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24001  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-China on: January 20, 2011, 01:54:01 PM
I took the underlying point to be more a matter of we should not be looking to emulate them, that we should be who we are.  Properly understood, being who we are rejects His Glibness and the Progressives too.
24002  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: entertainment on: January 20, 2011, 01:50:41 PM
Smartass grin
24003  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science on: January 20, 2011, 01:49:57 PM
BD:

That idea in that piece is a profoundly challenging one.  If correct, much of what we know, isn't so.

What do you make of it?
24004  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: entertainment on: January 20, 2011, 01:45:08 PM
At the Paris Hotel; my friend, who will be the host of my Israel seminar, made the choice.  We were both in town for the SHOT Show.  I was irked at having to pay $30 for one hour of internet use in the business center.
24005  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Has Wright condemned this? on: January 20, 2011, 01:38:35 PM
I see GM has a new riff:  Instead of "Where's Waldo?" or "Where's Mohammed?" it is "Where's Wright?" cheesy
24006  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Dictatorship & Democracy on: January 20, 2011, 01:35:43 PM
Of all the differences between dictatorship and democracy, probably none is so overlooked as the ability of the former to project strength, and the penchant of the latter to obsess about its own weakness.

In 1957 the Soviets launched Sputnik and the U.S. went into a paroxysm of nerves about our supposed backwardness in matters ballistic. Throughout the 1980s Americans lived with "Japan as Number One" (the title of a book by Harvard professor Ezra Vogel, though the literature was extensive) and wondered whether Mitsubishi's purchase of Rockefeller Center qualified as a threat to American sovereignty.

Now there's China, whose President is visiting the U.S. this week amid a new bout of American hypochondria. In an op-ed last week in these pages, Andrew Kohut of the Pew Research Center noted that a plurality of Americans, 47%, are under the erroneous impression that China is the world's leading economy. News reports regarding Chinese military strides, or the academic prowess of Shanghai high school students, contribute to Western perceptions of Chinese ascendancy. So does the false notion that Beijing's holdings of U.S. debt amounts to a sword of Damocles over Washington's head.

Oh, we nearly forgot: Tough-as-nails Chinese mothers are raising child prodigies (a billion of them!) while their Western counterparts indulge their kids with lessons in finger-painting.

We'll leave it to others to debate the merits of Tiger-style mothering, except to say that the overnight success of Amy Chua's book fits the pattern of democratic fretting over our own perceived shortcomings. Such fretting does have its uses. Free societies that constantly adapt to swings in political opinion, innovations in the marketplace, evolving tastes and norms and the arrival of new neighbors are societies that almost never crack. Ours hasn't since Fort Sumter was bombarded 150 years ago this April.

 
Global View columnist Bret Stephens and Mary Kissel of the editorial board on Hu Jintao's visit to the U.S.
Slideshow: China's Dissidents Then again, it's a thin line between healthy self-criticism and neurotic—or opportunistic—self-loathing. The rise of China combines economic opportunities for the U.S. with competitive and strategic challenges. At a minimum, it's an occasion to pull up our collective socks and rethink some welfare-state attitudes about work, investment, entitlements and spending. The 112th Congress seems ready to do that by voting to repeal ObamaCare, and even President Obama is bowing to some economic sense.

If China's rise presents any immediate danger, it's the risk that it might cause Americans to ignore the sources of our strength. For all of China's genuine successes, there's an even greater dose of exaggeration—the product of a political system long adept at hiding its weaknesses to strangers.

China remains an underdeveloped country, its economy barely one-third the size of America's. Its leaders live in fear of peasant revolts, ethnic separatists, underground religious movements, political dissidents and the free flow of information. Its economy remains profoundly hobbled by corruption, inefficient state-owned enterprises and an immature banking system. (See Joseph Sternberg nearby.)

There is no genuine rule of law and its regulatory environment has become increasingly unpredictable for foreign investors and local entrepreneurs. It suffers from an aging population and environmental damage Americans wouldn't tolerate. Its greatest comparative advantage—cheap labor—is under strain from rising domestic wages and competition from places like Vietnam and Bangladesh.

Above all, China suffers from an absence of self-correcting mechanisms, beginning at the top with its authoritarian political system. And while it can trumpet achievements like a stealth fighter or bullet trains—some based on pilfered designs—it has a harder time adjusting to failure, much less admitting to it.

None of this strikes us as a particularly worthy model for the U.S. to emulate, and it's worth noting how few of China's neighbors seem eager to embrace its leadership. But it does seem to excite admiration among Western pundits with a soft spot for economic dirigisme and technocratic politics. That, too, is an old debate, one the technocrats always lose.

As Reagan showed in the 1980s, nothing cures a national funk as well or as quickly as a revival of economic growth. The U.S. has work to do to repair the damage of the last four years, but as always our fate is in our hands, not China's.
24007  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico-US matters on: January 20, 2011, 12:50:47 PM
Lets see now:

"On this side of the border, President Obama must:

"•Deploy the National Guard to the U.S.-Mexico border, not to combat illegal immigration as George W. Bush did but to help secure the area and ward off drug violence."

Is this even lucid?

"•Reboot and refocus the stale war on drugs with a new emphasis on curbing Americans' consumption that includes instructing the Justice Department to push for stiffer penalties for casual users of marijuana, cocaine and other illegal drugs."

Hello?  We've been there, done that.  America has the largest percent of its population incarcerated of any nation on earth by far, and a large % of those are there for crimes.

"•Reverse a dangerous and wrongheaded administration policy, recently detailed by The Washington Post, of not requiring gun dealers on the border to report bulk sales of high-powered semiautomatic rifles — the guns of choice for drug dealers."

Actually the guns of choice are ones unavailable to the American people; they are the military ones brought by defectors from the Mexican Army (indeed, this is where the Zetas, trained by the US government, began) and bought on in illegal international markets.  Maybe if the Mexican PEOPLE's right to bear arms were recognized, the narcos couldn't act with such impunity?

"•Start discussing the drug war in Mexico, with the American people, as a potential national security threat. What's going on in Mexico is not just limited to Mexico. Already, the Mexican drug cartels are spreading their operations and power into neighboring countries, such as Guatemala, Peru and Colombia."

Duh! --  WHICH IS A MAJOR REASON WE SHOULD BE CONTROLLING THE BORDER!!!

"How to help Mexico

"With regard to Mexico, Obama should:

"•Provide additional U.S. military advisers to train the Mexican army in counterinsurgency tactics and the taking down of drug lords.

Is this really the issue?

"•Ride herd on the $1.6 billion over three years that Congress provided to the Mexican government in the Merida Initiative but which has been slow to arrive, and make sure every dime gets to Mexico where it can be used to fight the cartels."

Where it will no doubt be put to good and honest use  rolleyes

"•Be prepared to hand over whatever other kind of support Calderon requires to quash the insurgency, including U.S. troops if necessary.

Anyone with a scintalla of knowledge about Mexican political culture and basic reasoning skills or better would know that this would be explosive!  Indeed, IMHO it could imperil the survival of the political order itself.   Also, a hot news flash:  The narcos don't walk around in uniforms or wear signs saying "I am a narco".

"•Dole out some tough love to our neighbors by making the case to Mexican officials — whether they want to hear it or not — that their situation does indeed compare with Colombia 20 years ago but that they can learn valuable lessons from it.

What does this mean?

"U.S. leaders have been much too timid in dealing with this crisis.

Duh.

"That has to stop.

Duh.

"After all, Americans are subsidizing this war. We buy the drugs that keep the cartels in business, and we provide the guns that keep the drug traffickers armed to the teeth. This is our baby, and it's time we owned up to it.

Certainly the American market is a sine qua non here, but so too are the extraordinay profits that are a result of our War on Drugs.  Maybe, instead of peeing into the wind we should look at decriminalizing/legalize & regulate the drugs so as to take the big profits out of it all.

Ruben Navarrette Jr., a member of the USA TODAY Board of Contributors, is a syndicated
24008  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Japan on: January 20, 2011, 12:26:20 PM
Commenting without specific knowledge, I note the possibility that a movement out of dollars could be part of the explanantion.  There are not many places for such money to go.  The Euro? Not hardly!  The Yuan?  Maybe, but doesn't China have a lot of capital controls?  Where else?
24009  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: entertainment on: January 20, 2011, 12:11:57 PM
PM shows promise.  I caught a bit of his Howard Stern interview while waiting for dinner at the hotel on Tuesday night.
24010  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Prayer and Daily Expression of Gratitude on: January 20, 2011, 12:02:47 PM
Grateful to be home with my family after a productive three day business trip.  Grateful that while on jury duty today that the Jury Assembly Room has internet connection! grin
24011  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Dealing with the adrenaline dump on: January 19, 2011, 09:19:00 AM
Good conversation.

 I would add into the mix that fight and flight are not the only options.  Actually, there are 5 possible responses to aggression:

Fight
Flight
Freeze
Posture
Submit
24012  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The American (and first world) cultural context on: January 19, 2011, 09:14:52 AM
Those are points worthy of consideration.
24013  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: January 19, 2011, 09:06:37 AM
As Ben Franklin told us, we have a Republic gentlemen, if we can keep it.  The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. (I forget who said that).  We must do our part!
24014  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: January 19, 2011, 09:03:49 AM
Doug:

At the moment I am gettng charged $30 an hour at a business center at a Las Vegas hotel angry.  Let me think over whether to start a separate thread for Congressional matters.  I fear overfragmentation and blurred lines.  How would you define the subject matter for such a thread?

Marc
24015  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: January 19, 2011, 08:59:59 AM
I fear you may be right.
24016  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Wesbury on: January 19, 2011, 08:58:17 AM
As always, Wesbury offers thinking worth the consideration.  This piece could be posted in other threads as well, but I put it here because, , , well, because I had to choose  smiley

Monday Morning Outlook
China and the Dollar To view this article, Click Here
Brian S. Wesbury - Chief Economist
Robert Stein, CFA - Senior Economist
Date: 1/18/2011

Chinese leader Hu Jintao visits the US this week. Getting past the public
pleasantries, our leaders will have much to say behind closed doors. On economic
issues, the focus will be on monetary policy, particularly the role of the US
dollar, the RMB/$ exchange rate, and the recent jump in China’s inflation.
On the issue of the US dollar’s role as the world’s reserve currency, we
think the critical comments out of China – as well as other comments from
France, Russia, and the Middle East – are just bluster.
 
Countries that do not have a gold standard – which, at this point in history,
includes all of them – must still back their currencies with something. These
“reserves” create confidence. The Federal Reserve typically uses US
Treasury securities as reserves, although it also holds many mortgage-backed
securities these days. The Fed makes a profit on these holdings and turns them over
to the government. The European Central Bank also holds the sovereign debt of its
member countries and turns their earnings over to member governments.
 
Emerging market central banks have a choice of what to hold as reserves, and they
will always make the one that maximizes earnings and creates the most confidence in
their currencies. That’s why China links its currency to the dollar and holds
mostly US Treasury debt as reserves.
 
No one forces a foreign central bank to buy US Treasury debt. Each country would
prefer to have their central bank buy their own local government debt as reserves.
But who would trust these currencies if they were backed up by local government
debt? Imagine Thailand trying to encourage the use of its currency if it was backed
only by Thai government debt. And if fewer people held the currency, the central
bank would generate lower profits to hand over to the government.
 
In other words, the international role of the dollar is a by-product of
profit-seeking central banks pursuing their own self-interest. And that’s not
going to change anytime soon. There is simply no other instrument issued by anyone
that has the liquidity and certainty of payment of US Treasury debt.
 
Moreover, as emerging markets keep growing, their central banks will issue more
local currency, which will continue to elevate the demand for Treasury debt. So
while other countries must learn to accept the US dollar’s role, Americans
must learn to accept that, over time, the share of our debt owned by foreigners is
likely to keep rising. And, that the demand for US debt helps generate large US
trade deficits.
 
Many assume large foreign ownership of US debt makes the US vulnerable to foreign
governments. We think the vulnerability is the other way around. For example, the US
could protect Taiwan with its Navy. Or, instead, the US could send a message that
any attack would mean no payments on our debt to the attacking country until it
withdraws and makes reparations. The US did something similar when World War II
began. No wonder Hu Jintao told the Washington Post “the current international
currency system is a product of the past.” China realizes it’s
vulnerable. But, any major changes are decades in the future. The dollar will remain
the world’s reserve currency for a long time to come.
 
This does not mean the dollar cannot lose value. The yuan can strengthen as China
continues to emerge from Mao’s Communist tyranny. Since mid-2010, the yuan has
gained 3.5% versus the dollar, which adds to the 17.4% appreciation that occurred
between mid-2005 and mid-2008.
 
We think this trend will continue. It has to. The US is running a very loose
monetary policy, and because China links to the dollar it is experiencing rising
inflation. Commodity prices, like oil, are rising rapidly and China, which imports
lots of commodities for processing into consumer goods, is feeling that inflationary
pain before it hits home in the US. Letting the yuan gain versus the dollar is one
way for China to ease the pain from the Fed’s overly loose monetary policy.
It’s also a way for China to enhance the purchasing power of its workers and
companies.
 
The US should not take this week’s visit as an opportunity to lecture the
Chinese about the yuan. If we do, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke may find himself on the
receiving end of a lecture about the importance of price stability and how to run a
central bank. And he would deserve it.



This information contains forward-looking statements about various economic trends
and strategies. You are cautioned that such forward-looking statements are subject
to significant business, economic and competitive uncertainties and actual results
could be materially different. There are no guarantees associated with any forecast
and the opinions stated here are subject to change at any time and are the opinion
of the individual strategist. Data comes from the following sources: Census Bureau,
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Federal Reserve Board,
and Haver Analytics. Data is taken from sources generally believed to be reliable
but no guarantee is given to its accuracy.

24017  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: January 17, 2011, 03:05:37 PM
"I don't think that a "he started it" is all that helpful.  That may be the case, and I do feel that Bork deserved a seat on the Bench, but there is more than that."  I get that, but part of my point is that the Reps did NOT respond in kind over RBG (as you know, she was my Consitutional Law prof) who was and is a mega-liberal-- compare the treatment of Thomas's lynching. After a while, this starts to feel like Charlie Brown, Lucy, and the football. cf the silence over extreme comments from the left and outrage over straight up criiticism from the right e.g. Glen Beck. 

"(Here's an opening) As the size of the government increases, which it has consistently across adminisitrations regardless of party, that then increases the number of political appointments that the president, with the Senate, is responsible for filling."   Agreed.

"And, whether you like it or not, the Senate has been responsible for preventing people from taking a place on the Supreme Court under necessary circumstances, as well (Fortas and the early Nixon defeats come to mind as examples)" As does that ridiculous hack woman that Bush43 tried appointing.

"I recognize that the Senate should not abdicate its advice and consent role, but I do think that a reform of the process could help the president, regardless of party.  Small tangent: I think that reform should focus primarilt on the executive branch positions.  I think the president should have more latitude as on appointments for those who will work for him than for those in a co-equal branch of government with lifetime appointments."

A fair distinction.  I agree.
24018  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Mexico on: January 17, 2011, 02:58:21 PM
Gracias, jcordova. 

He aqui un analysis sobre la situacion en Tiajuana:

Summary
Baja California state, with its lucrative port of entry into the United States in Tijuana, is among the most sought-after territory for Mexico’s drug cartels. For years the state was controlled by the Arellano Felix Organization until that group’s disintegration and the rise of perhaps Mexico’s most powerful cartel, the Sinaloa Federation. Learning from its past experience, the Sinaloa Federation has moved over the past year to decentralize control among autonomous cells in order to prevent any single faction from becoming too dominant, and breaking off to form its own rival cartel, which has already led to a more stable security environment in the region.

Analysis
The criminal landscape in Mexico’s Baja California state has changed dramatically over the past year, and so have the internal workings of arguably the most powerful cartel in Mexico, the Sinaloa Federation. Dominated by the Arellano Felix Organization (AFO) in the 1990s and early 2000s, crackdowns by the Mexican government and internal divisions in the AFO led to the eventual rise of the Sinaloa Federation in Baja California in late 2010.

Taking its own experience with internal divisions into account, the Sinaloa Federation has adjusted its approach, decentralizing control and ensuring that no one faction becomes powerful enough to split from its parent organization and hold the lucrative Tijuana port of entry into the United States and its surroundings for itself. Despite the increase in organized criminal activity in the region over the past few months, this move has led to a more predictable security environment in the greater Baja California region — a drastic change from only a year ago.

Throughout the 1990s, Tijuana was controlled by the AFO, but a string of arrests and deaths of senior leaders of the groups — namely the Arellano Felix brothers, who made up the core leadership of the AFO beginning in the late 1990s and into the early 2000s — left the group’s operational capability severely diminished. Internal fighting between the faction loyal to the Arellano Felix brothers’ successor, Fernando “El Ingeniero” Sanchez Arellano, and those loyal to the group’s top enforcer, Teodoro “El Teo” Garcia Simental, led to a further degradation of the organization in the beginning of 2008. This conflict sparked incredible levels of violence in the region, until the Garcia Simental faction was dismantled by the Mexican Federal Police in January 2010. Out of desperation, Garcia Simental attempted to win back power by reaching out to the Sinaloa Federation for backing against Sanchez Arellano, knowing that the Sinaloa Federation had been trying to move into the lucrative Tijuana region for several years.

The strategy failed and the Garcia Simental faction was marginalized by Mexican security forces, but this left the AFO under Sanchez Arellano extremely weak, with only a few remaining cells still operating in the region. In the latter half of 2010, the Sinaloa Federation used the opening Garcia Simental had given it to solidify control over parts of western Baja California state, namely the Tecate and Mexicali regions, putting Sinaloa in prime position to seize Tijuana. The AFO knew it could not withstand another lengthy battle to retain control of its home territory against a much larger force with vast resources, and a deal was struck between the two organizations. The deal allows both organizations to operate independently and includes a nonaggression pact, securing for the Sinaloa Federation its long-awaited access to the lucrative port of entry into the United States.

As the Sinaloa Federation prepared to send its assets into the region in early 2010, it implemented a business plan for Tijuana that differed from its previous approach. Rather than have a traditional plaza boss who heads several cells and coordinates shipments of illicit goods across the border, the Sinaloa Federation sent numerous autonomous cells to work in the same area under the direction of Sinaloa No. 2 Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada Garcia. This information was finally made public by the Tijuana publication Zeta Tijuana (no association with the criminal organization Los Zetas) after it was able to obtain information from the interrogation of an aspiring Sinaloa cell leader in Tijuana, Jesus “El Tomate” Israel de La Cruz, who was arrested Jan. 4.

According to Israel de La Cruz, this new business structure with multiple autonomous cells working together was adopted after the Beltran Leyva brothers, who formed an important faction within Sinaloa, became too powerful and split from the Sinaloa Federation in 2008. A similar instance occurred with the Vicente Carrillo Fuentes organization in Juarez. This strategy is intended to prevent one cell leader from becoming too powerful, and therefore to keep them dependent on the parent organization, the Sinaloa Federation.

While this approach has generally stabilized the Tijuana region compared to the situation from 2008 to 2010, there is still some dissonance among the cells. A record 134-ton marijuana seizure in October 2010 resulted from a dispute between cell leaders over who was to smuggle which portion into the United States. Somehow, word of the massive shipment made its way to the Mexican military and law enforcement, resulting in the multimillion dollar seizure. After an enforcement sweep left numerous associates dead, business was back to normal.

Undoubtedly, there will be brief flare-ups of violence anywhere organized criminal activity is present — it simply comes with the territory of any illicit business — and there will be spikes in violence again in Tijuana. These two factors — Sinaloa’s decentralized approach, which prevents new rivals from springing up from within a cartel, and the agreement in place in Tijuana between the Sinaloa Federation and the AFO — have led to a more predictable operating environment not only for the cartels, but for the people and businesses of Tijuana, and have given the organizations operating in the area a set of rules to play by. That being said, historically, these types of agreements have been fleeting in nature, as they are often only followed as long as they are convenient to all parties involved. The question is not if the agreement will stay in place but how long it will prevail.

24019  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stratfor: Tiajuana on: January 17, 2011, 02:57:24 PM
Summary
Baja California state, with its lucrative port of entry into the United States in Tijuana, is among the most sought-after territory for Mexico’s drug cartels. For years the state was controlled by the Arellano Felix Organization until that group’s disintegration and the rise of perhaps Mexico’s most powerful cartel, the Sinaloa Federation. Learning from its past experience, the Sinaloa Federation has moved over the past year to decentralize control among autonomous cells in order to prevent any single faction from becoming too dominant, and breaking off to form its own rival cartel, which has already led to a more stable security environment in the region.

Analysis
The criminal landscape in Mexico’s Baja California state has changed dramatically over the past year, and so have the internal workings of arguably the most powerful cartel in Mexico, the Sinaloa Federation. Dominated by the Arellano Felix Organization (AFO) in the 1990s and early 2000s, crackdowns by the Mexican government and internal divisions in the AFO led to the eventual rise of the Sinaloa Federation in Baja California in late 2010.

Taking its own experience with internal divisions into account, the Sinaloa Federation has adjusted its approach, decentralizing control and ensuring that no one faction becomes powerful enough to split from its parent organization and hold the lucrative Tijuana port of entry into the United States and its surroundings for itself. Despite the increase in organized criminal activity in the region over the past few months, this move has led to a more predictable security environment in the greater Baja California region — a drastic change from only a year ago.

Throughout the 1990s, Tijuana was controlled by the AFO, but a string of arrests and deaths of senior leaders of the groups — namely the Arellano Felix brothers, who made up the core leadership of the AFO beginning in the late 1990s and into the early 2000s — left the group’s operational capability severely diminished. Internal fighting between the faction loyal to the Arellano Felix brothers’ successor, Fernando “El Ingeniero” Sanchez Arellano, and those loyal to the group’s top enforcer, Teodoro “El Teo” Garcia Simental, led to a further degradation of the organization in the beginning of 2008. This conflict sparked incredible levels of violence in the region, until the Garcia Simental faction was dismantled by the Mexican Federal Police in January 2010. Out of desperation, Garcia Simental attempted to win back power by reaching out to the Sinaloa Federation for backing against Sanchez Arellano, knowing that the Sinaloa Federation had been trying to move into the lucrative Tijuana region for several years.

The strategy failed and the Garcia Simental faction was marginalized by Mexican security forces, but this left the AFO under Sanchez Arellano extremely weak, with only a few remaining cells still operating in the region. In the latter half of 2010, the Sinaloa Federation used the opening Garcia Simental had given it to solidify control over parts of western Baja California state, namely the Tecate and Mexicali regions, putting Sinaloa in prime position to seize Tijuana. The AFO knew it could not withstand another lengthy battle to retain control of its home territory against a much larger force with vast resources, and a deal was struck between the two organizations. The deal allows both organizations to operate independently and includes a nonaggression pact, securing for the Sinaloa Federation its long-awaited access to the lucrative port of entry into the United States.

As the Sinaloa Federation prepared to send its assets into the region in early 2010, it implemented a business plan for Tijuana that differed from its previous approach. Rather than have a traditional plaza boss who heads several cells and coordinates shipments of illicit goods across the border, the Sinaloa Federation sent numerous autonomous cells to work in the same area under the direction of Sinaloa No. 2 Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada Garcia. This information was finally made public by the Tijuana publication Zeta Tijuana (no association with the criminal organization Los Zetas) after it was able to obtain information from the interrogation of an aspiring Sinaloa cell leader in Tijuana, Jesus “El Tomate” Israel de La Cruz, who was arrested Jan. 4.

According to Israel de La Cruz, this new business structure with multiple autonomous cells working together was adopted after the Beltran Leyva brothers, who formed an important faction within Sinaloa, became too powerful and split from the Sinaloa Federation in 2008. A similar instance occurred with the Vicente Carrillo Fuentes organization in Juarez. This strategy is intended to prevent one cell leader from becoming too powerful, and therefore to keep them dependent on the parent organization, the Sinaloa Federation.

While this approach has generally stabilized the Tijuana region compared to the situation from 2008 to 2010, there is still some dissonance among the cells. A record 134-ton marijuana seizure in October 2010 resulted from a dispute between cell leaders over who was to smuggle which portion into the United States. Somehow, word of the massive shipment made its way to the Mexican military and law enforcement, resulting in the multimillion dollar seizure. After an enforcement sweep left numerous associates dead, business was back to normal.

Undoubtedly, there will be brief flare-ups of violence anywhere organized criminal activity is present — it simply comes with the territory of any illicit business — and there will be spikes in violence again in Tijuana. These two factors — Sinaloa’s decentralized approach, which prevents new rivals from springing up from within a cartel, and the agreement in place in Tijuana between the Sinaloa Federation and the AFO — have led to a more predictable operating environment not only for the cartels, but for the people and businesses of Tijuana, and have given the organizations operating in the area a set of rules to play by. That being said, historically, these types of agreements have been fleeting in nature, as they are often only followed as long as they are convenient to all parties involved. The question is not if the agreement will stay in place but how long it will prevail.

24020  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / SHOT Show on: January 17, 2011, 12:03:47 PM
Leaving for SHOT Show later today, will return Wednesday night.
24021  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / WSJ on: January 17, 2011, 12:03:06 PM
Since 1990, New York has experienced the largest and longest sustained drop in street crime of any big city in the developed world. In less than a generation, many major felonies have fallen 80 percent or more. New York did this by rejecting everything that the criminology and social-work professions counseled about crime. Police Chief William Bratton announced in 1994 that the police, not some big-government welfare program, would lower crime by 10 percent in just one year. He not only met his goal, he bested it—by ruthlessly holding precinct commanders accountable for the safety of their beats, by the rigorous analysis of crime data, and by empowering street cops to intervene in suspicious behavior before a crime actually happened.

Just as the liberal philosophy of exempting the poor from bourgeois standards of behavior set up a vicious cycle of fatherlessness, crime, and dependency, the conservative philosophy of universal standards set up a virtuous cycle of urban renovation. With crime in free fall across New York in the 1990s, the tourism and hospitality industries boomed, triggering demand for the low-skilled welfare mothers whom welfare reform was nudging into the workplace. Businesses moved back into formerly violence-plagued areas, creating more jobs. Neighborhoods were transformed.

To take just one example, contemplate for a moment a small miracle that occurs around 11 o'clock each night at the 96th Street subway stop on the Lexington Avenue line: residents pour out of the subway and disappear into the darkness, heading unconcernedly home. For years, such a routine at such an hour would have been fraught with anxiety. . . .

The national crime drop of 41 percent since 1991 is also the longest and largest national decline in modern history, one wholly unforeseen by criminologists. It was made possible by the increased incarceration rate, which achieved its maximum effect in the 1990s, and by the spread of New York–style data-driven policing. Most significant is that the national crime rate has fallen in each of the last three years, putting the final nail in the coffin of the liberal conceit that a bad economy drives otherwise law-abiding individuals into crime.

24022  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Jeb Bush interview on: January 17, 2011, 11:58:35 AM
 MARY ANASTASIA O'GRADY
Coral Gables, Fla.

If Republicans were to run a classified ad for their 2012 presidential candidate, it might read something like this: GOP seeks popular former two-term governor of a large state for executive post. Qualified applicants will have a demonstrated understanding of the relationship between taxes and growth, a proven record on choice in education, and an ability to draw Hispanic voters. A commitment to states' rights and the U.S. constitution is a must.

Their candidate is out there. But Jeb Bush, Florida's governor from 1999 to 2007, insists that he's not applying for the job. Still, his ideas and style have gained national attention, so I braved the TSA gropers at New York's LaGuardia airport and hopped a flight to South Florida to talk to him.

As we sit down in his office, the tall Texas transplant raises the still-unratified Colombia free trade agreement, which has been in the news recently. Sitting on the FTA has created uncertainty that is emblematic of President Obama's broader economic policy, he says. Plus, Colombia is a U.S. ally. "We get all the benefits [that come] with a friend and this is how we treat them. It's just amazing," he says, shaking his head.

Mr. Bush's wife was born in Mexico, he is fluent in Spanish, and he lives in a heavily Hispanic state, so he has great interest in our hemisphere. He's also had unusual success earning the political support of Spanish-speaking Americans, so I ask him what tips he has for his immigrant-challenged party.

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Terry Shoffner
 .His answer comes effortlessly. Hispanics aren't monolithic, he says, but all immigrants—"the newly arrived and the second generation"—share one trait: "They're aspirational." Conservative candidates, therefore, should promote "policies that reward people who are aspirational." That's what he did, and 60% of Democratic Hispanic voters supported his re-election in 2002, he says. Hispanic voters are growing in number, Mr. Bush points out, and "they are increasingly the swing voters in the swing states."

One problem for Republicans, he says, is that "the tone of our message is one of 'them and us' sometimes." At least that's what gets "magnified in the press," with immigration policy being the flash point. It's "a shame," he says, because Republicans and immigrants have a lot in common. "But if you send a signal that we really don't want you as part of our team, they're not going to join."

Yet might today's recent immigrants be natural Democrats, as they were in the 20th century after arriving from Europe? Democrats promise more entitlements, and immigrants tend to be on the lower economic rungs. Mr. Bush couldn't disagree more. "There are people who believe in expanding the welfare state across the spectrum of races and ethnicities and creeds," he says, but that's not a common value among Hispanics. "If you had to pick the values that would be held dear to a broad number of Hispanic voters, access to opportunity would be a higher value than guarantee of security, particularly amongst the newly arrived, meaning the last 20 years."

His insistence on engagement is not a call for multiculturalism. Quite the opposite: "The beauty of America—one of the things that so separates us [from the rest of the world]—is this ability to take people from disparate backgrounds that buy into the American ideal."

With regard to assimilation, he says, Hispanics have much to be proud of. "Second-generation Hispanics marry non-Hispanics at a higher rate than second-generation Irish or Italians. Second-generation Hispanics' English language capability rates are higher than previous immigrant groups'."

The former governor says immigration is fundamentally an economic matter. "I would argue that if we can't figure out how to control our border and move to a much more provocative and 21st-century immigration policy, the problems we face will become incredibly difficult to solve because we are not going to grow." Coming from the mild-mannered Mr. Bush, I take this to mean that government needs to grow bolder—not necessarily more confrontational—in its search for immigration solutions.

The country needs "younger people with energy and aspirations," he says. Without them, we could end up looking like Old Europe: What should be annual GDP growth of 3.5% could instead be 1.5%. After 10 years, that would amount to a difference of $3.8 trillion in economic activity. "So to me the immigration issue is an economic competitiveness issue, and we're missing it because we are incompetent in the government."

Mr. Bush would like to see "a very aggressive guest worker program that ebbs and flows with demand." He also wants to expand the H-1B visa program aggressively, allowing high-tech companies and others to recruit "highly educated, highly motivated people" from around the world.


To deal with the problem of illegals already in the country, meanwhile, Mr. Bush likes proposals that acknowledge the rule of law but also "give them a chance to change their status. If they learn English, pay a fine, accept a waiting time and have a clean record, some system like that makes sense to get people to come out of the shadows." Going forward, he thinks employer sanctions are justified because the E-verify system—an online government system that allows employers to check the legal status of job applicants—seems to work.

The nut of the problem is competency at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). "If you have to deal with our friends at ICE, it's like a Kafka novel. Files just disappear," he says, speaking from personal experience with constituents and relatives.

Mr. Bush's fiscal record is also worth exploring, so I ask him about the importance of Florida having no income tax. It has been "hugely important" in attracting people with economic aspirations, he says. Part of the trick is controlling the growth of government. When he was governor, he says, he "did a whole series of things that institutionalized limited government," including building up a constitutionally mandated countercyclical reserve fund, putting checks on spending, creating debt-service limits, and prohibiting gimmicks that underfunded pensions.

Mr. Bush says that during his tenure Florida was "the only state to go from a double-A to a triple-A rating," in part because state pensions were among the best funded in the country. "So when states come hat-in-hand to Washington" looking for money, he says, "I would hate to see the really bad drunks getting more bourbon while the states that have done the right thing are penalized."

So new Republican governors should adopt rules for countercyclical budgeting and fully funded pensions? Too timid, Mr. Bush says. "I would argue for the elimination of the defined-benefit pension system. Might as well just get right to the end of the conversation, that's where this is all going." Then, "figure out a creative way to deal with the unfunded liabilities." That "means you have to take on the unions." He notes that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has so far "shown that you can take on these entrenched interests and be popular and sustain the efforts to change the state."

Mr. Bush points out that although Florida spends slightly less than the national average per student in education, it has had "the greatest gains in learning as measured by the [National Assessment for Educational Progress] scores." Florida Hispanics are leading the way in closing the achievement gap, he says, as his state's "low-income Hispanics now do better than the California average in the fourth-grade rating."

How did Florida do it? "Harder edge accountability, the most ambitious school choice programs in the country, and the elimination of social promotion from the third grade," he says. One program promised that if a school got a failing grade from evaluators two years out of five, parents could take the value of their children's education and use it at a private school. The program lasted more than five years before it was ruled unconstitutional (on the grounds that Florida's constitution guarantees students free public schools). But it "had a dramatic impact on improving lower-performing schools because the threat drove a lot of change."

I ask Mr. Bush if, having made so much bipartisan progress in Florida, he has any advice for the new Republican Congress. He starts with this: "There is a balance between standing on principle and finding common ground, and we need both. Common ground doesn't have to be compromise of principle."

Members of Congress can find common ground on issues like trade, he says. For example, "if the president is for the Korea [free trade agreement] but not for the Colombia FTA, it seems to me that Speaker Boehner would be absolutely correct in saying 'We're for you, Mr. President, but the merits also suggest that Colombia and Panama ought to be part of this.'"

Mr. Bush says it is wrong to oppose Mr. Obama at every turn. "On the bigger stuff where there are clear lines in the sand related to the size and scope of government, tax policy, spending, the environment and the regulatory agenda, there is probably not going to be common ground found. But there are other places like education where there could be common ground. And, I would hope, border security."

Constant political one-upping is particularly dangerous, Mr. Bush warns, because there could be a shock to the system in the near future. One possibility is "one of the states not being able to deal with its pension obligations and its structural budget problems." That could, in turn, "change the international financial community's regard for sovereign risk in the United States."

Still, Republicans need to fight for their ideals—against "the general idea that you solve problems by mandating, regulating and taxing," and for "trusting the interaction of free people to pursue their dreams." When I ask him for specifics, he says that the Republican House should pass a budget "that's real, that rolls back discretionary spending at a minimum to the 2008 level, and that begins the process of challenging the general size and scope of the government."

Then he points to Congressional oversight of the regulatory process. Congress has abdicated its constitutional duty to oversee "the executive branch's execution of law," he says. Instead, it has gone about "just reauthorizing laws without looking at the costs and benefits," especially with regard to environmental regulation. "I think we should sunset every law and do a review of the rules."


The field of Republican candidates looks so grim to me that I can't help but ask whether this isn't Mr. Bush's "moment." "This is my moment," he says to my less-than precise question. "I feel totally blessed with the wife I have and the life I have. On the important stuff, it is my time."

But I was referring to the presidential race. "I know you were. And I am not running," he says, smiling. But he wants to "play a role" and thinks that he's especially equipped to do so because he's not running. "I can really speak about things that are controversial, that a candidate might avoid—like immigration. And my view may not be in the mainstream of my party, but that doesn't bother me a bit."

Ms. O'Grady writes the Journal's Americas column.
24023  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Dealing with the adrenaline dump on: January 17, 2011, 11:50:53 AM
Please describe.
24024  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Test your power of observation on: January 17, 2011, 11:49:13 AM
http://www.oldjoeblack.0nyx.com/thinktst.htm
24025  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: January 17, 2011, 11:30:11 AM
"Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in early 2009 found himself dealing with the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression without his team of deputies in place. The attempted bombing of an American airliner on Christmas Day 2009 occurred when the Transportation Security Administration was without an administrator."

Correct me if I am wrong but wasn't that in great part because BO (Geithner) did not nominate anyone?

NOT DENYING THE LARGER ISSUE, but

a) the Dems strated it with their outrageious borking of Reagan's Judge Bork nomination (contrast the Reps subsequent  treatment of Ruth Bader Ginsberg;
b) BO has nominated some seriously radical people.


24026  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / SHOT Show on: January 17, 2011, 11:24:42 AM
I will be leaving later today for the SHOT show and will return Wed. night.

24027  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / How to make yourself diabetic on: January 17, 2011, 12:51:19 AM
Comments?
===============================

An easy-to-follow 5-step plan to make yourself diabetic in as short a time as possible...

1) Cut your fat and eat healthy, whole grains: Yes, reduce satiety-inducing foods and replace the calories with appetite-increasing foods, such as whole grain bread, that skyrocket blood sugar higher than a candy bar.

2) Consume one or more servings of juice or soda per day: The fructose from the sucrose or high-fructose corn syrup will grow visceral fat and cultivate resistance to insulin.

3) Follow the Institute of Medicine's advice on vitamin D: Take no more than 600 units vitamin D per day, which will allow abnormal levels of insulin resistance to persist, driving up blood sugar, grow visceral fat, and allow abnormal inflammatory phenomena to persist.

4) Have a bowl of oatmeal or oat cereal every morning: Because oat products skyrocket blood sugar, the repeated high sugars will damage the pancreatic beta cells ("glucose toxicity"), eventually impairing pancreatic insulin production. (Add insult to injury by adding a little honey with your oatmeal.) To make your diabetes-creating breakfast concoction even more effective, make the oatmeal using bottled water. Many popular bottled waters, like Coca Cola's Dasani or Pepsi's Aquafina, are filtered waters. This means they are devoid of magnesium, a mineral important for regulating insulin responses.

5) Take a diuretic (like hydrochlorothiazide, or HCTZ) or beta blocker (like metoprolol or atenolol) for blood pressure: Likelihood of diabetes increases 30% with these common blood pressure agents.

24028  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / 3/11-12: Learn to Read/Write Filipino Script on: January 16, 2011, 06:39:30 PM


The Inosanto Academy Of Martial Arts
13348-13352 Beach Avenue
Marina Del Rey, CA 90292
310-578-7773
Register online: www.inosanto.com
24029  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: January 16, 2011, 01:24:17 AM
Amen.
24030  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Additional info on: January 15, 2011, 10:55:46 PM
From Tricky Dog

All - updated versions of both formats are available - on poster are
more details about location, schedule, and costs - not absolutely
required but helpful:

http://www.maelstromcore.com/dogbrothers/DB2011.jpg
http://www.maelstromcore.com/dogbrothers/DB2011.pdf
24031  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: January 15, 2011, 01:49:55 PM
The two points are not mutually exclusive.  IMHO both CCP and PC are correct.
24032  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / POTH's Charles Blow(hard) on: January 15, 2011, 01:48:45 PM
Normally this guy is a typicall super progressive, but today he actually shows some integrity.
========================

The Tucson Witch HuntBy CHARLES M. BLOW
Published: January 14, 2011
 
Immediately after the news broke, the air became thick with conjecture, speculation and innuendo. There was a giddy, almost punch-drunk excitement on the left. The prophecy had been fulfilled: “words have consequences.” And now, the right’s rhetorical chickens had finally come home to roost.

The dots were too close and the temptation to connect them too strong. The target was a Democratic congresswoman. There was the map of her district in the cross hairs. There were her own prescient worries about overheated rhetoric.

Within hours of the shooting, there was a full-fledged witch hunt to link the shooter to the right.

“I saw Goody Proctor with the devil! Oh, I mean Jared Lee Loughner! Yes him. With the devil!”

The only problem is that there was no evidence then, and even now, that overheated rhetoric from the right had anything to do with the shooting. (In fact, a couple of people who said they knew him have described him as either apolitical or “quite liberal.”) The picture emerging is of a sad and lonely soul slowly, and publicly, slipping into insanity.

I have written about violent rhetoric before, and I’m convinced that it’s poisonous to our politics, that the preponderance of it comes from the right, and that it has the potential to manifest in massacres like the one in Tucson.

But I also know that potential, possibility and even plausibility are not proof.

The American people know it, too. According to a USA Today/Gallup poll released Wednesday, 42 percent of those asked said that political rhetoric was not a factor at all in the shooting, 22 percent said that it was a minor factor and 20 percent said that it was a major factor. Furthermore, most agreed that focusing on conservative rhetoric as a link in the shooting was “not a legitimate point but mostly an attempt to use the tragedy to make conservatives look bad.” And nearly an equal number of people said that Republicans, the Tea Party and Democrats had all “gone too far in using inflammatory language” to criticize their opponents.

Great. So the left overreacts and overreaches and it only accomplishes two things: fostering sympathy for its opponents and nurturing a false equivalence within the body politic. Well done, Democrats.

Now we’ve settled into the by-any-means-necessary argument: anything that gets us to focus on the rhetoric and tamp it down is a good thing. But a wrong in the service of righteousness is no less wrong, no less corrosive, no less a menace to the very righteousness it’s meant to support.

You can’t claim the higher ground in a pit of quicksand.

Concocting connections to advance an argument actually weakens it. The argument for tonal moderation has been done a tremendous disservice by those who sought to score political points in the absence of proof.

24033  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Evergreen Solar moving manufacturing to China on: January 15, 2011, 01:41:58 PM
Surprise, surprise!
============
POTH
BEIJING — Aided by at least $43 million in assistance from the government of Massachusetts and an innovative solar energy technology, Evergreen Solar emerged in the last three years as the third-largest maker of solar panels in the United States.

But now the company is closing its main American factory, laying off the 800 workers by the end of March and shifting production to a joint venture with a Chinese company in central China. Evergreen cited the much higher government support available in China.
The factory closing in Devens, Mass., which Evergreen announced earlier this week, has set off political recriminations and finger-pointing in Massachusetts. And it comes just as President Hu Jintao of China is scheduled for a state visit next week to Washington, where the agenda is likely to include tensions between the United States and China over trade and energy policy.

The Obama administration has been investigating whether China has violated the free trade rules of the World Trade Organization with its extensive subsidies to the manufacturers of solar panels and other clean energy products.

While a few types of government subsidies are permitted under international trade agreements, they are not supposed to give special advantages to exports — something that China’s critics accuse it of doing. The Chinese government has strongly denied that any of its clean energy policies have violated W.T.O. rules.

Although solar energy still accounts for only a tiny fraction of American power production, declining prices and concerns about global warming give solar power a prominent place in United States plans for a clean energy future — even if critics say the federal government is still not doing enough to foster its adoption.

Beyond the issues of trade and jobs, solar power experts see broader implications. They say that after many years of relying on unstable governments in the Middle East for oil, the United States now looks likely to rely on China to tap energy from the sun.

Evergreen, in announcing its move to China, was unusually candid about its motives. Michael El-Hillow, the chief executive, said in a statement that his company had decided to close the Massachusetts factory in response to plunging prices for solar panels. World prices have fallen as much as two-thirds in the last three years — including a drop of 10 percent during last year’s fourth quarter alone.

Chinese manufacturers, Mr. El-Hillow said in the statement, have been able to push prices down sharply because they receive considerable help from the Chinese government and state-owned banks, and because manufacturing costs are generally lower in China.

“While the United States and other Western industrial economies are beneficiaries of rapidly declining installation costs of solar energy, we expect the United States will continue to be at a disadvantage from a manufacturing standpoint,” he said.

Even though Evergreen opened its Devens plant, with all new equipment, only in 2008, it began talks with Chinese companies in early 2009. In September 2010, the company opened its factory in Wuhan, China, and will now rely on that operation.

An Evergreen spokesman said Mr. El-Hillow was not available to comment for this article.

Other solar panel manufacturers are also struggling in the United States. Solyndra, a Silicon Valley business, received a visit from President Obama in May and a $535 million federal loan guarantee, only to say in November that it was shutting one of its two American plants and would delay expansion of the other.

First Solar, an American company, is one of the world’s largest solar power vendors. But most of its products are made overseas.

Chinese solar panel manufacturers accounted for slightly over half the world’s production last year. Their share of the American market has grown nearly sixfold in the last two years, to 23 percent in 2010 and is still rising fast, according to GTM Research, a renewable energy market analysis firm in Cambridge, Mass.

In addition to solar energy, China just passed the United States as the world’s largest builder and installer of wind turbines.

The closing of the Evergreen factory has prompted finger-pointing in Massachusetts.

Ian A. Bowles, the former energy and environment chief for Gov. Deval L. Patrick, a Democrat who pushed for the solar panel factory to be located in Massachusetts, said the federal government had not helped the American industry enough or done enough to challenge Chinese government subsidies for its industry. Evergreen has received no federal money.

“The federal government has brought a knife to a gun fight,” Mr. Bowles said. “Its support is completely out of proportion to the support displayed by China — and even to that in Europe.”

Stephanie Mueller, the Energy Department press secretary, said the department was committed to supporting renewable energy. “Through our Loan Program Office we have offered conditional commitments for loan guarantees to 16 clean energy projects totaling nearly $16.5 billion,” she said. “We have finalized and closed half of those loan guarantees, and the program has ramped up significantly over the last year to move projects through the process quickly and efficiently while protecting taxpayer interests.”

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Page 2 of 2)



Evergreen did not try to go through the long, costly process of obtaining a federal loan because of what it described last summer as signals from the department that its technology was too far along and not in need of research and development assistance. The Energy Department has a policy of not commenting on companies that do not apply.


Evergreen was selling solar panels made in Devens for $3.39 a watt at the end of 2008 and planned to cut its costs to $2 a watt by the end of last year — a target it met. But Evergreen found that by the end of the fourth quarter, it could fetch only $1.90 a watt for its Devens-made solar panels, while Chinese manufacturers were selling them for as little as $1 a watt.

Evergreen’s joint-venture factory in Wuhan occupies a long, warehouselike concrete building in an industrial park located in an inauspicious neighborhood. A local employee said the municipal police had used the site for mass executions into the 1980s.

When a reporter was given a rare tour inside the building just before it began mass production in September, the operation appeared as modern as any in the world. Row after row of highly automated equipment stretched toward the two-story-high ceiling in an immaculate, brightly lighted white hall. Chinese technicians closely watched the computer screens monitoring each step in the production processes.

In a telephone interview in August, Mr. El-Hillow said that he was desperate to avoid layoffs at the Devens factory. But he said Chinese state-owned banks and municipal governments were offering unbeatable assistance to Chinese solar panel companies.

Factory labor is cheap in China, where monthly wages average less than $300. That compares to a statewide average of more than $5,400 a month for Massachusetts factory workers. But labor is a tiny share of the cost of running a high-tech solar panel factory, Mr. El-Hillow said. China’s real advantage lies in the ability of solar panel companies to form partnerships with local governments and then obtain loans at very low interest rates from state-owned banks.

Evergreen, with help from its partners — the Wuhan municipal government and the Hubei provincial government — borrowed two-thirds of the cost of its Wuhan factory from two Chinese banks, at an interest rate that under certain conditions could go as low as 4.8 percent, Mr. El-Hillow said in August. Best of all, no principal payments or interest payments will be due until the end of the loan in 2015.

By contrast, a $21 million grant from Massachusetts covered 5 percent of the cost of the Devens factory, and the company had to borrow the rest from banks, Mr. El-Hillow said.

Banks in the United States were reluctant to provide the rest of the money even at double-digit interest rates, partly because of the financial crisis. “Therein lies the hidden advantage of being in China,” Mr. El-Hillow said.

Devens, as the site of a former military base, is a designated enterprise zone eligible for state financial support.

State Senator Jamie Eldridge, a Democrat whose district includes Devens, said he was initially excited for Evergreen to come to his district, but even before the announced loss of 800 jobs, he had come to oppose such large corporate assistance.

“I think there’s been a lot of hurt feelings over these subsidies to companies, while a lot of communities around the former base have not seen development money,” he said.

Michael McCarthy, a spokesman for Evergreen, said the company had already met 80 percent of the grant’s job creation target by employing up to 800 factory workers since 2008 and should owe little money to the state. Evergreen also retains about 100 research and administrative jobs in Massachusetts.

The company also received about $22 million in tax credits, and it will discuss those with Massachusetts, he said.

Evergreen has had two unique problems that made its Devens factory vulnerable to Chinese competition. It specializes in an unusual kind of wafer, making it hard to share research and development costs with other companies. And it was hurt when Lehman Brothers went bankrupt in 2008; Evergreen lost one-seventh of its outstanding shares in a complex transaction involving convertible notes. But many other Western solar power companies are also running into trouble, as competition from China coincides with uncertainty about the prices at which Western regulators will let solar farms sell electricity to national grids.

According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, shares in solar companies fell an average of 26 percent last year. Evergreen’s stock, which traded above $100 in late 2007, closed Friday in New York at $3.03.
24034  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / NYTimes: The Hellcat on: January 15, 2011, 01:32:48 PM
It was not quite a full-blown temper tantrum, but Mary Todd Lincoln’s outburst during a mid-January shopping trip raised eyebrows at a time when her husband did not need any more problems. And it signaled that the president-elect would have his hands full governing his own household, on top of everything else.
For him, the early weeks of 1861 were consumed with cabinet-making and the last remnants of the amiable politicking that had characterized so much of his time in Springfield. He still received many visitors, and the journalist Henry Villard marveled that “probably no other President-elect was as approachable by everybody.” He greeted friends and neighbors, and told his jokes, and tried to act like the person they had known for years. (Villard records the unusual spectacle of Lincoln laughing at one of his better punchlines: “A high-pitched laughter lighted up his otherwise melancholy countenance with thorough merriment. His body shook all over with gleeful emotion, and when he felt particularly good over his performance, he followed his habit of drawing his knees, with his arms around them, up to his very face.”)

Yet as March 4 drew closer, and secession loomed larger, it was becoming clear that his life had changed forever. He could not keep up with the huge volume of mail. Some of it was disturbing — crude drawings of skulls and bones, a sketch of Lincoln’s head in a noose; an actual noose itself. The crowds of office-seekers and thrill-seekers were relentless, and he began to restrict their access to him. In many ways, he was already becoming the president, well before the March 4 transfer of power. On Jan. 19, a Mexican diplomat came all the way to Springfield to pay his respects, a sign that the rest of the world was not so far from the prairie. Lincoln’s two assistants, John Hay and John Nicolay, were acting as the White House gatekeepers they would become. And Lincoln was beginning to compile the thoughts that would cohere into his inaugural.

The nearness of the White House was just as keenly felt by his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, only 42 years old. She had wanted this for as long as anyone could remember. When only a girl in Lexington, Kentucky, she rode her pony to the house of Henry Clay, and announced to his dinner party that she would enjoy living in the White House someday. As a young belle, freshly arrived in Springfield, she famously declared her intention to marry a president. Now, against all odds, that prediction was coming true, and she was determined to make the most of it. And to look as good as possible while doing so.
Lincoln, a lifelong advocate of enlightened government, was reluctant to impose it at home (his law partner, William Herndon, complained, “He was the most indulgent parent I have ever known”). If Mary felt a growing urge to cut a national figure, he saw no reason to restrain her. And so, on Jan. 10, she left Springfield on a shopping trip to — where else? — New York City, where she intended to make purchases for the White House and, perhaps, one or two items for herself. She was accompanied by her brother-in-law, Clark Smith, purveyor of “The Best Ladies Goods in Illinois,” and they did the town up in style. She visited New York’s huge department stores, bought jewelry and dresses, mixed and mingled at tea parties and talked gaily to all within earshot.

This was perfectly in character for a woman who had always loved society, and had been bred to it in a way that her husband most certainly was not. She was a gifted conversationalist, spoke French, and as a young lady had dazzled her suitors (including Stephen Douglas, a near-president). This side of her had never been able to flourish during a long and sometimes troubled marriage with a rusticated genius who liked to read books lying on the floor, and cared little for the social graces. She detested the comments that were already appearing in the press, insinuating that she and her husband were Western rubes, and she was determined to bring grace to the White House. The expected transformation would be all the more striking for the fact that James Buchanan’s White House had no First Lady at all. (His niece, Harriet Lane, acted as hostess.)

The problem, as is so often the case in politics, was the timing. It struck some observers as strange that she was shopping so conspicuously in the grave days of secession, and it was even worse that she talked so audibly. “Within earshot” turned out to be a wide arc indeed, and her casual remarks began to seep into the papers — one reporter called it “shocking” that she was “kiting about the country and holding levees in which she indulges in a multitude of silly speeches.”

Her judgment was off, too — she was overheard commenting on the reasons that Lincoln had appointed Seward his secretary of state, and she visited a naval vessel when her husband wanted to avoid all talk of war. Perhaps most ominously, she accepted the unlimited credit lines extended to the wife of a president-elect, with no urgent plan for repayment. In other words, she had not yet grasped that she lived inside a fishbowl. A few months later, a British journalist wrote, “If she but drives down Pennsylvania Avenue, the electric wire trills the news to every hamlet in the Union.” It’s an old lesson: be careful what you wish for.

To make matters worse, she was never able to govern her famous temper, which led Hay and Nicolay to nickname her “The Hellcat.” As she made her way back to Springfield, it erupted. Americans had to change trains more frequently then, and when she arrived at Buffalo, the State Line Railroad had the audacity to ask her to pay for her passage! Didn’t they know who she was? Fortunately, her son Robert was there to calm things down. With polished diplomacy (he would enjoy a long and successful career in the railroad business), he went to the superintendent and said, “My name is Bob Lincoln; I’m a son of Old Abe — the old woman is in the cars raising h-ll about her passes — I wish you would attend to her.” The plea worked; both Lincolns were granted passes.

But unfortunately, that account, hyphenated “h-ll” and all, appeared in The Baltimore Sun, and it was not helpful to Lincoln to have additional bad publicity in a city where a serious assassination plot was being hatched against him. Paradoxically, it might have helped if Mary’s occasional propensity to utter pro-slavery sentiments had been conveyed there (she once said, “If Mr. Lincoln should happen to die, his spirit will never find me living outside the boundaries of a slave State”). One brother and three step-brothers would fight for the Confederacy. But she was a loyal wife, and like so many others, affirmed, “my husband is my country.” For her, it was truer than most.

Lincoln probably knew little of the train episode, and one suspects that he wanted to know even less than he did. He simply wanted her to come home, and for three nights in a row, he went to the train station in Springfield, standing in the rain and snow, hoping she would appear. Finally, on Jan. 25, she did, and all was right again. Villard wrote, “whether she got a good scolding from Abraham for unexpectedly prolonging her absence, I am unable to say; but I know she found it rather difficult to part with the winter gayeties of New York.” With at least one union restored, their last days in Springfield dwindled down, and they savored the precious family time left to them, before the fates swept them up and took them away forever from all that had been normal in their lives.

Sources: Henry Villard, “Memoirs of Henry Villard;” Harold G. and Oswald Garrison Villard, eds., “Lincoln on the Eve of ’61;” Jean H. Baker, “Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography;” Catherine Clinton, “Mrs. Lincoln: A Life”; Justin G. Turner and Linda Levitt Turner, eds., “Mary Todd Lincoln: Her Life and Letters;” Daniel Mark Epstein, “The Lincolns: Portrait of a Marriage;” William H. Herndon and Jesse W. Weik, “Herndon’s Life of Lincoln;” David Herbert Donald, “Herndon and Mrs. Lincoln;” Harry E. Pratt, “The Personal Finances of Abraham Lincoln;” Earl Schenck Miers, ed., “Lincoln Day by Day.”
24035  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The Power of Word on: January 15, 2011, 01:14:32 PM
Good find JDN.  I've emailed the reporter asking for contact info for these folks.
24036  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / The American (and first world) cultural context on: January 15, 2011, 01:09:01 PM
Woof All:

On the "Citizens defend themselves/others" thread currently nearby, the discussion of the CCW hero citizen who jumped in to help capture the crazed killer has evolved into a discussion of what can be done to lessen the occurrence of such madness.  At the moment the discussion is centered on the issue of what to do about obviously crazy people such as the killer in this case.  How did he fall between the cracks?  What, if anything, can be done to prevent this without endangering our gun rights? 

These are good questions, and I think they deserve a thread of their own-- this one and I invite the discussion of "Citizens defend themselves" to continue here. 

That said this thread is for all larger societal questions of the societal/cultural context in which our violence incubates:  What to do about crazy people, what to do with those who do wrong, why do people do these crazy things, etc.

Much heat and little light has been generated by accusations of the alleged hatred of the Tea Party, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh et al.  In my opinion this is drivel at best:  Where was the hatred at Glenn Beck's 8/28 rally of a half million?  What of GB's continuing praise of Martin Luther King and Mahatma Ghandi?  Where was the outrage when the President spoke of the opposition as "enemies" and "bringing a gun to a knife fight"?  Where was the outrage at the hatred spewed at President Bush? etc. etc.  More likely in my opinion is that the true motivation by those disingenuously oblivious to their own deeds is to neuter a properly vigorous reaction to the genuinely radical ambitions of the man who is our President-- and those around him.

We have always had vigorous political debate which often has wend its way through heated and dirty places.  We have always had political crimes of murder violence.  Southern congressmen used to cane northern congressmen opposed to slavery, sometimes on the floor of the House itself (see the American History thread on our SCH forum).   In my lifetime, accompanied by a liberal chorus about right wing hatred in Dallas for President Kennedy, a communist murdered him; a Palestinian murdered Senator Bobby Kennedy as the left rose up against the Vietnam War; a racist killed MLK; deranged hippie offshoots attempted murder of President Ford; a deranged whacko shot President Reagan.  With the possible exception of the murder of MLK, none of these were fomented by angry political words in public discourse.

But I digress , , , (not for the first or last time, no doubt).

Returning to the subject at hand, I would like to offer my own nominee to the list of candidates of variables that set the cultural stage for the acts of madness that we regularly see: the amoral violence we regularly see portrayed in Hollywood and on TV.
24037  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People on: January 15, 2011, 12:37:45 PM
Being a subject of Los Angeles, Pravda on the Beach a.k.a. the Left Angeles Times, is part of my environment; I saw the article already.  My reaction to it was that here we had a perfect example contrary to the fears of those who would disarm the American people that recognizing the people's right to bear arms would lead to recklessness and what does POTB do?  "Balance" the article with hypotheticals.  Not a big deal (and POTB has done much, much worse) but IMHO a shading in favor of an agenda nonetheless.
24038  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: January 15, 2011, 12:33:15 PM
Not difficult at all.  Put sufficent troops/national guard along the border.
24039  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Morris: Bankruptcy for the States on: January 15, 2011, 12:30:18 PM
Dick Morris is a good pollster, but IMHO he is a mediocrity on substance and sometimes gets in over his head.  The piece that follows is adequate however for my purpose of bringing up an idea which, if I am not mistaken, was begun by Newt Gingrich: changing federal bankruptcy law to enable individual states to declare Chapter 9 Bankruptcy.
=================
Facing huge budget difficulties, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has been showing other states how to survive -- namely, by taking on the government-employee unions.

Christie's battles with the teachers unions over the past year have produced countless YouTube hits. And last month, he got a law passed to limit wage hikes from labor arbitrations between the state and public-employee unions to an average 2 percent annual increase.

As New Jersey, New York, California and Illinois -- the four with the highest insurance premiums on their bonds -- face life without a compliant Congress to approve their pleas for more cash, they'll increasingly have to follow Christie's example and rein in their unions.

As Margaret Thatcher famously said, the problem with socialism is that sooner or later "you run out of other people's money."

When the states come calling, the House must say, "No." What's more, it's time to amend the federal bankruptcy laws to create a procedure for state bankruptcies -- allowing states to abrogate their municipal-union contracts from the school-board level on up.

States, in bankruptcy court, should be able to reorganize their finances so as to put themselves back on a stable footing.

Initially, municipal-bond buyers will protest the lack of federal assistance and may even deny states and localities access to the bond market at any interest rate. But once the states reorganize, they should be able to proceed normally -- just as New York City did after its financial meltdown in the '70s.

Such reorganizations needn't require any ongoing federal involvement. The procedure would let the states help themselves, giving governors and legislatures a third way out of their financial mess. Raise taxes, cut spending or ... alter union contracts. Each state would face the choice of whether to wallow in overspending or take steps to correct it.

Initially, Democrats will oppose the idea of state bankruptcies. But when House Republicans make clear that no more aid will be forthcoming and that the stimulus spigot is turned off, at least some Democrats will realize this is their best option.

Then, fiscal necessity will have achieved what so many of us want -- a return of true local government.

No more will schools be run for the teachers and by the teachers -- nor will such unions as the Service Employees International Union and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees dominate state legislatures. School choice, charter schools and even voucher programs will have a chance to flourish.

Some fear the U.S. Constitution prevents federal law from extending Chapter 9 to permit state bankruptcies because it would violate state sovereignty. Yet Chapter 9 is voluntary, so states would remain sovereign -- with merely the option of subjecting themselves to Chapter 9 constraints.

Giving insolvent states the power to break their union contracts would alter dramatically the balance of political power all across the nation. No longer would municipal unions have the financial ability to underwrite the Democratic Party. Gone from our politics would be $200 million that the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, SEIU and AFSCME together spent on political action in the last election cycle.

Government would be returned to the people.
24040  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: January 14, 2011, 04:25:25 PM
I am more pessimistic.
24041  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / CAIR: Don't talk to FBI on: January 14, 2011, 04:21:21 PM


http://www.theblaze.com/stories/cair-promises-to-remove-image-warning-of-cooperation-with-the-fbi/
24042  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People on: January 14, 2011, 01:54:51 PM
Thank you.  That ammo looks interesting.

BTW, I've always wondered with the derringer design of no trigger guard, what prevents the gun from going off from inadvertent contact with the trigger?
24043  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Wesbury: December data on: January 14, 2011, 01:49:35 PM
Retail sales increased 0.6% in December To view this article, Click Here
Brian S. Wesbury - Chief Economist
Robert Stein, CFA - Senior Economist
Date: 1/14/2011


Retail sales increased 0.6% in December while sales excluding autos rose 0.5%. Both fell slightly short of consensus expectations.

Including revisions to October/November, sales were still up 0.6% in December while sales ex-autos were up 0.3%. Retail sales are up 7.9% versus a year ago; sales ex-autos are up 6.7%.
 
The increase in retail sales for December was led by non-store retailers (internet and mail-order), autos, gas, and building materials. The weakest category of sales was general merchandise stores (department stores).
 
Sales excluding autos, building materials, and gas increased 0.2% in December, but were unchanged including downward revisions for October/November. These sales are up 5.6% versus last year. This calculation is important for estimating GDP.
 
Implications:  Despite rising less than the consensus expected, retail sales reached an all-time high in December, eclipsing the mark set in November 2007. Sales are up almost 8% in the past year and were up at a very rapid annual rate of 13% in the past three months. Overall, real (inflation-adjusted) consumer spending likely grew at about a 4% annual rate in the fourth quarter, the fastest pace since 2006. Although retail sales in December were somewhat softer than the consensus anticipated, it’s important to remember that these figures come on the heels of two great retail sales reports in a row. And remember, all this strength is coming before the Fed’s quantitative easing should be having an impact and before the tax deal in Washington is implemented. We expect sales to continue higher because earnings are up, consumers are paying down debt more slowly, and consumers’ financial obligations are now the smallest share of income since the mid-1990s. In other news this morning, business inventories increased only 0.2% in December. Inventories will be a significant drag on the growth rate of real GDP in Q4, but that leaves room for faster growth in 2011.
24044  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People on: January 14, 2011, 12:01:58 PM

GM:  When testing it in my house (CC being off limits to me as a subject of Los Angeles) the 26 seemed bulky to me too.  Interesting about GSW and caliber detection.

PC:  Do you have a URL of that gun?  Why those particular bullets?
24045  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: January 14, 2011, 11:56:46 AM
Which is precisely one of the reasons such a path is so dangerous.

In that we agree that farming it out does not absolve us of responsibility, then , , , are we torturers?
24046  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Wesbury: December inflation numbers on: January 14, 2011, 11:54:03 AM
Data Watch

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased 0.5% in December To view this article, Click Here
Brian S. Wesbury - Chief Economist
Robert Stein, CFA - Senior Economist
Date: 1/14/2011


The Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased 0.5% in December, slightly above the consensus expected gain of 0.4%. The CPI is up 1.5% versus a year ago.

“Cash” inflation (which excludes the government’s estimate of what homeowners would charge themselves for rent) was up 0.6% in December and is up 1.7% in the past year.
 
Most of the increase in the CPI in December can be attributed to energy prices, which increased 4.6%. Food prices were up 0.1%.  Excluding food and energy, the “core” CPI increased 0.1%, matching consensus expectations. Core prices are up 0.6% versus last year.
 
Real average hourly earnings – the cash earnings of production workers, adjusted for inflation – fell 0.4% in December but are up 0.4% in the past year. Due to an increase in work hours, real weekly earnings are up 1.9% in the past year.
 
Implications:  Prices have been escalating at the producer level and are now starting to show up at the consumer level. Consumer prices came in higher than expected, much due to the 4.6% increase in energy prices. Increases in the CPI are likely to persist throughout 2011 as commodity prices continue to rise and monetary policy remains easy. Although consumer prices are up only 1.5% from a year ago, they are up at a 3.1% annual rate in the past six months and up at an even faster 3.5% annual rate in the past three months. In addition, one of the factors that has held inflation down in the past year is now heading back up. Owners’ equivalent rent (OER), which is the government’s estimate of what homeowners would pay if they rented their own homes, mostly fell in late 2009 and early 2010 but is now up 0.3% versus a year ago, up at a 1.2% annual rate in the past three months and up at a 1.1% annual rate in December. This is important because OER accounts for about 25% of all the goods and services in the CPI.
24047  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science on: January 14, 2011, 11:40:19 AM
BBG emailed me about a heavy work load but says he will be back.
24048  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Patriot Post: Stimulus Incinerators on: January 14, 2011, 11:39:14 AM
Around the Nation: Stimulus Incinerators
A little known environmental consequence of Barack Obama's failed stimulus scheme is just beginning to attract attention: the construction of waste-to-energy incinerators on Indian reservations using deficit stimulus financing.

Building these facilities on reservations allows Democrats to claim that they're promoting green energy projects. However, as is often the case with stimulus dollars and Democrats, the truth and the project claims are strangers. Placing incinerators on Indian lands merely removes them from the environmental oversight that normally prohibits them from doing just what they're doing. Due to the quantity and hazardous composition of nano-particulate fly ash and chemical vapors emitted by the plants, the EPA would shut them down in a heartbeat if it could get at them. The large emission fallout zone contaminates soil, water and air for miles in every direction. This is what passes as "liberal compassion for native peoples."

The effect on residents of metropolitan areas adjacent to reservation lands where the plants are proposed can be particularly devastating. They find themselves lacking both representation to oppose the facilities as well as the normal environmental protections or legal recourse against the tribes responsible for damaging their health and property values. A good example of such a planned project is by the Oneida tribe in Wisconsin, which will be in close proximity to numerous residential homes, elementary schools, churches and Lambeau Field, the football stadium of the Green Bay Packers.

Given the high failure rate for Obama's "green" stimulus initiatives, the new GOP House majority should follow through on its stated goal to pull back unspent stimulus dollars. Otherwise, they will be forcing taxpayers to pay for being injured in a twisted new form of taxation without representation.

24049  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People on: January 14, 2011, 11:33:02 AM
I've used a naked 19 clip, and yes it works, and I like the look of the accessory shown there, but why not just carry the 19 then?
24050  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / subcontracting torture out to foreign countries on: January 14, 2011, 11:30:18 AM
GM notes that we are "subcontracting torture out to foreign countries".  This is true.   Does this really absolve us of responsibility?
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