Friday, April 10, 2009

Somali Pirates

U.S. Negotiations With Somali Pirates Continue

There should be no negotiation until all hostages are freed, and then ask them whether they would prefer to be hung or walk the plank. reported A tense standoff continued in the Indian Ocean Friday between a U.S. Navy destroyer and Somali pirates holding an American container-ship captain hostage on a lifeboat, after the captain tried to escape but was quickly recaptured.... The ship's 20-member American crew subsequently overpowered one of the pirates, but the remaining attackers took Phillips aboard one of the Maersk Alabama's lifeboats. The Americans turned over their captive, but the pirates reneged on a deal to give back the captain in exchange.
You can't trust them.


Thursday, April 09, 2009

Navy Tracking Pirates and Their U.S. Hostage reported A U.S. Navy destroyer kept close watch Thursday on a lifeboat holding four Somali pirates and their hostage — an American ship captain — one day after the pirates briefly seized a United States-flagged cargo ship off the coast of Africa. As Washington awoke to a second day of the crisis, the Navy summoned the FBI for advice on how to rescue the hostage, Capt. Richard Phillips, of Underhill, Vermont.
Doesn't the Navy, with a great big destroyer, know how to deal with a little lifeboat? You point guns at it and say surrender or you will be shot. You want to protect the life of the hostage, but if the lifeboat eludes you, his life is definitely at risk. If you must, you can promise to just hang the leader, and let the rest spend time in prison, rather than hanging all of them, as you should do.


U.S. May Enlist Small Investors in Bank Bailout reported During World War I, Americans were exhorted to buy Liberty Bonds to help their soldiers on the front.
That was because we were at war, not because we had an idiot in the White House wasting the country's money.
Now, it seems, they will be asked to come to the aid of their banks — with the added inducement of possibly making some money for themselves.
It would be a foolish investment, which is why big investors are not touching it. They have seen Congress trying to control Banks and others. If they buy toxic assets, Congress is liable to then tell them they can't sell the properties, but must let people rent them at a price Congress determines.
As part of its sweeping plan to purge banks of troublesome assets, the Obama administration is encouraging several large investment companies to create the financial-crisis equivalent of war bonds: bailout funds.

The idea is that these investments, akin to mutual funds that buy stocks and bonds, would give ordinary Americans a chance to profit from the bailouts that are being financed by their tax dollars.
Mutual funds by stocks and bonds from companies that are good credit risks.
But there is another, deeply political motivation as well: to quiet accusations that all of these giant bailouts will benefit only Wall Street plutocrats.
No one should get bailouts. Prosecute the people that bundled the bad debt and sold it fraudently, prosecute the people that forced banks to make bad loans, and let the holders of the bad loans forclose on people that took loans they knew they could not pay off.


Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Tony Blair tells the Pope: you're wrong

Times Online reported Tony Blair has challenged the “entrenched” attitudes of the Pope on homosexuality, and argued that it is time for him to “rethink” his views.
Tony has been a Catholic for such a short time, and now he thinks he can tell the Pope he does not understand the tenets of the faith.
Speaking to the gay magazine Attitude, the former Prime Minister, himself now a Roman Catholic, said that he wanted to urge religious figures everywhere to reinterpret their religious texts to see them as metaphorical, not literal,
So we do not listen to what God thinks, we tell Him what H should think.
and suggested that in time this would make all religious groups accept gay people as equals.
We love the sinner; we hate the sin. Should we alto tell thieves and murderers it is ok what they do, because we want to treat them as equals.
Asked about the Pope’s stance, Mr Blair blamed generational differences and said: “We need an attitude of mind where rethinking and the concept of evolving attitudes becomes part of the discipline with which you approach your religious faith.”
In otherwords we should not let our faith teach us, we should decide what we want to do, and mold our faith to accept that. I want to eat chocolate cake. Can you convince God to let me do that and not put on weight?
.... In the interview Mr Blair spoke of a “quiet revolution in thinking” and implied that he believed the Pope to be out of step with the public.
There is a lot of violence in the world, and the Pope condem that too. Is he also out of step with the world in that area?
“There are many good and great things the Catholic Church does, and there are many fantastic things this Pope stands for, but I think what is interesting is that if you went into any Catholic Church, particularly a wellattended one, on any Sunday here and did a poll of the congregation, you’d be surprised at how liberal-minded people were.”
So faith is determined by polls. Can ou run a poll on chocolate cake? I bet it will win, especially with ice cream on it.
The faith of ordinary Catholics is rarely found “in those types of entrenched attitudes”, he said.

He also thought that in Islam there would eventually be a change of heart.
Not until they open the gates of ijtihad
“I believe that, ultimately, people will find their way to a sensible reformation of attitudes.”
If Britain does not wise up son, there will be a reformation of attitudes, and you will get a better understanding about how easily it is to change Sharia law.
.... He said: “When people quote the passages in Leviticus condemning homosexuality, I say to them — if you read the whole of the Old Testament and took everything that was there in a literal way, as being what God and religion is about, you’d have some pretty tough policies across the whole of the piece.”
True but God sent Jesus to clarify some of those tough policies, and acceptance of homosexuality was not one of the things Jesus taught.


Monday, April 06, 2009

How the Crash Will Reshape America

The Atlantic reported What’s the right spatial fix for the economy today, and how do we achieve it? The solution begins with the removal of homeownership from its long-privileged place at the center of the U.S. economy.
Stupidity. Housing bubble caused the problem, so penalize homeowners.
Substantial incentives for homeownership (from tax breaks to artificially low mortgage-interest rates) distort demand, encouraging people to buy bigger houses than they otherwise would.
No it was sub prime mortgages the did that.
.... If anything, our government policies should encourage renting, not buying. Homeownership occupies a central place in the American Dream primarily because decades of policy have put it there.
No it was because with home ownership, if you paid your nortgage for 20 or 30 years you would own your home, and have some place to stay when you got old.
A recent study by Grace Wong, an economist at the Wharton School of Business, shows that, controlling for income and demographics, homeowners are no happier than renters,
You can craft a study to show whatever yu want, expecially if you can fudge the numbers (i.e. controlling for ...)
nor do they report lower levels of stress or higher levels of self-esteem.

And while homeownership has some social benefits—a higher level of civic engagement is one—
And people take better care of property they own, rather than rent.
it is costly to the economy. The economist Andrew Oswald has demonstrated that in both the United States and Europe, those places with higher homeownership rates also suffer from higher unemployment.
That is stupid.
Homeownership, Oswald found, is a more important predictor of unemployment than rates of unionization or the generosity of welfare benefits. Too often, it ties people to declining or blighted locations, and forces them into work—if they can find it—that is a poor match for their interests and abilities.

As homeownership rates have risen, our society has become less nimble: in the 1950s and 1960s, Americans were nearly twice as likely to move in a given year as they are today.
If they don't move as often, they can get to know their neighbors better.
Last year fewer Americans moved, as a percentage of the population, than in any year since the Census Bureau started tracking address changes, in the late 1940s. This sort of creeping rigidity in the labor market is a bad sign for the economy, particularly in a time when businesses, industries, and regions are rising and falling quickly.

The foreclosure crisis creates a real opportunity here. Instead of resisting foreclosures, the government should seek to facilitate them in ways that can minimize pain and disruption. Banks that take back homes, for instance, could be required to offer to rent each home to the previous homeowner,
Force banks into becoming landlords.
at market rates—which are typically lower than mortgage payments
That is because rental does not result in ownership.
—for some number of years. (At the end of that period, the former homeowner could be given the option to repurchase the home at the prevailing market price.)
Why should he want to purchase; you said rental was better.
A bigger, healthier rental market, with more choices, would make renting a more attractive option for many people; it would also make the economy as a whole more flexible and responsive.
You take away the investment incentives that makes individuals invest in renal properties and force banks to become landlords, something they are not qualified to do.


Not at war with Islam

AP reported Barack Obama, making his first visit to a Muslim nation as president, declared Monday the United States "is not and will never be at war with Islam."

That is what George Bush said, but despite the fact that 58% say Islam is a religion of peace, there are a significant number of Muslims that interpret the Koran as saying they have to be at war with us, and so they will continue to do everything they can to kill as many Christians, Jews, Hindus, and any other faith, as well as no faith at all, that they can.


Sunday, April 05, 2009

Suspect in officers' shooting

Post Gazette reported Richard Andrew Poplawski was a young man convinced the nation was secretly controlled by a cabal
I would not call the Democratic Party a "cabal"
that would eradicate freedom of speech,
I am afraid he is right there.
take away his guns
And I am afraid he is right there too, and just gave them an excuse
and use the military to enslave the citizenry.
There I believe he is wrong, and if they attempt to do so, I suspect the military will either refuse, or turn on the would-be controllers.