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3851  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Repub message we have to crash and burn before we can rise back up on: February 19, 2009, 03:59:30 PM
Last night on Fox they had their panel discuss what they thought of the mortgage bailout to homeowners that BO claims will keep 7 to 9 million in their homes.  Krauthammer stated "I am a Republican" and I am for it only because while it is unfair to most people who have not taken out unreasonable mortgages it tries to get to the root cause of the problem starting at the bottom. Another panelist stated that it helps those whose do not have a mortgage problem by maintaining the value of their home by hopefully preventing further home value drops.  Juan Williams who I think tends to feel the exact way I feel the Rep party's problem is that while he doesn't necessariy agree with the plan or that Reps are wrong "they really offer no other solutions".

Saying basically, we all have to crash and burn before we can rise from ashes (which is the repubs message) is a pretty tough act to sell. Sorry but I don't think that the answer of tax cuts is stimulating too many people by itself.  And what about the what, 40% who pay no taxes.  They don't give a hoot about that.  And this group is being widely expanded as we speak.

I thought this is the delemma in a nutshell.
Why do Reps even have to sell the American dream to minorities?  Aren't we ALL Americans?  Why does the pitch have to be different for specific groups?

Obviously the root cause is minorities and immigrants views of America is or should be about are different from conservatives.
So Republicans are faced with how to bridge this gap.  Is it even possible?

How can we sell the American dream as it was meant to be to all Americans?

The answer is we may not be able to.  We keep hearing about social injustice....

 This will require more thought and more time than I have at the moment.

3852  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for Reps/Conservatives on: February 18, 2009, 06:44:19 PM
Hi Doug,  I am tired at the end of along day but I hope this sort of helps explain the mindset.  Sometimes I lament and think out loud but I am trying to figure out how to better the republican party.
Powell's talk with Zakaria:

***“I think the party has to take a hard look at itself,” Powell said in the interview… “There is nothing wrong with being conservative. There is nothing wrong with having socially conservative views — I don’t object to that. But if the party wants to have a future in this country, it has to face some realities. In another 20 years, the majority in this country will be the minority.”

Powell, who crossed party lines and endorsed President-elect Barack Obama just weeks before the election, said the GOP must see what is in the “hearts and minds” of African-American, Hispanic and Asian voters “and not just try to influence them by… the principles and dogma.”***

I agree with him that "dogma and principles" is just too abstract to appeal to most people. How can this message be expanded so all groups that Powell talks about can relate to it?  I don't know.  Maybe Michael Steele will help us sort it out.  How can we change the 70% Latin and 90% Black vote to republican? 

What is wrong with that question?  It seems to me that is what Powell is saying. 

And to me that is where Limbaugh fails.  He just cannot appeal to all except a small minority of these groups. 

On the other hand W tried to reach out to minorities and it appears to have mostly failed. 
3853  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for Reps/Conservatives on: February 17, 2009, 10:20:51 AM
Actually no.  This is the opposite of what I was suggesting.  Sure Repblican governors have to suck up to BO because if they don't the electorate will vote them out and vote in crats who are more than happy to buy their votes with taxpayers (the fewer and fewer of us) dollars.  How can this be stemmed if not stopped?  There seems no end.

"The states’ reliance on the federal government in times of distress will be showcased this weekend"

This may be the problem.  Why do States suck up and go begging for Federal dollars every five minutes?
It is always for entitlements.  For education?  you mean property tax does not cover this?
How come every time money goes into education we hear that money is not the answer.
Maybe it is for teacher unions?
Infrastructure is a code word for union jobs - no?

When did it become the role of the Federal government to bail out states for every darn thing?

Is this good?  Is this necessary?  Will not local and state pols endlessly ask for Federal dollars to buy votes for themselves?
Isn't this part of the problem?

It seems reasonalbe to have some Federal disaster relief but everything now is a disaster.  It seems like evwery week we are hearing another Disaster.  Every flood, every fire, every earthquake, tornado hurricans storm you name is now a "disaster" it seems to me.

3854  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Jewish Reparations, the model for Black reparations on: February 17, 2009, 09:01:05 AM
I did a search for "reparations" but no topic for this comes up so I will put here.

It is only natural for Black Americans to see this and think, "why not us".  Why don't we get in on the action?

If I recall Elie Weisel thinks this form of reparations actually cheapens the memory of the Holocaust.  To some degree I agree but not completely.  In any case BO's policies are actually reparations in a stealth mode. 

****February 17, 2009

'Jewish war victims have had enough compensation' French court saysCharles Bremner in Paris
The French State was responsible for deporting Jews during the Second World War, the top judicial authority ruled for the first time yesterday, but it dismayed families of victims by declaring that they had already been compensated.

The decision by the Council of State, the final arbiter on civil law matters, made formal a doctrine that has been accepted by successive governments since 1995.

It was advising on a case brought by Madeleine Hoffman-Glemane, 75, one of hundreds of victims who have sued recently for damages over their arrests and deportation during the Nazi occupation from 1940 to 1944.

The council called for a “solemn recognition of the responsibility of the State”. France was “responsible for damages caused by actions which did not result from the occupiers' direct orders but facilitated deportation from France of people who were victims of anti-Semitic persecution”, it said.

Related Links
Anti-Semitism reminds France of darker times
Charles Bremner's Paris blog
The ruling endorses a view that was proclaimed by the former President Jacques Chirac when he took office in 1995. Before that the crimes of the collaborationist Vichy Government had been acknowledged but they had been ascribed widely to an outlaw regime and not to the French State.

The late President Mitterrand who left office in 1995 and who served as an official of the Vichy regime, refused to accept the responsibility of the nation for more than 75,000 people who were taken to Nazi death camps. Most were arrested by French police on the orders of state officials and few survived.

Since taking office in 2007 President Sarkozy, whose mother is Jewish, has ordered acts of remembrance of the French role in the Holocaust but during his election campaign he said that France should stop apologising for itself because it had never been involved in a policy of genocide.

To the anger of campaigners the council advised the court dealing with Ms Hoffman-Glemane's case that deportees had already received enough compensation. “The different measures taken since the end of the Second World War have made reparation as much as possible,” it said.

The Paris court had sought the opinion of the council on the request of Ms Hoffman-Glemane, whose mother died at Auschwitz, for material and moral damages for the suffering of her and her father. She is suing the state and the SNCF, the national railways, for 200,000 euros (£180,000) for Joseph Kaplon, her father, and 80,000 euros for herself. Anne-Laure Archambault, the lawyer for Ms Hoffman-Glemane, said that she would appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

Avi Bitton, another lawyer who represents 600 deportees and plaintiffs, said: “We are simply asking to be treated like any other citizen who is a victim of asbestos poisoning or a road accident. When you suffer damage, you should be able to seek recourse.”

For more than a decade Holocaust survivors and their families have been waging legal battles in French and US courts. In 2007, however, an appeal court reversed a Bordeaux court conviction against the railways for holding and robbing two Jews. The court ruled that the SNCF was not an arm of the State.

A New York Federal Court judge also ruled in December that France was shielded as a sovereign state from action in US courts over its wartime conduct. Since then Senator Charles Schumer of New York has tabled a Bill in Congress to exempt the SNCF from the sovereign immunity.****

3855  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for Reps/Conservatives on: February 17, 2009, 08:53:08 AM
You know Crafty,
I think the Republicans could get popular again if they get new blood and if they get take "Reaganism" to the next level.

We need a national effort for the party to get new people who are committed not just in talk but in deed to stop the corruption in Washington.  Unfortunately we hear this every cycle - yet we need to find a way to break this.   

We need to get rid of the the financial interest in lobbyists  - they can be heard but not able to buy representatives.  One way this would work is to legislate that bills only tackle one issue at a time.  We can't pass bills that have hundreds of pages with benefits to local districts of the influenced.

We need to legislate the Federal dollars only really gets spent on Federal issues.  Why and where did become the norm for Federal government to be spending Federal tax dollars that goes out to state or local programs.  That is the root of the corrupt process in my opinion.  This is a real opportunity for Republicans to clean house.  Yet to do so they need to clean there own house.

Limbaugh IS wrong.  Reaganism is NOT enough.  I just got a Hillsdale College report with Rush's dissertation on how "moderate" repblicans are not conservatives and we are wrong.  I beg to differ. 

Colin Powell is right.  If we don't change our message we are destined to continue losing market share.  Yes we can hope for a catastrophy that will spell doom for BO but is that what we want?
3856  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: February 16, 2009, 12:00:27 PM
You know Crafty,
I think the Republicans could get popular again if they get new blood and if they get take "Reaganism" to the next level.

We need a national effort for the party to get new people who are committed not just in talk but in deed to stop the corruption in Washington.  Unfortunately we hear this every cycle - yet we need to find a way to break this.   

We need to get rid of the the financial interest in lobbyists  - they can be heard but not able to buy representatives.  One way this would work is to legislate that bills only tackle one issue at a time.  We can't pass bills that have hundreds of pages with benefits to local districts of the influenced.

We need to legislate the Federal dollars only really gets spent on Federal issues.  Why and where did become the norm for Federal government to be spending Federal tax dollars that goes out to state or local programs.  That is the root of the corrupt process in my opinion.  This is a real opportunity for Republicans to clean house.  Yet to do so they need to clean there own house.

Limbaugh IS wrong.  Reaganism is NOT enough.
3857  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: February 15, 2009, 10:32:32 AM
"Let’s not go there."

Unfortunately we are.  It is all getting rammed down our throats with a complicit media.
By the time the public gets it it will probably be too late.
3858  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Music on: February 14, 2009, 12:23:13 PM
It really is amazing how these musicians who are on the receiving end of music that is stolen are so idolized and honered.

I heard a story from a law enforcement person how he was convinced it was obvious based on the evidence he saw that Wonder stole another man's music. It went to civil trial and of course the jury sided with the "lovable" Wonder.  You know the jury gets "star struck", probably get offers for backstage passes, think he is so wonderful and would never steal others' music ("hey he doesn't need it he is so rich"), or are simply bribed which is rampant in the music industry.  Katherine also states she recently heard him come out with a "jingle" that is right out of one of her songs though she said another also used it.

Anyway, musicians like many of our sports "heroes" are fasely idolized, have phoney facades.  They are often even thieves. AS the saying goes, there is no honor amongst thieves.  Nor with those who lie like the wind blows:

****Obama plans concert for Stevie Wonder
        AP – Stevie Wonder performs at the 40th NAACP Image Awards on Thursday, Feb. 12, 2009,in Los Angeles. (AP …
 Play Video Barack Obama Video:Obama's Valentine's Vacation ABC News  Play Video Barack Obama Video:AP Top Stories AP  Play Video Barack Obama Video:Obama: Stimulus passage is a 'major milestone' AP WASHINGTON – The White House is planning a concert this month to honor Stevie Wonder, whose music provided part of President Barack Obama's campaign soundtrack.

The White House says the president and first lady Michelle Obama will present Wonder a Library of Congress award on Feb. 25. The concert will be broadcast the next day on PBS as part of its "Performance at the White House" series.

The award-winning and chart-topping Wonder performed at the Democratic National Convention in Denver on the night Obama accepted his party's nomination. He also performed at a concert during the week of Obama's inauguration.

His song "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours" became a theme song during the campaign. Obama also used "Higher Ground" during campaign stops.****

3859  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Dr Suleman alias Dr Frankenstein. on: February 14, 2009, 11:38:19 AM
Apparantly there are no laws governing in vitro fertilization.  Usually medical malpractice is a civil liability.  Since the lady with the loose screw has no apparant intention of claiming harn from the doctor who performed the procedure it would be up to the state llicensing board to sanction him or revoke his license as IMO they absolutely should do.

But it appears the "good" doctor is a tax fraud as well.  So fortunately he may, afterall, get the jail time he deserves.  His wife too:

Medical society probes octuplet fertility doctor By SHAYA TAYEFE MOHAJER, Associated Press Writer
Tue Feb 10, 6:55 PM ET
LOS ANGELES - A national medical society is investigating whether a fertility doctor followed its guidelines when he implanted six embryos into a Southern California woman who gave birth to octuplets last month.

 The American Society for Reproductive Medicine confirmed Tuesday that it's investigating because Nadya Suleman says she received in-vitro fertilization for all 14 of her children at the same Beverly Hills fertility clinic.

Suleman, 33, told NBC's "Today" show that she was implanted with six embryos in each of her six pregnancies, resulting in four single births, a set of twins and the octuplets. No more than three embryos are considered the norm for a woman her age, and fertility experts and medical ethicists have been critical of the Jan. 26 birth of the octuplets.

The society has contacted Suleman and her doctor, and is prepared to assist the Medical Board of California, which is also looking into the pregnancy, the society's president, Dr. R. Dale McClure, said in a statement.

"Our guidelines provide the flexibility to give each patient treatment individualized to her needs, and her best chance to become pregnant without risking high-order multiple pregnancy," said McClure. "However, it seems that the guidelines may not have been followed in Ms. Suleman's case."

Neither the society or the medical board identified Suleman's physician, Dr. Michael Kamrava.

Kamrava, a specialist who pioneered a method of implantation, was identified Monday as a result of an NBC interview with Suleman, who said she went to the West Coast IVF Clinic in Beverly Hills and that all 14 of her children were conceived with help from the same doctor. In 2006, Los Angeles TV station KTLA ran a story on infertility that showed Kamrava, the center's director, treating Suleman and discussing embryo implantation.

Kamrava, 57, did not return calls seeking comment Monday or Tuesday. When confronted by reporters outside his clinic Monday, he said he had granted a television interview but would not give details.

The state medical board said last week it was looking into the Suleman case to see if there was a "violation of the standard of care." The medical board said it had not taken any previous disciplinary action against Kamrava.

Kamrava's clinic is a member of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, a sister organization of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

Clinics that clearly violate guidelines can be kicked out of SART. Neither group is a regulatory agency so a removed doctor could still practice medicine.

The state medical board cannot close the clinic if it is found at fault, but it can censure the doctor, putting the violation on his record.

Kamrava's clinic performed 52 in-vitro procedures in 2006, according to the most recent national report compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of those, five resulted in pregnancies and two in births. One of the births were Suleman's twins.

Kamrava's pregnancy rate that year was among the lowest in the country. Experts say many factors affect a clinic's success rate, including a patient's health and types of procedures done.

Several lawsuits have been filed against Kamrava over the past two decades, including one in which a former employee accused him and his wife of hiding income to avoid taxes and defrauding insurance companies.

Former office administrator Shirin Afshar sued Kamrava in 1998, claiming discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination and infliction of emotional distress.

Over a seven-year period, Afshar said, Kamrava and his wife didn't report about $400,000 in income to the state and the Internal Revenue Service. Afshar claims Kamrava made patients who had no insurance pay in cash and that money was turned over to Kamrava's wife. The transactions were neither entered into an office computer nor deposited in a bank, the lawsuit said.

She said she was fired when she complained to Kamrava about what was going on.

Afshar also claimed she had an abortion in 1992 because she feared she would lose her job. When she told Kamrava she was pregnant, she claims her boss chastised her.

"How can you take care of this baby with no job, no family and no money?" Afshar claimed Kamrava said.

The lawsuit was settled in 1999 for an undisclosed amount.


Associated Press Television News videographer John Mone and Associated Press Writers Alicia Chang, Thomas Watkins and Greg Risling contributed to this report.
3860  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: February 14, 2009, 11:29:01 AM
May I add another torture techinique.

Make me have to listen TO BOs crap for 8 years.

Or make him listen to Rush Limbaugh over and voer again daily.
3861  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: February 14, 2009, 10:23:07 AM
Good thing we freed Iraq!

Good point.
So we can increase our dependence on foreign oil till we can develop alternative fuels (if ever).
It sounds to me that it would be decades before alternative will be able to replace and not cmplement oil.

I hate to say it but I hope BO *fails"!  I have come to the conclusion that it would be better for the US to go through more pain now than for us and our children to have a future that is controlled by the likes of BO.

Maybe the conservatives are closer to the truth about going back to conservative basics.  I just don't know.  I just can't see how calling for tax cuts is anywhere enough of an answer to our problems and additionally that will NOT IMO increase the Republican base and the demographics are changing.  And of course crats are doing everything they can to speed this up.

Medical  care is already so regulated that I am resigned to socialized care.  I don't think most doctors and even most of my patients seem to understand what we are in for with regards to big goernment takeover of medicine.  Yet I admit costs are out of control and the private sector has not stemmed the increase. 

3862  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: February 13, 2009, 10:02:15 AM

"The reason the WHite House wants greater control is to make a more aggressive count of the 'new people' in the country."

But why do they need to bring Census into the White House to accomplish this?  After 200 years of census taking.

What are they really up to?  Why would we trust them to not *manipulate* data for redistricting purposes and other political maneuvers?

If this was a Republican doing this the MSM would be all over this.  I think Lou Dobbs has brought this up.

MSNBC is already congratulating BO for his achievement with the spending bill.  But what is the great achievement when you have the same parties controlling both houses on your side? This is nothing like when Reagan came in and got opposing parties to agree.

While I don't think the Republicans just calling for tax cuts as the answer to everything a gigantic spending bill so huge and long that those voting on cannot even read it or know what is in it was not the answer I had in mind.  The comparisons to Lincoln boggles the mind for anyone who knows anything about history.  Yet probably most youngsters today know little if anything about Lincoln. But they all know about Phelps.  I lamment.  I will be doing that a lot for the next eight and probably 12 or 16 yearss.

3863  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / False claims about Lincoln on: February 13, 2009, 08:33:25 AM

IF you saw BOs speech yesterday it was exceptionally presented.  His use of Abe Lincoln to try to justify big government was interesting for its paradox, contradictions and outright deception.  Like Alinskly said, convince your adversaries you are one of them and you will be able to change them (more or less).
The speech included tons of rhetoric that any conservative would have loved to hear regarding personal responsibility, "bootstraps", the American spirit and yet in the same speech he claims we need big government to "save the Union".  I don't recall hearing one iota of the class warfare his policies engender.
When Abe Lincoln was President there were no such things as entitlements.  I know of zero evidence Lincoln would have ever thought that was necessary.  It was also extrememly galling to here him use Lincoln's temporary suspension of habeus corpus during wartime as justification for going outside the bounds of the Constitution during his administration push for policies that are top heavy with a political agendas.
Yet this same stunt man will gladly and quickly admonish W for using boderline legal tactics against those who threaten and plan to kill Americans and our allies as a stain on our reputation.
Yet it is no problem when it is him using it for political gain.

This guy is worse than Clinton to me.  Not only is he vastly narcissistic but he is supremely arrogant.  I can't see Clinton seemed arrogant.  FWIW I didn't Reagan as either.

3864  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: February 12, 2009, 07:58:54 PM
If only...

I am no expert but it seems to me,

if US oil producers could only start investing into drilling off the continental shelf our ability to reduce our dependence on foreign oil would probably be faster than by doing anything else (like Brazil).

Why O'Reilly and other sensible people keep making excuses for BO; that is he is really more moderate than Pelosi....
This guy is just as much a far left loon as the rest of the Pelosi et al.
He was the most liberal voter in the Senate.  When Pelosi says she will watch BO's back she meant she will help him appear to be the moderate when in fact he is rooting/supporting for her policies hook line and sinker.

3865  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / "post partisan" on: February 12, 2009, 06:55:07 PM

I've moved your very good post to the Electoral thread:
3866  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: February 10, 2009, 12:16:28 PM
***Well, consider what would happen if we felt the same way about food:***

Well the Dems have already decided that owning a home is an entitlement.  Thanks to them and the Republicans that were afraid to stand up to them because essentially they are the minority party in the US today and were afraid of upsetting those who would benefit from the give aways, we are going broke.

It is happening with health care.  It is the most massive social engineering we have ever seen.  And the Dems keep increasing their constituent base that would benefit from this and would love to have the minority who pay for it continue to do so and to an even larger extant.

Michelle BO is ashamed of our country.  So I guess now she can be proud that we are turning to socialism.
That's what she and BO wanted all along.  Even with all their constituancies they are only getting it because of the impending collapse of the economy.  That is remarkable to me.  That most Americans still would not support them if it were not for the crash of banks.
3867  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: February 10, 2009, 10:16:45 AM
***One new bureaucracy, the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, will monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost effective. The goal is to reduce costs and “guide” your doctor’s decisions (442, 446).***

Well yes.  Of course.
Electronic medical records will also be used to store, centralize data, and have all this at the government's fingertips to so they can find ways to reduce costs by rationing care.

Nurses will replace doctors by simply following algorithms, cheaper and sometimes less effective drugs will be preferred, more services will not be paid as deemed inappropiate, patients will be forced to do preventative care (with financial incentives) and maybe even their habits, such as cigarettes, diets, exercise patterns will be tracked and their rates adjusted "accordingly".

I don't like it.  But the system is totally out of control.  Without some form of rationed care we will go bankrupt.

I believe the best hope is actually the pharmaceutical industry to find drugs that actually work to combat obesity and cancer and arthiritis that keeps as healthier and only in that way can we get what we want.  Otherwise its rationed care or we all go bankrupt.

Offering health care to illegals doesn't help but that is probably only a small part of the problem.
3868  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Daschle's loss to BO on: February 09, 2009, 12:40:25 PM
Dashcle was felt to be in position with his influence peddling contacts and experience to be able to push through heatlh reform.  Whether or not we would like his reforms is open to debate.  For those who have no insurance they would likely be pleased.  For those with existing medicare, they would likely get rationed care.  And for those who pay for commercial insurance they would get screwed most likely.  That said the system is broken and something has to change but what I don't know:

Losing Daschle Hurts, but Won't Kill Health Plans
Posted Feb 3, 09 4:13 PM CST in Science & Health,  Opinion,  Politics 
(Newser) – The loss of Tom Daschle is a blow to President Obama’s plans for health-care reform, but the administration still has the resources to get the job done, Jonathan Cohn writes in the New Republic. Daschle was not only to head the Department of Health and Human Services, but also a White House office on health reform—which is where his political know-how would’ve come in handy.

“Daschle had a combination of talents not easy to find in one person,” Cohn writes. “But that doesn’t mean you can’t replace those skills, particularly if you’re willing to find several people instead of one.” While number of current or former governors could take over the cabinet position, Cohn pushes scholar Jeanne Lambrew for the reform office: “In fact, based on things I’ve heard, she’s been doing much of it for a while.”
Source: New Republic

3869  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Why not simply give every household the balance of their due mortgage debt? on: February 09, 2009, 09:34:15 AM
BO and his buddies in the House and Senate are getting their way to turning this country into a complete socialist state:

U.S. Taxpayers Risk $9.7 Trillion on Bailouts as Senate Votes

By Mark Pittman and Bob Ivry

Feb. 9 (Bloomberg) -- The stimulus package the U.S. Congress is completing would raise the government’s commitment to solving the financial crisis to $9.7 trillion, enough to pay off more than 90 percent of the nation’s home mortgages.

The Federal Reserve, Treasury Department and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation have lent or spent almost $3 trillion over the past two years and pledged to provide up to $5.7 trillion more if needed. The total already tapped has decreased about 1 percent since November, mostly because foreign central banks are using fewer dollars in currency-exchange agreements called swaps. The Senate is to vote early this week on a stimulus package totaling at least $780 billion that President Barack Obama says is needed to avert a deeper recession. That measure would need to be reconciled with an $819 billion plan the House approved last month.

Only the stimulus package to be approved this week, the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program passed four months ago and $168 billion in tax cuts and rebates approved in 2008 have been voted on by lawmakers. The remaining $8 trillion in commitments are lending programs and guarantees, almost all under the authority of the Fed and the FDIC. The recipients’ names have not been disclosed.

“We’ve seen money go out the back door of this government unlike any time in the history of our country,” Senator Byron Dorgan, a North Dakota Democrat, said on the Senate floor Feb. 3. “Nobody knows what went out of the Federal Reserve Board, to whom and for what purpose. How much from the FDIC? How much from TARP? When? Why?”

Financial Rescue

The pledges, amounting to almost two-thirds of the value of everything produced in the U.S. last year, are intended to rescue the financial system after the credit markets seized up about 18 months ago. The promises are composed of about $1 trillion in stimulus packages, around $3 trillion in lending and spending and $5.7 trillion in agreements to provide aid.

Federal Reserve lending to banks peaked at a record $2.3 trillion in December, dropping to $1.83 trillion by last week. The Fed balance sheet is still more than double the $880 billion it was in the week before Sept. 17 when it agreed to accept lower-quality collateral.

The worst financial crisis in two generations has erased $14.5 trillion, or 33 percent, of the value of the world’s companies since Sept. 15; brought down Bear Stearns Cos. and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.; and led to the takeover of Merrill Lynch & Co. by Bank of America Corp.

The $9.7 trillion in pledges would be enough to send a $1,430 check to every man, woman and child alive in the world. It’s 13 times what the U.S. has spent so far on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Congressional Budget Office data, and is almost enough to pay off every home mortgage loan in the U.S., calculated at $10.5 trillion by the Federal Reserve.

‘All the Stops’

“The Fed, Treasury and FDIC are pulling out all the stops to stop any widespread systemic damage to the economy,” said Dana Johnson, chief economist for Comerica Inc. in Dallas and a former senior economist at the central bank. “The federal government is on the hook for an awful lot of money but I think it’s needed to help the financial system recover.”

Bloomberg News tabulated data from the Fed, Treasury and FDIC and interviewed regulators, economists and academic researchers to gauge the full extent of the government’s rescue effort.

Commitments may expand again soon. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner postponed an announcement scheduled for today that was to focus on new guarantees for illiquid assets to insure against losses without taking them off banks’ balance sheets. The Treasury said it would delay the announcement until after the Senate votes on the stimulus package.

Program Delay

The government is already backing $301 billion of Citigroup Inc. securities and another $118 billion from Bank of America. The government hasn’t yet paid out on any of the guarantees.

The Fed said Friday that it is delaying the start a $200 billion program called the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility, or TALF, to revive the market for securities based on consumer loans such as credit-card, auto and student borrowings.

Most of the spending programs are run out of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where Geithner served as president. He was sworn in as Treasury secretary on Jan. 26.

When Congress approved the TARP on Oct. 3, Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and then Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson acknowledged the need for transparency and oversight. The Federal Reserve so far is refusing to disclose loan recipients or reveal the collateral they are taking in return. Collateral is an asset pledged by a borrower in the event a loan payment isn’t made.

Fed Sued

Bloomberg requested details of Fed lending under the Freedom of Information Act and filed a federal lawsuit against the central bank Nov. 7 seeking to force disclosure of borrower banks and their collateral. Arguments in the suit may be heard as soon as this month, according to the court docket. Bloomberg asked the Treasury in an FOIA request Jan. 28 for a detailed list of the securities it planned to guarantee for Citigroup and Bank of America. Bloomberg hasn’t received a response to the request.

The Bloomberg lawsuit is Bloomberg LP v. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 08-CV-9595, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

3870  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: February 06, 2009, 05:05:35 PM

Interesting take on Emanuel.  A weasel?  No wonder he fit right in with the Clintons.  I am not as convinced BO is as wise as some give him credit for.

What are their thoughts on Netenyahu who according to drudge appears to be headed for a win to be Israeli Prime minister again?
I liked his comment that Israel's survival trunps the global economy with its implications clear.

Comments like these may just pressure the US as well as other nations like even China and Russia to pressure Iran to back down lest their economies go further down the garbage can.

I wondered if that was not his goal.  I full confidence he will have what it takes to do what is necessary.
3871  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: February 06, 2009, 09:05:20 AM
***The solution methinks is to be found in a blend of supply side and Austrian economics***

Please tell me more of Austrian economics.
3872  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: February 05, 2009, 08:56:14 PM
 ***I can't recall a similarly disastrous start in a half-century (far worse than Bill Clinton's initial slips).***
I agree with all about this piece but in defense of BO I would say I don't recall a similarly disastrous economic situation in half a century.  People are trying to convince us the late 70s was worse when Reagan took over but that is horse feathers.

Yeah we had inflation, gas lines, unemployment but I don't remember anyone saying then that the world economy could collapse.
I don't remember this kind of fear and near panic.  It seems far worse now.  I don't remember deficits of a trillion the closing in on the financial collapse of social security, medicare, the investment banking system, healthcare systems, and the rest.
I also don't recall the impatience we see now.  I don't recall everyone hanging on every word, every breadth, every heartbeat coming out of DC like now.  The 24 hr news cycle, or maybe it isn't really "news" but the 24 hr endless information cycle has helped drive us all nuts.   If there was no FDIC, and government stimulus we would already have had 1929 all over again.  Everyone would have been stepping all over each other to withdraw every thing they had out of the banking system.  I the big question still remains - are we just delaying the inevitable or actually preventing the collapse?

So while I do agree with the criticism of BO I must admit he is taking the helm at the worst possible time in over half century.
3873  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: February 05, 2009, 11:18:35 AM
I agree with you.
If only the government would oversee what they are supposed to.  But the media is less about news now than entertainment. The SEC reminds me of the copyright office. The system is broken.  Even those with integrity are not inclined to risk jobs, speak out, "get involved", or are hamstrung by lack of authority, lack systems in place to deal with the problems, etc.
We don't need bigger government just better and more transparent.  But this is all a dream.  BO certainly is not going to do anything when he brings in many of the same unethical characters as before.
3874  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: February 04, 2009, 10:13:43 AM
The next time posters here get annoyed when I mention the system is rigged in favor of those with money and there does need to be better oversight and a leveler playing field you may want to read this.  The music/entertainment industry is all the same.
This is only the tip of the iceberg.  "Free markets" only rants for Hannity, Limbaugh et al is nice and ok up to an extant, but does not address this crap.  And most people know this and that is why there is an audience for the politicians who play to the "little guy" and because conservatives refuse to address this they will have a hard time growing their base.  Colin Powell is right!  Limbaugh helped me survive the slime of the Clinton years, but he is actually more idealistic than the left but in a different way.     

****AP  – Executive: SEC ignored warnings about Madoff
 Reuters – Accused swindler Bernard Madoff enters a car at the rear service entrance to his home at a luxury apartment … WASHINGTON – The man who waged a decade-long campaign to alert regulators to problems in the operations of fallen money manager Bernard Madoff told Congress Wednesday that he had feared for his physical safety.

Harry Markopolos also assailed the Securities and Exchange Commission in his first appearance before lawmakers. The SEC failed to act despite receiving credible allegations of fraud from Markopolos about Madoff's operations over a decade.

Because of the agency's inaction, "I became fearful for the safety of my family," Markopolos said.

He told a House subcommittee hearing that "the SEC is ... captive to the industry it regulates and is afraid" to bring big cases against prominent individuals. The agency "roars like a lion and bites like a flea," Markopolos said.

Madoff, a prominent Wall Street figure, was arrested in December after allegedly confessing to bilking investors of more than $50 billion in what the authorities say was a giant Ponzi scheme, possibly the largest ever. His repeated warnings to SEC staff that Madoff was running a massive pyramid scheme have cast Markopolos as an unheeded prophet in the scandal.

"The SEC was never capable of catching Mr. Madoff. He could have gone to $100 billion" without being discovered, Markopolos testified at the hearing. "It took me about five minutes to figure out he was a fraud."

Markopolos, a securities industry executive and fraud investigator, brought his allegations to the SEC about improprieties in Madoff's business starting in 2000. He fruitlessly pursued the quest through this decade with agency staff from Boston to New York to Washington, but the regulators never acted.

Now thousands of victims who lost money investing in Madoff's fund, which was separate from his securities brokerage business, have been identified. Among them are ordinary people and Hollywood celebrities — as well as big hedge funds, international banks and charities in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Life savings have evaporated, foundations have been wiped out and at least one investor apparently was pushed to commit suicide.

And the SEC has been sustaining volleys of criticism from lawmakers and investor advocates over its failure to discover Madoff's alleged fraud, which could be the biggest Ponzi scheme ever, despite the credible allegations brought to it over years.

Markopolos said he determined there was no way Madoff could have been making the consistent returns he claimed using the trading strategy he touted to prospective investors.

Madoff, who was at one point chairman of the Nasdaq Stock Market and sat on SEC advisory committees, was "one of the most powerful men on Wall Street and in a position to easily end our careers or worse," Markopolos said.

Calling the SEC "nonfunctional" and harmful to the reputation of the U.S. as a global financial leader, Markopolos recommended ways to revamp the agency, including replacing its senior staff and establishing a central office to receive complaints from whistleblowers.

Also due to testify before the House Financial Services subcommittee were five top SEC officials, including the agency's enforcement director Linda Thomsen, and the head of its inspections division Lori Richards.

In December, Christopher Cox, then the SEC chairman, pinned the blame on the agency's career staff for the failure over a decade to detect what Madoff was doing. He ordered the SEC's inspector general, H. David Kotz, to determine what went wrong. Kotz has expanded his inquiry to examine the operations of the divisions led by Thomsen, who has been the enforcement chief since mid-2005, and Richards, who has held that position since mid-1995.

Thomsen and Richards defended their actions at a Senate hearing last week over the SEC's failure to uncover Madoff's alleged fraud scheme. Members of the Senate Banking Committee were scarcely satisfied with explanations given by the two officials and by Stephen Luparello, the interim chief executive of the brokerage industry's self-policing organization.

That organization, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, was headed until December by Mary Schapiro, President Barack Obama's new SEC chief. Schapiro has said that because Madoff carried out the scheme through his investment business and FINRA was empowered to inspect only the brokerage operation, it wasn't possible for the organization to discover it.****

3875  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Humor/WTF on: February 03, 2009, 01:39:47 PM
I'm surprised the people on the bus weren't clapping and foot tapping to the beat.  grin
3876  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: February 03, 2009, 12:23:49 PM
The reason I wonder about the hoopla with Phelps and post it here is because I contrast his use of marijuana with a President who additted not only to this using cocaine.  It seemed as though it was never an issue with the new Abe Lincoln ("a youthful indiscreetion").  So why should anyone care about this which in my opinion is about as serious as getting a speeding ticket?

Michael Phelps MILWAUKEE – Michael Phelps doesn't seem to be in much hot water with his sponsors despite being photographed inhaling from a marijuana pipe. From apparel company Speedo to luxury Swiss watchmaker Omega, several sponsors are standing by the 23-year-old swimming phenom — at least for now — and have accepted his public apology. Other big companies, like Visa Inc., Subway and Kellogg Co., aren't talking yet.

Experts say if Phelps doesn't stick to the straight and narrow, he could hurt his chances at future endorsements. And there's no guarantee he won't be dropped quietly once the furor dies down.

Phelps, who won a record eight gold medals at this summer's Olympics in Beijing, acknowledged "regrettable" behavior and "bad judgment" after the photo appeared Sunday in the British tabloid News of the World.

The paper said the picture was taken during a November house party while Phelps was visiting the University of South Carolina.

Phelps handled the situation well by apologizing and saying he regretted his actions, said John Sweeney, director of sports communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Phelps went a step further and promised "it will not happen again."

In 2004, after the Athens Games, a then-underage Phelps was arrested for drunken driving. He pleaded guilty, apologized and again said he wouldn't make the same mistake again.

Sweeney said if Phelps is caught transgressing a third time, he could stand to lose many sponsorships — and the public's trust. For now, the public and his sponsors could look past it. After all, he said, President Barack Obama has acknowledged using marijuana and he still got elected.

"My prediction would be that this will pass," he said with caution. "If it does happen again, it'll be twice the story and it will hurt him."

Swiss watchmaker Omega said Phelps' actions were a private matter and "nonissue" while Speedo called Phelps a "valued member of the Speedo team."

Sports performance beverage PureSport's maker, which tapped Phelps to be spokesman for its first national advertising campaign, also said Monday that it stands by him but it said it does not condone his behavior.

"We applaud the fact that he has taken full and immediate responsibility for his mistake and apologized to us, his fans and the public and we support him during this difficult time," said Michael Humphrey, chief executive of Human Performance Labs.

Hilton Hotels Corp., whose relationship with Phelps dates to 2007, likewise stuck with him.

"We continue to support Michael Phelps as an athlete whose numerous athletic feats outshine an act of regrettable behavior," the statement said.

But former sponsor Rosetta Stone, the foreign-language tutorial vendor, which had a one-year deal with the athlete that ended Dec. 31, did not like the news.

"We do not condone his activities and are disappointed in his recent judgment," Rosetta Stone said in a statement.

Both AT&T Inc. and PowerBar nutrition bar makers Nestle SA, two other big sponsors, quietly ended their relationships with Phelps at the end of 2008. Neither company would comment on the photo or describe the duration or value of their contracts.

Companies are getting pickier about their marketing and sponsorships amid the recession, when they need to get the most impact for what money they do spend on marketing, said Joe Terrian, assistant dean in the college of business at Marquette University.

It makes sense that, say, Speedo and PureSport would continue to support Phelps because their products are ones that he uses for his sport, Terrian said. But companies with products not directly linked to athletics, like foodmaker Kellogg and credit card company Visa, may not see him as kindly.

Terrian said that, given the 2004 incident, sponsors may look to cut their ties soon.

"Do you want to risk those sponsorship dollars when money is really, really tight?" he said. "I think that some of them will think twice."

Visa, Kellogg, Subway and 505 Games did not immediately return multiple messages left by The Associated Press seeking comment.

A spokesman at sports marketing agency Octagon, which represents Phelps, said the athlete is taking this seriously.

"He has spoken with his sponsors to personally apologize. We are encouraged by their support," the spokesman said.

Terrian said Phelps's sponsors could be looking in their contracts for so-called 'morality clauses' — ways that they can back out of deals if certain instances happen. Those became more widespread after Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant was charged with rape in 2003. Those charges were dismissed.

More companies could choose to end their relationships with Phelps quietly. And those whose ads he stars in could publicize such a move as evidence of "their goodwill and social responsibility," Sweeney said.

But Sweeney said companies may be willing to overlook indiscretions depending on how prominent an athlete is. A minor indiscretion could get a minor athlete tossed from a sponsorship, but it could take a bigger incident to bring down a bigger athlete, he said. Considering Phelps's unique accomplishment, sponsors still may want him.

"There's only one of him," Sweeney said of Phelps. "There's only one person with eight gold medals, and there's probably going to be one for a long time."

AP Sports Writer Rob Harris in Manchester, England, contributed to this report.
3877  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: February 02, 2009, 12:04:54 PM
Tell me this is not the exact frown Clinton used to express his "heartfelt" remorse and sorrow:
3878  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: February 02, 2009, 09:35:45 AM
Well I am glad Charles is saying it like it is despite being at George Will's dinner with BO the Great.
I was also highly offended by BO's interview with the Arab news program, as should all of those US men and women who died and fought in the noted engagements.

Naturally not one peep from the MSM.  I coudn't imagine any other President going abroad and insulting his own country like this and *getting away with it*.

Not even Jimmy Carter.
3879  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Ripley's believe it or not. on: January 31, 2009, 12:21:25 PM
"they either don't have any balls or can deal with the pain."

Well one of the demonstrators was a woman.  I wasn't clear why we were suposed to be impressed by her taking a kick to the down under.  I guess it was supposed to be a politically correct comment on gender equality.
3880  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: January 31, 2009, 12:09:04 PM
"The new administration of Obama has also refused to rule out any options -- including military strikes"

Empty bluffs like these are nothing short of ridiculous.  Now if BO really wants to scare the beegeebees out of Ahmadinejad he should challenge him to a one on one game of HOOPS - winner take all.  Now that is scary (and believable).
3881  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Another liberal hypocrit on: January 31, 2009, 08:42:15 AM
And as you have probably already seen you can add another hypocrit to the list of, as long as they got their stash.... liberals:

Editorials Columns Advertise on NYTimes.comUse of Free Car Lands Tom Daschle in Tax Trouble
 Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Tom Daschle, the latest Obama cabinet pick to face a snag, at a Senate confirmation hearing.

Published: January 30, 2009
WASHINGTON — President Obama’s pick for health and human services secretary, Tom Daschle, failed to pay more than $128,000 in taxes, partly for free use of a car and driver that had been provided to him by a prominent businessman and Democratic fund-raiser, administration officials said Friday.
Election Results | More Politics NewsMr. Daschle, concluding that he owed the taxes, filed amended returns and paid more than $140,000 in back taxes and interest on Jan. 2, the officials said.

The car and driver were provided by Leo Hindery Jr., a media and telecommunications executive who had been chairman of YES, the New York Yankees regional sports network. In 2005, Mr. Hindery founded a private equity firm known as InterMedia Advisors. Mr. Daschle was chairman of InterMedia’s advisory board.

In a financial disclosure statement filed this month with the Office of Government Ethics, Mr. Daschle reported that he had received large amounts of income from InterMedia, including more than $2 million in consulting fees and $182,520 in the form of “company-provided transportation.”

The belated tax payments help explain delays in the confirmation of Mr. Daschle, a former Senate Democratic leader who had been expected to win swift approval. Despite the embarrassing admission, the second for one of Mr. Obama’s cabinet choices, the White House and Democratic senators issued statements on Friday supporting Mr. Daschle.

In an e-mail message, Mr. Daschle referred questions to Jenny Backus, a spokeswoman for the Health and Human Services Department. Ms. Backus said that he had cooperated with the Senate Finance Committee, was answering its questions and expected to be confirmed.

It was not immediately clear whether Mr. Daschle’s tax problems would derail his nomination. The confirmation of Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner was held up only briefly after the disclosure that he had failed to pay more than $34,000 in taxes owed to the federal government.

On Friday, members of the Finance Committee received a report on the vetting of Mr. Daschle, done by members of the committee staff from both parties. The report says that he paid back taxes and interest totaling $32,090 for 2005, $38,507 for 2006 and $69,570 for 2007.

The Finance Committee document said Mr. Daschle had amended his tax returns to show “unreported income from the use of a car service in the amounts of $73,031, $89,129 and $93,096 in 2005, 2006 and 2007, respectively.”

An administration official said Mr. Daschle’s failure to pay the taxes was “a stupid mistake.” But, the official said, Mr. Daschle should not be penalized because he had discovered the tax liability himself, paid up and brought it to the committee’s attention.

The committee report said, “Senator Daschle filed the amended returns voluntarily after Barack Obama announced his intention to nominate the senator to be the secretary of health and human services.”

The committee report said Mr. Daschle had told the committee staff that “in June 2008, something made him think that the car service might be taxable, and he disclosed the arrangement to his accountant.”

“Under Section 132 of the Internal Revenue Code, the value of transportation services provided for personal use must be included in income,” the report said. “Senator Daschle estimated that he used the car and driver 80 percent for personal use and 20 percent for business.”

The car and driver were not Mr. Daschle’s only problems. The Finance Committee said he failed to report consulting income of $83,333 on his 2007 tax return and overstated the deductions to which he was entitled for charitable contributions from 2005 to 2007. In his amended tax returns, he reduced the deductions by $14,963.

Under his consulting arrangement with InterMedia, the report said, Mr. Daschle received $1 million a year, or $83,333 a month. The payment to Mr. Daschle for May 2007 was omitted from the annual statement of income sent to him by InterMedia. Ms. Backus said the omission resulted from “a clerical error by InterMedia.”

The White House and the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, affirmed their support for Mr. Daschle.

James P. Manley, a spokesman for Mr. Reid, said: “Senator Daschle will be confirmed as secretary of health and human services. He has a long and distinguished career in public service and is the best person to help reform health care in this country.”

The tax problem is the latest road bump for Mr. Obama’s cabinet selections. His nominee for commerce secretary, Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, withdrew his name amid a federal investigation into state contracting, and Mr. Obama has yet to name a replacement. His designated attorney general, Eric H. Holder Jr., has also not been confirmed.

Mr. Hindery and family members have contributed money to many Democratic candidates, including at least $42,000 to Mr. Daschle from 1997 to 2004.

Mr. Daschle is still waiting for the Finance Committee to hold a hearing on his nomination. Members of the committee staff from both parties have been examining a number of other issues, including his relationship with EduCap, a student loan company.

Some members of the staff have also been asking whether Mr. Daschle should have registered as a lobbyist while working at the law firm Alston & Bird, which itself was registered as a lobbyist for EduCap and for many health care companies.

In his financial disclosure report, Mr. Daschle said he received compensation of more than $5,000 for providing “policy advice” to EduCap. The exact amount was not disclosed.

In reports to the Internal Revenue Service, EduCap says it does business as the Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation. The foundation is the principal underwriter of annual meetings held by the American Academy of Achievement, which has honored Mr. Daschle on several occasions.

In its report, the Finance Committee said its staff was still reviewing “whether travel and entertainment services provided to the Daschles by EduCap Inc., Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation” and the Academy of Achievement “should be reported as income.”

In his financial disclosure statement, Mr. Daschle said he had received $2.1 million in “wages and bonuses” from Alston & Bird and more than $390,000 for speeches to groups like America’s Health Insurance Plans. He also said he had received more than $5,000 for giving “policy advice” to the insurer UnitedHealth.

An aide to Mr. Daschle said he had been preoccupied in recent days with the need to help a brother who was being treated for a brain tumor.

Asked about the delay, Carol Guthrie, a spokeswoman for the Finance Committee, said, “There’s been a lot on the committee’s docket.”

Carl Hulse, Ron Nixon and Sheryl Gay Stolberg contributed reporting, and Kitty Bennett contributed research.

3882  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: January 31, 2009, 08:37:22 AM
Well there are many predictions of the present problems much of it caused by ever increasing populations and competition.
I remember a poster from the Gilder and later DMG board, Mark Gerber who around 2000 posted his model predicted it would be time to get out of the stock market in 2008.  He concluded this based on demographics of aging US population, increased entitlement demands, and perhaps increased international competition for finite world resources.

I wonder if he acted on his model.  His prediction was uncannily correct in retrospect.
3883  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Ripley's believe it or not. on: January 30, 2009, 02:42:27 PM
This is not a video of the show but this is the show I am posting about.  Episode 8 - I guess it is a repeat of an old show from 2000.
3884  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Ripley's believe it or not. on: January 30, 2009, 01:29:52 PM
I am not new to the public forum though this is my first post on "Martial Arts".

I don't know if I sound naive with this question here but I wonder if anyone else saw the cable show Ripleys with the segment showing where they show martial artists taking direct blows to the groin and throat.  How can they do this without injury?  Is this some sort of trick?  If the scrotum is above the pelvic bone I guess the blow would be deflected from the sensitive area.  But the blows to the Adams apple boggle my mind.  How can one prevent the cartilage in the neck from being crushed? 

What is the method of this?  Anyone know?

3885  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: January 30, 2009, 11:28:50 AM
Well here is the union payoff.  So BO Is telling us that the big union perks that US auto makers got was not part of the problem with the US auto industry's financial woes.  I supose he is telling us that union members create jobs and help to stimulate the economy too.  I don't recall ever reading Abe Lincoln speaking such propaganda.  This guy ain't no Lincoln irregardless of what his cratic base of fans claim.  The idea of "middle class" task force is a great political maneuver though it is obvious their solutions will all include big government and angles to lock in a Democratic party stranglehold on voters.  The Republicans need to come up with a counter middle class plan.  Let BO show his cards first though.  I still agree with the likes of Colin Powell and Mort Kondrake in that Repbulcians are not addressing issues in a way that is going to attract new faces to the party.  That is where I believe Rush is wrong.   

***Obama touts middle-class task force lead by Biden
Reuters  AP – President Barack Obama, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden, speaks in the East Room of the White … WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama issued a series of executive orders Friday that he said should "level the playing field" for labor unions in their struggles with management.

Obama also used the occasion at the White House to announce formally a new White House task force on the problems of middle-class Americans, and installed Vice President Joe Biden as its chairman.

Union officials say the new orders by Obama will undo Bush administration policies that favored employers over workers. The orders will:

_Require federal contractors to offer jobs to current workers when contracts change.

_Reverse a Bush administration order requiring federal contractors to post notice that workers can limit financial support of unions serving as their exclusive bargaining representatives.

_Prevent federal contractors from being reimbursed for expenses meant to influence workers deciding whether to form a union and engage in collective bargaining.

"We need to level the playing field for workers and the unions that represent their interests," Obama said during a signing ceremony in the East Room of the White House.

"I do not view the labor movement as part of the problem. To me, it's part of the solution," he said. "You cannot have a strong middle class without a strong labor movement."

Signing the executive orders was Obama's second overture to organized labor in as many days. On Thursday, he signed the first bill of his presidency, giving workers more time to sue for wage discrimination.

"It's a new day for workers," said James Hoffa, president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, who attended the White House ceremony with other union leaders. "We finally have a White House that is dedicated to working with us to rebuild our middle class. Hope for the American Dream is being restored."

Of the White House Task Force on Middle Class Working Families, Obama said, "We're not forgetting the poor because they, too, share our American dream."

He said his administration wants to make sure low-income people "get a piece" of the American pie "if they're willing to work for it."

The president and vice president said the task force includes Cabinet departments whose work has the most influence on the well-being of the country's middle class, including the departments of education, commerce, health and human services and labor.

"With this we have a single, highly visible group with one single goal: to raise the living standards of the people who are the backbone of this country," Biden said.

He pledged that the task force will conduct its business in the open, and announced a Web site,, for the public to get information. He also announced that the panel's first meeting will be Feb. 27 in Philadelphia and will focus on environmental or "green jobs."***

3886  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Humor/WTF on: January 30, 2009, 09:44:55 AM
Elderly patient Mabel walks in and I notice her birthday is 12/12.  So I said, hey your birthday is the same as Abraham Lincoln's.

She says yes.

They call me "honest Mabe".

True story.
3887  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: January 27, 2009, 02:28:18 PM
The last time I recall this much disrespect to a former President from active top government officials was after Nixon.  Naturally, it is the same liberal left which used every opportunity to destroy the Republicans even while destroying the morale of our country.  Here we go again.   Destroy the morale of our nation to prove that you are the chosen ones as opposed to the other political party.
BO is doing nothing to stop this.  Shove it down our throats that we were at fault for all the ills of the world, that everything wrong with the world was due to the Republicans, that we disrespected everyone, we don't speak French, we all think all Muslims are terrorist murderers, and on and on.  Does anyone else see the similarities?  If history repeats itself we will see an eventual resurgence of nationalism like Reagan brought to the USA in 1980.  I guess that might not happen if in four years the majority of people here are either born elsewhere and or on the public dole and beholden to their Democrat masters.

The real reason the world might be happy (if even true vs Clinton style BS) with BO is only that they might get something from us that they wern't going to get before.  I am not in any mood for handing out more of our sovereignty.

***Clinton says world "exhaling" with Obama at top
Tue Jan 27, 2009 2:22pm EST
By Sue Pleming

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton suggested on Tuesday the world was breathing a sigh of relief that President Barack Obama had replaced George W. Bush and was working to fix the damage he had caused.

In her first news conference as top U.S. diplomat, Clinton said excitement over the change in power was "reinforced time and time again" during her welcome calls in recent days with foreign counterparts.

"There is a great exhalation of breath going on in the world as people express their appreciation for the new direction that's being set and the team that is put together by the president," Clinton said.

"We have a lot of damage to repair."

Pressed, Clinton said her remarks should not be viewed as a wholesale repudiation of the Bush administration, adding there would be continuity on some policies.

"It not any kind of repudiation or indictment of the past eight years so much as an excitement and an acceptance of how we are going to be doing business," she said.

Many Arab and European allies opposed the Bush administration's invasion of Iraq and its human rights record, especially the treatment of terrorism suspects at the Guantanamo Bay prison, which Obama has promised to close within a year.

Clinton said, without being specific, there were areas of the world that also felt they had been either overlooked under Bush or had not been given the appropriate attention.

Generally, world leaders have praised Obama's election but analysts say his honeymoon could be short-lived as he tries to grapple with the global economic crunch, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Arab-Israeli conflict and other challenges.

Some allies have already shown resistance to Obama's early requests. For example, France has indicated it will not send more troops to Afghanistan and the European Union failed on Monday to agree to offer any concerted aid to help Obama close down Guantanamo Bay prison.

"In Europe and elsewhere, there is a disconnect between Mr. Obama's popularity and receptiveness to his likely policies," The Washington Post commented in an editorial on Monday.

3888  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / ripleys martial arts question on: January 27, 2009, 09:18:05 AM
On "Ripleys believe it or not" they show martial artists taking direct blows to the groin and throat.  How can they do this without injury?  Is this some sort of trick?  If the scrotum is above the pelvic bone I guess the blow would be deflected from the sensitive area.  But the blows to the Adams apple boggle my mind.

What is the method of this?  Anyone know?

3889  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: January 27, 2009, 08:38:42 AM
Did you see this "breaking news" on CNN yesterday?  I couldn't help but feel BO was insulting his own country.  HE speaks as though the problems in the Middle East are all the result of the past several years ie George Bush and not problems that have been cycling for thousands of years.  He spoke that Americans that we need to learn all Muslims are not terrosists (how dare him speak for us in that way).  As an American, as a Jew, as a citizen of the US who appreciates Ws efforts to protect us I felt angry and disgusted by his downing us and the previous president.  BO has already lost me.  He sounds like a naive fool to boot.  He thinks his (non)genius argument is going to solve everything.  My wife said he looks like he will be the deer who eventually gets caught in the headlights.

And I agree with your articles conclusion that Palestinians do not want a two state solution.  They have had 62 years to agree to this if they did and still - no peace.

****Obama tells Arabic network US is 'not your enemy'
         Buzz Up Send
Writer Paul Schemm, Associated Press Writer – 16 mins ago AP – In an image made from a video provided by Al-Arabiya, President Barack Obama is interviewed in Washington …
President Barack Obama on Tuesday chose an Arabic-language satellite TV network for his first formal television interview as president, delivering a message to the Muslim world that "Americans are not your enemy."

The interview underscored Obama's commitment to repair relations with the Muslim world that have suffered under the previous administration.

The president expressed an intention to engage the Middle East immediately and his new envoy to the region, former Sen. George J. Mitchell, was expected to arrived in Egypt on Tuesday for a visit that will also take him to Israel, the West Bank, Jordan, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

"My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the Americans are not your enemy," Obama told the Dubai-based Al-Arabiya news channel, which is privately owned by a Saudi businessman.

Obama said the U.S. had made mistakes in the past but "that the same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago, there's no reason why we can't restore that."

During his presidency, former President George W. Bush gave several interviews to Al-Arabiya but the wars he launched in Iraq and Afghanistan prompted a massive backlash against the U.S. in the Muslim world.

Al-Arabiya has scored interviews with top U.S. officials in the past, including Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

The channel is seen by some in Washington as more balanced in its coverage than its Qatar-funded rival Al-Jazeera, which the previous White House administration complained had an anti-American bias.

Obama called for a new partnership with the Muslim world "based on mutual respect and mutual interest." He talked about growing up in Indonesia, the Muslim world's most populous nation, and noted that he has Muslim relatives.

The new president said he felt it was important to "get engaged right away" in the Middle East and had directed Mitchell to talk to "all the major parties involved." His administration would craft an approach after that, he said in the interview.

"What I told him is start by listening, because all too often the United States starts by dictating," Obama told the interviewer.

The president reiterated the U.S. commitment to Israel as an ally and to its right to defend itself. But he suggested that both Israel and the Palestinians have hard choices to make.

"I do believe that the moment is ripe for both sides to realize that the path that they are on is one that is not going to result in prosperity and security for their people," he said, calling for a Palestinian state that is contiguous with internal freedom of movement and can trade with neighboring countries.

On Tuesday, Gaza's fragile truce was threatened when a bomb detonated by Palestinian militants exploded next to an Israeli army patrol along the border with Gaza, killing one soldier and wounding three.

Obama also said that recent statements and messages issued by the al-Qaida terror network suggest they do not know how to deal with his new approach.

"They seem nervous," he told the interviewer. "What that tells me is that their ideas are bankrupt."

In his latest message on Jan. 14, al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden said Obama had been left with a "heavy inheritance" of Bush's wars.

Shortly after the election, the network's number two, Ayman al-Zawahri used a demeaning racial term for a black American who does the bidding of whites to describe Obama.

The message suggested the terror network was worried Obama could undermine its rallying cry that the U.S. is an enemy oppressor.****

3890  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Music on: January 26, 2009, 05:57:56 PM
Well I am looking forward to his new songs.  All of his previous hits lyrics were exactly like those stolen from our house some of whom my psychopathic sick mother-in-law handed to this narcissist's buddies.

These songs must be retreads from those they didn't use that disappeared from the house.  OVer my dead boday little rich getting any more.

I don't know where he gets his melodies from but I will say this guy couldn't write the lyrics to a song to save his life.

****John Rich keeps new marriage under wraps
      AP WASHINGTON – John Rich's latest song is about a relationship, but if you're looking for dish about his recent wedding or other details on his real-life love, you're out of luck.

Rich — who is half of the top country duo Big & Rich and host of CMT's "Gone Country" — got married last month to his longtime girlfriend, Joan Bush.

But unlike some other celebrities, he has no interest in sharing his big day, or much else about his marriage, with the public.

"I've never really understood artists that sold their wedding pictures or they sell pictures of their kids," he said in a recent interview. "To me, I'm just not that kinda guy. You gotta keep something for yourself, and my private life is my private life. Everything else the fans are completely welcome to, and I've let 'em in just about every corner of my life except that."

Rich's public profile is about to ramp up even more with the slated release of his upcoming solo album. The first single, "Another You," was recently released.

The 35-year-old said he probably would not have made the record had partner Big Kenny Alphin been healthy. Alphin has been sidelined due to an injury. He got hit by a drunk driver in 2001 and had to have a second surgery on his neck last year. That meant he couldn't tour for a while.

"I was faced with doing nothing for 18 months, which wasn't gonna happen, or put out new music," said Rich.

The "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy" singer said he already had a number of songs written that probably never would have ended up on a Big & Rich album, because they were too personal. So those tunes will be part of his solo album due out in May, titled "Son of a Preacher Man."

Rich's dad is, in fact, a preacher, "the fire and brimstone kinda guy," Rich said. And that strong belief system is one thing Rich inherited. But Rich also calls himself "one of the most hard core honky-tonk guys in the business," which makes for an interesting combination.

"I live my life with a King James in one hand and a Crown and coke in the other," said Rich.

But he can still remember when he was John broke, not John Rich, and that's something that keeps him grounded.

"If you took everything that I've accumulated away from me, you'd still find me in a country bar somewhere, singing for tips with a guitar until two o'clock in the morning," he says.

Big & Rich plan a tour in the next few months.***

3891  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Will's latest on BO on: January 26, 2009, 04:16:28 PM
Well I am interested in what the dinner host has to say now that he smoozed over cavier with BO.  I am not sure what the bottom line is on this whether he is positive or negative with his former dinner guest.  Perhaps it is toned down because they share a passion for the same wine. rolleyes

"The theory of a grand bargain is that if every American faction is being nicked simultaneously — if tax increases and benefit cuts ("cuts" understood, perhaps, as disappointing increases) make everyone surly at the same time — there will be unity born of universal grievance, which will morph into a public-spirited consensus"

I guess Will is suggesting that BO is going to nick everyone.  But that is not what I heard him say.  A lot of people who voted for him including some (so I have heard) minorities are already waiting for their check in the mail.

"Grace-Marie Turner, a student of health-care policies, says this SCHIP expansion is sensible — if your goal is quickly to get as many people on public coverage as possible and to have children grow up thinking that it is normal for them to get their health insurance from the government. That is the goal."

You got that right Will. But this is only the beginning I'm afraid.

****Grand, Yes. Bargain, No.

By George Will | Days before becoming responsible, in the eyes of a public fixated on the presidency, for almost everything, Barack Obama vowed to convene a "fiscal responsibility summit." It will consider the economy's long-term problems, one of which is the growing cost of entitlements in an aging nation that is caught in the tightening grip of an iron law of welfare states: Graying means paying.

Presumably the president's summit will help chart a path toward what has been called a "grand bargain." This Big Bang will aim to create a new universe of domestic policy by, among other things, making the entitlement menu — particularly Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, which are more than 40 percent of federal spending — manageable. Obama spoke of his summit a day after the House of Representatives, evidently believing that the nation is so flush that there is no need for restraint, voted to make matters worse by enriching that menu.

By a vote of 289 to 139, with 40 Republicans joining the majority, the House, in the process of reauthorizing the State Children's Health Insurance Program, doubled the funding, thereby transforming it through "mission creep." SCHIP's purpose, when it was enacted by a Republican-controlled Congress in 1997, was to subsidize state governments as they subsidize health care for families too affluent to be eligible for Medicaid but not affluent enough to afford health insurance. Because any measure acquires momentum when it is identified as for "the children," SCHIP was said to be for "poor children" or children of "the working poor."

In 2007, after President Bush proposed a $5 billion increase in SCHIP, the House voted for a $50 billion increase but receded to the Senate's proposed $35 billion, which became the definition of moderation. That compromise, which Bush successfully vetoed, at first would have extended SCHIP eligibility to some households with incomes up to 400 percent of the poverty line (up to $83,000 for a family of four), and more than $30,000 above the median household income ($50,233). So people with incomes higher than most people's became eligible for a program supposedly for low-income people. Call that compassionate arithmetic.

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The new expansion, which is vengeance for Bush's veto, is mission gallop: It will make it much easier for some states to extend SCHIP eligibility to children from families earning up to $84,800. Furthermore, to make "poor" an extremely elastic concept, generous "income disregards" are allowed. Families can, depending on their state's policies, subtract from their income calculation what they spend on rent or mortgage or heating or food or transportation or some combination of these. So children in some families with incomes well over $100,000 will be eligible.

Grace-Marie Turner, a student of health-care policies, says this SCHIP expansion is sensible — if your goal is quickly to get as many people on public coverage as possible and to have children grow up thinking that it is normal for them to get their health insurance from the government. That is the goal.

And this is the Congress with which the president will try to strike a grand bargain. Because of the 22nd Amendment, he may not be president long enough to get a Democratic Congress to agree to the shape of the table at which to bargain.

If he does tackle the problem of the teetering entitlement system, he will do so at an unpropitious moment: Events are making reform more necessary while making it seem less urgent. A nation in which $350 billion was but the first half of the Troubled Asset Relief Program and in which TARP is distinct from the perhaps $825 billion "stimulus" program, is a nation being taught not to take seriously sums with merely nine digits and two commas. Remember, just 15 months ago Bush vetoed SCHIP because of $30 billion, a sum that, from the TARP bucket, nowadays disappears into the thin air from which much of the almost $1 trillion of stimulus will be conjured.

The theory of a grand bargain is that if every American faction is being nicked simultaneously — if tax increases and benefit cuts ("cuts" understood, perhaps, as disappointing increases) make everyone surly at the same time — there will be unity born of universal grievance, which will morph into a public-spirited consensus. Perhaps. On the other hand, George Kennan, diplomat and historian, said that the unlikelihood of any negotiation reaching an agreement grows by the square of the number of parties involved.****

3892  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Bush Presidency on: January 26, 2009, 03:29:31 PM
***I think 'unchecked private sector without regulation' is an unintentional straw man argument.  I don't know anyone who favors free markets and free enterprise but opposes a proper role for government to govern.***

But here is where we get back into the eternal debate:

What is proper role of government?

The left might say we need to get more money to the overseers (government) and add more people so they "can" have the resources to perform their oversight and enforcement duties.  The right might say that government is too inefficient or inept to do this job.

It is like our nation keeps debating in circles.  Like our planet goes around and around so does our divided country.

3893  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: January 26, 2009, 10:38:50 AM
***CCP regarding Rush, Hannity, Coulter: "[I am] a moderate Republican...I don't necessarily disagree with their philosophy but more their strategy."  - I agree, and I'm not a moderate Republican.  But these people are not R. strategists.  They are entertainers and pundits.  They are selling viewership and listenership, not hope, change or electoral success.***

Hi Doug. Yes but the msm always points to them as spokespeople for Republicans.  They are out there everyday reaching out to Republicans in a way no one else in the party can.  Yes occasionally we see Rove, Newt  or a few others on FOX but otherwise the party has no one. 
So while a I do agree some of what they say I am not sure if it is more hurtful or helpful.  They are the most heard spokepeople for the party right now.  We see a few senators (Boehner) and what not, but otherwise that's it.  With so few MSM voices.....

I really do think BO is conning the right and everyone else.  I think he is a giant far lefty in heart, theory, and practice and he is playing the middle and right for fools.   I've seen enough to think this guy is playing the part, "make you think you are one of them and you will be able to change them" (right out of the Saul Alinsky writings).

My impression he will subtly slide in all the big government programs he can get away with.
And the George Wills of the world will idly sit and smile like Timothy Leary.
3894  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: January 24, 2009, 11:43:14 AM
***President Barack Obama, seeking to sell his stimulus package to the public, promoted plans to build up clean-energy industries, expand health-insurance coverage and boost security at U.S. ports as part of the broader effort to jump-start the sputtering U.S. economy.

“If we do not act boldly and swiftly, a bad situation could become dramatically worse,” Obama said today in his first weekly radio and video address as president.

The administration released a report today outlining some of Obama’s priorities for the two-year recovery package. They include loan guarantees and other support to open up credit for renewable-energy investors, providing health insurance coverage to almost 8.5 million people who’ve lost jobs and enhancing security at 90 ports.***

I don't get the logic.  How is providing health insurance going to jump start the economy?
How is beefing security at ports goint to jump start the economy?
How is renewable energy going to jump start the economy?
How are loan gaurantees going to jump start the economy?
And how is putting on hold US offshore drilling going to stimulate the economy? 

The rhetoric just doesn't wash with logic.  I feel it is just the usual political crap to puch their agenda - big socialized government down the American people.

I am getting more and more concered BO is dead serious about his past socialist ties.  The "conciliation" thing, the "post partisan" thing is all one gigantic *con*.  We are going to get screwed from here to China.

3895  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Bush Presidency on: January 24, 2009, 10:37:25 AM
***George W. Bush has certainly taught us that government really can't be trusted to be very effective, or open, or smart. He has also taught us that government can always get bigger on every level and every way. It's a sad lesson that we'll be learning for many years to come.***

Very true.  But an unchecked private sector without regulation certainly can't be trusted either. So this never ending platitudes about big government is the problem is stupid wrong headed and not going to win over anyone new. It ain't that simple.  The answer is something in between.  And that is where the fight/debate never ends.

For example, If the SEC simply enforced laws already on the books, if we simply enforced our immigration laws and include those of us who hire them for example, we would not have the mess we are in.
3896  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / BO vs Rush on: January 24, 2009, 09:42:28 AM
As a moderate Republican I have been critical of some of the rhetoric from the likes of Rush, Hannity, Inghram, Coulter.  I don't necessarily disagree with their philosophy but more their strategy.  I don't feel that just talking about freedom, less government, less taxes, more capitalism alone as the end all answer to all our problems is correct.  It is too simplified and certainly not going to appeal to wider audiences.  There must be a better way of redefining this in a way that also sends a message to the majority of people out there that they are included in this view. Most people just see the rich getting richer, they see thier health premiiums rising, they see the their bills, their debts piling up and the above rhetoric, as a truly great American and human being, Colin Powell said, ain't going to win them over.  And that *IS ALL* that the Repbulcian pundits are offering.  That is why we lost and lost big.

That said about the conservative pundits BO is not winning me over with this kind of talk.  That does not mean I am all for his agenda of huge big government and an expanded welfare state and soaking form some to pay for the failures of other.  BO ain't going to win me over with this kind of talk.  There is no honeymoon for me.  I now agree with the likes of Mark Levin that Republicans need to come out swinging and keep swinging.  They must not get steamrolled.  BO's policies will fail.  We are pouring good money after bad.  We will have weak kiss ass foreign policy built on celebritism, pomp, and bullshit.  That is not to let W and the previous group of Republicans off the hook.  Thye helped get us into this mess and BO inherited it. 

With all that I said about my reservations of some of the simpleton rhetoric from Rush et al, the following  from BO pisses me off and ain't goin to make me a fan of him (not that I ever was).  Rush et al are certianly correct that BO is big time socialist and is right to hope he fail in some ways with his huge country destroying socialist programs (although not that we otherwise would want him to fail):

(PS the conservative George Will to me look like fools to have met with BO.  He is used them hook line and sinker.  I thought they were smarter than that.  I guess they fall for fanfare and celebritism like most everyone else.) 

***January 23, 2009

WASHINGTON -- President Obama warned Republicans on Capitol Hill today that they need to quit listening to radio king Rush Limbaugh if they want to get along with Democrats and the new administration.

"You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done," he told top GOP leaders, whom he had invited to the White House to discuss his nearly $1 trillion stimulus package.

One White House official confirmed the comment but said he was simply trying to make a larger point about bipartisan efforts.

"There are big things that unify Republicans and Democrats," the official said. "We shouldn't let partisan politics derail what are very important things that need to get done."

That wasn't Obama's only jab at Republicans today.

In an exchange with Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) about the proposal, the president shot back: "I won," according to aides briefed on the meeting.

"I will trump you on that."

Not that Obama was gloating. He was just explaining that he aims to get his way on stimulus package and all other legislation, sources said, noting his unrivaled one-party control of both congressional chambers.

"We are experiencing an unprecedented economic crisis that has to be dealt with and dealt with rapidly," Obama said during the meeting.

Republicans say the $825 billion price tag is too big a burden for a nation crippled by debt and that it doesn't do enough to stimulate the economy by cutting taxes.

"You know, I'm concerned about the size of the package. And I'm concerned about some of the spending that's in there, [about] ... how you can spend hundreds of millions on contraceptives," House GOP Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) later said.

"How does that stimulate the economy?"

But White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs countered: "There was a lot of agreement in that room about the notion that we're facing an economic crisis unlike we've seen in quite some time ... that we must act quickly to stimulate the economy, create jobs, put money back in people's pockets."

Gibbs disagreed with those who called the meeting window dressing.

"The president is certainly going to listen to any ideas," he said.

"He will also go to Capitol Hill the beginning of next week to talk to Republican caucuses and solicit their input and their ideas."

With Post Wires***

3897  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Coming Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: January 21, 2009, 10:13:33 AM
Last night Rachel Maddow the flaming liberal whose mo is to bash republicans was beaming ear to ear while quoting Pat Buchanan passionately claiming a passage from BOs speech was glorious and great.

She fails to note that the passage was clearly the reiteration of conservative values, honesty, hard work, self reliance, etc.

The question is still out whether BO is serious about this stuff or is this stealing conservative philosophy for his rhetoric while at the same time he builds up the huge nanny entitlement state?

Time will tell.

Rachal Maddow would have been disgusted and critical if a republican said the exact same thing.  But as long as its their guy the democrat leftist most liberal guy in the Senate saying it....

Now that she doesn't have W to kick around anymore watch her now go into protect and promote "down all our throats" BO and the crat agenda.  Though I admit she criticized him for his picking Warren because that was against her personal gay agenda which spills out and drenches all her so called reporting/journalism or whatever one wants to call it.

3898  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Bush Presidency on: January 20, 2009, 01:52:44 PM
***As he rises to this challenge, our new president will learn that when you make a mistake, the keepers of the Beltway's received orthodoxies will make you pay dearly.***  I have feeling BO will be the new teflon guy.
3899  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: January 20, 2009, 01:37:55 PM
From Bushanan post under the future (or lack thereof of the Republican party)
I can't post a reply it keeps coming up "notify".
So I'll post here:

***Philosophically, too, the country is turning away from the GOP creed of small government and low taxes. Why?

Nearly 90 percent of immigrants, legal and illegal, are Third World poor or working-class and believe in and rely on government for help with health and housing, education and welfare. Second, tax cuts have dropped nearly 40 percent of wage earners from the tax rolls.

If one pays no federal income tax but reaps a cornucopia of benefits, it makes no sense to vote for the party of less government.***

Yes, like I pointed out the immigrants of today are not the immigrants of our forefathers.  Today they expect and we are stupid enough to give to them benefits or like they like to say, "entitlements".
And as long as 40 % don't pay taxes the cans have that 40% who will never vote for them from day one.

W tried to pull some of these to the can party with the compassionate conservatism.

IT might have worked if not for Iraq, incredible Can spending from the houses, and the housing mess thanks to both parties.

3900  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / BO-Daschle control over health care on: January 19, 2009, 10:04:58 AM
For those of us who want to see what's in store for US health care we should probably read Daschle's book.  We are going down the road of gigantic federal control, expansion, redistribution, and subtle (politically covered) rationing.  There will be a board which will oversee and control one seventh of our economy:

Visions for Change in U.S. Health Care — The Players and the Possibilities

John K. Iglehart
 Under the incoming presidential administration, U.S. Democratic leaders are determined to achieve a long-elusive goal: securing "affordable, accessible health care for every single American," as President-elect Barack Obama put it recently. Recognizing the blunders that doomed the reform effort of President Bill Clinton 16 years ago, the new administration is working closely with Congress to craft a bill that will attract sufficient support to ensure enactment.

Although some critics argue that we can ill afford the costs of expanded coverage and other reforms with the economy in recession and an ever-growing federal deficit, Obama counters that these are pocketbook issues, integral to recovery efforts. At a December news conference, when he introduced Tom Daschle as his choice for secretary of Health and Human Services, Obama said a major health care initiative "has to be intimately woven into our overall economic recovery plan. It's not something that we can put off because we are in an emergency. This is part of the emergency."

The new administration's proposal for health care reform will not be part of the large stimulus package that Democratic legislators plan to enact in early January. Though the proposal is a work in progress, its central tenets are well known and, in some key respects, resemble the plan enacted in Massachusetts — which, in 2 years, has reduced the state's uninsured to 2.4% of its population (the lowest in the country), according to a 2008 report by the Urban Institute.

Obama's proposal would enable people with employer-sponsored health insurance coverage to retain it, if they prefer, and would require large employers either to offer their workers "meaningful coverage" or to contribute a certain percentage of their payroll to support a new public plan. The proposal would also create an insurance exchange through which people without employer coverage could select private coverage or the public plan at rates similar to those offered through large employers. Obama has pledged to "lower costs by taking on anticompetitive actions in the drug and insurance companies," to support disease prevention and health promotion efforts, and to invest $50 billion over the next 5 years to accelerate adoption of health information technology.1

A number of health-related items are being considered as elements of the early stimulus package, largely to prevent people who lose their jobs from losing their coverage and to begin investing in the infrastructure for a more efficient delivery system. These items include increased federal support to states to maintain or expand their Medicaid enrollment, reauthorization of and increased funding for the State Children's Health Insurance Program, grants to states to speed adoption of health information technology, and expansion of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) to give certain laid-off workers the right to temporarily continue insurance coverage at group rates.

Democrats' fortunes improved dramatically in November when Obama swept to a historic victory over Republican Senator John McCain. Thanks to the unpopularity of President George W. Bush and Obama's coattails, Democrats also increased their majorities in both houses of Congress — to margins of 257 to 178 in the House and 58 to 42 in the Senate (if Democrat Al Franken of Minnesota wins the seat), including two independents who caucus with the Democrats. (The retirement of Obama and Democrats Hillary Clinton and Ken Salazar from the Senate leaves open seats in Illinois, New York, and Colorado, and the race in Minnesota is undecided.) Republicans — if their caucus can maintain tight discipline — will still wield considerable influence in the Senate, where it takes 60 votes to overcome a filibuster.

Determined to avoid the mistakes that brought down the Clinton reform plan, Obama demonstrated in his early appointments the importance he attaches to maintaining close ties between Congress and the White House. He selected Rahm Emanuel, a powerful congressman from Illinois, as chief of staff, and former Senate Majority Leader Daschle as secretary of Health and Human Services and director of a new White House Office of Health Reform. Daschle has set out his own ideas for reform in a recent book, calling for all Americans to purchase coverage and for the creation of a federal health board (modeled after the Federal Reserve Board) that would have sweeping powers to mandate policies for all federal health programs.2 Peter Orszag was named Obama's director of the Office of Management and Budget, a powerful agency that prepares the government's annual budget. Since 2007, Orszag has been the director of the Congressional Budget Office, where he has placed a heavy emphasis on health-related issues.

Democratic congressional leaders will also play influential roles in promoting the administration's health reform agenda and urging Republican legislators to join as cosponsors. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is a dominant figure who ranks health care reform among her highest priorities. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) may have more difficulty maintaining discipline within his ranks because in the Senate there is disagreement on the shape reform should take. For example, Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Robert Bennett (R-UT) have persuaded 15 other senators to cosponsor a bill that the authors assert reflects an "ideological truce" between the parties: "Democrats are correct in saying that universal coverage is necessary to fix health care," they write. "Republicans are correct in saying that market forces play an important role in health care by promoting competition and innovation. The Healthy Americans Act strikes a balance between these ideals."3

Five congressional committees will be instrumental in refining any reform plan. Three of Pelosi's California colleagues, all liberal Democrats, hold leadership positions on the three key House panels: Henry Waxman is the new chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, George Miller chairs the House Education and Labor Committee, and Pete Stark chairs the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health. The relevant Senate committees are the Finance Committee, chaired by Max Baucus (D-MT), and the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, chaired by Edward Kennedy (D-MA).

The House Ways and Means Committee is generally considered the most influential panel in Congress because of a constitutional requirement stipulating that all tax legislation must originate there. It also oversees Medicare Part A (which covers hospitals), public welfare, Social Security, trade, and unemployment compensation. Although Representative Charles Rangel (D-NY) chairs the committee, he often defers to Stark on health issues, and his standing has been weakened by ethics problems currently under investigation. Stark recently told reporters that once reform legislation is introduced, consideration of it would probably consume most of 2009, with enactment possible in early 2010. Stark has long supported "Medicare for all" as his preferred approach to expanding coverage; he opposes privatizing the program. He was a lead sponsor of the Children's Health and Medicare Protection Act (CHAMP), a measure the House approved in August 2007 on a vote of 225 to 204 that would have replaced the formula on which Medicare's physician fees are set. The bill, which died in the Senate, would also have placed greater emphasis on primary care and preventive services covered by Medicare by allowing physician payments in these areas to grow at a rate 2.5% faster than that of the gross domestic product (GDP), whereas payments for all other physician services would be limited to the GDP's growth rate.

Waxman established a reputation as an adroit legislator during the 15 years he chaired the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health (1979 to 1994). His most significant legislative accomplishment during a period that included the presidency of the conservative Ronald Reagan was pressing Congress to vastly expand Medicaid.4 In recent weeks, Waxman demonstrated his political acumen by securing enough votes in the House Democratic caucus to wrest the chairmanship of the Energy and Commerce Committee from John Dingell (D-MI), who in February will become the longest-serving House member in history, with 53 years of service. The practical Waxman recently noted that the "best approach to reform is what we can pass . . . that secures the goal of universal coverage, sensible controls on cost, and assurance of quality care." But he also said he would work to bring generic versions of biologic products to the market and to restore the effectiveness of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration.

Baucus's Senate Finance Committee oversees Medicare, Medicaid, public welfare, Social Security, taxes, trade, and unemployment insurance. Baucus is a moderate who occasionally upsets his liberal colleagues by casting votes more reflective of Montana conservatism than his party's activism. In mid-2008, however, he came out strongly in favor of ambitious health care reform and has since released an 89-page "call to action" that embraces a commitment to strengthening the employer-based insurance system, bolstering the role of primary care, and reexamining Medicare's graduate medical education policies.5 Baucus also outlined an approach to reforming Medicare's physician payment system that resembles the model in CHAMP.

Senator Kennedy, for his part, is determined to top his many health policy accomplishments by winning enactment of universal coverage. In September, Kennedy, who is undergoing treatment for brain cancer, directed his staff to organize roundtable discussions among representatives of disparate interests (large and small businesses, community health organizations, consumers, health plans, hospitals, labor, physicians, and others) to identify issues on which there is broad agreement or conflicting opinion and strive to build support for reform. One purpose of these ongoing discussions is to neutralize opposition to the ambitious reform designs that Democrats hope to enact. One participant, Karen Ignagni, chief executive officer of America's Health Insurance Plans (the new incarnation of an organization that helped to bring down Clinton's reform plan with its devastating "Harry and Louise" ads), said of the roundtable: "You see a range of diverse stakeholders trying to work together to achieve health care reform."

Congressional Republicans have been slow to engage Democrats on health care issues. They have developed no alternative proposals, and no armies of grassroots supporters or well-financed private organizations seem poised to do battle against reform. This situation could change rapidly once proposals are introduced, hearings commence, and winners and losers are clearly identified. Republicans' greatest concerns seem to be the creation of a new public plan, which many fear is a backdoor approach to a single-payer system; the possible creation of a federal health board with sweeping new powers over benefit packages, which might stifle innovation; and the long-term financial implications of providing near-universal coverage.

President-elect Obama faces a daunting set of challenges as his grand vision for change comes into closer contact with the realities of U.S. politics. Obama has acknowledged that hundreds of billions of dollars will be added to the federal deficit as he pursues economic recovery, but he has also vowed to scour the budget in search of wasteful spending to offset these new costs. This exercise, in which Congress will undoubtedly participate, will provoke many a pitched battle and is certain to affect Americans' reaction to the new president's definition of "change."****

Source Information

Mr. Iglehart is a national correspondent for the Journal.

An interactive graphic on key players in health care reform is available at


Obama B, Biden J. Barack Obama and Joe Biden's plan to lower health care costs and ensure affordable, accessible health coverage for all. (Accessed December 22, 2008, at
Daschle T, Greenberger SS, Lambrew JM. Critical: what we can do about the health-care crisis. New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2008.
Wyden R, Bennett B. Finally, fixing health care: what's different now? Health Aff (Millwood) 2008;27:689-692. [Free Full Text]
Iglehart JK. Medicaid revisited -- skirmishes over a vast public enterprise. N Engl J Med 2007;356:734-740. [Free Full Text]
Baucus M. Call to action: health reform 2009. Washington, DC: Committee on Finance, 2008. (Accessed December 22, 2008, at

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