“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Innovation will help pay for health care

Here is a modest suggestion. It has been reported that China is engaging with Brazil to discriminate against the free use of US currency in their mutual trade. China is all for the idea and there are several other countries with similar notions. 

It seems as if the Chinese  have too many dollars. I want to help.

Being a big picture kind a guy I was just thinking, why not expand the deal to health care. Here is how.

Let any country that engages in trade that overtly discriminates against the free flow of US dollars earn the privilege of paying a 25% tariff on all of their goods and services that enter the US. The tariff will be in place for one year and will increase by an additional 5% for each year the practice continues. It will decrease by 5% each year after the practice stops. The proceeds will go for supplemental health insurance for the needy. 

China will soon enough not have to worry about excess dollars.


  1. Where was it reported that either Brazil or China were discriminating against the Dollar?

    Certainly not in the posted video.

    How and where is this discrimination taking place?

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Want to "pay for" Health Care for all?

    Eliminate the income limits on FICA taxes, tax all the income earned, across the board fairness.

    Eliminate tax deductability of health care insurance premiums made by corporations. Include the corporate contribution in each individuals income, because it is part of each individuals income.

    If the company provides transportation, as in Tom Daschles' case, the value of that service must be included as taxable income.

    Why not the value of the health insurance provided?

  4. Brazil, China talks on ditching dollar

    BEIJING (AFP) — Brazil's president kicked off a day of meetings with Chinese leaders in Beijing Tuesday, during which analysts said he could broach a plan to ditch the US dollar in his nation's trade with China.

    Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was due to meet with his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao and other leaders in talks focused on boosting business with China and promoting closer cooperation to fight the global financial crisis.

    But all eyes were on whether China and Brazil would come to an agreement on ditching the US dollar in their bilateral trade and replacing it with each nation's currency -- the yuan and the real.
    Lula first discussed the idea with Hu at the April G20 summit in London and said he would broach the issue on his visit to China, in what would be another challenge to the US dollar's special status as the leading global currency.

    Already in March, China's central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan made waves when he suggested ditching the dollar as the global reserve currency and replacing it with a different standard run by the International Monetary Fund.

    "Everybody has realised... that the currency and debt crises in many countries and the global economic crisis are linked to the dollar standard," said Zuo Xiaolei, a Beijing-based economist with Galaxy Securities.

    Zhou and his Brazilian counterpart were due to meet soon to discuss the matter, the Financial Times reported Tuesday, citing an official at Brazil's central bank.

    Andy Xie, an independent economist, said an initial agreement to conduct some trade in renminbi and real could materialise after Lula's talks with Chinese leaders Tuesday.

    Zuo was more cautious on the timing of an agreement, but said the plan was feasible.
    "It's unlikely for them to change the global currency system overnight, so what they are trying to do now is something regional and defensive," she said.
    China -- an energy-hungry nation that is hugely interested in Brazil's natural resources -- in March became the Latin American nation's biggest trading partner, ahead of the United States.

    Brazilian exports to China -- mainly iron ore and soya products -- so far this year have grown 65 percent over the same period in 2008, a jump from 3.4 billion dollars to 5.6 billion dollars.

    Lula's visit, which comes between a trip to Saudi Arabia and Turkey, was also expected to stress political cooperation in an era that has seen a rise in the role of key emerging nations in fighting the global financial crisis.

    Lula said in a comment piece in the official China Daily Tuesday that strengthening diplomatic and economic alliances with other key developing countries was a pillar of Brazil's foreign policy.
    "The systemic challenges facing the world economy underscore the growing responsibilities of emerging economies," he wrote.

    "Concerted efforts and dialogue will be required among developing countries for their voice to be increasingly heard on the global stage."

    Lula was also due to meet with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and other leaders Tuesday.

  5. "Concerted efforts and dialogue will be required among developing countries for their voice to be increasingly heard on the global stage."

    I want China and Brazil to hear our voice.

  6. When someone is fixing to stab you in the ass, it is a good idea to have a surprise waiting for them.

  7. Well, the two countries do $6 bn in trade, a year.
    They're going to do some portion of that in Real and Yuan.

    For that affrontery to the US Standard you propose a huge tax increase on the middle class of the United States, those shopping the Global marketplace at Walmart.

    In an effort to punish the Chinese.

    So, Spitzer is on MSNBC and the wife says:
    "That sleaze is on this channel, they'll put anyone one."

    "What sleaze honey?"


    "They're trying to rehabilitate him."

    "Well, FOX wouldn't have him on."

    "Fox is not trying to raise billions in Federal cash for GE Capital."

    Eye brows raise

  8. With that $6bn USD worth of "free trade" putting a real capitalist value on the Yuan.

    How much manipulation of the Yuan's value will their Brazilian partners allow?

  9. Convert US ethanol feed stocks from corn, which has a 1 to 1.4 energy production ratio. To switchgrass, which has a 1 to 8 ratio.

    Then the US ethanol producers would not need protective tariffs.

    Federal Green, in ethanols' case being a politically expediant way to subsidize corn growers by promoting the uneconomic production of ethanol from corn.

  10. Meanwhile, the 'Republican' Austrian Governor of California wants a discussion of legalizing marijuana to raise revenue.

    I heard some talk last night about today's California tax voting. Seems most likely to fail.

    Include the corporate contribution in each individuals income, because it is part of each individuals income--isn't that
    a huge tax increase on the middle class of the United States?

    Eliminate tax deductability of health care insurance premiums made by corporations--isn't that a tax increase on corporations?

    tax all the income earned--including capital gains on real estate? I thought you were for getting rid of the capital gains tax.

    Seems like a big tax all around. While deuce seems to be proposing some tariffs to have the Chinamen pay a little.

    Which also might have the benefit of helping out, say, the textile industry.

    A pair of socks might cost a little more, but some jobs might be created here. Tradeoffs abound.

  11. hah, got another eight legger coming down the curtain.

    I don't know anything about switchgrass, wouldn't even recognize it. I assume it's less expensive (less fertilizer) to grow?

    1 to 1.4 I've read taht for corn. But 1 to 8 seems a heck of a jump for switchgrass. Quess I've read that too.

    Have a good day, busy one for me.

  12. Yeah, 25%. We tried that once, right? called it Smoot-Hawley?

    How did that work out?

  13. Brazil has about the highest "import" taxes in the world. We've tried to do deals with them to no avail.

    Brazil has never paid a penny in tariffs on ethanol. We allow in, via the Caribbean Basin Agreement, an amount of ethanol, duty free, equal to 7% of our previous year's production. Brazil has never Equaled, much less surpassed, that amount.

  14. Here's our Real Problem.

    By a guy who's been remarkably accurate, to date.

  15. The Article.

    A primer on world oil supplies.

  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

  17. rufus re. Mass Health Care Insurance - the major criticism I've read of it is that it only deals with one side of the equation - it forces everyone to be insured. It doesn't address the problem on cost. Basically everything becomes stacked for higher costs -everyone has to pay via insurance and insurance companies don't really have a vested interest in lower costs because they recoup the costs through the premiums charged and essentially charge a markup.

    It does seem rational that two countries would value trade through the exchange of their currencies without going through a 3rd party. Admittedly this is a tad odd given that the Chinese currency is pegged to the US dollar but why the heck convert to US dollars and let the currency trades take their pennies when a simple calculation will yield the necessary conversion? Hardly worth initiating a trade war over. Mind you there was talk that Saddam wanted to price Iraqi oil in Euros and look what happened to him.

    Bobal, you do love the straw man argument that national health care will require killing off of old folk. Pretty silly really given the doctors maxim "First do no harm". In fact the tendency would be for the medical profession to do the opposite of what you keep yelping about as their default mission is to save folk and they wouldn't have to worry if that particular individual could pay or not.

    Bottom line on health care - you want to have a national everyone insured system you are going to have to do what all others in the western world have done to date - single payer - otherwise the business of medicine will take y'all to the cleaners and rinse all the dollars out of the system as they are currently doing down there in the good ole USA. A couple of hundred bucks for a tab of Tylenol - lordy!!!

  18. Pretty silly really given the doctors maxim "First do no harm".There's a shallow argument, Ash. Doctors already are locked into a system where gatekeepers, approved formularies, excessive testing criticism by the insurance companies, and tort lawyers chisel away at the oath's implementation. Locally the primary care clinics have morphed into mere administrative extensions of the bill payers, the insurance companies and public sponsered programs. In many respects the dread 'socialized medicine' is already here, and it's a mess.

  19. Yes, it is there but in a bastardized way that benefits the suppliers over the supplied.

  20. And so I'm requested to get on board a bigger bastardized system?

    Last I heard the Canucks were still streaming over the border to get care denied or delayed by their big brother program. When did that change?

  21. The medical savings account is a good idea. Incentive is provided for healthy choices, and the temptation to abuse the availability of "free" care is curbed.

    Seems to me.

    In the meantime, build that medical school in Boise. The first thing they would do is prove that the blue playing field at Boise State makes people sick, and you'd be a leg up on health care almost out of the chute.

  22. Most of the streaming over the border that way has been folk getting care paid for by the local system. It sure isn't perfect here but it does seem to be a more efficient and equitable system than down there. The stats on the US health care system seem to paint a pretty dismal picture on a cost/benefit ration. I don't follow the debate too carefully as I'm comfortably enjoying the nationalized system up here but I did do a quick google and came up with:

    "By several measures, health care spending continues to rise at a rapid rate and forcing businesses and families to cut back on operations and household expenses respectively.

    In 2008, total national health expenditures were expected to rise 6.9 percent -- two times the rate of inflation.1 Total spending was $2.4 TRILLION in 2007, or $7900 per person1. Total health care spending represented 17 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP).

    U.S. health care spending is expected to increase at similar levels for the next decade reaching $4.3 TRILLION in 2017, or 20 percent of GDP.1

    In 2008, employer health insurance premiums increased by 5.0 percent – two times the rate of inflation. The annual premium for an employer health plan covering a family of four averaged nearly $12,700. The annual premium for single coverage averaged over $4,700.2

    Experts agree that our health care system is riddled with inefficiencies, excessive administrative expenses, inflated prices, poor management, and inappropriate care, waste and fraud. These problems significantly increase the cost of medical care and health insurance for employers and workers and affect the security of families."

    Speaking of folk streaming across borders for health care I do know a fair number of elderly 'snow birds' who maintain their Canadian residency status primarily for the health care benefits up here. I'm guessing many Americans would come this way if they could. They certainly like to get their prescription drugs up here when they can.

  23. This comment has been removed by the author.

  24. Well, bob, the tax proposals would be a tax increase on everyone, but not really.
    Merely a reallocation of deductable expenses and income sources, but not an increase in the tax rate.

    The FICA tax would only effect those with a taxable income above $106,800 in 2009.

    Adding the employeer paid portion of the Health Care insurance premium to the employees income is only fair, using the Daschle Standard.

    Could then make the iInsurance premiums paid by the individual tax decuctable.

    Everyone recieving ObamaCare Basic, with additional levels of insurance riders available, as with Medicare.

    All paid with after tax dollars, with an option of personal tax deductability of basic and rider premiums to be discussed

  25. For corporations, bob, the tax rate remains the same, the expense category changes, but the bottom line only changes in the 7.6% FICA tax liability on the $12,700 transfered from insurance expense to payroll.

    But then both the employer and employee could recieve a tax holiday, rebate or forgiveness on that change in status.

    The accounting then more realisticly representing reality.

  26. Speaking of folk streaming across borders for health care...

    We can argue that forever and not get anywhere... I'm sorry I raised the point. Hell is exothermic.

    Your statistics for individual costs vs insurance are interesting.

    Total expenditure per person: $7900

    Average individual coverage premium: $4700

    Leaving average cost of actual care of: $3200

    Unfortunately, the "average" person, in reasonably good health, will look at that and think he's getting screwed by paying more for his insurance than he reaps in benefits. We know that's a fallacy, because he's covered for catastrophic losses, or should be, WHICH IS THE FUNDAMENTAL OF INSURANCE. But my hunch is most folk in our dumbed down nanny state society will take the stupid interpretation, and vow that next year, by golly, they'll get their money's worth from them bastards. They've already taken the first step in that direction, last November.

    Demand increases, costs go up, and the cycle repeats until the system crashes.

    Putting in some simple checks to unfettered access and providing incentive for saving on medical expenses, i.e., medical savings accounts makes good sense.

  27. User fees ect. a good ways to prevent specious use of the system for sure but that still doesn't address the systemic problem of price being determined by the suppliers. The insurance companies have some incentive to 'bargain' but not much in the long haul given the captive nature of folks paying for the insurance and the ability of insurance companies to keep raising rates based on their 'actuarial tables'. More revenue, more profit based on the percentage profit model. Bobal convinced that just tossing more doctors into the system will decrease the costs but the experience in Canada was that the more doctors there were the more costs went up. They tried limiting the number of doctors and then access to care was a problem. Still, costs kept rising. As Rat has noted in the past the doctor cost is relatively small compared to all the others. The consumer of heath care appears to have very limited power to challenge the cost of the system. Doc. says you better get a biopsy to see if that growth is cancerous you don't go down to Wal-mart to see if they'll test you cheaper...

  28. You know, when I hear about Canadian Health Care, my mind wanders off to the VA. The VA's pretty good at what it does, but if it gets very technical they farm it out to private contractors.

    We are to Canada as Private Contractors are to the VA. I don't think you could build a "National" program with the VA as a Model. Nor, could you use Canadian Health Care as a model.

    Those that gripe about the "cost" of our system aren't, I think, aware (or, they are purposefully overlooking) of the tremendous strides being made in the technologies, and techniques being incorporated into American Health Care. Some of the new equipment is astonishing. Also, astonishingly expensive.

    I haven't read Obama's health care proposal, but I'm betting it's going to look a lot like a hybrid of the Mass plan, and Medicare/Medicaid before it's through. Something like that should work pretty well.

  29. …"using the Daschle Standard"

    when was the last time that sounded like a good idea?

  30. You're right on regarding VA, rufus. I was skeptical of their formulary at first, but now realize it's as good as, or better than what was being prescribed by local private practice. Why is it I notice on nearly every visit to a private primary care site, and some specialists, there's a steady stream of drug company reps asking to jump to the head of the line for a few minutes with the doctor?

    I don't think you could build a "National" program with the VA as a Model.

    Probably right. But it might be a place to start by looking at their successes vs failures, and adapting. Primary care being a good example.

    One thing I've noticed in my present peculiar situation is that the organization is definitely split between the medical and technical staffs and the bean counters and gate keepers. Once past the access barriers, you get uncompromised care.

  31. "Once past the access barriers, you get uncompromised care."

    In Canada, that has been my experience, minus the bean counter access barrier part as my Family and I are fully qualified. I have read about problems with undue wait times but have never experienced it myself. The 'we need mucho money for innovation and improvement' has the ring of truth to it but it also reminds me of the trickle down theory of economics.

  32. GPS system 'close to breakdown'Network of satellites could begin to fail as early as 2010

    US government officials are concerned that the quality of the Global Positioning System (GPS) could begin to deteriorate as early as next year, resulting in regular blackouts and failures – or even dishing out inaccurate directions to millions of people worldwide

    Typical of Guardian reporting, it's the Air Force's fault.

    First off, USAF and DOD will not let the system degrade to where military operations are put in jeopardy.

    Second, it would seem overdue for the huge market of civilian applications to begin, somehow, to carry some of the freight for the technology instead of getting a free ride on the U.S. defense budget.

    Third, if the foreign competitors want to install competing systems, let them. A smarter solution would be international cooperation in a shared system, but when have smarter solutions prevailed?

    Last, I could not care less if some yuppy who's too dumb or lazy to read a map gets lost on a dead end road. MapQuest, btw, sucks.

  33. In Canada, that has been my experience, minus the bean counter access barrier part as my Family and I are fully qualified.--
    You mean some aren't 'fully qualified'? What's that mean.

    I have read about problems with undue wait times but have never experienced it myself.==

    Have you ever gone in for anything serious?

    Golfer, sailor, tanned, fit--no problem. Program works perfect for you.

    What about open heart surgery, a skin graft, heart/lung transplant?


    I offered the hospital the Medicaid rate, which turned out to be 51% exactly of what they had charged, and they took it.

    Case over.

  34. A dealer here that sells Jeeps has announced a sale caused by this Chrysler edict. The dealers are pissed.

  35. chachapoya, the Daschle Standard is the one that kept him out of an appointed Federal position, as Health Czar.

    So yes, it is a very good thing that Mr Daschle failed to perform, to Federal Standard.

    Thus his name is stuck to it.

    His driver and car were taxable benefits, to him. He "forgot" to report it on his Schedule C.

    I think that company paid benefits, like health insurance premiums and company paid transportation should be treated in a similar fashion.

  36. If you show up with that set of ailments, bob, you may be sent to the hospice, not the hospital.

    National Security issue, you know.

    Economic allocations of national assets and priotities.
    The Bankrupt cannot always get everything that they want, and as a Society, bob, we're bankrupt.

    Financially and morally.

  37. Gotta keep 11 carrier battle groups afloat.

    We do have our priorities, and they're not about to change.

    85,000 troops in Europe.

    26,000 in Korea

    130,000 in Iraq

  38. I would think if switchgrass was such a panacea, RufusRats, and that much better than corn, people would be making money on it, hand over fist.
    Must be an evil conspiracy @ work.

    BusinessWeek: The Great Ethanol ScamNot only is ethanol proving to be a dud as a fuel substitute but there is increasing evidence that it is destroying engines in large numbers.

    "Does the average citizen understand what this means? In from 10 to 20 years this country will be dependent entirely upon outside sources for a supply of liquid fuels … paying out vast sums yearly in order to obtain supplies of crude oil from Mexico, Russia, and Persia."—Yale Professor Harold Hibbert, ethanol promoter, 1925
    More than one major transportation-based industry in America besides Detroit is on the ropes. For the fourth time in our history the ethanol industry has come undone and is quickly failing nationally. Of course it's one thing when Detroit collapsed with the economy; after all, that is a truly free-market enterprise and the economy hasn't been good. But the fact that the ethanol industry is going bankrupt, when the only reason we use this additive is a massive government mandate, is outrageous at best.

    Then again, the ethanol lobby and refiners have a solution to ethanol's failure in America: Hire retired General Wesley Clark as your point man and lobby the government to increase the amount of ethanol in our fuel to 15%. The problems with that proposition are real—unlike ethanol's benefits.

    Where's the Logic?

  39. 1882, the peak year of Swedish immigration to the US, the Homestead Act churning out title to Federal lands, if a hardy soul would settle it.

    One hardy Swede, a man with a lota heart, moved to Moscow Idaho, and filed his claim.

    640 acres of farmland, for the taking and using. Just had to live on it, in primitive conditions to start, to be sure. But it was a gift from the people of the United States to the immigrants of the day.

    Well, folk started to congregate in Moscow, to build a university and community. Our immmigrant Swede now a family man, supports the growth of the community, quit claim deeding pieces of his farm for general improvements, donating wells, roads and land.

    Which he feels is only fair, as the land was part of the gift of America. Land of Opportunities.

    Knowing in his heart, that his life, in Moscow, Idaho, was due to the benevolence of the United States and her people.

    As time goes by, the old Swede passes on, leaving the farm to his son, the one with the dirt under his nails. He continues to farm the land, but tries his hand at other endevours, but still, stays with the land and the family farms. As another generation of Idaho Swedes takes shape upon the land.

    Once again, some of the children move on, to cities and careers far from the land. Again, one son stayed, working the land, through good times and bad.

    Telling the tale of the original Swede, a man of the land ... and philanthropy. Proudly telling of the donations of land and improvements, back in the day.

    But as the generation passed, so did the memory of the beginning of the tale, the gift of opportunity.

    No longer seeing the community or country from the perspective of an immigrant accepting both the gift and challenge of opportunity, but of a native, with a birthright.

  40. YRC-Yellow Roadway Corp. filed for TARP money earlier this month to the tune of 1 billion dollars. They are the largest LTL trucking company in the U.S. Industry insiders say they do not qualify for the money and should die a slow death. They are UNION so we shall see. They have been sucking wind for over 2 years.

  41. 160 not 640

    in primitive conditions to start, to be sure--

    You got that right, no one had ever taken a human crap on it before

    Get yourself a video of The Emigrants, twas kinda like that


  42. Is the press trying to keep you from making money? "It sure feels that way," Jim Cramer told the viewers of his "Mad Money" TV show Tuesday.


    Cramer offered some praise to the professors at Northwestern University, whose upcoming study in the "Financial Services Review" journal states that Cramer's stock picks are indeed better than the markets overall.


    He was bearish on Smith Wesson (SWHC Quote), Macerich (MAC Quote) and Gamestop (GME Quote).
    Getting Past the Negativity

  43. There you go, bob, only a technical detail amiss, but not the thread at the heart of the story.

  44. You forgot the part about bringing light, law, and the good graces to the savages.

  45. The leading proponent of the plan is Harvard Professor Elizabeth Warren, who now serves as the chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel for the government's financial rescue initiative.

    Warren wrote in a 2007 article that the government needed to do a better job protecting mortgage borrowers and consumers of other financial products.

    "It is impossible to buy a toaster that has a one-in-five chance of bursting into flames and burning down your house. But it is possible to refinance an existing home with a mortgage that has the same one-in-five chance of putting the family out on the street," Warren wrote in the journal Democracy.
    Financial Products

  46. I'll bet ya a Nez Perce took a dump on your land once upon a time.

  47. Some of them Berry Seeds probly were still around when Farmer Bob first tilled the Earth.

  48. Bob was Outstanding in His Field.

  49. But it is possible to refinance an existing home with a mortgage that has the same one-in-five chance of putting the family out on the street," Warren wrote in the journal Democracy.

    That doesn't pass the smell test if the buyer can read the contract. If the buyer's too lazy or stupid to read his contract, let him move to the minivan.

  50. Maybe, Sam, no telling for sure. But no arrowhead or artifact was ever found there.

    The saga continues to this day, a Nez Perce Princess, truly a beauty, leaving her TV broadcasting job for a marriage in love to another Native American fellow of another tribe, who had taken an orbital astronautical Space Shuttle ride around the wide watery earth, and, who knows, their children might someday travel first to the moon, then to Mars, and finally to the stars beyond.

    While ol' bob will be struggling still with the joys and sorrows of the fertile/infertile earth, left behind, contemplating an amzing narrative with no ending.

  51. Linear is so YESTERDAY:
    Readers pay for non-readers,
    Good Credit risks pay for bad,
    Citizens pay for non-citizens,
    We are the Whireled!

  52. Maybe, Sam, no telling for sure. But no arrowhead or artifact was ever found there.

    A dead zone, Bob. The land that time forgot. Unnourished by Nez urea. Bereft of the seed of the noble Nez.

    Lucky it still grows wheat.

    You know of course what the term 'wheat' means in Swedish. As in "...that's a crock of wheat."


    Linear is so YESTERDAY...

    Thanks, Doug. An improvement there.

    The ex more than once said I'm " 1890's."

    As if she'd know.

    Actually, I'd probably say 1928.

  53. President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has repeatedly said public banks should lead the drive towards lower lending rates to stoke economic growth, especially as the central bank cut rates three consecutive times since the beginning of the year.

    Lula replaced the chief executive of Banco do Brasil (BBAS3.SA) in April after the state-owned bank was criticized for not lowering rates fast enough to revive slumping consumer demand.

    But some government officials fear the law could get stuck in the Senate which has its hands full after launching on Friday an investigation into alleged tax and procurement fraud at state-owned oil company Petrobras
    Credit Law

  54. The formation of the Tamil Tigers in the 1970s had its roots in the failure of the Sri Lankan political system to address the grievances of the Tamil minority through the ballot box and parliamentary democracy. Sinhalese leaders of right and left played to the majoritarian gallery from the late 1940s onwards to get their votes.

    Successive federal solutions for meaningful regional devolution were thwarted, leaving frustrated youth to reject the peaceful approach of their forefathers and take up arms against the Sri Lankan state, with the bloody consequences that have ensued.

    The Sri Lankan armed forces have brought the war to a bloody end, with humanitarian casualties as yet unquantifiable. In the immediate future, however, unless President Rajapaksa commits to a constitutional settlement that is fully inclusive and respects the wishes of the island's minorities on ethnic, linguistic and religious issues, and avoids a victorious backlash against them, then it is difficult to see how longer-term problems and unresolved political and economic inequalities will be successfully resolved.

  55. The number of confirmed infections of the new strain of influenza topped 200 in Japan on Wednesday, according to a Kyodo News tally.

    The figure came to 212 as the Osaka prefectural government announced 16 additional confirmed infections.
    212 In Japan

  56. A dead zone, Bob. The land that time forgot.--

    Indeed, that it was, that was truly so. No salmon crowded there, in the seasonal little creek, nor furry beaver nor noble elk, nor buffalo herded, only an occasional ragged whitetail, thin from the feeding between the low pine, the stuggling grasses.

    With remembrance, I rise to go, to the Nez Perce Tribe's new Casino, where the coffee is free, the drawing at nine, and the tribe and friends live on the white man's dime.

    wallleacckkumkineyayaitseeedopa--goodbye for now, peace be with you, may you kill many enemies and find an obedient wife

  57. The head of Israel's security service has said there is no security reason for continuing construction of Israel's barrier through the West Bank.


    Meanwhile, Israeli police say a rocket fired by Palestinian militants in Gaza has landed in the town of Sderot, causing damage but no casualties.


    Later, Israeli forces were reported to have bombed an area on the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, hours after the Sderot attack.
    W. Bank Barrier

  58. Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura expressed concern Wednesday that Japan's economic situation may continue in dire straits, but noted that an early recovery is possible if the government's stimulus steps are implemented steadily.

    Kawamura made the comments after government data released Wednesday morning showed Japan's gross domestic product shrank an annualized 15.2 percent in the January-March period, representing a record contraction since the end of World War II.
    Economic Severity

  59. Under the mileage-and-emissions compromise that Obama built, traditional enemies came together. Everyone agreed to give something:

    _ The federal government will now do what it long refused under President George W. Bush — bend to the desires by several states to set more stringent fuel-efficiency rules than Washington.

    _ States, for their part, agreed to abandon efforts to go their own way, at least for the time being.

    _ Automakers pledged to drop their budget-sapping lawsuits protesting the enactment of a patchwork of differing state rules.
    Auto Deal

  60. Pretty easy to get stuff done now that there's no auto industry.

  61. Morning value leader Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group lost 5 yen, or about 1 percent, to 612 yen, while volume leader Mizuho Financial Group was up 2 yen, or about 1 percent, to 229 yen.

    Trading volume on the main section came to 978.73 million shares, down from Tuesday morning's 1,204.37 million.

    The TSE's Second Section index was up 0.54 point, or 0.03 percent, to 1,955.07 on a volume of 14.98 million shares. On the Osaka Securities Exchange, the near-term June Nikkei 225 index futures contract was up 30 points to 9,330.
    Shares Rise

  62. Air force spokesman Soelistyo said the plane had been flying from Jakarta to the eastern part of Java island.

    Former air force chief Chappy Hakim told Reuters the plane that crashed was U.S. made and built in the 1980s.

    Indonesia has a poor record of air safety and maintenance and has suffered a string of accidents in recent years affecting both commercial and military aircraft.
    Plane Crash

  63. As of 10:55 pm, 51% of votes counted, the CA special election looks decisive. All 6 measures were defeated except the 'feel good' measure, 1F, that purports to penalize the legislature by withholding their raises in deficit years.

    Nothing has really been accomplished. Four of the six initiatives were shell games, the lottery reorganization probably was also, and the last, and only passing one, is a token slap at the legislature.

  64. I turned on KGO tonight to listen what they were saying, all were bemoaning the results.

    I thought, well, Linear would be happy.

    I suppose this will mean some Obama bailout money on the way?

    Does this mean I'll be paying a little of the money to see California through. :) :(

    You knew how that Cal vote was going to go when The Austrian got the hell out of Dodge. Didn't want to face the music.

    ---Also listened to a little of the Fred Thompson Show, for the first time. Not bad. Though it was little disheartening to hear Fred selling gold on the commercial.

    'Now's the time to buy folks, the USA is going to hell.'

  65. A token slap is better than no slap at all.

  66. So, where in the world is the Taxinator now? After making a last-ditch pitch for his $16 billion in tax increases at black churches in L.A. (hello, church/state separation activists?) and attempting to fear-monger voters into approving the measures, Arnie has fled to Washington, D.C.--

    California, The Post Child For Dysfunction==

    Michelle Malkin

  67. What has the sun been thinking?

    Consider, for example, the possibility that the sun is conscious. This is not a very far fetched idea, even in terms of the standard materialist assumptions of orthodox science. Materialists believe that our own mental activity is associated with complex electromagnetic patterns in our brains. These patterns of electromagnetic activity are generally assumed to be the interface between consciousness and the physical activity of our brains. Consciousness is somehow supposed to emerge from these patterns. But the complex electromagnetic patterns in our brains are as nothing compared with the complexity of electromagnetic patterns in the sun.

    ...If people are prepared to admit that our consciousness is assoicated with these complex electromagnetic patterns, then why shouldn't the sun have a consciousness? The sun may think. Its mental activity may be associated with complex and measurable electromagnetic events both on its surface and deeper within. If there's a conncection between our consciousness and complex, dynamic electromagnetic patterns in our brains, there's no reason that I can see for denying the possibility of this connection in other cases and especially on the sun.

    If the sun is conscious, why not the other stars too? All the stars may have mental activity, life, and intelligence associated with them. And this is, of course, precisely what was believed in the past--that the stars are the seat of intelligences, and these intelligences are angels.

    Rupert Sheldrake

    from "The Physics of Angels" a dialogue between Rupert Sheldrake, Ph.D. biology and Matthew Fox, Ph.D. theology

    The Sombrero Galaxy--

    Gustave Dore