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11251  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: September 25, 2010, 06:53:16 PM
Anyone here still think Obama didn't tell Japan that the US wouldn't back them? Anyone here think China won't continue to press their claim on the islands?
11252  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / True warrior mindset, true heroism on: September 25, 2010, 06:44:59 PM

Wounded in Iraq, double-amputee returns to war

By TODD PITMAN (AP) – 1 hour ago

ASHOQEH, Afghanistan — When a bomb exploded under Dan Luckett's Army Humvee in Iraq two years ago — blowing off one of his legs and part of his foot — the first thing he thought was: "That's it. You're done. No more Army for you."

But two years later, the 27-year-old Norcross, Georgia, native is back on duty — a double-amputee fighting on the front lines of America's Afghan surge in one of the most dangerous parts of this volatile country.

Luckett's remarkable recovery can be attributed in part to dogged self-determination. But technological advances have been crucial: Artificial limbs today are so effective, some war-wounded like Luckett are not only able to do intensive sports like snow skiing, they can return to active duty as fully operational soldiers. The Pentagon says 41 American amputee veterans are now serving in combat zones worldwide.

Luckett was a young platoon leader on his first tour in Iraq when an explosively formed penetrator — a bomb that hurls an armor-piercing lump of molten copper — ripped through his vehicle on a Baghdad street on Mother's Day 2008.

His Humvee cabin instantly filled with heavy gray smoke and the smell of burning diesel and molten metal. Luckett felt an excruciating pain and a "liquid" — his blood — pouring out of his legs. He looked down and saw a shocking sight: his own left foot sheared off above the ankle and his right boot a bloody mangle of flesh and dust.

Still conscious, he took deep breaths and made a deliberate effort to calm down.

A voice rang out over the radio — his squad leader checking in.

"1-6, is everybody all right?" the soldier asked, referring to Luckett's call-sign.

"Negative," Luckett responded. "My feet are gone."

He was evacuated by helicopter to a Baghdad emergency room, flown to Germany, and six days after the blast, he was back in the U.S.

As his plane touched down at Andrew's Air Force Base, he made a determined decision. He was going to rejoin the 101st Airborne Division any way he could.

For the first month at Washington's Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Luckett was bound to a wheelchair. He hated the dependence that came with it. He hated the way people changed their voice when they spoke to him — soft and sympathetic.

He wondered: how long is THIS going to last? Will I be dependent on others for the rest of my life?

At night, he dreamed of walking on two legs.

When he woke, only the stump of his left leg was there, painfully tender and swollen.

His family wanted to know, is this going to be the same Dan?

He assured them he was.

**Read it all**
11253  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / "Ready to lead from day one" Right Obama voters? on: September 25, 2010, 05:47:27 PM
**Wow, it's almost like he's trying to lose this war....**

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is focused on meeting its July 2011 deadline to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan, but it has no political strategy to help stabilize the country, current and former U.S. officials and other experts are warning.

The failure to articulate what a post-American Afghanistan should look like and devise a political path for achieving it is a major obstacle to success for the U.S. military-led counter-insurgency campaign that's underway, these officials and experts said.

Read more:

What comes across is a president deeply skeptical about the Afghan War, suspicious of the advice of military leaders and obsessed with finding exits and setting withdrawal deadlines. To a press or political aide in the administration, this must seem like the public relations sweet spot: Since Americans are conflicted about the Afghan War, won't they be reassured to know that the commander in chief is conflicted as well?

But a president has a number of audiences, including American troops, the allies who fight at our side, and enemies who constantly take the measure of our resolve. None are likely to be impressed by America's reluctant warrior.

The craziness of the process is not irrelevant. Future historians will study the Afghan policy review as a warning, not as a model. Obama's ambivalence has created a national security team in which arguments fester instead of ripen. The process revealed and widened divisions between civilian and military leaders, within the Joint Chiefs of Staff, between the National Security Council and the Department of Defense, and between American and Afghan officials. How can America's ambassador to Afghanistan, Karl Eikenberry, possibly continue in his job, having accused President Hamid Karzai of being on and off his depression meds?

Obama eventually imposed the broad outlines of an outcome. But the assent he demanded did not create agreement or consensus. There is no evidence that past arguments -- particularly concerning the hardness of the July 2011 withdrawal deadline -- have ended.

The process was not only chaotic but highly politicized, with national security adviser James Jones criticizing the role of the "campaign set," which he also dubbed the "Politburo" and the "mafia." Obama himself tied the outcome of the policy review to political considerations. "I can't lose the whole Democratic Party," he reportedly told Sen. Lindsey Graham.

Cynics may regard this as typical. Actually, it is remarkable. It is the most basic duty of a commander in chief to pursue the national interest above any other interest. The introduction of partisan considerations into strategic decisions merits a special contempt.

The largest problem is the president's own ambivalence. "This needs to be a plan about how we're going to hand it off and get out of Afghanistan," Obama is quoted as saying. During his campaign for president, Afghanistan was the good war, the war of necessity, the war that had been ignored but must be won. As president, Obama's overriding goal is retreat. "Everything we're doing has to be focused on how we're going to get to the point where we can reduce our footprint," Woodward quotes Obama. There can be no "wiggle room."

This attitude led to the president's decisive intervention -- a six-page memo designed to impose time and resource limitations on a reluctant military. Generals, of course, are not always right, as President George W. Bush discovered in the early years of the Iraq War. But are we supposed to be reassured that a president, of no proven military judgment, driven at least partially by political calculations, imposed a split-the-difference approach, only loosely related to actual need or analysis? A temporary increase of 30,000 troops coupled with a withdrawal deadline, it now seems, was an arbitrary compromise, not a fully developed military strategy. The armed forces were told to salute and make do. No wonder an Obama adviser complained to Woodward that the strategic review did not "add up" to the president's eventual policy.
11254  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Remarks to the Press from UNGA on: September 25, 2010, 03:30:43 PM

Remarks to the Press from UNGA

Johnnie Carson
   Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs
Philip J. Crowley
   Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Public Affairs
New York City
September 24, 2010

QUESTION: P.J., EAP in Washington is telling us to ask you for any statement on the release of the Chinese captain by the Japanese. They keep deferring us back up here to you. They say, “P.J. will have something to say on it.”

MR. CROWLEY: Well, as we had stated yesterday, we were concerned that this was an issue that had the potential to escalate. I think Jeff Bader yesterday talked about the strong nationalist fervor that had been generated both on the Chinese side and the Japanese side, so we are gratified that the situation has been resolved. It was something that the Japanese Government assured us that would be done within accordance of their legal process and international law. This was a Japanese decision to make, and we’re just hopeful that with the release of the ship captain, tensions will recede and the countries in the region will get back to normal business.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: Just one Japanese question. Is this – I mean, maybe that Prime Minister Kan’s – his new cabinet is criticized by the other side, opposite side of the party – I mean the – this compromise means that Japan lost diplomatic – diplomatically with the Chinese – I mean this kind of chicken game, people (inaudible) chicken game. Don’t you think that this kind of criticizing (inaudible)?

MR. CROWLEY: I mean, as we – we think this is a proper outcome. And we had discussed this with the Japanese. It came up, as we said, in the meeting that the Secretary had with Foreign Minister Maehara yesterday. We had some low-level – lower-level conversations with the Chinese as well, and we sensed that there was a desire on both sides to resolve this soon. We think this is the right decision. It’s how mature states resolve these things through diplomacy . And we think this is in the interest of the two countries and the interest of the region. Obviously, there are some underlying issues that have been triggered by this episode. The United States continues to support freedom of navigation in the region, and we will continue to emphasize that. Obviously, we have an important meeting that’ll be going on today involving the ASEAN countries and you’ll be seeing a communiqué that comes out of that meeting.

QUESTION: Regarding to the Clinton and Maehara discussion, was there any indication from the Japanese side of this possibility to release him?

MR. CROWLEY: This is a decision for – that Japan has made, and I’ll defer to the Japanese Government to explain its reasoning. But obviously, we believe that this will significantly reduce the existing tension. We think it was a proper decision for Japan to make.
11255  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: September 25, 2010, 02:39:48 PM
Perhaps the Iranians see this as a ideal time to gain advantage from negotiations while dems still control congress. I'm sure China isn't the only nation-state to recognize the current state of US weakness.
11256  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Criminal Justice system on: September 25, 2010, 02:32:35 PM

Tragedy of the commons

A 19th-century amateur mathematician, William Forster Lloyd, modelled the fate of a common pasture shared among rational, UTILITY-maximising herdsmen. He showed that as the POPULATION increased the pasture would inevitably be destroyed. This tragedy may be the fate of all sorts of common resources, because no individual, firm or group has meaningful PROPERTY RIGHTS that would make them think twice about using so much of it that it is destroyed.

Once a resource is being used at a rate near its sustainable capacity, any additional use will reduce its value to its current users. Thus they will increase their usage to maintain the value of the resource to them, resulting in a further deterioration in its value, and so on, until no value remains. Contemporary examples include overfishing and the polluting of the atmosphere.
11257  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Criminal Justice system on: September 25, 2010, 02:26:52 PM
so who's gonna miss a couple fish?

The paper, published in the journal Science, concludes that overfishing, pollution and other environmental factors are wiping out important species around the globe, hampering the ocean's ability to produce seafood, filter nutrients and resist the spread of disease.

"We really see the end of the line now," said lead author Boris Worm, a marine biologist at Canada's Dalhousie University. "It's within our lifetime. Our children will see a world without seafood if we don't change things."

The 14 researchers from Canada, Panama, Sweden, Britain and the United States spent four years analyzing fish populations, catch records and ocean ecosystems to reach their conclusion. They found that by 2003 -- the last year for which data on global commercial fish catches are available -- 29 percent of all fished species had collapsed, meaning they are now at least 90 percent below their historic maximum catch levels.

The rate of population collapses has accelerated in recent years. As of 1980, just 13.5 percent of fished species had collapsed, even though fishing vessels were pursuing 1,736 fewer species then. Today, the fishing industry harvests 7,784 species commercially.

"It's like hitting the gas pedal and holding it down at a constant level," Worm said in a telephone interview. "The rate accelerates over time."

Some American fishery management officials, industry representatives and academics questioned the team's dire predictions, however, saying countries such as the United States and New Zealand have taken steps in recent years to halt the depletion of their commercial fisheries.

"The projection is way too pessimistic, at least for the United States," said Steven Murawski, chief scientist for the National Marine Fisheries Service, which is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "We've got the message. We will continue to reverse this trend."
11258  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Criminal Justice system on: September 25, 2010, 02:18:18 PM
TITLE 16 > CHAPTER 70 > § 5008
Prev | Next
§ 5008. Enforcement provisions

(a) Duties of Secretaries of Commerce and Transportation
This chapter shall be enforced by the Secretary of Commerce and the Secretary of Transportation. Such Secretaries may by agreement utilize, on a reimbursable basis or otherwise, the personnel, services, equipment (including aircraft and vessels), and facilities of any other Federal agency, including all elements of the Department of Defense, and of any State agency, in the performance of such duties. Such Secretaries shall, and the head of any Federal or State agency that has entered into an agreement with either such Secretary under the preceding sentence may (if the agreement so provides), authorize officers to enforce the provisions of the Convention, this chapter, and regulations issued under this chapter. Any such agreement or contract entered into pursuant to this section shall be effective only to such extent or in such amounts as are provided in advance in appropriations Acts.
(b) District court jurisdiction
The district courts of the United States shall have exclusive jurisdiction over any case or controversy arising under the provisions of this chapter.
(c) Powers of enforcement officers
Authorized officers may, shoreward of the outer boundary of the exclusive economic zone, or during hot pursuit from the zone—
(1) with or without a warrant or other process—
(A) arrest any person, if the officer has reasonable cause to believe that such person has committed an act prohibited by section 5009 of this title;
(B) board, and search or inspect, any fishing vessel subject to the provisions of the Convention and this chapter;
(C) seize any fishing vessel (together with its fishing gear, furniture, appurtenances, stores, and cargo) used or employed in, or with respect to which it reasonably appears that such vessel was used or employed in, the violation of any provision of the Convention, this chapter, or regulations issued under this chapter;
(D) seize any fish (wherever found) taken or retained in violation of any provision referred to in subparagraph (C);

(E) seize any other evidence related to any violation of any provision referred to in subparagraph (C);
(2) execute any warrant or other process issued by any court of competent jurisdiction; and
(3) exercise any other lawful authority.
(d) Additional powers
(1) An authorized officer may in the Convention area—
(A) board a vessel of any Party that reasonably can be believed to be engaged in directed fishing for, incidental taking of, or processing of anadromous fish, and, without warrant or process, inspect equipment, logs, documents, catch, and other articles, and question persons, on board the vessel, for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of the Convention, this chapter, or any regulation issued under this chapter; and
(B) If [1] any such vessel or person on board is actually engaged in operations in violation of any such provision, or there is reasonable ground to believe any person or vessel was obviously so engaged before the boarding of such vessel by the authorized officer, arrest or seize such person or vessel and further investigate the circumstance if necessary.
If an authorized officer, after boarding and investigation, has reasonable cause to believe that any such fishing vessel or person engaged in operations in violation of any provision referred to in subparagraph (A), the officer shall deliver the vessel or person as promptly as practicable to the enforcement officers of the appropriate Party, in accordance with the provisions of the Convention.

(2) When requested by the appropriate authorities of a Party, an authorized officer may be directed to attend as a witness, and to produce such available records and files or duly certified copies thereof as may be necessary, for the prosecution by that Party of any violation of the provisions of the Convention or any law of that Party relating to the enforcement thereof.
11259  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / China/Japan/US timeline on: September 25, 2010, 12:00:25 PM

While the United States hasn't taken an official position on the claims to the islands, they are considered part of Japan based on U.S.-Japan security treaties.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates told reporters Thursday the United States "would fulfill our alliance responsibility" if the conflict escalated.

Though analysts don't think the current tension will escalate and draw in the U.S. military treaty obligations, the agreements add murkiness to an already muddy territorial dispute.

It also puts the United States in the uncomfortable position of trying to stand by its closest ally in the region, Japan, while not irritating China, a growing power that the U.S. needs for a variety of political and economic issues.

"We're watching that tension very, very carefully," Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told reporters at the Pentagon ."Obviously we're very, very strongly in support of our ally in that region, Japan.

Both China and Japan have raised the issue with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during meetings on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. On Thursday, during talks with Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara, Clinton urged Japan to resolve the dispute through dialogue, State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley said.

**So, on Thursday SecDef Gates and Adm. Mullen articulate to the global media the US defense treaty with Japan. Obama then meets with Japan's Prime Minister Kan in NYC on the China/Japan standoff.


**Suddenly, Japan reverses course and the local Japanese prosecutors drop the charges on orders from Tokyo**

Decision to release Chinese boat captain made in Tokyo: sources

The decision to release the captain of a Chinese fishing boat involved in a collision with Japan Coast Guard patrols boats was a political decision made by the Japanese government and not by the Naha District Public Prosecutors Office, as it has been publicly announced, according sources close to Prime Minister Naoto Kan.
11260  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: September 25, 2010, 11:20:23 AM

Beginning with the Japanese scene, this event is guaranteed to fuel the rage of the right, which will become even more intense in denouncing the "treason" of the DPJ.

Moreover, these angry sentiments are unlikely to be confined to the usual suspects, because many ordinary Japanese too will be left with a sour taste in their mouths over the government's handling of this matter. Many will feel that releasing the captain and citing the future of "Japan-China relations" smacks of pathetic weakness.

It certainly doesn't help that Prime Minister Naoto Kan and Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara have been overseas at this critical juncture, and so are unavailable to provide leadership or any convincing public explanations.

It would not be surprising if the next public opinion polls show a significant drop in support for the cabinet.

In fairness, the DPJ inherited a political posture from their predecessors which argued that "no territorial issues exist" in regard to the Senkaku Islands. With this as their starting point, Tokyo was poorly prepared to respond to Chinese (and Taiwanese) demands.
11261  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: September 25, 2010, 11:07:21 AM

Japan has been deemed overwhelmingly the loser in the strange game of chicken that’s been escalating between Beijing and Tokyo over the past week — at least judging from a sampling of the immediate vitriolic reaction toward Tokyo in the virtual world.

In the seconds after Japan announced it would release the Chinese ship captain who has been in Japanese custody, Tokyo’s decision was lambasted as weak and the ruling Democratic Party of Japan as unable to govern.

“This nation really does not have foreign policy and has no ability…it’s a shame that [Japan] easily gave up their last cards. They [Chinese] are shaking us up badly,” moaned one person on Twitter. Another said more simply: “How do you say ‘cave’ in Chinese?” Yet another tweeted: “Due to the DPJ, democracy and the notion of a nation’s sovereignty are about to be lost. I’m amazed to see their inability to govern. They’re worse than the LDP which was in power before.”

Ever gentlemanly, an official from the Osaka prosecutors’ office said at a hastily called press conference Friday afternoon: “We decided it was inappropriate to continue the investigation while keeping the suspect in custody any further, considering the future of the Japan-China relationship,”

The government’s decision may be good for tourism and business ties between the two countries, but the jury’s still out on how it might knock the DPJ’s popularity rankings — and Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s.
11262  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: September 25, 2010, 10:55:35 AM

The Japanese are in fact the world’s largest consumers of rare-earth minerals.  But they have been stockpiling the minerals—and working on technologies to recycle them—to protect against supply disruptions.  Toyota, which depends on these minerals in the batteries for its hybrids, reportedly possesses a one-year supply.

The United States, however, has not been so careful, letting the Chinese using predatory pricing to make American mines uncompetitive.  As a result, there is almost no domestic production of rare earths in the United States.  So Beijing’s cut off of the minerals to Japan highlights America’s critical vulnerability.  Due to this almost-complete dependence on foreign sources, Molycorp is now looking to reopen its Mountain Pass mine in California and there is growing pressure on Congress to authorize the much-needed stockpiling of strategic minerals.

Yet there is a far more important lesson to be learned here.  The West had assumed that China could be integrated into the global system of commerce and, once so enmeshed, it would become benign.  Yet nine years after the accession to the World Trade Organization, Beijing appears not to have been constrained by its participation in global trade.

During this period, China has become economically powerful, and now, it is using that power to achieve geopolitical goals—in this case to demand from Japan territory over which it has exceedingly weak legal claims.  So whatever we may think about free trade or open borders, we have to remember that every economic advantage we extend to China gives its leaders one more tool to advance their geopolitical goals.

“Taking into account the impact on our citizens and Japan-China relations, our judgment was that it would have been excessive to prolong the investigation and his detention,” said Toru Suzuki, deputy public prosecutor at a press conference today.  Until now, Japanese authorities had insisted that the prosecutor would make a decision based only on the facts of Captain Zhan Qixiong’s conduct.

Beijing has—once again—learned intimidation works.  Who will be its next target?
11263  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: September 25, 2010, 10:44:58 AM

The captain's release came as a surprise to some Japan Coast Guard officials and sparked criticism that it could result in confusion over the handling of similar incidents in the future. At the same time, a Coast Guard official commented: "It must have been tough for public prosecutors to have to make an unnatural decision like that."

On Sept. 7, when the initial decision to arrest the skipper was made, two unofficial meetings were held by the Japan Coast Guard and related government bodies including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Justice. But on Sept. 24, when prosecutors decided to release the skipper, no meetings were staged and it was not until after 2 p.m. that the Japan Coast Guard was notified of the decision. Watching television broadcasts announcing the move, Coast Guard members were angered, with one commenting that Japan had "bowed to pressure." Another disappointed member added: "It made me want to resign from the civil service."

"The case for obstruction of official duties was formed under the direction of public prosecutors. This has set a bad precedent," one official Coast Guard official commenting on the release said. The official became calmer when hearing about public prosecutors taking Japan-China relations into consideration, and said, "The Japan Coast Guard investigation has been proven appropriate. I guess public prosecutors decided to take the responsibility by making a point of referring to Japan-China relations." Still, the official described the release as "a regrettable outcome."

Following the move to release the Chinese captain, the Japan Coast Guard received a flood of telephone complaints from people asking why the skipper had been released without punishment. By 7 p.m. on Sept. 24, some 60 calls had been fielded. One caller reportedly stated, "I've never complained to a public office before, but I can't let things go this time." However, when officials explained that the issue was in the hands of public prosecutors, many callers were reportedly understanding, and instead started praising the Coast Guard, saying they wanted it to continue to clamp down on offenders.

When questioned in a news conference shortly after 5 p.m. on Sept. 24 whether the issue had been dealt with "solemnly in accordance with laws," Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister Sumio Mabuchi stated he had "no particular thoughts" about the decision to release the captain.
11264  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Criminal Justice system on: September 25, 2010, 09:52:42 AM
Because if the fines don't hurt, it's just the cost of doing business.
11265  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Criminal Justice system on: September 25, 2010, 09:21:56 AM
I guess we should just stop enforcing laws related to fishing? It's not like there is a global problem with overfishing, right?
11266  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: September 25, 2010, 09:07:45 AM

The relentless pressure on both countries to expand their exports is threatening to create a trade war between the US and China.

Congressmen, feeling the populist pressure from voters back home, have approved a new bill that would place import duties on Chinese goods, if they don't revalue the yuan. The bill has yet to be passed by the House or Senate.

But if the U.S. government enters into a tit-for-tat trade war with China, it's likely the Chinese will respond. And that could hammer U.S. companies that export to China.

We've evaluated the states, using data from the U.S. China Business Council, that export the most to China, and companies that might get crushed in each if a trade war commences.

Read more:
11267  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: September 25, 2010, 08:44:01 AM
My money says Japan folded after the US told them that we don't have their back. This win by China will encourage more aggressive moves by them. Japan has a serious loss of face and has to re-examine it's entire national security structure as a result of this.
11268  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Which Malik Shabazz Visited White House? on: September 24, 2010, 09:51:26 PM

Which Malik Shabazz Visited White House in July 2009, Mr. President?
by Andrew Breitbart

In May 2009, the Obama/Holder Justice Department dropped charges in a voter intimidation case against Malik Shabazz, a leader of the New Black Panther Party, despite having already won a summary judgment against him, and his New Black Panther Party colleagues King Samir Shabazz and Jerry Jackson who were video-taped outside polling place in Philadelphia intimidating voters as they arrived on election day, 2008.  In July 2009, when Congress began looking into the matter, someone named Malik Shabazz visited the private residence at the White House.
11269  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Last Best Hope on: September 24, 2010, 06:19:38 PM

The Last Best Hope
11270  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Recovery summer! on: September 24, 2010, 03:18:45 PM

Gold futures rose to a record $1,300 an ounce in New York as investors sought a protection of wealth and an alternative to a weakening dollar. Bullion traded at an all-time in London and silver reached the highest price since 1980.

The dollar headed for a weekly drop against the euro on concern the Federal Reserve is moving closer to boosting debt purchases, while European equities declined. Gold, which usually moves inversely to the greenback, advanced to a record for the fourth day this week. Silver, which is used in industrial applications, headed for a fifth weekly advance in London.

“Gold is showing there is no confidence in the dollar,” said Bernard Sin, head of currency and metal trading at bullion refiner MKS Finance SA in Geneva. Recent “data has been showing signs of a troubled economy. That’s why we’ve seen this huge buying for investors as a safe haven.”
11271  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / China-Pakistan reactor deal to open fresh US rift on: September 24, 2010, 01:35:15 PM
**Or Pakistan....**

At a time when Washington and Beijing are already sparring about exchange rates, North Korea and territorial disputes in the South China Sea, the nuclear deal could spark a fresh diplomatic argument. The Obama administration has already come out against the sale of the two reactors and has made nuclear proliferation one of its signature foreign policy issues.

“This sets up a potential conflict between China and the US,” said Mark Hibbs, an expert on nuclear ­politics at the Carnegie Endowment.

“A resolution will require a diplomatic discussion between the US and China about the future of the nuclear trade.”
11272  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / An ill wind blows for Israel on: September 24, 2010, 01:22:46 PM

Mideast Strategic Perversity
At a time when Israel’s security environment is worsening, in no small part because of the Obama administration’s strategic weakness, Israel is being pushed hard by that same administration into making its security environment even worse.
September 21, 2010 - by P. David Hornik

Russia has decided to sell Syria P-800 Yakhont supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles despite heavy Israeli and American protests.

Last month Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu personally asked Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to call off the sale. The U.S. is also described as putting up “stiff opposition” to it. Yet over the weekend, Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov announced the sale in Washington during talks with U.S. Defense Minister Robert Gates.

Both the U.S. and Israel fear that the Yakhont, a difficult-to-intercept missile that cruises just above sea level at twice the speed of sound, could threaten their naval vessels in the Mediterranean. They are also concerned that Syria could transfer the missiles to Hezbollah. In the 2006 Second Lebanon War, Hezbollah hit an Israeli missile boat with a Chinese-made missile, killing four crew members. The missile had been smuggled into Lebanon through Syria.

That not even Israel’s superpower ally could dissuade Russia from taking this aggressive, dangerous step is unfortunately part of a pattern. Reuel Marc Gerecht and Mark Dubowitz have noted in the Wall Street Journal that, even at a time when the major European states and Japan are cutting business ties with Iran, Russia (along with China) is stepping in to fill the void.
11273  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: September 24, 2010, 01:17:15 PM
Look for things to flare up w/ the NorKs. That's one of China's favorite pressure points to use on US/Japan/SKorea.
11274  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Lawless Legislators: The Federal Rupture of the Rule of Law on: September 24, 2010, 01:05:48 PM

Lawless Legislators: The Federal Rupture of the Rule of Law
In recent years, it has succumbed to the rule of men.
September 24, 2010 - by Jeff Perren

    If men were angels, no government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.

    James Madison, Federalist Paper No. 51 (1788)

The Rule of Lawlessness

In the American system the legislature is tasked with making laws, and the executive with executing them. For those rules to be just laws they have to be comprehensible and apply equally to all. Following them must entail reasonably predictable results. To be valid they must not contradict the Constitution; they must not violate the basic rights it outlines.

Lately, Congress and the Obama administration alike fail on all those criteria. While that’s been a problem in the U.S. for generations now, that trend has worsened since the 2006 elections, and accelerated in the past 20 months. The Democratic majority that came to power in 2006 has violated the rule of law at every turn. The administration has upped the ante: from the petty to the critical, their actions have often been lawless in a very literal sense of the term.

In a dozen small ways, the ruling class expresses its contempt for the law and its intended function of protecting the rights of citizens.

Obama’s aunt flagrantly violates immigration law for years but is not deported, thanks to her family connection. Timothy Geithner neglects to pay his taxes and is still appointed Treasury secretary. Chris Dodd gets a sweetheart real estate loan from Countrywide and remains in office years afterward to retire with a comfy pension.

There is, unfortunately, a treasure trove of major examples from which to choose.

ObamaCare violates the Constitution in at least three different ways, and still passed. The financial reform bill lets regulators force any bank in the country out of business whenever they decide it represents an undue risk to “the system.” Obama himself violated long-standing bankruptcy laws by giving preference to union interests during GM’s reorganization. He appointed Ken Feinberg to hand out billions of BP’s dollars according to that petty dictator’s personal sense of fair play.

Maybe most worrisome of all is the half-complete CyberSpace National Asset Act, which would allow the president to shut down the Internet whenever deemed necessary for “national security.” (As it stands, the bill would limit the shutdown period to 120 days, but that can be extended by Congress. Cold comfort.) A more dangerous affront to free speech and the property rights of hundreds of millions of users would be hard to imagine.

This is the rule of men — and not good men at that — run amok.
11275  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / More on stuxnet on: September 24, 2010, 11:19:48 AM

Links to different articles.
11276  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Cyberwar and American Freedom on: September 24, 2010, 10:02:13 AM

Interesting analysis here.
11277  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We won't win this one on: September 23, 2010, 10:45:47 PM

CHINESE officials like to lecture their American counterparts that, when it comes to loosening their tightly controlled currency, pressure is counterproductive. Tim Geithner, the treasury secretary, has resisted direct confrontation with China over the yuan’s value. Like his predecessors, he worries that overt pressure would undermine advocates of reform inside China, principally the People’s Bank of China, and erode co-operation on other issues such as Iran and North Korea.

When China said in June that the yuan would be allowed more flexibility, it looked like a victory for Mr Geithner. But as weeks elapsed and the yuan stayed put, the critics began to resurface. “We’re all coming to the conclusion that they don’t believe we’re serious,” Jack Reed, a Democratic senator, told Mr Geithner on September 16th. “And as a result, they will listen to you politely but they will not take any effective action.”

The administration increasingly appears to agree. On September 15th it brought two actions against China at the World Trade Organisation (WTO): one contesting Chinese duties on American exports of a special type of steel used in power generation, and another over discrimination against foreign providers of payment-card transactions.
11278  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: September 23, 2010, 10:22:19 PM

"It will be the last straw for Beijing if Japan insists on trying the Chinese captain for his fishing operation off the Diaoyu Islands, in the East China Sea," said the Global Times. "Although Japanese leaders hope the fishing boat issue will be seen as a stand-alone incident and will not hurt the two countries' normal relations, it is impossible for China's protest to remain verbal only."

After making it clear that "Japan's handling of the case is seen as a direct challenge of China's sovereignty over the contended islands", the Global Times issued this stern warning:

    Suspension of the East China Sea gas field talks, scheduled for mid-September, is the first move of China's counter strike. Given the decades of relationship building after WWII, China will probably not resort to force over this incident. But, if the protests from the Chinese government and public don't bring the Japanese back from the brink of a relations breakdown, Beijing has to consider stronger retaliatory measures.

Other obvious moves include the suspension of a high-level visit to Japan by a senior Chinese government official, and a series of awkward maneuvers southwest of Okinawa between Chinese maritime patrol ships and Japanese survey vessels which suggested that more confrontations could soon occur.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said the Japanese actions as a whole in this instance violated the law of nations and were "ridiculous, illegal and invalid".

"Japan will reap as it has sown, if it continues to act recklessly," Jiang warned.

Is this more than an untimely error on the part of a Chinese fishing boat captain? After all, any attempt by China to fabricate an incident at sea involving a Chinese commercial or fishing vessel would not come as a surprise. While the focus previously has been primarily on the South China Sea, it is possible that China may also be preparing to make more aggressive moves in the East China Sea. [2]
11279  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Cyberwar and American Freedom on: September 23, 2010, 09:41:35 PM
It really reminds me of something out of "Daemon" by Daniel Suarez.
11280  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: September 23, 2010, 09:31:04 PM
Prediction: China will do a bit of a gut check with us soon (again) just to gauge our response. It may be financial, it may be military. It won't (probably) escalate, but they will bump us.
11281  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Next Israel-Hezbollah war will be worse on: September 23, 2010, 08:49:16 PM

In its next war against Hezbollah, the IDF's Northern Command would use the "Lebanon Corps" and five divisions - the 162nd, 36th, 98th, 366th and 319th, according to U.S. intelligence veteran Jeffrey White in research published last week by the pro-Israel Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

According to White, if another Israel-Hezbollah war breaks out it will not resemble the war of the summer of 2006, but will cover much of Lebanon and Israel, and probably also Syria, and is likely to also draw in Iran, involve major military operations, cause significant casualties among combatants and civilians, and destroy infrastructure.
11282  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: September 23, 2010, 08:06:27 PM
History shows that totalitarians do not need technology to do their worst. Does technology potentially make a totalitarian state stronger? Maybe. Technology is a double edged sword. Despite the great firewall of China, technology has done much to empower the Chinese people.

Bad guys make use of technology. It would be negligent for law enforcement not to move to counter that, while using the limits set by the applicable laws and rulings by the courts.
11283  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: September 23, 2010, 06:39:39 PM

See the accountability?
11284  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: September 23, 2010, 06:15:23 PM
As much as our current president and friends might not like it, we still are a nation of laws. Unlike the KGB, Chinese Ministry for State Security or any other real totalitarian entity, the FBI and other federal/state/local entities face legal review of their actions. The agencies face legal liabilities, individual LEOs face both civil and criminal liabilities at both the state and federal levels.

Everything you do as a LEO faces scrutiny. You face judges and juries who can nullify your investigative work, sometimes on a whim. Every training class I've taken with a legal update consists of deputy DA's reminding you to not screw up on search and seizure or you'll ruin the case and potentially open yourself up to a 42 USC 1983 action, which cannot be discharged by bankruptcy. I've never heard one say "Hey, we have the PATRIOT act, do whatever you want."

The FBI and other federal agencies have "Offices of Professional Responsibility" (Internal Affairs) as well as IGs offices. I'm pretty sure the Khmer Rouge didn't have any such things. The Khmer Rouge didn't have computers, cell phones or probably much in the way of technological surveillance capabilities, right?

42 U.S.C. § 1983 : US Code - Section 1983: Civil action for deprivation of rights

Stalin and Mao did their thing without much in the way of technology. Why the neo-ludditism here?

You've never seen me argue that law enforcement should operate without scrutiny. You don't need re-education, just education on the topic. This is why I bother to drag all the applicable laws and caselaw here.
11285  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Booming China Lures Key Professors on: September 23, 2010, 05:27:57 PM

China has waited patiently for decades for some of its brightest and most accomplished scientists to return. Until recently, it could not offer high-quality research facilities, adequate funding or an attractive research environment.

But in the past few years, the government has invested heavily in infrastructure, constructing campuses and science parks to accommodate what it hopes will be a boom in homegrown technological advances, particularly in such fields as nanotechnology, computer science and pharmaceuticals. The government's goal is to turn new discoveries into products as quickly as possible.

Richard Appelbaum, a professor of sociology and global studies at UC Santa Barbara, said he recently visited a vast new research facility outside Shanghai.

"This is a science park the size of a city," he recounted. "It's all brand-spanking-new buildings that have been put up by the government of Suzhou. They are occupied by all these startup companies, working in biology and at the interface of nano and biology. It's all very impressive, at least to an outsider."

With the "Thousand Talents" program, China is not only luring "sea turtles," but also showing new flexibility by negotiating part-time deals with "sea gulls," who split their time between universities in China and the U.S.

One "sea gull" is UC San Francisco professor Chao Tang, who also is founder and director of the Center for Theoretical Biology at Peking University, where he teaches part of the year.

A leader in the field of quantitative biology, Tang said holding positions at the two universities gives him the best of both worlds: He can stay connected with experts in his field in the U.S. while still being part of the transformation of science in China.
11286  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / When did the US become a totalitarian country? on: September 23, 2010, 02:10:58 PM
Hmm, okay, make that your mantra when they come for you.

When did the US become a totalitarian country? 1890, When law enforcement first started communications intercepts? In 1979, When SMITH V. MARYLAND was decided?

Facts are good. Police-state-Hypochondria isn't.

Hypochondria is a chronic mental illness in which you fear having an undiagnosed serious or life-threatening disease. Hypochondria is currently considered a psychosomatic disorder, which means it's a psychological disorder with physical symptoms. However, some researchers believe hypochondria is a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder, and its designation may eventually change.
11287  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stuxnet malware is 'weapon' on: September 23, 2010, 01:39:42 PM

  By Mark Clayton Mark Clayton   – Tue Sep 21, 3:08 pm ET

Cyber security experts say they have identified the world's first known cyber super weapon designed specifically to destroy a real-world target – a factory, a refinery, or just maybe a nuclear power plant.

The cyber worm, called Stuxnet, has been the object of intense study since its detection in June. As more has become known about it, alarm about its capabilities and purpose have grown. Some top cyber security experts now say Stuxnet's arrival heralds something blindingly new: a cyber weapon created to cross from the digital realm to the physical world – to destroy something.

At least one expert who has extensively studied the malicious software, or malware, suggests Stuxnet may have already attacked its target – and that it may have been Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant, which much of the world condemns as a nuclear weapons threat.
11288  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / New book to damage Obama on: September 23, 2010, 01:27:38 PM

Mindful that cutting and running could embolden the Taliban and other terrorist entities, Obama confided to Woodward in a one-on-one interview that the United States "can absorb a terrorist attack. We'll do everything we can to prevent it, but even a 9/11, even the biggest attack ever ... we absorbed it and we are stronger."
11289  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Smith v. Maryland, 442 U.S. 735 (1979) on: September 23, 2010, 11:38:45 AM

The telephone company, at police request, installed at its central offices a pen register to record the numbers dialed from the telephone at petitioner's home. Prior to his robbery trial, petitioner moved to suppress "all fruits derived from" the pen register. The Maryland trial court denied this motion, holding that the warrantless installation of the pen register did not violate the Fourth Amendment. Petitioner was convicted, and the Maryland Court of Appeals affirmed.

Held: The installation and use of the pen register was not a "search" within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment, and hence no warrant was required. Pp. 442 U. S. 739-746.

(a) Application of the Fourth Amendment depends on whether the person invoking its protection can claim a "legitimate expectation of privacy" that has been invaded by government action. This inquiry normally embraces two questions: first, whether the individual has exhibited an actual (subjective) expectation of privacy; and second, whether his expectation is one that society is prepared to recognize as "reasonable." Katz v. United States, 389 U. S. 347. Pp. 442 U. S. 739-741.

(b) Petitioner in all probability entertained no actual expectation of privacy in the phone numbers he dialed, and even if he did, his expectation was not "legitimate." First, it is doubtful that telephone users in general have any expectation of privacy regarding the numbers they dial, since they typically know that they must convey phone numbers to the telephone company and that the company has facilities for recording this information and does, in fact, record it for various legitimate business purposes. And petitioner did not demonstrate an expectation of privacy merely by using his home phone, rather than some other phone, since his conduct, although perhaps calculated to keep the contents of his conversation private, was not calculated to preserve the privacy of the number he dialed. Second, even if petitioner did harbor some subjective expectation of privacy, this expectation was not one that society is prepared to recognize as "reasonable." When petitioner voluntarily conveyed numerical information to the phone company and "exposed" that information to its equipment in the normal course of business, he assumed the risk that the company would reveal the information
11290  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: September 22, 2010, 09:26:46 PM

The process governed by the U.S. Postal Regulations (39 C.F.R. § 233.3) that allows the recording of all the information that appears on the outside cover of mail in any class, and also allows the recording of the contents of second-, third-, and fourth-class mail, international parcel post mail, and mail on which the appropriate postage has not been paid.

Mail covers may be granted by the chief postal inspector, or a delegate of the inspector's, and are allowed upon the request of a law enforcement agency. The law enforcement agency's purpose must be to protect national security, locate a fugitive, obtain evidence of the commission or attempted commission of a crime, or help identify property, proceeds or assets forfeitable under law.

Read more: Mail Cover - Court, Amendment, Held, Regulations, Law, and Postal
11291  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: September 21, 2010, 09:24:02 AM
Again, the standard is reasonable expectation of privacy. Email, unless it's encrypted is just as private as a postcard. Anyone can read it from place to place. Your bank transactions are hopefully encrypted and require a subpeona or search warrant.
11292  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Birds of a feather on: September 19, 2010, 01:31:04 PM

Muslim Brotherhood-USA honors Helen Thomas.
11293  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2010 Elections; 2012 Presidential on: September 18, 2010, 02:05:44 PM

Waiting for the MSM to cover this.....

11294  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2010 Elections; 2012 Presidential on: September 18, 2010, 01:08:05 PM
Were I a political cartoonist, I'd have an elephant wake up to find a severed rhino's head in it's bed.
11295  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Harry Reid's pet on: September 18, 2010, 11:20:44 AM

O’Donnell will be only half the equation in November.  The other half is New Castle County Executive Chris Coons.  As this Delaware blogger observes, Coons is a virtual unknown for Delawareans outside New Castle County. His national fame has been growing exponentially in the past 48 hours, however, as the blogosphere explodes with link upon link to excerpts from his 1985, Amherst-student-era oeuvre “Chris Coons: The Making of a Bearded Marxist.”

Now, we all wrote stupid stuff when we were 22.  But it seems almost laughably hapless of Coons to have written his because he went to Kenya (yes) and came back with thoughts like these:

    “I became friends with a very wealthy businessman and his family and heard them reiterate the same beliefs held by many Americans: the poor are poor because they are lazy, slovenly, uneducated,” wrote Coons. “I realize that Kenya and America are very different, but experiences like this warned me that my own favorite beliefs in the miracles of free enterprise and the boundless opportunities to be had in America were largely untrue.”

Naturally, Coons’ prior experience in the classroom had prepared him for this enlightenment:

    A course on cultural anthropology, noted Coons, had “undermined the accepted value of progress and the cultural superiority of the West,” while a class on the Vietnam War led him to “suspect…that the ideal of America as a ‘beacon of freedom and justice, providing hope for the world’ was not exactly based in reality.”


    Coons wrote that upon his return to Amherst for his senior year he realized that, while he had discovered the faults of his country, he had also “returned to loving America.”

Awesome, dude.

The thing about Coons, Bearded Marxist, is not so much that he underwent the celebrated, if-you’re-not-a-leftist-at-20 rite of passage.  It’s that he checked every block then, on the official One-Note Leftist list – and he has just kept checking them ever since.  Coons appears to be about as politics-as-usual, more-of-same, tax-and-spend-and-spend-some-more as it gets.  He’s an archetype.  He is, in fact, what an astonishing number of Delaware voters considered themselves to be rejecting, by voting for O’Donnell on Tuesday.
11296  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Where is the outrage? on: September 17, 2010, 08:09:20 PM

"Oh yeah, didn’t you hear? Separation of church and state only applies to Christianity."
11297  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2010 Elections; 2012 Presidential on: September 17, 2010, 07:19:07 PM
I didn't realize the quote was that old.  I too said plenty of things around that age that don't represent me now at all.

The key thing is to see if he seems to have shifted from the beared marxist phase or not.
11298  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Gotta love Iowahawk on: September 17, 2010, 07:12:24 PM

If It Is a Fight These Jacobins Want, Then It Is a Fight They Shall Have

T. Coddington Van Voorhees VII
Conservative Intellectual At-Large

Such are the vicissitudes of our current political zeitgeist that Homo Republicanus is each day forced to endure a fresh assault on his intelligence somehow more insulting than the last. Doubly insulting, as you no doubt imagine, when the Homo in question is me. Contrary to what you may assume, the gift of intellectual acuity and foresight can in times like these prove to be an almost unbearable cross; I shall not use this space to recount the many unheeded warnings I have issued to fellow Republicans regarding the growing menace of the soi dissant "Tea Party" faction, other than to note that as a Cassandra I have, if anything, proven to be insufficiently alarmist.

The latest proof of this assertion came with Wednesday morning's grapefruit and New York Times, borne as always on the old family serving cart by Farquhar the old family butler. According to Van Voorhees lore the sterling conveyance was acquired by T. Coddington II during some long-forgotten 19th century Panic, from a newly destitute Albany canal boat nabob to whom he had lent a small ransom. Unable to repay his bonds, the man offered great-great-great grandpapa the serving cart in a desperate act of supplicancy to stave off a well-deserved thrashing from TC2's diamond-tipped swagger stick. Although it would not so avail him that day, the old tarnished trolley now serves as a handsome household heirloom. And, if the appraisers of Sotheby's are to be trusted, a lasting tribute to the Van Voorhees' famed financial clairvoyance. As for Farquhar, I would note that he has become in his own way an equally treasured family keepsake, having now faithfully served four generations of Van Voorheeses without complaint and without once taking a holiday. Though well into his late nineties and afflicted with the St. Vitus Dance, the old Irishman continues to do so today. As a lad I once queried my grandfather as to Farquhar's remarkable loyalty; in reply he explained that Farquhar was a penniless immigrant beggar waif when TC5 first discovered him at the Cunard docks in 1921; a wretched urchin possessing neither passport nor prospects, and with a Sinn Fein bounty on his head. In pity TC5 remanded young Farquhar to the custody of his household staff, who tutored him in the fine points of servantry and US deportation laws. Although his duties have for the most part been delegated to other members of our current household staff, I still request that he bring me my morning paper and grapefruit; for even as Mariska complains of his smell, the sight of the dear old chap hobbling into the breakfast room with the old serving cart provides a comforting reminder of a saner era when living was gracious and Republicans knew how to comport themselves.

But I digress. I was, as you might imagine, eager to read the results of the previous evening's Republican U.S. Senate primary in Delaware. Normally I would have followed the returns by live television, but Mariska and I were otherwise engaged as hosts of a black-tie fundraiser for our new charity program, Inner City Badminton, along with our dear friends from the firmament of conservative punditry, Kathleen Parker and David Brooks. Together we passionately believe that by introducing the "grand old pastime" to the hiphop community, we will in some small way begin to repair the incalculable damage done to Republican-African American relations by the racially tactless Tea Party idiots. Spirits were quite festive, especially after Parker, Brooks and the Rev. Sharpton became entangled in a badminton net during a Tom Collins-fueled limbo tournament. By the time they were freed we were all too giddy and exhausted to worry about election returns. Indeed, why should we? For the most part, the damage inflicted by the Tea Partyists has been confined to the hinterlands west of the Alleghenies and south of Washington, so it seemed somewhat absurd to suggest that their benighted candidates might actually find success in one of the better states like Delaware. Yes, I am aware of Mr. Scott Brown in Massachusetts, but as I have noted before, that particular electoral fluke can be readily explained by Brown's erotic appeal to his state's famously nymphomaniacal womenfolk. Once Senator Adonis suffers the ravages of time and gravity, I have every confidence Massachusetts will return, chastened, to its traditional progressive heritage. But Delaware? With its long record of electing deep, gravitas-laden men such as Joe Biden (who, despite suffering over 1500 sun strokes, cerebral infarctions, and hematomae over the last 10 years, retains a reputation as one of Washington's brightest minds) the 'First State' seemed the last state to be seduced by the Tea Partyist's inane lowbrow "smaller gubmint" hillbilly bunkum.

Thus I assumed when the Delaware Republican party approached me last week requesting high-level strategic advice it was in regards to the November general election. Mr. Biden's elevation to the executive branch created an open Senate seat and, mercifully, a rare moment of kismet for moderate and intellectual conservatives; here, at last, the right kind of seat, for the right kind of state, and the right kind of candidate in Mr. Mike Castle. With his nomination a forgone conclusion and a voting record scarcely distinguishable from Mr. Biden's, Mr. Castle would be undoubtedly competitive in November and could be supported by a better stripe of conservative without fear of Washington social embarrassment. Better yet, his nomination would represent a return to the rational conservatism which has been all but eclipsed by the dark moon of Tea Party lunacy. All that remained to formulate a strategy to position Mr. Castle further to the center for the general election, and to make arrangements for cocktails; two task for which I am eminently qualified and brimming with ideas. Instead, I was mortified to learn from party officials that they were in fact seeking help in parrying a primary challenge to Mr. Castle from a dark horse Republican who was in the midst of a last minute charge in the polls.

Who was this mysterious rival, I inquired - some heretofore unknown Machiavellian prodigy from Harvard poli sci? An old-money interloper from the Philadelphia Mainline? Neither, they said. The challenge, they explained, came in the form of one "Christine O'Donnell," a financially destitute 37-year old Tea Party schoolgirl whose intellectual heft by comparison made even la Palin look Obamanesque. I then watched in abject horror as they played a video of her crusading against teenage onanism. I admit no great pride in my own occasional participation in that unseemly adolescent pastime, but what sort of person declaims it on MTV? And what sort of party allows her name to appear on an official primary ballot? And that is when it struck me: I was obviously now witnessing the premise of an elaborate practical joke. Delawareans have long been known as the irascible pranksters of East Coast Republicanism, and to be selected as the target of their good-natured japery is in some fashion an honor. Even though the stunt nearly led to his untimely demise, the very first T. Coddington Van Voorhees himself reportedly enjoyed a hearty laugh after his waggish Delaware friend E. I. du Pont replaced his trusty dueling pistol with a replica that egested a comical "BANG" flag. Not wanting to spoil their fun, I did not let on to the Delaware party officials that I was wise to their little joke. Instead, I played along and counseled them to run a last minute, no-holds-barred negative media blitz against their impossibly fictional "Tea Party candidate."

And thus I awaited with wry anticipation as Farquhar slowly traversed the breakfast room with the cart bearing the punchline to the Delawareans' clever prank. This was followed by gales of riotous laughter when I discovered the wags had printed an entire mock edition of the New York Times announcing their satirical "Miss O'Donnell" had actually won the race! I was so overcome with mirth that I kicked over the cart, spilling grapefruit across the marble. As Farquhar trembled back to the kitchens to retrieve the mop, I reached for the ringing telephone prepared to hear the voice of the Delaware GOP chairman crowing about his ingenious drollery. Instead I was greeted with the panicked entreaties of none other that Mr. Castle himself, joined by the Republican National Congressional Committee brain trust, insisting against all rational evidence that Miss O'Donnell was in fact real and that she had indeed won the contest. I conducted an incredulous review of the cable news channels, which confirmed their wild story. I called the kitchen intercom and bade Farquhar fetch me a stiff drink on his way back with the mop.

What followed, I will state with no small amount of confidence, was the birth of a mighty counterrevolution to wrest the cause of conservatism back from the would-be mobs.

"Gentlemen, at long last it is time to draw a line in the sand," I announced. "For too long we have stood by idly while these insipid cretins - the Palins, the Limbaughs, the Becks - have run roughshod over our once proud party, making it a mockery and ruining our social standing, advancing the insane notion that years of Washington experience and good breeding are somehow trumped by idiotic pledges to dismantle the very government on which their very existence depends. Well, my friends, I say unto you, with this Delaware disaster they have gone a bridge too far. Today we begin the counterattack, and we will make it plain to the insurrectionists that they shan't see another dime of our inheritances."

The polite huzzahs and claps emanating from the speaker-phone indicated to me that my call to arms was striking a chord within the heart of traditional Republicanism. Heartened, I pressed on.

"If it is a fight the Jacobins want, then it is a fight they shall have," I added with a pugilistic flourish. "And let this be their warning - I once took 4th place in the East Hampton Silver Gloves boxing tournament."

My battle cry was greeted, as you might imagine, with a lusty cheer the likes of which had not been heard since the eve of Agincourt. And justly so; for in the course of human events, there comes a time when a well bred man must roll up his cashmere sleeves, grab the old family swagger stick, and remind the rabble of their proper place.

Take Farquhar, for instance. I swear the old fool just offered me an obscene gesture.
11299  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2010 Elections; 2012 Presidential on: September 17, 2010, 05:51:37 PM

Coons, 47, has already been targeted by Republicans for an article he wrote for the Amherst College newspaper when he was 21 -- a piece entitled "Chris Coons: The Making of a Bearded Marxist."

Coons wrote about his political evolution from a conservative college student who founded the Amherst College Republicans into a Democrat suspicious of America's power and ideals. The transformation, he said, came during a trip to Kenya.

Coons alluded to his past in a debate Thursday with O'Donnell, saying Delaware residents are interested in what candidates will do to create jobs, reduce the national debt and fix what he called a broken political system in Washington, and that they're not "particularly interested in statements that either of us made 20 or 30 years ago."
11300  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: September 17, 2010, 02:02:17 PM

More people who must not understand islam is a religion of peace....  rolleyes
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