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3901  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / DARPA doing it again on: July 11, 2013, 09:55:17 PM
Bring the boys home.   Send in the terminators:

http://games.yahoo.com/blogs/plugged-in/afraid-darpa-unveils-terminator-atlas-robot-005030043.html
3902  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / glaciers growing or receding? on: July 11, 2013, 11:11:43 AM
http://iceagenow.info/category/glaciers-are-growing-around-the-world/
3903  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / first color movie short on: July 09, 2013, 10:28:46 PM
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/12/worlds-first-color-movie-_n_1879388.html
3904  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / George Brett and the Pine Tar incident on: July 09, 2013, 08:53:52 PM
I remember this game well.  No one could believe George Brett going so bananas over being called out.   The homerun was reinstated.  So I guess there was no illegal use of extra pine tar.  But the day before the bat was covered in it?   In any case.  From what I recall, George Brett was never the same hitter again after this.  I don't know if that was coincidence or it affected his hitting skills thereafter:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324867904578594154270594078.html?mod=trending_now_3
3905  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: July 09, 2013, 08:20:44 PM
Good article and perspective.   She is far wiser than the guy in the White House.
3906  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Cyberwar and American Freedom on: July 09, 2013, 08:10:47 PM
Well its kind of hard to feel sorry for the likes of MSFT and Google and the like who hire teams of hackers and investigators to snoop all over the place when it is in their interests.

It is surely the case of the pot calling the kettle black.  I am not for any of it; corporate or governmental.   That said, I lament, there is no stopping it.

 
3907  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Coulter is correct. on: July 09, 2013, 08:04:35 PM
Most Latinos want border security before legalization of illegals already here.   And why wouldn't they?   Same for Blacks.   Why would anyone in their right mind like having waves upon waves of people dragging down wages and competing with workers already here?  Unless of course they were employers taking advantage of these "undocumented" workers, including those who knowingly hire them as nannies, housekeepers, etc.  Or are Dem politicians who want more voters.  Or are Repub politicians bribed by the business interests who exploit these workers and screw the rest of us over.  

Republicans are too bribed, too stupid, or too timid to take advantage of this opportunity.  Coulter is correct.  No deal.  Secure the border then we figure out the rest later.   The Bushies need to go back to Texas and stay there.   While you're at it take Rove with you.  Rubio get your advice from Cruz, not the imperial DC crowd.  

Check out these poll numbers.  Laraza or whatever they are called don't speak for most Latinos.

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/07/09/Poll-Hispanics-Enforce-the-law-first-then-deal-with-legalization-in-any-immigration-package
3908  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Democrats, I mean smokers get a break on: July 09, 2013, 07:49:33 AM
I find this very hard to believe this is NOT political.   A "glitch".  Give me a break.  Everyone knows there are far more smokers on the lower non-taxpaying socioeconomic side of the voting spectrum.
This appears to be just another Democrat party thing.

******A break for smokers? Glitch may limit penalties

FILE - In this June 11, 2007 file photo, Helen Heinlo smokes outside of a coffee shop in Belmont, Calif. Some smokers trying to get coverage in 2014 under President Barack Obama’s health care law may get a break from tobacco-use penalties that could have made their premiums unaffordable. The Obama administration _ in yet another health care overhaul delay _ has quietly notified insurers that a computer system glitch will limit penalties that the law says the companies may charge smokers. A fix will take at least a year to put in place. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)


Associated Press
Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Associated Press 31 minutes ago  Barack Obama

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Some smokers trying to get coverage next year under President Barack Obama's health care law may get a break from tobacco-use penalties that could have made their premiums unaffordable.

The Obama administration — in yet another health care overhaul delay — has quietly notified insurers that a computer system glitch will limit penalties that the law says the companies may charge smokers. A fix will take at least a year to put in place.

Older smokers are more likely to benefit from the glitch, experts say. But depending on how insurers respond to it, it's also possible that younger smokers could wind up facing higher penalties than they otherwise would have.

Some see an emerging pattern of last-minute switches and delays as the administration scrambles to prepare the Oct. 1 launch of new health insurance markets. People who don't have coverage on the job will be able to shop for private insurance, with tax credits to help pay premiums. Small businesses will have their own insurance markets.

Last week, the White House unexpectedly announced a one-year postponement of a major provision in the law that requires larger employers to offer coverage or face fines. Officials cited the complexity of the requirement as well as a desire to address complaints from employers.

"This was an administration that was telling us everything was under control," health care industry consultant Robert Laszewski said. "Everything was going to be fine. Suddenly this kind of stuff is cropping up every few days."

A June 28 Health and Human Services Department document couched the smokers' glitch in technical language:

"Because of a system limitation ... the system currently cannot process a premium for a 65-year-old smoker that is ... more than three times the premium of a 21-year-old smoker," the industry guidance said.

If an insurer tries to charge more, "the submission of the (insurer) will be rejected by the system," it added.

Starting in 2014, the law requires insurance companies to accept all applicants regardless of pre-existing medical problems. But it also allows them to charge smokers up to 50 percent higher premiums — a way for insurers to ward off bad risks.

For an older smoker, the cost of the full penalty could be prohibitive.

Premiums for a standard "silver" insurance plan would be about $9,000 a year for a 64-year-old non-smoker, according to the online Kaiser Health Reform Subsidy Calculator. That's before any tax credits, available on a sliding scale based on income.

For a smoker of the same age, the full 50 percent penalty would add more than $4,500 to the cost of the policy, bringing it to nearly $13,600. And tax credits can't be used to offset the penalty.

The underlying reason for the glitch is another provision in the health care law that says insurers can't charge older customers more than three times what they charge the youngest adults in the pool. The government's computer system has been unable to accommodate the two. So younger smokers and older smokers must be charged the same penalty, or the system will kick it out.

That's not what insurers had expected. Before the glitch popped up, experts said the companies would probably charge lower penalties for younger smokers, and higher penalties for older ones.

"Generally a 20-year-old who smokes probably doesn't have much higher health costs than someone who doesn't smoke in any given year," said Larry Levitt, an insurance market expert with the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. "A 60-year-old is another story."

The administration is suggesting that insurers limit the penalties across all age groups. The HHS guidance document used the example of a 20 percent penalty.

In that case the premium for a 64-year-old would be about $10,900, a significant cut from the $13,600 if insurers charged the full penalty.

It's unclear what insurance companies will do. A spokesman for America's Health Insurance Plans, the main industry trade group, said insurers were aware of the issue and expected the administration would fix it eventually.

Another workaround for the companies would be to charge the full penalty to both younger and older smokers. In that case, there wouldn't be any savings for older smokers, and younger ones would see a big price shock.

Levitt said he suspects insurers would keep the penalties low to sign up more young people. Laszweski said he thought they would do the opposite.

"It's going to throw cold water on efforts to get younger people to sign up," he said.

Workers covered through job-based health plans would be able to avoid tobacco penalties by joining smoking cessation programs because employer plans operate under different rules. But experts say that option is not guaranteed to smokers trying to purchase coverage individually. *****
3909  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Why did Romney lose? on: July 05, 2013, 06:30:50 PM
I don't know.  I think the previous article is full of hot air.

It didn't help Romney has zero charisma.   Indeed I don't recall anyone on this right of center board falling over their own feet getting to the head of the line to cheer for him during the Republican primaries.

I disagree with this statement:     

“A pinched understanding of human motivation led Romney to believe that a significant fraction of the voters had been bought off. They would be unalterably closed to his arguments no matter how cogent they were. That same pinched understanding led him to say things that repeatedly earned him opprobrium. It also led him to choose campaign strategists who reduced the high art of democratic politics—persuasion through reason and rhetoric, the heart of genuine political leadership—to the low crafts of polling and advertising.”

Polling most certainly did help Obama win.  Even Rove admits that the crats were way ahead of the Republicans with daily continuous polling data not static once a quarter stuff.
The Republicans were relying on polls that were flawed.   I recall Axelrod, when asked before the election what about the Rasmussen polls and he blew them off as "flawed".  Unfortunately he *was* right.   

And if this author thinks that it is easy to sell ideals like "freedom" liberty" "Constitution", etc. against cold hard cash in your pocket courtesy of taxpayers than he must reside in fairy land.

Until Republicans can come up with a strategy that is an appealing alternative to the 75% who live from paycheck to paycheck and have someone with charisma to persuade voters they will always fight the uphill battle.  IMHO of course.
3910  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / "Sergaent" Stubby on: July 04, 2013, 11:54:13 AM
The first official four legged trooper:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sergeant_Stubby
3911  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / One traveller's account. on: July 04, 2013, 11:45:40 AM
Someone I know who travels around the World went to Egypt not too long ago.   She loved the pyramids.   She did not go to see the mummies.  She is a Buddhist and does not believe in disturbing the dead.  But above all she complained about people approaching her and the other travelers trying to sell them things and asking for money.   She said it is like that in poor countries but in Egypt her experience was worse.   Usually one can just say no and the beggar or vendor would back off but there they were in her face and very pushy and would not take no for an answer. 

Just anecdotal.   

Anyone on this board been to Egypt?

3912  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: July 04, 2013, 11:34:07 AM
I didn't realize she is that popular.   Her legal logic seems sensible but not being an attorney I am not qualified to critique them.   

On a different take the mass media sexualization of the news is off the charts.  I have to say Fox news is probably one of the biggest peddlers of blonds of any of the news outlets.

http://search.yahoo.com/search?cs=bz&p=Megyn%20Kelly%20&fr=fp-tts-900&fr2=ps&woeid=2489495
3913  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / and another one from Noonan on: July 03, 2013, 09:38:17 PM
It appears Abe spent some months formulating and polishing his speech destined for the Ages.   

And he didn't need a teleprompter let alone a speechwriter.

http://online.wsj.com/article/declarations.html
3914  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Did a google images search on dogbrothers on: July 03, 2013, 08:50:40 PM
This is what came up:

http://www.google.com/search?site=imghp&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1414&bih=730&q=dogbrothers&oq=dogbrothers&gs_l=img.3..0i10i24.8579.10672.0.10755.11.11.0.0.0.0.83.699.11.11.0....0...1ac.1.19.img.K3fRaBvhB08
3915  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Intel Matters on: July 03, 2013, 08:46:59 PM
Criticism of Brock from the left:

http://news.yahoo.com/americas-cold-war-why-allies-side-snowden-070000642.html
3916  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy, Big Brother (State and Corporate) and the 4th & 9th Amendments on: July 03, 2013, 08:46:24 PM
The concept of double transparency is interesting.  It is kind of a mea culpa to the inevitable I guess.  A kind of mutually assured destruction for everyone. 

The only way double transparency could work in a fair and equitable world is to have cameras and audio cover every single inch of the planet and allow everyone access to all of it.

3917  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: July 03, 2013, 10:51:08 AM
Until Obama gets out of the way energy sits in a holding pattern on the runway.   Hillary will do whatever gets her the most votes.   So if  most people would like to open the energy tidal wave she will be for it.   If environmentalists win the propaganda war she will side with them.  We already know the Clintons are all poll driven.   Despite what Bill recently claims with his bravery in bombing Kosovo despite what the polls said.  (tail wagged the dog was the reason for that.  not "courage".  just self serving headline diversion).

3918  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: July 03, 2013, 10:44:31 AM
This question is not answered.   Where do we draw the line.   I noted in previous post that we could probably easily replace the entire US workforce including all blue collar and some white collar workers by simply opening up borders to any one willing for a bit less.

The result is wages keep being driven down.   As it stands now 75% of the nation cannot afford even putting a dime away into savings.  While we are all marketed to death by a consumer economy all day long.

This is why I think whoever has good answers (or believable) to this fundamental problem facing most Americans can easily win an election.

Yeah Rubio can try to curry favor with this Drudge reported bill he is going to propose making abortion illegal after 20 months.  Obviously to try to win back some love from conservatives he just squandered.   But to think this is going to win in 2016.   At least some of the talking heads on radio are waking up.   The politicians in DC are another story. 

I like Rubio.   He is not ready for big time national politics.   
3919  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science on: July 01, 2013, 08:40:30 AM
Yesterday the temperature hit 128 in death valley.  Highest recorded but today with the clarification - highest in *June*.  Over the last several days it was simply the highest recorded.

I've been to DV.  It was merely 110 at the time.  If one likes there is a golf course and a resort hotel in the middle.   Some of the colors of the mountains and bluffs are amazing as the sun shifts.

Other locations have very strong winds.  Sand dunes.   Cracked earth.   Lowest point below sea level.  Neat place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there.
3920  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / altering history to support a political agenda? on: June 30, 2013, 10:57:09 PM
No, you say.  Think again.
I remember reading in the 1960s about temperatures reaching the 130's.  I remember the record in the Guinness Book was in 1922 in Libya.   I am wondering why we keep hearing 122 in Death Valley is approaching the World record now.    Now I know.  The environmentalist have been able to expunge the 1922 record just recently in 2012.  Just in time for their media blitz to shove the carbon tax in front of our faces:

****What is the hottest air temperature ever recorded on earth?

In: Meteorology and Weather, Atmospheric Sciences, Temperature   
Answer:

The world's highest recorded air temperature is officially recognized by the World Meteorological Organization as 134°F (57.6°C) recorded at Death Valley, California, USA on 10 July 1913.

 Note that this is in recorded history. Higher temperatures have occurred, of course, at different times during the 4.55 billion years of Earth's history.

Related Information:

 El Azizia, Libya, held this record for decades, after recording a temperature of 136 °F (58°C) on 13 September 1922. It was coincidentally also on 13 September of 2012 that this record was stripped by the WMO after a team of experts determined that there were enough questions surrounding this measurement that this temperature was probably not really recorded.

 The temperature had been suspect in atmospheric science circles for a number of reasons. One being that the time of year is inconsistent with such a high reading. Also, the type and exposure of the measuring instruments cast doubt on the accuracy of the data. However, other temperatures in the same general area approach that maximum, especially in the cloudless southern Sahara, far from the moderating effects of water. Several links are provided below for more information on this process.

Other Earth Temperature Highs:

 The modern, most reliably recorded air temperature at Death Valley was 129°F (54°C) on 7/20/1960, 7/18/1998, 7/20/2005, and 7/7/2007. Still, the hottest in the Western Hemisphere.

 The highest naturally occurring temperature (at Earth's core) is higher than the melting point of iron and is estimated to be approximately 5000°C.

 The highest temperature ever created in a laboratory experiment: Scientists, using the Z machine, have produced plasma at temperatures of more than 2 billion degrees Kelvin (3.6 billion degrees F) at Sandia National Laboratories, located near Albuquerque New Mexico.

 Dasht-e Lut, a desert in southeastern Iran, was identified as having the hottest surface temperature (not air temperature) of 70.7 degrees C (159 degrees F) This was only during the years of study in 2004 and 2005 by MODIS, which is a satellite remote sensor, mounted on NASA satellites Aqua and Terra.

Caveats to the Above:

 Modern measuring methods, instruments, and techniques are more sophisticated and standardized today. Example: The World Meteorological Organization, recommends that air temperatures be measured at a height of 1.25 to 2 meters (4.1010 to 6.5617 feet) above ground level.

 The most likely places on Earth for record high temperatures are in depressions in desert regions, especially in areas below sea level. The Dallol (Danakil) Depression in Africa (Ethiopia), Death Valley in USA, and the area around Lake Eyre in Australia are likely candidates. However, the Gobi Desert's temperatures, while far from any ocean, are mitigated by altitude. The Dallol (Danakil) Depression had a weather station for a short while, only a few years, that was run by a mining company. It wasn't there long enough to measure an extreme maximum to beat the Libyan record, although it did measure very high mean average temperatures while it operated.

 The thing to remember about very hot places, is that data is sparse. This is because very few people with high levels of technology stay in these places for long. The environment of the Danikil Depression is inimical (hostile) to human life.****
3921  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / military is now the NEW place to date on: June 30, 2013, 11:35:23 AM
I guess if I was younger and wanted to meet girls and get laid I could join the military..... new military recruiting ad can go like:

you need dates come and serve.  We have a huge selection of boys and girls gay straight you name it.

****The Pentagon's Surrender to Feminism

Pat Buchanan June 25, 2013  Society
 
"The Pentagon unveiled plans Tuesday for fully integrating women into front-line and special combat roles, including elite forces such as Army Rangers and Navy SEALs."

So ran the lead on the CNN story. And why are we doing this?

Did the young officers leading troops in battle in Afghanistan and Iraq, returning with casualties, say they needed women to enhance the fighting efficiency of their combat units and the survival rate of their soldiers?

Did men from the 101st and 82nd airborne, the Marines, the SEALs and Delta Force petition the Joint Chiefs to put women alongside them in future engagements to make them an even superior force?

No. This decision to put women in combat represents a capitulation of the military brass, a surrender to the spirit of our age, the Pentagon's salute to feminist ideology.

This is not a decision at which soldiers arrived when they studied after-action reports, but the product of an ideology that contradicts human nature, human experience and human history, and declares as dogma that women are just as good at soldiering as men.

But if this were true, rather than merely asserted, would it have taken mankind the thousands of years from Thermopylae to discover it?

In the history of civilization, men have fought the wars. In civilized societies, attacks on women have always been regarded as contemptible and cowardly. Even the Third Reich in its dying hours did not send women into battle, but old men and boys.

"You don't hit a girl!" was something every American boy had drilled into him from childhood. It was part of our culture, the way we were raised. A Marine friend told me he would have resigned from the Corps rather than fight women with the pugil sticks used for bayonet practice at Parris Island.

Sending women into combat on equal terms seems also to violate common sense. When they reach maturity, men are bigger, stronger, more aggressive. Thus they commit many times the number of violent crimes and outnumber women in prisons 10 to 1.

For every Bonnie Parker, there are 10 Clyde Barrows.

Is it a coincidence that every massacre discussed in our gun debate — from the Texas Tower to the Long Island Railroad, from Columbine to Ft. Hood, from Virginia Tech to Tucson, from Aurora to Newtown — was the work of a crazed male?

Nothing matches mortal combat where soldiers fight and kill, and are wounded, maimed and die for cause or country. Domestically, the closest approximations are combat training, ultimate fighting, boxing and that most physical of team sports, the NFL.

Yet no women compete against men in individual or team sports. They are absent from boys' and men's teams in high school and college, be it football, basketball, baseball, hockey or lacrosse.

Even in the non-contact sports of golf, tennis and volleyball, men compete with men, women against women. In the Olympics, to which nations send their best athletes, women and men compete separately in track and field, swimming and gymnastics.

Consider our own history. Would any U.S. admiral say that in any of America's great naval battles — Mobile Bay, Manila Bay, Midway, the Coral Sea — we would done better with some women manning the guns?

In the revolutionary and civil wars, World Wars I and II, Korea and Vietnam, women were not in combat. Was it invidious discrimination of which we should all be ashamed that women were not fighting alongside the men at Gettysburg, in the Argonne, at Normandy or with "Chesty" Puller's Marines in the retreat from the Chosin Reservoir?

Undeniably, some women might handle combat as well as some men. But that is true of some 13-, 14- and 15-year-old boys, and some 50- and 60-year old men. Yet we do not draft boys or men that age or send them into combat. Is this invidious discrimination based on age, or ageism?

Carry this feminist-egalitarian ideology to its logical conclusion, and half of those storming the Omaha and Utah beaches should have been girls and women. Is this not an absurdity?

We have had Navy ships become "love boats," with female sailors returning pregnant. At the Naval Academy, three midshipmen, football players, allegedly raped an intoxicated classmate. For months, she was too ashamed and frightened to report it.

An estimated 26,000 personnel of the armed forces were sexually assaulted in 2011, up from 19,000 in 2010. Obama and the Congress are understandably outraged. Such assaults are appalling. But is not the practice of forcing young men and women together in close quarters a contributory factor here?

Among the primary reasons the Equal Rights Amendment, the ERA, went down to defeat three decades ago was the realization it could mean, in a future war, women could be drafted equally with men, and sent in equal numbers into combat.

But what appalled the Reaganites is social progress in the age of Obama. This is another country from the one we grew up in.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of "Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?" To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM****
3922  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / It's the economy stupid. Yes, but more specifically... on: June 29, 2013, 04:05:16 PM
It is this fact, that most Americans have no savings and live paycheck to paycheck that threatens this country, freedom from tyranny and the Republican party more than anything else in my very humble opinion.   Whichever party can address this concern of the vast majority of Americans will win.  So far the crats win because they offer taxpayer money to support people who are struggling.   The Republicans still do not, don't even seem to be thinking correctly in these terms, are split in calculating they have to compromise, or completely not compromise.   Both of these approaches are off base.

When people are living paycheck to paycheck who do you think they are going to vote for?  The party that offers them public assistance or the party that preaches things like "constitution", freedom, lower taxes, jobs, jobs, jobs.   All of the latter miss the mark.   They are all correct but they alone are not the right message.

"They who answer this shall have all the power".   Verse 1 from ccp.  

So far the crats do the job.  Of course at great harm to taxpayers and the country as a whole but for those living from paycheck to paycheck the rest is all back seat stuff.  

"He who answers this will get the independents, more minorities, more races, maybe a few single mothers.   As for gays who knows and who cares."  Verse 2 ccp

http://rare.us/story/76-of-americans-live-paycheck-to-paycheck/
3923  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: June 29, 2013, 03:49:05 PM
Maybe Rush is wrong.   Maybe it is not about the money after all .  Perhaps some Republicans are just that stupid?  sad
3924  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Mark Steyn: on: June 29, 2013, 09:25:40 AM
http://www.nationalreview.com/article/352350/simulacrum-self-government-mark-steyn
3925  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: June 28, 2013, 08:39:14 PM
Could anyone imagine Clinton honoring their political enemy like this?

All they have to do when she runs against Bush is replay this image of him honoring her.   

 cry
3926  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: June 28, 2013, 09:19:17 AM
Off of Yahoo political news this AM.  This guy is some sort of pollster or political scientist?  This says nothing.   Does not get to the core problems and as always there is the eternal plug that Republicans can simply not get over "their hatred of Obama".  If Republican politicians are listening to these kinds of consultants than it is obvious why they cannot win.   I could write circles around this guy.  I agree with Rush.  Our leaders cannot be this "stupid".  It has to be about the money.   Like all else in the world.   Republicans politicians are on the hook.   LIke Armstrong said about biking, "you cannot win the Tour" without doping.  One cannot stay in power in Washington without having to play the money game.  Just won't happen.    As for this article it reportedly answers why Americans are divided.  After reading the article I see no answer listed.   Yet this headline Yahoo news.  Again this stuff gets headlines and as always there is the bash against Republicans slipped in there.   I have to wonder if this part of the media propaganda machine from the left?

*****Why Americans Are Divided Between Two Political Parties

National Journal
Charlie Cook 5 hours ago 
 
After President Obama’s rather comfortable victory over Mitt Romney last November, some Democrats thought the president could defy the laws of political gravity. They are now disappointed. So are Republicans who thought that controversies over Benghazi, the Internal Revenue Service, and domestic surveillance would bring Obama’s approval ratings crashing down into the 30s, if not the 20s, as has happened with some second-term presidents. Obama’s approval numbers have been on a very gradual decline and are now at the political equilibrium point where equal numbers of Americans approve and disapprove.

In Gallup polling the week of June 17-23, 46 percent approved and disapproved of Obama’s performance. If you take an average of the most recent polls by ABC News/Washington Post, CBS News/New York Times, CNN, Fox News, Pew Research, and NBC News/Wall Street Journal, all conducted either this month or last, Obama’s approval is a point higher, 47 percent, with a disapproval of, you guessed it, 47 percent. This puts Obama’s job-approval rating at basically the same place as George W. Bush’s at this point in his second term and behind the 55 percent and 58 percent levels where Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan were, respectively, at this stage.

The good news for Obama is that the economy is getting better. The bad news is that Washington and much of the news coverage in recent weeks have been focused on just about everything but the economy.

Of course, Republicans not only want to see Obama’s numbers drop but their party’s favorability ratings climb. So far, that hasn’t happened. Gallup polling shows that the percentage of Americans viewing the Republican Party favorably has been declining since the beginning of 2011. Most recently, in a June 1-4 poll, 39 percent rated the party favorably, 53 percent unfavorably, compared with 46 percent who saw the Democratic Party favorably and 48 percent unfavorably (which is certainly nothing for Democrats to cheer about). The other two major national polls asking about party ratings in the past two months indicated that the GOP’s brand damage has continued. The Pew Research Center pegged Democrats with 51/45 favorable/unfavorable ratings, in contrast to Republicans’ 39/53 ratings. The NBC/Wall Street Journal poll put Democrats at 39/37 and Republicans at 32/41. Average the three polls together, and 45 percent gave Democrats a favorable rating and 43 percent unfavorable, compared with 37 percent with favorable views of the Republican Party and 50 percent unfavorable.

Even stipulating for a moment that the Republican brand is badly damaged, we can’t say that this will be the determining factor in the 2014 midterm elections. We know that in recent years the kinds of voters who have boosted Democrats in presidential years have a track record of staying home in midterms. Even some Democrats totally enamored with Obama are unlikely to show up and vote for a congressional candidate whom they don’t know.


Another potentially important issue is the Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare.” Unquestionably health care, aided by a weak economy, was most responsible for Democrats in 2010 losing their House majority and a half-dozen seats in the Senate. In 2009 and 2010, during the height of the health care debate, some people decided that Obama’s proposal was terrific, many thought it was terrible, while still others were ambivalent. Few minds were changed in either direction during 2011 or 2012.

But what about 2013 and 2014, as more elements become operative? The Kaiser Family Foundation’s health tracking poll asks about current attitudes toward the health care law. At the moment, 35 percent have a favorable impression of the law, 43 percent have an unfavorable impression, and 23 percent remain undecided. Equally important, twice as many Americans, 30 percent, have a “very unfavorable” view, compared with just 15 percent who have a “very favorable” one. Indeed, the people who don’t like the ACA hate it (30 percent very unfavorable, 13 percent somewhat unfavorable), but the people who like it don’t necessarily love it (15 percent very favorable, 20 percent somewhat favorable). In recent months the unfavorable share has been gradually increasing, and the favorable share has been in a slow slide, although nothing earth-shattering. The key is those undecided in the middle, many of whom are cross-pressured on the issue. They may think we needed to do something about the affordability and access of health care, but they aren’t sure whether this law was the right way to do it.

The thing that makes it difficult for Republicans to capitalize on the ACA issue is that many in the party are so blinded by their hate for Obama and Obamacare that only the word “repeal” comes out of their mouths. This is something that is virtually impossible to achieve unless Republicans get at least 60 seats in the Senate, which is very unlikely to happen anytime soon. Smarter Republicans would say that “we need to fix Obamacare,” or that “we need to make changes to the law so it won’t screw up health care.” These sorts of arguments are more likely to resonate with voters outside of the party’s conservative base (keeping in mind that only 35 percent of Americans identify themselves as conservatives—25 percent are liberal, 40 percent moderate, according to the 2012 exit polls, roughly the same as in other national polls).

So, at the halfway point of 2013, we’re at a place where we still don’t know what the dominant theme will be in the 2014 midterm elections, and that probably won’t change until this fall, at the earliest.****
.

.
3927  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: June 26, 2013, 07:50:13 PM
Doug,

I doubt it will hit 120 in Vegas this week.  Also Tsunamis in NJ?   Come on.  We are being barraged with endless scare tacticts.  No coincidence.   Sooner or later that island will split in the Canary islands and a wave will wipe out the East Coast.  So we should stop fracking?

Yes.  Now he is not up for election he is ramming everything through he can.   Then Hillary is going to "fight for women"  against the "war on women" from the Republicans. 

Women will eat it right up too.

I don't understand why taxpayers just cannot get traction?   I guess there are more of them then us as Marc Levin once put it.
   
3928  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: June 26, 2013, 07:41:37 PM
Hi Bigdog,

""...the case that's before you today, is whether or not California can take a class of individuals based upon their characteristics, their distinguishing characteristics, remove from them the right of privacy, liberty, association, spirituality,  and identity that -­ that marriage gives them."

"right to privacy, liberty, association, spirituality" was/is not denied.

I am not sure anyone was interfering with this.

Beautiful stuff about love and romance aside the case was brought to avoid estate taxes (from what I read). 

In any case the Court has decided.

I do not (and I don't think Doug was either) disparaging Mr. Olsen who is brilliant.   But, he is such a crusader for gay marriage?   Where did this come from?
3929  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / The legal warriors involved. on: June 26, 2013, 06:34:39 PM
I don't get Ted Olsen.  undecided

http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNLJ.jsp?id=1202593267885&Lawyers_arguing_in_the_samesex_marriage_cases_&slreturn=20130526193008
3930  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Benghazi and related matters on: June 26, 2013, 05:29:58 PM
I can't seem to read Dick's essays anymore without being hit with ads to sign up for something.

Dick, if your listening, I like to read your essays but please make the sign up requests less "in your face".


3931  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Any reference to *gender* on: June 26, 2013, 05:18:11 PM
is politically incorrect in Sweden.   

Sweden is on some sort of anti gender kick.  Perhaps all the Nordic countries are close behind.   I don't normally read slate but in searching under gender neutrality and Sweden this came up:

http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2012/04/hen_sweden_s_new_gender_neutral_pronoun_causes_controversy_.html

We know what the N word is.  The F word (slang for gay).   Soon there will be the H word (he) and the S word (she).

The L word lying actually has become politically ok.  Remember how I lamented that no one had the courage to call someone else a liar on TV (for fear of a slander suit, I guess).  Now I hear people calling brock and team liars all the time.   Doesn't seem to faze the Democrats at all though.

Weiner in the lead.   Indeed, it seems being a world class liar is an asset to a Democrat.   Something to marvel in.  To relish.   To be proud of.   The rough and tumble of "hardball" politics from a warrior hell bent on doing good in the world.....

I wonder if it is a resume requirement when applying for a job in the Democratic party.
3932  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: June 22, 2013, 12:19:27 PM
From where I sit the only reason health care spending is down is because so many people are hurt by the economy they can't afford even the copays.  Around here every doctor I know states their census is down "15%".   Obama care has NOTHING to do with this.  It is the poor economy.

Yet we are being lied to.  wink

As an older primary care doctor I wish the following as true but I know it is not.   Primary care will be taken over by nurse practitioners.   It is a done deal.  The only thing remaining is the political battle between pharmacists, nursing organizations and doctor organizations.   For now NPs will jockey themselves upwards for positions once filled by MDs.  For now they will sell they are cheaper to the politicians.  As they gain power they will start demanding more money the same as us.  Done deal.  Christiansen certainly was right.   Classic disruption.   No chance at stopping it.  The medical organizations still are in denial.   Eventually NPs will slither into specialties too.  I predict that.  I am ahead of the ball on that to my knowledge.   

For everyone else you will get a somewhat lower level of care.  For most simple stuff in primary care it doesn't make a lot of difference but for the increasing complicated stuff it does.

 ..

****Reverse the Doctor Shortage by Restoring Primary-Care Prestige (Op-Ed)
LiveScience.comBy Dr. Bruce Koeppen, Quinnipiac University  | LiveScience.com – 18 hrs ago..

Dr. Bruce Koeppen is founding dean of the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University. He contributed this article to LiveScience's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.

The United States currently faces a growing physician shortage. While this shortage is across many of the specialties and subspecialties of medicine, it is most acute in the primary-care disciplines, traditionally defined as family medicine, general internal medicine and general pediatrics. As medical educators, we must tackle the challenge of restoring the prestige of a career in primary care.

It is quite an undertaking. Fewer students enter medical school with an eye toward a career in primary-care medicine, and many of those who do often change their mind as they go through training.

The reasons for students' decisions vary, and include perceptions that primary-care medicine is less prestigious than subspecialty medicine, that the knowledge base to be mastered is too broad, that the lifestyle (being on call) is too demanding and that the work-patient interactions are not interesting. Earnings potential may be a factor for some, but for the majority of students, I believe the other factors are more important.

If we are to reverse the trend of fewer medical students choosing careers in primary care, we must address the aforementioned perceptions and change the environment in which primary-care physicians are trained.

The goal of effective primary care is to keep patients out of hospitals . Yet residency training in the primary-care disciplines occurs predominantly in acute-care facilities. It is no wonder that resident physicians surrounded by specialists in this working and learning environment change their minds and pursue careers in subspecialties.

Primary care is delivered outside hospitals, and residency training for primary-care disciplines must also take place, predominately, outside hospitals. The Affordable Care Act provides grants to establish "Teaching Health Centers," environments in which exactly that kind of training takes place. We need to learn from these Teaching Health Centers, expand them and provide new training sites with stable funding beyond the term of these initial grants.

The latest trend in primary-care delivery is the patient-centered medical home, in which teams of health professionals — consisting of physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, physical and occupational therapists, social workers, mental-health counselors, and nutritionists — take care of patients. As delivery of care moves from the traditional solo-practice model to patient-centered medical homes, the perceptions of what it means to be a primary-care physician will change.

In the medical-home model, each professional brings specific expertise to the care of the patient, freeing physicians to focus on aspects of patient care that require their expertise. With each member of the team practicing at the "top of their training," the result is an exciting and fulfilling work environment for all. Most importantly, patients receive better-coordinated, higher-quality care. Done right, this model will lower total health care costs by keeping patients well longer.

Through changes in both training and work environments, I believe we will see more medical students choosing careers in a primary-care discipline that they will find professionally fulfilling. Changes in the reimbursement system for primary-care services will also help.

I believe this is an exciting time to be a primary-care physician. If the U.S. can make the necessary changes, its health care system will be a better place for everyone — the workforce will be happier and more productive, and patients will stay healthier longer.****


3933  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Enzyme Blocker on: June 22, 2013, 12:05:29 PM
second post today:

Interesting new enzyme blocker which actually works to alter the metabolism for fat in the body and not simply an appetite suppressant.   Company not public but if clinical studies continue to suggest safety and efficacy it will be.

Huge, huge risk.  I looked up this class of drugs and they appear to have different and unknown actions in the body.

Our wonderful regulatory government can tax fatty foods, sugary foods, alcohol, pot, cigarettes guild walking and bicycle paths, go after soda makers and force companies to set up fitness plans for their employees all they want.  But these kinds of drugs are the future of the treatment of obesity.  

http://www.news-medical.net/news/20100628/Data-on-MetAP2-inhibitors-for-treatment-of-obesity-presented-at-ADA-2010.aspx
3934  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science on: June 22, 2013, 11:18:04 AM
Doug,

Agreed.  This is all out of control. 

I heard an ad recently for the Coast Guard advertising for recruits.  The pitch is for people to join to protect the nation, our coastlines, and our wild habitats against polluters.

I am waiting for the ad for army recruits to protect America from Republicans, Christians, and white men.
3935  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Health Thread (nutrition, medical, longevity, etc) on: June 22, 2013, 11:13:58 AM
Many recommend young men get the vaccine now mainly to curtail spread of some of the carcinogenic HPV subtypes. 

I have no idea why any young person would not want to get it unless they plan on being celibate for ever.
3936  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Only on MSLSD on: June 20, 2013, 11:06:47 PM
Conversation between Chris Matthews,  Eugene Robinson, and Howard Fineman.   I laughed my head off reading this so therefore I felt it belonged in this thread:

*****MSNBC: Obama and Merkel Are the New 'Ronnie and Maggie'; Matthews Sees Conspiracy to Push Hillary 2016

Published: 6/19/2013 6:22 PM ET

to Scott Whitlock

By Scott Whitlock

MSNBC's Chris Matthews and his liberal guest on Wednesday thrilled over the relationship between Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Washington Post writer Eugene Robinson even compared them to Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher: "I think in a way, you know, Barack and Angela are the new Ronnie and Maggie...They can be kind of a dynamic duo." (Of course, Reagan and Thatcher oversaw huge economic recoveries and the end of the Cold War.) [MP3 audio here.]

Highlighting Obama's speech in Germany, Matthews saw a secret plan to promote Hillary Clinton. After mentioning Thatcher, plus other famous female leaders, he wondered "whether this partnership between our president...isn't that a leading indicator?" Matthews theorized, "I think it says to Americans watching television, yes, this makes sense. It makes sense to him for Hillary to be the next person standing in that role he's in."

One detail Matthews and Robinson did not harp on: In 2008, Obama's Berlin speech drew 400,000. In 2013, the President managed a mere 4,500.

A partial transcript of the June 19 segment follows:

5:03

[On the relationship between Barack Obama and Angela Merkel.]

EUGENE ROBINSON: He has gotten along very well with Merkel. There is a relationship there.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: What is that relationship?

ROBINSON: You know, I wondered about that. I wondered if it isn't what he started with. We don't look like the normal-

HOWARD FINEMAN: Outsiders.

ROBINSON: – They're kind of outsiders. She's from the east. He's She's– He's African-American.

MATTHEWS: Yeah, that being from the east is also like a minority.

ROBINSON: Exactly. Exactly. They're both outsiders who are now leading these societies. I think in a way, you know, Barack and Angela are the new Ronnie and Maggie. I mean, they're kind of– They can be kind of a dynamic duo.

FINEMAN: I feel a column coming on. I feel a column coming on.

MATTHEWS: In other words, the way we used to do it, Reagan would be nice to the queen and to Thatcher and then George senior-- Bush would become friends with Helmut Kohl, sort of the establishment, old boys club. And yet, here he's saying this is not an old boys club. This is something of the outsiders who are now on the inside who should rally the outsiders of the world. He's saying to Germany, "look out for the poor people of the world. Don't just be Germany."

FINEMAN: He's basically saying, look, as I say, the Germans and I've spent a lot of time there. They're very conflicted at best about their own history. They've seen the downside of empire, as well as the glory of it. and the pain and the horror of it. They don't want this necessarily. The German people don't want it. But what the president is saying is, it's okay. Look to your good history.

...
5:09

MATTHEWS: Most of the world leaders in our lifetime– in the last ten million years– have been men. Sometimes we've seen really good women leaders come to fore. Certainly, Golda Meir was fabulous. Right? Certainly, Margaret Thatcher for the British mind, especially, was great, not necessarily for the coal miners but great for the country and its spirit. Certainly Indira Gandhi was a great leader. I'm thinking now whether Angela Merkel is on this level and whether this partnership between our president and her so vividly displayed with the hand over the back, sort of a pal kind of thing going on, isn't that a leading indicator, I think avatar may be appropriate here, of a Hillary Clinton leadership role? I think it says to Americans watching television, yes, this makes sense. It makes sense to him for Hillary to be the next person standing in that role he's in.

ROBINSON: That's an interesting way of looking an the it. Gee, maybe if Hillary runs, maybe he'll support her.

MATTHEWS: That's what I'm getting to. Don't you know what I'm getting to? You think Joe Biden likes that picture?
3937  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Gertz: Islamic terror threats spreading on: June 20, 2013, 10:40:49 PM

Al Qaeda Terrorist Threat Is Growing

Official, private assessments contradict president’s claim that group is on ‘path to defeat’
 
BY:  Bill Gertz   
June 19, 2013 5:00 am

The threat posed by al Qaeda terrorism around the world continues to increase despite President Barack Obama’s recent claim that the central group behind the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks is on the path to defeat, according to U.S. and foreign counterterrorism officials and private experts.

Obama said in a speech to the National Defense University May 23 that because of the death of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and most of his top aides, “we are safer.”

While terrorist threats still exist, “the core of al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan is on the path to defeat,” the president said.

However, a U.S. counterterrorism official said the threat posed by al Qaeda is growing. “From Africa to Pakistan, it is spreading systematically,” the official said.

The official blamed the Obama administration policy of focusing its counterterrorism efforts almost exclusively on central al Qaeda.

The focus on Pakistan and Afghanistan resulted in a lack of targeted counterterrorism efforts in other locations, the official said. The official added that counterterrorism efforts have been weakened by the administration’s policy of dissociating Islam from al Qaeda and other Islamist terrorism. The policy was a key effort of John Brennan, White House counterterrorism chief during the first Obama administration. As CIA director, Brennan has expanded the policy of limiting links between Islam and terrorism at the agency.

The result is that Islamist terror groups are flourishing, posing direct threats to the United States and to U.S. interests outside the country, the official said.

That assessment is bolstered by a new report by the private Lignet intelligence group. The report made public Tuesday says the U.S. government’s overreliance on sanctions and surveillance has limited the war on terror.

The result is “a decentralized al Qaeda structure—and a much greater threat,” the report said.

“Al Qaeda has transitioned from a hierarchical cell structure to a franchise organization that is now responsible for four times as many terrorist attacks a year as it was before 9/11,” the report said.

“Al Qaeda training camps are now being established on the Arabian Peninsula, in Africa, countries of the former Soviet Union, and Southeast Asia.”

U.S. counterterrorism efforts in Southwest Asia, including a steady series of armed drone attacks against al Qaeda leaders, have resulted in central al Qaeda moving out of the region.

York Zirke, head of Germany’s federal criminal police agency, told a conference in Russia recently that al Qaeda and other terrorist groups are shifting operations from Pakistan and Afghanistan to Syria, northern Africa, Yemen, and other countries.

“Speaking about the situation in the world, it has to be reiterated that al Qaeda and organizations associated with it are not halting their activities, but the centers of its activities have moved from the area close to the Pakistani and Afghani borders to other regions such as Syria, Northern Africa, Mali, and Yemen,” Zirke said during a conference in Kazan, Russia, on June 6, according to Interfax.

The U.S. official outlined gains by al Qaeda both ideologically and operationally in expanding its reach as well as developing affiliates in key regions targeted by Islamists over the past several months.

Al Qaeda has moved rapidly to expand in parts of east, west, and north Africa, helped by the so-called Arab Spring.

A key affiliate, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, known as AQIM, and the Somalia-based al Shabaab group are the two main groups operating and expanding in Africa. The Nigerian al Qaeda group Boko Haram also emerged as a new affiliate and is posing a significant threat to the region.

About 4,000 French troops were dispatched to Mali in January to battle al Qaeda terrorists.

AQIM is expanding despite the French military intervention. A BBC report from May 29 stated that the expansion is not new. “Militants and armed radical groups have expanded and entrenched their positions throughout the Sahel and Sahara over the last decade under the umbrella of [AQIM].”

French troops announced a day later they had uncovered an AQIM bomb factory engaged in making suicide bomber vests in northern Mali.

U.S. intelligence agencies recently identified a new AQIM training base near Timbuktu in Mali. An al Qaeda training manual discovered in Mali revealed that terrorists are training with SA-7 surface-to-air missiles, the Associated Press reported.

Al Qaeda affiliates in Libya are moving into the power vacuum left by the ouster of the regime of Muammar Gadhafi. The main al Qaeda affiliate there is Ansar al Sharia, blamed for the Sept. 11, 2012, attack against the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi that killed four Americans, including Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens.

France’s government recently said Paris has become increasingly alarmed about al Qaeda activities in Libya and is considering a deployment of troops near Libya for counterterrorism operations.

French President Francois Hollande said in a speech last month that Libya-based jihadists represent the main security threat to North Africa and also to Europe. He told a reporter May 23 that the terrorist threat in Mali “began in Libya and is returning to Libya.”

The concerns are based on recent intelligence reports that al Qaeda and other jihadists groups have new training camps in the southern Libyan desert.

Further east in Africa, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood government is creating an environment that is allowing al Qaeda to develop in that country.

A U.S. intelligence official has said reports from Egypt identified al Qaeda groups operating Al-Azhar University in Cairo. The university is said to be a covert base for al Qaeda organizational and training activities that is developing a jihadist network made up of many different nationalities.

Al Shabaab in Somalia continues to conduct attacks, although there are signs the group is fragmented, with some armed fighting among various groups within al Shabaab. The group remains a key al Qaeda affiliate.

Attacks related to al Shabaab continue to increase, according to U.S. officials.

One particular concern for security officials are reports that al Qaeda is moving into Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. A U.S. official said in May that al Qaeda elements were conducting small arms training in the mountainous areas of the Sinai Peninsula in preparation for fighting alongside jihadist rebels in Syria.

The al Qaeda affiliate in the Sinai was identified by U.S. officials as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM). The group’s logo is similar to that of al Qaeda—a black flag, an AK-47, and a globe.

Saudi Arabia has been battling the affiliate al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which tried several high-profile airline bombings against the United States. The group is led by several former inmates of the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and is very active against the government of Yemen.

Earlier this year, a leaked memorandum from Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry revealed that Riyadh is exporting al Qaeda terrorists to Syria. The memo from April 2012 disclosed that 1,239 prisoners who were to be executed were trained and sent to “jihad in Syria” in exchange for a full pardon. The prisoners included 212 Saudis and the rest were foreigners from Syria, Pakistan, Yemen, Sudan, Egypt, Jordan, Somalia, Kuwait, Afghanistan, and Iraq and included Palestinians.

Syria’s al Qaeda group is the al Nusra Front, which has emerged as the most powerful rebel group opposing the forces of the Bashar al-Assad regime.

Obama said in his National Defense University speech that the “lethal yet less capable al Qaeda affiliates” and domestic jihadists remain a threat.

“But as we shape our response, we have to recognize that the scale of this threat closely resembles the types of attacks we faced before 9/11.”

The Lignet report said the use of sanctions and financial penalties against al Qaeda produced the unintended consequence of transforming al Qaeda into a coalition of loose, localized, autonomous terror cells.

“In terms of financing, al Qaeda’s shuria or high command council, no longer plays a central role in allocating expenditures or soliciting funds,” the report said. “Instead, terrorist financing has moved further into the ‘gray’ economy. Cells raise funds from a combination of charities, independent criminal ventures, and licit businesses.”

Crime is now the main source of al Qaeda funds and criminal activities by the group include extortion, hijacking, theft, blackmail, the drug trade, and kidnapping for ransom.

“Counterterrorism efforts that target the financing of terrorism are a work in process,” the report concludes. “The measures employed by the United States and others in the last 12 years have reshaped rather than resolved the terrorist threat. It remains to be seen if the United States will be able to in turn adapt to al Qaeda’s new and alarming franchise cell structure and finance methods.”

Joseph Myers, a retired Army officer and specialist on the ideology of Islamist terror, said U.S. efforts to target and kill al Qaeda leaders have been successful. But al Qaeda affiliates are spreading “from the Horn of Africa, across North Africa and post-Gaddafi Libya into central Africa to Dagestan and like-minded bombers in Boston,” he noted.

“Al Qaeda is an idea, not simply an organization and ideas are not easily ‘killed,’” Myers said in an email.

The U.S. government’s counterterrorism paradigm is misguided because the forefront of global Islamic jihad is not al Qaeda, but the Muslim Brotherhood “we are now partnering with as a matter of policy,” he said.

The doctrine of Islamic jihad remains the key ideological threat that must be recognized, he said. Until that is realized, “we will continue to have national security failures of analysis and prediction and not only al Qaeda, but other Islamic jihadist groups will continue to emerge and spread,” Myers said.

Fred Fleitz, a former intelligence analyst now with Lignet, said al Qaeda has shifted tactics toward “a multitude of smaller, low-probability attacks.”

“This includes recruiting members behind U.S. borders through Internet-based efforts to find and radicalize ‘home grown terrorists,’” Fleitz said in an email.

“I am especially concerned about the recent plot to bomb a Toronto to New York train which was backed by al Qaeda members in Iran,” Fleitz said. “This was a good example of what al Qaeda can still do.”

“We are also seeing al Qaeda franchises and other Islamist groups growing in strength in Mali, Somalia, and Nigeria.  Seven of nine Syrian rebel groups are Islamist and there is an al Qaeda presence in Syria.”

Sebastian Gorka, a counterterrorism expert and military affairs fellow with the Foundation for Defense for Democracies, said the administration has created a narrative that asserts the United States is solely at war with the remnants of al Qaeda Central and that the group is on the decline since bin Ladin was killed.

“The rest of the national security mission in counterterrorism has been reduced to the amorphous ‘counter violent extremism’ which is of course fallacious since as a nation we are not threatened by general violent extremism – Basque separatists or abortion clinic bombers – but a specific brand of religious extremism: global jihad,” Gorka said in an email.

“Anything that countermands the official narrative, such as the the Fort Hood shooter or the Boston bombers, has to be undermined with labels such ‘workplace violence’ or ‘loser jihadis’ since anything else would mean that al Qaeda is very much alive and well,” said Gorka, who teaches U.S. national security at Georgetown University. “This represents a politically driven distortion of objective threat assessments.”

This entry was posted in Middle East, National Security, Obama Administration and tagged Al Qaeda. Bookmark the permalink.
3938  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Health Thread (nutrition, medical, longevity, etc) on: June 20, 2013, 10:01:11 PM
CDC estimates 79 million in US:

http://www.cdc.gov/std/stats/STI-Estimates-Fact-Sheet-Feb-2013.pdf
3939  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Weiner disgusts some because someone next him used the "d" word on: June 20, 2013, 09:14:27 PM
Surely I am no fan of Anthony Weiner mainly because he is a liberal, but this gay infitada thing is getting really tiring.   Now some gays are going after Weiner  because he didn't express enough immediate moral outrage of the word "dyke" spoken by some stranger he was standing next to:

http://politicker.com/2013/06/state-legisaltors-slam-anthony-weiner-for-lack-of-moral-courage/
3940  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: June 20, 2013, 10:33:59 AM
Crafty,

What do you think about DDD or SSYS the two bigger names in the space?
3941  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: June 20, 2013, 10:19:34 AM
****foreigners will generally be apt to bring with them attachments to the persons they have left behind; to the country of their nativity; and to its particular customs and manners. They will also entertain opinions on government congenial with those under which they have lived;****

The immigrants to the US in the past did come here for freedom and opportunity.  They didn't expect benefits.   Some still don't.   Hey but if one major party keeps offering them free money courtesy of taxpayers, why not vote for them?

The immigrants are not the same today as they were.  But didn't they always usually vote Democrat?
3942  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Health Thread (nutrition, medical, longevity, etc) on: June 20, 2013, 10:12:38 AM
From CDC:

****Is there a test for HPV?

HPV tests are available to help screen women aged 30 years and older for cervical cancer. These HPV tests are not recommended to screen men, adolescents, or women under the age of 30 years. There is no general HPV test for men or women to check one's overall "HPV status." Also, there is not an approved HPV test to find HPV in the mouth or throat.****

Screening for cervical cancer in women.  If the HPV leads to visible warts on genitals, mouth (mostly on HIV people), anal areas the infection is obvious.

There are investigational ways of looking for viral DNA in tissue samples but to my knowledge these are not widely available.  Perhaps Michael Douglas paid for this out of pocket.  In any case it would only have been of academic interest to him.   Treatment for his cancer would not have changed (as far as I know).

If one had warts they could be removed until they don't return.  Does this mean a person is cured and virus is eradicated, and protected from long term consequences?  To my knowledge the answer is unknown.  Could viral remnants still remain that can cause cancer years down the road?  Again I am  not aware of any definite answers to that.
3943  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: June 20, 2013, 09:07:54 AM
Coulter is right;  The republicans are digging their own graves as a party.

Appeasement is not the way to go.   There is another path.   A party can reach out to minorities and women and all Americans without having to try to out-bribe aka the Democrats.

I admit, competing with the bribing voters with tax payer money strategy would be tough but I am convinced is another way.

Appeasement is simply slowing the demise of America not stopping it. 

OTOH, I am certain the Bamster WILL grant the illegals amnesty before he leaves office anyway.  So I guess one COULD argue the gang of fools folly is the lesser of two evils so to speak.

I keep coming back to the conclusion the only chance for a resurrection of the Republican party is a big crash.  Of course if big enough there is no guarantee what will come up from the rubble.  It could even be more fascist/socialist guising as  populism.
3944  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy, Big Brother (State and Corporate) and the 4th & 9th Amendments on: June 20, 2013, 08:02:27 AM
That's why Google claiming to want to be more transparent about government requests for private data is a joke.

Google et al are just as much the problem.  To hear their PR people crying foul is ridiculous.  They do the same thing to us all time.   

Yes there is no way out. 

One would not want to be a target as I became for any reason by anyone with clout, money or connections.

Your life will be hell and nothing you can do about it.
3945  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender, Gay, Lesbian on: June 19, 2013, 04:16:46 PM
 All we are going to hear about in the liberal mass media is about women this and that until 2016 setting it up for Hillary.   I don't think Republicans can get their act together.

I have zero confidence in them.

Let's see.  If Bill says something like, "you know a woman can never get elected in the US" maybe the babes will turn to another female (C)rat.
3946  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: June 19, 2013, 04:11:06 PM
Using M. Obamster's line "I am not proud of my country".

(she hasn't seemed to mind it now)

Lets trash the USA.  Lets give it away to the world.  Lets trash individual responsibility.  Freedom.  Privacy.  Family.  Oh that sounds like a great world the liberals are building.
3947  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Sharyl Attkinsson update on hacking investigation on: June 18, 2013, 08:11:44 AM
Well Levin asks why do we need government to compile there own metadata when the privates are already snooping on us and they can get warrants to get data from them?

I don't buy we are safer.  I don't buy government or some of its people will not use data for its own purposes and that this is not just a slippery slope but history tells us lack of transparency with the excuse of national security will by default of human nature to abuse.

I am shocked at the reaction at many on the right.  Levin (I don't always agree with) asks how can freedom lovers defend this.  

To me Snowden is a hero.  There is absolutely no other avenue for him to express his concerns.

Just for kicks this doesn't just apply to computers.  Copy machines can turn on mysteriously in the middle of the night.  Indeed I think they can be used as back doors into computers:

****

Sharyl Attkisson Shares Update On Computer Hacking Investigation

June 17, 2013 2:22 PM

HACKED: Twitter Accounts Gone Wrong

Reporting Dom Giordano
 
PHILADELPHIA (CBS)  — Just days after CBS News confirmed that reporter Sharyl Attkisson’s computer had indeed been hacked, Attkisson spoke to Dom Giordano about the investigation.

“This suspicious activity has been going on for quite some time – both on my CBS computer and my personal computer,” Attkisson said. “CBS then hired its own independent cyber security firm, which has been conducting a thorough forensic exam … they were able to rule out malware, phishing programs, that sort of thing.”

Attkisson described some of the bizarre things that were happening with her computer.

“There were just signs of unusual happenings for many months, odd behavior like the computers just turning themselves on at night and then turning themselves back off again. I was basically able to verify and obtain information from my sources on the suspicious activity and I reported it to CBS News in January because of course it included CBS equipment and systems.”

Attkisson could not speak about whether the hacking was related to her questions about Benghazi because of “legal counsel,” but she did say her work at that time was primarily on the occurrence.

“Whoever was in my work computer, the only thing I was working on were work-related things with CBS were big stories I guess during the time period in questions were I guess Benghazi and ‘Fast and Furious.’ The intruders did have access to personal information including passwords to my financial accounts and so on, but didn’t tamper with those, so they weren’t interested in stealing my identity or doing things to my finances. So people can decide on their own what they might have been trying to do in there.”

When asked how she felt about being hacked, Attkisson had this to say:

“Even apart from this specific incident with my computers … I operate as though someone is looking at what I do, just because that’s the safest thing,” Attkisson said. “While it’s upsetting to have that sort of intrusion done, it’s also not that unexpected.”

Attkisson also confirmed that the investigation is still ongoing, and that she still has questions about the way the Benghazi incident was handled.

“We’re continuing to move forward aggressively, CBS News takes this very seriously, as do I. I think whenever an unauthorized party comes into the home of an American, whether it’s any private citizen or journalist and gets in their house, searches their computers — these are computers my family uses — and they’re inserting or removing material for whatever their reasons are, I think that’s a really serious and disturbing matter and we’re gonna follow it up and keep pursuing it.”
3948  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: June 18, 2013, 05:01:45 AM
Of course Hillary will be less brash but this is what 2016 will be about.
Women can break through ceilings.....

****Gender war backfires as men ditch Australia PM

Australia's Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, pictured in Sydney, on April 4, 2013. Gillard's attempt to marginalise the opposition by claiming it would change abortion rights and sideline women has backfired with a poll on Monday showing male voters are deserting her.
Australia's Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, pictured in Sydney, on April 4, 2013. Gillard's attempt to marginalise the opposition by claiming it would change abortion rights and sideline women has backfired with a poll on Monday showing male voters are deserting her.

Australian opposition leader, Tony Abbott, pictured in Nowra on the south coast of New South Wales state, on January 9, 2013. PM Julia Gillard, the country's first female leader, last week reignited a simmering gender war by saying in a speech that government would be dominated by "men in blue ties" should Abbott assume office in September elections.
Australian opposition leader, Tony Abbott, pictured in Nowra on the south coast of New South Wales state, on January 9, 2013. PM Julia Gillard, the country's first female leader, last week reignited a simmering gender war by saying in a speech that government would be dominated by "men in blue ties" should Abbott assume office in September elections.



AFP - Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard's attempt to marginalise the opposition by claiming it would change abortion rights and sideline women has backfired with a poll on Monday showing male voters are deserting her.

Gillard, the country's first female leader, last week reignited a simmering gender war by saying in a speech that government would be dominated by "men in blue ties" should opposition leader Tony Abbott assume office in September elections.

"It's a decision about whether, once again, we will banish women's voice from the core of our political life," said the embattled prime minister in the speech, desperate to shore up waning support.

"We don't want to live in an Australia where abortion again becomes the political plaything of men who think they know better."

But the ploy has backfired with a poll in Fairfax Media showing male voters are abandoning Gillard and the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and there is little sign of more women getting behind her.

The telephone poll of 1,400 voters found that since the last survey a month ago Labor's standing has continued to slide, led entirely by a seven percent exodus of men.

Under a two-party vote, the conservative opposition would romp home in the September 14 elections with 57 percent (up three points) to 43 percent (down three points) for Labor.

Labor's primary vote, which strips out the support of minor parties, has slumped to just 29 percent with the opposition at 47 percent -- a huge lead which would wipe out 35 Labor MPs, the poll showed.

Pollster John Stirton said the swing against Labor occurred only among men.

"Labor's primary vote was down seven points among men and up one point among women. The ALP two-party vote fell 10 points among men and rose two points among women,'' he said.

But the poll, taken between Thursday and Saturday, showed that if Gillard's arch-rival Kevin Rudd was returned as Labor leader, their primary vote would be a much more competitive 40 percent to the opposition's 42 percent.

Rudd was ruthlessly ousted by Gillard in a 2010 leadership coup but he remains hugely popular.

The Sydney Daily Telegraph reported Monday that Rudd has told colleagues he will not challenge Gillard again unless key cabinet ministers support the move after he failed in a bid to unseat her in 2012.

The unmarried Gillard has often been the subject of jibes about her gender, clothing and private life and she won global acclaim last year for comments on misogyny, claiming she was sick and tired of dealing with alleged sexism from Abbott and the opposition.****
3949  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / How can serial liars be trusted with people's personal information? on: June 18, 2013, 04:27:34 AM
Let me ask a serious question.   We all know the type of person David Axelrod is.  We know that he was responsible for the release of information on a candidate the ONE ran against . I think Doug posted about that an opponent's private divorce information was "leaked". 

Does anyone here think Alexrod and the rest of his crew would not seek, and collect, and, sort, and use any data against any adversary they could from information collected either by government agencies, or the private corporations themselves who collect such information?  Does anyone think just for the sake of an example, a person who has great power with a multibillion dollar corporation who plays the fascist game as well as anyone, with the initials JI associated with a company with the initials GE would not be willing to share say something of use politically to Axelrod in exchange for some government policy or agency preferential treatment, or other payoff?   Anyone who would say that Alexrod as well as any countless politicians could be trusted is, how can I say this as nicely as possible, mistaken:

*****'NSA should come clean about domestic spying': Ray Kelly
By JENNIFER BAIN
Last Updated: 6:18 PM, June 17, 2013
Posted:  4:09 PM, June 17, 2013

      Police Commissioner Ray Kelly launched a stinging rebuke to the federal government’s secret phone and Internet monitoring campaign — and suggested leaker Edward Snowden was right about privacy “abuse.”

“I don’t think it ever should have been made secret,” Kelly said today, breaking ranks with US law-enforcement officials.

His blast came days after the Obama administration and Attorney General Eric Holder outraged New York officials by endorsing a federal monitor for the NYPD.

Kelly appeared to firmly reject Holder’s claim that disclosure of the monitoring campaign seriously damaged efforts to fight terrorism.


Ray Kelly

“I think the American public can accept the fact if you tell them that every time you pick up the phone it’s going to be recorded and it goes to the government,” Kelly said. “I think the public can understand that. I see no reason why that program was placed in the secret category.”

“Secondly, I think if you listen to Snowden, he indicates that there’s some sort of malfeasance, people . . . sitting around and watching the data. So I think the question is: What sort of oversight is there inside the [National Security Agency] NSA to prevent that abuse, if it’s taking place?”

Kelly has been on the receiving side of this kind of criticism.

The NYPD secretly spied on Muslim organizations, infiltrated Muslim student group and videotaped mosque-goers in New Jersey for years, it was revealed in 2012. The NYPD said its actions were lawful and necessary to keep the city safe.

After the vast federal phone-Internet monitoring program was revealed, President Obama said he had struck the right balance between ensuring security and protecting privacy.

But yesterday, Kelly indicated Obama was wrong.

“I think we can raise people’s comfort level if in fact information comes out as to that we have these controls and these protections inside the NSA,” he said.

Allies of Kelly viewed his criticism as payback for Holder’s decision to recommend — at the 11th hour of a controversial court case — that a federal monitor oversee the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program.

“Everything that Ray Kelly does has a purpose,” said City Council Public Safety Chairman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Queens). “If Eric Holder wants to lecture Police Commissioner Kelly on how to fight crime in New York, then one of the world’s foremost experts on public safety [Kelly] can lecture Holder on how to fight terrorism.”

Holder and other law-enforcement officials have trashed Snowden and his claim about out-of-control government snooping.

Kelly said of the leaker:

“He tried to give the impression, it seems to me, that these system administrators had carte blanche to do what they wanted to do,” he said. “I think it’s a problem if that’s in fact what’s happening.”

New York Post


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nypost.com, nypostonline.com, and newyorkpost.com are trademarks of NYP Holdings, Inc.

© Copyright 2013 NYP Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved. Privacy | Terms of Use | Ad Choices****

Yet people will come onto the camera in street surveys and look straight into the interviewers face and proclaim, "I trust the government absolutely to do the right thing."

You can fool some of people [fools] all of the time.   

I agree with Mark Levin on this about Dick Cheney.  He was a great Vice President who helped keep up safe.  But his defense of this NRS data gathering is "dead" wrong.


 

     

   
                     

       
3950  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / There is nothing wrong with single motherhood if the mother on: June 16, 2013, 10:53:52 AM
is responsible and not expecting taxpayers to pick up the tab.  Unfortunately single mothers who get government pay checks form a huge voter block.  They will nearly ALL vote for Hillary.    This article celebrates food stamps by celebrating Rosa Diaz who of course is just trying to feed her children. It sounds like she has NO other income and the only money for food is food stamps.  I thought food stamps are supposed to supplement not be the total sum to buy food.

Deep in the article is this, "For Diaz, who is five months pregnant, this means less anxiety about being able to feed her family all month long".  Instead of outrage we are supposed to accept the food stamp program as a blessing offered to feed *the children*.

Or this line, "At $384 a month, she usually pitched in an extra $100 of her own money to keep her family fed."  As though adding $25 bucks a week of her "own money" is doing US a favor!  Folks most of the time we are being robbed.  I doubt half of the food stamp program could be considered legitimate.  sad

****Food stamp hike helps families cope

$210M is likely to flow through Tenn.'s economy

Jul. 1

An increase in food stamp benefits in April under the federal stimulus package has helped single mother Rosa Diaz, 21, stock the pantry for her family, including her 2-year-old son, Reco Diaz, and her sister. BILLY KINGSLEY / THE TENNESSEAN

An increase in food stamp benefits in April under the federal stimulus package has helped single mother Rosa Diaz, 21, stock the pantry for her family, including her 2-year-old son, Reco Diaz, and her sister. BILLY KINGSLEY / THE TENNESSEAN
 
Written by

Bonna Johnson

THE TENNESSEAN

Who will benefit from the nearly $5 billion in federal stimulus money that is expected to flow into Tennessee? The Tennessean goes to the front lines for a weekly report on how the money is being spent. Read more at tennessean.com/stimulus.

BUY THIS, NOT THAT

The food stamp program was renamed the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) last October, although most people still refer to the monthly benefits as food stamps. In April, the federal stimulus program increased monthly benefits about 13 percent.

SNAP benefits can be used to purchase these items:
• Breads and cereals
• Fruits and vegetables
• Meats, fish, poultry
• Dairy products
• Seeds and plants that produce food for the household to eat

But not these items:
• Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes or tobacco
• Pet food
• Soap, paper products and household supplies
• Vitamins and medicines
• Food that will be eaten in the store
• Hot foods

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Agriculture

TRACKING FOOD STAMPS

The food stamp program in Tennessee has grown dramatically as more households seek assistance in the worsening economy and as monthly payments got a boost in April through the federal stimulus package.

Month | Individuals | Households | Food stamps
May 2008 — 910,872 — 411,010 — $93.4 million
March 2009 — 1.06 million — 487,784 — $122 million
April 2009 — 1.08 million — 489,680 — $144 million
May 2009 — 1.09 million — 500,059 — $146 million

SOURCE: Tennessee Department of Human Services

TRACKING THE STIMULUS

Slowly cruising the aisles of her favorite grocery store, Rosa Diaz kept an eye out for specials to help her stock up on staples, like fruit juice and packaged snacks for her 2-year-old son.

"That's a decent price," Diaz said as she placed a couple of large jugs of orange juice, advertised at two for $3, in her shopping cart.

Ever since her food stamps increased in April — from $289 a month to $375 — the 21-year-old single mother can afford to fill up the pantry for her small family, which also includes her younger sister, and keep them fed until she gets more money the next month.

"Sometimes we came to the end of the month, and we didn't have any more food," said Diaz, who stretches her monthly allotment by staying away from expensive name brands and searching out sales at the H.G. Hill store near her apartment in Madison.

As part of the federal stimulus package, families on food stamps across the country got a boost in their monthly benefits of about 13.6 percent. On average, a family of four received an $80 increase per month, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The stimulus-funded bump in food stamp payments is intended to not only increase the purchasing power of poor families but also help the economy grow by infusing millions more into grocery stores, which in turn pay their employees and suppliers, and trickling down to the farmers growing crops and even the truckers hauling food.

In just the first three months since the increase in payments, an additional $49 million in stimulus funds has been spent in food stamps in Tennessee, according to Michelle Mowery Johnson, spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Human Services.

Over the course of the next fiscal year, which started July 1, some $210 million in stimulus funds is expected to flow through the Tennessee economy because of the increase in food stamps, she said.

Anti-hunger advocates don't expect recipients to start purchasing caviar and Perrier now that they have more money.

"I think the impact is probably that it's going to help people buy more food," said Brian Zralek, executive director of Manna Inc., a Nashville anti-hunger group.

For Diaz, who is five months pregnant, this means less anxiety about being able to feed her family all month long. Indeed, benefit amounts have not kept pace with the cost of groceries and needed to be increased anyway, said Richard Dobbs, policy director for food stamps at DHS.

"It's really helped," Diaz said. "They needed to do something."

At the same time, though, it's not going to help her buy a new car or pay her rent, she said. The worsening economy, plus a bit of bad luck, has made it increasingly difficult for the young mother to make ends meet.

She had been working with her mother and sister in a cleaning business, but as the economy took a downward turn, they lost clients. After her car was wrecked recently, she's had no regular transportation to get to the clients they have left.

"Things are still hard," Diaz said.

A second stimulus

Diaz isn't the only one feeling the limitations of President Barack Obama's $787 billion stimulus package approved in February. There is already talk of a second stimulus even as Republicans criticize the current package for not working and failing to create jobs.

Enrollment in the food stamp program, which was recently renamed the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, has been rising in Tennessee as layoffs mount and the Tennessee unemployment rate climbed above 10 percent in May.

While the aim is to help poor families weather the recession, they likely would have gotten the same increase in October, when the federal government usually applies a cost-of-living adjustment anyway, Dobbs said. Because of the April increase, there won't be another increase this year, he said.

At the same time, though, he sees the higher payments as a way to help protect the jobs of cashiers and shelf stockers. And, "the more benefit we provide to (recipients) to purchase food, that frees up more income to pay rental expenses or utility bills or medical bills," Dobbs said.

Many grocers, though, have not noticed the extra injection of money into the economy and said it may take more time.

"The initial thought is that they haven't seen a direct impact from the food stamp increase," said Jarron Springer, president of the Tennessee Grocers and Convenience Store Association.

Christy Davis, a clerk with Johnny Howell Produce at the Nashville Farmers Market, said she's not noticed any change now that her food stamp customers have more to spend. About one-third of sales of Howell's farm-fresh produce are paid through food stamps, she said.

At the Madison H.G. Hill, business is up, but not so much from higher food stamp payments, said owner Todd Reese. "More people are going to the grocery store instead of eating out," he said.

Pump primer

Some economists credit an increase in food stamp amounts — along with unemployment benefits — as being the most effective way to prime the economy's pump.

"People who receive these benefits are very hard-pressed and will spend any financial aid they receive within a few weeks," wrote Mark Zandi, an economist with Moody's Economy.com, in a 2008 report. "These programs are also already operating, and a benefit increase can be quickly delivered to recipients."

Infrastructure spending, no matter how "shovel-ready" the projects, won't help the economy so quickly, Zandi wrote in a forecast earlier this year.

Critics, though, say higher food stamp payments won't help the economy grow faster and instead will expand welfare spending to unaffordable levels.

"Every dollar Congress hands out from food stamps must be taxed or borrowed from someone else," said Brian Riedl, a senior federal budget analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation, a critic of the stimulus package.

"You're taking water out of one side of the pool and dumping it into another side of the pool, but you haven't raised the water level."

Raising food stamp payments may be a humane policy, Riedl said, "but that doesn't mean you're growing the economy any faster."

It's perfectly fair to say you don't want people to starve, Riedl said, and that's what officials should use as a line of argument instead of claiming that the increase in food stamp payments will stimulate economic growth.

For Makeesha Ayodele, 30, it all comes down to feeding her two children, ages 10 and 4.

At $384 a month, she usually pitched in an extra $100 of her own money to keep her family fed.

When her payment rose to $440 in April, she could use some of that extra hundred bucks "to help pay part of my rent and keep the cell phone on," said Ayodele, who was back at the Nashville food stamps office last week trying to get back on the program after losing her benefits in May.

Contact Bonna Johnson at 615-726-5990 or bjohnson@tennessean.com.****

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