that *this* generation is any worse then those previous.  I don't know really.  I am just trying to figure it all out.  Like victoms of the Jewish, Turkish, Cambodian, Rwanda, Ukranian, holocausts, the 60 or 70 million that died in the two World Wars, the millions of Balcks who were slaves, for 300 years and second class citizens for another 100.  Of course I can go on but you see the point.

The greatest generation also was segregated.  The generation before them drove the Indians off the map.  The generation before them treated those of another race as animals

McCain was right about campaign finance reform.  Republicans ciritized him and mocked him.  Why because they had the edge in fundraising.  Not because of any idealistic beliefs.

The truth is all our leaders appear to be spending too much time fundraising.  And having to do so because campaigns are expensive.  Advertising rips them off.  And thus they almost have to accept money.  How could they not become corrupt.

Surely this is not new.  Surely those before us were not all saints (except my father).

That said - I just can't decide if it is this generation - or - humanity in general.

I guess I digress.

 

3442  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Health Thread (nutrition, medical, longevity, etc) on: March 21, 2009, 09:15:14 AM
My opinion:

****"It's one of the classic presentations of head injuries, `talking and dying,' where they may lose consciousness for a minute, but then feel fine," said Razek.****

Yes but banging your head and talking and *not* dying is a thousand times more common.
The classic blame game.  She wasn't instantaneously brought to an operating room right off the slopes in some remote area of Quebec with neurosurgeon (Sanjay Gupta) waiting to do the perfect operation. 

Which one of these good doctors will be the lucky chosen one to be expert witness for the plaintiff's team.
To me this was a tragic accident.  We can always in every single negatvie human outcome ask, "what if"?   Why this has to turn into a lawsuit is beyond me.  And now we will have a billion dollars more in head cat scans as a result.
 
****Doctor: Lack of medical helicopter cost actress
Death: Freak Accident ABC News NEW YORK – As a steady stream of celebrities pay their last respects to Natasha Richardson, questions are arising over whether a medical helicopter might have been able to save the ailing actress.

The province of Quebec lacks a medical helicopter system, common in the United States and other parts of Canada, to airlift stricken patients to major trauma centers. Montreal's top head trauma doctor said Friday that may have played a role in Richardson's death.

"It's impossible for me to comment specifically about her case, but what I could say is ... driving to Mont Tremblant from the city (Montreal) is a 2 1/2-hour trip, and the closest trauma center is in the city. Our system isn't set up for traumas and doesn't match what's available in other Canadian cities, let alone in the States," said Tarek Razek, director of trauma services for the McGill University Health Centre, which represents six of Montreal's hospitals.

While Richardson's initial refusal of medical treatment cost her two hours, she also had to be driven to two hospitals. She didn't arrive at a specialized hospital in Montreal until about four hours after the second 911 call from her hotel room at the Mont Tremblant resort, according to a timeline published by Canada's The Globe and Mail newspaper.

Not being airlifted directly to a trauma center could have cost Richardson crucial moments, Razek said.

"A helicopter is obviously the fastest way to get from Point A to Point B," he said.

After Richardson fell and hit her head on a beginner ski slope at the Mont Tremblant resort in Quebec, the first ambulance crew left upon spotting a sled taking the still-conscious actress away to the resort's on-site clinic.

A second 911 call was made two hours later from Richardson's luxury hotel room as the actress deteriorated. Medics tended to her for a half-hour before taking her to a hospital about a 40-minute drive away.

Centre Hospitalier Laurentien in Ste-Agathe does not specialize in head traumas, so her speedy transfer to Sacre Coeur Hospital in Montreal was critical, said Razek.

"It's one of the classic presentations of head injuries, `talking and dying,' where they may lose consciousness for a minute, but then feel fine," said Razek.

Richardson, 45, died Wednesday at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. The New York City medical examiner's office ruled her death was an accident.****
3443  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: March 21, 2009, 08:35:55 AM
Just kind of reiterates what is already obvious.
BO has already made it completely clear he will not stop Iran's nuclear program.
He has already made the determination it would be too costly to do so.
When Iran gets a working bomb (and Missles) he has already telegraphed the message more or less we can't or really won't stop you but if you ever use a nuc we will respond with a devastating blow (more or less).
Israel will have to go it alone.  But the world is already poised against them.  Perhaps the US can stop them too.  I don't know.
But there is certainly no evidence BO will allow them to take military action against Iran like perhaps W would have.
3444  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: March 20, 2009, 09:21:58 AM
American culture or whatever you want to call it is not something to be proud of anymore IMHO.
When the mainstream media is constantly calling BOs showing up on Jany Leno as a "historical event"  rolleyes all I can think is we have sunk to ever new lows:

"Obama tells Leno he was stunned by AIG bonuses"  rolleyes
3445  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Humor/WTF on: March 19, 2009, 05:55:38 PM
I don't know where to post this kind of stuff except in the "humor" department.   The guy who is expanding the role of government to unprecedented proportions with debt of the same astronomical levels has this to say.  And of course the crowds love him.  Obviously these people do not think they are the ones paying for all this:

****Facing largely adoring crowds far from Washington, President Barack Obama on Thursday asked Americans to back his far-reaching economic and health policies, but warned them not to expect too much from him or the federal government****
3446  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Humor/WTF on: March 19, 2009, 04:52:02 PM
Not only can the chosen one chew gum and play basketball at the same time but he can among other things fix the world economy, global climate change, the national health care problems, watch college basketball, revamp the world energy supply, fix the middle east, Afganistan, Iraq, reset the Russian American relationship, visit Muslims around the world and what the heck, show up on Jay Leno.  Well I guess he does use a telepromter so Emanuel and crew and tell him how to fool us some more:

LOS ANGELES - President Barack Obama is defending his appearance on Jay Leno’s late-night talk show.

He said his Thursday appearance on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” is not keeping him from pressing matters. Some critics have questioned whether the television stint distracts from his work to fix the economy.

Obama said he can do more than one thing at a time and is working on a host of issues, including climate change and health care reform.

3447  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Nuclear Power on: March 19, 2009, 03:18:46 PM
http://www.nei.org/keyissues/nuclearwastedisposal/

***NEI: Nuclear Energy Institute Home Member Login Contact Us Search 
 l
Most used fuel from nuclear power plants is stored in steel-lined concrete pools filled with water, like this one above, or in airtight steel or concrete-and-steel containers.
Used Nuclear Fuel and Low-Level Waste
Used nuclear fuel is a solid material safely stored at nuclear plant sites. This storage is only temporary—one component of an integrated used fuel management system that addresses all facets of storing, recycling and disposal.
Integrated Used Fuel Management
Under an integrated management approach, used nuclear fuel will remain stored at nuclear power plants in the near term. Eventually, the government will recycle it and place the unusable end product in a repository at Yucca Mountain, Nev.

Storage of Used Nuclear Fuel
Currently, used nuclear fuel is stored at the nation's nuclear power plants in steel-lined, concrete vaults filled with water or in massive, airtight steel or concrete-and-steel canisters.

Recycling Used Nuclear Fuel
The federal government plans to develop advanced recycling technologies to take full advantage of the vast amount of energy in the used fuel and reduce the amount and toxicity of byproducts requiring disposal.

Yucca Mountain
In 2002, Congress approved Yucca Mountain, Nev., a remote desert location, as the site for a centralized deep geologic repository for used nuclear fuel and other high-level radioactive waste.

Transportation
The U.S. Department of Energy will transport used nuclear fuel to the repository by rail and road, inside massive, sealed containers that have undergone safety and durability testing.

Low-Level Radioactive Waste
Low-level waste is a byproduct of the beneficial uses of a wide range of radioactive materials. These include electricity generation, medical diagnosis and treatment, and various other medical processes.


3448  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Nuclear Power on: March 19, 2009, 03:15:01 PM
There was a recent segment on cable about the disposal of nuclear waste in salt caverns and how the salt is nearly a perfect way to encircle and keep  isolated the waste.
The deep underground caverns (~2,000 feet I think) eventuall get literally encased in the salt which protects against water.
However, it would take 250,000 years for the stuff to decay and no one could say what the risk to future and interim generations would be so far in advance (if the human race is still around by then anyway).

As far as transporting the stuff to these natural salt "containers" that is another homeland defense story.
As for what is going to happen thousands of years from now I won't lose sleep over that.
3449  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Epi dural bleed on: March 19, 2009, 02:16:37 PM
As far as I know epidural hematomas are not at all common.  I have never seen or heard of another case in 20 years though I would not usually see any like say a neurosurgeon or ER physician would.  Usually they are from trauma or fracture over the skull near the temple are with rupture to the middle meningeal artery that runs through that vicinity.  Contrast these to  the common subdural or subarachnoid hematomas.

If say someone got a skull fracture over the temple with a club this could be the result.  Any serious blow to this area has to be evaulated with extreme care.

As for the actress it is all too sad.  She, as far as I know, is now much more famous for her death then her life.  I never heard of her before this.

****Autopsy: Richardson died of impact to the head
         NEW YORK – The New York City medical examiner's office says actress Natasha Richardson died of blunt impact to the head. Medical examiner spokeswoman Ellen Borakove said the death was ruled an accident. The cause of death was "epidural hematoma due to blunt impact to the head."

The 45-year-old actress reportedly suffered a head injury after a fall during a private lesson Monday at a resort in Quebec. Richardson was seemingly fine after she fell, but about an hour later, she complained that she didn't feel well. She was hospitalized Tuesday in Montreal and later flown to a hospital in New York, where she died.

Alan Nierob, the Los Angeles-based publicist for Richardson's husband, Liam Neeson, confirmed her death Wednesday without giving details on the cause. There were no details on funeral arrangements.

Funeral arrangements for the 45-year-old actress will be handled by the Greenwich Village Funeral Home.

Broadway theaters will dim their lights Thursday in honor of Richardson. Theater marquees will be dimmed for one minute at 8 p.m. EDT, the traditional starting time for evening performances of Broadway shows.

"The Broadway community is shocked and deeply saddened by the tragic loss of one of our finest young actresses, Natasha Richardson. Her theatrical lineage is legendary, but her own singular talent shined memorably on any stage she appeared," said Charlotte St. Martin, executive director of The Broadway League, the trade organization for Broadway theaters and producers.

Sam Mendes, who directed the Broadway musical "Cabaret" for which Richardson won a Tony, said, "It defies belief that this gifted, brave, tenacious, wonderful woman is gone."

Actress Judi Dench told the BBC that Richardson was "a really great actress" who had "an incredibly luminous quality, that you seldom see, and a great sense of humor."

"It's just so shocking, really shocking, and I hope that everybody leaves the family quietly to somehow pick up the pieces," Dench said.

"She was a wonderful woman and actress and treated me like I was her own," said Lindsay Lohan, who as a preteen starred with Richardson in a remake of "The Parent Trap" in 1998. "My heart goes out to her family. This is a tragic loss."

Neeson and Richardson's sister, actress Joely Richardson, were seen leaving Lenox Hill hospital Wednesday. Actress Lauren Bacall also visited the hospital.

Yves Coderre, director of operations at the emergency services company that sent paramedics to the Mont Tremblant resort where Richardson suffered her fall, told The Globe and Mail newspaper Wednesday the paramedics who responded were told they were not needed.

"They never saw the patient," Coderre told The Globe and Mail. "So they turned around."

Coderre said another ambulance was called later to Richardson's luxury hotel. By that point, her condition had gotten worse and she was rushed to a hospital.

Richardson's career highlights included the film "Patty Hearst" and a Tony-winning performance in a stage revival of "Cabaret."

She was a proper Londoner who came to love the noise of New York, an elegant blonde with large, lively eyes, a bright smile and a hearty laugh.

Jane Fonda on Wednesday recalled meeting a young Richardson on the set of "Julia," the 1977 film Fonda starred in opposite Richardson's mother, Vanessa Redgrave.

"She was a little girl but already beautiful and graceful. It didn't surprise me that she became such a talented actor," Fonda recalled on her blog. "It is hard to even imagine what it must be like for her family. My heart is heavy."

As an actress, Richardson was equally adept at passion and restraint, able to portray besieged women both confessional (Tennessee Williams' Blanche DuBois) and confined (the concubine in the futuristic horror of "The Handmaid's Tale").

Like other family members, she divided her time between stage and screen. On Broadway, she portrayed Sally Bowles in the 1998 revival of "Cabaret." She also appeared in New York in a production of Patrick Marber's "Closer" (1999) as well as the 2005 revival of Tennessee Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire," in which she played Blanche opposite John C. Reilly's Stanley Kowalski.

She met Neeson when they made their Broadway debuts in 1993, co-starring in "Anna Christie," Eugene O'Neill's drama about a former prostitute and the sailor who falls in love with her.

The New York Times critic Frank Rich called her "astonishing" and said she "gives what may prove to be the performance of the season."

Her most notable film roles came earlier in her career. Richardson played the title character in Paul Schrader's "Patty Hearst," a 1988 biopic about the kidnapped heiress for which the actress became so immersed that even between scenes she wore a blindfold, the better to identify with her real-life counterpart.

Richardson was directed again by Schrader in a 1990 adaptation of Ian McEwan's "The Comfort of Strangers" and, also in 1990, starred in the screen version of Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale."

She later co-starred with Neeson in "Nell" and with Mia Farrow in "Widows' Peak." More recent movies, none of them widely seen, included "Wild Child," "Evening" and "Asylum."

Richardson was born in London in 1963, the performing gene inherited not just from her parents (Redgrave and director Tony Richardson), but from her maternal grandparents (Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson), an aunt (Lynn Redgrave) and an uncle (Corin Redgrave). Her younger sister, Joely Richardson, also joined the family business.

She also is survived by two sons, Micheal, 13, and Daniel, 12.

Friends and family members remembered Natasha as an unusually poised child, perhaps forced to grow up early when her father left her mother in the late '60s for Jeanne Moreau. (Tony Richardson died in 1991).

Interviewed by The Associated Press in 2001, Natasha Richardson said she related well to her family if only because, "We've all been through it in one way or another and so we've had to be strong. Also we embrace life. We are not cynical about life."

Her screen debut came at 4, when she appeared as a flower girl in "The Charge of the Light Brigade," directed by her father, whose movies included "Tom Jones" and "The Entertainer." The show business wand had already tapped her the year before, when she saw her mother in the 1967 film version of the Broadway show "Camelot."

"She was so beautiful. I still look at that movie and I can't believe it. It still makes me cry, the beauty of it," Richardson said.

She studied at London's Central School of Speech and Drama and was an experienced stage actress by her early 20s, appearing in "On the Razzle," "Charley's Aunt" and "The Seagull," for which the London Drama Critics awarded her most promising newcomer.

She and her mother acted together, most recently on Broadway to play the roles of mother and daughter in a one-night benefit concert version of "A Little Night Music," the Stephen Sondheim-Hugh Wheeler musical.

Before meeting up with Neeson, Richardson was married to producer Robert Fox, whose credits include the 1985 staging of "The Seagull" in which his future wife appeared.

She sometimes remarked on the differences between her and her second husband — she from a theatrical dynasty and he from a working-class background in Northern Ireland.

"He's more laid back, happy to see what happens, whereas I'm a doer and I plan ahead," Richardson told The Independent on Sunday newspaper in 2003. "The differences sometimes get in the way but they can be the very things that feed a marriage, too."

She once said that Neeson's serious injury in a 2000 motorcycle accident — he suffered a crushed pelvis after colliding with a deer in upstate New York — had made her really appreciate life.

"I wake up every morning feeling lucky — which is driven by fear, no doubt, since I know it could all go away," she told The Daily Telegraph newspaper in 2003.****
3450  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / teflon Bam on: March 19, 2009, 02:04:06 PM
Now Dodd blaming BO.  We all know that is the end of Dodd.  In few days watch for him tol come out apologizing or correcting what he just said as though it was "taken out of context" after the BO thugs and MSM go after him (and maybe his family).  BO ain't going down for him that's for sure.
I bet this whole thing doesn't hurt BO a bit.  He is what the crats used to whine about Reagan - the "teflon" Prez.

****Dodd Blames Obama Administration for Bonus Amendment (Update2)

By Ryan J. Donmoyer

 March 19 (Bloomberg) -- Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd said the Obama administration asked him to insert a provision in last month’s $787 billion economic- stimulus legislation that had the effect of authorizing American International Group Inc.’s bonuses.

Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat, said yesterday he agreed to modify restrictions on executive pay at companies receiving taxpayer assistance to exempt bonuses already agreed upon in contracts. He said he did so without realizing the change would benefit AIG, whose recent $165 million payment to employees has sparked a public furor.

Dodd said he had wanted to limit executive compensation at companies that got money from the government’s financial-rescue fund. AIG has received $173 billion in bailout money. His provision was changed as the stimulus legislation was negotiated between the House and Senate.

“I did not want to make any changes to my original Senate-passed amendment” to the stimulus bill, “but I did so at the request of administration officials, who gave us no indication that this was in any way related to AIG,” Dodd said in a statement released last night. “Let me be clear -- I was completely unaware of these AIG bonuses until I learned of them last week.” He didn’t name the administration officials who made the request.

No Insistence

An administration official said last night that representatives of President Barack Obama didn’t insist on the change, though they did contend that the language in Dodd’s amendment could be legally challenged because it would apply retroactively to bonus agreements. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity.

That provision in the stimulus bill may undercut complaints by congressional Democrats about the AIG bonuses because most of them voted for the legislation. No Republicans in the House and only three in the Senate supported the stimulus measure

“Taxpayers deserve better than this from their government, and this is just the latest reason why legislation must be transparent for all Americans to see before it is recklessly signed into law,” said Eric Cantor, the No. 2 Republican in the House.

The new law, approved by Congress Feb. 13 and signed into law by Obama the next week, effectively authorized bonus arrangements at companies receiving taxpayer bailouts as long as they were in place before Feb. 11. The AIG bonuses qualified under that provision.

Obama and many lawmakers who voted for the legislation, such as Senator Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat, are demanding AIG employees surrender their bonuses.

Schumer Letter

Schumer yesterday sent a letter to AIG Chief Executive Officer Edward Liddy warning him to return bonuses or face confiscatory taxes on them. The letter was signed by Senate Majority leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, and seven other senators.

Brian Fallon, a spokesman for Schumer, said the senator “supported a provision on the Senate floor that would have prevented these types of bonuses, but he was not on the conference committee that negotiated the final language.”

A House vote is planned for today on a bill to impose a 90 percent tax on executive bonuses paid by AIG and other companies getting more than $5 billion in federal bailout funds.

“I expect it to pass in overwhelmingly bipartisan fashion,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, told reporters yesterday in Washington.

Republican Attacks

Republicans seized on the provision in the stimulus bill to paint Democrats as hypocrites.

“The fact is that the bill the president signed, which protected the AIG bonuses and others, was written behind closed doors by Democratic leaders of the House and Senate,” Iowa Senator Charles Grassley said in a statement.

AIG donated a total of $854,905 to political campaigns in 2008, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington-based research group. AIG employees as a group represent Dodd’s fourth-biggest donor during his career, the group’s research shows. The company’s political action committee, employees and immediate family members have given Dodd more than $280,000, the group said.

Dodd said the provision was written to give the Treasury Department enough discretion to reclaim bonuses as necessary.

“Fortunately, we wrote this amendment in a way that allows the Treasury Department to go back and review these bonus contracts and seek to recover the money for taxpayers,” he said.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told lawmakers in a letter this week that department lawyers believe it would be “legally difficult” to prevent AIG from paying bonuses.

Other Democrats who voted for the stimulus bill have ramped up criticism of AIG’s bonuses, including Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank, the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, who told reporters, “I think the time has come to exercise our ownership rights.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Ryan J. Donmoyer in Washington at rdonmoyer@bloomberg.net****
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