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dkf's Journal
dkf's Journal
April 12, 2012

Bernanke to Congress: We're Much Closer to Total Destruction Than You Think

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Ben Bernanke
Official Congressional budget estimates understate the peril of rising debt, Fed chair Ben Bernanke told the Budget Committee on Capitol Hill today.

Warning that our nation's fiscal health has deteriorated appreciably since the onset of the financial crisis and the recession, Bernanke called upon lawmakers to confront the long term fiscal challenges sooner rather than later. If lawmakers don't confront them, they'll find themselves confronted by them.

From Bernanke's prepared remarks:

By definition, the unsustainable trajectories of deficits and debt that the CBO outlines cannot actually happen, because creditors would never be willing to lend to a government with debt, relative to national income, that is rising without limit. One way or the other, fiscal adjustments sufficient to stabilize the federal budget must occur at some point. The question is whether these adjustments will take place through a careful and deliberative process that weighs priorities and gives people adequate time to adjust to changes in government programs or tax policies, or whether the needed fiscal adjustments will come as a rapid and painful response to a looming or actual fiscal crisis.

Bernanke explained that the Congressional Budget Office's calculations miss an important reality. As the government's debt and deficits rise, the economy will slow down—an effect not taken into account by the CBO. So, for instance, when the CBO says that federal spending for health-care programs will roughly double as a percentage of GDP in the next 25 years, it is probably being too optimistic. If debt keeps, rising, GDP will be much lower than the CBO estimates—which will mean that health care spending will be a much larger percentage of the overall economy.

April 9, 2012

Hillary Boomlet Hits New Gear As ‘Texts From Hillary’ Explodes

BENJY SARLIN APRIL 9, 2012, 5:56 AM 11811
What a difference four years makes: When she was running for the Democratic presidential nomination, Hillary Clinton was parodied as drab and calculated, especially compared with young and vigorous Barack Obama and winking and fresh-faced Sarah Palin. Now, she’s fueling Internet jokes based on her own brand of badass cool.

More than just an image rebound, Clinton is enjoying a genuine resurgence.

Her 2008 campaign, which once seemed a cautionary tale about hubris, looks at least somewhat better with age. Obama touted a unifying national message in his run against Clinton, suggesting that Clinton’s scars from decades of battling Republicans would make it difficult to ever be effective in the White House.

Now Obama’s post-partisan vision has given way to a tough dogfight of a general election in which he’s running against the intransigent Republican party’s “thinly veiled social Darwinism.” And Clinton’s popularity — including with Republicans — has never been higher, prompting yet another boomlet of interest in a 2016 presidential run.


April 7, 2012

If/when they arrest George Zimmerman they must bring him to trial within 175 days.

Police can and do arrest suspects without probable cause, but judges must then order their release from jail. Senior Judge O.H. Eaton Jr. said that happened at least once or twice every weekend he was on jail duty reviewing Seminole County arrests for the previous 24 hours.

When that happens, police can rearrest the suspect, and prosecutors are free to file charges. But they must bring the case to trial within 175 days of arrest, according to Florida rules of criminal procedure.

That ticking clock is often an incentive for prosecutors to hold off on an arrest, they said. It gives them more time to collect evidence — for example, to get ballistics tests done if a gun is involved or to have fingerprints analyzed.

Prosecutors almost always demand more evidence than cops.

Though an officer needs only probable cause to make an arrest, prosecutors typically want enough evidence for a conviction — enough to convince a jury beyond every reasonable doubt that the suspect is guilty.


April 5, 2012

Trayvon Martin case: What is difference between manslaughter and murder charges?

As spelled out in Florida Statute 782.07, manslaughter is a killing caused by an individual's "culpable negligence."

What is culpable negligence?

"You've got to do something really stupid," said William Orth, a Longwood lawyer and former Seminole County prosecutor, "…something that you and I as intelligent humans — adults — know, 'Don't do that. Somebody could get hurt.' "

It requires a suspect to be much more than negligent, lawyers say. It requires him to show a gross disregard for the safety of others.

In Trayvon's case, prosecutors would have to prove Zimmerman was wanton and reckless, according to the set of jury instructions that all Florida judges read aloud before sending jurors to begin deliberations in manslaughter cases.

If Zimmerman was the aggressor and provoked the fight, that might be manslaughter, said Orlando defense attorney Diana Tennis.



April 4, 2012

Behind the photos of the Trayvon Martin case


Apparently the most iconic photos we've been shown of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman are both several years old.
April 2, 2012

Fast food, processed food, and our addiction to subsidized corn and sugar are killing us.

The fact that having surgery to restrict people's stomach sizes works tells me that eating less is key but that people simply have no willpower.

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