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4001  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Ripley's believe it or not. on: January 31, 2009, 12:21:25 PM
"they either don't have any balls or can deal with the pain."

Well one of the demonstrators was a woman.  I wasn't clear why we were suposed to be impressed by her taking a kick to the down under.  I guess it was supposed to be a politically correct comment on gender equality.
4002  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: January 31, 2009, 12:09:04 PM
"The new administration of Obama has also refused to rule out any options -- including military strikes"

Empty bluffs like these are nothing short of ridiculous.  Now if BO really wants to scare the beegeebees out of Ahmadinejad he should challenge him to a one on one game of HOOPS - winner take all.  Now that is scary (and believable).
4003  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Another liberal hypocrit on: January 31, 2009, 08:42:15 AM
And as you have probably already seen you can add another hypocrit to the list of, as long as they got their stash.... liberals:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4004  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: January 31, 2009, 08:37:22 AM
Well there are many predictions of the present problems much of it caused by ever increasing populations and competition.
I remember a poster from the Gilder and later DMG board, Mark Gerber who around 2000 posted his model predicted it would be time to get out of the stock market in 2008.  He concluded this based on demographics of aging US population, increased entitlement demands, and perhaps increased international competition for finite world resources.

I wonder if he acted on his model.  His prediction was uncannily correct in retrospect.
4005  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Ripley's believe it or not. on: January 30, 2009, 02:42:27 PM
This is not a video of the show but this is the show I am posting about.  Episode 8 - I guess it is a repeat of an old show from 2000.
4006  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Ripley's believe it or not. on: January 30, 2009, 01:29:52 PM
I am not new to the public forum though this is my first post on "Martial Arts".

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

What is the method of this?  Anyone know?

4007  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: January 30, 2009, 11:28:50 AM
Well here is the union payoff.  So BO Is telling us that the big union perks that US auto makers got was not part of the problem with the US auto industry's financial woes.  I supose he is telling us that union members create jobs and help to stimulate the economy too.  I don't recall ever reading Abe Lincoln speaking such propaganda.  This guy ain't no Lincoln irregardless of what his cratic base of fans claim.  The idea of "middle class" task force is a great political maneuver though it is obvious their solutions will all include big government and angles to lock in a Democratic party stranglehold on voters.  The Republicans need to come up with a counter middle class plan.  Let BO show his cards first though.  I still agree with the likes of Colin Powell and Mort Kondrake in that Repbulcians are not addressing issues in a way that is going to attract new faces to the party.  That is where I believe Rush is wrong.   

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4008  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Humor/WTF on: January 30, 2009, 09:44:55 AM
Elderly patient Mabel walks in and I notice her birthday is 12/12.  So I said, hey your birthday is the same as Abraham Lincoln's.

She says yes.

They call me "honest Mabe".

True story.
4009  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: January 27, 2009, 02:28:18 PM
The last time I recall this much disrespect to a former President from active top government officials was after Nixon.  Naturally, it is the same liberal left which used every opportunity to destroy the Republicans even while destroying the morale of our country.  Here we go again.   Destroy the morale of our nation to prove that you are the chosen ones as opposed to the other political party.
BO is doing nothing to stop this.  Shove it down our throats that we were at fault for all the ills of the world, that everything wrong with the world was due to the Republicans, that we disrespected everyone, we don't speak French, we all think all Muslims are terrorist murderers, and on and on.  Does anyone else see the similarities?  If history repeats itself we will see an eventual resurgence of nationalism like Reagan brought to the USA in 1980.  I guess that might not happen if in four years the majority of people here are either born elsewhere and or on the public dole and beholden to their Democrat masters.

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

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

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

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

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

"We have a lot of damage to repair."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4010  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / ripleys martial arts question on: January 27, 2009, 09:18:05 AM
On "Ripleys believe it or not" they show martial artists taking direct blows to the groin and throat.  How can they do this without injury?  Is this some sort of trick?  If the scrotum is above the pelvic bone I guess the blow would be deflected from the sensitive area.  But the blows to the Adams apple boggle my mind.

What is the method of this?  Anyone know?

4011  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: January 27, 2009, 08:38:42 AM
Did you see this "breaking news" on CNN yesterday?  I couldn't help but feel BO was insulting his own country.  HE speaks as though the problems in the Middle East are all the result of the past several years ie George Bush and not problems that have been cycling for thousands of years.  He spoke that Americans that we need to learn all Muslims are not terrosists (how dare him speak for us in that way).  As an American, as a Jew, as a citizen of the US who appreciates Ws efforts to protect us I felt angry and disgusted by his downing us and the previous president.  BO has already lost me.  He sounds like a naive fool to boot.  He thinks his (non)genius argument is going to solve everything.  My wife said he looks like he will be the deer who eventually gets caught in the headlights.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4012  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Music on: January 26, 2009, 05:57:56 PM
Well I am looking forward to his new songs.  All of his previous hits lyrics were exactly like those stolen from our house some of whom my psychopathic sick mother-in-law handed to this narcissist's buddies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4013  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Will's latest on BO on: January 26, 2009, 04:16:28 PM
Well I am interested in what the dinner host has to say now that he smoozed over cavier with BO.  I am not sure what the bottom line is on this whether he is positive or negative with his former dinner guest.  Perhaps it is toned down because they share a passion for the same wine. rolleyes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4014  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Bush Presidency on: January 26, 2009, 03:29:31 PM
***I think 'unchecked private sector without regulation' is an unintentional straw man argument.  I don't know anyone who favors free markets and free enterprise but opposes a proper role for government to govern.***

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

What is proper role of government?

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

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

4015  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: January 26, 2009, 10:38:50 AM
***CCP regarding Rush, Hannity, Coulter: "[I am] a moderate Republican...I don't necessarily disagree with their philosophy but more their strategy."  - I agree, and I'm not a moderate Republican.  But these people are not R. strategists.  They are entertainers and pundits.  They are selling viewership and listenership, not hope, change or electoral success.***

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

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

My impression he will subtly slide in all the big government programs he can get away with.
And the George Wills of the world will idly sit and smile like Timothy Leary.
4016  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: January 24, 2009, 11:43:14 AM
***President Barack Obama, seeking to sell his stimulus package to the public, promoted plans to build up clean-energy industries, expand health-insurance coverage and boost security at U.S. ports as part of the broader effort to jump-start the sputtering U.S. economy.

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

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

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

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

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

4017  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Bush Presidency on: January 24, 2009, 10:37:25 AM
***George W. Bush has certainly taught us that government really can't be trusted to be very effective, or open, or smart. He has also taught us that government can always get bigger on every level and every way. It's a sad lesson that we'll be learning for many years to come.***

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

For example, If the SEC simply enforced laws already on the books, if we simply enforced our immigration laws and include those of us who hire them for example, we would not have the mess we are in.
4018  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / BO vs Rush on: January 24, 2009, 09:42:28 AM
As a moderate Republican I have been critical of some of the rhetoric from the likes of Rush, Hannity, Inghram, Coulter.  I don't necessarily disagree with their philosophy but more their strategy.  I don't feel that just talking about freedom, less government, less taxes, more capitalism alone as the end all answer to all our problems is correct.  It is too simplified and certainly not going to appeal to wider audiences.  There must be a better way of redefining this in a way that also sends a message to the majority of people out there that they are included in this view. Most people just see the rich getting richer, they see thier health premiiums rising, they see the their bills, their debts piling up and the above rhetoric, as a truly great American and human being, Colin Powell said, ain't going to win them over.  And that *IS ALL* that the Repbulcian pundits are offering.  That is why we lost and lost big.

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

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

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

***January 23, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

"I will trump you on that."

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

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

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

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

"How does that stimulate the economy?"

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

Gibbs disagreed with those who called the meeting window dressing.

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

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

With Post Wires***

4019  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Coming Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: January 21, 2009, 10:13:33 AM
Last night Rachel Maddow the flaming liberal whose mo is to bash republicans was beaming ear to ear while quoting Pat Buchanan passionately claiming a passage from BOs speech was glorious and great.

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

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

Time will tell.

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

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

4020  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Bush Presidency on: January 20, 2009, 01:52:44 PM
***As he rises to this challenge, our new president will learn that when you make a mistake, the keepers of the Beltway's received orthodoxies will make you pay dearly.***  I have feeling BO will be the new teflon guy.
4021  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: January 20, 2009, 01:37:55 PM
From Bushanan post under the future (or lack thereof of the Republican party)
I can't post a reply it keeps coming up "notify".
So I'll post here:

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

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

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

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

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

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

4022  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / BO-Daschle control over health care on: January 19, 2009, 10:04:58 AM
For those of us who want to see what's in store for US health care we should probably read Daschle's book.  We are going down the road of gigantic federal control, expansion, redistribution, and subtle (politically covered) rationing.  There will be a board which will oversee and control one seventh of our economy:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source Information

Mr. Iglehart is a national correspondent for the Journal.

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


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

Comments and questions? Please contact us.

The New England Journal of Medicine is owned, published, and copyrighted © 2009 Massachusetts Medical Society. All rights reserved.
4023  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Democrat tsunami on: January 19, 2009, 09:57:45 AM
drudgereport is reporting its Carolin Kennedy.

The country has turned into a total democrat love fest.

All the parade of characters are back.

All the liberal celebs and the BO parties.

We will see but it surely is the most depressing time for Republicans in my lifetime.

Amazing how the party was in power just 8 years ago and threw it all away.

W tried to expand the base and it worked in 2004 but it all just vanished with the wind.

I don't want huge nanny state government.  But government without some regulation of the private sector is no good either.

4024  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: January 13, 2009, 11:10:28 AM
**The silence over this is itself remarkable**

Maybe but not surprising.

"oh but they all do it...."

The right has never been able to beat the Clintons with this stuff and never will.  They are a cancer that doesn't respond to chemotherapy.

"it is all a right wing plot"

Here we go again with Begala Carvel Davis and the rest on the airwaves bothering us with there BS.

This stuff is all so tiring.
4025  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Coming Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: January 12, 2009, 03:13:18 PM
***He’ll end up where Bush is — with the choice of using force or acquiescing to the idea of a nuclear Iran.***

Well, does Kristol think BO would use force against Iran?
There is zero indication of that.  He already said that any use of nucs by Iran against Israel would be met with a disprotionate nuclear response.  This tells us right there he is not going to use force to stop Iran from acquiring nukes and is using the deterrant of assured destruction. 

Anything else is "diplomacy".  Iran knows this.  That is why they will get what the nukes they want.  Unless they fold from within first.
4026  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Anti-semitism & Jews on: January 12, 2009, 11:09:43 AM
Many thanks to the perpetrators.

This just makes Jewish resolve even stronger. cool

4027  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Humor/WTF on: January 10, 2009, 09:36:06 AM
Patient walks into doctors office and complains of constipation.  "I can't go to the bathroom and my stools are hard as rocks."  "Doctor what do you think?"
Doctor:   "tough shit".
4028  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: January 09, 2009, 01:54:18 PM
Not mentioned, Daschle was the ringleader of the blocking of appointments to the judiciary by the minority in the senate, so he went from winning re-election by 30 points to losing in his own state.

He was voted out so BO who is just another party hack turns around and rewards him with this.

And the pols in DC are all getting rich anyway with their lobbying and such.

Even the supposedly honorable Dole is on the dole - and from Daschle no less.  Gives a new meaning to bipartisanship doesn't it.

I guess his viagra plug makes him an expert in health care. angry sad
4029  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: January 09, 2009, 11:54:57 AM
"It seems that most of the West's news reporters and pundits agree with Islamists everywhere that an Israeli victory in Gaza is impossible"

My response is let Hamas and Islamics everywhere know that they cannot succeed in driving Jews out of Israel.  Until the media gets that message out we will see them playing the media game.
4030  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Full government take over of health care is here on: January 09, 2009, 10:45:42 AM
Interesting he is introduced by Bob Dole.

This statement is humorous:

***I want to take politics out of it as much as possible and allow scientists to do their job."***

You can't take politics out of health care.  How will scientists do their job with the government regulating every inch of our system?

***Daschle Makes Case for Appointment to HHS Post
By Emily P. Walker, Washington Correspondent, MedPage Today
Published: January 08, 2009
WASHINGTON, Jan. 8 -- Tom Daschle, picked by President-elect Barack Obama to be Health and Human Services secretary, said medical trainees should have school loans forgiven and receive other incentives to choose careers in primary care.
Daschle told senators at his confirmation hearing today he wants to send a message to medical students: "If you take this route, we're going to find ways to ensure that you have the financial wherewithal to become that front-line provider that we need."

Daschle testified before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, chaired by Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.).

Senate approval is expected for the well-liked ex-senator from South Dakota. Republicans on the committee gave him a friendly reception at the hearing, and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) announced he would support Daschle's nomination.

Daschle told the committee he has been laying the groundwork for a healthcare reform plan, which he said cannot be dictated from the White House and Congress.

He advocated a more grassroots approach and said he's taken ideas from Obama's transition Web site, which has received tens of thousands of comments, and from local community health forums in the last several months.

Daschle said the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services should save money by moving to a medical-home care model and steering its focus toward prevention and wellness rather than paying for disease treatment.

The CDC should better utilize community-based prevention efforts, like smoking cessation and weight loss programs, Daschle said. He said he would "revitalize" CDC's ability to detect and investigate health threats and focus on better coordination between public and private entities.

Daschle promised to restore trust in the FDA, citing a survey that found nearly two-thirds of Americans don't believe that the agency can ensure drug safety and effectiveness.

"Ensuring the food we eat and the medications we take are safe is a core protection that American people deserve and a core responsibility of government," Daschle said.

Daschle said all the agencies he would oversee need to operate with fewer political motivations.

"I want to reinstate a science-driven environment," he said. "I want to take politics out of it as much as possible and allow scientists to do their job."

Daschle said the National Institutes of Health budget is so limited that only 10% of grant applications are funded.

"I will work to strengthen NIH, with leadership that focuses on the dual objectives of addressing the healthcare challenges of our people and maintaining America's economic edge through innovation," he said.

Although the HELP committee traditionally holds confirmation hearings for the HHS post, the Finance Committee will hold its own hearing and have final say on whether to advance Daschle's nomination to the Senate floor. That hearing has not been scheduled yet.

The HELP committee's senior Republican Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.) said the last two HHS secretaries were confirmed within two weeks of their appearances before the HELP committee.

Daschle served three terms in the Senate and was minority leader from 2001 to 2004, when he lost a re-election bid. He joined the Center for American Progress, a Democratic think tank, as a senior fellow and has advised the lobbying firm Alston & Bird.

He published a book on health care in 2008, Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care System. Enzi said he had recommended it to all his staff.

Today's hearing was also notable for the appearances of Kennedy, who appeared healthy and fit despite his recent bout with malignant glioma, and Robert Dole, the former GOP senator from Kansas.

Dole introduced Daschle, saying Congress and the public appear ready to address healthcare reform.

Dole, as leader of Senate Republicans in the early 1990s, had engineered the defeat of the Clinton administration's reform proposal.

He now works with Daschle at Alston & Bird.***
4031  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: January 08, 2009, 04:24:24 PM
"Remember when Dick Cheney was pilloried for reportedly saying, earlier this decade, that "deficits don't matter"? "

Yes.  I am still confused about this.   This is just against all common sense.
It reminds me of Gilder preaching that debt is good.
I just don't get it.  How can one argue we are not pushing our bills down the road onto future gnereations?
4032  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: January 06, 2009, 09:55:50 AM
"When we will grow up, we will bomb them back," a CNN translator quoted the boy saying on Hamas TV"
That is exactly why the Israeli response is disproportionately too low.
This is a fight for survival, for existence.
It is weakness not strength that leaves Israel at higher risk.
Right now the PC police leave them weak.
And of course the age old its "the jews" fault for wanting to have a tiny spot on the Earth.  How dare them!
4033  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: January 05, 2009, 02:04:28 PM
I wondered why Panetta, another Clinton retread is chosen by BO as director of the CIA. The first part of this piece he wrote explains part of the reason.  He certainly fits into the pc version of where our intelligence philosophy.  Our country is becoming just so adorable.

***Americans reject fear tactics
Monterey County Herald, March 9, 2008
By Leon E. Panetta
In the depths of the Depression in 1933, with more than a third of the nation "ill-housed, ill-clad and ill-nourished," Franklin Roosevelt made clear to a desperate people that the greatest threat was from fear itself.

Seventy-five years later, in the midst of unprecedented foreign and domestic crises, will America surrender to fear or will the candidates for president appeal to the better angels of our nature?

Unfortunately, fear remains an appealing weapon in the modern political arsenal. In a tight battle, the temptation is to scare the hell out of the public in order to win an issue or beat an opponent. Consultants design campaigns to get voters to vote their guts and not their brains. This appeal to the lowest common denominator afflicts both the way this nation elects its leaders and ultimately the way these leaders govern.

Fear exacts a terrible toll on our democracy. Five years ago, America went to war in Iraq over the false fear that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

Even though we now know that there were intelligence officials who questioned the assertion, few leaders were willing to challenge this argument for war because they knew it might undermine public support for the president's decision to invade Iraq.

More recently, President Bush vetoed a law that would require the CIA and all the intelligence services to abide by the same rules on torture as contained in the U.S. Army Field Manual.

The president says the rules are too restrictive, implying that the use of some forms of torture just could help avoid another Sept. 11.

But all forms of torture have long been prohibited by American law and international treaties respected by Republican and Democratic presidents alike.

Our forefathers prohibited "cruel and unusual punishment" because that was how tyrants and despots ruled in the 1700s. They wanted an America that was better than that. Torture is illegal, immoral, dangerous and counterproductive. And yet, the president is using fear to trump the law.

The same rationale is used to justify eavesdropping on U.S. citizens without a warrant. The president has made clear that the failure of the Congress to pass this authority could jeopardize our security. Instead of trying to negotiate a compromise with Congress that would meet both our intelligence and privacy concerns, it is easier to threaten with fear.

Campaigns are primers for scaring the public. Just within the few days leading to the Ohio and Texas primaries, a Clinton ad appeared that showed a ringing red phone in the Oval Office and scenes of a sleeping child.

The voice-over made clear that the child could be jeopardized if the person answering the phone did not have the foreign policy experience to do the right thing. Barack Obama responded with an ad that used the same ringing red phone and child but argued that it was judgment, not experience, that would save the child.

If Obama becomes the Democratic candidate, will Republican John McCain allow his consultants to use race, Obama's middle name of Hussein and a tourist snapshot in Somali dress to smear his opponent's patriotism?

Some of McCain's supporters have already made this attack. The fear argument is to make Obama into some kind of Manchurian candidate, a closet anti-Semitic jihadist trained in a madrasa. After all, it did not take much to attack the patriotism of Sen. John Kerry, a decorated Vietnam veteran.

If race, innuendo and fear become the principal weapons of this campaign, it could become one of the ugliest political races in modern history.

The good news is that the American people appear to have rejected the tactics of fear. They really do want change and a nation unified by a can-do spirit that will confront problems and give our children a better life. They do not want patriotism defined simply by fear of terrorism, the prospect of perpetual war and the historic prejudices against race and gender.

But if the candidates are to appeal to our hopes and not our fears, it begins with their campaigns. For too long, presidential races have been marked by the Karl Rove tactics of divide and conquer. Constituencies are neatly divided and force-fed wedge issues that drive them to the polls.

A few debates are scheduled, but their format is so limited that they fail to give the candidates opportunity to fully discuss their positions. Instead of a national campaign, the races focus on raising special-interest money and the nine or ten targeted states that could make the difference in the electoral vote. The rest of the nation is taken for granted.

Let me suggest that if the candidates are really in touch with the pulse of America, they will agree to give America a different kind of presidential race.

First, they should get together and agree to public financing and the spending limits established by that law. The candidates should be focused on the issues and not the obligations of constant fundraising that consume the candidates and their campaigns.

Second, the candidates should agree to a set of Lincoln-Douglas style debates in each region of the country. These debates would not involve the press but just the candidates. Instead of the same old media questions, they would have to focus on the substantive issues facing the nation: Iraq, the war on terror, health care, global warming and energy, the economy and the deficit, immigration reform, education and foreign policy. Each forum would focus on one issue and give the candidates the opportunity to present fully their positions and to question each other. For once in a political race, the public is entitled to more than just sound bites.

Thirdly, each candidate should be required to tell the nation the names of the people he or she would have in the cabinet. The public should know the team that the next president will have in Washington. Competence and bipartisanship have been missing for too long in Washington.

And lastly, each candidate should tell the nation how he or she will restore trust in this badly divided nation's capital and how they will rise above partisanship in order to govern. In 30 years of political life, I have never seen Washington as partisan as it is today.

It will take more than a speech. How a new president responds to this challenge could spell the difference between a successful or failed presidency.

It is likely that a new president will be tested early. The fact is we will never know what a president is really like until he or she has to confront the crises and pressures of the modern presidency. But one thing we should know before a candidate becomes president is whether he or she will govern by fear or by hope. America does not have to be afraid of its future.
LEON PANETTA is a former congressman and White House chief of staff who now heads the Leon & Sylvia Panetta Institute for Public Policy at CSU-Monterey Bay. He was a member of the Iraq Study Group. His column runs every other month in Commentary.
© 2006 Monterey County Herald and wire service sources.
All Rights Reserved.***
4034  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The electoral process, vote fraud (ACORN et al) and more on: January 05, 2009, 12:55:00 PM
It's too bad they won't have another election with the two front runners and without the third party candidate to decide a contested election like this.
4035  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: January 05, 2009, 10:12:24 AM
Is not Hamas committed to the total destruction of Israel?
That said I argue that the appropriate response is the total destruction of them first.
Anything less is disproportionately *low*.

I don't recall the whole argument about proportionality in warfare being discussed until we discusss the methods of the Israelis anyway.  Isn't this new politically correct stuff we are hearing or did this concept get brought up in the MSM media before?
4036  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The electoral process, vote fraud (ACORN et al) and more on: January 05, 2009, 09:54:39 AM
This is exactly the outcome that was predicted.  Franken et al will keep demanding recounts after recounts until they can come up with a total that puts him ahead and then suddenly the process is over and the Democratic machine will declare him the winner.

Lets hear the MSM speaking of "voter disenfranchisement" now.
4037  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Health Thread (nutrition, medical, longevity, etc) on: January 02, 2009, 07:13:52 PM
World's oldest woman dies in Portugal aged 115
I keep telling my elderly we are going for the record of 122 and take back the title for world's oldest person (a woman) from the French (oldest man was Japanese).   But...

None of my patients want to live that long.   

***LISBON, Portugal (AP) - A woman who lived to see five of her great-great grandchildren born and was believed to have been the world's oldest person living, has died in northwest Portugal at the age of 115, officials said Friday.
Maria de Jesus, who was born September 10, 1893 and was listed by the Guinness Book of World Records and the Gerontology Research Group as the world's oldest person, died in an ambulance near the town of Tomar.

De Jesus, who outlived three of her six children, had 11 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren, had eaten breakfast normally but was being taken to hospital because of a swelling, her daughter Maria Madalena told state news agency Lusa.

Corvelo Sousa, president of the town council of Tomar, 66 kilometers (40 miles) north of the port city of Porto, confirmed the death.

"I regret the death of this lady, she really was the sweetest person," said Tomar town councilor Ivo Santos.

De Jesus was left a widow when she was 57 and lived to reach 115 years and 114 days.***

4038  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / To CaptainCCS on: January 02, 2009, 12:08:48 PM
*In my part of the world it would not seem strange at all. While we don't usually have hyphenated citizens (Afro-Venezuelan), we don't have a problem recognizing people's ancestry and origin. Until Chavez none of it was cause for comment or discrimination. My business partner was a black man and everyone refers to him as "The Black Gamboa" to which he proudly announces that he is the descendant of African kings and Amerind princesses. My dad used to call him "My black son." This is true integration, where you are no longer afraid of the differences. Instead, you celebrate them. As the French like to say: "Vive la difference."*

Interesting note.  Why do you think assimilation smoother there among different groups?

America has always been a country of immigrants.  Yet those that are hear don't ever like the newer ones.
OF course remnants of slavery plays a role.  But why are Muslims better accepted in Venezuela as you have witnessed?

Just wondering.
4039  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Princess Caroline de Camelot on: January 02, 2009, 11:51:21 AM
Why not Sean Penn or Barbra Streisand?

Some can rightly question would W have ever been President if it wasn't for his father but he was a governor first and he did run and win an election.  This is certainly not the same as being handed a seat because of your name and strings being pulled for ya.

By Dick Morris And Eileen McGann 12.23.2008 Caroline Kennedy apparently thinks that she is entitled to be appointed as the next junior Senator from New York.

She shouldn’t be. Think about it.

Her qualifications? Her name is Kennedy and she can raise a lot of fat-cat money for herself and for New York democrats who support her.

Her strategy? Ignore the voters and the press and meet with the political bosses behind closed doors to convince them to pressure Governor David Patterson to appoint her to Hillary Clinton’s seat.

Is there a more cynical message in the Age of Obama?

Who’s supporting her? Among her chief backers is New York City’s billionaire Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg who recently decided to ignore a legitimate and binding citywide referendum that prohibited him from seeking a third term. In one of the most appalling examples of an arrogant “the public be damned” attitude, Bloomberg convinced the City Council to overrule the will of the people so he could stay in City Hall. He’s a big contributor to many of the folks who supported this brazen move. Legendary Tammany Hall boss Carmine De Sapio would love both Bloomberg and Caroline for bringing back the old “power to the bosses” style of politics.

Her position on issues that will face the next Senator? She won’t tell you. She’s adamantly refused to speak about any issues. In her first foray outside Manhattan, she declined all questions from the press. She wouldn’t even say whether she had ever been to Syracuse before. Does that suggest what the answer would have been? Her handlers finally provided written answers to some of the questions posed by The New York Times. She picked out the questions she wanted to answer and ignored some of the tough issues - like whether she supports increased taxes for rich people. She’s not saying. Now, SHE WON’T DISCLOSE HER PERSONAL FINANCES OR PROVIDE A LIST OF COMPANIES THAT SHE HAS A STAKE IN!

Sound like the good old days? Is this woman kidding?

Her involvement in politics? Not much. She campaigned for Obama and worked on his committee that recommended the Vice-Presidential candidate. She’s never been active in New York politics and she hasn’t even voted in about half the contested elections in New York since 1988. Over the past fifteen years, she’s contributed to her uncle, Senator Ted Kennedy, her cousin Rep. Patrick Kennedy, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Al Gore, Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd, and Connecticut wanna-be Ned Lamont, and former Pennsylvania Senator Harris Wofford (1991) Not much interest in New York’s candidates or issues!

Her experience?

• She is a long time patron of the American Ballet Theatre

• She is active in her father’s presidential library

• She was a part-time volunteer fund raiser for the NYC schools for less than two years

• She’s co-authored two books on civil liberties

• She’s written five books. She is her most derivative in her published works. Of four New York Times bestsellers; three of them were compilations of other peoples’ work. One was The Patriot’s Handbook: Songs, Poems, Stories, and Speeches Celebrating the Land We Love. The only thing these songs, poems, stories, and speeches had in common was that she didn’t write any of them. Then followed, The Best-Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. In this book she not only didn’t write the poetry, she didn’t even choose it. Her third best seller was A Family of Poems: My Favorite Poetry for Children, again a compilation of works that were not her own. Then there’s A Family Christmas, another anthology of her favorite short stories, poems, etc about Christmas (all written by other people). In another book, Profiles in Courage For Our Time, she swiped only the title from her late father but wrote the copy herself.

• She hasn’t had a job since before she went to law school in the 1980’s.

So, why should Caroline be appointed Senator?

Does anyone seriously believe that her audacious grab for the New York Senate seat is based on anything more than a misplaced and somewhat grandiose sense of entitlement coupled with a cynical claim of access to big money for the next election?

If her name wasn’t Kennedy, would anyone give any consideration at all to someone without any experience to prepare her for the job or to even inform the voters about what she stands for?


Is there a single person in the United States who doesn’t wish Caroline Kennedy well and hope that she’s spared from further tragedy?

Probably not.

But affection, sympathy, and nostalgia shouldn’t be the basis for appointing this woefully inexperienced woman to a key Senate seat in these troubles times.

Her father’s and uncle’s names are the only thing that makes her a contender.

Doesn’t anyone in New York politics use their own names anymore? Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of the former president, wants to take the Senate seat of Hillary Clinton, the wife of the former president. But some people are pushing for Andrew Cuomo, the son of the former governor. Are we stuck in political dynasties? And who will make the decision? New York’s David Patterson, the son of Basil Patterson, the former New York State Senator, Secretary of State, and Deputy Mayor of New York City.

Don’t we have any talented people who don’t feel entitled to inherit a seat? Can’t we stop the political dynasties?

At least Cuomo has his own accomplishments. He was the Secretary of HUD in the Clinton Administration, and as the elected New York State Attorney General, he’s done an outstanding job. Caroline Kennedy has done absolutely nothing to deserve elevation to the United States Senate. A review of hundreds of newspaper articles mentioning her name over the past twenty years shows rare substantive issues: her books and book tours, awarding the Profiles in Courage Award to Lowell Weicker for instituting an income tax in Connecticut, very part-time fund raising for the city schools. Even in that regard, her influence is questioned and others are given as much or more credit. The majority of the articles are about her wedding, her mother, her brother, her socialite activities, and her lucrative auction of her mother’s old blankets, picnic baskets, and other household effects.

No, Caroline has not been heard from on any of the important issues facing New Yorkers.

Patterson is a talented politician. He will probably appoint Cuomo anyway for one simple reason: To get him out of the way. Acutely aware that he was not elected governor but only got the job when Eliot Spitzer self-destructed, Governor Patterson would probably face an uphill primary fight against Cuomo in 2010 if he doesn’t shunt him off into the Senate. Other than the Attorney General, there is nobody with the stature to offer Patterson serious opposition in the Democratic Party.

Patterson should not succumb to the lobbying of the bosses and the fat cats for Caroline. She’s not entitled.***

4040  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: January 02, 2009, 09:53:50 AM
From the ultra liberal Economist mag (rag) with no authors ever attributed by name to their articles.
The part that irritates me is this:

"In general, a war must pass three tests to be justified. A country must first have exhausted all other means of defending itself. The attack should be proportionate to the objective. And it must stand a reasonable chance of achieving its goal. On all three of these tests Israel is on shakier ground than it cares to admit"

Oh really?  And what God of ethics decided this?  The new political correctness?   What horse shit!  Therefore the Jews have a right to kill 6 million Germans.  The Ukraines 5 or 6 million Russians, The Russians 20 million Germans.  The Jews have a right to kill Iranians (former Persians), Iraqis (former Babylon), Egyptians, Syrains (fromer Assyria), Italians (formerly the Romans), Mongolians (formerly Genghis Khan), and the descendents of past civilizations such as Philistines, Hittites and at least a dozen others.

With regards to the objective so far Israel's attack is diproportionately soft.  The objective is to stop Hamas from killing Jews.  That will only be accomplished when they are all killed.  So there you G'D'M leftist politiocally A'h'l's!

Israel's war in Gaza

Gaza: the rights and wrongs
Dec 30th 2008
From The Economist print edition

Israel was provoked, but as in Lebanon in 2006 it may find this war a hard one to end, or to justify

APTHE scale and ferocity of the onslaught on Gaza have been shocking, and the television images of civilian suffering wrench the heart. But however deplorable, Israel’s resort to military means to silence the rockets of Hamas should have been no surprise. This war has been a long time in the making.

Since Israel evacuated its soldiers and settlers from the Gaza Strip three years ago, Palestinian groups in Gaza have fired thousands of rudimentary rockets and mortar bombs across the border, killing very few people but disrupting normal life in a swathe of southern Israel. They fired almost 300 between December 19th, when Hamas ignored Egypt’s entreaties and decided not to renew a six-month truce, and December 27th, when Israel started its bombing campaign (see article). To that extent, Israel is right to say it was provoked.

Of provocation and proportion
It is easy to point out from afar that barely a dozen Israelis had been killed by Palestinian rockets since the Gaza withdrawal. But few governments facing an election, as Israel’s is, would let their towns be peppered every day with rockets, no matter how ineffective. As Barack Obama said on a visit to one Israeli town in July, “If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that. And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing.” In recent months, moreover, Hamas has smuggled far more lethal rockets into its Gaza enclave, some of which are now landing in Israeli cities that were previously out of range. On its border with Lebanon, Israel already faces one radical non-state actor, Hizbullah, that is formally dedicated to Israel’s destruction and has a powerful arsenal of Iranian-supplied missiles at its disposal. The Israelis are understandably reluctant to let a similar danger grow in Gaza.

And yet Israel should not be surprised by the torrent of indignation it has aroused from around the world. This is not just because people seldom back the side with the F-16s. In general, a war must pass three tests to be justified. A country must first have exhausted all other means of defending itself. The attack should be proportionate to the objective. And it must stand a reasonable chance of achieving its goal. On all three of these tests Israel is on shakier ground than it cares to admit.

It is true that Israel has put up with the rockets from Gaza for a long time. But it may have been able to stop the rockets another way. For it is not quite true that Israel’s only demand in respect of Gaza has been for quiet along the border. Israel has also been trying to undermine Hamas by clamping an economic blockade on Gaza, while boosting the economy of the West Bank, where the Palestinians’ more pliant secular movement, Fatah, holds sway. Even during the now-lapsed truce, Israel prevented all but a trickle of humanitarian aid from entering the strip. So although Israel was provoked, Hamas can claim that it was provoked too. If Israel had ended the blockade, Hamas may have renewed the truce. Indeed, on one reading of its motives, Hamas resumed fire to force Israel into a new truce on terms that would include opening the border.

On proportionality, the numbers speak for themselves—up to a point. After the first three days, some 350 Palestinians had been killed and only four Israelis. Neither common sense nor the laws of war require Israel to deviate from the usual rule, which is to kill as many enemies as you can and avoid casualties on your own side. Hamas was foolish to pick this uneven fight. But of the Palestinian dead, several score were civilians, and many others were policemen rather than combatants. Although both Western armies and their foes have killed far more civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq, Israel’s interest should be to minimise the killing. The Palestinians it is bombing today will be its neighbours for ever.

This last point speaks to the test of effectiveness. Israel said at first that, much as it would like to topple Hamas, its present operation has the more limited aim of “changing reality” so that Hamas stops firing across the border. But as Israel learnt in Lebanon in 2006, this is far from easy. As with Hizbullah, Hamas’s “resistance” to Israel has made it popular and delivered it to power. It is most unlikely to bend the knee. Like Hizbullah, it will probably prefer to keep on firing no matter how hard it is hit, daring Israel to send its ground forces into a messy street fight in Gaza’s congested cities and refugee camps.

Now cease fire
Can Israel have forgotten the lesson of Lebanon so soon? Hardly. If anything, its campaign against Hamas now is intended to compensate for its relative failure against Hizbullah then. With Iran’s nuclear threat on the horizon, and Iranian influence growing in both Lebanon and Gaza, Israel is keen to remind its enemies that the Jewish state can still fight and still win. Precisely for that reason, despite its talk of a long campaign, it may be more receptive than it is letting on to an immediate ceasefire. Its aircraft have already pummelled almost every target in Gaza. Further military gains will be harder. A truce now, if Hamas really did stop its fire, could be presented to voters as the successful rehabilitation of Israeli deterrence.

But a ceasefire needs a mediator. Mr Obama is not yet president, and George Bush has so far hung back, just as he did in 2006 while waiting for an Israeli knockout blow that did not come. This time, he and everyone else with influence should pile in at once. To bring Hamas on board, a ceasefire would need to include an end to Israel’s blockade, but that would be a good thing in itself, relieving the suffering in Gaza and removing one of the reasons Hamas gives for fighting.

After that, Mr Obama will have to gather up what is left of diplomacy in the Middle East. It is not all hopeless. Until this week, Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, was talking to Israel about how to create a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. But Mr Abbas presides over the West Bank only, and little progress is possible so long as half of Palestine’s people support an organisation that can still not bring itself to renounce armed struggle or recognise Israel’s right to exist. Since Hamas is not going to disappear, some way must be found to change its mind. Bombs alone will never do that.

4041  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: December 30, 2008, 09:17:33 AM
***I was living in married student housing at the University of Wisconsin when the first Scud hit Israel; the Palestinian family across the hall proceeded to whoop it up as though the Packers had just won the Super Bowl. Couldn't believe people were celebrating the fact that a weapon with a very poor targeting system, possibly topped with chemical munitions, got lobbed at a population center***

I have a long time Muslim Egyptian patient and her husband.  She is going for elective surgery and I asked her which hospital and she couldn't think of the name off the top of her head.  I named a few places and she said not those.  Then suddenly she said it is a hospital where "all the Jews live".  I said oh Short Hills - St Barnabas.  She said yes that's it.
It is true that area has a huge Jewish population and I realized right away where she meant when she offered this clue.  But don't you think it odd that is what she thought of to try to help me understand which hospital?  I am sure she has no idea I am a Jew.  I made nothing of it.

Otherwise they are wonderful people and I feel a bond with them, but I don't think I would explain where a hospital is by the local population for example JFK hospital is "where a lot of Indians live". 

What would you make of this?  I am not sure what to make of it.
4042  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: December 29, 2008, 12:39:46 PM
"I am baffled why you would post such twaddle"

I did a search as to possible reasons why Israel is attacking Gaza now, and this came up so I thought I would post it.

Actually I wondered if actions were now because of impending change in *American* political power not because of Israeli politics.

Are they doing it before BO gets in as part of a calculation?

BO clearly has ties to the anti semitic Black camp.  Though he does have/had a lot of Jews working for his interests and hopefully they will keep him from selling out Israel - but we will see.

4043  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: December 29, 2008, 10:39:09 AM
Home News World News Middle East IsraelAnalysis: Israeli politics lies behind Gaza attacks
The people of Sderot, a small town in southern Israel a few miles from the Gaza Strip, have 15 seconds to take cover whenever the wail of sirens gives warning of another rocket attack.
By David Blair, Diplomatic Editor
Last Updated: 12:40AM GMT 29 Dec 2008

Israeli Maya Iber inspects damage at her destroyed house after a rocket attack on Sderot by Palestinian militants on Dec 21 Photo: GETTY IMAGES
For almost five years, this has been their daily ordeal and Sderot's bus stops have been specially reinforced to serve as armoured shelters from the regular salvoes fired out of Gaza.

With a general election due on Feb 10, no Israeli government could afford to appear indifferent to this threat, especially as Palestinian fighters are deploying rockets with longer ranges and heavier warheads, with some weapons capable of hitting the port of Ashdod 20 miles from Gaza. In all, some 500,000 Israelis live within range of Gaza's rockets.

The political imperative to act undoubtedly lay behind Israel's decision to launch the attack. It will have weighed most heavily on the minds of Tzipi Livni, the foreign minister and leader of the centrist Kadima party, and Ehud Barak, the defence minister and leader of the Labour party.

Both will be fighting the election against Benjamin Netanyahu, the former prime minister from the right-wing Likud party. As they enter this contest, neither can afford to appear anything but hawkish.

Yet the scale of the response exposes Israel to international criticism. Almost 300 Palestinians have been killed in the last two days alone. By contrast, rockets fired from Gaza have killed 17 Israeli civilians in the last seven years.

Since Israel completed its withdrawal from Gaza in September 2005, about 150 Palestinians have been killed by its security forces in the territory for every dead Israeli civilian. Faced with this astonishing ratio, Israel's government will find it extremely hard to argue that its response has been proportionate.

Moreover, the subtext to the operation in Gaza is a failure of policy on both sides. Since Hamas seized control of the territory in June 2007, its only tactic has been to fire rockets at southern Israel, thereby provoking a draconian – and predictable – response.

Meanwhile, Israel has blockaded Gaza of all but essential humanitarian supplies and launched regular military raids. On the rare occasions when the territory's border posts have been open, Palestinian fighters have occasionally attacked them, forcing their closure and maximising Gaza's isolation and the ordeal of its people.

Its 1.5 million inhabitants are effectively prisoners. This cycle of attack, retaliation and more attack has achieved nothing save inflict suffering on both sides.

Last year, a truce arranged by neighbouring Egypt brought a measure of calm. That has now collapsed amid recriminations over who was to blame.

Israeli forces killed three Palestinian fighters and destroyed a tunnel linking Gaza with Egypt during an operation in November. A barrage of rockets fired at Israeli towns was the response, with 70 being launched last Wednesday alone.

The only hope lies in restoring the ceasefire. But any political progress will have to await the outcome of Israel's election. In the meantime, the military campaign goes on.
4044  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Coming Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: December 27, 2008, 09:07:11 AM
I admit I was a bit surprised at the level of intensity of anger leveled at BO particularly on MSNBC,
Yet I question what the choice of Rick Warren means since it is purely and solely a symbolic gesture and PR move rather than anything of substance.  I am suspect that this is a superficial ploy to lull the right into complacency while the choices that matter with regard to real policy change will be as left as BO can get away with.

Others have posed this thought as well.
I don't yet believe BO is forming any kind of coalition between right and left for the "long haul".  We shall see.
Why is it gays think they have to scream their arguments at us even louder as though that will be effective?  It is simply annoying me more as probably with many other people.
4045  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: December 23, 2008, 09:14:09 AM
Here we go again.  The Clintons grabbing for the spotlight and self serving spin.  Every move she makes she will have her spin team out there telling what a great job she is doing fixing the world for us.  Oh well.  Does State really need to get in on economic issues?  She is already trying to ustage BO.  I thought BO was for change.  We still are going to hear endless grifter propaganda.

***Hillary Clinton plans a more powerful State Dept: NY Times
      Hillary Rodham Clinton plans to build a more muscular US State Department, with a bigger budget, high-profile special envoys dispatched to trouble spots and an expanded role in dealing with the global economic crisis, the New York Times reported Tuesday.

The Times cited an unnamed Hillary Clinton adviser as saying her push for a more vigorous economic team stems from her belief that the State Department needs to play a part in the recovery from the global financial crisis, while economic issues also are at the heart of key diplomatic relationships, notably with China.

The former first lady also is reportedly likely to name several high-powered envoys to world hotspots.

The daily reported that Clinton and Obama have not yet settled on specific envoys or missions, although the name of veteran diplomat Dennis Ross has come up as a possible Middle East envoy, along with diplomatic trouble-shooter Richard Holbrooke and Martin Indyk, a former United States ambassador to Israel.

The Times wrote that the New York senator -- President-elect Barack Obama's pick for Secretary of State -- is recruiting Jacob Lew, the budget director under her husband former president Bill Clinton -- to be one of her two deputies. Lew would be tasked with handling economic matters, the report said.

Another Bill Clinton aide, former deputy national security adviser James Steinberg is to be Hillary Clinton's other chief lieutenant, subject to Senate confirmation.***

4046  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: December 20, 2008, 08:59:00 AM
It is one thing to use non citizen interpretors but the idea of filling our military ranks with people who are not citizens is a bad idea.
The Revolutionary War situation makes no sense to today.  And the immigrant situation during the draft of the Civil War when people could pay their way out of the draft does not apply today either.

Bad idea.
4047  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Bobby Jindal on: December 18, 2008, 03:16:35 PM
From recent Newsweek mag.  I only get NsWk because I got it for free from frequent flier miles.  It is left wing propaganda de jour a la MSNBC so I don't care for their incredibly biased articles. 
This article about Jindal who is hard core in his right wing beliefs but also a more centrist pragmatist in reality is of note.  Is this the kind of rough roadmap answer for the Cans to make a comeback some day?  I don't know, but anyway here it is:
Their Own Obama
Bobby Jindal is in no way running for president. Or so he told Iowa.

Published Dec 13, 2008
From the magazine issue dated Dec 22, 2008
Bobby Jindal is in a hurry. It was only an hour ago that the Louisiana governor, 37, landed near the town of Longville (population: 2,462) and descended from his helicopter, Pelican One, into an SUV bound for the local Baptist church. And it'll be only a little while before Jindal reboards the chopper and resumes a tour that will, by bedtime tomorrow, take him to Breaux Bridge, Baton Rouge, Shreveport, Arcadia and, finally, New Orleans—a typical, 1,000-mile, midweek excursion for the boyish politician who rarely bothers to eat or urinate when traveling, which is almost always.

But in the meantime, Jindal must answer The Question. Ever since arriving at the Longville church for today's event, the governor has been sprinting through his "New Louisiana" stump speech, a self-promotional recap of his 10 months in office, at the relentless pace expected of a guy who graduated from Brown at 21, completed his Rhodes scholarship at 23, ran Louisiana's Health and Hospitals department at 25, presided over the University of Louisiana system at 28 and served in Washington as an assistant secretary of health and human services and two-term U.S. congressman before becoming the country's first Indian-American governor at the advanced age of 36. Swimming in his blue blazer, the 5-foot-11, 135-pound Jindal looks more like a bashful science-fair contestant than the latest successor to flamboyant Louisiana Gov. Huey Long, and if it weren't for Jindal's lavish Southern drawl, he'd risk sounding more like one, too; this morning's remarks, like nearly everything he says, have consisted largely of the phrase "a couple of things" followed by a flurry of details, statistics and multipart plans.

Now Clyde Dennis wants to know how hurried Jindal really is. "Tell me about your national aspirations," says the burly 65-year-old justice of the peace, rising from his chair. "Keep hearing your name on TV and all that kind of stuff. We want to keep you in state here. Don't want you to go to D.C." Having fielded The Question before—after all, Jindal frequently appears on cable to explain how the GOP should "right its ship"—the governor is ready with The Answer. "I've got the job that I want," he says. "I told y'all a year ago that we've got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change our state. I want to be a part of that. And if you let me, I'm going to run for re-election. I'm not running for president. I think the American people are tired of politics, they're tired of elections, they're tired of campaigns. Anybody out there running for president four years from now, eight years from now, they're not helping themselves—and they're sure not helping their country."

 Three days later, Jindal, a Roman Catholic convert raised in a Hindu household, will repeat these lines, unprompted, at a gathering of nearly 1,000 adoring Christian activists. Which would be unremarkable, except that the event will take place not in Louisiana but in Iowa—the site, it just so happens, of the nation's first presidential caucuses.

There are plenty of rising stars in the GOP. But in the wake of Barack Obama's victory on Nov. 4, none has attracted as much speculation, curiosity and unapologetic hype as Jindal. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich recently called him "the most transformative young governor in America." Radio host Rush Limbaugh refers to him as "the next Ronald Reagan." John McCain eyed Jindal as a running mate, and Steve Schmidt, McCain's chief strategist, told The Washington Post in November that "the question is not whether he'll be president, but when he'll be president—because he will be elected someday." For his part, Jindal says he's uninterested in 2012—and given how his plan to run for re-election in November 2011 will make it near-impossible to prepare for the following January's nominating contests, he's probably telling the truth. But a veep slot—or 2016—is possible. "First of all, he's brilliant," antitax crusader Grover Norquist tells NEWSWEEK. "Two, he's from an immigrant community, so that speaks to immigrant experience, period. Three, he's a Catholic who lives his values instead of shouting at you about them. Four, he's a principled Reagan Republican. Five, he's from the South but doesn't look like a Southern sheriff. And he's got more successes as a governor, already, one year in, than George W. Bush or Obama had when they ran for president. He's exactly what we need."

This, of course, is the same sort of swooning that propelled a certain Illinois state senator to the presidency. So it's no surprise that "many prominent members of the GOP," as the Post noted, already consider Jindal their "own version of Obama"—the charismatic, nonwhite, Ivy League change agent destined to revitalize his party. Critics carp that Jindalmaniacs are simply jumping on the Benetton bandwagon, and Norquist admits that having at least one young, brown-skinned prospect is "helpful" in the age of Obama. But Jindal is no token. As his rise reveals, the governor shares with the president-elect something deeper—and, for Democrats, more dangerous—than age or color: the ability to walk between worlds. Immigrant and native, Brown and Baton Rouge, right and center, principle and pragmatism. The question now is whether Jindal can balance the dueling demands of Louisiana and Washington while preserving his fragile image as the future of the GOP. Louisiana Democratic Party spokesman Brian Welsh, for one, isn't betting against him. "Jindal's a force of nature," Welsh tells NEWSWEEK after following the governor to Iowa. "That's why I'm here, man. He's for real."

For Jindal, navigating difficult crosscurrents is nothing new. Born Piyush Jindal on June 10, 1971, to one of the few Indian families in Baton Rouge, he suddenly announced at the age of 4 that he would answer only to "Bobby," in honor of his favorite "Brady Bunch" character. Asked by NEWSWEEK why he chose an American name, Jindal insists that "there wasn't a whole lot of great thought gone into it." But Jan Daly, Jindal's English teacher, recalls that her top student "wanted to be Westernized." As a teen, Jindal rejected his parents' loose Democratic ties to become a staunch Reagan Republican—in part, he has said, because the Gipper was "very popular" and "easy to identify with." By the time Jindal arrived at Brown in 1988, he was a regular Alex P. Keaton. Arshad Ahsanuddin, a close friend, e-mails that Jindal sported "penny loafers with actual pennies in them" on campus, claiming, when confronted, that "it was the traditional way to wear that type of shoe." Since narrowly losing his first gubernatorial bid in 2003, Jindal has rarely appeared in public without cowboy boots.

Some might see Jindal as a political opportunist. But the governor's history of self-invention, yet another echo of Obama, seems less a product of ambition than of assimilation. Early on, everyone expected Jindal to fulfill the wishes of his demanding immigrant father by entering medicine—including Jindal himself. So the idea that he spent puberty polishing his political persona is a tough sell. "I never thought Bobby would run for office," says Mary Beth Guillot, his high-school principal. "He just wasn't the backslapping, glad-handing type." Instead, he has always been the consummate Organization Kid, striving to meet or exceed institutional expectations. As a college intern, he impressed Shreveport Rep. Jim McCrery with a massive manuscript on Medicare reform; five years later, he asked McCrery to recommend him for Louisiana health secretary. "How about deputy?" McCrery inquired. "No," Jindal, 24, replied. He got the interview—and the job.****
4048  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: December 18, 2008, 02:58:10 PM
BAMA: means business when he states he aims to change the world:

By Charles Krauthammer | Barack Obama has garnered praise from center to right — and has highly irritated the left — with the centrism of his major appointments. Because Obama's own beliefs remain largely opaque, his appointments have led to the conclusion that he intends to govern from the center.

Obama the centrist? I'm not so sure. Take the foreign policy team: Hillary Clinton, James Jones and Bush holdover Robert Gates. As centrist as you can get. But the choice was far less ideological than practical. Obama has no intention of being a foreign policy president. Unlike, say, Nixon or Reagan, he does not have aspirations abroad. He simply wants quiet on his eastern and western fronts so that he can proceed with what he really cares about — his domestic agenda.

Similarly his senior economic team, the brilliant trio of Tim Geithner, Larry Summers and Paul Volcker: centrist, experienced and mainstream. But their principal task is to stabilize the financial system, a highly pragmatic task in which Obama has no particular ideological stake.

A functioning financial system is a necessary condition for a successful Obama presidency. As in foreign policy, Obama wants experts and veterans to manage and pacify universes in which he has little experience and less personal commitment. Their job is to keep credit flowing and the world at bay so that Obama can address his real ambition: to effect a domestic transformation as grand and ambitious as Franklin Roosevelt's.

As Obama revealingly said just last week, "This painful crisis also provides us with an opportunity to transform our economy to improve the lives of ordinary people." Transformation is his mission. Crisis provides the opportunity. The election provides him the power.

The deepening recession creates the opportunity for federal intervention and government experimentation on a scale unseen since the New Deal. A Republican administration has already done the ideological groundwork with its unprecedented intervention, culminating in the forced partial nationalization of nine of the largest banks, the kind of stuff that happens in Peronist Argentina with a gun on the table. Additionally, Henry Paulson's invention of the number $700 billion forever altered our perception of imaginable government expenditure. Twenty billion more for Citigroup? Lunch money.

Moreover, no one in Congress even pretends that spending should be pay as you go (i.e., new expenditures balanced by higher taxes or lower spending), as the Democrats disingenuously promised when they took over Congress last year. Even some conservative economists are urging stimulus (although structured far differently from Democratic proposals). And public opinion, demanding action, will buy any stimulus package of any size. The result: undreamed-of amounts of money at Obama's disposal.

To meet the opportunity, Obama has the political power that comes from a smashing electoral victory. It not only gave him a personal mandate. It increased Democratic majorities in both houses, thereby demonstrating coattails and giving him clout. And by running on nothing much more than change and (often contradictory) hopes, he has given himself enormous freedom of action.

Obama was quite serious when he said he was going to change the world. And now he has a national crisis, a personal mandate, a pliant Congress, a desperate public — and, at his disposal, the greatest pot of money in galactic history. (I include here the extrasolar planets.)

It begins with a near $1 trillion stimulus package. This is where Obama will show himself ideologically. It is his one great opportunity to plant the seeds for everything he cares about: a new green economy, universal health care, a labor resurgence, government as benevolent private-sector "partner." The first hint came yesterday, when Obama claimed, "If we want to overcome our economic challenges, we must also finally address our health care challenge" — the perfect non sequitur that gives carte blanche to whatever health-care reform and spending the Obama team dreams up. It is the community organizer's ultimate dream.

Ironically, when the economy tanked in mid-September, it was assumed that both presidential candidates could simply forget about their domestic agendas because with $700 billion drained by financial system rescues, not a penny would be left to spend on anything else.

On the contrary. With the country clamoring for action and with all psychological barriers to government intervention obliterated (by the conservative party, no less), the stage is set for a young, ambitious, supremely confident president — who sees himself as a world-historical figure before even having been sworn in — to begin a restructuring of the American economy and the forging of a new relationship between government and people.

Don't be fooled by Bob Gates staying on. Obama didn't get elected to manage Afghanistan. He intends to transform America. And he has the money, the mandate and the moxie to go for it.

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4049  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: December 16, 2008, 08:52:20 AM
You know it doesn't matter.  The unions have won.
W who has sorely disappointed me here is caving because he doesn't want to be known as the President who allowed Detroit to fail.  It is now all about his legacy.
The left mocks him no matter what he does.  Here is our leader literally being assaulted by that punk throwing shoes at him and I am outraged and agree he needs to do hard time.  Could you imagine if he did that here in the US.  Yet the left *laughs* and sides with the Iraqi punk.  They already joke he will get a stint in Hollywood.

This newsman must have been in Saddams party and pissed his little group of thugs can't go around looting, raping, and shoving everyone else around.  The Iraqis should be thanking us from saving them from that butcher.  Some probably do but we never hear them.  As always the MSM goes for those that complain about America because that is what they think - that America is to blame.

4050  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Crimes and Criminal Behavior on: December 15, 2008, 10:00:32 AM
I like the opinion of one analyst over the weekend who when asked how he could explain how such sophisticated people could be so duped his answer was they must have thought they were "in on something".  They must have thought that Madoff had some sort of inside scheme and they were able to get in on it too.  This guy was a chaiman of the Nasdaq?  Reminds me of Martha Stewart who sat on the board of the NY stock exchange while doing her inside trade.  What a joke on the state of human nature and the world.  Are there any honest people out there?   BO could never be ABe.  He already has proven his capacity to lie with the best of them.  Not blink and eye with no guilt, remorse or any of it.

***Alleged Madoff fraud has worldwide exposure
      Buzz Up Send
 AP – In this Oct. 28, 2008 file photo, customers wait at a Tokyo branch of Nomura Securities Co. Some of the … NEW YORK – The list of investors who say they were duped in one of Wall Street's biggest Ponzi schemes is growing, snaring some of the world's biggest banking institutions and hedge funds, the super rich and the famous, pensioners and charities.

The alleged victims who sunk cash into veteran Wall Street money manager Bernard Madoff's investment pool include real estate magnate Mortimer Zuckerman, the foundation of Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, and a charity of movie director Steven Spielberg, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Among the world's biggest banking institutions, Britain's HSBC Holdings PLC, Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC and Man Group PLC, Spain's Grupo Santander SA, France's BNP Paribas and Japan's Nomura Holdings all reported that they had fallen victim to Madoff's alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme.

The 70-year-old Madoff (MAY-doff), well respected in the investment community after serving as chairman of the Nasdaq Stock Market, was arrested Thursday in what prosecutors say was a $50 billion scheme to defraud investors. Some investors claim they've been wiped out, while others are still likely to come forward.

"There were a lot of very sophisticated people who were duped, and that happens a great deal when you've had somebody decide to be unscrupulous," said Harvey Pitt, a former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, a regulator in charge of monitoring investment funds like the one Madoff operated.

The extent of the potential damage prompted a leading fund manager in London to lash out at U.S. regulators for failing to detect the fraud earlier.

"I think now it is very difficult for people to invest in things that are meant to be regulated in America, because they haven fallen down in the job," Nicola Horlick, the manager of Bramdean Alternatives, which has 9 percent of its funds invested in Madoff's scheme, told the British Broadcasting Corp.

"All through the credit crunch this has been apparent," Horlick added. "This is the biggest financial scandal, probably, in the history of the markets."

Among U.S. investors, the Boston-based Robert I. Lappin Charitable Foundation, a charity that financed trips for Jewish youth to Israel, sacked its staff after revealing that the money for its operations was invested with Madoff.

New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg, one of the wealthiest members of the Senate, entrusted his family's charitable foundation to Madoff. Lautenberg's attorney, Michael Griffinger, said they weren't yet sure the extent of the foundation's losses, but that the bulk of its investments had been handled by Madoff.

Lautenberg's foundation handed out more than $765,000 to at least 100 recipients in 2006, according to the most recent listing on Guidestar, which tracks charitable organization filings.

The foundation helps support a variety of religious, educational, civic and arts organizations in New Jersey and elsewhere, and its contributions range from a gift of than $300,000 to the United Jewish Communities of MetroWest New Jersey to a $2,000 donation to a children's program at the Hackensack Medical Center.

Reports from Florida to Minnesota included profiles of ordinary investors who gave Madoff their money. Some had been friends with him for decades, others were able to invest because they were a friend of a friend. They told stories of losing everything from $40,000 to an entire nest egg worth well over $1 million.

They join a list of more powerful investors that have come forward, all worried about the extent of their losses. The roster of names include former Philadelphia Eagles owner Norman Braman, New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon and J. Ezra Merkin, the chairman of GMAC Financial Services, among others.

The Wall Street Journal, citing a person familiar with the matter, said Mortimer Zuckerman, the chairman of real estate firm Boston Properties and owner of the New York Daily News and U.S. News & World Report, had significant exposure through a fund that invested substantially all of its assets with Mr. Madoff.

The Journal also said the Steven Spielberg charity, the Wunderkinder Foundation, in the past appears to have invested a significant portion of its assets with Mr. Madoff. It said the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity, founded by the famed Holocaust survivor and writer, was hard hit by losses, citing two people familiar with the organization's investments.

Messages were left with the Zuckerman fund and Wunderkinder foundation. The Wiesel foundation said it was looking into the matter.

The Journal also reported potential investors and firms exposed to the alleged fraud included: Carl Shapiro, founder and former chairman of women's apparel company Kay Windsor Inc.; Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. co-founder Leonard Feinstein; Yeshiva University; EIM Group; UBS AG; Fairfield Greenwich Advisors; Tremont Capital Management; Maxam Capital Management and Ascot Partners.

Among those overseas confirming exposure on Monday, Banco Santander, the largest bank in the euro zone by market capitalization, said its clients have 2.33 billion euros ($3.07 billion) in exposure with Madoff, mostly through a fund called Optimal Strategic US Equity.

HSBC, Britain's largest bank, said a "small number" of its insitutional clients had exposure totaling some $1 billion in Madoff funds.

It added that it has custody clients who have invested with Madoff, but it did not believe those "custodial arrangements should be a source of exposure to the group."

Royal Bank of Scotland — Britain's second-largest bank, which is now 58 percent owned by the British government — said it could lose around 400 million euros pounds through exposure in trading and collateralized lending to funds of hedge funds invested with Bernard L Madoff Investment Securities LLC.

Man Group, the world's largest publicly traded fund manager that reported exposure of around $360 million on Monday, said "it appears that a systematic and comprehensive fraud may have been committed, evading a range of structural controls."

Japan's Nomura Holdings said it has 27.5 billion yen ($306 million) in exposure, but added that any losses were likely to be limited compared to its capital base.

French banks foresee nearly 1 billion euros in potential losses as indirect victims of the alleged fraud.

Natixis, France's fourth largest bank, set its maximum indirect exposure at about 450 million euros. A statement by the investment bank said it made no direct investments in hedge funds managed by Madoff. However, it said that some of its clients' money was invested in funds managed by "first class custodians," which in turn entrusted those securities to Madoff's investment securities company.

Both Societe Generale and Credit Agricole said they had "negligible" exposure of below 10 million euros each. However, the euro zone's largest bank, BNP Paribas, has estimated its risk exposure to hedge funds managed by Madoff at up to 350 million euros.

In a statement Sunday, BNP Paribas said it has no investment of its own in Madoff's hedge funds, but "does have risk exposure to these funds through its trading business and collateralized lending to funds of hedge funds."

Swiss bank Union Bancaire Privee indicated it had hundreds of millions of dollars in client assets invested under the management of Madoff. The Geneva bank, one of Switzerland's largest, did not disclose a total amount invested, but did say the exposure of its clients "represents less than 1 percent of the total assets under management of the bank."

UBP's announcement Monday followed weekend disclosures by Swiss banks Reichmuth & Co of Lucerne, Benedict Hentsch of Geneva and Neue Privat Bank of Zurich that they had millions of dollars worth of client assets at risk in the case.

In Germany, Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank both declined to comment on the matter.

On Friday, representatives from major U.S. banks — Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., PNC Financial Services Group Inc. and Merrill Lynch & Co. — declined to comment on if they had exposure to Madoff's company. Both BlackRock Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said they had no exposure.

Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo & Co., Comerica Inc. and U.S. Bancorp did not return calls seeking comment.****
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