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3701  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / period of fewer sun spots and flairs due about now on: June 20, 2011, 02:43:41 PM
"BTW, count Fox's Bret Baier (for whom I have genuine respect, unlike many of the Barbie and Ken dolls that populate some of Fox's shows) as amongst the readers of this forum and indeed, this thread.  Tonight he reported on the possibility that a decrease in Solar Flares could results in Global Cooling."

From the latest Economist on this issue:

***Special reports Technology quarterly Solar physics
Sun down
Several lines of evidence suggest that the sun is about to go quiet
Jun 16th 2011 | from the print edition
Spots of bother?DURING the four centuries that it has been studied in detail, the sun has usually behaved in a regular manner. The number of spots on its surface has waxed and waned in cycles that last, on average, 11 years. Such cycles begin with spots appearing in mid-solar latitudes and end with them near the equator. And the more spots there are, the more solar storms there are around.

Sometimes, though, the sun sulks and this solar cycle stops. That has happened twice since records began: during the so-called Maunder minimum of 1645 to 1715 and the Dalton minimum of 1790 to 1830. These coincided with periods when global temperatures were lower than average, though why is a matter of debate.

An absence of sunspots also means an absence of solar flares and their more violent siblings, coronal mass ejections. Such outbursts disrupt radio and satellite communications, electricity grids and a variety of electronic equipment, so the pattern of solar activity is of more than academic interest. A new solar minimum, then, would test theories about how the climate works and also make communications more reliable. And many solar physicists think such a new minimum is on the cards. A group of them, who all work for America’s National Solar Observatory (NSO), have just had a meeting in New Mexico, under the aegis of the American Astronomical Society, to announce their latest results.

Frank Hill and his team were the discoverers, 15 years ago, of an east-west jet stream in the sun. They also worked out that the latitude of this wind is related to the sunspot cycle. At the beginning of a cycle the jet stream is found, like sunspots, in mid-latitudes. As the cycle progresses, it follows the spots towards the equator.

Intriguingly, however, Dr Hill’s studies indicate that the jet stream of a new cycle starts to form years before the sunspot pattern. This time, that has not happened. History suggests a new cycle should begin in 2019. If the sun were behaving itself, Dr Hill’s team would have seen signs of a new jet stream in 2008 or 2009. They did not. Nor are there indications of one even now. If a change in the jet stream really is a leading indicator of solar activity, then no new cycle is on the horizon.

The second study which suggests something odd is happening looked at the strengths of sunspots. Matthew Penn and William Livingston have analysed 13 years of data which indicate that, independently of the number of spots around, there has been a decrease in their strength.

Sunspots are caused by irruptions into its surface of the sun’s deeper magnetism. These create local drops in temperature, which make the surface gas darker. Over the period which Dr Penn and Dr Livingston analysed, the average magnetic strength of the irruptions has declined. Below a certain threshold, they will not be strong enough to overcome the convective mixing of the gas at the surface, and spots will disappear altogether. If the present trend continues, that will happen in 2021.

The third measure of the sun’s decline is in its outer atmosphere, the corona. At each solar maximum, the corona sloughs off the magnetic fingerprint of the previous cycle by pushing it to the poles. According to Richard Altrock, the leader of another NSO team at the meeting, that does not appear to be happening in the present cycle. It looks, then, as if a new, extended solar minimum is about to begin.

That is good news for operators of communications satellites. And it is interesting news for those who worry about global warming. If the Maunder and Dalton minima actually did affect the climate, then a new one might counteract the effects of the extra greenhouse gases people are now pumping into the atmosphere—at least, until the solar cycle returns. Whether the breathing space thus granted would be used wisely or squandered is another matter. Do not expect that debate to be as placid as the spotless sun.

from the print edition | Science and Technology***
3702  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Crats and some Cans are dissonant with most Americans on: June 18, 2011, 11:52:16 AM
I walk into a doctor's lounge this morning and the TV is on showing the talking heads discussing Boehner's, Biden's, and the One's golf game.

Talk about dissonance with Americans!  sad

Why when I think of Boehner I freely associate to the word "idiot"?
3703  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / G Will: Texas Latino unlike California Latinos on: June 18, 2011, 11:49:16 AM
For conservatives, it can't get any better

By George Will |

For a conservative Texan seeking national office, it could hardly get better than this: In a recent 48-hour span, Ted Cruz, a candidate for next year's Republican Senate nomination for the seat being vacated by Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison, was endorsed by the Club for Growth PAC, FreedomWorks PAC, talk-radio host Mark Levin and Erick Erickson of And Cruz's most conservative potential rival for the nomination decided to seek a House seat instead.

For conservatives seeking reinforcements for Washington's too-limited number of limited-government constitutionalists, it can hardly get better than this: Before he earned a Harvard law degree magna cum laude (and helped found the Harvard Latino Law Review) and clerked for Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Cruz's senior thesis at Princeton - his thesis adviser was professor Robert George, one of contemporary conservatism's intellectual pinups - was on the Constitution's Ninth and 10th amendments. Then as now, Cruz argued that these amendments, properly construed, would buttress the principle that powers not enumerated are not possessed by the federal government.

Utah's freshman Sen. Mike Lee, who clerked for Justice Sam Alito when Alito was an appeals court judge, has endorsed Cruz. The national chairman of Cruz's campaign is Ed Meese, the grand old man of Reagan administration alumni.

For anyone seeking elective office anywhere, this story is as good as it gets: At age 14, Cruz's father fought with rebels (including Fidel Castro) against Cuba's dictator, Fulgencio Batista. Captured and tortured, at 18 he escaped to America with $100 sewn in his underwear. He graduated from the University of Texas and met his wife - like him, a mathematician - with whom he founded a small business processing seismic data for the oil industry.

By the time Ted Cruz was 13, he was winning speech contests sponsored by a Houston free-enterprise group that gave contestants assigned readings by Frederic Bastiat, Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises. In his early teens he traveled around Texas and out of state giving speeches. At Princeton, he finished first in the 1992 U.S. National Debate Championship and North American Debate Championship.

As Texas's solicitor general from 2003 to 2008, Cruz submitted 70 briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court, and he has, so far, argued nine cases there. He favors school choice and personal investment accounts for a portion of individuals' Social Security taxes. He supports the latter idea with a bow to the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who said such accounts enable the doorman to build wealth the way the people in the penthouse do.

Regarding immigration, Cruz, 40, demands secure borders and opposes amnesty for illegal immigrants but echoes Ronald Reagan's praise of legal immigrants as "Americans by choice," people who are "crazy enough" to risk everything in the fundamentally entrepreneurial act of immigrating. He believes Hispanics are - by reasons of faith, industriousness and patriotism - natural Republicans. He says the military enlistment rate is higher among them than among any other demographic, and he says an Austin businessman observed, "When was the last time you saw a Hispanic panhandler?"

The Republican future without Hispanic support would be bleak. Forty-seven percent of Americans under 18 are minorities, and the largest portion are Hispanics. One in six Americans is Hispanic. In 37 states, the Hispanic population increased at least 50 percent between 2000 and 2010. The four states with the largest Hispanic populations - California, Texas, Florida and New York - have 151 electoral votes.

One in five Americans lives in California or Texas, and Texas is for Republicans what California is for Democrats - the largest reliable source of electoral votes and campaign cash. In 2005, Texas became a majority-minority state; in five years Hispanics will be a plurality; in about two decades, immigration and fertility will make them a majority.

But, Cruz says, unlike California's Hispanics, those in Texas "show a willingness to be a swing vote." Furthermore, the three Hispanics elected to major offices in 2010 - Florida's Sen. Marco Rubio, Nevada's Gov. Brian Sandoval and New Mexico's Gov. Susana Martinez - are Republicans.

"It took Jimmy Carter to give us Ronald Reagan," says Cruz, who believes the reaction against Barack Obama will give the Republican Party a cadre of conservatives who take their bearings from constitutional law as it was before the New Deal judicial revolution attenuated limits on government. This cadre is arriving: Sens. Lee and Rubio were born seven days apart, and Cruz six months earlier.

The parties' profiles are often drawn in the Senate. The Republican profile is becoming more Madisonian.

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

George Will's latest book is "With a Happy Eye but: America and the World, 1997-2002" to purchase a copy, click here. Comment on this column by clicking here.
3704  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / reality of the universe beyond human comprehension on: June 18, 2011, 10:13:28 AM
Good article in Scientific American with interview of this fellow.  He comes to the conclusion after studying and inventing string theory black holes that human minds are totally incapable of truly understanding the universe.  I can't pull up the article but this is the interesting fellow who is probably more interesting then the celebrated Stephen Hawking.  Then again I am a mere mortal compared to any of these people:

***Leonard Susskind
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Leonard Susskind

Leonard Susskind
Born 1940[1]
South Bronx, New York City, New York, USA
Residence USA
Nationality USA
Fields Physicist
Institutions Yeshiva University
University of Tel Aviv
Stanford University
Korea Institute for Advanced Study
Alma mater City College of New York
Cornell University
Doctoral advisor Peter A. Carruthers
Known for Holographic principle
String theory landscape
Quark confinement
Hamiltonian lattice gauge theory
Notable awards American Institute of Physics' Science Writing Award
Sakurai Prize (1998)
Boris Pregel Award, New York Academy of Science (1975)[2]
Leonard Susskind (born 1940)[1] is the Felix Bloch Professor of Theoretical Physics at Stanford University. His research interests include string theory, quantum field theory, quantum statistical mechanics and quantum cosmology.[2] He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences,[4] and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences,[5] an associate member of the faculty of Canada's Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics,[6] and a distinguished professor of the Korea Institute for Advanced Study.[7] Susskind is widely regarded as one of the fathers of string theory,[8], having, with Yoichiro Nambu and Holger Bech Nielsen, independently introduced the idea that particles could in fact be states of excitation of a relativistic string.[9] He was the first to introduce the idea of the string theory landscape in 2003.[10] In 1997, Susskind was awarded the J.J. Sakurai Prize for his "pioneering contributions to hadronic string models, lattice gauge theories, quantum chromodynamics, and dynamical symmetry breaking." Susskind's hallmark, according to colleagues, has been the application of "brilliant imagination and originality to the theoretical study of the nature of the elementary particles and forces that make up the physical world."[11]

Contents [hide]
1 Early life and education
2 Career
2.1 Scientific career
2.2 Development of String Theory
3 Books
3.1 The Cosmic Landscape
3.2 The Black Hole War
4 Lectures
4.1 Modern Physics: The Theoretical Minimum
4.2 A separate series of lectures on Quantum Mechanics and Special Relativity
5 Smolin-Susskind Debate
6 See also
7 References
8 Further reading
9 External links

[edit] Early life and education
Susskind was born to a poor Jewish family from the South Bronx section of New York City,[12] and now resides in Palo Alto, California. He began working as a plumber at the age of 16, taking over for his father who had become ill.[12] Later, he enrolled in the City College of New York as an engineering student, graduating with a B.S. in physics in 1962.[5] In an interview in the Los Angeles Times, Susskind recalls the moment he discussed with his father this change in career path: "When I told my father I wanted to be a physicist, he said, ‘Hell no, you ain’t going to work in a drug store.’ I said no, not a pharmacist. I said, ‘Like Einstein.’ He poked me in the chest with a piece of plumbing pipe. ‘You ain’t going to be no engineer,’ he said. ‘You’re going to be Einstein.’"[12] Susskind then studied at Cornell University under Peter A. Carruthers where he received his Ph.D. in 1965. He has been married twice, first in 1960,[5] and has four children.

[edit] Career
Susskind was an Assistant Professor of Physics, then an Associate Professor at Yeshiva University (1966–1970), after which he went for a year at the University of Tel Aviv (1971–72), returning to Yeshiva to become a Professor of Physics (1970–1979). Since 1979 he has been Professor of Physics at Stanford University,[13] and since 2000 has held the Felix Bloch Professorship of Physics.

In 2007, Susskind joined the Faculty of Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, as an Associate Member. He has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and was awarded the 1998 Sakurai Prize for theoretical physics. He is also a distinguished professor at Korea Institute for Advanced Study.[14]

[edit] Scientific career
Susskind was one of at least three physicists who independently discovered during or around 1970 that the Veneziano dual resonance model of strong interactions could be described by a quantum mechanical model of strings,[15] and was the first to propose the idea of the string theory landscape. Susskind has also made contributions in the following areas of physics:

The independent discovery of the string theory model of particle physics
The theory of quark confinement[16]
The development of Hamiltonian lattice gauge theory[17]
The theory of scaling violations in deep inelastic electroproduction
The theory of symmetry breaking sometimes known as "technicolor theory"[18]
The second, yet independent, theory of cosmological baryogenesis[19] (Sakharov's work was first, but was mostly unknown in the Western hemisphere.)
String theory of black hole entropy[20]
The principle of black hole complementarity[21]
The causal patch hypothesis
The holographic principle[22]
M-theory, including development of the BFSS matrix model [23]
Kogut-Susskind fermions
Introduction of holographic entropy bounds in physical cosmology
The idea of an anthropic string theory landscape[24]
[edit] Development of String Theory
The story goes that "In 1970, a young physicist named Leonard Susskind got stuck in an elevator with Murray Gell-Mann, one of physics' top theoreticians, who asked him what he was working on. Susskind said he was working on a theory that represented particles 'as some kind of elastic string, like a rubber band.' Gell-Mann responded with loud, derisive laughter."[25]

[edit] Books
Susskind is the author of two popular science books, The Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design[26] published in 2005, and The Black Hole War: My battle with Stephen Hawking to make the world safe for quantum mechanics[27] published in 2008.

[edit] The Cosmic Landscape
Main article: The Cosmic Landscape
The Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design is Susskind's first popular science book, published by Little, Brown and Company on December 12, 2005.[26] It is Susskind's attempt to bring his idea of the anthropic landscape of string theory to the general public. In the book, Susskind describes how the string theory landscape was an almost inevitable consequence of several factors, one of which was Steven Weinberg's prediction of the cosmological constant in 1987. The question addressed here is why our universe is fine-tuned for our existence. Susskind explains that Weinberg calculated that if the cosmological constant was just a little larger, our universe would cease to exist.

[edit] The Black Hole War
Main article: Susskind-Hawking battle
The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics is Susskind's second popular science book, published by Little, Brown, and Company on July 7, 2008.[27] The book is his most famous work and explains what he thinks would happen to the information and matter stored in a black hole when it evaporates. The book sparked from a debate that started in 1981, when there was a meeting of physicists to try to decode some of the mysteries about how particles of particular elemental compounds function. During this discussion Stephen Hawking stated that the information inside a black hole is lost forever as the black hole evaporates. It took 28 years for Leonard Susskind to formulate his theory that would prove Hawking wrong. He then published his theory in his book, The Black Hole War. Like The Cosmic Landscape, The Black Hole War is aimed at the lay reader. He writes: "The real tools for understanding the quantum universe are abstract mathematics: infinite dimensional Hilbert spaces, projection operators, unitary matrices and a lot of other advanced principles that take a few years to learn. But let's see how we do in just a few pages."

[edit] Lectures
An entire series of courses of lectures on essential theoretical foundations of modern physics by Susskind is available on the iTunes platform from "Stanford on iTunes" [11] and YouTube from "StanfordUniversity's Channel" [12]. These lectures are intended for the general public as well as students. The following courses are available:

[edit] Modern Physics: The Theoretical Minimum
1 Classical Mechanics (Fall 2007) iTunes YouTube
2 Quantum Mechanics (Winter 2008) iTunes YouTube
3 Special Relativity and Classical Field Theory (Spring 2008) iTunes YouTube
4 Einstein's General Theory of Relativity (Fall 2008) iTunes YouTube
5 Cosmology (Winter 2009) iTunes YouTube
6 Statistical Mechanics (Spring 2009) iTunes YouTube
Particle Physics: 1 Basic Concepts (Fall 2009) iTunes YouTube
Particle Physics: 2 Standard Model (Winter 2010) iTunes YouTube
Particle Physics: 3 Supersymmetry, Grand Unification, String Theory (Spring 2010) iTunes
String Theory and M-Theory (Winter 2011) iTunes YouTube
[edit] A separate series of lectures on Quantum Mechanics and Special Relativity
Quantum Entanglements Part 1 (Fall 2006) iTunes YouTube
Quantum Entanglements Part 2 (Not available online)
Quantum Entanglements Part 3 (Spring 2007) iTunes YouTube
(Note that some of the lecture names are a little mixed-up: "Quantum Entanglements Part 3" is in fact a lecture series on special relativity, and the order in which the lectures were given is 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 2&3, 8 and 9 (in terms of the numbers given on the videos); There is no mention of string theory in the series "Supersymmetry, Grand Unification, String Theory.")

[edit] Smolin-Susskind Debate
The Smolin-Susskind debate refers to the series of intense postings in 2004 between Lee Smolin and Susskind, concerning Smolin’s argument that the "Anthropic Principle cannot yield any falsifiable predictions, and therefore cannot be a part of science."[28] It began on July 26, 2004, with Smolin's publication of "Scientific alternatives to the anthropic principle". Smolin e-mailed Susskind asking for a comment. Having not had the chance to read the paper, Susskind requested a summarization of his arguments. Smolin obliged, and on July 28, 2004, Susskind responded, saying that the logic Smolin followed "can lead to ridiculous conclusions".[28] The next day, Smolin responded, saying that "If a large body of our colleagues feels comfortable believing a theory that cannot be proved wrong, then the progress of science could get stuck, leading to a situation in which false, but unfalsifiable theories dominate the attention of our field." This was followed by another paper by Susskind which made a few comments about Smolin's theory of "cosmic natural selection".[29] The Smolin-Susskind debate finally ended with each of them agreeing to write a final letter which would be posted on Edge, with three conditions attached: (1) No more than one letter each; (2) Neither sees the other's letter in advance; (3) No changes after the fact.

Although the exchanges ended in 2004, the animosity remains. In 2006, Susskind criticized Smolin as a "mid-level theoretical physicist" whose "popular book-writing activities and the related promotional hustling have given him a platform high above that merited by his physics accomplishments."[30]

[edit] See also
Superstring theory
Quantum chromodynamics
Susskind-Glogower operator
List of theoretical physicists
Kogut-Susskind fermions
Fischler-Susskind mechanism
Boris Pregel
[edit] References
^ a b His 60th birthday was celebrated with a special symposium at Stanford University on May 20–21, 2000.[1]
^ a b Faculty information sheet, Stanford University,, retrieved 2009-09-01 
^ Life in a landscape of possibilities
^ 60 New Members Chosen by Academy, National Academy of Sciences (press release), May 2, 2000,, retrieved 2009-09-01 
^ a b c Leonard Susskind - A Biography (last accessed August 12, 2007).
^ [2]
^ [3]
^ NYAS Publication A Walk Across the Landscape
^ [4]
^ [5]
^ [6]
^ a b c "Leonard Susskind discusses duel with Stephen Hawking", "LA Times", July 26, 2008
^ Welcome To Kias
^ String Theory: The Early Years, John H. Schwarz, 2000
^ L. Susskind, Lattice Models Of Quark Confinement At High Temperature, Phys. Rev. D20 (1979) 2610.
^ J. Kogut and L. Susskind, Phys. Rev. D 11, 395 (1975).
^ Review of Particle Physics, (W.-M. Yao et al., J. Phys. G 33, 1 (2006)) Dynamical Electroweak Symmetry Breaking section cites two 1979 publications, one by Steven Weinberg, the other by L. Susskind to represent the earliest models with technicolor and technifermions.[7]
^ Biography at APS J. J. Sakurai Prize website (last accessed August 12, 2007)
^ L. Susskind, RU-93-44, hep-th/9309145.
^ L. Susskind, Phys. Rev. Lett. 71, 2368 (1993). String theory and the principle of black hole complementarity
^ "The insistence on unitarity in the presence of black holes led 't Hooft (1993) and Susskind (1995b) to embrace a more radical, holographic interpretation of ..." - The Holographic Principle, Raphael Bousso, Rev. Mod. Phys. 74 (2002) 825-874. [8]
^ T. Banks, W. Fischler, S. H. Shenker, and L. Susskind, M Theory as a Matrix Model: A Conjecture, Phys. Rev. D55 (1997) 5112–5128, hep-th/9610043.
^ L. Susskind, arXiv:hep-th/0302219
^ [9]
^ a b L. Susskind (2005), The cosmic landscape: string theory and the illusion of intelligent design, Little, Brown, ISBN 0316155799 
^ a b L. Susskind (2008), The Black Hole War: My battle with Stephen Hawking to make the world safe for quantum mechanics, Little, Brown, ISBN 0-316-01640-3  [10]
^ a b Smolin vs. Susskind: The Anthropic Principle, Edge Institute, August 2004,, retrieved 2009-09-01 
^ Leonard Susskind (25 August 2006), Hold fire! This epic vessel has only just set sail..., Times Higher Education,, retrieved 2009-09-01 
[edit] Further reading
Chown, Marcus, "Our world may be a giant hologram", New Scientist, 15 January 2009, magazine issue 2691. "The holograms you find on credit cards and banknotes are etched on two-dimensional plastic films. When light bounces off them, it recreates the appearance of a 3D image. In the 1990s physicists Leonard Susskind and Nobel prizewinner Gerard 't Hooft suggested that the same principle might apply to the universe as a whole. Our everyday experience might itself be a holographic projection of physical processes that take place on a distant, 2D surface."
[edit] External links
 Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Leonard Susskind
Leonard Susskind's Homepage (Stanford University)
The Edge:
"Interview with Leonard Susskind."
"Smolin vs. Susskind: The Anthropic Principle" Susskind and Lee Smolin debate the Anthropic principle
Radio Interview from This Week in Science March 14, 2006 Broadcast
"Father of String Theory Muses on the Megaverse": Podcast.
Leonard Susskind at the Internet Movie Database
The Cosmic Landscape book discussion at The Commonwealth Club, February 2007
The Black Hole War speaks on black hole conflict at The Commonwealth Club, July 2008
Leonard Susskind: My friend Richard Feynman - A Ted talk***
3705  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / scientific american on: June 16, 2011, 07:34:56 PM
Forum | Energy & Sustainability   See Inside A Quick Fix to the Food Crisis
Curbing biofuels should halt price rises

By Timothy Searchinger  | June 16, 2011 | 6
Share Email Print   
Image: John Zoiner Getty Images
When food prices rose steeply in 2007 and climaxed in the winter of 2008, politicians and the press decried the impact on the billion or so people who were already going hungry. Excellent growing weather and good harvests provided temporary relief, but prices have once again soared to record heights. This time around people are paying less attention.

The public has a short attention span regarding problems of the world’s have-nots, but experts are partly to blame, too. Economists have made such a fuss about how complicated the food crisis is that they have created the impression that it has no ready solution, making it seem like one of those intractable problems, like poverty and disease, that are so easy to stash in the back of our minds. This view is wrong.

To be sure, reducing hunger in a world headed toward more than nine billion people by 2050 is a truly complicated challenge that calls for a broad range of solutions. But this is a long-term problem separate from the sudden rise in food prices. High oil prices and a weaker dollar have played some part by driving up production costs, but they cannot come close to explaining why wholesale food prices have doubled since 2004. The current price surge reflects a shortfall in supply to meet demand, which forces consumers to bid against one another to secure their supplies. Soaring farm profits and land values support this explanation. What explains this imbalance?

Crop production has not slowed: total world grain production last year was the third highest in history. Indeed, it has grown since 2004 at rates that, on average, exceed the long-term trend since 1980 and roughly match the trends of the past decade. Even with bad weather in Russia and northern Australia last year, global average crop yields were only 1 percent below what the trends would lead us to expect, a modest gap.

The problem is therefore one of rapidly rising demand. Conventional wisdom points to Asia as the source, but that’s not so. China has contributed somewhat to tighter markets in recent years by importing more soybeans and cutting back on grain exports to build up its stocks, which should serve as a warning to policy makers for the future. But consumption in China and India is rising no faster than it has in previous decades. In general, Asia’s higher incomes have not triggered the surge in demand for food.

That starring role belongs to biofuels. Since 2004 biofuels from crops have almost doubled the rate of growth in global demand for grain and sugar and pushed up the yearly growth in demand for vegetable oil by around 40 percent. Even cassava is edging out other crops in Thailand because China uses it to make ethanol.

Increasing demand for corn, wheat, soybeans, sugar, vegetable oil and cassava competes for limited acres of farmland, at least until farmers have had time to plow up more forest and grassland, which means that tightness in one crop market translates to tightness in others. Overall, global agriculture can keep up with growing demand if the weather is favorable, but even the mildly poor 2010 growing season was enough to force a draw down in stockpiles of grain outside China, which sent total grain stocks to very low levels. Low reserves and rising demand for both food and biofuels create the risk of greater shortfalls in supply and send prices skyward.

Although most experts recognize the important role bio­fuels play, they often underestimate their effects. Many of them misinterpret the economic models, which understate the degree to which biofuels drive up prices. These models are nearly all designed to estimate biofuels’ effects on prices over the long term, after farmers have ample time to plow up and plant more land, and do not speak to prices in the shorter term. Commentators also often lump all sources of crop demand together without recognizing their different moral weights and potential for control. Our primary obligation is to feed the hungry. Biofuels are undermining our ability to do so. Governments can stop the recurring pattern of food crises by backing off their demands for ever more biofuels. 

3706  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / CNN compliments Palin on: June 16, 2011, 07:31:40 PM
Listening to CNN bring up one particular email today as being very interesting.  I thought ok here comes the hit.  Surprise, shock!

Kyra Phillips who is an obvious liberal nanny on the cable nanny network actually discussed the email in a *complementary* fashion.
It shows Palin to be a sensitve thoughtful person.
3707  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: June 16, 2011, 03:45:10 PM
Well I lived in DC area during the Iran hostage crises and there were thousands of Iranian students in DC at the time.  On one side of the streets they would demonstrate "down with the USA" and the other side of the street Americans would scream back at them.  I was told the engineering building at GW University was "built" with Iranian money.
3708  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / No need for War Powers Act on: June 16, 2011, 02:18:23 PM
In Mark Levin's opinion (and others as noted by Bigdog) this is how Congress should deal with military actions it finds objectionable and not with a Constitution ammenment that was a political move to absolve Democrats for the Vietnam war:
Boehner says House could move to cut off funding for Libya
By Russell Berman - 06/16/11 10:40 AM ET
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Thursday said the Obama administration failed to answer all his questions about the U.S. mission in Libya and raised the possibility that the House would move to cut off funding for the operation.

In response to demands from the House, the administration released a 32-page report arguing that the Libya mission does not need congressional authorization because the U.S. military engagement there doesn’t amount to “hostilities.”

Boehner said that explanation doesn't fly with him.

“The White House says there are no hostilities taking place, yet we’ve got drone attacks under way, we’re spending $10 million a day, [and] part of the mission is to drop bombs on [Libyan dictator Moammar] Gadhafi's compound,” Boehner said. “That doesn’t pass the straight-face test, in my view, that we’re not in the midst of hostilities.”

The Speaker said the White House did not answer one of his questions — outlined in a letter he sent this week — as to whether the Office of Legal Counsel, an advisory entity within the Justice Department, agrees with its analysis of the 1973 War Powers Resolution. He said he wanted an answer to that query by Friday.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said that the president "absolutely respects" Congress's desire to be consulted on Libya, but Carney said that the report should suffice.

"I don't anticipate further elucidation of our legal reasoning because I think it was quite clear," Carney said.

Boehner said the House was considering its options to exert authority over the administration and that next week the chamber “may be prepared to move on those options.”

The “ultimate option,” Boehner said, is that “Congress has the power of the purse” and could cut off funding for the mission. “Certainly that is an option as well,” he said.

3709  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: June 16, 2011, 11:09:57 AM

Thanks for the post.

Well this same group of Jews are also the ones who are staunch Democrats, down not only Israel,  also the United States, Christianity, capatilism, and at the same time love the concept of big government controlling everything in society and daily life, and are generally marxist, socialist, communist and the rest.  Yet many of these same people love money, live like capatilists, and spend their entire lives making sure they "get their pile" (using a description from George Gilder).

Item number one -> George Soros.

I am proud of being Jewish.  Yet I despise the political thinking, hypocracy, and naricissism of this particular group of Jews.
And I am not afraid to say it.  There are other Jews like me including Horowitz, Goldbergs (Bernie and Jonah), Mason etc who know exactly what I am talking about.
3710  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / China/Vietnam/US/South China Sea on: June 15, 2011, 11:16:02 AM

Vietnam shift could see return of US ships
By Ben Bland in Cam Ranh Bay

Published: June 14 2011 22:46 | Last updated: June 14 2011 22:46

Nguyen Duc De knows at first hand how alliances can change. The former Vietnamese soldier was stationed on the disputed Spratly Islands in the 1980s, when tensions with China were high following their 1979 border war, and he used to take pot shots at the Chinese marines who approached his base, pretending to be fishermen.

When diplomatic relations between the Communist neighbours were restored in the 1990s, shooting was prohibited, he says, but, as China’s economic and military might has grown over the past decade, strains over contested islands in the South China Sea have been on the rise again.

China warns over South China Sea dispute - Jun-14Pilling: Asia’s quiet anger with ‘big, bad’ China - Jun-01Vietnam and China oil clashes intensify - May-29China defends naval actions - Jun-05US warns Beijing over South China Sea - Jun-04In depth: China shapes the world - Apr-25“They’re so big and we’re so small, so what can we do?” asks 50-year-old Mr De, who works as a security guard at a memorial to Vietnamese and Russian soldiers who lost their lives in the Spratly Islands and at the nearby naval and air base at Cam Ranh Bay in south-central Vietnam.

The historic military facility, located within one of Asia’s best natural harbours, is at the centre of a strategic push from Vietnam to counter China’s growing assertiveness over disputed waters in the commercially important South China Sea.

Nestled between soaring mountains and the South China Sea near Nha Trang, a popular resort city in south-central Vietnam, Cam Ranh Bay is one of Asia’s best natural, deepwater harbours.

In the 19th century, French colonial authorities constructed the first modern naval base in the vast bay, which extends for 20 miles north-south and is up to 10 miles wide.

France upgraded the military facilities before Japan invaded Indochina in 1940 and the Japanese then took advantage of the base to launch military sorties.

As the US assistance to the anti-communist southern Vietnamese regime developed into a combat role, the Republic of Vietnam offered Cam Ranh Bay to the US in 1965.

The US handed the base back to the Republic of Vietnam in 1972 under President Richard Nixon’s so-called Vietnamisation programme but communist forces seized the bay in 1975, the year they won the war.

The Soviet Union, a key ally of Vietnam, then pressed for access to the base and in 1979, was given a 25-year lease. The Russians moved out in 2002.

Today, the bay houses Vietnam’s small navy, while the air strip is the main access point for nearby Nha Trang.
Cam Ranh Bay became a potent cold war symbol, first as an American base during the war with Communist North Vietnam, and then as a Soviet base after 1979, hosting nuclear submarines and one of the most important spying stations outside Russia.

When the Russians finally pulled out in 2002, Hanoi vowed never to let any foreign power have control of the facility. But, last year, Nguyen Tan Dung, Vietnam’s prime minister, said he would let foreign naval ships use the base again to dock, resupply and undergo repairs on a commercial basis.

The move may generate some cash once the now crumbling facilities are refurbished, security analysts say. However, the main justification for opening up the bay is to balance China’s naval dominance in the South China Sea, which encompasses key global trade routes, valuable fisheries and is thought to sit atop vast oil and gas reserves.

“Who’s going to take up the offer to visit?” says Carl Thayer, an expert on security in the South China Sea at the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra. “Precisely those navies that China doesn’t want in the South China Sea, including the Americans, Australians, South Koreans and Indians.”

One senior Asian defence official argues that the US will be keenest to take advantage of the opportunity to use the base, which offers great protection from storms and is located close to key commercial shipping lanes and the disputed islands.

“The US has a Pacific fleet and it’s been more aggressive than many other countries in trying to build closer contacts with Vietnam to counter China’s rise,” he says.

The planned reopening of the base to foreign naval vessels is a sign of the shifting global strategic sands, with China’s inexorable rise causing concern among those such as Vietnam and the US, pushing these old enemies closer together.

Although Vietnam has developed deep economic and political ties with its larger northern neighbour since the 1990s, the relationship is coming under pressure because of China’s increasingly aggressive behaviour in the South China Sea, according to Ian Storey, a fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore, who studies maritime security.

China, which recently built a large naval base on Hainan island, to the north of the disputed waters, increasingly has the capability to deploy coercive diplomacy in the South China Sea, says Mr Storey. Recent incidents where Chinese maritime surveillance vessels have tried to sabotage Vietnamese oil exploration ships show Beijing also has the political will to do so.

Hanoi has responded by seeking to internationalise the territorial dispute, calling on other claimants to some of the contested Paracel and Spratly Islands – Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Taiwan – to hold joint talks and attempting to bring in the US as a mediator.

Despite macroeconomic difficulties, Vietnam has boosted its spending on military hardware, agreeing to buy a number of Sukhoi SU-30 jetfighters and six Kilo-class diesel submarines from Russia.

Once delivered in the next year or two, the submarines are expected to be based at Cam Ranh Bay, which analysts say Russia has agreed to refurbish as part of the $2bn contract to supply the craft. Echoing the patriotism of many Vietnamese, Mr De says he does not want to see any foreign forces in the bay.

But changing dynamics of global security mean that, in a twist of fate, American and Russian ships may soon be back at Cam Ranh Bay, this time working alongside each other and the Vietnamese to counterbalance an ever stronger China.
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2011.
3711  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / "Patriarchal age" on: June 15, 2011, 11:00:03 AM
I've tried to get a better handle on when Abraham lived.  When one looks up his name one gets around 1100 BC.
As per below, "Contemporary archaeologists have given up the attempt to find a historical reality behind the Patriarchs as individuals, and it is now generally accepted that "it is not possible to demonstrate the historical existence of the figures in Genesis."[4]":

***Wikepedia on the Patriarchs:
Patriarchal age
The Patriarchal Age is the era of the three biblical Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, according to the narratives of Genesis 12-50. (These chapters also contain the history of Joseph, although Joseph is not one of the Covenantal Patriarchs).

The bible contains an intricate pattern of chronologies from the creation of Adam, the first man, to the reigns of the later kings of ancient Israel and Judah, at which point the bible makes contact with known and dateable history. From these it is possible to calculate (strictly within a biblical frame of reference) that the birth of Abraham, the first of the Patriarchs, 1,948 years after the Creation, corresponded to 1812 BC.[1]

Prior to the 19th century there was little interest in questioning the biblical chronology, but with the growth of biblical criticism and the wide popularity of the documentary hypothesis - the theory that the Pentateuch, including the Book of Genesis, was composed not by Moses but by unknown authors living at various times between 950 and 450 BC - it became increasingly urgent both to supporters of the traditional view (i.e., that Genesis was an accurate historical record written by Moses under the direct guidance of God) and the new (the documentary hypothesis) to find concrete arguments to support their respective views. Thus was born biblical archaeology, a form of archaeology different from all others in that it sought, not to discover and interpret mute evidence, but to validate (or for some, invalidate) a written book.

The most eminent of early biblical archaeologists was William F. Albright, who believed that he had identified the Patriarchal age in the period 2100-1800 BC, the Intermediate Bronze Age, the interval between two periods of highly developed urban culture in ancient Canaan. Albright argued that he had found evidence of the sudden collapse of the previous Early Bronze Age culture, and ascribed this to the invasion of migratory pastoral nomads from the northeast whom he identified with the Amorites mentioned in Mesopotamian texts. According to Albright, Abraham was a wandering Amorite who migrated from the north into the central highlands of Canaan and the Negev with his flocks and followers as the Canaanite city-states collapsed. Albright, E. A. Speiser and Cyrus Gordon argued that although the texts described by the documentary hypothesis were written centuries after the Patriarchal age, archaeology had shown that they were nevertheless an accurate reflection of the conditions of the 2nd millennium BC: "We can assert with full confidence that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were actual historical individuals."[2]

But in the last quarter of the 20th century Albright's interpretation became increasingly untenable. Archaeology, far from reinforcing the reliability of Genesis, has demonstrated that it is rife with anachronisms. For example, the Philistines whom Abraham encounters did not settle in the Middle East until the 12th century BC, camels were not in general use as beasts of burden until the 7th century BC, and the genealogies of the Patriarchs and the nations supposedly derived from them represent "a colorful human map of the ancient Near East from the unmistakable viewpoint of the kingdom of Israel and the kingdom of Judah in the eighth and seventh centuries BC".[3] Contemporary archaeologists have given up the attempt to find a historical reality behind the Patriarchs as individuals, and it is now generally accepted that "it is not possible to demonstrate the historical existence of the figures in Genesis."[4]

[edit] References
^ The situation is not quite so clear-cut as this implies, as there are variant manuscripts of the bible giving variant chronologies, differing by thousands of years: the description given here is from the Masoretic text, the basis of most modern English translations.
^ John Bright, "History of Israel", 1972, p.91.)
^ Sarah Belle Dougherty, Fiat Lux: Archeology and the Old Testament (review of Finkelstein and Silberman, "The Bible Unearthed", 2003).
^ See review of Terrance Fretheim, "The New Interpreter's Bible", 1994.
Retrieved from ""
Categories: Jewish history***
3712  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / economist jury still out on google on: June 13, 2011, 11:39:52 AM
According to economist the jury is still out on google and oracle:

****IBM's centenary
The test of time
Which of today’s technology giants might still be standing tall a century after their founding?
Jun 9th 2011 | from the print edition
IT IS not, by any means, the world’s oldest company. There are Japanese hotels dating back to the 8th century, German breweries that hail from the 11th and an Italian bank with roots in the 15th. What is unusual about IBM, which celebrates its 100th birthday next week, is that it has been so successful for so long in the fast-moving field of technology. How has it done it?

IBM’s secret is that it is built around an idea that transcends any particular product or technology. Its strategy is to package technology for use by businesses. At first this meant making punch-card tabulators, but IBM moved on to magnetic-tape systems, mainframes, PCs, and most recently services and consulting. Building a company around an idea, rather than a specific technology, makes it easier to adapt when industry “platform shifts” occur (see article).

True, IBM’s longevity is also due, in part, to dumb luck. It almost came unstuck early on because its bosses were hesitant to abandon punch cards. And it had a near-death experience in 1993 before Lou Gerstner realised that the best way to package technology for use by businesses was to focus on services. An elegant organising idea is no use if a company cannot come up with good products or services, or if it has clueless bosses. But on the basis of this simple formula—that a company should focus on an idea, rather than a technology—which of today’s young tech giants look best placed to live to 100?

The most obvious example is Apple (founded in 1976). Like IBM, it had a near-death experience in the 1990s, and it is dangerously dependent on its founder, Steve Jobs. But it has a powerful organising idea: take the latest technology, package it in a simple, elegant form and sell it at a premium price. Apple has done this with personal computers, music players, smartphones and tablet computers, and is now moving into cloud-based services (see article). Each time it has grabbed an existing technology and produced an easier-to-use and prettier version than anyone else. This approach can be applied to whatever technology is flavour of the month: Apple has already shifted from PCs to mobile devices.

The animating idea of Amazon (founded in 1994) is to make it easy for people to buy stuff. It began by doing this for books, but has since applied the same idea to other products: music, groceries, mobile apps, even computing power and storage, which it sells on tap. The Kindle may resemble an e-reader, but it is just as much a portable bookstore. As new things come along, Amazon will make it easy for you to buy them. Similarly, the aim of Facebook (2004) is to help people share stuff with friends easily. This idea can be extended to almost anything on almost any platform.

Consider, by contrast, three product-based firms. Dell (founded in 1984) made its name building PCs more efficiently than anyone else and selling them direct to consumers. That model does not neatly transfer to other products. Cisco Systems (also 1984) makes internet routers. It has diversified into other areas, such as videoconferencing, but chiefly because it thought this would increase demand for routers. Microsoft (1975) is hugely dependent on Windows, which is its answer to everything. But software for a PC may not be the best choice to run inside a phone or a car. All these firms are wedded to specific products, not deeper philosophies, and are having trouble navigating technological shifts.

Other giants are still struggling to move beyond their core technologies. Oracle (1977) was originally a database company, which peddled databases as the answer to all its clients’ problems. But in the past decade it has moved into other corporate software, and hardware too. Now it aims to provide entire computing systems. Google (1998) knows the importance of an idea. “Organising the world’s information and making it universally accessible” is its motto, and it is putting that into practice on mobile devices through its Android software, which is spreading fast. But Google is still heavily dependent on a single product—internet search and related advertising.

Good to be elegant, better to be old

The upshot: Apple, Amazon and Facebook look like good long-term bets. Dell, Cisco and Microsoft do not. The jury is out on Oracle and Google. See you in 2111—provided, that is, that The Economist (founded in 1843, with the idea of explaining the world to its readers) is still around too.****
3713  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / economist article on tech on: June 13, 2011, 11:36:10 AM
According to Schmidt it is google, facebook, apple and amazon:

Middle-aged blues
The software giant is grappling with a mid-life crisis
Jun 9th 2011 | SAN FRANCISCO | from the print edition
COMPARED with IBM, Microsoft is a mere stripling. Founded in 1975, it rose swiftly to dominate the world of personal computing with its Windows operating system and Office suite of word-processing and other productivity tools. But the company is now showing some worrying signs of middle-age fatigue. In particular, it is struggling to find a growth strategy that will enthuse disgruntled shareholders.

Grumbles are understandable. Since Steve Ballmer took over from Bill Gates as chief executive in 2000, Microsoft’s share price has languished and the company has lost its reputation as a tech trend-setter. It has been left behind in hot areas such as search and social networking by younger companies, some of which love to thumb their noses at their older rival. Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google, recently proclaimed that leadership in the tech world had passed from Microsoft and others to a “Gang of Four” fast-growing, consumer-oriented businesses: Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook.

Few would quibble with that. The question is: what, if anything, can Microsoft do to change it? In at least some respects, the company appears to be suffering from similar ailments to those that laid IBM low before Lou Gerstner was hired in 1993 to get it back on its feet. These include arrogance bred of dominance of a particular area—mainframe computers at IBM, personal computers at Microsoft—and internal fiefs that hamper swift change. For instance, the division that champions cloud computing must deal with one that is the cheerleader for Windows, which is likely to want computing to stay on desktops for as long as possible to maximise its own revenues.

Related topics
As IBM’s experience shows, rejuvenation in the tech world is possible. And some observers see encouraging glimmers of progress at Microsoft. Sarah Rotman Epps of Forrester, a research firm, reckons that Windows 8, a forthcoming version of Microsoft’s operating system, could be a serious competitor to Google’s Android on tablet computers if the company can get it to market next year. Microsoft is also in far better shape financially than IBM was at its nadir, so it can afford to splash out on acquisitions such as its recent $8.5 billion purchase of Skype, an internet-phone and video-calling service.

That bet and an alliance with Nokia in mobile phones (putting the phone version of Windows into the big but troubled Finnish firm’s devices) show that Microsoft is trying to bulk up in promising areas. Yet sceptics worry that such initiatives are not the product of an overarching strategic vision, but are instead tactical moves designed to placate critics who fear Microsoft is drifting downwards. David Einhorn, a prominent hedge-fund manager whose fund holds shares in Microsoft, has publicly called for a change at the top of the firm, arguing that Mr Ballmer is “stuck in the past”. So far, the company’s board, chaired by Mr Gates, has backed its chief executive. But if IBM’s history is a guide, Microsoft may yet end up jettisoning its leader.****

3714  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs & regulations, spending, budget process on: June 13, 2011, 11:04:52 AM
IMO this is another example of government perks that is distinctly unfair.  States giving the film industry tax breaks that no one else gets.  Yes I understand the upside down reasoning that the idea was to bring business, recognition and money into a targeted area that would benefit the entire state.  Nonetheless this is government meddling, this is unfair tax code manipulation that benefits peopel who do not need the benefit while smaller bussinesses and tax payers get stuck with the burden far more than any benefit to them.  I would like to hear Repubs address this crap.  Newt has a point when he notes "conservative social engineering".  I believe this is a perfect example of what he is saying.  Stossel could have a field day on this:

After a decade of escalation, a stupid trend may have peaked
Jun 9th 2011 | LOS ANGELES | from the print edition
Lights, cameras, subsidies, action!LOTS of states would love to be California and have their own little Hollywood. Film crews would then come to town and spend money in hair salons and hotels, and local politicians could pose with film stars. So why not call it “economic development” to justify the huge tax credits that lure film producers? As of last year, more than 40 states had such incentives, costing them a record $1.4 billion.

Even California itself plays the game, believing that it has to defend itself against the poachers. In 2003, when only a handful of states (principally Louisiana and New Mexico) offered incentives, California made two-thirds of America’s big-studio films. Now it makes far fewer than half. Film LA, an organisation that co-ordinates permits for film shoots in Los Angeles, says that without California’s own tax credit, “2010 would have been the worst year” since the mid-1990s for filming in Hollywood. As its marketing blog gibes: “It is extraordinarily unlikely that the 137 productions that filmed in Michigan since 2007 chose to shoot there for creative reasons, a favourable climate or a deep and talented film-crew base.”

All this costs money, which legislators volunteer on behalf of taxpayers. Many tax credits (a percentage of a film crew’s local expenditures) exceed the filmmaker’s total tax liability to that state. The credits have even become an industry unto themselves: brokers slice them into tranches and trade them. In Iowa filmmakers were selling their credits until that state shut its programme in 2009. Last month an Iowa judge sentenced a producer to ten years in prison for fiddling credits.

Related topics
Arts, entertainment and media
Incentives do not have to involve tax credits. Some states simplify the paperwork by just giving out cash (calling it “rebates” or “grants”). Others exempt film-makers from sales or hotel taxes or give them other perks.

All this is silly. First, as Joseph Henchman at the Tax Foundation, a non-partisan think-tank, puts it, even when a state succeeds in luring film crews, they rarely boost the economy or tax revenues enough to justify the costs of the incentives. Film companies usually import their staff (stars, stuntmen, etc) and export them again when the shoot is over. The local jobs they create (hairdressers, sound technicians, pizza deliverers) are mostly temporary.

Second, since virtually all states are at it, the programmes largely cancel out one another; no state gets a lasting advantage. The craze resembles a beggar-thy-neighbour trade war (with mutually destructive tariffs) or the federal tax code with its loopholes for every lobby and thus higher rates for all. In the language of cold-war nukes, it would be mutually assured destruction (MAD). The only winner is the film industry. In essence, a rich bloke in a Brentwood villa gets money from a poor taxpayer in West Virginia.

Fortunately, this has begun sinking in. Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, New Jersey and Washington have recently ended, suspended or shrunk their programmes. Many others, struggling with budget deficits, are considering doing the same, investing the money in something permanent or even leaving it to taxpayers. “2010 will likely stand as the peak year,” thinks Mr Henchman.
3715  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left on: June 11, 2011, 04:42:08 PM

You mean ala Charles Rangel or Bill Clinton?

There is a history of Democratic voters supporting these people.

They don't seem to care.
3716  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left on: June 11, 2011, 04:15:24 PM
I see Pelosi came out today with her opinion Weiner should resign.

FWIW whether or not it was a political desicion it really is the right thing to do.
3717  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / question Palin - heroic "accomplishment" on: June 11, 2011, 10:50:51 AM
Question Bamster and you are a nut:

" Regardless of whether you thought the Palin email trove was a waste of time like many, or were obsessively live-blogging the events like us, you can't deny that the massive scanning and crowdsourcing of document review by major news outlets was a tremendous accomplishment."

Compare the above assesment to the MSM reports about the release of Bamster's long form birth certificate (if real).   That the poor man was subjected to unbearable disrespect, and harm because a bunch of crazy right wing radical loony birds "forced" him to do this painful thing.  and of course there is always the implication this was DONE TO HIM because he is half Black.

***The Top Ten Revelations from the Sarah Palin Emails
At 8:37 a.m. Saturday morning, the New York Times tweeted "After scanning marathon, all 24,000 #palinemail documents are in our searchable, interactive viewer." Regardless of whether you thought the Palin email trove was a waste of time like many, or were obsessively live-blogging the events like us, you can't deny that the massive scanning and crowdsourcing of document review by major news outlets was a tremendous accomplishment. While revelations from the cache may continue to trickle in over the weekend, at this point the bulk of the emails have been combed through, and this is what we now know about Palin that we didn't (necessarily) know before.

Related: Harry Reid and Sarah Palin Bicker Over Cowboy Poetry

Palin "joked" with George W. Bush about becoming Vice-President.

Related: Palin Accuses Obama of 'Pussy-Footing Around' Bin Laden Photos

Only a month before Palin was picked by John McCain as a running mate, she spoke with then-president George W. Bush, where she admitted to being unable to take a Vice Presidential position seriously. "The Pres [George Bush] and I spoke about military. He also spoke about (and we joked about) VP buzz."

Related: Palin Coincidentally Finds Key Primary States on Bus Tour

In fact, a mere two days before she was picked as Vice President, Palin was willing to help change signs at an Anchorage gas station to show lower prices. But unprepared though Palin was, Politico notes that she was soon forwarding encouraging notes to her staff from fans about the vice presidency.
One supporter of Palin’s from South Dakota wrote to a publicly listed e-mail address that was then forwarded to her official e-mail in late June that Palin would make “a first-rate running mater for Senator John McCain.”

“Please encourage her to accept if asked!” the supporter wrote. “What can we do to encourage Senator McCain to put her on the ticket?”

McCain's decision process took a matter of days.

Related: Sarah Palin Is Definitely Not Done Whining About the Press

It was not until Aug. 24 that there was any serious indication Palin might be be Vice President. That was when she asked her office in Juneau to send two years of her financial disclosure forms to Anchorage for unspecified purposes. The New York Times notes that "as many asserted at the time, the vetting process of the vice-presidential candidate appears to have taken just a few scant days."

Related: Condé Nast Office Politics; Bono Pushes Spidey

In late August, when McCain's choice was announced, Palin wrote “Can you believe it!” in response to a staff member. “He told me yesterday — it moved fast! Pray! I love you.”

She was once an Obama fan.

On August 4, 2008, Palin praised a speech given by President Obama as "great" and noted he "stole" some Alaskan ideas. "He did say 'yay' to our gasline. Pretty cool. Wrong candidate," Palin wrote.

She has never had much time to read the news.

Katie Couric's infamous interview with Palin, where the then-governor struggled to explain her media diet, may not have been the "gotcha" interview Palin later asserted it to be. It seems she really didn't have time to read the news, even to correct misinformation. By her own admission, her plate was too full. In one e-mail in February 2007, Palin wrote:

"i will try to carve out time in the day to more fully scan news clippings and try to catch some of the talk shows via internet, but so far I haven’t even found an extra minute to be able to tune into the shows unless I’m . . . driving in my car... i need folks to really help ramp up accurate counter comments to the misinformation that’s being spread out there.”

Palin asked God for guidance on the budget.

"I have been praying for wisdom on this ... God will have to show me what to do on the people's budget because I don't yet know the right path ... He will show me though."

She was intimidated by Alaskan Congressman Rep. Don Young.

In September 2008, a staffer e-mailed Palin that Young was trying to reach her. She replied: "Please find out what it's about. I don't want to get chewed out by him again. I'm not up for that."

Palin has always had a troubled relationship with the press.

Palin has always both courted and complained about the press. Her love-hate relationship is nothing new. On January 28, 2007, she disputed a report from the Anchorage Daily News that she'd put a "ban" on staffers talking to reporters. "I have NEVER banned any of our team members from voicing opinions on anything, she wrote. "I've asked that you all share your opinions, speak freely to press, public, legislators, one another, etc."she wrote to a staff member, “The double standard we face in so many areas is almost comical.” But she also vented that she was being criticized for speaking out, “The double standard we face in so many areas is almost comical,” she wrote to a staff member.

Palin ghostwrote a letter to the editor of the Alaska Daily News.

An email from July 2008 suggests that Palin ghost-wrote a letter to the editor of the Alaska Daily News that was to be sent under the name of a supporter. A critic had written to the Daily News about Palin's no-show at the 2008 Miss Alaska Pageant, and Palin wanted to "someone to corrct the letter writer's goofy comments, but don't want the letter in response to ADN to come from me." She drafted a letter and had her staff member sign it under the name of "Kristan Cole."

The rumor that Trig Palin is Bristol's son has been going on for a while.

Guardian uncovers the following quote from Palin

Hate to pick this one up again, but have heard three different times today the rumor again the Bristol is pregnant or had this baby. Even at Trig's doc appt this morning his doc said that's out there (hopefully NOT in their medical community-world, but it's out there). Bristol called again this afternoon asking if there's anything we can do to stop this as she receive two girlfriend-type calls today asking if it were true.
Palin has remained firm on Troopergate from the beginning.

On July 27, 2008, Palin's supporter Debbie Joslin sent a her saying that "If you did fire WM (Walt Monegan) in part or in whole because of the brother in law, just admit it and make it right. Hire him back if that makes sense and even if it doesn’t, just say you are sorry you let personal feelings get in the way and move on. People will forgive you." But Palin reponded, “I hope you’ll trust me that I’d be the first to admit if I made a mistake two weeks ago in offering Walt a different job aside from Commissioner...No personal feelings ever influenced my recognition."

Two days later, on July 29, she wrote again, “I prefer speaking to these reporters who want comments on the issue, I invite the investigation but it's obvious we could get to the bottom of it all if leggies and reproters would just ASK me further questions instead of spending $100g on a fishing expiditoin” 

In a later email she expressed increasing frustration:

"I do applogize if I sound frustrated w this one. I guess I am. Its killing me to realise how misinformed leggies, reporters and others are on this issue. The accusations and false assumptions are mind boggling.
"He's still a trooper, and he still carries a gun, and he still tells anyone who will listen that he will 'never work for that b*itch' (me) because he has such anger and distain towards family. So consistency is needed here. No one's above the law. If the law needs to be changed to not allow access to guns for people threatening to kill someone, it must apply to everyone."****
3718  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left on: June 11, 2011, 10:16:21 AM
A crat is a crat is a crat is a crat.  Not surprising.  Weiner puts himself above all else.  The Dems put party above the country.
And the crats who vote all want the free benefits confiscated from taxpayers.  I don't know hwy people like my nephew bother to fight for our country.  Even our leaders are a bunch of selfish pigs.

Pelosi declines to call for Weiner's resignation
 ShareretweetEmailPrint– Fri Jun 10, 7:07 pm ET
WASHINGTON – Amid increasing calls for Rep. Anthony Weiner to resign, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi says the decision should be up to the congressman and his New York constituents.

The former speaker said in San Francisco that she believes the decision should be made by "the individual member" and the people in his district.

Weiner, a seven-term Democrat, has admitted sending sexually explicit photos and messages over the Internet to a half dozen women over the past three years. Pelosi has asked the House Ethics Committee to investigate whether Weiner used any government resources.

Weiner told a newspaper Thursday he would not resign. At least nine House members and three senators said he should quit.

Two former Democratic Party chairmen also said he should resign.

[ For complete coverage of politics and policy, go to Yahoo! Politics ]

Weiner did pick up support from Rep. Charles Rangel, a New York Democrat who was censured by the House last year for ethics violations.

Rangel suggested that other members of Congress had done things more immoral than Weiner.

Rangel said Weiner "wasn't going with prostitutes. He wasn't going out with little boys."

In a recent poll of registered voters in Weiner's district, 56 percent said he should stay in office while 33 percent said he should leave.

3719  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / G Will on Hunstman on: June 10, 2011, 03:02:36 PM
Jon Huntsman's thorny path to the GOP nomination

By George Will | Donald Trump’s pathological political exhibitionism has ended, Newt Gingrich has incinerated himself with an incoherent retraction tour, Mitt Romney has reaffirmed his enthusiasm for his Massachusetts health-care law, rendering himself incapable of articulating the case against Obamacare and the entitlement state generally, Haley Barbour, Mike Huckabee and Mitch Daniels, aware of the axiom that anyone who will do what must be done to become president should not be allowed to be president, are out.

Watching this from his new home in Washington’s tony Kalorama neighborhood and his office at 1455 Pennsylvania Ave., Jon Huntsman, 51, former Utah governor and recently resigned ambassador to China, contemplates moving his office two blocks west. The Republican contest may soon acquire a photogenic family and a distinctive foreign policy voice.

The independently wealthy Huntsmans have seven children, among them two adopted daughters from China and India, and a son at Annapolis aspiring to be a Navy SEAL. Huntsman’s economic policies are Republican orthodoxy. His national security policies may make him the neoconservatives’ nightmare but a welcome novelty for a larger constituency.

“Capital is a coward,” Huntsman says, meaning capital is rational — it flees risky environments, which Obama administration policies create. He favors tax reform to stimulate capital formation, including a corporate tax rate of 24 percent or lower. He thinks lower but more inclusive income tax rates would be good economics — and good civics, reducing the share of households (47 percent in 2009) that pay no income taxes. At first saying Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget “is worthy of consideration” and later endorsing it, he says: “If you’re frightened of Ryan’s road map, you have not looked at our accumulating debt.”


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Speaking in Washington this month, he will explain the need to “clean up the map” of foreign policy. He is among the sizable American majority disturbed that there is no discernible winning outcome in, or exit strategy from, Afghanistan, where, he says, there is now, and will be when we leave, a civil war that need not greatly concern us.

He believes significant savings can be found in the process of making the defense budget congruent with more judicious uses of U.S. military assets. This means more reliance on special operations, fewer interventions requiring large deployments — and no absent-minded interventions like that in Libya.

How will the Republican nominating electorate, preoccupied with questions about domestic policy and the role of government, respond to a candidate stressing national security and those national security positions? Huntsman replies: “I don’t know, but we’re about to find out.”

With one of his 2012 rivals, former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, Huntsman co-chaired John McCain’s 2008 campaign, from which he has drawn key advisers. Like McCain, Huntsman will bypass Iowa. “I don’t like subsidies,” he says, so he opposes the Church of Ethanol, the established religion out “where the tall corn grows.” New Hampshire, however, he says, “likes margin-of-error candidates with a message.” In South Carolina, his cadre of supporters includes Mike Campbell, Huckabee’s 2008 state chairman. Huntsman hopes for a respectable showing in Michigan, and he will also focus on Florida, where his wife is from and his campaign headquarters will be, in Orlando.

If Barack Obama wins a second term, this will be the first time there have been three consecutive two-term presidencies since Jefferson, Madison and Monroe between 1801 and 1825. The Republican nominee will be chosen by a relatively small cohort consisting of those Americans most determined that this not happen. Nominating electorates make up in intensity what they lack in size. They pay close attention to presidential politics early, and participate in cold-weather events, because they have a heat fueled by ideology. Cool-hand Huntsman, with his polished persona and the complementary fluencies of a governor and a diplomat, might find those virtues are, if not defects, of secondary importance in the competition to enkindle Republicans eager to feast on rhetorical red meat.

So it is difficult to chart Huntsman’s path to the Republicans’ Tampa convention through a nominating electorate that is understandably furious about Obama’s demonstrably imprudent and constitutionally dubious domestic policies. Even if that electorate approves Huntsman’s un-Obamalike health-care reforms in Utah and forgives his flirtation with a fanciful climate-change regime among Western states, he faces the worthy but daunting challenge of bringing Tea Party Republicans — disproportionately important in the nominating process — to a boil about foreign policy.

3720  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: June 10, 2011, 02:49:16 PM
Remember how Clinton refused to release his urology records.  The ones that documented his crooked penis?

Maybe Bamster's is crooked too - like his politics.  Or he doesn't want anyone to know his past treatments for drugs,, or STDs???
3721  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left on: June 10, 2011, 02:45:42 PM
"As for Obama, what other President ever had to release his long form birth certificate?"

I am certainly no scholar on the downfall of "empires" but isn't this one theory as to why Rome and other empires fell?
3722  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: June 10, 2011, 02:42:46 PM
"As for Obama, what other President ever had to release his long form birth certificate?"

Except for McCain I am not sure the issue was ever raised or for that matter was in question before.  If it was I would think ANYONE else who had nothing to hide would have rapidly released the document.

And what do you mean ever had to release...

Like it was such a big F. deal???  What was so difficult about doing this?

What an ordeal it was.  What the fringe right loons put the Bamster thru, huh?  Worse than warter boarding.
3723  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left on: June 10, 2011, 02:25:40 PM
"On Saturday, Former President Bill Clinton will officiate the wedding of Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner"

Unbelievable.  Reports were that Weiner called BJ Clinton to apologize.

With leaders like these guys....

They will probably all be getting bjs from the bride's maids.

Of course, so what.  rolleyes That is their "personal" not "professional" behavior which is another 'distinction' the libs are all coming out with now.
3724  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left on: June 10, 2011, 12:25:33 PM
How did we get to the point where it is acceptable for politicians to lie because "they all do it" let alone reckless sexual activities, outright pulbic lying coverups, and the rest?  This country really is in big decline culturally and morally and that bodes poorly for everything else IMHO.

It seems anything is acceptable as long as the pol in office will keep the money spigget flowing doles to their constituents.  What twisted logic can be dreamed of next:

****Matthews: Weiner in Trouble Because His Behavior Offends 'Culturally Backward' Christian Conservatives
By Geoffrey Dickens | June 10, 2011 | 11:40

On Thursday's Hardball, Chris Matthews determined that Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner could be in danger of being forced out of Congress by Blue Dog Dems who face uphill battles in red states because, as he put it, "people in the rural areas of this country who are Christian conservative culturally - you can say backward if you want...don't like this kind of stuff."

During a discussion about Weiner's chances of survival, after being caught sending lewd pictures to women via Twitter, the MSNBCer claimed the liberal congressman didn't have to worry about his, according to Matthews, culturally superior constituents in New York - the "56 percent in Brooklyn and Queens" who "can live with this guy." Instead he had to be concerned with his Democratic colleagues fearful about re-election in the "conservative culturally part of the country."

The following excerpt was aired on the June 9 edition of Hardball:

CHRIS MATTHEWS: If you're a Blue Dog Democrat from a conservative culturally part of the country, where you're fighting out every election with two or three points to spare, if you're a -- if you're are [Jim] Matheson from Utah or you're from Oklahoma and you're a [Dan] Boren -- and he's leaving Congress - your life's getting difficult enough defending the East Coast and the left coast Democratic Party. They're too far left. Look at what happened in Arkansas last year. It's getting very, very hard to defend the behavior, politically, of the party. Now you throw on top of that immoral behavior, indiscrete behavior, embarrassing behavior, gross behavior like this, and you still have him in your midst. And that's my question to you. If you're Steny Hoyer, who does speak for the Blue Dogs, if you're Nancy Pelosi, the former Speaker, who has to deal with them, don't you have to deal with the fact - you're losing any chance of getting back a 218 majority?

I want you to pick this up, Ben. This is, to me, the stakes here. If he stays, they never get the leadership back. They never get the Speakership back because the people in the rural areas of this country who are Christian conservative culturally - you can say backward if you want - but they don't like this kind of stuff at all. They're not part of that 56 percent in Brooklyn and Queens who say, "okay, we can live with this guy." Your thoughts, Ben? Isn't that the cutting edge of this?****

3725  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The left covering for Bamster as always on: June 10, 2011, 12:04:12 PM
"one is public information, one is not"

JDN thank you.  I knew this would be the response of the left.

One is also an active President of the United States and by golly we have every right to know what his school essays were as well as running around with his Panama hat snorting cocaine. 

The other one is a citizen who is no longer an elected official though she certainly is a political figure and may run for office at some point.

"She took three years to merely release simple public records."

Oh, well who does that remind you of?  How long did it take the Bamster to release a copy of his long form (if real) despite it being a valid constitutional issue worthy of a real reponse?

And what is he hiding about his past poltical affiliations that is such a secret?
3726  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: June 10, 2011, 10:01:19 AM
This of course is ok.

But demanding any writing form Obama while a student is of course labeled as idiocy.

We mocked if we demand to see the long form of his birth certificate (which some wonder is a fraud), we are ignored if we want to see his thesis etc.

3727  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / poll manipulation on: June 09, 2011, 02:20:33 PM
After the shock poll showed Romney even with the Bamster I said to myself any day we will suddenly see another poll that attempts to show the first poll was all wrong.  Without fail the MSM comes out with a response poll that has opposite results always in Bamster's favor.  Despite another dip in the economy this poll suggests Bamster is untouchable.  All I can say is thank God, again, for Fox and talk radio or we would be led to believe Bamster is perfect and adored by everyone person in the world except those on this board:

Reuters – President Barack Obama (R) and first lady Michelle Obama (L) walk out to greet German Chancellor Angela … By John Whitesides John Whitesides – Wed Jun 8, 1:58 pm ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama retains a big lead over possible Republican rivals in the 2012 election despite anxiety about the economy and the country's future, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll on Wednesday.

Obama's approval rating inched up 1 percentage point from May to 50 percent but the number of Americans who believe the country is on the wrong track also rose as pricier gasoline, persistently high unemployment and a weak housing market chipped away at public confidence.

Obama leads all potential Republican challengers by double-digit margins, the poll showed. He is ahead of his closest Republican rival, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, by 13 percentage points -- 51 percent to 38 percent.

"Obama's position has gotten a little stronger over the last couple of months as the public mood has evened out, and as an incumbent he has some big advantages over his rivals," Ipsos pollster Cliff Young said.

"Until Republicans go through a primary season and select a nominee, they are going to be at a disadvantage in the head-to-head matchups in name recognition."

[ For complete coverage of politics and policy, go to Yahoo! Politics ]

Obama, who got a boost in the polls last month with the killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, is amassing an election campaign warchest likely to be larger than the record $750 million he raised in 2008.

Sarah Palin and Romney lead the Republicans battling for the right to challenge Obama in the November 2012 election.

Palin, the party's vice presidential nominee in 2008, had the support of 22 percent of the Republicans surveyed. The former governor of Alaska has not said whether she will run for president next year.

Romney, who failed in a 2008 presidential bid, had 20 percent support.

Representative Ron Paul, a libertarian Republican from Texas, and former pizza executive Herman Cain were tied for third with 7 percent each.


The Republican candidates are just starting to engage in their slow-starting nomination race. Young said Palin and Romney had a clear advantage at this stage over other challengers in name recognition among voters.

Other surveys have shown Romney in a stronger position. A Washington Post-ABC News poll earlier this week gave Romney a slight lead over Obama among registered voters.

In the Reuters/Ipsos poll, the other Republican contenders fared even worse than Romney's 13-point gap in a match-up with Obama. Palin trailed Obama by 23 points and former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty was behind by 19 points.

The survey was taken after weak jobs and housing figures released last week showed the U.S. economy is recovering slower than expected. Unemployment rose slightly to 9.1 percent for the month.

The poll found 60 percent of respondents said the country is on the wrong track, up from 56 percent in May but still below April's high of 69 percent. In the latest survey, 35 percent said the country is going in the right direction.

Obama's approval rating has drifted in a narrow range between 49 percent and 51 percent since January, with the exception of April when the first spike in gasoline prices drove his rating lower.

With Congress battling over a Republican budget plan that includes scaling back the federal Medicare health program for the elderly, the poll found a plurality of Americans, 43 percent, oppose the Medicare cuts and 37 percent support them.

The poll, conducted Friday through Monday, surveyed 1,132 adults nationwide by telephone, including 948 registered voters. The margin of error is 3 percentage points.

(Editing by John O'Callaghan)
3728  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: June 08, 2011, 08:42:20 PM
Thanks, DMG and Crafty
3729  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: June 07, 2011, 02:31:16 PM
Accomodation, or appeasement, whatever one wants to call it - giving in to the demand to go back to '67 borders.
I get Freidman's arguments. 
By doing what he calls accomodation he feels Israel can then say look we have given in to all requests and if Palestinians still don't accept our right to exist than the honus is on them.

"But Israel has a superb countermove: accept some variation of the 1967 borders and force Hamas either to break with its principles and lose its support to an emergent group or openly blow apart the process. In other words, the Israelis can also pursue a strategy of provocation, in this case by giving the Palestinians what they want and betting that they will reject it. Of course, the problem with this strategy is that the Palestinians might accept the deal, with Hamas secretly intending to resume the war from a better position.

Israel’s bet has three possible outcomes. One is to hold the current position and be constantly manipulated into actions that isolate Israel. The second is to accept the concept of the 1967 borders and bet on the Palestinians rejecting it as they did with Bill Clinton. The third outcome, a dangerous one, is for the Palestinians to accept the deal and then double-cross the Israelis. But then if that happens, Israel has the alternative to return to the old borders.

In the first part of this he assumes that Israel can use a "superb countermove by accepting some version of /67 borders and that this will put all of the pressure on the Arabs. 

My question is how do we know this and why is he so sure this will stop the pressure on the Jews?

"One is to hold the current position and be constantly manipulated into actions that isolate Israel."

Well if the US is going to abandom them aka Obama....

"The second is to accept the concept of the 1967 borders and bet on the Palestinians rejecting it as they did with Bill Clinton."

In that case we have already gone down that road.  What makes anyone think it will be different now?

"The third outcome, a dangerous one, is for the Palestinians to accept the deal and then double-cross the Israelis. But then if that happens, Israel has the alternative to return to the old borders."

That is if the Israelis are not wiped out first.

If I were Netenyahu I would not give in till there is another US President.  He cannot count on Bama.
If the US had a President (as well as both houses) who really would be committed to helping Israel in an existential crises, and the Israelis went back to close the '67 borders as they could reasonably do safely and with a timetable by which Arabs have to commit and recognize the right of a Jewish state then maybe this would be a way to go.

3730  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / please see my reply under consitutional matters on: June 07, 2011, 01:54:59 PM
on an opinion of the war power act's constitutionality.
3731  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / War Powers Act itself is considered unconstitutional on: June 07, 2011, 01:53:44 PM
Some, including constitutional attorney Mark Levin consider the War Powers act unconstitutional.  Listening to Mark Levin discuss this issue he points out every President has acted without the permission of Congress and for national security reasons this was the way the founders wanted it.  If congress later decided the military action was wrong they could simply "defund" it.  In his opinion Ron Paul doesn't have the faintest clue what he is talking about.  I agree:

It Growing GOP Opposition to Presidential War Powers? →Thomas Woods vs. Mark Levin On Presidential War Powers
Posted on March 27, 2011 by Chad
Mark Levin has apparently jumped into the fray over  presidential war powers.  It’s been a hot topic of debate lately, thanks to  Obama’s  involvement in Libya. As you may have guessed, Levin favors presidential power to authorize military action- without consulting congress.  To be fair, Levin is not alone in his view.   Thomas Woods takes apart Levin’s argument in a recent article. You can read the whole thing here.  It’s an excellent read.  One particular part stands out where he quotes Levin as saying:

The constitutional convention was “never going to give war-making power to Congress.”

“You think my view is odd? Well that’s funny, because every single president of the United States has embraced this view—very damn one of em’, from Reagan to Obama.”

Woods’ response is great:

Yes, it is simply unthinkable that the two political parties could both defy the Constitution in the same way for 30 whole years.  I mean, we have no precedent for such a thing elsewhere in government, where both parties have scrupulously observed constitutional limits for decades and decades.

Some of you are fans of Mark Levin I’m sure.  I have nothing against him personally, but am concerned by what he represents. He’s part of  a growing number of political pundits on both sides of the aisle who have spent time working in Washington D.C.

Mark Levin   is a lawyer who once worked in Washington in a president’s administration.   Having spent a significant portion of his career working under a very popular  president, can we really expect Levin (and the many others like him in BOTH PARTIES) to distrust presidential authority?
3732  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / GM CEO: raise gas tax by a dollar! on: June 07, 2011, 11:20:22 AM
We keep hearing people on TV advising us to buy American brands.  My view is the American taxpayer was screwed over by GM and Chrysler.  And now this.  I will never buy a GM car.  Ever.

***June 07. 2011 6:17AM
GM chief pushing for higher gas taxes
David Shepardson and Christina Rogers/ The Detroit News
Detroit — General Motors Co. CEO Dan Akerson wants the federal gas tax boosted as much as $1 a gallon to nudge consumers toward more fuel-efficient cars, and he's confident the government will soon shed its remaining 26 percent stake in the once-bankrupt automaker.

"I actually think the government will be out this year — within the next 12 months, hopefully within the next six months," Akerson said in a two-hour interview with The Detroit News last week.

He is grateful for the government's rescue of GM — "I have nothing but good things to say about them" — but Akerson said the time for that relationship to end is coming because it's wearing on GM.

"It's kind of like your in-laws: It was a nice long weekend. We didn't say a week," Akerson said with a laugh.

And while he is eager to say goodbye to the government as a part owner of GM, Akerson would like to see it step up to the challenge of setting a higher gas tax, as part of a comprehensive energy policy.

A government-imposed tax hike, Akerson believes, will prompt more people to buy small cars and do more good for the environment than forcing automakers to comply with higher gas-mileage standards.

"There ought to be a discussion on the cost versus the benefits," he said. "What we are going to do is tax production here, and that will cost us jobs."

For the years 2017-25, federal officials are considering 3 percent to 6 percent annual fuel efficiency increases, or 47 mpg to 62 mpg. That could boost the cost of vehicles by up to $3,500.

"You know what I'd rather have them do — this will make my Republican friends puke — as gas is going to go down here now, we ought to just slap a 50-cent or a dollar tax on a gallon of gas," Akerson said.

"People will start buying more Cruzes and they will start buying less Suburbans."

With gas already over $4 a gallon in parts of the country, a higher gas tax is a hard sell.

Rebecca Lindland, an analyst with IHS Global Insight, said higher gas taxes in Europe did lead consumers to buy more fuel-efficient cars.

But she acknowledged that's virtually impossible to see in the United States.

"It's career suicide for a politician to call for raising gas taxes," Lindland said.

Akerson isn't the first auto exec to float the idea of a gas tax to encourage consumers to buy fuel-efficient vehicles. Ford Chairman Bill Ford Jr. has previously advocated a gas tax increase.

On Monday, a Ford spokeswoman said the company "will leave the policy decision to Congress"; in 2009, GM CEO Rick Wagoner called a higher gas tax "worthy of consideration."

Stock boost sought
Akerson believes the Treasury's continued ownership stake in GM — 500 million shares — is dragging down its stock price, which has fallen 23 percent this year, and closed Monday at $28.56. That's well below the $33-per-share it fetched in November's $23 billion initial public stock offering.

"I think that it is an overhang — to have 500 million shares sitting out there — it's a problem," Akerson said, adding that unrest in the Middle East and oil prices also are depressing GM's share price. "They don't know when (the Treasury is) going to come out. Investors hate uncertainty."

David Whiston, an auto analyst at Morningstar, agrees that government ownership is impacting investors' interest in GM.

"There are a lot of money managers that are waiting for the government to exit before jumping in," Whiston said.

The Treasury, which rescued GM with a $49.5 billion bailout and once held a 61 percent majority stake, "will likely look at another (stock) sale in August, after second-quarter earnings are announced, Akerson said.

The Obama administration has made clear it is eager to exit GM — but hasn't laid out a precise timetable.

Asked if GM is considering buying back its stock, Akerson paused for eight seconds before declining to answer directly. "But we have a lot of cash," he added.

At the current stock price, U.S. taxpayers would be out more than $12 billion on GM's bailout. Still, Akerson believes that, in the end, taxpayers will see the government made the right call in saving the automaker, as well as crosstown rival Chrysler.

"We are in the midst of transforming an iconic American company so 20 and 30 years from now (taxpayers) will look at this company and they'll say, 'Absolutely it was the right thing to do,'" Akerson said. "And it shouldn't be measured on did it sell for $43 or $53 (a share) or did they lose a couple billion dollars?"

GM was saved, he said, because of the extreme generosity of Americans — a spirit that helped restore Europe and Japan after World War II and rebuild cities such as New Orleans after natural disasters.

"We're the most generous country, even in terrible times," Akerson said. "We don't walk to the disaster as a nation. … We can't wait to help."

Things are looking up for GM's image, he said. Pollster Peter Hart, conducting research for GM, found 16 percent had a positive view of GM before the bailout. But that had risen to 65 percent early this year, Akerson said.

"I couldn't believe the press we got on the IPO — it was like a $100 million gift," Akerson said.

GM's rebound, he believes, was a "proxy" for the U.S.

"OK, we took the blow as a nation, we weathered the worst, and my God, we're back," Akerson said. "It's why I came here. It was a story of underdog that tripped as we all have in our lives — it was a good feel-good story."

Call for tax hikes
In his interview with The News, Akerson also weighed in on the nation's debt ceiling, saying Congress should raise it from its current $14.3 trillion mark. The government could default on its debt on Aug. 2.

"We're too good a nation to let ourselves be a banana republic," Akerson said, warning that a default would be "unimaginable" and could hurt auto sales.

But he agrees with those who say the country has been spending money it can't afford.

"Now, we need practical decisions," Akerson said. "I think you need to cut the hell out of the budget and you've got to increase taxes … on everybody — including the middle class and the rich people."

Akerson, who describes himself as "a Colin Powell Republican — not a Sarah Palin Republican" — said President Barack Obama has "done a pretty good job on the economy," which, he said, was "a nightmare.

"I don't think he can fix it in four years and I think we just have to stay the course," he said.

Despite his Republican stripes, Akerson is frustrated with the political climate and the media.

He was invited to appear on CBS' "Face the Nation," but said: "I can't go on it. I'm toxic. I'm like a lightning rod. I couldn't have an intelligent discussion without someone saying, 'He's a welfare guy from the bailout.'"

But he noted the bipartisan spirit of GM's rescue and the rest of the U.S. auto industry.

"If we had gone down," he said, "the supply chain would have gone down. … And Ford was hanging on by its fingernails, too."

GM's failure also would have led to Detroit's collapse, Akerson said. "I have not seen a city in this bad a shape since I went to East Berlin in 1969."***

3733  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: June 07, 2011, 09:40:34 AM
"Perhaps that is why France is so helpful in Libya"

I think the reason they are so "helpful" in N. Africa is they don't want anymore Muslim refugess flooding their country.

They and Italy (and I guess all of Europe) are getting swamped with Muslims.

Their version of the Mexican, C. and S. American  invasions here.
3734  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: June 07, 2011, 09:36:06 AM
Well if we are increasing retirement to 70 which I have been saying is necessary for years (thus I agree with this) then why do we need to increase SS tax 5%?

Also don't the Dems borrow from SS for their projects?  What ever happened to "lock box"?

I would cut subsidies to farmers who don't grow food"

Problem with this is the loop holes.  Does anyone think Bruce Springsteen is really in the organic farming business yet he gets a nice tax break in NJ (though I guess this is a state not federal loophole).

Do we really need to subsidize this at all?
3735  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Germany fleeing nuclear energy on: June 06, 2011, 03:22:12 PM
Germany does about face on nuclear energy post Japan.

****German energy
Nuclear? Nein, danke
A nuclear phase-out leaves German energy policy in a muddle
Jun 2nd 2011 | BERLIN | from the print edition Economist
EVERYONE was horrified by the earthquake and tsunami that killed 24,000 Japanese and caused three nuclear meltdowns. But in Germany the feeling was laced with terror. Suspicion of nuclear power became mass revulsion. At a recent race in Berlin sponsored by Vattenfall, which generates nuclear power, many runners carried no-nuke flags.

The response of Chancellor Angela Merkel has been called the swiftest change of political course since unification. Only last year her government overturned a decade-old decision to phase out nuclear power by 2022. After Japan she suspended that policy and yanked seven of Germany’s 17 reactors off the electricity grid. On May 30th she completed her U-turn. The plan to keep nuclear plants operating for 12 more years was scrapped; the seven reactors will be shut for good. Germany will be “the first big industrial country to shift to highly efficient and renewable energy, with all the opportunities that offers,” Mrs Merkel promised. Industry is less thrilled about losing nuclear, which provides 23% of Germany’s electricity reliably and cheaply. It “fills me with worry,” said Hans-Peter Keitel, president of the Federation of German Industries.

The “energy transformation” is neither as revolutionary as Mrs Merkel suggests nor as hazardous as industry fears. Germany is returning to its policy of seven months ago. It has surplus generating capacity and low prices that are unlikely to rise much in the next few years, notes Mark Lewis of Deutsche Bank. Mrs Merkel’s shift was already under way. In 2000 30% of electricity came from nuclear. Since then, renewables like solar and wind have expanded their share from 6.6% to 16.5%.
The new plan is meant to make it easier to raise this share. But Mrs Merkel is also using Germans’ nuclear fears to smash their aversion to new infrastructure. The Bundestag is due to approve eight laws by the end of June to facilitate this. Yet the task depends also on citizens’ participation. “What is your contribution?” Mrs Merkel asks people. She hopes for political revival. Her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) was pushed into third place behind the Social Democrats and the Greens in Bremen in May for the first time at state level. While slowing the Greens’ rise, she also wants the CDU to seem a possible coalition partner after the federal election in 2013.

The nuclear reversal burnishes her credentials as a moderniser. Whether it will help Europe’s strongest economy is less clear. The rise in fickle solar and wind power increases the risk of instability in electricity supplies; with the closure of seven reactors, “we are really going to the limits,” says Christian Schneller of TenneT, a Dutch-German transmission company. Congestion on lines carrying power from north to south raises the risk of blackouts.

Germany promises neither to increase imports from nuclear neighbours nor to emit more greenhouse gases than planned. That will be hard. “You can’t have a liberalised energy market and close the border,” says Manuel Frondel of RWI, a research institute. Germany will emit an extra 370m tonnes of CO2 as it replaces nuclear with gas- and coal-fired plants. Europe’s emissions are capped by an emission-trading scheme, but the costs will now rise for everybody. Germany’s own goal is more ambitious: a 40% reduction from 1990 by 2020. This will not be met, says Mr Frondel.

Mr Schneller says the pace of progress on infrastructure must dictate the energy mix, not the other way around. Of the 3,500km (2,175 miles) of transmission lines that are needed to carry renewable power from (largely northern) sources to southern and western consumers, just 90km have been built. “Monster masts” provoke almost as much opposition as nuclear reactors. To shift fully to renewables, Germany needs to boost storage capacity by a factor of 500.

The government plans to speed up planning and licensing, as it did after unification. Progress is to be monitored, perhaps by a new parliamentary watchdog. The government may set up a “national energy transformation forum” to enlist citizens. If greenhouse-gas emissions rise faster than planned, says Mrs Merkel, conservation will have to improve.

Germany cannot do all this on its own, argues Ottmar Edenhofer of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Big efficiency gains will come only if Europe’s carbon cap includes housing and transport. Ramping up renewables would make more sense if Germany tapped into sunnier and windier parts of Europe, which requires a pan-European electricity grid. “Scaling up can only be done on a European level,” says Mr Edenhofer.

Germany did not become a role model by being hard-headed. Its subsidies for renewable energy are wasteful and its nuclear pull-out looks panicky. In short, the post-nuclear recoil carries risks of its own. Yet if anyone can make it all work, says Mr Lewis, the Germans can.

from the print edition | Europe ****
3736  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Rumor/true? on: June 06, 2011, 03:04:03 PM
Certainly, it is just a matter of time.  The US has already decided against anything other than diplomacy.

***Researcher: Iran can produce nuke within 2 months

Airstrikes can no longer stop nuclear program, US can do nothing short of military occupation, says report

The Iranian regime is closer than ever before to creating a nuclear bomb, according to RAND Corporation researcher Gregory S. Jones.

At its current rate of uranium enrichment, Tehran could have enough for its first bomb within eight weeks, Jones said in a report published this week.***
3737  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We have heard this before/ rumors? on: June 06, 2011, 12:38:20 PM
Certainly, it is just a matter of time.  The US has already decided against anything other than diplomacy.

***Researcher: Iran can produce nuke within 2 months

Airstrikes can no longer stop nuclear program, US can do nothing short of military occupation, says report

The Iranian regime is closer than ever before to creating a nuclear bomb, according to RAND Corporation researcher Gregory S. Jones.

At its current rate of uranium enrichment, Tehran could have enough for its first bomb within eight weeks, Jones said in a report published this week.***

3738  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: June 06, 2011, 09:41:33 AM
"Even I hate/despise what Hitler did and stood for and I'm not a Jew.  I think liberal Jews, Jews in general believe (hopefully) in America first, then Israel. I don't think it's a Republican/Democrat issue."

Liberal Jews live like capitalists with all its luxury and advantages but speak like socialists.  I call that a fork tongue.  They are wedded to the Democrat party.
Party politics certainly is a big issue here.  That is why 75% are die hard Democrats and do all they can do to keep a President in power who clearly tilts away from the Jews and towards the Muslims.   Do you think they would have been as kind to a Republican who sat for twenty years in an anti-semite's church?

"CCP said, "First.  Why must the US throw the Jews under the bus in order to have "good relations" with Muslims?"

*I* didn't say we need to.  George Friedman was clearly implying that in *his* statements.

Bottom line.  Jews can choose the Democrat party and risk the existence of several million Jews or not.  That is the way the Democrat party is tilting at least since we have the abomination called Obama there.
3739  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: June 05, 2011, 02:08:54 PM
Interesting thought piece with in depth philosophying about Israel's position short and long term.

Yet he keeps pointing out how Israeli conservatives are inflexible while at the same time saying "if" they are correct that for at least many Muslims the ultimate goal is to destroy the "Jewish" state.  If this is true and certainly appears this way then any real attempts at the accomodation he is calling for is no more than a mirage.

By thinking it through as he has he inadvertantly, I think, has expressed the dilema which faces Israel and about which there is NO good answer.

So then what does Israeli leaders, or better stated what CAN Israeli leaders do?

"The United States has interests in the Middle East beyond Israel and that includes good relations with Muslim countries. And the United States sees what the administration wrongly calls the Arab Spring as an opportunity."

First.  Why must the US throw the Jews under the bus in order to have "good relations" with Muslims?

The first part of the above quoted sentences makes this essentially a prerequisite; that is that the US must take sides with the Palestinians in order for  good relations with the Arabs, Persains etc.

Second I wonder more in detail what he means by Obama *misreading* the Arab "spring" as it is so called.   How so? And how should they read it?

After reading this I cannot change my agreement with Dick Morris' conclusion that liberal Jews can either choose between the Democratic party, or risk the mass slaughter of Jews in Israel..  The liberal demo(socialist)crats including those like Soros and his funded lobbying groups are absolutely risking the existence of Israel.  The support of all liberal Jews for Obama is taking this risk.

As I have posted for years on this board.  Liberal Jews hate Republicans more than Hitler.  They will do anything to defeat the Republican party.  Even risk the existence of their fellow Jews in Israel.

I don't know how to see it any other way.

3740  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs & regulations, spending, budget process on: June 04, 2011, 11:36:59 AM
Great points Crafty.

I would hope we can have a Republican candidate blow away Obama on this topic in a debate with exactly your perfect pointers.

If one really wants to win independents IMHO this is one perfect example that falls into my oft stated theme of fairness *for all*.  A system that benefits and works the same (as best as possible) for everyone no matter their economic class, their political connections, celebrity status, as well as the political correct race, religion, sexual orientation.

No special deals for insiders, Wall Streeters, hedge funds, union bosses, as well as those on the lower ends of the government dole/corruption/free loader spectrum. 

I still haven't noticed any Repubs or Tea partiers for that matter highlighting such a theme.

Recently Spitzer had someone on, I can't recall, and asked him what new can any of the Republican candidates offer to Americans except the same theme of "consitution", "smaller governemnt", etc.  He is right that this theme is getting old and already, by itself, may have run its course. 

If we haven't seen independents rushing to the right by now they are on hold because they do not really accept the Repub positions as already are out there.  We can see how they will rush back to the Bamster on a dime of good news.  The message must be modified as I have suggested.  I think Crafty's points about the auto industry are perfect in this modified theme.  I do think many independents are probably annoyed about big auto/ union bailouts.  Why them?  Why not the independent voters?

Also why do the bankers and wall street get off scot free?  What about those government mortgages?  What about those people getting special favors from the bottom up?

People do not want the Bama again.  But they have not heard from the Repubs an alternative that hits their fancy. (I am talking about the independents not tea partiers or strict Repubs).
3741  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs & regulations, spending, budget process on: June 04, 2011, 10:43:54 AM
Well my biggest beef is that Obama is taking credit for *saving* the American auto industry.  He did no such thing.  The American taxpayer saved their tookesses (sp?).
3742  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: June 04, 2011, 10:39:39 AM
Pawlenty sounds good when I hear him. 

I think he will come on strong.

The liberals have been doing a great job destroying all the Repubs even before they get off the ground so to speak.

I would choose Palin before Bachman at this point.  Bachman has not impressed me but hopefully she will get better with time.

I don't know why so many are pushing NJ governor Christie to run.  I agree with Mark Levin he is a one trick pony.

All he ever talks about is the deficit and he appears to be doing a good job in a union/democrat controlled/strangled state but he avoids all other issues as far as I can tell.  Levin thinks he is a closet liberal on some of the more national issues but he may be misreading him.  I think he probably is mostly conservative but he is also a pragmatist.  A real conservative could NEVER win in NJ.  Nonetheless I don't recall ever hearing speak much about anything other than working on NJ's budget shortfalls and taking on some of the unions.
3743  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / DMG - good call! on: June 03, 2011, 02:12:24 PM
Crafty posted on Dec. 23, 2010:

Grannis and Wesbury have similar perspectives (both are supply siders btw).  David Gordon, Scott Grannis and I are part of an email group and David is a high level market player with the pay-to-enter blog to which I subscribe.  David, who has quite a number of remarkably prescient market calls into an excellent stock picking and timing record, thinks we are about to have a sharp downturn, and that there will be a big downturn sometime in 2011-- currently he suspects it will be around the middle of the year but reserves the right to evolve his views as time goes by.
3744  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Republicans numbers expanding on: June 03, 2011, 01:21:49 PM
Until Obama pardons the illegals:

***A Rasmussen poll released yesterday shows that 35.6 percent of Americans are now Republicans, compared to 34.0 percent who are Democrats. That’s a higher tally for Republicans, and the widest margin between the two parties, than at any time since the GOP took control of the House in January. A year ago, only 32.0 percent of Americans were Republicans, while 35.1 percent were Democrats. So that’s a swing of 4.7 percentage points — from a 3.1-point Democratic advantage to a 1.6-point Republican advantage — in the past year.

In March, before Paul Ryan and the House Republicans released their budget — which would reduce deficit spending by 46 percent and $1 billion a day versus President Obama’s budget — Democrats held a 1.3-point advantage over Republicans (35.3 percent Democrat to 34.0 percent Republican). That advantage has now swung the other way.

The current figure of 34.0 percent Democrats marks the 3rd-lowest tally for the party in the past seven years. When Obama was elected in November of 2008, 41.4 percent of Americans were Democrats, and only 33.8 percent were Republicans — a slightly larger margin (7.6 percent) than Obama’s margin over John McCain in the popular vote (7.3 percent). Party allegiance has since swung 9.2 points toward the GOP.***
3745  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs & regulations, spending, budget process on: June 03, 2011, 11:41:16 AM
Paul Rubio was on and saying how we need to save Medicare.  This is a good strategy turning the debate around right into the faces of the pandering party.

The seniors don't seem to get it.  The ones who voted in NY for the Democrat.  They fell hook line and sinker for the Dem charge that their medicare is in danger.   Well it is - if we do nothing to change it.

Seniors guard their medicare like a dog guards his bone.

You would think it is a GOd given gift that grows on trees.
3746  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / John Hunstman/ from the Economist on: June 02, 2011, 04:29:43 PM
Well he has some explaining to do with regards to his support of cap and trade and some other issues noted in the following article but he should not and must not be written off.  To do so we shoot ourselves in the foot.  (Republicans).

The 2012 election is for the Republicans to lose.  Obama should have NO chance unless the cans srew it up. 

***Jon Huntsman
Picture perfect
But can Utah’s impressive ex-governor catch up with the front-runner for the Republican nomination, his fellow-Mormon Mitt Romney?
May 26th 2011 | DURHAM, NEW HAMPSHIRE | from the print edition
“I’M A margin-of-error guy,” Jon Huntsman cheerfully admits to an audience of a few dozen at a grand lakeside home in New Hampshire. Support for his putative presidential bid, he explains, registers in the low single digits in most polls—a level so low as to be meaningless. He and his family are “grateful that anyone would want to show up and shake our hands”.

Yet most pundits count Mr Huntsman as one of the leading contenders for the Republican nomination, alongside his fellow former governors Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty. In part, that is because the field is steadily narrowing: Mitch Daniels, another governor with a strong following among fiscal conservatives, bowed out of the race this week. Apart from Mr Huntsman himself, who says he will decide definitively whether to run next month, there are now only two possible entrants of any stature still on the sidelines: Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. There is talk that Mrs Bachmann, in particular, is about to join the fray, but both she and Mrs Palin are right-wing firebrands with a limited, albeit devoted, following.

The hype about Mr Huntsman also stems from his impressive résumé, including a term-and-a-bit as governor of Utah, a stint as ambassador to China (he speaks fluent Mandarin), various high-powered jobs in Washington and several spells in the family business. For all his self-deprecation, he appears on the verge of launching a determined campaign, having recruited staff, sounded out fund-raisers and tested the waters with a five-day tour of New Hampshire, which will hold the first Republican primary early next year.

Related topics
American conservative politics
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On his swing through the state, after the usual tropes about being a father first and foremost, saluting the service of veterans and relishing the give-and-take with the locals, Mr Huntsman spoke chiefly about his desire to revive the economy through a new “industrial revolution”. America could bring one about, he argues, by reducing its debt, lowering and simplifying taxes, cutting regulation and increasing the exploitation of domestic sources of energy. The alternative, he says, is a decade of stagnation and decline.

But unlike Mr Pawlenty, who officially launched his campaign this week, Mr Huntsman does not cite litanies of grim statistics, let alone blame Barack Obama for them. Indeed, Mr Huntsman usually mentions Mr Obama only to explain that when the president offered him the job of ambassador to China, he accepted out of a sense of duty. Politicians from both parties only want what is best for America, he says, and the country would be a better place if everyone acknowledged as much and kept political debate more civil.

Right-wing Republicans see all this as evidence of wishy-washiness. They complain that Mr Huntsman not only worked for Mr Obama, but also called him “a remarkable leader” in a gushing letter thanking him for the job. As governor, he defended lots of causes considered heretical by many conservatives, including Mr Obama’s economic stimulus, civil unions for gay couples and a cap-and-trade scheme to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. He has also advocated allowing illegal immigrants brought to America as children to attend state universities on the same basis as native-born locals.

Yet in most respects Mr Huntsman has an unimpeachably conservative record. He presided over the biggest tax cut in Utah’s history. He instituted health-care reforms of a much less meddling sort than those embraced by Mr Romney when he was governor of Massachusetts. He signed various bills designed to discourage abortion and encourage gun-ownership. He was re-elected in 2008 with 78% of the vote in one of the most fiercely Republican states in the nation, and left office with lofty approval ratings.

Whether Mr Huntsman can appeal to red-blooded Republicans in the primaries will depend in part on the quality of his campaign. Many of the staff he has lined up are veterans of the presidential bids of John McCain, who won the Republican nomination in 2008 despite his reputation as a relative liberal. Mr Huntsman seems quite relaxed on the hustings, taking up an impromptu pool game at a veterans’ club, for example (he lost), and teasing the locals about their accents. Unlike Mr Romney, he seems comfortable in a denim jacket, plaid shirt and corduroy trousers; his wife and two of his daughters accompanied him across New Hampshire in fashionable skinny jeans. His staff is happy to advertise that he dropped out of high school to play in a rock band, and is an avid motorcyclist.

But Mr Huntsman is not exactly the salt of the earth. His father made billions selling packaging to firms like McDonald’s, and worked in the Nixon administration. His stump speech can seem quite esoteric at times, with references to the inaugural speech of William Harrison, America’s ninth president, and to Japan’s “lost decade” of economic stagnation. He keeps banging on about the effects of the public debt on the exchange rate—natural enough for a former ambassador and trade negotiator, perhaps, but hardly the main concern in the eyes of most deficit hawks.

Moreover, Mr Huntsman, like Mr Romney, is a Mormon, a faith viewed with some suspicion by the evangelical Christians who make up a sizeable share of the Republican primary electorate. In fact, Mr Romney and Mr Huntsman are (distant) cousins, and have much in common. They are both sons of billionaire businessmen-turned-politicians; both have presidential looks and picture-perfect families; both are considered ideologically unreliable by many on the right.

Mr Huntsman, however, does not seem racked by doubts. Although he insists he is still “kicking the tyres” and needs to discuss it with his family, Mrs Huntsman says she does not foresee objections of the sort that caused Mr Daniels to pass. He has governed a state, he knows about foreign policy and he oozes confidence; it would be a pity if Mr Huntsman did not run.***
3747  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: June 02, 2011, 04:23:39 PM
Good post.

The distinction is succinct and clear.

Yet the present Prez is supposedly "personally" popular according to *poll*sters (many of whom are *huck*sters).  I have to wonder. huh

The cognitive dissonance of the American Public?   shocked

How anyone could like this man is beyond me.  sad
3748  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / From a corrspondant from the "keeping them honest CNN" on: May 31, 2011, 04:26:48 PM
Objective journoulism de jour: rolleyes angry

 By Walter Rodgers Walter Rodgers – Fri May 27, 10:16 am ET
“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it,” instructed the Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels, “people will eventually come to believe it.”

For 2-1/2 years, the big lie repeated about President Obama has been that he’s not a real leader. Responsible critics called him diffident, spineless, and rudderless. Irresponsible critics called him a socialist, a Muslim, and not an American. Now, even after his brilliant planning and direction of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, detractors are complaining that he didn’t have the guts to release photos of Mr. bin Laden’s corpse.

Outdated notions of leadershipSome of this maligning simply reflects the same savage partisan attacks leveled against every president (except Ronald Reagan) since Watergate. Some of it reflects darker bigotry toward Mr. Obama. But it also shows our outdated and wrongheaded notions of leadership.

American culture mistakenly prizes bravado and arrogance as sure signs of leadership. Public showmanship – like donning a flight suit in front of a “Mission Accomplished” banner – is easy. Quiet, cool, competence that gets results – like pulling together an international coalition to protect civilians in Libya in record time – is hard.

It’s a bias we learn as kids. Our history books lionize war heroes, yet are often silent about the diplomats who prevented conflict.

QUIZ: What's your political IQ?

AccomplishmentsLet’s recall the herculean tasks Obama has already accomplished:

He stabilized the worst economy since the Great Depression. Though unemployment remains stubborn, the stock market is basically back to where it was before the global economic meltdown. His stimulus bill kept America humming and saved hundreds of thousands of jobs, while his rescue of General Motors saved an industrial icon.

His administration kept thousands of over-extended Americans from losing their homes by laboring mightily to forestall foreclosures.

In spite of ferocious opposition, he passed long-overdue reforms of our health-care system that had eluded the reach of many past presidents.

He signed into law a bold package of regulations to boost consumer protection and restrain Wall Street’s greed.

He negotiated a historic nuclear-arms reduction treaty with Russia’s Dmitry Medvedev.

Forgetting these and other accomplishments, the public has regrettably bought into the corrosive and dishonest campaign to degrade Obama. Goebbels-style nihilism that rejects anything Obama does as odious remains a powerful narrative.

The good news is that Obama’s shrewd and calculated management of the hunt for bin Laden shows how hollow these critiques are.

For months, Obama discreetly oversaw the raid. He should be praised for concealing US intentions from the Pakistanis, who seemed willfully blind about bin Laden’s whereabouts.

Compare Obama’s stealth with his predecessor’s search for bin Laden. George W. Bush was embarrassingly gullible dealing with the Pakistanis. According to Bruce Riedel, a former CIA officer and senior adviser to four presidents on the Middle East, Bush 43 was too easily “dazzled” by Pakistan’s former president, Pervez Musharraf.

In 2002, Mr. Musharraf assured Washington that bin Laden was almost certainly dead. Later, Musharraf’s government hinted to the Bush administration that bin Laden was on a kidney dialysis machine, half dead in a cave in Afghanistan.

In his book “Deadly Embrace,” Mr. Riedel quotes former Afghan Foreign Minister Abdallah Abdallah saying, “Musharraf skillfully played the American administration, throwing ‘dust in Bush’s eyes.’ ”

Good tasteGood taste is another facet of leadership. Contrast the way the Bush administration orchestrated a public trial and execution of Saddam Hussein, turning it into a vulgar spectacle, with Obama’s shrewd refusal to publish photos of bin Laden’s body. His announcement of bin Laden’s death was restrained and sober, not at all celebratory – the right note to conclude a sensitive military operation. Obama’s later visit to ground zero was a fitting bookend to a sad chapter in United States history.

IN PICTURES: Obama in Britain

Obama’s hawkish critics chide him for allegedly “sitting on the sidelines” during recent uprisings in Yemen, Tunisia, Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, and Syria. Take it from someone who has reported from across the Middle East: Sitting out potential Arab civil wars isn’t abdication of leadership; it is wisdom.

And yet, when facing near-certain humanitarian disaster, Obama wisely and rapidly put together a broad NATO coalition to deal with the Libyan revolt while keeping American involvement to a minimum – no boots on the ground and no dead Americans.

It’s true that Obama hasn’t made tackling the debt a priority. But when Republicans controlled the White House and Congress for much of the past decade, US debt exploded. On that issue, the public will have to lead.

A friend, a center-right voter, told me recently, “The reason I voted for Obama is because he has no hatred in him.” In another era of divisive bitterness, Lincoln preached, “[w]ith malice toward none, with charity toward all.” It’s worth noting how closely Obama’s philosophy of leadership approaches that.

Walter Rodgers, a former senior international correspondent for CNN, writes a biweekly column.

3749  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The new Pelosi on: May 31, 2011, 01:38:09 PM
Not speaker of house but DNC chair.  I guess saying moron things is a prerequisite for Dem party leaders:

DNC Chair: Republicans Believe Illegal Immigration 'Should be a Crime'
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
By Fred Lucas
( – Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D.-Fla.), chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, denounced Republicans last week for believing illegal immigration “should in fact be a crime.”

“I think the president was clearly articulating that his position--the Democratic position--is that we need comprehensive immigration reform,” said Wasserman Schultz at a Christian Science Monitor Breakfast on May 26.

“We have 12 million undocumented immigrants in this country that are part of the backbone of our economy and this is not only a reality but a necessity," she said. "And that it would be harmful--the Republican solution that I’ve seen in the last three years is that we should just pack them all up and ship them back to their own countries and that in fact it should be a crime and we should arrested them all.”

The comment has drawn attention among conservative commentators and bloggers. During the comments, the chairwoman referred to legislation in 2006 by Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) that would increase border enforcement and make illegal immigration a criminal offense instead of a civil matter.

However, the Senate bill immunized illegal aliens from being prosecuted for document fraud, a felony, and did not stop the practice of allowing illegal aliens eventually granted legal residency to go back and claim credit with the Social Security Administration for work they did as an illegal. These provisions were in sections 601 and 614 of the McCain-Kennedy comprehensive immigration reform bill.

At the same Christian Science Monitor breakfast, Wasserman Schultz said, “If it were up to the candidates for president on the Republican side, we would be driving foreign cars; they would have let the auto industry in America go down the tubes.”

The Hill newspaper quickly reported that Wasserman Schultz owns a 2010 Infiniti FX35, a Japanese car whose parent company is Nissan. The newspaper cited Florida motor vehicle records.

Further during the breakfast, she stressed that support for Israel should not become a partisan issue, and believed that Republicans were trying to make it one. But she referenced President Barack Obama as “probably” being pro-Israel.

“One of the most tremendous sources of pride for me is that I am the first Jewish woman to represent the state of Florida in Congress. And another tremendous source of pride is that I am a pro-Israel Jewish member of Congress and I probably support a president that is pro-Israel,” Wasserman Schultz said.

“What I think is unfortunate and what I suggested along with others, including members of the Republican Jewish Coalition that are not the executive director of that organization, that we need to make sure that like AIPAC pushes for, like Jewish Federation pushes for, like ADL [Anti-Defamation League] and every major Jewish organization pushes for in this country, we need to make sure that Israel never becomes a partisan issue,” she said.

The new chairwoman has made a number of attention grabbing comments. In an April 6 interview on MSNBC, Wasserman Shultz voiced her opposition to the proposal by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to reduce the deficit by $6 trillion in 10 years.

“This plan would literally be a death trap for some seniors,” Wasserman Schultz said.

The word literally is defined as meaning actual or not figuratively speaking.

Last week she said on MSNBC, that the passage of the health care law has strengthened Medicare.

“In fact, we added 12 years of solvency to Medicare and ensure that it would be better for senior,” she said on Andrea Mitchell Reports on May 25.

That’s contrary to the assessment of the Congressional Budget Office, the non-partisan accounting arm of Congress that predicted the Medicare trust fund will be exhausted by 2020 at the current path, almost a decade sooner than the last year’s forecast. is not funded by the government like NPR. is not funded by the government like PBS.

3750  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Ben Rush - "father" of American psychiatry on: May 31, 2011, 01:32:08 PM
Rush, Benjamin
Rush, Benjamin 1760 (1746-1813) was a physician, teacher, and man of affairs who played a dramatic role in the early history of his country, his college, and his profession. A man of contradictions, he practiced and taught the backward medical art of bloodletting, yet was far ahead of his time in the care of the mentally ill. He was a vigorous foe of slavery and capital punishment, an advocate of better education for women and of free public schools. More than any other person he was responsible for bringing John Witherspoon to America as Princeton's sixth president.
He lost his father when he was six, and was brought up by his mother who kept a grocery shop in Philadelphia to help support and educate her seven children. When he was eight, he entered an academy conducted by his uncle, Samuel Finley (later president of Princeton) at Nottingham, Maryland, where he made such progress that on entering Princeton five years later he was admitted to the junior class; he graduated in 1760 when he was not quite fifteen.

Although of a pious nature, he did not think he would make a good minister. President Davies was inclined to think he should take up the law, but his uncle, Dr. Finley, persuaded him to study medicine with Dr. John Redmond in Philadelphia. He served an apprenticeship with Dr. Redmond for almost six years and attended the first lectures of Dr. John Morgan and Dr. William Shippen, Jr. 1754 in the newly formed medical department of the College of Philadelphia (later the University of Pennsylvania).

In the summer of 1766, when he was twenty, he sat up every night for several weeks with Dr. Finley, then president of the College, during his last illness, and ``finally performed the distressing office of closing his eyes.'' That fall he went to Edinburgh, Scotland, then the medical center of the world, where after two years of study, and some heroic experiments with emetics on his own person for his doctoral thesis on the digestion of food in the stomach, received his M.D. degree.

While in Scotland he rendered his alma mater an incalculable service, when in cooperation with Richard Stockton, a trustee, he persuaded John Witherspoon to come to America as Princeton's president. Stockton's authority and dignity were indispensable to the mission, but it was Rush's confident, audacious, and engaging youth that won the day. From Edinburgh, twenty-one-year-old Rush wrote forty-four-year-old Witherspoon ``your talents have been in some measure buried, but at Princeton they will be called into action, and the evening of your life will be much more effulgent than your brightest meridian days have been.'' When Witherspoon felt obliged to decline because of his wife's fear of leaving home -- the very mention of going to America made her physically ill -- Rush asked Witherspoon ``And must poor Nassau Hall be ruined?'' and ``Will you then suffer your sun to set so soon?'' A little later he urged Witherspoon to reconsider the Princeton invitation and offered to help him make another appeal to his wife. Soon, on Witherspoon's invitation, Rush spent several days with the Witherspoons at their home in Paisley. Shortly afterward a friend of Witherspoon wrote to Richard Stockton in Princeton that ``to Mr. Witherspoon's great satisfaction, his wife has at last given a calm hearing to Mr. Rush, argued the Matter with him, and received a satisfying Answer to all her objections; so that now she is willing if the Doctor is rechosen . . . to go with him without Grudge.'' Witherspoon was re-elected in due course and he and Mrs. Witherspoon came to America in August 1768.

Rush spent the following year in London, where he attended medical lectures, and in Paris. In London he was on friendly terms with Benjamin Franklin, and at Benjamin West's dined with Sir Joshua Reynolds, who in turn had him to dinner with Samuel Johnson and Oliver Goldsmith. In Paris he met Diderot, who gave him a letter of introduction to David Hume.

Soon after his return home Rush was appointed to a chair of chemistry in the College of Philadelphia's medical department, thus becoming at the age of twenty-three the first professor of chemistry in America. He built up a large private practice, at first among the poor, but he found time to further other interests. He published a pamphlet on the iniquity of the slave trade, and helped organize the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery and the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage, the first antislavery society in America; he later became its president. In the growing quarrel between the colonies and the mother country, he associated with such leaders as Thomas Paine, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson. It was on his urging that Thomas Paine wrote a strong tract on behalf of complete American independence to which he gave the title, suggested by Rush, Common Sense.

In the summer of 1775 while visiting President Witherspoon and Richard Stockton in Princeton, he met Stockton's sixteen-year-old daughter, Julia. The following January, a few days after his thirtieth birthday, he and Julia were married by the Reverend President Witherspoon. Less than seven months later, the bridegroom, who had been elected a delegate to the Continental Congress from Pennsylvania, joined his father-in-law and Dr. Witherspoon, both delegates from New Jersey, in signing the Declaration of Independence.

While Surgeon-General of the Middle Department of the Army during the Revolution, Rush became outraged by the conditions he found in army hospitals and, failing to get the remedial action he sought from the director general, Dr. Shippen (his former teacher), he sent a protest to General Washington, accusing Dr. Shippen of maladministration. Washington referred the protest to Congress, which ruled in favor of Shippen, and Rush resigned his commission. Rush lost confidence in Washington's ability and became associated indirectly with the Conway cabal to replace him; later he deeply regretted this action, and supported Washington politically.

Returning to Philadelphia, Rush resumed his practice, his teaching, and his humanitarian endeavors. At the medical school of the College of Philadelphia, he added courses on the theory and practice of medicine to his lectures in chemistry, and became the most admired teacher of medicine in Philadelphia, then the medical center of America. All told, he taught more than three thousand medical students, who carried his influence to every corner of the growing nation.

Rush founded the Philadelphia Dispensary for the relief of the poor, the first of its kind in the United States, and for many years gave it hours of service without pay. He also founded Dickinson College, was one of the charter trustees of Franklin College (later Franklin and Marshall), and -- being persuaded of the importance of removing ``the present disparity which subsists between the sexes in the degrees of their education and knowledge'' -- became an ardent incorporator of the Young Ladies Academy in Philadelphia.

He worked heroically during the yellow fever epidemic of 1793; although he was severely censured for his stubborn reliance on bloodletting, his account of the epidemic published the following year won him recognition by several European learned societies.

His greatest contributions to medical science were the reforms he instituted in the care of the mentally ill during his thirty years of service as a senior physician at the Pennsylvania Hospital. In the words of one of his biographers, Dr. Carl Binger, a psychiatrist, ``he took on heroic stature,'' substituting kindness and compassion for cruelty, and replacing routine reliance on archaic procedures by careful clinical observation and study. The year before he died, he published Medical Inquiries and Observations upon the Diseases of the Mind, the first textbook on psychiatry in America, which Dr. Binger called ``the crowning achievement of his professional life.''

Benjamin and Julia Rush had thirteen children; one of them, Richard Rush 1797, served as cabinet officer or ambassador under four presidents.

In 1837 some of Rush's former students founded a medical college in Chicago, which they named for him. The American Psychiatric Association, whose official seal bears Rush's portrait, placed a bronze plaque at his grave in Philadelphia in 1965, designating him the ``Father of American Psychiatry.''

From Alexander Leitch, A Princeton Companion, copyright Princeton University Press (1978).
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