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10201  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / When feminists cite figures, better recheck facts on: January 05, 2011, 07:54:00 AM
A skeptical eye
When feminists cite figures, better recheck facts

MEMO:  Christina Hoff Sommers is professor of philosophy at Clark
University. This article, which first appeared in the National
Review, is adapted from her book ``Who Stole Feminism?'' (Simon &
   In Revolution from Within, Gloria Steinem informed her readers
that "in this country alone . . . about 150,000 females die of
anorexia each year." That is more than three times the annual
number of auto fatalities. Steinem refers readers to Naomi Wolf's
The Beauty Myth, where one again finds the statistic, along with
the author's outrage. "How," Wolf asks, "would America react to the
mass self-immolation by hunger of its favorite sons?"
   Where did Wolf get her figures? Her source is Fasting Girls: The
Emergence of Anorexia Nervosa as a Modern Disease by Joan Brumberg,
former director of women's studies at Cornell University. She, too,
is fully aware of the political significance of the startling
statistic. She points out that the women who study eating problems
"seek to demonstrate that these disorders are an inevitable
consequence of a misogynistic society that demeans women . . . by
objectifying their bodies." Brumberg, in turn, attributes the
figure to the American Anorexia and Bulimia Association.
   I called the American Anorexia and Bulimia Association and spoke
to Dr. Diane Mickley, its president. "We were misquoted," she said.
In a 1985 newsletter the association had referred to 150,000 to
200,000 sufferers (not fatalities) of anorexia nervosa.
   What is the correct morbidity rate? Most experts are reluctant
to give exact figures, but  Thomas Dunn of the Division of Vital
Statistics at the National Center for Health Statistics reports
that in 1991 there were 54 deaths from anorexia nervosa and no
deaths from bulimia. The deaths of these young women are a tragedy,
certainly, but in a country of 100 million adult females, such
numbers are hardly evidence of "mass self-immolation."
   Yet now the false figure, supporting the view that our "sexist
society" demeans women by objectifying their bodies, is widely
accepted as true.
   Will Steinem advise her readers of the egregious statistical
error?  Will it even matter? By now, the 150,000 figure has made it
into college textbooks.
   The anorexia "crisis" is only one example of the kind of
provocative but inaccurate information being purveyed by women
about "women's issues."  On Nov. 4, 1992, Deborah Louis, president
of the National Women's Studies Association, sent a message to the
Women's Studies Electronic Bulletin Board: "According to (the) last
March of Dimes report, domestic violence (vs. pregnant women) is
now responsible for more birth defects than all other causes
combined. Personally this strikes me as the most disgusting piece
of data I've seen in a long while." This was, indeed, unsettling
news. But it seemed implausible.
   I called the March of Dimes to get a copy of the report. A
spokeswoman  denied any knowledge of it. I did a search and found
that - study or no study - journalists around the country were
citing it.
   I called the March of Dimes again. Andrea Ziltzer of their media
relations department told me that the rumor was spinning out of
   When I finally reached Jeanne McDowell, who had written the Time
article, the first thing she said was, "That was an error." She
sounded genuinely sorry and embarrassed. She explained that she is
always careful about checking sources, but this time, for some
reason, she had not. An official retraction finally appeared in the
magazine on Dec. 6, 1993.
   I asked McDowell about her source. She had relied on information
given her by the San Francisco Family Violence Prevention Fund,
which had obtained it from Sarah Buel, a founder of the
domestic-violence advocacy project at Harvard Law School. She in
turn had obtained it from Caroline Whitehead, a maternal nurse and
child-care specialist in Raleigh, N.C. I called Whitehead.
   "It blows my mind. It is not true," she said. The whole mix-up
began, she explained, when she introduced Sarah Buel as a speaker
at a 1989 conference for nurses and social workers. In presenting
her, Whitehead mentioned that according to some March of Dimes
research she had seen, more women are screened for birth defects
than are ever screened for domestic battery. Whitehead had said
nothing at all about battery causing birth defects. "Sarah
misunderstood me," she said.
   I called Buel and told her that it seemed she had misheard
Caroline Whitehead. She was surprised. "Oh, I must have
misunderstood her. I'll have to give her a call. She is my
source." She thanked me for having informed her of the error,
pointing out that she had been about to repeat it yet again in a new
   Why was everybody so credulous? Battery responsible for more
birth defects than all other causes combined? More than genetic
disorders such as spina bifida, Down's syndrome, Tay-Sachs,
sickle-cell anemia? More than congenital heart disorders? More than
alcohol, crack or AIDS - more than all these things combined? Where
were the fact-checkers, the editors, the skeptical journalists?
   To that question we must add another: Why are certain feminists
so eager to put men in a bad light? I shall try to answer both
these questions.
   American feminism is currently dominated by a group of women who
seek to persuade the public that American women are not the free
creatures we think we are. The leaders and theorists of the women's
movement believe that our society is best described as a
patriarchy, a "male hegemony," in which the dominant gender works
to keep women cowering and submissive.
 Believing that women are virtually under siege, the "gender
feminists" naturally seek recruits to their side of the gender war.
They seek support. They seek vindication. tion. They seek
   They are constantly on the lookout for the smoking gun, the
telling fact that will drive home how profoundly the system is
rigged against women. It is not enough to remind us that many
brutal and selfish men harm women. They must persuade us that the
system itself sanctions male brutality.
   Thus gender-feminist ideology holds that physical menace toward
women is the norm. Gloria Steinem's portrait of male-female
intimacy under patriarchy is typical: "Patriarchy requires violence
or the subliminal threat of violence in order to maintain itself .
. . The most dangerous situation for a woman is not an unknown man
in the street, or even the enemy in wartime, but a husband or lover
in the isolation of their own home."
   Steinem's description of the dangers women face in their own
home is reminiscent of the Super Bowl hoax of January 1993.
Here is
the chronology:
   On Jan. 27, a news conference was called in Pasadena, Calif.,
site of the forthcoming Super Bowl game, by a coalition of women's
groups. At the news conference, reporters were informed that Super
Bowl Sunday "is the biggest day of the year for violence against
women." Forty percent more women would be battered on that day,
said Sheila Kuehl of the California Women's Law Center, citing a
study done at Virginia's Old Dominion University.
   On Jan. 28, Lenore Walker, a Denver psychologist and author of
The Battered Woman, appeared on Good Morning America claiming to
have compiled a 10-year record showing a sharp increase in violent
incidents against women on Super Bowl Sundays. And on Jan. 29, a
story in the Boston Globe reported that women's shelter and
hotlines are "flooded with more calls from victims (on Super Bowl
Sunday) than on any other day of the year."
   In this roiling sea of media credulity was a lone island of
professional integrity. Ken Ringle, a Washington Post staff writer,
took the time to call around. When he asked Janet Katz, professor
of sociology and criminal justice at Old Dominion and one of the
principal authors of the study cited by Kuehl, about the connection
between violence and football games, she said: "That's not what we
found at all." Instead, she told him, they had found that an
increase in emergency-room admissions "was not associated with the
occurrence of football games in general."
   Despite Ringle's expose, however, the Super Bowl "statistic"
will be with us for a while, doing its divisive work of generating
fear and resentment.
   In the book How to Make the World a Better Place for Women in
Five Minutes a Day, a comment under the heading "Did You Know?"
informs readers that "Super Bowl Sunday is the most violent day of
the year, with the highest reported number of domestic battering
cases." How a belief in that misandrist canard can make the world a
better place for women is not explained.

10202  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: January 05, 2011, 07:12:20 AM

"But you harp on the Copts.
Besides sympathy (doesn't buy you a cup of coffee), is there something you suggest we do?"

**Prepare to take in a bunch if Egypt decides to get Armenian on them.
10203  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The Emasculation of Men In Contempory Society on: January 05, 2011, 06:14:22 AM

Yes, an otherwise healthy male will become abusive to women by watching football. It's like feeding a gremlin after midnight.
10204  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Top Ten screw ups on: January 05, 2011, 06:09:57 AM

11. Obamacare
10205  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Egypt Cuts a Deal: Christians Fed to Muslim 'Lions' on: January 04, 2011, 08:56:16 PM
Egypt Cuts a Deal: Christians Fed to Muslim 'Lions'

by Raymond Ibrahim
Hudson New York
October 18, 2010

For centuries, the Copts — Egypt's Christian, indigenous inhabitants — have been subject to persecution, discrimination, humiliation, and over all subjugation in their homeland (etymologically, "Copt" simply means "Egyptian").  In the medieval era, such treatment was a standard aspect of sharia's dhimmi codes, first ratified under Caliph Omar in the 7th century and based on Koran 9:29.  Conversely, during the colonial era and into the mid 20th century, as Egypt experimented with westernization and nationalism, religious discrimination was markedly subdued.  Today, however, as Egypt all but spearheads the Islamist movement — giving the world Sayyid Qutb, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Aymen Zawahiri in the process — that is, as Egypt reverts to its medieval character, the Copts find themselves again in a period of severe persecution.

And there appears to be no one to stop it — not even those most accountable: America's friend and ally, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his government.  Indeed, recent events indicate that the Mubarak regime is intentionally inciting Egypt's Muslims against the Copts.

Consider: on September 15, prominent Egyptian  Muhammad Salim al-Awwa, ex-secretary general of the International Union for Muslim Scholars, appeared on Al Jazeera and, in a wild tirade, accused the Copts of "stocking arms and ammunitions in their churches and monasteries"— imported from Israel, no less, since "Israel is in the heart of the Coptic Cause" — and "preparing to wage war against Muslims."

He warned that if nothing is done, the "country will burn," urging Muslims to "counteract the strength of the [Coptic] Church."  Al-Awwa further charged that Egypt's security forces cannot enter the monasteries to investigate for weapons — an amazing assertion, considering that Coptic monasteries are not only at the mercy of the state, but easy prey to Islamist/Bedouin attacks.

Needless to say, these remarks have inflamed Muslim passions (not to mention paranoia) against Egypt's Christians, who make approximately 12% of the population.  To make matters worse, right on the heels of al-Awwa's "monastery-conspiracy-theory," Islamist leaders began to circulate baseless rumors that the Church and Pope Shenouda III "kidnap" Coptic women who willingly convert to Islam, and trap them in desert monasteries, "torturing" and "re-indoctrinating" them back to Christianity — even when the women in question publicly insist they never converted to Islam.

Due to all these allegations, since last month, there have been at least ten mass demonstrations in Egypt — most numbering in the thousands — condemning the Copts, the Coptic Church, and Pope Shenouda.  The "Front of Islamic Egypt" issued a statement promising the Copts a "blood bath."  Most recently, on October 8, Muslim demonstrators chanted "Shenouda, just wait, we will dig your grave with our own hands," while burning the 86 year-old pope's effigy.

At the very least, the usually intrusive Mubarak regime could have easily dispelled the absurd rumor that Coptic monks, among Egypt's most humble figures, were stockpiling weapons for an imaginary coup d'état in Egypt, by formally investigating and clearing the monasteries of the charge.  Same with the ludicrous rumors that the Pope is kidnapping and torturing Coptic women who freely convert to Islam — an especially odd rumor considering the reverse is true: in Egypt, Christian women are regularly kidnapped and compelled to embrace Islam.

To further exasperate matters, on September 26, Al Azhar, a formal state body of Egypt, denounced a remark on Koran 5:17, which accuses Christians of being "infidels," made by a Coptic clergyman at an internal meeting on dogma, as "blasphemous."  It further took this opportunity to state formally that citizenship rights in Egypt "are conditional to respect for the Islamic identity" of Egypt, thereby reversing any modern progress made regarding Egyptian equality and reinforcing the Copts' historical role as dhimmis (i.e., conditionally tolerated religious minorities). Pope Shenouda was further compelled to publicly apologize "if our Muslim brothers' feelings were hurt."

All this in a nation where Christian and Jewish scriptures are systematically denounced as fabricated.  Indeed, mere weeks earlier, a well known publishing house in Egypt issued a book dedicated to "proving" that Christians had forged the Bible.  Such double standards are well entrenched: after all, whereas the Coptic clergyman privately remarked on a Koranic verse, the Egyptian government openly interferes with Christian doctrine, while preventing Muslims from converting to Christianity, in accordance to sharia's ridda, or apostasy, laws.  For example, Mohammad Hegazy is one of many Egyptians who tried formally to change his religion from Muslim to Christian on his I.D. card —in Egypt, people are Gestapo-like categorized by their religion — only to be denied by the Egyptian court. (Many other such anecdotes abound.)

Considering the citizenship rights Copts enjoyed in the early to mid 20th century, how did things come to this pass?  Much of this can be traced to Mubarak's predecessor, Anwar Sadat, who altered Egypt's Constitution — by adding Article 2, "sharia is the principle source of legislation" — only to be rewarded, ironically, with assassination by the Islamist "Frankenstein monster" he had empowered.  Since then, there has been a tacit agreement between the government and the Islamists.  As Youssef Ibrahim puts it, the agreement "turned over to Islamists control in media, education, and government administrations in return for allowing Mr. Mubarak's rule to go on unchallenged, setting the stage … for his son, Gamal, to succeed him. As part of the deal, [Mubarak] agreed to feed Egypt's Christians to the growing Islamic beast."

Hence the dire situation the Copts find themselves in.  Magdi Khalil, a human rights activist at the forefront of the "Coptic question," states that "Egypt is on the verge of chaos and change of regime and there is a plan for Copts to pay the price of this predicted chaos, by directing the surplus violence, hate and barbarism towards them."   This redirection onto the Copts is obvious even in subtle things: aside from the habitual anti-Copt indoctrination that goes on in mosques — all of the aforementioned demonstrations occurred immediately after Friday's mosque prayers — Egypt's state run public education system also marginalizes, if not ostracizes, the Copts (see, for example, Adel Guindy's "The Talibanization of Education in Egypt.")

More obvious proof of the government's complicity is the fact that, not only has it not prevented or dispersed the increasingly rabid demonstrations against the Copts — the way it viciously and unequivocally does whenever any protests are directed against itself — but Egyptian security, as Magdi Khalil affirmed in a phone conversation, actually facilitate, and sometimes participate, in these mass demonstrations.  After all, Islamists who publicly call for the death of the Pope do so, writes Ibrahim Eissa, "knowing quite well that State Security will not touch them, since demonstrations are directed against the Pope and not the President, the Church and not the inheritance issue [Gamal Mubarak as successor of his father]. Those who go out in Jihad against 'inheritance,' democracy and election fraud are beaten mercilessly by security forces but those who go out to incite sectarian violence between Muslims and Christians believe …that they are the friends and 'buddies' of the police and the State Security."

As history teaches, whenever a majority group casts all its woes onto a minority group, great tragedy often follows. This is especially so when the majority group in question begins taking on an Islamist—that is, intolerant, violent, and medieval — character.  Yet if Egypt's "secular" government and U.S. ally is willing to sacrifice the Coptic scapegoat to appease the ever-burgeoning Islamist monster it has been nurturing for some four decades, to whom can Egypt's Christians look for relief?

Raymond Ibrahim is associate director of the Middle East Forum, author of The Al Qaeda Reader, and guest lecturer at the National Defense Intelligence College.
10206  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: January 04, 2011, 08:44:35 PM
Yes, Israel is a sober and responsible custodian of it's nukes. Any surrounding neighbors you'd want to have nukes, JDN?
10207  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: January 04, 2011, 08:32:11 PM

Good parenting here. Preparing them to live in peace?
10208  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: January 04, 2011, 08:24:18 PM
To an extent, it is a bribe. At the same time, Israel would stomp a mudhole in Egypt's ass in another war, both sides know it. The world's worst kept secret is Israel's nuclear weapons. Israel has no dreams for expansion, conquest. Israel just wants to survive and not be the subject of endless threats and attacks. Israel protects islamic holy sites, including the dome of the rock mosque from those that would destroy it to bring about the "end times", despite the way Jews are treated in the muslim world.

Israel protects christians and other religious minorities in Israel. Christians elsewhere in the middle east enjoy no such protections, even under "dhimmi" status.
10209  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / That darn Mossad! on: January 04, 2011, 03:21:24 PM

Even willing to pretend to be muslims and chant "allah akbar" as the car bomb burned.....
10210  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: January 04, 2011, 03:06:05 PM
Seventeen members of Congress are pressing the State Department to act on the "grim reality" faced by Coptic Christian women in Egypt, who frequently are coerced into violent forced marriages that leave them victim to rape and captive slavery.

The bipartisan group of lawmakers wrote on April 16 to Ambassador-at-Large Luis CdeBaca, who heads up American efforts to thwart human trafficking around the globe.

In their letter, they exhort the State Department to confront the "criminal phenomenon" of forced marriage they say is on the rise in Egypt, where the 7 million Coptic Christians often face criminal prosecution and civic violence for their rejection of Islam.

"I think it is about as bad as it can be" for Copts and other religious minorities in Egypt, said Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., who penned the letter. "It is very tough to be a Coptic Christian."

The official communication to the State Department outlined just what women face when forced into marriages with Muslim men: "physical and sexual violence, captivity ... exploitation in forced domestic servitude or commercial sexual exploitation, and financial benefit to the individuals who secure the forced conversion of the victim."

Wolf and the other lawmakers say this bears all the hallmarks of human trafficking and want the State Department to include reports of the abductions in their next Trafficking in Persons report, which is due in June.

"Keep in mind that we have given Egypt about $53 billion since Camp David" — the 1978 peace accords between Israel and Egypt that were arranged by the U.S. government — "so we're actually funding them," Wolf said.

The State Department's 2009 report on trafficking singled out Egypt for its Level II Watchlist, noting that the government made only "minimal efforts to prevent trafficking in persons" last year.

But while it notes the plight of Sudanese women and others in bondage in Egypt, it does not mention Copts once — nor does the report mention Christians anywhere in its 324 pages.

Read more:
10211  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: January 04, 2011, 02:36:04 PM

Aid is central to Washington's relationship with Cairo. The US has provided Egypt with $1.3 billion a year in military aid since 1979, and an average of $815 million a year in economic assistance. All told, Egypt has received over $50 billion in US largesse since 1975.

Egyptian Security Guards Withdrew One Hour Before Church Blast, Say Eyewitnesses
Posted GMT 1-2-2011 5:26:13

(AINA) -- The car explosion that went off in front of Saints Coptic Orthodox Church in Alexandria killed 21 and injured 96 parishioners who were attending a New Year's Eve Mass. According to church officials and eyewitnesses, there are many more victims that are still unidentified and whose body parts were strewn all over the street outside the church. The body parts were covered with newspapers until they were brought inside the church after some Muslims started stepping on them and chanting Jihadi chants (video showing dead bodies and limbs covered with newspapers in the street).

According to eyewitnesses, a green Skoda car pulled up outside the church shortly after midnight. Two men got out, one of them talked shortly on his mobile phone, and the explosion occurred almost immediately after they left the scene. On the back of the Skoda was a sticker with the words "the rest is coming" (video of car explosion and Muslims shouting "Allah Akbar").

It was reported that the bomb, locally made, had 100KG of explosives in addition to having nails, glass and iron balls inside. The strength of it not only caused glass panes to be shattered in all the neighborhood, but also made body parts fly into the building's fourth floor, and to the mosque facing the church.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but officials hastily blamed either Al-Qaida or the Israeli Mousad of being behind the blast, but none of them mentioned the Egyptian state security which is viewed by Copts as the real culprit.

To clear his security forces of negligence, the Minister of Interior said that the blast was an "individual" case, caused by a single suicide terrorist detonating his vest, and has nothing to do with an exploding car. The governor of Alexandria claimed the attack as being aimed at Muslims and Christians alike.

After the blast, traumatized Copts were angered by chants of "Allah Akbar" from Muslims and began hurling stones at the mosque. Immediately security forces which were absent during the car blast and the ensuing events, appeared and starting shooting tear gas at the Copts, and they in turn hurled stones at them, said an eyewitness. Fifteen Copts were rounded up from their homes by the authorities.
10212  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: January 04, 2011, 01:28:03 PM
Perhaps you could clarify why you have one standard for Japan and a different one for Israel.
10213  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Decline and Fall of the American Empire-1 on: January 04, 2011, 01:05:53 PM

What decades of democrats in power gets you.

Coming soon, pictures from California.
10214  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: January 04, 2011, 12:53:37 PM
"I rarely see anywhere PUBLIC published displays of racism in Japan by government employees.  Or if it did happen, there is a quick apology or resignation."

**Shintaro Ishihara has been Tokyo's governor since 1999.

As a politician Ishihara has seldom ducked a controversy. He has said, for example, that reports of the 1937 Nanjing Massacre that Japanese troops inflicted on China have been exaggerated, and he has called for Japan to abandon its pacifist constitution and develop a full-fledged military. Ishihara steps into the minefield of racial politics so often, and with such disastrous results, that one of his top aides conceded that he was relieved his boss took a day last week to inspect a forest on the outskirts of Tokyo. "I am not xenophobic," Ishihara insisted in an interview with Time. "I'm just patriotic."

But to many, Ishihara's rhetoric seemed unforgivable last week, as he told the Self-Defense Forces that he planned to hold a big emergency drill in September, to prepare for a disaster such as an earthquake. It was in that context that he spoke about the dangers of rioting foreigners. "I hope you will not only fight against disasters but also maintain public security on such occasions," he said. "I hope you will show the Japanese people and the Tokyo people what the military is for in this state."

His comments were made in a prepared speech, not in off-the-cuff remarks. And his use of the inflammatory term sangokujin rekindled images of xenophobia that Japan has been trying to shake off for half a century. Sangokujin, literally "people from third countries," was a derogatory word used by Japanese when referring to laborers brought from Taiwan and Korea before and during World War II and then expelled after Japan's defeat. Ishihara's use of the term was particularly hurtful, because of the race-baiting that erupted after the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. With no evidence, Koreans in Japan were accused of poisoning wells, setting fires and looting stores and homes. As those rumors spread, thousands of Koreans were rounded up and killed by mobs of Japanese.

Whatever the roots of Ishihara's attitudes on race, many believe that his rhetoric should disqualify him from higher office. "If a person with such 19th-century nationalistic thinking is in power, there is no guarantee that a nightmare will not be repeated," says Shin Sug Ok, a business consultant of Korean descent. Treatment of foreigners is a sensitive issue in Japan. Residents of Korean descent, even those whose families have lived in Japan for several generations, still do not have the right to vote. Last year, there were several brawls between Japanese and Brazilians of Japanese ancestry. There are still onsen, or public bathing facilities, that bar foreigners from entering. Makoto Sataka, a prominent political commentator, calls Ishihara "ignorant and irresponsible," adding: "If similar comments had been made about Japanese nationals living overseas, how would they feel?"

10215  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: January 04, 2011, 12:41:13 PM
"It is my understanding that Japan pays more than their fair share for our troops on Japanese soil."

**Really? What would a fair share be?

"This is a bigger issue than the golf courses and free highway passes," Toma said. "It goes back to the fact that Okinawa was occupied after World War II and why the bases have to be here in the first place."

That sentiment is widely shared, and underscores a feeling that the bases should be spread out more evenly among Japan's main islands and Okinawa. Okinawa was one of the bloodiest battlefields of World War II, and Okinawans feel that the continued U.S. presence places an uneven burden on them, though the argument that all U.S. forces should leave Japan is not popular.

American officials say the deployment in Japan of troops, fighter jets and the only nuclear-powered aircraft carrier based outside the U.S. has enabled Japan to hold down its own defense costs in line with its pacifist constitution.

They say the U.S. presence also prevents an arms race in east Asia, acts as a deterrent against North Korea, and counters the rise of China.

Facilities such as on-base golf courses represent a small fraction of the sum U.S. taxpayers chip in for the defense of Japan — about $3.9 billion a year, according to a U.S. State Department official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the details.
10216  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy & Big Brother (both State and Corporate) on: January 04, 2011, 11:11:04 AM

So, do you think the jurisdictions where police have arrested people for videotaping them in public venues are justified?
10217  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?
10218  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.
10219  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.
10220  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
10221  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?
10222  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?
10223  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?
10224  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.
10225  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?
10226  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.
10227  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.
10228  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.
10229  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.
10230  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?
10231  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:
10232  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.
10233  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?
10234  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / A dose of reality on: January 02, 2011, 04:57:19 PM

10235  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.
10236  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?
10237  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:

10238  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.
10239  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?
10240  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.
10241  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.
10242  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
10243  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!
10244  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.
10245  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.
10246  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.
10247  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:
10248  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.
10249  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:
10250  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.
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