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10151  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: January 04, 2011, 11:07:55 AM
Should we stop spending money defending Japan, given their much more xenophobic, racist nature than anything found in Israel?
10152  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-China on: January 04, 2011, 12:45:11 AM

There are some serious problems with some points here, like using Krugman to validate an argument , but still worth reading.
10153  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / How Japan does it. on: January 03, 2011, 09:23:11 PM

Promoting Social Equality And Reducing Income Inequality In Japan

Yetserday Nick Kristof delivered a daft column invoking income inequality as a proxy for social inequality and arguing that inequality is stressful and bad.  Since he went on to compare the United States unfavorably to Germany and Japan (and noted that Minnesota and New Hampshire showed less inequality than Mississippi and Louisiana), I took the obvious cheap shot and suggested that social cohesion is promoted by cultural homogeneity, that cultural diversity may well be stressful, and that racial diversity might be a useful proxy for cultural homogeneity.

The obvious conclusion, based on the examples presented by Kristof, is that racial diversity creates undesirable social stress.  An obvious public policy implication is that immigration should be discouraged.  Believe it or not, Kristof did not reach those conclusions, since they don't fit his narrative.  Instead, he rode the data to his preconceived destination, which is that we need to tax the rich and spread the wealth.  Yeah, yeah - if you aren't going to let the data tell its story, why send it on stage?  Or, if the data leads to unacceptable conclusions, maybe the premises are wrong (e.g., maybe social stress is bad but it is a necessary consequence of achieving other goods.)

Well.  As if on cue, the Times has a front-pager telling us how they reduce income inequality and maintain social cohesion in laudable Japan - they kick out foreigners, thereby propping up wages:

Japan Keeps a High Wall for Foreign Labor

KASHIWA, Japan — Maria Fransiska, a young, hard-working nurse from Indonesia, is just the kind of worker Japan would seem to need to replenish its aging work force.

But Ms. Fransiska, 26, is having to fight to stay. To extend her three-year stint at a hospital outside Tokyo, she must pass a standardized nursing exam administered in Japanese, a test so difficult that only 3 of the 600 nurses brought here from Indonesia and the Philippines since 2007 have passed.

So Ms. Fransiska spends eight hours in Japanese language drills, on top of her day job at the hospital. Her dictionary is dog-eared from countless queries, but she is determined: her starting salary of $2,400 a month was 10 times what she could earn back home. If she fails, she will never be allowed to return to Japan on the same program again.

“I think I have something to contribute here,” Ms. Fransiska said during a recent visit, spooning mouthfuls of rice and vegetables into the mouth of Heiichi Matsumaru, an 80-year-old patient recovering from a stroke. “If I could, I would stay here long-term, but it is not so easy.”

Despite facing an imminent labor shortage as its population ages, Japan has done little to open itself up to immigration. In fact, as Ms. Fransiska and many others have discovered, the government is doing the opposite, actively encouraging both foreign workers and foreign graduates of its universities and professional schools to return home while protecting tiny interest groups — in the case of Ms. Fransiska, a local nursing association afraid that an influx of foreign nurses would lower industry salaries.

In 2009, the number of registered foreigners here fell for the first time since the government started to track annual records almost a half-century ago, shrinking 1.4 percent from a year earlier to 2.19 million people — or just 1.71 percent of Japan’s overall population of 127.5 million.

OK, it looks like national suicide to me and it could never work in America (nor should it be attempted at this level, although we need stricter border control and workplace enforcement), but this is a country Nick Kristof is holding up as our goal.
10154  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Stock Market on: January 03, 2011, 09:15:48 PM
Gotta love the silly putty-like flexibility of the prime directive.  rolleyes
10155  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: January 03, 2011, 09:10:47 PM
In my example, you are attempting to collate and document the actual events. What sources do you use? What would you avoid and why?
10156  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: January 03, 2011, 09:02:29 PM

As a scholar, if you were writing a history of jihad terrorism in the US, would you treat a 9/11 "truther" site as just another source? What would your vetting process be for information sources?
10157  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: January 03, 2011, 08:44:10 PM

Humanoid Rights
The ACLU looks to science fiction to prepare for future threats to civil liberties

A few months ago I watched Moon, a 2009 indie science-fiction film, with a friend who works on public relations for the American Civil Liberties Union. The movie centers on Sam Bell, a solitary laborer who spends his days extracting helium from moon rocks and drawing comfort from correspondence with his pregnant wife on Earth. That is, until he discovers he's actually one of a series of short-lived and expendable human clones bred for the dangerous, repetitive work of moon mining. After Bell outsmarts the automated systems and escapes on a vessel bound for Earth, a tangle of audio broadcasts lets us know that the mining company's stock is crashing due to charges of crimes against humanity.

As the credits rolled, my friend said to me, "I'd like to think that when that guy got to Earth, the ACLU would have taken his case."

The idea of the ACLU battling a private corporation over whether clones are human beings or pieces of property may seem far-fetched. But almost a decade ago, the organization started thinking about how to do it.

So, does the ACLU think a human fetus has more or less rights than a clone?
10158  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The Emasculation of Men In Contempory Society on: January 03, 2011, 07:44:59 PM

These parents are abusing their son. Horrific.
10159  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Stock Market on: January 03, 2011, 04:20:26 PM
For every flash crash caused by high-speed or automated trading, you can expect to find new automated trading programs that work the opposite way, to take advantage of arbitrary declines in prices. That is the role of speculators, after all: buy when everyone else is selling, and vice versa. I think the concerns over automated trading are overblown. The market will adapt, as smart people look to things like flash crashes as great opportunities to make money.
Marc:  This is true, but little folks like me cannot tell when a dramatic decline is arbitrary and momentary or is a real excrement storm. 

**I'm reminded of the military use of robots. I had always assumed that we would always have a human to make the decision to employ deadly force, however I found that the thinking in military circles is that if one side of a conflict had effective AI in it's weapon systems, a opponent that relied on decision making by humans would be unable to compete because of a gap in response time (OODA loop). The unintended consequence of being dependent on automated systems is the classic "humans destroyed by their own creation".

Skynet Trade-1000?
10160  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: January 03, 2011, 04:00:18 PM
Sure, but you have classify sources as Time as low on the reliability scale. Were Time an informant, I wouldn't try to get a warrant based on their collective testimony on a subject alone, without corroborating information from much more credible sources.

Time and other JournoLists are useful when one wants to see what the talking points are from the DNC/white house on the topic du jour.
10161  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: January 03, 2011, 02:22:45 PM

My training in open source intelligence analysis says use a minimum of 3 sources of information. This means sources of information that can be trusted. Time and other MSM "JournoList-ism" practitioners cannot be seen as journalists in the classical definition. Rather than news, they write editorials in the guise of news articles, with a intent of propaganidizing the public rather than informing.
10162  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: January 03, 2011, 12:25:46 PM
As has been pointed out, the islamification of europe is the result of europe's post-modern, post-religious, socialist path. It's a symptom, not the cause of europe's decline.
10163  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: January 03, 2011, 09:38:25 AM
No, it's not too late. Still, the sooner the problem is addressed, the better.
10164  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: January 03, 2011, 09:36:45 AM

Yes, any media entity could potentially introduce a story not being covered by other media entities. Given the corruption demonstrated by Time and other MSM entities involved in JournoList, do you trust them?
10165  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Time/JournoList Magazine on: January 03, 2011, 12:40:42 AM
Documents show media plotting to kill stories about Rev. Jeremiah Wright
By Jonathan Strong - The Daily Caller | Published: 1:15 AM 07/20/2010 | Updated: 10:56 AM 07/23/2010

Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., pastor of Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ and former pastor of Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., addresses a breakfast gathering at the National Press Club in Washington, Monday, April 28, 2008. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

It was the moment of greatest peril for then-Sen. Barack Obama’s political career. In the heat of the presidential campaign, videos surfaced of Obama’s pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, angrily denouncing whites, the U.S. government and America itself. Obama had once bragged of his closeness to Wright. Now the black nationalist preacher’s rhetoric was threatening to torpedo Obama’s campaign.

The crisis reached a howling pitch in mid-April, 2008, at an ABC News debate moderated by Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos. Gibson asked Obama why it had taken him so long – nearly a year since Wright’s remarks became public – to dissociate himself from them. Stephanopoulos asked, “Do you think Reverend Wright loves America as much as you do?”

Watching this all at home were members of Journolist, a listserv comprised of several hundred liberal journalists, as well as like-minded professors and activists. The tough questioning from the ABC anchors left many of them outraged. “George [Stephanopoulos],” fumed Richard Kim of the Nation, is “being a disgusting little rat snake.”

Others went further. According to records obtained by The Daily Caller, at several points during the 2008 presidential campaign a group of liberal journalists took radical steps to protect their favored candidate. Employees of news organizations including Time, Politico, the Huffington Post, the Baltimore Sun, the Guardian, Salon and the New Republic participated in outpourings of anger over how Obama had been treated in the media, and in some cases plotted to fix the damage.

Read more:
10166  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces on: January 02, 2011, 09:01:02 PM
Roosevelt made the depression worse, set us up for the debt crisis we are facing now and said of Stalin "I think that if I give him everything I possibly can and ask for nothing from him in return, noblesse oblige, he won't try to annex anything and will work with me for a world of democracy and peace."

Thanks for the Iron Curtain, FDR.
10167  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy & Big Brother (both State and Corporate) on: January 02, 2011, 05:56:02 PM
A number of years ago, I was unfortunately a part of a national news story. I went to great lengths to avoid being interviewed and filmed. Just what restrictions on the press do you propose?
10168  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / A dose of reality on: January 02, 2011, 04:57:19 PM

10169  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizen-Police interactions on: January 02, 2011, 04:27:19 PM
As I go through this frame by frame, I'm thinking B.S.
10170  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizen-Police interactions on: January 02, 2011, 04:19:21 PM
Anyone know the backstory here? Is this real?
10171  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Bloomberg v Booker on: January 02, 2011, 02:25:29 PM

Saturday, January 1, 2011
Bloomberg v Booker

New Yorkers are always a hard bunch to please, but after this week's freak blizzard (can we stop calling them freak blizzards now that they happen on the regular?) has landed New York City (and 2012 flirt) Mayor Michael Bloomberg (D/R/Ind/2012) in hot water. Almost a week after the storm, many New York City streets remain unplowed, snow clearing crews are sparse, and entire neighborhoods are still snowed-in. Bloomberg is under fire from all sides for the slushy cleanup.

Jump the Hudson River for an entirely separate story: Cory Booker (D) Mayor of Newark, and likely 2013 candidate for Governor has been personally clearing his own resident's driveways, streets and sidewalks while coordinating emergency care all from his cell phone via Twitter. He's been all over the press for his literally up-to-the-minute responses to stranded residents, and become a national Twitter sensation among social media addicts. Shovel in hand, Booker is making Bloomberg's modest cleanup look like an unorganized mess.

Whether it's 2012 for Mayor Bloomberg or 2013 in New Jersey for Mayor Booker, we'll be hearing about this snowstorm long after it melts away.

PS: Wondering just how bad a snow cleanup can get? Take a look at New York's wonderful snow-clearing property-destroying abilities:

10172  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy on: January 02, 2011, 01:49:53 PM
Another thing I would like to see is that the presence of surveillance cameras, private or governmental, must be posted.

I can tell you as someone who has worked in environments with video surveillance, that you soon stop thinking about it.
10173  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / This is your state budget on pensions on: January 02, 2011, 12:01:48 AM

**Any questions?
10174  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / College Censors, Get Ready to Open Your Wallets on: January 01, 2011, 08:09:16 PM

College Censors, Get Ready to Open Your Wallets
If you can't appeal to a public official's sense of responsibility towards the Constitution, appealing to their self-interest is the next best option.
December 28, 2010 - by Robert Shibley

There are 296 American public officials at grave risk of being personally sued for civil rights violations. The names of those who may soon be paying out of pocket for civil damages include some of America’s most respected citizens, who every day manage multi-million dollar budgets and massive numbers of government employees with little oversight and even less accountability. Can you guess who they are?

They are the presidents of many of America’s largest and most prestigious public colleges and universities.

It may not occur to many Americans that the president of a public university is, in many ways, a government employee like any other. Granted, they tend to wear fancy suits, live in mansions, and sometimes even have what amount to private jets for their own personal use, but when it comes to the Constitution, they are legally bound to respect it just as much as your local sewer district commissioner.

Unfortunately, too many of them don’t seem to have gotten the memo about their obligations under the Bill of Rights. So over Christmas week, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), where I work, sent it to them.

In a letter to 296 public college and university presidents and general counsel, FIRE warned that the law is increasingly clear that speech codes at public universities are unconstitutional and that they risk being held personally liable for violating the free speech rights of their students if they continue to maintain policies censoring speech. That goes for all of their administrative employees as well, from deans and provosts to lower-level student affairs officials.

The 296 college administrations that received the letter consist of all of the schools deemed to have “red-light” and “yellow-light” speech codes by FIRE’s latest report on campus speech restrictions: Spotlight on Speech Codes 2011. This fifth edition of the annual report reveals that speech codes on public campuses are slowly declining in number. Three years ago, 79 percent of public colleges had red-light speech codes, compared to “only” 67 percent today. However, it also revealed that new threats to free speech are on the horizon thanks to proposed “anti-bullying” laws like that introduced in Congress by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ).

The problem is easily fixable if administrators have the will to respect the law. Earlier this year, the University of Virginia eliminated all of its speech codes in a matter of months. But UVa is, unfortunately, the honorable exception to the rule. At this rate, our taxpayer-funded colleges and universities will have manged to get on the right side of the Constitution (sort of; yellow-light schools still have significant speech problems) by the year 2027. Perhaps whatever university starts up on the Mars colony will actually respect the Bill of Rights!

Thankfully, there is a way to speed up this process. It’s called “piercing qualified immunity,” and it’s what FIRE’s letter to public university administrators is mainly about. Qualified immunity is a legal doctrine that protects government officials from personal liability for monetary damages for violating constitutional rights if their actions do not violate “clearly established law” of which a reasonable person in their position would have known. And it’s more clearly established than ever, especially in light of a recent decision from the Third Circuit in McCauley v. University of the Virgin Islands, that campus speech codes that ban speech for being “offensive,” for example, are not legal.

Nevertheless, courts are pretty generous about granting qualified immunity, even when universities do something clearly insane — like punishing a student for quietly reading a book. Most people don’t even consider trying to get administrative malefactors to pay out of their own pockets for their blatant censorship.

But this is changing. This year, for the first time in FIRE’s memory, a (former) university president has been held personally liable for violating the constitutional rights of a student. Ronald Zaccari, then president of Valdosta State University in Georgia, summarily expelled student Hayden Barnes after he posted a collage on Facebook making fun of the president’s project to build two parking garages on campus. For this heinous crime, he woke up one morning to a letter under his dorm room door telling him to get out. Barnes took Zaccari to court, where, in what will be a landmark precedent if upheld on appeal, Zaccari was determined to have ignored “clearly established” law in punishing Barnes and therefore did not enjoy qualified immunity for his offense against the First Amendment.

This has the potential to fundamentally change the incentive structure that leads to campus censorship. Instead of indulging the natural tendency to silence one’s opponents or capitulating to censor-happy pressure groups on campus, public university presidents and other administrators will have to consider, “Is silencing my critics or placating these people really worth the possibility that I will be paying thousands of dollars of my own money?”

FIRE is willing to bet that while censorship might be tempting, it’s going to look a lot less inviting when it it means you might have to buy a Ford rather than that Mercedes you had your eye on. (Or, if you’re that low-level student affairs staffer, maybe a Pinto instead of a new Fiesta.) If you can’t appeal to a public official’s sense of responsibility towards the Constitution, I suppose appealing to their self-interest is the next best option.

Robert Shibley is the vice president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) in Philadelphia, PA.
10175  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: January 01, 2011, 07:38:55 PM
Secretary of State Colin Powell cautioned President George W. Bush against invading Iraq on the basis of the Pottery Barn rule: "You break it, you own it." But things worked out differently: Iraq was broken, but it's never been owned by Washington.

Read more:,28804,2035319_2035317_2035508,00.html #ixzz19pzemibN

**Saddam and his sociopathic sons are no longer a threat to anyone. That's a big win right there.

The American media's appetite for Iraq stories has declined sharply, keeping with the public's diminishing interest in a story with no satisfactory ending.

Read more:,28804,2035319_2035317_2035508,00.html #ixzz19q04LTGv

**No, the media's interest waned when it could no longer use US casualties against an American president they hated.
10176  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Memory Hole-2010 on: January 01, 2011, 06:15:26 PM

2010 a Banner Year for MSM’s Ministries of Mistruth
On the big stories of the year, it's all the facts they wish to print.
December 31, 2010 - by Tom Blumer

In George Orwell’s 1984, set in a pre-computer era, Winston Smith, working in the misnamed Ministry of Truth, alters documents that contradict or conflict with his totalitarian government’s take on history, wiping out inconvenient truths or revising them to fit the current template.

In 2010, the establishment press ramped up its propaganda role, acting as a collective of preemptive Winston Smiths. They ignored or massaged important news stories in ways that prevented the vast, relatively disengaged majority of the population (probably 85%, but perhaps as low as 80% thanks to the Tea Party movement) from getting their arms around the truth without doing a great deal of independent research.

Reviewing my blog’s 2010 posts, I thought I might have a hard time coming up with ten obvious Smith-like examples. I found about 50. If I’m lucky, I may have addressed 10% of the really offensive instances that occurred throughout the year. What follows are ten of the worst, with occasional multiple offenses packed into one item. Except for the final two, the worst by far that I found, they are in no particular order.

1. Refusing to describe the U.S. homebuilding industry and new home market as the worst since World War II. The current meme is that it’s the “worst in 47 years of record-keeping,” except that in most instances the “record-keeping” phrase is omitted, giving readers the clear impression that at least 2010 wasn’t as bad as 1963.

That’s not so. 2010 was 43% worse than 1963, and worse than every full year after Japan blessedly surrendered to us — even before adjusting for population.

Reporting the truth would make it painfully obvious that the Obama administration’s HAMP (Home Affordable Modification Program) and other initiatives have not only failed to revive the market, but have harmed it. The press won’t tolerate that.

2. “Channel-stuffing” at Government/General Motors. From July through November, the company shipped 112,000 more cars to its dealers than its dealers sold, increasing dealer inventories to an unreasonable 90 days’ sales. In doing so, GM, which according to accounting rules recognizes a sale when a vehicle leaves the factory, created over $1 billion in shipped-ahead profit.

This is a very effective technique for dressing up the books ahead of an initial public offering and making things look good for a while thereafter. But it’s not sustainable without a huge upward spike in sales, which isn’t happening. None of this is news in the establishment press.

3. ObamaCare’s work and marriage disincentives. Robert Rector at the Heritage Foundation has shown that if ObamaCare ever takes full effect, those who wish to advance themselves could face marginal health care subsidy-loss rates of more than 100% (I’m not kidding). A person’s “reward” for earning more income would be having to pay more for the same health care coverage than the additional wages they have earned.

Additionally, couples who marry or wish to stay married would lose thousands of dollars a year by doing so. If not stopped, the subsidy structure will virtually kill any incentives for financial self-improvement, and will be a recipe for breaking up untold numbers of families. Of course, the establishment press has raised no concerns over this.

4. Global warmists’ admissions. First, there was Professor Phil Jones’s February concession that there has been no global warming since 1995. Then there was IPCC economist Ottmar Edenhofer’s frank November assertion that climate policy “is redistributing the world’s wealth.” Apparently only English newspapers and editorial writers at Investor’s Business Daily care about these things. Meanwhile, journalists moaned about how people were no longer buying into the supposedly “settled science.”

5. Multiple falsehoods packed into one report. For sheer volume and chutzpah, it’s hard to beat the falsehoods the Associated Press’s Martin Crutsinger churned out in one September dispatch. First, he informed readers that trillion-dollar deficits didn’t happen until two years ago (wrong; the 2008 deficit was “only” $455 billion). Then he claimed that tax collections through eleven months of fiscal 2010 were up from the same period in fiscal 2009 (wrong again; they were down). Finally, he wrote that government spending was down compared to the previous year (three times wrong; true spending, as opposed to “outlays” as defined by Uncle Sam, was up by over 4% at the time). I asked the AP to retract Crutsinger’s false claims. To my knowledge, the wire service never has, and the falsehoods are still out there.

6. The State in the boardroom. The “Small Business Lending Act” passed in the fall contains a little-known provision requiring banks wishing to participate to accept federal “capital investment” in their institutions. It’s little-known because the press has shown little interest in reporting it.

7. Flubbed scrub at the New York Times. The scrub goes back to a December 2009 article (the link is to the post-scrub version), but relates to the Ground Zero mosque, one of the most misreported stories of 2010. In August, as the controversy heated up, a few bloggers who had excerpted that December story noted that several passages were missing from the original, including this quote from GZM spokesperson Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf:

    New York is the capital of the world, and this location close to 9/11 is iconic.

The article’s co-author, Sharaf Mowjood, is a “Former Government Relations Coordinator for the Council on American Islamic Relations.” It is reasonable to believe that Mowjood recognized the odious religious triumphalism in Rauf’s statement, and had it and other questionable items expunged shortly after they appeared online and before they went to print.

8. Skimmers, what skimmers? The press said virtually nothing about the EPA’s utter lack of preparedness for the BP oil spill. Journalists also took very little interest in the fact that several nations offered many forms of tangible aid to help the federal government contain and clean up the spill, and were either turned down flat or severely delayed. One Associated Press item whined that many nations wishing to provide help expected to be (gasp!) reimbursed for their costs.

9. He didn’t read it; what’s your point? Except for the uniqueness of the final item, this example would be firmly in the running for 2010′s worst media muff. In May, regarding Arizona’s commonsense immigration enforcement measure, long after irresponsible charges of nativism and racism had been hurled by many administration members, President Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder told Congress: “I have not had a chance to — I’ve glanced at it. I have not read it.” The press virtually ignored this shocking dereliction of duty.

10. Shirley Sherrod. No review of 2010 media “Smithing” can be complete with mentioning Sherrod, the USDA employee who was fired after Andrew Breitbart showed a video of a speech she made to an NAACP chapter. Sherrod and her husband Charles received the free press ride of the year. The $13 million the pair received in a farming racial discrimination lawsuit settlement just before she took her USDA job in July 2009 was almost never reported. The documented proof from a longtime leftist that the pair’s New Communities “cooperative” exploited child labor, paid less than minimum wage, illegally resisted union organizing efforts, and employed scab labor never made it into the mainstream media.

Finally, the press has fiercely resisted reporting the pervasive fraud in a related legal action meant to compensate black farmers who truly suffered discrimination in past decades. It is an operation that Breitbart’s recently exposed as a false claims gravy train. CNN actually covered for the government by relaying without question its contention that only three claims were fraudulent.

Will the press’s Winston Smiths be more or less aggressive in 2011? As New Media gets stronger, the establishment will likely get more desperate. So the answer is probably “Yes.”

Tom Blumer owns a training and development company based in Mason, Ohio, outside of Cincinnati. He presents personal finance-related workshops and speeches at companies, and runs
10177  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Time for Big Cuts in Education Spending? on: January 01, 2011, 05:54:59 PM

Time for Big Cuts in Education Spending?

**I say yes!
10178  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Japan and the Limits of Keynesianism on: January 01, 2011, 05:24:37 PM

Japan's budget is in a truly terrifying state.  Reading about the government's behavior reminds me of the worst accounts of compulsive spenders on the verge of personal bankruptcy--a sort of "What the hell, we're screwed anyway, so let's not think about it and maybe go to Cabo for the weekend."  The budget's structural position is what is known technically to economists as "completely hosed"; borrowing now exceeds tax revenue, and debt service costs now eat up almost half of the tax revenue the government collects.  "Unsustainable" is too weak to describe the situation; I don't know how they're doing it now.
10179  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: January 01, 2011, 04:36:27 PM

Selling the Talmud as a Business Guide
In China, notions of Jewish business acumen lead to a publishing boom—and stereotyping.
P Deliss / Godong-Corbis

A page from the Talmud, the book consisting of early rabbinical writings that inform the Judaic tradition.

Jewish visitors to China often receive a snap greeting when they reveal their religion: “Very smart, very clever, and very good at business,” the Chinese person says. Last year’s Google Zeitgeist China rankings listed “why are Jews excellent?” in fourth place in the “why” questions category, just behind “why should I enter the party” and above “why should I get married?” (Google didn’t publish a "why" category in Mandarin this year.) And the apparent affection for Jewishness has led to a surprising trend in publishing over the last few years: books purporting to reveal the business secrets of the Talmud that capitalize on the widespread impression among Chinese that attributes of Judaism lead to success in the financial arts.
10180  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Chinese Could Become Richer Than Americans: Economist on: January 01, 2011, 03:41:28 PM

Chinese Could Become Richer Than Americans: Economist

If the US and Chinese economies move at their present rates, the average Chinese citizen will be wealthier than the average American in less than three decades, Ed Lazear, a Stanford University economics professor, told CNBC Thursday.

“We are talking about a very different world if we don’t get our growth rates back up with the kinds of policies that are aimed toward long-term growth, rather than the policies that fix things for the next six months,” said Lazear, who was the chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors under George W. Bush.

“It means keeping taxes low, getting the fiscal situation in order, keeping spending down, having a positive climate for business and investing in human capital.”

**Read it all.
10181  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Japan's denial on: December 31, 2010, 05:12:28 PM
Why does Japan STILL refuse to face up to the atrocity its army revelled in? Two new films have reopened old wounds about the Nanking Massacre

Read more:
10182  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Japan's Hidden Apartheid: The Korean Minority and the Japanese on: December 31, 2010, 03:05:18 PM

Japan's Hidden Apartheid: The Korean Minority and the Japanese

The impression of Japan as a successfully homogeneous society conceals some profound tensions, and one such case is presented by the ethnic Korean community. Despite many shared cultural features, there are marked contrasts between Japanese and Korean value systems and interaction is embittered by Japan's colonial record in Korea up to 1945. This work examines major aspects of the Korean experience in Japan including their evolving legal status, political divisions and cultural life as well as the effects of Japan's relations with Korean regimes.
10183  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Comics betray growing xenophobia in Japan on: December 31, 2010, 01:51:49 PM

Comics betray growing xenophobia in Japan
Increased strength of South Korea, China fuels backlash
Norimitsu Onishi, New York Times

new york times November 19, 2005 04:00 AM

(11-19) 04:00 PST Tokyo -- A young Japanese woman in the comic book "Hating the Korean Wave" exclaims, "It's not an exaggeration to say that Japan built the South Korea of today!" In another passage, the text states that "there is nothing at all in Korean culture to be proud of."

In "Introduction to China," which portrays the Chinese as a depraved people obsessed with cannibalism, a woman of Japanese origin says, "Take the China of today, its principles, thought, literature, art, science, institutions. There's nothing attractive."

The two comic books have become runaway best-sellers in Japan in the last four months. In their graphic and unflattering drawings of Japan's neighbors and in the unapologetic, often offensive contents of their speech bubbles, the books reveal some of the sentiments underlying Japan's worsening relations with the rest of Asia.

They also point to Japan's long-standing unease with the rest of Asia and its own sense of identity. Much of Japan's history since the mid-19th century has been guided by the goal of becoming more like the West and less like Asia. China's and South Korea's challenges to Japan's position as the region's economic, diplomatic and cultural leader are inspiring renewed xenophobia against them.

Kanji Nishio, a scholar of German literature, is honorary chairman of the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform, the nationalist organization that has pushed to have references to the country's wartime atrocities eliminated from junior high school textbooks. Nishio is blunt about how Japan should deal with its neighbors.

"I wonder why they haven't grown up at all," Nishio said. "They don't change. I wonder why China and Korea haven't learned anything."

Read more:
10184  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Japan on: December 31, 2010, 11:21:55 AM

Japan-born Koreans live in limbo
By Norimitsu Onishi
Published: Saturday, April 2, 2005


TOKYO — Chung Hyang Gyun's news conference was a sight seldom seen in Japan, the raw anger written across her face, the fury in her voice and words, the palpable feeling that these last words would somehow redeem the futility of her actions.

"I want to tell people all over the world that they shouldn't come to Japan to work," Chung said in perfect Japanese, befitting someone who has lived only in Japan. "Being a worker in Japan is no different from being a robot."

After a decade-long battle, the Supreme Court ruled recently that Chung, the daughter of a Japanese woman and a South Korean man, who was born in Japan and has lived all her life here, could not take the test to become a supervisor at a public health center because she was a foreigner.

"I have no tears to shed," said Chung, a 55-year-old nurse. "I can only laugh."

Chung is what the Japanese call a "Zainichi," a term that literally means "to stay in Japan," but that is usually shorthand for Koreans who came here during Japan's colonial rule, and their descendants. Considered outsiders both in Japan and on the Korean peninsula, they have, over the years, adopted different ways of living in Japan.
10185  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / On the Higher Ed bubble on: December 31, 2010, 10:54:47 AM
**When we look at global competition in the 21st century, I think it's crucial we examine our educational system, from pre-K to higher ed. I think what we are doing now isn't up to the task for creating a competitive American population.

On the same page of the Times as Dr. Cohen’s op-ed, columnist Nicholas Kristof calls for cuts in American military spending. At one point in his argument he cites the since-abandoned expensive military bases the U.S. kept in Saudi Arabia after the first Gulf War. He tries to drive the lesson home with a rhetorical question, “Wouldn’t our money have been better spent helping American kids get a college education?” I have nothing to say here one way or the other about military bases or defense spending, but I don’t think Kristof’s invocation of educational spending as the wholesome alternative works anymore—at least to the degree he seems to suppose.

The indubitable virtue of increased public spending on higher education has become another theory, like global warming, that has a divided life. As the general public grows more and more skeptical about it, the people society pays to be skeptical—professors and journalists—by and large continue to see nothing amiss.

Over the last year, numerous observers have been calling attention to an emerging higher education “bubble,” likened to the real estate bubble, in which the public awakens to find that it has been paying way too much for something on the mistaken assumption that the high prices would be covered by an even higher return. Housing prices, however, peaked and then rapidly descended, leaving many people with mortgages higher than the resale values of their homes. As for higher education, it has been clear for a while that many students pay tuition and pile on debt far in excess of what their college degrees are likely to bring them by way of augmented lifetime earnings. The situation has been dramatized by a few extreme cases, such as Kelli Space, the sociology major who graduated from Northeastern University in 2009 with $200,000 in debt in the form of student loans. Recently, my fellow Innovations blogger Richard Vedder has unearthed Department of Labor statistics that are dispositive: 60 percent of the growth in college graduates from 1992 to 2008 ended up working in low-skill jobs, the kind of jobs for which the Bureau of Labor Statistics regards a college degree as irrelevant.

Like global warming, the topic is intrinsically complex, though probably nowhere near as imponderable as the dynamics of heat transfer in the atmosphere. Clearly having a degree from the right college in the right field can translate (on average) into a larger premium in lifetime earnings. For many students, however, a college experience can end in no degree and a substantial debt burden. And many others graduate having learned little, possessed of a credential that carries little weight in the job market and yet still saddled with student loans that will take decades to pay off. These days, in any given week one can find half a dozen articles decrying this situation. (This week, for example, I’d include in the count Neal McCluskey from the Cato Institute, “Hurrah for ‘Draconian’ Education Cuts!”; Hans Bader from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, “Time for Big Cuts in Education Spending;” and Katherine Mangu-Ward  writing in Reason, “Easy Money For College Can Really Mess You Up, Man.”)

Higher education’s response? Generally, if the topic is acknowledged at all, it is done so in scorn for the philistines who would reduce the “value” of a college degree to the job prospects and earnings of graduates. Never mind that higher education has been busy selling itself to the public in precisely those terms for the last fifty years and that the official position of the Obama administration is that our “national competitiveness” depends on a huge expansion in the number of young people who earn college degrees.

But I’m ready to concede the point. Higher education should be about more than gaining a credential that gives one a leg up in the marketplace. But if we are going to re-focus the debate on the non-utilitarian substance of higher learning—on the transmission of disciplined intellectual inquiry, on developing civilized discernment, on aspiration for genuinely higher knowledge—we had better be prepared to rethink our national preoccupation with mass higher education.  Judged by those standards, contemporary American undergraduate education as a whole is a colossal failure.

Which is it? Do we want to run a mass credentialing service that the public increasingly views as an expensive con? Or do we want to engage in rigorous higher education as something that has intrinsic value, but which our current system is ill-suited to provide?

There may be clear-cut answers to these questions, deflected in the winds high over the Tien Shan and Altai Mountains, reflected in the glare of Siberian snowfields, and twisted in the vacillations of the jet stream. But I’m not sure. I do know that when I encounter the offhand assurance of those who simply assume that more and more college degrees at greater and greater and greater public expense are unquestionably a good thing, I get a chill.
10186  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / What a War Between China and the United States Would Look Like on: December 31, 2010, 10:47:58 AM

What a War Between China and the United States Would Look Like
Any Chinese move to take over Taiwan would trigger a confrontation with the U.S. Navy and Air Force. Is the U.S. prepared to counter this growing threat?
10187  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: December 31, 2010, 10:41:07 AM
Yes. China isn't looking to meet us ship for ship, plane for plane. Instead, they are looking to technological leaps to nullify our advantages while staging a fight that favors their strengths.
10188  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Unions on: December 31, 2010, 10:26:35 AM
Yup. I hope a through criminal investigation is conducted. At least two people died because EMS couldn't make it through the snow.
10189  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Japanese only! on: December 31, 2010, 09:55:17 AM

10190  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Japan on: December 31, 2010, 09:45:45 AM

Foreigners still dogged by housing barriers

Staff writer

Having arrived in Tokyo from Seoul about a year ago, Im Yeong Eun, like many foreigners who come to Japan, soon encountered a major difficulty — housing discrimination.

News photo
South Korean student Im Yeong Eun speaks of housing discrimination against foreigners in her apartment in Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward. AKEMI NAKAMURA PHOTO

Im, 25, together with two South Korean friends who also came to Japan around that time, visited three real estate agencies to rent an apartment in Shinjuku Ward. But the agencies turned them away because they were foreigners.

"I never expected to be refused," said Im, who goes to a Japanese language school in the ward. "I felt like I was treated like a criminal."

Fortunately, she found a one-bedroom flat through a real estate agency that one of her friends introduced her to. The firm's South Korean employee takes care of foreign customers by teaching them Japanese customs related to living in rental apartments.

Japan's foreign population is steadily increasing. Government data show the number of registered foreign residents stood at 2.08 million in 2006, up from 1.48 million a decade ago. Nonetheless, housing discrimination against foreigners is surprisingly strong even in Tokyo.

According to a 2006 survey conducted by Tokyo-based nonprofit organization Information Center for Foreigners in Japan, 94 percent, or 220 respondents, out of 234 foreigners in Tokyo who visited real estate agents said they were refused by at least one agent.
10191  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / What a War Between China and the United States Would Look Like on: December 31, 2010, 09:07:17 AM

What a War Between China and the United States Would Look Like
Any Chinese move to take over Taiwan would trigger a confrontation with the U.S. Navy and Air Force. Is the U.S. prepared to counter this growing threat?
10192  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Japan on: December 30, 2010, 07:27:32 PM

Japan's outcasts still wait for society's embrace
By Norimitsu Onishi
Published: Tuesday, January 6, 2009

KYOTO, Japan — For Japan, the crowning of Hiromu Nonaka as its top leader would have been as significant as America's election of its first black president.

Despite being the descendant of a feudal class of outcasts, who are known as buraku and still face social discrimination, Nonaka had dexterously occupied top posts in Japan's governing party and served as the government's No. 2 official. The next logical step, by 2001, was to become prime minister. Allies urged him on.

But not everyone inside the party was ready for a leader of buraku origin. At least one, Taro Aso, Japan's current prime minister, made his views clear to his closest associates in a closed-door meeting in 2001.

"Are we really going to let those people take over the leadership of Japan?" Aso said, according to Hisaoki Kamei, a politician who attended the meeting.

Mr. Kamei said he remembered thinking at the time that "it was inappropriate to say such a thing." But he and the others in the room let the matter drop, he said, adding, "We never imagined that the remark would leak outside."

But it did — spreading rapidly among the nation's political and buraku circles. And more recently, as Aso became prime minister just weeks before President-elect Barack Obama's victory, the comment has become a touchstone for many buraku.

How far have they come since Japan began carrying out affirmative action policies for the buraku four decades ago, mirroring the American civil rights movement? If the United States, the yardstick for Japan, could elect a black president, could there be a buraku prime minister here?

The questions were not raised in the society at large, however. The topic of the buraku remains Japan's biggest taboo, rarely entering private conversations and virtually ignored by the media.

The buraku — ethnically indistinguishable from other Japanese — are descendants of Japanese who, according to Buddhist beliefs, performed tasks considered unclean. Slaughterers, undertakers, executioners and town guards, they were called eta, which means defiled mass, or hinin, nonhuman. Forced to wear telltale clothing, they were segregated into their own neighborhoods.

The oldest buraku neighborhoods are believed to be here in Kyoto, the ancient capital, and date back a millennium. That those neighborhoods survive to this day and that the outcasts' descendants are still subject to prejudice speak to Japan's obsession with its past and its inability to overcome it.

Yet nearly identical groups of outcasts remain in a few other places in Asia, like Tibet and Nepal, with the same Buddhist background; they have disappeared only in South Korea, not because prejudice vanished, but because decades of colonialism, war and division made it impossible to identify the outcasts there.

In Japan, every person has a family register that is kept in local town halls and that, with some extrapolation, reveals ancestral birthplaces. Families and companies widely checked birthplaces to ferret out buraku among potential hires or marriage partners until a generation ago, though the practice has greatly declined, especially among the young.

The buraku were officially liberated in 1871, just a few years after the 13th Amendment abolished slavery in the United States. But as the buraku's living standards and education levels remained far below national averages, the Japanese government, under pressure from buraku liberation groups, passed a special measures law to improve conditions for the buraku in 1969. By the time the law expired in 2002, Japan had reportedly spent about $175 billion on affirmative action programs for the buraku.

**Read it all.
10193  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Interesting discussion on: December 30, 2010, 12:15:01 PM

I'm reminded of good advice from my police academy "The black robe that covers the judge's ass can cover yours". Meaning, if possible, always get a warrant first. Then you are protected from liability, having acted in good faith.
10194  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Education on: December 30, 2010, 12:05:43 PM
I'm not bent out of shape. Just trying to clarify your position relative to the article you posted.
10195  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Education on: December 30, 2010, 09:28:45 AM

"Some trumpet as solutions the usual neoliberal bromides — charter schools and for-profit private schools at all education levels. But, according to numerous studies, these schools rarely live up to the hype."

**Do you agree with this?
10196  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Education on: December 30, 2010, 08:20:24 AM

Why is it Obama sends his kids to an expensive private school, rather than DC's public schools? Why do other NEA funded politicians choose to do the same?
10197  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: December 30, 2010, 01:07:39 AM
Kind of glossing over the treatment of the ethnic minorities in Japan, or are you aware of that? As far as caste, I'm referring to the Burakumin.
10198  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Gov't healthcare! on: December 29, 2010, 11:44:56 PM
Man's penis amputated following misdiagnosis

Published: 29 Dec 10 09:10 CET | Double click on a word to get a translation

A Swedish man was forced to have his penis amputated after waiting more than a year to learn he had cancer.

The man, who is in his sixties, first visited a local clinic in Blekinge in southern Sweden in September 2009 for treatment of a urinary tract infection, the local Blekinge Läns Tidning (BLT) reported.

When he returned in March 2010 complaining of foreskin irritation, the doctor on duty at the time diagnosed the problem as a simple case of inflammation.

After three weeks passed without the prescribed treatment alleviating the man’s condition, he was instructed to seek further treatment at Blekinge Hospital.

But it took five months before he was able to schedule an appointment at the hospital.

When he finally met with doctors at the hospital, the man was informed he had cancer and his penis would have to be removed.

It remains unclear if the man would have been able to keep his penis had the cancer been detected sooner.

The matter has now been reported to the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) under Sweden’s Lex Maria laws, the informal name used to refer to regulations governing the reporting of injuries or incidents in the Swedish health care system.

The Local/dl (
10199  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: December 29, 2010, 10:17:36 PM
Perhaps I've missed it, but have you condemned Japan's racism and caste system?
10200  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: December 29, 2010, 10:12:53 PM
Yeah, your example might make sense if the US were surrounded by hostile black countries sworn to wipe out the US. It's easy to condemn Israel while seated in the US, although your future in "Alta California/Aztlan" is questionable.
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