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3701  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Bobby Murcer on: July 13, 2008, 10:39:17 AM
It's hard to think the time has gone by.  I remember the summers listening to the radio and watching the TV hoping that Murcer would live up to the hype of being the next Mickey.  He never lived up to Mickey on the field.  But he lived up to (and surpassed) Mickey off the field.  He was a very good player but never reached the star status.  But I do not recall anything bad ever written about him as a person.

He played during a time period when batting averages, home runs and runs batted in declined.  Before the explosion of numbers came with the explosion of performance enhancing drug use.  If he played today or in the 90s he would probably have acumulated 500 not 250 home runs.  As a Yankee fan growing up I join the rest of the fans and am saddened by the loss.
 
AP
Ex-Yanks star, broadcaster Bobby Murcer dies at 62

By BEN WALKER, AP Baseball Writer Sun Jul 13, 4:01 AM ET

NEW YORK (AP) — Bobby Murcer succeeded Mickey Mantle, played in pinstripes with Don Mattingly and watched proudly from the broadcast booth when the New York Yankees returned to power.
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A cherished link from former Yankees greats to the club's current stars, Murcer died Saturday due to complications from a malignant brain tumor, the team said. He was 62.

In his final moments, Murcer was surrounded by family at Mercy Hospital in his hometown of Oklahoma City, the Yankees said. A five-time All-Star outfielder, he spent nearly four decades with New York as a player, executive and announcer.

"Bobby Murcer was a born Yankee, a great guy, very well-liked and a true friend of mine," owner George Steinbrenner said. "I extend my deepest sympathies to his wife Kay, their children and grandchildren. I will really miss the guy."

Murcer was diagnosed with a brain tumor on Christmas Eve 2006 after having headaches. He had surgery that week in Houston and doctors later discovered the tumor was malignant. Determined to be around his beloved Yankees, Murcer returned to the broadcast booth last year and briefly this season.

The only person to play with Mantle and Mattingly, the popular Murcer hit .277 with 252 home runs and 1,043 RBIs in 17 seasons with the Yankees, San Francisco and the Chicago Cubs. He made the All-Star team in both leagues and won a Gold Glove.

"All of Major League Baseball is saddened today by the passing of Bobby Murcer, particularly on the eve of this historic All-Star game at Yankee Stadium, a place he called home for so many years," commissioner Bud Selig said. "Bobby was a gentleman, a great ambassador for baseball, and a true leader both on and off the field. He was a man of great heart and compassion."

Always a fan favorite in New York and known for his folksy manner as a broadcaster, Murcer won three Emmy Awards for live sports coverage. His most dramatic words came during his time as a player on one of the saddest days in Yankees history.

Murcer delivered one of the eulogies in Ohio after captain Thurman Munson was killed in a plane crash in August 1979. The team flew home after the funeral and, that night, Murcer hit a three-run homer and then a two-run single in the bottom of the ninth to beat Baltimore 5-4.

A tearful Murcer fell into the arms of teammate Lou Piniella after the game and gave his bat to Munson's wife.

"There is no way to explain what happened," Murcer said. "We used every ounce of strength to go out and play that game. We won it for Thurman."

The Yankees learned of Murcer's death Saturday after a 9-4 victory in Toronto. Visibly upset, players such as Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte spoke softly about how much Murcer meant to them.

"He touched everybody," Rivera said.

"One of the greatest Yankees of all-time," Alex Rodriguez added. "One of the greatest human beings I ever met."

It was the second consecutive summer that the Yankees lost a former star and beloved broadcaster. Hall of Fame shortstop Phil Rizzuto died in August 2007.

Now, the Yankees are mourning Murcer.

"If there's a Hall of Fame for people, he's in it," Reggie Jackson said. "He was such a good person, and he was appreciative of the people who cared so much for him."

Touted by many in New York as the next Mantle — they were both from Oklahoma, played shortstop and came with strokes fit for Yankee Stadium's short right-field porch — Murcer made his major league debut as a 19-year-old player in 1965.

After serving in the U.S. Army during the 1967-68 seasons, Murcer homered on opening day in front of President Nixon in 1969 at Washington to launch a career as a full-time player.

Murcer moved from shortstop to third base to begin that year, but soon was in center field, Mantle's old spot. Murcer also took over Mantle's locker.

"That was supposed to be the tag. You know, he was going to follow Mantle and do it with ease," said Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre, who managed the Yankees from 1996-2007. "He certainly understood it. It's not easy, but he wore the mantle with a lot of class and never shied away from the responsibility.

"Bobby was a great human being. He really zeroed in on the person he was with, and he was a lot of fun. A lot of class. He's going to be missed."

Murcer spent most of his career in pinstripes. He was traded to San Francisco for Bobby Bonds after the 1974 season and was with the Chicago Cubs when the Yankees won the World Series in 1977 and 1978.

He came back to the Yankees during the 1979 season. He had a pinch-hit grand slam in the 1981 opener and was a part-time player when he reached the World Series for the only time later that year, with New York losing to the Dodgers.

"Just a wonderful person, a great teammate and a heck of a baseball player," Piniella said in Chicago after managing the Cubs to a victory over San Francisco. "It's a sad day."

During his career, Murcer had a three-homer game, hit for the cycle and once homered in four straight at-bats.

Smart at the plate, he beat out Willie Mays in 1971 to lead the majors in on-base percentage. The next year, Murcer set career highs with 33 homers and 96 RBIs, and led the AL in total bases and runs. He finished with more career walks (862) than strikeouts (841).

Murcer made the All-Star team for five straight seasons, starting in 1971.

"He was a tough man," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said, fighting back tears. "He was a great Yankee, but probably more importantly he was a great friend. He always put others first. He played the game the right way. He got what life was about, and that was making life better for the people around you."

Murcer retired in June 1983 and moved into the broadcast booth that season, working as a color analyst on radio. He served one year as assistant general manager of the Yankees, returned as an announcer in 1989 and stayed in the booth as New York won four World Series titles from 1996-2000.

"He always had that bright smile and that positive spin on everything," Yankees slugger Jason Giambi said. "He was the type of guy who never had a bad day."

Murcer also served as chairman of B.A.T., the Baseball Assistance Team charity that provides financial help and other support to players in need.

"I've never met a more genuine person," Yankees broadcaster Michael Kay said. "What he went through the last couple of years no one should ever have to go through, but he went through it with such grace. He was an amazing, amazing guy. He was a piece of work in the best way possible."

A family service will be held within the next several days in Oklahoma City. In addition, a celebration of Murcer's life will be held at a date to be determined, the Yankees said.

Murcer is survived by his wife, his children, Tori and Todd, and his grandchildren.

___

3702  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / American Medical Assoc apologizes to Blacks on: July 11, 2008, 09:39:50 AM
I am not an AMA member. 

***AMA data suggest fewer than 2 percent of its members are black, and that fewer than 3 percent of the nation's 1 million medical students and physicians are black.***

I can tell you one thing.  I don't know about past racism or present racism but the reason for the above *ain't* because of discrimination.  Ask any Indian, Pakistani, Chinese, Middle Eastern, Polish, Russian doctor or doctor in training today.  The older Indians will have plenty of stories about how hard they had it when they first came off the boat.  They were not received with love and open arms.  Now look at how successful they are.  I congratulate them.  I have no sympathy for angry Blacks any more.   They need new leadership. Jackson and Sharpton are leading them down the wrong roads.

Why can't we get rid of this "African-American" label.  I don't want to be known as a Jewish-American or a second generation Russian-American or a white-American.

****AP
AMA apologizes to black doctors for past racism

By LINDSEY TANNER, AP Medical Writer Thu Jul 10, 4:27 PM ET

CHICAGO - Transplant surgeon Clive Callender has hurtful memories of being the only black doctor at medical meetings in the 1970s, met with stark silence when he pleaded for better access to transplant organs for blacks.
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So when the American Medical Association formally apologized Thursday for more than a century of policies that excluded blacks from a group long considered the voice of American doctors, it was belated, but still welcome.

"My attitude is not one of bitterness, but one of gratefulness that finally they have seen the error of their ways," said Callender, now 71 and a respected leader at Howard University Hospital in Washington.

It wasn't until the 1960s that AMA delegates took a strong stance against policies dating to the 1800s that barred blacks from some state and local medical societies.

Until then, AMA delegates had resisted pleas to speak out forcefully against discrimination or to condemn the smaller medical groups, which historically have had a big role in shaping AMA policy.

While the AMA itself didn't have a formal policy barring black doctors, physicians were required to be members of the local groups to participate in the AMA, said Dr. Ronald Davis, the group's immediate past president.

It's conceivable patient care suffered "to the extent that our practices may have impeded the ability of African-American physicians to interact collegially with white physicians," Davis said in an interview Thursday.

"That would certainly be another reason why we would have profound regret for our past practices," he said.

In statement on its Web site, the AMA apologized "for its past history of racial inequality toward African-American physicians, and shares its current efforts to increase the ranks of minority physicians and their participation in the AMA."

The apology is among initiatives at the nation's largest doctors' group to reduce racial disparities in medicine and to recruit more blacks to become doctors and to join the AMA.

AMA data suggest fewer than 2 percent of its members are black, and that fewer than 3 percent of the nation's 1 million medical students and physicians are black.

While that's based on a survey in which the race of more than one-third of doctors was unknown, several black physicians said the percentages ring true.

It's not the first time the AMA has apologized for its discriminatory history. In 2005, Dr. John Nelson, then AMA's president, offered a similar apology at a meeting on improving health care and eliminating disparities.

That came a year after the AMA joined the National Medical Association, a black doctors' group, and other minority doctors' groups in forming the Commission to End Health Care Disparities.

NMA leaders said AMA's history of discrimination has contributed to health disparities for blacks that continue today.

"These persistent, race-based health disparities have led to a precipitous decline in the health of African-Americans when compared to their white counterparts and the population as a whole," said Dr. Nedra Joyner, head of the board of trustees for the black doctors' association.

Dr. Nelson Adams, the group's president, called the apology courageous and AMA's vow to work to reduce racial disparities "extremely important."

Dr. Otis Brawley, the black chief financial officer of the American Cancer Society, also applauded the move.

"It is true that what the AMA did historically was awful," Brawley said. "There were AMA local chapters that actually had rules against black members well into the late 1960s, and policies that made blacks not feel comfortable well into the 1980s."

Brawley said he's never been an AMA member, but that the apology "certainly makes me much more interested in working with them."

___
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3703  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / I doubt BO has said this before on: July 11, 2008, 09:14:15 AM
 at ;east in public.  It would certainly have been news.  Here is his 2004 speech.  No where does he speak of personal responsibility for kids.  If I am wrong please show me.

Barack Obama

2004 Democratic National Convention Keynote Address

 

"The Audacity of Hope"

delivered 27 July 2004, Fleet Center, Boston

Windows Media Video of Address

Audio mp3 of Address

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click for pdf  click for flash

 

[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from audio. (2)]

Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Dick Durbin. You make us all proud.

On behalf of the great state of Illinois, crossroads of a nation, Land of Lincoln, let me express my deepest gratitude for the privilege of addressing this convention.

Tonight is a particular honor for me because, let’s face it, my presence on this stage is pretty unlikely. My father was a foreign student, born and raised in a small village in Kenya. He grew up herding goats, went to school in a tin-roof shack. His father -- my grandfather -- was a cook, a domestic servant to the British.

But my grandfather had larger dreams for his son. Through hard work and perseverance my father got a scholarship to study in a magical place, America, that shone as a beacon of freedom and opportunity to so many who had come before.

While studying here, my father met my mother. She was born in a town on the other side of the world, in Kansas. Her father worked on oil rigs and farms through most of the Depression. The day after Pearl Harbor my grandfather signed up for duty; joined Patton’s army, marched across Europe. Back home, my grandmother raised a baby and went to work on a bomber assembly line. After the war, they studied on the G.I. Bill, bought a house through F.H.A., and later moved west all the way to Hawaii in search of opportunity.

And they, too, had big dreams for their daughter. A common dream, born of two continents.

My parents shared not only an improbable love, they shared an abiding faith in the possibilities of this nation. They would give me an African name, Barack, or ”blessed,” believing that in a tolerant America your name is no barrier to success. They imagined -- They imagined me going to the best schools in the land, even though they weren’t rich, because in a generous America you don’t have to be rich to achieve your potential.

  They're both passed away now. And yet, I know that on this night they look down on me with great pride.

They stand here -- And I stand here today, grateful for the diversity of my heritage, aware that my parents’ dreams live on in my two precious daughters. I stand here knowing that my story is part of the larger American story, that I owe a debt to all of those who came before me, and that, in no other country on earth, is my story even possible.

Tonight, we gather to affirm the greatness of our Nation — not because of the height of our skyscrapers, or the power of our military, or the size of our economy. Our pride is based on a very simple premise, summed up in a declaration made over two hundred years ago:

        We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That is the true genius of America, a faith -- a faith in simple dreams, an insistence on small miracles; that we can tuck in our children at night and know that they are fed and clothed and safe from harm; that we can say what we think, write what we think, without hearing a sudden knock on the door; that we can have an idea and start our own business without paying a bribe; that we can participate in the political process without fear of retribution, and that our votes will be counted -- at least most of the time.

This year, in this election we are called to reaffirm our values and our commitments, to hold them against a hard reality and see how we're measuring up to the legacy of our forbearers and the promise of future generations.

And fellow Americans, Democrats, Republicans, Independents, I say to you tonight: We have more work to do --  more work to do for the workers I met in Galesburg, Illinois, who are losing their union jobs at the Maytag plant that’s moving to Mexico, and now are having to compete with their own children for jobs that pay seven bucks an hour; more to do for the father that I met who was losing his job and choking back the tears, wondering how he would pay 4500 dollars a month for the drugs his son needs without the health benefits that he counted on; more to do for the young woman in East St. Louis, and thousands more like her, who has the grades, has the drive, has the will, but doesn’t have the money to go to college.

Now, don’t get me wrong. The people I meet -- in small towns and big cities, in diners and office parks -- they don’t expect government to solve all their problems. They know they have to work hard to get ahead,  and they want to. Go into the collar counties around Chicago, and people will tell you they don’t want their tax money wasted, by a welfare agency or by the Pentagon. Go in -- Go into any inner city neighborhood, and folks will tell you that government alone can’t teach our kids to learn; they know that parents have to teach, that children can’t achieve unless we raise their expectations and turn off the television sets and eradicate the slander that says a black youth with a book is acting white. They know those things.

People don’t expect -- People don't expect government to solve all their problems. But they sense, deep in their bones, that with just a slight change in priorities, we can make sure that every child in America has a decent shot at life, and that the doors of opportunity remain open to all.

They know we can do better. And they want that choice.

In this election, we offer that choice. Our Party has chosen a man to lead us who embodies the best this country has to offer. And that man is John Kerry.

John Kerry understands the ideals of community, faith, and service because they’ve defined his life. From his heroic service to Vietnam, to his years as a prosecutor and lieutenant governor, through two decades in the United States Senate, he's devoted himself to this country. Again and again, we’ve seen him make tough choices when easier ones were available.

His values and his record affirm what is best in us. John Kerry believes in an America where hard work is rewarded; so instead of offering tax breaks to companies shipping jobs overseas, he offers them to companies creating jobs here at home.

John Kerry believes in an America where all Americans can afford the same health coverage our politicians in Washington have for themselves.

John Kerry believes in energy independence, so we aren’t held hostage to the profits of oil companies, or the sabotage of foreign oil fields.

John Kerry believes in the Constitutional freedoms that have made our country the envy of the world, and he will never sacrifice our basic liberties, nor use faith as a wedge to divide us.

And John Kerry believes that in a dangerous world war must be an option sometimes, but it should never be the first option.

You know, a while back -- awhile back I met a young man named Shamus in a V.F.W. Hall in East Moline, Illinois. He was a good-looking kid -- six two, six three, clear eyed, with an easy smile. He told me he’d joined the Marines and was heading to Iraq the following week. And as I listened to him explain why he’d enlisted, the absolute faith he had in our country and its leaders, his devotion to duty and service, I thought this young man was all that any of us might ever hope for in a child.

But then I asked myself, "Are we serving Shamus as well as he is serving us?"

I thought of the 900 men and women -- sons and daughters, husbands and wives, friends and neighbors, who won’t be returning to their own hometowns. I thought of the families I’ve met who were struggling to get by without a loved one’s full income, or whose loved ones had returned with a limb missing or nerves shattered, but still lacked long-term health benefits because they were Reservists.

When we send our young men and women into harm’s way, we have a solemn obligation not to fudge the numbers or shade the truth about why they’re going, to care for their families while they’re gone, to tend to the soldiers upon their return, and to never ever go to war without enough troops to win the war, secure the peace, and earn the respect of the world.

Now -- Now let me be clear. Let me be clear. We have real enemies in the world. These enemies must be found. They must be pursued. And they must be defeated. John Kerry knows this. And just as Lieutenant Kerry did not hesitate to risk his life to protect the men who served with him in Vietnam, President Kerry will not hesitate one moment to use our military might to keep America safe and secure.

John Kerry believes in America. And he knows that it’s not enough for just some of us to prosper -- for alongside our famous individualism, there’s another ingredient in the American saga,  a belief that we’re all connected as one people. If there is a child on the south side of Chicago who can’t read, that matters to me, even if it’s not my child. If there is a senior citizen somewhere who can’t pay for their prescription drugs, and having to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it’s not my grandparent. If there’s an Arab American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties.

It is that fundamental belief -- It is that fundamental belief: I am my brother’s keeper. I am my sister’s keeper that makes this country work. It’s what allows us to pursue our individual dreams and yet still come together as one American family.

E pluribus unum: "Out of many, one."

Now even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us -- the spin masters, the negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of "anything goes." Well, I say to them tonight, there is not a liberal America and a conservative America -- there is the United States of America. There is not a Black America and a White America and Latino America and Asian America -- there’s the United States of America.

The pundits, the pundits like to slice-and-dice our country into Red States and Blue States; Red States for Republicans, Blue States for Democrats. But I’ve got news for them, too. We worship an "awesome God" in the Blue States, and we don’t like federal agents poking around in our libraries in the Red States. We coach Little League in the Blue States and yes, we’ve got some gay friends in the Red States. There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and there are patriots who supported the war in Iraq. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.

In the end -- In the end -- In the end, that’s what this election is about. Do we participate in a politics of cynicism or do we participate in a politics of hope?

John Kerry calls on us to hope. John Edwards calls on us to hope.

I’m not talking about blind optimism here -- the almost willful ignorance that thinks unemployment will go away if we just don’t think about it, or the health care crisis will solve itself if we just ignore it. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about something more substantial. It’s the hope of slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs; the hope of immigrants setting out for distant shores; the hope of a young naval lieutenant bravely patrolling the Mekong Delta; the hope of a millworker’s son who dares to defy the odds; the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too.

Hope -- Hope in the face of difficulty. Hope in the face of uncertainty. The audacity of hope!

In the end, that is God’s greatest gift to us, the bedrock of this nation. A belief in things not seen. A belief that there are better days ahead.

I believe that we can give our middle class relief and provide working families with a road to opportunity.

I believe we can provide jobs to the jobless, homes to the homeless, and reclaim young people in cities across America from violence and despair.

I believe that we have a righteous wind at our backs and that as we stand on the crossroads of history, we can make the right choices, and meet the challenges that face us.

America! Tonight, if you feel the same energy that I do, if you feel the same urgency that I do, if you feel the same passion that I do, if you feel the same hopefulness that I do -- if we do what we must do, then I have no doubt that all across the country, from Florida to Oregon, from Washington to Maine, the people will rise up in November, and John Kerry will be sworn in as President, and John Edwards will be sworn in as Vice President, and this country will reclaim its promise, and out of this long political darkness a brighter day will come.

Thank you very much everybody. God bless you. Thank you.

Book/CDs by Michael E. Eidenmuller, Published by McGraw-Hill (2008)

Also in this database: Barack Obama - A More Perfect Union; Barack Obama - Announcement for the U.S. Presidency

Windows Media Video Source: Linked directly to www.BarackObama.com

Copyright Status: Text, Audio, Video and Images (AP) = Restricted, seek permission.
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Top 100 American Speeches

Online Speech Bank

© Copyright 2001-2008.
American Rhetoric.
HTML transcription by Michael E. Eidenmuller.
All rights reserved.
3704  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / slight correction on: July 10, 2008, 09:36:12 AM
***his premise - that more Black fathers need to take more responsibility for their children and stop playing the blame and victim game.***

This is the opposite of JJ's premise.  I meant his philosophy is *not* this and that Blacks are victims of racist Whites and they are not responsible for any of it - unlike others who feel that absent fathers need to start taking responsibility irregardless of the cause.
3705  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Jackson's remarks - perfect for BO on: July 10, 2008, 09:28:50 AM
The Jesse Jackson thing is as far as I am concerned no big deal.  So he said what he said and he thought it was off the record.
Is there any person on Earth who may not have said or thought something they would rather not be for public consumption?

It is hardly a scandal.  So it was crude - so what!  IT fits with Rev. Jackson's decades long actions, public positions, etc.  It is really nothing new.  Jackson got a raw deal on this one although I disagree with the philosophy of his premise - that more Black fathers need to take more responsibility for their children and stop playing the blame and victim game.

That said, owever, the bigger issue never mentioned (to my knowledge) is that this hardly hurts BO. It helps him.
Notice BO to my knowledge never said anything about Black fatherhood before he won the crat nomination.  Only after, when he makes the obvious effort to appeal more to the "center" group of voters. 

He already has the party nomination locked up.  He already has a stranglehold on the Black vote. Almost nothing he says will change that.  It is a given.

So now he tries to appeal to the more conservatives from all groups who agree with Bill Cosby.  So now he looks like the one who is saying what many think needs to be said in the Black "community".  He is again changing his image as more mainstream.  He is just another suburban Joe with traditional American/family values.  Look at that overdone video of him and his children. 

And now he separates himself from the old angry Black school Jess Jackson (to some extent).

And the liberal media will be playing right along.  In public he will "accept" JJ's apology and play the high road.  In private he and his advisors are saying and thinking that JJ's remarks were terrific, perfectly timed and help BO "rise above it all".  Off the record they are thanking JJ.

EOM



3706  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Race, religion, ethnic origin on: July 08, 2008, 09:07:56 PM
I am not sure the attitude is solely among blacks though.

Many of the immigrants from Asia work harder than we do.  They think we are lazy, fat, wasteful and are quite proud of the fact that they work harder than we.  In my field I am surrounded by Indians, Asians, and fewer Middle Easterners all day long.  In NJ foreign born or children of foreign born physicians make up probably a third of all doctors and at least half of those in training. 

I hear many of the Indian doctors say it - usually without intending for me to hear it. They always hush up when they notice I may have heard them say it, or if I ask them to clarify, but not out of offense but more out of curiosity.

Look at the winners of the spelling bees.
Look at the class leaders of schools.
Look at who sit in jails.

Many *white*, and Latino, and black kids are more interested in tatoos, body piercing, and looking and talking like they just got out of a three year stint from jail and that that is something to boast about.
3707  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / McCain another Dole? on: July 07, 2008, 08:33:44 PM
It's Bob Dole all over again.  If McCain can't mount a rapid fire response by now he won't.  He obviously does not have world class campaign managers working for him.

He should hire Dick Morris and Newt Gingrich.  His campaign is already obviously inadequate.  He is already behind the curve and in  trouble.  Obama is kicking his ass all over the media mat.

http://www.dickmorris.com/blog/2008/07/07/obama-strikes-first/#more-374
3708  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / biofuels far less green than drilling off shore on: July 05, 2008, 12:10:43 PM
OK according to the left wackos we should not drill offshore because it could contaminate  a "sensitive" ecosystem.  So lets promote biofuels and cause food shortages and accelerate deforestation.

And then we have the Bo quack saying we should not drill offshore because we cannot "drill our way out of this" (talking point) and because that will take too long.  Yet what he proposes will take far longer.

How does a Senator become rich while he is a Senator?Huh

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080705/ap_on_re_as/asia_orangutans
3709  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: July 04, 2008, 07:36:49 AM
Now the Clintons are out there army of bullshit artists appear to doing the same for Bo.  Here it comes.  "I went to Iraq and the generals told me it will take some time.  Therefore, *I* may decide *we* need to stay a bit longer to.....

and as always the undecided stooges will forget or not care what he said before or how he lived his entire life and simply go for it like they always did for the skinny Santa and his accomplice with the hips the size of a hippos.  The Clintons have proved to the human race that there are plenty of people who can easily be manipulated no matter what as long as you say whatever they want to hear.

If I hear one more pundint say that McCain can still win if only he does...

Folks the game is over.  If McCain isn't going to say whatever the wind blowing that day says he ought to its over.  Lets not give the American people more credit than they deserve.  Many voters are not smart.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080704/ap_on_el_pr/obama_iraq;_ylt=AsQjTtiNZjEqvQsBlhUpOMCs0NUE
3710  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / should patients be able to sue drug companies.... on: July 03, 2008, 09:32:58 AM
for later discovered ill effects from drugs approved by the FDA?

Interesting legal issue:
 
****Why Doctors Should Worry about Preemption
Gregory D. Curfman, M.D., Stephen Morrissey, Ph.D., and Jeffrey M. Drazen, M.D.

     A leading drug company may be poised to win a landmark legal victory next fall. If the drug manufacturer, Wyeth, prevails in a case soon to be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court (Wyeth v. Levine),1 drug companies could effectively be immunized against state-level tort litigation if their products that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are later found to be defective.

A medical-device company won such a victory in April. In Riegel v. Medtronic,2 the Supreme Court determined that a product-liability lawsuit against Medtronic in a state court was preempted because the device had received FDA approval. Preemption is a legal doctrine based on the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution, which states that when federal and state laws are at odds, federal law takes precedence. Its application to state tort litigation is a radical extension of its original meaning.

Medtronic won its case because the 1976 law that grants the FDA authority to regulate medical devices contains a clause asserting that state requirements with regard to medical devices are preempted by federal requirements. Although the preemption clause is silent on common-law tort actions, the Supreme Court (with Justice Antonin Scalia writing for the Court) interpreted the preemption clause broadly to include such actions.

Unlike the law governing medical devices, the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, which provides the statutory framework for the regulation of drugs by the FDA, contains no such preemption clause. Thus, in Wyeth v. Levine — which concerns a patient who lost her arm after an injection of Wyeth's antiemetic drug Phenergan — the Court will decide whether preemption of state tort litigation is implied by the law, even though it is not explicitly stated.

Previous administrations and the FDA considered tort litigation to be an important part of an overall regulatory framework for drugs and devices; product-liability litigation by consumers was believed to complement the FDA's regulatory actions and enhance patient safety. Margaret Jane Porter, former chief counsel of the FDA, wrote, "FDA product approval and state tort liability usually operate independently, each providing a significant, yet distinct, layer of consumer protection."3 Persons who are harmed have the right to seek legal redress. Preemption would erase that right.

But in the past few years, the government's views have shifted, and the FDA has reversed its position, now claiming that common-law tort actions are preempted. The FDA argues that tort liability stifles innovation in product development and delays the approval process, and that lay juries are incapable of making determinations about product safety. It has been argued, however, that Congress, not unelected appointees of a federal agency, has the power to decide whether preemption should apply.

Drug and device companies have chosen an inauspicious moment to attack the right of patients to seek redress. A series of pivotal reports on patient safety from the Institute of Medicine, as well as numerous articles in scholarly journals, has put the issue of patient safety in the national spotlight. Although frivolous lawsuits should not be condoned, product-liability litigation has unquestionably helped to remove unsafe products from the market and to prevent others from entering it. Through the process of legal discovery, litigation may also uncover information about drug toxicity that would otherwise not be known. Preemption will thus result in drugs and devices that are less safe and will thereby undermine a national effort to improve patient safety.

Owing in part to a lack of resources, approval of a new drug by the FDA is not a guarantee of its safety (see timeline).4 As the Institute of Medicine has reported, FDA approval is usually based on short-term efficacy studies, not long-term safety studies.5 Despite the diligent attention of the FDA, serious safety issues often come to light only after a drug has entered the market. The FDA, which — unlike most other federal agencies — has no subpoena power, knows only what manufacturers reveal.

Figure 1
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     Four Drugs with Safety Problems Discovered after FDA Approval.

 
Why should doctors be concerned about preemption? In stripping patients of their right to seek redress through due process of law, preemption of common-law tort actions is not only unjust but will also result in the reduced safety of drugs and medical devices for the American people. Preemption will undermine the confidence that doctors and patients have in the safety of drugs and devices. If injured patients are unable to seek legal redress from manufacturers of defective products, they may instead turn elsewhere.

In May, a Congressional hearing on preemption was held by Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA) and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. As we stated in our testimony to the committee, to ensure the safety of medical devices, we urge Congress to act quickly to reverse the Riegel decision. Congressman Waxman and Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), are poised to introduce legislation that would unambiguously eliminate the possibility of preemption of common-law tort actions for medical devices. And if the Supreme Court rules for preemption in Wyeth v. Levine, which we hope it will not, Congress should consider similar legislation for drugs. Such legislation is in the best interest of the health and safety of the American public.


Source Information

Dr. Curfman is the executive editor, Dr. Morrissey the managing editor, and Dr. Drazen the editor-in-chief of the Journal.

An interactive timeline is available with the full text of this article at www.nejm.org.

References

   1. Wyeth v. Levine, cert. granted, 128 S. Ct. 1118 (2008).
   2. Riegel v. Medtronic, 128 S. Ct. 999 (2008).
   3. Porter MJ. The Lohr decision: FDA perspective and position. Food Drug Law J 1997;52:7-11. [ISI][Medline]
   4. Kessler DA, Vladeck DC. A critical examination of the FDA's efforts to preempt failure-to-warn claims. Georgetown Law J 2008;96(2). (Accessed June 13, 2008, at http://lsr.nellco.org/georgetown/ois/papers/2/.)
   5. Baciu A, Stratton K, Burke SP, eds. The future of drug safety: promoting and protecting the health of the public. Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2007.

The New England Journal of Medicine is owned, published, and copyrighted © 2008 Massachusetts Medical Society. All rights reserved.****
3711  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: July 02, 2008, 08:02:42 PM
I've actually told patients "good" and "bad" news for years:

They come in with a stuffed nose, sore throat, and often a cough.

After examining them I would tell them the "good" news,  "you don't have pneumonia or strep throat.  You have a cold".

The bad news is,
"there is not a darn thing I can do about it."

So the patient doesn't walk away thinking I am a smart alek I state the truth, that it is amazing that modern medicine still has no decent treatment for the common cold.

I get different responses but usually the patient is relieved.
3712  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Bob Barr? on: July 02, 2008, 06:29:58 PM
Any thoughts on Bob Barr?

He could only hurt McCain.

3713  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: July 01, 2008, 09:10:50 AM
I find it hard to believe Stratford's interpretation.

It doesn't add up.  You mean to tell me the administration would deliberately leak that they are performing politically sensitive covert operations in Iran and Pakastan?

The last thing Bush needs to do is create more fodder for the crats.

Also this puts American lives at risk.  I don't believe Stratford's interpretation is true.  This doesn't put pressure on Iran IMO.

I think it more likely Hersh has an either idealogue (crat and/or dove) or bribed mole somewhere giving him information.  I also doubt he is making it up.
3714  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Even our Presidents are for sale?! on: June 29, 2008, 10:25:30 PM
http://www.dickmorris.com/blog/2008/06/27/why-is-bush-entertaining-abu-dhabi-crown-prince/#more-367

***WHY IS BUSH ENTERTAINING ABU DHABI CROWN PRINCE?
By Dick Morris And Eileen McGann
06.27.2008

Published on FOXNews.com on June 27, 2008.

Why is the president of the United States entertaining Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince, Sheik Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, at Camp David when his own State Department has singled out the Sheik’s homeland, the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), for its continuing violations of human rights?

Abu Dhabi is one of seven oil-rich — and anti-Israel states — in the United Arab Emirates. Using its massive sovereign wealth fund of over $875 billion, Abu Dhabi has been gobbling up American assets, buying considerable stakes in U.S. businesses like Citigroup, the Carlyle Group, Advanced Micro Devices, and Toll Brother and is now bidding on the Chrysler Building.

At the same time, the U.S. Department of State has singled out the U.A.E. for its continuing violation of human rights. Here’s what it said in its latest report for 2007:

“Citizens did not have the right to change their government. In some cases, security forces reportedly employed flogging as judicially sanctioned punishment. Arbitrary detention and incommunicado detention remained problems…”

“The judiciary lacked full independence. The government restricted civil liberties, including freedoms of speech, press (including the Internet), assembly, association, and religion. There were limited reports of corruption, and the government lacked transparency.”

“Domestic abuse of women remained a problem, and there were allegations that it was sometimes enabled by police. Trafficking in women and children and legal and societal discrimination against women and non-citizens also remained problems.”

“The government severely restricted workers’ rights, and the abuse of foreign domestic servants remained a problem…Political organizations, political parties, and trade unions are illegal.”

Last year, Sheik Mohammed was dismissed from a Houston lawsuit brought by a former adviser to the U.A.E. royal family, alleging that he aided and abetted his brother Sheik Issa in brutal torture and false imprisonment. Without ruling on the merits of the plaintiff’s claims, the Court held that Sheik Mohammed had sovereign immunity and could not be tried because, among other things, such torture had not been demonstrated to be illegal in the U.A.E.

And, apparently, torture it was: tapes provided to the Associated Press “showed a man who appeared to be Sheik Issa beating another man with lumber, firing an automatic weapon into the sand around him and forcing an apparent cattle prod into his anus. The victim also appeared to have been partly run over by a SUV and had salt poured on his wounds… Lawyers said the video also showed the victim’s genitals being lit on fire. They said the abuse began because the sheik felt he had been overcharged in a grain deal.”

The suit against Sheik Issa continues. After the release of the embarrassing tapes, the Embassy of the U.A.E. in the U.S. refused to comment on the lawsuit, since it is not actually against the government of the U.A.E., nor has the Embassy commented on the brutality of the documented torture. No action has been taken against the Crown Prince’s brother.

The U.A.E. does not permit Israeli citizens to enter the country and gives special scrutiny to those with Israeli stamps on their passports. Here’s what the U.S. State Department reported on institutionalized anti-Semitism:

“There was a small resident non-citizen Jewish population of unknown size. There were no synagogues. There were no reported acts of physical violence against or harassment of Jewish persons, however, anti-Semitism in the media was present in articles and editorial cartoons, which depicted negative images of Jews. These expressions occurred primarily in the government affiliated daily newspapers Al-Ittihad (government-owned) Al-Bayan (government-owned), and Al-Khaleej (pro-government, privately owned). The articles and cartoons appeared without government response.”

So why is the Crown Prince at Camp David? Maybe they’re talking about the obscene price of oil. Or, if history is any guide, one outcome of the visit might be a big donation to the George W. Bush Presidential Library. If Bush follows Clinton’s example — and his own father’s — he’ll be spending a lot of time at Camp David with prospective rich donors in the next six months.

One thing that is likely missing from the agenda is a discussion of human rights.


3715  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Writings of original George Bush on: June 27, 2008, 09:11:57 AM
Interesting piece on the original George Bush a first cousin to Bush elders great great great grandfather was a student of Hebrew and Mohammed.

Harvey Stack Remembers
Harvey G. Stack

History and Numismatics
Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The numismatic world has new commemorative dollars to collect- the Presidential Series. Also one can also collect the gold half-ounce First Lady Series. As these new coins are released to the market they remind us of the presidency and family of our forefathers. They also pique our interest in the history, lore and character of each presidential family. It brings us closer to those who formed and lead our nation as it grew. Each presidency had stories attached to them and the history of their families always excited the thoughts and imaginations.

Most recently, the cable network HBO ran a series about John Adams, our second president. The history and stories of the president and his family, before, during and after his presidency will stimulate the interest in our national history. The coins further enforce our appreciation of the work that each did.

It will be close to a decade before the George H.W. Bush and his son George W. Bush will appear on the new dollar coinage. In the meantime, those interested in history and background can study past to learn more about them, apart from what has appeared in modern history and ongoing political commentary.

Last year, in the New York Times Magazine of July 22, 2007 an interesting story appeared discussing the first George Bush (1796-1859), which revealed one of the ancestors of the presidential family.

According to Ted Widmer, who wrote the article in the New York Times, the pioneer George Bush was a first cousin of the president's great-great-great grandfather. He was hardly the black sheep of the family (which the current president likes to call himself), but was very distinguished during his lifetime. He was very interested in the esoteric religions. His opinions were described as liberal. Among other intellectual pursuits he was profoundly interested in the traditions of the Mid East.

The George Bush of the 1800s name was carried into the 20th century Dictionary of American Biography, in which no other Bush family member was mentioned. No doubt, any future edition will hasten to correct that!

The early George Bush read so incessantly that his parents became frightened as to the direction his interests were taking him. He later entered the ministry, but his controversial attitudes left him with no church to go to. He considered himself as a specialist predicting the Second Coming. He was not the only ones, and the Millerites captured national attention in this regard.

By 1831 he became a professor of Hebrew and Oriental languages. He also wrote a book, The Life of Mohammed. The volume was well received and added to his popularity. In it he expressed deep respect for the prophet, but also gave many negative opinions, calling the prophet an "imposter.". However, he concluded his biography of Mohammed by calling him a "remarkable man." Not unexpectedly, George Bush's opinions, both pro and con, made him very controversial. It went out of print in the 19th century and was mostly forgotten. Then in the mid-20th century it was republished in a limited edition. In 2004 the book attracted attention when it was denounced by Egyptian censors. Yet in 2005 the Egyptian censors ruled it was acceptable. This concluded that "Bush I" may not have been an enemy of Islam as thought by the earlier censors.

Possibly the history and writings of the "Bush I" may reveal some of the religious character that George W. Bush has inherited and since professed for himself.

In view of the continuing interest in the current political figures, including candidates as well as those in office, the above story becomes timely. When the Bush coins are issued in the future, I wonder if the first George Bush will be mentioned as a footnote?

History has always been commemorated in coins, but any additional facts and stories can only help complete the appreciation of each special dollar coin issued, and the respect each president deserves.
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3716  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: North Korea on: June 27, 2008, 08:13:32 AM
All very confusing.  On one hand the libs will refuse to recognize Bush for this and will find a way to spin it.  Like the crat hack Holbrooke (the pseudo diplomate) of course is saying this whole accomplishment with N Korea was by way of an accident but his real point is of course that if only Bush would have done it the liberal way and talk more with our enemies we would have seen this much sooner.  Then you have Bolton who in my opinion is about the only guy really saying like it is denouncing this as the "end of the Bush doctrine".


http://news.yahoo.com/s/mcclatchy/20080626/wl_mcclatchy/2976984

****U.S.-North Korea accord began with an 'accidental' meeting in Berlin

By Warren P. Strobel, McClatchy Newspapers Thu Jun 26, 7:07 PM ET

WASHINGTON — Meeting in Berlin, Germany in January 2007 , in what was portrayed at the time as an accidental encounter, Christopher Hill , the State Department's top Asia hand, and his North Korean counterpart sketched out a deal to resume nuclear negotiations.
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The North Koreans had proposed the venue, but Hill had to find an excuse to be there. "I need to be in Berlin , and I need a cover story," Hill told his mentor and one-time boss, Richard Holbrooke , the former U.N. ambassador. Holbrooke arranged for Hill to deliver a speech.

Just three months earlier, North Korea had exploded its first atomic device. The Bush administration responded to the underground test with a campaign for U.N. sanctions against Pyongyang , and Chinese-led six-nation talks aimed at denuclearizing North Korea fell into a deep freeze.

The talks between Hill, known for his aggressive, risk-taking diplomacy, and North Korean envoy Kim Kae -gwan led to a pair of public agreements last year that culminated in this week's nuclear breakthrough.

North Korea on Thursday handed over a 60-page declaration of its nuclear activities, and President Bush announced a partial lifting of U.S. sanctions.

The Berlin talks also marked a historic turnabout for President Bush , current and former U.S. officials said.

Until then, Bush had refused to engage in one-on-one diplomacy with a regime he reviled, at least outside the Chinese-organized six-nation framework. He still refuses direct talks with Iran , another troublesome nuclear aspirant.

"That was the change, the single point. You can put your finger on that, and watch the pivot," said Jack Pritchard , who served as Bush's special envoy for North Korea from 2001-2003.

Added Holbrooke: "No matter how much they try to say it wasn't a change in policy, it was," and led directly to this week's events.

Now Bush, who for most of his presidency has been accused of using too little diplomacy, faces unfamiliar criticism that he has given away too much.

Even some proponents of the peace talks say North Korea's nuclear declaration contains less than it promised last year. It covers North Korea's known efforts to produce plutonium for nuclear weapons, but says nothing about the weapons themselves— nor about an alleged covert program aimed at a uranium-based bomb or the North's nuclear cooperation with countries such as Syria .

"I think it's a very sad day. . . . It reflects the collapse of the Bush doctrine," said former undersecretary of state John Bolton , a leading hawk on proliferation issues.

Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice argue that it's important to focus first on the most immediate threat— the North's plutonium stock— and advance in stages.

But "proceeding in stages is entirely advantageous to North Korea ," because it will it draw out every step to gain more rewards, Bolton said.

Precisely why Bush changed course so dramatically on North Korea — a country he famously included in his "Axis of Evil" and whose leader, Kim Jong Il, he said he loathed— remains a mystery.

But officials cite the White House's plate was overflowing with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan ; the declining influence of administration hawks such as former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Bolton; the Republican defeat in the November 2006 mid-term elections; and the tireless efforts of Hill, who had Rice's consistent backing.

Bush also may have wanted a historic foreign policy agreement before he left office.

"There's certainly a desire on the legacy issue here," said Carolyn Leddy , who worked on counter-proliferation at the White House's National Security Council until last November, and is critical of the deal Bush struck.

Leddy recalled that after the October 2006 North Korean nuclear test, "we were all geared up to look at new sanctions mechanisms." Then, she said, "all off a sudden, it was no more sanctions . . . no more sticks."

The stage was set for the two days of meetings in Berlin in January.

Holbrooke, telling his part of the story for the first time, told McClatchy Newspapers that he invited Hill, who served as his deputy in the 1995 Dayton negotiations that ended the war in Bosnia , to give a speech to the American Academy in Berlin , which Holbrooke chairs. A press conference was scheduled, in case Hill had important news to announce. Rice also happened to be en route to Berlin , from a mission to the Middle East .

The outlines of a deal that Hill and North Korea's Kim reached were codified the following month at the six-party talks.

The North would shut down its Yongbyon nuclear reactor and deliver a list of its nuclear programs. North Korea in return would get heavy fuel oil for its electricity needs, and Washington would begin removing it from its list of state sponsor of terrorism, and from under the Trading with the Enemy Act.

Bush has doggedly stuck to the deal, even as criticism from his conservative allies has mounted.

Not even intelligence data showing North Korea helped Syria construct an alleged nuclear reactor— Israel bombed the facility last September— derailed it.

"If he could, (Bush) would much rather ignore, isolate and verbally condemn North Korea ," said Jon Wolfsthal , a proliferation expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies .

"Reality intervened," he said. "The Bush doctrine, the neoconservative view of regime change as a tool for nonproliferation, was left on the battlefields of Iraq ."****
3717  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / So how is Romney's plan in Massachussets doing? on: June 26, 2008, 09:08:55 AM
From the New England Journal of Medicine which does carry of leftist flavor when it comes to politics and health care.  (Well they do reside in Massachussetts. wink)

I don't know why Hollywood shouldn't pay for our health care needs with a windfall profits tax.  Maybe athletes and sports team owners should pay a windfall tax too  (who still weasel public money for their stadiums.).  And my well known favorite industry - the music industry.

This is what we will see from Bo on a national scale.  It is a very complicated situation so I have no real opinion one way or another and am just sitting helplessly on the sidelines anyway so what ever will be - will be....

****The New England Journal of Medicine
Volume 358:2757-2760      June 26, 2008      Number 26

Health Care Reform in Massachusetts — Expanding Coverage, Escalating Costs
Robert Steinbrook, M.D.

The far-reaching health care reforms that Massachusetts enacted in April 2006 are often cited as a model for other states.1 After 2 years, the good news is that the new programs have ramped up rapidly, the number of people without health insurance has been substantially reduced, and overall public and political support remains broad. Early data suggest that access to care has improved, especially among low-income adults; there have also been "reductions in out-of-pocket health care spending, problems paying medical bills, and medical debt."2 As of May 2008, about 350,000 residents — 5.5% of the state's population — were newly insured (see figure). About half of them are enrolled in Commonwealth Care, a subsidized insurance program for adults who have no access to employer-sponsored insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, or veterans' or student insurance programs and who earn no more than 300% of the federal poverty guidelines. About a third have purchased private insurance or gained employer-sponsored coverage, and the rest have enrolled in Medicaid. About 72% of the approximately 25,000 people with new individual policies have purchased them through Commonwealth Choice, an unsubsidized offering of private health plans approved by the Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority, which administers many aspects of the reforms. In addition, the individual and small-group insurance markets have been merged, markedly reducing the cost of individual premiums.

Figure 1
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     Growth in Health Insurance Coverage in Massachusetts after Health Care Reform.

Panel A shows the health insurance coverage among the 352,170 Massachusetts residents (5.5% of the 2007 state population of 6.4 million) who are newly insured. An estimated 550,000 to 715,000 residents (8.6 to 11.2%)1 were without health insurance before reform. Data for Commonwealth Care enrollees are from the Commonwealth Connector as of May 1, 2008. Medicaid data are from MassHealth as of February 29, 2008. Data for private insurance are from the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans, representing the increase in the number of people enrolled in commercial insurance between January 1, 2007, and January 1, 2008. New private-insurance enrollment includes coverage through Commonwealth Choice, an unsubsidized offering of approved private health plans that has been available through the Commonwealth Connector since July 2007; as of May 1, 2008, a total of 18,122 people had purchased insurance through Commonwealth Choice. Panels B and C show the numbers of residents enrolled in Commonwealth Care and Commonwealth Choice, respectively.

 
Not all the news is good, however. Perhaps 5% of the state's population — the exact figure is a matter of conjecture and may be higher — is still uninsured, the financial burden of the reforms is increasing, and the challenges of sustaining the subsidized program have been exacerbated by the economic downturn. The features of plans that decrease the cost of premiums also increase out-of-pocket costs for those who obtain care. Although adults reported lower levels of health care needs that remained unmet because of cost in the fall of 2007 than in the previous year, those with low incomes reported increased difficulty in getting appointments or in finding a doctor or other provider who would see them.2 And the state ultimately decided that not all residents must actually carry health insurance, as the legislation originally intended: exemptions are available for adults who make too much money to enroll in the subsidized insurance program but are deemed unable to afford policies in the private market; others can be exempted on religious grounds or when unusual financial circumstances arise. If more residents were eligible for subsidized insurance, fewer would qualify for hardship exemptions, but such an approach would further increase the cost of the new programs. Already, enrollment in Commonwealth Care is growing faster than was projected. Annual state spending would be $1.08 billion for fiscal year 2009 if 255,000 residents are enrolled, an increase of about 80,000 enrollees from the current number.3 If 225,000 residents enroll, as an earlier estimate suggested, spending would be $869.4 million. By comparison, spending for Commonwealth Care was $132.9 million in fiscal year 2007 and is projected to be $647.4 million in fiscal year 2008. Moreover, as compared with the national average, the per-capita cost of medical care in Massachusetts is high.

"To maintain public and financial commitment to the new programs, controlling costs is 110% of the challenge for the next several years," according to Jon Kingsdale, executive director of the Commonwealth Connector. The monthly cost per member in the subsidized insurance program is $352.43, which is about what was budgeted and considerably less than the median cost of employer-sponsored coverage in the state. There are no monthly premiums for adults earning less than 150% of the federal poverty guidelines (in 2008, $15,612 for an individual and $31,812 for a family of four); premiums for those who earn 150 to 300% of the federal poverty guidelines are set according to a sliding scale, with a maximum premium for an individual of $105 a month. About 70% of those who have signed up pay no premiums. People who are eligible for Commonwealth Care are deemed to have access to affordable coverage; Medicaid covers the children of adults enrolled in Commonwealth Care.

The requirement to carry insurance is enforced through the state income-tax return. In general, the Massachusetts Department of Revenue uses the affordability schedule adopted by the Commonwealth Connector and other financial and insurance information to verify the self-reported information on tax returns and to determine eligibility for hardship exemptions. In 2008, the maximum penalty for not having insurance is $912. In 2007, it was $219. Revenue from this penalty is expected to be $8.5 million for fiscal year 2008.3

In June 2008, the Department of Revenue released preliminary data about the health insurance information reported on 2007 tax returns, covering 86% of the tax filings that are eventually expected. Of the taxpayers required to file insurance information, only 1.4% failed to comply. About 168,000 of 3.34 million adults (5.0%) reported that they did not have health insurance coverage at the end of the year. On the basis of the affordability schedule, about 97,000 were deemed "able to afford" insurance — 86,000 who paid the penalty and 11,000 who have appealed it. About 62,000 were deemed "unable to afford insurance" and are thus eligible for an exemption. In addition, about 9,000 taxpayers claimed a religious exemption, and about 200 had already obtained a "certificate of exemption," for financial reasons, from the Commonwealth Connector. About 10% of residents either do not file tax returns or are not accounted for as dependents on the returns of others, so the actual number without health insurance is probably higher.

As of January 1, 2009, people with health insurance must have plans that provide "minimum creditable coverage." Among other requirements, such plans must cover at least three doctor visits for an individual or six for a family before charging any deductible, and they must offer prescription-drug coverage (with a limit on any separate deductible of $250 for an individual and $500 for a family). However, annual deductibles (capped at $2,000 for an individual and $4,000 for a family) and out-of-pocket spending (capped at $5,000 for an individual and $10,000 for a family) can be very high.

In 2008, health insurance in Massachusetts is considered affordable — regardless of the premium — for individuals with incomes above $52,501, for couples with incomes above $82,501, and for families of any size with incomes above $110,001, according to the Commonwealth Connector. For people with lower incomes, the affordability schedule, which is revised annually, is used to determine whether residents can pay for health insurance, regardless of whether it is obtained through the Commonwealth Connector or directly from an insurer. According to the 2008 schedule, affordable policies typically require no more than 7.5% to 10.6% of income to be paid for premiums; the percentages vary according to income and type of household. People with preexisting medical conditions are not charged more for individual policies. However, because premiums increase with age, people with incomes below the affordability thresholds are considered to have no affordable private insurance options after a certain age — currently, 55 years for individual coverage, 50 years for couple coverage, and 30 years for family coverage. Income-based categorical exemptions apply mostly to adults who are not offered employer-sponsored insurance. Until a more detailed analysis of tax returns is completed, state officials will not know how many of the people deemed unable to afford health insurance fall into these categories. And, of course, people who use medical care have additional expenses for copayments, deductibles, prescription charges, and other out-of-pocket costs.

Premiums for the unsubsidized Commonwealth Choice program will increase by an average of 5% for fiscal 2009, which begins on July 1. Government payments for premiums in Commonwealth Care will increase by an average of 9.4%. The state's cost for Commonwealth Care is partially offset by federal reimbursement — projected to be at $268.3 million in fiscal year 2008 and for $360.6 million in fiscal year 20093 — and a decrease in payments to community health centers and hospitals that treat the uninsured, which has caused difficulties for some centers and hospitals. Other revenues are limited. Revenue from the "fair share contribution," an annual per-employee charge of $295 paid by businesses that have 11 or more full-time–equivalent employees but do not provide or contribute to health insurance, is projected to be $6.7 million in fiscal 2008, as compared with the $50 million per year that was estimated when the reform was enacted.1,3 The difference could reflect inaccurate or incomplete reporting or an inaccurate initial estimate of the number of employers that would be subject to the assessment. More people, including low-income adults, have employer-sponsored insurance than did before the reform.

Massachusetts has thus far avoided legal challenges to its reforms that might have been brought under the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act, which prohibits states from setting plan standards for self-insured employers. Possible explanations are that the requirement for maintaining a minimum standard of coverage is placed on individuals rather than employers, that businesses largely support the reform,4 and that their obligations are modest. An employer's requirements are met if at least 25% of its workers enroll in the company health plan or if it offers to pay at least one third of the premium for individual coverage. Employers are not required to provide health insurance to part-time employees. So far, employers have blocked efforts to make them pay more of the costs of the reform.

Health care reform in Massachusetts is not a panacea for the many shortcomings of the health care system.5 It is worth remembering that California, for example, has more people without health insurance (6.7 million) than Massachusetts has residents (6.4 million) and that the financing and delivery of medical care have not changed.1 Having health insurance is not having health care.5 There are still many difficulties with access to primary care and other services. However, Massachusetts has made some strides, and given sufficient resources, more can be done. This includes identifying and reaching people who are still uninsured and helping them gain coverage, expanding employer-sponsored insurance, and improving the options for part-time employees, for low-paid workers who are offered insurance by their employers but who earn less than 300% of the federal poverty guideline and cannot afford it, and for others with hardship exemptions. The state legislature is considering new cost-control measures, and there is interest in a plan from Blue Cross–Blue Shield of Massachusetts, the largest carrier in the state, which pays doctors and hospitals according to a combination of capitation and pay-for-performance approaches. As a practical matter, the improvements in health insurance coverage can continue indefinitely as long as public and political support remain strong and the state is willing — with the substantial help of the federal government through the renewal of a Medicaid waiver agreement — to keep paying the ever-increasing bill.

Dr. Steinbrook (rsteinbrook@attglobal.net) is a national correspondent for the Journal.

References

   1. Steinbrook R. Health care reform in Massachusetts -- a work in progress. N Engl J Med 2006;354:2095-2098. [Free Full Text]
   2. Long SK. On the road to universal coverage: impact of reform in Massachusetts at one year. Health Aff (Millwood) 2008;27:W270-W284.
   3. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Information statement. April 16, 2008. (Accessed June 6, 2008, at http://www.dacbond.com/GetContent?dctm_r_object_id=0900bbc7800c82b4.)
   4. Gabel JR, Whitmore H, Pickreign J. Report from Massachusetts: employers largely support health care reform, and few signs of crowd-out appear. Health Aff (Millwood) 2008;27:w13-w23. [Free Full Text]
   5. Angell M. Health reform you shouldn't believe in. The American Prospect. April 21, 2008.

The New England Journal of Medicine is owned, published, and copyrighted © 2008 Massachusetts Medical Society. All rights reserved.****
3718  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Novak Ryan to McCain on: June 24, 2008, 06:59:44 AM
A Chance for McCain
by Robert Novak
Posted: 06/23/2008
   
When John McCain met privately with Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin after a political event in the Milwaukee suburbs May 29, the Republican presidential candidate might not have realized that he had just come face to face with an opportunity and a test. Ryan showed him his plan to reform the economy. McCain expressed interest and said he would turn it over to his campaign's economists.

That was truly ominous. If the Kemp-Roth tax cut had been handed over to economists three decades ago, it likely would have died in its crib and aborted the national and Republican revival under President Ronald Reagan. Ryan's plan is more sweeping than the proposal by his boss and mentor Jack Kemp, who dealt only with taxes. In 70 pages, "Ryan's Roadmap for America's Future" shows the way to reform taxes, control spending and brake runaway entitlement outlays.

Ryan has proposed far too much to handle for nervous House Republican leaders. They have refrained from publicly knocking Ryan down only because they are in a state of terror over their party's desperate condition, as indicated by plummeting polls and special election defeats. More important is the yet unstated reaction by McCain, famously uninterested in economics but never shy on courage to defy the conventional wisdom.

Actually, to embrace Ryan's Roadmap requires more political insight than courage. Ryan was met with enthusiastic approval at some 35 town meetings in his southern Wisconsin industrial district, where he unveiled his plan over the last two months. His constituents, who sent liberal Democrat Les Aspin to Congress for 22 years, are legendary "Reagan Democrats" who have soured on the GOP. Ryan believes they are far ahead of politicians in their alarm over entitlements. "Do we have the guts to act?" asks Ryan.
Continued

Ryan fears potential national disaster is ahead because we "will exceed the European extent of government and bring our economy to extinction." With the U.S. government share of the economy at 20 percent, he sees it rising to a calamitous 40 percent when his three children (ages 3, 4 and 6) reach their 30s, requiring a doubled tax rate. President Bush's appropriations rose $49 billion over the last year, and the Democratic-controlled House upped that ante. But spending enacted by Congress is dwarfed by statutory increases in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other entitlements.

Ryan's Roadmap makes a serious effort, as neither Congress nor the Bush administration did, to cut appropriated spending. Ryan calls it "Gramm-Rudman on steroids" (referring to successive spending control measures beginning in 1985).

But his boldest thrust comes in radical changes to entitlements, including an option for persons under 55 years old to buy private retirement insurance, plus reduced benefits and delayed retirement for Social Security. His Internal Revenue reform would amount to an optional modified flat tax (advocated in principle by McCain) and substituting a small business consumption tax for the corporate income tax rate -- while holding federal taxes to 18.5 percent of gross domestic product.

It is hardly likely the Republican leadership would embrace Ryan's daring agenda if it cannot even bring itself temporarily to forego pork-barrel spending by passing a moratorium on earmarks. But Ryan represents a younger breed of reform Republicans who now have junior leadership positions.

Ryan, 38, top Republican on the House Budget Committee, has been working closely with freshman Rep. Kevin McCarthy, 43, who has been named chairman of the national platform by Minority Leader John Boehner, and Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, 45, the party's chief deputy whip. After another expected bad GOP defeat in the 2008 congressional elections, Ryan, McCarthy and Cantor could constitute the party's new House leadership.

But who will be in the White House? McCain so far has generated little excitement in his own Republican base, much less among Reagan Democrats. His cautious political and economic advisers flinch at complicated tax changes, massive budget cuts and tampering with Social Security. But a campaign based on Barack Obama's shortcomings may not be enough on Election Day. While Ryan says the people are more than ready for his strong medicine, McCain has not yet agreed.

3719  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / On Watts water on: June 24, 2008, 06:49:24 AM
From Cabot value investor newsletter,

***Watts Water Technologies (WTS: 26.40) Min Sell Price = 46.08
WTS is the leading manufacturer of products used in the plumbing and
water quality industries.  Major restructuring program will cause
earnings to decline in 2008, but a sharp rebound is expected in 2009.   
Hold WTS.***
3720  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Rare uncontacted tribe photographed in Amazon on: June 24, 2008, 06:18:37 AM
This helps clarify my question about this.  I remember in the 1970's there was this supposed tribe that was "discovered".  Later the whole thing turned out to be a hoax.  I recall something about the last really undiscovered group of people dates back much earlier perhaps to the 1950's.  The Earth is becoming boring.  And without life the rest of our solar system is also less interesting.  So there is ice on Mars - so what.


****The Not-So-Lost Tribe
by Mike Krumboltz

June 23, 2008 06:09:40 PM

Even in an age when cynical sleuths can hyper-analyze stories for truth and accuracy, the occasional hoax still slips through the cracks. Such was the case with a so-called "lost Amazon tribe."

A few months ago, mainstream news outlets (including, ahem, Yahoo!) reported that a photographer had found a lost tribe of warriors near the Brazilian-Peruvian border. Photos of the tribe backed up his claim.

As it turns out, the story is only half true. The men in the photo are members of a tribe, but it certainly ain't "lost." In fact, as the photographer, José Carlos Meirelles, recently explained, authorities have known about this particular tribe since 1910. The photographer and the agency that released the pictures wanted to make it seem like they were members of a lost tribe in order to call attention to the dangers the logging industry may have on the group.

The photographer recently came clean, and news outlets, perhaps embarrassed at having been taken for a ride, have been slow to pick up the story. Now, the word is starting to spread and articles in the Buzz are picking up steam. Expect a lot more brutal truth in the coming days.****
3721  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: June 24, 2008, 05:51:24 AM
***Some brave souls might even concede that if the U.S. had withdrawn in the depths of the chaos, the world would be in worse shape today.***

Don't expect any real honesty like this from BO.
3722  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / John Bolton prediction on: June 24, 2008, 05:42:30 AM
In Bolton's opinion:

"An Obama victory would rule out military action by the Israelis because they would fear the consequences given the approach Obama has taken to foreign policy," said Mr Bolton, who was Mr Bush's ambassador to the UN from 2005 to 2006."

***Israel 'will attack Iran' before new US president sworn in, John Bolton predicts
By Toby Harnden in Washington
Last Updated: 9:50AM BST 24/06/2008
John Bolton, the former American ambassador to the United Nations, has predicted that Israel could attack Iran after the November presidential election but before George W Bush's successor is sworn in.
John Bolton, the former American ambassador to the United Nations
PA
Bolton: 'the argument for military action is sooner rather than later'

The Arab world would be "pleased" by Israeli strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities, he said in an interview with The Daily Telegraph.

"It [the reaction] will be positive privately. I think there'll be public denunciations but no action," he said.

Mr Bolton, an unflinching hawk who proposes military action to stop Iran developing nuclear weapons, bemoaned what he sees as a lack of will by the Bush administration to itself contemplate military strikes.
Article continues
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"It's clear that the administration has essentially given up that possibility," he said. "I don't think it's serious any more. If you had asked me a year ago I would have said I thought it was a real possibility. I just don't think it's in the cards."

Israel, however, still had a determination to prevent a nuclear Iran, he argued. The "optimal window" for strikes would be between the November 4 election and the inauguration on January 20, 2009.

"The Israelis have one eye on the calendar because of the pace at which the Iranians are proceeding both to develop their nuclear weapons capability and to do things like increase their defences by buying new Russian anti-aircraft systems and further harden the nuclear installations .

"They're also obviously looking at the American election calendar. My judgement is they would not want to do anything before our election because there's no telling what impact it could have on the election."

But waiting for either Barack Obama, the Democratic candidate, or his Republican opponent John McCain to be installed in the White House could preclude military action happening for the next four years or at least delay it.

"An Obama victory would rule out military action by the Israelis because they would fear the consequences given the approach Obama has taken to foreign policy," said Mr Bolton, who was Mr Bush's ambassador to the UN from 2005 to 2006.

"With McCain they might still be looking at a delay. Given that time is on Iran's side, I think the argument for military action is sooner rather than later absent some other development."

The Iran policy of Mr McCain, whom Mr Bolton supports, was "much more realistic than the Bush administration's stance".

Mr Obama has said he will open high-level talks with Iran "without preconditions" while Mr McCain views attacking Iran as a lesser evil than allowing Iran to become a nuclear power.

William Kristol, a prominent neo-conservative, told Fox News on Sunday that an Obama victory could prompt Mr Bush to launch attacks against Iran. "If the president thought John McCain was going to be the next president, he would think it more appropriate to let the next president make that decision than do it on his way out," he said.

Last week, Israeli jets carried out a long-range exercise over the Mediterranean that American intelligence officials concluded was practice for air strikes against Iran. Mohammad Ali Hosseini, spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry, said this was an act of "psychological warfare" that would be futile.

"They do not have the capacity to threaten the Islamic Republic of Iran. They [Israel] have a number of domestic crises and they want to extrapolate it to cover others. Sometimes they come up with these empty slogans."

He added that Tehran would deliver a "devastating" response to any attack.

On Friday, Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency, said military action against Iran would turn the Middle East into a "fireball" and accelerate Iran's nuclear programme.

Mr Bolton, however, dismissed such sentiments as scaremongering. "The key point would be for the Israelis to break Iran's control over the nuclear fuel cycle and that could be accomplished for example by destroying the uranium conversion facility at Esfahan or the uranium enrichment facility at Natanz.

"That doesn't end the problem but it buys time during which a more permanent solution might be found.... How long? That would be hard to say. Depends on the extent of the destruction."***
3723  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / More on Vitamin D on: June 23, 2008, 07:37:27 PM
More on low Vitamin D ---

The only negative article was from I think New Zealand which noted in a small group of people a negative associated with increased Vitamin D intake and coronarly artery calcification but everything else I read suggested Vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency is under treated and diagnosed.  Vit D level over 40 is associated with decreased bone fracture risk this that is the goal I shoot for.
Proabably half the people I measure 25 hydroxy vitamin D levels in are below this level.

 ***Lack of sunshine vitamin may cloud survival odds By LINDSEY TANNER, AP Medical Writer
Mon Jun 23, 4:00 PM ET
 


CHICAGO - New research linking low vitamin D levels with deaths from heart disease and other causes bolsters mounting evidence about the "sunshine" vitamin's role in good health.

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Patients with the lowest blood levels of vitamin D were about two times more likely to die from any cause during the next eight years than those with the highest levels, the study found. The link with heart-related deaths was particularly strong in those with low vitamin D levels.

Experts say the results shouldn't be seen as a reason to start popping vitamin D pills or to spend hours in the sun, which is the main source for vitamin D.

For one thing, megadoses of vitamin D pills can be dangerous and skin cancer risks from too much sunshine are well-known. But also, it can't be determined from this type of study whether lack of vitamin D caused the deaths, or whether increasing vitamin D intake would make any difference.

Low vitamin D levels could reflect age, lack of physical activity and other lifestyle factors that also affect health, said American Heart Association spokeswoman Alice Lichtenstein, director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at Tufts University.

Still, she said the study is an important addition to an emerging area of research.

"This is something that should not be ignored," Lichtenstein said.

The study led by Austrian researchers involved 3,258 men and women in southwest Germany. Participants were aged 62 on average, most with heart disease, whose vitamin D levels were checked in weekly blood tests. During roughly eight years of follow-up, 737 died, including 463 from heart-related problems.

According to one of the vitamin tests they used, there were 307 deaths in patients with the lowest levels, versus 103 deaths in those with the highest levels. Counting age, physical activity and other factors, the researchers calculated that deaths from all causes were about twice as common in patients in the lowest-level group.

Results appear in Monday's Archives of Internal Medicine.

The study's lead author, Dr. Harald Dobnig of the Medical University of Graz in Austria, said the results don't prove that low levels of vitamin D are harmful "but the evidence is just becoming overwhelming at this point."

Scientists used to think that the only role of vitamin D was to prevent rickets and strengthen bones, Dobnig said.

"Now we are beginning to realize that there is much more into it," he said

Exactly how low vitamin D levels might contribute to heart problems and deaths from other illnesses is uncertain, although it is has been shown to help regulate the body's disease-fighting immune system, he said.

Earlier this month, the same journal included research led by Harvard scientists linking low vitamin D levels with heart attacks. And previous research has linked low vitamin D with high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity, which all can contribute to heart disease.

The new research "provides the strongest evidence to date for a link between vitamin D deficiency and cardiovascular mortality," said Dr. Edward Giovannucci of the Harvard study of 18,225 men.

Low vitamin D levels also have been linked with several kinds of cancer and some researchers believe the vitamin could even be used to help prevent malignancies.

It has been estimated that at least 50 percent of older adults worldwide have low vitamin D levels, and the problem is also thought to affect substantial numbers of younger people. Possible reasons include decreased outdoor activities, air pollution and, as people age, a decline in the skin's ability to produce vitamin D from ultraviolet rays, the study authors said.

Some doctors believe overuse of sunscreen lotions has contributed, and say just 10 to 15 minutes daily in the sun without sunscreen is safe and enough to ensure adequate vitamin D, although there's no consensus on that.

Diet sources include fortified milk, which generally contains 100 international units of vitamin D per cup, and fatty fish — 3 ounces of canned tuna has 200 units.

The Institute of Medicine's current vitamin D recommendations are 200 units daily for children and adults up to age 50, and 400 to 600 units for older adults. But some doctors believe these amounts are far too low and recommend taking supplements.

The American Medical Association at its annual meeting last week agreed to urge a review of the recommendations.***

3724  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: June 23, 2008, 08:01:53 AM
Rachel,
Interesting post (!st one)
I never thought about Federal benefits that Gays in States where homosexual marriage is legal.
But this statement seems a bit much - a little exaggerated for propaganda purposes:

"This means that no same-sex parents or their children have access to the 1,138 federal protections that come
with marriage."

I mean really?

While I not that opposed to gay marriage I am definitely opposed to gays adopting or having children by other means.
If two consenting adults want to do this that is one thing but..
Unless one of the gay "couple" already has a one or more children from previous life.
3725  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Saudis upping their output - but why? on: June 22, 2008, 05:16:25 PM
Perhaps they just love the US. wink

I really got ask - what did W give up for this?  I really got ask if the Saudis got nuclear technology for this.  Any journalists looking at this.  Something went on behind the scenes we don't know about.

***Saudi Arabia Boosts Oil Supply, May Pump More Later (Update2)

By Ayesha Daya and Glen Carey

June 22 (Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia may raise its oil production beyond a planned 200,000 barrel-a-day increase in July if the oil market requires extra supply, Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi told consumers at a summit in Jeddah.

Saudi Arabia's commitment to government and business leaders to pump 9.7 million barrels a day next month came after crude rose to a record $139.89 in New York on June 16. Saudi King Abdullah said at today's summit that his country, the world's biggest oil exporter, seeks ``reasonable'' prices. OPEC President Chakib Khelil said a Saudi boost is ``illogical'' because refiners don't need more crude.

The International Energy Agency estimates that world oil use this year will climb 800,000 barrels a day, or 1 percent, as demand climbs in emerging markets. Stagnating production from Russia and the North Sea and disruption in Nigeria are also contributing to higher prices, which have touched off strikes, riots and accelerating inflation in nations around the world.

``Saudi Arabia is prepared and willing to produce additional barrels of crude above and beyond the 9.7 million barrels per day, which we plan to produce during the month of July, if demand for such quantities materializes and our customers tell us they are needed,'' Naimi said.

Saudi Arabia's capacity will be 12.5 million barrels a day by the end of 2009 and may rise to 15 million after that if necessary, he said.

Speculators Blamed

The president of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Khelil, blamed $135 oil on speculative investors, the subprime credit crisis and geopolitics, rather than a shortage of supply. Khelil, who is also Algeria's oil minister, today dismissed the argument voiced by consuming nations that possible supply shortages are driving up prices.

``The concern over future oil supply is not a new phenomenon,'' he told reporters in Jeddah. Asked if oil prices would fall after the meeting, he replied: ``I don't think so.''

More than 35 countries, seven international organizations and 25 oil companies took part in today's summit in the Saudi Red Sea port, including U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown, U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman and Exxon Mobil Corp. Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson.

OPEC Divided

The Saudi King and other producer-nation officials including Kuwaiti oil minister Mohammed al-Olaim also called for greater regulation on oil market investors. The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission is currently investigating the role of index-fund investors in the doubling of oil prices during the past year.

OPEC itself is divided. While Saudi Arabia is boosting output, other OPEC members including Libya, Algeria, Iran, Venezuela and Qatar are opposed to higher production, saying refiners aren't asking for more crude.

Libya's top oil official, Shokri Ghanem, said after the meeting ended that the Saudi output boost wouldn't affect the oil price, and yesterday said his country may have to cut its own production in response to the Saudi move.

Venezuelan Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez, also asked whether the oil price was likely to fall after the Saudi move, said: ``I don't think so because it's not a problem of supply.''

Kuwait, OPEC's fourth largest producer, said it's ready to join neighboring Saudi Arabia and raise output, if needed.

Dollar Hedge

Oil rose to $139.89 a barrel on June 16 as investors bought commodities to hedge against a weakening U.S. dollar and concern mounted that demand is growing faster than supply. Gasoline retail prices over $4 a gallon in the U.S. are raising concern that the economy may slip into recession. Crude oil for July delivery closed June 20 in New York at $134.62 a barrel.

U.S. Energy Secretary Bodman rejected calls to put greater control on markets, and said a shortage of supply was responsible for high prices. He disputed the view that speculators are leading the markets to record levels.

The market needs between 3 million and 4 million barrels a day of spare oil production capacity, compared with the 2 million barrels a day currently available, Bodman said. OPEC says the world's spare capacity is about 3 million barrels a day, with two-thirds of that in Saudi Arabia.

``Market fundamentals show us that production has not kept pace with growing demand for oil resulting in increasing, and increasingly volatile, prices,'' Bodman said in a speech today.

More Supply

Italy's Minister of Industry Claudio Scajola and Brazil's Energy Minister Edison Lobao were among consumer-nation officials attending the Jeddah summit that said more supply was needed to ease prices. ``We expect Saudi Arabia to open the taps,'' Austrian Economy Minister Martin Bartenstein said in an interview two days ago. ``One third of inflation in the euro zone comes from energy and inflation is now of importance.''

Speaking in Jeddah today, the Austrian minister said: ``We would like to see more oil on the market. That is the only action I can think of that can discourage the speculators.''

Adam Sieminski, chief energy economist at Deutsche Bank AG, and other analysts maintain that consumers will need to curtail demand before prices head lower. The biggest drop in prices in 11 weeks came on June 18, after the world's second-biggest oil consumer, China, raised gasoline, diesel and power prices to rein in energy use.

Saudi Arabia will increase production capacity to 12.5 million barrels a day of oil by the end of next year and could add a further 2.5 million barrels a day if needed, from some new giant fields, Naimi said.

Zuluf, Shaybah Fields

``The Saudi announcement of a possible increase in capacity to 15 million barrels a day is a robust statement; it would be a huge increase,'' ENI SpA Chief Executive Officer Paolo Scaroni said in an interview in Jeddah today. ``The world is worried about the shortage in spare capacity and any improvement will change this sentiment.''

The further daily capacity includes 900,000 barrels from the Zuluf field, 700,000 barrels from Safaniyah, 300,000 barrels from Berri, 300,000 barrels from Khurais and 250,000 barrels from Shaybah, Naimi said.

U.K. Prime Minister Brown said in Jeddah today he will open Britain's energy industry to investment from oil producing nations as a way of keeping a lid on crude prices and paying for measures to clean up the environment. Further talks may be held between producers and consumers this year in London, he said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Ayesha Daya in Jeddah adaya1@bloomberg.netGlen Carey in Jeddah gcarey8@bloomberg.net
Last Updated: June 22, 2008 12:12 EDT
3726  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: June 22, 2008, 05:11:19 PM
I didn't know this story.  Kind of reminds me of Gingrich abandoning his wife with cancer.

***McCain’s acquaintances are less forgiving, however. They portray the politician as a self-centered womanizer who effectively abandoned his crippled wife to “play the field”.***

Ironically the Right can go after him on this if they choose. Then again there are all those Republicans with the same baggage -Livingstone, Craig, Foley, and several others.
The left cannot go after him with all they did to defend their guy Clinton for years.  In fact they consider all this kind of stuff a badge of honor.  Lanni Davis, Carville, Begala should be screeching to can this story - "its just about sex - so what".

Maybe McCain can get a few Dem votes out of this.

At least there are no accusations McCain raped anyone.
3727  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: June 22, 2008, 08:11:12 AM
Well this the same sick stuff the gays do, blame Ronald Reagan for the spread of aids - while they are spreading it around themselves around in orgies at gay baths and along turnpike exits and public parks and (apparently) public bathrooms.
3728  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Health Thread (nutrition, medical, longevity, etc) on: June 22, 2008, 08:07:31 AM
For those from the old DMG board recall the poster that passed away from melanoma?  He had gone to Germany to try experimental immune therapy.  It appears at least for some patients it works if done right.  A patient of mine who had a form of testicular that does not respond to chemo also tried this form of therapy in Germany. He recently didn't make it.  He was only 29.  What he went through was horrendous.  He fought far harder than Lance Armstrong.  He was not lucky like him to have happened to have a cancer that responded to chemo (and didn't cheat and take performance enhancing drugs like him either and later lie about it).

Hopefully this will be a major breakthrough at least for some:   

***Study: Melanoma Cured 100% through Blood Cell Therapy
By Alexander Toldt
11:36, June 22nd 2008    3 votes
Vote this story
   
Study: Melanoma Cured 100% through Blood Cell Therapy

The results of a new study conducted by a researcher team at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, give hope for those suffering from melanoma, one of the rarer types of skin cancer but the one which causes the majority of skin cancer related deaths.

Researchers who took part in the study used a patient's cloned T cells (helper cells) to put an advanced cancer into complete remission. Nine patients took part in the experimental melanoma treatment program.

The researchers were very surprised after they treated a 52-year-old man from Oregon of his Stage 4 melanoma. The research team led by Cassian Yee, M.D., an associate member of the Clinical Research Division at the Center, took CD4+T cells (white blood cells) from the patient’s body and during the next three months it grew approximately 5 billion of the cells in the lab. Then the cells grown in the lab were injected back into the patient.

After just two months, PET and CT scans revealed no sign of tumors anywhere in the patient's body and there were no harmful side effects. Two years later, patient "Number Four" was checked again and he was still disease free.

However, the first three patients, who received a smaller dose, had no response at all. Some other patients who received the same dose didn’t respond as well as patient number 4 did, but did saw some improvement.

Steven Rosenberg, chief surgeon at the National Cancer Institute, described the form of treatment as “the ultimate personalized medicine,” but also added that the fact that it’s a labor intensive treatment doesn’t make very attractive to commercial development.

The results of the study have been published in this week's issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, and are the latest findings in the field of "adoptive immunotherapy," a theory according to which the human body can be taught to fight off its own cancers.***

3729  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: June 21, 2008, 07:21:13 AM
Now BO's handlers have him out there saying "don't be afraid".  "They will try to scare you", etc etc
This is another psychological play on the minds of the gullible.  There are countless examples in history of demagogues who used the same psychology to lure people into their path to destruction.

He is absolutely a leftist communist-like demagogue pretending to be what he is not.

I can't say he worse than HC but he is certainly just as much a fraud.  Woops, I am sorry for the "personal" negative attack, BO.
OK you want to talk about issues.  Then stop lying about your plans and your goals.

Whether the public can be educated about his communist bent will be up to McCain and his handlers (since all Presidential campaigns have armies of handlers thanks to the Clintons who have shown that endless manipulation of perception can even keep them popular).
It doesn't help to have a leftist media (except for Fox and some radio talk shows).

3730  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / This is only the trickle before the "great flood" on: June 20, 2008, 07:55:29 AM
Lamenting...

I'm afraid this is an example of which we will see a major trend towards governmental control over so many more areas of our society to a level we have never seen in this country.

I would think that tax rates will go up as does the government dole and millions more on the government dole all voting Democrat for their jobs.  As a doctor I am already indirectly beholden to the government with all its regulation and Medicare setting rates that much of the private payer industry follows.  From what is ahead of us I might as well join a teachers union.  Like I said my sister a teacher siad the reason most teachers are die hard crats is the "union" mentality.  Just go to work and get your paycheck.  And demand everything in the way of "entitlements".  Now though people around the world are entitled to US benefits as well.

I don't want to think what this country will turn into if BO is President along with a Dem House and Senate and resulting further liberalization of the Supreme Court.  There will be no stopping this.

Our country is weaker thanks to them.  Of course corruption in the Republican ranks from Daschle on down allowed this to happen.
The religious right including Rush Limbaugh better start getting behind McCain and stop whining or it will be far worse IMHO.
(Doug I don't disagree with you but look at the alternative)
3731  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / McCain should jump all over this. on: June 19, 2008, 09:42:14 AM
This is crazy.  The government should be taking over the oil companies?  From the same bozos who are the reason we are in this mess by keeping the oil companies from getting us the oil we need:

http://www.foxnews.com/urgent_queue/index.html#a54ef44,2008-06-18

Yes the government should take over the oil industry and now convert hundreds of thousands of employees onto the Federal dole making them all into Democrat drones. Like most teachers and most other government employees.  How convenient.  Nothing like creating a whole sub nation within a nation whose interests lie in maintaining and expanding government to protect their jobs.  Just another way of bribery for votes.  McCain has got to stop this.  We are no longer a *free* country.  I can't believe the founders wanted this.
3732  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Iran is calling our bluffs on: June 19, 2008, 09:13:24 AM
I don't know how many times it becomes clear that only military force will work.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Iran's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency Ali Asghar Soltanieh ruled out on Wednesday that the country could freeze enrichment, saying: "Iran will never submit to such an illegal act."***
3733  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Coldplay on: June 19, 2008, 06:54:21 AM
Well, I allege they are singing stolen lyrics on at least one or two of the first hits (that Katherine is aware of).  OF course theydeny that they stole this other bands song.  Try proving it.  As for their excuses:

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Creaky Boards' video outlining the similiarities between the two songs

Coldplay are recording several live TV performances to promote their record in the US, but are steering clear of major interviews, following last week's incident on BBC Radio 4 when Martin walked out of an interview with the arts show Front Row, saying he did not like "having to talk about things".
3734  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / pharmaceutical studies on: June 18, 2008, 07:28:43 AM
There is a reason patients are not paid a lot of money to participate in pharmaceutical studies.  Ethics experts and institutional review boards composed of religious, business, legal medical and other lay people decide that offering too much money clouds the judgement of people into participate in these studies.  In fact I had conducted some of these myself and it would have been *a lot easier* to offer a lot more money and have more participants then we would need rather than be able to offer a pittence and take forever to find subjects.  Additionally IRB approve the informed consent, advertising, and to suggest that these veterans or anyone else is just thrown into these studies without their complete and explicit consent is bogus publicity.  These are not Nazi experiments.  The patient know full well they are in experimental studies and know full well there are risks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"You're a lab rat for $30 a month," Mr. Elliott said.***
3735  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Possible answer - Re: WSJ: Bushing helping Sauds build nukes?!? on: June 16, 2008, 07:52:31 AM
This is probably the reason why Bush is helping the Saudis build nukes.  Asking if this is good policy by Marky is certainly a good question.  Very complicated and probably no good answers.


***The Independent

Saudi King: 'We will pump more oil'

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



3736  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Doctors don't always tell patients when the end is near on: June 15, 2008, 06:46:26 PM
I have found this to be true at times.  It is certainly one of the hardest things in medicine.  There are different reasons for this.  Sometimes the patients only hear what they want to hear, and that they *were* told.  Sometimes they refuse to give up so the doctor keeps trying things that he/she knows would be a near miracle to work.  Sometimes I just wonder if the doctor just doesn't have the guts (or the heart) to tell the patient.  There are some cultures where it may actually be considered rude to tell a patient h/she is going to die (such as Japanese).  Could there be a financial incentive to push chemo that will have (if no chance) almost no chance to work?  I have no direct knowledge of this but in this world nothing would surprise me frankly.   I wonder what was told to Ed Kennedy?  I would like to think it was all an honorable try at making every possible, remote, theoretical, or otherwise experimental stab at trying to prolong his life but there is something just so self serving from these people at Duke in all this celebration of their supposed leadership in this area of medicine  - I just don't know.

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

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

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

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

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

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

New research shows they are wrong.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3737  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / An article on McCain's health prescription on: June 15, 2008, 06:21:29 PM


   

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

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

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

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

Jessica Berthold By Stacey Butterfield

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3738  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Universal Health Care on: June 13, 2008, 08:19:53 AM
I have mixed feelings about *universal* health care.  Of course the idea of world class health care for everyone that is paid for by x is a wonderful thought.  Who isn't for that?  But we all know it isn't that simple.

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

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

Anyway here is some thoughts on universal care:   


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

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

Stacey ButterfieldBy Stacey Butterfield

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With that mixed evaluation from the health care experts, it’s no wonder that the American voters are still undecided about who they want to lead health care reform.***
3739  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Sims recycler on: June 08, 2008, 10:50:25 AM
I didn't know David G no longer watches GG.  I wish I had followed DG's advice on ISRG, GOOG, and MA.  BTW, Potash's chart is spectacular!  Crafty, where did you hear of this a few years ago?  By the time I was alerted to the fertilizer companies it was *after* the rush.

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

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

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

Sims is a value play that we believe offers growth stock-like
potential for the year. Its March purchase of Chicago's Metal
Management makes it one of the most important metal recyclers in the
world, but also means it changed its listing country and its ticker,
so northern hemisphere analysts aren't following it yet and funds are
only just starting to build positions. Early signs are brand name
funds are gobbling up shares. Another bullish sign, a Deutsche Bank
analyst predicts ferrous and non-ferrous metal prices will remain
firm worldwide, while signs are higher shipping costs for firms like
Sims are bring successfully passed on to buyers. BUY.
3740  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Clintons narcissism (they are sick folks) on: June 08, 2008, 10:25:29 AM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malignant_narcissism

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

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

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

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

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

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

[edit] See also

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

[edit] External links

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

[edit] References

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

 
3741  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: June 08, 2008, 09:41:56 AM
***You can thank the CIA's moronic NIE***

GM,

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

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

Now we are tilting back to another leftist elistist pompous jerk IMO.  We "must do this we must do that".  And in everything he voted for or people he surrounded himself with said  is an undercurrent of a theme that America is no good.  "First time I am proud of my country", "chickens coming home to roost", etc.  The BO campaign managers will fool a lot of people by trying to back peddle and white wash this up.  BO is not only no Abe Lincoln, he is no JFK or RFK.  At least those guys came from a family that fought and died for, and believed in this country.  How can we elect a guy who loathes our country like this guy?  Hear we go again with a lot of cleverly, lawyerly, and poll driven drivel.  The election process has become torture in this country IMO.
3742  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: June 07, 2008, 02:14:58 PM
America "dodged a bullet" for now.  Of course, it is far from over with the Clintons.  Notice she says she is *suspending* her campaign.

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

Dick Morris explains:

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

Published on FOXNews.com on June 6, 2008.

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

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

1. The Obama Stumbles Option

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

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

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

2. Hillary for VP

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

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

3. The I Told You So Option

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

4. Paying Off Her Debts

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

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

That’s her game.

Jun 6 2008
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3743  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Bomb the Iranian nuke strongholds before Nov? on: June 06, 2008, 09:22:05 AM
If BO is in power Israel can forget about US support for any military option.  It is off the table period. Dershowitz's and his (liberal/democrat to the death Jewish) crowd's  biased opinion notwithstanding. If Israel does anything it will have to be before Bush leaves office or only if McCain gets in.  If I was in Israel I would rather fight for my life than risk extermination because some G*D*M make love not war screw balls from the 60's want to sweet talk to enemies and be "nice" so we can be "liked" around the world. 

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

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

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

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

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

A former defence minister and armed forces chief of staff, Mofaz hopes to replace embattled Ehud Olmert as prime minister and at the helm of the Kadima party. ***
3744  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: June 06, 2008, 08:57:49 AM
Doug,
I'm glad you posted your thoughts.  McCain is certainly not ideal to me either.   But appeasing the religious right is simply not going to win an election on a national scale IMO anymore.  Reagan is history.   His second term was not so great.  Remember the stupid Iran - Contra, savings and loan mess that he did absolutely nothing about.  Thanks to him we have the illegal immigrant mess we have to today. the entire face and nature of the country is changing today because of that. And the vast majority of immigrants who come here vote Democrat.  *There were no entitlements* when my grandparents came off the boat.  So people who say the comparison is legit are lying - it ain't.

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

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

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

3745  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Marc, I know your pain on: June 05, 2008, 11:29:59 AM
***I poorly timed my exit from EZCH and have not re-entered***

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

Unless one is a savvy trader like David Gordon one should stay away from Gilder IMO.  Gilder is poison for average investor like me.   In addition, his political views are a bit out there and elitist, arrogant, and pompous (just like BO) though the other side of the political spectrum.
3746  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Dick Morris Holder as BO's trio for VP pick on: June 05, 2008, 11:18:30 AM
BO picks Holder who helped get Marc Rich pardoned in Clinton's final days.  The Clintons are down but we all know they will *not* go away.  There people will still be trying to control behind the scenes.  Hillary will probably be made a health care czar which for me as a primary care physician is not something I would want to see.  She will spend every second positioning for her next run.  I really don't wish anything bad on anyone.  But it just seems the only way our country will be rid of them is when they die.  And then we will have Chelsea....

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

BO's first mistake:

***By Dick Morris And Eileen McGann
06.4.2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It couldn’t be a bigger mistake.***
3747  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Google leases land from & next door 2 Nasa on: June 05, 2008, 09:41:08 AM
Isn't this a bit odd? 

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

http://sg.news.yahoo.com/ap/20080605/tbs-google-expansion-f8250da.html
3748  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / BO -> BS on: June 05, 2008, 09:29:30 AM
"The presidency has to be earned, and Americans have a right to know much more about the gifted man who is the least tested and experienced major party nominee in modern times."


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

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

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

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


3749  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Walt Williams on: June 05, 2008, 03:36:37 AM
"The true villain in our having to cough up $60, $70 or $80 to fill our gas tanks is the U.S. Congress caught in the grip of environmental extremists. But if reality is too difficult to swallow, we can continue to blame and support the congressional attack on oil executives, turn food into oil and think of other crackpot "solutions."


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3750  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Music and brain wiring on: June 01, 2008, 08:04:54 AM
I always wondered how music is related to brain function.  How does music connect with our brain neurotransimission?

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080601/ap_on_re_us/music_s_healing_power;_ylt=AoY2XEdQpE1De9tb3G.cftqs0NUE
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