Dog Brothers Public Forum
Return To Homepage
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
September 01, 2015, 09:31:31 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Search:     Advanced search
Welcome to the Dog Brothers Public Forum.
87877 Posts in 2282 Topics by 1070 Members
Latest Member: Nexquietus
* Home Help Search Login Register
  Show Posts
Pages: 1 ... 567 568 [569] 570 571 ... 682
28401  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Nat Geo Documentary on the Dog Brothers: Fight Club on: January 19, 2008, 11:28:52 PM
28402  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Nat Geo Documentary on the Dog Brothers: Fight Club on: January 19, 2008, 08:02:29 PM
From Joe Cary-- I love that "Dog Quixote"  cool:

I've trained one-on-one with Guro Crafty Dog for two years. I first came to him as an informal student seeking to build my knowledge base for a character I was creating in a novel. I quickly recognized that DMBA was, in my opinion, the most efficient and effective martial art I had practiced or studied.  I thus continued my training to build on the character of me in real life. My early training mixed intensity and fascination with a dash of disturbing. Some things I learned I was hesitant to know, others I embraced with an artist's passion. As my training progressed, I came to respect and value what had first disturbed me, partially through recognition of the inherent value of survival skills, but primarily through the relationship that developed between Guro Crafty and me. My training went beyond the physical, and our conversations and shared stories offered constant insight into the "Tao of the Dog". The multi-disciplined way of DBMA renewed my atrophied instincts in many areas, the primary of which was a deeper sense of what it is to “Walk as a Warrior for all your Days”.
I've never participated in a Gathering of the Pack and don’t yet imagine I will (I've joked of lobbying for the Candidate-Dog name "Dog Quixote", as my eagerness often surpasses my skill). That said, my knowledge of, and respect for basic, primitive weapons (empty hand, sticks, knives and staff) has increased to a level I never imagined possible.  This comes in part from a newfound awareness and quiet confidence in the adrenal state, and an ability to recruit my entire body into action when push comes to shove, smack or slash. My time with Guro Crafty is an asset I will carry with me for all my days.

28403  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Survival issues outside the home on: January 19, 2008, 08:56:59 AM
3. New OSHA booklet is designed to protect first responders from chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear hazards. "Preparing and Protecting Security Personnel in Emergencies" is viewable at
28404  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: 4 Day DBMA Camp in Germany with Guro Lonely on: January 19, 2008, 08:46:54 AM
I'll need to check some things concerning my son's Cub Scouts etc, and this week we are extremely busy getting some new things ready for the website, so it may be a week before I get to this, but how does July look?
28405  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues on: January 19, 2008, 08:43:57 AM

Deputy did not act unreasonably in fatally shooting a man who had refused to submit to a pat down and then disarmed the deputy of his baton. Lewis v. County of Riverside, #06-55764, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 29148 (9th Cir.).$File/06-55764.PDF

City and its personnel were not liable for suicide of a man arrested for DUI and detained in a cell for intoxicated and combative prisoners.  The fact that he had fought with officers did not establish that he was suicidal. Branton v. City of Moss Point, #07-60653, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 76 (5th Cir.).
28406  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: January 19, 2008, 08:26:22 AM
I note that the level of  intel here from a retired Indian cabinet member, FAR exceeds just about anything that we read here.  Why is that?  If correct, and it reads to me like it is , , ,

Baitullah Mehsud Steps up Attacks in South Waziristan - International Terrorism Monitor---Paper No. 355

by B. Raman

The Mehsud followers of Baitullah Mehsud, assisted by some Uzbeks of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), have stepped up their attacks on the thinly-manned outposts of the Frontier Corps (FC) in different parts of South Waziristan. These outposts were withdrawn under a peace agreement signed by the Pakistani Army with Baitullah at the Sararogha fort in February, 2005. When President Pervez Musharraf ordered the commandoes of the Special Services Group (SSG) to raid the Lal Masjid of Islamabad in July, 2007, he also ordered the re-establishment of these outposts of the FC since he apprehended that the Mehsuds, many of whose children were studying in the two madrasas attached to the Lal Masjid, could retaliate for the commando action.

2.  Baitullah interpreted the re-establishment of these outposts as a bad breach of faith by Musharraf and announced that the Mehsuds would no longer be bound by the ceasefire agreement of February, 2005. Since then, the Mehsuds have unleashed a wave of suicide attacks not only in South Waziristan, but also in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), Punjab, Balochistan and Sindh. He had also resumed the guerilla attacks of his force on the para-military forces and captured nearly 300 of them. Under a fresh cease-fire agreement reached in November, 2007, Baitullah agreed to suspend his operations and release the captured personnel of the FC in return for the Government closing again the FC outposts re-established in South Waziristan, releasing all Mehsuds arrested in South Waziristan and the NWFP, and also Maulana Abdul Aziz Ghazi, the chief cleric of the Lal Masjid, and the students of the madrasas of the mosque arrested during the commando action.

3. Baitullah released all the FC personnel captured by his force. In return, Musharraf ordered the release of all but six of the Mehsuds arrested by his security agencies. He has not ordered the release of these six on the ground that they are under trial before the Anti-Terrorism courts and hence he has no powers to order their release. He has not agreed to release those arrested during the commando raid in the Lal Masjid. Nor has he agreed to withdraw the FC outposts re-established in the area. On the contrary, after the assassination of Mrs. Benazir Bhutto on December 27, 2007, allegedly at the instance of Baitullah, he has reinforced the FC posts in South Waziristan in an attempt to hunt for Baitullah.

4. This has provoked Baitullah to step up attacks on the FC posts. Though the FC consists largely of Pashtun tribals recruited in the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and the NWFP, these Pashtuns are looked upon by Baitullah and Al Qaeda as apostate for allegedly collaborating with Musharraf, who has already been declared an apostate by Al Qaeda since 2003. The FC comes operationally under the General Headquarters (GHQ) of the Army and administratively under the Ministry of the Interior.

5.  Between 1878 and 1903, the British set up the various tribal agencies, which, after Pakistan's independence in 1947, were constituted into the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). The British created in each agency para-military forces called militias recruited from amongst the various Pashtun sub-tribes in that agency. Thus came into existence militias such as  the Khyber Rifles (1878), the Zhob Militia (1883), the Kurram Militia (1892), the Tochi Scouts (1894), the Chagai Militia (1896), the  South Waziristan Scouts (1900) , the Chitral Scouts (1903) etc. Lord Curzon, who became the Viceroy in 1899, created the Frontier Corps to serve as the umbrella organisation of these militias and to co-ordinate their functioning in all the tribal agencies. This arrangement has continued till now. The Frontier Corps, whose General Headquarters are located in Peshawar, functions under the over-all supervision of the Corps Commander of the Pakistan Army at Peshawar.

6. As mentioned by me in my article of November 15, 2007, titled "The State of Jihadi Terrorism in Pakistan" (, a major blunder committed by Musharraf was the over-use of  para-military forces such as the Frontier Constabulary and the Frontier Corps in the operations against terrorists in the tribal areas. He wanted to avoid using the Punjabi-dominated Army for ground operations. While the Army is actively involved in the ground operations against the Baloch freedom-fighters in Balochistan, it was confining itself to the barracks in the FATA and in the Provincially-Administered Tribal Areas (PATA) of the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP). American officials and their counterparts in Pakistan often claim that Musharraf has deployed nearly 80,000 troops in the tribal areas. The Americans cite this as one of the reasons for their strong backing to the General despite his growing unpopularity.

7. What they do not mention is that many of these security personnel are the tribal members of the para-military forces, who come from that area, and not Pakistani military personnel recruited from other areas of the country. A large number of the Pakistani army personnel are used not for ground operations against the terrorists, but for providing physical security to American and other NATO military supplies to Afghanistan from the Karachi port after they are landed there. This has been creating resentment among the tribal personnel of the para-military forces, who feel that Musharraf, under US pressure, is making not only Muslims kill Muslims, but also Pashtuns kill Pashtuns, in the name of the so-called war on terrorism. The FM radio stations operated by pro-Al Qaeda jihadi leaders in the tribal areas have been repeatedly alleging in their broadcasts directed to the fellow-tribals in the para-military forces that innocent tribals are being killed in order to save American lives in the US homeland.

8. As a result of this, there has been a growing number of desertions of Pashtuns serving in the para-military forces.  Musharraf did use regular Army units to counter the supporters of Maulana Fazlullah in the Swat Valley, but afraid that the Pashtun soldiers of the Army too might start deserting their units like the Pashtun members of the para-military forces, he has been avoiding the use of the army in ground operations and has instead been relying increasingly on helicopter gunships. This has, on the one hand, resulted in an increase in the number of civilian casualties due to indiscriminate air-mounted actions and, on the other, further fuelled the resentment in the para-military forces, whose personnel are asking: Are the lives of the Army personnel more precious than those of the Frontier Constabulary and the Frontier Corps?

9. I had also written that Musharraf has so far not told his people and the international community that Al Qaeda and pro-Al Qaeda organisations in the tribal areas have been increasingly targeting Shias and Christians. Captured Shia members of the para-military forces are being treated with brutality and killed by beheading or by cutting their throats. Shia members of the civil society are also being targeted. The FM radio stations have been indulging in the most horrible anti-Shia broadcasts. Shias are being projected as American agents in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq. They are alleging that the majority of the prostitutes in Pakistan are Shias and projecting the Shias as the sect of the prostitutes in the Ummah. A highly reputed school for poor tribal girls run in the FATA by a Christian missionary organisation was targeted and forced to close through intimidation. There are no Buddhists in the tribal areas, but many historical Buddhist heritage sites are there. These too are systematically being attacked. Al Qaeda is trying to replicate Iraq in Pakistan by exacerbating the already existing divide between the Shias and the Sunnis in the civil society as well as in the Army.

10. In their renewed offensive in the wake of the assassination of Benazir, the Mehsuds and the Uzbeks of the IMU have been taking advantage of the low morale of the personnel of the FC. After overrunning the FC outpost in the Sararogha fort on January 15, 2008, they are reported to have overrun another post  of the FC located at a place called  Seplatoi in South Waziristan.  What is disquieting  is that whereas the FC personnel at   Sararogha put up a fight against the Mehsuds and Uzbeks and suffered fatalities before they were overrun, those ( 60 in number) at Seplatoi are alleged to have either run away or surrendered without even a semblance of a fight.

11. Of course, the Army has strongly denied this, but other reliable sources say this incident did happen. The declining morale of the Pashtun members of the Frontier Corps should be a matter of serious concern. Can it spread to the Pashtuns in the Pakistani Army? That is a question, which should worry not only Musharraf, but also the international community.

12. The time has come for Pakistan and the international community to review the physical security arrangements in Pakistan's nuclear establishments in order to look for signs of declining morale there. While Pakistan's principal nuclear establishments are located in Punjab and are guarded by carefully selected Punjabi soldiers, its nuclear waste dumps are located in the tribal areas of the NWFP such as Dera Ismail Khan and are guarded by the FC.

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail:
28407  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Nat Geo Documentary on the Dog Brothers: Fight Club on: January 18, 2008, 09:26:10 PM
The shame! The Shame! 

We have been mentioned in the NY Times
(towards the bottom)
28408  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Nat Geo Documentary on the Dog Brothers: Fight Club on: January 18, 2008, 08:34:09 PM
This email was sent to us and because it leaves me unsure as to the appropriateness of including the author's name here, I leave it out.  I do post it because I think it quite worthy of being included here.


Dear Dog Brothers,

Thanks for the message and the invite regarding the NatGeo blog. I feel
particularly unqualified to participate in this thing for NatGeo,
inasmuch as I want to. I have never been able to clear the time or money
to make a gathering or do any training aside from keeping what (few)
skills I have sharp on my own. My canine side is taken care of  in the
time I carve out for it, usually odd hours, and usually solo. I read
voraciously, I try out new things, and I have even been making some
sticks and practicing with improvised impact weapons or sharp pointed
things not normally considered for self-defense, but as far as formal or
organized, I am neither.

In pack terms, I am at best, a transient, and more than likely, an
outrider, or maybe even a fleacatcher. Definitely a mutt, with all the
best qualities of the breed.

If there was a qualification for being a "Spirit Dog," then I am there.
I get what you're all about and I applaud it. I refer friends and anyone
else who's interested not only to your site, but to dig deeper into what
you're doing and why. "Higher Consciousness Through Harder Contact" is
more than a motto on a T-shirt or sticker. It is an ethos, not so much
of overcoming fear or pain or anything as ephemeral as all that as it is
in becoming a better person by embracing those things and learning from
the experience. You sure as hell don't get that from movies or games or
TV. But physically? I am so far away from even what anyone might
consider proficient in sticks it is not funny. But that doesn't keep me
from wanting to come someday and join you all. I don't think we were put
on this planet to be spectators. I'll probably go to a nursing home
years from now going, "One of these days,....WOOF!"

People can take away your fun, your money, your job and your stuff. But
they can't take away the stuff that's packed between your ears and the
things that make your heart beat with purpose, and that is what I think
you folks are all about.

I'll be watching when this show comes on, or at least recording it for
when I get home.

Keep up the faith, keep up the great work.

Best regards,
28409  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Nat Geo Documentary on the Dog Brothers: Fight Club on: January 18, 2008, 07:06:55 PM
Poi Dog:
28410  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: January 18, 2008, 11:35:58 AM
Fred on the Bus
by Erick Erickson

Traveling through snowy South Carolina with Fred Thompson, I’m struck by the sense that finally, the man has arrived. The candidate so many conservatives were excited by early in 2007 is finally walking the land.

The Fred Thompson in South Carolina this week is the one America saw knock into Mike Huckabee as a pro-life liberal with “blame America first” beliefs whose economic policies would destroy the economy. And the crowds love it.

Though barely mentioned in the national media, Senator Fred Thompson has been on a barn storming tour crisscrossing South Carolina for more than a week. In a unique approach, he is not just going to major media markets, but to rural areas of South Carolina. On my first day on the trail with Senator Thompson, he drew a crowd of 180 people to a small Mennonite restaurant in Abbeville, South Carolina — population 26,000 with a median income of $15,370. He capped off the day at the Orangeburg-Calhoun County Technical College in Orangeburg, South Carolina with over 200 people braving a rare snow shower to hear him. The day before I joined him on the campaign trail, Senator Thompson’s campaign saw large capacity auditoriums overflowing with people standing outside the buildings waiting to get in.

The crowds are enthusiastic and relieved. Finally, the Fred Thompson they hoped for is on the campaign trail. “Saying the Reagan Coalition is dead is like saying the Constitution is dead,” Thompson began one speech, taking on Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee. “The Reagan Coalition was never about the man. It was and is about the principles and values we apply to issues.” He continued, “The issues may change, but the principles do not.” The crowd roared its enthusiasm.

Later in the day, an elderly gentleman asked Senator Thompson about immigration. Senator Thompson responded, “Securing the border is popular for a lot of candidates to talk about these days. They’ve changed their positions. I embrace change, but some of these guys are wearing out the road to Damascus.” The crowd ate it up. Thompson pointed out that he, unlike the other candidates, has been consistently supportive of increased border security and consistently opposed to lax enforcement.

It’s refreshing to hear Senator Thompson. He is not the candidate the media likes. He gives good sound bites, but he is plodding, methodical, and issue oriented. Senator Thompson’s is not a personality driven campaign. It is about issues, issues, issues. And it is conservative to the core. On the campaign trail, it seems Thompson has never met an issue he was ready to solve based on what he perceives as real conservative principles. Chief among them is that if government gets involved, it will probably make the situation worse. There is no pandering. John McCain may give straight talk, but Thompson gives no bull.

Since Mitt Romney’s call for a government plan to save the automotive industry, Senator Thompson has been on a tear blasting him as the candidate who tailors his message to whichever group he is talking to. Taking on Mike Huckabee, Senator Thompson points out that he likes Mike Huckabee, but his policies and agenda are full of empty rhetoric and policies anathema to the entrepreneurial spirit in the United States. He points out that he and John McCain are friends, but he has “strong disagreements” with John McCain on issues such as immigration and taxes.

Polling in South Carolina shows Fred Thompson gaining momentum in the state. The campaign staff has noticed the crowds growing since Fred Thompson took on Mike Huckabee in the Fox News Debate. The message is clear -- Thompson is the real conservative in the race.

There is an opening for Thompson. Mitt Romney has written off South Carolina, ceding the field to John McCain. Mike Huckabee is losing ground as voters learn more about his liberal record. Conservative rallying has begun to impact John McCain. There is a palpable sense in the crowds and among South Carolina reporters that the momentum is with Fred Thompson. And so the campaign soldiers on.

In Orangeburg, South Carolina, Fred Thompson fired up the crowds with humor and substance. After a long day of talking, he coughed and took a sip of water. “Yeah, I’m choked up,” Thompson said, “but I’m not getting emotional.” The crowd roared. Then Thompson went into his hallmark campaign routine -- questions from the crowd. Every event ends that way.

An attendee asked Thompson what he would do about Israel and the Palestinians. While complementary of the President, Thompson said, “Every President has thought he could solve the problem on the force of his personality, but he can’t.” He continued, “There are a lot of things that are possible in that situation, but one non-negotiable — the right of Israel to exist.” More applause. Another attendee asked about immigration. “A nation that cannot control its borders ceases to be a sovereign nation,” Thompson responded. The crowd drowned him out with applause. Then Thompson does what so many of the other candidates fail to do. He talks specifics and policies, mixed with humor and the recognition that what he is doing is rather unique.

It is a unique campaign. Like John McCain, who was written off for dead last June, Fred Thompson has begun a comeback. He has come back as the candidate everyone wanted to get in the race. In the process, he is owning the crowd.
28411  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Nat Geo Documentary on the Dog Brothers: Fight Club on: January 18, 2008, 11:18:22 AM
Posted on behalf of C-Scurvy Dog


I began my journey into martial arts in 1994 after watching a skinny Brazilian named Royce Gracie decimate his much larger opponents by using technique and leverage in what would later be called the start of the MMA movement that has since swept the country.  I was so impressed with this “new style” that I rushed down and began training with him the very next week.  After about a year of training in GJJ I also found my way into a school that taught muay thai kickboxing, JKD, shoot wrestling, freestyle BJJ and the Filipino martial arts as instructed by Dan Inosanto and his contemporaries. I was immediately drawn to incorporating these new techniques into my style which would later be the building blocks of many great mixed martial artists.


The only style I couldn’t seem to wrap my hands around at the time was the Filipino martial arts. I just didn’t see the practicality of the techniques being used in a real life environment. Enter the Dog Brothers. I witnessed my first Gathering of the Pack in 1996 when one of my training partners went down to test his skills against other like minded opponents. To say I was shocked by what I saw was an understatement. Here were guys fighting full contact just like I was used to watching yet they were doing it not only with various weapons but in a spirit of camaraderie that I had only previously witnessed with my time in the Army Scouts/Snipers. These guys were putting themselves on the line to see if their skills and techniques really worked under pressure and pulling it off with nothing but mutual respect and handshakes at the end of each fight regardless of the outcome. I had nothing but admiration for these guys but after watching several such events I thought to myself that I would never have the nerve to put myself into such a potentially dangerous environment even though I recognized the learning potential it entailed.


Ten years later and past what I considered to be my fighting prime due to age and a number of accumulative fighting injuries I again attended several more Gatherings of the Pack. This time I noticed that the fighters were not a bunch of young bucks in their primes but a broad range of guys who were actually from all walks of life and many of whom were not only my age but in many cases much older. Of course, this had always been the case but I had never been cognoscente of this fact. It was then that the realization of the Dog Brothers credo to “walk as a warrior for all your days” really sunk in. The next thing I know I found myself training with the North Hollywood Clan of Dog Brothers and three months later feeling the first solid strike to my body by a 1 ¼” rattan stick in a Gathering that instead of crippling me actually invigorated me and sent me into that adrenal state that I had previously only heard about. I have been hooked ever since and now as a candidate Dog Brother I have a different view on life and what it means to me to walk as a warrior for all of your days.


I know that I am by far not the toughest, youngest or strongest guy on the block. However I am fully aware of what I am and am not capable of through the intense testing and self enlightenment that the Gatherings provide. This gives me something that the tougher, younger and stronger guys may not necessarily have. Mind, Heart and Balls and the willingness to fight if need be regardless of the odds. I will carry this warrior mentality with me as I continue my journey through life and apply it not only to fighting but to any challenge that puts itself in my path. I have effectively found a higher consciousness through harder contact!

Tim “C-Scurvy Dog”
Landscape Architect
28412  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politically (In)correct on: January 18, 2008, 08:40:41 AM
Burglars have rights too, says
[British] Attorney General
by By Melissa Kite and Andrew AldersonA fresh row broke out last night about the rights of householders to fight back against intruders after the Government's most senior lawyer defended the rights of burglars.

Lord Goldsmith, the attorney-general, flew in the face of the Prime Minister's pledge to look again at the law with a view to giving homeowners more rights when he said that existing legislation was adequate.

He said that criminals must also have the right to protection from violence, prompting David Davis, the shadow home secretary, to accuse the government of being dangerously split on the issue.

Lord Goldsmith's intervention came as Sir John Stevens, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, dismissed fears that giving homeowners greater freedom when tackling burglars would lead to an "arms race" that would put them in greater danger.

He denied that a change in the law, which currently gives homeowners the right to use "reasonable force" when tackling intruders, would encourage burglars to become more aggressive.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Sir John - who last weekend came out in favour of the Right to Fight Back campaign, launched by this newspaper two months ago - said: "I am convinced that enabling householders to use whatever force is necessary will discourage burglars.

"The fact that a would-be intruder knows a householder can respond without the fear of being prosecuted will undoubtedly deter criminal acts." Sir John, who will step down next month after five years as commissioner, said fellow police officers were confident that it would act as a deterrent.

"We are on the ground," he said. "We smell it, we see it, we hear it. We know what we are talking about."

Last week, Tony Blair told the House of Commons that he would look at strengthening the law and a Tory MP has introduced a private member's bill to do so.

Lord Goldsmith, however, appeared to take issue with the Prime Minister's pledge to act. "We must protect victims and law abiding citizens," he said.

"But we have to recognize that others have some rights as well. They don't lose all rights because they're engaged in criminal conduct."

Mr Davis said: "They certainly do lose quite a lot of rights. The Government ought to make up its mind. The Prime Minister says one thing and the Attorney General says another.

"Of course all human beings have rights, but when somebody enters your home to commit a crime they give up a large portion of them."

Some critics of a change in the law have voiced concerns that burglars will feel they have to carry guns, knives and other weapons to protect themselves from householders.

Sir John, however, did not see this as a problem. "I have confidence in the good judgment and common sense of the public in knowing how far they should go."

He said that householders should be able to use whatever force is necessary even if - in exceptional circumstances - it involved killing the intruder.

He spoke of his regret about the repercussions over the verdict on Tony Martin, the farmer who shot dead one burglar and seriously injured another during a break-in at his farm in August 1999.

There was a public outcry when Martin was found guilty at Norwich Crown Court and sentenced to life in prison. The charge and sentence were later reduced to five years for manslaughter.

Sir John did not suggest that the jury had reached the wrong verdict, but added: "The Tony Martin case is unfortunate because it has skewed the debate [on the public's right to protect their home]. But it is a fact that burglars have acted with greater confidence since the Tony Martin verdict and that has to be a matter of regret."

Lord Goldsmith, however, warned of the dangers of using the Martin case to make bad law: "There are very few cases that have given rise to this problem. Besides Tony Martin, there's only one I know about.

"It's always possible to extrapolate from one case and think that something is happening across the country when it isn't."

Mr Blair's announcement of a review of the law came three days after the Conservative Party threw its weight behind a new parliamentary attempt to win more rights for householders to protect them from burglars.

The Telegraph revealed last weekend how Patrick Mercer, the Tory MP, would introduce a Private Member's Bill to change the law in favour of homeowners.

In an article in this newspaper today, Mr Mercer described Mr Blair's promise to consult before taking action as a "classic delaying tactic".

Michael Howard, the Tory leader, yesterday praised this newspaper's campaign. "I pay tribute to the highly effective campaign run over so many months by The Sunday Telegraph. It was the first newspaper to highlight this crucial issue and its persistence has been a key factor in winning this change to the law and in forcing Tony Blair's U-turn," he said. "We now need to ensure that Patrick Mercer's bill gets through parliament. The Sunday Telegraph's continued vigilance will be crucial in ensuring this."
28413  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / This day in Terrorism on: January 18, 2008, 07:46:42 AM
1982 Beirut, Lebanon:  Malcolm Kerr, President of American University, assassinated by Islamic Jihad.
28414  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Dog Brothers Tribe on: January 18, 2008, 07:13:06 AM
Woof Brothers:

Our webmaster is going to be taking care of updates this weekend.  Please check when he has done so to see if he has entered your name correctly.

Crafty Dog
28415  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / F. Ames: Licentiousness and Liberty on: January 18, 2008, 05:58:40 AM
"The known propensity of a democracy is to licentiousness which
the ambitious call, and ignorant believe to be liberty."

-- Fisher Ames (speech in the Massachusetts Ratifying Convention,
15 January 1788)

Reference: The Works of Fisher Ames, W.B. Allen, ed., vol. 1 (546)
28416  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Chess on: January 18, 2008, 05:56:10 AM
I've been having lots of fun playing with my children.

Anyway, saw this in the news:

Bobby Fischer, Former World Chess Champion, Is Dead

REYKJAVIK, Iceland (AP) -- Bobby Fischer, the reclusive chess
master who became a Cold War icon when he dethroned the
Soviet Union's Boris Spassky as world champion in 1972, has
died. He was 64.

Mr. Fischer died Thursday in a Reykjavik hospital, said his
spokesman, Gardar Sverrisson. There was no immediate word on
the cause of death.

Read More:
28417  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Movie Fights on: January 18, 2008, 05:52:12 AM
I liked that Donnie Yen fight. 

I almost went to see Eastern Promises when it was in the theaters, but as family man it can be hard to get out in the evenings-- so now I will wait for it to show up on sat-TV  smiley

Lucy Liu?  Maybe she got bit by the bug with the role in "Kill Bill".
28418  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Nat Geo Documentary on the Dog Brothers: Fight Club on: January 18, 2008, 05:48:57 AM
Here's Poi Dog's contribution:

It all started innocently enough.  One fine day in April 1995, a friend and training partner told me about a tape he'd just rented called 'Real Contact Stickfighting - Power'.  "Check it out, man, they fight for real," he said.

There's no way they were actually fighting, I thought.  They can't be.  I mean, I had already been training for several years in the Filipino martial arts and I knew how dangerous a stick strike could be.  A single stick hit to the wrist would break bones.  A hit to the knee would cripple.  A hit to the head would kill.  There's no way they were fighting for real.  I rented the tape, threw it in the VCR and hit play.

They were fighting for real.

The next day, I found an ad for the video series in a magazine and ordered the full set.  I immediately incorporated the drills into my training.  I nearly beat a palm tree to death in my backyard practicing full power strikes.  I told all my other training partners about these crazy guys who fought for real.  I tried to lend them the tapes.

I wanted to fight for real.

Problem was, no one else did.  I left Hawaii for college in New Mexico 2 years later.  In the summer of 2000, I found myself in Santa Fe, at the home of Arlan "Salty Dog" Sanford, one of the founding members of the Dog Brothers.  At a small park (one I recognized from the tape!), I stepped out for the first time against an actual Dog Brother.  I was sore for the next 3 days.  The welts disappeared after a week or so.  I couldn't wait to go back.

I was fighting for real.

I fought at my first Gathering in July 2002.  I've fought in 6 Gatherings so far.  I've trained with four of the clans - Santa Fe, Hawaii (I was there for the founding), North Hollywood and Hermosa Beach.  I made full Dog Brother July 2007.  I've been dropped from shots to the temple (through the mask) and to the back of the head (without the mask).  I've tapped to omoplatas and elbows to the face.  I was hit across the kidneys once so hard I had blood in my urine for a couple of days.  I have scars on my arms, thighs and shoulders from some of the stick hits I've taken.

Why the hell am I fighting for real?

It's not for the money, because we don't get paid.  It's not for the adulation from the legions of adoring fans, because there aren't any.  It's not for the crazy sex from hot anonymous groupies because there are none (I'm REALLY hoping this one will change).  There are no extrinsic rewards for doing this and I don't imagine that changing anytime soon.  I don't want it to change, ever (except for that groupie thing).

I fight for real because it grounds me in the essential qualities of being human.  I know great triumph and joy in successfully defending myself from a truly committed opponent.  I know the tragedy and pain of failing to do the same.  I know the fear and doubt that comes from standing alone against a man much bigger and stronger than I who is determined to test my courage and resolve.  I know the camaraderie and bond of the tribe, and know I will never actually have to stand alone.  In the chaos of struggle, I can give form to my inner demons, and exorcise them through the physical ritual of the fight.

Besides, it's fun as hell.
28419  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: 4 Day DBMA Camp in Germany with Guro Lonely on: January 17, 2008, 05:10:38 PM
Hmmmmmm , , , ,
28420  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Nat Geo's blog on: January 17, 2008, 04:01:38 PM
This from Peter Bouchard, who heads up the blog for Nat Geo on the show:


Greetings from the National Geographic Channel!  We want to hear from you about your experiences with Dog Brothers Inc.

What we are looking for is to hear about your experiences in this group and why you decided to join.  It doesn't have to be anything long, a short paragraph will do.  We'll pick the best ones and publish them on our channel's blog in a post leading up to the show and possibly as the show re-runs later through the year.

What we will need from you:

  - The short paragraph that was mentioned above

  - Your first name (We want to respect your privacy)

  - Your professional occupation

We can’t promise much, except an additional story that you will be able to brag to your friends about. We bet you all have some!

We look forward to hearing from you.

Peter Bouchard
NGC Blog

28421  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politically (In)correct on: January 17, 2008, 12:29:24 PM
Amateur dramatics group ordered by police to use plastic swords - and keep them under lock and key

An amateur dramatic group performing "Robinson Crusoe" has been ordered to lock up its PLASTIC swords - over health and safety fears.

Members of the Carnon Downs Drama Group are staging the pantomime which features several swashbuckling sword fights using toy cutlasses.

But the actors have been told the props - including a plastic spear and toy gun which fires a flag with the word 'bang' - are classed as "replica weapons".

Police have warned the troupe, based in Truro, Cornwall, the fake arms must be kept in a secure case in a "locked room" with restricted access.

As well as informing officers they had no "malicious intent" the group were told to notify the fire brigade and make adequate arrangements for security.

Organisers also had to appoint a named individual responsible for the prop weapons who must accompany them whenever they are moved.

The amateur players have been told all of the procedures form part a risk assessment in line with new legislation affecting film, stage and TV productions.

Director Linda Barker said: "In some scenes pirates are hitting each other with frying pans and sauce pan lids but there's no problem with them.

"We've got several wooden and plastic swords, two plastic spears and gun which cost £2 from a joke shop. But now we need to keep them locked away and fill out all sorts of forms.

"You can't have a play like this without a fight scene and you can't have a fight scene without a sword. It's ridiculous."

Co-director Elaine Gummow says she was told about the laws by the National Operatic and Dramatic Association.

She said: ""There was an article in a recent magazine about the use of weapons in productions.

"It told members that they had to carry out and follow new health and safety guidelines if any weapons, including replica weapons, are used on stage.

"It would be impossible to stage it without the use of a few swords and cutlasses, as well as a traditional pop-gun which emits nothing more than a flag which says 'bang'.

"It all seems a bit absurd but it is perhaps a sign of the times - health and safety is everywhere. All of us see there's a serious side to this, but I really don't think we pose a threat."

Cast member Steve Cleaver added: "It seems rather absurd and totally silly that pirates would not have weapons."

The Association advised members to contact local police and make them aware of their 'weapons' stash.

Devon and Cornwall police urged the Carnon Downs group to keep the props locked away.

PC Nigel Hyde, of Devon and Cornwall Police, said the props are classed as replica weapons and are considered dangerous.

He said: "I gather we've made a note and it seems a bit unusual. But other forms of replica weapons have been used to carry out crimes and the consequences have been serious."

The version of Robinson Crusoe is a traditional panto with a Cornish flavour and is set in Falmouth harbour.

It runs from January 22 and to January 26 at the Perran Ar Worthal Memorial Hall at Perranwell near Truro.
28422  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / DBMA DVD: "The Dos Triques Formula" on: January 17, 2008, 12:03:28 PM
Woof All:

Ron a.k.a "the Night Owl" and I are putting the final touches on the next
DBMA DVD "The Dos Triques Formula".

As many of you may remember, the term "Los Triques" is our neologism for
blending the initials "KKK".  For us, KKK are the initials of Kali-Krabi
Krabong, but of course the vile associations in America of these initials
made it necessary to develop another name for our blending of these two
arts-- hence "Los Triques" which, while sounding Filipino, simply means "The
Three Ks".

In "Dos Triques Formula" the "Dos" simply refers to the fact that this
material is for double stick.  As for the word "Formula", , ,  well, let me
see if I can explain.

As most of you know,  DBMA has as its mission statement "Walk as Warriors
for all our days" and in the real world this entails 360 degree awareness,
often with weapons involved.  It is my belief that the chance of success in
360 degree situations is greatly enhanced by the physical ability to operate
with either side forward.  To give a simple example, if I must operate in a
left lead (i.e. left foot forward) and I face one person coming from my
North, that is fine.  But if a friend of his approaches from my East and I
must fight him left lead I will be giving my back to the man to my North.
On the other hand, if I can shift to a right lead (probably while moving
Southeast), it will be much easier  for me to keep track of the man coming
from the North.

In DBMA the ability to fight with either side forward while moving in any
direction is developed in double stick.  Unlike single stick, we have a
weapon in front no matter which foot is forward.  Yes, very good fighting can
be done single stick in the off-lead (stick in rear hand) as we show in
"Krabi Krabong" by Ajarn Salty and in the "Los Triques" DVD, but in my
opinion this is less applicable to the requirements of 360 degrees.  And if
we don't care which foot is forward, we can use all the triangular footwork
which changes leads-- and if we can use all the triangles while moving and
striking (see "Combining Stick & Footwork DVD") we can manifest the
potential of the Art in real time.

In "Dos Triques Formula" I offer what I believe to be a formula of
tremendous simplicity and ferocity.  Pulling numbers out of the air wink
against what 95% of fighters do 95% of the time, you will have a clear and
simple way of seeing one of three basic structures and have three basic
combinations to use in conjunction with three basic triangles.

Mastering this material in training provides an underlying understanding of
footwork, zoning and striking that applies in all categories; not just
double stick, but single stick, staff, knife, Kali Tudo and streetfighting.

And because "It is Dog Brothers Martial Arts, if you see it taught, you see
it fought."(c)

As soon as we finish the edit, Cindy will design the box, Night Owl will put
together the promo clip, and we will send the master to the duplication
house.   We estimate we will begin shipping in two to three weeks.

The Adventure continues!
Guro Crafty

28423  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: January 17, 2008, 11:58:07 AM
I have zero tolerance with folks who praise Louis Farrakan.
WSJ Political Diary


When it came to illegal immigrants, Mike Huckabee spent his decade as governor of Arkansas as a compassionate conservative. He pushed for a bill allowing immigrant students in-state tuition rates if they went to state colleges, failed to complete an agreement to let state police enforce federal immigration law and criticized federal anti-immigration enforcement efforts. He dismissed as "racist" the motivations of sponsors of a bill that would have required state residents to show proof of citizenship to vote. He often said it was wrong to punish the children of parents who had entered the country illegally.

Well, that was then and now Mr. Huckabee is running for president. Competing in the hotly-contested South Carolina primary this week, he signed a pledge to support a plan that would send all illegal aliens home.

The pledge, sponsored by the advocacy group Numbers USA, commits Mr. Huckabee to oppose any path to citizenship for illegal aliens now in the country and to use law enforcement measures to deport them back to their countries of origin.

Numbers USA leader Roy Beck had previously been a critic of Mr. Huckabee's immigration record, calling it "poor" and "a disaster." But yesterday, he was all smiles at a news conference with Mr. Huckabee in South Carolina: "Probably, this is the strongest no-amnesty, attrition plan of any of the candidates," he told reporters.

But anti-immigration backers of the former Arkansas governor should be wary. He can and often does turn on a policy dime. Jim Gilchrist, founder of the border control group Minutemen, endorsed Mr. Huckabee in December when the candidate "looked me in the eye" and pledged to fight for a constitutional amendment to end birthright citizenship, which currently makes any child born inside the borders automatically a U.S. citizen. Now Mr. Huckabee says he doesn't support such an amendment and Mr. Gilchrist has been unavailable for comment to reporters asking how he now feels about his candidate.

-- John Fund
Has Romney Broken the Code?

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- One Republican who isn't changing his message after Michigan is Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts Governor finally hit pay dirt in an early primary by pounding away on jobs and the economy. His first campaign events here suggest he's sticking with the theme that won up north.

At the University of South Carolina yesterday, Mr. Romney launched into his now-honed stump speech about how "Washington is broken" and has failed to "secure the border," "fix Social Security" or "fight for every good job." Back in Michigan, Mr. Romney discovered that jittery voters responded strongly to promises to address the economy, especially those in the ailing auto sector who were quick to buy the argument that their problems begin in Washington. He continues to hammer away on that theme here, promising to cut taxes and reduce pork-barrel spending and insisting that "lobbyists" and "long-term politicians" are quaking "in their boots" after his Michigan win.

Can a weakening economy save Mitt Romney? It's too early to tell, since the South Carolina polls probably haven't caught up with the changing dynamics of the race yet -- they currently have him trailing John McCain and Mike Huckabee by ten points or more. But his crowd at the university was heaving -- so big that many couldn't fit in the main ballroom. And even if Grandpa Romney doesn't prevail in the end, attendees got an early view of another Romney politician in the making -- the governor's 20-month-old grandson, Parker, who delighted the masses by crawling into Mr. Romney's arms and burbling into the microphone.

-- Kim Strassel
Dr. Coburn Makes a House Call

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- This state was John McCain's Waterloo in 2000, in no small part because he struggled to gain traction with core Republican voters. The Arizona senator is now trying to avoid a repeat by shoring up his conservative credentials. One bulwark rolled out yesterday was an endorsement from conservative Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn.

Senator Lindsey Graham set the tone for a packed auditorium here in the religious Upcountry, introducing Senator Coburn as a "rock-solid fiscal, social and economic conservative," who represents "everything that was right about the Republican Party." Senator Coburn (just in case anybody was still missing the point) began his own talk by noting that his "credentials as a conservative are unquestioned" and explained that Mr. McCain was the only candidate who could be trusted on the crucial question of appointing conservative judges and protecting "innocent life." Senator McCain hopped in next, praising his own pro-life record and promising to "nominate the closest thing to a clone of [Supreme Court Justice] John Roberts." Only at the end did anyone mention what has been Mr. McCain's traditional selling point elsewhere, his qualifications to serve as commander-in-chief.

The Arizona senator needs all the help he can get from conservatives like Dr. Coburn. Parked outside the rally were a variety of protest groups, some waving signs about Mr. McCain's immigration positions, others waving confederate flags (the candidate's criticism of which earned him the ire of many residents in 2000). But unlike in his 2000 race against George W. Bush, several GOP candidates this year are seriously chasing the conservative vote -- including Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson. That may be Mr. McCain's salvation, and why he's currently the front-runner with support in the mid-20s.

-- Kim Strassel
The Biggest Loser

Michigan Democratic Senator Carl Levin fought tooth and nail to shake up the primary calendar this year and break what he called the "stranglehold" of Iowa and New Hampshire on the nominating process. But while the accelerated Michigan primary produced a contest of some significance on the Republican side, it was a complete flop on the Democratic side. The vote was virtually meaningless for the Democrats' presidential race, generating little local enthusiasm while producing a feud with the national party that has yet to be resolved.

Because most Democratic hopefuls acceded to the national party's request to keep their names off the Michigan ballot, Tuesday's turnout represented only 20% of the state's registered voting population and in real terms was only 4.8% larger than 2000, the last seriously contested primary. Compare that to the record-shattering Democratic turnout in both Iowa and New Hampshire this year.

Adding insult to injury, the Democratic National Committee voted earlier this year to strip Michigan of all 156 of its delegates to the national convention. While Mr. Levin remains confident the DNC won't make good on its threat and that Michigan's delegates will be seated in the end, the DNC took the unusual step of canceling the block of hotel rooms set aside for the Wolverine State delegation in Denver in August.

Florida Democrats, who casts their vote twelve days from now, are in a similar situation, having also been stripped of their delegates. But at least the Florida beauty contest will include all the candidates on the ballot, and the entire media universe will be watching the outcome, guaranteeing the Sunshine State a big impact on the presidential race as it hurtles toward a critical moment the following week on Tsunami Tuesday.

Not so Michigan. Even as Mr. Levin publicly urged Democrats to turn out Tuesday and register their choice between Hillary Clinton and "uncommitted," the eyes of his party were focused thousands of miles of away on the televised debate between the top contenders in Las Vegas. All in all, the outcome has not brought credit on Mr. Levin, who faces embarrassing question about whether the costs associated with his gamble were worth the unimpressive result.

-- Tom Bevan, executive editor

The Semi Natural

Sometimes it takes a well-connected journalist to articulate what a lot of people are feeling, but can't quite express in public.

Time columnist Joe Klein did just that when he used a Council on Foreign Relations meeting this week to suggest that "an element of unwitting sabotage" may be behind Bill Clinton's frequently unhelpful comments that have thrown his wife's campaign off-stride. According to the New York Observer, Mr. Klein suggested that Mr. Clinton may be "worrying" that "maybe she's going to be a better president" than he was. But Mr. Klein hastily added that Mr. Clinton is probably ambivalent about his wife's candidacy, because he also has been supportive in fundraising and other areas: "Consciously, I think that he sees her election as president as the final validation of his presidency."

Such amateur psychology would be meaningless if it were not for the fact that Mr. Klein knows the Clintons so well. He spent many long conversations with them during the 1992 campaign and afterwards. In 1997, he anonymously published the best-selling novel "Primary Colors," a thinly fictionalized retelling of Mr. Clinton's rise to the White House that later became a movie. In 2002, he wrote a largely positive non-fiction review of the Clinton presidency called "The Natural."

28424  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Emergency Tips and Emergency Medicine on: January 17, 2008, 08:45:19 AM
Sent to me by a friend at Border Protection:

STROKE: Remember The 1st Three Letters.... S.T.R.

My nurse friend sent this and encouraged me to post it and spread the word. I agree. If everyone can remember something this simple, we could save some folks. Seriously..

Please read:


During a BBQ, a friend stumbled and took a little fall - she assured everyone that she was fine (they offered to call paramedics) .....she said she had just tripped over a brick because of her new shoes.

They got her cleaned up and got her a new plate of food. While she appeared a bit shaken up, Ingrid went about enjoying herself the rest of the evening.

Ingrid's husband called later telling everyone that his wife had been taken to the hospital - (at 6:00 pm Ingrid passed away.) She had suffered a stroke at the BBQ. Had they known how to identify the signs of a stroke, perhaps Ingrid would be with us today. Some don't die.... they end up in a helpless, hopeless condition instead.

It only takes a minute to read this...

A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke... totally . He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the patient medically cared for within 3 hours, which is tough.

Thank God for the sense to remember the "3" steps, STR . Read and Learn!

Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke .

Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simp le questions:
S * Ask the individual to SMILE.
T * Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently)
(i.e. It is sunny out today)
R * Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.

If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE o f these tasks, call 999/911 immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

New Sign of a Stroke -------- Stick out Your Tongue

NOTE: Another 'sign' of a stroke is this: Ask the person to 'stick' out his tongue.. If the tongue is 'crooked', if it goes to one side or the other , that is also an indication of a stroke.

A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this e-mail sends it to 10 people; you can bet that at least one life will be saved.



28425  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Estudio: Ataque mientras esta' en coche on: January 17, 2008, 08:41:15 AM

Muchas errores obvias aqui, por ejemplo:

1) Estar alli'
2) No salir cuando se le da la oportunidad
3) Salir del coche

Pero tambien podemos

1) Ver en vivo un ataque por la ventana contra un persona sentada en su coche.  ?Como se puede defender este tipo de ataque?
2) Ver Jab-cruzada fuerte y agresivo
3) Ver ataque desde pie contra persona en el piso
4) Ver necesidad de pensar en 360 grados
5) estudiar el papel de los observadores-- ?que hacen?

28426  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Videos: Estudios en applicacion on: January 17, 2008, 08:34:36 AM
El nuevo fenomeno de clips en sitios como youtube nos ofrece una tremenda oportunidad para observar, estudiar, y preparnos mentalmente.

Para comenzar, he aqui en Holanda un hombre montado sobre un mujer tratando de matarla con un cuchillo.  Sepa que lo que se ve aqui' es muy, muy feo.  Fijense en las acciones, y falta de acciones, de la gente alli'.  ?Que harian Uds?

28427  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Mexico on: January 17, 2008, 08:29:32 AM
Guau Jose:

Buenisima idea.  Voy a abrir un hilo para este proposito.


28428  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / NY Times: Rudy's in trouble (Ya think?) on: January 17, 2008, 07:29:35 AM
For months, the Republican establishment in New York and New Jersey marched nearly in lock step behind Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former hometown mayor they were confident would become their party’s nominee for president.

But as Mr. Giuliani has plummeted from first to fourth — or worse — in some national polls, as he finished near the bottom of the pack in the nation’s earliest primaries, and as his lead evaporated even in Florida, the state on which he has gambled the most time and money, those Republican leaders are verging toward a grim new consensus:

If Mr. Giuliani loses in the Florida primary on Jan. 29, they say, he may even have trouble defeating the rivals who are encroaching on his own backyard.

“It’s pretty certain that he has to win Florida,” said Guy V. Molinari, the former Staten Island borough president, who is co-chairman of Mr. Giuliani’s campaign in New York.

Those supporters say they are confident that if Mr. Giuliani carries Florida or runs a very close second, he will remain the odds-on favorite to claim virtually all of the delegates from the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut primaries on Feb. 5, when Republicans in 22 states vote.

But if Mr. Giuliani is relegated to a distant second or worse in Florida, even some of his supporters acknowledge that New York’s primary one week later would most likely be up for grabs, with Senator John McCain of Arizona and former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts being Mr. Giuliani’s strongest rivals. Like Mr. Giuliani, both are fielding full delegate slates in all 29 of the state’s Congressional districts.

“If he carries Florida, he carries New York,” said Fred Siegel, a Cooper Union historian who has served as an adviser to the former mayor and written a largely admiring biography of him. But winning Florida would require “a miraculous comeback,” he said, adding: “I wouldn’t bet on it.”

With 101 delegates from New York, 52 from New Jersey and 30 from Connecticut, the region accounts for about 15 percent of the magic number needed for the Republican nomination. All three are winner-take-all contests.

Mr. Giuliani’s precipitous decline in national and state polls in recent weeks has prompted many of his leading supporters in the metropolitan area to raise questions about his strategy of largely ignoring early races in Iowa, New Hampshire and Michigan to focus on Florida. He received little news coverage during those primaries, then finished poorly in each.

“I think that a lot of what’s happening in general is the early campaigning in Iowa, New Hampshire and Michigan playing an active role, and the fact that Rudy chose not to compete,” said Guy F. Talarico, a Giuliani supporter who is the former chairman of the Republican Party in Bergen County, N.J. “People are focusing on that and saying, ‘When are we going to get in the game?’ ”

Still, once the campaign circles back to the metropolitan area, “I think he’s going to win New Jersey,” Mr. Talarico said.

A senior Republican strategist, who is allied with Mr. Giuliani and is working with Republican legislative candidates in New York, said Mr. Giuliani’s decision to circumvent the early primaries was a “big gamble” that for the moment looked in danger of failing.

“Who knows if it will work,” said the strategist, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he had not been authorized by the campaign to speak publicly. “But the danger is what you are seeing now. We’re obviously concerned.”

In Florida, a Quinnipiac University poll of likely Republican voters found last month that Mr. Giuliani was leading the pack with 28 percent, followed by former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas with 21 percent and Mr. Romney with 20 percent. But a follow-up survey last week found the race statistically tied among four candidates: Mr. Giuliani, Mr. McCain, Mr. Huckabee and Mr. Romney.

Mr. Giuliani’s poll numbers have declined in Florida even though he has invested heavily there. The former mayor spent almost $600,000 on television advertising in Florida between Dec. 8 and Jan. 6, second only to Mr. Romney, who spent $676,851, according to Campaign Media Analysis Group, a political advertising research firm.

Almost all of Mr. Giuliani’s spending came in the final 10 days of that period, when Mr. Romney stopped buying ads.

The race has also narrowed in New Jersey, according to a poll released this week by Monmouth University/Gannett. The poll showed Mr. McCain leading by 29 percent to Mr. Giuliani’s 25 percent, a difference that is within the poll’s margin of sampling error. In September, the same poll found Mr. Giuliani 32 percentage points ahead of his nearest rival, Mr. McCain.

On Wednesday, Mr. McCain vowed to compete hard in New York. “I’m going there a lot for money,” he said. “I ought to go there for votes.”

Page 2 of 2)

Nationally, a New York Times/CBS News poll released on Sunday found that Mr. Giuliani, who led the Republican field with 29 percent nationally in October and was tied with Mr. Huckabee at about 22 percent last month, had plummeted to 10 percent, behind Mr. McCain and Mr. Huckabee.

In New York, with its three million enrolled Republicans, polls indicate Mr. Giuliani’s edge was eroding even before the victories by Mr. Huckabee, Mr. McCain and Mr. Romney in Iowa, New Hampshire and Michigan, respectively. In October, Mr. Giuliani led his nearest opponent by a commanding 33-point margin. By last month, he was still ahead, but his lead had shrunk to 22 percentage points.

New public polls are expected to show the race has tightened even more, polling experts said.

“I have a feeling that the sag in Florida and the sag in New Jersey will probably be matched by a sag in New York,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac Poll, which plans to release a new New York poll next week.

It is unclear what impact Mr. Giuliani’s weak poll numbers and poor primary finishes have had on his fund-raising, as new quarterly campaign spending reports will not be filed until the end of the month. But his campaign reported last week that some workers had given up their paychecks for the month to help save dwindling funds. The campaign reported having $7 million in cash on hand at the time.

There are also concerns among Giuliani supporters that if he does not gain momentum before Feb. 5, he will have to spend precious funds just to win New York, where advertising is particularly expensive.

Anthony V. Carbonetti, Mr. Giuliani’s senior political adviser, said on Wednesday: “Rudy has a long history of fighting for New York, and with his track record and the campaign team we’ve put together here, we’re going to win on Feb. 5.”

Mr. Giuliani has some clear advantages in the region. In addition to having more organizational support from Republican elected officials, he is counting on the fact that in New York and Connecticut, Italian-Americans constitute about one-fifth of the voters in Republican primaries.

But while his popularity soared after the World Trade Center attack, Mr. Giuliani is still reviled by some New Yorkers, including well-organized firefighters who blame him for communications failures on 9/11 and Republicans who have never forgiven him for endorsing a Democrat, Mario M. Cuomo, for governor against George E. Pataki in 1994. Mr. Pataki won.

Mr. Pataki said through a spokesman, David M. Catalfamo, on Wednesday that he was “continuing to evaluate all the candidates and will make an endorsement sometime in the future.”

But several people who worked in his administration, including his former counsel, Michael C. Finnegan, have made their allegiances clear: They are running as McCain delegates.

28429  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Jefferson: Natural Aristocracy on: January 17, 2008, 07:22:40 AM
"The natural aristocracy I consider as the most precious gift
of nature for the instruction, the trusts, and government of
society. And indeed it would have been inconsistent in creation
to have formed man for the social state, and not to have provided
virtue and wisdom enough to manage the concerns of the society.
May we not even say that that form of government is the best
which provides the most - for a pure selection of these natural
aristoi into the offices of government?"

-- Thomas Jefferson (letter to John Adams, 28 October 1813)

Reference: Jefferson Writings, Lemay, ed., 1306.
28430  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: full contact medicine on: January 17, 2008, 07:21:17 AM
Woof Teetsao:

Very kind of you!

Please use the address here on the website:

Marc Denny
Dog Brothers Martial Arts
703 Pier Ave #664
Hermosa Beach, CA 90254

My email address is


28431  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / 4 Day DBMA Camp in Germany with Guro Lonely on: January 17, 2008, 07:04:52 AM
*Dog Brothers Martial Arts*

*4 Day Training Camp !!*

*15. May -- 18. May*

*Turner und Jugendheim Loreley
St. Goarshausen - Germany

Thursday 15. May: 12.00 lunch, Organized training from 14.00 until 17.00
+ 1h free Training
Friday 16. May: Organized training from 09.00 until 12.00 and 14.00
until 17.00 + 1h free Training
Saturday 17. May: Organized training from 09.00 until 12.00 and 14.00
until 17.00 + 1h free Training
Sunday 18. May: Organized training from 09.00 until 12.00 with the
chance for sparring afterward

200 Euro (price includes food and lodging!)

Please register before the 10th of May (sooner is better as space is

Christian Eckert
0049 (0)170 - 7521890

Wuff, wuff

We are looking forward to this training camp. Four days of intense
training and sitting around the campfire at night. The Loreley is the
perfect training location. Huge meadows and a big gym if it rains. Three
meals a day provided. Sleeping will be in log cabins (Bring your
sleeping bag with you!).

Each class will have a special topic (single stick, double stick, staff,
stick-grappling etc.). As last year the camp will conclude with a few
rounds of light sparring. This is a perfect way to get prepared for the
European "Dog Brothers Gathering of the Pack" at the end of September.

Space is limited so get registered as soon as possible. The camp is
primarily for DBMA members but friends of the pack are welcome (with
prior approval from Lonely dog).

See you there.....


Guro Benjamin "Lonely Dog" Rittiner und Dog Christian Eckert
28432  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Epidemics: Bird Flu, TB, etc on: January 17, 2008, 06:58:01 AM
Here is one interpretation of the meaning underlying the preceding article.  Comments?


( - A drug-resistant strain of a deadly staph infection found in some U.S. hospitals is now spreading among homosexual men, researchers said. A conservative group has characterized the problem as the result of "unnatural behaviors."

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, killed about 19,000 Americans in 2005 -- most of them in hospitals, according a report published in October in the Journal of the American Medical Association. But now the infection is popping up outside hospitals in San Francisco, Boston, New York and Los Angeles, according to Reuters.

"The medical community has known for years that homosexual conduct, especially among males, creates a breeding ground for often deadly disease. In recent years we have seen a profound resurgence in cases of HIV/AIDS, syphilis, rectal gonorrhea and many other STDs among those who call themselves 'gay,' said Matt Barber, policy director for cultural issues with Concerned Women for America (CWA).

Active homosexual men in San Francisco are considered 13 times more likely to be infected with MRSA than heterosexuals, researchers reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

"Once this reaches the general population, it will be truly unstoppable," Reuters quoted Binh Diep, a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco who led the study, as saying. "That's why we're trying to spread the message of prevention," he added.

"The human body is quite callous in how it handles mistreatment and the perversion of its natural functions," said Barber. "When two men mimic the act of heterosexual intercourse with one another, they create an environment, a biological counterfeit, wherein disease can thrive. Unnatural behaviors beget natural consequences."

He blamed television shows like "Will and Grace," which "glorify the homosexual lifestyle," and homosexual indoctrination in schools for the "laissez-faire attitude toward sexual deviancy."

"'Stay out of our bedrooms!' we're often commanded by militant 'gay' activists," Barber said. "Well, now the dangerous and possibly deadly consequence of what occurs in those bedrooms is spilling over into the general population. It's not only frightening, it's infuriating."

Barber called for parents to speak out against "politically correct cultural elites" who "endanger our children and larger communities through propagandist promotion of this demonstrably deadly lifestyle."

"Why does it take a potentially deadly staph epidemic for people to acknowledge reality? Will that even do it? Enough is enough!" Barber added.
28433  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: January 16, 2008, 09:55:51 PM
From the Muslim Observer

Unique Opportunity For Michigan Muslims
The American Muslim community can make a big impact on the political scene by voting in large numbers in the Michigan Primary on Tuesday, January 15. Every media headline makes us believe that the fight for the top position is between McCain and Romney on the Republican side. The democrats have no such match going on due the de-franchising of the Michigan democrats by the National Democratic Party, after the state decided to move its primary ahead. Edwards and Obama surrendered to the party bosses and dropped their names from the ballot and agreed not to campaign, except Clinton - she exhibited the courage to challenge the party leadership and has her name on the ballot.
The Muslim community in Michigan has a unique opportunity to beat the pundits by voting as a block for Ron Paul as the Republican candidate. The primary process in Michigan allows to pick either of the two ballots, Democrat or Republican, for the vote. This meets one of the goals of AMPEC, “Promote ideas and the people that are consistent with Muslim community thought. At the same time the Muslim community shall identify those elements that are highly undesirable for peace, stability and humanity, both inside and outside US, and ensure their failure right at the onset.” The Muslim community must very honestly understand that the system of governance in this country follows in the same general direction, irrespective of who is in leadership. With Democrats, the paths may be less treacherous than if the Republicans are in power, but are leading in the same direction! Unless the system gets an overhaul, there will be very little change in the way whole system operates in this country.
The Muslim community’s failure to recognize the importance of primary elections and their vital role in the overall elections process will mean that this year, as usual, a small minority of voters will make decisions for everyone else and the outcome most likely will not be pleasant for the American Muslims. Let’s beat the odds, let’s vote.
Ron Paul meets the Muslim community’s major concern about “War in Iraq” - an issue that every media outlet has ignored in the primary political campaign in Michigan. To the Muslim community, it is the source of major problems in America - security, jobs, education, healthcare, etc.; and the world peace. The Republican candidate who voted “NO” against War in Iraq, is against the Patriot Act and is in favor of bringing the troops back home - deserves our full support in the Michigan Primary; THAT CANDIDATE IS RON PAUL.
Vote Smart on January 15, 2008
Beat the political machine in Michigan - Vote REPUBLICAN and for RON PAUL

28434  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Demographics on: January 16, 2008, 03:30:28 PM
Woof All:

Mark Steyn's "America Alone" (which has its own lively thread here on this forum) powerfully brings demographic analysis to the table.  This thread seeks to keep the ball rolling on the matter of demographics.

This piece is from today's LA Slimes.  Note the rather contemptible thought process behind the reasons the experts give for the increase.


U.S. experiences baby boomlet in 2006
Almost 4.3 million births are reported, the most in 45 years. Hispanics accounted for nearly 25% of the increase.
From the Associated Press
January 16, 2008

ATLANTA -- Bucking the trend in many other wealthy industrialized nations, the United States seems to be experiencing a baby boomlet, reporting the largest number of children born in 45 years.

The nearly 4.3 million births in 2006 were mostly due to a bigger population, especially a growing number of Latinos. That group accounted for nearly one-quarter of all U.S. births. But non-Latino white women and other racial and ethnic groups were having more babies too.

An Associated Press review of births dating to 1909 found the total in the U.S. was the highest since 1961, near the end of the baby boom. An examination of global data also shows that the United States has a higher fertility rate than every country in continental Europe, as well as Australia, Canada and Japan. Fertility levels in those countries have been lower than the U.S. rate for several years, although some are on the rise, most notably in France.

Experts believe there is a mix of reasons: a decline in contraceptive use, a drop in access to abortion, poor education and poverty.  (A decline in contraceptives might be because people WANT to have babies!  A drop in access to abortion?!?  What kind of values see birth rates that maintain population as a failure to sufficiently abort?!?!?  What kind of values see having children as a sign of poor education?!?!?!?)

There are cultural reasons as well. Latinos as a group have fertility rates -- the number of children a woman is expected to have in her lifetime -- that are about 40% higher than the U.S. overall.  And experts say Americans, especially those in middle America, view children more favorably than people in many other Westernized countries.

"Americans like children. We are the only people who respond to prosperity by saying, 'Let's have another kid,' " said Nan Marie Astone, associate professor of population, family and reproductive health at Johns Hopkins University.

Demographers say it is too soon to know if the sudden increase in births is the start of a trend.

"We have to wait and see. For now, I would call it a noticeable blip," said Brady E. Hamilton, a statistician with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Demographers often use the word boomlet for a small and brief baby boom.

To many economists and policymakers, the increase in births is good news. The U.S. fertility rate reached 2.1. That's the "magic number" required for a population to replace itself.  Countries with much lower rates -- such as Japan and Italy, both with a rate of 1.3 -- face future labor shortages and eroding tax bases as they fail to reproduce enough to take care of their aging elders.  (And this is exactly why Europe has accepted so many Turks and Arabs-- see the "America Alone" thread.)

But the higher fertility rate isn't all good. Last month, the CDC reported that America's teen birthrate rose for the first time in 15 years.

The same report also showed births becoming more common in nearly every age and racial or ethnic group. Birthrates increased for women in their 20s, 30s and early 40s, not just teens. They rose for whites, blacks, Latinos, American Indians and Alaska Natives.

The rate for Asian women stayed about the same.

Total births jumped 3% in 2006, the largest single-year increase since 1989, according to preliminary data compiled by the CDC.  Clearly, U.S. birthrates are not what they were in the 1950s and early 1960s, when they were nearly twice as high and large families were much more common. The recent birth numbers are more a result of many women having a couple of kids each, rather than a smaller number of mothers, each bearing several children, Astone said.

28435  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: January 16, 2008, 02:12:35 PM
“Mitt Romney finally won the ‘gold’ yesterday, as he so effusively puts it, and the result is a Republican Presidential battle that is more muddled than ever. The most important story out of Michigan is that Republicans are still looking for a standard bearer. Mr. Romney has the immediate bragging rights with his victory, salvaging his campaign in the process. He was able to win in his native state, and to do so convincingly among Republican voters of all stripes. He helped himself by stressing the economy in a state that has lagged behind U.S. growth for years, even if he did go over the top with his pandering to the auto industry. Mr. Romney can’t stop jobs from leaving the state, no matter how often he claims he can... The result is a blow to John McCain, who was coming off a victory in New Hampshire and had won in Michigan in 2000... Mike Huckabee’s distant third means that he hasn’t yet been able to capitalize on his surprising Iowa victory. His political religiosity didn’t play well outside of evangelical precincts in either New England or the Midwest, and his attacks on President Bush’s foreign policy and corporations have pushed away parts of the GOP coalition... Another winner yesterday was Fred Thompson, who is competitive in South Carolina and is running as the conservative who can unite the GOP’s fractious wings. The former Tennessee Senator has laid out an impressive policy map, but he’s suffered in early contests because his heart and energy didn’t seem to be in the race. That has changed in recent weeks, especially with his pungent, quick-witted debate performances. If he can do better than Messrs. Romney and Huckabee among conservatives, he could surprise in the Palmetto State and give himself a genuine chance at the nomination. The abiding lesson from the last two weeks is that GOP voters are still sifting the field, searching for their next leader.” —The Wall Street Journal
28436  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Dangerous new MRSA on: January 16, 2008, 08:36:54 AM
S.F. General researchers follow strain of drug-resistant bacteria

Sabin Russell, Chronicle Medical Writer

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

San Francisco General Hospital researchers have been chasing the rogue strain of drug-resistant staph called USA300 since they first isolated it from a patient specimen seven years ago.

With every turn, the aggressive and persistent bug keeps getting worse.

Now, a new variant of that strain, resistant to six major kinds of antibiotics, is spreading among gay men in San Francisco, Boston, New York and Los Angeles.

City doctors first spotted the original USA300 during tests for patients treated at a walk-in clinic for skin infections in 2001. Since then, they have watched it morph from laboratory curiosity into the dominant form of staph infection in much of the United States.

"It stormed into town and just took over, displacing everything else," said Dr. Chip Chambers, infectious disease chief for the renowned hospital.

At first, USA300 hit the down-and-out: injection-drug users, jail inmates, homeless men and women. Today it is also infecting suburban moms, executives, doctors, athletes and children. It has turned up in tattoo parlors and newborn nurseries. People with HIV infection seem especially prone to it, but it also strikes patients, gay and straight, who have no previous health problems.
Staph infections are usually treatable but can be lethal. USA300 is as dangerous as they come - it can attack organs throughout the body, forcing doctors to amputate fingers, toes and limbs. Its most disturbing trait, however, is just how easily it gets around.

"USA300 has a tremendous ability to spread," said Francoise Perdreau-Remington, director of the molecular epidemiology lab at San Francisco General, where the strain was first identified. "It has been described in at least 44 states and is now spreading in European countries."

USA300 is one of a dozen distinct varieties of MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, now circulating. The first MRSA strain, resistant to the penicillin substitute methicillin, was discovered in 1961. It continues to evolve. More than 200 families of the strain have come and gone since. USA300 is shaping up as the worst of the lot.

The various MRSA families have been gaining strength as a public health menace for years.

MRSA infections used to be confined to hospitalized patients. But in the late 1990s, people began contracting them in community settings - in gyms, jails, schools and even at home. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calculated last fall that drug-resistant staph was killing 19,000 Americans a year - more than are dying of AIDS.

Tracking down new disease threats is Perdreau-Remington's specialty. The French-born microbiologist was recruited to San Francisco General in 1995 to create the lab because of her expertise in disease detective work at the University of Cologne in Germany. A key to her microbe hunting is the ability to compare new strains to old ones. Her lab at the San Francisco hospital stores a frozen cache of 16,000 germs taken from patients in the hospital and health clinics.

In 2000, San Francisco General had set up a special walk-in clinic catering to drug users and street people to handle the growing volume of skin and soft-tissue infections that were driving up costs in its emergency room.

Perdreau-Remington began running tests to find out what was causing so many infections. Her lab analyzed bacterial specimens to produce genetic fingerprints that look like strips of bar code. It was during that screening program, using samples from the clinic, that she found the genetic fingerprint of what would be called USA300.

The unique signature showed up on March 1, 2001. At first, it represented just one of 15 specimens on a standard computer readout, known as a "gel." When the same new fingerprint showed up in three of 15 specimens three months later, Perdreau-Remington remembers thinking: "Uh-oh, we have a problem."

She labeled the new strain the "S-clone."

By February 2002, six of 15 samples displayed the S-clone's signature. Among patients at the clinic, the new bug shortly thereafter outnumbered all others by a 2-to-1 ratio.

Perdreau-Remington soon learned that the bug had been lurking elsewhere. She began collaborating with her counterparts in Los Angeles County, where inmates of the largest jail system in the United States had been complaining of "spider bites." Samples of the skin sores yielded the same S-clone fingerprints.

Throughout the United States, other researchers were independently finding the same bug.

Fred Tenover, director of laboratory science at the CDC, remembers running a test that pooled drug-resistant staph samples from 12 states, including ones from prisons in Georgia, Texas and California and from a football team in Pennsylvania. "The patterns were indistinguishable," he said. "I looked at the gel and said, 'This can't be.' So we went back and retested them. It was amazing."
The fingerprints were identical to those of Perdreau-Remington's S-clone.

Tenover, who was developing for the CDC a uniform system for describing a dozen distinctive types of drug-resistant staph, named the emerging bug USA300.

Perdreau-Remington's early isolation of USA300 has made her lab at San Francisco General a world leader for the study of it. Once it became clear that a new strain of drug-resistant staph was loose, she set out to discover where it came from. She went back to her freezers and screened hundreds of samples of staph taken since 1996.

Her survey unearthed the earliest known sample of USA300. Its fingerprints were spotted in a frozen specimen taken from a man who visited the newly opened walk-in clinic at San Francisco General on Sept. 25, 2000.

Ominously, the strain that first appeared outside the hospital began to infect vulnerable patients inside as well. By 2002, USA300 accounted for 14 percent of staph infections acquired at San Francisco General, and the numbers keep rising.

"Now, more than 80 percent of MRSA infections in this hospital are caused by USA300," Perdreau-Remington said.

Under a powerful microscope, USA300 resembles a cluster of faintly yellow BBs - indistinguishable from other strains of drug-resistant staph. Like a fancier brand of automobile, however, this one is packed with options that make it potentially more deadly and easier to spread.

Toxic proteins carried by USA300 have been implicated in infections that destroy fingers and toes or cause the rare but frighteningly fast skin- and muscle-tissue destruction attributed popularly to "flesh-eating bacteria" - a condition known as necrotizing fasciitis.

Until recently, flesh-eating infections were thought to be caused by other bugs, such as Streptococcus. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2005 changed all that. Doctors at UCLA-Harbor Medical Center reviewed 14 cases of the frightening skin disease. All 14 had drug-resistant staph cultured from their wounds. Five samples were tested at Perdreau-Remington's San Francisco lab for strain type. They all turned up USA300.

When drug-resistant staph invades the lungs, it can cause a pneumonia that destroys lung tissue and kills a patient within hours. Last winter, the CDC implicated USA300 in outbreaks of severe pneumonia such as the one that killed six of 10 flu patients in Louisiana and Georgia last winter. Four of the dead were children.

Concern over USA300 is so great that Perdreau-Remington won funding to map the complete genome of the germ, identifying the entire coded sequence of genetic instructions that tell this particular strain of staph bacteria how to make copies of itself.

She chose a sample taken in 2003 from a wrist abscess on a 36-year-old patient who was also being treated for AIDS at San Francisco General. She picked that specimen because it seemed unusually resistant to treatment. It was labeled USA300 FPR3757 - using Perdreau-Remington's initials.

The gene map, published in the British medical journal the Lancet in February 2006, has yielded clues to why this strain spreads so quickly. The bug appears to have swapped genes from Staphylococcus epidermidis, a usually harmless staph species that is commonly found on human skin. Researchers theorize that, by stealing a trick from the milder staph bug, the malevolent USA300 may colonize on human skin more easily than other varieties of MRSA.

Further along the gene map are sections that produce resistance to the antibiotics tetracycline, erythromycin, clindamycin, Cipro and mupirocin, a topical ointment often used to kill MRSA colonies living in people's noses.

Perdreau-Remington did not know it at the time, but the sample she took - FPR3757 - was among the very first isolates found of the highly drug-resistant USA300 variant now spreading readily through San Francisco's gay community. The new bug virtually has her name on it.

USA300 - even the new variant - is treatable with some antibiotics. Perhaps the most important of these is vancomycin, an antibiotic reserved for the most serious staph infections. But FPR3757 is just a short step away from acquiring resistance to that drug as well.

Dangerous intestinal bacteria have already evolved resistance to vancomycin. Known as vancomycin-resistant enterococcus, or VRE, the bugs carry a "cassette" of genes containing all the instructions needed for bacteria to sidestep the antibiotic.

Perdreau-Remington's team has spotted on the USA300 genome a region that is primed to accept this vancomycin-resistance cassette. It could snap into place like a Lego block.

Drug-resistant bacterial strains have been labeled "superbugs," but most infectious disease specialists recognize that these bacteria are not doing anything remarkable. They are performing as they have for millions of years, using their enormous capacity to mutate and multiply to outmaneuver whatever biological or environmental threats they face.

Because both VRE and USA300 are circulating in hospital environments, some patients are probably battling both bugs at the same time. Given the propensity of staph germs to swap genes, these patients provide fertile ground for the evolution of an even more dangerous bug.

If USA300 were to acquire vancomycin resistance from VRE, the result would be a virulent new form of staph, which would spread readily outside the medical setting and be nearly impossible to treat.

Perdreau-Remington believes there's an urgent need for new drugs to combat such a monster.

"This is the horror scenario," she said. "We have very little time left."

E-mail Sabin Russell at

This article appeared on page A - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle
28437  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Fisher Aimes: Champions of Liberty on: January 16, 2008, 08:31:02 AM
"I am commonly opposed to those who modestly assume the rank
of champions of liberty, and make a very patriotic noise about
the people.  It is the stale artifice which has duped the world a
thousand times, and yet, though detected, it is still successful.
I love liberty as well as anybody.  I am proud of it, as the true
title of our people to distinction above others; but...I would
guard it by making the laws strong enough to protect it."

-- Fisher Ames (letter to George Richard Minot, 23 June 1789)

Reference: Works of Fisher Ames, W. B. Allen, ed., vol. 1 (678)
28438  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Strait of Hormuz incident on: January 16, 2008, 08:26:16 AM
The Strait of Hormuz Incident and U.S. Strategy

By George Friedman


Iranian speedboats reportedly menaced U.S. warships in the Strait of Hormuz on Jan. 6. Since then, the United States has gone to great lengths to emphasize the threat posed by Iran to U.S. forces in the strait — and, by extension, to the transit of oil from the Persian Gulf region. The revelation of an Iranian threat in the Strait of Hormuz was very helpful to the United States, coming as it did just before U.S. President George W. Bush's trip to the region. Washington will use the incident to push for an anti-Iranian coalition among the Gulf Arabs, as well as to push Iran into publicly working with the United States on the Iraq problem.


According to U.S. reports and a released video, a substantial number of Iranian speedboats approached a three-ship U.S. naval convoy moving through the strait near Iranian territory Jan. 6. (Word of the incident first began emerging Jan. 7.) In addition, the United States reported receiving a threatening message from the boats.


Following the incident, the United States began to back away from the claim that the Iranians had issued threats, saying that the source of the transmission might have been hecklers who coincidentally transmitted threats as the Iranian boats maneuvered among the U.S. ships. Shore-based harassing transmissions are not uncommon in the region, or in other parts of the world for that matter, especially when internationally recognized bridge-to-bridge frequencies are used. And it is difficult if not impossible to distinguish the source of a transmission during a short, intense incident such as this. The combination of Iranian craft in close proximity to U.S. warships and the transmission, regardless of the source, undoubtedly increased the sense of danger.


Two things are interesting. First, the probability of a disciplined Iranian attack — and, by U.S. Navy accounts, the Iranian action was disciplined — being preceded by a warning is low. The Iranians were not about to give away the element of surprise, which would have been essential for an effective attack. While the commander on the scene does not have the luxury we have of dismissing the transmission out of hand — in fact, the commander must assume the worst — its existence decreases the likelihood of an attack. Attacking ships need every second they can get to execute their mission; had the Iranians been serious, they would have wanted to appear as nonthreatening as possible for as long as possible.


Second, the U.S. ships did not open fire. We do not know the classified rules of engagement issued to U.S. ship captains operating in the Strait of Hormuz, but the core guidance of those rules is that a captain must protect his ship and crew from attack at all times. Particularly given the example of the USS Cole, which was attacked by a speedboat in a Yemeni harbor, it is difficult for us to imagine a circumstance under which a ship captain in the U.S. Navy would not open fire if the Iranian boats already represented a significant threat.


Spokesmen for the 5th Fleet said Jan. 13 that the U.S. ships were going through the process of determining the threat and preparing to fire when the Iranians disengaged and disappeared. That would indicate that speed, distance and bearing were not yet at a point that required a response, and that therefore the threat level had not yet risen to the redline. Absent the transition to a threat, it is not clear that this incident would have risen above multiple encounters between U.S. warships and Iranian boats in the tight waters of Hormuz.


The New York Times carried a story Jan. 12, clearly leaked to it by the Pentagon, giving some context for U.S. concerns. According to the story, the United States had carried out war games attempting to assess the consequences of a swarming attack by large numbers of speedboats carrying explosives and suicide crews. The results of the war games were devastating. In a game carried out in 2002, the U.S. Navy lost 16 major warships, including an aircraft carrier, cruisers and amphibious ships — all in attacks lasting 5-10 minutes. Fleet defenses were overwhelmed by large numbers of small, agile speedboats, some armed with rockets and other weapons, but we assume most operated as manned torpedoes.


The decision to reveal the results of the war game clearly were intended to lend credibility to the Bush administration's public alarm at the swarming tactics. It raises the issue of why the U.S. warships didn't open fire, given that the war game must have resulted in some very aggressive rules of engagement against Iranian speedboats in the Strait of Hormuz. But more important, it reveals something about the administration's thinking in the context of Bush's trip to the region and the controversial National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran's nuclear program.


A huge controversy has emerged over the NIE, with many arguing that it was foisted on the administration against its will. Our readers know that this was not our view, and it is still not our view. Bush's statements on the NIE were consistent. First, he did not take issue with it. Second, he continues to regard Iran as a threat. In traveling to the Middle East, one of his purposes is to create a stronger anti-Iranian coalition among the Arab states on the Arabian Peninsula. The nuclear threat was not a sufficient glue to create this coalition. For a host of reasons ranging from U.S. intelligence failures in Iraq to the time frame of an Iranian nuclear threat, a nuclear program was simply not seen as a credible basis for fearing Iran's actions in the region. The states of the Arabian Peninsula were much more afraid of U.S. attacks against Iran than they were of Iranian nuke s in five or 10 years.


The Strait of Hormuz is another matter. Approximately 40 percent of the region's oil wealth flows through the strait. During the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, the tanker war, in which oil tankers moving through the Persian Gulf came under attack from aircraft, provided a sideshow. This not only threatened the flow of oil but also drove shipping insurance rates through the roof. The United States convoyed tankers, but the tanker war remains a frightening memory in the region.


The tanker war was trivial compared with the threat the United States rolled out last week. The Strait of Hormuz is the chokepoint through which Persian Gulf oil flows. Close the strait and it doesn't flow. With oil near $100 a barrel, closing the Strait of Hormuz would raise the price — an understatement of the highest order. We have no idea what the price of oil would be if the strait were closed. Worse, the countries shipping through the strait would not get any of that money. At $100 a barrel, closing the Strait of Hormuz would take an economic triumph and turn it into a disaster for the very countries the United States wants to weld into an effective anti-Iranian coalition.


The revelation of a naval threat from Iran in the Strait of Hormuz just before the president got on board Air Force One for his trip to the region was fortuitous, to say the least. The Iranians insisted that there was nothing unusual about the incident, and Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said that "Some political factions in the U.S. are pursuing adventurism to help Bush to spread Iran-phobia in the region. U.S. officials should apologize to Iran, regional countries and the American people." This probably won't happen, but he undoubtedly will be grateful that the Iranians said there was nothing out of the ordinary about the incident. If this incident was routine, and if the U.S. war games have any predictive ability, it means that the Iranians are staging routine incidents, any one of which could lead to a military confrontation in the strait. Bush undoubtedly will be distributing the Iranian statement at each of his stops.


Leaving aside the politics for a moment, the Iranian naval threat is a far more realistic, immediate and devastating threat to regional interests than the nuclear threat ever was. Building an atomic weapon was probably beyond Iran's capabilities, while just building a device — an unwieldy and delicate system that would explode under controlled circumstances — was years away. In contrast, the naval threat in the Strait of Hormuz is within Iran's reach right now. Success is far from a slam dunk considering the clear preponderance of power in favor of U.S. naval forces, but it is not a fantasy strategy by any means.


And its consequences are immediate and affect the Islamic states in ways that a nuclear strike against Israel doesn't. Getting the Saudis to stand against Iran over an attack against Israel is a reach, regardless of the threat. Getting the Saudis worked up over cash flow while oil prices are near all-time highs does not need a great deal of persuading. Whatever happened in the strait Jan. 6, Bush has arrived in the region with a theme of widespread regional interest: keeping the Strait of Hormuz open in the face of a real threat. We are not certain that a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier could be sunk using small swarming ships. But we are certain that the strait could be closed or made too dangerous for tankers for at least a short period. And we know that, as in land warfare, finding the bases that are launching ships as small as speedboats would be tough. This threat had substance.


By dropping the Iranian nuclear threat and shifting to the threat to the strait, Bush moves the Iran issue from being one involving the United States and Israel to being one that excludes Israel but involves every oil producer in the region. None of them wants this to happen, and all of them must take the threat seriously. If it can establish the threat, the United States goes from being an advocate against Iran to being the guarantor of very real Arab interests. And if the price Arabs must pay for the United States to keep the strait open is helping shut down the jihadist threat in Iraq, that is a small price indeed.


This puts Iran in a tough position. Prior to the issuance of the NIE, the Iranians had shifted some of their policies on Iraq. The decline in violence in Iraq is partly because of the surge, but it also is because Iran has cut back on some of the things it used to do, particularly supporting Shiite militias with weapons and money and urging them to attack Sunnis. It also is clear that the limits it had imposed on some of the Iraqi Shiite politicians in the latter's dealings with their Sunni counterparts have shifted. The new law allowing Baath Party members to return to public life could not possibly have been passed without Iranian acquiescence.


Clearly, Iran has changed its actions in Iraq as the United States has changed its stance on Iranian nuclear weapons. But Iran shied away from reaching an open accommodation with the United States over Iraq following the NIE. Factional splits in Iran are opening up as elections approach, and while the Iranians have shifted their behavior, they have not shifted their public position. The United States sees a shift of Iran's public position as crucial in order to convince Iraqi factions, particularly all of the Shiite parties, to move toward a political conclusion. Reining in militias is great, but Washington wants and needs the final step. The NIE shift, which took the nuclear issue off the table, was not enough to do it. By raising the level of tension over a real threat — and one that has undebatable regional consequences — the United States is hoping to shape the internal political discussion in Iran toward an open participation in reshaping Iraq.


Iran doesn't want to take this step for three good reasons. First, it wants to keep its options open. It does not trust the United States not to use a public accord over Iraq as a platform to increase U.S. influence in Iraq and increase the threat to Iran. Second, Tehran has a domestic political problem. In the same way that Bush saw an avalanche of protest from his supporters over the NIE, the Iranians will see resistance to open collaboration. Finally, the Iranians are not sure they need a public agreement. From their point of view, they have delivered on Iraq, the United States has delivered on the NIE and things are moving in a satisfactory direction. Why go public? The American desire to show the Iraqi Shia that Iran has publicly abandoned the quest for a Shiite Iraq doesn't do Iran a bit of good.


The Iranians have used the construction of what we might call a guerrilla navy as a lever with the United States and as a means to divide the United States from the Arabs. The Iranians' argument to the Arabs has been, "If the United States pushes us too far, we will close the strait. Therefore, keep the Americans from pushing us too far." The Americans have responded by saying that the Iranians now have the ability to close the Strait of Hormuz, potentially regardless of what the U.S. Navy does. Therefore, unless the Arabs want to be at the mercy of Iran, they must join the United States in an anti-Iranian coalition that brings Iran under control. In its wooing of the Arabs, Washington will emphasize just how out of control the Iranians are, pointing out that Tehran is admitting that the kind of harassment seen Jan. 6 is routine. One day — and the day will be chosen by Iran — this will all get really out of hand.


The Iranians have a great deal to gain from having the ability to close the strait, but very little from actually closing it. The United States is putting Iran in a position such that the Gulf Arabs will be asking Tehran for assurances that Iran will not take any action. The Iranians will give assurances, setting the stage for a regional demand that the Iranians disperse their speedboats, which are purely offensive weapons of little defensive purpose.


The United States, having simplified the situation for the Iranians with the NIE and not gotten the response it wanted, now is complicating the situation again with a completely new framework — a much more effective framework than the previous one it used.


In the end, this isn't about the Strait of Hormuz. Iran isn't going to take on the U.S. Navy, and the Navy isn't quite as vulnerable as it claims — and therefore, the United States obviously is not nearly as trigger-happy as it would like to project. Washington has played a strong card. The issue now is whether it can get Iran into a public resolution over Iraq.


The Iranians appear on board with the private solution. They don't seem eager for a public one. The anti-Iranian coalition might strengthen, but as clever as this U.S. maneuver is, it will not bring the Iranians public. For that, more concessions in Iraq are necessary. More to the point, for a public accommodation, the "Great Satan" and the charter member of the "Axis of Evil" need to make political adjustments in their public portrayal of one another — hard to do in two countries facing election years.

28439  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People on: January 15, 2008, 08:07:49 PM
Thank you Leo Daher-- here's how to let the White House know what you think:
28440  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Nuclear War? on: January 15, 2008, 11:45:51 AM
Toward a Nuclear-Free World
January 15, 2008; Page A13

The accelerating spread of nuclear weapons, nuclear know-how and nuclear material has brought us to a nuclear tipping point. We face a very real possibility that the deadliest weapons ever invented could fall into dangerous hands.

The steps we are taking now to address these threats are not adequate to the danger. With nuclear weapons more widely available, deterrence is decreasingly effective and increasingly hazardous.

One year ago, in an essay in this paper, we called for a global effort to reduce reliance on nuclear weapons, to prevent their spread into potentially dangerous hands, and ultimately to end them as a threat to the world. The interest, momentum and growing political space that has been created to address these issues over the past year has been extraordinary, with strong positive responses from people all over the world.

Mikhail Gorbachev wrote in January 2007 that, as someone who signed the first treaties on real reductions in nuclear weapons, he thought it his duty to support our call for urgent action: "It is becoming clearer that nuclear weapons are no longer a means of achieving security; in fact, with every passing year they make our security more precarious."

In June, the United Kingdom's foreign secretary, Margaret Beckett, signaled her government's support, stating: "What we need is both a vision -- a scenario for a world free of nuclear weapons -- and action -- progressive steps to reduce warhead numbers and to limit the role of nuclear weapons in security policy. These two strands are separate but they are mutually reinforcing. Both are necessary, but at the moment too weak."

We have also been encouraged by additional indications of general support for this project from other former U.S. officials with extensive experience as secretaries of state and defense and national security advisors. These include: Madeleine Albright, Richard V. Allen, James A. Baker III, Samuel R. Berger, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Frank Carlucci, Warren Christopher, William Cohen, Lawrence Eagleburger, Melvin Laird, Anthony Lake, Robert McFarlane, Robert McNamara and Colin Powell.

Inspired by this reaction, in October 2007, we convened veterans of the past six administrations, along with a number of other experts on nuclear issues, for a conference at Stanford University's Hoover Institution. There was general agreement about the importance of the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons as a guide to our thinking about nuclear policies, and about the importance of a series of steps that will pull us back from the nuclear precipice.

The U.S. and Russia, which possess close to 95% of the world's nuclear warheads, have a special responsibility, obligation and experience to demonstrate leadership, but other nations must join.

Some steps are already in progress, such as the ongoing reductions in the number of nuclear warheads deployed on long-range, or strategic, bombers and missiles. Other near-term steps that the U.S. and Russia could take, beginning in 2008, can in and of themselves dramatically reduce nuclear dangers. They include:

• Extend key provisions of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty of 1991. Much has been learned about the vital task of verification from the application of these provisions. The treaty is scheduled to expire on Dec. 5, 2009. The key provisions of this treaty, including their essential monitoring and verification requirements, should be extended, and the further reductions agreed upon in the 2002 Moscow Treaty on Strategic Offensive Reductions should be completed as soon as possible.
• Take steps to increase the warning and decision times for the launch of all nuclear-armed ballistic missiles, thereby reducing risks of accidental or unauthorized attacks. Reliance on launch procedures that deny command authorities sufficient time to make careful and prudent decisions is unnecessary and dangerous in today's environment. Furthermore, developments in cyber-warfare pose new threats that could have disastrous consequences if the command-and-control systems of any nuclear-weapons state were compromised by mischievous or hostile hackers. Further steps could be implemented in time, as trust grows in the U.S.-Russian relationship, by introducing mutually agreed and verified physical barriers in the command-and-control sequence.
• Discard any existing operational plans for massive attacks that still remain from the Cold War days. Interpreting deterrence as requiring mutual assured destruction (MAD) is an obsolete policy in today's world, with the U.S. and Russia formally having declared that they are allied against terrorism and no longer perceive each other as enemies.
• Undertake negotiations toward developing cooperative multilateral ballistic-missile defense and early warning systems, as proposed by Presidents Bush and Putin at their 2002 Moscow summit meeting. This should include agreement on plans for countering missile threats to Europe, Russia and the U.S. from the Middle East, along with completion of work to establish the Joint Data Exchange Center in Moscow. Reducing tensions over missile defense will enhance the possibility of progress on the broader range of nuclear issues so essential to our security. Failure to do so will make broader nuclear cooperation much more difficult.
• Dramatically accelerate work to provide the highest possible standards of security for nuclear weapons, as well as for nuclear materials everywhere in the world, to prevent terrorists from acquiring a nuclear bomb. There are nuclear weapons materials in more than 40 countries around the world, and there are recent reports of alleged attempts to smuggle nuclear material in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. The U.S., Russia and other nations that have worked with the Nunn-Lugar programs, in cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), should play a key role in helping to implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 relating to improving nuclear security -- by offering teams to assist jointly any nation in meeting its obligations under this resolution to provide for appropriate, effective security of these materials.

As Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger put it in his address at our October conference, "Mistakes are made in every other human endeavor. Why should nuclear weapons be exempt?" To underline the governor's point, on Aug. 29-30, 2007, six cruise missiles armed with nuclear warheads were loaded on a U.S. Air Force plane, flown across the country and unloaded. For 36 hours, no one knew where the warheads were, or even that they were missing.

• Start a dialogue, including within NATO and with Russia, on consolidating the nuclear weapons designed for forward deployment to enhance their security, and as a first step toward careful accounting for them and their eventual elimination. These smaller and more portable nuclear weapons are, given their characteristics, inviting acquisition targets for terrorist groups.
• Strengthen the means of monitoring compliance with the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as a counter to the global spread of advanced technologies. More progress in this direction is urgent, and could be achieved through requiring the application of monitoring provisions (Additional Protocols) designed by the IAEA to all signatories of the NPT.
• Adopt a process for bringing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) into effect, which would strengthen the NPT and aid international monitoring of nuclear activities. This calls for a bipartisan review, first, to examine improvements over the past decade of the international monitoring system to identify and locate explosive underground nuclear tests in violation of the CTBT; and, second, to assess the technical progress made over the past decade in maintaining high confidence in the reliability, safety and effectiveness of the nation's nuclear arsenal under a test ban. The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization is putting in place new monitoring stations to detect nuclear tests -- an effort the U.S should urgently support even prior to ratification.

In parallel with these steps by the U.S. and Russia, the dialogue must broaden on an international scale, including non-nuclear as well as nuclear nations.

Key subjects include turning the goal of a world without nuclear weapons into a practical enterprise among nations, by applying the necessary political will to build an international consensus on priorities. The government of Norway will sponsor a conference in February that will contribute to this process.

Another subject: Developing an international system to manage the risks of the nuclear fuel cycle. With the growing global interest in developing nuclear energy and the potential proliferation of nuclear enrichment capabilities, an international program should be created by advanced nuclear countries and a strengthened IAEA. The purpose should be to provide for reliable supplies of nuclear fuel, reserves of enriched uranium, infrastructure assistance, financing, and spent fuel management -- to ensure that the means to make nuclear weapons materials isn't spread around the globe.

There should also be an agreement to undertake further substantial reductions in U.S. and Russian nuclear forces beyond those recorded in the U.S.-Russia Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty. As the reductions proceed, other nuclear nations would become involved.

President Reagan's maxim of "trust but verify" should be reaffirmed. Completing a verifiable treaty to prevent nations from producing nuclear materials for weapons would contribute to a more rigorous system of accounting and security for nuclear materials.

We should also build an international consensus on ways to deter or, when required, to respond to, secret attempts by countries to break out of agreements.

Progress must be facilitated by a clear statement of our ultimate goal. Indeed, this is the only way to build the kind of international trust and broad cooperation that will be required to effectively address today's threats. Without the vision of moving toward zero, we will not find the essential cooperation required to stop our downward spiral.

In some respects, the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons is like the top of a very tall mountain. From the vantage point of our troubled world today, we can't even see the top of the mountain, and it is tempting and easy to say we can't get there from here. But the risks from continuing to go down the mountain or standing pat are too real to ignore. We must chart a course to higher ground where the mountaintop becomes more visible.

Mr. Shultz was secretary of state from 1982 to 1989. Mr. Perry was secretary of defense from 1994 to 1997. Mr. Kissinger was secretary of state from 1973 to 1977. Mr. Nunn is former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The following participants in the Hoover-NTI conference also endorse the view in this statement: General John Abizaid, Graham Allison, Brooke Anderson, Martin Anderson, Steve Andreasen, Mike Armacost, Bruce Blair, Matt Bunn, Ashton Carter, Sidney Drell, General Vladimir Dvorkin, Bob Einhorn, Mark Fitzpatrick, James Goodby, Rose Gottemoeller, Tom Graham, David Hamburg, Siegfried Hecker, Tom Henriksen, David Holloway, Raymond Jeanloz, Ray Juzaitis, Max Kampelman, Jack Matlock, Michael McFaul, John McLaughlin, Don Oberdorfer, Pavel Podvig, William Potter, Richard Rhodes, Joan Rohlfing, Harry Rowen, Scott Sagan, Roald Sagdeev, Abe Sofaer, Richard Solomon, and Philip Zelikow
28441  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People on: January 15, 2008, 10:02:55 AM

I didn't know that the SCOTUS wrote its own question presented.  VERY interesting!

Here's this discouraging piece from John Lott on the DOJ's intervention in the case.  How do I call/email the White House?

Bad Brief
The Bush DOJ shoots at the Second Amendment.

By John R. Lott Jr.
A lot of Americans who believe in the right to own guns were very disappointed this weekend. On Friday, the Bush administration’s Justice Department entered into the fray over the District of Columbia’s 1976 handgun ban by filing a brief to the Supreme Court that effectively supports the ban. The administration pays lip service to the notion that the Second Amendment protects gun ownership as an “individual right,” but their brief leaves the term essentially meaningless.

Quotes by the two sides’ lawyers say it all. The District’s acting attorney general, Peter Nickles, happily noted that the Justice Department’s brief was a “somewhat surprising and very favorable development.” Alan Gura, the attorney who will be representing those challenging the ban before the Supreme Court, accused the Bush administration of “basically siding with the District of Columbia” and said that “This is definitely hostile to our position.” As the lead to an article in the Los Angeles Times said Sunday, “gun-control advocates never expected to get a boost from the Bush administration.”
As probably the most prominent Second Amendment law professor in the country privately confided in me, “If the Supreme Court accepts the solicitor general’s interpretation, the chances of getting the D.C. gun ban struck down are bleak.”

The Department of Justice argument can be boiled down pretty easily. Its lawyers claim that since the government bans machine guns, it should also be able to ban handguns. After all, they reason, people can still own rifles and shotguns for protection, even if they have to be stored locked up. The Justice Department even seems to accept that trigger locks are not really that much of a burden, and that the locks “can properly be interpreted” as not interfering with using guns for self-protection. Yet, even if gun locks do interfere with self-defense, DOJ believes the regulations should be allowed, as long as the District of Columbia government thinks it has a good reason.

Factually, there are many mistakes in the DOJ’s reasoning: As soon as a rifle or shotgun is unlocked, it becomes illegal in D.C., and there has never been a federal ban on machine guns. But these are relatively minor points. Nor does it really matter that the only academic research on the impact of trigger locks on crime finds that states that require guns be locked up and unloaded face a five-percent increase in murder and a 12 percent increase in rape. Criminals are more likely to attack people in their homes, and those attacks are more likely to be successful. Since the potential of armed victims deters criminals, storing a gun locked and unloaded actually encourages crime.

The biggest problem is the standard used for evaluating the constitutionality of regulations. The DOJ is asking that a different, much weaker standard be used for the Second Amendment than the courts demands for other “individual rights” such as speech, unreasonable searches and seizures, imprisonment without trial, and drawing and quartering people.

If one accepts the notion that gun ownership is an individual right, what does “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed” mean? What would the drafters of the Bill of Rights have had to write if they really meant the right “shall not be infringed”? Does the phrase “the right of the people” provide a different level of protection in the Second Amendment than in the First and Fourth?

But the total elimination of gun control is not under consideration by the Supreme Court. The question is what constitutes “reasonable” regulation. The DOJ brief argues that if the DC government says gun control is important for public safety, it should be allowed by the courts. What the appeals court argued is that gun regulations not only need to be reasonable, they need to withstand “strict scrutiny” — a test that ensures the regulations are narrowly tailored to achieve the desired goal.

Perhaps the Justice Department’s position isn’t too surprising. Like any other government agency, it has a hard time giving up its authority. The Justice Department’s bias can been seen in that it finds it necessary to raise the specter of machine guns 10 times when evaluating a law that bans handguns. Nor does the brief even acknowledge that after the ban, D.C.’s murder rate only once fell below what it was in 1976.

Worried about the possibility that a Supreme Court decision supporting the Second Amendment as an individual right could “cast doubt on the constitutionality of existing federal legislation,” the Department of Justice felt it necessary to head off any restrictions on government power right at the beginning.

But all is not lost. The Supreme Court can of course ignore the Bush administration’s advice, but the brief does carry significant weight. President Bush has the power to fix this by ordering that the solicitor general brief be withdrawn or significantly amended. Unfortunately, it may take an uprising by voters to rein in the Justice Department.
28442  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / J. Adams: The more things change , , , on: January 15, 2008, 09:50:04 AM
"Public affairs go on pretty much as usual: perpetual chicanery and
rather more personal abuse than there used to be... Our American
Chivalry is the worst in the world. It has no Laws, no bounds,
no definitions; it seems to be all a Caprice."

-- John Adams (letter to Thomas Jefferson, 17 April 1826)

Reference: The Adams-Jefferson Correspondence, Lester Cappon, ed.,
28443  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / NY Slimes caught in flagrante delito again on: January 14, 2008, 08:26:51 PM

We Stand Behind Our Stereotype
January 14, 2008

There is a school of thought in journalism according to which it is bad form to mention the race or ethnicity of a criminal suspect or defendant unless there is a compelling reason to do so. The idea is that such references gratuitously perpetuate stereotypes while imparting information that is of no use to the reader.

But racial and ethnic groups are not the only ones who take offense at such stereotypes, as the New York Times reports:

Veterans groups have long deplored the attention paid to the minority of soldiers who fail to readjust to civilian life.
After World War I, the American Legion passed a resolution asking the press "to subordinate whatever slight news value there may be in playing up the ex-service member angle in stories of crime or offense against the peace." An article in the Veterans of Foreign Wars magazine in 2006 referred with disdain to the pervasive "wacko-vet myth," which, veterans say, makes it difficult for them to find jobs.
The wacko-vet myth is alive and well. This very passage comes from a 7,000-word front-page piece in yesterday's Times titled "Across America, Deadly Echoes of Foreign Battles":

The New York Times found 121 cases in which veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan committed a killing in this country, or were charged with one, after their return from war. In many of those cases, combat trauma and the stress of deployment--along with alcohol abuse, family discord and other attendant problems--appear to have set the stage for a tragedy that was part destruction, part self-destruction.
Are they depraved on account of they were deployed? In fact, the Times's data are not sufficient to establish a correlation, much less a casual relationship, between stateside homicide and previous service in Afghanistan or Iraq.

To determine whether there's such a correlation, we'd need to know, in addition to the number of war vets charged with homicide, the corresponding figure for the general population, as well as the denominators--i.e., the number of war vets and the size of the population as a whole. A serious analysis would also take into account the demographic characteristics of the veteran population, which is disproportionately young and male.

This the Times does not do. Power Line's John Hinderaker conducts some back-of-the-envelope calculations and finds that if the Times's numbers are correct, "the rate of homicides committed by military personnel who have returned from Iraq or Afghanistan is only a fraction of the homicide rate for other Americans aged 18 to 24."

The Times, however, pre-empts this line of argument by acknowledging a defect in its methodology:

To compile and analyze its list, The Times conducted a search of local news reports, examined police, court and military records and interviewed the defendants, their lawyers and families, the victims' families and military and law enforcement officials.
This reporting most likely uncovered only the minimum number of such cases, given that not all killings, especially in big cities and on military bases, are reported publicly or in detail. Also, it was often not possible to determine the deployment history of other service members arrested on homicide charges.
If the numbers aren't comprehensive, what exactly is the Times trying to prove here? This is where things get interesting:

The Times used the same methods to research homicides involving all active-duty military personnel and new veterans for the six years before and after the present wartime period began with the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
This showed an 89 percent increase during the present wartime period, to 349 cases from 184, about three-quarters of which involved Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. The increase occurred even though there have been fewer troops stationed in the United States in the last six years and the American homicide rate has been, on average, lower.
What the Times has discovered, then, is a dramatic increase in the number of news reports in which homicide defendants are identified as servicemen or recent veterans. Does this mean that those who've served their country are more crime-prone now than they were in peacetime? Or does it mean that reporters are more prone to perpetuate the wacko-vet myth than they were during peacetime?

The Times is trying to prove the truth of a media stereotype by references to media reports. It might have proved nothing more than that it is a stereotype.
28444  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Russia on: January 14, 2008, 05:25:29 PM
British-Russian Tension Escalates

MOSCOW — A British cultural organization on Monday defied a Russian government order to close offices in two cities, creating a fresh strain in the already tense relations between Russia and Britain.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry summoned the British ambassador to Russia to its offices and threatened a series of punitive measures, including refusing to renew the visas of the organization’s staff and opening tax proceedings against the group.

The ambassador, Anthony Brenton, remained publicly defiant after the meeting, saying that the organization planned to continue operating all of its offices. Mr. Brenton also said that Russia’s demands violated international law on consular activities.

The two governments have been at odds over a series of espionage and extradition disputes.

The latest disagreement centers on the operations of the British Council, an organization that is operated and financed by the British government to encourage cultural exchange between the two countries.

The council has offices in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg, the three Russian cities where Britain maintains diplomatic missions.

Late last year, as part of a continuing tension between Russia and Britain since the poisoning death in 2006 of former K.G.B. officer Alexander V. Litvinenko in London, Russia demanded that the British Council offices in St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg close by Jan. 1.

Russia contends that the offices operate illegally and that the council has permission to maintain offices only in Moscow.

Russia celebrates New Year’s and Orthodox Christmas in an extended holiday. The dispute flared again on the first Monday after the holiday, when both offices reopened.

The Foreign Ministry immediately released an angry statement, saying it had told Mr. Brenton to comply with Russian demands or risk straining relations further.

“The ambassador was informed that the Russian side considered the action a deliberate provocation, directed at complicating the relationship between Russia and Britain,” the statement said.

Britain has denounced the order to close the offices, saying that the council’s activities comply with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and that it should be immune from political disputes.

James Barbour, a spokesman for the British Embassy, said that Mr. Brenton had been handed a letter by the Russian Foreign Ministry and was reviewing its contents. But the council, he said, would continue to operate.

“My understanding, and the understanding of the British government, is that the offices of the British Council will remain open,” he said.

Russia has also threatened to close the British Council’s main office, in Moscow, as one of its retaliatory measures.
28445  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / OBL's son moving to UK? on: January 14, 2008, 05:23:26 PM
Bin Laden's son applies to move to U.K. with wife - Daily Mail RIA Novosti
Monday January 14, 2008
Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden's son has applied for a visa to the United Kingdom where he intends to live with his British wife, the Daily Mail reported.
Omar Bin Laden, 26, and his wife Jane Felix-Browne, 52, say they have been interviewed at the British Embassy in Cairo. The embassy has declined to comment on the issue.
The British woman, who changed her name to Zaina Al Sabah Bin Laden after her marriage to Omar, has been married six times and has three sons and five grandchildren, according to the tabloid.
If the couple's application is accepted, they will move to Jane's $1.1 million home in Cheshire, near Manchester.
The Daily mail quoted her as saying: "The embassy staff are all very friendly and they are doing all the checks. It could take a while for the visa to come through but there's no reason in law why Omar and I should not be able to live in the U.K. together."
The son of the world's most wanted terrorist has divorced his first wife, the mother of his two-year-old son, and is currently waiting for confirmation of the divorce to come through from Saudi Arabia, so that he can prove the British woman is his only spouse.
"We have been told there will not be a problem as long as we can provide the original documents from his divorce from his first wife. And that should be done in a week," Mrs Bin Laden said.
A British marriage visa would allow Omar to live in the country for two years, after which he would be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
The couple say they are "peace activists", and are organizing a horse ride from Cairo to Morocco.
Omar Bin Laden told the Mail on Sunday: "Associates of my father forced the cancellation of the Dakar Rally [across north-west Africa], but they won't stop me from riding. We want people to join us on the trek - Jews, Arabs, Christians, Muslims, it doesn't matter where people are from."
28446  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Nat Geo Documentary on the Dog Brothers: Fight Club on: January 14, 2008, 04:57:27 PM
28447  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Politica-Economia en Latino America on: January 14, 2008, 10:30:07 AM
A Hollywood Yarn Unravels
January 14, 2008; Page A12

It was Christmas week in the Colombian city of Villavicencio and the events, as they were set to unfold, had all the makings of a Hollywood blockbuster. If only the "heroes" hadn't been exposed as liars.

A 3-year-old boy, his mother and another woman, all hostages of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), were about to be freed. Credit for their release was to go to Hugo Chávez, president of Venezuela. Former Argentine President Néstor Kirchner had flown up from Buenos Aires to take part in the show. Oscar-winning director Oliver Stone was on hand too, eager to document the Christmas spirit of the revolutionary killers and their socialist sympathizers. The child, as luck would have it, was called Emmanuel.

WSJ's Americas columnist Mary Anastasia O'Grady discusses the series of embarrassments that have befallen Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in recent months.
The part of the villain was bestowed on Colombian President Álvaro Uribe, a U.S. ally who as a matter of policy has refused to give in to FARC demands for Colombian territory in exchange for the release of hostages. Mr. Uribe had also recently announced that Mr. Chávez was no longer welcome as a negotiator in the broader effort to free former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, three American contractors and 41 other politically valuable FARC hostages. He had jerked away the welcome mat after Mr. Chávez tried to bypass him and talk directly to the Colombian military. According to the script, even Mr. Uribe's stubbornness couldn't stop the big-hearted Mr. Chávez from winning the freedom of these three.

For Mr. Stone, an anti-American Christmas miracle was in the offing. His film would portray Mr. Chávez as a humanitarian hero while demonizing Mr. Uribe. But it wasn't to be an obscure foreign film with no American message. It would also complement the assertions of U.S. unions, other trade protectionists and President Bush's political adversaries, all of whom insist -- against the evidence -- that the Colombian president violates human rights.

Of course, the American left's current obsession with Mr. Uribe is not really about concern for human life. It's about the pending U.S.-Colombian free trade agreement, which they want to kill on "moral" grounds. Depicting Mr. Uribe as an intransigent right-winger is critical to their narrative. In this, the protectionists are allies of the rebels. The truth is that Mr. Uribe's restoration of law and order in Colombia has thrown the guerrillas back on their heels, and they are now frantically pulling the levers of international propaganda.

Over Christmas week the suspense surrounding the promised release was building. Mr. Chávez reminded TV viewers daily that his dramatic rescue plan had nothing to do with him and everything to do with his tender concern for the hostages. Mr. Uribe had agreed to allow Venezuelan aircraft to swoop into Colombia to pick up the two women and the child. The FARC had only to say where. But no word came.

The rebels blamed the delay on bad weather and on Mr. Uribe, who they said had mobilized his armed forces in the area. Mr. Uribe denied the charge, as did his top military commander. Mr. Chávez said Mr. Uribe could not be trusted. Meanwhile the Venezuelan minister for FARC relations, Ramon Rodríguez Chacín, made excuses for the rebels, who, he said, had to be ready for Colombian military actions against them after the handover. The guerrillas, he said, should "prepare their retreat strategy and take all the security measures they need."

Finally, on Dec. 31, Mr. Uribe held a press conference to give his "hypothesis" of why the liberation hadn't occurred: The FARC had lied when it said it had the child, and it had been trying to buy time to find him. In fact, the boy was in a foster home in Bogotá. The suggestion was a bombshell, but after DNA tests confirmed the fact, Mr. Uribe was vindicated.

Among the more shocking revelations was the FARC's inhumane treatment of the infant. His mother, Clara Rojas, who had been Ms. Betancourt's vice presidential running mate, was kidnapped in 2002. The child was born in a rebel camp in 2004, and was less than one year old when he was left with a local peasant. After about a month, his humble caretaker realized he could not treat the child's serious illnesses and took him to a local clinic, which transferred him to a hospital.

Press reports say that doctors diagnosed the baby with anemia, malaria, a parasitic skin disease, malnutrition and an arm that had been broken at birth and not treated. "Anyone would have fallen apart before this child, with so many diseases," the hospital director told the Miami Herald. "He didn't raise his eyes. He got toys but did not pick them up. He did not stand but dragged himself on his butt. He cried but no tears came because of the malnutrition."

When the news of the child's whereabouts broke Mr. Stone went away spitting mad, not at his FARC heroes, who had been exposed as child abusers, but at Mr. Uribe and Mr. Bush. Of the FARC he said, "Grabbing hostages is the fashion in which they can finance themselves and try to achieve their goals, which are difficult. I think they are heroic to fight for what they believe in and die for it, as was Castro in the hills of Cuba."

Meanwhile, with Mr. Chávez looking like a fool, the two women were finally freed on Thursday. The FARC had reason to help him try to salvage his image: As this column has frequently noted, it needs Venezuela as its main transit route for cocaine and as a safe haven.

Mr. Chávez tried to paint himself as a neutral, third-party peacemaker but a day later he peeled off his mask. We already knew that a diplomat from Cuba, which has been sowing terror in Colombia for 50 years, accompanied the hostages to Caracas, underscoring the ties between Mr. Chávez, Cuba and the rebels. We also knew that as the helicopter carrying the hostages took off Mr. Rodríguez Chacín called to the rebels, "keep up the fight and count on us!"

On Friday, Mr. Chávez went further, arguing that the FARC has a "true" army that "occupies space" and is therefore a "belligerent" -- a term that would give it standing under international law. He demanded that its terrorist status be revoked. Colombia called his speech "off-the-wall" but it knows better. Following the hostage release, this was a calculated move and is only the latest step in what is now Mr. Chávez's war, waged by the FARC, against Colombia.

• Write to O'
28448  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / WSJ: Me, Myself, and I on: January 14, 2008, 09:18:13 AM
Me, Myself and I
January 14, 2008; Page A13

After months of presidential primary debates, town-hall meetings and cable talkathons, I hate myself. And I mean that in the most old-fashioned way.

For all the rhetorical flourish on display, many of the presidential candidates still don't have a grip on the King's English. That great American personal pronoun, the first person singular, which adorns nearly every sentence of candidate discourse, is still too slippery for many of this year's White House aspirants.

Speaking on Social Security, Democrat hopeful Barack Obama boasted that "here's an area where John (Edwards) and myself were actually quite specific." A few minutes later, Bill Richardson wondered, "What is wrong with having been like myself -- 14 years in the Congress, two Cabinet positions?"

Campaigning is certainly exhausting in a primary homestretch, which may explain this gem from Mitt Romney: "It is going to take a person who is himself an innovator like myself who has the experience to bring change to Washington." Republican contender Ron Paul noted proudly that "We have a lot of similarities . . . Barack Obama and myself, because our campaigns are made up of young people."

The new verbal tic is part trend and part defensive posture. Since the Me Generation, "I" and "me" have become increasingly tangled up as Americans have looked for ways around tricky constructions. As sportswriter Red Smith once put it, "Myself is the foxhole of ignorance, where cowards take refuge, because they were taught that me is vulgar and I is egotistical." In the same spirit, "myself" has become the campaign's de rigueur grammar cop-out, substituted for I or me when the candidate isn't sure which is accurate -- or worse, assumes Americans will see proper English as elitist.

Yet grammar still matters to a lot of Americans. Potential employers often report they are put off by job applicants who display bad spelling or grammar -- taking it as a sign of sloppiness, inattention to detail or lack of IQ. Why shouldn't voters hold the next leader of the free world to similar standards? Especially since, as Richard Lederer, former usage editor of the Random House Dictionary points out, when candidates "chicken out and use 'myself'" in place of I or me, "it shows an inability to take a stand" -- and isn't that something voters should care about?

The stakes are high, and the wrong pronoun can even change the meaning of a sentence. In his New Hampshire victory speech after the New Hampshire primary, John McCain told a cheering crowd, "Enjoy this. You have earned it more than me." (When he presumably meant, you have earned it more than I have.)

The misuse of "I" took its own toll on Bill Clinton in 1992. Running against then incumbent President George H. W. Bush, Gov. Clinton famously said: "If you want a spring in your step and a song in your heart, give Al Gore and I a chance to bring America back." The mistake spawned a pretty good media lashing, as it should have. New York Times columnist William Safire wrote in his language column, "Between you and me -- never you and I . . . the best answer is 'Give I a break.'"

By the time the 1996 debates came around, the president learned his lesson and dumbed it down. At the podium, Mr. Clinton remarked on the "big differences between Sen. Dole and myself."

Not that the 2008 candidates can't find support from the more flexible sort of grammarian for their innovative usage of "myself." One school of lexicographer holds that proper English is however people use it. So, though the classically-approved usage of "myself" is as an intensive ("I myself feel that way") or reflexive ("I hurt myself"), several dictionaries approve its "informal use" as an all-purpose substitute for "I" or "me." What's next, ketchup on hot dogs?

Defenders of heterodoxy say the casual usage has been around for centuries, finding mention in dusty old texts of Chaucer and other reputable English and American writers. But its growing use is intensely controversial among grammarians. "People who are shaky in their grammar think of "myself" as a safe usage," says Bryan Garner, former editor of Oxford's Dictionary of Modern American Usage, "but to a real snoot, it's bothersome."

To handle the skirmish, dictionaries now include tortured "Usage notes" on the casual version. The 2006 American Heritage Dictionary, referring to its in-house advisers, points out that "a large majority of the Usage Panel disapproves of the use of -self pronouns when they do not refer to the subject of the sentence."

One imagines a lot of furniture being broken up by American Heritage's more liberal experts. The dictionary goes on to say, "Seventy-three percent (of panel members) reject the sentence 'He was an enthusiastic fisherman like myself.'" The Panel is even less tolerant of compound usages. Eighty-eight percent find this sentence unacceptable: 'The boss asked John and myself to give a brief presentation.'"

Ahem, candidates.

Despite the excessive presence of "myself" in the current race, its emergence in political campaigning is not recent. John F. Kennedy used "myself" awkwardly once in his debate with Richard Nixon on Oct. 7, 1960, remarking on "the issue between Mr. Nixon and myself." Jimmy Carter used "myself" once in his October 1976 debate with President Gerald Ford, noting that "I think that we'll have good results on November the second for myself and I hope for the country."

Presidential campaigns have been dotted with stories of candidates maligned for misspellings and malapropisms memorable enough to define a political career. (See former Vice President Dan Quayle, whose misspelling of potato(e) in the days before spell-checkers turned him into a national punch line.) The most notorious of these has probably been President George W. Bush. So in the pronoun sweepstakes, he must be the worst offender of all, right?

He's not. Referring to his own grammatical quirks in a debate with Al Gore, the then Texas governor's usage was impeccable. "Well, we all make mistakes," he said, "I've been known to mangle a syllable or two myself."

Ms. Levy is a senior editorial writer at the Journal, based in Washington.
28449  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / J. Story: Interpreting the C. on: January 14, 2008, 09:03:57 AM
"The constitution of the United States is to receive a reasonable
interpretation of its language, and its powers, keeping in view the
objects and purposes, for which those powers were conferred. By
a reasonable interpretation, we mean, that in case the words are
susceptible of two different senses, the one strict, the other
more enlarged, that should be adopted, which is most consonant
with the apparent objects and intent of the Constitution."

-- Joseph Story (Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833)

Reference: Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, 140.


28450  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: VIDEO CLIPS OF INTEREST on: January 13, 2008, 11:01:46 PM

Shortest fight ever?
Pages: 1 ... 567 568 [569] 570 571 ... 682
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.19 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!