Sunday, February 13, 2011

Jeopardy! Greatest Quiz Show Ever!

IBM prepares for machine-vs.-man 'Jeopardy!' showdown

By Ritsuko Ando

Researchers at IBM are preparing a supercomputer named Watson to compete on the popular quiz show "Jeopardy!" this month.

Watson has already won a practice round on the show against two top contestants, showing that artificial intelligence has come a long way in simulating how humans think.

"We have created a computer system which has the ability to understand natural human language, which is a very difficult thing for a computer to do," said John Kelly, director of IBM Research.

"In the field of artificial intelligence, people spend their lifetimes trying to advance that science inches. What Watson does and has demonstrated is the ability to advance the field of artificial intelligence by miles."

Watson, who is named after legendary International Business Machines President Thomas Watson, is a showcase of the company's computing expertise and research in advanced science.

It also shows that IBM - which turns 100 this year - wants to stay at the forefront of technology, even as companies such as Google and Apple have become the industry's leaders.

IBM says Watson's ability to understand language makes it far more evolved than Deep Blue, the company's supercomputer that won against world chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997.

The biggest challenge for IBM scientists was teaching Watson to differentiate between literal and metaphorical expressions and understanding puns and slang.

Feeding it knowledge was easier. Watson is not plugged into the Internet but has a database covering topics from history to entertainment.

At a recent practice, held at IBM's Eero Saarinen-designed research facility in the New York City suburb of Yorktown Heights, Watson showed off its familiarity with musical film.

"The film 'Gigi' gave him his signature song, 'Thank Heaven for Little Girls,' " host Alex Trebek said.

"Who is Maurice Chevalier?" Watson replied in the game's question-response format.

The machine, which combines IBM's refrigerator-size Power7 computers, was too big for the set so was on the ground floor.

Watson triumphed in the first practice round, earning $4,400, while Ken Jennings, who won 74 games in a row during the 2004-05 season, trailed with $3,400. Brad Rutter, who has earned a cumulative $3.3 million on the show, came in last.

A win in actual competition, which airs Feb. 14-16, would be a triumph for IBM, which spends $6 billion per year in research and development. An unspecified portion goes to what IBM calls "grand challenges," or multi-year science projects such as Watson and Deep Blue.

IBM executives said Watson's linguistic and analytical capabilities may eventually help develop products in areas such as medical diagnosis.

Jennings, however, said he thought Watson could be beaten.

Fellow contestant Rutter agreed, citing Watson's weakness at grasping humor - a key part of some of the show's categories.

Reacting to a statement about actor-musician Jamie Foxx, who plays the cello, Watson's response was baffling: "Who is Beethoven?"

"I get the two mixed up all the time," joked Rutter to guffaws.

Watson did not laugh but went on to win the practice round.

Ramon Dominguez Romps In Tampa!

Ramon Dominguez wins 3 Stakes Races in Tampa yesterday for total purse money of $255,000. His basic 10% cut without bonus is $25,500. Not a bad payday for an afternoons work for America's top jockey!
Florida Oaks Stakes
Sam F. Davis Stakes
Endeavour Stakes

At Santa Anita, the Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis Stakes paid a bundle as bridge jumpers took a bath when favorite TAPIZAR ran out of the money!
Race Name: Robert B. Lewis S. - Grade: 2 Video Race Replay
Off at: 3:06 Race Type: Stakes
Age Restriction: Three Year Old
Purse: $250,000
Distance: One And One Eighth Miles On The Dirt
Track Condition: Fast
Winning Time: 1:48.63
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show
2 Anthony's Cross Joel Rosario 18.60 8.00 15.60
6 Riveting Reason Victor Espinoza
7.60 15.20
7 Quail Hill Martin A. Pedroza

Also ran: 8 - Thirtyfirststreet , 4 - Tapizar , 1 - Wegner , 5 - Ten Devils

Wager Type Winning Numbers Payoff
$1 Pick 3 1-8-2 (3 correct) 500.80
$2 Daily Double 8-2 210.40
$1 Exacta 2-6 49.60
$1 Superfecta 2-6-7-8 4,586.10
$1 Trifecta 2-6-7 1,266.10
More on Dominguez here:

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Your Tax Dollars At Work!


How Hosni Mubarak Got Filthy Rich

By Rick Newman

There are no Mubaraks on the Forbes list of the world's richest people, but there sure ought to be.

The mounting pressure from 18 days of historic protests finally drove Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak from office, after three decades as his nation's iron-fisted ruler. But over that time, Mubarak amassed a fortune that should finance a pretty comfortable retirement. The British Guardian newspaper cites Middle Eastern sources placing the wealth of Mubarak and his family at somewhere between $40 billion and $70 billion. That's a pretty good pension for government work. The world's richest man--Mexican business magnate Carlos Slim--is worth about $54 billion, by comparison. Bill Gates is close behind, with a net worth of about $53 billion.

Mubarak, of course, was a military man, not a businessman. But running a country with a suspended constitution for 30 years generates certain perks, and Mubarak was in a position to take a slice of virtually every significant business deal in the country, from development projects throughout the Nile basin to transit projects on the Suez Canal, which is a conduit for about 4 percent of the world's oil shipments. "There was no accountability, no need for transparency," says Prof. Amaney Jamal of Princeton University. "He was able to reach into the economic sphere and benefit from monopolies, bribery fees, red-tape fees, and nepotism. It was guaranteed profit."

Had the typical Egyptian enjoyed a morsel of that, Mubarak might still be in power. But Egypt, despite a cadre of well-educated young people, has struggled as an economic backwater. The nation's GDP per capita is just $6,200, according to the CIA--one-seventh what it is in the United States. That output ranks 136th in the world, even though Egypt ranks 16th in population. Mubarak had been working on a set of economic reforms, but they stalled during the global recession. The chronic lack of jobs and upward mobility was perhaps the biggest factor driving millions of enraged Egyptian youths into the streets, demanding change.

Estimates of Mubarak's wealth will probably be hard to verify, if not impossible (one reason dictators tend not to make it onto Forbes's annual list). His money is certainly not sitting in an Egyptian vault, waiting to be counted. And his delayed exit may have allowed Mubarak time to move money around and hide significant parts of his fortune. The Swiss government has said it is temporarily freezing any assets in Swiss banks that could be linked to Mubarak, an uncharacteristically aggressive move for the secretive banking nation. But that doesn't mean the money will ever be returned to the Egyptian people, and it may even find its way to Mubarak eventually. Other Mubarak funds are reportedly sitting in British banks, and Mubarak was no doubt wily enough to squire away some cash in unlikely places. Plus, an eventual exile deal could allow Mubarak to retain some of his wealth, no questions asked, as long as he and his family leave Egypt and make no further bids for power.

Epic skimming is a common privilege of Middle Eastern despots, and Mubarak and his two sons, Gamal and Alaa, were a bit less conspicuous than some of the Saudi princes and other Middle Eastern royals seen partying from time to time on the French Riviera or other hotspots. The family does reportedly own posh estates in London, New York, and Beverly Hills, plus a number of properties around the Egyptian resort town of Sharm El Sheikh, where Mubarak reportedly went after resigning the presidency.

Mubarak also spread the wealth far and wide in Egyptian power circles--another Middle Eastern tradition--one reason he incurred the kind of loyalty that allowed him to rule for a remarkable three decades. Top Army officials were almost certainly on his payroll, which might help explain why the Army eased him out in the end--allowing a kind of in-country exile--instead of hounding him out of Egypt or imprisoning him once it was clear the tide had turned against him for good.

That money trail, in fact, will help determine whether Egypt becomes a more prosperous, democratic country, or continues to muddle along as an economic basket case. Even though he's out of power, Mubarak may still be able to influence the Army officials running the country, through the financial connections that made them all wealthy. And if not Mubarak, the next leader may be poised to start lining his pockets the same way Mubarak did. For Egypt to have a more effective, transparent economy, all of that will have to be cleaned up. There are probably a lot of people in Cairo who have been checking their bank balances lately.

A is a cube; B consists of 1000 cubes of type A. C consists of 1000 B's; and D 1000 C's. Thus there are 1 million A's in C; and 1,000,000,000 A's in D. Billion-cubes-new.svg

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Great Nation Run By Crybabies And Pussies!

244 comments, Feb 9, 2011 6:13 PM

Vang Pao Denied Burial In Arlington! Good!

The Assassinated Press

America’s Hero in the War for Drugs Dies
Vang Pao Supplied the CIA’s Raw Opium from the Golden Triangle, Wiped Out Agency Competition
Lao Ally Along with CIA Shares Major Credit for Heroin Epidemic among American Troops in Vietnam

The Assassinated Press

It is truly a sad day. Vang Pao, 81, the father of CIA Golden Triangle raw opium/heroin smuggling has died of complications due to pneumonia. Famous for his unswerving loyalty to heroin profits and the country, the US, that supplied a majority of addicts, Vang Pao, immigrated to America with a hope and a dream--- to link up with the Colombian cocaine cartels.

But lacking the muscle here and with no clandestine war to fight using his people as fodder and without CIA aid and assistance his dream of a southern California coke and crack empire never materialized. Still, Mr. Pao made fortunes in the illegal cigarette trade, extortion and protection, and gun smuggling. He also advised major banks such as Citibank in the art of money laundering and major corporations on how to enhance the value of government contracts by smuggling drugs in civilian transport planes.

But despite leading a full felonious business life in the US, Mr. Pao longed for the days he could stand back while his Hmong tribesman were routinely slaughtered by the Pathet Lao and the North Vietnamese Army.

While using the infamous and glamorous CIA airline, Air America, to smuggle raw opium out of the southeastern tip of the Golden Triangle, he ordered boys as young as 12 to march against well-trained Lao and Viet Minh Communist forces.

When the legendary CIA asset, the cursing Evangelical, Edgar ‘Pop’ Buell told Vang Pao bluntly “No boys. No rice” meaning if you don’t send me more boy recruits, I’m gonna starve the Hmong until you do, Mr. Pao sent the boys to their deaths. Hey! Man’s gotta eat. Never mind that before Vang Pao and the Americans came along the Hmong had been self-sufficient for more than 20 centuries.

Buell famously said, “for every Hmong that died, one fewer American soldier died” which goes to demonstrate that mathematics was not ‘Pop’’s strong suit.

Another American icon has fallen. One who will surely be missed by the Oliver North’s and Richard Secord’s and Thomas Clines’ of the world. Bill Colby loved the guy. What does that tell you? Colby who was murdered by the Agency he ran for revealing too much about the Phoenix Program to the Church and Pike committee hearings.

So Vang Pao. Goodbye, old comrade. May St. Peter shove a needle up your arm and send you to Hell. You piece of shit.


Israel Prepares For Total War As Arab Countries Collapse Due To Exploitation Of Poor By Super Rich!

Army Chief Ashkenazi: Prepare for all-out war

In his final days on the job, Chief of Staff Ashkenazi warns about growing radicalization in region; given recent changes across Middle East, Israel must prepare for a battle in several theaters, he says

Given recent changes in the Middle East, Israel must prepare for a battle in several theaters, outgoing IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi said Monday at the Herzliya Conference.

"The connection between the different players requires us to contend with more than one theater," he said.

The radical camp in the Middle East is gaining strength, Ashkenazi warned, adding that "the moderate camp among the traditional Arab leadership is weakening." He also made note of what he characterized as the "fascinating phenomenon" whereby power is shifting to the people of the region thanks to online social networks

The army chief said that in the wake of the growing threat of radical Islam among Israel's neighbors, the defense budget would have to be boosted in the coming years. The main change faced by the army is the widening spectrum of threats, he said.

"Because of this spectrum, we must prepare for a conventional war…it would be a mistake to prepare for non-conventional war or limited conflicts and then expect that overnight the forces will operate in an all-out-war," he said.

Praising Israel's youngsters

However, Ashkenazi said that both Hamas and Hezbollah pose only a limited threat to Israel at this time.

"I do not underestimate Hamas or Hezbollah, but they cannot take over the Negev or Galilee," he said. Hezbollah and Hamas understood that encountering the IDF on the classic battlefields is lethal, and are therefore fighting out of urban areas, the army chief added.

Ashkenazi also praised Israel's youths and said they possess impressive qualities despite their lowly image. The army chief also highlighted the growing desire among Israel's youngsters to join combat units."We are going to the schools, and I want to tell you that these young people, with the piercing and tattoos or whatever you call it, are enlisting," he said. "These are incredibly high-quality youths."
Scottsdale, AZ - Former Vice President Quayle Calls On Obama To Free Pollard News Source: Press Release

Scottsdale, AZ - In an historic move that further solidifies a growing bi-partisan coalition that is urging the White House to free Jonathan Pollard, former Vice President Dan Quayle sent a letter to President Obama in which he called for a commutation of Pollard's sentence (the full text of the letter PDF). Quayle, who served with President George H. W. Bush from 1989-1993, urged the President to release Pollard, who has spent the past 26 years in a federal prison for passing classified information to Israel.

Prior to becoming the 44th Vice President of the United States, Quayle served as a U.S. Senator and a U.S. Representative from Indiana.

"I write this letter urging you to consider commuting the sentence of Jonathan Pollard," wrote Quayle. "I believe that a life sentence for the crime committed is very extreme. Though his crime was very serious, I hope you will once again look very carefully at this pending request."


Monday, February 7, 2011

Reagan The Grandfather Of The US Multi-Trillion Dollar Debt

Ronald Reagan: the father of the debtor nation assault on mental health by web
As politicians from both parties celebrate Ronald Reagan's 100th birthday this Sunday, February 6, 2011, one key and very painful fact which will be largely overlooked is that Reagan made America a debtor nation for the first time in its history. Ronald Reagan is the father of the debtor nation.

Jonathan Weisman of the Washington Post summed it up when he wrote in 2004, "The fiscal shift in the Reagan years was staggering. In January 1981, when Reagan declared the federal budget to be 'out of control,' the deficit had reached almost $74 billion, the federal debt $930 billion. Within two years, the deficit was $208 billion. The debt by 1988 totaled $2.6 trillion. In those eight years, the United States moved from being the world's largest international creditor to the largest debtor nation." Today the national debt stands at over $14 TRILLION or more than $40,000.00 for every man, woman and child living in the United States.

Perhaps Reagan got us into this mess due to his inability to understand reality. In 1984 he gave a speech to the Christian charlatans who are religious broadcasters. In his address to the National Religious Broadcasters Convention he was praising the liar and con-man Pat Robertson when Ron said, "In his book, 'The Secret Kingdom,' Pat Robertson told us, 'There can be peace; there can be plenty; there can be freedom. They will come the minute human beings accept the principles of the invisible world and begin to live by them in the visible world.'" Maybe Ron's reliance on the invisible/non-existent principles of Pat Robertson and the Bible helped destroy America's very real and visible economy and made it a debtor nation for the first time ever.

In his speech to the Christian charlatans Reagan went on to brag that he declared 1983 to be the "year of the Bible." (He also rambled on implying George Washington was a Christian who got on his knees and prayed at Valley Forge when this is not true. George Washington was not a Christian, he was a Deist.)

Based on this speech, Reagan strongly believed the Bible to be "The Word of God." He said to the televangelists, "1983 was the year more of us read the Good Book. Can we make a resolution here today? -- that 1984 will be the year we put its great truths into action?"

One of the "great truths" of the Bible, one of its primary reasons for being, particularly the Old Testament, is the promotion of Israel over all. It seems Ronald Reagan made one Bible prophesy come true. Isaiah 61:6 has God promising the Hebrews/Israel that they will "eat the riches of the Gentiles." Reagan helped make this a reality in 1985 when he helped push through the first ever "free trade agreement" with Israel. This was the first in a long line of devastatingly harmful agreements and treaties which are still harming working people. In his thought provoking and enlightening book, Spy Trade: How Israel's Lobby Undermines America's Economy, Grant F. Smith points out that this Reagan backed agreement with Israel has cost American workers over 1 million jobs over a ten year period.

The Real Reagan Legacy
Debunking Myths About Reagan
by Mike Hersh

March 19, 2002 (Political Sanity/APJP) -- Let's begin our examination of the real Reagan Legacy by taking a look at myth number one: Democrats dominated Congress all through Reagan's terms, and called all his budgets Dead On Arrival.

That's numerically and historically false. Reagan's people shoved his program through the Congress during the early Reagan years. James A. Baker, David Stockman and other Reaganites ran roughshod over Tip O'Neill and the divided Democrats in the House and Senate, and won every critical vote. This is because of the GOP majority in the Senate and the GOP-"Boll Weevil" (or "Dixiecrat") coalition in the House. Phil Gramm was a House Democrat at the time, and he even sponsored the most important Reagan budgets.

Only after the huge Reagan recession -- made worse by utterly failed Reagan "Voodoo Economics" - did Democrats regain some control in Congress. They halted some Reagan initiatives, but couldn't do much on their own. That was a time of gridlock.

Six years into Reagan's presidency, Democrats retook the Senate, and began to reverse some of Reagan's horrendous policies. By that time, Reaganomics had "accomplished" quite a bit: doubled the national debt, caused the S&L crisis, and nearly wrecked the financial system.

Which brings us to myth number two: Jimmy Carter wrecked the economy, and Reagan's bold tax cuts saved it.

This is utterly absurd. Economic growth indices -- GDP, jobs, revenues -- were all positive when Carter left office. All plunged after Reagan policies took effect.

Reagan didn't cure inflation, the main economic problem during the Carter years. Carter's Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker tried when he raised interest rates. That's the opposite of what Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan has done to keep inflation low.

Carter's policies and people fought inflation, but maintained real growth. On the other hand, Reagan's policies helped cause the worst recession since the Great Depression: two bleak years with nearly double-digit unemployment! Reaganomics failed in less than a year, and it took an entire second year for the economy to recover from the failure.

Carter didn't cause the inflation problem, but his tough policies and smart personnel solved it. Unfortunately for Carter, it took too long for the good results to kick in. Not only didn't Reagan help whip inflation, he actually opposed the Volcker policies!

Another major myth: Reagan cut taxes on all Americans, and that led to a great expansion.

Here's the truth: the total federal tax burden increased during the Reagan years, and most Americans paid more in taxes after Reagan than before. The "Reagan Recovery" was unremarkable. It looks great only contrasted against the dismal Reagan Recession -- but it had nothing to do with Supply Side voodoo.

With a red ink explosion -- $300 BILLION deficits looming as far as the eye could see -- GOP Senators, notably including Bob Dole, led the way on tax hikes. The economy enjoyed its recovery only after total tax increases larger than the total tax cuts were implemented. Most importantly, average annual GDP growth during the Reagan 80s was lower than during the Clinton 90s or the JFK-LBJ 60s!

Enough about the economy. Here's the biggest myth of them all: Ronald Reagan won the "Cold War".

In reality, Reagan did nothing to bring down the Soviet Union.

By 1980, the Soviet Union was trying to cut its own defense spending. Reagan made it harder for them to do so. In fact, Reagan increased the possibility of a nuclear war because he was -- frankly, and sadly -- senile. He thought we could actually recall submarine-launched nuclear missiles (talk about a Reagan myth), and bullied the Soviets to highest alert several times.

Critically, Reagan never even tried to bring down the Soviet Union.

Wasteful overspending on defense didn't end the Soviet Union. In fact, it played into the hands of authoritarian "Communist" hard-liners in the Kremlin. Reagan thought the Soviet Union was more powerful than we were. He was trying to close what he called "the window of vulnerability."

This was sheer idiocy.

No general in our military would trade our armed forces for theirs. If it were to happen, none of the Soviet military command would turn down that deal. We had better systems, better troops, and better morale.

Here's the truth: we'd already won the Cold War before Reagan took office. All Reagan needed to do was continue the tried-and-true containment policies Harry S. Truman began and all subsequent presidents employed. The Soviet Union was Collapsing from within. The CIA actually told this to Reagan as he took office.

Here's an example: the Soviet Union military couldn't deal with a weak state on its own border, the poor, undermanned Afghanistan. Most of the Soviets' military might had to make sure its "allies" in the Warsaw Pact and subjects along the South Asian front didn't revolt. Even Richard Nixon told Reagan he could balance the budget with big defense cuts.

Reagan ignored this, and wrecked our budget.

We didn't have to increase weapons spending, but Reagan didn't care. He ran away from summits with the dying old-guard Soviets, and the new-style "glasnost" leadership of Mikhail Gorbachev baffled the witless Reagan and his closed-minded extremist advisors.

Maggie Thatcher finally cajoled the Gipper into meeting Gorby, and Gorby cleaned Reagan's clock. Reagan's hard-right "handlers" nearly had to drag Reagan out of the room before he signed away our entire nuclear deterrent. Reagan -- and the planet -- was lucky Gorbachev sought genuine and stable peace. Had Yuri Andropov's health held, Reagan's "jokes" and gaffes might have caused World War III.

Eventually Reagan even gave Gorbachev his seal of approval. Visiting Moscow before the August Coup, Reagan said the Soviet Union was no longer the "Evil Empire." He predicted his friend Gorbachev would lead the Soviet Union for many years to come.

As usual, Reagan was wrong. A few months later, disgruntled military officers kidnapped Gorbachev, throwing him out of power forever. Reagan remained disengaged: nothing he did caused the coup, and nothing he did made the Soviet military support Boris Yeltsin over their superiors.

We're all fortunate things happened as they did -- but once again, Reagan did nothing to make this fluke more likely.

All this is vintage Reagan. Reagan took credit for others' hard word and hard choices, and blamed them for his failures. Reagan even blamed Jimmy Carter for Reagan's foolish, fatal, and reckless decision to leave 243 Marines stationed in Beirut, helpless and unguarded.

Reagan hired over 100 crooks to run our government, and broke several laws himself. His policies were almost uniformly self-defeating, wrong-headed, immoral and unfair.

Reagan was an actor playing the part of the president. He was style over substance; lucky, not good.

And once the myths are stripped from the "legacy", the truth becomes obvious: Reagan was by far the most overrated man in American history.
Reagan Policies Gave Green Light to Red Ink

By Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 9, 2004; Page A11

The line is not likely to make this week's eulogies to Ronald Reagan, but when Vice President Cheney allegedly declared, "Reagan proved deficits don't matter," he summed up an enduring argument from the former president's economic legacy.

In late 2002, Cheney had summoned the Bush administration's economic team to his office to discuss another round of tax cuts to stimulate the economy. Then-Treasury Secretary Paul H. O'Neill pleaded that the government -- already running a $158 billion deficit -- was careering toward a fiscal crisis. But by O'Neill's account of the meeting, Cheney silenced him by invoking his take on Reagan's legacy.

It wasn't that Reagan's policies proved that government borrowing had no impact on the economy. But his administration's record -- particularly with some years of hindsight -- did give reason to question traditional thinking and provided a new context for future arguments about deficit spending.

"The lesson we should have learned [from those years] is that deficits have little or no short-term economic impacts," said William A. Niskanen, a member of Reagan's Council of Economic Advisers.

As important, they appeared to have no impact politically, said Stephen Moore, a conservative economist at the Club for Growth who worked in Reagan's budget office.

"Voters and politicians became anesthetized to big deficits," Moore recalled. "Reagan was running these big deficits, and liberals argued it was going to be Armageddon. We were going to ruin the economy. Interest rates were going to go through the roof. And none of these things happened."

The fiscal shift in the Reagan years was staggering. In January 1981, when Reagan declared the federal budget to be "out of control," the deficit had reached almost $74 billion, the federal debt $930 billion. Within two years, the deficit was $208 billion. The debt by 1988 totaled $2.6 trillion. In those eight years, the United States moved from being the world's largest international creditor to the largest debtor nation.

To some economists, the impact was clear. Interest rates rose in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the economy slowed, then slipped into recession, and productivity barely advanced. Americans feared their nation had slipped into the shadows of Japan and Germany.

Reagan's "economic policy . . . was a disaster," University of California at Berkeley economic historian J. Bradford DeLong wrote this past weekend on his Web site. "The tax cuts made America a more unequal place, and the deficits slowed economic growth in the 1980s significantly."

But after the boom years of the 1990s, and the steady economic slides of those international rivals, some economists are reevaluating that version of history. The argument against deficits is more about self-righteous moralism than economics, they say.

The Reagan "experience changed the debate dramatically," said Kevin A. Hassett, an economist at the American Enterprise Institute. "Back then, it seems that everybody believed Reagan must be some kind of kook and the people who agreed with these views were flimflam artists. Not so anymore."

Indeed, since the Reagan years, the argument over the deficit has been turned on its head. In the 1980s, prominent liberal economists dismissed the significance of government red ink to head off the slashing of social welfare spending. Now, many liberal economists have become the fiercest deficit hawks to head off still more tax cuts.

But the shifts go beyond politics. For nearly a century, economic orthodoxy has held that federal borrowing harms the economy by driving up interest rates, diminishing investment and productivity, and placing an unfair burden on future generations, who will finance the spending and tax cuts of the present.

Traditional economists argue that as the government enters private capital markets to finance its deficits, it competes with private borrowers. A deficit equal to 1 percent of the size of the economy -- about $110 billion today -- would slap as much as a full percentage point on the interest rates consumers pay to finance a new home or new car. By that measure, today's deficit would account for nearly 4 percentage points of a 6 percent mortgage.

But the new argument holds that interest rates are set on a vastly larger global marketplace. With rising global prosperity, even a federal deficit as large as the United States' would present little competition for would-be investors. A soon-to-be-published paper by American Enterprise Institute economist Eric M. Engen and Columbia University economist R. Glenn Hubbard, the first chairman of Bush's Council of Economic Advisers, concluded that the record budget deficit of 2004 should raise interest rates by 0.12 percent.

"The world's capital markets are lot more sophisticated and flexible than they were then," said N. Gregory Mankiw, the current chairman of Bush's economic council. "That probably means that other things being equal, changes in domestic fiscal situations have less impact."

Indeed, this school of thought is becoming something of a consensus, Engen said. Deficits equal to 1 percent of the size of the economy should raise interest rates by 0.3 percent, he said. That is the low end of the 0.3 to 0.6 percent range postulated by Brookings Institution economists William G. Gale and Peter R. Orszag when they argued deficits are economically significant.

Benjamin M. Friedman, a Harvard University economist who lamented Reagan's fiscal policies in his 1988 book "Day of Reckoning," said the expansion of foreign credit has tempered the feared hikes in long-term interest rates that he thought would cripple the economy. But, he said, "that doesn't let deficits off the hook."

"It's important to realize that interest rates are set on world capital markets; therefore, a large deficit need not impact capital formation," he said, referring to economic investments in new plants and equipment that drive growth. "But that's identical to saying we will continue to do capital formation, but we'll do it by forever borrowing abroad."

And that spells trouble, said Niskanen of Reagan's Council of Economic Advisers. Debt does have to be repaid, and foreign investors -- primarily the central banks of Japan, Britain and China -- own $1.7 billion of federal debt. That, he said, has made the country "terribly dependent" and "terribly vulnerable."

That is a bipartisan fear. "The key point is, even if it were sustainable, it's not desirable," said Orszag, a prominent Democratic economist. "We still will owe the money to foreigners. We're still mortgaging our future national income. Just because you can take out a larger mortgage to buy a bigger house doesn't mean you should."

Sunday, February 6, 2011

9-11-01 From Space

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Christine O'Donnell Needs A Big Fat Dildo! She's Damn Cute! But, Can You Afford Her?

Amazingly stupid Christine O'Donnell talks about being abstinent and "pure"! This didn't stop her from ripping off her own campaign and putting herself on the payroll! Another sexually frustrated Republican who prefers war over peace, and ideology over reality! Somebody buy her a dildo so she can release all that pent up sexual tension! Better yet some millionaire needs to make her his wife! O'Donnell is America's most eligible bachelorette!