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1401  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races on: May 08, 2012, 06:53:39 PM
News outlets report Dick Lugar losing the Indiana primary.
1402  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Entebbe: Israeli Ugandan rescue on: May 08, 2012, 05:33:07 PM
Amazing story Bigdog!  Video link:

3 hostages died in crossfire, still that is how you negotiate with terrorists.

One Commando was killed, the commander of the unit, Yonathon Netanyahu.

Thanks DMG.  And the video linked above is amazing.  
1403  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Returning dead presidents to the Sioux on: May 08, 2012, 12:58:01 PM

South Dakota's Black Hills, home to the granite faces carved into Mt. Rushmore, should be restored as Native American tribal lands, a United Nations official recently said.
1404  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues and LE in action on: May 08, 2012, 12:55:48 PM
Here is a link with some video of the recent Fullerton California killing of a homeless man by their police. This is sickening.

I sent them a letter for their pile. I hope they bring these clowns to justice.

Oh, were you there? Or did the voices tell you what happpened like what they told you about the 9/11 conspiracy?

Hmmm... could it be that Cranewings was right all those months ago...

The city surveillance video that shows a group of Fullerton police officers beating a homeless mentally ill man to death last year was finally released today, laying to rest any argument that Kelly Thomas was a threat to officers.
The shocking video, which was combined with an audio recorder worn by one of the police officers on the night of July 5, 2011, was shown in court today, then later released to the media.
“Now you see my fists?” Fullerton police officer Manny Ramos asked Thomas while slipping on a pair of latex gloves.
“Yeah, what about them?” Thomas responded.
“They are getting ready to fuck you up,” said Ramos, a burly cop who appears to outweigh Thomas by 100 pounds.
1405  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Eric Greitens on AQ and Afghanistan on: May 07, 2012, 09:48:54 PM

OSAMA BIN LADEN’S death a year ago Wednesday, at the hands of a Navy SEAL team, revealed that America has been fighting two wars in Afghanistan. One is against Al Qaeda, and is clearly in America’s national interest; the other war, to fix Afghanistan, is much more questionable. We must take lessons from the way we fight terrorism in Somalia, Yemen and elsewhere: Focus more on finishing the fight against Al Qaeda, and less on bringing good government to a failing state.
1406  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Operation Neptune Spear: The New Textbook for Special Operators on: May 07, 2012, 09:36:59 PM

One year removed from the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, hundreds of hours of programing and print pages are being devoted to to telling us what it all means. In this week’s issue of TIME, journalist Peter Bergen and historian Graham Allison walk us through the events that led up to Navy SEALs storming bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan on a moonless night one year ago.

But to truly understand what the raid means in the study of special operations, you have to go back much further, past Operations Eagle Claw, the disastrous 1980 attempt to rescue hostages from the American Embassy in Tehran, to Operation Thunderbolt. In July 1976, Israeli commandos stormed the airport at Entebbe, Uganda and rescued 105 hostages held by pro-Palestinian hijackers (the animation on this video is second rate, but it gives a good overview of the raid).

But wait a minute. What does a 36-year-old Israeli commando raid have to do with killing Osama bin Laden?

1407  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / America’s Most (and Least) Peaceful States on: May 06, 2012, 10:26:57 PM

The United States is more peaceful now than at any time in the past 20 years. Nevertheless, violence still cost the economy at least $460 billion in 2010, through a combination of lost productivity and direct costs, according to a new report published by the Institute for Economics and Peace. 24/7 Wall St. analyzed the report in order to identify the most and least peaceful states, as well as how much they spend on violence.
1408  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: May 06, 2012, 10:12:53 PM
I was say yes it is a simplification.   Without knowledge of the question presented and its procedural posture IMO it is incorrect to make the asssertion that you seek to make.

OK; thank you.  If you or BD have time one day, I would appreciate a brief education on the subject or a reference to a good summary.

This will need to be short because of time constraints.  Crafty is right.  There are many reasons that the SCOTUS may (not) hear a case, and it should not be assumed that not hearing a case is implicit approval.

First, the Court has rules about the types of cases it hears.  The paperwork required is very exact, with some exceptions, most notably in forma pauperis appeals.  If the paperwork fails to meet requirements of font, staple placement, etc. then the appeal won't be heard.

Second, Rule Ten designates that conflict between circuits should be afforded a higher likelihood of review.  (See for details related to points 1 and 2.)

Third, there are many reasons why the Court may not feel that it has the necessary jurisdiction.  These include: lack of standing of the petitioners; mootness; the case may not be "ripe"; it could be considered a political question; and a few others.  The court may not feel that there is a case or controversy, which, of course, is required to hear the case according to Article III.

Fourth, the Court may be waiting for the "right" case.  There is evidence that the USSC waited for Loving v. VA for example, in an effort to minimize a negative reaction to its decision. 

Fifth, the Court employs the "Rule of Four," meaning that four justices must want to hear the case.  There is some evidence that the decision, by an individual justice, of whether or not to hear a case may have some strategy in the vote. 

Sixth, remember that 9000-10000 cases are appealled annually and that about 70 are heard.  The USSC is pretty picky.

Does this help? 
1409  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Alerts say major cyber attack aimed at gas pipeline industry on: May 06, 2012, 07:02:38 AM

"A major cyber attack is currently under way aimed squarely at computer networks belonging to US natural gas pipeline companies, according to alerts issued to the industry by the US Department of Homeland Security.

At least three confidential "amber" alerts – the second most sensitive next to "red" – were issued by DHS beginning March 29, all warning of a "gas pipeline sector cyber intrusion campaign" against multiple pipeline companies. But the wave of cyber attacks, which apparently began four months ago – and may also affect Canadian natural gas pipeline companies – is continuing."
1410  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Aspertame- Sweet misery on: May 06, 2012, 06:52:57 AM

This is a look at the perils of aspertame.  Similar videos are conspiracy type, so I can't and won't vouch for the veracity of this video.  That said, my doctor told me last week that diet soda drinkers are "deluding themselves about the health benefits."
1411  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Character Chess on: May 06, 2012, 06:48:40 AM

1412  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Harley in BC on: May 06, 2012, 06:45:43 AM

"A Harley-Davidson caught in last year's devastating tsunami in Japan has washed up in Canada after drifting across the Pacific.
The motorbike, with Japanese plates from one of the hardest hit areas, was found on the west coast by a beachcomber in a cargo container on the Haida Gwaii islands, off the coast of British Columbia.

"You just never know what you're going to stumble upon when you go for a drive and, lo and behold, you just come across something that's out of this world," said Peter Mark, who was riding an all-terrain vehicle on the beach."
1413  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / impact of a dying child on: May 06, 2012, 06:43:02 AM

This is a beautiful story.  I sincerely hope you read it:

"His life ended last week at age 5, but still Tadan’s story ripples like a wave, reminding strangers that simple moments of living are extraordinary."
1414  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Would you let your son play football? on: May 05, 2012, 06:06:32 AM

There are many things to love about football. For kids, it builds confidence. It promotes teamwork. It is fun. It is a physical game but it is a cerebral one, too. The bonds guys make playing football last a lifetime.

The questions for those who play are how long is that lifetime and what does it look like at age 40 or 50 or 60?

For the men who play in the NFL, the questions become more serious. Can you find your keys or remember you mom's phone number when you are 38? Do you have searing headaches? Are you depressed? Can you walk?
1415  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Next War on: May 04, 2012, 12:12:28 PM
From Crafty on the Afpakia thread: "Further discussion really needs to address the deeper questions of American foreign policy, but for now for this thread I will say that IMHO Baraq has thrown away the last chance to get it right and that a truly heavy price will be paid much sooner and much more costly than is generally realized.

Pakistan has the world's fourth largest nuke stockpile and it is already a quasi-jihadi state.  With Iran on its trajectory and the Russians threatening to take out our missile defenses in eastern Europe and Iran and Russia cozying up to the Chavez narco state in Venezuela and various accumulating Chinese moves in Latin America and the Carribean, we may be getting to Ron Paul's Fortress America much sooner than anyone realizes or cares for , , ,"

The conventional wisdom has it wrong. It is, in fact, likely that in the next decade, the United States will once again launch a military intervention, though with a smaller footprint than in years past. The threat from terrorist camps in weak, failed, or rogue states such as Yemen; the danger of civil wars or internecine conflicts that threaten stability in countries such as Sudan and South Sudan, and humanitarian crises that could cost tens of thousands of lives in places such as Syria and Somalia will not allow the option of intervention to be taken off the table.
1416  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: May 04, 2012, 10:52:54 AM
I adopted a more formal, mature name at 19.  I have a friend who changed names at 30.  
1417  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: May 04, 2012, 10:50:29 AM
ccp, I agree with much of what is said here, by you and by others... and we largely agree here.  However, I many of my posts are intended to be either thought provoking or to add clarity or nuance to a thought.  In this case, the clarity I sought came from this line: "As noted on Drudge complete silence from the MSM.  I remember quite well during Vietnam hearing EVERY single day the death and injury count on the networks.   Remarkable hypocrisy."  It simply isn't true that MSM outlets completely ignore the death count.  Moreover, to the extent that it isn't front page (or lead story stuff), I wanted to point out that the Bush administration didn't want it on the front pages, and so for Drudge (or you) to call this hypocrisy also isn't true. 
1418  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / President Paul on: May 03, 2012, 09:32:38 PM

Ron Paul's treatment by mainstream media, other Republican hopefuls, and the punditry makes me think the W.B. Yeats lines "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world" also describe the year 2012 in the United States. Indeed, Paul's experience in the nomination campaign suggests U.S. politics lacks reasoned substance, common sense, and an understanding of what America's Founding Fathers intended.

Open up any newspaper to see the mess America has sunk itself into around the world: for example, facing off with China over a lone, non-American dissident whose safety has no relation to U.S. security. Yet today, Paul's call for staying out of other people's wars unless genuine U.S. national interests are at stake is deemed radical, immoral, even anti-American. Amazing.
1419  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Elizabeth Warren on: May 03, 2012, 09:07:22 PM

I find this discussion very interesting.  Race discussion has changed a great deal, and indeed now we are to the point where such a fraction of ancestry is laughable (and I admit to a chuckle to begin with).  Upon further review, though, I am reminded that the issues around Plessy dealt with a man 1/8 black.  I am also reminded that Langston Hughes once wrote that "“That one drop of Negro blood—because just one drop of black blood makes a man colored. One drop—you are a Negro!”  This used to be used in a manner to legally ostracize a vast body of people.  And now the same claim is made to demean the career arc of a congressional candidate. 

Also, it seems that for most scholarships awarded to Native Americans, there is 1/4 requirement ( 

And, more on Warren: (it seems to be true) and (and she still can't explain it well). 
1420  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / You Guys will LOVE this!!! AQ likes ABC on: May 03, 2012, 08:27:44 PM

AQ media advisor said: "ABC channel is all right; actually it could be one of the best channels, as far as we are concerned."
1421  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: May 03, 2012, 07:41:33 PM
I am saying that we, as a people, are tired of war coverage.  New casualties, unfortunately, don't resinate like they used to.  I am also saying that on the one hand, conservatives (including an entire presidential administration) wanted to avoid coverage of the casualty rate, and now that the media have moved on and aren't reporting on it (as requested), those same folks are pissed about it. 
1422  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: May 03, 2012, 05:35:17 PM

" Also, remember all the pissed off conservatives talking about how the constant coverage of the body count in Somalia and then later in Iraq and Afghanistan undermined the mission?"

No actually, I don't.

Vietnam: "The correspondents' reports began to reflect the popular doubts that had been rising among the American public, primarily because of the increasing numbers of casualties.... Because of the effort to reveal the truth from correspondents, many Americans began to doubt the government and the war. The media and the American people alike began losing hope in the government and war." (

Somalia: "Horrifying footage of Somalis dragging the body of a dead American soldier through the streets followed, prompting U.S. officials to withdraw." (  By the way, here is the video:

Afghanistan/Iraq: "...the military's fears that the news media only focuses on deaths and not the other, more positive aspects of military operations...". (

“Since the end of the Vietnam War, presidents have worried that their military actions would lose support once the public glimpsed the remains of US soldiers arriving at air bases in flag-draped coffins,” wrote the Post’s White House reporter Dana Milbank. “To this problem, the Bush administration has found a simple solution: It has ended the public dissemination of such images by banning news coverage and photography of dead soldiers’ homecomings on all military bases.”

"This local coverage of US military deaths "actually has a bigger affect on public opinion than the overall trends," said Matt Baum, an associate professor of politics at the University of California, Los Angeles.

But with the US military death toll hitting 2787 today, analysts said even local media coverage struggles to overcome the numbing affect of the steady flow of deaths." (

"On October 25, 2005 the Department of Defense announced the 2,000th U.S. death from the war as Staff Sergeant George T. Alexander Jr., who was killed when a roadside bomb detonated near his M2 Bradley in the city of Samarra.[54] In response, Senators including Dick Durbin made statements opposing the war, and activists held six hundred anti-war protests and candlelight vigils across the United States.[55] In contrast, the Pentagon downplayed the death — Lt. Col. Steven Boylan, chief spokesman for the U.S. military in Iraq, told the Associated Press that "the 2,000 service members killed in Iraq supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom is not a milestone. It is an artificial mark on the wall set by individuals or groups with specific agendas and ulterior motives."[56][57][58]" (must have been the media, and not the administration and/or military) (

A soldier's view of the media coverage: "Roche also addresses media coverage of U.S. military casualties in Iraq:

I don't know why the media insists on trumpeting the idea that all of us are tired and worn out and just want to stop fighting. I don't, and I am not alone. The fact is that we are not experiencing casualty rates anywhere near past conflicts, nor for that matter as bad as during peacetime. There were weeks in Vietnam when 350-400 Americans died, and in other wars thousands would die in single battles. Nothing like that is happening now." (

1423  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama’s below-the-radar push builds support for healthcare bill on: May 03, 2012, 12:35:15 PM

"The Obama administration is employing an aggressive ground game to build support for its controversial healthcare law that often reaches beyond the Beltway."

1424  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Parenting Issues on: May 03, 2012, 12:33:32 PM
I like George Will's works a great deal.
1425  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Darrell Issa Threatens to Find Eric Holder in Contempt Over ‘Fast and Furious’ on: May 03, 2012, 12:09:17 PM
House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) released a staff memo today arguing the House should hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, saying the Department of Justice has refused to produce internal documents relating to a botched operation.

The memo outlines Issa’s investigation into the issue and includes a draft resolution of contempt against Holder.

“Congress now faces a moment of decision between exerting its full authority to compel an agency refusing to cooperate with congressional oversight or accepting a dangerous expansion of Executive Branch authority and unilateral action allowing agencies to set their own terms for cooperating with congressional oversight,” according to the memo.

1426  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Documents Show bin Laden Fretting Over Future of al-Qaida on: May 03, 2012, 11:38:08 AM

The U.S. released a trove of documents on Thursday recovered from Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan a year ago, which show that al-Qaida’s leaders were deeply divided over how to manage a group of worldwide affiliates that lacked discipline or willingness to take direction, The Washington Post reports.

(RELATED: Text of the 17 bin Laden Documents)

A 2010 letter from bin Laden to one of his top deputies, for example, shows concern over “increased mistakes” by  “brothers” in countries including Iraq and Yemen, the Post reported.

The documents also show bin Laden was frustrated with the groups’ attacks on fellow Muslims, bad media operations and a lack of focus on attacking the United States and the West.

(RELATED: Obama Released More Detail on bin Laden Raid)

The documents were released by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point and date from September 2006 to April 2011.


1427  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / 53 yo tough man on: May 02, 2012, 03:11:34 PM

It sounds like a movie plot: A paunchy 53-year-old man arrives at a low-level MMA card, and, when he finds out one of the fighters in an upcoming bout is a no-show, volunteers to fight. With only an hour to prepare, the man faces off against a 21-year-old challenger -- and knocks him out. This was the scene April 28 in Kankakee, Ill., where a middle-aged man named Tim lived out his real-life "Rocky" moment. Tim gets knocked down 30 seconds in, but two minutes later, lands a ferocious right hand that floors his opponent, earning him the victory -- and the crowd's adoration.
1428  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: May 02, 2012, 01:36:48 PM
Well Bigdog perhaps you are not old enough to remember Vietnam.

I agree with Doug.  Good for the NYS(limes) and USA today.  As for cable and internet yahoo news I don't see much.

You may not have noticed that since the mid-1970's there has been a bit of change in the media environment.  Moreover, as I noted, two of the largest newspapers (for whatever that is worth these days) covers exactly what you said isn't covered in their front sections.  Here, let's take a quick look at some websites:

Here is the Huffington Post ignoring the casualty rate:

Here is the Washington Post ignoring the casualty rate, with pictures even:

And Fox, in an AP article:

If only I could that data:

Also, remember all the pissed off conservatives talking about how the constant coverage of the body count in Somalia and then later in Iraq and Afghanistan undermined the mission?  I'll see if I can find some footage of bodies being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu as reminder.  Talk about hypocrisy...

1429  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: May 02, 2012, 12:57:18 PM
This may be sematics, but there is a difference, to me at leat, between leaving the adminstration and not continuing for a second term (if that occurs). 

"The idea that foreign policy is meant to be non-partisan has a sad element of humor and nostalgia to it, while her husband stars in a highly partisan campaign commercial - about foreign policy - running right now."


"Some outlets ran it to mean more than that."

Some outlets don't know what the hell they are talking about.  See below. 

“Given her current position, she will not be attending, consistent with her not engaging in any political activity whatsoever,” Philippe Reines, spokesman for the Secretary of State, told The Charlotte Observer, which reports that ethical guidelines and federal statutes preclude Clinton, and some cabinets from participating in anything partisan.

Of course, Secretaries of States not attending political gatherings has been the rule (Reines can't even remember any from the modern era who have attended)...." (from
1430  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: North and South Korea on: May 02, 2012, 12:45:58 PM
An extremely thoughtful piece, Doug.  Thank you for bringing it to my attention.  I also think the "day after" discussion is key.  A mini-Marshall plan (for lack of a better term) is probably needed, not to mention the discussion about nukes brought by the author (and the need to educate an entire people about liberty, free thought, agriculture, technology and gods only know what else).
1431  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: May 02, 2012, 12:23:57 PM
"The other explanation is that the idea was pushed forward by Bill Clinton, a political genius, but in intentional sabotage.  Funny how he is right in the middle of it - while his wife is leaving the administration, not going to the convention.  No one is that cynical."

Who says Sec. State Clinton is leaving the adminstration?  She can't go to the convention, because the SecSt is meant to be a non-partisan position, and it is inappropriate to attend. 
1432  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: May 02, 2012, 06:48:51 AM
Both the NYT and the USA Today have fallen troops section of their front section.  That isn't silence or ignoring.  And, the thing about news is the "new."  Old news is an oxymoron, though I think we should debate/discuss the wisdom of this situation. 
1433  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Fire Hydrant: Howls from Crafty Dog, Rules of the Road, etc on: May 01, 2012, 07:34:43 AM
Welcome home.  And good luck catching up!
1434  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Mom's Facebook photo pops up on porn, dating sites on: April 30, 2012, 04:43:56 PM

Rahim, it seems, is the victim of photo-jacking — the exploitation of photos scraped from Facebook and other Internet outlets. And Rahim isn't the only victim of image exploitation. The Straits Times reports there are at least two other women in Singapore whose social media photos showed up on the same sites where Rahim's picture appeared.
1435  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / insteresting study and video! on: April 26, 2012, 11:08:21 AM
1436  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / CISPA veto threat on: April 26, 2012, 07:13:52 AM

"Citizens have a right to know that corporations will be held legally accountable for failing to safeguard personal information adequately," the White House said.

The administration emphasized that a civilian agency such as the Homeland Security Department — not military spy agencies — should have a central role in handling the cyber threat information.
1437  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / The real war on women is in the Middle East. on: April 24, 2012, 02:54:33 PM

But let's put aside what the United States does or doesn't do to women. Name me an Arab country, and I'll recite a litany of abuses fueled by a toxic mix of culture and religion that few seem willing or able to disentangle lest they blaspheme or offend. When more than 90 percent of ever-married women in Egypt -- including my mother and all but one of her six sisters -- have had their genitals cut in the name of modesty, then surely we must all blaspheme. When Egyptian women are subjected to humiliating "virginity tests" merely for speaking out, it's no time for silence. When an article in the Egyptian criminal code says that if a woman has been beaten by her husband "with good intentions" no punitive damages can be obtained, then to hell with political correctness. And what, pray tell, are "good intentions"? They are legally deemed to include any beating that is "not severe" or "directed at the face." What all this means is that when it comes to the status of women in the Middle East, it's not better than you think. It's much, much worse. Even after these "revolutions," all is more or less considered well with the world as long as women are covered up, anchored to the home, denied the simple mobility of getting into their own cars, forced to get permission from men to travel, and unable to marry without a male guardian's blessing -- or divorce either.

1438  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The incumbent death matches on: April 23, 2012, 08:17:16 PM

Two down. Nine to go.
Tuesday’s Pennsylvania showdown between Democratic Reps. Jason Altmire and Mark Critz marks the beginning of a seven-week period of primaries that will feature a handful of the rarest and most exotic political contests: the incumbent vs. incumbent primary death match.

1439  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Facing a Robo-Grader? Just Keep Obfuscating Mellifluously on: April 23, 2012, 08:10:51 PM

A recently released study has concluded that computers are capable of scoring essays on standardized tests as well as human beings do.

Mark Shermis, dean of the College of Education at the University of Akron, collected more than 16,000 middle school and high school test essays from six states that had been graded by humans. He then used automated systems developed by nine companies to score those essays.

Computer scoring produced “virtually identical levels of accuracy, with the software in some cases proving to be more reliable,” according to a University of Akron news release.
1440  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / NJ Troopers High Speed Escort Service on: April 23, 2012, 01:06:47 PM

The State Police are investigating complaints that two troopers escorted a caravan of luxury sports cars at speeds in excess of 100 mph down the Garden State Parkway to Atlantic City last month. The occupants included former Giants running back and sports car enthusiast Brandon Jacobs, according to a source with knowledge of the trip.

In the complaints, obtained by The Star-Ledger, witnesses said that in the early afternoon March 30, they saw two State Police patrol cars with their emergency lights flashing driving in front of and behind the southbound caravan, which included dozens of Porsches, Lamborghinis, Ferraris and other vehicles, all with their license plates covered with tape.

1441  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Why are homeschooled kids so annoying? on: April 21, 2012, 05:26:09 PM

About a year ago, when I first started considering taking my kids out of public school, I wasn’t met with the kind of incredulous questioning that I expected after suggesting something so reckless and foolhardy.  For the most part people were excited and supportive and helpful.  Many thought we were already homeschooling, in fact.  What surprised me most though is that folks who were concerned about the prudence of such a decision weren’t worried that my children might not learn enough or the the right things.  They didn’t wonder how my kids would know how to be quiet when they were supposed to or to wait in lines when they have to.
No, the biggest concern among the concerned was: SOCIALIZATION.  Ahhhh!  Socialize those kids!  Learnin’, schmlearning- those kids need to be among herds of other kids their exact age in order to learn how to be normal.  In other words: homeschooled kids are annoying and weird, and you don’t want your kids to be annoying and weird, do you?
1442  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Romney found missing girl on: April 20, 2012, 06:21:37 AM
Brought to my attention by my uncle, and worth seeing if you've not already:
1443  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China-- Rotting from Within on: April 19, 2012, 01:29:45 AM

In many fields of international competition, China is less sanguine about its abilities than outsiders. Chinese leaders often remind Westerners that China is a developing country, with hundreds of millions of people living in poverty, an unbalanced economy, and high social tensions. What should most worry Beijing, and provide some comfort to those who fear Chinese military expansionism, is the state of corruption in the People's Liberation Army (PLA).

True, the world underestimated how quickly a four-fold jump in Chinese military spending in the past decade would deliver an array of new weaponry to prevent the United States from interfering in a regional military conflict. Top American generals have worried publicly about "carrier-killer" ballistic missiles designed to destroy U.S. battle groups as far afield as the Philippines, Japan, and beyond. Last year, China tested a prototype stealth fighter and launched its maiden aircraft carrier, to augment new destroyers and nuclear submarines. What is unknown, however, is whether the Chinese military, an intensely secretive organisation only nominally accountable to civilian leaders, can develop the human software to effectively operate and integrate its new hardware.
1444  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Patriot Games on: April 19, 2012, 01:18:03 AM

In 1990, the FBI began picking up on rumors about an effort to reconstitute a notorious terrorist-criminal gang known as The Order.

The group's name was taken from the infamous racist 1978 novel The Turner Diaries, which told the story of a fictional cabal carrying out acts of terrorism and eventually overthrowing the U.S. government in a bloody, nihilistic racial purge. The book was an inspiration to a generation of white nationalists, including Timothy McVeigh, whose path to radicalization climaxed in the Oklahoma City bombing 17 years ago Thursday.
During the 1980s, extremists inspired by the book began robbing banks and armored cars, stealing and counterfeiting millions of dollars and distributing some of the money to racist extremist causes. Members of The Order assassinated Jewish talk radio host Alan Berg in 1984, before most of its members were arrested and its leader killed in a standoff. Less than 10 percent of the money stolen by The Order was ever recovered, and investigators feared members of the group who were still at large would use it to further a campaign of terrorism.
To prevent the rise of a "Second Order," FBI undercover agents would become it.
1445  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The absent beard in politics on: April 19, 2012, 12:58:06 AM

Though the gentlemen who vied for the Republican presidential nomination disagreed on many things, from tax policy to contraception to the feasibility of establishing a colony on the moon, there's one critical issue on which they were firmly in accord: facial hair. This was true of the eventual nominees in the last election, and the one before that, and in every other presidential contest going back to 1916. One hundred years ago, two of the four men running for president were proudly hirsute, as were two of the four vice-presidential candidates. Today, the sitting president can't grow whiskers and his challengers wouldn't dare try. When did the beard lose its political prestige?

In his delightful 1930 monograph Concerning Beards, Edwin Valentine Mitchell notes that "the fortunes of the beard have always fluctuated through the ages. It flourishes for a time in full splendor, then diminishes in size, and finally disappears altogether, only to burst forth once more in all its former glory." In much of the premodern era, a healthy beard connoted influence and high status; Mitchell says that "one ancient king actually made a terrible scene because the reigning head of another state sent a beardless youth upon a political errand to his court." The opposite is true, too: Men pressed into servitude were often shorn of their beards as a sign of subjugation.
1446  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / DOJ 'peacemakers' helped Sanford stay cool amid rising tensions on: April 18, 2012, 02:11:25 PM

When racial tensions flared in Sanford, a league of secretive peacemakers reached out to the city's spiritual and civic leaders to help cool heated emotions after 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed in February.

When civil-rights organizers wanted to demonstrate, these federal workers taught them how to peacefully manage crowds.

They even arranged a police escort for college students to ensure safe passage for their 40-mile march from Daytona Beach to Sanford to demand justice.

1447  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Afghan schoolgirls poisoned in anti-education attack on: April 18, 2012, 02:04:49 PM

About 150 Afghan schoolgirls were poisoned on Tuesday after drinking contaminated water at a high school in the country's north, officials said, blaming it on conservative radicals opposed to female education.
1448  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Zimmerman affadavit on: April 17, 2012, 05:43:50 PM

Zimmerman was merely reporting suspicious behavior, just as our own Department of Homeland Security advocates with its “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign, which has been created and promoted by cabinet officials appointed by the Obama Administration. Zimmerman saw someone acting suspiciously, and did precisely what DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano wants citizens to do in that situation.
1449  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Fake Orgasms and the Tea Party: Just Another Political Science Convention on: April 17, 2012, 05:25:46 PM

You can't find a Food Network stew any richer than when political scientists gather: vector autoregression analysis, word of growing cheating on political surveys, talk of faked orgasms, and microscopic parsing of President Obama's speeches meld with revisionist takes on the Tea Party.

It happened again when the Midwest Political Science Association drew 5,000 attendees from around the globe to an annual Chicago gathering. The high-brow feast concluded Sunday but not before hundreds of panel discussions and the surfacing of 4,239 academic papers.

Yes, 4,239, and with lots of footnotes, graphs and vector autoregression analyses. Closing my eyes and randomly picking just four papers in the event's 574-page, phonebook-like program, I give you the following:

 "The Effects of Teachers' Race on Adolescent Risky Sexual Behaviors," "The Impact of State Politics and Policy on Fossil Fuel Plant Construction," "Out of Africa: Electoral Failure and the Future of Political Islam in West Africa," and "Political Knowledge of Local Courts: Are Rural Voters More Informed than Urban Voters?"
1450  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / cyber Terry stops on: April 17, 2012, 09:01:51 AM
An article written by the National Security Division of the DOJ:
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