Dog Brothers Public Forum
Return To Homepage
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
October 07, 2015, 10:53:07 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Search:     Advanced search
Welcome to the Dog Brothers Public Forum.
88831 Posts in 2286 Topics by 1080 Members
Latest Member: Tedbo
* Home Help Search Login Register
  Show Posts
Pages: 1 2 3 [4] 5 6 ... 690
151  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Morris: State Dept turns on Hillary on: September 24, 2015, 12:32:08 PM
152  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: baseball on: September 23, 2015, 08:58:13 PM
When I was a boy, baseball was THE national sport.  During the World Series we would sneak AM transistor radios in our pocket with a line to an ear plug hidden under our shirts during class.  For the years of 1960-1964 when the Yankees were in the WS every year my dad would get him and me tickets to one of the home games.  Also, the year of the home runs, he got Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle to sign a ball for me.

This was all in the era of Yogi Berra.   Everyone liked and respected him.
153  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Senator Marco Rubio promo clip on: September 23, 2015, 05:54:56 PM
154  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / From a dubious source on: September 23, 2015, 04:00:34 PM
155  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Russian Missiles to Brazil on: September 23, 2015, 03:50:10 PM
Brazil announces Russian Pantsir S1 missile to be medium-range defense system Business | Brazil | 17-Sep-2015
Brazilian Vice President Michel Temer announced that the Pantsir-S1 missile system would be the Brazilian military’s medium range missile defense system of choice during a visit to Russian. After meeting with Russian Prime Minister Dimitri Medvedev during the 7th Russian-Brazilian High Level Cooperation Committee in Moscow on 16 September 2015, Temer make the formal announcement although the purchase will be delayed. The agreement, valued at US$1 billion, is conditional on Brazil having adequate financial resources, which they expect to have in order by 2017. The missiles will be manufactured in Brazil up to six years after the official contract by Brazil’s Permanent Combat Evaluation for Combat Aircraft (COPAC) is signed by both countries. The KBP Instrument Design Bureau, who developed the Pantsir-S1, will be commercially compensated in Russian Rubles.
156  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DBMA Midwest Training Groups on: September 23, 2015, 12:15:56 PM
157  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / R.I.P. Yogi Berra on: September 23, 2015, 11:31:29 AM
Yogi Berra, Yankees Hall of Fame Catcher With a One-of-a-Kind Wit, Dies at 90


Yogi Berra, Baseball Catcher and Character, Dies at 90

Yogi Berra, one of baseball’s greatest catchers and characters, who as a player was a mainstay of 10 Yankee championship teams and as a manager led both the Yankees and Mets to the World Series — but who may be more widely known as an ungainly but lovable cultural figure, inspiring a cartoon character and issuing a seemingly limitless supply of unwittingly witty epigrams known as Yogi-isms — died on Tuesday. He was 90.

His death was reported by the Yankees and by the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center in Little Falls, N.J. Before moving to an assisted living facility in nearby West Caldwell, in 2012, Berra had lived for many years in neighboring Montclair.

In 1949, early in Berra’s Yankee career, his manager assessed him this way in an interview in The Sporting News: “Mr. Berra,” Casey Stengel said, “is a very strange fellow of very remarkable abilities.”

And so he was, and so he proved to be. Universally known simply as Yogi, probably the second most recognizable nickname in sports — even Yogi was not the Babe — Berra was not exactly an unlikely hero, but he was often portrayed as one: an All-Star for 15 consecutive seasons whose skills were routinely underestimated; a well-built, appealingly open-faced man whose physical appearance was often belittled; and a prolific winner — not to mention a successful leader — whose intellect was a target of humor if not outright derision.

Sign up to receive an email from The New York Times as soon as important news breaks around the world.

That he triumphed on the diamond again and again in spite of his perceived shortcomings was certainly a source of his popularity. So was the delight with which his famous, if not always documentable, pronouncements, somehow both nonsensical and sagacious, were received.

“You can observe a lot just by watching,” he is reputed to have declared once, describing his strategy as a manager.

“If you can’t imitate him,” he advised a young player who was mimicking the batting stance of the great slugger Frank Robinson, “don’t copy him.”

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it,” he said, giving directions to his house. Either path, it turned out, got you there.

“Nobody goes there anymore,” he said of a popular restaurant. “It’s too crowded.”

Whether Berra actually uttered the many things attributed to him, or was the first to say them, or phrased them precisely the way they were reported, has long been a matter of speculation. Berra himself published a book in 1998 called “The Yogi Book: I Really Didn’t Say Everything I Said!” But the Yogi-isms testified to a character — goofy and philosophical, flighty and down to earth — that came to define the man.

Berra’s Yogi-ness was exploited in advertisements for myriad products, among them Puss ’n Boots cat food and Miller Lite beer, but perhaps most famously, Yoo-Hoo chocolate drink. Asked if Yoo-Hoo was hyphenated, he is said to have replied, “No, ma’am, it isn’t even carbonated.”

If not exactly a Yogi-ism, it was the kind of response that might have come from Berra’s ursine namesake, the affable animated character Yogi Bear, who made his debut in 1958.

The character Yogi Berra may even have overshadowed the Hall of Fame ballplayer Yogi Berra, obscuring what a remarkable athlete he was. A notorious “bad ball” hitter — he swung at a lot of pitches that were not strikes but mashed them anyway — he was fearsome in the clutch and the most durable and consistently productive Yankee during the period of the team’s most relentless success.

In addition, as a catcher he played the most physically grueling and concentration-demanding position on the field. (For a respite from the chores and challenges of crouching behind the plate, Berra, who played before the designated hitter rule took effect in the American League in 1973, occasionally played the outfield.)

Stengel, the Hall of Fame manager whose shrewdness and talent were also often underestimated, recognized Berra’s gifts. He referred to Berra, even as a young player, as his assistant manager and compared him favorably to star catchers of previous eras like Mickey Cochrane, Gabby Hartnett and Bill Dickey. “You could look it up” was Stengel’s catchphrase, and indeed the record book declares that Berra was among the greatest catchers in the history of the game, some say the greatest of all.

Berra’s career batting average of .285 was not as high as that of his Yankee predecessor Dickey (.313), but Berra hit more home runs (358) and drove in more runs (1,430). Widely praised by pitchers for his astute pitch-calling, Berra led the American League in assists five times, and from 1957 through 1959 went 148 consecutive games behind the plate without making an error, a major league record at the time — though he was not a defensive wizard from the start.

Dickey, Berra explained, “learned me all his experience.”

On defense, he certainly surpassed Mike Piazza, the best-hitting catcher of recent vintage — and maybe ever. Johnny Bench, whose Cincinnati Reds teams of the 1970s were known as the Big Red Machine, and Berra were comparable in offensive production, except that Bench struck out three times as often. Berra whiffed a mere 414 times in more than 8,300 plate appearances over 19 seasons — an astonishingly small ratio for a power hitter.

Others — Carlton Fisk, Gary Carter and Ivan Rodriguez among them — also deserve consideration in a discussion of great catchers, but none was clearly superior to Berra on offense or defense. Only Roy Campanella, a contemporary rival who played for the Brooklyn Dodgers and faced Berra in the World Series six times before his career was ended by an auto accident, equaled Berra’s total of three Most Valuable Player awards. And though Berra did not win the award in 1950 — his teammate Phil Rizzuto did — he gave one of the greatest season-long performances by a catcher that year, hitting .322, smacking 28 homers and driving in 124 runs.

Berra’s career was punctuated by storied episodes. In Game 3 of the 1947 World Series against the Dodgers, he hit the first pinch-hit home run in Series history, and in Game 4 he was behind the plate for what was almost the first no-hitter and was instead a stunning loss. With two out in the ninth inning and two men on base with walks, the Yankees’ starter, Bill Bevens, gave up a double to Cookie Lavagetto that cleared the bases and won the game.

In September 1951, once again on the brink of a no-hitter, this one by Allie Reynolds against the Red Sox, Berra made one of baseball’s legendary errors. With two out in the ninth inning, Ted Williams hit a towering foul ball between home plate and the Yankee dugout; it looked like the end of the game, sealing Reynolds’s second no-hitter of the season and making him the first American League pitcher to accomplish that feat. But as the ball plummeted, it was caught in a gust of wind; Berra lunged backward, and it deflected off his glove as he went sprawling.

Amazingly, on the next pitch, Williams hit an almost identical pop-up, and this time Berra caught it.

In the first game of the 1955 World Series against Brooklyn, the Yankees were ahead, 6-4, in the top of the eighth when the Dodgers’ Jackie Robinson stole home. The plate umpire Bill Summers called him safe, and Berra went berserk, gesticulating in Summers’s face and creating one of the enduring images of an on-the-field tantrum. The Yankees won the game though not the Series — it was the only time Brooklyn got the better of Berra’s Yanks — but Berra never forgot the moment. More than 50 years later, he signed a photograph of the play for President Obama, writing, “Dear Mr. President, He was out!”

During the 1956 Series, again against Brooklyn, Berra was at the center of another indelible image, this one of sheer joy, when he leapt into the arms of Don Larsen, who had just struck out Dale Mitchell to end Game 5 and complete the only perfect game (and only no-hitter) in World Series history.

When reporters gathered at Berra’s locker after the game, he greeted them mischievously. “So,” he said, “what’s new?”

Beyond the historic moments and individual accomplishments, what most distinguished Berra’s career was how often he won. From 1946 to 1985, as a player, coach and manager, Berra appeared in a remarkable 21 World Series. Playing on powerful Yankee teams with teammates like Rizzuto and Joe DiMaggio early on and then Whitey Ford and Mickey Mantle, Berra starred on World Series winners in 1947, ’49, ’50, ’51, ’52, ’53, ’56 and ’58. He was a backup player on the championship teams of 1961 and ’62. (He also played on World Series losers in 1955, ’57, ’60 and ’63.) All told, his Yankee teams won the American League pennant 14 out of 17 years. He still holds Series records for games played, plate appearances, hits and doubles.

No other player has been a champion so often.

Lawrence Peter Berra was born on May 12, 1925, in the Italian enclave of St. Louis known as the Hill, which also fostered the baseball career of his boyhood friend Joe Garagiola. Berra was the fourth of five children. His father, Pietro, a construction worker and a bricklayer, and his mother, Paulina, were immigrants from Malvaglio, a northern Italian village near Milan. (As an adult, on a visit to his ancestral home, Berra took in a performance of “Tosca” at La Scala. “It was pretty good,” he said. “Even the music was nice.”)

As a boy, Berra was known as Larry, or Lawdie, as his mother pronounced it. As recounted in “Yogi Berra: Eternal Yankee,” a 2009 biography by Allen Barra, one day in his early teens, young Larry and some friends had gone to the movies and were watching a travelogue about India when a Hindu yogi appeared on the screen sitting cross-legged. His posture struck one of the friends as precisely the way Berra sat on the ground as he waited his turn at bat. From that day on, he was Yogi Berra.

An ardent athlete but an indifferent student, Berra dropped out of school after the eighth grade. He played American Legion ball and worked odd jobs. As teenagers, both he and Garagiola tried out with the St. Louis Cardinals and were offered contracts by the Cardinals’ general manager, Branch Rickey. But Garagiola’s came with a $500 signing bonus and Berra’s just $250, so Berra declined to sign. (This was a harbinger of deals to come. Berra, whose salary as a player reached $65,000 in 1961, substantial for that era, would prove to be a canny contract negotiator, almost always extracting concessions from the Yankees’ penurious general manager George Weiss.)

In the meantime, the St. Louis Browns — they later moved to Baltimore and became the Orioles — also wanted to sign Berra but were not willing to pay any bonus at all. Then, the day after the 1942 World Series, in which the Cardinals beat the Yankees, a Yankee coach showed up at Berra’s parents’ house and offered him a minor-league contract — along with the elusive $500.

Berra’s professional baseball life began in Virginia in 1943 with the Norfolk Tars of the Class B Piedmont League. In 111 games he hit .253 and led the league’s catchers in errors, but he reportedly once had 12 hits and drove in 23 runs over two consecutive games. It was a promising start, but World War II put his career on hold. Berra joined the Navy. He took part in the invasion of Normandy and, two months later, in Operation Dragoon, an Allied assault on Marseilles in which he was bloodied by a bullet and earned a Purple Heart.

In 1946, after his discharge, he was assigned to the Newark Bears, then the Yankees’ top farm team. He played outfield and catcher and hit .314 with 15 home runs and 59 runs batted in 77 games, though his fielding still lacked polish; in one instance he hit an umpire with a throw from behind the plate meant for second base. Nonetheless, the Yankees summoned him in September. In his first big league game he had two hits, including a home run.

As a Yankee, Berra became a fan favorite, partly because of his superior play — he batted .305 and drove in 98 runs in 1948, his second full season — and partly because of his humility and guilelessness. In 1947, honored at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis, a nervous Berra told the hometown crowd, “I want to thank everyone for making this night necessary.”

Berra was a hit with sportswriters, too, though they often portrayed him as a baseball idiot savant, an apelike, barely literate devotee of comic books and movies who spoke fractured English. So was born the Yogi caricature, of the triumphant rube.

“Even today,” Life magazine wrote in July 1949, “he has only pity for people who clutter their brains with such unnecessary and frivolous matters as literature and the sciences, not to mention grammar and orthography.”

Collier’s magazine declared, “With a body that only an anthropologist could love, the 185-pound Berra could pass easily as a member of the Neanderthal A.C.”

Berra tended to take the gibes in stride. If he was ugly, he was said to have remarked, it did not matter at the plate. “I never saw nobody hit one with his face,” he was quoted as saying. But when writers chided him about his girlfriend, Carmen Short, saying he was too unattractive to marry her, he responded, according to Colliers, “I’m human, ain’t I?”

Berra outlasted the ridicule. He married Ms. Short in 1949, and the marriage endured until her death in 2014. He is survived by their three sons — Tim, who played professional football for the Baltimore Colts; Dale, a former infielder for the Yankees, Pirates and Astros; and Lawrence Jr.

Certainly, assessments of Berra changed over the years.

“He has continued to allow people to regard him as an amiable clown because it brings him quick acceptance, despite ample proof, onfield and off, that he is intelligent, shrewd and opportunistic,” Robert Lipsyte wrote in The New York Times in October 1963.

At the time, Berra had just concluded his career as a Yankee player and the team had named him manager, a role in which he would continue to find success, though not with the same regularity he enjoyed as a player and not without drama and disappointment. Indeed things began badly. The Yankees, an aging team in 1964, played listless ball through much of the summer, and in mid-August they lost four straight games in Chicago to the first-place White Sox, leading to one of the kookier episodes of Berra’s career.

On the team bus to O’Hare Airport, the reserve infielder Phil Linz began playing “Mary Had a Little Lamb” on the harmonica. Berra, in a foul mood over the losing streak, told him to knock it off, but Linz did not. (In another version of the story, Linz asked Mickey Mantle what Berra had said, and Mantle responded, “He said, ‘Play it louder.’ ”) Suddenly the harmonica went flying, having been either knocked out of Linz’s hands by Berra or thrown at Berra by Linz. (Players on the bus had different recollections.)

News reports of the incident made it sound as if Berra had lost control of the team, and though the Yankees caught and passed the White Sox in September, winning the pennant, Ralph Houk, the general manager, fired Berra after the team lost a seven-game World Series to St. Louis, in a bizarre move replacing him with the Cardinals’ manager, Johnny Keane.

Keane’s Yankees finished sixth in 1965.

Berra, meanwhile, moved across town, taking a job as a coach for the famously awful Mets under Stengel, who was finishing his career in Flushing. The team continued its mythic floundering until 1969, when the so-called Miracle Mets, with Gil Hodges as manager — and Berra coaching first base — won the World Series.

After Hodges died before the start of the 1972 season, Berra replaced him. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in that summer, but the Mets team he inherited faltered, finishing third, and for most of the 1973 season they were worse. In mid-August, the team was well under .500 and in sixth place, when Berra uttered perhaps the most famous Yogi-ism of all.

“It ain’t over till it’s over,” he said (or words to that effect), and, lo and behold, the Mets got hot, squeaking by the Cardinals to win the National League’s Eastern Division title.

They then beat the Reds in the League Championship Series before losing to the Oakland Athletics in the World Series. Berra was rewarded for the resurgence with a three-year contract, but the Mets were dreadful in 1974, finishing fifth, and the next year, on Aug. 6, with the team in third place and having lost five straight games, Berra was fired.

Once again he switched leagues and city boroughs, returning to the Bronx as a Yankee coach, and in 1984 the owner, George M. Steinbrenner, named him to replace the volatile Billy Martin as manager. The team finished third that year, but during spring training in 1985, Steinbrenner promised him that he would finish the season as Yankee manager no matter what. However, after just 16 games (the Yankees were 6-10) the impatient and imperious Steinbrenner fired Berra anyway, bringing back Martin — and worse than breaking his word, perhaps, sending an underling to deliver the bad news.

The firing, which had an added sting because Berra’s son Dale had recently joined the Yankees, provoked one of baseball’s legendary feuds, and for 14 years Berra refused to set foot in Yankee Stadium, a period during which he coached four seasons for the Houston Astros.

In the meantime private donors helped establish the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center on the New Jersey campus of Montclair State University, which awarded Berra an honorary doctorate of humanities in 1996 and where a minor league ballpark, Yogi Berra Stadium, opened in 1998. A tribute to Berra with exhibits on his career, the museum runs programs for children dealing with baseball history. In January 1999, Steinbrenner, who died in 2010, went there to make amends.

“I know I made a mistake by not letting you go personally,” he told Berra. “It’s the worst mistake I ever made in baseball.”

Berra chose not to quibble with the semi-apology. To welcome him back into the Yankee fold, the team held a Yogi Berra Day on July 18, 1999. Also invited was Don Larsen, who threw out the ceremonial first pitch, which Berra caught.

Incredibly, in the game that day, David Cone of the Yankees pitched a perfect game.

It was, as Berra may or may not have said in another context, “déjà vu all over again,” a fittingly climactic episode for a wondrous baseball life.
Correction: September 23, 2015

An earlier version of this obituary referred incorrectly to the Yankees’ finish in 1965, the year Johnny Keane replaced Berra as manager. The team finished sixth (in what was then a 10-team league), not last.
158  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Iran prepares to annex Iraq on: September 23, 2015, 11:18:07 AM
Iran Prepares to Annex Iraq

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told his nation Tuesday that Iran and Iran alone has the military might in the Middle East to keep the Islamic State at bay. The remarks came during a military parade commemorating the start of the 35-year-old Iraq-Iran War. "[If] terrorists begin to expand in the region, the only hope will be Iran's army and the Revolutionary Guards," Rouhani said. And does anyone think they would leave if they came in to wipe out the Islamic State? Rouhani continued, saying the West had little influence in the struggle: "Today, our armed forces are the biggest regional power against terrorism." Seeing how the United States' proxy fighters are doing against the Islamic State, the Iranian president might just be correct. The fight against the Islamic State has ground to a standstill in Iraq, as an offensive to retake Ramadi from the Islamic State has been delayed. So the U.S. turns to Syria, where only a handful of American-trained Syrian rebels are still in the fight. Many of the fighters were delayed in Turkey, but when they returned, they handed over their weapons to the al-Qaida affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra. This was exactly the worry many people had in giving arms and training to proxy fighters. As Marco Rubio said: Our military "was not built to conduct pinprick attacks." If we want to take a simplistic route to foreign policy and focus our whole attention to the short term — dealing with the Islamic State — then maybe we should just give Iran $150 billion. Oh, wait...
159  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Gov. Jeb Bush: How I will Slash the Regulation Tax on: September 22, 2015, 10:32:45 PM
by Jeb Bush
Sept. 22, 2015 6:43 p.m. ET

To understand what is wrong with the regulatory culture of the U.S. under President Obama, consider this alarming statistic: Today, according to the World Bank—not exactly a right-wing think tank—the U.S. ranks 46th in the world in terms of ease of starting a business. That is unacceptable.

Think what the U.S. could be and the prosperity we could have if we rolled back the overregulation that keeps us from ranking in the top 10. It wouldn’t just be easier to start a business. It would also be easier to find a job, get lifesaving medicine, get a loan, and see a doctor or health professional. Costs and prices would go down. The U.S. economy, stalled in the worst economic expansion since World War II, would be unleashed. Regulatory reform alone could add more than three percentage points to U.S. GDP by 2025.

Since January 2009, the Obama administration has mired America’s free market in a flood of creativity-crushing and job-killing rules. This administration has issued rules targeting banks, farms, medical offices, hospitals, credit unions, insurers, tanning and nail salons, power plants, factories, federal contractors, cars, trucks and appliances. And in perhaps its most shocking display of regulatory overreach, it is regulating the Internet as a public utility, using a statute written in the 1930s.

If you’re wondering why it’s hard to get a mortgage, why no new banks are opening up, why your power bill will be going up, why your health insurance costs more, why we don’t build new highways, why you can’t get medicines that are available in Europe, Barack Obama’s rules are a big part of the story.

These rules create a moat around America’s wealthiest and well-connected. They can afford to comply and absorb the costs. The burden of meeting the new rules’ requirements falls heaviest on everyone else through higher prices. And if a business can’t pass on the cost of new rules to consumers, it just cuts wages or jobs.

The increased cost of new regulations, in time and money, has been phenomenal. According to the American Action Forum, since Mr. Obama took office, new regulations have resulted in an additional 443 million hours of paperwork each year for Americans. All told, according to the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s 2015 report on the federal regulatory state, regulations impose a $1.88 trillion silent tax on the U.S. economy each year—that’s nearly $15,000 per family. For every second of his presidency, Mr. Obama has added roughly $3,100 in regulatory burdens to the economy.

It’s time we did a better job regulating the regulators. My goal as president would be to find and retire the rules that are posing a major obstacle to people who want to get a job, start a business, move up the income ladder or do anything else that contributes to the prosperity of this nation. If elected president, I will use my executive authority to direct agencies to create one dollar of regulatory savings for each new dollar of regulatory cost they propose. We will eliminate and reform outdated and burdensome rules and, when necessary, work with Congress and the courts to overcome legal obstacles that stand in the way of sensible savings.

My administration will create a commission charged with reviewing regulations from the perspective of the regulated and shifting more power from Congress back to states. In my administration, every regulation, including those issued by so-called independent agencies such as the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, will have to satisfy a rigorous White House review process, including a cost-benefit analysis. Regulations will be issued only if they address a major market or policy failure. Regulators will be directed to favor private and state-driven solutions unless it is clear that federal intervention is necessary and appropriate.

My administration will also supercharge infrastructure projects by restructuring the permitting process for roads, highways, bridges, ports, pipelines, wind farms and other vital infrastructure projects. Permitting decisions will be made within two years instead of 10. And I will sign legislation to prevent frivolous litigation from endlessly tying up federal infrastructure projects in court.

As early as possible, I promise to roll back many of the most reckless and damaging rules promulgated under President Obama. As president, I will repeal the Environment Protection Agency’s new rule extending federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act over millions of acres of private land, its new regulation of carbon dioxide under the Clean Power Plan, and its new and costly coal-ash standards for power plants. I will also work to repeal the so-called net-neutrality rule forced on the Federal Communications Commission by the White House and the Department of Education’s “gainful employment” rule that punishes for-profit colleges. That’s for starters.

I will also work with Congress to repeal significant portions of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial law, and we will reform the complex set of rules that perpetuate too-big-to-fail financial institutions. Later this fall, I will announce a detailed agenda to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

Regulation feeds into Washington’s revolving-door culture. Regulators spend years writing complex rules, then leave for the private sector to sell their inside knowledge to the highest bidder—usually a big, well-entrenched company. No wonder so many Americans are cynical about who Washington really works for.

Most important, as president, I will be guided by the faith that we are a nation of free men and women who are capable of achieving far more than liberals and regulators believe possible. Once we remove the burdens of overregulation, America will once again reclaim its reputation for inventiveness, energy and boundless opportunity.

Mr. Bush, a former governor of Florida, is a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination.
160  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Things that make you go hmmm , , , on: September 22, 2015, 10:08:10 PM
161  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Dr. Ben Carson on: September 22, 2015, 09:15:26 PM
Could it be as simple as he does not yet have all his patter worked out?

Look at how he had to refine his expression on the Muslim president kerfuffle for example.
162  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Dr. Ben Carson on: September 22, 2015, 05:23:52 PM
Q: Are you making the perfect the enemy of the good here?
163  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Dr. Ben on Hannity re his Muslim President comments on: September 22, 2015, 04:09:22 PM

PS:  I made a small donation to Dr. Ben today.
164  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Canada declares Iran a terrorist state and closes embassy on: September 22, 2015, 04:05:43 PM
165  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: September 22, 2015, 04:03:21 PM
New Yorkers rate Hillary unfavorably by 51 to 46 percent.
September 22, 2015
Daniel Greenfield
Hillary Clinton used money and political connections to carpetbag herself into a Senate seat in New York. Now for the first time, she's viewed unfavorably by a majority of New Yorkers.
New Yorkers rate Hillary unfavorably by 51 to 46 percent. Among Jews, 54 percent rate Hillary Clinton unfavorably to a 45 percent favorable. Those are worse numbers than Obama, who also polls underwater among Jews, but polls favorably among New Yorkers.
Donald Trump is leading in New York, which is what you would expect. Ben Carson comes in second. Jeb Bush third. Not that it's a contest either way. No Republican is going to win New York, though Trump comes closest to splitting the Jewish vote against Biden 43 to 54 percent. Trump does slightly better with New York Latinos than Jeb Bush, but his presence also moves more Latino undecideds to Biden.
Hillary Clinton though is just unpopular in New York. No Republican actually beats her, but she performs worse against Biden in most matchups. And she splits the Catholic vote and 43 percent of the Jewish vote goes to her opponent.
Biden is very competitive among Catholics if his opponent is Jeb Bush (even though Jeb is Catholic) or Donald Trump. Ben Carson splits Catholics. But Hillary splits Catholics. And this isn't a Latino issue, because Hillary does better with Latinos than Biden. Hillary has a problem with white Catholics.
Also interestingly, Hillary ties Jeb Bush and Trump among white New Yorkers, but Ben Carson decisively wins white New Yorkers. (He doesn't do anything with black voters.)
Against Jeb Bush, Bernie Sanders actually does worse with Jewish New Yorkers than Hillary. (And she isn't popular either.) Sanders also gets the lowest level of black support and is barely above 50 percent with Latino voters.
Ben Carson actually gets 39 percent against Bernie Sanders' 46 percent. It's also one of the few scenarios where Ben Carson picks up any amount of the black vote. Against Carson, Sanders' Latino support falls to 42 percent.
Sanders wins white voters over Bush, but loses white voters to Carson.
This is an interesting scenario. You have to wonder what's going on there. Which white voters is Carson unlocking.
Meanwhile the big issue is still the economy. Nobody cares about immigration. Even among Latinos it only pulls 13 percent. That's average.
166  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: September 22, 2015, 02:59:46 PM
Dear President Xi,

Welcome back! The last time you were stateside—at the Sunnylands estate in California a couple of years ago—you seemed to be at the top of your game. China’s GDP was about to overtake America’s. You were cracking down on corruption, liberalizing markets, setting the pace for what you called “the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.” Upper East Siders competed to place their toddlers in Mandarin immersion programs. Newspaper columnists fantasized about the U.S. becoming “China for one day.”

Now your stock market has fizzled, your economy is sinking under the weight of unsustainable debts and zombie companies, your neighbors despise you, and every affluent Chinese is getting a second passport and snapping up a foreign home. Even in Beijing, word is out that behind that enigmatic smile you’re a man overmatched by your job. And out of your depth.

Maybe you’re even thinking: Wouldn’t it be nice to be America for one day?

Yes, America, perhaps the only country on earth that can be serially led by second- or third-rate presidents—and somehow always manage to come up trumps (so to speak). America, where half of the college-age population can’t find New York state on a map—even as those same young Americans lead the world in innovation. America, where Cornel West is celebrated as an intellectual, Miley Cyrus as an artist, Jonathan Franzen as a novelist and Kim Kardashian as a beauty—and yet remains the cultural dynamo of the world.

America, in short, which defies every ethic of excellence—all the discipline and cunning and delicacy and Confucian wisdom that are the ways by which status and power are gained in China—yet manages to produce excellence the way a salmon spawns eggs. Naturally. By way of a deeper form of knowing.

This is indeed the kind of country it would be good to be, at least for a while. In Beijing, the smartest people at the top are working harder than ever to produce increasingly mediocre results. In Washington, the dumbest people ever keep lollygagging their way to glory. When a man, or a country, gets lucky every time, it’s not luck. There’s a secret. Would you like to know it?

Start with the basics, President Xi. The United States solved the problem of political legitimacy through its foundational acts. You still haven’t. We have no umbrella revolutions here, as you just did in Hong Kong. We don’t run the risk of peasant revolts, either, because (the Jim Crow South aside) we never had peasants. They were always citizens, and largely freeholders.

In other words, limited government, a check on your personal power, is the best guarantee that your institutions will outlast your person. And it solves the ancillary dilemmas of unlimited power: the dilemma whereby disagreement becomes subversion, and information becomes dangerous, and in which the inner life of every citizen is a potential threat to the state. You cannot run a 21st-century economy by limiting, for political reasons, the quantity of available information to something less than the quantity of necessary information.

Limited government has another advantage, Mr. President. It means limited responsibility. Even George W. Bush’s or Barack Obama’s angriest critics can’t quite blame them for everything (though the Bush critics try). U.S. presidents don’t have the mandate of heaven, so they don’t have the burden of it, either.

Yet when China’s stock market tumbled this summer, you got blamed. Rightly so. It was your government that urged small investors to pile into stocks, your government that encouraged margin lending, your government that tried to fix the market through political force majeure. Such was the public’s faith in the completeness of your control that investors were surprised when the Shanghai Composite fell on your birthday.

Now that faith has been fractured, and what’s fractured easily shatters. That’s the risk you run when you’re running China, and it tends to bring out your worst instincts: the need to exude authority, the paranoid fear of losing control. Just when you need to learn the virtues of flexibility and adaptation, you become rigid. It compounds the problems you are trying to solve.

As for Americans, we’re the failure experts. We expect it, forgive it, often celebrate it. We do this partly because we’re soft, but also out of hardheadedness. If tolerance of failure is a prerequisite for success, then you need to love your failures as much as you do your successes.

Do you?

President Xi, we sympathize. A few years ago, it seemed that you had the happy task of steering a country in its ascent. Now the question is whether you can reverse decline by trading power for reform. Given what we know of your upbringing as a Communist Party princeling, that can’t be easy.

Then again, it can be no comfort to live with the fear that you may be the last of your political line. Try being America for a day. And the day after that, too.

167  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Clinton's Server Farm on: September 22, 2015, 02:53:04 PM

    Best of the Web

Server Farm
Mrs. Clinton’s emails are concealed in a bureaucratic silo.
James Taranto
Sept. 22, 2015 2:34 p.m. ET

Server Farm

You may recall that last month, a spokesman for Hillary Clinton’s campaign said that the inevitable Democratic presidential nominee had agreed to turn over her illicit private email server to the federal government. Earlier this month came the news, reported by the Washington Post Sept. 12, that Platte River Networks, the company that managed the server, “said it has ‘no knowledge of the server being wiped,’ the strongest indication to date that tens of thousands of e-mails that Clinton has said were deleted could be recovered”:

    [Mrs.] Clinton and her advisers have said for months that she deleted her personal correspondence from her time as secretary of state, creating the impression that 31,000 e-mails were gone forever. . . .

    “Platte River has no knowledge of the server being wiped,” company spokesman Andy Boian told The Washington Post. “All the information we have is that the server wasn’t wiped.”

    [Mrs.] Clinton and her staff have avoided directly answering whether the server was ever wiped.

    In a memorable exchange at a campaign event in Las Vegas last month, Clinton turned aside a question about whether the server had been wiped with a joke: “Like what, with a cloth?” she said, adding, “I don’t know how it works digitally at all.”

Wouldn’t it be funny if it turned out they did use a cloth? Or with a paper product, given’s August report that the server was housed in what Mrs. Clinton might call a “convenience.”

Anyway, you might think this is all good news for the public’s right to know—that now, any official emails her lawyers deleted will be recovered for the public record.

Alas, you’d be wrong. At least for now, Mrs. Clinton’s emails are being held in a bureaucratic silo, concealed from public view and even from the State Department. That’s the upshot of this report from the Washington Times:

    The FBI refused to cooperate Monday with a court-ordered inquiry into former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s email server, telling the State Department that they won’t even confirm they are investigating the matter themselves, much less [be] willing to tell the rest of the government what’s going on.

    Judge Emmet G. Sullivan had ordered the State Department to talk with the FBI and see what sort of information could be recovered from Mrs. Clinton’s email server, which her lawyer has said she turned over to the Justice Department over the summer.

The FBI general counsel described the refusal to cooperate as “consistent with long-standing Department of Justice and FBI policy,” and no doubt that is true—although it has been widely reported, based on information that unnamed officials unofficially provided, that the FBI is conducting a national-security investigation into whether Mrs. Clinton or others mishandled classified information and possibly whether the server was vulnerable to foreign hackers or actually hacked.

Judge Sullivan is overseeing a lawsuit against the State Department under the Freedom of Information Act, and the plaintiff is understandably unhappy:

    “We still do not know whether the FBI—or any other government agency for that matter—has possession of the email server that was used by Mrs. Clinton and [top aide Huma] Abedin to conduct official government business during their four years of employment at the State Department,” Judicial Watch said.

    “We also do not know whether the server purportedly in the possession of the FBI—an assumption based on unsworn statements by third parties—is the actual email server that was used by Mrs. Clinton and Ms. Abedin to conduct official government business during their four years of employment at the State Department or whether it is a copy of such an email server. Nor do we know whether any copies of the email server or copies of the records from the email server exist,” the group said in its own court filing Monday afternoon.

And we probably won’t know for some time. The national-security questions the FBI is investigating are separate from the public-records issue the Judicial Watch lawsuit and others raise. The FBI is not a party to the FOIA lawsuit, and even if it were, it’s unlikely the bureau would release information collected as part of an investigation still under way.

Thus by giving her server to the FBI, Mrs. Clinton appears to have ensured that the public, the State Department and congressional investigators won’t see what’s on it anytime soon. No wonder she’s laughing.

Some will no doubt see this all as (to coin a phrase) a vast conspiracy. This Sept. 12 Washington Examiner report—which also concerns the Judicial Watch lawsuit—will fuel such thinking:

    Hillary Clinton’s defense in the email scandal received a boost this week when the Justice Department—the same Justice Department that is investigating the email affair—told a court it has no reason to suspect [Mrs.] Clinton either deleted or failed to produce any emails under request by congressional or public-interest investigators. “The evidence, if anything, demonstrates that the former secretary’s production was over-inclusive, not under-inclusive,” top Justice Department lawyers Benjamin Mizer and Elizabeth Shapiro wrote in papers filed in federal court last Wednesday.

    Taken as a whole, Mizer and Shapiro’s brief was so pro-Clinton, so without even a hint of suspicion that she has been anything less than totally forthcoming, that it might as well have come from the Clinton campaign media team.

    Clinton has produced everything, Mizer and Shapiro wrote, including some personal emails she was not obligated to produce. In addition, Mizer and Shapiro argued that State Department officials like Clinton “are permitted and expected to exercise judgment to determine what constitutes a federal record” and “may delete messages they deem in their own discretion to be personal.” That judgment is beyond question, the lawyers argue, unless there is some evidence to suggest the official acted in bad faith. And in Clinton’s case, they declared flatly, there is no such evidence.

Our own inclination is to apply Hanlon’s Razor: “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” Even Mrs. Clinton now acknowledges it was foolish to set up her own email server. If it is true that the server wasn’t wiped, it would mean her legal team attempted a coverup that it lacked the basic technical knowledge to execute.

And various parts of the bureaucracy—the State Department, the FBI, the Justice Department lawyers who represent the State Department in Judge Sullivan’s courtroom—are each behaving according to their own bureaucratic imperatives. One wishes they were coordinated, so that (say) the attorney general would order the FBI to copy the server for the State Department. But what’s maddening is the lack of such cooperation—the inability to mount a “conspiracy” in the service of governmental transparency.

Luck sometimes compensates for stupidity; to some extent, all this is having the effect of protecting Mrs. Clinton. But only to some extent. Last week, as Townhall’s Cortney O’Brien noted, a Rasmussen Reports survey found that 59% of likely voters “think it’s likely [Mrs.] Clinton broke the law by sending and receiving e-mails containing classified information through a private e-mail server,” while just 34% think it unlikely. “Even among her fellow Democrats, 37% think it’s likely Clinton broke the law.”

Meanwhile, USA Today’s Dave Mastio reports that the Clinton family business is suffering:

    Six giants of the corporate world are bailing out on the Clinton Global Initiative. . . . USA Today has confirmed that sponsors from 2014 that have backed out for this year include electronics company Samsung, oil giant ExxonMobil, global financial firms Deutsche Bank and HSBC, and accounting firm PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers). Hewlett-Packard, which just announced major layoffs, will be an in-kind donor instead of a cash contributor, and the agri-chem firm Monsanto has cut back its donation. Dow’s name is missing from the donor list as well, but the chemical company’s exit is not confirmed.

Government officials, both American and foreign, are staying away too. Last year eight heads of state or government appeared, including the president of the U.S. and the prime minister of Japan. “This year, only leaders from Colombia and Liberia are currently on the program.” Last year’s conference featured three other top Obama administration officials; this year’s not a one.

“Unless there is a sudden surge in high-profile corporate support in the coming days, the exodus of well-recognized brands could represent a setback for the Clinton campaign’s effort to maintain an aura of inevitability,” Mastio observes. Possibly he’s reversing cause and effect and the aura’s dimming is reducing the value of the entire Clinton enterprise.

168  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Sen.Ted Cruz on Colbert on: September 22, 2015, 02:45:21 PM
169  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Carly Fiorina on: September 22, 2015, 12:40:11 PM

It will be interesting to see her rejoinders to these points!
170  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Syrian woman arrested at Mexican border on: September 22, 2015, 12:26:23 PM
171  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: September 22, 2015, 12:04:42 PM
I just made a small donation each to Rubio and Carson
172  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / POTH: EU forces four countries to accept refugees/invaders against their will on: September 22, 2015, 11:57:25 AM
E.U. approves migrant plan, overruling four nations

Tuesday, September 22, 2015 12:02 PM EDT

European Union ministers on Tuesday approved a plan for individual countries in the bloc to accept a share of the hundreds of thousands of refugees seeking asylum on the continent — but only after overruling four former Soviet bloc countries.  The home affairs and interior ministers, meeting in an emergency session here, voted on a plan to apportion 120,000 refugees — still only a small fraction of those flowing into Europe — among members of the European Union.

The dissenters were the ministers representing the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia. Under European law, three of the countries — the Czech Republic, Romania and Slovakia — would be required to accept migrants against their will, said one European Union diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity shortly after the vote.

The idea behind the plan is to relieve the pressure on front-line nations like Italy and Greece, which migrants from the Middle East, Afghanistan and African have been flooding.

France and Germany back a compulsory approach to resettling refugees. But a call for the members to share the burden of absorbing the migrants according to the wealth and population of the member countries met with fierce resistance. The squabbling has highlighted the lack of a united European response to one of the worst humanitarian crises in decades.
173  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Dr. Ben Carson on Muslim President on: September 22, 2015, 10:40:55 AM
Caught a bit of Dr. Ben answering press questions today about his Muslim/Islam comments:

No flinching.  Stood by his comments , , , and improved them-- improvements with which I concur.   Respect for his courage in not ducking this issue.

Also, I would like to improve my initial comments.  As I have heard more than one commentator point out there are people such as the King of Jordan or Al-Sisi in Egypt who have an approach to Islam which is worthy of respect.  The real point is to choose American Creed values when Islam conflicts with them e.g. killing gays and apostates, different legal standards for men and women, advocacy of theocracy, etc.
174  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: September 21, 2015, 08:47:35 PM
A bit of "Candidate Casino":

a) IMHO Trump is less strong than he appears, the anti-Trump vote is divided amongst many and as the many become fewer, the survivors vote percentages will go up.

b) Very well positioned in this regard in Rubio, he is the second choice of many will relatively low negatives.

c) Carly is going to go under the microscope now for her time at Lucent and HP.  The ads that Boxer ran against her to good effect here in CA are likely to be resurrected.  PS:  If I have it right, Boxer's manager is highly ranked on Hillary's staff.

175  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Dr. Ben Carson on: September 21, 2015, 08:42:15 PM
Who the hell says Fiorina is faltering?  Dr. Ben is still at 14.  And Rubio has moved up sharply as well.

Anyway, here's this on CAIR's response:

Hamas-linked CAIR wants a Muslim President, and wants Carson to drop out for not wanting one.
September 21, 2015
Robert Spencer
If Ibrahim Hooper of the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has any say in the matter, whoever the next President is, it won’t be Ben Carson. “He is not qualified to be president of the United States,” fumed Hooper, no doubt an unimpeachable authority on who is and is not qualified to be President, on Sunday. “You cannot hold these kinds of views and at the same time say you will represent all Americans, of all faiths and backgrounds.” What views? Carson said: “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.” He said that this was because Islam contradicted important Constitutional principles.
CAIR, designated a terror organization by the United Arab Emirates, sent out an email Sunday saying it would hold a news conference demanding that Carson withdraw from the presidential race for daring to say these things. “Mr. Carson clearly does not understand or care about the Constitution, which states that ‘no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office,'” said CAIR top dog Nihad Awad. “We call on our nation’s political leaders – across the political spectrum – to repudiate these unconstitutional and un-American statements and for Mr. Carson to withdraw from the presidential race.”

But the problems with a Muslim being President aren’t religious, they’re political. Islamic law infringes upon the freedom of speech, forbidding criticism of Islam. Islamic law denies equality of rights to women. Islamic law denies equality of rights to non-Muslims. If a Muslim renounced all this, he or she could be an effective Constitutional ruler, but in today’s politically correct climate, no one is even likely to ask for such a renunciation. Instead, no one even acknowledges that these really are elements of Islamic law.

No one, that is, except the Muslim clerics who agree with Carson. Syrian Islamic scholar Abd Al-Karim Bakkar saidin March 2009: “Democracy runs counter to Islam on several issues….In democracy, legislation is the prerogative of the people. It is the people who draw up the constitution, and they have the authority to amend it as well. On this issue we differ” -- because in Islamic thought, only Allah legislates.

Abd Al-Karim Bakkar was reflecting a common view. Pakistan Muslim leader Sufi Muhammad said in May 2009: “I would not offer prayer behind anyone who would seek to justify democracy.” Mesbah Yazdi, leader of the Shia Taliban in Iran, said in September 2010 that “democracy, freedom, and human rights have no place” -- in Islam, that is. Australian Muslim cleric Ibrahim Saddiq Conlan said in June 2011: “Democracy is evil, the parliament is evil and legislation is evil.”

In January 2013, the Saudi Islamic scholar Sheikh Abdul Rahman bin Nassir Al Barrak declared: “Electing a president or another form of leadership or council members is prohibited in Islam as it has been introduced by the enemies of Moslems.” The idea of popular elections, he said, “has been brought by the anti-Islam parties who have occupied Moslem land.”

Some Muslims in the West hold these views as well. In April 2015, Muslims in Wales plastered Cardiff with posters reading: “Democracy is a system whereby man violates the right of Allah and decides what is permissible or impermissible for mankind, based solely on their whims and desires. This leads to a decayed and degraded society where crime and immorality becomes widespread and injustice becomes the norm. Islam is the only real, working solution for the UK. It is a comprehensive system of governance where the laws of Allah are implemented and justice is observed.”

And two Muslim groups in Denmark last June called on Muslims to boycott the elections that were held that month. One explained: “We are committed to being active participants in our society, but it has to be on Islam’s terms, without compromising our own principles and values. Democracy is fundamentally incompatible with Islam, and it is a sinking ship.” The Grimshøj mosque in Aarhus agreed, issuing a statement saying that “people should stay clear of the voting booths. We have concluded that only Allah can pass laws, as he says himself in the Koran that this is so.”

Tunisian author Salem Ben Ammar wrote last month: “‘To hell with democracy! Long live Islam!’ One hundred percent of Muslims agree with that. To say anything else is apostasy from Islam. These two competing political systems are antithetical to each other. You can’t be democratic and be a Muslim or a Muslim and be a democrat. A Jew can’t be a Nazi and a Nazi can’t be a Judeophile.”

Question for Hamas-linked CAIR’s Hooper and Awad: are all these Muslims “Islamophobes” for saying that Islam and democracy are incompatible, or is that honor reserved only for Carson (and other infidels)? And are either or both of you cognizant of the irony of pretending to uphold Constitutional values while demanding that a man drop out of the Presidential race for the crime of exercising his freedom of speech? Are either or both of you aware that you have thereby just become poster children for how correct Ben Carson really was?

Carson was right. But now the media sharks, ever eager to do the bidding of Hamas-linked CAIR and other Islamic supremacists, will be circling – and hungry. If he is forced to drop out for saying things CAIR doesn’t like, it will be just one more nail in the coffin of the free society that CAIR disingenuously professes to love and support, but which it is actually doing all it can to subvert.
176  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gov. Scott Walker on: September 21, 2015, 06:32:16 PM
Apparently a good and decent man of substantial political courage in WI, but just wasn't cutting it on the national stage.
177  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Dr. Ben Carson on: September 21, 2015, 02:00:21 PM
I saw the relevant portion of the interview and I would summarize it thusly:

Carson speaks about his Christianity.  The question came if that would be a litmus test for his administration.  Fair enough.  In his answer Dr. Ben said as long as religious beliefs were consistent with our C., then all was well.

IMHO the formulation of his answer pretty much invites the question that followed about Islam.
178  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Let's answer these on the merits, not ad hominem on: September 21, 2015, 01:55:16 PM
The Uber-Dove vs Black Swans To view this article, Click Here
Brian S. Wesbury, Chief Economist
Robert Stein, Deputy Chief Economist
Date: 9/21/2015

You couldn’t have missed it. Only stages full of GOP presidential candidates or the Super Bowl have ever had more media attention. Yes, we are talking about the Federal Reserve’s thundering announcement on Thursday – of nothing. The Fed decided to keep interest rates at zero, for at least the next few months, after holding them near zero for over six years.

In one sense, this is a non-event. We have been in this same spot for quite some time. In spite of three rounds (and $3.6 trillion) of Quantitative Easing and very low interest rates, the US economy remains in a Plow Horse, low-inflation recovery. Japan has been doing QE for decades and its economy isn’t growing, while the European economy is weak and its stock markets are down since QE II started back in March.

In other words, all the gnashing of teeth about the Fed seems like a huge waste of time. This is especially true when we consider the fact that raising interest rates wouldn’t be actually changing monetary policy at all.

Over time, investors have been confused (as happens during a street-side shell game) about what monetary policy really is and how it works. Many people have come to believe the transmission mechanism of Fed policy is interest rates, but this isn’t true and never has been.

Monetary policy works as the Fed adds or subtracts reserves from the banking system, and by adding or subtracting reserves they are able to increase or decrease “aggregate demand” or what we can think of as “total spending.”

When a counterfeiter puts more money into a neighborhood, the economy gets a temporary pop. When the FBI takes the money away, it slumps. The reason QE never worked as advertised is that when the Fed “printed money” in exchange for bonds, the banks that sold the Fed the bonds held the money in “excess reserves.” The neighborhood never spent the counterfeiter’s money. The Fed’s balance sheet has grown 26% annualized over the past seven years, but the M2 measure of money (total deposits in all banks) has grown only 6.6% per year.

All those excess reserves are still out there, un-multiplied. That’s why all the crazy forecasts of hyper-inflation, $5,000 gold and a collapsing dollar never came true.

And here’s the rub. The Fed does not intend to reduce those reserves anytime soon, and would not have reduced them by one dime last week even if they had raised interest rates.

Throughout history, when the Fed wanted the federal funds rate to rise, it withdrew reserves from the banking system by selling bonds to banks. Yes, interest rates would rise because liquidity was withdrawn, but the impact on the economy was from the slowdown in money growth, not the rise in rates.

If the Fed would have raised rates last week, reserves would have stayed exactly the same. All the Fed would have done is announce that it was paying more to banks on excess reserves, as an enticement not to lend them. Every dollar of excess reserves would have remained in the system. A rate hike would not rip away the punch bowl, in fact the punch bowl would still be overflowing with excess reserves waiting for someone to slurp them up.

In the past, when the Fed has raised rates, banks did not hold any significant amount of excess reserves. So higher short-term rates meant it was tougher for banks to acquire the funds they wanted to lend. Now, many banks are filled to the brim with excess reserves and are barely trading federal funds among each other.

Sometimes they say, “follow the money,” but we suggest “follow the profits” to understand Fed actions that confuse you. So let’s do it. Right now the Fed owns $4.2 trillion in bonds which pay whatever they pay, while it gives banks ¼% on reserves. The “spread” generated a profit last year of roughly $100 billion, which the Fed then turned over to the Treasury. If the Fed would have increased what it paid banks on reserves to ½%, this would have reduced the Treasury cash inflow by about $7 billion over the next year and this money would have gone to banks. In other words, the Fed and Treasury have an incentive to keep rates very low so that their profits stay high.

The biggest problem the US has now with its economic management team (including the Fed) is that it has spread the narrative that only QE and other government programs saved the economy during the crisis. We do not believe this one iota. In fact, we believe government rules forced Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to buy sub-prime mortgage bonds. That created the crisis. Yet, it serves government interests to blame it on banks and the private sector.

This has helped create a cottage industry of Black-Swan birdwatchers. Instead of looking for an answer, they just claim 2008 was like a severe earthquake that was
undetectable. The pessimists create fear as they find a new Black Swan every week, which, for investors who believe this stuff, is terrifying. But they have also enhanced the narrative to include the idea that if the Fed raises rates, the only support for growth will be ripped away.

This is also a misconception. Does anyone with common sense really believe that QE and zero percent rates invented the Apple Watch, or increased the efficiency of fracking, or created Uber, vertical farming, 3-D printing, the cure for Hep-C, or any of the other massively wonderful new technologies and inventions we have seen put in place in the past six years?

The Fed does not cause real, long-term wealth creation. It never has and it never will. It either accommodates growth by printing the right amount of money, therefore avoiding deflation, or it prints too much money, which won’t stop growth but will cause inflation. It can cause harm by allowing the money supply to collapse, but once mark-to-market accounting was fixed in March 2009, that possibility evaporated.

There is an argument running around that says if the Fed wouldn’t, or couldn’t, raise interest rates, then there must really be something wrong with the economy. This argument is sophomoric. It gives the Fed some kind of supreme, omnipotent power of knowledge that no one else has. But, other than private bank information and probably some foreign government secrets, the Fed has access to the same data that we do and none of it suggests the US economy needs zero percent interest rates. Initial claims have been below 300,000 for 29 straight weeks. And anyone who claims 173,000 new jobs is a clear sign of economic problems, especially in August (which is so often revised higher), is spinning the data.

Yes, China’s growth has slowed to 7%, from 10.6%. So what? Japan collapsed in 1990 when it was the #2 economy in the world, and the next ten years were fabulous for US investors.

All in all, what is really going on is that so many people think there are Black Swans flying around everywhere, and that the only way to protect the US economy from them is with an Uber-Dove. It looks like Janet Yellen has decided she is that Uber-Dove, despite a real lack of evidence that Fed policy has protected the US at all in the past six years.
179  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: September 21, 2015, 11:49:22 AM
Apparently Hillary's spontaneity campaign has moved her 5% in some polls?!?  rolleyes  We are so fuct  cry
180  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: September 21, 2015, 11:48:14 AM
Why Don't the Candidates Ever Talk About Money?
By Larry Kudlow - September 19, 2015

While there were some great moments in the latest GOP debate, and some terrific individual performances -- Carly Fiorina seemed to grab all the buzz in the aftermath -- one thing that barely came up was the economy. It was very much like the first debate.

The day after the candidates faced off, Fed chair Janet Yellen announced a stand-pat, no-interest-rate-liftoff policy. Now, I don't expect presidential candidates to be Fed watchers. But Yellen did raise the issue of a still-soft economy, despite all the QE and zero-interest-rate policies. And I think Yellen was right. There will be a time to normalize Fed target rates. But not yet.

That said, it would have been a good thing if any of the candidates talked about our money. A strong and steady dollar -- the world's unit of account (in theory) -- is pro-growth, as we saw in the '60s, '80s, and '90s. A collapsing greenback smothers growth, as we saw in the 2000s.

I would have loved to have seen one or more of the candidates talk about a strong dollar, a rules-based Fed policy and international monetary coordination. Alas, it was not to be. Maybe we'll hear about the dollar at the CNBC debate on Oct. 28. But an opportunity was missed on Sept. 16.

Interestingly, on the day of the debate, the Census Bureau revealed another round of stagnating incomes for the middle class. But the words "middle class" and "economic growth" were mentioned by the GOP debaters only four or five times, according to AEI economist Jim Pethokoukis. He laments that Republicans have been missing great opportunities to show a modern vision about growth.

Diana Furchtgott-Roth, the director of Economics21 at the Manhattan Institute, lists a slew of important economic issues that weren't addressed at the debate, including the minimum wage, regulatory policy, education and alternatives to Obamacare. There were brief mentions of tax policy, with Gov. Huckabee slipping in his fair-tax proposal and Sen. Paul touting his 14.5 percent flat tax. But there was no room for Sen. Rubio to pit his child tax credit against Jeb Bush's 20 percent corporate tax rate.

Meanwhile, Gov. Christie spent his economic time on a plea for reducing Social Security benefits. Ugh.

There also was no mention of socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders, who may be the Democratic frontrunner right now. The Wall Street Journal estimates that Sanders' Greece-like spending spree would come to $18 trillion over a decade. That's pretty wild. And it gets the Democrats firmly back as the tax-and-spend party. Sanders at various times has proposed income-tax rates of 70 to 90 percent, but not one Republican blasted his tax-and-spend program at the debate.

Nor did anyone attack Hillary Clinton's proposal to double the capital-gains tax rate if the asset holding period is not long enough. Her plan is pure anti-growth and anti-risk-taking. It's just what we don't need, but no GOP debater took it on.

Jeb Bush does deserve credit for a summary statement that emphasized 4 percent economic growth. He said tax, regulatory, energy and immigration policies could generate that 4 percent and help solve bottom-fifth poverty and middle-class stagnation. He concluded, Reagan-like, that strong growth at home would revive American leadership around the world. Good for him.

But one of the reasons why the GOP base is angrily up in arms at the so-called political-class establishment is that nothing has gotten done, even with Republican majorities in the Senate and House.

I thought the House and Senate would pass a broad energy-reform bill that not only includes the XL pipeline, but removes limits on oil exports and drilling on federal land (that would lower gas prices at home and weaken Vladimir Putin's European stranglehold). But no bill emerged. A bill to repeal Obamacare with an alternative vision? Never happened. A corporate-tax-cut reform that slashes the rate, provides cash tax expensing for investment and brings more than $2 trillion back home with a repatriation plan? Never happened. Ditto for immigration reform: never happened.

And Godfather-like, the GOP now must "go to the mattresses" to stop the Iran deal, which will hand over $150 billion to a rogue country so that it can kill more American soldiers, try to extinguish Israel and increase its Middle East hegemony. Will it happen? The GOP congressional track record is not encouraging.

The strategy was to put serious bills on President Obama's desk where he could veto them if he so chose. That would have set the stage for a battle of ideas in 2016. But somehow the congressional leadership lost its way.

There's still time, however, for the GOP presidential contenders. I'd like to hear them tell us how they would solve all these problems if elected president. Doing so might rebrand the Republican Party much for the better.

Lawrence Kudlow is a senior contributor at CNBC and the host of The Larry Kudlow Show on WABC Radio. He is also a former Reagan economic advisor and a nationally syndicated columnist.
181  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / POTH on Carly's biz record on: September 21, 2015, 11:32:21 AM
182  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Scott answers our Doug on: September 21, 2015, 11:02:47 AM
I asked Scott for his response.  Here it is:

"The first step to fixing the debt is to fix the deficit. We’ve done that. If current trends persist, the burden of debt (debt/GDP) will decline. At 72% currently, the debt is big but not an existential threat. It’s also important to remember that it’s not debt that is the problem, it’s spending. Spending is inevitably paid for by taxation. Spending saps the economy’s productivity, squanders resources, and feeds corruption. Get spending under control and the existing debt becomes irrelevant on the margin. We have made great progress in that direction. Things may deteriorate in the future, but for now there is genuine progress and reason to be hopeful."
183  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Carly Fiorina on: September 21, 2015, 11:00:21 AM
She had a big interview w Chris Wallace on Sunday morning and he asked a similar question about did she inadvertently conflate a description by an employee with actual footage of what she described in the debate and she confidently doubled down on it.
184  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Ukraine on: September 21, 2015, 10:55:49 AM
That seems a pretty good analysis to me.
185  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: September 21, 2015, 10:53:19 AM
Unfortunately, that is funny.  cheesy cry cry
186  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Muslims in Germany go after Octoberfest; Eiffel Tower on: September 21, 2015, 02:08:17 AM
187  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / As soon as US leaves, ISIS will take Kabul on: September 21, 2015, 02:07:36 AM
188  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Dr. Ben Carson on: September 21, 2015, 01:59:44 AM
He simply said "I do not advocate". 

I don't either, , , and neither do you  cheesy
189  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Dr. Ben Carson on: September 20, 2015, 09:30:03 PM
I agree with Dr. Ben.  As I have been saying here for years Islam advocates theocracy and as such is hostile to the American Creed.  I could say more, but that suffices for the moment.
190  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Carly Fiorina on: September 20, 2015, 09:15:12 PM
Good analysis Doug.
191  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Reliability of this source is unknown 2.0 Devout Muslims in White House on: September 19, 2015, 07:09:26 PM
192  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Destroying Brit soldiers grave stones on: September 19, 2015, 04:51:25 PM
193  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WaPo catches CNN at a fib on: September 19, 2015, 04:33:05 PM
194  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Russia leans on Poland on: September 19, 2015, 04:24:30 PM
195  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / POTH: Marines vs. civilian weanies on gender integration on: September 19, 2015, 02:25:16 PM
Gender Integration of Marines Brings Out Unusually Public Discord


The Marine Corps and its civilian leadership at the Pentagon are squaring off in an unusually public dispute over whether integrating women into the corps’s all-male combat units will undermine the units’ effectiveness, or whether the male-dominated Marine leadership is cherry-picking justifications to keep women out.

The military is facing a deadline set by the Obama administration to integrate women into all combat jobs by 2016 or ask for specific exemptions. The Marines, with a 93 percent male force dominated by infantry, are widely seen as the branch with the hardest integration task. The Marine Corps has the most units closed to women and still trains male and female recruits separately.

The tension began last week when the Marine Corps released a summary of a nine-month, $36 million study that found that integrated combat units were slower, had more injuries and were less accurate when firing weapons.

The commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., submitted the corps’s recommendation on gender integration to the secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, on Thursday. Pentagon officials said the corps was expected to request an exemption for at least some front-line combat units.

Mr. Mabus, the civilian head of the Marine Corps, has steadfastly said in public statements that the Marine Corps study is flawed and that its summary findings were picked from a much larger study in a manner that was biased toward keeping women out of combat roles.

In an interview Thursday, Mr. Mabus said he planned to push ahead with integration despite the study. “My belief is you set gender-neutral standards related to the job Marines have to do, and you adhere to them,” he said. “It doesn’t matter whether the Marines who meet those standards are male or female.”

Further complicating the dispute is the fact that General Dunford, who will take over next week as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will be responsible for submitting recommendations to the secretary of defense for all the armed services, including the United States Special Operations Command. Officials in the Army, Navy and Air Force have suggested they are not likely to seek exemptions on integration.

On the surface, the debate within the Marine Corps has centered on the physical abilities of men and women. But critics say the dispute is also driven by a male-dominated culture that encourages Marines to believe that their esprit de corps will be undermined by the presence of women.

“The Marines have a climate of non-inclusivity and justify it by talking about combat effectiveness, but a lot of it is based on emotion and not fact,” said Lt. Col. Kate Germano, who was removed as the commander of female Marine recruits this summer after she pushed for integration and clashed with male superiors. “A lot of them, especially the older generation, believe integrating women will be disastrous in war.”

A recent op-ed by retired Lt. Gen. Gregory Newbold of the Marines laid out the concerns about integration, saying women posed a threat to the “alchemy that produces an effective infantry unit.”

“The characteristics that produce uncommon valor as a common virtue are not physical at all,” Mr. Newbold wrote in the piece, published in the online magazine War on the Rocks, “but are derived from the mysterious chemistry that forms in an infantry unit that revels in the most crude and profane existence so that they may be more effective killers than their foe.”

He asked rhetorically how mixing men and women of “the most libido-laden age cohort in humans, in the basest of environs, will not degrade the nearly spiritual glue that enables the infantry to achieve the illogical and endure the unendurable.”

Mr. Newbold could not be reached for comment.

Mr. Mabus dismissed the idea that women would erode unit cohesion and lower morale.

“That is almost exactly the same argument made against ending racial segregation in the military, and the ban on gays — that it will ruin morale,” he said in the interview. “And it just isn’t true. We’ve seen that.”

A senior Pentagon official briefed on the Marine Corps study, who was not authorized to speak publicly, said a separate, unreleased study on the same group of Marines, by the Naval Health Research Center, showed that while women scored lower in many physical tasks and had higher injury rates, they scored higher in mental resilience and had fewer mental health problems. The study also found that integrated units rated their unit cohesion at the same levels as all-male units and outperformed male units at making complex decisions, the official said.

The disagreement between the Marine Corps and the Pentagon is a rare public display of tension in a culture that generally values silent professionals.

“I’m struck by how much they aired their dirty laundry in public,” said Michael E. O’Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution specializing in defense issues. “The Marine leadership is definitely dubious and reluctant about this. I think they know they will have to integrate, but they have real concerns about what it will mean to the force.”

Mr. Mabus will make his recommendation to Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter by January. Mr. Carter recently echoed Mr. Mabus’s belief that women should be able to enter all military careers if they can meet standards set for their tasks.

Some Marines familiar with the corps’s integration study are concerned that changes to current operations could threaten lives. Sgt. Maj. Justin D. LeHew, a decorated Iraq war veteran who oversaw the integration tests, said in a post on his personal Facebook page this week that lowering standards to allow women into combat teams would endanger other Marines. The post was soon taken down, but was published by Marine Corps Times.

“In regards to the infantry... there is no trophy for second place. You perform or die,” Sergeant LeHew wrote. “Make no mistake. In this realm, you want your fastest, most fit, most physical and most lethal person you can possibly put on the battlefield to overwhelm the enemy’s ability to counter what you are throwing at them, and in every test case, that person has turned out to be a man. There is nothing gender biased about this; it is what it is.”

The Pentagon will announce final decisions on integrating the remaining closed positions and occupations and on any approved exceptions around Jan. 1, Capt. Jeff Davis, a spokesman, said.

Captain Davis said that since 2013, some 111,000 jobs that women were previously excluded from had opened up to them, with 220,000 still closed. Presumably, the bulk of those will open come January.
196  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / POTH: EPA vs. WY rancher on: September 19, 2015, 02:21:09 PM
FORT BRIDGER, Wyo. — The sun was sinking and the brook trout were biting, so Andy Johnson and his daughter Aspen, 6, stepped onto their sun-bleached pier, hooked some mealworms and cast their lines into the most infamous pond in the West.

It is just a splotch of placid water amid endless ripples of grazing land here in western Wyoming. But in the two years since Mr. Johnson dammed a small creek running through his front yard to create the pond, it has become an emblem for conservative groups and local governments that are fighting what Senator Michael B. Enzi called a “regulatory war” with the Obama administration over environmental issues ranging from water quality to gas drilling, coal power plants to sage grouse.

“It makes no sense whatsoever,” Mr. Johnson said, pointing at the waving grasses and birds pinwheeling around the water. “We have wetlands now. I really think the E.P.A. should be coming in and saying, ‘Good job.’”

The pond battle has pitted Mr. Johnson, a 32-year-old welder, part-time barbecue caterer and father of four girls, against a federal bureaucracy that is, in the best of times, grudgingly tolerated out here. It erupted after officials from the Environmental Protection Agency paid a visit to the pond and, Mr. Johnson said, told him that he was facing “a very serious matter.”

Mr. Johnson dammed a small creek running through his front yard to create the pond for his cattle to drink from. He said it had become an oasis for birds and wildlife. Credit Kim Raff for The New York Times

In a January 2014 violation notice, the agency said Mr. Johnson had violated the Clean Water Act by digging out Six Mile Creek and dumping in tons of river rocks without getting necessary federal permits. The agency ordered him to take steps to restore the creek under the supervision of environmental officials, or face accumulating fines of as much as $37,500 a day.

Mr. Johnson refused.

He argued that he had gotten full approvals from Wyoming officials, and said the federal government had no business using national water laws to make decisions about the creek that meanders through the family’s eight-acre property. Mr. Johnson and his wife, Katie, had spent $50,000 — most of their savings, they said — to create the pond to water their 10 head of cattle and four horses. Dismantling it now would be ruinously expensive and destroy what has become a tiny oasis for birds and wildlife, they said.

After more than a year of unsuccessful negotiations, the standoff veered into a federal courthouse last month when Mr. Johnson sued the E.P.A., asking a judge to declare his pond legal and wave away accumulating fines of as much as $16 million.

“They have no right to be here,” Mr. Johnson said. “We’re law-abiding people. It makes your blood boil that they would come after you like that.”
Continue reading the main story

100 miles














By The New York Times

The suit argues that the pond is exempt from the Clean Water Act because it was created to water stock. Further, it says the creek is too far removed from navigable rivers to fall under the E.P.A.’s authority.

The case has drawn support from conservative leaders around the state. Wyoming’s Republican senators, Mr. Enzi and John Barrasso, called the agency’s action “heavy-handed bureaucracy.”

Continue reading the main story

Continue reading the main story

“What did they do wrong?” Representative Cynthia M. Lummis, Republican of Wyoming, said in an interview, referring to the Johnsons. “What does the E.P.A. intend to gain? What wrong are they trying to right by imposing fines on these people?”

A libertarian legal group called the Pacific Legal Foundation began representing Mr. Johnson at no charge.

“We can’t have unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats ignoring the limits of their own authority,” said Jonathan Wood, a lawyer for the foundation. “There was no need for federal regulation here.”
Mr. Johnson, with his daughter Brookley, said state officials had approved his pond. Credit Kim Raff for The New York Times

In a statement, the E.P.A. said it had been “attempting to work cooperatively” with Mr. Johnson and added that it had not yet imposed any fines on him. The agency declined to say anything further, citing the lawsuit.

While the Johnsons watch trout jump in Wyoming, more than two dozen states and energy and farm groups are waging a similar fight, arguing that the E.P.A. went too far when it adopted a rule clarifying its authority to oversee smaller streams and wetlands. After 13 states sued, a federal judge in North Dakota temporarily blocked the new water rule from taking effect across much of the West.

But other states and many environmental groups have welcomed more federal control of state waters, saying that a confusing patchwork of rules had left small bodies of water vulnerable to pollution. In Wyoming, for example, some conservation groups criticized a state decision that reclassified thousands of miles of smaller streams to allow up to five times the level of E. coli bacteria.

States and landowners often argue that they are the ones best suited to preserve their own land and water. In Wyoming, officials point to requirements that drillers test for baseline groundwater quality, and to measures protecting sage grouse — rules that have been lauded by the Interior Department.

In Fort Bridger, Mr. Johnson points to his own pond. Since creating it, he and his family have seen blue herons and an eagle, moose and muskrat come to drink, and it is full of trout. (The Johnsons say they only catch and release.) Water flows in from the west, and out and back into the creek over a sloping spillway of river rocks that Mr. Johnson dumped into the channel.

A private report he commissioned found only positive environmental results. But the E.P.A.’s violation notice described the rocks, sand and concrete he used to create the dam and spillway as pollutants.

As the fight wore on, Mr. Johnson sold off most of his livestock to pay for legal costs and environmental studies. All that is left are one steer, a donkey and a Shetland pony to drink from their own private, bitterly contested watering hole.
197  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Anaheim CA on: September 19, 2015, 02:15:11 PM
198  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Grannis: Bad news, good news on: September 19, 2015, 11:58:56 AM
199  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: September 19, 2015, 11:19:57 AM
200  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / State Dept atty asked HRC atty to delete classified emails. on: September 18, 2015, 11:52:54 PM
To be read with care:
Pages: 1 2 3 [4] 5 6 ... 690
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.19 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!