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3601  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: February 20, 2012, 01:01:45 PM
" is beginning to prepare for a face-off with [Rick] Santorum, just in case the former Pennsylvania senator captures the Republican nomination. The conventional wisdom among both Democrats and Republicans is that Obama would seek to tear Santorum limb-from-limb with attacks on his positions on abortion, contraception, and, now, prenatal testing."

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

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

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

I have to say though Santorum did not *sound* great defending himself this AM.
3602  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The only new thing is a Presidential election on: February 20, 2012, 10:58:19 AM
The only thing new about Iran and nuclear weapons is the US election.   Nothing has changed.  All along it is obvious they are hell bent on getting them and nothing can stop them short of military force or some unexpected miracle.

The Republicans have sided with Israel on this.  Apparantly Obama is feeling the heat before his election and now he must decide what to do for his own skin - not Israel's.
3603  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs & regulations, spending, deficit, and budget process on: February 19, 2012, 11:39:57 AM
"The tenor of this piece is at considerable variance from GB."

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

Not if they want to stay in office unless they are from Barney Frank's (now ANOTHER freakin Kennedy's) or Pelosi's districts.
3604  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Marriage and Family on: February 19, 2012, 11:33:13 AM
Well it is ironic that on one hand we have the gays making a big deal out of gay marriage (I can only wonder if it is all about the money somehow with regards to estates, taxes etc) while at the very same time we have a collapse of the insitution in the heterosexual side of the country. 

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

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

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

Who cares anymore when someone is gay?  I am fatigued by all this infatada about marriage, adoption, bullying (for God's sake if I turn on CNN one more time to see Anderson Cooper making a school bullying incident into an international scandal....)... the point is now I feel like I am the one being harrassed.  Yes I know I can change the TV station.
3605  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs/Sunstein on: February 19, 2012, 11:15:06 AM
The Economist has a lot to say about US government *over*regulation in this week's issue.  I saw this article on Cass Sunstein who is decried from the right as a big liberal.   Sunstein is marketed by the WH as being this big government 'spending/cut' Czar.   A lot of smoke and mirrors as one would expect from the Obama WH.  That said not all of Sunstein's opinions are that liberal though his stance on taxes certainly is one of a big liberal government cheerleader (see the Wikipedia piece on him below; I read with some skepticism for the objectivity of what shows up in Wikipedia).   

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More on Cass - he is a dog person  grin:
3606  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / No Mars gold rush in 20"49" on: February 19, 2012, 09:48:46 AM
3607  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: NASA, Space programs on: February 19, 2012, 09:45:46 AM
I wonder if there is any gold on Mars?   The trip could pay for itself
3608  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Decline, Fall, (and Resurrection?) of America on: February 19, 2012, 09:42:53 AM
Great post BG.  Fascinating discussion.  Lots to talk about.  Just some thoughts:

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

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

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

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

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

3609  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Gertrude Stein - unusual and complex on: February 18, 2012, 01:49:53 PM
Certainly I have had some conflicts with my fellow Jews, particularly those who are liberal but nothing like this from one of the first openly lesbian celebrities who was a life long Republican, anti Roosevelt an New Deal dissenter.   Interesting since she was gay and female at a time when that was far more taboo than now.   Yet to nominate Hitler for the Nobel Peace prize in part for ridding Germany of Jews??  Wow. 
What was that all about?   
She later speaks of Roosevelt along with Trotzky, Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin in the same breath.  She certainly sounds like she believed in personal responsibility and freedom of thought and I think, at least later on from government.

****Institute for Historical Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From The Journal of Historical Review, Sept-Oct. 1997 (Vol. 16, No. 5), pp. 22 ff.

3610  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Mayo Proceedings psychiatrist on marijuana on: February 18, 2012, 11:02:06 AM
I received free a copy of the journal.  I glanced through a somewhat long article but have not spent the time reading it.

This physician supports the use of it for medical purposes.  I am not convinced we need another psychoactive drug out there.  OTOH it is out there anyway I guess.   Here he is giving a 10 minute chat about it:
3611  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: February 18, 2012, 08:59:18 AM
Drudge reporting "sources" in the WH now saying military action against Iran now "more" likely.

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

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

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

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

Democrats will stop at nothing.
3612  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender, Gay, Lesbian on: February 17, 2012, 04:17:08 PM
"Why not polygamy/polyandry as well?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

I can go on.

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

So a few "chapels" on the Vegas strip will go out of business.
3613  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender, Gay, Lesbian on: February 17, 2012, 01:14:17 PM
Bigdog says,

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


"special accommodations are exactly what they are entitled to"

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

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

There is still no end in sight.  And there will not be.  Not unitl the entire world all 7 billion of us are exactly the same.
3614  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Napolitano on: February 17, 2012, 11:45:26 AM
Beck gone now Napolitano.   Ratings are down I guess.  Truthfully it seems like these shows will only appeal to certains groups and go only so far.   I say with disappointment that the strict conservative message is not going to get us the independents.  Just won't happen.  It is just too late, like it or not.

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

In any case back to Freedom Watch:
3615  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The electoral process, vote fraud, SEIU/ACORN et al, corruption etc. on: February 17, 2012, 10:01:56 AM
I saw this last night.

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

We will never know.

Romney has money.
3616  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: February 16, 2012, 07:43:35 PM
"The Obama Farewell Speech of 2012" grin

I wouldn't put it past him to pull a "Cleveland" in 2016. shocked
3617  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Chinese buying lots of gold on: February 16, 2012, 07:39:30 PM
I don't know if this accounts for the price but China is buying large amounts.  Indians are buying too though I don't know if as much:
3618  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender, Gay, Lesbian on: February 16, 2012, 03:17:30 PM
For those of you who want to spend time reading 29 pages of this "study" which has a lot diatribing in it while in the same paper admits that actual research looking into the this is "scant" one can knock yourself out here:

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

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

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

3619  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender, Gay, Lesbian on: February 16, 2012, 02:42:07 PM
"Actually nearly all the national medical groups agree (I wouldn't call them "progressive special interest groups")"

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

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

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

3620  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Ross is still alive on: February 15, 2012, 04:06:54 PM
3621  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Military Science and Military Issues on: February 15, 2012, 04:04:47 PM
3622  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Military Science and Military Issues on: February 15, 2012, 03:51:28 PM
Assasination is quite acceptable so long as it makes a liberal politician look good.

Question, who lies more Nixon or Obama?
3623  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Military Science and Military Issues on: February 15, 2012, 03:42:26 PM
BG interesting fact book.

It is ironic we now have the most liberal President in history, making the most of speical operation forces overseas.

I remember not too long ago every liberal from Hollywood to MSM decrying out loud the CIA and special ops (IranContra) as
an evil segment of the Unites States overseas policy.

Sort of like Reagan's space based anti ballistic initiative as being ridiculed as Star Wars.  Now I can guarantee you Brock wishes he had antiballistic weapons that could shoot down nuclear warheads.  It would make Iran seem like less of a threat.
3624  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: February 15, 2012, 03:32:30 PM
Interesting post Crafty.

Readers know I have been disappointed to say the least over the years seeing so many fellow Jews supporting liberal political causes.

I had never heard of billionaire Adelson until I read about his several million donation to Newt.  I am glad the right appears to have an answer to Soros et al.  (and Jewish grin)

I am not sure why Shledon suddenly feels comfortable with Mitt when indeed he was not only weeks ago when he shelled out big money (not for him) for Newt.

FWIW (very little except to make conversation) I like Santorum.  I am not thrilled by Mitt.   Obviously many Republicans feel the same way.  Yet I still conclude Mitt is the stronger candidate for Obama.

Probably there is still time to give Santorum one more shot at why he is Presidential and should be the nominee.

Romney is like Campbell's chicken soup.  Basically adequate but just doesn't make my mouth water.  Hopefully with the right management and a real defined appealing campaign message this will be enough.

If not, to borrow Ross Perot's famous phrase, "we will be in [deeper] deep doodoo".

BTW, I wonder what happended to him.  Is he still alive?
3625  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Monetary Policy, Inflation, US Dollar & other currencies, & Gold/Silver on: February 14, 2012, 04:26:56 PM
"In fact, the federal government's total obligations today – including all future obligations – is more than $1 million per taxpayer. And that's if you assume all 112 million taxpayers really count. (They don't. Only about 50 million people in the U.S. pay any substantial amount of federal income taxes.)"

This answers the questions under the government spending thread about the burden on "real" taxpayers who are supporting not only themselves and family but several others.

Otherwise it sounds like the crises in Kally4rnia is the same as the Federal Government.

It is so bad or about ready to be so bad -

What is amazing man in the MSM look at people who write articles like this and laugh and smirk and belittle them. 

Well health insurance in NJ goes up 10% every year.

Prescription drug program under Bush cost more than SS?  I didn't know that.  And we have some pushing for Jeb Bush?
No thanks.  The first brought us Clinton the second brought us Brock.  Enuf said.

3626  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs & regulations, spending, deficit, and budget process on: February 14, 2012, 03:34:04 PM
"we are looking at about $350,000 per taxpayer?"

Brock is not helping the middle class - he is killing us.

Yet hear him speak he is saving us.

Will/can the word get out?

Yet for the other 240 million what do they care?  Vote for the Brock!! They say.  Soak the "rich". tongue rolleyes cry sad angry
3627  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / preposterous on: February 14, 2012, 03:29:09 PM
"What business is it of the government what gender we are?"

What business is it of government what gender race ethnicity age or anything else?   A human being is a human being.

What business is it what "country" we are from?   Denmark, Kansas, New Zealand, Nigeria, Mongolia.   Obviously we are all one race - humankind.  (notice "man"kind is out!)

Look one world government with all of us exactly the same.

Don't forget it is the right of this same government to tell us what is politically correct to say AND think.

They can also tell us what we can and can't eat.  How many times we can flush the toilet.  What kind of light bulbs to use.  What kind of car to drive.   How much money we are allowed to make and certainly how much we can keep and must give them.

We are not allowed to display certain symbols on our lawn.  They can send a letter to our house telling us we are in the way and must move to make way for a busines that has given someone high up a donation or a piece of the real estate.

We cannot ask people who move here to speak our language but we must speak their language.

The government has NO business questioning what gender we are despite the laws of nature but they have all the business in the world to tell us and do to us all the above.

Make sense to you?  Not to me.

(It gets worse every day.  No end in sight.)
3628  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Those carrying the load - have broken backs on: February 14, 2012, 03:17:19 PM
(Unless you are Buffett Gates Soros and a couple of celebs----) 

Let's see 17 K per person 70K per family of four.  Yet if we remove the roughly 50% who pay no income tax or those who are retired on SS what is the real cost to today's workers (some pay a payroll tax I guess) and their working children.  Though since a large number of those under 20 - 25 yo are unemployed - bottom line - the toll on those carrying this load is FAR worse:   
 ****President Obama’s fourth budget has now been released, which allows for a relatively full accounting of deficit spending during his four years in office. The picture isn’t pretty, but it is revealing.

According to the White House’s own figures (see table S-1 here for 2011 to 2013, and table S-1 here for 2010), the actual or projected deficit tallies for the four years in which Obama has submitted budgets are as follows: $1.293 trillion in 2010, $1.300 trillion in 2011, $1.327 trillion in 2012, and $901 billion in 2013.  In addition, Obama is responsible for the estimated $200 billion (the Congressional Budget Office’s figure) that his economic “stimulus” added to the deficit in 2009.  Moreover, he shouldn’t get credit for the $149 billion in TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) repayments made in 2010 and 2011 to cover most of the $154 billion in bank loans that remained unpaid at the end of the 2009 fiscal year — loans that count against President Bush’s 2009 deficit tally.

Adding all of this up, deficit spending during Obama’s four years in the White House (based on his own figures) will be an estimated $5.170 trillion — or $5,170,000,000,000.00.

To help put that colossal sum of money into perspective, if you take our deficit spending under Obama and divide it evenly among the roughly 300 million American citizens, that works out to just over $17,000 per person — or about $70,000 for a family of four.***
3629  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Entitlements and how to go after them on: February 14, 2012, 12:36:48 PM
"Republican lack of integrity"

I really don't know Crafty.  I think the Repubs have been running a defensive retreating strategy for years.  They are really afraid of losing segments of the voters if they stand on principle too much.  So they try to compromise which backfires and on and on.

It is nearly impossible to compete with a party that steals from producers and bribes more and more voters.

Now we have the medicare soc sec bunch who are more inclined to be on the right but for their own pockets are suddenly another big entitlement group that will protect its interests over the good of the country.  Like all of us I guess or hate to say.

"no significance whether or not their destruction of the economy is intentional"

It may be more incompetence.  Does Paul Krugman continue to shove his absurd views on us because he really believes his way is best or that if it doesn't work - well hell F the US anyway and start over?  I am not sure about this.

As we all here know the liberal movement is with the end game of the US is nothing more then a piece of land in a world ruled by liberals "governmentalists".

They don't like America they want to abolish its dominance or use it only to spread around the world.  So if this country fold as we know it - maybe not so bad.

(Of course until they personally would suffer but that is another story.)

3630  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: February 14, 2012, 11:01:54 AM
I like Morris but and have looked forward to his insights.  Unfortunately, I am learning he is just preaching to the Right's choir.
I don't think he has any real insight to independents who seem to bend with the wind.

Brock's team knows this.

That is why they are unleashing this total propaganda war.

Independents will believe whatever they hear @ the moment.

They think the economy is doing better - right or wrong - they vote for Brock.

The market goes up they vote for Brock.

I know, the Repubs are too busy fighting each other and will also get their media machine rolling once we get the nominee.

3631  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / correction on: February 14, 2012, 10:55:23 AM
"They just get it, care, understand, see it or whatever, they only care about their pocketbook."

Tehy just DON'T get it, etc.

3632  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Entitlements and how to go after them on: February 14, 2012, 10:54:07 AM

I am not as optimistic as you.

Just the single fact that I keep hearing that Republicans should be able to "hold on" to the House of reps is alone enough to dishearten me.

To think we have this gigantic liberal in the WH and we are facing this truly radical transformation of America and yet Republicans are struggling to hold onto gains....

The fact the Brock has an approval of even 40-50% also tells me it is almost too late.

It appears many in this country are just fine with a more socialist state.

The 15 - 20% or whatever the number is in the middle - who always decide the elections on a national level
it is obvious by now they are not swayed or concerned about ideology one way or the other.  They just get it, care, understand, see it or whatever, they only care about their pocketbook.

That is it.  It has to be that.   Otherwise Brock's approval would be 40% with disapproval of 60%.   We wouldn't even be thinking the House could go back to Dems or lose Repub seats.  It would be a landslide.

Or let me ask you.  Why is Brock still at 45-50% approval?
3633  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Crashing the system may be the goal on: February 14, 2012, 09:57:50 AM
"Until it all crashes."

That may actually be the GOAL.

Someone on talk radio was questioning the motive of Brockster NOT addressing the entitlements.

Whether it be he is just waiting to get re-elected?

And he is playing chicken and letting the Repubs make the first step into the quandry and then will mow down all their proposals with demogauguery?

Or is he really the manchurain liberal who does want the system to collapse so it can be rebuilt more like a communist or fascist state with the end goal being one world government that is all controlling or all knowing.

The answer to this question is unknown but I think it very reasonable to suspect it actually is that he would be ok if the system collapse as long as he and his liberal friends can progress to even bigger new liberal world orders.

Some fools would call this crazy, far fetched, propaganda.

There is actually a LOT of evidence this IS real to support this theory.  Indeed many of the big libs today are saying as much.

The foreign policy proposals calling for the US to forever be bound by the UN is just one example.

The idea tha offshore drilling should be taxed to  give to poor countries - now I should work to pay off the benefits to those in the  US  who are bribed to vote AND  I should do the same for the entire world?

If this does  not shine a light on what the liberals are doing to us - I don't know what will wake up America.
3634  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Yes and to take it a little further on: February 13, 2012, 02:15:58 PM
Agree with the arguments posted.  Also the gay infitada has a powerful ally in the MSM.  Since much of the opposition to legalizing marriage and with it the "normalization" of homosexuality comes for religion and of course religious groups have been aligned to a large extent with the Republican party the gays have become probably almost as strongly identified with the Crat party as Blacks and 75% of Jews.

So it is quite natural they have big support in the MSM notwithstanding much prominence in the entertainment industry and now with cable news - Maddow, Cooper, etc.

In a way I find my rights as an American citizen to speak out against overwhelming immigration abuse, and to speak out as a taxpayer my resentment that I be taxed up the behind while 50% pay no federal income tax, and the very rich have numerous loopholes, as very much the same type of muzzling of ALL opposition to this progressive wave that is overwhelmiing America.
3635  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / pre-election flip flop on: February 11, 2012, 10:54:17 AM
This is so Clinton.  At the last minute just before the election announce a NEW stand on an issue as though he was for it all along and take credit for it and also take away a wedge issue from his opponent.  JDN will of course scream with delight the brilliance of his politics, the independents won't have a clue and it will possibly work to help save his behind next November:

****Obama to pitch lower corporate tax
He'll likely propose a rate closer to an average seen in peer nations

+-WASHINGTON  — President Barack Obama will call for cutting the top 35 percent corporate tax rate as early as this month, according to two sources close to the administration.

The president is likely to propose a rate closer to an average of that seen in peer nations, the sources said.

This would jibe with remarks made last year by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who suggested the United States should be moving to a rate more in line with its major trading partners in the high 20-percent range.

Obama outlined tax measures - including closing tax loopholes for companies that move facilities and jobs overseas - in his State of the Union speech in January, and will lay out principles for revamping corporate taxes by the end of February, a senior administration official said.

"We will talk more before the end of the month on what corporate tax reform would look like," the official said on Friday, confirming that it would include a call for "lower rates."

Facing a potentially tough presidential re-election challenge this November, Obama will propose cutting the rate following the release of his 2013 budget plan on Monday, February 13, according to the sources, who were not authorized to speak on the record.

While he spent a big part of his January speech to Congress criticizing businesses for moving jobs overseas, Obama said that "companies that choose to stay in America get hit with one of the highest tax rates in the world."

Only Japan has a steeper corporate tax rate than the United States among industrialized countries, though other countries make up the revenue with a value-added tax, he said. The United States does not have a VAT.

An overhaul of the corporate tax system is extremely unlikely in an election year, but the president's proposal could be an olive branch to the business community to show that he agrees with them on one key aspect of tax reform.

"I think what he will end up doing is saying, 'For years folks have been asking for a lower corporate rate, and here it is - what do you think?,'" said Jared Bernstein, a former economic advisor to Vice President Joe Biden.

Advertise | AdChoicesObama's Treasury Department was close to releasing a revamp of corporate taxes last year, but pulled back after business opposition, according to a former official.

Republican Rep. Dave Camp, the chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives' tax-law writing Ways and Means committee, has set a goal of trimming the top 35 percent corporate rate to 25 percent.

Gene Sperling, director of Obama's National Economic Council, has told reporters that the president will be laying out "principles" for corporate tax reform close to the budget release.

Obama's corporate plan will also include a new minimum tax on foreign profits earned in low tax countries - an unpopular idea in the corporate community.****

3636  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces on: February 10, 2012, 05:16:43 PM
I forgot about the fact that no planes bringing arms to Israel were allowed to land in Europe during the '73 war.

I wonder if the diffference now is Saudi will step up and provide extra oil to Europe.  Not holding my breath.

The Saudis have to know Iran is the threat and the Jews are not. 

3637  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Health Thread (nutrition, medical, longevity, etc) on: February 09, 2012, 02:37:43 PM
"Kudos to CCP for warnings given regarding Lap Band Surgery some time ago."

Thanks JDN.

I don't remember posting on this board about that.

Unfortunately outcomes for lap band are very disappointing.  *Most* will gain the weight back and many do have problems later on.

The full bariatric restrictive/absorptive procedures are better.   Yet I was recently surprised to find that contrary to expectations patients are not necessarily living a lot longer by what one would think is a life saving procedure.  I think it depends on their co - morbid condidtions to start with. 

I will try and see if I can find more recent information that I can post here.  I don't recall the latest details.

Like the complete turnaround on PSA testing sometimes the longer one studies "outcomes" the more we realize we may not be doing as much good as thought.

That is one of the theoretical concepts behind electronic medical record data.   That we will know more about long term effects of what we do and don't do.   The jury is out on this.  Overall I am not a big fan of it.

Yet the train has left the station like it or not. 
3638  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Internet and related technology on: February 08, 2012, 04:10:09 PM
"the Recording Industry Association of America"

The pot calling the kettle black.

What a joke.
3639  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Anti-semitism & Jews on: February 08, 2012, 04:04:21 PM
great story - thanks.
3640  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: February 08, 2012, 10:33:48 AM
It is still very early but I am getting nervous looking at Mitt not being able to overcome the MSM slant about him.

It was never a big problem that Kerry was the richest man in the Senate when he ran.

All of a sudden we hear the MSM tagging Mitt with the he is the 1%  guy and suddenly that is a reason that disqualifies him for President.   

I am not sure that the Republicans are at this point doing themselves a favor by having Santorum running and Gingrich, well I am not sure wht he is accomplishing.

Mark Levin who I really like is WRONG if he thinks having someone who can take a stand - and probably LOSE - is better than a "moderate" like Mitt who can have a much better chance of winning - is the right course.  That is exactly the wrong course.

The prospect of another Sharon Angle who unbelievably lost to Reid in Nevada - occuring in the Presidential race -

this makes me lose sleep a lot more than wringing my hands about the world's poor.  There were always poor people, there always will be and the poor in this country have it far better than most if not all places in the world.
3641  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the left on: February 07, 2012, 10:33:19 AM
"Obama IMHO is one of the most honest"

Folks, this is what we are up against.

The 40-45% who will always vote for this guy no matter what.

Lying is no longer lying (unless one is Republican), spinning is no longer lying it is just politics and "they all do it", and indeed one cannot even call someone a liar when in fact they clearly are as that is now poltically incorrect and worse than calling someone a slang bigotted name.

Last night I noticed CNN calling Obama on his "reversal" on PACS.  If it was a republican it would have been called "flip-flop".

I didn't see the show but I assume they had several guests essentially explaining why it is really NOT a reversal or at the very least how he was driven to do it and is still true to his word etc... 
3642  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Middle East: War, Peace, and SNAFU, TARFU, and FUBAR on: February 06, 2012, 12:58:48 PM
"For that we apologize?  And blame ourselves??"

According to Ronbama yes.

Amazing despite all our blood sweats and tears many Arabs still despise us.

Not all.  I remember one Iraqi - American who escaped Saddam who after the US invasion to get rid of Saddam proclaimed to me, ''there is a God!"
OTOH he is an Iraqi Christain - this is the big difference I think.
It seems like th Christains in the middle east whom I have met over the years, whether they be from Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq....
are far more friendly to the US and even Israel/Jews.

I have many Muslim patients and being a doctor in NJ of course work alongside many Muslim doctors (many from Pakistan).

I generally don't discuss politics.   Can't take the chance for obvious reasons.  The same reason why celebrities who want to market themselves to everyone should keep their political views to themselves.

Once one of the doctors who is from Pakistan told me after his son was almost killed by fundamentalists in Pakistan that the radical Islmaist are "crazy".  And in Pakistan they used to concentrate in the West but arehave moved all over Paakistan and one never knows who they are  so it is nearly impossible to know the motives of anyone you are dealing with.

Kind of the same thing we seem to hear from US forces dealing the Pakistanis - some work with us and spy for us while others do just the opposite.
3643  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / africa on: February 06, 2012, 10:56:12 AM
Ndubuisi Ekekwe

Ndubuisi Ekekwe is a founder of the non-profit African Institution of Technology. He recently edited Nanotechnology and Microelectronics: Global Diffusion, Economics, and Policy.

Africa Is Open for Business
9:24 AM Monday February 6, 2012
by Ndubuisi Ekekwe | Comments (2)

Angola is offering financial aid to debt-ridden Portugal. The Economist recently declared Africa a "hopeful continent" after years of writing it off as "hopeless." More than a million Chinese are in Africa exploring opportunities in villages and cities. The continent is attracting top global brands and has a growing middle class. There's a sense of upbeat optimism with possibilities that seem endless. As the lions roar from Kenya to Ghana, and cheetahs from South Africa to Mali, young Africans are unleashing their entrepreneurial energy and most governments are offering stronger leadership, a more business-friendly economy, and less corruption.

But, Africa is not an isolated island in the world, and ongoing uncertainty with some of its trading partners could imperil any sustainable progress. A trade shock is just around the corner, as the continent remains reliant on a mineral-based economy. And new, rosy economic statistics have not managed to stop strikes, riots, and other protests, which are the result of the continued reality of economic inequality. What's more, Africa is complex, fragmented and multicultural. What works in Nigeria is not guaranteed to work in Kenya.

But, none of this should keep businesses from expanding into African markets. The international community should not ignore a growing market of roughly a billion people. Africa needs about $50 billion to meet its development goals over the next few years, and it needs the help of the international community to tackle the vicious cycle of poverty, disease and hunger in Africa today.

African economies are growing, and millions have moved into the middle class category within the last decade. And Africans are buying things, from iPads to Porsches. Africans are also becoming global players, with some of their banks — such as United Bank for Africa and Guaranty Trust Bank — opening offices in the U.S., France Flag Like ReplyReply Real-time updating is paused. (Resume)
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Angola is offering financial aid to debt-ridden Portugal. The Economist recently declared Africa a "hopeful continent" after years of writing it off as "hopeless." More than a million Chinese are in Africa exploring opportunities in villages and cities. The continent is attracting top global brands and has a growing middle class. There's a sense of upbeat optimism with possibilities that seem endless. As the lions roar from Kenya to Ghana, and cheetahs from South Africa to Mali, young Africans are unleashing their entrepreneurial energy and most governments are offering stronger leadership, a more business-friendly economy, and less corruption.
But, Africa is not an isolated island in the world, and ongoing uncertainty with some of its trading partners could imperil any sustainable progress. A trade shock is just around the corner, as the continent remains reliant on a mineral-based economy. And new, rosy economic statistics have not managed to stop strikes, riots, and other protests, which are the result of the continued reality of economic inequality. What's more, Africa is complex, fragmented and multicultural. What works in Nigeria is not guaranteed to work in Kenya.
But, none of this should keep businesses from expanding into African markets. The international community should not ignore a growing market of roughly a billion people. Africa needs about $50 billion to meet its development goals over the next few years, and it needs the help of the international community to tackle the vicious cycle of poverty, disease and hunger in Africa today.
African economies are growing, and millions have moved into the middle class category within the last decade. And Africans are buying things, from iPads to Porsches. Africans are also becoming global players, with some of their banks — such as United Bank for Africa and Guaranty Trust Bank — opening offices in the U.S., France and the U.K. Investments in the continent will grow, and the following areas remain the most promising:
Energy: Despite the abundance of resources like solar, oil, water and gas, most Africans still have no reliable energy supply. The challenge has been the cost-intensive, long-term reward nature of these projects in unpredictable political systems. It's simply too risky for businesses to invest in this sector. Minerals: As the world economy recovers, African minerals such as crude oil and gold will remain important to the global economy, as demand increases. Investing in extracting and processing these minerals will remain a lucrative venture. Agriculture: Africa is unfed in a continent with good, arable land. Africa imports its food, despite the fact that it produces enough to feed its citizens. The problem is that harvests are poorly managed due to a lack of preservation techniques, which means that much of the food goes to waste and Africa goes hungry even after bumper harvests. Food production, processing, and preservation will remain a profitable growth area. Technology: Africa has not attracted capacity-building investments, such as R&D centers and hi-tech manufacturing. In the coming years, as global buyers become more sophisticated, companies that differentiate their products within local markets will have a strong competitive advantage. Africa is no exception. For example, telecoms can be profitable in Africa not for selling airtime, but for powering value-added services such as mobile banking and mobile business, among others, that address the needs of this unique population. Four things will drive the African economy in this decade:
African diasporas: The diasporas who have acquired world-class skills with international networks will drive sustainable African development. As the global economy recovers from recession, their impact will continue to expand. Education: Education is a weak link in the development of the continent. Major foreign investment has not come to the sector owing to low return, but some African governments are working hard to change that. For instance, Rwanda and Carnegie Mellon University have teamed up to offer a graduate-level program in East Africa. The new campus will train talent for companies who want to make products closer to Africans. Better education will also serve to advance the entrepreneurial ecosystem on the continent. Intra-trade: The trade route to colonial links will become weaker as these nations become richer and make choices purely based on market factors. For instance, Cameroon could choose South Africa, rather than France, to process some of its food. Infrastructure: Though the regional economic communities (RECs) have not lead to monetary unions, Africa is poised to benefit from the integration of its various economies, and can learn from the euro zone crisis when strategizing about its own single currency program (PDF). The RECs will form free trade areas, which will help modernize infrastructure, among other things. Africa's biggest risk is its political system. New governments have cancelled mine contracts and leases executed by predecessors. The continent faces challenges if it cannot prepare for its post-mineral era. As I drive by dead mines that generated billions of dollars of wealth around the world, but left no sustainable community development behind, I have to wonder: What will the domino effect be if the continent cannot transmute effectively into a post-mineral era? Africa needs a redesign of its economy towards a knowledge-driven one. New industries remain underfunded and quality startups are scarce.
Africa is open for business, and tomorrow's global leaders should understand both the risks and the opportunities that are available here. There is the potential for corporations to make billions of dollars in profits in Africa. But, much more importantly, contributing to a strong and sustainable Africa could just be the next generation of global leaders' greatest legacy.
3644  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Middle East: War, Peace, and SNAFU, TARFU, and FUBAR on: February 06, 2012, 09:24:52 AM
"CCP, you are thinking in terms of security risk to the US, Israel and rest of the world.  He is thinking in terms of his own approval rate on the 'Arab street'.  Completely different concerns."

Good point.  They are different.  However I am of the view Obama does indeed feel that if their brand of democracy is a fundamentalist Islamic democracy then that is their choice and perfectly ok with him.

I don't think his aplogizing around the world for the US was entirely just to impress the Arab street.

I liken his view to Ron Paul's in this regard - the US should balme itself for much of it's overseas problems.
I don't disagree with Paul on domdestic policy but do not accept this foreign policy view which I think is what Obama thinks - though he plays more middle of the road for his own polical purposes.

But then again I certainly am no scholar on these matters cheesy
3645  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama miscalculation? Not so fast on: February 05, 2012, 11:11:23 AM
Mort thinks OBama miscalculated.  Perhaps.  I am not so sure.  Au contraire, I think Obama is quite content with  democracies controlled by Fundamentalist Islamists in the Middle East.   Indeed WHAT evidence do we have that he would be the least bit disturbed by this?

US News and World Report -

***Barack Obama's Middle East Miscalculation
In Egypt, we are witnessing the democratic election of a dictatorship
By Mortimer B. Zuckerman

January 20, 2012 RSS Feed Print A little-noticed event gives a grim insight into what is really happening in the Middle East. The euphoria of the "Arab Spring," the instant Twitter-style transition from dictatorship to democracy, is seen for what it is: an illusion. Yes, the dictatorship of one kind has gone, but democracy in the sense we understand it is, shall we say, somewhat delayed.

There have been any number of disappointments. The event that should give us pause about the underlying forces was obscured by the Christmas holiday. In mid-December, violent Islamic Salafist extremists burned down Cairo's famous scientific Institute d'Egypte, established by Napoleon in the late 18th century during a French invasion. The institute housed some 200,000 original and rare books, maps, archaeological objects, and rare nature studies from Egypt and the Middle East, the result of generations of work by researchers, mostly Western scholars. Zein Abdel-Hady, who runs Egypt's main library, remarked, "This is equal to the burning of Galileo's books."

The Salafists, who hate all things Western, no doubt saw their vandalism as an act of defiance against the West, destroying the precious documents of historical Egypt that were so intimately connected to the West. They are either too ignorant and/or too careless to realize that they were destroying their own heritage from Pharaonic Egypt.

[Read Mort Zuckerman and other columnists in U.S. News Weekly, now available on iPad.]

Last year in the Middle East was the most dramatic it has known for many. The series of uprisings in Egypt were marked by the emergence of Islamic forces from years of suppression. They scored dramatic political gains in Tunisia and Libya, too. Leaders who perceived themselves as invincible fell, one after the other, the most dramatic being the end of the rule of Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak.

The United States could not decide whether to support a regime that was disagreeable, but yet a strategic ally, or abandon it because it ignored fundamental American values like freedom and democracy (which means not just fair elections and majority rule, but respect for the rule of law, equal rights for women, tolerance of minorities, and freedom of expression). Alas, with the collapse of the Mubarak regime, the cause of freedom in Egypt is set back since, in the battle between the army and the conservative Islamic extreme, the Islamic bloc won by an overwhelming majority, with first place taken by the Muslim Brotherhood and second place grabbed by the Salafi extremists. By the time the elections are finished, there is likely to be at least a two thirds majority for an Islamist constitution. What we are witnessing is a democratic election of a dictatorship.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the turmoil in the Middle East.]

The White House completely miscalculated in Egypt, as it did in Gaza. It seemed only to care for the mechanics of the electoral process rather than the meaning of the results. Washington vacillated on who its Egyptian allies really are. We had long shared with the Egyptian military understandings on national security, ours with an eye to maintaining peace in the region. That relationship is now pretty much lost.

Americans, in their perennial innocence, have demanded that the generals turn over power to the civilians whomever they may be, just as they did to the Persian shah, just as they did after Israel's pullout from Gaza when they hadn't a clue about the danger posed by Hamas. Our ingenuous attitude has been tantamount to handing over Egypt on a silver platter to the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists, who ironically are coming into power as democrats.

Their new foreign policy will include opening the blockaded border with Gaza, ending normal relations with Israel, and opening them with Hamas and Iran in such a way as to alter the balance of power in the region against U.S. interests. Indeed, one of the few things that unites the political parties in Egypt is an anti-Western foreign policy. Cairo has already allowed Iran's warships to transit the Suez Canal; failed to protect pipelines supplying energy to Israel and Jordan; endorsed the union of Hamas and Fatah; and hosted conferences in support of "the resistance," that is, terrorism.

The United States forgot the lessons of Iraq, namely, that it is easier to remove an Arab-state dictator by military means than it is to alter the internal balance of power and create a solid foundation for human rights. Had it kept the Iraq experience in mind, the Obama administration would have thought a lot harder and ensured that there was a foundation for genuine democracy in Egypt before demanding Mubarak's immediate resignation.

[See photos of protests in Egypt.]

The Islamic groups can credit their success to better resources and organization, but they also have deep ties with Egypt's religiously rooted public. Their work with social and economic welfare programs during the country's long history of economic hardship gave them wide popularity among the illiterate poor. But as Robert Satloff, the executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, has put it, "The Brotherhood is not, as some suggest, simply an Egyptian version of the March of Dimes—that is, a social welfare organization whose goals are fundamentally humanitarian." It is a "profoundly political organization," he added, that seeks to reorder Egyptian society along Islamist lines and "transform Egypt into a very different place." As the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood put it in a sermon, "Arab and Muslim regimes are betraying their people by failing to confront the Muslims' real enemies, not only Israel but also the United States." The sermon was titled: "The U.S. is now experiencing the beginning of its end."

In six months a new president of Egypt will be elected. This is important because the presidency has long been the supreme locus of power. After the presidential election, which is supposed to occur before June, authority will pass to the newly elected leadership, and at that stage, the army is supposed to exit. The army's leaders seemingly intend to continue to play a central role, but this may lead to a clash between the army and the Islamic bloc.

[Read Jessica Rettig: Expected Win by Egypt's Islamists Poses Dilemma for U.S. Policy.]

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) is doing everything in its power to avoid transferring full control to civilian hands in order to retain the dominant status of the army, whatever may emerge. But army leaders are now seen as trying to steal the achievements of the revolution—and for the worst reasons, namely, their corrupt control of economic assets and the perks they have accumulated over the decades.

This does not bode well for America and its policy of deposing dictators and replacing them with "democratic regimes." As collateral damage, Saudi Arabia, once America's closest ally in the Middle East, no longer sees the United States as reliable, and the Saudi king's willingness to listen to the Obama administration has evaporated.

The new regime in Egypt will face challenges. For one, it will have to stabilize the economy. For that, experts say, it will need tourism; maritime traffic through the Suez Canal; gas sales to neighbors; and Western investment, not to mention American economic and military aid. These probably are the main barriers to a renewed confrontation with Israel, for this vital aid would then be stopped.

[Read Mort Zuckerman: For Israel, a Two-State Proposal Starts With Security.]

Democracy in Egypt without the Muslim Brotherhood may be impossible, but so is democracy under its leadership. It is one thing for the Muslim Brotherhood to run in an election; it's another to imagine what they will do if they gain power, for the Islamists will replace secular dictatorship with Islamic dictatorship, leaving only the army to prevent the establishment of an Islamic state. The young men and women of Tahrir Square toppled the regime. Then along came a second wave, the Muslim Brotherhood, whose founder, Hassan al-Banna, once declared, "It is the nature of Islam to dominate, not to be dominated." Now we will see how the Egyptian military faces its dilemma. If it holds fire, it will seal its fate, and the Islamic forces will take over by default. If army leaders decide to open fire, they will be classified as murderous dictators.

Of course, images of Mubarak on a hospital gurney in a metal cage in a Cairo courthouse, with the Robes­pierran prosecutor now demanding the death sentence, could provoke the SCAF to reconsider its eagerness to return to the barracks and hand power to the new Islamic leadership.

The West faces a dilemma: If it confronts the Islamists, it will confirm the Brotherhood's claim that the West is conspiring to undermine the religious identity of the Muslim world. If it does not, it will ignore the forces within Arab society that yearn for genuine democracy and Western forms of government. At the very least, the United States should withhold economic or diplomatic support to Arab states that follow the path of political Islam. Cairo will now be painted in Islamic colors, but this is not a clash between the secular and the religious. It is a clash between freedom and tyranny.

•Read the U.S. News debate on foreign aid.
•See photos of unrest in Libya.

•See an opinion slide show of 5 ways Arab governments resist democracy.
Tags:Mideast peace, Obama administration, Egypt
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I'm sorry but I don't understand how Mr. Zuckerman can write about freedom and tyranny just one week after he celebrated Fidel Castro, a dictator and tyrant (in Zuckerman's words, "Fidel is certainly at work and active and still an inspiration for Cubans").

Mr. Zuckerman, please go and have a hookah with Salafists, and tell us about the wonderful inspiration they provide to people of Egypt. As much as it is tragic, the Salafists, unlike Castro, were freely elected.

Pavel of AZ 1:32AM January 31, 2012

[report comment]

I'm sorry but I don't understand how Mr. Zuckerman can write about freedom and tyranny just one week after he celebrated Fidel Castro, a dictator and tyrant (in Zuckerman's words, "Fidel is certainly at work and active and still an inspiration for Cubans").

Mr. Zuckerman, please go and have a hookah with the chief Salafist, and then tell us about the wonderful inspiration they provide to people of Egypt. As much as it is tragic, the Salafists, unlike Castro, were freely elected.

Pavel of AZ 1:29AM January 31, 2012

[report comment]

Some might argue that it wasn't a miscalculation at all, but a desired effect....

His advocacy and passive assistance for his beloved"Arab spring" was at the least naive, knowing full well that the "Muslim brotherhood " was waiting in the wings cheering for the same thing.

Don L of CT 12:06PM January 24, 2012****

3646  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Andrew Cuomo jr. (future President?) on: February 04, 2012, 12:21:34 PM

Coumo will be the Democratic Presidential pick in 2016 (if not Hillary).

From the Economist.  Even radio host Bob Grant is "pleasantly surprised" how Cuomo is doing:

***Next, walk on water
A New York governor is actually governing
Jan 28th 2012 | NEW YORK | from the print edition
Among the illustrious
FOR four years New York was adrift. When Eliot Spitzer, a crusading lawyer, became governor in 2007, his uncompromising ways caused political gridlock in Albany, the state capital. Just over a year later, he was caught frolicking with a prostitute and resigned. His successor, David Paterson, was affable enough, but too weak to push the state legislature to balance the books. When Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat like his predecessors, handily won the 2010 governor’s race on a promise to “rebuild the government, restore competence, restore trust, [and] get the people of this state believing once again”, New Yorkers gave a cynical snort.

But Mr Cuomo has had an extraordinary year. In the first six months of his term he could point to three historic achievements. First, he balanced the budget: not only bringing spending under control—filling a $10 billion hole and nudging the public-sector unions to make concessions worth $450m—but putting mechanisms in place to control spending in future. He even got the cantankerous legislature to agree. In June Mr Cuomo brought in a cap on property taxes, in a state which the Tax Foundation ranks as the sixth-most-taxed in the country. Robert Ward of the Rockefeller Institute called it “the biggest change in New York’s fiscal policy since the creation of Medicaid”, almost 50 years ago.

Then, also in June, Mr Cuomo signed a bill legalising same-sex marriage, having worked hard to drive the bill through the Republican-controlled state Senate. In December he got bipartisan backing to change the income-tax code, which he says will generate $1.9 billion in additional revenue for the state. It sets in place the lowest tax rate for the middle class in 58 years, while—according to Mr Cuomo’s opponents and the Manhattan Institute—leaving the tax burden on the richest at its highest level since 1986.

Still, most New Yorkers are not upset with him. Indeed, they rate him very highly. He learnt much about Albany politics at the knee of his father, Mario, a former governor. He is clever and determined. His most noticeable flaw is his arrogance, which he has tried to keep in check, but which slipped out in November when he remarked: “I am the government.”

In that case, his cockiness was accurate. There is not much transparency in how he is getting the results, notes Gerald Benjamin of the State University of New York at New Paltz. Disappointingly, it is still three men (Mr Cuomo, the assembly Speaker and the Senate president) in a room making all the decisions.

And there are some big ones ahead. Mr Cuomo is promising to veto any redistricting plan from the legislature which does not come from an independent commission. He wants to expand gambling in the state, infuriating the Indian nations who run its casinos at the moment. Rather bizarrely, he wants to build America’s biggest convention centre in Queens. And he plans to make a start on pension reform.

The thorniest issue he faces is fracking, a controversial drilling technique in which high-pressure water and chemicals are pumped into a bore-hole to ease the extraction of natural gas. New York has a moratorium on the practice, but new rules from the state environment department may allow it. Gas exploration could bring in badly needed jobs and money, but opponents worry that fracking may contaminate the drinking water. If Mr Cuomo can sort that tangle out, says Doug Muzzio, a political scientist at Baruch College, “the next thing he’s going to do is walk on water.”***

3647  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: February 03, 2012, 02:32:22 PM
I think it obvious this is rampant.

Why don't they take another step and ask which party they vote for?

Maybe Romney will get tough with this.  He suposedly has the most strict immigration stance of the field.

Yet I don't hold my breath.  It is really remarkable how this country will sit back and allow ourselves to be walked all over.
3648  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Still wishfull magical thinking on: February 03, 2012, 02:03:50 PM
Analysis: Media frenzy on Iran contradicts reality By YAAKOV KATZ 01/31/2012 02:58 Media preoccupation with Iran contradicts new reality forged by sanctions.  By REUTERS
Here is an example of just how tightly wound the media is when it comes to anything related to Iran these days.

On Sunday night, CBS’s 60 Minutes aired a piece on US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta in which he said it would take about a year for Iran to build a nuclear bomb from the moment it makes the decision to do so.

Related: •'Iran renaming ships to circumvent sanctions'•Inspectors arrive in Iran on day of oil ban voteAll of the Israeli news sites – and several international ones as well – went wild. Some put up Panetta’s remarks as their top story leaving it there for a number of hours. What they didn’t realize though is that Panetta made the remarks in December when he was interviewed by anchorman Scott Pelley, and that the same comment on Iran was aired already back then and picked up widely by the same media.

On the other hand, one could ask what difference does it make if the media recycles the same exact story that it wrote a month ago especially now, when chances for an Israeli strike against Iran in the coming year are increasing as Israeli journalist Ronen Bergman predicted in his recent piece in The New York Times Magazine.

The truth is that the pace of the reports coming out of the American media in recent weeks about Iran is almost breathtaking.

First was Bergman’s piece, which opened with the dramatic description of Defense Minister Ehud Barak peering out the window of his luxury apartment in the Akirov Towers in Tel Aviv at the lights below while warning that Iran’s ultimate goal is to destroy the State of Israel.

Then came a report in the same paper that Israel cast doubt on the notion that a strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities would set off a catastrophic war. The message – it can be done and won’t be so bad.

Next, was The Washington Post report that the US was sending a floating commando base to the Persian Gulf just a week after sending an aircraft carrier through the volatile Strait of Hormuz.

Contrary to popular thinking though, Israel has yet to make an official decision on whether or not it will attack Iran, and there is already some talk within the defense establishment’s upper echelons of the possibility that due to the increased sanctions – particularly the European’s oil embargo – such a standoff might even be postponed, possibly sometime into next year.

In general, Israel’s strategy has been the same since it began the saber-rattling and beating of the war drums in late October ahead of the International Atomic Energy Agency report on Iran: threaten to use military force in order to ultimately not to have to.

The strategy employed by Israel was disclosed by former Mossad chief Meir Dagan in a US diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks in late 2010 but still for the most part remains the same with the focus still on sanctions, diplomacy, covert measures and, of course, on the credible threat to use military force.

The current state of Iran’s nuclear program is such that Tehran has mastered the fuel cycle and uranium enrichment process and has developed all of the necessary components it would require to build a bomb. All it needs to do now is decide to built it.

The question is if they will.

The defense establishment hopes that the sanctions, covert acts and the credible threat of action by the US and Israel will succeed in delaying Ayatollah Ali Khamenei from having to make that decision in the near future. If it does, then the question that would appear on the Israeli government’s table – to attack or not to – will also be pushed off.

The objective of a military strike – whether launched by Israel or the US – would be similar to that of the sanctions and the covert measures taken by the West. According to most assessments, no matter who attacks, the damage will set the Iranians back just for a number of years, during which time the regime will likely be able to rebuild its capabilities and have more domestic legitimacy to do so.

While Israel is satisfied with the world’s continued crackdown on Iran, it is still not enough. Iran is continuing to enrich uranium and to install centrifuges in the new heavily- fortified Fordow facility near Qom.

The first way to escalate would be for the EU to enact the ban on Iranian oil immediately and not to wait until July. The second step would be for the US and the EU to impose direct sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran, a move that would definitely cripple the Iranian economy.

While skeptical, Israel believes that only this combination would succeed in getting the Iranians to make the decision on their own to stop. The rationale is quite simple – the Iranians have been defying the West for years while they worked on the bomb. Now, they are so close that it will be difficult to get them to simply walk away.

This does not mean that if it comes down to it, Israel is not prepared to take military action. According to the slew of recent reports, the contrary is probably true. Either way, it will do everything it can to delay that day from arriving.
3649  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: February 03, 2012, 01:29:05 PM
"Imagine the MEDIA uproar if this was President Michele Bachmann"

Yes, it is frustrating how the media will knit pick with anything any Republican will say and ignore all the deceit and lies an mispeaks from Obama.  Escept for Drudge, Fox and talk radio.

Without them we would have never heard of Wright, Ayres, Alinsky, or any of it.  Th public would have been totally decieved about Obama's nature.

Every SINGLE day we hear CNN etc going off on every tiny minute thing a Repub says in great detail.  For ex. the new thing is Romney's not concerned for the poor thing.  Totally taken out of context.  Truthfully I am not losing sleep over the poor and YES they do have safety net as Mitt pointed out when one hears the whole statement.  Yet the MSM will run with this.  There are clearly too many Dem party operatives in the MSM who will eagerly daily bash Repubs every chance they get - the jurn-off liist

3650  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / There is no question disability claims are up on: February 03, 2012, 10:29:26 AM
A lot fo these people can work.
This definitely is one factor that skews the unemployment rate.   Federal disability people have probably been advised to be lenient when assessing any given person for disability.
So many of these same people smoke some drink yet and expect a job that will pay a lot.  They are only half heartedly seeking work if at all or just give lip service.  They will vote Democrat.

***Disabled, but Looking for WorkBy MOTOKO RICH
Published: April 6, 2011
BATESVILLE, Ark. — Christopher Howard suffers from herniated discs in his back, knee problems and hepatitis C. As a result, Social Security sends him $574 every month and will until he reaches retirement age — unless he can find a job.

 Jacob Slaton for The New York Times
Christopher Howard, 36, with his wife, Darlene. “I would feel better if I worked and made my own money,” he said.
Moving From Disability Benefits to Jobs
A study finds the earnings ceiling for those receiving disability checks from Social Security creates a “powerful disincentive to work.”
Jacob Slaton for The New York Times
Christopher Howard and his wife live on his $574 a month disability check from Social Security. He is confident he will find a job.
Though he has been collecting disability checks for three years, Mr. Howard, who is just 36, desperately wants to work, recalling dredging for gravel rather fondly and repairing cell towers less fondly.

“It makes me feel like I am doing something,” said Mr. Howard, a burly man with a honey-colored goatee. “Instead of just being a bum, pretty much.”

Programs intended to steer people with more moderate disabilities back into jobs have managed to take only a small sliver of beneficiaries off the Social Security rolls.

Yet, at a time when employers are struggling to create spots for the 13.5 million people actively looking for jobs, helping people like Mr. Howard find employment — or keeping them working in the first place — is becoming increasingly important to the nation’s fiscal health.

For the last five years, Social Security has paid out more in benefits to disabled workers than it has taken in from payroll taxes. Government actuaries forecast that the disability trust fund will run out of money by 2018.

About 8.2 million people collected disabled worker benefits totaling $115 billion last year, up from 5 million a decade earlier. About one in 21 Americans from age 25 to 64 receive the benefit, according to an analysis of Social Security data by Prof. Mark G. Duggan, an economist at the University of Maryland, compared with one in 30 a little over a decade ago. In Mr. Howard’s home state of Arkansas, the figure is one in 12, among the highest in the nation.

Along with monthly checks that are based on the worker’s earnings history, beneficiaries generally qualify for Medicare — otherwise reserved for those over 65 — two years after being admitted to the disability rolls.

There are several reasons for the increase in beneficiaries. Baby boomers are hitting the age when health starts to deteriorate, and more people are claiming back and other muscular-skeletal ailments and mental illnesses than claimed those as disabilities a generation ago. Lawyers who solicit clients on television and on the Internet probably play a role. And administrative law judges say pressure to process cases sometimes leads to more disability claims being accepted.

But given the difficult job market, some economists say they believe that an increasing number of people rely on disability benefits as a kind of shadow safety net.

The program was designed to help workers who are “permanently and totally disabled,” and administration officials say that it is an important lifeline for many people who simply cannot work at all.

But Social Security officials can take into consideration a claimant’s age, skills and ability to retrain when determining eligibility. So one question is: How many of these beneficiaries could work, given the right services and workplace accommodations? Social Security officials say relatively few.

Nicole Maestas, an economist at the Rand Corporation, has examined Social Security data with fellow economist Kathleen J. Mullen, and concluded that in the absence of benefits, about 18 percent of recipients could work and earn at least $12,000 a year, the threshold at which benefits are suspended.

Other economists say that even among those denied benefits, a majority fail to go back to work, in part because of medical problems and a lack of marketable skills.

“In an atmosphere in which there is a concern about fiscal problems, it’s always easy to point the finger at groups and say, ‘These people should be working,’ ” said Prof. John Bound, an economist at the University of Michigan, “exaggerating the degree to which the disability insurance program is broken.”

Even if claimants have more ambiguous medical cases, once they are granted disability benefits, they generally continue to collect. Of the 567,395 medical reviews conducted on beneficiaries in 2009, Social Security expects less than 1 percent to leave because of improved health.

The benefits have no expiration date, like the current 99-week limit for collecting unemployment. And because many people spend years appealing denials and building their medical case before being granted benefits, their skills often atrophy and gaps open on their résumés, making it more difficult for them to get back to work.

Beneficiaries, who also fear losing health care coverage, may view their checks as birds in the hand. “Even if you’re taking just $800 or $900 a month, that’s better than nothing,” said Bruce Growick, an associate professor of rehabilitation services at Ohio State University.

Shortly after Mr. Howard’s benefit checks started arriving, he received a four-by-six-inch card from Social Security informing him of services to help him return to work. Confused by the bureaucratic language and fearing the loss of medical coverage, he discarded it. When he called the local office, he said a staff member did not seem to know what his rights were or what help was available.

“I thought it is just better to get what we are getting,” he said.

In fact, Social Security offers disability beneficiaries some incentive to ease back into the work force. For nine months after starting a job, they can earn any amount without threatening their benefits. For another three years, if their income falls below $1,000 a month, they can immediately receive full benefits again. And they can keep Medicare coverage for eight and a half years after going back to work, something few beneficiaries may realize.

In 1999, Congress passed a law authorizing the Ticket to Work program, which offers beneficiaries practical help with a job search. Social Security also waives medical reviews for those who participate.

So far, the program has had little success. Out of 12.5 million disabled workers and those who receive benefits for the disabled poor, only 13,656 returned to work over the last two and a half years, with less than a third of them earning enough to drop the benefits.

A Social Security spokesman noted that some other beneficiaries had returned to work without using its Ticket to Work program. In 2009, 32,445 recipients left the benefit rolls because they were earning enough in jobs.

Officials say they have streamlined and simplified the Ticket to Work program. But even with more awareness, they say not enough people could go back to work to make a difference in the disability trust fund.

“We could make this program exponentially more successful and it wouldn’t be enough to dramatically improve the solvency picture,” said Michael J. Astrue, the commissioner of Social Security. “You do it because work — for people who can work — gives them dignity and improves their economic condition.”

In Batesville, a small manufacturing town about 80 miles northeast of Little Rock, Ark., Mr. Howard and his wife, Darlene, who is also out of work, scrape by on his monthly $574 check. They live in a garage behind the home owned by Mr. Howard’s parents. Inside the forest green shack, which has no running water, they have crammed some shabby furniture and a tiny galley kitchen.

Mr. Howard, who went to a community college for only six weeks and quit before becoming a certified nursing aide, landed work over the years through friends and family. One job was building and repairing cell towers in Illinois. In 2000, during a climb up a tower, Mr. Howard fell more than 20 feet before a pull cord stopped him. He quit on the spot, but ignored the back pain.

He moved back to Arkansas, met Ms. Howard and began working for a company that dredged the White River for gravel used to make asphalt and concrete. He operated 25- to 40-pound pumps, drove a forklift and repaired plant vehicles, earning $8.50 an hour, or about $22,000 a year with overtime.

The job kept him outside every day, and sometimes he fished for bass and trout on the way upriver. “I would still be doing that job if I could,” he said on a cool March afternoon as he sat in a booth at McDonald’s, sharing refills of Dr Pepper with his wife.

Six years ago, his working life came to a halt. While fixing a dump truck, he began vomiting blood. He was rushed to the hospital, where his gallbladder was removed, because of complications of the hepatitis C he had contracted from a tattoo in his early 20s.

Mr. Howard, who said he spent much of his 20s hanging out with the “wrong crowd,” admits he played a role in his poor health. “I was living pretty heavily on the weekends,” he said.

After the surgery, doctors determined he had herniated discs. He tried to go back to work but found he could not perform many tasks, like heavy lifting, and was dismissed.

His initial application for disability benefits was denied. He tried going back to work, hanging dry wall, but pain stopped him. Eventually, he hired a lawyer. After three years and three tries, he won benefits.

Last September, he met Shawn Blasczczyk, a coordinator of the Ticket to Work program with the White River Area Agency on Aging in Ash Flat, Ark., who had given a presentation at an employment office where Mr. Howard’s father worked. After learning he had some protections while searching for work, Mr. Howard decided to try.

Advocates for the disabled say Social Security makes lackluster efforts to promote the Ticket to Work program. All new beneficiaries should have an appointment to “talk to a benefits counselor about returning to work and how it will affect you,” said Lori Gentry, a care manager at the White River agency, a nonprofit that works with disabled beneficiaries. “I don’t think that is a whole lot to ask to get a monthly check.”

Some advocates recommend intervention before people receive benefits to try to help the disabled stay in jobs in the first place.

In a proposal for the Center for American Progress and the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project, Professor Duggan of the University of Maryland and Prof. David H. Autor, an economist at M.I.T., suggest that disabled workers be offered partial income support and services to remain in the workplace. Moreover, they advocate for employers to purchase mandatory disability insurance as they do unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation, giving them incentive to accommodate workers rather than send them to the federal benefit rolls.

Mr. Howard is bumping up against his limitations, only some of which have to do with his medical condition. Last September, Ms. Blasczczyk helped place him in a job driving seniors to doctors’ appointments, but he quit after six months because of the stress. Scrolling through job listings at McDonald’s on a recent afternoon, he noted that many required college degrees.

Still, Mr. Howard is confident he will eventually find some work. While searching, he and Ms. Howard, who is also applying for work, have quit smoking and are trying to eat healthier foods. They have joined Mr. Howard’s father in a Bible study group.

“I would feel better if I worked and made my own money,” he said. “Because that way when somebody who needs it even more than I do, the Social Security would be there for them.” ****

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