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over that critical resolution that decides for a change of course

The resolution decides nothing. It is non-binding.
And whoever wrote this needs to figure out what a filibuster is. There was no filibuster. The Rs put a hold on the bill and voted for cloture.

The arrogance of the truly ignorant German media on full display again.

You give the German msm too much credit. I think they are too stupid to understand American politics so how can you expect them to get anything right.

The real stupid people are the normally intelligent people that think that the msm are telling the truth and know everything!!

Where is the German language newssource which provides the Elephant side of the story?

Is there anything like Israelnetz on American politics?

IT is amazing how the morally superior can be so ignorant.

This is something that could have been written by Boston Babe.

"Never ascribe to malice that which can be explained by ignorance." I'll give Spiegel the benefit of the doubt for not understanding how the Senate has rigged its rules in favor of inaction.

What I don't condone is calling this a trick. The Senate works (or doesn't work) this way. Neither party wants to stop this, and in my opinion, we are better off if it is difficult for the legislature to do things.

The problem with Der Speigel's ignorant reporting is that it creates entire generations of ill-informed Germans (who probably think they understand the USA). What a shame.

somehow off-topic, about Germany being culturally superior to other countries (which may very well be true)
I heard yesterday some podcast of Dennis Prager's.
He said that the question "how could Auschwitz and Dachau take place in the most cultured country!?" is stupid, because more culture doesn't necessarily mean better values or "more moral"

Another interesting point, this time about animals.
He uses to say that the love for animals doesn't tell anything about the person (the Nazi also seem to have loved them, and were against experiments on animals - but, as we know, on human beings it was not a moral problem for them)

The 2007 Index of Economic Freedom has been published, sorry if it was already mentioned:

And another interesting read:
Why European economies lag behind the U.S.

Yes, the US is growing at a faster rate than Germany and has been doing so for some time. Reforms over here were delayed by re-unification and general complacency under Kohl. The situation is not good, but slowly improving.

But the Anglo-American economic success comes at a social price, see e.g. the current UNICEF report about the well-being of children: The US scores lowest of all evaluated industrial nations, while the UK scores just one spot higher on said list. Germany scores in the upper half.


Another example is the Freedom of the Press Index by Reporters without Borders, were Germany scores at # 11, the US at # 22 and the UK at # 28.


Germany may not be popular at this site, but the nation branding index puts it at the top spot together with or slightly behind the UK (depending about sub-category), while the US scores quite low, to be polite.


All these international listings and rankings should not be over-valued. ;-)


Did you truly read these articles that you are citing?

You say that the American-Anglo economic success comes at a social price. You state a UNICEF report that rates Holland the best place for children to be raised.

If your read the BBC article, you would have read the quote from a 16 year old Dutch girl:

"In this country, it's very free, you can do anything you want," she told the BBC's Newsnight programme. "You can smoke at 16, you can buy pot in the store next to the school. You can do what you like and because it's not illegal, it's not that interesting for us to provoke our parents with it."

Is this how UNICEF based its ratings? It sounds like the UNICEF report may be literally "dopey."

In regards to the Reporters without Borders ratings....is Germany’s no. 11 rating with or without the Muslim cartoons?

Thanks for the bit of humor in the BBC link.

The first paragraph in the article is hilarious:
"Dutch children have been rated the most fortunate children in Europe. Their parents go out of their way to please them, and teachers expect less of them than some of their European counterparts."

That is the way to score highly in the well being of children, expect less from them? It certainly makes me feel inferior.

UN? Anyone who takes this organisation serious can't be taken serious himself.

Reporters without borders? Please note that the RWB study is not objective at all in its methods. And they take into account influences on the media that do not come from the government. The freedomhouse.org Global Press Freedom Rankings 2006 may be a better source to compare: There, the US and Germany are tied on rank 17.

Both studies say nothing about another very important side: What do the media do with their freedom? And at least many German journalists do their best NOT to use it and censor themselves with political correctness. Instead they waste their energy on unimportant themes (constantly bashing the US while ignoring real threats, for example).

As for the third study: It's based on a poll of 1.000 people in each country. Well, we know that the US is unfortunately not popular with many people (mostly those that rely on the MSM). However, that has nothing to do with an objective measurement.


It is endearing how you try to come up with a report where Germany outclasses America, but you'll have to keep searching. This UNICEF report ain't the smoking gun you think it is. This "study" draws conclusions based to a large degree on how children feel about themselves and their lives. Because of that the report's authors recognise that this is not a precise science.

To put it more succinctly the "study" is a lot of crap. The only thing that it achieves is that it makes ignorant people like you feel better about themselves. You should first read the methodology of the "study" and then come back and appologize for your ignorance.

Another example is the Freedom of the Press Index by Reporters without Borders, were Germany scores at # 11, the US at # 22 and the UK at # 28.

You obviously have absolutely no idea about American media. Believing the the press is "freer" in Germany is so beyond stupid... that I don't feel like adding anything anymore.


Another moral superior child of the Fatherland.

Of course Trophy Germany has a long history of a nation which should be emulated by others

So quoting studies in which the US scores better than Germany is fine, but doing the same thing with studies where the positions are reversed somehow shows that one is a "moral superior child of the Fatherland"?

As I said: "All these international listings and rankings should not be over-valued. ;-)"

Even opponents of the UN tend to admit that some of its sub-organisations, e.g. UNICEF, do good work. Reporters without Borders may be biased, but so is the Heritage Foundation.

About the Muslim cartoons mentioned by George M: Several mainstream German newspapers printed the Danish cartoons, but I remember some uproar in US blogs that US print media mostly failed to do so. I remember seeing them on German TV, but not on CNN International. I remember that a speaker of the US State Department condemned said cartoons, while the German government publicly supported its NATO-ally.

@ all:
With all these rankings I have to wonder, whether we attend the Olympic Games here, or what. Take an index or ranking where your side happens to excel and bash it about the other's head? That's especially fine if you use ones, that are not really meant to be used in this way. Many aspects of life can in no way be compressed into a single meaningful number. Don't have your thinking limited by that nonsense.

Go read the UN study before ramming it down someone else's throat:
As reported in it, each and every country has good and bad aspects about raising children. The only way you can use this report to bash other nations is serious cherry-picking. Pick any two countries and you will find data to prove superiority/inferiority.
Or - you could just take the report for what it is meant to be, an account of how children are doing. Then draw your lessons on how to improve the situation in your own country where necessary.

The Reporters sans frontières data is presented in a much more accessible way at
I consider the rank of a country to be irrelevant, index tells the story for a first glance. For any meaningful interpretation you really need to go and read the accompanying info.

So can we please, please, skip trying to prove moral / freedom / child raising / whatever superiority on a country level on each and every blog entry?

Sorry for the rant.

@blue: Overgeneralisations make life easier, a fact that can be beheld not too infrequently at both Stern etc. and DMK.

He-ey Joe, whatcha doin' with that mouse in your hand?

I'm goin' down to shoot that babe, I caught her messin' round with another point of view.

OK, Jimi's version is besser. Bad little girl that I am, I was instructed to go read the mission statement, which I dutifully did. While there, I ran across the rules of engagement, which I shall now paste unto thee:

-Comments that are obscene, profanity-filled, insulting or all-of-the-above.
The undersigned has been called disgusting by proxy, clueless, self-righteous and now a Boston Babe. Which is also sexist, usually included in the rules for Internet moderated groups.

David, was ist das? Was. Ist. Das.

So can we please, please, skip trying to prove moral / freedom / child raising / whatever superiority on a country level on each and every blog entry?

You must have been reading a different blog. What you might perceive as being praise for America is in fact setting the record straight only *after* the publication of biased reports in the German media. Don't forget one thing: in general it is the Europeans who are desperate to prove the superiority of their system. The only thing that has changed is that now Americans are not ignoring anymore this juvenile behavior.

Go read the UN study before ramming it down someone else's throat

You must not have read what I said earlier, so I'll say it again. This report is based to a great degree on what children themselves report as "deprivation". Are you kidding?? Do you claim this is a serious report? So, they ask a child "how do you feel about what you have", the child says "I'm very unhappy, I don't have the latest game like the other kids", and, lo and behold, he is "deprived". What a hell is this?

I am "deprived" too; I feel "deprived" in some respects. I want my voice to be heard, so could they please have another report on "adult deprivation"?

As I said, this "study" is nothing but crap, and reading it makes it painfully clear. I have little respect for the ones who claim that it should be somehow treated with respect.

George M - The Dutch Lady may be right, if she owns a piece of ground in the Land of the Free the Prohibitionist can not only take her Cannabis plants away but grab her land as well.

The UN report covers "Material well-being", "Health and safety", "Educationalwell-being", "Family and peer relationships", "Behaviours and risks" aaannnnddd "Subjective well-being".
Data reported about: relative household income, Infant mortality rate, immunization, percentage of kids living in single parent and stepfamilies, talking time with parents, eating habits, drug abuse, Teenage fertility rate, bullying, plus subjective aspects like life satisfaction or rating ones health.

This report is based to a great degree on what children themselves report as "deprivation".
I can show you. Seeing - that is what you have to do for yourself.

P.S.: The list of topics I quote is just a selection of the topics covered in the UNICEF report.

Franzis M

"The Dutch Lady."....Franzis, she is a sixteen year-old child! Her parents should be whopping her butt for openly smoking dope. Is this a disconnect between our two cultures? Children should not be encouraged to experiment with pot or alcohol!

I am glad we managed to get so far off topic to give blue an opportunity to once again highlight the superiority of the social welfare state over the form of democracy practiced in the US. One would only expect the US to continue to lag euroland in these reports about welfare as it relates to children if for no other reason than in the US there continues to be children. The same cannot be said for the euros.

@ joe:
Huh, where do I highlight the "superiority of the social welfare state"? Quotes, please.

As for commenting off topic - it was not I who veered the comments off-topic. And I really am sick and tired of having each and every possible ranking, be it sound or not, be it relevant or not, be it useful for bashing or not, used to either bash Europe, Germany or the US in turn. It is bad enough that America bashing is done in the German press. Do we have to repeat the same behavior here - or do you consider this kind of behavior to be just well earned pay-back? If you feel it is the latter then please tell me so and I will try to simply ignore it future. I just think sometimes a study is a study and not a stick, especially if you have to squeeze and press it to shape it into a ranking (what the authors unfortunately do in the summary, giving "equal" weight to each aspect - talk about an obsessive need to find something you can call a ranking).

ON TOPIC: Ray D. is perfectly correct with pointing out the anti-republican bias in the spiegel article - do you really think he needs my reassurance to know that?

I can show you. Seeing - that is what you have to do for yourself.


I'll say it one more time. With details added, so that even you can understand.

The UN report covers "Material well-being", "Health and safety", "Educationalwell-being", "Family and peer relationships", "Behaviours and risks" aaannnnddd "Subjective well-being". (my emphasis)

Yes, blue, yes, and this is where your troubles with understanding this "study" begin. When I said that This report is based to a great degree on what children themselves report as "deprivation" *I did not mean Dimension 6* - Subjective well-being -, which will obviously be, guess what, subjective. What I meant is the supposedly objective Dimension 1 - Material well-being -, which is still measured to a great degree through children's subjective perception.

I'll try to say it again, in even simpler words. The "study" uses subjective opinions not only in the areas of the "study" which are openly subjective, but also in at least one area of the "study" which is reportedly objective. Do you get it now?

[...] allow time for thinking [...]
[...] not yet, give him more time [...]
[...] OK, try now [...]

blue, that's why this "study" is crap. Not because America is at the bottom, but because the methodology is a joke.

There are only two reasons for your lack of understanding. Either you didn't follow your own advice and you didn't read the report, or you read it and you didn't understand it. I don't care which one it is, but why waste pixels when you are völlig daneben?

@WhatDoIKnow: I read the report. The Material Well-being scale is not, as you say, based on what children feel (that would be subjective). Rather, children are asked questions like "How many computers does your family own?", "Do you have your own bedroom for yourself?" or "Do you have an own desk?" - these are questions that are not "subjective" in the sense that an attitude is measured. These questions refer to facts, actually.

The US actually scores quite well on this scale - except for the relative income poverty - why? Because the median of average income is taken as a national reference point. Because average income is high in the US, i.e. there is a greater spread than in most countries, many children are seen as "living in relative income poverty". This is explicitly mentioned in the report. Calculating a scale mean that contains this indicator is doubtful, however, I agree.

The scale "health and safety", for example, is based on demographic statistics. The US scores bad here because of high infant mortality, low birthweight and deaths from accidents and injuiries per 100,000.

The scale relationships reveals that the percentage of children living in single-parent and step-families is very high in the US. Whether this necessarily is negative is debatable from a subjective point of view; sociological publications, however, support this view. Further, it's interesting to see that US kids are the fattest but the most fertile.

I think this report is not useless, however, like every report it has many debatable points. I would not entirely dismiss it as nonsense, though. Germany scores bad on many scales as well, and I do take that seriously.

jeez, why is everyone piling on blue? As far as I can tell, blue has never had an agenda - always been a most valuable commentator that strives to be objective based on the facts at hand. I don't understand the ad hominem approach to his/her posts.

I've read some of the report and I've read some commentary on it.

My first impression is this: Although the report covers 'developed' countries, there seems to be a premise running thru it that has something to do with the holy grail of 'income equality' or lack thereof. To me, that is a huge red flag. This is the hobby horse of the left that never met Econ 101 where they would have learned that wealth is not a zero sum issue and that income inequality is not the same as poverty. It also smacks of class envy.

So, I too do not at first read give the methodology a pass.

And I am reminded of a study in the U.S. that came out a few years back that concluded 25% of American children go to bed hungry every night.

I don't recall the exact details, but it turned out the polling questions were quite simple - something like "Have you been hungry in the last month?".

Hells bells, I would have answered yes to that one.

german observer

a desk for study
a quiet place to work
a computer for schoolwork
educational software
an internet connection
a calculator
a dictionary
school textbooks

children age 15 reporting less than 10 books in the home

You are right to assume that the answers to the question above should be a simple Yes or No (and some are!) but I found reality to be, as always, surprising.

I conducted my own totally unscientific "survey" amongst teens I know and whose parents I know to be very responsible (so that I can double-check the teens' claims). The details are irrelevant, but the results showed quite a difference between teens' perceptions and facts in some of the questions (like "do you own a desk for study", or "do you have a quiet place to work" or "are there less than 10 books in your home").

There are two options here: either I talked to some of the most dysfunctional families in America (which I doubt), or the perceptions of *some* teens are unreliable, even when asked clear cut questions.

I don't claim that I came up with the smoking gun that demonstrates the invalidity of this study, but I believe my own "study" has, in this case, about the same (lack of?) relevance as some aspects of the UNICEF "study".

I agree that some of the Dimensions are based on facts. The only observation is that I wouldn't lump together facts with opinions in one single report. Also, I don't care if America is at the bottom of some study, as long as the methodology makes sense. (In fact I would be surprised *not* to find America scoring poorly in some statistics based on facts).

why is everyone piling on blue? As far as I can tell, blue has never had an agenda - always been a most valuable commentator that strives to be objective based on the facts at hand.
One simple reasons: in this case some of the facts at hand (i.e. the methodologies of the report) are questionable and some aspects of the report are not objective. Other than that, I have no problem with blue.

P.S. By the way, I am not claiming that the report is crafted so that it makes America look bad, only that it is unreliable in its current form.


As I said, the report is debatable, but contains some truth. I'll elaborate:

The reliability of questionnaires always requires closer investigation. Of course, such questionnaires contain measurement error (even physical measurement instruments are unreliable to a certain degree). However, it is a strong assumption that this unreliability generalizes to the whole scale, i.e. the scale mean contains some information, although - as said - measured with error. This is a general problem of questionnaires. A psychometric analysis would be interesting, because the problematic items could be taken out (does an item correlate with its scale value?). My assumption is that the three items you mentioned are possibly problematic; yet, children will know whether they have an internet connection, a computer, a calculator etc. In case by "opinions" you mean items like "own desk" etc., I agree with you.

A scale I find much more problematic is "relationships". Questions pertaining to the social environment etc. are typically influenced by country-specific standards and language. This could be dealt with by applying differential item functioning analyses - thus, country-specific biases can be statistically controlled. I find no hints that this has been done, therefore, the scale is questionable, because unwanted sources of error might have distorted the results. Further, often only single items have been used for important dimensions ("do you find your peers generally kind and helpful?"). This is methodologically unsound, i.e. not sufficient for a stable interpretation.

All data are merely reported on a descriptive level, i.e. no tests of significance have been computed (e.g., mean differences), which basically means that the diagrams are pretty worthless. Only by calculating confidence intervals could the results be interpreted, i.e. are differences between countries due to true differences or due to measurement error/random fluctuation? Further, one should basically not be interested in differences on the manifest level (indicator/item differences), but in differences on the latent level (if it is assumed that a latent, not directly observable structure - like "well-being" - influences the answers on a questionnaire).

However, it is very difficult to achieve objective measures for some of the scales, i.e. thousands of homes would have to be visited, etc. - too costly. Therefore, obviously, a questionnaire was chosen for some scales.

To conclude, I think the report contains some hints and truth (e.g., demographic statistics), but several inferences mentioned in the text are problematic and not statistically sound. Comparing questionnaire item values across nations is laudable and gives some first impressions but must be conducted with the necessary methodological rigour in order to arrive at sound conclusions.

I've said this before, and I'll repeat it for those who didn't hear about it when I mentioned this several months ago:

The "high infant mortality rate" in the US is not because of high infant mortality, but because we're counting infant deaths a different way from most countries.

MOST countries count the death of premature babies born at 30 weeks or earlier as a miscarriage.

In the US, a baby... ANY baby... who survives birth long enough to breathe on its own, no matter what stage of development, is issued a birth certificate... and a death certificate if he/she dies. So a 25-week preemie who lives a day and then dies counts as an infant death. That same baby would be counted as a "miscarriage" in Europe, being under 30 weeks.

The reason we do this is because we have a very good survival rate for under-30-week preemies. And I'm sure that the European nations also have a very good survival rate for the same... but if they die, they're "miscarriages", and in the US they are "babies".

So it really isn't a high infant mortality rate, it's the way the babies are counted.

@LC Mamapajamas

Interesting - do you have a link corroborating your statement?

George M - When I was at that age I became addicted to 8086 Assembler, but in review it didn´t really do any damage.

With 16 years you can buy your Moped driving license, and in Niedersachsen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Schleswig-Holstein und Berlin you may cast your vote in the local Kommunalwahlen, though you cannot yet be a candidate.

Still, the Dutch Lady may not be entirely honest about her feelings. The Coffeshop she is visiting is legally obliged to display a doorsign "age 18 and above" which still seems to give her a certain thrill.

@LC Mamapajamas
I honestly haven't got a clue, why US infant mortality is as high as it is compared to EU data. It can well be that in the US doctors fight for younger preemies than elsewhere. Your characterization of at least the German numbers, however, is wrong (see below). Your 30 week preemie that lived for a few hours example would count as "born alive" in Germany, unless it was only kept alive with a cardiopulmonary bypass - if preemies like these are included in the US numbers as born alive, that would explain a bit. Differences in reporting attitudes of the personnel can contribute to large differences as well (see Japan and China).

This is what I found on infant mortality rates in Germany: they are calculated with reference to "infants born alive". From the German "Statistisches Jahrbuch 2006", Chapter 2, page 33

Als Lebendgeborene werden Kinder gezählt, bei denen nach der Trennung vom Mutterleib entweder das Herz geschlagen, die Nabelschnur pulsiert oder die natürliche Lungenatmung eingesetzt hat; die übrigen Kinder gelten als Totgeborene oder Fehlgeburten. [...] Als Totgeborene zählen seit 1.7.1979 nur Kinder, deren Geburtsgewicht mindestens 1 000 g (vorher mindestens 35 cm Körperlänge), seit 1.4.1994 mindestens 500 g beträgt. Fehlgeburten (seit 1.4.1994 weniger als 500 g Geburtsgewicht, zuvor ab 1.7. 1979 unter 1 000 g Geburtsgewicht, vorher weniger als 35 cm lang) werden vom Standesbeamten nicht registriert und bleiben daher in der Statistik der natürlichen Bevölkerungsbewegung außer Betracht.
An infant is considered alive, if after the infant is separated from the mother one or more of the following at some point of time is true
  • the heart is beating
  • the umbilical cord is pulsing
  • natural respiration has started
If this does not apply and the child weighs more than 500g it is considered "born dead" otherwise it is considered a miscarriage, the latter is not recorded for statistical purposes. According to wikipedia, survival rates (in Germany) of preemies born after the 24th week of pregnancy is about 60% (and improving the longer pregnancy went), for infants weighing less than 500g survival rates are in the 20% to 30% range.

Right now, I don't think we have German/US numbers that can be compared meaningfully.

I understand your concern about the implications of "equality" as a must, unfortunately many people do see wealth as a zero sum game. It is my impression that envy is rampant in Germany, nothing that I am particularly proud of. On the other hand I do subscribe to our Grundgesetz: "Eigentum verpflichtet. Sein Gebrauch soll zugleich dem Wohle der Allgemeinheit dienen." A lot of that attitude is carried voluntarily in the US.
Before I forget: I have not told before, it's "his". ;-)

Let me put my calculator out???
Good idea, but it doesn't help without a slight knowlegde of math...
56 yes + 34 no = 90 altogether. 2 thirds were needed? and they wrote that's 60? And you doubt that this can be true because it SPOn or ZDF?
60/90=2/3 !!! So what is your problem?
Why did you calculate 60/100 if there are only 90 Senators as it seems?

Endnote: Well, if its political rubbish SPON or ZDF are spreading, we rather agree, doubt anything they say... but when it comes to simple math you better go to school again.

Why did you calculate 60/100 if there are only 90 Senators as it seems?

oh. my. god.
coffee out my nose.

On the other hand I do subscribe to our Grundgesetz: "Eigentum verpflichtet. Sein Gebrauch soll zugleich dem Wohle der Allgemeinheit dienen." A lot of that attitude is carried voluntarily in the US.

so your point is ... ?

"The resolution decides nothing. It is non-binding."

It is non-binding, but it is definitely will be a propaganda tool for the terrorists and contribute to the demoralization of troops fighting to restore a country.

The Democrats are helping the terrorists vis-a-vie public relations/press.

A lot of that attitude is carried voluntarily in the US.

Well, it depends on whether the property is public or private. Private property is a whole different issue and in wake of the recent infamous Kelo decision by the Supreme Court - may it rot in hell - that area of law has heated up considerably.

I too would really like to get a link on the infant mortality methodology. I just tried to do a Google search, but none of the articles defined what an infant death consisted of as opposed to a "miscarriage."

This is very important....especially when these statistics start comparing the U.S. to other countries. Remember a while back....Joerg claimed that the U.S. murder rate was six times higher than Germany's. When we visited the methodology, we found out that the U.S. statistics were based on "homicides," which included voluntary manslaughter. The German statistic was based purely on intentional murders. This brought the U.S./Germany comparison down from Joerg's 6:1 to 1.8:1 for the general U.S. population and a virtual dead heat when comparing Americans of European ancestory with Germans.

I don't support, that wealth needs to be distributed evenly and that envy towards "the rich" is good. However I do think that some redistribution of wealth can be in order. In Germany a lot of that is done compulsory by the state plus some individual charity, in the US a lot of that redistribution is done voluntarily through charity. Different attitude, different system. I think both work.

Uhm, let me show off the knowledge I got myself today. Actually heute (not heutejournal) was wrong on the "2/3 majority". It just happened that 10 senators did not vote and the cloture requires a 3/5 majority, i.e. 60 senators. Given that supermajorities in German are 2/3 as a rule it is an understandable lapse, that should not have happened nonetheless.

Now a plea for mercy:
Can anyone please untangle this web of motions for me? The On the Cloture Motion (Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Motion to Proceed to S.574 ) had 48 Ds(!) plus a 7 Rs in favor, 33Rs and one independent against and the rest (10) non-voting.

Arrgh, I forgot one independent voting YEA.

Paragraph 14 Grundgesetz pertains to public and private property alike. Ownership and inheritance are held up, but may be limited by law where needed. If e.g. land is to be taken from you, your needs have to be weighed against the needs of the public and you have to be compensated appropriately. Expropriation is difficult to carry out, e.g. it is not permissible to expropriate you just because someone wants to build an factory on part of your land, even though this would benefit your community.

blue, then your property rights protection laws are much stronger than ours following the Kelo decision.

Regarding the 'web of motions'. This is basically a diary of what happened regarding this bill. The notation "CR" as in 'CR S2015' means 'continuing resolution'. CRs are used to fund the gov't at current levels when they can't agree on a budget - as happened last year. Somehow something in S574 was also included in some CR bills (don't ask me why - the rules for adding stuff onto bills are different in the House and the Senate and I always get them confused).

'motions' don't need votes. Someone proposes, and someone seconds. The voting in this sequence happened on the 17th 'cloture to motion'. It would be a lot more fun reading this if the clerk recorded who made what motion, etc. (Most of that strategy is decided by the leadership before they come to the floor.)

Then I wouldn't have to sit around watching this crap on C-Span.

I have to back paddle a little bit. Expropriations do happen, e.g. for the Airbus landing strip in Hamburg. Most of the land had been bought already and just one or two farmers did not want to sell their small tracts of land in an attempt to keep the strip and the resulting noise away from their village, IIRC. All expropriations I have ever heard of were consistently about agricultural land, not housing property. Further issues came up with reunification, where Germany accepted expropriations under communist rule and lost at the European court. I do not expect Kelo style decisions to happen in Germany, though; to be fair, neither did you in the US.

Thanks for the input regarding the Senate, Pam.

Mit einer abfälligen Bemerkung über die Demokratische Partei hat derweil in den USA Vizepräsident Dick Cheney eine heftige Kontroverse ausgelöst. Wörtlich sagte Cheney: "Wenn wir tun, was Sprecherin Pelosi und der Abgeordnete Murtha vorschlagen, dann bestätigen wir nur die Strategie der al-Qaida."

Abfällige Bemerkung???

Gabi, you'll get a kick out of this.

Pelosi claims that after she became speaker, Bush told her if anyone in his administration says anything that questions the Democrats' patriotism, just give him a call and he'll straighten it out.

Now she's saying that Cheney's remarks do just that and apparently she called Bush to complain.

Daddy, he said bad things about me!


A FL hospital just had a birth of a 21-week old baby, Trobpy. There's a reason our stats are low.

@Sandy P and Tropby
A FL hospital just had a birth of a 21-week old baby, Trobpy

Not quite accurate. Amalie Taylor was born at 22 weeks about 3 mos. ago - weighed in at 10 oz. I think. She went home today at 4 lbs.

The other night (Weds) I watched Le Journal, French evening news and they covered this story. With a bit of outrage I gather. They interviewed a doctor who said the resources brought to bear to saving this child was - and I quote - 'morally indefensible'.

He was spewing spit when he said it.

I nearly threw up.

Blue: re: "An infant is considered alive, if after the infant is separated from the mother one or more of the following at some point of time is true

the heart is beating

the umbilical cord is pulsing

natural respiration has started

If this does not apply and the child weighs more than 500g it is considered "born dead" otherwise it is considered a miscarriage, the latter is not recorded for statistical purposes. According to wikipedia, survival rates (in Germany) of preemies born after the 24th week of pregnancy is about 60% (and improving the longer pregnancy went), for infants weighing less than 500g survival rates are in the 20% to 30% range.

Right now, I don't think we have German/US numbers that can be compared meaningfully."

Thank you for giving the German method of defining a "live birth", and for the comment that the numbers can not be compared in any meaningful way.

Actually, I was wrong to say that "Europe" uses the 30-week cut off... as I now recall, the article I was remembering was comparing the US method to a specific European country, and I can't remember which it was.

I was unable to locate the original article I addressed, which I had found in a medical publication, but did find another that addresses the "high infant mortality rate" in the US. According to this article I was not only wrong, the situation is far worse... far more biased against the US.. than even I thought. It is the rest of the world that is ALL OVER THE BOARD in how they define a "live birth"! So the "infant mortality" rates compared nation by nation are completely irrelevant.

Is seems that the US sticks strictly to WHO standards for "live birth" and virtually everyone else in the world is all over the board on definition! You yourself gave the 500 g weight measure that Germany uses. In the US, and in accordance with the WHO rule, there is NO weight limit for a live birth. Therefore, as you already pointed out, the stats comparing the US and German infant mortality rates are not comparable. Here is what I found: Infant Mortality Myths and Mantras

From the article:

"According to the World Health Organization (WHO) definition, all babies showing any signs of life, such as muscle activity, a gasp for breath or a heartbeat, should be included as a live birth. The U.S. strictly follows this definition. But many other countries do not.

"Switzerland, for instance, doesn't count the deaths of babies shorter than 30 cm, because they are not counted as live births, according to Nicholas Eberstadt, Ph.D., Henry Wendt Scholar in Political Economy at the American Enterprise Institute and formerly a Visiting Fellow at the Harvard University Center for Population and Developmental Studies. So, comparing the 1998 infant mortality rates for Switzerland and the U.S., 4.8 and 7.2 per 1,000 births, respectively, is comparing apples and oranges.

"Other countries, such as Italy, use different definitions in various parts of their own countries. Eberstadt observes that "underreporting also seems apparent in the proportion of infant deaths different countries report for the first twenty-four hours after birth. In Australia, Canada, and the United States, over one-third of all infant deaths are reported to take place in the first day. ..." In contrast, "Less than one-sixth of France's infant deaths are reported to occur in the first day of life. In Hong Kong, such deaths account for only one-twenty-fifth of all infant deaths."

"A UNICEF press release noted: "Under the Soviet era definition ... infants who are born at less than 28 weeks, weighing less than 1,000 grams or measuring less than 35 centimeters are not counted as live births if they die within seven days. This Soviet definition still predominates in many [formerly Soviet] CIS countries." "

The article concludes: "Because of varying standards, international comparisons of infant mortality rates are improperly used to create myths about how the United States should allocate local or national resources."

And that is the REAL reason we don't have advocates here in the US running around screaming that the international rating system is unfair to the US... our medical establishment itself is looking for government handouts to "correct the problem". They'd rather get grant money than point out that the stats are irrelevant.

So my REAL beef is not any actual rate of survival, but the way it is counted. I'm sure preemies are treated as well as they can be in the available technology in all countries... which would be VERY well in most European nations. But how they're counted if they die is a HUGE bugaboo for me. Because the US is strictly adhering to the WHO definition of a "live birth"... virtually that any baby that so much as twitches after birth, regardless of size or weight, is a "live birth", we're getting the shaft under comparisons with other nations.

LC Mamapajamas: Thanks for the link, very elucidating.

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