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3601  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy, Big Brother (State and Corporate) and the 4th & 9th Amendments on: May 01, 2014, 10:32:05 AM
Government could be even more corrupt than private organizations.  Nothing in this piece surprises me.  I have patients who are Federal employees who have told me stories.

I have witnessed cover-ups first hand at the Copyright Office.

Very few watchdogs exist and from what I see they are up against people who may know more but fear for their jobs and will "sacrifice" or "get involved" to become a whistleblower,  massive backscratching among managers, bribery,  and agency lawyers who are more concerned about covering up the agencies problems for reputational reasons then rooting out illegal/unethical activity.

3602  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Here it comes: "Save the political system" on: May 01, 2014, 10:23:15 AM
By making voting mandatory!
Voting is a right and a privilege.  Not a taxable offense if you don't vote.   First the comparison to jury duty is not equivalent.  People are screened before sitting on a jury.
Second, can anyone imagine the fraud if we all start voting from smartphones and other gadgets?  Third there is NO question this about progressives getting more of people who are big government advocates to dish them more money to vote.   All this will do is increase the centralization of power even more.  This will not fix the "system".  It will result in even more of our rights being taken away.   Fourth micro-targeting will not go away as suggested.   The battle for ideas will not go away.  Manipulating voters views will not go away.  Indeed it will likely and inevitably serve to have more ignorant people vote on emotional issues or whoever promises the most benefits to them.
Fifth, what if some people simply do not want to vote?  Now they commit a criminal offense?  This is purely a big moneyed Democrat trying to con us to coercing more Democrat votes.    (Didn't the napster punk steal the idea from someone else?)   These silicon guys may or may not be great business people but some still seem like punks to me.

The time should never come for this:   

****The time has come to make you vote

By Matt Bai 6 hours ago Yahoo News

Voting booths are set up in Waterloo, Iowa. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Word is that Sean Parker, the 34-year-old Web visionary who built Napster and then helped grow Facebook, is the latest billionaire with an idea to save the political system, or at least a lot of money in search of an idea to save the political system. Parker and other investors are said to be planning a startup aimed at organizing disaffected voters. They've hired some well-connected Washington consultants, because that's what you do when you really want to stick it to the status quo.

This isn't new space, exactly. A few years ago, some moderate operatives in both parties got together and started something called "No Labels," which sends a lot of admonishing petitions to Congress about partisanship and which has the backing of politicians who like to expound on the ugliness of our politics but don't actually want to do anything too controversial.

The truth is that incivility is more a symptom than a sickness; the root cause of our problem is the antiquated system by which we choose our leaders. And if Parker and his high-tech friends really want to "disrupt" our political stalemate in the way they disrupted record labels, then they should consider something more drastic than urging people to get involved. Maybe it's time we coerced them.

Let's first consider the situation in which we find ourselves. Once again this year, the two parties that dominate our politics will conduct parallel campaigns aimed at two distinct subsets of Americans, rather than engaging in any actual debate. One side will scream about liberal overreach and the other will scream about conservative greed and bigotry, and whoever arouses the most passion in their most reliable voters (generally the party out of power at the moment) will probably win.

It wasn't like this when we were a nation that joined and trusted institutions, including political parties. But now that fewer and fewer Americans feel compelled to support their local parties or even register as affiliated, primaries are dominated by an ever dwindling number of hardcore activists, and they're deciding options for the rest of us. And since more than half of voting-age Americans will find those options so uninspiring that they would rather stay home than vote this November, the vast majority of time and money on both sides will be focused on motivating voters who already agree with them.

There are some promising reform ideas out there. Californians have had some success with nonpartisan elections, which bypass the traditional primary system. There's a lot of talk about curtailing all the outside money flowing into campaigns, too – though the Supreme Court is unlikely to cooperate. Taking the responsibility for redistricting away from politicians is a no-brainer for everyone but the parties themselves, which continue to resist it.

But I recently heard a more radical argument from my friend Jonathan Cowan, who runs Third Way, the centrist Democratic think tank. Cowan has been kicking around the idea of compulsory voting – or, in other words, a government mandate just like the one that now forces you to buy health care insurance, except it would require everybody to vote.   

I first heard a version of this argument back in 2008, when I gave a series of talks in Australia. The Australians have compulsory voting and they're quite proud of themselves for it, and some of their politicians had fun engaging me in a spirited debate about whose democracy was really more of a model for the world, since they could boast 100 percent voter participation in every election.

The concept struck me then as essentially un-American. After all, as I argued to my Australian friends, part of being a free country is having the freedom to abstain. And anyway, as I rudely pointed out, a country whose Parliament can technically be dissolved by the British queen can hardly go around calling itself a democracy, much less a perfect one.

But Cowan makes a compelling case that compulsory voting in federal elections would actually be the most elegant way to revitalize our democracy overnight, without having to chase a series of piecemeal reforms in dozens of legislatures. Think about it: If voter participation suddenly went from, say, 40 percent in an off-year election to 95 percent (assuming there will always be some slackers and protesters who defy the law and risk the penalty), then the modern industry of voter turnout operations would magically go away.

No more arcane microtargeting and database wizardry. No more overwrought direct mail playing to the most irrational fears of gun owners or xenophobes. No more "base elections" where the only message is that the other guy is a Satan worshipper who will call forth the horsemen of the apocalypse if you let him win.

Suddenly candidates would have to think about ideas again – about how to persuade all of these skeptical, unaffiliated voters that they actually have a plan to govern. The parties would almost certainly open their primaries to independents, if not move entirely to nonpartisan elections, because it would be the only way to make sure their nominees had broad enough appeal to win. Candidates would have to be more responsive to the broad electorate than to the tiny number of wealthy contributors who currently help them get out the vote.

You'd have to decide, of course, whether to tax people who refuse to vote or whether to treat it as a criminal offense, like refusing to register for the draft. (Probably the former, practically speaking.) You'd have to make sure voters could still come to the polls and formally abstain, so there's no violation of free speech. And you'd have to make it a lot easier to vote than it is now, which means extending the voting period well beyond a single day and letting people e-vote from home.

(And before all you professors send me mail again telling me how the Internet can't even protect your credit card, much less protect your vote from Chinese hackers, let me just say: Yes, I know, online voting can never be as failsafe as, say, the days when we trusted some guy in Chicago to count up a box full of paper ballots and take them in his trunk to the county office. But I think we can figure it out.)

You could argue that Parker and his fellow investors would be wasting their time to campaign for something so hard to achieve. It's not entirely clear to scholars who've looked at the issue whether you could impose compulsory voting by statute, which would be pretty hard to do, or whether the Supreme Court would ultimately require a constitutional amendment, which might be nearly impossible.

But there's a value to starting a national conversation about ways to modernize the electoral system, which is long past due. And it's hard to imagine that even Silicon Valley's brightest minds can build a real movement of unaffiliated voters without having at least one big, serious proposal to rally them around.

Is compulsory voting un-American? No more so, now that I think about it, than making people serve on juries for their own civic good – which everyone complains about but no one really resents. I find the argument persuasive, which is more than you can say for our campaigns
3603  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: May 01, 2014, 08:54:21 AM
Wesbury will talk down the deterioration of growth and say it is at least not yet anything to woryy about but something just to keep an eye on.  He will then spew his usual rant about how the economy is hunky dory, etc. 

3604  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Benghazi and related matters on: May 01, 2014, 08:52:16 AM
Yep.  This is clearly a bigger scandal than Watergate ever was.   Only difference is that now it is *their* guy, so the MSM refuses to do anything about it.

Yet we here over and over again about Sterling's private conversations that were illegally taped and released to the media.  It is really terrible how the NBA players are treated isn't it?  tongue
3605  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Charen on Race "preferences" on: April 29, 2014, 08:00:41 PM

What Race Preferences Hide

Mona Charen
By Mona Charen April 25, 2014 3:00 AM
Sonia Sotomayor is a wonderful role model. Truly. Through hard work, brains and rare self-discipline at an early age, she was able to overcome poverty and family dysfunction to become what she is today. She was diagnosed at the age of 7 with Type 1 diabetes, and because her father was an alcoholic and her mother a full-time nurse, it fell to her to manage the daily insulin injections and testing that are part of the required treatment. The image, in her memoir, of a small girl dragging a chair to the stove so she could sterilize her syringes before school is poignant indeed.

Any person attempting to overcome hardship can look to Sotomayor for inspiration. But as she demonstrated in her long, impassioned dissent in the case of Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, the experience of benefiting from race preferences has left her prickly and defensive on the subject. As others, including her Supreme Court colleague Justice Clarence Thomas, have argued, that kind of gnawing insecurity is one of the consequences of preferences. Others are never sure if you've achieved your position entirely on merit, and neither are you.

Sotomayor's argument rests entirely on a fallacy — that lowering admission standards for certain minority applicants is the only possible response to concerns about racial and ethnic disparities in American life. "Race matters," she scolded again and again in her dissent. Actually, she went further and argued that a Michigan constitutional amendment that explicitly forbids racial discrimination amounts to racial discrimination.

The contention that white, Asian and other students should be disadvantaged because of discrimination against blacks that ceased decades before they were born is facially unjust. Under the regime of preferences, the white child of a poor waitress from Scranton, Pennsylvania, who would be the first person in her family to ever attend college, will have to get SAT scores about 300 points higher (depending upon the school) than the black daughter of a dermatologist from Beverly Hills, California. An Asian student would have to score even higher, because that minority is, according to those who insist on counting by race, "overrepresented."

Admissions officers at selective schools pretend they are offering opportunity to "underserved" minorities, but in reality, they are simply lowering standards for already-privileged students with the preferred skin tone. Ninety-two percent of blacks at elite colleges are from the top half of the income distribution. A study a decade ago at Harvard Law School found that only a third of students had four African-American grandparents. Another third were from interracial families. The rest were children of recent immigrants from Africa or the West Indies.

Should mixed-race students get half a preference? Should their scores be 50 percent higher than students with two black parents? These are the kinds of absurdities our current system presents.

Racial and ethnic preferences are unjust — reason enough to abandon them — but there are other reasons as well. They serve to perpetuate, rather than combat, racial stereotypes. They encourage gaming the system (as when Elizabeth Warren claimed to be Native American). They permit students from certain groups to coast in high school knowing they will get an automatic golden ticket to college. They encourage intergroup resentment. They result in what Stuart Taylor Jr. and Richard Sander have rightly called "mismatching" students — so that all but the very top minority students wind up attending schools that are a little out of their league. This, in turn, causes more minority students to abandon demanding majors like science and technology (so necessary for the economy's flourishing), and to drop out in numbers far higher than other students. Black students are about a third more likely than similarly qualified other students to start college, but less likely to finish.

When California outlawed racial preferences in 1996, preference advocates predicted apocalyptic consequences. Instead, as Taylor and Sander reported, "Black and Hispanic students improved their academic performance, stuck more successfully to (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) majors, and graduated at stunningly improved rates."

Dropping preferences is not harmful to minority students; it's beneficial. It should not be the end of the story, though. The gap in achievement between some minority groups and others can and should be addressed. Contra Sotomayor, it's not so much that "race matters" as that schools matter. The shame of the nation is that poor children continue to be so trapped in terrible schools. That is the disgrace that race counters cloak.

To find out more about Mona Charen and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at

3606  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: April 29, 2014, 08:00:25 AM
"Perez said construction began without checking water availability and now a dam would have to be dug to make the project viable."

We here of government project over runs here too.  I don't know the statistics but we here all the time of defense cost "overruns" on basically every single project.

Stadiums always cost more to build then "projected".  I don't understand why we don't have contracts that limit the amount available and the entity that accepts the contract must meet those limits.  Or they borrow money privately and then pay the overdrawn balance back.
3607  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Off the Drudgereport on: April 29, 2014, 07:54:29 AM
I don't often post off of Drudge because I figure we all can see it easily but I think this video highlights the crucial problem facing "America" today.   It shows quite clearly the wrapped hatred of the liberals for our country and how they love to foster hatred, anger, jealousy, envy, racism, and the blame someone else game to garner support for more centralized governmental power.   This is the central issue we face in America IMHO.   Who is going to win this debate.  Unfortunately, as long as big gov keeps buying votes 40% will not even listen to the debate.  They won't care.  They just want subsidies paid for by others.  ("The rich")  Always the "rich".

The closest people able to respond to the socialist view are some talk show hosts and a few others like VDH etc.  I still have not heard one well known politician deal with this effectively.  We have no  mouth piece in politics.   No one represents many of us.   I liked Santorum's points on the 2016 Presidential thread that I posted a few days ago.
3608  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: April 29, 2014, 07:46:26 AM
Yes this is unbelievable.    cry   To think some of these idiots vote.   Of course 40% will always vote for the government to continue handing them more and blame someone else for their woes. 

These people interviewed appear to be born American.  At least they don't have any foreign accents.   I've heard years ago that immigrants used to be more up to date on our history than many born here. 

I don't think that is even remotely true now in the sense that the people coming here are much less of European ancestry and from countries with less in common than Europe had with us.

They are much more expectant of government subsidies today.   

3609  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: April 28, 2014, 08:31:06 PM
One can notice that there is a pattern change around 10Am to trading though it could go up or down, but something does happen 1/2 hour in.

3610  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: April 27, 2014, 07:32:37 PM
Good article by DVH on Harry Reid.

I recently read somewhere about the fortunes of past Presidents.  Many in the 19th century died with nothing or very little.  Unlike politicians of today who get wealthy either while in office or by selling their connections later.   Their families all seem to cash in too.
3611  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / breaking law; no problem because it is politically correct on: April 27, 2014, 10:32:09 AM
With regards to the LA Clippers owner's reported "racist rant" that I understand was intended to be a private conversation between him and his girlfriend I see California is a "two party" state.  We have no information who taped this conversation or released it.  He did not post it online.  Perhaps he said it at a public game but he expected this to be a private conversation.  Even if his girlfriend was the one who taped it, in Kalifornicata both parties have to be privy thus he could sue and it violates state law as well:

*****Recording Phone Calls and Conversations
If you plan to record telephone calls or in-person conversations (including by recording video that captures sound), you should be aware that there are federal and state wiretapping laws that may limit your ability to do so. These laws not only expose you to the risk of criminal prosecution, but also potentially give an injured party a civil claim for money damages against you.

From a legal standpoint, the most important question in the recording context is whether you must get consent from one or all of the parties to a phone call or conversation before recording it. Federal law and many state wiretapping statutes permit recording if one party (including you) to the phone call or conversation consents. Other states require that all parties to the communication consent.

Unfortunately, it is not always easy to tell which law applies to a communication, especially a phone call. For example, if you and the person you are recording are in different states, then it is difficult to say in advance whether federal or state law applies, and if state law applies which of the two (or more) relevant state laws will control the situation. Therefore, if you record a phone call with participants in more than one state, it is best to play it safe and get the consent of all parties. However, when you and the person you are recording are both located in the same state, then you can rely with greater certainty on the law of that state. In some states, this will mean that you can record with the consent of one party to the communication. In others, you will still need to get everyone's consent. For details on the wiretapping laws in the fifteen most populous U.S. states and the District of Columbia, see the State Law: Recording section. In any event, it never hurts to play it safe and get the consent of all parties to a phone call or conversation that you intend to record.

Who must give permission to record a telephone or in-person conversation?

Federal law permits recording telephone calls and in-person conversations with the consent of at least one of the parties. See 18 U.S.C. 2511(2)(d). This is called a "one-party consent" law. Under a one-party consent law, you can record a phone call or conversation so long as you are a party to the conversation. Furthermore, if you are not a party to the conversation, a "one-party consent" law will allow you to record the conversation or phone call so long as your source consents and has full knowledge that the communication will be recorded.

In addition to federal law, thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia have adopted "one-party consent" laws and permit individuals to record phone calls and conversations to which they are a party or when one party to the communication consents. See the State Law: Recording section of this legal guide for information on state wiretapping laws.

When must you get permission from everyone involved before recording?

Eleven states require the consent of every party to a phone call or conversation in order to make the recording lawful. These "two-party consent" laws have been adopted in California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Washington (Hawai'i is also in general a one-party state, but requires two-party consent if the recording device is installed in a private place). Although they are referred to as "two-party consent" laws, consent must be obtained from every party to a phone call or conversation if it involves more than two people.  In some of these states, it might be enough if all parties to the call or conversation know that you are recording and proceed with the communication anyway, even if they do not voice explicit consent. See the State Law: Recording section of this legal guide for information on specific states' wiretapping laws.

Can you record a phone call or conversation when you do not have consent from one of the parties?

Regardless of whether state or federal law governs the situation, it is almost always illegal to record a phone call or private conversation to which you are not a party, do not have consent from at least one party, and could not naturally overhear. In addition, federal and many state laws do not permit you to surreptitiously place a bug or recording device on a person or telephone, in a home, office or restaurant to secretly record a conversation between two people who have not consented.

Federal law and most state statutes also make disclosing the contents of an illegally intercepted telephone call illegal. See the section on Risks Associated with Publication in this guide for more information.

What if you are recording the activities of the police or other government officials in public?

Special considerations apply when recording police officers or other public officials.  You may have a constitutional right to openly record the activities of police and other officials in public, so long as you do not interfere with those activities or violate generally applicable laws.  For more information, see the section on Recording Police Officers and Public Officials.
3612  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Morris on: April 27, 2014, 09:51:38 AM
Brace For ObamaCare

By Dick Morris on April 23, 2014
Published on on April 22, 2014

ObamaCare has signed up 8 million people. Democrats are breathing a sigh of relief, but their trials have only just begun.

Now a large swath of America will experience firsthand the shortages of doctors, the limited access to hospitals, the high deductibles, the large co-pays, the significant co-insurance requirements and the long delays in care that will accompany Obama-Care’s implementation. These Americans will see, firsthand, what government-run medicine is like. And the rest of the electorate will have a front-row seat from which to watch the debacle.

The fundamental problem facing ObamaCare is the same as it was when the misbegotten program was launched: You cannot expand the number of patients without expanding the number of doctors. If you try, as the Affordable Care Act does, you will have long waits to see doctors, big increases in costs and unsatisfactory patient outcomes.

The increases in cost that we are now seeing in the healthcare sector come, of course, from an increase in demand with no commensurate rise in the supply. These price hikes will trigger the most deeply disturbing — and controversial — of ObamaCare’s provisions, the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).

Appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate, this 15-member board will be charged with requiring alterations in Medicare practice to hold down costs sufficiently to cut program spending by $500 billion over the next decade. The formulae it develops will, undoubtedly, be adopted by states seeking to contain Medicaid costs and by private insurance firms.

The IPAB has not yet come into existence because the rate of medical inflation has not required it. But now, with prices rising, it will become central.

Each January, the IPAB will issue a cost-reduction plan. It will proscribe the use of certain high-cost medicines, limit access to diagnostic tests and condition approval of certain surgeries and treatments based on the number of “quality-adjusted life years” left to each patient, all to bring Medicare costs into line.

Congress may override the IPAB recommendations by a three-fifths vote of each House. Otherwise, they automatically take effect by Aug. 15.

Each year, the administration will face a bruising fight over the IPAB recommendations. Patients will protest, and doctors will warn of bad outcomes. Sarah Palin’s “death panel” will begin its reign.

At the local level, cancer patients will find that the nearest and the best hospitals won’t take them. Pharmacies won’t fill their prescriptions. Doctors will turn away patients. As the ObamaCare bureaucracy struggles with the rising costs it caused, it will ration access to medicines, hospitals, surgeries and elective procedures for all in its reach.

Meanwhile, all Americans under the age of 65 who are not on Medicaid — both those on ObamaCare and covered by private plans — will find huge premium increases throughout the remainder of 2014 and during 2015. Deductibles will skyrocket. Stories of the financial hardship of paying the new premiums will abound.

And the cancellations will continue. Small employers will shut down their policies rather than accept the new higher premiums, and their workers will have to fend for themselves in the high-cost ObamaCare market. Those insured by large companies will see big increases in premiums and deductibles. And employees will continue to see a reduction in their weekly work hours as their bosses squirm and maneuver to limit ObamaCare’s universal coverage mandate.

Meanwhile, many of the 8 million enrollees will not pay up, eroding the program, and those who go without health insurance will hate every penny of the fine Obama will impose on them — or, they just won’t pay it.

For those who feel the political damage of ObamaCare is behind them, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

View my most recent videos in case you missed them!
3613  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Ulysses S. Grant: A "controlled" alcoholic? on: April 26, 2014, 08:14:38 PM

Ulysses S. Grant's Lifelong Struggle With Alcohol
Originally published by America's Civil War magazine.  Published Online: June 12, 2006 

Despite Ulysses Simpson Grant's stature as one of the leading figures in American history, many mysteries remain about the man.1 Throughout his lengthy career Grant battled accusations that he was overly fond of the bottle, but did his alleged excessive drinking make him an alcoholic? For that matter, did he really drink that much more that the average man of the nineteenth century?

There was some precedent for alcohol abuse in Grant's family. Noah Grant, Ulysses' paternal grandfather, who came from a prominent New England family and had served in the Continental Army throughout the Revolutionary War, turned to alcohol after the death of his first wife. His alcohol consumption became so uncontrollable that it led to his financial ruin and premature death. Noah Grant's addiction became so bad that after the death of his second wife he abandoned his son, Jesse.2

Because of Noah's failure, Jesse Grant was forced at a very young age to make his way in the world alone, toiling as a laborer on local farms until he eventually found work at the home of Ohio Supreme Court Justice George Tod.3 His exposure to Tod's lifestyle and his memories of his father's destructive alcoholism bred in Jesse a fierce determination to succeed in life.4 At age sixteen, Jesse apprenticed himself to a tanner to learn a trade and soon began a business of his own. Eventually, through hard work and good business sense, Jesse became successful, and married Hannah Simpson in 1821. On April 27, 1822, not long after the couple settled in Ohio, their first son, Ulysses, was born.5 Even with continued business success and the birth of four more children, Jesse and Hannah Grant remained dedicated to the ideal of earnest labor and education. Both were stern and intolerant of those who were not willing to work hard and stay sober.6

Driven by his belief in hard work and desire to see his son succeed–and no doubt impressed with the austerity of a military education–Jesse Grant procured an appointment to the United States Military Academy for Ulysses. At West Point, Grant received passing grades but did not revel in the Spartan military lifestyle. Like many other young cadets, Grant became exposed to alcohol, but there is no evidence that he overindulged during his time there.7

In early nineteenth-century America alcohol consumption was an accepted facet of everyday life. Many Americans consumed liquor because they believed it was nutritious, stimulated digestion, and relaxed the nerves. Liquor was also consumed to help wash down food that was often poorly cooked, greasy, salty, and sometimes even rancid.8 By 1830, the annual per capita consumption of alcohol by Americans had climbed to more than five gallons.9 The small, professional army that Grant joined as a second lieutenant after his graduation in 1843 mirrored this widespread societal use of alcohol.

After graduation Grant was assigned to the Fourth Infantry Regiment at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, outside St. Louis. While there, he had an opportunity to become familiar with the family of his West Point roommate, Frederick Dent. During one of his visits to the Dents, Grant met Frederick's sister Julia. A relationship soon developed between Ulysses and Julia, with Grant spending as much time as possible with the young lady. These visits frequently caused Grant to be late for dinner at the post's officers' mess. Interestingly, the fine for being late to dinner was one bottle of wine.

The presiding officer for the mess was Captain Robert Buchanan, a rigid disciplinarian who enforced the rules with a stiff impartiality. The fourth time Grant was late returning to the post, Buchanan informed him that he would again be fined the requisite bottle of wine. Grant, who had already purchased three bottles of wine for the mess, had some words with Buchanan concerning the fine and refused to pay. This trivial confrontation was the beginning of a long-running feud between the two.10

Grant received a reprieve from his unpaid mess bills when rising tensions with Mexico caused his regiment to be transferred to Texas. The Fourth Infantry became involved in military operations against Mexico in 1846 and became one of the most heavily engaged regiments of the war.11 Even so, the regiment also experienced all of the boredom, inactivity, and drinking that was a feature of any army on campaign. It was during such lulls that Grant was known to drink with his peers.12 However, these episodes were confined to moments of boredom and monotony and were common among many of his fellow officers. Grant emerged from the Mexican War with two brevet promotions, a solid reputation, and a bright future.

Following the war and a brief period of occupation duty in Mexico, Grant returned to St. Louis and married Julia on August 22, 1848.13 After his honeymoon, Grant began his Regular Army duties. His first posting was to the isolated garrison at Sackets Harbor, New York, where Grant learned garrison duty was a far cry from his adventures in Mexico. While at Sackets Harbor, he was one of many officers who coped with the inactivity of peacetime by cycles of frequent drinking. Worried about his increasingly heavy drinking, Grant joined the Sons of Temperance in the winter of 1851 and became an active participant in the temperance movement. During the remainder of his stay at Sackets Harbor, his involvement with the Sons of Temperance seemed to alleviate the urge to drink.14

Grant's next post, Detroit, Michigan, took him away from the moral support of the Sons of Temperance and reintroduced him to the heavy drinking that was a feature of army life. Grant soon began to confront accusations that he drank too heavily. One of these accusations arose when he brought charges against Zachariah Chandler, a local storekeeper. Like most merchants, Chandler was often too busy minding his store to take the time to clear the ice from the sidewalk. One night, while passing in front of Chandler's home, Grant slipped and fell on the ice and injured his leg. He angrily filed a civil complaint against the storekeeper. During the subsequent court case, Chandler said in reference to Grant, 'If you soldiers would keep sober, perhaps you would not fall on people's pavement and hurt your legs.'15 Grant won his complaint, but the case grabbed the attention of the military community in St. Louis and only fed rumors among the officers that Ulysses S. Grant was overly fond of the bottle.

In the spring of 1852 Grant's regiment was ordered to Fort Vancouver, Oregon. After leaving Julia and his children with his in-laws in Missouri, Grant traveled to New York City for transport to Panama via the steamship Ohio.

Grant, then serving as the Fourth's quartermaster and responsible for many of the logistic matters that were involved in transporting an infantry regiment, shared quarters with J. Finley Schenck, the captain of Ohio. Schenck later said that Grant was a diligent worker and would continue to conduct his duties after Schenck had gone to bed. The captain remembered that Grant would come in and out of the cabin throughout the evening to drink from whiskey bottles kept in the liquor cabinet.16 This pattern continued until Ohio arrived in Panama. However, from the time of his coming ashore in Panama to his arrival at Fort Vancouver, Grant was kept so busy with his military responsibilities that he had no time to be idle, and there were no further problems with drinking reported.

Not long after arriving at Fort Vancouver, however, Grant began to battle the boredom and loneliness that came with prolonged separation from his family. Like other officers at the post, Grant turned to the bottle to help pass the time, and many men stationed at the fort later recalled seeing him drink.

Unfortunately for Grant, his small stature and frame ensured that he would start to show the ill effects of alcohol after only a few drinks. Grant's reputation was further tarnished because he had a tendency to be intoxicated in front of the wrong people. One of those who witnessed his drinking while at Fort Vancouver was future general George B. McClellan. Becoming intoxicated in the presence of officers like McClellan, considered to be among the Army's best and brightest, spread the question of Grant's drinking habits to increasingly important people within the Army.17

In September 1853 Grant was transferred to Fort Humboldt, California, to fill the captaincy of the Fourth Infantry's Company F.18 He was to find the fort more foreboding than any other post he was assigned to during his pre-Civil War career. Since the fort was located in an isolated area of northern California, Grant's military life became slow, tedious, and monotonous. He watched his subordinates do most of the routine work and the Indians in the area remained peaceful. Things were so boring that Grant spent much of his time at Ryan's Store, a local trading post that served liquor.19

The time that Grant passed at Ryan's did not go unnoticed by Fort Humboldt's commander, Lt. Col. Robert Buchanan. This was the same Robert Buchanan with whom Grant had argued at Jefferson Barracks many years previously. Buchanan still harbored a strong dislike for Grant. He used his position as the post commander to make life unbearable for the captain and helped spread rumors that Grant was intemperate.20

Made miserable by Buchanan and missing his family, Grant began to consider resigning his commission. One night he imbibed more than usual, and when he reported for duty the next day, he appeared to still be intoxicated. Buchanan became furious and put Grant on report for drunkenness while on duty, instructing him to draft a letter of resignation and to keep it in a safe place. After a similar instance of late-night drinking a short time later, Buchanan requested that Grant sign the letter of resignation he had drafted earlier or he would be charged with drunkenness while on duty.21

Facing a court-martial, Grant decided that it was time to resign. On April 11, 1854, he sent his signed letter of resignation to the secretary of war.22 Grant had served in the Army for fifteen years, performed well, and gained valuable experience. During those fifteen years, he had occasionally indulged in periods of drinking, but these generally had been confined to social occasions or when he had little to occupy his time and was separated from his family. There is no indication that prior to his resignation Grant drank more than was typical for a man of the time. Unfortunately, Grant incautiously allowed others to see him when inebriated, and he left the Army with a reputation as a heavy drinker.

With Colonel Buchanan, Fort Humboldt, and his army career now behind him, Grant turned his attention to farming. For three years he tried to make a living from the land before giving up in 1858. After the failure of the farm, he unsuccessfully attempted a number of jobs, and was eventually forced to return to his father's home and work in the family tanning shop in Galena, Illinois.23

Despite such disappointments, Grant was content. Reunited with Julia and busy with the demands of supporting his family, he had neither the time nor the inclination to drink and was able to lead a sober life.

After the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, the former army officer proffered his services to the recently appointed commander of Ohio's militia, Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan. When he did not get a response from McClellan, who no doubt remembered Grant from Fort Vancouver, Grant offered his services to Brig. Gen. Nathaniel Lyon in St. Louis. Again, he received no response.24 Evidently, Grant was haunted by his reputation as a drunk.

Frustrated, Grant returned to Galena to help process paperwork and muster local volunteers into service. Although he had hoped for a regimental command, this time spent mustering in raw recruits was important–it brought him to the attention of Congressman Elihu B. Washburne. Realizing his capability as a soldier and organizer, Washburne persuaded Illinois Governor Richard Yates to appoint Grant colonel of the Twenty-first Illinois Infantry Regiment. The Twenty-first had been a problem regiment, but Grant quickly brought discipline to the unit and turned it into an effective fighting force. Having proven his ability as a colonel, Grant was promoted to brigadier general in July 1861.25

Grant then went to see Maj. Gen. John C. Fremont, commander of the Army's Western Department, hoping to obtain a command in Missouri. Most members of Fremont's staff wanted him to ignore Grant, but Major Justice McKinsty, Fremont's aide, argued on Grant's behalf. Grant got the position, and it proved to be the break he needed. He rapidly moved through a series of departmental commands, and in early 1862 led the Tennessee expedition that forced the capitulation of Forts Henry and Donelson, vital Southern strongholds on the Tennessee River.26

While his victories at Henry and Donelson earned Grant higher command, they also carried the accusations of his drinking to a wider audience. Reporters and officers jealous of Grant's fast rise, as well as disillusioned civilians, used the perception of Grant as a drunkard in an attempt to explain the horrific losses suffered at the Battle of Shiloh in April 1862.

Shocked by the casualties of what up to that point was the war's bloodiest battle, many newspaper reporters wrote articles critical of Grant's command. These criticisms fed the rumors that Grant, who many believed had been forced from the Army because of his love of the bottle, had been caught drunk and off guard by Confederate General Albert Sydney Johnston's surprise attack.

The losses suffered by both sides at Shiloh had more to do with the nature of nineteenth-century warfare than the nature of Grant's relationship with liquor, but rumors of his affection for spirits now became generally accepted. Those who were jealous of Grant's success helped spread the rumors. While it was true that Grant had begun to drink again after avoiding alcohol in the years before the start of the war, there are no reported incidents of him drinking excessively prior to the start of the Vicksburg campaign in late 1862. Major John Rawlins, a close member of Grant's personal staff who took it upon himself to keep Grant temperate, went to great lengths to defend Grant against accusations that he had been drinking during the battle.

Despite the persistent rumors of his Shiloh drunkeness, Grant pressed on. In November 1862 he began his campaign to capture the Mississippi River port of Vicksburg, the key to Southern control of the river. Unable to quickly defeat the Confederate forces, by May 1863 Grant had been forced to begin a protracted siege of the city. It was during this lengthy siege, and while he was again separated from his family for a prolonged period of time, that the most well-documented instances of Grant's drinking took place.

The first occurred on May 12, 1863. Sylvanus Cadwallader, a newspaper reporter who had attached himself to Grant's staff and was following the progress of the campaign, was sitting in the tent of Colonel William Duff, Grant's chief of artillery, carrying on a casual conversation. Suddenly, Grant stepped in. Duff pulled out a cup, dipped it into a barrel that he had stored in his tent, and handed the cup to Grant. Grant drank the contents and promptly handed the cup back to Duff. This procedure was repeated two more times, and Grant left the tent. Cadwallader then learned that the barrel contained whiskey. Duff had been ordered by Grant to keep the barrel handy for his exclusive use.27

Less than a month later, Cadwallader recounted the most infamous tale of Grant's drinking during the war. It began on June 3 during an inspection tour to Satartia, Mississippi, on the Yazoo River. The siege was agonizingly slow, and Grant had been separated from Julia since April. To alleviate his boredom, he had decided to travel up the Yazoo. During his trip, Grant encountered the steamboat Diligence carrying Cadwallader downriver from Satartia. Grant decided to board Diligence, and according to Cadwallader: 'I was not long in perceiving that Grant had been drinking heavily, and that he was still keeping it up. He made several trips to the bar room of the boat in a short time, and became stupid in speech and staggering in gait. This was the first time he had shown symptoms of intoxication in my presence, and I was greatly alarmed by his condition, which was fast becoming worse.'28 For the next two days, Cadwallader tried unsuccessfully to stop Grant from drinking and did his best to keep him from trouble. By the time Grant finally arrived back at his headquarters, he had sobered up.29

The final incident occurred in July after the surrender of Vicksburg when Grant traveled to New Orleans to discuss operations with Maj. Gen. Nathaniel Banks. On September 4, Grant, Banks, and their respective staffs rode out to review the troops stationed in New Orleans. Banks had given Grant a large, untamed charger as a gift, and Grant elected to take the horse on the inspection. The animal proved very spirited, and following the inspection Grant had the horse moving at a fast gallop on the return trip into the city when the horse lost its footing and fell, severely injuring the general. Almost from the moment that the unfortunate beast slipped, rumors began circulating that the general had been drunk during the ride. However, there was never any evidence to prove that an intoxicated Grant caused the horse to fall.30

From the New Orleans incident until the end of the war in April 1865, there are no stories of Grant's drinking to excess. Rumors of alcohol abuse continued to hound him, but no evidence suggests that Grant ever repeated his bender of June 1863.

While the severity of Grant's drinking problem was clearly magnified by rumor, it does seem clear from his drinking that Grant had inherited some of his grandfather's fondness for the bottle. Yet, unlike his grandfather, Grant was largely able to control his drinking thanks to the help of people close to him and his own willpower and sense of duty.

Grant seemed to experience his greatest temptation to drink during long periods of inactivity or when he was away from his family. When he became commanding general of the Army, he was able to bring Julia and his oldest son to his headquarters. Julia had always been Grant's strongest supporter in his battle with alcohol, and with her present, Grant stayed sober.

By today's standards, Grant could be considered an alcoholic, but he was able to control his addiction. As Grant biographer Geoffrey Perret explained: 'The entire staff, as well as most of Grant's division and corps commanders, was well aware of his drinking problem. [Brig. Gen. John A.] McClernand tried to make capital out of it and one or two other officers expressed their disgust at Grant's weakness, but to the rest, it did not matter. A few were alcoholics themselves, but the main reason it was tolerated was that when Grant got drunk, it was invariably during quiet periods. His drinking was not allowed to jeopardize operations. It was a release, but a controlled one, like the ignition of a gas flare above a high-pressure oil well.'31

Grant learned how to cope with his addiction to liquor by learning when he could take a drink. Although difficult at times, Grant was able to control his sickness and rely on his ability as a natural leader to achieve victory on the battlefield. As historian James McPherson explained: 'In the end…his predisposition to alcoholism may have made him a better general. His struggle for self-discipline enabled him to understand and discipline others; the humiliation of prewar failures gave him a quiet humility that was conspicuously absent from so many generals with a reputation to protect; because Grant had nowhere to go but up, he could act with more boldness and decision than commanders who dared not risk failure.'32 Consequently, Grant was able to overcome personal failures and adversity and become a well-respected and adored man in later life.

1 Lyle W. Dorsett, 'The Problem of Ulysses S. Grant's Drinking During the Civil War,' Hayes Historical Journal (hereinafter referred to as Problem), vol. 4, no.2 (1983): 37.

2 Ibid., 39.

3 Geoffrey Perret, Ulysses S. Grant: Soldier & President (hereinafter referred to as Soldier & President), (New York: Random House, 1997), 7.

4 Ibid., 7.

5 Ibid., 9.

6 Dorsett, Problem, 39.

7 Mark Grimsley, 'Ulysses S. Grant: His Life and Times, a Special Issue,' (hereinafter referred to as Life and Times) Civil War Times Illustrated, February 1990, 21.

8 W.J. Rorabaugh, The Alcoholic Republic: An American Tradition (New York: Oxford University Press 1979), preface.

9 Ibid., 8.

10 William Hesseltine, Ulysses S. Grant, Politician (New York: Dodd, Mead & Co. 1935; reprint, New York: Frederick Unger Publishing Co. 1957), 10­11.

11 Grimsley, Life and Times, 24.

12 Dorsett, Problem, 39.

13 Grimsley, Life and Times, 24.

14 Gene Smith, Lee and Grant: A Dual Biography (hereinafter referred to as Lee and Grant) (New York: McGraw Hill Co., 1984), 64.

15 William E. Woodward, Meet General Grant (New York: H. Liveright, 1928), 125.

16 Charles G. Ellington, The Trial of U.S. Grant: The Pacific Coast Years, 1852-1854 (hereinafter referred to as Trial) (Glendale, California: Arthur H. Clark Co., 1987), 170; Perret, Soldier & President, 92.

17 Perret, Soldier and President,100.

18 Ulysses S. Grant, Memoirs and Selected Letters (New York: Library of America, 1990), 139.

19 Ellington, Trial, 178.

20 Laura Ann Rickarby, Ulysses S. Grant and the Strategy of Victory (New York: Silver Burdett Press, 1981), 45.

21 Smith, Lee and Grant, 65.

22 William S. McFeely, Grant: A Biography (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1981), 55.

23 Dorsett, Problem, 42.

24 Grimsley, Life and Times, 27.

25 Stewart Sifakis, Who Was Who In The Civil War, vol. 1, Who Was Who in the Union: A Biographical Encyclopedia of More Than 1500 Union Participants (New York: Facts on File, 1988), 161.

26 Bruce Catton, Grant Moves South (Boston: Little Brown & Co., 1960), 38.

27 Sylvanus Cadwallader, Three Years With Grant, ed. Benjamin P. Thomas (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1956), 71.

28 Sylvanus Cadwallader, Three Years With Grant, ed. Benjamin P. Thomas (New York: Alfred A. Knopf 1955; reprint Lincoln, Nebraska: Bison Books, 1996), 103.

29 Sylvanus Cadwallader, Three Years With Grant, ed. Benjamin P. Thomas (New York: Alfred A. Knopf 1956), 102­10.

30 Bruce Catton, Grant Takes Command (Boston: Little Brown & Co., 1968), 22­5.

31 Perret, Soldier & President, 262.

32 James McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom
3614  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Santorum: I like his ideas on: April 26, 2014, 08:01:16 PM
AP Interview: Santorum undecided in 2016 bid

Associated Press
By PHILIP ELLIOTT 6 hours ago
Former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., poses for a portrait in his publishers office Wednesday, April 23, 2014 in Washington, before an interview about his recently released book titled "Blue Color Conservative." The once and perhaps future presidential candidate has lots of policy ideas for fellow Republicans seeking public office. He's just not sure he’ll be one of those hopefuls ever again. "Yeah, I don’t know if I can do this. It’s just tough," Santorum said about another White House run. In the interview, Santorum said the GOP will struggle to win races unless candidates came up with policies that help working Americans. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The once and perhaps future presidential candidate Rick Santorum has lots of policy ideas for fellow Republicans seeking public office.

He's just not sure he'll be one of those hopefuls ever again.

"Yeah, I don't know if I can do this. It's just tough," Santorum said about another White House run.

The former Pennsylvania senator tells The Associated Press in an interview that he isn't ruling out a 2016 candidacy.

But, he says, there are plenty of reasons why he wouldn't do it.

He is enjoying a second career as a movie studio executive. His daughter's health remains a concern.

And, Santorum writes in a new book, he can help shape his party's future from offstage.

In the interview, Santorum said the GOP will struggle to win races unless candidates came up with policies that help working Americans.

Victories will be tough, he said, unless elected officials stop being obstructionists.

Santorum said the libertarian streak running through his party distorts the definition of freedom, and that politicians wrongly look to President Ronald Reagan's policies to address today's challenges.

Then there's Santorum's slap at Republicans who demonize social welfare programs.

"Do Republicans really care less about the person at the bottom of the ladder than Democrats do? To be painfully honest, I would have to say in some ways 'yes,'" Santorum writes in his book, "Blue Collar Conservatives: Recommitting to an America That Works."

The tough talk raises questions about Santorum's viability in what could be a crowded 2016 primary field.

Also, he's not rushing to camp out in early nominating Iowa or New Hampshire again.

"A while. A year at least, probably," he said of his timeline to decide on a 2016 bid.

Santorum ran an upstart campaign in 2012, surviving long enough to be Mitt Romney's last remaining rival. He struggled to raise money or support among establishment-minded Republicans, but his socially conservative profile drew enough backing for Santorum to pick up victories in 11 states.

Even in victory, his disorganized campaign cost him, including failing to qualify for the ballot in Virginia.

"We cannot run the campaign we ran last time if we run this time," Santorum said.

How Republicans win is the focus of Santorum's latest book, to be released Monday.

Santorum offers ideas on energy, education, the economy and health care. It comes across as part think tank policy paper, part campaign playbook and part communications advice on how to connect with working-class voters.

For instance, Republicans should not focus exclusively on business leaders and "job creators" and should speak to employees, Santorum said.

Anxiety among those voters remains high, and Republicans have for too long talked to the top earners and not the workers.

"A rising tide lifts all boats — unless your boat has a hole in it. A lot of Americans, we've got holes in our boats," Santorum said. "Millions and millions of Americans (are) out there who want good lives but have holes in their boats. ... They just see the water level going up and their boat sinking."

That's why, he argues, candidates need to put forward policies to help those voters.

"I'm looking at 2014 and I'm thinking the Republican Party is heading toward No-ville, which is 'we're against this, we're against that, we're against this.' We're not painting a positive vision for America," Santorum said in the interview.

After the 2012 campaign, he signed on as CEO of EchoLight Studies, which produces movies rooted in faith and family.

"I saw an opportunity to do something in the space where we need to have movies that have a faith message in them that are better than the movies that have been done," Santorum said.

At home, 5-year-old daughter Bella keeps Santorum busy. She has a genetic disorder, Trisomy 18, which causes brain, heart and internal organ developmental abnormalities. Almost all children die within the first year of life.

Bella turns 6 in May and the senator is at work on a book about his daughter. Her difficult nights have sometimes kept Santorum at her bedside.

Santorum said family issues would drive his decision to run or not, and Bella would be a key factor.

His other six other children, Santorum said, are "all very open to dad doing this again."

But Santorum isn't rushing into anything. A primary might feature the libertarian wing of the party, led in part by two prominent tea partyers, Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas.

"There's a strain within the Republican Party now that smacks of the no-government conservatism," Santorum said. "That wasn't Ronald Regan. It wasn't Teddy Roosevelt. It wasn't Abraham Lincoln. It wasn't any Republican that I'm aware of. It wasn't Calvin Coolidge. And yet there seems to be this creation of this strain of conservatism that has no basis in conservatism."

Santorum said Republicans should respect Reagan, but he doubted the former president would offer the same policies today that he did during the 1970s and 1980s.

Santorum also includes plenty of incendiary rhetoric in his book that he acknowledges could haunt him should he run again.

In addition to the sentence about Republicans and social safety nets, Santorum writes that poor voters "took their lie about sex without consequences as gospel" and calls climate change a "hyped-up crisis."


Follow Philip Elliott on Twitter:
3615  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / from the Economist on: April 26, 2014, 07:10:43 PM

Sound the retreat

Profits in America may have peaked for this cycle
 Apr 26th 2014  | From the print edition

ARE corporate profits at last running out of steam? The lead-up to the first-quarter results season on Wall Street was marked by an unusually large number of profit warnings, such as that from Chevron, an oil group. According to Morgan Stanley, an investment bank, earnings estimates for S&P 500 companies were revised down by 4.4 percentage points in the first quarter.

As is the custom, having lowered the bar, companies will now beat those revised forecasts, allowing Wall Street analysts to proclaim a “successful” results season. But when one removes the effect of exceptional items (such as writedowns the year before), American profits are now falling, not rising, according to data from MSCI (see chart).

In a sense, this is about time. The recovery in American corporate profits since the recession has been remarkable: they are close to a post-war high as a proportion of GDP. Bulls have a number of arguments why this is a lasting, not cyclical, phenomenon. Economic power has shifted from labour to capital thanks to globalisation, they say; companies can move production to parts of the world where wages are lower. But if that effect is so strong, why aren’t profits as high elsewhere? In Britain the return on corporate capital is below its post-1997 average.

An alternative, but related, line of reasoning is that foreign profits have boosted the earnings of companies in the S&P 500, making the relationship with domestic GDP less relevant. America may still be running a trade deficit but its global champions, the argument runs, are raking in the money overseas. Research by Audit Analytics found that the amount of profits held abroad and not repatriated nearly doubled to $2.1 trillion between 2008 and 2013.

But where will American multinationals make so much money in future? Not in either Europe or Japan, where the economies have barely grown in recent years. Emerging markets might seem more promising, but their economies have been slowing, as companies like Diageo, a drinks producer, and Cisco, a tech-components group, have reported. Several developing economies have seen their currencies fall sharply too. It seems unlikely that American multinationals are going to get a further spurt of profits from this source.

In any case, the global data do not bear out the overseas-profit argument. Just as in America, there have been regular disappointments. In 2012, according to Citibank, global profits growth was just 2%, compared with initial forecasts of 11%. At the start of 2013 profits were forecast to rise by 12%; the actual increase was 7%.

The stockmarket has been remarkably resilient in the face of these setbacks. In 2012 global equities rose by 13%; last year they managed 24%. In part, that is due to optimism about the economy’s future trajectory. The euro-zone crisis has disappeared from the headlines while the American economy has been showing signs of returning to healthy growth.

But it is also down to supportive monetary policy. Short-term interest rates have not budged for the past two years (in the developed world) and government-bond yields have been close to historic lows. Investors have accordingly turned to the stockmarket in search of higher returns. Low interest rates have also played their part in keeping profits high, by reducing borrowing costs and by encouraging companies to use their spare cash to buy back stock, thereby increasing earnings per share.

However, buying back shares suggests a certain lack of imagination on the part of chief executives, or a lack of profitable projects to back. That remains an odd aspect of the profits boom: in theory, if the return on capital is high, one would expect a lot of capital to be invested. The resulting competition would eventually cause profits to fall. The process acts as a natural check on profits growth, but has yet to occur this cycle.

Instead, chief executives are turning to that old device for boosting sluggish profits: takeovers. According to Thomson Reuters, the global value of mergers and acquisitions in the first quarter was 36% higher than in the same period of 2013. The right takeover can result in cost cuts through economies of scale—although in the long run, the academic evidence in favour of takeovers is mixed.

A takeover boom is a classic signal of the final stages of a bull market, a sign that financial engineering has taken over from genuine business expansion. And that is hardly a surprise: the current rally is already the fourth-largest and the fifth-longest-running since 1928.
3616  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: April 25, 2014, 08:29:13 PM
On MSLSD last night, I think, the noted her great achievement as Secretary of State was the wise move it was to become a Sec of St under Obama.  They then showed her popularity in the poles soared while she was Sec of St and are now down again.

So the spin is not what she accomplished other than it improved her popularity - at least that is what I deduced the logic to be.

This kind of slime brings back the gut wrenching memories of the 90s.   

Unfortunately we don't have an honest person in the WH now either.
3617  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / From the Huffington post; Trickle down never worked. 80's were a fluke. on: April 25, 2014, 07:47:50 PM
It is high taxation and transfer of wealth that built America.  Folks I can't believe we are still debating this.   Socialism is relentless:

Elizabeth Warren Simplifies Thomas Piketty: 'Trickle Down Doesn't Work. Never Did'
 Posted:  04/25/2014 2:52 pm EDT    Updated:  04/25/2014 3:59 pm EDT   
The No. 2 author on Amazon's best-seller list, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, weighed in Thursday night on the No. 1 book, identifying overlapping themes.

At a reading at the Harvard Book Store, the Massachusetts Democrat, author of A Fighting Chance, was asked about Thomas Piketty's new book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, and specifically about its contention that trickle-down economics "definitively do not work."

Warren cut in. "Can we say that part again? 'Definitely do not work,'" she repeated. "Not as in that's somebody else's opinion or this comes out of a long-held political opinion. The data don't lie on this. He's got good historical data, and boy, what it shows is trickle down doesn't work. Never did, doesn't work. Just so we're all clear on the baseline. I just saved you 1,100 pages of reading." (The book is shorter than that; Warren may have assumed the audience would also read the online technical index.)

Warren, whose own book was going to be titled Rigged but ultimately went out with a more hopeful title, said that while Piketty's book could elicit despair, she found a hopeful note in it, too.

"You can read his book and you just wanna say, 'Ugh.' Because it says over and over -- look, I'll tell you the basic theme: The rich get richer," Warren said.

Piketty argues that the 200-plus years of income and wealth data complied by him and a team of researchers demonstrates that returns on capital (r) significantly outstrip growth in the real economy (g), which relentlessly drives up inequality. His basic equation -- r>g -- has upended the way economists understand wealth and income distribution.

"Here's the hopeful part in Piketty's book: Piketty makes the point that although the data keep documenting this happening, it's not like an act of nature. It's not like gravity and you can't fix it," Warren said. "Piketty's book makes the point that how much equality there is ... is a matter of the policies you choose to follow and that, for example, progressive taxation and investment in everyone's education helps to level the playing field."

Warren pointed to the period from the Great Depression up through the deregulatory era that began in the 1980s as reason for hope -- a period that she noted Piketty found to be an aberration in many ways.

"It is a time when we made those investments that built America's great middle class and we made those decisions -- not we in this room, but our parents, our grandparents, they made those decisions. They said, 'You put a cop on the beat so nobody steals your pension, you do that on Wall Street.' But they also said, 'You tax progressively and then you make those investments.' For those who made it big, God bless 'em, that's great, but they've gotta pay a piece of that forward so the next kid has a chance to make it big and the kid after that and the kid after that. That's what defines America."

Piketty indeed credits high marginal tax rates on wealth in the middle of the 20th century as a driver of flattening U.S. inequality during that period, although he also cites the destruction of capital from the world wars and the anomalously high economic growth rates that carried into the late 1960s and, in some countries, into the 1970s. He describes that high growth as "catch up" and suggests it will be difficult to repeat such a phenomenon in the 21st century.

Piketty proposes a steeply progressive wealth tax, which Warren referenced favorably on Thursday. The suggestion was widely panned by the political class, but it is already earning dividends. On Friday, New York Times columnist David Brooks suggested that conservatives respond by embracing a "beefed up inheritance tax" and "progressive consumption taxes."

Warren also joked with the audience that they may find her book a bit more digestible. "Have you seen Piketty's new book?" she asked. "His book has tables and graphs; this book doesn't. It's one of my first books with no graphs in it, just pictures."

Watch HuffPost's interview with Piketty below.
3618  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Breakthrough in cardiovascular disease? on: April 25, 2014, 06:34:26 PM

Scientists alter fat metabolism in animals to prevent most common type of heart disease

Working with mice and rabbits, Johns Hopkins scientists have found a way to block abnormal cholesterol production, transport and breakdown, successfully preventing the development of atherosclerosis, the main cause of heart attacks and strokes and the number-one cause of death among humans. The condition develops when fat builds inside blood vessels over time and renders them stiff, narrowed and hardened, greatly reducing their ability to feed oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle and the brain.

In a series of experiments, described April 7 in the journal Circulation, the Johns Hopkins team says it identified and halted the action of a single molecular culprit responsible for a range of biological glitches that affect the body's ability to properly use, transport and purge itself of cholesterol—the fatty substance that accumulates inside vessels and fuels heart disease.

The offender, the researchers say, is a fat-and-sugar molecule called glycosphingolipid, or GSL, which resides in the membranes of all cells, and is mostly known for regulating cell growth. Results of the experiments, the scientists say, reveal that this very same molecule also regulates the way the body handles cholesterol.

The Johns Hopkins team used an existing man-made compound called D-PDMP to block the synthesis of the GSL molecule, and by doing so, prevented the development of heart disease in mice and rabbits fed a high-fat, cholesterol-laden diet. The findings reveal that D-PDMP appears to work by interfering with a constellation of genetic pathways that regulate fat metabolism on multiple fronts—from the way cells derive and absorb cholesterol from food, to the way cholesterol is transported to tissues and organs and is then broken down by the liver and excreted from the body.

"Current cholesterol-lowering medications tackle the problem on a single front—either by blocking cholesterol synthesis or by preventing the body from absorbing too much of it," says lead investigator Subroto Chatterjee, Ph.D., a cardio-metabolic expert at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center. "But atherosclerosis is a multi-factorial problem that requires hitting the abnormal cholesterol cycle at many points. By inhibiting the synthesis of GSL, we believe we have achieved exactly that."

Specifically, the experiments showed that treatment with D-PDMP led to:
•a drop in the animals' levels of so-called bad cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein, LDL;
•a drop in oxidized LDL, a particularly virulent form of fat that forms when LDL encounters free radicals. Oxidized LDL easily sticks to the walls of blood vessels, where it ignites inflammation, damaging the vessel walls and promoting the growth of fatty plaque;
•a surge in good cholesterol or high-density lipoprotein, HDL, known to counteract the effects of LDL by mopping it up; and
•a significant drop in triglycerides, another type of plaque-building fat.


The treatment also prevented fatty plaque and calcium deposits from building up inside the animals' vessels. These effects were observed in animals on a daily D-PDMP treatment even though they ate a diet made up of 20 percent triglycerides—the human equivalent of eating a greasy burger for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In addition, the researchers say, D-PDMP appears to precision-target the worst byproducts of aberrant cell growth signaling, such as oxidized LDL and the activity of certain chemicals that fuel vessel inflammation, without altering cell growth itself.

D-PDMP, which is already widely used in basic research to experimentally block and study cell growth and other basic cell functions, is deemed safe in animals, the investigators say. For example, animals in the current study had no side effects even when given D-PDMP doses 10 times higher than the minimum effective dose, the study found. The research team is currently designing a compound drug with D-PDMP, which they soon plan to test in other animals and, eventually, in humans.

Mice used in the experiments were genetically engineered to lack a protein essential in the breakdown of fats and thus were predisposed to atherosclerosis. The researchers fed the animals a high-fat diet over the course of several months, but also gave a third of the animals a low-dose of D-PDMP. They gave a double dose of the same inhibitor to another third and placebo to the rest.

When scientists measured the thickness of the animals' aortas—the body's largest vessel and one that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body—they found striking differences among the groups. As expected, the aortas of mice that got placebo had grown thicker from the accumulation of fat and calcium deposits inside them. The aortas of mice on low-dose D-PDMP, however, were significantly thinner with little to no obstruction. To the researchers' surprise, Chatterjee says, mice eating high-fat foods and treated with high-dose D-PDMP had nearly pristine arteries free of obstruction, indistinguishable from those of healthy mice.

Next, the researchers measured how well and how fast blood traveled through the animals' blood vessels. Slower blood flow signals clogging of the vessel and is a marker of atherosclerosis. The vessels of mice fed a high-fat diet plus D-PDMP had normal blood flow. Mice receiving a high-fat diet without D-PDMP predictably had compromised blood flow.

When researchers examined cells from the animals' livers—the main site of fat synthesis and breakdown—they noticed marked differences in the expression of several genes that regulate cholesterol metabolism. The activity of these genes is heralded by the levels of enzymes they produce, Chatterjee says. Mice treated with D-PDMP had notably higher levels of two enzymes responsible for maintaining the body's delicate fat homeostasis by regulating the way cells take in and break down cholesterol. Specifically, the scientists say, the inhibitor appeared to stimulate the action and efficacy of a class of protein pumps in the cell responsible for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels by transporting cholesterol in and out of the bloodstream. In addition, mice treated that way had higher levels of lipoprotein lipase, an enzyme responsible for the breakdown of triglycerides. A deficiency in this enzyme causes dangerous buildup of blood triglycerides.

Treatment with a D-PDMP also boosted the activity of an enzyme responsible for purging the body of fats by converting these fats into bile, the fat-dissolving substance secreted by the liver.

In a final set of experiments, researchers compared the effects of treatment with D-PDMP in two groups of healthy rabbits, both fed high-fat diets, with half of them receiving treatment. Rabbits that ate high-fat food alone developed all the classic signs of atherosclerosis—fatty plaque buildup in the arteries and stiff, narrowed blood vessels. Their cholesterol levels shot up 17-fold. By contrast, rabbits treated with D-PDMP never developed atherosclerosis. Their cholesterol levels also remained normal or near-normal.

The World Health Organizations estimates that high cholesterol claims 2.6 million lives worldwide each year. More than 70 million Americans have high cholesterol, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Current cholesterol-lowering drugs, such as statins, do not work in about one-third of people who take them, experts say.
3619  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Faster than Nolan Ryan!!! Wow!!! on: April 25, 2014, 03:34:17 PM

102.9 mph and rising? Royals' Yordano Ventura brings heat like no other starting pitcher

Jeff Passan
By Jeff Passan 13 hours ago Yahoo Sports
The hardest-throwing starting pitcher ever stands 6-foot on a really tall day, weighs 180 pounds if he's got a Costanza wallet in his back pocket and remembers vividly the first time he threw a baseball 100 mph. It was only 1 mph more than the 99 mph his arm generated hundreds of times before, but in that 1 mph a pitcher crosses the baseball Rubicon. For those who reach triple digits never, ever want to come back.

"It was in Arizona, my first time throwing 100," Yordano Ventura said. He's working on his English these days, getting better and better, and talking about that magical binary number extracts the best in him. "No scoreboard. Radar gun only. One of my teammates hold it. He told me, 'Hey. You throw 100 today.' "

Yordano Ventura has thrown 14 pitches in the 100 mph range this season. (USA TODAY Sports)

Ventura was 19. Two years earlier, Kansas City Royals scouts and executives looked past his slight frame and at his right arm, which birthed some of the smoothest, easiest fastballs any of them had seen. They offered him $28,000 to sign, a small bonus even by the deflated standards in the Dominican Republic. He accepted. They saw his potential. His fastball leaped from the mid-80s to mid-90s within months. They marveled. He crept up to 98, 99. They refined his mechanics. He hit 100. They pushed him. He went to 101, then 102. They gave him a rotation spot. And in his first start this season, Ventura threw the fastest fastball ever clocked from a starter, 102.9 mph, a number that boggles the mind because it's only April, and almost every pitcher throws harder as the season progresses.

With 14 fastballs at 100-plus mph already this season, Ventura owns the record for triple-digit heaters from a starter in April, according to calculations from the invaluable Dan Brooks, who uses PITCHf/x data to give the greatest insight yet into the fascinating speeds at which pitchers today throw. It's not just Ventura, now 22, either. Since 2008, when Brooks began running his website, 77 pitchers have thrown 4,354 pitches at 100 mph or more.

The King of 100 is, not surprisingly, Cincinnati closer Aroldis Chapman, generally regarded as the hardest thrower in baseball history. He owns the two biggest 100-mph-pitch seasons with 356 last year and 332 the year before, and his 998 triple-digit pitches account for nearly 23 percent of the 100-plus pitches in the major leagues since 2008.

After a horrific line drive to the skull sidelined Chapman for the first month, Ventura ascended to the throne for the time being, accounting for nearly half of the 31 triple-digit pitches thrown by 11 pitchers this season. His average fastball sizzles at 97.8 mph. He's among the league leaders in swings and misses on fastballs. And as he makes his fourth start Friday night in Baltimore, the Camden Yards scoreboard will get to flex a muscle it rarely does. Even Tommy Hunter, the hard-throwing Orioles closer, has hit 100 just once this season.

Reaching 100 isn't the chore it used to be, not with the shoulder-strengthening exercises required of pitchers today helping generate excess velocity. Ryan Tucker, Tom Wilhelmsen, Al Alburquerque, Wily Peralta and Jake McGee all have touched 100 exactly once in their careers. Doing so consistently takes far more work. Just 31 players have hit 100 at least 10 times in one season. Just six have gotten to triple digits with triple digits. Ventura looks like a safe bet to beat the record for a starter: 61, by Justin Verlander in 2012.

The limited history of PITCHf/x does not allow the inclusion of Nolan Ryan, who hit 100-plus on radar guns, and Bob Feller, who used military equipment to register a fastball at 98.6 mph and swore he threw harder. It does ensure never again will we need to guess whether one pitcher threw harder than another. The cameras in the system will tell us, and scientists can do with the data what they please. Brooks, for example, sets his release point at 55 feet (more realistic than PITCHf/x's 50) and adjusts the numbers by park, because the system does have noticeable errors in certain stadiums.

Unquestionable is the power of the 100-mph fastball, the lore that comes with it and the number of pitchers who do everything they can in hopes some day they, too, can trigger the third digit to flicker.

"Mark McGwire used to always say, 'Anybody can throw double digits,' " Cardinals reliever Jason Motte said last spring, with 32 triple-digit notches on his belt. "What'd you hit? Ten? Ninety-nine? Still double digits. Only a few can throw three digits. So it's pretty cool if you can do that. Might as well try to do it every now and again."

Next to him sat Trevor Rosenthal, who took over as St. Louis closer after Motte blew out his right elbow. The previous fall, as the Cardinals romped to a World Series title, Rosenthal lit up radar guns, sitting in the high 90s and tickling 100 with scary regularity.

"I don't think God reached down and put a lightning bolt in my right arm … " Rosenthal said, trailing off, incapable of explaining why he can throw so much harder than most. Though he's onto something. It is a gift. Even as 90 mph is a necessity and 95 something of a requisite and 100 increasingly common, velocity remains romanticized by pitchers and executives alike.

Velocity with control, which Ventura flashed in his first two starts, is the sign of a star and the reason that after years of inapt comparisons to Pedro Martinez – Ramon Ortiz, Edinson Volquez, Jose Dominguez – Ventura might be the most reasonable facsimile yet. His changeup isn't Pedro quality yet, even though it decelerates through the strike zone at 90 mph. His breaking ball isn't as crisp, though it has better tilt than Pedro's hammer curveball.

While Ventura's secondary pitches will make him a star, his fastball is his meal ticket into the conversation, a legitimate game changer. The first time Royals center fielder Jarrod Dyson saw it, during an instructional-league intrasquad game, he couldn't fathom how someone so slight propelled a projectile with such force.

"He was about my size," said the 5-foot-9, 160-pound Dyson. "I was not expecting 100. The first fastball kind of jumped at me, and I'm like, OK, we got a gunslinger in here."

Now comes the toughest part: steadying the gun. Ventura's biggest issue, catcher Salvador Perez said, is that "he gets too excited and tries to throw 200 miles an hour." Which, if it were anatomically possible, Ventura might do. Being that 106 mph or so is a generally accepted ceiling before an arm goes kablooey, he does have room left to add a couple miles and challenge Chapman's record 105.1-mph pitch.

"I'd rather throw strikes and keep the ball down than throw 100," Ventura said.

Which is only partially true. Throwing strikes is nice. It helps. He will win lots of games because of it. But come on. No pitcher wants to be Jonathan Papelbon, hitting 100 mph three times in 2009 and sometimes struggling to crack 90 this year. Shoving a baseball at 100 mph connotes strength and power and animalism, the sort of thing that defines a pitcher.

"Sometimes you throw easy and it's 100," Ventura said. "I'd rather throw easy."

That's more like it. That's a man embracing who he is: the hardest-throwing starting pitcher ever, the one who crossed the Rubicon three years ago, hasn't come back since and has no plans to do so anytime
3620  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Racist on Supreme Court on: April 24, 2014, 10:40:32 AM
Have we had such an obvious racist on the Supreme Court besides Justice Taney?:
3621  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / "Dogbrothers" on Huffington Post on: April 24, 2014, 09:11:29 AM
3622  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / NYT polls: Dems are ok; don't worry socialists all is ok. on: April 24, 2014, 09:09:13 AM

By Scott Conroy - April 23, 2014

A new round of polls released on Wednesday offered generally upbeat news for Democrats in four U.S. Senate contests in Southern states considered key to the party's hopes of retaining its majority in November.  

According to the New York Times/Kaiser Family Foundation surveys, vulnerable incumbent Democrats are holding on to leads in Louisiana and Arkansas and effectively tied in North Carolina. Upstart challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes, meanwhile, is trailing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell by just a single point in Kentucky.

All four races are critical to Republicans’ hopes of netting the six seats they need to regain control of the upper chamber.

Though he narrowly lost North Carolina in 2012, President Obama was blown out by margins ranging from 17 to 24 percentage points in the other three states, suggesting that the Democratic Senate candidates are running strong campaigns in a region that has grown increasingly hostile to their party in federal elections.  

In North Carolina, Sen. Kay Hagan leads state House Speaker Thom Tillis -- the frontrunner in the Republican primary -- 42 percent to 40 percent, according to the new poll.

In Louisiana’s still largely unsettled contest, in which there are no primaries, Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu leads the Republican frontrunner, Rep. Bill Cassidy, by a 42 percent to 18 percent margin, with 20 percent of respondents having no opinion.

The most surprising result of the new surveys comes in Arkansas, where incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor enjoys a 10-point advantage over Republican Rep. Tom Cotton. Pryor has long been considered the most vulnerable Senate Democrat this November, but he leads Cotton by 2.2 percentage points in the latest RealClearPolitics polling average.  

National Democratic operatives moved quickly to highlight the Arkansas poll, in particular, on Wednesday morning. “DC convention wisdom is flat out wrong in Arkansas and there’s mounting evidence of Mark Pryor’s strength,” Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesman Justin Barasky said in an emailed statement.

Meanwhile, Republicans were eager to cast doubt on the polls’ methodology, noting, among other concerns, that the head-to-head surveys measured support among registered voters rather than likely voters. They also questioned the validity of the samplings.

The Weekly Standard noted that the percentage of respondents in each of the four Southern states who said they had voted for Obama was much higher than the actual 2012 results.

Scott Conroy is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @RealClearScott.

Read more:
Follow us: @RCP_Articles on Twitter
3623  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Justice Stevens: Make 6 Changes to the C. on: April 22, 2014, 09:12:01 AM
Didn't he vote against OBAMA CARE.  How come THAT is not mentioned.  Only the darn liberal issues are even mentioned:

*****Justice Stevens: Make 6 changes to Constitution

Associated Press
By MARK SHERMAN 10 hours ago

FILE - In this May 30, 2012, file photo, former U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens speaks at a lecture presented by the Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock, Ark. In the aftermath of the Connecticut school shootings that left 20 first-graders and six educators dead, retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens began thinking about ways to prevent a repeat. The result is Stevens' new book, his second since retiring from the court at age 90, in which he calls for no fewer than six changes to the Constitution, of which two are directly related to guns. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston, File)

In this May 30, 2012, file photo, former U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens speaks at a lecture presented by the Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock, Ark. In the aftermath of the Connecticut school shootings that left 20 first-graders and six educators dead, retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens began thinking about ways to prevent a repeat. The result is Stevens' new book, his second since retiring from the court at age 90, in which he calls for no fewer than six changes to the Constitution, of which two are directly related to guns. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — In the aftermath of the Connecticut school shootings that left 20 first-graders and six educators dead, retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens began thinking about ways to prevent a repeat.

The result is Stevens' new book — his second since retiring from the court at age 90 — in which he calls for no fewer than six changes to the Constitution, of which two are directly related to guns. Others would abolish the death penalty, make it easier to limit spending on elections and rein in partisan drawing of electoral districts.

His proposed amendments generally would overrule major Supreme Court decisions with which he disagrees, including ones on guns and campaign finance in which he dissented.

The book, "Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution," is being published Tuesday by Little, Brown and Co., two days after Stevens' 94th birthday.

Stevens said in an interview with The Associated Press that the Newtown, Conn., shootings in December 2012 made him think about doing "whatever we could to prevent such a thing from happening again."

He said he was bothered by press reports about gaps in the federal government database for checking the background of prospective gun buyers. Those gaps exist because the Supreme Court ruled in 1997 that states could not be forced to participate in the background check system. Stevens dissented from the court's 5-4 ruling in Printz v. United States.

One amendment would allow Congress to force state participation in gun checks, while a second would change the Second Amendment to permit gun control. Stevens was on the losing end of another 5-4 decision in 2008 in District of Columbia v. Heller, in which the court declared for the first time that Americans have a right to own a gun for self-defense.

He acknowledged that his proposed change would allow Congress to do something unthinkable in today's environment: ban gun ownership altogether.

"I'd think the chance of changing the Second Amendment is pretty remote," Stevens said. "The purpose is to cause further reflection over a period of time because it seems to me with ample time and ample reflection, people in the United States would come to the same conclusion that people in other countries have."

Justices often say that their dissenting opinions are written with the hope that today's dissent might attract a majority on some future court.

But Stevens has gone a step beyond by proposing the constitutional changes. Asked whether the book could in part be seen as "sour grapes," he readily agreed.

"To a certain extent, it's no doubt true, because I do think the court made some serious mistakes, as I did point out in my dissents," he said. "But I've been criticized for making speeches since I retired. Writing the book is not much different from continuing to speak about things I find interesting."

A recent example is the court's decision, again by a 5-4 vote, to strike down limits in federal law on the total contributions wealthy individuals can make to candidates for Congress and president, political parties and political action committees. Stevens said the decision follows from the 2010 ruling in Citizens United that lifted limits on political spending by corporations and labor unions. Again, he was in the dissent in another 5-4 ruling.

Those cases, he said, talk about the importance of public participation in the electoral process. But this month's decision on the overall limits is "not about electing your representative," Stevens said. "It's about financing the election of representatives of other people. It's about the influence of out-of-state voters on the election in your district. It sort of exposes a basic flaw in the recent cases."

Stevens marked his 94th birthday Sunday, still in excellent health, but lately feeling his age. Speaking to AP a few days before his birthday, he said, "It's going to come and pass. I'm not sure it's something to celebrate."*****
3624  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces on: April 21, 2014, 07:05:19 AM
Well this is something Americans can be proud of.  The immigrants are coming here and working past a lot of our own and what do we do?  Get stoned.

I can only hope that the lure of marijuana will wear itself out and people will realize they are wasting the lives smoking this shit:

But think of the good the tax income will do???   Using GMs phrase:  bahaha.
3625  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The left's new rock star economist on: April 19, 2014, 06:16:04 PM

The left's new rock star economist

Thomas Piketty:   A new favorite of Obama and his economic council, Jack Lew Treasury Secretary and the rest of the globalist progressive crowd. 

*********Economist Receives Rock Star Treatment


French economists who boldly question the dominance of capital over labor — and call for a progressive global tax on wealth — visit the American halls of power about as often as French rock stars headline Madison Square Garden.

But those halls of power are where Thomas Piketty, a 42-year-old professor at the Paris School of Economics, has been singing his song of late.

Since touching down in Washington this week to promote his new book, “Capital in the 21st Century,” Mr. Piketty has met with Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, given a talk to President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers and lectured at the International Monetary Fund, before flying to New York for an appearance at the United Nations, a sold-out public discussion with the Nobel laureates Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman, and meetings with media outlets ranging from The Harvard Business Review to New York Magazine to The Nation.

The response from  fellow economists, so far mainly from the liberal side of the spectrum, has verged on the rapturous. Mr. Krugman,  a columnist for The New York Times,  predicted  in The New York Review of Books that Mr. Piketty’s book would “change both the way we think about society and the way we do economics.”

   Thomas Piketty at one of his New York talks this week. Credit Karsten Moran for The New York Times 
But through all the accolades, Mr. Piketty seems to be maintaining a most un-rock-star-like modesty, brushing away comparisons to Tocqueville and Marx with an embarrassed grimace and a Gallic puff of the lips.

“It makes very little sense: How can you compare?” he said on Thursday between gulps of yogurt during a break in his packed schedule — before going on to list the 19th-century data sets that Marx neglected to draw on in “Das Kapital,” his 1867 magnum opus.

“If Marx had looked at them, it would have made him think a bit more,” he said. “When I started collecting data, I had no idea where it would go.”

Mr. Piketty’s dedication to data has long made him a star among economists, who credit his work on income inequality (with Emmanuel Saez and others) for diving deep into seemingly dull tax archives to bring an unprecedented historical perspective to the subject.

But “Capital in the 21st Century,” which analyzes more than two centuries of data on the even murkier topic of accumulated wealth, has elicited a response of an entirely different order. Months before its originally scheduled April publication, it was generating intense discussion on blogs, prompting Harvard University Press to push the release forward to mid-February.

Since then, it has hit the New York Times best-seller list, and sold some 46,000 copies (hardback and e-book) — a stratospheric number for a nearly 700-page scholarly tome dotted with charts and graphs (as well as references to Balzac, Jane Austen and “Titanic”).

And not all those readers are economists. Six years after the financial crisis, “people are looking for a bible of sorts,” said Julia Ott, an assistant professor of the history of capitalism at the New School, who appeared on a panel with Mr. Piketty at New York University on Thursday. “He’s speaking to a real feeling out there that things haven’t been fixed, that we need to take stock, that we need big ideas, big proposals, big global solutions.”

Mr. Piketty's book on sale after he spoke Wednesday at the Graduate Center at the City University of New York. Credit Karsten Moran for The New York Times 
Those big ideas, and the hunger for them, were on ample display at N.Y.U., where the standing-room crowd was treated to Mr. Piketty’s apology for having written such a long book, followed by a breakneck PowerPoint presentation of its main arguments, illustrated with striking charts.

At the book’s center is Mr. Piketty’s contention — contrary to the influential theory developed by Simon Kuznets in the 1950s and ’60s — that mature capitalist economies do not inevitably evolve toward greater economic equality. Instead, Mr. Piketty contends, the data reveals a deeper historical tendency for the rate of return on capital to outstrip the overall rate of economic growth, leading to greater and greater concentrations of wealth at the very top.

Despite this inevitable-seeming drift toward “patrimonial capitalism” that his charts seemed to show, Mr. Piketty rejected any economic determinism. “It all depends on what the political system decides,” he said.

Such statements, along with Mr. Piketty’s proposal for a progressive wealth tax and income tax rates up to 80 percent, have aroused strong interest among those eager to recapture the momentum of the Occupy movement. The Nation ran a nearly 10,000-word cover article  placing his book within a rising tide of neo-Marxist thought, while National Review Online dismissed it as confirmation of the left’s “dearest ‘Das Kapital’ fantasies.”

But Mr. Piketty, who writes in the book that the collapse of Communism in 1989 left him “vaccinated for life” against the “lazy rhetoric of anticapitalism,” is no Marxian revolutionary. “I believe in private property,” he said in the interview. “But capitalism and markets should be the slave of democracy and not the opposite.”

Even if he doesn’t expect his policy proposals to find favor in Washington anytime soon, Mr. Piketty called his meetings there gratifying. Mr. Lew, he said, seemed to have read parts of the book carefully. A member of the Council on Economic Advisers corrected a small error concerning Balzac’s novel “Le Père Goriot,” which includes a discussion of getting ahead through advantageous marriage rather than hard work. “I was impressed,” Mr. Piketty said.

His book, however, ends not with an appeal to policy makers, but with a call for all citizens to “take a serious interest in money, its measurement, the facts surrounding it and its history.”

“It’s too easy for ordinary people to just say, ‘I don’t know anything about economics,’ ” he said, before rushing to his next appearance. “But economics is not just for economists.”

A version of this article appears in print on April 19, 2014, on page C1 of the New York edition with the headline: Economist Receives Rock Star Treatment.********


3626  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The left's new rock star economist on: April 19, 2014, 05:08:32 AM
Thomas Piketty:   A new favorite of Obama and his economic council, Jack Lew Treasury Secretary and the rest of the globalist progressive crowd. 

*********Economist Receives Rock Star Treatment


French economists who boldly question the dominance of capital over labor — and call for a progressive global tax on wealth — visit the American halls of power about as often as French rock stars headline Madison Square Garden.

But those halls of power are where Thomas Piketty, a 42-year-old professor at the Paris School of Economics, has been singing his song of late.

Since touching down in Washington this week to promote his new book, “Capital in the 21st Century,” Mr. Piketty has met with Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, given a talk to President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers and lectured at the International Monetary Fund, before flying to New York for an appearance at the United Nations, a sold-out public discussion with the Nobel laureates Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman, and meetings with media outlets ranging from The Harvard Business Review to New York Magazine to The Nation.

The response from  fellow economists, so far mainly from the liberal side of the spectrum, has verged on the rapturous. Mr. Krugman,  a columnist for The New York Times,  predicted  in The New York Review of Books that Mr. Piketty’s book would “change both the way we think about society and the way we do economics.”

   Thomas Piketty at one of his New York talks this week. Credit Karsten Moran for The New York Times 
But through all the accolades, Mr. Piketty seems to be maintaining a most un-rock-star-like modesty, brushing away comparisons to Tocqueville and Marx with an embarrassed grimace and a Gallic puff of the lips.

“It makes very little sense: How can you compare?” he said on Thursday between gulps of yogurt during a break in his packed schedule — before going on to list the 19th-century data sets that Marx neglected to draw on in “Das Kapital,” his 1867 magnum opus.

“If Marx had looked at them, it would have made him think a bit more,” he said. “When I started collecting data, I had no idea where it would go.”

Mr. Piketty’s dedication to data has long made him a star among economists, who credit his work on income inequality (with Emmanuel Saez and others) for diving deep into seemingly dull tax archives to bring an unprecedented historical perspective to the subject.

But “Capital in the 21st Century,” which analyzes more than two centuries of data on the even murkier topic of accumulated wealth, has elicited a response of an entirely different order. Months before its originally scheduled April publication, it was generating intense discussion on blogs, prompting Harvard University Press to push the release forward to mid-February.

Since then, it has hit the New York Times best-seller list, and sold some 46,000 copies (hardback and e-book) — a stratospheric number for a nearly 700-page scholarly tome dotted with charts and graphs (as well as references to Balzac, Jane Austen and “Titanic”).

And not all those readers are economists. Six years after the financial crisis, “people are looking for a bible of sorts,” said Julia Ott, an assistant professor of the history of capitalism at the New School, who appeared on a panel with Mr. Piketty at New York University on Thursday. “He’s speaking to a real feeling out there that things haven’t been fixed, that we need to take stock, that we need big ideas, big proposals, big global solutions.”

Mr. Piketty's book on sale after he spoke Wednesday at the Graduate Center at the City University of New York. Credit Karsten Moran for The New York Times 
Those big ideas, and the hunger for them, were on ample display at N.Y.U., where the standing-room crowd was treated to Mr. Piketty’s apology for having written such a long book, followed by a breakneck PowerPoint presentation of its main arguments, illustrated with striking charts.

At the book’s center is Mr. Piketty’s contention — contrary to the influential theory developed by Simon Kuznets in the 1950s and ’60s — that mature capitalist economies do not inevitably evolve toward greater economic equality. Instead, Mr. Piketty contends, the data reveals a deeper historical tendency for the rate of return on capital to outstrip the overall rate of economic growth, leading to greater and greater concentrations of wealth at the very top.

Despite this inevitable-seeming drift toward “patrimonial capitalism” that his charts seemed to show, Mr. Piketty rejected any economic determinism. “It all depends on what the political system decides,” he said.

Such statements, along with Mr. Piketty’s proposal for a progressive wealth tax and income tax rates up to 80 percent, have aroused strong interest among those eager to recapture the momentum of the Occupy movement. The Nation ran a nearly 10,000-word cover article  placing his book within a rising tide of neo-Marxist thought, while National Review Online dismissed it as confirmation of the left’s “dearest ‘Das Kapital’ fantasies.”

But Mr. Piketty, who writes in the book that the collapse of Communism in 1989 left him “vaccinated for life” against the “lazy rhetoric of anticapitalism,” is no Marxian revolutionary. “I believe in private property,” he said in the interview. “But capitalism and markets should be the slave of democracy and not the opposite.”

Even if he doesn’t expect his policy proposals to find favor in Washington anytime soon, Mr. Piketty called his meetings there gratifying. Mr. Lew, he said, seemed to have read parts of the book carefully. A member of the Council on Economic Advisers corrected a small error concerning Balzac’s novel “Le Père Goriot,” which includes a discussion of getting ahead through advantageous marriage rather than hard work. “I was impressed,” Mr. Piketty said.

His book, however, ends not with an appeal to policy makers, but with a call for all citizens to “take a serious interest in money, its measurement, the facts surrounding it and its history.”

“It’s too easy for ordinary people to just say, ‘I don’t know anything about economics,’ ” he said, before rushing to his next appearance. “But economics is not just for economists.”

A version of this article appears in print on April 19, 2014, on page C1 of the New York edition with the headline: Economist Receives Rock Star Treatment.********
3627  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The war on the rule of law on: April 17, 2014, 09:27:56 AM
And what does the administration do?  Reduce funding to law enforcement on corruption and white collar crime and divert more to terrorism.

3628  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Health Thread (nutrition, medical, longevity, etc) on: April 17, 2014, 09:25:39 AM
I have to ask my surgeon friends as usually they get a quick path report back that should have told this trainee it was not the appendix.  Or with in
a day.  Sometimes surgeons now treat appendicitis with antibiotics alone and do not perform surgery.  I am not clear which is best in pregnancy.
There is risk to many antibiotics and pregnancy too.
3629  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / The right to flash headlights on: April 16, 2014, 08:02:28 PM
Constitutional right to flash your head lights gains momentum

National Constitution Center
By Scott Bomboy 14 hours ago
Should a driver have the legal ability to flash their head lights as an alert to a police presence on the road? That knotty legal question is gaining momentum after a legal decision in Missouri, an Oregon ruling, and a new effort in New Jersey.

New Jersey Assemblyman Ronald S. Dancer introduced a bill in March that would make the use of flashing high-beams at motorists legal under state law.

Proponents of the measure are citing a legal victory for the pro-high beam crowd in a federal court in Missouri from February, which was reaffirmed last week.

U.S. District Judge Henry E. Autrey had issued a preliminary injunction in February prohibiting the town of Ellisville from prosecuting drivers who allegedly flashed their vehicles’ head lights to warn of radar and speed traps. The city didn’t appeal the decision.

Last week, Judge Autrey expanded that decision to a permanent injunction.

The American Civil Liberties Union championed the case of Elli v. Ellisville. Last April, the ACLU of Missouri sued on behalf of Michael Elli, who was pulled over in 2012 by a police officer and issued a citation for flashing lights to warn of radar use ahead. Elli faced a $1,000 fine for flashing the lights.

“Expressive conduct is protected whenever a particular message is present and the likelihood is great that the message would be understood by those who viewed it,” said Tony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU of Missouri in a statement issued about the case. “Even new drivers understand that an oncoming car with flashing headlights means they should either slow down, turn on their headlights, or otherwise use caution.”

The Asbury Park Press reported on the New Jersey story on Tuesday and it interviewed attorneys familiar with the proposal. They seemed to agree on the constitutional point but were skeptical if a New Jersey motorist would mount a constitutional challenge to protest a $54 fine.

But it did bring up a case from the 1990s where a motorist went to court and won a verdict that threw out a fine for illegal headlight flashing. However, that court’s decision wasn’t binding or applicable to other cases.

And there have been other instances where head light flashers have won in court.

Last week, an Oregon man, Chris Hill, fought a $260 ticket for improperly using his head lights while driving a truck full of logs. Hill won his legal fight, and Hill acted as his own attorney in the proceeding.

“The citation was clearly given to punish the Defendant for that expression,” the judge said in the case. “The government certainly can and should enforce the traffic laws for the safety of all drivers on the road. However, the government cannot enforce the traffic laws, or any other laws, to punish drivers for their expressive conduct.”

In May 2012, Ryan Kintner from Lake Mary, Florida, successfully fought a citation for violating a state traffic law by using head lights as a warning signal. The judge said the flashing was protected under the First Amendment.

“I felt an injustice was being done. … I have nothing against officers … keeping speeding down, but when you cross a line and get into free speech, I feel it’s gone too far,” Kintner told the Orlando Sentinel during the lawsuit.

Back in New Jersey, the Newark Star-Ledger’s editorial board has endorsed Dancer’s measure, in opposition to the New Jersey Police Chiefs Association.

“At its core, this is a free speech issue,” the board said. “Police can’t prevent you from stopping at every gas station to sound the alarm about a speed radar, or starting your own blog about the locations of hidden cruisers. Look — it exists already on Twitter. They shouldn’t be able to prevent an altruistic citizen from flicking headlights, either.”

The importance of the free speech issue isn’t likely to go way, as people facing relatively small fines are willing to take their cases to court.

As we profiled last month, a Pennsylvania man spent thousands of dollars in legal costs to protest a $150 fine for evading questions asked to him by a game warden. He won a legal victory over his Fifth Amendment rights, which apparently conflicted with a Pennsylvania deer hunting statute.

Scott Bomboy is the editor in chief of the National Constitution Center.
3630  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Coulter on: April 16, 2014, 07:12:38 PM

April 16, 2014
As those of you who follow my hate mail know, I am opposed to running untested candidates against perfectly good incumbent Republican senators this election cycle. It will be a long time before Republicans have as good a year as this to win a Senate majority.

 Unfortunately, we have idiots doing the idiot thing, pretending to be "tea partiers," while challenging sitting Republican senators over fairly minor ideological differences.

 Anyone opposing an incumbent Republican for any reason other than amnesty is a fraud or an idiot. Right now, immigration and Obamacare are the only things that matter. Since every Republican voted against Obamacare, that leaves only immigration.

 Conservatives who ignore amnesty while carping about the debt ceiling, TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program), the Internet tax bill or Benghazi are too stupid to help their country.

 Suppose the Senate had passed a bill that would cut Texas out of the Union? Would that get your attention, fake tea partiers? Without Texas, Republicans would immediately lose 38 electoral votes, two senators and 24 members of Congress. (Democrats would lose only 12 House members.)

 How would you rate the prospect of repealing Obamacare if Republicans could: never win another presidential election; never win another majority in the House; and never again win a Senate majority? Oh, and how does the expression "President Nancy Pelosi" grab you?

 Would that bill be slightly more important to you than the Internet tax bill?

 Well, guess what? Amnesty will produce the exact same result as losing the entire state of Texas. In fact, merely continuing our current immigration policies will achieve the same result; it will just take a little longer. (But wow, I'm sure glad we got "Octomom"! What a boon she's been to our American way of life.)

 The population of Texas is about 27 million. With amnestied illegal aliens allowed to bring in their cousins and brothers-in-law under our insane "family reunification" policies, the 12 million illegal immigrants already here will quickly balloon to 30 million new voters -- who happen to break 8-to-2 for the Democrats.

Consequently, before running off and staging a primary fight against a sitting Republican, anyone who truly loved his country would ask himself the following three questions:

 (1) Does the incumbent Republican support amnesty? And by the way, "Supports amnesty" includes anyone who says one of the following:

 -- "We already have de facto amnesty"

 -- "What are you going to do -- round up 12 million illegals?"

 -- "They're doing jobs American just won't do," or

 -- "Our housekeeper, Lupe, is like family."

 (2) Is a primary challenge unlikely to flip a Republican seat to the Democrats?

 (3) Am I fairly certain the challenger is smart enough to avoid the (apparently) rocky shoals of being asked about abortion in the case of rape?

 There are at least three Republican primary candidates who pass this test with flying colors. They're smart, attractive, articulate and unlikely to ever use the phrase "legitimate rape."

 No incumbent Republican senators are in jeopardy -- the one Senate race is for a seat currently held by a Democrat, and the other two races are for House seats in reasonably safe Republican districts.

 Finally, all three races represent the battle at the heart of the Republican Party: Are we the party of soulless businessmen who care nothing about the country but only want higher profits for themselves? Or are we the party of middle-class and working-class Americans?

 If you don't think the Republican Party should speak exclusively for Wall Street, Silicon Valley and the Chamber of Commerce, then you have to support:

 -- Dr. Greg Brannon, running in the Republican primary against foreign-labor cheerleader Thom Tillis, to challenge the Democratic senator from North Carolina, Kay Hagan. (Primary: May 6)

 -- Frank Roche, running against the lying, amnesty-supporting Renee Ellmers in North Carolina's 2nd Congressional District. (Primary: May 6)

 -- Dave Brat, economics professor, challenging the amnesty-addled Eric Cantor in Virginia's 7th Congressional District. (Primary: June 10)

 State legislator Tillis championed a bill making it easier for North Carolina employers to hire foreign workers. Instead of temporary guest workers coming in for a few months a year to do farm work, Tillis' bill expanded "farm labor" to "all industries," and expanded "seasonal" to "nine months."

 This wasn't an idle vote cast thoughtlessly: After the Republican governor vetoed Tillis' job-killing bill, Tillis led the legislature to override his veto.

 Tillis has been well repaid by business interests. North Carolinians can repay him for driving down their wages on May 6.

 Frank Roche, who is challenging two-term incumbent Renee Ellmers, speaks more knowledgeably about immigration than almost any sitting member of Congress. (After two decades in international banking in New York, he moved to North Carolina and became an economics professor and talk-radio host -- so he can talk.)

 Roche has this crazy idea that a nation's immigration policies should be good for the citizens of that country. (Somebody get this guy in leather restraints!)

 By contrast, his opponent, Rep. Ellmers, has dedicated herself to supporting the needs of her rich donors by being strident, rude and utterly cliched on the subject of immigration.

 Naturally, she is supported by Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg -- because who cares about the needs of North Carolina workers more than a Silicon Valley one-hit wonder seeking cheap foreign labor? (I'm sure Zuckerberg has the very best interests of the country at heart.)

 Every exchange Ellmers has about immigration seems to end in a blizzard of shouts and insults. After failing to tear at the heartstrings of talk radio's Laura Ingraham with tales of rich farmers who need cheap foreign labor, Ellmers shouted that Ingraham was "ignorant" and "emotional."

 About a week later, Ellmers denounced a constituent who criticized her on immigration, telling him that he didn't have "any damn facts" and was full of "hatred and vitriol."

 (Zuckerberg apparently pays his politicians better than he pays his computer programmers.)

 For the cherry on top, both Ellmers and Tillis go around claiming they're opposed to amnesty -- while doing everything they can to sneak foreign workers into North Carolina.

 So at least they know amnesty is not popular with voters. Here's an idea! Instead of running candidates who have to lie about their position on immigration, let's run Republicans who actually agree with the voters!

 Sucking up to businessmen may have brought Tillis and Ellmers a lot of campaign cash, but it's unlikely to help them with North Carolina's population, which, by the way, is 22 percent black. Recall that Mitt Romney won an astounding 20 percent of the young black male vote by being the toughest presidential candidate on immigration in 50 years. (I guess they do want the jobs "Americans just won't do.")

 Dave Brat, an economics professor like Roche, is challenging Rep. Eric Cantor: Maniacal Amnesty Supporter. Cantor says "immigration reform could be an economic boon to this country."

 You don't have to be an economics professor to know that bringing in millions of workers is not "an economic boon" to the workers already here. (If only we could bring in millions of workers to compete for Cantor's job.)

 Brat responded to Cantor's baby-talk, saying immigration "lowers wages, adds to unemployment, and the taxpayer pays the tab for any benefits to folks coming in."

 Republicans aren't at much risk of losing any of these seats, with or without primary fights. But we'll lose them all within a decade if Republicans like Tillis, Ellmers and Cantor aren't stopped.

Brannon, Roche and Brat are the candidates true patriots should support with everything they have.


3631  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Hank Aaron on: April 16, 2014, 07:43:52 AM
Response to Doug's post from the race thread on Hand Aaron's recent comparison of GOP and KKK.

Yes I too was Very disappointed to see him say this in an interview.   I recall when a friend and I were sitting a AA spring training Atlanta Braves game in Florida (West Palm Beach?) in the early 90's some guy walked across the other side of the bleachers and everyone started clapping.   The word was it was Hank Aaron.

Great player and always came across as a gentlemen.  Performed under extreme pressure and surely was a victim of segregation and racism.

Yet I don't quite get the comparison of the GOP to the KKK.  Perhaps someone should email him the post of the history of racism and the two major American parties on the racism board. 
3632  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / A good reply on History of Democrats, Republicans, and Racism off of Yahoo board on: April 15, 2014, 03:02:12 AM
David H 44 minutes ago

A Short History of Democrats, Republicans, and Racism

 The following are a few basic historical facts that every American should know.

 Fact: The Republican Party was founded primarily to oppose slavery, and Republicans eventually abolished slavery. The Democratic Party fought them and tried to maintain and expand slavery.

 Why is this indisputable fact so rarely mentioned? PBS documentaries about slavery and the Civil War barely mention it, for example. One can certainly argue that the parties have changed dramatically in 150 years, but that does not change the historical fact that it was the Democrats who supported slavery and the Republicans who opposed it. And that indisputable fact should not be airbrushed out for fear that it will tarnish the modern Democratic Party.

 Had the positions of the parties been the opposite, and the Democrats had fought the Republicans to end slavery, the historical party roles would no doubt be repeated incessantly in these documentaries. Funny how that works.

 Fact: During the Civil War era, the "Radical Republicans" were given that name because they wanted to not only end slavery but also to endow the freed slaves with full citizenship, equality, and rights.

 Yes, that was indeed a radical idea at the time!

 Fact: Lincoln's Vice President, Andrew Johnson, was a strongly pro-Union (but also pro-slavery) Democrat who had been chosen as a compromise running mate to attract Democrats. After Lincoln was assassinated, Johnson thwarted Republican efforts in Congress to recognize the civil rights of the freed slaves, and Southern Democrats continued to thwart any such efforts for nearly a century.

 Fact: The Ku Klux Klan was originally and primarily an arm of the Southern Democratic Party, and its mission was to terrorize freed slaves and Republicans who sympathized with them.

 Why is this fact conveniently omitted in so many popular histories and depictions of the KKK, including PBS documentaries? Had the KKK been founded by Republicans, that fact would no doubt be repeated constantly on those shows.

 Fact: In the 1950s, President Eisenhower, a Republican, integrated the US military and promoted civil rights for minorities. Eisenhower pushed through the Civil Rights Act of 1957. One of Eisenhower's primary political opponents on civil rights prior to 1957 was none other than Lyndon Johnson, then the Democratic Senate Majority Leader. LBJ had voted the straight segregationist line until he changed his position and supported the 1957 Act.

 Fact: The historic Civil Rights Act of 1964 was supported by a higher percentage of Republicans than Democrats in both houses of Congress. In the House, 80 percent of the Republicans and 63 percent of the Democrats voted in favor. In the Senate, 82 percent of the Republicans and 69 percent of the Democrats voted for it.

 Fact: Contrary to popular misconception, the parties never "switched" on racism.

 Following the epic civil rights struggles of the 1960s, the South began a major demographic shift from Democratic to Republican dominance. Many believe that this shift was motivated mainly by racism. While it is certainly true that many Southern racists abandoned the Democratic Party over its new support for racial equality and integration, the notion that they would flock to the Republican Party -- which was a century ahead of the Democrats on those issues -- makes no sense whatsoever.

 Yet virtually every liberal, when pressed on the matter, will inevitably claim that the parties "switched," and most racist Democrats became Republicans! In their minds, this historical ju jitsu maneuver apparently transfers all the past sins of the Democrats (slavery, the KKK, Jim Crow laws, etc.) onto the Republicans and all the past virtues of the Republicans (e.g., ending slavery) onto the Democrats! That's quite a feat!

 It is true that Barry Goldwater's opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 probably attracted some racist Democrats to the Republican Party. However, Goldwater was not a racist -- at least not an overt racist like so many Southern Democrats of the time, such as George Wallace and Bull Connor. He publicly professed racial equality, and his opposition to the 1964 Act was based on principled grounds of states rights. In any case, his libertarian views were out of step with the mainstream of the Republican Party, and he lost the 1964 Presidential election to LBJ in a landslide.

 But Goldwater's opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act provided liberals an opening to tar the Republican Party as racist, and they have tenaciously repeated that label so often over the years that it is now the conventional wisdom among liberals. But it is really nothing more than an unsubstantiated myth -- a convenient political lie. If the Republican Party was any more racist than the Democratic Party even in 1964, why did a higher percentage of Republicans than Democrats in both houses of Congress vote for the 1964 Civil Rights Act? The idea that Goldwater's vote on the 1964 Civil Rights Act trumps a century of history of the Republican Party is ridiculous, to say the least.

 Every political party has its racists, but the notion that Republicans are more racist than Democrats or any other party is based on nothing more than a constant drumbeat of unsubstantiated innuendo and assertions by Leftists, constantly echoed by the liberal media. It is a classic example of a Big Lie that becomes "true" simply by virtue of being repeated so many times.

 A more likely explanation for the long-term shift from Democratic to Republican dominance in the South was the perception, fair or not, that the Democratic Party had rejected traditional Christian religious values and embraced radical secularism. That includes its hardline support for abortion, its rejection of prayer in public schools, its promotion of the gay agenda, and many other issues.

 In the 1960s the Democratic Party essentially changed its strategy for dealing with African Americans. Thanks largely to earlier Republican initiatives on civil rights, blatant racial oppression was no longer a viable political option. Whereas before that time Southern Democrats had overtly and proudly segregated and terrorized blacks, the national Democratic Party decided instead to be more subtle and get them as dependent on government as possible. As LBJ so elegantly put it (in a famous moment of candor that was recorded for posterity), "I'll have those niggers voting Democratic for the next 200 years." At the same time, the Democrats started a persistent campaign of lies and innuendo, falsely equating any opposition to their welfare state with racism.

 From a purely cynical political perspective, the Democratic strategy of black dependence has been extremely effective. LBJ knew exactly what he was doing. African Americans routinely vote well over 90 percent Democratic for fear that Republicans will cut their government benefits and welfare programs. And what is the result? Before LBJ's Great Society welfare programs, the black illegitimacy rate was as low as 23 percent, but now it has more than tripled to 72 percent.

 Most major American city governments have been run by liberal Democrats for decades, and most of those cities have large black sections that are essentially dysfunctional anarchies. Cities like Detroit are overrun by gangs and drug dealers, with burned out homes on every block in some areas. The land values are so low due to crime, blight, and lack of economic opportunity that condemned homes are not even worth rebuilding. Who wants to build a home in an urban war zone? Yet they keep electing liberal Democrats -- and blaming "racist" Republicans for their problems!

 Washington DC is another city that has been dominated by liberal Democrats for decades. It spends more per capita on students than almost any other city in the world, yet it has some of the worst academic achievement anywhere and is a drug-infested hellhole. Barack Obama would not dream of sending his own precious daughters to the DC public schools, of course -- but he assures us that those schools are good enough for everyone else. In fact, Obama was instrumental in killing a popular and effective school voucher program in DC, effectively killing hopes for many poor black families trapped in those dysfunctional public schools. His allegiance to the teachers unions apparently trumps his concern for poor black families.

 A strong argument could also be made that Democratic support for perpetual affirmative action is racist. It is, after all, the antithesis of Martin Luther King's vision of a color-blind society. Not only is it "reverse racism," but it is based on the premise that African Americans are incapable of competing in the free market on a level playing field. In other words, it is based on the notion of white supremacy, albeit "benevolent" white supremacy rather than the openly hostile white supremacy of the pre-1960s Democratic Party.

 The next time someone claims that Republicans are racist and Democrats are not, don't fall for it.
3633  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / second post today - NYT on: April 15, 2014, 02:44:48 AM

The Opinion Pages|Op-Ed Contributors 

Global Warming Scare Tactics


OAKLAND, Calif. — IF you were looking for ways to increase public skepticism about global warming, you could hardly do better than the forthcoming nine-part series on climate change and natural disasters, starting this Sunday on Showtime. A trailer for “Years of Living Dangerously” is terrifying, replete with images of melting glaciers, raging wildfires and rampaging floods. “I don’t think scary is the right word,” intones one voice. “Dangerous, definitely.”

Showtime’s producers undoubtedly have the best of intentions. There are serious long-term risks associated with rising greenhouse gas emissions, ranging from ocean acidification to sea-level rise to decreasing agricultural output.

But there is every reason to believe that efforts to raise public concern about climate change by linking it to natural disasters will backfire. More than a decade’s worth of research suggests that fear-based appeals about climate change inspire denial, fatalism and polarization.

For instance, Al Gore’s 2006 documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” popularized the idea that today’s natural disasters are increasing in severity and frequency because of human-caused global warming. It also contributed to public backlash and division. Since 2006, the number of Americans telling Gallup that the media was exaggerating global warming grew to 42 percent today from about 34 percent. Meanwhile, the gap between Democrats and Republicans on whether global warming is caused by humans rose to 42 percent last year from 26 percent in 2006, according to the Pew Research Center.

Other factors contributed. Some conservatives and fossil-fuel interests questioned the link between carbon emissions and global warming. And beginning in 2007, as the country was falling into recession, public support for environmental protection declined.

Still, environmental groups have known since 2000 that efforts to link climate change to natural disasters could backfire, after researchers at the Frameworks Institute studied public attitudes for its report “How to Talk About Global Warming.” Messages focused on extreme weather events, they found, made many Americans more likely to view climate change as an act of God — something to be weathered, not prevented.

Some people, the report noted, “are likely to buy an SUV to help them through the erratic weather to come” for example, rather than support fuel-efficiency standards.

Since then, evidence that a fear-based approach backfires has grown stronger. A frequently cited 2009 study in the journal Science Communication summed up the scholarly consensus. “Although shocking, catastrophic, and large-scale representations of the impacts of climate change may well act as an initial hook for people’s attention and concern,” the researchers wrote, “they clearly do not motivate a sense of personal engagement with the issue and indeed may act to trigger barriers to engagement such as denial.” In a controlled laboratory experiment published in Psychological Science in 2010, researchers were able to use “dire messages” about global warming to increase skepticism about the problem.

Many climate advocates ignore these findings, arguing that they have an obligation to convey the alarming facts.

But claims linking the latest blizzard, drought or hurricane to global warming simply can’t be supported by the science. Our warming world is, according to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, increasing heat waves and intense precipitation in some places, and is likely to bring more extreme weather in the future. But the panel also said there is little evidence that this warming is increasing the loss of life or the economic costs of natural disasters. “Economic growth, including greater concentrations of people and wealth in periled areas and rising insurance penetration,” the climate panel noted, “is the most important driver of increasing losses.”
2013 has shown the true colors of the left’s false narrative on global warming. Both poles have expanding ice, with the Antarctic breaking...
Claims that current disasters are connected to climate change do seem to motivate many liberals to support action. But they alienate conservatives in roughly equal measure.

What works, say environmental pollsters and researchers, is focusing on popular solutions. Climate advocates often do this, arguing that solar and wind can reduce emissions while strengthening the economy. But when renewable energy technologies are offered as solutions to the exclusion of other low-carbon alternatives, they polarize rather than unite.

One recent study, published by Yale Law School’s Cultural Cognition Project, found that conservatives become less skeptical about global warming if they first read articles suggesting nuclear energy or geoengineering as solutions. Another study, in the journal Nature Climate Change in 2012, concluded that “communication should focus on how mitigation efforts can promote a better society” rather than “on the reality of climate change and averting its risks.”

Nonetheless, virtually every major national environmental organization continues to reject nuclear energy, even after four leading climate scientists wrote them an open letter last fall, imploring them to embrace the technology as a key climate solution. Together with catastrophic rhetoric, the rejection of technologies like nuclear and natural gas by environmental groups is most likely feeding the perception among many that climate change is being exaggerated. After all, if climate change is a planetary emergency, why take nuclear and natural gas off the table?

While the urgency that motivates exaggerated claims is understandable, turning down the rhetoric and embracing solutions like nuclear energy will better serve efforts to slow global warming.

Ted Nordhaus is the chairman and Michael Shellenberger is the president of the Breakthrough Institute, an environmental research organization.
3634  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Phelps underwater on: April 15, 2014, 02:41:11 AM;_ylt=AlSxVU7WnQMxIqs7fuohHzCbvZx4?p=phelps+swim+underwater&toggle=1&cop=mss&ei=UTF-8&fr=yfp-t-745
3635  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science on: April 15, 2014, 02:27:12 AM
3636  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / yup ; this is it. At least a tad of sympathy here. on: April 14, 2014, 06:50:23 PM
By Daniela Drake 16 hours ago The Daily Beast

Why Your Doctor Hates His Job

By the end of this year, it’s estimated that 300 physicians will commit suicide. While depression amongst physicians is not new—a few years back, it was named the second most suicidal occupation—the level of sheer unhappiness amongst physicians is on the rise.

Simply put, being a doctor has become a miserable and humiliating undertaking. Indeed, many doctors feel that America has declared war on physicians—and both physicians and patients are the losers.

Not surprisingly, many doctors want out. Medical students opt for high-paying specialties so they can retire as quickly as possible. Physician MBA programs—that promise doctors a way into management—are flourishing. The website known as the Drop-Out-Club—which hooks doctors up with jobs at hedge funds and venture capital firms—has a solid following. In fact, physicians are so bummed out that 9 out of 10 doctors would discourage anyone from entering the profession.

It’s hard for anyone outside the profession to understand just how rotten the job has become—and what bad news that is for America’s healthcare system. Perhaps that’s why author Malcolm Gladwell recently implied that to fix the healthcare crisis, the public needs to understand what it’s like to be a physician. Imagine, for things to get better for patients, they need to empathize with physicians—that’s a tall order in our noxious and decidedly un-empathetic times.

After all, the public sees ophthalmologists and radiologists making out like bandits and wonder why they should feel anything but scorn for such doctors—especially when Americans haven’t gotten a raise in decades. But being a primary care physician is not like being, say, a plastic surgeon—a profession that garners both respect and retirement savings. Given that primary care doctors do the work that no one else is willing to do, being a primary care physician is more like being a janitor—but without the social status or union protections.

Unfortunately, things are only getting worse for most doctors, especially those who still accept health insurance. Just processing the insurance forms costs $58 dollars for every patient encounter, according to Dr. Stephen Schimpff, an internist and former CEO of University of Maryland Medical Center who is writing a book about the crisis in primary care. To make ends meet, physicians have had to increase the number of patients they see. The end result is that the average face-to-face clinic visit lasts about 12 minutes.

Neither patients nor doctors are happy about that. What worries many doctors, however, is that the Affordable Care Act has codified this broken system into law. While forcing everyone to buy health insurance, ACA might have mandated a uniform or streamlined claims procedure that would have gone a long way to improving access to care. As Malcolm Gladwell noted, “You don’t train someone for all of those years in [medicine]… and then have them run a claims processing operation for insurance companies.”

In fact, difficulty dealing with insurers has caused many physicians to close their practices and become employees. But for patients, seeing an employed doctor doesn’t give them more time with the doctor—since employed physicians also have high patient loads. “A panel size of 2,000 to 2,500 patients is too many,” says Dr. Schimpff. That’s the number of patients primary care doctors typically are forced to carry—and that means seeing 24 or more patients a day, and often these patients have 10 or more medical problems. As any seasoned physician knows, this is do-able, but it’s certainly not optimal.

Most patients have experienced the rushed clinic visit—and that’s where the breakdown in good medical care starts. “Doctors who are in a rush, don’t have the time to listen,” says Dr. Schimpff. “Often, patients get referred to specialists when the problem can be solved in the office visit.” It’s true that specialist referrals are on the rise, but the time crunch also causes doctors to rely on guidelines instead of personally tailoring medical care. Unfortunately, mindlessly following guidelines can result in bad outcomes.

Yet physicians have to go along, constantly trying to improve their “productivity” and patient satisfaction scores—or risk losing their jobs. Industry leaders are fixated on patient satisfaction, despite the fact that high scores are correlated with worse outcomes and higher costs. Indeed, trying to please whatever patient comes along destroys the integrity of our work. It’s a fact that doctors acquiesce to patient demands—for narcotics, x-rays, doctor’s notes—despite what survey advocates claim. And now that Medicare payments will be tied to patient satisfaction—this problem will get worse. Doctors need to have the ability to say no. If not, when patients go to see the doctor, they won’t actually have a physician—they’ll have a hostage.

But the primary care doctor doesn’t have the political power to say no to anything—so the “to-do” list continues to lengthen. A stunning and unmanageable number of forms—often illegible—show up daily on a physician’s desk needing to be signed. Reams of lab results, refill requests, emails, and callbacks pop up continually on the computer screen. Calls to plead with insurance companies are peppered throughout the day. Every decision carries with it an implied threat of malpractice litigation. Failing to attend to these things brings prompt disciplining or patient complaint. And mercilessly, all of these tasks have to be done on the exhausted doctor’s personal time.

Almost comically, the response of medical leadership—their solution— is to call for more physician testing. In fact, the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM)—in its own act of hostage-taking—has just decided that doctors should be tested not every ten years, but every two years. If a physician doesn’t comply by the end of this month, the ABIM will strip away the doctor’s board certification status.

In an era when nurse practitioners and physician assistants have shown that they can provide excellent primary care, it’s nonsensical to raise the barriers for physicians to participate. In an era when you can call up guidelines on your smartphone, demanding more physician testing is a ludicrous and self-serving response.

It is tone deaf. It is punitive. It is wrong. And practicing doctors can’t do a damn thing about it. No wonder doctors are suicidal. No wonder young doctors want nothing to do with primary care.

But what is a bit of a wonder is how things got this bad. 

Certainly, the relentlessly negative press coverage of physicians sets the tone. “There’s a media narrative that blames physicians for things the doctor has no control over,” says Kevin Pho, MD, an internist with a popular blog where physicians often vent their frustrations. Indeed, in the popular press recently doctors have been held responsible for everything from the wheelchair-unfriendly furniture to lab fees for pap smears.

The meme is that doctors are getting away with something and need constant training, watching and regulating. With this in mind, it’s almost a reflex for policy makers to pile on the regulations. Regulating the physician is an easy sell because it is a fantasy—a Freudian fever dream—the wish to diminish, punish and control a disappointing parent, give him a report card, and tell him to wash his hands.

To be sure many people with good intentions are working toward solving the healthcare crisis. But the answers they’ve come up with are driving up costs and driving out doctors.  Maybe it’s too much to ask for empathy, and maybe physician lives don’t matter to most people.

But for America’s health to be safeguarded, the wellbeing of America’s caretakers is going to have to start mattering to someone. 


3637  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: April 11, 2014, 08:24:24 PM
This title is remarkable.

""Immigration is a "GOP" problem.""

No its not!  It is a problem for the entire country!

******Jeb Bush remarks expose GOP's immigration problem

Associated Press
By MICHAEL J. MISHAK 22 hours ago

MIAMI (AP) — With three little words, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush set off a fury this week that served as a potent reminder of how difficult the immigration issue remains for his possible presidential ambitions and the Republican Party.

Jeb Bush Remark Could Be 2016 Problem CBS Dallas Fort Worth (RSS)
Immigration reform 'love': Did Jeb Bush comment change shape of 2016 race? Christian Science Monitor
Jeb Bush says illegal immigration often 'an act of love' Reuters
Jeb Bush: Is GOP elite drafting him for 2016? Christian Science Monitor
[$$] William Galston: The Jeb Bush and Tea Party Divide The Wall Street Journal

An early GOP establishment favorite, Bush has long urged his fellow Republicans to show more compassion for those who enter the country illegally. But when he described illegal immigration in an interview as an "act of love" by people hoping to provide for their families, the backlash from his own party was swift and stinging.

Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho accused Bush of "pandering." Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and House Speaker John Boehner said the country should enforce the "rule of law." And conservative commentator Michelle Malkin created a new Twitter hashtag: #CancelJebBush.

In a speech Thursday night to an annual gathering of Connecticut Republicans, Bush noted the negative response to his remarks but said he sees no conflict between enforcing the law and "having some sensitivity to the immigrant experience."

Some of the party's most powerful insiders and financiers are concerned immigration could define the coming nominating contest in the way it did in 2012. Like Bush, Texas Gov. Rick Perry was jeered when he implied that his rivals were heartless if they opposed a law that lets some children of undocumented immigrants pay in-state tuition at public colleges.

The 2012 GOP nominee, Mitt Romney, took a hard line and advocated "self-deportation" for those here illegally. He won just 27 percent of the Hispanic vote, the lowest portion for a Republican in 16 years.

"The worst thing that can happen to a political party is not for voters to decide they don't like you," said Alex Castellanos, a GOP consultant and former Romney adviser. "It's for voters to decide you don't like them, and that's where the Republican Party is right now."

The Republican National Committee has urged the GOP to embrace an immigration overhaul, but comprehensive legislation remains stalled in Congress. Action is unlikely in an election year with high stakes. All 435 House seats, and 36 in the Senate, are on state ballots. Republicans need to gain only six Senate seats to win majority control from Democrats. The political calculus makes the GOP's core base of voters critical, so House Republicans want to avoid an immigration fight that could alienate them. But some establishment Republicans say the delay threatens the long-term future of the GOP.

"It's going to kill the Republican Party," said Al Hoffman, a Republican megadonor who chaired George W. Bush's presidential campaigns.

He and others argue the GOP needs a nominee with a "Nixon-goes-to-China mentality"— in which the party leader takes an audacious, if not popular, step— on issues such as immigration. They suggest that's necessary in part to peel away some Hispanic voters from Democrats in 2016.

For Bush, the debate is personal. His wife, Columba, was born and grew up in Mexico. The two met while Bush was an exchange student there; she is now an American citizen.

On Sunday, in an interview with Fox News before an audience at the George Bush Presidential Library in Texas, Bush said immigrants who enter the country illegally should, in fact, pay a penalty. But he added that he viewed such a violation as "a different kind of crime."

"Yes, they broke the law, but it's not a felony," he said. "It's an act of love."

Hispanics are a crucial voting bloc in an increasing number of swing-voting states, from Florida to Colorado to Nevada.

Some see a new opportunity for the GOP to appeal to Latinos, many of whom have soured on President Barack Obama because of his administration's record-setting number of deportations.

"Hispanics are eager to hear from a leader in the Republican Party talk about immigration in the way that Jeb Bush talked about it," said Janet Murguia, president of the National Council of La Raza, the country's largest Hispanic civil rights organization. "Some may argue that a bold country-first stance on immigration cannot win the nomination, but what is certain is that a divisive, anti-immigration stance does not win the presidency in a nation of immigrants."

In contrast to the 2012 nomination fight, most of the potential 2016 presidential contenders have signaled support for some kind of immigration overhaul. But they remain deeply divided over whether legislation should offer a pathway to citizenship for those living here illegally. After the Senate passed a bipartisan measure last year that would do just that, the barrage of conservative criticism virtually silenced the GOP's most outspoken immigration advocates, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

The furor over Bush's remarks shows the potential perils of picking up the issue, especially in the early voting states that play an outsized role in choosing party nominees. Bush's "act of love" comment was pithy and provocative enough to stir deep discomfort in a party still searching for a single message on the subject. And it challenged GOP officials to disagree without further alienating a voter group they're trying to attract.

"We appreciate the compassion in the statement, but the best compassion you can show a people is to uphold justice," said Tamara Scott, a RNC committeewoman and prominent Christian conservative in Iowa.

Bush, the two-term, Spanish-speaking former governor of a state with a booming Hispanic population, has struggled to articulate his views in a party that has changed dramatically since the last time he ran for office in 2002.

Last year, Bush released a book that championed legal status — but not citizenship— for illegal immigrants, seemingly contradicting his past statements. But in recent months, he has been giving speeches around the country that often include a full-throated defense of an immigration overhaul. Speaking at a recent financial advisers' conference in Florida, Bush lauded immigrants as "the risk takers," arguing that they embody the entrepreneurial spirit of America and invigorate the country's economy.

Katon Dawson, a South Carolina Republican strategist and Perry adviser, said Bush is wise to detail his nuanced positions so that potential rivals can't easily define his immigration stance if he decides to run.

"Look, the word 'amnesty' is a killer" in a Republican primary, Dawson said. "So you've got to take every chance you get to explain yourself ahead of the campaign."


Associated Press writers Bill Barrow in Atlanta and Susan Haigh in Stamford, Conn., contributed to this report*****
3638  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politically (In)correct on: April 11, 2014, 07:14:41 PM
Just think if this student had claimed he was bullied because he is gay.   The news would be front page of all the major MSM outlets around the Western World.

Anderson Cooper would spend a week going over this.
3639  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Murdoch & Fox on: April 11, 2014, 07:50:48 AM
"Murdoch was defiant when asked if the right-leaning Fox News Channel’s editorial content has hurt the political discussion or even the Republican Party itself. "It has absolutely saved it,” he said."

I agree.  Without Fox or talk radio one half of the nation would have No voice.

Rupert Murdoch speaks: politics, divorce and how Fox News 'saved' the political debate

Eric Pfeiffer
By Eric Pfeiffer 17 hours ago Yahoo News
Rupert Murdoch arrives at the 2014 Academy Awards in February (Reuters)
Media mogul and News Corp. Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch sat down for his first interview in nearly five years.

The still very active and opinionated 83-year-old opened up to Fortune about a number of personal and political details during the interview, including his current favorite potential Republican candidates for 2016.

Murdoch told Forbes the 2016 presidential election “is between four or five people," and he places Jeb Bush and Paul Ryan atop his personal rankings. He called Ryan “the straightest arrow I've ever met.”

Some other highlights (Fortune subscribers can read the full Q&A):

Fox News Channel's slant

Murdoch was defiant when asked if the right-leaning Fox News Channel’s editorial content has hurt the political discussion or even the Republican Party itself. "It has absolutely saved it,” he said.

On how he's aging

He says, "My mother just died at 103, so that's a start. You should live 20 years longer than your parents. That may not be realistic, but I'm in good physical shape, according to the doctors. And don't worry — my children will be the first to tell me if I start losing some mental ability. That will be the time to step back.”

His biggest (professional) mistake

Primarily, buying MySpace for $580 million: “It was one of our great screwups of all time."

He also opened up about his 2013 divorce from Wendi Deng. “Everything has sort of come at once," he said. "But I was in an unhappy situation, and all I'm worried about ... is two beautiful little girls from that marriage. And they come and stay with me a great deal. I feel like I've turned over a new page in my life.”

On two of his most famous newspaper properties

Murdoch says the New York Post may go to an all-digital version within 10 years but that the Wall Street Journal will likely exist in both print and digital form for a longer period of time.

What he thinks people don’t understand about him

“They perhaps tend to think I've not got as thick a skin as I have. You know, I don't mind what people say about me. I've never read a book about myself," he said.

How he brought his son Lachlan back into the fold at News Corp.

"Lachlan and [younger son] James and I had a very serious talk about how we can work as a team. We had two or three hours together. Lachlan was not not going to come back. It was a question of how we would work together."

Follow Eric Pfeiffer on Twitter (@ericpfeiffer).
3640  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hillary pyschoanalyzes Putin on: April 10, 2014, 04:51:44 AM
*****Hillary Clinton Psychoanalyzes Vladimir Putin

 By Liz Kreutz
Follow on Twitter
Apr 8, 2014 9:24pm

AP Hillary Clinton ml 140409 16x9 608 Hillary Clinton Psychoanalyzes Vladimir Putin
Credit: Timothy J. Gonzalez/Statesman Journal/AP Photo

Russian President Vladimir Putin may have a buff physique, but former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sees right through it.

During a Q&A at a marketing summit in California today, Clinton gave a deep read on Putin’s personality, and compared the encounters she’s had with him to those she’s experienced on an elementary school playground.

“I have had my personal experiences with him,” she said, when answering a question about Putin and the recent situation in Crimea. “He’s a fascinating guy. Obviously he is determined.”

Clinton then proceeded to dissect his psyche.

“He is very difficult to read personally,” she said. “He is always looking for advantage. So he will try to put you ill at ease. He will even throw an insult your way. He will look bored and dismissive. He’ll do all of that.”

But Clinton said she was never fazed.

“I have a lot of experience with people acting like that,” she quipped. “Go back to elementary school. I’ve seen all of that, so I’m not impressed by it.”

Clinton made the comments during her first leg of a jam-packed, four-day long speaking tour through the West Coast at Marketo’s Marketing Nation Summit in San Francisco.

During her speech and the following Q&A, with Marketo CEO Phil Fernandez, Clinton spoke on issues including technology, immigration, income inequality, and advancement for women in the workplace.

The event wrapped up with the inevitable question about 2016. But when asked if she plans to run for president, Clinton gave no more of an indication that she had made a decision either way. She said that she is still thinking about it, and that she is “going to continue to think about it for a while.”

Even Clinton, however, admitted she’s become an expert at dodging the question.

“I danced around that pretty well, don’t you think?” she remarked with a smile.*****

Hillary knows not to let Putin's "buff" physique fool her.   I wonder if he knows not to let her hideous physique fool him.  Using HER school yard metaphor she sound like the ugly duckling who can't get the popular athlete so she simply has to insult him.

Low information voters will swoon over her nonsense.

3641  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / governements kill on: April 10, 2014, 04:40:38 AM

The 20th century turned out to be mankind's most barbaric. Roughly 50 million to 60 million people died in international and civil wars. As tragic as that number is, it pales in comparison with the number of people who were killed at the hands of their own government. Recently deceased Rudolph J. Rummel, professor of political science at the University of Hawaii and author of "Death by Government," estimated that since the beginning of the 20th century, governments have killed 170 million of their own citizens. Top government killers were the Soviet Union, which, between 1917 and 1987, killed 62 million of its own citizens, and the People's Republic of China, which, between 1949 and 1987, was responsible for the deaths of 35 million to 40 million of its citizens. In a distant third place were the Nazis, who murdered about 16 million Jews, Slavs, Serbs, Czechs, Poles, Ukrainians and others deemed misfits, such as homosexuals and the mentally ill
3642  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / dog and lion at play on: April 08, 2014, 08:03:01 PM
The famous dogs and lion pals in Oklahoma zoo:;_ylt=AjoD3Cvs23s9NSCYFLiw8VGbvZx4?p=dog+and+lion+oklahoma+zoo&toggle=1&cop=mss&ei=UTF-8&fr=yfp-t-301
3643  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Brazilian wandering spider - on: April 08, 2014, 07:46:22 PM
erectile dysfunction - hang out with a Brazilian wandering spider.  It also has the most toxic spider venom:

****Brazilian Wandering Spider: Bites & Other Facts

By Jessie Szalay,

Brazilian wandering spider, spiders

  The Brazilian wandering spider belongs to the genus Phoneutria, which means “murderess” in Greek. And it’s no wonder why — it’s one of the most venomous spiders on earth. Its bite can be deadly to humans, although antivenom makes death unlikely. The Guinness Book of World Records has named it the world’s Most Venomous Spider in multiple years.

There are eight species of Brazilian wandering spiders, which can all be found in Brazil. Some of the species can also be found throughout Latin America, from Costa Rica to Argentina. These powerful arachnids have been known to hitch rides internationally in banana shipments, for which they’ve been given the nickname “banana spider.”

In 2007, scientists discovered that in addition to intense pain and possible medical complications, the bite of a Brazilian wandering spider also deliver a long, painful erection to human males. The venom boosts nitric oxide, a chemical that increases blood flow. There has since been talk of incorporating the venom into drugs for erectile dysfunction.
3644  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: April 06, 2014, 03:09:48 AM
Health Care "policy" is all about the elites as well.
3645  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Education on: April 05, 2014, 10:14:50 AM
What a marvelous story ( or beginning of a story).   Truly the American dream.   I recall posting about my Indian friend and colleague who commented how he sees American Blacks simply not seeing the advantages they have because they are in America.   I don't want to sound cold or indifferent or that I don't recognize the sort of holocaust Blacks went through over centuries as slaves and in segregated America etc.   

But this son of parents from Africa seem to have been taught and learned to embrace the gift of America that exists no where else.  I have many African patients and some colleagues.   I also have many from the Caribbean and American.  Culture and nation/regional  roots certainly does influence them (as it does us all).

Yet there is something special in this child's parents.  And there is something special in him.   

It seems like they just wanted the chance.   You don't hear anything about entitlements or the rest.  Just to be in America where one has a chance.

To blame discrimination was believable in the past.  It is not anymore.   In fact most of the Black Doctors I run into these days seem to be of African descent.
3646  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: April 05, 2014, 07:47:36 AM
Thanks Denny.

With regards to the New Age World Government it does seem Obama is a true believer.

Wikipedia's One World Government history:

3647  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cardiomyopathy due to climate change on: April 05, 2014, 06:31:51 AM
Where does the liberal slant end?   Even Takotsubo syndrome is due to global climate change -  and all "natural disasters" are due to climate change.  They never existed before.  Now they are all man made angry

*****By Rachel Hochhauser April 3, 2014 5:45 AM The Daily Beast
Broken Hearts Can Kill You

Day-to-day heartache doesn’t hold a candle to scientifically proven heartbreak—a real thing called Takotsubo cardiomyopathy. Turns out, your cardiac muscle can temporarily enlarge and weaken, and what’s more, the number of diagnoses is growing, leading a team of researchers to examine the cause. They found a surprising correlation that has the power to impact each and every one of us, even if you think you’ve got heart health on lock.

First described in Japan, broken heart syndrome got its name because a diagnosed patient’s left ventricle balloons to resemble the shape of an octopus trap. In non-doctor speak, the condition is essentially an impermanent weakening of the heart, often triggered by extreme emotional or physical stress—anything from losing a job to surviving a tsunami. Some physicians postulate a similarity to the fight-or-flight response; stress hormones paralyze the heart, affecting muscle tissues and blood vessels, and impede proper contraction of the left ventricle.

Patients with the condition may experience chest pain, shortness of breath, and other false evidence, such as biomarkers and electrocardiogram changes, bearing the markers of a cardiac arrest.

Though some studies have been conducted internationally, the latest research from the University of Arkansas—which explores a synergy between natural disasters and cases of cardiomyopathy—is unlike any other stateside. Dr. Sadip Pant, an internist at the university and the lead investigator of the report, explains, “This is the first study of its kind in the country.  We have so many hurricanes and storms…but not one has described the spiking of the cases after natural disasters.”

His team used a nationwide hospital discharge database to identify a group of more than 20,000 diagnosed cases. When they mapped them out geographically, the results indicated “clusters” of broken heart syndrome patients around sites of recent tragedies. Essentially, the data illustrates a notably larger number of reported cases in areas that had seen a natural disaster.

Missouri and Vermont possessed the highest number of reported cases, and the latter, with 380 cases per million residents, had more than double most other states. The data came from the same year Hurricane Irene wreaked the worst havoc Vermont had seen in decades. Similarly, the “cluster” in Missouri occurred near the site of 2011’s massive Joplin tornado. And while there might have been a number of other factors affecting these results, the general research takeaway suggests natural disasters can strongly contribute to cardiomyopathy.

The correlation was first noticed after the 2004 earthquake in Japan, and since then plenty of other global examples have popped up on the radar. Dr. Pant says, “There have been cases reported from Australia after the great flooding. Similarly, people from France described increasing cases after a village burned down.”

Looking at the bigger picture, the study’s implications are significant when viewed in light of the increasing number of natural disasters on the whole.  According to a 2013 report from the New England Journal of Medicine, the scale of these events is expanding, with three times as many from 2000 through 2009 versus those recorded from 1980 through 1989. Climate-related events account for nearly 80% of the increase, indicating that climate change may affect our health in more ways than we anticipated. The journal also notes that since 1990, “natural disasters have affected about 217 million people every year,” which just goes to show the importance of furthering our understanding of medical heartbreak.

As if you needed another reason to worry about global warming.

Climate changes aside, there are smaller immediate shifts we can make today, namely prepping response teams for future catastrophic incidents. Dr. Pant’s most important takeaway is the need for further education amongst physicians. Emergency room staff—often the first to see patients affected by natural disasters—and cardiologists need the background knowledge required to properly diagnose the syndrome, because its symptoms usually resemble those of a heart attack. Misidentification of the problem means a delayed legitimate diagnosis—no small thing when it comes to matters of the heart. While the syndrome is largely reversible, Takotsubo also requires careful attention during its acute phase.

Dr. Pant says, “It’s really important to have widespread knowledge of this disease, not just among cardiologists, but among the other medical specialties, so they can detect in time and diagnose accurately after.”

A properly diagnosed cardiomyopathy patient usually mends—like most romantic heartbreak—within a month or two.*****
3648  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: April 05, 2014, 05:54:42 AM
Is she serious?  She claims she does not understand the opposition to the ACA!   Why would anyone be so upset about all the free or cheap benefits it brings she wonders?

Totally absent from her argument is who is paying for this stuff and loss of freedom.  Not one iota mentioned of that.   She completely blocks it all out.   Most people I see have higher deductibles and copays, higher rates, more restricted formularies and other tests.  This aspect is totally ignored by the left.   

Cynthia Tucker
By Cynthia Tucker 5 hours ago

My friend Isatou has just received an invoice from Kaiser Permanente, testament to her new coverage through the Affordable Care Act -- usually called "Obamacare." She's thrilled to finally have health insurance so she can get regular checkups, including dental care.

A reasonably healthy middle-aged woman, she knows she needs routine mammograms and screenings for maladies such as hypertension. But before Obamacare, she struggled to pay for those things. She once had to resort to the emergency room, which left her with a bill for nearly $20,000. (She settled the bill for far less, but it still left her deeply in debt.)

She is one of more than 7 million people who have signed up for health insurance through the ACA, stark evidence of the overwhelming market demand. Despite a badly bungled initial roll-out, a multimillion dollar conservative media campaign designed to discourage sign-ups, and a years-long Republican crusade against it (50 votes to change the law), millions got health insurance.

That hardly means Obamacare is a raging success. It's much too early to know how it will affect health outcomes for the previously uninsured. But it's abundantly clear that the ACA has already made great strides in improving access to health care. And that alone is quite an accomplishment.

Now, young adults can stay on their parents' health insurance policies until they are 26 years old -- a boon in an economy where many young folks are struggling to find decent jobs. Now, patients with previously diagnosed illnesses ("pre-existing conditions," in insurance lingo) can't be denied coverage. Now, the chronically ill don't have to worry about hitting a lifetime cap that would deny them essential procedures or pharmaceuticals. Now, working folks who don't get insurance through their employers can purchase affordable policies.

Factoring in the Medicaid expansion, the ACA has extended health care coverage to an additional 9.5 million people, according to the Los Angeles Times, which gathered data from national surveys. Needless to say, millions more would have been covered if so many Republican governors, mostly located in Southern states, had not callously refused to accept the Medicaid expansion despite the fact that it is largely paid through federal government funds.

The GOP's relentless opposition has been puzzling. Republicans have resorted to extreme measures to try to derail Obamacare, including an implicit threat to prevent the National Football League from participating in a marketing campaign to encourage people to sign up.

Oh, did I mention 50 votes to repeal or alter the law?

Even acknowledging that our politics have become bitterly polarized, I don't understand this one. Even taking into account the GOP's irrational hatred for President Obama, I don't get it. Even though I know that Republicans believe in less government, I don't understand their approach to Obamacare.

First off, the ACA adheres to market-based ideas, many of which were first suggested by conservatives. Instead of a single-payer system like, say, Medicare, the ACA relies on private insurance companies. It adopts the individual mandate that was supported by many Republicans, including Newt Gingrich, back in the 1990s and later adopted by Mitt Romney in Massachusetts.

Second, Republicans are free to offer up a health care scheme that is more in keeping with conservative principles. But the "repeal and replace" mantra is rarely heard anymore since it has become increasingly clear that the GOP has no intention of coming up with a plan to replace Obamacare. While there are various counter-proposals floating about, none has garnered the support of a majority of Republicans in Congress.

Is the ACA perfect? Absolutely not. There is much in the law that needs to be worked on, refined, improved. But the GOP doesn't seem interested in that. Instead, its members have taken to engaging in increasingly ridiculous criticisms, including the charge that the White House has made up the number of successful enrollees.

It's strange. Could it be that Republicans are simply furious that millions of Americans like Isatou finally have health insurance?

(Cynthia Tucker, winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, is a visiting professor at the University of Georgia. She can be reached at
3649  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / If everyone were treated 227 billion dollars on: April 03, 2014, 06:04:10 AM
I think some competing drugs are on the way:

*****Insurers Are Really Mad at Sovaldi, the $1,000-a-Day Miracle Drug

The Atlantic Wire
By Polly Mosendz 23 hours ago
In December 2013, the FDA approved Sovaldi a drug developed by Gilead Sciences that promises to do wonders for patients with hepatitis C. Since then, insurers and the government have grown incredibly angry and frustrated with the company.

Sovaldi is a revolutionary advance that promises to cure 90% of targeted patients. Without this treatment, patients could develop liver cancer or require liver transplants. The FDA has said "it is the first drug that has demonstrated safety and efficacy to treat certain types of HCV infection without the need for co-administration of interferon." It was granted the FDA's coveted Breakthrough Therapy Designation, becoming approved in under a year. Director of the Office of Antimicrobial Products at the FDA's Center of Drug Evaluation and Research, Edward Cox, M.D., believes Sovaldi is life changing: “[Sovaldi's] approval represents a significant shift in the treatment paradigm for some patients with chronic hepatitis C.”

Yet, insurers cannot stand this life saving, revolutionary medication. That's because it runs $1,000 a day and the average patient requires a 12-week treatment of Sovaldi. That's $84,000 for one cycle. For patients with a strain that is more difficult to treat, the regiment is 24 weeks. That comes in at $168,000. It is projected to rake it between $5 billion and $9 billion in profits in the United States this year alone. There are an estimated 4 million Americans with Hepatitis C, and 15,000 are killed each year by untreated chronic infections.

Unfortunately, there is not much insurers can do about the price. A comparable drug is not yet on the market. The most similar medication, Incivek, runs $68,000 for  12-week course, but it is much less effective. Comparatively, Sovaldi is still much cheaper than the next-best alternative: a liver transplant. Transplant surgery runs at least $175,000 per patient, not including complications and other associated costs. Additionally, the risks of surgery are far greater than the drug: the body can reject a transplant, it is major surgery, and the recovery time is much longer. There is also a wait list, and a hepatitis C patient may not be eligible for a liver in time.

Gilead Sciences believes the focus is in all the wrong places. "[Critics] have focused on the per-pill cost or per-bottle cost, but that is really not relevant here. It's how much it costs to cure your patient," said Gregg Alton, Gilead's executive vice president of corporate and medical affairs.

Regardless, insurers are battling to lower the cost of the drug. Molina Healthcare, which is set to see earnings decline by 18 percent if (though more realistically, when) the drug reaches $6 billion in sales, is trying to limit which patients have access to the treatment. Mario J. Molina, chief executive of Molina Healthcare gave this statement: “If you’ve got a patient who is advanced and has liver disease and is about to get a liver transplant, it makes sense to give treatment. [W]hat do we do about everybody else? If everyone in the U.S. with hepatitis C were treated with Sovaldi at its list price, it would cost $227 billion compared with the estimated $260 billion spent a year in the country for all drugs.”

Express Scripts is working with doctors to determine which customers can be put on a wait list until a rival, and presumably less expensive, drug is available.

Representative Henry Waxman has taken direct aim at Gilead Sciences as well. In a public letter sent March, 20th, Waxman questioned the pricing: "Our concern is that a treatment will not cure patients if they cannot afford it. [...] According to a recent Reuters report, 'many doctors are requesting a $150,000 combination of Sovaldi ... and Olysio. These costs are likely to be too high for many patients, both those with public insurance and those with private insurance." ********
3650  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The electoral process, vote fraud, SEIU/ACORN et al, corruption etc. on: April 03, 2014, 05:44:08 AM
"Bid to cut voter roles" is of course the way the NYT describes this.

It wouldn't surprise me if 1,000,000 voters nationwide are fraudulent.

It can't even be measured.

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