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1151  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: June 28, 2012, 11:40:59 AM
In case you are interested, here is the decision. Only 193 pages: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/11-393c3a2.pdf.

The syllabus, pages 1-6, has the "Cliffs Notes" version of the holding.

1152  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Louis CK on: June 27, 2012, 01:17:53 PM
This is fan-damn-tastic:

1153  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / much more on Fast and Furious on: June 27, 2012, 12:25:08 PM












much more on Fast and Furious

« Reply #784 on: Today at 08:07:26 AM »




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

http://features.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2012/06/27/fast-and-furious-truth/?hpt=hp_t2

In the annals of impossible assignments, Dave Voth's ranked high. In 2009 the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives promoted Voth to lead Phoenix Group VII, one of seven new ATF groups along the Southwest border tasked with stopping guns from being trafficked into Mexico's vicious drug war.
 
Some call it the "parade of ants"; others the "river of iron." The Mexican government has estimated that 2,000 weapons are smuggled daily from the U.S. into Mexico. The ATF is hobbled in its effort to stop this flow. No federal statute outlaws firearms trafficking, so agents must build cases using a patchwork of often toothless laws. For six years, due to Beltway politics, the bureau has gone without permanent leadership, neutered in its fight for funding and authority. The National Rifle Association has so successfully opposed a comprehensive electronic database of gun sales that the ATF's congressional appropriation explicitly prohibits establishing one.


http://nationaljournal.com/congress-legacy/first-democratic-lawmaker-says-holder-should-be-held-in-contempt-20120627

The first Democratic member of Congress has said that he will vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for withholding documents related to the “Fast and Furious” investigation that has plagued the Justice Department, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.
 
Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, joined House Republicans on Tuesday with his announcement. Most Democratic members are expected to support Holder.

http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/26/hoyer-challenges-issa-to-show-e-mails/?smid=fb-share

With the House just days away from a vote on holding Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in contempt, Representative Darrell Issa, Republican of California, appeared on national television on Sunday to say he had e-mails showing that the architects of a federal gun-smuggling investigation intended to use the operation to build a case for reinstating the lapsed ban on assault-weapons sales.
 
“We have e-mail from people involved in this that are talking about using what they’re finding here to support the — basically assault weapons ban or greater reporting,” Mr. Issa, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said on ABC’s “This Week.”
 
On Tuesday, Representative Steny H. Hoyer, Democrat of Maryland and the House minority whip, challenged Mr. Issa to prove it.

 
1154  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: June 27, 2012, 12:22:36 PM
BD:

We're looking here at a somewhat tricky question of thread coherency.  Lets use this thread for the Executive Privilege claim, and the rest of it goes in the Gun Rights thread.  Yes?



Yes, sir. Sorry. While I attempt thread coherency, sometimes the issues are very complex. I'll delete and shift.
1155  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / much more on Fast and Furious on: June 27, 2012, 10:07:26 AM
http://features.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2012/06/27/fast-and-furious-truth/?hpt=hp_t2

In the annals of impossible assignments, Dave Voth's ranked high. In 2009 the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives promoted Voth to lead Phoenix Group VII, one of seven new ATF groups along the Southwest border tasked with stopping guns from being trafficked into Mexico's vicious drug war.
 
Some call it the "parade of ants"; others the "river of iron." The Mexican government has estimated that 2,000 weapons are smuggled daily from the U.S. into Mexico. The ATF is hobbled in its effort to stop this flow. No federal statute outlaws firearms trafficking, so agents must build cases using a patchwork of often toothless laws. For six years, due to Beltway politics, the bureau has gone without permanent leadership, neutered in its fight for funding and authority. The National Rifle Association has so successfully opposed a comprehensive electronic database of gun sales that the ATF's congressional appropriation explicitly prohibits establishing one.


http://nationaljournal.com/congress-legacy/first-democratic-lawmaker-says-holder-should-be-held-in-contempt-20120627

The first Democratic member of Congress has said that he will vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for withholding documents related to the “Fast and Furious” investigation that has plagued the Justice Department, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.
 
Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, joined House Republicans on Tuesday with his announcement. Most Democratic members are expected to support Holder.

http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/26/hoyer-challenges-issa-to-show-e-mails/?smid=fb-share

With the House just days away from a vote on holding Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in contempt, Representative Darrell Issa, Republican of California, appeared on national television on Sunday to say he had e-mails showing that the architects of a federal gun-smuggling investigation intended to use the operation to build a case for reinstating the lapsed ban on assault-weapons sales.
 
“We have e-mail from people involved in this that are talking about using what they’re finding here to support the — basically assault weapons ban or greater reporting,” Mr. Issa, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said on ABC’s “This Week.”
 
On Tuesday, Representative Steny H. Hoyer, Democrat of Maryland and the House minority whip, challenged Mr. Issa to prove it.
1156  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / For Romney Superfan, a New Truck Courtesy of the Candidate on: June 27, 2012, 09:14:03 AM
http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/27/for-romney-superfan-a-new-truck-courtesy-of-the-candidate/?smid=fb-share

Mighty nice of the Romney campaign.
1157  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Or a dead heat? on: June 27, 2012, 09:12:22 AM
http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/26/latest-poll-shows-dead-heat/?smid=fb-share
1158  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama Besting Romney In Swing States: Quinnipiac Poll on: June 27, 2012, 09:10:59 AM
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/27/obama-romney-polls_n_1630085.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009&utm_hp_ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false
1159  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama and Convention No-Shows: Divorce or Amicable Separation? on: June 26, 2012, 09:56:44 PM
http://nationaljournal.com/politics/obama-and-convention-no-shows-divorce-or-amicable-separation--20120626

If historical precedent is a guide, President Obama should be worried about the recent spate of Democrats who have declared that they won’t attend their own party’s national convention. But the lawmakers’ decision to stay home doesn’t have other Democrats reaching for the panic button yet.

Such defections amounted to an early alarm bell as recently as 2008, when a deluge of Republicans steered clear of the Republican National Convention lest they be associated with a then-deeply unpopular GOP. Three months later, a Democratic wave swept the White House and congressional elections
1160  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: June 26, 2012, 09:22:14 PM
Yes. But, how that would play out is anyone's guess. Politics are a bitch sometimes.
1161  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Race, religion, ethnic origin, LGBT, & "discrimination" on: June 26, 2012, 04:41:28 PM
I don't mean to intrude, but I must confess to not seeing the logic of blaming Title IX on this. There are many local land grant colleges with many sports which feature male athletes from other states. Is Title IX to blame for Big 12 and Big Ten recruiting football players in the South? And, colleges and universities have been recruiting international talent for years. Of course, many of those were for academic

Intrusions always welcome!

Schorlarships in men's revenue sports are not caused by Title IX, they are limited by it. The local policy choice may have the same effect, but I don't see the parallel to Title IX.



Thanks... I like your spirit, DMG. What you say about scholarships in men's sports is only sort of true. For example, the NCAA limited the number of scholarships for football not because of Title IX, but because of programs like Oklahoma having something like 90 scholarship athletes and winning 50 games in a row. It is true that sports such as wrestling (a sport I love, by the way) have cut scholarships, or even the program all together. However, it is also true that many of the non-revenue women's sports (which, as JDN correctly points out is pretty much all of them), there would be no scholarships for the women to play them, no matter where they are from.


1162  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: June 26, 2012, 02:54:22 PM
A USSC Justice could be a recess appointment?!?!?!?  shocked shocked shocked



Presidents since George Washington have made recess appointments. Washington appointed South Carolina judge John Rutledge as Chief Justice of the United States during a congressional recess in 1795. Because of Rutledge's political views and occasional mental illness, however, the Senate rejected his nomination, and Rutledge subsequently attempted suicide and then resigned.
 
New Jersey judge William J. Brennan was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956 through a recess appointment. This was done in part with an eye on the presidential campaign that year; Eisenhower was running for reelection, and his advisors thought it would be politically advantageous to place a northeastern Catholic on the court. Brennan was promptly confirmed when the Senate came back into session. President Eisenhower, in a recess appointment, designated Charles W. Yost as United States ambassador to Syria.[6] Eisenhower made two other recess appointments, Chief Justice Earl Warren and Potter Stewart.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recess_appointment
1163  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Race, religion, ethnic origin, LGBT, & "discrimination" on: June 26, 2012, 01:18:19 PM
I don't mean to intrude, but I must confess to not seeing the logic of blaming Title IX on this. There are many local land grant colleges with many sports which feature male athletes from other states. Is Title IX to blame for Big 12 and Big Ten recruiting football players in the South? And, colleges and universities have been recruiting international talent for years. Of course, many of those were for academic scholarships....
1164  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: June 26, 2012, 12:37:57 PM
Did you see the way recess appointments have been used? USSC justices can be appointed in such a manner. A "real" appointment would likely take more time than 2 months, but if it looked dire in September, say, there might be a "surprise" retirement.
1165  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Thirty-one GOP senators call for special counsel to investigate security leaks on: June 26, 2012, 12:25:01 PM
http://thehill.com/blogs/defcon-hill/policy-and-strategy/234761-thirty-one-gop-senators-call-for-special-counsel-to-investigate-security-leaks
1166  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: June 26, 2012, 10:01:55 AM
Oh, sorry. He retired at the height of GHW Bush's popularity, when it seemed that he would be reelected with no problem. Then, well, he didn't. But, this allowed C. Thomas to sit on the Court. 

So, no matter how bad it looks for Obama at the moment, there is at least a 50/50 chance of reelection. I doubt the any of the Supremes would retire this far out from an entirely winnable election.
1167  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: June 26, 2012, 09:28:28 AM
So, if there is a resignation, BO will get to appoint another Justice? shocked shocked shocked

Likely. I also disagree with Doug that there will be retirements. I thought that it would happen last year, but they all seem so ensconsced on the Court now I would be somewhat surprised to see a retirement. I think the lesson of Thurgood Marshall's retirement would also ring too true for the libs to retire. 
1168  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / computers can learn: Google labs! on: June 26, 2012, 06:22:54 AM
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/26/technology/in-a-big-network-of-computers-evidence-of-machine-learning.html?_r=1&hp


Presented with 10 million digital images found in YouTube videos, what did Google’s brain do? What millions of humans do with YouTube: looked for cats.

The neural network taught itself to recognize cats, which is actually no frivolous activity. This week the researchers will present the results of their work at a conference in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Google scientists and programmers will note that while it is hardly news that the Internet is full of cat videos, the simulation nevertheless surprised them. It performed far better than any previous effort by roughly doubling its accuracy in recognizing objects in a challenging list of 20,000 distinct items.
1169  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: June 26, 2012, 06:21:10 AM
Thank you.

Please refresh my memory on cluture too. 

I should also add that the Judiciary committee hears the testimony first, and like in a piece of legislation, will vote to move the nomination vote to the Senate floor. The Judiciary committee never has voted to not move it to the floor (if that makes sense; though the C. Thomas nomination almost failed in committee), but in theory it IS possible.

Cloture requires 60 votes.

I think Doug is right when he says "R's could stop only on cloture. A tough precedent to set just before switching to the majority." when discussing a SC confirmation battle. The GOP might loathe a potential nominee, but it would be awefully tough to live this down, and to live with it when they take the Senate.   OTOH, I think he is participating in some wishful thinking when he states that there will be "16 years of the Romney Rubio surge to limited govt greatness."
1170  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: June 25, 2012, 06:23:34 PM
I forget  embarassed  How many votes in the Senate are required to confirm a nomination to SCOTUS?

Simple majority.
1171  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Oops, Richard Mourdock’s Multiple Choice SCOTUS Response on: June 22, 2012, 08:02:02 AM
http://atr.rollcall.com/indiana-ooops-mourdocks-multiple-choice-scotus-response/

At least one candidate is prepared for however the Supreme Court rules next week on the health care overhaul law — although Indiana’s GOP Senate nominee, Richard Mourdock, probably didn’t want the world to know it.
 
Mourdock’s campaign uploaded four videos to respond to the high court’s imminent decision — and each one has a different answer depending on the ruling.
1172  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Romney’s Bain Capital invested in companies that moved jobs overseas on: June 22, 2012, 07:59:34 AM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/romneys-bain-capital-invested-in-companies-that-moved-jobs-overseas/2012/06/21/gJQAsD9ptV_story.html

Mitt Romney’s financial company, Bain Capital, invested in a series of firms that specialized in relocating jobs done by American workers to new facilities in low-wage countries like China and India.

During the nearly 15 years that Romney was actively involved in running Bain, a private equity firm that he founded, it owned companies that were pioneers in the practice of shipping work from the United States to overseas call centers and factories making computer components, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
1173  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hispanic population soars in presidential swing states on: June 22, 2012, 07:57:56 AM
http://thehill.com/homenews/news/234231-hispanic-population-soars-in-presidential-swing-states

Hispanic populations are soaring in toss-up states that will decide the presidential election.
 
Changing demographics in states not usually associated with Hispanic voters has changed the traditional political calculus heading into Election Day. 
1174  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama looks to capitalize on shift in presidential race’s momentum on: June 22, 2012, 07:53:47 AM
http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/234227-obama-looks-to-capitalize-on-shift-in-presidential-races-momentum

President Obama will look to cap a week in which momentum in the presidential race appeared to shift in his favor with a Thursday address to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials in Florida.

 Obama will speak to the group one week after his surprising decision to halt deportations of illegal immigrants brought to the nation as children, a move that caught opponent Mitt Romney flat-footed, forcing him to play defense all week on the issue.
 
1175  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: June 22, 2012, 07:52:07 AM
I spend a fair amount of time discussing the rise of presidential power, and lamenting it (see several posts on the Public Forum).  I do the same here.  I agree with Doug (and Crafty) that this use of EP is, again, expanding the powers of the president... largely just to expand them.  I hope that Obama reconsiders.  And I hope that Congress will assert itself here, and elsewhere.

Worth noting it that, arguably, the SCOTUS has been less deferential to presidents in recent years in areas of EP and the like.  It would be interesting to see if the case goes to Court. 
1176  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / executive privilege/Fast and Furious on: June 21, 2012, 09:55:27 PM
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said today there was no cover-up by the White House in the “Fast and Furious” gun-walking investigation, saying President Barack Obama’s decision to invoke executive privilege to block Congressional access to documents was “entirely about principle.”

http://www.rollcall.com/news/no_fast_and_furious_cover_up_jay_carney_asserts-215580-1.html?ET=rollcall:e13440:80133681a:&st=email&pos=epm

_________________________________________________________________
There is something charmingly futile about House Republicans’ move to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress.

Even if the full House follows the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s vote Wednesday to hold him in contempt, the decision about whether to prosecute him will be left to a Justice Department run by . . . Eric Holder.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/in-congress-blowing-gunsmoke/2012/06/20/gJQA4eULrV_story.html (this is an especially interesting article with details I hadn't heard)

_________________________________________________________________

Two good articles on executive privilege: history, scope, sources, etc. The first is a short newspaper article, the second FAR longer and more detailed.

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2012/06/21/what_is_executive_privilege/

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/secrecy/RL30319.pdf
1177  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: June 21, 2012, 07:25:23 AM
And Clinton did it 14 times.  It shouldn't be the number of times executive privilege is used (the fact that EP exists and should exist is not controversial), it should be the scope of the invocation. 

An article about the political use/fallout of FF and the executive privilege claim: http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/233995-obama-fits-fight-to-his-november-election-narrative
1178  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Fast and Furious: Contempt charge and executive privilege on: June 20, 2012, 05:59:32 PM
Please note that I am not asserting that the president is involved or not.  My "no" was answering the question about executive privilege based solely on presidential involvement (please see the link I provided above for more details).

For more on the contempt charge and exec privilege claim:
http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/233627-issa-says-hes-disappointed-plans-to-move-forward-with-contempt-vote

http://www.rollcall.com/news/barack_obama_asserts_executive_privilege_on_fast_and_furious_documents-215528-1.html?ET=rollcall:e13421:80133681a:&st=email&pos=epm
1179  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Contempt of Congress (Issa vs. Holder) on: June 20, 2012, 01:08:19 PM
Lets use this thread for any discussion of the Contempt Citation issues with regard to Rep. Issa's committee and AG Holder. 

Big development this morning with the last minute assertion of Executive Privilege!  Why wasn't this brought up previously?  Doesn't this require an asssertion that the President was involved?

No.  Recall, for example, VP Cheney's contention that his energy task force meeting records were subject to executive privilege.  More on executive privilege: http://www.theblaze.com/blog/2012/06/20/what-is-executive-privilege-and-what-does-it-mean-for-ff-investigation/
1180  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Liberal 9th at it again on: June 20, 2012, 06:20:48 AM
http://m.reason.com/26821/show/288f810f6e1a36127afcbb16c362fa43/
1181  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: June 20, 2012, 06:19:49 AM
Understood.  If you happen to remember, please remind of this when I get back.

http://www.jnslp.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Virtual-Checkpoints-and-Cyber-Terry-Stops.pdf
1182  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Older Warrior on: June 14, 2012, 03:42:59 PM
"Don't reach, youngblood.  Don't reach." evil 
1183  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Declassification on: June 13, 2012, 11:35:11 AM
FWIW, here is the EO that describes, among other things, how material is declassified:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/executive-order-classified-national-security-information
1184  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Robber gets spanked on: June 11, 2012, 10:28:37 PM
http://www.metacafe.com/watch/8642504/robber_gets_spanked/
1185  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: History on: June 10, 2012, 01:58:36 PM
Good stuff, Guro.

http://www.churchillmemorial.org/Pages/default.aspx

Here is the link to the National Churchill Museum, in case you are interested. 
1186  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: June 08, 2012, 11:49:04 AM
Making it only 5 times more popular than Congress. 
1187  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / State Should Enhance Its Performance Measures for Assessing Efforts in Pakistan on: June 07, 2012, 12:02:36 PM
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-614

Highlights below, but the full 27 page report is downloadble from the site provided above.

What GAO Found
Multiple U.S. agencies and international partners are engaged in efforts to assist Pakistan in countering improvised explosive devices (IEDs) but face a variety of ongoing challenges. The agencies providing counter-IED assistance to Pakistan are primarily the Departments of State (State), Defense (DOD), Homeland Security (DHS), and Justice (DOJ). The following table identifies the types of assistance these U.S. agencies have provided and the corresponding objectives of Pakistan’s National Counter-IED Strategy. According to U.S. officials, U.S. agencies have encountered ongoing challenges to their efforts to assist Pakistan, such as delays in obtaining visas and in the delivery of equipment. U.S. officials have also identified broader challenges to Pakistan’s ability to counter IEDs, including the extreme difficulty of interdicting smugglers along its porous border with Afghanistan. In addition, though Pakistan developed a National Counter-IED Strategy in June 2011, it has yet to finalize an implementation plan for carrying out the strategy.

The U.S. fiscal year 2013 Mission Strategic and Resource Plan (MSRP) for Pakistan includes a new performance indicator to track some of Pakistan’s efforts to counter IEDs, but the indicator and targets used to measure progress do not cover the full range of U.S. assisted efforts. The performance indicator focuses on cross-border activities, specifically on Pakistan’s efforts to prevent illicit commerce in sensitive materials, including chemical precursors used to manufacture IEDs in Afghanistan. As such, progress of U.S. counter-IED assistance efforts not specifically linked to cross-border smuggling are not covered, such as counter-IED training and/or equipment, a counter-IED public awareness campaign, and legal assistance for laws and regulations to counter-IEDs and IED precursors. Consequently, effects of key U.S. assisted counter-IED efforts are not tracked under the existing performance indicator and related targets. The absence of comprehensive performance measures that reflect the broad range of U.S. assisted counter-IED efforts limits State’s ability to track overall progress in Pakistan to counter IEDs and to determine the extent to which these counter-IED efforts are helping to achieve the U.S. goals.

Why GAO Did This Study
Improvised explosive devices have been a significant cause of fatalities among U.S. troops in Afghanistan. About 80 percent of the IEDs contain homemade explosives, primarily calcium ammonium nitrate (CAN) fertilizer smuggled from Pakistan. U.S. officials recognize the threat posed by the smuggling of CAN and other IED precursors from Pakistan into Afghanistan, and State and other agencies are assisting Pakistan’s government to counter this threat. This report (1) describes the status of U.S. efforts to assist Pakistan in countering IEDs and (2) reviews State’s tracking of U.S. assisted efforts in Pakistan to counter IEDs. To address these objectives, GAO reviewed agency strategy and programmatic documents, including State’s fiscal year 2013 MSRP for Pakistan. GAO also met with U.S. officials in Washington, D.C., Arlington, Virginia, and Tampa, Florida; and met with U.S. and Pakistani officials in Islamabad, Pakistan.

What GAO Recommends
To improve State’s ability to track progress of efforts in Pakistan to counter IEDs, GAO recommends that the Secretary of State direct the U.S. Mission in Pakistan to enhance its counter-IED performance measures to cover the full range of U.S. assisted efforts. State concurred and committed to look for ways to broaden the scope of existing metrics in order to better reflect and evaluate interagency participation in counter-IED efforts.
1188  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Fahrenheit 451: Did Bradbury’s Dystopia Come True? on: June 07, 2012, 10:40:15 AM
http://mashable.com/2012/06/06/fahrenheit-451-dystopia/

The nature of science fiction has always been thus: no matter how far ahead authors try to think, they are always trapped in their own times. Elements of their books will invariably look dated from the moment they are published.

Ray Bradbury, who died in Los Angeles Wednesday at the grand old age of 91, was as susceptible to this as any other grand master of the genre. Read his 1953 classic of future firemen who burn books, Fahrenheit 451, and you’ll run into plenty of quaint details. Firemen smoking tobacco pipes, lit with “chemical matches.” Cheesy ads for “Denham’s Dentrifice.” 1950s lingo such as “swell”.

But brush those quirks aside, and what you’re left with is one of the most shockingly prescient dystopias ever written — a far more accurate portrayal of our present problems than 1984 or anything in the works of Philip K Dick.

The most important thing to know about Fahrenheit 451 is that it is explicitly not about government censorship. (Bradbury was so firm on this point he once walked out of a UCLA class when his students tried to insist it was so.)

The firemen aren’t burning books on the orders of some shadowy Big Brother. They’re doing it, protagonist Guy Montag is told, because society as a whole turned away from the scary cacophony of knowledge, from the terror of differing opinions and the burden of having to choose between them, from deep and troubling thoughts.

We turned away from literature and towards vapid reality television and radio shows, the book says. We spurned any kind of poetry (Montag’s wife Millie slams Matthew Arnold’s classic Dover Beach as depressing and “disgusting”) and preferred to listen to the noise of our cars as they speed across the landscape at 100 mph.

Even when Guy wants to read his stolen books, he can’t, because the ubiquitous ads drown out his thoughts.

Any of this starting to sound familiar?

Guy and Millie Montag are disconnected by technology. They can’t talk in bed at night because Millie is listening to her “audio seashells” (headphones, basically).

She participates in a reality show with an on-screen “family”, begging her husband for more wall-sized TV screens to complete the experience. The “family” bicker and shout, but there’s very little plot to their show.

Millie can’t even remember how she and Guy met, ten years earlier. That’s some pretty advanced ADD — years before ADD was even defined as a condition.

Meanwhile, somewhere in the background, there’s a longstanding war going on with another unnamed nation; a war that hardly any of the population is paying attention to. They’re much more interested in watching a high-tech police force hunt down criminals live on TV.

Add it all up, and it’s a pretty convincing picture of the 21st century’s dark side. No, our firemen don’t burn books. But if you take that as a metaphor for a fast-paced society that increasingly ignores books, that simply doesn’t have the bandwidth for them — it completes a scarily accurate portrait.

So you want to honor Bradbury’s memory? Read a novel. Read poetry. Read something that disagrees with your viewpoint; heck, read something that disagrees with itself.

But whatever you do, don’t get too hung up on the format. On combustible paper or on a tablet, a novel is a novel. Bradbury may hardly have been the world’s biggest tech geek, but he did eventually allow Fahrenheit 451 to be released as an e-book.

On his website, you can watch videos of the writer explaining that technology, that the world of the Internet, is not inherently at fault; it’s how we use them that counts.

So use them wisely. Focus. Take off your audio seashells. Turn off that reality show. Build our desire for knowledge; don’t burn it.
1189  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / India, Japan to Conduct First Joint Naval Exercises on: June 05, 2012, 10:21:58 PM
http://www.defensenews.com/article/20120605/DEFREG03/306050016/India-Japan-Conduct-First-Joint-Naval-Exercises?odyssey=tab%7Ctopnews%7Ctext%7CFRONTPAGE

NEW DELHI — As part of their increased defense ties, the navies of India and Japan will hold their first joint exercises June 9-10 in Japanese waters.

The joint naval exercises follow agreements reached during the visit of Indian Defense Minister A.K. Antony to Japan in November 2011. Both navies will also conduct routine passage exercises during the visit of Japanese ships to Indian ports this year.
1190  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races on: June 05, 2012, 09:47:21 AM

The most government we should (IMHO) ever have is what 60 Senators can agree on.

As I understand it, a real filibuster used to require someone actually continuing the debate while less than 60 support cutting off debate and calling the question.

Both of these points are excellent.  The Senate, by design, is supposed to be a slow moving, contentious body. 

And, yes, it used to be that the filibuster was rare because a senator, or group of senators, would stand in front of the Senate and orate about something (or nothing).  However, "filibuster" at this point really only means a procedural block on a particular Senate action.  Recently, these actions have included primarily bills, but also appointments and the like.  Rather than stopping Senate action cold, it only serves to cease discussion on the particular action.

I have a good article related to this, but can't find it on line tonight.  I'll look at an old syllabus for it tomorrow. 

From Madison, Federalist 62: “The necessity of the Senate is… indicated by the propensity of all single and numerous assemblies to yield to the impulse of sudden and violent passions, and to be seduced by factious leaders into intemperate and pernicious resolutions.”

Here is a link to the article: http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1967034,00.html.  From the article: "It has been more than two decades since the last time we saw the majority actually make the minority put up or shut up on a filibuster. In 1988, while attempting to shut down a Republican filibuster of campaign finance reform legislation, then majority leader Robert Byrd even went so far as to invoke a power that hadn't been used since 1942: he dispatched the Senate sergeant-at-arms to arrest missing Senators and escort them to the floor. Oregon's Bob Packwood was carried onto the floor at 1:19 a.m., after a scuffle in which he attempted to jam his office door and ended up reinjuring a broken finger. Byrd didn't give up until a record-setting eighth cloture vote failed to end the debate."


1191  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races on: June 04, 2012, 07:48:44 PM

The most government we should (IMHO) ever have is what 60 Senators can agree on.

As I understand it, a real filibuster used to require someone actually continuing the debate while less than 60 support cutting off debate and calling the question.

Both of these points are excellent.  The Senate, by design, is supposed to be a slow moving, contentious body. 

And, yes, it used to be that the filibuster was rare because a senator, or group of senators, would stand in front of the Senate and orate about something (or nothing).  However, "filibuster" at this point really only means a procedural block on a particular Senate action.  Recently, these actions have included primarily bills, but also appointments and the like.  Rather than stopping Senate action cold, it only serves to cease discussion on the particular action.

I have a good article related to this, but can't find it on line tonight.  I'll look at an old syllabus for it tomorrow. 
1192  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / How the Wild West REALLY looked on: June 04, 2012, 05:00:45 PM
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2149899/The-American-West-youve-seen-Amazing-19th-century-pictures-landscape-chartered-time.html

These remarkable 19th century sepia-tinted pictures show the American West as you have never seen it before - as it was charted for the first time.
The photos, by Timothy O'Sullivan, are the first ever taken of the rocky and barren landscape.
At the time federal government officials were travelling across Arizona, Nevada, Utah and the rest of the west as they sought to uncover the land's untapped natural resources.


1193  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Drones on: June 03, 2012, 04:18:01 PM
This is an interesting discussion on the use of drones and the impact on civil liberties.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/forum/story/2012-05-30/domestic-drones-privacy-faa-uavs/55288498/1

"Trying to recover liberties after losing them is like trying to regain your lost virginity."  The difference I notice is that most people try really hard to lose their virginity. 
1194  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / What Makes Countries Rich or Poor? on: June 02, 2012, 08:38:49 PM
An excellent and thought provoking book review:

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2012/jun/07/what-makes-countries-rich-or-poor/

There is no doubt that good institutions are important in determining a country’s wealth. But why have some countries ended up with good institutions, while others haven’t? The most important factor behind their emergence is the historical duration of centralized government. Until the rise of the world’s first states, beginning around 3400 BC, all human societies were bands or tribes or chiefdoms, without any of the complex economic institutions of governments. A long history of government doesn’t guarantee good institutions but at least permits them; a short history makes them very unlikely. One can’t just suddenly introduce government institutions and expect people to adopt them and to unlearn their long history of tribal organization.

That cruel reality underlies the tragedy of modern nations, such as Papua New Guinea, whose societies were until recently tribal. Oil and mining companies there pay royalties intended for local landowners through village leaders, but the leaders often keep the royalties for themselves. That’s because they have internalized their society’s practice by which clan leaders pursue their personal interests and their own clan’s interests, rather than representing everyone’s interests.
1195  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Condtioning for the stick on: June 02, 2012, 02:07:37 PM
Guro spends a fair amount of time in seminars discussing alignment.  I, and others, have also learned a fair amount during PTP sessions. 
1196  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Condtioning for the stick on: June 01, 2012, 09:12:26 PM
Good luck, Mick!
1197  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / 'First Amendment rights can be terminated': When cops, cameras don't mix on: June 01, 2012, 07:03:44 PM
http://redtape.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/06/01/11998060-first-amendment-rights-can-be-terminated-when-cops-cameras-dont-mix?lite

"Your First Amendment rights can be terminated," yells the Chicago police officer, caught on video right before arresting two journalists outside a Chicago hospital.  One, an NBC News photographer, was led away in handcuffs essentially for taking pictures in a public place.  He was released only minutes later, but the damage was done. Chicago cops suffered an embarrassing "caught on tape" moment, and civil rights experts who say cops are unfairly cracking down on citizens with cameras had their iconic moment.
1198  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Condtioning for the stick on: June 01, 2012, 07:01:56 PM
My response wasn't really for you, Guro.  You understand body mechanics much better than do I. 
1199  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Juveniles in lockup on: June 01, 2012, 07:00:05 PM
"The issue of what to do with sociopathic teenage criminals can be a vexing one.  Just as your logic about the drawbacks and injustice of putting them in with adult criminals makes sense, so too does the logic of saying they don't belong in with juveniles who are of the sort intended to be helped by the juvenile system instead of being preyed upon by these sociopaths." (Crafty, moved from UN thread)

Agreed.  I do not think that juvenile murderers should be in a general population type environment with a kid who has consumed alcohol at a younger age than allowed by law (and several other examples, of course).

1200  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The United Nations/ US Sovereignty/International Law on: June 01, 2012, 03:42:13 PM
"And therefore, I do not think that it is bad thing that a 16 year old be put into an adult prison."

Is this what you mean to say?

No... it is my fault for trying to multitask, and failing.  I do not think that 16 year olds should be placed into prison with adults. 
"I am not saying that joining a treaty is necessary to change policy, but I whole heartedly approve of the point of joining this treaty."

By which you mean you disagree with treating juvenile killers as adults?   

Yes. 

Anyway, is this really the point of joining the Treaty?  I strongly suspect not.  I suspect it is more more a matter of a backdoor to establishing progressive entitlements (a.k.a. "rights") that have nothing to do with the point that Morris, who lets face it is not very precise in some of his thinking, is raising here as a "And furthermore" type of point.  Yes?

Also yes.  And, your fears about the future, possible implications is part of why I don't think joining the treaty is a necessary step. 

Sincere apologies for the confusing wording of my prior post.
 
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