Sunday, February 28, 2010

You Can't Handle The Truth!

Paul Krugman points out the blatant misrepresentation by Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, of the reconciliation process.

Krugman writes,


So, on the This Week panel today I didn’t get a chance to weigh in on the biggest whopper from Sen. Lamar Alexander, who told Elizabeth Vargas that reconciliation — I don’t have the exact transcript — had in the past been used for small things and “to reduce the deficit”.

In fact, reconciliation was used to pass the two major Bush tax cuts, whichincreased the deficit — by $1.8 trillion.

And there’s no penalty for this kind of deception.





By the way that is two times the size of the proposed health care legislation.

Jack Nicholson could not have said it better.

The GOP's New Maverick.

John McCain self proclaimed maverick and anti-establishment guy, has a primary challenger for his senate seat in Arizona, from a Tea Party candidate no less. J.D. Hayworth is currently neck and neck in the polls for McCain's seat.

So much for the maverick. He now has shifted as far to the right as his challenger to keep his job. Issues such as Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Climate Change, Energy Independence, and of course Health Care, no longer fit into the mavericks agenda.

Enter Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina senator who is openly stumping for a price to be put on carbon emissions. In an article from Thomas Friedman, Graham said the following.


“We are more dependent on foreign oil today than after 9/11. That is political malpractice, and every member of Congress is responsible.”


That my friends is a maverick.

In a time where GOP senators send their kids out to make an igloo, calling it Al Gore's new home, then declare global climate change is a hoax, because of a winter storm in Washington DC, shows you the kind of people guys like Graham are dealing with. But it seems he understands the fight.

Graham continues.

“I have been to enough college campuses to know if you are 30 or younger this climate issue is not a debate. It’s a value. These young people grew up with recycling and a sensitivity to the environment — and the world will be better off for it. They are not brainwashed. ... From a Republican point of view, we should buy into it and embrace it and not belittle them. You can have a genuine debate about the science of climate change, but when you say that those who believe it are buying a hoax and are wacky people you are putting at risk your party’s future with younger people."


It's obvious that Graham knows the political ramifications of a party that doesn't understand the view of most younger Americans, but he also understands the importance of energy policy to our economy and our national security.

Friedman writes.

So Graham’s approach to bringing around his conservative state has been simple: avoid talking about “climate change,” which many on the right don’t believe. Instead, frame our energy challenge as a need to “clean up carbon pollution,” to “become energy independent” and to “create more good jobs and new industries for South Carolinians.” He proposes “putting a price on carbon,” starting with a very focused carbon tax, as opposed to an economywide cap-and-trade system, so as to spur both consumers and industries to invest in and buy new clean energy products. He includes nuclear energy, and insists on permitting more offshore drilling for oil and gas to give us more domestic sources, as we bridge to a new clean energy economy.


Note to GOP leadership this is what a Bi-Partisan effort looks like.


If the United States could just come together long enough to mobilize its superior capitalistic forces, and focus on this clean energy opportunity, we could have a wonderful impact on the World, not only making it cleaner and more self sufficient, but safer, minimizing the power of the Middle East petrol dictator. Who, when the price per barrel of oil is high, is given the power to sponsor ultra conservative Islamic schools who preach western hatred. Not to mention the effect a clean energy initiative could have on our economy, transforming it back to a nation that produces a tangible product, instead of growing wealth through financial product bubbles that when burst adversely effect the Worlds economy.

Maybe a true bi-partisan effort can lead the nation into the energy technology era that is fast approaching, bringing the opportunity of economic resurgence.

I am optimistic because of the efforts of senator Lindsey Graham, who's maverick like behavior may not be just a campaign slogan, but a trait of a true statesman.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Mom and Dad We Need to Talk.

No matter if your Republican or Democrat, White, Black, Green, Blue, or Yellow. Man or Woman. Christian or Jew.

You and your parents should have an end of life counseling conversation. You must have the conversation that nobody wants to have. You owe it to your parents and they owe it to you.

Keith Olbermann might not be your cup of tea, maybe you don't like him or his politics, maybe you don't like anything about him, and that is your right.

But please take 10 minutes and listen to his Special Comment about Death Panels, and Health Reform.

Mom and Dad I love you, and we need to talk.


Whoever has used the term Death Panel for their political gain should be ashamed of themselves.

A Couple of Observations From the Health Care Summit

The Blair House Health Care Summit was 6 hours of Political pandering, campaigning, and occasional substance.

After watching the entire event on the internet, bypassing the political comments by the likes of Fox News and CNN, I found it fascinating, and politics as usual, all wrapped into a square cage match.

Here are some of the observations I text to my brother during the event.

11:22 a.m. Tom Coburn, a Republican no less has just asked for under-cover patients to catch Medicare Fraud.

11:40 a.m. Paul Ryan is smart. But maybe a little naive.

12:39 p.m. How dumb would Eric Cantor and Sarah Palins kid be? Cantor is a empty suit.

2:33 p.m. I would love to have seen Bush in this environment. I'm sure Lorne Micheals wish that could have been arranged.

3:27 p.m. Every time they start drilling down on a specific issue, someone starts filibustering with talking points. I hate Frank Luntz.

4:41 p.m. Coburn just asked for another summit. Can anyone say delay tactic.

5:16 p.m. Obama summary was good. Stated it may not be politically in the best interest for the GOP to try to work with us, but that is what elections are for. No truer statement said all day.

Other things I observed from the event. The GOP only goal for this event was two fold. First, they want the President to start over. Second, they want reconciliation taken off the table. Can someone tell me how this helps the American people?

Starting over is not an option because of the actions of the GOP before the summit. They really cannot be trusted. There goal since March of 2009 was to delay and obstruct the health care reform process. This is not in dispute, Jim DeMint GOP congressman said this needs to be Obama's Waterloo. The GOP has also used every stalling tactic in the book to bring Washington DC to a screeching halt. Using the filibuster over 100 times in the past year alone. The only reason Obama will not start over is because the GOP has not shown any real effort to reform Health Care.

As for Reconciliation, I agree this process should not be used to pass such a huge part of the American economy. But remember it has been used over 20 times since 1980, and it has been used to do such things as the Bush tax cuts, and his prescription drug plan. Huge pieces of legislation. In addition, remember Health Care reform has already been passed. If the House passes the Senate Bill, and then uses reconciliation to fix the problems such as the cornhusker kickback, that is what reconciliation is for when you have a party behaving like the GOP, filibustering every piece of legislation including every nominee. This is what I think the administration will do. Which is not passing Health Care reform with reconciliation, but fixing an already passed bill. This would be fact if they take this route, no matter what the GOP will say.

Ezra Klien of the Washington Post made some great observations. I would like to share a few.

The GOP kept saying we have the best health care system in the world. Obviously, saying what do we need to fix?

Klien's perspective.

There's a difference between the statements "America has the best health-care system in the world" and "With enough money, you can purchase the best health care in the world in America." But that difference gets run over in political conversations. Sen. John Barrasso, for instance, just mentioned that a Canadian premier recently got heart surgery in Miami. Best health care in the world, baby!

America has about 50 million uninsured people within its borders. Canada has exactly 13 premiers. People should ask themselves a very simple question: Do they think they are likelier to lose their job and fall into the health-care situation of the uninsured or become an influential politician and enjoy the health-care options available to the most powerful people in the world?

If you're a United States senator, America may have the best health-care in the world. But if you're an ordinary person with the same vulnerability to bad luck that we all have, you're better off being in Canada, or France, or Japan, or somewhere that doesn't take your insurance away when Wall Street causes the economy to crash.



Klien also commented on the selling of insurance across state lines.

Among the main Republican talking points today is that the health-care system needs more competition, and the way to get that competition is to let insurers sell across state lines. Rep. Marcia Blackburn hit this particularly hard: The way to bring down costs, she argued, is to let consumers do the regulation, which means letting them pick insurance sold in other states.

This is nonsense. Selling insurance across state lines doesn't increase competition between insurers, it decreases standards. I live in Washington, D.C. I can choose among many insurers right now. But it's hard to do because the insurance market is poorly organized, and because my employer doesn't give me many choices, and because choosing a different insurer and all new doctors is a pain in the neck. That's why there's fairly little competition in the system.

What I can't do is choose an insurer who abides by Delaware's regulations rather than D.C.'s. Lift that rule and what you have isn't competition driven by consumers, but a regulatory competition to have the laxest regulations so you have the most insurance jobs in your state. It's exactly what happened in the credit card market, and it's why a bipartisan majority voted to impose new federal regulations on credit card companies last year.

Competition only flourishes in an environment of effective information. When you make the regulation less dependable, you make the product less dependable, which means you remove necessary information from the system and make it harder for individuals to figure out how to make good decisions. If I hear a lot of horror stories about people buying insurance that unexpectedly abandons them when they get sick, I'll be less likely to try and change mine if I'm dissatisfied with it, as I can't be confident that my next carrier will treat me better.

The major step forward for competition is the exchanges, which have regulators making sure the insurance is good enough to deserve the name; which allow consumers to rate the plans; which force the plans to offer standardized information so they easy to compare; which provide a large numbers of plans to choose from; which makes it easier to shop for your insurance in one place; and so on. Yet Blackburn didn't make mention of them. Competition is a good idea. But there's precious little Republican enthusiasm for the policies that would actually promote it.

For more on selling insurance across state lines, see this post. For more on exchanges, see this column.



Obama is in favor of selling insurance across State lines if and only if there is a baseline governmental regulation that the States have to follow. Is that a government takeover? Of course not. President Obama drove this point home by giving the following example. He said, and I'm paraphrasing here. We could lower the prices of food in this nation, and meat in particular, if we didn't have the FDA to regulate how meat is processed. Would you want to strip that regulation for a cheaper piece of steak, leaving the regulation up to the meat processing company solely? Of course history has already answered this question. But now apply that to drug companies, and other industries. Baseline regulation is not a government takeover.

In my opinion the GOP has painted this bill as a socialist takeover of health care and they will have to live with that depiction. But remember this bill is not single payer, it does not have a public option, it does not have death panels, or anything close to that. In fact they had to take paid for end of life counseling out of the bill, because of the misrepresentation by the likes of Sarah Palin and Betsy McCoy among others. It was this irresponsible behavior by the GOP that has created the climate where the President could not possibly start over, because the GOP has not proved they are mature enough to have a real debate about health care.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Rush Limbaugh Has Hit Rock Bottom.

Rush Limbaugh loves to invoke race to frame an argument. Especially when the argument is Health Reform. Well yesterday Limbaugh was at it again.

On his radio show the Fat Man went off, saying the health reform package was just a reparations program to take from the rich and give to the poor. He not only invoked visions of Robin Hood, but Civil Rights as well. It doesn't take a social scientist to see that Limbaugh is trying to scare his listeners into thinking the Obama agenda is not only going after the rich guys money, but he is going after the rich white guys money.

Can you believe this?

The Rich Fat White Guy is complaining that he is going to have his wealth redistributed at a time when guys like him don't even pay taxes.

This guy is so tired, he actually stands for everything that is bad about our country. He panders to the worst our nation has to offer. He wants to torture, thinking our national security is an episode of 24. He tries to scare people into thinking were not as safe, or that we are now a weak nation, he blathers about don't ask don't tell, all while the generals on the ground and advisers say the opposite. He either doesn't know what socialism is or he doesn't care, because it sounds good on his show. He does this while backing Dick Cheney, who's famous torture memo saying torture worked, has just been debunked. Limbaugh is simply a stain on our nations moral fabric.

Keith Olbermann is totally biased against anything Limbaugh. I can relate with his point of view, because Limbaugh has given us so many opportunities to see him at his worst. Well yesterday was one of those days. But I don't want you to listen to Olbermann, or me for that matter. I want you to listen to Limbaugh and Melissa Harris-Lacewell, who is an Associate Professor of Politics and African American studies at Princeton University. Before you repeat the right wings standard line of "left wing elitist professor" Think for a moment of the type of person that told you to say that. Guys like Limbaugh, Hannity, and Beck, who use those terms to make you think that there is this underground movement to silence their speech. When the fact is Harris-Lacewell doesn't attack Limbaugh, she attacks his speech and calls its intent Racist.

Give her a listen.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Another Bad Day for Rich Rod.

Looks like the University of Michigan will be responsible for at least one minor allegation resulting from an investigation into the teams practice behaviors.


ESPN reports.

Incoming athletic director David Brandon disclosed the NCAA conclusions Tuesday but said there were no surprises in the report. He expressed full support for his coach, who is 8-16 in two disappointing seasons.

"Rich Rodriguez is our football coach, and he will be our football coach next year," he said



It seems the writing is on the wall for Rich Rod. Either win now, or the new athletic director will replace you.



WTF Moment.

This guy is your CPAC Headliner?

What does this mean for the GOP?

Listen to Glenn Beck blame everything on the progressive movement and watch Jon Stewart do what he does.

Funny Stuff.

I'm convinced after watching Beck's address to the CPAC convention last week, that he is Bat Shit Crazy.

What is up with the GOP?

The CPAC convention in Washington DC has shown the GOP still doesn't have a clear vision for the future.

But they have some interesting, if not insane, points of view.

I tried watching the commentary from Fox News, and MSNBC about the summit. But again, Jon Stewart did the best job of keeping it real.



Global Weirding.

We buy insurance for our Car, our Health, our Home. Why not our planet? Why is this climate argument an all or nothing proposition?

Thomas Friedman wrote an article the other day highlighting the need for a mature approach to our energy issues, and how that relates to climate change.

He writes.

When you see lawmakers like Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina tweeting that “it is going to keep snowing until Al Gore cries ‘uncle,’ ” or news that the grandchildren of Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma are building an igloo next to the Capitol with a big sign that says “Al Gore’s New Home,” you really wonder if we can have a serious discussion about the climate-energy issue anymore.


Do you think Senators Demint and Inhofe are seriously working for the people?

Friedman continues.


Here are the points I like to stress:

1) Avoid the term “global warming.” I prefer the term “global weirding,” because that is what actually happens as global temperatures rise and the climate changes. The weather gets weird. The hots are expected to get hotter, the wets wetter, the dries drier and the most violent storms more numerous.

The fact that it has snowed like crazy in Washington — while it has rained at the Winter Olympics in Canada, while Australia is having a record 13-year drought — is right in line with what every major study on climate change predicts: The weather will get weird; some areas will get more precipitation than ever; others will become drier than ever.

2) Historically, we know that the climate has warmed and cooled slowly, going from Ice Ages to warming periods, driven, in part, by changes in the earth’s orbit and hence the amount of sunlight different parts of the earth get. What the current debate is about is whether humans — by emitting so much carbon and thickening the greenhouse-gas blanket around the earth so that it traps more heat — are now rapidly exacerbating nature’s natural warming cycles to a degree that could lead to dangerous disruptions.

3) Those who favor taking action are saying: “Because the warming that humans are doing is irreversible and potentially catastrophic, let’s buy some insurance — by investing in renewable energy, energy efficiency and mass transit — because this insurance will also actually make us richer and more secure.” We will import less oil, invent and export more clean-tech products, send fewer dollars overseas to buy oil and, most importantly, diminish the dollars that are sustaining the worst petro-dictators in the world who indirectly fund terrorists and the schools that nurture them.

4) Even if climate change proves less catastrophic than some fear, in a world that is forecast to grow from 6.7 billion to 9.2 billion people between now and 2050, more and more of whom will live like Americans, demand for renewable energy and clean water is going to soar. It is obviously going to be the next great global industry.

China, of course, understands that, which is why it is investing heavily in clean-tech, efficiency and high-speed rail. It sees the future trends and is betting on them. Indeed, I suspect China is quietly laughing at us right now. And Iran, Russia, Venezuela and the whole OPEC gang are high-fiving each other




Is it to much to ask for our Government to look toward the long term future of our country, instead of the next political race or campaign donation? This is just another example of our broken government.

Friedman is right. To bad our representatives don't see the need for Energy Insurance in America today.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

It is never a bad time to make fun of the Detroit Lions.

Might we see a Big Ten Super Conference?

I must admit when I heard the rumors about Texas joining the Big Ten I thought, I had a better chance of my wife letting me go on a Golf Weekend with Tiger Woods.

But this expansion is not only about TV revenue. It is about billions in federal R&D money that may also be a driving force for Texas expansion.

Does anybody know what the CIC is? It is the Committee on Institutional Cooperation.

Here is their directive.

CIC Strategic Directions

Framework – 2007-2010

No other higher education consortium can match the CIC’s record for sustained,

voluntary, deep levels of collaboration across a group of premier research universities.

Collaboration among the member universities is a powerful tool that allows the institutions

to build and sustain networks of scholars, enhance teaching and learning opportunities,

create efficiencies in administrative processes, accelerate the adoption of best practices

in a wide range of areas, and aggregate resources as common goods. While the record of

CIC leadership and innovation is unparalleled, there is still much more our universities can

accomplish by working together. It is our intent to advance our position as the preeminent

research university consortium in the United States.

Mission

To advance academic excellence through collaboration across our member universities.

Vision

To be the national model for effective, voluntary collaboration among top tier research

universities.

Strategic Priorities for 2007-2010

Advance issues of high impact

Strengthen identity

Maximize organizational effectiveness




Who is in the CIC?

Headquartered in the Midwest, the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) is a consortium of the Big Ten universities plus the University of Chicago. For half a century, these 12 world-class research institutions have advanced their academic missions, generated unique opportunities for students and faculty, and served the common good by sharing expertise, leveraging campus resources, and collaborating on innovative programs. Governed and funded by the Provosts of the member universities, CIC mandates are coordinated by a staff from its Champaign, Illinois headquarters.

CIC Member Universities:

  • University of Chicago
  • University of Illinois
  • Indiana University
  • University of Iowa
  • University of Michigan
  • Michigan State University
  • University of Minnesota
  • Northwestern University
  • Ohio State University
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • Purdue University
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison

What have they accomplished?

Together, CIC universities:

Have a 50-year history of

collaboration among peer

research universities


Enroll 300,000 undergraduates

and 76,000 graduate students


Employ 33,000 faculty and

142,000 staff


Produce 14.5% of PhDs

granted in the US each year

(25% in agriculture, 20% in

engineering & computer

science)


Engage in $6 billion in funded

research each year ($3.2 from

federal sources)

Reach out to the 66 million

citizens living in the 8-state

region



3.2 billion dollars from federal sources, while representing only 8 States. Now add Texas, Texas A&M, Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska.

Now you're looking at 12 States represented, all by leading research institutes. But more importantly you now have gone from 16 Senators to 24 Senators who will support the new CIC.

This expansion is more complex then I ever had thought. But what it does show is that the Big Ten is going to be an attractive destination for whoever decides to join. (Not to mention the easier schedule)

This is why we get comments like this from Nebraska's Tom Osborne.

“We haven’t entered into any formal talks with anybody right now. We’re focusing on the Big 12. But I don’t think that means if somebody wanted to pick up the phone and call us, that we’d hang up on them. You listen. But we don’t have any plans to do anything different at this point."
- Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne, via Husker Extra (Lincoln Journal Star)


The former Representative of Nebraska knows the ramifications of the University joining the CIC.

But if the billions in R&D money wasn't enough, look at the success of the league in terms of revenue from football alone.


ESPN's Outside The Lines reported this.


  • Big Ten: $242 million ($22 million per school)
  • SEC: $205 million ($17.08 million per school)
  • Big 12: $78 million ($6.5 million per school)
  • ACC: $67 million ($5.58 million per school)
  • Pac-10: $58 million ($5.8 million per school)
  • Big East: $13 million for football/$20 million for basketball ($2.8 million per football school)


  • Even though The Big Ten Network is filled with Barbosol and Rotel commercials, it is a Cash Cow, giving more then 10 million dollars a year per team, in football alone. If the Network was to add T.V. markets such as Dallas, Houston, St. Louis, and Kansas City, the sky is the limit.

    But the football money is just the cherry on top, compared to the available billions in research money for the prospective institutions.

    In my opinion, the next couple of months are going to be very interesting. Look for the PAC 10 to make the first move. If Colorado moves out west, it could lead to an exodus from The Big Twelve, which is a poorly run conference to say the least. I still can't believe it will happen, but the more I read about it, the more possible it sounds.

    Click here for an excellent article from a Texan.

    Monday, February 15, 2010

    Big Fish Caught in Pakistan

    NYT is reporting the Taliban's top military chief was caught recently in Pakistan.

    Click here for the entire story.

    Somebody wants to Water Board.

    Minnesota Banns Loveless Marriage


    Saw this on Andrew Sullivans The Daily Dish.

    Funny stuff



    My favorite quote of the day.

    Ezra Klien on Evan Bayh's surprise retirement announcement.

    In related news, Evan Bayh has decided to retire. He said he wants to spend more time scolding his family for moving too far to the left.


    Nice!

    The Players Coach in Big D.


    Should the GOP take a look at what the Tory Party is selling.

    This is a far cry from the right wing conservative fear machine in the states.


    5 Good Minutes (or less)

    Stability in Iran

    The Iranian Government and Leadership is obviously under some immense pressures. Their declaration of becoming a nuclear player is forcing them to re-think how they will deal with their population at home.

    The New York Times is reporting it is likely that the Military will be taking control of their Government.

    This in my opinion will lead to a major populist uprising which has been brewing for sometime now. It seems to me that the ruling class is preparing for a battle. Thus putting the Military in charge, to better hold on to that ruling status. The next couple of months should be very interesting.

    Admission of Guilt

    Dick Cheney was very clear what his position on waterboarding is. The problem is most sane people see this as torture.

    He said this in an interview yesterday.


    KARL: ... waterboarding, clearly, what was your...

    CHENEY: I was a big supporter of waterboarding. I was a big supporter of the enhanced interrogation techniques that...

    KARL: And you opposed the administration's actions of doing away with waterboarding?

    CHENEY: Yes.



    Andrew Sullivan of the Daily Dish makes some pretty clear points about this subject, as well as the blatant disregard our former Vice President has for the rule of law.


    First a note from Wikipedia.

    Waterboarding is a torture technique that consists of immobilizing the victim on his or her back with the head inclined downwards; water is then poured over the face into breathing passages, causing the captive to believe he or she is dying.[1][2] In contrast to submerging the head face-forward in water, waterboarding precipitates an almost immediate gag reflex.[3] It can cause extreme pain, dry drowning, damage to lungs, brain damage from oxygen deprivation, other physical injuries including broken bones due to struggling against restraints, lasting psychological damage or, if uninterrupted, death.[4] Adverse physical consequences can manifest themselves months after the event, while psychological effects can last for years.[5] The term waterboarding was coined in 2004.[6]



    Sullivan in his own words.


    So the former vice-president has just confessed to a war crime. I repeat: the former vice-president has just confessed to a war crime.


    The question is therefore not if, but when, he is convicted as a war criminal - in his lifetime or posthumously.

    In fact, the attorney general of the United States is legally obliged to prosecute someone who has openly admitted such a war crime or be in violation of the Geneva Conventions and the UN Convention on Torture. For Eric Holder to ignore this duty subjects him too to prosecution. If the US government fails to enforce the provision against torture, the UN or a foreign court can initiate an investigation and prosecution.

    These are not my opinions and they are not hyperbole. They are legal facts. Either this country is governed by the rule of law or it isn't. Cheney's clear admission of his central role in authorizing waterboarding and the clear evidence that such waterboarding did indeed take place means that prosecution must proceed.

    Cheney himself just set in motion a chain of events that the civilized world must see to its conclusion or cease to be the civilized world. For such a high official to escape the clear letter of these treaties and conventions, and to openly brag of it, renders such treaties and conventions meaningless.




    Sullivan is right, and Cheney's policies and torture practices are no different from that of the Vietcong during the Vietnam war, or more recently the actions of war criminals in Rwanda, and Yugoslavia, which were investigated by the UN.

    For those of you who believe in this policy, I have some questions. Why? What is gained from this policy? Who is safer because of it? Do you really believe that torturing a war criminal is the answer to protecting our nation from terrorists? What does your America look like? A nation on a hill, or a nation that the laws of man do not apply?

    We are better than this.

    Sunday, February 14, 2010

    Big Ten Expansion

    Some are saying the Longhorns could be headed to the Big Ten.

    Being a Big Ten fan I love the speculation.

    But for those of you who think The Big Ten is not going to be attractive to any team in the nation. Look at the revenue numbers from ESPN's Outside the lines.



    • Big Ten: $242 million ($22 million per school)
    • SEC: $205 million ($17.08 million per school)
    • Big 12: $78 million ($6.5 million per school)
    • ACC: $67 million ($5.58 million per school)
    • Pac-10: $58 million ($5.8 million per school)
    • Big East: $13 million for football/$20 million for basketball ($2.8 million per football school)



    Others are saying Texas, Oklahoma, and Texas A&M. And still others say Nebraska and Missouri are lobbying for the spot or spots. No matter what happens, it should be fun to see if the Big Ten goes to 12 or 14 teams.

    One thing is for sure, they will have any Big East Team they want. If money has anything to do with it, and it usually does.

    Somebody Read My Blog!

    Let me start by saying I change diapers for a living. I have a economic educational background, and don't pretend to be a Global Climate guru.

    But these people that try to discredit Global Climate Change by pointing toward a snowstorm, or uncharacteristic weather in a specific region of the World is ridiculous.

    These arguments by people like Beck, and Limbaugh who just report what information fit their Worldview is sophomoric at best, and purposefully misleading at worst.

    A reader posted this comment this morning.

    Snowden said...

    What is the chance that YOU will discuss the record setting snow falls this winter in the U.S. and Europe, in the context of no global warming?


    I would love to comment on the record snowfalls. IT IS WINTER.

    As the above graph states, for every 1 record low temperature day, we are going to have 2 record highs. All this winter weather is proving, according to the last decades worth of data, is that we are going to have twice as many hot days this summer.

    But that is not all Mr. Snowden, click here for this winter being the warmest in recorded satellite history.

    Click here for the unthinkable, all of this heat is coming during a solar minimum.

    Click here showing the last decade as being the hottest in recorded history.

    As for Climate Change Deniers as a whole. You may believe the information fed to you by the likes of Exxon, Beck, Limbaugh and Inhoffe. But this is what I believe is occurring.

    Put best by Andrew Lacis, who is a climate scientists at NASA.

    Human-induced warming of the climate system is widespread. Anthropogenic warming of the climate system can be detected in temperature observations taken at the surface, in the troposphere and in the oceans. Multi-signal detection and attribution analyses, which quantify the contributions
    of different natural and anthropogenic forcings to observed changes, show that greenhouse gas forcing alone during the past half century would likely have resulted in greater than the observed warming if there had not been an offsetting cooling effect from aerosol and other forcings. It is extremely unlikely (<5%) that the global pattern of warming during the past half century can be explained without external forcing, and very unlikely that it is due to known natural external causes alone. The warming occurred in both the ocean and the atmosphere and took place at a time when natural external forcing factors would likely have produced cooling.

    Greenhouse gas forcing has very likely caused most of the observed global warming over the last 50 years. This conclusion takes into account observational and forcing uncertainty, and the possibility that the response to solar forcing could be underestimated by climate models. It is also robust to the use of different climate models, different methods for estimating the responses to external forcing and variations in the analysis technique.

    Further evidence has accumulated of an anthropogenic influence on the temperature of the free atmosphere as measured by radiosondes and satellite-based instruments. The observed pattern of tropospheric warming and stratospheric cooling is very likely due to the influence of anthropogenic forcing, particularly greenhouse gases and stratospheric ozone depletion. The combination of a warming troposphere and a cooling stratosphere has likely led to an increase in the height of the tropopause. It is likely that anthropogenic forcing has contributed to the general warming observed in the upper several hundred meters of the ocean during the latter half of the 20th century. Anthropogenic forcing, resulting in thermal expansion from ocean warming and glacier mass loss, has very likely contributed to sea level rise during the latter half of the 20th century. It is difficult to quantify the contribution of anthropogenic forcing to ocean heat content increase and glacier melting with presently available detection and attribution studies.




    Mr. Snowden there is my point of view on Global Climate Change.

    Thank you for reading and commenting on my blog. As you can see you are part of a very, very, small club. But thank you nonetheless.

    Cheney on Don't Ask Don't Tell.

    I applaud the VP on getting it right. Although we know he didn't lift a finger to address this issue when he was in office. Nevertheless, it is a step in the right direction.

    It is obvious to me that anyone who is willing to pay the ultimate price for their country, should not have to be anything but themselves. I look forward to the day when this is not an issue to debate.


    Lamar Alexander does the Tennessee Two Step.

    Ezra Klien of the Washington Post did an interview with GOP Senator from Tennessee, Lamar Alexander this week.

    This interview shows how hard it is for these GOP Senators to back an agenda of No. Especially when they have co-sponsored similar but more radical legislation, that has already been passed in the Senate.

    Example.

    Let me read this quote back to you. You said, "It is arrogant to imagine that 100 senators are wise enough to reform comprehensively a health-care system that constitutes 17 percent of the world's largest economy and affects 300 million Americans of disparate backgrounds and circumstances." Yet you also co-sponsored the Wyden-Bennett health-care plan, which was a much more radical reform than anything the Senate is currently considering.

    I made an entire speech on this subject. I’ve come to the conclusion that the Senate doesn’t do comprehensive well. Watching the immigration bill and cap-and-trade and health care all fall beneath their own weight, I’ve come to believe we need to go step by step. On health care, I think that means just doing cost.



    So Alexander has sponsored a bill that eliminates Medicare, a very radical move to say the least. Has now come to the conclusion that Health Care is just to large of a problem to fix with comprehensive reform. Alexander believes we need to go step by step. Paul Krugman of the NYT, compares a step by step fix, to a one legged stool.

    He writes;

    Ban discrimination based on medical history, and you get an adverse-selection death spiral, in which healthy people opt out and premiums soar. You can’t solve that without both requiring that healthy people buy insurance and helping those with lower incomes afford the premiums. In short, you basically end up with the Senate bill.


    It is obvious what Alexander is trying to do. And the answer is. Nothing. Just like the GOP playbook from the start of the Health Care Debate. There goal is to squash Health Care Reform.

    Of course, the GOP leadership can't say that as a platform. So they say things like step by step, and we need a bipartisan solution. But when pressed, like Klien does to Alexander, you get awful analogies that make the Senator look incompetent.

    Example. "The hole in the roof theory"


    On the question of comprehensive versus incremental reform, the premise of Wyden-Bennett is that we need to solve this problem or it will overwhelm us. And I don’t know anyone who believes we can handle cost in a non-comprehensive fashion. I don’t disagree with the premise that the Senate is broken, but if you guys aren’t going to fix these problems, then who will?

    That would be the conclusion that a lot of people will come to. The way professors and academicians and lawyers approach a problem is to try to rationalize large areas of society and come to a general conclusion. But most people don’t live and work that way. If your roof has a leak in it, you don’t have a comprehensive plan for a new house; you fix the leak.

    In health care, Republicans have suggested six specific steps in legislative form that would reduce cost. You can have a small-business health plan without reforming the whole system. Another step would be allowing insurance to be purchased across state lines. Another would be some form of legislation on medical malpractice. You might think of pilot programs.




    The problem Mr. Alexander, is the Health Care system is not a hole in the roof. And although you would love to break it down that way, to make it more understandable, it doesn't work. Health Care is, or is vastly becoming 20% of our GDP. So fixing a foot wide hole, with a 3 inch piece of wood is negligent.

    Ezra Klien's follow up question is justified.

    But with all due respect, those solutions, and I’ve looked at them, are miniscule in comparison to the size of the problem. The thing about fixing the hole in your roof is that you actually have to fix it. These would fix a small fraction of the whole and the water would still get in and eventually your house will be ruined. In the House, your colleague Paul Ryan has come out with a plan that does deal with the cost problem, but it’s enormous, and it’s radical. Wyden-Bennett also dealt with cost, but it too was big and radical. Both of these were more radical than what the Senate is proposing.

    You make a good argument, but let’s come back to another example. In 2005, at the end of a budget hearing, I was so discouraged looking at the federal budget and thinking that all we’d be paying for were war and health care and Social Security and debt and we wouldn’t be investing in ourselves, that I walked down to the National Academies and asked if you can tell me the 10 things we could do to ensure America retains our competitiveness. And we did two-thirds of them. That succeeded. Republicans have four steps on clean energy. It’s not cap-and-trade, but it’s four steps.



    In typical Politician speak Alexander does the Tennessee two step and changes the subject.

    The dance continues with Alexander's response to Klien's final question. It is classic politician. I like the bill I sponsored, but I would not have voted for it. But this doesn't mean were not working hard.

    Sure Senator, we believe you.

    But you thought Wyden-Bennett was a good starting point. I understand you wanted to change it. But that was much more radical, including getting rid of Medicaid. So how do you square that with your belief that small groups of legislators shouldn’t attempt to reform this sector?

    The Wyden-Bennett bill was simpler, with fewer surprises, and more straightforward. I liked it because it was bipartisan. I wouldn’t have voted for it. But over the past two years, I’ve looked at all these issues and come to the conclusion that the policy skeptics are right. We don’t do comprehensive well in the Senate. It’s not because we don’t do our job well. It’s because we’re such a complicated country.



    Senator it is not complicated to see you are practicing in obstruction.

    Entire interview click here.

    The Health Care Trap.


    Saturday, February 13, 2010

    Where is the Snow in Vancouver?

    Of course this doesn't mean Global Warming is occurring, just like it doesn't mean it is not occurring when the East Coast gets slammed by a winter storm.

    This proves something is happening.

    What is the chance that Hannity or Limbaugh will discuss the lack of snow in Vancouver, in the context of global warming?

    Friday, February 12, 2010

    Watch McCain turn into Palin, before our very eyes.

    Hannity again is very out of touch when it comes to Global Climate Change. He tries to make it sound like the Scientific Community hasn't predicted storms like what has happened in D.C. and Philly.

    But they have, click here for an article from 2003 predicting the very storms that have occurred on the East Coast this past week.

    McCain the once, Global Warming backer is definitely in campaign mode. This guy knows where his bread is buttered.


    Thursday, February 11, 2010

    Who's Killing Grandma Now?

    Did anyone read the GOP plan for Medicare? Well the party of "No " has an idea, and it's a peach.

    Paul Krugmann comments on GOP plan here.

    Jefferson's Wall

    Many people today are talking about the good old days. The days where our Founding Fathers embraced their relationship with God.

    As if the nation back then was some sort of Christian Utopia. But the truth is they fought about religions role in our Government, just as much as we do today.

    You see the Separation between Church and State is not a forum to expel God from our lives. It is a mechanism for a stronger, safer relationship with God.

    Thomas Jefferson believed strongly that the best thing for Government and Religion alike was to make sure our new nation did not work like that of King George III of England. Our Founding Fathers were strongly devout people, but they knew the problems with a Religious Sponsored Government.

    This view doesn't walk away from God, but gives his people less constraints from which to worship.

    Did you know that Jefferson was called an Atheist by Federalists who saw a political opening in his separation beliefs?

    Jefferson did not believe in the State sponsored Fasts, and Thanksgivings, by his predecessors Washington, and Adams, which were clearly religious in nature. Jefferson was not opposing there merits, or the right for them to occur, but just that they were Government sanctioned.

    Did you know that people protested and boycotted those Religious Fasts, and Thanksgiving events because they were government sanctioned? The Southern Federalists wanted government sponsored religious events, and the Northern Republicans often opposed such meetings. Does that remind you of our system today?

    Jefferson was not alone in thinking that Religion and Government didn't mix. I think what we forget is that many Americans of the time had fled their homeland because of Religious persecution. Which stems from a State Sponsored Religion.

    Jefferson was anxious to address the separation issue but it was not politically viable until a letter came from The Danbury Baptist Church.

    His reply and subsequent interpretations have had a constant effect on our current political landscape. But it should be remembered that these same arguments were being waged then. This is simply ideological in nature, not an attack on God, although nothing makes your political opponent less attractive then saying they do not believe in God.

    Many such as myself, believe religion is a personal relationship with God, but all to often like Jefferson, we are being called Atheist because we ideologically don't believe there is, or ever should be a State Sponsored Religion. Nor is there any convincing evidence that the Founding Fathers wanted it that way. Because if they did, they would have put it in the Constitution.


    The Jefferson edited letter to Danbury.

    To messers. Nehemiah Dodge, Ephraim Robbins, & Stephen S. Nelson, a committee of the Danbury Baptist association in the state of Connecticut.

    Gentlemen

    The affectionate sentiments of esteem and approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist association, give me the highest satisfaction. my duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, & in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.

    Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.

    I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection & blessing of the common father and creator of man, and tender you for yourselves & your religious association, assurances of my high respect & esteem.

    Th Jefferson
    Jan. 1. 1802.




    After this famous response.

    The phrase Wall of Separation was first used in an 1878 Supreme Court Case Reynolds v. United States. "that it may be accepted almost as an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the first amendment."

    The High Court took the same position in 1947, 1948 case of McCollum v. Board of Education, "in the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by laws was intended to erect a wall of separation between church and state."

    1962, and 1985 has seen Supreme Court Justices, call the Wall metaphor into question.


    But before you jump to conclusions and believe American policy has been dictated for the past 200 years because of a simple return letter to a Church in New England. Think again. Jefferson took this letter as a strong political document, used not only attack the Federalists who called him an atheist for opposing Fasts, and Thanksgivings, but a political manifesto.



    Jefferson un-edited draft.

    To messers Nehemiah Dodge, Ephraim Robbins, & Stephen S. Nelson, a committee of the Danbury Baptist association in the state of Connecticut.

    Gentlemen

    The affectionate sentiments of esteem & approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist association, give me the highest satisfaction. my duties dictate a faithful & zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, and, in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more & more pleasing.

    Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man & his god, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;" thus building a wall of eternal separation between Church & State. Congress thus inhibited from acts respecting religion, and the Executive authorised only to execute their acts, I have refrained from prescribing even those occasional performances of devotion, practiced indeed by the Executive of another nation as the legal head of its church, but subject here, as religious exercises only to the voluntary regulations and discipline of each respective sect,

    [Jefferson first wrote: "confining myself therefore to the duties of my station, which are merely temporal, be assured that your religious rights shall never be infringed by any act of mine and that." These lines he crossed out and then wrote: "concurring with"; having crossed out these two words, he wrote: "Adhering to this great act of national legislation in behalf of the rights of conscience"; next he crossed out these words and wrote: "Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience I shall see with friendly dispositions the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced that he has no natural rights in opposition to his social duties."]

    I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection & blessing of the common father and creator of man, and tender you for yourselves & the Danbury Baptist [your religious] association assurances of my high respect & esteem.

    Th Jefferson
    Jan. 1. 1802.





    This stronger version of Jefferson's letter which called for the eternal separation of Church and
    State, was toned down by Levi Lincoln a Jefferson adviser, because it could prove to be politically detrimental to Jefferson. But both versions are clear in my opinion.


    Of course my opinion is just that, but Jefferson is clear on his views about Church and State, not only in his letters to the Danbury Baptist Church, but also The Statute of Virginia For Religious Freedom, a document who's title he insisted be on his epitaph.

    It reads,

    An Act for establishing religious Freedom.

    Whereas, Almighty God hath created the mind free; that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens, or by civil incapacitations tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, who being Lord, both of body and mind yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in his Almighty power to do, that the impious presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who, being themselves but fallible and uninspired men have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavouring to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world and through all time; that to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical; that even the forcing him to support this or that teacher of his own religious persuasion is depriving him of the comfortable liberty of giving his contributions to the particular pastor, whose morals he would make his pattern, and whose powers he feels most persuasive to righteousness, and is withdrawing from the Ministry those temporary rewards, which, proceeding from an approbation of their personal conduct are an additional incitement to earnest and unremitting labours for the instruction of mankind; that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions any more than our opinions in physics or geometry, that therefore the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence, by laying upon him an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages, to which, in common with his fellow citizens, he has a natural right, that it tends only to corrupt the principles of that very Religion it is meant to encourage, by bribing with a monopoly of worldly honours and emoluments those who will externally profess and conform to it; that though indeed, these are criminal who do not withstand such temptation, yet neither are those innocent who lay the bait in their way; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency is a dangerous fallacy which at once destroys all religious liberty because he being of course judge of that tendency will make his opinions the rule of judgment and approve or condemn the sentiments of others only as they shall square with or differ from his own; that it is time enough for the rightful purposes of civil government, for its officers to interfere when principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order; and finally, that Truth is great, and will prevail if left to herself, that she is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict, unless by human interposition disarmed of her natural weapons free argument and debate, errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them: Be it enacted by General Assembly that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of Religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge or affect their civil capacities. And though we well know that this Assembly elected by the people for the ordinary purposes of Legislation only, have no power to restrain the acts of succeeding Assemblies constituted with powers equal to our own, and that therefore to declare this act irrevocable would be of no effect in law; yet we are free to declare, and do declare that the rights hereby asserted, are of the natural rights of mankind, and that if any act shall be hereafter passed to repeal the present or to narrow its operation, such act will be an infringement of natural right.

    Exd: ARCHIBALD CARY S.S.
    Exd. BENJ HARRISON Sp HD




    Today we are having the same arguments with different twists but at there core they are still the same. Some want their religion to be our nations religion, and think the Founding Fathers would want it that way. I believe that not to be true. I believe the Founding Fathers and Jefferson in particular wanted a nation free from a Government that lifted one religion up at the expense of another.

    I like Jefferson, believe religion relies solely between a man or woman, and their God.


    Click here for a comprehensive history around the Danbury Letter. It is a must read.

    Saw this today in NYT.


    It is okay to have a difference of opinion on this topic, but we can't have a difference of facts.