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3501  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Iran is calling our bluffs on: June 19, 2008, 09:13:24 AM
I don't know how many times it becomes clear that only military force will work.

BO response IMO will be:
Iran is not a real threat to the US.  They are not the Soviet Union. They have no intercontinental missles.  I will be tough with them.  People who are saying I can't protect the US are descending into personal attacks and disappoint me.  I will protect us.  I will send the police and an army of $600/hr liberal lawyers to talk some sense into them and out legaleeze them.  We are a country built on 200 years of laws.  What a joke.  His scripted lines are getting so predictable and obnoxious. 

We are apparently ready to repeat the same mistakes of history.  And the young who are forever idealistic are not old enough to understand this though they think they are smarter.  If I recall the line "youth is wasted on the young" was a line from *ancient* Greece.  Some things never do change.

***Ahmadinejad says West failed in Iran nuclear crisis     
Jun 19 06:54 AM US/Eastern
      President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Thursday the West has failed to break Iran's will in the nuclear standoff, days after world powers presented Tehran with a new offer aimed at ending the crisis.

"In the nuclear issue, the bullying powers have used up all their capabilities but could not break the will of the Iranian nation," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying by state television.

World powers -- Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States -- on Saturday offered Tehran a new package of technological and economic incentives in exchange for suspending uranium enrichment activities.

The West fears the process might be used to make an atomic bomb although Iran insists it only wants to generate nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

Ahmadinejad's comments were his first statement on the nuclear crisis since the offer was presented but it was not clear if they represented a reaction to the proposal.

The Iranian government spokesman has already said Tehran will reject any offer demanding it suspends uranium enrichment.

The UN nuclear watchdog has been investigating Iran's nuclear drive for over five years but has never been able to conclude whether the programme is peaceful.

Iran has said it is examining the package but has so far showed no indication that it will change its defiant course in its nuclear drive.

Iran's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency Ali Asghar Soltanieh ruled out on Wednesday that the country could freeze enrichment, saying: "Iran will never submit to such an illegal act."***
3502  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Coldplay on: June 19, 2008, 06:54:21 AM
Well, I allege they are singing stolen lyrics on at least one or two of the first hits (that Katherine is aware of).  OF course theydeny that they stole this other bands song.  Try proving it.  As for their excuses:

1)  ***First, on the night in October when the band say Chris Martin was watching them, he was actually working at the Air Studio in London***  Maybe *that* is true but we are talking about the big time well financed music business.  They can get receipts made up or bribe witnesses to say what they want.

2) ***second, even if he had been at the gig, "Viva la Vida" was written and demoed seven months before the night in question, so it couldn't possibly have been copied***  Oh comon - again the music industry is loaded with tech geeks, or they have the money to bribe computers experts who can fabricate evidence.  We had one "professor" from the University of Central Florida who we hired but through phone tapping was known to the people who were robbing us and bribed.  Try proving it.  Try getting anyone to do anything about it.  The only ones who give a hoot are the people who get robbed.  I can tell you the entire music industry is filled with people like coldplay who are playing stuff they didn't write, that they claim they write and have far less or no real talent like they go around saying.  All the while Federal and State laws are broken all day long while material gets transfered to these lying trash.

Additionally, it is not usually the phoney "frontmen" who are running around stealing the material.  There is a whole army of middlemen who scour others in music and steal the material to give to *their* people - those that are "let in" to the business.



The song they didn't write? Coldplay are accused of plagiarism by American band

By Guy Adams in Los Angeles
Thursday, 19 June 2008
 
It was all going so predictably well. Coldplay's new album went straight to No 1 on Sunday, selling 300,000 copies in three days; concerts sold out; that iTunes ad was everywhere. Even their notoriously sniffy critics in the music press seemed, with the odd exception, unusually muted.

Then, things took a sudden turn for the worse – with a plagiarism row. Yesterday, the band was forced to issue a categorical denial of allegations that they copied the title track to their new record, Viva La Vida Or Death and All His Friends from a little-known US group, Creaky Boards.

In a video posted on the video-sharing website YouTube, Andrew Hoepfner, Creaky Boards' singer and songwriter, claimed that the melody of Coldplay's song, "Viva La Vida", is pinched from a track he wrote last year called, ironically, "The Songs I Didn't Write".

He blamed Chris Martin for the alleged artistic theft, saying that Coldplay's frontman attended a Creaky Boards concert in New York last year. "We were flattered when we thought we saw Chris Martin in the crowd," said Mr Hoepfner. "He seemed pretty into it... Maybe TOO into it?"

The clip, which was first posted on Sunday, rapidly went viral. By last night, it had been watched by nearly 300,000 people, many thousands of whom had typed comments remarking upon the various similarities between the two tracks. In an industry where even small chord sequences can become subject of costly copyright disputes, allegations of plagiarism are as potentially damaging to a musician's finances as they are to their reputation.

Little surprise, then, that Coldplay responded with a vigorous denial. "We totally refute their claims, and there are two facts that make it easy to disprove them," said the band's spokesman Murray Chalmers. "First, on the night in October when the band say Chris Martin was watching them, he was actually working at the Air Studio in London, and we can prove that. Second, even if he had been at the gig, "Viva la Vida" was written and demoed seven months before the night in question, so it couldn't possibly have been copied."

Sources close to the band said they were unlikely to pursue legal action against Creaky Boards, since it would "look bad" to start a David versus Goliath lawsuit against a group of young musicians. They are, however, pushing for them to publicly withdraw the allegations of plagiarism.

The two tracks have different lyrics, say the Coldplay camp. Although certain elements of their melody sound remarkably similar, the band say this is due to simple coincidence rather than a case of artistic theft.

Either way, the trite nature of Mr Hoepfner's video clip has succeeded in gaining a new following for his band, and was driving traffic to their MySpace page. The YouTube video concludes: "I wish Coldplay the best of luck. If they ever want to collaborate, I've got some microphones we could use in my bedroom."

Creaky Boards' video outlining the similiarities between the two songs

Coldplay are recording several live TV performances to promote their record in the US, but are steering clear of major interviews, following last week's incident on BBC Radio 4 when Martin walked out of an interview with the arts show Front Row, saying he did not like "having to talk about things".
3503  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / pharmaceutical studies on: June 18, 2008, 07:28:43 AM
There is a reason patients are not paid a lot of money to participate in pharmaceutical studies.  Ethics experts and institutional review boards composed of religious, business, legal medical and other lay people decide that offering too much money clouds the judgement of people into participate in these studies.  In fact I had conducted some of these myself and it would have been *a lot easier* to offer a lot more money and have more participants then we would need rather than be able to offer a pittence and take forever to find subjects.  Additionally IRB approve the informed consent, advertising, and to suggest that these veterans or anyone else is just thrown into these studies without their complete and explicit consent is bogus publicity.  These are not Nazi experiments.  The patient know full well they are in experimental studies and know full well there are risks.

Again as I said before a one in a million reaction to chantix is hardly some sort of scandal.  I think Obama dumba should have to spend a month taking care of the millions of patients dying of cancer, and emphysema because they couldn't stop smoking - that SOB.
 
***VA testing drugs on war veterans
Experiments raise ethical questions
Audrey Hudson (Contact)
Tuesday, June 17, 2008

UPDATE: Obama's office sent a letter Tuesday to James Peake, secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, on the issue. You can read the full text of the letter here.

UPDATE II: Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican, issued his own letter to Peake as well. You can read it here.

The government is testing drugs with severe side effects like psychosis and suicidal behavior on hundreds of military veterans, using small cash payments to attract patients into medical experiments that often target distressed soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, a Washington Times/ABC News investigation has found.

In one such experiment involving the controversial anti-smoking drug Chantix, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) took three months to alert its patients about severe mental side effects. The warning did not arrive until after one of the veterans taking the drug had suffered a psychotic episode that ended in a near lethal confrontation with police.

ROD LAMKEY JR./THE WASHINGTON TIMES Veteran James Elliott arrives at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington for his scheduled substance-abuse class in April. Mr. Elliott, a chain smoker, served 15 months in Iraq as an Army sharpshooter and suffers post-traumatic stress disorder.

ROD LAMKEY JR./THE WASHINGTON TIMES Iraq war veteran James Elliott opted for a government clinical trial for a smoking-cessation drug for $30 a month, starting in November. Two weeks later, the FDA informed the VA of serious side effects.

ROD LAMKEY JR./THE WASHINGTON TIMES STILL SMOKING: Iraq war veteran James Elliott smokes on his porch in Silver Spring as he talks about his experiences in war and dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder. Mr. Elliott suffered a psychotic episode while taking the anti-smoking drug Chantix.

James Elliott, a decorated Army sharpshooter who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after serving 15 months in Iraq, was confused and psychotic when he was Tasered by police in February as he reached for a concealed handgun when officers responded to a 911 call at his Maryland home.

For photos, video of James Elliott, official FDA documents and more, visit the interactive site for the Disposable Heroes report.

Mr. Elliott, a chain smoker, began taking Chantix last fall as part of a VA experiment that specifically targeted veterans with PTSD, opting to collect $30 a month for enrolling in the clinical trial because he needed cash as he returned to school. He soon began suffering hallucinations and suicidal thoughts, unaware that the new drug he was taking could have caused them.

Just two weeks after Mr. Elliott began taking Chantix in November, the VA learned from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that the drug was linked to a large number of hallucinations, suicide attempts and psychotic behavior. But the VA did not alert Mr. Elliott before his own episode in February.

In failing to do so, Mr. Elliott said, the VA treated him like a "disposable hero."

"You're a lab rat for $30 a month," Mr. Elliott said.***
3504  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Possible answer - Re: WSJ: Bushing helping Sauds build nukes?!? on: June 16, 2008, 07:52:31 AM
This is probably the reason why Bush is helping the Saudis build nukes.  Asking if this is good policy by Marky is certainly a good question.  Very complicated and probably no good answers.


***The Independent

Saudi King: 'We will pump more oil'

By Anne Penketh in Jeddah
Monday, 16 June 2008
 
UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon, left, with Saudi foreign minister Prince Saud al-Faisal at Jeddah airport

Saudi Arabia will raise oil production to record levels within weeks in an attempt to avert an escalation of social and political unrest around the world. King Abdullah signalled the commitment to the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, at the weekend after the impact of skyrocketing oil prices on food sparked protests and riots from Spain to South Korea.

Next month, the Saudis will be pumping an extra half-a-million barrels of oil a day compared to last month, bringing total Saudi production to 9.7 million barrels a day, their highest ever level. But the world's biggest oil exporters are coupling the increase with an appeal to western Europe to cut fuel taxes to lower the price of petrol to consumers.

Saudi Arabia, which has called an emergency meeting of oil producers and consumers in the port city Jeddah next Sunday, says the energy crisis has not been caused purely by market pressures but by a speculative bubble. Saudi Arabia and Opec believe there are no shortages to justify the sudden surge in prices.

Mr Ban held talks with King Abdullah at the royal palace in Jeddah on Saturday evening for more than an hour which were dominated by the energy crisis. The Saudi monarch shared his concern that the oil price was "abnormally high" although he blamed "national policies" in the West, Mr Ban told The Independent yesterday. "He was also suggesting that consumers should play their own role," Mr Ban added.

Just before his departure for London yesterday, he had a telephone conversation with the Saudi oil minister, Ali al-Naimi, who told him that Saudi Arabia had raised production this month by 300,000 barrels per day at the request of consumers, and next month would raise output by a further 200,000 barrels per day. Mr Ban said: "He told me they will respond positively whenever there is a request for an increase in production. So there will be no shortage of oil."

Mr Naimi said Saudi Arabia was responding to requests from between 30 and 60 consumer countries. Finance ministers from the Group of Eight nations meeting in Tokyo yesterday added to the chorus urging Saudi Arabia to increase production.

The UN chief said he had asked the Saudi minister whether the additional output would be enough to help stabilise the market, adding: "He said the consumers and others should play their own role."

Mr Ban, who flew to Saudi Arabia after a meeting in London with Gordon Brown at Downing Street on Friday as Britain was in the grip of a protest by lorry drivers, conveyed the concerns of world leaders about the impending oil crisis. The South Korean secretary general said: "Unless we properly manage these issues, this may create a cascade of all other challenges and prices, affecting not only social and economic issues but also creating political instability."

But it appears the Saudis are just as worried that record prices – on Friday oil was being priced at just under $135 a barrel – could dampen growth in the industrialised West and lower demand, which would in turn hurt the kingdom.

As well as the protests in Britain, which continued with a go-slow by lorry drivers on the M6 on Saturday, oil-related protests have swept Europe and Asia in recent weeks. Violence has erupted in Spain, riot police were deployed in Malaysia, several Indian states have been hit by fuel-related strikes and most of South Korea's main ports have been paralysed by blockades.

Mr Ban said the King shared his view that the prices of oil and food were intricately linked to the issue of flooding and drought caused by climate change and needed to be dealt with comprehensively.

"But while he acknowledged this concern, he also expressed his own concern that common effort and co-ordination are required, particularly from consumer countries," Mr Ban said.

Saudi Arabia, which is the only Opec member with spare capacity, has been under pressure from the Bush administration to increase production, with petrol now costing a record $4 (£2) per gallon in America. But the Saudis argue that although the barrel has jumped as high as $140 recently, they are earning less in real terms owing to the decline in the value of the dollar. Until now they have hesitated to announce a large increase over a sustained period, sticking to the Opec line which blames Western speculators for the increase.

Opec countries generally follow the Saudi lead on raising levels of production, although the cartel's president, Chakib Khelil, has said it will make no new decision until a September meeting in Vienna.

Gordon Brown is to attend the unprecedented meeting of oil producers and consumers in Jeddah, and the Energy minister, Malcolm Wicks, met Mr Naimi in Riyadh on Saturday.

The US, the world's biggest oil customer, which has expressed considerable frustration with the Saudi position, will be represented at the meeting at ministerial level. Yesterday's Arabic-language newspapers had dampened down speculation about an increase in Saudi production.

The Al Riyadh newspaper quoted oil ministry sources who said that if there had been no increase in demand, there was no need to increase supply. A commentator in Al Watan newspaper said: "Why should we please consumers and increase production?" pointing out that the value of the dollar was in decline.

Saudi Arabia is keenly aware of the political and economic effect of the oil market on the upwards spiral of food prices, and contributed $500m to the World Food Programme ahead of the food summit in Rome to enable the UN agency to cope with escalating problems in feeding the world's poor. Mr Ban thanked King Abdullah for that gesture.

Mr Ban's talks in Saudi Arabia also focused on regional Middle East issues, including Lebanon, Israel/Palestine and Somalia, where a UN-brokered process backed by the Saudis has just produced a peace agreement.***



3505  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Doctors don't always tell patients when the end is near on: June 15, 2008, 06:46:26 PM
I have found this to be true at times.  It is certainly one of the hardest things in medicine.  There are different reasons for this.  Sometimes the patients only hear what they want to hear, and that they *were* told.  Sometimes they refuse to give up so the doctor keeps trying things that he/she knows would be a near miracle to work.  Sometimes I just wonder if the doctor just doesn't have the guts (or the heart) to tell the patient.  There are some cultures where it may actually be considered rude to tell a patient h/she is going to die (such as Japanese).  Could there be a financial incentive to push chemo that will have (if no chance) almost no chance to work?  I have no direct knowledge of this but in this world nothing would surprise me frankly.   I wonder what was told to Ed Kennedy?  I would like to think it was all an honorable try at making every possible, remote, theoretical, or otherwise experimental stab at trying to prolong his life but there is something just so self serving from these people at Duke in all this celebration of their supposed leadership in this area of medicine  - I just don't know.

***AP
Most cancer doctors avoid saying it's the end

By MARILYNN MARCHIONE, AP Medical Writer Sun Jun 15, 2:08 PM ET

CHICAGO - One look at Eileen Mulligan lying soberly on the exam table and Dr. John Marshall knew the time for the Big Talk had arrived.
ADVERTISEMENT

He began gently. The chemotherapy is not helping. The cancer is advanced. There are no good options left to try. It would be good to look into hospice care.

"At first I was really shocked. But after, I thought it was a really good way of handling a situation like that," said Mulligan, who now is making a "bucket list" — things to do before she dies. Top priority: getting her busy sons to come for a weekend at her Washington, D.C., home.

Many people do not get such straight talk from doctors, who often think they are doing patients a favor by keeping hope alive.

New research shows they are wrong.

Only one-third of terminally ill cancer patients in a new, federally funded study said their doctors had discussed end-of-life care.

Surprisingly, patients who had these talks were no more likely to become depressed than those who did not, the study found. They were less likely to spend their final days in hospitals, tethered to machines. They avoided costly, futile care. And their loved ones were more at peace after they died.

Convinced of such benefits and that patients have a right to know, the California Assembly just passed a bill to require that health care providers give complete answers to dying patients who ask about their options. The bill now goes to the state Senate.

Some doctors' groups are fighting the bill, saying it interferes with medical practice. But at an American Society of Clinical Oncology conference in Chicago earlier this month, where the federally funded study was presented, the society's president said she was upset at its finding that most doctors were not having honest talks.

"That is distressing if it's true. It says we have a lot of homework to do," said Dr. Nancy Davidson, a cancer specialist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

Doctors mistakenly fear that frank conversations will harm patients, said Barbara Coombs Lee, president of the advocacy group Compassionate Choices.

"Boiled down, it's 'Talking about dying will kill you,'" she said. In reality, "people crave these conversations, because without a full and candid discussion of what they're up against and what their options are, they feel abandoned and forlorn, as though they have to face this alone. No one is willing to talk about it."

The new study is the first to look at what happens to patients if they are or are not asked what kind of care they'd like to receive if they were dying, said lead researcher Dr. Alexi Wright of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

It involved 603 people in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Texas. All had failed chemotherapy for advanced cancer and had life expectancies of less than a year. They were interviewed at the start of the study and are being followed until their deaths. Records were used to document their care.

Of the 323 who have died so far, those who had end-of-life talks were three times less likely to spend their final week in intensive care, four times less likely to be on breathing machines, and six times less likely to be resuscitated.

About 7 percent of all patients in the study developed depression. Feeling nervous or worried was no more common among those who had end-of-life talks than those who did not.

That rings true, said Marshall, who is Mulligan's doctor at Georgetown University's Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. Patients often are relieved, and can plan for a "good death" and make decisions, such as do-not-resuscitate orders.

"It's sad, and it's not good news, but you can see the tension begin to fall" as soon as the patient and the family come to grips with a situation they may have suspected but were afraid to bring up, he said.

From an ethics point of view, "it's easy — patients ought to know," said Dr. Anthony Lee Back of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle. "Talking about prognosis is where the rubber meets the road. It's a make-or-break moment — you earn that trust or you blow it," he told doctors at a training session at the cancer conference on how to break bad news.

People react differently, though, said Dr. James Vredenburgh, a brain tumor specialist at Duke University.

"There are patients who want to talk about death and dying when I first meet them, before I ever treat them. There's other people who never will talk about it," he said.

"Most patients know in their heart" that the situation is grim, "but people have an amazing capacity to deny or just keep fighting. For a majority of patients it's a relief to know and to just be able to talk about it," he said.

Sometimes it's doctors who have trouble accepting that the end is near, or think they've failed the patient unless they keep trying to beat the disease, said Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society.

"I had seven patients die in one week once," Brawley said. "I actually had some personal regrets in some patients where I did not stop treatment and in retrospect, I think I should have."

James Rogers, 67 of Durham, N.C., wants no such regrets. Diagnosed with advanced lung cancer last October, he had only one question for the doctor who recommended treatment.

"I said 'Can you get rid of it?' She said 'no,'" and he decided to simply enjoy his final days with the help of the hospice staff at Duke.

"I like being told what my health condition is. I don't like beating around the bush," he said. "We all have to die. I've had a very good life. Death is not something that was fearful to me."***

3506  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / An article on McCain's health prescription on: June 15, 2008, 06:21:29 PM


   

One might think because I am a doctor I would have some strong opinions one way or the other regarding what is *best* for health care, but I don't.  I'm just trying to pay my bills like everyone else.  I don't endorse McCain or the others based on their health care opinions except to the extent that I don't want even more regulation, strangulation, and an even more gigantic government in any shape or form.

I thought those who read this board might find this helpful.

John McCain touts his plan for the U.S. health care system

From the May ACP Internist, copyright © 2008 by the American College of Physicians.

Jessica Berthold By Stacey Butterfield

Despite the importance of health care in the 2008 presidential campaign, relatively little attention has been paid to the plans that the Republican nominee Sen. John McCain has proposed for the U.S. health care system.

Part of that is because Sen. McCain himself has spent less time talking about the issue than his Democratic opponents. His reticence makes sense, given that Republican voters rank health care as a less important issue (fourth) than do Democrats (second), a Kaiser Foundation poll found. But Sen. McCain has released some proposals to reform health care, and although his plans are not fully fleshed out, they represent a dramatic change from both the current status quo and Democratic proposals.

Unlike the Democrats, cost, rather than access, is the focus. “The problem is not that most Americans lack adequate health insurance,” Sen. McCain told an audience in Des Moines, Iowa. “The biggest problem with the American health care system is that it costs too much.”

John McCain touts his plan for the U.S. health care systemThe centerpiece of his plan to tackle cost is to change the tax code, which would eliminate the incentives for employer-sponsored health coverage and offer individuals a $2,500 tax credit ($5,000 per family) for purchasing their own insurance. Under his plan, which also encourages health savings accounts and cost transparency, patients will have substantially more responsibility for making their own health care and coverage determinations, and would be less likely to choose the most expensive and often unnecessary options, he said in the same speech.

To foster nationwide competition and thereby reduce cost, Sen. McCain also proposes eliminating state-by-state divisions of insurance marketing and physician practice.

Although states would lose some control over insurance regulation and medical licensing, they would take on the new responsibility of finding coverage for high-risk, high-cost patients. States should develop methods for providing additional assistance to families who face unusually high premiums, Sen. McCain said. “The federal government can help fund this effort, but in exchange states should allow Medicaid and SCHIP funds to be used for private insurance,” he explained.

Sen. McCain envisions substantial changes to private insurance as a result of his encouragement of competition. “Insurance should be innovative, moving from job to home, job to job, and providing multi-year coverage. Allow individuals to get insurance through any organization or association that they choose,” his Web site states.

Of concern to internists, he favors eliminating lawsuits against physicians who follow clinical guidelines and adhere to protocols, payments for coordinated care and nonpayment for preventable errors.

Although he hasn’t provided details, Sen. McCain has also expressed opinions on some other hot-button health care issues. He supports walk-in clinics as an alternative/addition to physician offices and emergency rooms. He opposed Medicare Part D because of the cost of providing drug benefits to senior citizens who could afford to pay for their medications, but he favors re-importation of drugs and faster introduction of generics to lower drug expenditures.

Some responsibility for lowering the expense of the U.S. health care system also will fall onto the general public under the McCain plan. He mentions obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure specifically as areas where individual efforts could reduce disease incidence.

A discussion of autism recently caused some controversy for Sen. McCain. According to the New York Times, he recently told a Texas audience that “strong evidence” indicates that vaccine preservatives are causing rising autism rates. His comment drew heat from host of experts who cited strong evidence to the contrary.

Sen. McCain is the underdog in convincing voters to support his plan for reform. A March Wall Street Journal poll conducted by Harris Interactive after the Ohio and Texas primaries found that 45% of voters would trust Democrats to lead health reform while only 25% said they would trust Republicans. Among the three remaining candidates, 44% of those polled said they would trust Sen. Hillary Clinton with overhauling health care, compared with 40% for Sen. Barack Obama and 30% for Sen. McCain.

Presumably, as the campaign moves forward, Sen. McCain will release more details. For information on his opponents’ plans, check back next month, when the Campaign Trail will conduct a similar analysis of the Democratic candidates’ health care platforms.

© Copyright 2008 American College of Physicians. All Rights Reserved.
190 North Independence Mall West, Philadelphia, PA 19106-1572

3507  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Universal Health Care on: June 13, 2008, 08:19:53 AM
I have mixed feelings about *universal* health care.  Of course the idea of world class health care for everyone that is paid for by x is a wonderful thought.  Who isn't for that?  But we all know it isn't that simple.

As one who pays for health care for myself and an employee I have many different thoughts and conerns from different directions but I don't have the answers.  The only thing I can say is that for any universal coverage to not bankrupt the system there would *have* to be some form of rationing.  Most Americans don't understand this and on an individual basis refuse to except this.  And as a doctor  I don't want to be the one in the middle who is the person who tells the patient they cannot have that MRI on day #1 for a shoulder or back sprain.  Yet the business guys with the HMOs have put us in that spot.  There better be strict guidelines set up in a way so I can refer this to the patient.  "No, you can't have this test because you don't qualify by national guidelines until these steps are followed".

Everyone cannot scour the country like Ed Kennedy shopping for all sorts of experimental care and expect others to pay for it.
BTW I wonder about his care.  Why is it he couldn't get the care in Massachussetts where there is world class health care?  Ever here of Mass General?  What is that guy at Duke and their University trying to sell?  There is to me an *obvious* self promotional aspect to their offering experimental stuff to a famous wealthy guy.  It is a sales decision - no more and no less.

Anyway here is some thoughts on universal care:   


***Senators Clinton’s and Obama’s split over mandating coverage distinguishes them from one another, but does that difference matter?

From the June ACP Internist, copyright © 2008 by the American College of Physicians.

Stacey ButterfieldBy Stacey Butterfield

In the seemingly endless Democratic primary, Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have expended a lot of effort trying to distinguish themselves from one other. She stands for experience, he stands for change, and so on.

They both stand for health care reform and have acknowledged that they propose very similar plans for covering the uninsured. But their plans do have one difference—mandates for coverage—and there doesn’t seem to be any consensus on whether that is a big, important difference or a small, insignificant one.

Both plans require insurers to offer coverage to everyone, and use federal funds to make the coverage affordable for consumers. However, Mrs. Clinton’s plan will require all Americans to purchase coverage or face as-yet-unspecified penalties. Mr. Obama’s plan requires mandatory insurance only for children; for adults, coverage will be optional.

Proxies explained their candidates’ proposals at the 2008 World Health Care Congress (WHCC) in Washington, D.C., where one of the keynote addresses featured representatives of the three major presidential campaigns. Since my last column focused on Mr. McCain’s proposals, I’ll stick to the discussion between Mrs. Clinton’s and Mr. Obama’s campaigns.

Democrats’ health plans not much help to undecided votersU.S. Representative Jim Cooper of Tennessee, who represented Mr. Obama, said the mandate issue has been overplayed. “I think that’s much ado about a technical subject,” he told the audience of health care leaders in April. “The health care plans of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are almost identical. We are for universal coverage.”

He also offered an explanation for Mr. Obama’s policy decision. “An upfront, individual mandate will probably get zero Republican co-sponsors in Congress,” Mr. Cooper said.

That’s not true, argued Chris Jennings, the political strategist who represented Mrs. Clinton at the WHCC. “There already is [bipartisan support],” he said. He noted that mandatory coverage legislation has been proposed by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sen. Robert Bennett (R-UT), and two Republican governors, Mitt Romney and Arnold Schwarzenegger, have been the driving forces behind state efforts to mandate insurance.

“The reason why we want everyone to be in the system is to make it work rationally,” Mr. Jennings said. If consumers can wait until they are sick to purchase health insurance, it would raise the premiums of those who buy insurance as well as drawing intense protest from health insurers, he explained.

Obviously, the most likely to opt out under the non-mandatory plan would be the young and healthy whose premiums would typically subsidize the cost of covering the less healthy, more expensive patients. Mr. Obama’s advocates argue that if health insurance is made affordable, almost everyone would choose to buy it, but there’s no way to prove that without enacting a plan.

The Obama plan does have the advantage of being less expensive. Analysts have calculated that his plan would cost taxpayers 50%-80% of what the Clinton plan would. Since either plan would cost the government tens of billions of dollars a year, it’s somewhat difficult for laypeople to really grasp the price difference.

So what is the priority in creating a new health care coverage system? Gaining bipartisan support? Ensuring that everyone is within the system? Limiting cost?

Attendees at the WHCC, who were mostly health care industry executives, seemed to be thoroughly divided about the answers to these questions. After the representatives from the two Democratic campaigns and a spokesperson for Mr. McCain had presented their candidates’ proposals for health reform, the audience voted on their perceptions of feasibility and cost.

The votes were just about even. Mrs. Clinton’s plan got slightly positive ratings, with about 54% of the group finding it feasible and 51% saying it would help with costs. The voters were exactly split on the feasibility of Mr. Obama’s plan and slightly favorable (54%) on cost. The evaluation of Mr. McCain’s plan was slightly negative, with 45% voting yes on feasibility and 46% on cost.

With that mixed evaluation from the health care experts, it’s no wonder that the American voters are still undecided about who they want to lead health care reform.***
3508  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Sims recycler on: June 08, 2008, 10:50:25 AM
I didn't know David G no longer watches GG.  I wish I had followed DG's advice on ISRG, GOOG, and MA.  BTW, Potash's chart is spectacular!  Crafty, where did you hear of this a few years ago?  By the time I was alerted to the fertilizer companies it was *after* the rush.

Here is one company that I am in love with and has good long term growth potential and is not followed by any analyst - yet.

From the Brendan Coffey Cabot Green Investor newletter which is excellent IMO and I would recommend.
Website www.cabot.net

Sims Group (SMS)
Bought at $31. Recent price: $32.25

Sims is a value play that we believe offers growth stock-like
potential for the year. Its March purchase of Chicago's Metal
Management makes it one of the most important metal recyclers in the
world, but also means it changed its listing country and its ticker,
so northern hemisphere analysts aren't following it yet and funds are
only just starting to build positions. Early signs are brand name
funds are gobbling up shares. Another bullish sign, a Deutsche Bank
analyst predicts ferrous and non-ferrous metal prices will remain
firm worldwide, while signs are higher shipping costs for firms like
Sims are bring successfully passed on to buyers. BUY.
3509  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Clintons narcissism (they are sick folks) on: June 08, 2008, 10:25:29 AM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malignant_narcissism

I don't know exactly where on the narcissism spectrum the Clinton's fall but it is frightening to think how this country keeps getting dragged through their psychopathology. While BO's politics are not at all my cup of tea at least there is nothing to suggest he is sick or nuts like the Clintons obviously are:

***Malignant narcissism
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about Kernberg's theory. For the instrumental song by Rush, see Malignant Narcissism (song).

Otto Kernberg described malignant narcissism as a syndrome characterized by a narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), antisocial features, paranoid traits, and ego-syntonic aggression. Other symptoms may include an absence of conscience, a psychological need for power, and a sense of importance (grandiosity). Pollock wrote: "The malignant narcissist is presented as pathologically grandiose, lacking in conscience and behavioral regulation with characteristic demonstrations of joyful cruelty and sadism."[1]

Kernberg claimed that malignant narcissism should be considered part of a spectrum of pathological narcissism, which he saw as ranging from the Cleckley's antisocial character (today's psychopath) at the high end of severity, to malignant narcissism, to NPD at the low end.[2] Kernberg wrote that malignant narcissism can be differentiated from psychopathy because of the malignant narcissists' capacity to internalize "both aggressive and idealized superego precursors, leading to the idealization of the aggressive, sadistic features of the pathological grandiose self of these patients." According to Kernberg, the psychopaths' paranoid stance against external influences makes them unwilling to internalize even the values of the "aggressor," while malignant narcissists "have the capacity to admire powerful people, and can depend on sadistic and powerful but reliable parental images." Malignant narcissists, in contrast to psychopaths, are also said to be capable of developing "some identification with other powerful idealized figures as part of a cohesive 'gang' ... which permits at least some loyalty and good object relations to be internalized." The malignant narcissist's main differences in impulse control from the psycopath is in the area of desired outcomes. While the psychopath displays more anti-social features, the malignant narcissist desires "unlimited power," a trait that is deemed positive in many capitalistic societies. It is possible for the malignant narcissist to move above and beyond their contemporaries, and make a postive contribution to society (although rarely is this the case). The malignant narcissist will attempt to make full use of their capabilities.

Malignant narcissism is related to narcissistic regression in infancy, in which the infant sees themself as the "center of the world." Whereas most infants grow out of this stage, the malignant narcissist is thought to be trapped in this period throughout their lifetime.

Malignant narcissism is highlighted as a key area when it comes to the study of mass, sexual, and serial murder.[3][4][citation needed]

[edit] See also

    * Antisocial Personality Disorder
    * Narcissism (psychology)
    * Narcissistic Personality Disorder
    * Narcissistic rage
    * Psychopath
    * Schizoid Personality Disroder

[edit] External links

    * Malignant Narcissism vs. Psychopathy http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_difference_between_a_narcissist_and_a_sociopath
    * Narcissism and co-morbidity with other disorders http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/faq82.html
    * Is he/she a narcissist? http://www.ultimate-self.com/villains/

[edit] References

   1. ^ Pollock, G. H. (1978), Process and affect, International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 59, 255–276.
   2. ^ Kernberg, O. F. (1994), The Psychotherapeutic Management of Psychopathic, Narcissistic, and Paranoid Transferences.
   3. ^ Gerberth, V., & Turco, R. (1997) Antisocial personality disorder, sexual sadism, malignant narcissism, and serial murder. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 42, 49-60.
   4. ^ ^ Turco, R. (2001) Child serial murder-psychodynamics: closely watched shadows, Journal of The American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 29(2), 331–338.***

 
3510  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: June 08, 2008, 09:41:56 AM
***You can thank the CIA's moronic NIE***

GM,

What do you think was behind this?  Was this really the CIA's honest assesment?  Did they really believe this?  Was it political (my hunch)?

Rachal,
Yes, I forgot that about Reagan too. I agree with you on that!  Yes Reagan is over-rated with many of his polices. In another post I remind us the immigrant mess is directly due to *his* failure to deal with it except with a cheap and expedient pardon.  Now we have a much greater mess on our hands.  There is no comparison to earlier generations coming off the boat onto Ellis Island to those hoards of millions walking in now.  The savings and loan mess also ballooned out of control in part thanks to his failure to deal with it in any way shape or form.  The Beirut thing on one hand was a retreat. Nothing wrong with cutting one's losses.  But it certainly did embolden our enemies in the middle east.  I remember the Beirut bombing well.  I was one of the medical students in Grenada which occured at the same time.  I went to see Reagan speak on the White House lawn.  We were all so proud of our country, our President and our troups.  I was quoted in local newpapers praising troops who secured our safety.  The feeling that we were a great country was broght back.  The left's destroying our pride in our country and our military after Viet Nam and Watergate was being paved over by a new sense of our coutry's greatness again.  That was Reagan's gift to us. 

Now we are tilting back to another leftist elistist pompous jerk IMO.  We "must do this we must do that".  And in everything he voted for or people he surrounded himself with said  is an undercurrent of a theme that America is no good.  "First time I am proud of my country", "chickens coming home to roost", etc.  The BO campaign managers will fool a lot of people by trying to back peddle and white wash this up.  BO is not only no Abe Lincoln, he is no JFK or RFK.  At least those guys came from a family that fought and died for, and believed in this country.  How can we elect a guy who loathes our country like this guy?  Hear we go again with a lot of cleverly, lawyerly, and poll driven drivel.  The election process has become torture in this country IMO.
3511  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: June 07, 2008, 02:14:58 PM
America "dodged a bullet" for now.  Of course, it is far from over with the Clintons.  Notice she says she is *suspending* her campaign.

"Today as I suspend my campaign, I congratulate...."

Dick Morris explains:

WHAT’S UP HILLARY’S SLEEVE?
By Dick Morris And Eileen McGann
06.6.2008

Published on FOXNews.com on June 6, 2008.

Why won’t Hillary just concede that she has lost and pull out of the race? Why does she persist in keeping her delegates in line for her and not releasing them to Obama? Why does she feign party unity while, in fact, undermining it?

The Clintons never do anything without a lot of thinking and planning. There is no benign explanation for her maneuvers. They have several options that they are deliberately keeping open by their increasingly awkward positioning. Here’s what they’re up to:

1. The Obama Stumbles Option

As Hillary says, June is “early” in politics when the convention is not to be held until the end of August, unusually late for a Democratic conclave. And, as Tip O’Neill says “a week is a long time in politics.” So is three months.

Rumors abound about incriminating material on Obama, the potential for misstep is amplified now that he adjusts to a new task of taking on McCain, who knows how many other preachers there are in the closet? Hillary’s skilled force of private detectives, who we once called the secret police, are doubtless diving into garbage dumpsters all over America to come up with whatever they can.

Hillary wants to be there to exploit any mistakes. She will be watching and waiting. Suppose Obama flubs a line on the campaign trail or damaging material emerges from the Rezko prosecution? Hillary will indicate her continued availability as an alternative. Remember that superdelegates can change their minds anytime they want to. Now they are leaving Hillary to back Obama, the winner, but they could easily go the other way. By not releasing her pledged delegates, she remains within striking distance of the nomination if an Obama faux pas leads to an exodus of superdelegates from his camp.

2. Hillary for VP

By remaining a force at the convention, Hillary might be in a position to bail out a faltering Obama campaign by going on the ticket. There is no love lost between the two candidates. Hillary knows that Obama will not choose her voluntarily as his running mate. But if Obama falters, he might just need the shot in the arm Hillary would represent. By remaining in the shadows as a potential threat to wrest away the nomination, she might leverage her position to make Obama put her on the ticket.

She wants to be VP in case Obama loses so she can be positioned for 2012 and in case he wins so she can shoot for the stars in 2016. And, she doesn’t want anyone else to have the job so as not to create a potential rival.

3. The I Told You So Option

By remaining viable and keeping her delegates, Hillary stays in play through the convention. Her aides and associates can be counted on to dump on Obama subtly and, often, anonymously, as he moves forward. If Obama loses the election, and did not take her on his ticket, she can run as the “I told you so” candidate in 2012, much as Ronald Reagan capitalized on Gerald Ford’s defeat in 1976, after Reagan had unsuccessfully sought the nomination, to bolster his credentials in 1980.

4. Paying Off Her Debts

By staying, at least partially, in the game, Hillary can continue to raise money and pay off her debts. And she can hold out a bargaining position to force Obama to do more and more to help her to raise money. Debts to her vendors are one thing. She can always raise funds to pay them off in the future. But the election law makes it illegal for her to pay herself back any sum above $250,000 after the Democratic Convention. Since she has lent her campaign at least $11 million, she wants to get as much of it back as possible before the convention deadline.

Hillary may set her candidacy aside for the moment. But her fortunes will continue to rise and fall inversely with Obama’s. Should he hit a rough patch, Hillary’s numbers are bound to improve, strengthening her bargaining position for funds or for the VP slot or, possibly giving her enough momentum to reopen the contest.

That’s her game.

Jun 6 2008
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3512  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Bomb the Iranian nuke strongholds before Nov? on: June 06, 2008, 09:22:05 AM
If BO is in power Israel can forget about US support for any military option.  It is off the table period. Dershowitz's and his (liberal/democrat to the death Jewish) crowd's  biased opinion notwithstanding. If Israel does anything it will have to be before Bush leaves office or only if McCain gets in.  If I was in Israel I would rather fight for my life than risk extermination because some G*D*M make love not war screw balls from the 60's want to sweet talk to enemies and be "nice" so we can be "liked" around the world. 

***Israeli minister says alternatives to attack on Iran running out     
Jun 6 03:36 AM US/Eastern
   
Iran, Mideast Peace on Bush-Olmert Agenda

      An Israeli deputy prime minister on Friday warned that Iran would face attack if it pursues what he said was its nuclear weapons programme.

"If Iran continues its nuclear weapons programme, we will attack it," said Shaul Mofaz, who is also transportation minister.

"Other options are disappearing. The sanctions are not effective. There will be no alternative but to attack Iran in order to stop the Iranian nuclear programme," Mofaz told the Yediot Aharonot daily.

He stressed such an operation could only be conducted with US support.

A former defence minister and armed forces chief of staff, Mofaz hopes to replace embattled Ehud Olmert as prime minister and at the helm of the Kadima party. ***
3513  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: June 06, 2008, 08:57:49 AM
Doug,
I'm glad you posted your thoughts.  McCain is certainly not ideal to me either.   But appeasing the religious right is simply not going to win an election on a national scale IMO anymore.  Reagan is history.   His second term was not so great.  Remember the stupid Iran - Contra, savings and loan mess that he did absolutely nothing about.  Thanks to him we have the illegal immigrant mess we have to today. the entire face and nature of the country is changing today because of that. And the vast majority of immigrants who come here vote Democrat.  *There were no entitlements* when my grandparents came off the boat.  So people who say the comparison is legit are lying - it ain't.

That all said Reagan was still the only president who I loved in my life time.  But he's over.  So are the 1980's.  The party needs new ideas and leaders.

My thoughts are exactly with Marc's.  BO will be a *disaster* for this country.  He is a flaming liberal who as one blogger noted is a wolf in sheep's clothing.  If the religious right wants to keep promoting ideals while the crats are promising free everything to everyone then the election is over.   We need concrete answers.  The repubs need to compromise.  I see no compromise from the religious right.  And without winning over the Independents or "Reagan Democrats" forget about holding on to the White House.  It is a nightmare to me if the crats get all 3 branches of government (including the Supreme Court).

As you know, if the right stays home they will get the worse of two evils - far worse.  Please keep encouraging your conservative friends the same as you are doing.
 
I would personally have preferred Romney.  But I doubt he had any chance to win a general election.  By the way his universal health care in Massachusetts is I have read a disaster.  Wait till BO and the crats do it on a national scale as Marc suggests.

3514  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Marc, I know your pain on: June 05, 2008, 11:29:59 AM
***I poorly timed my exit from EZCH and have not re-entered***

I am sorry to hear that.  I did the same thing with LVLT.  Bought corvis before it crashed (thousands of shares).  Held on while it became broadwing.  Then it became LVLT.  Held on for 4 or 5 years.  Then watched it go to 1.86 finally gave up and sold it at 2.79.  Of course it is 4 and a quarter now. 

Unless one is a savvy trader like David Gordon one should stay away from Gilder IMO.  Gilder is poison for average investor like me.   In addition, his political views are a bit out there and elitist, arrogant, and pompous (just like BO) though the other side of the political spectrum.
3515  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Dick Morris Holder as BO's trio for VP pick on: June 05, 2008, 11:18:30 AM
BO picks Holder who helped get Marc Rich pardoned in Clinton's final days.  The Clintons are down but we all know they will *not* go away.  There people will still be trying to control behind the scenes.  Hillary will probably be made a health care czar which for me as a primary care physician is not something I would want to see.  She will spend every second positioning for her next run.  I really don't wish anything bad on anyone.  But it just seems the only way our country will be rid of them is when they die.  And then we will have Chelsea....

McCain can beat BO.  The Republicans have to wake up and rally behind him.  As usual the religious right holds the center of the Republican party hostage.

BO's first mistake:

***By Dick Morris And Eileen McGann
06.4.2008

Published in The New York Post on June 5, 2008.

On his first day as the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Barack Obama made his first clear, serious mistake: He named Eric Holder as one of three people charged with vice-presidential vetting.

As deputy attorney general, Holder was the key person who made the pardon of Marc Rich possible in the final hours of the Clinton presidency. Now, Obama will be stuck in the Marc Rich mess.

If ever there was a person who did not deserve a presidential pardon, it’s Marc Rich, the fugitive billionaire who renounced his US citizenship and moved to Switzerland to avoid prosecution for racketeering, wire fraud, 51 counts of tax fraud, evading $48 million in taxes, and engaging in illegal trades with Iran in violation of the US embargo following the 1979-80 hostage crisis.

Seventeen years later, Rich wanted a pardon, and he retained Jack Quinn, former counsel to the president, to lobby his old boss.

It was Holder who had originally recommended Quinn to one of Rich’s advisers, although he claims that he did not know the identity of the client.

And he gave substantive advice to Quinn along the way. According to Quinn’s notes that were produced to Congress, Holder told Quinn to take the pardon application “straight to the White House” because “the timing is good.”

And once the pardon was granted, Holder sent his congratulations to Quinn.

In 2002, a congressional committee reported that Holder was a “willing participant in the plan to keep the Justice Department from knowing about and opposing” the Rich pardon.

It is one thing to reach back to Obama’s pastor to raise doubts about his values. But it is quite another to scrutinize the record of his first appointee.

It couldn’t be a bigger mistake.***
3516  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Google leases land from & next door 2 Nasa on: June 05, 2008, 09:41:08 AM
Isn't this a bit odd? 

Would it not be major headlines if Exxon leased space from the State Department?  Is there going to be a 60 minutes segment at this?

http://sg.news.yahoo.com/ap/20080605/tbs-google-expansion-f8250da.html
3517  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / BO -> BS on: June 05, 2008, 09:29:30 AM
"The presidency has to be earned, and Americans have a right to know much more about the gifted man who is the least tested and experienced major party nominee in modern times."


Well based on the company he keeps and the numerous back peddling change of positions (for example dealing with Palastinians) one would have to be, as radio host Mark Levin says, "Helen Keller" not to see that this guy is basically a  far lefty who associates with communists. 

Everyone could not only see and hear the preachers at his church, but we could also see the delight and glee and excitement of it's members at their words.  Of course he sat there for 20 years.  He agreed with it.

This is a huge problem for him.  He cannot convince otherwise at this point.  Unfortunately others especially the young will be taken in by their perception that he is charming.  "We must do this, we must do that, we have to do this, we have to do that..."  That's all I ever hear him say.  Oh really? we must, we have to?  Why because you say?

Tax like mad.  Redistribute wealth to buy himself votes.  Spend like crazy.  Weaken our influence around the world because we are "nice" and want to be liked.  Weaken our military.  Massively expand the reach and scope of government in our lives.  Expand the dependency of people on government.  All the while go around promoting yourself as a uniter not a divider yadda yadda yadda...


3518  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Walt Williams on: June 05, 2008, 03:36:37 AM
"The true villain in our having to cough up $60, $70 or $80 to fill our gas tanks is the U.S. Congress caught in the grip of environmental extremists. But if reality is too difficult to swallow, we can continue to blame and support the congressional attack on oil executives, turn food into oil and think of other crackpot "solutions."


http://www.townhall.com/columnists/WalterEWilliams/2008/06/04/dumb_or_ill-informed

***What assumptions do congressmen make about the American people? Do they assume that we're dumb or ill-informed about the energy problems we are experiencing? Every time there has been a huge spike in gasoline prices, Congress hauls oil company executives before their committees to accuse them of greed, obscene profits and price-fixing. One federal investigation after another of supposed oil company misconduct turns up nothing to substantiate congressional allegations. Unfortunately, the congressional hearings make front page news and lead the evening television news, but the results of federal investigations that follow are only casually mentioned deep in the body of newspapers and get little or no time on the evening television news. If news media people had an ounce of integrity, they would highlight the federal investigation findings that undermine congressional charges of oil company misconduct and they would question the congressmen who made those charges.

Americans might prefer heroes-and-villains explanations to problems to reality-based explanations. A politically satisfying explanation for today's $4 a gallon price, when it was less than $2 a gallon a couple of years ago, is because oil company executives have all of a sudden become greedy in their pursuit of "obscene" profits. As such, congressmen, as our heroes, should call these greedy men on the carpet and take sanctions against them in the forms of windfall profits tax, price controls and other measures to take away their ill-gotten gains -- never mind the effects of the 1980 windfall profits tax. According to the Congressional Research Service, the 1980 windfall profits tax had the effect of decreasing domestic production by 3 percent to 6 percent, thereby increasing American dependence on foreign oil sources by 8 percent to 16 percent.

Controlling the price of anything is very difficult and it can only be accomplished through the force of government, mostly by restricting supply. The U.S. Congress is a major player in oil supply restriction, and OPEC nations must be laughing all the way to the bank. Congress has banned energy exploration in 85 percent of our coastal waters. Ironically, China, in conjunction with Cuba, is drilling for oil nearer to our coastline than U.S. oil companies are permitted. According to "We don't have to take $4 gas prices -- we can drill," written by Sterling Burnett in the Houston Chronicle (5/21/08), "It is estimated that beneath America's coast lies enough oil to fuel 60 million cars in the United States for 60 years and enough natural gas to heat 60 million homes for 160 years. … If allowed access to American oil reserves in Alaska and off our coastline, American oil companies could increase our country's reserves an estimated fivefold, taking the United States from 11th place to fourth among the countries with proven oil reserves."

You say, "What about the environmental impact?" Contrary to the hysterical claims made by environmental extremists, caribou and other wildlife have expanded and flourished in and around Alaska's Prudhoe Bay, unaffected by the oil and gas development. What's more, Burnett points out that the "two leading environmental groups, the Audubon Society and the Nature Conservancy, have allowed oil and gas production on several of their most important and unique nature preserves."

Environmentalists come to their senses when non-drilling philosophy costs them something. It's two-faced hypocrisy. At times I've suggested that the best way to get oil exploration in the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve is to give the land to environmentalists. You can bet they wouldn't sit on billions of dollars of oil and gas.

The true villain in our having to cough up $60, $70 or $80 to fill our gas tanks is the U.S. Congress caught in the grip of environmental extremists. But if reality is too difficult to swallow, we can continue to blame and support the congressional attack on oil executives, turn food into oil and think of other crackpot "solutions."***

3519  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Music and brain wiring on: June 01, 2008, 08:04:54 AM
I always wondered how music is related to brain function.  How does music connect with our brain neurotransimission?

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080601/ap_on_re_us/music_s_healing_power;_ylt=AoY2XEdQpE1De9tb3G.cftqs0NUE
3520  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / warning long and for some likely boring - Twain on: May 30, 2008, 06:51:30 AM
Another coincidence.  After her first bomb album in 1993 there were rumors of a split with her guy Mutt Lange who it is no coincidence goes out of his way not to be seen in public (how many  pictures have we seen of this guy?).  Then after being at a hotel and realizing that songs she and Mutt supposedly wrote were "hits" like, wow, it dawned on us that all these lyrics we wrote were the hits we were waiting for, their marriage was suddenly not a question.  Then the next few years are history when they came out with their hit albums with lyrics that were what I remember we had on our dell computer back in '95.
Then they again later had some problems until they came out with "Up", again with lyrics exactly like those we had on a computer.
Now the album that she was supposed to come out with in January is delayed to later in the year.   This the same time we stopped letting *anyone* into our house.  The same time the game is finally up with my "mother"-in-law who I told Katherine years ago was robbing her and not until some weeks back she said sadly she finally overcame her denials and realized it is true - her own mother - is robbing her. 

Her mother's first house that she ever owned, she had fixed up and now traded in another and has the other one fixed up and all ready to sell for her move to Vegas.  This from someone who is now over 65 and never made money in real estate before. She works as an aid in a nursing home but suddenly has all this cash to fix up houses at bargain rates from guys who offered to come all the way down from far upstate NY to central NJ to help us with our house.  (Aren't they swell?) That is one way the crooks in the music business pay off people.  They send their union tradesman over to fix up the houses of those that participate in scams to steal songs.  The same neighbors that watch when you leave the house, that walk by and grab your mail from your porch, or live on your garbage man's route and bribe the garbage man to give them your garbage (when they thought Katherine was throwing out discarded song lyrics), follow you to the store, or post office(when Katherine or I were mailing in Copyrights that for whatever reason never went throught the system like they were supposed to or were tampered with by the time you see the finished processed document) and wave while they are watching your every move (as though they are your friendly neighbor).  And in return your neighbor gets a pool, another who was in financial trouble suddenly has a new car, others have new roofs, the expensive PVC fences, new siding, grounds that are made to look like french or Italian villas (in a lower working class neighborhood), garages completely redone, etc.

Now the news is Twain's guy is cheating.  Well golly gee - is that why no album? Is that the reason why  the album that was supposed to be out in January is now delayed and won't be out till the end of the year?.
My wife has not left our house in two fucking years because she would rather die than give up the rest of her songs and she knows that there is almost no person on this Earth who she can trust and who is beyond being bribed.  Even her own low life dirt ball white trash mother.
About 2 years ago I heard her mother slamming draws and doors upstairs once while Katherine was out of the house.  I told her her mother was searching the bedroom upstairs.  I told her once and for all I was certain her mother was robbing us.  She was in denial - "my own mother" couldn't do that.  Now she realizes that her mother who would come down from upstate and stay with us was leaving the house with hard drives  for copying and on at least two occasions let someone or some ones into the house.  They would go to our computers, discs, etc and tamper with them and always leave it or replace them as though nothing ever happened.  So it would be weeks or months before Katherine could figure it out.  All the while, Kenny Chesney, Tobay Keith, Shania Twain,Brad Paisley, parton, squirt and jerk (I mean big and rich or big and little dick) Gretchen of red neck woman fame, and most of everyone in (especially country) the commercial music "bus" would be claiming to have come up with lyrics that they in a million years couldn't have dreamed of.

And Katherine's genius talent has been for her a total curse, her life is in ruins, and these lying scum in the music business are admired and loved by their fans - all the while they would spit on these same fans if it would make them a buck.

did anyone see the Trump apprentice show when he had Twain on.  They sat in a board like room to have a chat with the "great" Shania to learn who to make it in business.  The great pseudo phoney genius advice was with careful thought and the realization she couldn't think of anything else to say, "never give up".  Well folks there you have it.  Thanks Shania you personality - less jerk.  This is the "great" one.  Folks I allege this person couldn't write a decent song to save her life.  As for the melodies perhaps Lange did come up with some of  those - I have no idea.

Now that I got that off my chest - Thank you.eom 
3521  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / It is looking like it will only get worse before it gets better. on: May 29, 2008, 11:39:54 AM
*But if there is a villain in all of this, it is Congress itself*

And with a Democratic landslide in November it will only get far worse.

This is still the greatest country.  It won't continue to be if BO is President.   Foreigners like him because they know he will negotiate away our leadership position in the world so we can be "liked", and they, not us will be the better.

BO is a fool.  And so are Americans if he wins.  He will exacerbate our weaknesses.  And that is why he is popular overseas.  Plain and simple.  Why else does our enemies love him. 

Maybe it is better if he wins.  Go the Jimmy Carter way again.  Apparantly many people need to be reminded we will screw ourlseves.  If McCain is Bush three than BO is Carter 2!
3522  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: May 29, 2008, 08:56:37 AM
"including for acupuncture and chiropractics"

Insurers will pay for these but they won't pay for treatment of people who are overweight or obese.  Those are considered "cosmetic".

I don't have answers on how to fix health care but I am really not thrilled at more government intrusion into our lives.  It is out of control already.
3523  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / On Charles Krauthammer on: May 29, 2008, 08:23:49 AM
Interesting read. Charles was Canadian graduted from Harvard Medical School and taught psychiatry at Mass General and made significant contributions to the concept of bipolar disorder.
I thought he is in a wheelchair because of multiple sclerosis but it is the result of a long ago auto accident.  I like him because I usually agree with his views.  He has accomplished a lot especially while disabled.  There is no overt evidence he lets his disability get in his way.  In fact one can almost never tell that he is in a wheelchair when he is on the air.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Krauthammer
3524  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / One left; 4 million 734 thousand 990 gone on: May 25, 2008, 12:03:17 PM
George Will on the last surviving US WW1 soldier.  I still recall when the last surviving Civil War soldier passed in 1965.  Ugghhh!
Living, walking, and still breathing history.....

http://jewishworldreview.com/cols/will052508.php3

***Jewish World Review May 25, 2008 20 Iyar 5768

The Last Doughboy

By George Will

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. — Numbers come precisely from the agile mind and nimble tongue of Frank Buckles, who seems bemused to say that 4,734,991 Americans served in the military during America's involvement in the First World War and that 4,734,990 are gone. He is feeling fine, thank you for asking.

The eyes of the last doughboy are still sharp enough for him to be a keen reader, and his voice is still deep and strong at age 107. He must have been a fine broth of a boy when, at 16, persistence paid off and he found, in Oklahoma City, an Army recruiter who believed, or pretended to, the fibs he had unavailingly told to Marine and Navy recruiters in Kansas about being 18. He grew up on a Missouri farm, not far from where two eminent generals were born — John "Black Jack" Pershing and Omar Bradley.

"Boys in the country," says Buckles, "read the papers," so he was eager to get into the fight over there. He was told that the quickest way was to train for casualty retrieval and ambulance operations. Soon he was headed for England aboard the passenger ship Carpathia, which was celebrated for having, five years earlier, rescued survivors from the Titanic.

Buckles never saw combat, but "I saw the results." He seems vague about only one thing: What was the First World War about?

Before leaving England for France, he was stationed near Winchester College, where he noticed "Buckles" among the names that boys had carved in their desks. This ignited his interest in genealogy, which led him to discover that his ancestor Robert Buckles, born in Yorkshire on May 15, 1702, arrived at age 30 in what is now West Virginia.

After Cpl. Buckles was mustered out of the Army in 1920 with $143.90 in his pocket, he went to business school in Oklahoma City for five months, then rented a typewriter for $3 a month and sent out job applications. One landed him work in the steamship business, which took him around the world — Latin America, China, Manchuria. And Germany, where, he says, in 1928 "two impressive gentlemen" told him, "We are preparing for another war."

Behind glass in a cabinet in his small sitting room are mementos from his eventful life: a German army belt with a buckle bearing words all nations believe, "Gott Mit Uns" (God Is With Us). The tin cup from which he ate all his meals, such as they were, during the 39 months he was a prisoner of the Japanese — because he was working for a shipping company in Manila on Dec. 7, 1941.

Widowed in 1999, this man who was born during the administration of the 25th president recently voted in West Virginia's primary to select a candidate to be the 44th. His favorite president of his lifetime? The oldest, Ronald Reagan.

Buckles is reading David McCullough's "1776." That date is just 18 years more distant from his birth than today is.

This Memorial Day, Buckles will be feted back in Missouri, at the annual parade and fireworks in Kansas City. Perhaps he will journey to Bethany, to the house on whose porch he sat at age 3, 104 years ago.

He was born in February 1901, seven months before President William McKinley was assassinated. If Buckles had been born 14 months earlier, he would have lived in three centuries. He has lived through 46 percent of the nation's life, a percentage that rises each morning when he does.

On June 28, 1914, an assassin's bullet in Sarajevo killed the heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian empire. The war that followed took more than 116,000 American lives — more than all of America's wars after the Second World War. And in a sense, the First World War took many more American lives because it led to the Second World War and beyond.

The First World War is still taking American lives because it destroyed the Austro-Hungarian, Romanoff and Ottoman empires. A shard of the latter is called Iraq.

The 20th century's winds of war blew billions of ordinary people hither and yon. One of them sits here in a cardigan sweater in an old wood and stone house on a rise on a 330-acre cattle farm. In this case, and probably in every case, the word "ordinary" is inappropriate.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

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3525  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / A really great photo thanks.eom on: May 25, 2008, 10:22:59 AM
eom
3526  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / This is wishful thinking on the part of the NYT on: May 25, 2008, 10:11:47 AM
McCain was interviewed by Shawn Hannity and he answered all questions brilliantly.   If he keeps this up the difference between BO and him will be plain for all to see.  The undecideds will pick him in November.
3527  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Music on: May 24, 2008, 04:01:24 PM
****Jessica Back in Country on Multiple Levels

05/23/2008 5:58 PM, E! Online
Jessica Simpson hopped off her flight from Mexico and jumped right back to work.
The pop star, who returned to Los Angeles yesterday after spending a few days unwinding (from what, we wonder) with her family south of the border, apparently isn't in the mood for more R&R.
She was on the move today, making a quick stop at a Marriott hotel in Sherman Oaks and then holing up in a West Hollywood recording studio.
A source close to the songstress told E! News that Simpson planned to spend six to eight hours at the studio working on material for a "country crossover" album.
Sounds about right for a little lady who's been suspiciously without her Cowboy for awhile.****

My guess.  A group of crooks stole her the "material" got her up to the studio ASAP to record it in secret before someone else can steal it.  I just hope the lyrics are not Katherine's.  And Simpson the dope she appears to be gets the singing credits.  Somehow her and her poppa have an "in" in the "business".  It ain't because he's a genius and obviously not she.
3528  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Woops I forgot the link - here it is - my apologies on: May 24, 2008, 06:38:48 AM
http://www.presidential-candidate-videos.com/watch/?vid=30802
3529  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / A tale of two Alans - Keyes and Dershowitz on: May 24, 2008, 06:35:03 AM
By the way.  With regards to Keyes and Dershowitz I recall a debate between these two some years back.

I haven't actually tried this link but hopefully it works if you have the time and the interest.

I thought Dershowitz won hands down.  He shot Alan's arguments full of holes, and ran circles around him.  I would be the first to say he was superb!

On the other hand I know someone who was a law student at Harvard and I recall asking him what it was like to study with some of the world's great minds.  I specifically asked about Dershowitz.  The response took me by surprise:

"What a pompous jerk".
3530  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: May 24, 2008, 06:15:40 AM
Hi Rachel

Thanks for the good points.

That the Iraq invasion was risky was the opinion of some people - true.  Just look at Pat Buchanan.  He was against it from day 1.

Yet Israel still factored in the equation to invade.  Neocons some of whom are Jewish certainly thought that toppling Iraq would give the US a bulkhead against Iran and Syria.  So the intent was certainly there though the result so far, has not gone as planned.  Unless we shrink from it now which BO certainly wants to do IMO.   BO is trying to back track now but there is absolutely no similarity to MCCain iron resolve to win this.  Some people do think accepting our losses, and retreating now may be our best option.  Americans will have to decide which direction to take and the lines are drawn.

As for Dershowitz I saw this quote too the other day. I was surprised.  I would say it is the first time in decades I have ever heard him say anything positive about a Republican.

Your points are valid but as matter of opinion I still stand on mine.   
3531  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: May 22, 2008, 10:50:30 PM
 ***Did Bush risk American lives and his political life to save Jews?***

Yes, I think that was part of the calculation in invading Iraq.  Obviously it hasn't worked as well as thought, but he certainly is risking American lives right now.   And I think if he had more political backing he would bomb the shit out of Iran's nuclear facilities, but America has turned weak.

******Would McCain?***   

In my mind I believe he would, absolutely.

As for Alan Dershowitz he can't see without his Democrat/liberal colored glasses.  So of course he will back the Democrat - he *always* does.  I have never heard him say a kind word for any Republican.  He could be an editorialist for the NYT.

Is/was Bush terrible for the country?  All I can say is the whole Republican party has been a disgrace the last 5 years - since 911 IMO.  I am a truly disappointed Republican. 
3532  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / IMO dont' believe BO cares about Jews. on: May 22, 2008, 09:51:39 AM
Rachel,

It is great to have another opinion on this board.  Thanks for you ideas. Smiley

"And so he has"

Or, so he and his Jewish supporters are trying to claim.  And this may be true!  But it remains to be seen.

Personally, I don't trust this guy.  He has a long history of being a very liberal guy trying to move to the center.  He also has a long history of associating with those who are, lets say it gently, not fond of Jews, or Israel.

A person's historical actions, beliefs, and the way that they have lived are far far more characteristic of their true beliefs than any expedient things they say for political purposes.  Could he truly have altered his beliefs?  I doubt it.  Will he truly strive to work towards protecting Israel once elected? Maybe.  Will he negotiate with Israel's enemies?  Almost certainly he will.  Will this be good for Israel?  That is the great question.  It ain't his life in danger if Iran unleashes nuclear weapons on Israel.  It ain't his life on the line by *trusting* Iran whose total history is hell bent on driving Jews out of Israel - dead or alive.

Do you think he will really risk American lives and his political life to save Jews?  I am to say the least, very, very skeptical.  I feel Israel was far safer with Bush/Cheney then the left.  Just my opinion.  But as we speak Iran is closing in on nucs.  And all the talking has done nothing to stop that - nor will it.  Only a political collapse from within Iran or war will stop this IMO. 
3533  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / "End of cheap Oil" - Part 2 on: May 22, 2008, 09:27:24 AM
We have used other methods to estimate the ultimate recovery of conventional oil for each country [see box on next two pages], and we calculate that the oil industry will be able to recover only about another 1,000 billion barrels of conventional oil. This number, though great, is little more than the 800 billion barrels that have already been extracted.

It is important to realize that spending more money on oil exploration will not change this situation. After the price of crude hit all-time highs in the early 1980s, explorers developed new technology for finding and recovering oil, and they scoured the world for new fields. They found few: the discovery rate continued its decline uninterrupted. There is only so much crude oil in the world, and the industry has found about 90 percent of it.

Predicting when oil production will stop rising is relatively straightforward once one has a good estimate of how much oil there is left to produce. We simply apply a refinement of a technique first published in 1956 by M. King Hubbert. Hubbert observed that in any large region, unrestrained extraction of a finite resource rises along a bellshaped curve that peaks when about half the resource is gone. To demonstrate his theory, Hubbert fitted a bell curve to production statistics and projected that crude oil production in the lower 48 U.S. states would rise for 13 more years, then crest in 1969, give or take a year. He was right: production peaked in 1970 and has continued to follow Hubbert curves with only minor deviations. The flow of oil from several other regions, such as the former Soviet Union and the collection of all oil producers outside the Middle East, also follows Hubbert curves quite faithfully.

The global picture is more complicated, because the Middle East members of OPEC deliberately reined back their oil exports in the 1970s, while other nations continued producing at full capacity. Our analysis reveals that a number of the largest producers, including Norway and the U.K., will reach their peaks around the turn of the millennium unless they sharply curtail production. By 2002 or so the world will rely on Middle East nations, particularly five near the Persian Gulf (Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates), to fill in the gap between dwindling supply and growing demand. But once approximately 900 Gbo have been consumed, production must soon begin to fall. Barring a global recession, it seems most likely that world production of conventional oil will peak during the first decade of the 21st century.

Perhaps surprisingly, that prediction does not shift much even if our estimates are a few hundred billion barrels high or low. Craig Bond Hatfield of the University of Toledo, for example, has conducted his own analysis based on a 1991 estimate by the U.S. Geological Survey of 1,550 Gbo remaining—55 percent higher than our figure. Yet he similarly concludes that the world will hit maximum oil production within the next 15 years. John D. Edwards of the University of Colorado published last August one of the most optimistic recent estimates of oil remaining: 2,036 Gbo. (Edwards concedes that the industry has only a 5 percent chance of attaining that very high goal.) Even so, his calculations suggest that conventional oil will top out in 2020.

Factors other than major economic changes could speed or delay the point at which oil production begins to decline. Three in particular have often led economists and academic geologists to dismiss concerns about future oil production with naive optimism.

First, some argue, huge deposits of oil may lie undetected in far-off corners of the globe. In fact, that is very unlikely. Exploration has pushed the frontiers back so far that only extremely deep water and polar regions remain to be fully tested, and even their prospects are now reasonably well understood. Theoretical advances in geochemistry and geophysics have made it possible to map productive and prospective fields with impressive accuracy. As a result, large tracts can be condemned as barren. Much of the deepwater realm, for example, has been shown to be absolutely nonprospective for geologic reasons.

What about the much touted Caspian Sea deposits? Our models project that oil production from that region will grow until around 2010. We agree with analysts at the USGS World Oil Assessment program and elsewhere who rank the total resources there as roughly equivalent to those of the North Sea that is, perhaps 50 Gbo but certainly not several hundreds of billions as sometimes reported in the media.

A second common rejoinder is that new technologies have steadily increased the fraction of oil that can be recovered from fields in a basin—the so-called recovery factor. In the 1960s oil companies assumed as a rule of thumb that only 30 percent of the oil in a field was typically recoverable; now they bank on an average of 40 or 50 percent. That progress will continue and will extend global reserves for many years to come, the argument runs.

Of course, advanced technologies will buy a bit more time before production starts to fall [see "Oil Production in the 21st Century," by Roger N. Anderson, on page 86]. But most of the apparent improvement in recovery factors is an artifact of reporting. As oil fields grow old, their owners often deploy newer technology to slow their decline. The falloff also allows engineers to gauge the size of the field more accurately and to correct previous underestimation—in particular P90 estimates that by definition were 90 percent likely to be exceeded.

Another reason not to pin too much hope on better recovery is that oil companies routinely count on technological progress when they compute their reserve estimates. In truth, advanced technologies can offer little help in draining the largest basins of oil, those onshore in the Middle East where the oil needs no assistance to gush from the ground.

Last, economists like to point out that the world contains enormous caches of unconventional oil that can substitute for crude oil as soon as the price rises high enough to make them profitable. There is no question that the resources are ample: the Orinoco oil belt in Venezuela has been assessed to contain a staggering 1.2 trillion barrels of the sludge known as heavy oil. Tar sands and shale deposits in Canada and the former Soviet Union may contain the equivalent of more than 300 billion barrels of oil [see "Mining for Oil," by Richard L. George, on page 84]. Theoretically, these unconventional oil reserves could quench the world’s thirst for liquid fuels as conventional oil passes its prime. But the industry will be hard-pressed for the time and money needed to ramp up production of unconventional oil quickly enough

Such substitutes for crude oil might also exact a high environmental price. Tar sands typically emerge from strip mines. Extracting oil from these sands and shales creates air pollution. The Orinoco sludge contains heavy metals and sulfur that must be removed. So governments may restrict these industries from growing as fast as they could. In view of these potential obstacles, our skeptical estimate is that only 700 Gbo will be produced from unconventional reserves over the next 60 years.

Meanwhile global demand for oil is currently rising at more than 2 percent a year. Since 1985, energy use is up about 30 percent in Latin America, 40 percent in Africa and 50 percent in Asia. The Energy Information Administration forecasts that worldwide demand for oil will increase 60 percent (to about 40 Gbo a year) by 2020.

The switch from growth to decline in oil production will thus almost certainly create economic and political tension. Unless alternatives to crude oil quickly prove themselves, the market share of the OPEC states in the Middle East will rise rapidly. Within two years, these nations’ share of the global oil business will pass 30 percent, nearing the level reached during the oil-price shocks of the 1970s. By 2010 their share will quite probably hit 50 percent.

The world could thus see radical increases in oil prices. That alone might be sufficient to curb demand, flattening production for perhaps 10 years. (Demand fell more than 10 percent after the 1979 shock and took 17 years to recover.) But by 2010 or so, many Middle Eastern nations will themselves be past the midpoint. World production will then have to fall.

With sufficient preparation, however, the transition to the post-oil economy need not be traumatic. If advanced methods of producing liquid fuels from natural gas can be made profitable and scaled up quickly, gas could become the next source of transportation fuel [see "Liquid Fuels from Natural Gas," by Safaa A. Fouda, on page 92]. Safer nuclear power, cheaper renewable energy, and oil conservation programs could all help postpone the inevitable decline of conventional oil.

Countries should begin planning and investing now. In November a panel of energy experts appointed by President Bill Clinton strongly urged the administration to increase funding for energy research by $1 billion over the next five years. That is a small step in the right direction, one that must be followed by giant leaps from the private sector.

The world is not running out of oil—at least not yet. What our society does face, and soon, is the end of the abundant and cheap oil on which all industrial nations depend.
How Much Oil is Left to Find?

We combined several techniques to conclude that about 1,000 billion barrels of conventional oil remain to be produced. First, we extrapolated published production figures for older oil fields that have begun to decline. The Thistle field off the coast of Britain, for example, will yield about 420 million barrels (a). Second, we plotted the amount of oil discovered so far in some regions against the cumulative number of exploratory wells drilled there. Because larger fields tend to be found first-they are simply too large to miss-the curve rises rapidly and then flattens, eventually reaching a theoretical maximum: for Africa, 192 Gbo. But the time and cost of exploration impose a more practical limit of perhaps 165 Gbo (b). Third, we analyzed the distribution of oil-field sizes in the Gulf of Mexico and other provinces. Ranked according to size and then graphed on a logarithmic scale, the fields tend to fall along a parabola that grows predictably over time (c). (Interestingly, galaxies, urban populations and other natural agglomerations also seem to fall along such parabolas.) Finally, we checked our estimates by matching our projections for oil production in large areas, such as the world outside the Persian Gulf region, to the rise and fall of oil discovery in those places decades earlier (d).
-C.J.C. and J.H.L
The Authors

COLIN J. CAMPBELL and JEAN H. LAHERRÈRE have each worked in the oil industry for more than 40 years. After completing his Ph.D. in geology at the University of Oxford, Campbell worked for Texaco as an exploration geologist and then at Amoco as chief geologist for Ecuador. His decade-long study of global oil-production trends has led to two books and numerous papers. Laherrère’s early work on seismic refraction surveys contributed to the discovery of Africa’s largest oil field. At Total, a French oil company, he supervised exploration techniques worldwide. Both Campbell and Laherrère are currently associated with Petroconsultants in Geneva.

3534  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Foretelling-"end of Cheap Oil" Scietific American 1998/part1 on: May 22, 2008, 09:26:27 AM
I recall reading this 10 years ago.  In fact I may have posted it on the old Gilder board as an "OT" thread   Mr. Campbell predicted we were going to start having big problems before 2010 which, at the time, was sooner then most were thinking.
I think the cyclical nature of the availibility of oil is still in play but that we are in the top of the cycle until we start extracting more from the oil sands in Canada and other places like from the very deep ocean deposits being discovered off of Brazil, and the Arctic circle. 

This Scientific article in its foretelling is like the Scientific American article that foretold that a Hurricane in New Orleans has the potential to be the biggest natural US disaster.  Scientific A was right on again! 

THE END OF CHEAP OIL

by Colin J. Campbell and Jean H. Laherrère,
Scientific American, March 1998
(This article is available in a PDF format almost identical to the original)
wpe1.jpg (34570 bytes)
Derricks bristling above the Los Angeles basin.

In 1973 and 1979 a pair of sudden price increases rudely awakened the industrial world to its dependence on cheap crude oil. Prices first tripled in response to an Arab embargo and then nearly doubled again when Iran dethroned its Shah, sending the major economies sputtering into recession. Many analysts warned that these crises proved that the world would soon run out of oil. Yet they were wrong.

Their dire predictions were emotional and political reactions; even at the time, oil experts knew that they had no scientific basis. Just a few years earlier oil explorers had discovered enormous new oil provinces on the north slope of Alaska and below the North Sea off the coast of Europe. By 1973 the world had consumed, according to many experts’ best estimates, only about one eighth of its endowment of readily accessible crude oil (so-called conventional oil). The five Middle Eastern members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) were able to hike prices not because oil was growing scarce but because they had managed to corner 36 percent of the market. Later, when demand sagged, and the flow of fresh Alaskan and North Sea oil weakened OPEC’s economic stranglehold, prices collapsed.

The next oil crunch will not be so temporary. Our analysis of the discovery and production of oil fields around the world suggests that within the next decade, the supply of conventional oil will be unable to keep up with demand. This conclusion contradicts the picture one gets from oil industry reports, which boasted of 1,020 billion barrels of oil (Gbo) in "Proved" reserves at the start of 1998. Dividing that figure by the current production rate of about 23.6 Gbo a year might suggest that crude oil could remain plentiful and cheap for 43 more years—probably longer, because official charts show reserves growing.

Unfortunately, this appraisal makes three critical errors. First, it relies on distorted estimates of reserves. A second mistake is to pretend that production will remain constant. Third and most important, conventional wisdom erroneously assumes that the last bucket of oil can be pumped from the ground just as quickly as the barrels of oil gushing from wells today. In fact, the rate at which any well—or any country—can produce oil always rises to a maximum and then, when about half the oil is gone, begins falling gradually back to zero.

From an economic perspective, when the world runs completely out of oil is thus not directly relevant: what matters is when production begins to taper off. Beyond that point, prices will rise unless demand declines commensurately.

Using several different techniques to estimate the current reserves of conventional oil and the amount still left to be discovered, we conclude that the decline will begin before 2010.
wpe2.jpg (24866 bytes)

    FLOW OF OIL starts to fall from any large region when about half the crude is gone. Adding the output of fields of various sizes and ages (green curves above) usually yields a bell-shaped production curve for the region as a whole. M. King Hubbert, a geologist with Shell Oil, exploited this fact in 1956 to predict correctly that oil from the lower 48 American states would peak around 1969.

We have spent most of our careers exploring for oil, studying reserve figures and estimating the amount of oil left to discover, first while employed at major oil companies and later as independent consultants. Over the years, we have come to appreciate that the relevant statistics are far more complicated than they first appear.

Consider, for example, three vital numbers needed to project future oil production. The first is the tally of how much oil has been extracted to date, a figure known as cumulative production. The second is an estimate of reserves, the amount that companies can pump out of known oil fields before having to abandon them. Finally, one must have an educated guess at the quantity of conventional oil that remains to be discovered and exploited. Together they add up to ultimate recovery, the total number of barrels that will have been extracted when production ceases many decades from now.

The obvious way to gather these numbers is to look them up in any of several publications. That approach works well enough for cumulative production statistics because companies meter the oil as it flows from their wells. The record of production is not perfect (for example, the two billion barrels of Kuwaiti oil wastefully burned by Iraq in 1991 is usually not included in official statistics), but errors are relatively easy to spot and rectify. Most experts agree that the industry had removed just over 800 Gbo from the earth at the end of 1997.

Getting good estimates of reserves is much harder, however. Almost all the publicly available statistics are taken from surveys conducted by the Oil and Gas Journal and World Oil. Each year these two trade journals query oil firms and governments around the world. They then publish whatever production and reserve numbers they receive but are not able to verify them.

The results, which are often accepted uncritically, contain systematic errors. For one, many of the reported figures are unrealistic. Estimating reserves is an inexact science to begin with, so petroleum engineers assign a probability to their assessments. For example, if, as geologists estimate, there is a 90 percent chance that the Oseberg field in Norway contains 700 million barrels of recoverable oil but only a 10 percent chance that it will yield 2,500 million more barrels, then the lower figure should be cited as the so-called P90 estimate (P90 for "probability 90 percent") and the higher as the P10 reserves.

In practice, companies and countries are often deliberately vague about the likelihood of the reserves they report, preferring instead to publicize whichever figure, within a P10 to P90 range, best suits them. Exaggerated estimates can, for instance, raise the price of an oil company’s stock.
wpe5.jpg (20529 bytes)

        SUSPICIOUS JUMP in reserves reported by six OPEC members added 300 billion barrels of oil to official reserve tallies yet followed no major discovery of new fields.

The members of OPEC have faced an even greater temptation to inflate their reports because the higher their reserves, the more oil they are allowed to export. National companies, which have exclusive oil rights in the main OPEC countries, need not (and do not) release detailed statistics on each field that could be used to verify the country’s total reserves. There is thus good reason to suspect that when, during the late 1980s, six of the 11 OPEC nations increased their reserve figures by colossal amounts, ranging from 42 to 197 percent, they did so only to boost their export quotas.

Previous OPEC estimates, inherited from private companies before governments took them over, had probably been conservative, P90 numbers. So some upward revision was warranted. But no major new discoveries or technological breakthroughs justified the addition of a staggering 287 Gbo. That increase is more than all the oil ever discovered in the U.S.—plus 40 percent. Non-OPEC countries, of course, are not above fudging their numbers either: 59 nations stated in 1997 that their reserves were unchanged from 1996. Because reserves naturally drop as old fields are drained and jump when new fields are discovered, perfectly stable numbers year after year are implausible.
wpe3.jpg (53494 bytes)

    GLOBAL PRODUCTION OF OIL both conventional and unconventional (red), recovered after falling in 1973 and 11979. But a more permanent decline is less than 10 years away, according to the authors’ model, based in part on multiple Hubbert curves (lighter lines). U.S. and Canadian oil (brown) topped out in 1972; production in the former Soviet Union (yellow) has fallen 45 percent since 1987. A crest in the oil produced outside the Persian Gulf region (purple) now appears imminent.

Another source of systematic error in the commonly accepted statistics is that the definition of reserves varies widely from region to region. In the U.S., the Securities and Exchange Commission allows companies to call reserves "proved" only if the oil lies near a producing well and there is "reasonable certainty" that it can be recovered profitably at current oil prices, using existing technology. So a proved reserve estimate in the U.S. is roughly equal to a P90 estimate.

Regulators in most other countries do not enforce particular oil-reserve definitions. For many years, the former Soviet countries have routinely released wildly optimistic figures—essentially P10 reserves. Yet analysts have often misinterpreted these as estimates of "proved" reserves. World Oil reckoned reserves in the former Soviet Union amounted to 190 Gbo in 1996, whereas the Oil and Gas Journal put the number at 57 Gbo. This large discrepancy shows just how elastic these numbers can be.

Using only P90 estimates is not the answer, because adding what is 90 percent likely for each field, as is done in the U.S., does not in fact yield what is 90 percent likely for a country or the entire planet. On the contrary, summing many P90 reserve estimates always understates the amount of proved oil in a region. The only correct way to total up reserve numbers is to add the mean, or average, estimates of oil in each field. In practice, the median estimate, often called "proved and probable," or P50 reserves, is more widely used and is good enough. The P50 value is the number of barrels of oil that are as likely as not to come out of a well during its lifetime, assuming prices remain within a limited range. Errors in P50 estimates tend to cancel one another out.

We were able to work around many of the problems plaguing estimates of conventional reserves by using a large body of statistics maintained by Petroconsultants in Geneva. This information, assembled over 40 years from myriad sources, covers some 18,000 oil fields worldwide. It, too, contains some dubious reports, but we did our best to correct these sporadic errors.

According to our calculations, the world had at the end of 1996 approximately 850 Gbo of conventional oil in P50 reserves—substantially less than the 1,019 Gbo reported in the Oil and Gas Journal and the 1,160 Gbo estimated by World Oil. The difference is actually greater than it appears because our value represents the amount most likely to come out of known oil fields, whereas the larger number is supposedly a cautious estimate of proved reserves.

For the purposes of calculating when oil production will crest, even more critical than the size of the world’s reserves is the size of ultimate recovery—all the cheap oil there is to be had. In order to estimate that, we need to know whether, and how fast, reserves are moving up or down. It is here that the official statistics become dangerously misleading.
wpe4.jpg (23180 bytes)

    GROWTH IN OIL RESERVES since 1980 is an illusion caused by belated corrections to oil-field estimates. Backdating the revisions to the year in which the fields were discovered reveals that reserves have been failing because of a steady decline in newfound oil (blue).

According to most accounts, world oil reserves have marched steadily upward over the past 20 years. Extending that apparent trend into the future, one could easily conclude, as the U.S. Energy Information Administration has, that oil production will continue to rise unhindered for decades to come, increasing almost two thirds by 2020.

Such growth is an illusion. About 80 percent of the oil produced today flows from fields that were found before 1973, and the great majority of them are declining. In the 1990s oil companies have discovered an average of seven Gbo a year; last year they drained more than three times as much. Yet official figures indicated that proved reserves did not fall by 16 Gbo, as one would expect rather they expanded by 11 Gbo. One reason is that several dozen governments opted not to report declines in their reserves, perhaps to enhance their political cachet and their ability to obtain loans. A more important cause of the expansion lies in revisions: oil companies replaced earlier estimates of the reserves left in many fields with higher numbers. For most purposes, such amendments are harmless, but they seriously distort forecasts extrapolated from published reports.

To judge accurately how much oil explorers will uncover in the future, one has to backdate every revision to the year in which the field was first discovered—not to the year in which a company or country corrected an earlier estimate. Doing so reveals that global discovery peaked in the early 1960s and has been falling steadily ever since. By extending the trend to zero, we can make a good guess at how much oil the industry will ultimately find.

3535  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: May 20, 2008, 10:34:33 PM
**explaining why he doesn’t think we need to worry about “tiny” countries like Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea, and Iran**

BO doesn't say it, but he also thinking Israel in the same sentence.

A nuclear Iran will likely spur a regional arms race:

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1210668683868&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull
3536  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / New Contract with America on: May 18, 2008, 09:08:06 AM
Doug,

I like your list better than Newt's!  I have changed my mind and agree with those who are calling for a new contract with America if the Republicans could even have *any* hope of convincing voters to vote for them again.  This seems at this time to be the best hope to stave off a complete election disaster in November.

The Republicans led by that crook Tom Delay who as far as I am concerned should be in jail have really let me down.

Problem is is what good is a Republican contract if they will no longer have any power to get any of it done.  Or worse Democrats will pass some of it and claim it was their idea like Clinton does with Welfare reform.   Some Blacks love him for welfare reform yet he was the biggest obstacle to it early on until he saw the national polls favored reform.  Then and only then did the poll driven President jump on the bandwagon.
3537  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / BO and sworn to the death enemies of Israel on: May 18, 2008, 08:59:17 AM
****So why is he meeting with one of Hezbollah's most important imams and agents in America, Imam Hassan Qazwini?****

At *best* its because he thinks some "genius argument" is going to convince our enemies they have been wrong all along.
At *worst* it is because he agrees with the Farrakan/Hymietown anti-Jewish wing of the Black "community" who he obviously adores, and that he also hates Jews.

At this point I am leaning closer to the *worst* hypothesis than I am the *best* hypothesis.  He is just not that dumb.  And he is a superior manipulator.
3538  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: May 18, 2008, 08:43:12 AM
Rachel,
Thanks for your thoughts.
I agree with you and doubt abortion is a major or significant factor in Jewish demographics.  Sometimes I am not sure of Buchanan's motives vis a vis the Jews.  Surely he is at odds with leftist Democrat Jews on issues of abortion, conservative vs. Liberal, etc.  I recall there was some rumors of his being antisemetic years ago.  But he generally has been a friend of Jews when it comes to their right to the State of Israel.  And I appreciate that.  And I agree with him on many issues of politics.
I still feel that many Jews love for the Democratic party and pure hatred of Republicans (more than ther hatred for Naziism IMO) is misplaced or outdated.
As for attrition, or assimilation I have a relative who is rumoured to be more or less a Jew for Jesus.  This seems nuts to me but what can I say.   




3539  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / seizure in elderly on: May 18, 2008, 08:28:51 AM
While listening to the cable news this am, I notice two well know causes of seizures in older folks where conveniently left off the list; what should be included are cancers, primary and metastatic, and either intoxication or withdrawal from alcohol use.
Even sleep deprivation can in certain circumstances trigger one.
3540  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Krauthammer ON Israel's 60th on: May 16, 2008, 07:15:27 PM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/15/AR2008051503577.html
3541  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / BO and Jews on: May 16, 2008, 07:03:46 PM
I am not sure really.  But I sense BO has run with the "Hymietown" crowd.  That is enough for me to be suspicious yet nothing here is ironclad:


May 10, 2008
Jews can’t vote for Obama and be pro-Israel at the same time

By Ted Belman

ted-4.jpgIn the poll of Jewish voters (conducted April 1-30), it showed Obama getting 61% of the Jewish vote against John McCain (32%). Yet in the same poll Hillary Clinton beat Obama among Jewish voters 62% - 38%. So obviously Jews are lifelong democrats who will vote for Obama, whom they rejected in the primaries, rather than vote for McCain. Thus, for them, party loyalty is preferable to Israel loyalty.

Recently I posted two articles by Yarom Ettinger, former Israeli Ambassador to the US, The Prospects of a Palestinian State and National Interests of the United States and It’s American interests, stupid, both of which clearly demonstrate that keeping Israel strong is to keep America strong. Thus to be pro-Israel is to be pro-America.

Now some would argue that most Jewish Americans are not one issue voters but they must realize that to favour a basket of issues or the Democratic Party above favouring Israel, makes them less pro-Israel and thus less pro-American. This I am sure will get howls of protest from the J-Street Lobby which represents progressive Jewry, who would have you believe that by forcing Israel to capitulate, they are acting in the best interests of Israel and the US. I hope you don’t buy their thinking. These articles fly in the face of such thinking. Consider them carefully it is important.

While most Jews favour Obama in a run off with McCain because he is a Democrat, they ignore how pro-Palestinian and anti-American he is.

Let me list the ways.

      - Obama said “Nobody is suffering more than the Palestinian people,”

      - Obama said “If there is an Arab American family [in the US] being rounded up without benefit of an attorney, those are my civil liberties!”

      - Everyone on Obama’s foreign policy team, McPeak, Hamilton, Kurtzer, Brezezinski, are anti- Israel and The Israel Lobby. Their policies are closely aligned with Carter’s and Baker’s.

      - Obama has been in bed with Jew haters and Islamic jihad for years. Farrakhan and his dear friend Reverend Wright, Obama’s spiritual guru, is a vile Jew hater.

      - Obama is the first Presidential candidate endorsed by Hamas. He is the toast of the Islamic world. Obama’s church posted a Hamas manifesto.

      - Obama has been endorsed by William Ayers (Weatherman Underground bomber, unrepentant domestic terrorist) (Member Communist Party USA, Early mentor to Obama) Jeremiah Wright (Black Liberation militant, racist, and Pastor) Tony Rezko (Corrupt Financier, ties to Terror Financing) Louis Farrakhan (Nation of Islam Leader, racist, anti-American) Hamas Terrorist Organization (Islamic Terrorist Organization) Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades (Islamic Terror Irganization) Raila Odinga (Fundamental Islamic Candidate, Kenya, Obama’s Cousin) Daniel Ortega (Marxist Sandinista Leader. Nicaragua Raul Castro (Hard-line Communist Leader, Communist Party Illinois (US Communist Political Party) Socialist Party USA (Marxist Socialist Political Party) The New Black Panther Party (Black Militant Organization, anti-American and racist Mosques are preaching for Obama (muslims vote inshallah!)

      - We know from this blog entry by the pro-Palestinian blogger Ali Abunimah at The Electronic Intifadah, that Obama has moved to a move pro-Israel position as his national aspirations developed. “The last time I spoke to Obama was in the winter of 2004 at a gathering in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood,” Abunimah writes. “He was in the midst of a primary campaign to secure the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate seat he now occupies. But at that time polls showed him trailing. “As he came in from the cold and took off his coat, I went up to greet him. He responded warmly, and volunteered, “Hey, I’m sorry I haven’t said more about Palestine right now, but we are in a tough primary race. I’m hoping when things calm down I can be more up front.’ He referred to my activism, including columns I was contributing to the The Chicago Tribune critical of Israeli and US policy, ‘Keep up the good work!”

      - Ralph Nader agrees.“(Obama) has run a brilliant tactical campaign. But his better instincts and his knowledge have been censored by himself….He was pro-Palestinian when he was in Illinois before he ran for the state Senate, during he ran–during the state Senate.”

      - Obama served as a paid director on the board of a nonprofit organization that granted funding to a controversial Arab group that mourns the establishment of Israel as a “catastrophe.” (Obama has also reportedly spoken at fundraisers for Palestinians living in what the United Nations terms refugee camps.). The co-founder of that Arab group, Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi, is a harsh critic of Israel who reportedly worked on behalf of the Palestine Liberation Organization when it was labeled a terror group by the State Department. Khalidi held a fundraiser in 2000 for Obama’s failed bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

      - Ten years ago Obama went to a pro-Palestinian dinner at which Edward Said was the guest speaker and they sat at the same table.

      - Obama employed and continues to employ several Farrakhan acolytes in high positions on his Illinois and U.S. Senate campaign and office staffs.

      - Obama very recently and previously referred to the “cycle of violence” in the Middle East. He thereby equates Arab criminal violence with legitimate Israeli self-defence.

      - Obama’s Church reprinted the outrageous claim that Israel planned an “ethnic bomb” to kill blacks and Arabs.

All items listed above cannot be characterized as a smear as they are all true.

How can Jews ignore all this or dismiss it as inconsequential? I don’t get it.

ADDENDUM ( found this article after writing mine.)

A Curious Kind of Friendship; Barack Obama’s dubious record on Israel

MARK HEMINGWAY, NRO

On April 21, Barack Obama found himself at a diner in Scranton, Pa. The Illinois senator hadn’t been available to the press in ten days, so a reporter approached him.

Perhaps Obama was in a bad mood because he foresaw a drubbing — the next day, Pennsylvanian primary voters went for Hillary. Or maybe he just didn’t like the reporter’s question: “Senator, did you hear about Jimmy Carter’s trip? He said he could get Hamas to negotiate.”

Looking down at his breakfast, the senator snapped back, “Why can’t I just eat my waffle?”

The week before, two important things had happened. One, Obama had declined to condemn Carter’s meeting with Hamas, though Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had opposed the trip. Two, the Palestinian terrorist group took the unusual step of endorsing him. When asked about the endorsement, Obama’s chief strategist, David Axelrod, was flattered that Hamas compared his candidate to JFK: “We all agree that John Kennedy was a great president, and it’s flattering when anybody says that Barack Obama would follow in his footsteps.”

Republican nominee John McCain quickly took note. “We need change in America, but not the kind of change that wins kind words from Hamas,” he said.

The day following Wafflegate, Obama told the press it was a “bad idea” for Carter to meet with Hamas, as it gave the group “a legitimacy that was unnecessary.”

It’s understandable that Obama would rather do just about anything than talk about the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Questions about Obama’s support for Israel have percolated in Jewish publications and elsewhere for more than a year, and now they threaten to spill over into the mainstream media. In March, speaking to reporters in Texas, Obama defended his record: “Nobody has ever been able to point to statements that I made or positions that I’ve taken that are contrary to the long-term security interests in Israel and in any way diminish the special relationship we have with that country.” Trouble is, this claim is simply not true.

Obama has been battling the perception that he is insufficiently supportive of Israel since last year, when he told the Des Moines Register, “Nobody is suffering more than the Palestinian people.” An Iowa Democrat and member of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), David Adelman, called Obama’s comments “deeply troubling.” Obama claimed the remark was taken out of context, but the Politico noted that talk of Obama’s comment was one of many reasons that a “real, if kind of inchoate, skepticism” dominated discussions of Obama at AIPAC’s annual policy conference in March of last year.

Whatever the context of that specific remark, many subsequent revelations have given ample reason for skepticism: Obama has repeatedly claimed to support Israel, but his record doesn’t jibe with his rhetoric. Last year, he announced he would vote against an amendment in the Senate declaring Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps — which has long supported Hezbollah terrorists and otherwise abetted the murder of Israelis — a terrorist group. The resolution passed 76–22, with the support of Hillary Clinton, Illinois senator Dick Durbin, and a host of other reliable liberals. Obama missed the vote while campaigning in New Hampshire, but he attacked Clinton on the issue, saying the non-binding amendment might exacerbate tensions with Iran.

What’s more, his life is marked by ties to anti-Israeli causes. A recent report in the Los Angeles Times detailed Obama’s close relationship with Rashid Khalidi, a professor of Arab studies at Columbia University. In the late 1970s Khalidi worked with WAFA, the official news agency of the Palestinian Liberation Organization; during this period, the PLO and its factions
engaged in acts of terrorism. In 2005 Khalidi gained national attention when he argued that, under international law, Palestinians have a right to violently resist Israeli occupation.

While teaching at the University of Chicago, Khalidi co-founded the Arab American Action Network (AAAN), an organization with a history of churning out anti-Israeli propaganda. AAAN’s current projects include “The Arab American Oral History Project.” The group’s website asks, “Do you have photos, letters or other memories you could share about Al-Nakba-1948?” “Al Nakba” translates as “the catastrophe,” and 1948 is the year in which Israel became a
state.

Khalidi held a fundraiser for Obama’s failed congressional bid in 2000, while Obama was a state senator representing the liberal Hyde Park area of Chicago. In 2003, Obama attended a tribute dinner for Khalidi where, according to the Los Angeles Times, a speaker likened “Zionist settlers on the West Bank” to Osama bin Laden.

The largess flowed in both directions. From 1999 to 2002 Obama served on the board of directors of the Woods Fund, a grant-making foundation with assets of $68 million whose nominal goal is “to increase opportunities for less advantaged people and communities in the [Chicago] metropolitan area.” According to tax forms and annual reports, in 2001 and 2002 the Woods Fund gave AAAN a total of $75,000 in grants. Bill Ayers, a former (and unrepentant) member of the left-wing terrorist group the Weather Underground, sat on the board with
Obama.

The aforementioned Politico article also noted “[anti-Israeli] sentiment . .. circulating largely on private email lists and in chatter about a posting on the pro-Palestinian blog Electronic Intifada, which claimed (with little evidence) that Obama was once on the Palestinian side.” For some time Electronic Intifada co-founder Ali Abunimah has been saying that, in private
conversations, Obama expressed unequivocal pro-Palestinian views. Abunimah is an activist in Chicago’s Palestinian community, and is on the board of AAAN, with which he has a long history of involvement. Given Obama’s own involvement with Khalidi and AAAN, Abunimah’s claim to have had such conversations with Obama seems plausible.

There have also been flaps over campaign advisers. Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser, has recently endorsed and campaigned with Obama. Brzezinski was singled out recently for defending The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, a book arguing that “the United States has been willing to set aside its own security in order to advance the interests of another state [Israel].” After a campaign press release described Robert Malley, an adviser to the Clinton administration on the Arab-Israeli conflict, as an Obama adviser, the campaign sought to distance itself from Malley — whom New Republic editor-in-chief Marty Peretz has called “a rabid hater of Israel.”

When it comes to Israel, perhaps the most controversial member of Obama’s campaign is his chief military adviser and national-campaign co-chairman, Gen. Merrill McPeak. In 1976, McPeak wrote an article for Foreign Affairs criticizing Israel for not returning to its 1967 borders and handing the Golan Heights back to Syria. McPeak accused Jewish and evangelical voters of placing their interest in Israel above U.S. interests in a 2003 interview with the
Oregonian. When asked what was holding back world peace, McPeak responded, “New York City. Miami. We have a large vote . . . here in favor of Israel. And no politician wants to run against it.” Obama disavowed McPeak’s stance on Israel, but stands behind the campaign’s relationship with the general.

Then there’s Obama’s pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright: “The Israelis have illegally occupied Palestinian territories for over 40 years now. . . . [We need to] wake Americans up concerning the injustice and the racism under which the Palestinians have lived because of Zionism.” Last year, the bulletin at Wright ’s church reprinted an article by a Hamas official.

Given Obama’s past and current relationships, the Jewish community is taking his rhetoric with hefty portions of sodium chloride. One well-known Jewish Democratic strategist says that with Obama running, McCain could equal or even surpass the 39 percent of the Jewish vote that Ronald Reagan captured against Jimmy Carter in 1980. This could be a major factor in swing states with significant Jewish populations, notably Florida and Pennsylvania. According to Pennsylvania-primary exit polls, Jews went for Hillary, 62 to 38 percent.

There are two ways of looking at all this. Perhaps Obama is privately hostile to Israel. Or perhaps he comes from a Hyde Park milieu so leftist that he saw these relationships as normal political connections. In a sense it doesn’t matter: Regardless of why Obama tolerates terrorist sympathizers, the fact that he has a history of doing so could destroy his candidacy. On the national stage, and particularly in the Democratic party, Jews play a prominent role.

“A normal liberal politician wouldn’t get near this — the political instinct would be, ‘I don’t want to touch this’ — but none of it offended his sensibilities,” the Jewish Democratic strategist said. “He sat there in rooms where Israel was likened to Osama bin Laden. He didn’t walk out.”
Posted by Ted Belman @ 12:07 pm |

3542  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Buchanan: Time is not on the Jews side on: May 16, 2008, 06:39:58 PM
From Pat Buchanan,

"President Bush celebrates Israel's 60th birthday, and is celebrated in turn as Israel's best friend ever"

Does any Jew seriously think BO is a friend of the Jews?  And Clinton?  Clinton would sell out the Jews just as quickly as she sold out the Blacks if becomes in her self interest.  Not true for Bush.

His article is food for thought:

***As Israel enters its 61st year, Israelis may look back with pride. Yet, the realists among them must also look forward with foreboding.

Israel is a modern democracy with the highest standard of living in the Middle East. In the high-tech industries of the future, she is in the first rank. From a nation of fewer than a million in 1948, Israel's population has grown to 7 million. In seven wars -- the 1948 War of Independence, the Sinai invasion of 1956, the Six-Day War of 1967, the Yom Kippur War of 1973, and the Lebanon wars of 1982 and 2006 -- Israel has prevailed, though some of these wars were, as Wellington said of Waterloo, "a damn near-run thing."

Israel has revived Hebrew, created a new currency, immersed her children in the history, ancient and modern, of her people, and established a homeland for Jews from all over the world, millions of whom have migrated there to settle. Israel is now home to the largest concentration of Jews anywhere on earth.

Israel became home to the largest Jewish population on earth in part because American Jews in the 1990s fell in number from 5.5 million to 5.2 million, a loss of 300,000, or 6 percent of the U.S. Jewish population.

According to Charles Krauthammer, by 2050, the U.S. Jewish population will have shrunk another 50 percent to 2.5 million. American Jews are slowly vanishing. How and why is this happening?

It is the collective decision of American Jews themselves, who have led the battles for birth control and a woman's right to choose.

As Jews were roughly 2 percent of the U.S. population from Roe v. Wade to today, perhaps 2 percent of the 50 million legal abortions since Roe were likely performed on Jewish girls or women, resulting in 1 million lost members of the Jewish community in 35 years.

And if demography is destiny, Israel's future, too, appears grim.

As former Ambassador Zalman Shoval writes, Israel's population of 7 million is 80 percent Jewish. But the Palestinian population of Israel has risen to 20 percent and is growing much faster.

One Israel blogger, using Shoval's totals, writes that among the Israeli population between 1 and 4 years old, roughly 30 percent is Arab. The future of Israel is thus increasingly Arab and less Jewish.

According to the United Nations, by 2050, Israel will have 10 million people.

By then, the Arab population, at present birth rates, is likely to be close to 30 percent of the Israeli population. On the West Bank and Gaza, today's 4 million Arabs are to explode to 10 million, far outstripping the growth in Israel. Jordan's population of 5 million, 60 percent Palestinian, will also double to 10 million.

Thus, not even counting Palestinians in Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria and the Gulf states, Israel's 7 million to 8 million Jews in 2050 will be living with 13 million Palestinians in Israel, Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank. If Israel is to survive as a Jewish state, a separate and independent Palestinian state would seem an imperative.

Yet, as Israelis continue to build outposts and expand and add settlements, the possibility of a Palestinian state recedes. Indeed, many Israelis, seeing what an end to the occupation produced in Gaza, refuse to consider any pullout at all from the West Bank.

Such a policy of holding on and digging in is sometimes the best one -- but only if time is on one's side. Is time on Israel's side?

According to the world population statistics from the National Policy Institute, the worldwide Arabic population in 1950 was only 94 million, less than 4 percent of the world population. But by 2050, it will be 700 million, 7 percent of a world population of almost 10 billion.

According to U.N. population experts, Lebanon's population will grow to 5 million in 2050, but Syria's will almost double from today's 20 million to 34 million. The population of Saudi Arabia will rise from 24 million to 45 million. Egypt will grow by more than 50 million to 121 million Egyptians by 2050. The Islamic Republic of Iran, 71 million today, is expected to reach 100 million at mid-century.

And, demography aside, the Islamic faith of Israel's neighbors is becoming militant. Hamas now controls Gaza. Hezbollah now controls Southern Lebanon and is becoming the power in Beirut. While Egypt is headed by a pro-American autocrat, the principal rival for power is the widely popular Muslim Brotherhood.

Those who do not like the Saudi monarchy should consider what is likely to rise in its place, should the House of Saud fall. The same is true of the Jordanian and Moroccan monarchies, and the sheikdoms, emirates and sultanates of the Persian Gulf.

In any struggle of generations, the critical question is often: Whose side is time on? As President Bush celebrates Israel's 60th birthday, and is celebrated in turn as Israel's best friend ever, it is a fair question to ask.***

3543  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Dolly is humiliated on: May 15, 2008, 01:34:41 PM
I haven't heard or do I care much about it or that Dolly is "humilialted".  I alledge Parton has for years sung and claimed to have written songs she never wrote.  Blue Ridge Mountain Boy it was known in Nashville was said to be written by Kathy Mateo not Parton as she claimed.

Of course she also seems to be singing and claiming songs that are exactly like my wife has written.  She also claims to have 3000 copywritten songs and writes exactly  the way my wife writes.  Ideas pop into her head and she just keeps notes on her all day long later finishing the song.   Wow!  Years ago she said that to wirte lyrics she would have to go off to a cabin in the woods where there was total piece and quiet to be able to concentrate and not be distracted to be able to come up with anything.  Now her story is changed.   It is amazing how all these Country stars claim they have hundreds or even thousands of songs written.  Well where are they?  So why is Shania Twain delaying her album from January to March and now November?
Whatever excuse they will use, and they can make up anything, who will know otherwise, I know the real reason.  Look up a song she claims called shoes.  Why isn't it released here in the US?  They must not have finished the "clean up".

So Dolly, as far as I am concerned you a phoney full of crap mannequin:



Parton "shocked" at Howard Stern radio segment
Wed May 14, 2008 3:51pm EDT
 
08 May 2008
 
By Jonathan Cohen

NEW YORK (Billboard) - Country music star Dolly Parton has hit back against Howard Stern's satellite radio show, which last week manipulated recordings from one of her audio books into seemingly racist and sexually graphic sound bites.

"I have never been so shocked, hurt and humiliated in all my life," Parton said in a statement on Wednesday. "I cannot believe what Howard Stern has done to me. In a blue million years, I would never have such vulgar things come out of my mouth. They have done editing or some sort of trickery to make this horrible, horrible thing. Please accept my apology for them and certainly know I had nothing to do with this."

She concluded: "If there was ever going to be a lawsuit, it's going to be over this. Just wanted you to know that I am completely devastated by this."

"The Howard Stern Show" frequently utilizes audio book recordings in this fashion; altered clips from "Star Trek" actor George Takei became a staple of the program in recent years.

Reuters/Billboard

© Thomson Reuters 2008 All rights reserved
 
3544  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Windfall profits - for politicians on: May 11, 2008, 09:27:50 AM
Do other people besides me think it obscene that ourp politicans go out into the private sector and turn around to make millions off their having done "public service".  Like the Clintons giving speeches for hundreds of thousands a pop, getting their daughter a hedge fund job, John Edwards ties to a hedge fund, the Bushes getting millions as early investors of Global Doublecrossing, presidential libraries being used by the Clintons to funnel themselves more money and on and on.

I think they should all be taxed a 100% windfall profits tax!  Isn't that what all this crap is anyway?  They are cashing in on their connections made while *serving* the citizens of our country in *public* service?

The hypocrisy is just soooo tiring.  From Jonah Goldberg on the hot air windfall profits tax on oil coming out of Washington DC the other place in the US where prostitution is legal.

May 9, 2008 4:00 AM

Take That, Big Oil!
The windfall profits tax slap.

By Jonah Goldberg

Imagine this. You’ve built the better mousetrap. (Because lasers and pneumatic tubes are cool, let’s imagine it uses them.) You’ve persevered through years of trial and error in your garage, enduring sleepless nights, the mockery of friends, the eye-rolling of family, and the non-lethal laser wounds to the family cat. But it was all worth it. You take your invention and, with your last few pennies, manage to bring it to market. It’s a smash hit. It starts flying off shelves. You earn back the investment in raw materials and maybe something close to compensation for your time. Now you’re ready for the big payoff. There’s just one thing left to do: make an appointment with the regional Reasonable Profits Board to find out how much of your windfall is reasonable for you to keep.

Picked by Congress nominally for their expertise in analyzing the mousetrap industry but actually for their vampiric lust for entrepreneurial blood, members of the Reasonable Profits Board will determine how much of your already-taxed profits cross the “rational threshold.”

Now that’s the American dream!
What this would mean for Mousetrap 2.0 may not be a big concern for members of the board, but odds are you’ll start to feel like you’re working for them.

Replace “Mousetrap” with “oil,” and you have a good idea of how some in Congress want to bring the oil industry to heel. Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Pa, is offering his “Consumer Reasonable Energy Price Protection Act,” which would make oil companies supplicants of a Reasonable Profits Board. Senate Democrats, led by Chuck Schumer and Harry Reid, proposed their 25 percent windfall profits tax this week, while Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Alpha Centauri, has been calling for a 100 percent windfall profits tax rate for some time. Hillary Clinton is barnstorming the country talking about a windfall profits tax that will not only stick it to the corporate fat cats but will “pay” for a gas tax holiday.

“Windfall,” of course, is just another word for “undeserved,” which is why windfall profits are defined as the profits earned by someone other than you. If we were honest with the people having their profits yanked away, we’d call it the “well-earned and richly deserved profits tax.”

Now hold on a second, cry the unreasonable-profit confiscators. That analogy is bogus. ExxonMobil isn’t some garage-workshop Horatio Alger. ExxonMobil is a cold and impersonal multinational corporation!

To which I say: Exactly!

So why are Democrats keen on treating oil companies like they’re comic-book villains and the windfall profits tax is just a well-deserved enema that will teach Big Oil to pay its fair share?

In 1977, when Jimmy Carter proposed the first windfall profits tax, he said through those enormous teeth, we “will ask private companies to sacrifice just as private citizens do.” But corporations aren’t normal citizens.

If you tell oil companies that they won’t be able to keep their profits past a certain point, you know what they’ll do? They’ll make money right up until that point and then they’ll stop. Unlike the guy building the better mousetrap, oil companies aren’t in it for the glory, they’re in it for the money. No oilman will go home hungry and wake up like Scrooge on Christmas morning, having repented because of a windfall profits tax.

Now, there will be plenty of punishment doled out, more than at a Belgian S&M club during recess at the European Parliament. But the crack of the windfall whip will land in unintended places. “Corporate sacrifice” means sacrificing share value, jobs and, most of all, reinvestment.

So people dependent on pension funds — union workers, government employees and the like — will be asked to sacrifice some of their retirement income. Jobs dependent on oil and gas extraction would be cut. And, as Schumer explains, money that would otherwise be invested in exploration and improved efficiency will instead be diverted to “alternative” energies that politicians (like Schumer) think are better investments.

No wonder Schumer’s so cocky, given the boffo success of Washington’s “investment” in ethanol, which creates more greenhouse gases than oil does, contributes to deforestation, and is fueling the starvation of millions around the globe.

Meanwhile, less investment in exploration and efficiency will cause pump prices to rise (less supply = higher prices) and, as in the 1980s, cause us to rely on more foreign oil.

But, by all means, let’s do it, because Big Oil is bad and someone — or everyone — has to pay for it.

Now hold on a second, cry the unreasonable-profit confiscators. That analogy is bogus. ExxonMobil isn’t some garage-workshop Horatio Alger. ExxonMobil is a cold and impersonal multinational corporation!

To which I say: Exactly!

So why are Democrats keen on treating oil companies like they’re comic-book villains and the windfall profits tax is just a well-deserved enema that will teach Big Oil to pay its fair share?

In 1977, when Jimmy Carter proposed the first windfall profits tax, he said through those enormous teeth, we “will ask private companies to sacrifice just as private citizens do.” But corporations aren’t normal citizens.

If you tell oil companies that they won’t be able to keep their profits past a certain point, you know what they’ll do? They’ll make money right up until that point and then they’ll stop. Unlike the guy building the better mousetrap, oil companies aren’t in it for the glory, they’re in it for the money. No oilman will go home hungry and wake up like Scrooge on Christmas morning, having repented because of a windfall profits tax.

Now, there will be plenty of punishment doled out, more than at a Belgian S&M club during recess at the European Parliament. But the crack of the windfall whip will land in unintended places. “Corporate sacrifice” means sacrificing share value, jobs and, most of all, reinvestment.

So people dependent on pension funds — union workers, government employees and the like — will be asked to sacrifice some of their retirement income. Jobs dependent on oil and gas extraction would be cut. And, as Schumer explains, money that would otherwise be invested in exploration and improved efficiency will instead be diverted to “alternative” energies that politicians (like Schumer) think are better investments.

No wonder Schumer’s so cocky, given the boffo success of Washington’s “investment” in ethanol, which creates more greenhouse gases than oil does, contributes to deforestation, and is fueling the starvation of millions around the globe.

Meanwhile, less investment in exploration and efficiency will cause pump prices to rise (less supply = higher prices) and, as in the 1980s, cause us to rely on more foreign oil.

But, by all means, let’s do it, because Big Oil is bad and someone — or everyone — has to pay for it.

— Jonah Goldberg is the author of Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning.

 (C) 2008 Tribune Media Services, Inc.
   
   
© National Review Online 2008. All Rights Reserved.



3545  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Chantix is a great drug; don't let the anti-pharma *business* tell yo otherwise on: May 11, 2008, 08:50:45 AM
I really can't believe I am reading this stuff about chantix.  I can't tell you the miracle this drug has been for some patients.  I am telling you some of these anti-pharma people are total crack pots.  They are making lots of money with their anti-pharma agenda.
The truth is in my practice that people who complain of side effects from this drug are almost without exception people who really didn't want to quit to start with.  They are using any excuse, consciously or unconsciously, to say they "can't" quit.  The people who tell me before starting the drug they *really want* to  quit and want to try the drug or anything else that works, do very well with it.   I am saying without any uncertain terms that this guy sidney wolfe, and his like, are doing far more harm then good.  Now I get people who have smoked for decades who are now reluctant to use chantix because of all the negative publicity from these self important big mouth jerks.
Someone should start investigating these prima donnas like Wolfe, like Nissan, like Topol from the Cleveland Clinic.  I guarantee they are getting rich.

http://body.aol.com/condition-center/smoking-cessation/news/article/_a/drug-recommended-to-help-quit-smoking/20080508123709990001
3546  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Israel at 60 on: May 08, 2008, 12:37:33 PM
An email from Human Events.

By the way it is my opinion that BO is no friend of Israel.  I suspect he and Michelle feel like many "Muslim" Blacks and have no love whatsever for Jews let alone Israel.  If he wins in November Israel is on their own IMO.


Israel at 60
by Nile Gardiner
Posted: 05/08/2008
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Few countries in modern times could claim the title “warrior nation”. The United States and Great Britain definitely can, and Israel certainly qualifies for this distinction too. Today is the 60th anniversary of Israel’s founding and a reminder of the heroism of the Israeli people. This tiny nation of just 7 million has fought seven wars and survived in the face of insurmountable odds, international hostility and massive intimidation, a tribute to the strength of the human spirit and the willingness of Israelis to fight to defend their freedom.

Six decades on from its establishment, Israel continues to fight for its very existence, and remains the most persecuted nation in the history of the United Nations. The UN has left no stone unturned in its hounding of Israel, a relentless display of hatred and prejudice that shames the world body. Despite being the freest, most democratic country in the Middle East, Israel is the whipping boy for the UN’s Human Rights Council, a discredited basket case of an organization that boasts some of the world’s worst human rights offenders as members, including China, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Russia and Egypt. Roughly three quarters of the HRC’s resolutions in its first year were aimed at Israel, while brutal dictatorships such as Zimbabwe, North Korea, Burma and Sudan barely merited a mention.

Needless to say, the United Nations has remained silent in the face of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s threats to wipe Israel “off the map”, much as the League of Nations dithered in the shadow of Nazi Germany just two generations ago. Iran’s dictator doesn’t mince his words when referring to Israel, calling it a “filthy entity” that “will sooner or later fall” in a speech this January, as well as “a dirty microbe” and “a savage animal” at a rally in February.
Continued
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There are distinct echoes of the heated discussions in Europe and the United States over the intentions of Adolf Hitler in the mid to late 1930s in today’s debate over Iran. Then as now, there was a constant barrage of calls from political elites on both sides of the Atlantic for direct talks with a totalitarian regime and illusory hopes of reaching out to “moderates” within the government, a general downplaying of the threat level, widespread inaction and hand-wringing, and staggering complacency over levels of defense spending.

The brutal lessons of 20th Century history taught that there can be no negotiation with this sort of brutal dictatorship, and it would be a huge strategic error for the West to do so. There will be endless debate in international policy circles over Tehran’s nuclear intentions, but the essential fact remains that the free world is faced with a fundamentally evil and barbaric regime with a track record of backing international terrorism, repressing its own people, issuing genocidal threats against its neighbors, and of enabling the killing of Allied forces in Iraq.

It is imperative that the United States and Great Britain, Tel Aviv’s two main allies, remain united in defending Israel in the face of Iranian aggression. Iran poses the most significant threat to Israel’s security since its founding, as well as the biggest state-based threat to the West of our generation. As Israeli President Shimon Peres warned earlier this year, “a nuclear armed Iran will be a nightmare for the world.”

As the world’s largest sponsor of international terror, and a dangerous rogue regime hell-bent on acquiring nuclear weapons capability, Iran must be stopped. The Jerusalem Post reported just yesterday that the latest Israeli intelligence assessment is that “the Islamic Republic will master centrifuge technology and be able to begin enriching uranium on a military scale this year. According to the new timeline, Iran could have a nuclear weapon by the middle of next year.” This is several years ahead of the flawed assessment of the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), and gives added urgency to the debate over the Iranian nuclear issue.

Every effort must be made to increase the pressure on Tehran through Security Council and European economic, military and political sanctions, including a ban on investment in Iranian liquefied natural gas operations. In particular, extensive pressure must be applied on Switzerland to halt a $30 billion contract between Zurich-based contractor EGL and the National Iranian Gas Export Company.

At the same time, Washington and London must make preparations for the possible use of force against Iran’s nuclear facilities if the sanctions route fails. In addition, the U.S. and UK must be prepared to retaliate against Iranian aggression in Iraq, with Tehran continuing to wage a proxy war against Coalition and Iraqi forces. As General Petraeus made clear in his recent testimony before Congress, Iran is actively supplying mortars, rockets and explosives to Shiite militia groups in Iraq. It has also been revealed by Coalition spokesmen in the last few days that the elite Quds force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard has been using Hizbollah guerillas to train Iraqi militias at a training camp at Jalil Azad near Tehran. 

As tensions with Iran escalate, and as the stakes are dramatically raised, Britain and the United States should support the admission of Israel into NATO, offering a collective security guarantee in the face of Tehran’s saber-rattling. Israel, which spends nearly 10 percent of its GDP on defense (in contrast to the NATO average of 2.1 percent), would be a major net asset to the Alliance, possessing a first rate army, air force and navy, as well as outstanding intelligence and special forces capability. There is likely to be strong initial opposition to the move by some European countries, including France and Belgium, but it is a debate that NATO should have sooner rather than later. 

The next few years will be a critical time for Israel, as it faces the prospect of the rise of a nuclear Iran that has pledged its destruction. If Israel is to survive another 60 years it is imperative that the West confronts the gathering storm and stands up to the biggest threat to international security since the end of the Cold War.

The United States, Great Britain and their allies must reject the illusory promise of “peace in our time” conjured by advocates of an appeasement approach towards the Mullahs of Iran, and ensure the world does not face a totalitarian Islamist regime armed with nuclear weapons. The freedom that Israel currently enjoys was secured through the sacrifice of her soldiers through several wars in the Middle East, as well as the earlier sacrifice of American and British troops in World War Two. It is the same liberty that we cherish today in the West, freedom that must be fought for and defended.


Nile Gardiner, Ph.D. is the Director of the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, and a Margaret Thatcher Senior Research Fellow at The Heritage Foundation.
 
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Report Abusive PostTo whom is the support of Great Britain and the USA critical too? It seems that there is a consistent one-sided call for support from Israel with very little reciprocation. Modern Israel has played the "Christians must support 'God's Chosen People'" card to the hilt, meanwhile blocking the free-speech rights of Christians in that country. It seems to me that Israel is speaking out of both sides of their mouth on the "God front". They like the support of their "Christian brothers" so long as they don't behave as Christians in their country (and make disciples). I don't see why Christians should be supporting one Godless little Middle Eastern nation over another despite what Pastor Hagee says.
I Art Laughing, The Last Frontier
May 08, 2008 @ 03:24 AM
Report Abusive PostBTW does anyone know exactly when "this generation" has passed? Seems like all of the people from the Golda Meir generation have been dead for at least a decade.
I Art Laughing, The Last Frontier
May 08, 2008 @ 03:27 AM
Report Abusive Postwhy must we support israel? They spy on the U.S.; they blockade our arms shipment to the Palistinans; they ignore the U.N. (unless they want something). They should be classified as part of the axis of evil, as sonny george would say.We are a friend of israel, but they ain't our friend.
Wes, McLean VA
May 08, 2008 @ 04:06 AM
Report Abusive PostArms shipments to the Palestinians? What have you been smoking Wes?
I Art Laughing, The Last Frontier
May 08, 2008 @ 04:10 AM
Report Abusive PostWe should support Israel because the jews are the chosen people and it's a spiritual mandate from God. "He who watches over never lumbers nor sleeps" "he" is God. Do you really want to be on the wrong side of God? I know I'm gonna get heat from the religious haters, but Matthew 5:10. And as far as why we support them politically. It's because they are the only stable democracy in the Middle East. Happy b-day Israel!

3547  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hillary lost because of what she is not because of any campaign on: May 08, 2008, 11:39:09 AM
this whole concept that Hillary could and should win if only she runs the right campaign is wrong.  Hillary lost because of the nature of who she is.  She is a chornic bullshit artist, dishones, selfish to the core as her "skinny" Santa husband.  She lost because she has very high negatives because of who she is and her flawed character - period.

This whole  concept that no matter who she is the American electorate can forever be manipulated to like her is flawed. You can fool some of the people some of the time...

Look - to all Clinton lovers - feminist chicks included - your candidate is dishonest, fraudulent, selfish, narcissistic, and hated by 45% of all Americans forvever.  They have to stop ruining forever American politics.  We have to get back to at least some semblence of character.  Some semblence of honesty and forthrightness.  Bo is trying to come across this way (although I don't believe him either) but he is absolutely right that Americans are craving good, decent honest leaders.  The Clintons are not, have never been, and will never be that.

***By KAREN TUMULTY 50 minutes ago

For all her talk about "full speed on to the White House," there was an unmistakably elegiac tone to Hillary Clinton's primary-night speech in Indianapolis. And if one needed further confirmation that the undaunted, never-say-die Clintons realize their bid might be at an end, all it took was a look at the wistful faces of the husband and the daughter who stood behind the candidate as she talked of all the people she has met in a journey "that has been a blessing for me."
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It was also a journey she had begun with what appeared to be insurmountable advantages, which evaporated one by one as the campaign dragged on far longer than anyone could have anticipated. She made at least five big mistakes, each of which compounded the others:

1. She misjudged the mood
That was probably her biggest blunder. In a cycle that has been all about change, Clinton chose an incumbent's strategy, running on experience, preparedness, inevitability - and the power of the strongest brand name in Democratic politics. It made sense, given who she is and the additional doubts that some voters might have about making a woman Commander in Chief. But in putting her focus on positioning herself to win the general election in November, Clinton completely misread the mood of Democratic-primary voters, who were desperate to turn the page. "Being the consummate Washington insider is not where you want to be in a year when people want change," says Barack Obama's chief strategist, David Axelrod. Clinton's "initial strategic positioning was wrong and kind of played into our hands." But other miscalculations made it worse:

2. She didn't master the rules
Clinton picked people for her team primarily for their loyalty to her, instead of their mastery of the game. That became abundantly clear in a strategy session last year, according to two people who were there. As aides looked over the campaign calendar, chief strategist Mark Penn confidently predicted that an early win in California would put her over the top because she would pick up all the state's 370 delegates. It sounded smart, but as every high school civics student now knows, Penn was wrong: Democrats, unlike the Republicans, apportion their delegates according to vote totals, rather than allowing any state to award them winner-take-all. Sitting nearby, veteran Democratic insider Harold M. Ickes, who had helped write those rules, was horrified - and let Penn know it. "How can it possibly be," Ickes asked, "that the much vaunted chief strategist doesn't understand proportional allocation?" And yet the strategy remained the same, with the campaign making its bet on big-state victories. Even now, it can seem as if they don't get it. Both Bill and Hillary have noted plaintively that if Democrats had the same winner-take-all rules as Republicans, she'd be the nominee. Meanwhile, the Clinton campaign now acknowledges privately:

3. She underestimated the caucus states
While Clinton based her strategy on the big contests, she seemed to virtually overlook states like Minnesota, Nebraska and Kansas, which choose their delegates through caucuses. She had a reason: the Clintons decided, says an adviser, that "caucus states were not really their thing." Her core supporters - women, the elderly, those with blue-collar jobs - were less likely to be able to commit an evening of the week, as the process requires. But it was a little like unilateral disarmament in states worth 12% of the pledged delegates. Indeed, it was in the caucus states that Obama piled up his lead among pledged delegates. "For all the talent and the money they had over there," says Axelrod, "they - bewilderingly - seemed to have little understanding for the caucuses and how important they would become."

By the time Clinton's lieutenants realized the grave nature of their error, they lacked the resources to do anything about it - in part because:

4. She relied on old money
For a decade or more, the Clintons set the standard for political fund-raising in the Democratic Party, and nearly all Bill's old donors had re-upped for Hillary's bid. Her 2006 Senate campaign had raised an astonishing $51.6 million against token opposition, in what everyone assumed was merely a dry run for a far bigger contest. But something had happened to fund-raising that Team Clinton didn't fully grasp: the Internet. Though Clinton's totals from working the shrimp-cocktail circuit remained impressive by every historic measure, her donors were typically big-check writers. And once they had ponied up the $2,300 allowed by law, they were forbidden to give more. The once bottomless Clinton well was drying up.

Obama relied instead on a different model: the 800,000-plus people who had signed up on his website and could continue sending money his way $5, $10 and $50 at a time. (The campaign has raised more than $100 million online, better than half its total.) Meanwhile, the Clintons were forced to tap the $100 million - plus fortune they had acquired since he left the White House - first for $5 million in January to make it to Super Tuesday and then $6.4 million to get her through Indiana and North Carolina. And that reflects one final mistake:

5. She never counted on a long haul
Clinton's strategy had been premised on delivering a knockout blow early. If she could win Iowa, she believed, the race would be over. Clinton spent lavishly there yet finished a disappointing third. What surprised the Obama forces was how long it took her campaign to retool. She fought him to a tie in the Feb. 5 Super Tuesday contests but didn't have any troops in place for the states that followed. Obama, on the other hand, was a train running hard on two or three tracks. Whatever the Chicago headquarters was unveiling to win immediate contests, it always had a separate operation setting up organizations in the states that were next. As far back as Feb. 21, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe was spotted in Raleigh, N.C. He told the News & Observer that the state's primary, then more than 10 weeks away, "could end up being very important in the nomination fight." At the time, the idea seemed laughable.

Now, of course, the question seems not whether Clinton will exit the race but when. She continues to load her schedule with campaign stops, even as calls for her to concede grow louder. But the voice she is listening to now is the one inside her head, explains a longtime aide. Clinton's calculation is as much about history as it is about politics. As the first woman to have come this far, Clinton has told those close to her, she wants people who invested their hopes in her to see that she has given it her best. And then? As she said in Indianapolis, "No matter what happens, I will work for the nominee of the Democratic Party because we must win in November." When the task at hand is healing divisions in the Democratic Party, the loser can have as much influence as the winner. View this article on Time.com***
3548  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Superdelegate for sale on: May 08, 2008, 11:25:38 AM
Well it is no surprise.  "People do it all the time".

How can anyone not be disgusted with our politicians (including corrupt Republicans) when the American people can all be sold down the river?  I guess it was always this way.  Perhaps it is just more obvious now with the dissemination of news and the gross pandering, polls, say anything to anybody that we see on a national scale but it really makes me question why I should think this country is so "great".  I watch a cable program on John Adams, and than, I look at most of the policticians of today and all I can do is get disgusted. 

I don't always agree with his policies but I would step up and say I feel McCain is a hero and more admirable than most.  So he is a "loose cannon" and sometimes speaks in anger.  I do admire him far more than most policticians I can think of.  I guess as the campaign progresses we will learn more about the candidates and if my impression will still hold.  BO ain't no ABe Lincoln that's for sure.  And we all know about the Clintons.  She is no Abigail Adams.  What a laugh - she says her "dream date" would be with Abe Lincoln!  One of the world's most honest human beings to have ever lived with one of the world's biggest damn liars to have ever lived.  Talk about contrast (not likeness) as she would like to have us think.

I get disgusted when she tries to manipulate public opinion with her wardrobe that reminisces of the clothes we see the distinguished fathers/mopthers of our country are wearing as we see it in the old oil paintings.  Like she has one one hundreth the character of any of them.  Am I the only one who is disgusted by this?


***DNC Superdelegate Puts His Vote Up For Sale
Steven Ybarra Wants $20 Million For His Vote
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CBS13) ― In this tight battle for the democratic nomination we've heard a lot about the candidates courting super-delegates.

But, one superdelegate is courting the candidates. He says he'll sell his vote for a price. A very high price: $20 million.

Sacramento superdelegate Steven Ybarra says that eight-figure price is peanuts for the presidency.

When asked whether it was right to offer what is clearly a quid pro quo?

"Yeah, absolutely. People do it all the time," answered Ybarra.

But, not like this. Not in public, and not for such big bucks.

It begs the question. Is he crazy?

"Nobody's said I'm crazy," said Ybarra.

Ybarra wants every cent of the $20 million to go toward registering and educating eligible Mexican-American voters, who he calls the key to the white house.

"And I keep asking the question of the DNC, 'why won't you earmark money for these voters?' And their answer is, 'oh, we can't do that' which is a lie," said Ybarra.

With the Democratic National Committee saying 'no,' Ybarra waits for a 'yes' from already cash-strapped Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.

Would he accept less? How about $5 million?

"No, $5 million is nothing," said Ybarra.

It might be a moot point as neither campaign has come calling.

"No, I think most people right now are looking at this as some crazy guy in California because after all I'm from California," said Ybarra.

He thinks his own party is crazy for not aggressively pursuing the Mexican-American vote especially with such a large Mexican-American population in the southwest.

"We should kick John McCain's a** in his own hometown," said Ybarra.

This superdelegate thinks his vote would be the best 20 million a candidate could ever spend. After all he says, in 2004 John Kerry spent a billion dollars to lose.

(© MMVIII, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.***
3549  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Don't listen to "watch dog" Sidney Wolf; Chantix is a great and safe drug on: May 08, 2008, 10:51:50 AM
Sidney Wolf is a shameless self promoter.  Don't pay any attention to him.  chantix is one of the greatest medicines that has come out in years.  I can't tell you how many patients I have who have been able to quit smoking because of this revolutionary drug.  No it is not perfect but the risks are so overblown.  Don't for one minute think that the holier than thou anti-pharma crowd doesn't make money off their side of the equation.  And this includes some of the narcissistic self promoters at the Cleveland clinic:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080508/ap_on_he_me/smoking_advice;_ylt=AtHFokMug6NoMmLVPfsPJ9us0NUE

Chantix recommended to quit smoking despite safety concerns

By CARLA K. JOHNSON, Associated Press Writer Wed May 7, 11:32 PM ET

CHICAGO - The federal government's new advice to doctors for helping smokers quit recommends the drug Chantix, which has recently been linked with depression and suicidal behavior. The new guidelines mention the psychiatric risks but also say the popular Pfizer Inc. drug is the most effective at helping people get off cigarettes.
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The guidelines mention other options, too, and highly recommend combining counseling and medication. But doctors are encouraged to talk to all smokers who want to quit about trying medication.

Consumer advocates cautioned that the safety picture on Chantix is incomplete because it's a relatively new drug, on the market just since 2006.

"It is somewhat better than other therapies; on the other hand, it appears to have more risk," said Dr. Sidney Wolfe of the watchdog group Public Citizen. "That part of the risk-benefit equation is missing, and it's changing rapidly."

Another issue with the quit-smoking guidelines, released this week by the U.S. Public Health Service, is the lead author's past connections with Pfizer. Dr. Michael Fiore, an expert on smoking and health issues, was a consultant to the maker of Chantix. But he said he cut those ties in 2005.

Fiore's views are shaped by his past ties to the drug industry, and those ties still pose a conflict, at least one consumer advocate said. John Polito, a smoking cessation educator who runs the WhyQuit.com site advocating quitting "cold turkey," called the revised guidelines "a sales pitch" for the drug industry.

The task force overlooked research showing that quitting cold turkey works, Polito said, and studies showing Chantix is superior don't reflect how it's used "in the real world."

"People are quitting smoking to save their lives," Polito said. If Chantix's risks outweigh its benefits, "then it's insane for people to risk their lives" by using it, he said.

The guidelines are based on an extensive review of scientific evidence, were reviewed by 90 independent experts and were endorsed by 60 public health entities, Fiore said, adding that his past financial ties to the drug industry had no influence.

"Independent reviewers of it came to the conclusion that this is a document that reflects the science, and that's what we were charged to do," Fiore said.

The guideline authors analyzed 83 studies and found that Chantix helped 33 percent stay off tobacco for six months after quitting, compared with a nearly 14 percent abstinence rate for dummy pills.

The guidelines recommend combining counseling and medication as the most effective way to kick the tobacco habit, stating "both counseling and medication should be provided to patients trying to quit smoking."

Medications have not been shown to be effective in certain groups, the guidelines say. Those groups include pregnant women, smokeless tobacco users, light smokers and adolescents.

The guidelines say doctors should consider asking about their patients' psychiatric history before prescribing Chantix. Doctors also should monitor patients for changes in mood and behavior while on the drug.

3550  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Rove is incredible IMHO on: May 08, 2008, 10:25:13 AM
***The Democrats' refusal to seat the Florida and Michigan delegations at their convention is an unresolved problem. If they insist on not seating these delegations, Democrats risk alienating voters in states with 44 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House. And here Mr. Obama is at greater risk than Mrs. Clinton, especially in Florida. He trails John McCain badly in Sunshine State polls today, while Mrs. Clinton leads Mr. McCain there***

Obviously Rove is a master at political tactics but I still find statements like this hard to believe.  I agree more with John Fund that in the end most Dems will vote and will vote the party line and will not be alienated enough to not vote or switch.

IMO forget about "alienating".  It ain't gonna happen in the end.

***Mr. McCain is very competitive. He is the best candidate Republicans could have picked in this environment. With the GOP brand low, his appeal to moderates and independents becomes even more crucial.

My analysis of individual state polls shows that today Mr. McCain would win 241 Electoral College votes to Mr. Obama's 217, with 80 votes in toss-up states where neither candidate has more than a 3% lead. Ironically, Mrs. Clinton now leads Mr. McCain with 251 electoral votes to his 203 with 84 in toss-up states. This is the first time she's led Mr. McCain since I began tracking state-by-state results in early March***

Wow. This is ironic.  But that is why I didn't like Rush & Hannity & et al supporting Clinton in all this.  I guess they figured she couldn't really win anyway and strategy would fuel the Democrat party turmoil but I still have concluded that whenever you can knock Clinton out you should.  Never underestimate their ability to keep caying whatever it takes to win over some votes and change the political picture.  Always beat them  every chance you get.

I think she is still the much stornger candidate against McCain than BO.  Why do you think Billary came out and tried to promote a McCain Hillary match up? 
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