Sunday, July 29, 2012

Man loses hand feeding Aligator ...now faces jail for feeding the gator

EVERGLADES CITY, Fla. — A Florida airboat captain whose hand was bitten off by a 2.7-metre alligator was arrested Friday and now faces charges of feeding the animal. Collier County Jail records show 63-year-old Wallace Weatherholt was charged Friday with unlawful feeding of an alligator and later posted $1,000 bond. His next court date is Aug. 22. If convicted, Weatherbolt, who works for Captain Doug’s Everglades Tours in Everglades City, could face up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

Mitt Derriere Reference shows his ignorance of UK English...

Romney, for his part, is to leave London on Saturday. His efforts to highlight his leadership during the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City were lost. Even as he sought to strike a cautious stance Friday, Romney raised eyebrows anew when he referred to looking out of the "back side" of 10 Downing St., Cameron's residence, to see the beach volleyball stadium. The term "back side" is the common local term for derriere.

Friday, July 27, 2012

man versus mouse...man gets rifle shot to head

Man accidentally shot himself trying to kill mouse July 25, 2012 9:41 PM A Canadian man accidentally shot himself in the forehead while trying to kill a mouse with the butt of his rifle. The man was reportedly intending to crush the rodent with the weapon at a camp on Anjigami Lake in Ontario, but didn't know the gun was loaded. As such he got quite a shock when the gun fired, with the bullet grazing his forehead but luckily not causing too much damage. Police say the man was admitted to and released from the hospital, before being charged with careless use of a firearm. A spokesperson said: "He was very lucky." It's not known what happened to the mouse.

Romneyshambles: Democrats seize on Mitt Romney's gaffes

By Chris Irvine, Jon Swaine in Washington2:19PM BST 27 Jul 2012

Democrats have seized upon Mitt Romney's trip abroad - dubbed Romneyshambles - with a new video highlighting criticism from British politicians and the media.

 The Democratic National Committee released the video which is a compilation of Mr Romney's trip. One part of the video highlights a Telegraph Commentary, that said: "Mitt Romney is perhaps the only politician who could start a trip that was supposed to be a charm offensive by being utterly devoid of charm and mildly offensive." As well as the media, David Cameron and Boris Johnson, Carl Lewis, the winner of nine Olympic gold medals, hit out at Mr Romney saying "seriously, some Americans just shouldn't leave the country". Mr Romney's London trip has been filled with a series of missteps, starting with an NBC interview in which he questioned Britain's readiness to host the Olympics.

His comments drew a sharp rebuke from David Cameron. His performance was seriously criticised by the media and politicians alike. Lewis, who is generally regarded as one of the greatest Olympians of all time - winning gold medals from 1984 to 1996, told The Independent newspaper as Michelle Obama arrived in London to lead the US delegation:

"Every Olympics is ready, I don't care whatever he [Romney] said. I swear, sometimes I think some Americans shouldn't leave the country. Are you kidding me, stay home if you don't know what to say." declaring himself to be “a guy from Great Britain” who is “married to a girl from Wales”.

 The former Massachusetts governor and his wife, Ann, were interviewed together after a day from which he was meant to emerge looking like an international statesman descended into farce. He told CNN's Piers Morgan on Thursday evening that the Olympics would be “terrific”, blessed with “great weather” and full of “enthusiasm on the part of the people here in London”. The previous evening he told NBC that he had seen “disconcerting” signs that made it “hard to know just how well it will turn out” at the London games, prompting a sharp rejoinder from David Cameron. Promising London would deliver, the Prime Minister said it had been challenging to host an Olympics in one of the world's busiest cities rather than the “middle of nowhere”, where it would be easier.

 This was widely taken in the US to be a reference to Utah, the sparsely populated western state where Mr Romney was chief executive of the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics in 2002. Mr Johnson, the Mayor of London, heaped more misery on Mr Romney's campaign by dismissing his remarks while onstage at a concert in Hyde Park to mark the end of the Olympic torch relay.

 “There's guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know if we are ready,” Mr Johnson cried, prompting jeers from some of the 60,000-strong crowd. “Are we ready? Yes we are!” By then a sheepish Mr Romney had deserted his earlier remarks with a statement delivered outside 10 Downing Street.

He predicted that any minor problems would be “overshadowed by the extraordinary demonstrations of courage, character and determination by the athletes”. Mr Romney was asked in his interview on Thursday evening whether he had been aware of his roots in northern England, where his great-great-grandfather, a carpenter from Preston, was one of the first Mormons in Britain some 175 years ago.

 “I knew that my ancestors came from here,” he said. “I know Miles Romney and Miles Park Romney – these are the folks that came and helped settle the West.” Asked whether he felt “partly English” as a result, a chuckling

Mr Romney replied: “Well, I’m married to a girl from Wales, and I’m a guy from Great Britain. So I feel like this is home too, I guess.” His wife is descended from Welsh coal-miners. Her grandfather, David Davies, travelled to Michigan from Wales in 1929.

 Mrs Romney told Morgan that the ITV drama Downton Abbey was one of their favourite television programmes, and that the couple were currently working their way through the second series.

 The Republican challenger also raised eyebrows on Thursday by referring to Ed Miliband with the American-style honorific “Mr Leader” and appearing to breach protocol by disclosing that he had met Sir John Sawers, the Secret Intelligence Service chief.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Romney May Have Paid No Federal Income Tax From 1999 to 2001



are guessing that Romney may have paid near zero federal taxes in 2009 due to losses on his investments resulting from the financial crisis. They probably have the right idea, just the wrong year.
It is true that Romney suffered capital losses on his investments in 2009 that might act to shield much of his income in that year from taxes, but he would have to be a complete idiot to allow his tax planners to file a return showing no income taxes paid just as he was gearing up for a presidential run. But, then again, we are talking about someone who waited until 2010 to close his wife's Swiss bank account.
Much more likely to this writer is that Romney probably does have one or more years in his recent history where he paid near zero taxes, but the year in question is probably not 2009. Much more likely candidates are the tax years 1999 to 2001 when he supposedly left his high paying job at Bain and accepted a smaller $275,000 salary to head the winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. It is reported that once the Olympics showed a profit, Romney ended up donating his salary to charities, thus further lowering his reported income for tax purposes.
His lower salary and loss of some board member compensation would mean less current income to shelter from 1999 to 2001. But, his tax shelters would have lost none of their potency. He was already utilizing IRAs and 401(k)s to shelter much of his investment income, possibly worth as much as $100 million today, from taxes. He was already making use of numerous off-shore tax havens in the Cayman Islands and other foreign locations and admits to having had a Swiss bank account in his wife's name. He admits that he had a trust established for his children to shelter as much as $100 million more of his wealth from taxation. And much of his income came from Bain Capital private equity investment funds located offshore so much of their profits could be deferred for ten years or limited to a maximum tax rate of 15 percent, a special tax provision only available to private equity and hedge fund managers.
Also, the leveraged buyout business took a big hit in 1999 and 2000 as the country entered a recession so he likely had significant capital losses to deduct. This was followed in 2001 by the dotcom collapse. As a large wealthy investor it is likely he was being put into numerous IPO's available only to the well-connected and many of these high-tech investments most likely soured in 2001 leading to further tax deductible capital losses.
Some may argue that someone who donates his salary to charity or has investment losses deserves to pay no taxes. But, they are missing the point. Romney's vast personal fortune of between $100 million and $200 million at the time was accreting at some 20 percent per year so how should he able to avoid paying taxes on the $20 to $40 million of dividends and interest income and profits and capital gains he must have been receiving on his investments? Donating a $275,000 salary to charity is chump change compared with avoiding taxation on tens of millions of profits each year.
Of course, some will argue that this is all just speculation. What else are concerned citizens to do when a candidate for president, running on a platform of being business smart and the man to fix the economy, refuses to tell us how he made his money and whether he paid his fair share of taxes along the way?
Some may argue that this is all legal. That our laws allow for the wealthiest to accumulate $400 million plus fortunes and pay little to no taxes. But, that is exactly the point. Who do you think is writing our tax laws? It is the wealthiest of our country that are lobbying our government for tax breaks and making large campaign contributions to elected officials to ensure these tax breaks not only continue, but are amplified and extended. And who is their boy, Mitt Romney.

John R. Talbott is a best-selling author and economic consultant to families whose books predicted the housing crash and the economic crisis. 

GOP Republican Jobs Bills Won't Actually Create Jobs, Say Economists




Erin Mershon
Erin Mershon- Huffington Post


WASHINGTON -- House Republicans routinely beat the drum about the hard work they have done in passing "more than 30 jobs bills" that are now before the Democrat-controlled Senate, going nowhere, as the economy gasps for air.
For almost a year, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) have plugged their jobs package at every opportunity. They regularly bring it up at press events, during floor speeches and in statements in response to just about anything related to the economy. Boehner even carries aroundin his jacket pocket a 4-by-8-inch card that lists off their jobs bills, and he encourages his members to flash their cards at campaign events.
"President [Barack] Obama and Democrats here in Congress have shown us what doesn't work: more government, more spending, more taxes don't create more jobs," Boehner said at a recent weekly briefing. "We've passed more than 30 jobs bills, including bipartisan bills expanding energy production and projects like the Keystone pipeline."
Cantor plugged the jobs bills -- and nudged Democrats to get on board with the Republican plan -- in response to the June unemployment report. "House Republicans are committed to bold, pro-growth policies and have passed dozens of bills to create jobs," he said in a statement. "We've begun to right the ship, but we will not be able to achieve long-term growth without willing partners in the White House and Senate."
The GOP jobs package, which currently includes 32 bills, represents Republicans' hallmark legislative accomplishment over the past two years. In the months ahead of the election, they will lean on it as proof of two things: that they are not the do-nothing obstructionists that Democrats paint them as, and that they are working hard to address the 8.2 percent unemployment rate.
But there's a problem with their jobs bills: They don't create jobs. At least, they won't any time soon.
In interviews conducted by The Huffington Post with five economists, most said the GOP jobs package would have no meaningful impact on job creation in the near term. Some said it was not likely to do much in the long term, either.


"A lot of these things are laughable in terms of a jobs plan that would produce noticeable improvements across the country in the availability of employment in the next four or five years," said Gary Burtless, a senior economist at Brookings. "Even in the long run, if they have any effect all, it would be extremely marginal, relative to the jobs deficit we currently have."
Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody's Analytics, agreed that the bills would have almost no effect on job creation in the short term, though he was slightly more optimistic about their long-term prospects.
"These kind of changes will matter over a period of three to five years," Zandi said. "It takes that long before businesses can digest changes and respond to them."
He noted, though, that legislation as narrowly targeted as the Republican package is unlikely to do much for real job creation.
"For it to show up in a meaningful way in the natural economy, you can make specific changes that could affect a specific industry or a few companies, but it's not going to make a big difference in terms of the monthly job numbers," Zandi said. "It takes some very significant changes across lots of different industries to really make a big difference."
Carl Riccadonna, a senior economist at Deutsche Bank, said some of the bills could create jobs, but that they would amount to more of an afterthought in terms of achieving broader policy goals.
"They are very narrowly targeted, and it gives the impression that maybe some of this is special interest really pursuing these, not really taking a macro view but a very, very micro focus in what the impact would be," Riccadonna said. For most of the bills in the package, "jobs are a second- or third-order effect, not the main priority."
At the heart of the GOP jobs package is a push for rolling back regulations -- and gutting environmental laws that regulate clean air and water -- to spur job growth. The House Republican Conference website makes the argument that deregulation will "remove onerous federal regulations that are redundant, harmful to small businesses, and impede private sector investment and job creation."
But economists told The Huffington Post that regulation has had a minimal impact on the unemployment rate. Their claim is backed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which shows that just under 16,000 jobs, or 0.4 percent, were lost because of "government regulations/intervention."
"It's just hard to believe that the paperwork requirements to starting a business represent a major impediment to starting businesses right now," Burtless said. "That's not why we had lots more business creation in the late '90s."
Joel Prakken, chairman of Macroeconomic Advisers, warned that any potential job creation from environmental deregulation could be offset by health concerns.
"If you increase employment but you have a lot more sick people, you have to ask yourself, 'What's the trade-off?'" he said. "The highest level of GDP is not necessarily the highest level of national satisfaction or national health."
Indeed, environmental advocates argue that many of the GOP proposals are more likely to kill people than create jobs.
"It won't save them jobs, it won't even save them that much money, but it is going to cause illnesses, deaths, more hospital stays or days lost because of illness,” said Scott Slesinger, legislative director for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “That's why we have all these environmental laws.”
Not all of the GOP proposals are focused on environmental deregulation. A handful call for weakening the authority of the National Labor Relations Board as a way to boost businesses' savings, which could, in theory, then be reinvested in new jobs.
But Burtless said those proposals are more likely to impact those currently working than those seeking work.
"They may weaken the ability of current workers to negotiate for better working conditions or wages. They may lessen the ability of workers who want to join unions to do so in companies that are currently unorganized," he said. "But it's just hard to believe that they create jobs in the short run."
Even one of the more popular bills in the mix -- a small business tax cut -- won't do much for job creation, some of the economists said. They argued that it's not that businesses need more money for hiring, but that they need a sufficient demand for their products.
"They know that if they hire people to produce more widgets, they won't be able to sell the widgets," Prakken said. "Giving them a tax break just increases their profits," but doesn't encourage hiring.
Riccadonna disagreed. He acknowledged that weak demand is the biggest problem facing businesses, but said the small business tax cut is still the most likely of all the GOP bills to create jobs.
"We should be focusing on small businesses and what we can do to make business conditions more favorable for them, because that's where the real turn in labor market will lie," he said. "So anything that makes life or operating conditions a little bit easier for them, that I would certainly be in favor of. That will have a meaningful jobs impact."
Ultimately, each economist was clear on one point: The GOP package is far more political than practical.
"It's game playing to try to pretend like they're doing something," said Jesse Rothstein, an economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley. "It's silly season, and so they know they have to put up something that has the label 'job creation' on it, whether or not it would work."
Boehner spokesman Michael Steel demurred when asked for a response. He reiterated that Senate Democrats are holding up their job-creation bills.
"The House has passed more than 30 jobs bills that are awaiting action in the Democrat-controlled United States Senate," said Steel. "We have passed a responsible budget that deals with our deficits and debt, a bill to replace the 'sequester,' which would be disastrous for our national security, and ... we will vote to stop the tax hike on every American taxpayer, which is scheduled for the end of this year. In short, we are acting on the American peoples’ priorities: jobs and our economy."
A Cantor spokeswoman did not return a request for comment.
For all their complaints about Senate inaction, Boehner and Cantor regularly fail to point out that the Senate has, in fact, passed nearly a dozen of Republicans' so-called jobs bills in the last two years. Eleven have already become law, and another one has passed the Senate but hasn’t been signed into law yet.
Jennifer Bendery and Michael McAuliff contributed reporting to this article.

House Republicans routinely herald the hard work they have done in passing the 30-some "jobs bills" in the slideshow below, while they antagonize the Senate for its failure to act on the measures. But economists warn that the House-passed bills won't do much to create jobs -- which Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) says is the explanation for why the bills have stalled.





Friday, July 13, 2012

A Magic Moment


A lot of people don't like magic because it makes them feel stupid, but in reality getting fooled by magic tricks says little about your intelligence. I do in fact possess psychic powers and to prove it to you I'm going to predict the exact difference in the amount of pocket change we are both carrying.

All I need you to do is remove some change from your purse or your pocket -- not more than a couple of bucks, to keep this short -- and hold it in your fist. Shake it around a bit so I can feel the vibrations. Excellent.

I am definitely getting a reading now, more than I had hoped for in fact.

My sixth sense is telling me three things: that
I have as much change as you do,
plus two extra quarters,
and enough left over to bring your total up to $2.35.

You look skeptical. Lay your change on the table and count it. Great. Now since we are doing this remotely, you'll have to be my stunt double.

Reaching in my pocket it appears I have ten quarters, two dimes, a pair of nickels, and five pennies -- totaling $2.85. (I was going to do laundry later.)

I want you to pretend my pile of change is on the table next to yours -- or even better, procure this array of coins for yourself and do it for real.

Now I predicted my pile would contain exactly as much as yours plus two quarters,
so please remove from my pile the exact amount you were carrying in your pocket,
plus an additional two quarters, and set this amount aside.

I also predicted that what remained in my pile would be exactly enough to bring your total up to $2.35, so push the rest of my coins into your pile, merging the two, and add them all up. Was I right? I told you I was psychic!

If you were fooled by this trick you're in good company, because so was Albert Einstein, when British mentalist Al Koran (real name: Edward Doe) performed it for him at a dinner club.

Source

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Being sodomized is acceptable in Islam

OTTAWA - Being sodomized is acceptable in Islam if the goal is to carry out jihad, according to a cleric on a new video making the rounds online. In a video posted on YouTube last month, and as reported by the New York-based think-tank Gatestone Institute more recently, cleric Abu al-Dema al-Qasab's instructions include details on how to carry out a successful suicide bombing mission by hiding explosives in the bomber's anus. "However, to undertake this jihadi approach you must agree to be sodomized for a while to widen your anus so it can hold the explosives," al-Dema al-Qasab tells followers in the video. There is no indication where or when the video was recorded, but appears by the screen to have been aired on Fadak TV, a Shia-based satellite television station. The background of al-Dema al-Qasab is also unknown. Author Raymond Ibrahim, who wrote the article for Gatestone, denies claims the video is a hoax intended to insult Islam. The Gatestone Institute's homepage indicates it specializes in international policy and the Middle East. Sodomy is forbidden in Islam but according to al-Dema al-Qasab's video, everything is permissible if the objective is in the best interests of the jihad. In 2009, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian national, attempted to blow up a plane bound for Detroit by igniting a bomb planted in his underwear. That led to the introduction of body scanners at airports worldwide which can see through clothing. The scanners, however, cannot see inside body cavities, and authorities expressed fear at the time that terrorists would likely try to evolve their attacks to avoid detection. http://www.torontosun.com/2012/07/12/sodomy-the-new-jihadi-training-method

360 Virtual Tours Amazing!

Monday, July 9, 2012

You’re not special’ graduation speech sparks buzz


All of this is as it should be, because none of you is special.
You are not special. You are not exceptional.
Contrary to what your U9 soccer trophy suggests, your glowing seventh grade report card, despite every assurance of a certain corpulent purple dinosaur, that nice Mister Rogers and your batty Aunt Sylvia, no matter how often your maternal caped crusader has swooped in to save you . . . you’re nothing special.
Yes, you’ve been pampered, cosseted, doted upon, helmeted, bubble-wrapped. Yes, capable adults with other things to do have held you, kissed you, fed you, wiped your mouth, wiped your bottom, trained you, taught you, tutored you, coached you, listened to you, counselled you, encouraged you, consoled you and encouraged you again.
You’ve been nudged, cajoled, wheedled and implored. You’ve been feted and fawned over and called sweetie pie. Yes, you have.
And, certainly, we’ve been to your games, your plays, your recitals, your science fairs. Absolutely, smiles ignite when you walk into a room, and hundreds gasp with delight at your every tweet.
And now you’ve conquered high school . . . and, indisputably, here we all have gathered for you, the pride and joy of this fine community . . .
But do not get the idea you’re anything special. Because you’re not.
The empirical evidence is everywhere, numbers even an English teacher can’t ignore . . . Across the country no fewer than 3.2 million seniors are graduating about now from more than 37,000 high schools. That’s 37,000 valedictorians . . . 37,000 class presidents . . . 92,000 harmonizing altos . . . 340,000 swaggering jocks . . . 2,185,967 pairs of Uggs.
But why limit ourselves to high school? After all, you’re leaving it. So think about this: even if you’re one in a million, on a planet of 6.8 billion that means there are nearly 7,000 people just like you. Imagine standing somewhere over there on Washington Street on Marathon Monday and watching 6,800 yous go running by.
And consider for a moment the bigger picture: your planet, I’ll remind you, is not the centre of its solar system, your solar system is not the centre of its galaxy, your galaxy is not the centre of the universe. In fact, astrophysicists assure us the universe has no centre; therefore, you cannot be it. Neither can Donald Trump . . . which someone should tell him . . . although that hair is quite a phenomenon.

Friday, July 6, 2012

GOP Mitt Romney Lies And Fake Facts


Lee A. Saunders



Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once famously told an opponent in a debate: "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts." I was reminded of that last Thursday when former corporate raider Mitt Romney, who made millions out-sourcing American jobs to foreign countries, expressed his opinion on the Supreme Court's decision upholding Obamacare. In just one paragraph of his speech, Romney made six claims that bear no relation to the real world. He created "fake-facts" about health care reform and totally distorted the law's real impact.

 This is an old Karl Rove campaign tactic -- make things up -- on steroids. It needs to be exposed. 1. Romney said Obamacare "cuts Medicare, by approximately $500 billion." This claim is meant to scare seniors, but it is simply false. PolitiFact.com has this to say about this bogus claim: "The bill doesn't take money out of the current Medicare budget but, rather, attempts to slow the program's future growth, curtailing just over $500 billion in anticipated spending increases over the next 10 years."

 Those savings come from a variety of administrative changes and things like requiring Medicare Advantage plans to reduce their inflated costs. The law makes no cuts to guaranteed Medicare benefits. In fact, it increases Medicare benefits by improving the prescription drug benefit and by making cancer screenings and other preventive services available without a co-pay. 2. Romney said Obamacare "raises taxes on the American people by approximately $500 billion." False.

In fact, families across the nation will save money as a result of the Obamacare reforms, such as state-based exchanges that come online in 2014. Families who purchase private health insurance through these exchanges will save up to $2,300 each year on their health care spending. Millions of Americans already see real savings as their out-of-pocket costs go down to zero for preventive care like flu shots or cancer screenings. 3. Romney says Obamacare "adds trillions to our deficits and to our national debt." False. In fact, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that Obamacare will reduce the national deficit by $210 billion over the next 10 years. 4. Romney says Obamacare will force up to 20 million Americans to "lose the insurance they currently have." False. Rather than losing insurance, millions of Americans will get insurance for the first time. CBO and the Joint Economic Committee estimate that the number of people without health insurance coverage will be reduced by 30 million to 33 million by 2016 if the states implement the law as intended. 5. Romney says Obamacare is "a job-killer." False.

It takes a lot of nerve for a politician who has endorsed the job-killing agenda of Paul Ryan and the House Republicans to try to label health care reform as a job-killer. In fact, one recent study suggests that the lower growth in health care costs through Obamacare will create 250,000 to 400,000 thousand new jobs in many industries annually throughout the next decade. 6. Romney says "Obamacare puts the federal government between you and your doctor." False.

Obamacare removes the insurance companies from their position between you and your doctor. Remember, under Obamacare, insurance companies can no longer end your health coverage if you become ill or deny you coverage because of a pre-existing condition. And insurance companies will have to spend 80 percent of the money they take in on health care - not on administrative costs or CEO salaries - and refund the money to their customers if they don't meet the target. Before the end of the summer, 12.8 million Americans will receive rebates because their insurance company spent too much of their premium dollars on administrative costs or CEO bonuses.

What Mitt Romney is doing should be clear to everyone. His campaign has done some polling on what people don't like and they have decided to attribute all those things to Obamacare, even when they bear no relation to reality. These are "fake-facts" designed to make an honest debate impossible. They are an insult to the intelligence of the American people and should be repudiated by any American who recognizes the value of a true debate about real facts. It is clear that Romney and his allies have decided not to discuss Obamacare factually.

They know that if they told the truth about the law, the public would not support their efforts to overturn it. Instead, they are creating a totally false picture of the legislation - they are inventing their own "fake-facts" - and hope to deceive the American public into opposing the far-reaching reforms that Americans have fought so hard to win over the decades.

Pay attention as the campaign goes forward. When you hear Romney and other politicians say these things, tell your friends and coworkers that they are spreading lies. They are out of touch with reality. What they are doing is a disgrace. Don't let them get away with it.

Source Huffington Post

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Higgs boson: scientists 99.999% sure 'God Particle' has been found





Scientists believe they have captured the elusive "God particle" that gives matter mass and holds the physical fabric of the universe together.




The historic announcement came in a progress report from the Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator.
Professor John Womersley, chief executive of the Science and technology Facilities Council, told reporters at a briefing in London: "They have discovered a particle consistent with the Higgs boson.
"Discovery is the important word. That is confirmed. It's a momentous day for science."
Scientists say it is a 5 sigma result which means they are 99.999% sure they have found a new particle.
Finding the Higgs plugs a gaping hole in the Standard Model, the theory that describes all the particles, forces and interactions that make up the universe.



If the particle was shown not to exist, it would have meant tearing up the Standard Model and going back to the drawing board.
The Cern laboratory appeared to have let slip its biggest breakthrough in a generation after appearing to announce the discovery of a new particle in an online video overnight.
In the short film accidentally published by the lab yesterday spokesman Joe Incandela is seen describing how physicists at the Large Hadron Collider had "observed a new particle".
Today scientists gathered in Geneva to announce the findings. Among the audience was Peter Higgs, the Edinburgh professor who first proposed the existence of the mysterious particle almost 50 years ago.
Rumours had been rife that scientists hunting the Higgs were to announce today's finding but the video appeared to confirm the finding of a particle matching its description hours before it was confirmed.
It was first theorised in the 1960s by Edinburgh-based physicist Peter Higgs, amongst others, and is credited for giving all other particles mass. But until now, it has proved impossible to pin down (AFP/Getty Images)
Although their results are said to be strong enough to claim an official discovery, the scientists will avoid doing so because they remain unsure whether the particle they have found is indeed the Higgs.
Cern spokesman James Gillies said the video was one of several filmed to cover every eventuality and did not directly relate to today's announcement.
The Internet has been rife with rumours of a discovery ever since CERN, the European nuclear research facility, announced it would hold a press conference today with the leaders of its two gigantic experiments, ATLAS and CMS.
Sources have told the Telegraph that ATLAS will today announce a 5-sigma signal and CMS will announce a 4.9-sigma signal of a new particle with a mass of 126.5 GigaelectronVolts (GeV) and 125.2 GeV respectively - a result which falls slap bang in the middle of the tough-to-explore region where many physicists were adamant the Higgs was hiding.
The results being announced today definitively point to a new particle or particles which fit the description of a Higgs Boson, but further research will be needed to characterise it properly.
The Higgs boson is the final piece of the Standard Model of Particle Physics, a theoretical model which describes the fundamental particles and forces that control our Universe.
It was first theorised in the 1960s by Edinburgh-based physicist Peter Higgs, amongst others, and is credited for giving all other particles mass. But until now, it has proved impossible to pin down.
To do so, scientists use the LHC to smash together protons at almost the speed of light and scour the debris for traces of particles that sprang into existence for just a fraction of a second before disintegrating.
Sources have told the Telegraph that ATLAS will today announce a 5-sigma signal and CMS will announce a 4.9-sigma signal of a new particle with a mass which matches many physicists' idea of a Higgs Boson.
An ATLAS researcher said there was "no question" the two detectors are seeing the same thing, adding: "A lot of bets are going to be settled up [today]”.
“After so many years preparing and searching, it’s really amazing to see a clear signal emerge,” a CMS Higgs physicist added.
“This is the sort of thing that makes me cry,” said an ATLAS Higgs physicist. “It's the kind of crying that accompanies winning something or being overwhelmed with happiness. Human thought and ingenuity have continually created and discovered, but this outdoes them all."



Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Republican Lies About Obamacare...

huffington post Linda Bergthold Health policy consultant The US Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). Never mind that 41% of the public polled by Kaiser Family Foundation did not even know that the ruling had occurred. In upholding the law, the majority (5-4) of the Court declared that for the ~1% of the population that might object to enrolling in health insurance (i.e. individual mandate), the penalty for not buying insurance would be to pay a "tax" that would be managed by the IRS (without any real enforcement power by the way).

In addition, the Court ruled that states did not have to accept the federal money that would pay for 100% of the expansion of Medicaid programs to people who earned up to 133% of the federal poverty level ($14k a year for an individual). That means that if you are poor and live in a Red State that rejects the federal money, you may be out of luck in terms of finding insurance at a price you can afford.

 The lies and distortions of course began immediately, which is why I am writing this blog -- to set a few things straight. The public, as ignorant of the specifics of the Law as ever, can be forgiven for believing Republicans that this decision is "the biggest tax hike in history." But that is actually an outright lie. Not only does the "penalty/tax" affect very few people -- only those who have no insurance and reject buying it -- in terms of other tax increases, the entire Affordable Care Act increases taxes less than the Reagan tax increase of 1982. Yes, I acknowledge that there are tax increases in the ACA to pay for helping Americans buy health insurance affordably.

Those taxes fall mainly on health care providers like hospitals and device manufacturers, as well as wealthy Americans. Is this ruling then the biggest tax hike in history? You should laugh when you hear that. (Thanks to Ezra Klein of the Washington Post and Austin Frakt of the Incidental Economist for the chart below that you can tell your friends to look at if they don't believe you. And there is also an interesting comment section on Austin's page answering some questions about whether or not premiums are included as a tax. Read here. ) The second biggest lie and distortion is that the Republicans can and will repeal "Obamacare" on DAY ONE if they win the Presidency.

 First, the President has no authority to do that alone. Second, the Republicans would have to win the House and a 60 vote filibuster-proof member Senate, PLUS the Presidency to even consider repealing the ACA. Even the Minority Leader of the Senate, Mitch McConnell admits repeal is unlikely. Despite the fact that the country is pretty evenly split about the ACA, people like the individual elements of the law and it would be tricky for Republicans to be associated with overturning some of the most popular parts of the law (see below and here).

What is clear is that over half of people polled in the days after this decision was delivered last Thursday want politicians and the country to MOVE ON. So what's next, now that the Law has been deemed to be constitutional? The implementation of the ACA is well underway. Some states like California are making great progress in setting up a health insurance exchange for the individuals and small businesses eligible to participate in 2014. Enrollment will start in little over a year.

In the meantime, the Law requires insurance companies to do the following -- eliminate lifetime maximums on what your insurance will pay for your care so you don't go bankrupt, keep you on your insurance if you get sick, cover children with pre-existing conditions, and allow your adult children to stay covered under your plan until they are 26 years old. Seniors will continue to get discounts on their drugs until the "doughnut hole" closes in 2020 and they will continue to enjoy preventive care without co-pays. Small businesses can take advantage of the "tax credit" in the law to help their employees get affordable insurance. People who do have insurance will get $1.3 BILLION in rebates from their insurance companies if those companies are not spending at least 80 to 85% of the insurance premium on medical care (not marketing).

 The list goes on. Object to Obamacare if you wish. Object to the individual mandate as well. But do not call the mandate the biggest tax hike ever because it is not. And do not go around bragging that if Republicans are elected they will repeal Obamacare. They will not. They will not, especially if the rest of us do our part and vote in November.

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