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The portrait is Charles Darwin, age 31, in 1840

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The earliest starlight of the young Universe

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Your opinion please

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The Probability Of Being

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Secular Humanism in a destabilizing society

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Neanderthals, Denisovans and ancestor X

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The evolution of work

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Has man evolved?

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Living Relatives of Leonardo da Vinci have been Found

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Johns Hopkins Receives $125,000,000 to Fight Cancer

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Comment by Drew Carpenter on September 21, 2013 at 11:50pm

Chris, Referring back to what you said here:

"Then there are those that simply cannot function in society. They just can't." 

This is where I feel that we are failing our citizens more than anywhere else. We stigmatize mental illness and emotional instability instead of sympathizing and offering the help that people need. My home state, Texas, is probably the worst example of this. Some other states offer better programs, but here there is virtually nothing available for them. This is especially true for men. Some people, as you said, will never be able to function on their own. And their are some who could if they were given help in the form of counseling, medications, etc. All I ever here people in this part of the country discuss is how expensive it would be to offer this kind of help. Even if it is costly, it should be offered purely for humanitarian reasons. But even if we ignore the humanitarian aspect, I don't know how to make these people (so called conservatives) understand that there is a huge financial cost to not doing it. Maybe I'm wrong, but I have to think that in the long run that cost is greater.

You were correct earlier when you stated that we will have to make some difficult choices in this country. The interest on our deficit is so large that if we did not have it we could easily fund all of the social programs that we have now and still offer more.

I worry about extremists in both parties because our politics and our people have become so polarized that we can't get anything done. There was a time when we were able to accomplish some things by compromise. Now, no one wants to credit the other side with having any validity to their ideas. As for the republicans, they seem to be driven soley by ideology at this time. That is the death of rational thought, in my opinion.

Comment by Joan Denoo on September 21, 2013 at 8:33pm

Remember way back in November, 2009 in an interview with the Sunday Times Lloyd Blankfein, of Goldman Sachs stated, ""I'm doing God's work"?

Lloyd Blankfein Says He Is Doing "God's Work"

I think Blankfein and the rest of the Obama group actually believed they were doing god's work. Non of the group is embarrassed, none has been charged with crimes. They all continue to get their claws on more and more of middle class money. Obama even wanted to replace Bernanke with Larry Summers, part of the Rubin Pack. 

Why has the public not risen up in arms and made demands? Where are the Democrats? Who benefits by all the deafening silence? 

Robert Rubin’s protégés: Timothy Geithner, Rahm Emanuel, Alan Greenspan, Gene Sperling, Jason Furman, James Stock, Jacob Lew, Penny Pritzker, and Sylvia Mathews Burwell. 

“Rubinites demand to be put in charge of the Fed because they’ve caused so many more crises than Yellen that they have vastly more experience trying to deal with crises.  When we were financial regulators we found it desirable to avoid creating crises.  Summers and Rubin did not respond well to the crises they helped cause.  Their “solutions” caused great misery in much of the world for decades.”

~ William K. Black

Posted on New Economic Perspectives,

September 3, 2013 by Devin Smith

That misery of which William Black speaks comes directly from the likes of these financial institutions, facilitated by their religious beliefs. "We are successful because we do god's work!"

Comment by Christopher Lowe on September 21, 2013 at 7:11pm

Hey Drew, In no way was I associating you with Ms Rand, but I was saying that those whose frustrations you say are driving voters to the GOP should be aware of one of their more influential pied pipers.

The more you elaborate on the problems facing your country, the more sense you make. I like your idea of tailoring  education to prepare the kids to the real time realities they will be dealing with. Too many kids miss opportunities because skill deficits caused by opportunities not made available to them. It doesn't have to be at the detriment of the liberal arts. That is needed for the creativity so essential to civilization.. Education should be the crown jewel of a society. 

I refuse to believe that a significant amount of those on the rolls of welfare are there out of choice. Given the opportunity most would jump at the chance to become a contributing taxpaying member of society. Many are trapped by economic realities. Too, you have to have money to make money so destitution can hamper one's ability to show up for work, both on time and reasonably presentable. Then there are those that simply cannot function in society. They just can't. There are myriad causes for this, but these people can't be punished or derided for their faults and/or disabilities. To me it's a moral obligation to help these people and with kindness. This is the tendency of most developed countries. They shouldn't be mocked or made to sing for their supper as some politicians imply or outright advocate.

Efficiencies and common sense should drive the programs now in place. Incentivizing welfare recipients to self sufficiency through job skills and life skills training. This will more than pay for itself in the long run. Like you say and I heartily agree they need to be smarter in the way they deal with these programs and that both sides should stop their rhetorical food fight and really try to find common ground.

As a non American please permit me to say I find the political stances taken weird. A lot of it doesn't compute even though I have a better than average knowledge of American political history. 


Comment by Drew Carpenter on September 21, 2013 at 5:08pm

Of course I was not saying that we should abandon the poor. I'm saying that we need to be smarter about the way in which we help them so that we can move as many people as possible away from dependency. The most important part of that is to do things in a smarter way, and the first place I would start is by raising the minimum wage. All work needs to pay a living wage, and I don't accept any excuse for its not doing so. The conservatives always scream that it is a job killer but it always seems to have the opposite effect. 

Yes, poverty is a fact of life. But to just accept is as a permanent fact of life and continually treat the symptoms rather than the disease is the real cop out. We will never eliminate it completely but it is a goal that we should always be working towards. We will always have a welfare system, but a system that feeds on itself is a failure.

Yes, Obama had to clean up the mess. And I think he did a pretty good job. Despite all the hand-wringing, the tarp proram was a success and the money has been coming back in. 

I don't believe in trickle down economics, not at all. They may like to say that "a rising tide lifts all boats," but as long as more and more money is flowing into fewer hands, that idea is a failur. I would never associate redistribution of wealth with trickle down. Just the opposite. And I don't depend on corporations for job growth. Education is the key, and not the way we have been doing it. Our public schools try to give everyone the same liberal arts education whether they are suited for it or not. There is a point where we need to direct these kids into job skills, and since we have failed to do so for this long, we need to offer that opportunity to the adults who have no skills. the problem with the existing programs is that they dole out money to companies that charge way to much and provide too little in return. I don't see that changing as long as special interests have so much influence over dems and repubs. And yes, that comes back to no programs getting any traction that looks beyond the next election cycle. That is true even when officials are newly elected, because their are always votes two years down the road that even four and six year term pols have to worry about. In case you are wondering, I'm registered as a democrat and vote almost exclusively democrat. That doesn't mean that I am happy with what they are doing. And yes, I'm a dem because most of the extremists are on the republican side. And that shift of so much of the middle too the Reupblican party is largely responsible for the dems moving too far too the left.

It seems silly to associate with me Ayn Rand simply because I believe in finding a better way to do things.

Comment by Christopher Lowe on September 21, 2013 at 4:21pm

Poverty is a fact of life. What would you do about the down and out? Would you go for the "tough shit" attitude of the Tea Party based on their worship of their demi-goddess Ayn Rand? She has to be the most heartless and self centered writer in the modern era. 

There was a culture of misleading marketing combined with bundled trading that lead to the mortgage crisis. No one was brought to justice for this borderline fraud and ethical travesty. Obama was left to clean up the mess and at least he stepped up to the plate, and without relieving homeowners of their obligations, allowed relief by providing funds until their mortgages could be renegotiated. I do agree that that should not come from the taxpayers like you. The mortgage lenders who put these people in such a life ruining position should pay. And pay big time! They deserve to.

Redistribution of wealth is a red herring. With trickle down, all that happens is an effort to plug the leaks that cause that trickle. What is wrong with fostering success through job and education programs? Job creators? Give me a F'in break. These so called job creators have been doing there level best to reduce their workforces and tamp down wages for at least 4 decades. They have a lot of gall pretending their interest has anything to do with the workforce. And they have a lot of allies on the right in government. Money does indeed buy influence.

What doesn't get any traction are programs that look beyond the election cycle.

Whose policies put these people on welfare? Whose obstructionist policies keep them on there? Whose business models sap the hope out of gaining a ladder up the social scale?Whose policies prioritize funding your country's ability to bomb the rest of the world to kingdom come a thousand times over as opposed to raising the floor and filling in the cracks for the most vulnerable and at risk among you?

IMO government should be all about the fabric and safety of society. Corporations are big boys who can take care of themselves. They don't give a flying f#@k about the repercussions their business plans may have . Government,  should be in a position to prevent them from behaving badly.

I understand government has some hard choices going forward. Having said that I wonder how you reconcile saying you're socially liberal but a fiscal conservative? These viewpoints seem   to be somewhat in conflict. I empathize with your desire to meet somewhere in the middle but what I've contended all along here is the right is heavily loaded to the far right and has succeeded  in shifting the "middle" way over to their side.

I've been around the block and the world a few times, and I've found secular humanists highly involved in volunteerism, philanthropy and stewardship of the environment. I'll throw my ball in with these people rather than those who are all God and Greed and let the chips fall where they may.


Comment by Drew Carpenter on September 21, 2013 at 1:35pm

The left (dems) has created an entrenched welfare system that rewards recipients for adding to the welfare rolls (having more babies) rather than working to move them back into the mainstream, working class. Giving cell phones to the poor, which Obama did, is taking the welfare system too far. Giving people money to pay for mortgages, which he did, is extreme. It was supposed to be a move to help restart the housing market, and I did not object to the first year program which was a $7500.00 interest free loan paid back over 15 years for new home owners. The next year the amount was up to $8000.00 dollars and never has to be paid back. That is extremist. The money, as always, comes from the middle class, who can no longer afford it. Distribution of wealth in this country is disgraceful and we need to change that. But this is not the way. I will grant you that if the Repubs would quit blocking minimum wage increases, along with job and education programs, then we might eventually accomplish that redistribution. When Clinton was in office he was moving toward what he called workfare, and the system was changing. The dems position on this, or their way of accomplishing a redistribution of wealth, is driving too many voters to the Republican party.

Comment by Christopher Lowe on September 21, 2013 at 4:01am

Drew: "...both parties are failing the middle class by governing through extremist ideologies."

Really? Where are the extremists on the Left (Dems)? Seems to me the Right (GOP) are falling all over themselves to out extreme each other, while the Dems stand squarely in the center. Name 1 extremist policy the Dems own?

Comment by Chad Kreutzer on September 19, 2013 at 7:52am

There may be some like that, Drew, but I think you underestimate belief: especially casual belief. 

Comment by Drew Carpenter on September 19, 2013 at 12:47am

I'm sure there are a lot of moneyed people who actually believe, but I think that for many others it's just an expedience that they feel is necessary to succeed in the the business world.

Comment by Plinius on September 18, 2013 at 11:43pm

I seem to remember a lot of protestants - also in old Dutch books - who themselves made the link between capitalism and religion. They often said things like: "I'm succesfull in business because I'm a good xtian, and my succes in business proves that I'm a good xtian, or god wouldn't have blessed me." 




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