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1201  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. 
1202  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.
1203  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.
1204  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.
1205  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."


1206  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. 
1207  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.


1208  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. 
1209  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.
1210  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. 
1211  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Condtioning for the stick on: June 01, 2012, 09:12:26 PM
Good luck, Mick!
1212  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.
1213  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. 
1214  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).

1215  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.
 
1216  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Condtioning for the stick on: June 01, 2012, 02:34:36 PM
"Is it not always possible to bring the strength from weight training into the power of your hits?"

Body mechanics may be one answer.  If your shoulders are stronger than mine, then you should be able to swing a stick harder from the shoulder.  But if I successfully engage my feet, legs, core, shoulder and biceps (for example) to swing chances are very good that I can hit harder than you.  You might take a look at Bruce Lee's writings on the subject of striking. 

1217  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The United Nations/ US Sovereignty/International Law on: June 01, 2012, 02:29:07 PM
One thing that you may not be aware of is that minors do not have the same rights as adults.  So, for example, a minor need not be read his/her rights upon arrest/detainment.  Therefore, in some ways, there is a lower bar for a conviction for a minor than for an adult.  And therefore, I do not think that it is bad thing that a 16 year old be put into an adult prison.  This is also not to mention the extreme violence that takes place in detention centers, whether for juveniles or adults.  A minor has not become an adult, and therefore on average, hardly has a fighting chance in an jail altercation.  And, finally, a teen's brain has not fully developed, which means that holding them accountable, as an adult, from a physiological/psychological perspective doesn't make much sense.

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. 
1218  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: May 31, 2012, 09:14:56 PM
Your last point was the real take away for me in the article.  I think the idea of Americans committing three felonies a day is interesting, and the continued decline adherence to drug laws (of Democratic presidents, I should add, which may balance your concern of the partisan agenda) is also worth noting. 
1219  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / A Nation of Scofflaws on: May 31, 2012, 04:25:55 PM
http://www.esquire.com/features/thousand-words-on-culture/end-of-law-in-america-0612

The collapse of Americans' faith in the Supreme Court has been recent but dramatic. Somewhere in between Bush v. Gore and Clarence Thomas's paid appearance at the Koch brothers' retreat and Antonin Scalia comparing surgery to broccoli, Americans noticed that some of the foremost justices in the country are buffoons. Since 2009, public approval of the Supreme Court has declined fifteen percentage points, and according to one survey less than one out of four Americans has confidence in the court's judgment. With the decision on health care scheduled for June, the country's already tenuous regard for the Court may grow even more strained. The idea of the Court as an above-the-fray guardian of the Constitution is, by this point, strictly the stuff of civics classes and nostalgia. In ordinary life, the law has never been held in as much contempt as it is now. Quite simply, nobody follows it anymore.

1220  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Public approval of Supreme Court reaches new low on: May 31, 2012, 04:24:46 PM
http://www.insidecounsel.com/2012/05/02/public-approval-of-supreme-court-reaches-new-low

Public approval of major social phenomena, the economy, politicians and appointed officials is always apt to wax and wane with time. For the U.S. Supreme Court, though, public opinion is currently waning like a crescent moon.

The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press yesterday released a survey indicating that public opinion of the high court is currently at a quarter-century low. And unlike previous evaluations of the court over the past decade, this time there is very little partisan divide as Republicans, Democrats and independents all responded with relatively unfavorable ratings.

1221  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Plan X; Iran in "Flame"s on: May 30, 2012, 08:59:27 PM
Two articles:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/with-plan-x-pentagon-seeks-to-spread-us-military-might-to-cyberspace/2012/05/30/gJQAEca71U_story.html?hpid=z1

http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/israel-iran-lebanon-hit-flame-super-virus?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+AlAkhbarEnglish+(Al+Akhbar+English)
1222  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Important SCOTUS decisions: Grahman v. Conner; TE v. Garner on: May 30, 2012, 06:46:24 PM

See http://www.policeone.com/legal/articles/1271618-How-to-ensure-use-of-force-is-reasonable-and-necessary-and-avoid-claims-of-excessive-force/ for some good discussion involving the Graham case. 
1223  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Important SCOTUS decisions: Grahman v. Conner; TE v. Garner on: May 30, 2012, 06:43:59 PM

See page three and four for some discussion of the Tennesee case: http://law.du.edu/documents/criminal-law-review/issues/v01-1/Ziporin-Denv-U-Crim-L-Rev-Spring-2011.pdf
1224  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Obama, Drones and Secret Wars. Oh My! on: May 30, 2012, 11:52:06 AM
A Foreign Policy article related to the above story posted earlier in the day:

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/05/29/where_the_drones_are

Obama's policy of killing by remote control is by no means new. Over the last decade, America's overseas use of drones has expanded exponentially in scope, location, and frequency. Beyond their use across the battlefields of Afghanistan, Libya, and Iraq, U.S. drones have been used to target suspected militants and terrorists in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, as well as to conduct surveillance missions over Colombia, Haiti, Iran, Mexico, North Korea, the Philippines, Turkey, and beyond.
1225  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / American Oil Independence>? on: May 30, 2012, 11:49:02 AM
http://oilandglory.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/05/29/the_skinny_american

When it comes to gasoline, are Americans transforming from the world's chief gluttons to models of moderation? According to Philip Verleger, the energy economist, that is more or less the country's direction, with surprising consequences.
1226  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Obama changes definition of "civilian" on: May 30, 2012, 04:21:24 AM
http://worldnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/05/30/11949657-report-obama-changes-definition-of-civilian-in-drone-wars?lite

It is often been reported that President Obama has urged officials to avoid wherever possible the deaths of civilians in covert US actions in Pakistan and elsewhere. But reporters Jo Becker and Scott Shane reveal that Obama inserted a loophole.
 

"Mr. Obama embraced a disputed method for counting civilian casualties that did little to box him in. It in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants, according to several administration officials, unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent."
1227  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Abortion on: May 28, 2012, 06:21:35 PM
I understand your point, and again urge you to look to the Blackmun opinion.  He spent hundreds of words explaining why he felt the case was justiciable.  I'm not trying to agree or disagree, I am only stating that the argument should focus there.  So, for example, he looks to common law history.  This is an idea that you (GC and DMG) tend to like.  So, where, exactly, does Blackmun go wrong with this application?  He moves beyond the right of a woman's "right to chose" and looks at the rights of the doctor.  Do you not agree that doctors have rights?  I only am trying to get you to address the Blackmun opinion, not directly argue with you.  

"...viability" as defined by Blackmun a standard that moves with technology..."  With this I agree completely, and is a source of my frustration with the decision in question.  
1228  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: May 28, 2012, 01:47:10 PM
How much did Perot hurt Bush and Dole in the states Morris mentions?  Results suggest that Kentucky, for example, likely would have gone for Bush except for Perot in 1992.  Total popular votes below:

Clinton: 665,104
Bush: 617,178
Perot: 203,944

West Virginia tells a similar tale, though the margin of victory likely would have been smaller.  A quick look at the 1996 results also suggests that Perot helped Clinton win in states such Kentucky. 

Morris is more right in discussing the LBJ decision to abandon his reelection hopes. 
1229  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Romney/Netanyahu friendship on: May 28, 2012, 01:34:00 PM
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/08/us/politics/mitt-romney-and-benjamin-netanyahu-are-old-friends.html?pagewanted=all

The relationship between Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Romney — nurtured over meals in Boston, New York and Jerusalem, strengthened by a network of mutual friends and heightened by their conservative ideologies — has resulted in an unusually frank exchange of advice and insights on topics like politics, economics and the Middle East.

When Mr. Romney was the governor of Massachusetts, Mr. Netanyahu offered him firsthand pointers on how to shrink the size of government. When Mr. Netanyahu wanted to encourage pension funds to divest from businesses tied to Iran, Mr. Romney counseled him on which American officials to meet with. And when Mr. Romney first ran for president, Mr. Netanyahu presciently asked him whether he thought Newt Gingrich would ever jump into the race.

Only a few weeks ago, on Super Tuesday, Mr. Netanyahu delivered a personal briefing by telephone to Mr. Romney about the situation in Iran.
1230  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Abortion on: May 28, 2012, 01:23:33 PM
1.  The first point was made to a prior post that stated that a right to abortion os absolute, or words to that effect.  Again, I am not stating that the Constitution gives the power of this decision to the SCOTUS.  I am reminding you that Blackmun takes great pains to answer the questions you pose.  The viabilty question is medical, no matter how you word it.  Not matter the availability of a breast for nutrition after birth, an 18 week fetus is not going to live.  23 weeks is exceedingly rare, and it will take much more care than simply an available breast.  And I have watched this scenario play out, more closely than I would have liked. 

2.  "...with Roe, SCOTUS sorely tested the social fabric's respect for law (as it relates to the states' legislatures role on deciding abortion)."  Only sort of.  There are plenty of other cases in reaction to state laws related to abortion.  As I often tell my students, when the USSC decides a case, it really only opens more questions.  Look at the Court's decisions in Webster and Casey for example.  In fact, whether you agree with him or not, by the time Casey was decided, Blackmun (the author of the Roe opinion, of course), felt like the Court had largely gutted his opinion.  States retain a great deal of power in the abortion arena.  States need not provide funding.  States, as Roe explicitly notes, can outright ban abortions in the final trimester, and have increased power to do so anytime after 24 weeks.  States have tried parental notification, spousal notification, waiting periods and many, many other restrictions.  Several of those have been found to pass constitutional muster. 


1231  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / The Opposite of Loneliness on: May 28, 2012, 09:26:09 AM
http://www.yaledailynews.com/news/2012/may/27/keegan-opposite-loneliness/?cross-campus

The piece below was written by Marina Keegan '12 for a special edition of the News distributed at the class of 2012's commencement exercises last week. Keegan died in a car accident on Saturday. She was 22.

We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I could say that’s what I want in life. What I’m grateful and thankful to have found at Yale, and what I’m scared of losing when we wake up tomorrow and leave this place.

It’s not quite love and it’s not quite community; it’s just this feeling that there are people, an abundance of people, who are in this together. Who are on your team. When the check is paid and you stay at the table. When it’s four a.m. and no one goes to bed. That night with the guitar. That night we can’t remember. That time we did, we went, we saw, we laughed, we felt. The hats.
1232  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Naked man 'eating’ face off victim on: May 28, 2012, 08:04:21 AM
http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/05/26/2818832/naked-man-shot-killed-on-macarthur.html

This says it all: "It was a scene as creepy as a Hannibal Lecter movie."
1233  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: VIDEO CLIPS OF INTEREST on: May 27, 2012, 07:39:07 PM
I know exactly what you mean.  That said, the video is pretty cool!!!
1234  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Panetta: U.S. is Ready to Stop Iran from Creating Nuclear Weapons on: May 27, 2012, 08:25:49 AM
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Sunday indirectly confirmed recent remarks by the Ambassador to Israel that the U.S. is “ready from a military perspective’’ to stop Iran from making a nuclear weapon if international pressure fails.
 
The U.S. and members of the United Nations Security Council recently met in Baghdad for talks about Iran’s suspected nuclear weapon program. Iran denies it has military intentions but has called for the destruction of Israel.
 
“We have plans to be able to implement any contingency we have to in order to defend ourselves,’’ Panetta said on ABC’s This Week. Earlier, Panetta said, “The fundamental premise is that neither the United States or the international community is going to allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon.’’
 
Panetta defended the U.S. military’s use of drones to kill terrorists, resulting in some civilian casualties, calling them “one of the most precise weapons that we have in our arsenal.’’
 
He also insisted that the administration did not share any “inappropriate’’ details with filmmakers making a movie about Osama bin Laden, despite criticism from members of Congress.
 
1235  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / unbeeelieveable flexibilty on: May 27, 2012, 01:37:22 AM
The good stuff starts at about :50.  Watch the girl grab the apple at about 3:10. 

http://sorisomail.com/email/34321/a-flexibilidade-das-irmas-ross.html
1236  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the Republicans on: May 27, 2012, 01:34:06 AM
Thanks for the post/updates Guro and Doug. 
1237  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Abortion on: May 27, 2012, 01:33:24 AM
I tend to shy away from discussion of abortion, however some points about Roe:

1.  Blackmun never said that the right to privacy (or abortion) was absolute.  He said the right to privacy is fundamental.  This has particular meaning in constitutional law.

2.  Related to that, he states that only when the state has a "compelling" reason to limit a fundamental right can it do so.  And, according to the trimester framework, which is based on the viability of the fetus, state interest does become compelling.  So, there is a distinction with "changes in trimesters." 

3.  Blackmun goes to great lengths to discuss both the justiciablity of the SCOTUS to decide the case and the personhood of the fetus.  You can believe or not, but ignoring it is disingenuous to a discuss of the case.  (And, I would add that his discussion of the common law tradition is worth reading.) 

4.  I do not recall a point in which Bluckmon says that Congress plays a role, as Guro suggests that Rand Paul stated (implied?).  I searched just now, and could not find a section either.  However, it is late and I may be overlooking it.   
1238  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the Republicans on: May 25, 2012, 07:38:15 AM
Ummm , , , BD , , , why are you posting this?

Because I found the article to be interesting.  Apparently, though I will readily admit I have not checked the math myself, Obama has not spent in the ways that he is often accused of. 
1239  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Memorial Day on: May 25, 2012, 07:35:16 AM
Every year, I love the front page of the website around Memorial Day.  That is such a powerful picture.  Thank you for the reminder, Guro. 

A short article on the history of Memorial Day: http://www.usmemorialday.org/backgrnd.html
1240  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama has lowest spending record of any recent president? on: May 24, 2012, 09:05:15 PM
http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/may/23/facebook-posts/viral-facebook-post-says-barack-obama-has-lowest-s/

With the caveats offered below, from the article:

So why the disconnect between Obama’s image as a big spender and the reality of how much federal spending has actually grown?

 First, Obama’s record on debt is a lot less flattering than is his record on federal government spending. During the same time that spending is poised to be increasing by 1.4 percent per year under Obama, the debt will be increasing by 14.6 percent per year. The reason? Year by year, federal revenues haven’t been keeping up with spending, due to the struggling national economy (which has held back tax revenues) and a continuation of tax cuts. And each year there’s an annual deficit, the national debt grows.

 Second, federal spending under Obama is higher as a share of gross domestic product than it has been in most of the previous 60 years. That, too is because of the economy, which has simultaneously slowed the growth of GDP and boosted government spending for programs such as food stamps and Medicaid.

 Third, the aging of the baby boomers has driven a rise in entitlement spending that is masking cuts Obama and the GOP Congress have made, and have promised to make, in discretionary spending. Using outlays as the unit of measurement, as Nutting and the Facebook post have done, means focusing on money already spent. It does not take into account future spending that’s been committed to but not yet carried out.

 And finally, many Americans associate Obama with the high-profile legislative activities of his first year or two, when initiatives such as the stimulus sent spending upward the fastest. Since then, spending has slowed, thanks in part to spending cuts pushed by congressional Republicans.

 Which brings us to another important issue: The president is not all-powerful, so his record on spending was accomplished in collaboration with congressional Republicans.
1241  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: May 24, 2012, 09:42:18 AM
I was able to open the paper.  But, you have a copy in your email inbox. 
1242  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The New, Nasty Obama Campaign on: May 23, 2012, 12:32:15 PM
http://www.nationaljournal.com/politics/the-new-nasty-obama-campaign-20120523?page=1

But the point Booker was trying to make wasn't only about the legitimacy of attacking private equity -- it was that the tenor of the presidential campaign on both sides has become "nauseating to the American public." In saying so, he touched on something potentially even more unspeakable among Democrats: the idea that the slash-and-burn tactics of Obama's reelection campaign mark a definitive departure from the promise to change politics for the better.

"My outrage and really my frustration was about the cynical negative campaigning, the manipulation of the truth," Booker told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Monday night, noting the irony of the fact that his plea for civility had been promptly turned into a partisan weapon. "And so here [Republicans] are plucking sound bites out of that interview to manipulate in a cynical manner, to use them for their own purposes."

1243  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Crafty (lawyers), second post on: May 23, 2012, 12:29:07 PM
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/05/21/120521fa_fact_toobin

In a different way, though, Citizens United is a distinctive product of the Roberts Court. The decision followed a lengthy and bitter behind-the-scenes struggle among the Justices that produced both secret unpublished opinions and a rare reargument of a case. The case, too, reflects the aggressive conservative judicial activism of the Roberts Court. It was once liberals who were associated with using the courts to overturn the work of the democratically elected branches of government, but the current Court has matched contempt for Congress with a disdain for many of the Court’s own precedents. When the Court announced its final ruling on Citizens United, on January 21, 2010, the vote was five to four and the majority opinion was written by Anthony Kennedy. Above all, though, the result represented a triumph for Chief Justice Roberts. Even without writing the opinion, Roberts, more than anyone, shaped what the Court did. As American politics assumes its new form in the post-Citizens United era, the credit or the blame goes mostly to him.


1244  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Crafty (lawyers) on: May 23, 2012, 12:27:23 PM
http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2010074#captchaSection

What is the lawyer’s genius — the talent that distinguishes us from other professions? Movies and television suggest that it is more than legal knowledge and technical skills; it is the way lawyers use creativity and cunning to outwit their adversaries. Lawyers in films and television act much like the Trickster figure in mythology and folklore. Moreover, study of the professional lives of the best real life lawyers reveals these same trickster talents. The paper argues that lawyers should embrace the trickster identity because it celebrates the valuable contributions lawyers make to the public good.
1245  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Prayer and Daily Expression of Gratitude on: May 22, 2012, 03:26:16 PM
Great news, GD.  I look forward to hearing of great things!  I'd love to chat about your "major teaching period" at some point, too!
1246  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Prayer and Daily Expression of Gratitude on: May 22, 2012, 11:37:01 AM
GD, best of luck for a quick and complete recovery for your wife!
1247  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Punched to Death on: May 21, 2012, 05:16:23 AM
http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2012/05/george_zimmerman_claims_he_was_fighting_for_his_life_how_deadly_is_an_unarmed_teenager_.html


How easy is it to kill a man in a fistfight?
 
It happens more than twice a day, on average. Fists and feet were responsible for 745 murders in 2010, or 5.7 percent of all murders that year, according to FBI statistics. (The data on this have been remarkably stable in recent years. In the five preceding years, the percentage of murders perpetrated by fists or feet fluctuated between 5.6 and 6.1.) It doesn’t even take an experienced brawler to punch someone to death: An 11-year-old California girl appears to have killed a classmate with her bare hands in a February fistfight
1248  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The United Nations/ US Sovereignty/International Law on: May 19, 2012, 03:10:27 PM
As I noted above, I think the idea has merit.  The is large and in many ways unwieldy.  I think there is merit in exploring options, similar to that discussed in the article or an ANZUS or the strides that the US has made in recent years in Asia with the Philippines, Vietnam, S. Korea.  I would like the US to continue to build/maintain relations with traditional allies such as the UK. 
1249  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / A new "NATO" on: May 19, 2012, 09:02:48 AM
"I do not see the need for a UN treaty."  [International Children's rights]

Agree!  For many reasons.  The desire of some to give up our sovereignty is not tied to one or two individual issues.  I don't see the need for the UN at all except as a speakers forum and a place where representatives can make contacts for voluntary  cooperation. I would keep the UN, move it out of NY, scale down our contribution, and form other organizations that address specific global needs that are in our best interest.

Is this the type of thing you had in mind, Doug? 

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/05/18/the_persian_gulf_needs_its_own_nato?page=0,0
1250  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: May 17, 2012, 12:33:38 PM
But the missles he is talking about are the ones that fly short.  It imight become a problem in future missle purchases, but as of now it isn't.  He is also wrong about the oil purchases and refining capacities, and seems to ignore the role of China with Venezuela and growing in the region.  

It should also be pointed out that he is shilling his book, in which he makes this false arguments. 
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