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10251  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.

http://chronicle.com/blogs/innovations/surfeits-of-certitude/28226

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.
10252  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
http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/military/navy-ships/what-a-war-between-china-and-the-us-would-look-like

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?
10253  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.
10254  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.
10255  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Japanese only! on: December 31, 2010, 09:55:17 AM
http://www.debito.org/roguesgallery.html

Signs
10256  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Japan on: December 31, 2010, 09:45:45 AM
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20071110f1.html

Foreigners still dogged by housing barriers

By AKEMI NAKAMURA
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.
10257  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
http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/military/navy-ships/what-a-war-between-china-and-the-us-would-look-like

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?
10258  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Japan on: December 30, 2010, 07:27:32 PM
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/16/world/asia/16iht-16outcasts.19414604.html

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.
10259  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.
10260  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.
10261  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?
10262  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Education on: December 30, 2010, 08:20:24 AM
Bigdog,

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?
10263  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.
10264  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
Online: http://www.thelocal.se/31130/20101229/
Share1006

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 (news@thelocal.se)
10265  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?
10266  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.
10267  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: December 29, 2010, 09:51:52 PM
Would you want a woman to marry into a culture where domestic violence is normative behavior?
10268  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: December 29, 2010, 09:45:36 PM
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meast/05/10/saudi.court.wife.slapping/index.html

(CNN) -- Husbands are allowed to slap their wives if they spend lavishly, a Saudi judge said recently during a seminar on domestic violence, Saudi media reported Sunday.
It is OK to slap Saudi women who spend too much, a judge has told an audience.

It is OK to slap Saudi women who spend too much, a judge has told an audience.

Arab News, a Saudi English-language daily newspaper based in Riyadh, reported that Judge Hamad Al-Razine said that "if a person gives SR 1,200 [$320] to his wife and she spends 900 riyals [$240] to purchase an abaya [the black cover that women in Saudi Arabia must wear] from a brand shop and if her husband slaps her on the face as a reaction to her action, she deserves that punishment."

Women in the audience immediately and loudly protested Al-Razine's statement, and were shocked to learn the remarks came from a judge, the newspaper reported.

Arab News reported that Al-Razine made his remark as he was attempting to explain why incidents of domestic violence had increased in Saudi Arabia. He said that women and men shared responsibility, but added that "nobody puts even a fraction of blame" on women, the newspaper said.

Al-Razine "also pointed out that women's indecent behavior and use of offensive words against their husbands were some of the reasons for domestic violence in the country," it added.

Domestic violence, which used to be a taboo subject in the conservative kingdom, has become a hot topic in recent years. Groups like the National Family Safety Program have campaigned to educate the public about the problem and help prevent domestic abuse.

Saudi women's rights activist Wajeha Al-Huwaider told CNN that Saudi women routinely face such attitudes.
Don't Miss

    * Report: Saudi girl granted divorce

"This is how men in Saudi Arabia see women," she said in a telephone interview from the Saudi city of Dahran. "It's not something they read in a book or learned from a friend. They've been raised to see women this way, that they're less than a person."

Al-Huwaider added that "I'm not surprised to see a judge or a religious man saying that - they've been raised in the same culture - a culture that tells them it's ok to raise your hand to a woman that this works."
advertisement

Another Saudi judge, in the city of Onaiza, was the source of a separate recent controversy: he twice denied a request from the mother of an 8-year-old girl that the girl be granted a divorce from her 47-year-old husband.

Last month, after human-groups condemned the union, the girl was granted the divorce.
10269  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: December 29, 2010, 09:03:07 PM
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0102555/

"Moody" is an Iranian doctor living in America with his American wife Betty and their child Mahtob. Wanting to see his homeland again, he convinces his wife to take a short holiday there with him and Mahtob. Betty is reluctant, as Iran is not a pleasant place, especially if you are American and female. Upon arrival in Iran, it appears that her worst fears are realized: Moody declares that they will be living there from now on. Betty is determined to escape from Iran, but taking her daughter with her presents a larger problem.

**Watch the movie, JDN. Even though this case was in Iran, it's a common situation. A western woman meets a charming muslim man who is very modern. They marry, then return to his native land and then he stops being so kind and charming.
10270  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Many Russians here aligning with Republicans on: December 29, 2010, 04:54:12 PM
http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2010/12/many_russians_here_aligning_wi.html

Many Russians here aligning with Republicans
Published: Sunday, December 26, 2010, 6:26 AM     Updated: Sunday, December 26, 2010, 6:32 AM

Tom Wrobleski Arkadiy Fridman says that the Citizens Magazine Business Club, a confederation of more than 50 Russian-owned businesses here and in Brooklyn, has aligned itself with the Molinari Republican Club in an effort to increase the Russian community's political and economic clout.

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Many Russian immigrants to the "red borough" of Staten Island are flocking to the Republican Party, saying that the national Democrats' "socialistic" policies remind them too much of the top-down oligarchy they fled in their native land.

With many of the borough's Russian arrivees already owning businesses and active in civic organizations, their muscle could help the Island GOP solidify electoral gains made this year, when the party took back congressional and Assembly seats.

Businessman Arkadiy Fridman said that the newly formed Citizens Magazine Business Club, a confederation of more than 50 Russian-owned businesses here and in Brooklyn, has aligned itself with the Molinari Republican Club (MRC) in an effort to increase the Russian community's political and economic clout.

CLOSE TO OWN VISION
 
"We decided we had to support this club," said Fridman, a former Soviet Army officer who came to the United States in 1992. "They are very close to our political and business vision."

In the wake of the national GOP's big wins this year, when the party took back control of the House, Republicans everywhere are more confident that their bedrock message of smaller government and lower taxes will resonate with American voters.

Fridman said that the Democrats "are going in an absolutely different direction," focusing on "income redistribution" and rich-versus-poor "class war."

"It's too socialistic," said Fridman, head of the non-profit Staten Island Community Center and president of Citizens Magazine, a public affairs publication. "It's very painful for us to see."

The Democrats' national losses were seen as a rejection of President Barack Obama's health care reform law and other initiatives that opponents say went too far in pushing government control on Americans.

BAD REMINDERS
 
The Big Brother approach reminds Fridman too much of what he left behind in the former Soviet Union.

"It's the same rule like it was there," said Fridman, who estimates there are around 55,000 Russian immigrants here.

Michael Petrov of the Digital Edge data management firm in Bloomfield, said that he objects to the "micro-managing of the economy" he's seen from city as well as federal officials.

"Government is affecting small business more and more," said Petrov, who came to the United States in 1994. "It's the same as what's happening in Russia."

The Citizens Club, formed earlier this month, looks to support and grow local businesses here; introduce Russian firms to the borough's existing business and political communities, and promote Russian community representatives to serve in elected office.

MRC president Robert Scamardella has actively been courting members of the Russian community this year.

"One of the main initiatives I have pursued has been to expand the base of the party by reaching out to diverse potential constituencies and securing their support and involvement," said Scamardella, an attorney.

"This decision by leaders of the local Russian community illustrates the effectiveness of this approach. We will continue to reach out to other communities and seek their association with the Republican Party."

Former Borough President Guy Molinari, the MRC's namesake, said he'd noticed over the years that Russian immigrants here tended to register Republican.

Molinari called the affiliation with MRC "a natural marriage."

"They want to be involved, be part of the community," Molinari said. "They come from a country where they weren't able to express themselves, didn't have the right to organize or vote. They appreciate it more than some of us who were born here."

Brooklyn attorney David Storovin said that the fact that the MRC is made up of business professionals "who are successful in their own right," also made the match an attractive one.

He said that he and other Russian immigrants are also drawn to the GOP's traditional veneration of flag and country.

GRATEFUL FOR FREEDOMS
 
Reflecting the American Dream ideal that has drawn immigrants here since the county's founding, Storovin said that many Russians are "grateful" for the religious, business and travel freedoms the United States provide, and want to show it.

"We do feel patriotic," Storovin said.

Yevgeniy Lvovskiy, of the ZHL Group development firm, said that many Russians here also are looking to break ethnic stereotypes that paint Russia as being all about "Siberia, beer and vodka."

"We are looking for an opportunity to prove ourselves," said Lvovskiy, who came to the United States in 1999. "If you work hard, and do the right thing, you get rewarded. We want to show people we are normal."

It's that self-starting stance, he said, that makes Russians here more in line with GOP orthodoxy.
10271  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Free Speech vs. Islamic Fascism (formerly Buy DANISH!!!) on: December 29, 2010, 04:31:13 PM
Keep in mind that all it takes for those jihadists that have the motivation but not the skillsets or equipment is hooking up with a professional jihadist who can use them in something very lethal. The 1993 WTC attack is a good example of that.
10272  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Indiana Grandmother, a Muslim Convert, Being Investigated for Possible Terror Li on: December 29, 2010, 04:04:41 PM
http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/12/28/indiana-grandmother-muslim-convert-investigated-possible-terror-link/

A 46-year-old Indiana grandmother is under investigation for her possible ties to suspected and convicted international terrorists, FoxNews.com has learned.

Muslim-convert Kathie Smith, 46, a U.S. citizen living in Indianapolis who has blogged about her granddaughter, last year married a suspected German jihadist, and has been flying back and forth between the U.S. and Germany as recently as two weeks ago.

A pro-jihadist video featuring Smith and her husband – alongside photos of members of the Islamic Jihad Union charged with plotting failed terror attacks against U.S. targets in Germany -- is being investigated by the Indiana Intelligence Fusion Center. The center is a counterterror intelligence clearinghouse staffed by law enforcement officers from local and federal agencies, including the FBI and Department of Homeland Security.

“Certainly, it’s being looked at and evaluated by Indiana State Police, which runs Indiana Intelligence Fusion Center, ” Indiana Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman Emily Norcross told FoxNews.com, adding that the video would be passed along to appropriate law enforcement for further investigation.

FBI spokeswoman Jenny Shearer said: “As you’re aware, FBI and DOJ policy precludes us from confirming or denying the existence of an investigation.”

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Washington office did not respond to a request for comment.

Interpol, which helps government law enforcement agencies track crime suspects around the world, declined to comment, citing policy.

The FBI also did not respond to an e-mail from FoxNews.com asking why Smith is not on the federal government’s no-fly list. Smith, meanwhile, said she believes her name is on some kind of government “watch list.”

In lengthy e-mail exchanges with FoxNews.com, Smith claimed that she has been repeatedly subjected to hours-long interrogations by Homeland Security every time she travels. She said her luggage has been subjected to bomb residue tests, and that officials asked her numerous detailed questions about her husband. She also claims DHS officials on more than one occasion escorted her onto a departing airplane.

DHS did not respond to FoxNews.com’s request for comment on Smith’s allegations.

Smith — who now calls herself Zubaida — added that she and her husband were met and interrogated by German police while in a taxi in October 2009.

German police, however, said they were not currently investigating an American woman, but declined to say whether they were aware of Smith.

In lengthy e-mail exchanges with FoxNews.com, Smith alternatively defended her online postings, denied being anti-American, called the Sept. 11 attacks an inside job, the U.S. a terrorist organization and praised the American-born radical Muslim cleric Anwar al Awlaki -- architect, trainer and inspiration for many of the recent terrorist attacks attempted or committed against the U.S. President Obama last April approved Awlaki's inclusion on the CIA's targeted killing list.

In one e-mail to FoxNews.com, Smith wrote:

“If your neighbor was being attacked by a perpetrator, would you just stand there and say, 'Oh I will let someone come who has a gun to help them'? No, you would rush to their defense. And use any type of "weapon" to help that person... this is what I am doing. I am defending the defenseless. I am defending my home and family and their right to safety. No matter who it is at my door. These are the rights the Constitution gives me. The very right this Communistic government is trying to take away from me and the rest of the Americans.”


Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/12/28/indiana-grandmother-muslim-convert-investigated-possible-terror-link
10273  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: December 29, 2010, 03:56:09 PM
Reforms made since that article stopped my wife from enlisting. When she first tried to enlist, she was here legally but had not yet been issued her permanent resident alien card "green card". After getting her green card, she started processing when her Social Security number came up as belonging to a non-resident alien, because she had been a non-resident when she had it issued because she was lawfully employed (work permit). When she was issued her green card, the SSA never adjusted the status on her SSN. By the time she got that sorted out, other opportunities came up so she did not end up enlisting.

Dealing with the INS/USCIS and other federal entities when you are a "legal" is a nightmare.
10274  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Education on: December 29, 2010, 11:19:50 AM
To enlist in the military, one must either be a US citizen, a permanent resident alien, or under a program for needed foreign language skills, a legal non resident alien. Normally, an illegal alien cannot lawfully enlist in the military.
10275  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / No Three-Week Vacations for the Hajj? Don’t Worry, the DOJ’s On It on: December 28, 2010, 09:59:51 PM
http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/no-three-week-vacations-for-the-hajj-dont-worry-the-dojs-on-it/?singlepage=true

No Three-Week Vacations for the Hajj? Don’t Worry, the DOJ’s On It
The DOJ throws its weight behind a middle-school teacher who claims her rights were violated when she wasn't allowed the time to go to Mecca.
December 27, 2010 - by Mike McDaniel


Two interesting poll results have come to light in recent days. The first was Barack Obama’s lowest ever approval rating, and the second was a poll commissioned by ABC News and the Washington Post that revealed that only 43% were in favor of ObamaCare with 52% opposed. Other polls have indicated as much as a 60% level of disapproval. However, Jake Tapper of ABC did mention the poll, calling it the “lowest level of popularity ever.” The Washington Post did not publish the results of its own poll.

Such selective publishing has also infected a very interesting story relating to a Muslim teacher and Eric Holder’s Justice Department, a story which has received little mainstream media press, but reasonable play in the blogosphere. In December of 2008, Safoorah Khan, a middle school teacher in the Berkeley school district (a Chicago-area district), asked her principal to give her three weeks off during the school year so she could make the hajj, a ritual journey to Mecca, the most holy city of Islam, that all Muslims are expected to make once in their lifetime if possible. Her principal refused because the request was not related to her professional duties and exceeded the union contract under which the school operates. He no doubt also refused because to grant her request would have disrupted the continuity of the educations of her students (Khan apparently offered to take the time without pay). Enter Eric Holder.

The Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 alleging that the school district violated Khan’s civil rights by refusing to accommodate her religious practices. The DOJ is demanding an order forcing the Berkeley district to adopt policies that would allows such religious observances, and is also seeking back pay, compensatory damages, and reinstatement for Kahn, whose actions led to her dismissal. “Employees should not have to choose between their religious practice and their livelihood,” said Thomas Perez, assistant attorney general for the Civil Right Division. The Equal Employment OpportunityCommission is also involved in the case. This is the first such case ever brought by the DOJ.

Many readers will no doubt remember Mr. Perez as instrumental in dismissing the voter intimidation case against the New Black Panthers, a case that was actually won, and arguably committing perjury to cover the fact that political appointees such as himself ruled the decision-making process. They will also no doubt recall that the Civil Rights Division has adopted an unwritten — though widely known — policy against protecting the civil rights of whites. All of this was brought to light by past and present Civil Rights Division attorneys and was documented and confirmed in a recent report of the United States Civil Rights Commission.

It is tempting, and likely correct, to believe that Mr. Holder’s DOJ is involved primarily because Ms. Khan is a Muslim, in the hope of righting what they see as anti-Muslim attitudes and prejudice rampant in the American population. That such rampant prejudice is essentially nonexistent seems to bother them not at all. For example, several years ago, NBC enlisted men in obviously Muslim garb to attend a NASCAR race in Virginia, making their presence obvious, even provocative, in the hope of obtaining incendiary footage of racist race fans, but the planted Muslims were treated no differently than anyone else. No racism; no footage. Mr. Obama’s support and rhetoric in favor of Muslim ideals and Muslim organizations, even those with clear links to terrorism, are equally well-known, so the DOJ’s involvement should hardly be a surprise to the well-informed.

But by entering into this case, the DOJ seeks to do much mischief in the support of Muslim tradition and Sharia (Islamic law). Schools have of late become primarily political footballs, when they’re not farm teams for professional football teams. All but ignored is that they exist to provide a free, common education for American children, an education not only in reading, writing, and arithmetic, but in shared American values and responsibilities, values and responsibilities that if actually taught and enforced will enable most children to one day become responsible citizens. Anything that interferes with this process should and must be resisted.

Competent educators know that the most important factor in student success is having competent, dedicated, hardworking teachers in each classroom. Such teachers do not want to be absent from their students, even for a single day. In this case, apparently Ms. Kahn did not attempt to organize her trip in advance of the school year, giving her principal the chance to determine if it would be possible to obtain a long-term substitute teacher. Even so, few if any principals would be disposed to allow any teacher to leave school for three successive weeks for what amounts to personal business, no matter how deeply felt the teacher’s need might be, religious or otherwise. This is particularly true in December, during which the final few weeks of the first semester fall. What many fail to realize is that a teacher’s summer vacation, which by the way grows shorter each year, is largely used by teachers to obtain state mandated re-certification credits (usually at their own expense), and to conduct the kind of personal business that is just not possible during the school year. In fact, most teachers would not make such a request, particularly on the spur of the moment, understanding it to be inherently unreasonable.

Teachers certainly do upon occasion have to leave the classroom for weeks at a time due to unexpected illness or family emergencies such as deaths or the unexpected needs of elderly parents, but such matters are understood and accepted and are commonly written into the polices of school districts, particularly those like the Berkeley district with a unionized work force. In this case, the union contract apparently did not allow such absences.

The courts, and the Justice Department, have traditionally extended substantial deference toward school authorities in such matters recognizing that interference would be far more likely to be harmful than helpful and that local control was of paramount importance. Of course, the Obama administration knows best, in this and in every other facet of our lives, so DOJ involvement in this matter likely represents only the nose of the camel under the tent.

The determining factor in this case will likely be encapsulated in one word: reasonable. In other words, was the Berkeley district unreasonable in failing to fully accommodate Kahn’s desire for a religious pilgrimage? By throwing the full weight and resources of the federal government behind Ms. Kahn, it is clear that the DOJ under Mr. Holder and Mr. Obama believe that the district was unreasonable, at least so far as the desires of Muslims are concerned. It is not unreasonable to believe that a Christian teacher suddenly struck with the idea of a religious pilgrimage to Jerusalem would not be accorded the same federal support.

Should the courts rule in favor of Ms. Kahn (and by extension, the DOJ and Mr. Obama), it is hard to imagine which Muslim religious observance would not have to be accommodated. After all, if it is legally reasonable for Muslim teachers to be given three weeks off for religious reasons upon request, what lesser imposition on public time and money — and the uninterrupted learning environments of their students — could be deemed unreasonable? Foot washing stations? Segregation of male and female students and wearing of the hijab for female teachers and students? Students being able to disrupt class when they please, laying down prayer rugs, facing Mecca and loudly praying? Should any of this sound farfetched, keep in mind that these matters, and more, have already been discussed and/or litigated in schools and colleges across the nation.

But perhaps this is really nothing but a tempest in a teapot. Perhaps this is nothing more than Mr. Obama’s continuing “outreach” to the Muslim world. After all, NASA’s primary new mission is to help Muslims to feel good about centuries old scientific accomplishments. After all, what’s a little Sharia among friends?

Mike McDaniel is a former police officer, detective, and SWAT operator.
10276  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Fascism, liberal fascism, progressivism: on: December 28, 2010, 07:50:23 PM
I would point out that there is a big difference between some documents getting purged and "9/11 was an inside job" or other conspiracy theories.
10277  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Fascism, liberal fascism, progressivism: on: December 28, 2010, 07:35:51 PM
What I find interesting is how almost all of the Karenga legal records have disappeared. I assume California has laws like most every state requiring that all these records be archived and preserved as public records.
10278  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Unlearning the Lessons Being Taught on: December 28, 2010, 05:58:07 PM
Unlearning the Lessons Being Taught

by Ann Snyder  •  Dec 9, 2010 at 10:49 am

http://www.legal-project.org/blog/2010/12/unlearning-the-lessons-being-taught


Islamists aren't the only threat to speech critical of Islam. Many European states, for example, have criminalized speech acts through legally enforced "political correctness" embodied in "hate speech" laws. In America, where it still remains (more or less) legal to think and speak, the assault on free expression is being waged on a different front, our universities. The target? The minds of America's youth.

Far from being bastions of free thought and critical inquiry, our universities, through speech codes, security fees, and other tactics, begin the "political correctness" indoctrination process early, teaching young Americans what they may and may not say (READ: think). Naturally, included in the realm of the verboten is expression deemed critical of Islam.

One Philadelphia organization, the Foundation for Individual Rights In Education (FIRE), an organization dedicated to protecting individual rights on America's campuses, is fighting back and has handled a few cases that will be of particular interest to our readers:

Student group slapped with "security fee" for Wilders event: In October of 2009, the student organization, Temple University Purpose (TUP), sponsored an event with Dutch politician, Geert Wilders, who currently faces prosecution for "hate speech" in the Netherlands. Several weeks later, the group received charges for an additional "security fee" for the event. Charging extra security fees for a controversial event because of a potential hostile reaction from the audience has been deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court because it financially burdens speech. Citing this precedent and through dogged persistence, the FIRE succeeded in having the fee withdrawn.

College Republicans investigated for fake flag "desecration" at anti-terrorism event: In 2007, San Francisco State University's College Republicans were subjected to disciplinary action for stepping on mock Hezbollah and Hamas flags as part of an anti-terrorism event. With help from the FIRE, the witch-hunt was ended and students escaped punishment. Later, with the assistance of the FIRE's Speech Codes Litigation Project and the Alliance Defense Fund, the College Republicans delivered a little disciplinary action of their own, raising and winning a constitutional challenge to the university's speech code.

"Portraits of Terror" art exhibit censored: In 2006, then Penn State student, Joshua Stulman's exhibit "Portraits of Terror" was pulled by the university just three days before its opening. According to FIRE President, Greg Lukianoff, the exhibit was censored "twice: first because administrators didn't like what it had to say, and later out of fear that violence would ensue if his artwork were shown on campus." The FIRE has helped raise awareness of the incident through writing and a short documentary. Is there anyone out there with the courage to show this exhibit?

Through cases like those enumerated above related to expression concerning Islam, and through countless others directed more generally at protecting individual liberty on our campuses, the FIRE is helping students to unlearn some dangerous lessons they are being taught at our colleges and universities about the scope of individual liberty. To paraphrase Judge Learned Hand, liberty lies in the hearts and minds of men and women; if it dies there, no laws can save it. Those at the FIRE understand this proposition and are fighting to keep liberty alive in one of the places it counts the most.

For our readers in Philadelphia, the FIRE will be presenting its work on December 10, 2010 at a CLE course they developed titled, "Free Speech 101: Protecting Free Expression and the First Amendment at our Nation's Colleges and Universities."
10279  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Shut Out on: December 28, 2010, 05:47:03 PM
http://formerspook.blogspot.com/2010/12/shut-out.html

Thursday, December 23, 2010
Shut Out

In the past, we're written at length about the looming recruiting crisis facing the U.S. military. Simply stated, too many of those in the prime demographic group targeted for enlistment (18-25 year-olds) don't quality for military service, for reasons ranging from obesity and other medical issues, to academic problems and past run-ins with the law. By some estimates, only 28% of young Americans in the prime enlistment cohort actually qualify for military service (emphasis ours).

The cognitive short-comings of potential enlistees represent a particular concern. In a high-tech military, you simply can't train someone on high tech weapons or information systems when they lack basic academic skills. And the problem seems to be growing worse, according to a new report by the Education Trust. Entitled Shut Out of the Military, the study analyzes five years of test scores from the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, and the Armed Forces Qualification Test. Pouring over reams of data, researcher Christina Theokas discovered that one in five candidates who took the ASVAB failed to achieve the minimum score required to enter the U.S. Army.

At this point, some clarification is in order. The ASVAB, as its name implies, measures aptitude in a variety of areas, helping the military determine which recruits have skills that might be useful in specific jobs. Scores from the four academic sections of the ASVAB generate the AFQT score, which provides an overall measure of cognitive ability. It's the AFQT score that determines if a recruit gets in, and the type of technical training he or she qualifies for in their respective branch of service.

In terms of qualifying scores on the AFQT, each branch of the military has its own standards (listed below). The Army has the lowest; the Coast Guard has the highest.

Minimum Required AFQT Score by Service Branch

Army 31
Marine Corps 32
Navy 35
Air Force 40
Coast Guard 45

We should also note that the AFQT is based on a 100-point scale. So, a prospective recruit can score below 50% and still meet cognitive standards for enlistment in any branch of the military--assuming they don't have other disqualifying issues. Indeed, none of the 350,000 young people in the study sample had those problems, so these young men (and women) were viewed as prime enlistment candidates--until some of them took the ASVAB.

It's a damning indictment of America's education system when 23% of those taking the ASVAB couldn't achieve a passing score for any branch of the military. And, as you dig into Ms. Theokas's work, the news grows steadily worse. Among her findings:

-- Everyone in the sample group had a high school diploma, and all graduated within three years of the time they sat for the ASVAB. So, the notion that these young people had been out of school for an extended period (and lost much of what they learned) really doesn't apply.

-- Failure rates for Hispanic and African-American youngsters were significantly higher than their white peers. Nationally, twenty-nine percent of Hispanics who took the test could not meet Army standards, while 39% of African-Americans failed to achieve the minimum score.

-- Ineligibility rates vary greatly from state-to-state. In Hawaii and Mississippi, the number of test-takers who couldn't meet minimum standards approaches 40%, and it's over 30% in Washington, D.C. and Louisiana. Figures for those southern states are hardly surprising, given long-standing problems with the education systems in Louisiana and Mississippi. But Hawaii ranks 28th in per-pupil spending ($7253 per year) and Washington D.C. spends more per child ($13,187) than any other state, federal district or territory. So the dismal AFQT scores for graduates of the D.C. system are not the result of under-funded schools. You could make a similar case for Hawaii, though many educators in that state would disagree.
-- High-school grads who can't pass the AFQT are equally unprepared for the civilian job market.

Another fact worth remembering: these are not the ASVAB takers of decades past, when local schools (in cooperation with military recruiters) would administer the test to the entire senior class. Under that approach, some students earned rock-bottom scores, because they had no interest in joining the military and didn't care about the results.

But all of the participants in this study took the exam at an armed forces recruiting station. In other words, these individuals were already disposed towards military service by their prior meeting(s) with recruiters and willingness to sit for the ASVAB.

So, their difficulties on the entrance exam represents a serious loss, both for the armed forces and society as a whole. The military impact is disturbing, even if you only consider the recruiting process. Based on the study results, we lost upwards of 80,000 potential recruits because they couldn't achieve minimum scores on the AFQT. That represents the Army's active-duty recruiting quota for one year, plus 10,000 additional recruits.

And because of high failure rates on the ASVAB/AFQT, the Army (along with the rest of the military) must spend more effort to find qualified volunteers in the 18-25 cohort, with additional costs for recruiting, marketing, advertising, evaluation and related functions. In an era of decreased resources for defense, that money might be better spent on new weapon systems, or higher bonuses for recruits who have already demonstrated their value to the military.

From a societal perspective, it means that the military is no longer a potential gateway to the middle class for thousands of lower-income youngsters. To be fair, social advancement has never been--nor should it ever be--a primary function for the armed forces. But it is also irrefutable that hundreds of thousands of lower-income whites, Hispanics and African-Americans have used their military training (and service) to acquire skills and expertise that led to a higher standard of living, more education and other opportunities. Without the required AFQT score, that option is effectively closed.

To its credit, the education trust doesn't suggest any dilution of the ASVAB. The test (and the AFQT score) are proven indicators of applicant skills and their cognitive abilities--crucial measurements in determining who should serve, and in what capacity. Clearly, the problem isn't with the test.

Additionally, the study's authors do not call for the military to lower its standards. Talk to any battalion, squadron or brigade commander (and their senior enlisted members) and they'll tell you: the armed forces simply can't train and inculcate soldiers, Marines, sailors or airmen who score below 30 on the AFQT. As commanders and senior NCOs, they need more junior troops who can master complex tasks quickly and act with initiative. From experience, they know that young enlisted members with lower AFQT scores will need more remedial training and supervision, placing another strain on the unit and its resources.

The real solution--obviously--lies with improving our educational system. But beyond suggestions for more spending, you won't find many politicians proposing serious reform programs. That's because it's much easier to promise more money, instead of tackling the tough issues like poor teachers, inadequate curricula, out-of-control students, timid administrators and too-powerful education unions, to name a few. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is one of the few trying to buck the education establishment, in order to save money and improve student performance. Unfortunately, Governor Christie's campaign is the exception and not the rule.

We also find it rather curious that first lady Michelle Obama has failed to weigh in on this matter. Earlier this year, she (correctly) described the nation's childhood obesity epidemic as a threat to national security, since young people who are grossly overweight are ineligible for military service. But we lose far more recruits to the AFQT issue and (so far) the White House has been silent. Wouldn't want to offend all those NEA members who write checks for Democratic politicians and vote in lock-step for the party's candidates.
***
Additionally, this recruiting issue may also be affected by the recent repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." A landmark Heritage Foundation Study (conducted five years ago), found that 29 states, mostly in the south, Midwest and west, were over-represented among military recruits. At that time, the states with the highest proportional enlistment rates (compared to the general population) were: Montana, Texas, Wyoming, Alaska and Oklahoma.

All are deeply red, located in flyover country (a.k.a. "Jesusland"), more closely identified with traditional American values, including opposition to homosexuality. With DADT now gone, will young people from those states (and other rural regions) still be willing to sign up in required numbers to sustain current force levels? Or should the recruiters expand their efforts in places like San Francisco and New York City, which have, in recent years, supplied small numbers of recruits in relation to their overall population. Call it another, unintended consequence of repealing DADT.
10280  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal issues on: December 28, 2010, 11:12:22 AM
Aren't whites a minority in California?
10281  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal issues on: December 28, 2010, 10:54:07 AM
It's almost like a radical leftist got elected president or something.....
10282  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Happy Kwanzaa! on: December 28, 2010, 12:33:41 AM
http://archive.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=20535

Happy Kwanzaa
By: Paul Mulshine
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, December 26, 2002


On December 24, 1971, the New York Times ran one of the first of many articles on a new holiday designed to foster unity among African Americans. The holiday, called Kwanzaa, was applauded by a certain sixteen-year-old minister who explained that the feast would perform the valuable service of "de-whitizing" Christmas. The minister was a nobody at the time but he would later go on to become perhaps the premier race-baiter of the twentieth century. His name was Al Sharpton and he would later spawn the Tawana Brawley hoax and then incite anti-Jewish tensions in a 1995 incident that ended with the arson deaths of seven people.

Great minds think alike. The inventor of the holiday was one of the few black "leaders" in America even worse than Sharpton. But there was no mention in the Times article of this man or of the fact that at that very moment he was sitting in a California prison. And there was no mention of the curious fact that this purported benefactor of the black people had founded an organization that in its short history tortured and murdered blacks in ways of which the Ku Klux Klan could only fantasize.

It was in newspaper articles like that, repeated in papers all over the country, that the tradition of Kwanzaa began. It is a tradition not out of Africa but out of Orwell. Both history and language have been bent to serve a political goal. When that New York Times article appeared, Ron Karenga's crimes were still recent events. If the reporter had bothered to do any research into the background of the Kwanzaa founder, he might have learned about Karenga's trial earlier that year on charges of torturing two women who were members of US (United Slaves), a black nationalist cult he had founded.

A May 14, 1971, article in the Los Angeles Times described the testimony of one of them: "Deborah Jones, who once was given the Swahili title of an African queen, said she and Gail Davis were whipped with an electrical cord and beaten with a karate baton after being ordered to remove their clothes. She testified that a hot soldering iron was placed in Miss Davis' mouth and placed against Miss Davis' face and that one of her own big toes was tightened in a vise. Karenga, head of US, also put detergent and running hoses in their mouths, she said."

Back then, it was relatively easy to get information on the trial. Now it's almost impossible. It took me two days' work to find articles about it. The Los Angeles Times seems to have been the only major newspaper that reported it and the stories were buried deep in the paper, which now is available only on microfilm. And the microfilm index doesn't start until 1972, so it is almost impossible to find the three small articles that cover Karenga's trial and conviction on charges of torture. That is fortunate for Karenga. The trial showed him to be not just brutal, but deranged. He and three members of his cult had tortured the women in an attempt to find some nonexistent "crystals" of poison. Karenga thought his enemies were out to get him.

And in another lucky break for Karenga, the trial transcript no longer exists. I filed a request for it with the Superior Court of Los Angeles. After a search, the court clerk could find no record of the trial. So the exact words of the black woman who had a hot soldering iron pressed against her face by the man who founded Kwanzaa are now lost to history. The only document the court clerk did find was particularly revealing, however. It was a transcript of Karenga's sentencing hearing on Sept. 17, 1971.

A key issue was whether Karenga was sane. Judge Arthur L. Alarcon read from a psychiatrist's report: "Since his admission here he has been isolated and has been exhibiting bizarre behavior, such as staring at the wall, talking to imaginary persons, claiming that he was attacked by dive-bombers and that his attorney was in the next cell. … During part of the interview he would look around as if reacting to hallucination and when the examiner walked away for a moment he began a conversation with a blanket located on his bed, stating that there was someone there and implying indirectly that the 'someone' was a woman imprisoned with him for some offense. This man now presents a picture which can be considered both paranoid and schizophrenic with hallucinations and elusions, inappropriate affect, disorganization, and impaired contact with the environment."

The founder of Kwanzaa paranoid? It seems so. But as the old saying goes, just because you're paranoid it doesn't mean that someone isn't out to get you.

ACCORDING TO COURT DOCUMENTS, Karenga's real name is Ron N. Everett. In the '60s, he awarded himself the title "maulana," Swahili for "master teacher." He was born on a poultry farm in Maryland, the fourteenth child of a Baptist minister. He came to California in the late 1950s to attend Los Angeles Community College. He moved on to UCLA, where he got a Master's degree in political science and African Studies. By the mid-1960s, he had established himself as a leading "cultural nationalist." That is a term that had some meaning in the '60s, mainly as a way of distinguishing Karenga's followers from the Black Panthers, who were conventional Marxists.

Another way of distinguishing might be to think of Karenga's gang as the Crips and the Panthers as the bloods. Despite all their rhetoric about white people, they reserved their most vicious violence for each other. In 1969, the two groups squared off over the question of who would control the new Afro-American Studies Center at UCLA. According to a Los Angeles Times article, Karenga and his adherents backed one candidate, the Panthers another. Both groups took to carrying guns on campus, a situation that, remarkably, did not seem to bother the university administration. The Black Student Union, however, set up a coalition to try and bring peace between the Panthers and the group headed by the man whom the Times labeled "Ron Ndabezitha Everett-Karenga."

On Jan. 17, 1969, about 150 students gathered in a lunchroom to discuss the situation. Two Panthers—admitted to UCLA like many of the black students as part of a federal program that put high-school dropouts into the school—apparently spent a good part of the meeting in verbal attacks against Karenga. This did not sit well with Karenga's followers, many of whom had adopted the look of their leader, pseudo-African clothing and a shaved head.

In modern gang parlance, you might say Karenga was "dissed" by John Jerome Huggins, 23, and Alprentice "Bunchy" Carter, 26. After the meeting, the two Panthers were met in the hallway by two brothers who were members of US, George P. and Larry Joseph Stiner. The Stiners pulled pistols and shot the two Panthers dead. One of the Stiners took a bullet in the shoulder, apparently from a Panther's gun.

There were other beatings and shooting in Los Angeles involving US, but by then the tradition of African nationalism had already taken hold—among whites. That tradition calls for any white person, whether a journalist, a college official, or a politician, to ignore the obvious flaws of the concept that blacks should have a separate culture. "The students here have handled themselves in an absolutely impeccable manner," UCLA chancellor Charles E. Young told the L.A. Times. "They have been concerned. They haven't argued who the director should be; they have been saying what kind of person he should be." Young made those remarks after the shooting. And the university went ahead with its Afro-American Studies Program. Karenga, meanwhile, continued to build and strengthen US, a unique group that seems to have combined the elements of a street gang with those of a California cult. The members performed assaults and robberies but they also strictly followed the rules laid down in The Quotable Karenga, a book that laid out "The Path of Blackness." "The sevenfold path of blackness is think black, talk black, act black, create black, buy black, vote black, and live black," the book states.

In retrospect, it may be fortunate that the cult fell apart over the torture charges. Left to his own devices, Karenga might have orchestrated the type of mass suicide later pioneered by the People's Temple and copied by the Heaven's Gate cult. Instead, he apparently fell into deep paranoia shortly after the killings at UCLA. He began fearing that his followers were trying to have him killed. On May 9, 1970 he initiated the torture session that led to his imprisonment. Karenga himself will not comment on that incident and the victims cannot be located, so the sole remaining account is in the brief passage from the L.A. Times describing tortures inflicted by Karenga and his fellow defendants, Louis Smith and Luz Maria Tamayo:

"The victims said they were living at Karenga's home when Karenga accused them of trying to kill him by placing 'crystals' in his food and water and in various areas of his house. When they denied it, allegedly they were beaten with an electrical cord and a hot soldering iron was put in Miss Davis' mouth and against her face. Police were told that one of Miss Jones' toes was placed in a small vise which then allegedly was tightened by one of the defendants. The following day Karenga allegedly told the women that 'Vietnamese torture is nothing compared to what I know.' Miss Tamayo reportedly put detergent in their mouths, Smith turned a water hose full force on their faces, and Karenga, holding a gun, threatened to shoot both of them."

Karenga was convicted of two counts of felonious assault and one count of false imprisonment. He was sentenced on Sept. 17, 1971, to serve one to ten years in prison. A brief account of the sentencing ran in several newspapers the following day. That was apparently the last newspaper article to mention Karenga's unfortunate habit of doing unspeakable things to black people. After that, the only coverage came from the hundreds of news accounts that depict him as the wonderful man who invented Kwanzaa.

LOOK AT ANY MAP OF THE WORLD and you will see that Ghana and Kenya are on opposite sides of the continent. This brings up an obvious question about Kwanzaa: Why did Karenga use Swahili words for his fictional African feast? American blacks are primarily descended from people who came from Ghana and other parts of West Africa. Kenya and Tanzania—where Swahili is spoken—are several thousand miles away, about as far from Ghana as Los Angeles is from New York. Yet in celebrating Kwanzaa, African-Americans are supposed to employ a vocabulary of such Swahili words as "kujichagulia" and "kuumba." This makes about as much sense as having Irish-Americans celebrate St. Patrick's Day by speaking Polish. One possible explanation is that Karenga was simply ignorant of African geography and history when he came up with Kwanzaa in 1966. That might explain why he would schedule a harvest festival near the solstice, a season when few fruits or vegetables are harvested anywhere. But a better explanation is that he simply has contempt for black people.

That does not seem a farfetched hypothesis. Despite all his rhetoric about white racism, I could find no record that he or his followers ever raised a hand in anger against a white person. In fact, Karenga had an excellent relationship with Los Angeles Mayor Sam Yorty in the '60s and also met with then-Governor Ronald Reagan and other white politicians. But he and his gang were hell on blacks. And Karenga certainly seems to have had a low opinion of his fellow African-Americans. "People think it's African, but it's not," he said about his holiday in an interview quoted in the Washington Post. "I came up with Kwanzaa because black people in this country wouldn't celebrate it if they knew it was American. Also, I put it around Christmas because I knew that's when a lot of bloods would be partying." "Bloods" is a '60s California slang term for black people.

That Post article appeared in 1978. Like other news articles from that era, it makes no mention of Karenga's criminal past, which seems to have been forgotten the minute he got out of prison in 1975. Profiting from the absence of memory, he remade himself as Maulana Ron Karenga, went into academics, and by 1979 he was running the Black Studies Department at California State University in Long Beach.

This raises a question: Karenga had just ten years earlier proven himself capable of employing guns and bullets in his efforts to control hiring in the Black Studies Department at UCLA. So how did this ex-con, fresh out jail, get the job at Long Beach? Did he just send a résumé and wait by the phone? The officials at Long Beach State don't like that type of question. I called the university and got a spokeswoman by the name of Toni Barone. She listened to my questions and put me on hold. Christmas music was playing, a nice touch under the circumstances. She told me to fax her my questions. I sent a list of questions that included the matter of whether Karenga had employed threats to get his job. I also asked just what sort of crimes would preclude a person from serving on the faculty there in Long Beach. And whether the university takes any security measures to ensure that Karenga doesn't shoot any students. Barone faxed me back a reply stating that the university is pleased with Karenga's performance and has no record of the procedures that led to his hiring. She ignored the question about how they protect students.

Actually, there is clear evidence that Karenga has reformed. In 1975, he dropped his cultural nationalist views and converted to Marxism. For anyone else, this would have been seen as an endorsement of radicalism, but for Karenga it was considered a sign that he had moderated his outlook. The ultimate irony is that now that Karenga is a Marxist, the capitalists have taken over his holiday. The seven principles of Kwanzaa include "collective work" and "cooperative economics," but Kwanzaa is turning out to be as commercial as Christmas, generating millions in greeting-card sales alone. The purists are whining. "It's clear that a number of major corporations have started to take notice and try to profit from Kwanzaa," said a San Francisco State black studies professor named "Oba T'Shaka" in one news account. "That's not good, with money comes corruption." No, he's wrong. With money comes kitsch. The L.A. Times reported a group was planning an "African Village Faire," the pseudo-archaic spelling of "faire" nicely combining kitsch Africana with kitsch Americana.

With money also comes forgetfulness. As those warm Kwanzaa feelings are generated in a spirit of holiday cheer, those who celebrate this holiday do so in blissful ignorance of the sordid violence, paranoia, and mayhem that helped generate its birth some three decades ago in a section of America that has vanished down the memory hole.
10283  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Who's up for celebrating a racist, marxist, made-up holiday? on: December 27, 2010, 11:40:18 PM
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2010/12/barack-obama-michelle-obama-hail-kwanzaa-holiday.html

Barack and Michelle Obama hail Kwanzaa umoja
10284  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: December 27, 2010, 11:27:32 PM
There is a very common belief in the US that what we've had as a way of life and a standard of living is just the natural order of the universe, and prosperity and safety are inherent, no matter how far we stray from the core principles that allowed such things to come about.
10285  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: December 27, 2010, 09:43:21 PM
So, when do the jobs come back? Real jobs, not census workers or holiday temps.
10286  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / States Taxing Themselves to Death on: December 27, 2010, 01:06:08 PM
http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2010/12/states-taxing.html

States Taxing Themselves to Death
Following up on last week's post: Census Data -- Population Flocks to States Without an Income Tax: New York Post, States Taxing Themselves to Death, by Dick Morris:

    NY Post High taxes kill states. There can be no better evidence than the 2010 Census. The states that lost House seats -- because they're shrinking, relative to the nation -- had taxes 27% higher than the ones that gained seats.

    Of the seven states that don't have a personal income tax, four (Texas, Florida, Nevada and Washington) account for eight of the 12 seats apportioned to the fastest-growing states.

    New York and Ohio lost two more seats. Other losers -- down one each -- are Massachusetts, Missouri, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Louisiana and Iowa. What do they all have in common? High taxes. ...

    The states that lost seats ranked an average of 24th in taxes and had an average tax burden of $2,267 per capita. ... The states that gained seats ranked an average of 39th in taxes and had an average tax burden (weighted) of $1,788 -- 27% lower than the losing states. ...
    The trend is unmistakeable: The "losing" states drove out their high-income citizens (and middle-income jobs) with heavier tax burdens.
10287  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / The Abiding Faith Of Warm-ongers on: December 27, 2010, 10:28:17 AM
http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article/557597/201012221907/The-Abiding-Faith-Of-Warm-ongers.aspx

The Abiding Faith Of Warm-ongers

Climate: Nothing makes fools of more people than trying to predict the weather. Whether in Los Angeles or London, recent predictions have gone crazily awry. Global warming? How about mini ice age?

The sight of confused and angry travelers stuck in airports across Europe because of an arctic freeze that has settled across the continent isn't funny. Sadly, they've been told for more than a decade now that such a thing was an impossibility — that global warming was inevitable, and couldn't be reversed.

This is a big problem for those who see human-caused global warming as an irreversible result of the Industrial Revolution's reliance on carbon-based fuels. Based on global warming theory — and according to official weather forecasts made earlier in the year — this winter should be warm and dry. It's anything but. Ice and snow cover vast parts of both Europe and North America, in one of the coldest Decembers in history.

A cautionary tale? You bet. Prognosticators who wrote the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, global warming report in 2007 predicted an inevitable, century-long rise in global temperatures of two degrees or more. Only higher temperatures were foreseen. Moderate or even lower temperatures, as we're experiencing now, weren't even listed as a possibility.

Since at least 1998, however, no significant warming trend has been noticeable. Unfortunately, none of the 24 models used by the IPCC views that as possible. They are at odds with reality.

Karl Popper, the late, great philosopher of science, noted that for something to be called scientific, it must be, as he put it, "falsifiable." That is, for something to be scientifically true, you must be able to test it to see if it's false. That's what scientific experimentation and observation do. That's the essence of the scientific method.

Unfortunately, the prophets of climate doom violate this idea. No matter what happens, it always confirms their basic premise that the world is getting hotter. The weather turns cold and wet? It's global warming, they say. Weather turns hot? Global warming. No change? Global warming. More hurricanes? Global warming. No hurricanes? You guessed it.

Nothing can disprove their thesis. Not even the extraordinarily frigid weather now creating havoc across most of the Northern Hemisphere. The Los Angeles Times, in a piece on the region's strangely wet and cold weather, paraphrases Jet Propulsion Laboratory climatologist Bill Patzert as saying, "In general, as the globe warms, weather conditions tend to be more extreme and volatile."

Got that? No matter what the weather, it's all due to warming. This isn't science; it's a kind of faith. Scientists go along and even stifle dissent because, frankly, hundreds of millions of dollars in research grants are at stake. But for the believers, global warming is the god that failed.

[b**]Read it all.[/b]

10288  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / AP IMPACT: Mexico says its troops killed US man on: December 27, 2010, 10:06:19 AM
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gArzGbiOwhFhAgcHZWx1MZy8h82Q?docId=f188a3da00a1427093d4332a026a9b47

AP IMPACT: Mexico says its troops killed US man

(AP) – 1 day ago

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Joseph Proctor told his girlfriend he was popping out to the convenience store in the quiet Mexican beach town where the couple had just moved, intending to start a new life.

The next morning, the 32-year-old New York native was dead inside his crashed van on a road outside Acapulco. He had multiple bullet wounds. An AR-15 rifle lay in his hands.

His distraught girlfriend, Liliana Gil Vargas, was summoned to police headquarters, where she was told Proctor had died in a gunbattle with an army patrol. They claimed Proctor — whose green van had a for-sale sign and his cell phone number spray-painted on the windows — had attacked the troops. They showed her the gun.

His mother, Donna Proctor, devastated and incredulous, has been fighting through Mexico's secretive military justice system ever since to learn what really happened on the night of Aug. 22.

It took weeks of pressuring U.S. diplomats and congressmen for help, but she finally got an answer, which she shared with The Associated Press.

Three soldiers have been charged with killing her son. Two have been charged with planting the assault rifle in his hands and claiming falsely that he fired first, according to a Mexican Defense Department document sent to her through the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City.

It is at least the third case this year in which soldiers, locked in a brutal battle with drug cartels, have been accused of killing innocent civilians and faking evidence in cover-ups.
10289  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Drunkard’s Progress on: December 26, 2010, 11:23:27 PM
http://pajamasmedia.com/richardfernandez/2010/12/19/the-drunkards-progress/?singlepage=true

The Drunkard’s Progress
December 19, 2010 - by Richard Fernandez
Share |

When Lady Gaga spoke at a rally in support of repealing the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy towards gays in the military, she said: “Our new law is called ‘If you don’t like it, go home!’” That kind of speech is described as a defense of tolerance. Today the New York Times narrates the case of a University of Nebraska astronomer who was denied a position at the University of Kentucky because he was “potentially evangelical.” The department voted to deny him the position because it would look bad for the university if it hired a religious nut. Both incidents highlight the new normal, whatever that is.

    … the smoking gun is an e-mail dated Sept. 21, 2007, from a department staff member, Sally A. Shafer, to Dr. Cavagnero and another colleague. Ms. Shafer wrote that she did an Internet search on Dr. Gaskell and found links to his notes for a lecture that explores, among other topics, how the Bible could relate to contemporary astronomy.

    “Clearly this man is complex and likely fascinating to talk with,” Ms. Shafer wrote, “but potentially evangelical. If we hire him, we should expect similar content to be posted on or directly linked from the department Web site.”

Just what is inappropriate in modern society is a matter of intense debate. Some people say that anything goes. Recently, Ann Althouse quoted Justice Scalia in connection with a case involving incest between a Columbia professor and Huffington Post blogger. She argued that morals legislation may effectively be dead. Scalia said where once there was a belief  “that certain forms of sexual behavior are ‘immoral and unacceptable’… the same interest furthered by criminal laws against fornication, bigamy, adultery, adult incest, bestiality, and obscenity,” those views were in his view increasingly untenable in view of recent jurisprudence. Scalia wrote:

    The Court today reaches the opposite conclusion. The Texas statute, it says, “furthers no legitimate state interest which can justify its intrusion into the personal and private life of the individual” … The Court embraces instead Justice Stevens’ declaration in his Bowers dissent, that “the fact that the governing majority in a State has traditionally viewed a particular practice as immoral is not a sufficient reason for upholding a law prohibiting the practice.” This effectively decrees the end of all morals legislation. If, as the Court asserts, the promotion of majoritarian sexual morality is not even a legitimate state interest, none of the above-mentioned laws can survive rational-basis review.

But a cursory glance around shows that moral judgments in some form refuse to go away. In fact, they are more pervasive than ever. Lady Gaga felt herself perfectly justified in asking those who objected to the repeal of DADT to “go home,” where they could presumably languish in their bigotry. And a university department believes that it may be unacceptable to hire someone who believes in the Bible as an astronomer. They were making moral judgments and felt perfectly entitled to do so.

Hate speech laws have been enacted by Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, the Council of Europe, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, India, Ireland, Jordan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Serbia, , Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. What you say and what you do, far from being your own business, is everywhere the public’s business. Recently, the head of the soccer federation FIFA warned homosexuals against engaging in sexual behavior in Qatr because they stood a good chance of running afoul of Islamic law. The FIFA head later apologized for offending gays. But whether that will help gays in Qatr is a different matter, because one may not criticize Islamic law either. So in all likelihood then, while Qatr may beat up the gays anyhow and not have any explaining to do, any European who simply mentions that Qatr might do it is engaging in offensive behavior.

Morals legislation appears to be as pervasive as ever. Nothing in the current environment suggests there exist opinions on which you may not be lectured. The extent of what is out of bounds is growing all the time. What has changed is the contents of that proscribed area. It may now be a crime to quote the Bible. For example, in May of 2010 a British preacher was arrested for handing out leaflets saying that homosexuality was a sin. A policeman appoached “to warn him they had received complaints and that if he made any racist or homophobic comments he would be arrested.”

    I told him homosexuality is a sin, and he told me “I am a homosexual, I find that offensive, and I’m also the liaison officer for the bisexual-lesbian-gay-transsexual community”,’ he said yesterday. ‘I told him it was still a sin.’

    Mr Adams last year represented Cumbria Police at the Gay Pride march in Manchester. On the social networking site MySpace, he describes his orientation as gay and his religion as atheist.

    After the warning, Mr Mcalpine took over preaching for 20 minutes, although he claims he did not cover homosexuality. But while he talked to a passer-by the PCSO radioed for assistance and he was arrested by uniformed officers.

    He was taken to a police station, had his pockets emptied and his mobile phone taken along with his belt and shoes, and was kept in the cells for seven hours where he sang hymns to keep his spirits up.

It is exactly the same process that might have occurred fifty years ago but with a policeman warning a homosexual he could not distribute leaflets advocating sodomy. What has changed isn’t that people are being warned off for their beliefs. What is different is which beliefs they are being warned against. The Ins and the Outs have changed places, but he door remains the same. Wikipedia writes that “views on public morality do change over time,” but whether public morality itself can ever be abolished is an open question.

One of the drivers of the new public morality is who can fight back. British policemen do not go around telling Muslim imams not to preach against homosexuality because such preachers may take strenuous exception to their warnings.  But the rules of the new morality are often capricious, unstated or simply arcane.

The offenses ascribed to Julian Assange illuminate what some publics regard as offensive and inappropriate. He is facing complaints from two Swedish women; both appeared to be ideological supporters of Assange. They have sworn out a complaint against him. Neither had problems with Assange’s practice of revealing classified information. “A fellow activist, she had invited Assange to stay at her flat while he was in Stockholm to address her political party, the centre-left Brotherhood Movement.” No, what deeply offended them was welshing on his promise to use a condom when engaging in sexual activity with them. The Swedish police described the crimes of the Wikileaks supremo. Miss A complained that:

    She tried to reach for a condom but Assange held her arms and pinned her legs, she stated to police. He then agreed to use a condom but, Miss A alleges, he did ‘something’ to it that resulted in it becoming ripped….

    Two days later, he slept with Miss W. She was a twentysomething who had attended his seminar and hung around hoping to meet him. After lunch and the cinema, she invited him to her apartment in Enkoping, near Stockholm, and he stayed.

    They used a condom the first time they had sex, but the next morning he allegedly had sex with her when she was still asleep, without protection. He maintains she was ‘half asleep’ and they joked about it afterwards.

    Either way, it was not long before the two women had learnt of each other, and were swapping notes. After taking stock, they took the drastic step of going to the police.

The hard part of living under the new morality is understanding what the rules actually are. Is it uncool to steal classified documents which may result in the death of hundreds of Afghans who’ve cooperated with NATO? Apparently not. Is it OK for Julian Assange to use his status as a “fugitive” to become a “babe magnet”? Why of course. Who ever said that being a fugitive meant not telling people who you were? You can be a fugitive only for public purposes and not to actually conceal your whereabouts. But it is apparently not ok not to use a condom in Sweden. This point of punctilo is apparently inviolable, and if it is not clear why to all of us, it is nevertheless evident to members of the relevant set.

Nothing so demonstrates plebeianism as the inability not to even know the rules. The real hallmark of membership in the new aristocracy is knowing all the etiquette without even having to ask — easy enough because they make the rules. What’s right is what Keith Olbermann and Lady Gaga say. Why? Well if you have to ask then  you must be immoral.  The new morality is above all the art of speaking in code and part of the power of political correctness springs precisely from its vagueness. The art of correct behavior today consists largely in sensing the prevailing fashion. It is a survival skill the Old Bolsheviks knew well. The important thing was to always to have opinions, but never to have opinions that were out of date.
10290  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The post-moral morality on: December 26, 2010, 07:08:57 PM
http://pajamasmedia.com/richardfernandez/2010/12/19/the-drunkards-progress/?singlepage=true

The Drunkard’s Progress
December 19, 2010 - by Richard Fernandez
Share |

When Lady Gaga spoke at a rally in support of repealing the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy towards gays in the military, she said: “Our new law is called ‘If you don’t like it, go home!’” That kind of speech is described as a defense of tolerance. Today the New York Times narrates the case of a University of Nebraska astronomer who was denied a position at the University of Kentucky because he was “potentially evangelical.” The department voted to deny him the position because it would look bad for the university if it hired a religious nut. Both incidents highlight the new normal, whatever that is.

    … the smoking gun is an e-mail dated Sept. 21, 2007, from a department staff member, Sally A. Shafer, to Dr. Cavagnero and another colleague. Ms. Shafer wrote that she did an Internet search on Dr. Gaskell and found links to his notes for a lecture that explores, among other topics, how the Bible could relate to contemporary astronomy.

    “Clearly this man is complex and likely fascinating to talk with,” Ms. Shafer wrote, “but potentially evangelical. If we hire him, we should expect similar content to be posted on or directly linked from the department Web site.”

Just what is inappropriate in modern society is a matter of intense debate. Some people say that anything goes. Recently, Ann Althouse quoted Justice Scalia in connection with a case involving incest between a Columbia professor and Huffington Post blogger. She argued that morals legislation may effectively be dead. Scalia said where once there was a belief  “that certain forms of sexual behavior are ‘immoral and unacceptable’… the same interest furthered by criminal laws against fornication, bigamy, adultery, adult incest, bestiality, and obscenity,” those views were in his view increasingly untenable in view of recent jurisprudence. Scalia wrote:

    The Court today reaches the opposite conclusion. The Texas statute, it says, “furthers no legitimate state interest which can justify its intrusion into the personal and private life of the individual” … The Court embraces instead Justice Stevens’ declaration in his Bowers dissent, that “the fact that the governing majority in a State has traditionally viewed a particular practice as immoral is not a sufficient reason for upholding a law prohibiting the practice.” This effectively decrees the end of all morals legislation. If, as the Court asserts, the promotion of majoritarian sexual morality is not even a legitimate state interest, none of the above-mentioned laws can survive rational-basis review.

But a cursory glance around shows that moral judgments in some form refuse to go away. In fact, they are more pervasive than ever. Lady Gaga felt herself perfectly justified in asking those who objected to the repeal of DADT to “go home,” where they could presumably languish in their bigotry. And a university department believes that it may be unacceptable to hire someone who believes in the Bible as an astronomer. They were making moral judgments and felt perfectly entitled to do so.

Hate speech laws have been enacted by Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, the Council of Europe, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, India, Ireland, Jordan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Serbia, , Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. What you say and what you do, far from being your own business, is everywhere the public’s business. Recently, the head of the soccer federation FIFA warned homosexuals against engaging in sexual behavior in Qatr because they stood a good chance of running afoul of Islamic law. The FIFA head later apologized for offending gays. But whether that will help gays in Qatr is a different matter, because one may not criticize Islamic law either. So in all likelihood then, while Qatr may beat up the gays anyhow and not have any explaining to do, any European who simply mentions that Qatr might do it is engaging in offensive behavior.

Morals legislation appears to be as pervasive as ever. Nothing in the current environment suggests there exist opinions on which you may not be lectured. The extent of what is out of bounds is growing all the time. What has changed is the contents of that proscribed area. It may now be a crime to quote the Bible. For example, in May of 2010 a British preacher was arrested for handing out leaflets saying that homosexuality was a sin. A policeman appoached “to warn him they had received complaints and that if he made any racist or homophobic comments he would be arrested.”

    I told him homosexuality is a sin, and he told me “I am a homosexual, I find that offensive, and I’m also the liaison officer for the bisexual-lesbian-gay-transsexual community”,’ he said yesterday. ‘I told him it was still a sin.’

    Mr Adams last year represented Cumbria Police at the Gay Pride march in Manchester. On the social networking site MySpace, he describes his orientation as gay and his religion as atheist.

    After the warning, Mr Mcalpine took over preaching for 20 minutes, although he claims he did not cover homosexuality. But while he talked to a passer-by the PCSO radioed for assistance and he was arrested by uniformed officers.

    He was taken to a police station, had his pockets emptied and his mobile phone taken along with his belt and shoes, and was kept in the cells for seven hours where he sang hymns to keep his spirits up.

It is exactly the same process that might have occurred fifty years ago but with a policeman warning a homosexual he could not distribute leaflets advocating sodomy. What has changed isn’t that people are being warned off for their beliefs. What is different is which beliefs they are being warned against. The Ins and the Outs have changed places, but he door remains the same. Wikipedia writes that “views on public morality do change over time,” but whether public morality itself can ever be abolished is an open question.

One of the drivers of the new public morality is who can fight back. British policemen do not go around telling Muslim imams not to preach against homosexuality because such preachers may take strenuous exception to their warnings.  But the rules of the new morality are often capricious, unstated or simply arcane.

The offenses ascribed to Julian Assange illuminate what some publics regard as offensive and inappropriate. He is facing complaints from two Swedish women; both appeared to be ideological supporters of Assange. They have sworn out a complaint against him. Neither had problems with Assange’s practice of revealing classified information. “A fellow activist, she had invited Assange to stay at her flat while he was in Stockholm to address her political party, the centre-left Brotherhood Movement.” No, what deeply offended them was welshing on his promise to use a condom when engaging in sexual activity with them. The Swedish police described the crimes of the Wikileaks supremo. Miss A complained that:

    She tried to reach for a condom but Assange held her arms and pinned her legs, she stated to police. He then agreed to use a condom but, Miss A alleges, he did ‘something’ to it that resulted in it becoming ripped….

    Two days later, he slept with Miss W. She was a twentysomething who had attended his seminar and hung around hoping to meet him. After lunch and the cinema, she invited him to her apartment in Enkoping, near Stockholm, and he stayed.

    They used a condom the first time they had sex, but the next morning he allegedly had sex with her when she was still asleep, without protection. He maintains she was ‘half asleep’ and they joked about it afterwards.

    Either way, it was not long before the two women had learnt of each other, and were swapping notes. After taking stock, they took the drastic step of going to the police.

The hard part of living under the new morality is understanding what the rules actually are. Is it uncool to steal classified documents which may result in the death of hundreds of Afghans who’ve cooperated with NATO? Apparently not. Is it OK for Julian Assange to use his status as a “fugitive” to become a “babe magnet”? Why of course. Who ever said that being a fugitive meant not telling people who you were? You can be a fugitive only for public purposes and not to actually conceal your whereabouts. But it is apparently not ok not to use a condom in Sweden. This point of punctilo is apparently inviolable, and if it is not clear why to all of us, it is nevertheless evident to members of the relevant set.

Nothing so demonstrates plebeianism as the inability not to even know the rules. The real hallmark of membership in the new aristocracy is knowing all the etiquette without even having to ask — easy enough because they make the rules. What’s right is what Keith Olbermann and Lady Gaga say. Why? Well if you have to ask then  you must be immoral.  The new morality is above all the art of speaking in code and part of the power of political correctness springs precisely from its vagueness. The art of correct behavior today consists largely in sensing the prevailing fashion. It is a survival skill the Old Bolsheviks knew well. The important thing was to always to have opinions, but never to have opinions that were out of date.
10291  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Mainstreaming deviance on: December 26, 2010, 03:36:40 PM
**Hey, it's just a lifestyle choice, right?

http://theothermccain.com/2010/12/10/palin-hating-columbia-professor-huffington-post-blogger-busted-for-incest/

**So, how long before the left adopts this as a political movement?
10292  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science on: December 26, 2010, 01:08:35 PM
So, little or no snow=global warming

Lots of snow=global warming

Sounds very scientific to me.
10293  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / The SCIENCE is settled! on: December 25, 2010, 11:01:29 AM
http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/snowfalls-are-now-just-a-thing-of-the-past-724017.html

Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past

By Charles Onians

Monday, 20 March 2000

 

Britain's winter ends tomorrow with further indications of a striking environmental change: snow is starting to disappear from our lives.

Sledges, snowmen, snowballs and the excitement of waking to find that the stuff has settled outside are all a rapidly diminishing part of Britain's culture, as warmer winters - which scientists are attributing to global climate change - produce not only fewer white Christmases, but fewer white Januaries and Februaries.

The first two months of 2000 were virtually free of significant snowfall in much of lowland Britain, and December brought only moderate snowfall in the South-east. It is the continuation of a trend that has been increasingly visible in the past 15 years: in the south of England, for instance, from 1970 to 1995 snow and sleet fell for an average of 3.7 days, while from 1988 to 1995 the average was 0.7 days. London's last substantial snowfall was in February 1991.

Global warming, the heating of the atmosphere by increased amounts of industrial gases, is now accepted as a reality by the international community. Average temperatures in Britain were nearly 0.6°C higher in the Nineties than in 1960-90, and it is estimated that they will increase by 0.2C every decade over the coming century. Eight of the 10 hottest years on record occurred in the Nineties.

However, the warming is so far manifesting itself more in winters which are less cold than in much hotter summers. According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snowfall will become "a very rare and exciting event".

"Children just aren't going to know what snow is," he said.
10294  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Jounolist-ism on: December 24, 2010, 02:47:32 PM
http://thevailspot.blogspot.com/2010/12/111th-congress-most-productive-ever.html

111th Congress Most Productive Ever: JournoList Alive & Well: Media Talking Points
If there was ever any doubt that JourList (or it's successor) isn't up and running...the current talking points by the MSM that the 111th Congress is the most productive since the Great Society initiative of Johnson in the 1960's should put that to rest.  Pretty much every outlet from NBC to the LATimes is saying this almost verbatim. 

10295  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sharia 101 on: December 24, 2010, 01:16:21 PM
http://bigjournalism.com/dreaboi/2010/12/21/csp-responds-to-wapo/#more-151496

Yesterday’s feature, “Monitoring America,” by Dana Priest and William Arkin, intentionally distorts the role of outside experts training local law enforcement in matters related to terrorism.

In an effort to smear the Center for Security Policy, Arkin and Preist erroneously describe the Center’s book, Shariah: The Threat to America, as “expanding on what [Walid] Shoebat and [Ramon] Montijo believe.”

This is false. In fact, Shariah: The Threat to America is an independent work of nineteen national security experts, including the former Director of Central Intelligence, former directors of military intelligence agencies, a former counterterrorism agent in the FBI, experts in Shariah law, and many others. Each of the authors is an expert in his own right on a diverse array of national security issues; in that capacity, they can authoritatively address the nexus between America’s national security and Islamic law, called Shariah.

The study of Shariah is important to the nation’s national security because America’s Islamist enemies—from the inhabitants of al Qaeda-linked training camps in Yemen and Pakistan to homegrown American “lone-wolf” bombers—declare, above all other concerns, that they fight to install Islamic law and in furtherance of its explicit dictates.

Shariah: The Threat to America demonstrates that the mainstream legal code understood by many of the world’s Muslims to be divinely sanctioned law (Shariah) is a knowable system of law, making the practice of Islam possible in an organized way.  Its foundational rulings—on issues like jihad, relations with non-Muslims, mandatory punishments for adultery and apostasy, and more—are objectively knowable. The book takes great pains to present the most mainstream Islamic sources, like the classic of Shafi’i law, Umdat Al-Salik (or Reliance of the Traveller: The Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law) and, in describing the tenants of Shariah, use texts written by Muslims for an Islamic audience.

In writing on the Center for Security Policy’s book, Shariah: The Threat to America, “Monitoring America” gives no more accurate or deep a description of the nearly 400-page work than dismissive posts on far-left blogs and missives from organizations linked by the US Government to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.

Arkin and Preist write, “government terrorism experts call the views expressed in the center’s book [Shariah: The Threat to America] inaccurate and counterproductive. They say the DHS should increase its training of local police, using teachers who have evidence-based viewpoints.”

Predictably, the un-named “government terrorism experts” who, according to Preist and Arkin, critiqued the book, could not point to a single assertion or fact that is “inaccurate and counterproductive.” Shariah: The Threat to America may indeed be “counterproductive”—but only to politically correct fictions these un-named experts cling to at the expense of national security.

The premise of Shariah: The Threat to America is that America’s law enforcement and national security professionals must orient on the terrorist threat itself, using an unconstrained analysis that should begin with what the nation’s enemies themselves declare as war aims. It is unreasonable and counterproductive for national security professionals to substitute Western rationalizations—like poverty, localized political aspirations, the effect of globalization, or territorial claims—for terrorist groups’ motivations; this analysis will inevitably fail, at the detriment of both America’s foreign policy goals and its own security.


In addition, while lamenting the viewpoints of terrorism experts currently training local police around the country, no article has appeared in The Washington Post describing the other groups involved with training and advising national security professionals, from local police forces to consulting at the National Counterrerrorism Center and the White House: the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and many other groups previously named by the U.S. Government as unindicted co-conspirators in US vs. Holy Land Foundation, the largest and most sweeping terrorism-financing case in America’s history. As recently as this year, a Federal Judge Jorge Solis reiterated the close links between these groups and the recognized terrorist entity Hamas, writing of, “at least a prima facie case as to CAIR’s involvement in a conspiracy to support Hamas.” Indeed, according to the United States government, the seed for the most vocal group, CAIR, was created at a Hamas meeting in Philadelphia taped by the FBI as an explicit branch of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee.


Evidently, Arkin and Priest are not concerned about the security implications of or, indeed, the scandal of, relying on associates of a known terrorist entity to provide national security professionals with advice or guidance in combating terror. This pernicious influence is felt less in mandatory sensitivity training than in the ability of groups like CAIR, ISNA, MPAC and others to define what’s known as the “war on terror” for us. Allowing our national security epistemology to be ‘outsourced’ to any group prior to an understanding of what motivates jihadist terrorism is a recipe for both continued potentially disastrous attacks, as well as the confusion and demoralization of watching those with the responsibility to protect us prove to be ineffective and clueless.

The bulk of “Monitoring America” takes a critical look at the gathering of raw intelligence by law enforcement nationally and locally; the effort, made clear by previous reporting from Preist and Arkin, is to enflame civil libertarians about possible violations of privacy at the expense of security. There is, however, no “false choice between liberty and security”—it is difficult, but it is a reality any free society must necessarily negotiate.

The authors, however, do not see the contradiction in their concerns: by maintaining a stubborn refusal to look at the motivating doctrine of terror on its own terms, the nation’s security establishment has no choice but to fiddle with data points and “See Something, Say Something” campaigns at Wal-Mart. Our intelligence bureaucracy decided it was more beneficial to its politically correct shibboleths to ignore the most important determining factor, a legal system that demands jihad.
10296  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: December 24, 2010, 12:55:16 PM
Just a joking reference to the federal healthcare mandate. Could congress pass a law requiring every male in the US to purchase a weekly haircut? Hey, good grooming is important!
10297  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 1 in 3 British Muslim students back killing for Islam and 40% want Sharia law on: December 24, 2010, 12:48:34 PM
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1340599/WikiLeaks-1-3-British-Muslim-students-killing-Islam-40-want-Sharia-law.html#ixzz18nRU3RD7

The latest WikiLeaks revelation: 1 in 3 British Muslim students back killing for Islam and 40% want Sharia law

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 3:24 PM on 22nd December 2010

 

    * Reaching out to UK Muslim community was 'top priority' for U.S.

Around a third of young British Muslims favour killing in the name of Islam, according to a survey revealed by the WikiLeaks' publication of U.S. diplomatic cables.

A survey of 600 Muslim students at 30 universities throughout Britain found that 32 per cent of Muslim respondents believed killing in the name of religion is justified.

A U.S. diplomatic cable from January 2009 quoted a poll by the Centre for Social Cohesion as saying 54 per cent wanted a Muslim party to represent their world view in Parliament and 40 per cent want Muslims in the UK to be under Sharia law.
10298  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: December 24, 2010, 12:41:17 PM
http://gas2.org/2010/12/22/west-virginia-mcdonalds-adding-two-ev-chargers/

The first place I ever saw a redbox movie rental kiosk was at McD's. Maybe NG as well as EV chargers in the future?
10299  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Intel Matters on: December 24, 2010, 11:58:38 AM
You can't try dead people. Unfortunately, we got away from that long ago.
10300  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / NY Mayor Bloomberg Was " In Cahoots" With Planners of Ground Zero Mosque on: December 24, 2010, 11:55:27 AM
http://yidwithlid.blogspot.com/2010/12/ny-mayor-bloomberg-was-in-cahoots-with.html

NY Mayor Bloomberg Was " In Cahoots" With Planners of Ground Zero Mosque

This past summer it seemed as if every day Michael Bloomberg, the arrogant, out of touch Mayor of New York was making another speech implying that the opponents of the ground-zero mosque were either stupid or bigoted.  And when he wasn't calling the mosque opponents names, he was  proclaiming there should be no compromise. What the Arrogant Mayor neglected to mention during any of his many rants is that the Ground Zero Mosque fight was fixed from the beginning. The Mayor had his top aides helping the mosque planners, writing letters for them and helping them politically navigate around the anti-mosque forces.

Emails released due to a FOIA lawsuit by The American Center for Law and Justice reveal

    ...City Hall had direct communications with the Mosque’s developers, explicitly tried to assist with the political process, and was involved with discussions between the developers and the Community Board 1.  An email from the developers’ attorney, Shelly Friedman, also acknowledged that Robert Tierney, the Chairman of the LPC, was seeking “political cover” from politicians in order not to landmark the building. 

 The emails released by City Hall revealed the coaching Bloomberg's brass gave to the imam pushing to build the mosque, Feisal Abdul Rauf.  At one point, Community Affairs Commissioner Nazli Parvizi even drafted a letter for Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf's wife, Daisy Khan, to send to Community Board 1, which was voting on the project.

    "As a Muslim-American and a New Yorker, I take my role in keeping New York the greatest City in the world serious," the draft said. Parvizi also provided the contact information for the board.

In a email sent in May, Shelly Friedman, the organizers' lawyer, wrote that Manhattan Community Board 1's vote in support of the project would be helpful as organizers urged landmark commission Chairman Robert Tierney and other panel members to reject landmark status for the building currently on the site. "I do know that chairman Tierney was looking forward to having the 'political cover' their support would bring him," Ms. Friedman wrote.

Parvizi also sent the Imam an email advising  Rauf not to go back to Community Board 1 for approval for the project after the Landmarks Preservation Commission gave the project the green light.

    "Hi Feisal," the letter begins. "I know that [Community Board 1 President] Julie [Menin] is incredibly anxious to get the letter and she was really upset to hear that such a landmarking issue exists and was not even mentioned.

    "My recommendation is given you mau [sic] have to go up to the community board again to discuss this issue, send the letter to julie asap and keep her on your good side. Tommorow or monday am at the latest.

    "I would at this point keep the issues separate. What the letter will do I hope is get the media attention off everyone's backs and give you guys time to regroup on your strategy, as discussed."

    Another email reveals that Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Fatima Shama expedited a temporary public assembly permit for the group to conduct prayers in January at Park 51

    In another letter, Shama congratulated the group after the project was approved by CB1's finance committee, writing,

    "Sharif, Daisy, Iman Faisal,
    Again—congratulations!!! This is very exciting for all of you and our community at large!"

The Mayor's office contends that they get behind everyone's projects just as much:

    City Hall says it is the job of the community and immigrant affairs commissioners to assist community groups, including drafting letters for them. Officials noted Bloomberg has always been in favor of building the mosque near Ground Zero.

    "The Community Affairs Unit exists to help groups navigate city government, and from helping prepare for a Papal visit to expediting approval of a Sukkah in a midtown Manhattan park, this kind of assistance is typical of its regular work," said Bloomberg spokesman Stu Loeser.

It seems that these emails show more than the usual amount of support coming from the mayor's office.  In fact they reveal another example of  Mayor Bloomberg's contempt for the vast majority of  people of his own city, indeed the people of the United States. While people worked so hard to protect what they see as hallowed grounds, the Mayor's office was sneaking behind their backs to fight against them.

Sources: NY Observer, Wall Street Journal, NY Post and The ACLJ

 
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