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9751  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Beer Lubricated the Rise of Civilization, Study Suggests on: November 10, 2010, 01:17:11 PM
http://www.livescience.com/culture/beer-helped-rise-of-civilization-101104.html

Archaeological evidence suggests that until the Neolithic, cereals such as barley and rice constituted only a minor element of diets, most likely because they require so much labor to get anything edible from them — one typically has to gather, winnow, husk and grind them, all very time-consuming tasks.

Hayden told LiveScience he has seen that hard work for himself. "In traditional Mayan villages where I've worked, maize is used for tortillas and for chicha, the beer made there. Women spend five hours a day just grinding up the kernels."

However, sites in Syria suggest that people nevertheless went to unusual lengths at times just to procure cereal grains — up to 40 to 60 miles (60 to 100 km). One might speculate, Hayden said, that the labor associated with grains could have made them attractive in feasts in which guests would be offered foods that were difficult or expensive to prepare, and beer could have been a key reason to procure the grains used to make them.

"It's not that drinking and brewing by itself helped start cultivation, it's this context of feasts that links beer and the emergence of complex societies," Hayden said.

Feasts would have been more than simple get-togethers — such ceremonies have held vital social significance for millennia, from the Last Supper to the first Thanksgiving.

"Feasts are essential in traditional societies for creating debts, for creating factions, for creating bonds between people, for creating political power, for creating support networks, and all of this is essential for developing more complex kinds of societies," Hayden explained. "Feasts are reciprocal — if I invite you to my feast, you have the obligation to invite me to yours. If I give you something like a pig or a pot of beer, you're obligated to do the same for me or even more."

"In traditional feasts throughout the world, there are three ingredients that are almost universally present," he said. "One is meat. The second is some kind of cereal grain, at least in the Northern Hemisphere, in the form of breads or porridge or the like. The third is alcohol, and because you need surplus grain to put into it, as well as time and effort, it's produced almost only in traditional societies for special occasions to impress guests, make them happy, and alter their attitudes favorably toward hosts."

The brewing of alcohol seems to have been a very early development linked with initial domestication, seen during Neolithic times in China, the Sudan, the first pottery in Greece and possibly with the first use of maize. Hayden said circumstantial evidence for brewing has been seen in the Natufian, in that all the technology needed to make it is there — cultivated yeast, grindstones, vessels for brewing and fire-cracked rocks as signs of the heating needed to prepare the mash.
9752  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Jane's expert says it WAS a missile on: November 10, 2010, 11:58:54 AM
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/11/10/earlyshow/main7040379.shtml

The video of what looks for all the world like the contrail of a missile was shot Monday evening by KCBS cameraman Gil Leyvas from a news helicopter over Los Angeles.

"I saw a big plume coming up, rising from looked like beyond the horizon and it continued to grow," Leyvas said.

He zoomed his camera in and stayed on it for about 10 minutes. To him it looked like an incoming missile.

"It was unique. It was moving," he said. "It was growing in the sky."

The Pentagon spends billions of dollars a year making sure it is never surprised by a missile launch - so finding out what the camera saw became a top priority. Both the Navy and the Air Force insisted they had not launched any missiles and the North American Air Defense Command - which is supposed to track incoming missiles - declared it had not been fired by any other military. But nobody could say what it was.

But Doug Richardson, the editor of Jane’s Missiles and Rockets, examined the video for the Times of London and said he was left with little doubt.

"It’s a solid propellant missile," he told the Times. "You can tell from the efflux [smoke]."

Richardson said it could have been a ballistic missile launched from a submarine or an interceptor, the defensive anti-missile weapon used by Navy surface ships.

________________________________________________________________________

Doug Richardson
Editor, Jane’s Missiles and Rockets

Doug Richardson is the editor of “Jane’s Missiles & Rockets”. After a career as an electronics engineer working in areas such as the development testing of radar and EW antennas for combat aircraft, integration of rocket engine electrical controls, the design of computer peripheral hardware, and the planning and post-flight analysis of guided missile trials, he became a journalist in 1976.

Since then he has served at various times as the defence editor of “Flight International”, editor of the German magazine “Military Technology”, managing editor of “Jane’s Defence Systems Modernisation” and technical editor of the Swiss magazine “Armada International”.

His work has appeared in many UK, US and international defence magazines. It covers a wide range of military technologies including military aircraft, guided missiles, radar, electronic warfare, information warfare, communications, satellite navigation systems, stealth technology, tanks, artillery, warships, submarines, small arms and ammunition, and more exotic areas such as space warfare and intelligence gathering.

Although missiles and missile-related technology are his primary interest, he also specialises in military electronics and optronics, and writes regularly on these topics for “Armada International” and other magazines.

Since 1981 he has written more than 20 books on aerospace and defence topics. Most have been published in British and US editions, but several have also appeared in French, German, Japanese and Portuguese versions.

Doug is based in the United Kingdom, and lives in the village of Roydon - 20 miles (32km) north-east of London - with his wife Linda Allen, a French Briard sheepdog, and five computers.
9753  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Use and Misuse of Foreign Law in U.S. Courts on: November 10, 2010, 11:21:08 AM
http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/the-use-and-misuse-of-foreign-law-in-u-s-courts/

The Use and Misuse of Foreign Law in U.S. Courts

Posted by Ilya Shapiro

On Tuesday I discussed the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down laws that allow juveniles to be sentenced to life without parole (LWOP) for non-homicide crimes.  What concerns me here isn’t so much the morality or policy wisdom in applying such sentences — though Chief Justice Roberts makes some good policy points in his concurrence — or even the interpretation of what constitutes a “cruel and unusual punishment” — which I think Justice Kennedy mishandles in a confusing discussion of national consensuses.

No, the most troubling part of that case was the unfortunate reference to foreign authorities to support the Court’s interpretation of the Eighth Amendment.  Justice Kennedy notes that juvenile LWOP has been “rejected the world over.”  “The judgment of the world’s nations that a particular sentencing practice is inconsistent with basic principles of decency,” he writes, “demonstrates that the court’s rationale has respected reasoning to support it.”

Justice Thomas, in his dissent, disputes Justice Kennedy’s math, noting that 11 countries allow the punishment. More importantly, “foreign laws and sentencing practices” are “irrelevant to the meaning of our Constitution.”  He adds that most democracies around the world remain free to adopt the punishment should they wish to. “Starting today,” Thomas concludes, “ours can count itself among the few in which judicial decree prevents voters from making that choice.”

And that’s the crux of the matter: citing foreign law, using it to support a given reading of domestic law undermines democratic self-governance.  The interpretation of the U.S. Constitution should depend on that document’s text, structure, and history, what it means in the context of the American polity.  Even if a judge cares about ”evolving standards of decency” or invokes the “living Constitution,” it should be the updated standards in America that matter, or the opinions and values of modern Americans.


That is, federal judges derive their powers from the Constitution, which is a wholly American document.  To the extent they use foreign extrinsic evidence to interpret this document, they are engaging in something — comparative law? social science? — that is not judging.  It’s not a matter of being closed-minded or provincial — I actually enjoy reading comparative political research, and think our legislators and constitutional draftsmen engage in malpractice if they don’t use it — but, as Justice Thomas describes in Graham, the judicial role is different than the legislative or academic one.

Now, in practice U.S. courts actually rarely cite foreign law, and most of the time when they do it’s not controversial. For example, it’s relevant to see how all the contracting parties interpret a treaty, because you want a treaty (a contract among nations) to be understood the same way everywhere. Similarly, foreign court pronouncements are relevant to interpreting customary international law – the law of nations as the Framers understood it — to the limited extent it applies to a given case (crime on the high seas and the like). Next we have the coordination of litigation, with international companies suing each other based on contracts that specify that “X” provision is subject to British law whereas “Y” deals with Hong Kong law, and that the arbitration forum is supposed to be Switzerland: here the citation of foreign law is absolutely appropriate. Another appropriate use is in conflict of laws analysis: figuring out which law applies and sometimes even applying foreign law as binding in a dispute.

But using foreign law to interpret domestic law, and especially the Constitution, is problematic — but the Supreme Court does it more than lower courts, particularly in high profile cases: those involving the culture wars, moral issues like the death penalty and abortion, and other charged cases like affirmative action and sex discrimination.  Libertarians should not welcome this trend because it signals judging based on something other than the principled reading of our own laws — in short, judicial usurpation of the policy-making function.

Hans Bader of CEI provides a longer write-up of Graham, and here again is Cato’s brief. For a pithy critique of the improper use of foreign law by U.S. courts, see Richard Posner’s now-famous article in Legal Affairs.  And for an in-depth and entertaining exploration of these issues, read or watch a debate Justices Scalia and Breyer had in 2005.

Coincidentally, the same day the Court issued both Graham and Comstock (which I discuss here), it also decided an important case, Abbott v. Abbott, that uses foreign law to interpret an international treaty on child abduction.  (While I haven’t yet gone through the Abbott decision, both the majority and dissent are correct to use foreign law to help them reach their conclusions.)
9754  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / No joy in tinfoilville on: November 10, 2010, 08:51:53 AM
http://formerspook.blogspot.com/2010/11/mystery-missile.html

Tuesday, November 09, 2010
The Mystery Missile


This image, recorded by a Los Angeles TV news chopper, shows the contrail left behind by an aircraft or missile launch off the California coast on Monday. Officially, the Pentagon is still trying to determine the "exact nature of the event." (KCBS/KCAL video, via the Washington Times).

It's been the source of water cooler conversations and endless speculation on the internet. We refer to that mysterious smoke plume that appeared over the Pacific Ocean near Los Angeles. The plume, which may have been from an aircraft or a missile, was captured by a news helicopter from KCBS-TV and quickly became an on-line sensation, prompting all sorts of rumors about an accidental launch by the U.S. military; a show-of-force in support of President Obama's overseas trip, provocative test by the Chinese military, or (more likely) none of the above.

Still, more than 24 hours after the plume was first sighted, no one has offered a definitive explanation of what coastal residents witnessed with their own eyes, and millions more saw on television or the internet. If you're among the dozen or so people who haven't seen the video, you can watch it on the KCBS/KCAL website.

Officially, the Pentagon says it is still investigating the incident. Spokesman for the Air Force and the Navy claim there was no test activity in the area at the time of the event. However, the military frequently uses that section of California coastal waters for missile tests and training exercises.

This map shows that much of area north of Catalina Island (and just off-shore from Los Angeles) is reserved for military use. The USAF conducts periodic satellite launches--and occasional ICBM tests--from Vandenburg AFB, northwest of Santa Barbara, while Navy vessels conduct missile testing offshore. So, a military missile launch in the area is hardly unprecedented.

But the object in the KCBS video appears to be moving a bit slow for a land-based or sub-launched ballistic missile. Indeed, the event unfolded more than 30 miles off-shore, so you can rule out a Minuteman III test or Atlas rocket launch for Vandenburg. As for the USN, we have their assurances that no ships or aircraft were operating in the area at the time.

We can also rule out a possible "show-of-force" in support of Mr. Obama's visit to Asia. We've been launching missiles from Southern California for decades, and the tests are so routine, they generate little attention. It's hard to imagine China--or anyone else--getting excited about routine missile test in the area. Besides, if we were conducting a test, exclusion zones would have been declared around the launch site, and extending down range. Press accounts suggest that a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) was posted only after the smoke plume was sighted last night.

And, it may disappoint the tinfoil hat crowd, but the chances of a missile launch from a Chinese or Russian sub near our coast are approximately zero (emphasis ours). While Moscow's ballistic missile fleet has declined dramatically over the past 20 years, the few boomers at sea can strike U.S. targets--with impressive accuracy--from bastion locations near the Russian coast.

As for the PRC, their ballistic missile sub fleet is still in its infancy, but the effective range of their SLBMs extends well beyond 35 miles, even if their accuracy is a bit suspect. Besides, the odds of an enemy sub approaching our coast--and launching a missile undetected--are decidedly slim. The U.S. has invested billions in attack subs, patrol aircraft and undersea sensors designed to keep enemy subs away from our shores. If a Russian or Chinese boat managed to close within 40 miles of Los Angeles (and conduct a missile test), heads would be rolling, from the SecDef on down.

Among the more plausible explanations, some have suggested the plume was caused by an aircraft, flying directly towards the camera. Still, that's a lot of smoke/contrail for a jet and besides, the object appears to be moving away from the news chopper, at least in the video we saw.

Readers will be pleased to learn that, according to NORAD, the missile/jet/UFO did not pose a threat to the homeland. Of course, NORAD and U.S. Northern Command apparently didn't learn of the incident until after it happened. The FAA was also out-of-the-loop, saying the object never appeared on air traffic control radars. From that, we can surmise that whatever it was, it wasn't squawking an IFF signal (surprise, surprise).

Of course, there are other possibilities. Maybe the Pentagon was conducting some sort of test, involving systems or technology they don't want to reveal to the public. As to what that might be, your guess is as good as ours. The object rising into the sky didn't appear to be cutting edge but then again, it might have been a target for some other sort of system, stationed farther out to sea.

Perhaps the most frightening possibility is that the government wasn't involved at all. Two years ago, the Rand Corporation published a lengthy monograph on the threat posed by terrorist-operated cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles. Many of the scenarios discussed in the study envision maritime platforms (i.e. merchant vessels) being used as launch platforms.

Once the domain of advanced military forces, cruise missiles with limited range (less than 100 miles) are now available on the world arms market for less than $1 million. They would permit stand-off attacks against area targets (including population centers) and they can be employed with relatively little crew training and support infrastructure. And on the other side of the fence, detecting and defeating cruise missile threats from clandestine launch platforms is very, very difficult.

Given the existing holes in our cruise missile defenses, we should all hope that the smoke plume near L.A. was something innocuous.
9755  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / "Mystery missile" theory on: November 10, 2010, 08:24:25 AM
I think it's reasonable to assume that the news chopper crew is familiar with the skies around LA and found this to be very atypical. It would be nice if someone were to FOIA the FAA control tower comms and radar returns for the date and time the footage was taken for LAX and other SoCal airports.

So here is a theory:

Means: The People's Liberation Army Navy (Yes, that's their real name) has made serious improvements to their "blue water navy" and has surprised us in the past with their upgraded sub technology.

Motive: China has been very unhappy with the US Navy's navigation of international waters off of China's coast. There have been multiple confrontations and aggressive moves made by the PLAN towards US naval assets in those waters. Tensions in those waters have increased with the still unresolved disputes between China and Japan over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea (see my posts on the topic). Early on in the dispute, the SecDef and Adm. Mullen (If I recall correctly) made statements reaffirming the US-Japan defense treaty. In addition, I recall at least one instance where a PLA general made a direct threat to Los Angeles, saying that China would be willing to trade Shanghai for it in a war with the US.

Opportunity: It is my understanding that the anti-submarine infrastructure we had in place during the cold war no longer exists, or is a shadow if it's former self, allowing a new, stealthy Chinese sub to approach the west coast and launch a test missile as both a proof of concept and a message to the president and DoD that a military conflict in the pacific today can involve both sides of the pacific.
________________________________________________________________________

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/8121612/Missile-fired-off-California-coast.html

Robert Ellsworth, a former US Deputy Secretary of Defence, told KFMB, a CBS affiliate in San Diego, one theory might be that it was a military muscle-flexing ploy.

"It could be a test firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile from an underwater submarine, to demonstrate mainly to Asia, that we can do that", he said.

_________________________________________________________________________

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/1917167/Chinese-nuclear-submarine-base.html

Satellite imagery, passed to The Daily Telegraph, shows that a substantial harbour has been built which could house a score of nuclear ballistic missile submarines and a host of aircraft carriers.

In what will be a significant challenge to US Navy dominance and to countries ringing the South China Sea, one photograph shows China’s latest 094 nuclear submarine at the base just a few hundred miles from its neighbours.

Other images show numerous warships moored to long jettys and a network of underground tunnels at the Sanya base on the southern tip of Hainan island.

Of even greater concern to the Pentagon are massive tunnel entrances, estimated to be 60ft high, built into hillsides around the base. Sources fear they could lead to caverns capable of hiding up to 20 nuclear submarines from spy satellites.

The US Department of Defence has estimated that China will have five 094 nuclear submarines operational by 2010 with each capable of carrying 12 JL-2 nuclear missiles.

The images were obtained by Janes Intelligence Review after the periodical was given access to imagery from the commercial satellite company DigitalGlobe.

Analysts for the respected military magazine suggest that the base could be used for "expeditionary as well as defensive operations" and would allow the submarines to "break out to launch locations closer to the US".

It would now be "difficult to ignore" that China was building a major naval base where it could house its nuclear forces and increase it "strategic capability considerably further afield".

_________________________________________________________________

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/LC09Ad01.html

Yin Zhou has also called for China to build a naval base in the Middle East, which prompted China's Ministry of Defense to respond that, "China has no plans for an overseas naval base." [3]
A new book by PLA Air Force (PLAAF) Colonel Dai Xu also paints a very dark picture of the future. "China cannot escape the calamity of war, and this calamity may come in the not-too-distant future, at most in 10 to 20 years," writes Dai Xu, according to Reuters. "If the US can light a fire in China's backyard, we can also light a fire in their backyard." [4]

Dai Xu is a widely quoted military analyst who comments frequently about Chinese defense-related matters.

"In recent years, some parts of the Chinese media have become more commercialized. This has led some publishers to focus on publishing sensationalist and nationalistic views that can attract a mass audience," said Bonnie Glaser, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC.

"Academics and PLA officers have seized this opportunity to write books advocating controversial positions in order to make money. Several PLA officers appear as pundits on Chinese TV programs and write for newspapers, viewing this as a means to promote their hardline views, but also to supplement their salaries."

Glaser said that Luo Yuan and Rear-Admiral Yang Yi, an expert with the Institute of Strategic Studies at the National Defense University, were excellent examples of outspoken senior Chinese officers.

Abraham Denmark, a fellow at the Center for a New American Security in Washington, DC, added China's former chief of military intelligence, General Xiong Guangkai, to this list. After his retirement in 2005, Xiong took charge of China's Institute for International Strategic Studies.

"He was very outspoken and rose to the rank of deputy chief of the general staff," said Denmark.

Xiong made huge headlines 15 years ago. At the end of a meeting in 1995 with former US ambassador Chas Freeman - news of the meeting would not be made public until early 1996 and even then Xiong's identity was not revealed - he reportedly said, "And finally, you do not have the strategic leverage that you had in the 1950s when you threatened nuclear strikes on us. You were able to do that because we could not hit back. But if you hit us now, we can hit back. So you will not make those threats. In the end you care more about Los Angeles than you do about Taipei."

Freeman would admit years later that he did not interpret these words as a threat. [6]

However, Xiong's comments in 1995 were not spontaneous or off-script, according to Bhaskar Roy, a strategic analyst and consultant with New Delhi-based South Asia Analysis Group.

"This was a message to the US from China's Central Military Commission [CMC], headed then by Jiang Zemin," said Roy. "On many military and strategic issues, the top echelon use military officials to float proposals either openly or in print, or surreptitiously to pry out reactions."

China does not rely on the PLA exclusively to get the word out. China threatened a military response to the perceived separatist statements of former Taiwan president Lee Teng-hui - "If the Taiwan authorities think the mainland can only launch a propaganda or psychological war, they are mistaken" - in an August 1999 editorial in China's Global Times magazine.

In that article, Global Times even took aim directly at US aircraft carriers by declaring that China's neutron bombs were more than enough to handle them.

This appeared just as China was preparing to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Communist Party rule, and just a few months after the US had bombed the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, killing three Chinese civilians in the process. So it is safe to say that the sense of Chinese national pride as well as the sense of collective outrage was running at fever pitch that year, and that the tone of these comments in Global Times probably reflected Chinese sentiments at the time.

"Over the past 10 years a clear pattern has emerged whereby Chinese military officers are allowed to be more outspoken - especially in response to US actions and decisions - whenever tensions over Taiwan are mounting. However, what we are seeing today is much milder than what we saw in 1999, for example," said Rodger Baker, director of East Asia analysis at Stratfor, a Texas-based global intelligence firm.

"Yang Yi and Luo Yuan have both been outspoken in reaction to the Taiwan arms sale. Note that both are now retired. PLA officers caution that those individuals do not speak for the PLA," said Glaser. "The Chinese government does not encourage any such outspoken rhetoric, but they also do not discourage it."

"It is likely that allowing such views to be aired in the media serves their interests. It is a way of letting those frustrated with the US vent their anger. It may stimulate others to echo those views, but it also causes others to challenge those views," said Glaser. "And allowing such a debate in the media is increasingly tolerated by the government/party/military. Debates over North Korea's nuclear test and how China should respond is another example in which this has occurred."

Rather than being outspoken, Roy described these PLA officers as merely reflecting China's growing military and economic power - which is "leading to arrogant statements".

"Military exercises such as 'Strike - 09' and the military parade commemorating the 60th anniversary of the PRC [People's Republic of China] last year were meant to demonstrate that China had arrived at the global table. All statements of national importance made by military officers are cleared by the CMC, if not also by a member of the politburo standing committee. Articles written by [military officials] also have clearance from the appropriate higher authorities," said Roy, who described Yang Yi as "one of the leading spokesmen for the CMC".

"[At the time of the 60th anniversary celebration], Yang Yi described this show as China's strategy of a 'rich nation and strong military' and 'active defense embodying the power to control a crisis situation in the neighborhood for a favorable security environment'. The Active Defense doctrine is China's right to intervene beyond its borders [land, sea and air]," said Roy.
9756  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 09, 2010, 11:15:57 PM
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/LC09Ad01.html

Yin Zhou has also called for China to build a naval base in the Middle East, which prompted China's Ministry of Defense to respond that, "China has no plans for an overseas naval base." [3]
A new book by PLA Air Force (PLAAF) Colonel Dai Xu also paints a very dark picture of the future. "China cannot escape the calamity of war, and this calamity may come in the not-too-distant future, at most in 10 to 20 years," writes Dai Xu, according to Reuters. "If the US can light a fire in China's backyard, we can also light a fire in their backyard." [4]

Dai Xu is a widely quoted military analyst who comments frequently about Chinese defense-related matters.

"In recent years, some parts of the Chinese media have become more commercialized. This has led some publishers to focus on publishing sensationalist and nationalistic views that can attract a mass audience," said Bonnie Glaser, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC.

"Academics and PLA officers have seized this opportunity to write books advocating controversial positions in order to make money. Several PLA officers appear as pundits on Chinese TV programs and write for newspapers, viewing this as a means to promote their hardline views, but also to supplement their salaries."

Glaser said that Luo Yuan and Rear-Admiral Yang Yi, an expert with the Institute of Strategic Studies at the National Defense University, were excellent examples of outspoken senior Chinese officers.

Abraham Denmark, a fellow at the Center for a New American Security in Washington, DC, added China's former chief of military intelligence, General Xiong Guangkai, to this list. After his retirement in 2005, Xiong took charge of China's Institute for International Strategic Studies.

"He was very outspoken and rose to the rank of deputy chief of the general staff," said Denmark.

Xiong made huge headlines 15 years ago. At the end of a meeting in 1995 with former US ambassador Chas Freeman - news of the meeting would not be made public until early 1996 and even then Xiong's identity was not revealed - he reportedly said, "And finally, you do not have the strategic leverage that you had in the 1950s when you threatened nuclear strikes on us. You were able to do that because we could not hit back. But if you hit us now, we can hit back. So you will not make those threats. In the end you care more about Los Angeles than you do about Taipei."

Freeman would admit years later that he did not interpret these words as a threat. [6]

However, Xiong's comments in 1995 were not spontaneous or off-script, according to Bhaskar Roy, a strategic analyst and consultant with New Delhi-based South Asia Analysis Group.

"This was a message to the US from China's Central Military Commission [CMC], headed then by Jiang Zemin," said Roy. "On many military and strategic issues, the top echelon use military officials to float proposals either openly or in print, or surreptitiously to pry out reactions."

China does not rely on the PLA exclusively to get the word out. China threatened a military response to the perceived separatist statements of former Taiwan president Lee Teng-hui - "If the Taiwan authorities think the mainland can only launch a propaganda or psychological war, they are mistaken" - in an August 1999 editorial in China's Global Times magazine.

In that article, Global Times even took aim directly at US aircraft carriers by declaring that China's neutron bombs were more than enough to handle them.

This appeared just as China was preparing to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Communist Party rule, and just a few months after the US had bombed the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, killing three Chinese civilians in the process. So it is safe to say that the sense of Chinese national pride as well as the sense of collective outrage was running at fever pitch that year, and that the tone of these comments in Global Times probably reflected Chinese sentiments at the time.

"Over the past 10 years a clear pattern has emerged whereby Chinese military officers are allowed to be more outspoken - especially in response to US actions and decisions - whenever tensions over Taiwan are mounting. However, what we are seeing today is much milder than what we saw in 1999, for example," said Rodger Baker, director of East Asia analysis at Stratfor, a Texas-based global intelligence firm.

"Yang Yi and Luo Yuan have both been outspoken in reaction to the Taiwan arms sale. Note that both are now retired. PLA officers caution that those individuals do not speak for the PLA," said Glaser. "The Chinese government does not encourage any such outspoken rhetoric, but they also do not discourage it."

"It is likely that allowing such views to be aired in the media serves their interests. It is a way of letting those frustrated with the US vent their anger. It may stimulate others to echo those views, but it also causes others to challenge those views," said Glaser. "And allowing such a debate in the media is increasingly tolerated by the government/party/military. Debates over North Korea's nuclear test and how China should respond is another example in which this has occurred."

Rather than being outspoken, Roy described these PLA officers as merely reflecting China's growing military and economic power - which is "leading to arrogant statements".

"Military exercises such as 'Strike - 09' and the military parade commemorating the 60th anniversary of the PRC [People's Republic of China] last year were meant to demonstrate that China had arrived at the global table. All statements of national importance made by military officers are cleared by the CMC, if not also by a member of the politburo standing committee. Articles written by [military officials] also have clearance from the appropriate higher authorities," said Roy, who described Yang Yi as "one of the leading spokesmen for the CMC".

"[At the time of the 60th anniversary celebration], Yang Yi described this show as China's strategy of a 'rich nation and strong military' and 'active defense embodying the power to control a crisis situation in the neighborhood for a favorable security environment'. The Active Defense doctrine is China's right to intervene beyond its borders [land, sea and air]," said Roy.
9757  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 09, 2010, 10:57:07 PM
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/1917167/Chinese-nuclear-submarine-base.html

Satellite imagery, passed to The Daily Telegraph, shows that a substantial harbour has been built which could house a score of nuclear ballistic missile submarines and a host of aircraft carriers.

In what will be a significant challenge to US Navy dominance and to countries ringing the South China Sea, one photograph shows China’s latest 094 nuclear submarine at the base just a few hundred miles from its neighbours.

Other images show numerous warships moored to long jettys and a network of underground tunnels at the Sanya base on the southern tip of Hainan island.

Of even greater concern to the Pentagon are massive tunnel entrances, estimated to be 60ft high, built into hillsides around the base. Sources fear they could lead to caverns capable of hiding up to 20 nuclear submarines from spy satellites.

The US Department of Defence has estimated that China will have five 094 nuclear submarines operational by 2010 with each capable of carrying 12 JL-2 nuclear missiles.

The images were obtained by Janes Intelligence Review after the periodical was given access to imagery from the commercial satellite company DigitalGlobe.

Analysts for the respected military magazine suggest that the base could be used for "expeditionary as well as defensive operations" and would allow the submarines to "break out to launch locations closer to the US".

It would now be "difficult to ignore" that China was building a major naval base where it could house its nuclear forces and increase it "strategic capability considerably further afield".
9758  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 09, 2010, 10:51:49 PM
**Maybe not so tinfoil-hatted.**

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/8121612/Missile-fired-off-California-coast.html

Robert Ellsworth, a former US Deputy Secretary of Defence, told KFMB, a CBS affiliate in San Diego, one theory might be that it was a military muscle-flexing ploy.

"It could be a test firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile from an underwater submarine, to demonstrate mainly to Asia, that we can do that", he said.
9759  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tinfoil hat theory time on: November 09, 2010, 09:40:58 PM
I think it's reasonable to assume that the news chopper crew is familiar with the skies around LA and found this to be very atypical. It would be nice if someone were to FOIA the FAA control tower comms and radar returns for the date and time the footage was taken for LAX and other SoCal airports.

So here is a theory:

Means: The People's Liberation Army Navy (Yes, that's their real name) has made serious improvements to their "blue water navy" and has surprised us in the past with their upgraded sub technology.

Motive: China has been very unhappy with the US Navy's navigation of international waters off of China's coast. There have been multiple confrontations and aggressive moves made by the PLAN towards US naval assets in those waters. Tensions in those waters have increased with the still unresolved disputes between China and Japan over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea (see my posts on the topic). Early on in the dispute, the SecDef and Adm. Mullen (If I recall correctly) made statements reaffirming thE US-Japan defense treaty. In addition, I recall at least one instance where a PLA general made a direct threat to Los Angeles, saying that China would be willing to trade Shanghai for it in a war with the US.

Opportunity: It is my understanding that the anti-submarine infrastructure we had in place during the cold war no longer exists, or is a shadow if it's former self, allowing a new, stealthy Chinese sub to approach the west coast and launch a test missile as both a proof of concept and a message to the president and DoD that a military conflict in the pacific today can involve both sides of the pacific.
9760  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: November 09, 2010, 05:56:03 PM
It's not one bit different than a skinhead shouting "White power". Would an advocacy group called "The Race", that claimed to speak for the concerns of "european-americans" and european culture and european immigrants (legal or illegal) get the mainstream acceptance that "La Raza" does?
9761  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sharia 101 on: November 09, 2010, 05:46:59 PM
As long as the burial was not done in violation of health codes/statutes in Oklahoma, how is the religious nature applicable? There is nothing that would stop the decedent from being buried facing Mecca or having an imam conduct islamic funeral services or probating a will in compliance with OK. law just as the wills of christians, jews or atheists are probated.

Would a Mexican national who legally or illegally resided in Oklahoma have the right to have Mexican civil code considered in probating his/her will by the OK. courts?
9762  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The War on Drugs on: November 09, 2010, 05:35:07 PM
What I don't get is California not legalizing it. It's quasi-legal now and I can't imagine a population deciding to vote Jerry Brown back into the Governor's office without being very, very high.
9763  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 09, 2010, 05:07:08 PM
http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/11/mystery-missile-is-probably-a-jet/

L.A.’s Mystery ‘Missile’ Is Probably a Jet

**I don't know what to make of all this.**
9764  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sharia 101 on: November 09, 2010, 03:44:23 PM
http://volokh.com/2010/11/09/district-court-temporarily-enjoins-oklahoma-no-use-of-shariah-law-in-court-constitutional-amendment/#more-39134

District Court Temporarily Enjoins Oklahoma No-Use-of-Shariah-Law-in-Court Constitutional Amendment

Eugene Volokh • November 9, 2010 2:12 pm

The decision was announced yesterday, but the opinion was apparently just released today. This is just a temporary restraining order, entered without even any written argument from the state; there’ll be a hearing on the request for the longer-lasting preliminary injunction on Nov. 22.

You can also see the plaintiff’s Complaint and Memorandum in Support. Thanks to Josh Gerstein (Politico) for the pointer.

UPDATE [3:06 pm]: I’m no fan of the amendment, which would also apparently ban the use of foreign law in Oklahoma courts, even in situations — such as disputes about whether two people were validly married in a foreign country, enforcement of contracts that provide for the use of (say) British law, and tort litigation over conduct that happened in a foreign country — where foreign law has long been used under standard choice-of-law principles. And it’s also possible that the specific ban on the use of Sharia law might be unconstitutional, though that depends on exactly how the amendment is interpreted. But my tentative sense is that the plaintiff doesn’t have standing to challenge the ban on the use of Sharia.

1. The plaintiff argues that the amendment is unconstitutional because it impermissibly expresses governmental hostility to Islam, and provides for discrimination against Muslims. But the mere existence of the law does not, I think, amount to a constitutionally sufficient injury on which a lawsuit can be founded. (That’s the legal requirement of “standing.”)

It’s true that the Supreme Court has sometimes allowed standing in Establishment Clause cases based on symbolic injuries. But the Court has never allowed standing simply based on the existence of a law that allegedly conveys an impermissible message of endorsement, and lower courts have not accepted such claims. See Newdow v. Lefevre (9th Cir. 2010):

    Newdow lacks standing to challenge 36 U.S.C. § 302, which merely recognizes “In God We Trust” is the national motto. Unlike §§ 5112(d)(1) and 5114(b) [which provide for the placement of the motto on currency], § 302 does not authorize or require the inscription of the motto on any object. Without §§ 5112 and 5114, the motto would not appear on coins and currency, and Newdow would lack the “unwelcome direct contact” with the motto that gives rise to his injury-in-fact. Although Newdow alleges the national motto turns Atheists into political outsiders and inflicts a stigmatic injury upon them, an “abstract stigmatic injury” resulting from such outsider status is insufficient to confer standing.

People can have standing to object to the placement of religious symbols in particular places, when the objectors have “frequent regular contact” with the symbols (in the sense of often being around where the symbols are visible). But the presence of words in a law — even words that express endorsement or disapproval of religion — does not yield standing.

2. The plaintiff also argues that he suffers a more tangible injury, because his will directs the executor of the estate to follow Islamic law in arranging the funeral, and directs his wife to contribute to charity in accordance with Islamic law. The constitutional amendment, the plaintiff argues, bars courts from effectively probating the will in accordance to the plaintiff’s wishes, and thus unconstitutionally discriminates against plaintiff.

It’s not clear to me whether plaintiff might lack standing on the grounds that the harm will only happen some time in the future, or whether he could in principle have standing in such a case because the prospect of the courts’ inability to apply Sharia law in the future might cause sufficient harm to plaintiff now. (All this would involve the legal requirement of “ripeness.”)

But in any case, I think plaintiff has a deeper problem here: Even without the constitutional amendment, the First Amendment would bar American courts from “consider[ing] Sharia law” in interpreting the will. I blogged about this general point here, but the short version is this: Under the Court’s precedents (e.g., Presbyterian Church in the United States v. Mary Elizabeth Blue Hull Memorial Presbyterian Church (1969)), secular courts may not resolve questions that require interpretation of religious doctrine.

This would include, I think, decisions about what Sharia law — or kosher law or the proper understanding of Presbyterian doctrine — requires, even when a contract or will calls for such interpretation. Thus, lower courts have held that, for instance, “a court [deciding a church property dispute] can invoke a secular interpretation of church deeds, by-laws and canons, thereby avoiding judicial entanglement in issues of religious doctrine, polity and practice. When the application of this standard requires judicial involvement in a [religious] doctrinal question, however, it may not be relied upon.” “[P]rovisions in deeds or in denomination’s constitution for the reversion of local church property to the general church, if conditioned upon a finding of departure from doctrine, could not be civilly enforced [quoting and endorsing a concurring opinion in a different Supreme Court case].” Likewisee, see this case, which refused to decide whether a church “cease[d] to be a Southern Baptist Church,” language that appeared in the church’s bylaws and that would be judicially interpretable if it hadn’t required resolution of questions of religious doctrine.

So the amendment would thus have no tangible effect on the probate of plaintiff’s will. The will’s references to Sharia would be unenforceable in secular courts even without the amendments, just as terms in a will that require compliance with Orthodox Jewish doctrine or with Southern Baptist doctrine could not be enforced. (Terms in a will that expressly set forth certain secularly determinable requirements would be enforceable, even if the requirements were religiously motivated; but that remains true under the Oklahoma constitutional amendment as well.)

3. More broadly, it’s hard to tell what exactly the Oklahoma amendment would do. It might or might not bar the consideration of Sharia Law in cases that call for the application of foreign law, whether, say, Saudi contract law or Israeli family law applicable to Muslims. But given the amendment’s broader ban on the use of foreign law, I don’t think the amendment would in fact discriminate against Sharia law in this respect.

If the amendment banned religious exemption claims brought by Muslims under existing religious accommodation rules that would otherwise apply to a wide range of religions, then it would be unconstitutionally discriminatory. But it’s not clear that considering such accommodation requests would be seen as “considering ... Sharia Law”; it might well just be seen as considering the particular claimant’s sincere religious beliefs, with no requirement for the courts to consider their relationship with Sharia.

This is further reason, I think, for federal courts to abstain from deciding whether the amendment is unconstitutional until they actually have someone before them to whom the amendment will be applied (that’s the “standing” requirement), and until they can tell — likely based on state court decisions — just what the amendment means (that’s often labeled the Pullman abstention doctrine. And while that still leaves the general objection that the very existence of the law unconstitutionally expresses disapproval of Islam, I doubt that under current law an objector has standing to bring such a challenge, for the reasons I mentioned in item 1.
9765  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Punjab: Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy on: November 09, 2010, 03:34:40 PM
http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Punjab:-Christian-woman-sentenced-to-death-for-blasphemy-19940.html

11/09/2010 13:06
PAKISTAN
Punjab: Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy

For the first time, a woman is sentenced to death in Pakistan for this kind of “offence”. The blasphemy law was introduced in 1986 by then Pakistani dictator Zia-ul Haq and since then it has become a tool for discrimination and violence. Part of the Pakistan Penal Code, the law imposes life in prison for defiling the Qur’an and death for insulting Muhammad.

Islamabad (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Pakistan has “crossed a line” in sentencing a Christian woman to death for blasphemy. Asia Bibi, a 37-year-old farm worker mother of two, was convicted of committing blasphemy before her fellow workers during a heated discussion about religion in the village of Ittanwali in June last year.

Some of the women workers had reportedly been pressuring Bibi to renounce her Christian faith and accept Islam. During one discussion, Bibi responded by speaking of how Jesus had died on the cross for the sins of humanity and asking the Muslim women what Muhammad had done for them.

The Muslim women took offence and began beating Bibi. Afterwards she was locked in a room. According to Release International, a mob reportedly formed and “violently abused” her and her children.

The charity, which supports persecuted Christians, said that blasphemy charges were brought against Bibi because of pressure from local Muslim leaders.

Release International’s chief executive, Andy Dipper, expressed his shock at Sunday’s ruling.

“Pakistan has crossed a line in passing the death sentence on a woman for blasphemy,” he said.

In addition to the death sentence, Bibi was also fined the equivalent for an unskilled worker of two and a half years’ wages.

Another Christian woman, Martha Bibi (no relation to Asia), is also on trial in Lahore for blasphemy.

According to the National Commission on Justice and Peace (NCJP) of the Catholic Church, between 1986 and August 2009, at least 974 people have been charged for defiling the Qur’an or insulting the Prophet Muhammad. They include 479 Muslims, 340 Ahmadis, 119 Christians, 14 Hindus and 10 from other religions.

The blasphemy law has often been used as a pretext for personal attacks or vendettas as well as extra-judicial murders. Overall, 33 people have died this way at the hands of individuals or crazed mobs.
9766  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Still no answers on mystery launch on: November 09, 2010, 02:57:26 PM
http://www.informationdissemination.net/2010/11/latest-on-mystery-missile-over-west.html

NORAD gave the LA Times blog a bit of non-information worth consideration.

    "We are aware of the unexplained contrail reported off the coast of Southern California yesterday evening," according to a statement Tuesday from the North American Aerospace Defense Command and the U.S. Northern Command, which operates the U.S. and Canadian missile warning system. "At this time, we are unable to provide specific details but we are working to determine the exact nature of this event.

    "We can confirm that there is no indication of any threat to our nation and we will provide more information as it becomes available," the statement said.

When someone makes an unannounced launch what looks to be a ballistic missile 35 miles from the nations second largest city (at sea in international waters), and 18 hours later NORAD still doesn't have any answers at all - that complete lack of information represents a credible threat to national security. If NORAD can't answer the first and last question, then I believe it is time to question every single penny of ballistic missile defense funding in the defense budget. NORTHCOM needs to start talking about what they do know, rather than leaving the focus on what they don't know.

If this missile was launched at sea, was it launched from a ship or sub? If it wasn't our ship or sub, then whose ship or sub was it? Did anyone cross-reference the launch with public AIS logs from the port of Los Angeles yet? How many dozens of times have we had someone give Congressional testimony regarding the scenario where a non-state actor launches a short ranged ballistic missile from a ship off the coast?

I raise that last point to note, if the mystery missile didn't come from our military, you have to start looking for alternatives... and most of those alternatives are a threat to national security.
9767  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: November 09, 2010, 02:45:44 PM
You can have a multiethnic/racial society, but not a multicultural one. Best case, you get Quebec in Canada, worse case, the former Yugoslavia. That leads us back to the aformentioned plan B.
9768  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: November 09, 2010, 01:05:28 PM
1. Secure the border. It can be done. It should have been done long ago.

2. Prosecute the employers of illegal aliens after the needed changes in state/federal law.

3. Empower local level law enforcement to enforce the laws against illegal immigration.

4. Cut off all welfare, medical benefits to illegals.

Make these stick and the vast majority will self deport.
9769  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 09, 2010, 01:00:28 PM
Kind of reminds me of the EMP attack scenario some have suggested. What if a bad actor like the NorKs tried but their nuke didn't pop?
9770  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The War on Drugs on: November 09, 2010, 12:51:47 PM
Alcohol has a long history within western civilization and certain social structures and laws evolved to address it's use and abuse. Illegal drugs have a legal status as well as a social stigma attached to their use. Were these no longer present, I fear the impact to our already frayed social fabric. I will clarify that I do not fail to distinguish the difference between marijuana and hard drugs.
9771  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Mystery missile launch? on: November 09, 2010, 12:40:54 PM
WTF?

Mystery Missile Launch Seen off Calif. Coast
Military Mum on Nature of "Big Missile" Rising Out of Pacific - a Possible Show of U.S. Military Might
9772  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: November 09, 2010, 12:19:46 PM
The crisis that threatens this country is the ethnic loyalties that trump American loyalty. Rewarding illegal immigration is corrosive to the rule of law. If "La Raza" is more important than America, then we are fcuked.
9773  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sharia 101 on: November 09, 2010, 09:36:02 AM
The ban on sharia in no way violates constitutional rights. It affirms constitutional rights by banning sharia's oppression of women/non-muslims.
9774  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sharia 101 on: November 09, 2010, 08:51:37 AM
Typical JDN. Tireless cheerleader for evil/anti-americanism. If this was the 1930's, you'd be a member of the german-american bund, no doubt.
9775  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The War on Drugs on: November 08, 2010, 05:21:06 PM
Quote
**What? The magical Libertarian policy hasn't worked? This couldn't be right, could it?**

I don't think Mexico has enjoyed a libertarian moment since Europeans started recording history there in the 1500s, so I'm not sure what your point is, though your authoritarian streak certainly seems to chafe when libertarian principles are mentioned.

Mexico legalized possession of drugs for personal use and as Crafty pointed out, honest coverage of drug issues in Mexico often leads to people getting shot/decapitated, but as the shootings/decapitations seem to increase, I think a fair argument can be made that it hasn't worked. My personal experience seeing the real ugly consequences of the drug subculture cause me to chafe when I see simplistic sloganeering on the topic. I will add that the bulk of the substance related horrors I've seen are related to the legal drug, alcohol. I don't buy "Just legalize everything and all the badness will go away".
9776  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / California: The Lindsay Lohan of States on: November 08, 2010, 05:05:33 PM
Sacramento is headed for trouble again, and it shouldn't expect a bailout.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703506904575592612400443370.html
9777  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Dave’s Top 10 Reasons Why QE Won’t Help the Economy on: November 08, 2010, 03:46:42 PM
http://blog.atimes.net/?p=1607

Dave’s Top 10 Reasons Why QE Won’t Help the Economy
November 4th, 2010
By David Goldman

10. No-one to whom banks want to lend wants to borrow.

9.  The kind of businesses that create jobs, namely start-ups, need equity rather than debt in any case.

8.  The Fed will flatten the yield curve out to five years, competing against the banks, reducing their profitability and their capacity to lend.

7.  The deflationary tendency in the US, such as it is, is mainly demographic: as the Boomers retire, they sell real assets (the US may have a 40% oversupply of large-lot family homes by 2020), and buy financial assets, just like the Japanese during their great retirement wave of 1990-2000 (which coincided with the lost decade). It has nothing to do with monetary policy which has been extremely lax throughout.

6. If you keep interest rate slow in the advent of an enormous retirement wave, then people will save more and spend less, because they expect to earn less income on their savings.

5. If you increase the inflation rate, prospective retirees will save more and spend less, because they expect to have less future purchasing power. That is the opposite of what the Keynesian short-term model predicts, namely that inflation prompts people to spend money (why keep it in the bank if its value is falling)? That’s the trouble with the Keynesian approach: it’s a blindered, short-term view of things. But some times the long-term, for example demographics and the retirement cycle, affects the short term.

4. QE has raised inflation expectations without causing much inflation: the price of insurance against inflation, e.g. TIPS and gold, has risen, while housing prices, wages, and so forth continue to fall. That’s the worst of both worlds. Rather than shift portfolios from “safe” assets like Treasury bonds into real assets, which the Fed hopes, investors may simply shift their portfolios into stores of value like gold and foreign currencies (which is precisely what I have been doing).

3. Inflation, as even the Fed will admit, helps some people and hurts others. The idea is that it will help more people than it hurts by forcing investors to buy real assets. The kind of inflation that QE is likely to cause will have an almost entirely damaging impacta on the US. In fact, the devaluation of the dollar and the rise in raw materials prices will hurt every American household and most American businesses; it will benefit Middle East oil producers, Vladimir Putin, Aussie mining companies, and all sorts of people who don’t live in the United States.

2. With 22% of the adult non-institutional population unable to find full-time work (according to the estimable Shadow Government Statistics website, no reduction in interest rates will persuade Americans to go back to the borrowing binge of the 2000s.

and Dave’s Top Reason why QE won’t work is:

1. It undermines the dollar’s world reserve currency role. That’s why gold keeps going up. If the US were Greece or Ireland, we’d be in front of the International Monetary Fund in sackcloth and ashes right now. But we’re the world’s only superpower, and the central banks of the rest of the world have to hold their reserves in dollars. Why? Because there isn’t enough of anything else (unless the price of gold were to go to $10,000 an ounce, which I doubt) and because they hate each other more than they hate us — at least for the moment. With Obama shrinking America’s strategic footprint and the Fed behaving like the neighbor whose septic tank overflows onto everyone else’s lawn, Washington is testing the world’s patience. It will have consequences.
9778  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Twinkie diet helps nutrition professor lose 27 pounds on: November 08, 2010, 03:32:39 PM
http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/11/08/twinkie.diet.professor/index.html

(CNN) -- Twinkies. Nutty bars. Powdered donuts.

For 10 weeks, Mark Haub, a professor of human nutrition at Kansas State University, ate one of these sugary cakelets every three hours, instead of meals. To add variety in his steady stream of Hostess and Little Debbie snacks, Haub munched on Doritos chips, sugary cereals and Oreos, too.

His premise: That in weight loss, pure calorie counting is what matters most -- not the nutritional value of the food.

The premise held up: On his "convenience store diet," he shed 27 pounds in two months.

For a class project, Haub limited himself to less than 1,800 calories a day. A man of Haub's pre-dieting size usually consumes about 2,600 calories daily. So he followed a basic principle of weight loss: He consumed significantly fewer calories than he burned.

His body mass index went from 28.8, considered overweight, to 24.9, which is normal. He now weighs 174 pounds.
9779  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sharia 101 on: November 08, 2010, 02:38:01 PM
http://www.nationalreview.com/bench-memos/252792/judicial-mischief-oklahoma-ed-whelan

Judicial Mischief in Oklahoma?
November 8, 2010 3:09 P.M.
By Ed Whelan 

According to AP, federal district judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange today issued a temporary restraining order blocking implementation of Oklahoma’s recently adopted constitutional amendment barring Oklahoma state courts from considering or using international law or shariah law in deciding cases. Specifically, the judge’s TRO prevents the state election board from certifying that the amendment was approved by the voters (with support of 70%).

The judge’s reported order—I haven’t seen the text or any supporting opinion—strikes me as highly dubious. The plaintiff, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Oklahoma, evidently claims that the amendment stigmatizes Islam. It’s true that, among the different existing bodies of religious law, the amendment identifies only shariah law as impermissible. But that, I gather, is because advocates of shariah law make comprehensive claims to supplant civil law that no other body of religious law is seen to threaten.

Among other things, issuance of a TRO would generally require some determination that the plaintiff faces irreparable injury and is likely to succeed on the merits. I don’t see how either prong would likely be satisfied. Further, considerations of federalism ought to make a federal court very hesitant to interfere with a state’s election-certification process.

As I’ve previously indicated, I’m open to the possibility that a categorical bar on the use of international law or shariah law for any purpose might have some improper applications. It’s possible that a particular application of the state constitutional amendment might be preempted by federal law (statute or treaty) or even violate the federal Constitution. But any such claim is best pursued by a party in the context of an independently existing case.
9780  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Sullivan: The Coming Fiscal Catastrophe in the United States on: November 08, 2010, 01:53:07 PM
http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2010/11/sullivan-the-.html

9781  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: November 08, 2010, 01:21:56 PM
http://pajamasmedia.com/victordavishanson/stay-worried/?singlepage=true

Economics 101

What worries me about President Obama is really one general issue: his very concrete enjoyment of the good life as evidenced by his golf outings, Martha’s Vineyard vacations, and imperial entourages that accompany him abroad, and yet his obvious distrust of the private sector and the success of the wealthy. Yet my discomfort here is not even one that arises from an obvious hypocrisy of, say, a Michelle on the 2008 campaign trail lecturing the nation about its meanness or her own previous lack of pride in her country, juxtaposed with her taste for the publicly provided rarefied enjoyments of a Costa del Sol hideaway at a time of recession.

No, my worries run deeper. Apparently, the president is unaware that after some 2,500 years of both experience with and abstract thought about Western national economies, we know that a free, private sector increases the general wealth of a nation, while a statist redistributive state results in a general impoverishment of the population. At the root of that truth is simple human nature — that people wish to further their own interest more fervently than the more abstract public good (e.g., why the renter does not wash the rental car, or why the public restroom is treated differently from its counterpart at home), and can be encouraged to invent, create, and discover which in turn helps the less fortunate, lucky, healthy, or talented.

Texas or California?

We all accept, of course, that the question is not one of a laissez-faire, unchecked robber baron arena, versus a Marxist-Leninist closed economy, but rather in a modern Western liberal state the finer line between a Greece and a Switzerland, or a California and a Texas.

In the former examples, the desire to achieve an equality of result through high taxes, generous public employment, and lavish entitlements destroys incentive in two directions — creating dependency on the part of the more numerous recipients of government largess, and despair among the smaller but more productive sector that sees the fruits of its labor redistributed to others — with all the obligatory state rhetoric about greed and social justice that legitimizes such transfers.

In the latter examples, an equality of opportunity allows citizens to create wealth and capital on the assurances that the incentives for personal gain and retention of profits will result in greater riches for all.

Neither Baron nor Insect

We in America more or less understood that dichotomy, and so neither idolized a Bill Gates or Warren Buffett with titles like count, lord, or baron, nor demonized them with revolutionary spite (i.e., “insect,” “enemy of the people,” or even “greedy” and “selfish”). Instead, we assumed that Buffett had enriched his investors and more or less could not possibly use all the vast billions he accumulated (he, in fact, lived rather modestly and much of his treasure will probably end up in the Gates Foundation). One way or another, it was worth having Microsoft Word with the expectation that the zillionaire Bill Gates’ shower is still no hotter than ours, and his private jet goes not much faster than our own cut-rate Southwest Airlines flights. All that seems simple enough — until now.

So, again, what troubles me is that the president seems unaware of this old divide — that what allowed the pre-presidential Obamas, respectively, to make quite a lot of money as a legislator, author, professor, lawyer, or hospital representative was a vibrant private sector that paid taxes on profits that fueled public spending and employment or made possible an affluent literary and legal world. All that was contingent upon the assurance that an individual would have a good chance of making a profit and keeping it in exchange for incurring the risk of hiring employees and buying new equipment.

Grows on Trees?

Instead, Obama seems to think that making money is a casual enterprise, not nearly so difficult as community organizing, and without the intellectual rigor of academia — as if profits leap out of the head of Zeus. I say that not casually or slanderously, but based on the profile of his cabinet appointments, his and his wife’s various speeches relating Barack Obama’s own decision to shun the supposed easy money of corporate America for more noble community service in Chicago, and a series of troubling ad hoc, off-the-cuff revealing statements like the following:

As a state legislator Barack Obama lamented the civil rights movement’s reliance on the court system to ensure equality-of-result social justice rather than working through legislatures, which were the “actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change.” To Joe Wurzelbacher, he breezily scoffed that “my attitude is that if the economy’s good for folks from the bottom up, it’s gonna be good for everybody. I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.” When Charlie Gibson pressed presidential candidate Obama on his desire to hike capital gains taxes when historically such policies have decreased aggregate federal revenue, a startled Obama insisted that the punitive notion, not the money, was the real issue: “Well, Charlie, what I’ve said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness.” And as President Obama, again in an off-handed matter, he suggested that the state might have an interest on what individuals make: “I mean, I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.”

In other words, for most of his life Barack Obama has done quite well without understanding how and why American capital is created, and has enjoyed the lifestyle of the elite in the concrete as much as in the abstract he has questioned its foundations. Does he finally see that the threat of borrowing huge amounts to grow government to redistribute income through higher taxes risks greater impoverishment for all of us, despite the perceived “fairness”? That suspicion alone explains why those with trillions of dollars are sitting on the sidelines despite low interest, low inflation, and a rebounding global economy. In short, millions of profit-makers believe not only will it be harder to make a profit, but far less of it will remain their own— and all the while the president will deprecate the efforts of those who simply wish do well for themselves. With proverbial friends like those, who needs enemies?

Until that mindset changes and can be seen by the public to change, the recession will not so easily end.
9782  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The War on Drugs on: November 08, 2010, 12:24:35 PM
GM: 

A plausible point, but many other variables are present too.  For example, Taiwan (I have been there btw) has a coherent family culture and is a country of economic growth.



So rather than legalization, would developing the family and economy be a more effective policy? You have certainly noticed that Taiwan and Hong Kong are big on the rule of law and also have high levels of economic freedom, especially Hong Kong. I can say HK is one of my favorite places in the world.
9783  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The War on Drugs on: November 08, 2010, 12:19:12 PM
So, unless the US legalizes all drugs, the problems with the narcos in Mexico will continue? Will Canada have to legalize all drugs as well?
9784  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Drug law changes little for life in Mexico on: November 08, 2010, 11:37:11 AM
**What? The magical Libertarian policy hasn't worked? This couldn't be right, could it?**

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2010/01/10/20100110mex-drugs.html

Drug law changes little for life in Mexico

by Dennis Wagner - Jan. 10, 2010 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

AGUA PRIETA, Sonora - A few blocks from the municipal police station, on the morning after a cartel gunfight took four more lives in Sonora, drug dealers cruise the streets of La Zona Roja with cellphones in their hands.

Addicts in a local treatment center say these "carros alegres," or happy cars, bring crack cocaine to consumers with all the speed and reliability of a pizza delivery.

The happy cars are one more sign of Mexico's growing drug-abuse problem and serve as a backdrop to the government's decision in August to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of narcotics. When the measure was adopted, President Felipe Calderón and Mexico's Congress said they wanted to concentrate law-enforcement efforts on the ruthless cartels that are blamed for an estimated 13,000 deaths since Calderón declared a war on drugs in December 2006. Calderón also said decriminalization of personal-use quantities would thwart corrupt Mexican cops who sometimes shake down drug users for bribes.

The measure incited controversy from Mexico City to Washington, D.C. Legalization advocates suggested that America's closest neighbor and ally in the drug war had finally recognized the waste of filling prisons with non-violent addicts who need treatment rather than punishment. Drug-enforcement hard-liners warned that eliminating criminal charges for drug abuse would lead to increased public consumption and addiction, perhaps even spawning narco-tourism by Americans looking to get high legally in Mexico.

That the happy cars still cruise about Agua Prieta suggests that critics and supporters overestimated the law's possible effects, both on drug violence and the scourge of addiction.

The reform seems to have had more impact in the rhetorical war over drug decriminalization than it has on Mexican streets. Rather than claiming victory, legalization advocates say the new law may even make things worse because of the way it's written. Conversely, anti-legalization groups condemn the measure because it appears to legitimize drug abuse.

Beneath the lofty debate, cops, treatment counselors, government officials, researchers and addicts interviewed last month said there have been no discernible changes related to the new law.
9785  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: ANY WONDER WHY CALIF. IS GOING BROKE? on: November 08, 2010, 11:26:30 AM
Floodplain Management California Foster Youth Help California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) California Fraud Division California Gambling Control Commission California Geographic Information Systems Council (GIS) California Geological Survey California Government Claims and Victim Compensation Board California Governors Committee for Employment of Disabled Persons California Governors Mentoring Partnership California Governors Office of Emergency Services California Governors Office of Homeland Security California Governors Office of Planning and Research California Governors Office California Grant and Enterprise Zone Programs HCD Loan California Health and Human Services Agency California Health and Safety Agency California Healthy Families Program California Hearing Aid Dispensers Bureau California High-Speed Rail Authority California Highway Patrol (CHP) California History and Culture Agency California Horse Racing Board California Housing Finance Agency California Indoor Air Quality Program California Industrial Development Financing Advisory Commission California Industrial Welfare Commission California InFoPeople California Information Center for the Environment California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank (I-Bank) California Inspection Services California Institute for County Government California Institute for Education Reform California Integrated Waste Management Board California Interagency Ecological Program California Job Service California Junta Estatal de Personal California Labor and Employment Agency California Labor and Workforce Development Agency California Labor Market Information Division California Land Use Planning Information Network (LUPIN) California Lands Commission California Landscape Architects Technical Committee California Latino Legislative Caucus California Law Enforcement Branch California Law Enforcement General Library California Law Revision Commission California Legislative Analyst's Office California Legislative Black Caucus California Legislative Counsel California Legislative Division California Legislative Information California Legislative Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Caucus California Legislature Internet Caucus California Library De velopment Services California License and Revenue Branch California Major Risk Medical Insurance Program California Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board California Maritime Academy California Marketing Services California Measurement Standards California Medical Assistance Commission California Medical Care Services California Military Department California Mining and Geology Board California Museum for History, Women, and the Arts California Museum Resource Center California National Guard California Native American Heritage Commission California Natural Community Conservation Planning Program California New Motor Vehicle Board California Nursing Home Administrator Program California Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board California Ocean Resources Management Program California Office of Administrative Hearings California Office of Administrative Law California Office of AIDS California Office of Binational Border Health California Office of Child Abuse Prevention California Office of Deaf Access California Office of Emergency Services (OES) California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment California Office of Fiscal Services California Office of Fleet Administration California Office of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Implementation (CalOHI) California Office of Historic Preservation California Office of Homeland Security California Office of Human Resources California Office of Legal Services California Office of Legislation California Office of Lieutenant Governor California Office of Military and Aerospace Support California Office of Mine Reclamation California Office of Natural Resource Education California Office of Privacy Protection California Office of Public School Construction California Office of Real Estate Appraisers California Office of Risk and Insurance Management California Office of Services to the Blind California Office of Spill Prevention and Response California Office of State Publishing (OSP) California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development California Office of Systems Integration California Office of the Inspector General California Office of the Ombudsman California Office of the Patient Advocate California Office of the President California Office of the Secretary for Education California Office of the State Fire Marshal California Office of the State Public Defender California Office of Traffic Safety California Office of Vital Records California Online Directory California Operations Control Office California Opinion Unit California Outreach and Technical Assistance Network (OTAN) California Park and Recreation Commission California Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) California Performance Review (CPR) California Permit Information for Business (CalGOLD) California Physical Therapy Board California Physician Assistant Committee California Plant Health and Pest Prevention Services California Policy and Evaluation Division California Political Reform Division California Pollution Control Financing Authority California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo California Postsecondary Education Commission California Prevention Services California Primary Care and Family Health California Prison Industry Authority California Procurement Division California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) California Real Estate Services Division California Refugee Programs Branch California Regional Water Quality Control Boards California Registered Veterinary Technician Committee California Registrar of Charitable Trusts California Republican Caucus California Research and Development Division California Research Bureau California Resources Agency California Respiratory Care Board California Rivers Assessment California Rural Health Policy Council California Safe Schools California San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission California San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy California San Joaquin River Conservancy California School to Career California Science Center California Scripps Institution of Oceanography California Secretary of State Business Portal California Secretary of State California Seismic Safety Commission California Self Insurance Plans (SIP) California Senate Office of Research California Small Business and Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise Certification Program California Small Business Development Center Program California Smart Growth Caucus California Smog Check Information Center California Spatial Information Library California Special Education Division California Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Board California Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) California Standards and Assessment Division California State Administrative Manual (SAM) California State Allocation Board California State and Consumer Services Agency California State Architect California State Archives California State Assembly California State Association of Counties (CSAC) California State Board of Education * California State Board of Food and Agriculture California Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) California State Children's Trust Fund California State Compensation Insurance Fund California State Contracts Register Program California State Contracts Register California State Controller California State Council on Developmental Disabilities (SCDD) California State Disability Insurance (SDI) California State Fair (Cal Expo) California State Jobs Employment Information California State Lands Commission California State Legislative Portal California State Legislature California State Library Catalog California State Library Services Bureau California State Library California State Lottery California State Mediation and Conciliation Service California State Mining and Geology Board California State Park and Recreation Commission California State Parks California State Personnel Board California State Polytechnic University, Pomona California State Railroad Museum California State Science Fair California State Senate California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science (COSMOS) California State Summer School for the Arts California State Superintendent of Public Instruction California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS) California State Treasurer California State University Center for Distributed Learning California State University, Bakersfield California State University, Channel Islands California State University, Chico California State University, Dominguez Hills California State University, East Bay California State University, Fresno California State University, Fullerton California State University, Long Beach California State University, Los Angeles California State University, Monterey Bay California State University, Northridge California State University, Sacramento California State University, San Bernardino California State University, San Marcos California State University, Stanislaus California State University (CSU) California State Water Project Analysis Office California State Water Project California State Water Resources Control Board California Structural Pest Control Board California Student Aid Commission California Superintendent of Public Instruction California Superior Courts California Tahoe Conservancy California Task Force on Culturally and Linguistically Competent Physicians and Dentists California Tax Information Center California Technology and Administration Branch Finance California Telecommunications Division California Telephone Medical Advice Services (TAMS) California Transportation Commission California Travel and Transportation Agency California Unclaimed Property Program California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board California Unemployment Insurance Program California Uniform Construction Cost Accounting Commission California Veterans Board California Veterans Memorial California Veterinary Medical Board and Registered Veterinary Technician Examining Committee California Veterinary Medical Board California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board California Volunteers California Voter Registration California Water Commission California Water Environment Association (COWPEA) California Water Resources Control Board California Welfare to Work Division California Wetlands Information System California Wildlife and Habitat Data Analysis Branch California Wildlife Conservation Board California Wildlife Programs Branch California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) California Workers Compensation Appeals Board California Workforce and Labor Development Agency California Workforce Investment Board California Youth Authority (CYA) Central Valley Flood Protection Board Center for California Studies Colorado River Board of California Counting California Dental Board of California Health Insurance Plan of California (PacAdvantage) Humboldt State University Jobs with the State of California Judicial Council of California Learn California Library of California Lieutenant Governors Commission for One California Little Hoover Commission (on California State Government Organization and Economy) Medical Board of California Medi-Cal Osteopathic Medical Board of California Physical Therapy Board of California Regents of the University of California San Diego State University San Francisco State University San Jose State University Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy State Bar of California Supreme Court of California Teach California University of California University of California, Berkeley University of California, Davis University of California, Hastings College of the Law University of California, Irvine University of California, Los Angeles University of California, Merced University of California, Riverside University of California, San Diego University of California, San Francisco University of California, Santa Barbara University of California, Santa Cruz * Veterans Home of California
9786  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / ANY WONDER WHY CALIF. IS GOING BROKE? on: November 08, 2010, 11:25:35 AM
http://maggiesfarm.anotherdotcom.com/archives/15764-California-state-agencies.html

Tuesday, November 2. 2010
California state agencies

ANY WONDER WHY CALIF. IS GOING BROKE?

California Academic Performance Index (API) California Access for Infants and Mothers California Acupuncture Board California Administrative Office of the Courts California Adoptions Branch California African American Museum California Agricultural Export Program California Agricultural Labor Relations Board California Agricultural Statistics Service California Air Resources Board (CARB) California Allocation Board California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority California Animal Health and Food Safety Services California Anti-Terrorism Information Center California Apprenticeship Council California Arbitration Certification Program California Architects Board California Area VI Developmental Disabilities Board California Arts Council California Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus California Assembly Democratic Caucus California Assembly Republican Caucus California Athletic Commission * California Attorney General

Those are just the As. The rest are below the fold.

California Bay Conservation and Development Commission California Bay-Delta Authority California Bay-Delta Office California Biodiversity Council California Board for Geologists and Geophysicists California Board for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors California Board of Accountancy California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology California Board of Behavioral Sciences California Board of Chiropractic Examiners California Board of Equalization (BOE) California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection California Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind California Board of Occupational Therapy California Board of Optometry California Board of Pharmacy California Board of Podiatric Medicine California Board of Prison Terms California Board of Psychology California Board of Registered Nursing California Board of Trustees California Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians California Braille and Talking Book Library California Building Standards Commission California Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education California Bureau of Automotive Repair California Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair California Bureau of Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation California Bureau of Naturopathic Medicine California Bureau of Security and Investigative Services California Bureau of State Audits California Business Agency California Business Investment Services (CalBIS) California Business Permit Information (CalGOLD) California Business Portal California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency California Cal Grants California CalJOBS California Cal-Learn Program California CalVet Home Loan Program California Career Resource Network California Cemetery and Funeral Bureau California Center for Analytical Chemistry California Center for Distributed Learning California Center for Teaching Careers (Teach California) California Chancellors Office California Charter Schools California Children and Families Commission California Children and Family Services Division California Citizens Compensation Commission California Civil Rights Bureau California Coastal Commission California Coastal Conservancy California Code of Regulations California Collaborative Projects with UC Davis California Commission for Jobs and Economic Growth California Commission on Aging California Commission on Health and Safety and Workers Compensation California Commission on Judicial Performance California Commission on State Mandates California Commission on Status of Women California Commission on Teacher Credentialing California Commission on the Status of Women California Committee on Dental Auxiliaries California Community Colleges Chancellors Office, Junior Colleges California Community Colleges Chancellors Office California Complaint Mediation Program California Conservation Corps California Constitution Revision Commission California Consumer Hotline California Consumer Information Center California Consumer Information California Consumer Services Division California Consumers and Families Agency California Contractors State License Board California Corrections Standards Authority California Council for the Humanities California Council on Criminal Justice California Council on Developmental Disabilities California Court Reporters Board California Courts of Appeal California Crime and Violence Prevention Center California Criminal Justice Statistics Center California Criminalist Institute Forensic Library California CSGnet Network Management California Cultural and Historical Endowment California Cultural Resources Division California Curriculum and Instructional Leadership Branch California Data Exchange Center California Data Management Division California Debt and Investment Advisory Commission California Delta Protection Commission California Democratic Caucus California Demographic Research Unit California Dental Auxiliaries California Department of Aging California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control Appeals Board California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control California Department of Boating and Waterways (Cal Boating) California Department of Child Support Services (CDCSS) California Department of Community Services and Development California Department of Conservation California Department of Consumer Affairs California Department of Corporations California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation California Department of Developmental Services California Department of Education California Department of Fair Employment and Housing California Department of Finance California Department of Financial Institutions California Department of Fish and Game California Department of Food and Agriculture California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF) California Department of General Services California Department of General Services, Office of State Publishing California Department of Health Care Services California Department of Housing and Community Development California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) California Department of Insurance California Department of Justice Firearms Division California Department of Justice Opinion Unit California Department of Justice, Consumer Information, Public Inquiry Unit California Department of Justice California Department of Managed Health Care California Department of Mental Health California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) California Department of Personnel Administration California Department of Pesticide Regulation California Department of Public Health California Department of Real Estate California Department of Rehabilitation California Department of Social Services Adoptions Branch California Department of Social Services California Department of Technology Services Training Center (DTSTC) California Department of Technology Services (DTS) California Department of Toxic Substances Control California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVets) California Department of Water Resources California Departmento de Vehiculos Motorizados California Digital Library California Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise Certification Program California Division of Apprenticeship Standards California Division of Codes and Standards California Division of Communicable Disease Control California Division of Engineering California Division of Environmental and Occupational Disease Control California Division of Gambling Control California Division of Housing Policy Development California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement California Division of Labor Statistics and Research California Division of Land and Right of Way California Division of Land Resource Protection California Division of Law Enforcement General Library California Division of Measurement Standards California Division of Mines and Geology California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources California Division of Planning and Local Assistance California Division of Recycling California Division of Safety of Dams California Division of the State Architect California Division of Tourism California Division of Workers Compensation Medical Unit California Division of Workers Compensation California Economic Assistance, Business and Community Resources California Economic Strategy Panel California Education and Training Agency California Education Audit Appeals Panel California Educational Facilities Authority California Elections Division California Electricity Oversight Board California Emergency Management Agency California Emergency Medical Services Authority California Employment Development Department (EDD) California Employment Information State Jobs California Employment Training Panel California Energy Commission California Environment and Natural Resources Agency California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) California Environmental Resources Evaluation System (CERES) California Executive Office California Export Laboratory Services California Exposition and State Fair (Cal Expo) California Fair Political Practices Commission California Fairs and Expositions Division California Film Commission California Fire and Resource Assessment Program California Firearms Division California Fiscal Services California Fish and Game Commission California Fisheries Program Branch California
9787  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The War on Drugs on: November 08, 2010, 11:22:24 AM
When you fly into Taiwan's main airport (Taoyuan) there is a large sign in both Chinese and English warning you that possession of illegal drugs is punishable by death. Funny enough, Taiwan has a very low rate of drug addition.
9788  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: November 08, 2010, 11:04:37 AM
Rich people don't take their money and store it in vaults so they can swim through it like Scrooge McDuck. They invest it and spend it, which creates jobs for the non-rich.
9789  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The War on Drugs on: November 08, 2010, 11:01:35 AM
lawlessness - Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Lawless \Law"less\, a.
     1. Contrary to, or unauthorized by, law; illegal; as, a
        lawless claim.
        [1913 Webster]
 
              He needs no indirect nor lawless course. --Shak.
        [1913 Webster]
 
     2. Not subject to, or restrained by, the law of morality or
        of society; as, lawless men or behavior.
        [1913 Webster]
 
     3. Not subject to the laws of nature; uncontrolled.
        [1913 Webster]
 
              Or, meteorlike, flame lawless through the void.
                                                    --Pope.
        -- Law"less*ly, adv. -- Law"less*ness, n.
        [1913 Webster]
9790  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Monetary Policy, & the US Dollar on: November 07, 2010, 08:37:41 PM
http://www.gainspainscapital.com/index.php?view=article&catid=39:stocks&id=182:graham-summers-weekly-market-forecast&tmpl=component&print=1&layout=default&page=

Check out the charts. Outside my area of knowledge, but it doesn't look good.
9791  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama acknowledges decline of US dominance-in India on: November 07, 2010, 05:36:04 PM
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Obama-acknowledges-decline-of-US-dominance/articleshow/6885877.cms

Obama acknowledges decline of US dominance
TNN, Nov 8, 2010, 01.14am IST

MUMBAI: Implicitly acknowledging the decline of American dominance, Barack Obama on Sunday said the US was no longer in a position to "meet the rest of the world economically on our terms".

Speaking at a town hall meeting in Mumbai, he said, "I do think that one of the challenges that we are going face in the US, at a time when we are still recovering from the financial crisis is, how do we respond to some of the challenges of globalisation? The fact of the matter is that for most of my lifetime and I'll turn 50 next year - the US was such an enormously dominant economic power, we were such a large market, our industry, our technology, our manufacturing was so significant that we always met the rest of the world economically on our terms. And now because of the incredible rise of India and China and Brazil and other countries, the US remains the largest economy and the largest market, but there is real competition."

"This will keep America on its toes. America is going to have to compete. There is going to be a tug-of-war within the US between those who see globalisation as a threat and those who accept we live in a open integrated world, which has challenges and opportunities."

The US leader disagreed with those who saw globalisation as unmitigated evil. But while acknowledging that the Chindia factor had made the world flatter, he said protectionist impulses in US will get stronger if people don't see trade bringing in gains for them.

"If the American people feel that trade is just a one-way street where everybody is selling to the enormous US market but we can never sell what we make anywhere else, then the people of the US will start thinking that this is a bad deal for us and it could end up leading to a more protectionist instinct in both parties, not just among Democrats but also Republicans. So, that we have to guard against," he said.

He pointed out that America, which once traded without bothering about barriers put up by partners, could not promote trade at its own expense at a time when India and China were rising. "There has to be reciprocity in our trading relationships and if we can have those kind of conversations - fruitful, constructive conversation about how we produce win-win situations, then I think we will be fine."
9792  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / U.S.-China trade war feared on: November 07, 2010, 05:18:00 PM
U.S.-China trade war feared
 
In a visit to Miami, Chinese Ambassador Zhang Yesui said trade sanctions aren't the way to deal with China's undervalued yuan.
BY MIMI WHITEFIELD
mwhitefield@MiamiHerald.com

The Chinese ambassador to the United States said Thursday that if legislation allowing the U.S. to seek trade sanctions against nations it believes manipulate their currencies becomes law, it will set off a U.S.-China trade war.

In one of the most direct statements to date from a Chinese official, Ambassador Zhang Yesui said, ``If the president signs it, it will create a trade war between China and the United States. A trade war will not be good for anyone sitting in this room.''

Zhang made his comments in Miami during a forum organized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce to discuss business opportunities in China.

Critics say China should allow its yuan to float to address China's huge trade imbalance with the United States. Keeping the yuan cheap, they complain, gives China an unfair competitive advantage, making the price of Chinese products low for U.S. consumers and U.S. goods more expensive in the Chinese market.

As criticism mounts during this electoral cycle that China's big trade surplus contributes to U.S. job losses, calls for action against China have intensified.

In late September, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 348-79 for a bill that would allow the U.S. to take into account currency undervaluation to calculate duties on Chinese imports. A similar measure is expected to be introduced in the Senate after the midterm elections.

Zhang said he hopes the Senate doesn't take up a bill and laments that the issue has become politicized. ``I know politics can be very cruel sometimes,'' he said.

``Congress says the exchange rate is the main cause of the trade deficit, that if the currency appreciates it will create more U.S. jobs,'' said Zhang, who took up his post in March after serving as the Chinese ambassador to the United Nations.

``Theoretically speaking, academically speaking, that's not right,'' he said. ``Maybe politically speaking, it's right.''

Since 2000, he said, U.S. exports to China have grown by 33 percent -- and that has created more jobs for U.S. workers. China, the ambassador said, is actively expanding its domestic market and retail consumer sales are expected to reach $2 trillion this year.

Zhang also pointed out that from 2005 to 2007, when the Chinese currency appreciated against the dollar by 21 percent, the Chinese trade surplus with the United States still increased by about 20 percent.

Any disagreements over the impact of the yuan on the trade imbalance should be solved through dialogue and negotiation ``as equal partners,'' he said.

But frustration over China's undervalued yuan is clearly growing, and for some, the time frame for negotiation is just about over.

Earlier this week Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner called the Chinese currency issue ``the central existential challenge facing the world economy'' and urged the International Monetary Fund to exert ``leverage'' on China.

One of the most outspoken critics of China has been New York Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer, who said he will push a sanction bill in the Senate.

While the House bill was being considered, Schumer said, ``China is merely pretending to take significant steps on its currency. This sucker's game is never going to stop unless we finally call their bluff.''

Schumer represents a state where some regions have suffered heavy job losses in recent years, and he points to outsourcing and unfair competition as the main culprits in the jobs exodus.

In Miami, Zhang spoke to a friendly crowd eager to hear about business possibilities in an economy that is growing at more than 9 percent a year. Last year, total trade between China and the Miami Customs District reached $3.9 billion, making China the region's fourth most important trading partner.


Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/10/08/v-fullstory/1862882/us-china-trade-war-feared.html#ixzz14dp2Y5h0
9793  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / China leads backlash against US stimulus on: November 07, 2010, 11:13:45 AM
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/currency/8111920/China-leads-backlash-against-US-stimulus-as-risk-of-currency-war-protectionism-grows.html

China leads backlash against US stimulus as risk of currency war, protectionism grows
China led an Asian backlash against US measure to boost an economic recovery which has stoked concerns that a flood of 'hot money' could destabilise regional economies.
9794  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Moonbeam powers: Activate! on: November 07, 2010, 11:07:01 AM
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-10-19/california-pension-promises-may-top-taxes-by-fivefold-milken-study-finds.html

California Pension Promises May Top Taxes by Fivefold, Milken Study Finds
By Michael B. Marois - Oct 19, 2010 11:22 AM MT

   
California, which has the largest U.S. public-pension fund, faces liabilities that may exceed its annual state-tax revenue fivefold within two years unless lawmakers rein in benefits, according to a study.

To keep their promises to retirees, the California Public Employees Retirement System, the biggest plan, the California State Teachers Retirement System, the second-largest, and the University of California Retirement System may have combined liabilities of more than 5.5 times the state’s annual tax revenue by fiscal 2012, according to the study released today by the Milken Institute. Levies are forecast to reach about $89 billion in the year that began July 1.

Debts to government retirees including those in California, the biggest state by population, have grown into a national crisis as pension plans strive to meet obligations to more than 19 million active and retired firefighters, police officers, teachers and other state workers. Fewer than half the plans had assets to cover 80 percent of promised benefits in fiscal 2009, according to data compiled for last month’s Cities and Debt Briefing hosted by Bloomberg Link.

“California simply lacks the fiscal capacity to guarantee public-pension payments, particularly given the wave of state employees set to retire” in future years, said researchers Perry Wong and I-Ling Shen in the Milken report. “Structural shifts, coupled with the financial design and the accounting practices of state pension funds, all point to the fact that reform is imperative.”
9795  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The age of the dollar is drawing to a close on: November 07, 2010, 09:50:31 AM
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/jeremy-warner/8111918/The-age-of-the-dollar-is-drawing-to-a-close.html

As we now know, dollar hegemony was itself a major cause of both the imbalances and the crisis, for it allowed more or less unbounded borrowing by the US from the rest of the world, at very favourable rates. As long as the US remained far and away the world's dominant economy, a global system based on the dollar still made some sense. But America has squandered this advantage on credit-fuelled spending; with the developing world expected to represent more than half of the global economy within five years, dollar hegemony no longer makes any sense.

The rest of the world is now openly questioning the merits of a global currency whose value is governed by America's perceived domestic needs, while the growth that once underpinned confidence in its ability to repay its debts has never looked more fragile.

Already, there are calls for alternatives. Unwilling to wait for one, the world's central banks are beginning to diversify their currency reserves. This, in turn, will eventually exert its own form of market discipline on the US, whose ability to soak the rest of the world by issuing ever more greenbacks will be correspondingly harmed.

These are seismic changes, of a type not seen for a generation or more. I hate to end with a cliché, but we do indeed live in interesting times.
9796  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The War on Drugs on: November 07, 2010, 08:44:38 AM
Free access to drugs, no government authority. Sounds like a Libertarian paradise.
9797  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Japan won't be buying US treasuries for long on: November 07, 2010, 08:27:25 AM
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-10-13/japan-will-be-forced-to-default-greek-economy-done-hayman-s-bass-says.html

Subprime Soothsayer Bass Says Japan to Default on Debt as Economy Unravels

Japan will be forced to default on its debt, Greece’s economy is “done” and Iceland is worse off than Greece, said J. Kyle Bass, the head of Dallas-based Hayman Advisors LP who made $500 million in 2007 on the U.S. subprime collapse.

Nations around the world will be unable to repay their debt and financial austerity in a country such as Ireland is “too late,” Bass said today at the Value Investing Congress in New York.

Japan’s economy may unravel in the next two to three years, and its interest payments will exceed revenue, he said. “Japan can’t fund itself internally,” Bass said.

The country’s year-over-year gross domestic product was 2.4 percent as of June 30. It has the world’s largest public debt, approaching 200 percent of its GDP amid a 5.1 percent jobless rate. Consumer price fell by one percent in September and has been negative each month since May 2009, as deflation has taken hold.
9798  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: November 07, 2010, 08:00:50 AM
So exactly what would be the costs for us of a trade war with China?

a) less trinkets
**China produces more than just trinkets. A very large percentage of our consumer goods come from China. A trade war will hurt lots of those already suffering and struggling to feed and clothe their families. As the dollar plunges downward, tariffs on chinese goods will make a tangible impact on our already declining standard of living.**

b) disruption of REEs
**Which tends to have a serious impact on high tech dependent nations.**

c) higher interest rates due to Chinese not buying our bonds?  (Is this inevitable anyway?)
**Higher interest rates may be inevitable, but let's try to avoid that, because if China stops buying our bonds and others do as well and the US loses it's AAA rating, the most likely result is the end of the USA as we know it.We need to maintain the status quo until we can unfcuk ourselves.**

d) what else?
**A struggling China may well decide to go for broke and move on Taiwan and other disputed territories, resulting in nothing good for asia or the rest of the world.**

9799  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: November 07, 2010, 07:32:34 AM
The original quotes were in this thread.
9800  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: November 07, 2010, 12:40:25 AM
I have said several times that the PRC no longer has a belief in communism, not even the party members. Nationalism, stability and an improved standard of living is what the chinese power structure offers now to the masses. They literally must run as fast as they can just to stay in one place to keep the majority of the population that is still living as their impoverished grandparents did compliant. Still, the chinese withstand suffering very few if any of us can't imagine, and the PRC has a massive internal security structure more than willing to machinegun protesters en mass. Put today's Americans in the conditions of the great depression and see how ugly things get in short order. We may well just find out.
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