Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Topics - ccp

Pages: [1] 2
Politics & Religion / Merrick Garland
« on: March 14, 2021, 09:50:15 AM »

Politics & Religion / New York
« on: February 17, 2020, 04:43:13 AM »
Deblasio and the NY dems not to be outdone by the Trump crime bill:

Politics & Religion / 2024
« on: January 12, 2020, 04:30:01 PM »

My prediction
the world's greatest narcissist will pick for VP for '20:

His son Donald Trump Jr.

Politics & Religion / Attorney General Barr
« on: May 02, 2019, 01:07:17 PM »
I propose we celebrate the end of Mueller and start a new thread for AG Barr who appears to be working on turning the tables in the near future against those involved in the attempted  coup d' tate .

In this thread

 I have added a review of "contempt of
just from wikipedia :

recall that Holder was found in contempt and then of course pardoned by Obama.

I presume Trump would do the same here for Barr if needed

It doesn't sound like there is any real punishment anyway for being found in contempt.  Arrested by sergaent of arms and held in the chamber ?

Politics & Religion / Wife Pete Buttigieg
« on: April 08, 2019, 09:43:29 AM »

major lib "more clever than Obama" in pretending he is more in the middle

Don't think he's hasn't got the rich gay donors including those in  the MS/entertainment mediums opening up their wallets and willingness to create the "BUZZ" about him.

like they do in the entertainment industry when coming out with new movie or record

Politics & Religion / Cold War 2
« on: December 05, 2018, 04:12:21 PM »
I guess this could go under China US or Russia US but seems to me it is a topic of its own.
We are in another cold war.  But the media is too worried about Trump and Russia to notice the real problem:

Politics & Religion / census 2020
« on: November 19, 2018, 04:50:15 AM »
Why should legal citizens be mad about this ?  We have no right to know who is a citizen or legal resident or illegal?   I mean the census is not about being a census telling us who is here  , it is a political tool now

It is a racist , xenophobic etc

I don't know why Black leaders think this helps their own people by allowing everyone under the sun walk in here.
But it is all about their power.

As I 've said , and VDH on Levin last night noted ,  Dems can't win on their policies and positions so they import new people to keep voting for them with tax payer benefits.

Politics & Religion / Beto O'Rourke
« on: October 13, 2018, 04:59:56 AM »
I keep seeing this guy all over the MSM media headlines recently.
The rave reminds of googoogaga  Obama got after his big speech at a Democrat convention '06 (? I think)

Got to laugh at Wikidpedia which calls this guy a centrist or moderate
his liberty score is right down near the bottom  with the likes of Adam Schiff

(It is higher then Susan Collins' though  :cry:)

Science, Culture, & Humanities / golf
« on: July 03, 2017, 03:54:35 PM »
This would have been ~ 1973 or 1974.  It says 1978 but that has to be wrong as he was born Dec 1975 and he was 2 yrs old at the time so 1978 does not make sense.

I remember seeing this though I thought he was on Johnny Carson not Mike Douglas>  Perhaps he was on both shows:

Politics & Religion / Puerto Rico
« on: June 07, 2017, 02:22:33 PM »
Now that the economy has collapsed they are expected to vote for statehood.
They have voted in the past and state hood has always lost .   Dems must be drooling at the thought:

Politics & Religion / 2020 Presidential election
« on: March 12, 2017, 04:50:58 AM »
We are past 50 days into Trump's term.  It is certainly time to start talking about 2020  .     :roll:

Will the eventual nominee be a dark horse or some known big shot we already know trying to jump into the power vacuum at the top?

Like Boomer Bloomberg,  Clinton again (Hillary not Chelsea , another Cuomo , Biden, Sanders, Schumer (Charlie not Amy)

Politics & Religion / Chuck Schumer
« on: January 07, 2017, 01:05:22 PM »
I dunno if CD thinks this guy is worthy of his own thread.  But if so this is worthy of the first post in the thread:

Politics & Religion / globalism vs nationalism
« on: December 30, 2016, 05:25:22 AM »
The academic elites, their political and global business partners have decided.  The concept of America is left on the pavement to be run over by a tractor trailer.   We are ordained citizens of the world.

My only question is when did this happen and who decides this:

Science, Culture, & Humanities / olympics
« on: August 03, 2016, 02:36:38 PM »
So ERic Adelson feels  that Ibtihaj Muhammad should be the US flag bearer in the Olympics because this is "who we are now" and that is NOT politicizing the choice.

Yeah right!  :-P

Team USA Opening Ceremony flag bearers

A look at the athletes who’ve carried the flag for Team USA over the years in the Olympics Opening Ceremonies.
RIO DE JANEIRO – Every four years, the United States gets to tell a distinctly American story in a very unique way — by selecting a flag bearer for the Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony. This year, the U.S. chose a story that has been told before.

The selection of Michael Phelps, as decided by athlete vote, is certainly a good one. He is the greatest Olympian of all time, not only synonymous with his sport but someone who has lifted swimming in an unprecedented way. The fact that Phelps is so familiar to all audiences is a tribute to how hard he’s worked and how much he’s accomplished. He is a legendary American.

But the choice of flag bearer is an opportunity to say, “This is who we are.” Everyone around the world knows Phelps is who we are. But not everyone knows the stories of some of the other candidates, and why they are so meaningful. Not everyone knows the story of Ibtihaj Muhammad.

Muhammad, raised by a police officer and a teacher, is a fencer who went to Duke, where she got degrees in African and African-American Studies and International Relations. She is also a devout Muslim. She will become the first American Olympian woman to compete in a hijab.

Too often, the sight of a hijab or even the mention of “Muslim” brings misconception and fear. Just recently, there was a woman on an airplane who asked to move seats because she saw a woman in a hijab texting “Allah” on her phone. At a recent presidential town hall event, one voter in New Hampshire challenged the candidate to replace TSA workers in hijabs.

“Why aren’t we putting our military retirees on that border or in TSA?” she asked. “Get rid of all these hebee-jabis they wear at TSA. I’ve seen them myself. We need the veterans back in there to — they’ve fought for this country and defended it, they’ll still do it.”

Lost on this voter was the fact that many of those who wear hijabs have represented our country, served our country and sacrificed for our country. There are nearly 6,000 Muslims in the military, according to the Department of Defense. Many Muslims have died for our country, and that was made powerfully clear in Khizr Khan’s speech at the Democratic National Convention. He is a Gold Star parent, as his son gave his life defending the U.S. in Iraq in 2004. The media has focused on what Khan’s speech means for the upcoming election, but Khan’s turn in the spotlight has brought more attention to the complex meaning of being Muslim in America. So did Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s speech. So did the national reflection on the passing of Muhammad Ali.

The easy response to support for Ibtihaj Muhammad as flag bearer is that choosing her would be “politicizing” the Opening Ceremony. That it would be picking sides in a heated presidential race.

But this argument doesn’t hold up. Choosing Muhammad would have simply been an expression of America’s diversity, and that in these Games, because of her accomplishment, we are a little more diverse than ever. This is not only who we are, but this is who we are now.

Other Olympians tell a similar story of change and growth. Carlin Isles missed his chance as a sprinter in 2012 and now comes to Rio as a rugby player in the sport’s return to the Olympics after nearly a century. Bernard Lagat is here, at age 41, as the oldest American Olympic runner ever. Jordan Burroughs fought extremely hard to keep wrestling as an Olympic sport. Water polo player Tony Azevedo is in his fifth Olympics, returning to the city of his birth.

[Fourth-Place Medal: Phelps meets idol Novak Djokovic in Rio]

It’s not that these choices would have been better than Phelps. These are all American heroes, and when the team walks into the Maracana Stadium on Friday, all Olympians are the same. But Phelps has had, and will always have, the opportunity to tell his own story. He will always have a rapt audience for whatever he does. The flag bearer gets a once-in-a-lifetime chance to tell his or her story simply by walking in with Old Glory. He or she also gets to tell the evolving story of a nation. America is different now than it was in 2012, and in 2008.

That’s the best story to tell, in the Opening Ceremony and in every Olympics.

Politics & Religion / silicon valley and politics
« on: February 17, 2016, 09:07:56 AM »
This is an older article but is just as relevant today.  Why is it that silicon valley is overwhelmingly for the Democrat Party?  I would have thought that they would be for the party of "business" and less regulation:

Politics & Religion / Big data and its' use in control of humanity
« on: December 23, 2015, 05:16:54 AM »
What?  I thought big data and computers was supposed to fix these kinds of mistakes.


Crafty - I think this is a valid thread for discussion.  Our every day lives are being increasingly collected, catalogued, measured, categorized, studies from every angle, and used by merchants, business, politicians, criminals, universities, and beaurocrats, and anybody who wants and can find a way to manipulate us. 

The left is using it big time against us.

Did you notice the burlap outfit Hillary was wearing?  Doesn't it ring a bell that it looks like some futuristic outfit from the Sci Fi movies that a mind controlling dictator would wear?

The choice of that outfit is no accident like everything else about Clinton.

Science, Culture, & Humanities / entertainment
« on: December 13, 2015, 07:12:51 PM »

Politics & Religion / entertainment
« on: December 13, 2015, 06:36:14 AM »
I don't want to disgust everyone with a Justin Beiber thread so I will start an entertainment one.

I must say he is one LUCKY guy. 

But apart from that, what is with the Hebrew tattoo on his torso?  "Yosay"?

Science, Culture, & Humanities / soccer
« on: June 26, 2014, 07:57:25 AM »
Soccer is more fun to play then to watch particularly if you are a forward or midfield and not in the boring backfield (like watching what is to me a very boring game).
I wouldn't go so far to make an argument that it is an example of moral decay however.  It is just another type of game.
But I do agree it is quite boring and after reading a few articles in the Economist magazine totally corrupt and controlled, at least in many countries by mobsters.  I also don't like going to grab a quick bite in the hospital cafeteria and someone has turned the TV on to ESPN with the volume blasting so that you can't hear the audio from the other TV turned to CNN which I, the American prefers to watch.   I strongly suspect like Coulter few Americans really care about soccer, just all the immigrants who are here.  If legal no problem.  If illegal please get out and get in line.  This is an American football town till we say otherwise.  


June 25, 2014
I've held off on writing about soccer for a decade -- or about the length of the average soccer game -- so as not to offend anyone. But enough is enough. Any growing interest in soccer can only be a sign of the nation's moral decay.

 (1) Individual achievement is not a big factor in soccer. In a real sport, players fumble passes, throw bricks and drop fly balls -- all in front of a crowd. When baseball players strike out, they're standing alone at the plate. But there's also individual glory in home runs, touchdowns and slam-dunks.

 In soccer, the blame is dispersed and almost no one scores anyway. There are no heroes, no losers, no accountability, and no child's fragile self-esteem is bruised. There's a reason perpetually alarmed women are called "soccer moms," not "football moms."

Do they even have MVPs in soccer? Everyone just runs up and down the field and, every once in a while, a ball accidentally goes in. That's when we're supposed to go wild. I'm already asleep.

 (2) Liberal moms like soccer because it's a sport in which athletic talent finds so little expression that girls can play with boys. No serious sport is co-ed, even at the kindergarten level.

 (3) No other "sport" ends in as many scoreless ties as soccer. This was an actual marquee sign by the freeway in Long Beach, California, about a World Cup game last week: "2nd period, 11 minutes left, score: 0:0." Two hours later, another World Cup game was on the same screen: "1st period, 8 minutes left, score: 0:0." If Michael Jackson had treated his chronic insomnia with a tape of Argentina vs. Brazil instead of Propofol, he'd still be alive, although bored.

 Even in football, by which I mean football, there are very few scoreless ties -- and it's a lot harder to score when a half-dozen 300-pound bruisers are trying to crush you.

 (4) The prospect of either personal humiliation or major injury is required to count as a sport. Most sports are sublimated warfare. As Lady Thatcher reportedly said after Germany had beaten England in some major soccer game: Don't worry. After all, twice in this century we beat them at their national game.

Baseball and basketball present a constant threat of personal disgrace. In hockey, there are three or four fights a game -- and it's not a stroll on beach to be on ice with a puck flying around at 100 miles per hour. After a football game, ambulances carry off the wounded. After a soccer game, every player gets a ribbon and a juice box.

 (5) You can't use your hands in soccer. (Thus eliminating the danger of having to catch a fly ball.) What sets man apart from the lesser beasts, besides a soul, is that we have opposable thumbs. Our hands can hold things. Here's a great idea: Let's create a game where you're not allowed to use them!

 (6) I resent the force-fed aspect of soccer. The same people trying to push soccer on Americans are the ones demanding that we love HBO's "Girls," light-rail, Beyonce and Hillary Clinton. The number of New York Times articles claiming soccer is "catching on" is exceeded only by the ones pretending women's basketball is fascinating.

 I note that we don't have to be endlessly told how exciting football is.

 (7) It's foreign. In fact, that's the precise reason the Times is constantly hectoring Americans to love soccer. One group of sports fans with whom soccer is not "catching on" at all, is African-Americans. They remain distinctly unimpressed by the fact that the French like it.

 (8) Soccer is like the metric system, which liberals also adore because it's European. Naturally, the metric system emerged from the French Revolution, during the brief intervals when they weren't committing mass murder by guillotine.

 Despite being subjected to Chinese-style brainwashing in the public schools to use centimeters and Celsius, ask any American for the temperature, and he'll say something like "70 degrees." Ask how far Boston is from New York City, he'll say it's about 200 miles.

 Liberals get angry and tell us that the metric system is more "rational" than the measurements everyone understands. This is ridiculous. An inch is the width of a man's thumb, a foot the length of his foot, a yard the length of his belt. That's easy to visualize. How do you visualize 147.2 centimeters?

 (9) Soccer is not "catching on." Headlines this week proclaimed "Record U.S. ratings for World Cup," and we had to hear -- again -- about the "growing popularity of soccer in the United States."

 The USA-Portugal game was the blockbuster match, garnering 18.2 million viewers on ESPN. This beat the second-most watched soccer game ever: The 1999 Women's World Cup final (USA vs. China) on ABC. (In soccer, the women's games are as thrilling as the men's.)

 Run-of-the-mill, regular-season Sunday Night Football games average more than 20 million viewers; NFL playoff games get 30 to 40 million viewers; and this year's Super Bowl had 111.5 million viewers.

 Remember when the media tried to foist British soccer star David Beckham and his permanently camera-ready wife on us a few years ago? Their arrival in America was heralded with 24-7 news coverage. That lasted about two days. Ratings tanked. No one cared.

 If more "Americans" are watching soccer today, it's only because of the demographic switch effected by Teddy Kennedy's 1965 immigration law. I promise you: No American whose great-grandfather was born here is watching soccer. One can only hope that, in addition to learning English, these new Americans will drop their soccer fetish with time.


Politics & Religion / Pope
« on: May 30, 2014, 07:45:18 PM »
The Pope's correction of Netanyahu's point about Jesus speaking to other Jews in Hebrew and Pope Francis 'correction' of him claiming it was Aramaic didn't really offend me much but his all too easy and convenient populist criticism of capitalism and the wealthy rather did offend me.  What about the responsibility of the poor to better themselves?  What about their responsibility to not live off handouts?   This is not virtuous living.   It is not the job of the successful to spend their lives working to support others.  

It is reasonable to say a job of the powerful is to provide as level a playing field as possible so everyone can have a chance.  

[BTW, I also hope I didn't offend anyone in my short but succinct diatribe against the Pope the other day.   If I did I apologize.]
In any case one persons interpretation of the Pope:

****The Pope's Criticism Of Capitalism Has One Wealthy Donor Very Upset
CNBC    | By Michelle Caruso-Cabrera  
   Posted:  12/31/2013 8:45 am EST      
  Pope Francis' critical comments about the wealthy and capitalism have at least one wealthy capitalist benefactor hesitant about giving financial support to one of the church's major fundraising projects.

At issue is an effort to raise $180 million for the restoration of St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York being spearheaded by billionaire Ken Langone, the investor known for founding Home Depot, among other things.

Langone told CNBC that one potential seven-figure donor is concerned about statements from the pope criticizing market economies as "exclusionary," urging the rich to give more to the poor and criticizing a "culture of prosperity" that leads some to become "incapable of feeling compassion for the poor."

More On CNBC:
 --  Blunt Pope Francis targets free-market economics
 -- The World’s most powerful person
 -- Best opportunities in Europe in 2014

Langone said he's raised the issue more than once with Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, most recently at a breakfast in early December at which he updated him on fundraising progress.

"I've told the cardinal, 'Your Eminence, this is one more hurdle I hope we don't have to deal with. You want to be careful about generalities. Rich people in one country don't act the same as rich people in another country,' " he said.

Some of the statements in question are from Francis' first teaching, or "exhortation," a 224-page document issued in late November. In it, the pontiff criticizes what he calls "an economy of exclusion and inequality," blaming ideologies that "defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation."

Dolan told CNBC that he had heard from Langone and said, " 'Well, Ken, that would be a misunderstanding of the Holy Father's message. The pope loves poor people. He also loves rich people.' ... So I said, 'Ken, thanks for bringing it to my attention. We've gotta correct to make sure this gentleman understands the Holy Father's message properly.' And then I think he's gonna say, 'Oh, OK. If that's the case, count me in for St. Patrick's Cathedral.' "

Neither Langone or Dolan revealed the name of the potential donor. The cardinal said he didn't know the person's identity, and Langone declined to name him, saying only that the individual was upset about the pope's comments about the rich being insensitive to the poor.

In a speech in Brazil in July, Francis appealed "to those in possession of greater resources," saying that they should "never tire of working for a more just world, marked by greater solidarity. No one can remain insensitive to the inequalities that persist in the world."

It was unclear when Dolan may speak with the individual donor.

Langone, who describes himself as a devout Catholic who prays every morning, said he has told the cardinal that "you get more with honey than with vinegar." He said he also wants to make clear that wealthy Americans are some of the biggest donors in the world.

"There is no nation on earth that is so forthcoming, so giving," he said, adding that he hopes the pope can "celebrate a positive point of view rather than focusing on the negative."

The United States ranks No. 1 in the Charities Aid Foundation's most recent World Giving Index, with proportionally more Americans giving than the population of any other country.

Dolan said that the pope has expressed gratitude for American philanthropy.

"In the one long sit-down that I had with him, the Holy Father told me that he has a lot of gratitude for the generosity of the Catholic Church in the United States. He's aware of our help to the missions, to the poor of the world, to international development, to peace and ... justice," he said. "So, I know that he's very grateful for the ... legendary generosity of the Catholic Church in the United States."

Langone said he is also on a campaign to explain "the vast difference between the pope's experience in Argentina and how we are in America."

Francis is from Argentina, a country that suffered tremendous economic upheaval in early 2001 in what was then the largest sovereign default in history. Poverty rates skyrocketed overnight when the country refused assistance from the International Monetary Fund.

Arthur Brooks, head of the American Enterprise Institute, a think tank that promotes free markets, said he agrees that the pope's beliefs are likely informed by his Argentine heritage.

"In places like Argentina, what they call free enterprise is a combination of socialism and crony capitalism," he said.

Brooks, also a practicing Catholic who has read the pope's exhortation in its original Spanish, said that "taken as a whole, the exhortation is good and right and beautiful. But it's limited in its understanding of economics from the American context." He noted that Francis "is not an economist and not an American."

"For American Catholics and Americans in general, we have a moral responsibility to the poor to spread the word of true free enterprise around the world," Brooks said. "By doing that, we have the best shot of meeting the Holy Father's objectives, which are good objectives."

He also thinks some of the English translation of the exhortation is inaccurate. For example, in one of its most talked-about passages about trickle-down economics, the Spanish version is softer than the English-language one.

The quote in English reads, "In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably [italics CNBC's] succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world."

A better translation, Brooks said, would be "economic growth, encouraged by a free market alone, will succeed in bringing about greater justice." (This author speaks Spanish and agrees.)

"Of course a free market alone won't do the trick," he said.

A number of people, from Republican Sen. John McCain to conservative radio commentator Rush Limbaugh, have weighed in on Francis' statements, with the latter calling it "pure Marxism."

Dolan calls the Marxist label "hyperbole," telling CNBC that the pope thinks "money in itself is morally neutral. Money, our wealth, is a gift from God. And the morality comes in the way we use it.

"If it becomes a god, if it becomes an idol, Pope Francis is saying, then it's wrong. Because there is only one God. If we use it for our own selves and our families, for a secure and a safe present and future, if we use it to reinvest in the community, to help others, and if we share with the poor, then it's morally good," Dolan said.*****

Politics & Religion / The politics of being offended
« on: February 09, 2014, 08:53:48 AM »
Oh come on .  This guy is so insulted and humiliated.  Why does an amputee need a dog in the store with him?  Why was it wrong for an employee to enforce store policy by questioning this?   And then he got his apology.  IF the right is going to highlight this then we may as well give up on requiring photo IDs to collect tax payer funded benefits or for voting:

Politics & Religion / Heroes
« on: September 29, 2013, 08:19:58 PM »

Science, Culture, & Humanities / automobile
« on: August 22, 2013, 08:12:35 AM »
How can auto dealers keep out a company that wants to sell direct to consumer?   I don't get it.  I don't own Tesla stock although it has skyrocketed.  When someone comes out with an *inexpensive* hybrid then I am ready to invest.  That said dealers have the power to prevent Musk from selling direct to consumer in Texas?  Sounds like a form of union protectionism/favoritism to me.

****Why Texas Bans the Sale of Tesla Cars

When you’re about to compete in your first electric car race, brace yourself for the sound … of silence. But don’t let those quiet engines fool you because these days, quiet means fast.

With every major car company looking for a share of the booming electric car market, the competition to go faster and further for cheaper has become an all-out war. Detroit, Japan and Germany are all represented, but right now, an unlikely newcomer is getting top honors: the Tesla Model S.

It’s being hailed as a game changer. It’s the first electric car to win Motor Trend’s Car of the Year; an unprecedented 99 out of 100 rating from Consumer Reports; and now, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it’s also the safest car ever.

But if the Model S really is the car of the future, then why has Texas banned its sales in the state and why are lawmakers in several other states trying to do the same?

To answer that, first you need to meet Tesla CEO Elon Musk. He plans on opening 50 new Tesla stores in the next year. And taking a page from the Apple playbook, Musk is selling his product directly to consumers. No hard sell. No commission for employees. And uniform prices at every store.

“We actually train people to educate,” explained Musk. “We always wanted to be a really low-key kind of friendly environment, where we're not constantly trying to close deals.”

That’s a dig at the traditional middlemen in the car-buying experience: the car dealers. Musk wants to cut them out completely. He thinks customers don’t like them and that dealers are prejudiced against electric cars.

“It takes them at least twice as much effort to sell someone an electric car and to educate them as to why an electric car is good,” said Musk. “And so if we were to go through the traditional dealer path, the result would be a disaster.”

So Musk is declaring war on car dealers, but car dealers are also declaring war on Musk. They have already successfully booted him out of Texas and there is anti-Tesla legislation pending in North Carolina, Colorado and Virginia.

“This happens all the time,” said Bill Wolters, the president of the Texas Automobile Dealers Association. “Someone wants an exception to the franchise laws. If we made an exception for everybody that showed up in the legislature, before long the integrity of the entire franchise system is in peril.”

The outcome of the battle remains to be seen, but it’s just one of many standing in Musk’s way of the Model S becoming a mainstream success. For all the hype, only 20,000 have been sold.****

Politics & Religion / 2016 Presidential
« on: June 07, 2013, 09:41:19 PM »
too early to ask? :-D

Do the revelations about this WH hurt or help the liar in chief in waiting - aka Hillary?

We all know how the lib media and political crowd will go all out to surround her with moats, booby traps, mines, concrete bunkers and a division of lawyers armed with AK 15 assault rifles (it's politically correct to  use these weapons to protect a major liberal  :lol:).


should steroid users be in Hall of Fame

Today at 10:09:40 AM »

I lean against it.   This writer leans for it.   Yes other substances have been used by other players.  Alcohol, cocaine, amphetamines.   Surely many players were not role models in their personal lives.  Certainly the achievements of the steroid using players are still unbelievable.   Yet it is also obvious Bonds, Canseco, McGuire, Sosa, Rodriguez, and the rest would never had come close to the same numbers without performance drugs.   Surely Clemens would not have pitched as long.  I never hear it but I also wonder how Nolan Ryan could throw at 95 miles and hour pushing 50.   Well I suppose Satchel Page was that old.

Anyone with any thoughts?


Politics & Religion / propaganda
« on: May 02, 2013, 10:07:14 AM »
I am not sure if this is a legitimate topic or not.  I guess this could go under political rants.   At a time where out country is divided. This book review from the Economist is perhaps a timely reminder that politics has always been a fight for the hearts, minds, and votes and often pocketbooks of voters - in a Democracy or Republic. 

The biggest problem is sorting out "propaganda" from truth.  If it is truth is it propaganda?  And one person's truth can be considered another's propaganda muddling it all even further.   Michael Savage correctly calls David Axelrod a political genius for using propaganda to its max.   I am thinking that the difference between him and Rove is Axelrod's willingness and to be more ruthless, with little concern for truth and transparency.

Some would argue (wrongly in my view) that Rove is just the other side of the same coin.  But I take the position of radio host Aaron Klein who argues the biggest threat to the US is not China, not Jihad, but the leftist movement from within. 

In any case, back to "propaganda":

Politics & Religion / Olympics/elite athletes
« on: June 20, 2012, 12:09:46 PM »
I found this Mayo Clinic Proceedings article about genetics and athletic performance interesting.   It concerns all elite athletes and is apropo with the London games coming up.   I love watching the Olympics.  They are a great break from all the other drama.

Politics & Religion / Remember those days growing up with oreos?
« on: April 21, 2012, 10:27:30 AM »
This was on OReilly last night too.  I think it is pretty funny, but of course there is always someone who has to be offended:

Politics & Religion / Africa
« on: February 06, 2012, 08:56:12 AM »
Ndubuisi Ekekwe

Ndubuisi Ekekwe is a founder of the non-profit African Institution of Technology. He recently edited Nanotechnology and Microelectronics: Global Diffusion, Economics, and Policy.

Africa Is Open for Business
9:24 AM Monday February 6, 2012
by Ndubuisi Ekekwe | Comments (2)

Angola is offering financial aid to debt-ridden Portugal. The Economist recently declared Africa a "hopeful continent" after years of writing it off as "hopeless." More than a million Chinese are in Africa exploring opportunities in villages and cities. The continent is attracting top global brands and has a growing middle class. There's a sense of upbeat optimism with possibilities that seem endless. As the lions roar from Kenya to Ghana, and cheetahs from South Africa to Mali, young Africans are unleashing their entrepreneurial energy and most governments are offering stronger leadership, a more business-friendly economy, and less corruption.

But, Africa is not an isolated island in the world, and ongoing uncertainty with some of its trading partners could imperil any sustainable progress. A trade shock is just around the corner, as the continent remains reliant on a mineral-based economy. And new, rosy economic statistics have not managed to stop strikes, riots, and other protests, which are the result of the continued reality of economic inequality. What's more, Africa is complex, fragmented and multicultural. What works in Nigeria is not guaranteed to work in Kenya.

But, none of this should keep businesses from expanding into African markets. The international community should not ignore a growing market of roughly a billion people. Africa needs about $50 billion to meet its development goals over the next few years, and it needs the help of the international community to tackle the vicious cycle of poverty, disease and hunger in Africa today.

African economies are growing, and millions have moved into the middle class category within the last decade. And Africans are buying things, from iPads to Porsches. Africans are also becoming global players, with some of their banks — such as United Bank for Africa and Guaranty Trust Bank — opening offices in the U.S., France Flag Like ReplyReply Real-time updating is paused. (Resume)
Add New Comment
Post as … .Africa Is Open for Business
Angola is offering financial aid to debt-ridden Portugal. The Economist recently declared Africa a "hopeful continent" after years of writing it off as "hopeless." More than a million Chinese are in Africa exploring opportunities in villages and cities. The continent is attracting top global brands and has a growing middle class. There's a sense of upbeat optimism with possibilities that seem endless. As the lions roar from Kenya to Ghana, and cheetahs from South Africa to Mali, young Africans are unleashing their entrepreneurial energy and most governments are offering stronger leadership, a more business-friendly economy, and less corruption.
But, Africa is not an isolated island in the world, and ongoing uncertainty with some of its trading partners could imperil any sustainable progress. A trade shock is just around the corner, as the continent remains reliant on a mineral-based economy. And new, rosy economic statistics have not managed to stop strikes, riots, and other protests, which are the result of the continued reality of economic inequality. What's more, Africa is complex, fragmented and multicultural. What works in Nigeria is not guaranteed to work in Kenya.
But, none of this should keep businesses from expanding into African markets. The international community should not ignore a growing market of roughly a billion people. Africa needs about $50 billion to meet its development goals over the next few years, and it needs the help of the international community to tackle the vicious cycle of poverty, disease and hunger in Africa today.
African economies are growing, and millions have moved into the middle class category within the last decade. And Africans are buying things, from iPads to Porsches. Africans are also becoming global players, with some of their banks — such as United Bank for Africa and Guaranty Trust Bank — opening offices in the U.S., France and the U.K. Investments in the continent will grow, and the following areas remain the most promising:
Energy: Despite the abundance of resources like solar, oil, water and gas, most Africans still have no reliable energy supply. The challenge has been the cost-intensive, long-term reward nature of these projects in unpredictable political systems. It's simply too risky for businesses to invest in this sector. Minerals: As the world economy recovers, African minerals such as crude oil and gold will remain important to the global economy, as demand increases. Investing in extracting and processing these minerals will remain a lucrative venture. Agriculture: Africa is unfed in a continent with good, arable land. Africa imports its food, despite the fact that it produces enough to feed its citizens. The problem is that harvests are poorly managed due to a lack of preservation techniques, which means that much of the food goes to waste and Africa goes hungry even after bumper harvests. Food production, processing, and preservation will remain a profitable growth area. Technology: Africa has not attracted capacity-building investments, such as R&D centers and hi-tech manufacturing. In the coming years, as global buyers become more sophisticated, companies that differentiate their products within local markets will have a strong competitive advantage. Africa is no exception. For example, telecoms can be profitable in Africa not for selling airtime, but for powering value-added services such as mobile banking and mobile business, among others, that address the needs of this unique population. Four things will drive the African economy in this decade:
African diasporas: The diasporas who have acquired world-class skills with international networks will drive sustainable African development. As the global economy recovers from recession, their impact will continue to expand. Education: Education is a weak link in the development of the continent. Major foreign investment has not come to the sector owing to low return, but some African governments are working hard to change that. For instance, Rwanda and Carnegie Mellon University have teamed up to offer a graduate-level program in East Africa. The new campus will train talent for companies who want to make products closer to Africans. Better education will also serve to advance the entrepreneurial ecosystem on the continent. Intra-trade: The trade route to colonial links will become weaker as these nations become richer and make choices purely based on market factors. For instance, Cameroon could choose South Africa, rather than France, to process some of its food. Infrastructure: Though the regional economic communities (RECs) have not lead to monetary unions, Africa is poised to benefit from the integration of its various economies, and can learn from the euro zone crisis when strategizing about its own single currency program (PDF). The RECs will form free trade areas, which will help modernize infrastructure, among other things. Africa's biggest risk is its political system. New governments have cancelled mine contracts and leases executed by predecessors. The continent faces challenges if it cannot prepare for its post-mineral era. As I drive by dead mines that generated billions of dollars of wealth around the world, but left no sustainable community development behind, I have to wonder: What will the domino effect be if the continent cannot transmute effectively into a post-mineral era? Africa needs a redesign of its economy towards a knowledge-driven one. New industries remain underfunded and quality startups are scarce.
Africa is open for business, and tomorrow's global leaders should understand both the risks and the opportunities that are available here. There is the potential for corporations to make billions of dollars in profits in Africa. But, much more importantly, contributing to a strong and sustainable Africa could just be the next generation of global leaders' greatest legacy.

Politics & Religion / socioeconomic class in the US
« on: September 19, 2011, 03:25:27 PM »
Nothing fancy about the post below right off Drudge.  It does speak to a topic I have mentioned and I think JDN also has expressed concern.  I am hardly a fan of Bernie Sanders of Vermont yet it is an astounding stat when he says the top 400 wealthiest people in the US (I assume he got his information from Forbes) have as much wealth as the bottom 150 *million*.
Redistribution is a solution I abhor.  Yet there has to be some other way of improving the playing field. Closing loopholes only wealthy people can enjoy. The ability to pay for a legal system that few can enjoy without limit.
The power and influence that money buys.  No Repub to my knowledge ever adresses this other than trickle down talk, or "everyone has the same chance to succeed". No system is perfectly fair.  And in all systems, communist, dictator, monarchy, democratic all have those at the top with advantage.  Our system does offer some hope those without the advantage can get ahead yet the top 400 have the wealth of the bottom 150 million?  How can anyone not think this is insane?

****September 17, 2011, 4:26 pm
Wall Street Protest Begins, With Demonstrators Blocked

Robert Stolarik for The New York Times
Protestors gathered in Lower Manhattan for what some called the United States Day of Rage.
For months the protesters had planned to descend on Wall Street on a Saturday and occupy parts of it as an expression of anger over a financial system that they say favors the rich and powerful at the expense of ordinary citizens.

As it turned out, the demonstrators found much of their target off limits on Saturday as the city shut down sections of Wall Street near the New York Stock Exchange and Federal Hall well before their arrival.

By 10 a.m., metal barricades manned by police officers ringed the blocks of Wall Street between Broadway and William Street to the east. (In a statement, Paul J. Browne, the Police Department’s chief spokesman said, “A protest area was established on Broad Street at Exchange Street, next to the stock exchange, but protesters elected not to use it.”)

Organizers, promoters and supporters called the day, which had been widely discussed on Twitter and other social media sites, simply September 17. Some referred to it as the United States Day of Rage, an apparent reference to a series of disruptive protests against the Vietnam War held in Chicago in 1969.

The idea, according to some organizers, was to camp out for weeks or even months to replicate the kind, if not the scale, of protests that erupted earlier this year in places as varied as Egypt, Spain and Israel.

Bill Steyert, 68, who lives in Forest Hills, Queens, stood near the barricades at Wall Street and Broadway and shouted, “Shut down Wall Street, 12 noon, you’re all invited,” as tourists gazed quizzically at him.
Talking to a reporter, he elaborated, “You need a scorecard to keep track of all the things that corporations have done that are bad for this country.”

Nearby, Micah Chamberlain, 23, a line cook from Columbus, Ohio, held up a sign reading “End the Oligarchy” and said he had hitchhiked to New York. “There are millions of people in this county without jobs,” he said. “And 1 percent of the people have 99 percent of the money.”

Throughout the afternoon hundreds of demonstrators gathered in parks and plazas in Lower Manhattan. They held teach-ins, engaged in discussion and debate and waved signs with messages like “Democracy Not Corporatization” or “Revoke Corporate Personhood.”

Organizers said the rally was meant to be diverse, and not all of the participants were on the left. Followers of the fringe political candidate Lyndon LaRouche formed a choir near Bowling Green and sang “The Star Spangled Banner” and “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Nearby, anarchists carried sleeping bags and tents.

At one point in the early afternoon, dozens of protesters marched around the famous bronze bull on lower Broadway. Among them was Dave Woessner, 31, a student at Harvard Divinity School.

“When you idealize financial markets as salvific you embrace the idea that profit is all that matters,” he said.

A few minutes later about 15 people briefly sat down on a sidewalk on Broadway, leaning against a metal barricade that blocked access to Wall Street. For a moment things grew tense as officers converged and a police chief shoved a newspaper photographer from behind.

After a police lieutenant used a megaphone to tell those sitting on the sidewalk that they were subject to arrest the protesters got up and marched south.

Mr. Browne said no permits had been sought for the demonstration but plans for it “were well known publicly.”

Mr. Browne said two people in bandanna masks were taken into custody for trying to enter a building at Broadway and Liberty Street that houses Bank of America offices. A third person fled.

As a chilly darkness descended, a few hundred people realized one of the day’s objectives by setting foot onto Wall Street after a quick march through winding streets, trailed by police scooters.

At William Street, they were blocked from proceeding toward the stock exchange, and the march ended in front of a Greek Revival building housing Cipriani Wall Street. Patrons on a second-floor balcony peered down.

As some of the patrons laughed and raised drinks, the protesters responded by pointing at them and chanting “pay your share.”***


What is most astounding about all this is all we hear about is how bad our education that so many children know astoundingly NOTHING about the nature and founding of the principals of our country.

They know all about slavery of blacks, the driving of Indians off lands, etc.  Everything is political correctness.

I felt proud of being an American growing up.

Now children are taught to be ashamed of our heritage, our history culture, the legacies, the principals this country was founded on.

I remember in college in the 70's one history professor was rumored to be "communist" in his philosophy as though he was the execption.  Now from what one reads this is at least at the Ivy league schools the *rule*, not the *exception*.

I just cannot believe we have children who don't know who Abraham Lincoln is from a picture or that the US was a colony of Britain.

This is astounding. This is a disgrace.  

Science, Culture, & Humanities / white collar and organized crime
« on: March 26, 2011, 07:24:54 AM »
Recall all my posts about how we are being robbed by white collar coward-like criminals who sureveillence us in multple ways with hidden cameras, listening devices, and all computers as well as any wireless electronic devices.  Remember how I said I am positive this HAS to be rampant on Wall Street.  Remember I said how every single person who comes into our house is a suspect and nearly all of them can be bribed or it is arranged that someone who works for the thieves shows up to do any kind of contractor work.  Finally, finally someone is actually caught.  Don't expect to find out who is really behind this or even to hear anything about it again.  This will be white washed.  For someone to suggest he was not trying to pick up insider tips with cameras in BR is an insult.  Of course he was.  The only other thing would be to try to get incriminating evidence on some traders to later extort information from them.  

Folks this is RAMPANT.   This kind of crime is absolutely rampant.  And no one does a thing.  Where is law enforcement on these kinds of crime?  When some of them are also not taking bribes to get in on it?

"So was he spying on the trading floor trying to pick up insider tips? Not quite. He was apparently installing the cameras in the men's restroom."


****Was a Guy Arrested for Hiding Cameras Inside Deutsche Bank?
Published: Friday, 25 Mar 2011 | 3:46 PM ET Text Size By: John Carney
Senior Editor,
A man was arrested for covertly installing cameras inside of Deutsche Bank, according to a report from DealBreaker.

DealBreaker's source describes him as "the guy that delivers water bottles to the trading floor."

So was he spying on the trading floor trying to pick up insider tips?

Not quite.

He was apparently installing the cameras in the men's restroom.

DealBreaker wasn't sure which bank the arrest took place in at first. Sources have now come forth to claim it was at Deutsche Bank. Deutsche Bank is declining to comment.****

Politics & Religion / Big Government
« on: March 23, 2011, 11:08:12 AM »
I like this part:

"When Bismarck introduced the world’s first state pension system in 1889, he set the retirement age at 70, some 25 years beyond the average Prussian’s life expectancy, so it did not cost much to run. When America brought in its Social Security system in 1935, average life expectancy was only 62. In the OECD countries men on average now live to 76 and women to 82. In most rich countries raising the pension age to, say, 70 by 2025, and thereafter linking it to life expectancy (which keeps on increasing), would go a long way towards reducing the government’s structural deficit."

and this one:

"Another cause for pessimism is that government does not respond to normal pressures. Most obviously, there is rarely the threat of bankruptcy. Indeed, most of the examples of efficient government involve warfare or other crises. The idea that business skills do not translate to politics would seem to be borne out by the string of businesspeople who have failed to make much of a mark in government. Silvio Berlusconi has achieved a lot less as Italy’s prime minister than he did in business. A more successful transplant from the media industry, Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York, says he had not realised how different running a city would be: “People are motivated by different things and you face a much more intrusive press. You cannot pay good staff a lot of money…In business you experiment and you back the projects that win. The healthy bits get the money, and the unhealthy bits wither. In government the unhealthy bits get all the attention because they have the fiercest defenders.”

Full article:

The gods that have failed—so far
Could technology and good management bring the public-sector up to scratch?
Mar 17th 2011 | from the print edition
 ASKED to talk about how technology affects productivity, Peter Thiel, the venture capitalist who backed Facebook, draws a simple graph on his whiteboard: input on the Y axis, output on the X axis. He then dabs on two blobs. The private sector goes in the bottom right (you put in relatively little and get out a lot); government goes in the top left: a lot of input and very little output.

Mr Thiel, a prominent libertarian, may be unsympathetic to the public sector, but his chart is not a bad guide to the past 40 years or so. Productivity in government is difficult to measure and statisticians have generally stopped trying to come up with precise figures. But such numbers as there are all point in the same direction. With a few small exceptions, government lags behind the private sector.

Two closely related things have transformed the private sector since 1970. The more obvious one is technology: think what ATMs did for banking. But management ideas—everything from profit-related pay to lean manufacturing—have arguably done even more to raise productivity. Toyota spent less on computers and robots than General Motors did; it won by out-managing its rival.
The public sector has certainly dabbled in both these things. From Berlin to Bangkok, every big consultancy has a thriving public-sector practice. Many of the ghastliest examples of management-speak come from the public sector. And some of the biggest disasters in public spending have involved technology, such as the attempt to link up Britain’s health records nationwide. But neither has really changed government profoundly.

The pessimistic explanation is that they never will: there are good reasons why the public sector will always be resistant to change. Optimists have to make the case that “this time will be different,” which is harder. But just this once it could be true.

Government is different

Begin with the depressingly long list of reasons to be pessimistic. The most fundamental one remains the Baumol effect: labour-intensive services, such as nursing and teaching, have thus far proved as immune to productivity-enhancing technology as string quartets.

Another cause for pessimism is that government does not respond to normal pressures. Most obviously, there is rarely the threat of bankruptcy. Indeed, most of the examples of efficient government involve warfare or other crises.

The idea that business skills do not translate to politics would seem to be borne out by the string of businesspeople who have failed to make much of a mark in government. Silvio Berlusconi has achieved a lot less as Italy’s prime minister than he did in business. A more successful transplant from the media industry, Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York, says he had not realised how different running a city would be: “People are motivated by different things and you face a much more intrusive press. You cannot pay good staff a lot of money…In business you experiment and you back the projects that win. The healthy bits get the money, and the unhealthy bits wither. In government the unhealthy bits get all the attention because they have the fiercest defenders.”

There are even ideological reasons why liberals in particular should want to keep the state relatively inefficient. Joseph Nye, a former dean of Harvard’s Kennedy School and author of a book on power, says that Americans do not really want their state to work too well: “There is something special about government. It has coercive power, so it is essential that you have a healthy scepticism of it.”

So why should this time be different? The immediate reason is that in many countries the state is now so bloated that, even without changing the basic structure of government, it could be made much more efficient.

In the short term, assuming a recovering economy, government can surely be slimmed relatively painlessly—if only because it has grown so fat. The howls across Europe about unprecedented budget crises ignore three things. First, Sweden and Canada have chopped their public sectors after financial crises and lived to tell the tale (albeit against a much more clement global economic backdrop). Second, most European countries need do no more than reduce government spending to its level of three or four years ago. And third, many of the cuts are tiny by private-sector standards. At a private dinner in Paris recently a group of French businesspeople listened politely to a politician moaning about his department having to reduce its costs by 5%, until one of the private-sector bosses pointed out that he had knocked out a fifth of his costs in a little over two years. The politician shut up.

People can argue over the respective virtues of making across-the-board cuts or targeting particular departments (they usually do a bit of both), but managerially speaking it is not a tough ask. Reforming American defence procurement does not require structural change, just making use of the Pentagon’s clout with suppliers. A recent study by the National Audit Office showed that Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) could save £500m (well over $800m) a year by bundling its buying power; there is no need for hospital trusts to buy 21 different forms of A4 file paper and 652 different kinds of surgical gloves.

In the longer term, though, two sorts of opportunities present themselves: changing what the state does; and changing its structure. The first set tends to be administratively (fairly) simple but politically hard. For instance, getting rid of industrial and agricultural subsidies makes sense, but politicians cling to them. Even bigger potential “quick wins”, though ones fraught with political difficulty, are to be found in pensions. Switching state employees from defined-benefit to defined-contribution plans and raising their retirement ages to prevailing private-sector levels would save most governments a fortune—but not as much as upping the age at which everyone starts receiving their state pension.

When Bismarck introduced the world’s first state pension system in 1889, he set the retirement age at 70, some 25 years beyond the average Prussian’s life expectancy, so it did not cost much to run. When America brought in its Social Security system in 1935, average life expectancy was only 62. In the OECD countries men on average now live to 76 and women to 82. In most rich countries raising the pension age to, say, 70 by 2025, and thereafter linking it to life expectancy (which keeps on increasing), would go a long way towards reducing the government’s structural deficit.

In America Social Security is known as the “third rail” of politics: state pensions electrocute any politician who touches them. But the case for increasing retirement ages is overwhelming. It also begins to open the door to a proper debate about social transfers, including things like means-tested benefits. That argument will be much easier to make if the second set of opportunities to do with updating the structure of the state has been grasped.

On this score, unlike on benefits and transfers, almost everyone agrees what needs to be done. Britain’s Tony Blair puts it this way: “The modern Western state was created in the era of mass production and command and control, where governments told you what to do and provided everything. Modern life is about choice—and the state, even if it pays for something, should not be the only choice.” He argues that creating “a post-bureaucratic state”, with a small centre and a multitude of public and private providers, should be a particular cause for the centre-left to embrace. “In every other walk of life a citizen gets services from bodies that are anxious for their business. We have to open up the state to transparency and competition, or else anyone who is rich enough will pay to opt out.”

Mr Blair has no truck with the idea that the public sector is bound to keep growing. The key, he thinks, lies in breaking the state down into innovative smaller units, like charter schools in America and academies in Britain. “As more and more choices are made by consumers, not politicians, we will shrink the state,” he predicts.

As is his wont, Mr Blair tends to be more messianic about this than most politicians. But to see how such ideas might work, consider two changes in the car industry. First, in the era of mass production Ford did not just make its own steel; it also owned the fields on which grazed the sheep whose wool went into the covers of its car seats. Now it contracts out much of this, even though its name remains on the car. Second, in the 1970s there was a big gap between the quality of the output and the efficiency of, say, Japanese carmakers and their American peers. Now competition has minimised that advantage (and no longer always in favour of the Japanese).

Don’t do it yourself

For its part, the public sector in many countries still wants to do everything itself. Surprisingly, America, the country that has preached the Washington consensus of privatisation to the world, still owns a lot of its railways, ports and water systems; it also makes less use of for-profit schools than does Sweden. And if Britain’s gargantuan NHS were to contract out as much of its business as the French and Dutch health services do, it would be a lot more efficient. The District of Columbia has shown how much can be saved by outsourcing: it has reduced its e-mail costs by 80% and its video-hosting costs by 90% by moving them to Google and YouTube respectively.

The huge variance in performance between different bits of the public sector that do the same thing is shocking. Sweden spends half as much on health care per person as America does, yet Swedes live longer. Research on degree courses at public universities shows that some Western countries spend 30% above the average on a degree whereas others remain 70% below it, says Lenny Mendonca, a public-sector expert at McKinsey. “In anything even resembling a free market, many of the best-performing public institutions would have wiped out all the others,” he adds.

Variance within countries is harder for public-sector unions and other local vested interests to ignore. Sir John Oldham, an expert in health productivity, points to two similar adjacent areas in southern England where “unscheduled admissions” to hospitals (ie, the expensive sort) vary by a factor of eight; in another there is a 13-fold difference in the number of hospital referrals from similar doctors’ practices.

By reducing these variances, quality would be improved and a huge amount of cash could be saved. Sir John has calculated that if every NHS organisation in Britain currently operating at costs one standard deviation above the mean were to improve its performance to the mean level, the NHS would save somewhere close to the £15 billion it is supposed to find over the next five years.

It is about care as well as costs. The McKinsey Global Institute points out that at some American hospitals nurses spend under 40% of their time with patients. Naming and shaming is one way of getting better results. Sweden’s health registries, a much-cited example, provide statistics on the performance of individual hospitals. The fear of coming out badly in a national league table is a powerful incentive to try harder. A study by the Boston Consulting Group found that Sweden’s National Cataract Register not only reduced the severity of astigmatism resulting from eye surgery but also narrowed the variance between the best and worst hospitals by half.

Just wait till they find out

With such examples in mind, some argue that government reform will be akin to a popular revolution, driven by the spread of information. Just as American motorists, resigned to cars that broke down, rapidly ditched Detroit’s products once they found they could buy cars that worked, so American parents will no longer tolerate the excuses of the teachers’ unions when they discover that children get a much better and cheaper education elsewhere.

There is something in this. Few politicians now question the need to publish school-performance tables, despite the furious fusillades from the unions when they were introduced. One education minister argues that the most powerful force in school reform now is the OECD’s international PISA ranking (see chart 6). “Waiting for Superman”, a documentary by Davis Guggenheim, the director who made “An Inconvenient Truth”, but this time attacking America’s teachers’ unions rather than climate-change deniers, was a big hit. As charter schools and the like outperform their peers, there is pressure to break up the old fiefs and introduce competition.

Clayton Christensen of the Harvard Business School, perhaps the world’s most respected writer on innovation, thinks the public sector will be upset by what he calls “mutants”—new organisms spinning out of it. He points to the success of Guaranteach, an online store of teaching videos set up by two former teachers in 2008, and other similar outfits.

A new wave of frugal innovation coming from emerging markets will also make an impact on the public sector. South Korea is a leader in education testing. India is taking a dramatically different approach to health care. It has found a way to reduce the cost of heart operations by setting up huge hospitals that can reap economies of scale. It is already cheaper for Westerners to fly to India as health tourists than to have treatment at home.

Many think the web will shift the balance of power between the public sector and its clients. Worried about your child’s school? You can join a discussion group on Facebook. Furious with the American government? You can see how much it is costing you at Fed up with Britain’s lousy roads? Go to Don Tapscott, one of the cleverer cybergurus and co-author of “Macrowikinomics”, points to the rise of “prosumers”: rather than merely accepting what the government offers, citizens will shape new services as they appear. Places like the District of Columbia and Canada’s province of New Brunswick have been pioneers, spurred on by a new generation of younger, more web-savvy civil servants. Even health care—the field most resistant to change—could be turned upside down (see article).

So a bottom-up revolution is under way. But for all the obvious reasons, it is advancing more slowly than it did in the private sector. For instance, a recent survey by the New York Times of failed schools in eight American states that were bad enough to get federal turnaround money showed that 44% of the schools’ principals had kept their jobs. Resources are another problem: there are fewer computers in the public sector than in the private because many government departments still do not distinguish capital budgets from operating ones.

Mr Christensen thinks one of the main problems is the lack of a common language. As a young academic he was able to persuade Intel to change course by telling its bosses that the sort of disruptive change that had happened in steel (the arrival of cheap mini-mills) would also happen in chipmaking. Yet when he goes to health-care conferences, he says, nobody uses the same terminology. Doctors, insurers, hospitals and politicians all talk about completely different things: “The only people who could really bang heads together would be the federal government.”

Indeed, for all the evidence of mounting pressure from below, a command-and-control organisation will change only when the top wants it to do so. And here most Western countries have something in common with China: leaders are scared. Some attempts to institutionalise innovation have been made. Geoff Mulgan points out that America has committed $650m to a schools-innovation fund; Britain has allocated £200m to health. Barack Obama has appointed Vivek Kundra, the man who led the District of Columbia’s technology drive, as America’s first chief information officer. Mr Kundra has already saved $3 billion by culling programmes.

Yet the same Mr Obama has recently delivered a budget to Congress that does nothing to reform entitlements. It is not just the threats from vested interests that inhibit progress. Mr Mulgan explains that the first wave of privatising governments in the 1980s and 1990s often did badly at the ballot box. Voters could not see enough change to justify the aggravation. And sometimes restructuring was done in several phases, so it was not clear who was responsible for the good things.

The recent economic crisis has changed minds. There now seems to be far greater acceptance that government is broken, and voters are more prepared to give their leaders leeway to mend it. Even if the debate has barely begun to tackle benefits and social transfers, that still gives politicians an opportunity. In various American states governors have seized it. But on a national scale nobody has grabbed it with more gusto than an Old Etonian Tory.

About The Economist online About The Economist Media directory Staff books Career opportunities Contact us Subscribe
  • Site feedback Copyright © The Economist Newspaper Limited 2011. All rights reserved. Advertising info Legal disclaimer Accessibility Privacy policy Terms of use Help

Science, Culture, & Humanities / entertainment
« on: January 19, 2011, 08:53:31 AM »
Piers Morgan.  I couldn't find a thread to place this under.  Katherine and I watched Piers on cable interviewing Oprah and on this other show he does following rich and famous locales.  We both thought he is excellent.  Frankly much better than Larry King who perhaps was burned out.

He almost got Oprah to cry when he mentioned the program would be aired on MLK day.  She was clearly teary eyed.  Apparantly every interviewer has been trying unsuccesfully to get her tearful in an interview.

Science, Culture, & Humanities / weightlifting
« on: September 25, 2010, 09:58:08 AM »
I had a patient tell me the benchpress record is well over 1,000 pounds now.  I asked how is this possible.   He said and I looked it up.

Not only steroids, but wraps, body suits that support muscle.  Probably the highest natural unaided bench press is around 650:

Politics & Religion / Race in America
« on: July 15, 2010, 12:02:28 PM »
Everytime I hear critics try to bash the tea party as racist all I can think of is the response is simple

What *real* racist organization would just love to have more people of color in it?

Why the teaparty wants *more* people of color to join them!  Not exclude the party.   Everyone knows real racist groups exclude those they hate.

Everytime I see a teaparty person on cable sit and have to defend the party (same for Republicans) all I can think of is they simply say we are not racist and we want more Latinos, more Blacks, more Asians to join us as Americans.  Why so hard?

Politics & Religion / education
« on: March 30, 2010, 10:10:58 AM »
The new student loan thing makes sense on the face of it. Why not cut out the middleman if it costs more.  Of course the timing couldn't be more perfect for the One when we started witnessing students demonstrating in Kaliforna.

My question is this.  Why is the fed government using taxpayer money to *guarnatee* student loans?
It is bad enough if the student defaults that the taxpayer eats the cost.  I agree it was worse that the gov. would pay the bank for it's loss.  So 75% of the population who does not have a college degree is helping pay for college ed for others?

These loans cannot be good risks or else why couldn't the student get it from the private sector?  I would like to see a better analysis of this but I haven't found one on searching this AM.

***Obama promotes 'overlooked' changes to student loan program
Under the new rules, the government will lend money directly to college students, without the involvement of banks as the "unnecessary middlemen" in what Obama called a "sweetheart deal" that provided them with billions in interest payments.

"Those were billions of dollars that could have been spent helping more of our students attend and complete college," Obama said to an appreciative audience at a community college in Alexandria, Va., just across the river from Washington, D.C.

Critics said in some cases these are the same banks that Obama is pressuring to provide more loans to business people, yet now the government has wiped out part of their operations.

"Americans are looking for jobs and economic growth, not for the government to expand its tentacles even further into their lives and the economy," said Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. His office also provided examples of private lenders who will have to cut jobs in light of the new student loan system.

Direct student lending by the government will save the program about $68 billion "in the coming years," Obama said, money that can be put back into higher education.

The new law also caps the repayment of loans at 10 percent of the borrower's discretionary income.

Here's an explanation of the new rules from USA TODAY personal finance columnist Sandra Block.

Obama also planned to sign an updated version of the law, after revisions approved by Senate Democrats last week under the legislative process known as reconciliation.

As he has since passage of the core health care bill on March 21, Obama said the measure will allow millions more Americans obtain insurance and lower costs.

The bill "won't fix every problem in our health care system in one fell swoop," Obama said, "but it does represent some of the toughest insurance reforms in history."

McConnell, who like all Senate Republicans voted against the health care package, said most Americans oppose "this partisan reconciliation bill which hikes taxes even higher in the middle of a recession, and cuts Medicare even deeper for our seniors."

(Posted by David Jackson)***

Politics & Religion / progressivism/liberalism
« on: October 30, 2009, 07:42:15 AM »
This thread I think is new but very important.  This is along the lines of what the Marxists in and around the White House, Congress, and the Senate are planning for us.  I doubt very much the majority of Americans who are more than first generation really want this.
As for immigrants it is mixed.  I had one Polish physician tell me how he came from a totatarian regime and now we are moving that way here.  So not all people coming here buy into this.  I am not so sure about those from the middle east or south of the border though.

Remember I mentioned how Jeffrey Sachs said that sovereignty is "medieval".  Now from this guy who has made a fortune singing songs at least one of which he has been accused of stealing (not by me):

"we seem to be living in a currency of medieval ideas."

He appears to be a proponent of one world governenment.
Or how about this:

"I can't think of any be better qualified because of his background, his education, particularly in regard to Islam,"

Couldn't the notion of Islam be considered Medieval?  And why is a background in community organizing and being a college professor and the organizer of the Harvard review make him so qualified?

And what is the regard to Islam the answer to the world's problems? 

I nominate Sting for the peace prize.
I gotta love when music industry types discuss politics.  It is remeniscent of Tony Soprano waving the American flag.  The joke is on us.

****Recording artist Sting is photographed in New York on Wednesday, Oct. 28,..Flashback: Sting Performs With Stevie Wonder at
NEW YORK (AP) - Sting isn't a religious man, but he says President Barack Obama might be a divine answer to the world's problems.
"In many ways, he's sent from God," he joked in an interview, "because the world's a mess."

But Sting is serious in his belief that Obama is the best leader to navigate the world's problems. In an interview on Wednesday, the former Police frontman said that he spent some time with Obama and "found him to be very genuine, very present, clearly super-smart, and exactly what we need in the world."

"I can't think of any be better qualified because of his background, his education, particularly in regard to Islam," he said.

Still, Sting acknowledged the president had a "difficult job" ahead of him.

The British singer, who released the seasonal album "On A Winter's Night" this week, said he's fascinated by American politics, Obama, and also by Obama's opponents on the right.

"It's aggressive and violent and full of fear," he said of the backlash against Obama. "They don't want change, they want things to feel the same because they feel safe there."

Sting, 58, said he's hopeful that the world's problems can be dealt with, but is frustrated that "we seem to be living in a currency of medieval ideas."

"My hope is that we can start talking about real issues and not caring about whether God cares about your hemline or your color," he said. "We are here to evolve as one family, and we can't be separate anymore."****

Politics & Religion / unions
« on: September 11, 2009, 07:14:11 AM »
We need more journalism into the infiltration of the unions in this government.
The corruption of unions is legendary.  Yet the great one, the arbitor of the universe, the annointed step father of the downtrodden, embraces them.
From a logical point of view this is not reconcilable.

***Lead StorySpecial report: How Obama cronyism threatens rail security
By Michelle Malkin  •  September 11, 2009 07:29 AM

How Obama cronyism threatens rail security
by Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2009

New Delhi. Mumbai. Chechnya. Madrid. London. The question isn’t whether America will suffer a jihadi attack on our passenger rail lines, but when. So, why has President Obama neutered the nation’s most highly-trained post-9/11 counterterrorism rail security team?

All signs point to business-as-usual cronyism and pandering to power-grabbing union bosses.

Amtrak’s Office of Security Strategy and Special Operations (OSSSO) grew out of a counterterrorism and intelligence unit developed by the Bush administration in the wake of global jihadi attacks on mass transit systems. The office was staffed with Special Forces veterans, law enforcement officers, railroad specialists, other military personnel, and experts who collectively possessed hundreds of years of experience fighting on the front lines against terrorism. Each member underwent at least 800 hours of rail security-related training, including advanced marksmanship, close quarters, and protective security exercises.

OSSSO’s mobile prevention teams acted as “force multipliers” working with local, state, and federal authorities across the country to detect, deter, and defend against criminal and terrorist attacks on mass transit. They conducted hundreds of show-of-force, uniformed, and rail marshal rides.

OSSSO also provided security services for President Bush, the Pope, the 2008 Democrat and Republican conventions, then-Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s campaign events, and then-Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden’s Amtrak whistle stop tours. The counterterrorism unit’s push to conduct random passenger and baggage screening earned predictable criticism from civil liberties absolutists, but also garnered bipartisan praise on Capitol Hill. Even Democrat Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas hailed the rail security team’s work last year:

“Let me congratulate them for being aware” of the threat to rail passengers, the chairman of a House Homeland Security subcommittee on transportation security, told USA Today in July 2008. “(But) this has to be the new standard for Amtrak.”

How will Congress react to the news that this high standard has been obliterated?

According to multiple government sources who declined to be identified for fear of retribution, OSSSO’s East Coast and West Coast teams have not worked in a counterterrorism capacity since the summer. Their long-arms were put under lock and key after the abrupt departures of Amtrak vice president for security strategy and special operations Bill Rooney and Amtrak Inspector General Fred Weiderhold.

Weiderhold played an instrumental role in creating OSSSO’s predecessor at Amtrak, the Counter-Terrorism Unit (CTU). He tapped Rooney to oversee the office. But Rooney was quietly given the “thank you for your service” heave-ho in May and Weiderhold was unexpectedly “retired” a few weeks later — just as the government-subsidized rail service faced mounting complaints about its meddling in financial audits and probes.

As I reported in June, Weiderhold had blown the whistle on intrusion of Amtrak’s Law Department into his financial audits and probes. A damning, 94-page report from an outside legal firm concluded that the “independence and effectiveness” of the Amtrak inspector general’s office were “being substantially impaired” by the Law Department – which happens to be headed by Eleanor Acheson, a close pal of Vice President Biden.

Biden, in turn, is tight with the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), the powerful union that represents the Amtrak Police Department. According to OSSSO sources, the APD brass have been aggrieved over the non-unionized counterterrorism unit’s existence from its inception. A West Coast OSSSO team member told me that union leaders blocked police credentialing efforts by his office for more than a year. An East Coast OSSSO team member told me that the FOP recently filed a grievance against one of its counterterrorism officers for assisting a train conductor who asked for help in ejecting a ticketless passenger.

Unlike the highly-specialized officers at OSSSO, APD officers possess minimal counterterrorism training. Past studies show alarmingly low pass rates among APD patrolmen who have attended undergone basic special operations classes, according to government sources. The Amtrak FOP continues to squabble over turf with the rival Teamsters Union; its leaders can’t even agree on minimal physical fitness standards for its members that have yet to be implemented. Nevertheless, OSSSO is now under the command and control of the APD — and federal stimulus funding specifically earmarked for the counterterrorism unit has now been absorbed by the police department.

Amtrak did not respond to my questions about OSSSO by my column deadline Thursday afternoon.

Al Qaeda operatives have repeatedly plotted to wreak havoc on our mass transit systems. And they will try, try again. American jihadi Bryant Neal Vinas recently gave the feds details about a plot blow up a Long Island Rail Road commuter train in New York’s Penn Station. As America marks the September 11 anniversary and the “Never forget” mantra echoes, an OSSSO team member told me: “There is no room for internal protectionism, vested interests of unions, or asset-manipulating bureaucracies where the safety of our national passenger railroad is concerned.”

Does anyone else in Washington agree?

The RAND Corporation conducted an internal review of the Amtrak Police Department’s deficiencies in counterterrorism training, and made the following observations:

Although APD officers receive police training, they do not receive special counterterrorism training either as part of their initial training or in training activities after they join the APD. The lack of counterterrorism training might explain why every APD officer interviewed indicated that he or she saw no fundamental difference between police and counter-terror work.

(By counterterrorism training, we refer to knowledge and skills to conduct counter-surveillance, special training to respond to chemical, biological, radiation, and nuclear threats and familiarization with attack methods that might involve the use of these types of weapons, profiling techniques to identify suspicious behaviors, knowledge about protocols for security information sharing, and awareness of how to work with Federal Government agencies and other entities involved in counterterrorism.)

…Moreover, there are no metrics in the Amtrak Security Threat Level Response Plan against which to monitor compliance or to gauge the effectiveness of prescribed countermeasures. There are no performance metrics for the divisional security coordinators program either. RAND’s review of Amtrak security documents and interview responses also did not find any explicit criteria guiding the selection of additional or alternative countermeasures or shifts in response levels within the system. It was, thus, not clear what would guide the Chief of Amtrak Police’s decisions on these matters. In this connection, it is also not clear how management would know with high confidence that the response posture chosen by APD translates into reduced vulnerability for Amtrak….****

Politics & Religion / Insurrection and the Second American Civil War
« on: August 21, 2009, 08:16:01 AM »
I don't know if this deserves a thread but I think it does.
I have posted we are in a "soft" civil war.

Others have noticed and stated this.  It is not new.

This article suggest BO is creating it.  I don't agree.  It already existed and has for years.  But let there be no doubt - BO is certainly making it worse - far worse.

He has never been about conciliation or post partisanship or getting past the rancor except that he thought but persistantly claiming that he could ram his agenda down the throats of those who are against it.

It was all talk all shmooz.

In any case we need more people to point this out about what is happening.  IF the right can get a better spokeperson a better plan going BO is toast.  If not he will hang in there with the potential of a comeback ala Clinton.
Though he is far more of an ideologue the Bill and so far has not shown the ability to change or adapt to preserve his power.
I guess he will eventually.  He can't be that pig headed - or can he?

Politics & Religion / California
« on: July 28, 2009, 09:31:49 AM »
Solution is simple.  A 95% tax on all those in the entertainment industry - music, cinema, TV, networks, actors, sports, etc.
It's time they start doing their "fair share" instead of bossing the rest of us to cough it up.

****Schwarzenegger likely to veto social programs
Jul 28, 3:41 AM (ET)

(AP) Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger talks with his staff about potential line-item vetos while going over...
Full Image
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Tuesday is expected to use his line-item veto power to make additional cuts to the California's latest spending plan - a move advocates fear could hurt the poor.

Social service advocates worry the Republican governor has little choice but to go after money counties receive to administer welfare and social service benefits. Likely targets include welfare-to-work assistance, in-home support, foster care and health insurance for poor families.

With much of state spending tied up by federal and constitutional requirements, the Schwarzenegger administration believes more cuts are necessary to provide a cash cushion for the state in case of emergencies such as earthquakes and wild fires.

"I just want to assure everyone that we will build up our reserve. We will make the necessary cuts," the governor said Friday in announcing he'll sign the budget passed by the Legislature.

(AP) Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger talks with his staff about potential line-item veto's while going over...
Full Image
The governor and lawmakers had planned for a reserve in the revised budget, but the Assembly rejected two measures - raiding local transportation funds and authorizing additional oil drilling - that would have brought $1.1 billion to the state.

The governor's spokesman, Aaron McLear, said Schwarzenegger will try to fill that $1.1 billion but isn't expected to cut by that much. He declined to release details.

"We will always be in a position to aggressively respond to disasters," McLear said.

Advocates view additional cuts to social programs as another blow since the Schwarzenegger administration has reduced benefits in response to the recession.

California's economy has been hit by the housing market slump and high unemployment, and the latest efforts to close a $26 billion shortfall, just five months after lawmakers and the governor ended months of negotiations to close a previous $42 billion deficit.

Under the budget the governor will sign Tuesday, the state will impose tougher sanctions on CalWORKS recipients who don't meet work requirements. And in-home support workers will have to undergo background checks and have their fingerprints taken.

In earlier rounds of cuts, California lowered Medi-Cal reimbursement rates for health care providers and eliminated optional benefits such as dental and eye care for adult recipients.

"Why further punish children, low-income families, and the aged and disabled because the Legislature did not approve borrowing gas tax revenue?" said Frank Mecca, executive director of the County Welfare Directors Association of California.

Once Schwarzenegger signs the budget, his finance team is expected to begin briefing the state treasurer and controller, creditors and analysts on how the latest spending plan will impact day-to-day cash flow.

The governor and lawmakers are hoping their latest plan provides the assurance lenders need for the state to take out loans and stop issuing IOUs to thousands of vendors. Representatives for the treasurer and controller said it would take a few more days after that to assess the state's borrowing needs and decide whether California can stop issuing IOUs.

Matt Fabian, a bond analyst at Municipal Market Advisors, based in Concord, Mass., said the plan was filled with accounting tricks and will likely do little to improve the state's poor credit rating.

Fitch Ratings placed at California's general obligation bond debt at BBB. Most states have a AAA or AA rating.***

About the White House Military Office whose director, excuse me, I mean "aid", Loius Caldera, reportedly acting without any knowledge from anyone higher up ordered the Airforce One fly over of NYC.  He is taking the fall.  He will probably get another cushy consulting job somewhere to go away, resign, and be quiet:

The White House Military Office (WHMO) provides military support for White House functions, including food service, Presidential transportation, medical support and emergency medical services, and hospitality services. The office, led by WHMO Director Louis Caldera, oversees policy related to WHMO functions and Department of Defense assets and ensures that White House requirements are met with the highest standards of quality. The WHMO Director oversees all military operations aboard Air Force One on Presidential missions worldwide. The Deputy Director of the White House Military Office focuses primarily on the day-to-day support of the WHMO.

The WHMO's operational units are the most visible part of the WHMO's support to the President. The WHMO units include the White House Communications Agency, Presidential Airlift Group, White House Medical Unit, Camp David, Marine Helicopter Squadron One, Presidential Food Service, and the White House Transportation Agency. To assure proper coordination and integration, the WHMO also includes support elements such as operations; policy, plans, and requirements; information and technology management; financial management and comptroller; WHMO counsel; and security. Together, WHMO entities provide essential service to the President and help maintain the continuity of the Presidency.

Pages: [1] 2