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24551  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Arranged on: November 19, 2010, 12:08:48 AM
Two faiths, two women and their friendship
In the film, Arranged, shared values bridge the faith divide in an unexpected way.



Jennifer S. Bryson is Director of the Islam and Civil Society Project at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, New Jersey. Her article is reproduced here with the permission of The Public Discourse.


“I heard that the Muslims want to kill all the Jews,” says a fourth-grade student to his Muslim teacher while an Orthodox Jewish teacher sits with them in the classroom. Just about any way one looks at this it sounds like a recipe for disaster.

And yet, by this point in the film Arranged the students’ Muslim teacher, Nasira, and the Orthodox Jewish special education teacher, Rochel, have begun to suspect that they may have more in common with each other as religious women than with anyone else in the secular environment of their Brooklyn public school.

The lunchtime chit-chat of the other female school teachers is about parties and sleeping with guys. Nasira and Rochel have, however, opted for a different approach to life. This means eating lunch alone instead—until they discover each other, that is.

There are those who would like to get Nasira and Rochel to abandon their “backward” ways. In the view of the school principal, for example, the religiosity and consequent modesty of Nasira and Rochel are outdated and irrational. At a workshop to instruct teachers about tolerance, the principal simply assumes and then goes on to tell the whole group that she thinks Nasira wears a headscarf because her father forces her to do so. Nasira, however, refuses to let this snide remark pass and shares with the group an eloquent explanation of her personal choice to follow her religious faith and how this informs her understanding of feminine modesty. She does so gracefully and confidently, not angrily or bitterly. This piques Rochel’s interest. Rochel discovers that Nasira too is facing the challenge of trying to fit in but not give in to the culture at their school.

Nasira’s explanation of why she chooses to wear the hijab does, however, not alleviate the principal’s crusade to ‘enlighten’ and ‘liberate’ Nasira and Rochel with her own brand of feminism.

The principal’s enthusiasm for diversity and tolerance wanes when it comes to the modest attire these young women have chosen out of their religious convictions. The principal considers these women among her two best teachers in the school, but for her that’s not enough. She tells them, “You’re successful participants in the modern world, except for this religious thing. You know I mean—the rules, the regulations, the way you dress… I mean come on we’re in the 21st century here for crying out loud. There was a women’s movement!” Nasira and Rochel try to be polite, but clearly they feel more irritation than liberation at hearing this. The principal, on the other hand, is so flustered by Nasira and Rochel’s calm, confident disinterest in the type of free-for-all feminism she promotes that she finally resorts to offering them her own personal money for them to go out and buy some “designer” clothes as a replacement for “those farkakte outfits” (which seems to be a Yiddish nod, from the secular Jewish principal, to the line from the Blues Brothers, “What are you guys gonna do? The same act? Wearing the same farkakte suits?”). Nasira and Rochel decline and walk out of her office.

This is a delightful film with a positive, substantive message. It deserves more viewers than its somewhat confusing title might attract. Arranged, as in arranged marriage, conjures up for many images of child marriage and forced marriage. This film does not attempt to downplay the abusiveness of such practices. Rather, in this film the “arranging” of marriage refers to family engagement in the process of searching for a suitable spouse.

(In fact, it is worth noting that today there are devout Muslims and Jews working to protect women and men from potential abuses resulting from distorted concepts of marriage. For example, this Fall the Muslim chaplain at New York University, Imam Khalid Latif, devoted a Friday sermon to differentiating between marriage and forced marriage.)

Nasira and Rochel discover they are both exploring the possibility of getting married, and that both of them are from devout religious families with cultural traditions of parents’ involvement in suggesting and getting to know eligible bachelors.

At the same time, even with a role for their families in seeking a suitable spouse, each woman has veto authority over any of the proposed suitors. And they exercise it.

But when Rochel spots a handsome, single Orthodox Jewish student with kind, bright eyes in a university study group with Nasira’s brother, some dreaming and scheming ensue. The most helpful person along the way proves to be her Muslim friend Nasira, who comes up with a humorous ploy to bring him to the attention of the women helping Rochel find a husband.

In a day and age in America when public discussion of marriage tends to be limited to either vicious fighting or depressing divorce statistics, Arranged provides a welcome respite from this. The film offers instead a focus on the centrality of relationship, commitment, and family in marriage.

This story—devout Muslim and Orthodox Jewish women discovering common ground in valuing feminine dignity and family—is not just some fictional tale of unrealistic wishful-thinking. Arranged is based on the real life account of an Orthodox Jewish woman, a teacher in the New York public schools, and her experiences getting to know the Pakistani-American Muslim mother of one of her pupils.

These filmmakers are not naďve. As one of them explains in an interview about the making of the film, included on the DVD, Israel and Lebanon were at war during the shooting of this movie. Challenges abound and they are very real. And in the film Nasira and Rochel have to maneuver their budding friendship through the obstacles of family members’ skepticism and even opposition to their Muslim-Jewish friendship. But even so, real friendships are also possible, and alliances to protect religious freedom can cross unexpected lines.

(For example, in Montreal the Orthodox Jewish community is fighting against a bill which would ban the Muslim facial veil, niqab, in Quebec for women seeking government services. The Orthodox Jewish community there has expressed concern about the government trying to regulate the attire of religious believers and doing so by targeting one minority.)

Shared values provide a bridge for Nasira and Rochel. They are women with humble self-dignity in a world not disposed to support integrity or family. What these women learn is that kindness begets friendship, and genuine friendship can handle differences. They don’t have to deny their difference to get along. The bridge they build proves to be stronger than cross-currents around them. Friendship, and healthy relationships, ensue and grow.

Jennifer S. Bryson is Director of the Islam and Civil Society Project at The Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, NJ.

Copyright 2010 the Witherspoon Institute. All rights reserved.

24552  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Body Language on: November 19, 2010, 12:01:48 AM
GM:

We need to work on your sense of FUN.  cheesy

Every person on a homicide squad being gorgeous or handsome?  Offices with the feng shui of a SF decorator?  In Sacramento? Only interesting cases involving famous people?  All the physical takedowns of perps being executed by the babe cops?  and crooked captain bars too!  Oh no!  cheesy

Where the show really shines for me is the character of the lead actor and his interaction with a script with plenty of wit that regularly communicates the appeal of high IQ.
24553  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / "Arranged" on: November 18, 2010, 11:54:04 PM
Two faiths, two women and their friendship
In the film, Arranged, shared values bridge the faith divide in an unexpected way.



Jennifer S. Bryson is Director of the Islam and Civil Society Project at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, New Jersey. Her article is reproduced here with the permission of The Public Discourse.


“I heard that the Muslims want to kill all the Jews,” says a fourth-grade student to his Muslim teacher while an Orthodox Jewish teacher sits with them in the classroom. Just about any way one looks at this it sounds like a recipe for disaster.

And yet, by this point in the film Arranged the students’ Muslim teacher, Nasira, and the Orthodox Jewish special education teacher, Rochel, have begun to suspect that they may have more in common with each other as religious women than with anyone else in the secular environment of their Brooklyn public school.

The lunchtime chit-chat of the other female school teachers is about parties and sleeping with guys. Nasira and Rochel have, however, opted for a different approach to life. This means eating lunch alone instead—until they discover each other, that is.

There are those who would like to get Nasira and Rochel to abandon their “backward” ways. In the view of the school principal, for example, the religiosity and consequent modesty of Nasira and Rochel are outdated and irrational. At a workshop to instruct teachers about tolerance, the principal simply assumes and then goes on to tell the whole group that she thinks Nasira wears a headscarf because her father forces her to do so. Nasira, however, refuses to let this snide remark pass and shares with the group an eloquent explanation of her personal choice to follow her religious faith and how this informs her understanding of feminine modesty. She does so gracefully and confidently, not angrily or bitterly. This piques Rochel’s interest. Rochel discovers that Nasira too is facing the challenge of trying to fit in but not give in to the culture at their school.

Nasira’s explanation of why she chooses to wear the hijab does, however, not alleviate the principal’s crusade to ‘enlighten’ and ‘liberate’ Nasira and Rochel with her own brand of feminism.

The principal’s enthusiasm for diversity and tolerance wanes when it comes to the modest attire these young women have chosen out of their religious convictions. The principal considers these women among her two best teachers in the school, but for her that’s not enough. She tells them, “You’re successful participants in the modern world, except for this religious thing. You know I mean—the rules, the regulations, the way you dress… I mean come on we’re in the 21st century here for crying out loud. There was a women’s movement!” Nasira and Rochel try to be polite, but clearly they feel more irritation than liberation at hearing this. The principal, on the other hand, is so flustered by Nasira and Rochel’s calm, confident disinterest in the type of free-for-all feminism she promotes that she finally resorts to offering them her own personal money for them to go out and buy some “designer” clothes as a replacement for “those farkakte outfits” (which seems to be a Yiddish nod, from the secular Jewish principal, to the line from the Blues Brothers, “What are you guys gonna do? The same act? Wearing the same farkakte suits?”). Nasira and Rochel decline and walk out of her office.

This is a delightful film with a positive, substantive message. It deserves more viewers than its somewhat confusing title might attract. Arranged, as in arranged marriage, conjures up for many images of child marriage and forced marriage. This film does not attempt to downplay the abusiveness of such practices. Rather, in this film the “arranging” of marriage refers to family engagement in the process of searching for a suitable spouse.

(In fact, it is worth noting that today there are devout Muslims and Jews working to protect women and men from potential abuses resulting from distorted concepts of marriage. For example, this Fall the Muslim chaplain at New York University, Imam Khalid Latif, devoted a Friday sermon to differentiating between marriage and forced marriage.)

Nasira and Rochel discover they are both exploring the possibility of getting married, and that both of them are from devout religious families with cultural traditions of parents’ involvement in suggesting and getting to know eligible bachelors.

At the same time, even with a role for their families in seeking a suitable spouse, each woman has veto authority over any of the proposed suitors. And they exercise it.

But when Rochel spots a handsome, single Orthodox Jewish student with kind, bright eyes in a university study group with Nasira’s brother, some dreaming and scheming ensue. The most helpful person along the way proves to be her Muslim friend Nasira, who comes up with a humorous ploy to bring him to the attention of the women helping Rochel find a husband.

In a day and age in America when public discussion of marriage tends to be limited to either vicious fighting or depressing divorce statistics, Arranged provides a welcome respite from this. The film offers instead a focus on the centrality of relationship, commitment, and family in marriage.

This story—devout Muslim and Orthodox Jewish women discovering common ground in valuing feminine dignity and family—is not just some fictional tale of unrealistic wishful-thinking. Arranged is based on the real life account of an Orthodox Jewish woman, a teacher in the New York public schools, and her experiences getting to know the Pakistani-American Muslim mother of one of her pupils.

These filmmakers are not naďve. As one of them explains in an interview about the making of the film, included on the DVD, Israel and Lebanon were at war during the shooting of this movie. Challenges abound and they are very real. And in the film Nasira and Rochel have to maneuver their budding friendship through the obstacles of family members’ skepticism and even opposition to their Muslim-Jewish friendship. But even so, real friendships are also possible, and alliances to protect religious freedom can cross unexpected lines.

(For example, in Montreal the Orthodox Jewish community is fighting against a bill which would ban the Muslim facial veil, niqab, in Quebec for women seeking government services. The Orthodox Jewish community there has expressed concern about the government trying to regulate the attire of religious believers and doing so by targeting one minority.)

Shared values provide a bridge for Nasira and Rochel. They are women with humble self-dignity in a world not disposed to support integrity or family. What these women learn is that kindness begets friendship, and genuine friendship can handle differences. They don’t have to deny their difference to get along. The bridge they build proves to be stronger than cross-currents around them. Friendship, and healthy relationships, ensue and grow.

Jennifer S. Bryson is Director of the Islam and Civil Society Project at The Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, NJ.

Copyright 2010 the Witherspoon Institute. All rights reserved.

24554  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Big Dog on: November 18, 2010, 08:09:31 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHJJQ0zNNOM&feature=player_embedded#!
24555  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The War on Drugs on: November 18, 2010, 06:02:26 PM
Nice to read of your soft side GM cool
24556  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces on: November 18, 2010, 10:13:47 AM
The Politics thread is more suitable for this and related subjects.
24557  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california on: November 18, 2010, 10:13:02 AM
JDN:  Exactly.

Rarick:  Isn't Vegas even more fornicated than we are?  Isn't gambling the epitome of discretionary spending?
24558  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / TSA=Thousands Standing Around/Transacting Sexual Assaults, unionized on: November 18, 2010, 08:47:38 AM




TSA Unionization: A $30 Million Annual Gift to Union Bosses

Another reward for union bosses; another slap in the face for Americans.
Posted by LaborUnionReport (Profile)
Wednesday, November 17th at 11:00AM EST
4 Comments

When we have an administration more concerned about rewarding its union cronies than the U.S. Constitution (see ObamaCare for reference), giving union bosses access to the wallets of TSOs was only a matter of time. Now, the Transportation Security Agency’s blue shirts who are doing Janet Napolitiano’s bidding frisking, groping, molesting and seemingly sexually assaulting the American public, are about to get license for further abuse—a union card.

In a significant victory for federal employee unions, the Federal Labor Relations Authority decided Friday that Transportation Security Administrationstaffers will be allowed to vote on union representation.

The decision clears the way for a campaign by the government’s two largest labor organizations, the American Federation of Government Employees and the National Treasury Employees Union, to represent some 50,000 transportation security officers.

It was bound to happen. Before it became an agency known as Fourth Amendment violators, due to its critical national security responsibilities, the TSA was created in 2001as a non-union agency  As labor attorney Jay Sumner notes:


Enacted in 2001, the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA) provides that the Under Secretary of Transportation for Security has the power to, among other things, determine the compensation, terms and conditions of employment for employees who carry out security screening functions. Accordingly, in a 2003 memorandum, the Under Secretary declared that TSA officers, “in light of their critical national security responsibilities, shall not, as a term or condition of their employment, be entitled to engage in collective bargaining or be represented for the purpose of engaging in such bargaining by any representative or organization.”

While the Federal Labor Relations Authority (an agency that governs labor relations between the federal government and unions) recently granted permission to unionize the TSA, it has not yet ruled to give the unions collective bargaining rights—yet. But, it is only a matter of time.

“AFGE argued, and the FLRA agreed, that the right for employees to elect an exclusive representative and the right to engage in collective bargaining are two separate and distinct rights,” AFGE National President John Gage said. “We have always said the choice to unionize and the task of winning collective bargaining rights at TSA would be a two-part process.

“While we wait for the decision on collective bargaining rights that TSA Administrator Pistole has indicated will come soon, the election process can begin to move forward,” Gage added.

Here’s some informal statistics for you:

Number of TSA employees eligible for unionization: 50,000
TSA budget for FY 2010: $7.8 billion
Estimated Union Dues TSA unionization will provide union bosses at $50 per month:$2,500,000 per month or $30,000,000 per year.

__________________

“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.”  Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776
24559  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Pro-biotics on: November 18, 2010, 08:36:04 AM
Fair enough. 

I would also add the question of what are the cumulative consequences of taking antibiotic medicines various times in one's life?  How does the flora re-establish itself?  Is the mix the same? Or do other less positive bacterias increase their place in the mix?
24560  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / A savvy friend comments on: November 18, 2010, 08:31:32 AM
People in North America are no longer using digital cable to view programming.   With a Roku, Playstation or Xbox, as long as you don’t have to watch cable system programming when the programs are first shown, you can actually cut your cable or satellite bill significantly.

Cisco invested heavily in the cable set top box (STB) model when it acquired Scientific Atlanta.  But everything including TV signals are moving to Ethernet packets.  Google and Apple TV are also examples of this trend.  NetFlix has survived and prospered because it recognized this phenomenon long before Blockbuster.  In its last earnings call, CSCO revealed that its North American sales to MSO’s (multiple system operators) declined 30%.

IMO, the recession here has accelerated the convergence of the Internet with TV as people look to cut fixed monthly household expenses.

I believe that in this decade, Apple and Google/Amazon will supplant the major MSO’s as the prime source of video programming to the home and to the wireless device such as the iPad.  If AAPL has any major vulnerability in this environment, it is its walled garden approach to providing programming versus a more open source at Google/Amazon.  In many respects, AAPL reminds me on AOL at its peak 15-20 years ago.


And don’t dismiss wireless as a strong competitor to cable.  The new 4G LTE systems that are nearing implementation can provide very robust download speeds for Ethernet packets.  LTE has won the battle with WiMax as the most widely adopted worldwide standard for 4G.  Why do you think that Verizon is selling iPads now?  In 1-2 years, in the more densely populated areas of North America, it may be more efficient to access the internet directly by wireless.  This also attacks Cisco’s Linksys division because direct wireless access obviates the need for a WiFi router.

 

Anyway, this article prompted me to share these thoughts.  I now watch almost half of my video over the internet.  How much video do you now watch over the internet?

 

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/a3986a1c-f28c-11df-a2f3-00144feab49a.html#ixzz15dYSiZDL

Viewers pull plug on US cable television
By Matthew Garrahan in Los Angeles

Published: November 17 2010 21:31 | Last updated: November 17 2010 21:31

The number of people subscribing to US cable television services has suffered its biggest decline in 30 years as younger, tech-savvy viewers lead an exodus to web-based operations, such as Hulu and Netflix.

The total number of subscribers to TV services provided by cable, satellite and telco operators fell by 119,000 in the third quarter, compared with a gain of 346,000 in the third quarter of 2009, according to SNL Kagan, a research company.
Although television services offered by telecoms and satellite providers added subscribers over the period, cable operators were hard hit, with subscriber numbers falling by 741,000 – the largest decline in 30 years.

The figures suggest that “cord-cutting” – one of the pay-television industry’s biggest fears – is becoming a reality as viewers drift to web-based platforms.

Online TV services are stepping up their efforts to reach new viewers and become profitable: Hulu, which is owned by News Corp, Walt Disney and NBC Universal, has slashed the cost of its online subscription service by 20 per cent to $7.99 per month and offers a vast array of film and TV programming.

Jason Kilar, Hulu’s chief executive, has maintained that Hulu, which is exploring an initial public offering, complements pay-television services.

Yet the data suggest that the growth of Hulu and Netflix, the DVD subscription company which began testing a $7.99 per month streaming-only service last month, has become problematic for cable operators.

Ian Olgeirson, senior analyst at SNL Kagan, said it was becoming “increasingly difficult” to dismiss the impact of web-based services on the pay-TV industry, “particularly after seeing declines during the period of the year that tends to produce the largest subscriber gains due to seasonal shifts back to television viewing and subscription packages”.

Hulu’s revenues are increasing sharply: the company is projected to generate more than $240m in 2010, up from $108m in 2009. It has extended the number of devices that can access its subscription service to include Sony’s PlayStation 3 console and will add internet-connected devices, including Vizio, LG Electronics and Panasonic Blu-ray players, in the next few months.

Devices such as Apple’s iPad also appear to be accelerating the move away from traditional multichannel television.

Research from The Diffusion Group, a technology research company, found that more than a third of iPad users were likely to cancel their pay-TV subscriptions in the next six months.

The cable industry has launched a vigorous defence against cord-cutting: companies such as Comcast, which has agreed to buy NBC Universal, are backing “TV Everywhere”, which gives subscribers access to channels and programming online, and via their cable box.

 

 
24561  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 17, 2010, 08:13:44 PM
"So Crafty, does this mean you are an advocate for adopting the Shin Bet model of domestic intelligence gathering, thus allowing for El Al-like aviation security?"

Expound please.
24562  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: CA's AG race on: November 17, 2010, 11:42:16 AM
By JOHN FUND
The race to determine who will be the attorney general of California is still too close to call. Democrat Kamala Harris, San Francisco's district attorney, leads Republican Steve Cooley, the DA for Los Angeles County, by 31,000 votes out of nearly nine million cast. And there are more than 750,000 ballots left to count.

The tabulation process has led to a full-fledged food fight between the candidates and has roped in Dean Logan, the controversial voter registrar of Los Angeles County. Ms. Harris claims that Cooley officials have crowded election workers "and aggressively attempt(ed) to have ballots disqualified" in Los Angeles County. Cooley aides counter that election workers in Los Angeles are being far too sloppy in comparing signatures on provisional ballots with voter registration cards on file for that person. They allege that in some instances no comparison is being made.

Attorneys for Mr. Cooley also complain that county workers are contacting voters by phone to fill out incomplete voter registration forms in order that their provisional ballots can be made legal, a step that's not part of the county's written procedures for counting ballots. They also claim that Mr. Logan's staff has held private meetings with Harris representatives and given them access to rejected provisional ballots.

Mr. Logan rejects all of the allegations. "I don't believe there's been anything raised at this point that is a significant concern," he told the Los Angeles Times. But Mr. Logan made similar soothing statements in 2004 when he presided over one of the great meltdowns of U.S. elections during his previous tenure as elections chief of King County, Washington, which includes Seattle. The Washington governor's race that year entered the ranks of electoral infamy when Democrat Christine Gregoire was declared the winner over Republican Dino Rossi by 132 votes out of 2.7 million cast after three recounts.

The mess in those recounts made the Florida 2000 battle look orderly. In King County alone, there were more than 3,500 unaccounted-for ballots or voters. Some precincts had more ballots than voters, for a total of 2,900 extra ballots. Other precincts have more voters than ballots, for a total of 800 extra voters.

Other irregularities abounded. The Seattle Times reported that 129 felons illegally voted in King and Pierce counties. Some 55,000 optical-scan ballots (on which the voter marks a bubble) in King County were "enhanced" so that the voters' supposed intent could be determined, with no uniform standard governing the process. And in an eerie parallel to Mr. Cooley's complaints in the AG race in California, National Review noted that at least 348 provisional King County ballots — which were supposed to be closely inspected to see if they were legitimate — were directly fed into machines and counted. Bob Williams of Washington state's Evergreen Freedom Foundation concluded that Mr. Logan was guilty of "practiced incompetence" in his unwillingness to follow proper recount procedures.

In July, 2005 the King County Independent Task Force on Elections, a body set up to probe the county's vote-counting problems, concluded that Mr. Logan was "ill equipped" to make the changes needed to restore public trust and confidence in elections. A year later, Mr. Logan quietly resigned to take his new job in Los Angeles County.

Mr. Logan's track record should raise concerns that proper procedures for vote counting are once again not being fully followed in California's AG race. If prompt action to ensure the integrity of the election process isn't taken now, we may see calls for Los Angeles County to appoint its own task force to investigate Mr. Logan's "practiced incompetence."

24563  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: November 17, 2010, 11:30:18 AM
Even a legend in his own mind can be right sometimes.

Some folks on "our" side acted irresponsibly on this one:

=========

Too Good to CheckBy THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
Published: November 16, 2010


 On Nov. 4, Anderson Cooper did the country a favor. He expertly deconstructed on his CNN show the bogus rumor that President Obama’s trip to Asia would cost $200 million a day. This was an important “story.” It underscored just how far ahead of his time Mark Twain was when he said a century before the Internet, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” But it also showed that there is an antidote to malicious journalism — and that’s good journalism.

 In case you missed it, a story circulated around the Web on the eve of President Obama’s trip that it would cost U.S. taxpayers $200 million a day — about $2 billion for the entire trip. Cooper said he felt impelled to check it out because the evening before he had had Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, a Republican and Tea Party favorite, on his show and had asked her where exactly Republicans will cut the budget.

Instead of giving specifics, Bachmann used her airtime to inject a phony story into the mainstream. She answered: “I think we know that just within a day or so the president of the United States will be taking a trip over to India that is expected to cost the taxpayers $200 million a day. He’s taking 2,000 people with him. He’ll be renting over 870 rooms in India, and these are five-star hotel rooms at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. This is the kind of over-the-top spending.”

The next night, Cooper explained that he felt compelled to trace that story back to its source, since someone had used his show to circulate it. His research, he said, found that it had originated from a quote by “an alleged Indian provincial official,” from the Indian state of Maharashtra, “reported by India’s Press Trust, their equivalent of our A.P. or Reuters. I say ‘alleged,’ provincial official,” Cooper added, “because we have no idea who this person is, no name was given.”

It is hard to get any more flimsy than a senior unnamed Indian official from Maharashtra talking about the cost of an Asian trip by the American president.

“It was an anonymous quote,” said Cooper. “Some reporter in India wrote this article with this figure in it. No proof was given; no follow-up reporting was done. Now you’d think if a member of Congress was going to use this figure as a fact, she would want to be pretty darn sure it was accurate, right? But there hasn’t been any follow-up reporting on this Indian story. The Indian article was picked up by The Drudge Report and other sites online, and it quickly made its way into conservative talk radio.”

Cooper then showed the following snippets: Rush Limbaugh talking about Obama’s trip: “In two days from now, he’ll be in India at $200 million a day.” Then Glenn Beck, on his radio show, saying: “Have you ever seen the president, ever seen the president go over for a vacation where you needed 34 warships, $2 billion — $2 billion, 34 warships. We are sending — he’s traveling with 3,000 people.” In Beck’s rendition, the president’s official state visit to India became “a vacation” accompanied by one-tenth of the U.S. Navy. Ditto the conservative radio talk-show host Michael Savage. He said, “$200 million? $200 million each day on security and other aspects of this incredible royalist visit; 3,000 people, including Secret Service agents.”

Cooper then added: “Again, no one really seemed to care to check the facts. For security reasons, the White House doesn’t comment on logistics of presidential trips, but they have made an exception this time. He then quoted Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, as saying, “I am not going to go into how much it costs to protect the president, [but this trip] is comparable to when President Clinton and when President Bush traveled abroad. This trip doesn’t cost $200 million a day.” Geoff Morrell, the Pentagon press secretary, said: “I will take the liberty this time of dismissing as absolutely absurd, this notion that somehow we were deploying 10 percent of the Navy and some 34 ships and an aircraft carrier in support of the president’s trip to Asia. That’s just comical. Nothing close to that is being done.”

Cooper also pointed out that, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the entire war effort in Afghanistan was costing about $190 million a day and that President Bill Clinton’s 1998 trip to Africa — with 1,300 people and of roughly similar duration, cost, according to the Government Accountability Office and adjusted for inflation, “about $5.2 million a day.”

When widely followed public figures feel free to say anything, without any fact-checking, we have a problem. It becomes impossible for a democracy to think intelligently about big issues — deficit reduction, health care, taxes, energy/climate — let alone act on them. Facts, opinions and fabrications just blend together. But the carnival barkers that so dominate our public debate today are not going away — and neither is the Internet. All you can hope is that more people will do what Cooper did — so when the next crazy lie races around the world, people’s first instinct will be to doubt it, not repeat it.

24564  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Our man in Iraq returns-10 on: November 17, 2010, 11:08:45 AM


Well we went to the airport today only be told we could not leave the country because we did not have an exit visa.  So I am stuck here for the immediate future.  But at least I am back in the IZ....
24565  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The War on Drugs on: November 17, 2010, 10:54:09 AM
Tangent:  Speaking of major operations in Mexico, I am reminded of the Chinese national with a business pharmaceutical background who purchased a Mexican citizenship.  Authorities found a home filled with IIRC $250,000,000 in CASH.  Hotly pursued by narco hit squads, he fled.  An American LEO that I have trained was the man who put the cuffs on him here in the US-- just ahead of the hit squads closing in.

Larger point, the operations in Mexico can get REALLY big.
24566  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / What about the El Al approach? on: November 17, 2010, 10:49:24 AM
So, (working from memory here) what happened to in the matter of those 30,000 scan-fotos wrongly saved by the US Marshals Service at some courthouse?   Any heads roll?

===========
"The Transportation Security Administration's demeaning new 'enhanced pat-down' procedures are a direct result of the Obama administration's willful blindness to the threat from Islamic radicals. While better tools are available to keep air travelers safe, they would involve recognizing the threat for what it is, which is something the White House will never do. El Al, Israel's national airline, employs a smarter approach. Any airline representing the state of Israel is a natural -- some might say preeminent -- target for terrorist attacks. Yet El Al has one of the best security records in the world and doesn't resort to wide-scale use of methods that would under other circumstances constitute sexual assault. The Israelis have achieved this track record of safety by employing sophisticated intelligence analysis which allows them to predict which travelers constitute a possible threat and which do not. Resources are then focused on the more probable threats with minimal intrusion on those who are likely not to be terrorists. Here in the United States, these sophisticated techniques have roundly been denounced as discriminatory 'profiling.' ... TSA believes an 80-year-old grandmother deserves the same level of scrutiny at an airport terminal checkpoint as a 19-year-old male exchange student from Yemen. This policy not only is a waste of time and resources, it denies reality. ... Despite all the government bureaucracy and TSA's intrusive inspection practices, [al Qaeda underwear bomber Umar Farouk] Abdulmutallab's attack was only foiled because of a faulty bomb and the actions of alert passengers. Now all passengers have to pay the price by having their privacy (and their privates) invaded, which is the Obama administration's alternative to instituting a policy that will target the source of the problem." --The Washington Times

24567  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Body Language on: November 17, 2010, 10:40:17 AM
Reading body language and facial cues is a very important skill that can often have personal safety implications.

Recently my wife and I have become quite enchanted by the TV show The Mentalist, whose lead character is a high IQ fellow assisting a police homicide squad peopled by model beautiful cops (well, it is in California cheesy)  Amongst his skills is the ability to read body language and facial cues very well.

Similarly there is the TV show "Lie to me" which is based upon the work of this Dr. Paul Ekman http://www.paulekman.com/
24568  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 17, 2010, 01:03:59 AM
"I'd expect that if any footage of anyone's body parts end up on the net from a TSA employee, that employee will trade in their TSA uniform for a BOP inmate uniform."

Coming from the hard-bitten practical LEO that you are, that is remarkabliy naive  cheesy 

24569  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Health Thread (nutrition, medical, longevity, etc) on: November 17, 2010, 12:59:41 AM
The French women article's reference to yogurt prompts me to proffer a pet theory of mine:

We are continuously dosed by antibiotics via our consumption of industrial poultry and beef.  The results is our natural intestinal flora is disrupted and diminished.  This I think has consequences-- one of which may be to increase digestive disorders and susceptibility to weight gain.


24570  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / The Wuss Test on: November 17, 2010, 12:44:31 AM
From a friend currently training police in Iraq:
======================================================
Well on this the final morning here I decided to give my partner the "wuss test."

Since his arrival here 6-weeks ago he has been like a clingy bitch (no offense meant to women) when it comes to being alone in the IZ.  Most of the contractors in the IZ have to get around by themselves at some point.  I personally know a 19-yeard old kid, a 57-year old woman, and a limping 65-year old man (who walks around the 'hood) who have no problem getting around alone as needed.  But not my partner.  Now mind you I love the man, but today was the "wuss test."

I know he is starving when he gets up in the morning.  It's all he can think of doing...to go eat.  This morning I advised him I had decided I was going to pass on breakfast.  It took him a lot of thinking before he made his decision (which I predicted with accuracy) that he was "going to pass on breakfast also."

It must be killing him right now.  Hungry as hell and has the power to kill those hunger pangs (by simply getting in the car and driving over to the DFAC by himself).  But he just won't do it.

And so, by social engineering, the bottom line is what it is.  And it is always good to know the level of cojones that the person who "has your back" really has, and to know it before cruch time comes.
24571  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 16, 2010, 06:54:54 PM
Next Speaker of the House Boener (pronounced "boner" if I am not mistaken-- many obvious jokes here  cheesy) will be riding commercial.  If he gets scanned so as to prove there is no profiling, what are the odds of his penis showing up on youtube?
24572  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The War on Drugs on: November 16, 2010, 06:52:33 PM
I think it makes sense to realize that there are drugs that by-pass free will.  Certainly not pot, but meth would appear to be a contender.  As such, legalization may not make sense.
24573  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: November 16, 2010, 06:48:56 PM
JDN:

Agreed.  This is madness.
24574  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: November 16, 2010, 11:42:15 AM
Hat tip to BBG, this from the WOD thread

A Gangster With Oil
 
Posted 11/15/2010 06:57 PM ET

Colombian police escort suspected Venezuelan drug lord Walid Makled Garcia in Bogota last August. He says Hugo Chavez protected his drug empire. AP View Enlarged Image

Geopolitics: Years ago, Americans worried about Venezuela's leftist Hugo Chavez becoming a new Castro — with oil. It happened. Now he's filling his cabinet with drug lords, and the threat morphs into something creepier.

Last week, Chavez promoted Major General Henry Rangel Silva to general-in-chief, the top position in the Venezuelan military command.

It was a rogue act because, in 2008, the U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control named Rangel and two other Chavez loyalists as "Tier II Kingpins" for material support of drug trafficking.

The U.S. designation came of an administrative process so strict and thorough the U.S. government could indict someone if it's right — and be sued if it's wrong. There have been no lawsuits.

Rangel is said to provide material support for Colombia's FARC communist terrorists, who control 60% of Colombia's cocaine production, pushing it into Mexico and other destinations.

With Mexico endangered by local cartels' trade with Venezuela's government-linked suppliers, the link to Mexico's drug war is very real. And it's a national security problem for the U.S. — a big one.

The promotion shows Chavez is surrounding himself with drug lords. Most leaders would expel someone with those credentials. Not Chavez. He almost seems to be flaunting Rangel and others like him. One can only conclude that Venezuela is now a narcostate.

With seven other Chavez loyalists also on the Treasury's list (but not yet announced) the rot is far deeper than the U.S. wants to admit. The only real question left is what will we do about it?

It's important because drug lords have turned Mexico a battlefield. Violence on the U.S.-Mexico frontier began in 2005, the same year Chavez stopped cooperating with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. In 2006, Mexican President Felipe Calderon began his six-year term by declaring war against the drug cartels. So far, it has cost 30,000 lives, and the war's now spilling over our borders.

Two Fridays ago, Mexican marines killed Antonio Cardenas, the chief of the Gulf Cartel, in a shootout that shut the U.S. border with Mexico down. Cardenas' war was fueled by people like Rangel.

Now, there are even people who can prove it. Last August, Colombian forces captured a major Venezuelan drug lord named Walid Makled-Garcia, who'd had a falling out with Chavez.

Makled was so high-ranking the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration last week declared him the "King of Kingpins" after his indictment in New York. Until this summer, Makled commanded Venezuela's air and seaports. His gigantic jetliners loaded with tons of cocaine flew from "the presidential ramp" headed for Mexico.

Makled says he kept records and tapes of his encounters with Rangel, and other top Venezuelan military and intelligence leaders, bribing them to let his drug jets take off. He made $1.4 billion from his work — about the same amount as Chapo Guzman, Mexico's richest cartel chief, whom Forbes magazine estimates is worth $1 billion.

In 2006, Makled's records show, a DC-9 loaded with five and half tons of cocaine crashed in Mexico. It was discovered by Mexican police before it could reach its "buyer" — who happened to be the Sinaloa drug lord Guzman, known for his shootouts in Juarez.

There's also a political aspect emerging in that Mexican war: In recent news item about a child assassins turning up in Mexico, Mexican police report that these gangs are being protected by Chavez's leftist political ally in Mexico, the PRD Party. If PRD continues in this way, it may soon become a leftist drug insurgency, like FARC.

It all pushes the question of what to do about Chavez to a new level of urgency. Right now, Colombia must decide whether to extradite Makled to the U.S. to tell everything he knows about Chavez, or to send him to Venezuela, where he is likely to be killed.

Chavez asked for Makled first, and the murders he's charging him with are graver than the U.S.' cocaine-smuggling charges. Chavez badly needs to silence him to promote his generals.

The Obama administration has its own dilemma — does it want Makled to talk, or does it just want to sweep him and his shocking revelations under the rug as war continues to rage in Mexico?

http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article/553849/201011151857/A-Gangster-With-Oil.aspx
24575  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Indefinite detention that we all can live with on: November 16, 2010, 11:03:47 AM
Hat tip to BBG on the Cognitive Dissonance thread; pasting here as well:

Obama Caves on Civilian Trial for KSM
It turns out indefinite detention isn’t so bad after all.

Let’s review the state of play, shall we?

Throughout the 2008 presidential campaign, candidate Barack Obama blasted the Bush administration’s decision to treat al-Qaeda terrorists as enemy combatants and detain them without trial at Guantanamo Bay. Now, two years into his presidency, Obama has decided to treat al-Qaeda terrorists as enemy combatants and detain them without trial at Guantanamo Bay.

The media is reporting that the administration will hold Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the other 9/11 plotter indefinitely, granting them neither a civilian nor a military trial. This determination, leaked over the weekend, appears to be a rebuff of Attorney General Eric Holder, who had intimated a few days earlier that a civilian prosecution was imminent.

Here’s the difference between Presidents Bush and Obama: The former’s strategy was driven by weighty national-security concerns and maintained despite ceaseless condemnation from the Obama Left. Obama’s strategy — or, more accurately, his drift — is driven by naked political concerns, and his base’s media megaphone has gone nearly silent.

After the most devastating attack ever carried out on American soil by a foreign enemy, President Bush determined that the Clinton administration’s preferred strategy of treating al-Qaeda as a mere law-enforcement problem had been unserious. The criminal-justice system is tailored to address ordinary crimes committed in peacetime America. It is designed to favor the defendants: Americans are presumed innocent and armed by the Constitution with protections that, quite intentionally, make it difficult for the government to investigate, prosecute, convict, and incarcerate. By itself, civilian justice is incapable of neutralizing wartime enemies. Unlike everyday crooks, foreign terrorists operate from overseas redoubts where American law does not apply, where foreign regimes like Iran and the Taliban are only too happy to abet them.

This is not hypothesis; it is our experience. The Clinton Justice Department indicted Osama bin Laden himself in June 1998. He responded by orchestrating, with impunity, the August 1998 embassy bombings in eastern Africa, the October 2000 Cole bombing, and the 9/11 attacks. Al-Qaeda’s onslaught was a war, not a crime wave. President Bush was hardly alone in thinking so: Congress overwhelming authorized combat operations against al-Qaeda, and it has continued to authorize and fund them for nearly a decade. Combat operations necessarily imply not only the killing of enemy combatants but their capture and detention, with the corollary of military-commission trials for those who have committed provable war crimes.

The Bush strategy has worked. Its detractors among self-styled “human-rights activists” — who seem far more concerned about the humans doing the killing than the humans doing the dying — point to the spotty record of commission trials in contending otherwise. But commissions constitute only a small element of the Bush approach, and doubtless the least important one.

The Bush strategy’s key components are twofold. First: Kill, capture, and defund terrorists overseas, thereby denying them safe haven and taking them out before they can act. Second: Detain those who have been captured both to maximize the potential for acquiring fresh intelligence and to thin out the ranks of highly trained jihadists. The enemy may be able to replace terrorists who have been captured or killed, but the new recruits cannot replicate their level of competence.

It is a sad fact that the tireless, heroic work of our military continues without our paying it much mind. It is thus common for Americans to look at all our patent vulnerabilities — subway systems, power grids, sports stadiums, etc. — and wonder: “Why haven’t there been more 9/11s?” But this is no mystery. Dead and detained jihadists cannot execute attacks. A terror network worried about drone strikes on its training camps does not have the luxury of taking the months it takes to plan and execute significant plots. Fresh intelligence from high-level captives disrupts plots in addition to making it extraordinarily difficult for al-Qaeda to embed capable cells in our homeland.

While President Obama has gradually and grudgingly made the Bush strategy his own, he lacks the grace to say so, much less to give his predecessor credit. But it is remarkable to consider how far Obama has come. In June 2008, with the campaign in high gear, he ripped Bush, complaining that

in previous terrorist attacks [such as] the first attack against the World Trade Center, we were able to arrest those responsible, put them on trial. They are currently in U.S. prisons, incapacitated. And the fact that the administration has not tried to do that has created a situation where not only have we never actually put many of these folks on trial, but we have destroyed our credibility when it comes to rule of law all around the world.
This critique was astonishing in its ignorance. In most previous terrorist attacks, we had not been able to arrest those responsible — they had been able to keep attacking. Even in the one example Obama cited, the 1993 WTC bombing, several of those responsible were able to flee because civilian due-process protections made it impossible to hold them. Some were never apprehended — and KSM, who was complicit in the WTC bombing and several subsequent plots, was finally captured thanks to wartime operations, not law-enforcement protocols.

Moreover, detaining enemy combatants without trial is entirely consistent with the “rule of law” that applies in wartime. Indeed, the Obama Justice Department has found itself making just this argument, albeit without fanfare. In short, indefinite detention at Gitmo “destroyed our credibility” only with Bush-deranged leftists — and isn’t it amazing how credulous they’ve suddenly become now that their guy is accountable?

In his conclusion, candidate Obama leveled the charge — oft-repeated but mindless — that Bush counterterrorism had “given a huge boost to terrorist recruitment in [Islamic] countries that say, ‘Look, this is how the United States treats Muslims.’” Let’s put aside the now-familiar Obama crotchet that gives Muslim sensibilities pride of place over American security concerns. The brute fact is: Obama is treating Muslim terrorists the same way Bush did. Given that, is it too much to ask the president finally to acknowledge that terrorist recruitment is driven by Islamist ideology? The legal theory by which a president justifies the indefinite detention of terrorists is beside the point.

For those who maintain that our president is a pragmatist and not an ideologue, worth pondering is Obama’s ideological intransigence, and how it has bred incompetence. If, back in January 2009, Obama had just let the then-pending military commission go forward, KSM and his cohorts would likely have been executed by now. They had announced their intention to plead guilty and proceed to sentencing. Allowing that, however, would effectively have meant endorsing military commissions and, by extension, Bush counterterrorism. So the new president interrupted the proceedings and dangled before KSM the stage the terrorist had always craved: a civilian trial just a few blocks from Broadway.

The public revolted, prompting bipartisan congressional opposition. Meantime, the president came to realize that, regardless of his purple campaign rhetoric, many committed jihadists could not be tried in civilian court and would kill Americans if released. His law-enforcement framework was impractical: He would have to detain al-Qaeda captives indefinitely or find another way to try them. Consequently, he kept Gitmo open despite having promised to close it; and, with an assist from congressional Democrats, he made a few cosmetic tweaks in the military-commission system in order to camouflage the inconvenient truth that it was substantially the same commission system proposed by Bush and endorsed by Congress in 2006.

But while Obama preserved military commissions, he didn’t actually want to use them. Had he used them, and had terrorists promptly started being convicted and severely sentenced, public opposition to the civilian prosecutions beloved by his base would have stiffened. So now there is one obvious right thing to do: Give KSM and the 9/11 plotters the military commission and execution they should have had almost two years ago. Yet, Obama can’t bring himself to do it.

Instead, the man who claimed that indefinite detention without trial “destroyed our credibility” will indefinitely detain the terrorists without trial — at least until after the 2012 election, when either they will be some other president’s headache or electoral politics will no longer weigh on Obama. That’s change you can believe in.

— Andrew C. McCarthy, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, is the author, most recently, of The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America.

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/253356/obama-caves-civilian-trial-ksm-andrew-c-mccarthy#
24576  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Mexico on: November 16, 2010, 10:18:19 AM
Federal Deployment to Tamaulipas

The Mexican government is reported to have significantly augmented federal security forces in the northern Tamaulipas border region with a deployment of both Mexican army troops and Federal Police agents, bringing the number of federal security forces in the region to nearly 3,000. These forces, which have been arriving since Nov. 13, will be primarily deployed to the areas around Ciudad Mier, Camargo, Nuevo Guerrero, Miguel Aleman and Diaz Ordaz, or more generally in the rural stretch between the major metropolitan areas of Reynosa and Nuevo Laredo along the Tamaulipas-South Texas border. This deployment will be in addition to the Mexican Marine forces already deployed to the region, as well as the Mexican army operating in the military’s 7th and 8th zones, which are headquartered in Escobedo, Nuevo Leon and Reynosa, respectively. Additionally, there are reports that a Mexican special operations unit will be deployed from Mexico City to the Tamaulipas border region as well to conduct high-risk operations, possibly targeting high-value cartel targets. Military officials also have indicated that they will be establishing checkpoints in the region and will be inspecting 100 percent of both passenger and cargo vehicles.

Though the new deployment of federal forces to the area is sizable, the total number of federal forces in the region pales in comparison to other federal security operations, such as Coordinated Operation Chihuahua, which boasts close to 10,000 forces deployed primarily in northern Chihuahua. The Tamaulipas deployment also will allow particular branches of the military and Federal Police to have more specified roles in the operations. According to Mexican military officials, Mexican Marines will primarily be tasked with intelligence operations and to a lesser extent will conduct joint patrols with the army and Federal Police. The Federal Police will base the majority of their operations in more urban areas, including Reynosa, Matamoros and to a lesser extent Nuevo Laredo. Mexican army personnel will primarily be tasked with operations in the more rural areas, including checkpoints outside urban centers.

This deployment comes at a time when tensions between the Gulf cartel and Los Zetas are high in large part due to the Nov. 5 death of Gulf cartel leader Antonio Ezequiel “Tony Tormenta” Cardenas Guillen. Tony Tormenta’s death set in motion a likely offensive on the part of Los Zetas to retake control of the Tamaulipas-South Texas border region lost earlier in the year to the Gulf cartel and their allies in the New Federation.

Los Zetas have made bold moves in battleground like Ciudad Mier, Camargo and Miguel Aleman. The group has all but taken over portions of these towns, forcing residents to flee in the wake of Tony Tormenta’s death. One such brazen takeover reportedly occurred Nov. 5 in Ciudad Mier, where alleged members of Los Zetas were reported to be running through the streets screaming that all the residents in the area must vacate the city or be killed. More than 300 people are estimated to have left the city reportedly seeking shelter in nearby Miguel Aleman, where at least two temporary housing settlements have been set up. It appears that Los Zetas are using both of these small towns as a staging area for a possible assault on the much larger Reynosa metropolitan area some 65-80 kilometers (40-50 miles) to the southeast.

The death of Tony Tormenta could not have come at a worse time for the Gulf cartel. The Gulf cartel was part of the New Federation alliance which included La Familia Michoacana (LFM) and the Sinaloa Federation, but developments in the past three months have strained the relationship between the three, with the once-powerful alliance reduced to a non-aggression agreement between the Gulf cartel and its two former allies. LFM fell out of the Sinaloa Federation’s favor after attempting to move in on the methamphetamine production and trafficking market in Jalisco and Colima states after the death of Sinaloa No. 3 Ignacio “El Nacho” Coronel Villarreal in July. LFM’s defense of its territory in its home state of Michoacan also has drawn Sinaloa’s ire. The Sinaloa Federation has been of little help to the Gulf cartel in recent months as Sinaloa has been dedicating large amounts of its resources and focus to the conflict in Juarez. The group traditionally has held very little influence in the Tamaulipas region.

Further leaving the Gulf cartel exposed, in the months leading up to the death of Tony Tormenta, Mexican federal security forces dealt a serious blow to cells associated with the Gulf cartel leader, arresting more than 50 operatives and making numerous weapons and cash seizures. This leaves the remaining Gulf cartel leader, Eduardo “El Coss” Costilla Sanchez, and the cells associated with him extremely vulnerable to any Los Zetas offensive.

With the increase in tensions and posturing between Los Zetas and the Gulf cartel along with the influx of Mexican federal security forces in the region, violence in the Tamaulipas border area is likely to escalate in the weeks to come. The deployment of more federal security forces increases the likelihood that they will come in contact with one of the two criminal groups operating in the region, resulting in firefights between criminals and security forces. Additionally, aside from the obvious risk of bodily harm from being caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, this likely increase in fighting and along with the expanded presence of security forces will present significant disruptions to businesses and visitors in the region. Narco-blockades, a tactic both Los Zetas and the Gulf cartel use, create an elevated degree of risk of carjacking (especially for high-profile vehicles such as SUVs, trucks and tractor trailers) as well as logistical complications from the resulting traffic jams. Logistical issues also will arise from the 100 percent inspection rate at the military checkpoints that have been and will be established in the region and from the military personnel manning the checkpoints’ lack of training in interacting with civilians.



(click here to view interactive map)

Nov. 8

Soldiers in Zapopan, Jalisco state, killed two men and arrested another during a firefight at a suspected methamphetamine lab. A passerby was injured during the incident.
Unidentified gunmen killed the police commander of the municipality of Pabellon de Arteaga, Aguascalientes state, as he drove near his home.

Nov. 9

Police seized 531 kilograms (about 1,170 pounds) of marijuana from a steel shipment in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas state. Authorities said the drugs arrived from Leon, Guanajuato state. No arrests were made during the incident.
Security forces in Acapulco, Guerrero state, discovered the decapitated bodies of two police officers near the settlement of La Venta. The victims’ tongues had been removed and both bodies bore signs of torture.
Police discovered several body parts in a plastic bag floating in a sewage ditch in Ecatepec, Mexico state. Local residents called the police after spotting a dog carrying a human hand in its mouth.
Soldiers in Piedras Negras, Coahuila state, freed 10 kidnapped migrants and arrested six suspected kidnappers during a raid on a house.
Police in Puente de Ixtla, Morelos state, arrested a suspected associate of Edgar Valdez Villarreal. The suspect allegedly controlled drug trafficking routes through central Mexico.

Nov. 10

Suspected LFM members hung banners in Zitacuaro, Maravatio and Ciudad Hidalgo, Michoacan state, stating the cartel’s alleged intent to disband and seek a truce with the government.
Officers from the state attorney general’s office discovered the bodies of two men in a house allegedly owned by the Beltran Leyva Organization in Bosques de Las Lomas neighborhood of Mexico City.
Soldiers arrested two municipal policemen in Guadalupe, Nuevo Leon state, for allegedly surveilling a security forces raid on a motel.
Unidentified gunmen fired at the offices of the El Sur newspaper in Acapulco, Guerrero state. No injuries were reported.

Nov. 11

Unidentified attackers threw two grenades at the state security and roads offices in Gomez Palacio, Durango state. No injuries were reported in the attack.
Police found the body of a man in the trunk of an abandoned car in the Coyoacan neighborhood of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state. The victim had been shot in the head.
Police in Santa Rosa, Morelos state, arrested three suspected high-ranking associates of Edgar Valdez Villarreal after a car chase that began in Oaxtepec, Morelos state, after the three suspects failed to stop at a police roadblock.

Nov. 12

One suspected cartel gunman was killed in a firefight with soldiers in the Terminal neighborhood in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state. The shooting began when a convoy of suspected gunmen did not heed the soldiers’ order to stop.
Three severed heads were discovered outside a municipal government office in Chalchihuites, Zacatecas state. A message claiming the crime was revenge for a previous homicide in Chalchihuites was left near the heads.
Police arrested seven people suspected of working as lookouts for Los Zetas in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state.

Nov. 13

Police discovered the bodies of two men and a woman hanging from a bridge in Tepic, Nayarit state. A message was discovered near the bodies.
The bodies of two unidentified men were found in the trunk of an abandoned car in the municipality of Cuautla, Morelos state.
Unidentified gunmen killed a Chihuahua state prison official as he drove with his son in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state. The child was injured during the attack.

Nov. 14

Police discovered five bodies in an orchard in the Emiliano Zapata neighborhood of Acapulco, Guerrero state.
Five people were killed and eight were injured when a group of unidentified gunmen opened fire on patrons at a bar in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state.
24577  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stratfor on: November 16, 2010, 10:17:41 AM
Federal Deployment to Tamaulipas

The Mexican government is reported to have significantly augmented federal security forces in the northern Tamaulipas border region with a deployment of both Mexican army troops and Federal Police agents, bringing the number of federal security forces in the region to nearly 3,000. These forces, which have been arriving since Nov. 13, will be primarily deployed to the areas around Ciudad Mier, Camargo, Nuevo Guerrero, Miguel Aleman and Diaz Ordaz, or more generally in the rural stretch between the major metropolitan areas of Reynosa and Nuevo Laredo along the Tamaulipas-South Texas border. This deployment will be in addition to the Mexican Marine forces already deployed to the region, as well as the Mexican army operating in the military’s 7th and 8th zones, which are headquartered in Escobedo, Nuevo Leon and Reynosa, respectively. Additionally, there are reports that a Mexican special operations unit will be deployed from Mexico City to the Tamaulipas border region as well to conduct high-risk operations, possibly targeting high-value cartel targets. Military officials also have indicated that they will be establishing checkpoints in the region and will be inspecting 100 percent of both passenger and cargo vehicles.

Though the new deployment of federal forces to the area is sizable, the total number of federal forces in the region pales in comparison to other federal security operations, such as Coordinated Operation Chihuahua, which boasts close to 10,000 forces deployed primarily in northern Chihuahua. The Tamaulipas deployment also will allow particular branches of the military and Federal Police to have more specified roles in the operations. According to Mexican military officials, Mexican Marines will primarily be tasked with intelligence operations and to a lesser extent will conduct joint patrols with the army and Federal Police. The Federal Police will base the majority of their operations in more urban areas, including Reynosa, Matamoros and to a lesser extent Nuevo Laredo. Mexican army personnel will primarily be tasked with operations in the more rural areas, including checkpoints outside urban centers.

This deployment comes at a time when tensions between the Gulf cartel and Los Zetas are high in large part due to the Nov. 5 death of Gulf cartel leader Antonio Ezequiel “Tony Tormenta” Cardenas Guillen. Tony Tormenta’s death set in motion a likely offensive on the part of Los Zetas to retake control of the Tamaulipas-South Texas border region lost earlier in the year to the Gulf cartel and their allies in the New Federation.

Los Zetas have made bold moves in battleground like Ciudad Mier, Camargo and Miguel Aleman. The group has all but taken over portions of these towns, forcing residents to flee in the wake of Tony Tormenta’s death. One such brazen takeover reportedly occurred Nov. 5 in Ciudad Mier, where alleged members of Los Zetas were reported to be running through the streets screaming that all the residents in the area must vacate the city or be killed. More than 300 people are estimated to have left the city reportedly seeking shelter in nearby Miguel Aleman, where at least two temporary housing settlements have been set up. It appears that Los Zetas are using both of these small towns as a staging area for a possible assault on the much larger Reynosa metropolitan area some 65-80 kilometers (40-50 miles) to the southeast.

The death of Tony Tormenta could not have come at a worse time for the Gulf cartel. The Gulf cartel was part of the New Federation alliance which included La Familia Michoacana (LFM) and the Sinaloa Federation, but developments in the past three months have strained the relationship between the three, with the once-powerful alliance reduced to a non-aggression agreement between the Gulf cartel and its two former allies. LFM fell out of the Sinaloa Federation’s favor after attempting to move in on the methamphetamine production and trafficking market in Jalisco and Colima states after the death of Sinaloa No. 3 Ignacio “El Nacho” Coronel Villarreal in July. LFM’s defense of its territory in its home state of Michoacan also has drawn Sinaloa’s ire. The Sinaloa Federation has been of little help to the Gulf cartel in recent months as Sinaloa has been dedicating large amounts of its resources and focus to the conflict in Juarez. The group traditionally has held very little influence in the Tamaulipas region.

Further leaving the Gulf cartel exposed, in the months leading up to the death of Tony Tormenta, Mexican federal security forces dealt a serious blow to cells associated with the Gulf cartel leader, arresting more than 50 operatives and making numerous weapons and cash seizures. This leaves the remaining Gulf cartel leader, Eduardo “El Coss” Costilla Sanchez, and the cells associated with him extremely vulnerable to any Los Zetas offensive.

With the increase in tensions and posturing between Los Zetas and the Gulf cartel along with the influx of Mexican federal security forces in the region, violence in the Tamaulipas border area is likely to escalate in the weeks to come. The deployment of more federal security forces increases the likelihood that they will come in contact with one of the two criminal groups operating in the region, resulting in firefights between criminals and security forces. Additionally, aside from the obvious risk of bodily harm from being caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, this likely increase in fighting and along with the expanded presence of security forces will present significant disruptions to businesses and visitors in the region. Narco-blockades, a tactic both Los Zetas and the Gulf cartel use, create an elevated degree of risk of carjacking (especially for high-profile vehicles such as SUVs, trucks and tractor trailers) as well as logistical complications from the resulting traffic jams. Logistical issues also will arise from the 100 percent inspection rate at the military checkpoints that have been and will be established in the region and from the military personnel manning the checkpoints’ lack of training in interacting with civilians.



(click here to view interactive map)

Nov. 8

Soldiers in Zapopan, Jalisco state, killed two men and arrested another during a firefight at a suspected methamphetamine lab. A passerby was injured during the incident.
Unidentified gunmen killed the police commander of the municipality of Pabellon de Arteaga, Aguascalientes state, as he drove near his home.

Nov. 9

Police seized 531 kilograms (about 1,170 pounds) of marijuana from a steel shipment in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas state. Authorities said the drugs arrived from Leon, Guanajuato state. No arrests were made during the incident.
Security forces in Acapulco, Guerrero state, discovered the decapitated bodies of two police officers near the settlement of La Venta. The victims’ tongues had been removed and both bodies bore signs of torture.
Police discovered several body parts in a plastic bag floating in a sewage ditch in Ecatepec, Mexico state. Local residents called the police after spotting a dog carrying a human hand in its mouth.
Soldiers in Piedras Negras, Coahuila state, freed 10 kidnapped migrants and arrested six suspected kidnappers during a raid on a house.
Police in Puente de Ixtla, Morelos state, arrested a suspected associate of Edgar Valdez Villarreal. The suspect allegedly controlled drug trafficking routes through central Mexico.

Nov. 10

Suspected LFM members hung banners in Zitacuaro, Maravatio and Ciudad Hidalgo, Michoacan state, stating the cartel’s alleged intent to disband and seek a truce with the government.
Officers from the state attorney general’s office discovered the bodies of two men in a house allegedly owned by the Beltran Leyva Organization in Bosques de Las Lomas neighborhood of Mexico City.
Soldiers arrested two municipal policemen in Guadalupe, Nuevo Leon state, for allegedly surveilling a security forces raid on a motel.
Unidentified gunmen fired at the offices of the El Sur newspaper in Acapulco, Guerrero state. No injuries were reported.

Nov. 11

Unidentified attackers threw two grenades at the state security and roads offices in Gomez Palacio, Durango state. No injuries were reported in the attack.
Police found the body of a man in the trunk of an abandoned car in the Coyoacan neighborhood of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state. The victim had been shot in the head.
Police in Santa Rosa, Morelos state, arrested three suspected high-ranking associates of Edgar Valdez Villarreal after a car chase that began in Oaxtepec, Morelos state, after the three suspects failed to stop at a police roadblock.

Nov. 12

One suspected cartel gunman was killed in a firefight with soldiers in the Terminal neighborhood in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state. The shooting began when a convoy of suspected gunmen did not heed the soldiers’ order to stop.
Three severed heads were discovered outside a municipal government office in Chalchihuites, Zacatecas state. A message claiming the crime was revenge for a previous homicide in Chalchihuites was left near the heads.
Police arrested seven people suspected of working as lookouts for Los Zetas in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state.

Nov. 13

Police discovered the bodies of two men and a woman hanging from a bridge in Tepic, Nayarit state. A message was discovered near the bodies.
The bodies of two unidentified men were found in the trunk of an abandoned car in the municipality of Cuautla, Morelos state.
Unidentified gunmen killed a Chihuahua state prison official as he drove with his son in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state. The child was injured during the attack.

Nov. 14

Police discovered five bodies in an orchard in the Emiliano Zapata neighborhood of Acapulco, Guerrero state.
Five people were killed and eight were injured when a group of unidentified gunmen opened fire on patrons at a bar in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state.
24578  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Infrastructure on: November 16, 2010, 08:49:42 AM
American Superconducter (AMSC on the NASDAQ) has some very interesting technology for fixing the electrical grid.
24579  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs & regulations, spending, budget process on: November 16, 2010, 08:30:40 AM
1) "eliminating tax breaks" such as the deductibility of health insurance provided by employers is a huge tax increase.  Eliminating any tax break is a tax increase.

2) There are some huge military cuts in here, something which I oppose.


24580  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / US Infrastructure on: November 15, 2010, 06:14:11 PM
Like it says  smiley

GM, would you please kick this thread off with what you posted in the China thread today?
24581  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Haste makes waste? on: November 15, 2010, 05:43:17 PM
a) This is a VERY important theme; into which thread should we continue this discussion?

b) BTW, our electrical system is very badly overloaded and out of date.

c) See pictures on post of June 29 (page two of this thread):
http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=1138.50
24582  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: November 15, 2010, 11:33:49 AM
Also, IIRC somewhere in this thread there are a bunch of fotos of Chinese high rises that have simply fallen over , , ,
24583  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / This too is China on: November 15, 2010, 08:08:26 AM


http://www.nzwide.com/swanlake.htm
24584  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 14, 2010, 09:18:52 PM
"So we stop security screening at airports?"

Don't be silly.  No one here has suggested such a thing.

==================

A little vignette of what all this may turn into:

http://johnnyedge.blogspot.com/2010/11/these-events-took-place-roughly-between.html
24585  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 14, 2010, 01:39:11 PM
I don't think having any of the Thousands Standing Around, a.k.a. the TSA grabbing my balls or poking at my anus will really further security in the slightest.
24586  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy on: November 14, 2010, 01:36:22 PM
GM:

It appears you are following Bork's concept of privacy-- which is the very reason I opposed him for the Supreme Court.

24587  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy on: November 14, 2010, 12:02:48 PM
"I think other commonly recognized rights within society and the legal system that weren't specifically enumerated in the bill of rights would be covered by the 9th"

Privacy meets this standard, yes?

"It's not something to do lightly,"

AMEN!

"as once the pandora's box were opened, then every activist judge would reach into the 9th for gay marriage, gov't healthcare, guranteed income and every other leftist cause du jour."

Well, the activist judges are already doing that for gay marriage with the Equal Protection Clause.   As for healthcare, guaranteed income, etc we already have FDR and BO  (see his Chicago Public Radio interview in 200o or so) admitting that the Constitudtuion's rights are negative not, positive.

24588  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Is that a bomb in your crotch or are you just aroused to have me feel you up? on: November 14, 2010, 11:54:28 AM
When it comes to protecting against terrorism, this is how things usually go: A danger presents itself. The federal government responds with new rules that erode privacy, treat innocent people as suspicious and blur the distinction between life in a free society and life in a correctional facility. And we all tamely accept the new intrusions, like sheep being shorn.

Maybe not this time.

The war on terrorism is going to get personal. Very personal. Americans have long resented the hassles that go with air travel ever since 9/11 -- long security lines, limits on liquids, forced removal of footwear and so on. But if the Transportation Security Administration has its way, we will look back to 2009 as the good old days.

The agency is rolling out new full-body scanners, which eventually will replace metal detectors at all checkpoints. These machines replicate the experience of taking off your clothes, but without the fun. They enable agents to get a view of your body that leaves nothing to the imagination.

A lot of people, of course, couldn't care less if a stranger wants to gaze upon everything God gave them. But some retain a modesty that makes them reluctant to parade naked in front of people they don't know, even virtually. Henceforth, Jennifer Aniston is going to think twice before flying commercial.

Besides the indignity of having one's body exposed to an airport screener, there is a danger the images will find a wider audience. The U.S. Marshals Service recently admitted saving some 35,000 images from a machine at a federal courthouse in Florida. TSA says that will never happen. Human experience says, oh, yes, it will.

For the camera-shy, TSA will offer an alternative: "enhanced" pat-downs. And you'll get a chance to have an interesting conversation with your children about being touched by strangers. This is not the gentle frisking you may have experienced at the airport in the past. It requires agents to probe aggressively in intimate zones -- breasts, buttocks, crotches. If you enjoyed your last mammography or prostate exam, you'll love the enhanced pat-down.

Reviews of the procedure are coming in, and they are not raves. The Allied Pilots Association calls it a "demeaning experience," and one pilot complained it amounted to "sexual molestation." The head of a flight attendants' union local said that for anyone who has been sexually assaulted, it will "drudge up some bad memories."

But the option of the full-body scanner is not so appealing, either, even leaving out privacy concerns. Two pilots' unions have advised members not to go through the scanners because of the possible risks of being bombarded with low doses of radiation.

"There is good reason to believe that these scanners will increase the risk of cancer to children and other vulnerable populations," a group of scientists from the University of California at San Francisco informed the White House.

Aviation trade groups fear the public has finally been pushed over the edge. "We have received hundreds of e-mails and phone calls from travelers vowing to stop flying," Geoff Freeman, executive vice president of the U.S. Travel Association, told Reuters.

The new policy is being challenged in court by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, which says it violates the Fourth Amendment's ban on unreasonable searches. But don't expect judges to save us.

Says Stanford University law professor Robert Weisberg, with resignation in his voice, "Airports are pretty much a Fourth Amendment-free zone."

Though the harm to privacy is certain, the benefit to public safety is not. The federal Government Accountability Office has said it "remains unclear" if the scanners would have detected the explosives carried by the would-be Christmas Day bomber.

They would also be useless against a terrorist who inserts a bomb in his rectum -- like the al-Qaida operative who blew himself up last year in an attempt to kill a Saudi prince. Full-body scanning will sorely chafe many innocent travelers, while creating only a minor inconvenience to bloodthirsty fanatics.

_The good news is that last year, the House of Representatives voted to bar the use of whole-body scanners for routine screening. But only a sustained public outcry will force a change.

We will soon find out if there is a limit to the sacrifices of personal freedom that Americans will endure in the name of fighting terrorism. If we don't say no when they want to inspect and handle our private parts, when will we?
24589  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy on: November 14, 2010, 11:37:55 AM
"So, after decades of 4th amendment caselaw related to search and seizure, we're going to reach into the 9th amendment bag of tricks and create new privacy rights when the fourth has already clearly defined them?"

Is the Ninth Amendment meaningless?  If not, then what does it mean?


24590  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Grant: Gold Standard on: November 14, 2010, 11:28:53 AM
By JAMES GRANT
Published: November 13, 2010
BY disclosing a plan to conjure $600 billion to support the sagging economy, the Federal Reserve affirmed the interesting fact that dollars can be conjured. In the digital age, you don’t even need a printing press.

This was on Nov. 3. A general uproar ensued, with the dollar exchange rate weakening and the price of gold surging. And when, last Monday, the president of the World Bank suggested, almost diffidently, that there might be a place for gold in today’s international monetary arrangements, you could hear a pin drop.
Let the economists gasp: The classical gold standard, the one that was in place from 1880 to 1914, is what the world needs now. In its utility, economy and elegance, there has never been a monetary system like it.

It was simplicity itself. National currencies were backed by gold. If you didn’t like the currency you could exchange it for shiny coins (money was “sound” if it rang when dropped on a counter). Borders were open and money was footloose. It went where it was treated well. In gold-standard countries, government budgets were mainly balanced. Central banks had the single public function of exchanging gold for paper or paper for gold. The public decided which it wanted.

“You can’t go back,” today’s central bankers are wont to protest, before adding, “And you shouldn’t, anyway.” They seem to forget that we are forever going back (and forth, too), because nothing about money is really new. “Quantitative easing,” a k a money-printing, is as old as the hills. Draftsmen of the United States Constitution, well recalling the overproduction of the Continental paper dollar, defined money as “coin.” “To coin money” and “regulate the value thereof” was a Congressional power they joined in the same constitutional phrase with that of fixing “the standard of weights and measures.” For most of the next 200 years, the dollar was, in fact, defined as a weight of metal. The pure paper era did not begin until 1971.

The Federal Reserve was created in 1913 — by coincidence, the final full year of the original gold standard. (Less functional variants followed in the 1920s and ’40s; no longer could just anybody demand gold for paper, or paper for gold.) At the outset, the Fed was a gold standard central bank. It could not have conjured money even if it had wanted to, as the value of the dollar was fixed under law as one 20.67th of an ounce of gold.

Neither was the Fed concerned with managing the national economy. Fast forward 65 years or so, to the late 1970s, and the Fed would have been unrecognizable to the men who voted it into existence. It was now held responsible for ensuring full employment and stable prices alike.

Today, the Fed’s hundreds of Ph.D.’s conduct research at the frontiers of economic science. “The Two-Period Rational Inattention Model: Accelerations and Analyses” is the title of one of the treatises the monetary scholars have recently produced. “Continuous Time Extraction of a Nonstationary Signal with Illustrations in Continuous Low-pass and Band-pass Filtering” is another. You can’t blame the learned authors for preferring the life they lead to the careers they would have under a true-blue gold standard. Rather than writing monographs for each other, they would be standing behind a counter exchanging paper for gold and vice versa.

If only they gave it some thought, though, the economists — nothing if not smart — would fairly jump at the chance for counter duty. For a convertible currency is a sophisticated, self-contained information system. By choosing to hold it, or instead the gold that stands behind it, the people tell the central bank if it has issued too much money or too little. It’s democracy in money, rather than mandarin rule.

Today, it’s the mandarins at the Federal Reserve who decide what interest rate to impose, and what volume of currency to conjure.

The Bank of England once had an unhappy experience with this method of operation. To fight the Napoleonic wars of the early 19th century, Britain traded in its gold pound for a scrip, and the bank had to decide unilaterally how many pounds to print. Lacking the information encased in the gold standard, it printed too many. A great inflation bubbled.

Later, a parliamentary inquest determined that no institution should again be entrusted with such powers as the suspension of gold convertibility had dumped in the lap of those bank directors. They had meant well enough, the parliamentarians concluded, but even the most minute knowledge of the British economy, “combined with the profound science in all the principles of money and circulation,” would not enable anyone to circulate the exact amount of money needed for “the wants of trade.”

The same is true now at the Fed. The chairman, Ben Bernanke, and his minions have taken it upon themselves to decide that a lot more money should circulate. According to the Consumer Price Index, which is showing year-over-year gains of less than 1.5 percent, prices are essentially stable.

=====

In the inflationary 1970s, people had prayed for exactly this. But the Fed today finds it unacceptable. We need more inflation, it insists (seeming not to remember that prices showed year-over-year declines for 12 consecutive months in 1954 and ’55 or that, in the first half of the 1960s, the Consumer Price Index never registered year-over-year gains of as much as 2 percent). This is why Mr. Bernanke has set out to materialize an additional $600 billion in the next eight months.

The intended consequences of this intervention include lower interest rates, higher stock prices, a perkier Consumer Price Index and more hiring. The unintended consequences remain to be seen. A partial list of unwanted possibilities includes an overvalued stock market (followed by a crash), a collapsing dollar, an unscripted surge in consumer prices (followed by higher interest rates), a populist revolt against zero-percent savings rates and wall-to-wall European tourists on the sidewalks of Manhattan.
As for interest rates, they are already low enough to coax another cycle of imprudent lending and borrowing. It gives one pause that the Fed, with all its massed brain power, failed to anticipate even a little of the troubles of 2007-09.

At last week’s world economic summit meeting in South Korea, finance ministers and central bankers chewed over the perennial problem of “imbalances.” America consumes much more than it produces (and has done so over 25 consecutive years). Asia produces more than it consumes. Merchandise moves east across the Pacific; dollars fly west in payment. For Americans, the system could hardly be improved on, because the dollars do not remain in Asia. They rather obligingly fly eastward again in the shape of investments in United States government securities. It’s as if the money never left the 50 states.

So it is under the paper-dollar system that we Americans enjoy “deficits without tears,” in the words of the French economist Jacques Rueff. We could not have done so under the classical gold standard. Deficits then were ultimately settled in gold. We could not have printed it, but would have had to dig for it, or adjusted our economy to make ourselves more internationally competitive. Adjustments under the gold standard took place continuously and smoothly — not, like today, wrenchingly and at great intervals.

Gold is a metal made for monetary service. It is scarce (just 0.004 parts per million in the earth’s crust), pliable and easy on the eye. It has tended to hold its purchasing power over the years and centuries. You don’t consume it, as you do tin or copper. Somewhere, probably, in some coin or ingot, is the gold that adorned Cleopatra.

And because it is indestructible, no one year’s new production is of any great consequence in comparison with the store of above-ground metal. From 1900 to 2009, at much lower nominal gold prices than those prevailing today, the worldwide stock of gold grew at 1.5 percent a year, according to the United States Geological Survey and the World Gold Council.

The first time the United States abandoned the gold standard — to fight the Civil War — it took until 1879, 14 years after Appomattox, to again link the dollar to gold.

To reinstitute a modern gold standard today would take time, too. The United States would first have to call an international monetary conference. A chastened Ben Bernanke would have to announce that, in fact, he cannot see into the future and needs the information that the convertibility feature of a gold dollar would impart.

That humbling chore completed, the delegates could get down to the technical work of proposing a rate of exchange between gold and the dollar (probably it would be even higher than the current price of gold, the better to encourage new exploration and production).

Other countries, thunderstruck, would then have to follow suit. The main thing, Mr. Bernanke would emphasize, would be to create a monetary system that synchronizes national economies rather than driving them apart.

If the classical gold standard in its every Edwardian feature could not, after all, be teleported into the 21st century, there would be plenty of scope for adaptation and, perhaps, improvement. Let the author of “The Two-Period Rational Inattention Model: Accelerations and Analyses” have a crack at it.
24591  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Revolt of the Body Scanned on: November 13, 2010, 07:44:07 PM


http://www.cnn.com/2010/TRAVEL/11/12/travel.screening/index.html?eref=mrss_igoogle_cnn
24592  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Pequeno estudio on: November 13, 2010, 07:43:10 PM
?Como se dice "bully"?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xwQ-seHCt8&feature=player_embedded&has_verified=1
24593  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy on: November 13, 2010, 02:21:25 PM
Last point first:  My proposition is that amongst the unenumerated rates of the 9th are the right to privacy and the right of self-defense.

Private Open Fields:  Hypothetical:  I have private property which extends further than the human eye can see.  I am standing on the property where no one not on the property can see me.  Question presented:  Do I have privacy, or can the Feds, who presumably have a right to be in outer space, spy on me from outer space?  Or, can they spy on me from a drone?
24594  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: November 13, 2010, 08:24:27 AM
Caroline Glick
Addressing Our Homegrown Enemies

This week we learned that Nazareth is an al-Qaida hub. Sheikh Nazem Abu Salim Sahfe, the Israeli imam of the Shihab al-Din mosque in the city, was indicted on Sunday for promoting and recruiting for global jihad and calling on his followers to harm non-Muslims.

Among the other plots born of Sahfe's sermons was the murder of cab driver Yefim Weinstein last November. Sahfe's followers also plotted to assassinate Pope Benedict XVI during his trip to Israel last year. They torched Christian tour buses. They abducted and stabbed a pizza delivery man. Two of his disciples were arrested in Kenya en route to joining al-Qaida forces in Somalia.

With his indictment, Sahfe joins a growing list of jihadists born and bred in Israel and in free societies around the world who have rejected their societies and embraced the cause of Islamic global domination. The most prominent member of this group today is the American-born al-Qaida leader Anwar al-Awlaki.

US authorities describe Awlaki as the world's most dangerous man. His jihadist track record is staggering. It seems that there has been no major attack in the US or Britain - including the September 11 attacks and the July 7 attacks in London - in which Awlaki has not played a role.

Sahfe and Awlaki, like nearly all the prominent jihadists in the West, are men of privilege. Their personal histories are a refutation of the popular Western tale that jihad is born of frustration, poverty and ignorance. Both men, like almost every prominent Western jihadist, are university graduates.

So, too, their stories belie the Western fantasy that adherence to the cause of jihad is spawned by poverty. These men and their colleagues are the sons of wealthy or comfortable middle class families. They have never known privation.

Armed with their material comforts, university degrees and native knowledge of the ways of democracy and the habits of freedom, these men chose to become jihadists. They chose submission to Islam over liberal democratic rights because that is what they prefer. They are idealists.

This means that all the standard Western pabulums about the need to expand welfare benefits for Muslims or abstain from enforcing the laws against their communities, or give mosques immunity from surveillance and closure, or seek to co-opt jihadist leaders by treating them like credible Muslim voices, are wrong and counterproductive. These programs do not neutralize their supremacist intentions or actions. They embolden the Western Islamic supremacists by signaling to them that they are winning. Their Western societies are no match for them.

In recent weeks we have seen a number of statements by establishment political leaders in Europe indicating that they are willing to consider abandoning these politically correct bromides. German Chancellor Angela Merkel's statement last month that "multiculturalism has utterly failed," for instance, is widely perceived as a watershed event.

And in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal on Monday, former British prime minister Tony Blair acknowledged that there is a problem with unassimilated Muslims in Britain. As he put it, anti-immigration sentiment is not general but particular. It relates, Blair admitted, to "the failure of one part of the Muslim community to resolve and create an identity that is both British and Muslim."

Blair acknowledged that it is due to the European establishment's refusal to recongnize the problem of growing Islamic supremacism in Europe that so many millions of Europeans are today ditching the establishment and its politically correct orthodoxies and voting for anti-establishment politicians who are willing to address the problem. He called for a continent-wide approach to immigration whose goal would be to prevent jihadists from exploiting the system to overthrow it.

Statements like Merkel's and Blair's are insufficient. But the very fact that enough Europeans are willing to break the PC barrier to force these leaders to acknowledge and perhaps address the challenges of unassimilated, supremacist Muslim minorities means that Europe is taking the first steps towards addressing the challenges that jihadist Islam poses to its security, culture and civilization.

Perhaps most emblematic of this change was the Merkel government's recent move to finally close the mosque in Hamburg where the September 11 plotters met and planned their acts of war against the US.

Disturbingly, the establishments in the two countries most actively targeted by global jihad - the US and Israel - remain in deep denial about the challenges of homegrown jihadist fifth columnists. The US remains in denial even though the majority of recent jihadist attacks and attempted attacks against the US were carried out by American citizens.

The US's denial of the nature of the jihadist threat was demonstrated in all of its politically correct glory this week with President Barack Obama's address to Indian students at St. Xavier University in Mumbai. In response to a student's query about his view of jihad and jihadists, Obama praised Islam as "one of the world's great religions." He went on to claim that the overwhelming majority of Muslims view Islam as a religion of "peace, justice, fairness and tolerance."

Obama's message was not only deceptive and off point, it was deeply insensitive to his audience. Two years ago this month, Mumbai was the site of a massive jihadist commando attack against targets throughout the city, and Mumbai's residents are still grappling with the wounds of that attack.

Obama's statement also ignored the US's contribution to that attack. The suspected mastermind of the Mumbai massacres was a US citizen named David Coleman Headley from Obama's hometown of Chicago. Moreover, Headley (formerly Daood Sayed Gilani) served for many years as a double agent. A convicted drug dealer, he was sent to Pakistan as a Drug Enforcement Agency agent. While there, he trained at Lashkar-e-Taibe jihadist training camps.

Obama failed to note that perhaps due to his work at the DEA, US law enforcement officials ignored testimonies from two of Headley's former wives in 2005 and 2007 that he was a member of Lashkar-e-Taibe, the India-focused Pakistani al-Qaida affiliate run by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency.

Rather than address these issues, or the fact that the US has refused Indian extradition requests for Headley, Obama vacuously told students that it is the job of young people from all religions to reject extremism and violence.

Headley, of course, is just one of many American jihadists who has enjoined the fruits of America's politically correct denial of the homegrown Islamic threat. In the months following the September 11 attacks, the US Department of the Army actively courted Awlaki as part of its Muslim outreach program. Awlaki, then George Washington University's Muslim chaplain, was wooed despite his documented links to three of the September 11 hijackers.

As Israelis wake up to the reality of al-Qaida in Nazareth, our leftist establishment remains in denial about its role in enabling this reality. Sahfe's Shihab al-Din mosque was established as a triumphalist mosque adjacent to the Church of the Annunciation in the lead up to the millennium. At the time, the Vatican launched a vocal protest against its construction.

In the hopes of winning over the likes of Sahfe, then-prime minister Ehud Barak and then-foreign minister and public security minister Shlomo Ben-Ami rejected the Vatican's objections. They even donated the land for the mosque from the Israel Lands Authority.

Safhe returned the favor by interrupting Pope John Paul II's homily at the Church of the Annunciation during his March 2000 visit with a call to prayer. Months later, the Shihab al-Din mosque was one of the focal points for inciting the anti-Jewish riots in the Arab sector in October 2000.

Today, leftist judges together with leftist politicians and opinion makers block all efforts by politicians and the public to acknowledge and address the growing lawlessness and jihadist bent of Israel's Muslim minority. Fear of the politically correct Supreme Court has deterred authorities from outlawing the Islamic Movement. Efforts to contend with illegal land seizures and building have been blocked by the leftist media, pressure groups largely sponsored by the New Israel Fund and the courts. Even symbolic measures like the government's recent bid to require non-Jewish immigrants to pledge loyalty to the state have been viciously attacked by Israel's leftist establishment as fascist and racist.

But as Europe is belatedly acknowledging, these politically correct commissars must be sidelined if the free world is to withstand the growing threat of homegrown jihad.

What this means for Israel is that the political and legal space has to be found to speedily embark on the law enforcement equivalent of a counterinsurgency operation. Israel must enforce its laws with as much zeal and commitment in the Muslim sector as it does in the Jewish sector. This means that Shihab al-Din and other jihadist mosques have to be closed.

It means that jihadist groups like the Islamic Movement have to be outlawed and its leaders have to be tried for treason and other relevant offenses. The same is true for all Arab leaders, political groupings and social organizations that promote the destruction of Israel.

Building and zoning laws must be enforced. State lands that have been seized must be taken back, if necessary by force, including with the involvement of the IDF.

So, too, Jewish rights have to be protected. Like Muslims, Jews have the right to buy land and homes throughout the country. Jews who wish to live in Muslim-majority communities must enjoy the protection of the law just as Muslims who live in Tel Aviv and Upper Nazareth do.

By the same token, the government must embark on a campaign to win back the loyalty of its Muslim citizens. It must empower leaders who embrace their identity as Israelis and seek the integration of Israeli Muslims into the wider society. Authorities must ensure that Israeli Muslims who wish to integrate are not discriminated against by Jews or intimidated by other Muslims.

Over the past couple of weeks, IDF commanders have spoken at length about the nature of the war to come. Their remarks have concentrated on what is already largely recognized - that Israel's home front will be targeted by long-range missiles.

Disappointingly, they ignored the most significant new threat facing the home front today: The likelihood that Israel's external foes will receive active assistance from its Muslim citizens.

Nearly a decade after the September 11 attacks, global jihad remains the central threat to the West, and not because of its popularity in western Pakistan. It remains the central threat to the free world because of its popularity among the Muslims in the free world.

To remain free, free societies must shed our politically correct shackles and address this growing menace to everything we hold dear.
 
Caroline Glick
Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, where this article first appeared.
24595  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Case of the Vanishing Blonde on: November 13, 2010, 08:20:18 AM
Indeed.

This line at the end caught my attention:

"His Miami victim won a $300,000 settlement from the hotel and the hotel’s security company."

From what I read in the article, I see no basis for this.

24596  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy on: November 13, 2010, 08:14:45 AM
GM et al:

a) I would submit that there is a reasonable expectation of privacy in the public sphere if there is no one in sight, yet this technology would invade that privacy.

b) This technology can also spy on us when we are on private property.

Is there no articulable principal of privacy here?  Is there no 9th Amendment right?
24597  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy on: November 12, 2010, 09:01:56 PM
That is less than reassuring , , ,
24598  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / LA Times: Combat by Camera on: November 12, 2010, 05:12:10 PM
Good catch BBG!

On another front, what, if anything stops the Feds from using this on us?
=========
COMBAT BY CAMERA

The changing face of aerial reconnaissance
Aerial spying is 'now the centerpiece of our global war on terrorism.' And that has meant a growing and potentially huge business even as the Pentagon looks at cutting back on big-ticket items.

A Global Hawk robotic plane, hovering more than 11 miles above Afghanistan, can snap images of Taliban hide-outs so crystal clear that U.S. intelligence officials can make out the pickup trucks parked nearby — and how long they've been there.

Halfway around the globe in a underground laboratory in El Segundo, Raytheon Co. engineers who helped develop the cameras and sensors for the pilotless spy plane are now working on even more powerful devices that are revolutionizing the way the military gathers intelligence.

The new sensors enable flying drones to "listen in" on cellphone conversations and pinpoint the location of the caller on the ground. Some can even "smell" the air and sniff out chemical plumes emanating from a potential underground nuclear laboratory.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Get a daily snapshot of market numbers and trends, delivered right to your mobile phone. Text BUSINESS to 52669.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Reconnaissance is "now the centerpiece of our global war on terrorism," said David L. Rockwell, an electronics analyst with aerospace research firm the Teal Group Corp. "The military wants to have an unblinking eye over the war zone."

And that has meant a growing and potentially huge business for the defense industry at a time when the Pentagon is looking at cutting back on big-ticket purchases such as fighter jets and Navy ships.

The drone electronics industry now generates about $3 billion in revenue, but that's expected to double to $6 billion in the next eight years, Teal Group estimates.

The industry's projected growth has fueled a surge in mergers and acquisitions of companies that develop and make the parts for the sensor systems, many of them in Southern California.

"There has been an explosion in the reconnaissance market," said Jon B. Kutler, founder of Admiralty Partners, a Century City private investment firm that buys and sells small defense firms."It's one of the few remaining growth areas."

Kutler's company recently acquired Torrance-based Trident Space & Defense, which manufactures hard drives that enable drones to store high-resolution images.

Trident, which has about 70 employees, has seen its sales more than double to about $40 million over the last five years.

The demand for sensors is growing as the Pentagon steps up use of drones for intelligence gathering.

More than 7,000 drones — ranging from the small, hand-launched Raven to the massive Global Hawk — are currently deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Though some have been outfitted with laser-guided bombs or missiles — grabbing most of the news headlines — all are equipped with sensors for reconnaissance and surveillance work.

The most advanced cameras and sensors are on the Global Hawk, a long-endurance, high-altitude drone that can fly for 30 hours at a time at more than 60,000 feet, out of range of most antiaircraft missiles and undetectable to the human eye.

Peter W. Singer, author of "Wired for War," a book about robotic warfare, compares the technology to the popular "Where's Waldo" children's books, in which readers are challenged to find one person hidden in a mass of people.

The latest detectors not only can pick out Waldo from a crowd, but know when Waldo may have fired a rifle. Such sensors can detect the heat from the barrel of a gun and estimate when it was fired.

Many of the sensors have been developed by Raytheon engineers in El Segundo, where the company has had a long history of developing spy equipment, including those found on the famed U-2 spy plane.

Some of the more advanced cameras can cost more than $15 million and take 18 months to make. Raytheon develops the cameras in a humidity-controlled, dust-free laboratory to ensure that they are free of blemishes.

Each basketball-sized camera "must be perfect," said Oscar Fragoso, a Raytheon optical engineer. "If it isn't, we know we're putting lives at risk."

Raytheon has begun to face stiff competition as other aerospace contractors vie for its business.

Sparks, Nev.-based Sierra Nevada Corp., which is known for its work on developing parts for spy satellites, has developed a sensor system, named the Gorgon Stare, that widens the area that drones can monitor from 1 mile to nearly 3 miles.

Named for the creature in Greek mythology whose gaze turns victims to stone, the sensor system features 12 small cameras — instead of one large one. It is to be affixed to Reaper drones before the end of the year.

With the multiple cameras, the operator can follow numerous vehicles instead of just one, said Brig. Gen. Robert P. Otto, the U.S. Air Force's director of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. "By the end of the year, we're going to be fielding capabilities that are unlike anything we've used before."

But with an increase in the number of drone patrols and new sensor technology, the Air Force will be "drowning in data," Otto said. "That means we're going to need a lot more people looking at computer screens."

The Pentagon has said that drones last year took so much video footage that it would take someone 24 years to watch it all.

By this time next year, the Air Force expects to have almost 5,000 people trawling through the images for intelligence information. That's up from little more than 1,200 nine years ago.

"The reconnaissance work that's being done now takes seconds, where it used to take days," Otto said. "We're pushing the edge of technology."

william.hennigan@latimes.com
Copyright © 2010, Los Angeles Times

24599  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / LA Times: Combat by Camera on: November 12, 2010, 05:10:15 PM


COMBAT BY CAMERA

The changing face of aerial reconnaissance
Aerial spying is 'now the centerpiece of our global war on terrorism.' And that has meant a growing and potentially huge business even as the Pentagon looks at cutting back on big-ticket items.

A Global Hawk robotic plane, hovering more than 11 miles above Afghanistan, can snap images of Taliban hide-outs so crystal clear that U.S. intelligence officials can make out the pickup trucks parked nearby — and how long they've been there.

Halfway around the globe in a underground laboratory in El Segundo, Raytheon Co. engineers who helped develop the cameras and sensors for the pilotless spy plane are now working on even more powerful devices that are revolutionizing the way the military gathers intelligence.

The new sensors enable flying drones to "listen in" on cellphone conversations and pinpoint the location of the caller on the ground. Some can even "smell" the air and sniff out chemical plumes emanating from a potential underground nuclear laboratory.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Get a daily snapshot of market numbers and trends, delivered right to your mobile phone. Text BUSINESS to 52669.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Reconnaissance is "now the centerpiece of our global war on terrorism," said David L. Rockwell, an electronics analyst with aerospace research firm the Teal Group Corp. "The military wants to have an unblinking eye over the war zone."

And that has meant a growing and potentially huge business for the defense industry at a time when the Pentagon is looking at cutting back on big-ticket purchases such as fighter jets and Navy ships.

The drone electronics industry now generates about $3 billion in revenue, but that's expected to double to $6 billion in the next eight years, Teal Group estimates.

The industry's projected growth has fueled a surge in mergers and acquisitions of companies that develop and make the parts for the sensor systems, many of them in Southern California.

"There has been an explosion in the reconnaissance market," said Jon B. Kutler, founder of Admiralty Partners, a Century City private investment firm that buys and sells small defense firms."It's one of the few remaining growth areas."

Kutler's company recently acquired Torrance-based Trident Space & Defense, which manufactures hard drives that enable drones to store high-resolution images.

Trident, which has about 70 employees, has seen its sales more than double to about $40 million over the last five years.

The demand for sensors is growing as the Pentagon steps up use of drones for intelligence gathering.

More than 7,000 drones — ranging from the small, hand-launched Raven to the massive Global Hawk — are currently deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Though some have been outfitted with laser-guided bombs or missiles — grabbing most of the news headlines — all are equipped with sensors for reconnaissance and surveillance work.

The most advanced cameras and sensors are on the Global Hawk, a long-endurance, high-altitude drone that can fly for 30 hours at a time at more than 60,000 feet, out of range of most antiaircraft missiles and undetectable to the human eye.

Peter W. Singer, author of "Wired for War," a book about robotic warfare, compares the technology to the popular "Where's Waldo" children's books, in which readers are challenged to find one person hidden in a mass of people.

The latest detectors not only can pick out Waldo from a crowd, but know when Waldo may have fired a rifle. Such sensors can detect the heat from the barrel of a gun and estimate when it was fired.

Many of the sensors have been developed by Raytheon engineers in El Segundo, where the company has had a long history of developing spy equipment, including those found on the famed U-2 spy plane.

Some of the more advanced cameras can cost more than $15 million and take 18 months to make. Raytheon develops the cameras in a humidity-controlled, dust-free laboratory to ensure that they are free of blemishes.

Each basketball-sized camera "must be perfect," said Oscar Fragoso, a Raytheon optical engineer. "If it isn't, we know we're putting lives at risk."

Raytheon has begun to face stiff competition as other aerospace contractors vie for its business.

Sparks, Nev.-based Sierra Nevada Corp., which is known for its work on developing parts for spy satellites, has developed a sensor system, named the Gorgon Stare, that widens the area that drones can monitor from 1 mile to nearly 3 miles.

Named for the creature in Greek mythology whose gaze turns victims to stone, the sensor system features 12 small cameras — instead of one large one. It is to be affixed to Reaper drones before the end of the year.

With the multiple cameras, the operator can follow numerous vehicles instead of just one, said Brig. Gen. Robert P. Otto, the U.S. Air Force's director of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. "By the end of the year, we're going to be fielding capabilities that are unlike anything we've used before."

But with an increase in the number of drone patrols and new sensor technology, the Air Force will be "drowning in data," Otto said. "That means we're going to need a lot more people looking at computer screens."

The Pentagon has said that drones last year took so much video footage that it would take someone 24 years to watch it all.

By this time next year, the Air Force expects to have almost 5,000 people trawling through the images for intelligence information. That's up from little more than 1,200 nine years ago.

"The reconnaissance work that's being done now takes seconds, where it used to take days," Otto said. "We're pushing the edge of technology."

william.hennigan@latimes.com
Copyright © 2010, Los Angeles Times

24600  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Chiropractic for children? on: November 12, 2010, 01:10:00 PM
She says not to worry because she's doing it gently and we are doing it only infrequently.
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