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3851  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: July 25, 2008, 08:48:22 AM
I have to say I believe there is some validity to the argument that it is more OK for blacks to use the N word than whites.  There were many times I have seen Jewish comedians over the years poke fun of Jews, "yentas", "making reservations for dinner" (not food), "black belt in shopping" etc.  Can one imagine the Jewish outrage we would have heard if a *non-Jew* used these kinds of jokes in their comedy routine?

But I agree with Chuck's point about this.  There is a line that gets crossed.  The N word is deragatory no matter who uses it.  It would be the equivalent of someone making jokes about the holocaust.  Even Jews couldn't get away with that outrage.  I agree with the notion that black slavery was their "black holocaust".  Lets get rid of the N word.  And Whoopi stop being a jerk and do not defend the use of that word.  You only disparage your own when you do.

With regards to using the "N" word this is Chuck Norris" view:

****Chuck Norris: What the Bleep?!
Thursday, July 24, 2008 10:54 AM


Jesse Jackson (on an off-air mic before "Fox & Friends") and Whoopi Goldberg (and another host on "The View") have raised the cultural language debate to a new level: Who has the right to say the N-word? Their answer: Blacks can, but whites can't. Unfortunately, this derogatory debate has degraded into Don Imus on steroids.

I agree with a lot that Whoopi had to say about the imbalances between the races. But I disagree with her for going off on an intentional N-word marathon, which was bleeped out repeatedly in order to demonstrate her point. There's a reason her diatribe was bleeped and our society still veils our full expression of the N-word: because it still is regarded by most as derogatory and demeaning. (Even among blacks, the N-word obviously can be defamatory, as Jesse Jackson proved when he used it in the same breath he used
This is more than a race issue and far more than a debate over freedom of speech. When will we learn that just because we can say something doesn't mean that we should? Once again, we're confusing liberty for licentiousness. It is a classic example of what happens when a society leaves its moral absolutes: Everything becomes culturally relative, with each deciding what's right in his own eyes. Language is one more infected arena in America's societal degradation.****

By the way, Crafty, have you ever met Chuck?
3852  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / "The American 'people'"? on: July 25, 2008, 08:30:36 AM
Where did the phrase "American *people*" come from?  What ever happened to simply "Americans"?

I think Clinton was the first to use this from what I recall.  I don't recall anything like this before.
3853  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: July 25, 2008, 08:28:43 AM
I couldn't agree more with Dick Armey.
Another example of politics trumping leadership and long term interests of Americans in Washington.

We are all being sold down the river.

Hopefully the messiah will save us.  Obama the messiah. angry sad rolleyes wink
3854  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: July 24, 2008, 09:02:14 PM
***He disavowed his long-time mentor, pastor Jeremiah Wright, only when his extreme views could no longer be ignored — despite the fact that Wright is a supporter of Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the black power Nation of Islam.***

Yes indeed.  And Jewish voters will vote for  him anyway - despite his close association with people who despise Jews.

Did you see him lay the wreath at the Holocaust memorial wearing a yamukah.  He appeared to hate doing it but went through the motions.  Placate the [stupid] Jews - wear their yami, lay the wreath, pretend he cares, proclaim Israel a miracle, and get this over with.  That was what I saw.

3855  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: July 24, 2008, 03:11:58 PM
despite all the media favoratism

You ain't kidding.

 cry
3856  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: July 24, 2008, 07:26:12 AM
***"I have never supported a Republican, but this time it's different," was a recurring theme I heard.***

Really?  I don't believe for even a nanosecond that hardly any, if any Democrat American Jews will vote for McCain or any Republican.
All the ones I know are Democrats to the death.  To them Republicans are worse than Nazis.


***once the traveling Obama show moves on, the excitement will dissipate. Few here who aren't politics buffs see much difference between Democrats and Republicans, or understand the subtleties of congressional vs. presidential power***

Fact - the show isn't for Israelis - the show is for Americans, and particularly American Jews.  I guess they truly think that when it comes time to pull the lever that Jewish crats will either vote for McCain or not vote.  I can tell you that will never happen. 

***Note how the Bush administration decided to talk to the Iranians recently, shattering Israeli hopes (or illusions) of an impending U.S. military attack.***

This may be true but the reason is because American will is weak.  The Iranians will have nuclear bombs and eventually they will put them atop missles. The only way out of this that I see is for there to be a true regime and political philisophy change in Iran's leadership.
3857  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Worrying and hoping won't save your butt on: July 22, 2008, 06:21:17 PM
Gm,

Here is my response to this guy.  Feel free to forward it on over to him:

***True, you told AIPAC that "we should take no option, including military action, off the table." But that was the one moment in your speech that failed to convince.***

***I am convinced that you regard a nuclear Iran as an intolerable threat,***

As you go through the requisite visits to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and the President's House, the Israeli public will be hoping to hear, beyond affirmations of your commitment to Israeli security, that America under President Obama will understand what maintaining that security involves***

Talk about hand wringing. sad

Pal, forgettaboutit.  BO ain't goin to be there for Jews.  Comprende?
You really want to trust your life and those of your family, friends, and countrymen to a man who has already shown he has no qualms about daily lying, waffling, wanting to sell out his *own*, country, and does whatever is politically expedient?

Why, instead of talking up *our* country abroad BO spends all of his time tearing us down in the eyes of the world.

Yossi, you want to trust your life with this guy?  What are you a nut job?  I hope the leadership of Israel has more fortitude than you.
3858  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Maliki claims taken out of context. on: July 20, 2008, 10:01:35 AM
I don't recall till W was President that the opposing party would use overseas sentiments to influence how Americans should vote.

Before I comment on the Maliki statements,

First an associated and much more general related point,

Why should we vote for a candidate because people in another country want him to win?
This doesn't make much sense.  In fact I would be more inclined to do the opposite.
I want leaders who are going to stick up for us, and if at the same time that helps are true allies, great.  But the Democrats are happy to point out that their candidate would be loved so much more than the Republcian candidate.
That said, why are we not exploring why some in these other countries are so enthused about a Democrat.  They *have* to perceive it helps them more then they care about whether it helps America.  Of course if we have a major candidate running around saying we should stop being snobs about English, and we should take up Spanish and French the Latinos and the French will love him.  But who is he representing them or us?

Second back to the point at hand with regards to Maliki,

Now with regard to Maliki - he now claims his remarks were taken out of context.  I believe it.  The news media will take a small phrase, or quote of the overall context and it can have the complete "opposite" meaning from its intent.  I've had that happen to myself.  I gave an interview years ago and remarks that I said were true but *incomplete*.  The result was the meaning was completely lost and from what was published totally misrepresented.

***Iraqi PM disputes report on withdrawal plan

    * NEW: Der Spiegel says Nuri al-Maliki backs plan to withdraw troops within 16 months
    * NEW: Al-Maliki's spokesman says his remarks were "misunderstood"
    * Comments follow White House announcement of "time horizon" for withdrawal
(CNN) -- A German magazine quoted Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki as saying that he backed a proposal by presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq within 16 months.
Nuri al-Maliki told Der Spiegel that he favors a "limited" tenure for coalition troops in Iraq.

Nuri al-Maliki told Der Spiegel that he favors a "limited" tenure for coalition troops in Iraq.

"U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama talks about 16 months," he said in an interview with Der Spiegel that was released Saturday.

"That, we think, would be the right time frame for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes," he said.

But a spokesman for al-Maliki said his remarks "were misunderstood, mistranslated and not conveyed accurately."

Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said the possibility of troop withdrawal was based on the continuance of security improvements, echoing statements that the White House made Friday after a meeting between al-Maliki and U.S. President Bush.

In the magazine interview, Al-Maliki said his remarks did not indicate that he was endorsing Obama over presumptive Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain.

"Who they choose as their president is the Americans' business. But it's the business of Iraqis to say what they want. And that's where the people and the government are in general agreement: The tenure of the coalition troops in Iraq should be limited," he said.

"Those who operate on the premise of short time periods in Iraq today are being more realistic," al-Maliki said.

The interview's publication came one day after the White House said President Bush and al-Maliki had agreed to include a "general time horizon" in talks about reducing American combat forces and transferring Iraqi security control across the country. iReport.com: What should the next president know about Iraq?

The Bush administration has steadfastly refused to consider a "timetable" for withdrawing troops from Iraq.

In a statement issued Friday after a conversation between Bush and al-Maliki by closed-circuit television, the White House said that conditions in Iraq would dictate the pace of the negotiations and not "an arbitrary date for withdrawal."
Don't Miss

The two men "agreed that the goals would be based on continued improving conditions on the ground and not an arbitrary date for withdrawal," the White House said.

In an interview to air Sunday on "Late Edition," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that "those goals are being achieved now, as we speak. And so, it's not at all unusual to start to think that there is a horizon out there, in the not too distant future, in which the roles and responsibilities of the U.S. forces are going to change dramatically and those of the Iraqi forces are going to become dominant."

White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said al-Maliki had made it clear that such decisions will be based on continuing positive developments.

"It is our shared view that should the recent security gains continue, we will be able to meet our joint aspirational time horizons," he said.

The prime minister's remarks emerged as Obama visited Kuwait and Afghanistan before embarking on a tour of the Middle East and Europe to boost his foreign policy credentials. He also plans to visit Iraq.

The Democratic candidate says he supports a phased withdrawal of troops, promising to remove all combat brigades from Iraq within 16 months of taking office if he becomes president.

McCain does not think American troops should return to the United States until Iraqi forces are capable of maintaining a safe, democratic state.

He has been a strong advocate of the 2007 "surge" to escalate U.S. troop levels and says troops should stay in Iraq as long as needed.

McCain says Obama is wrong for opposing the increased troop presence, and Obama says McCain's judgment is flawed.
3859  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / I predict Colin Powell will be BO's VP on: July 20, 2008, 08:41:53 AM
***Again, as for CCP, you got to love it; Obama as President, Hilary as the Vice President, and
Bill (Mr. President) as the VP's wife.  Would you want to be President???***

It will certainly keep Rush Limbaugh rolling in dough.

I would like to have the qualities to be President.  But I don't.  First and foremost I like my sleep. 

I have a feeling BO is going to choose Colin Powell as his running mate.  I think Powell would do it from what I read.   

3860  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Health Thread (nutrition, medical, longevity, etc) on: July 19, 2008, 07:27:11 PM
In the late eighties I was involved in the care of a patient who had this rash.  The only explanation for his getting this rash that we could come up with was over-the-counter advil.  We contemplated the thought - why everyone takes advil.   There are reports of the rash being associated with many other things.  It is extremely rare.

***Drugmaker Not Liable in Motrin Case
Jury Finds Johnson & Johnson Doesn't Have to Pay Damages for Girl's Blindness
By Kathleen Doheny
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

The jury in the $1 billion lawsuit against Children's Motrin, a widely-used pain reliever, has decided that the drugmaker, Johnson & Johnson, is not liable for damages experienced by Sabrina Johnson, a California girl, now 11, whose parents say she suffered pain and blindness after they gave her recommended doses of the drug in 2003.

Deliberating in Malibu, Calif., in Los Angeles Superior Court, the jurors took three and a half days to come to their decision.

The verdict, which came down Thursday afternoon, sparked outrage from the attorney of the girl's family and a reaffirmation from McNeil Consumer Health Care, the J & J subsidiary that makes Children's Motrin (Ibuprofen), that their drug is safe and effective.
Children's Motrin Case: Attorney of Girl's Family Reacts

"The jury found in this case that Johnson & Johnson and McNeil, their wholly owned subsidiary, knew of the dangerous risk of side effects inherent in this drug," says Browne Greene of Greene, Broillet, and Wheeler in Santa Monica, Calif. "It found they failed to warn adequately of these risks and yet found the failing to warn had nothing to do with the injuries. In other word they found that a better warning would not have made a difference."

His reaction? ''Incredible beyond the evidence," he says.
Children's Motrin Case: McNeil Responds

In a prepared statement, spokesman Marc Boston of McNeil says: ''McNeil PPC Inc., agrees with the outcome of today's verdict. As the makers of Children's Motrin (ibuprofen), we are deeply concerned about all matters related to our medicines and are committed to providing safe and effective medicines. While we are sympathetic to the pain and hardship suffered by Sabrina Johnson, Children's Motrin has been proven safe and effective for the treatment of minor aches and pains and fever when used as directed and the medicine is labeled appropriately. We strongly recommend consumers read the product label for dosing information and warnings and talk with their health care professional if they have any questions or concerns."
Children's Motrin Case: Back Story

Sabrina Johnson's parents gave her the drug to treat a fever when she returned from school one afternoon and again that night, Greene says, "and all that led to Stevens-Johnson syndrome."

Stevens-Johnson syndrome is a rare and serious disorder of the skin and mucous membranes. The cause is not always clear, according to experts at Mayo Clinic, but is usually a type of allergic reaction in response to medication or infection.

Among the symptoms and signs are facial swelling, blisters on the skin, and mucous membranes, especially in the eyes, nose and mouth.

The next morning, according to the lawsuit, Sabrina woke with a high fever. Her eyes had turned pink and her mouth was swollen and had sores. At the hospital, she was diagnosed with Stevens-Johnson syndrome. The damage to the eyes caused great pain, Greene says, and eventually blinded her.  While prescription versions of ibuprofen have the warning about the link to Stevens-Johnson, he says, over-the -counter versions do not.

The Malibu case is one of about 60 such lawsuits against Children's Motrin, according to Greene, who is representing two other families. Greene's clients asked for slightly less than a billion dollars, he tells WebMD, including actual damages, pain and suffering, and punitive damages.

The verdict may not mean other cases won't go the other way, says Miles Cooper, an attorney with The Veen Firm in San Francisco, who has experience in product liability cases.

"One verdict is not enough to predict the outcomes of the 60 cases," he tells WebMD. "I expect this case will be appealed by the plaintiffs. And there would need to be at least four to six more cases tried to see what the jurors' trends are."

A physician who has testified in product liability cases says he is not surprised by the verdict. "Many, many OTC [over-the-counter] drugs can cause Stevens-Johnson syndrome," says Neal Benowitz, MD, a professor of medicine and biopharmaceutical sciences at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine. "It's very rare," he adds.

"Manufacturers cannot put every side effect down on a label, there is just not room. What manufacturers have to do is just pick out the most common and the most serious."***
3861  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Best VP picks for BO & McCain according to Zogby on: July 19, 2008, 05:50:28 PM
http://www.zogby.com/news/ReadNews.dbm?ID=1530
3862  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama is not Abe Lincoln - he is Jesus - in his own mind on: July 19, 2008, 05:46:33 PM
And I thought the Clintons are narcisissitic.  huh
And Krauthammer has a good point.  What in tarnation is a guy who has never done anything on the international stage doing giving a speech in Germany as though he is the savior of the world?  I don't recall, have we ever had this kind of show from someone who is *running for* but never been President?  I suppose we'll have a snapshot of the Pope kissing his opulent hand if he swings through Europe while on what has become the savior of the world tour.  The Clintons must be pissed - he is hogging their show.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/07/17/AR2008071701839.html
3863  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: July 19, 2008, 04:17:21 PM
Strike my previous post.  I thought JDN's comments were BO's.  Notwithstanding I don't agree with JDN's comments and to some extent is comparing apples to oranges.
3864  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: July 19, 2008, 01:57:38 PM
JDN,

BO said this?Huh
Are you kidding?Huh
He is clearly a leftist American hating liberal.
How can a guy who thinks like this even be on a major party ticket?Huh

This is nuts - Of course other countries will love him.  He wants to give it all away to them.

Maybe Republicans should over play this hand too soon and then let the crats spin it all around.

Let BO continue his big mouth and then let all see him for what he is in September.  Maybe it is better not to show the cards anyway because you know the crats will go back to their little "war rooms" and prepare new talking points and then hit the airwaves with the same jerks as always neutralizing and BS the truth away.

3865  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: July 19, 2008, 10:18:35 AM
"and played a little basketball during the visit"

with the troops in Afghanistan.

Well thank God for that.  What a laugh. wink
3866  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Stock Market on: July 19, 2008, 09:12:12 AM
Crafty,

It is possible SMS has gone down with the metals and even though it is not a mining company and is scrap it may just be going down with other metal companies and since it went to 40 from 31 or 32 people are taking profits?   I still don't see any news and the most recent news was actually positive as they upped their forecasts.  I believe the "sell" rec. was based on technical factors  with the stock selling off on *no* news in addition with the downtrend in stocks in general.  All the green stocks in the newletter are "hold" right now.  Another recent "sell" was ADM because of the negative sentiment with corn based ethanol.


I bought and just sold SMS (yesterday) at about break even.

I still hold WTS because the long term story still makes sense to me but I am down from 36 to ~ 26 sad
3867  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: July 18, 2008, 09:16:24 AM
****Mr. Obama could help his own claim to be Commander in Chief, and ease doubts about his judgment, if he admits that Mr. Bush was right****

Sure he is going to do that.  rolleyes

Well we all know that won't happen and BO has already taken his "out" position with statements to the effect that the surge only proves him right in that Iraqis "need" to take responsibility, and we then "need" to remove troops and pull out, and we "must" focus on the true problem by sending in the NYC police to capture Bin Laden in Afghanistan, blah blah blah.

And the war has cost lives, too much money that could have been spent sending every child to Harvard, give every homeless person a good job and a condo, get everyone off drugs, "free" health care for everyone, blah blah blah.

3868  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Sims-down for no obvious reason on: July 17, 2008, 08:27:56 PM
Cabot green investor seems to have soured on Sims since it is down for no obvious reason suddenly.
3869  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Playing the young vs old contrast on: July 17, 2008, 09:57:54 AM
Nice try BO.
I prefer a President who will protect this country not give it away.
I don't care if he can't do a few jump shots and he is older and with an arthritic spine.  There is more to backbone then how straight one stands up:

http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalradar/2008/07/obama-hits-the.html

That said BO probably will win.  It's a populist's year.  And what we see from McCain's campaign is probably what we are going to get.
But I have some hope yet my prediction is wrong.  On the other hand McCain did come back from the dead a year ago during the primaries.
3870  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / questions for Rachel on: July 15, 2008, 11:00:26 PM
Rachel,

A  penny for your thoughts:

What is your sense of Israelis' thoughts about Iran going nuclear and what to do about it?  I would suppose there is a mix of opinion like here?

Also what do people think of the Olmert alleged bribe scandal?  It sounds fishy from what little I've read in the American press.

3871  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: July 15, 2008, 10:54:33 PM
Doug,

This guy is good.  I particularly got a kick out of, "Obama thereby demonstrated the intellectual laziness and incuriosity that characterizes his campaign: they don't speak Arabic in Afghanistan, and, anyway, interpreters are drawn from local populations, not shipped around the world". 

Yet BO carries himself as though he is the most intellectual and wisest sole on the planet.

From Wikepedia:

***Main article: Languages of Afghanistan

The most common languages spoken in Afghanistan are Persian (Dari dialects) and Pashto. Both are Indo-European languages from the Iranian languages sub-family. Statistics from the CIA World Factbook are listed in the chart in the sidebar, below the map of languages by region. Persian (Dari dialects) 50% and Pashto 35%; both are Indo-European languages from the Iranian languages sub-family. Pashto and Persian are the official languages of the country. Hazaragi, spoken by the Hazara minority, is another dialect of Persian. Other languages spoken include Turkic languages (primarily Uzbek and Turkmen) 9%, as well as 30 minor languages 4% (primarily Balochi, Nuristani, Pashai, Brahui, Pamiri languages, Hindko, etc.). Bilingualism is common.

According to the Encyclopædia Iranica,[63] the Persian language is the mother tongue of roughly one-third of Afghanistan's population, while it is also the most widely used language of the country, spoken by around 80% of the population. It further states that Pashto is spoken by around 50% of the population.***

In any case I feel that McCain has got to start playing this way or he will lose the the war for the hearts and minds of Americans.

Surely, many others are seeing the same thing and wondering when?  McCain recently compared himself to Teddy Roosevelt.  The only problem is except for "speaking softly and carrying a big stick", and running up San Juan Hill chuckling with joy when he shot some Cuban in the belly, and going on a Safari in Africa, I can't remember much else about TR.  Well, he is on Mt. Rushmore so I guess he's got to have been good right?
3872  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Crafty I am not sure what he is saying or if he even knows what he is saying on: July 15, 2008, 10:21:47 PM
At best he is trying to have it both ways. He says blacks already know they need to take responsibility:

***they know that parents have to teach***

If that were the case than what is the problem?  Why can't blacks do what millions of immigrants are doing?  I think he is again removing responsibility from blacks who bask in victim hood, and laying the blame on something or someone else.  But I am not sure who or what.

Take this phrase:

***turn off the television sets and eradicate the slander that says a black youth with a book is acting white***

I am not sure exactly who he is laying the blame on.  Where is this *slander* coming from, that according to BO is the source of Blacks' woes?

We've already heard some Blacks never ending way to blame whitey by turning the argument around and claim it is now the white controlled media that exploits Black gangs who are now the role model for so many black (and white) kids around the country.  It's not the gangbangers - it is the white assholes who exploit them to make money by promoting them.

(If this isn't the most crazy and twisted argument to avoid taking responsibility I've ever heard.)

Anyway, again this guy seems to be playing it both ways. 
3873  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: July 14, 2008, 08:54:22 AM
It's weird.

Clinton would have had his army of attack dogs all over every single talk show that would take them pounding the table and talking the points over and over.

What concerns me most is that when we see this early in a campaign it tends to be the same for the rest of it.  We sit and sit and sit and people keep saying he has to do this he has to do that and when is he going to get organized...

At least the Republican Convention is after the Dem convention. Didn't it used to be first?

Tony Blankley was on the radio the other night and was asked about Dick Morris.  He basically said he didn't care for him and that he was not always so honest.  But one cannot argue that Morris' strategy of the endless campaign when he advised Clinton to be in our faces every single day to promote new programs completely rejuvenated him in the polls.  I cannot believe my ears when I hear the Bush haters screeching that Bush is in daily campaign mode.  Why it is nothing compared to the Clintons who took it to a high art form.  Remember when Clinton's poll numbers went from something like 45% to 60% overnight with one speech promising everything to everyone.  Even Limbaugh couldn't believe how stupid the public was to suddenly forget everything he said before and suddenly love him because he went populist in literally one day.

That is why I believe that much of the public will just vote for whoever promises them the most that moment in time.  Everything that came before is totally forgotten.  It is that easy to bribe some people.  Just my ranting opinion anyway.

3874  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Bobby Murcer on: July 13, 2008, 10:39:17 AM
It's hard to think the time has gone by.  I remember the summers listening to the radio and watching the TV hoping that Murcer would live up to the hype of being the next Mickey.  He never lived up to Mickey on the field.  But he lived up to (and surpassed) Mickey off the field.  He was a very good player but never reached the star status.  But I do not recall anything bad ever written about him as a person.

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

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

NEW YORK (AP) — Bobby Murcer succeeded Mickey Mantle, played in pinstripes with Don Mattingly and watched proudly from the broadcast booth when the New York Yankees returned to power.
ADVERTISEMENT

A cherished link from former Yankees greats to the club's current stars, Murcer died Saturday due to complications from a malignant brain tumor, the team said. He was 62.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"He touched everybody," Rivera said.

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

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

Now, the Yankees are mourning Murcer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

___

3875  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / American Medical Assoc apologizes to Blacks on: July 11, 2008, 09:39:50 AM
I am not an AMA member. 

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

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

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

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

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

CHICAGO - Transplant surgeon Clive Callender has hurtful memories of being the only black doctor at medical meetings in the 1970s, met with stark silence when he pleaded for better access to transplant organs for blacks.
ADVERTISEMENT

So when the American Medical Association formally apologized Thursday for more than a century of policies that excluded blacks from a group long considered the voice of American doctors, it was belated, but still welcome.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

___
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3876  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / I doubt BO has said this before on: July 11, 2008, 09:14:15 AM
 at ;east in public.  It would certainly have been news.  Here is his 2004 speech.  No where does he speak of personal responsibility for kids.  If I am wrong please show me.

Barack Obama

2004 Democratic National Convention Keynote Address

 

"The Audacity of Hope"

delivered 27 July 2004, Fleet Center, Boston

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Top 100 American Speeches

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© Copyright 2001-2008.
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3877  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / slight correction on: July 10, 2008, 09:36:12 AM
***his premise - that more Black fathers need to take more responsibility for their children and stop playing the blame and victim game.***

This is the opposite of JJ's premise.  I meant his philosophy is *not* this and that Blacks are victims of racist Whites and they are not responsible for any of it - unlike others who feel that absent fathers need to start taking responsibility irregardless of the cause.
3878  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Jackson's remarks - perfect for BO on: July 10, 2008, 09:28:50 AM
The Jesse Jackson thing is as far as I am concerned no big deal.  So he said what he said and he thought it was off the record.
Is there any person on Earth who may not have said or thought something they would rather not be for public consumption?

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

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

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

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

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

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

EOM



3879  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Race, religion, ethnic origin on: July 08, 2008, 09:07:56 PM
I am not sure the attitude is solely among blacks though.

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

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

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

Many *white*, and Latino, and black kids are more interested in tatoos, body piercing, and looking and talking like they just got out of a three year stint from jail and that that is something to boast about.
3880  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / McCain another Dole? on: July 07, 2008, 08:33:44 PM
It's Bob Dole all over again.  If McCain can't mount a rapid fire response by now he won't.  He obviously does not have world class campaign managers working for him.

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

http://www.dickmorris.com/blog/2008/07/07/obama-strikes-first/#more-374
3881  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / biofuels far less green than drilling off shore on: July 05, 2008, 12:10:43 PM
OK according to the left wackos we should not drill offshore because it could contaminate  a "sensitive" ecosystem.  So lets promote biofuels and cause food shortages and accelerate deforestation.

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

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

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080705/ap_on_re_as/asia_orangutans
3882  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: July 04, 2008, 07:36:49 AM
Now the Clintons are out there army of bullshit artists appear to doing the same for Bo.  Here it comes.  "I went to Iraq and the generals told me it will take some time.  Therefore, *I* may decide *we* need to stay a bit longer to.....

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

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

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

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080704/ap_on_el_pr/obama_iraq;_ylt=AsQjTtiNZjEqvQsBlhUpOMCs0NUE
3883  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / should patients be able to sue drug companies.... on: July 03, 2008, 09:32:58 AM
for later discovered ill effects from drugs approved by the FDA?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Source Information

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

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

References

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

The New England Journal of Medicine is owned, published, and copyrighted © 2008 Massachusetts Medical Society. All rights reserved.****
3884  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: July 02, 2008, 08:02:42 PM
I've actually told patients "good" and "bad" news for years:

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

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

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

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

I get different responses but usually the patient is relieved.
3885  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Bob Barr? on: July 02, 2008, 06:29:58 PM
Any thoughts on Bob Barr?

He could only hurt McCain.

3886  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: July 01, 2008, 09:10:50 AM
I find it hard to believe Stratford's interpretation.

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

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

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

I think it more likely Hersh has an either idealogue (crat and/or dove) or bribed mole somewhere giving him information.  I also doubt he is making it up.
3887  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Even our Presidents are for sale?! on: June 29, 2008, 10:25:30 PM
http://www.dickmorris.com/blog/2008/06/27/why-is-bush-entertaining-abu-dhabi-crown-prince/#more-367

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

Published on FOXNews.com on June 27, 2008.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


3888  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Writings of original George Bush on: June 27, 2008, 09:11:57 AM
Interesting piece on the original George Bush a first cousin to Bush elders great great great grandfather was a student of Hebrew and Mohammed.

Harvey Stack Remembers
Harvey G. Stack

History and Numismatics
Wednesday, June 25, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

History has always been commemorated in coins, but any additional facts and stories can only help complete the appreciation of each special dollar coin issued, and the respect each president deserves.
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3889  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: North Korea on: June 27, 2008, 08:13:32 AM
All very confusing.  On one hand the libs will refuse to recognize Bush for this and will find a way to spin it.  Like the crat hack Holbrooke (the pseudo diplomate) of course is saying this whole accomplishment with N Korea was by way of an accident but his real point is of course that if only Bush would have done it the liberal way and talk more with our enemies we would have seen this much sooner.  Then you have Bolton who in my opinion is about the only guy really saying like it is denouncing this as the "end of the Bush doctrine".


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Reality intervened," he said. "The Bush doctrine, the neoconservative view of regime change as a tool for nonproliferation, was left on the battlefields of Iraq ."****
3890  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / So how is Romney's plan in Massachussets doing? on: June 26, 2008, 09:08:55 AM
From the New England Journal of Medicine which does carry of leftist flavor when it comes to politics and health care.  (Well they do reside in Massachussetts. wink)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

References

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

The New England Journal of Medicine is owned, published, and copyrighted © 2008 Massachusetts Medical Society. All rights reserved.****
3891  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Novak Ryan to McCain on: June 24, 2008, 06:59:44 AM
A Chance for McCain
by Robert Novak
Posted: 06/23/2008
   
When John McCain met privately with Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin after a political event in the Milwaukee suburbs May 29, the Republican presidential candidate might not have realized that he had just come face to face with an opportunity and a test. Ryan showed him his plan to reform the economy. McCain expressed interest and said he would turn it over to his campaign's economists.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3892  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / On Watts water on: June 24, 2008, 06:49:24 AM
From Cabot value investor newsletter,

***Watts Water Technologies (WTS: 26.40) Min Sell Price = 46.08
WTS is the leading manufacturer of products used in the plumbing and
water quality industries.  Major restructuring program will cause
earnings to decline in 2008, but a sharp rebound is expected in 2009.   
Hold WTS.***
3893  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Rare uncontacted tribe photographed in Amazon on: June 24, 2008, 06:18:37 AM
This helps clarify my question about this.  I remember in the 1970's there was this supposed tribe that was "discovered".  Later the whole thing turned out to be a hoax.  I recall something about the last really undiscovered group of people dates back much earlier perhaps to the 1950's.  The Earth is becoming boring.  And without life the rest of our solar system is also less interesting.  So there is ice on Mars - so what.


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

June 23, 2008 06:09:40 PM

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

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

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

The photographer recently came clean, and news outlets, perhaps embarrassed at having been taken for a ride, have been slow to pick up the story. Now, the word is starting to spread and articles in the Buzz are picking up steam. Expect a lot more brutal truth in the coming days.****
3894  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: June 24, 2008, 05:51:24 AM
***Some brave souls might even concede that if the U.S. had withdrawn in the depths of the chaos, the world would be in worse shape today.***

Don't expect any real honesty like this from BO.
3895  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / John Bolton prediction on: June 24, 2008, 05:42:30 AM
In Bolton's opinion:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"That doesn't end the problem but it buys time during which a more permanent solution might be found.... How long? That would be hard to say. Depends on the extent of the destruction."***
3896  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / More on Vitamin D on: June 23, 2008, 07:37:27 PM
More on low Vitamin D ---

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Results appear in Monday's Archives of Internal Medicine.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3897  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: June 23, 2008, 08:01:53 AM
Rachel,
Interesting post (!st one)
I never thought about Federal benefits that Gays in States where homosexual marriage is legal.
But this statement seems a bit much - a little exaggerated for propaganda purposes:

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

I mean really?

While I not that opposed to gay marriage I am definitely opposed to gays adopting or having children by other means.
If two consenting adults want to do this that is one thing but..
Unless one of the gay "couple" already has a one or more children from previous life.
3898  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Saudis upping their output - but why? on: June 22, 2008, 05:16:25 PM
Perhaps they just love the US. wink

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

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

By Ayesha Daya and Glen Carey

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

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

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

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

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

Speculators Blamed

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

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

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

OPEC Divided

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

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

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

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

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

Dollar Hedge

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

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

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

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

More Supply

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

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

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

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

Zuluf, Shaybah Fields

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

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

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

To contact the reporters on this story: Ayesha Daya in Jeddah adaya1@bloomberg.netGlen Carey in Jeddah gcarey8@bloomberg.net
Last Updated: June 22, 2008 12:12 EDT
3899  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: June 22, 2008, 05:11:19 PM
I didn't know this story.  Kind of reminds me of Gingrich abandoning his wife with cancer.

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

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

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

At least there are no accusations McCain raped anyone.
3900  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: June 22, 2008, 08:11:12 AM
Well this the same sick stuff the gays do, blame Ronald Reagan for the spread of aids - while they are spreading it around themselves around in orgies at gay baths and along turnpike exits and public parks and (apparently) public bathrooms.
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