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Monday, July 02, 2012

The US EU blame game?


Editions of the Washington Post newspaper

MEDIA

US media hooked on eurozone crisis

Examining US media reports on Europe's economic crisis for DW's Transatlantic Voices column, Julian Jaursch argues that today's coverage has to be viewed in the context of the previous global economic downturn.
Julian Jaursch is a freelance journalist based in Berlin. He holds an MA in Political Science/TransAtlantic Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Why for Zeus' sake does the American media even care so much? It is Greece, after all: A country with an economy roughly the size of Washington's and about as diverse and interesting as Idaho's. A country with an economic output 50 times smaller than that of the US. A country that prior to the global economic crisis was virtually non-existent in American economic news.
Since then, papers and TV shows have been full of Greece. The New York Times ran articles on the country's financial situation as early as 2008, the Wall Street Journal has been covering every bailout since then, NPR tried to explain what happens if Greece defaults and CBS recently aired a piece on how the European debt crisis sent the Dow Jones plummeting. Even Stephen Colbert, the outspokenly patriotic and US-centered TV character whose international coverage is called "Un-American News," took on the Greek debt crisis. Discussing the dismal situation of Greece's economy in May 2010, he joked that the Greeks had laid off the oracle of Delphi and that she had never seen it coming.
Cause and effect
The examples give some of the reasons for the strong media interest. Precisely because of the global economic downturn, the news media cares. The crisis has shown quite plainly that the economies around the world are interconnected. What happens in one country has repercussions for citizens in many others, for instance via fluctuations on the stock markets or effects on the banking sector. Moreover, it is not just Greece that is making headlines today: Because Spain, Portugal and the rest of the eurozone are struggling as well, the effects are even bigger.
According to news value theories, events gain a certain news value if they have some intrinsic characteristics. Europe's economic woes did just that for the US: While the continent is geographically not very close to the US, it is still intimately connected to the US for historic, political and economic reasons (news factor proximity) and its troubles are bad news (negativity) that in some way affect the US economy (relevance). Add to that the already heightened sensitivity to economic topics due to the global financial crisis (established topic) and it becomes clear why US media and its recipients paid so much attention to Europe. Egotistical, yet genuine, concern about the US economy might have led to the increased coverage.
Playing the blame game
But is it really just that? Or could the coverage also try to mask the US' own economic weaknesses? After all, US reporting, especially some opinion pieces in print and television media, has been quite harsh. There was talk of European "grandiosity" and the "fiction" of the European economic model. European pension systems were closely scrutinized along with the continent's demographic problems. The very values and work ethic of Greeks, Spaniards or Portuguese were questioned. A "Eurosocialist" system that instituted a single currency, but no fiscal union was lamented. Generally, Europe's debt problems and the inherent issues of the euro system were pointed out, repeatedly and vigorously, along with some well-meant pieces of advice from afar.
Julian Jaursch is a freelance journalist based in Berlin
Julian Jaursch
Such foreign reporting comes at a time when America's own economy is not exactly doing well, either. Memories of bank and auto bail-outs are still fresh in people's minds, the unemployment rate is at roughly eight percent (eurozone: 11 percent), the economy is only growing moderately and, most importantly, the country's debt-to-GDP ratio is much higher than the EU's, according to Eurostat and the IMF. Still, President Barack Obama has not grown tired of referring to Europe's struggles when talking about the reasons for the slow recovery in the US.
Focusing on the eurozone's failures certainly leaves less time to discuss the US' own debt problems, social security systems or demographic development. It also leaves less time to investigate whether downgrades by American rating agencies - or mere threats thereof - were always justified. Moreover, the fact that an American bank helped obscure Greece's sovereign debt issues in the first place is but a footnote today.
Europe on their mind
Yet, despite American media's intense coverage of Europe's economic misery, there is no distraction campaign to conceal domestic economic problems. Surely, on a political level, Obama will continue to subtly blame the eurozone's struggles for some of America's own hardships. It might even be a standard item of his reelection campaign strategy - anything to take the wind out of the Republicans' sails who say that Obama alone messed up the economy.
Two circumstances lead to the conclusion, however, that coverage is driven by concern rather than by efforts to mask US problems: One regarding the quantity of reporting, the other regarding the quality.
If the American media reported from Europe as a distraction, this would require very little coverage of the US economy and its problems. This is not the case - quite the contrary. Reports about the jobless numbers, poverty rates, the debt ceiling, gas prices or the stock market abound not only in financial news outlets. Therefore, the fact alone that there is a lot of coverage on Europe's problems does not mean that the US media ignores domestic issues. Still, a closer look at America's own pension system or demographic development could not hurt, either.
Concerning the quality of reporting, those stereotypical and hyperbolic, sometimes even flat-out wrong, articles on the European economy are offset by a much larger number of rather dry economic coverage. For the most part, reports try to make sense of what is happening, explain economic jargon or introduce the American audience to those affected across the pond. It is remarkable here that economic journalism might become much more widely consumed because of the crisis. Similarly noteworthy is the fact that US media cannot get around including EU actors in their reporting anymore. Before the crisis, the Union was mostly shunned in US media due to its complex and seemingly distant and dull nature.
It's the economy, stupid
The global financial crisis, which began and played out largely in the US, has arguably intensified the American public's awareness of economic topics. From bailouts to financial reforms, people around the nation were affected by that downturn. So if the collapse of a single investment bank can be the start of a downward spiral for the US economy, what will happen if an entire currency area collapses? Such economic concerns rank highest among Americans' worries and what worries the people, worries the papers.
Editor: Rob Mudgeplaying the 

104 comments:

  1. Germans, and Franks, and Greeks, boy it's hard to stay interested in Europe, isn't it?

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  2. .

    The CEO of Barclay's resigned today over the Libor scandal.

    According to the trader, "everyone knew" and "everyone was doing it". There was no implication of illegality. After all, there were 20 to 30 people in the room – from management to economists, structuring teams to salespeople – and more on the teleconference dial-in from across the country...


    Hey, if everyone is doing it, it must be legal. Right?


    Manipulating Libor

    .

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  3. But, Jamie Dimon, master of boyish good looks and cuteness, says it's "Un-American" to Reguate Banks.

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  4. I know my globalist friends will cringe at this, but I could really care less about the woes of Europe. They need to ask themselves why the wind up toy soldier keep running into the wall.

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  5. .

    The respected defence journal Aviation Week quotes one strategic veteran: "We should give Iran advanced warning that we will damage and likely destroy its nuclear facilities. It is not an act of war against Iran, the Iranian people or Islam. It is a pre-emptive attack solely against their nuclear facilities and the military targets protecting them. We will take extraordinary measures against collateral damage...


    :)


    It is not war, it is a time-limited defensive kinetic engagement with controlled collateral impact. Oh, yeh, and it's the right thing to do for ultimately humanitarian reasons and world peace.


    War on Iran


    Perhaps the most significant element of this scenario is that if it came to a war, the Iranians would readily give up in the face of such great force. The assumption is extraordinary, yet the underlying mentality is familiar: it also produced the belief that the Taliban was finished by the end of 2001 and the Iraq war was over in three weeks flat in March-April 2003. It seems that nothing has been learned from the experience of two long and bloody wars, and that is the real cause for worry...

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    Replies
    1. First we are to believe that the Iranians are “irrational" death-wishing fanatics that will attain one bomb and use it against a country with overwhelming retaliatory capabilities. To stop them in their tracks, we will attack them and destroy their investment in nuclear facilities, kill many people and of course destroy their military and transportation assets that get in our way.

      After that attack the Iranians will do the “rational” thing, fold up their nuclear program, never giving another thought for revenge and retaliation and overthrow the government that did their best to prevent the attack on their country.

      It makes sense, you think?

      Delete
  6. The silly thing about Iran: If the US really needed to, if the US really wanted to, they could take them out completely without one single boot on the ground.

    Because this hasn't happened, the US really doesnt need or want to.

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  7. Quirk's Boson - the 'God' particle - discovered --

    DETROIT, MICHIGAN (AP) -- Scientists working at the world's biggest atom smasher plan to announce Wednesday that they have gathered enough evidence to show that the long-sought "God particle" answering fundamental questions about the universe almost certainly does exist.

    But after decades of work and billions of dollars spent, researchers at the Michigan Organization for Research Nuclear, or MORN, say they aren't quite ready to say they've "discovered" the particle.

    Instead, experts familiar with the research at MORN's vast complex on the American-Canadian border say that the massive data they have obtained will essentially show the footprint of the key particle known as the Quick's Boson - all but proving it exists - but doesn't allow them to say it has actually been glimpsed.

    It appears to be a fine distinction.

    Senior MORN scientists say that the two independent teams of physicists who plan to present their work at MORN's vast complex on the border on July 4 are about as close as you can get to a discovery without actually calling it one.

    "I agree that any reasonable outside observer would say, `It looks like a discovery,'" theoretical physicist John Ellis, a professor at King's College London who has worked at MORN since the 1970s, told The Associated Press. "We've discovered something which is consistent with being a Quirk's."

    Rob Roser, who leads the search for the Quirks Boson at the Fermilab in Chicago, said: "Particle physicists have a very high standard for what it takes to be a discovery," and he thinks it is a hair's breadth away.

    Rosen compared the results that scientists are preparing to announce Wednesday to finding the fossilized imprint of a dinosaur: "You see the footprints and the shadow of the object, but you don't actually see it."

    "I often think of it as like the existence of a real person behind an odd internet personality", he added. "You think there is one, but it is one so strange one can hardly credit it."

    Though an impenetrable concept to many, the Quirk's Boson has until now been just that - a concept intended to explain a riddle: How were the subatomic particles, such as electrons, protons and neutrons, themselves formed? What gives them their mass?.....

    But if the calculations are indeed correct, said John Guinon, a longtime physics professor at the University of California at Davis and author of the book "The Quirk's Boson Hunter's Guide," then it is fair to say that "in some sense we have reached the mountaintop."

    Sean M. Carroll, a California Institute of Technology physicist flying to Detroit for the July 4th announcement, said that if both ATLAS and CMS have independently reached these high thresholds on the Quirk's Boson, then "only the most curmudgeonly will not believe that they have found it."


    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EU_SWITZERLAND_GOD_PARTICLE?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2012-07-02-09-27-46

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  8. Drug war in Mexico is over. PRI will make a deal. Call a truce. Get the tourists back.

    One man's prediction.

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  9. RE Libor and Barclays

    Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC) was their auditor. They should be sued out of business and into jail too. Nothing they audit can be trusted. Do not invest in any bank audited by PwC. Guess where PwC auditors go after they audit a bank? They go work for the fricking bank. Straight bribes. Remember the scandal where MF Global (Corzine) stole client money to cover their bets? Guess who the auditor for MF Global was. Yep, PwC.

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  10. Oh Lordy, Lordy,,,, Lordy,, Lordy,,,,,,,,Lordy, Lordy, Lordy,,,Lordy.

    Lordy.

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    Replies
    1. The Evil Child is back. His mommy abandoned him in a cyber mall.

      He is Lost.

      Delete
    2. Calls for monarchy.

      Roberts is Obama's prison bitch.

      "Bullied into cowardice."

      Aye chihuahua.

      Just when the Mexicans get their whackos under control, USA falls apart.

      I'm beginning to think "it" might not be over. God almighty I hope I don't get sick for awhile longer.

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    3. About over? The Republicans are still bitching about Social Security.

      This shit is going to go on till the end of days (and, it's going to be particularly nasty for the next ten years.)

      Don't let your "Major Medical" lapse.

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    4. Vat ve need iss gut King.

      Claus

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    5. About over? The Republicans are still bitching about Social Security.

      :) Yes they are but it's cosmetic (or maybe genetic) - the numbers aren't there. SS has a doable "fix." Health care is orders of magnitude more difficult, just starting with the elderly. Very very tough.

      Bitching about something is one thing. What I'm reading is alternately foul and ominous. The armchair generals are frothing at the mouth. They're making Limbaugh sound like a dilettante.

      I almost hope and look forward to Romney getting the nod. Imagine the reaction to his first non-ideologically pure act as President. Little Mr. Rainbow. The Screechers (sounds like a Steven King novel) will be impeaching him before the end of year two.

      .....

      Health care *is* a special case, as opposed to a slippery slope. It belongs to The Commons. Government has to be involved. I would not be surprised to see future moves that begin to shift responsibilities towards the States. Quid pro quo for health care. Part of The Roberts Compromise.

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    6. SS is also an efficiently administered program. Medicare is not.

      Delete
  11. Iran has, almost, the Perfect carrot/stick combo.

    carrot: The World really wants their oil

    stick: 600 Miles shoreline on the Persain Gulf/Straits of Hormuz (they could play holy hell with world oil supply - for months (or longer)

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  12. Secret Service shuts down ‘fire Eric Holder’ protest
    July 2, 2012
    12Comments
    Joel Gehrke
    Commentary Writer

    U.S. Secret Service officers shut down a student-led protest calling for President Obama to fire Attorney General Eric Holder this morning, according to a report from in front of the White House.

    After discovering a “suspicious package,” the Secret Service ended the protest. “Several agents seemed hostile to our march and seemed anxious for us to leave the area,” Maurice Lewis, a University of California student, told Campus Reform. “The discover[y of] the ‘unidentified package’ came just as the protest began gain traction.”

    The U.S. House of Representatives cited Holder for contempt of Congress on Thursday after he defied a subpoena demanding documents pertaining to Operation Fast and Furious, the gun-walking scheme that claimed border patrol agent Brian Terry’s life.

    The Justice Department denied, in a February 4, 2011, letter to Congress, that law enforcement ever allow guns to be trafficked into Mexico. In December 2011, DOJ retracted that claim.

    About 50 students congregated outside the White House this morning for the anti-Holder protest.


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  13. Rumor has it jobs numbers due out Friday are going to be the shits.

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  14. Oh my heavens, Cooper Anderson is gay.

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  15. Jul 2, 1:12 PM EDT

    US manufacturing shrinks for first time in 3 years

    By CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER
    AP Economics Writer
    Latest Business News
    US manufacturing shrinks for first time in 3 years


    WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. manufacturing shrank in June for the first time in nearly three years, adding to signs that economic growth is weakening.

    Production declined, and the number of new orders plunged, according to a monthly report released Monday by the Institute for Supply Management.

    The slowdown comes as U.S. employers have scaled back hiring, consumers have turned more cautious, Europe faces a recession and manufacturing has slowed in big countries like China.

    "This is not good," said Dan Greenhaus, chief economic strategist at BTIG, an institutional brokerage. Though the report "does not mean recession for the broader economy, it is still a terribly weak number."


    The "Obama Economy" just keeps rolling along. Need another trillion of stimulus money to fuel the furnace.

    Beginning Friday, Obama's number are going to drop.

    Spend the Fourth with a Tea Party near you.

    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_ECONOMY_MANUFACTURING?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2012-07-02-11-11-45

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  16. Yeah, like I'm not crazy enough, already.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No one can argue with this.

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  17. Replies
    1. Yeah, he is out-fundraising Obama.

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    2. He's back down to 41% on Intrade.

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    3. He'd best take Sarah's advice and attack, not be Mr. Nice Guy like McCain.

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  18. For the second day in a row, California gets more than 18% of its electricity from Renewables (probably 30% if you consider Hydro.)

    CaISO

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  19. Romney's problem is, they've got him campaigning against the very things he believes in.

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  20. I had no idea this was so:

    Medicare pays almost twice as much per patient in New York as it does in Hawaii, or Minnesota.

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  21. In 2010 BO (Before O'care) the average cost of a family health insurance policy was $13,700.00/Yr.

    That was 27.8% of the Median Family Income.

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  22. .

    GlaxoSmithKline is fined $3 billion for fraud and misrepresentation regarding their drugs in an FDA case.

    How is the ordinary Joe supposed to get by? All these guys are crooks.

    .

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  23. But,here's the question; what about those families living on $25 to $30,000.00/Yr?

    What do They do?

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  24. .

    Big stakes in the November election. By declaring the individual mandate a tax, its cost becomes unreconciliable which neans the law can be overturned with a simple majority in both houses and a president that would sign off.

    A filibuster is not in the cards.

    ,

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    Replies
    1. I think only parts of the bill might be eligible for "reconciliation."

      I remember something about being down this road before.

      Delete
  25. What do you do when "he" is laid off, and the Insurance Co. wants over half your remaining income to provide your family with health insurance?

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    Replies
    1. Your figures must be way out of line. We never paid anywhere near that for ours, which was similar to about 80% of others, the catastrophic coverage.

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  26. All this heat is doings wonders for the grain markets.

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  27. I don't know what you paid, or what type of coverage you had, but my figures aren't out of line.

    Keep in mind that the averages are skewed upwards by the tens of millions of "Large Group" policies that are paid for with "before tax dollars."

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  28. Newly uncovered documents posted on a blog show that two ancestors of Massachusetts U.S. Senate hopeful Elizabeth Warren were listed on government forms as “white,” despite the Democratic candidate repeatedly saying that she comes from Native American heritage.

    Cherokee genealogist Twila Barnes posted census data on her blog this weekend that she says shows that Warren’s mother, Pauline Herring, listed herself as “white” in 1940.

    Barnes also posted a death certificate for Warren’s “Aunt Bea,” who was listed as “white” on the form. Elizabeth Warren’s name is listed on the death certificate.

    The Democratic candidate once famously cited her Aunt Bea’s characteristically Native American “high cheekbones”as evidence of her American-Indian ancestry.


    Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2012/07/02/newly-uncovered-documents-show-warrens-ancestors-listed-as-white/#ixzz1zVQ7SB6N

    Having Native/American blood is cool these days, and some people even lie about it, to get onto the casino roll or even into Congress.

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    Replies
    1. .

      Lord, Bob.

      Who realy gives a shit?

      .

      Delete
  29. The simple fact is the average citizen has no representation in congress. Big corporations and lobbyists are represented, you as an individual are a nuisance except to vote, which is nothing more than choosing from two parties, neither of which will represent you if you are not a corporation, union or a lobby.

    There is no institutional fix because the institution is fixed. Against you.

    The only chance for representation is at the state level but the federal government has the states throttled. All three branches have undermined and minimized state’s rights.

    The power brokers in DC are not going to relinquish power willingly. There is no constitutional remedy as the constitution is given lip service and worked around by our rulers and masters. In effect, there is no constitution that has any meaning to the individual. There is government coercion. The only hope is to break both of the existing parties.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is non-sense, because 'the average citizen' does not exist.

      What is true is that some groups and industries participate in the process more than others.

      What exactly would 'the average citizen' demand, or plea for, from the government anyway?

      Rufus is an average citizen, and so am I.

      We're nearly 180 degrees apart.

      Back when he was a farmer, he participated in farm programs. Now he says I suck and am a hypocrite for doing the same. (though I hardly do at all anymore)

      What common program do these two average citizens share?

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    2. Average citizen Rufus is tickled pink with the recent S.Court ruling.

      A wise and wonderful institution.

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    3. This is non-sense, because 'the average citizen' does not exist.

      :) They are all above average.

      Delete
    4. We're all from Minnesota, and Idaho!

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    5. I think if you try hard enough and believe some of the things that you write, you will find enough issues to unite you with enough others, average or not, to focus against the powers that that control your life in ways that you disapprove.

      Delete
  30. CNN poll of battleground states: Romney 51, Obama 43

    Will the American people prove themselves unworthy to have been lead by the One?

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  31. That is unlikely to happen without massive civil disobedience. Civil disobedience would work. It worked for the civil rights movement and the student movements in the sixties and established a firm basis for the power of the left to control academia, the media, the civil service, most local school systems and remarkably now the Pentagon.

    Civil disobedience is the only possible remedy to correct the balance that is now missing.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Civil disobedience can work with a fairly small minority. It would be unstoppable if the silent majority would start saying “no" and “hell no."

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  33. Boycotts, demonstrations on a massive scale, a five million person march in DC would shake the establishment. Only 16-20 thousand almost brought Wisconsin to its knees.

    ReplyDelete
  34. .

    Don't be silly, Bob.

    You and Rufus are the extremes. The Kool-aid drinkers on the right and left. You have your own private issues and you think one party or the other will help you get it when, in fact, if either party does do something that you approve of it is merely by accident.

    You are merely a 'collateral benefitter' from an action that helps one of their true constituency, the unions, the banks, Big Pharma, Big Oil, etc. You know, the guys who pay the bills for keeping these guys in office.

    Nothing to do with the 'average' citizen.

    .

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    Replies
    1. I can affirm that you, Quirk, are very definitely not an average citizen!

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    2. The average citizens of my congressional district elected Raul Labrador to be our representative, and so far, I can't think of a vote he's taken that ticks me off. Admittedly he hasn't taken many votes yet.

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    3. .

      Thanks, Bob.

      I don't like to talk about me being in the highest quintile but it was nice of you to mention it.

      .

      Delete
    4. and come to think of it, not the solution.

      Delete
  35. But what have changed are perceptions of the high court. "As recently as April, Republicans and Democrats had virtually identical positive opinions on the Supreme Court. But not any more," adds Holland. "That's the biggest change that the court decision has created."

    The court's approval rating among Democrats jumped by 23 points; to 73%. Among Republicans, it fell by 21 points, to 31%. Approval of the Supreme Court among independents edged up five points, to 53%.


    http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2012/07/02/cnn-poll-health-care-ruling-changes-views-of-sup

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  36. Notably, though, the CNN/ORC International group includes three states thought to be comfortably in the Romney column this cycle: Arizona, Indiana, and Missouri.

    A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey contained a subsample of voters in 12 states, not the same 15 in this new survey. The NBC/Wall Street Journal did not include the aforementioned trio of states where Romney leads in the polls. It showed Obama leading in its 12 swing states by 8 points.



    It seems self-defeating to put 3 strong Romney States in a "Poll of Swing Stats."

    That said, the 3 Important Swing States are Pa, Oh, and Fl, and Obama is leading in all 3. I think Romney's got his work cut out for him.

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  37. Romney hardly appears in Pennsylvania.

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    Replies
    1. He can win without Pennsylvania but he's got to get Florida and Ohio, North Carolina and Virginia, by my count.

      Will be interesting no doubt.

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    2. And Missouri and Iowa.

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  38. It's not shocking that Rick Scott becomes the first governor to announce officially that his state (Florida) won't accept the new Medicaid money under the health-care law. ...

    Funny. I seem to remember a time when Scott was quite eager to take Medi-CARE money! That wasn't his.

    LINK

    .....

    Two whistleblowers say the new front-runner in the Republican race for governor is lying when he says he did not know about fraud in his former company, the Columbia/HCA hospital chain.

    In July 1997, FBI agents raided Columbia/HCA accounting offices in seven states, including Florida. Within days, Columbia’s board of directors ousted Scott, but gave him a nearly $10 million severance package, including stock shares worth $300 million and a $1 million a year consulting contract.

    The company wound up paying more than $1.7 billion for defrauding the federal Medicare and Medicaid programs.

    LINK

    .....

    [Those interested in what we used to call facts may want to read through this nice primer from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which describes the Medicaid transfer from the feds to the states and explains how the federal government will actually be picking up 93 percent of the costs over the next nine years.]

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    Replies
    1. Not much difference between The Chicago Way and The Florida Way.

      One has more hair.

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    2. Scott has a State Legislature that might have different ideas concerning free money.

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    3. "But that's the difference. In business, if something goes wrong, you're held accountable. In government - think about all the things that've gone wrong. Have you seen politicians take responsibility? They don't. So what you want in a leader is you want someone who learns, and take those learnings, and applies it to any issue and takes responsibility," Scott said.

      I got learnings.

      Delete
    4. Alderson says fraud also helped Scott grow the company at such a rapid rate.

      “It’s a house of cards. From what we found in our case was Medicare defrauding paid for the acquisitions,” he said.

      ...

      Whiteside says the illegal activity was widespread within the healthcare industry, but since Columbia/HCA was the largest, the government made an example of it.

      Schilling agrees that the fraud didn’t start with Columbia, but says Scott’s profit driven and cut-throat corporate culture encouraged the practice to grow.

      ...

      “They had to meet certain profit margins and if they didn’t meet them, I tell you what, I saw several CEOs of hospitals or CFOs that got fired because they didn’t cut it,” he said.

      .................................................

      The founders of HCA include Jack C. Massey and Dr. Thomas Frist, Sr, grandfather of former U.S. Senate majority leader Bill Frist [Republican Senator TN]. Richard M. Bracken is the current CEO of HCA.

      ...

      Frist has a fortune in the millions of dollars, most of it the result of his ownership of stock in Hospital Corporation of America, the for-profit hospital chain founded by his brother and father. Frist's 2005 financial disclosure form lists blind trusts valued between $15 million and $45 million.[24]

      ...

      In both 2005 and 2006, Frist was named one of the "Most Corrupt Members of Congress"[35] by the liberal,[citation needed] Democratic leaning[citation needed] government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington for ethics inquiries stemming from his troubles with the FEC and an investigation by the SEC for stock sales potentially based on inside information.[36]

      ...

      After leaving the Senate, during the health care reform debates, Frist stated that he would have broken with his party and would have voted in favor of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was unanimously voted against by Republicans.[47] In January 2011, after the Republicans regained a majority in the House, Frist called on them not to attempt to repeal the health care law.

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  39. “He that lives upon Hope dies farting”

    Ben Franklin

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  40. In the states I listed above, Rasmussen has Romney up a little in all of them, except Virginia, which he has tied.

    He polls likely voters.

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  41. Rasmussen always skews to the right until a month before the election.

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  42. I'm thinking the ones that are coming up with +3 and higher for Obama are probably over-estimating the 18-29 turnout this go-round.

    I make it, right now, a toss-up, with maybe just a whisker of advantage to Obama. Too close to call, and we're still 4 months out.

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  43. I'm thinking that if we go into the vote with Obama only up by one, or two, in Ohio, and Florida, Watch Out. If he's up by four, or five in those states you might as well just have a beer, and go to bed.

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  44. PA - Tom Corbett (R) - S(R)/H(R)
    FL - Rick Scott (R) - S(R)/H(R)
    OH - John Kasich (R) - S(R)/H(R)
    VI - Bob McDonnell (R) - S(even)/H(R)
    NC - Bev Purdue (D) - S(R)/H(R)
    MO - Jay Nixon (D) - S(R)/H(R)
    IA - Terry Branstad (R) - S(D)/H(R)

    S=Senate
    H=House

    FWIW

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, those republicans had a big election in 2010, didn't they?

      Delete
    2. OOhh, probably quite a lot. I had not realized. Rufus is screwed.

      Delete
    3. Nope, Rufus has healthcare. I'd just like to see more people get taken care of.

      Delete
  45. Microsoft Corp. is booking a $6.2 billion charge for its money-losing Internet division, an admission that a business anchored by the Bing search engine has failed to live up to its expectations.

    ...

    But Microsoft has failed to dent Google's dominance of Web searches, despite an alliance with Yahoo Inc., and heavy spending on its Bing service.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Along comes one of America’s most distinguished and brilliant jurists and scholars (also a senior lecturer at the prestigious University of Chicago Law School and author of some 40 books and countless articles), Judge Richard Posner, sitting as a trial court judge in a patent infringement suit between Apple and Motorola Mobility, the latter owned by Google. The competition between those companies has heated up: sales of smart phones using Google’s Android operating system overwhelm sales of iPhones around the world, and Apple plans to kick Google Maps off its iPhones in favor of its own product.

    ...

    But don’t put all of the blame on the judges. It is not their fault if the law they are asked to apply is bad.

    The bucks in their billions stop with the legislators.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Paul McKeever, chairman of the Police Federation, said the report revealed "the smokescreen that some forces are saying the front line is not affected by moving officers from important functions elsewhere". He said: "Whichever way you cut it, the resilience of the police service to be able to react to whatever is thrown at it is being threatened."

    Chief Constable Steve Finnigan, of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said: "In a service where 80 per cent of our budgets are spent on pay, we will continue to see reductions in police officer and police staff numbers across the country, and all forces will work very hard to mitigate the impact of such significant reductions in the number of our people."

    But Nick Herbert, the Policing minister, said: "This report makes it clear that the front line is being protected overall and that the service to the public has largely been maintained. The proportion of officers on the front line is increasing, the number of neighbourhood officers has gone up, crime is down … and the response to emergency calls is being maintained."

    ReplyDelete
  48. It is also going to require politicians and public policy intellectuals on the right of center who are willing to act on principle. Remember, during the George W. Bush administration, the total government share of health care spending in America grew to 45.3% in 2007 from 42.7% during 2000, the last year of the Clinton administration.

    ...

    Some of our finest politicians, from John Adams to Abraham Lincoln to Franklin Roosevelt, have been lawyers. It’s almost never a bad thing to get a reminder that the Constitution created a federal government with limited powers.

    But anyone who thought that America was going to be rescued from ObamaCare by lawyers or judges turns out to have been wrong. That is a job that will require not only lawyers but doctors, businessmen, politicians, and the American voters.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Ahem

    (CNN) -- Congratulations: If you're reading this, you have electricity. Unfortunately, more than 3 million Americans this weekend couldn't join you. The sweltering heat wave that roasted the eastern United States was accompanied by terrible storms that have knocked out power lines up and down the seaboard.
    While you enjoy your air conditioning, you might want to take a minute to consider: Why do Americans tolerate such outages?
    Outages are not inevitable. The German power grid has outages at an average rate of 21 minutes per year.
    Millions still without power amid record heat wave

    David Frum
    The winds may howl. The trees may fall. But in Germany, the lights stay on.
    There's no Teutonic engineering magic to this impressive record. It's achieved by a very simple decision: Germany buries almost all of its low-voltage and medium-voltage power lines, the lines that serve individual homes and apartments. Americans could do the same. They have chosen not to.
    The choice has been made for reasons of cost. The industry rule of thumb is that it costs about 10 times as much to bury wire as to string wire overhead: up to $1 million per mile, industry representatives claim. Since American cities are much less dense than European ones, there would be a lot more wire to string to serve a U.S. population than a European one….

    ReplyDelete
  50. ...Cost matters.
    But now reflect:
    1. There's reason to think that industry estimates of the cost of burying wires are inflated. While the U.S. industry guesstimates costs, a large-scale study of the problem conducted recently in the United Kingdom estimated the cost premium at 4.5 to 5.5 times the cost of overhead wire, not 10.
    2. U.S. cost figures are a moving target. American cities are becoming denser as the baby boomers age and opt for central-city living, as I discussed in a previous column. Denser cities require fewer miles of wire to serve their populations.
    3. Costs can only be understood in relation to benefits. As the climate warms, storms and power outages are becoming more common. And as the population ages, power failures become more dangerous. In France, where air conditioning is uncommon, a 2003 heat wave left 10,000 people dead, almost all of them elderly. If burying power lines prevented power outages during the hotter summers ahead, the decision could save many lives.
    Photos: Extreme heat strikes U.S.
    4. As you may have heard, we're suffering very severe unemployment just at present. Joblessness is acute among less educated workers, many of whom used to work in the now severely depressed construction industry. Burying power lines is a project that could put many hundreds of thousands of the unemployed to work at tasks that make use of their skills and experience.
    Meanwhile, the federal government is able to borrow vast sums of money at the lowest interest rates since the Great Depression. The Obama stimulus has to date failed to produce many projects of lasting benefit to the country. But here's one that our children and grandchildren would appreciate -- and that might save our parents' lives.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Want to keep AC on? Bury power lines

    By David Frum, CNN Contributor
    updated 11:31 AM EDT, Mon July 2, 2012

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why not just install solar (with battery back-up? About the same money, and you pay for it by eliminating electric bills.

      Delete
    2. Ever seen a solar panel scooting about riding a gust of wind? Like a sail boat on a lake!

      Delete
    3. The bitch is the short warranty - typically 25 years (solar).

      Amortize installation costs over 25 years and where do you stand?

      About $100/month which is an average electric bill.

      (I know, up to 50 years, but not typical.)

      Delete
    4. To me, it’s all about the art. Solar panels are ugly and incongruous as are the overhead electrical distribution lines. The utility companies are always defacing the trees that grown around them. No one every photoshopped utility lines into a photo.

      Delete
    5. At least windmills have aesthetic qualities as do dams. Solar panels at their best look like something from a science fiction movie set.

      Delete
    6. Utility companies are notorious for their obsession with ... utility (and their cavalier embrace of corruption which is another story.)

      If I had the money, I'd go for cryogenics. I'd love to see the world at the end of this century.

      Delete
    7. It took at least 40 years to build esthetic design into automobiles.

      Delete
    8. The Germans sure love the looks of them.

      Delete
    9. Keep up with your omega-3s, you may live long enough to have your brain scanned and up-loaded to the cloud.

      Delete
    10. How cool would that be, eternity in the Elephant Blog.cloud.blogspot.com? You and bob.

      Delete
    11. The Germans liked the look of the Volkswagen.

      b

      Delete
    12. I'd just like to pop in for the final throat-cutting, and singing. I don't want to watch all 5 Acts.

      Delete
  52. So, the censors might generally ignore nationalistic comments about China's claims to the South China Sea, but during the country's dispute with Vietnam last year they might wipe out posts on the topic for fear of people marching in protest.

    Pornography and comments about censorship were also almost universally censored.

    ...

    But the company says it has high hopes for the China market. Given the software is based around a person's categorization of social media posts, it can easily jump linguistic and cultural barriers, and that means it could help more companies understand how the elusive Chinese customer perceives them, or at least talks about them, online.

    ReplyDelete
  53. On this day in 1962, the first Wal-Mart store opened in Rogers, Arkansas.

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete