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27751  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Rest in Peace on: June 08, 2009, 06:53:18 PM on Tony Adams
27752  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSH: Brain drain? No, brain stoppage. on: June 08, 2009, 06:41:28 PM
From the WSJ:

Log onto the Web site of the U.S. Consulate in Chennai and you will see a snapshot of what visa processing is doing to the competitiveness of American companies and research institutions. Click on the link to "Case Status Report," and there is a list of hundreds of visa applications from Indians who await processing. The oldest dates back to 2005, and dozens of others have been pending for a year or more while Washington plods through security background checks.

In recent months I have been in contact with many individuals caught in this Kafkaesque bureaucracy. Most are scientists and engineers who have earned advanced degrees from U.S. universities and are (or were) working for American companies in Silicon Valley, Wall Street and other centers of the U.S. economy.

One had been a researcher at Intel on the latest generation of chip designs; he'd won a national prize for his Ph.D. dissertation for outstanding research in electronic and photonic materials. Another had lived in the U.S. for more than a decade and was doing post-doctoral research at Emory University on vaccine immunology. Still another was a quantitative analyst for a U.S. hedge fund.

Yet when they returned to India -- to attend a brother's wedding or visit a dying parent or simply take a vacation -- they were informed that they could not come back until the U.S. government had done a security screening. Many arrived in India with only a suitcase. By the time I heard of their stories they had been forced to abandon apartments, cars and families in the U.S. while they waited to hear from the State Department.

Of all the initiatives undertaken in the name of homeland security after 9/11, the visa screening requirements for foreign scientists and engineers have probably done the most lasting damage to America's economy -- particularly in the cutting-edge technology fields that are vital to our economic leadership and national security.

The U.S. scientific enterprise depends enormously on talented foreigners. Foreign students and researchers, especially from India and China, comprise more than half of the scientific researchers in the U.S. They earn 40% of the Ph.D.s in science and engineering, and 65% of the computer science doctorates. If we drive them away, the companies that depend on such expertise will leave with them, taking thousands of other jobs that would have been filled by Americans.

Last week, in an encouraging sign that Washington has started to recognize the damage, the Obama administration pledged to throw enough resources at the problem to reduce the months-long screening to no more than two weeks in most cases. With the improvements that have been made in terrorist watch lists and other security screening tools, a decision on whether a visa applicant -- especially one already living and working here -- poses a threat should not take months.

Equally encouraging, the administration's top officials appear to have recognized the importance of the problem. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used her commencement speech at New York University last month to pledge that she would "streamline the visa process, particularly for science and technology students, so that even more qualified students will come here." Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has promised a renewed effort to secure the country's borders "without cutting off legitimate trade and tourism."

A lot of ground has been lost in the past eight years, however. While foreign student applications were up sharply in 2007 and 2008 and have finally surpassed their pre-9/11 levels, the U.S. largely missed out on the biggest boom ever in students studying abroad, especially at the graduate level. Other countries have competed aggressively for those students while the U.S. made it so difficult to come here that many opted not to. Foreign student enrollment is about 25% below what it would have been had pre-9/11 trends continued.

While the pledge to speed up security reviews is encouraging, the administration needs to take a more comprehensive look at the impact of post-9/11 visa and travel restrictions. Do we really need, for instance, to do in-person interviews of everyone who seeks a visa, even if they have already been interviewed for visas in the past, and we already have their fingerprints on U.S. government databases? That only wastes scarce consular resources on low-risk travelers. Is it necessary to pull all male travelers from Muslim countries into the long humiliation of secondary screening at the airport, even those who are frequent visitors well-known to U.S. officials? It is time to reassert some common sense.

When the Department of Homeland Security was created in 2003, it set out to build a "smart border," one that would keep out terrorists, criminals and others who would harm the U.S. without driving away the tourists, students, businessmen and skilled employees the country needs. It was the right goal, but too often the government forgot the "smart" part and simply layered on more onerous security measures. The U.S. economy has suffered unnecessary damage. The administration's move last week on visas needs to be the first of many steps to get back on a smarter path.

Mr. Alden, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, is the author of "The Closing of the American Border: Terrorism, Immigration and Security Since 9/11" (HarperCollins, 2008).

27753  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Mudd under the bus with regret on: June 08, 2009, 04:48:43 PM
President Obama and CIA Director Leon Panetta have been at pains to say they don't want to punish intelligence officials and agents who had a role in "enhanced interrogation" after 9/11. But tell that to Philip Mudd, who withdrew his nomination late Friday to be the intelligence chief at the Homeland Security Department under pressure from Democrats in Congress.

Mr. Mudd is a well-regarded career intelligence officer who has worked in senior positions at the FBI and CIA, including deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center. Mr. Obama nominated him on May 4 amid fulsome praise from Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. But in a statement issued by the White House on the eve of a late spring weekend, Mr. Mudd said he was withdrawing so as not to become "a distraction to the president and his vital agenda."

The truth is that he risked being a distraction to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democrats, who suddenly don't want to talk about what they knew about the interrogation techniques they once endorsed and long funded but now denounce. So Ms. Pelosi doesn't have to answer any questions about her changing claims about her CIA briefings, but a foot soldier like Mr. Mudd who did what his country asked him to do to keep the country safe is blackballed.

The White House said Mr. Obama accepted Mr. Mudd's withdrawal "with sadness and regret," but it's clear the President wasn't willing to fight for him. The message that will be heard loud and clear across the intelligence services is that you better not take any risks to keep America safe, because if you get into political trouble Mr. Obama will throw you over the side, albeit with "regret."
27754  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / A hint of testosterone?!? on: June 08, 2009, 09:07:49 AM

U.S. Weighs Intercepting North Korean Shipments
Published: June 7, 2009
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration signaled Sunday that it was seeking a way to interdict, possibly with China’s help, North Korean sea and air shipments suspected of carrying weapons or nuclear technology.

The administration also said it was examining whether there was a legal basis to reverse former President George W. Bush’s decision last year to remove the North from a list of states that sponsor terrorism.

The reference to interdictions — preferably at ports or airfields in countries like China, but possibly involving riskier confrontations on the high seas — was made by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. She was the highest-ranking official to talk publicly about such a potentially provocative step as a response to North Korea’s second nuclear test, conducted two weeks ago.

While Mrs. Clinton did not specifically mention assistance from China, other administration officials have been pressing Beijing to take such action under Chinese law.

Speaking on ABC’s “This Week,” Mrs. Clinton said the United States feared that if the test and other recent actions by North Korea did not lead to “strong action,” there was a risk of “an arms race in Northeast Asia” — an oblique reference to the concern that Japan would reverse its long-held ban against developing nuclear weapons.

So far it is not clear how far the Chinese are willing to go to aid the United States in stopping North Korea’s profitable trade in arms, the isolated country’s most profitable export. But the American focus on interdiction demonstrates a new and potentially far tougher approach to North Korea than both President Clinton and Mr. Bush, in his second term, took as they tried unsuccessfully to reach deals that would ultimately lead North Korea to dismantle its nuclear arsenal.

Mr. Obama, aides say, has decided that he will not offer North Korea new incentives to dismantle the nuclear complex at Yongbyon that the North previously promised to abandon.

“I’m tired of buying the same horse twice,” Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates said last week while touring an antimissile site in Alaska that the Bush administration built to demonstrate its preparedness to destroy North Korean missiles headed toward the United States. (So far, the North Koreans have not successfully tested a missile of sufficient range to reach the United States, though there is evidence that they may be preparing for another test of their long-range Taepodong-2 missile.)

In France on Saturday, Mr. Obama referred to the same string of broken deals, telling reporters, “I don’t think there should be an assumption that we will simply continue down a path in which North Korea is constantly destabilizing the region and we just react in the same ways.” He added, “We are not intending to continue a policy of rewarding provocation.”

While Mr. Obama was in the Middle East and Europe last week, several senior officials said the president’s national security team had all but set aside the central assumption that guided American policy toward North Korea over the past 16 years and two presidencies: that the North would be willing to ultimately abandon its small arsenal of nuclear weapons in return for some combination of oil, nuclear power plants, money, food and guarantees that the United States would not topple its government, the world’s last Stalinesque regime.

Now, after examining the still-inconclusive evidence about the results of North Korea’s second nuclear test, the administration has come to different conclusions: that Pyonyang’s top priority is to be recognized as a nuclear state, that it is unwilling to bargain away its weapons and that it sees tests as a way to help sell its nuclear technology.

“This entirely changes the dynamic of how you deal with them,” a senior national security aide said.

While Mr. Obama is willing to reopen the six-party talks that Mr. Bush began — the other participants are Japan, South Korea, Russia and China — he has no intention, aides say, of offering new incentives to get the North to fulfill agreements from 1994, 2005 and 2008; all were recently renounced.

“Clinton bought it once, Bush bought it again, and we’re not going to buy it a third time,” one of Mr. Obama’s chief strategists said last week, referring to the Yongbyon plant, where the North reprocesses spent nuclear fuel into bomb-grade plutonium.

While some officials privately acknowledged that they would still like to roll back what one called North Korea’s “rudimentary” nuclear capacity, a more realistic goal is to stop the country from devising a small weapon deliverable on a short-, medium- or long-range missile.

In conducting any interdictions, the United States could risk open confrontation with North Korea. That prospect — and the likelihood of escalating conflict if the North resisted an inspection — is why China has balked at American proposals for a resolution by the United Nations Security Council that would explicitly allow interceptions at sea. A previous Security Council resolution, passed after the North’s first nuclear test, in 2006, allowed interdictions “consistent with international law.” But that term was never defined, and few of the provisions were enforced.

North Korea has repeatedly said it would regard any interdiction as an act of war, and officials in Washington have been trying to find ways to stop the shipments without a conflict. Late last week, James B. Steinberg, the deputy secretary of state, visited Beijing with a delegation of American officials, seeking ideas from China about sanctions, including financial pressure, that might force North Korea to change direction.

“The Chinese face a dilemma that they have always faced,” a senior administration official said. “They don’t want North Korea to become a full nuclear weapons state. But they don’t want to cause the state to collapse.” They have been walking a fine line, the official said, taking a tough position against the North of late, but unwilling to publicly embrace steps that would put China in America’s camp.

To counter the Chinese concern, Mr. Steinberg and his delegation argued to the Chinese that failing to crack down on North Korea would prompt reactions that Beijing would find deeply unsettling, including a greater American military presence in the region and more calls in Japan for that country to develop its own weapons.

Mrs. Clinton seemed to reflect this concern in the interview on Sunday. “We will do everything we can to both interdict it and prevent it and shut off their flow of money,” she said. “If we do not take significant and effective action against the North Koreans now, we’ll spark an arms race in Northeast Asia. I don’t think anybody wants to see that.”

While Mrs. Clinton also said the State Department was examining whether North Korea should be placed back on the list of state sponsors of terrorism, she acknowledged that there was a legal process for it. “Obviously we would want to see recent evidence of their support for international terrorism,” she said.

That evidence may be hard to come by. While North Korea has engaged in missile sales, it has not been linked to terrorism activity for many years. And North Korea’s restoration to the list would be largely symbolic, because it already faces numerous economic sanctions.
27755  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / The second and the fourteenth on: June 08, 2009, 08:26:13 AM
Pasted here from the Legal Issues thread on P&R forum:

June 08, 2009, 4:00 a.m.

Bill of Rights, Inc.
Could a Second Amendment case establish Fourteenth Amendment originalism?

By Will Haun

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently decided McDonald v. City of Chicago, a challenge to Chicago’s gun ban. The case has major implications for protecting gun rights at the state level, but its importance goes further than that. Depending on what the Supreme Court does, it could make originalism — relying on the text of the Constitution and its amendments as they were understood when enacted — the accepted standard for interpreting the Bill of Rights, rather than the whims of a handful of justices.

The plaintiff’s case in McDonald is based on the Second Amendment, but also on the Fourteenth. Last year, in Heller v. District of Columbia, the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to own firearms against infringement by the federal government. But can a state or local government infringe that right? This question hinges on the constitutional principle of “incorporation” — the notion that the Fourteenth Amendment makes the states subject to the Bill of Rights.

When it was enacted in 1791, the Bill of Rights applied to the federal government only. Individual states could (and did) restrict free speech, for example, or have an established church. The states were beholden only to their own laws and constitutions and to certain provisions in Article I of the U.S. Constitution. After the Civil War, as Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris (2002), “the Fourteenth Amendment fundamentally restructured the relationship between individuals and the States and ensured that States would not deprive citizens of liberty without due process of law.” But what “liberty” was included in this guarantee, and what was meant by “due process”?

The full text of the first section of the Fourteenth Amendment reads:

No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Ringing phrases, to be sure, but somewhat short on specifics. In fact, the meaning of every major clause in the first section is disputed, and has been since the amendment’s enactment in 1868.

Case law provides little clarity. The first major Supreme Court decision to grapple with these questions came in the Slaughterhouse cases of 1873, but — to quote Justice Thomas again, this time from his dissent in Saenz v. Roe (1999) — that decision “all but read the Privileges or Immunities Clause out of the Constitution.”  By adopting a narrow interpretation of the clause, the Court gave states wide latitude to enact laws they thought were necessary.

Towards the end of the 19th century, however, as various reform movements took hold, restrictive state laws came to be seen as an obstacle to progress.  So the justices eventually concluded, as Prof. James W. Ely of Vanderbilt Law School notes, “that the Fourteenth Amendment did confer a national standard of rights against the states.” But instead of reviving the “privileges or immunities” clause to enforce this standard (and thus reversing Slaughterhouse), they seized upon the “due process” clause.

That clause may simply seem to restate the Fifth Amendment requirement guaranteeing an individual’s right to a day in court and the protections of the legal process, this time applying it to the states as well as the federal government. That’s the way many modern originalists understand the clause. But as reform took hold, courts began interpreting it to mean that states had no power to deprive citizens of important rights, whether or not those rights were mentioned in the Constitution. The judges themselves would decide what rights fell under the clause’s protection. They called this doctrine “substantive due process” to distinguish it from the traditional day-in-court meaning, which came to be called “procedural due process.”

At first, substantive due process was used mostly to reverse state encroachments on economic choices, like freedom of contract. If a baker wanted to work 70 or 80 hours a week, no one could stop him. But as the doctrine evolved, justices used it to incorporate selective provisions of the Bill of Rights, making them enforceable against state governments (the Second Amendment, among other provisions, was excluded for various reasons).  And as the 20th century wore on, these two trends diverged: Economic regulation became popular among the progressives on the Court, while regulation of individuals’ “private” conduct became even less so. The justices modified the doctrine to fit their new preferences.

The result, Ely notes, was to create “an artificial division between economic rights, which the pro–New Deal court wanted to reject, and personal rights, which they wanted to expand to mean virtually anything.” Since the 1940s, the concept of substantive due process has been greatly expanded by the Court, not just to protect the Bill of Rights from abridgment by state action, but to create rights to privacy and abortion, a “wall of separation” between church and state, and many other inventions of the Warren and Berger Courts.

Many originalists, such as David Forte, co-editor of The Heritage Guide to the Constitution, have rightly argued that “due process was never meant to have a substantive meaning,” but merely a judicial one. This argument provides the basis for many conservatives and originalists to stand against the whole principle of incorporation. In a strict interpretation of this view, Chicago is entitled to restrict gun rights, since the Second Amendment (and the rest of the Bill of Rights) does not apply to it.

To parry this objection, the briefs in McDonald that argue for incorporation rely on recent scholarship that justifies incorporation on originalist grounds. Prof. Michael Kent Curtis, of Wake Forest School of Law, who worked on an amicus brief in McDonald, used the broad text of the Fourteenth Amendment, statements made in the 39th Congress (which passed the amendment), and the legal theories of its sponsors to conclude in his 1990 book No State Shall Abridge: The Fourteenth Amendment and the Bill of Rights that incorporation through the “privileges or immunities” clause was part of the amendment’s intent.

Other originalists, such as Jim Bond, professor emeritus at Seattle University School of Law, have questioned how widespread the agreement on incorporation was, especially in the southern-state ratifying conventions that meticulously reviewed the amendment before passing it. But there is still good reason to believe, as Forte says, that some “federal package of rights is protected by the privileges or immunities clause.”

Exactly what rights are included in that package is unclear, but the connection of incorporation with the “privileges or immunities” clause provides another weapon for civil-liberties lawyers. That explains why both the progressive Constitutional Accountability Center (a “living Constitution” advocate) and the libertarian Institute for Justice filed amicus briefs in McDonald v. Chicago in favor of incorporating the Second Amendment. In a case of politics making strange bedfellows, the amicus briefs put those two groups on the same side as the National Rifle Association, which is co-plaintiff with McDonald.

In a decision delivered earlier this week, the Seventh Circuit upheld Chicago’s ban on firearms, but the decision left the merits of incorporation through the “privileges or immunities” clause to the Supreme Court. Alan Gura, arguing on behalf of the NRA and McDonald, anticipated this; he noted in oral arguments that his side intends to “preserve this argument for the upper [Supreme] Court.” (Gura was also the lawyer for the plaintiff in Heller v. D.C.)

Assuming the Supreme Court agrees to review McDonald, its decision could send shock waves through constitutional law. If the “privileges or immunities” clause becomes the new justification for incorporating the Bill of Rights into state law, the days of “substantive due process,” and all the judicial overreaching it has brought, could be numbered. Still, the fact that some liberals support this interpretation is worrisome. Would it merely substitute a new all-purpose tool for legislating from the bench in place of the old one?

Not necessarily. Basing decisions on the text-based “privileges or immunities” clause, rather than the judge-created doctrine of “substantive due process,” would naturally lend itself to the increased use of originalist analysis of the Fourteenth Amendment. The focus of inquiry would be, in Forte’s words, “what could have been reasonably understood to be the ‘Privileges or Immunities’ of Federal Citizenship by the amendment’s framers” — limiting the ability of future justices to “find” new “rights” protected by it. So no matter how the incorporation debate shakes out, an endorsement of originalism would be a victory for conservatives who prize intellectual honesty in constitutional interpretation.

Seemingly aware of these implications, the Left is trying to preserve the contrivances of “substantive due process” in an originalist guise. They want to define “privileges” and “immunities” as broadly as possible, to include what Doug Kendall of the Constitutional Accountability Center calls “very important progressive values,” such as abortion rights and same-sex marriage. The goal is to continue expanding “individual rights” while permitting restriction of property rights and economic freedoms.  So if the Supreme Court decides in McDonald’s favor, it could end the controversy over gun rights but begin a host of new battles in other areas.

Yet Robert Levy, chairman of the Cato Institute, is not afraid of opening a can of worms. He says that libertarians see McDonald as an opportunity “to resurrect economic liberties suspended by the Court under the post–New Deal version of substantive due process.” Conservatives should see this case as a rare opportunity to base any incorporation of the Bill of Rights on originalist grounds — an opportunity they should waste no time in seizing, for it may not come again.

— Will Haun is a recent graduate of American University and is policy chairman of the Young Conservative Coalition. He is interning at the Heritage Foundation’s Center for Legal and Judicial Studies this summer before beginning law school at Catholic University this fall.

National Review Online -
27756  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / This seems like an interesting site on: June 08, 2009, 07:46:01 AM
Haven't had a chance to check it out properly yet, but it seems promising.  Any comments?
27757  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Amazing gaming technology on: June 08, 2009, 07:28:42 AM
Amazing gaming technology:
27758  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Dog Brothers Team Kali Tudo on: June 07, 2009, 11:51:57 PM
Looking forward to pairing Poi Dog and Kevin tomorrow  cool
27759  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / asst sec of DHS 2 on: June 07, 2009, 11:49:43 PM
second post

Obama Appoints Devout Muslim to Homeland Security Post

Our Islamic loving President Obama has appointed Arif Alikhan a devout Sunni Muslim to assistant secretary for the Office of Policy Department of Homeland Security. Mr. Alikhan was instrumental in taking down the LA Police Department's plan to monitor it's Muslim community.

Hat tip to Atlas Shrugs.

Arif Alikhan Moves from LA Mayor’s Office to DHS

Arif Alikhan, currently deputy mayor for the city of Los Angeles, was appointed Apr. 24 as assistant secretary for the Office of Policy Development at the Department of Homeland Security.

Alikhan’s appointment was announced alongside David Heyman’s nomination to the post of assistant secretary for policy at the department. DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano noted Heyman and Alikhan’s “broad and impressive array of experience in national security, emergency preparedness and counterterrorism.”

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa also hailed Alikhan’s appointment at DHS. “Arif Alikhan has been instrumental in advancing my administration’s central priorities of preparing Los Angeles to respond to natural disasters and against the threat of terrorism, increasing public safety and putting 1,000 new LAPD officers on our streets,” said the mayor in a press statement.

In a telephone interview, Alikhan told India-West that he has no start date yet for his new role, as he is still looking for a home in Washington, D.C., and wrapping up at the L.A. mayor’s office. His appointment does not require Senate confirmation.

The Canadian-born Alikhan, who grew up in Southern California, said he spoke to Napolitano briefly before the appointment was made. “She said she was very happy I was coming on board,” said the 1993 Loyola law school graduate, adding that he was “very impressed” by Napolitano and her accomplishments.

First on the agenda at DHS will be learning the priorities of the department, said Alikhan, adding that he wanted the directives for his new post to come from within the administration.

Alikhan has served as L.A.’s deputy mayor of homeland security and public safety since November 2006. Of his tenure there, Alikhan said he was most proud of his gang reduction strategies, and working with the city’s fire department on issues of discrimination.

Alikhan also secured over $400 million in homeland security and public safety grants for the Los Angeles area, and helped to revamp the city’s emergency procedures. He served as a key aide to Villaraigosa during times of brush and wild fires, and during a Metrolink train crash last September, which killed more than 15 people.

Before joining Villaraigosa’s administration, Alikhan served for nine years as a senior official at the U.S. Department of Justice, where he oversaw a national computer hacking and intellectual property program. He also served as a key advisor on intellectual property and cybercrime at the U.S. Attorney’s office in both Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles.

In 2004, Alikhan received an award from the DOJ for “Superior Performance in a Management and Supervisory Role.” He has also received several awards from law enforcement agencies.

“We are very proud of Arif Alikhan for his appointment,” said Pankit Doshi, co-president of the South Asian Bar Association of Southern California. “His uncompromising dedication to the Los Angeles community is second to none. This honor is a testament to his abilities and dedication.” “Arif has been a very good friend to SABA-SC and a role model to South Asian American lawyers throughout the country,” echoed SABA-SC co-president Paul Saghera, noting that Alikhan is a current SABA-SC member and the 2007 recipient of the SABA-SC Foundation Trailblazer Award for his contributions to the South Asian legal community.

Alikhan began his legal career as a judicial law clerk to U.S. District Judge Ronald Lew in Los Angeles. He then joined the firm of Irell and Manella, where he handled civil and white-collar criminal defense cases. He graduated cum laude from the University of California, Irvine in 1990, with a degree in social ecology and an emphasis in criminal justice, criminology and legal studies.

Parents Mir Farooq and Rafat Alikhan, originally from Hyderabad, now live in Diamond Bar, Calif., while brother Zafar Alikhan, an urban planner, lives in Denver, Colorado.
27760  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Our new Asst Sec. of DHS on: June 07, 2009, 11:43:09 PM

OBAMA APPOINTMENT: Arif Alikhan, Asst Secretary DHS

Arif Alikhan, currently deputy mayor for the city of Los Angeles, was appointed as assistant secretary for the Office of Policy Development at the Department of Homeland Security.

Muslim Democrats welcome Alikhan’s appointment

At a banquet/fundraiser for the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California last weekend, the first speaker was Arif Alikhan (Deputy Mayor of Los Angeles - in charge of public safety for the city). He bid farewell, as he is going to take a post as Assistant Secretary at the Department of Homeland Security. Arif Alikhan is a devout Sunni and the son of Pakistani immigrants (here).

....speakers included Arif Ali Khan, the former Deputy Mayor of Los Angeles. He bid the attendees farewell as he prepared to leave the Los Angeles area for Washington, D. C. There he will serve as Assistant Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Professor Agha Saeed of the American Muslim Task Force (AMT) spoke of the aftermath of 9/11 and the struggle of the Muslim Community against the pervasive atmosphere of Islamophobia and hatred. It was a struggle against the tide - a very strong tide - to prevent Muslims in America from being marginalized and silenced.

Professor Saeed ....issued five demands from Muslims to the Department of Justice. These demands included a cessation to the infiltration by spies of mosques and an end to the introduction of agents provocateur. In addition there was to be a cessation of attempts to undermine Muslim groups such as the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR).

This is where Alikhan spoke? He was comfortable with this terror talk?

Why Alikhan? DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano noted Alikhan’s “broad and impressive array of experience in national security, emergency preparedness and counterterrorism.” I am not sure what she is talking about (neither is she, I am sure.)
Arif Alikhan was appointed Deputy Mayor of LA - picked from relative obscurity.

He began his career seven years ago, when he took a job with the Department of Justice hunting down computer hackers, crooks who were selling merchandise on Ebay at rock-bottom prices. In his former position as an assistant US attorney, Alikhan consistently did his work accurately and silently, never producing any headlines. But then he suddenly became one of the most important men in Los Angeles, America's second-largest city after New York.

He took the position of Deputy Mayor in November 2006. The year that the Congress went Democrat and history and America took a disastrous turn. How does an obscure bureaucrat a and devout Muslim come to the position of Deputy Mayor of Los Angeles - in charge of public safety for the city? And now Assistant Secretary to DHS?

Un-indicted co-conspirator CAIR was thrilled at the appointment:
CAIR-LA Congratulates Calif. Muslim Appointed to DHS Post , Arif Alikhan will serve as Assistant Secretary for Policy Development

(LOS ANGELES, CA., 5/6/09) - The Greater Los Angeles Area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) today congratulated Arif Alikhan on his recent appointment as Assistant Secretary for Policy Development in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

"Congratulations to Mr. Ali Khan on this well-deserved appointment," said CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush. "Mr. Alikhan's new position reflects his and the community's dedication to helping preserve the security of our country. The American Muslim community can be proud of him."

In the past few weeks, American Muslim leaders have been urging the Obama administration to be inclusive and to reflect the diversity of our nation as he selects the most qualified public servants to fill important positions.

Back in 2007, Alikhan was instrumental in removing the Muslim terror tracking plan in LA.
The controversial Muslim 'Mapping' Plan of the Los Angeles Police Department is now "dead on arrival" according to Chief William Bratton.
"It is over and not just put on the side," said Chief Bratton in a meeting with the Muslim leadership of Southern California on Thursday, November 15th. The meeting was moderated by Deputy Mayor of Los Angeles, Arif Alikhan and attended by Deputy Chief Mike Downing.
Chief Bratton acknowledged the hurt and offense caused to Muslims and agreed to send a letter to the Muslim community announcing the official termination of the 'mapping' plan.
A major reason for the termination of the 'mapping' plan was the Muslim community's vociferous opposition and active civic engagement in making themselves heard beyond Los Angeles. Muslim organizations demonstrated a strong unity of purpose and message on the issue of 'mapping' that led to a position of strength for Muslims in the meeting. Those involved in the initial phases of this controversy were the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, and Muslim Advocates.
Today, the people of Los Angeles spoke and the City of Los Angeles listened to the collective voice for justice and civil rights.
27761  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: June 07, 2009, 10:28:26 PM
27762  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: June 07, 2009, 01:29:01 PM
I figure he'd be stupid if he didn't-- and the Secret Service derelict in its duty.
27763  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: June 07, 2009, 10:16:46 AM
Well, obviously there is a riff here based on His Glibness bowing to the Saudi king and for what the spontaneousness of the gesture reveals about what is in his heart-- which is manifested in the nature of his coverage.  We are in agreement about the nature of the coverage  grin
27764  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: MMA Thread on: June 07, 2009, 08:48:52 AM
For some reason I always liked Arlovski.  The loss to Fedor was a heartbreaker, but arguably could be blamed on his doing a flying leap chin first into Fedor's big right.  However, with this loss it appears to be time to consider moving on.
27765  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: June 07, 2009, 08:42:33 AM
Thank you Rachel.  You are quite a well-read woman!!!

Of the two entries I liked a bit more.
27766  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Brian Williams bows to King Obama on: June 07, 2009, 08:33:35 AM
Brian Williams bows to King Obama|htmlws-main|dl7|link3|
27767  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Rest in Peace on: June 07, 2009, 01:24:13 AM
I am informed through multiple sources that highly regarded and well-liked savateur of the Inosanto Tribe Tony Adams has committed suicide.  cry

I saw him at the IAMA last Saturday.  I do not claim to have known him well, but always liked him a lot.  We chatted a bit about some new ideas I was working on in my Kali Tudo.  I cannot claim that I was alert enough to have spotted anything unusual-- maybe he seemed a little down, but nothing that really caught my attention.

27768  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: June 06, 2009, 07:03:04 PM
Hey Huss!

Remember how you and I used to go around the Mulberry Bush over at WT?   

JDN, watch out for him!  In my conversations with him I used to sound like you do now here, but now look at me shocked cheesy

Anyway gentlemen, further discussion of this strand within Islam should be continued on one (or more) of the Islam threads.  Please used advanced search funtion for "Islam" in the subject and see what pops up.

27769  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DBMA Class at Inosanto Academy on: June 06, 2009, 06:40:30 PM
Good times as always.  A rather high level mix today so we were able to good rather deep into Kali Tudo for the smaller man against the bigger man.
27770  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Boxing Thread on: June 06, 2009, 06:39:01 PM
Anyone have any good clips to share of Jersey Joe Walcott and/or George Forman after his comeback?
27771  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Aristotle on: June 06, 2009, 05:47:16 PM
Third post of the day:

I began read a book today (author's name is East Euro so I fear to assay spelling it from memory) and he referenced Aristotle's concept of man pursuing happiness.

Now where have we heard that phrase before?

Does anyone have any input on the Aristotlean concept and its influence on our Founding Fathers?
27772  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: June 06, 2009, 12:11:31 PM
Dunno, but does not the term "tax credit" mean a one-to-one relationship with taxes paid?  In contrast, a deduction is worth only the % paid on the income/gain-- yes? 

Thus, if I am correct, most any taxes paid by these people (no doubt there will be some exceptions) will be applicable here.

Of course, the devil is in the details.
27773  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: June 06, 2009, 11:58:47 AM
"GM's immediate post is exactly on mark, identify and giving an excellent example of a "mistreatment" of non muslims in a discriminatory way. Indefensible." 


"In contrast, Boyo's post was not an example of discriminatory mistreatment of non muslims and therefore I disagreed."

Fair enough.

"But I will do further research on past posts."

Thank you.
27774  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: June 06, 2009, 10:25:19 AM

Since you are relatively new around here, you may not been here or found the time to go back through the various threads on Islam.  If/when you do, you will find a plethora of material such as GM just posted. 

27775  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Second not incorporated on: June 06, 2009, 10:19:21 AM
Sotomayor Guns For The 2nd Amendment

By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Thursday, June 04, 2009 4:20 PM PT

Gun Control: In a case headed for the Supreme Court, a three-judge panel rules Chicago's gun ban constitutional since the 2nd Amendment doesn't apply to states and cities. High court nominee Sonia Sotomayor concurs.

Those Pennsylvania townsfolk bitterly clinging to their guns may have been premature in celebrating the decision in D.C. v. Heller that the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution does indeed guarantee an individual right to keep and bear arms.

In Heller, the Supreme Court overturned the District of Columbia's draconian, 32-year-old gun ban. It barred most of the district's residents from owning handguns and required that all legal firearms be kept unloaded or disassembled under trigger lock. If predators broke into your house, some assembly would be required.

When the district rejected his application to keep a firearm in his home to protect his family, Dick Anthony Heller, an armed security guard, did not think it was a reasonable restriction on his 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms. So he sued.

In a 5-4 decision written by Justice Antonin Scalia, the court ruled that the 2nd Amendment indeed protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia and to use that firearm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.
An individual right to bear arms is supported by "the historical narrative" both before and after the 2nd Amendment was adopted, Justice Scalia wrote.

Not so fast. On Tuesday, a three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected subsequent suits brought by the National Rifle Association against the city of Chicago and its suburb of Oak Park, both of which believe the Constitution prevents citizens from defending themselves.

The Circuit Court decision was written by Judge Frank Easterbrook and joined by Judges Richard Posner and William Bauer. Easterbrook's reasoning is fascinating. According to him, the Revolution was fought and independence won so that the Founding Fathers could write a Constitution with a Bill of Rights that applied only to the District of Columbia.

"Heller dealt with a law enacted under the authority of the national government," Easterbrook wrote, "while Chicago and Oak Park are subordinate bodies of a state." We're all for federalism, but the U.S. Constitution is the U.S. Constitution.

Surely he can't be serious. But he is, and agreeing with him is Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor.

The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals examined in Maloney v. Cuomo a claim by a New York attorney that a New York law prohibiting possession of "nunchucks," a martial arts weapon, violated his 2nd Amendment rights.

Sotomayor and the 2nd Circuit affirmed a lower court's decision that the 2nd Amendment applies only to federal laws and not to states or municipalities.

"We clearly disagree with the court's conclusions," NRA attorney William Howard told Bloomberg. The next step will be an appeal to the Supreme Court. Sonia Sotomayor will likely be sitting on that court.

President Obama's opinion on the 2nd Amendment has been ambivalent. He says he supports an individual's right to bear arms. Yet the Nov. 23, 2008, Chicago Tribune said Obama believed in the right of local communities to enact common-sense laws to combat violence and save lives and that he believed the D.C. handgun law was constitutional.

In a 1996 campaign questionnaire, Obama wrote that he supported "banning the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns." He says now that it was filled out by an aide who misrepresented his views. We don't believe total gun bans, whether in Washington, D.C., or Oak Park, Ill., are a common-sense restriction that saves lives. We believe that guns save the lives of innocent people daily and that more guns mean less crime.

Surely a wise Latina with varied life experiences such as Sotomayor can feel empathy for the unarmed and defenseless potential victims vulnerable to armed predators in this country.
27776  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DLO 3 on: June 06, 2009, 08:59:01 AM
Due to some business problems on other fronts, this project has been languishing.  We WILL get to it.
27777  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Obama now wants your pocket knife on: June 06, 2009, 08:57:54 AM
Pro-Gun New Hampshire

Obama Now Wants Your Pocket Knife
by Evan F. Nappen, Esq.
June 4, 2009

Beware! That folding knife in your pocket may turn you into a criminal if the Obama administration gets its way. Although there has been a lot of fear and speculation that the new administration wants to take your guns, the most pressing threat now is actually to your pocket knives. With the changing of the guard at U.S. Customs, that agency has now embarked on redefining "switchblades" under federal law to include a wide variety of one hand opening knives that never were intended to be prohibited. In fact, many of the knives U.S. Customs now seek to prohibit under the Federal Switchblade Law had not even been invented at the time of its enactment! Furthermore, four previous U.S. Customs ruling letters (prior administrations) specifically determined "assisted opening" knives not to be defined as switchblades.

This new proposed U.S. Customs regulation is so broad that thousands of pocket knives will fall under its sweep and millions of knife owners will be affected. The problem is not simply that imports will be banned (which is bad enough), but that the "agency determination" will be used by domestic courts and law enforcement to determine what a "switchblade" is under both federal and state laws. Many states, including New Hampshire, fail to define switchblades and simply rely on the federal definition.

Luckily, the two premiere knife organizations in the US, American Knife and Tool Institute (AKTI) and, are fighting hard on this issue, but they both need your immediate help. Customs is attempting to jam this new regulation though at record speed.

As stated on the website:

U.S. Customs has proposed revoking earlier rulings that assisted opening knives are not switchblades. The proposed new rule would not only outlaw assisted opening knives its broad definition could also easily be interpreted to include one-handed opening knives and even most other pocket knives.
Note that customs interpretation of the Federal Switchblade Act forms the basis for national, state and even local law and judicial rulings in many cases. The effect is NOT limited to just imports.
As stated on the website:

URGENT NEWS - U.S. Customs Proposal would characterize assisted-openers as switchblade knives and jeopardize all pocket knives.  On behalf of the entire sporting knife industry and knife owners across the country, AKTI will be filing an official response to U.S. Customs.   
This is the biggest threat to American knife owners in U.S. history. AKTI informs us that this "Customs' proposal will make criminal out of 35.6 million Americans."

AKTI further states:

U.S. Customs proposes to bypass Congress and expand the switchblade definition to include all knives that open with one hand. These include multi-tools, traditional pocket knives, one-hand openers, and assisted-openers.

More than 35.6 million law-abiding Americans now own one-hand-openingknives in one of the above four categories.
The U.S. Customs proposed new rule and the four prior letters they want to overturn can be read in their entirety here:

AKTI suggests that to register your opposition to the U.S. Customs'plan (19  CFR  Part 177) to re-classify assisted openers and all folding knives; address your comments by June 21, 2009, to:

19  CFR  Part 177
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Office of International Trade, Regulations and Rulings
Attention: Intellectual Property and Restricted Merchandise Branch
Mint Annex,   799 Ninth St. N.W.
Washington, D.C.  20229

27778  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / GOP plan on: June 06, 2009, 08:38:01 AM
GOP Health Plan Contrasts With Obamacare

While Democrats fret about how to find another $1.5 trillion to pay for their scheme to expand government health care to include all Americans, congressional Republicans have introduced their alternative Patients' Choice Act. The Act, which has no chance of passage by a Democrat-controlled Congress committed to expanding federal bureaucracy and power, is an attempt to redirect $300 billion in federal tax deductions from the employer-based health system that was created after World War II.

Under the proposal, families would qualify for tax credits of $5,700 a year and individuals $2,300 to buy insurance and invest in health savings accounts. Up to one-fourth of any unspent money in the accounts could be rolled over to the next year. The bill would allow lower-income Americans a way out of the Medicaid trap rapidly careening toward its inevitable bankruptcy less than eight years hence because it is $34 trillion in debt. In fact, Medicare is so deep in debt that devoting 100 percent of GDP to it still won't make this single government program solvent.

Despite admitting the insolvency of our national finances when he said last week, "[W]e are out of money," Barack Obama is trying to sell the notion that the proposed federal takeover of 18 percent of the nation's economy via his new health care plans somehow helps the nation economically. Obama also suggested myopically that $200 billion could be shaved from Medicare over the next 10 years (the program is bankrupt about three years earlier) even though a majority of physicians now refuse to see Medicare patients because of artificially low reimbursement rates. Instead of squandering the nation's future health care with legions of expensive bureaucrats, the GOP alternative deserves serious consideration because it doesn't cost the taxpayers anything and doesn't require the creation of a massive government bureaucracy to operate.
27779  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / SC SCT forces Gov to take Fed money :-( on: June 06, 2009, 08:36:02 AM
second post of the morning:


S.C. Supreme Court Says Gov. Sanford Must Take Stimulus Cash
The long-running debate between the Republican governor of South Carolina, Mark Sanford, and the Republican-controlled state legislature came to an unfortunate conclusion Thursday as the state's Supreme Court ruled that Gov. Sanford must request the $700 billion in federal funding he had thus far refused. Sanford had argued that taking the money now would mean more debt later as the services continued but federal funds were gone. He wanted instead to pay down the state's debt with the money, if he had to take it at all. The Republicans in the legislature, however, stole a page from the Democrats' playbook and accused the governor of cheating schools out of money. After all, it's always a losing proposition to try to hold education spending steady, much less cut it, because not enough people see that as education spending has gone through the roof over the last 40 years, the quality of education has gone down. Regardless, Sanford will not appeal the decision but lamented the missed chance to show other states "a different way than simply taking this money and spending it."
27780  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / from PatriotPost. on: June 06, 2009, 08:30:30 AM
Last week, we reported on a bill introduced by Rep. Nathan Deal (R-GA) to eliminate "birthright citizenship" for children of illegal aliens. We erred in stating, "Birthright citizenship has been in place since the 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868..." The 14th Amendment does not confer citizenship on the children of illegal aliens born on U.S. soil as we implied.

Patriot reader and Harding University political science professor Cheri Pierson Yecke wrote in to clear up the matter. She noted that birthright citizenship "began with the Supreme Court decision of United States v. Wong Kim Ark (1898). SCOTUS shamefully ignored congressional intent and gave the following opinion: 'A child born in the United States, of parents of Chinese descent, who, at the time of his birth, are subjects of the Emperor of China, but have a permanent domicile and residence in the United States, and are there carrying on business, and are not employed in any diplomatic or official capacity under the Emperor of China, becomes at the time of his birth a citizen of the United States, by virtue of the first clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."'"

Dr. Yecke added, "As can be seen in the Senate debate on the 14th Amendment (39th Congress, First Session), a provision for 'anchor babies' was never the intent of Congress." Sen. Jacob Howard (R-MI) argued for adding the phrase "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" to the Amendment, saying, "This [Amendment] will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors, or foreign ministers..."

In other news designed to create more Democrat voters, the Obama administration vacated a rule implemented by the Bush administration limiting access to an attorney for illegal aliens facing deportation. According to the Associated Press, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey "had issued a 33-page decision in January saying the Constitution does not entitle someone facing deportation to have a case reopened based upon shoddy work by a lawyer. Mukasey also said, however, that Justice Department officials have the discretion to reopen such cases if they choose."

From the Department of Injustice
Charges of voter intimidation against three members of the "New" Black Panther Party were dropped this week by the Obama Justice Department. It should have been an open-and-shut case of voter intimidation and harassment. Men in paramilitary uniforms, at least some of whom belonged to Louis Farrakhan's infamous Nation of Islam, were caught on videotape standing in front of a Philadelphia precinct blocking the doorway while voters tried to enter on Election Day last November. The thugs, one of whom brandished a club, cast menacing stares and racial epithets at white voters in line.

The men responsible were charged and the Obama administration actually won the case, but they moved to dismiss the charges on May 15. No justifiable explanation has been given, but we can reasonably suspect that it's primarily because Obama doesn't want to anger his constituents. A spokesman for the Justice Department had the nerve to state, "The department is committed to the vigorous prosecution of those who intimidate, threaten or coerce anyone exercising his or her sacred right to vote." The department clearly did not do that in this situation. Liberal civil rights attorney Bartle Bull was a witness and is leading the charge against the administration's actions.

Meanwhile, the "Justice" Department rejected a program put in place by Georgia's Secretary of State Karen Handel to screen state databases to flag ineligible voters. Their excuse was that the program was inaccurate and discriminatory, though they refused to share the information that led to that conclusion. Handel, who is a Republican candidate for governor, noted that the decision would lead to a flood of non-qualified voters. She also noted the irony that Justice was on board for the program when it was created. What changed? The ruling party in Washington, and the new bosses want wide open voter rolls with no restrictions on eligibility because it makes it easier for them to rig elections.
27781  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / #$%^#%$^!!! on: June 06, 2009, 08:26:43 AM
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced the Uniting American Families Act, which, according to The New York Times, "would allow American citizens and legal immigrants to seek residency in the United States for their same-sex partners, just as spouses now petition for foreign-born husbands and wives." Also this week, President Obama signed a proclamation officially declaring June "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month." One part of the proclamation stood out to us: "LGBT Americans ... have played a vital role in broadening this country's response to the HIV pandemic." It's also true that they have played a major role in spreading the HIV pandemic.
27782  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / AZ fights subsidies of private sector on: June 06, 2009, 08:23:57 AM

By any reading of the man, George W.P. Hunt -- Arizona's first governor -- was a progressive Democrat. He favored creating an income tax, extending the right to vote to women, and passing compulsory education laws. But when it came to drafting a constitution that would bring Arizona into the union as the 48th state, "Old Walrus," as he was called for his weight of about 300 lbs and his handlebar mustache, presided over a convention in 1910 that banned nearly all government subsidies to private business.

Hunt would probably be amazed at what's happening in Arizona today, as the old battles are once again being fought -- this time in the state Supreme Court, which is taking up a lawsuit to determine whether cities can give subsidies to private companies.

Arizona's founders banned gifts to private companies as the result of bitter experience. In the closing decades of the 19th century, local governments borrowed money to force-feed private railroad development. Pima County outside of Tucson, for example, took out $300,000 in bonds in 1882 for a railroad that promised to build some 100 miles of track. The money was spent but the railroad dissolved after a mere 10 miles of track was constructed. The bonds were worthless, but taxpayers were still on the hook for the money.

This time around it's shopping malls and the like, and the preferred subsidy is tax rebates rather than bonds. But the result is the same. Local governments are foisting the cost of private development onto taxpayers as private companies promise that with just a few tax dollars they will create a wealth of new jobs.

People aren't buying it, and there's a revolt underway against government subsidized megaprojects. In November, voters elected mayors in Mesa, Scottsdale and Tempe who promised to fight taxpayer subsidies. In Phoenix, voters have elected three candidates to the city council who oppose wooing developers with taxpayer money. And it is in Phoenix where the biggest fight is taking place.

Two years ago, the city signed a contract with developer Thomas J. Klutznick, who is building an outdoor mall. The city has to rebate to him $97.4 million in sales taxes over the next 11 years, in return for which it gets 200 parking spaces for commuters catching a municipal bus. The mall, called CityNorth, will be home to an Ann Taylor Loft and other retailers, as well as residential apartments that are already being rented. Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts summed up the deal earlier this year by noting the city will spend about $487,000 for each commuter parking spot. "Wouldn't it be cheaper to just chopper them in to work?" she wrote.

Nonetheless, CityNorth is the kind of project that city planners dream about as they seek to remake urban landscapes -- grand in scale as it stretches 144 acres, and grand in impact as it serves tens of thousands of residents and shoppers. City officials promise it will create a "second downtown" for Phoenix.

That second downtown will be at the expense of employers who are lured away from other cities, and give companies in the new mall a tax advantage over business outside of it. That's hardly fair, so the Goldwater Institute, a free-market think tank in Phoenix that I run, sued Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon in state court on behalf of Meyer Turken, who owns a real estate company, and five business owners. The suit seeks to enforce the provision in Old Walrus's constitution that bans government handouts. The provision is known as the "Gift Clause."

We lost the first round in the case, but two days before Christmas last year the Arizona Court of Appeals unanimously reversed the lower court ruling and said, "We think these payments are exactly what the Gift Clause was intended to prohibit." Phoenix then took Turken v. Gordon to the state Supreme Court, which this week agreed to hear the case.

Cities across Arizona are waiting to see what the court does. This has become a fight over just how involved in the economy government should be allowed to get -- whether local and state governments should be in the business of bolstering some, but not others, with tax breaks.

Government-sponsored development isn't popular. Public Opinion Strategies polling found earlier this year that 80% of Phoenix taxpayers oppose their city's subsidies for CityNorth and agree that the developer and the retailers who move into the new mall "should pay their own way." The subsidy is also attracting opposition outside of Phoenix. Last week, Mayor W.J. Lane of neighboring Scottsdale won support from his city council to file a friend-of-the-court brief in support of our lawsuit.

New York, Maryland and 34 other states have gift clauses similar to Arizona's. Thus, Arizona's legal precedent could influence how local and state governments approach redevelopment across the country. On the federal level, any member of Congress upset with the bailouts of the auto or financial industries might want to consider proposing a Gift Clause amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would explicitly ban bailouts that benefit one company or industry.

When asked about the lawsuit, Phoenix Deputy City Manager David Krietor told a reporter that "This is a landmark case that will dramatically impact our ability to do economic development." He's right. But Mr. Krietor should be considering whether it's right for the government to "do" this at all. As his Democratic progressives came to understand in Old Walrus's day, government payouts to private businesses don't always pay off -- and often it's taxpayers who end up having to pay up.

Ms. Olsen is president & CEO of the Goldwater Institute of Phoenix, Ariz., which is litigating Turken v. Gordon.
27783  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Govt. Motors on: June 06, 2009, 08:19:12 AM
"Were we directed from Washington when to sow, and when to reap, we should soon want bread." --Thomas Jefferson

Hope 'n' Change: Government Motors
Chavez gives Obama the book on nationalization

"I want to disabuse people of this notion that somehow we enjoy, you know, meddling in the private sector." So said Barack Obama in March. But as the president announced General Motors' bankruptcy Monday, it became ever clearer that he is the new CEO of the world's largest automaker. The federal government now owns 60 percent of GM; the United Auto Workers own 17.5 percent. Even Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez recognized the significance: "Hey, Obama has just nationalized nothing more and nothing less than General Motors. Comrade Obama! Fidel, careful or we are going to end up to his right!"

In his speech, as columnist Terence Jeffrey points out, "President Obama used the first-person singular pronoun 'I' 34 times when he announced he was nationalizing General Motors. He used 'Congress' once and 'law' not at all."

How could Obama use the word "law"? There is nothing in the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) legislation of last fall, much less the U.S. Constitution, that authorizes the bailout or nationalization of an automaker. Of course, when pressed, the administration points to TARP as its authority for giving GM $50 billion in various loans so far, not counting $15 billion for its financial arm, GMAC. In fact, TARP specifically limited funds to financial institutions. The Bush administration used it to make loans to GM and Chrysler anyway after Congress debated but abandoned the "Auto Industry Financing and Restructuring Act," which would have granted bailout money to automakers. Indiana is now challenging the constitutionality of using TARP for GM and Chrysler in federal court.

But never mind such petty details. Obama feels our pain: "I recognize that this may give some Americans pause," he said. Still, he assured us, "What we are not doing -- what I have no interest in doing, is running GM." And while he is running GM, it's only as a "reluctant shareholder because this is the only way to help GM succeed."

That depends on the definition of "succeed." In tandem with the new CAFE standards, the administration wants GM to produce more green cars. As The Wall Street Journal notes, "No one knows if Americans will buy such cars, even if GM can make them competitively in the U.S." Obama has already made clear, however, that it's not about whether Americans want such cars, it's about whether he does.

27784  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: June 06, 2009, 08:15:15 AM
@Doug: You have a PM


I would add to Huss's post the enforcement mechanisms behind "not allowed" can be pretty severe. 
27785  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: toronto dbma training camp featuring Crafty Dog, Top Dog and Sled Dog Aug 21-23 on: June 06, 2009, 08:09:55 AM
Things that make you go hmmmm.  smiley
27786  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Education on: June 06, 2009, 08:08:44 AM
Well said.
27787  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / The stictch in time that saved the nine on: June 06, 2009, 08:03:42 AM
I wish he had mentioned the role of FDR's court-packing scheme in all of this:


The growing dispute between conservatives and liberals over the Supreme Court nomination of Sonia Sotomayor obscures a more troubling point of agreement: The government should almost always win.

Many conservatives who think of themselves as proponents of limited government would be surprised to discover that conservative judges begin their constitutional analyses in almost every context by placing a thumb firmly on the government side of the scale. It's called "judicial deference." Many liberals, who take pride in being "empathetic," would be surprised to learn that liberal judges also subscribe to judicial deference.

The practical result is that judges of both persuasions almost never enforce any constitutional limit on the power of government to regulate property and the economy. Given that the vast majority of law concerns these two areas, the real crisis in constitutional law is not judicial "activism" but judicial passivism.

It all began in the late 1930s, when the Supreme Court opened the floodgates for New Deal economic regulation. In essence, conservatives have adopted the big-government agenda of that era. The liberal-conservative consensus explains why nomination fights focus on a few "culture war" issues such as gay marriage or guns. Liberals and conservatives squabble over these esoteric questions because there is such harmonious accord on everything else.

The time-honored justification for judicial deference is that when courts refuse to enforce property rights and allow economic liberties to be trampled by legislatures they are showing respect for the democratic process. But this notion is not faithful to the duty of the judiciary. The Constitution's framers understood that legislatures are as much nests of vice as of virtue. That is why they went to such lengths to define the limits of government, set forth our rights broadly, and create an independent, co-equal branch of government to protect those rights.

The absence of meaningful constitutional limits on the power of government over property and the economy has had consequences that should cause both liberals and conservatives to rethink the wisdom of sweeping judicial deference. For example, last fall Congress enacted the Troubled Asset Relief Program, putting hundreds of billions of dollars at the personal discretion of the secretary of the Treasury. This grant of authority -- which violates the basic constitutional duty of Congress to control the purse laid out in Article I, Section 8 -- transformed the secretary into the most powerful unelected official in American history. Such power, once acquired, is rarely relinquished.

None of this would have been thinkable, much less possible, without the longstanding refusal of the Supreme Court to enforce clear constitutional boundaries on the elected branches.

In another example, America has become a patchwork quilt of laws serving special interests because courts refuse to protect economic liberty. In 1950, only one in 20 trades required a license. Now it is more than one in four (according to recent research of Morris Kleiner published by the National Bureau of Economic Research), and the clamor by industry groups for more licensing grows unabated.

Special interests love licensing because it restricts competition and thus drives up the prices they can charge. None of this would be possible if judges simply struck down licensing laws as an insult to the constitutional right to earn an honest living secured by the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment and the "privileges or immunities" clause of the 14th Amendment.

Bad government is usually the result of runaway government. And runaway government is usually the result of government exceeding its constitutional prerogatives. Because they have a far stronger stake in the integrity of checks and balances on government power than in the culture war, conservatives and liberals should declare a truce over "activism" and reflect on the need to take the whole Constitution seriously.

Judges should be neither active nor passive, neither aggressive nor deferential. In a word, they should be engaged -- engaged in protecting constitutional rights to property and economic liberty, because these areas of the law have the most impact on our daily lives.

Mr. Rowes is an attorney at the Institute for Justice in Arlington, Va.

27788  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: June 05, 2009, 10:52:34 PM
Me neither  cry  I went for the big bucks in stickfighting , , ,  cheesy
27789  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: June 05, 2009, 10:28:48 PM
What does Schiff suggest to profit from the coming crash?
27790  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / President Reagan at Normandy 6/6/84 on: June 05, 2009, 09:27:21 PM
Through Sunday night only, President Reagan at Normandy for the 40th Anniversary of D-Day.
27791  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Horsetrading? Schocked, absolutely schocked! on: June 05, 2009, 06:54:18 PM
Sotomayor speech undercuts Obama claims
Credits Democratic Senator for her initial nomination
By Tom LoBianco (Contact) | Friday, June 5, 2009

Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor said in a 1998 speech that she owed her first federal judicial nomination almost entirely to New York Democratic Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, undercutting the spirit of President Obama's claim that it was Republican President George H.W. Bush who was responsible for her first appointment to the federal bench.

Mr. Obama and fellow Democrats have repeatedly pointed to her initial nomination to a federal district court in 1991 by then-President Bush, and her later elevation to an appeals court by then-President Clinton seven years later, as evidence she is a nonpartisan selection for the high court.

But in her own account of her nomination, delivered in a speech to a Hispanic legal association, Judge Sotomayor recalled that she was only nominated, and only received a Senate floor vote, because of political horse-trading by Mr. Moynihan, the senior senator from New York, where Judge Sotomayor lived. President Bush, Judge Sotomayor added, was far from an enthusiastic advocate for her nomination.

"Over the next twenty months, Senator Moynihan cajoled and pushed the Republican White House to nominate me. He traded other nominees in other states some circuit and other district court with the [White House] to get me ultimately nominated by President Bush," Judge Sotomayor said, according to the text of the speech to the Cervantes Society.

The address was included in a voluminous record of the judge's speeches, opinions and personal data delivered to the Senate Thursday ahead of her confirmation hearings this summer.

Judge Sotomayor's blunt account of the backroom politicking involved in her nomination appears to undercut a refrain used by her supporters -- including President Obama -- that she is the product of bipartisan presidential approvals.

"It is her experience in life and her achievements in the legal profession that have earned Judge Sotomayor respect across party lines and ideological divides," Mr. Obama said in a weekly radio address last month. "She was originally named to the U.S. District Court by the first President Bush, a Republican. She was appointed to the federal Court of Appeals by President Clinton, a Democrat."

Republicans and conservative activists have made the same argument about Mr. Moynihan's role, but Judge Sotomayor's words will likely give them much more ammunition.

Mr. Moynihan used an arrangement that New York's two senators had with the Bush White House in which the senator whose party controlled the White House nominated three judges for every one judge the other senator recommended, she wrote in the 1998 speech. New York's other senator at the time was Republican Alfonse D'Amato.

Mr. Moynihan used his one nomination for Judge Sotomayor and spent the next two years battling the Bush administration to secure her formal nomination.

A White House spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment.

In the Cervantes Society speech, Judge Sotomayor detailed a 1991 phone call she received from an attorney in the George H.W. Bush White House informing her that the president was unlikely to nominate her to the bench "because my senator was not cooperating."

"As they guessed, I called Sen. Moynihan's office and I learned that the White House wanted his cooperation in getting the Judicial Committee, chaired then by Democratic Sen. Joe Biden, to push out of the committee two Republican circuit court nominees," Judge Sotomayor wrote.

"You would not be drawing a wrong conclusion in presuming that two circuit court judges owe their positions to my nomination and [to] Sen. Moynihan's dedication to making it happen," she said.

Her grueling 28-month confirmation battle did not end there. A "disgruntled senator" blocked the nomination of four women nominees, including Judge Sotomayor, until the Senate Judiciary Committee removed a hold on another nominee, according to her speech.

Athough Judge Sotomayor did not identify the "disgruntled" lawmaker in the speech, news reports from the time say Alabama Sen. Richard C. Shelby, then a Democrat, had blocked the nominations because of a separate hold placed on an Alabama prosecutor who supported the death penalty. Mr. Shelby later switched parties and is now a Republican.
27792  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: June 05, 2009, 06:35:03 PM
I shared your post with economist Scott Grannis HUSS and here are his comments:

The establishment survey data is always subject to the whims of 
seasonal adjustment and fudge factors (birth-death model). That's why 
I always look at the household survey, which has no fudge factors. 
Sometimes the two diverge. This time they are both telling the same 
story: job losses are slowing down. Coupled with the unemployment 
claims and all the green shoots out there, I think it is clear that 
the recession has ended.

On Jun 5, 2009, at 9:46 AM, Marc Denny wrote:
27793  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Health Thread (nutrition, medical, longevity, etc) on: June 05, 2009, 06:32:26 PM
I just tried emailing him but it bounced back.   I will have to give him a call.
27794  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Guro Crafty 8/1-2 Fort Hood, TX on: June 05, 2009, 01:05:45 PM
Well, that about covers it smiley

I'm really looking forward to this.  Gus did a fine job leading a DBMA Training Group in Iraq and it will be a pleasure seeing him again.  I gather he will be posting later today or tomorrow about what he would like me to cover.
27795  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Guro Crafty 8/1-2 Fort Hood, TX on: June 05, 2009, 11:50:30 AM
Thank you.  And if I may push my luck a bit, how far are

a) Ft Worth/Dallas?
b) San Antonio?
c) Houston?


I just spoke with Gus a few minutes ago.  He is working on the flyer and the specifics of the seminar today/over the weekend and we anticipate haveing more precise news here in the next few days.
27796  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: September 20, 2009 Gathering on: June 05, 2009, 11:48:05 AM
A Pulitzer prize winning writer has approached me about covering the Gathering.
27797  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / What a fcuking #$%^!!! on: June 05, 2009, 08:51:28 AM

On his way to the 65th D-Day commemorations in France, President Obama plans a curious stop-over in Germany, my home country. He will travel to Buchenwald, the concentration camp his great uncle helped liberate, a visit that makes personal and historical sense. It is his other German destination, Dresden, that seems out of place. Will the president, who likes to apologize for America's alleged sins, now also apologize for World War II?

For many Germans, the destruction of Dresden in February 1945 has become a symbol of Allied "bombing terror." Many still believe the true number of deaths is closer to the Nazi propaganda of 200,000 than the 20,000 to 35,000 historians believe is correct.

Google "Dresden" and "Kriegsverbrechen," the German word for "war crimes," and you'll get almost 26,000 results. Neo-Nazis marched through the streets of Dresden this February commemorating the "Bombing Holocaust." A flood of recent books, articles and documentaries has shifted Germany's historical debate from its war crimes to its own war victims. As part of this trend, in 2006 public TV station ZDF broadcast "Dresden: The Inferno," the most expensive German television production at the time. Its graphic display of carnage and burning people is at odds with German movie tradition. Films about the Holocaust tend to be more subtle and less emotional.

Mr. Obama's visit to Dresden is an unfortunate gesture. Even if the president were not to make an outright apology for the allied bombings, he could hardly not mention them in this city so preoccupied with its wartime history. And even if he were not to give any speech at all and just toured the city, he'd inevitably be led to the many landmarks that were once reduced to rubble.

His mere presence in Dresden -- on the heels of a visit to Buchenwald and just before attending the Normandy commemorations -- would boost the revisionist cause. It would suggest a sort of moral equivalence between industrialized genocide and the bombings of German cities -- bombings, remember, that were designed to bring an end to the genocidal regime.

Mr. Obama's encounter with the reality of governing does not seem to have tempered his appetite for second-guessing past U.S. presidents. Having already come close to a mea culpa for America's use of atomic bombs against Japan, he may now add Dresden to the revisionist charges against the U.S. Even if the president doesn't say that America lost its moral bearings by bombing Dresden, people will read between the lines of his visit.

Mr. Schwammenthal is an editorial writer for The Wall Street Journal Europe.

27798  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: June 05, 2009, 08:26:59 AM
An additional point to consider on the benefits and merits of Israel as an ally:

History Question:

How did it happen that Syria, Iraq, and Egypt, all of which were once Soviet client states, ceased being such?
27799  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Water Technology on: June 05, 2009, 08:04:23 AM

Water Tech Firm Rankings:

More info:
27800  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stratfor: on: June 05, 2009, 07:31:06 AM
Third post of the morning

Pakistani forces are continuing to take out Taliban strongholds June 1 in the Swat region of northwestern Pakistan. With the Swat district headquarters, the city of Mingora, under control, the military is beginning to expand operations to other Taliban strongholds. The main question is whether the military will be able to consolidate the gains it has made against the militant Islamist fighters while carrying out increasingly difficult operations.


Pakistani forces continued rooting out Taliban strongholds in the Swat region June 1, a day after the military announced it had successfully wrested control of Mingora, the district headquarters of Swat in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), from Taliban hands.

A relatively small number of Taliban forces had settled in inside Mingora to fight Pakistani forces. STRATFOR received reports early in the offensive that these militants were planting mines and explosives, digging trenches and stockpiling weapons and ammunition in preparation for the onslaught. But the militants who remained in Mingora were outnumbered and unable to withstand the military’s concerted conventional assault. The Taliban fighters who had fled Mingora were unable to rejoin, supply or otherwise support the militants still in Mingora, who ultimately were defeated by Pakistani forces.

When it became clear that Taliban reinforcements were cut off from Mingora, Taliban commanders began calling on their compatriots to focus their attention on attacks in other parts of Pakistan, particularly in urban areas of Punjab province. The May 27 bombing directed at the Inter-Services Intelligence agency headquarters in Lahore was partly indicative of this call to action, though local Taliban forces have long been attempting to escalate attacks in this critical province.

(click image to enlarge)
The Pakistani military’s focus on conventional warfare and severe inexperience in counterinsurgency have long contributed to its weakness against the jihadist insurgency. However, the military exhibited operational success when it cut off Taliban supply lines to Mingora by encircling the city from Lower Dir to the west, from Malakand district to the southwest, from Buner to the southeast and from Shangla to the east. This both narrowed the potential escape routes for the remaining fighters and prevented their compatriots from aiding the remaining resistance in the city. By isolating the remaining hard-line fighters, the military was able to bring overwhelming conventional firepower to bear. While the operation certainly was not without consequence, it was an important demonstration of strategy and might against entrenched Taliban forces in an urban area.

The Pakistani military has Mingora under control for now and is making efforts to clear surrounding towns, but the overall Swat offensive is clearly far from over. The operations under way aim to flush out remaining Taliban strongholds in Swat, while a number of Taliban are taking cover in the neighboring districts of Dir, Buner, Malakand and Shangla and have blended in with the refugees.

Pakistani forces have retained the initiative and are pushing outward into the more mountainous northern regions of Swat, where a number of Taliban are believed to be holed up. As of June 1, the military was conducting operations in the valley of Kalam, about 56 miles north of Mingora. The military also is moving into a Taliban stronghold called Charbagh, a town located about 12 miles north of Mingora. The military reportedly has set up checkpoints to surround Charbagh from the north and south in the towns of Khwazakhela and Manglawar, respectively. Military forces reportedly are also shelling Taliban positions in Kabal, west of Mingora, and lower Malam Jabba, located to Mingora’s east. However, it will become increasingly difficult for regular troops and special forces to move deeper into mountainous Taliban strongholds like Kalam, especially as they are also trying to hold their ground in villages that have already been cleared without increasing the number of deployments in the Swat region.

This is the largest military operation ever conducted in Swat, and public morale is high for now, but the Taliban are a patient, resilient force and are capable of regrouping and reclaiming lost territory. The Taliban have demonstrated this ability a number of times in Afghanistan, where they have drifted back into towns previously cleared by NATO troops. Moreover, while the Pakistani military has touted the killings of several midlevel commanders, the senior leadership of the Taliban in Swat remains at large.

There are no indications yet that Pakistan will divert more forces from its eastern border with India to reinforce operations in the northwest. This poses a considerable dilemma, as the military has a strategic interest in capitalizing on its current levels of public support to expand the offensive into far more challenging Taliban strongholds farther south in the tribal badlands of North and South Waziristan. Public support in the Swat area is indeed swinging toward the military for the time being. Locals say they are now able to speak openly against the Taliban, which they did not dare to do in previous months. The local populace also has renewed confidence in the military’s will and ability to stand up to the Taliban.

The big question that remains, then, is whether the military will be able to consolidate the security gains made thus far, develop efficient local security and governance to hold the territory against encroaching Taliban, and do the necessary developmental work to restore the livelihoods of some 3 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) forced from their homes by the fighting. Many IDPs are living temporarily in schools and other government buildings or are staying with friends and relatives. Still, the lower-income families who have no choice but to live in very poorly equipped refugee camps that the military has set up are ideal targets for the Taliban’s recruitment efforts, which likely will intensify in the wake of the Swat offensive as the group attempts to replenish its ranks.

The military also knows it will become harder for its forces to remain in the Swat region in the long term. Public discontent over the military presence is likely to increase, and challenges elsewhere will demand the military’s attentions. Operations are under way to bring in local administrators and accelerate the training of local police forces to secure the villages that have been cleared of Taliban thus far, but these police units are already extremely demoralized, underequipped and underpaid, and they will continue to be the primary targets of Taliban forces seeking to retake the territory. Islamabad’s long-term commitment to fighting the deeper sources of public discontent will therefore be critical to Pakistan’s ability to halt the Talibanization process.

With much work to be done in Swat and surrounding areas in the near term, any talk of a similar large-scale offensive in South Waziristan should be met with skepticism. Military and government officials alike are issuing contradictory statements on how quickly the Swat offensive can be wrapped up so the military can shift its focus farther south to Waziristan. The Waziristan operation is still in the planning stages and, while some preliminary skirmishes are taking place in South Waziristan, no clear or unified decision appears to have been made on expanding the military offensive in a meaningful way beyond the Swat region.

Editor’s Note:This analysis originally said that Kabal is east of Mingora and Malam Jabba is west of Mingora. Kabal is west of Mingora, and Malam Jabba is to the east. The error has been corrected.

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