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51  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Russian Leaders (Putin, Medvedev, Oligarchs, etc) on: March 15, 2014, 01:01:38 PM
Works now.  I was going to note 50 of the 150 K is tax money.  It is amazing.  Guy gets 150 K and the government moves in and says 50 of them is "mine".

To think these guys fight like this for a measly 6K.

If any athletes deserve a big payday for a days work it is these people.

For certain many will wind up like Jerry Quarry.

It is amazing how much these guys can take.  The only way to stop them is to knock or strangle them unconscious or break or nearly break an arm or leg.
52  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Huge appeasement on: March 15, 2014, 12:55:46 PM
In typical Obama and the Progressive movement fashion we give up more and more to the "world community".   As Newt asks?  *Who are the stakeholders?*
We all are if you ask me.   I guess we are going to have an international tax now?  So Americans can continue funding for the rest of the new world order?

*****U.S. to relinquish remaining control over the Internet

 Joe Raedle/Getty Images -  Pressure to let go of the final vestiges of U.S. authority over the system of Web addresses and domain names that organize the Internet has been building for more than a decade.

By Craig Timberg,   
 
U.S. officials announced plans Friday to relinquish federal government control over the administration of the Internet, a move that pleased international critics but alarmed some business leaders and others who rely on the smooth functioning of the Web.

Pressure to let go of the final vestiges of U.S. authority over the system of Web addresses and domain names that organize the Internet has been building for more than a decade and was supercharged by the backlash last year to revelations about National Security Agency surveillance.

Move comes after revelations about National Security Agency surveillance.

The change would end the long-running contract between the Commerce Department and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a California-based nonprofit group. That contract is set to expire next year but could be extended if the transition plan is not complete.

“We look forward to ICANN convening stakeholders across the global Internet community to craft an appropriate transition plan,” Lawrence E. Strickling, assistant secretary of commerce for communications and information, said in a statement.

The announcement received a passionate response, with some groups quickly embracing the change and others blasting it.

In a statement, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.) called the move “consistent with other efforts the U.S. and our allies are making to promote a free and open Internet, and to preserve and advance the current multi-stakeholder model of global Internet governance.”

But former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) tweeted: “What is the global internet community that Obama wants to turn the internet over to? This risks foreign dictatorships defining the internet.”

The practical consequences of the decision were harder to immediately discern, especially with the details of the transition not yet clear. Politically, the move could alleviate rising global concerns that the United States essentially controls the Web and takes advantage of its oversight position to help spy on the rest of the world.

U.S. officials set several conditions and an indeterminate timeline for the transition from federal government authority, saying a new oversight system must be developed and win the trust of crucial stakeholders around the world. An international meeting to discuss the future of Internet is scheduled to start on March 23 in Singapore.

The move’s critics called the decision hasty and politically tinged, and voiced significant doubts about the fitness of ICANN to operate without U.S. oversight and beyond the bounds of U.S. law.



“This is a purely political bone that the U.S. is throwing,” said Garth Bruen, a security fellow at the Digital Citizens Alliance, a Washington-based advocacy group that combats online crime. “ICANN has made a lot of mistakes, and ICANN has not really been a good steward.”

Business groups and some others have long complained that ICANN’s decision-making was dominated by the interests of the industry that sells domain names and whose fees provide the vast majority of ICANN’s revenue. The U.S. government contract was a modest check against such abuses, critics said.

“It’s inconceivable that ICANN can be accountable to the whole world. That’s the equivalent of being accountable to no one,” said Steve DelBianco, executive director of NetChoice, a trade group representing major Internet commerce businesses.

U.S. officials said their decision had nothing to do with the NSA spying revelations and the worldwide controversy they sparked, saying there had been plans since ICANN’s creation in 1998 to eventually migrate it to international control.

“The timing is now right to start this transition both because ICANN as an organization has matured, and international support continues to grow for the multistakeholder model of Internet governance,” Strickling said in a statement.

Although ICANN is based in Southern California, governments worldwide have a say in the group’s decisions through an oversight body. ICANN in 2009 made an “Affirmation of Commitments” to the Commerce Department that covers several key issues.

Fadi Chehade, president of ICANN, disputed many of the complaints about the transition plan and promised an open, inclusive process to find a new international oversight structure for the group.

“Nothing will be done in any way to jeopardize the security and stability of the Internet,” he said.

The United States has long maintained authority over elements of the Internet, which grew from a Defense Department program that started in the 1960s. The relationship between the United States and ICANN has drawn wider international criticism in recent years, in part because big American companies such as Google, Facebook and Microsoft play such a central role in the Internet’s worldwide functioning. The NSA revelations exacerbated those concerns.

“This is a step in the right direction to resolve important international disputes about how the Internet is governed,” said Gene Kimmelman, president of Public Knowledge, a group that promotes open access to the Internet.

Verizon, one of the world’s biggest Internet providers, issued a statement saying, “A successful transition in the stewardship of these important functions to the global multi-stakeholder community would be a timely and positive step in the evolution of Internet governance.”

ICANN’s most important function is to oversee the assigning of Internet domains — such as dot-com, dot-edu and dot-gov — and ensure that the various companies and universities involved in directing digital traffic do so safely.

Concern about ICANN’s stewardship has spiked in recent years amid a massive and controversial expansion that is adding hundreds of new domains, such as dot-book, dot-gay and dot-sucks, to the Internet’s infrastructure. More than 1,000 new domains are slated to be made available, pumping far more fee revenue into ICANN.




Major corporations have complained, however, that con artists already swarm the Internet with phony Web sites designed to look like the authentic offerings of respected brands.

“To set ICANN so-called free is a very major step that should done with careful oversight,” said Dan Jaffe, executive vice president of the Association of National Advertisers. “We would be very concerned about that step.”

 





Follow The Post’s new tech blog, The Switch, where
53  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rules of the Road/Fire Hydrant on: March 15, 2014, 12:43:38 PM
Still only get "notify"
54  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Sounds good. on: March 15, 2014, 12:42:34 PM
Just don't let the Clintons steal your ideas and pretend they've been saying it all along:

http://news.yahoo.com/in-the-age-of-reality-politics--rubio-finds-his-voice-102128536.html
55  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Why is big tech so liberally biased? on: March 15, 2014, 12:01:38 PM
Typical "editorial" piece that comes up on Yahoo "news".   Not will MSNBC cost the liberals elections.  Or is Huffington Post costing Democrats votes?
Or is Obama hurting the Democrat party?  No.  Only mocks of the Tea Party or anything conservative:

http://theweek.com/article/index/258089/speedreads-will-fox-news-cost-the-republican-party-the-2016-election
56  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rules of the Road/Fire Hydrant on: March 15, 2014, 11:44:22 AM
I cannot reply to the Putin thread.  No "reply" link comes up. 
57  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: March 15, 2014, 11:33:45 AM
Denny,

Didn't you used to post on the infamous Gilder Tech Board yrs ago?

Do you ever feel in danger in Venezuela?

58  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / "Why I Hire Undocumented Workers" on: March 13, 2014, 10:32:10 AM
We know why.  I guess if we make them legal they will be able to start their OWN businesses and drive this American employer out of business.  Sorry but this twisted logic doesn't sit well with me.

****Immigration
Why I Hire Undocumented Workers
12, 2014 12:23 PM ET
By Francis Wilkinson


Using data from the U.S. Census, the Pew Hispanic Center estimated that there were eight million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. labor force in 2010. The Migration Policy Institute estimated the number a bit lower -- 6.4 million -- in 2011, with retail trade employing 920,000, construction 910,000, agriculture 540,000 and manufacturing 520,000. Even using the lower Institute number, that means there is more than one undocumented worker for every one of the six million employers in the U.S.

Who is employing them all?

Well, a guy I've known for years is one. He owns an east-coast landscaping and plant business with around 100 employees, at least half of whom are undocumented Mexican immigrants.

About a dozen years ago, one of his biggest competitors started using undocumented Mexican laborers. At the time, the landscaper’s firm suffered high turnover and low productivity, and finding employees to do the actual landscaping -- his company's bread and butter -- was difficult.

“We’ve never had anyone come in here looking for work,” he told me, on condition that I withhold his name. He found many of the Americans he has hired over the years to be unreliable and unwilling to work hard. Sometimes they quit; other times he has fired them.

Gradually, he started hiring Mexican laborers. All of them were able to provide Social Security numbers, though he understood they were bogus. “We have to have paperwork on these guys,” he said. “We just don’t have to have it be legitimate.”

The Mexican laborers live together in a poor neighborhood in a small city, drive to work together and take as many hours as the boss offers – seven days a week when possible. He pays them the same wages he pays Americans -- one top earner makes $25 per hour, well above the median U.S. wage. Because they're undocumented and most don't have their families with them, the men don't make much of a dent in the U.S. consumer economy. Instead, they send their savings home to their families in Mexico.

There are, of course, complications. The landscaper said he has paid thousands of dollars to coyotes and illegal services to secure passage back to the U.S. for workers who returned to Mexico to visit family. If his employees are stopped at the U.S. border and don't make it back to work, which is happening more frequently, he isn't charged. “I lost a key man," he said, "a skilled stone mason who couldn’t get back in the country.” If his employees do make it back to work, he said, they inevitably reimburse him for the coyote fees.

As the business grew, the landscaper's Mexican workforce also became his recruiting service. “The Mexicans are self-policing,” he said. “If a guy is not working hard, they get rid of him. I don’t even have to say anything. The only people I have to fire are Americans.”

(Francis Wilkinson is a member of the Bloomberg View editorial board. Follow him on Twitter.)*****
59  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: March 13, 2014, 09:30:47 AM
"Can Obama repeal and postpone his way to keeping a Senate majority in the fall?"

And can he lie and distort and conceal along with willing MSM accomplices till then?

My guess is no.   How convenient that he is safely re elected some Dems will speak out against him only to set the stage for their next front person.

Morris said Brock is now doing the same thing Clinton did during Lewinsky by announcing policy programs and changing the subject every day.

Remember when we seem to have had thrust in our faces every single day an adorable announcement by Clinton?  Now we see the Brock doing the same thing to constantly change the subject and announce liberal crap every day.  Raise the min wage.  Raise overtime pay and so on.
60  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Military Science and Military Issues on: March 13, 2014, 09:24:33 AM
A long time ago I had a patient who had a daughter who was raped by a Navy-man.   He threatened her not to "mess with the Navy".  She was not military.   He stated he sent letters all over demanding justice.   He said he was taken seriously.  The last time I spoke to him he said his daughter decided she couldn't go through with all the continuing psychological trauma to pursue justice and decided it was simply less stressful to just move on.  He was very disappointed and felt like he failed to protect his daughter.  I couldn't convince him otherwise.

Apparently there were at least some in the Navy who were willing to cover for this guy.  But I don't know details beyond this.

I don't know if rape is more frequent among military personnel than the general population or if it is harder to obtain justice when it occurs.

I don't think it wrong for the civilian justice system to at least review what is going on though I would prefer they fix any problems within the military system then let the politicians make political fodder for this.

61  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: March 11, 2014, 07:28:04 PM
This was discussed today on Dick Morris radio (actually a really good show - he is really interesting).   But I thought Libya took responsibility for Lockerbee and admitted it?

 undecided

******Ex-Iranian intel officer says Iran, not Libya, behind Lockerbie attack   

Ex-Iranian intel officer says Iran, not Libya, behind Lockerbie attack

March. 11, 2014 at 4:17 PM   |   1 Comment

EDINBURGH, Scotland, March 11 (UPI) -- The 1988 Lockerbie jetliner bombing was payback for the U.S. Navy's downing of an Iranian airliner six months earlier, an ex-Iranian intelligence officer says.
Abolghassem Mesbahi says Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini ordered the attack on Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in which 290 people died, to avenge the accidental shooting down of Iran Air Flight 655 over the Persian Gulf by the USS Vincennes and left 270 people dead, the Daily Telegraph reported Monday.

The London newspaper said previously unreleased evidence that was to have been used in an appeal hearing for Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the former Libyan intelligence officer convicted of the bombing, supports Mesbahi's contention. The Lockerbie bombing was carried out by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine -- General Command, the newspaper said the evidence suggests.

The Telegraph said documents obtained by the Arab television network al-Jazeera for a documentary called "Lockerbie: What Really Happened?" names key individuals allegedly involved in the attack.

The Telegraph said the new evidence puts the conviction of al-Megrahi in question and supports allegations the truth about Lockerbie was covered up by Britain and the United States to avoid angering Syria, a key player in the Middle East

Al-Megrahi, the only man convicted in the Lockerbie attack, dropped his appeal after being released from prison in 2009 because he was suffering from cancer, though he maintained his innocence until his death in 2012.

Al-Megrahi's conviction was based on the prosecution's theory that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi had personally ordered the Lockerbie attack in retaliation for the U.S. bombing of Tripoli and Benghazi in 1986, in which Gadhafi's daughter was killed.

But Mesbahi contends it was Iran, not Libya, that sought revenge.

"Iran decided to retaliate as soon as possible," Mesbahi, who had reported directly to Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and now lives under a witness protection program in Germany, told al-Jazeera. "The decision was made by the whole system in Iran and confirmed by Ayatollah Khomeini.

"The target of the Iranian decision-makers was to copy exactly what happened to the Iranian Airbus. Everything exactly the same, minimum 290 people dead."

The newspaper reported the U.S. State Department said it wanted all those responsible for the Lockerbie attack brought to justice, while Britain's Foreign Office said the case remains open because investigators believe al-Megrahi didn't act alone.

The Iranian government had no comment on the documentary's findings, but has previously denied any involvement in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.

Read more: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2014/03/11/Ex-Iranian-intel-officer-says-Iran-not-Libya-behind-Lockerbie-attack/UPI-51221394569068/#ixzz2vheOEkoK*******
 
 
62  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / I will post on Iran thread on: March 11, 2014, 07:20:54 PM
This was discussed today on Dick Morris radio (actually a really good show - he is really interesting).   But I thought Libya took responsibility for Lockerbee and admitted it?

 undecided

******Ex-Iranian intel officer says Iran, not Libya, behind Lockerbie attack   

Ex-Iranian intel officer says Iran, not Libya, behind Lockerbie attack

March. 11, 2014 at 4:17 PM   |   1 Comment

EDINBURGH, Scotland, March 11 (UPI) -- The 1988 Lockerbie jetliner bombing was payback for the U.S. Navy's downing of an Iranian airliner six months earlier, an ex-Iranian intelligence officer says.
Abolghassem Mesbahi says Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini ordered the attack on Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in which 290 people died, to avenge the accidental shooting down of Iran Air Flight 655 over the Persian Gulf by the USS Vincennes and left 270 people dead, the Daily Telegraph reported Monday.

The London newspaper said previously unreleased evidence that was to have been used in an appeal hearing for Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the former Libyan intelligence officer convicted of the bombing, supports Mesbahi's contention. The Lockerbie bombing was carried out by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine -- General Command, the newspaper said the evidence suggests.

The Telegraph said documents obtained by the Arab television network al-Jazeera for a documentary called "Lockerbie: What Really Happened?" names key individuals allegedly involved in the attack.

The Telegraph said the new evidence puts the conviction of al-Megrahi in question and supports allegations the truth about Lockerbie was covered up by Britain and the United States to avoid angering Syria, a key player in the Middle East

Al-Megrahi, the only man convicted in the Lockerbie attack, dropped his appeal after being released from prison in 2009 because he was suffering from cancer, though he maintained his innocence until his death in 2012.

Al-Megrahi's conviction was based on the prosecution's theory that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi had personally ordered the Lockerbie attack in retaliation for the U.S. bombing of Tripoli and Benghazi in 1986, in which Gadhafi's daughter was killed.

But Mesbahi contends it was Iran, not Libya, that sought revenge.

"Iran decided to retaliate as soon as possible," Mesbahi, who had reported directly to Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and now lives under a witness protection program in Germany, told al-Jazeera. "The decision was made by the whole system in Iran and confirmed by Ayatollah Khomeini.

"The target of the Iranian decision-makers was to copy exactly what happened to the Iranian Airbus. Everything exactly the same, minimum 290 people dead."

The newspaper reported the U.S. State Department said it wanted all those responsible for the Lockerbie attack brought to justice, while Britain's Foreign Office said the case remains open because investigators believe al-Megrahi didn't act alone.

The Iranian government had no comment on the documentary's findings, but has previously denied any involvement in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.


Read more: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2014/03/11/Ex-Iranian-intel-officer-says-Iran-not-Libya-behind-Lockerbie-attack/UPI-51221394569068/#ixzz2vheOEkoK*******
63  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Palin phenomenon on: March 11, 2014, 07:04:08 PM
Palin might be an excellent hosts of a show that is the answer to Bill Maher. 

Her calling is political humor with a conservative twist and a liberal bite.
64  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / 300 sequel not so liked on: March 10, 2014, 07:40:10 AM
But at least it has the politically correct warrior-broad in it:

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/300_rise_of_an_empire/
65  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People (Gun rights stuff ) on: March 10, 2014, 07:30:00 AM
I've been seeing some of this in the medical journals.

Doctors trying to make the case gun laws has anything to do with medicine.

There is something self aggrandizing and narcissistic about these types.
66  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Shale/fracking boom is not the panacea some suggest on: March 07, 2014, 06:32:52 PM
Arthur Berman continues to maintain:

Wells do not have long drilling life and drilling companies have to keep searching and drilling more just to maintain.   Capital expenditures are so enormous for these hard to get liquids that companies are spending more than they make to get the stuff.  Prices have to be high to make it profitable and most supplies estimates are exaggerations and not realistic.   Similar issues with oil in sands:

*****Shale, the Last Oil and Gas Train: Interview With Arthur Berman

By Oilprice.com 
March 6, 2014   

This article was written by Oilprice.com -- the leading provider of energy news in the world. Also see our previous interview with Arthur Berman.

How much faith can we put in our ability to decipher all the numbers out there telling us the US is closing in on its cornering of the global oil market? There's another side to the story of the relentless US shale boom, one that says that some of the numbers are misunderstood, while others are simply preposterous. The truth of the matter is that the industry has to make such a big deal out of shale because it's all that's left. There are some good things happening behind the fairy tale numbers, though—it's just a matter of deciphering them from a sober perspective.   

In a second exclusive interview with James Stafford of Oilprice.com, energy expert Arthur Berman discusses:

•    Why US gas supply growth rests solely on Marcellus
•    When Bakken and Eagle Ford will peak
•    The eyebrow-raising predictions for the Permian Basin
•    Why outrageous claims should have oil lawyers running for cover
•    Why everyone's making such a big deal about shale
•    The only way to make the shale gas boom sustainable
•    Why some analysts need their math examined
•    Why it's not just about how much gas we produce
•    Why investors are starting to ask questions
•    Why new industries, not technologies will make the next boom
•    Why we'll never hit the oil and gas 'wall'
•    Why companies could use a little supply and-demand discipline
•    Why 'fire ice' makes sense (in Japan)
•    Why the US crude export debate will be 'silly'

Arthur is a geological consultant with thirty-four years of experience in petroleum exploration and production. He is currently consulting for several E&P companies and capital groups in the energy sector. He frequently gives keynote addresses for investment conferences and is interviewed about energy topics on television, radio, and national print and web publications including CNBC, CNN, Platt's Energy Week, BNN, Bloomberg, Platt's, Financial Times, and New York Times. You can find out more about Arthur by visiting his website: http://petroleumtruthreport.blogspot.com

Oilprice.com: Almost on a daily basis we have figures thrown at us to demonstrate how the shale boom is only getting started. Mostly recently, there are statements to the effect that Texas shale formations will produce up to one-third of the global oil supply over the next 10 years. Is there another story behind these figures?

Arthur Berman: First, we have to distinguish between shale gas and liquids plays. On the gas side, all shale gas plays except the Marcellus are in decline or flat. The growth of US supply rests solely on the Marcellus and it is unlikely that its growth can continue at present rates. On the oil side, the Bakken has a considerable commercial area that is perhaps only one-third developed so we see Bakken production continuing for several years before peaking. The Eagle Ford also has significant commercial area but is showing signs that production may be flattening. Nevertheless, we see 5 or so more years of continuing Eagle Ford production activity before peaking. The EIA has is about right for the liquids plays--slower increases until later in the decade, and then decline.

The idea that Texas shales will produce one-third of global oil supply is preposterous. The Eagle Ford and the Bakken comprise 80% of all the US liquids growth. The Permian basin has notable oil reserves left but mostly from very small accumulations and low-rate wells. EOG (NYSE: EOG  ) CEO Bill Thomas said the same thing about 10 days ago on EOG's earnings call. There have been some truly outrageous claims made by some executives about the Permian basin in recent months that I suspect have their general counsels looking for a defibrillator.

Recently, the CEO of a major oil company told The Houston Chronicle that the shale revolution is only in the "first inning of a nine-inning game". I guess he must have lost track of the score while waiting in line for hot dogs because production growth in U.S. shale gas plays excluding the Marcellus is approaching zero; growth in the Bakken and Eagle Ford has fallen from 33% in mid-2011 to 7% in late 2013.

Oil companies have to make a big deal about shale plays because that is all that is left in the world. Let's face it: these are truly awful reservoir rocks and that is why we waited until all more attractive opportunities were exhausted before developing them. It is completely unreasonable to expect better performance from bad reservoirs than from better reservoirs.

The majors have shown that they cannot replace reserves. They talk about return on capital employed (ROCE) these days instead of reserve replacement and production growth because there is nothing to talk about there. Shale plays are part of the ROCE story--shale wells can be drilled and brought on production fairly quickly and this masks or smoothes out the non-productive capital languishing in big projects around the world like Kashagan and Gorgon, which are going sideways while eating up billions of dollars.

None of this is meant to be negative. I'm all for shale plays but let's be honest about things, after all!  Production from shale is not a revolution; it's a retirement party.

OP: Is the shale "boom" sustainable?

Arthur Berman: The shale gas boom is not sustainable except at higher gas prices in the US. There is lots of gas--just not that much that is commercial at current prices. Analysts that say there are trillions of cubic feet of commercial gas at $4 need their cost assumptions audited. If they are not counting overhead (G&A) and many operating costs, then of course things look good. If Walmart were evaluated solely on the difference between wholesale and retail prices, they would look fantastic. But they need stores, employees, gas and electricity, advertising and distribution. So do gas producers. I don't know where these guys get their reserves either, but that needs to be audited as well.

There was a report recently that said large areas of the Barnett Shale are commercial at $4 gas prices and that the play will continue to produce lots of gas for decades. Some people get so intrigued with how much gas has been produced and could be in the future, that they don't seem to understand that this is a business. A business must be commercial to be successful over the long term, although many public companies in the US seem to challenge that concept.

Investors have tolerated a lot of cheerleading about shale gas over the years, but I don't think this is going to last. Investors are starting to ask questions, such as: Where are the earnings and the free cash flow. Shale companies are spending a lot more than they are earning, and that has not changed. They are claiming all sorts of efficiency gains on the drilling side that has distracted inquiring investors for awhile. I was looking through some investor presentations from 2007 and 2008 and the same companies were making the same efficiency claims then as they are now. The problem is that these impressive gains never show up in the balance sheets, so I guess they must not be very important after all.

The reason that the shale gas boom is not sustainable at current prices is that shale gas is not the whole story. Conventional gas accounts for almost 60% of US gas and it is declining at about 20% per year and no one is drilling more wells in these plays. The unconventional gas plays decline at more than 30% each year. Taken together, the US needs to replace 19 billion cubic feet per day each year to maintain production at flat levels. That's almost four Barnett shale plays at full production each year! So you can see how hard it will be to sustain gas production. Then there are all the efforts to use it up faster--natural gas vehicles, exports to Mexico, LNG exports, closing coal and nuclear plants--so it only gets harder.

This winter, things have begun to unravel. Comparative gas storage inventories are near their 2003 low. Sure, weather is the main factor but that's always the case. The simple truth is that supply has not been able to adequately meet winter demand this year, period. Say what you will about why but it's a fact that is inconsistent with the fairy tales we continue to hear about cheap, abundant gas forever.

I sat across the table from industry experts just a year ago or so who were adamant that natural gas prices would never get above $4 again. Prices have been above $4 for almost three months. Maybe "never" has a different meaning for those people that doesn't include when they are wrong.

OP: Do you foresee any new technology on the shelf in the next 10-20 years that would shape another boom, whether it be fossil fuels or renewables?

Arthur Berman: I get asked about new technology that could make things different all the time. I'm a technology enthusiast but I see the big breakthroughs in new industries, not old extractive businesses like oil and gas. Technology has made many things possible in my lifetime including shale and deep-water production, but it hasn't made these things cheaper.

That's my whole point about shale plays--they're expensive and need high oil and gas prices to work. We've got the high prices for oil and the oil plays are fine; we don't have high prices for the gas plays and they aren't working. There are some areas of the Marcellus that actually work at $4 gas price and that's great, but it really takes $6 gas prices before things open up even there.

OP: In Europe, where do you see the most potential for shale gas exploitation, with Ukraine engulfed in political chaos, companies withdrawing from Poland, and a flurry of shale activity in the UK?

Arthur Berman: Shale plays will eventually spread to Europe but it will take a longer time than it did in North America. The biggest reason is the lack of private mineral ownership in most of Europe so there is no incentive for local people to get on board. In fact, there are only the negative factors of industrial development for them to look forward to with no pay check. It's also a lot more expensive to drill and produce gas in Europe.

There are a few promising shale plays on the international horizon: the Bazherov in Russia, the Vaca Muerte in Argentina and the Duvernay in Canada look best to me because they are liquid-prone and in countries where acceptable fiscal terms and necessary infrastructure are feasible.  At the same time, we have learned that not all plays work even though they look good on paper, and that the potentially commercial areas are always quite small compared to the total resource.  Also, we know that these plays do not last forever and that once the drilling treadmill starts, it never ends. Because of high decline rates, new wells must constantly be drilled to maintain production.  Shale plays will last years, not decades.

Recent developments in Poland demonstrate some of the problems with international shale plays. Everyone got excited a few years ago because resource estimates were enormous.  Later, these estimates were cut but many companies moved forward and wells have been drilled. Most international companies have abandoned the project including ExxonMobil, ENI, Marathon and Talisman.  Some players exited because they don't think that the geology is right but the government has created many regulatory obstacles that have caused a lack of confidence in the fiscal environment in Poland.

The UK could really use the gas from the Bowland Shale and, while it's not a huge play, there is enough there to make a difference. I expect there will be plenty of opposition because people in the UK are very sensitive about the environment and there is just no way to hide the fact that shale development has a big footprint despite pad drilling and industry efforts to make it less invasive.

Let me say a few things about resource estimates while we are on the subject.  The public and politicians do not understand the difference between resources and reserves.  The only think that they have in common is that they both begin with "res."  Reserves are a tiny subset of resources that can be produced commercially.  Both are always wrong but resource estimates can be hugely misleading because they are guesses and have nothing to do with economics. 

Someone recently sent me a new report by the CSIS that said U.S. shale gas resource estimates are too conservative and are much larger than previously believed.  I wrote him back that I think that resource estimates for U.S. shale gas plays are irrelevant because now we have robust production data to work with.  Most of those enormous resources are in plays that we already know are not going to be economic.  Resource estimates have become part of the shale gas cheerleading squad's standard tricks to drum up enthusiasm for plays that clearly don't work except at higher gas prices.  It's really unfortunate when supposedly objective policy organizations and research groups get in on the hype in order to attract funding for their work.

OP: The ban on most US crude exports in place since the Arab oil embargo of 1973 is now being challenged by lobbyists, with media opining that this could be the biggest energy debate of the year in the US. How do you foresee this debate shaping up by the end of this year?

Arthur Berman: The debate over oil and gas exports will be silly.

I do not favor regulation of either oil or gas exports from the US. On the other hand, I think that a little discipline by the E&P companies might be in order so they don't have to beg the American people to bail them out of the over-production mess that they have created knowingly for themselves. Any business that over-produces whatever it makes has to live with lower prices. Why should oil and gas producers get a pass from the free-market laws of supply and demand?

I expect that by the time all the construction is completed to allow gas export, the domestic price will be high enough not to bother. It amazes me that the geniuses behind gas export assume that the business conditions that resulted in a price benefit overseas will remain static until they finish building export facilities, and that the competition will simply stand by when the awesome Americans bring gas to their markets. Just last week, Ken Medlock described how some schemes to send gas to Asia may find that there will be a lot of price competition in the future because a lot of gas has been discovered elsewhere in the world.

The US acts like we are some kind of natural gas superstar because of shale gas. Has anyone looked at how the US stacks up next to Russia, Iran and Qatar for natural gas reserves?

Whatever outcome results from the debate over petroleum exports, it will result in higher prices for American consumers. There are experts who argue that it won't increase prices much and that the economic benefits will outweigh higher costs. That may be but I doubt that anyone knows for sure. Everyone agrees that oil and gas will cost more if we allow exports.

OP: Is the US indeed close to hitting the "crude wall"—the point at which production could slow due to infrastructure and regulatory restraints?

Arthur Berman: No matter how much or little regulation there is, people will always argue that it is still either too much or too little. We have one of the most unfriendly administrations toward oil and gas ever and yet production has boomed. I already said that I oppose most regulation so you know where I stand. That said, once a bureaucracy is started, it seldom gets smaller or weaker. I don't see any walls out there, just uncomfortable price increases because of unnecessary regulations.

We use and need too much oil and gas to hit a wall. I see most of the focus on health care regulation for now. If there is no success at modifying the most objectionable parts of the Affordable Care Act, I don't suppose there is much hope for fewer oil and gas regulations. The petroleum business isn't exactly the darling of the people.

OP: What is the realistic future of methane hydrates, or "fire ice", particularly with regard to Japanese efforts at extraction?

Arthur Berman: Japan is desperate for energy especially since they cut back their nuclear program so maybe hydrates make some sense at least as a science project for them. Their pilot is in thousands of feet of water about 30 miles offshore so it's going to be very expensive no matter how successful it is.

OP: Globally, where should we look for the next potential "shale boom" from a geological perspective as well as a commercial viability perspective?

Arthur Berman: Not all shale is equal or appropriate for oil and gas development. Once we remove all the shale that is not at or somewhat above peak oil generation today, most of it goes away. Some shale plays that meet these and other criteria didn't work so we have a lot to learn. But shale development is both inevitable and necessary. It will take a longer time than many believe outside of North America.

OP: We've spoken about Japan's nuclear energy crossroads before, and now we see that issue climaxing, with the country's nuclear future taking center-stage in an election period. Do you still believe it is too early for Japan to pull the plug on nuclear energy entirely?

Arthur Berman: Japan and Germany have made certain decisions about nuclear energy that I find remarkable but I don't live there and, obviously, don't think like them.

More generally, environmental enthusiasts simply don't see the obstacles to short-term conversion of a fossil fuel economy to one based on renewable energy. I don't see that there is a rational basis for dialogue in this arena. I'm all in favor of renewable energy but I don't see going from a few percent of our primary energy consumption to even 20% in less than a few decades no matter how much we may want to.

OP: What have we learned over the past year about Japan's alternatives to nuclear energy?

Arthur Berman: We have learned that it takes a lot of coal to replace nuclear energy when countries like Japan and Germany made bold decisions to close nuclear capacity. We also learned that energy got very expensive in a hurry. I say that we learned. I mean that the past year confirmed what many of us anticipated.

OP: Back in the US, we have closely followed the blowback from the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) proposed new carbon emissions standards for power plants, which would make it impossible for new coal-fired plants to be built without the implementation of carbon capture and sequestration technology, or "clean-coal" tech. Is this a feasible strategy in your opinion?

Arthur Berman: I'm not an expert on clean coal technology either but I am confident that almost anything is possible if cost doesn't matter. This is as true about carbon capture from coal as it is about shale gas production. Energy is an incredibly complex topic and decisions are being made by bureaucrats and politicians with little background in energy or the energy business. I don't see any possibility of a good outcome under these circumstances.

OP: Is CCS far enough along to serve as a sound basis for a national climate change policy?

Arthur Berman: Climate-change activism is a train that has left the station. If you've missed it, too bad. If you're on board, good luck.

The good news is that the US does not have an energy policy and is equally unlikely to get a climate change policy for all of the same reasons. I fear putting climate change policy in the hands of bureaucrats and politicians more than I fear climate change (which I fear).*****
67  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: R.I.P. on: March 07, 2014, 06:10:30 PM
Doug,

My condolences as well. 

Judging from your kindness on the board all these years.  She must have been a great mother.   I was lucky like that too.




68  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gov. Chris Christie on: March 06, 2014, 12:52:28 PM
I don't know how I could in good conscious support support this guy.  He did to an extant stand up to teachers unions which is a first in the "union thug" state of NJ.  It is unbelievable how powerful they are here.

But  I don't see another single thing that he did that was helpful.   He certainly is no conservative. 

I don't believe he did not know about the GW bridge.  People who know him and his minions know the underlings wouldn't even "go to the bathroom" without his knowledge and permission.  So for him not to have known about the bridge is not believable to me.  He may have been lied to about there being a electronic paper trail (emails) and that was what he was so able to be furious about.   So he could come out and claim he was "lied to".


To me it is all the scandal is the same as Lois Lerner/IRS and her taking the 5th.  These people are caught red handed and their choice is either to be honest and rat out their superiors and thus live the life of being crucified for eternity by the thugs in the party or let the lawyers get them the minimum they can and get a payoff later on when no one is looking or can do anything about it.   What does one choose?   The smaller stick with the carrot or the big stick and suffer forever far more aggresiously (sp?).

Is this the best the Republicans can do?   Way too early, but I hope not.
69  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / She must have went offscript when she made her Hitler Putin remarks on: March 06, 2014, 10:30:26 AM
 "all parties should avoid steps that could be misinterpreted or lead to miscalculation at this delicate time."

Right after she makes criticisms that take her another week to try to explain and re-assemble.

"I am not making a comparison, certainly."

This she says right after she just made a comparison.  Now she looks like a fool walking backwards. 

Of course the MSM makes it look like she is tough.

*****Clinton again blasts Putin after her Hitler remark
Associated Press
By MICHAEL R. BLOOD 14 hours ago

Clinton Again Blasts Putin After Hitler Remark
     
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin is a tough but thin-skinned leader who is squandering his country's potential, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday, a day after she likened his actions on the Crimean peninsula of Ukraine to those of Adolf Hitler in the 1930s.

Clinton, a potential 2016 presidential contender, warned during her a speech at the University of California, Los Angeles, that "all parties should avoid steps that could be misinterpreted or lead to miscalculation at this delicate time."

Putin has said he was protecting ethnic Russians by moving troops into Crimea.

Clinton said Tuesday at a closed fundraising luncheon in Long Beach that Putin's actions are similar what happened in the Nazi era in Czechoslovakia and Romania.

"Now if this sounds familiar, it's what Hitler did back in the '30s," Clinton said, according to the Press-Telegram of Long Beach. "Hitler kept saying, 'They're not being treated right. I must go and protect my people.' And that's what's gotten everybody so nervous."

Responding to a question submitted at the UCLA talk, Clinton said she was not making a comparison although Russia's actions were "reminiscent" of claims Germany made in the 1930s, when the Nazis said they needed to protect German minorities in Poland and elsewhere in Europe.

"The claims by President Putin and other Russians that they had to go into Crimea and maybe further into eastern Ukraine because they had to protect the Russian minorities, that is reminiscent of claims that were made back in the 1930s when Germany under the Nazis kept talking about how they had to protect German minorities in Poland and Czechoslovakia and elsewhere throughout Europe," she said.

"I just want everybody to have a little historic perspective. I am not making a comparison, certainly. But I am recommending that we perhaps can learn from this tactic that has been used before," she said.

Clinton said Putin is trying to "re-Sovietize" the periphery of Russia but is actually squandering the potential of his nation and "threatening instability and even the peace of Europe."

In recent days, some Republicans, including Sen. John McCain have criticized the Obama administration's policy in Ukraine. Clinton echoed President Barack Obama's assessment that Russia's intervention was a violation of international law, and she said she supported the administration's call for Russia "to refrain from the threat or use of force."

Kathryn Stoner, a Russia expert at Stanford University's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, said she considered Clinton's comparison between Putin and the tactics of Nazi-era Germany "a bit of a stretch," in part because Putin "doesn't look like he is intent on spreading across the Ukraine and permanently occupying this area."

In a delicate diplomatic situation "I don't think it's helpful on either side to say things like this, but in these crises it happens," Stoner added****

 cheesy But she is a very nice person if you get to know her.
70  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Legal issues on: March 06, 2014, 09:08:07 AM
***Nevada law bars casinos from allowing obviously drunk patrons to gamble and from serving them comped drinks.***

I have little sympathy for this guy yet the casino employees seemed to have no problem doing what is according to this illegal.

Or so he claims.
71  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Gambling under the influence? GUI? on: March 06, 2014, 08:13:10 AM
Interesting situation.  I didn't know it is illegal to allow someone "visibly" drunk to play at a casino in Nevada.  I thought that was one of the casino's goals.  
Gambling while under the influence?   How the heck does one sort this out.  Maybe we need a breathalyzer test for those who drink and gamble.   Then one gets into the concept of "impairment" as well.   What a mess sorting this out:

****Gambler sues, says he lost $500,000 playing drunk

Associated Press
By HANNAH DREIER 13 hours ago
 
LAS VEGAS (AP) — A businessman who lost $500,000 on table games at a Las Vegas casino on Super Bowl weekend is arguing that he shouldn't have to pay because he was blackout drunk.

Southern California gambler Mark Johnston, 52, is suing the Downtown Grand for loaning him money and serving him drinks when he was visibly intoxicated.

Nevada law bars casinos from allowing obviously drunk patrons to gamble and from serving them comped drinks.

Johnston's attorney, Sean Lyttle, says the Grand, which opened last November in the old part of Las Vegas, intends to pursue Johnston for trying to shirk his gambling debts. Johnston put a stop-payment order on the markers, or casino credits, the Grand issued, and is also seeking damages from the Grand for sullying his name.

Johnston says he was thoroughly drunk during the hours he spent playing pai gow and blackjack at the Grand. His legal team plans to rely on eyewitness testimony and surveillance video to prove that he was visibly intoxicated.

Johnston lives in Ventura and made his fortune in car dealership and real estate ventures.

The Grand issued a statement saying it does not comment on pending litigation.

The state Gaming Control Board is investigating.

"It's certainly an extraordinary case. This is not a story that I've ever heard before, where someone was blackout intoxicated where they couldn't read their cards, and yet a casino continued to serve them drinks and issue them more markers," Lyttle said. "It's a very heavy-handed and unusual approach that we haven't seen in this town in a long time."

Johnston arrived in Las Vegas with the woman he was dating on the Thursday before the Super Bowl. He drank in the limousine from the Las Vegas airport to the Grand, drank more during dinner with friends, and then says he blacked out.

The suit alleges that the Grand comped him dozens of drinks while he gambled away hundreds of thousands of dollars, finally sleeping off his drunkenness on that Saturday, which was Feb, 1. Johnston says he didn't learn how much he had lost until the next day.

___

Hannah Dreier can be reached at http://twitter.com/hannahdreier
72  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / More Hillary and health care; take a deep breath on: March 04, 2014, 07:39:44 PM
Hillary Rodham Clinton: Let evidence lead the healthcare reform fight
HIMSS keynote speaker calls on physicians, health IT, policymakers to face challenges of access, delivery, and technology

Publish date: FEB 28, 2014
Print


By: Daniel R. Verdon
  
“There are many provisions embedded in this act that most Americans, if asked, would support,” Clinton contends. And there are just as many challenges facing the system.

“What happens when us Baby Boomers double the number of Medicare beneficiaries from 40 million to 80 million people?" Clinton asks. "How do we prepare for that dramatic increase? How could we improve coordination and communication among all healthcare providers responsible for a patients’ well-being? Will advances in technology combined with comparative effectiveness research continue providing patients and providers with more and better information about what works and what doesn’t in ways that will reduce cost and improve outcomes? How might we replace, once and for all, our fee-for-service model (with a system) that provides provider-led, community-wide care?”

The case for electronic health records

The challenges facing healthcare are also calling for its modernization through technology, Clinton says.

The need for digitizing medical records was clearly evident following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which decimated parts of New Orleans and other areas on the Gulf Coast.

Millions of pages of medical records were lost during that storm.

“I saw firsthand when I went to meet with survivors and refugees from Katrina. People were just totally bewildered. Elderly people didn’t know what medicine they were taking. They couldn’t explain what that little blue pill was they took 3 times a day. We know how important this is. When you are in the middle of a medical emergency, accessing information can literally make the difference between life and death,” Clinton says.

Squeezing healthcare costs

Technology will ultimately lower healthcare costs to Americans, Clinton says. And this country has made some progress. “Healthcare costs are growing at the slowest rate in 50 years, just around 4%. That has significant implications for our economy going forward.”

“There is a lot of misinformation and a lot of anxiety (about healthcare reform),” she says. “(People) are worried about what they might lose. We need to clear the smoke, and figure out what is working and what isn’t. It would be a great tragedy, in my opinion, to take away what has now been provided to the millions of people who now have Medicaid or a health insurance plan for the first time.”

Clinton was one of four keynote presenters at HIMSS 2014, which drew more than 37,000 healthcare IT professionals. Other presentations were delivered by Mark Bertolini, CEO of Aetna; Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and Karen DeSalvo, MD, MPH, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.
73  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2nd post of day. This is one of two more these on Hillary and health care on: March 04, 2014, 07:38:36 PM
Hillary Rodham Clinton: Let evidence lead the healthcare reform fight
HIMSS keynote speaker calls on physicians, health IT, policymakers to face challenges of access, delivery, and technology

Publish date: FEB 28, 2014
Print


By: Daniel R. Verdon
Hillary Rodham Clinton HIMSS 2014Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton gave the keynote address at the HIMSS 2014 conference in Orlando, FL. (Photo courtesy of HIMSS)The “hyper-politicized debate” about healthcare reform needs to shift to a thoughtful dialogue about evidence and data, according to former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

In addressing thousands of health information technology professionals at the recently concluded HIMSS 2014 conference in Orlando, Florida, Clinton called on healthcare thought leaders to let evidence guide decisions and development to improve quality and reduce cost of the American healthcare system.

“I am a believer that good data helps to make good decisions,” Clinton says. “It’s true in medicine; it’s true in business; it’s true in government, and it’s true in life…. Unfortunately, the hyper-politicized debate about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been often more about ideology than data.”

Clinton called on policymakers and healthcare professionals to debate ways to improve the U.S. healthcare system.

“I want us to have a healthcare debate where our differences are fully aired," Clinton says. "We don’t have a one-size-fits all; our country is quite diverse. What works in New York City is not necessarily going to work in Harrison, Arkansas or Albuquerque. We do need to have people who are looking for ways to use evidence but leave their blaming, their gaming, their shaming, their point scoring at the door.”

There are many reform provisions in the ACA that attempt to improve the system, Clinton says. Some examples include:

•measuring outcomes,
•covering preventive care,
•shifting from fee-for-service to rewarding quality and value,
•building pricing transparency,
•using comparative effectiveness research,
•opening up access to healthcare coverage to millions of Americans who were previously uninsured,
•allowing children to stay on their parents’ coverage until they are 26,
•“liberating employees” from staying in jobs solely to access health insurance because a family member has a pre-existing or chronic health condition.
74  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender, Gay, Lesbian on: March 04, 2014, 06:00:10 PM
I don't care about sexual orientation but do we have to glorify sodomy?   Do we really need a history courses about the greatest butt @#$$%%% or cock@#$%^ in history?

Mandating this?

What the hell is going on?

God almighty - enough.
75  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races on: March 04, 2014, 05:52:34 PM
"There are now at least 10, and potentially as many as 13, Democratic-held [US Senate] seats in jeopardy."


We need 15.

Otherwise we will still have a President who is ruling through stacking the agencies with cronies and dictates through them for another two years.
76  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: March 04, 2014, 05:50:39 PM
I guess this is what Rush was referring to when he noted ZEEK said something to the effect that the plan of Obamacare was to put insurance companies out of business.  Some providers have had integrated systems.  I know I worked for one 25 years ago.  It was called managed care.  The ACO concept is just a variation.  The providers take the "full risk" not the third party insurance company or "middle man" as ZEEK calls them.  Guidelines are just that.  They are guidelines.  If anyone thinks insurance companies are rough just wait till the providers have big stakes on restricting services. 

But I digress.  Rush is not accurate if this is what he was talking about.  This just means replacing insurance companies with ACOs and hospital systems.  Some will be run by doctor groups.  Most and the largest and the most powerful will simply be run by large business hospital or other conglomerate chains. 

****Obamacare Architect: ‘Be Prepared to Kiss Your Insurance Company Good-Bye Forever’
 
Mar. 3, 2014 7:29pm   Jason Howerton   

Ezekiel Emanuel, one of the architects behind Obamacare, is now claiming that “insurance companies as we know them are about to die.” Critics of President Barack Obama’s signature health care law have long alleged that one of the real goals of the law was to put private insurance companies out of business.

“The good news is you won’t have insurance companies to kick around much longer. The system is changing,” Emanuel writes in an op-ed on New Republic. “As a result, insurance companies as they are now will be going away. Indeed, they are already evolving. For the next few years insurance companies will both continue to provide services to employers and, increasingly, compete against each other in the health insurance exchanges.”

Due to Obamacare, “new actors will force insurance companies to evolve or become extinct,” he continues. Instead, new groups called “accountable care organizations” (ACOs) must start competing directly in the health care exchanges for exclusive contracts with employers.

In this March 11, 2009 photo, Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel, special advisor for health care at the Office of Management and Budget, speaks at the American Medical Association's annual conference at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, Ezekiel J. Emanuel values intelligence, but don't accuse him of Harvard-itis. He'll tell you an Ivy League degree doesn't prove anyone's worth. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
In this March 11, 2009 photo, Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel, special advisor for health care at the Office of Management and Budget, speaks at the American Medical Association’s annual conference at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, Ezekiel J. Emanuel values intelligence, but don’t accuse him of Harvard-itis. He’ll tell you an Ivy League degree doesn’t prove anyone’s worth. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The ACOs will have “standardized, guideline-driven care plans for most major conditions and procedures to increase efficiency,” says Emanuel, the brother of Obama’s former chief of staff and current Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

“They will have figured out how to harness their electronic medical records to better identify patients who will become sick and how to intervene early as well as how to care for the well-identified chronically ill so as to reduce costs,” he notes.

The key skill these ACOs and hospital systems lack—the skill insurance companies specialize in—is the actuarial capacity to predict and manage financial risk. But over the next decade this is something they will develop—or purchase. After all, actuarial science is not rocket science, even if it involves a lot of mathematical equations. And with that skill, ACOs and hospital systems will become integrated delivery systems like Kaiser or Group Health of Puget Sound. Then they will cut out the insurance company middle man—and keep the insurance company profits for themselves. Therefore, increasingly these ACOs and hospital systems will transform themselves into integrated delivery systems, entering insurance exchanges and negotiating with employers, in direct competition with insurance companies.
 As the ACOs become more established, Emanuel claims contracts between the health systems and employers will become more common, thus “cutting out the insurance companies.”

Once the health systems “make the jump to offering coverage in the exchanges, the health insurance companies will only have a few options if they want to survive, according to Emanuel.

“First, they can refuse to change, in which case they will eventually go out of business,” he writes. “Second, they can shift their business to focus on offering services they have expertise in, particularly analytics, actuarial modeling, risk management, and other management services.”

Finally, the “third evolutionary path is that health insurance companies may transform themselves into integrated delivery systems.”

“So be prepared to kiss your insurance company good-bye forever,” Emanuel concludes.

Read the entire article here.


Programming note: Is this the end of health insurance as we know it? Glenn Beck and his producers debated the impact of this story in Tuesday’s morning editorial meeting. Watch it tonight at 5pm ET on TheBlaze TV.
77  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: March 03, 2014, 07:57:20 PM
"a secret project"

What is the secret?  We know the military is building robots and suits for infantry to be like Robocop.

He is as good a comedian as he is President.
78  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: March 01, 2014, 06:47:08 PM
I'm thinking he must be selling while talking up the US market when near the end of the article it is pointed out he is a net seller:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/sns-rt-us-berkshire-results-20140301,0,7548264.story
79  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Health Thread (nutrition, medical, longevity, etc) on: February 28, 2014, 07:41:04 AM
Diabetic man eats pizza for decades.  He also bikes 30 to 40 miles a day which explains part of it.   Years ago there was a study that compared an all you can eat vegetable diet with an all you can eat pizza diet.  Those in the former group gained more weight.  Why? There is more variety in vegetables than pizza.  After a while pizza eaters got sick of eating pizza and wound up eating less calories.  Part of the mix of the American obesity epidemic is the variety of foods we have available.  Italian one day, donuts the next, Chinese third, Ice cream, Mexican is now rampant and all over the place, Chicken and on and on and on:

https://www.yahoo.com/food/this-guy-has-eaten-pizza-every-day-for-the-last-23-78003722644.html
80  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Don't need to get past the door window anymore to get into a car. on: February 28, 2014, 07:31:49 AM
I've reported how it is easy for crooks to pick up the wireless remote entry code.  If they are nearby enough they can catch the code as you are going to your vehicle.  Then they simply can open your trunk or door.  This may be even more sophisticated.  Perhaps they now don't even have to wait for you to go to your car.  I've asked some dealerships about their codes.  If they are multiple or changing.  Most don't even have a clue and then when they call their engineers to find out the answer is the codes are single and some only have a small library of codes.  Hey legal eagles - here is a chance for a class action suite - maybe that will wake up the auto makers to security issues while they continue to pack autos with wireless crap. 

****Thieves Break Into Cars Using Mysterious ‘Black Box’

February 27, 2014 11:09 AM
Thieves Break Into Cars Using Mysterious Black Box


By John Dodge

CHICAGO (CBS) — A mysterious device is being used by criminals to easily break into locked cars across the country, including here in Chicago.

It has police stumped, CNN is reporting.

In Chicago, surveillance video shows a thief pointing a small box-like device at a car door.

Within seconds, the car unlocks, the alarm is disabled and the thief simply opens the passenger door and easily takes the valuables.

The device is believed to be some sort of electronic hacking mechanism that overrides the car’s computer system.

Thieves across the country have been using it.

Police have no idea what it is, or exactly how it works, CNN reports.

However, according to CNN, authorities in Texas have apparently seized one of the devices and are in the process of testing it.****
81  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Lets help boys of color in memory of, you got it: Travon Martin on: February 27, 2014, 08:38:33 AM
Blacks are disproportionately shooting themselves in gangs, born out of wedlock, unemployed etc.  So what does this guy tie his program for men of color?  To Travon Martin.       

*****Obama launches ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ to help young minority men

Liz Goodwin, Yahoo News
By Liz Goodwin, Yahoo News 3 hours ago Yahoo News
 
President Barack Obama greets Father's Day luncheon guests including members of Youth Guidance’s Becoming a Man (B.A.M.) program, in the State Dining Room of the White House, June 14, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
     
President Obama will announce a $200 million commitment from nine foundations Thursday afternoon to bolster the lives of young men and boys of color.

Obama launches effort to help minority men Associated Press
Obama embraces a lifelong cause: Helping minority boys succeed Yahoo News
Tavis Smiley Poses 10 Questions About Obama White House Initiative For Young Men Of Color, 'My Brother's Keeper' Huffington Post
Civil rights leaders and Obama meet at White House Associated Press
[$$] Presidential Power Undergoing a Transformation The Wall Street Journal

The funding is part of a larger initiative from the White House to bring private businesses, non-profits and local governments together to intervene in key moments in the lives of young black and Hispanic men to ensure they stay in school and eventually train for and get good jobs.

As Yahoo News first reported,  the cause will be a major focus of Obama’s—and the first lady’s—even after he leaves office. "I think it’s something that's deeply personal to the president and first lady,” said Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to the president and the Obamas’ closest friend from Chicago. “I’m sure their commitment to this initiative will be a lifelong commitment. This is not something they simply want to do while he’s in office — it will continue.”

The president personally ordered his senior staff to come up with this new “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative in the wake of the shooting of Florida teen Trayvon Martin two years ago. Obama—who was criticized by civil rights leaders for avoiding race-based initiatives and conversations while in office—was deeply moved by Martin’s death, and tasked his staff with creating a holistic, research-based approach to helping young minority boys succeed and avoid violence.

The president will create a new inter-agency “My Brother’s Keeper Task Force” headed up by Broderick Johnson, the cabinet secretary and assistant to the president. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Attorney General Eric Holder, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez and other senior officials will be personally involved in “My Brother’s Keeper,” according to Jarrett.

Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City who started and funded an initiative in the city aimed at young black men, will join the president for the 3:45 p.m. announcement of the program at the White House Thursday, along with business leaders including former NBA star Magic Johnson. The White House initiative is in part modeled on Bloomberg’s, and seeks to intervene in the lives of boys at key points: by providing pre-kindergarten education, lifting third-grade reading proficiency, leading schools away from “zero tolerance” disciplinary policies that kick misbehaving students out of school, and convincing businesses to train and hire young men of color.

It’s still unclear just how broad the initiative will be, beyond the $200 million non-profit investment. Jarrett told reporters Wednesday that the White House is still signing on private businesses, and does not have a final number for how much they have committed to “My Brother’s Keeper.” The White House hopes corporations will pledge to mentor and hire young minority men.

And some of the foundations that are involved in the effort were already planning on making investments in young minority men before the White House got involved. Robert Ross, the CEO of the California Endowment non-profit, said his organization had already pledged $50 million over seven years for its “sons and brothers” program, which aims to reduce school absences and suspensions among young black children, and boost their third grade reading proficiency levels.

But Ross said that having the president involved in the issue will be “a huge injection of rocket fuel” for the cause. The president’s use of the bully pulpit could be a game-changer for Ross and others who work in this space, he said.

Ross met with the president and other foundation leaders last November to talk about the plan. Obama told them that he was personally inspired by Martin’s death to improve the lives of young men of color.

“There really was something spiritual and personal for him about what is happening to young men in this country, and he really wanted to do something real about it,” Ross said. “I certainly felt energized by that.”

Young black men persistently lag behind other groups in high school graduation rates and employment, and, as White House officials point out, they are six times more likely than their white peers to be murdered.

"My Brother's Keeper" is one part of Obama's larger plan to tackle issues facing the African American community in his second term, the president told civil rights leaders in a meeting last week. Obama will also push Congress to restore the part of the Voting Rights Act struck down by the Supreme Court last term and to pass a law banning racial profiling by law enforcement. The Justice Department is also pushing through criminal justice reforms without Congress' help, such as urging prosecutors not to use mandatory minimums against non-violent drug offenders and encouraging prisoners sentenced under old, racially discriminatory crack laws to apply for a new clemency program.

“I think he’s committed to being more aggressive,”
82  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: February 26, 2014, 08:24:34 PM
Doug, thanks.  Maybe I misread the article of have misunderstood Parker and

I have not made political persuasion a study but I always saw her as leftist:

http://www.conservativehq.com/node/14524
83  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: February 26, 2014, 08:18:10 PM
With regard to the first case in Boston there sounds like there is disagreement as to the diagnosis.  One group thinks it is some rare mitochondrial disorder and the other thinks it is psychiatric.

I can tell you there occasionally are cases like this which are extraordinarily difficult.

I wonder if the parents of the child cannot accept a psychiatric diagnosis and hence are making the situation worse by insisting on it being the other.

Look at autism and vaccines.  There are parents who will insist to their dying days it is the vaccine that caused the autism.  Despite evidence to the contrary.  Just some thoughts.

It is interesting that there is a gag order in effect.  Judges are from what I have seen rarely willing not to give a family the benefit of the doubt.
84  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: February 26, 2014, 08:03:16 PM
It doesn't matter.  If anyone thinks the Clinton mob will ever release to the public any records with incriminating evidence they need their head examined.

When finally released we will find essentially nothing and their crowd will be laughing and yawning. 
85  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy, Big Brother (State and Corporate) and the 4th & 9th Amendments on: February 26, 2014, 07:58:01 PM
"We are fast approaching a privacy crisis in the United States"

This is all that I disagree with.  The privacy crises has been occurring for years.  Cat is out of the bag.  It is too late.

The crises is not in front of us.  It is here and now. 
86  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Race, religion, ethnic origin, LGBT, "discrimination", & discrimination. on: February 26, 2014, 09:50:17 AM
"The only "white" guy I've ever seen was my grandfather in a casket.  Caucasians have pigmentation too! "

Doug your right.  Blacks are brown not black.  And whites are cream not white.  wink
87  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Driving while impaired on: February 26, 2014, 09:47:53 AM
How can this be?  Just lack of sleep can impair someone's ability to drive a car.  Can someone be arrested for driving while too tired?

****Man blows 0.00 on breathalyzer, gets arrested for DWI

By Will Lerner 15 hours ago Odd News
     
Back in 2013, Texas resident Larry Davis ran either a red light or stop sign (reports vary) in his Buick in the city of Austin. Despite his insistence that he had had only one drink, he was put in handcuffs and arrested for driving while intoxicated. Then, when he was given a Breathalyzer test by the AustinPolice Department, he blew a 0.00. Nonetheless, as KVUE reports, Mr. Davis spent the night in jail.

While at the station, Mr. Davis agreed to give a blood sample as well, to prove he was not under the influence of any drugs or alcohol. The results would later come back 100% negative. Davis’ attorney, Daniel Betts, told KVUE, “My reaction was just shock that this happened."

The Austin Police Department stands by the arrest, saying they believed Davis showed signs of impairment, that while standing on one leg, he “swayed,” and “needed his arms for balance.” They also suggested that he could have been on marijuana, a drug that wouldn’t necessarily show up in a test. The APD said they’re going by a “take-no-chances” policy. That being said, they did acknowledge how unusual it is that Davis was arrested despite registering a zero on his breath test.

Davis' attorney, Daniel Betts (KVUE)
 
The Statesman reports that people, including Davis’ attorney, Mr. Betts, have characterized Austin PD’s drunken driving arrests as “overzealous.” They noted back in 2011, that Austin’s Travis County has, “dismissed a higher percentage of drunken driving cases than other major Texas counties -- in part because prosecutors said police filed weak charges or prosecutors allowed suspects plead to other crimes."

As for Larry Davis, he will now spend the next few months getting his arrest record wiped clean. In addition to that, he will file a grievance against the Austin Police Department and the officer who arrested him. KVUE notes that as they started to investigate the manner, Travis County prosecutors dismissed the case completely.

More info:KVUE, The Statesman****
88  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: February 26, 2014, 09:18:47 AM
"he is not visually “one of us” in the way some Republicans have demonstrated they’re most comfortable. To the birther sensibility, if President Obama was born in Kenya, then Jindal could be from Punjab. In fact, he was conceived there but born in Baton Rouge."

So how could he have been elected governor of a Southern Republican state if so many are uncomfortable with him?

The usual left wing media hit job.

And what is that racist comment about brownies?
89  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2nd post on: February 26, 2014, 08:37:13 AM
One Tea Party slogan is "take back our country".  This needs to be changed.  While I understand the point and agree it has the unfortunate inadvertent message of exclusion.

Nativism.   Throughout our history there has been dislike of new immigrant groups.  Irish, Italians, Jews, Chinese etc.  This message gives the inadvertent subliminal message that fits right in to that impression.   Perhaps the slogan should be something akin to "preserve the greatness of our freedoms for everyone now and for all our children  and welcomed immigrants of the future:

http://wallstcheatsheet.com/politics/did-the-tea-party-brew-their-cup-too-strong-to-survive-2014.html/?ref=YF
90  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / we are not a bunch of crazies anymore on: February 26, 2014, 08:17:27 AM
[tabl]"We used to be a bunch of crazies. We’re not a bunch of crazies. We are a very powerful force and only getting stronger,” Glenn said.[e][/table]"We used to be a bunch of crazies. We’re not a bunch of crazies. We are a very powerful force and only getting stronger,” Glenn said.[
 

“It was powerful”: Kathie Lee Gifford described an unexpected dinner with Glenn Beck and friends

Tuesday, Feb 25, 2014 at 6:22 PM EST

Over the weekend, Glenn had a fun dinner with some prominent NYC figures including Today Show‘s Kathie Lee Gifford, Tribeca Film Festival founder Craig Hatkoff, and famed fashion designer Norma Kamali. Gifford opened up about her dinner on The Today Show, praising the way that people of different ideological viewpoints could come together and discuss real solutions to the country’s problems.

“A rare thing for me to come back into the city on a Friday night and have a dinner but Craig Hatkoff, is married to Jane Rosenthal, Tribeca Film Festival and everything invited me and maybe about 20 people to come to a dinner at the Lambs Club here in NY, which is a beautiful beautiful room, in honor of Glenn Beck, who is a controversial gentleman but I have befriended him for the past few years and have great affection for him. And apparently so does Craig,” she said.

At the dinner, several people shared ideas about what the problems were and how people could come together to work towards the solutions by engaging in an honest and open dialogue with people of different viewpoints.

“It was so fascinating to be in a room with so many people coming from a completely different ideological place, all coming together to say ‘Wait a minute our country is in trouble. Where is our common ground? Because that is where our sacred ground is.’,” she continued.

“Everybody contributed, everybody was respectful. It was powerful because of it. It was powerful! So I am grateful that he invited us to come,” Gifford said.

On his radio show Monday, Glenn saw the meeting as a sign that people were starting to wake up, see the problems, and come together to work on solutions. Even better, he saw it as a way for the people who have recognized the growing issues in America, including Tea Party members and 9/12 Project members, to finally see some of their concerns being accepted by a larger, and at times unexpected, number of people.

“You have made such an impact by gathering together and being fans of this show and other shows and other things like this. You’re not dismissed anymore. We used to be a bunch of crazies. We’re not a bunch of crazies. We are a very powerful force and only getting stronger,” Glenn said.
91  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / He ain't Spanish on: February 25, 2014, 05:22:27 PM
Another Soros type living like a king but dictating to the rest of us:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haim_Saban

I know I am not the only Jew (20% of us) who have had enough of this crap.
92  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / New codes delayed to 2016 on: February 25, 2014, 07:36:15 AM
AMA Calls For ICD-10 Delay

The costs to medical practices for implementing the International Classification of Diseases-10th Revision (ICD-10) coding system have been grossly underestimated, according to a recent study by Nachimson Advisors for the American Medical Association (AMA).

The association is calling for a delay in the October 1, 2014, ICD-10 go-live date in order to give practices more time to prepare for the financial and administrative requirements.

Small practices can expect to spend between $56,639 and $226,105 and medium-size practices can spend between $213,364 and $824,735 to implement ICD-10. Expected costs include up to $100,000 in payment disruption for small practices, and up to $166,000 in productivity losses for medium-size practices.

Large practices can expect to spend between $2 million and $8 million to implement the new coding system, according to the study. The study estimated that two-thirds of physicians will pay the upper range of cost estimates. In 2008, the AMA estimated that it would cost a small practice $83,290 to implement ICD-10.
 
“The markedly higher implementation costs for ICD-10 place a crushing burden on physicians, straining vital resources needed to invest in new health care delivery models and well-developed technology that promotes care coordination with real value to patients,” AMA President Ardis Dee Hoven, M.D. said in a press release. “Continuing to compel physicians to adopt this new coding structure threatens to disrupt innovations by diverting resources away from areas that are expected to help lower costs and improve the quality of care.”

The AMA sent a letter to the Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, outlining the hardships physicians are facing in implementing ICD-10. The letter calls for Medicare to offer “true end-to-end testing” of ICD-10 coding to ensure practices and payers will be able to communicate.

“While it will allow a physician to know whether his or her claim was received or not, it does not give any indication as to whether it will be paid, how much it will be paid, whether they have used the correct ICD-10 code, or whether Medicare believes more information is needed to adjudicate the claim,” James L. Madara, MD, AMA’s assistant director of federal affairs said in the letter. “To draw a simple analogy, this is like receiving a package on your doorstep that you can only view from your window. While it is helpful to know the package has arrived, you have no idea what is inside until you are able to open it.”

Other suggestions include expanding advance payment options and offering free Medicare billing software for practices facing financial hardships. The AMA also requests that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services allow for a two-year implementation period where miscoded claims are not denied, but are returned to physicians with feedback on how to correct them.

According to a February survey by the Medical Group Management Association, 79% of physicians report that they haven’t begun ICD-10 implementation, or were “somewhat ready.”

——————————————————
Thank you for everything - Brock.  angry
93  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico-US matters on: February 22, 2014, 08:47:10 PM
Guzman's beauty queen wife went to LA to give birth to twins.  So now his kids are automatic US citizens.  This is just crazy.  Folks, the joke is on every law abiding American.  Why do we have to be so stupid?:

http://www.latimes.com/world/worldnow/la-fg-wn-guzman-arrest-20140222,0,4274864.story#axzz2u6oqrlKK
94  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Media/celebrity/entertainment/politician/hollywood/wallstreet "complex" Issues on: February 22, 2014, 08:36:29 PM
Recently Mobama was criticized for the cost of her dress at the white house party for the French guy.  So now we see her in a dress with advertisements on its low cost and how anyone else who wants one can buy it.  Why does her outfits have to be topics for news reports?  What is she a walking marketing gig for fashion designers now?  I expect this stuff from Hollywood celebrities walking their endless awards ceremonies to themselves but of our First Lady?   

****Michelle Obama's Black Jumpsuit on The Tonight Show: Get the Look!

Us Weekly
February 21, 2014 11:20 AM

Michelle Obama's Black Jumpsuit on The Tonight Show: Get the Look!
.
View gallery

Michelle Obama's Black Jumpsuit on The Tonight Show: Get the Look!
 
FLOTUS really can do no fashion wrong.

For her latest appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on Thursday, Feb. 20, Michelle Obama looked incredibly chic in a black jumpsuit. She accessorized the cowl-necked one-piece with a wide black belt with leather piping and black pointy-toed kitten heels.

PHOTOS: The Obama family -- just like Us!


If the first lady's look has you jumping for a jumpsuit, try the similarly styled Mango Draped Neckline Jumpsuit. At $89.99, the sleeveless jersey piece features an elastic waist and a flattering cowled neckline. Finish the FLOTUS-inspired styled with the Three-Strap Sash Belt from Mango ($14.99) and a black heels.

Michelle Obama's Black Jumpsuit on The Tonight …
First Lady Michelle Obama rocking a black jumpsuit during an interview with host Jimmy Fallon on Feb …

Obama, 50, also showed off her comedy (and dance!) skills in the "Ew!" sketch with Fallon, 39, and Will Ferrell, both in drag. After a "triple hand hug," Sara (Fallon) says, "Wow, Michelle, you're pretty strong. You could totally be in the Olympics."

"Well, thank you, Sara. I do try to exercise every day," Obama replies.

"Really? Because I think exercise is ew," Sara says.

"Exercise is not ew. You just have to find an activity that is right for you. For example, I like to dance, play tennis, even do some push-ups," Obama explain. The group then breaks out into a dance party.

This article originally appeared on Usmagazine.com: Michelle Obama's Black Jumpsuit on The Tonight Show: Get the Look!

95  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Fascism, liberal fascism, progressivism, socialism: on: February 22, 2014, 08:23:09 PM
Fox should hire her as a counterpoint to Piers Morgan.

She would trounce him.  Though that is not saying much from what I read about his ratings recently.

Maybe he will be cancelled. 
96  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Future of the Republican Party on: February 22, 2014, 08:18:02 PM
I don't agree with this assessment of the Republican Party or where it should go, but this is the FIRST time I recall reading any Economist article that is [sort of] positive on the Republican Party.   Some of the proposals are again new versions of government programs but a few do streamline some things.
 
*****The Republicans

Hell, maybe

The “party of no” is offering some fresh ideas
 Feb 15th 2014  | WASHINGTON, DC | From the print edition

THE House passed a bill on February 11th to raise the debt ceiling (the legal limit to how much America may borrow) without conditions attached. The Senate followed suit the next day. With luck, this marks the end of congressional games of chicken over whether America will default on its debts and torpedo the world economy. It also made the Republican Party look less like a protest movement and more like a part of the government, which in fact it is.

Many Republicans are coming round to the view that they need to be more than “the party of no”. On February 10th Heritage Action, a ferocious conservative campaign group, held a day-long jamboree of policy ideas. Speaker after speaker talked about how important it was to put forward fresh proposals. The notion that policies formulated by Ronald Reagan may need some tweaking 40 years later has also gained ground. “To many Americans today, especially to the underprivileged and middle-class, or those who have come of age or immigrated since Reagan left office, the Republican Party may not seem to have much of a relevant reform message at all,” said Mike Lee, a senator from Utah, in a barely reported speech before Christmas.

Blocking schemes that come from the president or from the Senate, where Democrats have a majority, has an obvious appeal for a party whose unifying idea is that government is too big. “Hell no” may also prove to be a workable strategy in this year’s mid-term elections, which are likely to be low-turnout affairs that reward intensity of feeling. Moreover, recent examples of naysaying, such as the postponing of immigration reform and the refusal to extend unemployment benefits, suggest that the party is not ready to question many of its core beliefs. Yet some Republicans who represent purplish states or have national ambitions are doing just that.

Marco Rubio, a senator from Florida, has proposed rolling the federal government’s many anti-poverty programmes into a single fund, to be spent by states on plans of their own design. Paul Ryan, a congressman from Wisconsin, has made admiring noises about Britain’s universal credit, an attempt to simplify welfare payments and reduce the high effective marginal tax rates that claimants face when their earnings rise. At the moment the earned-income tax credit, a negative income tax that boosts the earnings of ill-paid parents, does little for the childless. Senator Rubio has also proposed a wage subsidy for low-paying jobs which, unlike the earned-income tax credit, would treat people with and without children equally.

John Thune, a senator from South Dakota, has proposed replacing the extension of unemployment insurance with a payroll tax holiday for companies that hire the long-term unemployed. He also favours a scheme to lend $10,000 to people in this category to help them to move somewhere where they can find a job. These ideas borrow from work by Kevin Hassett of the American Enterprise Institute, a think-tank, who suggests that the federal government act as an employer of last resort and hire people who have been out of the labour market for a long time.

If one thread runs through these ideas, it is this: that getting people back to work at a time of high unemployment may require more than just cuts to benefits, and that lower taxes and deregulation may not improve wages for low earners on their own. This willingness to interfere with markets extends to health-care policy, the area where there is most disagreement between Republicans and Democrats. Lanhee Chen of Stanford University reckons that the Obamacare fight has improved the quality of Republican counter-proposals, which now aim to cover pre-existing medical conditions, reduce costs and extend coverage—as Obamacare is meant to do.

The urge to say no to everything is still strong. A reminder of that came when the Senate Conservatives Fund, a campaign group which has spent $8m already in this electoral cycle, responded to the passage of the debt-ceiling bill in the House by announcing its intention to replace John Boehner, the most senior Republican in Congress, as Speaker. “Successful political movements”, says Senator Lee, “are about identifying converts, not heretics.” By that measure the Republicans still have some way to go. But at least the arguments the party is having with itself have become more adventurous.

From the print edition: United States
97  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Health tourism on: February 22, 2014, 10:42:07 AM
Economist article explains why health "tourism" has not taken off as expected:

http://www.economist.com/news/international/21596563-why-health-care-has-failed-globalise-m-decine-avec-fronti-res
98  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Race, religion, ethnic origin, LGBT, "discrimination", & discrimination. on: February 21, 2014, 07:13:43 PM
"Changing the minds of 10% of any significant group is tidal wave in politics.  Just having two viewpoints represented and debated where there was only one,  would be a nation-changing breakthrough.  If you are black and you spend any time reading or listening to Thomas Sowell, Ben Carson, JC Watts, Clarence Thomas, Mia Love, Walter Williams, Hermann Cain, Alan West, Ken Blackwell, Larry Elder, Bill Cosby, Tony Dungy, and on and on, you would be hearing smart people speaking honestly from the brain and from the heart."

Thoughtful answer.  Mainstream Blacks do go after their right wing fellow Blacks with massive fury.  To White liberals the only people worse than Nazis are Conservative Republicans.  To Democrat Blacks it is Conservative Blacks.

99  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Race, religion, ethnic origin, LGBT, "discrimination", & discrimination. on: February 21, 2014, 07:14:18 AM
"The election of Roosevelt in 1932 marked the beginning of a change. He got 71 percent of the black vote for president in 1936 and did nearly that well in the next two elections, according to historical figures kept by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. But even then, the number of blacks identifying themselves as Republicans was about the same as the number who thought of themselves as Democrats.

It wasn’t until Harry Truman garnered 77 percent of the black vote in 1948 that a majority of blacks reported that they thought of themselves as Democrats. Earlier that year Truman had issued an order desegregating the armed services and an executive order setting up regulations against racial bias in federal employment."
----------------

What GM's Kevin Williamson argument demonstrates is that southern (white) Democrats did not jump to Republican for racial or racist reasons"

If it started during Roosevelt was it because of the New Deal?  Truman capturing the majority of the Black vote might be because of the two orders you note.

I would suspect that one big contributing factor to the switch would be that Blacks began to move north at least after WW2. 

So what was it?   Economic?  More social programs that benefitted poorer Blacks from the party of wealth redistribution?

I still don't understand.   It does sound like the 1964 Civil Rights Act was the coup degra (sp?) so to speak for the Republican Party.

"What GM's Kevin Williamson argument demonstrates is that southern (white) Democrats did not jump to Republican for racial or racist reasons."  OK so southerners maybe were more against big government than northerners.    Perhaps that is why they jumped from Dems to Reps.

I still don't quite get the history of Blacks flocking to the Democratic party.  Is it the Civil Rights OR (or and) Big government?  It must be both.

How do Reps convince Blacks they are being sold out now?  IF they think they have it tough now just wait till they have tens of millions from countries with far less opportunity than here who WILL work ten times harder and twice as long as them.

Yet they still cling to the reparations promise I guess.  I still say they shoot themselves in their feet.

ON radio there is talk of a big behinds the scene push for reparations.  This will keep the Blacks on board for another 200 years for sure or so it seems. 
 
100  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People (Gun rights stuff ) on: February 20, 2014, 12:38:35 PM
"violent crime continues to fall nationwide"

Of course.  The money is cyber crime.  A lot less risk.  Almost zero chance of getting caught and far less consequences even in the very rare case anyone does get caught.

Some criminals are far smarter than law enforcement.  OTOH, I do recognize that law enforcement hands are often tied and the same laws that protect us from law enforcement abuse also protect the crooks.

And it only takes a few corrupt law enforcement officials to ruin the ability of those who are with integrity to be successful.

Crime is rampant.  Period.
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