Dog Brothers Public Forum
Return To Homepage
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
October 09, 2015, 12:50:37 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Search:     Advanced search
Welcome to the Dog Brothers Public Forum.
88929 Posts in 2287 Topics by 1080 Members
Latest Member: Tedbo
* Home Help Search Login Register
  Show Posts
Pages: 1 ... 77 78 [79] 80 81 ... 93
3901  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The evil empire was us.The world according.2.Jeff Sachs on: May 19, 2009, 02:23:08 PM
Feingold Blocks Bill to Honor Reagan
By Jackie Kucinich
Roll Call Staff
May 19, 2009, 12 a.m.
Republicans are trying to pass legislation in the next few weeks to kick off the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s birth, and the only hurdle appears to be Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), who is refusing to let the Senate vote on the bill.

Yesterday I was at a commencement at Lehigh and the speaker was Jeff Sachs the ultra liberal author economist.

He spoke about world poverty and world climate change.  Fair enough. Then he got political.  Jimmy Carter started to promote solar unitl Reagan came along and mocked Carter.   Reagan then elevated our military presence in the Persian Gulf to open up the oil spigets that sent us on the planetary suicidal mission of destroying our planet, increasing war in the middle east, keeping us energy dependent all the while destroying hopes for world peace, the end of starvation, ignorance, and poverty, through US imperialism and world domination.

He implied we thus had Somalia, drought and the persistance of all the ills of the world and our collision course with the world population explosion was all due to Reagan's wrong headed theories. So for the last thirty years we were on the wrong trajectory.
The whole concept of "country" and culture is Midieval(sp?).

These are the kinds of people running America today.
To them, Reagan is a destroyer of worlds.


3902  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: May 19, 2009, 09:16:22 AM
JDN - that's it in a nutshell.  Speaking of vitual colonoscopy the imaging lobbyists who were set to make a bundle doing this test were of course outraged it was not approved for reimbursement by Medicare.  Of course it is all in the goal of better patient care.
And of course the gastroenterologist who may (or may not) lose out were delighted in the name of patient care that it was not approved.  Who does one believe?
Bottom line your right.  We either ration care, or we don't provide care to all, or/and we go broke.

And who does Gottlieb work for now?

"Medicare Shoots Down Virtual Colonoscopy Reimbursement (GE, SI)
Posted: May 12, 2009 at 4:26 pm

Today was a big day for the world of colonoscopies and the battle in detecting colon cancer and polyps.  The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a final decision that Medicare would not cover the reimbursement for virtual colonoscopies.  This is a blow for the medical imaging sector, particularly for leaders such as General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) and Siemens AG (NYSE: SI).  This is also a blow in the battle for detecting of polyps or early stages of colon cancer.

The CMS noted in its memo, “The evidence is inadequate to conclude that CT colonography is an appropriate colorectal cancer screening test….  CT colonography for colorectal cancer screening remains noncovered.”

Whether you have to get a colonoscopy done the old fashioned way or virtually it still requires the material you have to consume to clear out the bowels.  The difference of a virtual or traditional method is rather simple.  The CT machine scan is a relatively non-invasive procedure besides an ingestion of a chemical marker and requires no real sedation followed by a CT/MRI scan.  For the traditional exam, sedation is required and a fiber optic camera on a flexible tube is inserted through the anus and snaked up all the way through your intestine.  Guess which one is more desirable if you are the patient.

Detecting colon cancer while it is a mere polyp or in the very early stages is far better from a cost-basis, a quality of life basis, and on the basis of what is a better use of the medical system.  The belief is that there would be many more colonoscopies conducted if this was approved in a virtual manner, and in theory much fewer colon cancer cases.  The downside to the virtual colonoscopy is that if polyps (or worse are detected, then a traditional colonoscopy and then whatever procedure would be required anyhow.

This is perhaps one of the first tests of what may or may not be coming down the pipe with the new healthcare system, yet this decision may be independent of any of the comparisons between the healthcare system of today versus the system of tomorrow.  Some form of universal healthcare is much more likely than ever.  That will be a welcome wagon for the army of uninsured or underinsured Americans.  For the rest of us we all really want to know what the new system will really be, and what sort of service we can expect.

When it comes to old fashioned colonoscopies versus the virtual colonoscopies, the CMS just said “Up Yours!”… Quite literally in this case."

3903  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: May 18, 2009, 07:43:17 PM
I really don't have answers and was not playing coy.  It is that complicated.  Gottlieb it seems to me makes a lot of assumptions.
Some of his solutions are experimental.
Some doctors would do better if more people were covered, not worse.
I guess it depends on the saturation of doctors in the area.
Not many doctors could survive on cash only practices. No one would show up.
Or this one, Medicare's incentives are wrong.  Payments increase for those who stay sick.
Well of course.  The more one's legal problems persist the more one pays lawyers.  The more one's house falls apart the more we spend fixing it.
Were talking chronic progressives diseases.  Not problems that can be fixed forever in most instances.
Or pay based on outcomes?  Every human being and every situation is unique.

What about this one:

"The Burr-Coburn legislation notes that roughly 75 percent of American health-care expenditures go toward the treatment of five chronic but “largely preventable” diseases, and it would give states new incentives to lower the rates of these diseases. The bill would boost health-education efforts."

So is this implying if we live healthier 75% of health care costs could go away?

What kind of a statement is this?

Has this guy ever heard of aging?

I don't know.  The more I read about opinions on what should be done the more I think no one has a clue.

3904  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: May 15, 2009, 10:26:59 AM
The guy who is applauding and with Dem houses is responsible for the largest speding bills in our hsitory says this and the MSM (except for fox and talk radio) sits back and lets him get away with this:

****By Roger Runningen and Hans Nichols

May 14 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama, calling current deficit spending “unsustainable,” warned of skyrocketing interest rates for consumers if the U.S. continues to finance government by borrowing from other countries.

“We can’t keep on just borrowing from China,” Obama said at a town-hall meeting in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, outside Albuquerque. “We have to pay interest on that debt, and that means we are mortgaging our children’s future with more and more debt.”

Holders of U.S. debt will eventually “get tired” of buying it, causing interest rates on everything from auto loans to home mortgages to increase, Obama said. “It will have a dampening effect on our economy.”

Earlier this week, the Obama administration revised its own budget estimates and raised the projected deficit for this year to a record $1.84 trillion, up 5 percent from the February estimate. The revision for the 2010 fiscal year estimated the deficit at $1.26 trillion, up 7.4 percent from the February figure. The White House Office of Management and Budget also projected next year’s budget will end up at $3.59 trillion, compared with the $3.55 trillion it estimated previously.

Two weeks ago, the president proposed $17 billion in budget cuts, with plans to eliminate or reduce 121 federal programs. Republicans ridiculed the amount, saying that it represented one-half of 1 percent of the entire budget. They noted that Obama is seeking an $81 billion increase in other spending.

Entitlement Programs

In his New Mexico appearance, the president pledged to work with Congress to shore up entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare. He also said he was confident that the House and Senate would pass health-care overhaul bills by August.

“Most of what is driving us into debt is health care, so we have to drive down costs,” he said.

Obama prodded Congress to pass restrictions on credit-card issuers, saying consumers need “strong and reliable” protection from unfair practices and hidden fees.

“It’s time for reform that’s built on transparency, accountability, and mutual responsibility, values fundamental to the new foundation we seek to build for our economy,” the president said.

Obama called on Congress to send to him by May 25 a bill that would clamp down on what he says are sudden rate increases, unfair penalties and hidden fees. He also wants the measure to strengthen monitoring of credit-card companies.

House Bill

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the credit-card bill last month after adding a provision requiring banks to apply consumers’ payments to balances with the highest interest rates first. The bill also imposes limits on card interest rates and fees.

The Senate continued debating its version of the bill today. It would require credit-card companies to give 45 days’ notice before increasing an interest rate. It would prohibit retroactive rate increases on existing balances unless a consumer was 60 days late with a payment.

The president said Americans have been hooked on their credit cards and share some blame for the current system. “We have been complicit in these problems,” he said. “We have to change how we operate. These practices have only grown worse in the midst of this recession.”

The American Bankers Association, which represents card issuers, has warned lawmakers and the Obama administration against taking punitive action or setting requirements that are too stringent. Doing so, the lobby group says, would limit consumer credit and worsen a credit crunch.

Obama said that restrictions “shouldn’t diminish consumers’ access to credit.”

Uncollectible Debt

Uncollectible credit-card debt rose to 8.82 percent in February, the most in the 20 years that Moody’s Investors Service Inc. has kept records. Lawmakers have said they’re under increasing pressure from constituents to respond to rising interest rates and abrupt changes to consumers’ accounts.

Obama held a White House meeting last month with executives from the credit-card industry, including representatives from Bank of America Corp. and American Express Co. Afterward, he told reporters that credit-card issuers should be prohibited from imposing “unfair” rate increases on consumers and should offer the public credit terms that are easier to understand.

“The days of any time, any increase, anything goes -- rate hike, late fees -- that must end,” Obama said today at Rio Rancho High School. We’re going to require clarity and transparency from now on.”

He also said the steps he has taken to stimulate the economy and start the debate on overhauling the health-care system are beginning to take effect.

‘Beginning to Turn’

“We’ve got a long way to go before we put this recession behind us,” Obama said. “But we do know that the gears of our economy, our economic engine, are slowly beginning to turn.”

Taking questions from the audience, Obama repeated his stance that he wants legislation to overhaul the health-care system finished before the end of the year, saying it is vital to the economy.

Health-care costs are driving up the nation’s debt and burdening entitlement programs such as Medicare, the government- run insurance program for those 65 and older and the disabled.

The programs’ trustees reported May 13 that the Social Security trust fund will run out of assets in 2037, four years sooner than forecast, and Medicare’s hospital fund will run dry by 2017, two years earlier than predicted a year ago.****
3905  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: May 15, 2009, 10:19:23 AM
I disagree with most of this.
3906  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / FYI, Another forgotten plague on: May 13, 2009, 07:49:47 PM
"the Little Ice Age kicked off with the Great Famine of 1315.  Crops failed due to cold temperatures and incessant rain.  Desperate and starving, parents ate their children, and people dug up corpses from graves for food.  In jails, inmates instantly set upon new prisoners and ate them alive.

The Great Famine was followed by the Black Death, the greatest disaster ever to hit the human race"

While no one will ever now for sure of course, an earlier plague could have been evern worse.  Know as the plague of Justinian, a Byzantine emperor who were it not for this plague that killed him and perhaps 100 million others might have actually revived the Roman empire between 500 and 600 AD (This was on I think "Lost Worlds" an interesting cable science show):

****Plague of Justinian
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The Plague of Justinian was a pandemic that afflicted the Byzantine Empire, including its capital Constantinople, in the years 541–542 AD. The most commonly accepted cause of the pandemic is bubonic plague, which later became infamous for either causing or contributing to the Black Death of the 14th century. Its social and cultural impact is comparable to that of the Black Death. In the views of 6th century Western historians, it was nearly worldwide in scope, striking central and south Asia, North Africa and Arabia, and Europe as far north as Denmark and as far west as Ireland. The plague would return with each generation throughout the Mediterranean basin until about 750. The plague would also have a major impact on the future course of European history. Modern historians named it after the Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian I, who was in power at the time and himself contracted the disease.
The outbreak may have originated in Ethiopia or Egypt and moved northward until it reached metropolitan Constantinople. The city imported massive amounts of grain to feed its citizens—mostly from Egypt—and grain ships may have been the original source of contagion, with the massive public granaries nurturing the rat and flea population.

The Byzantine historian Procopius records that, at its peak, the plague was killing 10,000 people in Constantinople every day, although the accuracy of this figure is in question and the true number will probably never be known for sure; what is known is that there was no room to bury the dead, and bodies were being left stacked in the open. The Byzantine Emperor Justinian I ensured that new legislation was swiftly enacted so as to deal more efficiently with the glut of inheritance suits being brought as a result of the plague deaths (Moorhead, J., 1994).

Justinian had expended huge amounts of money for wars against the Vandals in the Carthage region and the Ostrogoth Kingdom of Italy. He had also dedicated significant funds to the construction of great churches like the Hagia Sophia. Amidst these great expenditures, the plague's effects on tax revenue were disastrous. As the plague spread to port cities around the Mediterranean, it gave the struggling Goths new opportunities in their conflict with Constantinople. The plague weakened the Byzantine Empire at the critical point at which Justinian's armies had nearly wholly retaken Italy and could have credibly reformed the Western Roman Empire. It also may have contributed to the success of the Arabs a few generations later in the Byzantine-Arab Wars.[1]

The long term effects on European and Christian history were enormous. Justinian's gambit was ultimately unsuccessful. The overextended troops could not hold on. When the plague subsided, they were able to retake Italy but not to move further north. They held it for the remainder of Justinian's life, but the empire quickly lost it after he died. Italy was decimated by war and fragmented for centuries as the Lombard tribes invaded the north.
Ancient historians did not hold to modern standards of fact-checking or numerical accuracy. The actual number of deaths will always be uncertain. Modern scholars believe that the plague killed up to 5,000 people per day in Constantinople at the peak of the pandemic. It ultimately killed perhaps 40% of the city's inhabitants. The initial plague went on to destroy up to a quarter of the human population of the eastern Mediterranean. New, frequent waves of the plague continued to strike throughout the 6th, 7th and 8th centuries AD, often more localized and less virulent. It is estimated that the Plague of Justinian killed as many as 100 million people across the world.[2][3] Some historians such as Josiah C. Russell (1958) have suggested a total European population loss of 50 to 60% between 541 and 700.[4]

After 750, major epidemic diseases would not appear again in Europe until the Black Death of the 14th century.****
3907  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: May 13, 2009, 07:35:16 PM
Frankly I don't believe for a second that BO changed course on the relese of the alleged torture pictures because he was concerned about the safety of our troops.  It seems far more likely to me this was his excuse to back out because of the exposure it would lead to his buddy liberal dems who knew and supported enhanced interrogation techniques from day one.

No question BO was left with a mess.  I think he is turning a mess into a disaster.
Now if only Repubs can groom some smart communicators.
I cannot be convinced though that simply saying less taxes, get out of the way and let the chips fall where they may is going to attract new people away from a party that promises everything for nothing.

3908  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / fascinating.eom on: May 13, 2009, 07:13:57 PM
3909  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Anti-semitism & Jews on: May 12, 2009, 12:37:05 PM
With regards to Buchanan he has also been supporter of Israel's existence.
I can't seem to find any online evidence of him respoding to these criticisms though there is a lot about his comments over the years but more in the past (pre2000).  I would like to hear him respond now about it.

JDN's post about the difference with pointing out a truth that most studio heads in Hollywood may be Jewish is not the same as being anti semitic IMO.

As a Jew I am also comfortable saying that many Jews are the architects behind the big liberal Democrat machines such as the Clinton and Bama expresses.

I am dismayed that my fellow Jews think this is smart and so good for this country.
I've wanted but never took the time to ask radio host Mark Levin why he thinks this is so.
Being a strict Jewish conservative (not common) I would be interested in his take.
We have discussed this on this forum before and I have my theories.

I don't hate liberal Jews for being Jewish but I do hate that liberal Jews think that way. 
There is no changing their minds. 

One can be critical of Israel and or that Jews put Israel before America without being anti semitic.  But it is hard to be clear of motives of such ciritics.  And OTOHI can understand their sensitivities.   I mean Jews have for centuries been the object of oppression.  It often started as simple criticism.  Later to pogrums, inquisitions, and genocide.   
3910  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: May 12, 2009, 10:51:45 AM
"and limit government management over what are inherently personal transactions between doctors and patients"

One other thought.

Ther real question is thus should private insurance carriers limit care or government?

That is the "to be or not to be question" at the bottom line.

So who would one rather have limiting or controlling care?  Private insurance administrators or government bureaucrats?

Personally I don't have a fondness for either.
3911  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: May 12, 2009, 08:59:53 AM
Isn't this the same Gottleib who wrote a biotech newsletter for Gilder?

"Among the promising examples of private innovation in health-care delivery: In Pennsylvania, the Geisinger Clinic's "warranty" program, where providers take financial responsibility for the entire episode of care;"

This I want nothing to do with.  Do you want your doctor deciding between ordering more care or saving him/herself money at every turn?   This "option" is something that I am reading more and more about and its not a good idea.

"or the experience of the Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Virginia, where doctors are paid more for delivering better outcomes."  This is too general a statement.  If he means better BP control, better diabetes control - mabye.

"There are plenty of alternatives to Mr. Obama's plan that expand coverage to the uninsured, give them the chance to buy private coverage like Congress enjoys, and limit government management over what are inherently personal transactions between doctors and patients."

Why in the part above he points to ways that increase insurance carriers management between doctors and patients.  So it winds up being wealthier people can afford to pay off the carriers to not intrude into that relationship.

"Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D., N.Y.) has introduced a bipartisan measure, the Small Business Cooperative for Healthcare Options to Improve Coverage for Employees (Choice) Act of 2009, that would make it cheaper and easier for small employers to offer health insurance. Mr. Obama would also get bipartisan compromise on premium support for people priced out of insurance to give them a wider range of choices. This could be modeled after the Medicare drug benefit, which relies on competition between private plans to increase choices and hold down costs. It could be funded, in part, through tax credits targeted to lower-income Americans."

I don't know.  Lower income Americans already pay little in taxes.  Gottleib actually thinks this will make it easier and cheaper for Small Business to pay for employee health care?  Tax credits to these people?  Isn't the tax code already too complicated?

Folks, Gottlieb makes it sound like its so simple and the answers are staring us in the face.
There really is only one answer that is staring me in the face.  You want to hold down costs, you want to add tens of millions of people to the roles.  Than we have to ration care.   There is no other answer.  Paying providers based on "outcomes" is often a code word for this folks.  It is based on large populations, not an individuals unique medical situation.  You will have liberals in DC and Boston, and New Haven deciding what is  best and that will become the dictum. 
Yes waste can be squeezed out of the system but it will never do enough of what the politians are saying it will without significant rationing of care. 
3912  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / All the interst groups pledge to cut costs. on: May 11, 2009, 12:12:05 PM
Oh really?  How?
It sounds like special interest group panic at the thought of BO in charge.
All weird to me:

Obama lauds industry offer to contain health costs
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama has praised health industry groups for coming forward with an offer to reduce the growth of spending by $2 trillion a year to overhaul the system.

Obama appeared at the White House with an array of industry figures, including union representatives, and called it the occasion "historic."

Industry figures pledged that they would voluntarily slow their rate increases over the next 10 years.

Obama said the step the industry took Monday must be carried out as part of "a broader effort" to change the health care system, keep costs under control and provide health insurance for the some 46 million Americans who do not now have it.

He said, "I will not rest until the dream of health care reform is achieved in the United States of America."

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Health industry groups are promising to reduce the growth of spending by $2 trillion over 10 years by improving coordination, focusing on efficiency and embracing better technology and regulatory reform.

Hospitals, insurance companies, drug makers and doctors have told President Barack Obama in a letter that they'll voluntarily slow their rate increases in coming years. It's a move that government economists say would create breathing room to help provide health insurance to an estimated 50 million Americans who now do not have it.

The industry letter released Monday said "these and other reforms will make our health care system stronger and more sustainable."

It's a change from the time in the early 1990s when then-President Bill Clinton took on health care reform and industry leaders fought back.

3913  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Time to long term invest in the Rep. party? on: May 10, 2009, 02:33:52 PM
I recall a Dem pundit saying it was time to short Sarah Palin after her approval ratings soared after the Rep convention.
He was right.
I don't know if it is yet time to short Dems but I feel it is time to start ling term investment with Republicans.  When we start hearing talk about how the party is finished it is probably time to invest.

Yet the reps have alot of work to do to get it right and to work to appeal to the changing demographics.  They also need to find the right spokespeople.  Out of the darkness someone will emerge.  How about a Latino?
3914  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / He was just an "aid" who was acting on his own accord on: May 10, 2009, 02:29:50 PM
this was meant for the politics thread and inadvertently got misplaced:
    He was just an "aid" who was acting on his own accord
« on: May 09, 2009, 08:25:52 AM » 

About the White House Military Office whose director, excuse me, I mean "aid", Loius Caldera, reportedly acting without any knowledge from anyone higher up ordered the Airforce One fly over of NYC.  He is taking the fall.  He will probably get another cushy consulting job somewhere to go away, resign, and be quiet:

The White House Military Office (WHMO) provides military support for White House functions, including food service, Presidential transportation, medical support and emergency medical services, and hospitality services. The office, led by WHMO Director Louis Caldera, oversees policy related to WHMO functions and Department of Defense assets and ensures that White House requirements are met with the highest standards of quality. The WHMO Director oversees all military operations aboard Air Force One on Presidential missions worldwide. The Deputy Director of the White House Military Office focuses primarily on the day-to-day support of the WHMO.

The WHMO's operational units are the most visible part of the WHMO's support to the President. The WHMO units include the White House Communications Agency, Presidential Airlift Group, White House Medical Unit, Camp David, Marine Helicopter Squadron One, Presidential Food Service, and the White House Transportation Agency. To assure proper coordination and integration, the WHMO also includes support elements such as operations; policy, plans, and requirements; information and technology management; financial management and comptroller; WHMO counsel; and security. Together, WHMO entities provide essential service to the President and help maintain the continuity of the Presidency.
3915  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / He was just an "aid" who was acting on his own accord on: May 09, 2009, 10:25:52 AM
About the White House Military Office whose director, excuse me, I mean "aid", Loius Caldera, reportedly acting without any knowledge from anyone higher up ordered the Airforce One fly over of NYC.  He is taking the fall.  He will probably get another cushy consulting job somewhere to go away, resign, and be quiet:

The White House Military Office (WHMO) provides military support for White House functions, including food service, Presidential transportation, medical support and emergency medical services, and hospitality services. The office, led by WHMO Director Louis Caldera, oversees policy related to WHMO functions and Department of Defense assets and ensures that White House requirements are met with the highest standards of quality. The WHMO Director oversees all military operations aboard Air Force One on Presidential missions worldwide. The Deputy Director of the White House Military Office focuses primarily on the day-to-day support of the WHMO.

The WHMO's operational units are the most visible part of the WHMO's support to the President. The WHMO units include the White House Communications Agency, Presidential Airlift Group, White House Medical Unit, Camp David, Marine Helicopter Squadron One, Presidential Food Service, and the White House Transportation Agency. To assure proper coordination and integration, the WHMO also includes support elements such as operations; policy, plans, and requirements; information and technology management; financial management and comptroller; WHMO counsel; and security. Together, WHMO entities provide essential service to the President and help maintain the continuity of the Presidency.
3916  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: May 09, 2009, 09:25:19 AM
"Justice Department officials are not likely to recommend criminal charges against the three Bush administration lawyers who the wrote the memos approving the interrogation methods, but two could face disciplinary action from their state bar associations."

Of course.  This was never about justice.  It was never about morality.  It was just to *get* Republicans.

Will Pelosi be held accountable?

3917  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The extreme Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: May 07, 2009, 07:44:09 PM
O'Reilly warned GB that the left would go after him with a vengence.  And it will get personal and include his family.  Like they are doing with Sarah Palin's daughter.

Anyway I don't know whether to laugh or cry when I read this:

"The Obama administration today unveiled program details of a $3.4 trillion federal budget for the fiscal year beginning in October, a proposal that includes substantial increases for a number of domestic priorities as well as a plan to trim or eliminate 121 programs for a savings of $17 billion."

Then says this:

"We can no longer afford to spend as if deficits don't matter and waste is not our problem," he said. "We can no longer afford to leave the hard choices for the next budget, the next administration -- or the next generation."

The lack of logic is (beyond) mind boggling and yet the MSM merrily trumpets his horn along for the ride.
3918  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: May 07, 2009, 02:29:41 PM
Dick Morris has become my favorite opinion guy along with Dennis Miller.  I guess because he says what I want to hear.

Who knows if he is right but he predicts the crash of BO.  Unfortunately we will all go down with him while he gambles:

By Dick Morris 05.6.2009 Publish on on May 5, 2009

President Obama’s vision of the future is, apparently, an economy guided, steered and — when the occasion demands — commanded by the federal government. Some of the companies will remain private. Washington will take others over. But all will look to the White House, as to an orchestra conductor, for signals as to how and when and where to proceed.

This summary is the vision that emerges from the Chrysler bailout.

Whether or not one believes the claims of attorney Thomas Lauria (I do) that the investment bank Perella Weinberg Partners was strong-armed by the administration, the fact remains that the four firms that accepted the piddling offer of 29 cents on the dollar are all awash in Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) money.

Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and JPMorgan Chase all dutifully approved the offer from Washington, while Perella Weinberg reportedly held out for 50 cents. Did the combined $90 billion the four compliant firms owed Washington in TARP funds make a difference in their passive acquiescence? You bet it did.

They shouldn’t have said yes. Clearly, Obama was not about to pull the trigger, which would have sent tens of thousands of autoworkers straight into unemployment. Politically, he would have had no choice but to cough up the $4.5 billion loan the feds just gave Chrysler with or without a debt settlement. The political pressures that have always operated on this Democratic president are still there and still in play.

Knowing the ultimate vulnerability of the administration position, any investment bank that was looking out for its clients would have demanded more than 29 cents. But Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and JPMorgan Chase all had a higher calling — they had to appease King Barack I. To its credit, Perella Weinberg put its investors first.

But this little vignette shows exactly what the new rules of the game will be under this administration. It won’t be Soviet-style socialism or Reaganesque capitalism. The system will more resemble the Japanese arrangement where MITI, the Ministry of Trade and Industry, informally guided companies and told them what to do. In Japan, a nod usually suffices to command. In the United States, one has to use a hammer. But the result will be the same: compliant capitalism.

Companies will not look out for their shareholders or their employees or even their customers so much as watch the smoke signals from Washington to decide what to do. The markets won’t control decisions. Washington will.

The same balance of government control and nominal private ownership is evident in the mortgage rescue plan and the efforts to rekindle consumer lending. It will be manifest in the cap-and-trade legislation and in the priority that the administration will accord to green lending and job creation.

The strong-arming that obviously led up to the Chrysler deal will also be typical of the Obama industrial policy. When the chips are down, JFK’s pressure on U.S. Steel to lower its prices in 1962 will be the model for the Obama years. While terrorists need not fear any violation of their constitutional rights, CEOs of Fortune 500 companies will not be so fortunate.

At the core of the new policy will be the simple assumption that Washington knows best.

But it doesn’t. The stagnation of the Japanese economy in the past 20 years is eloquent testimony to the fact that government usually gets it wrong. Sometimes it makes the wrong decision because it fails to anticipate the market (as Japan did when it downplayed laptop computers and stressed mainframes). More often (as is normal in Japan), it is so in the thrall of special interests that it ends up articulating a consensus of those who would divide up the pie among them.

One way or another, the government usually runs the economy into the ground, as it will under King Barack I.

3919  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: May 06, 2009, 01:49:12 PM
I am not an expert on cancer research but from what I have read about ongoing research over the years suggests that Specker's remarks are no less ridiculous, absurd, and downright stupid.

There has been more money spent on cancer research than anything as far as I know.

Treating much less curing cancer is simply *that complex* and *that challenging*.  More dollars he implies?  What/who do you throw more dollars to?  There are only so many researchers.  There are only so many avenues that are discovered to explore at any given time.  There is only so much we can learn at a time. It takes *years* if not decades of study to prove anything one way or the other.  Why we haven't even been able to prove if doing a prostate screening blood tes (PSA) is beneficial or harmful after many years of trying to figure it out!

I am not clear how much of the confusion is based on *misunderstanding* by the media, politicians, public, etc.  I am not sure how much of it is grandstanding by scientists themselves who are no less interested in money, politics, power, fame, other agendas than the rest of humanity.  don't let the fact that they research cancer fool you into thinking they are all so noble and pure.  Quite the contrary.  Some of stories I have heard from researchers are not pretty with regards to pettiness.

I am really not sure.  But taken on the face of it, Spector's comments seem totally irresponsible.

As for your two ideas:

***Two ideas for government involvement in research:  a) offer rewards for results instead of funding for study, or b) consider buying up the best patents and then making 'the cures' available everywhere for free, a public good.****

I think the first is a bad idea because most research ends in failure.  *At least* to the tune of 90%.  So I think that will stiffle a lot of research.   Who wants to pay for something that has unusually high risk? 

As to the second, I think it is an *excellent* idea.

Just my two cents.


3920  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rest in Peace on: May 04, 2009, 10:33:06 AM
I am curious as to what you think about this comment from Spector who IMO ranks up there with Benedict Arnold and is proving himself to be a selfish disgrace:

****Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Democrat, said part of the reason that he left the Republican Party last week was disillusionment with its health-care priorities, and suggested that had the Republicans taken a more moderate track, Jack Kemp may have won his battle with cancer.

Mr. Specter, responding to a question from CBS' Bob Schieffer over whether he had let down Pennsylvanians who wanted a Republican to represent them, said he thought his priorities were more in line with those of the Democrats.

"Well, I was sorry to disappoint many people. Frankly, I was disappointed that the Republican Party didn't want me as their candidate," Mr. Specter said on "Face the Nation." "But as a matter of principle, I'm becoming much more comfortable with the Democrats' approach. And one of the items that I'm working on, Bob, is funding for medical research."
Mr. Specter continued: "If we had pursued what President Nixon declared in 1970 as the war on cancer, we would have cured many strains. I think Jack Kemp would be alive today. And that research has saved or prolonged many lives, including mine."

Mr. Kemp died Saturday of cancer. He had been the running mate of 1996 Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole.****
3921  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Epidemics: Bird Flu, TB, etc on: May 02, 2009, 09:29:59 AM
Just a thought.  I wonder if I should believe the new and reduced number of flu deaths in Mexico.
It seems reasonable to question the motives and thus the validity of the *new* estimates of the the death toll from flu.
Mexico's economy is being hurt by this whole thing.  We hear corruption is rampant.  So now I hear that oh, its not nearly as bad as we thought.  Well is it or not?  I don't know what to believe.

****Lower Mexico flu death toll heartens nervous world 02 May 2009 12:46:21 GMT
Source: Reuters
 (For full coverage of the flu outbreak, click [nFLU])

* Mexico cuts suspected flu death toll to up to 101

* WHO says flu spans 15 countries, 615 people infected

* U.S. responding aggressively to flu outbreak-Obama

* China cancels Mexico flights, Hong Kong seals off hotel

(Adds Obama comments)

By Catherine Bremer

MEXICO CITY, May 2 (Reuters) - New laboratory data showed fewer people have died in Mexico than first thought from a new influenza strain, a glint of good news for a world rattled by the threat of a flu pandemic.

Mexico cut its suspected death toll from the H1N1 flu to up to 101 from as many as 176, as dozens of test samples came back negative. Fewer patients with severe flu symptoms were also checking into hospitals, suggesting the infection rate of a flu that has spread to Europe and Asia was declining.

The World Health Organisation said on Saturday 15 countries have reported 615 infections with the new flu virus A-H1N1, widely known as swine flu [nL2430119].

Italy later confirmed its first case, a man in the Tuscany region who returned from Mexico on April 24. He has recovered.

Almost all infections outside Mexico have been mild. The only death in another country has been a Mexican toddler who was taken to the United States before he fell sick.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agreed the outbreak may not be as severe as it looked a few days ago, citing many mild cases that were not immediately noticed. [ID:nN01346626]

President Barack Obama said the United States was responding aggressively to the new flu strain [nN01348184].

He outlined steps his administration was taking to address the virus, including school closures, and said antivirals were being distributed to states where they may be needed and new stockpiles had been ordered.

For Mexicans -- spending a second weekend stuck indoors with stores and businesses shuttered across the country and the capital, Mexico City, devoid of its lively restaurants, bars, cinemas and museums -- the data is cheering.

Health Minister Jose Angel Cordova acknowledged the numbers were encouraging but cautioned it was too early to say Mexico had control of the flu.

"For now it's unpredictable," Cordova said late on Friday. "We need more days to see how it behaves and whether there is really a sustained decline."

The new virus is only the third infectious disease experts regard as having pandemic potential in the past 10 years.

It has world health experts racing to find a vaccine and is wreaking havoc with a travel industry that flies hundreds of thousands of people to and from Mexico each week. [ID:nNN0129623]

China suspended flights to Mexico after Hong Kong authorities on Friday confirmed a Mexican man who flew via the Chinese mainland was infected with the flu strain.


Police in surgical masks quarantined 200 guests and 100 staff inside a Hong Kong hotel where the Mexican, 25, had been staying, saying they would be confined for a week. [ID:nT31820]

"They said everybody needed to go back to their rooms. I don't want to go to my room because I want to be out," an Australian man at the hotel told a TV reporter by telephone.

Hong Kong was badly hit by the SARS virus in 2003 and has had many episodes of H5N1 bird flu for more than a decade.

The Asian Development Bank said it was prepared to provide assistance to countries in the region to cope with the possible spread of flu, as it did during the SARS outbreak. [nJAK469756]

Several European countries have confirmed cases of the virus. The United States has been hit with 145 cases in 22 states. [ID:nN01348184]

Mexico has released a confusing batch of flu data in recent days but public hospitals have noted a steady drop in patients turning up with fevers, suggesting the infection rate may be declining as the nation dons face masks and hand gel.

"There are very few deaths worldwide," said Marcelo Musi, a salesman shopping for vegetables in Mexico City, where residents weary of masks, hand sanitizers and frightening headlines clutched at signs of an end to the crisis. "If there are no more cases, they say things will get better."

President Felipe Calderon ordered non-essential businesses to close for five days from Friday, extending a three-day holiday weekend over Monday and Tuesday. [ID:nN01340553]

Analysts say the move will further dent negative economic growth this year.

Countless families were devastated at having their long weekend ruined as restaurants, bars, playgrounds and parks that hold outdoor "cumbia" dances all stayed closed.

Cordova said of 159 files on suspected flu deaths, tests showed 58 died of other causes. He said 16 deaths are confirmed as caused by the H1N1 flu and 85 are being tested. (Additional reporting by Louise Egan and Anahi Rama and Tan Ee Lyn in Hong Kong, Laura MacInnis in Geneva, Silvia Aloisi in Rome; Editing by Janet Lawrence)****
3922  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: May 02, 2009, 08:26:22 AM
"We will stop 'intensive interrogations' in order to impress the Arab-street with our civility"

I think that is BO's delusion.
But for many liberals especially the likes of MSNBC it is all about getting the Repubs and beating them mercilessly.  For them it is politics not morality.
3923  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: May 01, 2009, 11:44:37 AM
BO has been succesful at hiding from and fooling the majority of Americans into thinking he doesn't  hate America and on his views that *America is the enemy* not the true enemies.

You know one almost has to start wondering if he works for our enemies.

He couldn't be a greater ally to them.

But the Cans still have no better alternative and most Americans are happy to go on the dole and be bought off apparantly - or so they think - until our taxes start to sky rocket.  the taxes will be hidden as best as possible. 
3924  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: April 30, 2009, 05:44:16 PM
When I see stuff like this all I can think of how exhausting this all is.  I just say enough already.  I am picturing this dumb stupid little broad in my mind.  Where do they grow liberals like this I ask? ("thrifty chicks"?):

 By Amy Hardin Turosak Amy Hardin Turosak – Thu Apr 30, 5:00 am ET
Denver – Thanks to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), I see that my serving of Honey Nut Cheerios has 110 calories. This, along with dozens of other data points on the box, helps me make educated choices to do right by my body. I'm ready to tackle the day as an informed consumer of food.

Wait! That box: What "ingredients" went into that? Ditto for the plastic liner and all those O's: How many "calories" did it take to manufacture them and then ship them to my table? What's the carbon footprint of my breakfast?

At the store, I can compare cereal carbohydrates but I can't compare how much they cost the planet. I'm not empowered to shop right by the health of the planet. I might as well put on a blindfold.

Americans need to broaden their understanding of energy and its cost. Nearly everything in our homes, from toasters to hair dryers, consumes energy (and emits pollution) from start to finish. But we don't think about that. We think that's the job of the energy companies. We turn down the thermostat and buy reusable bags at the grocery store, but that's about it.

Americans are voracious shoppers. We use more than our fair share of resources in this world. To embrace conservation, shouldn't we consider a product's carbon cost? Take appliances. Many come with an Energy Star rating. We all nod and feel good about it. But this label just shows the relative energy cost of ownership, not the absolute cost of manufacture. I wonder if it is confused with the car device OnStar; consumers may think washers have satellite connections offering emergency assistance for grass stains.

Think about all those products that companies dare to call "green." Unlike "organic," which is a federally regulated label, companies can affix "green" to just about anything, even petroleum-based plastic Easter eggs from China! Head slap. The manufacturers can't be trusted – they're colorblind. By "green," they must mean the color of money. Unless they start making edible sofas, this is beyond the FDA's scope, so who is going to settle this issue?

Misconceptions abound. Most runners don't think they have a negative environmental impact. The runner just runs, right? Hats off to Runner's World magazine for taking a hard look at this question in "The Runner's Footprint." The article showed that the carbon cost associated with a shoe's life cycle can be eye-popping. My husband is a runner. Runners don't like air pollution. So I know a shoe's carbon cost would weigh heavily on his choice.

If price and quality were equal, which widget would you buy – the one that cost 10,000 carbon points or 100? From jeans to washing machines, we need a common metric for the pollution costs that products incur during their life cycles. If we can list the nutritional value of a pickled egg, surely we can drive a healthier market and planet through system-cost comparison.

While we wait for that, we don't have to wait to be smarter shoppers. When we spend money on new products, we spend a great many carbon points. But when we buy repurposed goods at thrift stores, we spend close to zero carbon points. We have choices, but we need to be informed to make responsible ones.

Amy Hardin Turosak writes as Ms. Shopping Golightly at the Thrifty Chicks blog.
3925  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Some truths about flu on: April 30, 2009, 01:51:56 PM
This is an excellent book on the 1918-19 pandemic:

I wrote an article for a local newspaper on the 1918 pandemic when it was the 75th anniversary of it in 1993.

One thing I have not heard mentioned has to do with the fact that most people who died back then did not die of viral neumonia but of secondary bacterial pneumonia.

Indeed the reason it was even named the influenza epidemic was because pathologists early into it identified on smears the heamophilus influenza BACTERIA.  So influenza got it's name by mistake.  Of course in those days they could not see or had no way to even know what a virus was.

So most of those people similarly sick today would not have died because we now have antibiotics to cure them.

So the threat with that kind of virus is much less serious for those of us in the US then it was.  Maybe in the thousands but definitely not in the hundreds of thousands or millions in the US.

That said for other countries, in sub Sahara Africa, remote places in Asia, S. America where access to care is less robust the death rate for such a virus could be very high.

Additionally, the virus could mutate into something nver seen before with death rates much higher than say the estimated 5% in 1918 more akin to Ebola or Hanta viruses.

So I don't take the potential threat lightly.

Should we quarentine those coming from Mexico or prevent those from going?

Of course I am not a world expert but my feeling is that even trying to prevent the spread of influenza is just a fantasy.

It can't be done.

Even in 1918-19 before the advent of mass travel and migration the virus made its way to EVERY single corner of the world where there was humanity.

All the South sea Islands, Eskimos etc.  There was no place to hide.  There was no palce that was not hit.  None!

This is not trying to prevent a few cased of drug resistent TB.  You put armed military on the border with Mexico.  Forget it.
Influenza will get here if it is destined to.

Of course the politicians will always try to put blame on the other side.

3926  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / MSM: disinformation propaganda machine on: April 28, 2009, 12:25:19 PM
"Barack Obama is the second most reviled newbie president of the last forty years. A gallup survey today published in the Washington Times shows Obama to have an approval rating of just 56 per cent. The only president to have performed worse than that at the end of his first 100 days in office was Bill Clinton"

Is this stat true?  Wow!

Listening to the main stream media one would think BO is the *most beloved* Pres of all time after the first 100 days!
3927  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / "phase four' says the WHO on: April 27, 2009, 05:04:29 PM
TORONTO, April 27 -- The World Health Organization has raised its pandemic alert system to level four -- sustained human-to-human transmission -- in response to the swine flu outbreak in the U.S., Mexico, and at least two other countries.

The Geneva-based WHO made the change from level three -- some human-to-human transmission -- on the advice of an expert panel meeting today.

Earlier today, acting CDC director Richard Besser, M.D., said the change won't affect the U.S. response to the outbreak.

"It really doesn't matter from our perspective what you call this," he said in a press conference. "Our actions are based on what's happening in our country and our communities."

Stepping up one phase, Dr. Besser said, "would not change anything that we are currently doing."

The pandemic threat level has six major levels. Phases one through three increase from strictly animal-to-animal transmission to some human-to-human transmission, sufficient to create small clusters of disease.

Level four requires sustained human-to-human transmission able to cause what the WHO calls "community-level outbreaks."

Levels five and six are the pandemic levels.

Phase five is characterized by human-to-human spread of the virus into at least two countries in a region, although most countries are not affected.

In phase six, there are community-level outbreaks in at least one other country in a different region. This level is regarded as a signal that a global pandemic is truly under way.

3928  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Epidemics: Bird Flu, TB, etc on: April 27, 2009, 03:36:19 PM
I would not yet jump to the conclusion this article suggests that this virus is not as dangerous as say the one in 1918 - at least not yet.

It is true the one then was an avian virus and this one from pigs.   Yet I read the people who are dying are not the typical young and old as in most influenza seasons but the young and healthy which is eerily like the one in 1918.  H1 or H5 this applies:

The scientists suspect that with the 1918 flu, changes in just 25 to 30 out of about 4,400 amino acids in the viral proteins turned the virus into a killer. The new work also reveals that 1918 virus acts much differently from ordinary human flu viruses. It infects cells deep in the lungs of mice and infects lung cells, like the cells lining air sacs, that would normally be impervious to flu. And while other human flu viruses do not kill mice, this one, like today's bird flus, does.
3929  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: April 27, 2009, 09:54:33 AM
It is not so much that there is a shortage of doctors as much as shortage in some areas.  In my area there is too many doctors.
But anyway:

Obama administration concerned about growing shortage of primary-care doctors
by Robert Pear/New York Times Sunday April 26, 2009, 9:59 PM
Washington -- Obama administration officials, alarmed at doctor shortages, are looking for ways to increase the number of physicians to meet the needs of an aging population and millions of uninsured people who would gain coverage under legislation championed by the president.

The officials said they were particularly concerned about shortages of primary-care providers who are the main source of health care for most Americans.

One proposal -- to increase Medicare payments to general practitioners, at the expense of high-paid specialists -- has touched off a lobbying fight.

Family doctors and internists are pressing Congress for an increase in their Medicare payments. But medical specialists are lobbying against any change that would cut their reimbursements. Congress, the specialists say, should find additional money to pay for primary care and should not redistribute dollars among doctors -- a difficult argument at a time of huge budget deficits.

Some of the proposed solutions, while advancing one of President Barack Obama's goals, could frustrate others. Increasing the supply of doctors, for example, would increase access to care, but could make it more difficult to rein in costs.

The need for more doctors comes up at almost every congressional hearing and White House forum on health care. "We're not producing enough primary-care physicians," Obama said at one forum. "The costs of medical education are so high that people feel that they've got to specialize." New doctors typically owe more than $140,000 in loans when they graduate.

Lawmakers from both parties say the shortage of health-care professionals is already having serious consequences. "We don't have enough doctors in primary care or in any specialty," said Rep. Shelley Berkley, Democrat of Nevada.

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, said, "The work force shortage is reaching crisis proportions."

Even people with insurance are having problems finding doctors.

Miriam Harmatz, a lawyer in Miami, said: "My longtime primary-care doctor left the practice of medicine five years ago because she could not make ends meet. The same thing happened a year later. Since then, many of the doctors I tried to see would not take my insurance because the payments were so low."

To cope with the growing shortage, federal officials are considering several proposals. One would increase enrollment in medical schools and residency training programs. Another would encourage greater use of nurse practitioners and physician assistants. A third would expand the National Health Service Corps, which deploys doctors and nurses in rural areas and poor neighborhoods.

Sen. Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana, chairman of the Finance Committee, said Medicare payments were skewed against primary-care doctors -- the very ones needed for the care of older people with chronic conditions like congestive heart failure, diabetes and Alzheimer's disease.

"Primary-care physicians are grossly underpaid compared with many specialists," said Baucus, who vowed to increase primary-care payments as part of legislation to overhaul the health-care system.

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, an independent federal panel, has recommended an increase of up to 10 percent in the payment for many primary-care services, including office visits. To offset the cost, it said, Congress should reduce payments for other services -- an idea that riles many specialists.

Dr. Peter J. Mandell, a spokesman for the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons, said: "We have no problem with financial incentives for primary care. We do have a problem with doing it in a budget-neutral way. If there's less money for hip and knee replacements, fewer of them will be done for people who need them."

The Association of American Medical Colleges is advocating a 30 percent increase in medical school enrollment, which would produce 5,000 additional new doctors each year.

"If we expand coverage, we need to make sure we have physicians to take care of a population that is growing and becoming older," said Dr. Atul Grover, the chief lobbyist for the association. "Let's say we insure everyone. What next? We won't be able to take care of all those people overnight."

The experience of Massachusetts is instructive. Under a far-reaching 2006 law, the state succeeded in reducing the number of uninsured. But many who gained coverage have been struggling to find primary-care doctors, and the average waiting time for routine office visits has increased.

"Some of the newly insured patients still rely on hospital emergency rooms for nonemergency care," said Erica L. Drazen, a health policy analyst at Computer Sciences Corp.

The ratio of primary-care doctors to population is higher in Massachusetts than in other states.

Increasing the supply of doctors could have major implications for health costs.

"It's completely reasonable to say that adding more physicians to the work force is likely to increase health spending," Grover said.

But he said: "We have to increase spending to save money. If you give people better access to preventive and routine care for chronic illnesses, some acute treatments will be less necessary."

In many parts of the country, specialists are also in short supply.

Linde A. Schuster, 55, of Raton, N.M., said she, her daughter and her mother had all had medical problems that required them to visit doctors in Albuquerque.

"It's a long, exhausting drive, three hours down and three hours back," Schuster said.

The situation is even worse in some rural areas. Dr. Richard F. Paris, a family doctor in Hailey, Idaho, said that Custer County, Idaho, had no doctors, even though it is larger than the state of Rhode Island. So he flies in three times a month, over the Sawtooth Mountains, to see patients.

The Obama administration is pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into community health centers.

But Mary K. Wakefield, the new administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration, said many clinics were having difficulty finding doctors and nurses to fill vacancies.

Doctors trained in internal medicine have historically been seen as a major source of frontline primary care. But many of them are now going into subspecialties of internal medicine, like cardiology and oncology.

3930  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: April 26, 2009, 01:54:05 PM
It is more sickening than humorous to hear Chris Matthews now say that John McCain should have been the guy to win the Presidency in 2000.  Now that he is continuing to speak out against harsher interrogation techniques essentially supporting the left, AND no longer in a position to run for office and the Bama has safely beaten him,  he is again their Republican poster boy.

I recall Matthews cried when Gore made his concession speech in 2001.

3931  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: April 26, 2009, 01:48:01 PM
Doug says,

"And let's see if Obama prefaces his remarks by saying this isn't nearly as brutal as what is already happening everyday in these terrorists' own home countries"

The MSM is letting BO have his cake and eat it too.
He is clearly doing the triangulation thing, pretending he is above the politics of it all and is just doing the "moral thing" that "America is all about".  His apologists are all over the talk shows saying he doesn't want to proceed with special investigators and the rest.  That he is under tremendous pressure from the far left.  As if he is not far left.

BO is clearly on board with damaging the Republicans, humiliating the previous administration (and America) around the world, deflecting attention from his agenda and continuing the blame game and playing the savior who is going to straighten this country - and the world - out.

His whole personal history is this - of the liberal left wing radical.

I guess except for Lou Dobbs, Fox, WSJ, talk radio conservatives there is no one speaking up from the right that has the gravitas to offer another alternative.

I don't know if this will change or not.  As long as government expands exponentially and more and more people are on the dole, and the new age immigrants who expect far more than they did historically continue to change the demographics it will be an uphill battle.

It is infuriating to me to see the Dems out in force talking about the interrogation issues like they are.
Except for the die hard dems who are glad to use any excuse to get Bush I think most Americans would agree with me.
FBI agents of Muslim heritage excepted.  And I mean no disrespect otherwise to him or the agency but I can't help wonder his agenda here.


3932  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: April 25, 2009, 09:02:16 AM
Ok, this is not racist.  wink  BO is different from all the previous "white" presidents because he is "hip".

Is this code for, "he is black enough"?  I don't know.

Well, if 6'4" Abe played, if there was a basketball in his day, he would have kicked BO's ass in B ball.

***For Obama, hipness is what it is
 Sam Fulwood III Sam Fulwood Iii – Fri Apr 24, 5:06 am ET
During his first 100 days as president of the United States, Barack Obama revealed how different he is from all the white men who preceded him in the Oval Office, and the differences run deeper — in substance and style — than the color of his skin.

Barack Hussein Obama is the nation’s first hip president.

This, of course, is subject to debate. But watch him walk. Listen to him talk. See the body language, the expressions, the clothes. He’s got attitude, rhythm, a sense of humor, contemporary tastes.

This much is clear: Whether dealing with the Wall Street mess, shifting troops from Iraq to Afghanistan or fumbling to fill his Cabinet, Obama leans heavily on personal panache to push political policies. Truth be told, his style is rooted in something elusive and hard to define. Pure and simple, it’s hip.

“Being hip is being able to navigate your environment and others’ environments,” like the way Obama traverses racial boundaries, said John Leland, author of the definitive book “Hip: The History.”

“Obama has this awareness that other presidents haven’t had. He’s white, and he’s black. He’s an elitist, and he’s regular folk. He’s not pinned down to a perspective.”

Young is to hip as old is to fogey — an essential characteristic. Obama has modern instincts and attitudes that appeal to younger people, and more than any other president in recent memory, that makes him a role model. He is green, open, athletic, tech-savvy, healthy. And his hip image certainly isn’t hurt by his wife, who is so obviously cool — setting trends (Sleeveless! Tending her own garden!), confidently mingling with superstars, gracing magazine covers coast to coast.

Consider how, during the campaign, Obama used his personality — the smile, the jaunty stride and the hip-hop verbiage — to disarm critics, charm supporters and persuade fence sitters to elect him president. In an against-the-odds campaign, Obama never lost his poise as he forged a rapport with a new generation of voters while keeping old heads on his team. He could go professorial on the need for health care reform or describe the minutiae of Middle East politics. Still, he begged to bring his BlackBerry into the Oval Office, a signal that he intends to remain in touch with the 21st century. Very hip!

Once he settled into the White House, the hip parade didn’t subside. Early guests included pop artists Stevie Wonder (a campaign supporter), Alicia Keys, and Sheryl Crow — but also Sweet Honey in the Rock, a group of socially and politically active a capella singers with an indie, underground vibe.

Obama strutted onto Jay Leno’s stage and plopped down on the couch, making him the first sitting president to do that. He unveiled his March Madness basketball bracket from the Oval Office. And speaking of basketball, who missed the sight of POTUS dressed in all black, sitting courtside at a Bulls-Wizards game with a cup of beer and high-fiving a trash-talking fan? How hip was that?!

It’s so hip that school kids in Albany, N.Y., coined a term for it: “Baracking.” And it doesn’t stop there. Those in the know at Albany High greet each other by saying: “What’s up, my Obama?” and they respond to a sneeze with “Barack you.” Misbehavior is peer-corrected with the admonition, “Barack’s in the White House,” which translates, “Show some respect.”

Deborah Tannen, professor of linguistics at Georgetown University, said it was “just really stunning” that kids were co-opting the president’s name as a term of endearment and identification.

“This is the most emblematic, positive thing that kids could say,” she said. “It’s connecting them to him, saying that there’s something special in the connection between them.”

John F. Kennedy understood the nexus of Hollywood glam and Washington power, but he wasn’t a hipster. Bill Clinton looked good in Ray-Bans and did a nice turn with the saxophone on “The Arsenio Hall Show,” but in his heart of hearts, Ol’ Bubba was a country boy from the Ozarks with a need-filled, wonky core — not hip.


Obama’s hipness reinforces that he’s different, yet he’s comfortingly familiar to Americans who want to revere their presidents as pedestal material while demanding that they be approachable as the guy next door.

So what’s hipness got to do with public policy? For Obama, everything.

His personal charisma is a nonverbal form of communication, sending seemingly conflicting messages: the need for radical and sacrificial change, yet the reassurance to Americans that he’s as sane and stable as the guy in the next barber’s chair, said Roger Wilkins, who recently retired as a history professor at George Mason University.

“Hipness is a way of presenting to the world that you know what’s going on and that you’ve got things under control,” said Wilkins, who served in the Johnson administration and has had up-close dealings with every president since Kennedy.

“For Obama, his hipness exudes power. He just keeps on moving, no matter what comes his way, and he doesn’t lose it. That’s being hip — and I don’t see any contemporary public figures whom I would think of as hip.”

True, Obama uses his hipster personality as a weapon. His enormous popularity is a bludgeon that demands political respect, if not support. For example, almost immediately after settling into the White House, Obama left Washington to campaign in Ohio, Michigan and other hard-hit states to sell his economic stimulus plan. It was an effective effort at charm-school diplomacy, garnering outside-the-Beltway support and applying pressure on Washington insiders to get on board the Obama train.

The implication was that if you were not on board, you were not hip — you were square. And who wants to be so uncool as to be on the wrong side of the hip president, other than a few vocal anti-cools, such as radio yakker Rush Limbaugh, House Minority Leader John A. Boehner and former Vice President Dick Cheney?

There have been a few other nationally recognized hip politicians: the late Rep. Adam Clayton Powell of New York; former California Gov. Jerry Brown, who is currently the state’s attorney general; and former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown come to mind. For a brief period in the 1970s and 1980s, one might argue that Washington’s eternal pol Marion Barry was hip; that was before drugs, booze and women brought him low.

To be sure, the track record for hip politicians isn’t promising. History suggests that the power of personality has limitations in politics. It sours under public scrutiny.

So can it last? Can Obama’s hipness survive the weight and responsibility of the office? Maybe there’s a reason presidents aren’t hip. War-making, secrecy, aging, unpopularity, sternness and sobriety — these are decidedly unhip. And all that could come in the next 100 days, because hipness is a trendy thing, subject to popular whim.

For now, with approval ratings over 60 percent, Obama is hip. But he will have to find a balance between being hip and being powerful while sitting in the world’s most watched fishbowl.

“Hipness is what it is! And sometimes hipness is what it ain’t,” goes the famous song by Tower of Power. “There’s one thing you should know. What’s hip today might become passé.”

Sam Fulwood III wrote about race and politics for the Los Angeles Times’ Washington bureau for more than a decade and is a frequent contributor to The***
3933  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Tamiflu may help on: April 25, 2009, 08:33:35 AM
WHO ready with antivirals to combat swine flu
Fri Apr 24, 2009 5:11pm EDT  Email | Print | Share| Reprints | Single Page[-] Text
By Stephanie Nebehay

GENEVA (Reuters) - The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday that it was prepared with rapid containment measures including antivirals if needed to combat the swine flu outbreaks in Mexico and the United States.

The Geneva-based agency has been stockpiling doses of Roche Holding's Tamiflu, known generically as oseltamivir, a pill that can both treat flu and prevent infection.

The new virus, not previously detected in pigs or humans, has proved sensitive to the drug, the WHO said in a statement.

The WHO and its regional office in Washington, D.C., are also sending experts to Mexico to help health authorities with disease surveillance, laboratory diagnosis and clinical management of cases.

Mexican health officials have reported more than 850 cases of pneumonia in the capital, Mexico City, including 59 who died. In San Luis Potosi, in central Mexico, 24 cases including 3 deaths have been detected.

They have also informed the WHO about a third suspected outbreak of swine flu in Mexicali, near the U.S. border, with four suspect cases and no deaths so far.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control have said there were 8 cases of swine influenza in California and Texas and no deaths.

Health authorities in the two North American countries have the resources required already in place, including Tamiflu, and are "well equipped," according to the WHO.

"WHO is prepared with rapid containment measures should it be necessary to be deployed," WHO spokeswoman Aphaluck Bhatiasevi told Reuters.

The United Nations agency saw no need at this point to issue travel advisories warning travelers not to go to parts of Mexico or the United States. "However, the situation may change depending on what the situation in the field is," she said.

The WHO will convene a meeting of its Emergency Committee on international health regulations, probably on Saturday afternoon, she added.

WHO director-general Margaret Chan was flying back to Geneva overnight from Washington, D.C., for the emergency discussions which would link public health authorities and experts in various parts of world in a virtual meeting, she said.

The emergency committee could make recommendations including whether to change the pandemic alert level, she added.

"Because there are human cases associated with an animal influenza virus, and because of the geographical spread of multiple community outbreaks, plus the somewhat unusual age groups affected, these events are of high concern," the WHO said in a statement.

3934  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: April 24, 2009, 09:56:47 AM
Quite the contrary to the Dems working hard to politically demolish the Republican party BO IMO has done more to damage our reputation around the world than all previous presidents combined.  This is unprecedented and damaging long and short term than anything previous.  That the mainstream media runs along for the ride says it all about them:

Obama Administration to Release Detainee Abuse Photos; Former CIA Official Says Former Colleagues 'Don't Believe They Have Cover Anymore'
April 24, 2009 10:23 AM

In a letter from the Justice Department to a federal judge yesterday, the Obama administration announced that the Pentagon would turn over to the American Civil Liberties Union 44 photographs showing detainee abuse of prisoners in Afghanistan and Iraq during the Bush administration.

The photographs are part of a 2003 Freedom of Information Act request by the ACLU for all information relating to the treatment of detainees -- the same battle that led, last week, to President Obama's decision to release memos from the Bush Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel providing legal justifications for harsh interrogation methods that human rights groups call torture.

Courts had ruled against the Bush administration's attempts to keep the photographs from public view. ACLU attorney Amrit Singh tells ABC News that "the fact that the Obama administration opted not to seek further review is a sign that it is committed to more transparency."

Singh added that the photographs "only underscore the need for a criminal investigation and prosecution if warranted" of U.S. officials responsible for the harsh treatment of detainees.

But some experts say the move could have a chilling effect on the CIA even beyond President Obama's decision last week to release the so-called "torture memos."

Calling the ACLU push to release the photographs "prurient" and "reprehensible," Dr. Mark M. Lowenthal, former Assistant Director of Central Intelligence for Analysis and Production, tells ABC News that the Obama administration should have taken the case all the way to the Supreme Court.

"They should have fought it all the way; if they lost, they lost," Lowenthal said. "There's nothing to be gained from it. There's no substantive reason why those photos have to be released."

Lowenthal said the president's moves in the last week have left many in the CIA dispirited, based on "the undercurrent I've been getting from colleagues still in the building, or colleagues who have left not that long ago."

"We ask these people to do extremely dangerous things, things they've been ordered to do by legal authorities, with the understanding that they will get top cover if something goes wrong," Lowenthal says. "They don't believe they have that cover anymore." Releasing the photographs "will make it much worse," he said.

Even though President Obama has announced that the Justice Department will not prosecute CIA officers who were operating within the four corners of what they'd been told was the law, Lowenthal says members of the CIA are worried. "They feel exposed already, and this is going to increase drumbeat for an investigation or a commission" to explore detainee treatment during the Bush years, he said. "It's going to make it much harder to resist, and they fear they're then going to be thrown over."

The Bush administration argued that releasing these photographs would violate US obligations towards detainees and would prompt outrage and perhaps attacks against the U.S. On June 9 and June 21, 2006 judges directed the Bush administration to release 21 photographs depicting the treatment of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan, and last September, the Second Circuit Court affirmed that decision.

The Bush administration had argued that an exemption from FOIA was needed here because of the exemption for law enforcement records that could reasonably be expected to endanger “any individual." The release of the disputed photographs, the Bush administration argued, will endanger United States troops, other Coalition forces, and civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But the court found that the exemption was not intended "as an all-purpose damper on global controversy."

The Bush administration had also argued that releasing the photographs would violated the Geneva Conventions, which protect prisoners of war and detained civilians “against insults and public curiosity." The court ruled that the Geneva Conventions "do not prohibit dissemination of images of detainees being abused when the images are redacted so as to protect the identities of the detainees, at least in situations where, as here, the purpose of the dissemination is not itself to humiliate the detainees."

Moreover, the court found that releasing "the photographs is likely to further the purposes of the Geneva Conventions by deterring future abuse of prisoners."

"There is a significant public interest in the disclosure of these photographs," the court ruled. "The defendants concede that these photographs yield evidence of governmental wrongdoing, but nonetheless argue that they add little additional value to the written summaries of the depicted events, which have already been made public. This contention disregards FOIA’s central purpose of furthering governmental accountability, and the special importance the law accords to information revealing official misconduct."

A November 6, 2008, petition for a re-hearing was denied last month.

The Obama administration could have opted to go all the way to the Supreme Court to try to keep these photographs from public view, but yesterday Acting U.S. Attorney Lev L. Dassin wrote to District Judge Alvin Hellerstein and said the Pentagon was preparing to release 21 photos at issue in the appeal, in addition to 23 others "previously identified as responsive."

The materials will be released to the ACLU no later than May 28, after which the ACLU says it will make them public. This release will come just days before President Obama travels to the volatile Middle East.

Dassin wrote that the Pentagon also was "processing for release a substantial number of other images contained in Army CID reports that have been closed during the pendency of this case."

Singh said in a statement that the photographs "will constitute visual proof that, unlike the Bush administration's claim, the abuse was not confined to Abu Ghraib and was not aberrational. Their disclosure is critical for helping the public understand the scope and scale of prisoner abuse as well as for holding senior officials accountable for authorizing or permitting such abuse."

Lowenthal said his former colleagues at the CIA were "put off" by President Obama's trip to the CIA earlier this week. "I don't think the president's speech went down very well, particularly the part when he said they made mistakes. They don't think they made mistakes. They think they acted to execute policy. And those in the intelligence service don't make policy."

Those in intelligence are "gong to become increasingly wary about doing dangerous things," Lowenthal said. "They feel at the end of the day they won't be covered. It's not irreparable right now, but it's problematic."
3935  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / More like a teflon butt on: April 24, 2009, 09:09:21 AM
"Reality bites BO in butt again"

The only ones being bitten in the butt are the American people.

BO is already getting the rave reviews for his "first 100 days" in the MSM.

Of course Carville gives him an A- but when Ed Rollins gives him a B.........

BO is comfortable doing the "triangulation" thing with the purported "torture" (non) issue letting the legislatures deal with the prosecutions while he sits back and pretends he is above it all.  All he did was selectively release information so his blood hounds in the House/Senate can do the dirty work.  Recall Pelosi's statement that they will "cover his back".

It is all pay back time for the independent counsel that went after Clinton and the subsequent impeachment.

3936  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / remember Dershowitz on torture? on: April 23, 2009, 02:41:54 PM
Dershowitz: Torture could be justified
Tuesday, March 4, 2003 Posted: 0431 GMT (12:31 PM HKT)
Ken Roth and Alan Dershowitz

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Following the capture of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the question has become whether the senior al Qaeda leader will reveal key information about the terrorist network. If he doesn't, should he be tortured to make him tell what he knows?

CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer posed this question to noted author and Harvard University law professor Alan Dershowitz and Ken Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch.

BLITZER: Alan Dershowitz, a lot of our viewers will be surprised to hear that you think there are right times for torture. Is this one of those moments?

DERSHOWITZ: I don't think so. This is not the ticking-bomb terrorist case, at least so far as we know. Of course, the difficult question is the chicken-egg question: We won't know if he is a ticking-bomb terrorist unless he provides us information, and he's not likely to provide information unless we use certain extreme measures.

My basic point, though, is we should never under any circumstances allow low-level people to administer torture. If torture is going to be administered as a last resort in the ticking-bomb case, to save enormous numbers of lives, it ought to be done openly, with accountability, with approval by the president of the United States or by a Supreme Court justice. I don't think we're in that situation in this case.

BLITZER: Well, how do you know ...

DERSHOWITZ: So we might be close.

BLITZER: Alan, how do you know he doesn't have that kind of ticking-bomb information right now, that there's some plot against New York or Washington that he was involved in and there's a time sensitivity? If you knew that, if you suspected that, you would say [to] get the president to authorize torture.

DERSHOWITZ: Well, we don't know, and that's why [we could use] a torture warrant, which puts a heavy burden on the government to demonstrate by factual evidence the necessity to administer this horrible, horrible technique of torture. I would talk about nonlethal torture, say, a sterilized needle underneath the nail, which would violate the Geneva Accords, but you know, countries all over the world violate the Geneva Accords. They do it secretly and hypothetically, the way the French did it in Algeria. If we ever came close to doing it, and we don't know whether this is such a case, I think we would want to do it with accountability and openly and not adopt the way of the hypocrite.

BLITZER: All right. Ken, under those kinds of rare, extreme circumstances, does Professor Dershowitz make a good point?

ROTH: He doesn't. The prohibition on torture is one of the basic, absolute prohibitions that exists in international law. It exists in time of peace as well as in time of war. It exists regardless of the severity of a security threat. And the only other comparable prohibition that I can think of is the prohibition on attacking innocent civilians in time of war or through terrorism. If you're going to have a torture warrant, why not create a terrorism warrant? Why not go in and allow terrorists to come forward and make their case for why terrorism should be allowed?

DERSHOWITZ: Well, in fact, we've done that. Of course, we've done that. We have bombed civilian targets during every single one of our wars. We did it in Dresden. We did it in Vietnam notwithstanding these rules. So you know, having laws on the books and breaking them systemically just creates disdain ... It's much better to have rules that we can actually live within. And absolute prohibitions, generally, are not the kind of rules that countries would live within.

I want to ask you a question. Don't you think if we ever had a ticking-bomb case, regardless of your views or mine, that the CIA would actually either torture themselves or subcontract the job to Jordan, the Philippines or Egypt, who are our favorite countries, to do the torturing for us?

ROTH: OK, there is no moral or legal difference between torturing yourself and subcontracting torture to somebody else. They're equally absolutely prohibited.

DERSHOWITZ: But we do it.

ROTH: In the case -- the fact that sometimes laws are violated does not mean you want to start legitimizing the violation by getting some judge to authorize it. Imagine, you're always thinking about the U.S. Supreme Court, but any rule you apply to the United States has to be applied around the world. Do you want Chinese judges authorizing torture of say, Muslim dissidents?

DERSHOWITZ: It wouldn't make any difference. They just torture anyway. It wouldn't make any difference. They torture now.

ROTH: Once you open the door to torture, once you start legitimizing it in any way, you have broken the absolute taboo. President Bush had it right in his State of the Union address when he was describing various forms of torture by Saddam Hussein and he said, "If this isn't evil, then evil has no meaning."

BLITZER: Well, let me interrupt, Ken. Let me ask you about a hypothetical case. Professor Dershowitz talks about it in one of his articles and one of his books. There's a terrorist attack. A lot of people have just been killed in New York. They capture one of the terrorists, who says, "Guess what, there's another bomb out there, it is going to kill a lot more, but I'm not telling you where it is."

ROTH: Yes, that's the ticking-bomb scenario, which everybody loves to put forward as an excuse for torture. Israel tried that. Under the guise of just looking at the narrow exception of where the ticking-bomb is there and you could save the poor schoolchildren whose bus was about to be exploded some place. They ended up torturing on the theory that -- well, it may not be the terrorist, but it's somebody who knows the terrorist or it's somebody who might have information leading to the terrorist.

They ended up torturing say 90 percent of the Palestinian security detainees they had until finally the Israeli supreme court had to say this kind of rare exception isn't working. It's an exception that's destroying the rule. We have to understand the United States sets a model for the rest of the world. And if the United States is going to authorize torture in any sense, you can imagine that there are many more unsavory regimes out there that are just dying for the chance to say, "Well, the U.S. is doing it, we're going to start doing it as well."

DERSHOWITZ: And I think that we're much, much better off admitting what we're doing or not doing it at all. I agree with you, it will much better if we never did it. But if we're going to do it and subcontract and find ways of circumventing, it's much better to do what Israel did. They were the only country in the world ever directly to confront the issue, and it led to a supreme court decision, as you say, outlawing torture, and yet Israel has been criticized all over the world for confronting the issue directly. Candor and accountability in a democracy is very important. Hypocrisy has no place.

ROTH: So let's learn the lesson from the Israelis, which is you can't open the door a little bit. If you try, you end up having torture left and right. The other alternative, rather than legitimizing with torture warrants, is to prohibit it and prosecute the offenders. And we have murder on the street every day. We don't ask for murder warrants.

BLITZER: Ken, let me just get back to that ticking time bomb scenario. You would -- you could morally justify letting this terrorist that you've captured remain silent and allow hundreds of people to die?

ROTH: Look, we just heard from the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. You just had him on your show, Wolf, who said the interrogators at Bagram Air Base or wherever Mohammed is, they don't need torture. They have other, legitimate ways of getting at the truth. They're listening in through various wiretaps and the like.

Torture is not needed. If you start opening the door, making a little exception here, a little exception there, you've basically sent the signal that the ends justify the means, and that's exactly what Osama bin Laden thinks. He has some vision of a just society. His ends justify the means of attacking the World Trade Center. If we're going to violate an equally basic prohibition on torture, we are reaffirming that false logic of terrorism. We are going to end up losing the war ...

3937  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: April 22, 2009, 06:44:02 PM
How could it not work?

I suppose if we offered our enemies lots of money, an ocean front villa with free water skiing lessons, and all the virgins they could handle that might work better.....

Otherwise, of course it works.  If it didn't it would be obvious after thousands of years of use.  It wouldn't take the NYT's "investigative" team to figure this out.

In a way, the more information we are bombarded with every day the less we know.
Sorting the crap from reality is nearly or completely impossible.
3938  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: April 20, 2009, 04:05:53 PM
***He has published the memos authorizing torture to make this entirely a Bush administration problem***

And that's it folks.  It is less about morality than politics.

Bush is the deamon.  Not those who attacked us.

Thus strip Bush of his biggest claim to fame - that he protected us.

He didn't make us safer he made us less safe.  So their argument goes. 
3939  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: April 20, 2009, 03:30:08 PM
"President Obama plans to visit C.I.A. headquarters Monday and make public remarks to employees"

I hear on the radio he told empolyees "not to be discouraged" by the release of memos that this is how you learn from your mistakes.

Imagine.  The leader of our country humiliating those who did their best to protect us.  And doing for his political gain in for international media.

I don't recall Jimmy Carter who was a Navy veteran, or any other President for that matter, going around disgracing us this way.
3940  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Part two on: April 20, 2009, 09:40:21 AM
Part two:

From the May 2009 Scientific American Magazine

*****The Costs of Expanding the Government's Economic Role
Obama's reexpansion of the government's economic role is vital--and we will have to pay for it
By Jeffrey D. Sachs   

Obamas budget plan aims to reduce the deficit to 3 percent of GNP by 2013, and to level off till 2019. This deficit is relatively large, but even that target will be very difficult to achieve and sustain as planned. With significant increases in entitlements spending and higher interest payments on the rising public debt, the plan is to cut the deficit mainly through higher taxes on the rich, reduced military outlays for Iraq and Afghanistan, new revenues from auctioning carbon-emission permits and, finally, a squeeze on non-defense discretionary spending as a share of GDP (which is programmed to decline from 4.7 percent in 2010 to 3.2 percent in 2019). Such a squeeze on non-defense spending seems unlikelyand indeed undesirableat a time when government is launching several much-needed programs in education, health, energy and infrastructure.

The truth is that the U.S., like Europe, will probably have to raise new revenues by a few percent of GDP if government is indeed to carry out its vital roles in protecting the poor, promoting health and education and building a modern infrastructure with 21st century sustainable technology. Ending the Bush-era tax cuts on the rich certainly is merited, but further taxing the rich much beyond that will come up against political and practical limits. Within a few years, well probably see the need for new broader-based taxes, perhaps a national sales or value-added tax such as those widely used in other high-income countries. If we continue to assume that we can have the expanded government that we need but without the tax revenues to pay for it, the unacceptable build-up of public debt will threaten the well-being of our children and our childrens children. No parent, or citizen, should find such an approach acceptable. 

This story was originally published with the title "Paying for What Government Should Do"

Jeffrey D. Sachs is director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University (****
3941  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tea paries are right. pro Obasma MSM ignores on: April 20, 2009, 09:37:17 AM
What the main stream media will not tell you is what this extremely liberal pro OBama writer admits:
That taxes will need to soar to pay for all his spending.  Bama tells us about the 250 or whatever pcoket change rebate now but we will be paying that back in huge multiples for the rest of our lives, probably after he gets re elected in 2012.

The tea parties are correct.  But the liberal MSM covers for the bama.  I don't agree with all of Mr Sachs assumptions but I agree with his admirable admission that the spending will require new taxes to pay for it all at some point.


****From the May 2009 Scientific American Magazine

The Costs of Expanding the Government's Economic Role [Extended version]
Obama's reexpansion of the government's economic role is vital--and we will have to pay for it
By Jeffrey D. Sachs   

The 10-year budget framework that President Barack Obama released in February, called “A New Era of Responsibility,” is as much a philosophy of government as a fiscal action plan. Gone is the Ronald Reagan view that “government is not a solution to our problem; government is the problem.” Obama rightly sees an expanded role for government in allocating society’s resources as vital to meeting the 21st century challenge of sustainable development. 

The scientific discipline known as public economics describes why government is needed alongside markets to allocate resources. These reasons include: the protection of the poor through a social safety net; the correction of externalities such as greenhouse gas emissions; the provision of “merit goods” such as health care and education that society deems to be essential for all of its members; and the financing of scientific and technological research that cannot be efficiently captured by private investors. In all these circumstances, the free-market system tends to underprovide the resource in question—whether income support for the poor, abatement of carbon emissions, low-cost primary health care, or R&D for renewable energy.   

After a decade of macroeconomic instability, Reagan came to office in 1981 on a platform of shrinking the public sector to free resources for market-based allocation. Federal revenues and outlays remained relatively unchanged as a share of national income from 1981 to 2008, at around 18 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) for revenues and around 21 percent of GDP for outlays. The U.S. ran budget deficits during most of that period, with a long and chronic stalemate between those who would raise taxes and those who would cut spending. By and large, the public resisted cuts to spending programs but also resisted calls for tax increases.

The result is in strong contrast with Europe, where both taxes and spending are notably higher. Counting all levels of government (federal, state, and local), government revenues in the U.S. are about 33 percent of GDP, compared with 45 percent in Europe; spending stands at 38 percent of GDP in the U.S. and 46 percent in Europe. Yet because U.S. taxes are even lower than spending as a share of GDP, U.S. deficits are chronically higher. The main predictions of public economics are also supported. The U.S. lags behind Europe in several areas where public spending makes a vast difference: U.S. health outcomes are worse (for example, lower life expectancy with a much more costly private system); U.S. poverty is much higher; U.S. educational outcomes are worse (poorer outcomes in science, math, and functional literacy); and public infrastructure is superior in many European countries (for example, better mass transit and broadband penetration).   

Obama’s budget plan properly focuses on areas that public economics identifies as priorities and where the U.S. discernibly lags behind many parts of Europe: health (the costly private U.S. system yields a lower life expectancy), education (worse science, math and functional literacy), public infrastructure (for mass transit and broadband, for example) and research and development (especially on sustainable energy). The emphasis is on public-private partnerships (PPP), combining public financing and private sector delivery. Among other major efforts, the PPP model will be used to promote the next generation of electric automobiles (plug-in hybrids, all-battery and fuel cells), a smart grid to tap renewable solar and wind energy in a resilient and efficient national network, and the testing of carbon-capture and sequestration at coal-fired power plants.

Obama’s vision of an expanded federal role is on-target and transformative, but the financing will be tricky. This year’s deficit will reach an astounding $1.75 trillion, or 12 percent of GDP, as a result of a collapse of tax revenues, bank bailouts and stimulus spending. Under the plan, the government debt held by the public will balloon from 40.8 percent of GDP in 2008 to 65.8 percent in 2013, a level that will weigh heavily on the budget for years.

end of part one*****

3942  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Bo/ on: April 18, 2009, 10:33:05 AM
I am not sure if this ruse is really the beginning of demands for concessions from Israel or the stumbling block.  I don't know enough to have an opnion as to whether Israle should or should not give up the settlements.  I believe it is a contested issue even in Israel.
However, the tone of BO who I believe truly is an antisemite (I don't care how many party loyal career liberal Jews he has wrking for him) certainly has the appearance of arrogance to Israel and conciliatory and sympathetic to Palestians.
Remember hsi middle name is Hussain not Joshua.

****The Age - Business
Obama's stance worries Israelis
Jason Koutsoukis
April 18, 2009
Page 1 of 2 | Single Page View
CAN Israel still call the United States its best international friend? Apparently not, if you believe the tone of the local media.

Watching the drama unfold inside Israel, the increasingly tense dialogue between US President Barack Obama and new Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is taking on all the trappings of a duel.

Almost every day brings news of another sore point between the two countries, a source of yet further inflammation of their once warm relations.

One could be forgiven for thinking that the more immediate threat to Israel's national security lay across the Atlantic rather than from closer to home.

It is bad enough that President Obama uses almost every opportunity he can to set the parameters of a final peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. Now US officials are openly using Israeli anxiety over Iran's fledging nuclear program as a bargaining chip to force Israel's hand on giving up control of the West Bank Palestinian territory.

No less a figure than White House chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel — whose father fought with the militant Zionist group the Irgun, and whose appointment had provided such reassurance to Israeli officials — was quoted this week laying down the law to Israel.

If Israel wants US help to defuse the Iranian threat, Mr Emanuel was reported to have told Jewish leaders in Washington, then get ready to start evacuating settlements in the West Bank.

Talkback radio blazed with fury across the country the same day, as Israelis protested that no US official had the right to tell them where to live.

Then on Thursday came the news that Mr Netanyahu's planned first meeting with President Obama in Washington next month had been called off.

Mr Netanyahu had hoped to capitalise on his attendance at the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in Washington to visit the White House.

But Administration officials informed Mr Netanyahu's office that the President would not be "in town". Continued...

3943  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The electoral process, vote fraud (ACORN et al), corruption etc. on: April 18, 2009, 09:59:24 AM
What is your opinion of the "recount" process?
It seems the Dems always challenge the close contested contests and keep the counting going till they get a postive outcome then of coruse just stop.
Was the process as legit as it could be in your opinion?  One can never tell who to believe in these situations and with obvious media bias and loss of even semblence of even an effort of objectivity we don't know what to believe anymore.
3944  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Music on: April 14, 2009, 05:20:15 PM
Jessica Simpson country career *may be over* ; since my "mother" in law has not come back into the house they have not been able to steal song lyrics.  Simpson will be back if they can steal more.  Or else get them from somewhere else.
We are finally hearing fewer and fewer of Katherine's lyrics.  It is amazing how they can extend the life of the stolen material.  They make new videos of second and third tier songs from the albums released and present them as new.  Or they start coming out with greatest hit albums.  Or when the season is right (esp. with Alan Jackson) Christmas or Easter covers.
Many of the stars are taking breaks for all sorts of excuses , family , childrearing, death of a loved one, divorce.  They might change the type of music they sing or play because they can't get it from the original writer.  I love when they do that and claim 'yeah we are experimenting with our versatility" yadah yadah etc. 
John Rich on Hannity singing his supposed songs.  The last two we heard may actually have been his writing because they were not Katherines's.  And IMO they sucked.  Because he really can't write no matter what he claims.  What a joke.  This guy sits there and talks about America and freedom, love of country, individualism on Hannity and he got famous singing stolen songs and claiming he wrote them. 

 Concerts Jessica Simpson's country career hits sour note
AP, Apr 14, 2009 6:00 am PDT
Jessica Simpson's courtship with country music seems to have had a shorter shelf life than her marriage.After lackluster sales for her country debut, "Do You Know," Simpson and her Nashville record label have parted ways, leaving many wondering what's next for the 28-year-old entertainer.
"Right now it seems like she's taken a break from recording. There is nothing else on the books," said Ian Drew, senior music editor at Us Weekly magazine.
A spokeswoman for the one-time pop princess says Simpson remains part of the Sony Music Group on the Epic label, but is no longer working with the company's country division, Sony Music Nashville.

"She was on loan to Sony Nashville for her country album," said Lauren Auslander.As for her future in country music? "We don't know yet," she said.
"Do You Know" started strong but faded fast. The lead single, "Come on Over," a flirtatious, steel guitar-laced slice of country pop, peaked at No. 18 last summer and the album debuted at No. 1. But the second single, "Remember That," stalled at No. 42, and the third, "Pray Out Loud," failed to chart.
To date, the disc, Simpson's fifth studio release, has sold around 178,000 copies — a long way from her 3 million-selling 2003 disc, "In This Skin."
"Everywhere I saw her around the U.S. at different radio station events she was always well-received," said Lon Helton, editor and publisher of the industry trade publication "Country Aircheck." "For whatever reason, the music did not resonate."
Simpson came to country after her 2006 pop outing, "A Public Affair," fell flat. The Texas-born blonde touted the move as a return to her roots. She performed on the Grand Ole Opry, signed autographs at the Country Music Association's annual festival, and toured with country's multiplatinum trio Rascal Flatts.
But she got more publicity for her life outside of music, most of it far from positive. She was ridiculed when it seemed as if she had gained a few pounds, and the status of her romance with Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo was constantly scrutinized.
She was also criticized for a few erratic concert performances. At a February show in Michigan, Simpson apologized to fans after she forgot the lyrics to a song and asked her band to start over on another.
Some detractors viewed her country career as a calculated attempt to follow other pop stars who have found success on country radio.
"Working the country market is very different. You really have to work it at country. You have to spend your life on the road building an audience and she didn't really put the work in," Drew observed. "She walked the walk and talked the talk, but she didn't have the street cred that she needed to make it work."
But others say Simpson shouldn't bail too soon. She may just need more time to find an audience.
"It doesn't seem like she was even on the country music scene long enough to prove what she is capable of doing for this industry. She never got the chance," said Neely Yates, music director for country station 96.3 in Lubbock, Texas.
Helton wondered whether the singer was a victim of bad timing. Pop rockers Darius Rucker and Jewel were crossing over to country about the same time, which he called unusual in country music.
"What was the ability of the market to absorb and focus on more than one pop singer at a time coming over?" he asked.
The question now is whether Simpson will keep her record deal. After two disappointments, Epic may be ready to move on without her.
"She's never really sold a lot of records except for the album out at the height of 'Newlyweds,'" said Drew, referring to her popular reality TV show, "Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica," which chronicled her ill-fated marriage to Nick Lachey. "Other than that, she's never been able to sell much of anything."
But in a recent interview, Rascal Flatts' Gary Levox said Simpson is in a no-win situation with her critics: "She's in a spot where whatever she does, they pick her apart. They need to just leave her alone and just let her sing."
"She's a wonderfully gifted singer," added bandmate Jay DeMarcus. "All the other stuff overshadows what she's really about and it's unfortunate, because there's more to her there than just tabloid fodder."
3945  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Another interesting legal analysis by GWill on: April 14, 2009, 10:43:53 AM
It would be hard to believe that some form of nepotism or and bribery did not cause "lawmakers" to decide it is OK to confiscate money from casinos to give to horse racing tracks.  Did this subtle type of corruption also influence the courts?


****Racing Past the Constitution

By George Will | Rampant redistribution of wealth by government is now the norm. So is this: This redistribution inflames government's natural rapaciousness and subverts the rule of law. This degeneration of governance is illustrated by the Illinois legislature's transfer of income from some disfavored riverboat casinos to racetracks.

Illinois has nine licensed riverboat casinos and five horse-racing tracks. In 2006, supposedly to "address the negative impact that riverboat gaming has had" on Illinois horse racing, the legislature -- racing interests made huge contributions to Gov. Rod Blagojevich -- mandated a transfer of 3 percent of the gross receipts of the four most profitable casinos, those in the Chicago area, to the horse-racing tracks. This levy, subsequently extended to run until 2011, will confiscate substantially more than $100 million.

What is to prevent legislators from taking revenue from Wal-Mart and giving it to local retailers? Or from chain drugstores to local pharmacies? Not the tattered remnant of the Constitution's takings clause.

The Fifth Amendment says that private property shall not "be taken for public use without just compensation" (emphasis added). Fifty state constitutions also stipulate taking only for public uses. But the Illinois Supreme Court ignored the public-use question. Instead, the court said it is "well settled" that the takings clause applies only to government's exercise of its eminent domain power regarding land, buildings and other tangible or intellectual property -- but not money.

Conflicting rulings by state courts demonstrate that that question is chaotically unsettled. That is one reason the U.S. Supreme Court should take the Illinois case and reject the preposterous idea that money is not property within the scope of the takings clause -- an idea that licenses legislative confiscations. Another and related reason the court should take the case is to reconsider its 2005 ruling that rendered the "public purpose" requirement empty.

The careful crafters of the Bill of Rights intended the adjective "public" to restrict government takings to uses directly owned by government or primarily serving the general public, such as roads, bridges or public buildings. In 1954, in a case arising from a disease-ridden section of Washington, the court broadened the "public use" criterion. It declared constitutional takings for the purpose of combating "blight" that is harmful to the larger community.

Every weekday publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". HUNDREDS of columnists and cartoonists regularly appear. Sign up for the daily update. It's free. Just click here.
In 2005, however, in a 5 to 4 decision, the court radically attenuated the "public use" restriction on takings, saying that promoting "economic development" is a sufficient public use. The court upheld the New London, Conn., city government's decision to seize an unblighted middle-class neighborhood for the purpose of turning the land over to private businesses which, being wealthier than the previous owners, would be a richer source of tax revenue. So now government takings need have only some anticipated public benefit, however indirect and derivative, at the end of some chain of causation hypothesized by the government doing the taking and benefiting from it.

In a brief opposing the Illinois legislature, the American Legislative Exchange Council, an organization of state legislators, makes this argument against "predatory taxation": Suppose Congress, eager to aid newspapers hurt by competition from new information technologies, decides to take a percentage of the assets of Bill Gates and half a dozen other beneficiaries of those technologies and give the money to newspapers. Would not this "take and transfer" scheme be unconstitutional? Targeting specific, identifiable persons or entities for unfavorable treatment, and transferring their assets to equally identifiable persons or entities, surely also raises equal protection issues. Unquestionably a legislature can impose a levy on casinos if the revenue becomes subject to what the state legislators' brief calls "allocation via the familiar push and pull of political decision-making." But Illinois' confiscation of riverboat revenue is a private-pockets-to-private-pockets transfer, without even laundering the money through the state treasury.

The Supreme Court has held that "one person's property may not be taken for the benefit of another private person without a justifying public purpose." But in the aftermath of the court's ruling in the New London case, the Illinois legislature merely seeks judicial deference toward its judgment that transferring wealth from casinos to racetracks serves the public purpose of benefiting "farmers, breeders, and fans of horse racing."

The court's virtual nullification of the "public use" requirement encourages lawlessness, which will proliferate until the court enunciates the constitutional principle that the takings clause protects money, like other forms of property, against egregious seizures. Enunciating such a principle would be a step toward restoring meaning to the "public purpose" clause.****

3946  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Iran:nuclea power numero nine on: April 13, 2009, 12:18:17 PM
Marvin Kalb was on cable yesterday and he came out and said war is not an option to talks with Iran.
BO is clear that is his position also though he doesn't say it.
Unless of course he is giving Iran a head fake as to not tip them off and will bomb their nuc sites but I certainly find that hard to believe.

So Iran will become the ninth nuclear power?

3947  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Piracy on: April 11, 2009, 09:56:24 AM
The piracy probelm has the potential to turn into another terrorist problem.
Remember the name Al Shabab:

The US is weak.
The rest of the world is happy.
3948  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / more health care propaganda on: April 11, 2009, 09:42:40 AM
Dear Mr. Ricardo Alonso-zaldivar,

They may not be a "lobbying" group but they certainly do have and use a voice - its called voting.  The same for those who pay no income taxes.  They express their "voice" with their votes!  And I don't need a poll to tell me which party they overwhelmingly vote for:

****Associated Press Writer Ricardo Alonso-zaldivar, Associated Press Writer – 1 hr 19 mins ago
WASHINGTON – If the uninsured were a political lobbying group, they'd have more members than AARP. The National Mall couldn't hold them if they decided to march on Washington.

But going without health insurance is still seen as a personal issue, a misfortune for many and a choice for some. People who lose coverage often struggle alone instead of turning their frustration into political action.

Illegal immigrants rallied in Washington during past immigration debates, but the uninsured linger in the background as Congress struggles with a health care overhaul that seems to have the best odds in years of passing.

That isolation could have profound repercussions.

Lawmakers already face tough choices to come up with the hundreds of billions it would cost to guarantee coverage for all. The lack of a vocal constituency won't help. Congress might decide to cover the uninsured slowly, in stages.

The uninsured "do not provide political benefit for the aid you give them," said Robert Blendon, a professor of health policy and political analysis at the Harvard School of Public Health. "That's one of the dilemmas in getting all this money. If I'm in Congress, and I help out farmers, they'll help me out politically. But if I help out the uninsured, they are not likely to help members of Congress get re-elected."

The number of uninsured has grown to an estimated 50 million people because of the recession. Even so, advocates in the halls of Congress are rarely the uninsured themselves. The most visible are groups that represent people who have insurance, usually union members and older people. In the last election, only 10 percent of registered voters said they were uninsured.

The grass-roots group Health Care for America Now plans to bring as many as 15,000 people to Washington this year to lobby Congress for guaranteed coverage. Campaign director Richard Kirsch expects most to have health insurance.

"We would never want to organize the uninsured by themselves because Americans see the problem as affordability, and that is the key thing," he said.

Besides, added Kirsch, the uninsured are too busy scrambling to make ends meet. Many are self-employed; others are holding two or three part-time jobs. "They may not have a lot of time to be activists," he said.

Vicki and Lyle White of Summerfield, Fla., know about such predicaments. They lost their health insurance because Lyle had to retire early after a heart attack left him unable to do his job as a custodian at Disney World. Vicki, 60, sells real estate. Her income has plunged due to the housing collapse.

"We didn't realize that after he had the heart attack no one would want to insure him," said Vicki. The one bright spot is that Lyle, 64, has qualified for Medicare disability benefits and expects to be getting his card in July.

But for now, the Whites have to pay out of pocket for Lyle's visits to the cardiologist and his medications. The bills came to about $5,000 last year. That put a strain on their limited budget because they are still making payments on their house and car.

"I never thought when we got to this age that we would be in such a mess," said Vicki, who has been married to Lyle for 43 years. "We didn't think we would have a heart attack and it would change our life forever."

While her own health is "pretty good," Vicki said she suffers chronic sinus infections and hasn't had a checkup since 2007. "I have just learned to live with it," she said.

The Whites' example shows how the lack of guaranteed health care access undermines middle-class families and puts them at risk, but that many of the uninsured eventually do find coverage. Lyle White has qualified for Medicare, even if the couple must still find a plan for Vicki.

Research shows that nearly half of those who lose coverage find other health insurance in four months or less. That may be another reason the uninsured have not organized an advocacy group. At least until this recession, many have been able to fix the situation themselves.

"The uninsured are a moving target," said Cathy Schoen, a vice president of the Commonwealth Fund, a research group that studies the problems of health care costs and coverage.

But even if gaps in coverage are only temporary, they can be dangerous. "Whenever you are uninsured, you are at risk," said Schoen. "People don't plan very well when they are going to get sick or injured."

Indeed, the Institute of Medicine, which provides scientific advice to the government, has found that a lack of health insurance increases the chances of bad outcomes for people with a range of common ailments, from diabetes and high blood pressure to cancer and stroke. Uninsured patients don't get needed follow-up care, skip taking prescription medicines and put off seeking help when they develop new symptoms.

Such evidence strengthens the case for getting everybody covered right away, Schoen said. But she acknowledges the politics may get tough. "It certainly has been a concern out of our history that unorganized voices aren't heard," she said.****


3949  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: April 11, 2009, 08:52:58 AM
Medical Personnel Accused of Helping CIA Torture Prisoners
By Todd Neale, Staff Writer, MedPage Today
Published: April 09, 2009
LITTLE FALLS, N.J., April 9 -- Some medical personnel allegedly took part in the torture of "high-level detainees" at CIA detention centers as part of the war on terrorism, according to a report from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

The "strictly confidential" report, written in 2007 and published recently on the Web site of the New York Review of Books, detailed interviews the agency conducted with 14 prisoners -- including the alleged mastermind of the September 11th attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed -- after they were transferred to the detention center at Guantanamo Bay.

The prisoners described a wide array of psychological and physical abuse while in CIA custody lasting up to four-and-a-half years. The tactics amounted to "torture and/or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment," according to the report.

Specific acts included near-suffocation by water (water boarding), forcing prisoners to stand with their arms chained above their heads, beatings, confinement within a box, prolonged nudity, sleep deprivation, exposure to cold temperatures, prolonged shackling, exposure to constant loud music, threats to the detainee and his family, forced shaving of the head and facial hair, and food restrictions.

The prisoners said that, in addition to routine medical checks before and after transfers and the provision of healthcare for routine ailments -- which was described as "appropriate and satisfactory" -- medical personnel actively monitored or directly engaged in torture in some cases.

"It was alleged that, based on their assessments, health personnel gave instructions to interrogators to continue, to adjust, or to stop particular methods," the report said.

Mohammed claimed that during one water-boarding session a doctor placed a clip on his finger, which, from the description, "appeared to be a pulse oximeter," according to the report.

"I think it was to measure my pulse and oxygen content in my blood," Mohammed was quoted as saying. "So they could take me to breaking point."

Another detainee "alleged that a health person threatened that medical care would be conditional upon cooperation with the interrogators," the report said.

The ICRC said the consistency of the detainees' accounts gave credibility to their allegations.

If the accounts are true, the agency said, the medical personnel acted unethically.

"The alleged participation of health personnel in the interrogation process and, either directly or indirectly, in the infliction of ill-treatment constituted a gross breach of medical ethics and, in some cases, amounted to participation in torture and/or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment," the report said.

"The role of the physician and any other health professional involved in the care of detainees is explicitly to protect them from such ill-treatment and there can be no exceptional circumstances invoked to excuse this obligation."

Both the American Psychiatric Association and the American Medical Association have policies prohibiting physicians from participating in government interrogations. (See: AMA to Examine Ethics of Physician Involvement in Prisoner Interrogations)

The American Psychological Association instituted a similar policy last year. (See: New APA Policy Bars Psychologists From Helping in Illegal Interrogations)

President Barack Obama has renounced the use of torture in dealing with prisoners but has opposed efforts to punish interrogators who might have been guilty of abuses during the Bush administration.
3950  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / More politics from the liberal rag on: April 10, 2009, 01:12:16 PM
If one doesn't think the NEJM is a liberal rag this is from the same issue:

Conscientious Objection Gone Awry — Restoring Selfless Professionalism in Medicine

Julie D. Cantor, M.D., J.D.
 A new rule from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has emerged as the latest battleground in the health care conscience wars. Promulgated during the waning months of the Bush administration, the rule became effective in January. Heralded as a "provider conscience regulation" by its supporters and derided as a "midnight regulation" by its detractors, the rule could alter the landscape of federal conscience law.

The regulation, as explained in its text (see the Supplementary Appendix, available with the full text of this article at, aims to raise awareness of and ensure compliance with federal health care conscience protection statutes. Existing laws, which are tied to the receipt of federal funds, address moral or religious objections to sterilization and abortion. They protect physicians, other health care personnel, hospitals, and insurance plans from discrimination for failing to provide, offer training for, fund, participate in, or refer patients for abortions. Among other things, the laws ensure that these persons cannot be required to participate in sterilizations or abortions and that entities cannot be required to make facilities or personnel available for them. And they note that decisions on admissions and accreditation must be divorced from beliefs and behaviors related to abortion. On their face, these laws are quite broad.

But the Bush administration's rule is broader still. It restates existing laws and exploits ambiguities in them. For example, one statute says, "No individual shall be required to perform or assist in the performance of any part of a health service program or research activity funded" by DHHS if it "would be contrary to his religious beliefs or moral convictions."1 Here the rule sidesteps courts, which interpret statutory ambiguities and discern congressional intent, and offers sweeping definitions. It defines "individual" as physicians, other health care providers, hospitals, laboratories, and insurance companies, as well as "employees, volunteers, trainees, contractors, and other persons" who work for an entity that receives DHHS funds. It defines "assist in the performance" as "any activity with a reasonable connection" to a procedure or health service, including counseling and making "other arrangements" for the activity. Although the rule states that patients' ability to obtain health care services is unchanged, its expansive definitions suggest otherwise. Now everyone connected to health care may opt out of a wide range of activities, from discussions about birth control to referrals for vaccinations. As the rule explains, "an employee whose task it is to clean the instruments used in a particular procedure would also be considered to assist in the performance of the particular procedure" and would therefore be protected. Taken to its logical extreme, the rule could cause health care to grind to a halt.

It also raises other concerns. In terms of employment law, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which applies to organizations with 15 or more employees, requires balancing reasonable accommodations for employees who have religious, ethical, or moral objections to certain aspects of their jobs with undue hardship for employers. But the new rule suggests that if an employee objects, for example, to being a scrub nurse during operative treatment for an ectopic pregnancy, subsequently reassigning that employee to a different department may constitute unlawful discrimination — a characterization that may be at odds with Title VII jurisprudence.2 As officials of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission remarked when it was proposed, the rule could "throw this entire body of law into question."3

Furthermore, although the rule purports to address intolerance toward "individual objections to abortion or other individual religious beliefs or moral convictions," it cites no evidence of such intolerance — nor would it directly address such intolerance if it existed. Constitutional concerns about the rule, including violations of state autonomy and rights to contraception, also lurk. And the stated goals of the rule — to foster a "more inclusive, tolerant environment" and promote DHHS's "mission of expanding patient access to necessary health services" — conflict with the reality of extensive objection rights. Protection for the silence of providers who object to care is at odds with the rule's call for "open communication" between patients and physicians. Moreover, there is no emergency exception for patient care. In states that require health care workers to provide rape victims with information about emergency contraception, the rule may allow them to refuse to do so.

Recently, the DHHS, now answering to President Barack Obama, took steps to rescind the rule (see the Supplementary Appendix). March 10 marked the beginning of a 30-day period for public comment on the need for the rule and its potential effects. Analysis of the comments ( and subsequent action could take some months. If remnants of the rule remain, litigation will follow. Lawsuits have already been filed in federal court, and Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who led one of the cases, has vowed to continue the fight until the regulation is "finally and safely stopped."4

This state of flux presents an opportunity to reconsider the scope of conscience in health care. When broadly defined, conscience is a poor touchstone; it can result in a rule that knows no bounds. Indeed, it seems that our problem is not insufficient tolerance, but too much. We have created a state of "conscience creep" in which all behavior becomes acceptable — like that of judges who, despite having promised to uphold all laws, recuse themselves from cases in which minors seek a judicial bypass for an abortion in states requiring parental consent.5

The debate is not really about moral or religious freedom writ large. If it were, then the medical profession would allow a broad range of beliefs to hinder patient care. Would we tolerate a surgeon who holds moral objections to transfusions and refuses to order them? An internist who refuses to discuss treatment for diabetes in overweight patients because of moral opposition to gluttony? If the overriding consideration were individual conscience, then these objections should be valid. They are not (although they might well be permitted under the new rule). We allow the current conscience-based exceptions because abortion remains controversial in the United States. As is often the case with laws touching on reproductive freedom, the debate is polarized and shrill. But there comes a point at which tolerance breaches the standard of care.

Medicine needs to embrace a brand of professionalism that demands less self-interest, not more. Conscientious objection makes sense with conscription, but it is worrisome when professionals who freely chose their field parse care and withhold information that patients need. As the gatekeepers to medicine, physicians and other health care providers have an obligation to choose specialties that are not moral minefields for them. Qualms about abortion, sterilization, and birth control? Do not practice women's health. Believe that the human body should be buried intact? Do not become a transplant surgeon. Morally opposed to pain medication because your religious beliefs demand suffering at the end of life? Do not train to be an intensivist. Conscience is a burden that belongs to the individual professional; patients should not have to shoulder it.

Patients need information, referrals, and treatment. They need all legal choices presented to them in a way that is true to the evidence, not the randomness of individual morality. They need predictability. Conscientious objections may vary from person to person, place to place, and procedure to procedure. Patients need assurance that the standard of care is unwavering. They need to know that the decision to consent to care is theirs and that they will not be presented with half-truths and shades of gray when life and health are in the balance.

Patients rely on health care professionals for their expertise; they should be able expect those professionals to be neutral arbiters of medical care. Although some scholars advocate discussing conflicting values before problems arise, realistically, the power dynamics between patients and providers are so skewed, and the time pressure often so great, that there is little opportunity to negotiate. And there is little recourse when care is obstructed — patients have no notice, no process, and no advocate to whom they can turn.

Health care providers already enjoy broad rights — perhaps too broad — to follow their guiding moral or religious tenets when it comes to sterilization and abortion. An expansion of those rights is unwarranted. Instead, patients deserve a law that limits objections and puts their interests first. Physicians should support an ethic that allows for all legal options, even those they would not choose. Federal laws may make room for the rights of conscience, but health care providers — and all those whose jobs affect patient care — should cast off the cloak of conscience when patients' needs demand it. Because the Bush administration's rule moves us in the opposite direction, it should be rescinded.

Dr. Cantor reports representing an affiliate of Planned Parenthood in a legal matter unrelated to conscientious objection. No other potential conflict of interest relevant to this article was reported.
Dr. Cantor is an adjunct professor at the UCLA School of Law, Los Angeles.

This article (10.1056/NEJMp0902019) was published at on March 25, 2009.


42 U.S.C.A.  300a-7(d).
Shelton v. Univ. of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey, 223 F.3d 220 (3d Cir. 2000).
Pear R. Protests over a rule to protect health providers. New York Times. November 17, 2008:A14.
Press release of the State of Connecticut Attorney General's Office, Hartford, February 27, 2009. (Accessed March 20, 2009, at
Liptak A. On moral grounds, some judges are opting out of abortion cases. New York Times. September 4, 2005.

Pages: 1 ... 77 78 [79] 80 81 ... 93
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.19 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!