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10451  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Monetary Policy, & the US Dollar on: December 08, 2010, 11:49:52 AM
No idea if this is accurate or not, but I heard a figure that we could go back to the gold standard if gold hits 49,000USD an oz. shocked

I hope we don't see anything like that.
10452  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: December 08, 2010, 08:37:58 AM
If we were smart, we'd try to get these students to become Americans. Alas, we only care about those who break the law to get here.
10453  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 24 Signs That All Of America Is Turning Into Detroit on: December 07, 2010, 09:53:34 PM

24 Signs That All Of America Is Turning Into Detroit
Michael Snyder, The Economic Collapse | Dec. 7, 2010, 10:37 AM

For years, people have been laughing at the horrific economic decline of Detroit.  Well, guess what?  The same thing that happened to Detroit is now happening to dozens of other communities across the United States.

From coast to coast there are formerly great manufacturing cities that have turned into rotting, post-industrial war zones.  In particular, in America's "rust belt" you can drive through town after town after town that resemble little more than post-apocalyptic wastelands.

In many U.S. cities, the "real" rate of unemployment is over 30 percent.  There are some communities that will start depressing you almost the moment you drive into them.  It is almost as if all of the hope has been sucked right out of those communities.

Meanwhile, the economic downturn has been incredibly hard on the finances of state and local governments across the United States.  Unlike the federal government, state and local governments cannot use the Federal Reserve to play games with their exploding debt burdens.  Facing horrific budget deficits, many communities have begun adopting "austerity measures" in an attempt to slow the flow of red ink.  All over the nation, deep budget cuts are slashing police departments, fire departments and other basic social services, but it seems like no matter what many of these communities try the debt just keeps growing.

So when you combine economic hopelessness with drastic budget cuts, what you get are hordes of communities from coast to coast that are becoming just like Detroit.  In the city of Detroit today, there are over 33,000 abandoned houses, 44 schools have been permanently closed down, the mayor wants to bulldoze one-fourth of the city and you can literally buy a house for one dollar in the worst areas.  Many Americans thought that it was funny to make fun of Detroit, but little did they know that what happened there would soon start happening everywhere.

The following are 24 signs that all of America is becoming a rotting, post-industrial, post-apocalyptic wasteland just like Detroit....
10454  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Top Test Scores From Shanghai Stun Educators on: December 07, 2010, 07:42:12 PM

Top Test Scores From Shanghai Stun Educators
Published: December 7, 2010

American officials and Europeans involved in administering the test in about 65 countries acknowledged that the scores from Shanghai — an industrial powerhouse with some 20 million residents and scores of modern universities that is a magnet for the best students in the country — are by no means representative of all of China.

About 5,100 15-year-olds in Shanghai were chosen as a representative cross-section of students in that city. In the United States, a similar number of students from across the country were selected as a representative sample for the test.

Experts noted the obvious difficulty of using a standardized test to compare countries and cities of vastly different sizes. Even so, they said the stellar academic performance of students in Shanghai was noteworthy, and another sign of China’s rapid modernization.

The results also appeared to reflect the culture of education there, including greater emphasis on teacher training and more time spent on studying rather than extracurricular activities like sports.

“Wow, I’m kind of stunned, I’m thinking Sputnik,” said Chester E. Finn Jr., who served in President Ronald Reagan’s Department of Education, referring to the groundbreaking Soviet satellite launching. Mr. Finn, who has visited schools all across China, said, “I’ve seen how relentless the Chinese are at accomplishing goals, and if they can do this in Shanghai in 2009, they can do it in 10 cities in 2019, and in 50 cities by 2029.”
10455  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Knife Law on: December 06, 2010, 05:12:09 PM
"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

Notice it says "Arms", not "Guns".

10456  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The "Primary Obama" meme seems to be ctaching on on: December 06, 2010, 03:02:29 PM

**Yes, please do!**
10457  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces on: December 06, 2010, 02:59:05 PM
I think the biggest factor is the nature and number of the offense(s). Depending on the jurisdiction, expungement is possible in some cases.
10458  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: December 06, 2010, 02:03:07 PM
Bolton, Pence, Pawlenty. Time for them to get serious attention. Enough of the media constructs like Palin sucking the oxygen from the room.
10459  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Palin phenomenon on: December 06, 2010, 11:26:56 AM
It's not. If Palin were the nominee, I assume that CCP would hold his nose and vote for Palin, but that won't win the election. We have to win over a large chunk of independents who will look at Barry and say "Well, at least he's the devil you know" if we don't provide someone who will impress them with intellect and proven ability.
10460  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Palin phenomenon on: December 06, 2010, 10:36:31 AM
The thing the swing voters want/need is someone actually able to do the job, someone with a real resume that doesn't have the embedded negatives of a Gingrich or Palin.
10461  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: December 06, 2010, 10:07:43 AM
**Rather than admit what happened, the Chinese gov't suppressed information about the HIV spread through the plasma collection, allowing HIV to gain a foothold in China and many more people to become infected. No government official has ever been held to account for this.**

China's children affected by HIV/AIDS

HENAN PROVINCE, China, 11 June 2004—"Daddy died three years ago because of the disease called AIDS." Taohua (not her real name) is a skinny 11-year-old girl with a ponytail. She is shy but well spoken. "First he had headaches. Then he got very sick and went to see a doctor, but he just got sicker. My mom wanted to buy some medicine, but our family was too poor. My daddy didn’t want my mom to spend the money."

Remembering this difficult time, her eyes began to fill with tears. "He was sick at home for more than a year. After the funeral, one of my aunts bought some clothes for me. Other relatives and some of our neighbors gave us money and food, so we would have enough to eat."

Taohua’s family grows wheat, peanuts and fruit trees. They can’t afford any chickens or pigs. They live in a sleepy village in the middle of the vast flatland of Henan Province. The massive wave of urbanization in coastal China has not yet reached here.

But HIV/AIDS did.

In the early 1990s, several blood collection centers were set up near Taohua’s village. Many villagers sold blood to supplement their incomes, happy to earn money for each visit. In order to help them recover from blood loss so that they can sell blood again quickly, other plasma was pooled together from various blood sellers and pumped back into all the sellers' veins. The plasma was not tested for HIV viruses. As a result, HIV spread quickly in this conservative rural area where drug use and extramarital sex are rare. According to official statistics, more than 10,000 HIV/AIDS cases were reported in Henan Province in 2003.

"What I’m most worried about is my mommy. She hasn’t been feeling well lately," Taohua says in a small voice. She then adds: "Daddy sold blood twice, but mom has never done it." According to a local official, Taohua does not yet know that her mother is HIV-positive, most likely as a result of secondary transmission from her late husband.

Like Taohua, some 130 children in her village have already lost one or both parents to AIDS. In Henan Province, more than 2,000 children have been orphaned by AIDS, most of them between the ages of six and 15 years. Some of the children are HIV-positive also. If the surviving parent is too sick to take care of his or her children, the youngsters generally live with their grandparents or in a local welfare centre.
10462  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Palin phenomenon on: December 06, 2010, 09:53:29 AM
I personally like her and enjoy how she enrages the left, but I fear her giving O-Barry a second term.
10463  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Health Thread (nutrition, medical, longevity, etc) on: December 06, 2010, 09:50:45 AM

That's a different guy with the same basic idea. Burn more calories than you consume and you lose weight. Even if some of your food choices are less than ideal.
10464  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: December 05, 2010, 10:56:04 PM
I can tell you that the air pollution in China's cities makes the worst smog alert day in LA's history seem like a fresh spring morning in a Colorado mountain meadow. My wife used to do business in China's megafactories. She saw metal plating factories dumping toxic sludge directly into rivers that were water sources for poor villages downstream. The same villages suffer incredible rates of children born with birth defects. Other poor villages have entire populations slowly dying of AIDS, because they sold plasma for a pittance of money and the equipment used to extract the plasma, meant to be disposable was re-used over and over again, infecting everyone with the HIV virus.

I guess Tom Friedman must not have seen THAT China.
10465  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Walking Dead on: December 05, 2010, 10:08:43 PM
I'm not a huge horror fan. I've found reality to be horrible enough without adding any imagination, however this is an awesome show. Best thing I've seen in a long time.
10466  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Mmmmmmmmmmmm....... on: December 05, 2010, 08:44:49 PM

How I lost 30 pounds while eating a donut every day

10467  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 05, 2010, 05:33:46 PM

Detection of Explosives on Airline
Passengers: Recommendation of the 9/11
Commission and Related Issues
Dana A. Shea and Daniel Morgan
Analysts in Science and Technology Policy
Resources, Science, and Industry Division
The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, known as
the 9/11 Commission, recommended that Congress and the Transportation Security
Administration give priority attention to screening airline passengers for explosives.
The key issue for Congress is balancing the costs of mandating passenger explosives
detection against other aviation security needs. Passenger explosives screening
technologies have been under development for several years and are now being deployed
in selected airports.
Their technical capabilities are not fully established, and
operational and policy issues have not yet been resolved. Critical factors for
implementation in airports include reliability, passenger throughput, and passenger
privacy concerns.
Presuming the successful development and deployment of this
technology, certification standards, operational policy, and screening procedures for
federal use will need to be established. This topic continues to be of congressional
interest, particularly as the 110th Congress reexamines implementation of the 9/11
Commission’s recommendations via H.R. 1 and S. 4.


The olfactory ability of dogs is sensitive enough to detect trace amounts of many
compounds, but several factors have inhibited the regular use of canines for passenger
screening. Dogs trained in explosives detection can generally only work for brief periods,
have significant upkeep costs, are unable to communicate the identity of the detected
explosives residue, and require a human handler when performing their detection role.5
In addition, direct contact between dogs and airline passengers raises liability concerns.
10468  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 05, 2010, 04:57:24 PM

During the 10-week training course, officers were provided instruction on handler skills, explosives safety, and safe handling and accountability of explosives canine training aids. They spent much of their time searching for explosives in specialized indoor and outdoor training areas that resemble the transportation environment, including aircraft and terminals. The teams also practice searching warehouses, luggage and a parking lot filled with cars, trucks, vans and buses.

"This graduating class increases TSAs field resources, and provides greater flexibility in securing transportation resources across modes, said Dave Kontny, Director of TSAs National Explosives Detection Canine Team Program. From long-time partners like the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority to new additions like the airports in Tamuning, Reno and Little Rock, TSA is working closely with our partners in local law enforcement to further secure our transportation systems.

After returning to their facilities, the teams will complete a local orientation and certification. Upon certification, the teams will continue to conduct several hours of proficiency training each week in their operational environment. To ensure these teams stay sharp, they are certified annually by TSA evaluators.

Canine teams combine excellent mobility with reliable detection rates. Their uses include searching areas in response to bomb threats and investigating unattended packages in airports and other transportation terminals, vehicles, luggage, cargo and other areas, as well as serving as a proven deterrent to would-be terrorists or criminals.

The TSA Explosives Detection Canine Team Program is a cooperative partnership with participating transportation systems. TSA provides the canine, in-depth training for the handler, and partially reimburses the participating agency for costs associated with the teams, such as salaries, overtime, canine food and veterinary care. TSA-certified canine teams reflect the core values of the Department of Homeland Security providing first responders with the right tools, technical assistance and funding to protect our nation's interest.
10469  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 05, 2010, 04:44:04 PM
Don't all dogs sniff there anyway?

10470  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 05, 2010, 04:28:27 PM
I don't know that there are any additional screening techniques easily incorporated to meet the various demands on the system. The "nekkid scanners"/pat searches are imperfect answers to the undie bomber threat, but we don't have the luxury of throwing up our hands and doing nothing. As much as a vocal minority might voice their displeasure at these methods, a few successful bombings of aircraft would see a renewed appreciation for what is incorrectly derided as "security theater".

If AQ masters the ass-bombing technique where they can use it at will, global aviation as we know it ceases to exist.
10471  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 05, 2010, 02:37:28 PM
In the corrections world, using the rectum to smuggle contraband items is nothing new, it's commonly known as "keistering". Those inmates who decide to use this method often learn is that there can be serious medical consequences for such methods. Talk to any ER doc/nurse and you'll be amazed at the amazing variety of items that people "fall" on and have to have extracted by medical personnel.

I've seen an x-ray from a prison inmate that successfully "Keistered" a Derringer and a handcuff key (You could clearly see the perfect outline of both items in the x-ray). He however found that he was not able to remove those items and ended up seeking medical help as a result.

Aside from the cultural taboos that might discourage the use of this method by jihadists, the practical aspects also raise many operational problems for them. As we've seen with the undie bomber's painful failure and the Times Square bomber, attempts to alter the construction of IEDs to avoid detection may also result in the devices not detonating as desired.

As it's been said that "success has a thousand fathers while failure is an orphan", seriously burned genitals and an orange inmate jumpsuit is a serious damper on AQ's recruiting efforts.

IEDs concealed in body cavities or surgically implanted may be theoretically possible, but chaos and entropy in the personage of "Mr. Murphy" visits the jihadists just as he visits us. When we harden our target, they then have to recruit viable operatives and design devices around our security methods. In doing so, we reduce the odds of them being successful in their attempts to target the global aviation system.

They are not omnipotent supervillains with infinite resources, and every failure makes their next attempt more difficult. We may not like the TSA/USG's aviation security methods, but there are no simple, easy, unobtrusive solutions.
10472  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 05, 2010, 01:32:20 PM

Saudi investigation: Would-be assassin hid bomb in underwear

CNN National Security Analyst

(CNN) -- The would-be assassin of Saudi Arabia's Prince Mohammed bin Nayef hid his bomb in his underwear, apparently believing that cultural taboos would prevent a search in that part of his body, according to a Saudi government official close to the investigation.
Saudi Arabia's Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, head of counterterrorism, was slightly injured in August.

The prince was slightly injured when the bomb exploded in the August attack. Several news reports this week have said the assailant hid the bomb inside his rectum, but according to the Saudi official, the government assessment discounted those reports, based on various factors.

Among them: When the bomb went off there was a flash of light, suggesting that the bomb was not hidden inside the assassin's body. Also, doctors consulted by the government judged that the toxicity of the plastic explosives would make them hard to hold for many hours inside the rectum, and the environment in this area of the body would make detonation "difficult," according to the Saudi official close to the investigation.

The Saudis said they think the bomb weighed 100 grams and was made with a plastic explosive, to avoid detection by metal detectors through which the would-be assassin had to pass before he was allowed to meet with the prince.

The official said the explosive was PETN, which was used by the so-called shoe bomber Richard Reid, who attempted to blow up an American Airlines flight between Paris, France, and Miami, Florida, in December 2001.

The Saudis are exploring the possibility that the prince's assailant exploded the device using a detonator that used a chemical fuse, which would not be detected by a metal detector.

The would-be assassin -- a Saudi member of al Qaeda who had fled to Yemen, identified as Abdullah Hassan al Asiri -- posed as a member of the terror group willing to surrender personally to Prince Nayef.
10473  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Knife Law on: December 05, 2010, 01:16:23 PM
Real badguys tend to carry box cutters, utility type knives. Depending on the jurisdiction, they are mostly legal to carry (depending on the jurisdiction), they are inexpensive, they can deliver serious cuts with little effort and can then be quickly disposed of if used in a crime. They don't tend to carry high dollar, quality knives, at least most don't.
10474  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The Power of Word on: December 04, 2010, 09:52:25 PM
The idea of Jewish religious ceremonies and Manischewitz being consumed on Saudi soil just makes me very, very happy.
10475  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Friedman catches a well deserved beating on: December 04, 2010, 06:23:56 PM

Will Thomas Friedman just renounce his citizenship and move to China already?

By: Mark Hemingway 12/01/10 12:33 PM

Those of us masochistic enough to read the New York Times op-ed page with any regularity know that Tom Friedman has a long and distinguished history of praising the autocratic communist government in China as means of denigrating things here in the U.S. Today's column, however, might just take the cake. It starts with a cutesy premise -- what if China's diplomatic cables were wikileaked? What would they say?:

Read it all.
10476  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Palin phenomenon on: December 04, 2010, 03:36:42 PM

Oprah's show: a new job for Sarah Palin?

By Alex Spillius World Last updated: November 20th, 2009

Sarah Palin is one of those people who makes her own luck. From Wasilla mayor to govenror to VP candidate in a few steps – it all just seems to happen for the gal from Alaska. But the great quandary over what to do next could now be solved: forget the White House, in 2011 an afternoon talk show slot is opening up on ABC, now that Oprah Winfrey is stepping down to manage her modest cable venture. And just a week after Palin opened her publicity tour on Oprah’s show; the timing could not be more apposite.

In 2012 the loss will be the Democrats’, not the Republicans’, for Palin as nominee would have all but guaranteed an Obama second term.

Palin is the perfect candidate to replace Oprah and even has a background in TV from her young days as sports presenter in Alaska. She is good-looking, charming and great at talking about herself. Her first guest, of course, has to be Katie Couric.
10477  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Palin phenomenon on: December 04, 2010, 03:31:09 PM
The best thing Palin could do is replace Oprah on daytime TV. There she could have a tangible impact on the nation and spare us the 2nd and much worse term for Barry-O as resident of the white house.
10478  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: December 04, 2010, 11:53:59 AM

Nuclear Boom in China Sees Reactor Builders Risk Their Know-how for Cash
By Bloomberg News - Dec 2, 2010 9:00 AM MT

The ballroom of the Grand Hyatt on Beijing’s East Chang An Avenue was packed. The occasion: the first-ever China International Nuclear Symposium, a gathering of China’s top nuclear players and the world’s nuclear power companies, including Westinghouse, Areva SA, and Hitachi-GE.

What brought the Chinese to the Hyatt on Nov. 24 and 25 was a hunger for the latest technology, Bloomberg Businessweek reports in its Dec. 6 issue. What brought the foreigners was money: According to Michael Kruse, consultant on nuclear systems for Arthur D. Little, the Chinese are ready to spend $511 billion to build up to 245 reactors.

10479  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces on: December 03, 2010, 09:30:56 PM

10480  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 03, 2010, 02:14:01 PM
The population of the Soviet Union after WWII is thought to have been around 170,000,000; Stalin put a dent in that number by 20,000,000 or more, depending on how you like your corpses stacked. China's population was less than a billion when Mao ran his various pogroms estimated to have killed 200,000,000, though that is only a guess. Nazi Germany, Cambodia, Serbia/Croatia/et al have all show that unchecked government manages to very handily exceed the zero in nine billion ratio when their power is unfettered. In short there are some numbers out there that suggest hysterics like me may have math on our side when governments start trending toward unchecked power.

**Yes, I think everyone is aware how all these countries started out with aviation security programs that quickly turned into gulags and mass executions. I guess aviation security is like a gateway drug, one week, you try a hit off a joint, by the next week you're smoking crack and mainlining meth. That's how it always works, right?**
10481  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: December 03, 2010, 01:50:43 PM
I know this much, if you have six different CPA's/tax attorney's to do your taxes (especially if you are self-employed, have complex returns) you'll probably get six different amounts owed. That has to be addressed.
10482  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 03, 2010, 01:29:27 PM
As usual, you can't debate a point, so you default to the "Mao! Pol Pot!" routine.

Sorry if my posting of actual caselaw and law enforcement training documents clashes with your Libertarian fantasies. Sorry I assumed that you could actually come up with realistic alternatives to what you call "security theater". My mistake.
10483  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: December 03, 2010, 12:46:28 PM

IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman does not file his own taxes in part because he believes the tax code is complex.

During an interview on C-SPAN's "Newsmakers" program that aired on Sunday, Shulman said he uses a tax preparer for his own returns.

**I guess the fact that he's actually filing is an improvement over other politically powerful types.**
10484  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: December 03, 2010, 12:30:56 PM
The only problem is collecting it. Imagine the problems with evasion when you start looking at large purchases, heck even the small ones add up.
10485  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: December 03, 2010, 12:06:42 PM
Fair tax, flat tax. We need to do something.
10486  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Die Less Often: Interface of Gun, Knife and Emtpy Hand on: December 03, 2010, 11:50:25 AM
Moreover, in recent years a number of controversial, high-profile encounters have been captured on news video, showing officers using what appeared to be extraordinary force to expose downed suspects' hidden hands during capture and arrest.

"Media critics and other civilians, including jurors and force review board members, seemed unable to understand the officers' sense of urgency in some of these cases," says Lewinski, FSI's executive director. "Strikes with batons or flashlights delivered by officers trying to gain control of resistant suspects' hands were sometimes interpreted as malicious outbreaks of rage and vindictiveness.

**What? People with no training and experience trash officers out of ignorance. Who'd ever imagine such a thing?**
10487  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 03, 2010, 11:30:09 AM

US facing attacks by home-grown terrorists, senior adviser warns
The sheer volume of terror plots against the US means that the country will become unable to prevent a fatal terror attack by a new breed of extremists radicalised in America's towns and cities, the top counter-terrorism official has warned.
In unusually candid remarks, Michael Leiter, director of the National Counterterrorism Centre, said that the nation's defences would be probably be breached by a home-grown radical, after a year-long period containing several failed or thwarted attacks that had seen the most intense terror activity since September 11, 2001.

"Although we aim for perfection, perfection will not be achieved. Just like any other endeavour, we will not stop all the attacks," he said.

"If there is an attack, it may well be tragic. Innocent lives will be lost. But we still have to be honest, and we have to be honest that some things will get through."

He said: "To say that we will not successfully defend against all attacks is certainly not to say that we are not trying to stop all attacks. We are."

The FBI last week arrested Mohamed Osman Mohamud, a 19-year-old Somali-born American, for plotting to detonate a bomb as thousands of people attended the lighting of the Christmas tree in the centre of Portland, Oregon.

Speaking at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, Mr Leiter, who advises the US government on the terrorist threat, said: "In this era of a more complicated threat, a more diverse threat and lower-scale attacks to include individuals who have been radicalised here in the homeland, stopping all the attacks has become that much harder."

The threat has risen in part because of the increased involvement of the Yemen-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born radical cleric.

Known as AQAP, it has pursued smaller attacks perpetrated by lone operators which have complicated the challenges facing the US security services still battling the threat of another attack on the scale of September 11.

AQAP and Al-Awlaki, now living in Yemen, have been linked to Maj Nidal Hasan, an army psychiatrist, is accused of killing 13 people during a shooting spree at Fort Hood, Texas in November, 2009, and to Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab, the Nigerian student suspected of the failed attempt to blow up a flight headed for Detroit last Christmas.

Other "lone wolf" plotters based in the US have operated with a small amount of contact with any handlers in Pakistan's tribal areas, where Osama bin Laden and the core leadership is now based.

In October Faisal Shahzad, an American citizen born in Pakistan, was sentenced to life imprisonment after pleading guilty to planning to blow up a car packed with explosives in New York's Times Square. The FBI recently arrested a man who had allegedly surveyed train stations in the Washington area as potential targets of terror.

Conceding that the anti-terror services had made errors under President Barack Obama, particularly in the Christmas plot, Mr Leiter however asserted that hard work played a part in bringing about what critics have called lucky outcomes.

10488  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Don Kim on: December 02, 2010, 11:53:46 PM

10489  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: WHERE IS THE FOOTWORK!?! on: December 02, 2010, 09:58:27 PM
I was told that the octagon (at least the original from the start of UFC) was designed to be favorable for grapplers (Like the Gracies) and kind of squishy and unstable feeling as a base for strike oriented fighters.
10490  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 02, 2010, 04:47:04 PM
"For someone who traffics so frequently in stark questions that shoulder aside shades of gray I guess this admission can be seen as progress. Still, your willingness to shuck aside just about every freedom and constitutional principle is pursuit of security remains chilling nonetheless."

Oh really? Where have I expressed my willingness to shuck aside just about every freedom and constitutional principle?
10491  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 02, 2010, 04:42:50 PM
"There are plenty of folks who have the security creds to criticize the current security theater of which we partake and suggestions for improvement. You have the google-fu to find them, leaving me of the opinion your goal is not so much to expand understanding on the subject, but to get me to ground where I have no particular expertise. As that may be, I have and will certainly post the informed security suggestions I encounter."

Is it possible I have some relevant training and experience beyond just google-fu that informs my opinion?
10492  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 02, 2010, 03:48:15 PM
So rather than nazis, the intelligent and nuanced opinion is that the TSA is morally equivalent to slavery?
10493  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Happy Hanukah! on: December 02, 2010, 03:12:41 PM

Al- Arabiya reported this week that Iranian officials were outraged to discover a Star of David on the roof of the headquarters of Iran Air. Iran's national airline's headquarters was built by Israeli engineers three decades ago, but apparently no one noticed the symbol until a Google Earth user picked it up.
10494  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / US Dept. of SOCIAL Justice and Reparations on: December 02, 2010, 03:07:32 PM

Pigford and New Black Panthers: Friends at DOJ
by J. Christian Adams

At the Justice Department, one man has played a central role in two of the most controversial racialist policies of the Obama Administration – Associate Attorney General Thomas Perrelli.  This bundler of huge campaign contributions for the Obama Campaign is now the second highest ranking Presidential appointee at the Justice Department.  Perrelli is best known for his central role in dismissing the slam dunk voter intimidation case brought and dropped against the New Black Panther Party.  But the leftist Perrelli has outdone himself.

This week, the House passed a $4.6 billion payout to American Indians and black farmers as part of a settlement of alleged race discrimination claims. has reported extensively, on the “Pigford II” settlement and how it promotes fraud.  Worse than fraud, it represents a race-driven political payoff by the Obama Administration to a favored political constituency.

Nothing happens in Washington like the Pigford settlement without the Justice Department.  The DOJ, acting as the nation’s law firm, was intimately involved in piloting the Pigford settlement through Congress and reaching similar settlements with other identity politics plaintiffs.  Perrelli ran the show at Justice in all of these efforts.

In fact, a large portion of  the settlement windfall escapes Congressional approval entirely because Perreilli’s shop at DOJ also approved a similar but separate settlement with Hispanic farmers. Instead of a Congressional appropriation, Hispanic farmers will be paid out of an existing “judgment fund.”

Like the black farmers, Hispanic farmers made claims of racial discrimination in the administration of Agriculture Department loans.  But Hispanic farmers added noisy street protests outside of the Justice Department’s headquarters.  No wonder Perrelli’s DOJ made a settlement offer of $1.3 billion in this lawsuit.  And over $680 million will flow to Indian claimants as part of the Perrelli approved “Keepseagle” lawsuit settlement.

Billions of taxpayer dollars will now flow to black, Hispanic, women and Indian farmers, or those who thought about farming.  In the administration of the original Pigford settlement in the 1990’s, even city dwellers who never farmed received payouts.  After all, the “discriminatory” policies discouraged them from becoming farmers.

The Justice Department usually plays hardball when it comes to monetary settlements.  In fact, the DOJ lawyers, including Perrelli, have an ethical obligation to protect the interests of the United States.  But like the New Black Panther dismissal, none of old rules apply anymore.

Change means change.

Perrelli became the administration cheerleader for a colossal payout to the Hispanic, Indian and black farmer claimants.  And just like the Pigford and Keepseagle claimants, the New Black Panthers seemed to have friends in high places inside Justice.

Perrelli played the central role in rushing a resolution to these claims before the Republicans took control of the purse strings in January.  Instead of fighting hard to limit the exposure of the United States, the claimants had a fellow traveler on the opposite side of the negotiating table.

Similarly, Perrelli was behind the dismissal of the already won DOJ case against the New Black Panthers who organized and ran an armed voter intimidation effort the day Obama was elected. Justice officials acted as advocates for the New Black Panthers more than they sought to protect the ballot box from armed thugs.

Did Perrelli’s zeal to have the case dismissed have anything to do with the New Black Panther’s endorsement of candidate Obama during the primaries?

Judicial Watch sued the DOJ under the Freedom of Information Act to obtain Black Panther documents.  They uncovered stacks of emails between Perrelli and his top political lieutenants supervising the lawsuit.  They reveal Justice Department political appointees, including Perrelli, intimately involved behind the scenes in driving the dismissal.

Of course the documents contradict testimony given under oath over and over again to Congress and the Civil Rights Commission that only career civil servants were involved in the dismissal.  This accuracy-challenged testimony came from both Attorney General Eric Holder and Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez.

Perrelli was the Justice official most responsible for the sketchy windfall settlements to black, Indian and Hispanic farmers.   Instead of protecting the interests of the United States, he helped line the pockets of the President’s closest political allies.  This is hardly surprising to anyone who followed Perrelli’s central role in ensuring that the New Black Panthers escaped sanctions for armed voter intimidation.  You can’t beat having friends in high places.
10495  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Legal issues on: December 02, 2010, 01:23:32 PM
Parsing the deeply entwined threads of nature and nurture is a difficult task that is far from completed by the social sciences, especially because today's social sciences tend to be heavy on the "social" (Immersed in the internal politics of academia and it's ideological allegiances) and very light on the science.

Not matter the cultural software, we are still rooted in the biological hardware and it's evolutionary legacies inherent in that structure. In turn, how we as humans organize ourselves and structure our societies do not emerge from a vacuum. Human had rules, customs and taboos and methods for enforcing the models of behavior long before someone bothered to chip the Code of Hammurabi onto a stone tablet. We, as a species are dependent on our fellow humans for our survival as individuals and as a collective. As a result of this dynamic, there is a feedback loop between the group and the individual. Call it a social contract or use another term if you wish. It's a real phenomena, no matter what term is used to describe it.
10496  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Libertarian Issues on: December 02, 2010, 11:47:35 AM
Yes, and yet here we have the TSA compared with the Jim Crow south. We may disagree as to the value of TSA methods, or the constitutionality and need for them, however the comparison to the malevolent racial laws of the pre-civil rights south is obviously bogus. BBG is a smart guy, I'm sure he gets that this is just mud slinging.
10497  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Legal issues on: December 02, 2010, 11:23:05 AM
You assume that there is a coherent logic equally applied. That's almost always a mistake.  grin

You raise a very good point, Doug. IMHO, the entire body of tax law needs to be dumped in favor of some coherent model that can be easily understood by the average citizen.
10498  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Legal issues on: December 02, 2010, 11:14:15 AM
Homicide Trends in the U.S.
Trends by race
Racial differences exist, with blacks disproportionately represented among homicide victims and offenders
In 2005, homicide victimization rates for blacks were 6 times higher than the rates for whites.
To view data, click on the chart.
10499  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Legal issues on: December 02, 2010, 11:06:05 AM

Study: Almost Half of Murder Victims Black

By Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 10, 2007

Nearly half the people murdered in the United States each year are black, part of a persistent pattern in which African Americans are disproportionately victimized by violent crime, according to a new Justice Department study released yesterday.

The study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics also found that from 2001 to 2005, more than nine out of 10 black murder victims were killed by other blacks, and three out of four were slain with a gun. Blacks, who make up 13 percent of the population, were victims in 15 percent of nonfatal violent crimes.

The new findings underscore the enduring problem of crime that plagues many African American communities, even during a period when the incidence of violent crime dropped or held steady overall, according to criminologists and other experts.

Some experts said the study also illustrates that encounters with criminals are often more likely to turn deadly for black victims than for victims of other races, in part because black victims are more likely to be confronted with firearms.

"Black victimization is a real problem, and it's often black on black," said David A. Harris, a law professor at the University of Toledo who studies crime trends. "That aspect has to be brought into any attempt to address the crime problem, and the community itself must be called into the process."

 The Justice study is primarily drawn from two sets of data: FBI homicide reports and the National Crime Victimization Survey, which attempts to measure the actual prevalence of crime through scientific polling. The Justice Department has not done a study on black victimization in more than a decade, but outside researchers have reached similar conclusions, officials said.

In 2005, the study found, blacks were victims of an estimated 8,000 homicides and 805,000 other violent crimes, including rape and aggravated assault.

The study found that black males were more likely to be crime victims than black females; that black murder victims tended to be younger than white or Hispanic homicide victims; and that blacks in poor or urban households were more likely to be victimized than those in higher-income or rural areas.

10500  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Intel Matters on: December 02, 2010, 09:54:40 AM
Hindsight is always 20/20. Any foreign policy decision made has the potential for unintended consequences. Isolationism and non-intevention also has consequences.
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