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201  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tea Party, Glen Beck and related matters on: October 28, 2013, 08:30:21 AM
Of course no Party needs this.

The Tea Party should expel him for life.   

The Tea Party and Republican parties have to move the topic beyond race; the agenda is all Americans.

BTW BD, the guy once ran as a Democrat and now calls himself a libertarian.

"BTW BD, the guy once ran as a Democrat and now calls himself a libertarian."

I don't follow you here. The Tea Party is supposed to be the libertarian wing of the GOP, is it not? He says he is a follower of Ron Paul, who ran as a Republican. Strom Thurmond ran as a Democrat too....
202  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Failed Tea Party Candidate, Calls For Assassination Of Obama, First Daughters on: October 28, 2013, 08:27:58 AM
Tea Party problems:

From the article:

"Assassinate the f----- n----- and his monkey children," Manson commented on his own post, according to a screen shot uploaded by Facebook group "Americans Against the Tea Party" and relayed by Your Black Politics blog.

Quoting huffpo is always a mistake.

Always? Really? Is it because they use quotes you don't like?
203  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: HufPo: "Tea Party Racism" on: October 28, 2013, 08:27:27 AM
A major effort is going on to smear the TP with the racism label.  Here is one example-- what is the best way to respond to this sort of attack?

The dems have used racial hatred since they founded the KKK. Nothing has changed.

Except of course the party realignment.
204  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Failed Tea Party Candidate, Calls For Assassination Of Obama, First Daughters on: October 28, 2013, 07:07:47 AM
Tea Party problems:

From the article:

"Assassinate the f----- n----- and his monkey children," Manson commented on his own post, according to a screen shot uploaded by Facebook group "Americans Against the Tea Party" and relayed by Your Black Politics blog.
205  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Benghazi on 60 Minutes on: October 27, 2013, 06:36:28 PM

MARC:  Just in case this somehow disappears down the road, here is the content:

The following script is from "Benghazi" which aired on Oct. 27, 2013. The correspondent is Lara Logan. Max McClellan, producer.
60 Minutes Overtime
Voices from the Benghazi investigation »

When Chris Stevens was killed in Benghazi, Libya, on the anniversary of September 11th last year, it was only the sixth time that the United States had lost an ambassador to its enemies. The events of that night have been overshadowed by misinformation, confusion and intense partisanship. But for those who lived through it, there's nothing confusing about what happened, and they share a sense of profound frustration because they say they saw it coming.

Tonight, you will hear for the first time from a security officer who witnessed the attack. He calls himself, Morgan Jones, a pseudonym he's using for his own safety. A former British soldier, he's been helping to keep U.S. diplomats and military leaders safe for the last decade. On a night he describes as sheer hell, Morgan Jones snuck into a Benghazi hospital that was under the control of al Qaeda terrorists, desperate to find out if one of his close friends from the U.S. Special Mission was the American he'd been told was there.

Morgan Jones: I was dreading seeing who it was, you know? It didn't take long to get to the room. And I could see in through the glass. And I didn't even have to go into the room to see who it was. I knew who it was immediately.

Lara Logan: Who was it?

Morgan Jones: It was the ambassador, dead. Yeah, shocking.

Morgan Jones said he'd never felt so angry in his life. Only hours earlier, Amb. Chris Stevens had sought him out, concerned about the security at the U.S. Special Mission Compound where Morgan was in charge of the Libyan guard force.

Now, the ambassador was dead and the U.S. compound was engulfed in flames and overrun by dozens of heavily armed fighters.

Although the attack began here, the more organized assault unfolded about a mile across the city at a top secret CIA facility known as the Annex. It lasted more than seven hours and took four American lives.

Contrary to the White House's public statements, which were still being made a full week later, it's now well established that the Americans were attacked by al Qaeda in a well-planned assault.

Five months before that night, Morgan Jones first arrived in Benghazi, in eastern Libya about 400 miles from the capital, Tripoli.

He thought this would be an easy assignment compared to Afghanistan and Iraq. But on his first drive through Benghazi, he noticed the black flags of al Qaeda flying openly in the streets and he grew concerned about the guard forces as soon as he pulled up to the U.S. compound.

Morgan Jones: There was nobody there that we could see. And then we realized they were all inside drinking tea, laughing and joking.

Lara Logan: What did you think?

Morgan Jones: Instantly I thought we're going to have to get rid of all these guys.

Morgan Jones' job was training the unarmed guards who manned the compound's gates. A second Libyan force -- an armed militia hired by the State Department -- was supposed to defend the compound in the event of an attack. Morgan had nothing to do with the militia, but they worried him so much, he could not keep quiet.

Morgan Jones: I was saying, "These guys are no good. You need to-- you need to get 'em out of here."

Lara Logan: You also kept saying, "If this place is attacked these guys are not going to stand and fight?"

Morgan Jones: Yeah. I used to say it all the time. Yeah, in the end I got quite bored of hearing my own voice saying it.

Andy Wood: We had one option: "Leave Benghazi or you will be killed."

Green Beret Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Andy Wood, was one of the top American security officials in Libya. Based in Tripoli, he met with Amb. Stevens every day.

The last time he went to Benghazi was in June, just three months before the attack. While he was there, al Qaeda tried to assassinate the British ambassador. Wood says, to him, it came as no surprise because al Qaeda -- using a familiar tactic -- had stated their intent in an online posting, saying they would attack the Red Cross, the British and then the Americans in Benghazi.


Lara Logan: And you watched as they--

Andy Wood: As they did each one of those.

Lara Logan: --attacked the Red Cross and the British mission. And the only ones left--

Andy Wood: Were us. They made good on two out of the three promises. It was a matter of time till they captured the third one.

Lara Logan: And Washington was aware of that?

Andy Wood: They knew we monitored it. We included that in our reports to both State Department and DOD.

Andy Wood told us he raised his concerns directly with Amb. Stevens three months before the U.S. compound was overrun.

Andy Wood: I made it known in a country team meeting, "You are gonna get attacked. You are gonna get attacked in Benghazi. It's gonna happen. You need to change your security profile."

Lara Logan: Shut down--

Andy Wood: Shut down--

Lara Logan: --the special mission--

Andy Wood: --"Shut down operations. Move out temporarily. Ch-- or change locations within the city. Do something to break up the profile because you are being targeted. They are-- they are-- they are watching you. The attack cycle is such that they're in the final planning stages."

Lara Logan: Wait a minute, you said, "They're in the final planning stages of an attack on the American mission in Benghazi"?

Andy Wood: It was apparent to me that that was the case. Reading, reading all these other, ah, attacks that were occurring, I could see what they were staging up to, it was, it was obvious.

We have learned the U.S. already knew that this man, senior al Qaeda leader Abu Anas al-Libi was in Libya, tasked by the head of al Qaeda to establish a clandestine terrorist network inside the country. Al-Libi was already wanted for his role in bombing two U.S. embassies in Africa.

Greg Hicks: It was a frightening piece of information.

Lara Logan: Because it meant what?

Greg Hicks: It raised the stakes, changed the game.

Greg Hicks, who testified before Congress earlier this year, was Amb. Stevens' deputy based in Tripoli - a 22-year veteran of the Foreign Service with an impeccable reputation.

Lara Logan: And in that environment you were asking for more security assets and you were not getting them?

Greg Hicks: That's right.

Lara Logan: Did you fight that?

Greg Hicks: I was in the process of trying to frame a third request but it was not allowed to go forward.

Lara Logan: So why didn't you get the help that you needed and that you asked for?

Greg Hicks: I really, really don't know. I in fact would like to know that, the answer to that question.

In the months prior to the attack, Amb. Stevens approved a series of detailed cables to Washington, specifically mentioning, among other things, "the al Qaeda flag has been spotted several times flying over government buildings".

When the attack began on the evening of September 11, Amb. Stevens immediately called Greg Hicks, who was back in Tripoli.

Greg Hicks: Ambassador said that the consulate's under attack. And then the line cut.

Lara Logan: Do you remember the sound of his voice?

Greg Hicks: Oh yeah, it's indelibly imprinted on my mind.

Lara Logan: How did he sound?

Greg Hicks: He sounded frightened.

In Benghazi, Morgan Jones, who was at his apartment about 15 minutes away, got a frantic call from one of his Libyan guards.

Morgan Jones: I could hear gunshots. And I-- and he said, "There's-- there's men coming into the mission." His voice, he was, he was scared, you could tell he was really scared and he was running, I could tell he was running.

His first thought was for his American friends, the State Department agents who were pinned down inside the compound, and he couldn't believe it when one of them answered his phone.

Morgan Jones: I said, "What's going on?" He said, "We're getting attacked." And I said, "How many?" And he said, "They're all over the compound." And I felt shocked, I didn't know what to say. And-- I said, "Well, just keep fighting. I'm on my way."

Morgan's guards told him the armed Libyan militia that was supposed to defend the compound had fled, just as Morgan had predicted. His guards -- unarmed and terrified -- sounded the alarm, but they were instantly overwhelmed by the attackers.

Morgan Jones: They said, "We're here to kill Americans, not Libyans," so they'd give them a good beating, pistol whip them, beat them with their rifles and let them go.

Lara Logan: We're here to kill Americans.

Morgan Jones: That's what they said, yeah.

Lara Logan: Not Libyans.

Morgan Jones: Yeah.

About 30 minutes into the attack, a quick reaction force from the CIA Annex ignored orders to wait and raced to the compound, at times running and shooting their way through the streets just to get there. Inside the compound, they repelled a force of as many as 60 armed terrorists and managed to save five American lives and recover the body of Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith. They were forced to fight their way out before they could find the ambassador.


Not long afterwards, Morgan Jones scaled the 12-foot high wall of the compound that was still overrun with al Qaeda fighters.

Morgan Jones: One guy saw me. He just shouted. I couldn't believe that he'd seen me 'cause it was so dark. He started walking towards me.

Lara Logan: And as he was coming closer?

Morgan Jones: As I got closer, I just hit him with the butt of the rifle in the face.

Lara Logan: And?

Morgan Jones: Oh, he went down, yeah.

Lara Logan: He dropped?

Morgan Jones: Yeah, like-- like a stone.

Lara Logan: With his face smashed in?

Morgan Jones: Yeah.

Lara Logan: And no one saw you do it?

Morgan Jones: No.

Lara Logan: Or heard it?

Morgan Jones: No, there was too much noise.

The same force that had gone to the compound was now defending the CIA Annex. Hours later, they were joined by a small team of Americans from Tripoli. From defensive positions on these rooftops, the Americans fought back a professional enemy. In a final wave of intense fighting just after 5 a.m., the attackers unleashed a barrage of mortars. Three of them slammed into this roof, killing former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.

Lara Logan: They hit that roof three times.

Andy Wood: They, they hit those roofs three times.

Lara Logan: In the dark.

Andy Wood: Yea, that's getting the basketball through the hoop over your shoulder.

Lara Logan: What does it take to pull off an attack like that?

Andy Wood: Coordination, planning, training, experienced personnel. They practice those things. They knew what they were doing. That was a-- that was a well-executed attack.

We have learned there were two Delta Force operators who fought at the Annex and they've since been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and the Navy Cross -- two of the military's highest honors. The Americans who rushed to help that night went without asking for permission and the lingering question is why no larger military response ever crossed the border into Libya -- something Greg Hicks realized wasn't going to happen just an hour into the attack.

Lara Logan: You have this conversation with the defense attache. You ask him what military assets are on their way. And he says--

Greg Hicks: Effectively, they're not. And I-- for a moment, I just felt lost. I just couldn't believe the answer. And then I made the call to the Annex chief, and I told him, "Listen, you've gotta tell those guys there may not be any help coming."

Lara Logan: That's a tough thing to understand. Why?

Greg Hicks: It just is. We--, for us, for the people that go out onto the edge, to represent our country, we believe that if we get in trouble, they're coming to get us. That our back is covered. To hear that it's not, it's a terrible, terrible experience.

The U.S. government today acknowledges the Americans at the U.S. compound in Benghazi were not adequately protected. And says those who carried out the attack are still being hunted down.

Just a few weeks ago, Abu Anas al-Libi was captured for his role in the Africa bombings and the U.S. is still investigating what part he may have played in Benghazi. We've learned that this man, Sufian bin Qumu, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee and long-time al Qaeda operative, was one of the lead planners along with Faraj al-Chalabi, whose ties to Osama bin Laden go back more than 15 years. He's believed to have carried documents from the compound to the head of al Qaeda in Pakistan.

The morning after the attack, Morgan Jones went back to the compound one last time to document the scene. He took these photos which he gave to the FBI and has published in a book he has written. After all this time, he told us he's still haunted by a conversation he had with Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith, a week before the attack.

Morgan Jones: Yeah, he was worried. He wasn't happy with the security.

Lara Logan: And you didn't tell him all your worries?

Morgan Jones: No. No, didn't want to--

Lara Logan: Why not?

Morgan Jones: I didn't want to worry him anymore, you know? He's a nice guy. I sort of promised him he'd be OK.

Lara Logan: You think about that?

Morgan Jones: Every day, yeah.

The U.S. pulled out of Benghazi and al Qaeda has grown in power across Libya. When a member of our team went to the U.S. compound earlier this month, he found remnants of the Americans' final frantic moments still scattered on the ground. Among them Amb. Stevens' official schedule for Sept.12, 2012, a day he didn't live to see.
206  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Dissident's Toolkit on: October 27, 2013, 05:51:46 AM

From the article:

Attracting participation is perhaps the most important of these tasks, since the ability to provoke defections and outmaneuver opponents often depends on whether the movement enjoys large and broad-based support. The most important singular factor for a successful campaign is its participation rate. According to the NAVCO data set, which identifies the outcomes of over 300 nonviolent and violent campaigns worldwide from 1900-2006, none of the cases failed after achieving the active and sustained participation of just 3.5 percent of the population -- and some of them succeeded with far less than that. Of course, 3.5 percent is nothing to sneeze at. In the United States today, this constitutes over 11 million people. But how do movements get this large in the first place, especially in countries where overt participation in a mass movement is highly risky?

One way organizers can grow their movement is by including tactics that are safer and therefore more attractive to risk-averse participants. For example, instead of relying solely on demonstrations or protests, many movements will allow people to participate through "electricity strikes" where people shut off their electricity at a coordinated time of day, or by banging on pots and pans in the middle of the night to signal the power in numbers. Engaging  in these types of actions may draw in more ambivalent people while also allowing them the opportunity to develop a sense of identity with the movement and its goals. In Chile under Pinochet, for example, outright demonstrations against the dictator were far too dangerous. In one instance, Pinochet was so threatened by the subtext of some popular songs that he banned public singing; it didn't take much. But when people began to bang on pots and pans, it let them demonstrate their defiance anonymously in the safety of their own homes. As the people's metallic clamor for change became louder and louder, anti-Pinochet organizers and their supporters became emboldened to press for more disruptive and overt action.
207  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Straight-shooter Swenson not done fighting on: October 25, 2013, 06:55:13 AM

From the article:

But Will Swenson doesn’t have a job.

He has been out of the Army and unemployed since 2011. Last week, his hair way past regulation length, he put on his dress-blue captain’s uniform long enough for President Barack Obama to drape the Medal of Honor around his neck. He has a college degree. He has the Medal of Honor. But he doesn’t have a job.

Support our troops.
208  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Football and the American Character on: October 25, 2013, 06:28:56 AM
This article could go on many threads, including at least the football, American History and Politics threads. It is a good read. (when a new edition is released, this article will be archived)

September 2013

John J. Miller
Director, Herbert H. Dow II Program in American Journalism
Hillsdale College

Football and the American Character

JOHN J. MILLER is director of the Herbert H. Dow II Program in American Journalism at Hillsdale College and national correspondent for National Review. A graduate of the University of Michigan, where he served as editor of the Michigan Review, he has also worked on the staff of The New Republic. A contributing editor of Philanthropy magazine, he writes regularly for newspapers and journals including the Detroit News, the Wall Street Journal, and National Review. He is the author of several books, including The First Assassin, a novel set during the Civil War, and most recently The Big Scrum: How Teddy Roosevelt Saved Football.

The following is adapted from a luncheon speech delivered at Hillsdale College on September 9, 2013.

When we talk about football, we usually talk about our favorite teams and the games they play. The biggest ongoing story in the sport right now, however, is something else entirely. It’s not about the Bears vs. the Packers or Michigan vs. Ohio State, but rather the controversy over concussions and the long-term health effects of head injuries.

On August 29, 2013, the National Football League agreed to pay $765 million to settle a lawsuit involving more than 4,500 players and their families, who had claimed that the league covered up data on the harmful effects of concussions. Although medical research into football and long-term effects of head injuries is hardly conclusive, some data suggest a connection. A number of legal experts believe the NFL, which will generate about $10 billion in revenue this year, dodged an even bigger payout.

Football, of course, is much bigger than the NFL and its players, whose average yearly salary is nearly $2 million. Football’s ranks include about 50,000 men who play in college and four million boys who play for schools or in youth leagues whose pockets aren’t nearly so deep. A Colorado jury recently awarded $11.5 million to a boy who suffered a paralyzing injury at his high school football practice in 2008. How long will it be before school districts begin to think football isn’t worth the cost?

Earlier this year, President Obama waded into the debate. “If I had a son, I’d have to think long and hard before I let him play football,” he said. He also called for football “to reduce some of the violence.” Others have called for a more dramatic solution: Malcolm Gladwell, the bestselling author of The Tipping Point and other books, thinks football should go the way of dogfighting. He would like to see America’s favorite sport run out of polite society.

So football’s future is uncertain. But the past may offer important lessons. After all, football’s problems today are nothing compared to what they were about a century ago: In 1905, 18 people died playing the sport. Football became embroiled in a long-running dispute over violence and safety—and it was almost banned through the efforts of Progressive-era prohibitionists. Had these enemies of football gotten their way, they might have erased one of America’s great pastimes from our culture. But they lost—and it took the efforts of Theodore Roosevelt to thwart them.

On November 18, 1876, Theodore Roosevelt, a freshman at Harvard who had just turned 18, attended his first football game. Destined for great things, he was enthusiastic about athletics in general and eager to see the new sport of football in particular. So here he was at the second game ever played between Harvard and its great rival Yale.

As Roosevelt shivered in the cold and windy fall weather, he watched a game that was quite different from the sport we know today. There were no quarterbacks or wide receivers, no first downs or forward passes. Before play began, the teams met to discuss rules. What number of men would play? What would count for a score? How long would the game last? They were like school kids today who have to set up boundaries, choose between a game of touch or tackle, and decide how to count blitzes.

Harvard’s veterans agreed to a couple of suggestions proposed by Yale. The first would carry a lasting legacy: Rather than playing with 15 men to a side, as was the current custom, the teams would play with eleven men. So this was the first football game to feature eleven players on the field per team.

The second suggestion would not shape the sport’s future, but it would affect the game that afternoon: Touchdowns would not count for points. Only goals—balls sailed over a rope tied between two poles—kicked after touchdowns or kicked from the field during play would contribute to the score.

In the first half, Harvard scored a touchdown but missed the kick. By the rules of the day, this meant that Harvard earned no points. At halftime, the game was a scoreless tie.

After the break, Yale pushed into Harvard territory and a lanky freshman named Walter Camp tried to shovel the ball to a teammate. It was a poor lateral pass that hit the ground and bounced upward, taking one of those funny hops that can befuddle even skilled players. In a split second, Oliver Thompson decided to take a chance on a kick from about 35 yards away and at a wide angle. The ball soared into the air, over the rope and through the uprights, giving Yale a lead of 1-0. No more points were scored that afternoon.

In a letter to his mother the next day, Roosevelt gave voice to the frustration that so often accompanies defeat in sports. “I am sorry to say we were beaten,” he wrote, “principally because our opponents played very foul.”

More about Teddy Roosevelt and what he did for football in a moment. But first, let me discuss briefly why football matters.

Love for a college football team, whether it’s the Texas Longhorns or the Hillsdale Chargers, is almost tribal. In some cases the affiliation is practically inherited, in others chosen. Whatever the origin, football has the power to form lifelong loyalties and passions and has supplanted baseball as America’s favorite pastime. Yet it almost died 100 years ago. Over the course of an ordinary football season in those days, a dozen or more people would die playing it, and many more suffered serious injuries. A lot of the casualties were kids in sandlot games, but big-time college teams also paid a price.

Football isn’t a contact sport—it’s a collision sport that has always prized size, strength, and power. This was especially true in its early years, when even the era of leatherheads lay in the future: Nobody wore helmets, facemasks, or shoulder pads. During the frequent pileups, hidden from the view of referees, players would wrestle for advantage by throwing punches and jabbing elbows. The most unsporting participants would even try to gouge their opponents’ eyes.

The deaths were the worst. They were not freak accidents as much as the inevitable toll of a violent game. And they horrified a group of activists who crusaded against football itself—wanting not merely to remove violence from the sport, but to ban the sport altogether. At the dawn of the Progressive era, the social and political movement to prohibit football became a major cause.

The New York Evening Post attacked the sport, as did The Nation, an influential magazine of news and opinion. The latter worried that colleges were becoming “huge training grounds for young gladiators, around whom as many spectators roar as roared in the [Roman] amphitheatre.” The New York Times bemoaned football’s tendency toward “mayhem and homicide.” Two weeks later, the Times ran a new editorial entitled “Two Curable Evils.” The first evil it addressed was lynching. The second was football.

The main figure in this movement to ban football was Charles W. Eliot, the president of Harvard and probably the single most important person in the history of higher education in the United States. Indeed, Eliot hated team sports in general because competition motivated players to conduct themselves in ways he considered unbecoming of gentlemen. If baseball and football were honorable pastimes, he reasoned, why did they require umpires and referees? “A game that needs to be watched is not fit for genuine sportsmen,” he once said. For Eliot, a pitcher who threw a curve ball was engaging in an act of treachery. But football distressed him even more. Most of all, he despised its violence. Time and again, he condemned the game as “evil.”

One of Eliot’s main adversaries in the battle over football was Walter Camp, one of the players in the game Teddy Roosevelt watched in 1876. A decent player, Camp made his real mark on football as a coach and a rules-maker. Indeed, he is the closest thing there is to football’s founding father.

In the rivalry between Eliot and Camp, we see one of the ongoing controversies in American politics at its outset—the conflict between regulators bent on the dream of a world without risk, and those who resist such an agenda in the name of freedom and responsibility. Eliot and other Progressives identified a genuine problem with football, but their solution was radical. They wanted to regulate football out of existence because they believed that its participants were not capable of making their own judgments in terms of costs and benefits. In their higher wisdom, these elites would ban the sport for all.

Into this struggle stepped Theodore Roosevelt. As a boy, he had suffered from chronic asthma to the point that relatives wondered if he would survive childhood. His mother and father tried everything to improve his health, even resorting to quack cures such as having him smoke cigars. Ultimately they concluded that he simply would have to overcome the disease. They encouraged him to go to a gym, and he worked out daily. The asthma would stay with Roosevelt for years, but by the time he was an adult, it was largely gone. For Roosevelt, the lesson was that a commitment to physical fitness could take a scrawny boy and turn him into a vigorous young man.

This experience was deeply connected to Roosevelt’s love of football. He remained a fan as he graduated from Harvard, entered politics, ranched out west, and became an increasingly visible public figure.

In 1895, shortly before he became president of the New York City police commission, he wrote a letter to Walter Camp that read as follows:

I am very glad to have a chance of expressing to you the obligation which I feel all Americans are under to you for your championship of athletics. The man on the farm and in the workshop here, as in other countries, is apt to get enough physical work; but we were tending steadily in America to produce . . . sedentary classes . . . and from this the athletic spirit has saved us. Of all games I personally like foot ball the best, and I would rather see my boys play it than see them play any other. I have no patience with the people who declaim against it because it necessitates rough play and occasional injuries. The rough play, if confined within manly and honorable limits, is an advantage. It is a good thing to have the personal contact about which the New York Evening Post snarls so much, and no fellow is worth his salt if he minds an occasional bruise or cut. Being near-sighted I was not able to play foot ball in college, and I never cared for rowing or base ball, so that I did all my work in boxing and wrestling. They are both good exercises, but they are not up to foot ball . . . .

I am utterly disgusted with the attitude of President Eliot and the Harvard faculty about foot ball . . . .
I do not give a snap for a good man who can’t fight and hold his own in the world. A citizen has got to be decent of course. That is the first requisite; but the second, and just as important, is that he shall be efficient, and he can’t be efficient unless he is manly. Nothing has impressed me more in meeting college graduates during the fifteen years I have been out of college than the fact that on the average the men who have counted most have been those who had sound bodies.

As this letter indicates, Roosevelt saw football as more than a diversion. He saw it as a positive social good. When he was recruiting the Rough Riders in 1898, he went out of his way to select men who had played football. The Duke of Wellington reportedly once said, “The battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton.” Roosevelt never said anything similar about football fields and the Battle of San Juan Hill, but when he emerged from the Spanish-American War as a national hero—and as someone talked about as being of presidential timber—he knew how much he owed not just to the Rough Riders, but to the culture of manliness and risk-taking that had shaped them.

Like Roosevelt, our society values sports, though we don’t always think about why—or why we should. My kids have played football, baseball, hockey, soccer, and lacrosse. As a family, we’re fairly sports-oriented. It has forced me to think about a question that a lot of parents probably ask at one time or another: Why do we want our kids to participate in athletics?

Many parents will point to the obvious fact that sports are good for health and fitness. They’ll also discuss the intangible benefits in terms of character building—sports teach kids to get up after falling down, to play through pain, to deal with failure, to work with teammates, to take direction from coaches, and so on.

It turns out that there really is something to all of this. Empirical research shows that kids who play sports stay in school longer. As adults, they vote more often and earn more money. Explaining why this is true is trickier, but it probably has something to do with developing a competitive instinct and a desire for achievement.

Roosevelt was surely correct in believing that sports influence the character of a nation. Americans are much more likely than Europeans to play sports. We’re also more likely to attribute economic success to hard work, as opposed to luck. It may be that sports are a manifestation—or possibly even a source—of American exceptionalism.

When Roosevelt ascended to the presidency, football remained controversial and Harvard’s Eliot continued his crusade for prohibition. In 1905, Roosevelt was persuaded to act. He invited Walter Camp of Yale to the White House, along with the coaches of Harvard and Princeton. These were the three most important football teams in the country. “Football is on trial,” said Roosevelt. “Because I believe in the game, I want to do all I can to save it.” He encouraged the coaches to eliminate brutality, and they promised that they would.

Whether they meant what they said is another matter. Walter Camp didn’t see anything wrong with the way football was played. Harvard’s coach, however, was a young man named Bill Reid. He took Roosevelt more seriously, because he took the threat to football more seriously. Indeed, within weeks of meeting with Roosevelt, he came to fear that Eliot was on the verge of success in having Harvard drop the sport, which would have encouraged other schools to do the same.

At the end of the 1905 season, therefore, Reid plotted with a group of reform-minded colleges to form an organization that today we know as the NCAA and to approve a set of sweeping rules changes to reduce football’s violence. In committee meetings, Reid outmaneuvered Camp while receiving critical behind-the-scenes support from Roosevelt.

As a result, football experienced an extreme makeover: The yardage necessary for a first down increased from five to ten. Rules-makers also created a neutral zone at the line of scrimmage, limited the number of players who could line up in the backfield, made the personal foul a heavily penalized infraction, and banned the tossing of ballcarriers.

These were important revisions, and each was approved with an eye toward improving the safety of players. Yet the change that would transform the sport the most was the introduction of the forward pass. Up to this point, football was a game of running and kicking, not throwing. There were quarterbacks but not wide receivers. It took a few years to get the rule right—footballs needed to evolve away from their watermelon-like shape and become more aerodynamic, and coaches and players had to figure out how to take advantage of this new offensive tool. But on November 1, 1913, football moved irreversibly into the modern era.

Army was one of the best teams in the country, a national championship contender. It was scheduled to play a game against a little-known Catholic school from the Midwest. The headline in the New York Times that morning read: “Army Wants Big Score.” The little-known Catholic school was Notre Dame. Knute Rockne and his teammates launched football’s first true air war, throwing again and again for receptions and touchdowns. And they won, 35-14. Gushed the New York Times:

"The Westerners flashed the most sensational football that has been seen in the East this year. The Army players were hopelessly confused and chagrined before Notre Dame’s great playing, and their style of old-fashioned close line-smashing play was no match for the spectacular and highly perfected attack of the Indiana collegians."

A West Point cadet named Dwight Eisenhower watched from the sidelines. He was on Army’s team but didn’t play due to injury. “Everything has gone wrong,” he wrote to his girlfriend. “The football team . . . got beaten most gloriously by Notre Dame.”

With that game, football’s long first chapter came to a close. It had reduced the problem of violence, and the game that we enjoy today was born.

The example of Roosevelt shows that a skillful leader can use a light touch to solve a vexing problem. As a general rule, of course, we don’t want politicians interfering with our sports. The only thing that could make the BCS system worse is congressional involvement.

At the same time, our political leaders help to shape our culture and our expectations. They can promise a world without risk, or they can send a different message. As a father myself, I can sympathize with President Obama’s cautious statements about football. At the same time, his comments would have benefited from some context: Gregg Easterbrook, who writes a football column for ESPN, has pointed out that a teen who drives a car for an hour has about a one in a million chance of dying—compared to a one in six million chance for a teen who spends an hour practicing football.

Americans are a self-governing people. We can make our own judgments about whether to drive or play football—and when we make these choices, we can make them in recognition of the fact that although sports can be dangerous, they’re also good for us. They not only make us distinctively American, they make us better Americans.



Copyright © 2013 Hillsdale College. The opinions expressed in Imprimis are not necessarily the views of Hillsdale College. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided the following credit line is used: “Reprinted by permission from Imprimis, a publication of Hillsdale College.”
209  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Why the Death of the Tank Is Greatly Exaggerated on: October 25, 2013, 04:54:20 AM

From the article:

The spread of advanced guided weapons, especially to non-state forces such as Hezbollah, has made the battlefield more dangerous than ever. Which is why RAND analyst David E. Johnson, who has written several papers on the future of armor, believes that tanks are more necessary than ever. “My sense is that ATGMs have made the battlefield — be it irregular, hybrid or high-end war — too deadly for anything but tanks and similarly armored vehicles. As an Israeli told me when I was doing research on Hard Fighting: Israel in Lebanon and Gaza, nothing else can survive on the battlefield.”
210  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Unorganzied Militia: Citizens defend themselves/others. on: October 23, 2013, 09:37:47 PM
You are quite welcome, GM. Thanks for the first article.
211  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Unorganzied Militia: Citizens defend themselves/others. on: October 23, 2013, 08:36:00 PM
On that note, GM: did you see this?

From the article:

When the first shots of automatic gunfire burst out, Raju, a member of a local gun club, was waiting in line in a bank at the Westgate shopping mall. He crouched down, pulled out his phone and feverishly pecked out a text message: “I am inside and I can confirm this is not a robbery.”

Within minutes, his fellow gun club members, neighborhood watch volunteers, off-duty police officers and other armed Samaritans rushed to the mall. They found no command center, no SWAT team — in short, no coordinated government response as heavily armed Islamist militants shot civilians at will
212  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Appeals court limits GPS tracking on: October 23, 2013, 04:59:53 PM
213  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / What Churchill Can Teach Us About ... Killer Drones on: October 23, 2013, 02:08:36 PM
214  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Drones/UAV/UAS on: October 23, 2013, 02:07:58 PM
Thanks for your continuing coverage of this subject for us BD.

You are welcome, sir.
215  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 30th Anniversary of Beirut bombing on: October 23, 2013, 07:48:32 AM

From the article:

Oct. 23, 2013, marks the 30th anniversary of the Beirut Bombing.  241 American and 58 French service members were killed when two trucks filled with explosives crashed into the two barracks buildings. One of the 300 service members who lived in the building shares the story of the attack, his survival and how he lives with the memories.
216  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Improving Critical Cybersecurity Infrastructure on: October 23, 2013, 06:21:44 AM
217  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Drones/UAV/UAS on: October 23, 2013, 06:19:24 AM
Much in the news about US drone usage globally: has many links to reports and stories.

To contrast, the highly credentialed Kenneth Anderson's "The Case for Drones":
218  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security, Border Protection, and American Freedom on: October 22, 2013, 10:39:37 AM
Law enforcement entity. Words mean things, pay attention to detail, please.

I have already: "You misunderstand what DHS is. While there are law enforcement agencies within it, it isn't itself a "law enforcement entity." Inclusion of entities such as FEMA, the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, Office of Health Affairs and the Science and Technology directorate would suggest that. FEMA's budget (FY 2012) was $10.6B. Total DHS funding was about $57B. FEMA's budget was, I think, the largest single outlay for a component part of the DHS.

Additionally, the missions of DHS include things like domestic cybersecurity and ensuring resilience to disaster. While these are related to law enforcement, they are hardly the sole domain of law enforcement."

Then you changed the subject. Again.

I know quite a bit about the dysfunction within DHS and the jeopardy it places the public in. Do you think the political hacks in other sensitive positions have served this country well?

As do I. And that isn't the issue. The issue is that you think that Johnson is an "empty suit." Or thought that, until corrected. I'm done with the conversation, GM. 
219  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security, Border Protection, and American Freedom on: October 22, 2013, 09:22:20 AM
No, let's not, and here's why: every time I shoot down one of your arguments you change the target. First you claim DHS is a law enforcement agency. Then you say "my position is that a bar card and fundraising for the dems aren't qualifiers to run DHS. This country is suffering enough due to empty suits in positions of power." Now, confronted with the fact that this position is also false, you change arguments again. Let me repeat, just because you don't like someone (or his policy) doesn't make them unqualified.
220  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security, Border Protection, and American Freedom on: October 22, 2013, 05:35:20 AM
And my position is that having served as the USAF and DoD general counsel (a position that put him in a policymaking role) makes him not an "empty suit."
221  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security, Border Protection, and American Freedom on: October 21, 2013, 08:39:15 PM
No, you haven't. You have taken position that attorneys don't have a place in war. That is not true. And the idea that someone can't/shouldn't be loyal to a person is silly.

Again, just because you don't like them doesn't make them unqualified. 

Yes, which is why I've provided evidence showing why Johnson isn't qualified.
222  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security, Border Protection, and American Freedom on: October 21, 2013, 08:26:29 PM
Again, just because you don't like them doesn't make them unqualified. 
223  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security, Border Protection, and American Freedom on: October 21, 2013, 04:53:13 PM
I am aware of what the mission of DHS. In fact, my points above were taken from that statement. Did you note that the mission goes well beyond law enforcement, as I stated?
224  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Hunting the Nightmare Bacteria on: October 20, 2013, 07:42:27 PM

"Has the age of antibiotics come to an end? From a young girl thrust onto life support in Arizona to an uncontrollable outbreak at one of the nation’s most prestigious hospitals, FRONTLINE investigates the alarming rise of a deadly type of bacteria that our modern antibiotics can’t stop."
225  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / more on the (Red)Skins on: October 20, 2013, 04:25:04 PM
226  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races on: October 20, 2013, 04:13:07 PM
If I understand your question, there isn't any... which is what led to my apology to Doug of a day or two ago. I think that both parties (D in the Senate with guns; R in the HoR with budget) made a mistake by altering the rules for short-term gain, but it was their mistake to make.
227  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security, Border Protection, and American Freedom on: October 20, 2013, 03:43:54 PM
1. He is not unqualified.
2. His military experience is leading large portions of it.
3. Relevant work experience includes serving as AF General Counsel, DoD General Counsel, where he led 10,000 employees, and where he was instrumental in forming and articulating the nation's drone policy.
4. You not liking him does not make him inexperienced.
5. And you not liking attorneys does not make his nomination sound.
228  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security, Border Protection, and American Freedom on: October 20, 2013, 01:19:21 PM
As, so, having had your error pointed out to you change reasons why his appointment is questionable (to you)?

Perhaps I think Pentagon experience is experience is security. And perhaps you don't?
229  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security, Border Protection, and American Freedom on: October 19, 2013, 10:32:48 AM
Given that DHS is a massive law enforcement entity, you'd think that executive level leadership over a massive law enforcement agency type experience would be important.

Then again, competence and ability has never been a requirement for this administration.

You misunderstand what DHS is. While there are law enforcement agencies within it, it isn't itself a "law enforcement entity." Inclusion of entities such as FEMA, the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, Office of Health Affairs and the Science and Technology directorate would suggest that. FEMA's budget (FY 2012) was $10.6B. Total DHS funding was about $57B. FEMA's budget was, I think, the largest single outlay for a component part of the DHS.

Additionally, the missions of DHS include things like domestic cybersecurity and ensuring resilience to disaster. While these are related to law enforcement, they are hardly the sole domain of law enforcement.
230  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security, Border Protection, and American Freedom on: October 19, 2013, 06:35:46 AM
I still don't follow you. What about a police commissioner makes that a better choice than a former top Pentagon attorney who has extensive national security experience?

I think you may be ignoring issues like poor institutional design OF DHS with poor performance IN DHS. Your (seeming) derision of attorneys is something I still don't understand, and to be honest, something I find surprising.
231  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security, Border Protection, and American Freedom on: October 18, 2013, 07:47:18 PM
There have been many lawyers in leadership roles at DHS. I don't follow you here.

In addition to the forgoing there is the simple question presented:  How does being a lawyer prepare one for running DHS?   (compare Charlotte Lamb being head of security for Dept of State-- also completely lacking in security background-- look at how well that turned out  cry )

232  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: October 18, 2013, 07:45:00 PM
Ummm , , , could that be because the data hasn't been reported until just now?

No. Later in the article I posted: "You can find that comparison in Judge Walton’s letter—it’s in footnote 6—and the information has always been available through the Administrative Office of the United States Courts for any journalist who isn’t afraid of numbers. "
233  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Jeh Johnson Tapped to Lead DHS on: October 18, 2013, 01:40:54 PM

From the article:

Throughout his tenure at the Defense Department, Johnson deftly navigated Washington's ideological crosscurrents. He developed strong relationships with the military brass as well as with member of Congress on both sides of the aisle. He's even managed to become a favorite of Rachel Maddow, the progressive talk show host on MSNBC.

As the Pentagon's top lawyer, Johnson was deeply involved in hundreds of sensitive counterterrorism and military operations. His views evolved on targeted killings, leading him over time to believe that the administration needed clearer and more transparent procedures for the controversial strikes. He played a key role in developing the policy to start shifting the drone policy away from the CIA and over to the military.
234  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / The Data on FISA Warrants on: October 18, 2013, 01:33:58 PM

From the article:

Now we know:  the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court bounces a quarter of the government’s applications for surveillance orders.  This according to statistics released this week by the court’s chief judge, Reggie Walton, in a letter to Senator Patrick Leahy, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.  It also turns out the FISA Court is tougher on the government’s applications for orders designed to get foreign intelligence sitting on U.S. circuits than are the federal courts with respect to government applications for traditional wiretap warrants, which are mostly directed against U.S. citizens and permanent residents. But you wouldn’t know that from the media, because the media haven’t reported it.

Here’s the story.
235  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / trouble at Heritage? on: October 18, 2013, 01:30:08 PM

From the article:

Recently, Heritage refused to publish two papers about the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs written by a prominent conservative attorney. Why? Because he concluded that the programs were legal and constitutional, according to sources familiar with the matter. It was a surprising move for a think tank that has supported extension of the Patriot Act — which authorizes some of NSA’s activities — and has long been associated with right-of-center positions on national security and foreign policy.

. . .

But the think tank’s decision not to publish Bradbury’s opinions did not bury them.
236  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Obama said. So it must be so. on: October 18, 2013, 11:09:36 AM
Obama said he is offended by the Redskins name.

Well I'm offended by the "giants" name.  I am not that tall so that has got to go.

I'm offended by the "Viking" name.  Vikings were rapists, murderers, thieves, and plunderers.

What about the New Orleans "saints' .  This offends me.  I am Jewish but I don't see any team named after "menches".

The "buccaneers?"   Weren't they pirates thieves, liars, con artists, and in general low lives?

The Houston Oilers really pisses me off.  Oil is destroying our planet.  Better name them the windmills.

And the "patriots?"   Why they were all slave holders!

I want them all changed.  I am one person who is offended!  What is going on here?  

The esteemed Charles Krauthammer (

In re the (Washington) Redskins. Should the name be changed?

I don’t like being lectured by sportscasters about ethnic sensitivity. Or advised by the president of the United States about changing team names. Or blackmailed by tribal leaders playing the race card.

I don’t like the language police ensuring that no one anywhere gives offense to anyone about anything. And I fully credit the claim of Redskins owner Dan Snyder and many passionate fans that they intend no malice or prejudice and that “Redskins” has a proud 80-year history they wish to maintain.

The fact is, however, that words don’t stand still. They evolve.

Fifty years ago the preferred, most respectful term for African Americans was Negro. The word appears 15 times in Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech. Negro replaced a long list of insulting words in common use during decades of public and legal discrimination.

And then, for complicated historical reasons (having to do with the black power and “black is beautiful” movements), usage changed. The preferred term is now black or African American. With a rare few legacy exceptions, Negro carries an unmistakably patronizing and demeaning tone.

If you were detailing the racial composition of Congress, you wouldn’t say: “Well, to start with, there are 44 Negroes.” If you’d been asleep for 50 years, you might. But upon being informed how the word had changed in nuance, you would stop using it and choose another.

And here’s the key point: You would stop not because of the language police. Not because you might incur a Bob Costas harangue. Not because the president would wag a finger. But simply because the word was tainted, freighted with negative connotations with which you would not want to be associated.

Proof? You wouldn’t even use the word in private, where being harassed for political incorrectness is not an issue.

Similarly, regarding the further racial breakdown of Congress, you wouldn’t say: “And by my count, there are two redskins.” It’s inconceivable, because no matter how the word was used 80 years ago, it carries invidious connotations today.

I know there are surveys that say that most Native Americans aren’t bothered by the word. But that’s not the point. My objection is not rooted in pressure from various minorities or fear of public polls or public scolds.

When I was growing up, I thought “gyp” was simply a synonym for “cheat,” and used it accordingly. It was only when I was an adult that I learned that gyp was short for gypsy. At which point, I stopped using it.

Not because I took a poll of Roma to find out if they were offended. If some mysterious disease had carried away every gypsy on the planet, and there were none left to offend, I still wouldn’t use it.

Why? Simple decency. I wouldn’t want to use a word that defines a people — living or dead, offended or not — in a most demeaning way. It’s a question not of who or how many had their feelings hurt, but of whether you want to associate yourself with a word that, for whatever historical reason having nothing to do with you, carries inherently derogatory connotations.

Years ago, the word “retarded” emerged as the enlightened substitute for such cruel terms as “feeble-minded” or “mongoloid.” Today, however, it is considered a form of denigration, having been replaced by the clumsy but now conventional “developmentally disabled.” There is no particular logic to this evolution. But it’s a social fact. Unless you’re looking to give gratuitous offense, you don’t call someone “retarded.”

Let’s recognize that there are many people of good will for whom “Washington Redskins” contains sentimental and historical attachment — and not an ounce of intended animus. So let’s turn down the temperature. What’s at issue is not high principle but adaptation to a change in linguistic nuance. A close call, though I personally would err on the side of not using the word if others are available.

How about Skins, a contraction already applied to the Washington football team? And that carries a sports connotation, as in skins vs. shirts in pickup basketball.

Choose whatever name you like. But let’s go easy on the other side. We’re not talking Brown v. Board of Education here. There’s no demand that Native Americans man the team’s offensive line. This is a matter of usage — and usage changes. If you shot a remake of 1934’s “The Gay Divorcee,” you’d have to change that title too.

Not because the lady changed but because the word did.

Hail Skins.
237  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Holy Sh!+ on: October 17, 2013, 10:59:02 AM
238  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Baddest Man in the Whole Damn Town on: October 17, 2013, 06:11:48 AM
Warrior and hero:

From the article:

Despite being in intense pain and mental duress, Josh remained alert and compassionate to the limited Rangers that were allowed to visit his bedside. Prior to Josh being moved to Germany for his eventual flight to America, we conducted a ceremony to award him with the Purple Heart for wounds received in action.

A simple ceremony, you can picture a room full of Rangers, leaders, doctors, and nurses surrounding his bedside while the Ranger Regimental Commander pinned the Purple Heart to his blanket. During the presentation the Commander publishes the official orders verbally and leaned over Josh to thank him for his sacrifice.
239  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Will Cruz’s Clout Fade After Strategy Failed? on: October 17, 2013, 06:07:16 AM

From the article:

Cruz is the Senate heir apparent to former senator and current Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint, a man who once famously said of a moderate colleague who later was forced out of the party: “I’d rather have 40 Marco Rubios than 60 Arlen Specters, and the reason for that is if you want 60 Republicans, you’ve got to have at least 40 to start with who stand on principle.”

Cruz has starred in ads for DeMint’s former PAC, the Senate Conservatives Fund, which is actively campaigning against incumbent Republicans, and so these past two weeks have only expedited the process of his falling out of favor with many colleagues.

The question is whether the Republicans who pushed this deal to reopen a government shuttered for more than two weeks have the strength to resist Cruz if he pushes a similar strategy again
240  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races on: October 16, 2013, 04:48:54 PM
You are quite welcome, Doug.

There was actually a series of five or so posts on the topic, but yes, the link is to one of them.

Thank you Bigdog.

I think this is the July post he references:
241  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / thoughts on NLRB on: October 16, 2013, 11:29:04 AM

From the article:

But the issue is enormously important, and the National Labor Relations Board shows why. Republicans have always loathed the N.L.R.B., but, before Obama, a Democratic President’s nominees were almost always either confirmed or rejected. Not anymore. Wielding the filibuster, Republican minority in the Senate refused to allow the confirmation votes on Obama’s nominees to the N.L.R.B. The President responded with recess appointments. As has been customary in recent years, some of those recesses were between congressional sessions and some were brief recesses during sessions. The Noel Canning company argued that the Constitution did not recognize intra-session recesses but, rather, only inter-session recesses.
242  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Backroom Politics on: October 16, 2013, 06:56:39 AM
I started listening to this a few weeks ago. An interesting, (pretty) insider look at DC politics. Currently, of course, the shutdown/budget issues are the topic of discussion, but that need not be the case. Longtime US REP. John Dingell was on the show yesterday.

I forgot the link:
243  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Internet and psychology on: October 16, 2013, 02:20:31 AM
244  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Drones/UAV/UAS on: October 16, 2013, 02:12:11 AM

From the article:

It has been a trying period for defenders of the drone. Public perception has been shaped in large part by the Obama administration’s use of drones in counterterrorism efforts, and civil liberties advocates have long decried the drone’s seemingly boundless capacity to restrict privacy.

Then there was the blemish for local hobbyists last week, when a drone was said to have crashed near Grand Central Terminal, narrowly missing a pedestrian.

And so, at times on Friday, the forum seemed equal parts acknowledgment of the technology’s perils and a self-affirmation exercise for its proponents, who have cited the potential of drones to improve agriculture practices and monitor endangered species, among other applications.
245  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races on: October 16, 2013, 01:31:01 AM
We (me, Doug, Crafty) had an exchange about Senate rules changes in July of this year, on this thread. Doug, I fully admit to misremembering your position. With apologies.
246  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races on: October 15, 2013, 02:00:15 PM
"I thought it was well-known fact that under either party the majority controls what goes to the floor for a vote in the House."

I look forward to the Democrat takeover in the House, so you can say this again. Literally, of course, you are right about the rulemaking in the House, but when the House majority takes this step, you wonder why the GOP is "losing" the shutdown. Moves like this might explain it.
247  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / House Rules change on: October 15, 2013, 07:14:32 AM
248  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The End of the Nation-State? on: October 13, 2013, 07:10:53 AM

From the article:

One scenario, “Nonstate World,” imagined a planet in which urbanization, technology and capital accumulation had brought about a landscape where governments had given up on real reforms and had subcontracted many responsibilities to outside parties, which then set up enclaves operating under their own laws.

The imagined date for the report’s scenarios is 2030, but at least for “Nonstate World,” it might as well be 2010: though most of us might not realize it, “nonstate world” describes much of how global society already operates. This isn’t to say that states have disappeared, or will. But they are becoming just one form of governance among many.
249  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: October 07, 2013, 05:28:36 AM
Doug: I hope you enjoyed the vacation and it is good to have you back. This is an insane week for me, so I won't be able to do your post justice, and I am unsure when/if I'll be able to get back to it.

Saying that, we do disagree on the money. Something that leads to speech isn't speech. Driving to a convention isn't speech... but driving, as many like to say is a privilege not a right, even if the act means you will be at a place where thousands can hear your voice. The right to speech is not the same as having a right to be heard.

I am glad to see your concluding thoughts. As always, I appreciate your thoughts.
250  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Arms and Influence on: October 06, 2013, 12:22:28 PM

From the article:

And more specifically, Schelling argues that ‘saving face’ is something worthwhile in international relations:

“It is often argued that ‘face’ is a frivolous asset to preserve, and that it is a sign of immaturity that a government can’t swallow its pride and lose face.  But there is also the more serious kind of ‘face’, the kind that modern jargon is known as a country’s ‘image’, consisting of other countries’ beliefs (their leaders’ beliefs, that is) about how the country can be expected to behave.  It relates not to a country’s ‘worth’ or ‘status’ or even ‘honor’, but to its reputation for action.  If the question is raised whether this kind of ‘face’ is worth fighting over, the answer is that this kind of face is one of few things worth fighting over.” (Pg. 124)
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