Friday, March 29, 2013

American Catholic Holy Days of Obligation contrasted to the rest of the Catholic World

A question from a friend:
There are 10 holy days of obligation, but only 6 are celebrated in the United States:

1. Solemnity of Mary (January 1)
2. The Ascension of Jesus (40 days after Easter)
3. The Asumption of Mary (August 15)

4. All Saints Day (November 1)
5. The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception (December
6. Christmas (December 25)

The 4 holy days of obligation not celebrated in the United States are:

1. The Epiphany of Jesus (January 6)
2. Solemnity of St. Joseph, Husband of the Virgin Mary (March 19)
3. Corpus Christi
4. Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul (June 29)

I would like to know why US Catholics have fewer holy days of obligation than the rest of the Catholic world.

C.S. Lewis's greatest weakness

C.S Lewis was bad at math.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Unidentified Species Count Study

National Geographic indicates and measures the possibility of forecasting what we will know.  Specifically studies exist that indicate how many different, distinct species exist on our planet but whose characteristics we have yet to classify, identify.
the fish didn’t turn into a fillet—rather, it turned out to be an undiscovered species. The guide was part of a Conservation International-led survey of a tropical forest. Scientists rescued the specimen just in time when they noticed its exceptionally long spines, likely meant to fend off giant piranhas. Unlike any catfish in reference books, the as yet unnamed fish was one of 46 candidates for new species status found within three weeks. “They’re all pieces of a big puzzle,” says expedition member Philip Willink. “The more we have, the better our understanding of how the whole world works.”
In the 1730s Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus set out rules for classifying species, the most basic biological category: a group of living things that look alike and normally mate only with each other. Since then, scientists have cataloged more than 1.7 million. But there’s still a lot of work to be done. Estimates of the total number of species range from 3 million to 100 million; one new study puts the figure at 8.7 million, give or take a million. The numbers at right, compiled from many surveys and statistical projections, offer the best guess for species in selected categories.
It occurs to me that this is the other end of the spectrum from "endangered species" on the same continuum. There clearly is not a large population of a given species so that the creature is plainly noticed yet it is difficult to say at first whether there are less of these things than there ought to be.  It exists on a Venn Diagram of classification: it is clearly real and not imaginary yet most of its defining characteristics are speculated upon rather than known.

I suspect I'm being overly poetic.  It also may not be entirely appropriate to mention that this makes me think of Donald Rumsfeld talking about known unknowns.

Philly Wells Fargo Bank Occupational Acquittal

I find this story from Adbusters disturbing.
Twelve Occupy Philadelphia protesters were arrested on November 18, 2011 when they staged a sit-in inside a Wells Fargo branch to protest the company's blatantly discriminatory practices and "racist predatory lending" policies which caused a large number of home foreclosures in Philly's African American neighborhoods.
On Tuesday March 5, the Common Pleas Court jury acquitted all twelve. On top of that, Judge Nina N. Wright Padilla was eager to shake all of their hands in support and recognition. She told them, "I hope you continue your work in a law-abiding way, [and] I must say you are the most affable group of defendants I've ever come across." Further, the Jury acknowledged that the protest served a "greater good" for society that outweighed the trespass charge. This is a serious triumph for all Occupiers, activists and protesters – who recognize that their tactics may and will cross the line at times, but for the greater purposes of justice, freedom and truth. That the judge recognized this is a major coup.
Never mind what we can or cannot prove regarding predatory lending or free will, personal responsiblity, or the nature of power within the context of a major banking corporation. I find there to be an implication that the lobby of the bank is a public place despite its status as private property. Even then loitering has limits, yes?

demonstration by the Top Secret Drum Corps

From the description
Published on Dec 12, 2012
Top Secret Drum Corps is a precision drum corps based in Basel, Switzerland. With 25 drummers and colorguard members, the corps became famous for its demanding six-minute routine performed at the Edinburgh Tattoo in 2003. With its invitation to Edinburgh, Top Secret became one of the first non-military, non-British Commonwealth acts to perform on the Esplanade at Edinburgh Castle.
Since its success in 2003, Top Secret was invited to return to Edinburgh in 2006 with a new and improved routine. They were invited a third time in 2009 and again in 2012. Under the leadership of Erik Julliard, the band is also responsible for the founding of the Basel Tattoo, a military tattoo show similar to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, now held annually in Basel.

Oh this is glorious. I have no idea what the source of the name is.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Dennis Prager on Homosexual Parenthood

I am certain that Dennis Prager is distilling something that he wrote or said somewhere else on the internet.
Not to say that children raised by gay parents or a single parent are defective. They are not. IN THE AGGREGATE to say that it is best to for a child to have a mother and a father is now considered an act of bigotry. Do you understand how the left has distorted life. That to say that it is best for a child to have a loving mother and father is now to be considered a racist like bigot. Think about it!
-- Dennis Prager, March 27 2013 3:05 PM

I ripped this quote from his Facebook.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Civil Rights Gay Rights Discontinuity? taped this speech from Reverend William Owens, given at today's large demonstration in Washington, DC in defense of the Defense of Marriage Act.

I think one can declare and derive several simple axioms from this.
  1. The issues and concerns that homosexuals, "allies", and homosexualists have are all valid.
  2. However valid the issues and concerns regarding "gay marriage" are, the problems and rage that such are unique.
  3. Despite any similarity the injustices or controversy surrounding homosexuality are not identical to the Civil Rights concerns confronted by African-Americans or anyone whose prejudice was entrenched with facts of ethnicity.
  4. Anyone that has a valid rage does no one any favors by deliberately equating it with a separate problem.

I also note that is very much right-wing in the Christian appeal sense.  Civil Rights activists for racial equality can also be left or right.  That is less relevant than a man being offended by the comparison of his struggle to another's.
Civil rights activist Rev. William Owens, who is founder and president of the Coalition of African-American Pastors, said Tuesday there is no comparison between the civil rights movement and the gay community’s fight for same-sex marriage.
“I marched and many other thousands of people marched in this same location years ago on the claim that we were being discriminated against, and today the other community is trying to say that they are suffering the same thing that we suffered, but I tell you they are not,” said Owens, who gathered on the National Mall with other traditional marriage supporters in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act... The Supreme Court met Tuesday to consider Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage. However, the Associated Press reported that the high court could dismiss the case with no ruling at all.
Owens said that as a black man, he cannot change the color of his skin.
“Every morning I wake up, I look in the mirror, and I see a black man, and there is absolutely nothing I can do to change the color of my skin,” he said.
Owens said there is no comparing the gay community’s fight for marriage equality and the black community’s civil rights movement.
“They are not suffering what we suffered, and I sympathize with people who face discrimination. Every person should be treated with dignity and respect, but what they’re going through does not compare to what we went through,” Owens said.
“There is no comparison, and for many years, the African-American family and community have been under assault from all sides – abortion, single family households, poverty and a failing education system,” he added.
I am not in favor of DOMA, nor am I a proponent of "marriage" defined by government in any respect.  That is for another time.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Fred Thompson on NASCAR/NRA

A Connecticut Democrat took NASCAR to task for letting the NRA sponsor one of its races.

Well, don't know that "Gun Control 500" would sell as many tickets.
-- Fred Thompson, March 14, 2013

Is Andy Rubin a robot?

Saw this on a news crawl this morning: "Google's android chief, Andy Rubin, steps down..."

Have we really advanced that much in robotics?
-- Ed Hannigan

I love it when the English language has not caught up to branding, leastwise enough so that some phrases have not yet become colloquialisms. 

guessing or securing a password

  • If it's a word found in a dictionary, it doesn't matter how unlikely it is; nobody is going to try to guess it, they're just going to run the dictionary through the password until it hits the right word.
  • If it is not in the dictionary it does not matter; it is simply a combination of different characters.
  • Therefore the ease at which a human can guess a word does not matter. the same mechanism can just test every possible combination of characters. Passwords are going to have to be replaced by a different method. They are becoming obsolete.
  • "Weak" is simply a calculation of the level of complexity, based on number and variety of characters. Adding a capitol letter doubles the complexity. a 5-letter password (if we exclude punctuation and special characters) is 36 times more difficult than a 4-letter one. "5" would be one of the first 36 passwords tested if single-character passwords were permitted. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


On Christopher Priest's website he has pages dedicating to explaining the premise and characters of his short-lived Marvel Comic book, THE CREW, both its origin and its demise. One of the characters in the team book was the IRON MAN character, War Machine, aka James Rhodes. Priest also reprinted an e-mail sent to his editor Tom Brevoort regarding the concept of the weapon of that character, especially as full-on regular Iron Man armor is outside the themes of the comic book. For ease of (my) access this is that e-mail.
To:  Tom Brevoort
From:  Priest
Subject:  Rhodey's New Armor

This is a version of the Iron Man armor that is composed entirely of hard light. In its inactive state, the armor exists entyirely inside a SINGLE gauntlet— an articulated metal gauntlet in classic Iron Man design. Rhodey will often wear this single gauntlet on missions, and will activate the Holo Armor from a stud in the metal glove.
When activated, there's this light show (a la Havoc of the X-Men), and the suit forms some extrapolation of the Iron Man suit completely out of force fields and energy photons.

When first introduced, the Holo Armor does not work well at all. Mid-way thru the first arc, Danny "Junta" Vincent will give Rhodey a tiny quantum singularity: a little gravity well no bigger than a thimble. A human trapped in a gravity well, Danny is slightly out of phase with our plane of existence. The quantum singularity will stabilize the force fields employed by the Holo Armor (holograms are created by force fields and light). Thus, ONLY Rhodey's Holo Armor will function properly. The quantum singularity cannot be reproduced (at least not by anybody short of Dr. Doom, Ultron, Annihilus or other characters we're not supposed to mention).

The down side of this armor is it is extremely energy hungry, a gas guzzler if you will. It is not for casual walking around use, like the Stark armor. Rhodey will always wait until the VERY last and most desperate moment to fire it up, and there'd be this, literal, ticking clock— an extrapolation of the old Gene Colan days— where the Holo Suit would be functional only for a set amount of time, say 1 hour or less.

Firing repulsors, flying, or creating tractor beams DRASTICALLY shortens the life of the suit.

Once the suit's power is gone, it changes back into a glove (Cinderella's slipper), and it takes X-Hours to recharge (solar cells or similar).

I'd like to lose the shoulder mounted gatling gun and rocket launcher and such. I never liked them, they were just dumb to me.

In design the suit should remind us of Iron Man armor. Sleek, translucent, streamlined. War Machine is no longer the over-blown juggernaut but is now a much more stealthy character.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Patrick Stewart can do a French accent

from L.A. Story (1991)

the Conclave - even Cardinals can indulge in vice without sinning

The Conclave is a very special moment in Western culture. The presence of the Holy Spirit is clearly at work. People inside and out of La Cappella Sistina frequently see the signs. Many Catholics have reverence for God's gift of continuity and stability for the Church stretching all the way back to the Apostles. For the Cardinals the Conclave is the humble realization it falls to them to make the right decision. They need to go about it correctly; mostly by making sure a new Pope never endangers the Church's continuity.

I heard the Vatican had a pallet of Cohibas delivered last week. When we see white smoke coming out of the chimney it's just the air thinning inside as the Princes of the Church put out their cigars.

Espresso in the morning, brandy in the evening; they've got to get this right. We may not have a Pope for some time.
-- Gavin Witter

the Lord God is not your Cosmic Cube

So many Christians nowadays want to treat God as though He is a subjunctive god (you know, the kind of a god who is whimsical, who's feelings, intentions and actions are quite *iffy* at best).

"If you do this, then God may..." or "Let's try this, and then God might..."

It's almost as though they have a god who can't be relied upon. You know the kind of thinking...

"If we get enough people on this prayer chain, then God might be persuaded to heal this person of cancer."

"If I bargain with God like Abraham, maybe I can get Him to change His mind about what He says He intends to do in His Word."

But such a view of a subjunctive god makes Him little more than our puppet, or a "divine vending machine" in the sky, into whom we deposit the correct amount of prayers so that we can manipulate Him into doing our will.

But such a subjunctive god is one that we foolishly attempt to make "in our image." We are quite waffling, so we imagine a god who's just as pliable as we are. So our image of God is as a god who can be readily manipulated, or one who could easily have his mind changed by our actions.

This becomes quite dangerous when we then become uncertain of God's love for us. "Does He love me because Jesus died for me on the cross, or is there something now that *I* must add to Christ's work to make God smile at me?"

"If He is a subjunctive kind of a god, then He might react differently to me than to somebody else, so I'd better be on my best behavior."

But our God is not a subjuctive God at all. There are no ifs or maybe's where He is concerned. While you were yet sinners, Christ died for you. In that death of Jesus, God was reconciling everyone in the world to Himself, and that includes you. When Jesus, arms outstretched and nailed to a cross says to you, "It is finished!", you can believe it.

God is not at all iffy about His love for you in Christ Jesus. You don't have to say, "let's try to be more God-pleasing" before He'll care about you. You don't have to think, "May we strive, strain, and struggle to make ourselves more loveable to God."

For as a bumper sticker I once saw so eloquently stated: "God loves you in Christ Jesus: and there's nothing you can do about it."

(edited from an original post by John C. Drosendahl)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Kwame Kilpatrick declared guilty

Chronology of a Guilty Verdict

COUNT ONE: RACKETEERING (If found guilty of count one, the defendants could face up to 20 years in prison) 10:38
Defendant Kwame M. Kilpatrick VERDICT: GUILTY 10:38
Defendant Bobby W. Ferguson VERDICT: GUILTY 10:38
Defendant Bernard N. Kilpatrick VERDICT: HUNG JURY 10:38
COUNT TWO: EXTORTION – SEWER LINING CONTRACT (CS1368) (If found guilty of count two, the defendants could face up to 20 years in prison.) 10:38
Defendant Kwame M. Kilpatrick VERDICT: GUILTY 10:38
Defendant Bobby W. Ferguson VERDICT: GUILTY 10:39
COUNT THREE: EXTORTION – AMENDMENT TO SEWER LINING CONTRACT (CS 1368) (If found guilty of count three, the defendants could face up to 20 years in prison.) 10:39
Defendant Kwame M. Kilpatrick VERDICT: GUILTY 10:39
Defendant Bobby W. Ferguson VERDICT: GUILTY 10:39
COUNT FOUR: EXTORTION – BABY CREEK/PATTON PARK (PC 748) (If found guilty of count four, the defendants could face up to 20 years in prison.) 10:39
Defendant Kwame M. Kilpatrick VERDICT: GUILTY 10:39
Defendant Bobby W. Ferguson VERDICT: GUILTY 10:39
COUNT FIVE: ATTEMPTED EXTORTION – OAKWOOD PUMP STATION (PC 755) (If found guilty of count five, the defendants could face up to 20 years in prison.) 10:40
Defendant Kwame M. Kilpatrick VERDICT: GUILTY 10:40
Defendant Bobby W. Ferguson VERDICT: GUILTY 10:40
COUNT SEVEN: EXTORTION – OUTFALLS CONTRACT (DWS 849) (If found guilty of count seven, the defendants could face up to 20 years in prison.) 10:40
Defendant Kwame M. Kilpatrick VERDICT: HUNG JURY 10:40
Defendant Bobby W. Ferguson VERDICT: GUILTY 10:40
COUNT EIGHT: EXTORTION – ASBESTOS ABATEMENT (If found guilty of count eight, the defendants could face up to 20 years in prison.) 10:40
Defendant Kwame M. Kilpatrick VERDICT: HUNG JURY 10:40
Defendant Bobby W. Ferguson VERDICT: GUILTY 10:41
COUNT NINE: EXTORTION – REPAIR OF EASTSIDE WATER MAINS (CM 2014) (If found guilty of count nine, the defendants could face up to 20 years in prison.) 10:41
Defendant Kwame M. Kilpatrick VERDICT: GUILTY 10:41
Defendant Bobby W. Ferguson VERDICT: GUILTY 10:41
COUNT TEN: EXTORTION – EASTSIDE SEWER REPAIR (DWS 865) (If found guilty of count ten, the defendants could face up to 20 years in prison.) 10:41
Defendant Kwame M. Kilpatrick VERDICT: NOT GUILTY 10:41
Defendant Bobby W. Ferguson VERDICT: NOT GUILTY 10:41
COUNT FIFTEEN: ATTEMPTED EXTORTION – SLUDGE CONTRACT (If found guilty of count fifteen, the defendant could face up to 20 years in prison.) 10:41
Defendant Bernard N. Kilpatrick VERDICT: NOT GUILTY 10:42
COUNT SIXTEEN: BRIBERY - $90,000 BRIBE (If found guilty of count sixteen the defendant could face up to 10 years in prison.) 10:42
Defendant Kwame M. Kilpatrick VERDICT: HUNG JURY 10:42
COUNT SEVENTEEN: BRIBERY - $75,000 BRIBE (If found guilty of count seventeen the defendants could face up to 10 years in prison.) 10:42
Defendant Kwame M. Kilpatrick VERDICT: GUILTY 10:42
Defendant Bobby W. Ferguson VERDICT: GUILTY 10:42
COUNT EIGHTEEN: MAIL FRAUD-6/22/06 Kilpatrick Civic Fund donor check $10k via FedEx (If found guilty of count eighteen the defendant could face up to 20 years in prison.) 10:42
Defendant Kwame M. Kilpatrick VERDICT: GUILTY 10:42
COUNT NINETEEN: MAIL FRAUD -Feb 13, 2007 letter explaining Kilpatrick Civic Fund sent via mail (If found guilty of count nineteen the defendant could face up to 20 years in prison.) 10:42
Defendant Kwame M. Kilpatrick VERDICT: GUILTY 10:42
COUNT TWENTY: MAIL FRAUD -9/26/07 donor check $5,000 via mail (If found guilty of count twenty, the defendant could face up to 20 years in prison.) 10:42
Defendant Kwame M. Kilpatrick VERDICT: GUILTY 10:42
COUNT TWENTY-ONE: MAIL FRAUD -4/3/08 Kilpatrick Civic Fund check $4500 Super Camp via FedEx (If found guilty of count twenty-one, the defendant could face up to 20 years in prison.) 10:42
Defendant Kwame M. Kilpatrick VERDICT: GUILTY 10:42
COUNT TWENTY-TWO: MAIL FRAUD -5/23/08 letter solicitation sent via mail (If found guilty of count twenty-two, the defendant could face up to 20 years in prison.) 10:43
Defendant Kwame M. Kilpatrick VERDICT: GUILTY 10:43
COUNT TWENTY-THREE: MAIL FRAUD-6/4/08 Kilpatrick Civic Fund check $2640 to Super Camp via FedEx (If found guilty of count twenty-three, the defendant could face up to 20 years in prison.) 10:43
Defendant Kwame M. Kilpatrick VERDICT: GUILTY 10:43
COUNT TWENTY-FOUR: MAIL FRAUD -6/4/08 donor check for $10,000 to Kilpatrick Civic Fund sent via FedEx (If found guilty of count twenty-four, the defendant could face up to 20 years in prison.) 10:43
Defendant Kwame M. Kilpatrick VERDICT: GUILTY 10:43
COUNT TWENTY-FIVE: MAIL FRAUD-6/25/08 donor check $1,000 to Kilpatrick Civic Fund sent via mail (If found guilty of count twenty-five, the defendant could face up to 20 years in prison.) 10:43
Defendant Kwame M. Kilpatrick VERDICT: GUILTY 10:43
COUNT TWENTY-SIX: MAIL FRAUD-6/30/08 donor check for $4,000 to Kilpatrick Civic Fund sent via FedEx (If found guilty of count twenty-six, the defendant could face up to 20 years in prison.) 10:43
Defendant Kwame M. Kilpatrick VERDICT: GUILTY 10:43
COUNT TWENTY-SEVEN: MAIL FRAUD-7/23/08 letter explaining Kilpatrick Civic Fund sent to donor via mail (If found guilty of count twenty-seven, the defendant could face up to 20 years in prison.) 10:43
Defendant Kwame M. Kilpatrick VERDICT: NOT GUILTY 10:43
COUNT TWENTY-EIGHT: WIRE FRAUD -8/24/07 donation solicitation letter sent via fax (If found guilty of count twenty-eight, the defendant could face up to 20 years in prison.) 10:43
Defendant Kwame M. Kilpatrick VERDICT: GUILTY 10:43
COUNT TWENTY-NINE: WIRE FRAUD-4/3/08 letter explaining Kilpatrick Civic Fund sent to donor via fax (If found guilty of count twenty-nine, the defendant could face up to 20 years in prison.)
Defendant Kwame M. Kilpatrick VERDICT: NOT GUILTY 10:43
COUNT THIRTY: WIRE FRAUD-6/20/08 letter soliciting donation sent via fax (If found guilty of count thirty, the defendant could face up to 20 years in prison.) 10:44
Defendant Kwame M. Kilpatrick VERDICT: GUILTY 10:44
COUNT THIRTY-ONE: SUBSCRIBING FALSE TAX RETURN-failed to disclose additional income: cash, private jet flights, and personal expenses paid by Kilpatrick Civic Fund, amounting to at least $67,181 (he stated income of $188,227) (If found guilty of count thirty-one, the defendant could face up to 3 years in prison.) 10:44
Defendant Kwame M. Kilpatrick VERDICT: GUILTY 10:44
COUNT THIRTY-TWO: SUBSCRIBING FALSE TAX RETURN-failed to disclose additional income: cash, private jet flights amounting to at least $74,925 (stated his income was only $167,940) (If found guilty of count thirty-two, the defendant could face up to 3 years in prison.) 10:45
Defendant Kwame M. Kilpatrick VERDICT: GUILTY 10:45
COUNT THIRTY-THREE: SUBSCRIBING FALSE TAX RETURN-failed to disclose additional income: cash, private jet flights amounting to at least $11,279 (stated income was $156,329) (If found guilty of count thirty-three, the defendant could face up to 3 years in prison.) 10:45
Defendant Kwame M. Kilpatrick VERDICT: GUILTY 10:45
COUNT THIRTY-FOUR: SUBSCRIBING FALSE TAX RETURN-failed to disclose additional income in the form of cash, private jet flights and personal expenses paid by Kilpatrick Civic Fund amounting to at least $122,997 (stated income was only $153,024) (If found guilty of count thirty-four, the defendant could face up to 3 years in prison.) 10:45
Defendant Kwame M. Kilpatrick VERDICT: GUILTY 10:45
COUNT THIRTY-FIVE: SUBSCRIBING FALSE TAX RETURN-failed to disclose additional income in the form of cash, private jet flights, and personal expenses paid by Kilpatrick Civic Fund amounting to at least $194,569 (stated income only 167,005) (If found guilty of count thirty-five, the defendant could face up to 3 years in prison.) 10:45
Defendant Kwame M. Kilpatrick VERDICT: GUILTY 10:45
COUNTY THIRTY-SIX: INCOME TAX EVASION (If found guilty of count thirty-six, the defendant could face up to 5 years in prison.) 10:45
Defendant Kwame M. Kilpatrick VERDICT: GUILTY 10:45
COUNT THIRTY-SEVEN: SUBSCRIBING FALSE TAX RETURN-failed to disclose additional income of at least $35,632 (stated income only $336,625) (If found guilty of count thirty-seven, the defendant could face up to 3 years in prison.) 10:46
Defendant Bernard N. Kilpatrick VERDICT: NOT GUILTY 10:46
COUNT THIRTY-EIGHT: SUBSCRIBING FALSE TAX RETURN-failed to disclose income of at least $150,329 (stated income only $220,259) (If found guilty of count thirty-eight, the defendant could face up to 3 years in prison.) 10:46
Defendant Bernard N. Kilpatrick VERDICT: GUILTY 10:47
The judge forgot to read Count 16 in relation to defendant Bobby Ferguson. 10:48
The jury was not able to reach a consensus for Count 16 in relation to defendant Bobby Ferguson.
10:50 Defendant Kwame Kilpatrick is sitting with his hands folded in front of his face. The judge is addressing everyone, thanking them for their efforts.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Mel the Federalist

February 22
What Works for California Does Not Work for Virginia:

In truth, I do not fault legislators who adhere to the interest of their constituents; after all, they are elected to serve as representatives.

The problem I have is many of these legislators, and now the President, have a misunderstanding of belief that their agenda must infect the rest of the states. In my opinion, what makes America unique, is our ability to have different states, different cultures, different styles of governing; all coming together to discuss national issues.

In terms of education, I believe when we stop trying to make every state have the same principles on issues and education, we will see the greatness of our nation. Businesses, athletics, nations thrive when there is a healthy competition between competing interest; so why do politicians believe this is not true for our country?

Nancy Pelosi has no clue of what "the American people" want, because all she knows is what people in her district want. I cringe when I hear Charles Schumer tell me what "the American people want," because he is speaking strictly from a New York perspective.

I do not care if California wants gay marriage, nor do I care if New York wants to ban foam cups. Please just keep your nonsense in your state!
Now there are more thoughts on education and homosexual marriage but right now I don't feel comfortable reprinting them. The page of discussion is on one of my hard drives.

March 3
Maybe I Believe in Common Sense Government: No Need for Firefighters/Teachers/Police Officers as a Prop for National Political Agendas

In truth, I question any politician who believes he or she must send federal funding for sustaining local employment. As necessary as: police, firefighters, teachers are to the community; they are only as necessary as the people who they represent.

If a town, city, county, wants or needs an increase in such forces; I believe that entity should be open to making the appropriate tax adjustment to fund their own needs. If there is an increase in crime and the police force needs two officers, it is the responsibility of that local government to meet that need, NOT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT!

My concern is that we are becoming too oriented as: cities, counties, states on the federal influence, and this takes away from the real beauty of our government structure. Sorry, Obama cannot and should not have an influence on how many teachers are in your schools....thats your job as a community and your local government.

Limited government works best!
It's true. What the hell is wrong with your town when people in the other 49 states are paying for your basic services? If you're getting this much federal funding your town should have a sign at the city limits declaring your dependence.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Data is insufficient without a mind

Weather prediction has changed a lot over the centuries and while most predictions over the course of the last dozen decades were made with existing data, just calculating data does not draw a statistical calculation in perfect alignment with reality.
the National Centers for Environmental Prediction looked like a cross between a submarine command center and a Goldman Sachs trading floor. Twenty minutes outside Washington, it consisted mainly of sleek workstations manned by meteorologists working an armada of flat-screen monitors with maps of every conceivable type of weather data for every corner of the country. The center is part of the National Weather Service, which Ulysses S. Grant created under the War Department. Even now, it remains true to those roots. Many of its meteorologists have a background in the armed services, and virtually all speak with the precision of former officers.
They also seem to possess a high-frequency-trader’s skill for managing risk. Expert meteorologists are forced to arbitrage a torrent of information to make their predictions as accurate as possible. After receiving weather forecasts generated by supercomputers, they interpret and parse them by, among other things, comparing them with various conflicting models or what their colleagues are seeing in the field or what they already know about certain weather patterns — or, often, all of the above. From station to station, I watched as meteorologists sifted through numbers and called other forecasters to compare notes, while trading instant messages about matters like whether the chance of rain in Tucson should be 10 or 20 percent. As the information continued to flow in, I watched them draw on their maps with light pens, painstakingly adjusting the contours of temperature gradients produced by the computers — 15 miles westward over the Mississippi Delta or 30 miles northward into Lake Erie — in order to bring them one step closer to accuracy.
These meteorologists are dealing with a small fraction of the 2.5 quintillion bytes of information that, I.B.M. estimates, we generate each day. That’s the equivalent of the entire printed collection of the Library of Congress about three times per second. Google now accesses more than 20 billion Web pages a day; the processing speed of an iPad rivals that of last generation’s most powerful supercomputers. All that information ought to help us plan our lives and profitably predict the world’s course. In 2008, Chris Anderson, the editor of Wired magazine, wrote optimistically of the era of Big Data. So voluminous were our databases and so powerful were our computers, he claimed, that there was no longer much need for theory, or even the scientific method. At the time, it was hard to disagree.
But if prediction is the truest way to put our information to the test, we have not scored well. In November 2007, economists in the Survey of Professional Forecasters — examining some 45,000 economic-data series — foresaw less than a 1-in-500 chance of an economic meltdown as severe as the one that would begin one month later. Attempts to predict earthquakes have continued to envisage disasters that never happened and failed to prepare us for those, like the 2011 disaster in Japan, that did.
The one area in which our predictions are making extraordinary progress, however, is perhaps the most unlikely field. Jim Hoke, a director with 32 years experience at the National Weather Service, has heard all the jokes about weather forecasting, like Larry David’s jab on “Curb Your Enthusiasm” that weathermen merely forecast rain to keep everyone else off the golf course. And to be sure, these slick-haired and/or short-skirted local weather forecasters are sometimes wrong. A study of TV meteorologists in Kansas City found that when they said there was a 100 percent chance of rain, it failed to rain at all one-third of the time.
But watching the local news is not the best way to assess the growing accuracy of forecasting (more on this later). It’s better to take the long view. In 1972, the service’s high-temperature forecast missed by an average of six degrees when made three days in advance. Now it’s down to three degrees. More stunning, in 1940, the chance of an American being killed by lightning was about 1 in 400,000. Today it’s 1 in 11 million. This is partly because of changes in living patterns (more of our work is done indoors), but it’s also because better weather forecasts have helped us prepare.
Perhaps the most impressive gains have been in hurricane forecasting. Just 25 years ago, when the National Hurricane Center tried to predict where a hurricane would hit three days in advance of landfall, it missed by an average of 350 miles. If Hurricane Isaac, which made its unpredictable path through the Gulf of Mexico last month, had occurred in the late 1980s, the center might have projected landfall anywhere from Houston to Tallahassee, canceling untold thousands of business deals, flights and picnics in between — and damaging its reputation when the hurricane zeroed in hundreds of miles away. Now the average miss is only about 100 miles.
Why are weather forecasters succeeding when other predictors fail? It’s because long ago they came to accept the imperfections in their knowledge. That helped them understand that even the most sophisticated computers, combing through seemingly limitless data, are painfully ill equipped to predict something as dynamic as weather all by themselves. So as fields like economics began relying more on Big Data, meteorologists recognized that data on its own isn’t enough... For centuries, meteorologists relied on statistical tables based on historical averages — it rains about 45 percent of the time in London in March, for instance — to predict the weather. But these statistics are useless on a day-to-day level. Jan. 12, 1888, was a relatively warm day on the Great Plains until the temperature dropped almost 30 degrees in a matter of hours and a blinding snowstorm hit. More than a hundred children died of hypothermia on their way home from school that day. Knowing the average temperature for a January day in Topeka wouldn’t have helped much in a case like that... What Richardson needed, he thought, was more manpower. He envisioned a weather-forecasting center with some 64,000 meteorologists, all working simultaneously to have the computational speed to make accurate weather forecasts in real time. His dream came to fruition (sort of) in 1950, when the first computer weather forecast was tried by the mathematician John von Neumann and a team of scientists at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J. They used a machine that could make about 5,000 calculations a second, which was quite possibly as fast as 64,000 men. Alas, 5,000 calculations a second was no match for the weather. As it turned out, their forecast wasn’t much better than a random guess.
Our views about predictability are inherently flawed. Take something that is often seen as the epitome of randomness, like a coin toss. While it may at first appear that there’s no way to tell whether a coin is going to come up heads or tails, a group of mathematicians at Stanford is able to predict the outcome virtually 100 percent of the time, provided that they use a special machine to flip it. The machine does not cheat — it flips the coin the exact same way (the same height, with the same strength and torque) over and over again — and the coin is fair. Under those conditions, there is no randomness at all.
The reason that we view coin flips as unpredictable is because when we toss them, we’re never able to reproduce the exact same motion. A similar phenomenon applies to the weather. In the late 1950s, the renowned M.I.T. mathematician Edward Lorenz was toiling away in his original profession as a meteorologist. Then, in the tradition of Alexander Fleming and penicillin or the New York Knicks and Jeremy Lin, he made a major discovery purely by accident. At the time, Lorenz and his team were trying to advance the use of computer models in weather prediction. They were getting somewhere, or so they thought, until the computer started spitting out contradictory results. Lorenz and his colleagues began with what they believed were exactly the same data and ran what they thought was exactly the same code; still, the program somehow forecast clear skies over Colorado in one run and a thunderstorm in the next.
After spending weeks double-checking their hardware and trying to debug their code, Lorenz and his team discovered that their data weren’t exactly the same. The numbers had been rounded off in the third decimal place. Instead of having the barometric pressure in one corner of their grid read 29.5168, for example, it might instead read 29.517. This couldn’t make that much of a difference, could it? Actually, Lorenz realized, it could, and he devoted the rest of his career to studying strange behaviors like these by developing a branch of mathematics called chaos theory, the most basic tenet of which is described in the title of his breakthrough 1972 paper, “Predictability: Does the Flap of a Butterfly’s Wings in Brazil Set Off a Tornado in Texas?” In other words, a small change in initial conditions can produce a large and unexpected divergence in outcomes.
Chaos theory does not imply that the behavior of the system is literally random. It just means that certain types of systems are very hard to predict. If you know the exact conditions of a coin as it leaves someone’s hand, you can — with the right laboratory equipment — predict, almost perfectly, which side it will land on. And yet the slightest disturbance to that motion can change a coin toss from being almost wholly predictable to almost wholly unpredictable.
The problem with weather is that our knowledge of its initial conditions is highly imperfect, both in theory and practice. A meteorologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration told me that it wasn’t unheard-of for a careless forecaster to send in a 50-degree reading as 500 degrees. The more fundamental issue, though, is that we can observe our surroundings with only a certain degree of precision. No thermometer is perfect, and it isn’t physically possible to stick one into every molecule in the atmosphere.
Weather also has two additional properties that make forecasting even more difficult. First, weather is nonlinear, meaning that it abides by exponential rather than by arithmetic relationships. Second, it’s dynamic — its behavior at one point in time influences its behavior in the future. Imagine that we’re supposed to be taking the sum of 5 and 5, but we keyed in the second number as 6 by mistake. That will give us an answer of 11 instead of 10. We’ll be wrong, but not by much; addition, as a linear operation, is pretty forgiving. Exponential operations, however, extract a lot more punishment when there are inaccuracies in our data. If instead of taking 55 — which should be 3,125 — we instead take 56, we wind up with an answer of 15,625. This problem quickly compounds when the process is dynamic, because outputs at one stage of the process become our inputs in the next.
Uncertainty is part of the business and recently the National Weather Service has made a point about being upfront with their uncertainty.

Caitlin J. Halligan and the Silent Filibuster

On the day of the soon-to-be-legendary Rand Paul Filibuster the Republicans took part in a "silent Filibuster", which is typical, and the only problem I had with it was finding the terminology to make a quick short distinction between the filibuster that happens almost all the time, the quiet one that the Democrats used against President Bush's nominees the same way that the Republicans used against President Obama's nominees, and the what I call a "real filibuster" or "actual filibuster".  An obvious example of a real filibuster is the Rand Paul Filibuster, which will go down in history along with Huey Long's filibuster and the Strom Thurmond Filibuster.

The Young Turks makes the distinction as such.

From my research the guy in the video gets the "extraordinary circumstances" part of the recent history of the filibuster correct, but he also summarizes her purported abuse of power as the New York state Solicitor General as just "doing her job".  I do not understand wielding the government to sue gun manufacturers as a standard part of anyone's occupation.  I will just take the commentary from a Gun Control Second Amendment blog:
Even before the gun rights debate Halligan has been under fire over Second Amendment issues, being targeted by the GOP in 2011 via a filibuster. Now that the battle over the right to bear arms is in full swing, her anti-gun agenda is even more under scrutiny. By a vote of 51-41, the debate on Halligan's nomination was ended by the Senate.

Sixty votes are needed for it to go forward. Republicans note that Halligan is an activist judge who uses her personal views in making many of her judgements.

Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, said about Halligan that she is “one of the most activist judicial nominees that we’ve seen in years. The Senate owes the president no deference [on such a pick].”

Halligan has supported the atrocious legal argument that would criminalize gun manufacturers for crimes committed using their firearms. It's seen largely as an attempt to slow down gun sales.

Gun Owners of America said this about Halligan: “As New York’s solicitor general, Halligan was one of the chief lawyers responsible for New York’s baseless and politically motivated efforts to bankrupt gun manufacturers using frivolous litigation,” adding that Halligan “one of the most anti-gun judicial nominees in recent memory.”
Now the "extraordinary circumstances" may seem to apply here but that was part of the non-aggression pact called The Gang of 14 and that expired when the bulk of those Senators left office years ago. After that, partisanship is essentially the rule. The NRA and the GOA are aligned when the Republican Party, so here we are.  The New York Times notes
The Senate, in a 51-to-41 vote, fell well short of the 60-vote threshold needed to cut off debate and bring Ms. Halligan’s nomination to a vote. The largely party-line vote, with only Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, joining with Democrats in favor of ending debate, was reminiscent of the previous filibuster of Ms. Halligan — another largely party line vote of 54 to 45.
Many Republicans said they oppose Ms. Halligan’s nomination to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit because of what they say is her history of legal activism; most specifically, they say that as the solicitor general of New York State, she worked to advance the “dubious legal theory,” in the words of Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, that gun manufacturers could be held legally responsible for criminal acts committed with their guns.
“In short, Ms. Halligan’s record of advocacy and her activist view of the judiciary lead me to conclude that she would bring that activism to the court,” Mr. McConnell, the Republican leader, said on the Senate floor. “Because of her record of activism, giving Ms. Halligan a lifetime appointment on the D.C. Circuit is a bridge too far.”
Democrats said that Republicans were interested mainly in stalling any appointments by President Obama to the influential court, which reviews many critical cases on government powers. They said that Republicans could not point to a single case of judicial activism on Ms. Halligan’s part, and that during her time as solicitor general, she was simply doing her job and acting in the interests of the State of New York.
“I challenge the other side to give me one instance where they disagree with something that Ms. Halligan stated as her own views as opposed to representing someone as a lawyer should,” Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, the No. 3 Democrat, said on the Senate floor. “What’s going on is our colleagues want to keep the second-most important court in the land, the D.C. Circuit, vacant, because right now there are four vacancies and the majority of those on the court have been appointees of Republican presidents and, in fact, are very conservative.”
Ms. Halligan’s nomination was the latest test of the “Gang of 14 deal” reached in 2005 under President George W. Bush, in which seven Democrats and seven Republicans joined together to allow up-or-down votes on certain high-level judicial nominees except in the case of “extraordinary circumstances.”
Only five members of the original Gang of 14 remain in the Senate — three Republicans, Susan Collins of Maine, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John McCain of Arizona, and two Democrats, Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana and Mark Pryor of Arkansas — and the three Republicans all voted against allowing a vote on Ms. Halligan.
When asked if their vote was in the spirit of the 2005 agreement or a filibuster reform deal reached this year, several Republicans said Ms. Halligan’s nomination met the “extraordinary circumstances” threshold.
“I think it meets the extraordinary circumstances, because of her extraordinary egregious record,” Mr. McCain said. “This is an extraordinary circumstance.”
Senator Johnny Isakson, Republican of Georgia, similarly said he was looking to the Bush-era agreement in voting against Ms. Halligan’s nomination.
Well they basically said everything I said but they have more detail and I am absolutely biased. Now there are two points here I find interesting in this in light of the Rand Paul Filibuster.  The first is that is a silent filibuster and thus it seems to leave the issue indefinitely blocked without the inconvenience of having a powerful and dignified American federal legislator attempting to prevent the evacuation of his bladder.  The second is that in this instance John McCain was fully on-board with this along with Rand Paul.  It turns out there are a lot of Republican convictions that Senator McCain will stand strong on; Senator McCain spoke in defense of blocking Ms Halligan's nomination.

An additional contrast is that unlike Rand Paul's filibuster, the Republicans genuinely scored a victory here insomuch as the nomination-approval of the Senate was actually prevented.  Don't get me wrong: I understand John Brennan was caught in the crossfire and what Senator Rand was attempting to debate was irrespective of the powers of the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

The Caucus, the New York Times Political Blog, calls the blocking of Halligan the more significant event.
Senator Rand Paul may have staged a Senate-shaking filibuster Wednesday, but his was actually only the second most significant Republican filibuster of the day.
I would not have phrased it that and actually I disagree entirely that the Rand Paul Filibuster was less significant, especially in the wake of the aftermath.

The reason that the Caucus assigns significance in this manner is because it is another verse in a long chapter in a longer book about altering Senate rules.
The filibuster of Ms. Halligan didn’t blow up on Twitter the way Mr. Paul’s impressive 12-hour stand did. But of the two, it was the one that could renew a feud over rules governing filibusters and how the Senate handles high-level judicial nominations — an issue that has torn the chamber for years.
Democrats are already in discussions on how to respond to the Halligan filibuster. They believe Republicans are dead set against confirming qualified Obama administration nominees to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. They accuse Republicans of exaggerating their objections to Ms. Halligan to justify a filibuster under a 2005 agreement that short-circuited the last partisan showdown over filling judicial vacancies.
That deal, crafted by the famous Gang of 14, put its signatories on record as saying they would not block confirmation votes on appeals court judges without “extraordinary circumstances” as determined by each individual. While only members of the gang signed it, it became informal Senate policy and defused a crisis that had Republicans threatening to execute the “nuclear option” and bar filibusters against judicial nominees by a simple majority vote instead of with the 67 votes historically needed to change Senate rules.
It also led to President George W. Bush winning three appointments to the appeals court often considered a feeder to the Supreme Court, giving conservatives an advantage on the influential panel, which hears many federal-powers cases. It its current makeup, the court consists of four judges appointed by Republican presidents and three appointed by President Bill Clinton, with four vacancies — the most ever on that court.
Someone actually taking the floor to make a case, which certainly provokes discussion, is historically more important and definitely more rare, than a modification of the rules determining the balance of power within the Senate.
Democrats cried foul. The real reason she was blocked, they say, is that Republicans do not want to see the balance of power on the D.C. appeals court shifted. They say that Ms. Halligan was acting in her official capacity representing the State of New York, not as a jurist, and that Republicans have abandoned the extraordinary circumstances test engineered by the Gang of 14.
So very simply put, the Democrats accuse the Republicans of not acting in good faith.

For what it's worth I think calling it "the Silent Filibuster" works quite well as a contrast to the actual thing.

To be honest I cannot say if the filibuster should be part of American politics but as the rules stand it is impossible to remove so we must make the best of it.  In my opinion the best of it is that Senators of either party should have to take the floor, regardless of the cost to dignity.

excerpts of Carl Levin to the Freep Editorial Board

Sen. Levin talks to Free Press editorial board: Michigan’s senior U.S. Sen. Carl Levin talks to the Detroit Free Press editorial board on Tuesday, January 4, 2011. Levin announced March 7, 2013, that he won't run for re-election. Video by ALEXANDRA BAHOU/DFP

I think the comments on filibusters seem timely but I do not understand the context. If I understood the context I would declare them either ironic or prophetic but at present I cannot divine the distinction properly.

Michigan personalities pay respects to Senator Carl Levin

local Lansing radio personality Walt Sorg
I had the pleasure of working for Carl Levin during his first campaign for the U.S. Senate. At the time I owned a small twin-engine plane, and had the honor of flying him around Michigan.
I learned then that he was 1) a really nice guy, 2) a really smart guyu, and 3) a very patient man, especially on that Sunday morning when a radio problem resulted in us landing in the wrong country:
After flying above the clouds from northern Michigan, the navigation radios went out so I was working on instinct and compass. We ended up in London, Ontario -- a few miles east of Motown. Carl was way cool about the whole thing, at least after I assured him that we were in no danger but just a little lost.
Years later, on my radio show, he was a favorite guest because he always answered questions directly and never berated the interviewer for being so ignorant on so many issues.
Carl Levin's record is five decades of public service. He will leave the U.S. Senate as one of its most distinguished members in the proud tradition of Michigan's Phil Hart.
From Dave Akerly, (retired journalist)
once flying back from Reagan National airport had the pleasure of being seatmates with Mr. Levin and his assistant on the flight to Detroit. It was educational and very good conversation. He would not recall it, but I do.
From Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero, Democrat
Carl Levin gave his all and made Michiganders proud in a long political career. He was the epitome of a public servant. He has been a quiet inspiration to many and a relative anomaly in politics: A modest man who took the job much more seriously than he took himself. The man has earned some peace and quiet with his family. Thank you, Senator Levin.
From Attorney General Bill Schuette
Carl Levin has had a distinguished and honorable career in the United States Senate. I wish him all the best in his future endeavors. As for myself, I've got plans to keep working as your Attorney General for six more years.
From Ron Dzwonkowski in a column for the Detroit Free Press
Seemed like every time we met, Carl Levin was wearing the same suit -- not quite gray, not quite brown, always a little wrinkled. Add the ever-present plastic reading glasses on the end of his nose and a wild swirl of gray hair that covered less of his head every year, and this was either a carefully cultivated professorial image or a guy who had more important things on his mind than how he looked.
After just a few of the regular meetings we had during my years on the Free Press editorial page, I knew it was the latter. But that's not to say there wasn't some of the former in the mix.
In an era when politicians take courses in telegenics and sound bites, Carl Levin was pretty much ... Carl Levin, and that was apparently OK with the voters of Michigan, who elected and re-elected him six times to the U.S. Senate and probably would have given him a seventh term next year if Levin hadn't said Thursday that he's done running.
Levin, once derided by the Wall Street Journal as "the senator from the UAW," wasn't shy about being a liberal Democrat... His was a predictable vote, but also a principled one, never politically expedient. he delighted in working the arcane and often-archaic Senate rules to score points against less seasoned and less knowledgeable opponents.With vast knowledge of military and foreign affairs from his Armed Services Committee hearings and travels, Levin could discourse at length on the difficulties of waging a ground war in Afghanistan or the best way, in his view, to get the most bang for our billions of Pentagon bucks.
But Levin's eyes would really light up -- from way back of those glasses -- when he leaned forward, lowered his voice and described some parliamentary maneuver he was planning in the days ahead to thwart a colleague who was expecting to thwart Levin on moving an obscure amendment to some massive bill into position for a secret subcommittee vote.
"He won't be expecting this," Levin would say (as we all thought "expecting what?"), "but I know the rules on this, and we're going to just spring it next week. But let's keep that in this room for now ..."
Right. As if we could even figure out what to tell, much less to whom.
Levin always arrived early for Free Press meetings (and we always wondered if he had slept in the suit) and usually stayed long, not because he ran on but because we enjoyed the conversations and kept the questions coming.
Professor Levin gave us regular courses on U.S. Senate 101, always prefacing his discourse with, "This may not seem to matter much outside the Senate, but ..."
Then he would be off on a tutorial that, if nothing else, underscored for me the ongoing need for an overhaul of Senate rules, or at least their translation into a known language... And he clearly loved the Senate as it was, arcane rules and all, rather than the partisan snake pit it was becoming. The avuncular Levin counted Republican and Democratic colleagues among his close friends -- political differences not withstanding -- and clearly was unhappy with the chamber's recent atmosphere.
That may have had as much as anything to do with his decision to call it quits. He is a senator from another time, when the Senate really was something of a very exclusive club but also earned its description as "the world's greatest deliberative body."
There is something to take from each of these tributes. None of them serve as a biography and most do not quite touch on his political ideology but it is clear that he did not hide his beliefs, was not dishonest regarding his politics, and enjoyed the details of his work rather playing for a particular team.

Conform to the Will of the Space Cult

It sounds like college, only without the fun or the expansion of your life, or sports.

Newt Gingrich versus John McCain

What the bulk of us need to take to heart now, is that even though John McCain is wrong about having a filibuster, dogpiling on the "old dude" because he drew a metaphorical line in the sand (how many literal ones do we even see any more anyway?) is in poor taste.

The bulk of the people that say "McCain needs to go away" have not contributed one tenth as much as John McCain to the cause of liberty and to preserving liberty. On the other hand John McCain is not promoting the inclusion of more voices either! Despite that what he says about libertarians is distressing the best policy would be to pull whatever wisdom we can from an experienced US Senator with a great deal of experience on military defense policy and attempt to not exacerbate Republican in-fighting by fighting him.

ironic casting for ABC's female-centered late morning talk show

I just saw a demand for a more well-informed co-host on THE VIEW. Might as well be asking for Kosher Bacon or loud mimes.

new Michigan Republican Senate nominee

I'm told the name of our new Senate nominee will be Amashema. Or was it Agemash?

Implied Bill of Rights

One of the strongest objections to the Bill of Rights was that it wasn't needed, because the Constitution itself gave Congress NO POWER to do any of the things the Bill of Rights barred Congress from doing.

Those who opposed the Bill of Rights feared that Congress would eventually assume they had all the powers not specifically denied to them, instead of limiting themselves to the specific powers enumerated in the Constitution.

Steve Liesman versus Rick Santelli

Friday, March 08, 2013

Congressman Andy Harris, M.D. versus Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

Published on Mar 5, 2013
During a hearing, Congressman Andy Harris, M.D., confronted Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about misleading statements by the White House regarding the impact on vaccines for children of sequestration.
From a friend:
Remember this? "Under an Obama administration.. You'll see the most transparent and honest in history". Other than the fact that Obama signed on for the "Sequester". This administration can never answer for their actions. Hell Rand Paul had to filibuster to draw the nation attention to the domestic drone strike issue.. I've come to the opinion that they have and are always going to have the transparence of a welding helmet, which is dark as hell people..

Mind-Controlling Parasitic Fungal Infection

Click to make big: Tarantula with Cordyceps
From io9:
This image may look like something dreamed up for a surreal horror movie, but it's a real horror for the tarantula in question. This unfortunate arachnid is infected with Cordyceps, a parasitic fungus that replaces its host's tissue with its own.

Cordyceps fungi invades its hosts (mainly arthropods), and its mycelium eventually replaces the host's tissue. Once the arthropod is dead, cylindrical or branching growths emerge from the creature's dead body. Some species also have mind-control capabilities, convincing the host to travel to a place where the fungus will find optimal growth conditions before the host dies.

Also see this Discovery Channel video:

Dick Durbin replaces Rand Paul in WGN's perspective

From a source 21 hours ago:
Thirteen hours of audio and WGN news uses the clip of Dick Durbin.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Carl Levin is not running for Senate in 2014

MRP Chairman Schostak Statement Regarding Levin Retirement

Lansing, Mich., March 7, 2013 – Michigan Republican Party Chairman Bobby Schostak issued the following statement regarding Democratic Senator Carl Levin retirement:

“Michigan families are frustrated due to the lack of leadership and failed policies put forth by the U.S. Senate perhaps the most egregious example is the failure by the Democratic-led Senate to pass a budget for nearly four years. The status-quo is not acceptable and Republicans will offer bold and aggressive leadership that will restore common sense principles to Washington.

“Michigan Republicans have a lot of strong potential candidates and we are more than ready to have a real conversation with Michigan families why Republican leadership is necessary to fix Washington. Republicans understand the importance of a budget and using common sense conservative principles that put Michigan families and workers first.”


Carl Levin will not seekr re-election in 2014

US Senator Carl Levin is retiring; he will not seek re-election in 2014. I can smell the burning stench of dozens of Republican politicians across the state gearing up to form a "committee to explore" running for the Senate seat now that they believe that particular race is genuinely viable.  This seat has been in Democrat control for longer than I have been alive.

Donors should save their money; spend it wisely; donate the money to my 2014 political campaign.

Michigan taxpayers gave Disney money

Michigan paid millions of dollars to the Walt Disney company, helping to create a movie to substantially create wealth for Californians, minimally stimulate economic activity for Michiganians, and ultimately we paid for someone else's stuff.
the state played a part in allowing one of the most lucrative companies in the world to post a record $4.8 billion in profits by handing it nearly $40 million in film tax credits.
That was the year Disney made the movie, "Oz: The Great and Powerful," and received $39.7 million of the $75.2 million the state of Michigan handed out to film producers. Ironically, the state film subsidy nearly matched the $39.8 million salary Walt Disney Chief Executive Robert Iger was paid in 2012.
"Oz" was filmed in Pontiac at Michigan Motion Picture Studios, formerly known as Raleigh Studios. The movie officially opens on Friday.
While Disney went on to post a record profit, Raleigh Studios struggled. It has missed three payments to investors, which had to be paid for by the State of Michigan Retirement Systems. The state has paid $1.68 million in the last year and is on the hook for $18 million in bonds if the Michigan Motion Pictures Studios is unable to make its payments to bondholders.
Gov. Rick Snyder has proposed slashing the amount the state gives to filmmakers by 50 percent, cutting the $50 million cap to $25 million.
The company that applied for the Michigan film credit for "Oz" was Emerald City Film Inc. According to California’s Secretary of State, Emerald City Film Inc.’s CEO is Jim Kaperstein, who is the associate general counsel at The Walt Disney Co. Disney confirmed in an email that Kaperstein started Emerald City Film and the address listed with the business filing with the California Secretary of State is the same as Walt Disney Studio’s Burbank, Calif., location.
Disney got millions in federal aid in 2010, too... In 2010, State Rep. Tom McMillin, R-Rochester Hills, spent hours sifting through receipts filmmakers put in for reimbursement from the state.
"Do you know what businesses have to make to pay $40 million in taxes?" Rep. McMillin said, referring to what other business had to pay for Disney to get the subsidy. "For Michigan businesses to pay $40 million, they had to lay off or not hire a lot of people. I don't like that it went out of the state and continued to enrich millionaires and billionaires with government subsidies."
For 2010-11, the Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency found that even among the most optimistic of assumptions, the film program brought the state only $0.11 per dollar spent. The subsidies cost Michigan taxpayers $125 million and returned $13.5 million in 2010-11.
I'm tempted to say we simply paid Robert Iger's salary one year.

Rand Paul Filibuster - Attendance

Glenn Beck's The Blaze kept a count:
Several GOP senators joined Paul in his crusade, however, many others didn’t and were not in attendance. Further, very few Democrats participated.
The Republican senators who participated in the filibuster with Paul include, Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Pat Toomey (R-Penn.), John Thune (R-S.D.), John Barrasso (R-Wy.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.).
It should be noted that Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) was in attendance and supported Paul’s filibuster by bringing the senator a thermos and an apple, a likely reference to “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” However, Kirk, who recently returned to the Senate after suffering a stroke, did not speak during the filibuster.
There are a total of 47 Republican members of the U.S. Senate, meaning 32 other GOP senators sat out the filibuster protesting the federal government’s controversial drone program. To find out who those senators are, comb through the full list here.
Breithart's news site actively counted the list of who did not attend:
Alexander, Lamar - (R - TN) Class II
Ayotte, Kelly - (R - NH) Class III
Blunt, Roy - (R - MO) Class III
Boozman, John - (R - AR) Class III
Burr, Richard - (R - NC) Class III
Coats, Daniel - (R - IN) Class III
Coburn, Tom - (R - OK) Class III
Cochran, Thad - (R - MS) Class II
Collins, Susan M. - (R - ME) Class II
Corker, Bob - (R - TN) Class I
Crapo, Mike - (R - ID) Class III
Enzi, Michael B. - (R - WY) Class II
Fischer, Deb - (R - NE) Class I
Graham, Lindsey - (R - SC) Class II
Grassley, Chuck - (R - IA) Class III
Hatch, Orrin G. - (R - UT) Class I
Heller, Dean - (R - NV) Class I
Hoeven, John - (R - ND) Class III
Inhofe, James M. - (R - OK) Class II
Isakson, Johnny - (R - GA) Class III
Johanns, Mike - (R - NE) Class II
McCain, John - (R - AZ) Class III
Murkowski, Lisa - (R - AK) Class III
Portman, Rob - (R - OH) Class III
Risch, James E. - (R - ID) Class II
Roberts, Pat - (R - KS) Class II
Sessions, Jeff - (R - AL) Class II
Shelby, Richard C. - (R - AL) Class III
Vitter, David - (R - LA) Class III
Wicker, Roger F. - (R - MS) Class I 

The President bought a dozen Senate Republicans Dinner

Keith Koffler of THE WHITE HOUSE DOSSIER blog writes:
President Obama last night bought dinner for a dozen Republican Senators as the two sides broke bread to try to begin reaching an accommodation on the budget and other issues.
Senators are not used to skimping on meals, and the dinner must have set the president – who paid out of his own pocket – back a pretty penny. Or more like some Susan Anthony dollars... The outing at Washington’s posh Jefferson Hotel could easily have cost a grand or two, especially if it was held at the Jefferson’s exquisite Plume restaurant, which has a prix fixe menu costing $85, before you start including booze, which senators like to include... The meeting is part of Obama’s sudden new outreach to Republicans. He invited the senators to the dinner, and he has also asked House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) to have lunch with him at the White House today. The committee’s ranking member, Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, will also join them.m Emerging from the gathering, Sen. John McCain of Arizona gave reporters the thumbs up, as did Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, who was close to Obama when the two served together in the Senate.. Also dining Wednesday evening, according to the White House, were Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, Bob Corker of Tennessee, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, John Hoeven of North Dakota, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Mike Johanns of Nebraska, and Dan Coats of Indiana.
This occurred during the evening portion of Senator Rand Paul's now famous filibuster. This can be seen as a sort of cultural break among politicos, activists, whatnot. Senators Graham and McCain easily are presented to represent the "establishment" and those present during the Rand Paul Filibuster, more importantly, those aiding in it, will be Tea Party favorites and "Conservatives".

We get to see an active dividing line for the ideologues to point at.

Rand Paul Filibuster Aftermath: Rush Limbaugh on "establishment" Sentors

Rush Limbaugh had unkind things to say contrasting John McCain, Lindsey Graham, some elder statesman level Senators that were attending to a different sort of business while the Rand Paul Filibuster was occuring.

Now I take copyright and intellectual property ownership seriously, as well as things like advertising.  I took the transcripts for research purposes and probably will have to trim them later if I need to use them. The fact is these transcripts are not available forever.  While they are available we should look to them on Rush's website, because that is where his advertising lies.

I lovingly steal transcripts after the jump.