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25851  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / In search of defeat on: November 27, 2007, 05:45:38 AM
Success Is Not an Option--I
Whoops! "As violence declines in Baghdad, the leading Democratic presidential candidates are undertaking a new and challenging balancing act on Iraq," the New York Times reports. Having bet against American success in the hope of benefiting from failure, they are now hedging, "acknowledging that success, trying to shift the focus to the lack of political progress there, and highlighting more domestic concerns like health care and the economy."

The trouble is, many Democratic voters still want America to lose in Iraq. As the Times notes:

This is a delicate matter. By saying the effects of the troop escalation have not led to a healthier political environment, the candidates are tacitly acknowledging that the additional troops have, in fact, made a difference on the ground--a viewpoint many Democratic voters might not embrace.

"Our troops are the best in the world; if you increase their numbers they are going to make a difference," Mrs. Clinton said in a statement after her aides were asked about her views on the ebbing violence in Baghdad.

"The fundamental point here is that the purpose of the surge was to create space for political reconciliation and that has not happened, and there is no indication that it is going to happen, or that the Iraqis will meet the political benchmarks," she said. "We need to stop refereeing their civil war and start getting out of it."

Mrs. Clinton has never had any objection in principle to the Iraq war, which she voted to authorize five years ago. Yet for reasons of rank political opportunism, she now stands for the proposition that America must not win. Is this the kind of leadership America needs in a commander in chief?

Meanwhile, Reuters reports the Dems have found a military spokesman for their Iraq policy, such as it is:

The general who led U.S. forces in Iraq after the invasion . . . spoke out for Democrats on Saturday, backing legislation aimed at withdrawing American troops.

Retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, in the Democratic weekly radio address, acknowledged that Bush's escalation strategy this year had improved security in Iraq. But he said Iraqi political leaders had failed to make "hard choices necessary to bring peace to their country." . . .

"It is well past time to adopt a new approach in Iraq that will improve chances to produce stability in the Middle East," he said. "I urge our political leaders to put aside partisan considerations and unite to lessen the burden our troops and their families have been under for nearly five years."

Apparently it didn't occur to Sanchez that the Democratic weekly radio address isn't the best venue to urge people to "put aside partisan considerations."

Reuters notes that Sanchez "commanded the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq from June 2003 until July 2004 as the anti-U.S. insurgency took hold," that he "blamed the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal for wrecking his career," and that last month (as we also noted) he "blamed the Bush administration for a 'catastrophic failure' in leadership of the war."

Whatever the merits of his arguments, Sanchez is far from a disinterested party. He is seeking to avoid blame for the failures in Iraq under his command. Which, come to think of it, makes him quite the fitting spokesman for the Democrats.

Political Journal/WSJ
25852  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Hamilton: The National Government on: November 27, 2007, 05:16:31 AM
"I am persuaded that a firm union is as necessary to perpetuate
our liberties as it is to make us respectable; and experience will
probably prove that the National Government will be as natural
a guardian of our freedom as the State Legislatures."

-- Alexander Hamilton (speech to the New York Ratifying Convention,
June 1788)
25853  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politically (In)correct on: November 26, 2007, 10:29:30 PM
22 Ways To Be A Good Democrat THIS IS NOT SO HARD -- EVEN A CAVE MAN CAN DO IT....

1. You have to be against capital punishment, but support abortion on demand.

2. You have to believe that businesses create oppression and governments create prosperity.

3. You have to believe that guns in the hands of law-abiding Americans are more of a threat than U.S. Nuclear weapons technology in the hands of Chinese and North Korean communists.

4. You have to believe that there was no art before Federal funding.

5. You have to believe that global temperatures are less affected by cyclical documented changes in the earth's climate and more affected by soccer moms driving SUV's.

6. You have to believe that gender roles are artificial but being homosexual is natural.

7. You have to believe that the AIDS virus is spread by a lack of federal funding.

8. You have to believe that the same teacher who can't teach fourth graders how to read is somehow qualified to teach those same kids about sex.

9. You have to believe that hunters don't care about nature, but loony activists who have never been outside of San Francisco do.

10. You have to believe that self-esteem is more important than actually doing something to earn it.

11. You have to believe that Mel Gibson spent $25 million of his own money to make "The Passion of the Christ" for financial gain only.

12. You have to believe the NRA is bad because it supports certain parts of the Constitution, while the ACLU is good because it supports certain parts of the Constitution.

13. You have to believe that taxes are too low, but ATM fees are too high.

14. You have to believe that Margaret Sanger and Gloria Steinem are more important to American history than Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Edison, and A.G. Bell.

15. You have to believe that standardized tests are racist, but racial quotas and set-asides are not.

16. You have to believe that Hillary Clinton is normal and is a very nice person.

17. You have to believe that the only reason socialism hasn't worked anywhere it's been tried is because the right people haven't been in charge.

18. You have to believe conservatives telling the truth belong in jail, but a liar and a sex offender belonged in the White House.

19. You have to believe that homosexual parades displaying drag, transvestites, and bestiality should be constitutionally protected, and manger scenes at Christmas should be illegal.

20. You have to believe that illegal Democrat Party funding by the Chinese Government is somehow in the best interest to the United States .

21. You have to believe that this message is a part of a vast, right wing conspiracy.

22. You have to believe that it's okay to give Federal workers the day off on Christmas Day but it's not okay to say "Merry Christmas."
__________________
25854  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cyborgs on: November 26, 2007, 09:26:54 PM

http://blog.wired.com/defense/2007/11/video-fix-super.html
25855  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Free Speech vs. Islamic Fascism (formerly Buy DANISH!!!) on: November 26, 2007, 06:07:21 PM
British Teacher Faces 40 Lashes for Naming Class Teddy Bear 'Muhammad'
Monday, November 26, 2007



A British primary school teacher arrested in Sudan faces up to 40 lashes for blasphemy after letting her class of 7-year-olds name a teddy bear Muhammad.

Gillian Gibbons, 54, from Liverpool, was arrested at at Khartoum's Unity High School yesterday, and accused of insulting the Prophet of Islam.

Her colleagues said that they feared for her safety after reports that groups of young men had gathered outside the Khartoum police station where she was taken and were shouting death threats.

The Unity school is a Christian-run but multi-racial and co-educational private school that is popular with Sudanese professionals and expatriate workers.

Bishop Ezekiel Kondo, chairman of the school council, told The Times that the school was in dispute with authorities over taxes, and suggested that Gibbons, who arrived in Khartoum in August, may have been caught up in that.

"The thing may be very simple but there are people who are trying to make it bigger. It's a kind of blackmail," he said.

Teachers at the school, in central Khartoum, a mile from the Nile River, said that Gibbons had made an innocent mistake by letting her pupils choose their favorite name for the toy as part of a school project.


Robert Boulos, the Unity director, said Gibbons was following a British National Curriculum course designed to teach young pupils about animals and their habitats. This year’s animal was the bear.

In September, she asked a girl to bring in her teddy bear to help the class focus and then asked the children to name the toy.

“They came up with eight names including Abdullah, Hassan and Muhammad. Then she explained what it meant to vote and asked them to choose the name,” Boulos said.

Twenty out of the 23 children chose Muhammad. Each child was allowed to take the bear home for weekends and asked to keep a diary about what they did with the toy. Each entry was collected in a book with a picture of the bear on the cover, next to the message "My name is Muhammad."

Boulos said that the bear itself was not marked or labeled with the name in any way, adding that Sudanese police had now seized the book and asked to interview the 7-year-old girl who brought in the bear.

He said that he had decided to close down the school until January for fear of reprisals in Sudan’s predominantly Muslim capital.

“This is a very sensitive issue. We are very worried about her safety,” he said. “This was a completely innocent mistake. Ms. Gibbons would have never wanted to insult Islam.”

The British Embassy in Khartoum said that it was still unclear whether Gibbons had been charged formally. “We are following it up with the authorities and trying to meet her in person,” it said.

Under Sudan's Sharia law, blasphemy could attract a large fine, 40 lashes or a jail term of up to six months.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,312895,00.html
25856  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Dog Brothers Tribe on: November 26, 2007, 05:50:22 PM
Let the Howl Go Forth!

Lonely Dog and Cornelia have been blessed with a daughter, Naira Luna (I'm guessing at the spelling) cool

Crafty Dog
25857  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Russia on: November 26, 2007, 02:41:14 PM
The Holodomor
By VIKTOR YUSHCHENKO
November 26, 2007

Kiev

Seventy-five years ago the Ukrainian people fell victim to a crime of unimaginable horror. Usually referred to in the West as the Great Famine or the Terror Famine, it is known to Ukrainians as the Holodomor. It was a state-organized program of mass starvation that in 1932-33 killed an estimated seven million to 10 million Ukrainians, including up to a third of the nation's children. With grotesque understatement the Soviet authorities dismissed this event as a "bad harvest." Their intention was to exonerate themselves of responsibility and suppress knowledge of both the human causes and human consequences of this tragedy. That is reason enough for us to pause and remember.

During the long decades of Soviet rule it was dangerous for Ukrainians to discuss their greatest national trauma. To talk of the Holodomor was a crime against the state, while the memoirs of eyewitnesses and the accounts of historians like Robert Conquest and the late James Mace were banned as anti-Soviet propaganda. Yet each Ukrainian family knew from bitter personal memory the enormity of what had happened. They also knew that it had been inflicted on them deliberately to punish Ukraine and destroy the basis of its nationhood. It is to honor the victims and serve the cause of historical truth that independent Ukraine is today working to promote greater understanding and recognition of the Holodomor, both at home and abroad.

We are not doing so out of a desire for revenge or to make a partisan political point. We know that the Russian people were among Stalin's foremost victims. Apportioning blame to their living descendents is the last thing on our minds. Our only wish is for this crime to be understood for what it truly was. That is why the Ukrainian Parliament last year passed a law recognizing the Holodomor as an act of genocide and why I am asking our friends and allies to endorse that position. A world that indulges historical amnesia or falsification is condemned to repeat its worst mistakes.

Genocide is a highly charged term, and there are those who still dispute its applicability in the case of Ukraine. It is therefore worth looking at how the 1948 United Nations Genocide Convention legally defines the issue. It describes genocide as "acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group" including "deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part." The Holodomor falls squarely within the terms of this definition. Significantly, that was also the opinion of Raphael Lemkin, the legal scholar who conceived the Genocide Convention.

There is now a wealth of historical material detailing the specific features of Stalin's forced collectivization and terror famine policies against Ukraine. Other parts of the Soviet Union suffered terribly as well. But in the minds of the Soviet leadership there was a dual purpose in persecuting and starving the Ukrainian peasantry. It was part of a campaign to crush Ukraine's national identity and its desire for self-determination. As Stalin put it a few years earlier: "There is no powerful national movement without the peasant army...in essence, the national question is a peasant question." In seeking to reverse the policy of "Ukrainianization" that promoted limited cultural and political autonomy during the 1920s, Stalin decided to target the peasantry, representing as it did 80% of the population. His solution to the national question in Ukraine was mass murder through starvation.

Stalin's cruel methods included the allocation of astronomic grain requisition quotas that were impossible to meet and which left nothing for the local population to eat. When the quotas were missed, armed units were sent in. Toward the end of 1932, entire villages and regions were turned into a system of isolated starvation ghettos called "black boards." Throughout this period, the Soviet Union continued to export grain to the West and even used grain to produce alcohol. By early 1933, the Soviet leadership decided to radically reinforce the blockade of Ukrainian villages. Eventually, the whole territory of Ukraine was surrounded by armed forces, turning the entire country into a vast death camp.

The specifically national motive behind Stalin's treatment of Ukraine was also evident in the terror campaign that targeted the institutions and individuals that sustained the cultural and public life of the Ukrainian nation. Waves of purges engulfed academic institutions, literary journals, publishing houses and theaters. Victims included the Ukrainian Academy of Science, the editorial board of the Soviet Ukrainian Encyclopedia, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and ultimately the Ukrainian Communist Party. This was a systematic campaign against the Ukrainian nation, its history, culture, language and way of life.

The Holodomor was an act of genocide designed to suppress the Ukrainian nation. The fact that it failed and Ukraine today exists as a proud and independent nation does nothing to lessen the gravity of this crime. Nor does it acquit us of the moral responsibility to acknowledge what was done. On the 75th anniversary, we owe it to the victims of the Holodomor and other genocides to be truthful in facing up to the past.

Mr. Yushchenko is Ukraine's president.

WSJ
25858  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Mexican Truck Stop on: November 26, 2007, 02:39:10 PM
WSJ

Mexican Truck Stop
By MARY ANASTASIA O'GRADY
November 26, 2007; Page A20

It's hard to say who came out on top in the Nov. 15 debate among Democratic presidential candidates held in Nevada. But we do know that free trade took a beating. A majority of the candidates disapproved of some or all of the U.S. bilateral and regional trade agreements -- including the North American Free Trade Agreement -- and pledged to reverse the trend toward market opening if given the chance. Hillary Clinton stopped short of promising to undo Nafta but she called for a "trade timeout."

It is troubling to hear the protectionist drumbeat growing louder in the Democratic Party, particularly as it concerns Latin America. The last time Washington adopted an anti-trade bias by signing into law the Smoot-Hawley tariffs in 1930, it set off a world-wide depression -- and a period of isolationism in Latin America that took some 60 years to begin to reverse. Now Democrats seem to be saying that if they can only capture the White House, they are committed to reliving this painful history.

The Democrats' anti-trade agenda is already playing out in Congress, with both houses continuing to block the full opening of the southern border to Mexican long-haul trucks under Nafta. Congress's actions could damage the U.S. economy because Mexico has the legal right to retaliate. What's worse is what this flouting of U.S. commitments to Mexico suggests to the Mexican people about Yankee integrity.

The problem dates back to 1995, when Bill Clinton issued an executive order -- in violation of Nafta, which he had signed into law -- to stop Mexican long-haul trucks from crossing the border. Mr. Clinton was responding to pressure from Teamsters, who didn't want any new competition. He cited safety concerns -- things like substandard drivers and vehicles -- which to this day have never been supported by evidence.

In fact, Mexican trucking companies have a long history of operating in the U.S. and with no notably inferior safety record. Yet their numbers have been limited since 1982, when the Reagan administration announced that until Mexico opened its markets to U.S. competitors, no new licenses would be granted to Mexican carriers. Existing Mexican long-haul trucking businesses had their permits grandfathered, and from 1992-2002 some 1,300 Mexican-domiciled companies -- all of which were majority U.S.-owned -- received "certificates of registration" to deliver "exempt commodities" from Mexico to the U.S.

In other words, there have been plenty of Mexican trucks on U.S. roads all these years -- although not as many as there might be under Nafta. Nevertheless, in a 2002 appropriations bill Congress demanded that they be subject to a new set of safety regulations, some of which are more stringent than U.S. standards. Since that year, the Department of Transportation's Inspector General has audited the safety process at the border annually and has been able to certify that it is working. Mexican carriers are also more heavily insured than their U.S. competitors. Every Mexican truck is required to carry U.S. insurance on top of the insurance it carries in Mexico.

Earlier this year, the DOT analyzed the safety record of Mexican carriers in the U.S. from 2003-2006. It looked at the rate in which trucks received an "out-of-service" designation by DOT inspectors targeting companies with the worst records. The out-of-service rate for U.S. trucks was 23.5%, compared to a rate for trucks from Mexico of 21.29%. Mexican short-haul trucks operating in the border zone also had a better record than the U.S. trucks, with an out-of-service rate of 22.5%.

These statistics ought to be enough to end the debate. But with Teamster pull still strong in Congress, the Bush administration this year offered to introduce a pilot program to allow a limited number of new trucking companies to begin doing business in the U.S. under close DOT scrutiny. The program kicked off on Sept. 6, and there are now seven Mexican companies operating 44 vehicles in the U.S. and four U.S. companies operating 41 vehicles in Mexico. You'd think that those with safety worries would be glad to see such a vigilant approach to the problem. But just after the program started, both the House and the Senate voted to strip its funding in the 2008 budget.

It's not clear whether this budget cut will be sustained. But the effort makes it obvious that Congress is no honest broker. As John Hill, administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, told me last week: "Every time we move closer to implementing the provisions of Nafta, Congress adds a new provision. It's hard to hit a moving target."

Mr. Hill also challenges the charge that Mexican trucks are not safe. "We've applied strong enforcement guidelines and Mexico has met them. The opponents of Nafta are looking for any way they can find to drum up fear among Americans, even though Mexican trucks have been operating safely in this country for years."

Mexico doesn't have to sit still for this. In February 2001, a Nafta arbitration panel issued a unanimous decision against the U.S. block on Mexican long-haul trucks. Mexico could retaliate with import tariffs on U.S. goods to the tune of $2 billion. In the Nov. 20 issue of the Latin American business magazine Poder y Negocios, Mexican Secretary of Communications and Transportation Luis Tellez said that his country has not ruled out that possibility.

He also expressed frustration with Congress: "The problem is that the Congress is no longer in the frame of mind in which it sees Nafta as something important or something that the U.S. government has to comply with." There are those in Congress, he said, who don't have a clear idea of what Nafta is and others who don't want to "lose points and Teamster support."

During the free trade bashing in Nevada, Mrs. Clinton said that instead of signing new agreements, we "need to get back to enforcing the ones we have, which the Bush administration has not done." When it comes to Nafta and the Mexican trucks we can all agree on the first part of that statement, but the fault lies with Congress, not the president.
25859  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: November 26, 2007, 02:36:08 PM
On the Jewish Question
By BERNARD LEWIS
November 26, 2007; Page A21

Herewith some thoughts about tomorrow's Annapolis peace conference, and the larger problem of how to approach the Israel-Palestine conflict. The first question (one might think it is obvious but apparently not) is, "What is the conflict about?" There are basically two possibilities: that it is about the size of Israel, or about its existence.

If the issue is about the size of Israel, then we have a straightforward border problem, like Alsace-Lorraine or Texas. That is to say, not easy, but possible to solve in the long run, and to live with in the meantime.

If, on the other hand, the issue is the existence of Israel, then clearly it is insoluble by negotiation. There is no compromise position between existing and not existing, and no conceivable government of Israel is going to negotiate on whether that country should or should not exist.

PLO and other Palestinian spokesmen have, from time to time, given formal indications of recognition of Israel in their diplomatic discourse in foreign languages. But that's not the message delivered at home in Arabic, in everything from primary school textbooks to political speeches and religious sermons. Here the terms used in Arabic denote, not the end of hostilities, but an armistice or truce, until such time that the war against Israel can be resumed with better prospects for success. Without genuine acceptance of Israel's right to exist as a Jewish State, as the more than 20 members of the Arab League exist as Arab States, or the much larger number of members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference exist as Islamic states, peace cannot be negotiated.

A good example of how this problem affects negotiation is the much-discussed refugee question. During the fighting in 1947-1948, about three-fourths of a million Arabs fled or were driven (both are true in different places) from Israel and found refuge in the neighboring Arab countries. In the same period and after, a slightly greater number of Jews fled or were driven from Arab countries, first from the Arab-controlled part of mandatory Palestine (where not a single Jew was permitted to remain), then from the Arab countries where they and their ancestors had lived for centuries, or in some places for millennia. Most Jewish refugees found their way to Israel.

What happened was thus, in effect, an exchange of populations not unlike that which took place in the Indian subcontinent in the previous year, when British India was split into India and Pakistan. Millions of refugees fled or were driven both ways -- Hindus and others from Pakistan to India, Muslims from India to Pakistan. Another example was Eastern Europe at the end of World War II, when the Soviets annexed a large piece of eastern Poland and compensated the Poles with a slice of eastern Germany. This too led to a massive refugee movement -- Poles fled or were driven from the Soviet Union into Poland, Germans fled or were driven from Poland into Germany.

The Poles and the Germans, the Hindus and the Muslims, the Jewish refugees from Arab lands, all were resettled in their new homes and accorded the normal rights of citizenship. More remarkably, this was done without international aid. The one exception was the Palestinian Arabs in neighboring Arab countries.

The government of Jordan granted Palestinian Arabs a form of citizenship, but kept them in refugee camps. In the other Arab countries, they were and remained stateless aliens without rights or opportunities, maintained by U.N. funding. Paradoxically, if a Palestinian fled to Britain or America, he was eligible for naturalization after five years, and his locally-born children were citizens by birth. If he went to Syria, Lebanon or Iraq, he and his descendants remained stateless, now entering the fourth or fifth generation.

The reason for this has been stated by various Arab spokesmen. It is the need to preserve the Palestinians as a separate entity until the time when they will return and reclaim the whole of Palestine; that is to say, all of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Israel. The demand for the "return" of the refugees, in other words, means the destruction of Israel. This is highly unlikely to be approved by any Israeli government.

There are signs of change in some Arab circles, of a willingness to accept Israel and even to see the possibility of a positive Israeli contribution to the public life of the region. But such opinions are only furtively expressed. Sometimes, those who dare to express them are jailed or worse. These opinions have as yet little or no impact on the leadership.

Which brings us back to the Annapolis summit. If the issue is not the size of Israel, but its existence, negotiations are foredoomed. And in light of the past record, it is clear that is and will remain the issue, until the Arab leadership either achieves or renounces its purpose -- to destroy Israel. Both seem equally unlikely for the time being.

Mr. Lewis, professor emeritus at Princeton, is the author, most recently, of "From Babel to Dragomans: Interpreting the Middle East" (Oxford University Press, 2004).
WSJ
25860  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: November 26, 2007, 02:29:05 PM
The Wolverine Primary
Michigan's early vote is good news for George Romney's son and Bill Clinton's wife.

Monday, November 26, 2007 12:01 a.m. EST

What if we look back on the 2008 presidential nomination contests and conclude one or both were effectively decided by a single vote--and among a group of judges at that?

Democratic partisans still argue that the 2000 presidential contest was decided by a single vote in the U.S. Supreme Court, even though media recounts of Florida ballots showed that the outcome would not have been changed if Bush v. Gore had gone the other way. But there's no doubt that a 4-3 ruling by the Michigan Supreme Court last Wednesday saved that state's Jan. 15 presidential primary, which was in danger of being scrapped over a dispute about whether it adhered to the state constitution. The winners are likely to be Mitt Romney and Hillary Clinton

Mr. Romney pushed hard for an early primary because he has a natural advantage in Michigan. He was born in Detroit, and elderly voters still fondly remember George Romney, his father, who served as governor in the 1960s. Mr. Romney is counting on winning Iowa on Jan. 3--he has more paid workers there than all the other GOP candidates put together--and he plans to use his advantage as a former governor of next-door Massachusetts to win New Hampshire's Jan. 8 primary. Winning Michigan would then give Mr. Romney three straight victories before the critical Jan. 19 South Carolina primary.

Among Democrats, Hillary Clinton is for now the only leading Democratic candidate to appear on Michigan's ballot. The other top-tier contenders withdrew, following the guidance of the Democratic National Committee, which is threatening to take away Michigan's delegates because it is scheduling a primary against the party's rules. But few observers believe the state will actually be stripped of its delegates in the end, so if she remains the only significant name on the ballot, Mrs. Clinton may pick up some momentum, a publicity bounce and some delegates to boot by exerting almost no effort.

Democratic National Committee member Debbie Dingell, wife of Rep. John Dingell, will try to persuade the state Legislature to amend the primary law to restore the names of Barack Obama, John Edwards, Joe Biden and Bill Richardson. But that could be a tough sell given that Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, the state's top elections officer, says the primary is already well behind schedule and any further delay will make it impossible to get absentee ballots out.

John McCain could also benefit from the Michigan primary should he do well enough in New Hampshire to remain viable. Michigan has no party registration, and in 2000 the votes of independents and Democrats helped Mr. McCain crush George W. Bush in Michigan's primary. Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson are less likely to be able to capitalize on the Michigan primary because they have not built large grass-roots organizations in the state. Similarly, Mike Huckabee has not spent any significant time or money in the Wolverine State.





In allowing the primary to go forward, Michigan's high court overturned two rulings that had held that it would be unconstitutional because the two major political parties would have exclusive access to the list of those who voted in the primary. The Supreme Court, using dubious reasoning, said the public's interest in having open primaries as opposed to conventions of party activists outweighed the need to provide equal access to what are clearly public records. It sided with those who wanted publicity for the state over those who wanted public disclosure. (The law setting the primary had a "nonseverability" clause, so that the courts could not order the vote to go forward in compliance with disclosure laws.)
Michigan has now shaken up the primary calendar in a fundamental way. Among Democrats, look for Mrs. Clinton's rivals to work behind the scenes to get their names on the Michigan ballot, whether or not delegates are at stake. Media coverage has become the true currency of politics, and no Democratic opponent of Mrs. Clinton wants to hand her an uncontested victory.

Among Republicans, the pressure will be for Mitt Romney to win Iowa and New Hampshire. He is saturating Iowa with mail and ads and is currently spending $200,000 a week on ads on New Hampshire's ABC affiliate. If he wins both, he will then try for a triple slam with Michigan. Rudy Giuliani, who is trailing badly in Iowa, may now have to focus on winning New Hampshire to avoid giving Mr. Romney a clean sweep in the early states. The pressure on Messrs. McCain and Thompson to poll well somewhere is now more intense.

Iowa and New Hampshire are often said to be the launching pads for successful presidential nominees. This year Michigan may rival them in importance.

WSJ
25861  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama is right on Iran on: November 26, 2007, 11:19:03 AM
Obama Is Right on Iran
Talking with Tehran may help us wage the wars we need to fight.
WSJ
BY SHELBY STEELE
Monday, November 26, 2007 12:01 a.m. EST

After a recent Democratic presidential debate, Barack Obama proclaimed that were he to become president, he would talk directly even to America's worst enemies. One could imagine President Obama as a kind of superhero taking off in Air Force One for Tehran, there to be greeted on the tarmac by the villainous Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Was this a serious foreign policy proposal or simply a campaign counterpunch? Hillary Clinton had already held up this idea as evidence of Mr. Obama's naiveté. Wasn't he just pushing back, displaying his commitment to "diplomacy"--now the most glamorous word in the Democratic "antiwar" lexicon?

Whatever Mr. Obama's intent, history has given his idea a rather bad reputation. Neville Chamberlain springs to mind as a man who was famously seduced into the wishful thinking that seems central to the idea of talking to one's enemies. Today few Americans--left or right--would be comfortable with direct talks between our president and a character like Mr. Ahmadinejad. Wouldn't such talk only puff up extremist leaders and make America into a supplicant?

On its face, Mr. Obama's idea seems little more than a far-left fantasy. But perhaps it looks this way because we are viewing it through too narrow a conception of warfare. We tend to think of our wars as miniature versions of World War II, a war of national survival. But since then we have fought wars in which our national survival was not immediately, or even remotely, at stake. We have fought wars in distant lands for rather abstract reasons, and there has been the feeling that these were essentially wars of choice: We could win or lose without jeopardizing our nation's survival.

Mr. Obama's idea clearly makes no sense in a context of national survival. It would have been absurd for President Roosevelt to fly to Berlin and talk to Hitler. But Mr. Obama's idea does make sense in the buildup to wars where survival is not at risk--wars that are more a matter of urgent choice than of absolute necessity.

I think of such wars as essentially wars of discipline. Their purpose is to preserve a favorable balance of power that is already in place in the world. We fight these wars not to survive but--once a menace has arisen--to discipline the world back into a balance of power that best ensures peace. We fight as enforcers rather than as rebels or as patriots fighting for survival. Wars of discipline are pre-emptive by definition. They pre-empt menace to the peaceful world order. We don't sacrifice blood and treasure for change; we sacrifice for constancy.

Conversely, in wars of survival, like World War II, we fight to achieve a favorable balance of power--one in which a peace is established that guarantees our sovereignty and survival. We fight unapologetically for dominance, and we determine to defeat our enemy by any means necessary. We do not harry ourselves much over the style of warfare--whether the locals like us, where the line between interrogation and torture might lie, whether or not we are solicitous of our captive's religious beliefs or dietary strictures. There is no feeling in society that we can afford to lose these wars. And so we never have.





All this points to one of the great foreign policy dilemmas of our time: In the eyes of many around the world, and many Americans as well, we lack the moral authority to fight the wars that we actually fight because they are wars more of discipline than of survival, more of choice than of necessity. It is hard to equate the disciplining of a pre-existing world order--a status quo--with fighting for one's life. When survival is at stake, there is no lack of moral authority, no self-doubt and no antiwar movement of any consequence. But when war is not immediately related to survival, when a society is fundamentally secure and yet goes to war anyway, moral authority becomes a profound problem. Suddenly such a society is drawn into a struggle for moral authority that is every bit as intense as its struggle for military victory.
America does not do so well in its disciplinary wars (the Gulf War is an arguable exception) because we begin these wars with only a marginal moral authority and then, as time passes, even this meager store of moral capital bleeds away. Inevitably, into this vacuum comes a clamorous and sanctimonious antiwar movement that sets the bar for American moral authority so high that we must virtually lose the war in order to meet it. There must be no torture, no collateral damage, no cultural insensitivity, no mistreatment of prisoners and no truly aggressive or definitive display of American military power. In other words, no victory.

Meanwhile our enemy is fighting all out to achieve a new balance of power. As we anguish over the possibility of collateral damage, this enemy practices collateral damage as a tactic of war. In Iraq, al Qaeda blows up women and children simply to keep alive the chaos of war that gives it cover. This enemy's sense of moral authority--as misguided as it may be--is so strong that it compensates for its lack of sophisticated military hardware.

On the other hand, our great military might is not enough to compensate for our weak sense of moral authority, our ambivalence. If we have the greatest military in history, it is also true that we lack our enemy's talent for true belief. Our rationale for war is difficult to articulate, always arguable, and distinctly removed from immediate necessity. Our society is deeply divided and there is a vigorous antiwar movement ready to capitalize on our every military setback.

This is the pattern of disciplinary wars: Their execution is always undermined by their inbuilt lack of moral authority. In the end, our might neutralizes our might. Our vast power makes all such wars come off as bullying, even when we fight selflessly for the freedom of others.

Great power scares unless it is exercised within a painstaking moral framework. Thus, moral authority is the single greatest challenge of American foreign policy. This is especially so in wars of discipline, wars fought far away and for abstract reasons. We argue for such wars as if they were wars of survival because we want the moral authority that comes so automatically to them. But Iraq is a war of discipline, and no more. If we left Iraq tomorrow there would be terrible consequences all around, but we would survive.

Our broader war against terror, on the other hand, is a war of survival. And it is rich in moral authority. September 11 introduced necessity and, in its name, we have an open license to destroy that stateless network of terrorism that attacked us. America is not divided over this. It was Iraq--a war of discipline--that brought us division. This does not mean that the Iraq war is invalid. Ultimately, it may prove to be a far more important war in preserving a balance of power favorable to America than our war against al Qaeda.

The point is that wars of discipline will always have to be self-consciously fought on a moral as well as a military front. And the more we engage the moral struggle, the more license we will have to fight these wars as wars of survival. In other words, our military effectiveness now requires nothing less than a smart and daring brinkmanship of moral authority.





If Mr. Obama's idea was born of mushy idealism, it could work far better as a hard-nosed moral brinkmanship. Were an American president (or a secretary of state for the less daring) to land in Tehran, the risk to American prestige would be enormous. The mullahs would make us characters in a tale of their own grandeur. Yet moral authority would redound to us precisely for making ourselves vulnerable to this kind of exploitation. The world would witness not the stereotype of American bullying, but the reality of American selflessness, courage and moral confidence.
If we were snubbed, if all our entreaties to peace were flouted, if war became inevitable, then we would have the moral authority to fight as if for survival. Either our high-risk diplomacy works or we have the license to fight to win. In the meantime, we give our allies around the world every reason to respect us.

This is not an argument for Mr. Obama's candidacy, only for his idea. It is a good one because it allows America the advantage of its own great character.

Mr. Steele, a research fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, is the author, most recently, of "A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited About Obama and Why He Can't Win," published next week by Free Press.

25862  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Jefferson: Virtue on: November 26, 2007, 08:48:12 AM
"Give up money, give up fame, give up science, give the earth
itself and all it contains rather than do an immoral act. And never
suppose that in any possible situation, or under any circumstances,
it is best for you to do a dishonorable thing, however slightly so
it may appear to you... From the practice of the purest virtue,
you may be assured you will derive the most sublime comforts in
every moment of life, and in the moment of death."

-- Thomas Jefferson (letter to Peter Carr, 19 August 1785)

Reference: Jefferson: Writings, Peterson ed., Library of America
(814-815)
25863  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Fall Gathering! Fighters thread on: November 26, 2007, 08:10:08 AM
Woof Matt:

Glad you had a good time.  It sounds like you really get what the day is about.  I am glad we will be seeing more of you.

Concerning rubber knives:  This was a F-up.  Our Master of Arms/Timekeeper had a new assistant while he was out on the field with me during the fights and the assistant let people go out with these knives.  Bad dogs!  Hard plastic is the minimum standard for a Dog Brothers Gathering.  Aluminum knives are preferred and use of the Shocknives is encouraged and praised.

Concerning the knife fighting in general:  This was one of the best Gatherings I can remember in this regard.  Instead of having fight after fight after fight where both fighters "died", which has been the case for a long time, this time most of the fighters fought as if it mattered to them that they lived.  Hallelujah!  Also, fighters finally got in the spirit of hiding knives and using them, often to quite dramatic effect, during the stick fights.  As Matt notes, we think opening up the peripheral vision in the adrenal state is something worth reflecting upon with care.

Concerning the three day Gathering:  This is a discussion we have been having in house about getting together for 2-3 days.  It has its roots in a conversation within the DBMA Association about the role of what is called in DB lore "The Rumble at Ramblas" (love those alliterations)-- which is when and where the Dog Brothers came into being.

It was in 1988-- twenty years ago  shocked shocked shocked that we came together at Ramblas Park, which was up the road from Panther Productins studio for three days to get footage for what was to become the "Real Contact Stickfighting with Eric "Top Dog" Knaus and the Dog Brothers" series.  We fought for three days, with most fighters averaging seven fights a day.  On day one, we were hard sparring.  By day three everyone was fighting. 

In the DBMAA thread we were discussing Salty Dog's observation about the importance of fighting for three consecutive days and how the experience of going out there again and again and again was a crucible which had transformed us in a way that is hard to describe.  Someone noted that we were coming up on 20 years and it occurred to me to suggest doing it again.  The suggestion was well received and so we will be doing it-- once again without the crowds, once again as it began.

The Adventure continues,
Crafty Dog
GF

PS:  Concerning fotos and such-- it usually takes us a while to get them up, but we will get to it , , , eventually. smiley
25864  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Calculate your candidate on: November 25, 2007, 08:25:56 PM
Calculates which candidate is closest to your positions.

http://www.vajoe.com/candidate_calculator.html
25865  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People on: November 23, 2007, 04:41:36 PM
AT LAW

Second Amendment Showdown
The Supreme Court has a historic opportunity to affirm the individual right to keep and bear arms.

BY MIKE COX
Friday, November 23, 2007 12:01 a.m. EST

The Supreme Court has agreed to take up a case that will affect millions of Americans and could also have an impact on the 2008 elections. That case, Parker v. D.C., should settle the decades-old argument whether the right "to keep and bear arms" of the Constitution's Second Amendment is an individual right--that all Americans enjoy--or only a collective right that states may regulate freely. Legal, historical and even empirical reasons all command a decision that recognizes the Second Amendment guarantee as an individual right.

The amendment reads: "A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." If "the right of the people" to keep and bear arms was merely an incident of, or subordinate to, a governmental (i.e., a collective) purpose--that of ensuring an efficient or "well regulated" militia--it would be logical to conclude, as does the District of Columbia--that government can outlaw the individual ownership of guns. But this collective interpretation is incorrect.





To analyze what "the right of the people" means, look elsewhere within the Bill of Rights for guidance. The First Amendment speaks of "the right of the people peaceably to assemble . . ." No one seriously argues that the right to assemble or associate with your fellow citizens is predicated on the number of citizens or the assent of a government. It is an individual right.
The Fourth Amendment says, "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated . . ." The "people" here does not refer to a collectivity, either.

The rights guaranteed in the Bill of Right are individual. The Third and Fifth Amendments protect individual property owners; the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Eighth Amendments protect potential individual criminal defendants from unreasonable searches, involuntary incrimination, appearing in court without an attorney, excessive bail, and cruel and unusual punishments.

The Ninth Amendment protects individual rights not otherwise enumerated in the Bill of Rights. The 10th Amendment states, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people." Here, "the people" are separate from "the states"; thus, the Second Amendment must be about more than simply a "state" militia when it uses the term "the people."

Consider the grammar. The Second Amendment is about the right to "keep and bear arms." Before the conjunction "and" there is a right to "keep," meaning to possess. This word would be superfluous if the Second Amendment were only about bearing arms as part of the state militia. Reading these words to restrict the right to possess arms strains common rules of composition.

Colonial history and politics are also instructive. James Madison wrote the Bill of Rights to provide a political compromise between the Federalists, who favored a strong central government, and the Anti-Federalists, who feared a strong central government as an inherent danger to individual rights. In June 1789, then-Rep. Madison introduced 12 amendments, a "bill of rights," to the Constitution to convince the remaining two of the original 13 colonies to ratify the document.

Madison's draft borrowed liberally from the English Bill of Rights of 1689 and Virginia's Declaration of Rights. Both granted individual rights, not collective rights. As a result, Madison proposed a bill of rights that reflected, as Stanford University historian Jack Rakove notes, his belief that the "greatest dangers to liberty would continue to arise within the states, rather than from a reconstituted national government." Accordingly, Mr. Rakove writes that "Madison justified all of these proposals (Bill of Rights) in terms of the protection they would extend to individual and minority rights."

One of the earliest scholars of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, Justice Joseph Story, confirmed this focus on individuals in his famous "Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States" in 1833. "The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms," Story wrote, "has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of republics, since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers . . ."

It is also important to consider the social context at the time of the drafting and adoption of the Bill of Rights. Our Founding Fathers lived in an era where there were arms in virtually every household. Most of America was rural or, even more accurately, frontier. The idea that in the 1780s the common man, living in the remote woods of the Allegheny Mountains of western Pennsylvania and Virginia, would depend on the indulgence of his individual state or colony--not to mention the new federal government--to possess and use arms in order to defend himself is ludicrous. From the Minutemen of Concord and Lexington to the irregulars at Yorktown, members of the militias marched into battle with privately-owned weapons.

Lastly, consider the empirical arguments. The three D.C. ordinances at issue are of the broadest possible nature. According to the statute, a person is not legally able to own a handgun in D.C. at all and may have a long-gun--even in one's home--only if it is kept unloaded and disassembled (or bound with a trigger lock). The statute was passed in 1976. What have been the results?





Illegal guns continue to be widely available in the district; criminals have easy access to guns while law-abiding citizens do not. Cathy L. Lanier, Acting Chief of Police, Metropolitan Police Department, was quoted as follows: "Last year [2006], more than 2,600 illegal firearms were recovered in D.C., a 13% increase over 2005." Crime rose significantly after the gun ban went into effect. In the five years before the 1976 ban, the murder rate fell to 27 from 37 per 100,000. In the five years after it went into effect, the murder rate rose to 35. In fact, while murder rates have varied over time, during the 30 years since the ban, the murder rate has only once fallen below what it was in 1976.
This comports with my own personal experience. In almost 14 years as prosecutor and as head of the Homicide Unit of the Wayne County (Detroit) Prosecutor's Office, I never saw anyone charged with murder who had a license to legally carry a concealed weapon. Most people who want to possess guns are law-abiding and present no threat to others. Rather than the availability of weapons, my experience is that gun violence is driven by culture, police presence (or lack of same), and failures in the supervision of parolees and probationers.

Not only does history demonstrate that the Second Amendment is an individual right, but experience demonstrates that the broad ban on gun ownership in the District of Columbia has led to precisely the opposite effect from what was intended. For legal and historical reasons, and for the safety of the residents of our nation's capital, the Supreme Court should affirm an individual right to keep and bear arms.

Mr. Cox is the attorney general of Michigan.

WSJ
25866  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: November 23, 2007, 02:08:37 PM
Last update - 20:26 22/11/2007     
 
 
 
 
By Yossi Melman, Haaretz Correspondent, and Haaretz Service 
 
 

The Israel Air Force hit a Syrian radar post near the country's northern border with Turkey on September 6, knocking out Syria's entire radar system as a prelude to striking a suspected nuclear reactor, Aviation Week & Space Technology is reporting in its November 26 edition.

The radar site was hit with a combination of electronic attack and precision bombs to allow the IAF to enter and exit Syrian airspace unobserved, the report said.

Subsequently all of Syria's air-defense radar system went off the air for a period of time that encompassed the raid, U.S. intelligence analysts told Aviation Week. According to the report, the United States provided Israel with information about Syrian air defenses as Israel carried out the strike.

The U.S. was monitoring the electronic emissions coming from Syria during the air strike, and while there was no active American engagement in the operation, there was advice provided, military and aerospace industry officials told the magazine.

However, there was "no U.S. active engagement other than consulting on potential target vulnerabilities," a U.S. electronic warfare specialist says.

Syria has confirmed the air strike, but has vehemently denied reports that it targeted and destroyed an apparent nuclear facility built with North Korean assistance. North Korea has also denied any nuclear cooperation with Syria.

For their part, Israeli officials have maintained silence and refused to comment on the air strike.

Israeli nuclear expert: Syria site was facility for assembling nukes

Tel Aviv University Professor Uzi Even, a former Meretz MK and a chemist who until 1968 worked at the Dimona nuclear reactor, told Haaretz in an interview published Thursday that he believes the evidence suggests that the Syrian site was not in fact a nuclear reactor - but rather a facility for assembling nuclear bombs.

Even, who has been keeping track of nuclear issues for years, bases his analysis in large part on satellite photos widely published recently in the media and on internet Web sites.

The images show that the facility lacked a chimney - which is necessary for the emission of the radioactive gases - despite the fact that evidence suggests that construction began on the facility at least four years ago. In contrast, a chimney is clearly visible in images of the reactor in Yongbyon, North Korea.

"We can assume that construction began even before 2003," says Even. "In all those years, five years or even more, a chimney had still not been built? Very strange."

In addition, Even contends, the facility did not have cooling towers. The pumping station seen in the photos, 5 kilometers from the site, cannot, according to him, be a substitute for such towers. "A structure without cooling towers cannot be a reactor," he says, pointing to the satellite photo from Yongbyon, in which one can clearly see the cooling tower, with steam rising from it.

Another structure essential for a reactor is missing from the Syrian photos: a plutonium separation facility, which processes enriched uranium in order to turn them into plutonium.

"In my estimation this was something very nasty and vicious, and even more dangerous than a reactor," says Even. "I have no information, only an assessment, but I suspect that it was a plant for processing plutonium, namely a factory for assembling the bomb."

Should his assessment be true, it would mean that Syria was in a far more advanced stage in its attempt to acquire nuclear weapons, in that it likely would already have the necessary plutonium, and was involved in building a bomb factory.

Even's assessment is reinforced by the fact that satellite photos taken after the bombing clearly show that the Syrians made an effort to bury the entire site under piles of earth. "They did so because of the lethal nature of the material that was in the structure, and that can be plutonium," he said. That may also be the reason they refused to allow IAEA inspectors to visit the site and take samples of the earth, which would expose the nature of the site.
 
25867  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Part Three on: November 23, 2007, 12:53:58 PM

Sayers began the second round by slipping, sliding, jabbing, and generally confusing the big youngster, until a big, wide Heenan left hook dazed him, allowing the Boy to wrestle him down and land his full weight on Tommy's ribs. For the next four rounds, Tommy took a beating, being countered and knocked down in each of them. He was even knocked senseless in the fourth, but was revived by his seconds. Sayers knew that Heenan's hands were taking damage from the heavy head punching.

The seventh and eighth rounds were legendary, lasting thirteen and twenty minutes, respectively. They are even more amazing in retrospect, knowing that Tom's right arm began to swell at the end of the sixth round, heralding an injury that would later prove to be a broken arm.

Tom Sayers got his second wind and began to time the Boy with lighting left hand counter punches, that cut Heenan's right cheek and closed his right eye in the seventh. The round still ended with Heenan knocking Sayers off balance and down, but Sayers had scored the damage. Both men's mouths were bloodied in the eighth, with the right side of Heenan's face getting worse and Sayers' right arm swelling and stiffening. The round ended with Sayers still going down.

Local police arrive during the ninth round, but there weren't enough of them to do anything, so they just watched. Round after round Sayers punched Heenan's face with his lightning left and was then thrown or knocked down. His right arm is a mess, but Heenan's face looked worse. Round 21 began at 8:38 AM, the beginning of the 2nd hour of unarmed combat. In the 26th round, Sayers left jab finally found the mark, of Heenan's left eye. The round still ended with Sayers going down from a Heenan wild hook. As the fight progressed it became a continual sequence of damage to Heenan's face followed by Sayers being knocked or thrown to the turf.

The police reinforcements finally arrived and tried to stop the fight. The fighters finished several more rounds, while the police fought their way through the crowd and past the "Ring Bullies," which was the current term for boxing match security guards. In the 36th round the police finally reached the ring and distracted the referee, just as an almost blind Heenan tried to strangle Sayers with a ring rope. One of Sayers' seconds cut the rope and the ring came apart in the ensuing riot. However, a group of 30 or so hard core betters threw their arms around each other, and made a shoulder to shoulder ring, allowing the riot to swirl around them.

The boys fought six more rounds, before referee Dowling broke into the ring of betters and declared the fight over. At which point everyone broke and ran for the train. Both of the combatants had to be assisted to the train. The bout had lasted for 2 hours and 20 minutes, dissected into 42 rounds.

Later the match was declared a draw and each fighter was presented with a silver belt. After a lengthy healing period, Sayers and Heenan toured Britain together reenacting their famous bout. During this trip they became fast friends. Tom's health began to fade and he never fought again. John returned to the States to make up with Adah, but when she spurned him, he returned to England to wait out the Civil War. When he lost to the new English Champion, Tom King, Tom Sayers was a second for Heenan. Sayers was obviously sick at the time. Two years later, in 1865, Tom quietly died of diabetes at his sister's house. Sarah got all of his money and Gideon set up trust funds for Young Tom and Young Sarah.

John Heenan returned to America and became successful in Tammany Hall politics, in New York City. Unfortunately, he was connected to Boss Tweed and when the Boss went down in 1871 John lost everything. By 1873, he was in bad health and was trying to make a living as a sparring partner. His ever present friend and manager suggested that they return to their roots. SO, they boarded a train for the sunny skies of California. However, at the station in Green River, Wyoming, Heenan died in the arms of his friend, Jim Cusick. Heenan was 38 years old, a year younger than Tom Sayers was at his passing, 8 years earlier.

New Rules for Boxing, John L. Sullivan

In 1867, famous English amateur sportsman and athletics organizer, John Graham Chambers wrote a new set of rules to govern gloved, amateur boxing contests and exhibitions. Chambers had been a much heralded oarsman for Cambridge, and was the organizer of the Amateur Athletic Club, and a key figure in the beginnings of England's first Amateur Athletic Association. Besides mandating the use of gloves, his rules created the first three minute timed round, forbade all types of grappling, and invented the 10 second long unassisted knockout. The limited number of timed rounds created the first need for judges' decisions.

When Chambers got his old college buddy, John Sholto Douglas, the Eighth Marquess of Queensberry, to sponsor his rules, they became known as the Queensberry Rules. It would be almost two decades before these rules would begin to influence the ranks of the professional prize ring

The late years of the 1870's saw the rise of the last of the great bareknuckle fighters, "The Boston Strong Boy," John L. Sullivan, himself. His reputation began in his teens, when he would walk into various Boston taverns, thump loudly on the bar and announce, "I'm John L. Sullivan, himself, and I can lick any man in the house!" It was a boast that he never failed to back up. At 5 feet 10 inches tall and 190 pounds, the young Irishman was a natural power puncher. From the beginning of his career, he would fight by either the London or Queensberry rules. He always favored the gloves, which protected his hands while throwing multiple power punches at the large bones of an opponent's jaw and temples.

Sullivan's first big match took place on a barge in the Hudson River in New York, in 1881. It was a bare-knuckle affair, and when the Boston Strong Boy knocked "the Bulls Head Terror," John Flood, down eight times and stopped him in the ninth round, he set up a match with Paddy Ryan, the American Champion. They met in Mississippi City on Feb.7th of thc following year. It was a one-sided match, with Sullivan knocking Ryan senseless, with a right to the jaw in the ninth. This fight made Sullivan the Bare-Knuckle Champion of American and a national hero who most people considered to be unbeatable. In January of 1885, Sullivan stopped Ryan in the first round of their rematch and in August of the same year he stopped Dominick McCaffery, in the sixth round, with gloves on, to win the new Queensberry Rules World Heavyweight Boxing Championship.

The following year, Sullivan fought a third bareknuckle match with Ryan and stopped him in the third round. In 1889. Sullivan met Jake Kilrain for the Bare-Knuckle Championship of the World. Kilrain had recently defeated the current English Champion and was already called the World Champion by a handful of publications. When Sullivan won a grueling 75 round contest, he became the undisputed World Heavyweight Boxing Champion.

The Sullivan-Kilrain fight became the last of the Bare-Knuckle Championship Matches and John L. Sullivan the last of the Bare-Knuckle Champions. When the Great John L. decided to defend his overall title by the Queensbury Rules in 1892 it was the end of bare-knuckle boxing. When he was stopped in the 21st round of that match by Gentleman Jim Corbett there was no turning back. The San Francisco bank clerk was strictly a gloved fighter and after him the sport never looked back.

The Queensbury Rules were always presented as safer than bareknuckle boxing, but, in reality, they became the standard of the sport because they created a faster paced and more exciting sport for the new industrial age. The timed round with a mandatory minute rest kept the fighters going at a quicker pace as well as the ten second, unassisted knock-out which presented the possibility of an abrupt and exciting stoppage at any moment! The absence of grappling stopped a lot of bone injuries, and the padded gloves produced less facial blood, however, the same protection for the hands allowed for more power head punches with less damage to the hands leading to increased brain trauma. In the long run, the sport was probably not more or less safe, but, rather, faster, more exciting, and more saleable to the pubic. This exciting new sport was also much less of a complete martial art than it had been in the days of the London Prize Ring and the warriors of the Sweet Science of Bare-Knuckle Pugilism.

---------------------------------
About Frank Allen:
Frank Allen is the Chief Instructor and Director of the Wu-Tang Physical Culture Association which he founded in 1979. He has been the student of Taoist Master B.K. Frantzis since 1976. Allen was the student of former amateur boxing champion, Verne "Bull Dog" Williams from 1984-2000, and was a writer/reseacher for the "Bull Dog Williams Boxing Interview Series." He is a freelance writer who lives in New York City and can be reached by e-mail at : baguarat@aol.com.
 
http://ezine.kungfumagazine.com/ezine/article.php?article=473
25868  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Part Two on: November 23, 2007, 12:53:05 PM
Boxing Comes to America

The first official boxing match in America took place in New York City in 1816. Dutchman Jacob Hyer defeated Tom Beasley in the only match that either of them fought. Thirty-three years later, Jacob's son, Tom Hyer, won the first American Championship when he defeated small-time criminal, James Ambrose, who fought as "Yankee Sullivan."

In 1838, Broughton's Rules for prize fighting were superseded by the London Prize Ring Rules. The structure of the match remained essentially the same, but the fighting area was to be surrounded with rope instead of a wooden rail, and, preferably, the bout would be contended outside on turf. There was also an adjunct rule about not using the ropes to your advantage. The biggest change brought about by the adaptation of the London Prize Ring Rules was the prohibition of what had formerly been common techniques. Head butting, hair pulling, eye gouging, and neck throttling, which included choking, head locking and neck cranking, were expressly forbidden. The earlier prohibition against leg contact was extended to knee strikes. Until then, the knee strike to the body had been a common technique known as gut-kneeing. The London Prize Ring Rules also forbade throwing yourself to the ground in order to end the round and get yourself half minute of rest. It was a rule that some of the better technical boxers learned to circumvent.

Bare-knuckle pugilism may have reached its height as an art form under the London Prize Ring Rules. Due to the limitation of brawling techniques, more boxers began to learn the Scientific Style that was developed by Daniel Mendoza. Many fighters began to add the art of Cornish Wrestling to the Mendoza Scientific Style. This style of wrestling perfectly adapted to the new rules of boxing. It developed through centuries of competition with its rival of English Westlands Wrestling, the Devonshire Style.

Traditionally the Devon men were known as the "kickers and trippers," while the Cornish men were known for their "hugging and heaving." Techniques of Cornish Wrestling consisted mostly of upper body throwing techniques, because it was a standing style in which a throw constituted a win. All the old Celtic styles of wrestling ended in this fashion, because the Celts considered ground grappling to be unmanly. Bare-knuckle Boxers favored a type of spring hip throw, in which they followed their opponent down, landing their full weight on his abdomen. This technique was called a "Cross Buttock." Another favorite technique under the London Prize Ring Rules was to "Seize and Fib," grabbing and pulling in your opponent with one hand while delivering short punches with the other hand.

The spinning backfist was also a common technique and was called the "Pivot Punch." When a bare-knuckle fighter added the sweeps and low kicks of Devonshire Wrestling to his arsenal he was in command of a practical fighting system. This mixture of striking and grappling brought boxing to its highest level as a complete martial art.

The Famous Fight of 1860

The most outstanding fight ever to be contested under the London Prize Ring Rules took place in 1860. It was the First World Boxing Championship and was between the English Champion, Tom Sayers, and the American Champion, John Carmel Heenan. This fight and the events surrounding it were a drama worthy of a Pulitzer Prize winning novel and an Academy Award winning motion picture. It was a story of courageous warriors, loyal managers, treacherous wives, adoring fans, and outraged police.

Tom Sayers was a 5 foot 8 inch tall bricklayer from Brighton, England who fought the early part of his career as a 140 pound middleweight. As a 19-year-old novice prize fighter he fell in love with an attractive 21 year old divorcee, named Sarah Powell. She would be the love and the bane of the rest of his life. In their second year together, she had their first child, Young Sarah. Young Tom was born 3 years later. Tommy loved his "little nippers" more than life itself and would do anything for the kids.

In 1853, Tommy got his shot at the British Middleweight Title, which was held by Nat Langham. Langham was a lanky 37-year-old veteran, known as "Old Clever Nat." He was a master of the left jab to the eyes and then slipping under his opponent, and looking like he had been thrown whenever he needed a rest. He was at his best when the grass was wet, as it was when he met Sayers. The 25-year-old Sayers was the stronger of the two and won all the early and middle rounds, but Langham was slowly working on the younger man's eyes. In the 48th round Tom's eyes were so swollen that his handlers had to cut the bruise areas to allow him to see. Langham was almost completely exhausted, but continued throwing every punch at Tommy's eyes. When Tom rushed Old Nat at the beginning of the 60th round, he was met by a left jab to each eye and a wild hook to the ear, which Langham threw with such force, that both men went down.

Tom waved off the 30 second rest and charged right back at Langllam, who caught him coming in with a left-right combination to Tommy's battered eyes. Sayers spun and groped blindly towards his corner ending the match. It had lasted 61 rounds, averaging 90 seconds each. Sayers learned a lot about boxing techniques in that match, but he couldn't ever get Langham into a rematch. Old Nat retired and opened a bar. Seven years later, he would sell tickets to the Sayers versus Heenan match at his bar. The following year found Tom so broke that he had to tour the countryside in search of matches.

While Torn was out of town, Sarah took up with Alfred Aldridge, a young handsome gambler, who was a member of Tommy's entourage. When Tom returned from a rather unsuccessful tour, Sarah announced to him that she was seeing Aldridge and would continue to do so. If Tommy gave her any trouble about it then she would explain to the kids that they were born illegitimately because Tom married Sarah after their birth. Tom had married her as soon as her first husband died, but he didn't want his children stigmatized in Victorian England so he agreed to Sarah's demands. He moved in with his sister and continued to spend time with Sarah and the children whenever it struck Sarah's fancy. Matters were really complicated when Sarah had three children by Aldridge while married to Tom, making them Tom's only legal heirs.

In 1855 Sayers was completely broke, so he accepted a match with heavyweight contender Harry Poulson, who weighed over 200 pounds. Tom went up to 152 pounds for the bout. Sayers first slowly, but methodically closed the big man's eyes, then knocked him so unconscious that Poulson couldn't be revived within the mandatory 30 seconds. This fight brought Tom to the attention of his new manager and soon to be close friend, John Gideon. It also started his lucrative heavyweight career and Sarah was right there to spend the money

Two years later, Tom Sayers won the British Heavyweight Title from William "The Tipton Slasher" Perry, in a bout which the champ's corner tossed in the sponge, at the one hour and 45 minute mark. By this time, Gideon was regularly advising Tom to divorce Sarah. but Tom steadfastly refused. He claimed that it was for his nippers' sake, but he obviously still had strong feelings for Sarah.
Meanwhile, Back in the States...

Meanwhile, on the other side of the pond, John C. Heenan had become Heavyweight Champion of the Americas by default and without winning a major match. This 6 foot 1 inch, 200 pound, muscular, handsome young Irishman, was born in upstate New York. but gained his reputation as a fighter while working for a steamship building company in Benicia, California. A number of successful street fights led to Heenan's best friend, Jim Cusick, settling up a number of pick up bouts for Heenan. Cusick was a nervous little man who talked incessantly and always wore a bow tie. He was also a genius manager and totally dedicated to Heenan. Cusick parleyed mere pick up fights into a chance for John to fight for the American Heavyweight Title, against title claimant, "Old Smoke." John Morrissey.

The 23-year-old Heenan met the 26-year-old Morrissey on October 19, 1857 in Canada just across the border from Buffalo, NY. The steamboat carrying the fighters and crowd left Buffalo at 8:00 AM, but spent all day avoiding police boats and the fighters didn't come to scratch until almost midnight. Heenan overpowered the 5 foot 10 inch tall, 180 pound Morrissey in the first round and may have knocked him out, except for a missed punch that hit a rig post, hurting Heenan's hand. Heenan still won all the early rounds, but when an old leg abscess reopened and began to weaken the Benicia Boy, Old Smoke got a second wind and began to pummel the weakening youngster. In the 11th round, both men had to be led to the scratch line, where Heenan swung wildly, missed, fell down and passed out, giving Morrissey the match.

Morrisey promptly retired from boxing and went on to become a successful gambler and New York politician. When he refused to give Heenan a rematch, the Benicia Boy was declared the American Champion. This was a title which Cusick would use to set up the match with Tom Sayers.

It took a year and a half to get the trans-Atlantic match set up during which Jim and John stayed in New York. While visiting a newspaper office, Heenan met a very cute, short, curvaceous little actress from New Orleans, named Adah Isaacs Menken and he promptly fell in love. Adah had that effect on men. She was sort of a cross between Marilyn Monroe and Betty Boop and men seemed to do what she wanted. Adah and the "Boy" were seen everywhere together right until he left for training in England. Just before he left, they announced that they had secretly married. When John was gone, Adah billed herself as Mrs. John C. Heenan, making a big name for herself on the New York Stage. In her most famous and oft repeated role, she donned flesh colored silk tights and played a naked, captured princess. Her fame spread far and wide as "The Great Naked Lady of the Stage." It finally spread too far and Mr. Menken appeared and explained to the press that Adah had somehow forgotten to divorce him.

When John Morrisey departed for England to help Tom Sayers train for a match against Morrisey's old nemesis, he was only too happy to bring the news of Adah's bigamy. Heenan did not however come apart at the news. He simply announced that he and Adah had never really, legally married and began to train harder than ever. Jim Cusick, who hated Adah and was detested by her in turn, was very happy at this outcome.

Heenan finally met Tom Sayers on the morning of April 17, 1860. Sayers threw his hat into the ring at 7:20 AM and Heenan quickly followed him into the ring. It was a fine morning, in that field in Farnborough, and Tom remarked to the boy, "How are you M'boy? Fine morning, this." John replied, "Yes, we've got a beautiful morning for it." To which Tom answered, "Yes, if a man can't fight on such a day as this, he can't fight at all!"

When the boys toed the scratch at 7:29, it was noted that Tom's face was stained walnut brown by the pickling solution that he used to toughen his skin. Heenan was fair skinned but much larger. The first five minutes was a warm up dance, with lots of movement and no punches actually landed. Just as they worked their way into Heenan's corner, they started to exchange punches. When they backed out of the corner, Heenan's nose was bleeding, causing money to exchange hands on the "first blood" bets. When the Boy noticed the blood, he charged forward and effortlessly tossed the smaller man to the turf, ending the first round.
25869  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / When Boxing was a Martial Art on: November 23, 2007, 12:52:01 PM
TO KUNG FU MAGAZINE
Wisdom for Body & Mind
Wed, November 21, 2007

When Boxing was a Martial Art The Sweet Science of Bare-knuckle Pugilism
by Frank Allen

Striking with the fist as an organized sport came to the British Isles in 43 C.E. with the Roman invasion. The Romans adopted the Greek Olympic sport and created even more brutal versions of their own often involving the use of studded gauntlets. The sport of boxing left the British Isles with the last of the Roman legions in 436 C.E. and did not reappear for almost 1300 years. During the Middle Ages, armed combat was the order of the day, and wrestling reigned as the combat sport of the common people appearing at fairs and festivals. There was no art or science to striking techniques which were only used in all-out brawling.

In the second decade of the 1700's, the premier fencer in England was James Figg. He was considered to be the national champion of backsword and quarterstaff which he taught at his Fighting Academy on Tottenham Court Road in London. It was at this Fighting Academy that Figg devised his method of "fencing with the fists" and in 1719, declared himself to be the Bare-Knuckle Champion of England. He defended this title against several challengers including his arch rival Ned Sutton whom he defeated with fists, staff, and sword.

With the help of his patron, the Earl of Peterborough, Figg opened the first London arena devoted to prize fighting. It was located on Oxford Road and known as Figg's Ampitheatre. His advertising card was designed by the famous artist William Hogarth. Hogarth painted a portrait of his friend the fighter dressed as a gentleman with a powdered wig, lace shirt, and fists clenched in front of him. Figg's Amphitheatre catered to the gentlemen of London's upper classes so Figg often performed at Southwark Fair to the delight of his working class fans. He would set up a booth and take on all comers.

Figg remained undefeated in these booth matches and his occasional formal title defenses until his retirement in 1734. Upon Figg's retirement, his top student George Taylor declared himself to be the new British Champion. Figg remained popular with the gentry and socialized with the Prince of Wales and other Royal Family members until his death in 1740. Years after his death, Figg became known as the "Father of Boxing."

The Art of Boxing Develops

Boxing during the Figg and Taylor decades was an all-out anything goes bare-knuckle fight with absolutely no rules. Figg and Taylor defeated their brash opponents by adapting fencing techniques to fist fighting. They fought out of a fencer's stance and threw power punches with a fencer's lunge. All this would change with boxing's first Renaissance Man, the third British Bare-Knuckle Boxing Champion, Jack Broughton.

Broughton defeated Taylor in 1738 to win the championship. The turning point of his career and the art of boxing came in 1741, when Broughton defeated George "The Coachman" Stevenson in a brutal 45 minute bout. Stevenson died as a result of the beating he took from Broughton. Broughton was so moved that he decided to affect a change in his beloved sport. He was already the first boxer to use a preconceived strategy. Broughton would size up his opponent's technique before a bout and adjust his style to take advantage of his opponent's weaknesses. The Stevenson bout led Jack to write the very first rules for the sport of Boxing.

Broughton's Rules stated that the contest would take place on a raised platform with a wooden rail around it, and a three foot square marked in the middle. A bout began with both fighters placing one of their feet on a line of the square and across from his opponent. A round lasted until a man went down, then both fighters had a half minute to "toe the line" and begin to fight again. This was thirty assisted seconds in which a boxer's handlers would work on him for the entire time. This made it difficult to knock a man out. Many fighters broke a knuckle with a punch that would end a fight by modern rules. Thirty seconds later they were facing a refreshed opponent and a broken knuckle. This led to a great deal of body punching, grappling and long fights of attrition. Any fighter who could not toe the line in the allotted time was the loser.

Broughton's Rules also said that nobody could be on the platform, but the boxers and their seconds, that two umpires would be chosen from the audience to settle disputes, and that fighters could not hit a fallen opponent nor could they touch the other fighter below the waist at any time for any reason. These rules still left ample opportunity for martial improvisation. All types of striking and grappling were allowed as long as it was above the waist and the opponent was standing. This style of fighting was not too different from the Chinese Platform Challenge Matches that were taking place on the other side of the world then.

Broughton's Rules were accepted in 1743 and were Boxing's only rules until 1838. Broughton also invented Boxing's first gloves, which he called "The Mufflers." Broughton's mufflers were used in training and exhibition matches and contributed greatly to the number of young noblemen who studied Boxing for health and fitness in Broughton's school. The Duke of Cumberland was Broughton's patron and he got Jack a position in Yeomen of the Guard, which Broughton held until his death at the age of 85.

The Duke bet heavily on Broughton when he met Figg's grandson, "The Norwich Butcher," Jack Slack. Slack was a rough and tumble fighter who billed himself as "The Knight of the Cleaver" and was known for his "Chopper" punch. The Chopper punch was the equivalent of a modern rabbit punch to the back of the neck, and mimicked the motion of work in his butcher shop. During the first ten minutes of the match Slack all but closed Broughton's eyes. The Duke of Cumberland, fearing for his wager, called out, "What are you about Broughton? You can't fight! You're beat!" To which Broughton replied, "I can't see my man, your Highness, I am blind, but not beat; only let me be placed before my antagonist, and he shall not gain the day yet!" This bravado did him no good and Slack won the bout at the 14 minute mark. The Duke of Cumberland withdrew his support and Broughton retired from Boxing. He turned his arena/school into a profitable antique shop.

Despite his illustrious heritage, Slack brought about Boxing's first of many disreputable periods. He threw fights of his own, fixed the results of other boxers matches and generally brought on the first era of the boxing scandal

The Patriarch of Irish Clever Boxers

Boxing as an art form was raised to new heights with the rise to prominence of the Spanish-English Jew, Daniel Mendoza. Being raised in London's East End, and of Spanish descent and Jewish faith, one can assume that Mendoza learned to fight early, although he was only 5 feet 7 inches tall and never weighed more than 168 pounds. Mendoza competed from the mid-1780's until 1820. Probably due to his size, Mendoza was the first boxer to popularize a style in which footwork, jabbing and defense were used to overcome brute force. It is often said that Mendoza was the first to put the "science" into the Sweet Science.

In his first match, Mendoza beat a fighter who was known as Harry the Coalheaver. Daniel was first recognized as a top rank boxer in 1787 when he defeated Sam "The Bath Butcher" Martin. However, it was his four-fight series with "The Gentleman Fighter" Richard Humphries that really brought him to the public eye. The two were very well matched and Humphries won their first match in 1787. Mendoza was ahead in their return match the following year, when he suffered a leg injury at the 29 minute mark and had to throw in the towel. In 1789, Mendoza dominated their third match and won in 52 minutes. When he beat The Gentleman in 15 minutes the following year, Humphries retired.

Mendoza became the British Boxing Champion with his win over Bill Warr in 1794. With this title he toured England, Scotland and Ireland with the Aston Circus. This tour greatly increased the popularity of Mendoza's Scientific Style of boxing and it became the rage of young boxers throughout the British Isles. While touring Ireland, he was challenged and had his skills, heritage, and faith insulted by one Squire Fitzgerald. When Mendoza met and thoroughly thrashed this upstart member of the Irish gentry, he and his boxing style became the pride of the Irish working class and their inspiration to learn to box. It was in this manner that a Spanish-English Jew became the Patriarch of Irish Clever Boxers. In April of 1795, Mendoza lost the title to "Gentleman" John Jackson, who weighed over 200 pounds and specialized in the left jab. It was Jackson's third and last fight.

Mendoza became one of Britain's most respected boxing instructors, and continued to fight on and off until 1820. At the age of 56, he lost his last fight to 52 year old Tom Owens who invented the dumbbell weight. Mendoza lived until the age of 73.

The First Afro-American Boxing Stars

The early years of the 1800's saw the rise of the first Afro-American boxing stars. Bill Richmond was born on Staten Island, New York, which housed British Military Headquarters in the American Colonies. During the Revolutionary War, Richmond worked for the household of General Earl Percy. When Percy returned to England as the Duke of Northumberland Richmond went with him. Although he was only a 5 foot-6 inch, 165 pound middleweight under the Duke's patronage, Richmond met and defeated a number of England's top heavyweights. He beat Jack Carter, Atkinson of Bandbury, Ike Wood, Tom Davis, Tom Shelton, and split a pair of fights with George Maddox. But he couldn't defeat the Champion, Tom Cribb, who knocked Richmond out in 1805. Although he fought as "The Black Terror," Richmond was known for his gentlemanly demeanor and lifestyle

Tom Molineaux was born a slave, on a plantation in Virginia. He, his father and brothers fought matches against slaves from other plantations for their owner, Algernon Molineaux. One time before a fight upon which very heavy stakes were wagered, the master offered Tom his freedom if he won. Tom won, Algernon was true to his word, and Tom was off for New York. While working on the docks in New York, Molineaux heard about the success of Bill Richmond and immediately signed on as a deck hand headed for England. Once in England, this 5 foot 8 inch-tall, 195-pound ebony warrior announced that he was "The Moor" Champion of America (a title that did not exist), and that he could beat any man including retired champion, Tom Cribb. He then found Bill Richmond and convinced him to both train him and back him.

Cribb was not pleased with any of this and talked his friend and protege, Bill "the British Unknown" Burrows into taking on the Moor. When Molineaux stopped the British Unknown with a series of short punches to the head, Cribb turned to veteran boxer Tom Blake. When Molineaux easily defeated Blake, he tried to declare himself the Champion of England. This prompted Cribb to finally accept the challenge of Molineaux the Moor.

The two fighters met in an outside ring on a cold and rainy December day in 1810. It was perhaps one of the two most outstanding matches of the Bare-Knuckle Era. Molineaux drew first blood in the second round, and was clearly the harder puncher of the two. Cribb was relentless and kept up a continual body attack. The Moor dropped the champion in the 28th round, and Cribb failed to beat the 30 second count. But Cribb's second accused the black fighter of hardening his punch with bullets in his hand. While the umpires searched for the nonexistent bullets, Cribb revived and the match continued. A couple of rounds later, Molineaux began to shiver from the cold and show signs of exhaustion. In the 33rd round he collapsed to the ground, looked up at his second, Bill Richmond, and said, "Me can fight no more! " He then fell into unconsciousness and had to be carried from the ring.

Cribb tried to retire again, but within a few months a revised Molineaux defeated Jim Rimmer and tried to claim the championship again. This brought the 5 foot 10 inches tall 200 pound champion out of retirement again. While Cribb was training arduously in Scotland, training camp being an innovation in boxing, Molineaux, now estranged from the gentlemanly Richmond, was enjoying his very first stint as a party animal.

They met for the second time in December of 1811, and the Moor's power almost won the day early when he completely closed one of Cribb's eyes. The Champion couldn't see until one of his seconds lanced the bruised area around the eye. From that point on, Cribb's stamina began to win the day. He dropped Molineaux with a body punch in the sixth round and finally caught the Moor flush in the 11th, breaking his jaw and stopping him. Molineaux traveled Britain with a Boxing and Wrestling Show, but continued his dissipated lifestyle and died in Ireland at the age of 34. Cribb finally retired in 1822 opening a successful tavern called The Union Arms. He lived until the age of 68. British fight fans always loved Cribb for exemplifying their favorite qualities in a boxer: "Pluck and Bottom." Pluck meaning courage and Bottom meaning stamina.
25870  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Jefferson - right to bear arms; Madison- separation of powers on: November 23, 2007, 10:49:40 AM
No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government" -- Thomas Jefferson, 1 Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334


"[T]he great security against a gradual concentration of the
several powers in the same department consists in giving to those
who administer each department the necessary constitutional means
and personal motives to resist encroachment of the others."

-- James Madison (Federalist No. 10, 23 November 1787)
25871  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Rings of thought, Lines of thought on: November 23, 2007, 12:05:42 AM
TTT
25872  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Survialist issues: Hunkering down at home on: November 23, 2007, 12:01:18 AM
These URLs come recommended:

http://www.fema.gov/areyouready/

http://www.fema.gov/areyouready/basic_preparedness.shtm

http://www.fema.gov/pdf/areyouready/...eparedness.pdf

http://www.prepare.org/

http://columbus.redcross.org/guide.html

http://oc-redcross.org/show.aspx?mi=4500

http://www.glennbeck.com/news/05092007.shtml

http://www.nitro-pak.com/index.php?o...45f4e67eeae08a

http://www.safetycentral.com/http://www.nitro-pak.com/

http://www.lifesecure.com/
25873  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: November 22, 2007, 04:39:22 PM
Back in August, this speech from Newt:

http://edition.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/08/08/gingrich/index.html#cnnSTCVideo

(click the video, the article next to it is quite different)
25874  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: November 22, 2007, 04:32:25 PM
Fred on immigration  http://www.fred08.com/virtual/Immigration.aspx
25875  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Law of vehicle searches on: November 22, 2007, 10:08:28 AM
http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/legal/l1980/new_york_v_belton.htm

An automobile in which respondent was one of the occupants was stopped by a New York State policeman for traveling at an excessive rate of speed. In the process of discovering that none of the occupants owned the car or was related to the owner, the policeman smelled burnt marihuana and saw on the floor of the car an envelope suspected of containing marihuana. He then directed the occupants to get out of the car and arrested them for unlawful possession of marihuana. After searching each of the occupants, he searched the passenger compartment of the car, found a jacket belonging to respondent, unzipped one of the pockets, and discovered cocaine. Subsequently, respondent was indicted for criminal possession of a controlled substance. After the trial court had denied his motion to suppress the cocaine seized from his jacket pocket, respondent pleaded guilty to a lesser included offense, while preserving his claim that the cocaine had been seized in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. The Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the search and seizure, but the New York Court of Appeals reversed.

Held : The search of respondent's jacket was a search incident to a lawful custodial arrest, and hence did not violate the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. The jacket, being located inside the passenger compartment of the car, was "within the arrestee's immediate control" within the meaning of Chimel v. California, 395 U.S. 752, wherein it was held that a lawful custodial arrest creates a situation justifying the contemporaneous warrantless search of the arrestee and of the immediately surrounding area. Not only may the police search the passenger compartment of the car in such circumstances, they may also examine the contents of any containers found in the passenger compartment. And such a container may be searched whether it is open or closed, since the justification for the search is not that the arrestee has no privacy interest in the container but that the lawful custodial arrest justifies the infringement of any privacy interest the arrestee may have. Pp. 457-463.

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

http://supct.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/03-5165.ZS.html

THORNTON v. UNITED STATES
CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

No. 03—5165. Argued March 31, 2004–Decided May 24, 2004

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Before Officer Nichols could pull over petitioner, petitioner parked and got out of his car. Nichols then parked, accosted petitioner, and arrested him after finding drugs in his pocket. Incident to the arrest, Nichols searched petitioner’s car and found a handgun under the driver’s seat. Petitioner was charged with federal drug and firearms violations. In denying his motion to suppress the firearm as the fruit of an unconstitutional search, the District Court found, inter alia, the automobile search valid under New York v. Belton, 453 U.S. 454, in which this Court held that, when a police officer makes a lawful custodial arrest of an automobile’s occupant, the Fourth Amendment allows the officer to search the vehicle’s passenger compartment as a contemporaneous incident of arrest, id., at 460. Petitioner appealed his conviction, arguing that Belton was limited to situations where the officer initiated contact with an arrestee while he was still in the car. The Fourth Circuit affirmed.

Held: Belton governs even when an officer does not make contact until the person arrested has left the vehicle. In Belton, the Court placed no reliance on the fact that the officer ordered the occupants out of the vehicle, or initiated contact with them while they remained within it. And here, there is simply no basis to conclude that the span of the area generally within the arrestee’s immediate control is determined by whether the arrestee exited the vehicle at the officer’s direction, or whether the officer initiated contact with him while he was in the car. In all relevant aspects, the arrest of a suspect who is next to a vehicle presents identical concerns regarding officer safety and evidence destruction as one who is inside. Under petitioner’s proposed “contact initiation” rule, officers who decide that it may be safer and more effective to conceal their presence until a suspect has left his car would be unable to search the passenger compartment in the event of a custodial arrest, potentially compromising their safety and placing incriminating evidence at risk of concealment or destruction. The Fourth Amendment does not require such a gamble. Belton allows police to search a car’s passenger compartment incident to a lawful arrest of both “occupants” and “recent occupants.” Ibid. While an arrestee’s status as a “recent occupant” may turn on his temporal or spatial relationship to the car at the time of the arrest and search, it certainly does not turn on whether he was inside or outside the car when the officer first initiated contact with him. Although not all contraband in the passenger compartment is likely to be accessible to a “recent occupant,” the need for a clear rule, readily understood by police and not depending on differing estimates of what items were or were not within an arrestee’s reach at any particular moment, justifies the sort of generalization which Belton enunciated. Under petitioner’s rule, an officer would have to determine whether he actually confronted or signaled confrontation with the suspect while he was in his car, or whether the suspect exited the car unaware of, and for reasons unrelated to, the officer’s presence. Such a rule would be inherently subjective and highly fact specific, and would require precisely the sort of ad hoc determinations on the part of officers in the field and reviewing courts that Belton sought to avoid. Pp. 4—8.
25876  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Native Americans on: November 22, 2007, 06:51:29 AM
http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq61-1.htm

DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
805 KIDDER BREESE SE -- WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060

Native Americans and the U.S. Military

Related resources:

American Indian Medal of Honor Winners
Indians in the War [World War II]
Navajo Code Talkers in World War II: A Bibliography
Navajo Code Talker Fact Sheet
Navajo Code Talker Dictionary
Reminiscences of Seattle...Sloop of War Decatur During the Indian War of 1855-56

20th Century Warriors: Native American Participation in the United States Military

(Prepared for the United States Department of Defense by CEHIP Incorporated, Washington, DC, in partnership with Native American advisors, Rodger Bucholz, William Fields, Ursula P. Roach. Washington: Department of Defense, 1996.)

A Long Tradition Of Participation

American Indians have participated with distinction in United States military actions for more than 200 years. Their courage, determination, and fighting spirit were recognized by American military leaders as early as the 18th century.

I think they [Indians] can be made of excellent use, as scouts and light troops. --Gen. George Washington, 1778

Many tribes were involved in the War of 1812, and Indians fought for both sides as auxiliary troops in the Civil War. Scouting the enemy was recognized as a particular skill of the Native American soldier. In 1866, the U.S. Army established its Indian Scouts to exploit this aptitude. The Scouts were active in the American West in the late 1800s and early 1900s, accompanying Gen. John J. Pershing's expedition to Mexico in pursuit of Pancho Villa in 1916. They were deactivated in 1947 when their last member retired from the Army in ceremonies at Ft. Huachuca, Arizona. Native Americans from Indian Territory were also recruited by Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders and saw action in Cuba in the Spanish-American War in 1898. As the military entered the 20th century, American Indians had already made a substantial contribution through military service and were on the brink of playing an even larger role.

Contributions In Combat

It is estimated that more than 12,000 American Indians served in the United States military in World War I. Approximately 600 Oklahoma Indians, mostly Chotaw and Cherokee, were assigned to the 142nd Infantry of the 36th Texas-Oklahoma National Guard Division. The 142nd saw action in France and its soldiers were widely recognized for their contributions in battle. Four men from this unit were awarded the Croix de Guerre, while others received the Church War Cross for gallantry.

The outbreak of World War II brought American Indians warriors back to the battlefield in defense of their homeland. Although now eligible for the draft by virtue of the Snyder Act, which gave citizenship to American Indians in 1924, conscription alone does not account for the disproportionate number of Indians who joined the armed services. More than 44,000 American Indians, out of a total Native American population of less than 350,000, served with distinction between 1941 and 1945 in both European and Pacific theaters of war. Native American men and women on the home front also showed an intense desire to serve their country, and were an integral part of the war effort. More than 40,000 Indian people left their reservations to work in ordnance depots, factories, and other war industries. American Indians also invested more than $50 million in war bonds, and contributed generously to the Red Cross and the Army and Navy Relief societies.
Battle-experienced American Indian troops from World War II were joined by newly recruited Native Americans to fight Communist aggression during the Korean conflict. The Native American's strong sense of patriotism and courage emerged once again during the Vietnam era. More than 42,000 Native Americans, more than 90 percent of them volunteers, fought in Vietnam. Native American contributions in United States military combat continued in the 1980s and 1990s as they saw duty in Grenada, Panama, Somalia, and the Persian Gulf.
Native Americans As Warriors

As the 20th century comes to a close, there are nearly 190,00 Native American military veterans. It is well recognized that, historically, Native Americans have the highest record of service per capita when compared to other ethnic groups. The reasons behind this disproportionate contribution are complex and deeply rooted in traditional American Indian culture. In many respects, Native Americans are no different from others who volunteer for military service. They do, however, have distinctive cultural values which drive them to serve their country. One such value is their proud warrior tradition.

In part, the warrior tradition is a willingness to engage the enemy in battle. This characteristic has been clearly demonstrated by the courageous deeds of Native Americans in combat. However, the warrior tradition is best exemplified by the following qualities said to be inherent to most if not all Native American societies: strength, honor, pride, devotion, and wisdom. These qualities make a perfect fit with military tradition.

Strength

To be an American Indian warrior is to have physical, mental, and spiritual strength. A warrior must be prepared to overpower the enemy and face death head-on.

We honor our veterans for their bravery and because by seeing death on the battlefield, they truly know the greatness of life. --Winnebago Elder

American Indian soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen have fought heroically in all of this century's wars and armed conflicts. They have not only been formally recognized for their bravery through military decoration but through anecdotal observation as well.
The real secret which makes the Indian such an outstanding soldier is his enthusiasm for the fight. --U.S. Army Major, 1912

More important, however, is the warrior's spiritual strength. Many traditional cultures recognize that war disrupts the natural order of life and causes a spiritual disharmony. To survive the chaos of war is to gain a more intimate knowledge of life. Therefore, military service is a unique way to develop an inner strength that is valued in Native American society.

Having a strong sense of inner spirituality is also a part of the Indian character. Many Native Americans are raised on rural or remote reservations, an environment that fosters self- reliance, introspection, and a meditative way of thinking. These character traits can be very beneficial when adapting to the occasional isolation of military life in times of both peace and war.

Honor, Pride, Devotion

Warriors are honored - honored by their family and their tribe. Before going into service and upon their return, warriors are recognized by family and community. Recognition takes place through private family gatherings, or through such public ceremonies as tribal dances or intertribal ceremonies.

My people honored me as a warrior. We had a feast and my parents and grandparents thanked everyone who prayed for my safe return. We had a "special" [dance] and I remembered as we circled the drum, I got a feeling of pride. I felt good inside because that's the way the Kiowa people tell you that you've done well. --Kiowa Vietnam Veteran

Being a warrior in traditional American Indian society gives one a sense of pride and a sense of accomplishment at a time in life when self-esteem is just developing. Becoming a warrior brings status to young men and women in their culture. The ceremonies that honor the warrior create a special place in the tribe's spiritual world.

After I got home, my uncles sat me down and had me tell them what it [the war] was all about. One of them had been in the service in World War II and knew what war was like. We talked about what went on over there, about killing and the waste, and one of my uncles said that God's laws are against war. They never talked about those kinds of things with me before. --Cherokee Vietnam Veteran

United States military service provides an outlet for Native Americans to fulfill a cultural purpose rooted in tradition -- to fight and defend their homeland. This purpose is particularly important since it comes when young people of the tribe are normally not old enough to assume a leadership role in their traditional culture. The cultural expectation to be a warrior provides a purpose in life and is an important step in gaining status in Native America culture.

When I went to Germany, I never thought about war honors, or the four "coups" which an old-time Crow warrior had to earn in battle....But afterwards, when I came back and went through this telling of war deeds ceremony... lo and behold I [had] completed the four requirements to become a chief. --Crow World War II Veteran

Native American warriors are devoted to the survival of their people and their homeland. If necessary, warriors will lay down their lives for the preservation of their culture, for death to the American Indian warrior is but another step in the advancement of life. It is understood that the warrior's spirit lives on eternally. So, warriors do not fear death, but rather regard it as the ultimate sacrifice for their own and their people's continued survival.

Wisdom

The warrior seeks wisdom. Wisdom, as used in this context, means the sum total of formal learning and worldly experiences. In wartime, those Native Americans seeing heavy combat had to learn how to survive, often using skills that may unit commanders thought were inherent to the American Indian's cultural background. A Sac and Fox/Creek Korean veteran remarked:

My platoon commander always sent me out on patrols. He. . . probably thought that I could track down the enemy. I don't know for sure, but I guess he figured that Indians were warriors and hunters by nature.

Many American Indians (as well as non-Indian volunteers) joined the military in World War I to satisfy their sense of adventure. Most had never left the confines of their hometown, much less marched on the battlefields of Europe. These experiences provided a wisdom through exposure to other people and cultures. This was sometimes threatening to the elders of a tribe, who feared that this newfound worldliness would cause unwanted change to their culture. Over time, however, this wisdom of worldly events and peoples was accepted by tribal leaders. Today, Native Americans are increasingly exposed to the non- Indian world through movies and television. Although the military is still an avenue for seeing the world, it has, in the latter half of the 20th century, also provided other types of wisdom. Military service offers excellent educational and job skill opportunities for Native American me and women who frequently come from educationally disadvantaged communities.

Wisdom can also be gained from interaction with others. Military policy in the 20th century has preferred assimilating the American Indian into regular units. Although some divisions had more Native American troops than others, there were never all-Indian units. This meant that Indians and non-Indians were placed in close-knit groups, perhaps each experiencing each other's culture up close for the first time.

There was a camaraderie [in the Air Force] that transcends ethnicity when you serve your country overseas in wartime. --Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Cheyenne Korean veteran

Similarly, intertribal relationships were developed, sometimes with a person who was a traditional "enemy." Many times these intercultural and intertribal contacts broke through stereotypes and resulted in lifelong friendships, friendships that otherwise might never have been cultivated.

Thanks to my military service [in the Navy], I now have friends in 500 tribes. --Lakota Korean veteran

The Warrior Tradition Carries On

The requirements for successful military service -- strength, bravery, pride, and wisdom - match those of the Indian warrior. Military service affords an outlet for combat that fulfills a culturally determined role for the warrior. Therefore, the military is an opportunity for cultural self-fulfillment. By sending young tribal members off to be warriors, they return with experiences that make them valued members of their society. Finally, the military provides educational opportunities, which allow Native American veterans to return to their community with productive job skills to improve their quality of life.

With the 21st century on the horizon, the United States military can be expected to provide continuing opportunity for Native American men and women. For their part, Native Americans can be expected to carry on their centuries-old warrior tradition- serving with pride, courage, and distinction.

25877  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizen-Police interactions on: November 22, 2007, 06:44:43 AM
Not quite sure how to describe this one , , ,

http://www.biggeekdaddy.com/humorpages/Misc/lawnmowerDUI.html
25878  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Washington on: November 22, 2007, 05:49:54 AM
"It is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of
Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits,
and humbly to implore his protection and favors."

-- George Washington (Thanksgiving Proclamation, 3 October 1789)

Reference: George Washington: A Collection, W.B. Allen, ed. (543)
25879  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: November 22, 2007, 05:38:57 AM
Nuclear Winter
By BRUNO BRUNETTI
November 22, 2007

Nuclear energy emerged as a clear answer to the oil shocks of the 1970s, growing from near-irrelevance early in that decade to supply almost one-third of Western European power needs by 1990. Today, as oil prices continue their unrelenting ascent and concerns mount over climate change, some argue that Europe needs a nuclear renaissance. But this time, things are slightly different.

At the moment, 32 nuclear power plants are under construction around the globe, totaling roughly 27 electrical gigawatts. Europe is home to only three of these plants, or 13% of the capacity, with one reactor in Finland and two in Bulgaria. Europe is lagging behind other regions because new nuclear stations face not only the obvious political obstacles but commercial ones as well, despite the current high price of power.

A primary commercial issue is the significant slowdown in electricity demand growth. In the 1970s and '80s, annual demand growth for power averaged 3.2% and 2.6%, respectively. Power demand has been growing by a much more modest 1.6% this decade. Higher energy prices are encouraging large power users to implement efficiency measures or even relocate industrial plants outside of Europe. Power demand growth may move below 1% a year in the next decade. In this environment even existing plants are threatened, though policy makers are raising serious questions about earlier decisions to retire nuclear power plants in Germany and elsewhere across Europe.

What's more, renewable energy sources -- particularly wind, small hydro plants and biomass -- have been growing quickly in the past few years, thanks in part to EU energy policy. Europe is close to meeting its target of using renewables to produce 21% of its electricity generation by 2010. According to the EU's "Renewable Energy Road Map," published in January 2007, Europe will probably reach 19% by 2010, and Brussels is evidently quite serious about full compliance. The European Commission has begun infringement proceedings against six member states for not fulfilling their renewable-energy obligations. A second push toward renewables comes from an ambitious, binding target of 20% for all EU energy needs by 2020. Besides electricity, we should expect renewable sources to increasingly cover other needs, such as heating for homes.

As electricity demand continues to slow down, the use of conventional sources -- oil, natural gas and coal -- should stabilize or even decline versus current levels. Rather than working to meet increasing energy needs, as in the '70s and '80s, the challenge is to replace existing and aging oil-, gas- or coal-fired power plants more efficiently. The need to replace this existing capacity will be more acute toward the end of the next decade, so the incentive to build new nuclear stations appears less pressing for the moment. Nevertheless, these plants take a long time to be built, so planning is critical. In Finland, the construction process is taking six years, rather than the four years first planned, obliging the world's leading nuclear constructor Areva to make significant financial provisions to cover the higher-than-expected costs.

Another obstacle for nuclear is structural. The electricity industry in the '70s and '80s was typically organized around vertically integrated monopolies, primarily responsible for the long-term planning, building and operation of power stations. There is no doubt that the development of large-scale and highly capital-intensive projects benefited from this market structure, as there was little market uncertainty under such a controlled system. The liberalization process -- started in the late 1980s in the U.K. and extended to the entire EU in the late 1990s -- introduced significant regulatory uncertainties and made high-cost investment decisions riskier for privately owned energy companies.

There are of course a myriad of other issues surrounding nuclear energy, including the safe transport, disposal or storage of nuclear waste, as well as the risks posed by the threat of a terrorist attack. But the commercial challenges alone mean that nuclear energy appears to have a dimmer future.

Mr. Brunetti is senior director for European electricity at PIRA Energy Group.

WSJ
25880  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Current Events: Philippines on: November 22, 2007, 05:32:20 AM
Woof All:

This is an area about which I know next to nothing, so please understand that my posting this article is meant only to offer it for consideration and in encouragement of knowledgeable persons here to comment, either pro or con.

TAC,
CD
========================

A Precarious Peace
By ZACHARY ABUZA
November 22, 2007
WSJ

Last week saw an important breakthrough in the talks between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, one of two groups fighting for an autonomous Muslim homeland. While details of the draft agreement are still vague, one thing's for sure: for this deal to work, both Manila and the MILF will have to get serious about good governance. If they don't, the southern region could once again descend into violence. And spoilers on all sides abound.

The two sides had been deadlocked for 14 months over the thorny issue of "ancestral domain" -- the territory that will be included in the new autonomous body known as the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity. That body, according to the draft agreement, will assume all local governmental functions for the Moro, the Philippines' largest Muslim ethnic group. While the details are yet to be worked out, Manila would retain control of national issues that affect the region, like defense and monetary policy.

Although the agreement is a step forward, it is far from a comprehensive consensus. The Bangsamoro Juridical Entity overlaps with the five provinces governed under the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, which established in 1996 by the government's peace treaty with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), another group fighting for an independent homeland. It is now unclear whether the Mindanao autonomous region will be dissolved or superceded by the new entity.

The MNLF already seems dead set against a compromise. Earlier this month, its chairman, Nur Misuari, warned the government not to sign a peace agreement with the MILF. According to the MNLF, the 1996 peace deal is the "final agreement" and it's the MNLF who are the legitimate representatives of the Bangsamoro people. It's now up to both the Philippine government to include the MNLF in the drafting of a New Organic Charter (the BJE's constitution) and help both sides create a common platform for the talks and to establish principles for governance of the area, which is largely located on Mindanao island.

This may be too much to expect from Manila, given the government's track record. The Philippine Congress watered down the 1996 agreement and many provisions of the agreement were never implemented. Assuming that the recent MILF agreement leads to the formal completion of a final peace agreement in 2008, it will still have to be ratified by the Senate, which could be a protracted fight. Congress will also have to pass a host of laws to implement the agreement. The MNLF or sympathetic politicians could file court cases challenging the agreement.

Then there's the problem of corruption. The United States has pledged nearly $50 million to Mindanao upon the conclusion of a peace process. Japan, Canada and the European Union have all pledged significant aid programs, as have the major multilateral financial institutions like the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank. But the MILF's ability to quickly and efficiently absorb the hundreds of millions of dollars that have been pledged is questionable. A master plan for sustainable economic growth and natural resource exploitation must be drawn up immediately.

If there's a bright spot here, it's that the existing draft agreement calls for a referendum for independence to be held in the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity in 2030. This is the Bangsamoro's chance to secure a homeland. But to be successful, their leaders must govern fairly, transparently and honestly; while bringing broad-based economic development. The MILF does not have extensive experience in governance, administration and providing social services. They are all too aware that their pool of human resources is thin. "Nation-building is far more difficult than running a revolutionary organization," the MILF's lead negotiator, Mohagher Iqbal, acknowledged last Thursday.

If the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity cannot overcome the obstacles of poor governance, impunity and corruption that have been the hallmarks of most Philippine governments, the Moro will lose this opportunity. Independence could be won, not through war, but through good governance. Now that would be a revolution.

Mr. Abuza is professor of political science at Simmons College, Boston, and the author of "Political Islam and Violence in Indonesia" (Routledge, 2006).
25881  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: November 22, 2007, 04:43:33 AM
News & Analysis
019/07  November 22, 2007



CAIR:  "Labeled"


 
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), has petitioned a court to have the label of "un-indicted co-conspirator" removed.  CAIR, among many other Islamist groups, was labeled an un-indicted co-conspirator in the recent Holy Land Foundation (HLF) trial held in Texas.
 
http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071121/NATION/111210046/1002
 
CAIR wrote to House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers asking for help in pressuring the Justice Department to remove the designation.  CAIR is also asking why the Justice Department publicly named all 306 co-conspirators in the HLF indictment.
 
CAIR, the nation's premier apologist for Islamist terror and Islamist terrorists, is upset because the government made the very obvious connection between CAIR and terrorism. 

The only mystery here is why it took the government so long to acknowledge what has been common knowledge for many years.
 
CAIR goes on to complain that the designation of un-indicted co-conspirator interferes with its ability to qualify for government funds for outreach programs as pending 2008 legislation would block the Justice Department from providing funds to any group or person identified as a criminal un-indicted co-conspirator. 

Imagine that!  It will take a federal law to implement common sense - that the government should not be providing money to a criminal un-indicted co-conspirator.  Is this to mean that current law allows the Justice Department to provide funds to such groups or persons?
 
CAIR's letter to Conyers alluded to a civil rights connection by saying, ".you remember many of these abusive practices from the McCarthy era and the civil rights movement." 

CAIR, once again, attempts to tie Muslims into the America's Civil Rights era, completely overlooking the fact that Muslims in America come in all colors and that the Civil Rights era was a justified struggle by black Americans for civil rights.  Is CAIR being disingenuous by preying on Congressman Conyers African-American Ancestry? 

Let's hope that Conyers rightfully rejects CAIR's ridiculous comparison.
 
While it may be too soon to figure out what Representative Conyers will do on behalf of CAIR, perhaps he will listen to the words of  Sue Myrick, Representative of North Carolina, when she responded to some questions put to her by noted author Paul Sperry in the on-line edition of Investor's Business Daily:

http://www.investors.com/editorial/editorialcontent.asp?secid=1502&status=article&id=280364244485437

(Note: Rep. Myrick is founder of the House Anti-Terrorism/Jihad Caucus, a group made up of 118 Democrat and Republican Representatives)

IBD: What persuaded you to start the Anti-Terrorism/Jihad Caucus, and what do you hope to accomplish?

Myrick: I decided to start the caucus out of a deep frustration, because President Bush does not talk to the American people about the long-term threat of radical Islamofascism infiltration in America. Since 9/11, I've tried to get the president and several members of his administration to talk to the American people about the dangerous enemy that we're facing.

IBD: Are there any Muslim groups with which federal or other government officials - as well as businesses and nonprofits - should think twice about doing outreach or interfaith activities?

Myrick: I know of some Muslim nongovernmental organizations that are doing good things, such as the Islamic Supreme Council of America, the American Islamic Congress and the American Islamic Forum for Democracy.
However, groups such as Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and others have a proven record of senior officials being indicted and either imprisoned or deported from the U.S. Just to name a few: Ghassan Elashi, a founding board member of CAIR, is serving 80 months in prison; Randall "Ismail" Royer, the communications director for CAIR, is serving 20 years in prison; and Bassam Khafagi, the director of CAIR's community relations, has been arrested and deported.

There was a lot of evidence presented at the recent Holy Land Foundation trial, which exposed CAIR, ISNA and others as front groups for the Muslim Brotherhood.

What does Myrick know that Conyers may not?

Let's hope that Myrick makes the time to bring Conyers up to speed about CAIR and CAIR's ties to Islamist terrorists and terrorist groups.

Congressman Conyers should do the right thing and place CAIR's letter where it belongs, in the trash can.  CAIR is not deserving of a response from a member of the People's Congress on stationary paid for by the people.

We're sure we speak for the majority of Americans when we say we look forward to the day when the "un" is removed from CAIR's well-deserved title of "un-indicted criminal co-conspirator".


Andrew Whitehead
Director
Anti-CAIR
ajwhitehead@anti-cair-net.org
www.anti-cair-net.org
25882  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / More on Nada Prouty scandal on: November 21, 2007, 07:02:28 PM
http://formerspook.blogspot.com/

It Only Gets Worse

Kudos to Debbie Schlussel, Michelle Malkin and the New York Post, who are still digging into on the Nada Prouty scandal, while the MSM takes the a pass.

Readers will recall that Ms. Prouty is the former FBI Special Agent and CIA Operative who pleaded guilty last week to charges of fraudulently obtaining U.S. citizenship, unlawfully obtaining information from a government computer system, and defrauding the United States.

The charges stemmed from Prouty's use of a sham marriage to attain citizenship, a prerequisite for federal employment. Once on the FBI payroll, she attempted to gain information on the bureau's efforts to investigate Hizballah activities in the U.S. and abroad. Prouty's brother-in-law, who provided employment during the 1990s, is a reported Hizballah fund-raiser, accused of funneling more than $20 million to the terrorist group before fleeing the United States.

Now, it seems that Prouty has a former sister-in-law who pulled a similar scam, to enlist in the United States Marine Corps. Reporter Jeane MacIntosh of the Post has discovered that Samar Khalil Nabbou Spinelli married the brother of the man that Prouty wed to obtain U.S. citizenship. Both marriages took place in 1990; neither woman ever lived with their "husbands," and once the naturalization process was complete, they filed for divorce. Sources tell the Post that the Michigan men involved in the scheme, Christopher and Jean Paul Deladurantaye, agreed to the deal.

With her citizenship in hand, Samar Khalil Nabbou enlisted in the Marine Corps and eventually became a commissioned officer; her rank has not been disclosed. However, depending on when she earned her commission, Nabbou is at least a Captain (O-3), a Major (O-4). After entering the Corps--and divorcing her sham husband--Nabbou married a fellow Marine, giving her yet another last name.

So far, the Marine Corps has said little about Samar Khalil Nabbou Spinelli, reporting only that she is currently stationed in Japan. The Corps has not provided information on her military specialty or past duty assignments. However, with her background and language skills, it would not be surprising to learn that Spinelli is an intelligence officer.

This much we know: as a commissioned officer in the Marine Corps, Spinelli held a "Secret" security clearance at a minimum. If she held a Top Secret/SCI security clearance, Spinelli had access to Intelink, the secure "intranet" which allows the FBI, intelligence agencies and military intelligence to access and share information, including some of the nation's most sensitive secrets. As an FBI agent, Prouty may have had access to the same system, and she certainly used Intelink during her subsequent employment as a CIA operative.

What remains unclear is the relationship between Prouty and Spinelli once their sham marriages ended. The Post reports that both women lived together--with Prouty's sister--during their marriages to the Deladurantayes. However, Spinelli enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1990, while Prouty remained in the Detroit area until 1997, when she applied for a position with the FBI. Prouty used Spinelli as a reference on her employment application, suggesting there was some contact after her former "sister-in-law" began her military career.

At this point, the Marine Corps won't say what punishment (if any) Spinelli might face. For starters, there's the issue of Fraudulent Enlistment, which is a crime under Article 83 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). To become a Marine officer, Spinelli had to be a U.S. citizen, and she obtained her citizenship through fraud.

Spinelli was also named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the federal case against Prouty, along with the former CIA operative's sister, and her Hizballah-connected husband, Talil Kahil Chahine. We're guessing that Spintelli's status as a co-conspirator was based on more than merely providing a reference for Prouty's FBI application. Needless to say, the Marines will frown on Spinelli's role in the Prouty case, and her own, fraudulent enlistment into the Corps.

Beyond Spinelli's potential problems with the military justice system, there are other, equally pressing issues that require immediate resolution. The emergence of the Marine officer as an un-indicted co-conspirator raises new questions about her own access to classified information, contact with Nada Prouty after 1997, and how Spinelli's entrance into the Marine Corps (and subsequent commissioning) were vetted by authorities.

***

Complete background on the Prouty case from the experts at the Counter-Intelligence Centre.
Labels: Hizballah, Nada Prouty, Samar Nabbou Spinelli

25883  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: November 21, 2007, 06:54:43 PM
CAIR Secretly Meets with Top Dem to Change Un-Indicted Co-Conspirator Designation
CAIR seeks removal of label in terrorism case
By Bill Gertz
November 21, 2007


House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr. has been asked by a Muslim group to pressure the Justice Department on its behalf. (Getty Images)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Council on American-Islamic Relations is seeking help from House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr. to pressure the Justice Department to change the group's status as a co-conspirator in a terrorism case.

CAIR officials recently met with Mr. Conyers, Michigan Democrat, and then wrote a letter asking him to lobby the new attorney general on behalf of the group, and to hold hearings.

CAIR is among several hundred Muslim groups listed as unindicted co-conspirators in a recent federal terrorism trial in Dallas into activities by the Holy Land Foundation Inc., a group linked to funding the Palestinian Hamas terrorist group. The trial recently ended in a mistrial and prosecutors have said they plan to re-try the case.  Despite its uncertain outcome, the trial has produced a large amount of information and evidence identifying U.S. and foreign groups sympathetic to or direct supporters of international Islamist terrorists.  A 1991 internal memorandum from the radical Muslim Brotherhood identified 29 front groups, including the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), that are part of a covert program by the Brotherhood in the United States to subvert American society.

CAIR officials have requested that Mr. Conyers ask the Justice Department to explain why it publicly identified the 306 co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation trial.

"Those on the list suffer negatively as a result of the label 'unindicted co-conspirator' as it impresses upon the typical member of the American public that those listed are involved in criminal activity," the group said in a letter to Mr. Conyers. "In reality, those so named have neither been charged with a crime nor offered any recourse for challenging the allegation."

The group said the conspirator designation is being used by counterterrorism advocates to block government funds from being used to conduct outreach programs to Muslim groups. Pending fiscal 2008 legislation would block the Justice Department from using any funds for participation in conferences sponsored by a group or person identified by the government as a criminal unindicted co-conspirator.  Critics in Congress opposed the Justice Department's involvement in a conference sponsored by ISNA in September because the group was linked to the Holy Land Foundation case.

CAIR's letter to Mr. Conyers said that "you remember many of these abusive practices from the McCarthy era and the civil rights movement."

Melanie Roussell, a spokeswoman for the Judiciary Committee, had no comment.

CAIR recently petitioned U.S. District Court Chief Judge A. Joe Fish in a "friend of the court" motion to remove it from the listing, saying it caused a decline in membership and fundraising. After the mistrial, Judge Fish forwarded CAIR's request to U.S. Judge Jorge A. Solis, who has not yet issued a ruling.  The group stated in its appeal that linkage to the Holy Land Foundation has "impeded its ability to collect donations" because donors fear contributing to a terrorist group.

Steven Emerson, executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, said the secret collaboration between CAIR and Mr. Conyers raises concerns over the lawmaker's support for "a group unambiguously proven to be part of the Muslim Brotherhood-Hamas infrastructure."

"This combination demonstrates the degree to which radical Islamic groups have insinuated themselves into the highest reaches of the U.S. government by using deceit," he said.

A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment, citing a gag order issued in the case.

• Audrey Hudson contributed to this report.
http://www.washingtontimes.com/artic...111210046/1002
25884  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Hamilton on: November 21, 2007, 10:45:38 AM
"To grant that there is a supreme intelligence who rules the
world and has established laws to regulate the actions of his
creatures; and still to assert that man, in a state of nature,
may be considered as perfectly free from all restraints of law
and government, appears to a common understanding altogether
irreconcilable.  Good and wise men, in all ages, have embraced
a very dissimilar theory.  They have supposed that the deity,
from the relations we stand in to himself and to each other, has
constituted an eternal and immutable law, which is indispensably
obligatory upon all mankind, prior to any human institution
whatever.  This is what is called the law of nature....Upon this
law depend the natural rights of mankind."

-- Alexander Hamilton ()
25885  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues on: November 21, 2007, 10:37:19 AM
Force Science News #85
2 officer-survival studies due to kick off in new FSRC facilities


   
Pilot studies for 2 new research projects with significant officer-survival implications will get underway next month [12/07] at a new testing facility designed by the Force Science Research Center near the campus of Minnesota State University-Mankato.
One study will seek to measure the time required for an "attentional shift" during a high-stress, potentially violent confrontation. That is, how long does it take the average law enforcement officer to detect, absorb, and react to changes in his visual field while he is attempting to concentrate on and deal with a primary threat to his safety.
"What we discover in this study could change the way many officers approach potentially dangerous situations," Lewinski claims. "Not by making them paranoid, but by convincing them of the importance of planning ahead rather than attempting the impossible by trying to out-time a sudden, unexpected threat."
The second pilot will expand on earlier FSRC studies of biomechanics (how and how fast do suspects move during certain force confrontations) and also will try to identify important visual cues that may constitute precursors of an armed assault.
"We plan to look particularly at suspects who are lying prone on the ground, with the hands hidden under their body," Lewinski explains. "How long does it take a suspect to roll up enough from that position to point a gun and fire at an officer, and what early indication might an officer see as a warning that such a threat is being activated."
New Testing Facilities.
The pilot studies, which are intended to get the bugs out of testing procedures before researchers launch their comprehensive investigations, will be conducted in a newly opened 1,000-sq. ft. laboratory built to FSRC's specifications as part of the Center's new headquarters in downtown Mankato.
Occupying 3,500 sq. ft. in a historic stone building more than a century old, the centralized headquarters, which have been in development for over a year, permit consolidation of administrative offices, conference space, and the laboratory "for testing the technology and design elements of our research projects," Lewinski says. Some full-scale research can be conducted there as well.
The lab's appointments include an EEG (electroencephalogram) room, specially insulated against sound, vibration, and electrical interference, where sophisticated computerized equipment can record brain activity of officers as they engage in a variety of experimental activities. This room was designed by FSRC's deputy director, Dr. Bill Hudson, an electrical engineer, and Dr. Jonathan Page, a specialist in experimental psychology and a member of FSRC's technical advisory board.
The lab also is outfitted with an updated simulation equipment package, supplied by Ti Training of Englewood, CO, an FSRC research partner. "This will allow us in the future to create our own simulation scenarios, specifically tailored for our research needs," Lewinski explains. Todd Brown, a Ti representative and one of the Center's tech advisors, will coordinate this component of the laboratory.
A state-of-the-art lighting system in the laboratory "permits us to control light at any level, from full-bright illumination to total darkness, without hampering the versatility or accuracy of our recording equipment during experiments," Lewinski says.
The pilot shakedowns for the Center's 2 new projects are expected to take about a month, with the full-scale research then extending into next spring.
Attentional Shift Study.
The post-pilot component of this research will involve a minimum of 60 officer volunteers, participating in testing first at the FSRC laboratory and then at LE agencies elsewhere in Minnesota.
One at a time, the officers will face a downrange target with their gun out, as if concentrating on controlling a dangerous suspect. In unpredictable patterns, various lights will pop on within their focal area (7 to 9 degrees to each side). Some may represent new threats, others mere distractions.
The officers will have to notice each light display, mentally identify the meaning of it, and respond appropriately, pulling the trigger when a reaction is required.
The gun involved has an ultra-sensitive sensor embedded in it, allowing a computerized measurement of trigger pull in 320 discrete units, with the trigger position recorded every 10 milliseconds, Lewinski says.
"We'll be able to tell the quickest, the slowest, and the average time for recognition of changes in the visual field and for reaction to them, and we expect the implications to be profound," Lewinski says.
For one thing, he believes the findings will motivate officers to take more time to assess suspects and environments before entering potentially dangerous scenes.
"Once officers understand how very badly behind the reactionary curve they are when sudden shifts in attention are required, they'll be encouraged to more thoroughly assess ahead of time what they may be moving into and to strategize how best to enter and cope with the situation to minimize the possibility of threatening surprises," Lewinski explains.
"When they learn to maximize preventive tactics, such as using cover or otherwise positioning themselves to advantage, they'll be more comfortable with encounters and better able to focus on their primary transactions."
For this study, expected to run from January through April, Jonathan Page, a researcher of cognitive and brain science at Minnesota State, will monitor the volunteers' brain activity with EEG equipment. Andy Miner of MSU's Electrical and Computer Engineering Dept. will operate the stimulus and computer gear involved. The gun/sensor unit to be used was designed by Miner and Bill Hudson. Overseeing the research will be Ray Knutson, a reserve officer with Minneapolis PD and a clinical psychologist in the Minnesota state hospital system, specializing in criminally deviant behavior. He will detail the project as part of his doctoral research.
Biomechanics/Visual Cues Study.
In earlier research, FSRC has identified and timed some 15 different motions and their variations that suspects display when engaging officers in gunfights. This new study will expand that database, with particular emphasis on suspects who are prone on the ground with their hands hidden.
The test subjects will be 60 civilian volunteers who will be filmed and timed to see how long it takes them to roll from a prone position (handgun hidden under them at waistline or at chest level) to a position where they can shoot.
Timing will also be done of what Lewinski terms the "pseudo-suicide threat." That's where a subject who is pointing a handgun at his own head, suddenly points it at an officer and fires.
The action will be filmed by 3 computer-linked, synchronized high-speed cameras that will be positioned at different angles. During an analysis of the action, which can be filmed at up to 650 frames per second, the recorded images can be frozen frame by frame so that all 3 angles can be viewed simultaneously on a computer screen for detailed scrutiny and timing.
The cameras, part of a $25,000 technology package, will be provided by the Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay, an FSRC research partner. Most of the research will be conducted there, with Erik Walters, a tactics instructor at the college, coordinating the project. Lewinski will be in charge of the research.
Based on some preliminary investigation, Lewinski believes that the study may find that a prone subject can roll to either side and shoot in as little as one-third of a second. "If 2 officers were approaching a prone suspect in a contact/cover configuration, this would be faster than a cover officer could respond to stop the threat even if he had his finger on the trigger when the suspect moved."
Part of the research analysis will involve trying to identify early cues that a downed suspect is beginning to roll. "The filming may show that a suspect's hips may be the first part of his body to move when he's starting to roll," Lewinski says. "If we can pin down the precise dynamics, our findings may be able to give an officer a split-second jump on reacting.
"The findings may also suggest how best to approach-or whether to approach at all-when a suspect is lying on his hands."
This research, scheduled to begin in Janbuary, is expected to run until May.
Other New Developments.
Two other new developments are underway that will help advance FSRC's mission to study use-of-force issues and communicate its findings to the law enforcement community:
• Cst. Dave Blocksidge has been directed by the London Met Police to act as liaison with FSRC in the management of a variety of English-funded research projects currently underway in the London area.
• Dr. Lewinski has been named an associate editor of the Law Enforcement Executive Forum, a peer-reviewed, bi-monthly publication of the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board Executive Institute.
Starting next March, the Forum will dedicate a section on Force Science research in its forthcoming issues, in both print and electronic formats. Contributors are encouraged to submit articles on behavioral science research related to street-level law enforcement issues. The Forum will supplant the online e-journal previously planned by FSRC.
   
Visit www.forcescience.org for more information
 
 
================
The Force Science News is provided by The Force Science Research Center, a non-profit institution based at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Subscriptions are free and sent via e-mail. To register for your free, direct-delivery subscription, please visit www.forcesciencenews.com and click on the registration button. 
 
25886  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Thanksgiving on: November 21, 2007, 10:18:08 AM
And one more:

THE FOUNDATION
“Tomorrow being the day set apart by the Honorable Congress for public Thanksgiving and Praise; and duty calling us devoutly to express our grateful acknowledgements to God for the manifold blessings he has granted us, the General... earnestly exhorts, all officers and soldiers, whose absence is not indispensably necessary, to attend with reverence the solemnities of the day.” —George Washington (December 17, 1777)

PATRIOT PERSPECTIVE
The necessity of Thanksgiving
In this era of overblown political correctness, we often hear tales of Thanksgiving that stray far afield from the truth. Contemporary textbook narratives of the first American harvest celebration portray the Pilgrim colonists as having given thanks to their Indian neighbors for teaching them how to survive in a strange new world. This, of course, is in stark contrast to the historical record, in which the colonists gave thanks to God Almighty, the Provider of their blessings.

The “First Thanksgiving” is usually depicted as the Pilgrims’ three-day feast in early November 1621. The Pilgrims, Calvinist Protestants who rejected the institutional Church of England, believed that the worship of God must originate freely in the individual soul, under no coercion. The Pilgrims left Plymouth, England, on 6 September 1620, sailing to the New World on the promise of opportunity for religious and civil liberty.

For almost three months, 102 seafarers braved the brutal elements, arriving off what is now the Massachusetts coast. On 11 December, before disembarking at Plymouth Rock, the voyagers signed the Mayflower Compact, America’s original document of civil government predicated on principles of self-government. While still anchored at Provincetown harbor, Pastor John Robinson counseled, “You are become a body politic... and are to have only them for your... governors which yourselves shall make choice of.” Governor William Bradford described the Mayflower Compact as “a combination... that when they came a shore they would use their owne libertie; for none had power to command them...”

Upon landing, the Pilgrims conducted a prayer service and quickly turned to building shelters. Malnutrition and illness during the ensuing New England winter killed nearly half their number. Through prayer and hard work, with the assistance of their Wampanoag Indian friends, the Pilgrims reaped a rich harvest in the summer of 1621, the bounty of which they shared with the Wampanoag. The celebration incorporated feasting and games, which remain holiday traditions.

Such ready abundance soon waned, however. Under demands from investors funding their endeavor, the Pilgrims had acquiesced to a disastrous arrangement holding all crops and property in common, in order to return an agreed-to half of their produce to their overseas backers. (These financiers insisted they could not trust faraway freeholders to split the colony’s profits honestly.) Within two years, Plymouth was in danger of foundering under famine, blight and drought. Colonist Edward Winslow wrote, “The most courageous were now discouraged, because God, which hitherto had been our only shield and supporter, now seemed in his anger to arm himself against us.”

Governor Bradford’s record of the history of the colony describes 1623 as a period of arduous work coupled with “a great drought... without any rain and with great heat for the most part,” lasting from spring until midsummer. The Plymouth settlers followed the Wampanoag’s recommended cultivation practices carefully, but their crops withered.

The Pilgrims soon thereafter thought better of relying solely on the physical realm, setting “a solemn day of humiliation, to seek the Lord by humble and fervent prayer, in this great distress.” In affirmation of their faith and providing a great witness to the Indians, by evening of that day the skies became overcast and gentle rains fell, restoring the yield of the fields. Governor Bradford noted, “And afterwards the Lord sent to them such seasonable showers, with interchange of fair warm weather as, through His blessing caused a fruitful and liberal harvest, to their no small comfort and rejoicing. For which mercy, in time convenient, they also set apart a day of thanksgiving.”

Winslow noted the Pilgrims’ reaction as believing “it would be great ingratitude, if secretly we should smother up the same, or content ourselves with private thanksgiving for that, which by private prayer could not be obtained. And therefore another solemn day was set apart and appointed for that end; wherein we returned glory, honor, and praise, with all thankfulness, to our good God, which dealt so graciously with us...” This was the original American Thanksgiving Day, centered not on harvest feasting (as in 1621) but on gathering together to publicly recognize the favor and provision of Almighty God.

Bradford’s diary recounts how the colonists repented of their financial folly under sway of their financiers: “At length, after much debate of things, the Governor (with the advice of the chiefest amongst them) gave way that they should set corn every man for his own particular, and in that regard trust to themselves; in all other things to go in the general way as before. And so assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number.”

By the mid-17th century, autumnal Thanksgivings were common throughout New England; observance of Thanksgiving Festivals spread to other colonies during the American Revolution. At other junctures of “great distress” or miraculous intervention, colonial leaders called their countrymen to offer prayerful thanks to God. The Continental Congresses, cognizant of the need for a warring country’s continuing grateful entreaties to God, proclaimed yearly Thanksgiving days during the Revolutionary War, from 1777 to 1783.

In 1789, after adopting the Bill of Rights to the Constitution, among the first official acts of Congress was approving a motion for proclamation of a national day of thanksgiving, recommending that citizens gather together and give thanks to God for their new nation’s blessings. Presidents George Washington, John Adams and James Madison followed the custom of declaring national days of thanks, though it was not officially declared again until another moment of national peril, when during the War Between the States Abraham Lincoln invited “the whole American people” to observe “a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father... with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience.” In 1941, Congress set permanently November’s fourth Thursday as our official national Thanksgiving.

The Pilgrims’ temporary folly of sundering and somersaulting the material as transcendent over the spiritual conveys an important lesson that modern histories are reluctant to tell. The Founders, recognizing this, placed first among constitutionally recognized rights the free exercise of religion—faith through action.

If what we seek is a continuance of God s manifold blessings, then a day of heartfelt thanksgiving is a tiny tribute indeed.

This Thanksgiving, please pray for our Patriot Armed Forces standing in harm’s way around the world, and for their families—especially the families of those fallen Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen who have died in defense of American liberty.

On behalf of your Patriot staff and National Advisory Committee, we wish God’s peace and blessings upon you and yours this Thanksgiving.

Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus, et Fidelis!

Mark Alexander
Publisher

Permission granted to
25887  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: November 21, 2007, 10:10:14 AM
Courage and Journalism
November 21, 2007; Page A18
Among the blessings this fair land can give thanks for tomorrow is a free press. In much of the rest of the world, that's a freedom that remains elusive at best. The men and women who report the news often do so at great personal risk.

Four such journalists were honored in New York City yesterday by the Committee to Protect Journalists, a non-profit group that promotes the right of journalists world-wide to report without fear of reprisals. The honorees work in four countries on three continents. Each has a harrowing tale to tell. Three have colleagues who were murdered while on the job.

Adela Navarro Bello is the general director of Zeta, a weekly magazine in the border town of Tijuana, Mexico. Zeta covers organized crime, drug trafficking and corruption in Mexico's northern states, including the collusion between police and criminals. The cost of its investigative reporting has been high. Zeta's co-founder and a co-editor were murdered, and Ms. Navarro has received death threats. On a visit to the Journal's offices on Monday, she described the milieu in which she works: "Journalists have been assaulted, murdered or simply disappear."

Pakistan's Mazhar Abbas works for ARY One World Television, one of the TV stations closed down in President Pervez Musharraf's current state of emergency. After his name appeared on the hit list of an ethnic group allied with Mr. Musharraf, Mr. Abbas was among three journalists who found an envelope containing a bullet taped to his car. A recent trend is for the families of journalists also to be targeted.

Dmitry Muratov is founder and editor in chief of Novaya Gazeta, the Russian newspaper for which the late Anna Politkovskaya was working when she was murdered last year. Mr. Muratov's newspaper is known for its probes of high-level corruption, human-rights abuses and the war in Chechnya. "The [Vladmir Putin] government views the country as its personal business enterprise," he told us, "and we are basically trying to expose them." In addition to Ms. Politkovskaya, two other Novaya Gazeta reporters have been killed.

The fourth honoree is Gao Qinrong, who was released recently from a Chinese jail. He served eight years on a series of bogus charges brought after he exposed government corruption in an irrigation project in Shanxi province. Beijing refused to issue him a passport so he was honored in absentia. There are 29 journalists currently in jail in China, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Mr. Muratov spoke for all the winners when he told us, "We do what we can." Such modesty belies their courage and dedication.

WSJ
25888  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / This fair land on: November 21, 2007, 09:56:43 AM
WSJ

And the Fair Land
November 21, 2007; Page A18
Any one whose labors take him into the far reaches of the country, as ours lately have done, is bound to mark how the years have made the land grow fruitful.

This is indeed a big country, a rich country, in a way no array of figures can measure and so in a way past belief of those who have not seen it. Even those who journey through its Northeastern complex, into the Southern lands, across the central plains and to its Western slopes can only glimpse a measure of the bounty of America.

And a traveler cannot but be struck on his journey by the thought that this country, one day, can be even greater. America, though many know it not, is one of the great underdeveloped countries of the world; what it reaches for exceeds by far what it has grasped.

So the visitor returns thankful for much of what he has seen, and, in spite of everything, an optimist about what his country might be. Yet the visitor, if he is to make an honest report, must also note the air of unease that hangs everywhere.

For the traveler, as travelers have been always, is as much questioned as questioning. And for all the abundance he sees, he finds the questions put to him ask where men may repair for succor from the troubles that beset them.

His countrymen cannot forget the savage face of war. Too often they have been asked to fight in strange and distant places, for no clear purpose they could see and for no accomplishment they can measure. Their spirits are not quieted by the thought that the good and pleasant bounty that surrounds them can be destroyed in an instant by a single bomb. Yet they find no escape, for their survival and comfort now depend on unpredictable strangers in far-off corners of the globe.

How can they turn from melancholy when at home they see young arrayed against old, black against white, neighbor against neighbor, so that they stand in peril of social discord. Or not despair when they see that the cities and countryside are in need of repair, yet find themselves threatened by scarcities of the resources that sustain their way of life. Or when, in the face of these challenges, they turn for leadership to men in high places -- only to find those men as frail as any others.

So sometimes the traveler is asked whence will come their succor. What is to preserve their abundance, or even their civility? How can they pass on to their children a nation as strong and free as the one they inherited from their forefathers? How is their country to endure these cruel storms that beset it from without and from within?

Of course the stranger cannot quiet their spirits. For it is true that everywhere men turn their eyes today much of the world has a truly wild and savage hue. No man, if he be truthful, can say that the specter of war is banished. Nor can he say that when men or communities are put upon their own resources they are sure of solace; nor be sure that men of diverse kinds and diverse views can live peaceably together in a time of troubles.

But we can all remind ourselves that the richness of this country was not born in the resources of the earth, though they be plentiful, but in the men that took its measure. For that reminder is everywhere -- in the cities, towns, farms, roads, factories, homes, hospitals, schools that spread everywhere over that wilderness.

We can remind ourselves that for all our social discord we yet remain the longest enduring society of free men governing themselves without benefit of kings or dictators. Being so, we are the marvel and the mystery of the world, for that enduring liberty is no less a blessing than the abundance of the earth.

And we might remind ourselves also, that if those men setting out from Delftshaven had been daunted by the troubles they saw around them, then we could not this autumn be thankful for a fair land.

This editorial has appeared annually since 1961.
=================

The Desolate Wilderness
November 21, 2007; Page A18
Here beginneth the chronicle of those memorable circumstances of the year 1620, as recorded by Nathaniel Morton, keeper of the records of Plymouth Colony, based on the account of William Bradford, sometime governor thereof:

So they left that goodly and pleasant city of Leyden, which had been their resting-place for above eleven years, but they knew that they were pilgrims and strangers here below, and looked not much on these things, but lifted up their eyes to Heaven, their dearest country, where God hath prepared for them a city (Heb. XI, 16), and therein quieted their spirits.

 
When they came to Delfs-Haven they found the ship and all things ready, and such of their friends as could not come with them followed after them, and sundry came from Amsterdam to see them shipt, and to take their leaves of them. One night was spent with little sleep with the most, but with friendly entertainment and Christian discourse, and other real expressions of true Christian love.

The next day they went on board, and their friends with them, where truly doleful was the sight of that sad and mournful parting, to hear what sighs and sobs and prayers did sound amongst them; what tears did gush from every eye, and pithy speeches pierced each other's heart, that sundry of the Dutch strangers that stood on the Key as spectators could not refrain from tears. But the tide (which stays for no man) calling them away, that were thus loath to depart, their Reverend Pastor, falling down on his knees, and they all with him, with watery cheeks commended them with the most fervent prayers unto the Lord and His blessing; and then with mutual embraces and many tears they took their leaves one of another, which proved to be the last leave to many of them.

Being now passed the vast ocean, and a sea of troubles before them in expectations, they had now no friends to welcome them, no inns to entertain or refresh them, no houses, or much less towns, to repair unto to seek for succour; and for the season it was winter, and they that know the winters of the country know them to be sharp and violent, subject to cruel and fierce storms, dangerous to travel to known places, much more to search unknown coasts.

Besides, what could they see but a hideous and desolate wilderness, full of wilde beasts and wilde men? and what multitudes of them there were, they then knew not: for which way soever they turned their eyes (save upward to Heaven) they could have but little solace or content in respect of any outward object; for summer being ended, all things stand in appearance with a weatherbeaten face, and the whole country, full of woods and thickets, represented a wild and savage hew.

If they looked behind them, there was a mighty ocean which they had passed, and was now as a main bar or gulph to separate them from all the civil parts of the world.

This editorial has appeared annually since 1961.



25889  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: November 21, 2007, 09:50:08 AM
I wish I had been wrong but I predicted that Fred was not going to measure up.  To make things worse, I suspect his entry into the race may have contributed to Newt's decision not to run because they would be competing for many of the same voters.  I really wish Newt would have run.
25890  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: November 21, 2007, 09:47:11 AM
Here's a point of view to consider:
==========================

Food for Thought
By TOM NASSIF
November 20, 2007;
WSJ
Page A19

In the midst of the combustive debate over immigration reform, we in agriculture have been forthright about the elephant in America's living room: Much of our workforce is in the country illegally -- as much as 70%.

Faced with the option of economic ruin, as hundreds of millions of dollars worth of our livelihood rots in the fields, or the embrace of a fatally flawed immigration system, our industry and farm families opt to survive. Who wouldn't? For those who have a 10-20 day harvest window to make or break their entire business year, government promises to fix the system don't work. We can't wait for rules to change. We need reform and we need it now.

Western Growers -- representing half of all the fresh fruits and vegetables grown in the U.S. -- has repeatedly called for a fix. We want and expect government to enforce immigration laws; we want a secure border, fraud-proof IDs and valid Social Security cards. Despite a broken and unworkable system, however, Congress has chosen not to act. Meanwhile, the Bush administration and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) -- under intense political pressure -- did begin to move.

Last month, a federal judge ordered an indefinite delay to the DHS's "no-match" program that would have forced employers to fire workers whose Social Security numbers did not match their names. The judge said it would cause "irreparable harm to innocent workers and employers." This preliminary injunction has prevented the DHS from proceeding with the shortsighted no-match program.

The DHS openly concedes our industry's reliance on falsely documented workers. But like a physician who diagnoses an open wound but uses salt in place of sutures, DHS avoided the cure in favor of additional pain.

The pain was in the form of the no-match rules. The DHS guidelines would have established purported "safe harbor" procedures for employers who received a Social Security Administration (SSA) no-match letter. The letter notifies an employer that he has submitted employee W-2s with names and Social Security numbers that do not match. Employers would have had to fire employees who could not produce new documentation within 90 days of receiving the letter, or face the risk that DHS may find that the employer had knowledge that the employee was unauthorized.

The regulations would have put farmers in an untenable situation: Either terminate the majority of their existing workforce and let the crops die in the fields, or disregard the rules and risk having to pay huge fines and penalties for "knowingly" employing undocumented workers. This attempt by DHS to expose illegal immigrants would have done nothing to address the underlying issues or correct the problem.

Fortunately, the courts have stepped in and the Bush administration now has an opportunity to fix our broken system. The plaintiffs in the case argued that DHS's plans would place a costly burden on employers and result in the needless firing of employees. That, in turn, would open employers up to lawsuits and charges of discrimination. Civil liberties organizations pointed out the no-match rules would likely lead to the violation of the rights of many legal workers who might have made a mistake they couldn't correct before deadline.

These valid concerns must be addressed. Agriculture yearns for a legal, stable, economical workforce; we have been saying so for years. And though we are relieved by the court's decision, it doesn't change the fact that this industry still needs a workable solution. Our current guest-worker program, known as H2-A, is costly and cumbersome, and sets labor standards that are not competitive in the global marketplace.

At the Bush administration's request, we have suggested changes to the H-2A program, such as expediting the application process and faxing guest-worker approval notices, instead of relying on "snail mail" while highly perishable crops await timely harvesters. These fixes are not difficult and can, in most cases, be administratively applied -- what is the delay?

If the DHS's no-match program had gone forward, America's domestic food supply would have been irreparably damaged. Small farm owners would have gone out of business and large operators could have taken their operations abroad -- taking hundreds of thousands of jobs with them.

Our industry, as well as farm-worker advocates -- Democrats and Republicans alike -- support legislation known as AgJOBS. This bill, which was a part of the Senate's "grand bargain," includes a temporary guest-worker program that logically matches willing farmers with willing foreign laborers.

AgJOBS provides the perfect opportunity for Congress to make progress on this critically important issue. Americans don't raise their children to work in the fields, and so we are reliant on a foreign workforce. We desperately want that workforce to be legal, and AgJOBS affords us that opportunity.

The Bush administration does support comprehensive immigration reform, and reportedly set in place the DHS's draconian no-match rules to force the issue. Still, it was playing a risky game of chance with U.S. agriculture to the detriment of our industry, our economy and American consumers.

We must stop playing games with our domestic food supply. Agriculture needs workers, Americans won't do the work and Congress lacks the courage to pass a comprehensive immigration package. It is time for Congress to find its courage, rise above the anger of the activists, and come together to solve this problem.

Mr. Nassif is president & CEO of Western Growers.

25891  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: November 20, 2007, 06:37:06 AM
I'm quite bummed to learn of the extent that bigotry supports RP's campaign.  That said, I think much of his appeal is in his originalist based approach to our Constitution.  His positions on gun rights, cutting taxes and cutting back government are strong and clear.

I saw last night that he is polling at 8% in , , , New Hampshire? Iowa?  where Fred is polling at 4%.
25892  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Even the NY Times , , , on: November 20, 2007, 06:27:58 AM

OMG!   wink  This from the NY Times-- I bet it hurt them to have to write it:
===========

BAGHDAD, Nov. 19 — Five months ago, Suhaila al-Aasan lived in an oxygen tank factory with her husband and two sons, convinced that they would never go back to their apartment in Dora, a middle-class neighborhood in southern Baghdad.

Today she is home again, cooking by a sunlit window, sleeping beneath her favorite wedding picture. And yet, she and her family are remarkably alone. The half-dozen other apartments in her building echo with emptiness and, on most days, Iraqi soldiers are the only neighbors she sees.

“I feel happy,” she said, standing in her bedroom, between a flowered bedspread and a bullet hole in the wall. “But my happiness is not complete. We need more people to come back. We need more people to feel safe.”

Mrs. Aasan, 45, a Shiite librarian with an easy laugh, is living at the far end of Baghdad’s tentative recovery. She is one of many Iraqis who in recent weeks have begun to test where they can go and what they can do when fear no longer controls their every move.

The security improvements in most neighborhoods are real. Days now pass without a car bomb, after a high of 44 in the city in February. The number of bodies appearing on Baghdad’s streets has plummeted to about 5 a day, from as many as 35 eight months ago, and suicide bombings across Iraq fell to 16 in October, half the number of last summer and down sharply from a recent peak of 59 in March, the American military says.

As a result, for the first time in nearly two years, people are moving with freedom around much of this city. In more than 50 interviews across Baghdad, it became clear that while there were still no-go zones, more Iraqis now drive between Sunni and Shiite areas for work, shopping or school, a few even after dark. In the most stable neighborhoods of Baghdad, some secular women are also dressing as they wish. Wedding bands are playing in public again, and at a handful of once shuttered liquor stores customers now line up outside in a collective rebuke to religious vigilantes from the Shiite Mahdi Army.

Iraqis are clearly surprised and relieved to see commerce and movement finally increase, five months after an extra 30,000 American troops arrived in the country. But the depth and sustainability of the changes remain open to question.

By one revealing measure of security — whether people who fled their home have returned — the gains are still limited. About 20,000 Iraqis have gone back to their Baghdad homes, a fraction of the more than 4 million who fled nationwide, and the 1.4 million people in Baghdad who are still internally displaced, according to a recent Iraqi Red Crescent Society survey.

Iraqis sound uncertain about the future, but defiantly optimistic. Many Baghdad residents seem to be willing themselves to normalcy, ignoring risks and suppressing fears to reclaim their lives. Pushing past boundaries of sect and neighborhood, they said they were often pleasantly surprised and kept going; in other instances, traumatic memories or a dark look from a stranger were enough to tug them back behind closed doors.

Mrs. Aasan’s experience, as a member of the brave minority of Iraqis who have returned home, shows both the extent of the improvements and their limits.

She works at an oasis of calm: a small library in eastern Baghdad, where on several recent afternoons, about a dozen children bounced through the rooms, reading, laughing, learning English and playing music on a Yamaha keyboard.

Brightly colored artwork hangs on the walls: images of gardens, green and lush; Iraqi soldiers smiling; and Arabs holding hands with Kurds.

It is all deliberately idyllic. Mrs. Aasan and the other two women at the library have banned violent images, guiding the children toward portraits of hope. The children are also not allowed to discuss the violence they have witnessed.

“Our aim is to fight terrorism,” Mrs. Aasan said. “We want them to overcome their personal experiences.”

The library closed last year because parents would not let their children out of sight. Now, most of the children walk on their own from homes nearby — another sign of the city’s improved ease of movement.

But there are scars in the voice of a ponytailed little girl who said she had less time for fun since her father was incapacitated by a bomb. (“We try to make him feel better and feel less pain,” she said.) And pain still lingers in the silence of Mrs. Aasan’s 10-year-old son, Abather, who accompanies her wherever she goes.


==========
Page 2 of 2)



One day five months ago, when they still lived in Dora, Mrs. Aasan sent Abather to get water from a tank below their apartment. Delaying as boys will do, he followed his soccer ball into the street, where he discovered two dead bodies with their eyeballs torn out. It was not the first corpse he had seen, but for Mrs. Aasan that was enough. “I grabbed him, we got in the car and we drove away,” she said.

After they heard on an Iraqi news program that her section of Dora had improved, she and her husband explored a potential return. They visited and found little damage, except for a bullet hole in their microwave.

Two weeks ago, they moved back to the neighborhood where they had lived since 2003.

“It’s just a rental,” Mrs. Aasan said, as if embarrassed at her connection to such a humble place. “But after all, it’s home.”

In interviews, she and her husband said they felt emboldened by the decline in violence citywide and the visible presence of Iraqi soldiers at a checkpoint a few blocks away.

Still, it was a brave decision, one her immediate neighbors have not yet felt bold enough to make. Mrs. Aasan’s portion of Dora still looks as desolate as a condemned tenement. The trunk of a palm tree covers a section of road where Sunni gunmen once dumped a severed head, and about 200 yards to the right of her building concrete Jersey barriers block a section of homes believed to be booby-trapped with explosives.

“On this street,” she said, standing on her balcony, “many of my neighbors lost relatives.” Then she rushed inside.

Her husband, Fadhel A. Yassen, 49, explained that they had seen several friends killed while they sat outside in the past. He insisted that being back in the apartment was “a victory over fear, a victory over terrorism.”

Yet the achievement remains rare. Many Iraqis say they would still rather leave the country than go home. In Baghdad there are far more families like the Nidhals. The father, who would only identify himself as Abu Nebras (father of Nebras), is Sunni; Hanan, his wife, is a Shiite from Najaf, the center of Shiite religious learning in Iraq. They lived for 17 years in Ghazaliya in western Baghdad until four gunmen from Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, the homegrown Sunni extremist group that American intelligence agencies say is led by foreigners, showed up at his door last December.

“My sons were armed and they went away but after that, we knew we had only a few hours,” Abu Nebras said. “We were displaced because I was secular and Al Qaeda didn’t like that.”

They took refuge in the middle-class Palestine Street area in the northeastern part of Baghdad, a relatively stable enclave with an atmosphere of tolerance for their mixed marriage. Now with the situation improving across the city, the Nidhal family longs to return to their former home, but they have no idea when, or if, it will be possible.

Another family now lives in their house — the situation faced by about a third of all displaced Iraqis, according to the International Organization for Migration — and it is not clear whether the fragile peace will last. Abu Nebras tested the waters recently, going back to talk with neighbors on his old street for the first time.

He said the Shiites in the northern part of Ghazaliya had told him that the American military’s payments to local Sunni volunteers in the southern, Sunni part of the neighborhood amounted to arming one side.

The Americans describe the volunteers as heroes, part of a larger nationwide campaign known as the Sunni Awakening. But Abu Nebras said he did not trust them. “Some of the Awakening members are just Al Qaeda who have joined them,” he said. “I know them from before.”

With the additional American troops scheduled to depart, the Nidhal family said, Baghdad would be truly safe only when the Iraqi forces were mixed with Sunnis and Shiites operating checkpoints side by side — otherwise the city would remain a patchwork of Sunni and Shiite enclaves. “The police, the army, it has to be Sunni next to Shiite next to Sunni next to Shiite,” Abu Nebras said.

They and other Iraqis also said the government must aggressively help people return to their homes, perhaps by supervising returns block by block. The Nidhal family said they feared the displaced Sunnis in their neighborhood who were furious that Shiites chased them from their houses. “They are so angry, they will kill anyone,” Abu Nebras said.

For now, though, they are trying to enjoy what may be only a temporary respite from violence. One of their sons recently returned to his veterinary studies at a university in Baghdad, and their daughter will start college this winter.

Laughter is also more common now in the Nidhal household — even on once upsetting subjects. At midday, Hanan’s sister, who teaches in a local high school, came home and threw up her hands in exasperation. She had asked her Islamic studies class to bring in something that showed an aspect of Islamic culture. “Two boys told me, ‘I’m going to bring in a portrait of Moktada al-Sadr,’” she said.

She shook her head and chuckled. Mr. Sadr is an anti-American cleric whose militia, the Mahdi Army, has been accused of carrying out much of the displacement and killings of Sunnis in Baghdad. They can joke because they no longer fear that the violence will engulf them.

In longer interviews across Baghdad, the pattern was repeated. Iraqis acknowledged how far their country still needed to go before a return to normalcy, but they also expressed amazement at even the most embryonic signs of recovery.

Mrs. Aasan said she was thrilled and relieved just a few days ago, when her college-aged son got stuck at work after dark and his father managed to pick him up and drive home without being killed.

“Before, when we lived in Dora, after 4 p.m., I wouldn’t let anyone out of the house,” she said.

“They drove back to Dora at 8!” she added, glancing at her husband, who beamed, chest out, like a mountaineer who had scaled Mount Everest. “We really felt that it was a big difference.”
25893  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Evolutionary biology/psychology on: November 20, 2007, 06:08:57 AM
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21882948/?gt1=10547

Despite flash, males are simple creatures

Females evolve slower, but it's because they're more complex


By Jeanna Bryner
updated 11:06 a.m. ET, Mon., Nov. 19, 2007

The secret to why male organisms evolve faster than their female counterparts comes down to this: Males are simple creatures.

In nearly all species, males seem to ramp up glitzier garbs, more graceful dance moves and more melodic warbles in a never-ending vie to woo the best mates. Called sexual selection, the result is typically a showy male and a plain-Jane female. Evolution speeds along in the males compared to females.

The idea that males evolve more quickly than females has been around since 19th century biologist Charles Darwin observed the majesty of a peacock’s tail feather in comparison with those of the drab peahen.

How and why males exist in evolutionary overdrive despite carrying essentially the same genes as females has long puzzled scientists.
New research on fruit flies, detailed online last week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, finds males have fewer genetic obstacles to prevent them from responding quickly to selection pressures in their environments.

"It’s because males are simpler," said lead author Marta Wayne, a zoologist at the University of Florida in Gainesville. "The mode of inheritance in males involves simpler genetic architecture that does not include as many interactions between genes as could be involved in female inheritance."

The finding could also shed light on why diseases show up differently in men and women.

Complicated chromosomes
Wayne and her colleagues examined more than 8,500 genes shared by both sexes of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. Of those genes, about 7,600 have different expressions (alleles) that do different jobs in males and females.

The flies were identical genetically, except for their sex chromosomes.
In flies and humans, thousands of genes made up of DNA are packaged into tiny units called chromosomes. Each parent contributes one set of 23 chromosomes to offspring, resulting in little ones with 23 father-given chromosomes and 23 mother-chromosomes — 46 total. One pair of these is called the sex chromosome. In this case, the females have two X chromosomes (XX) and males, XY.

Many genes are found on the X chromosome, whereas few are associated with the Y chromosome. For female fruit flies, the X-chromosome genes can come in two flavors called alleles that not only interact with each other but also with other genes.

For instance, if one allele is dominant over the other, that allele would get "expressed" while the recessive allele would stay hidden. Though under cover, the recessive allele kind of hitches a ride on the X chromosome and can be passed on to future generations.

That's not the case with males.
"We find direct evidence that the expression of the genes on the X has this covering behavior in females whereas in males they're out in the open," said study team member Lauren McIntyre, also of UF.

Males only have one X chromosome, so what you see is what you get. If that particular gene gives the male a boost in terms of sexual selection, say a gene responsible for fluffier feathers, the gene would be selected for in the game of natural selection over successive generations. But if the gene is no good for males, it would get selected against over time.

"Having one X means your genes are more open to selection in males," UF researcher Marina Telonis-Scott said in a telephone interview. "So in a female if you have a recessive allele that confers a sickness, it can be concealed within the two X's but if you've only got one, such as the male, you're more open to selection."

And the reason males are genetic simpletons, it turns out, is sex. The researchers suggest this uncomplicated (compared with females) genetic pathway allows males to respond at the drop of a hat to the pressures of sexual selection. That way they can win females, produce more offspring and start the cycle over again.

While not as prominent a trend, they also found a similar pattern in so-called autosomal genes, which are those found on any chromosome save the sex chromosomes. Many of the fruit-fly autosomal genes, however, did work in concert with genes located on the X chromosome.

Human implications
The "elephant lurking in these results," of course, is how they would apply to men and women.

The researchers caution the results don't directly translate to humans. "The X function is thought to be quite different in flies than humans," McIntyre told LiveScience. In humans, one of the X chromosomes gets inactivated in females, though research is finding this inactivation isn't always absolute.

However, the results could help explain differences in symptoms and responses to diseases in men and women, the authors say. Sexual selection does occur in humans, they note. In addition, fruit flies and humans share an evolutionary history, the authors point out, which is the reason why we share more than 65 percent of our genes with the tiny insects.

"If we see a mechanism in flies it may also be true in everything that shares that evolutionary history," McIntyre said.
On a basic level, the genetic machinery works in a similar manner in flies and us.

"There's a health aspect in figuring out differences in gene expression between the sexes," Wayne said. "To make a male or a female, even in a fly, it's all about turning things on — either in different places or different amounts or at different times — because we all basically have the same starting set of genes."
__________________
25894  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / James Madison on: November 20, 2007, 05:39:48 AM
"It is the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage,
and such only, as he believes to be acceptable to him. This duty
is precedent both in order of time and degree of obligation, to
the claims of Civil Society. Before any man can be considered as
a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of
the Governor of the Universe."

-- James Madison (A Memorial and Remonstrance, 1785)

Reference: Our Sacred Honor, Bennett (327)
25895  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico-US matters on: November 19, 2007, 11:45:45 PM
Mexico Security Memo: Nov. 19, 2007
November 19, 2007 19 22  GMT



Turf Battles

So far this month, one of the deadliest days in Mexico has been Nov. 17, when at least 11 drug-related deaths were reported in six states. From charred bodies discovered in Chiapas state to armed men storming a house to kill two presumed drug dealers in Durango state, the killings provide a snapshot of violence in a country where approximately 2,400 people have died violently so far this year.

The cartel turf battles that produced much of this violence have led to important shifts in cartels' areas of territorial control. The federal attorney general's office reported this past week that the town of Zamora, in Michoacan state, is now in the hands of elements of the Gulf cartel, following a long battle with members of the Sinaloa-linked Valencia cartel. As long as rival gangs continue to fight for control of lucrative smuggling routes, shifts such as this one should be expected to continue -- along with the violence that accompanies them.


Political Violence

One of the biggest challenges to counternarcotics operations in Mexico has been corruption not only of law enforcement personnel but also of government officials. In addition to threatening, killing and kidnapping officials already in office, organized crime groups have demonstrated an interest in influencing the election process. An incident this past week in Michoacan state underscored this trend. On Nov. 16 in Zamora, as the election commission was tallying up the final vote from local elections held Nov. 11, a group of armed men entered the commission's office, threatened members and set fire to documents related to the election. Political candidates and their campaign staffs also have been subject to violence. At least one candidate for office in Reynosa, Tamaulipas state, was reportedly abducted before a vote there last week while another candidate's financial adviser was said to have been kidnapped.

The waters of political violence are murky in Mexico, where it is common to hear of politicians dispatching henchmen to intimidate or eliminate their rivals. There is an element of truth to some of these rumors, especially in a country where the presidency and top levels of government were dominated by one political party for more than 70 years. However, drug trafficking organizations also have a strong interest in promoting candidates that are on their payroll. In some cases, politicians might even have knowledge of cartel actions against opponents, and frequently the henchmen hired by political candidates will have ties to the cartels.


Body Snatching

More than 50 armed men entered the city morgue in Ensenada, Baja California state, early Nov. 15 to remove the body of man who had died three days before in a helicopter accident while following the Baja 1000 car race. The heavily armed group reportedly arrived in more than a dozen vehicles, stormed the building and loaded the body into a vehicle, firing assault rifles at police officers before fleeing. Prior to the theft, two unidentified individuals had reportedly attempted to claim the body but authorities did not release it.

Although it appears certain that the body belonged to an important member of the Tijuana cartel, there is official confusion as to who the man was, likely because the body was registered at the morgue under a pseudonym. Initial reports from authorities in Baja California state indicated that the man was Francisco Medardo León Hinojosa, aka El Abulón, a high-ranking lieutenant in the Tijuana organization. Later reports from the federal attorney general's office suggested that the missing body belonged to the son of Alicia Arellano Felix, one of the siblings of the Arellano Felix crime family that runs the Tijuana cartel. Reportedly there had been a strong security presence at the morgue prior to the theft to prevent any such action; the incident highlights how police forces are no match for well-equipped -- and well-informed -- cartels.






Nov. 12


Authorities in Sinaloa state reported finding the body of a man along a highway. He had been bound at the hands and wrapped in a blanket.


Nov. 13


A high-ranking police commander from Acambaro, Guanajuato state, was shot to death while driving along a rural road.


Nov. 14


The director of public security in Toluca, Mexico state, was unhurt following an apparent attempt on his life when two men on a motorcycle fired several shots into his vehicle.


Nov. 15


Two people died and one was wounded in a firefight involving automatic weapons and rival drug-trafficking gangs in Tamazula, Durango state.


Fire crews from Laredo, Texas, crossed the border to assist the Nuevo Laredo fire department in battling more than 20 fires across the city. Under a mutual aid request, a fire department source confirmed that arson was the cause of many of the blazes, which included grassfires and structural fires.


Nov. 16


Two sailors in the Mexican navy were abducted by armed men from a bar in the Pacific port city of Lazaro Cardenas, Michoacan state. A third who resisted the gunmen was wounded.


A plane believed to have been carrying more than 1 ton of cocaine made an emergency landing on a federal highway in Oaxaca state. The crew succeeded in unloading the cargo, setting fire to the plane and escaping before authorities arrived.


Nov. 17


The bodies of a man and woman were found in Jalisco state. Each had been shot in the head.


A city employee discovered the dismembered body of an unidentified person in a dumpster in Cuauhtemoc, Chihuahua state. Body parts were found in two suitcases.


Two men were killed in their home in Durango state when armed men entered the residence and shot them several times. Police believe the men owed money to drug traffickers.


Authorities discovered the burned bodies of two unidentified men along a highway in Chiapas state. The men were bound at the hands and appeared to have been tortured.


Nov. 18


A sailor in the Mexican navy was shot to death by several gunmen as he was walking along a street in Acapulco, Guerrero state. He reportedly was able to fire several rounds from a pistol before being killed.


Six armed men entered a hotel in the Monterrey suburb of San Nicolas de los Garza in Nuevo Leon state, stealing an ATM and the hotel safe. The gunmen subdued three employees and four guests during the incident and exchanged gunfire with police as they fled.

stratfor
25896  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Clips de Video de interes on: November 19, 2007, 11:39:44 PM
En Centro America:

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=f8c_1172107819
25897  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizens defend themselves/others. on: November 19, 2007, 11:36:07 PM
73 year old security guard disarms gun and drives off two robbers

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=121_1195518280

Was it the Bible grandma was carrying or the .32?  Or Both?  Only God knows for sure , , ,

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=ccc_1181134620

25898  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Lebanon on: November 19, 2007, 11:11:13 PM
Summary

Lebanon's fractured government has until Nov. 23 to elect a new president that is acceptable to both the pro-Syrian Hezbollah-led opposition and the pro-West March 14 coalition. With no compromise in sight, Hezbollah and its Syrian allies are readying plans to set up a shadow government in Beirut. Even by Lebanese standards, this is one political crisis that has the potential to plunge the country into all sorts of craziness.

Analysis

Emile Lahoud's term as Lebanon's president expires Nov. 23. Under the country's constitution, the government has until that date to elect a new Christian president.

There are a few not-so-minor problems with this state of affairs, however. First and foremost, it must be remembered that this is Lebanon, where legalities do not generally take precedence in the political system. Hezbollah and its allies in the Shiite Amal Movement and Michel Aoun's Christian faction already have boycotted the government. Technically speaking, the pro-West faction led by Prime Minister Fouad Siniora can elect a new president on its own through a very narrow, simple majority. But without the votes of Hezbollah and its allies, the election of the new president easily can be labeled illegitimate and illegal by a sizable political force in the country.




There are weighty issues at stake in this election, particularly for Syria. The Syrians steadily have reasserted their presence in Lebanon since the government was forced to withdraw its troops from the country in the wake of the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri. Naturally, the Syrian regime wants to ensure that the new president -- who must be a Maronite Christian, according to the constitution -- is amenable, to say the least, to serving Syrian interests in Lebanon. At the same time, Syria's militant proxy, Hezbollah, is seeking to expand its political presence in the government and ensure that it faces no long-term threats to its survival as a movement.

The Siniora-led March 14 alliance, however, is on an entirely different page. This coalition is being heavily backed by the U.S., French and Saudi governments to counter Hezbollah and keep a tight rein on Syrian and Iranian influence in Lebanon. Though diplomats from the region, the United States, Europe and Russia have been flying in and out of Beirut in an effort to come up with the ultimate political resolution, the feuding factions are nowhere near a compromise, with only four days left until Lahoud's term expires.

Hezbollah and Syria essentially have drawn a red line. If a compromise cannot be reached and the Siniora-led faction calls a special session of parliament to elect its preferred candidate independently, plans likely will be activated to set up a shadow government in Beirut.

According to sources in the city, a security meeting recently took place between Syrian officials and Hezbollah to go over these contingency plans at the residence of Hussein Khalil, Hezbollah's political consultant, in the eastern Baalbek region. The plan that was agreed on involves the occupation of 20 ministries and public institutions in the greater Beirut area by a combined military-civilian force provided by Hezbollah. It also calls for storming the Sarai, the headquarters of the prime minister, and reopening by force the coastal highway between Beirut and Sidon, as well as the Damascus highway -- both of which lie within the Druze stronghold of Walid Jumblatt, who is allied with the anti-Syrian March 14 alliance. Controlling these key highways is central to Hezbollah's plans to set up a rival government. The Damascus highway links Hezbollah strongholds in the central and northern Bekaa Valley with Beirut's southern suburbs, while the coastal highway between Beirut and Sidon connects Hezbollah bases in the South with Beirut's southern suburbs.

Occupying ministries by force undoubtedly will be a complicated affair if this plan actually goes into effect. By law, the Lebanese army would have to step in to defend these institutions. But here again we have another problem, in that Lebanon's army already is deeply fractured and lacks the will to stand up to civilian protesters, much less to Hezbollah. Moreover, nearly half the army is comprised of Shia who will not necessarily go against their patrons in Hezbollah. Any foreign force that even attempts to intervene in such a scenario very rapidly will become bogged down in a domestic fight in which Hezbollah most likely will take the upper hand.

This plan by Hezbollah has long been in the making. Recently, Hezbollah replaced the party official in charge of the sit-in protest camps in downtown Beirut. While Hezbollah circulated rumors that the official was replaced because several of its members were caught smoking hashish in the downtown camp, the real reason was to prepare Hezbollah operatives for the coming confrontation by inserting a strong officer capable of mobilizing the group's human resources in downtown Beirut. Recruiting and training efforts by Hezbollah also have picked up speed in recent months, with hundreds of men from the militias of Lebanese opposition groups undergoing training in the area of Wadi al-Nabi, between the villages of Brital and Hour Taala in the Bekaa Valley.

There is no guarantee -- as of yet -- that Hezbollah's plan will be activated. After all, Syria traditionally plays politics in Lebanon via car bombings. If Damascus wants to deprive the March 14 alliance of its slim majority in parliament, it can take out another parliamentarian as a stopgap measure. There also is the possibility that Lahoud will appoint Lebanon's army chief, Michel Suleiman, to run the country in order to prevent Siniora's government from taking over. Suleiman has been singing a pro-Syrian tune in the past few months, making this a potentially viable option for Damascus.

In any case, the situation is turning explosive, even by Lebanese standards. The conflict will not be confined to Lebanon, either. The Iranians, the Syrians, the Americans, the French, the Saudis, the Jordanians and even the Turks will in a variety of ways become entangled in this crisis as the country further destabilizes. For a country whose government was designed to rule by consensus, the probability of a consensus candidate getting elected in the next few days is dangerously low, bringing Lebanon even closer to the dark days of civil war.

stratfor
25899  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Are Traditional Martial Arts Dead? on: November 19, 2007, 07:18:11 PM
Interesting question.

May I suggest that we need to define "traditional martial arts" (TMA) as a starting point for the conversation?

The article seems to think that traditional "Chinese Martial Arts" (CMA) is a synonym for TMA, but is this really so?

The word "traditional" to me speaks of  , , , tradition, of unbroken lineage.  In this sense, Dog Brothers Martial Arts is a TMA.

TAC,
CD
25900  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Islamic investing on: November 19, 2007, 01:37:06 PM
 
 
     
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Why a Fund's Piety Is Now Paying Off
Islamic Principles Help
Amana Income Avoid
Banks, Other Risky Bets
By CAROLYN CUI
November 19, 2007; Page C1

The little-known mutual fund Amana Income Fund is one of this year's top performers. It can thank Islamic law for that.

The Amana fund is a specialized fund that invests based on Islamic religious principles. That means it must avoid, among other things, investing in banks or other firms that earn money by charging interest. Nor can it invest in companies carrying lots of debt.

 
This year these restrictions are paying off. The fund, which seeks well-established companies paying dividends, has largely avoided the mortgage-related carnage hitting the markets since the summer. The Amana Income Fund has returned 13% since the start of this year, and is ranked in the top 2% of its category. With shares of many banks and brokerage houses having plunged amid concerns over losses on mortgage-related securities, the average stock income fund is up only 3.6%, according to fund tracker Lipper Inc.

"It's good that you don't have [banks and financial companies] in periods like this year," says Nicholas Kaiser of Saturna Capital Corp., Bellingham, Wash., which manages the Amana funds. "It's great to be out of it."

Indeed, most mutual funds that invest based on Islamic principles have largely weathered the recent credit turmoil. Two Islamic funds offered by Azzad Asset Management, smaller than the Amana and its $333.1 million of assets, also are beating the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index since the start of this year, after trailing the broad market for several years.

Dow Jones Islamic Fund is up 13.3% year to date, which ranks it in the top 4% of its category of large- market-capitalization stocks. The fund, managed by Allied Asset Advisors, tracks the Dow Jones Islamic Market Index, which is a product of Dow Jones & Co., publisher of The Wall Street Journal.

A sister Amana fund, Amana Growth Fund, isn't doing quite as well. The fund has $680 million of assets and invests in companies whose earnings are expected to rise faster than the broader market. It has returned 11.5% this year. While that beats the broader market, it still trails its growth-type peers by 1.4 percentage points.

Mr. Kaiser says the fund is basically looking for growth stocks that have such "value" characteristics as "reasonable" share price-to-earnings multiples, but this year the best performers were highflying stocks like Google Inc. "So some of our stocks didn't do well this year," he says.

Apart from financial stocks, Islamic funds, like other faith-based funds, also screen out so-called sin stocks, including alcohol, tobacco, gambling and weapons makers. They also must shun companies in pork-processing businesses and companies with a debt level higher or equal to 33%.

These rules eliminate from consideration about half of all the publicly traded stocks in the U.S. Out of the Russell 3000 Index -- which includes the 3,000 largest U.S. companies based on market capitalization and represents about 98% of U.S. stocks -- Amana has about 1,500 companies to choose from. By comparison, KLD Research & Analytics, a social-investing research firm, contains 2,100 stocks in its broad index.

Faith-based or socially conscious mutual funds -- there are numerous varieties -- tend to underperform the broader market. That is often because their blanket prohibition of certain sectors means they automatically rule out some good-performing stocks. At the same time, the added stock-picking research required by their social or religious criteria increases the cost of running such funds.

Amana funds have been a powerful rebuttal to this notion. In the past five years, both are among the top-returning funds in their respective categories, returning about 20% on an annualized basis.

Some of Amana's investment rules -- for instance, low turnover in buying and selling stocks, and aversion to debt -- make investing sense for long-term investors, says David Kathman, an analyst with Morningstar Inc.

Because of the low-debt restriction, Amana has found some good investments. Its growth fund started buying Washington Group International Inc., a construction firm, in January 2006 at $55 a share after Mr. Kaiser spotted its zero-debt level. "This looks good for us," he recalls saying. Amana recently sold the stock at $91.50 after the shares rallied on a takeover offer.

•  The News: One of the top-performing mutual funds this year is Amana Income Fund, a little-known fund that adheres to Islamic principles.
•  Behind the Scenes: Because Amana must avoid companies that earn money by charging interest or those with large debt loads, it has been largely spared fallout from the credit crunch.
•  Bottom Line, for Now: Amana's returns belie the tendency of faith-based or socially conscious mutual funds to underperform the broader market.The Islamic rules have helped Amana dodge some bullets. Enron Corp., which then fit growth-fund criteria, was ruled out from Amana Growth Fund's holdings -- before the scandal was exposed -- because its debt level exceeded the 33% threshold, Mr. Kaiser says.

Saturna Capital uses guidelines set up and endorsed by the Fiqh Council of North America, an organization of religious scholars dealing with issues concerning Muslims in North America.

Islamic law also forbids frequent trading of shares, since that is seen as a form of gambling. As a result, the turnover in the portfolios at Amana funds averages around just 10% each year, compared with 50% or more at a typical mutual fund. Lack of turnover is a contributor to performance, since shareholders are taxed for capital gains when managers sell stocks and make gains, and because of lower trading fees.

The 61-year-old Mr. Kaiser, who isn't Muslim himself, is concerned about the subprime spillover to his funds. As a big part of the U.S. economy "is based on home buying and loans -- that's going to drop off quite a bit," he says, leading people to cut consumption in retails and gasoline. "We have a lot of [those] stocks in our portfolios. If we have a major recession, I don't think we are immune from it just because we are not in those [financial] sectors," he said.

Amana's consistent performance appears to be attracting more non-Muslim investors. In the past 18 months, the two funds have increased from $288 million in assets to more than $1 billion combined. Of course, it is impossible to know for certain the religious persuasion of any given investor in a mutual fund, but by their names "we can pretty much tell they are non-Muslims," Mr. Kaiser says. "They just went for performance."
 
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