Posted by Bob Braun/Star-Ledger Columnist February 08, 2009 8:21PM
For now. But expectations may be too high.
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I realized how far behind the times I am when I saw a TV commercial for some weight-loss product, showing Marie Osmond "before" and "after." I thought she looked great "before."At first, I wondered if I had woken up in some sort of fucked-up Bizarro World, where Thomas Sowell is sane, Spock has a goatee, the Brigadier has an eyepatch and there are zeppelins in the sky, but then, I was reassured to see him say this:
The great sense of urgency of the Obama administration to get legislation to authorize slow-moving spending projects may seem inconsistent. But the urgency is real, even if the reasons given are not. The worse case scenario for the administration would be to have the economy begin to recover on its own before this massive spending bill is passed, reducing their chances of creating the kind of politically directed economy they want.Whew! Thomas Sowell, still batshit enough to believe that FDR's New Deal prolonged the Great Depression, or that we'll be anywhere close to clear of this recession anytime sooner than three years from now? I guess that means I'm still on Earth-Prime, then.
More military deployments? Sure, why not? The military's job is to "do or die," after all, so if they're going to die anyway, they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population. [/Scrooge]
WarA stimulus should of course be "a last resort"-- but last in terms of preference, not last in the sense of hoping against hope while dangers grow, and wishful thinking or illusory agreements substitute for serious militaryeconomic preparedness-- or, if necessary, militaryeconomic action. As Franklin D. Roosevelt said, "If you wait until you see the whites of their eyes, you will never know what hit you."
Comparative medical research is a high priority by any conceivable measure. Candidate Obama and Candidate McCain both advocated major investments here to improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of care, and they were right. An astonishing proportion of American medical care has never been rigorously evaluated, or outright fails to meet reasonable thresholds of quality and cost-effectiveness.That the drug and medical-device industries hope to "gut the provision" is crazy.
As Ezekiel Emanuel put it in his book Healthcare, Guaranteed: "The United States spends over $2 trillion on healthcare, about $200 billion on prescription drugs, and nearly $100 billion on medical research and development, but only a paltry $1 billion to evaluate the comparative costs and effectiveness of medical interventions and their influence on health outcomes."
The two most responsible funding agencies for this research -- the National Institutes of Health and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality -- are now getting many more high-quality proposals than they are able to fund. Their peer-review process is rigorous and highly competitive, sometimes excessively so. Many of my junior colleagues are suffering professional setbacks because they cannot find funding for excellent research that would have been supported five or ten years ago. Incidentally, both the loudest and the most dangerously silent opponents of comparative medical research have been surgical subspecialties, medical device manufacturers, and pharmaceutical companies afraid that their ox might be gored.
Feb. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Republican Senators are questioning whether President Barack Obama’s stimulus bill contains the right mix of tax breaks and cash infusions to jump-start the economy.
Tragically, no one from either party is objecting to the health provisions slipped in without discussion. These provisions reflect the handiwork of Tom Daschle, until recently the nominee to head the Health and Human Services Department.
Senators should read these provisions and vote against them because they are dangerous to your health. (Page numbers refer to H.R. 1 EH, pdf version).
The bill’s health rules will affect “every individual in the United States” (445, 454, 479). Your medical treatments will be tracked electronically by a federal system. Having electronic medical records at your fingertips, easily transferred to a hospital, is beneficial. It will help avoid duplicate tests and errors.
But the bill goes further. One new bureaucracy, the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, will monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost effective. The goal is to reduce costs and “guide” your doctor’s decisions (442, 446). These provisions in the stimulus bill are virtually identical to what Daschle prescribed in his 2008 book, “Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis.” According to Daschle, doctors have to give up autonomy and “learn to operate less like solo practitioners.”
Keeping doctors informed of the newest medical findings is important, but enforcing uniformity goes too far.
Hospitals and doctors that are not “meaningful users” of the new system will face penalties. “Meaningful user” isn’t defined in the bill. That will be left to the HHS secretary, who will be empowered to impose “more stringent measures of meaningful use over time” (511, 518, 540-541)( Collapse )
The comments come one day after the president was asked at a town hall in Indiana whether he would take up Hannity's open invitation to meet for a beer.
How much will the stimulus package moving in Congress really stimulate the economy?
The evaluations to date have been incomplete, so we looked at the likely stimulative effect from the spending parts of the House and Senate bills -- over $500 billion -- and assessed the quantitative effects of four basic factors.
1) How much increase in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) can be expected from the stimulus package?
In a full-employment situation, increased government spending would largely replace private spending, so the net stimulus to GDP would likely be quite small. In the present environment, however, with growing unemployment of both labor and capital, the net stimulus would be larger since the additional government spending would put some unemployed resources to work.
For example, if the government spent money to build new homes with unemployed labor, the stimulus to GDP might be close to, even larger than, the amount spent. However, given the present housing glut, that hardly seems to be a wise policy, although it is a small part of both the House and Senate stimulus packages.
In fact, much of the proposed spending would be in sectors and on programs where the government would mainly have to draw resources away from other uses. This type of spending includes adding broadband to rural areas, spending more on health coverage, encouraging scientific innovations, developing renewable energy, as well as many other things.
As President Barack Obama recently said, "This plan is more than a prescription for short-term spending -- it's a strategy for America's long-term growth and opportunity in areas such as renewable energy, health care and education." Such spending may encourage long-term growth, but it will have little short-term effect on GDP.
So our conclusion is that the net stimulus to short-term GDP will not be zero, and will be positive, but the stimulus is likely to be modest in magnitude. Some economists have assumed that every $1 billion spent by the government through the stimulus package would raise short-term GDP by $1.5 billion. Or, in economics jargon, that the multiplier is 1.5.
That seems too optimistic given the nature of the spending programs being proposed. We believe a multiplier well below one seems much more likely.
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Equality Utah's 'Common Ground' initiative has not seen much success. Two of its bills have failed already. The first failed in committee on the second day of the legislature, and the second, which would have erased the portion of the state's same-sex marriage ban forbidding civil unions, was pulled. But the set of initiatives did receive support yesterday from Utah's Governor:
"Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., a spokeswoman said Monday, backs Equality Utah's Common Ground Initiative, a legislative effort that would provide some rights to gay and transgender Utahns. Even more, the Republican governor favors civil unions. It's a position that runs counter to his political party and against the majority of Utahns -- 70 percent of whom oppose civil unions, according to a recent Salt Lake Tribune poll. 'He's long supported many of the ideas that are presented within the Common Ground Initiative,' said Lisa Roskelley, the governor's spokeswoman, noting her boss waits to endorse specific bills officially until presented to him in final form. 'He supports civil unions.' It's doubtful Huntsman's backing will lead to civil unions getting past the conservative Legislature. And it may not help the rest of this year's gay-rights legislative push, which already has shrunk from four bills to two."
As far as the remaining half of the gay rights initiative: "Of the remaining Common Ground bills, one would make it illegal to fire or evict someone for being gay or transgender. The other would allow two, unmarried cohabiting adults to file a "declaration of joint support" with their county recorder and gain benefits of inheritance and medical-decision making."Homophobic Utah Eagle Forum President Gayle Ruzicka and Utah State Senator Scott McCoy debate the Common Ground initative on Utah's KSL5,
Four people have been arrested in connection with vandalism that occurred earlier this month at the Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth Center in Bay Shore, New York. In the attack, the Center's front door and van had its windows smashed. The van's tires were also slashed. Investigators initially suspected a hate crime because nothing in the center had been stolen, although authorities now say the damage was not bias-related:
"Police arrested three men and a woman, all from Bay Shore, Monday in connection with the vandalism and charged each of them with second-degree criminal mischief. None of the four was charged with a hate crime. Police declined to say what led them to determine the crime was not bias-related. On Friday, state commissioner of human rights, Galen Kirkland, told a rally in Bay Shore: 'When somebody is attacked because of their race, religion or sexual orientation, we're all attacked.' No motive for the attack has been given. Arrested Monday were Milagro Ruiz, 21, and Gilbert R. Geigel, 20, both of 1343 Fifth Ave., Bay Shore; and Kerrond Miller-Jones, 19, and Charles Diaz, 21, both of 40 Perkal St., Bay Shore, police said. All four were charged with second-degree criminal mischief and are scheduled for arraignment Tuesday in First District Court in Central Islip."
The incident prompted a public forum last Friday attended by Kirkland as well as a statement from Governor David Paterson.Source
The television special is available for viewing on Silencing Christians, along with a lengthy survey on LGBT rights. Please go fill out the survey. And watch the show, a lot of your favorite haters are there, including Matt Barber. All the usual topics are covered including Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle's robo-potty debacle, the Folsom Street Fair, etc.
Local network television stations will soon begin airing a new television special produced by the American Family Association. Most Americas get their information about the homosexual movement from the secular news media and Hollywood, which not only support but promote the gay agenda. What people know is tainted by pro-homosexual propaganda.
AFA now presents this one-hour special to reveal the truth about the radical homosexual agenda and its impact on the family, the nation, and religious freedom. "Speechless" - the title of the television special - will air in the Grand Rapids area Monday, February 9. You can watch it locally at 7 p.m. on WOOD, channel 8.
* The TV Special will reveal the truth about:
* The claim that homosexuals are born that way and cannot change.
* The negative impact on children resulting from schools promoting the gay lifestyle,
* Protected minority status for homosexuals.
* Same-sex marriage, and
* Legislative initiatives like Hate Crime and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
And, it will:
* Attack the major lies of militant gay activists head-on.
* Alert viewers about what's at stake for the family if they get what they want.
* Present helpful information to stop the radical homosexual political agenda.
Visit our website to learn more about the entire series of "Speechless: Silencing the Christians."
Thank you for caring enough to get involved. If you feel our efforts are worthy of support, would you consider making a small tax-deductible contribution to help us continue?
Tim Wildmon, President
American Family Association
The New York Daily News reports that Ann Coulter is under investigation by the Connecticut Elections Enforcement Commission for allegedly voting in that state while registered to vote in New York City.
Officials are responding to a formal complaint filed by Coulterwatch.com blogger Dan Borchers. "For over 10 years, Ann Coulter has gotten away with illegal, immoral and unethical behavior, ranging from plagiarism to defamation, perjury to voter fraud," claims the conservative Borchers. Coulter declined to comment, but in the past has branded Borchers a stalker. He says the FBI has determined he poses no threat.
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Bill O'Reilly called legendary White House reporter Helen Thomas the "wicked witch of the east" Monday night following President Obama's press conference.
"The White House press corps looked intimidated to me," O'Reilly said. "Except for that, what's her name? The old lady, Helen Thomas."
O'Reilly then squawked out a Helen Thomas impression.
"It's like the wicked witch of the east! If I were Obama I would've poured water on her, and she'd dissolve," he said.
"Bill, it's not nice to impersonate an old woman like that," Alan Colmes told him.
"Why can't my mom ask a question?" O'Reilly asked, trashing Thomas' question (about Taliban hiding in Pakistan).
"Helen Thomas' fifteen minutes were up during the Lincoln administration," Bernie Goldberg said later. "It's time for Helen to find something else to do during press conferences."
Stay klassy Bill-O.
By: Amie Parnes
February 10, 2009 04:47 AM EST
You can stiff the president on a policy issue and defy him on a political one, but who can turn down an invitation to the White House?
Using one of the world’s most famous private residences as bait, President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are unleashing a bipartisan charm offensive and exploiting every square inch of their new home to make friends and influence rivals. The social calendar suggests a return to the days of Camelot.
Since moving into their new digs, the first couple has hosted a half-dozen gatherings — from bipartisan cocktail receptions to a public open house to the more intimate Super Bowl party two Sundays ago — ending many of their days past midnight. Most recently, on Wednesday, the Obamas opened the White House doors to House caucus leaders from the moderate Blue Dog Democrats and the Congressional Black Caucus. White House aides say the couple hopes to make the Wednesday cocktail parties a tradition.
Friends say the Obamas are looking to maintain the dizzying social calendar they had in their pre-White House days, while using their knack for socializing to find new friends and win hearts on Capitol Hill and in other Washington power centers.
“They want to replicate the same kind of environment they had in Chicago,” said a longtime friend of the Obamas, adding that White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers is “the perfect person” for the job because she knows the couple’s former life inside out and is “designing the calendar to reflect the kinds of things they like to do.”
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So, how long before someone wises up and tells the GOP to slowly and carefully put down the social media platforms and back away? Last week, I documented two instances of different Republicans taking their Twitter account and using it to do either themselves or their country some amount of harm. Today, in the Virginia State Senate, we have yet another example of an idiot who needs to be told in no uncertain terms to stop using Twitter, forever and ever.
Basically the story, as reported by the blog Not Larry Sabato, goes like this. Democrats currently control the Virginia State Senate, 21-19. But Virginia's Lieutenant Governor is Bill Bolling, a Republican, and he would be a tie-breaking vote in the event of a 20-20 split. Today, one of the Democratic State Senators, Ralph Northam, agreed to switch sides, a move that would give the Republicans in the Senate a much greater share of power.
And they would have gotten away with it, too, if it hadn't been for this moron, Jeff Frederick, who is the Republican Party Chairman of Virginia and the owner of a shiny Twitter account! Frederick, upon hearing the news, tweeted the following:
What King of the Dimwits Jeff Frederick failed to take into consideration is that, by tweeting this information, he was tipping off the Senate Democrats about this bit of parliamentary prestidigitation. And once they found out, Majority Leader Dick Saslaw adjourned the session so that it couldn't happen. And then, the Senate Democrats gathered together and promptly browbeat the ever-loving daylights out of Northam.
So there you have it! Nice work, Jeff Frederick!
Source link at the Huffington Post by Jason Linkins
Edited for follow-up; thanks to cindelIn a word - NO. You've probably all heard by now that Senator Ralph Northam was considering leaving the Democratic Caucus and taking with him Democratic control. Well today word spread around the General Assembly that it was a done deal. My sources in the House of Delegates tell me the deal was made and they were told it was public.
Modern social media being what it is, Jeff Frederick got onto Twitter, hinted at what was coming and word got out to people outside the General Assembly. Shortly thereafter news that the deal had fallen through spread and, as you can expect, Jeff Frederick got the blame.
Here's the problem, the deal had fallen through before Jeff posted. You see the Democrats (all the way up the Governor), knew about the deal before the post and made Northam an offer he couldn't refuse. It's that simple - the deal was public and, while Jeff posted, he didn't reveal a secret and didn't cause the deal to die...it was already dead. I'm certainly not known as a Jeff Frederick apologist but, in this case, he doesn't deserve the blame he's getting.
Source Link from the Roanoke Valley Republican blog
Edited to add more on this brain surgeon of GOP politics.....
Oh, and if dear Jeffrey looks familiar, it's because he has made a downright fool of himself on numerous occasions in recent months:
November 20, 2008 in the Washington Post, an article ran regarding how the VA StateGOP seemed to be slowly collapsing like a flan in a cupboard, and Jeff Frederick was right out there "helping".
"On the day after the election, Virginia Republican Party Chairman Jeffrey M. Frederick blamed the presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for the party's poor showing in the state on Election Day.
"What happened had nothing to do with the Republican Party of Virginia," said Frederick, noting that McCain also lost Ohio, Florida and North Carolina. "It had everything to do with the candidate and campaign that was run. . . . We did our best to communicate with the McCain campaign and give them our advice, but they chose not to take it."
Before that, it was this charming remark he made that was originally printed in a Time Magazine article:
The McCain campaign got into trouble on Oct. 11 when Jeffrey Frederick, the 33-year-old head of the Virginia Republican Party, likened Obama to Osama bin Laden. "Both have friends that bombed the Pentagon," he told a group of about 30 canvassers. "That is scary." It is also not exactly true — though that distorted reference to Obama's controversial association with William Ayers, a former '60s radical, was enough to stoke the volunteers at McCain's campaign office in Gainesville. "He won't salute the flag," one woman said, repeating another myth about Obama. She was quickly topped by a man in the crowd, wearing a polo shirt embroidered with "I Love America," who called out, "We don't even know where Senator Obama was really born." (Actually, we do. It's Hawaii.) Frederick beamed: "You need to go out and tell people that from your hearts," he said as he sent the volunteers on their way to knock on doors across Prince William County. (The McCain campaign distanced itself from Frederick, who later claimed he'd been joking.)
He then followed up on that comment later by saying that it was "stupid but true" and never apologized for it. Ya gotta love this guy. If I didn't know better, I'd say he was a saboteur courtesy of the Democratic party!
Defense Secretary Robert Gates suggested today that he was open to allowing the media to photograph the flag-draped coffins of fallen soldiers as their bodies and remains are returned to the United States.
"If the needs of the families can be met and the privacy concerns can be addressed, the more honor we can accord these fallen heroes, the better," Mr. Gates told reporters.
He said he was ordering a review of the military policy that bars photographers from taking pictures of the return of the coffins, most of which go through Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, and set a "short deadline" for a decision.
The military has said the policy is meant to protect the privacy of the families of the dead soldiers and maintain dignity. But skeptics, who include some families as well as opponents of the war in Iraq, say that the bodies in the returning coffins are not publicly identified, so privacy is not an issue, and that barring photographers is a political maneuver meant to sanitize the war.( Collapse )
Obama is asked for help; Remains awesome and gives a hug
Huffington Post: Obama Is Asked For Help At Town Hall Meeting
President Obama went to Fort Myers, Florida Tuesday to highlight the desperate need for an economic recovery package. Unemployment in the area is up to 10 percent, from 2.3 percent this time in 2006, and the area's foreclosure rate of 12 percent is the highest in the nation.
One questioner in particular brought to life the dire situation. "I have an urgent need," she said, revealing that her family was homeless and needed a place to live. Obama asked for her name -- Henrietta Hughes -- and told her, "We're gonna do everything we can to help you ... I'll have my staff talk to you after the town hall."
There's embedded video on the source page
NOTE: Beware the comments on the source page, as there be trolls thar!
Related story was published later on the Naples News site:
Homeless Woman Pleads to Obama for Help, Locals Step Up
A 61-year-old homeless woman found a little help at President Obama's town hall meeting on Tuesday.
Henrietta Hughes, 61, of Fort Myers, asked Obama for a home during the question-and-answer segment of the meeting. She and her son, Corey, 37, became homeless last spring after moving from New York City.
When they couldn't find a job, they lost their home and were forced to live out of a car.
( Collapse )NOTE: Beware the comments on the source page for this too, as there be even bigger trolls thar!
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni led exit polls after Tuesday's parliamentary election but her Kadima party's two-seat lead over right-winger Benjamin Netanyahu left it too close to call who would be prime minister.
An overall rightward shift in parliament, however, is likely to dent the hopes of the Obama administration in Washington for a new Israeli coalition that can make major strides forward in making peace with the Palestinians and other Arab neighbors.
Whatever the final outcome, which could take until well into Wednesday to confirm, the poll findings suggested a dramatic triumph for the 50-year-old Livni, bidding to become Israel's first woman leader since Golda Meir in the 1970s, and a sharp rebuff to former premier Netanyahu, the long-time favorite.
His Likud party had seemed to be cruising to victory until Livni and her center-left coalition launched a three-week offensive in the Gaza Strip in late December that won popular support in Israel despite an international outcry over the 1,300 Palestinians killed in the Hamas-ruled enclave.
Exit polls on three Israeli television channels showed Kadima retaining around its present 29 seats in the 120-seat, single-chamber Knesset, with Likud two seats behind. At Kadima's campaign headquarters, Livni supporters cheered and danced.
However, some analysts noted that soldiers, whose votes could account for a couple of seats, had not been counted in exit polls and that could favor Netanyahu as tallying continues through into Wednesday.
One television station put the right-left split at 64 seats for the right to 56 for the left, which could deny Livni the premiership and persuade President Shimon Peres to ask Netanyahu to try to form a coalition government.
Overall, exit polls seemed to confirm a general rightward shift, including a surge for far-rightist Avigdor Lieberman, whose rise to 14 or 15 seats from his current 11 was seen by some analysts as a factor in Likud's poor showing.
Mark Heller, a strategic analyst at Tel Aviv University, said of Livni's strong performance: "It shows a lot of people were at the last minute frightened off by the idea of Netanyahu being prime minister.
"Netanyahu felt the right-wing parties nipping at his heels and he shifted his own focus to the right to head that off, and thereby lost some votes in the center."
As expected, no party secured more than a quarter of the 120 seats in parliament, ushering in several weeks of negotiations on forming a coalition government. About a dozen parties are expected to sit in the Knesset.
Peres, a former center-left prime minister who has largely symbolic powers, will nominate a legislator to try to form a government.
Traditionally, that has been the leader of parliament's largest party. It is possible, however, if smaller parties express a clear preference that Peres could nominate someone else.
moar at sauce (Reuters)
Woah, guys, this is huge! And my first post :) Whatever keeps the Avigdor Liebermann guy out of power is fine by me...