Thursday, October 28, 2010

Political Digest for October 28, 2010

I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree (or disagree) with every—or any—opinion in the posted article.

Bob Hall ad for Joel Pollak for Congress
If you missed yesterday’s e-mail. Please send to friends in Illinois.

Elections Have Consequences
Please circulate.

Important: Perfect Muslim Soldiers
Excerpt: Islamofascism: O'Reilly, Whoopi and Joy are all wrong. The 9/11 terrorists weren't "Muslim extremists" or just plain "Muslims." A liberal newspaper reporter says they were model Muslims. More precisely, they were "perfect soldiers" for Allah, says Los Angeles Times national correspondent Terry McDermott. He would know. After traveling to the hometowns of the Muslim hijackers and investigating their family backgrounds, McDermott discovered they were not heretics or even "extremists," but in fact good, pious Muslims. And their families and communities encouraged them to join the never-ending Islamic holy war, or jihad, against us. The lefties at NPR who fired analyst Juan Williams and the cackling hens on "The View" who walked out on his Fox colleague Bill O'Reilly would benefit enormously from reading his book, "Perfect Soldiers: The Hijackers: Who They Were, Why They Did It." It would open their PC-encrusted eyes to a truth that is already self-evident to most Americans. The detail-rich book — which is endorsed by anti-war gadfly Seymour Hersh, no less — reveals that the 19 hijackers did not "hijack Islam," as conventional East Coast wisdom would have it. They weren't career criminals using the religion as an excuse to wantonly murder people. Nor were they misled into martyrdom by Osama bin Laden or other Svengali personalities. On the contrary, they were deeply religious Muslims following the tenets of their faith, McDermott found. Most of them were from well-off families. "Several were described as among the best boys — bright, respectful — in their towns," he reports in his book. "Many had gone to university," he adds. "Three had studied Islamic law." At least one, Ahmed al-Haznawi, had memorized the Quran, a sign of deep devotion much respected by Muslim elders. In fact, he earned the honorary religious title of "hafiz" at a young age. (But the truth is, if one is devout and fundamentalist in outlook, the message of the Quran and other holy books is quite clear. You must be a soldier of Allah and do all in your power to "turn the world green", that is, have Islam become the dominant religion of the entire planet. And "all in your power" means up to and including suicidal actions and all manner of atrocities. Certainly a very large fraction of Muslims are neither fundamentalist nor super devout, and they aren't going to send their kids out to blow up infidels along with themselves. But a fraction of Islam does think and act that way, and pretending they are just a tiny group of kooks not to be named specifically as jihadists is just flat out stupid. --Del)

Trial Lawyers Donate Millions of Dollars to Democratic Candidates
Excerpt: Trial lawyers representing investors, injured people and consumers have donated millions of dollars this election cycle to Democratic political candidates. Amid speculation that Democrats will lose control of Congress, some trial lawyers are donating more money than in either of the two previous election cycles, the National Law Journal reports. President Barack Obama recently showed his appreciation, attending a fund-raiser in August at the home of Russell Budd, a name partner at the toxic tort firm Baron & Budd, the story says. Lawyers at the firm have donated more than $338,000 to political candidates this election cycle.

Worth Reading: Brass Oldies: Part II by Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: Songs that are "golden oldies" have much less pleasant counterparts in politics-- namely, ideas and policies that have failed disastrously in the past but still keep coming back to be advocated and imposed by government. Some people may think these ideas are as good as gold, but brass has often been mistaken for gold by people who don't look closely enough. One of these brass oldies is the idea that the government can and must reduce unemployment by "creating jobs." Some people point to the history of the Great Depression of the 1930s, when unemployment peaked at 25 percent, as proof that the government cannot simply stand by and do nothing when so many millions of people are out of work. If we are going to look back at history, we need to make sure the history we look at is accurate. First of all, unemployment never hit 25 percent until after-- repeat, AFTER-- the federal government intervened in the economy. What was unemployment like when the federal government first intervened in the economy after the stock market crash of 1929? It was 6.3 percent when that first intervention took place in June 1930-- down from a peak of 9 percent in December 1929, two months after the stock market crash. Unemployment never hit double digits in any of the 12 months following the stock market crash of 1929. But it hit double digits within 6 months after government intervention-- and unemployment stayed in double digits for the entire remainder of the decade, as the government went in for one intervention after another. The first federal intervention in June 1930 was the passage of the Smoot-Hawley tariffs by a Democratic Congress, a bill signed into law by Republican President Herbert Hoover. It was "bipartisan"-- but bipartisan nonsense is still nonsense and a bipartisan disaster is still a disaster.

Worth reading: Campaign Countdown: The Republic Of Paperwork
This is why even a Republican sweep Tuesday won’t mean that much—it will delay the collapse, which is w3hat I’m working for. ~Bob. Excerpt: As I said last year, the short history of the post-war western democracies is that you don’t need a president-for-life if you’ve got a bureaucracy-for-life: The people can elect “conservatives,” as from time to time the Germans and British have done, and the left is mostly relaxed about it because, in all but exceptional cases (Thatcher), they fulfill the same function in the system as the first-year boys at wintry English boarding schools who for tuppence-ha’penny would agree to go and take the chill off the toilet seat in the unheated lavatories until the prefects were ready to stroll in and assume their rightful place. Republicans have gotten good at keeping the seat warm. Thus, America in the 21st century – a supposedly “center-right” nation governed by a left-of-center political class, a lefter-of-center judiciary, and a leftest-of-center bureaucracy. Liberalism, as the political scientist Theodore Lowi wrote, “is hostile to law”, and has a preference for “policy without law”. The law itself doesn’t really matter so much as the process it sets in motion – or, as Nancy Pelosi famously put it, “we have to pass the bill so you can find out what’s in it.” When Lowi was writing in the Seventies, he noted that both the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Consumer Product Safety Commission were set up by a Congress that didn’t identify a single policy goal for these agencies and “provided no standards whatsoever” for their conduct. So they made it up as they went along. Where do you go to vote out the CPSC? Or OSHA? Or the EPA? Or any of the rest of the acronyms uncountable drowning America in alphabet soup. “We the people” has degenerated into “We the regulators, we the bureaucrats, we the permit-issuers”. “Ignorantia juris non excusat” is one of the oldest concepts of civilized society. But today we’re all ignorant of the law, from the legislators who pass the laws unread to li’l ol’ you on the receiving end. How can you not be? Under the hyper-regulatory state, any one of us is in breach of dozens of laws at any one time without being aware of it. In a New York deli, a bagel with cream cheese is subject to food-preparation tax, but a plain bagel with no filling is not. Except that, if the clerk slices the plain bagel for you, the food-preparation tax applies. Just for that one knife cut. As a progressive caring society New York has advanced from tax cuts to taxed cuts. Oh, and, if he doesn’t slice the plain bagel, but you opt to eat it in the deli, the food preparation tax also applies, even though no preparation was required of the food. Got that? If you own a deli, you better have, because New York is so broke they need their nine cents per sliced bagel and their bagel inspectors are cracking down.

Not confirmed: Nevada voting machines automatically checking Harry Reid's name; voting machine technicians are SEIU members
Imagine that. What a weird, unlikely coincidence! Of course, maybe it’s not true—but given recent history, it’s not hard to believe either. ~Bob. Excerpt: Clark County is where three quarters of Nevada's residents and live and where Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's son Rory is a county commissioner. Rory is also a Democratic candidate for governor. Since early voting started, there have been credible reports that voting machines in Clark County, Nevada are automatically checking Harry Reid's name on the ballot: Voter Joyce Ferrara said when they went to vote for Republican Sharron Angle, her Democratic opponent, Sen. Harry Reid's name was already checked. Ferrara said she wasn't alone in her voting experience. She said her husband and several others voting at the same time all had the same thing happen. "Something's not right," Ferrara said. "One person that's a fluke. Two, that's strange. But several within a five minute period of time -- that's wrong." Clark County Registrar of Voters Larry Lomax said there is no voter fraud, although the issues do come up because the touch-screens are sensitive. For that reason, a person may not want to have their fingers linger too long on the screen after they make a selection at any time. Now there's absolutely no independently verified evidence of chicanery with the voting machines (yet), but it is worth noting that the voting machine technicians in Clark County are members of the Service Employees International Union. The SEIU spent $63 million in elections in 2008 and is planning on spending $44 million more this election cycle -- nearly all of that on Democrats. White House political director Patrick Gaspard is formerly the SEIU's top lobbyist, and former SEIU president Andy Stern was the most frequent visitor to the White House last year.

Democrats getting outspent? Not so fast
Double advantage. The Democrats get to spend more money, then their lickspittles in the media help them by whining about Republican money. Politico is hardly a conservative outlet. ~Bob. Excerpt: To hear top Democrats tell it, the party is being wildly outgunned this year in the fight for campaign cash as Republicans rely on outside groups to funnel money to GOP contenders. But the numbers tell a different story. It’s true that conservative third-party groups are outspending their Democratic rivals. But the Democrats still have a sizable cash advantage in their party committees – making this year’s elections a lot more of a fair fight than Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi let on. So far, the latest figures show that the Democratic Party machinery has outraised its Republican counterpart in this campaign cycle by almost $270 million. And even when outside spending on television advertising and direct mail is added to the mix, Republicans still haven’t closed the gap. The money race totals come to $856 million for the Democratic committees and their aligned outside groups, compared to $677 for their Republican adversaries, based on figures compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.

NJ: Top Union Official Caught on Tape Discussing Voter Fraud

Court Voids Arizona Law on Voter Proof of Citizenship
Arizona’s requirement that people show proof of citizenship to register to vote was struck down by a federal appeals court, which said it conflicts with the National Voter Registration Act. The U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco today invalidated parts of Arizona’s Proposition 200, a 2004 voter- approved initiative on registration for state and federal elections. The court didn’t disturb a requirement that voters show identification at the polls. A three-judge panel of the court said the proof-of- citizenship requirement conflicted with the intent of the federal law aiming to increase voter registration by streamlining the process with a single form and removing state- imposed obstacles to registration. The federal law requires applicants to “attest to their citizenship under penalty of perjury” without requiring documentary proof, the panel said. (An invitation to voter fraud, which benefits Democrats. Wonder who appointed this judge? ~Bob.)

Take the Scientific American poll on Judith Curry
Excerpt: As a profile of Judith Curry in the November 2010 issue of Scientific American makes clear, the University of Georgia climate scientist has become an increasingly polarizing figure IN the past year or so. (…) Yet Curry herself is convinced that some of those facts are seriously exaggerated, and that the IPCC has failed to acknowledge the real uncertainty in the science. …She’s been denounced, sometimes vehemently, for her efforts. So here’s the central question: Is Curry a heroic whistle-blower, speaking the truth when others can’t or won’t? (Comment someone else left at WUWT and I heartily agree--RGP) October 26, 2010 at 3:59 pm The SA poll is fraught with false dilemmas. Most of the questions forced me to answers that I would never espouse. This polarization and lack of nuance is exactly the problem in the climate debate. If this is the way SA views climate science, I fear for the future of science! (Comment I left at WUWT) Ron Pittenger, Heretic says: October 26, 2010 at 4:08 pm I just took their damned poll. How cheap and tawdy. Almost like it was American Idol or Survivor and we were voting for someone to stick around another week or go home now. I checked the results up to myself, and all indicators are that many doubters have voted (never fear, they’ll simply leave the poll open until they get the result they want). Science isn’t–can’t be–democratic. A vote of 99 to 1 doesn’t make the 1 wrong or the 99 right. Change is always begun by one person with a better explanation for something than was previously available. Consensus comes after the fact, not before. Dr. Curry seems to have that most valuable of scientific attributes: integrity. Too bad so many others lack it.

Arizona replaces controversial signs warning residents of illegal drug activity
It was hurting them politically, so better some tourist gets raped and killed than Democrats lose votes. I note they used tax money voted to increase border security—these signs increase security how? ~Bob. Excerpt: Arizona signs confirming that drug and human smuggling activity was taking place well inside the Arizona border have received a face lift and now offer campers and hikers different information when they travel to the Arizona public land regions. The new sign now reads, “Visitor Information Update- active federal law enforcement patrol area, clean-up and restoration crews at work, contact BLM rangers for current area status.” In smaller print in the lower left-hand side of the sign provides the Bureau of Land Management district office phone number and encourages residents to call 911 for emergency. The tamer BLM signs sparked speculation as to why Arizona’s Bureau of Land Management decided to make the change. Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio put it in plain and simple language; “They were embarrassed.” “Arizona’s BLM decided to change the signs after they created a national hysteria and they decided to temper it,” said America’s toughest Sheriff. “What the new signs should read is ‘anyone caught smuggling drugs or humans are going to jail.” In an ironic twist, Sheriff Arpaio is in the process of working with BLM to have prisoners in his jails, including illegal aliens, to go into the desert and clean up the trash. The new signs went up over the weekend as a result of a Congressional bill that granted $600 million to increase border security measures. BLM received a special $200,000 emergency grant to conduct and increase patrols in the southwest portion of Arizona in an effort to saturate the region, according to BLM spokesperson Deborah Stevens. The new “temporary signs” are part of BLM’s three-prong approach to restore or mitigate the land damaged from illegal alien layup activity, construct physical barriers on roadways used by suspected illegal traffickers and acknowledge that armed BLM rangers are patrolling the area.

Obama To Latinos: "Punish Our Enemies"
Welcome to America. Let me teach you about Democracy. You have to vote to punish your enemies, not sit home. Doing away with “politics as usual” as he promised.. ~Bob.

Midterm blowout: 50 or more Dem seats set to fall in the election
Excerpt: Republicans are headed for a blowout election win that seems certain to seize more than enough seats to knock out the Democrats and take control of the House. The Hill 2010 Midterm Election poll, surveying nearly 17,000 likely voters in 42 toss-up districts over four weeks, points to a massive Republican wave that, barring an extraordinary turnaround, will deliver crushing nationwide defeats for President Obama’s party. The data suggest a GOP pickup that could easily top 50 seats (the party needs 39 for control of the House). Of the 42 districts polled for The Hill, all but two of which are currently Democratic, 31 had Republicans in the lead. Democrats were up in just seven, and four were tied. In addition, there are some 15 Democratic districts that are so far into the GOP win column that they weren’t polled. That would suggest at least 46 GOP pickups, plus whatever the party gets out of another 40 or 50 seats that some experts believe are in play. “We didn’t even poll in about 15 districts that are already too far gone for Democrats,” said Mark Penn, whose firm, Penn Schoen Berland, conducted the poll. “So that, along with our entire series of polls, points to something in the range of a 50-seat gain for Republicans.” Republican voters are also more likely to have made up their minds, according to the data. The Hill’s data confirm other public polling and expert predictions, some of which put the historic wave even higher than the 52 seats Democrats lost in 1994 and the 71 they lost in 1938. (with six days to go, hate to be counting these chickens already. Work now, celebrate later. ~Bob.)

Republicans claim improvement in early and absentee voting
My guess is that 98% of people who vote early—as I did—are folks unlikely to change their minds. Still good, as something might happen to keep them from voting on election day. ~Bob. Excerpt: Republicans claimed gains in early and absentee voting in battleground states this year, compared to their performance in 2008. Republican National Committee (RNC) political director Gentry Collins penned a memo Tuesday touting signs of improvement in the party's turnout efforts as Democrats have made an intense push for early voting during the last week of the campaign. "One week out from Election Day, Republican performance in absentee and early voting reflects the enthusiasm gap and likely turnout advantage seen in both internal and public polling," Collins wrote. "Democrat claims of a stronger ground game are contradicted by the data and appear to be a brazen attempt to motivate a depressed base." The early and absentee effort, combined with more traditional get-out-the-vote actions by the GOP, would "drive Republican victories all over the country in seven short days," Collins added. Both parties have been targeting their respective bases in recent days to encourage them to begin casting their ballots, if they're able to do so. The early initiatives are driven by a sense that turnout in close races could be the key to victories in Nov. 2's elections.

The Impact of Health Reform on Businesses
Excerpt: The health industry officially accounts for one-sixth of the American economy. Yet the effects of reforms to our health care system will go far beyond the health care sector and will impact every business in the United States, says Hadley Heath, a policy analyst at the Independent Women's Forum specializing in health care policy and economics. The reforms in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, along with the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act (both passed in March 2010), will have numerous far-reaching consequences for businesses. In particular, the new law will: Significantly restrict the choices of employers and their employees with regards to health insurance coverage. Raise taxes on businesses and create significant new paperwork burdens. Discourage job creation and growth in the economy. In evaluating this new health care legislation, it's important to consider not only how the new law impacts the medical system, health care costs and quality of care provided, but how the law affects businesses, workers and the general economy. Unfortunately, this law will have a significant negative impact on the business climate, will discourage business expansion and job creation, and will slow economic growth, says Heath.

French protests, British austerity give U.S. glimpse of its future
Excerpt: From this side of the Atlantic, the furious protests in France over raising the retirement age have seemed — well, petulant. After all, Americans already have to work to age 62 to qualify for early Social Security benefits and to 66 (eventually to 67) to get full benefits. Germany is also moving to 67. So the French government raising the age for a minimum pension to 62 and to 67 for a full one hardly seems cruel. And France has no choice but to do something. Its pension system already has to borrow to pay retirees, an imbalance that will steadily deepen as Baby Boomers age. The French protesters who took to the streets in violent strikes apparently think denial can make that reality go away. Oh, those irresponsible French, right? Americans might not want to be too smug. The U.S. retirement system isn't quite as rickety as France's, but it's not far behind. Social Security is in the red this year, too, forcing the Treasury to borrow to pay benefits, just as France is. Social Security is projected to get better once the economy recovers, but only temporarily. The system is forecast to go into the red again in 2015 and then get steadily worse. That means more borrowing until U.S. politicians acquire the courage — so far lacking — to make benefits match payroll tax revenues at the risk of French-like protests. The argument that the system can simply spend its huge trust fund is nonsense, unfortunately. The trust fund's cash was spent long ago. It is a moral and political obligation, but the money still has to come from somewhere else. Social Security is hardly the USA's only budget problem. Massive borrowing is driving the national debt to unsustainable levels. Running such deficits is inevitable — even smart — during a recession, when government revenues fall. Increased spending for things such as unemployment benefits hastens economic recovery. But neither party has a credible plan to restore balance after the economy gets better. The best President Obama could do was to punt the problem to a deficit commission that's due to report a plan by Dec. 1. Britain's government, by contrast, decided to act. Faced with budget deficits just a little bigger in relative terms than the ones in the U.S., Britain has just announced its most far-reaching deficit reduction in 60 years. Most government departments will be cut by an average of 20%, almost half a million government workers will lose their jobs and many taxes will go up.

Nancy Pelosi Who?
Excerpt: Nancy Pelosi said Monday that "we haven't really gotten the credit for what we have done," and the Speaker is right. However, it appears that her party will get that credit on November 2, which is why so many Democrats are now jumping the liberal ship, at least symbolically, to save their seats. This phenomenon reached new heights over the weekend, with Mississippi Democrat Gene Taylor telling a local newspaper, the Sun-Herald, that he voted for John McCain in 2008. Mr. Taylor had heretofore kept that vote a secret, and perhaps it's only a coincidence that he rolled it out amid the re-election fight of his career. The 11-term Member added that he won't support Mrs. Pelosi for Speaker, another revelation considering his vote for her in 2009. "I'm very disappointed in how she's veered to the left," Mr. Taylor said, as if Mrs. Pelosi's ideological predispositions were ever hidden. Mr. Taylor joins a growing list of Democrats who voted for Mrs. Pelosi in 2009 but now profess to be shocked by her left turn. They include Idaho's Walt Minnick, Pennsylvania's Jason Altmire, Alabama's Bobby Bright and Texas's Chet Edwards, endangered incumbents all. Brett Carter, who is hoping to replace Tennessee Democrat Barton Gordon, has gone even further and requested that Mrs. Pelosi not even run again for the Speakership. "Voters in my district believe that you do not represent their values, and my opposition has little to offer apart from critiquing your leadership," Mr. Carter wrote in a September letter. "I don't work for Nancy Pelosi, or Harry Reid, or anyone else," says North Carolina incumbent Mike McIntyre in one television spot. In Indiana, Joe Donnelly is up with ads opposing "Nancy Pelosi's energy tax on Hoosier families." Over in the Senate, the prize for distancing himself from his party goes to West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin, who ran the famous TV ad featuring him literally putting a bullet through the "cap and trade bill." Apparently that wasn't politically far enough away from the Washington Democrats he hopes to join, so Mr. Manchin declared on Fox News Sunday that he would have voted against ObamaCare too. "Knowing the existence as far as how reaching it had been, as far as an onerous, I would have," Mr. Manchin said. Remind us again why these folks are running as Democrats?

NPR's Religion Double Standard
But there’s a difference between mocking Catholics and mocking Muslims. The Catholics may be angry, but they won’t riot and murder you. ~Bob. Excerpt: National Public Radio's firing of Juan Williams tells you all you need to know about the radical, and thoroughly intolerant, left. Williams is a liberal, but still, he isn't liberal enough. The idea that he would acknowledge a mere thought of discomfort at the idea of people in "Muslim garb" on airplanes in a post-9/11 world became a firing offense. It didn't matter that he prefaced it with all the perfunctory and politically correct disclaimers about not being a bigot and we shouldn't blame all Muslims for terrorism. Fired. Today's left is void of any principles whatsoever. They can be as astonishingly offensive and insulting as they want toward Christians, and no one gets punished. The indefatigable Catholic League provides the documentation. On April 30 on NPR's "Fresh Air," substitute host David Bianculli raved over the leftist musical satirist and Harvard math professor Tom Lehrer for his Catholic-mocking 1965 song "The Vatican Rag." It has lyrics like this: "Get in line in that processional, step into that small confessional, there a guy who's got religion'll tell you if your sin's original." Lehrer also sang, "So you get down on your knees! Fiddle with your rosaries! Bow your head with great respect, and -- Genuflect! Genuflect! Genuflect!" The NPR host raved over how on the recording, he loved "how the audience often explodes with joy -- sometimes in reaction to a rhyme, sometimes to the music and sometimes because of the sheer audacity of the subject matter." Now imagine an NPR host raving over the "sheer audacity" of a Muslim-mocking ragtime song satirizing all that bowing to Mecca and the ritual prayers -- without them getting fired within 24 hours.

Our Contemptible Congress
Excerpt: Most people whom we elect to Congress are either ignorant of, have contempt for or are just plain stupid about the United States Constitution. You say: "Whoa, Williams, you're really out of line! You'd better explain." Let's look at it. Rep. Phil Hare, D-Ill., responding to a question during a town hall meeting, said he's "not worried about the Constitution." That was in response to a question about the constitutionality of Obamacare. He told his constituents that the Constitution guaranteed each of us "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Of course, our Constitution guarantees no such thing. The expression "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" is found in our Declaration of Independence. During a debate, Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., gave his opinion about the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, concluding that "the Constitution is wrong." Not to be outdone, at his town hall meeting, Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., responded to a constituent's question about Obamacare by saying, "There are very few constitutional limits that would prevent the federal government from (making) rules that can affect your private life." Adding, "Yes, the federal government can do most anything in this country." The questioner responded, "People like you, sir, are destroying this nation." Her comment won shouts of approval from the audience. Last year, a CNS reporter asked, "Madam Speaker, where specifically does the Constitution grant Congress the authority to enact an individual health insurance mandate?" Speaker Pelosi responded: "Are you serious? Are you serious?" She shares the vision of her fellow Californian Stark that Washington can do most anything.

Wrong Way to Reform the Malpractice System
Excerpt: We’re 10 years into the future and you have terminal cancer. Still, all is not lost. Doctors in other countries are reporting successful remission of your type of cancer, using a drug originally approved in the United States for some other purpose. There are several journal articles that appear to back up these claims and there is additional positive information on the Internet. Here’s the problem. The FDA has not approved this drug for cancer treatment; so its use for that purpose is “off-label.” Also, there have not been the clinical trials required by the “comparative effectiveness” board; so it’s not considered a “best practice.” Ever since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed a decade earlier, that has meant that Medicare won’t pay for it. And since Medicare isn’t paying, private insurers won’t pay either. Fortunately, you’ve accumulated some savings through the years. Even though the drug is quite expensive, your doctor knows you can pay for it yourself. So what does your doctor do about this promising new treatment? He doesn’t tell you about it. What?…….Doesn’t tell you about it?…….Isn’t that a violation of medical ethics?…….To say nothing of professional ethics?…….Or plan vanilla, garden-variety ethics?…..And what about malpractice?……If your family finds out about the doctor’s silence after your demise, won’t they be able to sue? The answer to that last question is “no.” The reason: 10 years earlier, Congress followed the advice of Peter Orszag, who was very involved in creating the ACA. Orszag’s proposal for malpractice reform was to give doctors a safe haven against lawsuits as long as they practice “evidence-based” medicine. So as long as your doctor sticks with the “best practice” (which in your case is palliative care for your remaining days), he has no legal liability. On the other hand, if he tries something new that is not evidence-based (even though it might save your life), he steps into a legal no-man’s land. The latter, by the way, has become much more risky due to the increased political power of trial lawyers during the Obama presidency. In a separate piece, Orszag argued that the ACA gives Medicare the authority to refuse to pay for treatments that are not evidence-based. As for new discoveries, he endorsed an idea that originally appeared in Health Affairs and was subsequently touted by David Leonhardt in The New York Times. To wit: give new treatments and technologies three years to prove they are better. If they fail that test, quit paying. In your case, the effort was never made. The short time period, the uncertain outcome and the expense of clinical trials discouraged the drug manufacturer from even trying.

Most Americans worry about ability to pay mortgage or rent, poll finds
A freeze on foreclosures. Great idea. Banks will lend money to people to buy houses and if the people don’t pay, tough. So they will stop lending money for home loans and the housing market will go into the cesspool for years. Even Obama gets it! Economic ignorance. When I was a senator, guy came to me wanting a law canceling half of everyone’s debts. ~Bob. Excerpt: A majority of Americans now say they are worried about making their mortgage or rent payments, underscoring the extent of economic anxiety in the country heading into midterm elections. A new Washington Post poll shows that concerns about housing payments have spiked since 2008 despite some improvements in the overall economy. In all, 53 percent said they are "very concerned" or "somewhat concerned" about having the money to make their monthly payment. Worries are the most intense among those with lower incomes and African Americans….. Against this backdrop, just over half of Americans say the Obama administration should impose a period of time during which banks cannot foreclose on delinquent homeowners. The White House has shot down that idea, however, calling it dangerous to the still-fragile housing market.

Feds investigate plot to attack Metro
How do you tell a moderate Muslim from an extremist before they strike? ~Bob. Excerpt: Federal law enforcement authorities are investigating a nascent plot to carry out a series of terrorist bombings at stations in the Washington Metro system, according to intelligence and law enforcement sources. The investigation is focused on a naturalized U.S. citizen, originally from Pakistan, who became the target of an undercover sting operation, the sources said. An administration official said the man drew the attention of law enforcement officials by seeking to obtain unspecified materials. The planned attack was not imminent, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the matter remains under investigation. The man, Farooque Ahmed, 34, of Ashburn, Va., is believed to have conceived of the plot and planned to carry it out on his own, and it is not known how far he proceeded in his preparations.

FBI looks into third shooting at a military facility in two weeks
Excerpt: The FBI is investigating shots fired Monday night or early morning Tuesday at the Marine Corps recruiting station in Chantilly, Virginia, the bureau announced. The overnight shooting is the third such incident at a military-related building in the past two weeks, according to an FBI news release. Last week, a gunman fired several shots at the Pentagon, just two days after shots were fired at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Virginia. Ballistics tests revealed both shootings involved a single weapon, the FBI said. Ballistics tests are under way for the most recent shooting, the bureau said. Two shots hit windows of the recruiting station, and another bullet struck the window of a nail salon in the seven-unit business building, authorities said. (Waited until the recruiters weren’t there, even though recruiters are not armed. Probably because whoever is a lousy shot. ~Bob.)

The Redistricting Game
Iowa does pretty well I hear. See link below. But redistricting rationally is opposed by interest groups, including minorities who want to control votes in Congress. ~Bob.

The Monster
How bad could Mao have been if the Obamas had his picture on their Christmas tree? Or were there no Christmas decorations with Stalin and Hitler, the mass-murder runner ups? ~Bob. Excerpt: It is not exaggeration to say that a human being within living memory possessed a God-like power to deploy famine against a populace that he expected to be “supernaturals of the first order.” During a four-year period from 1958 to 1962, Mao Zedong oversaw the deaths of about half of all the people who died during all of the famines of the twentieth century. In his haunting new book, Frank Dikötter carefully weighs the available archival evidence and “conservatively puts the number of premature deaths at a minimum of 45 million.” A minimum! In just one region (Xinyang) in one province (Henan) during one year (1960), one million out of eight million people perished, which is the exact proportion of deaths from the other “great” famine, the one in Ireland during the mid-nineteenth century that lasted for roughly five years. Unlike most famines—complex events caused by a confluence of natural, societal and political factors—there seems to be little debate about who is responsible for the carnage. One hesitates to commit blasphemy, but the Ezekielian God sounds a lot like Mao when he says, “I will bring the sword upon thee. I the LORD have spoken it.” Mao’s famine was a consequence of a fantastical initiative, a “Great Leap Forward” into Communism, that he believed would turn China into an economic powerhouse, catapulting over its rivals in the Communist and non-Communist blocs. The idea was to use (and abuse) the country’s massive population—its most awesome resource—to boost agricultural and industrial output. The masses were stripped of private possessions, their homes and villages destroyed, and they were coerced into 26,000 giant “people’s communes” that were organized into military units.

US to build £8bn super base on Pacific island of Guam
Excerpt: The US is building an £8 billion super military base on the Pacific island of Guam in an attempt to contain China's military build-up. (Well, if Guam tips over, don’t say the Democrats didn’t warn you. ~Bob.

The Pelosi Gerrymander - (PROP 20 and PROP 27)
Excerpt: Two years ago, California voters passed an initiative to stop gerrymandering abuses and create more competitive elections by removing redistricting authority for the state legislature from the state legislature and giving it to a 14-member citizen commission. However, the initiative stopped short of vesting Congressional redistricting authority in the citizen commission because proponents feared a backlash from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the state's Democratic Congressional delegation. Heaven forbid they'd have to defend their seats. Reformers regrouped this year and decided to risk Mrs. Pelosi's ire by putting an initiative (Proposition 20) on the ballot that would extend the commission's authority to Congressional redistricting. Mrs. Pelosi and her union allies are fighting back with their own initiative (Proposition 27) that would kill the commission entirely. If you're confused by the propositions, that's Mrs. Pelosi's intent. She and her government-union allies hope to muddle the issue enough that voters will endorse her "Financial Accountability in Redistricting Act," which supporters claim will save "several million dollars every ten years" and "will ensure that those who make the decisions are accountable to the voters and that all their decisions are subject to approval by the voters." Mrs. Pelosi's real goal is to ensure that the state's politically dominant Democrats can continue to carve out safe seats. After the 2000 census, Democrats controlled both the legislature and the governorship, and with the help of partisan consultants they gerrymandered districts so successfully that only five of the state's 692 legislative and Congressional elections held in the years since have had a switch in party control. That's 0.7% turnover across a decade.

Happy Climate Fools' Day
Excerpt: After 15 years of what climate science calls “negative warming” (i.e. cooling; and despite unchecked Co2 levels) I must confess I was already skeptical about the likelihood of human Co2 having the catastrophic outcomes described in some academic requests for funding. Especially not when much of their proof comes from weather monitoring stations sited within feet of air conditioning outlets and when we discover that their results are “homogenised” by interpolation with hardcoded variables. I know what you’re thinking and I’ve heard about the “consensus” too. But when you can actually prove something you don’t need a consensus. That’s why you never hear about the consensus on gravity, or the consensus on evolution. Saying that 97% of climate scientists believe in global warming is an awful lot like saying that 97% of priests believe in God. If they didn’t at least pretend to believe in global warming climate change climate disruption they wouldn’t be climate scientists – not of the sort that get public funding, anyway. And when those “scientists” have to delete their own source data to prevent it from being released under freedom of information laws they deserve the scare quotes because at that point they have stopped being a credible science and have become just another bunch of religious extremists.

Opponents go after 'shove it' Dem in RI gov debate
Excerpt: The three opponents of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Frank Caprio criticized him in a televised debate Tuesday for saying President Barack Obama can "shove it," with one calling him a "knucklehead" and another saying he acted like a "petulant little child."

Thus Spake Angela
Excerpt: Read in context, Merkel’s words are as clear as her meaning. The West German policy of inviting millions of Gastarbeiter into the country in the 1960s was undertaken on the presumption that the guest workers, mostly from Turkey, would return home in due course. That did not happen. Now Germany is home to between 7 and 8 million foreign residents, including some 2 million Turkish Muslims. Combined with West Germany’s postwar reluctance to define or promote any notion of “German” nationality, the guest workers have remained, for the most part, ghettoized in urban enclaves. They still speak their native language, practice native customs, and are estranged from the mainstream culture of the unified Federal Republic. Public opinion polls register considerable discomfort about this among German voters.

Rubio's Closing Argument: 'A Generational Choice'
Excerpt: “It’s very clear. If we stay on this road Washington has us on right now, we will risk the essence of what makes us exceptional. We will lose what makes us unique. “I know this because this idea about America being exceptional is not something I read in a book. As the son of exiles, my parents were born into a society pretty much like every other in the world where if you’re not from the right family or with enough money you can only go so far. “And that is a very different place from our America – a place where the son of bartender doesn’t have to become a bartender and where the son of a maid can achieve any dream. “So now we’re being asked whether we want to keep all that or whether we want to become more like the place my parents came from.

Nothing shakes your faith in Democracy like having one of your high school classmates elected to high political office. –Anon.

Minnesota Dems Issue Anti-Catholic Mailer in Final Week
Excerpt: If the Minnesota DFL intended to make a splash in an otherwise-obscure state Senate race, well, they succeeded. The party, which is the Minnesota version of the Democratic Party, sent out a mailer attacking Republican challenger and Christian minister Dan Hall by accusing him of ignoring the poor for opposing ObamaCare. However, the front of the postcard shows a headless man wearing the traditional shirt and collar worn by Roman Catholic priests, with a button that proclaims “Ignore the Poor” — which has a large number of Catholics in Minnesota angry over a perceived attack on their church. KSTP reported on the mailer and the DFL silence last night.

Looking for Racism (in All the Wrong Places)
Excerpt: Benjamin embarked on a treacherous journey into the heart of enemy territory. No, he wasn't a soldier stationed in Afghanistan. And, no, he didn't masquerade as a veiled woman in Saudi Arabia. A black man, Benjamin lived for three months at a time in these lily-white communities: St. George, Utah; Coeur d'Alene, Idaho; and Forsyth County, Georgia. He anticipated a gauntlet of racial hate. And yet he describes his journey this way, in his book, Searching for Whitopia. In St. George, I fell in with a hospitable, if rowdy, poker crew, gathering for Texas hold 'em at least twice a week. Being a proud Episcopal, I regularly attended the Sunday services at Grace Church. ... I hiked up Taylor Creek in Zion National Park with the Episcopalian Seniors social group ... In Coeur d'Alene, I fraternized with retired LAP cops, attending their annual charity gold tournament to support wounded brethren. ... Finally, in Forsyth County, I got to know IgNite, the youth ministry of First Redeemer, and attended the Baptist mega-church's main service every Sunday morning. This drew me into a whirlwind: lunch with the youth after service, Friday night socials, volleyball and pickup basketball in the church's gleaming indoor gym ... I hosted about ten dinner parties and luncheons, some spontaneous, some formal ... Ben, a twenty-six-year-old cobbler who arrived with Kina, his longtime girlfriend, teased me because they felt the meal was "fancy." To this day, I wear a handsome pair of sandals that Ben cobbled for me ... Not only did I entertain, I received a flurry of invitations: to a Memorial Day pool party, to BBQs, to birthday parties, to family suppers, to demolition derbies to ... county fairs, to "bowling nights," to multiple hikes, to volunteer benefits ... to horseback riding and cattle roping." Benjamin's sojourn was, according to him, a whirlwind of "fun" and a "gabfest." Looking beyond race, his new neighbors welcomed him with open arms. It appears that the only risk the newcomer faced was exhaustion from so much merrymaking. Benjamin's travels should prove once and for all that red states are not a hornet's nest of racism. And yet the word on the liberal streets is that conservatives, particularly the Tea Partiers, are white supremacists.

Facing mounting losses, Democrats resort to calling Republicans racist
Excerpt: Politics has a tendency to devolve into juvenile playground taunts and smears. This election cycle has been no different — with one of the Democrats’ most coveted insults this year being calling the opposing candidate a racist. As comedian Dennis Miller has said, “Racism is the new ‘doody-head.’” Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul’s plight arguably has been the most visible. Since May, Democrats and some in the media have accused the Republican of being a racist after he questioned sections of the 1964 Civil Rights Act on MSNBC while advocating for limited government. While Paul says his intent was not to support segregation, his Democratic opponent, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, seized on the opportunity to allege just that. 9they have played the race card so much, that only liberals and blacks, who already think everyone but themselves is racist, notice. ~Bob.)

The Left Wing Friends Who Have Dropped Me Now That I've Spoken Out
Liberals are so sure of their correctness, they have to believe that anyone who doesn’t see things their way is evil, stupid or both. ~Bob. Excerpt: Some of my friends don’t like me these days. They’re all Lefties, you see. Apparently, there are lots of people out there who think like me. The problem is that they aren’t in my world. They never have been. One friend sent me a text saying she was sorry to hear I had lost my job but that after all I had slept with the enemy. Other friends tell me that I am “being groomed for a political position”. When I ask what that means, the inevitable “they” is used to explain a web of cause and deceit that is entirely invented. When I point out that they’re simply inaccurate, I am told that I’m naive and stupid, that not only am I being groomed but clearly I’m interested in having a political career; otherwise, I would never have done what I did. Other friends haven’t been in touch at all. Or some have sent an email saying that they forgive me, that they’re busy, that they’ll be in touch, one day… For years I have been arguing with them, for years I have been begging them to listen to what is happening on the ground. But they’re not interested in listening to evidence or thinking through their ideological positions. The fact that I used to think just like them, with experience in schools having changed my mind, means nothing. They feel pride in remaining steadfast in their beliefs, because growth and development in one’s ideas over a lifetime is somehow something one should be ashamed of.

Independents turn to GOP in Senate races
Excerpt: Independent voters are tuning into Senate races and settling on candidates in the final week before the election, clarifying some of the hardest-fought contests of the campaign. And with many of these unaffiliated voters unhappy with President Obama and the country’s direction, they’re showing signs of breaking to Republicans. In the Kentucky Senate race, which has been a single-digit affair for weeks, independents appear to be moving en masse to Rand Paul, the GOP nominee, giving him a comfortable lead heading into the final week. Paul led by seven points overall in a September poll by Public Policy Polling (PPP) and had a seven-point advantage among independents. But in a new PPP survey released Tuesday, Paul now leads Conway 53-40 overall. “Now that advantage with independents is a whooping 39 points at 66-27,” writes PPP’s Tom Jensen. “There's been virtually no movement among Democrats or Republicans over that period of time so most of the movement in the race can be attributed to that shift.” In the dead heat Illinois Senate race, Republican Mark Kirk is now up 44-41 over Democrat Alexi Giannoulias according to a Chicago Tribune/WGN poll released Monday—thanks in no small part to independents. Kirk takes 50 percent of the undeclared voters to Giannoulias’s 28 percent . In a Tribune/WGN poll a month ago, Kirk was taking 38 percent of independents while Giannoulias was taking the same 28 percent he’s getting now. And in that period, those independent voters saying they were undecided fell from 22 percent to eight percent. Independents are also settling on the Republican nominee in the Missouri Senate race. Roy Blunt is up over Democrat Robin Carnahan 49-40 in a recent Mason-Dixon survey, in large part because he leads her 51-33 among independents, who also overwhelmingly disapprove of Obama.

"Endowed by Their Creator... "

Civil-rights suit alleges Muslim was fired for refusing to haul beer, though company had agreed to accommodate his religion
And of course, can’t deliver to anyone who has a dog—unclean—or who eats pork. Think I’ll start a religion that requires members to sit around, drink beer and surf the web for porn. And we will sue if they don’t pay us to do it. ~Bob. Excerpt: A Muslim man claims he was fired by a trucking company after refusing to transport a load of alcohol, according to a civil-rights lawsuit filed recently in federal court. Vasant Reddy, 35, of Northeast Philadelphia, said it's against his religious beliefs to "consume, possess or transport alcohol or tobacco," according to the suit. He claims he told this to his supervisors at the Philadelphia branch of Schneider National Inc. when he was hired in May 2009. They told him they could accommodate his beliefs, but the next month he was assigned to transport a delivery of Miller Lite, said Reddy's attorney, Justin Swidler.

Misconduct revelations against Alaska tea party candidate may favor Murkowski
May slip into another vote to keep Harry Reid and Democrats/liberals in control of the senate business and committees. ~Bob. Excerpt: The release of documents late Tuesday showing that Republican Senate nominee Joe Miller of Alaska lied about his misconduct while serving as a government attorney in Fairbanks delivered yet another blow to a tea party-backed candidate who was considered a shoo-in just two months ago, when he defeated incumbent Lisa Murkowski in the GOP primary.

Corporal details Marines’ hard life in southern Afghanistan
Excerpt: In the first two months of a seven-month tour, US Marine Corporal Chuck Martin has been in 16 firefights. The 24-year-old native of Middletown, R.I., has done laundry twice, mailed five letters, and received two. He has spent 378 hours on post and 256 hours on patrol. He has crossed 140 miles of thorny bomb-laced farmland and waist-high trenches of water on foot. Along the way, he has ripped eight pairs of pants, ruined two pairs of boots, and downed 1,350 half-liter bottles of water. His platoon has killed at least eight militants in battle and nine farm animals in crossfire. The rugged outposts he has lived in have been shot at 46 times. “Tiring would be the best word to describe it,’’ Martin said, summarizing his time so far in the insurgent-plagued southern Afghan district of Marjah. “There’s no downtime. It’s a constant gruel.’’ Martin’s list, stored on spreadsheet on his laptop, offers a snapshot of American military life in this rural battle zone, where a new generation of young service members are growing up thousands of miles from home. Since arriving in mid-July, personnel from the Second Battalion, Ninth Marines’ Echo Company have spread out across 13 small, austere outposts in northern Marjah, a vast patch of fields and ancient hardened mud homes without running water or electricity that one company commander likened to “200 B.C.’’ At one outpost called Inchon, a droning generator provides power for iPods and laptops loaded with movies, and just two lights — one for the Americans, the other for their Afghan counterparts. Service members have knitted together several shaky chairs from the metal fencing of discarded Hesco barriers.

Tea Party Movement Is A Game-Changer
Excerpt: The hostility and jaded news coverage that the Tea Party movement evokes suggests that it must be onto something really big — beyond anti-incumbent attitudes or current-issue debates of Democrats or Republicans. The Tea Party is animated by powerful enduring ideas expressed in the nation's founding through the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution: freedom, the natural law of inalienable rights and the sovereignty of the people that requires limited government. Remarkably, the Tea Party movement has gained national prominence with unpaid volunteers in just a year and a half. Its people come from every walk of life from all over the country. What has brought them together is an acute awareness that Washington has been tone-deaf to the voices of the people. They've had it with the posturing of both Democrats and Republicans. Through the Tea Party, the silent majority now has a giant megaphone.

Democrat Party Asks Pentagon to Assist With Obama's Opposition Research on Governor Palin For 2012 Re-election Campaign
Not shocking. Probably legal. Looking for tidbits to twist in attack ads. ~Bob. Excerpt: The Democratic National Committee formally has asked the Pentagon for reams of correspondence between military agencies and nine potential Republican presidential candidates, a clear indication that Democrats are building opposition-research files on specific 2012 contenders even before the midterm elections. An internal Army e-mail obtained by ABC News indicates that the DNC has filed Freedom of Information Act requests for "any and all records of communication" between Army departments and agencies and each of the nine Republicans -- all of whom are widely mentioned as possible challengers to President Obama. The agencies are asked to respond to the request by this Friday, just four days before Election Day.

Public employee unions funnel public money to Dems
Excerpt: Who is the largest single political contributor in the 2010 campaign cycle? You can be pardoned if you answer, erroneously, that it's some new conservative group organized by Karl Rove. That's campaign spin by the Obama Democrats, obediently relayed by certain elements of the so-called mainstream media. The real answer is AFSCME, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. The union's president, Gerald McEntee, reports proudly that AFSCME will be contributing $87.5 million in this cycle, entirely or almost entirely to Democrats. "We're spending big," he told the Wall Street Journal. "And we're damn happy it's big." The mainstream press hasn't shown much interest in reporting on unions' campaign spending, which amounted to some $400 million in the 2008 cycle. And it hasn't seen fit to run long investigative stories on why public employee unions -- the large majority of which work for state and local governments -- contribute so much more to campaigns for federal office. Nor has it denounced the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision last January allowing unions to spend members' dues on politics without their permission and without disclosure. AFSCME's No. 1 status is emblematic of a change in the union movement over the years. Before public employee unions won the right to represent employees in New York City in 1958 and federal employees in 1962, almost all union members worked in the private sector. But unions today represent only 7 percent of private-sector workers. In 2009, for the first time in history, most union members were public employees.

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