Tuesday Night Open Mic for July 13, 2010

We arrive at open mic off of a couple of nights of what I felt were good topics but somewhat limited discussions around them. I know I have been a little more edgy the last couple of nights (I prefer the term passionate, lol). Did that scare some people away from having some tough discussions? I have found myself frustrated this week with politics as I watch the idiots in Washington DC continue to go down paths of destruction. That has caused me to be, shall we say, blunt. I didn’t really back off of that on tonight’s topics either! I hope folks aren’t finding me so abrasive that they are shunning SUFA! For tonight’s topics I offer a bit of Al Franken’s election being exposed as a fraud, Europe increasing their invasion into privacy rights, the IMF telling the US to cut Social Security, and the FCC getting smacked down by the courts over a censorship rule. As always, it is open mic so feel free to add whatever topics you would like to talk about. The next post for the week will be Kent’s guest commentary on Thursday night so we have two days to discuss stuff here. I will also be going back and adding to the discussions from Monday and Tuesday. So fire away!

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Comments

  1. USWeapon says:

    USWeapon Topic #1

    Felons Voting Illegally May Have Put Franken Over the Top in Minnesota, Study Finds

    The six-month election recount that turned former “Saturday Night Live” comedian Al Franken into a U.S. senator may have been decided by convicted felons who voted illegally in Minnesota’s Twin Cities.

    That’s the finding of an 18-month study conducted by Minnesota Majority, a conservative watchdog group, which found that at least 341 convicted felons in largely Democratic Minneapolis-St. Paul voted illegally in the 2008 Senate race between Franken, a Democrat, and his Republican opponent, then-incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman.

    The final recount vote in the race, determined six months after Election Day, showed Franken beat Coleman by 312 votes — fewer votes than the number of felons whose illegal ballots were counted, according to Minnesota Majority’s newly released study, which matched publicly available conviction lists with voting records.

    Furthermore, the report charges that efforts to get state and federal authorities to act on its findings have been “stonewalled.”

    “We aren’t trying to change the result of the last election. That legally can’t be done,” said Dan McGrath, Minnesota Majority’s executive director. “We are just trying to make sure the integrity of the next election isn’t compromised.”

    Read the rest of the article here: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/07/12/felons-voting-illegally-franken-minnesota-study-finds/?test=latestnews

    If you all will recall, I said when it happened that there was a ton of funny business going on in that Minnesota recount. I knew Stuart Smalley did not really earn a seat in the United States Senate. I find it extremely interesting that they found enough illegal votes to change the outcome in just one voting district. Imagine what the difference would be if they included all the other voting districts in the study.

    But let’s be honest, this is no longer about “removing” Franken from his Senate seat. As the group conducting the study clearly stated, there is no legal recourse for taking that step. What is more troubling is the reaction of the voting commission even when they are aware that overturning the results is not the purpose of the study or the release of their findings.

    The group is interested in fixing a flawed system in order to ensure that future elections are not decided by illegally cast votes. Now, whether those votes should be illegal or not is certainly up for debate. I personally think that denying someone the right to vote because they were convicted of a felony is un-Constitutional. Are they not still affected by the actions of elected officials? Why exactly should it be accepted that these people, who have done their time according to the law, should be denied in having their voice heard in our government?

    But the bottom line is that RIGHT NOW the law states that they were ineligible. That means that there vote was as legitimate as the votes cast by Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck in Ohio. And so long as that is what the law says, then it should be enforced, because it can obviously have a fairly dramatic impacton the results, and ultimately on the national political scene (look at what a difference one Republican Senator would have made on health care).

    Prosecuters in one of the two counties involved have taken it seriously, while the other one has simply dismissed the findings, stating that the data was just wrong. It isn’t. The group was pretty meticulous in their second attempt, and left very little room for error. The full article describes the process a little better. I don’t see a gigantic reason to go and start prosecuting people for voting. But I sure do think that whatever the laws are on the books around voting, they should be looking to fix the process so another fraud like Franken isn’t put into a position that turns Congress into an even bigger circus with a new clown.

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      @USW – I think the one key piece missing here is that we have no idea who the convicted felons voted for. Another element missing but not as critical is access by the study group to non-public data to validate the felony against the voter.

      • Ray

        You are right. The operative words in the headline and first paragraph were “may have”.

        The headline is a deliberate obfuscation. The practice is becoming all to common in the media. Especially those who have staked out turf on one side or the other in hopes of capturing that market share.

        It shows that we all need to read very carefully to avoid falling into the traps.

        The assumption is that the felons would have voted primarily Democrat just because they live in primarily Democrat voting districts. NOT a valid assumption for making claims of fraud.

      • Ray,

        I think the key is will it happen again? Is Hennepin County deliberately obstructing the law to allow future voter fraud?

        “Prosecuters in one of the two counties involved have taken it seriously, while the other one has simply dismissed the findings, stating that the data was just wrong.

        in Hennepin County, which in includes Minneapolis, 899 suspected felons had been matched on the county’s voting records, and the review showed 289 voters were conclusively matched to felon records. The report says only three people in the county have been charged with voter fraud so far.

        in Ramsey, 460 names on voting records were matched with felon lists, and a further review found 52 were conclusive matches.

        Carruthers said Ramsey County is still investigating all the names and has asked that 15 investigators be hired to complete the process. “So far we have charged 28 people with felonies, have 17 more under review and have 182 cases still open,” he said. “And there is a good chance we may match or even exceed their numbers.”

        “Prosecutors have to act more swiftly in prosecuting cases from the 2008 election to deter fraud in the future,” he said, “and the state has to make sure that existing system, that flags convicted felons so voting officials can challenge them at the ballot, is effective. In 90 percent of the cases we looked at, the felons weren’t flagged.”

      • USWeapon says:

        Ray,

        Correct. That is why I don’t think that the story is that Franken is illegitimate, as we simply don’t know that to be true. I personally think he didn’t win that race, but that isn’t based on this alone. As you recall I wrote about the fraud occurring in the recount extensively.

        The story is that people not eligible to vote did in fact vote, and one of the two counties in question is intent on ignoring the findings and doing nothing about it. In a political environment where I believe that groups are actively looking for ways to get their candidates elected “no matter what”, there are people willing to look the other way rather than get it right. We saw this in Florida in 2000. We saw it again during the 2008 election, where we had 14 states file voting fraud charges against ACORN. In a system already rigged against the citizens, we see it get even more manipulated with voter fraud.

        • Ray Hawkins says:

          @USW – please refer also to my comment to LOI – it appears that Hennepin is investigating the issue and taking action.

          The story raises a number of concerns – our apparent inability to ensure near transparent and completely authenticated voting being one of them. It’d be nice if this article aimed at the root cause rather than a weak-ass “Franken may not have won” line – but hey – who ever accused Fox or Huff of being fair?

    • I question why there is no legal recourse to remove anyone from a seat if it is PROVEN that they didn’t actually win. We seem to accept being cheated as an unavoidable and unfixible occurrence.

      • V.H.

        In this case there is no proof.

        I think if proof was made that they could be removed. Because it would have been shown that they or their campaign staff committed criminal fraud.

        The problem with elections is how hard that threshold is to meet.

        • I’m glad to hear that-I think the threshold should be high but if it is met, they should be gone.

    • naten53 says:

      I am sure you can find the same thing about the 2000 presidential election.

      I do agree with Ray that yes there are more illegal votes than what the winning margin was, but who did they vote for? Remember the bickering over which vote should count and which doesn’t.

      Until our nation creates a tamper proof voting system (when lawyers can get involved in a recount it is not tamper proof), and there is a way to verify with 100000% accuracy that the person is casting their one and only vote and they are legally able to vote, there will be cases like this again.

    • It does not matter who votes or who wins, just vote!

      Your government depends on it.

  2. USWeapon says:

    USWeapon Topic #2

    Privacy or Pedophilia: Europe Debates Proposal to Save All Internet Search Data

    On the oddly named website SMILE29.eu, a young girl’s liquid eyes cry “save me.” A strip across her mouth is ripped away, symbolizing that she has no voice. And, in 22 languages, she pleads with Europe to stop pedophilia and other sex crimes by forcing search engines to save every keystroke for two years — and hand them over to police when asked.

    SMILE29.eu is the website affiliated with “Written Declaration 29,” a measure adopted recently by the European Parliament that advocates extending the European Union’s Data Retention Directive to include search engines. Its aim, sponsors say, is to ensure that women and children aren’t targeted by predators trolling the Internet for victims.

    It’s a worthy goal, but critics say the data retention requirement for search engines was sneaked surreptitiously into the proposal, and that the declaration doesn’t address the problem.

    Pedophiles and other sex marauders, experts say, don’t randomly scan the Web for victims. They say prosecutions, fear of exposure and public humiliation have driven pedophiles to create and use far more sophisticated sites than open search engines. In short, the critics say, this commendable effort to stop sex crimes will do nothing of the sort and, instead, is a cloak for a massive assault on privacy.

    The June 23 adoption of the “written declaration” will have no immediate impact or force of law. Under European Parliamentary rules the adoption of a written declaration merely means that a majority of the 736 members of the European Parliament “think” the topic is worthy of further consideration.

    Read the rest of the article here: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/07/12/pedophilia-sex-crimes-privacy-internet-eff-european-union/

    From Europe we have a bit more of what appears to be the “big Brother” mentality. I am really uncomfortable with the idea of any outside group being able to capture every key stroke, to be made available to corrupt politicians at their whim. And given the sheer level of corruption in politics, how long before they simply manipulate data to implicate political rivals as pedophiles or traitors to the country or whatever else they like?

    And what we are seeing play out in this particular situation is exactly what the article implies. It is a way to get access that they really want for different reasons than they are saying. But they put it out there as a emotional ploy to protect the children. After all, what monsters don’t want to protect the children. Even the website that they discuss has nothing more than an emotional plea as the opening image: A child’s pleading eyes with their mouth ripped away showing that they have no voice. We already see this tactic used in US politics over and over. SCHIP as reasoning to pass massive tobacco taxes. Obama’s crappy stories to justify health care reform that is anything but. Children being planted in audiences to ask the President about the “mean signs” she saw on the way in.

    Europe is inherently more “progressive” (and I mean that in the worst possible way) than the United States is at this point. But if we see something like this come to pass over there, you can bet that the next move will be to start working towards it over here. And that is troubling in the political world that exists today. I would be whole-heartedly against this measure if it were being presented here. I simply am not willing to give the federal government access to ANYTHING at this point.

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      In Europe the data privacy laws tend to heavily favor the individual over the State – this I see as a anomaly and will not pass muster.

      Curious if any SUFA friends across the pond can weigh in.

    • Two of the biggest issues with this are:
      1) As usual, the proposal does not address the issue it is supposed to address. Even if there were no ill intent or power grab or sneaking a way into the private lives of people, it is still pointless, and at best an increase in cost, at worst a violation of privacy and a way to open the door to immense sale of personal information. I do not, however, believe for a second that the powers that be are not using this as a power grab, they know exactly what they are doing.

      2) If they can grab search engine keystrokes and match them to individuals, then they can grab other stuff. Blog posts, credit card numbers, emails, chat room communication, messenger communication. It is basically permitting the technology for line tapping every computer in Europe. This is not an incremental power grab, it is an ultimate invasion of communication privacy.

    • MAYBE, instead of violating the Privacy of the individuals, they should try public castration when they are caught.

      I have a neice who I have raised since birth. As far as I am concerned, she is mine. God did not bless my wife and I with a girl because he knew in his infinite wisdom that we would have to raise her worthless brother’s children. But that’s OK. She has me wrapped around her little finger. My heart belongs to her as completely as if she were my flesh and blood child.

      AND IF ANY PEDOPHILE TOUCHED HER, HE’D BEST PRAY TO WHATEVER GOD HE BELIEVED IN THAT THE LAW FOUND HIM FIRST!! :EVIL:

      But as usual, they’ll just take away OUR Liberty instead.

  3. USWeapon says:

    USWeapon Topic #3

    The Attack of the Real Black Helicopter Gang: The IMF Is Coming for Your Social Security

    Last week, the IMF told the United States that it needs to start getting its budget deficit down. It put cutting Social Security at the top of the steps that the country should take to achieve deficit reduction. This one is more than a bit outrageous for two reasons.

    First, the IMF deserves a substantial share of the blame for the economic crisis that gave us big deficits in the first place. The IMF is supposed to oversee the operations of the international financial system. According to standard economic theory, capital is supposed to flow from rich countries like the United States to poor countries to finance their development. In other words, the United States should be having a trade surplus, which would correspond to the money that we are investing in poor countries to finance their development.

    However, the IMF messed up its management of financial crises so badly in the last 15 years that poor countries decided that they had to accumulate huge amounts of currency reserves in order to avoid ever being forced to deal with the IMF. This meant that capital was flowing in huge amounts in the wrong direction. One result of this reverse flow was that the United States ran a huge trade deficit instead of a trade surplus.

    The trade deficit in the United States was a big part of the story of the housing bubble. The trade deficit cost millions of workers their jobs. This was one of the main reasons that economy was so weak coming out of the 2001 recession. This weakness led the Fed to keep interest rates at 50-year lows, until the growth of the housing bubble eventually began to generate jobs in the fall of 2003.

    The IMF both bears much of the blame for the imbalances in the world economy and then for failing to clearly sound the alarms about the dangers of the bubble. While the IMF has no problem warning about retired workers getting too much in Social Security benefits, it apparently could not find its voice when the issue was the junk securities from Goldman Sachs or Citigroup that helped to fuel the housing bubble.

    The collapse of this bubble has not only sank the world economy, it also destroyed most of the savings of the near retirees for whom the IMF wants to cut Social Security. The vast majority of middle-income retirees have most of their wealth in their home equity. This home equity largely disappeared when the bubble burst. Maybe the IMF doesn’t have access to house price series and data on wealth, because if they did, it’s hard to believe that they would advocate further harm to some of the main victims of their policy failure.

    The other reason that the IMF’s call for cutting Social Security benefits is infuriating is the incredible hypocrisy involved. The average Social Security benefit is just under $1,200 a month. No one can collect benefits until they reach the age of 62. By contrast, many IMF economists first qualify for benefits in their early 50s. They can begin drawing pensions at age 51 or 52 of more than $100,000 a year.

    This means that we have IMF economists, who failed disastrously at their jobs, who can draw six-figure pensions at age 52, telling ordinary workers that they have to take a cut in their $14,000 a year Social Security benefits that they can’t start getting until age 62. Now that is real black helicopter material.

    Read the article at its original site, The Huffington Post, here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dean-baker/the-attack-of-the-real-bl_b_643506.html

    I found this to be interesting. Allow me to be clear on where I stand given my limited understanding of what sort of power the International Monetary Fund folks have. It appears to me that this is little more than a “recommendation” from the IMF that the United States start looking at Social Security as a top area to start cutting costs, meaning cutting benefits to those who are drawing Social Security. What I don’t know, or better put understand, is whether the folks of the IMF have the ability to leverage any sort of pressure that would force the US to take what would certainly be a vastly unpopular step. So I don’t know how much it matters what the IMF has told the US to do.

    What I find most interesting about this is that it becomes public banter than a big global economic entity thinks that cutting Social Security is the right first move. There is a difference between one of the two political parties suggesting such a thing and one of them simply saying we have to do this in order to save the economy. Attacking Social Security has traditionally been a kiss of death for a politician in America. But if the onus can be placed on the IMF, is an article like this really just a first step in moving that direction under the covering fire of the IMF?

    For my part, I would prefer to eliminate Social Security tomorrow. I would obviously grandfather people in to the extent that they have paid in. For example I would get paid only enough to match what I contributed. Where that comes from I really don’t care, but you stop taking it from my paycheck immediately. Everyone under the age of 25, you chalk up as getting nothing out of it and contributing nothing further towards it. Allow Americans the opportunity to save or invest that money as they see fit. If they fail to do so, then their retirement will suck…. not my fault or my problem. But there again is that whole personal responsibility thing in action.

    We have already seen some clamoring from groups fostering the idea of seizing our 401k’s, so I don’t think it is surprising to see them start to talk about changes to SS.

    As for the IMF? Off the cuff I would give them the same respect I would give the United Nations… None. Thanks for your recommendations and input. No go piss off.

    • USW

      I hadn’t thought of the “cover” angle on this one. Good point and totally possible.

      I also love the irony of that the IMF has been bullying third world countries around for decades and now suddenly starts telling the USA what to do.

      Could it be that our own bankers now view us as nothing more than a third world country?

      • USWeapon says:

        JAC,

        As BF pointed out below, this has for quite some time been viewed as the third rail. Everyone in America knows we need to do something about Social Security, but no one is going to touch it as long as that third rail has that much current running through it. But if we can say that it isn’t the Dems or Repubs recommending it, that can change things. That “cover” angle is what I think is most likely.

        I don’t think the bankers view us as a third world country, but I sure do think that they view us as a third world economy.

    • A different SS topic,

      Galveston vs. Social Security
      by Nilus Mattive, Money and Markets Newsletter

      Dear Subscriber,

      I have devoted a number of my recent columns to the problems with Social Security and many state pension plans. And in one particular article, I also told you how the Amish have used a little known provision to opt out of the entire system.

      Today, I want to talk about another group of people who took their retirements into their own hands back in the early 1980s — the employees of three counties in Texas (first and most famously, Galveston, but also Brazoria and Matagorda).

      How they opted out is not nearly as interesting or controversial as the story of the Amish … they simply used an exemption that existed until 1983 and allowed municipal governments to form their own alternate retirement plans. In Galveston, the idea was put to a vote and won with 78 percent in favor of the decision.

      At the same time, I believe this story demonstrates how smaller governmental plans — run with reasonable expectations and particpants’ best interests in mind — can actually deliver what they promise in a sustainable way.

      Let’s Take a Look at How Galveston’s
      Plan Differs from Social Security …

      You likely already know how Social Security works (or doesn’t) but let’s start with a quick refresher.

      In simple terms, U.S. workers pay a certain percentage of their earnings into the system … with a cap on the amount of their pay that is taxed … and with both of these variables having risen sharply throughout the program’s history.

      Then, upon retirement age, contributors begin collecting benefits based on their contribution history, with maximum benefits also subject to specific payout limits.

      Like Social Security, participation in Galveston’s plan is mandatory for county workers. They contribute 6.13 percent of their gross compensation every year (slightly lower than Social Security’s current rate of 6.2 percent). Galveston County contributes a slightly larger amount to each participant’s account, and that amount has risen a bit over time.

      Like Social Security, Galveston’s plan also offers both survivor and disability benefits. But that’s where the similarities end. Here’s a rundown of some of the differences (most of which come from this document from the Social Security Administration) …

      To qualify for Social Security, workers must accumulate enough credits, which takes about 10 years in the workforce.

      In contrast, Galveston County’s employees who work at least 20 hours a week are covered immediately (other employees are covered by Social Security).

      With Social Security, workers get up to 100 percent of their benefits, less reductions for early retirement. The payments are good for life … are adjusted annually for inflation (as measured by the government’s Consumer Price Index) … may be reduced if the retiree is still working … and the retiree’s spouse can receive up to 50 percent of the worker’s benefit.

      Galveston offers its employees a number of choices for receiving benefits — including a lump sum distribution, as well as annuities ranging from five years of payments to distributions for life (with a minimum number of payments guaranteed).

      In addition …

      There is no “retirement age” with Galveston’s plan — workers can begin collecting their benefits upon retirement or termination.

      Their benefits are not reduced if they continue working after they leave their county job.

      And notably, Galveston’s plan doesn’t offer inflation adjustments … nor does it provide additional benefits to spouses or divorced spouses. Spouses may only receive benefits once the worker leaves his county position … and divorced spouses may only receive benefits if they’ve been designated as beneficiaries or by court decree.

      Both Social Security and Galveston’s plan are invested relatively conservatively — with Galveston mainly opting for guaranteed investment contracts from insurance companies. The Galveston plan does allow for bond investments as well as stocks, but all indications are that it has never chosen to invest in riskier assets. Overall, the two plans have earned similar rates of returns over long periods of time.
      Would you rather have your retirement fully funded in advance or reliant on future contributions from someone else? That’s one of the many differences between Galveston’s plan and Social Security.
      Would you rather have your retirement fully funded in advance or reliant on future contributions from someone else? That’s one of the many differences between Galveston’s plan and Social Security.

      When it comes to disability benefits, Galveston’s plan offers coverage to workers immediately but does not provide additional benefits for dependents.

      Galveston’s disability benefits are not based on a progressive formula, either — which essentially means they are proportional to what the person actually contributed. This is equally true of the plan’s survivor benefits.

      Speaking of survivor benefits, Galveston employees get to designate their beneficiaries … while Social Security has “default” settings that cover spouses, many divorced spouses, and all qualified dependents up to a family maximum.

      In other words, a Galveston employee knows that some beneficiary is getting a benefit … Social Security only guarantees benefits to certain household members, and tends to reward larger households with greater numbers of young dependents.

      So the Biggest Distinction Between Galveston’s Plan and Social Security?

      One Puts Participants in Charge and Doesn’t Promise the World!

      Whenever the issue of Galveston’s plan comes up, the Social Security Administration is quick to point out that workers can run out of money under this rival plan. And that’s true — IF they opt to take something other than the lifetime annuity option.

      Meanwhile, Galveston’s plan lets workers decide how they want their money.

      Most importantly, it virtually guarantees that the money will be there because unlike Social Security it is fully funded in advance!

      A quick look at Galveston County’s most recent financial statement (fiscal year ended September) showed that the plan had assets of about $57 million at the end of 2009, up from assets of about $52 million a year earlier.

      No, the plan doesn’t promise ADDITIONAL benefits to spouses or dependents — just the amounts that workers contributed and to the beneficiaries they designated. Nor does it skew benefits in favor of folks who contributed less … who are married … or who have larger-than-average families. And politicians haven’t been raiding the funds to pay other bills, either — contributions are forwarded to third-party administrators on a monthly basis.

      But am I the only one who thinks that sounds pretty fair and a heck of a lot more sustainable than what the rest of us have?

      Best wishes,

      Nilus

      P.S. What about the fact that Galveston’s plan doesn’t adjust payments for inflation? Well, that certainly adds an element of risk to retirees solely depending on those payments over the long-term. But we all know how off-target the government’s CPI measure is anyway.

      • USWeapon says:

        VERY interesting addition to the conversation LOI. Thanks for adding it.

        I have to say I would much prefer Galveston’s plan to SS. But that comes as much because I am a fan of local administration over federal administration as it does because of how it works.

        USW

      • My school district in Polk County, GA has opted out of SS as well. We have a 405 or something like that.

        Not sure right now if I like it or not. But it sure beats the Govt taking “Care” of my money.

    • Washington Post:

      federal revenue is fully consumed by three programs: Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

      “The rest of the federal government, including fighting two wars, homeland security, education, art, culture, you name it, veterans — the whole rest of the discretionary budget is being financed by China and other countries,” Simpson said

      Nothing will be cut anywhere.

      All past empires have fallen -not by conquest- but by the collapse of their economies that could no longer sustain them.

      USA will be no different.

    • At the end, even Niall’s grasps at fantasies.

      At the end, he hedges. He says we can get it back. With Technological innovation and entrepreneurship.

      He is correct.

      These are the USA’s major strengths.

      But the time frame is too short.

      He says that the Empire could start to unravel before the next Presidential election. He says five years, max.

      Let’s be clear. Innovation and entrepreneurship take years to produce economic fruit.

      They are both being overwhelmed by the debt crisis.

      Without capital, there is neither technological innovation nor entrepreneurship. The Federal government will absorb a growing percentage of this capital.

      Pay attention to what he says about legitimacy.

    • Recall my post defining what “government default” will look like.

      Here it comes:

      Raising retirement age to 70 touted as needed to save Social Security
      MarketWatch
      Raising the normal retirement age to 70 is a needed first step, leading experts say.

      The time has come for the nation to face some facts, and according to Republican U.S. Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, the House minority leader, that means fixing Social Security by raising the normal retirement age to 70 for future retirees, from the current 67.

      • Oakland Fires 80 Police Officers…

        Government always withdraws services where people like USWep and JAC believe government should actually serve, such as protect services.

        This highlights precisely that government is NOT the proper system to provide such services.

        No free market company destroys the product it offers so to reduce its costs, but that is what government ALWAYS does first – because it is the most direct effect on the people. It’s a reverse motivation – “see, you don’t want your taxes raised because we waste money on welfare? Ok, we’ll cut cops and firemen!!”

      • BF

        I have a problem with this as an indicator.

        Raising the age was inevitable, even if the govt were solvent.

        The contribution rates simply aren’t high enough to meet the benefits for a 15 to 25 year period.

        That has been known since the 1980’s when Reagan tackled reform.

        • JAC,

          Government is defaulting on its program.

          If it started with a promise to pay at (age) and it begins moving goal posts, that is a default – that is, reneging on the deal.

          If you pay me for a service, and I unilaterally alter said service – I have defaulted.

          The only difference; between you and me, you can enforce some sort of recourse; between you and government, you lose.

          • BF

            You or the SS Admin defaulting on a promise is NOT the same as a Government defaulting on 100 trillion of debt obligations.

            You know that and are trying to use one word to capture both and thus use it as an indicator of the larger problem.

            While the impetus to move the age now may be related to the overall default threat it would have been needed regardless of the national debt situation.

            I do not see the attempt to move the age to 70 as any indicator of larger default threats. Not by itself.

            • JAC

              I posted awhile back describing what “default” means in terms discussing governments.

              It means a number of things across a number of things – one being moving goal posts.

              Not all defaults will look the same.

              All government defaults have one thing in common – they will be unilateral.

              If the US defaults on a T-Bill held by China, so what? China won’t come over, cut off California and sail it back in between Taiwan and the Mainland.

              China will have to “suck it up”.

              Given that, the default will not look like how it may look if YOU defaulted.

              Government will stop paying, change payments, delay payments, change the rules, seize others income or property, etc.

              The SS age change is core. They are dabbling dancing on the “Third Rail” of politics – the Gray Power Vote.

              If they feel the situation is dire enough to play there… its already bad.

    • Are Overdue Reports Concealing ObamaCare Impact On Medicare?

      Every year, the Annual Report of the Social Security Board of Trustees comes out between mid-April and mid-May. Now it’s July, and there’s no sign of this year’s report. What is the Obama administration hiding?

      The annual report includes detailed information about Social Security and its financing over the next 75 years, produced by the Office of the Actuary of the Social Security Administration.

      The Congressional Budget Office reported last week in its Long Term Budget Outlook that Social Security was already running a deficit this year. According to last year’s Social Security Trustees Report, that was not supposed to happen until 2015, with the trust fund to run out completely by 2037.

      With the disastrous Obama economy, the great Social Security surplus that started in the Reagan administration is gone completely.

      Every year, the federal government has been raiding the Social Security trust funds to take that annual surplus and spend it on the rest of the federal government’s runaway spending, leaving the trust funds only with IOUs backed by nothing but politicians’ promise to pay it back when it’s needed. Now even that annual surplus is gone. How soon will the trust funds run out completely now?

      … (But) The implications for Social Security aren’t what the Obama administration is hiding by delaying the annual trustees reports. Those annual reports also include information regarding Medicare over the next 75 years. What the administration is trying to hide are sweeping draconian cuts to Medicare resulting from the ObamaCare legislation, which the annual report will document.

      The administration is trying to delay the report until mid-August, when it’s hoping the country will be on vacation and won’t notice. Or maybe the delay is because the White House is trying to bludgeon the chief actuaries for Medicare and Social Security into fudging the numbers.

      The Social Security “IOUs backed by nothing but politicians’ promise to pay it back when it’s needed” are from a government that itself has well over $10 trillion dollars in other debt, before counting Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and a host of other off-the-books liabilities. Then there are the additional tens of trillions in actuarial liabilities.

      Ferrara didn’t note that the administration announced a delay until June 30 back on April 5, “so that the new report can reflect the impact of the recently passed health care overhaul.” But they’re now almost two weeks late. What are they waiting for? A really, really busy news day? A Friday night midsummer doc dump?

      Meanwhile, no one in the rest of the press appears to be the least bit curious.

      Read more: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/tom-blumer/2010/07/13/ibd-op-ed-wonders-where-social-security-medicare-trustees-report-rest-me#ixzz0tfVUu2M8

  4. USWeapon says:

    USWeapon Topic #4

    FCC Swear Word Censorship Policy Tossed By Federal Court

    A federal appeals court on Tuesday struck down a government policy that can lead to broadcasters being fined for allowing even a single curse word on live television, saying it is unconstitutionally vague and threatens speech “at the heart of the First Amendment.”

    The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan threw out the 2004 Federal Communications Commission policy, which said that profanity referring to sex or excrement is always indecent.

    “By prohibiting all `patently offensive’ references to sex, sexual organs and excretion without giving adequate guidance as to what `patently offensive’ means, the FCC effectively chills speech, because broadcasters have no way of knowing what the FCC will find offensive,” the court wrote.

    “To place any discussion of these vast topics at the broadcaster’s peril has the effect of promoting wide self-censorship of valuable material which should be completely protected under the First Amendment,” it added.

    The court said the FCC might be able to craft a policy that does not violate the First Amendment.

    It cited several examples of chilled speech, including a Vermont station’s refusal to air a political debate because one local politician previously had used expletives on the air and a Moosic, Pa., station’s decision to no longer provide live coverage of news events unless they affect matters of public safety or convenience.

    “This chill reaches speech at the heart of the First Amendment,” the appeals court said.

    In a statement, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said: “We’re reviewing the court’s decision in light of our commitment to protect children, empower parents, and uphold the First Amendment.”

    Carter Phillips, a Washington lawyer who argued the case for Fox Television Stations Inc., called the decision satisfying. He said the court had “sent the FCC back to square one to start over” by not only tossing the FCC’s fleeting expletive policy but also a broader indecency policy as unconstitutionally vague.

    Read the rest of the article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/13/fcc-swear-word-censorship_n_644837.html

    I have to tell you that despite the pictures that accompanied the article at the Huffington Post, which included Jeanine Barfalo, Bono, and Biden, I was extremely happy to see that this had been struck down by the courts. Then again it isn’t surprising that I favor any ruling by the court that strikes down the FCC regulating speech of any kind.

    I have long been opposed to censorship as practiced by those who have ruled television and broadcasting. The article discusses how the FCC went after George Carlin for his dirty words mentioned on the air. I have to tell you that I was a gigantic Carlin fan and have half of his stand up routines memorized. Hearing his foul language didn’t mess me up or turn me into some amoral human being. I don’t believe that the government should have the right to censor anything on broadcasts unless what is being said has the possibility of causing public panic. For example, stations getting together and doing a fake broadcast proclaiming that America is under attack should not be allowed without proper warning. Outside of stuff like that, the government should have absolutely zero say.

    Censorship as it exists today harkens back to a time when outraged christian parents decided that the world should conform to their versions of what is acceptable language. In a world where protected speech includes the Westboro freak’s rantings and the New Black Panther idiots adoration of a terrorist, that the only thing that can’t be said on the airwaves are words that christians find offensive is somewhat ridiculous.

    What I find most amazing above is the statement that the FCC made: “We’re reviewing the court’s decision in light of our commitment to protect children, empower parents, and uphold the First Amendment.” A couple of thoughts here. First, the first amendment would say you cannot censor swear words the way you have, so stop pretending that you care what the Constitution says. Second, how dare you even make the statement “empower parents”. What you mean is do parents jobs for them. Provide a safer babysitter for parents too lazy to monitor what their child watches on TV. Third, what was that I said in the previous topic about using emotional appeal. What sick monster would oppose protecting the children? I would if it means censorship.

    Here’s the bottom line. As a parent it is your responsibility to be a damn parent. If you don’t trust a station to be kid friendly, then don’t allow your child to watch it. I promise you that some channels will step forward to guarantee a kid friendly programming lineup, as they know all the lazy parents will flock to it. It is not the government’s job to “protect” your child. It is your job. I know it is hard to do in today’s environment. But if you aren’t up to the task, then close your legs or zip up your fly and don’t have children. But don’t you dare believe that it is your right to infringe on my liberty so that you don’t have to do your job as a parent.

    Stepping off my soap box now…..

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      On the money USW

    • I agree this rule goes way to far-I think the idea here was to collect more fines than to actually protect children. I do wonder though are you against all regulations or do you think they just go to far?

    • USW

      I find the profanity on TV to be obnoxious and repugnant. As I do the sex and violence. Most of it is done by supposed “liberals” for little more than shock value. An arrogance that they can push the envelope and get away with it. And my feelings have nothing to do with “Christian” values.

      It has to do with the responsibility of a free society striving for a more “civilized” existence. We wonder why the civility has gone from public discourse. Yet we throw hateful and profane words at each other with no second thought.

      The “self censorship” by TV doesn’t work because the warnings are to broad. One show with “violence” can be tame and another shocking. It most often hits you in the face with no warning. The problems goes beyond what we consider “profanity”.

      Unfortunately, most families have one primary source of outside entertainment, the TV. Most are also unaware of the effect the garbage spewing from that box is having on their children and on themselves.

      Now I’ll get off my soap box. And to eliminate any possible confusion, I DO NOT want the govt imposing censorship rules on TV broadcasters. But then I think the TV air waves should be private property and not the “public domain”. If you want it to be public, then you give the “public” the right to control whats on it.

      And for the record, I assure you that the first amendment was never intended to protect profanity and pornography as “speech”. I would be remiss and inconsistent with my arguments on the constitution if I didn’t point that out.

      Best Regards to You and Your Family.
      JAC

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        @JAC – interesting my friend – as I read your post my thought was that you are suggesting there were profane words in the vernacular in the mid 1700s – what were such words and how do we attribute that the Founding Fathers accepted that government could control them? (in the absence of protecting profanity as free speech you thereby grant that it is ok to restrict it no?)

        Cheers to you this day.

        • Ray

          Yes, they had profane words. And I am guessing much of what they found obscene would be very tame by today’s standards.

          During the debates they had the same concerns and discussions we have today about what might become protected as “free speech”. The supporters clearly felt that profanity and obscenity was not covered and that makes sense in light of what they were trying to accomplish and how they did it.

          We need to remember that they were constructing a document dealing with “political” rights as they saw them in the day. As for the profanity issue, from my reading they left it up to the State’s. We forget that they envisioned a very restricted federal power.

          I do not think that Govt restriction is authorized by the fact it was not included in the Bill of Rights. Remember, the Bill of Rights only lists those Rights that were on the top of their minds at the time. The list is NOT all inclusive.

          I did want to point out that Free Speech is another area where the Supreme Court has changed the meaning of what was written and the intent behind it. The founders were clearly concerned about the protection of “political speech”.

          I happen to agree with Madison. The Bill of Rights should never have been included. But then if the Federalists had been willing to address the problems with the main document they wouldn’t have had to compromise and agree to the amendments. But they felt a new convention would have fallen apart and the entire effort would die.

    • Who watches TV anyway?

      • Deadliest Catch was pretty good last night! 🙂

        • Anita,

          You watch it for:

          (1)inspiration
          (2)entertainment
          (3)to live vicariously through other people

        • I rather enjoyed NCIS and Glen Beck 🙂

          • Back sure has turned into an American history teacher hasn’t he? Go Glenn Beck!

            • Yes, he has. I’m glad he has stopped all the craziness-People really should watch his show -I think they might be surprised by the changes he has made.

            • Buck the Wala says:

              Its just a shame that his ‘history’ lessons are wrong…

              • That seems like a strong statement-Are all his lessons wrong? How have you arrived at this conclusion? I listen to historians and economist and they all seem to disagree.

              • Buck the Wala says:

                I admit that I have not watched his whole show, but have seen snippets. I’ve read up on some of his so-called history lessons and the economists/historians he uses to ‘prove’ his point. Many other economists and historians would argue very differently from what Beck spouts.

              • I’m curious just what is wrong with Becks historians that brings their interpretations into question. And what is so right with the ones who disagree with them.

              • Buck the Wala says:

                Lets just take one of the ‘historians’ Beck uses: David Barton.

                Courtesy of Media Matters:

                David Barton
                Founder of anti church-state separation group whose theory “many historians dismiss.” Barton is founder and president of Wallbuilders, which describes itself as a “pro-family organization that presents America’s forgotten history and heroes, with an emphasis on our moral, religious and constitutional heritage.” According to Time magazine, Barton is “educating an evangelical generation in what might be called Christian counter-history” whose “thesis” is that “that the U.S. was a self-consciously religious nation from the time of the Founders until the 1963 Supreme Court school-prayer ban.” Time also reports that “Many historians dismiss his thinking.”

                I don’t have time to do the research at the moment (very swamped at work today), but look into some of the things he has argued in the past. He often misrepresents or completely ignores facts that do not support his preconceived ideology.

              • I’ll make a deal with you. I will study up on Barton and you actually watch a few whole episodes of Beck. Then tell me what YOU think about him.

              • Buck the Wala says:

                I wish I could agree – I’ve tried to sit through Beck and his drivel, I really have. I’m just not strong enough to make it through an entire episode. 🙂

              • I have set through hours of listening to Olbermann and Matthews and they drive me crazy, so I’m sure you are capable of listening to Beck, himself, not someone else’s interpretation of him a few times before you pass judgement on the man.

              • Buck the Wala says:

                I will try, but make no guarantees.

                I don’t just listen to someone else’s interpretation of Beck. On multiple occasions I have tuned in and after about 5 minutes I just have to change the channel. But I will try again…

              • SK Trynosky Sr/. says:

                Buck,

                First of all, if you question Beck, I question Media Matters on their objectivity. I question their claims of Barton, incorrectly saying that the US was a self conciously religious nation for almost 200 years. Statistics I believe would bear out that statement. Polls have been taken, church attendance calculated and walk through any Brooklyn neighborhood and count the number of Houses of Worship. That I believe would lend some credence to his statement.

                I also routinely dismiss, with prejudice, any statement by anyone, Right, Center or Left on any topic which include the words, “Many Historians Dismiss his thinking.” My answer to that one is not only who are they but why other than not liking his position would they say that. Where is their evidence? Can they counter the aformentioned polls, church attendance or number of Houses of Worship? Facts, facts and more facts everything else is BS.

                A few years back there was a learned award winning book from an academic “proving” that Americans routinely did not own or use guns prior to the American Revolution. This was an effort to cast as myth the American love affair with guns. There were facts and tables galore to back this up. All were falsified. The award was rescinded and I believe the Academic lost his job at the Academy over it. To this day however, people who do not like Amendment 2 quote him at length. Tell a lie often enough and it becomes the truth.

                Why is it that a man who professes to be a patriot and has a religious background always seems to have his word questioned. While others whose patriotism I would tend to call into question can say the most outrageous things and routinely not get called on any of it. There must be some reason, somewhare why the recently coined phrase “killing white cracker babies” has almost been totally ignored by the mainstream.

                You know, I really, really think that we should veer over towards Napoleonic Law and re-instate the Code of the Duel. Perhaps then the number of liars and people calling others liars would be reduced enough that the truth might then become obvious to all. I personally, even at my advanced age, would be willing to put in a lot more practice time with the .45.

              • Somehow I don’t picture you watching Beck. Havve you watched him recently?

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        May be an interesting poll – what do people here actually watch…….and how much

        Randomly….

        I am a huge sports fan – but I simply find little pleasure in committing hours and hours to watching anything unless it is a championship event. I am more inclined to fire up the radio and listen to the Phillies, or Flyers, or NASCAR or whatever while I am doing something else

        I watch a handful of sit comedies and some drama shows – but even there I can no longer commit to a regular viewing schedule (“OMG! Its Criminal Minds night! All else ceases to exist!”)

        I do enjoy the odd History Channel or Discovery Channel or Food Network show (have a weakness for Iron Chef)

        I find myself enjoying fewer and fewer movies – most movies today just suck and are retreads of something I have already seen.

        I used to crave the nightly quasi-news shows – but how much fun is it to be glued to the TV listening the some pompous ass on Fox or MSNBC bitch about something else/new?

        Every night I used to spend hours in front of the TV, usually also surrounded by books, magazines, a laptop, food/drink, etc. I was getting fat, my dogs were getting fat, my wife was off in her own room watching HGTV/Lifetime/name-a-chick-channel.

        So

        We now have a kid

        We have more purpose

        If its light outside, we’re outside

        If we are inside, and the off chance the TV is on it is usually muted. We’d rather play with our son than watch our 1000th hour of Two and a Half Men.

        I’d rather have memories one day of the bike rides or hikes or grilling we did versus how much TV I was able to pack into my schedule.

        The other day we looked at a model home we were considering buying – I calculated that based on the floor plan the “old Ray” would need somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 TVs to fill the spaces clearly intended to be consumed by TVs. Now? I have less interest in the house and even if I did buy it, would rather fill walls with book cases to house my collection.

        TV is a diversion – best in very small doses.

        • I like TV-but I tend to tape the shows and watch them when I want too and I love being able to fast forward past the commercials.

        • The wife and child like “Gilligan’s Island” and “Monk” and watch it off the web.

          By avoiding broadcast TV, one avoids the mind numbing eventuality of “watching junk while waiting for the show you want to watch”.

          The number of hours saved by avoiding the junk is staggering.

        • USWeapon says:

          I’ll Play!

          I watch sports as a general rule, although I am a playoff guy on most sports. I only watch playoffs in hockey, NBA, and NFL. I watch baseball a lot, and generally catch about 80% of the Red Sox games every year. I will watch ACC basketball whenever possible, and the same goes for Penn State Football, which I will watch every game of that is televised.

          Outside of that I am an HBO series guy. I currently watch Entourage, Treme, True Blood. Loved Battlestar Galactica, but it is gone. Don’t watch any sitcoms at all.

          Besides live sports, I watch nothing anymore that isn’t recorded on DVR so that I can watch at my convenience.

          And shockingly, I watch very, very little in the way of political television. I follow just about everything via the web.

        • I watch certain series’s, but generally only on DVD, and I watch movies. If a good sci-fi happens to be on at someone’s house I may watch it if I am in the mood. It is a good downtime for my GF and I, but generally we watch nothing, we have no TV, much less cable or satelite, and its not in the budget at all. I like football, but I generally have no time for it. I barely got to watch the SB last year.

          I watch very little online, just dont have the time. If I am online, I am probably working or blogging. 🙂

    • Every TV has a channel changer and an on-off switch.

      If I do not like what is on the program, I either change the channel (and I have satellite TV which provides me with over 250 channels to choose from)or I turn it off.

      I urge everyone else to exercise their own choices as I have done and will continue to do!

      • I usually turn on the TV in the evenings. And then use it for background noise or music on the Sirius dish channels while I read.

        I am a voracious reader. I feel naked without a book and I will go bananas until I get something. At least a magazine.

  5. USW, Have to agree about parents being parents. The FCC should be shut down as another useless agency that serves no purpose. I doubt that seeing Janet Jackson’s breast for half a second during the Superbowl show had any negative affect on anyone, but the media sure had fun with it.

    G!

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      G – I was traumatized – it was an ugly breast.

      😉

      • That was just mean! 🙂 But I agree the public and the FCC overreacted IMO on this one. But the question is should their be any rules governing this type of stuff on TV. I think there should be but I suspect that doesn’t surprise anyone.

        • Ray Hawkins says:

          Sorry VH – I deserve to be slapped for that one. I don’t like Janet or her boobs.

          Odd how a breast is used to provide life sustaining nourishment to a baby – but as soon as baby no longer needs/desires then the breast is pornographic, perverse, and obscene.

          The reason (I think) the Superbowl incident was an incident at all is that we’ve made it perverse – thus the pretend “art” from Mr. Timberlake and Ms. Jackson was done intentionally to create controversy.

          • I was just teasing Ray-but your right there is nothing indecent about a woman’s breast. It is the nature of man which makes nudity an issue.

            • I say that there is nothing wrong with female nudity at all, but then again I did spend 20 years in the Marine Corps 😉

              I refer all to my above comment about what each and every TV is equipped with 🙂

  6. 8)

  7. http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2010/07/energizing_the_dead.html

    Recently, the Government Accounting Office, better known as the GAO, conducted a study and audited “the risk of fraud and abuse in LIHEAP in certain states [for] fraudulent, improper, and abusive activity [as well as] key weaknesses in the design of LIHEAP’s internal controls framework.” In all seven states selected for review, improper payments were found in – you guessed it – all seven states.

    Fraud and improper payments included everything from “invalid identity information” to benign offenses like “typographical errors.” However, when it comes to health care reform nothing is benign. A clerk making a typo for a person seeking medical advice for the “shivers” could result in a person with the chills accidentally losing a “liver.”

    Bulleted items on the GAO findings list cited:

    Energy funds for one year going to 11,000 deceased individuals totaling $3.9 million dollars.

    In addition, 725 government-supported inmates received $370,000.00 in energy assistance dollars.(I wonder who they voted for?)

    Besides financing refrigeration for the dead, LIHEAP also provided double benefits to individuals in Michigan, Maryland and Virginia. Duplicate errors on the part of government health care providers makes HHS access to kidneys, lungs and anything else people need two of a precarious threat to human survival.

    The GAO also found 1,100 federal employees that fraudulently received and pocketed monies totaling $671,000. Federal employees of the same ilk as the ones who will be swabbing throats and administering sigmoidoscopies once health care reform is enacted.

    “One such case involved a Chicago-area Postal Service employee making $80,000 per year…[who]…claimed … she had no income.” However, when pressed the woman admitted that although not entitled to benefits, “Times are tough and I needed the money.” The $80K postal worker also said that she saw “long lines” and wanted some “free money.” Can anyone say, “Obama’s going to pay the mortgage and gas up the car?”

    Federal workers too dense or, worse yet, downright felonious meting out health care decisions can be likened to America submitting to emergency brain surgery administered by a first-grader with a Sawzall®.

    The threat posed by HHS bureaucrats wresting the world’s finest health care from the private sector cannot be over emphasized. A government agency that couldn’t properly identify 2,000 individuals working for the government, or identify less than 1,000 prisoners supported by taxpayer funds, is going to ably manage the well being of 300 million people?

  8. One for those poor NY’ers

    A Frisking ‘Frenzy’ in NYC, But Only New York Times Reporters Seem to Care
    By Clay Waters (Bio | Archive)
    Tue, 07/13/2010 – 17:56 ET

    Reporters Ray Rivera, Al Baker, and Janet Roberts combined on a front-page Monday New York Times story questioning the frequency of “stop-and-frisk” policing by the NYPD in high-crime sections of the Brownsville neighborhood in Brooklyn: “A Few Blocks, 4 Years, 52,000 Police Stops.” The text box: “Frisk Tactic Draws Questions Where It Is Used Most.”

    It’s a quasi-followup to an overheated May 13 front-page Times story which focused more on the racial aspect of frisking: “City Minorities More Likely To Be Frisked — Increase in Police Stops Fuels Intense Debate.” The shoe leather analysis of that story was performed by the hard-left Center for Constitutional Rights, which the Times identified only as “a nonprofit civil and human rights organization.” Monday’s story also relied on research from the unlabeled leftists of CCR.

    Yet the paper’s reporters seem more worried about the frisking “frenzy” than do the residents of the crime-ridden neighborhoods that were the alleged victims of excessive stops and searches.

    When night falls, police officers blanket some eight odd blocks of Brownsville, Brooklyn…The officers stop people they think might be carrying guns; they stop and question people who merely enter the public housing project buildings without a key; they ask for identification from, and run warrant checks on, young people halted for riding bicycles on the sidewalk.

    One night, 20 officers surrounded a man outside the Brownsville Houses after he would not let an officer smell the contents of his orange juice container.

    Between January 2006 and March 2010, the police made nearly 52,000 stops on these blocks and in these buildings, according to a New York Times analysis of data provided by the Police Department and two organizations, the Center for Constitutional Rights and the New York Civil Liberties Union. In each of those encounters, officers logged the names of those stopped — whether they were arrested or not — into a police database that the police say is valuable in helping solve future crimes.

    These encounters amounted to nearly one stop a year for every one of the 14,000 residents of these blocks. In some instances, people were stopped because the police said they fit the description of a suspect. But the data show that fewer than 9 percent of stops were made based on “fit description.” Far more — nearly 26,000 times — the police listed either “furtive movement,” a catch-all category that critics say can mean anything, or “other” as the only reason for the stop. Many of the stops, the data show, were driven by the police’s ability to enforce seemingly minor violations of rules governing who can come and go in the city’s public housing.

    ….

    There are, to be sure, plenty of reasons for the police to be out in force in this section of Brooklyn, and plenty of reasons for residents to want them there. Murders, shootings and drug dealing have historically made this one of the worst crime corridors in the city.

    The Times issues one sentence perilously similar to its infamously naive headline from 1997, which saw a paradox where there was none: “Crime Keeps on Falling, But Prisons Keep on Filling.” As if the two trends are unrelated.

    But now, in an era of lower crime rates, both in this part of Brooklyn and across the city, questions are swirling over what is emerging as a central tool in the crime fight, one intended to give officers the power to engage anyone they reasonably suspect has committed a crime or is about to.

    Couldn’t one explanation for the “era of lower crime rates” be more assertive police work like stop-and-frisk?

    Read more: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/clay-waters/2010/07/13/frisking-frenzy-nyc-only-new-york-times-reporters-seem-care#ixzz0tfYiAEhz

    • SK Trynosky Sr/. says:

      Hmmm.

      The questions that need to be asked.

      Is it better to stop this nonsense and go back to 2,000 plus murders a year?

      Should the number of persons stopped and frisked be the same in a neighborhood that accounts for 50 murders in a year and a thousand shootings as in a neighborhood which accounts for 0 murders and two shootings? Does the answer change if neighborhood # 1 is minority and neighborhood # 2 is not?

      If the entire jurisdictiion (city) is less than 50% traditionally white ethnic, who is the minority and how did they get that way? Who is the majority?

      • SK,

        I posted without expressing an opinion, and this is a complex issue. I think one of the biggest causes of our schools failing is the living conditions in public housing. The housing directors do not enforce the rules that every renter agrees to and signs before renting. Most police dept’s do not
        “police” the public housing area’s, where they have no authority unless a crime is reported. So it’s OK for drug dealers and pimps to have a party in the parking lot, “safe” from police harassment.

        Personal conflict, I don’t like the police frisking anyone walking down the street, but see the need in high crime area’s. I would be armed if in such an area, and there, it would make me a felon.

        “they stop and question people who merely enter the public housing project buildings without a key”

        Only thing I don’t see is drug dogs, I would have 20 or so sweeping the streets at random times.

        “One night, 20 officers surrounded a man outside the Brownsville Houses after he would not let an officer smell the contents of his orange juice container.”

        That does seem excessive, likely done to intimidate. Smart man, arrest me if I have committed a crime, but damned if I will help you find evidence to arrest me.

        • SK Trynosky Sr says:

          LOI

          Having “been there” it is a complex problem. The NYC Housing Authority does try to enforce the rules. that is why it is the only large urban housing authority that has no vacant complexes and has not had to dynamite its projects like everyone else. But, it is a never ending battle against the do-gooders. I have been involved in cases where, despite the fact junior has been picked up a dozen times in the project for pushing dope, the judge refuses to evict Mama. The legal aid society defends Mama and junior and life goes on. NYC also has its own PD for the projects which has been blended with NYPD but is still a separate division and career path.

          Other cities can police their projects but choose to not do so or to do so in a desultory fashion. It is, after all, publically owned housing with public streets running through it. Too many police brass are politically afraid to do what has to be done. When you finally get lucky enough to get a precinct commander with guts, boy do things ever change fast.

          In NY back in 1895 a law was passed by the legislature called the “bawdy house law”. If a premises was used for illicit purpose, the lease was considered terminated. If the owner failed to evict, the city could, acting under the public good, move to process the eviction on its own. This law laid unused for some 80 years until Bronx Housing Court Judge Howard Trussel (may he rest in peace) trotted it out. He made the damned thing iron clad and it became a staple in his courtroom. Before he retired, all such cases went to him and he became a one man “crack court”. After he retired, nobody, judge, prosecutor, whatever picked up the mantle. I have tried using it a few times since and watched the wimpy judges give them “just one more chance” while my attorneys just want to charge me and as usual make a side deal with the courts or legal aid since they too have heads firmly filled with mush. I always thought that there was one thing Chairman Mao got right, send the God damned academics to work a year in the rice paddies every five years or so, just to keep them grounded. Judges and lawyers who have even a peripheral responsibility regarding law enforcement or crime should have to actually live in the projects for a year before they are appointed instead of their gated communities.

          Entering a building where you don’t live is considered a key element in NY enforcement. Since the buildings are privately owned, posting the building with a “NO TRESPASSING, TENANTS AND THEIR GUESTS ONLY” gives the cops here the right to stop and question. Coincidentally with the No Trespassing and Judge Trussel, the Bronx stopped burning.

          Believe nothing unless you were there. Brownsville Houses used to be a major battleground. Ask the normal people who live there how they feel about stop and frisk, but do it off camera. Those little old ladies who live there are fierce. I used to want to arm them all and make them a Sr. Citizen Amazon patrol letting them shoot all the bastards because they know who they are.

  9. Who lied? from John Lott

    7/13/2010
    Obama administration starts tax-funded abortions under Obamacare
    It is one thing to support abortion. It is something quite different to force those who think that abortion is wrong to pay for it.

    The Obama administration has officially approved the first instance of taxpayer funded abortions under the new national government-run health care program. This is the kind of abortion funding the pro-life movement warned the kind of abortion funding the pro-life movement warned about when Congress considered the bill.

    The Obama Administration will give Pennsylvania $160 million to set up a new “high-risk” insurance program under a provision of the federal health care legislation enacted in March.

    It has quietly approved a plan submitted by an appointee of pro-abortion Governor Edward Rendell under which the new program will cover any abortion that is legal in Pennsylvania.

    The high-risk pool program is one of the new programs created by the sweeping health care legislation, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, President Obama signed into law on March 23. The law authorizes $5 billion in federal funds for the program, which will cover as many as 400,000 people when it is implemented nationwide.

    “The Obama Administration will give Pennsylvania $160 million in federal tax funds, which we’ve discovered will pay for insurance plans that cover any legal abortion,” said Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee. . . .

    • Buck the Wala says:

      I believe I’ve asked this question before, but humor me:

      “It is one thing to support abortion. It is something quite different to force those who think that abortion is wrong to pay for it”

      If something is LEGAL, then why is it so wrong to ‘force’ those who disagree with that LEGAL procedure to pay for it through tax dollars?

      For the moment I will ignore the underlying claim here as I would need to do more research on the issue (what was actually said? what is actually being done here?) But I would very much like to know the answer to my question.

      • IF it is an elected procedure that isn’t necessary for the health of the person it shouldn’t be paid for-should I have to pay for a face lift just because someone wants one.

      • If it was legal to teach only creationism in school, should your tax dollars go to building that curriculum? If this was a theocracy, would it be ok for 10% of your taxes to go to churches as long as this was the legally established practice? This goes back to the debate about legal versus moral. Morality cannot dictate legality because it is inconsistent. Also, legality cannot dictate morality because it may conflict. Forcing someone to pay for something they believe is wrong is almost as bad as forcing them to engage in it.

        • Your right Jon-I normally try not to stand on my religion when it involves government. But in this instance I would say freedom of religion gives me the right not to be forced to support abortion. That wall between church and state goes both ways.

        • Displaced Okie says:

          I think it would be fun if we got to personally pick where our taxes went. For example a Hawk could say he wants 100% of taxes to go to defense and a Dove could say that he wants none of his taxes to go toward the military. I am not sure how things would run or even if they could run, but you have to admit, it would be interesting to see how “We the People” would distribute up our money among the “services” government offers instead of congress–my guess is the budget would look completly different.

          • That is sort of what my “paying for government” post was all about, thoI put in certain essentials. In the military example, only defensive action would qualify as essential. I could see how that could, however, violate the idea of only paying for that which you did not have a moral issue with. I might have to rethink that one, especially when combined with BFs point about intitial costs, it costs less and less to defend additional people inside a border…

            • Displaced Okie says:

              the thing that I find interesting is how much of our money goes to things that most people don’t want or don’t care anything about. I have a suspicion that if we got to pick where it went by deparment(i.e. Depar. of Defense, Dept. of Justice, Dept. of Education, etc…), which is still very broad and unspecific, that we would see whole areas/departments of the government basically become defunded because people don’t actually think that the Government actually should be involved there in the first place.

              By the way I enjoyed your article. I think very similarly, but have never actually sat done and try to figure out a workable model.

          • Buck the Wala says:

            Now that would be extremely interesting! But I have no say in my tax dollars going towards certain things I may disagree with.

            Abortion is a bit of a trickier issue since it is an ‘elective’ procedure (in certain instances) and since it is a health issue. However, trying to maintain a complete separation from all federal monies being used in any way, shape, or form from going towards health premiums where abortion is a covered procedure is just ridiculous and over the top (in my opinion, of course!)

            • The easy fix would be for the government to get the H E double hockey sticks out of health care. See how easy that was? No moral delimma.

      • Buck,

        “If something is LEGAL, then why is it so wrong to ‘force’ those who disagree with that LEGAL procedure to pay for it through tax dollars?”

        Your premise is very open ended, just because something is legal, why does the government get to use my money to give it to those who can’t afford it? Where does it end? Welfare now provides phones, pays utility bills, will GM & Chrysler soon be producing welfare Cadillacs?

        “Whether we like it or not the government provides free cell phones for people … Along with free housing, free welfare, free food, and free health care, we now have free. … How to Benefit from the Government’s Free Cell Phone Program …”

        http://www.ehow.com (side note, cell program started under Bush)

        But the question I am asking of you is who lied, Obama the Constitutional scholar, or Joe Wilson, the Immigration lawyer?

        I think Obama, Pelosi and Reed will lie and cheat to achieve their goals. There is no right or wrong for them, only the results matter. How many of the Healthcare promises are lies?

        Do you support the Healthcare law, or want it overturned?

        Do you support Obama, or want him and the Dem’s diminished or defeated? Or are you still thinking what is happening is still for that greater good?

        • Buck the Wala says:

          The problem I have here with this issue is that it is not about ‘abortions on demand’ and is not about the direct funding of abortions by the federal government. From my understanding, this is about whether or not federal tax dollars can go towards a health insurance plan if that plan happens to cover an abortion.

          You want to argue that the federal government should not be providing free health insurance (or should not be involved in health insurance at all) fine by me. That’s a fair argument which as you know I disagree with. But to require a complete ban on any federal funds whatsoever being applied indirectly towards an abortion that is covered by an individual’s own insurance plan is just going overboard.

          • Buck,

            “President Barack Obama’s pledge that “no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions.”

            I guess he oversimplified that statement, should have said, “no federal dollars will be used to DIRECTLY fund abortions. They will be indirectly funded in a way that increases access and availability of all abortions.

            http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2009/sep/21/baucus-plan-and-abortion-politifact-analysis/

            The first Johnson claim — that federal tax dollars would subsidize abortions — is contrary to President Barack Obama’s pledge that “no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions.”

            Johnson, however, contends that, “Funds spent by federal agencies are, by law, federal funds. The claim that under these bills, a federal agency would use ‘private funds’ to subsidize abortions is absurd on its face — a political hoax.”

            Johnson also pointed to $6 billion in federal seed money in the Baucus plan to cover start-up costs and meet solvency requirements for co-ops, one segment of the exchange (think of it as a credit union, but for health insurance). But we think it’s a stretch to call that money an abortion subsidy.

            The wording in the bill isn’t entirely clear, but by our reading, the way it would work is that the government would provide health care subsidies of a certain amount whether an insurer covers abortion or not. So if an insurer wants to cover abortion, that additional cost would be on the insurer, who would presumably pass that cost on to the insured. So the bottom line is that people who choose plans that cover abortion would have to pay the added cost of such coverage. We don’t think it’s fair to call that tax dollars. And so we ruled Johnson’s statement False.

            But we found Johnson was on firmer ground when he said the Baucus bill “contains provisions that would send massive federal subsidies directly to both private insurance plans and government-chartered cooperatives that pay for elective abortion.”

            The Baucus plan would, in fact, allow private companies participating in the exchange, as well as the co-op, to offer abortion services. And people in both those plans could see federal subsidies.

            When Obama said no tax dollars would be used to fund abortions, what he did not say is whether his plan might expand access to abortion coverage for millions of women.

            If millions of uninsured people would now get insurance due to the health care plan, and some of the plans offer abortion insurance, we think it’s fair to conclude the Baucus plan would mean more women would have access to abortion services.

            And so we ruled Johnson’s claim that the Baucus plan would send federal subsidies to plans that cover abortion True .

            Planned Parenthood calls the Baucus plan “a carefully crafted compromise which assures that access to abortion would neither be mandated nor prohibited — and that women would not lose health care benefits that they have had for decades, while also addressing concerns that no federal funds would be used for abortion.”

            Again: Federal subsidies to plans that offer abortion, yes; taxpayer subsidizing of abortion, no.

            • Buck the Wala says:

              Let’s focus on that last line:

              “Again: Federal subsidies to plans that offer abortion, yes; taxpayer subsidizing of abortion, no.”

              My question is why is this a problem? Forget for a second whether or not Obama lied/misled on this point. If we are going to start federally subsidizing health care plans (whether or not we should be doing this is another issue for debate at another time) then why should we forbid people from obtaining insurance plans that cover an abortion solely because some of the federal subsidies may go towards that plan?

              • That is the whole point of why the government should not be funding health insurance tho. There is no reason to restrict someone’s choice in a free market. There is a lot of reason in a non-free market. This is one of the fundamental issues with single-payer. There is a reason for options in the market. You see the reason that the option should be there, why do you not see the reason that some may want to not support such a system? Should they not have such a right?

                You cannot break apart the issue like this to get the answer you want, because the issue you are trying to seperate off is the one causing the issue. It is not abortion itself, or the idea of having abortion covered by insurance that is the issue, it is the fact that taxpayers are funding it.

    • Sorry. I do not believe my Tax Dollars should be used to commit murder upon innocent unborn children.

      That is what I see it as. If you don’t agree with me, that is your perogative.

      • Buck the Wala says:

        And I do not believe my tax dollars should be used to commit murder upon those convicted of certain crimes.

        I may argue vehemently against the death penalty, but I do not go crazy over the fact that my tax dollars are used to fund it.

        • Ray, what I actually think you are seeing is folks getting sick and tired of seeing their confiscated tax dollars being spent on any congressional whim that congress can concoct. I think that we can both agree that the government is wasteful. It is real easy to spend OPM (other peoples money)and they sure know how to spend it…albeit not very wisely.

          I personally would like to see a reduction in government, you may wish differently, but I believe that you believe that the government is at least beginning to get a bit out of bounds as well.

        • Buck,

          We could resolve that with private donations of ammo.
          Put me down for a a couple boxes.

          http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100618/ap_on_re_us/us_utah_firing_squad

          • Buck the Wala says:

            I’m all for firing squad if we’re going to have a death penalty. Personally, just wish there was no death penalty though.

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      I’ve probably stated this before…..

      If you are opposed to abortion no matter the circumstance you may want to move on – you will not agree with anything I am about to say.

      If you agree that abortion should be at least legal in cases of incest, rape or danger to the health of the Mother;

      And you agree that we as taxpayers should foot the bill for our folks in the military and their families for Healthcare

      Then I would tend to think you should support the use of tax dollars for abortion in the aforementioned circumstances.

      No?

      • Buck the Wala says:

        Very good point Ray! Much better said than I have been able to lately – probably means I’m due for another cup for coffee…

      • Ray, I do not totally disagree with you, but I think the healthcare bill will be another boondoggle in the same vein as SS and Medicare. It will be, IMO, another huge drain on the US.

        Where I do agree with you is where in the case of incest/rape, or the mother’s health. As long as it is confined to the military and their family, I don’t have a problem with my tax dollars helping out there…just not every Tammy/Dorothy/Henrietta that is on the dole for “healthcare”…

      • Ray,

        They were actually pretty clear on that, that abortion would be covered in those cases, and I have no objection to the military being included. I do object to all federal employees being groped with the military.

        from the politifact linked above,
        “the 1976 Hyde Amendment prohibits the use of federal funds for abortions through Medicaid, except in cases of rape, incest or when the mother’s health is in peril. So states that want to offer abortion coverage have to pay for it themselves. Restrictions on public funding for abortions also apply to coverage extended to active and retired military and federal employees. “

      • So if I agree with you then I should agree with you?

        1) Even if I did agree with you, that does not mean I can make everyone else do so, so their opposition is still relevant. I agree with your circumstances, but I do not agree with using taxes because I respect those who diasgree with your initial premises.

        2) A majority who think it is reasonable is still tyranny of the majority. There would have to AT LEAST be a religious exemption to such taxes.

  10. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    Opinions please, is the following something that the government should be involved in at all, or is the government simply wasting time and money looking into something which isn’t of any real significance?

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Fermented-tea-kombucha-apf-340175706.html?x=0

    • If it can get one drunk-one should know -would hate to go to jail for driving while drinking tea.

      • True, part of truth in advertising laws. I tend to support truth in advertising and labelling of products. I would like to see those laws enforced on political campaign advertising as well. 😀

    • “Kombucha makers say it leaves production with almost no alcohol. But alcohol can develop over time in unpasteurized versions because the yeast is still alive, converting sugars to alcohol. The more sugar a drink has, the more alcohol can ferment. So each recipe might be different.

      Gerry Khermouch, editor of Beverage Business Insights, estimates some kombucha brands might have 2 to 3 percent alcohol, based on reports from producers doing independent testing. Regular beer has about 4 to 5 percent alcohol.”

      I think grapes leave the store with no alcohol, but we know where that leads…. Big brother, save us from ourselves!!!

  11. Displaced Okie says:

    A few weeks ago I had one of those “out of left field” ideas. I thought what better place to throw something out there to see if it can be shot full of holes than SUFA.
    Ok, so we all know that theoretically the US Constitution provides for equal protection under the law. This got me to thinking about our progressive tax structure, wouldn’t it be unconstitutional? By that I mean how is it equal protection under the law if the govenment takes 35% of one person’s earnings, 28% of another’s, or whatever percent of someone else’s depending on their bracket? I was also wondering if this type of arguement had ever been used in the past, and why or why wouldn’t it work as a challenge to it now. Anyway, I thought it was an interesting arguement against our current tax structure and thought it might generate some interesting comments from the people here.

    Stay safe and Live free,
    Displaced okie

    • OKIE

      You not as far in left field as you think. I have not only thought the same but discussed it with constitutional professor and some legal types.

      The problem is that equal protection applies to the various laws written. So the argument is that the progressive tax structure applies equally to each person in each bracket. But then come the special exemptions. Again, all who qualify are treated equally.

      Now you see why I think Lawyers should be prevented from running for legislative seats and prohibited from being Judges. 🙂

      • Displaced Okie says:

        Well I think it would take quite a bit of rationalizing to come up with that explanation, but that is what Lawyers basically do–No offense to Buck or my wife :).

        I wish you could introduce me to those lawyers/judges. I think I have an I idea that could make us both rich. Because if they’ll buy that arguement, I’m sure I could find them some great deals on ocean-front property back home in Oklahoma…

  12. I missed the stuff on Jesse Jackson yesterday and I’m at work today so here’s an addition to the swamp of racism issues over at my joint (although it’ll be a lot more lively once the DOC chirps in.

    http://temporaryknucksline.blogspot.com/2010/07/herbert-steinbrenner-lebron-james-jesse.html

  13. Displaced Okie

    I posted this at HuffPo the other day in response to another AZ law bashing session. Thought you would enjoy.

    “Perhaps some of you intellectual wizards can address this question.

    If you accept that “racial profiling” is immoral or at least illegal;

    And, 100% of those breaking a particular law, or set of laws, in a region are brown;

    Then how can anyone enforce those laws without being accused of “racial profiling”?”

    As you could guess, I got the usual your a racist or your stupid or I love this one; All the criminals aren’t brown, arguments. But I did get one person to provide what they thought was the ONLY REASONABLE solution.

    You must either make random stops and search, or you must stop and search everyone. In their view this is the ONLY constitutional answer. I pointed out that neither solution is constitutional.

    This led to a discussion of probable cause where I was informed that there is absolutely no way to determine probable cause unless you use skin color and thus racial profiling.

    To which I thanked them for making my point that they have constructed a Catch 22 wherein the immigration laws can never be enforced.

    I thought you might find the summary of their thoughts of interest.

    Hope all is well with you and yours.
    JAC

    • Displaced Okie says:

      🙂 It’s fun watching them fall into traps isn’t it?

      I hope you’re having an outstanding day, Amigo,
      DO

  14. Finally, something real fun to watch.

    It seems that Judge Napolitano is once again calling for indictment of Bush and Cheney.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/14/andrew-napolitano-fox-con_n_645671.html

    It has been hilarious watching the left try to denounce him as a Fox hack while agreeing with him and thanking him for his honesty.

    See what happens when people don’t have a solid philosophical base and consistent ethics. The look like fools swinging at flies when someone throws them a slow curve ball.

    Hope you all get some entertainment from this as well. Of course what is missing from the article is all the Dems the Judge thought should be prosecuted as well, like Janet Reno.

    • Displaced Okie says:

      Lol, the comments were great. I had never been to huffpo before, it’s nice to know that the lefty posters are just goofy as the rightwing ones on foxnation….maybe SUFA has spoiled me when it comes to internet forums… 🙂

      • Yea, I have looked hard for an equivalent to SUFA, have only found a couple. Most are either too slow or too busy to keep up with tho…

  15. How bout some Janis….Freedom’s just another word for nothin left to lose…….

  16. BF has been giving us all “signals” to look for that warn of pending economic doom.

    Well I would like to give ya’ll one also.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/14/federal-reserve-continued_n_645745.html

    When has anyone ever, ever, ever, heard the Fed openly state that they can’t meet their mandate in the near future. That if things go right they might get back on track in the future.

    A big fat shot was just sent across the Bow of the Congressional Ship of State. Now lets see if anyone noticed, besides us crazy lunatics on the fringe right.

    I hope everyone had a wonderful day.

    It was an absolute beautiful one here. Bright blue sky with only the occasional small puff of a cloud. Temp in the 80’s and not a breeze until evening. The hills are covered with a carpet of green and hints of purple and bronze where the annuals are starting to turn. The osprey are starting their annual task of teaching this years chicks to fly and hunt. Where teenagers were swimming and enjoying the summer sun at mid day, a lone Blue Heron stood fishing when I drove home along the river this evening.

    May tomorrow bring a smile to your face and warmth to your heart.

    JAC

  17. Ok…had my laugh this morning. Got the blood moving……saw a news clip on TV where Obama was castigating Iran backed Al Queda for……are you ready for this….RACISM? He considers it racism because they are bombing blacks in Africa…and he used his abololished term “Islamic Terrorism” because it is against blacks in Africa and that Al Queda has no tolerance of life in Africa…

    Last I looked….they had no tolerance for life anywhere but now…..shame on Al Queda…..for being………racist.

    Oh man…..not even a fresh Dr Pepper can top this one.

  18. Murphy's Law says:

    Hey- a couple of questions to throw out there. I’m not the best at researching, and someone may already know this-

    Question #1- Had government employment remained the same (no increase in gov’t hiring) when Obama took office, what would the true unemployment rate be today?…..10, 10.5, 11%?

    Question #2 – Since we know that there was not a freeze on gov’t hiring, how much has gov’t hiring expansion added to the budget deficit?

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      Question #1,

      The “real” unemployment rate (those included in the “official” unemployment rate plus those whose benefits have expired plus those who have stopped looking for work entirely) is already at 17%. It would probably be 17.5% without government hiring.

      The only government that is hiring is the FEDERAL government. State and Local governments are broke, and are either in hiring freezes or actively laying off State and Local government employees.

      Question #2, I am not sure, but you could probably find an answer to that somewhere….

    • Murphy,

      The only way anyone can answer your questions is by inductive reasoning (and not deductive) – there exists no way we can prove experimentally one way or another.

      So let’s go over some thoughts.

      (1) government produces nothing. It must take the production from the market place and redirect it to its own desires.

      (2) you cannot improve the economy by destroying economic decision. Government replaces economic decision with political decision (an act of destroying economic decisions).

      (3) if the jobs created by the government were necessary, the market would have required those jobs without the need of government in the first place. Thus, the jobs created by government are unnecessary and uneconomical.

      (4) you cannot improve the economy by provisioning uneconomical systems.

      Thus, government taking funds from the market (production and economy) to fund its programs (non-productive and uneconomical) will, over the long view, produce MORE unemployment and create LESS economic viability.

      Murphy, always keep in mind that labor is just another economic good like apples or oranges or cars or ovens. Labor obeys exactly the same laws of economics as all other goods.

      Unemployment exists when the price of labor is too high to the demand for labor, just like an overabundance of apples means the price of the apples is too high given the current supply.

      Labor has been mis-allocated in the past due to the perversions of the credit market place by government interventions in lowering its cost.

      This artificial low cost has created companies that are marginal – which could only exist if the cost of credit was low – which attracted labor into these unstable companies. When the credit bubble burst, these companies could not sustain themselves without more credit, and failed – tossing the mis-allocated labor back into the market.

      This labor must find an economical and productive landing point. Government is neither of these cases, let alone the requirement to satisfy both.

      Labor costs will continue to drop until unemployment begins to shrink. This is the ONLY way unemployment can be resolved – it must reduce its cost while increasing its productivity.

      • Murph #2:

        Easy – ~1,000,000 new jobs @ government employee wage average of $75,000 (non-government wage average is $55,000).

        ..is $75 billion.

    • Murphy

      Question #1: I don’t think we can answer your first question. You would have to be able to know how many of those hired by the government would have been unemployed if not hired. Also how many vacated a job and whether that job was filled or left empty. Not sure the data is available to make a definitive conclusion. But we can look at larger numbers for overall govt impact on employment.

      Dec 08 Total Civilian govt employment = 2,768,886 employees (full time + part time)

      Dec 08 Total Civilian payroll = $15.472 billion for an Annual Payroll = $185.652 billion

      Fed Govt Jobs added since recession began = 240,000 (Heritage foundation data, excluding postal & temp census workers). Note: this number is from smaller data set than total civilian in Dec 08 data.

      But many of the 240,000 jobs were added before Mr. Obama took office. My estimate from Heritage Foundation graph is:

      Fed jobs in Dec 08 = 2.050 million.
      Fed jobs today = 2.21 million

      Fed jobs increase under Obama = 160,000 or a 7.8% increase since Dec 08 (exc. postal and census)
      or this is a 5.8% since Dec 08 of Total Govt civilian work force.

      Now lets look at the relationship to unemployment or its inverse, employment.

      Total employed workforce 2008 = 145,362,000
      Total employed workforce June 2010 = 139,119,000

      So the total employed work force has declined by 6,243,000 since Jan 09.

      The new Federal jobs added, since Jan 09, is therefore:

      0.11% of the 2008 employed work force, or
      0.12% of the June 2010 employed work force.

      Therefore, the effect of the new federal jobs on the employed workforce is 0.01%.

      Now for the Unemployment effect. Current Unemployment is about 14.6 million. If we assume that 160,000 new federal jobs would have been unemployed otherwise, then the unemployed would be 14.76 million. Which means that the 160,000 new federal jobs reduced the potential total unemployed by 1.1% , from 14.76 to 14.6 million.

      Using the same logic, the unemployment rate would have been 9.59% as opposed to the current 9.5%. Thus the effect was a reduction in the current rate of 0.09%.

      This is the maximum effect. As I noted, the new govt jobs were not filled with only the unemployed. But I think you see it had little effect on total unemployment or on the unemployment rate.

      Question 2:

      Lets assume the current year deficit will be $1.0 trillion. This is low but it will show the greatest effect of federal payroll as the % would be lower as the debt increases.

      Dec 08 annual payroll = $185.652 billion and Deficit = $1,000 billion;
      Therefore Dec 08 payroll = 18.57% of deficit.

      Estimated 2011 Federal payroll is $244 billion (not sure numbers are comparable).
      Estimated 2011 deficit is 1.4 trillion (last I saw, couldn’t find hard number).
      Therefore 2011 payroll = 17.43% of 2011 deficit.

      Assume that the 160,000 new jobs have the same avg payroll cost as the total employment. Using Dec 08 numbers the avg payroll cost per employee = $90,548.78

      The new 160,000 jobs would cost an additional $14.488 billion per year.

      This would be 1.45% of the projected $1 trillion 2010 deficit.

      Murphy, think about his for a minute. If we eliminated ALL govt jobs for 20 years, using the above 2011 numbers, we would save $4.880 trillion dollars. The current national DEBT is in excess of 70 trillion, not counting bailout obligations. The current account deficit, the debt we usually talk about, will be around $13 trillion by the end of 2010.

      We would have to eliminate ALL federal civilian employment for 54 years to pay off the Current DEBT of $13 trillion, assuming no interest payments.

      I hope this helps address what you were searching for.

      Best of the best to you and yours
      JAC

    • Murphy's Law says:

      Wow- thank you, guys. I knew there would be some of you who would be able to help me on this!

      And the best back to all of you, too!

      Murf

  19. Mathius: This one’s for you

    British scientists believe they have found the answer to an ages-old question: Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

    Scientists cracked the puzzle after discovering that the formation of eggs is possible only thanks to a protein found in chicken’s ovaries. That means eggs have to be formed in chickens first.

    The protein — called ovocledidin-17 (OC-17) — speeds up the development of the shell. Researchers from Sheffield and Warwick universities in England laid out their findings in the paper “Structural Control of Crystal Nuclei by an Eggshell Protein.”

    They used a supercomputer to zoom in on the formation of an egg and realized the protein is vital in kick-starting the crystallization process. It works by converting calcium carbonate into the calcite crystals that make up the egg shell.

    Dr Colin Freeman, from Sheffield University’s Department of Engineering Materials, said “it had long been suspected that the egg came first — but now we have the scientific proof that shows that in fact the chicken came first.”

    “The protein had been identified before and it was linked to egg formation, but by examining it closely we have been able to see how it controls the process,” Freeman said.

    “It’s very interesting to find that different types of avian species seem to have a variation of the protein that does the same job.”

    It is hoped the discovery leads to the invention of new materials

    • I knew I was right. Yeeehaww.

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      So who hatched chicken number one? The saga continues……

      • Ray

        It evolved from the goo in the swamp.

        • SK Trynosky Sr says:

          Have any of you actually ever stopped to think what actually goes on in an egg? Unlike a mammal where the fetus takes nourishment and housing from the mother, an egg is a self contained package containing everything you need to bring about life. Absolutely freaking amazing!

          • SK,

            That occurs the same way in mammals, too, SK.

            The zygote has to survive for quite awhile before it grows enough to actually implant and attach and draw its nourishment from the womb. All eggs act in this way in all animals – a small MRE kit for life.

            Chickens are far less complicated and take far less time to develop – 21 days – vs ~9 months for a complicated human.

            It is not hard to imagine a person packing in 21 days of MRE’s on their back – but 9 months?? Hmm, nope – you’d need to have a extra source eventually to live that long.

            So chicks can survive on the egg stuff, humans needs to attach…

            But it is, in the end, the measure of complexity of the organism.

            • SK Trynosky Sr says:

              That’s probably why I have never done drugs. Life is just so damn amazing it is one continuous high.

              That is except for the three times per week commute to Brooklyn. That’s not so amazing but at least it allowed me to see the completed West Side Bike path along the river of which # 2 son and I partook on 5 July. So, I guess even the commute has its moments.

  20. TexasChem says:

    Bob Cesca has got to be the most dangerous man in America.I have been perusing through the blogs over at Huff-Po and am simply amazed at the mind-screwing bullshit he spews out in his articles.He twists and manipulates topics with an almost supernatural degree of skill to distort truth and logic.

    Everyone knows what happens when you stir up the cow-paddies.The stink just gets stronger and stronger.Eventually, hopefully, if someone stirs the paddies long enough perhaps the mindless zombie groupies he has over there at the Po’ will wake up from his brainwashing hypnosis.I registered and am going to start stirring the emotion saturated paddies with some logic over there!

    • You know, I think the crazies are feeling the heat or something. There are some really sick people out there – caught a clip of Ed Schulz’s show. What a brain drain.

  21. Socialists often argue that though the costs of Social health care maybe high – the burden is on “society” and not the individual.

    Thus “free health care” is deemed a positive good.

    But as highlighted by Cuba and North Korea – both which have “free health care”, the economic devastation of socialism destroys the ability of the economy to provide other rather important things like electricity and anesthesia.

    North Korea’s health care system is in shambles with doctors sometimes performing amputations without anesthesia and working by candlelight in hospitals lacking essential medicine, heat and power, a human rights watchdog said Thursday.

    North Korea’s state health care system has been deteriorating for years amid the country’s economic difficulties. Many of its 24 million people reportedly face health problems related to chronic malnutrition, such as tuberculosis and anemia, Amnesty International said in a report on the state of the health care system.

    Unfortunately, most supporters of Obamacare will claim that the USA won’t fall to those levels. What they don’t understand is that what we see in North Korea is the natural direction of socialism, and it will be the natural direction of government-run medical care in this country, too.

  22. Buck, are you getting a special tax break? from American Thinker

    Trial lawyers in line for $1.6 billion tax break
    Rick Moran
    As the Democrats rail against Republicans for favoring the “rich” by wanting to make the Bush tax cuts permanent, the Obama administration is about to grant one of their favored and most favorite constituencies a huge tax break – without all that messy democracy stuff getting in the way:

    David Freddoso:

    But even in this context, the Obama administration may be on the verge of giving wealthy trial lawyers a special interest tax break worth $1.6 billion. Legal Newsline reports that AAJ’s top lobbyist, John Bowman, told the group’s annual convention in Vancouver, Canada yesterday that the IRS will make the change administratively in order to avoid a vote in Congress. He also warned attendees that Treasury Department officials had warned him to keep the information quiet.

    This story is a testament to the plaintiff lawyers’ lobby and the influence it holds with the Obama White House and the Democratic Party. When AAJ members held a major fundraiser this week at the AAJ convention in Vancouver, Canada, ten Democratic U.S. Senate candidates took breaks from their campaigns to attend.

    Trial lawyers and their main trade group, the American Association for Justice (AAJ), have pushed for a special tax break that allows them to deduct litigation costs in the same year they invest in contingency lawsuits. Legally, such costs are considered loans to clients, and the IRS does not allow them to be deducted until the case ends either with success and a fee from a judgment or settlement, or with failure and a loan default. The loan arrangement springs in part from the fact that most states consider it unethical or even illegal for lawyers to fund their clients’ lawsuits, a practice known in common law as “champerty.”

    Unlike many of AAJ’s other agenda items (expansion of work discrimination suits and an end to pre-emption in medical device cases, for example), the tax break would apply to nearly every plaintiffs’ lawyer in America, and is valued at nearly $1.6 billion. AAJ, which recently suffered a 33 percent drop in membership dues collection between 2005 and 2008, views this line of advocacy as a recruitment tool. Last year, speaking before AAJ’s covention, the group’s then-chief lobbyist, who is now its CEO, said that Democrats in Congress might push the provision through by attaching it to unrelated legislation.

    Don’t worry fellas – we’ll keep it under our hats. Not a word to the taxpayer who might raise an eyebrow about the $1.6 billion going to people who hardly need it but might want to find someone to hold responsible for the idea that Obama and the Democrats – even with a huge majority in both Houses of Congress – doesn’t want anyone going on the record supporting this boondoggle.

    • Buck the Wala says:

      Nope, not a trial attorney in the least.

      Haven’t heard about this change yet, but will take a look into it when I have some time. On the surface though, it does make perfect sense. In a contingency case the attorney is laying out the full costs of litigation which can be tens of thousands of dollars. Not so certain I have a problem with them being allowed to take this as a deduction in the year they pay out such costs – after all, it is a normal business expense for them.

  23. WOW! Check this out. Less is more. New Jersey , Indiana , and Virginia are about to prove it and end up in better financial shape because of it. IT is less government.

    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/columns/Have-we-the-will-to-cut-spending_-1000352-98419294.html

    • Best thing my home state has done since Allen opened up conceal carry permits instead of individuals having to explain why they wanted one to the satisfaction of a judge.

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