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4001  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.
4002  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.

4003  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.
4004  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.
4005  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.***

4006  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.
4007  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.****
4008  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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4009  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.

4010  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.****
4011  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Mexican immigration going down on: December 15, 2008, 09:50:03 AM
This is good.  Now how about illegals from other countries and continents flooding the US, including from Europe?
Does anyone else notice how when the politically correct MSM speak of anti-semites, racists, etc they now include "anti-immigrant" in there too as though there is equivalence? 

If one is anti-immigrant one is a racist, a bigot, a hater, a war monger etc.

****Some Mexicans leaving US, planning never to return
  Associated Press Writer Ivan Moreno, Associated Press Writer – Mon Dec 15, 5:16 am ET AP – Vicenta Rodriguez Lopez, 40, holds 10-month-old grandson Duvan Rodriguez, at her home in Severance, Colo., … DENVER – After going months without a full-time job, Daniel Ramirez has decided it's time to return to family in Mexico.

Vicenta Rodriguez Lopez says she can't afford to live in Colorado any more because her husband was deported.

Roberto Espinoza is going back, too. After 18 years as a mechanic for a General Motors dealership in Denver, his work permit wasn't renewed and he didn't want to remain in the country illegally.

All are leaving Colorado in time for Christmas — joining a traditional holiday migration that will number almost 1 million people, says Mexico's interior ministry. But they have no intention of returning to Colorado, a place that promised prosperity.

Layoffs, dwindling job opportunities, anti-immigrant sentiment and the crackdown on illegal immigrants are forcing hard choices on many Mexican nationals in Colorado. Though not an exodus, some are returning to a nation they haven't seen in years.

"You despair. You think, 'I used to earn $600 a week and now I'm getting half of that a week?'" said Ramirez, 38, who lost his Denver construction job in August. He left last week, driving to San Luis Potosi in central Mexico.

Mexico's consul general in Denver, Eduardo Arnal, said more people like Ramirez are going home for good.

He cites a rise in applications for import tax exemptions by Mexican nationals bringing home their belongings. The consulate hasn't compiled statistics for 2008 but says it receives about three applications a day, compared to one per week in 2007.

"We've seen an increase in this service, which implies that there's a tendency among a larger number of Mexicans who are returning home definitively," Arnal said in an interview in Spanish.

Nationally, 1,809 Mexican immigrants filed for the exemption between January and August, compared to 1,447 the same period last year — a 25 percent increase, according to Mexico's foreign affairs ministry.

That's hardly an indicator of reverse migration, noted Carlos Rico, Mexico's undersecretary for North American affairs. Rico said what is known is that Mexicans are moving to other U.S. states — often places that historically have not seen a large population of Mexicans. They include North Carolina, Georgia, Idaho and Alaska, Rico said.

Whether for economic or anti-immigrant reasons, Rico said, "People are looking for alternatives within the United States."

An estimated 243,253 Mexicans lived in Colorado in 2007, down from 254,844 in 2006, according to the U.S. Census. The state's construction industry, a traditional source of employment for Mexicans, is contracting, and University of Colorado economists expect the state to lose 11,200 construction jobs next year.

Nationally, remittances to Mexico are down, as is Mexican emigration to the U.S.

August remittances totaled $1.9 billion, down 12 percent from August 2007, Mexico's Central Bank says. It's the first drop since the bank began tracking remittances in 1996.

Mexico's National Statistics and Geography Institute estimates that 814,000 Mexicans emigrated to the U.S. in 2006, compared to 1.2 million in 2007.

Arnal noted that Mexico's economy is growing, albeit modestly. Mexico's Treasury Department reported a 1.7 percent growth rate for the third quarter and forecasts 2 percent growth for the year.

But hard times, not tepid growth back home, are prompting some Colorado Mexicans to leave.

Espinoza said the recession's onset took him by surprise. He'll be seeing his country for the first time in nearly two decades.

"I miss my country," said Espinoza, 34, who is returning to Guadalajara, Jalisco.

Vicenta Rodriguez Lopez lives in Severance, about 60 miles north of Denver. She's leaving for the Mexican state of Sinaloa after 15 years because her husband, who worked at a ranch dairy, was deported for being here illegally.

"He told me to pack up everything," Rodriguez, 40, said in Spanish. "We're not young anymore."

Her 21-year-old son, also in the country illegally, plans on staying.

Jesus Luna, 30, is returning to Puebla with his wife and two children after nearly four years in Colorado Springs. His reasons aren't entirely economic. His parents are ailing. Packing things he said have been so easily accumulated here — bikes, toys, a washer and other appliances — he will be driving nearly 40 hours to arrive in time for Christmas parties.

"You know how it is — eating and more eating," he said, smiling.

Still others return on their own terms, having accrued the wealth to let them live their dreams in Mexico.

"I can't complain. I have a job and I am able to come back if I want," said Gustavo Camacho, 43, who works for a firm digging trenches for electrical cables in Denver.

Camacho, who is from Jalisco, has been here twice, from 1999-2003 and again since 2005. The first time, he saved enough money for a house in Jalisco. This time, he has enough to start a business — either a car repair shop or selling food on the street.

He wants his six children to grow up in Mexico, where he thinks family values are stronger.

"I'll miss it," Camacho said about his time in Colorado. "But you always miss something, whether you're here or in Mexico.

"I might even miss the weather."****
4012  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / soda tax on: December 15, 2008, 09:36:14 AM
The soda tax does not make much sense.  There is ZERO evidence that people who stop drinking soda alone will lose weight.  There is even some evidence (in animals) that the calorie free sodas with the artificial sweeteners actually cause weight gain.

Leave it to a crat to lay awake at night to dream up ways to rip us off.  As for the health care cuts it wouldn't hurt if we get rid of the illegals who contribute to putting hospitals out of business by usuing ER services.  No mention of that of course.
How about taxes on political contributions?  How about windfall profits taxes on the incomes of any politician above whatever it was before they took office?

How about a tax on all white men?  That would be fair.  How about taxes from government employees unions?

How about a luxury tax on all cosmetic procdures?

New taxes, cuts in budget plan
Paterson sees $404M tax on non-diet soda; higher levies on health care 
By JAMES M. ODATO, Capitol bureau
Click byline for more stories by writer.
First published: Sunday, December 14, 2008
New taxes, deep cuts to education and health care, and a restructuring of the state's economic development programs will be hallmarks of Gov. David Paterson's first budget plan to be released in two days, according to interviews of people briefed on components.
The plan will come with a host of revenue raisers — increased taxes on hospitals and insurance policies, for instance — and at least one new assessment, a so-called obesity tax on non-diet soda to raise $404 million. The governor also is contemplating requiring new license plates to raise cash, reviving sales tax on clothing purchases, removing the tax cap on gasoline and threatening to require Indian retailers to collect taxes on sales to non-Indians by signing into law a bill passed earlier this year by the Legislature.

Paterson will unveil the spending plan, aimed at closing a $12.5 billion deficit for next year, on Tuesday. The total size of the Paterson budget is unknown.

There is no word on Paterson's plans for the state work force, although he has said he will adhere to a strict hiring freeze while looking to consolidate some components of government.

The cuts will be across the board and will build upon a deficit reduction plan Paterson proposed in November as he attempted to close the $1.5 billion shortfall in the $120 billion budget negotiated for this year. The plan was inherited from the executive budget introduced last January by Gov. Eliot Spitzer.

The health industry will be particularly upset, although Paterson's cuts will raise blood pressure throughout. He will call for about $3.53 billion in health care cuts, not including federal share of matching Medicaid dollars, which could be another $2 billion in cuts.

The biggest hits will be to insurance companies, which will be asked to come up with about $855 million in extra assessments. Those amount to more taxes on health insurance plans, increased sales tax on hospital discharges and more shifting of general fund costs to the Insurance Department so that insurance companies pay for programs such as Timothy's Law, the mandated coverage of mental health treatments.

Further, the governor also will propose a new tax on some physician services to raise $50 million.

The bottom line will be a net increase in costs that ultimately get paid by subscribers, thereby increasing the cost of coverage at a time that most upstate insurers are struggling.

Hospital cost saving initiatives will amount to $700 million next year and $50 million this year. Some of that will come from a 0.7 percent tax on gross receipts and Medicaid rate reductions. Graduate medical education funds will be redirected to save $141 million and another $23 million will be cut through reforming reimbursement.

Nursing homes will be cut by $4.2 million this year and $420 million next year. Home care will be cut $190 million next year.

A number of other public health programs will come with savings by, for instance, taxing non-diet sodas under an "obesity tax" that will raise $404 million. Prescription drug costs, a hit on pharmacies and drug makers, will cut by $111 million.

Among the reductions in education spending, public colleges will be directed to raise tuitions. But despite the cuts, Paterson will try to make it easier for SUNY schools to partner with private developers who want to build on campus property. The public/private initiative is seen as a way to stimulate construction of private housing for campus residents.

The Empire Zone program will be cut by at least 50 percent, saving the state tens of millions by not extending benefits as liberally.

The budget will come a day after Senate Republicans vote on a bill to stimulate the economy by phasing out the Empire Zone program through 2011 and using the savings as tax breaks for companies.

The governor has contemplated instituting a different pension system for new employees, but the so-called Tier 5 program may not make it to the budget. He is also expected to reiterate a call for greater health care payments from retirees and the closure of some juvenile detention facilities.

James M. Odato can be reached at 454-5083 or by e-mail at
4013  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: December 14, 2008, 12:01:36 PM
It sounds like Clintonism all over again. 
BO said he or his office never had contact.
He didn't specify Emanuel.  But we all know Emanuel was talking with both BO and the gov. and BO knew.
So even though it is a lie it is not technically a lie.  It is the "Clintoneasque" play with words to make a lie look like it is not.
Politics as usual.
Of course the MSM is giving him a complete pass for the deceptive language.
4014  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: December 13, 2008, 10:30:56 AM
Well here is a Malkin piece that is a real eye opener.

Where is the MSM outrage over a government agency's destruction of its records?

How is this legal?  This is a government coverup?  I don't get it.  This broad should be in jail.  Not up for energy "Czar" which is just code for leftist eco-nazi thug.

The Clintons and their legalize slime balls are at it again.

He was one of the *worst* presidents because he brought ethics, honor, integrity, and politics itself down into the gutter.
But of course the MSM adores him and his cronies and their ability to combat the "vast right wing conspiracy" which completely makes up these scandals.

Yes, as Michelle states, all this Clinton regression "we can't afford".  Yet the clinton slime balls conned their way back to the limelight again.  The crats I thought finally had someone else yet the cancer keeps creeping back.

I still feel BO made a huge mistake picking Hillary and her gang.  Anytime we can keep the Clintons out of any power situation we must do so.  They are sick.

***Lead StoryCrooked Carol Browner: Obama’s ethically-challenged energy czar
By Michelle Malkin  •  December 12, 2008 09:10 AM My syndicated column today puts the screws on Clintonite Carol Browner, rumored to be Obama’s choice for energy czar. She’s not so fresh and so clean. And conservatives should raise their voices for, you know, real change.

Same old, same old.

The trouble with Obama’s energy czar
by Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2008

Yet another Clintonite has been wheeled out of the political morgue to serve in the Obama administration. Carol Browner, a neon green radical who headed the Environmental Protection Agency from 1993-2000, is widely rumored to be the president-elect’s choice for “energy czar.” But an ethical cloud still hangs over Browner’s EPA legacy. It doesn’t take a team of Ivy League-degreed lawyers to figure out that this is one more headache the Hope and Change crew doesn’t need.

In the spirit of reaching across the aisle, let me dust off the cobwebs and help out all the smarty-pants vetters on the Obama team with a little background on Browner’s stained past:

On her last day in office, nearly eight years ago, Browner oversaw the destruction of agency computer files in brazen violation of a federal judge’s order requiring the agency to preserve its records. This from a public official who bragged about her tenure: “One of the things I’m the proudest of at EPA is the work we’ve done to expand the public’s right to know.”

Asked to explain her track-covering actions, the savvy career lawyer Browner played dumb. Figuratively batting her eyelashes, she claimed she had no clue about a court injunction signed by U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth on the same day she commanded an underling to wipe her hard drives clean. Golly gee willikers, how could that have slipped by her?

According to testimony in a freedom of information lawsuit filed against EPA by the Landmark Legal Foundation, a Virginia-based conservative legal watchdog group, Browner commanded a computer technician on Jan. 19, 2001: “‘I would like my files deleted. I want you to delete my files.” Not coincidentally, the Landmark Legal Foundation had been pressing Browner to fully and publicly disclose the names of any special interest groups that may have influenced her wave of last-minute regulatory actions. Two days before she told her technician to purge all her records, EPA had gone to court to file a motion opposing the federal court injunction protecting those government documents.

Plausible deniability? Not bloody likely.

Incredibly, Browner asserted that there was no work-related material on her work computer. She explained she was merely cleaning the hard drive of computer games she had downloaded for her son, and that she wanted to expunge the hard drive as a “courtesy” to the incoming Bush administration. How thoughtful. Later, her agency admitted that three other top EPA officials had their computers erased despite the federal court order and ongoing FOIA case (the record is silent on whether Browner’s son was playing games on their desktops, too). A further belated admission revealed that the agency had failed to search Browner’s office for public documents as required by Landmark’s public disclosure lawsuit.

Not only were all the top officials’ hard drives cleared and reformatted, but e-mail backup tapes were erased and reused in violation of records preservation practices.

After a two-year legal battle, Judge Lamberth finally held the EPA in contempt of court for the systemic file destruction – actions Lambert lambasted as “contumacious conduct” (obstinate resistance to authority). As is typical in Washington, Browner weaseled out of any serious repercussions. Lamberth inexplicably decided that slapping the agency as a whole with contempt – rather than any individual – would deter future cover-ups.

Is this a gamble the Obama administration wants to take? Browner has crossed the line and violated public trust before in her capacity as eco-chief. Early in her first term as EPA head, Browner got caught by a congressional subcommittee using taxpayer funds to create and send out illegal lobbying material to over 100 grassroots environmental lobbying organizations. Browner exploited her office to orchestrate a political campaign by left-wing groups, who turned around and attacked Republican lawmakers for supporting regulatory reform. These are the very same groups – anti-business, anti-sound science, pro-eco-hysteria – that Browner would be working arm in arm with as Obama’s “energy czar.”

This is regression we can’t afford.***

4015  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Crats have lock on intelligence on: December 13, 2008, 09:52:22 AM
Republicans are simpletons and Democrats are geniuses.  So says the MSM.  Unfortunately having a Republican President for 8 years who was not adept at expressing himself contributed to this image though the MSM was in adoration with the appearance of sophistication before that, but W certainly served to give them fodder on this point.

***Liberalism = Genius?

by L. Brent Bozell III
November 26, 2008   

If there is a dreadfully overused word in the giddy countdown to the Obama inauguration, it is “smart.” Not just “smart,” but also its stronger cousins like “Brilliant” and “Genius.” These words have been offered shamelessly for nearly every person assigned a role by President-Elect Obama. They are assembling an “all-star cabinet.” This was not an honor for those having attended all the right schools, but a tribute to people who have all the “right” ideas. Liberals are smart because they’re liberals. Conservative beliefs are honed from having been dropped on your head as an infant.

Last week, Newsweek almost comedically compared Obama to Lincoln, hailing the strength of his “humility.” How could anyone stay humble with all these hyper-flattering cover stories about whether you’re Lincoln or you’re Franklin Roosevelt? Nobody asked: But what if he turns out to be another ineffective Jimmy Carter? Then again, not to worry. Just as Time turned Obama into FDR on its cover, they comically projected Carter as Gary Cooper in “High Noon” in the hostage-crisis spring of 1980.

Back in June of 2001, Newsweek headlined an article on an upcoming Bush foreign policy trip with these words: “See George. See George Learn Foreign Policy.” He was painted like a president who couldn’t prove he was smarter than a fifth-grader on TV. Newsweek did attempt a historical comparison. European pols heard Bush advocating missile defense, and one participant joked, “He was like Reagan....without the charisma.” Newsweek concluded school wasn’t working yet for Bush: “Still a student in a most demanding and unforgiving school, he needs all the teachers he can get.”

That dismissive attitude toward Republican politicians will long outlive the Bush presidency, just as it outlasted Reagan’s. Nine days after the election, Newsweek editor Jon Meacham denounced Sarah Palin in the snobbiest of tones on NBC’s “Today” as someone who should “be going into a kind of policy Berlitz course, which one would think would be a relatively sound thing to do.” Plugging Meacham’s biography of Andrew Jackson, NBC’s Matt Lauer added the colorful tale that Jackson threatened to kill his own vice president, so Meacham caustically added, “I don’t know if Senator McCain has thought that along the way.”

Meanwhile, Newsweek’s writers are exploring the inspiring depths of humility of their blessed Barack: “Obama has unusual detachment for a politician. He observes himself as a kind of figure out of literature.” Does that sound humble? Or does it sound astoundingly arrogant? Reagan living in his own movies put him in Fantasy Land, but Obama seeing himself as the Embodiment of Hope on the library shelf is somehow grounded. The Obama-crazed media are hallucinating.

On ABC’s “Good Morning America,” co-host Robin Roberts couldn’t stop gushing about the Obama cabinet picks: “Some would say it’s a team of rivals, a la President Lincoln, or is a better comparison a team of geniuses as FDR did?” George Stephanopoulos unsurprisingly agreed: “We have not seen this kind of combination of star power and brain power and political muscle this early in a cabinet in our lifetimes.”

Smelling salts all around, please.

If this proposed incoming Obama administration wasn’t so stuffed with Clintonites, starting with Hillary, that line might have sounded insulting to Bill Clinton. Sixteen years ago, all these same tributes were being offered to Bill Clinton’s superior intelligence, Bill Clinton’s grace under pressure, and a superior incoming Clinton staff. Even Stephanopoulos was ogled back then over the charisma of his “power whisper.”

But looking back, how well did Bill Clinton display a foreign policy genius that made the world a less violent place? Are the mass murders in Rwanda or the massacre in Srebrenica something that every Clinton fan in the media has wiped clean from their brains? Have they all forgotten the Americans killed at the Khobar Towers, or aboard the U.S.S. Cole, our lost diplomats at the embassies of Kenya and Tanzania? Did the overflowing international compassion of Clinton melt the hearts of al-Qaeda into retirement? Why, then, does every media liberal assume that History will open her arms and beckon Obama forward as an early entry into the Pantheon of Presidential Greatness?

Conservatives and Republicans have a very important role to play now in holding this alleged Team of Geniuses accountable. This disgraceful “news” media won’t, period. They will line up to serve Obama only slightly less explicitly than Chris Matthews, who typically blurted out that his new job as a television host was to insure President Obama’s success. We say “blurted out” because Matthews tends to...blurt. But give him credit for one thing: the courage to admit the attitude of servitude that his colleagues so piously deny.***

This is one image the Cans have to dispell.  "Dogma" as Colin Powell puts it is not going to do it.  We need thoughtful, intellectual responses that will appeal to the growing bed of minorities in the US.

4016  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: December 12, 2008, 08:41:03 AM
***I am less happy that my state is in the competition for most corrupt state in the US***

FWIW I believe this is really the tip of the iceberg.  Who in their right mind thinks backroom deals aren't done all the time - everywhere?

I wouldn't know how common it is for a Senate seat to be offered for the highest offer of cash (first of all, most Senators are not appointed anyway) but I would be shocked to find that they aren't offered for some form of reciprical pay back routinely.

As for nepotism...  Well probably almost all of local goernments are that.  Who doesn't know someone locally who isn't an in-law, cousin, nephew, spouse of someone in office with a cushy government job?

As for the state and federal levels I wouldn't be able to know but a guess is it is likely quite common.
4017  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India and India-Pak on: December 09, 2008, 05:37:46 PM
Great read.
What a chess match in the middle east. undecided
Do not fear however, all we need are a couple of genius arguments.  Bo will fix it. wink
Sorry SB, I couldn't resist.
4018  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: December 09, 2008, 10:44:54 AM
Probably no accident the revelations about the Illinois governer coming out now before W leaves office.
You know once BO is in office this will all get swept under the rug.  I wonder if this has something to do with the Eric Holder pick?

4019  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: December 08, 2008, 01:31:43 PM
I predict that we will look back on W as having achieved the greatest success in the advancment of the Middle East towards peace in decades:

Milestone in Baghdad

By Charles Krauthammer
Friday, December 5, 2008; Page A25

The barbarism in Mumbai and the economic crisis at home have largely overshadowed an otherwise singular event: the ratification of military and strategic cooperation agreements between Iraq and the United States.

A Framework for Success in Iraq
They must not pass unnoted. They were certainly noted by Iran, which fought fiercely to undermine the agreements. Tehran understood how a formal U.S.-Iraqi alliance endorsed by a broad Iraqi consensus expressed in a freely elected parliament changes the strategic balance in the region.

For the United States, this represents the single most important geopolitical advance in the region since Henry Kissinger turned Egypt from a Soviet client into an American ally. If we don't blow it with too hasty a withdrawal from Iraq, we will have turned a chronically destabilizing enemy state at the epicenter of the Arab Middle East into an ally.

Also largely overlooked at home was the sheer wonder of the procedure that produced Iraq's consent: classic legislative maneuvering with no more than a tussle or two -- tame by international standards (see YouTube: "Best Taiwanese Parliament Fights of All Time!") -- over the most fundamental issues of national identity and direction.

The only significant opposition bloc was the Sadrists, a mere 30 seats out of 275. The ostensibly pro-Iranian religious Shiite parties resisted Tehran's pressure and championed the agreement. As did the Kurds. The Sunnis put up the greatest fight. But their concern was that America would be withdrawing too soon, leaving them subject to overbearing and perhaps even vengeful Shiite dominance.

The Sunnis, who only a few years ago had boycotted provincial elections, bargained with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, trying to exploit his personal stake in agreements he himself had negotiated. They did not achieve their maximum objectives. But they did get formal legislative commitments for future consideration of their grievances, from amnesty to further relaxation of the de-Baathification laws.

That any of this democratic give-and-take should be happening in a peaceful parliament just two years after Iraq's descent into sectarian hell is in itself astonishing. Nor is the setting of a withdrawal date terribly troubling. The deadline is almost entirely symbolic. U.S. troops must be out by Dec. 31, 2011 -- the weekend before the Iowa caucuses, which, because God is merciful, will arrive again only in the very fullness of time. Moreover, that date is not just distant but flexible. By treaty, it can be amended. If conditions on the ground warrant, it will be.

True, the war is not over. As Gen. David Petraeus repeatedly insists, our (belated) successes in Iraq are still fragile. There has already been an uptick in terror bombings, which will undoubtedly continue as what's left of al-Qaeda, the Sadrist militias and the Iranian-controlled "special groups" try to disrupt January's provincial elections.

The more long-term danger is that Iraq's reborn central government becomes too strong and, by military or parliamentary coup, the current democratic arrangements are dismantled by a renewed dictatorship that abrogates the alliance with the United States.

Such disasters are possible. But if our drawdown is conducted with the same acumen as was the surge, not probable. A self-sustaining, democratic and pro-American Iraq is within our reach. It would have two hugely important effects in the region.

First, it would constitute a major defeat for Tehran, the putative winner of the Iraq war, according to the smart set. Iran's client, Moqtada al-Sadr, still hiding in Iran, was visibly marginalized in parliament -- after being militarily humiliated in Basra and Baghdad by the new Iraqi security forces. Moreover, the major religious Shiite parties were the ones that negotiated, promoted and assured passage of the strategic alliance with the United States, against the most determined Iranian opposition.

Second is the regional effect of the new political entity on display in Baghdad -- a flawed yet functioning democratic polity with unprecedented free speech, free elections and freely competing parliamentary factions. For this to happen in the most important Arab country besides Egypt can, over time (over generational time, the time scale of the war on terror), alter the evolution of Arab society. It constitutes our best hope for the kind of fundamental political-cultural change in the Arab sphere that alone will bring about the defeat of Islamic extremism. After all, newly sovereign Iraq is today more engaged in the fight against Arab radicalism than any country on earth, save the United States -- with which, mirabile dictu, it has now thrown in its lot.

4020  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Pearl Harbor: December 7, 1941 on: December 06, 2008, 10:14:11 AM
related gibberish:
I recommend the USS Arizona memorial in Hawaii for those who have not seen it.
I think only three US WW1 vets are still alive.
I guess the depression was slowing at the end of the 30's and early 40's as countries went into WW2.  The US emerged as the only superpower in 1945.

I hope history doesn't repeat itself.
4021  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Coming Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: December 05, 2008, 09:05:00 AM

I do not say you are wrong.  You may be right.

But how about proving it to me?

Simply saying the Dems are wrong is what bothers me and the majority of Americans.  We have other countries that are now moving up to our economic level and competing with us.  We have issues and problems the free markets may not be able to address.

And actually one idea to always be on the table is DO NOTHING.
This should be on the table.  But it is Cans *responsibility* to explain in a thoughtful way why this is best.  I am convinced we shouldn't have big government.  I am also convinced we can't have total dregulation and allow greed to go unchecked.  There has to be a balance.  Both are needed.  You have the left that wants a nanny governmnet that soves everything and you have the right saying government is for military, law and order and that's about it.  Both are wrong.  The answer is in the middle.  And that is where the majority of Americans lie.  Why can't any cans address this?Huh

4022  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Coming Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: December 04, 2008, 07:57:11 PM
I think Dick makes good points but I still think the he/cans don't quite get it.  I am really attracted to BO's analytic approach.  I personally like the idea of dealing with our country's problems by getting all the ideas on the table and finding the best course of action. BO learns all points of view and then tries to find something that connects the dots.  The cans do not have many intellectuals pols who seem to look at all points of view and make a logical rational analytic argument as to why their way is best.
They just yell the usual slogans, freedom, less government, less taxes yada yada yada.  Explain to me how our country is going to deal with the problems we face today with just these slogans.  Where are any intellectuals from the right telling us why the left is wrong - if they are.  Sarah Palin cannot do this (at least not yet).  And that is why she will not win one independent of left person over.

By Dick Morris And Eileen McGann 12.4.2008 We have written before that the message of the November election results for us is simple: Conservatism and the free enterprise system are too important to leave their protection to the morons who run the Republican Party! So when even the ability to filibuster seemed on the verge of being taken from the forces of conservative government, we decided to act directly by helping to raise funds for independent expenditure groups who willing to run the kind of ads and do the sort of cyber-roots campaigning that it seemed to us was essential to stop the slide in conservative fortunes and to guarantee that the Democrats would not get the elusive but crucial 60th vote in the Senate. The challenge presented itself on Election Day when Republican incumbent Saxby Chambliss failed to win the 50% of the vote necessary to avoid a runoff. In the runoff, won by Chambliss this past Tuesday, the Democrats had their final shot at getting the 60 votes they will need in the Senate to cut off debate and jam through any legislation they wish.

Over the past four weeks, we have reached out to you and to the Fox News audience for donations to independent expenditure groups to finance their independent expenditure in the Georgia Senate race. We didn’t ask anyone’s permission or co-ordinate with any of the powers-that-be. These organizations grasped the essential point that the way to appeal to Georgia voters was to explain the Senate rules and to underscore that Obama might be able to pass his most radical agenda — unchecked — if the Democrats won in the Georgia Senate runoff which pitted Chambliss against Democratic challenger Jim Martin.

The geniuses who run the Republican Party, as always, had it wrong. The conventional wisdom was that Chambliss should stress his record and Martin’s liberalism as if the national balance in the Senate were not on the line. But we insisted that the essential point that it was the fact that Chambliss was the potential 60th seat that would impel Georgians to flock to the polls. Independent expenditure groups ran almost a million dollars of ads in Georgia (a huge amount for a medium sized state) emphasizing the need to stop Obama from getting a super majority in the Senate.

And it worked. Where most polls had projected a narrow Chambliss victor of two to four points, he won with a resounding fourteen point margin. Rather than being trampled by a rush of Democratic voters, the Republican candidate was propelled to a big victory by a huge conservative turnout, no doubt impelled and catalyzed by the efforts of media and internet campaigning financed by independent expenditure groups!

Now, even if the Democrats cheat Minnesota out of the services of Senator Norm Coleman and put Al Franken in his place, the filibuster will be safe, a weapon to defend our freedom.

This is the second time that this strategy of using independent expenditure groups to get out the right message has worked. When McCain disdained any media which attacked Obama’s relationship with Rev. Jeremiah Wright, independent expenditure groups jumped in and aired ads exposing the relationship. The result was that instead of Obama cruising to the predicted ten to twelve point victory forecast in most polls, the undecided vote all broke against him and he won by only six points – not enough to win the supermajority he coveted in the Senate. And this week, his efforts were frustrated again by the Chambliss win in Georgia.

So this sets the pattern for resistance to Obama’s socialist agenda over the next four years. When a crucial test is underway, we will appeal for your donations to independent expenditure groups to wage the battle with no holds barred. And, together, maybe we can do a lot to save the country!>>>>

4023  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Crimes and Criminal Behavior on: December 03, 2008, 11:22:22 AM
****Woman sues Tyler Perry for copyright infringement
       Texas – Tyler Perry went to court to face allegations that he stole material from someone else for his blockbuster film "Diary of a Mad Black Woman."

Donna West is suing the actor-screenwriter for copyright infringement in U.S. District Court and wants a jury to award her family all profits made from the film.

"I can't put my play on because the stories are basically the same and nobody wants to see that again," she said.

West testified Tuesday that she developed a script titled "Fantasy of a Black Woman" based primarily on her own experiences. With her in the starring role, the play was performed in July 1991 at the Junior Black Academy of Arts and Letters at the Dallas Convention Center.

"The play was opened to the public. Anyone could have attended," West said.

Perry's movie, which earned some $50 million, came out in 2005. Jurors on Tuesday watched the film and listened to a reading of the script from West's play.

In her opening remarks to the jury, Perry's attorney, Veronica Lewis, said her client is an "immensely talented" individual "who has no need whatsoever" to use the materials of others.

Lewis noted that Perry had experienced considerable success before and after the film, "so why would he need to copy Ms. West's script?"

Testimony was expected to resume Wednesday. U.S. District Judge Leonard Davis told jurors he anticipates the case will be completed by next Tuesday.****

this is always one of the defense tactics:

"Perry's attorney, Veronica Lewis, said her client is an "immensely talented" individual "who has no need whatsoever" to use the materials of others.

Lewis noted that Perry had experienced considerable success before and after the film, "so why would he need to copy Ms. West's script?"

The truth is most likely that this guy never wrote any of his stuff and it was always lifted from somewhere else ot he couldn't come up with anything else so he found this and true to form in the entertainment industry tried to get away with doing himself.  As one in the music business told us "if you change it just enough...".

Even the biggest stars are at least in the music industry almost always there with someone elses material.  None of the ones of at least today can write their own material.  The whole thing is based on material stolen or swiped from somewhere else.

Like in the book the Hitmen it states how John Cougar Mellencamp would "kill his mother for a hit song".

Why, if he is such a genius at writing as he falsely claims why would he need to do this?  Just write a goodam hit.  He claims as does Dolly Parton, as does John Rich, as does others they have hundreds of songs.  So where are they?

Does anyone really believe Talyor Swift writes her stuff?  That little twit.

4024  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Coming Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: December 02, 2008, 10:39:05 AM
And anyone could wonder why Americans are not cynical or skeptical of our leaders?
IS he really picking the most qualified candidate as the clintonites suggest or picking one for  political reasons which is NOT in our nation's best interests as much as his own.

His own words suggest the latter:

Obama Disputed Hillary Clinton’s Credentials Before He Applauded Them
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
By Matthew Cover

President-elect Obama names Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) to be his secretary of state.(AP photo)( – President-elect Barack Obama designated Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) to be his next secretary of state Monday, despite having spent much of the previous two years questioning her foreign-policy credentials.

During the campaign for the Democratic nomination, Obama mocked Clinton’s primary claim that she possessed the necessary foreign policy experience to be president.

“What exactly is this foreign policy expertise?” Obama said to reporters in March, while flying from a campaign event in Texas. “Was she negotiating treaties? Was she handling crises? The answer is no.”

In spite of these doubts, Obama praised Clinton’s credentials Monday, saying she would be able to advance America’s interests due to her knowledge of world affairs and familiarity with world leaders.

“She is an American of tremendous stature who will have my complete confidence, who knows many of the world's leaders, who will command respect in every capital, and who will clearly have the ability to advance our interests around the world,” he said.

Obama said that his new foreign policy team, which will be led by Clinton, would change America’s foreign policy for the better.

“I am confident that this is the team that we need to make a new beginning for American national security,” he told reporters at the announcement.

However, Obama had expressed exactly the opposite view of Clinton during the primary campaign.

“It’s what’s wrong with politics today. Hillary Clinton will say anything to get elected,” Obama said in a January radio ad. “Hillary Clinton. She’ll say anything and change nothing.”

Obama also said Monday that he picked Clinton for her intelligence, toughness and work ethic, noting that his new team would need to pursue a new strategy around the globe.

“She possesses an extraordinary intelligence and toughness, and a remarkable work ethic,” the president-elect said of Clinton.

He added that his new team must “pursue a new strategy that skillfully uses, balances, and integrates all elements of American power: our military and diplomacy, our intelligence and law enforcement, our economy and the power of our moral example.”

But last year, Obama’s campaign specifically said that the candidate didn’t need the advice of someone like Clinton, “someone whose ideas were more in line with those of President George W. Bush” than with Obama’s.

“Barack Obama doesn’t need lectures in political courage from someone who followed George Bush to war in Iraq,” the campaign said in a December 2007 statement.

A few months later, Obama reinforced the sentiments of his campaign, saying that Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy wasn’t the change Americans wanted.

“Real change isn’t voting for George Bush’s war in Iraq and then telling the American people it was actually voting for more diplomacy,” he said in March.

In his introduction of Clinton on Monday, however, Obama also seemed to contradict the prior statements of two of his top incoming advisors; both of whom said that Clinton had never been involved in foreign policy issues before.

Greg Craig, incoming chief counsel, said of Clinton in a March conference call: “There’s no evidence that she participated or asserted herself in any of the crises that took place during the eight years of the Clinton presidency. White House records show that she was consistently absent when critical decisions were being made and that her trips abroad were largely ceremonial.”

Susan Rice, Obama’s choice to become U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, meanwhile, said that a First Lady doesn’t deal with international issues.
“There is no crisis to be dealt with or managed when you are First Lady,”  Rice said in March. “You don't get that kind of experience by being married to a commander-in-chief.”
In the most hotly debated dust-up of the primary season – over Clinton’s famous “3 a.m.” ad asking which candidate would better handle a crisis call at three in the morning -- Obama himself said Clinton had already failed the foreign policy test.
“The question is, what kind of judgment will you exercise when you pick up that phone,” Obama said. “In fact, we’ve had a red-phone moment. It was the decision to invade Iraq. Sen. Clinton gave the wrong answer.”
On Monday, meanwhile, Obama called Clinton “a friend, a colleague, a source of counsel.”
4025  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Internet and related technology on: December 02, 2008, 09:34:13 AM
I wonder why if he is so sure it is the press and he knows who it is he doesn't peess charges.  I suspect he doesn't know for sure or he doesn't have proof like he claims.  I have known for years that the entertainment industry puts tracking devices on vehicles.  I have been tracked and it is obvious they have a GPS devise or some other device somewhere.  Try finding it.  For all I know they simply bribe someone at the dealership to put it in somewhere while my car is getting repairs.

If cowell had proof of who it was he would be pressing charges for what is jail time offense. 

*** Simon Cowell's lawyers warn press about harassmentBen Dowell, Monday December 1 2008 14.14 GMT
Article history
Simon Cowell: photographers and journalists have been told not to pursue the reality show judge. Photograph: Stewart Cook/Rex Features

Lawyers acting for The X Factor judge Simon Cowell have warned UK newspapers not to harass their client after a tracking device was allegedly found attached to his Rolls Royce last week.

Law firm Carter-Ruck sent the warning letter to national newspapers on Friday after consulting with the presenter's publicist, Max Clifford, who told that "enough is enough".

According to Clifford, the letter pointed out that the use of a tracking device is illegal and could lead to prosecution.

He added that the identity of the journalist who allegedly attached the device is known to him and the individual concerned has been approached.

"We now who he is and we have marked his card and told him to never do anything like that again," Clifford said.

"We have always played the game and we are not precious but this is way beyond anything acceptable. So Carter-Ruck has sent a letter out to everybody warning them about this and making clear that it is unacceptable," he added.

"Simon has been putting up with this for seven years, with people approaching him at all hours and we know that we have got to have working relationships with the papers but within acceptable boundaries."

The letter also asked photographers and journalists not to pursue Cowell, place him under surveillance or photograph him in places where he has a reasonable expectation of privacy, including leaving or entering his home, Clifford said.

Asked if his client was upset about the alleged intrusion, Clifford added: "Simon is not getting stressed and not making a big drama about it but you know the game and he knows the game."***

4026  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Coming Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: December 02, 2008, 09:26:31 AM
And bill's reported interest in the hill's senate seat is obviously designed to hold her seat for her as backup.  If politically advangeous for her to quit or be fired as sos she can always return to her seat that the bill is holding for her and launch her run for 2012 from there.

The Clinton's have BO surrounded. Time will tell.

And this whole idea of hill being painted as some sort of centrist is bull.  How the clinton team spins and the msm falls for it hook line and sinker. 

Does anyone in their right mind actually think that the clintons want BO to be successful?

How can anyone think it is good for us by having a sos whose sole reason d'etere is to promote her own career?
4027  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: December 01, 2008, 12:08:40 PM
***The U.S. military expects to have 20,000 uniformed troops inside the United States by 2011 trained to help state and local officials respond to a nuclear terrorist attack or other domestic catastrophe, according to Pentagon officials***

If Bush was doing this the left would be going nuts.
"or other domestic catastrophe" like?

cynical: maybe this is in recognition that we will weaken our abilities overseas so that terrorism is more likely to come here now that BO is weak.
4028  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: December 01, 2008, 10:45:56 AM
Gibberish yes.

Democratic party loving and bush hating bias pure and simple.  Of course.  He is already giving all the credit to BO and detracting from W.

***I’m sure that Obama, whatever he said during the campaign, will play this smart. He has to avoid giving Iraqi leaders the feeling that Bush did — that he’ll wait forever for them to sort out their politics — while also not suggesting that he is leaving tomorrow, so they all start stockpiling weapons.***
4029  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: R.I.P. on: November 29, 2008, 08:17:36 AM
Very sad.
One just asks the same question asked forever during the turbulent history of humanity - why?
4030  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science on: November 28, 2008, 09:16:00 AM
All we need to do is open the US continental shelf to drilling.  That will give us more time to develop green technology that is actually affordable.  That will get us off the dependency of our enemies.
This will create jobs, bring in taxes.

4031  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: November 25, 2008, 11:09:29 AM
Here is another write up from Cal Thomas that confirms the same.  That Iraq is stabilized.  Instead of the W being given credit he is of course demonized by his political enemies.

Russia is going to have a total field day getting concessions from the closet marxist who now leads our country.  Let see.  If Putin gets in the octagon with Hillary whose derierre is going to be kicked??? rolleyes

***Mission Accomplished II

By Cal Thomas | Nineteen months after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid declared the war in Iraq "lost" and just nine months after Speaker Nancy Pelosi asserted the war has been a "failure" because it had not brought political change leading to reconciliation, it can now be said conclusively that both were wrong.

One of the great military reversals in history is close to achieving victory. That is contributing to stability in Iraq, along with reconciliation between warring factions.

These conclusions are contained in a report compiled by retired General Barry R. McCaffrey after a recent visit to Iraq during which he consulted with Iraqi and American military leaders and diplomats.

McCaffrey, now an adjunct professor of International Affairs at the United States Military Academy at West Point, wrote a memorandum for his academic colleagues. It concludes, "The United States is now clearly in the end game in Iraq to successfully achieve what should be our principle objectives: the withdrawal of the majority of U.S. ground combat forces ... in the coming 36 months; leaving behind an operative civil state and effective Iraqi security forces; an Iraqi state which is not in open civil war among the Shia, the Sunnis, and the Kurds; and an Iraqi nation which is not at war with its six neighboring states."

While adding that the security situation is "still subject to sudden outrage at any moment by al-Qaida in Iraq" or to "degradation because of provocative behavior by the Maliki government," McCaffrey concludes that "the bottom line is a dramatic and growing momentum for economic and security stability, which is unlikely to be reversible."
 McCaffrey notes the sharp drop in attacks and casualties in the last two years and praises the "genius of the leadership team of Ambassador Ryan Crocker, General David Petraeus and Secretary of Defense Bob Gates." He credits these three with "turn(ing) around the situation from a bloody disaster under the leadership of Secretary Rumsfeld to a growing situation of security."

While McCaffrey is cautious about the Maliki government, he adds that Maliki "clearly has matured and gained stature as a political leader since he assumed his very dangerous and complex leadership responsibilities." Provisional elections are scheduled for January 2009, district elections for mid-year and national elections sometime next December. McCaffrey says fighting is now more about politics than shooting and bombing and that Americans should "have a sense of empathy for these Iraqi politicians (who) have survived a poisonous Saddam regime and a culture of intrigue and murder from every side."

While optimistic, McCaffrey's memo is filled with caveats that have much to do with America's willingness under a new president to finish the job. The Iraqi military, he says is still "anemic," lacking adequate weapons and equipment. "Their military officer corps is immensely better than a year ago — but the bench is thin."

Though the economy struggles — (unemployment is 20 percent and under-employment is probably 60 percent, he says), the financial system is "immature," investment capital is lacking, enterprises are run with "badly maintained, outmoded equipment" and the country suffers from "brain drain" — things are markedly better than at any time since the war started. "The markets are open. The roads are again viable. Oil and electricity (are) no longer routinely sabotaged by the insurgents and criminals. Cell phone communications, satellite TV, and radio are all operating."

McCaffrey is critical of those responsible for managing the war during its early years: "It did not have to turn out this way with $750 billion of our treasure spent and 36,000 US killed and injured." Still, he says, it is critical that force reductions are conducted in a "deliberate and responsible manner," leaving "a stable and functioning state."

Many still argue — as president-elect Barack Obama does — that we should never have invaded Iraq. But if a stable Iraq results and serves as a bulwark against terrorism and terrorist states, it may turn out to have been worth it. While much could still go wrong, McCaffrey's conclusion that gains are now "irreversible" is the most optimistic assessment since President Bush's "Mission Accomplished" speech aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln five years ago.

That sentiment was premature, but if this one is correct, don't look for the current president to get short-term credit. That will go to Barack Obama for pulling the troops out. Long after any Republican can derive political credit, historians will be forced to acknowledge that freedom won and state terrorism lost in Iraq.***

4032  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: November 25, 2008, 09:58:38 AM
Thanks for the post.

Maybe one day history will redeem W for saving Iraq from Saddam.   I still feel we did the right thing against all political correctness.

Of course as things quiet down allowing BO to start withdrawals the MSM will rush to give *him* all the credit.

Like Rome, Americas weakness comes from within, lack of will, political infighting.

The only good thing from the financial mess is that it may slow BOs wish to make the US into an international cream puff.

Bo's foreign policy consists of "Americans need to speak more French than just merci beaucou".

4033  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Caution: rated R on: November 24, 2008, 03:40:58 PM
spread the wealth:
4034  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: November 24, 2008, 12:18:34 PM
Hi Doug,
Bundling the service for a health problem into one overall cost irregardless of number of visits, phone calls, etc is part of it.
I am just going by experience and my study of the situation but am not an expert:

There are different ways of bundling.   Surgeons are usually bundled by procedure - say they get a lump sum that includes visits and procedure for hernia repair.  Others are capitated - that is they get a lump sum from the insurer to provide all care to a patient.  I am not in favor of this because the financial incentive is for providers to do as little as possible since they earn the same either way.
Another would be boutique medicine wherein a doctor provides all care (availability, visits, hospital, etc) to a patient for a specified monthly or yearly fee billed directly to a patient.

The main concept of *outcomes*, is bonus pay in getting patient to their target goals based on national standards. Say more pay for physicians if there patients blood pressures are where they should be and not over the goal for example.  Other outcomes I guess could be patient satisfaction, screening tests recommended as per national guidlines, preventative care etc.

The idea is to base reimbursement partly on measured performance rather than just on how many patients or procedures one does.
Reimbursement for quality and not just quantity I guess would be another way to put it.

As of right now those doctors who do procedures are compensated far more than doctors who do cognitive types of care whether specialist or primary.

4035  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: November 24, 2008, 09:33:58 AM
Agree with Jindal about innovation.  We need more like him.  Romney sounded good over the weekend talking about Detroit.
We don't need more pundits like Laura Ingram - *my way or the highway*.

***physicians and hospitals will be compensated for outcomes -- rather than volume of visits and procedures -- and get incentive payments for good performance***

There is ongoing research on this model now by many groups.  Many different interests from providers, insurers, government, vendors, pharma, pharmacies, patients, cottege industries.
Its premature to say how this is going to work.  In theory there are pros and cons, but I like the idea and hope it will have value to all.  Early results suggest it will.
4036  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Piracy on: November 23, 2008, 01:56:24 PM
Somalia is ruled by gangs it seems:

***Anarchy in Somalia

The lawless Horn
Nov 20th 2008
From The Economist print edition

Pirates are only part of a much bigger problem in east Africa

IT IS tempting to be jaunty about piracy. So what if a few Robin Hoods in skiffs nick the odd tanker off the Horn of Africa? Often enough, the owners pay ransom and nobody gets hurt. Everyone needs a living in these hard times. And if the worst comes to the worst, gunboats can always be dispatched to clean the problem up, just as the British and Americans did off north Africa’s Barbary coast at the turn of the 19th century.

It is tempting, but it is wrong. The Barbary pirates caused immense human and economic damage, and the current spate of piracy in the waters of east Africa is now getting out of hand too. On November 15th pirates operating hundreds of miles from the coast seized the Sirius Star, a supertanker carrying 2m barrels of Saudi oil (see article). A dozen or so other vessels are already held by pirates. One of them—surrounded by American and Russian warships—contains a cargo of 33 T-72 tanks, enough to tip the balance in a small local war.

The last thing the world needs right now is disruption of one of its busiest shipping lanes and a spike in insurance premiums. But the cause of the present surge of piracy is no less worrying than its consequences. What has made the pirates’ audacity possible is the collapse of Somalia. The existence of a vast ungoverned space in Africa’s Horn does not just provide a useful haven from which pirates can hunt their prey at sea. It also threatens to transmit shockwaves through a seam of fragile and strife-torn African states from Sudan to the Congo.

How did this happen, and how can it be resolved? The first question is the easier to answer. About 50,000 peacekeepers are currently deployed under United Nations or African Union auspices in east and central Africa in an effort to dampen down various conflicts. In Somalia in 2006, however, the Bush administration tried something different: war by proxy. It gave a green light for Ethiopia to invade Somalia. The plan was for Ethiopia to squash an Islamist movement and reinstate a Somali government that had lost control of most of its territory.

Two years on, the plan has backfired. Abdullahi Ahmed, Somalia’s increasingly notional president, admitted on November 15th that a variety of Islamist insurgents once again dominate most of the country, leaving only two cities, Mogadishu and Baidoa, in the hands of his increasingly notional government. Neither Ethiopia nor the African Union ever sent enough soldiers to impose order. Worse, the strongest of the insurgent groups, the Shabab, is even more radical than the Islamic Courts movement which the Americans and Ethiopians originally took on. It is suspected of being linked by money to the pirates (who hand over a slice of the ransom in return for protection) and by ideology to al-Qaeda.

So how to resolve the issue? It is not enough just to send more gunboats. Although an Indian warship sunk an alleged pirate vessel this week, and a bigger naval effort could help to keep the sea-lanes a little safer, a long-term solution demands much more. This includes establishing stability inside Somalia itself, depriving the pirates of a sanctuary, and preventing the jihad-tinted anarchy there from spilling over Somalia’s borders. But since there are no serious military forces available to defeat the insurgents, a proper answer will entail reshaping the country’s politics and stepping up attempts to woo the more biddable Islamists—if there are enough left and a deal with them is still possible. Maybe not so jaunty, after all. ***

4037  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: November 22, 2008, 09:01:10 AM
The article points out that cancer is being diagnosed too late in Britain but it is not at all clear why.
Are patients getting their screening tests?  Are they being offered?  Is it the delay in confirmatory testing and eventual referral to specialist?

Many studies also show that more screening does not equate to better care or longer survival.  In fact many studies show that more screening makes for more problems.  There are relatively few screening test that are clearly supported by evidence of having net benefit.  For every total body scan one might want to do to look for a lurking cancer we will find two dozen other things that will warrant more tests, biopsies, anxiety and money that would never have been a problem.
We could also do screening up the wazoo till the nation goes bankrupt.  There is a balance.

Access to specialists is important and should be easy.  Yet patients who run to different speicalists do wind up getting more tests (especially if the specialist has the test in their office and can bill for it - usually reasonable but clearly overdone at times) get fragmented care. 

In this country nurses are replacing primary care doctors so one could argue there will be more opportunity for diagnoses to be missed.  But some simple care they probably could do.  I notice patients of mine who go to local walk in clinics for colds are invariably getting antibiotics though invariably it is uncommon they really need them.  I try to talk my patients out of it.  In these clinics that are more concerned for generating customer satisfaction they are all getting antibiotics because the patients think they need it.  They are now contributing to further use of antibiotics and the problem of resistance.

But I digress.

4038  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / SOS HRC - I need an sos on: November 21, 2008, 03:03:57 PM
Hillary for SOS.  tongue The soap opera never ends.  I was afraid of this.  The MSM loves this.  They will be drooling over every step, every breath, every word, every momnet of silence, every expression.  She will look so *glamorous*, so *smart and witty*, she can do no wrong and yes the drama of her relationship with Barack.  The endless torture of talk from the MSM.
Of course I could just watch NFL and MMA sports. cheesy

BO and HRC will be turned into some sort of epic movie drama -

Like Caesar and Cleopatra, a Black Samson and an ugly Delilah.  Or Mr and Ms Messiah both here to save the world.

I wish I could just retire and go to Montana or Idaho somewhere where there are no TVs radios or newspapers.

Do they need doctors in Figi?
4039  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / slight correction on: November 21, 2008, 02:51:56 PM
***I don't complete laissez faire is possible with human nature the way it is.***

correction, I don't think strict laissez faire is possible....
4040  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: November 21, 2008, 01:38:49 PM

Until we start hearing about ideas to help us get out of our messes the Republicans will remain where they rightly find themselves."

Well I wasn't necessarily suggesting the government had to come up with *government* solutions.

But the main part of my initial premise is the rich keep getting richer and the rest stay in place.  It is a problem when something to the effect of 1% of the people have 95% of the wealth.

The solution to this for me is unknown.  But I recognize this as a problem.  I guess you don't.
I don't complete laissez faire is possible with human nature the way it is.
4041  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: November 21, 2008, 09:11:02 AM
I am not inclined to bailout the Big three.  The one thing that does bother me is the loss of manufacturing industry.  Could Detroit be consolidated and converted into a manufacturing force that will lead the world into making only fuel efficient cars akin to there bieng used to make tanks during WW2?
We are an economy of fast food and government employees.
I am not sure what this means.  Pat brings up some good concerns though I do not hear any ideas about what should be doing about it now.  Pat kind of strikes me as more finger pointing by the right.  I suspect most Americans are kind of tired about this.  We don't hear anything about solutions going forward.  Until we start hearing about ideas to help us get out of our messes the Republicans will remain where they rightly find themselves.     
Comments Who Killed Detroit?
by  Patrick J. Buchanan

11/21/2008  Print This
Who killed the U.S. auto industry?

To hear the media tell it, arrogant corporate chiefs failed to foresee the demand for small, fuel-efficient cars and made gas-guzzling road-hog SUVs no one wanted, while the clever, far-sighted Japanese, Germans and Koreans prepared and built for the future.

I dissent. What killed Detroit was Washington, the government of the United States, politicians, journalists and muckrakers who have long harbored a deep animus against the manufacturing class that ran the smokestack industries that won World War II.
As far back as the 1950s, an intellectual elite that produces mostly methane had its knives out for the auto industry of which Ike's treasury secretary, ex-GM chief Charles Wilson, had boasted, "What's good for America is good for General Motors, and vice versa."

"Engine Charlie" was relentlessly mocked, even in Al Capp's L'il Abner cartoon strip, where a bloviating "General Bullmoose" had as his motto, "What's good for Bullmoose is good for America!"

How did Big Government do in the U.S. auto industry?

Washington imposed a minimum wage higher than the average wage in war-devastated Germany and Japan. The Feds ordered that U.S. plants be made the healthiest and safest worksites in the world, creating OSHA to see to it. It enacted civil rights laws to ensure the labor force reflected our diversity. Environmental laws came next, to ensure U.S. factories became the most pollution-free on earth.

It then clamped fuel efficiency standards on the entire U.S. car fleet.

Next, Washington imposed a corporate tax rate of 35 percent, raking off another 15 percent of autoworkers' wages in Social Security payroll taxes

State governments imposed income and sales taxes, and local governments property taxes to subsidize services and schools.

The United Auto Workers struck repeatedly to win the highest wages and most generous benefits on earth -- vacations, holidays, work breaks, health care, pensions -- for workers and their families, and retirees.

Now there is nothing wrong with making U.S. plants the cleanest and safest on earth or having U.S. autoworkers the highest-paid wage earners.

That is the dream, what we all wanted for America.

And under the 14th Amendment, GM, Ford and Chrysler had to obey the same U.S. laws and pay at the same tax rates. Outside the United States, however, there was and is no equality of standards or taxes.

Thus when America was thrust into the Global Economy, GM and Ford had to compete with cars made overseas in factories in postwar Japan and Germany, then Korea, where health and safety standards were much lower, wages were a fraction of those paid U.S. workers, and taxes were and are often forgiven on exports to the United States.

All three nations built "export-driven" economies.

The Beetle and early Japanese imports were made in factories where wages were far beneath U.S. wages and working conditions would have gotten U.S. auto executives sent to prison.

The competition was manifestly unfair, like forcing Secretariat to carry 100 pounds in his saddlebags in the Derby.

Japan, China and South Korea do not believe in free trade as we understand it. To us, they are our "trading partners." To them, the relationship is not like that of Evans & Novak or Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. It is not even like the Redskins and Cowboys. For the Cowboys only want to defeat the Redskins. They do not want to put their franchise out of business and end the competition -- as the Japanese did to our TV industry by dumping Sonys here until they killed it.

While we think the Global Economy is about what is best for the consumer, they think about what is best for the nation.

Like Alexander Hamilton, they understand that manufacturing is the key to national power. And they manipulate currencies, grant tax rebates to their exporters and thieve our technology to win. Last year, as trade expert Bill Hawkins writes, South Korea exported 700,000 cars to us, while importing 5,000 cars from us.

That's Asia's idea of free trade.

How has this Global Economy profited or prospered America?

In the 1950s, we made all our own toys, clothes, shoes, bikes, furniture, motorcycles, cars, cameras, telephones, TVs, etc. You name it. We made it.

Are we better off now that these things are made by foreigners? Are we better off now that we have ceased to be self-sufficient? Are we better off now that the real wages of our workers and median income of our families no longer grow as they once did? Are we better off now that manufacturing, for the first time in U.S. history, employs fewer workers than government?

We no longer build commercial ships. We have but one airplane company, and it outsources. China produces our computers. And if GM goes Chapter 11, America will soon be out of the auto business.

Our politicians and pundits may not understand what is going on. Historians will have no problem explaining the decline and fall of the Americans.

Mr. Buchanan is a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Churchill, Hitler, and "The Unnecessary War": How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World, "The Death of the West,", "The Great Betrayal," "A Republic, Not an Empire" and "Where the Right Went Wrong."

4042  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: November 21, 2008, 08:39:57 AM
Unfortunately, the grim picture this article paints is all too true.

***the public option will import Medicare's price controls into the private sector as it tries to manage the inevitable cost overruns. When that doesn't work, Congress will deal with the problem by capping overall spending and rationing care through politics (instead of prices) -- like Canada does today***

Medicare's price controls?  Is some cases Medicare is preferred by providers as opposed to some of the commercial carriers.

***The Baucus plan expects to make up more of the money with nips like better health technology and tucks such as "a national focus on wellness." But those don't come close to adding up to $150 billion -- or the health system would have made them already. As for the claim that centralizing health spending will lead to more "efficiency" . . . well, that is the triumph of hope over evidence.***

The idea that converting to electronic recods will cut the necessary inefficiencies out to the extent we are saved is a fantasy.

I got to laugh when Newt and others sit in front of the camera and say all we need to do is centralize the information and costs will stop increasing.  While I agree it is a good idea and must be done in some way I beg to differ that it will save the future of medical care.

As for "wellness" - there are some preventative things that are done that save long term costs and there are others that actually drive up long term costs.

Without rationing health care costs will continue to skyrocket.  Specialists who do procedures are whing because they can't charge the exorbitant fees they were bilking form the system for years. and those specialists who don't preform procedures have trouble paying bills.  As for primary care folks like me - well the whole field is collapsing.  You all may very well be seeing nurses instead of primary doctors from now on.

I spoke to one physician recently who was praying for total nationalization of health care.  He feels anything is better than dealing with multiple insurances, patients without coverage etc.  One national medical organization I know was ecstatic that Tom Daschle is picked for Sec of HHS.  They feel he is on their side with regards to saving primary care which may soon be as obsolete as GM,Ford,Chrysler.

I am still not for nationalization.  But the public I am afraid is not facing the truth about rationing.  They still want everything possible especially as long as someone else covers it.
4043  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: November 19, 2008, 04:50:36 AM
From Howard Kurtz' surprising article.  Surprising because he documents quite clearly to a degree I never noticed him to do before how the MSM is and was biased for BO.  Of course I haven't made a study out of Kurtz' writings but everytime I have seen him review alleged bias by the MSM like the NYT he always seems to eventually conclude at the end that there was NO bias.
In this article he would agree that journalism is on hold.  Although I agree more with O'Reilly that it is gone forever as we knew it.  (Unless the repubs ever win back power wink)

But this part of Kurtz article I don't get:

***Bush, whose ego was threatened by any outburst of excellence in his vicinity, politicized all policymaking and centralized it in the White House. Obama, happily, has the opposite tendencies. He is intellectually confident, enjoys engaging with ideas, and inclines to pragmatism rather than partisanship. He can handle a Lincolnesque 'Team of Rivals' or a FDR-style brain trust. And he's going to need one.***

BO "inclines to pragmatism rather than partisanship"?

Why wasn't BO judged to be the MOST liberal and party loyal Senator?  There is nothing in his political background to suggest he has been anything other than a party hack.  Though of course he has denied it during his presidential campaign. 

And as far as Linconesque cabinet?  What I recall Lincoln did as written by the historians I've read decades ago was to pick men he thought were *the best qualified* for the job and not necessarily political rivals that would be taken out of the competition for his 1864 re-election bid.

4044  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for Reps/Conservatives on: November 19, 2008, 04:02:21 AM
From what other Republican [than Newt] do we hear such a logical discussion of the problem from the viewpoint of the right?
Wwhat Newt says certainly sounds logical.  And it certainly makes me wonder how Frank could still be in the House and in a position to attempt to fix the problems.
I guess we need a "Republican Soros" to fund a front organization at Frank's district and make his constituants more aware of what a corrupt official he is.
4045  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: November 18, 2008, 02:15:31 PM
***If she takes it, she's under his thumb-- and she won't take it because to do so would mean that Bill would have to explain all kinds of shady money he has been receiving, so I seriously doubt she will take it.***

Why are the Clinton contributions to be so well scrutinized if she becomes SOS?
Why Bo has received hundreds of millions from donars we know nothing about.  Because he didn't accept Federal campaign contribtutions he doesn't have to report his donors?
Does anyone think many of these monies didn't come from overseas?

4046  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for Reps/Conservatives on: November 18, 2008, 02:05:09 PM
***That said, if you go back to the intellectual origins of Mussolini and Hitler's National SOCIALISM, you will see that fascism is a LEFT WING ideology, not right wing.  If you go back you will see that FDR's New Deal, which BO seeks to emulate and dramatically expand, was essentially FDR's take on what Mussolini was doing.

Although American Fascism, a.k.a. Liberalism, usually lacks the overtly violent tactics of Mussolini's Brown Shirts, its economic and social concepts and its goals are those of fascism***

Yes Crafty.  You stated in a better way exactly what I was thinking.  Somehow this nut job BO compares the US with "starting to appear uncomfortably close to Nazi Germany!".  This is what he said.  This guy is a nut job. It is exactly the *opposite* which is true!

They twisted around US conservatism to represent Naziism.  In fact Conservativsim is freedom and the liberal agenda is closer to Nazism with its increasing and expanding government control over all of us.
Number 1)  We do not have the spokes people, the MSM, around who will straigten this out in a way that appeals to most people IMO. 

Number 2) Additionally as Rove says Republicans need to address real time issues in real time ways that ordinary people talk about at the table.  Slogans about freedom, liberty, less government alone are not enough IMO.  How can this be relayed in a way that appeals to ordinary Americans and in a way that address our modern problems?  I don't know.

Hannity and Limbaugh do the first part in a crude way.  They have NO clue about the second at all IMO. 

4047  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Center for American Progress on: November 18, 2008, 11:36:54 AM
This center is really for pushing an agenda of government control of liberalism (ie "progress)

The radical left fights back with money and research.  They now have their perfect spokesperson and wolf in sheeps clothing.  My fellow Jews have for centuries knew that education, research and knowledge will ultimately win the day.  Probably that is why we lasted for millenium despite dozens of outside attempts at being conquered and wiped out.  I am proud of this.  Unfortunately their are too many of us enamored with ideas, ideals that are counter to my beliefs.  Soros is another Marx, Alinsky and all the rest who just love Obamanism.  BO is one of them.  Time will tell how much he can get away with.

Perhaps Palin can become a conduit for countering this radical threat but she is NOT intellectual enough to go up against this.

I don't know who is other then Newt at this time - David Horowitz and others do exist.  They are out there somewhere.  Joe the Plumber is nice but he won't work against this sort of thing.  This is a battle of ideals more akin to 1930's Europe IMHO.  What I havent quite figured out it how can Soros, a product of the holocaust be more on the side of the philosophy that is closer to Socialism.  Somehow Conservatism and the Republican party have become more alinged with Nazism, Marism?  I don't get how Soros thinks more and big pushy goernment is not like what created WW2?  Newt, could you explain this to me?  Anyone here have enough historical knowledge?   

****Bloomberg TV Bloomberg Radio Bloomberg Podcasts Bloomberg Press   

Soros-Funded Democratic Idea Factory Becomes Obama Policy Font

By Edwin Chen

 Nov. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Three blocks from the White House, on the 10th floor of a sleek glass building, young workers pound at computers, with giant flat-screen TVs overhead. It has the look and feel of a high-tech startup.

In many ways it is. The product is ideas.

Thanks in part to funding from benefactors such as billionaire George Soros, the Center for American Progress has become in just five years an intellectual wellspring for Democratic policy proposals, including many that are shaping the agenda of the new Obama administration.

Much as the Heritage Foundation provided intellectual heft for the Republican Party in the 1980s, CAP has been an incubator for liberal thought and helped build the platform that triumphed in the 2008 campaign.

``What CAP has done is recapture the role of ideas as an important political force, something the Republicans had been better at for 25 years,'' said Walter Isaacson, president of the Aspen Institute, a non-partisan policy-research organization in Washington.

CAP's president and founder, John Podesta, 59, former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, is one of three people running the transition team for president-elect Barack Obama, 47. A squadron of CAP experts is working with them.

Some of the group's recommendations already have been adopted by the president-elect.

Withdrawal of Troops

These include the center's call for a gradual withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and a buildup of forces in Afghanistan, a plan for universal health coverage through employer plans and proposals to create purchasing pools that allow small businesses to spread the cost among a larger group of workers. Obama has endorsed much of a CAP plan to create ``green jobs'' linked to alleviating global climate change.

CAP also is advocating the creation of a ``National Energy Council'' headed by an official with the stature of the national security adviser and who would be charged with ``transforming the energy base'' of the U.S. In addition, CAP urges the creation of a White House ``office of social entrepreneurship'' to spur new ideas for addressing social problems.

To help promote its ideas, CAP employs 11 full-time bloggers who contribute to two Web sites, ThinkProgress and the Wonk Room; others prepare daily feeds for radio stations. The center's policy briefings are standing-room only, packed with lobbyists, advocacy-group representatives and reporters looking for insights on where the Obama administration is headed.

`Premier Progressive'

``The center is the premier progressive think tank in Washington,'' said Mark Green, head of the New Democracy Project, an urban-affairs institute in New York.

Just eight days after the Nov. 4 election, CAP released a 300,000-word volume called ``Change for America: A Progressive Blueprint for the 44th President'' that offers advice on issues such as economic revival and fixing the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Work on the book began almost a year ago.

CAP, which has 180 staffers and a $27 million budget, devotes as much as half of its resources to promoting its ideas through blogs, events, publications and media outreach.

The center's future was far from certain in 2003, when wealthy donors such as Soros and film producer Stephen Bing gave $10 million or more to fill what they believed was an intellectual void in the Democratic Party and create a vehicle to produce an agenda for the party's eventual return to power.

Heritage Foundation

Podesta modeled the center on the Heritage Foundation, which became the go-to policy-research organization in 1981 when newly elected President Ronald Reagan embraced its conservative ideas embodied in a book called ``Mandate for Leadership.'' Heritage was just seven years old.

CAP and Heritage have something else in common.

``Others strive to be objective, we don't,'' said Jennifer Palmieri, CAP's vice president for communications.

Podesta likes to say, ``we're not a think tank, we're an action tank,'' said Dan Weiss, an environmental activist who joined CAP last year.

CAP isn't the only Democratic-leaning research organization in Washington with enhanced cachet after Obama's election.

The 92-year-old Brookings Institution, for example, has advisers in Obama's inner circle, including economist Jason Furman and foreign-policy expert Susan Rice. Others are working either part-time or full-time in the Obama transition.

Podesta's center isn't even among the biggest or best- funded. Brookings has a staff of more than 400 and an annual budget of $48 million. Heritage has a staff of 200 and a budget of $60 million. The American Enterprise Institute, which has close ties to the administration of President George W. Bush, has about 140 staffers, including Lynne Cheney, wife of Vice President Dick Cheney, and a budget of $28 million.


Yet CAP may be the most influential. In addition to Podesta, at least 10 other CAP experts are advising the incoming administration, including Melody Barnes, the center's executive vice president for policy who co-chairs the agency-review working group and Cassandra Butts, the senior vice president for domestic policy, who is now a senior transition staffer.

``John understood that ideas have power in this town, and he brought in super-bright people whose ideas have become essential reading,'' Isaacson said.

CAP's successes offer a lesson for Republican-leaning groups, said James McGann, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia who tracks policy groups.

``They've shown that one has to constantly innovate and be responsible to an ever-changing demographics and electorate, and have policies that are responsive to that,'' McGann said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Edwin Chen in Washington at .****

4048  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: November 18, 2008, 10:11:00 AM
On this I agree with Chris Matthews on this.  Many have been saying that BO is so wise to make Clinton his SOS and he will be taking out his chief Dem Political rival and control her and her team.  I say the opposite.  I say it *allows the Clintons to control BO* and keep in the game and the spotlight.  We will see ad nauseum photo shoots and soundbites of her meeting with this foreign dignitary and fixing our relationship with them or sticking up for our interests blah blah blah.  And Matthews against the apparant conventional wisdom agrees with me.  I say NEVER underestimate the political gamemanship of the CLintons. Anytime they can be kept out do it.  Thye will creep back like cancer otherwise.  Never give them an inch because they never give an inch. And, I don't see what all this talk of her being such a great SOS is all about anyway.  Again the Clinton spin.  What are her credentials oversees that makes her so great?

****Celebrity Sightings Page Six Magazine Cartoon Popwrap Michael Riedel 'HARDBALL' GUY DERAILS HILLARY
Comments: 25Read Comments Leave a Comment   November 18, 2008 --

"HARDBALL" host Chris Matthews and the other "castratos" at MSNBC shouldn't hold their breath waiting for a Hillary Clinton interview.

Matthews, who once opined that men who supported Clinton were "castratos in the eunuch chorus," forgot the cardinal rule for those who are often mentioned on Page Six - he didn't take a good look around on the Acela train from Philadelphia to Washington Saturday before he started bad-mouthing the New York senator.

Outrageous Political Impersonations Pop Video Quiz

An avowed Clinton lover who was sitting next to Matthews reports: "He was in business class wearing a red baseball hat that said Penn on the back, and the fat [bleep] fell asleep on the train and snored with his mouth open."

During the ride to DC, Matthews awoke from his nap. A fellow passenger asked him, "What's the news tomorrow?" - to which Matthews loudly started talking about President-elect Barack Obama possibly picking Hillary as his secretary of state.

"I don't understand it," Matthews bellowed. "Why would he pick her? I thought we were done with the Clintons. She'll just use it to build her power base. It's Machiavellian. And then we'll have Bill Clinton, too. I thought Obama didn't want drama. He's already got [chief of staff Rahm] Emanuel and [transition team leader John] Podesta. He'll have even more drama with her.

"She's just a soap opera. If he doesn't pick her, everyone will say she's been dissed again, we'll have to live through that again."

Matthews seems to be playing both sides of the fence. The host, who apologized to Clinton last year for claiming she got where she was because "her husband messed around," said on-air last Friday: "Look, I think that since she lost the fight for the nomination, [Clinton] has been not just a good soldier, she has sang the tune of [Obama]. She's been illustrious, she's been admirable . . . her spirit seems to be with him."

A rep for Clinton declined to comment while a rep for Matthews didn't return e-mails. ****

4049  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Coming Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: November 18, 2008, 09:02:36 AM
***Bush has left a mess with Russia and now, given Euro spinelessness, we have
no good options.    Bush's stupidity in recognizing Kosovo has enabled
Russia to take the two provinces in Georgia; the larger point of which is to
make clear that it can take the pipeline any time it wants.  The true issue
is access to central Asian gas and oil-- as we have discussed.  I like Jack
Wheeler's idea of building a pipeline from central Asia through Afg-Pak and
thus create a form of wealth generation that gives us true leverage in
Afg-Pak as well as undercutting Russia's chokehold on Euro energy.***


I like the parts about your fears of BO. Mine too.   I suspect BO is RADICAL left and is prepared to go as far left as he can get away with.  He might test the waters but he would obviously love going towards Pelosi et al.  He has hung around with many US hating raidcals and he occasionally slpis and lets out his tru feelings which include his resentment of America and what it has always stood for.  He will have us all driving electric minicars, he will run from Iraq ASAP, Iran will have nucs (though there IS NO political will in the US to stop this so its not totally BOs fault. etc.

With regards to the above could you expand on what W did wrong with Kosovo, Russia and what is this pipeline all about and how would expanding a pipeline through a dangerous part of the world help us?  Shouldn't we be drilling off our shores and get off foriegn oil?
4050  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / From the Economist on: November 17, 2008, 02:30:16 PM
 Reposted from another thread that was essentially of duplicate of this thread.

Future? of Republican party
« on: November 15, 2008, 08:06:02 AM » 

I agree with some of the following though not all.  I think he is right on target at the Republican party's banckrupcy in ideas and inability to adapt.  Falling to the position that the reason for the failure of the party is due to its diverting from its core principles is hopefully not going to win out the minds of what is left of the  leadership and dircection of the party and dooming it to further defeat.  If Shawn Hannity and Rush are going to lead this party than whomever follows them goes the way of the pied piper.
If anyone questions the barren thoughtfulness of the party just witness that some in the party think that putting Palin at the forefront and labelling her a leader of the party is a good idea.  Anyone who now thinks this woman can attract anyone new to the right is dreaming.  She is turning into a total mindless cad inmo.  I am surely dissappointed and becoming quite embarassed by her.
I was wrong to think she has her own wisdom or ability to engage in real insightful conversation.

I really thought she would go back to Alaska, perhaps get Steven's Senate seat, or run for the Senate or Congress later and re-establish herself with more gravitas.  And if she would then spend the next couple years really LEARNING the issues so she could speak with some authority, sensibility, and logic rather than just run around with some by-gone party slogans.  Again I over-estimated her (or if I try to be kind - her "handlers").  The cans are relying on governors.  I guess because they are out of power they no longer have the floor to speak their views and establish themselves with cabinet posts, chairmanship seats, etc.

We need another Newt to rise from the Democratic controlled houses to lead the party back.  Why can't/won't Newt run again?
Amzing thing to see how our liberal University system honors a person like Ayers but despises a person like Newt.

   ***Ship of fools
Nov 13th 2008
From The Economist print edition

Political parties die from the head down

Illustration by KAL
JOHN STUART MILL once dismissed the British Conservative Party as the stupid party. Today the Conservative Party is run by Oxford-educated high-fliers who have been busy reinventing conservatism for a new era. As Lexington sees it, the title of the “stupid party” now belongs to the Tories’ transatlantic cousins, the Republicans.

There are any number of reasons for the Republican Party’s defeat on November 4th. But high on the list is the fact that the party lost the battle for brains. Barack Obama won college graduates by two points, a group that George Bush won by six points four years ago. He won voters with postgraduate degrees by 18 points. And he won voters with a household income of more than $200,000—many of whom will get thumped by his tax increases—by six points. John McCain did best among uneducated voters in Appalachia and the South.

 The Republicans lost the battle of ideas even more comprehensively than they lost the battle for educated votes, marching into the election armed with nothing more than slogans. Energy? Just drill, baby, drill. Global warming? Crack a joke about Ozone Al. Immigration? Send the bums home. Torture and Guantánamo? Wear a T-shirt saying you would rather be water-boarding. Ha ha. During the primary debates, three out of ten Republican candidates admitted that they did not believe in evolution.

The Republican Party’s divorce from the intelligentsia has been a while in the making. The born-again Mr Bush preferred listening to his “heart” rather than his “head”. He also filled the government with incompetent toadies like Michael “heck-of-a-job” Brown, who bungled the response to Hurricane Katrina. Mr McCain, once the chattering classes’ favourite Republican, refused to grapple with the intricacies of the financial meltdown, preferring instead to look for cartoonish villains. And in a desperate attempt to serve boob bait to Bubba, he appointed Sarah Palin to his ticket, a woman who took five years to get a degree in journalism, and who was apparently unaware of some of the most rudimentary facts about international politics.

Republicanism’s anti-intellectual turn is devastating for its future. The party’s electoral success from 1980 onwards was driven by its ability to link brains with brawn. The conservative intelligentsia not only helped to craft a message that resonated with working-class Democrats, a message that emphasised entrepreneurialism, law and order, and American pride. It also provided the party with a sweeping policy agenda. The party’s loss of brains leaves it rudderless, without a compelling agenda.

This is happening at a time when the American population is becoming more educated. More than a quarter of Americans now have university degrees. Twenty per cent of households earn more than $100,000 a year, up from 16% in 1996. Mark Penn, a Democratic pollster, notes that 69% call themselves “professionals”. McKinsey, a management consultancy, argues that the number of jobs requiring “tacit” intellectual skills has increased three times as fast as employment in general. The Republican Party’s current “redneck strategy” will leave it appealing to a shrinking and backward-looking portion of the electorate.

Why is this happening? One reason is that conservative brawn has lost patience with brains of all kinds, conservative or liberal. Many conservatives—particularly lower-income ones—are consumed with elemental fury about everything from immigration to liberal do-gooders. They take their opinions from talk-radio hosts such as Rush Limbaugh and the deeply unsubtle Sean Hannity. And they regard Mrs Palin’s apparent ignorance not as a problem but as a badge of honour.

Another reason is the degeneracy of the conservative intelligentsia itself, a modern-day version of the 1970s liberals it arose to do battle with: trapped in an ideological cocoon, defined by its outer fringes, ruled by dynasties and incapable of adjusting to a changed world. The movement has little to say about today’s pressing problems, such as global warming and the debacle in Iraq, and expends too much of its energy on xenophobia, homophobia and opposing stem-cell research.

Conservative intellectuals are also engaged in their own version of what Julian Benda dubbed la trahison des clercs, the treason of the learned. They have fallen into constructing cartoon images of “real Americans”, with their “volkish” wisdom and charming habit of dropping their “g”s. Mrs Palin was invented as a national political force by Beltway journalists from the Weekly Standard and the National Review who met her when they were on luxury cruises around Alaska, and then noisily championed her cause.

Time for reflection
How likely is it that the Republican Party will come to its senses? There are glimmers of hope. Business conservatives worry that the party has lost the business vote. Moderates complain that the Republicans are becoming the party of “white-trash pride”. Anonymous McCain aides complain that Mrs Palin was a campaign-destroying “whack job”. One of the most encouraging signs is the support for giving the chairmanship of the Republican Party to John Sununu, a sensible and clever man who has the added advantage of coming from the north-east (he lost his New Hampshire Senate seat on November 4th).

But the odds in favour of an imminent renaissance look long. Many conservatives continue to think they lost because they were not conservative or populist enough—Mr McCain, after all, was an amnesty-loving green who refused to make an issue out of Mr Obama’s associations with Jeremiah Wright. Richard Weaver, one of the founders of modern conservatism, once wrote a book entitled “Ideas have Consequences”; unfortunately, too many Republicans are still refusing to acknowledge that idiocy has consequences, too.***

Global Moderator
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Posts: 8269

   Re: Future? of Republican party
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2008, 10:20:21 AM » 


Very interesting article. 

May I ask you to put it in this thread?

thank you,
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