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28551  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Howl of Respect to our Soldiers/Veterans on: October 05, 2005, 05:54:45 AM
Troops Wait for Body Armor Reimbursements
Associated Press  |  September 30, 2005
WASHINGTON - Nearly a year after Congress demanded action, the Pentagon has still failed to figure out a way to reimburse soldiers for body armor and equipment they purchased to better protect themselves while serving in Iraq.

For Marine Sgt. Todd Bowers that extra piece of equipment - a high-tech rifle scope bought by his father for $600 and a $100 pair of goggles - turned out to be a life or death purchase. And he has never been reimbursed.

Bowers, who is from Arizona but going to school in Washington, D.C., was shot by a sniper during his second tour in Iraq, but the round lodged in his scope, and his goggles protected his eyes from the shrapnel that struck his face.

"We weren't provided those going to Iraq," he said Thursday. "But they literally saved my life."

He and other soldiers and their parents are still spending hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars for armor they say the military won't provide. One U.S. senator said Thursday he will try again to force the Pentagon to obey the reimbursement law it opposed from the outset and has so far not implemented.

Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., said he will offer amendments to the defense appropriations bill working its way through Congress to take the funding issue out of the hands of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and give control to military unit commanders in the field.

"Rumsfeld is violating the law," Dodd said. "It's been sitting on the books for over a year. They were opposed to it. It was insulting to them. I'm sorry that's how they felt."

Dodd said men and women in uniform "are serving halfway around the world. And they shouldn't have to rely on bake sales and lemonade stands to raise money" to get them the equipment they need.

Pentagon spokeswoman Air Force Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke said the department "is in the final stages of putting a reimbursement program together and it is expected to be operating soon." But defense officials would not discuss the reason for the delay.

Krenke said the Pentagon's first priority is to ensure that soldiers "have all they need to fight and win this nation's wars."

Others don't see it that way.

"Your expectation is that when you are sent to war, that our government does everything they can do to protect the lives of our people, and anything less than that is not good enough," said a former Marine who spent nearly $1,000 two weeks ago to buy lower-body armor for his son, a Marine serving in Fallujah.

The father asked that he be identified only by his first name - Gordon - because he is afraid of retribution against his son.

"I wouldn't have cared if it cost us $10,000 to protect our son, I would do it," said Gordon. "But I think the U.S. has an obligation to make sure they have this equipment and to reimburse for it. I just don't support Donald Rumsfeld's idea of going to war with what you have, not what you want. You go to war prepared, and you don't go to war until you are prepared."

Under the law Congress passed last October, the Defense Department had until Feb. 25 to develop regulations for the reimbursement, which is limited to $1,100 per item. Pentagon officials opposed the reimbursement idea, calling it "an unmanageable precedent that will saddle the DOD with an open-ended financial burden."

In a letter to Dodd in late April, David Chu, undersecretary of defense for personnel, said his office was developing regulations to implement the reimbursement, and would be done in about 60 days.

Soldiers and their families have reported buying everything from higher-quality protective gear to armor for their Humvees, medical supplies and even global positioning devices.

"The bottom line is that Donald Rumsfeld and the Defense Department are failing soldiers again," said Paul Rieckhoff, executive director of Operation Truth, an advocacy group for Iraq veterans.

"It just became an accepted part of the culture. If you were National Guard or Reserve, or NCOs, noncommissioned officers, you were going to spend a lot of money out of your pocket," said Rieckhoff, who was a platoon leader with the 3rd Infantry Division and served in Iraq from the invasion in March 2003 to spring 2004.

Dodd said he is worried the Pentagon will reject most requests for reimbursement. Turning the decision over to troop commanders will prevent that, he said, because the commanders know what their soldiers need and will make better decisions about what to reimburse.

Dodd also said he wants to eliminate the deadline included in the original law, which allowed soldiers to seek reimbursement for items bought between September 2001 and July 2004. Now, he wants it to be open-ended.
28552  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Howl of Respect to our Soldiers/Veterans on: October 05, 2005, 12:06:35 AM
http://madeucegunners.blogspot.com/2005/10/record.html

Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Record

My brigade, the 116th Brigade Combat Team, made up of units from Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, New Jersey, and California, currently owns the record for re-enlisting soldiers, out of any unit, Active Duty, Reserve or National Guard, during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The 256th BCT, headquartered in Louisiana, held the previous record at over 400 soldiers re-enlisting in-country. The 116th BCT set out to beat that record with a goal of 500, and did on 14 September 2005, with BG Alan Gayheart, Commander of the 116th BCT, ceremonially swearing in SGT Seckel in front of a representative formation of other soldiers re-affirming their commitment to continue to stand ready to protect freedom.



I'm in there somewhere, third row from the back, right-center of the photo. Even I couldn't find myself.

You will notice the photo is labeled "500th Re-Enlistment". As of right now,
the 116th BCT has had 733 soldiers sign new 3 or 6 year contracts.

I venture to say that this is a huge testament to the will of the army. Not
the Army, the organization, but the army, the men and women who wear the uniform, no matter what branch. Knowing the adversity faced in combat, and the need for the constant defense of our nation, and having already experienced hardship, loss, and separation, a momentus number are willing to continue to be counted among the willing.

SCOUTS OUT!!!!!

MDG....OUT.
28553  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Homeland Security on: October 04, 2005, 11:49:05 PM
From another forum.  Anyone have anything on this?

===================================
Explosion Kills One at University of Oklahoma

Sunday, October 02, 2005


NORMAN, Okla. ? One person was killed in an explosion near a packed football stadium at the University of Oklahoma on Saturday night in what authorities said appeared to be a suicide.

The blast, in a traffic circle about 100 yards from Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, could be heard by some in the crowd of 84,000, but university President David Boren said no one inside the stadium was ever in danger.

"We are apparently dealing with an individual suicide, which is under full investigation," Boren said in a statement. There was no information about the person who was killed, and no reports of any other injuries.

A police bomb squad detonated explosives found at the site of the blast. The area near the stadium was searched by bomb-sniffing dogs.

Jaclyn Hull, an OU freshman who left the game shortly before the explosion, said she saw "a little bit of smoke, about as much as you would see coming up from a grill."

Officers cordoned off an area west of the stadium after the explosion and nobody was allowed out of the stadium for about a half-hour after the blast, which occurred shortly before 8 p.m., about halftime of the Sooners' game against Kansas State. The game continued.

WT Perspective: I'll bet we don't hear another word about this. We should, but we won't.

Admitting it was, if it was, would not be good for business or politics. I wonder. Was this a terrorist event gone wrong?

They say it was a suicide. I investigated many suicides in my time in service. I never saw on done with explosives.
============

http://www.homelandsecurityus.com/

==========

INTELL PROVIDED BY MEMBERS

? Islamic Bomb-Making documents, Other Jihad Materials Reportedly Removed from Suspect's Park View Apartment

? Suspect's Apartment located Near the Islamic Society of Norman, OK

Law enforcement sources close to the Northeast Intelligence Network have confirmed that search and seizure warrants were served today upon the residence of the ?suicide bomber, 21-year-old Joel Henry Hinrichs III of Colorado Springs, CO, who was a resident of the Park View Apartments on campus.

Speaking strictly ?off the record,? the officials stated that they recovered ?a significant amount? of Islamic ?Jihad? type literature, some possibly written in Arabic, along with the suspect?s computer. Some of the documentation included material on how to construct bomb-making vests.

Further reports by the same officials indicated that the bomb was detonated prematurely when the suspect was either arming a bomb vest or backpack, which contained TATP, a homemade explosive.

TATP (triacetone triperoxide) is a very potent but relatively easily manufactured explosive compound that was used in the July London bombings. It is important to note that TATP has been cited in numerous Jihad bomb-making manuals.

The same officials, requiring anonymity as the investigation is ongoing, continued to confirm that ?other un-detonated explosive devices were found in the area cordoned off by police and federal officials.? Those devices WERE NOT DETONATED, but carefully confiscated for further forensic testing. Initially, information provided to the Northeast Intelligence Network suggested that that the so-called ?suicide-bomber? was attempting to attach bombs to the buses parked in the area when one of the bombs detonated prematurely. The investigation has expanded into the possibility that others might have been involved.

WT Editorial -

Suspicions confirmed? Lots of Jihadi connections in OK. Another post will contain more material. I will venture a theory. This American Hadji was going to go inside the stadium and blow himself up killing lots of americans. When they tried to evacuate, more deaths.

Now, the authorities can either say this was a terrorist event or that it was not. If they say it was not, everyone sheds a tear for the dead guy and discussions on how the sad tragedy of a suicide could have been averted. If they state it was a terror attack gone wrong, what would the reaction accross the country be???

I think we know WHY they are being quiet about this. The same thing happened with the Beltway Sniper case as well as with the Egyptian Shooter at LAX. If any WTers are privy to discussions held at the high levels of police admin it would be interesting to hear the logic behind their thinking.
===========

MANY PATHS SEEM TO INTERSECT IN NORMAN, OKLAHOMA

? In early July 2000, Mohammed Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi visited the Airman Flight School in Norman, Oklahoma.

? On or about 29 September, 2000, Zacharias MOUSSAOUI contacted Airman Flight School in Norman, Oklahoma using an e-mail account he set up on September 6 with an internet service provider in Malaysia.

? On or about 26 February 2001, Zacharias MOUSSAOUI opened a bank account in Norman, Oklahoma where he deposited approximately $32,000 in cash.

? Between 26 February 2001 and 29 May 2001, MOUSSAOUI attended the Airman Flight School in Norman, Oklahoma, ending his classes early.

? And more recently...26 September 2005: A University of Oklahoma student charged with bringing an explosive device to an airport pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge in federal court in Oklahoma City.

Charles Alfred Dreyling Jr. of Norman, Oklahoma faces up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine at a future sentencing hearing. Dreyling, 24, was arrested in August at the Will Rogers World Airport after security personnel noticed a suspicious object in his carryon bag as he was leaving for a family vacation with his parents.

He later told FBI agents the device -- a modified carbon dioxide cartridge filled with gunpowder -- was "basically a pipe bomb," according to court papers that he had forgotten was in his bag. (Former Oklahoma City, OK Mayor Kirk Humphreys-- who was also DREYLING'S landlord-- spoke on behalf of DREYLING at his bail hearing).

? On a bus trip to the University of Oklahoma, Zacharias MOUSSAOUI was on the same bus as Nicholas BERG, the American man who was beheaded in Iraq in 2004 by Islamic terrorists. At some point on that trip, MOUSSAOUI asked BERG if he could use BERG'S laptop computer. Government sources said BERG gave the MOUSSAOUI his computer password...

? September 11 hijacker Ziad Jarrah?s ticket (United Airlines Flight 93) was purchased from a computer terminal at Oklahoma University.

? Norman, OK is also cited on a number of occasions in the best-selling book, the most comprehensive investigative work by Jayna Davis titled The Third Terrorist, about the truck bomb blast that killed 171 souls and destroyed the Murrah Federal Building on 19 April 1995
__________________
28554  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / New on DVD! on: October 04, 2005, 07:50:33 PM
LOST TRIQUES is DONE: Pretty Kitty should have the box cover done in a day or two and then everything will be sent to the Duplication House.

STAFF is DONE:  Box cover is DONE and will be sent to the Dupe House with LT.

And today Night Owl surprised with a DVD master of "A Dog Brothers Gathering of the Pack".  Very polished, NO's game keeps getting better with each outing.  "Dogzilla's First Day" is the extra  cheesy
28555  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Well-armed People on: October 04, 2005, 01:46:52 AM
Actually the fighting for American Revolution started when the British went to Concord to take control of the powder. The liberal biased history books sort of overlook this little fact. Those men risked their lives defending their powder. The British would allow them to have guns, just not the powder. Sound like a slick Willy move to me. The Colonials stood their ground and won. Actually in New England, the Brits wouldn't engage out of range of their naval guns because they always lost. Fighting in the woods was a very expensive proposition for them.

Subject: Gun Refresher Course

GUN REFRESHER COURSE
A.. An armed man is a citizen. An unarmed man is a victim.
B.. A gun in the hand is better than a cop on the phone.
C.. Smith & Wesson: The original point and click interface.
D.. Gun control is not about guns; it's about control.
E.. If guns are outlawed, can we use swords?
F.. If guns cause crime, then pencils cause misspelled words.
G.. Free men do not ask permission to bear arms.
H.. If you don't know your rights you don't have any.
I... Those who trade liberty for security have neither.
J.. The United States Constitution (c) 1791. All Rights Reserved.
K.. What part of "shall not be infringed" do you not understand?
L. .The Second Amendment is in place in case they ignore the others.
M.. 64,999,987 firearms owners killed no one yesterday.
N.. Guns only have two enemies: Rust and Politicians.
O.. Know guns, know peace and safety. No guns, no peace nor safety.
P.. You don't shoot to kill; you shoot to stay alive.
Q.. 911 - government sponsored Dial a Prayer.
R.. Assault is a behavior, not a device.
S.. Criminals love gun control - it makes their jobs safer.
T.. If Guns cause Crime, then Matches cause Arson.
U.. A government that's afraid of it's citizens tries to control them.
V. You only have the rights you are willing to fight for.
W.. Enforce the "gun control laws" in place, don't make more.
X ..If you remove the people's right to bear arms, you create slaves.
Y.. The American Revolution wouldn't have happened with Gun Control.
Z. ."...a government by the people, for the people..."

PLEASE PASS THIS 'REFRESHER' ON TO OTHER
FREE CITIZENS BEFORE WE LOOSE OUR FREEDOM
28556  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Our Environment on: October 03, 2005, 08:17:27 AM
The following depressing piece kicks off this thread:
=====================================

 

 



Originally published in the April/May 2004 issue of Boston Review.

 

End of the Wild

The extinction crisis is over. We lost.

Stephen M. Meyer

For the past several billion years evolution on Earth has been driven by small-scale incremental forces such as sexual selection, punctuated by cosmic-scale disruptions?plate tectonics, planetary geochemistry, global climate shifts, and even extraterrestrial asteroids. Sometime in the last century that changed. Today the guiding hand of evolution is unmistakably human, with earth-shattering consequences.

The fossil record and statistical studies suggest that the average rate of extinction over the past hundred million years has hovered at several species per year. Today the extinction rate surpasses 3,000 species per year and is accelerating rapidly?it may soon reach the tens of thousands annually. In contrast, new species are evolving at a rate of less than one per year.

Over the next 100 years or so as many as half of the Earth's species, representing a quarter of the planet's genetic stock, will either completely or functionally disappear. The land and the oceans will continue to teem with life, but it will be a peculiarly homogenized assemblage of organisms naturally and unnaturally selected for their compatibility with one fundamental force: us. Nothing?not national or international laws, global bioreserves, local sustainability schemes, nor even "wildlands" fantasies?can change the current course. The path for biological evolution is now set for the next million years. And in this sense "the extinction crisis"?the race to save the composition, structure, and organization of biodiversity as it exists today?is over, and we have lost.

This is not the wide-eyed prophecy of radical Earth First! activists or the doom-and-gloom tale of corporate environmentalists trying to boost fundraising. It is the story that is emerging from the growing mountain of scientific papers that have been published in prestigious scientific journals such as Nature, Science, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences over the past decade.

The Real Impact

Through our extraordinary capacity to modify the world around us, we human beings are creating a three-tiered hierarchy of life built around human selection. The great irony here is that this anthropogenic transformation of the biosphere springs as much from our deliberate efforts to protect and manage the life around us as it does from our wanton disregard for the natural environment.

At one extreme we are making the planet especially hospitable for the weedy species: plants, animals and other organisms that thrive in continually disturbed, human-dominated environments. (I borrow this term from David Quammen's seminal A Planet of Weeds.) Many of these organisms are adaptive generalists?species that flourish in a variety of ecological settings, easily switch among food types, and breed prolificly. And some have their needs met more completely and efficiently by humans than by Mother Nature. In the United States, for example, there are five times as many raccoons (Procyon lotor) per square mile in suburban settings than in corresponding natural populations in "the wild."

From dandelions to coyotes, weedy species will enjoy expanding populations, spatial distribution, ecological dominance, and opportunities for further speciation into the far future. Many of these species have become so comfortable living with us that they have been labeled pests, requiring stringent control measures: the common (Norway) rat (Rattus norvegicus) and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) come immediately to mind.

Living on the margins in ever-decreasing numbers and limited spatial distribution are relic species. Relic species cannot thrive in human-dominated environments?which now nearly cover the planet. Facing the continual threat of extinction, relic species will linger in either ecologically marginalized populations (e.g., prairie dogs and elephants) or carefully managed boutique populations (e.g., pandas). Most, including the Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis), the California condor (Gymnogyps californianus), and virtually all of Hawaii's endemic plants, will require for survival our permanent, direct, and heavy-handed management, including captive breeding and continuous restocking.

Other relics, such as rare alpine plants, may survive in isolated patches through benign neglect. Over time they will experience progressive genetic erosion and declining numbers, and will rapidly lose their ecological value. In essence, they will be environmental ornaments.

But a large fraction of the non-weedy species will not be fortunate enough to have special programs to extend their survival or will be incapable of responding to such efforts. These are the ghost species?organisms that cannot or will not be allowed to survive on a planet with billions of people. Although they may continue to exist for decades, their extinction is certain, apart from a few specimens in zoos or a laboratory-archived DNA sample.

Some, such as the East Asian giant soft-shell turtle (extirpated except for one left in the wild) and the dusky seaside sparrow (extinct), are incapable of adapting their highly specialized needs rapidly enough to keep up with human-induced pressures. Others we intentionally try to eradicate. Although they are now protected, wolves and black-tailed prairie dogs in North America were once hunted for extermination as part of federal and state animal-control programs (and unofficially, they still are). In Africa, the lion population has plunged from over 200,000 in 1980 to under 20,000 today due to preemptive eradication by livestock herders.

Still other prospective ghosts we simply consume beyond their capacity to successfully reproduce?for food, for commercial products, or as pets. Recent reports suggest that we have consumed 90 percent of the stocks of large predatory fish, such as tuna and swordfish, in the world's oceans. And while 10,000 tigers live as private pets in the United States, fewer than 7,000 live in the wild throughout the world!

A great many of the plants and animals we perceive as healthy and plentiful today are in fact relics and ghosts. This seeming contradiction is explained by the fact that species loss is not a simple linear process. Many decades can pass between the start of a decline and the collapse of a population structure, especially where moderate-to-long-lived life forms are involved.

Conservation biologists use the term "extinction debt" to describe this gap between appearance and reality. In the past century we have accumulated a vast extinction debt that will be paid, with interest, in the century ahead. The number of plants and animals we "discover" to be threatened will expand out of control as the extinction debt comes due.

Thus, over the next hundred years, upwards of half of the earth's species are destined to become relics or ghosts, while weedy species will constitute an ever-growing proportion of the plants and animals around us. By virtue of their compatibility with us, weedy species can follow us around the planet, homogenizing (in both plausible interpretations of the word) the biosphere by filling in the spaces vacated by relics and ghosts. More and more we will encounter on every continent remarkably similar, if not the very same, species of plants, insects, mammals, birds, and other organisms.

How Did We Get Here?

Although we have been aware of species losses for decades, only recently has it become apparent that the biotic world as we have known it is collapsing. The causes, varied and complex, fall into three broad disturbance categories: landscape transformation, geochemical modification (pollution), and biotic consumption and manipulation. Each reflects some aspect of human-induced manipulation of the environment, as these examples from the news show:

New housing developments in Scotland will destroy critical habitat for Britain's threatened red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris), which has disappeared from most of its former range.
Logging and agricultural development have reduced the distribution of Chile's famed national tree?the monkey puzzle tree (Araucaria araucana)?to three small areas of the country, where it is vulnerable to fire and illegal logging.
A new dam in Belize will flood vital habitat for rare species of jaguars, macaws, and crocodiles in a valley linking to wildlife preserves.
Biologically active quantities of common over-the-counter and prescription drugs (e.g., Prozac) are ubiquitous in European and North American urban and suburban waste waters, where discharge to streams and rivers wreaks havoc on aquatic animal endocrine systems.
Polar bears endure body concentrations of PCB and other industrial toxins hundreds of times higher than those of animals living where the pollutants are emitted, thousands of miles away.
Eighty percent of Caribbean corals have died off in the past two decades from diseases fuelled by nutrient pollution from municipal waste-water treatment plants and agricultural runoff flooding into coastal waters.
Demand for "bush meat" in Africa (which sells for 30 percent of the price of farmed meat) is now outstripping supply, seriously depleting wildlife populations in general and great apes in particular. Meanwhile the international trade in bush meat and animal parts is growing exponentially, fetching prices many times those in domestic markets.
During the past two years half of the world's remaining Amur tigers (Panthera tigris altaica) were wiped out by trophy hunters, leaving fewer than 300 animals in the wild?ensuring the extirpation of the species.
Collecting freshwater and marine fish for the aquarium trade reduces wild populations of targeted species by 75 percent in commercial collection areas.
Cheatgrass, introduced into North America around 1900, has displaced native vegetation across broad areas of rangeland in western North America, devastating the local ecology. A prolific annual of low nutritive value, cheatgrass dries up early in the season, fueling extensive range fires that wipe out native plants and leave little food or shelter for wildlife.
Native aquatic food webs in South America are being destroyed by the introduction of the North American bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana)?a voracious predator.
When these factors?development, agriculture, resource consumption, pollution, alien species, etc.?are considered separately, the problem seems quite manageable. Sprawl can be fixed with smart growth. The demand for agricultural land and high-intensity farming can be dampened through dietary changes. Natural resource over-consumption in logging, hunting, fishing, and the exotic pet trade can be reduced through education, regulation, and policing. And the proliferation of alien species can be stopped through better laws and inspections. But this is a gross simplification: the appearance of tractability is created only by taking the causes one at a time.

Consider the plight of a simple, undemanding, and modestly adaptable creature: the California tiger salamander (Ambystoma californiense). These amphibians live most of the year underground in upland fields and woodlands. Each winter they migrate thousands of feet to their natal breeding pools to find mates and lay eggs. After several weeks of carousing they return to their underground burrows in the surrounding uplands.

The key to the breeding success of these salamanders is the ephemeral nature of the pools. The pools exist as dry depressions for six months of the year. Then, as heavy spring rains flood the region, these shallow basins fill with water, creating vernal pools. Tiger salamanders have come to rely on these temporary pools because, since they are dry part of the year, they cannot support naturally occurring fish populations. Thus, the salamanders' eggs are relatively safe from predation. As the eggs hatch, the larvae find themselves immersed in a bath of food: the water is bursting with millions of planktonic organisms. The salamander larvae grow rapidly?and they need to, because with the rains gone the pools dry up quickly, and unless the juvenile salamanders mature and move out into the surrounding terrain they will die. And so it has been for millions of years.

But not anymore. Today the California tiger salamander is disappearing. First, the upland habitat where it lives is prime real estate for residential, commercial, and agricultural development. Between 50 and 75 percent of its native habitat has already been lost, and more than 100 development projects are pending in the remaining areas. Woodlands are cut down and fields plowed up to make room for houses, lawns, schools, shopping centers, and roadways. Many vernal pools themselves are simply filled.

Where pools are spared bulldozing they are pressed into service as roadside storm basins to collect runoff from lawns, roads, and driveways?water saturated with fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, and heavy metals. The nitrogen and phosphorus in the runoff stimulates massive algal blooms that drives oxygen levels in the pools down to deadly levels, suffocating a large proportion of the animals. High concentrations of herbicides and pesticides in the runoff kill many juveniles and, in lower doses, alter metabolic chemistry in ways that bizarrely change sexual development, immune function, and even limb development.

Even setting aside local sources of contamination, the water in the pools is increasingly laden with a cocktail of toxic compounds (e.g., the herbicide atrazine) that are not used locally. Blowing in from industrial and agricultural sites many hundreds of miles away, these endocrine-disrupting compounds significantly reduce breeding success and foster grotesque developmental abnormalities.

Then there is the army of alien species?bullfrogs, crayfish, and other predators?that have been introduced intentionally into the landscape. These voracious hunters consume huge numbers of salamander larvae and juveniles, further decimating the tiger salamanders. In some instances, non-native salamanders (former pets) have been released into local pools, reducing breeding success and posing the risk of hybridization. And fish are frequently added to the temporary pools to devour mosquitoes during the wet season. While this makes life more comfortable for nearby human inhabitants, it exhausts the young salamanders' food supply.

But the assault does not end there. The regularity of spring rains is being replaced by recurrent three- and four-year droughts. Several generations of tiger salamanders therefore never emerge to replace the animals lost to natural and unnatural causes. In the past, tiger salamanders persisted despite climate variations by virtue of wandering individuals who trundled aimlessly through networks of wetlands until they chanced upon new vernal pools and restarted the population. But that is no longer possible because the matrix of connecting wetlands has been eliminated, and habitat fragmentation makes the chance encounter with a car tire many orders of magnitude greater than an encounter with either a suitable mate or a suitable habitat.

Finally, where residual populations of tiger salamanders have survived despite the odds in still isolated locations, they have become a target of the pet trade. Children are paid 25 cents per salamander to collect these highly prized animals, which are then sold for $15 a piece in U.S. pet shops and for more than $200 overseas. In fact the global trade in "exotics" such as tiger salamanders is growing explosively, especially for reptiles and amphibians. Probably one in a thousand salamanders survives the commerce and perhaps one in a thousand of these survives a few years in captivity.

This story is neither fictional nor unique. It is, in fact, the rule. One could tell similar stories of the red-crowned crane (Grus japonensis), the leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), the Lesothan succulent Aloe polyphylla, and most other species in decline. Relic species generally face an overwhelming web of threats that are impossible to disentangle.

Further complicating the picture are two meta-disturbances: global climate change and economic globalization. Climate change will make many areas inhospitable to their present inhabitants. Entire biotic communities will be evicted: coastal wetlands will be permanently submerged, many cloud forests will dry out, some dry savannas will become lush while others become deserts. Studies suggest that the types of climate shifts we can expect over the next century are well within the experiential history of most species that have survived the last two million years. In the past, most could have moved to new regions. But today only weedy species have the capacity to migrate and reestablish thriving populations in new habitats, which invariably are human-disturbed areas. For the rest, there is either no place to go because acceptable habitat has been reduced to a few isolated patches surrounded by a sea of human development. There is no way for non-weedy species to get to potentially more suitable locations (if they exist) hundreds of miles away because of interposed cities, roadways, subdivisions, shopping centers, and airports.

Economic globalization exacerbates the species-loss problem in several ways. Globalization increases the demand for natural resources in remote and undeveloped regions. In locations previously occupied by subsistence villages, labor towns spring up to support foreign timber and mining operations. As foreign capital flows into undeveloped regions it inflates the price paid for local goods, thereby increasing incentives for over-exploitation to feed the lucrative export market. Timber from the Malaysian and Indonesian rainforests bought and paid for by Japanese firms brings a much higher return than the same lumber sold in local markets. Over 80 percent of these rainforests have now been logged, with the consequence that the orangutan population is now less than ten percent of what it was decades ago.

Perhaps most importantly, the booming trade of the globalized economy accelerates the pace of alien species being transported around the globe. Breaking down economic barriers effectively breaks down geographic, ecological, and biotic barriers as vast numbers of plants and animals are shipped worldwide to support the pet and horticultural trades. Although presently only about five percent of these aliens take hold and flourish in their new environs, five percent of an exploding number is itself a large number. (As a reference point, 25 percent of the vascular plants in the United States today are alien species.)

Unintended introductions of alien plants, animals, and other organisms are even more threatening since authorities make no attempt to screen out truly harmful organisms. Alien pests, parasites, and predators take an increasingly high toll on native ecosystems. As ships and planes shuttle between continents carrying unprecedented volumes of cargo, they cart with them a growing roster of stow-away organisms. The Asian long-horn beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis), for example, invaded the United States in 1996 encased in wood crates from China or Korea. Spreading through New York and Chicago, they decimated local trees, especially maples. Since then, adult beetles have been intercepted at 17 U.S. ports.

Thus, climate change and economic globalization are powerful agents of human selection that amplify and make irreversible the traditional and localized human disturbances that undermine biodiversity.

Why There Is Nothing We Can Do

As our awareness of the extinction crisis has grown, we have taken some ameliorative actions. In the United States we have imposed rules upon ourselves to try to halt the loss. The U.S. Endangered Species Act prohibits the taking, harm, or harassment of some 1,300 plants and animals designated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Some critical habitats of these species are also protected. In addition, 44 of the 50 states have some form of state-level endangered species act of their own, through which they try to protect locally threatened species.

Since the early 1990s the European Union has had its Habitat Directive, which makes it illegal to kill or harm about 700 protected species or to disrupt 168 specially designated habitats. Approaching the problem from a different angle is the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES), which, as the name implies, is an attempt by the international community-presently over 150 countries-to limit the global trade in threatened species. About 30,000 plants and animals are on the CITES list. Thousands of species are added annually.

Meanwhile, nations, acting individually and through international conventions, have attempted to set aside biologically valuable landscapes and ocean areas as wildlife refuges and bioreserves. More than ten percent of the earth now has some form of protected status. The Parsa Reserve in Nepal covers about 500 square kilometers and offers sanctuary to a range of creatures, including 300 species of birds. The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve, encompassing over 400,000 square kilometers of ocean, protects about 70 percent of the coral reef ecosystems in the United States. Over 7,000 marine species are associated with this area, of which 25 percent are found nowhere else on the planet.

Recognizing that governments have limited political and fiscal resources, nongovernmental organizations have moved to impede the flow of species loss through land protection, public education, litigation, and policy advocacy. The Nature Conservancy claims to have helped to preserve over 117 million acres of wildlife habitat over the past 50-plus years. In the United States the Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, and others use the courts to force recalcitrant government agencies to implement and enforce existing conservation laws and regulations.

A casual reading of the news would suggest these efforts are paying off:

By 1939 the number of whooping cranes (Grus americana) in the United States had declined to 18. Thanks to captive breeding, today there are over 300 whooping cranes, with 180 living in the wild. In an astounding effort, humans piloting ultralight aircraft taught a novice flock how to migrate from Florida to Wisconsin.
The population of Puerto Rican crested toads (Peltophryne lemur) has tripled to 300 over the past 25 years thanks to captive breeding in U.S. zoos and restocking in the wild.
A recent survey of tigers in India's Sunderbans Forest suggests that the preserve's population is stable and may even reflect an increase in cubs.
The last remaining patch of Kneeland prairie penny-cress (Thlaspi californicum), found in only one California county, will be saved with a ten-year, $300,000 conservation effort.
Perhaps if we dedicated a few billion dollars more, increased cooperative efforts among governments, expanded the system of bioreserves walling off biodiversity hot spots, cultivated sustainable economics among local communities, and reduced human consumption habits we could save the earth's biota.

Unfortunately, such efforts are far too little and far, far too late. In fact these and similar apparent success stories reflect a much more insidious process that is reshaping the living earth. Our most common tools for preserving biodiversity?prohibitory laws and regulations, bioreserves, and sustainable-development programs?are themselves powerful engines of human selection, tweaking (for our pleasure) but not fundamentally altering the outcome: massive species loss.

Prohibitory regulation. Virtually by definition all regulatory efforts at species protection and recovery are focused on relics and (unknowingly) ghosts, which have no chance of true recovery. Occasionally there are extraordinary exceptions, such as the American alligator, which having been almost extirpated is once again abundant. But our very few alleged successes are nothing more than manifestations of the growing dominance of human selection in evolution.

The very notion that we could regulate ourselves out of the extinction crisis?that government could force the wild to remain wild?is based on a fundamentally false premise: that the causes of species extinction are finite and reducible and that the number of true threatened species is reasonably limited. When the U.S. Endangered Species Act was recrafted in the early 1970s, wildlife experts naively believed that at most a few hundred species would require protection. Although the current U.S. list of domestic "endangered species" tops 1,300, the list would contain almost 5,000 entries if politics did not prevent it. (Species may be placed on the U.S. Endangered Species list only after a biological review by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Practically all such reviews these days are initiated by petitions from environmental groups. The Bush administration has halted these reviews, claiming it has run out of money.)

More to the point, the great irony is that the U.S. Endangered Species Act is the very institutionalization of human-driven evolution. We decide which species get on the list for protection and which are kept off. We decide which habitats of listed species will be labeled critical. We decide the recovery goals: how many of a given plant or animal should be allowed to persist, in how many "populations," and where they should (and should not) be distributed across the landscape. The official recovery goal for wild bison is for a total population in the low thousands, not their original numbers in the tens of millions. The wolf recovery plan envisions several dozen packs confined to carefully delineated refuges in a few key states, not free-roaming wolf packs in every state that would reflect their true former range. And the government still shoots both species if they wander off designated lands. Recovery goals for plants (for which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spends less than five percent of what it spends on animals) are limited to restoring populations in the locations where they are presently growing as relics and ghosts, not to restoring their former range.

Similarly, International Whaling Commission rules, CITES, and other international conventions convert human values into biotic structure; they are not regimes designed for ecological restoration. How many minke whales are sufficient to allow hunting? How many zoo requests for gorillas should be honored? Fundamentally, the determination of which species make it onto these protection lists and the timing of those listings is more about what appeals to us in an aesthetic and charismatic way and economics than about pivotal ecological roles and biology. Pandas get lots of attention and support; the many thousands of disappearing aquatic invertebrates do not.

Although legal prohibitions and strict enforcement can preserve some relic species at the margins and temporarily forestall the extinction of ghost species, they cannot prevent or even slow the end of the wild. Regulation, then, does little more than transform nature into a product of the human imagination.

Refuges and preserves. Biologists and ecologists have long recognized the limitations of species-specific preservation and have lobbied instead for the creation of protected areas that would shield ecosystems and all the plants and animals within. The idea behind refuges, bioreserves, and the like is to somehow wall off the wild from the harmful disturbances of humanity. Set aside 20,000 acres, limit human activity, and allow nature to proceed unhindered in its special space. And for a while this appears to work. But this too is largely an illusion. The refuges and bioreserves we set aside are no more than our paltry conception of an ecosystem, and the species within their boundaries are in most instances part of the extinction debt and all the while in decline.

As they exist today, bioreserves are the proverbial barrel in which fish are more easily shot: three quarters of the deaths of large carnivores in bioreserves are causedby people. The failures of this approach are only now becoming obvious.

Direct and indirect human encroachment into bioreserves is relentless and, with ever expanding populations in the developing world, unavoidable. Mexico's Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve, North America's last remaining rain forest, extends across 820,000 acres and is home to half of Mexico's bird species. Having already lost a quarter of its tree cover in the last 30 years to illegal logging by local residents (which Mexican authorities have ignored) the park has become a magnet for those looking for land to clear and till. In Africa and Asia, bioreserves have become the preferred hunting grounds for poachers and bush-meat traders: that is, after all, where the animals are!

Bioreserves will always be too small and too isolated from each other to accomplish their stated goal of preserving the wild as it is today. Embedded in a matrix of human habitation?cities, towns, farms, mining and logging operations?they cannot be insulated from broader human disturbances in the region, even if their own boundaries remain inviolate.

Consider one of the world's favorite eco-tourist destinations: the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve. This ecologically significant area covers more than 30,000 acres and hosts more than 2,500 plant species, 100 mammalian species, 400 bird species, 120 reptilian and amphibian species, and thousands of insects. The problem is that the cloud forest appears to be drying out. Deforestation is the apparent cause, but not from logging in the preserve. Rather, the clearing of lowland areas outside the preserve for agriculture is causing changes in the local patterns of fog and mist formation, thereby altering cloud formation up in the preserve. Thus, despite strong protections within its boundaries, the cloud forest may soon lack its defining feature: clouds. And the multitude of species that depend on that moisture will go the way of the extinct golden toad.

This weakness in the call for specific ecosystem preservation becomes all the more apparent in the context of climate change. The creation of a network of isolated, independent bioreserves assumes that the global environment?in particular the global climate?is relatively static. For the past 11,000 years this would have been a fair assumption. But this has changed. Climate models project far cooler and wetter weather during the critical winter months in what are now the most important Monarch-butterfly wintering grounds in Mexico, the Monarch Butterfly Bioreserve, which will become unlivable to the insects over the next few decades. Similar problems confront many of Europe's protected birds.

Lastly, by concentrating species within a limited geographic area, bioreserves increase the vulnerability of relic species to catastrophic, unrecoverable losses from natural disasters, epizootic diseases, war, and so on. During the summer of 2003, for example, fires in Brazil's two refuges that are home to the Brazilian Merganser duck (Mergus octosetaceus) wiped out 70 percent of one of the 53,000-square-kilometer parks while decimating large parts of the other and may lead to the creature's extinction. Only 250 existed before the fire.

Ultimately the transformation of wilderness into a patchwork of static bioreserves is just another tool of human selection?the antithesis of the wild.

Sustainable communities. Much has been said and written about sustainable communities as a social approach to easing the extinction crisis. Sustainability has been something of a crusade for the UN, various international agencies, and many nongovernmental environmental organizations. The argument goes that if local communities could learn to live within the carrying capacity of their environs, the pressures on terrestrial and marine ecosystems would be eased. And of course this is true.

But in the context of the extinction crisis, sustainable development is an anthropocentric resource-use policy, not an ecological model. Consumptive demand measured against resource supply, not ecosystem function, determines the limit of sustainability. What is the maximum amount of mahogany, or tuna, or leopard pelts that can be harvested and still allow projected human demand for the product to be met for the foreseeable future? The demands of the ecosystem are not truly part of the equation.

In addition, for sustainable development to have an impact on conservation it must be tied directly to local demand, where the costs of overexploitation are borne by those who benefit from it. This makes sustainable economic programs a moving target because communities grow. As medical services and standards of living improve, the size of a community, its economic aspirations, and its demands for resources grow. What was sustainable for a Kenyan village in 2000 will not be sustainable in 2020. The collapse of Africa's wildlife populations in the face of the bush-meat trade is just one example.

Moreover, if there was ever a hope for this strategy, even at a limited level, economic globalization destroyed it. Consider what might be regarded as an exemplar of sustainable development: Brazil-nut harvesting in the Amazon. Originally the idea was to protect the rain forest by creating a local economy based on the collection and sale of Brazil nuts. Initially this was quite successful. But today, local residents in the Brazilian Amazon harvest over 45,000 tons of nuts from the forest floor each year, yielding some $43 million in global trade. Unfortunately, nut gatherers harvest so many nuts that few if any seedlings are taking root. As aging Brazil-nut trees die off, they will not be replaced. Global demand for this environmentally friendly and sustainable crop drives the harvest and has made it unsustainable in the long term.

Similarly, the depletion of global fish stocks shows the basic flaw in the sustainability strategy. Local fishermen fishing for the local market are not depleting the stocks. The problem is the rise of global markets to satisfy the demands of people remote from the fishing grounds. Gross disparities in wealth between those who supply (low-wage labor) and those who demand (high-wage developed societies) ensure that sustainability will be a function of maximum bearable price, not ecological balance.

The notion of sustainable communities, then, is not about the wild. It is about long-term economic efficiency and the wise use of natural resources.

Wildlands. The wildlands concept is fantastic in both senses of the word. This idea, advocated by those in the deep-ecology movement, has two main components. First, national populations would be resettled into tightly drawn sustainable enclaves. In the United States, for example, huge, formerly ecologically significant areas such as Florida and the Rocky Mountains would be depopulated and restored to a natural state. About 50 percent of the United States would be converted into an expansive set of connected wildlands, surrounded by extensive buffers. Human access to this half of the country would be prohibited. Similar wildlands could be created on every continent.

Second, extensive social engineering would be necessary to alter land use and consumption patterns. The goal would be to reduce the ecological footprint of humanity so that much of the planet could be free from human exploitation.

In theory this strategy could reduce the slide of ghosts and relics into oblivion if it could be implemented immediately and universally. It would be a form of global ecological zoning that would significantly lessen the influence of human selection in the excluded regions. Wildlands would enable species and populations to adapt to climate change. As an ecologically centered strategy it is most likely the only approach that could truly reduce the scale and scope of the biotic collapse that is already underway.

Yet the notion that upwards of seven billion people could live hobbit-like with nature is hard to accept. With the right social framework we might have been able to do it modestly in 1304, but not in 2004 and certainly not in 2104. Global society is moving rapidly and inexorably in the opposite direction.

To be fair, advocates of wildlands acknowledge that, owing to enormous social, political, and economic hurdles, their vision would be at minimum a 100-year undertaking. The problem, of course, is that the end of the wild will already be complete.

Genetic engineering. Each year some of my students suggest that genetic engineering can end the cascade of species loss. Why can't we store DNA and, once the technology matures, bring all the species back and release them into the wild?

This kind of Jurassic Park thinking ignores the fact that all of the factors that contributed to species loss will remain in place and probably become even more powerful. If 95 percent of desert-tortoise habitat has been developed and its primary diet of herbs, grasses, and desert flowers is no longer available in 2004, exactly where will our reengineered tortoises live in 2030? At best they could exist as genetic relics in a zoo.

The miracles of genetic engineering cannot alter the fact that the wild will cease to exist even if we can individually manufacture each of its constituent parts.

A Reason to Do Nothing?

We cannot prevent the end of the wild. Absent an immediate 95-percent reduction in the human population (a truly horrendous thought), we cannot change our current course. This leads us to the question, If we are unalterably moving to a world in which half the currently existing species will be relics or ghosts, why should we continue to do anything to preserve biodiversity? Why not rescind national and international laws protecting endangered species, eliminate bioreserves, and let the unfettered market determine how and where we consume natural resources? By bowing to the serendipitous elements of human selection in setting the course of biotic development and evolution we could happily bulldoze, pave, or grass over every square inch of the planet in the pursuit of human progress. But it is not that simple.

This why-bother strategy would greatly magnify the scale, scope, and destructive consequences of the end of the wild. First, it would effectively bifurcate the earth's biota into two groups: weedy species and ghost species, the latter subsuming virtually all relics. And in this respect the number of lost organisms would surely shoot well past the 50-percent threshold noted earlier, while the time scale would contract to decades rather than a century-plus.

Indeed, even weedy species could face serious threats in this environment. The American crow and the blue jay, for example, have already seen their numbers decimated in many areas of the United States as a consequence of the invasion of the alien West Nile Virus, which first struck in 1999.

Second, this human-selected biosphere will not necessarily be a human-friendly one. Without direct management many species that we view as key natural resources, such as timber trees and marine fish stocks, would be consumed out of existence. The invisible hand of the market is all too invisible when it comes to the exploitation of natural commodities. The multiple collapses of once bountiful Atlantic and Pacific fisheries?which are now regulated, albeit poorly-represent just a taste of what would happen without any controls in place. (The North Atlantic, for example, has less than 20 percent of the fish it held in 1900.) The destructive effects would rebound through the economies of many nations.

Certain types of ecosystems and biotic communities, such as tropical rain forests and wetlands, might completely disappear. Thirty-five percent of the world's mangrove swamps?essential breeding habitat for many marine fish species?have already been lost, and the rate of destruction is accelerating annually. Surviving ecosystems would be impoverished and would fail to provide the range of services (e.g., water purification, flood and storm damage control) that we depend on.

Third, this approach would almost certainly increase the predominance of pests, parasites, and disease-causing organisms among the weedy species. Already today white-tailed deer populations in the United States (and Britain) have been allowed to grow virtually unchecked. There are now over 350,000 deer-auto collisions a year in the United States (50,000 in the U.K.), resulting in over 10,000 serious injuries to motorists, 150 human deaths annually, and billions of dollars in property damage. (By comparison there have been fewer than 50 confirmed human killings by mountain lions in the United States in the past 100 years.) In Britain there are about 50,000 auto-deer collisions, 2,400 human injuries, and 20 deaths. White-tailed deer, moreover, are an essential vector for the highly debilitating Lyme disease, which is spreading rapidly in the eastern United States. Indeed, many human pathogens and diseases are likely to flourish in this environment, finding it easy to skip around the world from country to country as was the recent case of the SARS virus.

Fourth, the global spread of invasive species would explode if left unchecked. Ecological concerns such as biotic homogenization aside, the economic toll would be disastrous. The economic harm caused by the 50,000 non-native invasive plants, animals, and other organisms already in the United States is approaching $140 billion per year. Florida's government alone spends $45 million annually battling invasive species, which cause some $180 million in agricultural damage.

The why-bother approach, moreover, would kill off a large proportion of the relic species in the wild that have particular psychological importance (existence value) to humanity: elephants, gorillas, whales, owls, and hawks, and other charismatic animals. From a humanist standpoint the quality of life on earth would plummet.

In the end, the notion that we could let nature take its course in a world so dominated by humanity is as dangerous as it is self-contradictory. Like it or not, nature now works for us. If humanity is to survive and prosper on such a planet then we have no choice but to at least try to manage the fine details of the end of the wild.

Since we cannot possibly restore relic and ghost species to their former status, nor do we have the knowledge to pick evolutionary winners and losers, we should focus on two core concerns: (1) safeguarding future evolutionary processes and pathways and (2) preserving ecosystem processes and functions.

We should begin with a massive and sustained two-decade global effort, reminiscent of the International Geophysical Year, to map systematically and dynamically the earth's biota. Only about 20 percent of the earth's species have been formally described. We need to know what is here, how it lives, what it does, and what is happening to it in order to prepare for what will be lost. More significantly we need to understand the intricacies of genetic and functional relationships among species?especially for relics and ghosts?to understand how evolutionary and ecological processes will be altered.

This means recording not just what species exist, how they look, what they do, and how they are linked together, but also what is happening to them as populations, as communities of populations, and at the landscape level. Undoubtedly this will be expensive, but spending $100 billion over the next decade to understand fully the dimensions of the accelerating biotic extinction on Earth will have infinitely greater significance for humanity than scratching at the surface of Mars for signs of remotely hypothetical billion-year-old bacterial extinctions.

Meanwhile we must move away from the haphazard strategy of protecting relic and ghost species in isolation. Specifically, we can begin to think about trans-regional schemes for building meta-reserves. These would be non-contiguous assemblages of terrestrial and aquatic sanctuaries and proto-sanctuaries, significantly larger than current bioreserves. Sites would be selected to protect broad ecosystem functions and processes in a dynamic environment rather than species-specific habitat needs or singly-defining (highly peculiar) ecological characteristics. In other words, these meta-reserves would involve the designation of multiple and disparate terrestrial and aquatic refuges, many of which could have future, but not current, special biodiversity value. Each meta-reserve would be modeled around an one or more existing core biodiversity hot spots and a constellation of satellite sites, with the expectation that climate change and other human disturbances are likely to shift the ecological processes and habitat values of current biodiversity hot spots among these sites. The satellite sites of these meta reserves would periodically receive (by our doing) biotic community transplants as experimental "migrations" as abiotic characteristics such as rainfall change. The goal?admittedly a gamble?would be to avoid mistakes like the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reservation.

For these meta-reserves to operate properly, three conditions will have to be met. First, plant and animal populations within these meta-reserves will have to be actively and heavily managed at all levels ? exactly the opposite of how we think about present-day bioreserves. Ecosystems cannot be conserved by benign neglect. We must determine population levels within the meta-reserves as well as when and where plants and animals should migrate among meta-reserve sites. We must determine when it is time to introduce new genes into a species, as we are presently doing with the Florida panther. Restricted-range and sessile species would require our explicit intervention to disperse them to potential new habitat areas.

Second, meta-reserves would need highly porous wildlife boundaries within a broad network of corridors and connections (e.g., forest tracts and wetlands) allowing wildlife to move freely and stochastically to new areas. Movement, migration, and colonization are the goals of meta-reserves, not imprisonment. These corridors would be buffered by wide swaths of landscape where ecologically compatible agriculture and heavily regulated resource use were allowed.

Third, given the above, substantial human and financial resources would have to be devoted to continuous management and rigorous enforcement, or else these efforts will be futile. Annual global spending on ecosystem protection (including acquisition) is just over $3 billion (the price of two B-2 bombers). In order to nudge the end of the wild toward a more human-friendly outcome, we need to spend ten times that much to compensate for the unintended impact of human selection.

In this context the issue of alien plant and animal species becomes problematic. On the one hand the intentional and unintentional movement of species among the continents can be a dangerous and harmful manifestation of human selection. Controlling the flow of exotic parasites, pests, and predators will increase the cost of global commerce and disrupt short-term profits. But it will save far more in the costs associated with trying to eradicate destructive alien pests such as the zebra muscle or the Formosan termite.

On the other hand, in confronting the end of the wild, the notion of meta-reserves implies that the intentional transplanting of alien species might be desirable from an evolutionary perspective. If climate change and development are going to render some regions unsuitable for certain species, should we transplant them out-of-region to where they might thrive? For example, the Puerto Rican coqui (Eleutherodactylus coqui), a tree frog, is under increasing pressure from development and pollution at home. But in Hawaii (where they were illegally transported) they are thriving. Habitat substitution in the face of dynamic environmental change is not the same as biotic homogenization. Should we oppose it or employ it?

Finally, prohibitive policies such as the U.S. Endangered Species Act and CITES need to be kept in place and strengthened. Although they are at best stop-gap measures, they buy time for us to examine the ecological roles of relic and ghost species and assess the impact of their loss. Perhaps more significant is their moral imperative. Like the Ten Commandments, they remind us who we could be. They make us examine our own behavior and obligations as the planet's stewards while giving pause to the brazen and needless destruction of species in our own backyards.

The end of the wild does not mean a barren world. There will be plenty of life. It will just be different: much less diverse, much less exotic, far more predictable, and?given the dominance of weedy species?probably far more annoying. We have lost the wild. Perhaps in 5 to 10 million years it will return. <

Stephen M. Meyer is a professor of political science at MIT and the director of the MIT Project on Environmental Politics and Policy.

 

Recommended reading:

 

Andrew Balmford, Rhys E. Green, and Martin Jenkins, ?Measuring the Changing State of Nature,? Trends in Research in Evolutionary Ecology 18 (2003): 326?330.

Stephen L. Buchmann and Gary Paul Nabhan, The Forgotten Pollinators (Washington, D.C.: Island Press/Shearwater Books, 1996).

Gretchen Daily, ed., Nature?s Services: Societal Dependence on Natural Ecosystems (Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 1997).

Goncalo Ferraz et al., ?Rates of Species Loss from Amazonian Forest Fragments,? Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 100 (2003): 14069?14073.

John H. Lawton and Robert M. May, eds., Extinction Rates (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995).

Julie L. Lockwood and Michael L. McKinney, eds., Biotic Homogenization (New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, 2001).

Norman Myers and Andrew H. Knoll, ?The Biotic Crisis and the Future of Evolution,? Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 98 (2001): 5389?5392. [This issue of PNAS includes a number of provocative papers from a colloquium on this topic.]

John F. Oates, Myth and Reality in the Rain Forest: How Conservation Strategies are Failing in West Africa (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999).

David Quammen, ?Planet of Weeds: Tallying the Losses of Earth?s Animals and Plants,? Harper?s, October 1998.

Michael L. Rosenzweig, ?The Four Questions: What Does the Introduction of Exotic Species Do to Diversity?,? Evolutionary Ecology Research 3 (2001): 361?367. (PDF)

John Terborgh, Requiem for Nature (Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 1999).

J.A. Thomas et al., ?Comparative Losses of British Butterflies, Birds, and Plants and the Global Extinction Crisis,? Science 303 (2004): 1879?1881.

Peter M. Vitousek, Harold A. Mooney, Jane Lubchenco, and Jerry M. Melillo, ?Human Domination of Earth?s Ecosystems,? Science 277 (1997): 494?499.

Gian-Reto Walther et al., ?Ecological Responses to Recent Climate Change,? Nature 416 (2002): 389-395.

E.O. Wilson, The Diversity of Life (New York: W.W. Norton, 1999).

David S. Woodruff, ?Declines of Biomes and Biotas and the Future of Evolution,? Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 98 (2001): 5471?5476.
28557  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Crimes using knives on: October 03, 2005, 08:11:46 AM
WEAPONS OF CHOICE
Texan shoots robber in garage
'This is one homeowner that you ain't going to mess with'

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posted: October 1, 2005
1:00 a.m. Eastern



? 2005 WorldNetDaily.com



Texan Danny Dunn fought burglar (KRIS-TV, Corpus Christi, Texas)
Stabbed by a burglar in his own garage, a Texas homeowner fought back, shooting the suspect three times.

Danny Dunn of Corpus Christi told local KRIS-TV that when an intruder entered his home just before 6 a.m. yesterday, he was determined to not go down without a fight.

"This is one homeowner that you ain't going to mess with," Dunn said. "I'll take the next one down too."


Police arrested a suspect, 22-year-old Daniel Holcomb, at a nearby hospital where he was being treated for gunshot wounds to his arm, leg and pelvis.

Dunn, in his garage heading to work, said he saw the burglar rummaging through his belongings and shouted at him.

That's when the burglar attacked.

"He came at me with a knife, he cut me on the hand, and on the face, I took 49 stitches total," Dunn told the TV station.

The homeowner said the burglar then tried to escape the same way he entered, by crawling underneath the cracked-open garage door, but he couldn't get out.

A frightened Dunn then raced inside and grabbed his .22 caliber rifle.

"He had pushed the garage door opener and it went down, trapping him; he come at me again, and I shot him. ... I shot him three times," Dunn said.

The burglar left behind a trail of blood before falling to the ground just outside the garage.

"He flopped around out here for a while, and he wouldn't stay down, like I told him, I told him I was going to kill him, and I should have."

Dunn said the burglar managed to get away by opening the garage door, but apparently left his fingerprints behind.

Police didn't take long to catch up with the suspect, however, KRIS reported.
28558  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / M?sica para entrenar on: September 30, 2005, 12:52:25 PM
Ah.  Pues la cancion rap-salsa "Cuba" con la cual se termine "Attacking Blocks" viene de la compilacion "Mo'vida" de Putamayo (si me acuerdo bien).

Seguire' buscando otros titulos para ti.
28559  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / M?sica para entrenar on: September 30, 2005, 12:45:17 AM
Vendemos los discos de Brent Lewis en nuestro catalogo.  El tocaba "drum" (tambor?) en nuestros Gatherings por muchos anos y su musica se oye en el clip "Crafty Dog in Action" y otros.
28560  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Guro Crafty en el DF, Mexico on: September 30, 2005, 12:43:05 AM
27-28 de Mayo.   Cool
28561  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Kali Tudo bonus material on: September 30, 2005, 12:40:41 AM
This incident excited considerable public and media interest in Mexico City where it ocurred.  The footage we show in the extras was but the first night of four nights where the footage was examined in ever greater detail and additional matters came to light.  It is an absolutely fascinating case study on many levels.  Forgive me the hook, but we go into this in further detail on the DBMA Association website cheesy

In answer to your question about shooting the perps:

1) Although it was not apparent on the first night this footage was broadcast, subsequent analysis revealed four shots

2)  Also broadcast on one of the subsequent nights was a piece on the urine poor quality of police pistol training.  It was basically zero, and all bullets had to be bought by the individuals officers-- whose salary is under $150 US a month.
28562  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Howl of Respect to our Soldiers/Veterans on: September 29, 2005, 07:48:31 AM
http://www.michaelyon.blogspot.com/?BMIDS=17137839-4e534328-81766

While there, take a look around.  This is a good blog.
28563  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Crimes using knives on: September 29, 2005, 07:34:10 AM
Associated Press  9/28/05

**********************8
 MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. (AP) - Five years into the 21st century, an 1846
anti-dueling law is being used to prosecute two cousins accused of getting
in a knife fight.

"The 1800s are alive and well in Mount Clemens," joked Dean Alan, who heads
the Macomb County prosecutor's office warrants division. It issued warrants
Tuesday.

Police say the cousins, ages 19 and 31, disagreed Monday over a $30 debt.

The older man brandished a knife and challenged the younger man to fight
outside their Mount Clemens home, and the younger man accepted, said Sheriff
Mark Hackel. The teen was stabbed in the stomach.

"He could've done any number of things," Hackel said. "He could've called
police, he could've fled the area. But he took on the challenge and became part of the problem."

A lawyer specializing in criminal defense said he has never represented
anyone charged with dueling but said lawyers for both men could use the same strategy -- claiming self-defense.

"If it's a mutual fight, it's kind of hard to say it's one guy's fault,"
said Stephen Rabaut. "And just because you're the injured party, that
doesn't mean you were the good guy."
28564  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Unorganized Militia on: September 29, 2005, 07:28:16 AM
Woof Szymon:

The American ear recognizes the phrase "a well-regulated militia" from the second amendment to our Constitution, which is the one guaranteeing the right of the people to bear arms.  There is argument about whether this right is that of the individual (the correct position in my opinion) or of the "militias", which are now held to be the "National Guard" of the various states of the United States.

There is also the "unorganized militia".  For a good legal discussion of this see:

http://dogbrothers.com/wrapper.php?file=savedbythemilitia.htm&osCsid=2fb71eaeda1710704825c5d440d40b9a

This page is the "Flight 93 Memorial", a button for which can be found towards the bottom on our front page.

For the role of all this in the concept of Dog Brothers Martial Arts go to the clip on our opening page titile "The Unorganized Militia"

Your post is a perfect example of what we are talking about.  Thanks for sharing it with us.

Hope this helps.
28565  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: September 28, 2005, 10:47:05 AM
Heart of Darkness
From Zarqawi to the man on the street, Sunni Arabs fear Shiite emancipation.

BY FOUAD AJAMI
Wednesday, September 28, 2005 12:01 a.m. EDT

The remarkable thing about the terror in Iraq is the silence with which it is greeted in other Arab lands. Grant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi his due: He has been skilled at exposing the pitilessness on the loose in that fabled Arab street and the moral emptiness of so much of official Arab life. The extremist is never just a man of the fringe: He always works at the outer edges of mainstream life, playing out the hidden yearnings and defects of the dominant culture. Zarqawi is a bigot and a killer, but he did not descend from the sky. He emerged out of the Arab world's sins of omission and commission; in the way he rails against the Shiites (and the Kurds) he expresses that fatal Arab inability to take in "the other." A terrible condition afflicts the Arabs, and Zarqawi puts it on lethal display: an addiction to failure, and a desire to see this American project in Iraq come to a bloody end.

Zarqawi's war, it has to be conceded, is not his alone; he kills and maims, he labels the Shiites rafida (rejecters of Islam), he charges them with treason as "collaborators of the occupiers and the crusaders," but he can be forgiven the sense that he is a holy warrior on behalf of a wider Arab world that has averted its gaze from his crimes, that has given him its silent approval. He and the band of killers arrayed around him must know the meaning of this great Arab silence.





There is a clich? that distinguishes between cultures of shame and cultures of guilt, and by that crude distinction, it has always been said that the Arab world is a "shame culture." But in truth there is precious little shame in Arab life about the role of the Arabs in the great struggle for and within Iraq. What is one to make of the Damascus-based Union of Arab Writers that has refused to grant membership in its ranks to Iraqi authors? The pretext that Iraqi writers can't be "accredited" because their country is under American occupation is as good an illustration as it gets of the sordid condition of Arab culture. For more than three decades, Iraq's life was sheer and limitless terror, and the Union of Arab Writers never uttered a word. Through these terrible decades, Iraqis suffered alone, and still their poetry and literature adorn Arabic letters. They need no acknowledgment of their pain, or of their genius, from a literary union based in a city in the grip of a deadening autocracy.
A culture of shame would surely see into the shame of an Arab official class with no tradition of accountability granting itself the right to hack away at Iraq's constitution, dismissing it as the handiwork of the American regency. Unreason, an indifference to the most basic of facts, and a spirit of belligerence have settled upon the Arab world. Those who, in Arab lands beyond Iraq, have taken to describing the Iraqi constitution as an "American-Iranian constitution," give voice to a debilitating incoherence. At the heart of this incoherence lies an adamant determination to deny the Shiites of Iraq a claim to their rightful place in their country's political order.

The drumbeats against Iraq that originate from the League of Arab States and its Egyptian apparatchiks betray the panic of an old Arab political class afraid that there is something new unfolding in Iraq--a different understanding of political power and citizenship, a possible break with the culture of tyranny and the cult of Big Men disposing of the affairs--and the treasure--of nations. It is pitiable that an Egyptian political class that has abdicated its own dream of modernity and bent to the will of a pharaonic regime is obsessed with the doings in Iraq. But this is the political space left open by the master of the realm. To be sure, there is terror in the streets of Iraq; there is plenty there for the custodians of a stagnant regime in Cairo to point to as a cautionary tale of what awaits societies that break with "secure" ways. But the Egyptian autocracy knows the stakes. An Iraqi polity with a modern social contract would be a rebuke to all that Egypt stands for, a cruel reminder of the heartbreak of Egyptians in recent years. We must not fall for Cairo's claims of primacy in Arab politics; these are hollow, and Iraq will further expose the rot that has settled upon the political life of Egypt.

Nor ought we be taken in by warnings from Jordan, made by King Abdullah II, of a "Shia crescent" spanning Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. This is a piece of bigotry and simplification unworthy of a Hashemite ruler, for in the scheme of Arab history the Hashemites have been possessed of moderation and tolerance. Of all Sunni Arab rulers, the Hashemites have been particularly close to the Shiites, but popular opinion in Jordan has been thoroughly infatuated with Saddam Hussein, and Saddamism, and an inexperienced ruler must have reasoned that the Shiite bogey would play well at home.

The truth of Jordan today is official moderation coupled with a civic culture given to anti-Americanism, and hijacked by the Islamists. In that standoff, the country's political life is off-limits, but the street has its way on Iraq. Verse is still read in Saddam's praise at poetry readings in Amman, and the lawyers' syndicate is packed with those eager to join the legal defense teams of Saddam Hussein and his principal lieutenants. Saddam's two daughters reside in Jordan with no apologies to offer, and no second thoughts about the great crimes committed under the Baath tyranny. Those who know the ways of Jordan speak of cities where religious radicalism and bigotry blow with abandon. Zarqa, the hometown of Abu Musab, is one such place; Salt, the birthplace of a notorious suicide bomber, Raad al-Banna, who last winter brought great tragedy to the Iraqi town of Hilla, killing no fewer than 125 of its people, is another. For a funeral, Banna's family gave him a "martyr's wedding," and the affair became an embarrassment to the regime and the political class. Jordan is yet to make its peace with the new Iraq. (King Abdullah's "crescent" breaks at any rate: Syria has no Shiites to speak of, and its Alawite rulers are undermining the Shiites of Iraq, feeding a jihadist breed of Sunni warriors for whom the Alawites are children of darkness.)





It was the luck of the imperial draw that the American project in Iraq came to the rescue of the Shiites--and of the Kurds. We may not fully appreciate the historical change we unleashed on the Arab world, but we have given liberty to the stepchildren of the Arab world. We have overturned an edifice of material and moral power that dates back centuries. The Arabs railing against U.S. imperialism and arrogance in Iraq will never let us in on the real sources of their resentments. In the way of "modern" men and women with some familiarity with the doctrines of political correctness, they can't tell us that they are aggrieved that we have given a measure of self-worth to the seminarians of Najaf and the highlanders of Kurdistan. But that is precisely what gnaws at them.
An edifice of Arab nationalism built by strange bedfellows--the Sunni political and bureaucratic elites, and the Christian Arab pundits who abetted them in the idle hope that they would be spared the wrath of the street and of the mob--was overturned in Iraq. And America, at times ambivalent about its mission, brought along with its military gear a suspicion of the Shiites, a belief that the Iraqi Shiites were an extension of Iran, a community destined to build a sister-republic of the Iranian theocracy. Washington has its cadre of Arabists reared on Arab nationalist historiography. This camp had a seat at the table, but the very scale of what was at play in Iraq, and the redemptionism at the heart of George Bush's ideology, dwarfed them.

For the Arab enemies of this project of rescue, this new war in Iraq was a replay of an old drama: the fall of Baghdad to the Mongols in 1258. In the received history, the great city of learning, the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate, had fallen to savages, and an age of greatness had drawn to a close. In the legend of that tale, the Mongols sacked the metropolis, put its people to the sword, dumped the books of its libraries in the Tigris. That river, chroniclers insist, flowed, alternately, with the blood of the victims and the ink of the books. It is a tale of betrayal, the selective history maintains. A minister of the caliph, a Shiite by the name of Ibn Alqami, opened the gates of Baghdad to the Mongols. History never rests here, and telescopes easily: In his call for a new holy war against the Shiites, Zarqawi dredges up that history, dismisses the Shiite-led government as "the government of Ibn Alqami's descendants." Zarqawi knows the power of this symbolism, and its dark appeal to Sunni Arabs within Iraq.

Zarqawi's jihadists have sown ruin in Iraq, but they are strangers to that country, and they have needed the harbor given them in the Sunni triangle and the indulgence of the old Baathists. For the diehards, Iraq is now a "stolen country" delivered into the hands of subject communities unfit to rule. Though a decided minority, the Sunni Arabs have a majoritarian mindset and a conviction that political dominion is their birthright. Instead of encouraging a break with the old Manichaean ideologies, the Arab world beyond Iraq feeds this deep-seated sense of historical entitlement. No one is under any illusions as to what the Sunni Arabs would have done had oil been located in their provinces. They would have disowned both north and south and opted for a smaller world of their own and defended it with the sword. But this was not to be, and their war is the panic of a community that fears that it could be left with a realm of "gravel and sand."





In the aftermath of Katrina, the project of reforming a faraway region and ridding it of its malignancies is harder to sustain and defend. We are face-to-face with the trade-off between duties beyond borders and duties within. At home, for the critics of the war, Katrina is a rod to wave in the face of the Bush administration. To be sure, we did not acquit ourselves well in the aftermath of the storm; we left ourselves open to the gloatings of those eager to see America get its comeuppance. Even Zarqawi weighed in on Katrina, depicting a raid on the northern town of Tal Afar by a joint Iraqi-American force as an attempt on the part of "Bush, the enemy of God" to cover up the great "scandal in facing up to the storm which exposed to the entire world what had happened to the American military due to the wars of attrition it had suffered in Iraq and Afghanistan."
Those duties within have to be redeemed in the manner that this country has always assumed redemptive projects. But that other project, in the burning grounds of the Arab-Muslim world, remains, and we must remember its genesis. It arose out of a calamity on 9/11, which rid us rudely of the illusions of the '90s. That era had been a fools' paradise; Nasdaq had not brought about history's end. In Kabul and Baghdad, we cut down two terrible regimes; in the neighborhood beyond, there are chameleons in the shadows whose ways are harder to extirpate.

We have not always been brilliant in the war we have waged, for these are lands we did not fully know. But our work has been noble and necessary, and we can't call a halt to it in midstream. We bought time for reform to take root in several Arab and Muslim realms. Leave aside the rescue of Afghanistan, Kuwait and Qatar have done well by our protection, and Lebanon has retrieved much of its freedom. The three larger realms of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Syria are more difficult settings, but there, too, the established orders of power will have to accommodate the yearnings for change. A Kuwaiti businessman with an unerring feel for the ways of the Arab world put it thus to me: "Iraq, the Internet, and American power are undermining the old order in the Arab world. There are gains by the day." The rage against our work in Iraq, all the way from the "chat rooms" of Arabia to the bigots of Finsbury Park in London, is located within this broader struggle.

In that Iraqi battleground, we can't yet say that the insurgency is in its death throes. But that call to war by Zarqawi, we must know, came after the stunning military operation in Tal Afar dealt the jihadists a terrible blow. An Iraqi-led force, supported by American tanks, armored vehicles and air cover, had stormed that stronghold. This had been a transit point for jihadists coming in from Syria. This time, at Tal Afar, Iraq security forces were there to stay, and a Sunni Arab defense minister with the most impeccable tribal credentials, Saadoun Dulaimi, issued a challenge to Iraq's enemy, a message that his soldiers would fight for their country.

The claim that our war in Iraq, after the sacrifices, will have hatched a Shiite theocracy is a smear on the war, a misreading of the Shiite world of Iraq. In the holy city of Najaf, at its apex, there is a dread of political furies and an attachment to sobriety. I went to Najaf in July; no one of consequence there spoke of a theocratic state. Najaf's jurists lived through a time of terror, when informers and assassins had the run of the place. They have been delivered from that time. The new order shall give them what they want: a place in Iraq's cultural and moral order, and a decent separation between religion and the compromises of political life.

Over the horizon looms a referendum to ratify the country's constitution. Sunni Arabs are registering in droves, keen not to repeat the error they committed when they boycotted the national elections earlier this year. In their pride, and out of fear of the insurgents and their terror, the Sunni Arabs say that they are registering to vote in order to thwart this "illegitimate constitution." This kind of saving ambiguity ought to be welcomed, for there are indications that the Sunni Arabs may have begun to understand terror's blindness and terror's ruin. Zarqawi holds out but one fate for them; other doors beckon, and there have stepped forth from their ranks leaders eager to partake of the new order. It is up to them, and to the Arab street and the Arab chancelleries that wink at them, to bring an end to the terror. It has not been easy, this expedition to Iraq, and for America in Iraq there has been heartbreak aplenty. But we ought to remember the furies that took us there, and we ought to be consoled by the thought that the fight for Iraq is a fight to ward off Arab dangers and troubles that came our way on a clear September morning, four years ago.

Mr. Ajami teaches International Relations at Johns Hopkins University.
28566  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Homeland Security on: September 23, 2005, 01:36:56 PM
U.S. Terrorism Threats: Overconfidence in California?
Hamid Hayat, a California man who has been held on charges of lying to federal authorities about attending a terrorist training camp in Pakistan, was accused in federal court in Sacramento on Sept. 22 of providing material support to terrorists. The indictment alleges that Hayat "intended, upon receipt of orders from other individuals, to wage jihad (holy war) in the United States."

In June, federal authorities arrested Hayat, his father and three others from the same mosque in Lodi, Calif., near Sacramento -- later issuing deportation orders for the non-U.S. citizens among them. In announcing the latest Hayat indictment, U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott said authorities do not know what kind of plot was being hatched at the mosque, but that it had been stopped.

Scott's remarks could be premature.

Terrorist networks often are composed of multiple cells, one or more of them capable of operating independently and carrying out attacks after another has been broken up. For security reasons, terrorist cells often have no knowledge of the activities or status of one another. The December 2004 attack against the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, is a case in point. Saudi counterterrorism forces exposed one of the two cells the previous month, but the attack proceeded -- and five consulate employees died, none of them U.S. nationals. Four members of the Saudi military and three of the five attackers also died in the attack.

Attacks also have occurred after authorities believed they had thwarted the entire plot. In 1997, U.S. counterterrorism authorities suspected that an attack was being planned against the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya. The investigation led to Wadih el Hage, who authorities say had been Osama bin Laden's close confidant and personal secretary. U.S. and Kenyan authorities searched el Hage's home but the suspect managed to flee Kenya in September 1997, leading U.S. officials to believe they had thwarted the attack. On Aug. 7, 1998, the U.S. Embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, were simultaneously attacked with massive truck bombs, killing more than 220 people.

The exposure of one cell or individual involved in a terrorist plot does not mean that other attacks are not being planned in the same area. In June 1993 -- four months after the World Trade Center bombing -- U.S. authorities raided a warehouse in Queens, N.Y., based on a tip from informants. The warehouse allegedly was being used by followers of blind Egyptian cleric Omar Abdel-Rahman to mix explosives to use in attacks against targets in New York, including the FBI building and U.N. headquarters. Abdel-Rahman, who was arrested in 1993 along with nine of his followers, was convicted in October 1995 of "seditious conspiracy." He is serving a life sentence.

Although the investigation into Hayat's activities resulted in multiple arrests and deportations, it is possible that only one part of a larger plot has been exposed. It also is possible that some other aspect of human or tactical intelligence has been overlooked, leaving other cells uninvestigated. After the Lodi arrests, any other cell in the area would have gone underground for a time to keep from being exposed. If that is the case, Scott could be overconfident.
28567  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Well-armed People on: September 23, 2005, 10:36:55 AM
NRA Files Suit To Stop Firearm Seizures In New Orleans


Help support NRA's efforts in New Orleans. Click here to make a contribution.

(Fairfax, VA) - Today, the National Rifle Association (NRA) filed a motion in United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana seeking a temporary restraining order to block authorities from confiscating law-abiding citizens' firearms in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

 

"New Orleans is the first city in the United States to forcibly disarm peaceable law-abiding citizens and it must be the last.  Victims are dealing with a complete breakdown of government.  At a time when 911 is non-operational and law enforcement cannot respond immediately to calls for help, people have only the Second Amendment to protect themselves, their loved ones and their property," said NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre.

 

"The NRA stands with law-abiding Americans, who agree that at their most vulnerable moment, their right to defend themselves and their families should not be taken away," said Chris W. Cox, NRA's chief lobbyist.

 

According to The New York Times, the New Orleans superintendent of police directed that no civilians in New Orleans will be allowed to have guns and that "only law enforcement are allowed to have weapons."  ABC News quoted New Orleans' deputy police chief, saying, "No one will be able to be armed. We are going to take all the weapons."

 

"The NRA is determined to stop this blatant abuse of power by local politicians.  It is disgraceful that any government official would further endanger the lives of innocent victims by issuing this ridiculous order.  We are very grateful to the many rank and file police officers who have come forward and assisted NRA in exposing these violations of constitutional freedoms.  We are also pleased that the Second Amendment Foundation is joining us in this effort," added Cox.

 

"The actions of the New Orleans government have destroyed the one levee that stands between law-abiding citizens and anarchy - the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.  The NRA will not rest until this injustice is resolved," concluded LaPierre.    

--nra--

 

Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America's oldest civil rights and sportsmen's group.  Four million members strong, NRA continues its mission to uphold Second Amendment rights and to advocate enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime.  The Association remains the nation's leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the armed services.
28568  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Nutrition, Diet Thread on: September 23, 2005, 07:23:46 AM
Cancer and Vitamins:
Patients Urged to Avoid
Supplements During Treatment
September 20, 2005; Page D1

Many cancer patients take a range of antioxidant vitamins in hope of improving their odds, but research suggests the supplements may be doing more harm than good.

A report published this month in CA, an American Cancer Society medical journal, says cancer patients shouldn't use antioxidants during radiation or chemotherapy because the supplements may reduce the effectiveness of treatment. Worse, some research suggests that antioxidants may actually feed cancers, protecting the very cancer cells patients are trying to attack.

  HEALTH MAILBOX



 
Read Tara Parker-Pope's Health Mailbox where she answers readers' questions about medical studies, ailments and treatments.
 
 
 
The news further clouds the role that vitamins play in promoting good health. Earlier this year, a major study showed that certain people who regularly take vitamin E supplements had a higher risk for heart failure. The notion that antioxidants may be harmful is likely to be upsetting and confusing to the large number of cancer patients gobbling down vitamins and supplements to help fight the disease. Studies show that as many as a third to half of cancer patients are taking antioxidants, vitamins and other supplements.

Antioxidants include beta-carotene, lycopene, and vitamins A, B, C and E, among others. In the body, antioxidants mop up rogue molecules called free radicals, which have the potential to cause extensive cell damage and are believed to play a role in heart disease, cancer and numerous other health problems.

A substance that attacks free radicals would seem to battle cancer in theory. But the results of both lab and human studies of cancer and antioxidants have been mixed. One concern is that because chemotherapy treatments sometimes act against the cancer by producing free radicals, taking antioxidants could interfere with that effect.

 
Some lab studies have shown that antioxidants can improve the effectiveness of cancer treatments, such as a 1997 study that showed antioxidant supplements boosted chemotherapy used for colon-cancer patients. Other lab studies raise questions about their use, however. For instance, a 1995 report in the Journal of Biological Chemistry showed that cancer cells in a petri dish actually absorb more vitamin C than normal cells, suggesting that vitamin C is better at protecting tumors than healthy tissues.

Until more is known, patients undergoing treatment should avoid high-dose supplements, concludes Gabriella M. D'Andrea, breast oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and author of the CA article.

In her review of the scientific evidence on use of antioxidant supplements to prevent or treat cancer, Dr. D'Andrea found a handful of human trials that showed supplements often don't benefit cancer patients and may be causing harm.

"We would love to find a nutrient or antioxidant that could be anticancer, but I think we need to be very cautious," says Dr. D'Andrea. "In fact we've seen the counter," she adds, "where cancer rates are higher."

For instance, two randomized trials of patients with advanced cancer found no benefit from vitamin C supplements and suggested that survival may have been worse in the vitamin group. Two large trials of smokers and former smokers found that beta carotene supplements appeared to increase lung-cancer risk. Last year, the British medical journal Lancet published a study showing that antioxidants didn't prevent gastrointestinal cancers, and may have increased mortality risk. In a 2002 study of early-stage breast-cancer patients undergoing treatment, some were prescribed large doses of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Results weren't conclusive but suggested survival may be worse in the antioxidant users.

A major study this year of patients at risk for heart disease showed high doses of vitamin E had no impact on risk of melanoma, prostate, lung, oral, colorectal or breast cancers, but they were linked with higher risk for heart failure. A separate vitamin E study showed head-and-neck-cancer patients who took the supplement increased their risk for developing a second cancer.

Dr. D'Andrea says a large human trial is needed to show the real impact vitamins and antioxidants have on cancer patients. The problem is that such trials are expensive, and it's notoriously difficult to study supplements because dietary patterns vary so widely and issues like fat content and fruit and vegetable consumption may alter the way one supplement acts in different people.

Certainly, none of this means cancer patients should never take vitamins or other supplements. Many cancer patients suffer nutrition problems and may be advised to take vitamins. The main concern is that patients discuss diet changes with their doctor. "A lot of people think nutrients in any dose are harmless, but that may not be the case," says Marji McCullough, nutritional epidemiologist for the American Cancer Society. "It's probably prudent to say people should avoid taking large doses of any single supplement unless specifically recommended to do so from their doctor."

Patients still may be able to help themselves by adopting a lifestyle of healthful eating and exercise. In May researchers released the results of a study of 2,400 post-menopausal women with early-stage breast cancer. The study showed that a low-fat diet can lower the chances of the cancer coming back by 24%.

? E-mail me at healthjournal@wsj.com.
28569  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Mexico on: September 22, 2005, 06:05:55 PM
Lo siguiente no es una respuesta al anterior.  Buscare' responder mas tarde.

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

The Foreboding Death of Mexico's Security Minister
September 22, 2005 18 30  GMT



Summary

Mexican Security Minister Ram?n Mart?n Huerta and several other government officials died in a Sept. 21 helicopter crash that appears to have been caused by bad weather. The consequences of this apparent accident likely include a further deterioration of Mexico's security environment, reduced cooperation between U.S. and Mexican law enforcement on border issues, increased levels of capital flight and decreased foreign investment.

Analysis

Mexican Security Minister Ram?n Mart?n Huerta and five other government officials, including Federal Police Chief Tom?s Valencia Angeles, died in a helicopter crash 20 miles outside Mexico City on Sept. 21. Government officials said the helicopter, which was attempting to detour around inclement weather, crashed head-on into a wall of rock on a wooded hillside at an altitude of more than 11,000 feet. The helicopter's pilots also died in the crash. A pilot flying a second helicopter said he lost visual contact with Huerta's when it flew into a dense patch of clouds shortly before it crashed. Although an investigation is just beginning, bad weather is the most plausible explanation for the crash.

The helicopter was on its way to maximum-security La Palma prison 35 miles outside Mexico City. Huerta, Valencia and other officials were to inaugurate a new prison security force intended to improve security at the jail, which is notorious for its gang- and drug-related business and violence -- a state of affairs aided by the prison's heavily corrupted security personnel. Huerta was a close friend of President Vicente Fox, and his death, as well as Valencia's, will leave a vacuum in the government security apparatus. This, in turn, portends a decline in domestic security and in cooperation with the United States along the border -- as well as a slowdown in foreign investment and an increase in capital flight.

Fox appointed Huerta to the country's top security job in August 2004 with a mandate to tackle Mexico's exploding drug-trafficking problems in the face of a rapidly deteriorating domestic security situation. In his one year on the job, the drug trade's influence on local and regional governments increased -- as did violent crime. Huerta, however, was seen as someone with the potential to begin turning the ship around.

His death will not only bring an end to any new initiatives directed toward combating Mexico's drug traffickers and crime rates, but in combination with Valencia's death, will leave Mexico's security policies and main crime-fighting force rudderless. This will ease the work of Mexico's gangs and narcotics traffickers until replacements are found, meaning these groups are likely to take advantage of the vacuum to step up their activities in the near term. The result should be a further deterioration in domestic security.

Huerta and Valencia also played significant roles in cooperative efforts with U.S. law enforcement to improve security along the increasingly perilous U.S.-Mexican border. Without counterparts to work with, and eventually with the added complication of having to build new relationships with less-familiar officials, U.S. law enforcement will face a more daunting task, meaning security along the border is likely to decline as well in the near term.

Mexican politics will further complicate efforts to stabilize the country's security, as presidential elections due in July 2006 are fast approaching. Fox already is a lame duck, and with the campaign season under way the legislative and executive agendas will be limited as all parties focus on the elections. Huerta's replacement, therefore, likely will be unable to implement any new policies to substantially alter the security situation, meaning that any effective security policy unlikely can be put in place until the new administration takes office.

Expectations of worsening security will impact the Mexican economy as well. The central bank reported Sept. 20 that capital flight in the first half of 2005 stood at $10 billion, the highest figure for this period since 1980. Although the Mexican economy has an established history of hemorrhaging capital, this number is cause for concern. The leading reasons for the high figures are political uncertainty ahead of elections, the inability of the Fox government to push through needed reforms, and a higher risk environment caused by inadequate security. Huerta and Valencia's death will only compound these concerns and likely send more money abroad.

Foreign direct investment will likewise be affected by the more unstable security environment. Foreign investment has remained surprisingly strong in 2005 with an increase of 8.8 percent in the first half of the year to $7.4 billion compared to the same period in 2004, but this growth rate has been notably slower than in years past. This, again, is because of political uncertainty tied to the 2006 elections, the government's failure to further liberalize the economy and the business- and personal-security issues associated with rising crime in Mexico City and along the border. The fallout from the crash is likely to further slow foreign investment until after the elections.

Economic growth, expected to be 3 percent for 2005, is likely to come in below this figure. Expectations of 3.5 percent growth for 2006 also are likely to be negatively impacted by the deaths. This accident, then, will put many critical issues in Mexico on hold, thereby increasing the overall uncertainty in the country at least until after the presidential election.
28570  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants on: September 22, 2005, 11:30:32 AM
For those who don't know, PN was a noted speechwriter for President Reagan and author of two books about him including "When Character was King" which I highly recommend.  She writes regularly for the WSJ and is one class act IMHO.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thursday, September 22, 2005 12:01 a.m. EDT

PEGGY NOONAN

'Whatever It Takes'
Is Bush's big spending a bridge to nowhere?

George W. Bush, after five years in the presidency, does not intend to get sucker-punched by the Democrats over race and poverty. That was the driving force behind his Katrina speech last week. He is not going to play the part of the cranky accountant--"But where's the money going to come from?"--while the Democrats, in the middle of a national tragedy, swan around saying "Republicans don't care about black people," and "They're always tightwads with the poor."

In his Katrina policy the president is telling Democrats, "You can't possibly outspend me. Go ahead, try. By the time this is over Dennis Kucinich will be crying uncle, Bernie Sanders will be screaming about pork."

That's what's behind Mr. Bush's huge, comforting and boondogglish plan to spend $200 billion or $100 billion or whatever--"whatever it takes"--on Katrina's aftermath. And, I suppose, tomorrow's hurricane aftermath.



George W. Bush is a big spender. He has never vetoed a spending bill. When Congress serves up a big slab of fat, crackling pork, Mr. Bush responds with one big question: Got any barbecue sauce? The great Bush spending spree is about an arguably shrewd but ultimately unhelpful reading of history, domestic politics, Iraq and, I believe, vanity.

This, I believe, is the administration's shrewd if unhelpful reading of history: In a 50-50 nation, people expect and accept high spending. They don't like partisan bickering, there's nothing to gain by arguing around the edges, and arguing around the edges of spending bills is all we get to do anymore. The administration believes there's nothing in it for the Republicans to run around whining about cost. We will spend a lot and the Democrats will spend a lot. But the White House is more competent and will not raise taxes, so they believe Republicans win on this one in the long term.

Domestic politics: The administration believes it is time for the Republican Party to prove to the minority groups of the United States, and to those under stress, that the Republicans are their party, and not the enemy. The Democrats talk a good game, but Republicans deliver, and we know the facts. A lot of American families are broken, single mothers bringing up kids without a father come to see the government as the guy who'll help. It's right to help and we don't lose by helping.

Iraq: Mr. Bush decided long ago--I suspect on Sept. 12, 2001--that he would allow no secondary or tertiary issue to get in the way of the national unity needed to forge the war on terror. So no fighting with Congress over who put the pork in the pan. Cook it, eat it, go on to face the world arm in arm.

As for vanity, the president's aides sometimes seem to see themselves as The New Conservatives, a brave band of brothers who care about the poor, unlike those nasty, crabbed, cheapskate conservatives of an older, less enlightened era.



Republicans have grown alarmed at federal spending. It has come to a head not only because of Katrina but because of the huge pork-filled highway bill the president signed last month, which comes with its own poster child for bad behavior, the Bridge to Nowhere. The famous bridge in Alaska that costs $223 million and that connects one little place with two penguins and a bear with another little place with two bears and a penguin. The Bridge to Nowhere sounds, to conservative ears, like a metaphor for where endless careless spending leaves you. From the Bridge to the 21st Century to the Bridge to Nowhere: It doesn't feel like progress.

A lot of Bush supporters assumed the president would get serious about spending in his second term. With the highway bill he showed we misread his intentions.

The administration, in answering charges of profligate spending, has taken, interestingly, to slighting old conservative hero Ronald Reagan. This week it was the e-mail of a high White House aide informing us that Ronald Reagan spent tons of money bailing out the banks in the savings-and-loan scandal. This was startling information to Reaganites who remembered it was a fellow named George H.W. Bush who did that. Last month it was the president who blandly seemed to suggest that Reagan cut and ran after the attack on the Marine barracks in Lebanon.

Poor Reagan. If only he'd been strong he could have been a good president.

Before that, Mr. Mehlman was knocking previous generations of Republican leaders who just weren't as progressive as George W. Bush on race relations. I'm sure the administration would think to criticize the leadership of Bill Clinton if they weren't so busy having jolly mind-melds with him on Katrina relief. Mr. Clinton, on the other hand, is using his new closeness with the administration to add an edge of authority to his slams on Bush. That's a pol who knows how to do it.

At any rate, Republican officials start diminishing Ronald Reagan, it is a bad sign about where they are psychologically. In the White House of George H.W. Bush they called the Reagan administration "the pre-Bush era." See where it got them.

Sometimes I think the Bush White House needs to be told: It's good to be a revolutionary. But do you guys really need to be opening up endless new fronts? Do you need--metaphor switch--seven or eight big pots boiling on the stove all at the same time? You think the kitchen and the house might get a little too hot that way?

The Republican (as opposed to conservative) default position when faced with criticism of the Bush administration is: But Kerry would have been worse! The Democrats are worse! All too true. The Democrats right now remind me of what the veteran political strategist David Garth told me about politicians. He was a veteran of many campaigns and many campaigners. I asked him if most or many of the politicians he'd worked with had serious and defining political beliefs. David thought for a moment and then said, "Most of them started with philosophy. But they wound up with hunger." That's how the Democrats seem to me these days: unorganized people who don't know what they stand for but want to win, because winning's pleasurable and profitable.

But saying The Bush administration is a lot better than having Democrats in there is not an answer to criticism, it's a way to squelch it. Which is another Bridge to Nowhere.



Mr. Bush started spending after 9/11. Again, anything to avoid a second level fight that distracts from the primary fight, the war on terror. That is, Mr. Bush had his reasons. They were not foolish. At the time they seemed smart. But four years later it is hard for a conservative not to protest. Some big mistakes have been made.

First and foremost Mr. Bush has abandoned all rhetorical ground. He never even speaks of high spending. He doesn't argue against it, and he doesn't make the moral case against it. When forced to spend, Reagan didn't like it, and he said so. He also tried to cut. Mr. Bush seems to like it and doesn't try to cut. He doesn't warn that endless high spending can leave a nation tapped out and future generations hemmed in. In abandoning this ground Bush has abandoned a great deal--including a primary argument of conservatism and a primary reason for voting Republican. And who will fill this rhetorical vacuum? Hillary Clinton. She knows an opening when she sees one, and knows her base won't believe her when she decries waste.

Second, Mr. Bush seems not to be noticing that once government spending reaches a new high level it is very hard to get it down, even a little, ever. So a decision to raise spending now is in effect a decision to raise spending forever.

Third, Mr. Bush seems not to be operating as if he knows the difficulties--the impossibility, really--of spending wisely from the federal level. Here is a secret we all should know: It is really not possible for a big federal government based in Washington to spend completely wisely, constructively and helpfully, and with a sense of personal responsibility. What is possible is to write the check. After that? In New Jersey they took federal Homeland Security funds and bought garbage trucks. FEMA was a hack-stack.

The one time a Homeland Security Department official spoke to me about that crucial new agency's efforts, she talked mostly about a memoir she was writing about a selfless HS official who tries to balance the demands of motherhood against the needs of a great nation. When she finally asked for advice on homeland security, I told her that her department's Web page is nothing but an advertisement for how great the department is, and since some people might actually turn to the site for help if their city is nuked it might be nice to offer survival hints. She took notes and nodded. It alarmed me that they needed to be told the obvious. But it didn't surprise me.

Of the $100 billion that may be spent on New Orleans, let's be serious. We love Louisiana and feel for Louisiana, but we all know what Louisiana is, a very human state with rather particular flaws. As Huey Long once said, "Some day Louisiana will have honest government, and they won't like it." We all know this, yes? Louisiana has many traditions, and one is a rich and unvaried culture of corruption. How much of the $100 billion coming its way is going to fall off the table? Half? OK, let's not get carried away. More than half.

Town spending tends to be more effective than county spending. County spending tends--tends--to be more efficacious than state spending. State spending tends to be more constructive than federal spending. This is how life works. The area closest to where the buck came from is most likely to be more careful with the buck. This is part of the reason conservatives are so disturbed by the gushing federal spigot.

Money is power. More money for the federal government and used by the federal government is more power for the federal government. Is this good? Is this what energy in the executive is--"Here's a check"? Are the philosophical differences between the two major parties coming down, in terms of spending, to "Who's your daddy? He's not your daddy, I'm your daddy." Do we want this? Do our kids? Is it safe? Is it, in its own way, a national security issue?



At a conservative gathering this summer the talk turned to high spending. An intelligent young journalist observed that we shouldn't be surprised at Mr. Bush's spending, he ran from the beginning as a "compassionate conservative." The journalist noted that he'd never liked that phrase, that most conservatives he knew had disliked it, and I agreed. But conservatives understood Mr. Bush's thinking: they knew he was trying to signal to those voters who did not assume that conservatism held within it sympathy and regard for human beings, in fact springs from that sympathy and regard.

But conservatives also understood "compassionate conservatism" to be a form of the philosophy that is serious about the higher effectiveness of faith-based approaches to healing poverty--you spend prudently not to maintain the status quo, and not to avoid criticism, but to actually make things better. It meant an active and engaged interest in poverty and its pathologies. It meant a new way of doing old business.

I never understood compassionate conservatism to mean, and I don't know anyone who understood it to mean, a return to the pork-laden legislation of the 1970s. We did not understand it to mean never vetoing a spending bill. We did not understand it to mean a historic level of spending. We did not understand it to be a step back toward old ways that were bad ways.

I for one feel we need to go back to conservatism 101. We can start with a quote from Gerald Ford, if he isn't too much of a crabbed and reactionary old Republican to quote. He said, "A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have."

The administration knows that Republicans are becoming alarmed. Its attitude is: "We're having some trouble with part of the base but"--smile--"we can weather that."

Well, they probably can, short term.

Long term, they've had bad history with weather. It can change.



Here are some questions for conservative and Republicans. In answering them, they will be defining their future party.

If we are going to spend like the romantics and operators of Lyndon Johnson's Great Society;

If we are going to thereby change the very meaning and nature of conservatism;

If we are going to increase spending and the debt every year;

If we are going to become a movement that supports big government and a party whose unspoken motto is "Whatever it takes";

If all these things, shouldn't we perhaps at least discuss it? Shouldn't we be talking about it? Shouldn't our senators, congressmen and governors who wish to lead in the future come forward to take a stand?

And shouldn't the Bush administration seriously address these questions, share more of their thinking, assumptions and philosophy?

It is possible that political history will show, in time, that those who worried about spending in 2005 were dinosaurs. If we are, we are. But we shouldn't become extinct without a roar.

Ms. Noonan is a contributing editor of The Wall Street Journal and author of "John Paul the Great: Remembering a Spiritual Father," forthcoming in November from Penguin, which you can preorder from the OpinionJournal bookstore. Her column appears Thursdays
28571  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Libertarian themes on: September 22, 2005, 08:33:55 AM
Frankly, I don't have the time to follow this important issue of the Eminent Domain and the vile KELSO decision from the Supreme Court as closely as I  would like, but for anyone so inclined:

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

I get email updates through the Castle Coalition. Hope it helps,
John


Thank you to all who attended and submitted testimony for the Senate committee hearing on the eminent domain legislation!

Here is just one of the many news clips on the events yesterday:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dy...5092000989.html

-----------------------------------
For the time being, there is video available of yesterday's press conference and Senate hearing on eminent domain:
Fox News: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,112935,00.html Click on Questioning Eminent Domain on the right side of the page

C-SPAN: http://www.c-span.org/ Click on Senate Judiciary Cmte. Hearing on Eminent Domain

Also, all the hearing testimony is available online at: http://judiciary.senate.gov/hearing.cfm?id=1612.

You can still submit testimony to the Senate to Dimple Gupta with the Judiciary Committee: Dimple_Gupta@judiciary-rep.senate.gov.

Best wishes,
Steven Anderson, Castle Coalition Coordinator
Elizabeth Moser, Outreach Coordinator
www.castlecoalition.org
www.ij.org
__________________
28572  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Well-armed People on: September 21, 2005, 07:01:23 AM
Given the role of gun/self-defense rights to this thread, the following seems pertinent to me:
----------------------------------------

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/articl...1786945,00.html

September 19, 2005
Scotland tops list of world's most violent countries
By Katrina Tweedie

A UNITED Nations report has labelled Scotland the most violent country in the developed world, with people three times more likely to be assaulted than in America.

England and Wales recorded the second highest number of violent assaults while Northern Ireland recorded the fewest.

The study, based on telephone interviews with victims of crime in 21 countries, found that more than 2,000 Scots were attacked every week, almost ten times the official police figures. They include non-sexual crimes of violence and serious assaults.

Violent crime has doubled in Scotland over the past 20 years and levels, per head of population, are now comparable with cities such as Rio de Janeiro, Johannesburg and Tbilisi.

The attacks have been fuelled by a ?booze and blades? culture in the west of Scotland which has claimed more than 160 lives over the past five years. Since January there have been 13 murders, 145 attempted murders and 1,100 serious assaults involving knives in the west of Scotland. The problem is made worse by sectarian violence, with hospitals reporting higher admissions following Old Firm matches.

David Ritchie, an accident and emergency consultant at Glasgow?s Victoria Infirmary, said that the figures were a national disgrace. ?I am embarrassed as a Scot that we are seeing this level of violence. Politicians must do something about this problem. This is a serious public health issue. Violence is a cancer in this part of the world,? he said.

Detective Chief Superintendent John Carnochan, head of the Strathclyde Police?s violence reduction unit, said the problem was chronic and restricting access to drink and limiting the sale of knives would at least reduce the problem.

The study, by the UN?s crime research institute, found that 3 per cent of Scots had been victims of assault compared with 1.2 per cent in America and just 0.1 per cent in Japan, 0.2 per cent in Italy and 0.8 per cent in Austria. In England and Wales the figure was 2.8 per cent.

Scotland was eighth for total crime, 13th for property crime, 12th for robbery and 14th for sexual assault. New Zealand had the most property crimes and sexual assaults, while Poland had the most robberies.

Chief Constable Peter Wilson, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland, questioned the figures. ?It must be near impossible to compare assault figures from one country to the next based on phone calls,? he said.

?We have been doing extensive research into violent crime in Scotland for some years now and this has shown that in the vast majority of cases, victims of violent crime are known to each other. We do accept, however, that, despite your chances of being a victim of assault being low in Scotland, a problem does exist.?
28573  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Dog Brothers Martial Arts in Poland on: September 21, 2005, 06:59:00 AM
Woof all:

Tomek whose last name I can't spell embarassed and who is now a DBMA Trainer/Group Leader, fought well at the recent DB Invitational Gathering in Bern.

This event, "ringmastered" by me,  was with the blessing of The Council of Elders (Top Dog, Salty Dog and me) and was the first ever outside of the DB Gatherings hosted by the Hermosa Clan which in part is an expression of the regard we have for Lonely Dog and his role in the Dog Brothers and in DBMA.  We are building towards having full "DB Gatherings" (i.e. come one, come all) in Bern in about one year.  The first one will be witnessed by The Council of Elders.

The Adventure continues,
Crafty Dog
Guiding Force of the Dog Brothers
28574  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Libertarian themes on: September 20, 2005, 02:25:25 PM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Will the New National ID Track Your Movements?
8/31/05
by James Plummer
Printable Format

James Plummer is the policy director for the Liberty Coalition.

By the end of September virtually unaccountable bureaucrats inside the Department of Homeland Security will likely have decided whether the new de facto national ID card will broadcast your sensitive identification information wherever you go?Minority Report style.

This comes as a result of the REAL ID Act. REAL ID was signed into law in May. As a result of negotiations over the intelligence-reform bill passed last December, the law had been attached to the first ?must-pass? bill of 2005, which turned out to be ?emergency? spending for the Iraq war. Thus a vote against this national ID would have been spun as a vote ?against the troops? as well.

REAL ID gave the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) the sole right to issue ?design requirements? for driver?s licenses, needing only to ?consult? (that is, ignore) state officials and the Department of Transportation. Though the official publication of the design requirements is still some months off, DHS is expected to make an internal decision on one of those requirements, regarding ?machine-readable technology? standards, by early fall. And there is a lot of pressure on DHS from the surveillance-technology industry to make radio-frequency identification (RFID) microchips the required machine-readable technology.

The REAL ID Act repealed a provision in the intelligence-reform bill to assemble a committee of state officials, privacy watchdogs, and federal officials to set standards for state driver?s licenses. As a result, those moderating voices of federalism, privacy, and common sense have now been silenced. One of those voices, the National Conference of State Legislatures, has conservatively estimated compliance costs at up to $750 million initially and $75 million annually thereafter?just another expense to be passed on to the taxpayer for the ?privilege? of driving or flying with a national ID card.

States that don?t go along with the new standards will find that their citizens cannot use their state driver?s licenses for federal identification. That means the Transportation Security Administration won?t let Americans with noncompliant driver?s licenses board airplanes, unless perhaps they have a passport?which themselves are scheduled to have RFID soon.

RFID technology in an identification card consists of an embedded microchip and antenna that broadcasts identity information, decodable by specially designed readers. On an identifying document such as a driver?s license, RFID is an unnecessary, dangerous technology in today?s information-rich world. RFID-enabled identity cards can broadcast identifying information to persons and institutions without the knowledge or consent of the license holder. That information, such as a name, birth date, identification number, or even digital photo, could then be cross-referenced through commercial and government databases to gain increasingly sensitive identity information on the individual.

That kind of technology on essentially mandatory government documents can lead to identity fraud, endangering the victim?s finances, privacy, and even physical safety.

RFID technology could also enable tracking of individuals, as the chip broadcasts the cardholder?s presence to each reader he passes. No matter how secure the RFID protocols allegedly are, broadcasting one?s presence to a series of readers leaves a record of one?s place and time. That information can be taken by hidden readers just about anywhere an American goes?a political meeting, a gun show, a place of worship. It is an open invitation to stalkers and thieves, as well as government agents who regard constitutional proscriptions on search and surveillance as obstacles rather than as American principles.

Advocates of the technology often claim RFID can be set to only broadcast a limited distance, such as a few centimeters. But as security expert Bruce Schneier has pointed out, ?This is a spectacularly na?ve claim. All wireless protocols can work at much longer ranges than specified. In tests, RFID chips have been read by receivers 20 meters away. Improvements in technology are inevitable.?

There is no significant security benefit in mandating that driver?s licenses and/or identification cards carry an RFID chip. There are, however, significant risks to security and privacy. If an RFID reader must purportedly be within a few centimeters of the identification card, there is no logical reason not to close the security loop and require the card make contact with the reader.

Tri-National ID

Some quick background: The original version of the REAL ID Act would have had every state join into something called the ?Driver License Agreement,? which would have included states of Mexico and provinces of Canada as well, creating a de facto tri-national ID card. Although that provision was removed from the final legislation after protests by privacy advocates, there is a danger that RFID standards in particular could easily be integrated into international identification schemes. The United Nations? International Civilian Aviation Organization (ICAO) is pushing for standardized RFID on the passports of every nation. The U.S. State Department has already announced plans to include RFID in passports in the near future, with standards based on ICAO recommendations. And meanwhile, the British government?s plans for a national ID card include ICAO RFID standards.

Could DHS be seriously considering turning state driver?s licenses into national ID cards, essentially internal passports based on UN standards? It seems they may indeed be headed that way.

As Americans learn more about RFID technology, they are rightly concerned about these dangers. The California Assembly is considering a bill to ban RFID from state identification documents for at least three years as security questions are studied. The Montana House of Representatives has already passed a bill opting out of any nationalized ID standards. Montana legislators were concerned that such a system would endanger the privacy of that state?s citizens. If DHS adopts mandatory RFID for driver?s licenses, those concerns would be proven valid.

If the Department of Homeland Security takes personal security and privacy, not to mention constitutional values, at all seriously, it will reject RFID or any kind of contactless reading technology as appropriate for driver?s licenses ? the new de facto national identification cards
28575  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Atienza seminar in Signal Hill (LA, CA) on: September 20, 2005, 01:00:54 PM
Atienza Kali
 

October 1st                                              
11AM to 4pm
Integrated Martial Arts
2831 Junipero Ave #609
Signal Hill, Ca, 90755
www.intmartialarts.com
   Price $75.00/day

Atienza Kali evolved primarily as a blade system utilizing weapons of all sizes. This system excels in dealing with realistic solutions to many common street situations; particularly multi-man and mass attack scenarios. This seminar is open to the general public of all skill levels. Long training blades and eye protection required. Training blades will be available for purchase at the seminar. Those interested in becoming members of the Southern California Atienza training group can contact 562-492-6951 for further information.

Please call (562) 492-6951 for further information. Go to www.intmartialarts.com to register and get directions.
28576  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Politically (In)correct on: September 20, 2005, 10:44:24 AM
This is my column from today's Times.

Ed



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

September 19, 2005

Hate Crimes: When Forbidden Acts Become Forbidden Beliefs

By EDWARD ROTHSTEIN

Thirty years ago, hate crimes did not exist, though plenty of crimes committed out of hatred did. Could it be that the only thing that has changed is that we now have both? And perhaps that the concept of hate crime is more a burden than a benefit?

Such was the unease I felt on Tuesday night at the New York Tolerance Center of the Simon Wiesenthal Center listening to a panel of human rights advocates discuss a new report about hate crimes. The report, "Everyday Fears: A Survey of Violent Hate Crimes in Europe and North America," written by Michael McClintock, the director of research for Human Rights First (formerly the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights), focuses on the United States, Canada, and 53 European and Central Asian countries.

It argues that hate crimes are on the increase and are not being taken seriously enough. In France, reports of violence against gay men more than doubled from 2002 to 2003. In Britain, anti-Semitic assaults on individuals doubled from 2003 to 2004. In the Netherlands, anti-Muslim violence flared after the murder of the filmmaker Theo van Gogh in 2004, leading to acts of arson and assault. The particular accounts are chilling.

What is to be done? At the panel, Mr. McClintock argued that "data stops hate," that knowing the extent of hatred would lead to legislation and control. His report argues for the expansion of legal and governmental structures to monitor and prosecute hate crimes.

Europe might already seem well armed. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has increased its focus on hate crimes in its Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. According to Mr. McClintock's report, the security organization also has an international hate crimes program that has been documenting its member nations' failures to document those crimes. The European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance and the European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia also combat what the monitoring center calls "racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism at the European level."

But Human Rights First also says that only 19 of the 55 nations in the security organization actually have hate crime legislation and that only five include "sexual orientation and disability bias" in their criteria. Denmark does not make racism a factor in criminal law; France does but won't separate out statistics about particular groups. As for the United States, in the latest survey 90 percent of enforcement agencies did not report data on hate crimes at all.

The report suggests that all hate crimes are vastly undercounted, noting that "the highest levels of violence were found where there was increasingly effective monitoring and reporting (in Germany and France)."

But how are such crimes to be identified? The concept of hate crime developed only in recent decades out of a particular political perspective. It asserts that there are groups so injured by being at society's margins that any further injury rising out of hatred is particularly heinous. A hate crime is not just an individual crime but a reflection of a presumed social crime. Prosecution of hate crimes is a form of social exorcism, a declaration that traces of past sins will be expunged.

This is more peculiar than it may seem at first. Usually, a crime is prosecuted because it is a forbidden act; a hate crime is prosecuted because of a forbidden belief. Usually, punishment is assessed by judging a criminal's plans: Was the murder premeditated? Was it accidental? In hate crimes the motive is central: Was it done out of greed? Was it done out of hatred? Prosecuting hate crimes is meant to be an attack on prejudice, meant to reform feelings, not just behavior.

Thus hate crimes tend to fit a particular political ideology. It is not really group hatred that gives hate crimes their meaning, but social grievance. In the United States, for example, there is palpable discomfort when an incident of black-on-white crime is called a hate crime. It doesn't fit the model: where's the victim's social grievance? Anti-Semitism has also typically been seen as the spur to a hate crime only when it comes from the far right, as an extension of familiar fascistic victimization.

Human Rights First refers to terrorist acts as spurring hate crimes in retaliation but not as hate crimes themselves. They are ignored even though the Washington sniper of 2003, John Allen Muhammad, made his group hatred apparent, and even though radical Islamic clerics regularly preach hatred against Jews, infidels and Westerners and urge that it be acted upon (with considerable success). These are not considered hate crimes because the victims are not considered socially aggrieved.

In fact, debates about hate crimes can even resemble debates over who merits social restitution. This report urges that the concept be standardized: hate crimes should be crimes based on prejudice motivated by race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and disability.

Given all this, it is not surprising that statistics are inconsistent and difficult to come by, that some hate crimes prove to be crimes committed for other motives, that some hate crimes are not crimes at all and that others go unrecognized. Hate crimes are hard to prove and easy to claim, related to feelings not acts. It is not clear that monitoring and reporting will eliminate hate crimes. More agencies and legal structures are now devoted to them than ever before, without diminishing their prevalence.

Is it possible that one of the best ways to eliminate hate crimes is to jettison the concept itself? As for eliminating acts of hatred ... well, that is a more serious problem.

Connections, a critic's perspective on arts and ideas, appears every other Monday.
28577  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Politically (In)correct on: September 20, 2005, 10:43:24 AM
This is my column from today's Times.

Ed



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

September 19, 2005

Hate Crimes: When Forbidden Acts Become Forbidden Beliefs

By EDWARD ROTHSTEIN

Thirty years ago, hate crimes did not exist, though plenty of crimes committed out of hatred did. Could it be that the only thing that has changed is that we now have both? And perhaps that the concept of hate crime is more a burden than a benefit?

Such was the unease I felt on Tuesday night at the New York Tolerance Center of the Simon Wiesenthal Center listening to a panel of human rights advocates discuss a new report about hate crimes. The report, "Everyday Fears: A Survey of Violent Hate Crimes in Europe and North America," written by Michael McClintock, the director of research for Human Rights First (formerly the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights), focuses on the United States, Canada, and 53 European and Central Asian countries.

It argues that hate crimes are on the increase and are not being taken seriously enough. In France, reports of violence against gay men more than doubled from 2002 to 2003. In Britain, anti-Semitic assaults on individuals doubled from 2003 to 2004. In the Netherlands, anti-Muslim violence flared after the murder of the filmmaker Theo van Gogh in 2004, leading to acts of arson and assault. The particular accounts are chilling.

What is to be done? At the panel, Mr. McClintock argued that "data stops hate," that knowing the extent of hatred would lead to legislation and control. His report argues for the expansion of legal and governmental structures to monitor and prosecute hate crimes.

Europe might already seem well armed. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has increased its focus on hate crimes in its Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. According to Mr. McClintock's report, the security organization also has an international hate crimes program that has been documenting its member nations' failures to document those crimes. The European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance and the European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia also combat what the monitoring center calls "racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism at the European level."

But Human Rights First also says that only 19 of the 55 nations in the security organization actually have hate crime legislation and that only five include "sexual orientation and disability bias" in their criteria. Denmark does not make racism a factor in criminal law; France does but won't separate out statistics about particular groups. As for the United States, in the latest survey 90 percent of enforcement agencies did not report data on hate crimes at all.

The report suggests that all hate crimes are vastly undercounted, noting that "the highest levels of violence were found where there was increasingly effective monitoring and reporting (in Germany and France)."

But how are such crimes to be identified? The concept of hate crime developed only in recent decades out of a particular political perspective. It asserts that there are groups so injured by being at society's margins that any further injury rising out of hatred is particularly heinous. A hate crime is not just an individual crime but a reflection of a presumed social crime. Prosecution of hate crimes is a form of social exorcism, a declaration that traces of past sins will be expunged.

This is more peculiar than it may seem at first. Usually, a crime is prosecuted because it is a forbidden act; a hate crime is prosecuted because of a forbidden belief. Usually, punishment is assessed by judging a criminal's plans: Was the murder premeditated? Was it accidental? In hate crimes the motive is central: Was it done out of greed? Was it done out of hatred? Prosecuting hate crimes is meant to be an attack on prejudice, meant to reform feelings, not just behavior.

Thus hate crimes tend to fit a particular political ideology. It is not really group hatred that gives hate crimes their meaning, but social grievance. In the United States, for example, there is palpable discomfort when an incident of black-on-white crime is called a hate crime. It doesn't fit the model: where's the victim's social grievance? Anti-Semitism has also typically been seen as the spur to a hate crime only when it comes from the far right, as an extension of familiar fascistic victimization.

Human Rights First refers to terrorist acts as spurring hate crimes in retaliation but not as hate crimes themselves. They are ignored even though the Washington sniper of 2003, John Allen Muhammad, made his group hatred apparent, and even though radical Islamic clerics regularly preach hatred against Jews, infidels and Westerners and urge that it be acted upon (with considerable success). These are not considered hate crimes because the victims are not considered socially aggrieved.

In fact, debates about hate crimes can even resemble debates over who merits social restitution. This report urges that the concept be standardized: hate crimes should be crimes based on prejudice motivated by race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and disability.

Given all this, it is not surprising that statistics are inconsistent and difficult to come by, that some hate crimes prove to be crimes committed for other motives, that some hate crimes are not crimes at all and that others go unrecognized. Hate crimes are hard to prove and easy to claim, related to feelings not acts. It is not clear that monitoring and reporting will eliminate hate crimes. More agencies and legal structures are now devoted to them than ever before, without diminishing their prevalence.

Is it possible that one of the best ways to eliminate hate crimes is to jettison the concept itself? As for eliminating acts of hatred ... well, that is a more serious problem.

Connections, a critic's perspective on arts and ideas, appears every other Monday.
28578  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Bazoka Peruano. on: September 20, 2005, 06:34:12 AM
Si' se requiere fuerza de mano usar este arma Cheesy

Yo lo veo como una respuesta a las leyes Peruanas sobre armas.  Son muy, muy complicadas y la bazuka permite a un agricultor defender a sus cosechas con poco dinero sin necesidad de recurrir a las autoridades.
28579  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Gender issues thread on: September 20, 2005, 04:44:28 AM
What joy! Boys wearing
nail polish
Glenn Sacks
? 2005 WorldNetDaily.com

It's one thing to be respectful of gays and gay parents. It's quite another to engineer a deceptive study and use it to assert that lesbian families are a better environment in which to raise boys than heterosexual families. That's what former Stanford University gender scholar Peggy F. Drexler, Ph.D. does in her new book, "Raising Boys Without Men: How Maverick Moms Are Creating the Next Generation of Exceptional Men." Not surprisingly, a friendly mainstream media is helping her promote her claims.

In the book's opening pages, Drexler's message is one of tolerance for various family forms, as she notes that lesbian and single-mother families "can" effectively raise boys. But "Raising Boys" soon devolves into outright advocacy of lesbian parenting. In Drexler's world, lesbian families ? protected from fathers and their toxic masculinity ? are the best environments in which to raise boys. Married heterosexual mothers try their best, but the positive influence these hapless moms try to impart to their children is overwhelmed by that of the malevolent family patriarch.


According to Drexler, lesbian moms are "more sophisticated about how they teach their sons right from wrong" than heterosexual couples, and there are "real advantages for a boy being raised in this new type of family." Heterosexual mothers don't measure up in "moral attitude" and are less likely than lesbian moms to "create opportunities for their sons to examine moral and values issues." This in turn slows the "moral development in their sons."

Furthermore, Drexler asserts that boys raised by lesbians "grow up emotionally stronger," "have a wider range of interests and friendships" and "appear more at ease in situations of conflict" than boys from "traditional" (i.e., father-present) households. Fatherless boys "exhibit a high degree of emotional savvy ... an intuitive grasp of people and situations." Best of all, sons of lesbian couples are much more willing to discard traditional masculinity than boys trapped in heterosexual households.

For example, Fiona's son paints his nails, while both of Maria's sons dance ballet. Ursula's son chose sewing and cooking for his electives in seventh grade. Kathy's son has rejected playing baseball as being "too competitive" ? no surprise, because in their local, father-led baseball league, "the better players get more playing time."

Yet Drexler's research has obvious flaws. For one, the families she studied were middle to upper class, older women who volunteered to have their lives intimately scrutinized over a multiyear period ? an unrepresentative, self-selected sample.

More importantly, her research suffers from confirmatory bias ? Drexler saw what she wanted to see. Drexler is not an objective social scientist, but instead a passionate advocate for lesbian mothers. She calls the "maverick mothers" raising sons without men "avatars of a new social movement" and says her book's "stories, voices, data and findings will reassure, hearten and empower" them. Her research did not measure objective indices of child well-being, such as rates of juvenile crime, drop-outs or teen pregnancy. Instead, Drexler personally conducted interviews of mothers and their sons and made subjective judgments about their family lives. It is not surprising that Drexler found lesbian families to her liking. In fact, her dogged determination to see only good in lesbian couples and problems in heterosexual ones at times reaches absurd proportions.

For example, though Drexler doesn't seem to notice, her lesbian moms, particularly the "social" (i.e., non-biological moms), cheerfully endure insults and disrespect that no parent should ever tolerate. Carol's son calls her "stupid." Bianca's son calls her "lazy." Martha's son hops into her bed and effectively tells Martha tough luck, sucker ? go sleep somewhere else. Thankfully, in each case progressive lesbian mom dealt with the problem through patience and talking. By contrast, Dad ? who Drexler usually portrays as being overly strict ? would probably have had junior pull weeds in the yard for a few hours as he waves goodbye to his PlayStation. He is (sigh) sadly unenlightened.

For Drexler, boys raised by lesbians are a better breed than those raised by heterosexual couples. When Drexler was struggling to hold on to her briefcase and her bags, 11-year-old Damien saw "that I needed help and immediately offered it." Drexler is taken aback ? a boy being helpful and caring? She notes, "When I thought about it later, it clicked in my head: This is a boy being raised by two moms."

Lesbian-raised Cody helps clean up the playroom. Lesbian-raised Brad offers Drexler a stool to sit on when she comes to his room to interview her. Both considerations are the product, we are assured, of their special upbringings. Yet Drexler could have found many kind, helpful, empathetic boys raised by heterosexual couples ? like my 12 year-old son, who recently told his grandparents, "I want you to move next door to us, even though it will mean more chores for me" ? if only she had been willing to look.

At the same time, Drexler refuses to see obvious indications that the boys she interviews need fathers. When one of Brad's two moms picks him up from the day-care center after work, every day she has to pry the 6-year-old off of the leg of an after-school worker named Ron to whom Brad is ? pun intended ? quite attached. A less determined researcher might see this as evidence of Brad's need for a dad. Not Drexler, who instead tells us that, given Ron's presence, Brad's mom "knew she didn't need to worry about Brad's lack of an everyday father in his life."

Julia's little boy says, "I want a daddy." Darlene's little boy tells his mom: "We could find a daddy and he could move in with us." Three-year-old Ian ? fatherless by the decision of his "single mother by choice" mom, Leslie ? watches TV with mom, continually pointing at male figures on the screen and saying, "There's my daddy." Leslie explains, "No, we don't have a daddy in our family," but little Ian doesn't get it and continues to point and ask. A problem? Not according to Drexler, who writes, "Will some little boys trail after men they don't even know, perk up at lower-decibel voices or hang on to the pant legs of the men who cross their paths? Maybe." But whatever it is, she assures us, it isn't father hunger.

She enthuses that "sons of lesbians went to great efforts to define the terms of the bonds and relationships in their lives that the boys from straight families seemed to take for granted. All terms in their lives were complex." Is this a good thing?

Drexler does allow that some male figures can be positive for boys. Who? "Grandfathers, godfathers, uncles, family friends, coaches" ? in short, anybody but dad. In fact, boys being raised without fathers benefit because they enjoy "more male figures in their lives than boys from traditional families." But more does not mean better, and a group of men with little stake in a boy's life are a poor substitute for a father's love and devotion to his children. Nor can they provide the modeling that boys need ? the best way for a boy to learn how to become a good husband and father is to watch his father do it.

Drexler believes that boys in heterosexual families are worse off because they are "stuck with a single male role model" ? dad ? whereas in lesbian families boys are free to choose their own. Yet a child does not have the judgment to properly select his own role models, even with a parent's input. The fact that fatherless boys usually choose older, rebellious, thuggish boys as their role models ? and are often led by them to their perdition ? eludes Drexler.

Drexler holds up a variety of other family forms and "nonofficial parenting figures" as alternatives to heterosexual, married families, including Hillary Clinton's village, "communal living" and "seed daddies." She approvingly quotes a columnist who writes, "With so many single mothers around, and double mothers becoming less of a novelty, it is the children of traditional couples who are going to be asked, 'Who is that man in your house?'"


The boys Drexler studied don't need their dads, but instead benefit because their absence helps create what one might call the "maternal dictatorship." For Ursula, the single mother of two boys, Drexler enthuses that there's "no discussion about parenting methodologies. No crossed signals ... no compromising ... the decisions, the choices, the priorities were all hers." Better yet, "lesbian co-parents achieve a particularly high level of parenting skills ... [and] a greater level of agreement than heterosexual couples. A higher degree of consensus cut down on conflict in the home, enabling a clear message of love and support to be heard by the kids."

Drexler has it exactly wrong ? conflict over parenting methods and strategies is not a negative but a positive, for two competing and different viewpoints wean out bad ideas and help preserve good ones. This is particularly true in heterosexual couples, where both male and female perspectives are considered in decision-making. By contrast, in single parent homes ideas and parenting strategies are implemented without consultation, and the effect can be harmful. In lesbian homes, parenting strategies are used on boys without input from anyone who actually knows what it's like to be a boy.

While "Raising Boys" is being promoted as a harmless, feel-good affirmation for "maverick moms," it is in fact an attack on the institution that research shows is the best-suited to raising children ? the family. Drexler encourages women thinking of having fatherless children to make that "leap of faith." But the rates of all major youth pathologies, including juvenile crime, teen pregnancy, teen drug abuse and school dropouts, are tightly correlated with fatherlessness. Drexler waxes poetic about the nebulous benefits of fatherless parenting, but makes little attempt to explain why fatherless families produce so many troubled and pathological children.

The boys raised by the well-heeled, educated San Francisco lesbian couples Drexler studied will probably do better than most fatherless boys because their socioeconomic status is higher. But nothing in Drexler's research indicates that an extra mom can replace the strength, tough love and modeling a father gives his son.

--

Glenn Sacks taught elementary school and high school in the Los Angeles Unified School District and others, and was named to "Who's Who Among America's Teachers" three times. His columns on men's and fathers' issues have appeared in dozens of the largest newspapers in the United States. His website is GlennnSacks.com.
28580  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants on: September 19, 2005, 02:41:20 PM
I find myself with a strong gut instinct to let Freedom solve most things.  If people want to put their shoulder to the wheel and take hold of their own lives, , , , sounds good to me.
28581  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Bloomington, IL - October 8-9th, Seminar with Guro Crafty! on: September 19, 2005, 12:17:37 PM
Woof SuiHung:

My host has emailed me the following (posted here with his permission):

BEGIN " , , ,Ultimately, I want you to do your thing and am willing to trust you on that.  As far as our group and what we've been focusing on, we're a pretty young group (as far as experience is concerned) and there will be around 10-15 guys from my gym attend.

I'd like to see single stick, some double stick, maybe a little knife, footwork and attacking/defending with angles, and a lot of translation to
how this applies to empty hand fighting.

More than anything, I want you to do your thing though. , , , " END

So SH, what would YOU like to see?

Woof,
Crafty Dog
28582  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Bloomington, IL - October 8-9th, Seminar with Guro Crafty! on: September 18, 2005, 11:33:14 AM
Off the top of my head in no particular order some options are:

1) The Snaggletooth Drill (Combining Stick & Footwork, basic primal attacking block & strike combos on the diamond triangle)
2) Attacking Blocks, which often leads into Stickgrappling Clinch
3) Los Triques Big Stick (Los T is a blend of Kali and Krabi Krabong
4) Lost Triques Siniwali
5) Staff
6) Short Impact Weapons for the Street
7) Kali Tudo
28583  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Bloomington, IL - October 8-9th, Seminar with Guro Crafty! on: September 18, 2005, 11:18:46 AM
I've emailed Doug to ask him what he would like
28584  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Well-armed People on: September 18, 2005, 08:01:46 AM
NRA-ILA Grassroots Alert Vol. 12, No. 37 9/16/05

NRA ON THE GROUND IN LOUISIANA

As was reported last week, in the wake of unspeakable crimes perpetrated by roving, armed gangs and individuals, authorities in New Orleans seized legal firearms from lawful residents, effectively disarming the very citizenry they are sworn to protect.

On Monday, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, and NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox slammed New Orleans authorities for this incredible action.

"What we've seen in Louisiana--the breakdown of law and order in the aftermath of disaster--is exactly the kind of situation where the Second Amendment was intended to allow citizens to protect themselves, " LaPierre said.  "For state, local, or federal government to disarm these good people in their own homes using the threat of imminent deadly force, is unthinkable."
 
"The NRA will not stand by while guns are confiscated from law-abiding people who're trying to defend themselves," Cox said.  "We're exploring every legal option available to protect the rights of lawful people in New Orleans."

To that end, NRA has put professional investigators to work on the ground in New Orleans and surrounding areas.  News stories and members' detailed accounts have been followed up on, but we need more information.  Some of our best leads have come from rank and file law enforcement, but we need to hear from all directly affected citizens.

If you have personally had a gun confiscated in Louisiana since Hurricane Katrina hit, please call (888) 414-6333.  Be prepared to leave only your name and immediate contact information so we can get back to you.  Once again, we are seeking contact information from actual victims of gun confiscation in Louisiana only.

For additional information, please visit www.NRAILA.org, or e-mail us at ila-contact@nrahq.org.

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

Also see:  http://www.gunowners.org/notb.htm
28585  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Homeland Security on: September 17, 2005, 12:21:07 AM
Doctor: Officials gave hospital staffers mops as people died

Friday, September 16, 2005; Posted: 1:19 p.m. EDT (17:19 GMT)

A doctor reported that sick people languished in the New Orleans airport while he mopped floors.
Image:  

(CNN) -- As violence, death and misery gripped New Orleans and the surrounding parishes in the days after Hurricane Katrina, a leadership vacuum, bureaucratic red tape and a defensive culture paralyzed volunteers' attempts to help.

Doctors eager to help sick and injured evacuees were handed mops by federal officials who expressed concern about legal liability. Even as violence and looting slowed rescues, police from other states were turned back while officials squabbled over who should take charge of restoring the peace.

Warehouses in New Orleans burned while firefighters were diverted to Atlanta for Federal Emergency Management Agency training sessions on community relations and sexual harassment. Water trucks languished for days at FEMA's staging area because the drivers lacked the proper paperwork.

Consider the stories of these frustrated volunteers:


Dr. Bong Mui and his staff, evacuated with 300 patients after three hellish days at Chalmette Medical Center, arrived at the New Orleans airport, and were amazed to see hundreds of sick people. They offered to help. But, the doctor told CNN, FEMA officials said they were worried about legal liability. "They told us that, you know, you could help us by mopping the floor." And so they mopped, while people died around them. "I started crying," he recalled. "We felt like we could help, and were not allowed to do anything." (Watch the video of hundreds languishing sick at the airport -- 4:16)


Steve Simpson, sheriff of Loudoun County, Virginia, sent 22 deputies equipped with food and water to last seven days. Their 14-car caravan, including four all-terrain vehicles, was on the road just three hours when they were told to turn back. The reason, Simpson told CNN: A Louisiana state police official told them not to come. " I said, "What if we just show up?' He says, 'You probably won't get in.' " Simpson said he later learned a dispute over whether state or federal authorities would command the law enforcement effort was being ironed out that night. But no one ever got back to him with the all-clear.


FEMA halted tractor trailers hauling water to a supply staging area in Alexandria, Louisiana, The New York Times quoted William Vines, former mayor of Fort Smith, Arkansas, as saying. "FEMA would not let the trucks unload," he told the newspaper. "The drivers were stuck for several days on the side of the road" because, he said, they did not have a "tasker number." He added, "What in the world is a tasker number? I have no idea. It's just paperwork and it's ridiculous."


Firefighters who answered a nationwide call for help were sent to Atlanta for FEMA training sessions on community relations and sexual harassment. "On the news every night you hear 'How come everybody forgot us?' " Pennsylvania firefighter Joseph Manning told The Dallas Morning News. "We didn't forget. We're stuck in Atlanta drinking beer."

The government's response to Hurricane Katrina has been sharply criticized. Elected officials -- chiefly President Bush, Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin -- have acknowledged flaws in the response.

Some take responsibility
"To the extent that the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility," Bush said earlier this week. On Thursday, in a nationally televised address from New Orleans, he proposed a large aid package for the city and other areas that were hit hard by Hurricane Katrina. In the speech, he said the lessons from Katrina call for a new approach to responding to disasters. (Full story)

"There were failures at every level of government -- state, federal and local," Blanco told Louisiana legislators Wednesday evening in Baton Rouge. "At the state level, we must take a careful look at what went wrong and make sure it never happens again," she said. "The buck stops here, and as your governor, I take full responsibility."

Nagin, once angry and embattled, was also conciliatory.

"I think now we are out of nuclear crisis mode, it seems as though myself, the governor and president have done some retrospection as far as what we could have done better, and ultimately we're all accountable at the level of local state and federal government," he told CNN. "And that's what leadership is all about. We should take responsibility and we should try and do better."

While Blanco did not elaborate on her mistakes, Nagin said he mistakenly assumed that if New Orleans could hold out for a day or two, help would surely come.

"I am not going to plan in the future for the cavalry to come in three days," he told CNN. "I'm going to buy high water vehicles, helicopters, whatever I can do to make sure that I am in total control ... of the total evacuation process."

Vice Admiral Thad Allen, of the U.S. Coast Guard, is now heading the federal government's recovery effort. On Wednesday, he encouraged state and local officials to bring their issues to him.

"Whether you're a person or an agency, whatever you're doing, if you have concerns and they're not stated where somebody can act on them, that's just going to fester," he said. "And I, as the principal federal official in this response, am encouraging any leader that wants to talk to me about real or perceived problems of what's going on out there to do that."

Where was Chertoff?
But the men in charge of the federal Department of Homeland Security and FEMA in the critical days immediately after the hurricane haven't shared the blame.

Michael Chertoff, the Homeland Security secretary, has offered no explanation as to why he waited three days after the National Hurricane Center predicted a catastrophic hurricane to declare Katrina an incident of "national significance."

In a memo written the day after Katrina made landfall, Chertoff said the Department of Homeland Security will be part of the task force and will assist the [Bush] administration. But the National Response Plan, designed to guide disaster recovery and relief, dictates that the Homeland Security secretary leads the federal response. ( Watch video on Chertoff's delays -- 3:09)

Chertoff appointed Michael Brown, then director of FEMA, as the federal official in charge in the Gulf states. Brown was relieved of his post late last week and resigned from FEMA Monday after taking the brunt of the criticism over the response.

Ex-FEMA boss blames governor
Speaking to The New York Times, his first public comments since he was relieved, Brown laid the blame on Blanco and Nagin. He told the newspaper he frantically called Chertoff and the White House in the hours after Katrina hit, telling them Blanco and her staff were disorganized and the situation was "out of control."

"I am having a horrible time," Brown said he told his superiors. "I can't get a unified command established."

Brown told the Times that he had such difficulty dealing with Blanco that he communicated with her husband instead.

"I truly believed the White House was not at fault here," he told the Times.

On August 30, the same day Chertoff wrote his memo, Brown said he asked the White House to take over the response from FEMA and state officials.

A Senate panel launched the first formal inquiry into the response on Wednesday. But the Senate's Republican majority defeated a bid by Democrats to establish an independent commission to investigate the disaster response.

Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins, the panel's chairwoman, said the response to Katrina was plagued by confusion, communication failures and widespread lack of coordination despite the billions of dollars spent to improve disaster response since the terror attacks.

'Sluggish' response
"At this point, we would have expected a sharp, crisp response to this terrible tragedy," Collins said. "Instead, we witnessed what appeared to be a sluggish initial response."

One of the issues the committee will examine is whether FEMA should stay under the Department of Homeland Security instead of operating as a separate agency as it had in the past.

Sen. George Voinovich, a Republican from Ohio, said the committee would "get into the bowels" of Homeland Security as its members investigate how the federal government, specifically FEMA, planned for and responded to the disaster.

Members of the former 9/11 commission blasted Congress and the Bush administration for inaction on some of its recommendations. Had they been in place, lives could have been saved, they said.

"If Congress does not act, people will die. I cannot put it more simply than that," said former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean, referring to what could happen in the next major disaster or terrorist attack.

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

Student Arrested After Pilot Uniform Found
The Associated Press
Friday, September 16, 2005; 3:22 PM




MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A university student from Egypt was ordered held without bond after prosecutors said they found a pilot's uniform, chart of Memphis International Airport and a DVD titled "How an Airline Captain Should Look and Act" in his apartment.

The FBI is investigating whether Mahmoud Maawad, 29, had any connection to terrorists. He is awaiting trial on charges of wire fraud and fraudulent use of a Social Security number.

Maawad, who is in the United States illegally, told the judge during a hearing Thursday that he is studying science and economics at the University of Memphis.

"My school is everything. I stay in this country for seven years; I stay for the school," he said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Parker said Thursday that the airport-related items were found during a Sept. 9 search.

"The specific facts and circumstances are scary," Parker said.

U.S. Magistrate Judge S. Thomas Anderson ruled that Maawad be held without bond.

"It is hard for the court to understand why he has a large concentration of those (aviation) items, and nothing else to indicate Mr. Maawad plans to stay in the community," Anderson said.

Maawad had ordered $3,000 in aviation materials, including DVDs titled "Ups and Downs of Takeoffs and Landings," "Airplane Talk," "Mental Math for Pilots" and "Mastering GPS Flying," FBI agent Thad Gulczynski testified.

The company reported Maawad to authorities when he didn't pay for $2,500 of merchandise it had delivered, Gulczynski said.
28586  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Well-armed People on: September 16, 2005, 10:21:11 PM
http://www.reason.com/hod/cartoon.cb091605.shtml
28587  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants on: September 16, 2005, 12:35:04 PM
THAT is precisely the FIRST question.

The second question is "WHO gets to decide?"

Where in the Constitution does it say that the Supreme Court gets to decide?

At the time of Roe, it was decided by the elected branches of government at the state level-- which seems quite correct to me.

If Roe is overruled, it does not mean an end to abortion.  It means a return to the respective states deciding.  In that the majority of the population in most states wants some forms of abortion, in those cases there will be some forms of abortion.
28588  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants on: September 16, 2005, 12:21:13 PM
Mostly I agree.

Bork was a superior legal intellect who was viciously abused personally and dishonestly demagogued on the merits of many issues-- all to the lasting damage of our political culture to this day.

That said, IMO he was and is completely wrong on the issue of privacy.   There IS a Constitutional right to privacy and it is to be found, along with the right to self-defense, in the 9th Amendment.

On this issue alone, I opposed his ascension to the Supreme Court.

Whatever one's opinion on the abortion issue, the right to privacy does not supersede however the right to life; we may not murder someone in the privacy of our home for example.  Thus the Roe decision is an abortion in and of itself and a perfect example of judiical imperialism.
28589  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Well-armed People on: September 16, 2005, 11:45:59 AM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Katrina Educates World On Need For Owning Guns
by Erich Pratt

"All our operators are busy right now. Please remain on the line and an operator will be with you shortly. Your call is important to us."

Can you imagine any words more horrifying after dialing 9-1-1? Your life's in danger, but there's no one available to help you.

For several days in September, life was absolutely terrifying for many New Orleans residents who got stranded in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. There were no operators... there were no phone calls being handled.

Heck, there was no 9-1-1. Even if the phone lines had been working, there were no police officers waiting to be dispatched.

Hundreds of New Orleans police officers had fled the city. Some took their badges and threw them out the windows of their cars as they sped away. Others participated in the looting of the city.

While there were many officers who acted honorably -- even apprehending dangerous thugs while grieving the loss of their own family members -- most residents were forced to fend for themselves.

Many did so successfully, using their own firearms, until New Orleans Police Commissioner Edwin Compass III issued the order to confiscate their guns.

Anti-gun zealots confiscate firearms from law-abiding citizens

On September 8, several news outlets began reporting that officials in New Orleans were confiscating firearms... not from looters, but from law-abiding citizens who legally owned firearms!

"No one will be able to be armed," said Deputy Chief Warren Riley. "We are going to take all the weapons."

It was like a scene out of the former Soviet Union or Communist China.

The Associated Press quoted Compass, the police commissioner, as saying, "Only law enforcement are allowed to have weapons."

Well, there you have it. Given the chance, gun control advocates will always implement their real agenda -- confiscation of firearms from everyone... except the police!

ABC News video on September 8 showed National Guard troops going house-to-house, smashing down doors, searching for residents, and confiscating guns. Every victim of disarmament was clearly not a thug or looter, but a decent resident wanting to defend his or her home.

Many of the troops were clearly conflicted by their orders. "It is surreal," said one member of the Oklahoma National Guard who was going door-to-door in New Orleans. "You never expect to do this in your own country."

Many never would have expected it -- confiscating firearms from decent people who were relying on those firearms to protect themselves from the looters.

It was an outrageous order -- one that should not have been obeyed. There was no constitutional authority for the directive, and it ignored the fact that many good people had already used firearms to successfully defend their lives and property.

Guns were saving lives and protecting property prior to the confiscation order

As flood waters started rising in New Orleans, a wave of violence rolled through the city.

"It was pandemonium for a couple of nights," said Charlie Hackett, a New Orleans resident. "We just felt that when [looters] got done with the stores, they?d come to the homes."

Hackett was right... which is why he and his neighbor, John Carolan, stood guard over their homes to ward off looters who, rummaging through the neighborhoods, were smashing windows and ransacking stores.

Armed looters did eventually come to Carolan's house and demanded his generator. But Carolan showed them his gun and they left.

No wonder then that gun stores, which weren't under water, were selling firearms at a record pace to people looking to defend themselves. "I've got people like you wouldn't believe, lots of people, coming in and buying handguns," said Briley Reed, the assistant manager of the E-Z Pawn store in Baton Rouge.

"I've even had soldiers coming in here buying guns," Reed said.

Makeshift militias patrol neighborhoods

In the Algiers neighborhood of New Orleans, dozens of neighbors banded together to protect their neighborhood.

"There's about 20 or 30 guys in addition to us. We know all of them and where they are," Gregg Harris said. "People armed themselves so quickly, rallying together. I think it's why [our] neighborhood survived."

Harris isn't joking about the armaments. A gun battle erupted one afternoon between armed neighbors and looters. Two of the thugs were shot.

Since then, no more looters have bothered the neighborhood. But the neighbors aren't letting their guard down. They all take their turn keeping watch.

Gareth Stubbs sits in a rocking chair on his front porch, holding his shotgun and a bottle of bug spray.

In another home, a 74-year old mother keeps the following near the bed: her rosary, a shotgun and a 38-caliber pistol.

Vinnie Pervel and two other volunteers man a balcony-turned-watchtower with five borrowed shotguns, a pistol, a flare gun, and old AK-47 and loads of ammunition.

To be sure, many of the weapons were borrowed from neighbors who fled before the storm hit. Pervel and Harris did not have any working firearms themselves in the aftermath of the storm. But because Pervel had been keeping in contact (via phone) with neighbors who had already evacuated, he got permission to go into the vacant homes and get his neighbors' weapons.

"I never thought I'd be going into my neighbor's house and taking their guns," Pervel said. "We wrote down what gun came from what house so we can return them when they get back."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Firearms were a hot commodity

It would be an understatement to say that firearms were the hottest commodity in the days following the massive destruction. In Gulf Port, Mississippi, Ron Roland, 51, lost everything -- three homes, four cars, a bait-and-tackle shop and a boat. It was all destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

Nevertheless, Roland was determined to salvage what he could amidst the rubble -- with or without police protection. And it's a good thing, too, because there would be no such thing as "police protection" in the days following the storm.

Standing guard over one of his homes with a handgun in his waistband, Roland used his firearm to stop looters from rummaging through his storm-damaged property.

Roland and his son even performed a citizen's arrest on one plunderer and then warned future thieves by posting the following message in his yard: "NO TRESPASSERS! ARMED HOMEOWNERS."

Signs like this were common throughout the Gulf Coast region in the days following Katrina.

Unfortunately, some people had to learn the hard way about the utility of keeping firearms for protection.
Water, food... but what about guns?

The managers at the Covenant Home nursing center in New Orleans were more than prepared to ride out the hurricane. They had food and supplies to last the 80 residents for more than ten days.

They had planned for every contingency... or so they thought.

"We had excellent plans. We had enough food for 10 days," said Peggy Hoffman, the home's Executive Director.

But they had no firearms. So when carjackers hijacked the home's bus and drove by the center shouting "Get out!" to the residents, they were completely helpless.

All of the residents, most of them in wheelchairs, were evacuated to other nursing homes in the state.

Hoffman says she has now learned her lesson.

Next time, "We'll have to equip our department heads with guns and teach them how to shoot," she said.

Thank goodness someone is learning from their mistakes.
Does anyone remember Los Angeles?

We should have learned this lesson more than ten years ago when the entire country saw horrifying images coming out of Los Angeles.

If the riots of 1992 taught us anything, it is that the police can't always be there to protect us.

For several days, that city was in complete turmoil as stores were looted and burned. Motorists were dragged from their cars and beaten.

Further aggravating the situation, police were very slow in responding to the crisis. Many Guardsmen, after being mobilized to the affected areas, sat by and watched the violence because their rifles were low on ammunition.

But not everybody in Los Angeles suffered. In some of the hot spots, Korean merchants were able to successfully protect their stores with semi-automatic firearms.

In areas where armed citizens banded together for self-protection, their businesses were spared while others (which were left unprotected) burned to the ground.

The pictures of Korean merchants defending their stores left quite an impression on one group of people living in Los Angeles: those who had previously identified themselves as gun control advocates.

Press reports described how life-long gun control supporters were even running to gun stores to buy an item they never thought they would need -- a gun. Tragically, they were surprised (and outraged!) to learn there was a 15-day waiting period upon firearms.

Confiscating guns puts people at risk

Fast forward more than a decade, it seems that many folks still haven't learned the lessons from previous tragedies. If the Mayor and his cronies really wanted to help the decent citizens of New Orleans, they would have been issuing people firearms instead of taking them away.

These guns were the only thing that prevented many good folks from becoming victims in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Now that residents are disarmed, will the Mayor provide 24-hour, round-the-clock protection for each of these disarmed families? Will he make himself personally liable for anyone who is injured or killed as a result of being prevented from defending himself or his family?

When your life is in danger, you don't want to rely on a police force that is stretched way too thin. And the last thing you want to hear when you call 9-1-1 is, "All our operators are busy right now...."

That might just be the last thing you ever hear.
28590  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants on: September 15, 2005, 11:56:56 PM
Buzwardo:

I shared your FEMA post elsewhere and have been challenged on its authenticity.  How/where did you come across this?
28591  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants on: September 14, 2005, 03:35:09 PM
Actually quite a few people did and do.  Amongst them is the junior senator from NY who sought to nationalize the 14.7% of GDP that is health care when her husband was president.
28592  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants on: September 14, 2005, 11:19:26 AM
Sorry, not buying.  This storm was seen coming well in advance and the mayor COMPLETELY fornicated up with exceedlingly last minute response.  

Forgive me if this is a repost, but have you seen this?


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

The Best-Laid Plan: Too Bad It Flopped
By DAVID BROOKS
Among the many achievements of the human race - Chartres Cathedral, the Mona Lisa - surely the New Orleans emergency preparedness plan must rank among the greatest, and the fact that this plan turned out to be irrelevant to reality should not detract from its stature as a masterpiece of bureaucratic thinking.

The plan (which is viewable online at
www.cityofno.com/portal.aspx?portal=46&tabid=26) begins with the insight: Be prepared. Or as the plan puts it, "Individuals with assigned tasks must receive preparatory training to maximize operations."

The plan lays out a course of action so that all personnel will know exactly
what to do in case of a hurricane. The Office of Emergency Preparedness will coordinate with the Louisiana Office of Emergency Preparedness in
conjunction with the Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan by taking full advantage of the courses offered by the Louisiana Emergency Preparedness Association and other agencies "as well as conferences, seminars and workshops that may from time to time be available, most notably state hurricane conferences and workshops and the National Hurricane Conference."

In addition, the plan continues, the administrative and training officer of
the Office of Emergency Preparedness will maintain close communication with the state training officer of the L.O.E.P., making sure workshops are
conducted at the Emergency Support Function level, reviewing Emergency
Operating Center/E.S.F. standard operating procedures and undertaking more "intensive work sessions with elements of the emergency response
organizations in order to enhance unified disaster planning."

One can imagine the PowerPoint presentations! The millions of cascading
bullet points! The infinity of hours spent planning a hurricane response
that would make a Prussian officer gasp with reverence!

Furthermore, the plan instructs the O.E.P. director to execute Mass Casualty Incidents scenarios; work with the Association of Contingency Planners and other groups to coordinate disaster organization responses; coordinate, facilitate and encourage other agencies to conduct emergency
self-assessments; engage in assessment processes in preparation for the
Agency Disaster Report; and produce after-action reports with the O.E.P.
shelter coordinator in conjunction with the Louisiana Statewide Hurricane
Exercise.

The paper flow must have been magnificent! The quality of the facilitating
must have been surpassed only by the magnificence of the interfacing!

The New Orleans emergency preparedness plan offers a precise communications strategy, so all city residents will know exactly where to go in times of crisis. It recommends that two traffic control officers be placed at each key intersection. It recommends busing the thousands of residents unable to evacuate themselves to staging areas prestocked with food.

In short, the plan was so beautiful, it's too bad reality destroyed it. The
plan's authors were not stupid or venal. They are doubtless good public
servants who worked in agencies set up to prepare for this storm. And yet
their elaborate plan crumbled under the weight of the actual disaster.

But of course this illustrates the paradox at the heart of the Katrina
disaster, which is that we really need government in times like this, but
government is extremely limited in what it can effectively do.

Katrina was the most anticipated natural disaster in American history, and
still government managed to fail at every level.

For the brutal fact is, government tends toward bureaucracy, which means
elaborate paper flow but ineffective action. Government depends on planning, but planners can never really anticipate the inevitable complexity of events. And American government is inevitably divided and power is inevitably devolved.

For example, the Army Corps of Engineers had plenty of money (Louisiana
received more than any other state), but that spending was carved up into
little pork barrel projects. There were ample troops nearby to maintain
order, but they were divided between federal and state authorities and
constrained by regulations.

This preparedness plan is government as it really is. It reminds us that
canning Michael Brown or appointing some tough response czar will not change the endemic failures at the heart of this institutional collapse.

So of course we need limited but energetic government. But liberals who
think this disaster is going to set off a progressive revival need to
explain how a comprehensive governmental failure is going to restore
America's faith in big government.
28593  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Unorganized Militia on: September 14, 2005, 10:28:34 AM
Yes, the idiot mayor announced a mandatory evacuation, but he or someone else that no one would be forced to leave.  WTF?  rolleyes
28594  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants on: September 14, 2005, 08:24:36 AM
I'd quibble with the notion of responsibility trickling down to the state and local level-- rather THIS IS EXACTLY WHERE THE PRINCIPAL REPSONSIBILTY LAYS.
28595  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Unorganized Militia on: September 14, 2005, 05:21:18 AM
That's close to what I would say but IMHO gets involved in a couple of tangents.

She didn't want to leave her home.  She didn't want the police in her home.   The police came into her home anyway.  They told her it wasn't safe for her to stay.  She showed them that she had a gun with which she could defend herself.  She is disarmedby force and taken from her home by force.

The willies indeed.
28596  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Unorganized Militia on: September 13, 2005, 07:02:08 PM
Ryan:

Disagree with you on this one.  I don't have audio on my system at the moment, but my memory of this footage is that they entered her home to "persuade" her to leave.  Holding a gun by the barrel (unloaded IIRC) she showed them she had the means to protect herself.  Then this.

All:

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

Defenseless On the Bayou
New Orleans gun confiscation is foolish and illegal

Dave Kopel



In the nearly two weeks since Hurricane Katrina, the government of New Orleans has devolved from its traditional status as an elective kleptocracy into something far more dangerous: an anarcho-tyranny that refuses to protect the public from criminals while preventing people from protecting themselves. At the orders of New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, the New Orleans Police, the National Guard, the Oklahoma National Guard, and U.S. Marshals have begun breaking into homes at gunpoint, confiscating their lawfully-owned firearms, and evicting the residents. "No one is allowed to be armed. We're going to take all the guns," says P. Edwin Compass III, the superintendent of police.

Last week, thousands of New Orleanians huddled in the Superdome and the Convention Center got a taste of anarcho-tyranny. Everyone entering those buildings was searched for firearms. So for a few days, they lived in a small world without guns. As in other such worlds, the weaker soon became the prey of the stronger. Tuesday's New Orleans Times-Picayune reported some of the grim results, as an Arkansas National Guardsman showed the reporter dozens of bodies rotting in a non-functional freezer.

In the rest of the city, some police officers abandoned their posts, while others joined the looting spree. For several days, the ones who stayed on the job did not act to stop the looting that was going on right in front of them. To the extent that any homes or businesses were saved, the saviors were the many good citizens of New Orleans who defended their families, homes, and businesses with their own firearms.

These people were operating within their legal rights. The law authorizes citizen's arrests for any felony, and in the past (in the 1964 case McKellar v. Mason), a Louisiana court held that shooting a property thief in the spine was a legitimate citizen's arrest.

The aftermath of the hurricane has featured prominent stories of citizens legitimately defending lives and property. New Orleans lies on the north side of the Mississippi River, and the city of Algiers is on the south. The Times-Picayune detailed how dozens of neighbors in one part of Algiers had formed a militia. After a car-jacking and an attack on a home by looters, the neighborhood recognized the need for a common defense; they shared firearms, took turns on patrol, and guarded the elderly. Although the initial looting had resulted in a gun battle, once the patrols began, the militia never had to fire a shot. Likewise, the Garden District of New Orleans, one of the city's top tourist attractions, was protected by armed residents.

The good gun-owning citizens of New Orleans and the surrounding areas ought to be thanked for helping to save some of their city after Mayor Nagin, incoherent and weeping, had fled to Baton Rouge. Yet instead these citizens are being victimized by a new round of home invasions and looting, these ones government-organized, for the purpose of firearms confiscation.

The Mayor and Governor do have the legal authority to mandate evacuation, but failure to comply is a misdemeanor; so the authority to use force to compel evacuation goes no further than the power to effect a misdemeanor arrest. The preemptive confiscation of every private firearm in the city far exceeds any reasonable attempt to carry out misdemeanor arrests for persons who disobey orders to leave.

Louisiana statutory law does allow some restrictions on firearms during extraordinary conditions. One statute says that after the Governor proclaims a state of emergency (as Governor Blanco has done), "the chief law enforcement officer of the political subdivision affected by the proclamation may...promulgate orders...regulating and controlling the possession, storage, display, sale, transport and use of firearms, other dangerous weapons and ammunition." But the statute does not, and could not, supersede the Louisiana Constitution, which declares that "The right of each citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be abridged, but this provision shall not prevent the passage of laws to prohibit the carrying of weapons concealed on the person."

The power of "regulating and controlling" is not the same as the power of "prohibiting and controlling." The emergency statute actually draws this distinction in its language, which refers to "prohibiting" price-gouging, sale of alcohol, and curfew violations, but only to "regulating and controlling" firearms. Accordingly, the police superintendent's order "prohibiting" firearms possession is beyond his lawful authority. It is an illegal order.

Last week, we saw an awful truth in New Orleans: A disaster can bring out predators ready to loot, rampage, and pillage the moment that they have the opportunity. Now we are seeing another awful truth: There is no shortage of police officers and National Guardsmen who will obey illegal orders to threaten peaceful citizens at gunpoint and confiscate their firearms.




Dave Kopel is Research Director of the Independence Institute


http://www.reason.com/hod/dk091005.shtml
28597  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants on: September 13, 2005, 11:48:18 AM
Well this piece certainly belongs here in the Rant thread because it certainly isn't news reporting.

It leaves out the extraordinary sequence of incompetent f8ckups of Nagin and Blanco. I am left looking like a jewish Don King as I read about them.  Even as the article tries to maximize the blame for Bush, who certainly could and should have grasped the gravity of it all sooner, it glosses over that the "steely"  Tongue  rolleyes  gov.  refused to grant Fed intervention.

I despise Newspeak.

Try this for State level incompetence:  http://stolenthunder.blogspot.com/2005/09/accusation-revealed.html


Marc
28598  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Bazoka Peruano. on: September 12, 2005, 11:07:58 PM
El Gachupin la describe muy bien-- gracias por haber mejorado mi torpe esfuerzo.

Si' es un "zip gun", pero es la primera vez que yo haya visto un zip gun/bazuka de cartuche de shotgun/escopeta.  Tipicamente aqui en los EEUU un zip gun es de .22 o un cartuche semajante.
28599  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Homeland Security on: September 12, 2005, 10:24:09 AM
............................................................................................
Geopolitical Diary: Monday, Sept. 12, 2005

Al Qaeda released a new videotape on Sunday. It was the second time an American -- Adam Yahiye Gadahn -- appears to have served as a spokesman for the group. The critical message in his speech was: "Yesterday, London and Madrid; tomorrow, Los Angeles and Melbourne."

Also interesting was the fact that this tape was delivered to ABC News in Pakistan. Both of the tapes showing Gadahn were delivered by that route, while tapes featuring more senior al Qaeda officials are released via a Muslim media outlet, like Al Jazeera. There are two reasons for this, we would assume. First, Gadahn's value is that he is American and can speak directly and without translation in the United States; filtering his statements through Al Jazeera detracts from that. Second, al Qaeda must assume that an American broadcasting network operates under a security umbrella that is linked into the CIA and FBI. Even though they work through intermediaries, the trail can lead back to important individuals. When senior al Qaeda officials release statements, handing them to an Islamic outlet adds a layer of security; however, Gadahn's statements seem not to warrant that. We can assume from this that he is a link only back to the periphery of al Qaeda and is therefore less authoritative -- tracing his contacts wouldn't lead anyone back to the center.

Gadahn's statement also is interesting in that the new benchmarks being cited are Madrid and London, not the Sept. 11 attacks. For what little of value can be attributed to the statement, it seems to indicate that al Qaeda's ambitions no longer soar to the strategic attacks of Sept. 11, but that the group is satisfied with fairly pedestrian -- albeit murderous -- attacks via explosives aimed at public ground transportation.

The mention of Los Angeles is simply the mention of another American city. The mention of Melbourne is the mention of an Australian city. Al Qaeda certainly would like to hit a city in either country. Australia has been the major American ally in line behind Britain, and al Qaeda would want to punish it. Both major Australian cities have the usual transportation systems, and both have substantial Muslim populations.

Our view is that this communication has little importance in itself. The tape tells us nothing about what al Qaeda wants to do and far less about what it can do. Al Qaeda clearly has needed to attack the United States in the four years since Sept. 11 and has failed to do so. They also would need to attack Australia. We can assume that they will try to do both. We can make nothing out of this statement.

We are still back where we have been for months. From a political standpoint, al Qaeda needs to strike. From a capabilities standpoint, it does not seem to have the ability to mount sustained attacks, certainly not of the Sept. 11 variety. U.S. President George W. Bush, its nemesis, is clearly in trouble, with his positive ratings falling below 40 percent. From a political point of view, al Qaeda would very much like him to be repudiated in the United States. After Hurricane Katrina, a solid strike in the United States might convince people who favor the war in Iraq that Bush is incapable of devising a strategy to win it. So striking the United States makes more sense than striking Australia.

The problem al Qaeda seems to have is that it isn't capable of doing what it wants to do. In other words, whatever the problems in Iraq, the United States has crippled its operational capabilities. Instead of striking strategically, al Qaeda is settling for making fairly meaningless threats -- threats which at this point actually serve to reduce its credibility. If it could attack, it would. We are well past the point at which an attack is essential. Al Qaeda needs to do it and, from its point of view, it should be moving heaven and earth to do it. But it just can't seem to do it on any broad scale any longer.

Things can change, but at the moment, al Qaeda seems broken. Distinguish this from whether al Qaeda has sympathy and support in the Muslim world and hatred against the United States. Emotions do not, by themselves, create a global paramilitary organization. The emotions may be there, along with will. But the expertise seems to be missing.
www.stratfor.com
28600  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Help our troops/our cause: on: September 11, 2005, 07:37:21 AM
To All Who Serve:

On this day I want to take a moment to express my deep and profound gratitude for what you do for us in the most difficult and trying of circumstances.

You are the edge of the sword that seeks to cut the Gordian's knot so as to open a part of the world to the same opportunities that most of us take for granted and by so doing drain the swamp that breeds a pestilence of religious fascism, thus making our homeland safe once again.

From where I sit here in safety, it looks like we can win and we can lose.  If the latter, it will not be because of you but rather because of those of us here at home who sabotage and undercut your work and give up, seeking Chamberlin's "peace in our time" with fanatics with whom such is not possible.  From where I sit in my armchair, I wish our President would step up to the political consequences of increasing your numbers (and pay and budgets!) so that the burden could be spread out, but please know that we are with you and that we count upon you.

Strength and Honor,
Marc Denny

PS:  http://www.mikeyonopenforum.blogspot.com/?BMIDS=17137839-4e534328-78899
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