Monday, January 31, 2011

FED JUDGE - "Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire act must be declared void"

AWWWW - The White House gets another message from the Judiciary that YOU CANNOT compel people to purchase a commercial product they don't want to buy....Basically, OBAMACARE is UNCONSTITUTIONAL......Game Over OBOTS.....

In ruling against President Obama‘s health care law, federal Judge Roger Vinson used Mr. Obama‘s own position from the 2008 campaign against him, arguing that there are other ways to tackle health care short of requiring every American to purchase insurance.

“I note that in 2008, then-Senator Obama supported a health care reform proposal that did not include an individual mandate because he was at that time strongly opposed to the idea, stating that ‘if a mandate was the solution, we can try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody to buy a house,’” Judge Vinson wrote in a footnote toward the end of the 78-page ruling Monday.

You were stupid to force this stuff on the American public with PELOSI saying things like " We have to pass the bill to find out what's in it.." ARE YOU F^&king kidding me???? What rational person could support any law that the lawmakers have not reviewed the law before it is passed????

I am glad that the "checks & balances" worked......awesome news.

Now, how long before this rulling is carried over to the State of Massachusetts and the State Law gets over turned also.......How's that " Hope & Changey thing" working for you now ????

US judge deals new blow to Obama health reform
By Lucile Malandain (AFP) 01/31/11

WASHINGTON — A second US federal judge Monday declared President Barack Obama's health care law unconstitutional, sparking a fierce new showdown with Republicans who vow to repeal the historic reform act.

The Obama administration immediately pledged to appeal and branded the ruling by a Florida judge as an "outlier" from the judicial mainstream, warning that health care costs would soar if it was allowed to stand.

But Republicans crowed that the ruling was one step closer to the outright repeal of a law that has been a Democratic dream for decades but that conservatives say will explode the deficit and kill jobs.

US District Judge Roger Vinson said a key provision of the law known as the "individual mandate" exceeds Congress's regulatory powers by requiring Americans to either purchase health insurance by 2014 or pay a fine.

"Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire act must be declared void," Vinson said in his ruling, the latest step of a twisting legal battle likely to end up in the US Supreme Court.

"This has been a difficult decision to reach, and I am aware that it will have indeterminable implications."

Vinson agreed with governors and attorneys general from 26 US states that consider the provision unconstitutional.

But the Justice Department quickly said it would appeal Vinson's ruling, and consider all options -- including a stay of the verdict pending appeal -- to ensure the health care law can go into force.

The health care law, which passed last year, is the most sweeping piece of social legislation since the 1960s, reins in insurance company abuses and brings America as close as it has ever been to universal coverage.

"Today's ruling... is a plain case of judicial overreaching," Stephanie Cutter, a senior political assistant to Obama, said in a White House blog post.

"The judge's decision puts all of the new benefits, cost savings and patient protections that were included in the law at risk."

In December, Judge Henry Hudson of the Eastern District Court in Richmond, Virginia, found that the mandate usurps federal authority and violates the Commerce Clause, a key component of the US Constitution.

Some 12 federal judges have already struck down challenges to the law, and two have upheld the legislation.

Republicans pounced on the latest ruling, seeking fuel for their campaign to overturn the reform -- a vain hope for now, as Obama could wield a presidential veto in the unlikely event a repeal law cleared Congress.

Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the court's decision proved the health care law was a "massive overreach" and exceeded congressional authority.

"We should repeal this health spending bill and replace it with commonsense reforms that will actually lower costs, prevent unsustainable entitlement promises and make it easier for employers to start hiring again," he added.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus called the ruling a "major victory for the American people and job-creators all across the country."

Obama's Republican foes have claimed the health care law includes rationing for end of life care, would add to the massive deficit and will kill jobs as employers struggle to pay for what they say will be rising premiums.

The new Republican-led House of Representatives has already voted to repeal the health reform law, which reins in insurance firms and seeks to offer near-universal care to Americans for the first time.

Opinion polls have found the US public deeply divided over the health law, with roughly one in five in favor of outright repeal and the rest divided between strengthening the law and rolling back parts of it.

Copyright © 2011 AFP.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

CHICOMS plagiarize footage of an alledged Chinese Jet in action.....Pictures show pics & film were lifted from Top GUN

China likes to talk a good game.....lots of PR is put out by the Chinese Government on the advancements they are making....Upcoming trips to the Moon, new Fighter Jets, etc. etc.

Well this time, it looks like the PRC was caught with it's pants down and its face as RED as their flag.....Looks like someone decided that if they wanted to brag about their Fighters, it was better to clip a piece of the footage from Top Gun than to show what actually happened.....or didn't. Again, The PRC talks a good game but it seems like the only thing they excel at is COPYING the work of others....pitiful plagiarizing.

China's military left red-faced as footage of fighter jets bears an uncanny resemblance to cult classic Top Gun
By Oliver Pickup
30th January 2011

Chinese government officials were left red-faced after a television broadcast purporting to show their crack fighter pilots gunning down another jet was accused of being faked.

The footage of a jet whistling a missile into another plane, causing it to explode in a dramatic fiery fashion, looks remarkably similar to the classic 1986 Hollywood film top Gun, which helped launch the career of 25-year-old Tom Cruise, who played lead character Pete 'Maverick' Mitchell.

State-sponsored China Central Television (CCTV) aired the video last week as part of its main evening broadcast and claimed that the film showed one of the country's new Chinese J-10 fighter jets shooting the missile at an enemy plane in a training exercise.

The training exercise by the People's Liberation Army Air Force was shown on January 23 and it didn't take long before one movie buff spied a clip where the enemy plane is blown up rather closely matched a key snippet of action from Top Gun's final fight scene.

If this is the case, it's a pretty big gaffe to make, especially when you consider that the film remains a cult classic, and has grossed over £220million at the box office.

The original footage has been pulled from CCTV in an attempt to avoid further embarrassment, but bloggers have already grabbed what they need and have heaped scorn on the China for allegedly trying to pass off the action as their own.

If the story is found to be legitimate it would not be the first time Chinese media have lifted material for a news broadcast from Hollywood without adhering to copyright laws.

Four years ago Xinhua - another state-run station - reportedly used an X-ray image of Homer Simpson's head to illustrate a story about the genetic link to multiple sclerosis.

D'oh, indeed.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

SPAM KILLS TERRORIST....Talk about reach out and touch someone....

SPAM....the computer variety is a nuisance.....I actually like the Canned meat type....spent time in Hawaii where they eat a lot of it, but I digress.....

Getting it on your cell phone can be a real pain or in the case of the terrorist in Moscow who planned a New Year's Eve Massacre, it can be down right deadly.....Luckily, she was the only person taken out by the SPAM that sealed her fate.....Kudos to her phone service providers.

Awesome use of the techonology Dude.....bloody brilliant....

Text message blows up suicide bomber by accident
By Andrew Osborn, The Daily Telegraph

A "Black Widow" suicide bomber planned a terrorist attack in central Moscow on New Year's Eve but was killed when an unexpected text message set off her bomb too early, according to Russian security sources.

The unnamed woman, who is thought to be part of the same group that struck Moscow's Domodedovo airport on Monday, intended to detonate a suicide belt near Red Square on New Year's Eve in an attack that could have killed hundreds.

Security sources believe a message from her mobile phone operator wishing her a happy new year received just hours before the planned attack triggered her suicide belt, killing her at a safe house.

Islamist terrorists in Russia often use mobile phones as detonators. The bomber's handler, who is usually watching their charge, sends the bomber a text message in order to set off his or her explosive belt at the moment when it is thought they can inflict maximum casualties.

The dead woman has not been identified, but her husband is apparently serving time in jail for being a member of a radical Islamist terror group.

Security sources believe the New Year's Eve bomber and the airport bombers may have been members of a suicide squad trained in Pakistan's al-Qaida strongholds which was sent to target the Russian capital's transport system.

Nobody has been arrested in connection with Monday's bombing, which left 35 people dead. Police are trying to identify the severed head of a male suicide bomber recovered from the scene.

© Copyright (c) The Daily Telegraph

Military Families man the watch on the Homefront....sometimes the most difficult job in the Military

As readers of this Milblog might have witnessed, I am not uncomfortable at highlighting the words of others who write about Military topics and especially from distinct points of view. Enclosed is one such post from a Military Mom in Winston-Salem, NC.

Military families are the unsung heroes in our country's defense as they fight an unseen battle to keep the homefront going while they await their deployed Son, Daughter, or Parent's return. I salute them and hold them in high regard for their service in support of our military.

Read the words and " walk a mile in her shoes". Her and the other military families keep the watch on the homefront which in many respects is the hardest job in the military.

Riding the roller-coaster
BY ANNE CIVITANO Guest columnist
Published: January 15, 2011

A few years ago I started to think of life as a series of roller-coaster rides. I noticed that white-knuckled anticipation makes up the bulk of it, punctuated by thrilling highs and dramatic lows, and they usually end in wide-eyed, breathless relief. When my son John (Mount Tabor High School, Class of 2009) joined the Army Infantry (101st Airborne Division) days after his 18th birthday, it became evident that he had bought each of us a 12-month pass to the roller-coaster theme park called Deployment to Afghanistan.

Immediately after John arrived in Kandahar I read frightening news that, along with the arrival of the added troops, casualty numbers were soaring. While I waited to hear from John, I threw myself into research, learning terminology, reading books and blogs, bookmarking sites. After a few months, I discovered a group of moms whose sons are also at John’s forward operating base, Howz E Madad, and they have become my steadfast seatmates on this deployment roller-coaster (my “Howzy Moms”). Our motto is, “So far, so good.” From different backgrounds and areas of the country, we have a shared experience; our concern increases until we hear from our child, and then we relax a little. Too soon the process begins again. Anxiety and relief follow each other like the tides.

The worst day so far of John’s deployment began a few days before Christmas. I was awakened by a series of Google alerts exploding in my inbox. The messages described a suicide bombing attack, hours earlier, at a combat outpost occupied by soldiers from Howz E Madad. There were six American soldiers killed, along with a number of wounded. The reports might have been describing John’s platoon, or one of several others — it was unclear. In the first few moments, as I read the words on my computer screen and my heart raced, the sound of blood pumping in my ears overwhelmed everything else. I was hanging on with all my strength as the roller-coaster raced downhill.

With the news of the bombing ringing in my ears, I logged on to the Internet, heart in my throat. Keeping one eye on the driveway (a strange car pulling in might mean the worst), my far-flung group of panicked mothers exchanged every piece of information we could find while we dug in to wait. One mom discovered photos of the blast cloud and the aftermath of the attack. The soldiers in the photos were digging in the rubble of a collapsed building, trying to rescue their friends. They had our boys’ black heart insignia on their helmets.

That was the worst moment of a brutal day. How long, we wondered, until notifications are complete and we can be certain about the fate of our sons? How long until the communications blackout is lifted and we can speak to them?

Next came the inevitable Facebook leak. These thoughtless (and common) breaches of protocol occur when someone posts the name of a deceased soldier ahead of the official release of information, sometimes before all the family members are notified. In this case, knowing which company the deceased soldier was in provided my Howzy Moms and me with hope for our sons (while at the same time increasing the fears of countless other families, no doubt). By late night, it was clear that the platoon that was hit was not my son’s and that he and my friends’ sons were safe.

There were no celebrations, however. Joy is not possible when you are so acutely aware of the pain of the six families whose sons died. There is no unambiguous good news from a war zone. It is enough to say, “So far, so good,” and collapse into bed.

I heard from John five days after the attack. He was back on base. He was surprised and sorry that I had heard about it. He told me that one of his good friends from Fort Campbell had been among the six who died, and one of the wounded is a buddy who will be receiving an impressive third Purple Heart. (Impressive to all but his mother, I bet. I imagine she finds it very difficult to maintain her composure in the circumstances.)

My worst day of John’s deployment was followed about 10 days later by the best. It, too, began with a wake-up call, this one at 4 a.m. on Christmas Eve. John said he had the best present ever for me that it was just made official, the papers were signed, and he is coming home on leave at the end of January for 15 days. He was exactly right; my roller-coaster ride continues, and this time I was catapulted to the top of the world.

Anne Civitano lives in Winston-Salem. Her blog is

Friday, January 28, 2011

Back in the day - Middleboro Jones visited Cairo, Egypt....a beautiful city that welcomed me as a brother

Back almost 10 years ago, I found myself in Cairo, Egypt on a training mission with CENTCOM. It was a unique opportunity as we were planning on being there for three months and the idea of experiencing life in Cairo was a great benefit to serving in the US Navy. Cairo and Egypt as a whole fascinated me, especially as it was the land of the Pyramids and the Pharaohs.

I got the orders and reported to McDill Air Force Base in Tampa, FL. No info on what was going to happen or what the schedule would be - " You'll find out when you get there..." was what I was told. I reported on time and met up with an Air Force Tech Sgt. who would get me up to speed on our mission. His Boss in this unified command was a Marine Major, who took one look at me and stated, "What the HELL am I going to do with you ?? They sent me a damned Navy guy." I explained that I was selected as I was a Storekeeper, something critical to the mission and the advance team which was where I was assigned. The Major picked up the phone, dialed a supply person on the base and directed him to get me some DCUs as I needed "proper" uniforms if I was going to be part of the team.

I got the DCUs and got name tags sewn for them at a place just outside the base. That day they let me know I was heading to Egypt on Friday. This was Monday and that was only 4 days away. I called home and let the NAVWIFE that I would be OUTCONUS a lot faster than we could have imagined.

We flew out and arrived via commercial jet suffering from the usual bout of jetlag, which is always worse when you fly west to east. Accommodations was at the Hotel Marriott Cairo Hotel & Omar Khayyam Casino, which is located in the middle of downtown in the Zamalek district, right on the Nile river. I was amazed at all the FIATS that were there, specifically Fiat 128s which was a foreign car I drove while in college.

We worked out of the hotel there and were setting up the advance party which was responsible for getting the exercise set up and underway. The first day I was there, my boss sent me to the Pyramids. I asked why as we had lots of work to do. He said, " Things will get busy, I won't have time to let you go & see them. Go now while things are starting up and you'll get to see them."

I went to the Pyramids that day and also saw the Sphinx. The Pyramids are awesome but the Sphinx rocks. The Sphinx is in a compound all by itself and swept clean. the Giza plateau where the Pyramids are located are dusty and dirty.....The Pyramids are impressive in size but the Sphinx r-o-c-k-s. He is something to see. Of course, no one will tell you that the city of Giza sits right on top of the Pyramids along the Giza river and the smell off the river could knock a buzzard off a gut wagon. Seriously. Sanitation was not a high priority in Giza.

Lots more to tell but the key to this tale was we were on the ground in Cairo on September 11th, 2001. I was in the stationary district picking up office supplies from a guy named Mageary who operated a office supply store....He ran a good shop with hard working staff who were able to put our order together. I was waiting outside the store while the Marine who was with me was inside getting the bill translated. The Marine was a lance Cpl. from California but had been born in Jordan and understood Arabic perfectly. Our van was parked three blocks up the street.

The Army type who was with us came down the street and told me, " They hit the World Trade Center. We got to get back to the Ops Center." I sent him into Mageary's to get the Marine. I planted myself against the wall as I could see people were starting to get the news. The Marine came out, we started down the street through the sea of humanity. We got to the van and I ordered the driver to get us back to the hotel. No stops.

It took us 45 minutes to make it there and Egyptian military was already placing protective guard around the hotel as there was 85 of us staying there along with many other foreign tourists. We got back to the Ops Center just in time to see the towers fall. Our Commanding officer stated, "We are at war - do your jobs." Life got very busy as all of us were trying to see what we could do to help and waiting for more word on what had really happened.

I was one of the few people who had been given a US embassy ID, which would allow me to go into the Embassy to pick up documents and pouches. I spent the next week going to & from the embassy for the command and trying to keep busy. One of the staff was an Egyptian woman who saw me the after that attack and threw herself on the floor in front of me, begging for my forgiveness. I asked her to get up and that she had nothing to be ashamed of.....she was not to blame. She cried and stated, " You will blame us all..." I found myself humbled by her concern and tried to tell it was not her fault.

I saw many others at the hotel who knew we were Americans and treated us with great dignity. We were treated with kindness and concern for our welfare. We tried to make the best of it but after three weeks, they pulled us out and we went back home.

I remember more adventures like walking the streets with my Marine Lance Cpl. to hunt down Cuban Cigars, and exploring parts of the city far from the tourist areas. I found the Egyptian people to be warm and great conversationalists. I enjoyed their company and was hopeful to return one day to see the city again.

I shared all this (and could have gone on for quite a bit more) because of what is happening today there in Cairo. It saddens me to see all the trouble although I understand their frustration as they have a very very low standard of living....It is a great place to visit and I hope the trouble eases as 80% of their economy comes from Tourism.....sadly, the unrest will likely on drive people away from a place that I found to be very hospitable and enchanting. It is a shame as Mubarek was a bit of a hardliner, but that was a necessary quality in that area of the world.

On day, I hope to return to Cairo.....As I was leaving, the staff at the hotel wished me well and one worker said, " We will see you again....Inshalla.."

May Egypt return to being a tourist destination and may the people not shrug off one hardliner for a series of other more sinister ones. If it were to become like Iran, it would be a terrible loss for the people and all who would one day hope to visit to the city of the Pharoahs.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Paying Homage to " Bullitt " and Steve McQueen, the coolest dude ever.....

Cool.....the very essence of cool.....they did not come cooler than Steve McQueen.

Hands down. Coolest Dude ever. The Duke was "the Man" and Elvis was " the King" but Steve McQueen was *cool* even before we knew what cool really meant....His understated style and ability to make you want to be just like him was unmatched.

Who didn't want to be him in " The Great Escape?" He walked into that German jail cell with his ball & glove and basically said to the Huns, " Bring it on.." without ever saying a word.

1968 was an awesome year for autos, yielding my personal favorite, the 1968 it. Wide, Long and Full of All American HP.

It also provided Ford Lovers with an exceptional new model of the Mustang, making it also larger, stronger and meaner.

IN Bullitt, Steve McQueen took us for a rip-roaring ride around San Francisco. Dirty Harry might had the big gun, but Steve McQueen had the homage to the is an awesome film with likely the best car chase ever filmed....

Usually, I would espouse that " Friends don't let Friends drive Fords" but in the case of Mr. McQueen, I will make an exception.

JANUARY 26, 2011
Chasing the Ghosts of 'Bullitt'
San Francisco

At the very top of Taylor and Vallejo streets here on Sunday morning, I stopped to take in the view. Idling in a 2011 Ford Mustang V6, I looked down through the windshield at the impossibly steep hill below, immortalized in the 1968 film "Bullitt" starring Steve McQueen.

Seated next to me was Loren Janes, 79, McQueen's longtime stunt double and the last surviving member of the "Bullitt" car crew. Mr. Janes drove the green Mustang in the movie's most daring and riveting scenes—the one down Taylor Street and the other along Guadalupe Canyon Parkway. I even brought along a CD of the "Bullitt" soundtrack for the ride.

Two weeks after the death of "Bullitt" director Peter Yates, Mr. Janes and I set out to honor him by driving the movie's chase route—cautiously. "Peter wanted everything about the chase to feel risky and rough," said Mr. Janes, whose stuntman credits include more than 500 movies and 2,100 TV episodes. "Peter never got cold feet about any of the stunts that coordinator Carey Loftin lined up. He knew that a memorable film needed to be on the edge."

"Bullitt" still ranks high among car-chase enthusiasts. Several websites are devoted to information and trivia about the 10-minute chase sequence. Others have posted "then and now" images of chase locations. In fact, fans can even retrace the routes thanks to an online Google map that a fellow afficionado has marked up.
On YouTube, the "Bullitt" chase remains chilling. The green Mustang and black Dodge Charger tear through urban residential neighborhoods, bouncing off hills like Hot Wheels cars and banging into each other along the way. Yates raised the stakes even further by placing cameras in the cars, creating a new genre in which the viewer becomes a queasy passenger.

As Mr. Janes and I drove around the city, three myths were shattered. First, despite the hype, McQueen did not do his own driving in the movie's most dangerous scenes. "Steve was a great driver, but he was only behind the wheel for about 10% of what you see on screen," said Mr. Janes, who was McQueen's stunt double from 1959 to 1980. "He drove in scenes that required closeups—but not in the ones that could kill him. Steve always asked me first whether a stunt was too dangerous for him to take on."

The second revelation was that Mr. Janes was the stuntman who hurtled down Taylor Street in the Mustang and repeatedly sideswiped the Charger on the Guadalupe Canyon Parkway at 90 miles per hour. For years, Bud Ekins was assumed to have been that driver. "I was working on another film at the time, so Bud drove the early scenes before I arrived on the set," Mr. Janes said. "Many assumed he had driven them all, which wasn't the case."

And the third revelation? The chase's most breathtaking driving scenes are terrifying in real life, even for someone who grew up in 1970s muscle cars. As we began to descend Taylor Street's first sheer hill, Mr. Janes offered a warning: "Don't even try going down here the way I did. Our cars were heavily modified with racing shocks, special overinflated tires and skid bars on the underside. A factory car would come apart on impact if you sent it into the air here."

Point well taken. The pitched angle and approaching stop sign at Green Street forced me to inch down the hill's first leg at 15 mph. In the film, Mr. Janes hurtled down these hills at 60 mph in pursuit of the Charger, using each level intersection as an asphalt ski jump. "Traffic was cleared for us then," Mr. Janes noted. "We didn't have to worry about trucks and pedestrians—the way you do."

Fine, but how did he send the Mustang into the air? "I gunned the engine just as the back wheels leveled off at the cross streets," Mr. Janes said, not noticing that I had rolled gingerly through the stop sign to gain momentum.

As my rear wheels leveled off at the intersection, I hit the gas moderately. The Mustang surged forward, and I could feel the car trying to take flight where the flat surface ended abruptly and the hill resumed. "Feel it?" Mr. Janes asked coolly. "Any faster, though, and this car will take off, leaving the underside damaged when we come down."

At Union Street, the next intersection, I gunned the engine lightly again. This time the Mustang lifted a little more and settled back down harder. I asked Mr. Janes how he managed to avoid being tossed around in the cockpit like a marble. "When I left the hill, I pushed back into my seat using the wheel. That held me stable," he said.
In the movie, the Taylor Street sequence ends with the Charger hooking a hard left on Filbert Street and the Mustang following. As we near Filbert, I asked Mr. Janes how he made the turn while traveling so fast. "I started turning the wheel about three-quarters of the way down and fishtailed off to the right," he said. "Otherwise I would have overshot the turn or flipped."

Born in Sierra Madre, Calif,, Mr. Janes was a high-school calculus teacher when he was discovered by one of his students, whose father worked at MGM. The student knew Mr. Janes was a gymnast, former Marine and skilled swimmer. He suggested that Mr. Janes offer his skills for a 90-foot stunt dive off a cliff on Catalina Island for an Esther Williams film. Mr. Janes's stunt career was launched with that perfect dive in 1954.

In 1959, Mr. Janes met McQueen on the set of TV's "Wanted Dead or Alive." His first stunt as the actor's double required him to dive through a barn window, roll to his feet, vault over two horses, land on McQueen's animal and ride off. "It went flawlessly," Mr. Janes said. "From then on, Steve wanted me on all of his pictures."
After driving down Taylor Street, Mr. Janes and I toured the other chase locations. In the Mission section, we re-created McQueen's U-turn and zoom up York Street. Next came Potrero Hill, where the two cars tear down Kansas Street starting at 20th Street. I peeled out there.

We even drove out to Guadalupe Canyon Parkway, about 20 minutes from San Francisco. In the movie, Mr. Janes sideswiped the side of the Charger multiple times in an attempt to drive it off the road. "Bill Hickman, the great stuntman, drove the Charger," he said. "Bill and I spent a long time working out those bangs in advance."
When the filming of "Bullitt" ended, McQueen offered Mr. Janes one of the three tricked-out Mustangs used in the film. Mr. Janes passed, fearful he would always want to drive it too fast. "Besides, I already had this," he said, removing a 1964 Rolex Submariner from his wrist. On the back was an inscription: "To the best damn stuntman in the world. Steve."

Mr. Myers writes about jazz, film and the 1960s at

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

In case you missed the State of the Union Speech last night.....

In case you missed it last night....this about sums it up.....

The 'Beast of Kandahar' Stealth Aircraft Quietly Resurfaces

One of the best unkept secrets in Kandahar Airbase is that " The Beast of Kandahar" is regularly seen flying over and around the skies of Afghanistan....There are many variants that have borne this moniker, but the latest is the RQ 170 Sentinel. Taking pictures of the flightline is strictly verboten but obviously it happens all too frequently.

Like most military vehicles, each specific type of drone has it's own specific tasking. Many are no more than mobile camera platforms. designed to be the eyes in the sky while others are tasked with finding the enemy and sending him "greetings" from above.....We like both but I personally find the 2nd type to be most effective. The enemy can't hear'em, can't see'em but sure has hell FEAR THEM....Awesome.

The existence of these vehicles is not a secret and a quick search on Google will show hundreds of example including the pics at the top of this column...Like I said, one of the best unkept secret in the AFGHN AOR.....also because the Taliban have seen what happens when one of these magnificent machines finds some of their brethren..Hopefully, the use of this technology will save Afghan civilians lives as it will take out the terrorists where they stand....Again, very awesome.

The 'Beast of Kandahar' Stealth Aircraft Quietly Resurfaces
By Clay Dillow -

All of a sudden it was there, but then like any good stealth aircraft it vanished. Now the “Beast of Kandahar” has resurfaced in new photos, spurring aviation and defense wonks to once again speculate about the function and purpose of such a stealthy-looking unmanned aerial system.

The Beast, also known as the Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel, first appeared in 2009 in the skies over Kandahar in Afghanistan. It was later revealed to be a product of Lockheed’s Skunk Works and property of the U.S. Air Force, but that’s about all that was revealed. What the RQ-170 is designed to do—or is doing in Afghanistan—remains under wraps.

Bill Sweetman, keeper of Aviation Week’s Ares blog and the civilian authority on the drone at this point, has speculated that aside from the obvious reconnaissance functions, the Beast could perhaps be configured to carry “a high-powered microwave source” to fry computers and electronic equipment on the ground, or an electronic jamming platform to support other aircraft. But at the official level, silence surrounds the Beast of Kandahar and its potential combat (or non-combat) functions, and quiet is exactly the way a secret stealth drone likes it.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The mad scientists at Volkswagen wheel out a bullet-shaped diesel-electric plug-in hybrid that gets 261 mpg !!!

OK....I confess that I am head over heels in love with my old is in piecesin the barn awaiting a rebuild and will likely take a long time to return to working status. It was new 45 years ago in 1966 and it is an iconic piece of automotive history.....

NOW, the guys at VW have made a quantum leap in hybrid technology....Wow, they have come a long way since my Beetle.....Lightyears.

Sexy Futuristic VW Diesel-Electric Gets 261 MPG
By Chuck Squatriglia January 25, 2011

The mad scientists at Volkswagen have wheeled out a bullet-shaped diesel-electric plug-in hybrid that gets a stunning 261 mpg. VW claims it is the most fuel-efficient hybrid ever, and it shows what’s possible when you let your engineers run wild.

It is with supreme irony that the Germans will unveil the XL1 concept car at the Qatar Motor Show this week. The car, the latest in the company’s ongoing experiments with ultra-efficient vehicles, was born of the simple question, “Just how much could the energy consumption of cars be reduced if all the stops were pulled out for efficiency?”

This is a question Volkswagen chairman Dr. Ferdinand Piëch posed to his engineers almost a decade ago, and one automakers around the world are grappling with as they face tightening fuel economy and emissions regulations.

Piëch challenged his team to build a car capable of going 100 kilometers on a single liter of fuel — the equivalent of 235 mpg. VW’s been at it ever since, turning out concepts with stellar fuel economy but less-than-stellar practicality. The XL1 is the latest project, the one you’d most likely want to live with and the one most likely to see production.

“When the new millennium was ushered in, Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Piëch formulated the visionary goal of bringing to the market a production car that was practical for everyday use with a fuel consumption of 1.0 liter per 100 km,” the company said in a statement. “In the new XL1, Volkswagen is demonstrating that this goal is now within reach.”

The Volkswagen 1-liter concept got 235 mpg.

The XL1 is the most practical and refined of the so-called 1-liter cars. The first, the Volkswagen 1-liter car, was a tandem two-seater that looked a bit like a Tylenol.

It was a technological marvel when it appeared in 2002, with lots of carbon fiber, magnesium and other exotic materials. Power came from a tiny diesel engine good for 235 mpg. Efficient, yes, but completely impractical because it was absurdly expensive. Still, Piëch was confident the cost of the technology, and the exotic materials it featured, would tumble, and he suggested the car might see production by 2012.

The Volkswagen L1 concept, being unveiled at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 2009.
Then came the Volkswagen L1 concept car, a definite step forward when it was unveiled in 2009. It was more refined, with a diesel-electric hybrid drivetrain. It was a little bigger than the 1-liter, with more power, superior performance and increased roominess. It wasn’t so futuristic, but still a bold redefinition of the term “car.” It was good for 1.38 l/100 km, which comes to 170.4 mpg. VW claimed the L1 emits just 36 grams per kilometer of carbon dioxide. For the sake of comparison, the 2010 Toyota Prius emits 89 g/km.

And now we come to the XL1.

The coolest thing about this car is the drivetrain. The diesel-electric combo features a 2-cylinder TDI engine with a displacement of just 0.8 liters. It’s essentially the company’s ubiquitous 1.6-liter engine cut in half, and it’s bolted to a seven-speed DSG gearbox. The engine is good for 48 horsepower and 88 pound-feet of torque.

The electric drivetrain sports a 20-kilowatt (27-horsepower) electric motor that draws power from a lithium-ion battery of undisclosed size. It’s a plug-in hybrid, and VW says the XL1 can go 35 kilometers (21 miles) in electricity alone.

This combination provides remarkable efficiency. Fuel economy is pegged at 0.9 liters per 100 kilometers, which comes to 261 mpg by our math. Emissions are just 24 grams of CO2 per kilometer. More remarkably, VW says the 1,700-pound XL1 can cruise at 62 mph on just 8.4 horsepower. That’s about half what the Golf TDI requires. Under electric power, the car needs less than 0.1 kilowatt-hour to go one kilometer.

Stomp on it and the electric motor assists the diesel engine in accelerating, and VW says the XL1 will do zero to 60 in 11.9 seconds. Top speed is limited to 100 mph.

The XL1 differs from its siblings in that it offers side-by-side seating, a nod to increased practicality. It’s also got proper doors instead of jet-like canopy. It’s still made of high-tech stuff including carbon fiber polymer parts attached to a Formula 1-style carbon fiber monocoque. That’s expensive stuff, but VW says it’s making progress bringing costs down through a patented production process it calls advanced resin transfer molding.

All told the car weighs about what a first-gen Honda CR-X HF weighed. There’s a lot of aluminum under the carbon-fiber bodywork, including the suspension components, brake calipers, shocks and other components. Other tasty bits include carbon-fiber anti-roll bars, ceramic brake rotors and magnesium wheels.

This is one super-slick car, with a drag coefficient of 0.186 and a frontal area of 1.5 square meters. That makes it more aerodynamic than the General Motors EV1 but not quite so slippery as the Aptera Motors 2e. The car is 12.7 feet long and 5.4 feet wide, roughly the size of a VW Polo. It’s just 3.7 feet tall — roughly the same as the Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder.

Volkswagen has long hinted we could see a car based on a 1-liter model in showrooms, and it said something based on the L1 Concept shown 2009 might be available in 2013. But it seems unlikely we’ll see anything resembling this car anytime soon given the exotic (and expensive) materials and outlandish styling (which, frankly, we love).

It’s more likely that we’ll see some of the technology underpinning the XL1 in production models as VW, like everyone else, scrambles to increase the fuel efficiency of its lineup.

Plug-in diesel hybrid polo, anyone?

Images: Volkswagen

The fiscal burden of public-employee unions - a class of citizens who set themselves up as "Lords of the Manor"

We learn our mistakes and how the mistakes happened when we study history. Only in hindsight can we see that decisions that seemed to be in our best interest at the time, can have disastrous consequences late on.

We now have a class of citizens who by virtue of working for your local, state or Federal Government, have set themselves up as the "Lords of the Manor", granting themselves entitlements that last a lifetime that few if any other citizens could possibly hope to achieve. And at the same time, they will expect all others to pay for their entitlement, even to the detriment of all others needs.

Siegel writes " Instead, the decision to grant this privilege was a political decision designed to enhance the power of a pressure group whose interests, even many liberals assumed, would be at odds with those of the general public. Political decisions can be reversed."

Agreed sir. We NEED to reverse the decision to give them this ability to hold all us collectively hostage, the sooner the better. To not do so, would to put the success of our nation and it's communities at grave danger. These greedy Unions don't care about you & me,or how their demands effect the rest of the population, only their own selfish needs.

How Public Unions Took Taxpayers Hostage -
The first to seize on the political potential of government workers was New York's Mayor Robert F. Wagner.
The Kennedy White House took notice of his success
Text By FRED SIEGEL - Wall Street Journal Opinion

The turbulent years of the 1960s and '70s are best known by the headline-grabbing civil rights and women's rights movements. But there was another "rights" movement, largely overlooked, that has also had a profound effect on American life. The looming public-pension crisis that threatens to bankrupt city, county and state governments had its origins in those same years when public employees, already protected by civil-service rules, gained the right to bargain collectively.

Liberals were once skeptical of public-sector unionism. In the 1930s, New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia warned against it as an infringement on democratic freedoms that threatened the ability of government to represent the broad needs of the citizenry. And in a 1937 letter to the head of an organization of federal workers, FDR noted that "a strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government until their demands are satisfied. Such action, looking toward the paralysis of Government by those who have sworn to support it, is unthinkable and intolerable."

Private-sector union leaders were also divided. George Meany, the president of the AFL-CIO from 1955-1979 who came out of the building trades, argued that it was "impossible to bargain collectively with the government." Private unionists more generally worried that rather than winning a greater share of profits, public-sector labor would be extracting taxes from a public that included their own workers. But in the late 1950s, with the failure of the labor movement's organizing campaign in the South, Meany's own executive council insisted on the necessity of winning the right to organize public employees.

The first to seize on the political potential of government workers was New York City Mayor Robert F. Wagner. The mayor's father, a prominent New Deal senator, had authored the landmark 1935 Wagner Act, which imposed on private employers the legal duty to bargain collectively with the properly elected union representatives of their employees. Mayor Wagner, prodded by Jerry Wurf of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (Afscme), gave city workers the right to bargain collectively in 1958.

Running for re-election in 1961, Mayor Wagner was opposed by the old-line party bosses of all five boroughs. He turned to a new force, the public-sector unions, as his political machine. His re-election resonated at the Kennedy White House, which had won office by only the narrowest of margins in 1960.

Ten weeks after Wagner's victory, Kennedy looked to mobilize public-sector workers as a new source of Democratic Party political support. In mid-January 1962, he issued Executive Order 10988, which gave federal workers the right to organize in unions.

Two young and militant public-sector unionists, Al Shanker of the American Federation of Teachers and Wurf of Afscme, both strong supporters of the still nascent civil rights movement, seized the opportunity. Shanker saw both teachers and African-Americans as second-class citizens fighting the old-line political bosses. He'd also called a brief teachers strike in 1960. Shanker called another strike in 1962 that shifted the balance of power from principals to teachers, where it has remained down to the present.

In 1958, there had been but 15 public-employee strikes nationwide, involving a handful of workers. By 1968, after the old guard in Afscme had been deposed by the so-called young Turks led by Wurf, more than 200,000 union members, mostly in local and state government, were involved in 254 strikes.

In 1968, amid rioting, civil rights and antiwar protests, Martin Luther King Jr. backed an Afscme strike by poorly paid, mostly African-American sanitation men in Memphis, Tenn. After King's tragic assassination, the city quickly settled with the union.

In the 1970s, government-worker unions became a political venue for New Leftist, feminist and black activists hoping to carry on in the militant spirit of the 1960s. The divisions within organized labor over the Vietnam War allowed Wurf and his allies to take on the declining private unions of the AFL-CIO, whose leader Meany backed the war. Wurf made himself a key player in George McGovern's 1972 presidential campaign, and public employees have had a lead role in Democratic Party politics ever since.

Public-employee unionism seemed to be moving from success to success—Afscme was gaining a thousand (mostly female) workers a week—until the summer of 1975. At that point there was a surge in strikes, and the government unions began to threaten Democratic officeholders.

On July 1, 1975, New York sanitation workers walked off the job, allowing garbage to pile up in the streets of a Gotham already in the throes of fiscal crisis. In short order, cops objecting to furloughs imposed by the city's liberal Democratic Mayor Abe Beame shut down the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge, with marchers carrying signs that read "Cops Out, Crime In" and "Burn City Burn."

On that same July 1, 76,000 Pennsylvania state workers went on strike against liberal Democratic Gov. Milton Shapp's austerity measures. Afscme's leader in Pennsylvania, Gerald MacIntee, told his members "Let's go out and close down this God-damned state." And in Seattle, the fireman's union initiated a recall ballot on July 1 directed against the one-time union favorite, Mayor Wes Uhlman, who held back pay hikes in the midst of rising deficits.

Mr. Uhlman narrowly survived and he, like Beame and Shapp, calmed the situation by largely caving in to the striker's demands. But a line had been crossed: With New York's near-bankruptcy a visible marker, the peril posed by public-sector unionism became a problem for Democrats as well as Republicans.

The fiscal burden of public-employee unions briefly became visible again in the early '80s, when many warned of a looming public-pension crisis. That crisis was averted by the stock market boom that began in 1982-83 and lasted until 2007-08. It is now back with a vengeance.

Restraining the immense clout that government-employee unions have accumulated over the past half-century will be difficult, but not impossible. Civil rights for African-Americans and women was a fulfillment of the universalist American promise as expressed in the Declaration of Independence. Collective bargaining by public employees was not rooted in deep-seated American tradition.

Instead, the decision to grant this privilege was a political decision designed to enhance the power of a pressure group whose interests, even many liberals assumed, would be at odds with those of the general public. Political decisions can be reversed.

Mr. Siegel is a scholar in residence at St. Francis College and a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute

Monday, January 24, 2011

BRAVO ZULU to Petty Officer 1st Class Paul Gomez who receives combat meritorious promotion at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan

Petty Officer 1st Class Paul Gomez, command master chief executive assistant, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward), shakes hands with Brig. Gen. Charles L. Hudson, commanding general of 1st MLG (FWD), after being promoted to his current rank during a ceremony at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, Jan. 17. Gomez, 32, a native of El Paso, Texas, was combat meritoriously promoted to the rank of petty officer first class

Sailor receives combat meritorious promotion in Afghanistan
Story by Cpl. Shannon McMillan - 1st Marine Logistics Group Public Affairs

CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan – A sailor from El Paso, Texas was combat meritoriously promoted to the rank of petty officer first class at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, Jan. 17.

During the ceremony, Petty Officer 1st Class Paul Gomez was promoted to his current rank by Brig. Gen. Charles L. Hudson, commanding general, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward).

“It was a great honor for him to pin me,” said Gomez, command master chief executive assistant, 1st MLG (FWD). “[It’s] not everyday someone gets pinned by the general.”

He wears his current rank for actions that took place during a combat logistics patrol headed to Forward Operating Base Edinburgh, Nov. 2, 2010. He was on a mission with the Marines who provide security for the 1st MLG (FWD) commanding general, explained Gomez.

During the combat logistics patrol, one of their vehicles was hit by an improvised explosive device. The blast caused one Marine bi-lateral lower leg fractures, and another Marine suffered a grade-three concussion.

Gomez immediately sprang into action providing medical care to his brothers in arms.

“His courageous actions last (November), combined with his sustained superior performance, commitment and solid track record of professionalism through almost 11 years of honorable Naval service made him most deserving of this recognition,” said Master Chief Gerardo M. Ramos, command master chief, 1st MLG (FWD).

Shortly after the incident, Gomez was notified that his command was submitting a package for him to be meritoriously promoted.

“I was surprised because of the competition amongst the other sailors in the unit,” said Gomez, 32.

Gomez was the only sailor from 1st MLG (FWD) to be submitted to the Regional Command (Southwest) board for promotion and once he was selected, he was submitted to compete at the Marine Forces Central Command board.

“The next thing I know the commanding general asking for my presence in his office,” said Gomez, husband of Natasha and father of 3-year-old Ashley. “He was congratulating me for my accomplishments.”

The Marine Forces Central Command only has one Navy quota for combat meritorious promotion to E-6 per quarter and Gomez was selected, said Ramos.

After finding out he was being combat meritoriously promoted, Gomez was overwhelmed with emotion.

“I felt ecstatic and relieved at the same time.” Gomez said. “The anticipation of waiting for the results (of the board) along with being so close to the rank of petty officer first class.”

“It feels great,” said Gomez of his promotion.

Once Gomez finishes his deployment and returns to the United States, he will be in charge of the junior medical and dental sailors of Combat Logistics Regiment 15, 1st Marine Logistics Group, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

“I am excited that I am going to be given the opportunity to teach and guide junior sailors in the vast skills and knowledge I have learned over the years,” said Gomez. “A famous saying that I have used is ‘lead from the front.’”

Gomez, who joined the Navy Jan. 25, 2000, says he feels proud to be a part of an elite military organization and plans on staying in for at least 20 years

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Thought for the Day......

Straw Poll in NH shows that the GOP needs to find a Stronger Candidate for 2012 or they will be complicit in getting Obama reelected

NH Politics is something unique. The people of NH are a hardy bunch and take pride that they have the first real say in Presidential Politics.

A straw poll was held last night and it shows that the GOP has a looooonnnnggg way to go to find someone who can be a sustainable challenger to POTUS.

Not that POTUS is a strong candidate, rather it is because the field of GOP wannabees don't have any real strong candidates. The retreads like Mitt (But it's my turn)Romney and Gov. Tim (No, really - I'm the Governor from Minnesota) Pawlenty and Whack-job Ron Paul are a bunch of weak and tired choices that don't generate the excitement needed to run for the "Highest Office in the Land"

I mean, really, think about the idea of " President Huckabee " - That just doesn't SOUND good, the man's political views aside....I see people overseas laughing when his name is announced.....

The GOP needs to make a compelling case of why the candidate they push forward will be a better deal for the American public than staying with the idjit-in-charge that is there now.

All I can say is MITT ROMNEY ain't the person I want to lead the free world.....After you hear him give a speech, you feel like you need a shower as he comes off as a snake-oil salesman or worse....Take it from a guy from Massachusetts, you want to avoid having Mitt in charge of anything.

So far, the rest of the field looks pretty damn thin. That is not a good start to the next election for anyone, especially a country that needs to replace the person who is holding the office presently.

Recently, Massachusetts failed to replace Deval " Spend-it-all" Patrick during our elections.....In 2012, the voters cannot afford to repeat the mistake made by Massachusetts voters.

Romney Wins New Hampshire Republican Party Committee Straw Poll
January 22, 2011 3:51 PM
Amy Walter reports:

In the first ever "straw poll" of New Hampshire Republican party committee members sponsored by ABC News and WMUR and sanctioned by the state Republican party, ex-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney took 35 percent of the 276 valid ballots cast. This is just 3 percent more than Romney took in the 2008 GOP primary, when he finished in second place behind Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

Coming in a distant second was Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, with 11 percent. Paul took 8 percent in the 2008 GOP primary.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who is spending the early part of next week in the Granite State, came in third with 8 percent.

In fourth place was ex-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who has yet to visit the first-in-the-nation-primary state, with 7 percent.

This is by no means a scientific sample, but it was a good early canvass of the sentiments of the state's most active Republican voters.

The "straw poll" was open only to the 426 registered members of the Republican committee, and 65 percent of those commitee members participated.

The take away: Romney's still the solid frontrunner here, but there's plenty of room for another Republican to break through here. Pawlenty's showing was also impressive, given how new he is to the scene. He has, however, been working New Hampshire, as have his suporters.

The Republican committee members were also asked to pick the issue that was the "most important for the Republican nominee to focus upon":

Reducing the size of the federal government: 49 percent
Reducing the size of federal debt/deficit 15 percent
Stimulating the economy to create jobs; 14 percent
Repealing health care: 7 percent

Final results of ABC News/WMUR/New Hampshire Republican Party Straw Poll.

•Mitt Romney - 97 (35.14%)
•Ron Paul - 29 (10.51%)
•Tim Pawlenty - 21 7.61%)
•Sarah Palin - 19 (6.88%)
•Michele Bachmann - 14 (5.07%)
•Jim DeMint - 14 (5.07%)
•Herman Cain - 11 (3.99%)
•Chris Christie - 9 (3.26%)
•Rick Santorum - 9 (3.26%)
•Mitch Daniels - 8 (2.90%)
•Newt Gingrich - 7 (2.54%)
•Mike Huckabee - 7 (2.54%)
•Mike Pence - 7 (2.54%)
•Rudy Giuliani - 6 (2.17%)
•Judd Gregg - 5 (1.81%)
•Gary Johnson - 5 (1.81%)
•Other - 5 (1.81%)
•Donald Trump - 3 (1.09%)
•Henry Barbour - 2 (0.72%)
•Jon Huntsman - 0 (0.00%)
•John Thune - 0 (0.00%)
January 22, 2011 Permalink Share

Aussie Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith earns the Victoria Cross for Australia, his nation's highest honor

Let's hear it for the Aussies...The men from "Down Under" are out there taking it to the enemy....An Aussie Corporal steps up and ensures that he & his mates don't allow the enemy to rule the day....

Inspired bravery in face of death
Ian McPhedran - The Daily Telegraph January 24, 2011 12:00AM

In the official citation for his Victoria Cross for Australia, the selfless bravery that earned Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith this nation's highest military honour is detailed for the first time

ON June 11, 2010, a troop of the Special Operations Task Group conducted a helicopter assault into Tizak, Kandahar Province, in order to capture or kill a senior Taliban commander.

Immediately upon the helicopter insertion, the troop was engaged by machinegun and rocket-propelled grenade fire from a number of dominating positions.

Two soldiers were wounded in action and the troop was pinned down by fire from three machineguns in an elevated fortified position to the south of the village.

Under the cover of close air support, small arms and machinegun fire, Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith and his patrol manoeuvred to within 70m of the enemy position in order to neutralise the enemy machinegun positions and regain the initiative.


Under heavy fire

UPON commencement of the assault, the patrol drew very heavy, intense, effective and sustained fire from the enemy position.

Corporal Roberts-Smith and his patrol members fought towards the enemy position until, at a range of 40m, the weight of fire prevented further movement forward.

At this point, he identified the opportunity to exploit some cover provided by a small structure.


At point-blank range

AS HE approached the structure, Corporal Roberts-Smith identified an insurgent grenadier in the throes of engaging his patrol. Corporal Roberts-Smith instinctively engaged the insurgent at point-blank range resulting in the death of the insurgent.

With the members of his patrol still pinned down by the three enemy machinegun positions, he exposed his own position in order to draw fire away from his patrol, which enabled them to bring fire to bear against the enemy. His actions enabled his Patrol Commander to throw a grenade and silence one of the machineguns.


Storming the enemy

SEIZING the advantage, and demonstrating extreme devotion to duty and the most conspicuous gallantry, Corporal Roberts-Smith, with a total disregard for his own safety, stormed the enemy position killing the two remaining machinegunners. His act of valour enabled his patrol to break in to the enemy position and to lift the weight of fire from the remainder of the troop who had been pinned down by the machinegun fire.

On seizing the fortified gun position, Corporal Roberts-Smith then took the initiative again and continued to assault enemy positions in depth during which he and another patrol member engaged and killed further enemy.


Conspicuous gallantry

HIS acts of selfless valour directly enabled his troop to go on and clear the village of Tizak of Taliban.

This decisive engagement subsequently caused the remainder of the Taliban in Shah Wali Kot District to retreat.

Corporal Roberts-Smith's most conspicuous gallantry in a circumstance of extreme peril was instrumental to the seizure of the initiative and the success of the troop against a numerically superior enemy.

His valour was an inspiration to the soldiers with and alonside whom he fought and is in keeping with the finest traditions of the Australian army and the Austrlain Defence Force

Retired General Stanley McChrystal writes on the reasons for National Service & "basic responsibilities of being an American"’

The days of a Service Draft ended during President Nixon's term in office mainly based on the opposition to the Vietnam War and the mood of the country being against the military....The "Love" generation were more into themselves than to helping the country that gave them the ability to be "free"....Of course, many of them turned out to be the most ungrateful group our country has raised as the Early Boomers are still all about themselves.....You read about how they are considered the "ME" generation and that is evident when you see the Political Leaders like POTUS, Pelosi, Biden, the Clintons, etc.....they are the epitome of the self-centered idjits that came out of this era....Talk about useless and ungrateful....They were "takers" and not givers.

That is why many of my era (Born at the tail-end of the Boomer era) and others born since then have gravitated towards Military Service as we wanted to "give back" to our country and strived to be the opposite of the ungrateful Boomers / Hippies....

I was in Afghanistan while Gen. McChrystal ran the show and I found his style to be what I expected from a Leader of his caliber - competitive, puts out a "take-no-prisoners" attitude and was willing to go the extra mile to show his dedication. He expected a lot of his men but also returned that same level of dedication back to them. He was a good leader and one that was respected until the crap was written about him by Rolling Stone...the writer who wrote the article betrayed the trust given him and I bet if you had a writer follow POTUS around all day and record every conversation he has, you would get a very similar result....POTUS & BIDEN likely say crap all day that would not make good press.

General McChrystal writes a good piece on why we should require & instill a sense of National Service as a way of making our country stronger....a good read and something we likely need now more than ever.

Step Up For Your Country
The general who led U.S. forces in Afghanistan makes the case for national service and the ‘basic responsibilities of being an American.’
by Stanley McChrystal - January 23, 2011

Standing recently in new haven’s small train station, I was approached by a stranger who thanked me for my service. His gratitude was clearly genuine—and I deeply appreciated it.

During my years in uniform (particularly after 9/11), and even in the months since my retirement, I was routinely thanked for serving. For service members today, that experience is common—a thoughtful gesture that has done much to maintain the morale of a force that performs so bravely for our nation.

Common—but thanking Americans for their service is not common enough. Nor can it be, because Americans performing critical, selfless service to our country are less common than they must be.

We have let the concept of service become dangerously narrow, often associated only with the military. This allows most Americans to avoid the sense of responsibility essential for us to care for our nation—and for each other. We expect and demand less of ourselves than we should.

And now it is time to fix it.

“Service member” should not apply only to those in uniform, but to us all.

The concept of national service is not new, nor is it outdated. When America needs it, national service is the personal obligation of every American. And she needs it now.

All of us bear an obligation to serve—an obligation that goes beyond paying taxes, voting, or adhering to the law. America is falling short in endeavors that occur far away from any battlefield: education, science, politics, the environment, and cultivating leadership, among others.

Without a sustained focus on these foundations of our society, America’s long-term security and prosperity are at risk.

We live in a nation of rights, and jealously defend them.

Thomas Jefferson drew upon the ideas of the Age of Enlightenment’s finest minds to articulate the concept of “inalienable rights” in defining the essential freedoms guaranteed to Americans in the new republic.

Those rights are sacred. We fought a war to make the Declaration’s statement of rights a reality, and have sacrificed since to defend them.

But as important as those inalienable rights are, there are also inalienable responsibilities that we must accept and fulfill. Those responsibilities are wider than are often perceived or accepted. Just as we have allowed the term “service member” to apply solely to the military, we have allowed the obligations of citizenship to narrow.

Even the most basic responsibilities of being an American are considered optional by many. In the seeming anonymity of modern life, the concept of community responsibility has weakened, yet is needed more than ever.

Responsibility is most easily accepted when the need is clear and expectations are defined by tradition.

I saw this up close in Afghanistan. In a harsh environment, agriculture long functioned and flourished through the use of ingenious irrigation systems, often employing extensive and complex underground tunnels called karez that moved water to where it was needed.

Because the systems were essential, yet required manpower-intensive upkeep, maintenance was clearly understood to be a responsibility of the community, performed as a shared task without pay.

The shared responsibility served to unify the community. The Soviet intervention in 1979 resulted in damage to the systems; subsequently, private individuals acquired wells and pumps, disrupting the community dynamic. What had been a unifying responsibility for all was now a source of wealth for a few—and yet another source of frustration for the rest.

discussions of national service typically stall in the transition from general concepts to specific recommendations—because that’s when it gets hard. It is here where we must clearly understand our real objective.

A veteran of AmeriCorps’ National Civilian Community Corps described his experience working and living for a year as part of a 10-person team doing projects:

“My teammates were conservative and liberal, black, white, Asian, Jewish, Christian, atheist .?.?. We had to get along or be miserable.”

Today, 10 years after completing the experience, he finds that his former teammates remain in touch and believes the experience was absolutely instrumental in helping them determine their career trajectories. They feel it helped them develop teamwork skills, confidence, problem-solving abilities, community building, leadership, and communication skills. His favorite response, from a liberal New England–born Jewish woman about a construction project in rural South Carolina: “If I can learn to use eight different types of saws and work with 10 reverends to build a house, what can’t I do?”

There has been a genuine effort with programs like AmeriCorps (and its expansion) and the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act to encourage, incentivize, and more effectively manage service to the nation. But despite their value, we have fallen short in mobilizing enough Americans to service.

We can always outsource work—hire other people to complete projects—arguably with greater efficiency. But we must understand that our real objective must be in shaping Americans. We must build into our society, and into ourselves, a sense of ability and responsibility.

We must recognize that service is typically doing things that you would not choose to do, but that must be done. It can be rewarding; it can also be difficult, onerous, and even dangerous. It cannot rely on short-term volunteers any more than our independence could be won by the people Tom Paine termed “summer soldiers and sunshine patriots.” It must have people with a firm commitment, backed by a society that values their contribution.

Service need not follow a single model—or feel like the military. It should be voluntary (but expected), fueled by clear incentives. It can be a combination of nongovernment and government programs ranging from public health to the Peace Corps.

At its heart, the real value of national service will be more in the effect service has on those who provide it than the work they provide. There must be some common denominators that form a foundation for the program. As a start, I offer three:

• Service must involve a firm commitment for a specified period of time: at least one year. With few exceptions, that commitment should imply full-time involvement.

• Participants must be paid. The underlying concept of service and sacrifice (and relative inexperience of most young people) should keep compensation modest and relatively equal across the programs.

• The primary incentives for service should be a combination of things like education benefits and hiring preferences (similar to military veterans’ programs).

Building acceptance of a responsibility to serve will require more than rhetoric, or even funded programs. It will demand a true cultural shift in how we view personal and community responsibility.

But it is a shift that Americans are ready for. They need only leadership and encouragement. As I saw in serving with the most elite military forces in our nation’s history, performance is ultimately driven by the expectations individuals set for themselves.

When the best is demanded of us, we rise to the occasion. When our systems adapt to recognize and honor such service, that process is reinforced and accelerated.

Soldiers who have fought for a road, hill, or village understand the value they place on otherwise meaningless foreign ground when they have invested in its protection.

Teachers who have worked tirelessly to motivate students understand the value and potential of young people who would otherwise pass them unnoticed on the street.

My friend Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea and Stones Into Schools, has proved time again the power of ownership. By assisting Afghans and Pakistanis with materials and assistance in building schools, but demanding their direct commitment and responsibility, Mortenson has seen remarkable success. We shouldn’t be surprised—it is predictable. But it is also hard work.

At home, more than building schools, we need to build a sense of ownership in, and responsibility for, America.

Critics sometimes point to the costs associated with service programs and argue that national service is an inefficient disruption of capitalist markets, producing a Soviet-style mismatch of talent to task and undermotivated workers. They argue that for young people, the program would represent a time-wasting delay of entry into our society and economy.

But perhaps those critics have never read accounts of workers who built the Hoover Dam or Panama Canal, or listened to service members of Tom Brokaw’s “Greatest Generation” describe their feeling of contribution—and the effect it has had on their lives.

In an age that demands metrics of progress, how will we know when a culture of service has taken root? It won’t be measured in the prose of pundits or the claims of politicians.

We will know when new graduates of high schools and colleges talk with each other about how, not whether, they will serve America.

We will know when the ambitious recognize that credible service is a necessary entry on their résumés. And when a cocktail-party discussion of “how I served” produces eager efforts to impress.

For me, personally, I’ll know when a soldier stops a teacher in a train station and says, “Thank you for your service.”

McChrystal, a retired four-star general, is the former commander of U.S. and International Security Assistance Forces in Afghanistan and the former commander of Joint Special Operations Command.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Public Pension Hygiene Act - Making the Pols come clean on how deep the $$$$$ hole is in regards to unfunded public pensions

The State Governments have not been 100% honest with the taxpayers, and that has allowed them to dig a very, very deep hole that they will look for the Feds to fill in for them. This hole is $3.5 TRILLION Dollars deep.... That "hole" is the pensions promised to all the State Hacks who have retired early, double dipped, and set themselves up for a nice comfy retirement (backed by the Unions) even while the taxpayers have seen their retirements dry up like a puddle on a hot July afternoon.

While I don't want to see anyone deprived of their pensions, I don't see the equity in insulating Public Sector retirees from losses while we ignored millions of private sector employees who had the rug pulled out from under them. Just because you worked for the Town or the State shouldn't set you up for some "Divine Right" that the average Joe wouldn't have.....after all, the "average Joe" has been footing the bill all along.

Public Pension Hygiene Act
The first reform step is exposing the true size of the funding hole
Opinion - Wall Street Journal - 01/22/11

We're so accustomed to misnamed legislation like the Employee Free Choice Act (card check) that it's hard to believe that a welcome proposal called the Public Employee Pension Transparency Act describes what it actually purports to do. To wit, prohibit public pension bailouts by the federal government and expose the $3.5 trillion of unfunded public pension liabilities that local and state governments have obscured.

Most state and local governments currently use their own estimated rate of return on their investments to discount their liabilities. By projecting unrealistically high rates of return, states minimize their unfunded liabilities, at least on paper. Lower unfunded liabilities in turn allow them to reduce how much they and public employees must contribute to their pension funds. Inflated investment assumptions are one reason that public pension funds are unfunded to the tune of $3.5 trillion.

Public pensions typically assume an 8% annual return on average, but over the past five years state pension funds with more than $5 billion in assets have earned only 4.5%. Taxpayers must make up the difference between what the funds earn and what they need to pay retirees. For Californians that is roughly $5 billion this year.

Local taxpayers are already seeing their services whacked and taxes raised to fill these pension holes. University of California students will have to pony up 8% more next year for tuition to offset an expected $500 million in state budget cuts. Illinois residents will soon pay 67% more in income taxes, but taxpayers won't feel the full brunt for another decade when the funds begin running out of money. When Chicago's pension fund goes dry around 2019, over half of the city's revenue will be dedicated to pensions.

In the 1950s and 1960s, many private employers obscured their liabilities the way governments are doing today, though they didn't have a public backstop. Many funds went broke. In 1974 Congress established minimum funding requirements and penalized companies that underfunded pensions. The law also required companies to report and discount their liabilities using a more conservative rate of return.

These changes exploded liabilities and prompted many companies to switch from defined-benefit plans to defined-contribution plans like 401(k)s. While a majority of private workers now have defined-contribution plans, defined-benefit plans remain the norm in government.

Enter the Public Employee Pension Transparency Act, which is sponsored by House Republicans Devin Nunes and Darrell Issa of California and Wisconsin's Paul Ryan. Their bill would encourage governments to switch to defined-contribution plans by revealing the true magnitude of their unfunded liabilities. States and municipalities would have to report their liabilities to the U.S. Treasury using their own rosy investment forecasts as well as a more realistic Treasury bond rate (to be determined by a formula).

This data would make clear how much taxpayers potentially owe and increase pressure on lawmakers to fix their plans. For instance, Illinois estimated in 2009 that it had a roughly $85 billion unfunded liability. Using a Treasury discount rate, that unfunded liability balloons to $167 billion.

Out of respect for state sovereignty, the federal government shouldn't and can't tell local governments how to run or fund their pensions. But the bill doesn't do so and it also doesn't force states to fund their plans using a lower discount rate. States don't even have to comply with the law, though they would forego their ability to sell federally subsidized, tax-exempt bonds if they don't.

The bill may not persuade states like Illinois and California to revamp their pensions, but it will reveal how broken they are—and that's a start

The economists predicted “ an optimistic vision for the U.S. economy” through 2010 - Like Weatherman, they can be over 70% wrong & keep their jobs

This is the key question - Where are the jobs ??? Corporations have been on a program of cutting back the workforce since mid 2007, a full year before the downturn. Likely they were seeing some of the "signs" of what was to come well before the politicians were willing to publicly acknowledge the trend...

Here's the big issue - IF you gut the ability of the Middle Class to earn a decent wage and place a higher burden on them through higher costs for basic living expenses (food, shelter, healthcare, etc.) and taxes, WHO will be left to buy the products that the Companies make and/or sell???

Eventually, no one or such a small number that companies will themselves be forced out.

Companies are cash rich right now due to their job-cutting tactics BUT soon they will see unless they offer decent wages and opportunity, they will be guilty of cutting their own throats...right after they cut ours.

The Phantom 15 Million
Taming unemployment starts with solving the mystery of the jobs that were supposed to have been created in the past 10 years but weren’t.
by Jim Tankersley - National Journal

Friday, January 21, 2011 6:15 a.m.

America’s jobs crisis began a decade ago. Long before the housing bubble burst and Wall Street melted down, something in our national job-creation machine went horribly wrong.

The years between the brief 2001 recession and the 2008 financial collapse gave us solid growth in our gross national product, soaring corporate profits, and a low unemployment rate—but job creation lagged stubbornly behind, more so than in any economic expansion since World War II.

The Great Recession wiped out what amounts to every U.S. job created in the 21st century. But even if the recession had never happened, if the economy had simply treaded water, the United States would have entered 2010 with 15 million fewer jobs than economists say it should have.

Somehow, rapid advancements in technology and the opening of new international markets paid dividends for American companies but not for American workers. An economy that long thrived on its dynamism, shedding jobs in outdated and less competitive industries and adding them in innovative new fields, fell stagnant in the swirls of the most globalized decade of commerce in human history.

Even now, no one really knows why.

This we do know: The U.S. economy created fewer and fewer jobs as the 2000s wore on. Turnover in the job market slowed as workers clung to the positions they held. Job destruction spiked in each of the decade’s two recessions. In contrast to the pattern of past recessions, when many employers recalled laid-off workers after growth picked up again, this time very few of those jobs came back.

These are the first clues—incomplete, disconcerting, and largely overlooked—to a critical mystery bedeviling a nation struggling to crawl out of near-double-digit unemployment. We know what should have transpired over the past 10 years: the completion of a circle of losses and gains from globalization. Emerging technology helped firms send jobs abroad or replace workers with machines; it should have also spawned domestic investment in innovative industries, companies, and jobs. That investment never happened—not nearly enough of it, in any case.

If we can’t figure out why, we may be doomed to a future that feels like a long jobless recovery, no matter how fast our economy grows. “It’s the trillion-dollar question,” says David E. Altig, senior vice president and research director for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, where economists are beginning to explore the shifts that have clubbed American workers like a blackjack. “Something big has happened. I really don’t think we have a complete story yet.”


We certainly didn’t see it coming. At the turn of the millennium, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted that the U.S. economy would create nearly 22 million net jobs in the 2000s, only slightly fewer than the boom 1990s yielded. The economists predicted “good opportunities for jobs” and “an optimistic vision for the U.S. economy” through 2010.

Businesses would reap the gains of new trading markets, the projection said, and continue to invest in technologies to boost the productivity of their operations. High-tech jobs would abound, both for systems analysts with four years of college and for computer-support analysts with associate’s degrees. The manufacturing sector would stop a decades-long jobs slide, and technology would lead the turnaround. Hundreds of thousands of newly hired factory workers would make cutting-edge electrical and communications products, including semiconductors, satellites, cable-television equipment, and “cellular phones, modems, and facsimile and answering machines.”

“U.S. companies … are privatizing the gains of globalization.” —Howard Rosen, Peterson InstituteSuch long-term projections are inexact by nature. (One economist who consults in the private sector said that the companies he works with refuse to make employment projections more than a year or two ahead.) These government forecasts for 2010 were particularly off. When the job market peaked in 2008 on the eve of the financial crisis, the manufacturing sector had already shed 5 million workers since the decade began, with more layoffs to come in the Great Recession.

Politicians, particularly those in the Rust Belt, decried the losses. Hardly anyone, meanwhile, noticed the more damaging shortfall in the national jobs picture: Every major occupational group was running far behind the 2010 job-growth projections—often to the tune of 2 million jobs per group.

The forecasters said that the economy would create 22 million jobs over the next 10 years. At the decade’s economic peak, though, that number stood at only 7 million. Job growth in the 2000s was the lowest of any decade ever recorded by the federal government, stretching back to the 1940s. As a result, workers were extremely vulnerable to the tidal-wave recession that washed away all of the decade’s meager gains.

U.S. payrolls, by their 2008 peak, had grown about 5 percent from the start of the decade. Ever since the Labor Department began tracking employment in the late 1930s, no previous decade produced less than 20 percent payroll growth.

The national population grew faster than the labor force; in 2008, about 63 percent of working-aged Americans held a job, down from 65 percent in 2008, reversing decades of improvement in the employment-population ratio. Real middle-class incomes fell from 2000 to 2007—from a median of $58,500 to $56,500 another first in U.S. record-keeping.

It’s easy to see today why such alarming numbers went so undetected. The national unemployment rate stayed persistently low, between 4 and 6 percent, until the financial crash. Voters tend to associate the jobless rate with the strength of the economy. But the rate was low not because the economy was adding a lot of jobs, but because fewer people were joining the workforce—specifically, fewer women.

Female workers poured into the labor pool during World War II and steadily throughout the decades that followed. In the late 1990s, that trend began to end with about three in five women in the workforce. The phenomenon was a mathematical blessing for the unemployment rate, which measures the percentage of eligible workers who want to find jobs but can’t. When women’s employment demand stopped increasing, the economy didn’t need to create as many new jobs to keep the jobless rate low.

Blinded by low unemployment, lawmakers and economists overlooked two crucial warning signs of the nation’s deteriorating economic health. One was the percentage of working-aged men—the traditional backbone of the U.S. labor force—who held a job. The other was the number of jobs being created each month. Throughout the 2000s, both numbers nose-dived.

A few researchers caught early warning signs of the trend. In 2003, economists Erica L. Groshen and Simon Potter at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York warned in a paper that “structural changes” in the economy appeared to be hindering job creation. Groshen and Potter noted that after the past two recessions, in 1990-91 and 2001, economic growth had picked up long before jobs began to reappear, bucking a long historical trend of growth and jobs returning in tandem. The explanation, Groshen and Potter said, was a shift away from the time-honored American tradition of laying off workers in bad times and recalling them when the clouds parted.

“Most of the jobs added during the recovery have been new positions in different firms and industries, not rehires,” they wrote. “In our view, this shift to new jobs largely explains why the payroll numbers have been so slow to rise: Creating jobs takes longer than recalling workers to their old positions and is riskier” when recovery still appears fragile.

In other words, American companies had adopted a more cold-blooded attitude toward recessions, one that fit the new model of globalization and automation. Technology made it easier to lay off your 100 least-effective workers and ship their jobs to India, or to replace them with a software program that made your remaining workforce dramatically more productive.

That theory would hold true in the next recession, too. Meanwhile, it raised a troubling question: Why didn’t the gains of cold-bloodedness stack up to the costs?


Here is how the evolving global economy is supposed to work: Mature economies with high living standards, such as the United States, ship some of their lower-skill jobs to developing countries where wages are lower. The costs of the outsourced goods and services go down, and the buying power of the developing countries goes up. American firms reap higher profits, which they invest in developing higher-value products that can’t be made elsewhere and sell them to increasingly flush consumers at home and abroad. Laid-off American workers find jobs in the innovative industries that result.

That story has almost entirely come true for corporate America, whose record profits spurred strong GDP growth throughout the 2000s, but not for workers. “A lot of people have been displaced due to technology and outsourcing,” says Mark Thoma, an economics professor at the University of Oregon who writes the popular Economist’s View blog. Those workers have often settled into worse jobs than the ones they lost, he adds, if they have found work at all. “That’s not really what’s supposed to happen.”

Thoma is one of a fleet of economists from top university research departments, regional Fed banks, think tanks, and the wonky economic blogosphere, who were asked why U.S. job creation had stalled so spectacularly in the past decade. Liberals and free-market purists alike all said, “Good question,” and almost to a person added some form of “I wish we knew the answer.”

Lawmakers have still barely touched the question—they are too focused on taxes, regulation, and government spending, policy areas that hardly any economist has suggested as explanations for our lost decade of job growth. Researchers are just starting to piece together the evidence, and no one can yet finger the culprit.


Perhaps, some economists theorize, the United States isn’t creating innovative jobs because its workforce isn’t up to the challenge. For probably the first time in history, our young adults are no better educated than their parents. Nearly all our international rivals, in developed and developing economies alike, continue to make generational leaps in college graduation. Brainpower is still our comparative advantage with the rest of the world, but the advantage is shrinking.

“It is the best educated and those with the highest skills that derive the most benefits from a globalizing economy,” says Jacob Funk Kirkegaard, a research fellow at the Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics who studies global labor markets. “As the U.S. workforce becomes relatively less skill-intensive vis-à-vis the entire world, the broader benefits of the global economy, both in terms of job creation (and national well-being), are going to decline.”

“Prosperity in the 2000s … was quite ephemeral, bordering on illusory.” —David Autor, Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyMounting evidence suggests that educational stagnation has already socked American workers, particularly men. David Autor, the associate chairman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s economics department, makes the case in a series of recent papers that globalization has effectively “hollowed out” much of the country’s middle-skill jobs—assembly-line, call-center, and bookkeeping occupations, for example—and replaced them with a computer or a lower-paid foreign worker.

Those types of jobs typically required technical training but not necessarily a college degree. As the jobs disappear, the workers who held them are generally pushed into lower-skill, lower-paid occupations such as retail or janitorial services, because they lack the education to compete for higher-wage, higher-skill jobs such as engineering.

Autor is pioneering the research into what he calls the “polarization” of American jobs into low- and high-skill camps, but even he isn’t sure whether his findings explain our national jobs crisis or result from it. “I don’t have a simple answer,” he wrote in an e-mail recently. “I think the prosperity in the 2000s, even prior to the crisis, was quite ephemeral, bordering on illusory. I’m not sure that’s a result of polarization per se. But it is a mystery why the good times ended” at the turn of the century. The completed circle of losses and gains from globalization, he added, is “what is supposed to happen in the long run. But it requires investment, adjustment, adaptation.”

Mention of that requirement raises another leading theory for our job-creation woes: American companies aren’t investing enough in domestic innovation and the jobs it should create.

One baffling aspect of the current recovery is why U.S. companies continue to sideline nearly $2 trillion in cash instead of using it to buy equipment or hire workers. That hoarding turns out to be a piece of a decades-long investment puzzle. American corporate spending on nonresidential plant equipment—factories and equipment, not houses or shopping malls—has fallen to its lowest rate as a share of the economy in 40 years. Businesses aren’t investing in American workers, either. The major productivity gains of the fledgling recovery, and in the 2000s in general, came largely from companies producing more with fewer employees.

The simple truth is that American firms are either returning the spoils of globalization and technology to their shareholders, spending them on new projects abroad, or both. “Globalization isn’t the problem,” says Howard F. Rosen, a labor economist and visiting fellow at the Peterson Institute. “U.S. companies are investing in plants and equipment, just not in our borders.… They are privatizing the gains of globalization. That’s really it. They’re our gains!”

Policymakers, Rosen adds, must learn why that is happening. “What motivates investment?” he says. “How do we stimulate investment? I personally think we should use that question to judge every economic policy that we do.”

This is not an academic exercise. The mystery of why 15 million jobs never materialized could haunt our economy for the foreseeable future.


Economists, lawmakers, and other Americans have mostly assumed that if we could just get the postrecession economy growing again at a good clip, jobs would come back in high numbers. But what if that’s wrong? What if we’ve blown a gasket in the job-creation machine and workers remain stuck on the roadside until we get it fixed?

What if the Peterson Institute’s Kirkegaard is correct when he says, “There is a significant risk that we wander aimlessly into a situation where U.S. labor markets … end up becoming much more European than they were before,” less dynamic, less innovative, with persistently higher unemployment. “That’s not a description that I use lightly,” he says, “because that’s a very, very bad outcome.”

It’s worth noting, as we look back at the last decade’s job projections, that American workers aren’t making many answering machines or modems. They’re also not making cell phones—even the market-moving cell phones that forecasters couldn’t conceive of 10 years ago.

A recent paper by researchers at the Asian Development Bank Institute concluded that the iPhone, one of the United States’ top innovations of the past decade, actually contributes nearly $2 billion to our trade deficit because it is almost entirely produced and assembled in Asia. The paper also raises a conundrum for lawmakers and business leaders alike: If Apple moved its assembly line to the United States and created domestic jobs but didn’t raise the cost of the iPhone, the company would still turn a 50 percent profit on every one it sold.

Maybe Apple’s greed is at fault. Maybe the government is to blame for not making the industrial climate more hospitable to Apple and other job producers. The harsh reality is that workers, companies, and lawmakers all need to readjust if we ever hope to rev up the job-creation machine again.

Female workers poured into the labor pool during World War II and the decades that followed. In the late 1990s, the trend began to end.Some free-market economists say that we could encourage more domestic investment by cutting corporate tax rates, although it’s fair to note that the jobs breakdown of the 2000s coincided with hefty tax cuts under President Bush. Still, liberal and free-market analysts alike have argued for a sweeping reform of America’s corporate tax code—one that would reduce rates while eliminating many deductions and provisions that give companies incentives to spend their global profits outside the United States. More narrowly, groups such as the Association for Financial Professionals have urged Congress to lower America’s tax rates on repatriated income, to levels closer to international competitors.

Some liberal economists say we should consider more direct industrial policy to force investment in innovative fields such as clean energy, to match China, Germany, and other competitors, or we should further curb foreign trade until the international playing field is more level in areas such as currency.

Thoma, of the University of Oregon, says he has been lately rethinking whether the situation demands more pronounced government income redistribution to help those whom globalization has hurt the most.

Nearly all the economists interviewed for this article called education a key piece of any solution, and some were alarmed by the potential fallout from state and local budget shortfalls that could lead to cuts in primary, secondary, and higher education. As middle-skill jobs disappear in the United States, some experts recommend new policies to push more students into college or vocational school in order to swell the future ranks of highly skilled workers. Implementation could include more federal college aid or even a requirement that students complete a year of higher education after high school.

Others say that the government should revamp its approach to unemployment benefits, linking payments to job retraining in an effort to shift workers from disappearing fields. “We’re in an economy that is undergoing rapid change,” Carl Van Horn, director of the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University, said, “but we have policies for an economy that we assume is more or less the same.”

Autor, the MIT economist, says that there’s no guarantee the gains from globalization and automation will appear as immediately as the costs—or that everyone in America will benefit equally from them. “What people tend to not appreciate is how large the adjustment costs are and how long adjustments take,” he said in an interview, adding later: “There are things we can do to help people adjust. But we’re not very good at this.”

It may be that Washington must take bolder steps to encourage higher-risk, higher-reward investments by companies flinching at the violent churn of the global economy. As the New York Fed’s Groshen and Potter wrote in their trailblazing paper in 2003, “Structural change itself may have given rise to uncertainty. In periods of rapid change, it is hard for investors, companies, and workers to know which firms and industries will require more jobs. Our findings suggest that a return to job growth may require a mix of two ingredients: improved financing options for riskier ventures and resolution of current uncertainties, including time for the dust to settle from all the recent structural changes.”

Eight years later, it’s hard to say that anything in the economy feels more settled. Policymakers just now seem to be tuning in to the mystery of our changing situation. Before we can fix our jobs machine, we must figure out what broke it. As several economists noted, anyone who says they’ve solved the problem is lying.