Dog Brothers Public Forum


Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
October 26, 2016, 02:15:14 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Search:     Advanced search
Welcome to the Dog Brothers Public Forum.
97968 Posts in 2334 Topics by 1082 Members
Latest Member: James
* Home Help Search Login Register
  Show Posts
Pages: 1 ... 495 496 [497] 498 499 ... 758
24801  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Nuclear War, WMD issues on: May 18, 2010, 11:21:24 AM

The irony there is extraordinary.

We'll need to see the actual agreement before passing judgment I suppose, but ultimately, as we have noted here all along, sanctions are more a tactic to keep Israel from acting than a genuine strategy for stopping Iran from going nuclear.  Still, if there is anything of this sanctions agreement, it will be interesting to see how, given its editorial which I posted earlier this morning, the WSJ reacts.


Breaking News Alert
The New York Times
Tue, May 18, 2010 -- 10:39 AM ET

Clinton Says U.S., China and Russia Have Deal on New Iran Sanctions

The Obama administration announced Tuesday morning that it
has struck a deal with other major powers, including Russia
and China, to impose new sanctions on Iran, a sharp
repudiation of the deal Tehran offered just a day before to
ship its nuclear fuel out of the country.

"We have reached agreement on a strong draft with the
cooperation of both Russia and China," Secretary of State
Hillary Rodham Clinton told a Senate committee. "We plan to
circulate that draft resolution to the entire Security
Council today. And let me say, Mr. Chairman, I think this
announcement is as convincing an answer to the efforts
undertaken in Tehran over the last few days as any we could

The announcement came just a day after Iran said it would
ship roughly half of its nuclear fuel to Turkey in a bid to
assuage concerns about its program.

Read More:
24802  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: May 18, 2010, 08:44:53 AM
President Obama guaranteed Americans that after health reform became law they could keep their insurance plans and their doctors. It's clear that this promise cannot be kept. Insurers and physicians are already reshaping their businesses as a result of Mr. Obama's plan.

The health-reform law caps how much insurers can spend on expenses and take for profits. Starting next year, health plans will have a regulated "floor" on their medical-loss ratios, which is the amount of revenue they spend on medical claims. Insurers can only spend 20% of their premiums on running their plans if they offer policies directly to consumers or to small employers. The spending cap is 15% for policies sold to large employers.  This regulation is going to have its biggest impact on insurance sold directly to consumers—what's referred to as the "individual market." These policies cost more to market. They also have higher medical costs, owing partly to selection by less healthy consumers. Finally, individual policies have high start-up costs. If insurers cannot spend more of their revenue getting plans on track, fewer new policies will be offered.

This will hit Wellpoint, one of the biggest players in the individual market, particularly hard. The insurance company already has a strained relationship with the White House: Earlier this month Mr. Obama accused Wellpoint of systemically denying coverage to breast cancer patients, though the facts don't bear that out.

Restrictions on how insurers can spend money are compounded by simultaneous constraints on how they can manage their costs. Beginning in 2014, a new federal agency will standardize insurance benefits, placing minimum actuarial values on medical policies. There are also mandates forcing insurers to cover a lot of expensive primary-care services in full. At the same time, insurers are being blocked from raising premiums—for now by political jawboning, but the threat of legislative restrictions looms.

One of the few remaining ways to manage expenses is to reduce the actual cost of the products. In health care, this means pushing providers to accept lower fees and reduce their use of costly services like radiology or other diagnostic testing.

To implement this strategy, companies need to be able to exert more control over doctors. So insurers are trying to buy up medical clinics and doctor practices. Where they can't own providers outright, they'll maintain smaller "networks" of physicians that they will contract with so they can manage doctors more closely. That means even fewer choices for beneficiaries. Insurers hope that owning providers will enable health policies to offset the cost of the new regulations.

Doctors, meanwhile, are selling their practices to local hospitals. In 2005, doctors owned more than two-thirds of all medical practices. By next year, more than 60% of physicians will be salaried employees. About a third of those will be working for hospitals, according to the American Medical Association. A review of the open job searches held by one of the country's largest physician-recruiting firms shows that nearly 50% are for jobs in hospitals, up from about 25% five years ago.

Last month, a hospital I'm affiliated with outside of Manhattan sent a note to its physicians announcing a new subsidiary it's forming to buy up local medical practices. Nearby physicians are lining up to sell—and not just primary-care doctors, but highly paid specialists like orthopedic surgeons and neurologists. Similar developments are unfolding nationwide.

Consolidated practices and salaried doctors will leave fewer options for patients and longer waiting times for routine appointments. Like the insurers, physicians are responding to the economic burdens of the president's plan in one of the few ways they're permitted to.

For physicians, the strains include higher operating costs. The Obama health plan puts expensive new mandates on doctors, such as a requirement to purchase IT systems and keep more records. Overhead costs already consume more than 60% of the revenue generated by an average medical practice, according to a 2007 survey by the Medical Group Management Association. At the same time, reimbursement under Medicare is falling. Some specialists, such as radiologists and cardiologists, will see their Medicare payments fall by more than 10% next year. Then there's the fact that medical malpractice premiums have risen by 10%-20% annually for specialists like surgeons, particularly in states that haven't passed liability reform.

The bottom line: Defensive business arrangements designed to blunt ObamaCare's economic impacts will mean less patient choice.

Dr. Gottlieb, a former official at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a practicing internist. He's partner to a firm that invests in health-care companies.
24803  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: on: May 18, 2010, 08:40:09 AM
What a fiasco. That's the first word that comes to mind watching Mahmoud Ahmadinejad raise his arms yesterday with the leaders of Turkey and Brazil to celebrate a new atomic pact that instantly made irrelevant 16 months of President Obama's "diplomacy." The deal is a political coup for Tehran and possibly delivers the coup de grace to the West's half-hearted efforts to stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear bomb.

Full credit for this debacle goes to the Obama Administration and its hapless diplomatic strategy. Last October, nine months into its engagement with Tehran, the White House concocted a plan to transfer some of Iran's uranium stock abroad for enrichment. If the West couldn't stop Iran's program, the thinking was that maybe this scheme would delay it. The Iranians played coy, then refused to accept the offer.

But Mr. Obama doesn't take no for an answer from rogue regimes, and so he kept the offer on the table. As the U.S. finally seemed ready to go to the U.N. Security Council for more sanctions, the Iranians chose yesterday to accept the deal on their own limited terms while enlisting the Brazilians and Turks as enablers and political shields. "Diplomacy emerged victorious today," declared Brazil's President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, turning Mr. Obama's own most important foreign-policy principle against him.

The double embarrassment is that the U.S. had encouraged Lula's diplomacy as a step toward winning his support for U.N. sanctions. Brazil is currently one of the nonpermanent, rotating members of the Security Council, and the U.S. has wanted a unanimous U.N. vote. Instead, Lula used the opening to triangulate his own diplomatic solution. In her first game of high-stakes diplomatic poker, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is leaving the table dressed only in a barrel.

So instead of the U.S. and Europe backing Iran into a corner this spring, Mr. Ahmadinejad has backed Mr. Obama into one. America's discomfort is obvious. In its statement yesterday, the White House strained to "acknowledge the efforts" by Turkey and Brazil while noting "Iran's repeated failure to live up to its own commitments." The White House also sought to point out differences between yesterday's pact and the original October agreements on uranium transfers.

Good luck drawing those distinctions with the Chinese or Russians, who will now be less likely to agree even to weak sanctions. Having played so prominent a role in last October's talks with Iran, the U.S. can't easily disassociate itself from something broadly in line with that framework.

Under the terms unveiled yesterday, Iran said it would send 1,200 kilograms (2,646 lbs.) of low-enriched uranium to Turkey within a month, and no more than a year later get back 120 kilograms enriched from somewhere else abroad. This makes even less sense than the flawed October deal. In the intervening seven months, Iran has kicked its enrichment activities into higher gear. Its estimated total stock has gone to 2,300 kilograms from 1,500 kilograms last autumn, and its stated enrichment goal has gone to 20% from 3.5%.

If the West accepts this deal, Iran would be allowed to keep enriching uranium in contravention of previous U.N. resolutions. Removing 1,200 kilograms will leave Iran with still enough low-enriched stock to make a bomb, and once uranium is enriched up to 20% it is technically easier to get to bomb-capable enrichment levels.

Only last week, diplomats at the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency reported that Iran has increased the number of centrifuges it is using to enrich uranium. According to Western intelligence estimates, Iran continues to acquire key nuclear components, such as trigger mechanisms for bombs. Tehran says it wants to build additional uranium enrichment plants. The CIA recently reported that Iran tripled its stockpile of uranium last year and moved "toward self-sufficiency in the production of nuclear missiles." Yesterday's deal will have no impact on these illicit activities.

The deal will, however, make it nearly impossible to disrupt Iran's nuclear program short of military action. The U.N. is certainly a dead end. After 16 months of his extended hand and after downplaying support for Iran's democratic opposition, Mr. Obama now faces an Iran much closer to a bomb and less diplomatically isolated than when President Bush left office.

Israel will have to seriously consider its military options. Such a confrontation is far more likely thanks to the diplomatic double-cross of Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Brazil's Lula, and especially to a U.S. President whose diplomacy has succeeded mainly in persuading the world's rogues that he lacks the determination to stop their destructive ambitions.
24804  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Doomsayers Beware on: May 18, 2010, 08:06:55 AM
Doomsayers Beware, a Bright Future Beckons
Published: May 17, 2010
Long before “sustainable” became a buzzword, intellectuals wondered how long industrial society could survive. In “The Idea of Decline in Western History,” after surveying predictions from the mid-19th century until today, the historian Arthur Herman identifies two consistently dominant schools of thought.

The first school despairs because it foresees inevitable ruin. The second school is hopeful — but only because these intellectuals foresee ruin, too, and can hardly wait for the decadent modern world to be replaced by one more to their liking. Every now and then, someone comes along to note that society has failed to collapse and might go on prospering, but the notion is promptly dismissed in academia as happy talk from a simpleton. Predicting that the world will not end is also pretty good insurance against a prolonged stay on the best-seller list. Have you read Julian Simon’s “The State of Humanity”? Indur Goklany’s “The Improving State of the World”? Gregg Easterbrook’s “Sonic Boom”?

Good books all, and so is the newest addition to this slender canon, “The Rational Optimist,” by Matt Ridley. It does much more than debunk the doomsaying. Dr. Ridley provides a grand unified theory of history from the Stone Age to the better age awaiting us in 2100.

It’s an audacious task, but he has the intellectual breadth for it. A trained zoologist and former editor at The Economist, Dr. Ridley has established himself in previous books, like “The Origins of Virtue” and “Genome,” as the supreme synthesist of lessons from anthropology, psychology, molecular genetics, economics and game theory. This time he takes on all of human history, starting with our mysteriously successful debut. What made Homo sapiens so special? Dr. Ridley argues that it wasn’t our big brain, because Neanderthals had a big brain, too. Nor was it our willingness to help one another, because apes and other social animals also had an instinct for reciprocity.

“At some point,” Dr. Ridley writes, “after millions of years of indulging in reciprocal back-scratching of gradually increasing intensity, one species, and one alone, stumbled upon an entirely different trick. Adam gave Oz an object in exchange for a different object.”

The evidence for this trick is in perforated seashells from more than 80,000 years ago that ended up far from the nearest coast, an indication that inlanders were bartering to get ornamental seashells from coastal dwellers. Unlike the contemporary Neanderthals, who apparently relied just on local resources, those modern humans could shop for imports.

“The extraordinary promise of this event was that Adam potentially now had access to objects he did not know how to make or find; and so did Oz,” Dr. Ridley writes. People traded goods, services and, most important, knowledge, creating a collective intelligence: “Ten individuals could know between them ten things, while each understanding one.”

As they specialized and exchanged, humans learned how to domesticate crops and animals and sell food to passing merchants. Traders congregated in the first cities and built ships that spread goods and ideas around the world.

The Phoenician merchants who sailed the Mediterranean were denounced by Hebrew prophets like Isaiah and Greek intellectuals like Homer. But trading networks enabled the ancient Greeks to develop their alphabet, mathematics and science, and later fostered innovation in the trading hubs of the Roman Empire, India, China, Arabia, Renaissance Italy and other European capitals.

Rulers like to take credit for the advances during their reigns, and scientists like to see their theories as the source of technological progress. But Dr. Ridley argues that they’ve both got it backward: traders’ wealth builds empires, and entrepreneurial tinkerers are more likely to inspire scientists than vice versa. From Stone Age seashells to the steam engine to the personal computer, innovation has mostly been a bottom-up process.

“Forget wars, religions, famines and poems for the moment,” Dr. Ridley writes. “This is history’s greatest theme: the metastasis of exchange, specialization and the invention it has called forth, the ‘creation’ of time.”

You can appreciate the timesaving benefits through a measure devised by the economist William D. Nordhaus: how long it takes the average worker to pay for an hour of reading light. In ancient Babylon, it took more than 50 hours to pay for that light from a sesame-oil lamp. In 1800, it took more than six hours of work to pay for it from a tallow candle. Today, thanks to the countless specialists producing electricity and compact fluorescent bulbs, it takes less than a second. That technological progress, though, was sporadic. Innovation would flourish in one trading hub for a while but then stagnate, sometimes because of external predators — roving pirates, invading barbarians — but more often because of internal parasites, as Dr. Ridley writes:

“Empires bought stability at the price of creating a parasitic court; monotheistic religions bought social cohesion at the expense of a parasitic priestly class; nationalism bought power at the expense of a parasitic military; socialism bought equality at the price of a parasitic bureaucracy; capitalism bought efficiency at the price of parasitic financiers.”

Progress this century could be impeded by politics, wars, plagues or climate change, but Dr. Ridley argues that, as usual, the “apocaholics” are overstating the risks and underestimating innovative responses.

“The modern world is a history of ideas meeting, mixing, mating and mutating,” Dr. Ridley writes. “And the reason that economic growth has accelerated so in the past two centuries is down to the fact that ideas have been mixing more than ever before.”

Our progress is unsustainable, he argues, only if we stifle innovation and trade, the way China and other empires did in the past. Is that possible? Well, European countries are already banning technologies based on the precautionary principle requiring advance proof that they’re risk-free. Americans are turning more protectionist and advocating byzantine restrictions like carbon tariffs. Globalization is denounced by affluent Westerners preaching a return to self-sufficiency.

But with new hubs of innovation emerging elsewhere, and with ideas spreading faster than ever on the Internet, Dr. Ridley expects bottom-up innovators to prevail. His prediction for the rest of the century: “Prosperity spreads, technology progresses, poverty declines, disease retreats, fecundity falls, happiness increases, violence atrophies, freedom grows, knowledge flourishes, the environment improves and wilderness expands.”

If you’re not ready to trust an optimist, if you still fear a reckoning is at hand, you might consider the words of Thomas B. Macaulay, a British poet, historian and politician who criticized doomsayers of the mid-1800s.

“We cannot absolutely prove,” he wrote, “that those are in error who tell us that society has reached a turning point, that we have seen our best days. But so said all who came before us, and with just as much apparent reason.”
24805  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / NYT: A new clue to explain existence on: May 18, 2010, 07:58:30 AM
A New Clue to Explain Existence
Published: May 17, 2010

Physicists at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory are reporting that they have discovered a new clue that could help unravel one of the biggest mysteries of cosmology: why the universe is composed of matter and not its evil-twin opposite, antimatter. If confirmed, the finding portends fundamental discoveries at the new Large Hadron Collider outside Geneva, as well as a possible explanation for our own existence.

In a mathematically perfect universe, we would be less than dead; we would never have existed. According to the basic precepts of Einsteinian relativity and quantum mechanics, equal amounts of matter and antimatter should have been created in the Big Bang and then immediately annihilated each other in a blaze of lethal energy, leaving a big fat goose egg with which to make stars, galaxies and us. And yet we exist, and physicists (among others) would dearly like to know why.

Sifting data from collisions of protons and antiprotons at Fermilab’s Tevatron, which until last winter was the most powerful particle accelerator in the world, the team, known as the DZero collaboration, found that the fireballs produced pairs of the particles known as muons, which are sort of fat electrons, slightly more often than they produced pairs of anti-muons. So the miniature universe inside the accelerator went from being neutral to being about 1 percent more matter than antimatter.

“This result may provide an important input for explaining the matter dominance in our universe,” Guennadi Borissov, a co-leader of the study from Lancaster University, in England, said in a talk Friday at Fermilab, in Batavia, Ill. Over the weekend, word spread quickly among physicists. Maria Spiropulu of CERN and the California Institute of Technology called the results “very impressive and inexplicable.”

The results have now been posted on the Internet and submitted to the Physical Review.

It was Andrei Sakharov, the Russian dissident and physicist, who first provided a recipe for how matter could prevail over antimatter in the early universe. Among his conditions was that there be a slight difference in the properties of particles and antiparticles known technically as CP violation. In effect, when the charges and spins of particles are reversed, they should behave slightly differently. Over the years, physicists have discovered a few examples of CP violation in rare reactions between subatomic particles that tilt slightly in favor of matter over antimatter, but “not enough to explain our existence,” in the words of Gustaaf Brooijmans of Columbia, who is a member of the DZero team.

The new effect hinges on the behavior of particularly strange particles called neutral B-mesons, which are famous for not being able to make up their minds. They oscillate back and forth trillions of times a second between their regular state and their antimatter state. As it happens, the mesons, created in the proton-antiproton collisions, seem to go from their antimatter state to their matter state more rapidly than they go the other way around, leading to an eventual preponderance of matter over antimatter of about 1 percent, when they decay to muons.

Whether this is enough to explain our existence is a question that cannot be answered until the cause of the still-mysterious behavior of the B-mesons is directly observed, said Dr. Brooijmans, who called the situation “fairly encouraging.”

The observed preponderance is about 50 times what is predicted by the Standard Model, the suite of theories that has ruled particle physics for a generation, meaning that whatever is causing the B-meson to act this way is “new physics” that physicists have been yearning for almost as long.

Dr. Brooijmans said that the most likely explanations were some new particle not predicted by the Standard Model or some new kind of interaction between particles. Luckily, he said, “this is something we should be able to poke at with the Large Hadron Collider.”

Neal Weiner of New York University said, “If this holds up, the L.H.C. is going to be producing some fantastic results.”

Nevertheless, physicists will be holding their breath until the results are confirmed by other experiments.

Joe Lykken, a theorist at Fermilab, said, “So I would not say that this announcement is the equivalent of seeing the face of God, but it might turn out to be the toe of God.”
24806  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: States Rights on: May 18, 2010, 07:32:51 AM
Should I have said Miss USA instead of Miss America?
24807  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: May 18, 2010, 07:29:51 AM
I must say that I feel sick to my stomach at the environmental disaster that is unfolding in slow motion in the Gulf.

24808  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politically (In)correct on: May 18, 2010, 07:24:56 AM
Wow, just wow.

For those who don't remember this clip, it was of Senator Boxer laying into a General for calling her "Ma'am", instead of "Senator".  She really came off looking quite bad.

If I have this right, it now it looks like Youtube has participated in sending this embarassment to a powerful Progressive politician down the memory hole.

Wow, just wow  cry cry cry angry angry angry

We fight for our country, to protect and preserve our Constitution.
24809  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Here is POTH's spin on things on: May 18, 2010, 07:18:27 AM
MIAMI — Meaghan Patrick, a junior at New College of Florida, a tiny liberal arts college in Sarasota, says discussing immigration with her older relatives is like “hitting your head against a brick wall.”

“I just feel like it’s unfair what the government does to immigrants.” ANDREA BONVECCHIO, 17-year-old U.S.-born daughter of a naturalized citizen.
Cathleen McCarthy, a senior at the University of Arizona, says immigration is the rare, radioactive topic that sparks arguments with her liberal mother and her grandmother.
“Many older Americans feel threatened by the change that immigration presents,” Ms. McCarthy said. “Young people today have simply been exposed to a more accepting worldview.”

Forget sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll; immigration is a new generational fault line.

In the wake of the new Arizona law allowing the police to detain people they suspect of entering the country illegally, young people are largely displaying vehement opposition — leading protests on Monday at Senator John McCain’s offices in Tucson, and at the game here between the Florida Marlins and the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Meanwhile, baby boomers, despite a youth of “live and let live,” are siding with older Americans and supporting the Arizona law.

This emerging divide has appeared in a handful of surveys taken since the measure was signed into law, including a New York Times/CBS News poll this month that found that Americans 45 and older were more likely than the young to say the Arizona law was “about right” (as opposed to “going too far” or “not far enough”). Boomers were also more likely to say that “no newcomers” should be allowed to enter the country while more young people favored a “welcome all” approach.

The generational conflict could complicate chances of a federal immigration overhaul any time soon. “The hardening of this divide spells further stalemate,” said Roberto Suro, the former head of the nonpartisan Pew Hispanic Center.

And the causes are partly linked to experience. Demographically, younger and older Americans grew up in vastly different worlds. Those born after the civil rights era lived in a country of high rates of legal and illegal immigration. In their neighborhoods and schools, the presence of immigrants was as hard to miss as a Starbucks today.

In contrast, baby boomers and older Americans — even those who fought for integration — came of age in one of the most homogenous moments in the country’s history.

Immigration, which census figures show declined sharply from the Depression through the 1960s, reached a historic low point the year after Woodstock. From 1860 through 1920, 13 percent to 15 percent of the country was foreign born — a rate similar to today’s, when immigrants make up about 12.5 percent of the country.

But in 1970, only 4.7 percent of the country was foreign born, and most of those immigrants were older Europeans, often unnoticed by the boomer generation born from 1946 to 1964.

Boomers and their parents also spent their formative years away from the cities, where newer immigrants tended to gather — unlike today’s young people who have become more involved with immigrants, through college, or by moving to urban areas.

“It’s hard for them to share each others’ views on what’s going on,” said William H. Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institution. “These older people grew up in largely white suburbs or largely segregated neighborhoods. Young people have grown up in an interracial culture.”

The generation gap is especially pronounced in formerly fast-growing states like Arizona and Florida, where retirees and new immigrants have flocked — one group for sun, the other for work.

In a new report based on census figures titled “The State of Metropolitan America,” Mr. Frey found that Arizona has the largest “cultural generation gap,” as he calls it, between older Americans who are largely white (83 percent in Arizona’s case) and children under 18 who are increasingly members of minorities (57 percent in Arizona’s case).

Florida ranks sixth on Mr. Frey’s cultural generation gap list, with a 29 percentage point difference between the percentage of white people among its older residents and the percentage that whites make up of its children.

That very different makeup of the young and the old can lead t0 tensions. Demographers say it has the potential to produce public policy that alienates the young because older people are more likely to vote and less likely to be connected to the perspectives of youth — especially the perspectives of young people of different races and national origins.

“Short term, politically, the age divide heightens polarization,” Mr. Suro said “Long term,” he added, “there’s the challenge of whether older citizens will pay for the education of the children of immigrants.”


(Page 2 of 2)

Some older Americans acknowledge that how they grew up has shaped their opinions. Mike Lombardi, 56, of Litchfield, Ariz. — one of 1,079 respondents in the Times/CBS poll conducted from April 28 to May 2 — said his support for his state’s new law stemmed partly from the shock of seeing gaggles of immigrants outside Home Depot, who he assumed were illegal. Comparing the situation to his youth in Torrance, Calif., in a follow-up interview, he said, “You didn’t see anything like what you see now.”

Maggie Aspillaga, 62, a Cuban immigrant in Miami, had more specific concerns: a risk of crime from illegal immigrants and the costs in health care and other services. “They’re taking resources,” she said.
Some young people agree, of course, just as many baby boomers support more open immigration policies. In the poll, a majority of Americans in all age groups described illegal immigration as a “very serious” problem.

Still, divisions were pronounced by age: for instance, while 41 percent of Americans ages 45 to 64 and 36 percent of older Americans said immigration levels should be decreased, only 24 percent of those younger than 45 said so.

Ms. Patrick, 22, said the gap reflected what each group saw as normal. In her view, current immigration levels — legal and illegal — represent “the natural course of history.”

As children, after all, her generation watched “Sesame Street” with Hispanic characters, many of them sat in classrooms that were a virtual United Nations, and now they marry across ethnic lines in record numbers. Their children are even adopting mixed monikers like “Mexipino,” (Mexican and Filipino) and “Blaxican” (black and Mexican).

That “multiculti” (short for multicultural) United States is not without challenges. Aparna Malladi, 31, a graduate student at Florida International University originally from India, said that when she first entered laboratories in Miami, it took a while for her to learn the customs.

“I didn’t know that when I enter a room, I have to greet everyone and say goodbye when I leave,” Ms. Malladi said. “People thought I was being rude.”

Still, in interviews across the nation, young people emphasized the benefits of immigrants. Andrea Bonvecchio, 17, the daughter of a naturalized citizen from Venezuela, said going to a high school that is “like 98 percent Hispanic” meant she could find friends who enjoyed both Latin music and her favorite movie, “The Parent Trap.”

Nicole Vespia, 18, of Selden, N.Y., said older people who were worried about immigrants stealing jobs were giving up on an American ideal: capitalist meritocracy.

“If someone works better than I do, they deserve to get the job,” Ms. Vespia said. “I work in a stockroom, and my best workers are people who don’t really speak English. It’s cool to get to know them.”

Her parents’ generation, she added, just needs to adapt.

“My stepdad says, ‘Why do I have to press 1 for English?’ I think that’s ridiculous,” Ms. Vespia said, referring to the common instruction on customer-service lines. “It’s not that big of a deal. Quit crying about it. Press the button.”
24810  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The World Wide Crack Up Boom on: May 18, 2010, 12:35:36 AM
and, here's this:

The Worldwide Crack Up Boom, According to Ludwig Von Mises
By Bill Bonner • June 26th, 2007 • Related Articles • Filed Under
About the AuthorBest-selling investment author Bill Bonner is the founder and president of Agora Publishing, one of the world's most successful consumer newsletter companies. Owner of both Fleet Street Publications and MoneyWeek magazine in the UK, he is also author of the free daily e-mail The Daily Reckoning.
See All Articles by This Author

None Found
Filed Under: Market
The Worldwide Crack Up Boom, According to Ludwig Von Mises9.6108
A kiss is still a kiss. A sigh is still a sigh. And a bubble is still a bubble.

When a kiss is over, it's over. When a bubble pops...well...that's all she wrote! All kisses end - even the wettest "French" kisses. And so do all bubbles - even sloppy mega-bubbles of liquidity. This one will be no exception. But of course, it's not the certainties that make life's the uncertainties - the known unknowns and the unknown unknowns, as Mr. Rumsfeld says. We are all born of woman and end up where all men born of women end up - dead. But that doesn't mean we can't have some fun between baptism and last rites.

You'll remember we said that this worldwide financial bubble is both worldlier, and more financial than any in history.

And, for the moment, it is very much alive. So much alive that the media can hardly keep up with it. Forbes magazine, for example, tries to estimate the wealth of the world's richest people. But the rich don't typically give out their balance sheets, telephone numbers and home addresses. So, there's a fair amount of guesswork in the calculations.

But when it came to guesstimating the net worth of Stephen Schwarzman, founder of Blackstone, the Forbes crew wandered off into fiction. They put his wealth at about $2 billion. Recent filings in connection with the new Blackstone IPO show he earned that much in a single year!

In this phase of the bubble, it is as if your neighbors were throwing a wild party - and you weren't invited. You detest them... envy them... and want to join them, all at once. A very small part of the population is having a ball; everyone else is getting restless and wondering when the noise will stop.

We wish we knew. And we've given up guessing.

Meanwhile, the experts, commentarists, kibitzers and analysts are saying that there is a whole new phase of the giant bubble about to unfold; things could get a whole lot crazier. Even many of our respected colleagues are pointing to a text by the great Austrian economist, Ludwig von Mises, for a clue. What we have here, they say, is what Mises described as a "Crack-Up Boom."

Before we go on, readers should be aware that the "Austrian school" of economics is probably the best theory about the way the world works. Like The Daily Reckoning, it is suspicious of efforts to control the natural workings of an economy, in general...and suspicious of central banking, in particular. The fact that it was a one-time "Austrian," Alan Greenspan, who became the most celebrated central banker in history, only increases our suspicions. He was able to master central banking, we imagine, because he understood what it really is - a swindle.

What is a "Crack-Up Boom?" Von Mises explains (with thanks to Ty Andros for reminding us):

"'This first stage of the inflationary process may last for many years. While it lasts, the prices of many goods and services are not yet adjusted to the altered money relation. There are still people in the country who have not yet become aware of the fact that they are confronted with a price revolution which will finally result in a considerable rise of all prices, although the extent of this rise will not be the same in the various commodities and services. These people still believe that prices one day will drop. Waiting for this day, they restrict their purchases and concomitantly increase their cash holdings. As long as such ideas are still held by public opinion, it is not yet too late for the government to abandon its inflationary policy.'
"But then, finally, the masses wake up. They become suddenly aware of the fact that inflation is a deliberate policy and will go on endlessly. A breakdown occurs. The crack-up boom appears. Everybody is anxious to swap his money against 'real' goods, no matter whether he needs them or not, no matter how much money he has to pay for them. Within a very short time, within a few weeks or even days, the things which were used as money are no longer used as media of exchange. They become scrap paper. Nobody wants to give away anything against them.

"It was this that happened with the Continental currency in America in 1781, with the French mandats territoriaux in 1796, and with the German mark in 1923. It will happen again whenever the same conditions appear. If a thing has to be used as a medium of exchange, public opinion must not believe that the quantity of this thing will increase beyond all bounds. Inflation is a policy that cannot last."

Mises is describing the lunatic phases of a classic inflationary cycle.

At first, no one can tell the difference between a real dollar - one that is earned, saved, invested or spent - and one that just came off the printing presses. They figure that the new dollar is as good as the old one. And then, prices rise...and people don't know what to make of it. Later, they begin to catch on...and all Hell breaks loose.

You see, if you could really get rich by printing more currency, Zimbabweans would all be as rich as Midas, since the Mugabe government runs the presses night and day.

Von Mises died in 1973 - long before this boom really got going - let alone cracked up. He may never have heard of a hedge fund...or even a derivative, for that matter. A world money system without gold? He probably couldn't have imagined it. People spending millions of dollars for a Warhol? Twenty million for a house in Mayfair? Chinese stocks at 40 times earnings? He would have chuckled in disbelief. He understood how national currency bubbles expand and how they pop, but he probably never would have imagined how insane things could get when you have a whole world monetary system in bubble mode.

He'd have recognised the beginning of this bubble...and he'd have recognised the end, but the middle...or the beginning of the end - that would have dumbfounded him. During his lifetime he saw a Crack Up Boom in Germany in the '20s...and a few more here...but he never saw a worldwide Crack Up Boom.

No one, anywhere, has ever seen a worldwide Crack Up Boom. We're the first, ever. Pretty exciting, huh?

Bill Bonner
The Daily Reckoning Australia
24811  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Monetary Policy, & the US Dollar on: May 18, 2010, 12:33:51 AM
Good subject for conversation, but I dunno about those prescriptions.  I know I've heard Roach's name before but can't place him.  I have him vaguely filed as "wrong as a usual matter" but I could be wrong about that.  Regardless, what he calls for here sounds like an awful lot of forecasting and planning , , , by the very people who and institutions which didn't see all this coming.  tongue
     Volcker's actions (which I followed closely as a econ minor at the U of PA while taking a few courses at the Wharton Biz school) were in the context of high inflation, an economy which was running at a high % of capacity, a rapidly declining dollar, a federal government that was about 20-21% of GDP, competition between the private and public sectors to borrow money, lower entitlements with more people working and paying taxes per person taking entitlements, and a federal deficit that was, working from memory here about 3% of GDP and national debt was , , , 40%? of GDP.
     It is not clear to me that our current situation tracks that situation closely.  We have plenty of excess capacity, as the Euro falls, the dollar rises in relation to it, the Fed govt is about 26-28% of GDP, the banking sector is playing the carry trade, entitlements have expanded dramatically and the ratio of working people to entitled people is seriously bad and getting worse (e.g. 2.x people working for every one person on Social Security, which has already gone negative 6 years ahead of projections; and we have Federal deficits of some 10% of GDP as far as the eye can see and in a few years national debt will be 100% of GDP and we don't even think about unfunded liabilities.
    Any solution that does not confront that we are spending more than we make/create is irrelevant at best.
24812  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: May 18, 2010, 12:14:04 AM

At some point one suspects that the laws of gravity and of supply and demand will re-assert themselves.  What do you think happens then?
24813  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Busted! on: May 18, 2010, 12:05:05 AM

Richard Blumenthal, U.S. Senate Candidate From Connecticut, Misstated Service Record

Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat who is running for the United
States Senate from Connecticut, never served in Vietnam,
despite statements to the contrary. The Times has found that
he obtained at least five military deferments from 1965 to
1970 and took repeated steps that enabled him to avoid going
to war.

Read More:
24814  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: States Rights on: May 17, 2010, 06:56:51 PM
Good to see the continuing development of the re-awkening of States Rights, this time without the baggage.

BTW I saw today that the runner-up to Miss America was asked what she thought of the AZ law and she answered that she supported States' Rights!  Maybe that is why she is runner up, or maybe it was to politically perfect that the eventual winner was a Muslim, whom I must say looked quite hot in a lingerie foto on the 'net  wink
24815  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politically (In)correct on: May 17, 2010, 05:21:43 PM
That reminds me; I gather that May 20th is draw a picture of Mohammed Day, which was organized in the aftermath of the South Park dhimmitude.  Can someone direct me to the URL of where I can find some of the classic Mohammed cartoons?  I want to choose one for our front page on the 20th. 

Thank you.
24816  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: May 17, 2010, 05:16:02 PM
o==8   cheesy
24817  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: May 17, 2010, 05:10:53 PM
YOU will be on O'Reilly?  shocked  How very cool!  cool  We would love an AAR! grin
24818  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Libertarian Issues on: May 17, 2010, 12:20:37 PM
"I would rather move toward decriminalization than legalization.  What you self-grow and self-consume on your own property would already be legal if the constitution was interpreted with any meaning or consistency.  As much as I want to move with you in a libertarian direction, I already don't appreciate Viagra/Cialis commercials during prime-time family television much less want to see the beginning of ad agencies glamorizing pot."

I would be quite comfortable with this.

Haven't read BBG's posts yet, I'm off to teach.
24819  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / G. Mason on: May 17, 2010, 12:17:16 PM
1) Many were against slavery, but had to compromise politically

2) Even those hypocritical on this point were divinely inspired-- they just didn't live up to it.

"Nothing so strongly impels a man to regard the interest of his constituents, as the certainty of returning to the general mass of the people, from whence he was taken, where he must participate in their burdens." --George Mason
24820  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: May 17, 2010, 11:34:37 AM

That is fg extraordinary, even for the Oboids.
24821  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: May 17, 2010, 11:27:23 AM
Concerning that 48% support:  FWIW I have this idea that "People think backwards" i.e. FIRST they choose the position that makes the statement about themselves that they wish to make, THEN the learn the facts and reasoning that support that position.  This is why so few people change their minds when confronted with facts to the contrary or clearer thinking.  BO's success is based upon his calling to things that people want to say about themselves: 

I care
I care about the planet
I care about the poor

Responses based upon
Too bad, so sad
Spotted Owls taste delicious
They desrve it

are not going fly well politically.
24822  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: May 17, 2010, 11:20:05 AM
Please post this in the States' Rights Thread or the Constitutional Law thread on the SCH forum too.  Thank you.
24823  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Meese on: May 17, 2010, 11:18:16 AM
"First and foremost, any nominee to a lifetime appointment to the United States Supreme Court must demonstrate a thorough fidelity to apply the Constitution as it was written, rather than as they would like to re-write it. Given Solicitor General Kagan's complete lack of judicial experience, and, for that matter, very limited litigation experience, Senators must not be rushed in their deliberative process. Because they have no prior judicial opinions to look to, Senators must conduct a more searching inquiry to determine if Kagan will decide cases based upon what is required by the Constitution as it is actually written, or whether she will rule based upon her own policy preferences. Though Ms. Kagan has not written extensively on the role of a judge, the little she has written is troubling. In a law review article, she expressed agreement with the idea that the Court primarily exists to look out for the 'despised and disadvantaged.' The problem with this view -- which sounds remarkably similar to President Obama's frequent appeals to judges ruling on grounds other than law -- is that it allows judges to favor whichever particular client they view as 'despised and disadvantaged.' The judiciary is not to favor any one particular group, but to secure justice equally for all through impartial application of the Constitution and laws. Senators should vigorously question Ms. Kagan about such statements to determine whether she is truly committed to the rule of law. Nothing less should be expected from anyone appointed to a life-tenured position as one of the final arbiters of justice in our country." --former Attorney General Ed Meese

24824  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Kali Tudo 4: The Dog Leg Game on: May 16, 2010, 09:09:43 PM
Not sure if I understand something here:  Are you saying that scenario training should assume EH on the part of the other?
24825  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Kali Tudo 4: The Dog Leg Game on: May 16, 2010, 06:27:22 PM

That's a very good questin JKDS.

Once of the core underlying concepts of DBMA is "consistency across categories" i.e. that our idioms of movement should be essentially the same no matter if we are unarmed or armed, and if armed, no matter the weapon.   In KT we look to bring our stick and knife fighing idioms of movement to empty hands in the adrenal state because DLO requires we respond with this idiom of movment whether the attacker is unarmed or armed precisely because often we do not know in timely manner whether he is armed or not.  However, if we have not tested these idioms of movement empty handed in the adrenal state, then probably we will not turn them in moments of true danger.

There is more, but this is all I have time for at the moment.
24826  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Well, here's one approach to it , , , on: May 15, 2010, 10:57:55 PM
 The Poet Versus the Prophet: On standing up to totalitarian Islam


Mark Goldblatt | May 14, 2010

I got to know the poet Allen Ginsberg towards the end of his life. Not very well, just a nodding acquaintance, but after he died I attended a memorial in his honor at the City University Graduate School. At that service, his personal assistant related a story about Ginsberg’s reaction to the death sentence pronounced on the novelist Salman Rushdie by Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989. Rushdie’s “crime,” you’ll recall, was writing a provocative, perhaps even blasphemous novel inspired by the life of Muhammad called The Satanic Verses.

Though I might be screwing up a few details, the gist of the story was as follows: Soon after news of the fatwa broke, Ginsberg and his assistant climbed into the back seat of a taxi in Manhattan. After a glance at the cab driver’s name, Ginsberg politely inquired if he was a Muslim. When the cabbie replied that he was, Ginsberg asked him what he thought about the death sentence on Rushdie. The cabbie answered that he thought that Rushdie’s book was disrespectful of Islam, and that the Ayatollah had every right to do what he had done. At this point, according to his assistant, Ginsberg, one of the gentlest men ever to walk the planet, flew into a rage, screaming at the cabbie as he continued to drive, “Then I shit on your religion! Do you hear me? I shit on Islam! I shit on Muhammad! Do you hear? I shit on Muhammad!” Ginsberg demanded that the cabbie pull over. The cabbie complied, and, without paying the fare, Ginsberg and his assistant climbed out. He was still screaming at the cabbie as the car drove off.

I’ve had a couple of weeks now to think about Ginsberg cursing out that cabbie, and cursing out Islam and Muhammad. You see, I live in Manhattan, three blocks from Times Square. As near as I can determine, I was walking with a friend about thirty feet from the car bomb on May 1st right around the time it was supposed to detonate. Except for the technical incompetence of a Muslim dirtbag named Faisal Shahzad, I and my friend would likely be dead now. Note the phrase: “Muslim dirtbag.” Neither term by itself accounts for the terrorist act he attempted to perpetrate; both terms, however, are equally complicit in it. It might have been a crapshoot of nature and nurture that wrought a specimen like Shahzad, but it was Islam that inspired him, that gave his fecal stain of a life its depth and its justification. Why is that so difficult to admit?

Let me ask the question another way: Where’s the rage? Why won’t anyone say in public what Ginsberg said in the back seat of that cab? If Islam justifies, or is understood by millions of Muslims to justify, setting off a bomb in Times Square, then I shit on Islam.

There are times for interfaith dialogue, for mutual respect and compassion. This isn’t one of them. Shahzad’s car bomb was parked in front of the offices of Viacom, the parent company of the Comedy Central, which airs the program South Park. Last month, the creators of South Park decided to poke fun at the Prophet Muhammad—just as they’d poked fun at Moses and Jesus many times in the past. Death threats followed. It’s too early to connect the Times Square bomb plot to the South Park blasphemy, but police have not ruled it out.

If Shahzad was offended by an animated cartoon and decided to defend the Prophet’s name by killing hundreds of civilians—mothers with their babies in strollers, wide-eyed teenagers in tour groups, husbands and wives out for a night on the town—then I’ll say, along with the poet, I shit on Muhammad.

Americans characterize our collective deference towards the feelings of Muslims as “political correctness.” The phrase may be apt with respect to certain ethnic and religious minorities, but our tip-toeing around Islamic sensibilities is nothing more than plain, old-fashioned cowardice. MSNBC stooge Lawrence O’Donnell, for example, repeatedly slandered Mormonism during the 2008 presidential campaign as a sidebar to his creepily obsessive verbal jihad against then-candidate Mitt Romney. But when asked by radio host Hugh Hewitt whether he would insult Muhammad the way he’d insulted Joseph Smith, O’Donnell replied with rare candor: “Oh, well, I’m afraid of what the... that’s where I’m really afraid. I would like to criticize Islam much more than I do publicly, but I’m afraid for my life if I do.... Mormons are the nicest people in the world. They’ll never take a shot at me. Those other people, I’m not going to say a word about them.”

That’s the problem in a nutshell. But it’s not just O’Donnell’s problem. It’s our problem. America’s problem. The West’s problem. We lack the moral courage to walk the walk, to put our individual lives on the line in order to defend the principles of free thought and free expression—the very principles that allowed the Judeo-Christian West to leave the Islamic East in the dust, literally and figuratively, three centuries ago.

When Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh was murdered for producing a short movie critical of Islam’s treatment of women in 2004, where were the public screenings of the film? When Muslims in several countries rioted against pen and ink images of Muhammad printed in a Danish newspaper in 2005, where were the public billboards of those sketches? And when the creators of South Park trotted out the Prophet in a ridiculous bear costume, and received death threats in return, where were the mass-produced tee shirts of that image?

I’ll take a size-medium, cotton if possible, and I’ll wear it in Times Square.

Since 2001, many Americans have asked how they can contribute in a direct way to the war against totalitarian Islam. Now we have an answer. If it’s legal, and likely to offend the radicals, just do it. That seems straightforward enough. But how many of us will have the nerve to stand up to a million or so Muslim dirtbags, and to scores of millions, perhaps hundreds of millions, of their fellow travelers and psychic enablers, and say in unison, “You want to kill the Enlightenment, you’re going to have to come through me.”

24827  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / You scare me on: May 15, 2010, 10:43:19 PM
By Lou Pritchett,   Procter & Gamble


Lou Pritchett is one of corporate America's true living legends- an
 acclaimed author, dynamic teacher and one of the world's highest
 rated speakers. Successful corporate executives  everywhere recognize
 him as the foremost leader in change management..  Lou changed the way
  America does business by creating an audacious  concept that came to
 be known as "partnering." Pritchett rose from soap  salesman to
 Vice-President, Sales and Customer Development for  Procter and
 Gamble and over the course of 36 years, made  corporate history.


 Dear President Obama:

 You are the thirteenth President under whom I have  lived and unlike
 any of the others, you truly scare me.

 You scare me because after months of exposure, I  know nothing about you.

 You scare me because I do not know how you paid for  your expensive
 Ivy League education and your upscale lifestyle and  housing with no
 visible signs of support.

 You scare me because you did not spend the formative  years of youth
 growing up in America and culturally you are not an  American.

 You scare me because you have never run a company or  met a payroll.

 You scare me because you have never had military  experience, thus
 don't understand it at its core.

 You scare me because you lack humility and 'class',  always blaming others.

 You scare me because for over half your life you  have aligned
 yourself with radical extremists who hate America   and you refuse to
 publicly denounce these radicals who wish to see  America fail..

 You scare me because you are a cheerleader for the  'blame America '
 crowd and deliver this message abroad.

 You scare me because you want to change America to a  European style
 country where the government sector dominates  instead of the private sector.

 You scare me because you want to replace our health  care system
 with a government controlled one.

 You scare me because you prefer 'wind mills' to  responsibly
 capitalizing on our own vast oil, coal and shale  reserves.

 You scare me because you want to kill the American  capitalist goose
 that lays the golden egg which provides the highest  standard of
 living in the world.

 You scare me because you have begun to use  'extortion' tactics
 against certain banks and corporations.

 You scare me because your own political party  shrinks from
 challenging you on your wild and irresponsible  spending proposals.

 You scare me because you will not openly listen to  or even consider
 opposing points of view from intelligent  people.

 You scare me because you falsely believe that you  are both
 omnipotent and omniscient.

 You scare me because the media gives you a free pass  on everything
 you do.

 You scare me because you demonize and want to  silence the
 Limbaugh's, Hannitys, O'Reillys and Becks who offer  opposing,
 conservative points of view.

 You scare me because you prefer controlling over  governing.

 Finally, you scare me because if you serve a second  term I will
 probably not feel safe in writing a similar letter in 8 years.

 Lou Pritchett
 This letter was sent to the NY Times but they never  acknowledged it.
 Big  surprise. Since it hit the internet, however, it  has had over
 500,000 hits. Keep it going. All that is necessary for evil to succeed
 is that good men do nothing.. It's happening right  now.*
24828  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Kali Tudo 4: The Dog Leg Game on: May 15, 2010, 07:21:58 PM
I've been continuing to explore the Dog Leg Game in my Friday afternoon rolls during open mat time over at Rigan's place and my understanding is starting to come together.  I think Boo Dog really has something here.
24829  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Dog Brothers Team Kali Tudo on: May 15, 2010, 07:19:53 PM
Class today:
1) Either I wasn't pronouncing it clearly or the punny name "the Arfful Dodger" was going over most people's heads so I modified the name to "the Arf-Arful Dodger" ("Arf Arf" for short) to make the dogginess of it more apparent
2) I showed the guys (good to see Jason's infant daughter is now old enough that he can rejoin us) the stickfighting foundation of the Arf Arfful Dodger, then we turned to its "Kali Tudo"(tm) application.    Normally the Arf Arf is easiest to apply by the taller man against the shorter, but today we also went into a drift shot of the Malayu portion of it for the shorter man against the taller man.
3) Also covered were:
   *intro to the Lost Dog Game
   *flying bong sao
   *Zirconia with a Dracula burger
24830  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Battle Scarf on: May 15, 2010, 03:11:34 PM
We had a fight at the DB Tribal Gathering between a Sarong with some sort of ball in it and nunchakus.  It was one of the more exciting fights of the weekend.
24831  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / General says military needs doctrine on: May 15, 2010, 02:12:45 PM

General Says Military Needs Cyberwar Doctrine
Seeks defined boundaries
By Eli Lake, The Washington Times

The military needs to better define the boundaries of cyberwarfare to allow cyber forces to go beyond defending computers and networks against numerous attacks, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Thursday.

Marine Corps Gen. James Cartwright said in a speech that "we have an entire architecture globally that is based on defense only, point defense only."

"Our defense is our virus protection software and our firewall. So if you are in uniform, what you've basically said is, 'I want to have this fight at my boundaries, inside my country, and I am willing to wait for that and when it gets catastrophic, we'll address it.' "

The general did not advocate conducting offensive cyberwarfare retaliation against foreign or domestic attacks. However, the newly-created U.S. Cyber Command combines both offensive and defensive cyber operations under one military unit.

Currently, military doctrine is unclear on what constitutes a computer or cyber-attack and what the consequences would be for countries or people who launched one on U.S. critical infrastructure. Branches of the armed forces, and in particular the Air Force, have conducted defensive and offensive actions in the realm of electronic or cyberwarfare. Individual branches of the armed services have developed their own cyberwarfare doctrine.

Gen. Cartwright said he supports the idea of cutting wasteful defense programs.

He also said he expects the current war against al Qaeda and Islamic extremism will last another five to 10 years.

The remarks on cyberwar sounded an alarm on the need for better doctrine.

The general compared the current lack of a doctrine on cyberwarfare to the Maginot Line, the concrete fortifications and stationary guns the French erected in World War II that failed to repel the Nazi tank blitz in the German invasion of France.

"Do you believe this network environment we are living in is going to persist for years to come?," he asked "If you believe those things, then we have to start thinking about the validity of a Maginot Line approach to cyber."

The comments on cyberwarfare doctrine were made as the Senate approved by voice vote the promotion of Gen. Keith Alexander, currently director of the National Security Agency, as the first new four-star chief of U.S. Cyber Command, located near NSA headquarters at Fort Meade, Md.

In a speech this week to Ogilvy Public Relations group, James N. Miller, deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, said the Defense Department is currently drafting a new cyberwarfare doctrine. He suggested that the military could respond to a cyber-attack by using conventional armed forces.

Mr. Miller also said that the military has lost enough data to fill the Library of Congress many times over every year due to cyber-attacks.

"Our systems are probed thousands of times a day and scanned millions of times a day," Mr. Miller said, according to the Reuters News Agency.

A U.S. defense contractor, who asked not to be named, said, "We are sitting on our hands waiting for someone to pick a fight with us. And guess what, they do it every day."

Retired Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Ron Fogleman, speaking on a panel on defense in space and cyberspace, said that in the electronic realm, "it is very useful that every now and then you take a shot across the bow."
The military has said very little publicly about its offensive cyber operations.

According to U.S. officials, most modern militaries have both the ability to launch computer viruses or denial of service attacks.

However, because it is very difficult to trace the origins of such attacks most state-based cyber-attacks are still kept in secret. Military experts have said China, Russia, Iran and North Korea are among the states known to have military cyberwarfare programs.

John Rizzo, the recently retired CIA general counsel, said last week at a breakfast meeting of the American Bar Association that he was envious of the military's legal authorities to conduct attacks on computer networks.
He compared the CIA's cyber work to the military's Title 10 authority to "prepare the battlefield" the legal framework for most Pentagon cyber-attacks.

"I have always been envious of my colleagues at the Department of Defense, under the rubric of Title 10, of preparing the battlefield, they have always been able to operate to my lights with a much wider degree of discretion and autonomy than we lawyers at CIA have had to operate under," he said.
24832  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Privacy/Security risks of copiers on: May 15, 2010, 02:08:10 PM
24833  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / OTMs on: May 15, 2010, 12:37:21 PM
24834  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / POTH: Food Chain and Food Politics on: May 15, 2010, 12:25:03 PM
I doubt an important part of this piece's argument because I suspect that GMO practices lead to de-diversication, thus setting us up for the inevitable mutation(s) that will lead to catastrophic results. Still I post it because it discusses this issue in a reasonable way.

A REPORT by the National Research Council last month gave ammunition to both sides in the debate over the cultivation of genetically engineered crops. More than 80 percent of the corn, soybeans and cotton grown in the United States is genetically engineered, and the report details the “long and impressive list of benefits” that has come from these crops, including improved soil quality, reduced erosion and reduced insecticide use.

Health Guide: Genetically Engineered FoodsIt also confirmed predictions that widespread cultivation of these crops would lead to the emergence of weeds resistant to a commonly used herbicide, glyphosate (marketed by Monsanto as Roundup). Predictably, both sides have done what they do best when it comes to genetically engineered crops: they’ve argued over the findings.

Lost in the din is the potential role this technology could play in the poorest regions of the world — areas that will bear the brunt of climate change and the difficult growing conditions it will bring. Indeed, buried deep in the council’s report is an appeal to apply genetic engineering to a greater number of crops, and for a greater diversity of purposes.

Appreciating this potential means recognizing that genetic engineering can be used not just to modify major commodity crops in the West, but also to improve a much wider range of crops that can be grown in difficult conditions throughout the world.

Doing that also requires opponents to realize that by demonizing the technology, they’ve hindered applications of genetic engineering that could save lives and protect the environment.

Scientists at nonprofit institutions have been working for more than two decades to genetically engineer seeds that could benefit farmers struggling with ever-pervasive dry spells and old and novel pests. Drought-tolerant cassava, insect-resistant cowpeas, fungus-resistant bananas, virus-resistant sweet potatoes and high-yielding pearl millet are just a few examples of genetically engineered foods that could improve the lives of the poor around the globe.

For example, researchers in the public domain have been working to engineer sorghum crops that are resistant to both drought and an aggressively parasitic African weed, Striga.

In a 1994 pilot project by the United States Agency for International Development, an experimental variety of engineered sorghum had a yield four times that of local varieties under adverse conditions. Sorghum, a native of the continent, is a staple throughout Africa, and improved sorghum seeds would be widely beneficial.

As well as enhancing yields, engineered seeds can make crops more nutritious. A new variety of rice modified to produce high amounts of provitamin A, named Golden Rice, will soon be available in the Philippines and, if marketed, would almost assuredly save the lives of thousands of children suffering from vitamin A deficiency.

There’s also a sorghum breed that’s been genetically engineered to produce micronutrients like zinc, and a potato designed to contain greater amounts of protein.

To appreciate the value of genetic engineering, one need only examine the story of papaya. In the early 1990s, Hawaii’s papaya industry was facing disaster because of the deadly papaya ringspot virus. Its single-handed savior was a breed engineered to be resistant to the virus. Without it, the state’s papaya industry would have collapsed. Today, 80 percent of Hawaiian papaya is genetically engineered, and there is still no conventional or organic method to control ringspot virus.

The real significance of the papaya recovery is not that genetic engineering was the most appropriate technology delivered at the right time, but rather that the resistant papaya was introduced before the backlash against engineered crops intensified.

Opponents of genetically engineered crops have spent much of the last decade stoking consumer distrust of this precise and safe technology, even though, as the research council’s previous reports noted, engineered crops have harmed neither human health nor the environment.

In doing so, they have pushed up regulatory costs to the point where the technology is beyond the economic reach of small companies or foundations that might otherwise develop a wider range of healthier crops for the neediest farmers. European restrictions, for instance, make it virtually impossible for scientists at small laboratories there to carry out field tests of engineered seeds.

As it now stands, opposition to genetic engineering has driven the technology further into the hands of a few seed companies that can afford it, further encouraging their monopolistic tendencies while leaving it out of reach for those that want to use it for crops with low (or no) profit margins.

The stakes are too high for us not to make the best use of genetic engineering. If we fail to invest responsibly in agricultural research, if we continue to allow propaganda to trump science, then the potential for global agriculture to be productive, diverse and sustainable will go unfulfilled. And it’s not those of us here in the developed world who will suffer the direct consequences, but rather the poorest and most vulnerable.

Pamela C. Ronald, a professor of plant pathology at the University of California, Davis, is the co-author of “Tomorrow’s Table: Organic Farming, Genetics and the Future of Food.” James E. McWilliams, a history professor at Texas State University at San Marcos, is the author of “Just Food.”
24835  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / POTH (NYT) editorial on: May 15, 2010, 12:13:40 PM

Given that the source (Pravda on the Hudson a.k.a. POTH a.k.a. The NY Times) is suspect I ask here whether this editorial makes a fair point:

A Hole in the Spring SkyPublished: May 14, 2010
Sign in to Recommend
Sign In to E-Mail
LinkedinDiggFacebookMixxMySpaceYahoo! BuzzPermalink. Twenty-five years ago this month, a small team of scientists discovered that the ozone layer above their Antarctic station was thinning more and more every spring. The layer protects life on earth from the sun’s ultraviolet light. The response to that discovery is a rare, happy environmental morality tale.

In 1996, an international accord banned the use of chlorofluorocarbons, or CFC’s — which were used as refrigerants in air-conditioners and propellants in aerosol spray cans — that were causing the ozone hole. The treaty has phased in slowly. And the hole, gaping widely every spring, is much larger today. But it would be far worse without the protocol, and there is good reason to expect that it will return to pre-1970 levels by 2080.

There is another lesson here, one that has nothing to do with citizen action or international accords or aerosol sprays. The discovery of the ozone hole would have been impossible without paying close, consistent attention to the world around us and having the personnel needed to decipher the results.

As Jonathan Shanklin, one of the scientists who discovered the hole notes, Halley Research Station had continuous ozone data reaching back nearly 40 years. Discovering the ozone hole was to a large extent a matter of processing and correlating that data and being open to the surprising results.

It’s a reminder that good science is patient, observant, careful and continuous. That kind of science — which is especially valuable for understanding climate change — requires long-term commitments in financing and education. It requires the ability to gather data accurately over the years and to educate the scientists who can turn that data into a new awareness of how this world works. That knowledge helped us to make the decision that aerosol sprays and other CFC’s are not worth a yawning void in the springtime Antarctic skies.
24836  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / POTH: Student's arrest tests policy on: May 15, 2010, 12:08:18 PM

Student’s Arrest Tests Immigration Policy
Published: May 14, 2010

ATLANTA — Jessica Colotl, a 21-year-old college student and illegal Mexican immigrant at the center of a contentious immigration case, surrendered to a Georgia sheriff on Friday but continued to deny wrongdoing.

Ms. Colotl was arrested in March for driving without a license and could face deportation next year. On Wednesday the sheriff filed a felony charge against her for providing a false address to the police.
The case has become a flash point in the national debate over whether federal immigration laws should be enforced by local and state officials. And like Arizona’s tough new immigration law, it has highlighted a rift between the federal government and local politicians over how illegal immigrants should be detected and prosecuted.

“I never thought that I’d be caught up in this messed-up system,” Ms. Colotl said Friday at a news conference after being released on $2,500 bail. “I was treated like a criminal, like a threat to the nation.”

Civil rights groups say Ms. Colotl should be spared deportation because she was brought to the United States without legal documents by her parents at age 11. They also note that she has excelled academically and was discovered to be here illegally only after a routine traffic violation. Supporters of immigration laws and the sheriff’s office in Cobb County say she violated state law, misled the police about her address and should not receive special treatment for her age or education.

Ms. Colotl was pulled over March 29 by a campus officer at Kennesaw State University in suburban Atlanta, where she is two semesters from graduation, for “impeding the flow of traffic.” After she presented the officer an expired Mexican passport instead of a valid driver’s license, she was arrested and taken to a county jail, where she acknowledged being an illegal immigrant. On May 5, she was transferred to the Etowah Detention Center in Alabama to await deportation to Mexico.

But after protests by Latino groups, demonstrations at the Georgia Capitol by her sorority sisters and a letter of support from the university’s president, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency granted a one-year deferral on her deportation so she could finish college. The “deferred action” means she could still be deported, but will be allowed to apply for an extension next year. Her ultimate goal, Ms. Colotl said at the news conference, is that proposed legislation called the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act — known as the Dream Act — will become law, providing students without legal immigration status a path to become legal.

She and her lawyer declined to discuss the immigration status of her parents.

In Georgia, the case has become intensely political. Ms. Colotl received in-state tuition, substantially reducing her cost of attending Kennesaw State. The university will charge her out-of-state rates in the future, but Republican politicians are calling for new legislation to make attendance more expensive, or impossible, for illegal immigrants.

One Republican candidate for governor, Eric Johnson, has said that if elected he will mandate that all college applicants demonstrate their citizenship. The chancellor of the state university system says that would be prohibitively expensive, costing $1.5 million, for roughly 300,000 students.

Under a program by the Department of Homeland Security, known as 287(g), local sheriffs are permitted to handle federal immigration law enforcement. The Cobb County sheriff’s office was the first in Georgia and one of the first in the United States to apply for the program. Immigration is a hot topic in the largely conservative county, where Hispanics make up 11 percent of the population, census figures show.

Mary Bauer, the legal director for the Southern Poverty Law Center, which is assisting in Ms. Colotl’s defense, said Cobb County had a history of using federal laws designed to detect dangerous criminals for arresting illegal immigrants for minor offenses. A review by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution found that from 2007 to 2009, the main crime for which immigration detainees were arrested in the county was traffic offenses.

“This is a civil rights disaster,” said Ms. Bauer, who called the county’s application of the law “mean-spirited and very probably illegal. We call on the Obama administration to end 287(g),” she said.

Supporters of strict immigration legislation say Ms. Colotl’s case was handled legally.

The sheriff, Neil Warren, said Ms. Colotl provided a false address to the police, a felony charge. Her lawyers say that she provided the address of the residence where she used to live and to where her car insurance is registered, and that she also provided her current address.

No exception should be made, however admirable the offender, said Phil Kent, a spokesman for Americans for Immigration Control, a national group opposed to illegal immigration.

“Ironically, she says she wants to go on to law school, but she’s undermining the law,” Mr. Kent said. “What’s the point of educating an illegal immigrant in a system where she can’t hold a job legally or get a driver’s license?”
24837  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Libertarian Issues on: May 15, 2010, 11:53:18 AM
Of course!  It is simply that there would be less of it!  With less profit in crime, criminals would become less violent, our police's jobs less dangerous, less doors would be kicked in by accident, less grannies with heart attacks, less puppies with sad eyes getting shot, etc etc etc.
24838  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Support our troops on: May 15, 2010, 11:50:43 AM
Second post of the day:

It may be "Armed Forces Day" today, but they are there every day for us.  Let us do the same for them.
24839  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Libertarian Issues on: May 15, 2010, 10:17:05 AM
Understood and agreed!   , , , and not the point as far as I am concerned.  You asked what my suggestions were to decrease these tragedies and invasions of the sanctity of the homes of innocent Americans and I responded by suggesting that we dramatically curtail the WOD.
24840  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Prisoners of the Pill on: May 15, 2010, 09:47:27 AM
Prisoners of the pill
Carolyn Moynihan | 14 May 2010

Mother’s Day in the United States (and some other countries) had an ironic twist to it this year: the powers that be chose to observe May 9 as the fiftieth anniversary of the public debut of the contraceptive pill, the twentieth century’s chief weapon against motherhood as a serious vocation.

Articles marking the occasion have been largely celebratory in tone, reminding women that their lives have been powerfully transformed -- for the better -- by the pill. We have been liberated from biology to extend our education, engage in paid work, carve out public careers and achieve financial independence. Hooray.

True, there has been the odd complaint about this wonder drug. “I hate the pill,” declares Geraldine Sealey at Salon. “Hormonal contraception, which covers birth control pills and nearly every other highly effective method on the market, murders my libido.” Still, she can’t stop herself patting contraceptive pioneers such as Margaret Sanger on the back.

The Wall Street Journal wonders why, at this late stage of the game, almost half of US pregnancies -- about 3.1 million a year -- are unintended. It turns out that a lot of people who are having sex but don’t want a baby are not responsible enough to use contraception. How surprising. Then there are all the women who miss taking their pill -- so many that Princeton’s birth control expert James Trussell says we should forget the pill and steer women towards long-acting contraceptives such as implants and IUDs. (Women may be liberated, you see, but they can be, er, not smart.)

Fail-safe birth control is not the only thing the era of the pill has not delivered. Elaine Tyler May, author of a new book on the pill, admits that ending poverty, curing divorce and eliminating unwed pregnancies were “promises the pill could never keep”. Indeed, all those things have flourished during the past 50 years and societies have stopped even trying to encourage marriage and discourage divorce. Poverty is the only thing that has not been rationalised, but then its link with contraceptive culture is not even recognised.

Still, we are meant to rejoice that women have the world at their feet, because, even if their contraceptive device or their willpower fails, there is always abortion to ensure that they can keep their job, if not their husband. All in all, then, women should be happier than they were when their energies were largely consumed by looking after a husband and three or four kids.

Declining female happiness

Are they? No. Much quoted research by Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers of the University of Pennsylvania shows that there has been a marked decline in women’s happiness in the industrialised countries over the past 35 years. In an article last year they wrote:

The paradox of women’s declining relative well-being is found across various datasets, measures of subjective well-being, and is pervasive across demographic groups and industrialized countries. Relative declines in female happiness have eroded a gender gap in happiness in which women in the 1970s typically reported higher subjective well-being than did men. These declines have continued and a new gender gap is emerging—one with higher subjective well-being for men.

Stevenson and Wolfers stress the power of this decline by equating it to the misery resulting from an 8.5 per cent rise in unemployment, or to having missed out entirely on the gains from economic growth since the 1970s.

A paradox? A mere coincidence that female happiness has been eroded at same time as the pill was bringing liberation? Denver economist Timothy Reichert does not think so. In a recent article in First Things (“Bitter Pill”, April, 2010) he says that, contrary to the rhetoric of the sexual revolution, contraception is deeply sexist in nature. It has shifted wealth and power away from women, and away from their childrearing years when they need it most. It has also, for that reason, made children on the whole worse off.

Reichert arrives at these conclusions by doing a market analysis of sexual relationships under the influence of what is still known as “efficient contraception”. To my mind, he makes a highly plausible case.

How women lose: a market analysis

Fifty years ago, he argues, there was a single “mating market”, populated by men and women in roughly equal numbers and who paired off in marriage. By lowering the cost of premarital and extramarital sex (pregnancy, shotgun marriage) contraception allowed a separate sex market (apart from prostitution) to form. That would not have affected either sex adversely if the numbers of men and women in both markets remained roughly equal, but of course, they did not.

Because of limits to their fertility, women have to move out of the sex market and into the marriage market earlier than men. This makes them relatively scarce in the former and abundant in the latter, able to negotiate better “deals” in the first but worse deals in the second where there is a scarcity of marriageable men.

(As an aside, this dilemma puts me in mind of Lori Gottlieb’s much-bruited willingness to give up the quest for romantic love in her forties and “settle” for a husband who will put out the garbage bin and fix the leaky taps. )

Under these conditions, says Reichert, men take more and more of the “gains from trade” and women take fewer and fewer. He comments:

This produces a redistribution of bargaining power and, ultimately, of welfare from the later childrearing phases of a woman’s lifetime toward the earlier, and in my view less important, phases. This redistribution has some very concrete, very undesirable consequences for women—and for the children that they bear.

What are these consequences? Reichert points out four.

More divorce. Striking “bad deals” in an imbalanced marriage market makes divorce more likely. Reduced commitment creates a “demand” for divorce even before the marriage begins (pre-nups). At the social level women allow the stigma of divorce to erode and they support no-fault

divorce laws. They compensate for these trends by developing relatively more market earning power, and invest less in family relationships, the moral formation of their children, and community activism. In doing so, they become more like men, and the couples become less interesting to one another. “Sameness begets ennui, which begets divorce.”

Inflation of household costs. As wealthier two-earner households bid up the price of homes, more women are forced into the labour market. With this comes a redistribution of welfare from younger to older generations, and from a family’s younger, child-rearing years to its later childless years (when they could sell the $500,000 house). This redistribution “rests largely on the backs of the women in the labour force who support the higher housing cost and, ultimately, on the children who otherwise would have had the benefit of their mothers’ time.” And perhaps another sibling.

Infidelity. This increases because the cost -- detection -- is lowered. The sex market provides the opportunity, and here married (successful, older) men are more attractive to younger women, than older women are to younger men. This, again, is to the detriment of women.

Abortion. Before the pill the cost of an unwanted pregnancy was often borne by the man in the form of a shotgun wedding. Now it is borne by the woman: contraception is her business and so, therefore, is the unintended pregnancy. If she keeps the baby she forfeits opportunities in the labour market; if she has an abortion (which around one million women in the US do each year) she usually pays the money cost and always the emotional costs.

To repeat Reichert’s conclusion:

Contraception has resulted in an enormous redistribution of welfare from women to men, as well as an intertemporal redistribution of welfare from a typical woman’s later, childrearing years to her earlier years.

Further, given that women’s welfare largely determines the welfare of children, this redistribution has in part been “funded” by a loss of welfare from children. In other words, the worse off are women, the worse off are the children they support. On net, women and children are the big losers in the contraceptive society.

And this fits with the Stevenson and Wolfers finding of declining happiness among women.

The big question is, then, why do they put up with it?

The prisoner's dilemma

Reichert explains it as a “prisoner’s dilemma” -- a concept from game theory. This posits a situation where all parties have choice between cooperation and non-cooperation, and where all would be better off if they chose cooperation. However, because the parties cannot effectively coordinate and enforce cooperation, all choose the best individual choice, which is non-cooperation.

Applying this to young women in a contraceptive culture Reichert suggests that those who don’t enter the sex market miss out on the “higher prices” paid there (presumably he means things like more attention from men, more likelihood of a partner, a sense of wellbeing and a “good” image) but they also remain at a disadvantage in the over-subscribed marriage market. Their “optimal decision” therefore is to “to enter the sex market and remain there for as long as possible, despite the fact that the new equilibrium may be worse, over the total life cycle, for women.”

Only very powerful social mores or laws can break prisoner’s dilemmas like this, and laws we are surely not going to get. Reichert, a Catholic, sees the church’s moral authority in this area being woefully under-utilised and calls for a movement of “new feminism”. But while the beginnings of such a movement can certainly be found in the Catholic Church and other religious groups, there seems to be no corresponding secular insight into the role of contraception in female misery.

In a piece in The Atlantic magazine this week Caitlin Flanagan, an enfant terrible of contemporary feminism, bewails the hook-up culture that girls reluctantly endure while they hope, like girls in every other era, for a real boyfriend and romance. She then talks about her mother and other “forward-looking” older women who helped Planned Parenthood promote birth control to teenage girls 20-something years ago.

As progressive as they were, says Flanagan, they would have been horrified by hooking up: "all of them, to a woman, believed in the Boyfriend Story. This set wasn’t in the business of providing girls and young women the necessary information and services to allow boys and men to use and discard them sexually."

Oh, but they were. That is exactly what they were doing, albeit unwittingly. And that is what continues to draw girls into the prisoner’s dilemma at ever younger ages. When are people like Flanagan going to stop groping around this elephant and take their blindfolds off?

Carolyn Moynihan is deputy editor of MercatorNet.
24841  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Libertarian Issues on: May 15, 2010, 09:11:24 AM
If you read my post again I think you will see that there was no suggestion whatsoeverthat those who make mistakes take it any less lightly than the good human beings that they are.  Rather, the aspersion was on your response here  grin  Humorous reparatee aside, part of the calculus needs to be that such things do happen and need to be weighed with respect for their true meaning and value.
24842  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Kagan on: May 15, 2010, 12:53:40 AM
Not the best written piece, but the underlying point has merit:

Kagan Bad on Guns
by  Brian Darling


“President Obama’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court,” I wrote in HUMAN EVENTS on June 3, 2009, “owes the American people an explanation on her view of the 2nd Amendment.”

The nominee then was Sonia Sotomayor, who never provided an explanation.  Now, with the choice of Solicitor General Elena Kagan, President Obama is two for two in selecting Supreme Court nominees with an apparent strong hostility to the right of self-defense. 

And it’s only fair that Kagan now be held to the “Kagan Standard.” 

In the spring of 1995, Kagan wrote a book review of Stephen Carter’s The Confirmation Mess.  “When the Senate ceases to engage nominees in a meaningful discussion of legal issues, the confirmation process takes on an air of vacuity and farce, and the Senate becomes incapable of either properly evaluating nominees or appropriately educating the public,” Kagan wrote.

Well, to maintain that standard, the Senate should demand Clinton-era memos written by Kagan, so lawmakers can understand her view of the 2nd Amendment.  After all, she was very much involved in many of the gun-control initiatives pushed by President Bill Clinton.  The Senate must “properly evaluate” Kagan and “appropriately” educate the public about any anti-gun views she holds. 

Of course, some documents from Kagan’s time in the Clinton Administration should remain privileged, to protect a President’s right to enjoy unfettered advice from his staff during deliberations.  But other official memos should be provided to senators and the American public. 

Instead, though, expect the administration to stonewall.  Kagan has no public record to speak of, and the President aims to keep her anti-gun views secret from the American public. 

Even without much of a paper trail, reporters have already found a “smoking gun” that indicates Kagan’s extensive anti-gun activism.  James Oliphant of the Los Angeles Times wrote May 10, “according to records at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Ark., she also drafted an executive order restricting the importation of certain semiautomatic assault rifles.”  Senators should study that executive order and the memos written during its preparation to understand if Kagan advised Clinton to infringe on the 2nd Amendment rights of Americans. 

There’s more evidence of hostility to gun rights on her part.  The Times also reports that “gun-control efforts were a hallmark of the Clinton Administration.  Kagan had already been involved in an executive order that required all federal law-enforcement officers to install locks on their weapons.”  Kagan also may have worked on legislation to effectively close gun shows.  “Those moves angered the National Rifle Association, which became even more alarmed in late 1998 when Clinton proposed closing the ‘gun show’ loophole that allowed firearms purchases without background checks.”

Her efforts to restrict the importation of some guns, mandate trigger-locks on federal law-enforcement officers’ guns and efforts to close gun shows are three issues that must be raised during Kagan’s Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing.  Expect Kagan to dodge any direct questions on these gun-grabbing activities during the Clinton years, though, and run away from her own “Kagan Standard.” 

To indicate where the American people are on this, note that the Senate has voted six times on pro-gun legislation.  Large bipartisan majorities have voted for legislation authored by Sen. Tom Coburn (R.-Okla.) to allow guns in national parks, a bill by Sen. John Ensign (R.-Nev.) to restore 2nd Amendment rights to District of Columbia residents, two amendments by Sen. Robert Wicker (R.-Miss.) to allow law-abiding Amtrak passengers to securely transport firearms in checked baggage and legislation sponsored by Sen. John Thune (R.-S.D.) to set standards to allow individuals to conceal and carry a firearm over state lines.  An amendment from Sen. Richard Burr (R.-N.C. ) to protect the 2nd Amendment rights of veterans was the only one to garner less than a majority of the Senate.   

Of the five pieces of strong pro-gun legislation offered that pulled more than 50 votes, 15 Democrats voted pro-gun, including Max Baucus and Jon Tester of Montana, Evan Bayh of Indiana, Mark Begich of Alaska, Michael Bennet and Mark Udall of Colorado, Robert Casey of Pennsylvania, Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Harry Reid of Nevada and Jim Webb of Virginia.  All of these Democrats voted for Sotomayor, but will they vote for a second justice who seems hostile to the 2nd Amendment?

There is also evidence that in 1987, Kagan said that she had no sympathy for the claim of a man that his 2nd Amendment rights were violated.  Bloomberg reports that “Elena Kagan said as a U.S. Supreme Court law clerk in 1987 that she was ‘not sympathetic’ toward a man who contended that his constitutional rights were violated when he was convicted for carrying an unlicensed pistol.”  In the wake of the District of Columbia v. Heller decision holding that the 2nd Amendment is an individual right, it is incumbent upon Senators to explore this statement of Kagan from her early career as a lawyer to see if her views have changed.

Senators should not allow Kagan to dodge questions about the right to self-defense that’s enshrined in the Constitution.  If Kagan tries to dodge questions on this or any other important issue, senators have the moral duty to extend debate until those questions are answered. Anything less would be Constitutional malpractice.
24843  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Libertarian Issues on: May 15, 2010, 12:42:28 AM
Valid points, yet so too is the point that cavalier responses to grannies being given heart attacks and family pets being shot is also not good for law enforcement's rep.
24844  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: May 15, 2010, 12:39:40 AM

Actually a big part of my disconnect here is precisely my supply side instincts; it is hard to see how big tax rate increases via taxes or inflation are not already baked into the pie-- and this is VERY bad.
24845  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Not supporting the troops on: May 15, 2010, 12:37:35 AM
is bad for customer relations.
24846  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Dog Brothers Tribe on: May 14, 2010, 08:34:45 PM
Please remind me of the various ascensions from the Tribal Gathering.
24847  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: May 14, 2010, 08:31:49 PM
"Hannity is not the brightest light."

Amen to that-- and IMHO his "emotional IQ" is well below average.   Sometimes I wonder if he does our cause as much harm as good.
24848  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / McClintock says on: May 14, 2010, 08:28:15 PM
This man has an outstanding record in the CA legislature and I gave money to his US Congressional campaign.  His words, particularly on CA state issues, carry great weight with me:

cClintock Ballot Recommendations

On the Propositions:

Prop. 13. Seismic Retrofits. YES: Earthquake proofing your house shouldn't trigger a tax increase until you're ready to sell. Any questions?

Prop. 14. Distorted Primary. NO: This was the result of the corrupt deal for the tax increase engineered by Abel Maldonado that included this measure to by-pass party primaries in a manner Maldonado believed would enhance his future election prospects. Instead of voters of each party putting their best candidate forward, this jerry-rigged system is designed to disguise the difference between the parties and force those pesky third parties off the general election ballot entirely.

Prop. 15. Taxpayer Funded Elections. NO: The real purpose of this measure is to allow the legislature to tap taxpayers to finance political campaigns. Jefferson said it best: "To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical."

Prop. 16. Utility Elections. YES: Cash-guzzling city governments have been taking over the territory of utilities through eminent domain and PG&E wants to put it to a vote. This measure gives you the choice upon whose mercy your future electricity bills will depend: the monopoly of city hall or the monopoly of your utility. Here's a better idea: restore the freedom of individual consumers to choose among competing providers who actually have to earn their business. Alas, that part was left out by the suits at PG&E.

Prop. 17. Insurance Rates. YES: A simple question: should drivers be able to take their "continuous coverage" discount with them when they change insurance companies? A simpler question: why are our laws such a micro managing mess that we have to vote on something as self-evident as this in the first place?

On the statewide races:

For Governor, Steve Poizner: Steve had the courage to support Arizona's decision to enforce our immigration laws when Meg Whitman cut and ran. He opposes the bank bailouts, rampant borrowing and environmental extremism that Meg Whitman embraces. And unlike Whitman, Steve Poizner was never "a huge fan" of radical leftist Van Jones. This time, let's have a governor from the Republican wing of the Republican Party.

For Lt. Governor, Sam Aanestad: Sam was my seatmate for many years in both the Assembly and the Senate. He never wavered from his devotion to Republican principles of limited government. Abel Maldonado broke his signed taxpayer pledge and bears responsibility not only for the biggest tax increase in California's history, but also the budgets that ran California off the fiscal cliff. No single race on the ballot more clearly defines the difference between the Party of Reagan and the Party of Schwarzenegger.

For Attorney General, John Eastman: I worked with John Eastman at the Claremont Institute – a public policy think tank devoted to restoring American founding principles to the public policy debate. John is a nationally renowned Constitutional advocate and scholar whose leadership is desperately needed in the Attorney General's office. Imagine having an Attorney General who not only respects the Constitution but who understands and reveres it.

For Insurance Commissioner, Anybody But Villines. Mike Villines was another of the sell-out Republican votes on the massive tax increase that crushed what was left of our state's economy last year, after signing a no-new-taxes pledge. Liars don't belong in government.

For U.S. Senate, Chuck DeVore: Chuck is a conservative's conservative who has always stood on principle, even when it has meant standing virtually alone. I've never heard him give a speech without thinking "I wish I'd said that." I rank him up there with Sam Aanestad as one of the finest people I've had the opportunity to serve with in the legislature. He would become an instant leader in the United States Senate.

24849  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: 67 Year Old Vietnam Vet Puts it down old school on young punk on: May 14, 2010, 01:12:03 PM
Woof Max:

Thread coherence please!  This would be best in Video Clips of Interest.  Please post it there and I will delete this thread.
24850  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Kagan on: May 14, 2010, 08:45:08 AM
When federal agents took Times Square bombing suspect Faisal Shahzad into custody at JFK airport on May 3, they interviewed him for several hours before reading him his Miranda rights. Agents did this under the "public safety exception" recognized by the Supreme Court in the 1984 case New York v. Quarles. The same exception was used in interrogating accused Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, as well as other terror suspects arrested on U.S. soil.

But what if the Supreme Court had never approved a public safety exception in the first place? That question is directly relevant to the upcoming Senate confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. The Justice she would replace, John Paul Stevens, and her boss when she clerked for the Court, Thurgood Marshall, both rejected the public safety exception and were among the dissenting Justices in this key case.

As the Obama administration turns to the federal courts to deal with terror suspects, the Supreme Court could be asked to weigh in again on the limits of the public safety exception. So finding out if the former Harvard Law School dean accepts or rejects the Marshall-Stevens position should be a priority for senators as they consider her nomination.

New York v. Quarles involved a simple set of facts. Police pursued an armed rape suspect into a supermarket. They spotted him, he ran, and the police briefly lost sight of him. In that moment, the suspect discarded his loaded .38 caliber pistol. The police then caught up and surrounded him. They saw the suspect's empty shoulder holster and asked where the pistol might be. The suspect pointed and said "over there." Then the police found the weapon where the suspect had pointed.

Up to that point, the officers had not read the suspect his Miranda rights. The question before the Court was whether his statement—and the pistol—could be admitted into evidence. The Court held that both could be admitted under a new "public safety exception" for law enforcement authorities acting in the public interest.

This exception is even more important today, when law enforcement authorities face terrorists armed with weapons vastly more powerful than a .38 caliber pistol, and particularly so for an administration that emphasizes criminal prosecution in its fight against terrorism. Last weekend, Attorney General Eric Holder said the public safety exception helps law enforcement officers when they apprehend terrorist suspects like Shahzad and suggested that the administration would support legislative efforts to expand it.

It's curious, then, that President Obama would invoke Justice Stevens' unblemished track record of "wisdom" as an inspiration to Ms. Kagan. "For nearly 35 years . . . [Stevens] has brought to each case not just mastery of the letter of the law, but a keen understanding of its impact on people's lives. And he has emerged as a consistent voice of reason, helping his colleagues find common ground on some of the most controversial issues the Court has ever faced," the president said in nominating her on Monday.

So how exactly did Justice Stevens view the public safety exception? In Quarles, he joined Marshall in opposing the exception in the strongest terms, expressing pointed concern for the rights of the criminal defendant even in situations involving a threat to public safety. "[T]he arresting officers had no legitimate reason to interrogate the suspect without advising him of his rights to remain silent and to obtain assistance of counsel," Marshall wrote in the dissent, joined by Justice Stevens.

In their view, the public safety exception to Miranda invited "coerced self-incriminating statements in criminal prosecutions" that would lead to "chaos." The decision of the Court's majority was "an unwise and unprincipled departure from our Fifth Amendment precedents," and involved a "chimerical quest for public safety."

Yet in apprehending terrorists in a ticking-time bomb scenario or after an attack, the quest of law enforcement authorities is anything but chimerical. Agents need critical information right away in order protect the public. Without the public safety exception, they are left with few tools to get that information lawfully.

Where does Solicitor General Kagan, who clerked for Marshall a mere three years after he wrote his dissent in Quarles, stand on this issue? During the upcoming confirmation hearings, senators will want to examine closely whether she agrees with her former boss and the Justice she would succeed, and how she would view efforts to expand the public safety exception they both opposed.

Mr. Grant is a lecturer in law at Cambridge University. Mr. Ullyot is a Republican strategist and former spokesman for the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Pages: 1 ... 495 496 [497] 498 499 ... 758
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!