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From: Dale Baker12/27/2011 8:51:11 AM
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The Gallup Economic Confidence Index has averaged -38 thus far in December, up from -45 in November -- putting December on track to be the most positive month for consumer attitudes since June. Still, confidence remains lower than at the start of 2011. Read more at GALLUP.com.

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From: Ron12/27/2011 8:56:47 AM
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How Newt Crashed and Burned- As Speaker of the House

thedailybeast.com 

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To: Ron who wrote (178057)12/27/2011 9:24:24 AM
From: Dale Baker
of 257300
 

December 27, 2011 -- 9:00 a.m. EST Gingrich Applauded Romney's Health Plan
Newt Gingrich voiced enthusiasm for Mitt Romney's Massachusetts health-care law when it was passed five years ago, the same plan he has been denouncing over the past few months as he campaigned for the Republican presidential nomination.

"The health bill that Governor Romney signed into law this month has tremendous potential to effect major change in the American health system," said an April 2006 newsletter published by Mr. Gingrich's former consulting company, the Center for Health Transformation.

The two-page "Newt Notes" analysis, found online by The Wall Street Journal even though it no longer appears on the center's website, continued: "We agree entirely with Governor Romney and Massachusetts legislators that our goal should be 100% insurance coverage for all Americans."

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To: bruwin who wrote (178055)12/27/2011 9:28:27 AM
From: epicure
of 257300
 
I think most of us here agree that Huntsman is the only republican who stands a chance of attracting the centrists. But I doubt he'll get many real liberals- since Huntsman is not a liberal.

frumforum.com 

You are a conservative who is comfortable posting on politics for pros. This is not the thread for you anymore than we should be posting there, and what you see is not really relevant for centrists and members of the left. We all have our own "political goggles". Please read the thread header before you post again.

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From: KyrosL12/27/2011 9:28:55 AM
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Taking a bite out of crime

By Charles Lane, Published: December 26

The most important social trend of the past 20 years is as positive as it is underappreciated: the United States’ plunging crime rate.

Between 1991 and 2010, the homicide rate in the United States fell 51 percent, from 9.8 per 100,000 residents to 4.8 per 100,000. Property crimes such as burglary also fell sharply during that period; auto theft, once the bane of urban life, dropped an astonishing 64 percent. And FBI data released Dec. 19 show that the trends continued in the first half of 2011. With luck, the United States could soon equal its lowest homicide rate of the modern era: 4.0 per 100,000, recorded in 1957.

To be sure, the United States is still more violent than Europe or Canada, and that’s nothing to brag about. But this country is far, far safer than it was as recently as the late 1980s, when the movie “ Robocop,” set in a future dystopia of rampant urban mayhem, both expressed and exploited the public’s belief that criminals ruled the streets — and always would.

We are reaping a domestic peace dividend, and it can be measured in the precious coin of human life. Berkeley criminologist Franklin E. Zimring has found that the death rate for young men in New York today is half what it would have been if homicides had continued unabated.

The psychological payoff, too, is enormous. Only 38 percent of Americans say they fear walking alone at night within a mile of their homes, according to Gallup, down from 48 percent three decades ago. For my teenage son and his classmates, dread of crime is far less prevalent than it was in my generation. Indeed, other than showing him “Robocop,” I don’t know how to make my kid understand the anxieties we once took for granted.

Lower crime rates also mean one less source of political polarization. In August 1994, 52 percent of Americans told Gallup that crime was the most important issue facing the country; in November 2011, only 1 percent gave that answer. Think political debate is venomous now? Imagine if law and order were still a “wedge issue.”

Did I mention the economic benefits? Safe downtowns draw more tourists for longer stays. Fewer car thefts mean lower auto insurance rates. Young people who don’t get murdered grow up to produce goods and services.

Plunging crime rates also debunk conventional wisdom, left and right. Crime’s continued decline during the Great Recession undercuts the liberal myth that hard times force people into illegal activity — that, like the Jets in “West Side Story,” crooks are depraved on account of being deprived. Yet recent history also refutes conservatives who predicted in the early 1990s that minority teenage “superpredators” would unleash a new crime wave.

Government, through targeted social interventions and smarter policing, has helped bring down crime rates, confirming the liberal worldview. Yet solutions bubbled up from the states and municipalities, consistent with conservative theory. Contrary to liberal belief, incarcerating more criminals for longer periods probably helped reduce crime. Contrary to conservative doctrine, crime rates fell while Miranda warnings and other legal protections for defendants remained in place.

On the whole, though, what’s most striking about the crime decline is how little we know about its precise causes. Take the increase in state incarceration, which peaked at a national total of 1.4 million on Dec. 31, 2008. This phenomenon is probably a source of success in the war on crime — and its most troubling byproduct. But increased imprisonment cannot explain all, or most, of the decline: Crime rates kept going down the past two years, even as the prison population started to shrink. Crime fell in New York faster than in any other U.S. city over the past two decades — but New York locked up offenders at a below-average rate, according to Zimring’s new book, “ The City That Became Safe.”

“What went wrong?” is the question that launched a thousand blue-ribbon commissions. But we also need to investigate when things go right — especially when, as in the case of crime, success defied so many expert predictions.

Clearly the experts underestimated Americans’ capacity to take on a seemingly in­trac­table problem and fix it. The decline of crime, writes Zimring, “provides a decisive response to one of the deepest fears generated in the last third of the twentieth century. We now know that life-threatening crime is not an incurable disease in the United States.”

washingtonpost.com 

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To: KyrosL who wrote (178060)12/27/2011 9:32:10 AM
From: epicure
of 257300
 
Freakonomics suggested our abortion laws were part of the reason for the decline- since the dropping crime rate correlates with the missing unwanted children who would have entered their prime crime years. The greying of our population is also part of the explanation. Young men cause crime- if you have fewer of them, and more old farts, you'll have less crime.

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To: epicure who wrote (178061)12/27/2011 9:39:52 AM
From: Dale Baker
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Historically, demographics are the only variable that has correlated strongly with crime rates. But that won't stop politicians from claiming credit and demagogues from using anecdotes to argue against proof too.

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To: JohnM who wrote (178012)12/27/2011 9:40:44 AM
From: Steve Lokness
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<<<What do you think, Steve? And would love to see what you think here.>>>

A choice between ending segregation and personal property rights? Interesting thought and I think it is clear where Paul would stand on that. ...........If I was to be honest, here is what I think; .....Social norms take generations to change. Paul at 76 years old, may - or even likely was - racist to some degree. If he was to the point 20 years ago that he allowed writings in his newsletters that demonstrated racism, that is bad. And if he was able to change, then that says something about a mans character. I do NOT think Ron Paul is racist today.

Racism; Our world is full of racism today! The most glaring example is the hatred for Muslims that seems so endemic in some conservatives thinking. Paul of all the candidates has made it clear he doesn't share the xenophobia towards Iran that others seem to lather themselves in. Some on this thread have offered that Paul is a man of little ideas; a notion that is not only bizarre but dead wrong. I share Ron Pauls thinking that by playing war in the back yard of the Muslim world we are creating the hatred in those people - so until we stop doing that, the conflict between these two cultures will go on. That fear of Muslims is racism! Sooooo, is it Paul that is really the racist or is it the rest of us? I would like to go on but this is already too long of a post that most won't read to the end.

Respectfully;
Steve

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To: koan who wrote (178026)12/27/2011 10:07:28 AM
From: Steve Lokness
of 257300
 
<<<<Bush should have been addressing Asia rather than destroying our military, budget and Iraq with his stupid war.>>>>>

But, but, but steve stammers as he reminds you that there are liberals here who call all of this a "job works program". It ABSOLUTELY can't be wrong under Bush and okay under Obama! We do need to see some isolationism - not economic isolationism, but military isolationism. Think China. China isn't wasting resources going around the world sticking their finger in every countries eye, BUT China is indeed going around the world making tremendous economic strides forward as they cozy up to countries regardless of their ideology.

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To: epicure who wrote (178059)12/27/2011 10:31:51 AM
From: Steve Lokness
of 257300
 
<<You are a conservative who is comfortable posting on politics for pros.>>>

Epicure; despite recent postings he hasn't posted on politics for pros in over 8 months! What in the world did you find offensive about his post? He only suggested that Huntsman was a viable candidate for some liberals. Huntsmans is most definitely a social conservative, but he is clearly is very unlike conservatives in some of his other thoughts. He wants to draw down our military - clearly a liberal idea. He also believes in science and evolution which also clearly separates him from the conservative base.

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