Scotties Toy Box

July 23, 2012

Privatized prison health care scrutinized – The Washington Post

Filed under: News — Scottie @ 18:08

I read this at work.  There are something that just should not be privatized, not run for profit.   Sorry but not everything needs to make a profit to be good.   Hugs

Privatized prison health care scrutinized – The Washington Post.

Privatized prison health care scrutinized

About 20 states, including Arizona, Illinois and Maryland, have shifted all or portions of their prison health-care operations to private providers in an attempt to cut costs, a trend that is raising concerns among unions and prisoners’ rights groups.

Officials in the states say the companies — which provide medical, dental, mental and pharmaceutical services — are less expensive than employing state workers, in part because using them saves on benefits and pension costs.

Human rights groups, however, say that private operators are not always providing care that is as good or better than what the state could do. Joel Thompson, co-chair of the Health Care Project at Prisoners’ Legal Services in Massachusetts, said using private services can have its own set of problems. “As with anything privatized or contracted out, you worry about whether the incentive to cut costs becomes too great,” he said.

Public employees see the move as yet another attack on unions, and they question the quality of care.

In Florida, labor unions filed suit in May, urging a judge to block the state’s proposal to contract out inmate medical services, which threatens the jobs of 900 state employees, said Jeanie Demshar, director of professional practice advocacy and labor relations for the Florida Nurses Association. The state planned to use two of the nation’s largest vendors, Corizon and Wexford Health Sources, but the court declined to rule on the case this month after determining that the suit was moot because the budget for the new fiscal year did not include the plan.

“The reason that privatization is a better model is that when you look at state departments of corrections and local facilities, their core mission is safety, security and rehabilitation of the inmates,” said Mark Hale, Wexford’s president and chief executive. “Health care is required by the Constitution but is not a core competency of those agencies.”

During the past two decades, states and private providers have been targets of lawsuits alleging negligent or inadequate care of prisoners.

“I’m not aware of any correctional system that thinks it’s where it needs to be,” said Jesse Jannetta, senior research associate at the Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center. “I’ve noticed the same challenges and problems despite how things are structured or who is responsible for what aspect of care.”

Under the Eighth Amendment directive against cruel and unusual punishment, prisoners are guaranteed adequate health care.

But managing prisoners’ health care is difficult. Infectious disease, mental illness and addiction are common problems for inmates, according to the Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights. Furthermore, a January report by Human Rights Watch detailed the growing number of aging inmates, who incur costs that are nine times as high as those for younger inmates.

Wexford and Corizon have faced criticism about the delivery of care. A March reportprepared for a federal judge accused Corizon of poor medical care and neglect at one of Idaho’s prisons. The report alleged serious nursing mistakes and inadequate care for prisoners with terminal illnesses.

Corizon responded to the accusations in a news release, saying the report was “incomplete, misleading and erroneous,” and cited an audit by the National Commission on Correctional Health Care, which said Corizon met all required standards.

“Corizon has a dedicated staff that works hard every day to provide care to a patient population that is sometimes difficult to treat, and at the same time be mindful that they are stewards of the taxpayer’s money,” a spokesman said.

In response, the Idaho corrections department agreed in May to increase its staff and medical oversight. The court continues to review the system during the next two years.

Wexford’s longest-standing contract is with Illinois. John Maki, executive director of theJohn Howard Association of Illinois, a prison reform group, said inmates often tell him that they are receiving insufficient care.

“It’s hard to untangle what’s true and whether it’s the fault of the department of corrections or Wexford,” Maki said. When the state handles the prisons and health care is outsourced, there may be coordination issues, he said.

But Wexford is also working on providing computerized health records and increasing its use of telemedicine, moves that Maki says have been invaluable, particularly in rural areas.

To be sure, complaints about prison health care are also raised when the state provides it. InCalifornia, inmates’ health care has been under federal court supervision for the past six years after a judge found that the state failed to provide inmates with adequate medical treatment. The state’s corrections department tried in May to regain the authority to oversee the system but was refused by a federal judge. The judge said the department must first demonstrate that it is able to provide adequate medical treatment.

Don Specter, director of the Prison Law Office, the legal advocacy group that set the lawsuits against California in motion, said care has improved but is still inadequate.

— Kaiser Health News

BBC News – Tax havens: Super-rich ‘hiding’ at least $21tn

Filed under: News — Scottie @ 18:05

Makes me sad, angry and disappointed.  Yes there is class warfare…but the poor did not start it, and are not armed enough to fight the war.  The poor are at the mercy of the rich…may the Gods help us all.   Hugs

BBC News – Tax havens: Super-rich ‘hiding’ at least $21tn.

Tax havens: Super-rich ‘hiding’ at least $21tn

Sterling pound notesJames Henry says his $21tn figure is a conservative estimate

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A global super-rich elite had at least $21 trillion (£13tn) hidden in secret tax havens by the end of 2010, according to a major study.

The figure is equivalent to the size of the US and Japanese economies combined.

The Price of Offshore Revisited was written by James Henry, a former chief economist at the consultancy McKinsey, for the Tax Justice Network.

Tax expert and UK government adviser John Whiting said he was sceptical that the amount hidden was so large.

Mr Whiting, tax policy director at the Chartered Institute of Taxation, said: “There clearly are some significant amounts hidden away, but if it really is that size what is being done with it all?”

Mr Henry said his $21tn is actually a conservative figure and the true scale could be $32tn. A trillion is 1,000 billion.

Mr Henry used data from the Bank of International Settlements, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and national governments.

His study deals only with financial wealth deposited in bank and investment accounts, and not other assets such as property and yachts.

The report comes amid growing public and political concern about tax avoidance and evasion. Some authorities, including in Germany, have even paid for information on alleged tax evaders stolen from banks.

The group that commissioned the report, Tax Justice Network, campaigns against tax havens.

Mr Henry said that the super-rich move money around the globe through an “industrious bevy of professional enablers in private banking, legal, accounting and investment industries.

“The lost tax revenues implied by our estimates is huge. It is large enough to make a significant difference to the finances of many countries.

“From another angle, this study is really good news. The world has just located a huge pile of financial wealth that might be called upon to contribute to the solution of our most pressing global problems,” he said.

‘Huge black hole’

James Henry says his $21tn figure is a conservative estimate

The report highlights the impact on the balance sheets of 139 developing countries of money held in tax havens that is put beyond the reach of local tax authorities.

Mr Henry estimates that since the 1970s, the richest citizens of these 139 countries had amassed $7.3tn to $9.3tn of “unrecorded offshore wealth” by 2010.

Private wealth held offshore represents “a huge black hole in the world economy,” Mr Henry said.

Mr Whiting, though, urged caution. “I cannot disprove the figures at all, but they do seem staggering. If the suggestion is that such amounts are actively hidden and never accessed, that seems odd – not least in terms of what the tax authorities are doing. In fact, the US, UK and German authorities are doing a lot.”

He also pointed out that if tax havens were stuffed with such sizeable amounts, “you would expect the havens to be more conspicuously wealthy than they are”.

Other findings in Mr Henry’s report include:

  • At the end of 2010, the 50 leading private banks alone collectively managed more than $12.1tn in cross-border invested assets for private clients
  • The three private banks handling the most assets offshore are UBS, Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs
  • Less than 100,000 people worldwide own about $9.8tn of the wealth held offshore.

Mr Henry told the BBC that it was difficult to detail hidden assets in some individual countries, including the UK, because of restrictions on getting access to data.

A spokesman for the Treasury said great strides were being made in cracking down on people hiding assets.

He said that in 2011-12 HM Revenue & Customs’ High Net Worth Unit secured £200m in additional tax through its compliance work with the very wealthy.

He said that agreements reached with Liechtenstein and Switzerland will bring in £3bn and between £4bn and £7bn respectively.

BBC News – Tennessee mosque gets go-ahead after legal fight

Filed under: News, opinion — Scottie @ 18:03

Again ignorance and bigotry are showing big time here.   We can do better, and in the land of the free we have to do better.   Hugs


BBC News – Tennessee mosque gets go-ahead after legal fight.

Tennessee mosque gets go-ahead after legal fight

A file photo of the construction site of a mosque being built in Murfreesboro, Tennessee 21 June 2012There have been acts of vandalism and bomb threats against the Tennessee mosque

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A US judge has ruled that a Muslim congregation has the right to occupy their newly built mosque, overturning a lower court order.

But county officials said they could not complete a final inspection to make the building ready for use on Thursday as the month of Ramadan begins.

Wednesday’s ruling was the latest episode in a two-year legal battle over the Rutherford County mosque.

Residents filed a lawsuit against the place of worship in 2010.

The opponents said Islam was not a real religion and claimed Muslims wanted to overthrow the US constitution in favour of Islamic law.

Their lawsuit was dismissed, but in May this year they won a ruling on a technicality to overturn the completed building’s approval.

Earlier this month, a local judge barred the county from issuing an occupancy permit for the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro.

‘Under siege’

The mosque’s representatives sued the county on Wednesday.

Start Quote

I think this is an opportunity for us all to celebrate the freedom and liberty that, in fact, exist in America”

Imam Ossama BahloulMosque leader

They sought an emergency order allowing worshippers into the building in time for Ramadan, which starts at sunset on Thursday in the US.

US Judge Todd Campbell granted the motion, ordering the county to approve the mosque for use.

But Rutherford County building codes director David Jones told the Daily News Journal newspaper on Thursday that it could take two weeks before the site was ready for final inspection.

The US justice department also filed a lawsuit in the mosque’s favour.

In court on Wednesday, US Attorney Jerry Martin argued that the local judge was holding the mosque to a different standard to other religious buildings.

The US attorney cited acts of vandalism and arson against the mosque. A Texas man was indicted last month on charges of making a bomb threat against the place of worship.

“The Muslim community in Rutherford County has been under siege for the last two years,” Mr Martin said. “Now, after doing everything right, they are told that they can’t move in.”

Mosque leader Imam Ossama Bahloul told the Associated Press he had been reluctant to involve the mosque in a lawsuit, but felt he had no choice after they were refused occupancy.

Mr Bahloul said he was encouraged by Judge Campbell’s ruling.

“I think this is an opportunity for us all to celebrate the freedom and liberty that, in fact, exist in America and to teach our young people to believe even more in the US Constitution,” he said.

A lawyer for the mosque’s opponents told the Daily News Journal he believed the ruling had circumvented the public will.

“You don’t throw a lawsuit like this together overnight,” Joe Brandon said. “So, clearly, it’s something they’ve been planning for some time.”

BBC News – Warsaw Ghetto: A survivor’s tale

Filed under: News, opinion — Scottie @ 18:01

Anyone who reads my blog knows I have no tolerance for bigotry, for hate of others because they are different.    I am a big believer in the words, “NEVER AGAIN” and the feeling behind the words, the meaning, the idea of protecting life.   Sadly in parts of our world these words need to be sounded again.  They need to be used and enforced.   Hugs

BBC News – Warsaw Ghetto: A survivor’s tale.

Warsaw Ghetto: A survivor’s tale

Janina DawidowiczJanina spent her early childhood in Kalisz, near the German border

Janina Dawidowicz was a nine-year-old girl when World War II engulfed Poland. As Jews, she and her family were soon driven into the Warsaw Ghetto, but she later escaped and remains one of its few survivors.

The extermination of the Jews of Poland began 70 years ago.

On the morning of 22 July 1942, Nazi soldiers marched the first group of 6,000 Jews held in the Warsaw Ghetto to the railway sidings, the Umschlagplatz, and put them on trains to the Treblinka gas facility.

Janina Dawidowicz, born in 1930, is one of the few people who lived in the ghetto and survived. She recalls the posters going up, ordering residents to report to the Umschlagplatz at 11 o’clock. Any one disobeying would be shot.

Many people, she says, lined up willingly. The Germans told residents that they were being sent to labour camps in eastern Poland where they could escape the misery. What is more, there would be handouts of free food.

“People were offered, I think, two loaves of bread, some margarine or some sugar if they reported to Umschlagplatz. Nobody could imagine that you were going straight into a gas chamber.”

The first to go were those with the least power to resist – the old, the ill and the under-12s.

They included, from Janina’s apartment, a fragile young woman called Rachel. She had once shown 11-year-old Janina her carefully-stored wedding outfit – a satin skirt and white blouse. When Rachel did not come home and Janina found her trousseau missing, she understood where Rachel had gone.

“Our landlord and landlady went next. They took all their kitchen stuff – pots and pans, large bundles tied up in a sheet, back and front, they could hardly walk. But they went. They waved goodbye and promised to write when they arrived in the East.”

Find out more

  • Life in the Warsaw Ghetto is on Radio 4’s Witness programme at 14:45 BST on Sunday 22 July
  • Or listen again using the link below

The ghetto had been created as a holding pen for Jews in November 1940. The large Jewish population of Warsaw – a third of the city – was confined to a tiny area, where they were walled in.

They were joined by tens of thousands of Jews from other parts of Poland, Hungary and other German-occupied countries.

“You heard every language in the street,” remembers Janina. “Yiddish, Polish, Hungarian, German.”

Janina and her well-to-do family came from the city of Kalisz.

“I was an only child watched over very carefully by a nanny – frightfully well brought up – white gloves to play in the park! My mother had been to finishing school in Zurich… she could not boil an egg when the war started.”

Janina's father Marek as a child and his sistersJanina’s father Marek, here with his sisters, probably died at Majdanek

Janina and her parents squeezed into a tiny room, so damp that “I could write sums on the wall”, and the sheets had to be dried before bedtime. They cooked on sawdust between two bricks, and fetched water from a communal tap. Food was bread mixed with sawdust and potatoes, rationed to 108 calories per day.

Janina’s cousin Rosa had a lively toddler, who slowly starved to death. Like thousands of ghetto children, Cousin Rosa’s little boy stopped walking, shriveled and died.

Desperate for a wage, Janina’s father Marek got a job in the Jewish Law and Order service – the Jewish police.

The service was often reviled as a tool of Nazi policy, along with the Jewish administration. But at the time, the job seemed to hold out the best chance of keeping the family alive until the end of the war. Marek escorted cartloads of rubble out of the ghetto, and smuggled in small amounts of food.

Families tried fiercely to maintain a semblance of ordinary life between 1940 and 1942.

There were tremendous efforts to run community soup kitchens and look after orphans whose parents had starved to death, or died of the diseases that raged in the ghetto.

Many children like Janina attended illegal schools, risking instant execution for teachers and pupils if discovered.

There were choirs, physics lectures and cabaret shows to raise money for social services. Classes were held in every conceivable skill from cookery to paper-flower making.

Janina with relativesThe last family summer holiday was in 1939 (Janina is far left)

A symphony orchestra played at the theatre, complete with the stars of the music that all Warsaw had danced to before the war.

The Polish record company, Electro-Syrena, had been Jewish-owned and had produced hundreds of hits before 1939. Now, musicians and technicians alike lived in the ghetto – jazz men like the Gold brothers, Henryk and Artur, who’d run the famous Adria night club.

Janina with her motherJanina and her mother, Celia, killed in 1942

All they had to do was outlast the war, people told themselves, and life would continue – perhaps not as before, but at least in some form.

“My mother, my grandmother would say: ‘Oh, we need new curtains in the living room,'” Janina remembers.

“The carpets! We’ll get Sophie and Stephanie in to give us a hand. No-one believed it would go on. France had fallen, but there was England and the USSR and America – there was a whole world. Of course it was going to end.”

At the time, it was a reasonable wager. It was not until the autumn of 1941 and the German failure to march victoriously through the Soviet Union, that Nazi policy moved from the mass shooting of European Jews to comprehensive extermination.

Through July and August 1942, another 6,000 were sent from the ghetto to Treblinka each day.

By the end of the summer, more than a quarter of a million were gone, dead within hours of arrival at Treblinka.

Janina, as a policeman’s daughter, was one of the few children alive.

“Our whole block of flats was empty. The father of the twins living above us threw himself out of the window when he came home and didn’t find the children.”

Janina as an adultJanina now writes and lives in London

Janina’s aunt was taken, then her grandparents. Then the police began being rounded up.

In the last weeks of the ghetto, in the winter of 1942, Janina’s parents managed to smuggle her out to Christian Warsaw. As her father had police papers, he was allowed to escort lorries through the gates, so she slipped out with him.

In Warsaw, she was kept hidden by Catholic nuns, changing her name and concealing her identity.

Her parents stayed behind. She never saw them again. Janina thinks her father died in the Majdanek extermination camp. She does not know how or where her mother was killed.

After the war, Janina found one uncle. She returned to Kalisz, hoping someone else might reappear. She waited for over a year before giving up.

After two years in a children’s home, Janina sailed in a ship full of emigrants to start a new life in Melbourne, Australia, where she got a job in a factory. It was in Australia that she managed, finally, to resume her education, and qualified as a social worker.

Homesick for Europe, she moved to London in 1958, where she began to write down her experiences in order to make sense of her life. She became a writer and translator, and has lived in London ever since

BBC News – A Point of View: What would Keynes do?

Filed under: News, opinion — Scottie @ 17:54

This is the model of economics I support and believe in.   I use to argue with FoFo over it.   To me it makes the most sense, and is the way out of the economic trouble we are in.   Hugs

BBC News – A Point of View: What would Keynes do?.

A Point of View: What would Keynes do?

Britain"s Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander are given a a tour of a Crossrail construction site in central LondonIn the 1930s, Keynes urged investment in public works to restart growth

What would John Maynard Keynes, one of the most influential economists of the 20th Century, have made of the current economic situation, ponders philosopher John Gray.

“I can see us as water-spiders, gracefully skimming, as light and reasonable as air, the surface of the stream without any contact at all with the eddies and currents underneath.”

That was how John Maynard Keynes, speaking in 1938 in a talk later published as his brilliant memoir My Early Beliefs, recalled his younger self and his friends in the Bloomsbury Group as they had been in the years before World War I.

The influential Cambridge economist has figured prominently in the anxious debates that have gone on since the crash of 2007-2008. For most of those invoking his name, he was a kind of social engineer, who urged using the power of government to lift the economy out of the devastating depression of the 30s.

Find out more

John Gray
  • John Gray is a political philosopher and author of False Dawn: The Delusions of Global Capitalism

That is how Keynes’s disciples view him today. The fashionable cult of austerity, they warn, has forgotten Keynes’s most important insight – slashing government spending when credit is scarce only plunges the economy into deeper recession.

What is needed now, they believe, is what Keynes urged in the 30s – governments must be ready to borrow more, print more money and invest in public works in order to restart growth.

But would Keynes be today what is described as a Keynesian? Would this supremely subtle and sceptical mind still believe that policies he formulated long ago – which worked well in the decades after the World War II – can solve our problems now?

The first thing to be said about Maynard Keynes is that he was an astonishingly intelligent man. Bertrand Russell, his contemporary at Cambridge, described the economist as having “the sharpest and clearest intellect” he had ever known.

Start Quote

Keynes had a depth of culture that few economists could claim today”

Having transformed the study of logic, Russell was himself one of the great minds of the early 20th Century. Yet when he argued with Keynes, Russell wrote, “I took my life in my hands, and I seldom emerged without feeling something of a fool.”

Intimately familiar with the history of economic thought and widely read in many fields, producing a major treatise on the nature of probability alongside his famous General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money and a host of penetrating essays, Keynes had a depth of culture that few economists could claim today.

His brilliant intelligence wasn’t exercised only in the realm of theory. Keynes was an outstandingly successful investor, who lost heavily in the 1929 crash, changed his investment methods and recouped his losses, growing the funds of his Cambridge college and leaving a substantial personal fortune. He had a deep understanding of the complex, unpredictable and at times insolubly difficult nature of human events.

Key(nes) facts

John Maynard Keynes in 1938
  • John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) was educated at Eton and Cambridge University, where he studied mathematics
  • He became friends with members of the Bloomsbury group of intellectuals and artists
  • Keynes joined the Treasury during World War I, and in the wake of the 1919 Versailles peace treaty, published The Economic Consequences of the Peace, criticising exorbitant war reparations demanded from Germany, claiming they would harm the country’s economy and could foster a desire for revenge
  • During inter-war years, Keynes became a prominent arts patron
  • His best-known work The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, published in 1936, made Keynes Britain’s most influential economist
  • Keynes led 1944 British delegation to the Bretton Woods conference in the United States, playing an important role in planning the World Bank and International Monetary Fund

But Keynes didn’t start out with this understanding. As he records in his memoir, he and his friends in Cambridge and Bloomsbury believed they already knew what the good life consisted in and were sublimely confident that it could be achieved. Influenced by the Cambridge philosopher GE Moore, they thought the only things that had value in themselves were love, beauty and the pursuit of knowledge.

Some of the most bold of Moore’s disciples – Keynes was one of them – ventured to suggest that pleasure might also be worth pursuing, but Moore, who was something of a puritan, would have nothing of this. Despite these disagreements, Moore’s was a liberating philosophy for Keynes and his friends.

Keynes viewed his early philosophy as being entirely rational and scientific in character. Yet it was also his religion, he tells us – the faith by which he and his friends lived. And, in many ways, it was not a bad faith to live by. It armed him against idolatry of the market, which he described as “the worm that had been gnawing at the insides of modern civilisation… the over-valuation of the economic criterion”. To identify the goods that can be added up in an economic calculus with the good life was for Keynes – young and old – a fundamental error. The market was made for human beings – not human beings to serve the market.

At the same time, Keynes’s personal religion immunised him against the faith in central economic planning that bewitched a later generation at Cambridge. He was never tempted by the lure of collectivism, which he dismissed as “the turbid rubbish of the Red bookshop”. Firmly believing that nothing had value except the experiences of individuals, he always remained a liberal.

In other respects, Keynes’s early philosophy was dangerously shallow. “We were among the last of the Utopians, or meliorists as they are sometimes called”, he wrote, “who believe in a continuing moral progress by virtue of which the human race already consists of reliable, rational, decent people, influenced by truth and objective standards… We were not aware that civilisation was a thin and precarious crust… only maintained by rules and conventions skilfully put across and guilefully preserved.” Underlying this complacent faith in progress was a naive faith in the power of reason. Inspired by a “thin rationalism”, he wrote, “We completely misunderstood human nature, including our own.”

The Bloomsbury Group

Cambridge University archives have released photographs featuring the influential Bloomsbury Group, a set of English writers, philosophers, intellectuals and artists of which Keynes was part

Keynes discovered just how deluded this faith in reason was when in 1919 he attended the Versailles Peace Conference as part of the British delegation. The European continent was in ruins, and millions were hungry or actually starving. Yet the victors in World War I, who were supposed to be planning Europe’s future, could not escape from squabbling among themselves and plotting revenge on a defeated Germany. In his prophetic book The Economic Consequences of the Peace, Keynes forecast a popular reaction in Germany, born of desperation and hysteria, which would “submerge civilisation itself”.

We do not find ourselves today struggling with the aftermath of a catastrophic world war. Yet the situation in Europe poses risks that may be as great as they were in 1919. A deepening slump there would increase the risk of a hard landing in China – on whose growth the world has come to depend. In Europe itself, a downward spiral would energise toxic political movements – such as the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn, which won seats in parliament in the last election in Greece. Facing these dangers, Keynes’s disciples insist that the only way forward is through governments stimulating the economy and returning it to growth.

Start Quote

Keynes’s most important lesson is to let go of inherited ideas. If we cling to the panaceas of earlier times, we risk losing the civilisation we have inherited”

It’s hard to imagine Keynes sharing such a simple-minded view. As he would surely recognise, the problem isn’t just a deepening recession, however serious. We face a conjunction of three large events – the implosion of the debt-based finance-capitalism that developed over the past twenty years or so, a fracturing of the euro resulting from fatal faults in its design, and the ongoing shift of economic power from the west to the fast-developing countries of the east and south.

Interacting with each other, these crises have created a global crisis that old-fashioned Keynesian policies cannot deal with. Yet it’s still Keynes from whom we have most to learn. Not Keynes the economic engineer, who is invoked by his disciples today. But Keynes the sceptic, who understood that markets are as prone to fits of madness as any other human institution and who tried to envisage a more intelligent variety of capitalism.

Keynes condemned Britain’s return in 1925 to the gold standard, which famously he described as a barbarous relic. Would he not also condemn the determination of European governments to save the euro? Might he not think they would be better advised to begin a planned dismantlement of this primitive relic of 20th Century utopian thinking?

I suspect Keynes would be just as sceptical about the prospect of returning to growth. With our ageing populations and overhang of debt, there’s little prospect of developed societies keeping up with the rapid expansion that is going on in emerging countries. Wouldn’t we be better off thinking about how we can enjoy a good life in conditions of low growth?

Keynes’s most important lesson is to let go of inherited ideas. If we cling to the panaceas of earlier times, we risk losing the civilisation we have inherited. This is the truly Keynesian insight that our leaders – airily floating above the dangerous undercurrents of popular feeling like the water-spiders of Bloomsbury – have yet to grasp.

BBC News – First spiral galaxy in early Universe stuns astronomers

Filed under: News — Scottie @ 17:52

BBC News – First spiral galaxy in early Universe stuns astronomers.

First spiral galaxy in early Universe stuns astronomers

Hubble space telescope data of BX442The Hubble image of BX442 hints at neat spiral arms and at top left, an orbiting dwarf galaxy

Related Stories

Astronomers have spotted the earliest known spiral galaxy, dating to just three billion years after the Big Bang.

Theories of galaxy formation held that the Universe was still too chaotic a place to allow such a perfectly formed or “grand-design” spiral to form.

It should take far longer for gravity to bring matter into thin, neat discs.

But a team reporting in Nature says the galaxy BX442 got the gravitational “kick” it needed to form a spiral from a smaller “dwarf galaxy” orbiting it.

They first spotted BX442 as the one and only spiral-looking object in a survey of 300 galaxies carried out by the Hubble space telescope, when they were shocked to see what looked to be a spiral galaxy.

“What we’ve learned when we look at galaxies at that epoch is that they’re very dynamically hot,” explained lead author of the study David Law from the University of Toronto’s Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics.

“Even though we see some discs existing at that time, they’re very thick and puffy, whereas the Milky Way has an… amount of random motion only about a tenth or so the amount of ordered rotation, giving rise to a very thin disc,” he told BBC News.

To get a closer look at BX442, the team went on to use the OH-Suppressing Infrared Integral Field Spectrograph at the Keck observatory in Hawaii – which can subtract the effect of all the water that lies between the Earth and galaxies at such astronomical distances.

Those observations confirmed a hint apparent in the Hubble data: that BX442 was being orbited by a smaller “dwarf galaxy” at its edges.

“You can get a little extra help if you’ve got a satellite galaxy orbiting around,” explained Dr Law.

“It gives that extra little gravitational kick to help accentuate the strength of the arm and make it into one of those eye-popping examples like the Whirlpool galaxy that you see all the pictures of.”

Having proved that such grand-design spiral galaxies can exist at such an early age of the Universe, Dr Law said the team would now like to look into larger, wider-ranging galaxy surveys such as the Hubble telescope’s ongoing Candels survey.

BBC News – Iceberg breaks off from Greenland’s Petermann Glacier

Filed under: News — Scottie @ 17:51

Climate change anyone?   Hugs

BBC News – Iceberg breaks off from Greenland’s Petermann Glacier.

Iceberg breaks off from Greenland’s Petermann Glacier

Petermann Glacier

Related Stories

An iceberg twice the size of Manhattan has broken away from the Petermann Glacier in northern Greenland.

Images from a Nasa satellite show the island breaking off a tongue of ice that extends at the end of the glacier.

In 2010 an ice island measuring 250 square km (100 square miles) broke off the same glacier.

The process that spawns icebergs – known as calving – is a natural, periodic process affecting all glaciers that terminate at the ocean.

A previous calving event at the same glacier in 2010 created an iceberg twice the size of this one.

Scientists have raised concerns in recent years about the Greenland ice shelf, saying that it is thinning extensively amid warm temperatures.

No single event of this type can be ascribed to changes in the climate.

But some experts say they are surprised by the extent of the changes to the Petermann Glacier in recent years.

“It is not a collapse but it is certainly a significant event,” Eric Rignot from Nasa said in a statement.

Some other observers have gone further. “It’s dramatic. It’s disturbing,” University of Delaware’s Andreas Muenchow told the Associated Press.

“We have data for 150 years and we see changes that we have not seen before,” Mr Muenchow added.

The calving is not expected have an impact on sea levels as the ice was already floating.

Icebergs from the Petermann Glacier sometimes reach the waters off Newfoundland in Canada, posing a danger to shipping and navigation, according to the Canadian Ice Service.

Floating “ice tongues” in front of land-based glaciers tend to block the ice flow headed for the sea. When ice chunks break loose, the land-based glaciers behind them often move more quickly, Mr Muenchow said.

The accelerated movement of the Petermann Glacier after the 2010 break was “noticeable but not dramatic,” he said.

If the size of the newly-formed iceberg was centred on London

Compare with another place in the UK


Size of iceberg from Petermann Glacier 17 July 2012

From Carlitos. Thanks my friend

Filed under: Jokes — Scottie @ 17:50
PARAPROSDOKIANS… (Winston Churchill supposedly loved them)

are figures of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is

surprising or unexpected and frequently humorous. So here goes with
a few you may not yet know…

1. Where there’s a will, I want to be in it.

2. The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it’s still on my list.

3. Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear intelligent

until you hear them speak.

4. If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.

5. We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.

6. War does not determine who is right – only who is left.

7. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it
in a fruit salad.

8. They begin the evening news with ‘Good Evening,’ then proceed to
tell you why it isn’t.

9. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is

10. Buses stop in bus stations. Trains stop in train stations. On my
desk is a work station.

11. I thought I wanted a career. Turns out I just wanted paychecks.

12. In filling out an application, where it says, ‘In case of
emergency, notify:’ I put ‘DOCTOR.’

13. I didn’t say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.

14. Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the
street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.

15. Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of a
successful man is usually another woman.

16. A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory.

17. You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute
to skydive twice.

18. Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live

19. There’s a fine line between cuddling and holding someone down so
they can’t get away.

20. I used to be indecisive. Now I’m not so sure.

21. You’re never too old to learn something stupid.

22. To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever
you hit the target.

23. Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.

24. Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

25. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than
standing in a garage makes you a car.

Now don’t tell me you didn’t chuckle a one or two of them!





Gay sitcom is internet sensation in Vietnam | Gay Star News

Filed under: News — Scottie @ 17:35

Asked to leave home one day because your father learns your gay.  The day before he was proud to have you as his son, and at home.  Nothing changed, your still the same…but his mind is closed and warped.   In his mind just the words have changed you into a monster…we must use education to correct this.  Hugs

Gay sitcom is internet sensation in Vietnam | Gay Star News.

Gay sitcom is internet sensation in Vietnam

First episode of My Gay Best Friends has over 165,000 hits on YouTube
Han in Vietnamese YouTube-released sitcom My Gay Best Friends

A sitcom about three gay men sharing a flat in Ho Chi Min City has become a YouTube hit in Vietnam.

My Best Gay Friends, directed and created by 20-year-old drama student Huynh Nguyen Dang Khoa, has had its first episode viewed over 165,000 times.

Khoa plays the leading role, a character also called Khoa, whose parents make him move out of the family home on his 20th birthday in episode one. Khoa then moves in with his friends Han and Ngo Xuan Nhat.

‘All of us in the leading roles are gay in real life,’ said Khoa, as reported by Thang Nien News. ‘We hope that people will have a proper, comprehensive and compassionate understanding of homosexuality.’

Khoa said the response has been mostly positive, especially from the LGBT community. ‘Many of them have asked to take part in our film,’ he said.

The show has been a very public coming out for the three men, and the actors’ families have reacted to it in different ways.

Han’s mother, Thanh, has accepted her son is gay. ‘My son was born gay and can do nothing to change it. It is ok as long as he is happy and healthy,’ she said. ‘I will not exchange my son for others.’

But Nhat’s family on his father’s side want him to leave the house where he lives with them and his mother. Nhat’s mother, Thu Hong, said ‘it is a terrible feeling to be reprimanded and abandoned by our family’.

Watch the first episode of My Best Gay Friends (in Vietnamese with English subtitles) here:

America’s ISPs set to spy on your network access to help entertainment industry – Boing Boing

Filed under: News — Scottie @ 17:31

America’s ISPs set to spy on your network access to help entertainment industry – Boing Boing.

merica’s ISPs set to spy on your network access to help entertainment industry

Douglas Rushkoff writes on CNN about the new US “six strikes” copyright regime, an unholy alliance between the major entertainment companies the the nation’s largest ISPs, which gives your ISP carte blanche to spy on all your private Internet traffic on the off chance that you might be interfering with Universal Music’s profit-maximization scheme. If you attract enough unsubstantiated copyright accusations, you and your family — or your business — could lose your Internet access.

As I understand the new agreement and subsequent comments, which are about as cryptic as a copy-protected DVD, ISP’s have agreed to implement a standardized “graduated response plan” through which offending users are warned, restricted and eventually cut off from the Internet for successive violations. The companies are supposed to be developing systems that keep track of all this, so that the letters and usage restrictions happen automatically. The fact that they are all agreeing to participate makes it harder for any one company to win the disgruntled customers of those who have been disciplined by another.

But now that they’re free from individual blame, there’s also the strong possibility that the ISPs will be doing the data monitoring directly. That’s a much bigger deal. So instead of reaching out to the Internet to track down illegally flowing bits of their movies, the studios will sit back while ISP’s “sniff” the packets of data coming to and from their customers’ computers. While they’re simply claiming to be protecting copyright holders, ISPs have a lot to gain from all this as well.

For instance, in many cases the Internet subscriber might have no knowledge of the infraction that the ISP detects. A houseguest might log onto one’s home network simply to check e-mail. Because his sharing software might be running in the background (even when he’s not downloading files himself) he is in effect sharing his own movie files wherever he goes. Your ISP sniffs the packets, so you are nabbed. The same is true for those of us who run “open networks” so that neighbors and others nearby can get free Internet access when they need it. (In the old days, that used to be considered polite.)

£13tn hoard hidden from taxman by global elite | Business | The Observer

Filed under: News — Scottie @ 17:27

The statement about rich people who want to use government services or tax breaks , but not to pay for them rings true.  I have seen clips of Mitt Romney claiming there is no free lunch…that people just want free stuff from the government and those people would vote for the other guy…he makes fun of those people….YET John Stewart showed how Mitt took some huge tax on for his freaken show horse… look you want a show horse, great, if you can afford it great, but in a time when you are saying to cut kids lunch programs for the poor…don’t take 77 thousand dollars tax break for that pure luxury.   That is more than most of us make….and that disconnect is what makes the 99 percent so angry at the 1 percent.  Hugs 

£13tn hoard hidden from taxman by global elite | Business | The Observer.

£13tn hoard hidden from taxman by global elite

• Study estimates staggering size of offshore economy
• Private banks help wealthiest to move cash into havens

Aerial view of the Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands: a favourite haven from the taxman for the global elite. Photograph: David Doubilet/National Geographic/Getty Images

A global super-rich elite has exploited gaps in cross-border tax rules to hide an extraordinary £13 trillion ($21tn) of wealth offshore – as much as the American and Japanese GDPs put together – according to research commissioned by the campaign group Tax Justice Network.

James Henry, former chief economist at consultancy McKinsey and an expert on tax havens, has compiled the most detailed estimates yet of the size of the offshore economy in a new report, The Price of Offshore Revisited, released exclusively to the Observer.

He shows that at least £13tn – perhaps up to £20tn – has leaked out of scores of countries into secretive jurisdictions such as Switzerland and the Cayman Islands with the help of private banks, which vie to attract the assets of so-called high net-worth individuals. Their wealth is, as Henry puts it, “protected by a highly paid, industrious bevy of professional enablers in the private banking, legal, accounting and investment industries taking advantage of the increasingly borderless, frictionless global economy“. According to Henry’s research, the top 10 private banks, which include UBS and Credit Suisse in Switzerland, as well as the US investment bank Goldman Sachs, managed more than £4tn in 2010, a sharp rise from £1.5tn five years earlier.

The detailed analysis in the report, compiled using data from a range of sources, including the Bank of International Settlements and the International Monetary Fund, suggests that for many developing countries the cumulative value of the capital that has flowed out of their economies since the 1970s would be more than enough to pay off their debts to the rest of the world.

Oil-rich states with an internationally mobile elite have been especially prone to watching their wealth disappear into offshore bank accounts instead of being invested at home, the research suggests. Once the returns on investing the hidden assets is included, almost £500bn has left Russia since the early 1990s when its economy was opened up. Saudi Arabia has seen £197bn flood out since the mid-1970s, and Nigeria £196bn.

“The problem here is that the assets of these countries are held by a small number of wealthy individuals while the debts are shouldered by the ordinary people of these countries through their governments,” the report says.

The sheer size of the cash pile sitting out of reach of tax authorities is so great that it suggests standard measures of inequality radically underestimate the true gap between rich and poor. According to Henry’s calculations, £6.3tn of assets is owned by only 92,000 people, or 0.001% of the world’s population – a tiny class of the mega-rich who have more in common with each other than those at the bottom of the income scale in their own societies.

“These estimates reveal a staggering failure: inequality is much, much worse than official statistics show, but politicians are still relying on trickle-down to transfer wealth to poorer people,” said John Christensen of the Tax Justice Network. “People on the street have no illusions about how unfair the situation has become.”

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “Countries around the world are under intense pressure to reduce their deficits and governments cannot afford to let so much wealth slip past into tax havens.

“Closing down the tax loopholes exploited by multinationals and the super-rich to avoid paying their fair share will reduce the deficit. This way the government can focus on stimulating the economy, rather than squeezing the life out of it with cuts and tax rises for the 99% of people who aren’t rich enough to avoid paying their taxes.”

Assuming the £13tn mountain of assets earned an average 3% a year for its owners, and governments were able to tax that income at 30%, it would generate a bumper £121bn in revenues – more than rich countries spend on aid to the developing world each year.

Groups such as UK Uncut have focused attention on the paltry tax bills of some highly wealthy individuals, such as Topshop owner Sir Philip Green, with campaigners at one recent protest shouting: “Where did all the money go? He took it off to Monaco!” Much of Green’s retail empire is owned by his wife, Tina, who lives in the low-tax principality.

A spokeswoman for UK Uncut said: “People like Philip Green use public services – they need the streets to be cleaned, people need public transport to get to their shops – but they don’t want to pay for it.”

Leaders of G20 countries have repeatedly pledged to close down tax havens since the financial crisis of 2008, when the secrecy shrouding parts of the banking system was widely seen as exacerbating instability. But many countries still refuse to make details of individuals’ financial worth available to the tax authorities in their home countries as a matter of course. Tax Justice Network would like to see this kind of exchange of information become standard practice, to prevent rich individuals playing off one jurisdiction against another.

“The very existence of the global offshore industry, and the tax-free status of the enormous sums invested by their wealthy clients, is predicated on secrecy,” said Henry.

Colorado Shooting Blamed On Gays, Liberals| News | Towleroad

Filed under: News, opinion — Scottie @ 17:17

Colorado Shooting Blamed On Gays, Liberals| News | Towleroad.

Colorado Shooting Blamed On Gays, Liberals

Fred_Jackson_American_Family_AssociationIt was going to happen eventually: the Colorado massacre has now been pinned on the gays.

The pinning was done by Fred Jackson, of the American Family Association, on his radio show yesterday. Thanks to RightWingWatch for the transcription:

I think the sources of this is [sic] multifaceted but you can put it all I think under the heading of rebellion to God, a rejection of the God of the Bible. I think along with an education system that has produced our lawyers, our politicians, more teachers, more professors, all of that sort of thing, is our churches, mainline churches. We’ve been dealing Teddy and I know the AFA Journal has been dealing with denominations that no longer believe in the God of the Bible, they no longer believe that Jesus is the only way of salvation, they teach that God is OK with homosexuality, this is just increasing more and more. It is mankind shaking its fist at the authority of God.

Happily, it’s not just the gays responsible for James Holmes’s midnight movie massacre — it’s everyone who doesn’t share Fred Jackson’s exact set of values:

In the community there were community standards that reflected biblical principles, whether people knew it or not, the standard in the community was based on Scripture. In that short period of time, roughly forty years, we have seen such a transformation in values in our communities, whether it’s rural or whether it’s big city. I have to think that all of this, whether it’s the Hollywood movies, whether it’s what we see on the internets, whether it’s liberal bias in the media, whether it’s our politicians changing public policy, I think all of those somehow have fit together — and I have to say also churches who are leaving the authority of Scripture and losing their fear of God — all of those things have seem to have come together to give us these kinds of incidents.

Jackson’s rant is an example of the “No True Scotsman” fallacy, and it evinces a peculiar kind of historical blindness. Even if Jackson’s assertion — that the advance of social liberalism is responsible for Holmes’s killing spree — happened to be true, which it isn’t, wouldn’t it follow that Jackson’s own, “Scripture-based” conception of morality was responsible for the atrocities perpetrated before we had “Hollywood movies,” the “internets,” “liberal bias in the media,” and pro-gay churches? The massacre in Rosewood, slavery, the extermination of Native Americans, and so forth? What does he make of the fact that, in strictly statistical terms, we’re now living in an era far less violent and oppressive than any in human history?

The blame game is difficult to play. There are no rules, and there are seldom winners. Marilyn Manson’s 13-year-old essay on the Columbine massacre remains relevant, and more sensible than most of the scribbling yet done on the subject of Colorado’s latest tragedy:

When it comes down to who’s to blame for the high school murders in Littleton, Colorado, throw a rock and you’ll hit someone who’s guilty. We’re the people who sit back and tolerate children owning guns, and we’re the ones who tune in and watch the up-to-the-minute details of what they do with them. I think it’s terrible when anyone dies, especially if it is someone you know and love. But what is more offensive is that when these tragedies happen, most people don’t really care any more than they would about the season finale of Friends or The Real World. I was dumbfounded as I watched the media snake right in, not missing a teardrop, interviewing the parents of dead children, televising the funerals. Then came the witch hunt.

Man’s greatest fear is chaos. It was unthinkable that these kids did not have a simple black-and-white reason for their actions. And so a scapegoat was needed.

Read more:

Justin Bieber Rolling Stone Cover is Gross, and Could Be Promoting Child Porn

Filed under: opinion — Scottie @ 17:10

I think the writer is nuts!   Sorry but by  the definition used here everyone who has a wet dream is a child molester and abuser…promoting child sex.  Get real, a wet dream is not the devil tempting children to have sex with each other.   Justin can not help he looks young and cute.  Most would love to have his looks.  A lot of older people are jealous of his looks and some wish to hold him.   So read this and see how far the USA has gone in being repressive, being scared of the human body, having become so uneducated as to not know how the human body works.   Silly humans, cuteness is for kids…LOL

Justin Bieber Rolling Stone Cover is Gross, and Could Be Promoting Child Porn.

Justin Bieber Rolling Stone Cover is Gross, and Could Be Promoting Child Porn

Justin Bieber Rolling Stone Cover is Gross and Could Be Promoting Child Porn

This is not the first time Justin Bieber makes the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. However, it is the first time the still pre-pubescent-looking singer is featured on the magazine’s cover after he turned 18.

Obviously, Rolling Stone is trying to capitalize on Bieber’s millions of fans (doesn’t he have like 25 million Twitter followers already?), and there’s nothing wrong with that.

The troubling part, though, is that many of Justin Bieber’s fans are little girls as young as 9-years-old and below. That is why the sexualized way the cover is presented is inappropriate — and could even have legal consequences in some states.

Justin Bieber might be legal (i.e. to have sex), but as mentioned before many of his fans are not. Featuring the teen idol — who just released an album called Boyfriend — along the words “hot, ready and legal” suggests to his fans he’s ready to have sex – with them.

And as these 15, 16 and 17-year-old Justin Bieber fans fantasize about “doing it” with Justin – or with any other 17 or 18-year-old high school senior that they might consider “cute” — they could be opening themselves to child abuse charges (some states penalize sexual relations between two minors, and not only between an adult and a minor).

There’s nothing wrong with featuring teen idols for the entertainment of the masses, but overly sexualizing these singers and actors is kind of gross — to be honest.

However, Bieber and Rolling Stone seem to be covering their backs when the teen idol declares in the featured interview, “I don’t think you should have sex with anyone unless you love them. I think you should just wait for the person you’re in love with.”

land down under « Angels Blog

Filed under: Web sites I like — Scottie @ 16:01

land down under « Angels Blog.

I have written of Angel and her blog before.   This post she wrote resonates with me greatly.  Our country faces these same problems, and seems to be having the same response from politicians.   Please drop over and add your voice.   Together we can make a difference, not just for the USA or the “land Down Under” but for each of us, every person, and for the world.   Many Hugs



Filed under: My Life and Rants — Scottie @ 15:10

I had my doctors appointment this morning.  Again my Red blood cells, my hemoglobin, my hematocrit  


 (The hematocrit (Ht or HCT) or packed cell volume (PCV) or erythrocyte volume fraction (EVF) is the volume percentage (%) of red blood cells in blood. It is normally about 45% for men and 40% for women.[1] It is considered an integral part of a person’s complete blood count results, along with hemoglobin concentration, white blood cell count, and platelet count.)


are all low.   Still.  I think it has been about 6 weeks since I was in the hospital with anemia, heart rate way too high, and I still have not made up enough red blood cells.

I admit it is a little scary.   Why am I low to begin with, why is my body not making more red blood cells……OH well.   Talk to you all soon.    Hugs

some thoughts in drawing form

Filed under: Cartoons — Scottie @ 08:45


Thank you for waiting

Filed under: My Life and Rants — Scottie @ 07:56

Hello Wonderful people.  I want to thank you for waiting so patiently for your comments to show up.   I am sorry it has taken me so long.  I worked this weekend.  Both days.  I get up at 0430 and get home at 8 PM.  James has been grand to have supper ready for dad, but I have been too tired to eat, and too sore.   I take a few bites, excuse my self and go to bed. I have not helped with the house work nor spent time with either Ron or James.   So Today I will do the comments.   But like all of my off days, first I have to go see a doctor.   That is at 1000.  So at some time today I will answer your comments.   I just wanted you to know they are important to me, I respect your voice.  Hugs

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