Sunday, November 30, 2008

How to be thankful

A few suggestions:

Be thankful that you don't already have everything you want. If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don't know something, this gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times. During those times you grow and gain the ability to appreciate the good times.

Be thankful for your limitations, because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge, because it will build strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes. They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you're tired and weary, because it means you've made a difference.

Doctors shocked at hostages's torture

How absolutely horrific:

Doctors shocked at hostages's torture
The other doctor, who had also conducted the post-mortem of the victims, said: "Of all the bodies, the Israeli victims bore the maximum torture marks. It was clear that they were killed on the 26th itself. It was obvious that they were tied up and tortured before they were killed. It was so bad that I do not want to go over the details even in my head again," he said.

Corroborating the doctors' claims about torture was the information that the Intelligence Bureau had about the terror plan. "During his interrogation, Ajmal Kamal said they were specifically asked to target the foreigners, especially the Israelis," an IB source said.

It is also said that the Israeli hostages were killed on the first day as keeping them hostage for too long would have focused too much international attention. "They also might have feared the chances of Israeli security agencies taking over the operations at the Nariman House," he reasoned.

Friday, November 28, 2008

How Your Audience's Brain Works

For those who speak in front of an audience (or congregation).  Things we need to know...

How Your Audience's Brain Works - BusinessWeek
Your brain has a tendency to tune out after 10 minutes, ignore "boring" subjects, and require a lot of pictures to retain information. Those are three of the discoveries detailed in John Medina's new book, Brain Rules. I recently spoke to Medina, a developmental molecular biologist and teacher at the University of Washington School of Medicine to get a sense of how business leaders can apply his findings when making presentations to audiences large and small.

1. The brain tunes out after 10 minutes. Your audience might be with you at "Hello," but in most cases, listeners stop paying attention within 10 minutes. Since Medina began teaching in 1993, he has continually asked his students: "Given a class of medium interest, not too boring and not too exciting, when do you start glancing at the clock, wondering when the class will be over?" The answer is always 10 minutes. According to Medina, peer-reviewed studies confirm his observation. "Before the first quarter-hour is over in a typical presentation, people usually have checked out," says Medina.

The 10-minute rule is an important finding for anyone who delivers information to any sort of audience. If you want to hold people's attention, I recommend you introduce some sort of engaging device at or shortly before each 10-minute increment of your presentation. This device doesn't have to be complicated. A simple story will suffice, as will a review of the past 10 minutes. In my presentations, I often tell a relevant story, or better yet, show a video clip that is relevant to the previous discussion. If you're presenting via Webinar software (BusinessWeek, 4/18/08), you can use a tool to push a poll or a question to your audience. Again, be sure to plan these exercises at 10-minute intervals.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Legislating Immorality

Read the whole thing:

Legislating Immorality by The Editors on National Review Online
Last week in a Denver suburb, someone lit a Book of Mormon on fire and dropped it on the doorstep of a Mormon temple, presumably as a statement about the church’s support of Proposition 8 in California, an initiative that amended the state constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. In a move that may make gay-rights supporters’ heads spin, the incident is being investigated as a hate crime.

'A Day of Thanksgiving'

The origins of Thanksgiving:  Have a happy Thanksgiving!

'A Day of Thanksgiving' -
When was the first Thanksgiving? Most of us think of the Pilgrims at Plymouth in 1621. But if the question is about the first national Thanksgiving holiday, the answer is that the tradition began at a lesser-known moment in 1777 in York, Pa.

In July 1776, the American colonists declared independence from Britain. The months that followed were so bleak that there was not much to give thanks for. The Journals of the Continental Congress record no Thanksgiving in that year, only two days of "solemn fasting" and prayer.

For much of 1777, the situation was not much better. British troops controlled New York City. The Americans lost the strategic stronghold of Fort Ticonderoga, in upstate New York, to the British in July. In Delaware, on Sept. 11, troops led by Gen. George Washington lost the Battle of Brandywine, in which 200 Americans were killed, 500 wounded and 400 captured. In Pennsylvania, early in the morning of Sept. 21, another 300 American soldiers were killed or wounded and 100 captured in a British surprise attack that became known as the Paoli Massacre.

Philadelphia, America's largest city, fell on Sept. 26. Congress, which had been meeting there, fled briefly to Lancaster, Pa., and then to York, a hundred miles west of Philadelphia. One delegate to Congress, John Adams of Massachusetts, wrote in his diary, "The prospect is chilling, on every Side: Gloomy, dark, melancholy, and dispiriting."

His cousin, Samuel Adams, gave the other delegates -- their number had dwindled to a mere 20 from the 56 who had signed the Declaration of Independence -- a talk of encouragement. He predicted, "Good tidings will soon arrive. We shall never be abandoned by Heaven while we act worthy of its aid and protection."

He turned out to have been correct, at least about the good tidings. On Oct. 31, a messenger arrived with news of the American victory at the Battle of Saratoga. The American general, Horatio Gates, had accepted the surrender of 5,800 British soldiers, and with them 27 pieces of artillery and thousands of pieces of small arms and ammunition.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Is Earth at the heart of a giant cosmic void?

The philosophical (and theological) ramifications are astounding.  Read the whole thing.

Is Earth at the heart of a giant cosmic void? - space - 12 November 2008 - New Scientist
IT WAS the evolutionary theory of its age. A revolutionary hypothesis that undermined the cherished notion that we humans are somehow special, driving a deep wedge between science and religion. The philosopher Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake for espousing it; Galileo Galilei, the most brilliant scientist of his age, was silenced. But Nicolaus Copernicus's idea that Earth was just one of many planets orbiting the sun - and so occupied no exceptional position in the cosmos - has endured and become a foundation stone of our understanding of the universe.

Could it actually be wrong, though? At first glance, that question might seem heretical, or downright silly. But as our cosmic horizons have expanded over the centuries so too has the scope of Copernicus's idea. It has morphed into the Copernican, or cosmological, principle: that nothing distinguishes the position of Earth's galaxy from any other place in the entire universe. And that idea, some cosmologists point out, has not been tested beyond all doubt - yet.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

De-sanitizing Christmas

The cultural background of the birth narrative is amazingly complex...but also very interesting.

CRN.Info and Analysis » Blog Archive » De-sanitizing Christmas #3: Meet the Parents (2008 Update)
Mother Mary

All cultural indications from the Jewish culture and the Galilee region would suggest that Mary was 12-13 years of age at the time of her betrothal. Also, considering that most betrothal periods would last from 6 months to two years (at most), these cultural indicators would suggest that Mary was 12 - 14 years old when she received the visit from the angel Gabriel.

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 1:18)

How often do we see Christmas reenactments on TV or at our churches in which Mary is a young twentysomething girl, as opposed to a 6th-, 7th- or 8th-grade girl? Not only that, but she’s 9 months pregnant!


If we only know a little bit about Mary, we know even less about Joseph.

Once again, if we follow Galilean Jewish tradition, Joseph would have been at least 13, though it is possible he was a few years older, since he is identified with a profession, which he would typically have learned from his father between the ages of 12 and 16.

There are a number of religious traditions which have suggested that Joseph was significantly older and a widower when he was betrothed to Mary. However, this came from the Catholic tradition which insisted this had to have been the case, specifically because of the belief that Mary remained a virgin after Jesus’ birth (a mistaken interpretation of Matthew 1:25). Thus, since Jesus had at least 4 brothers and 2 or more sisters (see Mark 6:3), many Catholics will argue that these siblings had to have come from Joseph via a prior marriage. However, this is highly unlikely and not supported by scripture.

The cost of the bailout compared to other expenditures

Puts things in perspective:

Ben Smith's Blog: How big? -

The sum of this fall's bailouts — $4.6165 trillion
Marshall Plan: Cost: $12.7 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $115.3 billion
• Louisiana Purchase: Cost: $15 million, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $217 billion
• Race to the Moon: Cost: $36.4 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $237 billion
• S&L Crisis: Cost: $153 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $256 billion
• Korean War: Cost: $54 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $454 billion
• The New Deal: Cost: $32 billion (Est), Inflation Adjusted Cost: $500 billion (Est)
• Invasion of Iraq: Cost: $551b, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $597 billion
• Vietnam War: Cost: $111 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $698 billion
• NASA: Cost: $416.7 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $851.2 billion

TOTAL: $3.92 trillion

Marine Makes Insurgents Pay the Price

It would seem that it is dangerous for your health to mess with the Marines!

Marine Makes Insurgents Pay the Price
In the city of Shewan, approximately 250 insurgents ambushed 30 Marines and paid a heavy price for it.

Shewan has historically been a safe haven for insurgents, who used to plan and stage attacks against Coalition Forces in the Bala Baluk district.

The city is home to several major insurgent leaders. Reports indicate that more than 250 full time fighters reside in the city and in the surrounding villages.

Shewan had been a thorn in the side of Task Force 2d Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force Afghanistan throughout the Marines’ deployment here in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, because it controls an important supply route into the Bala Baluk district. Opening the route was key to continuing combat operations in the area.

“The day started out with a 10-kilometer patrol with elements mounted and dismounted, so by the time we got to Shewan, we were pretty beat,” said a designated marksman who requested to remain unidentified. “Our vehicles came under a barrage of enemy RPGs (rocket propelled grenades) and machine gun fire. One of our ‘humvees’ was disabled from RPG fire, and the Marines inside dismounted and laid down suppression fire so they could evacuate a Marine who was knocked unconscious from the blast.”
During the battle, the designated marksman single handedly thwarted a company-sized enemy RPG and machinegun ambush by reportedly killing 20 enemy fighters with his devastatingly accurate precision fire. He selflessly exposed himself time and again to intense enemy fire during a critical point in the eight-hour battle for Shewan in order to kill any enemy combatants who attempted to engage or maneuver on the Marines in the kill zone. What made his actions even more impressive was the fact that he didn’t miss any shots, despite the enemies’ rounds impacting within a foot of his fighting position.

...We killed a lot of bad guys, and none of our guys were seriously injured.”

Monday, November 24, 2008

U.S. Pledges Top $7.7 Trillion to Ease Frozen Credit

Wow, how can it keep going on like this? Exclusive
The U.S. government is prepared to provide more than $7.76 trillion on behalf of American taxpayers after guaranteeing $306 billion of Citigroup Inc. debt yesterday. The pledges, amounting to half the value of everything produced in the nation last year, are intended to rescue the financial system after the credit markets seized up 15 months ago.

The unprecedented pledge of funds includes $3.18 trillion already tapped by financial institutions in the biggest response to an economic emergency since the New Deal of the 1930s, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The commitment dwarfs the plan approved by lawmakers, the Treasury Department’s $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program. Federal Reserve lending last week was 1,900 times the weekly average for the three years before the crisis.

Venezuelan Opposition Gains in Vote


Venezuelan Opposition Gains in Vote -
President Hugo Chávez’s supporters suffered a stinging defeat in several state and municipal races on Sunday, with the opposition retaining power in oil-rich Zulia, the country’s most populous state, and winning crucial races here in the capital.

The losses were Mr. Chávez’s second setback at the polls in the past year, after the defeat of a proposed constitutional overhaul last December that would have enhanced his powers. The results will put opponents of Mr. Chávez in charge of areas with about a third of Venezuela’s 26 million people.

“These victories came in the economic and political centers of the country,” said Luis Vicente León, director of Datánalisis, a polling firm here. “They represent the most important symbols in terms of cities and population.”

Particularly here in Caracas, the results were rooted in festering discontent over the government’s inability to lower violent crime as homicides and kidnappings have surged over the past decade, making it one of the world’s deadliest cities. In the early hours of Monday, celebratory fireworks went off over parts of the city after the results were announced.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Halperin at Politico/USC conf.: 'extreme pro-Obama' press bias

Ya think?

Halperin at Politico/USC conf.: 'extreme pro-Obama' press bias - Alexander Burns -
Media bias was more intense in the 2008 election than in any other national campaign in recent history, Time magazine's Mark Halperin said Friday at the Politico/USC conference on the 2008 election.

"It's the most disgusting failure of people in our business since the Iraq war," Halperin said at a panel of media analysts. "It was extreme bias, extreme pro-Obama coverage."

Halperin, who maintains Time's political site "The Page," cited two New York Times articles as examples of the divergent coverage of the two candidates.

"The example that I use, at the end of the campaign, was the two profiles that The New York Times ran of the potential first ladies," Halperin said. "The story about Cindy McCain was vicious. It looked for every negative thing they could find about her and it case her in an extraordinarily negative light. It didn't talk about her work, for instance, as a mother for her children, and they cherry-picked every negative thing that's ever been written about her."

The story about Michelle Obama, by contrast, was "like a front-page endorsement of what a great person Michelle Obama is," according to Halperin.

Friday, November 21, 2008

5 Reasons Why America's Largest Car Company Teeters on the Edge


GM in Crisis—5 Reasons Why America's Largest Car Company Teeters on the Edge - Popular Mechanics
Strapped for cash, GM is on the brink of bankruptcy. It's a dramatic shift for a car company that had begun to right itself after decades of trouble. So what happened? We turned to PM Advisory Board Member and Chairman of the Center for Automotive Research, David Cole, for his take. Ironically, GM's perfect storm of troubles hit just as the company seemed to be making progress on a number of fronts: The company is producing its most competitive cars and trucks in decades, and the upcoming 2011 Chevy Volt has generated more excitement for GM than any product in recent memory. On the cost side, the market slowdown has closed factories, which has removed most if not all of the industry's overcapacity of cars and trucks. And when a new labor agreement kicks in, GM's cost to produce a car will fall to a point where it can once again be profitable. That's the good news. The question is, will GM be around to benefit once the economy improves? The troubles at GM are vast and complex, but Cole summarized what he sees as the immediate and long-range factors that have brought the once dominant automaker to its knees.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Global warming bad news: Continued cooling.

Bummer for Gore.

.: U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works :: Minority Page :.
The bad news for global warming alarmists just keeps rolling in. Below is a very small sampling of very inconvenient developments for Gore, the United Nations, and the mainstream media. Peer-reviewed studies, analyses, and prominent scientists continue to speak out to refute climate fears. The majority of data presented below is from just the past few weeks. Also see: U.S. Senate Minority Report: “Over 400 Prominent Scientists (and rapidly growing) Disputed Man-Made Global Warming Claims in 2007” & ‘Consensus’ On Man-Made Global Warming Collapses in 2008 - July 18, 2008 & An August 2007 report detailed how proponents of man-made global warming fears enjoy a monumental funding advantage over skeptical scientists. LINK

Obama and the Progressive Base

It appears they may not be all that happy with him.

Obama Throws No Bones to Progressive Base
When is Obama going to appoint someone who reflects the progressive base that brought him to the White House?

He won the crucial Iowa caucuses on the strength of his anti-Iraq War stance, and many progressive peace and justice activists worked hard for him against John McCain.

So why in the world is he choosing Hillary Clinton to be Secretary of State when she was one of the loudest hawks on Iraq and threatened to obliterate 75 million Iranians?

And it’s not just Hillary.

Obama’s OMB pick, Peter Orzag, is a Clintonite disciple of Robert Rubin.

Obama’s AG pick, Eric Holder, is a Clintonite who represented Chiquita Bananas.

And Larry Summers’s name is still being bandied about for Treasury, even though Summers, while Clinton’s Treasury Secretary, forced the deregulation of our financial markets and imposed disaster capitalism on Russia.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Mammoth's genome pieced together

Looks like you can't easily make a clone, but, still very interesting.

BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | Mammoth's genome pieced together
A US-Russian team of researchers has pieced together most of the genome of a woolly mammoth, Nature journal reports.

The experts extracted DNA from samples of mammoth hair to reconstruct the genetic sequence of this Ice Age beast.

Though some stretches are missing, the researchers estimate that the genome is roughly 80% complete.

The work could provide insights into the extinction of the mammoth and also resurrects questions about the viability of cloning long-dead species.

The scientists were aided in their task by the fact that several deep-frozen carcasses of woolly mammoths have been dug out of the permafrost in Siberia.

These conditions are ideal for the preservation of hair, which is a preferred source for the extraction of ancient DNA.

Professor Hired for Outreach to Muslims Delivers a Jolt

I believe that this position takes it too far, Mohammad did indeed exist.  He did get the heretic part correct.

Islamic Theologian Says Prophet Muhammad Likely Never Existed -
Muhammad Sven Kalisch, a Muslim convert and Germany's first professor of Islamic theology, fasts during the Muslim holy month, doesn't like to shake hands with Muslim women and has spent years studying Islamic scripture. Islam, he says, guides his life.

So it came as something of a surprise when Prof. Kalisch announced the fruit of his theological research. His conclusion: The Prophet Muhammad probably never existed.

Muslims, not surprisingly, are outraged. Even Danish cartoonists who triggered global protests a couple of years ago didn't portray the Prophet as fictional. German police, worried about a violent backlash, told the professor to move his religious-studies center to more-secure premises.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Jim Jones: Evangelical Communist?

The tragedy was thirty years ago.  I never realized that Jones was a radical leftist.  My how the narrative has changed.

Flynn Files -- Don't Drink the Kool-Aid on Jonestown
On November 17, 1978, Jim Jones was a hero to American leftists. On November 18, 1978, Jones orchestrated the killings of 918 people and strangely morphed in the eyes of American leftists into an evangelical Christian fanatic. An unfortunately well-worn narrative, playing out contemporaneously in Pol Pot's Cambodia, of socialist dreams ending in ghoulish nightmares, then, conveniently shifted to one about the dangers of organized religion. But as The Nation magazine reported at the time, "The temple was as much a left-wing political crusade as a church. In the course of the 1970s, its social program grew steadily more disaffiliated from what Jim Jones came to regard as 'Fascist America' and drifted rapidly toward outspoken Communist sympathies." So much so that the last will and testament of the Peoples Temple, and its individual members who left notes, bequeathed millions of dollars in assets to the Soviet Union. As Jones expressed to a Soviet diplomat upon upon his visit to Jonestown the month before the smiling suicides took place, "For many years, we have let our sympathies be quite publicly known, that the United States government was not our mother, but that the Soviet Union was our spiritual motherland."

Monday, November 17, 2008

Poor Obama Supporters

Say a little prayer for these empty souls:

Obama Win Causes Obsessive Supporters To Realize How Empty Their Lives Are

Hillary Clinton to accept Obama's offer of secretary of state job?

I wonder...

Hillary Clinton to accept Barack Obama's offer of secretary of state job | World news |
Hillary Clinton plans to accept the job of secretary of state offered by Barack Obama, who is reaching out to former rivals to build a broad coalition administration, the Guardian has learned.

Obama's advisers have begun looking into Bill Clinton's foundation, which distributes millions of dollars to Africa to help with development, to ensure that there is no conflict of interest. But Democrats do not believe that the vetting is likely to be a problem.

Clinton would be well placed to become the country's dominant voice in foreign affairs, replacing Condoleezza Rice. Since being elected senator for New York, she has specialised in foreign affairs and defence. Although she supported the war in Iraq, she and Obama basically agree on a withdrawal of American troops.

The sad, sad state of college English

It's surprising not that writing not able to read cause of schooling when younger could be better.  Got? >> Michael Olesker
Some people collect sports memorabilia, or rare coins, or sea shells from the beach at Ocean City. Wilson Watson collects sentences.

He taught local community college students for 35 years and has now slipped gently into retirement. But his students’ sentences trail behind him like ship’s anchors, evidence of the sinking of American writing skills.

Or, as one of Watson’s scholars wrote so succinctly: “Some people use bad language and is not even aware of the fact.”

Or, another: “It’s good I’m doing something with my self; Therefore, I can do better in the foochure.”

Or, “People who murder a lot of people are called masked murderers.”

Some of this feels like masked murder of the English language — such as the student who explained in a note, “I was absent on Monday because I was stopped on the Beltway for erotic driving.”You want more examples? How about these beauties:
• “The person was an innocent by standard, who just happened to be the victim of your friend’s careless responsibility.”
• “Society has moved toward cereal killers.”
• “Romeo and Juliet exchanged their vowels.”
• “Willie Loman put Biff on a petal stool.”
• “Another effect of smoking is it may give you cancer of the thought.”
• “The children of lesbian couples receive as much neutering as those of other couples."

Or, when asked to use the past tense of “fly” in a sentence: “I flought to Chicago.”

Some sentences reflect a lack not only of basic thought, but also of historical awareness. Such as:
• “Benjamin Franklin discovered America while fling a kite.”
• “Christopher Columbus sailed all over the world until he found Ohio.”
• “Many attempt to blame Kurt Schmoke for the decline in the population, yet Donald Schaefer suffered the same oral deal.”
• “Michaelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sixteenth Chapel.”

“All these sentences,” Watson says, “were written by college students who were not intending to be funny. But they don’t read much any more, and they haven’t had much exposure to language. And it’s gotten worse over the years.

“The thing that’s really concerned many of us is the inability of many students to think clearly. It’s reflected in their writing. Some of it’s just gibberish. It reads as if written by someone for whom English is a second language, with mixed-up phrases and ideas. You ask them what they mean, and they can’t tell you verbally, either.”

What You Can’t Win in Court (PC in the classroom)

Apparently you can mention anything while teaching in a College unless the students don't like it.

What You Can't Win in Court :: Inside Higher Ed :: Higher Education's Source for News, Views and Jobs
After you’ve been called racist by some students, can you sue to get your reputation back?

Richard J. Peltz, who teaches law at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, tried. The idea of suing students intrigued and worried many observers of the professoriate, and Peltz’s case prompted much discussion about free speech and the respect that should be accorded both professors and students. Peltz has now dropped his suit — but he did so only after the law school agreed to fully investigate the charges against him and after he received a letter affirming that, based on that investigation, he had done nothing racist or inappropriate.

The university has also agreed to discuss allowing Peltz to again teach required courses, which he was barred from offering once the complaints against him were filed.

Amid the demands of some black students that he be punished, and his lawsuit against them, Peltz revealed few details about the incidents that led to the controversy. But with the suit dropped and with a university investigation backing him, Peltz shared various documents about the case, and agreed to talk about it.

Venezuela's Chavez spies on rivals in election game

If you thought the US tramples on rights, how about using the telephone and having that conversation in a political ad?  Chavez, man of the people, as long as you vote for him.

Venezuela's Chavez spies on rivals in election game - Yahoo! News
Government wire-tapping of opposition leaders may conjure up images of Soviet-bloc police states, but in the Venezuela of President Hugo Chavez it's the stuff of state TV commercials.

The Chavez government has turned a barrage of tapped conversations into tongue-in-cheek advertisements slamming the leftist leader's rivals before tough regional elections on Sunday in which a handful of his allies are likely to lose governorships.

One set of state TV spots features recordings of opposition leader Manuel Rosales discussing campaign finance or the purchase of expensive jewelry along with slapstick sound effects and pictures of rings and a Cartier watch.

Another state TV ad replays a conversation of Rosales negotiating the purchase of cattle to a backdrop of mooing sounds and cartoon pictures of coins.

"They use shameful systems to get information, but that's their problem -- I'm relaxed," said Rosales.

Despite the strangely playful twist on spying, Chavez's latest tactic is in keeping with his intimidation of opponents and helps fire up his support base among the majority poor.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Stone Age Temple May Be Birthplace of Civilization

Hmm...religion and large building programs before permanent settlements. - Stone Age Temple May Be Birthplace of Civilization - Science News | Science & Technology | Technology News
It's more than twice as old as the Pyramids, or even the written word. When it was built, saber-toothed tigers and woolly mammoths still roamed, and the Ice Age had just ended.

The elaborate temple at Gobelki Tepe in southeastern Turkey, near the Syrian border, is staggeringly ancient: 11,500 years old, from a time just before humans learned to farm grains and domesticate animals.

According to the German archaeologist in charge of excavations at the site, it might be the birthplace of agriculture, of organized religion — of civilization itself.

"This is the first human-built holy place," Klaus Schmidt of the German Archaeological Institute says in the November issue of Smithsonian magazine.

Schmidt and his colleagues say no evidence of permanent settlement has been found at the site, although there are remains of butchered animals and edible plants.

However, all of the bones are from wild animals, and all the vegetation from wild plants. That means the massive structure was built by a hunter-gatherer society, not a settled agricultural one.

Yet the three dozen T-shaped standing limestone monoliths arranged around the site are 10 feet high, weigh several tons each and bear detailed, stylized carvings of foxes, scorpions, lions, boars and birds. The builders may not have been farmers, but they weren't primitive.

Massive amounts of manpower would have been needed to build the site, a logistical problem that may have spurred the builders to begin planting grain and herding wild sheep, Schmidt thinks.

Obama and the Chicago Machine

It will be interesting to see how clean he is:

Connections could touch every somebody --

One of the few who isn't connected to Cellini is the federal prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald.

The Combine wants Fitzgerald promoted out of town. But President-elect Barack Obama has promised newspaper editorial boards he would keep Fitzgerald in Chicago to fight political corruption.

That's the same President-elect Obama with Mayor Daley's guy Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff, and another Daley guy, David Axelrod, as Obama's chief strategist. The mayor's brother Billy is one of Obama's chief economic advisers. Whew!

Some political analysts become quite upset when "Daley machine" and "Obama" are mentioned in my column. They feel compelled to give me a vigorous corrective. But this same Flat Earth society denied the existence of a Combine for years, then shut up for a while when Obama's real estate fairy Tony Rezko was convicted in the federal government's Operation Board Games probe.

Stimulate Car Buyers, Not Car Makers

I personally am against a bailout, the car manufacturers are inefficient. (the big 3 pay $75 an hour, including benefits, as opposed to $40 for the non union plants)  If there is going to be some sort of help this seems to be the lesser of two evils.

Stimulate Car Buyers, Not Car Makers -
Should Uncle Sam save General Motors, Ford and Chrysler from bankruptcy? In normal times, most mainstream economists (and many mainstream legislators) would probably say no. But with financial markets in turmoil and the economy on the cusp of a nasty recession, these are hardly normal times. In any event, Congress and President-elect Barack Obama are committed to spending billions to keep the Big Three afloat.

What's not been decided, however, is how that money should be spent. A radical change in perspective could spare the nation a lot of grief down the road. Rather than subsidizing the auto makers directly (and almost certainly sucking Washington into their management), why not give Americans the financial incentive to accelerate purchases of cars and light trucks? The consumer-subsidy approach would be a less wasteful route to the desired end, as well as one that would leave a less toxic legacy of market intervention once the economy has recovered.

Freezing Heat

Amazing how climate change always seems to...change. 

The world has never seen such freezing heat - Telegraph
A surreal scientific blunder last week raised a huge question mark about the temperature records that underpin the worldwide alarm over global warming. On Monday, Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), which is run by Al Gore's chief scientific ally, Dr James Hansen, and is one of four bodies responsible for monitoring global temperatures, announced that last month was the hottest October on record.

This was startling. Across the world there were reports of unseasonal snow and plummeting temperatures last month, from the American Great Plains to China, and from the Alps to New Zealand. China's official news agency reported that Tibet had suffered its "worst snowstorm ever". In the US, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration registered 63 local snowfall records and 115 lowest-ever temperatures for the month, and ranked it as only the 70th-warmest October in 114 years.

So what explained the anomaly? GISS's computerised temperature maps seemed to show readings across a large part of Russia had been up to 10 degrees higher than normal. But when expert readers of the two leading warming-sceptic blogs, Watts Up With That and Climate Audit, began detailed analysis of the GISS data they made an astonishing discovery. The reason for the freak figures was that scores of temperature records from Russia and elsewhere were not based on October readings at all. Figures from the previous month had simply been carried over and repeated two months running.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Obama’s Very Bad Start

Just remember, he's inexperienced but has good judgment. (sarcasm for those who didn't catch it)

Pajamas Media » Obama’s Very Bad Start
It seems like our president-elect is keeping himself busy picking unnecessary fights. Is this the way Obama will conduct business with Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff, or is it just a case of a new president finding his footing?

Obama vs. Pelosi/Green Machine vs. Jobs

On the Detroit bailout, Obama has hinted that he wants to make sure the money goes to retooling for clean, fuel efficient cars. Just like the original $25 billion Department of Energy bill was supposed to do. Nancy Pelosi is most worried about the UAW and jobs and would probably pump fresh blood into an entire city of the dead to save a single union job. So it looks like Obama and Pelosi are going to clash — and soon. Some reports indicate that GM will be down to its minimum operating cash before the end of the year — and that would make Chapter 11 all but a foregone conclusion. Detroit needs cash, but for what? The Obama Plan or the Pelosi Plan?

Obama vs. Southern Democrats on Guns

Obama is also gearing up for a fight with southern Democrats. After being mostly silent on guns during the campaign, Obama’s Web site has recently added or restored language indicating the return of the “assault weapons ban” on scary-looking rifles. Southern Democrats paid with their jobs for Clinton’s ban back in 1994. You might expect the new Blue Dog Dems to join hands and sing Kumbaya with House and Senate Republicans to block a new Scary Looking Rifles Law.

The bookie's bet on God

The Brits will bet on anything.  Seems like the bookmakers are a little concerned about someone finding God.

The bookie's bet on God -Times Online
Odds on the existence of God have shortened from 33-1 to a mere 4-1 since news emerged of atheist Richard Dawkins' forthcoming bendy bus advertising campaign with the slogan: "There probably is no God."

Irish bookmakers Paddy Power have already taken £5,000 on scientific proof emerging for the existence of God after the book opened at 20-1 earlier this year to coincide with the switching on of the world's biggest hadron collider in Geneva. When scientists were forced to delay the £14 billion project for six months, odds on the existence of God lengthened to 33-1.

But the bendy bus campaign, to be launched on buses in the Westminster district of London in January, has led to a spate of betting that proof will emerge for God's existence after all, forcing Paddy Power to shorten the odds to a mere 4-1.

Top 10 New Eco and Exotic Car Companies

I don't think they could do worse than the big three.

Top 10 New Eco and Exotic Car Companies - Koenigsegg, Aptera, SSC, Hybrid Technologies, Tesla Motors - Popular Mechanics
Can fresh startups weather today's economic perfect storm? The car industry is certainly in trouble, but these ambitious little companies intend to buck the trend. Some have arisen to take advantage of low labor costs in China or Eastern Europe. Some are determined to be the company that revolutionizes transportation by reinventing the automobile with some new technology or alternative fuel. History makes it plain that most of these companies are bound to fail without leaving behind much evidence that they ever existed—Bricklin and DeLorean come to mind. But radical change often comes from people who dream audaciously and act boldly. Here are ten new car companies that may (or may not) change the world.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Some good advice: » Blog Archive   » OBAMA & THE KINGDOM OF GOD
Some Christians are convulsing as if the end of the world has come now that Obama is our president elect. Although I am not suggesting Christians should stick their heads in the sand, I do encourage us to implement the 10 biblical guidelines that I wrote during the presidential campaign, but are just as relevant for us after the election.

1 - Don’t equate the biblical Kingdom of God with any human political party or nation. We must maintain the distinctiveness between God’s Kingdom and the kingdoms of this world. We must never fuse the two. (John 18:36; Matthew 6:33).

2 - Don’t elevate a politician to a messianic status. Because of our celebrity and entertainment culture, people often falsely think a politician can single-handedly produce supernatural social results. We have one Lord, and we must resist any attempt to exalt politicians to unrealisitic heights. (Matthew 7:15; 1 Peter 3:15).

3 - Don’t just vote, but pray for the leaders of all political parties. Christians can be tempted to bless the politician of their choice, and curse his or her opponent. Remember, we must pray even for our enemies. (1 Timothy 2:1-2; Matthew 5:44).

4 - Don’t forget your ultimate security is in the unshakeable kingdom of God. Many Christians often elevate the outcome of presidential elections to an apocalyptic status. If our presidential candidate does not win, we begin to see it as if the world will end. In so doing, we express an unbelief in the active sovereignty of God over human affairs. (Hebrews 12:26-29).

From Tiny Sect, a Weighty Issue for the Justices


Tiny sect believes God gave Moses Seven Aphorisms before giving the Ten Commandments
Thirty miles to the north, in Salt Lake City, adherents of a religion called Summum gather in a wood and metal pyramid hard by Interstate 15 to meditate on their Seven Aphorisms, fortified by an alcoholic sacramental nectar they produce and surrounded by mummified animals.

In 2003, the president of the Summum church wrote to the mayor here with a proposal: the church wanted to erect a monument inscribed with the Seven Aphorisms in the city park, “similar in size and nature” to the one devoted to the Ten Commandments...

Followers of Summum believe that Moses received two sets of tablets on Mount Sinai and that the Ten Commandments were on the second set. The aphorisms were on the first one.

“When Moses came down from the mountain the first time, he brought the principles of creation,” Mr. Temu said. “But he saw the people weren’t ready for them, so he threw them on the ground and destroyed them.”

Summum’s founder, Corky Ra, says he learned the aphorisms during a series of telepathic encounters with divine beings he called Summa Individuals.

Mr. Barnard has represented the Summum church for many years. “They’re odd,” he said of his clients, with an affectionate smile. “They’re strange. They’re different.”

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Cell phones as bugging tools

This is old but I never new this:

FBI taps cell phone mic as eavesdropping tool | Tech News on ZDNet
The FBI appears to have begun using a novel form of electronic surveillance in criminal investigations: remotely activating a mobile phone's microphone and using it to eavesdrop on nearby conversations

The technique is called a "roving bug," and was approved by top U.S. Department of Justice officials for use against members of a New York organized crime family who were wary of conventional surveillance techniques such as tailing a suspect or wiretapping him.
Nextel and Samsung handsets and the Motorola Razr are especially vulnerable to software downloads that activate their microphones, said James Atkinson, a counter-surveillance consultant who has worked closely with government agencies. "They can be remotely accessed and made to transmit room audio all the time," he said. "You can do that without having physical access to the phone."...

Nextel and Samsung handsets and the Motorola Razr are especially
vulnerable to software downloads that activate their microphones, said James Atkinson,
a counter-surveillance consultant who has worked closely with
government agencies. "They can be remotely accessed and made to
transmit room audio all the time," he said. "You can do that without
having physical access to the phone."

Strange Zogby Poll

The interesting thing would be, who commissioned this poll?  If it was the Obama campaign that would not be good news.  Are they testing the waters?

Clayton Cramer's BLOG
A reader is part of the Zogby International polling group--and tells me that he just received this list of questions from Zogby. Note that this was after the election. One possibility is that Obama's staff is trying to figure out which measures they can propose without impairing Obama's popularity. If these are actually measures that Obama is considering, then an awful lot of Americans were indeed profoundly misled about what Obama stands for during the campaign. The 75% excise tax on firearms in particular would devastate the industry, and strongly discourage new firearms purchases.

The other possibility is that Republicans are trying to figure out which issues to use against Obama--but some of these proposals are so extreme and specific that it seems to suggest the first possibility. On the other hand, some of the questions almost read like Republican push polling:

If you knew Barack Obama supported a plan to place a 75% excise tax on the sale of firearms - where a $500 rifle would now cost $875 with tax, would that have made you...

More likely to vote for Obama
Less likely to vote for Obama
No difference
Not sure

If you knew about Barack Obama's support for national legislation that would overturn concealed carry handgun laws in 40 states, would that have made you...
More likely to vote for Obama
Less likely to vote for Obama
No difference
Not sure

Monday, November 10, 2008

Internet Attacks Grow More Potent

This can really get serious.  For companies that have there sites taken down the financial ramifications can be catastrophic.

Internet Attacks Are Growing More Potent and Complex -
Attackers bent on shutting down large Web sites — even the operators that run the backbone of the Internet — are arming themselves with what are effectively vast digital fire hoses capable of overwhelming the world’s largest networks, according to a new report on online security.

In these attacks, computer networks are hijacked to form so-called botnets that spray random packets of data in huge streams over the Internet. The deluge of data is meant to bring down Web sites and entire corporate networks. Known as distributed denial of service, or D.D.O.S., attacks, such cyberweapons are now routinely used during political and military conflicts, as in Estonia in 2007 during a political fight with Russia, and in the Georgian-Russian war last summer. Such attacks are also being used in blackmail schemes and political conflicts, as well as for general malicious mischief.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Unknown "Structures" Tugging at Universe

This is interesting:

Unknown "Structures" Tugging at Universe, Study Says
Something may be out there. Way out there.

On the outskirts of creation, unknown, unseen "structures" are tugging on our universe like cosmic magnets, a controversial new study says.

Everything in the known universe is said to be racing toward the massive clumps of matter at more than 2 million miles (3.2 million kilometers) an hour—a movement the researchers have dubbed dark flow.

The presence of the extra-universal matter suggests that our universe is part of something bigger—a multiverse—and that whatever is out there is very different from the universe we know, according to study leader Alexander Kashlinsky, an astrophysicist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.

The theory could rewrite the laws of physics. Current models say the known, or visible, universe—which extends as far as light could have traveled since the big bang—is essentially the same as the rest of space-time (the three dimensions of space plus time).

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Mini nuclear plants to power 20,000 homes

This sounds promising:

Mini nuclear plants to power 20,000 homes | Environment | The Observer
Nuclear power plants smaller than a garden shed and able to power 20,000 homes will be on sale within five years, say scientists at Los Alamos, the US government laboratory which developed the first atomic bomb.

The miniature reactors will be factory-sealed, contain no weapons-grade material, have no moving parts and will be nearly impossible to steal because they will be encased in concrete and buried underground.

The US government has licensed the technology to Hyperion, a New Mexico-based company which said last week that it has taken its first firm orders and plans to start mass production within five years. 'Our goal is to generate electricity for 10 cents a watt anywhere in the world,' said John Deal, chief executive of Hyperion. 'They will cost approximately $25m [£13m] each. For a community with 10,000 households, that is a very affordable $250 per home.'

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Obama's Real Opposition

This is going to be interesting.
Obama's Real Opposition -
Now that Barack Obama has vanquished John McCain, he faces a much greater foe: Democrats on Capitol Hill. They've humbled the last two Democratic Presidents -- and with their enhanced majorities next year, they'll be out to do it again...

David Obey. The Appropriations Chairman wants to slash defense spending as a money grab for more social programs and entitlements. Fellow spender Barney Frank recently added that a military budget cut of 25% was about right. A military crash diet wouldn't leave the funds for the surge in Afghanistan that Mr. Obama advocates, and it's a sure way to hand the national security issue back to the GOP.

Chuck Schumer. The Senate Democrat and his friends are already threatening banks if they don't lend more money instantly under the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Other political masters want to use Tarp to nationalize large swaths of U.S. industry such as the Detroit auto makers or to bail out states like New York that are in debt. If Mr. Obama doesn't want to have to pass a Tarp II, he'll have to say no.

George Miller. Some Democrats are starting to target the tax subsidies for 401(k)s and other private retirement options. Mr. Miller, who heads the House Education and Labor Committee, calls them "a big failure" and recently held a hearing to ponder alternatives, including nationalizing pensions and replacing them with special bonds administered by Social Security. The proposal has also caught the eye of Jim McDermott, who chairs the relevant Ways and Means subcommittee. Mr. Obama won big with his promise of tax cuts for the middle class, which doesn't square with attacks on middle-class nest eggs.

Barack Obama - Narcissist or Merely Narcissistic?

Interesting.  HT: Ken

Global Politician
Barack Obama appears to be a narcissist. Granted, only a qualified mental health diagnostician can determine whether someone suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and this, following lengthy tests and personal interviews. But, in the absence of access to Barack Obama, one has to rely on his overt performance and on testimonies by his closest, nearest and dearest.

Narcissistic leaders are nefarious and their effects pernicious. They are subtle, refined, socially-adept, manipulative, possessed of thespian skills, and convincing. Both types equally lack empathy and are ruthless and relentless or driven.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Israel launches first airstrike on Gaza since June

Back to reality...

My Way News - Israel launches first airstrike on Gaza since June
Israel launched an airstrike on Gaza early Wednesday after its troops clashed with Hamas militants who fired mortars into Israel, leaving six Palestinians dead. It was the first battle since a June truce mostly quieted violence in the volatile territory.

The Israeli army said the clashes erupted late Tuesday after its forces uncovered a tunnel in central Gaza that militants planned to use to abduct Israeli soldiers. It said a special army unit headed to the area to destroy the tunnel. One Palestinian was killed in fierce gunbattles that ensued.

Hamas then fired mortars across the Gaza border into southern Israel and Israel answered with the airstrike in the early hours of Wednesday, killing five suspected Palestinian militants, Israeli and Palestinian officials said. The army said the airstrike aimed at the mortar launchers and hit them.

The clashes threatened to unravel the cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian militant groups reached in June after months of indirect negotiations. The deal halted a deadly cycle of Palestinian rocket attacks and Israeli reprisals, though sporadic rocket attacks on southern Israel have persisted.

Our new President

Monday, November 03, 2008

Report clears Palin in Troopergate probe

Why am I not surprised.

Report clears Palin in Troopergate probe
A report has cleared Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin of ethics violations in the firing of her public safety commissioner.

Released Monday, the report says there is no probable cause to believe Palin or any other state official violated the Alaska Executive Ethics Act in connection with the firing. The report was prepared by Timothy Petumenos, an independent counsel for the Alaska Personnel Board.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Obama Campaign’s Credit-Card Crack-up

This really doesn't look good.

Pajamas Media » The Obama Campaign’s Credit-Card Crack-up
The campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has been and may still be accepting credit-card and prepaid-card contributions from overseas. It has done so in a way that may very likely prevent it from refunding the contributions to “donors,” many of whom may have had their credit cards used without their consent. It’s virtually impossible that the system for accepting card contributions was inadvertently set up without adequate controls, and almost certain that existing controls were instead deliberately disabled to create untraceability. Finally, it is likely that the total dollar amounts involved run in millions, if not tens of millions, of dollars.

In mid-August, Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs, writing at American Thinker, summarized a pattern of irregularities she had found. Geller, and readers who assisted her, discovered that:

* “Obama’s overseas (foreign) contributors are making multiple small donations, ostensibly in their own names, over a period of a few days, some under maximum donation allowances, but others are aggregating in excess of the maximums when all added up.”
* The contributions had come from over 50 specifically named countries and major cities.
* Obviously bogus contributor names that a 7 year-old would have known to be fictitious, including “Hbkjb, jkbkj,” “Doodad Pro,” and “Good Will,” were frequent.
* “Thousands of Obama’s foreign donations ended in cents.” U.S. contributors very rarely contribute in anything other than whole dollar amounts, so the reason why contributions would end with anything other than “.00″ would almost always involve foreign currency translation.

In a later post, Geller listed 18 donors who had contributed more than the legal $2,300 limit. “Good Will” and “Doodad Pro” were among them, to the tune of over ten grand each.

Defeat fears put Hollywood on edge


Defeat fears put Hollywood on edge
Crack teams of chiropractors are at the ready, and Nissen huts full of qualified shrinks and aromatherapists line Rodeo Drive to soothe the tortured brigades of the psychologically wounded should "The One" be robbed of victory.

Funky Gallup

Possible good news.  I have been wondering why the polls have been all over the place.

Funky Gallup (Wizbang)
Now that the election is entering its final days, I had expected the polls to start tightening the race in order to reflect actual demonstrated conditions. For several days this has been happening in a number of major polls, but today Gallup posted a surprising number; they show Obama leading McCain by double-digit margins in all three models of their polling.

I will admit that when I first saw this, I was shocked and a bit dismayed. For all the criticism I have thrown at them, Gallup has always appeared to me to be the most professional of the polling outfits, and it they showed such a strong and consistent Obama surge at the end, then maybe I was wrong and we should expect a rout to conclude on Tuesday.

Then my brain kicked in and said , 'hold on there, wait just a minute'. You see, there are some weird things going on here with Gallup, and yes they are important. First off, Gallup used to be simple enough; they took a poll and announced the results and internals, just as they have for decades. But this year, Gallup is running three different models, one in which they have admitted punching in inflated youth and minority race participation at unprecedented levels (their 'expanded voter' model). They stepped back from that when it became obvious that this model was giving numbers which did not jibe with any reasonable judgment, and tossed out a 'traditional' model which played the numbers with a more nominal weighting. So, for some time now we have seen three models, which have tossed out a range of support in which the 'expanded' model favors Obama more than the 'traditional' model. Yet today we see Gallup claiming 52-41 Obama in its Daily Tracking of all registered voters, 52-42 in the 'expanded voter' model, and 52-42 in the 'traditional voter' model.

Now, stop and think about why that almost has to be bogus. First, Gallup is saying that McCain lost 5 points of support and Obama gained 3 points of support in just 5 days. Does that heavy swing of support make sense? And if it does, why does Fox say McCain gained six points in the last week?

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Ego and Mouth

Humility is not a virtue Obama seems to be saddled with:

Ego and Mouth by Thomas Sowell on National Review Online
After the big gamble on subprime mortgages that led to the current financial crisis, is there going to be an even bigger gamble, by putting the fate of a nation in the hands of a man whose only qualifications are ego and mouth?

Barack Obama has the kind of cocksure confidence that can only be achieved by not achieving anything else.

Pension Time Bomb

This doesn't look very good.

George F. Will - Pension Time Bomb -
Mayor Osby Davis, who has lived in this waterfront city across San Pablo Bay from San Francisco for 60 of his 62 years, says: "If you have a can that's leaking two ounces a minute and you put an ounce a minute in it, it's going to get empty." He is describing his city's coffers.

Joseph Tanner, who became city manager after this municipality of 120,000 souls was mismanaged to the brink of bankruptcy, stands at a whiteboard to explain the simple arithmetic that has pushed Vallejo over the brink. Its crisis -- a cash flow insufficient to cover contractual obligations -- came about because (to use fiscal 2007 figures) each of the 100 firefighters paid $230 a month in union dues and each of the 140 police officers paid $254 a month, giving their unions enormous sums to purchase a compliant city council.

So a police captain receives $306,000 a year in pay and benefits, a lieutenant receives $247,644, and the average for firefighters -- 21 of them earn more than $200,000, including overtime -- is $171,000. Police and firefighters can store up unused vacation and leave time over their careers and walk away, as one of the more than 20 who recently retired did, with a $370,000 check. Last year, 292 city employees made more than $100,000. And after just five years, all police and firefighters are guaranteed lifetime health benefits.

Why the Really Rich Love Socialists

Of course the really wealthy have political power and they use it to keep their taxes down.

Chicago Boyz » Blog Archive » Why the Really Rich Love Socialists
This article [h/t Instapundit] shows that the U.S. has a more progressive tax code than the democratic-socialist states of Europe.

Such a state of affairs should not come as a surprise. Our own history shows that the very wealthy benefit from leftist policies of high tax rates, “targeted” taxation and industrial policy.

The ugly truth is that the really wealthy can manipulate the political system to their own ends better than ordinary people. They can lobby for specific tax breaks that only they can take advantage of. They can get government trade protection for their companies. They can get bailouts. If all else fails, the truly wealthy can simply relocate their wealth into whatever area the government policies du jour make the most profitable.

In the extremes, they can simple sit on their wealth and wait for the political winds to change.

The history of Europe since WWII has shown that it really pays to be a big company in a socialist country. Socialists like stasis. Socialist politicians like to guarantee jobs. They like predictable tax revenue. To this end they select a handful of major companies and in return for heavy regulation, protect them internal and external competition. The largest companies in Europe are much larger compared to the size of their national economies than are the largest companies in America. The largest companies in Europe also keep their top positions while a great deal of turnover by comparison occurs in American companies.

Obama Claus


Political Punch
Just today in Sarasota, Fla., the Democratic presidential nominee said that he'd:

* "give a tax break to 95 percent of Americans who work every day and get taxes taken out of their paycheck every week";
* "eliminate income taxes on Social Security for seniors making under $50,000";
* "give homeowners and working parents additional tax breaks";
* not increase taxes on anyone if they "make under $250,000; you will not see your taxes increase by a single dime –- not your income taxes, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains tax";
* "end those breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas";
* "give tax breaks to companies that invest right here in the United States";
* "eliminate capital gains taxes for small businesses and start-up companies that are the engine of job creation in this country";
* "create two million new jobs by rebuilding our crumbling roads, and bridges, and schools -- by laying broadband lines to reach every corner of the country";
* "invest $15 billion a year in renewable sources of energy to create five million new energy jobs over the next decade";
* "reopen old factories, old plants, to build solar panels, and wind turbines";
* build "a new electricity grid";
* "build the fuel efficient cars of tomorrow";
* "eliminate the oil we import from the Middle East in 10 years";
* "lower premiums" for those who already have health insurance;
* "if you don't have health insurance, you'll be able to get the same kind of health insurance that members of Congress give themselves";
* "end discrimination by insurance companies to the sick and those who need care the most";
* "invest in early childhood education";
* "recruit an army of new teachers";
* "pay our teachers higher salaries, give them more support. But ... also demand higher standards and more accountability";
* "make a deal with every young person who's here and every young person in America: If you are willing to commit yourself to national service, whether it's serving in our military or in the Peace Corps, working in a veterans home or a homeless shelter, then we will guarantee that you can afford to go to college no ifs ands or buts";
* "stop spending $10 billion a month in Iraq whole the Iraqis have a huge surplus";
* "end this war in Iraq";
* "finish the fight and snuff out al Qaeda and bin Laden";
* "increase our ground troops and our investments in the finest fighting force in the world";
* "invest in 21st century technologies so that our men and women have the best training and equipment when they deploy into combat and the care and benefits they have earned when they come home";
* "No more homeless veterans"; and
* "no more fighting for disability payments."