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27651  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: MMA Thread on: June 19, 2007, 08:40:15 AM
Second post of the morning:  Kimbo vs. Mercer

Any predictions on this fight?
27652  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Red Belt on: June 19, 2007, 08:29:54 AM,1,6183778.story?coll=la-headlines-entnews

HOLLYWOOD is so behind the curve on cultural trends that most fads are over before the movie biz can figure out how to exploit them. So I guess I shouldn't have been shocked to discover that someone is only now -- after Ultimate Fighting Championship has become a huge ratings champ on Spike TV, made the cover of Sports Illustrated and, most important in terms of zeitgeist cred, been mocked by both the Onion and "The Daily Show" -- making a film about the wild 'n' woolly sport that has gained a chokehold on the elusive 18-to-34 male demographic.
The picture, called "Redbelt," is shooting here in Los Angeles through the end of the month, with much of the filming at the Pyramid in Long Beach. After visiting the set last week, I asked industry-ites to guess the identity of the filmmaker who'd beaten everyone else to the punch, so to speak. An action impresario like Michael Bay? A guy's guy like Michael Mann? A sports-aholic like Mike Tollin?

Wrong, wrong and wrong again. The filmmaker who's plunged headfirst into the brutal world of ultimate fighting is ... David Mamet.

A celebrated playwright, opinionated essayist and fiercely independent filmmaker, Mamet was introduced to the sport several years ago by several enthusiasts, notably Mordecai Finley, Mamet's rabbi and a longtime jujitsu practitioner who has a part in the film as one of the undercard fighters. Fascinated by the sport, which blends the brawn of boxing and agility of kick-boxing with the art of jujitsu and the head-banging of wrestling, Mamet wrote a story that revolves around many of his favorite themes -- honor, deception and betrayal -- set in the world of mixed martial arts.

"Like everyone, I grew up with boxing, but everyone seems sick to death of it -- it's all about whether Mike Tyson was going to bite someone's ear off or not," Mamet said during a break between scenes last week. "I'm interested in going backstage into this new world, especially since everyone loves backstage movies. You could say that the story is a lot like a story about Hollywood -- it's all about honor and corruption."

Mamet grins. "In a lot of ways, it's an American samurai film. I think it's a script Kurosawa would've liked."

Mamet's script focuses on a jujitsu master, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor ("Children of Men"), who after years of refusing to fight must sacrifice his purity by going into the ring to protect his honor. The film is populated with top fighters, including Ultimate Fighting Championship legend Randy Couture, Enson Inoue and Ray Mancini, as well as John Machado, who runs a Brazilian jujitsu training school in L.A. But it also features such acting talent as Emily Mortimer and Tim Allen, as well as Mamet regulars Joe Mantegna and Ricky Jay, who plays a fight promoter who delivers such Mamet gems as "Everything in life -- the money's in the rematch."

Mamet pitched the story all over town. To his surprise, everyone passed. "I was a little dumbfounded," he admits. "I told them, 'Crunch the numbers. Look at the UFC's pay-TV ratings. See how big Randy Couture and some of the UFC stars are.' God willing, I think a lot of people are going to be surprised at how well this will do."

Looking for a buyer, Mamet went to Michael Barker and Tom Bernard, the heads of Sony Pictures Classics, the art-house specialists best known for championing foreign films from the likes of Pedro Almodóvar and Zhang Yimou. "With them, at least you're talking to the two guys who can say yes," Mamet explains. "They didn't even ask to see the script. They said, 'We'll see you at the opening.' "

Still, that's quite a culture clash, a mixed-martial arts film being financed by the guys whose business model usually involves winning Oscars with exotic foreign films. But from Sony Classic's point of view, the movie is a good bet. For $7 million, they not only get a classic Mamet drama but also one rooted in a pop culture phenomenon.

Created in the early 1990s, Ultimate Fighting Championship events were initially more sordid brawling than sport, famously dismissed by Sen. John McCain of Arizona in 1996 as "human cockfighting." The UFC was purchased in 2001 by Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta with the aid of Dana White, an ex-gym owner who is now the sport's colorful impresario. With a host of new rules and the creation of weight classes, the UFC took off, thanks in part to a weekly Spike TV reality show, "The Ultimate Fighter," which often attracts a bigger young male audience than the NBA or Major League Baseball.

The UFC is represented by the Endeavor Talent Agency, which has helped the UFC put together TV deals with HBO and ESPN. But Hollywood has been a tougher nut to crack. Initially wary of the sport because of its extreme violence, the studios have only just begun to notice the sport's passionate following among men, just as the studios have been painfully slow to react to other pop subcultures, including hip-hop, skateboarding and street racing.

White spoke derisively about Hollywood's risk-averse attitude toward ultimate fighting, saying, "They are the last in line when anything new comes along." He got early interest from several prominent producers. "But we kind of pulled back. They wanted to use the brand, and we never came to a deal. If we do a movie, we want it done right."

The UFC at one point commissioned a script itself, hiring "15 Minutes" writer-director John Herzfeld for a project that would've been released by Lionsgate. White says, "We got cold feet and pulled out" over control issues. Studio executives say they've seen a number of spec scripts, but none that captured the world in an inspired way, the way "8 Mile" did with hip-hop. "Too much of what we've seen have been 'Rocky'-style stories, which felt too clichéd," says Moritz.

Studio execs who heard Mamet's pitch said they shied away because they still felt they were getting a Mamet movie, for them a product with limited box-office appeal. Only now, with the sport booming, are projects taking shape. Universal is developing a film while New Line is close to a deal with director Gavin O'Connor ("Miracle") for a script about two friends pursuing a mixed martial-arts title fight.


"For me, there's a great story that could put a microscope on the fighters' lives and capture their humanity as well as the brutality of the sport," says O'Connor, who produced an HBO documentary, "The Smashing Machine," that chronicled the struggles of fighter Mark Kerr. "But Hollywood has been very cautious. They're never ahead of the curve. They only jump on the bandwagon when something is already successful."
An ultimate fighting movie will never work if it airbrushes away the rough edges of the sport. Mamet's "Redbelt" script certainly doesn't. As Ricky Jay's fight promoter puts it: "Any two guys fighting for money. No way the fight is fair."

What seems to especially interest Mamet is the eternal conflict between art and business. In "Redbelt," the artist is Ejiofor's character, a loner who trains off-duty cops and bouncers in the art of self-defense but refuses to fight himself. As one of his friends puts it: "He can't stand the sight of money."

This is hardly the way of the new world of sport-tainment, where athleticism is often overshadowed by performance enhancement drugs and endorsement deals. Watching Mamet direct a scene one day, John Machado -- whose uncle was the founder of Brazilian jujitsu -- pondered the movie's themes, which hit especially close to home for him since he has chosen to teach instead of to fight.

"This movie could have a big impact, because it shows the love you must have for the art," he says. "My character is a businessman, so I'm part of the conflict in the movie -- and in real life. How much do you do to sell yourself without selling out?"

Perhaps that's why the studios are so late to the party with ultimate fighting. How to sell yourself without selling out is one of those questions Hollywood has never figured out how to answer.

"The Big Picture" runs every Tuesday in Calendar. E-mail questions or criticism to

27653  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Our Troops in Action on: June 19, 2007, 12:20:35 AM
27654  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: June 2007 Gathering on: June 19, 2007, 12:02:26 AM

Big Bummer cry  The Adventure continues!


Now that we have three Shocknives, I'm looking at all knife fights using them.    Thoughts?

Crafty Dog
27655  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Free Speech vs. Islamic Fascism (formerly Buy DANISH!!!) on: June 18, 2007, 11:05:34 PM
If someone said "I don't think we can win this" or "I think there is a better way" well, this is America and as Americans we talk it over and then we vote.  That is a long way on my spectrum from saying "I oppose American victory".
27656  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: June 18, 2007, 09:33:38 PM
Thanks for that Doug.

Here's Stratfor's assessment:

Iraq: Sectarian Concerns and the High-Stake U.S.-Iranian Talks
June 18, 2007 19 00  GMT


Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has criticized the U.S. backing of Sunni militias engaged in fighting jihadists. Al-Maliki's comments highlight the concerns that the Iraqi Shia and Iran have about the Sunnis' potential empowerment as an outcome of the ongoing U.S.-Iranian talks on Iraq. However, these concerns are unlikely to derail the talks, given what is at stake for all the players involved.


Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Baghdad disagrees with Washington's moves to arm and equip Sunni tribal militias engaged in fighting al Qaeda. In an interview published in the June 17-23 issue of Newsweek, al-Maliki said the Iraqi government is not against backing tribes in the fight against al Qaeda and its allies, but that Baghdad wants assurances about the tribal elements' credentials before such support is granted. Al-Maliki added that certain U.S. commanders are making mistakes because they do not know the tribes' backgrounds and are contributing to the proliferation of militias in the country.

Around the time of the May 4 meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, the Iranians and Americans reached an understanding that Tehran would take responsibility for cleaning up the state of affairs within the Iraqi Shiite community while the United States would do the same with the Sunnis. The Iranians have moved to rein in radical Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr's Mehdi Army movement and "Iraqize" Tehran's main Iraqi Shiite proxy, the Iraqi Islamic Supreme Council, led by Abdel Aziz al-Hakim.

All this is meant to prepare the Sunnis, the Shia, Washington and Tehran for a final deal. But the Iranians do not like the idea of U.S. unilateral actions in their area of responsibility, especially regarding the Mehdi Army. Tehran also does not want to let the Bush administration dominate the process of cleaning out Sunnidom, because Tehran knows Washington is interested not only in neutralizing the jihadists but also in building a robust Sunni community to counterbalance the Shia (and, by extension, Iran).

Al-Maliki's remarks constitute a diplomatic and politically correct way for the Iraqi Shia and their Persian patrons to let Washington know they are displeased with the U.S. approach to preparing the Sunnis for a deal that will eventually emerge from the now-public U.S.-Iranian negotiations. The Shia realize that Sunni political and militant actors must be brought into the mainstream in order to contain the insurgency and give the Shiite-dominated government stability, but they want to retain political oversight over -- and military superiority in -- the process so the Shia will be able to approve of the Sunnis that enter the mainstream. In fact, the Shia also would prefer greater authority in dealing with jihadists and Baathists.

Al-Maliki is correct in saying the Bush administration's actions will increase the number of armed groups in an already militia-rich environment, particularly since the United States has added an armed group to the Sunni side of the equation, where the number of militant groups already is growing. For the Shia, who already are trying to limit the number of former regime elements (i.e., Baathists) being brought back into the system by the Bush administration, the U.S. actions are a major problem. Not only does U.S. backing improve the Sunnis' military capabilities, but it also could improve the Sunnis' collective bargaining position against the Shia. The Shia would love to see jihadist war-making capabilities destroyed, but not if it means empowering mainstream Sunnis.

Incidentally, the Iranians are not alone in their concern about the U.S. backing of tribal militias. Many Sunni political actors have expressed their reservations as well. These include Sunni nationalist insurgent groups, the main Sunni political blocs in parliament and the Sunni religious establishment. These groups fear they will lose power to tribal leaders who have agreed to fight the jihadists in return for a seat at the table. In other words, the U.S. move has created problems both between Sunnis and Shia and within the Sunni community itself, even though the intent is to get the two sectarian communities to agree on a power-sharing mechanism.

Meanwhile, the Kurds are highly concerned about the prospect of a Shiite-Sunni accommodation because this would translate into a unified Arab position against them and threaten Kurdish interests -- particularly their bid for maximum regional autonomy.

That said, these problems will not derail the U.S.-Iranian negotiations or those at the intra-Iraqi level, because both the United States and Iran are playing with busted flushes and, for the Iraqis, it is an existential issue.
27657  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Military Science on: June 18, 2007, 09:29:19 PM
U.S.: The Real Reason Behind Ballistic Missile Defense
June 18, 2007 14 45  GMT


The U.S. ballistic missile defense system slated for Poland and the Czech Republic has been continually touted as intended to counter long-range Iranian missiles -- which is true -- but it is also entirely consistent with long-term U.S. strategy.


Washington has spent the last six months trying to convince the world that the expansion of the nascent U.S. ballistic missile defense (BMD) system into Europe poses no threat to Russia's strategic deterrent, but rather is only intended to counter Iran and other Middle Eastern threats. The U.S. claims are accurate -- for now.

In 1998, the world was stunned when North Korea launched a Taepodong-1 that very nearly put its payload into orbit. Through force of willpower, persistence and innovation, North Korean engineers effectively built an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with little more than Scud missile technology (which essentially is little more than World War II-era German V-2 technology). That launch provided a signpost for the future of strategic security since, if North Korea could do it in 1998, almost any nation in the world might be in a position to threaten the continental United States in the next 50 years.

Washington has now placed a rudimentary ground-based midcourse defense (GMD) system in Alaska to counter the North Korean threat. The same system is slated for deployment in Poland and the Czech Republic to counter a similar threat from Iran in the near future.

Such a BMD system accomplishes three things:

1. It protects the United States from a small-scale rogue missile launch from very specific regions of the world.

2. It undermines the use of a yet-to-exist Iranian or North Korean ICBM as a negotiating tool.

3. It deters the development of such systems (which represent a huge national investment for countries like Iran and North Korea).

While the U.S. plan is all well and good, is it worth the price? There is certainly an economic argument in favor of BMD. If the system stopped a nuclear missile from striking a large U.S. city, then the costs of development (already at some $110 billion since former President Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative) would pale in comparison to post-nuclear-strike reconstruction costs.

But building a crude nuclear device is difficult enough. The specialized materials and technical skill required to miniaturize a weapon and harden it against the strain of launch, the cold of space and the heat of re-entry is prohibitive for all but a handful of nations. If BMD is to be understood as a defense against nuclear terrorism, then there are far more likely scenarios to be considered, and the massive investment would be better spent elsewhere -- such as on port security, where a much more rudimentary device could be slipped into the United States.

The true utility of BMD is measured by its congruence with the five imperatives that have dominated U.S. strategy for the better part of two centuries:

1. maintaining control over North America

2. securing strategic depth for the continental United States

3. controlling sea approaches to North America

4. dominating the oceans

5. keeping Eurasia divided

BMD is not just consistent with one of these themes; it is the logical outgrowth of three of them, and has contributed incidentally to a fourth (e.g., rivalries within Eurasia). At the end of the 19th century, Rear Adm. Alfred Thayer Mahan advocated the foundational importance to U.S. geopolitical security of a strong Navy. Now as in Mahan's time, the U.S. Navy provides North America the buffer that has been the foundation of U.S. geopolitical security and stability since the mid-1900s. BMD will help secure the same strategic depth for the continental U.S. and extend control of the sea approaches and dominance of the ocean into space.

So while Iran tries to cobble together a few more centrifuges and Russia rattles its saber, Washington is extending its technological military dominance across and above the same oceans that have protected it for the better part of two centuries -- and building the foundations for a far more capable BMD system. Follow-on technology will dramatically improve what is now a barely-functional system. It can become more robust, flexible and mobile. Specific land-based sites will eventually become more or less irrelevant.

The current debate therefore is extremely shortsighted. In the long term, BMD is about one thing: space. Poland and the Czech Republic are about to be equipped with the rudimentary technological precursor to a series of systems that are truly the technological beginnings of the full-fledged national missile defense shield Reagan once envisioned. These incremental steps -- of which nascent BMD systems extending across both the Atlantic and Pacific are only an early instance -- will attempt to solidify for the U.S. military the same dominance of space that it now enjoys on the planet's blue water, and in so doing extend Mahan's vision of North American continental security from the steam-powered warship to the anti-satellite weapon.

And therein lies the true leap. BMD is not just about missiles; it is about the technology and sensors necessary to dominate space. The U.S. Air Force already has a claim to that dominance of space. But it is currently a fragile dominance -- perhaps less fragile than open sources would suggest, but far more fragile than most realize. Space-based assets are a keystone of the Pentagon's technological superiority. The United States has been so successful in this realm, in fact, that it is becoming a cornerstone of U.S. economic prosperity. This dependence creates a potentially significant vulnerability, however, meaning the ability to counter an anti-satellite weapon launched via missile is of direct relevance to the next generation of BMD technology.

BMD is also about the capability to deny the utility of space to adversaries (in accordance with the official 2004 Air Force Counterspace Operations doctrine). The difference between intercepting a ballistic missile warhead 500 miles above the earth and hitting a satellite at the same altitude is simple: It is harder to hit the ballistic missile warhead.

Thus, the debate about placing a BMD radar in the Czech Republic, and the distinction between Poland and Azerbaijan, is immaterial in the long run. The United States is pushing ahead with the technological development and operational deployment necessary to build the knowledge base and technical capacity to take these next steps toward not only defending itself in space, but also fighting there
27658  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Kinda Lost on the Homepage. on: June 18, 2007, 08:34:14 PM

"No one else found this amusing?"

27659  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: June 18, 2007, 08:22:32 PM

It is
27660  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: June 18, 2007, 08:20:08 PM


Exclusive: Suicide Bomb Teams Sent to U.S., Europe

June 18, 2007 4:45 PM
Brian Ross Reports:

Large teams of newly trained suicide bombers are being sent to the United States and Europe, according to evidence contained on a new videotape obtained by the Blotter on
Teams assigned to carry out attacks in the United States, Canada, Great Britain and Germany were introduced at an al Qaeda/Taliban training camp graduation ceremony held June 9.
A Pakistani journalist was invited to attend and take pictures as some 300 recruits, including boys as young as 12, were supposedly sent off on their suicide missions.
Photos: Inside an al Qaeda/Taliban 'Graduation'
The tape shows Taliban military commander Mansoor Dadullah, whose brother was killed by the U.S. last month, introducing and congratulating each team as they stood.
"These Americans, Canadians, British and Germans come here to Afghanistan from faraway places," Dadullah says on the tape. "Why shouldn't we go after them?"
The leader of the team assigned to attack Great Britain spoke in English.
"So let me say something about why we are going, along with my team, for a suicide attack in Britain," he said. "Whether my colleagues, companions and Muslim brothers die today or tonight, every drop of our blood will invigorate the Muslim (unintelligible)."
Video: Watch the Taliban's 'Graduation' Ceremony
U.S. intelligence officials described the event as another example of "an aggressive and sophisticated propaganda campaign."
Others take it very seriously.
"It doesn't take too many who are willing to actually do it and be able to slip through the net and get into the United States or England and cause a lot of damage," said ABC News consultant Richard Clarke, the former White House counterterrorism official.
Watch Brian Ross' full report on "World News With Charles Gibson."
27661  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Free Speech vs. Islamic Fascism (formerly Buy DANISH!!!) on: June 18, 2007, 06:45:26 PM

"I am 100% opposed to a US victory in Iraq and that I consider it the worst possible outcome for both us and Iraq.  If you don't get this from me by now then you must have been reading a different discussion forum for the past four years."

I understand that many people opposed going into Iraq and I understand that many people think we should get out now, but that is quite a long way from opposing US victory!   

I find myself pretty steamed at the moment.
27662  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Big profits in WoD on: June 18, 2007, 05:33:16 PM

27663  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People on: June 18, 2007, 05:12:56 PM

 "Compromise" bill represents the most far-reaching gun ban in

Gun Owners of America E-Mail Alert
8001 Forbes Place, Suite 102, Springfield, VA 22151
Phone: 703-321-8585 / FAX: 703-321-8408

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Associated Press got it right last week when it stated that, "The
House Wednesday passed what could become the first major federal gun
control law in over a decade."

It's true. The McCarthy bill that passed will DRAMATICALLY expand
the dragnet that is currently used to disqualify law-abiding gun
buyers. So much so, that hundreds of thousands of honest citizens
who want to buy a gun will one day walk into a gun store and be
shocked when they're told they're a prohibited purchaser, having been
lumped into the same category as murderers and rapists.

This underscores the problems that have existed all along with the
Brady Law. At the time it was passed, some people foolishly thought,
"No big deal. I'm not a bad guy. This law won't affect me."

But what happens when good guys' names get thrown into the bad guys'
list? That is exactly what has happened, and no one should think
that the attempts to expand the gun control noose are going to end
with the McCarthy bill (HR 2640).

Speaking to the CNN audience on June 13, head of the Brady Campaign,
Paul Helmke, stated that, "We're hopeful that now that the NRA has
come around to our point of view in terms of strengthening the Brady
background checks, that now we can take the next step after this bill
passes [to impose additional gun control]."

Get it? The McCarthy bill is just a first step.

The remainder of this alert will explain, in layman's terms, the
problems with what passed on Wednesday. Please understand that GOA's
legal department has spent hours analyzing the McCarthy bill, in
addition to looking at existing federal regulations and BATFE
interpretations. (If you want the lawyerly perspective, then please
go to for an extensive analysis.)

So what does HR 2640 do? Well, as stated already, this is one of the
most far-reaching gun bans in years. For the first time in history,
this bill takes a giant step towards banning one-fourth of returning
military veterans from ever owning a gun again.

In 2000, President Clinton added between 80,000 - 90,000 names of
military veterans -- who were suffering from Post Traumatic Stress
(PTS) -- into the NICS background check system. These were vets who
were having nightmares; they had the shakes. So Clinton disqualified
them from buying or owning guns.

For seven years, GOA has been arguing that what Clinton did was
illegitimate. But if this McCarthy bill gets enacted into law, a
future Hillary Clinton administration would actually have the law on
her side to ban a quarter of all military veterans (that's the number
of veterans who have Post Traumatic Stress) from owning guns.

Now, the supporters of the McCarthy bill claim that military veterans
-- who have been denied their Second Amendment rights -- could get
their rights restored. But this is a very nebulous promise.

The reason is that Section 101(c)(1)(C) of the bill provides
explicitly that a psychiatrist or psychologist diagnosis is enough to
ban a person for ever owning a gun as long as it's predicated on a
microscopic risk that a person could be a danger to himself or
others. (Please be sure to read the NOTE below for more details on

How many psychiatrists are going to deny that a veteran suffering
from PTS doesn't possess a MICROSCOPIC RISK that he could be a danger
to himself or others?

And even if they can clear the psychiatrist hurdle, we're still
looking at thousands of dollars for lawyers, court fees, etc. And
then, when veterans have done everything they can possibly do to
clear their name, there is still the Schumer amendment in federal law
which prevents the BATFE from restoring the rights of individuals who
are barred from purchasing firearms. If that amendment is not
repealed, then it doesn't matter if your state stops sending your
name for inclusion in the FBI's NICS system... you are still going to
be a disqualified purchaser when you try to buy a gun.

So get the irony. Senator Schumer is the one who is leading the
charge in the Senate to pass the McCarthy bill, and he is
"generously" offering military veterans the opportunity to clear
their names, even though it's been HIS AMENDMENT that has prevented
honest gun owners from getting their rights back under a similar
procedure created in 1986!

But there's still another irony. Before this bill, it was very
debatable (in legal terms) whether the military vets with PTS should
have been added into the NICS system... and yet many of them were --
even though there was NO statutory authority to do so. Before this
bill, there were provisions in the law to get one's name cleared, and
yet Schumer made it impossible for these military vets to do so.

Now, the McCarthy bill (combined with federal regulations) makes it
unmistakably clear that military vets with Post Traumatic Stress
SHOULD BE ADDED as prohibited persons on the basis of a
Are these vets now going to find it any easier to get their names
cleared (when the law says they should be on the list) if they were
finding it difficult to do so before (when the law said they

Add to this the Schumer amendment (mentioned above). The McCarthy
bill does nothing to repeal the Schumer amendment, which means that
military veterans with PTS are going to find it impossible to get
their rights restored!

Do you see how Congress is slowly (and quietly) sweeping more and
more innocent people into the same category as murderers and rapists?
First, anti-gun politicians get a toe hold by getting innocuous
sounding language into the federal code. Then they come back years
later to twist those words into the most contorted way possible.

Consider the facts. In 1968, Congress laid out several criteria for
banning Americans from owning guns -- a person can't be a felon, a
drug user, an illegal alien, etc. Well, one of the criteria which
will disqualify you from owning or buying a gun is if you are
"adjudicated as a mental defective." Now, in 1968, that term
referred to a person who was judged not guilty of a crime by reason
of insanity.

Well, that was 1968. By 2000, President Bill Clinton had stretched
that definition to mean a military veteran who has had a lawful
authority (like a shrink) decree that a person has PTS. Can you see
how politicians love to stretch the meaning of words in the law...
especially when it comes to banning guns?

After all, who would have thought when the original Brady law was
passed in 1993, that it would be used to keep people with outstanding
traffic tickets from buying guns; or couples with marriage problems
from buying guns; or military vets with nightmares from buying guns?
(See footnotes below.)

So if you thought the Brady Law would never affect you because you're
a "good guy," then think again. Military vets are in trouble,
and so
are your kids who are battling Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).
Everything that has been mentioned above regarding military veterans,
could also apply to these kids.

Do you have a child in the IDEA program -- a.k.a., Individuals with
Disability Education Act -- who has been diagnosed with ADD and
thought to be susceptible to playground fights? Guess what? That
child can be banned for life from ever owning a gun as an adult. The
key to understanding this new gun ban expansion centers on a shrink's
determination that a person is a risk to himself or others.

You see, legislators claim they want to specifically prevent a future
Seung-Hui Cho from ever buying a gun and shooting up a school. And
since Cho had been deemed as a potential danger to himself or others,
that has become the new standard for banning guns.

But realize what this does. In the name of stopping an infinitesimal
fraction of potential bad apples from owning firearms, legislators
are expanding the dragnet to sweep ALL KINDS of good guys into a
permanent ban. It also ignores the fact that bad guys get illegal
guns ALL THE TIME, despite the gun laws!

So back to your kid who might have ADD. The BATFE, in an open letter
(dated May 9, 2007), said the diagnosis that a person is a potential
risk doesn't have to be based on the fact that the person poses a
"substantial" risk. It just has to be "ANY" risk.

Just any risk, no matter how slight to the other kids on the
playground, is all that is needed to qualify the kid on Ritalin -- or
a vet suffering PTS, or a husband (going through a divorce) who's
been ordered to go through an anger management program, etc. -- for a
LIFETIME gun ban.

This is the slippery slope that gun control poses. And this is the
reason HR 2640 must be defeated. Even as we debate this bill, the
Frank Lautenbergs in Congress are trying to expand the NICS system
with the names of people who are on a so-called "government watch
list" (S. 1237).

While this "government watch list" supposedly applies to suspected
terrorists, the fact is that government bureaucrats can add ANY gun
owner's name to this list without due process, without any hearing,
or trial by jury, etc. That's where the background check system is
headed... if we don't rise up together and cut off the monster's head
right now.

NOTE: Please realize that a cursory reading of this bill is not
sufficient to grasp the full threat that it poses. To read this bill
properly, you have to not only read it thoroughly, but look at
federal regulations and BATF interpretations as well. For example,
where we cite Section 101(c)(1)(C) above as making it explicitly
clear that the diagnosis from a psychologist or psychiatrist is
enough to ban a person from owning a gun, realize that you have to
look at Section 101, while also going to federal regulations via
Section 3 of the bill.

Section 3(2) of the bill states that every interpretation that the
BATFE has made in respect to mental capacity would become statutory
law. And so what does the federal code say? Well, at 27 CFR 478.11,
it explicitly states that a person can be deemed to be "adjudicated
as a mental defective" by a court or by any "OTHER LAWFUL
(like a shrink), as long as the individual poses a risk to self or
others (or can't manage his own affairs). And in its open letter of
May 9, 2007, BATFE makes it clear that this "danger" doesn't
have to
be "imminent" or "substantial," but can include
"any danger" at all.
How many shrinks are going to say that a veteran suffering from PTS
doesn't pose at least an infinitesimal risk of hurting someone else?


(1) The Brady law has been used to illegitimately deny firearms to
people who have outstanding traffic tickets (see

(2) Because of the Lautenberg gun ban, couples with marriage problems
or parents who have used corporal punishment to discipline their
children have been prohibited from owning guns for life (see

(3) Several articles have pointed to the fact that military vets with
PTS have been added to the NICS system (see
27664  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Newt's 10 point solution on: June 18, 2007, 05:09:51 PM

Ten Simple, Direct Steps to a Legal American Immigration System

1:  Keep the 1986 Simpson-Mazzoli commitment and control the border. In The Reagan Diaries (HarperCollins, May 22, 2007), President Ronald Reagan wrote that he was going to sign the Simpson-Mazzoli bill because "it's high time we regained control of our borders and [this] bill will do this." For national security reasons, it is vital we regain control of our border. Congress should pass a narrowly written emergency border bill to finish the necessary fence in less than a year and to have complete border control within two years.

2:  Announce an immediate shift of Internal Revenue Service resources to audit companies that are deliberately hiring people illegally. We do not have to focus on deporting those who want to work. We need to focus on the Americans who are getting richer by deliberately breaking our laws, hiring people illegally and failing to pay taxes. These people are cheating their own country. We should focus on fining and making it economically impractical for Americans to deliberately encourage law breaking. Economic penalties for knowingly hiring someone who is illegal should rise dramatically with each employer (including subcontractors) conviction, making it simply too expensive to cheat. This will eliminate the magnet of illegal jobs, will begin to diminish the flow of new illegal workers and will lead some illegal workers to return home voluntarily.

3:  Outsource to American Express, Visa or MasterCard the job of building a real-time verification system so that honest companies can confirm the legal status of all workers and identify people with forged papers before they hire them as fast as your automatic teller machine identifies you and gives you money in a matter of seconds. We must distinguish between companies that deliberately hire illegal workers and companies that hire people who they believe are legal. It is the government's duty to help this second group of companies by providing a real-time verification system for identifying the legal status of all workers so that it is possible to screen out those with illegal documents. The government should outsource the creation of this system so that it is easy, fast and accurate.

4:  Focus deportation efforts on criminals. Those who claim that opponents of the Bush-Kennedy-McCain bill support mass deportations are simply wrong. We want a system in which honest work is available for law-abiding workers and in which the natural attrition of declining job availability will reduce illegal behavior. However, there is one group that should be deported immediately, and the law should be modified to make it easy to do so. Criminals have no future in America. In every major city and increasingly in small cities and even small towns, gangs have become a problem and people feel a rising sense of insecurity. There are at least 30,000 illegal gang members now in the United States. The system should focus on deporting criminals so that people who are here illegally understand that breaking the law will get them deported immediately.

5:  Cut off all federal aid to any city, county or state that refuses to investigate if a criminal is here illegally. These so-called "sanctuary cities" are in effect abetting the violation of American law and increasing the risk to honest, law-abiding Americans. They should be cut off from all federal aid if they refuse to help enforce federal law.

6:  Offer intensive education in English to anyone who wants to learn English, and make English the official language of government. This will begin to reassert the commitment to assimilation and Americanization that has historically been part of legal immigration to America.

7:   Ensure that becoming an American citizen requires passing a test on American history in English and giving up the right to vote in any other country.

8:   Within the context of these proven changes, establish an economically driven temporary worker program like the Krieble Foundation proposals. Any temporary worker would have to pass a background check to ensure they are not a criminal, would have to give biometric information (retinal scan and thumbprint) for a special card that would be outsourced to American Express, MasterCard or Visa so it would be harder to defraud and counterfeit, and would have to sign a contract committing them to pay taxes and obey the law or be removed from the United States within two weeks without recourse to long court processes.

9:   Create a special open-ended worker visa for high value workers who bring specialized education, entrepreneurial talent or capital that will grow the American economy and make America a more prosperous country.

10:  Workers who came here illegally but have a good work relationship and community ties (including family), should have first opportunity to get the new temporary worker visas, but instead of paying penalties, they should be required to go home and get the visa at home. This way they are beginning their new career in America by obeying the law. It is amazing that those who advocate a large fine and the new Z visa, which would be administered in a hopelessly expedited manner, suggest that going home to get a new legal admission to the U.S. is somehow too complicated. If people can break the law by entering the county illegally, they should be able to obey the law and enter America legally.

These 10 steps would lead to a controlled border, a profound revitalization of the core values of American civilization, a renewed respect for the law and an economically driven system of legal temporary workers in an orderly and controllable manner.

This program would work vastly better than the dishonest and hopelessly complex Bush-Kennedy-McCain proposal now being pushed so hard by the establishment against the wishes of most Americans.

Why the Bush-Kennedy-McCain Immigration Bill Is Worse Then You Think

And make no mistake about it: the Bush-McCain-Kennedy immigration bill has to be stopped, once and for all. It was bad to begin with, and the Senate isn't making it any better. And it's not like they haven't had the opportunities. Consider these votes:

An amendment offered by Republican Sen. Norm Coleman of Minnesota would have closed the gaping hole in our national security created by so-called "sanctuary cities" -- cities in which city policy forbids police from even inquiring about the immigration status of people they arrest. DEFEATED.

An amendment offered by Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas would have denied legal status under the bill to gang members. DEFEATED.

An amendment offered by Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma would have required congressionally approved certification that concrete border security and internal law enforcement measures have taken place before the amnesty and guest-worker provisions of the bill are implemented. DEFEATED.

27665  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Lawyers on: June 18, 2007, 02:27:14 PM

The Baghdad Bar
American lawyers more interested in helping terrorists than their own beleaguered colleagues in Iraq.
Sunday, June 17, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

At last count, 46 lawyers have been assassinated in Iraq since the summer of 2003, according to a grim tally compiled by the Iraqi Bar Association. Some of the victims were kidnapped before being murdered; others were gunned down in the street or caught in crossfire. A recent casualty is Abdul-Sahib Abdulla al-Kanani, who was killed on his way to the grocery store in Baghdad on May 20. He leaves behind a wife and five children.

Aswad al-Minshidi, president of the Iraqi Bar Association, recounted this story in a phone call from Baghdad the other day. He is anguished at his association's scant ability to help the murdered lawyers' families, who often have no means of support. "Dear Miss Melanie," he says, "I know when a journalist is killed in Iraq, his or her colleagues around the world provide support and raise their voices in outrage. But where are the voices of outrage of lawyers in other countries when a lawyer is killed for doing his job?"

Where, indeed? Here in the U.S., it would be nice to think that part of the answer is that the lawyers, law firms and legal associations that might provide assistance are ignorant of the need. But part of the answer lies, too, in the different priorities many attorneys have set for themselves. Bar associations churn out papers on Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and the execution of Saddam Hussein. Law firms line up to provide legal services to detainees. Cully Stimson, a deputy assistant secretary of defense, lost his job earlier this year for criticizing American lawyers for such work. The legal establishment's outrage against Mr. Stimson would have been easier to take had it been working even half as hard to help re-establish the rule of law in Iraq.

The legal profession "is the pillar on which any society is built," says Feisal al-Istrabadi, Iraq's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations. "Clearly the insurgents are trying to disrupt our society at every level." The rule of law is a primary target -- and the killings include judges, police officers and recruits, as well as ordinary lawyers. Mr. Minshidi says he and his family have been threatened.

The Iraqi legal system is based on the Napoleonic Code, and in the first half of the 20th century it served as a model for other countries in the region. Mr. Istrabadi, a U.S.-trained attorney who practiced law in Indiana and Illinois from 1988 until 2004, says that after decades of operating under totalitarian rule, the Iraqi legal system is much stronger than he had anticipated. After Saddam's ouster, "we expected to find that judicial system and the legal profession had been politically corrupted by the previous regime . . . but that was not the fact."
Saddam created an alternative judicial system, where political crimes were tried. The code of ethics among the Iraqi bar was so strong, Mr. Istrabadi says, that "Saddam was unable to corrupt the judicial system and was therefore forced to create an extra-judicial system." Iraq has a cadre of "world-class" judges and professors educated in the 1950s and 1960s, he says, but "young law professors have been cut off from the world for two decades or more" and younger attorneys need help.

So far the assistance has been meager. While the American Bar Association and the International Bar Association have operated programs, the focus has been on training judges and prosecutors, and most or all of their efforts have been funded by the U.S. and other governments. A program to refurbish Iraqi law schools, operated by DePaul University College of Law, lost its U.S. AID funding after one year. Mr. Minshidi of the Iraqi Bar Association says he is unaware of any efforts to date by U.S. bar associations, law schools or other non-governmental organizations to help, though he notes that the ABA has invited him to attend its annual meeting in August and the Federalist Society will host a small conference for Iraqi bar leaders this fall.

"There is much to do to establish the rule of law," he says. "So far it has mostly been training judges and prosecutors. Little has been done for law students and lawyers." (A model here could be the Afghan Women Leaders Connect, founded by American businesswomen to assist Afghan women, including lawyers and judges.)

"Where are the great associations of law we hear about?" asks Mr. Minshidi. "Where are the great law firms? . . . Where are the law schools? . . . The help we need is not only the help of the government. We need the help of our brothers in the law."

Ms. Kirkpatrick is a deputy editor of the Journal's editorial page.
27666  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Help our troops/our cause: on: June 18, 2007, 10:40:34 AM
A Wary Veteran Patrols the Daunting Home Front
NY Times
Published: June 18, 2007

“I was kicking down doors, driving Humvees,” is the terse way Rob Timmins summarizes a year in Iraq. His description of his new job — roaming the American home front trying to get Americans to care about other returning soldiers — is more complicated. “The Support Our Troops magnets on people’s cars will eventually come off, and 5, 10 years from now, who will remember the veterans?” asks the 25-year-old Mr. Timmins, outspoken as the Staten Island bartender he used to be.

As outreach director for a nascent veterans group, Mr. Timmins engages the casualty wards at veterans hospitals, addresses public hearings and lobbies Congress, all the while sensing the insufficient traction of his cause. “We live in an MTV-“American Idol” culture where you can change the channel and not have to be engaged in this war,” he says.

There’s only fitful attention to the resettlement problems of more than one million men and women who have been cycling home all too anonymously from two war fronts, wounded and otherwise damaged and not making much noise yet.

Their troubles range from the mushrooming brain traumas from roadside explosions to outdated benefits pegged to the costs and cares of World War II. The veterans’ hospital scandal that uncovered a legion of outpatients foundering in a sea of bureaucracy gave little comfort to Mr. Timmins’s organization, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. Sure, the headlines prodded a bit of public attention, he says, but they only hinted at costly problems that will haunt the nation and its casualties long after the war and the Bush administration are finished.

More than 26,000 returning fighters are dealing with war wounds, 45,000 with post-traumatic stress disorder. The government’s backlog of benefit claims reaches to the hundreds of thousands, with the data transition from soldier to veteran status a computer disaster between the Pentagon and Veterans Administration.

Mr. Timmins tries to make the public grasp that troops are being returned to second and third combat tours with untreated mental disorders. At home, there’s homelessness on the rise for veterans who also discover that the G.I. Bill can’t cover the cost of public college. Their unemployment rate is three times the national average. The old veterans’ movie, “The Best Years of Our Lives,” is ready for a grim remake.

And day after day Mr. Timmins has to grind his teeth at how swiftly, how vapidly the occasional news of troubled veterans is bumped aside by a deluge of bulletins about Paris Hilton or some other this-just-in frippery. “It’s staggering, sickening,” he says. “There are days I scream at the television — lives are being taken, families left in heartbreak.”

He half apologizes for being so properly obsessed. He muses that “compassion fatigue” is one of the risks of paying attention to veterans of a failed war now longer and far less glorious than World War II. A once pro-war public would sooner forget about it. “The point is we got to galvanize this generation of veterans now, and not several years from now,” he reminds himself. “Other national themes and issues will quickly follow this war — health care, whatever — and the vets better have a voice in the public dialogue.”

But new veterans typically want to get deeply lost again in civilian life, not organize and beg for their rights. The three-year-old nonprofit group employing Mr. Timmins is one of the stronger veteran groups, and it has signed up 3,200 actual veterans as opposed to the 70,000 donors and other supporters looking for ways to help.

“In this war, you don’t really engage a single enemy, so everybody becomes the enemy,” Mr. Timmins explains, speculating that a warier veteran is returning, branded with the dark battlefield anomie of Iraq. “You have a generation of vets coming home from a fight where everybody was a threat. The mental health challenge is going to be tremendous.”

As he works the home front, the Support Our Troops bumper stickers eat at Mr. Timmins. He concludes lip service is better than nothing, but fantasizes asking bumper-sticker patriots exactly how they support the troops. “I figure they’d fumble, without an answer,” he says. Then again, he hardly looks forward to the day the stickers fade entirely from sight.
27667  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam the religion on: June 18, 2007, 12:38:11 AM
This has the promise of something apparently learned AND interesting:

Hat tip to GM on these.  GM, please feel free to post additional entries here too.


27668  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Father's Day: on: June 17, 2007, 10:55:00 PM
Woof to my fellow fathers who now protect us in faraway and dangerous places:

I want to thank you for the wonderful Father's Day that I had here at home and to let you know that you are remembered, honored and appreciated.

Marc "Crafty Dog" Denny
27669  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Free Speech vs. Islamic Fascism (formerly Buy DANISH!!!) on: June 17, 2007, 10:16:26 PM

ROG You asked if it were possible for the truth to be inflammatory or offensive, and I provided you with examples.

MARC  Ummm, , , no I did not ask that at all.

ROG Umm...  Yes you did.

MARC:  Care to provide a quote?


MARC: Concerning the secret detention centers, your point is rational.  Concerning divulging our secret program getting our side into Iraqi press it is not and concerning our monitoring the enemy's financial flows, it is not.

ROG: Thank you for acknowledging my point about the detention centers.  Monitoring finances (if that's all it was) doesn't seem criminal to me, but I'm less sure about the disinformation campaign in the Iraqi press.

MARC: Actually I haven't agreed with your point, I merely said it is rational-- something which I have said to you before on the DBMAA forum.  Concerning monitoring financial flows, since you agree it wasn't criminal of our government to do so, does this mean you agree it was wrong of the NY Times and the LA Times to print about them?  Does not an action like this aid and give comfort to our enemies in time of war???

Concerning getting favorable articles in the Iraqi press, your choice of words "disinformation campaign" is very revealing about your orientation.  One might even get the idea that you were not for our victory, so please correct me if I am wrong. 

Regardless, this was an action that our troops took in a theater of war.  Please tell us what "law" do you think might apply to this case?!?  Why do you not care that the LA Times broke this story thereby destroying the value of a secret military operation in a theater of war???  angry angry angry  For me the word treason applies here.
27670  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: June 17, 2007, 11:46:45 AM

June 16, 2007
For Immediate Release
Contact: Joe Kaufman (

(Coral Springs, FL) Tonight, June 16, 2007, Congressman Keith Ellison will be a featured speaker at the First Annual Banquet of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Minnesota). This, after CAIR had just been named an “unindicted co-conspirator” in a Hamas financing case put forward by the United States government.

Ellison, less than three weeks ago, was the keynote speaker at the 4th Annual Convention of the Minnesota chapter of the Muslim American Society (MAS-Minnesota). While he spoke, MAS-Minnesota had on its website material discussing waging war against non-Muslims and the murdering of Jews. The material is still located on the group’s site.

Following his appearance, Americans Against Hate (AAH) demanded that Congressman Ellison denounce MAS for its anti-Semitic and anti-Christian statements or resign from office. Ellison has remained silent on the issue.

AAH Chairman Joe Kaufman, stated, “Being that Keith Ellison refuses to denounce the Muslim American Society, and being that he is now going to be speaking at an event sponsored by a group named by the U.S. government as a co-conspirator to Hamas, we have no choice but to call on Keith Ellison to resign from his held office as United States Representative. Congressman Ellison, by openly cavorting with bigoted and pro-terrorist elements in our society, can no longer work for the best interests of our nation.”

Also speaking at the CAIR-Minnesota banquet will be CAIR’s National Executive Director, Nihad Awad, and CAIR’s National Communications Director, Ibrahim Hooper. The event will be taking place at 6:30 pm, at the Central Park Ballroom, in Woodbury, Minnesota.

Joe Kaufman is available for interview. E-mail:
27671  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal issues on: June 17, 2007, 08:29:16 AM

Don’t Listen to What the Man Says
NY Times editorial
June 17, 2007

If the Supreme Court, with its new conservative majority, wanted to announce that it was getting out of the fairness business, it could hardly have done better than its decision last week in the case of Keith Bowles. The court took away Mr. Bowles’s right to challenge his murder conviction in a ruling that was so wrong and mean-spirited that it seemed like an outtake from MTV’s practical joke show “Punk’d.”

Mr. Bowles, an Ohio inmate, challenged his conviction in federal district court and lost. The court told Mr. Bowles that he had until Feb. 27 to appeal. He filed the appeal on Feb. 26, and was ready to argue why he was wrongly convicted. But it turned out the district court made a mistake. The appeal should have been filed by Feb. 24.

The Supreme Court ruled, 5 to 4, in a majority opinion written by Justice Clarence Thomas, that Mr. Bowles was out of luck, and his appeal was invalid. So much for heeding a federal judge.

The decision was wrong for many reasons. The Supreme Court has made clear in its past rulings that deadlines like this are not make-or-break. Appeals could still be heard, the court recognized in the past, if there were “unique circumstances” that accounted for the delay. Clearly, following an order from a federal judge is such a circumstance.

Courts also have the authority to create an exception to the rules in the interest of fairness. The Supreme Court has recognized that an “equitable exception” should be granted when a party has relied on an order from a federal judge. By refusing to do so now, Justice David Souter argued for the dissenters, the court was saying that “every statement by a federal court is to be tagged with the warning ‘Beware of the judge.’ ”

The four dissenters distilled this case perfectly when they said, “it is intolerable for the judicial system to treat people this way.”
27672  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: June 16, 2007, 06:20:10 PM

I've already stated my areas of agreement and of disagreement with RP.   

Do you disagree with him on:

a) Free minds & free markets?
b) Right to keep and bear arms?
c) Lower taxes?
d) Sound currency?
e) Defending our borders, while avoiding a national ID?

Yes you and I disagree with him on important matters regarding Islamo-Fascism's War on the West, but why does that make him a loon?

27673  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Race, religion, ethnic origin on: June 16, 2007, 11:27:22 AM

John Leo
Let the Segregation Commence
Separatist graduations proliferate at UCLA.
13 June 2007

Commencement weekend is hard to plan at the University of California, Los Angeles. The university now has so many separate identity-group graduations that scheduling them not to conflict with one another is a challenge. The women’s studies graduation and the Chicana/Chicano studies graduation are both set for 10 AM Saturday. The broader Hispanic graduation, “Raza,” is in near-conflict with the black graduation, which starts just an hour later.

Planning was easier before a new crop of ethnic groups pushed for inclusion. Students of Asian heritage were once content with the Asian–Pacific Islanders ceremony. But now there are separate Filipino and Vietnamese commencements, and some talk of a Cambodian one in the future. Years ago, UCLA sponsored an Iranian graduation, but the school’s commencement office couldn’t tell me if the event was still around. The entire Middle East may yet be a fertile source for UCLA commencements.

Not all ethnic and racial graduations are well attended. The 2003 figures at UCLA showed that while 300 of 855 Hispanic students attended, only 170 out of 1,874 Asian-Americans did.

Some students are presumably eligible for four or five graduations. A gay student with a Native American father and a Filipino mother could attend the Asian, Filipino, and American Indian ceremonies, plus the mainstream graduation and the Lavender Graduation for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered students.

Graduates usually wear identity-group markers—a Filipino stole or a Vietnamese sash, for instance, or a rainbow tassel at the Lavender event. Promoters of ethnic and racial graduations often talk about the strong sense of community that they favor. But it is a sense of community based on blood, a dubious and historically dangerous organizing principle.

The organizers also sometimes argue that identity-group graduations make sense for practical reasons. They say that about 3,000 graduating seniors show up for UCLA’s “regular” graduation, making it a massive and impersonal event. At the more intimate identity-group events, foreign-born parents and relatives hear much of the ceremony in their native tongues. The Filipino event is so small—about 100 students— that each grad gets to speak for 30 seconds.

But the core reason for separatist graduations is the obvious one: on campus, assimilation is a hostile force, the domestic version of American imperialism. On many campuses, identity-group training begins with separate freshman orientation programs for nonwhites, who arrive earlier and are encouraged to bond before the first Caucasian freshmen arrive. Some schools have separate orientations for gays as well. Administrations tend to foster separatism by arguing that bias is everywhere, justifying double standards that favor identity groups.

Four years ago Ward Connerly, then a regent of the University of California, tried to pass a resolution to stop funding of ethnic graduations and gay freshman orientations. He changed his mind and asked to withdraw his proposal, but the regents wanted to vote on it and defeated it in committee 6–3.

No major objections to ethnic graduations have emerged since. As in so many areas of American life, the preposterous is now normal.

John Leo is the editor of the Manhattan Institute’s
27674  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Pakistan in the Balance on: June 16, 2007, 11:12:35 AM

Pakistan in the Balance
June 16, 2007

LAHORE, Pakistan -- As lawyers, civil society activists and now journalists protest President Gen. Pervez Musharraf's ham-handed ouster of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry last March and his recent crackdown on the press, most Pakistanis are convinced the military strongman is a "goner." Most international commentators see Mr. Musharraf's increasingly repressive measures as a sure sign of his regime unraveling. Others are already calculating the beneficial effects of a likely return to "civilian democracy" sooner rather than later.

Mr. Musharraf has other ideas. Last week he told worried bigwigs of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League party that he might be down but was definitely not out. This storm will pass, he assured them, the next general elections would be held as pledged by the end of this year, and they would win.

Pervez Musharraf
So how is the United States' core ally in the war against terror going to fare? Who will replace him if he is ousted, will there be greater or lesser democracy, and would that be good or bad for Pakistan?

The protests aren't sufficient to end Mr. Musharraf's rule. They lack a mass base. There haven't been any prolonged countrywide shutdowns. Traders and businessmen still support Mr. Musharraf. Opposition parties have failed to impress in the numbers game. The two main opposition leaders, former Prime Ministers Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto, are reluctant to end their exile and return to Pakistan, fearing arrest. Even the most virulent opposition from the Muttahida Majlis Amal (MMA), an alliance of six religious parties who hate Mr. Musharraf because of his support for the U.S. war against terror, is tempered with pragmatism. Its leading political party, Jamiat-i-Ulema-i-Islam, is averse to clashing with the federal government, which could endanger its political rule in two provinces.

All political parties fear that any head-on confrontation with Mr. Musharraf might lead to martial law. As if to reinforce this fact, Mr. Musharraf last week called a meeting of his top military commanders -- who duly warned against the expression of any anti-army sentiment in public or in the media.

The situation could worsen for Mr. Musharraf if the Supreme Court were to reinstall the chief justice and thereby invigorate the pro-democracy movement. Or if the government were to blunder into killing protestors, fueling their anger and swelling their ranks. Or if Ms. Bhutto and Mr. Sharif were to return to the country and succeed in whipping up a storm. Or if Washington were to nod at another general to take over.

But all these scenarios are uncertain. The Supreme Court case may drag on until next year. The government may successfully avoid provoking more violence. Ms. Bhutto and Mr. Sharif might stay away longer. Finally, the U.S. is unlikely to ditch Mr. Musharraf, partly because he is still shoring up the war against terror in Pakistan and partly because there is no guarantee that his military or civilian successor would fare any better in fulfilling this international agenda.

Pakistan's experience with "democratic" governments hasn't been reassuring. Previous administrations under Ms. Bhutto and Mr. Sharif saw corrupt, squabbling politicians drive the economy to bankruptcy. They lost their sheen when they became dynastic, autocratic and repressive. Worse, their political failures no less than those of the military led to the growth of the religious right.

If Mr. Musharraf were to be ousted by the popular forces of "undiluted democracy" in a country that is deeply fissured by regionalism, ethnicity, religious sectarianism, separatism, Talibanism and class struggle, the result could be political anarchy and economic meltdown. There is no single mainstream party strong enough to hold the center and the periphery. Stumbling and squabbling coalition governments would bring democracy into disrepute again. This would only benefit the forces of political Islam, which are the real long-term pretenders to the throne in Pakistan because of their strategy of merging religious ideology, Islamic nationalism and class struggle.

Meanwhile, shorn of all responsibility for its actions after retreating to the barracks, the powerful army would start pulling strings to destabilize and discredit elected governments from behind the scenes, as it has done during every civilian stint in power. Under these circumstances, the gains made under Mr. Musharraf's regime, like the peace initiative with India, economic revival, efforts to stall religious extremism and support for the war against terror -- however insufficient -- would fall by the wayside without generating an alternative sustainable governance paradigm.

One other significant issue needs to be factored into the analysis. In the next five years, many middle-class army officers recruited from the urban areas of Pakistan during the Islamicization years of Gen. Zia ul Haq in the 1980s will become three-star generals. These homespun officers are all imbued with Islamic nationalism, anti-India sentiment and anti-Westernism.

Their anti-Americanism is rooted in the 1990s, when the U.S. cut off all military aid to Pakistan for pursuing its nuclear program. As field officers they compelled Mr. Musharraf not to wage war against "our own people in Waziristan" at the behest of America. They remain unhappy at the ostracism of Pakistan's nuclear hero, A.Q. Khan, by Gen. Musharraf, again at America's behest. And they have personally benefited in terms of perks and privileges from the direct intervention of the army in politics and civilian affairs. If the army is not led in the future by a strong, moderate and cosmopolitan leader, it could institutionally succumb to the collective mindset of Islamic nationalism.

Pakistan's military has historically been part of its problem. But, left to themselves, Pakistan's mainstream democrats, conservative and liberal alike, have not been able to provide the solution. Meanwhile, the country has become seriously ungovernable and the state's writ has progressively broken down in large areas of the nation. Political Islam is seeking to fill these spaces.

What is needed is a transitional power-sharing partnership between the military and political parties on the basis of an agreed moderate and liberal reform agenda -- a sort of truth and national reconciliation process that heals political wounds and charts the road to a new Pakistan. It is a tall order.

Much will depend on whether or not Mr. Musharraf can pull off the next general elections without provoking an effective opposition boycott and further instability. That, in turn, will depend on renewed efforts to diffuse the current judicial crisis and make new political allies. After the elections he will have to take off his uniform and share power with mainstream politicians in order to enlarge the new government's capacity to reform state and society.

In the past, Mr. Musharraf has demonstrated the skills of a commando in blasting his way out of trouble or beating a tactical retreat when the odds were against him. But in recent times he has seemed isolated, arrogant and rigid. Which Mr. Musharraf will prevail? What will Pakistan look like with or without him in the near future? The conclusions are not foregone.

Mr. Sethi is the editor of the Friday Times and Daily Times in Lahore, Pakistan.

27675  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: June 16, 2007, 11:01:14 AM
"Well in the case of sugar I guess if we don't impose a tariff then "innocent" Americans lose their jobs.  Is it their fault Caribbeans have a lower cost of living and will and can work at much lower wages?   Or subsidizing farmers may be in the national interest."

When consumers are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars per job "saved" other jobs elsewhere, and in greater number, are destroyed.  The net result is a negative.

As for subsidizing farmers, I think it also a poor and counter-productive idea.   Read PJ O'Rourke's chapter on the Dept. of Agriculture in his "Parliament of Whores" and you will never see this issue in the same way.

27676  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: MMA Thread on: June 16, 2007, 10:52:40 AM
I saw that Royce is denying the use of 'hoids.  He says he was using over the counter products.  The recent case with the American who won the World title only to have it taken away, has given me a sense that these things sometimes are not cut and dried.  Let the Truth be found.
27677  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Arafat's children on: June 16, 2007, 10:49:33 AM

Arafat's Children
Gaza's mayhem is the bitter fruit of terror as statecraft.

Saturday, June 16, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

Scores of Palestinians were killed this week in Gaza in factional fighting between loyalists of President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah and those of Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas. As if on cue, it took about 24 hours before pundits the world over blamed the violence on Israel and President Bush.

This is the Israel that dismantled its settlements in Gaza in August 2005, a unilateral concession for which it asked, and got, nothing in return. And it is the U.S. President who, in a landmark speech five years ago this month, called on Palestinians to "elect new leaders, leaders not compromised by terror." Had Palestinians done so, they could be living today in a peaceful, independent state. Instead, in January 2006 they freely handed the reins of government to Hamas in parliamentary elections. What is happening today is the result of that choice--their choice.

That election didn't simply emerge from a vacuum, however. It is a consequence of the cult of violence that has typified the Palestinian movement for much of its history and which has been tolerated and often celebrated by the international community. If Palestinians now think they can advance their domestic interests by violence, nobody should be surprised: The way of the gun has been paying dividends for 40 years.

In 1972 Palestinian terrorists murdered Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics. Yet only two years later Yasser Arafat addressed the U.N.'s General Assembly--the first non-government official so honored. In 1970 Arafat attempted to overthrow Jordan's King Hussein and tried to do the same a few years later in Lebanon. Yet in 1980, the European Community, in its Venice Declaration, recognized Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization as a legitimate negotiating partner.
In 1973, the National Security Agency recorded Arafat's telephoned instructions to PLO terrorists to murder Cleo Noel, the U.S. ambassador in Sudan, and his deputy George Curtis Moore. Yet in 1993, Arafat was welcomed in the White House for the signing of the Oslo Accords with Israel. That same year, the British National Criminal Intelligence Service reported that the PLO made its money from "extortion, payoffs, illegal arms-dealing, drug trafficking, money laundering and fraud." Yet over the next several years, the Palestinian Authority would become the largest single recipient of foreign aid on a per capita basis.

In 1996, after he had formally renounced terrorism in the Oslo Accords, Arafat told a rally in Gaza that "we are committed to all martyrs who died for the cause of Jerusalem starting with Ahmed Musa until the last martyr Yihye Ayyash"--Musa being the first PLO terrorist to be killed in 1965 and Ayyash being the Hamas mastermind of a series of suicide bombings in which scores of Israeli civilians were killed. Yet the Clinton Administration continued to pretend that Arafat was an ally in the fight against Hamas. In 2000, Arafat rejected an Israeli offer of statehood midwifed by President Clinton and instead initiated the bloody intifada that left 1,000 Israelis and 3,000 Palestinians dead.

In 2005, only months after Arafat's death, Israel dismantled its settlements and withdrew its forces from the Gaza Strip. Palestinians have used the opportunity to intensify their rocket fire at civilian targets within Israel. Last month, Israeli security services arrested two Gazan women, one of them pregnant, who were planning to enter Israel on medical pretexts in order to carry out suicide attacks. Yet the same month, the World Bank issued a report faulting Israel for restricting Palestinian freedom of movement.

Now it appears Hamas has taken control of the Gaza Strip's main road and its border with Egypt, as well as the offices of the so-called Preventive Security Services, traditionally a Fatah stronghold. "They are executing them one by one," a witness told the Associated Press of Hamas's reprisals against the Preventive Security personnel.

We do not pretend to know where all this will lead. On Thursday, Mr. Abbas dissolved the government and declared a state of emergency, though he seems powerless to change the course of events in Gaza. Israel could conceivably intervene, as could Egypt, and both states have powerful reasons to prevent the emergence of a Hamastan with close links to Iran hard on their borders. But neither do they wish to become stuck in the Strip's bottomless factionalism and fanaticism.

At the same time, pressure will surely mount on Israel and the U.S. to accept Hamas's ascendancy and begin negotiations with its leaders. According to this reasoning, the Bush Administration cannot demand democracy of the Palestinians and then refuse to recognize the results of a democratic election.

But leave aside the fact that Mr. Bush did not simply call for an election: Is it wise to negotiate with a group that kills its fellow Palestinians almost as freely as it does Israelis? And what would there be to negotiate about? The best-case scenario--a suspension of hostilities in exchange for renewed international funding--would simply give Hamas time and money to consolidate its rule and rebuild an arsenal for future terror assaults. Then, too, the last thing the Palestinians need is yet further validation from the wider world that the violence they now inflict so indiscriminately works.

The deeper lesson here is that a society that has spent the last decade celebrating suicide bombing would inevitably become a victim of its own nihilistic impulses. This is not the result of Mr. Bush's call for democratic responsibility; it is the bitter fruit of the decades of dictatorship and terrorism as statecraft that Yasser Arafat instilled among Palestinians.
27678  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: June 16, 2007, 03:08:58 AM
Rather than define it, I'll give you an example:  The sugar industry is protected by tariffs from international competition.  The Caribean area is full of countries who could sell us sugar at something like 20% of the cost (working from memory on this one, but the disparity I know to be huge).  This is to "save American jobs".  I have seen studies which assert the cost to the US economy is a couple of hundred thousand dollars per job "saved".  This is corporate welfare, yes?

Paying farmers for not growing crops is corporate welfare, yes?


I will note that I favor having the tax code take pollution into account.  Pollution is a violation of the free market principal that all the costs of a transaction should be born by the buyer and seller and not innocent third parties.  I favor orienting the tax code towards taxing these external diseconomies and ending other taxes.
27679  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: June 16, 2007, 02:59:20 AM
Good question.  Denny?

On another front, I see that Chavez says he's buying 5 Soviet diesel subs?!? shocked
27680  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Free Speech vs. Islamic Fascism (formerly Buy DANISH!!!) on: June 15, 2007, 07:12:53 PM

At the moment I'll just answer this post of yours:

Quote from: Crafty_Dog on Today at 04:36:11 PM
ROG "So are you saying that "suppression of free speech" would have been justified in the above cases because the troops' lives may have been put in extra danger"

MARC: The issue is one of aiding and abetting the enemy-- in time of war.  Are you asserting a free speech right to publish military secrets?!?

ROG: If the secrets in question are war crimes (which Abu Ghraib and the secret torture prisons 100% qualify as), absolutely!

MARC:  Again, Abu Ghraib does not belong in this conversation.  AG was revealed by the US Army of its own accord, yet you keep bringing it up in this context.  IMHO it would be appropriate if you did not keep bringing it up in this context.

Concerning the secret detention centers, your point is rational.  Concerning divulging our secret program getting our side into Iraqi press it is not and concerning our monitoring the enemy's financial flows, it is not.

ROG" I'm just trying to make the point that it's perfectly valid to accuse somebody of presenting "the truth" in a deliberately inflammatory or irresponsible manner."

MARC What does this have to do with a post that is about true free speech being punished by an University ?!?

ROG You asked if it were possible for the truth to be inflammatory or offensive, and I provided you with examples.

MARC  Ummm, , , no I did not ask that at all.

Rog:  Look, we both agree that the ads shouldn't be banned.  So stop with this fantasy like the newspaper was just innocently presenting "information" instead of knowingly publishing something intentionally hostile and offensive.

Marc:  Hostile?  Sure, but what does it say when people find the Truth offensive and seek to shut down its expression? I'm assuming here that some Muslims complained to the University.  If this is not the case, I submit that voluntary dhimmitude is finding its way to our shores.  Anyway, Maybe this has something to do with the hostility?  And leads to the creation of threads like this one?
27681  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: June 2007 Gathering on: June 15, 2007, 05:08:54 PM
I underline Baltic Dog's point about how few people bother to share their fotos with us.  I also underline his point that most of the pictures are of really low quality.
27682  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: June 2007 Gathering on: June 15, 2007, 04:48:52 PM
No problem with personal cameras Dog Tom.  What we don't want to see is dual use cameras.
27683  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Kinda Lost on the Homepage. on: June 15, 2007, 04:46:49 PM
So why not set up a private at a mutually convenient time?
27684  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / El excremento continua pegando al ventilador , , , on: June 15, 2007, 03:41:22 PM

Mexico: The Growing Risk to Businesses
Two days after the targeted killing of Nuevo Leon state legislator Mario Cesar Rios Gutierrez in Mexico's northern industrial city of Monterrey, Public Security Secretary Genaro Garcia Luna said June 14 he will send 1,600 Federal Preventive Police officers to the city. The move is aimed at reinforcing the Mexican army soldiers who have been patrolling Monterrey since state police walked off the job May 21 to protest an increase in officer killings by drug cartels. The increased security presence could return a measure of stability to the once-peaceful state capital, though that might only push the violence elsewhere.

Although crime-related violence is not uncommon in Mexico, the trend toward gratuitous and extreme violence is growing. Moreover, serious crime and bloodshed are now being seen in areas that historically have been calm, such as Monterrey and other areas of the country. This means U.S. citizens living and traveling in Mexico -- as well as the many U.S. companies operating there -- face more risk than ever before. While the already dangerous security situation continues to deteriorate, an uptick in the number of attacks against multinational corporations can be expected.

The June 12 robbery at a U.S. electronics company's warehouse near Mexico City highlights this threat. In that case, a large group of armed men stole two full semi-trailers of electronics after having assaulted the security guards, secured all the employees on site and ordered the workers to report that things were running smoothly. Company officials suspect the perpetrators conducted extensive pre-operational surveillance on the facility, though it also appears likely that someone on the inside cooperated with the robbers.

One of the problems is that the cartel wars are occupying more and more police and federal resources. Another fundamental problem is that the cartels exercise de facto control over large portions of the country. Maintaining this control includes, in many cases, buying off police and government officials at all levels of government, as demonstrated by the June 14 indictment of four former top police officials in Tabasco state on charges brought by a special prosecutor's office on organized crime. Police officers not receiving bribes to cooperate with a cartel risk being killed, while those on a cartel's payroll risk being killed by a rival gang.

This kind of environment is leading to a situation in which crime in general can flourish. As a result, heists at commercial enterprises, with electronics and pharmaceuticals at greatest risk, can be expected to increase.

These problems are not new for Mexico, but as the federal government continues to crack down on organized crime, the drug gangs will continue to respond -- and the violence will soar. Problems like widespread corruption only mean that police and army efforts will continue to fall short. The one bright spot is that Mexicans overwhelmingly support Mexican President Felipe Calderon's efforts against the cartels. A recent poll published by Mexico City daily Reforma indicates that 83 percent of respondents support Calderon's use of the army in the fight against organized crime.

While the federal security presence increases in Monterrey, the cartels could move on to other areas of Mexico -- and then combat troops will be needed in those places as well.
27685  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Free Speech vs. Islamic Fascism (formerly Buy DANISH!!!) on: June 15, 2007, 03:36:11 PM
"So are you saying that "suppression of free speech" would have been justified in the above cases because the troops' lives may have been put in extra danger"

The issue is one of aiding and abetting the enemy-- in time of war.  Are you asserting a free speech right to publish military secrets?!?

"but not in a case where it might put Muslims in extra danger?"

I see absolutely nothing in the information which we have indicating that this is the case.  It appears that you are pulling this out of thin air.  Anyway, it makes perfect sense to me that people can freely search for Truth about the nature of Islam without being punished by their University.

" I'm just trying to make the point that it's perfectly valid to accuse somebody of presenting "the truth" in a deliberately inflammatory or irresponsible manner."

What does this have to do with a post that is about true free speech being punished by an University ?!?

27686  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 15, 2007, 03:28:08 PM
"I myself subscribe to mostly libertarian principles, believe it or not,"

ROTFLMAO cheesy cheesy cheesy

"but I don't trust corporations as much as you seem to." 

This reminds me of a sign I saw in a store once:  "In God we trust.  Everyone else pays cash."

Theft and fraud are violations of the free market and their prevention is a proper function of government, so your various examples of crack frosted flakes and the like are , , , not on point.  Property is a concept and its definition evolves with time. 

27687  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: June 15, 2007, 12:36:52 PM
I'll go further and add that I think RP adds a lot to the campaign and that the Republican Party will be better off for the difficult and unpleasant questions that he raises.

Here's this about Sen. Hillary Evita Clinton:

Hillary removes Mother Teresa photo
The Clinton campaign removed a photograph of Hillary Clinton with
Mother Teresa from a campaign video after a complaint from the late
nun's religious order, a Clinton spokesman said.
"Sen. Clinton was proud to have worked with and known Mother Teresa,"
said Clinton spokesman Phil Singer. "Her order asked us to remove it
from the video, so we did."
The head of a politically conservative Catholic group, Fidelis, said
he brought the video to the attention of Sister Nirmala, Teresa's
successor at the Superior General of the India-based Missionaries of
Charity. Fidelis president Joseph Cella called it "wholly
inappropriate, disrespectful and disturbing that Hillary Clinton
shamelessly exploited Mother's image as a political tool."
"Hillary in effect, was the face of America, in Africa, in India..."
the ad says; the original version used the picture as the words "in
India" were narrated.
Cella said that in his letter to Nirmala, "We pointed out that the
use of Blessed Teresa's image was particularly inappropriate and
disturbing given Sen. Clinton's staunch support of abortion both here
in the United States and abroad. Mother Teresa tirelessly fought to
protect unborn children, while Hillary Clinton staunchly supports
abortion on demand in all nine months of pregnancy, including partial
birth abortion and taxpayer funding of abortion."
Clinton's spokesman, Singer, stressed that the photo was removed at
the behest of the missionary order, not of any other group
27688  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: June 2007 Gathering on: June 15, 2007, 12:32:01 PM
With permission from the author "PC" I post here his "senryu" (like a haiku, but unlike a haiku not about natural things) about what we do.

                   Preparations, thoughts boiling
                  Chaotic event transpires, no memories
                             Play, grow, breathe!
27689  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Islamic Countries: on: June 15, 2007, 12:27:33 PM
Good Catch
June 15, 2007; Page A16
Chalk one up for the good guys. This week's arrest of an alleged leader of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) is the most notable victory yet for Indonesia's four-year-old crack counterterrorism squad. It's also a sign of what committed antiterror governments can accomplish, even in countries with majority-Muslim populations.

Abu Dujana is a major catch by any measure. A long-time terrorist, he started his training in explosives, small arms and guerrilla tactics as early as 1986. While fighting with the mujahadeen in Afghanistan, he befriended other future leaders of JI, including Hambali, mastermind of the 2002 Bali bombings; Zulkarnaen, JI's military operations leader; and Abu Rusdan, who helped shelter at least one of the Bali bombers before serving as JI's No. 1.

Dujana is believed to have been critical to JI's ability to function as a broad-based terror network, stretching from Indonesia to the southern Philippines. His loss could prove a major disruption to JI's training, logistics and weapons-procurement efforts -- especially if he rats out his fellow terrorists. More broadly, Dujana was one of the few leaders who bridged operational factions within JI. His arrest doesn't necessarily presage JI's dissolution, but it will complicate life for any successor.

The heroes here are members of Detachment 88, Indonesia's elite counterterrorism security squad. Organized with U.S. and Australian support in the wake of the Bali bombing, the force has steadily gained expertise and morale over its brief life. As each new raid has yielded more information about JI's terrorist network, arrests have been growing in number and frequency; the unit can claim 250 JI kills or captures. The raid that snared Dujana and seven alleged accomplices followed a similar round-up in March.

Detachment 88's strengths are offset by the weaknesses of an Indonesian court system that is still woefully inadequate to tackling complex terrorism cases, as the muddled 2005 prosecution of Bali mastermind Abu Bakar Bashir showed. And Indonesian prisons are becoming hotbeds of radicalization, not least because many jails don't separate terror suspects-cum-proselytizers from potential recruits. Looming in the background is Jakarta's failure to ban Jemaah Islamiyah, largely for domestic political reasons.

Nonetheless, Indonesia has come a long way in a short time, and Detachment 88 shows what a small but elite squad can accomplish. Indonesians have been especially successful at collecting human intelligence and combining it with more high-tech intelligence programs. Dujana's arrest is another sign that the U.S. is not alone in resisting radical Islam's terror methods.
27690  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Men & Women on: June 15, 2007, 12:22:20 PM

Boys to Men
Raising three sons has helped me appreciate the masculine virtues.

Friday, June 15, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

I think Father's Day ought not to be a celebration of every man who managed to procreate, but instead a time to honor those increasingly rare men who are actually good at fathering. But what makes a good father? This question holds more than philosophical interest for me. Though my father left when I was young, and my stepfather found me uninteresting, I now have three sons of my own (ages 7, 5 and 2). Not knowing any better, they think I have fatherhood figured out. They believe Father's Day is rightly my day.

Judging by the greeting cards, Father's Day is like a Sabbath for many men, a day Dad puts his feet up. I think the Almighty was able to rest one day a week because he had just the two kids, only one of whom was male. I could really use a restful Father's Day, but recently I found my sons huddled over a book on traps, which makes me fear that they're planning for my gift to be something live. Already this spring they've captured a snake, a bullfrog and at least one deadly spider. While other men think about golfing or napping tomorrow, I'm praying I can weather the day without getting bitten.

There's more than a little irony in the fact that I have three sons. I'm not what you'd call a master of the manly arts. I can't start a fire without a match, or track a deer, or ride a horse. I don't know how to fix cars, and my infrequent forays into home repair usually necessitate medical attention. But these are the things little boys want to learn--I remember wanting to learn them myself. Or maybe it's that boys yearn to do things with fathers, and those things usually involve a little danger. A new wildly popular book of essential boy knowledge recognizes this in its title: "The Dangerous Book for Boys." My oldest has dog-eared nearly every page.

I'm allergic to most danger. I get a stomachache at the thought of confrontation. I'm grouchy and self-centered, and have few of the traits that William McKeever, in his curmudgeonly 1913 classic, "Training the Boy," considered essential to manhood: "courageous action in the face of trying circumstances, cordial sympathy and helpfulness in all dealings with others, and a sane disposition toward the Ruler of All Life." I'm hardly qualified to be a role-model for three boys.

Many academics would consider my lack of manliness a good thing. They regard boys as thugs-in-training, caught up in a patriarchal society that demeans women. In the 1990s the American Association of University Women (among others) positioned boys as the enemies of female progress (something Christina Hoff Sommers exposed in her book, "The War Against Boys"). But the latest trend is to depict boys as themselves victims of a testosterone-infected culture. In their book "Raising Cain," for example, the child psychologists Don Kindlon and Michael Thompson warn parents against a "culture of cruelty" among boys. Forget math, science and throwing a ball, they suggest--what your boy most needs to learn is emotional literacy.
But I can't shake the sense that boys are supposed to become manly. Rather than neutering their aggression, confidence and desire for danger, we should channel these instincts into honor, gentlemanliness and courage. Instead of inculcating timidity in our sons, it seems wiser to train them to face down bullies, which by necessity means teaching them how to throw a good uppercut. In his book "Manliness," Harvey Mansfield writes that a person manifesting this quality "not only knows what justice requires, but he acts on his knowledge, making and executing the decision that the rest of us trembled even to define." You can't build a civilization and defend it against barbarians, fascists and playground bullies, in other words, with a nation of Phil Donahues.

Maybe the problem isn't that boys are aggressive, but that we've neglected their moral education. As Teddy Roosevelt wrote to one of his sons: "I would rather have a boy of mine stand high in his studies than high in athletics, but I would a great deal rather have him show true manliness of character than show either intellectual or physical prowess." Manliness, then, is not the ability to survive in the wilderness, or wield a rifle. But having such skills increases the odds that one's manly actions--which Roosevelt and others believed flow from a moral quality--will be successful.

The good father, then, needs to nurture his son's moral and spiritual core, and equip him with the skills he'll need to act on the moral impulse that we call courage. A real man, in other words, is someone who doesn't run from an Osama bin Laden. But he may also need the ability to hit a target from three miles out with a .50 caliber M88 if he wants to finish the job.

Not only do I believe that trying to take the wildness out of boys is a doomed social experiment, but I'm certain that genetic scientists will eventually discover that males carry the Cowboy Gene. That's my name for whatever is responsible for all the wrestling in my house, and the dunking during bath time, and my 5-year-old's insistence on wearing his silver six-shooters to Wal-Mart in order to protect our grocery cart. I only pray that when the Cowboy Gene is discovered, some well-meaning utopian doesn't try to transform it into a Tea Party Gene.

The trick is not to squash the essence of boys, but to channel their natural wildness into manliness. And this is what keeps me awake at night, because it's going to take a miracle for someone like me, who grew up without meaningful male influence, who would be an embarrassment to Teddy Roosevelt, to raise three men. Along with learning what makes a good father, I face an added dilemma: How do I raise my sons to be better than their father?
What I'm discovering is that as I try to guide these ornery, wild-hearted little boys toward manhood, they are helping me become a better man, too. I love my sons without measure, and I want them to have the father I did not. As I stumble and sometimes fail, as I feign an interest in camping and construction and bugs, I become something better than I was.

Father's Day, in our house, won't entail golfing or napping or watching a game. I'll probably have to contend with some trapped and irritated reptile. There's that cannon made of PVC that my oldest boy has been pestering me to help him finish. And the youngest two boys are lately enamored of climbing onto furniture and blindsiding me with flying tackles. Father's Day is going to be exhausting. But it will be good, because in the midst of these trials and joys I find my answer to the essential question on Father's Day. What makes a good father? My sons.

Mr. Woodlief's pamphlet "Raising Wild Boys Into Men: A Modern Dad's Survival Guide" is available from the New Pamphleteer. He also blogs about family and faith at
27691  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: June 15, 2007, 12:15:03 PM
The Old Affection
It takes secure boundaries for it to flourish.
Peggy Noonan
Friday, June 15, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

Go deeper.

That's what I keep thinking as Americans fight the Washington establishment (the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, their big contributors) on immigration. Go deeper. Look at the real emotions driving the struggle as opposed to what politicians and the media claim are "the high emotions surrounding this issue."

You know what I think is the American mood right now on immigration? Anti-immigration and for the immigrant. Against the abstract and for the particular.

We're against gushing borders and illegal immigration, which is at this point even souring the general mood on legal immigration, because we don't trust our bureaucrats to let in the people America needs. We don't trust our bureaucrats and leaders to care a lot about America. (We assume that when senators are together, if someone says, "But what about America?" everyone laughs, and then the top senator says, dryly, "Your concern is duly noted. Next.")

But that's the abstract, "immigration." In the particular--the immigrants we see and work with and know--we're for them.

We're asking for closed borders and pulling for newcomers.

And this isn't ambivalence, and it isn't confusion. It's common sense plus humanity.

The White House is exploiting American alarm at uncontrolled borders to get its way. This of course has added to the sense of national alarm. They believe the alarm works for them: If you don't pass our bill we'll never control your borders--yes, "your"--and you'll suffer! In the general air of agitation, anger festers. People feel powerless. Rage follows, and in this case I believe deep fissures will follow that.

What gets lost in the alarm, and will get lost in the fissures, is the old affection the whole country felt, and still feels, for its newcomers. Not shallow sentiment or softness but something more constitutional, more civic.

As in: I'm in Mass, or in the deli down the street, or the bathroom of a restaurant, and I see a Hispanic woman, obviously hardworking, obviously so far not lucky, not yet. This is what I think: Hi, Grandma. My grandmother was a bathroom attendant on the fifth floor of the A&S department store in downtown Brooklyn. She was an immigrant from Ireland.

When I see new Americans, I think I'm seeing her. And I am not alone. And I know what we feel, and it is not antagonism. It is some kind of old civic love, some kind of connection that echoes back, that doesn't quite have a name but is part of who we are.

In New York last weekend we had the Puerto Rican Day Parade. I walked from midtown to uptown in the throngs. Babies, strollers, mommies, people dressed in red, white and blue. Puerto Ricans are citizens of the United States, but some of the people around me were new arrivals. On 86th Street, at the end of the parade, I saw a teenage girl in a silver-white gown. She'd just gotten off a float and was sitting on the curb. She looked like a Miss Universe contestant--brown skin, big eyes, beautiful. She looked like she wants to be Jennifer Lopez. This is a very American thing to want to be. Near her there was another girl in a gown. She was shorter, thicker, and had a tattoo on her arm of the American flag. I thought: She'll be a Marine some day.
Some things were not good, not at all. A young man hurled an obscene epithet. He was that angry I wasn't Latin, and he felt I should know. Another young man deliberately frightened a shopkeeper on Madison Avenue. When he walked by the store, he put out his arm as if he had a gun in his hand, aiming it at her. I was behind him. I looked at the woman as she flinched, and our eyes locked: This is bad.

We're going to have to work on that young man, on both of them.

But we always have to work on young men, don't we?

Lately in the immigration debate we have been discussing and debating statistics on such things as family breakdown, education levels, and criminality among Hispanic newcomers. This reminds me of a number of things, some of them perhaps to this day delicate. One is that among the immigrant Irish of the late 19th and early 20th centuries there were fairly high levels of dysfunction, family neglect, alcoholism. As for criminality, they didn't call it the paddy wagon for nothing. My tribe was an obstreperous one. Many tribes are, at least the interesting ones. People are human and human is messy.
Another thought is that statistical breakdowns on our ethnic groups, Bell Curves and Reports on Out of Wedlock Birthrates, are not in themselves necessarily wrong, but there's something rather rude about them. That is perhaps a sissy thing to say, but what I mean is this: If you have a mother and a father with a big family of kids it would be rude--and unhelpful, and not conducive to promoting peace--for the grown-ups to sit around the table at night and say to their children, "Joey, you're the smart one," and "Elizabeth is dumber and yet dogged," and "Bobby here is our promiscuous one." How exactly would that help? It's not even "realistic": Today's reality can change. An academic might say, "I'm not their father." Fair enough, but you're a grown-up, and if you're a grown-up, you're in charge of America right now.

A little love would go a long way right now. We should stop putting newcomers in constant jeopardy by blithely importing ever-newer immigrants who'll work for ever lower wages. The ones here will never get a sure foot on the next rung that way.
We should close the border, pause, absorb what we have, and set ourselves to "patriating" the newcomers who are here. The young of AmeriCorps might help teach them English. Those reaching retirement age, who happen to be the last people in America who were taught and know American history, could help them learn the story of our country. We could, as a nation, set our minds to this.

We shouldn't be disheartened. So much good could be done once a Great Pause begins, once the alarm is abated.

What will we do about the 12 million here? Nothing radical. We're not really a radical people, Americans.

Having no borders--that's radical.

Saying, to the American people, in essence, Back my big bill or I will not close the borders, is radical.

Insisting on "all or nothing at all" is radical.

Leaving your country wide open in the age of terror is radical.

But America isn't radical. If its leaders only knew! Our leaders are in need not only of wisdom but of faith. And, as always, love, as opposed to mere sentiment, and vanity, and pride.

Ms. Noonan is a contributing editor of The Wall Street Journal and author of "John Paul the Great: Remembering a Spiritual Father" (Penguin, 2005), which you can order from the OpinionJournal bookstore. Her column appears Fridays on
27692  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: June 15, 2007, 12:09:43 PM
SB Mig:

On many points I am in substantial agreement with Ron Paul.  Indeed I voted for him for President when he ran for the Libertarian Party some 20 odd years ago.  I even agree with him that substantial portions of the Republican Party do not acknowledge the blowback issue and engage with it in intelligent discussion.

Where I disagree with him, and it is an important disagreement, is that I do not see blowback as the principal fundamental cause of the current gathering storm of world-wide war.  I see the fundamental problem as one of a world-wide movement of literally hundreds of millions of religious fascists and their sympathizers.

27693  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Free Speech vs. Islamic Fascism (formerly Buy DANISH!!!) on: June 15, 2007, 12:02:11 PM

"The Abu Ghraib photos and our secret torture camps in Eastern Europe also qualify as inconvenient truths necessary for awareness, yet IIRC you considered the "New  York Slimes", "Left Angeles Times", etc. totally irresponsible (if not guilty of treason) for publishing these revelations during wartime as they risked increased hostility towards the troops in Iraq.  Again, I don't support banning the ads in question, but I also don't blame the Muslims for being pissed about them and perceiving them as an unnecessary attack."

Umm, lets be a bit more precise here. 

1) Abu Ghraib and the investigation thereof which was generated by regular Army procedures without any public knowledge of the events in question at the time was revealed to the press by the Pentagon.
2) The secret detention centers in Europe in my opinion should not have been revealed.  What also earned my ire at the NY Slimes and the Left Angeles Times was their revelation of a secret military program to get favorable articles in Iraqi media and of a secret government program that was monitoring secret islamo-fascist movements of money.  In my opinion, in time of war these actions ARE irresponsible at best and do veer towards treason.  Actions such as these cost real lives of real Americans who are putting their butts on the line for all of us.

The nature of Islam is a vital question of our time.  Yes I am sure that pieces like this irk many Muslims, but in that they are based upon truth and operate within the context of Reason, that really is irrelevant in America.  Free Speech irritates many people on a regular basis.  Too bad, so sad.  The answer is for Muslims to answer the points and questions raised, not get p*ssy PC, multi-cultural academic cowards to silence them.
27694  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: June 15, 2007, 11:50:49 AM
C'mon, libertarian doesn't mean anarchist.  It means govt limited to certain functions (e.g. protection of property rights such as copyright in a DVD.)  Our Founding Fathers were libertarians.  In their essence, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights were and are libertarian.
27695  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Sen. Lieberman on: June 15, 2007, 11:06:48 AM

What I Saw in Iraq
Iran remains a problem, but Anbar has joined the fight against terror.

Friday, June 15, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

I recently returned from Iraq and four other countries in the Middle East, my first trip to the region since December. In the intervening five months, almost everything about the American war effort in Baghdad has changed, with a new coalition military commander, Gen. David Petraeus; a new U.S. ambassador, Ryan Crocker; the introduction, at last, of new troops; and most important of all, a bold, new counterinsurgency strategy.

The question of course is--is it working? Here in Washington, advocates of retreat insist with absolute certainty that it is not, seizing upon every suicide bombing and American casualty as proof positive that the U.S. has failed in Iraq, and that it is time to get out.

In Baghdad, however, discussions with the talented Americans responsible for leading this fight are more balanced, more hopeful and, above all, more strategic in their focus--fixated not just on the headline or loss of the day, but on the larger stakes in this struggle, beginning with who our enemies are in Iraq. The officials I met in Baghdad said that 90% of suicide bombings in Iraq today are the work of non-Iraqi, al Qaeda terrorists. In fact, al Qaeda's leaders have repeatedly said that Iraq is the central front of their global war against us. That is why it is nonsensical for anyone to claim that the war in Iraq can be separated from the war against al Qaeda--and why a U.S. pullout, under fire, would represent an epic victory for al Qaeda, as significant as their attacks on 9/11.

Some of my colleagues in Washington claim we can fight al Qaeda in Iraq while disengaging from the sectarian violence there. Not so, say our commanders in Baghdad, who point out that the crux of al Qaeda's strategy is to spark Iraqi civil war.

Al Qaeda is launching spectacular terrorist bombings in Iraq, such as the despicable attack on the Golden Mosque in Samarra this week, to try to provoke sectarian violence. Its obvious aim is to use Sunni-Shia bloodshed to collapse the Iraqi government and create a failed state in the heart of the Middle East, radicalizing the region and providing a base from which to launch terrorist attacks against the West.

Facts on the ground also compel us to recognize that Iran is doing everything in its power to drive us out of Iraq, including providing substantive support, training and sophisticated explosive devices to insurgents who are murdering American soldiers. Iran has initiated a deadly military confrontation with us, from bases in Iran, which we ignore at our peril, and at the peril of our allies throughout the Middle East.
The precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces would not only throw open large parts of Iraq to domination by the radical regime in Tehran, it would also send an unmistakable message to the entire Middle East--from Lebanon to Gaza to the Persian Gulf where Iranian agents are threatening our allies--that Iran is ascendant there, and America is in retreat. One Arab leader told me during my trip that he is extremely concerned about Tehran's nuclear ambitions, but that he doubted America's staying power in the region and our political will to protect his country from Iranian retaliation over the long term. Abandoning Iraq now would substantiate precisely these gathering fears across the Middle East that the U.S. is becoming an unreliable ally.

That is why--as terrible as the continuing human cost of fighting this war in Iraq is--the human cost of losing it would be even greater.

Gen. Petraeus and other U.S. officials in Iraq emphasize that it is still too soon to draw hard judgments about the success of our new security strategy--but during my visit I saw hopeful signs of progress. Consider Anbar province, Iraq's heart of darkness for most of the past four years. When I last visited Anbar in December, the U.S. military would not allow me to visit the provincial capital, Ramadi, because it was too dangerous. Anbar was one of al Qaeda's major strongholds in Iraq and the region where the majority of American casualties were occurring. A few months earlier, the Marine Corps chief of intelligence in Iraq had written off the entire province as "lost," while the Iraq Study Group described the situation there as "deteriorating."

When I returned to Anbar on this trip, however, the security environment had undergone a dramatic reversal. Attacks on U.S. troops there have dropped from an average of 30 to 35 a day a few months ago to less than one a day now, according to Col. John Charlton, commander of the 1st Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division, headquartered in Ramadi. Whereas six months ago only half of Ramadi's 23 tribes were cooperating with the coalition, all have now been persuaded to join an anti-al Qaeda alliance. One of Ramadi's leading sheikhs told me: "A rifle pointed at an American soldier is a rifle pointed at an Iraqi."

The recent U.S. experience in Anbar also rebuts the bromide that the new security plan is doomed to fail because there is no "military" solution for Iraq. In fact, no one believes there is a purely "military" solution for Iraq. But the presence of U.S. forces is critical not just to ensuring basic security, but to a much broader spectrum of diplomatic, political and economic missions--which are being carried out today in Iraq under Gen. Petraeus's counterinsurgency strategy.

In Anbar, for example, the U.S. military has been essential to the formation and survival of the tribal alliance against al Qaeda, simultaneously holding together an otherwise fractious group of Sunni Arab leaders through deft diplomacy, while establishing a political bridge between them and the Shia-dominated government in Baghdad. "This is a continuous effort," Col. Charlton said. "We meet with the sheikhs every single day and at every single level."

In Baghdad, U.S. forces have cut in half the number of Iraqi deaths from sectarian violence since the surge began in February. They have also been making critical improvements in governance, basic services and commercial activity at the grassroots level.

On Haifa Street, for instance, where there was bloody fighting not so long ago, the 2nd "Black Jack" Brigade of our First Cavalry Division, under the command of a typically impressive American colonel, Bryan Roberts, has not only retaken the neighborhood from insurgents, but is working with the local population to revamp the electrical grid and sewer system, renovate schools and clinics, and create an "economic safe zone" where businesses can reopen. Indeed, of the brigade's five "lines of operations," only one is strictly military. That Iraq reality makes pure fiction of the argument heard in Washington that the surge will fail because it is only "military."

Some argue that the new strategy is failing because, despite gains in Baghdad and Anbar, violence has increased elsewhere in the country, such as Diyala province. This gets things backwards: Our troops have succeeded in improving security conditions in precisely those parts of Iraq where the "surge" has focused. Al Qaeda has shifted its operations to places like Diyala in large measure because we have made progress in pushing them out of Anbar and Baghdad. The question now is, do we consolidate and build on the successes that the new strategy has achieved, keeping al Qaeda on the run, or do we abandon them?

To be sure, there are still daunting challenges ahead. Iraqi political leaders, in particular, need to step forward and urgently work through difficult political questions, whose resolution is necessary for national reconciliation and, as I told them, continuing American support.

These necessary legislative compromises would be difficult to accomplish in any political system, including peaceful, long-established democracies--as the recent performance of our own Congress reminds us. Nonetheless, Iraqi leaders are struggling against enormous odds to make progress, and told me they expect to pass at least some of the key benchmark bills this summer. It is critical that they do so.

Here, too, however, a little perspective is useful. While benchmarks are critically important, American soldiers are not fighting in Iraq today only so that Iraqis can pass a law to share oil revenues. They are fighting because a failed state in the heart of the Middle East, overrun by al Qaeda and Iran, would be a catastrophe for American national security and our safety here at home. They are fighting al Qaeda and agents of Iran in order to create the stability in Iraq that will allow its government to take over, to achieve the national reconciliation that will enable them to pass the oil law and other benchmark legislation.
I returned from Iraq grateful for the progress I saw and painfully aware of the difficult problems that remain ahead. But I also returned with a renewed understanding of how important it is that we not abandon Iraq to al Qaeda and Iran, so long as victory there is still possible.

And I conclude from my visit that victory is still possible in Iraq--thanks to the Iraqi majority that desperately wants a better life, and because of the courage, compassion and competence of the extraordinary soldiers and statesmen who are carrying the fight there, starting with Gen. Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker. The question now is, will we politicians in Washington rise to match their leadership, sacrifices and understanding of what is on the line for us in Iraq--or will we betray them, and along with them, America's future security?

Mr. Lieberman is an Independent Democratic senator from Connecticut.
27696  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / CAIR in decline on: June 15, 2007, 10:57:21 AM
A sign of good judgement from American Muslims?

CAIR membership plummets
Membership in the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has plummeted by more than 90 percent since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, hemorrhaging from more than 29,000 in 2000 to fewer than 1,700 in 2006. Income from dues at CAIR has fallen from $732,765 in 2000 to $58,750 in 2006, and the majority of the organization’s budget now comes from approximately two dozen donors.

According to M. Zuhdi Jasser, director of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, this reflects the ideological gap between CAIR and American Muslims. Jasser stated, “Post-9/11, [CAIR has] marginalized themselves by their tired exploitation of media attention for victimization issues at the expense of representing the priorities of the American Muslim population.” CAIR certainly didn’t do itself any favors by crying foul last November when six imams were removed from a US Airways flight after passengers complained of suspicious behavior. And while applauding recent arrests in the “Fort Dix Six” case, CAIR “urged Muslims to report to police any incidents of harassment or vandalism against them,” predictably warning of an anti-Muslim backlash that never materialized.

The Patriot has noted before the thinly veiled terrorist ideology of CAIR, which has repeatedly refused to condemn Hamas and Hizballah despite claims that they “condemn all acts of violence against civilians by any individual, group or state.” Apparently, (former) members aren’t buying their line either.
27697  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Head injury/brain damage/concussion in boxing, kickboxing, football, etc: on: June 15, 2007, 07:53:26 AM
Today's NT Times:

Lineman, Dead at 36, Exposes Brain Injuries
Published: June 15, 2007
WEST SENECA, N.Y., June 13 — Mary Strzelczyk spoke to the computer screen as clearly as it was speaking to her. “Oh, Justin,” she said through sobs, “I’m so sorry.”

Justin Strzelczyk was killed during a high-speed police chase on Sept. 30, 2004, when his pickup collided with a tractor-trailer and exploded.

The images on the screen were of magnified brain tissue from her son, the former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman Justin Strzelczyk, who was killed in a fiery automobile crash three years ago at age 36. Four red splotches specked an otherwise tranquil sea — early signs of brain damage that experts said was most likely caused by the persistent head trauma of life in football’s trenches.

Strzelczyk (pronounced STRELL-zick) is the fourth former National Football League player to have been found post-mortem to have had a condition similar to that generally found only in boxers with dementia or people in their 80s. The diagnosis was made by Dr. Bennet Omalu, a neuropathologist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. In the past five years, he has found similar damage in the brains of the former N.F.L. players Mike Webster, Terry Long and Andre Waters. The finding will add to the growing evidence that longtime football players, particularly linemen, might endure hidden brain trauma that is only now becoming recognized.

“This is irreversible brain damage,” Omalu said. “It’s most likely caused by concussions sustained on the football field.”

Dr. Ronald Hamilton of the University of Pittsburgh and Dr. Kenneth Fallon of West Virginia University confirmed Omalu’s findings of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a condition evidenced by neurofibrillary tangles in the brain’s cortex, which can cause memory loss, depression and eventually Alzheimer’s disease-like dementia. “This is extremely abnormal in a 36-year-old,” Hamilton said. “If I didn’t know anything about this case and I looked at the slides, I would have asked, ‘Was this patient a boxer?’ ”

The discovery of a fourth player with chronic traumatic encephalopathy will most likely be discussed when N.F.L. officials and medical personnel meet in Chicago on Tuesday for an unprecedented conference regarding concussion management. The league and its players association have consistently played down findings on individual players like Strzelczyk as anecdotal, and widespread survey research of retired players with depression and early Alzheimer’s disease as of insufficient scientific rigor.

The N.F.L. spokesman Greg Aiello said that the league had no comment on the Strzelczyk findings. Gene Upshaw, executive director of the N.F.L. Players Association, did not respond to telephone messages seeking comment.

Strzelczyk, 6 feet 6 inches and 300 pounds, was a monstrous presence on the Steelers’ offensive line from 1990-98. He was known for his friendly, banjo-playing spirit and gluttony for combat. He spiraled downward after retirement, however, enduring a divorce and dabbling with steroid-like substances, and soon before his death complained of depression and hearing voices from what he called “the evil ones.” He was experiencing an apparent breakdown the morning of Sept. 30, 2004, when, during a 40-mile high-speed police chase in central New York, his pickup truck collided with a tractor-trailer and exploded, killing him instantly.

Largely forgotten, Strzelczyk’s case was recalled earlier this year by Dr. Julian Bailes, the chairman of the department of neurosurgery at West Virginia University and the Steelers’ team neurosurgeon during Strzelczyk’s career. (Bailes is also the medical director of the University of North Carolina’s Center for the Study of Retired Athletes and has co-authored several prominent papers identifying links between concussions and later-life emotional and cognitive problems.) Bailes suggested to Omalu that Strzelczyk’s brain tissue might be preserved at the local coroner’s office, a hunch that proved correct.

Mary Strzelczyk granted permission to Omalu and his unlikely colleague, the former professional wrestler Christopher Nowinski, to examine her son’s brain for signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Nowinski, a former Harvard football player who retired from wrestling because of repeated concussions in both sports, has become a prominent figure in the field after spearheading the discovery earlier this year of C.T.E. inside the brain of Andre Waters, the former Philadelphia Eagles defensive back who committed suicide last November at age 44.

Tests for C.T.E., which cannot be performed on a living person other than through an intrusive tissue biopsy, confirmed the condition in Strzelczyk two weeks ago. Omalu and Nowinski visited Mary Strzelczyk’s home near Buffalo on Wednesday to discuss the family’s psychological history as well as any experiences Justin might have had with head trauma in and out of sports. Mary Strzelczyk did not recall her son’s having any concussions in high school, college or the N.F.L., and published Steelers injury reports indicated none as well.


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Omalu remained confident that the damage was caused by concussions Strzelczyk might not have reported because — like many players of that era — he did not know what a concussion was or did not want to appear weak. Omalu also said that it could have developed from what he called “subconcussive impacts,” more routine blows to the head that linemen repeatedly endure.

“Could there be another cause? Not to my knowledge,” said Bailes, adding that Strzelczyk’s car crash could not have caused the C.T.E. tangles. Bailes also said that bipolar disorder, signs of which Strzelczyk appeared to be increasingly exhibiting in the months before his death, would not be caused, but perhaps could be exacerbated, by the encephalopathy.

Omalu and Bailes said Strzelczyk’s diagnosis is particularly notable because the condition manifested itself when he was in his mid-30s. The other players were 44 to 50 — several decades younger than what would be considered normal for their conditions — when they died: Long and Waters by suicide and Webster of a heart attack amid significant psychological problems.

Two months ago, Omalu examined the brain tissue of one other deceased player, the former Denver Broncos running back Damien Nash, who died in February at 24 after collapsing following a charity basketball game. (A Broncos spokesman said that the cause of death has yet to be identified.) Omalu said he was not surprised that Nash showed no evidence of C.T.E. because the condition could almost certainly not develop in someone that young. “This is a progressive disease,” he said.

Omalu and Nowinski said they were investigating several other cases of N.F.L. players who have recently died. They said some requests to examine players’ brain tissue have been either denied by families or made impossible because samples were destroyed.

Bailes, Nowinski and Omalu said that they were forming an organization, the Sports Legacy Institute, to help formalize the process of approaching families and conducting research. Nowinski said the nonprofit program, which will be housed at a university to be determined and will examine the overall safety of sports, would have an immediate emphasis on exploring brain trauma through cases like Strzelczyk’s. Published research has suggested that genetics can play a role in the effects of concussion on different people.

“We want to get a idea of risks of concussions and how widespread chronic traumatic encephalopathy is in former football players,” Nowinski said. “We are confident there are more cases out there in more sports.”

Mary Strzelczyk said she agreed to Omalu’s and Nowinski’s requests because she wanted to better understand the conditions under which her son died. Looking at the C.T.E. tangles on a computer screen on Wednesday, she said they would be “a piece of the puzzle” she is eager to complete for herself and perhaps others.

“I’m interested for me and for other mothers,” she said. “If some good can come of this, that’s it. Maybe some young football player out there will see this and be saved the trouble.”

27698  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Royce Gracie tests positive for 'roids on: June 14, 2007, 09:50:16 PM
27699  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: June 14, 2007, 09:22:50 PM

In the late 60s-early 70s I thought I was a leftist.  Then in 1975 I went back to college and took my first economics course.  What a revelation!  What I discovered I had been all along was pro-freedom and that , , , drum roll please , , , I was a libertarian.  Free minds and free markets!!!  It was at this point I began reading the WSJ, especially the editorial page.  I remember well the intellectual ferment and excitement of the editorials you describe.  I became a big fan of Jude Wanniski's "The Way the World Works".

I am far less sanguine than you about Murdoch.  In the context of the WSJ, his track record concerns me.

27700  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: June 14, 2007, 09:12:52 PM
PNA: Hamas Gains the Upper Hand in Gaza

Hamas consolidated its hold over the Gaza Strip after it captured one of the last Fatah command centers in Gaza City on June 14. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is threatening to dissolve the parliament and hold new elections, but doing so would only cripple Fatah's position even more, and Hamas knows this. After five days of bloody clashes, Hamas has dramatically changed the negotiating landscape in the Palestinian territories to pressure Fatah into giving up a significant degree of control over the Palestinian security apparatus.


Hamas' trademark green flags waved over the Preventive Security headquarters in Gaza City on June 14. The headquarters is one of the last major Fatah compounds that Hamas has taken over after five days of deadly clashes in the Gaza Strip. Reports indicate that President Mahmoud Abbas has dissolved the Saudi-brokered "unity government," though the merits of such a move remain unclear.

Abbas has made such threats before, and he knows that he will be facing a full-scale civil war in the territories that would result in the creation of de facto mini-states, with Hamas in charge of Gaza and Fatah in charge of the West Bank, if Hamas is forced out of the government. He also knows Fatah would have almost no chance of winning a clear majority if new elections were held, and that his fractured Fatah movement might not be able to regain its current position if an all-out factional battle ensues. The fighting already is so bad that the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, led by Muhammad Mahdi Akef, is being asked to mediate the crisis, and Abbas has given orders to Fatah members to fight back against Hamas.

Fatah is weak, and Hamas knows it. And this is precisely what is giving Hamas the confidence to go on the offensive and essentially establish what is being referred to as "Hamastan" in the Gaza Strip. In Hamas' mind, the time has come to redraw the lines on the power-distribution map based on its gains on the battlefield. The root of this bitter power struggle is control over the Palestinian security forces, which Hamas needs in order to ensure the longevity of its militant arm.

Even though it came to power through a landslide victory in the January 2006 legislative elections, Hamas has been unable to make much headway toward its ultimate goal of replacing Fatah as the main Palestinian actor. In fact, international sanctions and Fatah's control of the presidency (and hence security forces) forced Hamas' hand to the point where it had to agree to sharing power, even though it had a clear majority in parliament. The latest wave of fighting has allowed Hamas to at least lay claim to Gaza, from where it will try to extend its control into the West Bank.

Not only is the West Bank more ideologically in tune with Fatah, but Hamas also needs to control the security forces in order to legitimize its power projection. Otherwise, its moves will be seen as those of a militia group rather than a legitimate national institution.

Thus far, the problem has been that Fatah loyalists have firmly dominated the security forces. Hamas has played along with the negotiations and with Saudi efforts to broker a power-sharing agreement, but Hamas' key demand is to gain control over the Interior Ministry and remove several key Fatah security chiefs. Former Palestinian Interior Minister Hani al-Qawasmi, who recently resigned out of exasperation, was assigned his post as an independent player in the Hamas-Fatah fracas, but exiled Hamas politburo chief Khaled Meshaal used his loyalists in Gaza to heavily pressure al-Qawasmi to not cooperate with Abbas' security personnel. The man at the top of Hamas' hit list is Muhammad Dahlan, a senior Fatah figure and former interior minister who Abbas appointed as national security adviser to restructure security forces and thus undermine al-Qawasmi's authority. Dahlan's experience in cracking down on Hamas militants in the 1990s has made him a mortal enemy in the eyes of Hamas leaders.

With likely backing from its supporters in Damascus and Tehran, Hamas has realized it no longer has to play defense against Fatah. Hamas also is working to undermine Fatah's credibility by heavily playing up allegations that Fatah is working with the CIA and Israel’s Mossad. Any Israeli military action in Gaza to try to contain Hamas will be widely perceived in the territories as Israel coming to Fatah's rescue, and Hamas will be sure to get that message across. From any angle, Fatah is in an extremely weak position. With that in mind, Hamas is betting that Abbas will have no choice but to negotiate and give in to Hamas' demands if he wants to avoid a full-scale civil war. And now that Hamas has taken over Fatah's military compounds in Gaza, it has access to thousands of U.S.-financed assault rifles, trucks, mortars, hand grenades and army radios to use in a fight if the situation comes down to civil war.

Hamas wants to show that the Western economic embargo against its democratically elected government will only result in more chaos in the territories and create a larger breeding ground for militias and crime families to take root. (The leading crime family in Gaza, Dugmush, is already believed to have aligned itself with al Qaeda-linked militants.) Hamas wants to be seen as a strong political force that Western governments will have to deal with if they want to prevent a larger conflagration down the line.

In the end, it looks like Abbas will have no choice but to cave in to at least some of Hamas' key demands if he wants to quell this crisis. Before that happens, however, things will get a lot bloodier, and it cannot be assured that either party will have the internal discipline to stop the gunfire.
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