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9801  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate on: February 24, 2011, 02:19:11 PM

New residential sales sink 12.6% from December, 18.6% from previous January

posted at 2:55 pm on February 24, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

In other words, don’t expect the construction business to rebound soon.  In a release two hours ago, the Census Bureau announced that new residential sales dropped 12.6% over a mild bump upward in December, down to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 284,000 units.  That number barely avoids the low-water mark reached in October 2010 of 280,000 units, which was itself the lowest such figure in the entire historical run of the data, which goes back to 1963:
9802  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Boxing Thread on: February 24, 2011, 02:08:53 PM

9803  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Unions on: February 24, 2011, 01:39:23 PM
If there is no money, then there is no money.
9804  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Other Arab countries on: February 24, 2011, 10:40:17 AM

Flashback: Louis Farrakhan, Jeremiah Wright Foster Gaddafi Alliance

    * Posted on February 24, 2011 at 8:04am by Meredith Jessup Meredith Jessup
During the 2008 presidential race, then-Sen. Barack Obama worked to distance himself from his old pastor, Chicago‘s Trinity United Church of Christ’s Rev. Jeremiah Wright. The Washington Post’s Richard Cohen wrote at the time how Wright had granted a lifetime achievement award to radical Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

    …[Farrakhan] has vilified whites and singled out Jews to blame for crimes large and small, either committed by others as well or not at all. (A dominant role in the slave trade, for instance.) He has talked of Jewish conspiracies to set a media line for the whole nation. He has reviled Jews in a manner that brings Hitler to mind.

And yet, as Cohen noted at the time, Obama’s pastor and spiritual adviser “heaped praise” on Farrakhan in awarding him the Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. Trumpeteer Award, claiming Farrakhan had “truly epitomized greatness.”

In response, Obama was forced to release this statement:

    I decry racism and anti-Semitism in every form and strongly condemn the anti-Semitic statements made by Minister Farrakhan. I assume that Trumpet Magazine made its own decision to honor Farrakhan based on his efforts to rehabilitate ex-offenders, but it is not a decision with which I agree.

But Wright’s relationship with the controversial Farrakhan extended far beyond an award.  In 1984, Wright personally accompanied Farrakhan to Libya to meet with Muammar Gaddafi in Tripoli. In 2008, Wright even predicted his association with Farrakhan and Gaddafi may cause political headaches for Obama’s presidential aspirations: “When [Obama's] enemies find out that in 1984 I went to Tripoli to visit [Gadhafi] with Farrakhan, a lot of his Jewish support will dry up quicker than a snowball in hell,” he said.
9805  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Nuclear War, WMD issues on: February 24, 2011, 09:56:31 AM
I disagree Doug. China has us by the short and curlies. They couldn't build a military that could defeat ours for the amount of money they used to buy our debt. Now, they are using their financial leverage to bend us to their will. Unrestricted warfare, financial edition.

"The acme of skill is to defeat an enemy without fighting".

"He who understands himself and his opponent need not fear the outcome of a thousand battles"

Sun Tzu

Cables show China used debt holdings to press US
Feb 21 04:45 PM US/Eastern

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, shown here in 2003, publicly stated his concern...

Leaked diplomatic cables vividly show China's willingness to translate its massive holdings of US debt into political influence on issues ranging from Taiwan's sovereignty to Washington's financial policy.

China's clout -- gleaned from its nearly $900 billion stack of US debt -- has been widely commented on in the United States, but sensitive cables show just how much influence Beijing has and how keen Washington is to address its rival's concerns.

An October 2008 cable, released by WikiLeaks, showed a senior Chinese official linking questions about much-needed Chinese investment to sensitive military sales to Taiwan.

Amid the panic of Lehman Brothers' collapse and the ensuing liquidity crunch, Liu Jiahua, an official who then helped manage China's foreign reserves, was "non-committal on the possible resumption of lending."

Instead, "Liu -- citing an Internet discussion forum -- said that as in the United States, the Chinese leadership must pay close attention to public opinion in forming policies," according to the memo.
9806  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: February 24, 2011, 09:40:29 AM
So, where would one find islam being practiced in an authentic manner?
9807  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam the religion and theocratic politics on: February 24, 2011, 09:35:01 AM
"Terrorism analysts believe al Qaeda's senior leadership is reeling. In some ways, the largely nonviolent, secular and pro-democracy revolts amount to a rejection of the group's core beliefs. They were also successful.

"It's not just a defeat. It's a catastrophe, the worst thing that has happened since al Qaeda was created," said Jean-Pierre Filiu, an expert on al Qaeda and affiliated groups at the University of Sciences Po in Paris."

Wishful thinking, disguised as analysis.
9808  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Coolness on: February 21, 2011, 07:09:45 PM
9809  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Intel Matters on: February 21, 2011, 06:39:28 PM
Probably from sources within the ISI.

Why are they publishing it? Because unlike Mao or Stalin, Raymond Davis is an American patriot, and thus outside the protection the MSM gives to those who wish America ill.
9810  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / I'm sure it's different in WI. on: February 21, 2011, 12:06:28 PM

Kids at New York's Abraham Lincoln High School told me their teachers are so dull students fall asleep in class. One student said, "You see kids all the time walking in the school smoking weed, you know. It's a normal thing here."

We tried to bring "20/20" cameras into New York City schools to see for ourselves and show you what's going on in the schools, but officials wouldn't allow it.

Washington, D.C., officials steered us to the best classrooms in their district.

We wanted to tape typical classrooms but were turned down in state after state.
School work
(abc news)

Finally, school officials in Washington, D.C., allowed "20/20" to give cameras to a few students who were handpicked at two schools they'd handpicked. One was Woodrow Wilson High. Newsweek says it's one of the best schools in America. Yet what the students taped didn't inspire confidence.

One teacher didn't have control over the kids. Another "20/20" student cameraman videotaped a boy dancing wildly with his shirt off, in front of his teacher.

If you're like most American parents, you might think "These things don't happen at my kid's school." A Gallup Poll survey showed 76 percent of Americans were completely or somewhat satisfied with their kids' public school.

Education reformers like Kevin Chavous have a message for these parents: If you only knew.

Even though people in the suburbs might think their schools are great, Chavous says, "They're not. That's the thing and the test scores show that."

Chavous and many other education professionals say Americans don't know that their public schools, on the whole, just aren't that good. Because without competition, parents don't know what their kids might have had.

And while many people say, "We need to spend more money on our schools," there actually isn't a link between spending and student achievement.

Jay Greene, author of "Education Myths," points out that "If money were the solution, the problem would already be solved ... We've doubled per pupil spending, adjusting for inflation, over the last 30 years, and yet schools aren't better."

He's absolutely right. National graduation rates and achievement scores are flat, while spending on education has increased more than 100 percent since 1971. More money hasn't helped American kids.

Ben Chavis is a former public school principal who now runs an alternative charter school in Oakland, Calif., that spends thousands of dollars less per student than the surrounding public schools. He laughs at the public schools' complaints about money.

"That is the biggest lie in America. They waste money," he said.

To save money, Chavis asks the students to do things like keep the grounds picked up and set up for their own lunch. For gym class, his students often just run laps around the block. All of this means there's more money left over for teaching.

Even though he spends less money per student than the public schools do, Chavis pays his teachers more than what public school teachers earn. His school also thrives because the principal gets involved. Chavis shows up at every classroom and uses gimmicks like small cash payments for perfect attendance.

Since he took over four years ago, his school has gone from being among the worst in Oakland to being the best. His middle school has the highest test scores in the city.

"It's not about the money," he said.

He's confident that even kids who come from broken families and poor families will do well in his school. "Give me the poor kids, and I will outperform the wealthy kids who live in the hills. And we do it," he said.

Monopoly Kills Innovation and Cheats Kids

Chavis's charter school is an example of how a little innovation can create a school that can change kids' lives. You don't get innovation without competition.

To give you an idea of how competitive American schools are and how U.S. students performed compared with their European counterparts, we gave parts of an international test to some high school students in Belgium and in New Jersey.

Belgian kids cleaned the American kids' clocks, and called them "stupid."

We didn't pick smart kids to test in Europe and dumb kids in the United States. The American students attend an above-average school in New Jersey, and New Jersey's kids have test scores that are above average for America.

Lov Patel, the boy who got the highest score among the American students, told me, "I'm shocked, because it just shows how advanced they are compared to us."

The Belgian students didn't perform better because they're smarter than American students. They performed better because their schools are better. At age 10, American students take an international test and score well above the international average. But by age 15, when students from 40 countries are tested, the Americans place 25th.

American schools don't teach as well as schools in other countries because they are government monopolies, and monopolies don't have much incentive to compete. In Belgium, by contrast, the money is attached to the kids -- it's a kind of voucher system. Government funds education -- at many different kinds of schools -- but if a school can't attract students, it goes out of business.

Belgian school principal Kaat Vandensavel told us she works hard to impress parents.

She told us, "If we don't offer them what they want for their child, they won't come to our school." She constantly improves the teaching, saying, "You can't afford 10 teachers out of 160 that don't do their work, because the clients will know, and won't come to you again."

"That's normal in Western Europe," Harvard economist Caroline Hoxby told me. "If schools don't perform well, a parent would never be trapped in that school in the same way you could be trapped in the U.S."

Last week Florida's Supreme Court shut down "opportunity scholarships," Florida's small attempt at competition. Public money can't be spent on private schools, said the court, because the state constitution commands the funding only of "uniform . . . high-quality" schools. Government schools are neither uniform nor high-quality, and without competition, no new teaching plan or No Child Left Behind law will get the monopoly to serve its customers well.

The longer kids stay in American schools, the worse they do in international competition. They do worse than kids from poorer countries that spend much less money on education, ranking behind not only Belgium but also Poland, the Czech Republic and South Korea.

This should come as no surprise if you remember that public education in the United States is a government monopoly. Don't like your public school? Tough. The school is terrible? Tough. Your taxes fund that school regardless of whether it's good or bad. That's why government monopolies routinely fail their customers. Union-dominated monopolies are even worse.

In New York City, it's "just about impossible" to fire a bad teacher, says Schools Chancellor Joel Klein. The new union contract offers some relief, but it's still about 200 pages of bureaucracy. "We tolerate mediocrity," said Klein, because "people get paid the same, whether they're outstanding, average or way below average."

Here's just one example from New York City: It took years to fire a teacher who sent sexually oriented e-mails to "Cutie 101," a 16-year-old student. Klein said, "He hasn't taught, but we have had to pay him, because that's what's required under the contract."

Only after six years of litigation were they able to fire him. In the meantime, they paid the teacher more than $300,000. Klein said he employs dozens of teachers who he's afraid to let near the kids, so he has them sit in what are called rubber rooms. This year he will spend $20 million dollars to warehouse teachers in five rubber rooms. It's an alternative to firing them. In the last four years, only two teachers out of 80,000 were fired for incompetence. Klein's office says the new contract will make it easier to get rid of sex offenders, but it will still be difficult to fire incompetent teachers.

When I confronted Randi Weingarten, president of the United Federation of Teachers, she said, "They [the NYC school board] just don't want to do the work that's entailed." But the "work that's entailed" is so onerous that most principals just have just given up, or gotten bad teachers to transfer to another school. They even have a name for it: "the dance of the lemons."
9811  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Nuclear War, WMD issues on: February 21, 2011, 11:13:14 AM
"Gee, if only we could Pakistan to pinkie-promise not to nuke India, it'd all be swell".

9812  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Other Arab countries on: February 21, 2011, 10:40:24 AM
Here's hoping that Saddam and his sons soon have company in hell.
9813  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: American History on: February 21, 2011, 10:28:04 AM
So, owning a slave was a civil liberty?
9814  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam the religion and theocratic politics on: February 21, 2011, 10:07:43 AM

At least Oklahoma can still have sharia......
9815  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Why do dems hate black children? on: February 21, 2011, 09:48:06 AM

Saturday, February 19, 2011
Meanwhile, Back at School

While hundreds of Wisconsin educators skip work to protest Governor Scott Walker's fiscal reform plan, we're getting a better look at the teachers' "accomplishments" in the classroom.

From the MacIver Institute, a conservative think tank based in the state:

When it comes to the U.S. Military, almost half of Wisconsin’s African American students aren’t even fit to serve.
That’s the story from the latest results of the United States Army’s Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) in Wisconsin. In 2009, 18.9 percent of all Wisconsin high school students failed to qualify for service. This included a 46.9 percent ineligibility rate amongst African American students and a 26.9 percent rate for Hispanic students. These figures come from a December study by The Education Trust in Washington, D.C


Overall, the Badger state ASVAB test takers graded as above average, but posted one of the worst rates for African American students. While Wisconsin’s near 19 percent failure rate was good for 17th nationally, the ineligibility rate for black students over the past five years was the fourth worst in the country. Amongst eligible states*, only Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas fared worse.

Regionally, Wisconsin ranked fourth out of six upper Midwestern states, including a last place finish for black students. Not surprisingly, the state led the nation in the achievement gap between African American and White students. On a more positive note, Wisconsin was only fourth in the region when it came to the gap between Hispanic and White students.

We've written at length about declining ASVAB scores and their impact on military recruiting. With fewer young Americans achieving passing scores on the test, it will be more difficult for the services to meet their quotas. And, qualification scores aren't excessive by any measure; the minimum entrance score for an Army recruit is 31; it's 32 for future Marines, 35 for the Navy, 40 for the Air Force and 45 for the U.S. Coast Guard. So, it's possible for future service members to score below 50 on the ASVAB and still meet service requirements for the aptitude test.

Unfortunately, most African-American students in Wisconsin don't have that option, given their 50% failure rate on the ASVAB. Among Hispanics, more than one in four in Wisconsin schools can't achieve a passing score on the military entrance exam.

And where do you find most of the black and Hispanic students in the Badger State? The Milwaukee public school system, the same one that was shut down for several days last week, because many of its teachers were protesting in Madison.

You can see why they're fighting so hard to retain collective bargaining. With that sort of job performance, many of those Wisconsin teachers would be out of work without their union protection.
9816  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Unions on: February 21, 2011, 09:43:10 AM
Kill the public employee unions, you kill a lot of forced dem fundraising. Also, lots of voters are getting really pissed off by these union antics. There doing a great job of turning WI. red.
9817  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Egypt Gets Its Khomeini: Qaradawi Returns in Triumph on: February 20, 2011, 10:17:10 PM
Egypt Gets Its Khomeini: Qaradawi Returns in Triumph
This article was published in American Thinker but the full text--with additional material--is posted here. I'd prefer that you forwarded, read, or reprinted this text.

Please be subscriber 18,782 (daily reader 33,182). Put email address in upper right-hand box:

We need your contribution. Tax-deductible donation by PayPal or credit card: click Donate button: Checks: "American Friends of IDC.” “For GLORIA Center” on memo line. Mail: American Friends of IDC, 116 East 16th St., 11th Fl., NY, NY 10003.

By Barry Rubin

Friday, February 18 may be a turning point in Egyptian history. On this day Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the best-known Muslim Brotherhood cleric in the world and one of the most famous Islamist thinkers, will address a mass rally in Cairo.

It was 32 years ago almost to the day when Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returned in triumph to Tehran to take the leadership of that country. Qaradawi has a tougher job but he's up to the challenge if his health holds up.

Up until now, the Egyptian revolution generally, and the Brotherhood in particular, has lacked a charismatic thinker, someone who could really mobilize the masses. Qaradawi is that man. Long resident in the Gulf, he is returning to his homeland in triumph. Through internet, radio, his 100 books, and his weekly satellite television program, Qaradawi has been an articulate voice for revolutionary Islamism. He is literally a living legend.

Under the old regime, Qaradawi was banned from the country. He is now 84 years old--two years older than the fallen President Husni Mubarak--but he is tremendously energetic and clear-minded.

It was Qaradawi who, in critiquing Usama bin Ladin and al-Qaida, argued that Islamists should always participate in elections because they would, he claims, invariably win them. Hamas and Hizballah have shown that he was right on that point.

Symbollically, he will give the Friday prayer sermon to be held in Tahrir Square, the center of the revolutionary movement. The massing of hundreds of thousands of people in the square to hear Islamic services and a sermon by a radical Islamist is not the kind of thing that's been going on under the 60-year-old military regime that was recently overthrown.

The context is also the thanking of Qaradawi for his support of the revolution, an implication that he is somehow its spiritual father.

Qaradawi, though some in the West view him as a moderate, supports the straight Islamist line: anti-American, anti-Western, wipe Israel off the map, foment Jihad, stone homosexuals, in short the works.

One of Qaradawi's initiatives has been urging Muslims to settle in the West, of which he said, “that powerful West, which has come to rule the world, should not be left to the influence of the Jews alone.” He contends that the three major threats Muslims face are Zionism, internal integration, and globalization. To survive, he argues, Muslims must fight the Zionists, Crusaders, idolators, and Communists.

Make no mistake, Qaradawi is not some fossilized Islamic ideologue. He is brilliant and innovative, tactically flexible and strategically sophisticated. He is subtle enough to sell himself as a moderate to those who don't understand the implications of his words or look beneath the surface of his presentation.

What is his view of both the Mubarak regime and the young, Facebook-flourishing liberals who made the revolution? As he said in 2004: “Some Arab and Muslim secularists are following the U.S. government by advocating the kind of reform that will disarm the nation from the elements of strength that are holding our people together.”

Have no doubt. It is Qaradawi, not bin Ladin, who is the most dangerous revolutinary Islamist in the world and he is about to unleash the full force of his power and persuasion on Egypt.

Who are you going to bet on being more influential, a Google executive and an unorganized band of well-intentioned liberal Egyptians or the world champion radical Islamist cleric?

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His books include Islamic Fundamentalists in Egyptian Politics and The Muslim Brotherhood (Palgrave-Macmillan); and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East, a study of Arab reform movements (Wiley). GLORIA Center site: His blog, Rubin Reports,
9818  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Egypt on: February 20, 2011, 10:13:06 PM

February 18, 2011    Clip No. 2815
Leading Sunni Scholar Sheik Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi Calls for the Egyptian Army to Replace the Government and Prays to Allah for the Conquest of the Al-Aqsa Mosque

Following are excerpts from a speech delivered by Sheik Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi, chairman of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, at Tahrir Square, Cairo, on Febuary 18, 2011. The speech was delivered live by Egyptian Channel 1

Sheik Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: I call upon the youth to maintain their spirit. The revolution is not over yet. Do not think that the revolution is over. The revolution continues.

We must contribute to the building of the new Egypt, Egypt which has learned a lot from this revolution. Continue your revolution and protect it. Beware that nobody steals it from you. Protect this revolution. Beware of the hypocrites, who are ready to put on a new face every day.


A word to the Egyptian army: I salute the Egyptian army, which is the shield of the people and its support. Some of the brothers told me not to be too hasty in praising the army, because it might let you down and not support the revolution. I said to them: By Allah, they will not let me down.

When I delivered my last sermon, following the first [army] announcement, which caused many people to feel frustration, I said that I believe that the Egyptian army is no less patriotic than the Tunisian army. The Tunisian army supported the Tunisian revolution. It is inconceivable that the Egyptian army, which waged four wars for the sake of Egypt and Palestine, would betray its country or sacrifice its people for the sake of a single person. This army is too wise and noble to do such a thing. I swore that the army would join the people, and indeed, they did.


We demand that the Egyptian army liberate us from the government, which was formed by Mubarak in the days of his soon-to-be-erased rule. We want a new government, without a single one of the faces that people cannot tolerate anymore. Whenever people see these faces, they remember the injustice, the killing, they remember the invasion of the camels, mules, and horses, as well as the snipers who killed the people.


A message to our brothers in Palestine: I harbor the hope that just like Allah allowed me to witness the triumph of Egypt, He will allow me to witness the conquest of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and will enable me to preach in the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Oh Allah, allow us to preach in the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Crowds: Amen.

Sheik Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: Allow us to enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque safely.

Crowds: Amen.

Sheik Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: Allow us to enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque without fear.

Crowds: Amen.

Sheik Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: Accomplish this complete victory for us.

Crowds: Amen.

Sheik Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: Oh, the sons of Palestine, rest assured that you will be victorious.

Crowds: Amen.

Sheik Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: The Rafah border crossing will be opened for you. This is what I demand from the Egyptian army and from the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.
9819  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The left's high water mark on: February 20, 2011, 10:07:41 PM
The left badly overplayed it's hand in WI.

This will be where Obama lost re-election in 2012.
9820  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Egypt on: February 20, 2011, 09:05:39 PM
There are very few, if any would-be Thomas Jeffersons clad in man-dresses in Egypt. Democracy in Egypt will be the genesis of the Islamic Republic of Egypt.

Al-Qaeda’s Zawahiri Tells Egyptians to Establish Islamic State
By Vivian Salama - Feb 20, 2011 6:12 AM MT

Al-Qaeda’s second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri urged Egyptians to revive Islamic rule and criticized Hosni Mubarak as a “modern-day pharaoh” in remarks that came before the former Egyptian president was toppled.

“The Egyptian regime is in fact a repressive regime that relies on brutality and rigged elections while the Islamic system is consultative and seeks to achieve justice,” the Egyptian militant leader said in an audio recording posted on a website used by Islamist groups including al-Qaeda.

Mubarak was ousted Feb. 11 after 18 days of anti-government protests that demanded political and economic reforms. Al- Qaeda’s Saudi-born leader Osama bin Laden and Zawahiri have often condemned the Mubarak regime for its ties to Israel and the U.S. and urged Muslims to remove U.S.-backed rulers.

Egypt, under the late president Anwar Sadat, was the first Arab nation to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979. Mubarak, who took over after Islamists killed Sadat, upheld the accord.

“The reality of Egypt is the reality of deviation from Islam,” Zawahiri, an Egyptian, said in the recording, part of a documentary by al-Qaeda’s media arm As-Sahab titled: “A message of Hope and Good Tidings to Our Folk in Egypt.”

“Secularism entered our countries through military occupation, oppression and massacres,” he said. “Western secularism is animus to Islam and supportive to Zionism.”
9821  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: What are some indications your finger is broken? on: February 20, 2011, 08:06:47 PM
I get that if you are here, you tend to be of the high end of the testosterone scale and of the "pain don't hurt" philosophy, however medical professions are your friend. Neglecting things, like broken bones can result in impairment of your ability to fight.
9822  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Yuppie Revolution In Egypt Is Over, The Islamist Revolution Has Begun on: February 20, 2011, 07:43:08 PM

Sunday, February 20, 2011
The Yuppie Revolution In Egypt Is Over, The Islamist Revolution Has Begun
When it came to overthrowing Hosni Mubarek, the western media thrust itself into the situation and portrayed the uprising as a western-style demand for freedom.

**I think we are going to look back at 9/11/01 as the "good old days" compared to what's coming.
9823  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Yuppie Revolution In Egypt Is Over, The Islamist Revolution Has Begun on: February 20, 2011, 07:33:28 PM

Sunday, February 20, 2011
The Yuppie Revolution In Egypt Is Over, The Islamist Revolution Has Begun
When it came to overthrowing Hosni Mubarek, the western media thrust itself into the situation and portrayed the uprising as a western-style demand for freedom.

The television screens were filled with stories of relatively western figures such as Google employee Wael Ghonim, who became the face of the new Egypt -- educated, professional, and desirous of freedom as we know it.

Now that Mubarek is gone, the western media mostly has moved on to the next revolution, secure in the perception that Egypt is moving in the right direction.

But that is a false comfort. As I posted yesterday, over a million Egyptians turned out in Tahrir Square last Friday to cheer the vile anti-Semitic Sunni cleric Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who had been exiled by Mubarek, and who espouses the fundamentalist Islamic view that Jews must live as Dhimmis under Islamic control.  Instead of accurately reporting the significance of this event, The New York Times whitewashed the cleric as someone who supports a "a pluralistic, multiparty, civil democracy."

Here is the video of the rally (in Arabic, via Israel Matzav) with the crowd chanting:

    "To Jerusalem We go, for us to be the Martyrs of the Millions."

#Invalid YouTube Link#

[Added: Partial transcript and video of speech with translation at links.]

Where was the western hero Ghonim?

He tried to take the microphone to speak to the crowd, presumably to preach his western values, but he was kept off the stage by Sheik al-Qaradawi's security.

But you probably haven't heard that, because it was not widely reported, except by AFP, Egypt protest hero Wael Ghonim barred from stage (h/t Israel Matzav):

    Google executive Wael Ghonim, who emerged as a leading voice in Egypt's uprising, was barred from the stage in Tahrir Square on Friday by security guards, an AFP photographer said. Ghonim tried to take the stage in Tahrir, the epicentre of anti-regime protests that toppled President Hosni Mubarak, b ut men who appeared to be guarding influential Muslim cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi barred him from doing so.

    Ghonim, who was angered by the episode, then left the square with his face hidden by an Egyptian flag.

This is the problem with those, like Roger Cohen in The New York Times, who glorify the "Arab Street."  Ghonim was not the face of the "Arab Street," he merely was a face to which western media could relate.

Will the western media be as vigorous in exposing what is going on now in Egypt as it was in exposing the wrongs of Mubarek?  I think not, because the truth -- that the western media acted as willing dupes once again -- hits too close to home.

As for Ghonim, expect him to follow the path of the intelligentsia wherever Islamist forces have taken control.  He'll move to the United States, where he will sit down for another 60 Minutes interview lamenting what has become of his beloved Egypt.
9824  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Libya on the brink on: February 20, 2011, 07:13:09 PM
**Good thing Pres. Bush (W) ended the Libyan nuke program, eh?

9825  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-China on: February 20, 2011, 07:09:17 PM
So, depending on what happens with the so-called "Jasmine Movement" in China, REE might get very expensive.

I don't expect the movement to do much but increase China's prison camp population/supply of organs for sale.
9826  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tea Party, Glen Beck and related matters on: February 20, 2011, 07:06:58 PM
Just be advised that my viewing of GB tends to be spotty. Sometimes I catch it, sometimes not.
9827  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Last GB show I saw..... on: February 20, 2011, 03:21:03 PM
The main topic was the creepy parallels between the bible's description of the anti-christ and the muslim description of their mahdi. More of what have some have called a mormon version of the "700 Club" rather than hard news, IMHO.
9828  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Last GB show I saw..... on: February 20, 2011, 03:13:46 PM
The main topic was the creepy parallels between the bible's description of the anti-christ and the muslim description of their mahdi. More of what have some have called a mormon version of the "700 Club" rather than hard news, IMHO.
9829  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: What are some indications your finger is broken? on: February 20, 2011, 03:08:23 PM
If you have to ask if it's broken......
9830  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Stock Market on: February 20, 2011, 01:25:08 PM
Good point.
9831  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / China gets ready to stomp on: February 20, 2011, 11:19:45 AM
China tries to stamp out 'Jasmine Revolution'

(AP) – 5 hours ago

BEIJING (AP) — Jittery Chinese authorities wary of any domestic dissent staged a concerted show of force Sunday to squelch a mysterious online call for a "Jasmine Revolution" apparently modeled after pro-democracy demonstrations sweeping the Middle East.

Authorities detained activists, increased the number of police on the streets, disconnected some mobile phone text messaging services and censored Internet postings about the call to stage protests at 2 p.m. in Beijing, Shanghai and 11 other major cities.

The campaign did not gain much traction among ordinary citizens and the chances of overthrowing the Communist government are slim, considering Beijing's tight controls over the media and Internet. A student-led, pro-democracy movement in 1989 was crushed by the military and hundreds, perhaps thousands, were killed.

On Sunday, police took at least three people away in Beijing, one of whom tried to lay down white jasmine flowers while hundreds of people milled about the protest gathering spot, outside a McDonald's on the capital's busiest shopping street. In Shanghai, police led away three people near the planned protest spot after they scuffled in an apparent bid to grab the attention of passers-by.

Many activists said they didn't know who was behind the campaign and weren't sure what to make of the call to protest, which first circulated Saturday on the U.S.-based, Chinese-language news website

The unsigned notice called for a "Jasmine revolution" — the name given to the Tunisian protest movement — and urged people "to take responsibility for the future." Participants were urged to shout, "We want food, we want work, we want housing, we want fairness" — a slogan that highlights common complaints among Chinese.
9832  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Collapse on: February 20, 2011, 10:59:27 AM

There has to be a pony in here somewhere.....
9833  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Blood pressure alert on: February 20, 2011, 10:30:55 AM

Hero's unwelcome
Wounded Iraq vet jeered at Columbia


Last Updated: 9:06 AM, February 20, 2011

Posted: 12:10 AM, February 20, 2011

Columbia University students heckled a war hero during a town-hall meeting on whether ROTC should be allowed back on campus.

"Racist!" some students yelled at Anthony Maschek, a Columbia freshman and former Army staff sergeant awarded the Purple Heart after being shot 11 times in a firefight in northern Iraq in February 2008. Others hissed and booed the veteran.

Maschek, 28, had bravely stepped up to the mike Tuesday at the meeting to issue an impassioned challenge to fellow students on their perceptions of the military.

"It doesn't matter how you feel about the war. It doesn't matter how you feel about fighting," said Maschek. "There are bad men out there plotting to kill you."
CLASH: Veteran Anthony Maschek (above, with fiancée Angela O'Neill) faced heckling from fellow Columbia students over ROTC (below).
Matthew McDermott
CLASH: Veteran Anthony Maschek (above, with fiancée Angela O'Neill) faced heckling from fellow Columbia students over ROTC (below).

Several students laughed and jeered the Idaho native, a 10th Mountain Division infantryman who spent two years at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington recovering from grievous wounds.

Maschek, who is studying economics, miraculously survived the insurgent attack in Kirkuk. In the hail of gunfire, he broke both legs and suffered wounds to his abdomen, arm and chest.

He enrolled last August at the Ivy League school, where an increasingly ugly battle is unfolding over the 42-year military ban there.

Read more:
9834  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: February 19, 2011, 04:39:29 PM
Quote from: G M on June 06, 2008, 01:59:30 PM
A headline from the future with President Obama: "The Sunni-Shia Nuclear Arms Race Escalates".

I wonder how much gas will be then....
9835  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The Emasculation of Men In Contempory Society on: February 19, 2011, 04:24:07 PM

A reminder of what being a man used to be. If you haven't seen it, go out and get it.
9836  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: February 19, 2011, 04:07:48 PM
The original post from June 6, 2008 was in this thread.
9837  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / It's now the jihadist's turn.... on: February 19, 2011, 02:16:14 PM
....To be loved by the left.

Stalin's songbird

The New Yorker didn't quite find room to detail Seeger's long habit of following the Stalinist line.

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The New Yorker has another of its affectionate profiles of old Stalinists, this time the folk singer Pete Seeger. A regular old American, they say, a guy who would stand by the side of the road at 85 holding up a sign reading simply "Peace." A "conservative" really, who "believes ardently in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights". And over the years he sang for peace, and for civil rights, and for the workers. And he built his own house on a hilltop. What's not to like?

Oh, sure, they mention in parentheses that he "knew students at Harvard who were Communists and, with the idea in mind of a more equitable world, he eventually became one himself". Outside parentheses, writer Alec Wilkinson reassures us that Seeger did eventually quit the Party.

Somehow, though, they didn't quite find room to detail Seeger's long habit of following the Stalinist line. Take the best example, his twists and turns during the FDR administration. Seeger tells Wilkinson that when he was at Harvard during the late 1930s he was trying to "stop Hitler" and he became disgusted with a professor who counselled appeasement. Maybe so. But after the Hitler-Stalin pact, he and his group the Almanac Singers put out an album titled Songs of John Doe that called Franklin D Roosevelt a warmongering lackey of JP Morgan.

    Franklin D, listen to me,
    You ain't a-gonna send me 'cross the sea.
    You may say it's for defense
    That kinda talk ain't got no sense.

Then within months Hitler invaded the Soviet Union. The album was pulled from the market and reportedly destroyed. The Almanac Singers quickly produced a new album, Dear Mr President, that took a different view of FDR and the war:

    Now, Mr President
    You're commander-in-chief of our armed forces
    The ships and the planes and the tanks and the horses
    I guess you know best just where I can fight ...
    So what I want is you to give me a gun
    So we can hurry up and get the job done!

As the ex-communist scholar Ronald Radosh puts it, "Seeger was antiwar during the period of the Nazi-Soviet Pact; pro-war after the Soviet Union was the ally of the United States; and anti-war during the years of the Cold War and Vietnam".

Seeger is not the only aging Stalinist to get the misty-eyed treatment from elite journalists. It's a staple of the New York Times and other eastern establishment journals: features on communist summer camps or communist old folks' homes or communist schools in Greenwich Village ("the Little Red School House for little Reds"); profiles of aging but still feisty communist journalists; glowing obituaries of lifelong communists who "championed civil liberties".

And it's an appalling double standard. Imagine a morally neutral, affectionate profile of a nostalgic 80-year-old Nazi. It doesn't happen, it wouldn't happen. We're still making movies about the crimes of Nazism, a totalitarian regime that lasted 12 years, while you can count on the fingers of one hand the Hollywood movies about the bloody 70-year rule of the Communist Party. Alan Charles Kors, the editor of the Oxford Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment, wrote recently: "We rehearse the crimes of Nazism almost daily, we teach them to our children as ultimate historical and moral lessons, and we bear witness to every victim. We are, with so few exceptions, almost silent on the crimes of Communism."

To everything there is a season. We can only hope that soon it will be the season for holding accountable those who worked for Stalinist tyranny, as we have held accountable those who worked for National Socialist tyranny.
9838  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Headlines from the future..... on: February 19, 2011, 02:11:33 PM
A headline from the future with President Obama: "The Sunni-Shia Nuclear Arms Race Escalates".

I wonder how much gas will be then....

America is not short of allies in its quest to thwart Iran, though some are clearly more enthusiastic than the Obama administration for a definitive solution to Iran's nuclear designs. In one cable, a US diplomat noted how Saudi foreign affairs bureaucrats were moderate in their views on Iran, "but diverge significantly from the more bellicose advice we have gotten from senior Saudi royals".

In a conversation with a US diplomat, King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa of Bahrain "argued forcefully for taking action to terminate their [Iran's] nuclear programme, by whatever means necessary. That programme must be stopped. The danger of letting it go on is greater than the danger of stopping it." Zeid Rifai, then president of the Jordanian senate, told a senior US official: "Bomb Iran, or live with an Iranian bomb. Sanctions, carrots, incentives won't matter."

In talks with US officials, Abu Dhabi crown prince Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed favoured action against Iran, sooner rather than later. "I believe this guy is going to take us to war ... It's a matter of time. Personally, I cannot risk it with a guy like [President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad. He is young and aggressive."

In another exchange , a senior Saudi official warned that Gulf states may develop nuclear weapons of their own, or permit them to be based in their countries to deter the perceived Iranian threat.

No US ally is keener on military action than Israel, and officials there have repeatedly warned that time is running out. "If the Iranians continue to protect and harden their nuclear sites, it will be more difficult to target and damage them," the US embassy reported Israeli defence officials as saying in November 2009.

There are differing views within Israel. But the US embassy reported: "The IDF [Israeli Defence Force], however, strikes us as more inclined than ever to look toward a military strike, whether launched by Israel or by us, as the only way to destroy or even delay Iran's plans." Preparations for a strike would likely go undetected by Israel's allies or its enemies.

The Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, told US officials in May last yearthat he and the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, agreed that a nuclear Iran would lead others in the region to develop nuclear weapons, resulting in "the biggest threat to non-proliferation efforts since the Cuban missile crisis".

The cables also expose frank, even rude, remarks about Iranian leaders, their trustworthiness and tactics at international meetings. Abdullah told another US diplomat: "The bottom line is that they cannot be trusted." Mubarak told a US congressman: "Iran is always stirring trouble." Others are learning from what they describe as Iranian deception. "They lie to us, and we lie to them," said Qatar's prime minister, Hamad bin Jassim Jaber al-Thani.

WikiLeaks: tension in the Middle East and Asia has 'direct potential' to lead to nuclear war
Tension in the Middle East and Asia has given rise to an escalating atomic arms and missiles race which has “the direct potential to lead to nuclear war,” leaked diplomatic documents disclose.

If Iran becomes a nuclear weapons state, would U.S. offer deterrence for Middle East allies?

If Iran is successful in developing a nuclear weapons capability, would the United States be willing to extend its umbrella of nuclear deterrence to protect allies in the Middle East?

That is a question the United States needs to start evaluating, according to Franklin C. Miller, a principal with the Scowcroft Group and a former member of President George W. Bush's National Security Council and special assistant to the president.

"I certainly believe people need to be thinking about that," Miller said today during a speech on the second day of the Nuclear Deterrence Summit being held just outside Washington in Crystal City, Va. The summit is hosted by Nuclear Weapons & Materials Monitor, part of ExchangeMonitor Publications.

Even though official government policy at this time is to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons state, Miller said it's important to start looking at whether the U.S. would want to offer a nuclear shield to that region and, if so, what steps would be needed to accomplish it.

There is a long history of U.S. providing nuclear deterrence in Europe, where weapons are deployed in multiple countries, and Asia, where the United States considered the use of nuclear weapons during the Korean War. There is no history, however, of providing a nuclear umbrella in the Middle East.

Would Congress and the American people be willing to put the homeland at risk to protect a Middle Eastern state? And, if Iran does develop nuclear weaponry, would its neighbors in the region be sufficiently assured by the U.S. offer of deterrence that they would give up their own nuclear option?

Miller's presentation created a buzz at the summit, which has attracted some of the leading voices in the nuclear weapons community.

One audience member quizzed Miller about why he thought it was necessary to raise the specter of using nuclear weapons in the Middle East.

"If you're comfortable having four or five new nuclear states in the Middle East, then that's fine. I'm not comfortable with that," Miller said.

Another audience member asked whether he thought Israel, which has a well known but undeclared nuclear capability, would accept an offer of protection under the U.S. nuclear umbrella.

"No," Miller responded bluntly.
9839  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam the religion and theocratic politics on: February 19, 2011, 01:58:17 PM
The left loves totalitarians, no matter if it's Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot or the Muslim Brotherhood.

Funny how that works.
9840  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Unions on: February 19, 2011, 01:55:38 PM
They did. It's called the Tea Party.
9841  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Beheading in the Name of Islam on: February 19, 2011, 01:42:48 PM
Beheading in the Name of Islam

by Timothy R. Furnish
Middle East Quarterly
Spring 2005, pp. 51-57

Images of masked terrorists standing behind Western hostages in Iraq and Saudi Arabia have become all too common on Arabic satellite stations such as Al-Jazeera and Al-Manar. Islamist websites such as Muntadiyat al-Mahdi[1] go further, streaming video of their murder.

The February 2002 decapitation of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, true to its intention, horrified the Western audience. Chechen rebels, egged on by Islamist benefactors, had adopted the practice four years earlier,[2] but the absence of widely broadcast videos limited the psychological impact of hostage decapitation. The Pearl murder and video catalyzed the resurgence of this historical Islamic practice. In Iraq, terrorists filmed the beheadings of Americans Nicholas Berg, Jack Hensley, and Eugene Armstrong. Other victims include Turks, an Egyptian, a Korean, Bulgarians, a British businessman, and a Nepalese. Scores of Iraqis, both Kurds and Arabs, have also fallen victim to Islamist terrorists' knives. The new fad in terrorist brutality has extended to Saudi Arabia where Islamist terrorists murdered American businessman Paul Johnson, whose head was later discovered in a freezer in an Al-Qaeda hideout. A variation upon this theme would be the practice of Islamists slitting the throats of those opponents they label infidels. This is what happened to Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh, first gunned down and then mutilated on an Amsterdam street,[3] and to an Egyptian Coptic family in New Jersey after the father had angered Islamists with Internet chat room criticisms of Islam.[4]

The purpose of terrorism is to strike fear into the hearts of opponents in order to win political concession. As the shock value wears off and the Western world becomes immunized to any particular tactic, terrorists develop new ones in order to maximize shock and the press reaction upon which they thrive. In the 1970s and 1980s, terrorists hijacked airliners to win headlines. In the 1980s and 1990s, the car bomb became more popular; Palestinian terrorists perfected suicide bombings in the 1990s. But what once garnered days of commentary now generates only hours. Decapitation has become the latest fashion. In many ways, it sends terrorism back to the future. Unlike hijackings and car bombs, ritual beheading has a long precedent in Islamic theology and history.
Apologetics and Reality

Some American commentators say that Islamist decapitations are intended as psychological warfare and devoid of any true Islamic content. Imam Muhammad Adam al-Sheikh, head of the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, Virginia, for example, claimed incorrectly that "beheadings are not mentioned in the Koran at all."[5] Asma Afsaruddin, an associate professor of Arabic and Islamic studies at the University of Notre Dame, also misrepresented Islamic theology and history when she told a reporter, "There is absolutely no religious imperative for this."[6] The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) as well as the American Anti-Arab Discrimination Committee (ADC) have both signed on to a statement that such killings "did not represent the tenets of Islam."[7] Sam Hamod, former director of the Islamic Center in Washington, D.C., claimed that the Qur'anic passage on beheading unbelievers did not actually mean that people should be killed.[8] Such fulminations have had an effect: the Western news media has, perhaps as a result of political correctness or its own bias, twisted the reality of Islamic history and propagated such revisionism. With such apologetics, Western academics either display basic ignorance of their fields or purposely mislead. The intelligentsia's denial of any religious roots to the recent spate of decapitation has parallels in the logical back flips and kid-glove treatments in which many professors engaged in order to deny a religious basis for violent jihad.[9] Afsaruddin and Hamod aside, Islamists justify murder and decapitation with both theological citations and historical precedent.
Decapitation in Islamic Theology

Groups such as Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi's Al-Tawhid wa al-Jihad (Unity and Jihad) and Abu 'Abd Allah al-Hasan bin Mahmud's Ansar al-Sunna (Defenders of [Prophetic] Tradition)[10] justify the decapitation of prisoners with Qur'anic scripture. Sura (chapter) 47 contains the ayah (verse): "When you encounter the unbelievers on the battlefield, strike off their heads until you have crushed them completely; then bind the prisoners tightly."[11] The Qur'anic Arabic terms are generally straightforward: kafaru means "those who blaspheme/are irreligious," although Darb ar-riqab is less clear. Darb can mean "striking or hitting" while ar-riqab translates to "necks, slaves, persons." With little variation, scholars have translated the verse as, "When you meet the unbelievers, smite their necks."[12]

For centuries, leading Islamic scholars have interpreted this verse literally. The famous Iranian historian and Qur'an commentator Muhammad b. Jarir at-Tabari (d. 923 C.E.) wrote that "striking at the necks" is simply God's sanction of ferocious opposition to non-Muslims.[13] Mahmud b. Umar az-Zamakhshari (d. 1143 C.E.), in a major commentary studied for centuries by Sunni religious scholars, suggested that any prescription to "strike at the necks" commands to avoid striking elsewhere so as to confirm death and not simply wound.[14]

Many recent interpretations remain consistent with those of a millennium ago. In his Saudi-distributed translation of the Qur'an, 'Abdullah Yusuf 'Ali (d. 1953) wrote that the injunction to "smite at their necks," should be taken both literally and figuratively. "You cannot wage war with kid gloves," Yusuf 'Ali argued.[15] Muhammad Muhammad Khatib, in a modern Sunni commentary bearing the imprimatur of Al-Azhar university in Cairo, says that while traditionalist Muslims tend to see this passage as only applying to the Prophet's time, Shi'ites "think it is a universal precept."[16] Ironically, then in this view, Zarqawi has adopted the exegesis of his religious nemeses. Perhaps the most influential modern recapitulation of this passage was provided by the influential Pakistani scholar and leading Islamist thinker S. Abul A' la Mawdudi (d. 1979), who argued that the sura provided the first Qur'anic prescriptions on the laws of war. Mawdudi argued

    Under no circumstances should the Muslim lose sight of this aim and start taking the enemy soldiers as captives. Captives should be taken after the enemy has been completely crushed.[17]

Accordingly, for soldiers of Islam, victory should be the only consideration. Status of prisoners of war was open to interpretation. Mawdudi maintained that the verse did not clearly forbid execution of prisoners but that "the Holy Prophet understood this intention of Allah's command, and that if there was a special reason for which the ruler of an Islamic government regarded it as necessary to kill a particular prisoner (or prisoners), he could do so."[18] As do many Islamists, Mawdudi cited historical examples of the Prophet Muhammad ordering the execution of prisoners, such as some Meccans captured at the Battle of Badr in 624 C.E. and at least one Meccan seized at the Battle of Uhud in the following year. While such examples do not directly address decapitation, they do allow for murder of prisoners-of-war. Mawdudi's interpretation, though, does not sanction the execution of hostages. Only the government, and not individual Muslim soldiers, could determine the fate of captives.[19]

Another, albeit less-frequently, cited Qur'anic passage also sanctions beheadings of non-Muslims. Sura 8:12 reads: "I will cast dread into the hearts of the unbelievers. Strike off their heads, then, and strike off all of their fingertips." In the original text, the relevant phrase is adrabu fawq al-'anaq, "strike over their necks." This verse is, then, a corollary to Sura 47:3. Yusuf 'Ali is one of the few modern commentators who addresses this passage, interpreting it as utilitarian: the neck is among the only areas not protected by armor, and mutilating an opponent's hands prevents him from again wielding his sword or spear.[20] The point of this opening phrase—to "cast dread" or, as some translations have it, "instill terror"—has now been adopted by Islamist terrorists to justify decapitation of hostages.
Decapitation in Islamic History

While some Islamists might justify murder of prisoners on Qur'anic prescription, others reinforce their conclusions by drawing analogies to events during the almost 1,400 years of Islamic history. Here beheading of captives is a recurring theme. Both Islamic regimes and their opposition have utilized beheadings as both military and judicial policy.

The practice of beheading non-Muslim captives extends back to the Prophet himself. Ibn Ishaq (d. 768 C.E.), the earliest biographer of Muhammad, is recorded as saying that the Prophet ordered the execution by decapitation of 700 men of the Jewish Banu Qurayza tribe in Medina for allegedly plotting against him.[21] Islamic leaders from Muhammad's time until today have followed his model. Examples of decapitation, of both the living and the dead, in Islamic history are myriad. Yusuf b. Tashfin (d. 1106) led the Al-Murabit (Almoravid) Empire to conquer from western Sahara to central Spain. After the battle of Zallaqa in 1086, he had 24,000 corpses of the defeated Castilians beheaded "and piled them up to make a sort of minaret for the muezzins who, standing on the piles of headless cadavers, sang the praises of Allah."[22] He then had the detached heads sent to all the major cities of North Africa and Spain as an example of Christian impotence. The Al-Murabits were conquered the following century by the Al-Muwahhids (Almohads), under whose rule Castilian Christian enemies were beheaded after any lost battles.

The Ottoman Empire was the decapitation state par excellence. Upon the Ottoman victory over Christian Serbs at the battle of Kosovo in 1389, the Muslim army beheaded the Serbian king and scores of Christian prisoners. At the battle of Varna in 1444, the Ottomans beheaded King Ladislaus of Hungary and "put his head at the tip of a long pike … and brandished it toward the Poles and Hungarians." Upon the fall of Constantinople, the Ottomans sent the head of the dead Byzantine emperor on tour to major cities in the sultan's domains. The Ottomans even beheaded at least one Eastern Orthodox patriarch. In 1456, the sultan allowed the grand mufti of the empire to personally decapitate King Stephen of Bosnia and his sons—even though they had surrendered and, seven decades later, the sultan ordered 2,000 Hungarian prisoners beheaded. In the early nineteenth century, even the British fell victim to the Ottoman scimitar. An 1807 British expedition to Egypt resulted in "a few hundred spiked British heads left rotting in the sun outside Rosetta."[23]

9842  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Look for the union label on: February 19, 2011, 01:33:19 PM

Time to unionize the non-union picketers.
9843  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy & Big Brother (both State and Corporate) on: February 19, 2011, 01:00:46 PM
9844  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Officer dies saving child on: February 19, 2011, 12:46:24 PM

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y.—A police officer died hours after being shot in the head Friday during an exchange of gunfire that killed a man who fatally shot a woman near a train station, authorities said.

Poughkeepsie Police Chief Ron Knapp released a statement saying the 44-year-old officer died at about 9:05 p.m.

The name of the officer, an 18-year veteran, was withheld out of respect for the family and pending notification of his relatives.

The gunman shot a woman to death in a car hours earlier, then was himself fatally shot minutes later in the struggle with police, including an officer who had taken a 3-year-old from the man and handed the child to a bystander, police said.

Knapp said it appeared the gunman shot the officer, but it wasn't immediately clear whether he was then killed by police gunfire or if he shot himself. Police didn't say whether the wounded officer was the one who'd taken the child from the man.

Knapp said he believes the man and woman who were killed were husband and wife and weren't from Poughkeepsie, a city of about 30,000 people about 70 miles south of Albany in New York's Hudson Valley. Their names have not been released.

A second officer suffered minor injuries and a half dozen others were involved, Knapp said.

Officers responded to a report of gunfire at about 1 p.m. and one saw the man leaving the scene with a child in his arms and thought the man had been involved.

When the officer tried to confront him, the man ran away, Knapp said. The officer caught the man, took the child from him and handed the toddler to a bystander. It was during that second confrontation that the 44-year-old officer was shot.
9845  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam the religion and theocratic politics on: February 19, 2011, 12:08:15 PM
Muslims beheaded someone?

9846  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Race to Jerusalem on: February 19, 2011, 10:59:14 AM

The Race to Jerusalem
posted at 7:55 pm on February 18, 2011 by J.E. Dyer

This one, I didn’t want to be right about. It was clear as far back as early 2009, but I’ve never advanced any analysis I hoped so much would be wrong. And if there’s one thing I was wrong about, it was how quickly events would accelerate once the starting gun had been fired. I thought it would take longer – that there would be a longer interim in which the activity of various participants was ambiguous.

The starting gun has been fired in what I call the “race to Jerusalem.” Arguably, it was fired last fall when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited southern Lebanon as the honored guest of Hezbollah. The race started a new phase when Hezbollah unseated the Hariri unity government of Lebanon on 12 January – and then succeeded in facing down Saudi and Turkish negotiators to select its own approved candidate to head the new government.

But a week later the race transitioned again, as Tunisians toppled the Ben Ali government and unrest spread across the Middle East. The region went from one government crisis – in Lebanon – to more than half a dozen in the space of three weeks.

Now Iran has pressed the issue of an unprecedented naval deployment to the Mediterranean Sea, with the latest report today being that Egypt will permit the Iranian warships to transit the Suez Canal.  At the UN, meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority has resisted all US efforts at compromise and forced America to veto a resolution declaring the settlements in Judea and Samaria illegal.

Developments of this kind were predicted nearly two years ago, by – full disclosure – me. There are three major influences at work in the current unrest in the Middle East.  One is the genuine desire of many citizens for liberalization and reform.  We must not forget that influence; it requires protection and support – it cannot survive on its own – but it is a positive and welcome factor.

The second influence is the generic drive of various Islamist groups for the imposition of sharia.  The possibility of these groups gaining state power – the Muslim Brotherhood, its offshoots, or similar groups – makes for very high stakes in the national crises of the Arab nations.  Even assuming the Islamists gain power on the Hezbollah model, as part of coalition governments, they are still on the threshold of transforming Islamism from being principally about guerrilla jihad to being principally about national power.

The prospect before us is a new phase of what we may call, for lack of a better term, “caliphate Islamism,” as opposed to the more familiar Islamism of guerrilla jihad.  The auguries of this have been seen already in Tunisia, where the twin flags of the “Islamic caliphate” – the white al-liwaa of the putative head of state and the black ar-raya of jihad – have been observed in abundance in street demonstrations. Indeed, a crowd chanting anti-Jewish slogans outside the great synagogue in Tunis (see here and here) was waving dozens of these flags, referred to by Islamists as the flags of khilafah, or the caliph/caliphate.

This brings us to the third influence: the race to Jerusalem. The aspirants to Islamist leadership have maneuvered for years, in a desultory manner, to back (and ultimately lead) the factions that would succeed in occupying Jerusalem.  The principal state aspirants since 1979 have been revolutionary Iran and Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey under Recep Tayyip Erdogan; the turmoil in the Arab world in 2011 suggests there will be a scramble to reestablish Arab leadership in the coming days.

My argument in 2009 was that withdrawing US support to Israel’s requirement for territorial defensibility would unleash the accelerating maneuvers we are seeing today.  Barack Obama has, in effect, done precisely that with his dismissal of the national security interest Israel has in the settlements issue.  It was foreseeable that Obama’s policies would do what they have done: give the Middle East a green light for a competitive race to Jerusalem.

Here are links to the 4-part series from June 2009.

The Next Phase of World War IV?

The Next Phase of World War IV – Part 2

The Next Phase of World War IV – Part 3

The Next Phase of World War IV – Part 4

J.E. Dyer blogs at The Green Room, Commentary’s “contentions” and as The Optimistic Conservative.  She writes a weekly column for Patheos.
9847  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / And he went to work for First Trust.... on: February 18, 2011, 09:21:07 PM
Worried that their son was too optimistic, the parents of a little boy took him to a psychiatrist. Trying to dampen the boy’s spirits, the psychiatrist showed him into a room piled high with nothing but horse manure. Yet instead of displaying distaste, the little boy clambered to the top of the pile, dropped to all fours, and began digging.

“What do you think you’re doing?” the psychiatrist asked.

“With all this manure,” the little boy replied, beaming, “there must be a pony in here somewhere.”
9848  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Anti-semitism & Jews on: February 18, 2011, 02:22:34 PM
There is an awful lot of smoke there, suggesting a fire.
9849  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Unions on: February 18, 2011, 01:41:07 PM
Young Mr. Maddow is correct, this is an existential threat to the dems, as the average voter sees what the real face of the left is.

"All your money are belong to us"-Unions
9850  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs & regulations, spending, budget process on: February 18, 2011, 01:37:47 PM
The bloated entitlement nightmare is the 3rd. rail.
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