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28651  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Jefferson on George Washington on: February 06, 2008, 06:38:44 AM
"His integrity was most pure, his justice the most inflexible
I have ever known, no motives of interest or consanguinity,
of friendship or hatred, being able to bias his decision.
He was indeed, in every sense of the words, a wise, a good,
and a great man."

-- Thomas Jefferson (on George Washington in a letter to Dr. Walter
Jones, 2 January 1814)

Reference: Jefferson: Writings, Peterson ed., Library of America
28652  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Redneck and the Game Warden on: February 06, 2008, 12:17:10 AM
A redneck was stopped by a game warden in Tennessee with two ice chests
full of fish. He was leavin' a cove well-known for its fishing.

The game warden asked the man, "Do you have a license to catch those fish?"

"Naw, sir", replied the redneck. "I ain't got none of them there licenses.
You must understand, these here are my pet fish."

"Pet fish?"

"Yeah. Every night, I take these here fish down to the lake and let 'em
swim 'round for awhile. Then, when I whistle, they jump right back into
these here ice chests and I take 'em home."

"That's a bunch of hooey! Fish can't do that."

The redneck looked at the warden for a moment and then said, "It's the
truth Mr. Government Man. I'll show ya. It really works."

"O. K.", said the warden. "I've got to see this!"

The redneck poured the fish into the lake and stood and waited. After
several minutes, the warden says, "Well?"

"Well, what?", says the redneck.

The warden says, "When are you going to call them back?"

"Call who back?"

"The FISH", replied the warden!

"What fish?", replied the redneck.

Moral of the story: We may not be as smart as some city slickers, but we
ain't as dumb as most government employees.
You can say what you want about the South, but you never hear of anyone
retiring and moving north.
28653  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Natalie Halloway on: February 05, 2008, 10:50:21 AM

For me, I file it under the heading of "FOX News' latest cute young usually blrond damsel in distress soap opera".

Why does a case like this get so much attention?
28654  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Franklin: Divine Providence on: February 05, 2008, 10:47:25 AM
"All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed
frequent instances of superintending providence in our favor. To
that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in
peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity.
And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? Or do we imagine
that we no longer need his assistance? I have lived, Sir, a
long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs
I see of this truth-that God governs in the affairs of men.
And if a sparrow cannot fall to the Ground without his Notice,
is it probable that an Empire can rise without his Aid?""

-- Benjamin Franklin (To Colleagues at the Constitutional

Reference: Quoted by James Madison, Notes of Debates in the
Federal Convention of 1787. (New York: W.W. Norton and Company,
1987), pp. 209-
28655  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: February 05, 2008, 10:46:06 AM
I'm shocked, absolutely shocked!  cheesy

It is really beginning to look like BO could win.  Today is HUGE.
28656  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Bolton: Our politicized intel on: February 05, 2008, 08:37:46 AM
Our Politicized Intelligence Services
February 5, 2008; Page A17

Today, Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee (and Thursday on the House side) to give the intelligence community's annual global threat analysis. These hearings are always significant, but the stakes are especially high now because of the recent National Intelligence Estimate on Iran.

Criticism of the NIE's politicized, policy-oriented "key judgments" has spanned the political spectrum and caused considerable turmoil in Congress. Few seriously doubt that the NIE gravely damaged the Bush administration's diplomatic strategy. With the intelligence community's credibility and impartiality on the line, Mr. McConnell has an excellent opportunity to correct the NIE's manifold flaws, and repair some of the damage done to international efforts to stop Iran from obtaining deliverable nuclear weapons.

There are (at least) three things he should do:

- Explain how the NIE was distorted, and rewrite it objectively to reflect the status of Iran's nuclear programs. The NIE's first key judgment is "we judge with high confidence that in fall, 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program." Most of the world, predictably, never got beyond that opinion. Only inveterate footnote hunters noticed the extraordinary accompanying footnote which redefined Iran's "nuclear weapons program" to mean only its "nuclear weapon design and weaponization work," and undeclared uranium conversion and enrichment activities. Card sharks -- not intelligence professionals -- could be proud of this sleight of hand, which grossly mischaracterizes what Iran actually needs for a weapons program.

The NIE later makes clear that Iran's nuclear efforts and capabilities are continuing and growing, that many activities are "dual use" (i.e., for either civil or military purposes), and that Iran's real intentions are unknown. Substantively, therefore, the NIE is not far different from the 2005 NIE, but its first sentence gives a radically different impression.

Here is the first question for Congress: Was the NIE's opening salvo intended to produce policy consequences congenial to Mr. McConnell's own sentiments? If not, how did he miss the obvious consequences that flowed from the NIE within minutes of its public release?

This was a sin of either commission or omission. If the intelligence community intended the NIE's first judgment to have policy ramifications -- in particular to dissuade the Bush administration from a more forceful policy against Iran -- then it was out of line, a sin of commission.

If, on the other hand, Mr. McConnell and others missed the NIE's explosive nature, then this is at best a sin of omission, and perhaps far worse. Will Mr. McConnell say he saw nothing significant in how the NIE was written? Does he believe in fact that the first sentence is the NIE's single most important point? If not, why was it the first sentence?

Why not start by using the NIE's very last key judgment, "we assess with high confidence that Iran has the scientific, technical and industrial capacity eventually to produce nuclear weapons if it decides to do so." Who decided which sentence should be first and which last? This is not an exercise in style, but a matter of critical importance for American national security.

- Commit that NIEs will abjure policy bias. Policy makers and intelligence community analysts agree that assessing hard capabilities is typically easier than judging the murkier world of intentions. The NIE's judgments on Iran's intentions and sensitivities, however, often sound as though they were written by Supreme Leader Khamenei's psychologist, albeit with precious little factual basis.

While acknowledging that the 2003 halt was due to "pressure," the NIE opines that a combination of pressures and "opportunities for Iran" might cause the halt to be extended, but only if those worthy mullahs in Tehran find the "opportunities" to be "credible." One can only guess where that conclusion comes from, but the NIE's next sentence says "it is difficult to specify what such a combination might be," thus rendering the earlier conclusions not only unsupported, but incomprehensible.

One key proof of the NIE's policy-driven nature is the number of dogs that don't bark. The 2003 halt could have been triggered by the invasion of Iraq and overthrow of Saddam Hussein, acts which certainly awakened Moammar Gadhafi and led to Libya renouncing its nuclear-weapons program. But somehow the Iraq war never makes it into the NIE. The 2003 halt is attributed merely to the "exposure of Iran's previously undeclared work." Moreover, the NIE says nothing about Iran's aggressive ballistic missile development program, which bears directly on Iran's intentions: Was it expending large sums only to deliver conventional weapons?

Mr. McConnell should commit the intelligence community to stick to its knitting -- intelligence -- and return its policy enthusiasts to agencies where policy is made.

- Reaffirm the existing policy that NIE key judgments should not be made public. Then, stick to it and enforce discipline against leaks. Press reports say that the White House agreed to make the key judgments public, contrary to a policy adopted only weeks earlier, because the intelligence community warned that the document would otherwise surely leak. Some might see this as blackmail, but at best it represents a failure of both the intelligence community's leadership and rank and file. The only clear victor was Tehran, which might as well have received the NIE via e-mail directly from Mr. McConnell's office.

The intelligence community is not a think tank. It is a clandestine service to advise U.S. decision makers, proud and honorable work that its members once uniformly understood was to remain behind the scenes. This is where it should return.

Whatever the intentions of the drafters of the NIE, it mortally wounded the administration's diplomatic strategy, which was ineffective to begin with. Many applauded the outcome of this internecine bureaucratic warfare, but it is highly risky to allow such outcome-determinative opinions to prevail.

Iran is a critical challenge for the U.S. -- which Mr. McConnell should begin his testimony by stressing -- but the implications of how this NIE was written are also serious. Several members of Congress have suggested an independent analysis of the data underlying the NIE. Mr. McConnell should agree to this, to resolve the disagreements and restore the intelligence community's damaged credibility.

Mr. Bolton, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, is the author of "Surrender Is Not an Option: Defending America at the United Nations" (Simon & Schuster/Threshold Editions, 2007).

28657  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / FBI gearing up new biometric database on: February 05, 2008, 08:11:45 AM

The Next generation of Identification:
I'd expect to see this kind on Alex Jones.
Anyone who is "OK" with this should consider the implications of more weapon bans and domestic spying in tandem with this kind of stuff.
Reads just like "1984".

CLARKSBURG, West Virginia (CNN) -- The FBI is gearing up to create a massive computer database of people's physical characteristics, all part of an effort the bureau says to better identify criminals and terrorists.

But it's an issue that raises major privacy concerns -- what one civil liberties expert says should concern all Americans.
The bureau is expected to announce in coming days the awarding of a $1 billion, 10-year contract to help create the database that will compile an array of biometric information -- from palm prints to eye scans.
Kimberly Del Greco, the FBI's Biometric Services section chief, said adding to the database is "important to protect the borders to keep the terrorists out, protect our citizens, our neighbors, our children so they can have good jobs, and have a safe country to live in."
But it's unnerving to privacy experts.

"It's the beginning of the surveillance society where you can be tracked anywhere, any time and all your movements, and eventually all your activities will be tracked and noted and correlated," said Barry Steinhardt, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Technology and Liberty Project.

The FBI already has 55 million sets of fingerprints on file. In coming years, the bureau wants to compare palm prints, scars and tattoos, iris eye patterns, and facial shapes. The idea is to combine various pieces of biometric information to positively identify a potential suspect.

A lot will depend on how quickly technology is perfected, according to Thomas Bush, the FBI official in charge of the Clarksburg, West Virginia, facility where the FBI houses its current fingerprint database. Watch what the FBI hopes to gain »

"Fingerprints will still be the big player," Bush, assistant director of the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services Division, told CNN.
But he added, "Whatever the biometric that comes down the road, we need to be able to plug that in and play."
First up, he said, are palm prints. The FBI has already begun collecting images and hopes to soon use these as an additional means of making identifications. Countries that are already using such images find 20 percent of their positive matches come from latent palm prints left at crime scenes, the FBI's Bush said.

The FBI has also started collecting mug shots and pictures of scars and tattoos. These images are being stored for now as the technology is fine-tuned. All of the FBI's biometric data is stored on computers 30-feet underground in the Clarksburg facility.

In addition, the FBI could soon start comparing people's eyes -- specifically the iris, or the colored part of an eye -- as part of its new biometrics program called Next Generation Identification.
Nearby, at West Virginia University's Center for Identification Technology Research, researchers are already testing some of these technologies that will ultimately be used by the FBI.

"The best increase in accuracy will come from fusing different biometrics together," said Bojan Cukic, the co-director of the center.
But while law enforcement officials are excited about the possibilities of these new technologies, privacy advocates are upset the FBI will be collecting so much personal information.

"People who don't think mistakes are going to be made I don't think fly enough," said Steinhardt.
He said thousands of mistakes have been made with the use of the so-called no-fly lists at airports -- and that giving law enforcement widespread data collection techniques should cause major privacy alarms.
"There are real consequences to people," Steinhardt said. Watch concerns over more data collection »
You don't have to be a criminal or a terrorist to be checked against the database. More than 55 percent of the checks the FBI runs involve criminal background checks for people applying for sensitive jobs in government or jobs working with vulnerable people such as children and the elderly, according to the FBI.
The FBI says it hasn't been saving the fingerprints for those checks, but that may change. The FBI plans a so-called "rap-back" service in which an employer could ask the FBI to keep the prints for an employee on file and let the employer know if the person ever has a brush with the law. The FBI says it will first have to clear hurdles with state privacy laws, and people would have to sign waivers allowing their information to be kept.
Critics say people are being forced to give up too much personal information. But Lawrence Hornak, the co-director of the research center at West Virginia University, said it could actually enhance people's privacy.
"It allows you to project your identity as being you," said Hornak. "And it allows people to avoid identity theft, things of that nature." Watch Hornak describe why he thinks it's a "privacy enhancer" »

There remains the question of how reliable these new biometric technologies will be. A 2006 German study looking at facial recognition in a crowded train station found successful matches could be made 60 percent of the time during the day. But when lighting conditions worsened at night, the results shrank to a success rate of 10 to 20 percent.
As work on these technologies continues, researchers are quick to admit what's proven to be the most accurate so far. "Iris technology is perceived today, together with fingerprints, to be the most accurate," said Cukic.

But in the future all kinds of methods may be employed. Some researchers are looking at the way people walk as a possible additional means of identification.

The FBI says it will protect all this personal data and only collect information on criminals and those seeking sensitive jobs.

The ACLU's Steinhardt doesn't believe it will stop there.
"This had started out being a program to track or identify criminals," he said. "Now we're talking about large swaths of the population -- workers, volunteers in youth programs. Eventually, it's going to be everybody."
28658  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Pon Paul on illegal immigration on: February 05, 2008, 07:52:58 AM
Ron Paul’s Immigration Pledge

February 4th, 2008 by Dan McCarthy Ron Paul has signed the Numbers USA pledge to oppose amnesty for illegal aliens and protect America’s borders. Here’s the text of the pledge:
I pledge to oppose amnesty or any other special path to citizenship for the millions of foreign nationals unlawfully present in the United States. As President, I will fully implement enforcement measures that, over time, will lead to the attrition of our illegal immigrant population. I also pledge to make security of our borders a top priority of my administration.
Numbers USA includes six points of understanding as to what the pledge means and what it entails:
1. The 12 million illegal aliens now here will have to go home.
2. They will not get any legal status while here that allows them to remain long-term.
3. Once in their home countries, they may apply for re-admittance to the U.S. as immigrants, visitors or temporary workers through normal channels.
4. But they will not receive any special privileges on the basis of their having been in the U.S. illegally, such as being put to the front of a line.
5. There will be no new categories or programs through which they may re-enter.
6. There will not be an expansion of green cards in any existing categories that will speed up their movement to the front of the line.


The talk must stop. We must secure our borders now. A nation without secure borders is no nation at all. It makes no sense to fight terrorists abroad when our own front door is left unlocked. This is my six point plan:
Physically secure our borders and coastlines. We must do whatever it takes to control entry into our country before we undertake complicated immigration reform proposals.
Enforce visa rules. Immigration officials must track visa holders and deport anyone who overstays their visa or otherwise violates U.S. law. This is especially important when we recall that a number of 9/11 terrorists had expired visas.
No amnesty. Estimates suggest that 10 to 20 million people are in our country illegally. That’s a lot of people to reward for breaking our laws.
No welfare for illegal aliens. Americans have welcomed immigrants who seek opportunity, work hard, and play by the rules. But taxpayers should not pay for illegal immigrants who use hospitals, clinics, schools, roads, and social services.
End birthright citizenship. As long as illegal immigrants know their children born here will be citizens, the incentive to enter the U.S. illegally will remain strong.
Pass true immigration reform. The current system is incoherent and unfair. But current reform proposals would allow up to 60 million more immigrants into our country, according to the Heritage Foundation. This is insanity. Legal immigrants from all countries should face the same rules and waiting periods.
28659  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: February 04, 2008, 08:28:30 PM
More BO-- this one on his economics.  Its from a liberal website, so linear clarity of thought tends to be fleeting:

The economics of Barack Obama
Writing in the Guardian, Daniel Koffler offers a provocative analysis of the economics of Barack Obama, arguing that the senator and his chief economic advisor, Austan Goolsbee, have put together a platform that is "orthogonal to the traditional liberal-conservative axis." (Thanks to Trade Diversion for the link.)

If this approach needs a name, call it left-libertarianism. Advancements in behavioral economics, public and rational choice theory, and game theory provide us with an opportunity to attend to inequality without crippling the economy, enhancing the coercive power of the state, or infringing on personal liberty (at least not to any extent greater than the welfare state already does; and as much as my libertarian friends might wish otherwise, the welfare state isn't going anywhere). The cost -- higher marginal tax rates -- is real, but eminently justified by the benefits.

On healthcare and on trade, argues Koffler, Obama is "moving more and more in the direction of economic freedom, competition and individual choice." This reflects the influence of Goolsbee, "who agrees with the liberal consensus on the need to address concerns such as income inequality, disparate educational opportunities and, of course, disparate access to healthcare, but breaks sharply from liberal orthodoxy on both the causes of these social ills and the optimal strategy for ameliorating them."

Instead of recommending traditional welfare-state liberalism as a solvent for socioeconomic inequalities and dislocations, Goolsbee promotes programs to essentially democratize the market, protecting and where possible expanding freedom of choice, while simultaneously creating rational, self-interested incentives for individuals to participate in solving collective problems.

In a recent forum for candidate economic advisors sponsored by the New American Foundation, Goolsbee offered an example of what he called Obama's "sleek and easy to use iPod version of government." Suppose the goal is to get Americans to save more by diverting some portion of their income into investment accounts. "The research is very clear," said Goolsbee. The way to get people to start doing that is to "default them into automatic enrollment." So, a worker starts a new job, and 3 percent of his or her paycheck is automatically deposited into an investment account. But if the workers wanted to opt out of such a program, said Goolsbee, they could easily do so.

The proposal manages to include elements of the "nanny-state" approach (we'll pass a law that automatically forces citizens to save more) and yet at the same time tells people that they don't have to participate if they don't want to. Technocratic: yes. Inspiring: maybe not.

Buzzwords like "economic freedom" and "individual choice" make it easy for strategists for other campaigns to attempt to portray Obama as Republican-lite, not to mention open up room for attacks from the left such as those relentlessly delivered by Paul Krugman. But when Goolsbee spoke at the NAF forum, he noted that the critical problem at the heart of the American economy is the growing disparity in income distribution between the richest Americans and the poor and middle class. Over the last six years, said Goolsbee, "the typical worker had not seen income grow hardly at all, while the cost of education, health care and energy have all gone up."

It hardly needs stressing that concerns about income inequality do not generally fall into the category "Republican-lite." But it is also true that Obama appears to be pushing a relatively market-friendly agenda that does not map neatly onto liberal Democratic traditions.

Of course, no one on the left ever accused Bill or Hillary Clinton of being raving liberals. It is one of the many peculiarities of this campaign season that Hillary Clinton's campaign strategists have decided that there is an advantage to be gained in attempting to position her as the progressive candidate, in comparison to Obama. Both candidates are much closer to the center than they are to, say, Ralph Nader. So as California and 20-odd other states get ready for, as Keith Olbermann likes to say, the biggest day of primaries in the history of the universe, should the decisive factor in choosing one or the other be the differences in the tactics they espouse, or how one estimates their chances of winning a general election, and getting the opportunity to execute their plans.

-- Andrew Leonard

28660  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politically (In)correct on: February 04, 2008, 07:33:17 PM
“The truth is, we are supposed to be taking in individuals from other cultures, not other cultures in their wholeness. That is what American openness is supposed to represent. But we are so far gone that the men who lead us... are not even aware of this. But once again we see the continuum between universal values and multiculturalism. Since human beings can’t live without culture, multiculturalism—that is, to be taken over by other cultures—is the fate of any country unwilling to assert its own culture. Some people are wary of talking of an American culture because they associate it with race. This is erroneous. Culture transcends race. It unites people of different backgrounds. Whether it be Louis Armstrong or Aaron Copland, they are both part of American culture.”—Carol Iannone
28661  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: VIDEO CLIPS OF INTEREST on: February 04, 2008, 07:07:16 PM
Nothing serious in this one, just an extended street fight, a woman who intervenes gets hit, more fighting, then a cop drops the winner:
28662  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Plane vs. Conveyer Belt on: February 04, 2008, 12:08:54 PM
Plane vs. Conveyer Belt: Hell Yeah the Plane Takes Off
by Higgins - January 31, 2008 - 4:20 PM

Last night the Discovery show Mythbusters settled a longstanding debate: whether an airplane on a conveyer belt (running at the same speed, but in the opposite direction as the plane) can take off. The short answer, as liveblogged by Jason Kottke:


It’s a curious problem. As a thought experiment, it seems (at least to me) like the plane shouldn’t take off, since it’s not gaining takeoff velocity relative to the ground. But according to, you know, SCIENCE, the plane doesn’t need to reach takeoff velocity relative to the ground — it just needs lift an appropriate amount of lift. It’s the velocity of the air relative to the wings that counts, which is generated by the action of the engines.


Despite explanations of this sort of physicists, the issue wasn’t really settled until last night’s Mythbusters episode — they replicated the experiment on a small scale, then with a real airplane (albeit an ultralight), using a huge tarp dragged by a truck as the “conveyer belt.” Even the plane’s pilot thought the plane wouldn’t take off. When Jason Kottke first blogged about the issue last February, his comment thread was hot with controversy. So Kottke tuned in to Mythbusters last night and liveblogged the event, with results visible above. His exuberance over the plane’s liftoff has resulted in a “HELL YEAH THE PLANE TAKES OFF” tee-shirt available starting at $18. Wow.


Watch the Mythbusters clip in question below…. (Note: if this clip is pulled down, I’ll try to dig up another.)


See <> for the Mythbusters clip...
28663  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Venezuela Pol?tica on: February 04, 2008, 09:01:09 AM

"Seg�n informes de inteligencia (DEA y Conacuid) los capos eran protegidos por autoridades venezolanas"
Entrevista // Mildred Camero, ex presidenta de la CONACUID
"Jab�n ten�a protecci�n en Venezuela"

EL UNIVERSAL, domingo 03-02-08

No se anda con rodeos Mildred Camero a la hora de denunciar que funcionarios del Gobierno han protegido y extorsionado a capos colombianos del narcotr�fico, incluyendo a Wilber Varela, alias Jab�n, asesinado el pasado jueves en M�rida. Considerado como el responsable del env�o a EEUU de 70% de la droga que ingresa a ese pa�s, Varela, advierte la ex presidenta de la Conacuid, viv�a en Venezuela desde hace por lo menos cinco a�os.

-�A qu� y a qui�nes se podr�a atribuir el asesinato, en Venezuela, del capo colombiano del narcotr�fico, Wilber Varela (alias Jab�n)?

-El hecho parece extra�o. Durante muchos a�os se se�al� que Wilber Varela operaba en territorio venezolano, movi�ndose entre Apure, Barinas, Portuguesa y Anzo�tegui. Algunos informes daban cuenta de que ten�a una finca en territorio nacional e incluso lleg� a vincul�rsele con la droga decomisada en el aeropuerto de Porlamar, el a�o pasado.

-�Cu�l es la fuente de esos informes?

-Informes confidenciales de inteligencia se�alaron que estaba siendo protegido por autoridades venezolanas y que se mov�a de un lado para otro. �l fue aliado de las FARC pero luego de un tiempo se separ� de �sas para trabajar con el ELN.

-Esa informaci�n, �la obtuvo usted siendo presidenta de la Conacuid (Comisi�n Nacional contra el Uso Il�cito de las Drogas)?

-S�. Esa informaci�n la obtuvimos gracias a las investigaciones sobre las operaciones del Negro Acacio (Tom�s Medina Caracas, acusado de dirigir las operaciones de narcotr�fico de las FARC, muerto por el Ej�rcito colombiano en septiembre del a�o pasado). Luego las investigaciones nos llevaron hasta Jab�n y a Farid Dom�nguez (narcotraficante que habr�a sido protegido por autoridades venezolanas, ahora preso en Colombia). Nosotros trabaj�bamos con la DEA y con el grupo de inteligencia que formamos en la Conacuid.

-Es decir, el Gobierno venezolano ten�a informaci�n de que esos se�ores estaban operando en Venezuela.

-Yo elaboraba informes mensuales para el presidente y el vicepresidente de la Rep�blica.

-�Por qu� afirma que Jab�n y los otros estaban siendo protegidos por autoridades venezolanas?

-Los informes de inteligencia dan cuenta de que estaban siendo protegidos por autoridades venezolanas y que actuaban con absoluta libertad. Ten�an pasaporte y c�dula de identidad venezolanos, adem�s de reunirse con funcionarios gubernamentales de alto rango.

-�Civiles o militares?

-Civiles y militares. Los informes de inteligencia est�n ah�.

-Esos informes, �son de la DEA?

-De la DEA.

-Volvemos a la pregunta inicial: �qui�n y por qu� matan a Jab�n?

Pareciera que el Gobierno est� interesado en demostrar que est� luchando contra el tr�fico de drogas.

-Pero ninguna autoridad venezolana se ha atribuido el hecho.

-Hay informaciones, no confirmadas, seg�n las cuales esos delincuentes son protegidos y extorsionados por autoridades del pa�s y que posteriormente, cuando ya no les interesan, aparecen muertos o son capturados y entregados a los gobiernos de sus pa�ses de origen, como ocurri� con Farid Dom�nguez, quien fue detenido en una quinta de la urbanizaci�n La Lagunita durante una operaci�n conjunta de las autoridades colombo venezolanas.

-�Qu� otra hip�tesis puede manejarse tomando en cuenta que se trata del jefe del cartel del norte del Valle, solicitado por las autoridades de EEUU, por cuya cabeza ofrec�an una recompensa de 5 millones de d�lares, vinculado, seg�n usted dice, primero a las FARC y luego al ELN?

-Los traficantes, las FARC. Eso debe determinarlo, en todo caso, la investigaci�n.

-�Por qu� se separ� de las FARC?

-Por un problema de drogas.

-Una cosa es proteger a alguien que permanece pasivo y otra proteger a alguien que usa el territorio para exportar droga.

-�l trabajaba con el ELN e incluso, de acuerdo con los informes, habr�a participado en algunos intentos por negociar la liberaci�n de rehenes en manos de esa guerrilla.

-Seg�n lo que usted dice, Jab�n permaneci� en Venezuela por lo menos durante cinco a�os, estando las autoridades venezolanas al tanto de esta situaci�n.

-�l se mov�a entre los dos pa�ses, pero permanec�a m�s tiempo aqu� porque estaba sentenciado por las FARC, que lo quer�an liquidar.

-Mientras todo esto ocurr�a, en Italia es recapturado el venezolano Alex del Nogal. �Hay una relaci�n entre las situaciones y los personajes?

-Alex del Nogal siempre ha estado vinculado al tema de las drogas, lavado de dinero y explosivos. �l ha mantenido relaciones con personajes de la sociedad. Pero no creo que se pueda establecer una conexi�n con lo ocurrido en M�rida. Ahora, Del Nogal tiene un prontuario y estuvo detenido en Pa- nam�.

-�Sus relaciones incluyen funcionarios del Gobierno?

-Personas que est�n en el lavado de dinero, incluso funcionarios del Gobierno, pero esta es una informaci�n que no puedo confirmar.

-Usted denuncia complicidades, omisiones, protecciones, relaciones de funcionarios con narcotraficantes y grupos guerrilleros. Implica eso que el Gobierno...

-No puedo hablar del Gobierno como tal. Es obvio que hay mucha gente que hace todo tipo de negocios il�citos y se aprovecha de esta coyuntura. Pero no incluir�a al presidente Ch�vez ni a muchos funcionarios honestos, tanto militares como policiales, que trabajan con gran esp�ritu de servicio.

-Si el Presidente apoya la producci�n de coca en Bo- livia, si se ordena la salida del pa�s de la DEA, si existen v�nculos de funcionarios del Gobierno con la narcoguerrilla, como usted lo se�ala, �qu� conclusiones podemos extraer de todo esto?

-No quisiera llegar a ninguna conclusi�n, pero s� puedo afirmar que el Presidente tiene una gran confusi�n sobre lo que es la coca, la pasta de coca y la coca�na. Evidentemente no ha sido bien asesorado y por eso afirma que la hoja de coca no s�lo es inofensiva sino que resulta beneficiosa. Quiz�s esto obedezca a la campa�a internacional que adelanta el presidente Evo Morales, bajo el nombre de "Soberan�a y coca". El objetivo es legitimar ese producto para que la ONU lo saque de la lista 1 de estupefacientes. El a�o pasado fracas� en su intento de convencer al se�or Antonio Mar�a Costa, director ejecutivo de la Oficina de Naciones Unidas contra las Drogas y el Delito (Onudd), pero sigue buscando apoyos, como el del presidente Ch�vez, para lograr su prop�sito y �ste ha querido ayudar a su amigo.

-�No consiste ese prop�sito en convertir la coca en materia prima con usos diferentes o hay otros fines?

-La ministra boliviana de Desarrollo Rural anunci� el a�o pasado el decomiso de m�s de tres millones de libras de hoja de coca "ilegal, destinada al tr�fico de drogas". Eso quiere decir que la coca boliviana, sembrada en una extensi�n de 20 mil hect�reas, est� destinada, en m�s de 90%, a su procesamiento para la elaboraci�n de coca�na. La misma ministra lo reconoce al informar que en el a�o 2007 se allanaron 6 laboratorios de refinamiento y cuatro de reciclaje, mientras se detuvo a m�s de 4 mil personas dedicadas a estas actividades y se incautaron grandes cantidades de pasta de coca y sacos de maceraci�n.

-�Pero la coca no puede ser utilizada, tambi�n, con fines m�dicos e incluso alimenticios en otros pa�ses?

-Primero se debe decir que las leyes proh�ben a Bolivia exportar coca, pero Morales se empe�a en su objetivo, aduciendo que se puede procesar harina, t� y otros productos.

-Entonces el anuncio del presidente Ch�vez, de construir una planta para el procesamiento de hoja de coca no es factible.

-No lo es. La coca es la materia prima de la coca�na y resulta insustituible. Sin coca no hay coca�na y la mayor parte de la producci�n de coca se procesa para refinar coca�na. La hoja de coca, en su estado original, se mastica con cal, eso activa los alcaloides que contiene la planta y produce un estado de euforia, al tiempo que alivia el cansancio, mitiga el hambre y la sed. Y hasta ah� porque las dem�s propiedades, como las anest�sicas, ya han sido superadas por otros f�rmacos que, a la postre, resultan m�s eficaces y mucho menos adictivos.

28664  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Venezuela Pol?tica on: February 04, 2008, 08:59:30 AM
Recibi' lo siguiente ayer:


These two items seem quite incredible. It seems quite obvious that Colombia and possibly the USA have declared an undeclared war on Hugo Chavez. I find it hard to believee that this kind of information would make it to the press without official sanction...


La revista colombiana Semana revela hoy un esc�ndalo que va a sacudir al pa�s en los pr�ximos d�as. El General Hugo Carvajal, Director de la DIM,� a quien el reportaje� de esta revista llama "el Montesinos venezolano", estar�a involucrado en la protecci�n de narcotraficantes y terroristas de las FARC. Tambi�n se le acusa de varios asesinatos, entre ellos el de 2 agentes de inteligencia de Colombia despu�s de torturarlos brutalmente.
Se transcribe a continuaci�n el reportaje en el cual SEMANA revela los nexos del General venezolano Hugo Carvajal con las Farc y los narcos:
La gente que le habla al o�do al presidente de Venezuela, Hugo Ch�vez, se cuenta con los dedos de las manos. Y de ese grupo selecto, uno de los m�s cercanos, leales y a quien m�s confianza le tiene es al general Hugo Armando Carvajal Barrios: el cerebro de la inteligencia venezolana. El asunto no tendr�a mayor importancia para Colombia de no ser porque desde hace varios a�os, y especialmente en 2007, el nombre del general Carvajal se ha visto salpicado por casos de extrema gravedad que atentan contra la seguridad nacional de Colombia.
Dos agencias de inteligencia de pa�ses con gran experiencia en materia de espionaje tienen informaci�n que consideran altamente confiable de que Carvajal ha facilitado protecci�n y documentos de identificaci�n a guerrilleros y narcotraficantes de Colombia en territorio venezolano �incluido el reci�n asesinado capo W�lber Varela, 'Jab�n'. Y como si fuera poco, el general est� en la mira de estas agencias por su supuesta participaci�n en la tortura y el asesinato de dos miembros del Ej�rcito colombiano que, seg�n informaci�n de Bogot�, persegu�an a guerrilleros que estaban refugiados en Venezuela.
LLo m�s parad�jico es que Hugo Carvajal es un hombre pr�cticamente desconocido en Colombia, a pesar de ser el jefe de la Direcci�n General de Inteligencia Militar (DGIM), un organismo de car�cter militar que est� a la misma altura del Ministerio de Defensa y del Ministerio del Interior y recibe instrucciones, responde y rinde cuentas s�lo al Presidente de la Rep�blica, Hugo Ch�vez. "Hoy en d�a la DGIM es un monstruo de siete cabezas que tiene un perfil relativamente bajo pero su poder es inmenso. Ser�a como si en Colombia existiera una entidad, bajo el mando de un solo hombre, que manejara la Inteligencia de las Fuerzas Militares, la Polic�a, el DAS y el CTI", dijo a SEMANA un oficial de la DGIM que pidi� el anonimato.

�Por qu� se viene a conocer esto ahora? �Qu� se est� moviendo detr�s de todo esto? SEMANA habl� con cuatro oficiales activos de diferentes organismos de inteligencia y de la fuerza p�blica venezolana y ellos explican que la informaci�n comenz� a filtrarse en la medida en que el general Carvajal, con acciones irregulares, se fue granjeando la animadversi�n de sectores de la Fuerza Armada Nacional (FAN) y otros organismos de seguridad.

Dicen los testigos que aparte de sus relaciones con la guerrilla, Carvajal le ha dado gran importancia a la contra inteligencia y ha cometido excesos que van desde cacer�as de brujas injustificadas hasta torturas de miembros de las propias FAN por simples sospechas de deslealtad. Muchos uniformados en el interior de las Fuerzas Militares inconformes con esta situaci�n han decidido denunciar o entregar informaci�n a cambio de recompensas.

Por eso no es extra�o que diarios como El Pa�s, de Espa�a y The Washington Post de Estados Unidos hayan publicado en los �ltimos meses informes sobre los nexos entre uniformados de Venezuela y guerrilleros de las Farc. Ya en octubre de 2005 SEMANA revel� las relaciones de dos generales de la Guardia Nacional (GN) con la mafia colombiana, publicaci�n que dio lugar a que la Vicepresidencia del vecino pa�s anunciara una investigaci�n formal.

Pero ninguna de las revelaciones hasta ahora conocidas es tan grave y preocupante como la informaci�n a la que tuvo acceso esta revista sobre el general Carvajal. SEMANA intent� infructuosamente tener alguna reacci�n por parte de miembros de la�DIM en Caracas. Tambi�n habl� con el encargado de negocios de la Embajada de Venezuela en Bogot� para conocer alguna reacci�n oficial del gobierno venezolano a las denuncias, pero al cierre de esta edici�n no hab�a sido posible.

Habla con 'Grannobles'

Hugo Carvajal naci� el primero de abril de 1960 en Puerto La Cruz, en el occidente de Venezuela. Desde hace ocho a�os est� vinculado a la Direcci�n General de Inteligencia y en julio de 2004 fue nombrado por Ch�vez como director de esa entidad. Pese a su gran poder, es un hombre de un perfil muy bajo. Conocido con el sobrenombre de "El Pollo" por su apariencia f�sica, algunas de las actividades en las que se ha visto involucrado hablan por s� solas.

Un oficial activo de la Guardia Nacional venezolana, que habl� con SEMANA bajo la condici�n de mantener el anonimato, revel� que a mediados de mayo de 2006 el general Carvajal sostuvo una reuni�n con Germ�n Brice�o Su�rez, alias 'Grannobles', un importante jefe de las Farc y hermano del 'Mono Jojoy'. "La reuni�n tuvo lugar en la finca llamada Corocito, ubicada en San Silvestre, estado Barinas. En el lugar hab�a efectivos de la Guardia, la Disip y la DGIM. Era un grupo de aproximadamente 20 personas, aunque hab�a m�s en la seguridad perimetral a cargo de la GN. De la guerrilla estaba Brice�o ('Grannobles') acompa�ado por un peque�o grupo de cinco a siete irregulares. Despu�s, en dos helic�pteros de las FAN llegaron otros 21 guerrilleros", afirma el oficial que dice haber estado presente en el encuentro.

Seg�n �l, el general Carvajal y el guerrillero Brice�o hablaron sobre estrategias de coordinaci�n pol�tica, militar y econ�mica. Carvajal se habr�a comprometido a suministrar apoyo log�stico y comida a los frentes que act�an a lo largo de la frontera. "Brice�o le pidi� a Carvajal protecci�n por parte de la Disip para un grupo de 21 guerrilleros que llegaron en los helic�pteros, ya que operan en diferentes lugares de Venezuela. Le pidi� al general suministrarles a esas personas documentos de identidad as� como credenciales que los acreditaran como miembros de la Disip o de la Dgim para poder moverse mucho m�s tranquilamente en territorio venezolano", dijo el oficial a SEMANA.

Uno de los guerrilleros que gozan de estos privilegios es Yeison Armando Escobar, alias 'Cocorinche', miembro del frente 45 de las Farc. "En octubre del a�o pasado 'Cocorinche' fue uno de los designados por las Farc para coordinar personalmente con el general Carvajal los temas de seguridad y la log�stica para el desplazamiento de Iv�n M�rquez a Miraflores para el encuentro con el presidente Ch�vez", afirm� a SEMANA el oficial de la GN, quien dice adem�s que el subversivo cuenta con carnet de la Disip y de la DGIM, as� como permiso para porte de armas.

Otro de los oficiales que se destap� con SEMANA, un comisario de la Direcci�n de los Servicios de Inteligencia y Prevenci�n, o Polic�a pol�tica (Disip), a�adi� que tambi�n les dieron ese tipo de documentos oficiales a Didier y a�Yesid R�os. "Desde octubre de 2007 ellos est�n viviendo en Isla Margarita y all� cuentan con seguridad permanente por parte de miembros de la DIM, asignados por el general Carvajal". Conocidos en Colombia como 'el clan de los R�os', Didier y Yesid hacen parte de una familia que trabaj� durante a�os para el comandante del Frente 16 de las Farc, Tom�s Medina Caracas, alias el 'Negro Acacio', en env�o de droga y lavado de activos.

Didier, Yesid y otros seis miembros del clan escaparon hacia Venezuela en 2001 despu�s de la ofensiva que lanz� el Ej�rcito contra el 'Negro Acacio' y que fue conocida como Operaci�n Gato Negro. En noviembre de 2005 el DAS y la Fiscal�a colombiana incautaron propiedades que el 'clan de los R�os' administraba para las Farc valoradas en 30.000 millones de pesos.

No es la primera vez que el nombre del general Carvajal aparece vinculado a la protecci�n y suministro de credenciales oficiales de organismos de inteligencia venezolanos a guerrilleros y narcotraficantes. SEMANA tuvo acceso a los carn�s que le fueron suministrados a Herm�goras Gonz�lez, un narco colombiano solicitado en extradici�n por Estados Unidos, quien desde hace varios a�os se refugi� y trafica en el estado Barinas.

El nombre de este narcotraficante colombiano sali� a la luz p�blica en octubre del a�o pasado en un reportaje de The Washington Post como uno de los mayores exportadores de coca hacia Norteam�rica y Europa. Herm�goras, que es enlace de traficantes colombianos, entre ellos el asesinado Varela, se mueve libremente por Venezuela con dos identificaciones oficiales. Una lo acredita como comisario de la Disip y otra, como agente de inteligencia de la GN. Un informe elaborado por la propia GN, al que tuvo acceso esta revista, relata la irregularidad "La orden de suministrar los documentos oficiales a Herm�goras Gonz�lez as� como a otros narcos y guerrilleros se la dio el general Carvajal a Pedro Lu�s Mart�n, que era el director de inteligencia de la Disip y ahora es uno de los hombres de confianza del general", afirm� el funcionario de la Disip que habl� con SEMANA.

A estos indicios se suma tambi�n una grabaci�n en manos de agencias extranjeras que demostrar�a que el general Carvajal les dio la voz de alerta a narcotraficantes para que evadieran una importante operaci�n antidrogas. "El 5 de septiembre de 2007 se iba a realizar una operaci�n para incautar 2.900 kilos de coca�na que estaban escondidos en un almac�n en la ciudad de Puerto La Cruz y que iban a ser exportados a Europa. La droga pertenec�a a varios narcotraficantes colombianos y un porcentaje del cargamento era del frente 10 de las Farc. Se detect� una llamada del general Carvajal a miembros de la GN y la DGIM que custodiaban el cargamento alertando sobre el inminente operativo. La droga fue cambiada de lugar y la operaci�n se frustr�", dijo a SEMANA un miembro de un servicio de inteligencia extranjero que estaba coordinando la operaci�n.

�Orden de asesinatos?

El nombre del general Carvajal ha estado relacionado con asuntos aun m�s complejos. En julio del a�o pasado, el general fue alertado por uno de sus hombres de confianza de la Disip sobre la efectiva colaboraci�n que ven�a suministrando un informante de apellido Rodr�guez a la DEA, en la cual quedaba muy mal parado por nexos con narcos un importante industrial venezolano cercano al gobierno de Caracas. "En Estados Unidos se estaba adelantando una causa judicial contra el empresario que permitir�a atacar una red de traficantes y lavadores que act�a en Colombia y Venezuela. Rodr�guez era clave en el caso. Despu�s de ser alertado de que �l estaba colabor�ndonos, Carvajal dio la orden a un equipo de hombres del Cuerpo de Investigaciones Cient�ficas, Penales y Criminal�sticas(Cicpc) quienes secuestraron, torturaron y asesinaron a Rodr�guez", dijo a SEMANA un agente de la DEA asignado en Venezuela. El caso es conocido, seg�n �l, por el coronel N�stor Reverol, presidente de la Oficina Nacional Antidrogas de Venezuela (ONA).

Aunque todos los hechos anteriores dejan ver muy graves actuaciones del general Carvajal, quiz�s el se�alamiento m�s grave tiene que ver con el papel que el jefe de la DGIM habr�a jugado en la tortura y el asesinato de dos miembros del Ej�rcito colombiano en territorio venezolano. En abril del a�o pasado SEMANA revel� la historia del homicidio del capit�n Camilo Gonz�lez y del cabo Gregorio Mart�nez. Los uniformados se infiltraron en territorio venezolano para dar con guerrilleros colombianos que actuaban en ese pa�s. Pero fueron descubiertos y brutalmente torturados y asesinados en la sede de la GN localizada en Santa B�rbara, estado Zulia. "Los que descubren a los militares colombianos y se dan cuenta de que est�n haciendo inteligencia son oficiales de la Polic�a de Santa B�rbara. Ellos los capturan y los llevan a la sede del Destacamento de Apoyo A�reo N�mero 1 de la Guardia Nacional. Desde all� se le comunica la captura al general Carvajal, quien env�a a un coronel de la Dim. �l es quien se encarga de torturar a los colombianos durante varios d�as. En algunos de los interrogatorios estuvo presente un guerrillero que nos dijeron era del ELN. Despu�s de sacarles toda la informaci�n, el coronel llam� al general Carvajal para ver qu� hac�a con ellos. Carvajal le da la orden de ejecutarlos. Lo hizo porque sab�a que, como estaban en una actividad de espionaje, el gobierno de Colombia no pod�a protestar y, adem�s, era un claro mensaje a los militares colombianos de lo que les espera a los que descubran ac� (en Venezuela)".

Este escabroso relato fue narrado a SEMANA por un oficial de la GN que prestaba su servicio en la guarnici�n en donde fueron asesinados los militares.

El oficial afirm� que el coronel al que le encargaron la tortura es un hombre de toda la confianza del general Carvajal. "�l (el coronel) trabaj� en San Crist�bal en el a�o 2005 y all� se convirti� en un contacto clave de la�DIM con la guerrilla colombiana", dice el oficial de la GN. "Siempre fue m�s cercano del ELN que de las Farc, tanto que la gente del ELN se refer�a a �l como 'comandante Ra�l'".

El general Carvajal est�, pues, en la mira de las agencias de inteligencia como lo estuvo en su momento Vladimiro Montesinos: el hombre que concentr� todo el poder de la inteligencia en Per� mientras les vend�a armas a las Farc. Sin duda, los se�alamientos contra el general Hugo Carvajal son de tal gravedad, que el gobierno de Venezuela tendr� que aclarar.

(Important links to follow)

Tambi�n hoy, en "El Universal", Mildred Camero, ex-Presidenta de CONACUID, efect�a una serie de revelaciones sobre la protecci�n con que narcotraficantes cuentan en Venezuela. Cuenta igualmente como alias "Jab�n" estaba protegido en el pa�s. Puedes leer la entrevista completa pulsando aqu�.

28665  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Older Warrior on: February 04, 2008, 07:02:41 AM
Staying a Step Ahead of Aging

NY Times
Published: January 31, 2008
YOU know what is supposed to happen when you grow old. You will slow down, you will grow weak, your steps will become short and mincing, and you will lose your sense of balance. That’s what aging researchers consistently find, and it’s no surprise to most of us.

But it is worth remembering that the people in those studies were sedentary, said Dr. Vonda Wright, a professor of orthopedics at the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Wright, a 40-year-old runner, decided to study people who kept training as they got older or began competing in middle age. She wanted to know what happens to them and at what age does performance start to decline.

Their results are surprising, even to many of the researchers themselves. The investigators find that while you will slow down as you age, you may be able to stave off more of the deterioration than you thought. Researchers also report that people can start later in life — one man took up running at 62 and ran his first marathon, a year later, in 3 hours 25 minutes.

It’s a testament to how adaptable the human body is, researchers said, that people can start serious training at an older age and become highly competitive. It also is testament to their findings that some physiological factors needed for a good performance are not much affected by age.

Researchers say that you should be able to maintain your muscles as you age, including the muscle enzymes needed for good athletic performance, and you should be able to maintain your ability to exercise for long periods near your so-called lactic threshold, meaning you are near maximum effort.

But you have to know how to train, doing the right sort of exercise, and you must keep it up.

“Train hard and train often,” said Hirofumi Tanaka, a 41-year-old soccer player and exercise physiologist at the University of Texas.

Dr. Tanaka said he means doing things like regular interval training, repeatedly going all out, easing up, then going all out again. These workouts train your body to increase its oxygen consumption by allowing you to maintain an intense effort.

“One of the major determinants of endurance performance is oxygen consumption,” Dr. Tanaka said. “You have to make training as intense as you can.”

When you have to choose between hard and often, choose hard, said Steven Hawkins, an exercise physiologist at the University of Southern California.

“High performance is really determined more by intensity than volume,” he added. “Sometimes, when you’re older, something has to give. You can’t have both so you have to cut back on the volume. You need more rest days.”

Dr. Hawkins, who says he no longer runs competitively, adds that he tries to put his findings into practice. “I run a couple of times a week and I try to make it as fast as I can,” he said. “I’m not plodding along.”

He also has been amazed by some people who seem to defy the rules of aging, people he describes as “those rare birds who get faster.” Some subjects in Dr. Hawkins’s research study, which followed runners for nearly two decades, actually had better times when they were 60 than when they were 50.

“We really don’t know why,” Dr. Hawkins confessed. “Maybe they were training harder.”

Then there are people like the 62-year-old man who suddenly took up running and began running fast marathons. That man’s inspiration to become a runner, said James Hagberg, an exercise physiologist at the University of Maryland, was watching a lakefront marathon in Milwaukee. “He got all fired up,” Dr. Hagberg recalled.

And there are people like Imme Dyson, a 71-year-old runner who lives in Princeton, N.J. She took up running when she was 48 and loved it, she says, from the moment she put on a pair of running shoes. Her daughter, who had been a college triathlete, told her how to train.

“She said, ‘Mom, if your workout didn’t hurt, you didn’t work hard enough,’ ” Ms. Dyson said.

“Working consistently really is the recipe,” she said. And it has made a difference for her, allowing her to run races, from 5K to marathons, so fast that she is consistently among the best in the nation in her age group. She has run a 15K cross-country race in 1:19:08, a pace of 8:29 a mile. And she ran a 10K race in 51 minutes 50 seconds, a pace of 8:20 a mile.

Not every aging athlete does so well. But Dr. Hagberg found that studies of aging athletes sometimes were distorted because they included people who had cut back on or stopped training. That’s understandable; there is no reason, researchers say, to exhort everyone to maintain an intense effort decade after decade.


Page 2 of 2)

Athletes would tell Dr. Hagberg that they had just lost their motivation. “Some of them would say: ‘Competition just doesn’t motivate me as much at 75. I’ve been doing it for 50 years,’ ” he said. “Others would say, ‘I just can’t keep it up any more.’ ”

But for those who still have the drive, the news that muscle mass and lactic threshold can be maintained is encouraging.
The reason people become slower, though, is that oxygen consumption declines with age.

In large part that is because, as has long been known, the maximum heart rate steadily falls by about seven to eight beats per minute per decade. It happens with or without training, in sedentary and in active people, Dr. Tanaka said, and no one knows why. But as a result, the heart cannot pump as much blood at maximum effort.

Dr. Michael Joyner, a 49-year-old exercise researcher at the Mayo Clinic who also is a competitive swimmer and a runner, added another factor: the lungs of older athletes cannot take in quite as much air.

With a slower heart rate and less oxygen in the lungs, less oxygen-rich blood gets to the muscles. In one study, Dr. Joyner found that highly trained athletes age 55 to 68 had 10 to 20 percent less blood flow to their legs than athletes in their 20s.

The older athletes in his group, though, were edging toward an age that often is a transition time in athletic performances, researchers are finding. For example, Dr. Wright and her colleague Dr. Brett Perricelli found that the performances of track athletes declined almost imperceptibly from year to year until their mid-60s, when the rate of decline picked up. At age 75, though, the athletes’ times fell, on average, by 7 percent.

The study, the results of which will appear in the March issue of the American Journal of Sports Medicine, involved track and field athletes age 50 to 85 who were participants in the 2001 Senior Olympics and also examined the times for American record holders in track events.

But older athletes still can have spectacular performances, Dr. Tanaka notes.

For example, the world best marathon time for men 70 or older (2:54:05) was set by a 74-year-old. That is more than four minutes faster than the winning marathon time at the first modern Olympics, the 1896 Games in Athens.

Of course, such statistics are of little comfort to athletes who do not want to slow down at all. Dr. Hawkins said he and Robert A. Wiswell, the senior author on his nearly 20-year study of athletes, used to joke that they needed a sports psychologist rather than a sports physiologist on their study. The athletes, he explained, could not bear to think that they would stop setting personal records.

That’s an issue for Don Truex, a 70-year-old dentist in Santa Barbara, Calif, who can’t understand why he has slowed down in the last year. He just ran a 5K race in 23:45. It was an average pace of 7:38 a mile, 90 seconds slower than he wanted to run.

“I’ve consulted with my doctor and we think I may be overtraining,” Dr. Truex said. He’s going to continue running five days a week but cut back on his five days a week of cycling.

Slower times are even more of a concern for Dr. Truex’s friend Barry Erbsen, a 67-year-old dentist in Los Angeles.

Dr. Erbsen started running seriously around 40. His best time in a 10K race was 38 minutes, a pace of 6 minutes a mile. Next he started running marathons, going faster each time until he had completed several, including the Boston Marathon, in 3:07:00.

Then, Dr. Erbsen started to slow down. He ran a marathon a few years ago in 3:45:00. He completed his next one in 3:58:00.

That nearly four-hour marathon was his last, he said. Instead, Dr. Erbsen took up mountain biking. So far so good, he said. He’s having a lot of fun. And, he added, “I’m not getting too much slower.”
28666  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: February 04, 2008, 06:39:28 AM
Second post of the AM on BO-- here some pro BO Dems say why they are for him:
28667  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: February 04, 2008, 06:30:01 AM
February 4, 2008; Page A14

In 1981, Argentine inflation topped 130%, and by the early months of 1982 the situation was rapidly deteriorating. A web of price controls designed to compensate for monetary mischief at the central bank only made things worse. Confidence had collapsed and civil unrest was growing.

The military government's decision to lay claim to Britain's South Georgia Island on March 19, 1982, and later the Falklands, was dictator Leopoldo Galtieri's last-ditch effort to boost the nation's sense of strength, and to distract it from the reality that it was caught in an economic maelstrom.

Fast forward to 2008 and Venezuela, where the parallels cannot be ignored. The military government of President Hugo Chávez is engaging in provocations against a foreign power that would seem to have little purpose other than getting news of the crumbling economy off the front pages and ginning up nationalism.

In a speech before the national assembly last month, Mr. Chávez dropped a bombshell, proclaiming that Venezuela now recognizes the Colombian rebel group known as the FARC as a legitimate political actor. He went on to ask that European and South American governments remove the group from their terrorist lists. A day earlier his special envoy for FARC relations went public with his own fondness for the Colombian rebels, and with the news that the Venezuelan government stands ready to help them.

This was more than Mr. Chávez playing footsie with the FARC, which he has long been doing. This was a statement of official support for a band of outlaws who seek the destruction of the Colombian democracy. The news shook both nations. It suggested that Colombia is not only at war with the rebels, but also with a neighboring state.

Mr. Chávez probably doesn't really want war with the militarily superior Colombia anymore than Galtieri wanted to battle it out with Britain. But by poking his neighbor in the eye, he was undoubtedly hoping for some kind of a reaction, to which Venezuela naturally would be obliged to respond. Amid an escalation of tensions between the two countries, a nationalist outcry to defend Venezuelan honor might dwarf the many troubles at home.

Colombia's president didn't take the bait. Instead of getting in a spitting match with Venezuela, Álavaro Uribe went to Europe shortly after Mr. Chávez's FARC speech to shore up support for his anti-terrorist agenda. He came home with backing from E.U. foreign policy chief Javier Solana, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and even Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero, who is notorious for his admiration of Latin American leftists. Mr. Chávez thus suffered yet another humiliation, only six weeks after he lost his bid to rewrite the country's constitution.

Hubris aside, Mr. Chávez had to know that his defense of the FARC was a long shot. But desperate times call for desperate measures. As the deterioration of the Venezuelan economy accelerates, Mr. Chávez is fast becoming a desperado with no better idea of how to get out of his jam than did Galtieri.

Central to his troubling circumstances is inflation. With Venezuelan crude oil around $80 per barrel, the local currency known as the bolivar ought to be strong. But the central bank has lost its independence and now acts as an arm of the Chávez government. As such it has shown little interest in defending the value of the currency.

Instead, it uses the gusher of oil dollars coming into the country as a reason to print up new bolivars to be put into circulation through government spending. This has pushed up demand and sent prices skyrocketing.

Just what Venezuelan inflation is now is anybody's guess. The government figure for 2007 is 22.5% but that number is derived from a basket of goods that includes price-controlled items, which are difficult to actually buy. In real life, when Venezuelans go shopping they have to pay market prices if they want to come home with the goods. This means that the cost of living is higher than the official rate.

Price controls haven't held down inflation but they have produced shortages of the goods they cover. Milk, rice, cooking oil, chicken, beef, pork, sugar, black beans and eggs are all hard to find and Venezuelans say that grocery shopping now requires stops at five or six stores. The most reliable sources of price-controlled items are street vendors, who charge two and three times the legal limit but tend to have stock.

Even Mr. Chávez recognizes that the shortages are real and not about to go away. And despite what appears to be a primitive understanding of economics, he may even have figured out the connection between prices and supply. This would explain why, as dire milk shortages became undeniable in recent months, he finally decreed an increase in the regulated price.

But don't hold your breath for further signs of enlightenment. Control of the oil industry has been the main reason Mr. Chávez has been able to squelch democracy. His own warped logic suggests that he needs to control other key sectors if he wants to keep his grip on power. If he can strangle the private sector, he can starve his adversaries.

This is why he is promoting government-owned food processors and has put a full-court press on private-sector agribusiness. Price controls now apply not only to the retail market but also to business transactions. This is designed to stop, for example, dairy farms from diverting raw milk to the production of cheese and yogurt, which have no price controls. Anyone caught violating price controls or selling products across the border in Colombia risks expropriation.

All of this is being policed by the army. With its monopoly on the use of force, the government can indeed destroy the private sector. But as Galtieri found out, it cannot decree that supply meets demand. As shortages become more acute, don't be surprised to see the Venezuelan desperado picking more fights.

28668  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / The Color of Charity on: February 04, 2008, 06:26:03 AM
The Color of Charity
February 4, 2008; Page A14
Just when we thought we'd heard everything from the diversity police, here they come trying to prescribe even the color of charity. The California Assembly last week passed a bill sponsored by state Representative Joe Coto to require foundations with assets of more than $250 million to disclose the race, gender and sexual orientation of their trustees, staff, and even grantees. Look for this to arrive in a legislature near you.

A Berkeley-based advocacy group called the Greenlining Institute hatched this idea because, allegedly, racial minorities aren't well enough represented in California policy debates. John Gamboa, Greenlining's executive director, blames foundations for failing to donate enough money to "minority-led" think tanks and community groups and businesses, and he hopes this legislation will "shame" them into giving more. What counts as a minority-led organization? According to Greenlining, the board and staff should both be more than 50% minority.

This certainly takes the spoils system of racial preferences to a whole new level. Heretofore the government has tried to enforce a pigmentation principle in government jobs and contracts, and in private employment through the threat of lawsuits. But this is about telling private citizens how to give their own money away.

Mr. Gamboa says these philanthropies have tax-exempt status, so the public has a right to this information. "Minorities are paying a little more in taxes but are not receiving their fair share of benefits," he says. This seems an odd claim, since so much private charity is targeted explicitly at minorities. But it makes sense once you understand that what he means is that not enough of this cash is channelled through certain minority-run activist groups, such as, well, his own. It's no accident that such ethnic lobbies as the Black Business Association and the Centro Legal de la Raza also love this idea.

There's also the little problem of accountability and donor intent. Private citizens typically establish foundations with specific charitable goals in mind -- such as wetlands conservation, or medical research, or even promoting free market ideas. If donors are suddenly supposed to allocate grants by the color or sexual lifestyle of the grantee, that donor intent will be distorted at the very least. Presumably we want money for cancer research to support the most promising research ideas, not to be based on whether the labs have a rainbow coalition of Ph.Ds. The goal is to cure cancer.

Paul Brest is a former NAACP attorney and president of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, California's largest foundation. And in a letter to the state Assembly on Mr. Coto's proposal, he put it this way: "[Our] fundamental operating principle is to direct our resources to organizations that have the promise of making the greatest difference in achieving [our philanthropic] goals. Thus, we do not focus on the racial composition of our grantees, but rather on how to achieve measurable impact in improving the lives of the communities that our grant recipients serve."

Lest you think this idea is too wacky to go anywhere, it is also expected to pass the California Senate and could soon land on Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's desk. The Greenlining staff is already lobbying House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel for Congressional hearings. Foundations and charities that don't want to start apportioning their donations by skin color, or between gays and heterosexuals, had better start describing this idea as the political shakedown it is.

28669  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: February 04, 2008, 06:22:48 AM
Equity and Health Care
February 4, 2008; Page A14
Democrats, and even a few Republicans, are in a populist mood, and fair enough. But if they really want the tax code to be more "progressive" -- i.e., from each according to his means -- they ought to forget the Bush tax cuts and address the way the government subsidizes health insurance. On the advice of our doctors, we're not holding our breath.

According to the Democratic consensus, too many people lack health insurance, and the liberal remedy is to protect the status quo while expanding public programs for the uninsured. That's the opposite of a rational health policy: Not only does the current system cause unnecessary problems for the insured, but many of the gaps in coverage owe to the way tax subsidies shortchange the uninsured, particularly working-class and middle-income families.

If such inequality and unfairness existed anywhere other than health care, the Democrats would be raising hell. Instead, they're silent -- which is politically telling.

The core problem is that people who get insurance through their employers pay no income or payroll taxes on the value of the benefit. The Treasury defines this as a "tax expenditure," meaning it's revenue the government forgoes to encourage certain behavior. If these losses were converted to the equivalent of direct spending, the tax exemption would have cost more than $208 billion in 2006. The only federal programs that cost more are Social Security, Medicare and national defense. But all that money props up only employer-provided insurance. Individuals who buy policies don't get any tax breaks and pay with after-tax dollars.

If the purpose of health-care reform is to decrease the ranks of the uninsured, these job-related tax breaks are poorly targeted, even regressive. The more generous the employer health plan, the more the subsidies increase. On average, lower-wage workers have more limited coverage as part of their compensation, usually from small- or medium-sized businesses. Estimates show that the subsidy is worth more than $3,000 for upper-income families (with higher marginal tax rates), and less than $1,000 for those on the lower income rungs.

These aren't new insights, and economists have recommended changing these incentives for decades. What's hard to believe are the convenient blind spots of the Democratic Presidential candidates. Hillary Clinton, queen of the wonks, includes in her health-care proposal an undefined cap on the deduction for "high-income Americans," but all of her emphasis is on larger spending subsidies. Barack Obama doesn't even mention it. Neither did John Edwards.

They're uncharacteristically missing a chance to effectively raise taxes on "the rich." Curbing these subsidies could generate billions for their elaborate "universal" health programs. More to the point, this is a simple matter of equity, usually Democratic terrain. If the government is going to support health insurance, then those subsidies ought to apply regardless of a person's income, where they work, or how they purchase their insurance.

So why the Democratic silence? Perhaps it's because they think such a change would interfere with their main policy goal, which is slow but steady progress toward government control of the health-care market. Or possibly it's because many of the most generous tax-subsidized health plans come from union-negotiated contracts. Or maybe Democrats simply don't want to concede that President Bush has a point.

In his 2007 State of the Union address, Mr. Bush suggested redistributing the government's health subsidies. His proposal would sever the link between insurance and employment, shifting the deduction to individuals and capping it at $15,000 a year for a typical family. About four-fifths of the country would do better than they do now, while the rest currently have the most gold-plated employer coverage and would still have plenty of options.

Not only would this be a relatively cost-effective way to increase coverage. It would also address the major market distortions that the employer-exclusive deduction causes, with individuals essentially prepaying for routine costs through third-party insurance companies. If Republican candidates came to their senses, they'd recognize an opportunity to poach a traditionally Democratic issue -- as well as an opening to address middle-class anxiety without demagoguing business or "the rich." Individual policies would also be portable when workers are between jobs, reducing risk and uncertainty.

But the big questions are for the Democrats, who claim to believe that health-care reform is as much a moral as an economic issue. Whatever their other ambitions, how can they stand by a system that offers the least assistance to the working class and nothing at all to the uninsured?

28670  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / BO on: February 04, 2008, 06:15:35 AM
Sorry, I don't have a URL for this, but it seems legit.

When residents in Illinois voiced outrage two years ago upon learning that the Exelon Corporation had not disclosed radioactive leaks at one of its nuclear plants, the state’s freshman senator, Barack Obama, took up their cause.

John W. Rowe, chairman of Exelon and also of the Nuclear Energy Institute, a lobbying group, has been an Obama donor.

Mr. Obama scolded Exelon and federal regulators for inaction and introduced a bill to require all plant owners to notify state and local authorities immediately of even small leaks. He has boasted of it on the campaign trail, telling a crowd in Iowa in December that it was “the only nuclear legislation that I’ve passed.”

“I just did that last year,” he said, to murmurs of approval.

A close look at the path his legislation took tells a very different story. While he initially fought to advance his bill, even holding up a presidential nomination to try to force a hearing on it, Mr. Obama eventually rewrote it to reflect changes sought by Senate Republicans, Exelon and nuclear regulators. The new bill removed language mandating prompt reporting and simply offered guidance to regulators, whom it charged with addressing the issue of unreported leaks.

Those revisions propelled the bill through a crucial committee. But, contrary to Mr. Obama’s comments in Iowa, it ultimately died amid parliamentary wrangling in the full Senate.

“Senator Obama’s staff was sending us copies of the bill to review, and we could see it weakening with each successive draft,” said Joe Cosgrove, a park district director in Will County, Ill., where low-level radioactive runoff had turned up in groundwater. “The teeth were just taken out of it.”

The history of the bill shows Mr. Obama navigating a home-state controversy that pitted two important constituencies against each other and tested his skills as a legislative infighter. On one side were neighbors of several nuclear plants upset that low-level radioactive leaks had gone unreported for years; on the other was Exelon, the country’s largest nuclear plant operator and one of Mr. Obama’s largest sources of campaign money.

Since 2003, executives and employees of Exelon, which is based in Illinois, have contributed at least $227,000 to Mr. Obama’s campaigns for the United States Senate and for president. Two top Exelon officials, Frank M. Clark, executive vice president, and John W. Rogers Jr., a director, are among his largest fund-raisers.

Another Obama donor, John W. Rowe, chairman of Exelon, is also chairman of the Nuclear Energy Institute, the nuclear power industry’s lobbying group, based in Washington. Exelon’s support for Mr. Obama far exceeds its support for any other presidential candidate.

In addition, Mr. Obama’s chief political strategist, David Axelrod, has worked as a consultant to Exelon. A spokeswoman for Exelon said Mr. Axelrod’s company had helped an Exelon subsidiary, Commonwealth Edison, with communications strategy periodically since 2002, but had no involvement in the leak controversy or other nuclear issues.

The Obama campaign said in written responses to questions that Mr. Obama “never discussed this issue or this bill” with Mr. Axelrod. The campaign acknowledged that Exelon executives had met with Mr. Obama’s staff about the bill, as had concerned residents, environmentalists and regulators. It said the revisions resulted not from any influence by Exelon, but as a necessary response to a legislative roadblock put up by Republicans, who controlled the Senate at the time.

“If Senator Obama had listened to industry demands, he wouldn’t have repeatedly criticized Exelon in the press, introduced the bill and then fought for months to get action on it,” the campaign said. “Since he has over a decade of legislative experience, Senator Obama knows that it’s very difficult to pass a perfect bill.”

Asked why Mr. Obama had cited it as an accomplishment while campaigning for president, the campaign noted that after the senator introduced his bill, nuclear plants started making such reports on a voluntary basis. The campaign did not directly address the question of why Mr. Obama had told Iowa voters that the legislation had passed.

Nuclear safety advocates are divided on whether Mr. Obama’s efforts yielded any lasting benefits. David A. Lochbaum of the Union of Concerned Scientists agreed that “it took the introduction of the bill in the first place to get a reaction from the industry.”

“But of course because it is all voluntary,” Mr. Lochbaum said, “who’s to say where things will be a few years from now?”

Page 2 of 2)

Others say that turning the whole matter over to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, as Mr. Obama’s revised bill would have done, played into the hands of the nuclear power industry, which they say has little to fear from the regulators. Mr. Obama seemed to share those concerns when he told a New Hampshire newspaper last year that the commission “is a moribund agency that needs to be revamped and has become a captive of the industry it regulates.”

Paul Gunter, an activist based in Maryland who assisted neighbors of the Exelon plants, said he was “disappointed in Senator Obama’s lack of follow-through,” which he said weakened the original bill. “The new legislation falls short” by failing to provide for mandatory reporting, said Mr. Gunter, whose group, Beyond Nuclear, opposes nuclear energy.
The episode that prompted Mr. Obama’s legislation began on Dec. 1, 2005, when Exelon issued a news release saying it had discovered tritium, a radioactive byproduct of nuclear power, in monitoring wells at its Braidwood plant, about 60 miles southwest of Chicago. A few days later, tritium was detected in a drinking water well at a home near the plant, although the levels did not exceed federal safety standards.

At least as disturbing for local residents was the revelation that Exelon believed the tritium came from millions of gallons of water that had leaked from the plant years earlier but went unreported at the time. Under nuclear commission rules, plants are required to tell state and local authorities only about radioactive discharges that rise to the level of an emergency.

On March 1, Mr. Obama introduced a bill known as the Nuclear Release Notice Act of 2006. It stated flatly that nuclear plants “shall immediately” notify federal, state and local officials of any accidental release of radioactive material that exceeded “allowable limits for normal operation.”

To flag systematic problems, it would also have required reporting of repeated accidental leaks that fell below those limits. Illinois’ senior senator, Richard J. Durbin, a fellow Democrat, was a co-sponsor, and three other senators, including Hillary Rodham Clinton, Democrat of New York, later signed on. But Mr. Obama remained its primary champion.

In public statements, Mr. Obama dismissed the nuclear lobby’s arguments that the tritium leaks posed no health threat.

“This legislation is not about whether tritium is safe, or at what concentration or level it poses a threat,” he said. “This legislation is about ensuring that nearby residents know whether they may have been exposed to any level of radiation generated at a nuclear power plant as a result of an unplanned, accidental or unintentional incident.”

Almost immediately, the nuclear power industry and federal regulators raised objections to the bill.

The Nuclear Energy Institute jumped out in front by announcing its voluntary initiative for plant operators to report even small leaks. An Exelon representative told an industry newsletter, Inside N.R.C., that Exelon was “working with Senator Obama’s office to address some technical issues that will allow us to support the legislation.”

Last week, an Exelon spokesman, Craig Nesbit, said the company sought, among other things, new language to specify what types of leaks should be reported, and assurance that enforcement authority remained with the nuclear commission and not state or local governments.

“We were looking for technical clarity,” Mr. Nesbit said.

Meanwhile, the nuclear commission told Mr. Obama’s staff that the bill would have forced the unnecessary disclosure of leaks that were not serious. “Unplanned releases below the level of an emergency present a substantially smaller risk to the public,” the agency said in a memorandum to senators, which ticked off about a half-dozen specific concerns about the bill.

Senate correspondence shows that the environment committee chairman at the time, Senator James M. Inhofe, Republican of Oklahoma who is a strong supporter of industry in battles over energy and environmental legislation, agreed with many of those points and held up the bill. Mr. Obama pushed back, at one point temporarily blocking approval of President Bush’s nominee to the nuclear commission, Dale E. Klein, who met with Mr. Obama to discuss the leaks.

But eventually, Mr. Obama agreed to rewrite the bill, and when the environment committee approved it in September 2006, he and his co-sponsors hailed it as a victory.

In interviews over the past two weeks, Obama aides insisted that the revisions did not substantively alter the bill. In fact, it was left drastically different.

In place of the straightforward reporting requirements was new language giving the nuclear commission two years to come up with its own regulations. The bill said that the commission “shall consider” — not require — immediate public notification, and also take into account the findings of a task force it set up to study the tritium leaks.

By then, the task force had already concluded that “existing reporting requirements for abnormal spills and leaks are at a level that is risk-informed and appropriate.”

The rewritten bill also contained the new wording sought by Exelon making it clear that state and local authorities would have no regulatory oversight of nuclear power plants.

In interviews last week, representatives of Exelon and the nuclear commission said they were satisfied with the revised bill. The Nuclear Energy Institute said it no longer opposed it but wanted additional changes.

The revised bill was never taken up in the full Senate, where partisan parliamentary maneuvering resulted in a number of bills being shelved before the 2006 session ended.

Still, the legislation has come in handy on the campaign trail. Last May, in response to questions about his ties to Exelon, Mr. Obama wrote a letter to a Nevada newspaper citing the bill as evidence that he stands up to powerful interests.

“When I learned that radioactive tritium had leaked out of an Exelon nuclear plant in Illinois,” he wrote, “I led an effort in the Senate to require utilities to notify the public of any unplanned release of radioactive substances.”

Last October, Mr. Obama reintroduced the bill, in its rewritten form.
28671  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Stock Market on: February 04, 2008, 05:37:19 AM
Here is his blog:

28672  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Madison on: February 04, 2008, 05:34:08 AM
"As there is a degree of depravity in mankind which requires
a certain degree of circumspection and distrust: So there are
other qualities in human nature, which justify a certain portion
of esteem and confidence. Republican government presupposes the
existence of these qualities in a higher degree than any other
form. Were the pictures which have been drawn by the political
jealousy of some among us, faithful likenesses of the human
character, the inference would be that there is not sufficient
virtue among men for self-government; and that nothing less than
the chains of despotism can restrain them from destroying and
devouring one another."

-- James Madison (Federalist No. 55, 15 February 1788)

Reference: Madison, Federalist No. 55.
28673  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / BO for movement towards unilateral disarmament on: February 03, 2008, 09:44:22 PM
Excerpt from article: from Chicago Tribune writer published in 2004:

"Obama, however, called for a host of new gun-control measures: strengthening the assault-weapons ban to include high-capacity clips made prior to 1994; holding parents criminally responsible for children who injure someone with a gun found in the home; placing trigger locks on all guns; and allowing gun buyers to purchase only one weapon per month.

Hynes advocated increasing penalties for crimes committed with a gun, and Hull would increase funding to update technology that provides instant background checks on gun buyers.

All of the candidates, except Hynes, said they opposed allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons. Hynes and Chico said states, not the federal government, should regulate the matter.

"I consider this an issue for the states to decide, not the federal government," Chico said.

Obama disagreed. He backed federal legislation that would ban citizens from carrying weapons, except for law enforcement. He cited Texas as an example of a place where a law allowing people to carry weapons has "malfunctioned" because hundreds of people granted licenses had prior convictions.

"National legislation will prevent other states' flawed concealed-weapons laws from threatening the safety of Illinois residents," Obama said."
28674  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: February 03, 2008, 09:23:36 PM
Second post on this.  The quality and accuracy of this source is unknown to me, but the subject matter seems important.

Dalil Boubakeur's proposal to suspend the 1905 law separating Church and State has incensed the advocates of "laïcité" who see in his words a predictable maneuver, welcomed by the State and Churches alike, for the purpose of restoring the power of religion to all spheres of French life.

The following excerpts are taken from a long text posted at Riposte Laïque, a website of militants of "laïcité". Essentially, a coalition of left-leaning groups and individuals, they have the virtue of wanting to preserve intact the 1905 law separating Church and State. It isn't clear if they understand the true nature of Islam and its refusal of such a separation. What is clear is their intense hostility towards religion, and their firm belief that Nicolas Sarkozy intends, through modifications to the existing law, to impose his view of the equality of all religions onto the French people, instead of maintaining the strict separation that has been enforced until recently when Islam came into the picture.

(...) Why should Boubakeur have any qualms (about suspending the law)? Sarkozy, through his speeches in Rome and then in Ryadh rolled out the red carpet to the Churches, and someone had to go into the breach. This role fell to the freedom-destroying mufti of the Paris mosque, since Islam is the spear-head of this offensive.

(...) The ministers visit him (Boubakeur) during Ramadan, an obscurantist practice if ever there was one, to break the fast. They invite him to the television studios where, all the while claiming to favor "laïcité", he whimpers about discrimination towards Muslims. Sarkozy takes him along in his baggage when he goes to Algiers. There, Boubakeur listens enthralled to the French president who, in an incredible speech, denounces Islamophobia and anti-Semitism in the same breath.

As thanks for these good and loyal favors, Boubakeur plays the game expected of him by the powers-that-be and the Churches: he demands the end of the law of 1905.

Note: They come close to saying that it is a conspiracy by the government and the religions - i.e. a pre-planned plot to pave the way for the abolition of the law.

Their fear, despite what they say about Islam, is of the return of Christianity, especially Catholicism, to the decision-making process of the government, as the following statements attest:

In Europe through Article 15-1 of the new Treaty of Lisbon, which replaces the former Article 1-52, they want to render unavoidable the consultation of the Catholic Church before any political policy is adopted.

Furthermore, in Europe, 20 countries out of 25 are signatories of concordats with the Catholic Church. Now they want all of France to be aligned with those countries.

Note: I cannot comment on the above. I have not read the Treaty, nor am I familiar with the concordats.

But Catholicism is not their only fear:

(...) The Turkish Islamists who still intend to enter Europe feel that the moment has come. They are trying to end the ban on the Islamic veil, instituted by Mustapha Kemal, at the University.

The Protestants, among whom the Evangelicals are today in the majority, are patiently waiting for the French State to "tinker" with the law of 1905 that forbids the construction of houses of worship, in order to benefit from these derogations.

Movements such as the Church of Scientology, Jehovah's Witnesses, Raelians, and others are eager for these revisions so that they may be recognized fully as religions, and take advantage of the subsidies, fiscal exemptions and other privileges which are today forbidden by Article 2 of this accursed law.

In short, the stage is set, the scenario is soon to be played out.

Note: I know nothing about Raelians. I doubt that they pose a threat comparable to Islam.

The article goes on to call for a massive protest, first at the local level, then a march towards Paris. Among the organizations cited as participants in this protest are the Grand Orient of France (Freemasons) and the Ligue de l'Enseignement (League of Teachers):

Today is not the time to be timorous with those who prepared the way for Sarkozy and the concept of "open laïcité." Nor must we be divided in our ranks, whatever divergences may exist,

(...) We are convinced that the potential for mobilization by the French people around the concept of "laïcité" is intact. The citizens of this country are much more attached to the separation of the religious from the political than the elite is willing to believe.

Note: Sarkozy has (knowingly?) opened a can of worms with his initiatives on religion. But the essential problem remains Islam. The advocates of "laïcité" seem to forget that there can be no separation of Church and State in Islam and that if Islam is going to be given privileges, it automatically means the end of the law of 1905. Sarkozy, the Great Egalitarian, is banking on the fallacious notion of "equality" of religions and is throwing all religions together in the same arena to find a way of co-existing. His specific plans to modify the 1905 law will be the topic of future posts.

The image is of Liberty Leading the People, a famous painting from 1830 by Eugène Delacroix.

Labels: Christianity, Dalil Boubakeur, Islam, Laïcité, Religion
28675  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: February 03, 2008, 10:31:23 AM
Does anyone have any other info on the subject of this piece?  I'd like to have more than one source/one point of view on this:

Can of Worms: Mufti Wants Moratorium on French Law Separating Church and State

From the desk of Tiberge on Fri, 2008-02-01 13:06
The mufti of the Paris mosque, Dalil Boubakeur, has dropped what amounts to a political and religious bomb. He proposes a moratorium on the French law of 1905 separating Church and State, because not enough mosques are being built in France.
Besides his position as mufti, he is the president of the CFCM (French Council of the Muslim Faith), an association officially established in 2003 thanks to the efforts of Minister of the Interior Nicolas Sarkozy.

Questioned by Le Monde, Mr. Boubakeur set forth the idea of a “moratorium of 10 to 20 years” on the 1905 law, which forbids all public funding of places of worship, so that Islam can “catch up” on its needs. “The associations that administer houses of worship need to be given air to breathe,” he says.
This has to be one of the most daring statements made yet by a Muslim leader in France. There are at least 1500 mosques and prayer rooms in France, 75 in Paris alone.
Dalil Boubakeur’s proposal to suspend the 1905 law has incensed France’s radical secularists, the advocates of “laïcité,” who see in his words a predictable maneuver, welcomed by the State and Churches alike, for the purpose of restoring the power of religion to all spheres of French life.

Militants of “laïcité” are convinced that Nicolas Sarkozy intends, through modifications to the existing law, to impose his view of the equality of all religions onto the French people, instead of maintaining the strict separation that has been enforced until recently when Islam came into the picture.

The blog Riposte Laïque writes:
Sarkozy, through his speeches in Rome and then in Ryadh rolled out the red carpet to the Churches, and someone had to go into the breach. This role fell to the freedom-destroying mufti of the Paris mosque, since Islam is the spear-head of this offensive.

Their fear, despite what they say about Islam, is of the return of Christianity, especially Catholicism, to the decision-making process of the government, as the following statements attest:
Furthermore, in Europe, 20 countries out of 25 are signatories of concordats with the Catholic Church. Now they want all of France to be aligned with those countries.

Riposte Laïque calls for a massive protest, first at the local level, then a march towards Paris. Among the organizations cited as participants in this protest are the Grand Orient of France (Freemasons) and the Ligue de l'Enseignement (League of Teachers).

Sarkozy has (knowingly?) opened a can of worms with his initiatives on religion. But the essential problem remains Islam. The advocates of “laïcité” seem to forget that there can be no separation of Church and State in Islam and that if Islam is going to be given privileges, it automatically means the end of the law of 1905. Sarkozy is banking on the fallacious notion of “equality” of religions and is throwing all religions together in the same arena to find a way of co-existing.
28676  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Chess on: February 02, 2008, 08:59:51 PM
Notation tutorial
28677  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Quotes, quips, and sayings on: February 02, 2008, 07:45:21 PM
Woof All:

Kicking it off with some from a thread of this name on the DBMA Association forum.

Crafty Dog

 I'm tired of politicians peeing on me  then saying, it's just raining" P.C.
                 " Wakey wakey, eggs and bacey!" Bud, from the movie Kill Bill.


"The fighter that is in condition can always beat the best fighter in the world that is out of condition" ~ Don F.

"Small stick, small stars. Big stick, big stars!" ~ GM Ramiro Estalilla (Kabaroan Arnis)


"In our zest for rationality, we irrationally give greater weight to those variables we can identify, as opposed to those we cannot, which unfortunately represent the bulk."

Jack Crooks, currency exchange rate analyst


"Let us not hear of Generals who conquer without bloodshed. If a bloody slaughter is a horrible sight, then that is a ground for paying more respect to War, but nor for making the sword we wear blunter and blunter by degrees from feelings of humanity, until some one steps in with one that is sharp and lops off the arm from our body" Carl Von Clausewitz


In regards to carrying weapons:

"Don't carrying anything that does not fit comfortably up your @$$"

(This one triggered some humorous banter on the DBMAA forum  cheesy )


Famous Last Words:
         Let them eat cake!
         I've almost got it.
         Honey, was that your wedding ring laying on the sink?
         Nobody will ever know.
         It's not loaded.
         Just one more for the road.
         I'm not sure about this.
         I'm a dead man.

 These are for Guro C., since he likes heady ones.
     "Blessed is the man that expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed."
                                                           Alexander Pope, (poet)

     "A good knock on the head with a tobacco stick will scatter their chickens!"
                                   James Crawford, (a farmer and my grandfather)


All of this could have been avoided if your mother didn't fuck your father.


The best part of you ran down your mama's leg.

I'll be on you like flies on garbage.

Don't run you will only die tired. (sniper quote)

The only easy day was yesterday.

I'll hit you with so many rights, you will beg for a left.

Walk as a warrior not as a worrier.


" At present, in many of the martial arts,... there is too much concern about appearance, and not much substance. That kind of martial art is useless in critical moments. "
                                              Miyamoto Musashi, 1645
  I guess finding a reality based martial art isn't a new problem.


From Terry Dobson's "It's A Lot Like Dancing":

"The secret of focus is virtuous intention. Nothing else. Any fool can concentrate; the real life, and deathness, comes in why you are focusing. If you set out to hurt, you will be cut down. If you set out with virtuous intention, you will go right through the opponent."


"Men stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened."
Winston Churchill 


 It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
                                    Theodore Roosevelt  1910


"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."
                            Albert Einstein


"A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity." -- Sigmund Freud, General Introduction to Psychoanlysis (1952).


Men are not worried by things, but by their ideas about things. - Epictetus


It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.

Emiliano Zapata

"I work in a prison. I see Evil every day. My last prison was a lockdown supermax, where Evil was naked and violent, right out in front. Now I work in a sex offender yard, where Evil wears a polite face, and warm smile.....
And people wonder why I carry a gun. Evil gets out on parole next Tuesday..."

A State Corrections Officer answering the question on another forum, "Does evil exist?"


Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.
                                    Helen Keller

" The problem with modern culture is that a man can live his entire lifetime without ever knowing if he is or isn't a coward." unknown


"Whoso would be a man, must be a non conformist." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"When you doubt yourself, it is like joining your enemy's army." - Alexandre Dumas

"To become strong, one must first need to become strong." - Friedrich Nietzsche

"Evolution does not happen unless there is conflict that spurs change in order to compete.  Continually go without challenging yourself and one day you'll wake up to find yourself extinct." - Anonymous


 My grandfather taught me how to hunt when I was very young. On my first bear hunt I told him I was afraid the bear might catch us. He told me not to worry about out running the bear. He said "All you need to do is out run me". This didn't calm my fear.


"A man is a man only when he can be himself wherever he is."

-Coralie in House of D 


 "When the eagles are silent the parrots begin to jabber."

                                       Winston Churchill


Be it remembered that liberty must at all hazards be supported. We have a right to it, derived from our Maker.
  Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people who have a right from the frame of their nature to knowledge, as their great Creator who does nothing in vain, has given them understandings and a desire to know of the characters and conduct or their rulers.
 The point is now determined, I shall have the liberty to think for myself. Government is a plain, simple, intelligent thing, founded in nature and in reason, quite comprehensible by common sense. The true source of our suffering has been timidity. We have been afraid to think. Let us dare to read, think , speak, write. Let it be known that British liberties are not the grants of princes or parliaments, that many of our rights are inherent and essential, agreed on as maxims and established as preliminaries, even before Parliament existed.
  Recollect the civil and religious principles and hopes and expectations which constantly supported and carried our more immediate forefathers, in exchanging their native country for a dreary, inhospitable wilderness.
  The preservation of liberty depends upon the intellectual and moral character of the people. As long as knowledge and virtue are diffused generally among the body of a nation, it is impossible they should be enslaved.
                                         John Adams 1765


"Out of every One Hundered men, Ten should not be here, Eighty are nothing but targets, Nine are the real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, for they the battle make."

"Ah, but the one, one of them is a warrior, and he will bring the others back."

Heraclitus 500 b.c.


"We must be willing, individually and as a Nation, to accept whatever sacrifices may be required of us. A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both."
                           Dwight D. Eisenhower

Young men know the rules, but old men know the exceptions. 
--Oliver Wendell Holmes


 It is time for us to realize that we are too great a Nation to limit ourselves to small dreams. We are not, as some would have us to believe, doomed to an inevitable decline. I do not believe in a fate that will fall on us no matter what we do. I do believe in a fate that will fall on us if we do nothing.
                              Ronald Reagan 1981
28678  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: MMA Thread on: February 02, 2008, 07:22:02 PM
My guess is that the UFC sees Mir as the goldfish.  Much $$$ to be made with Lesner and Mir still has name, but sans roids and post accident he may not be what he was.
28679  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Gurkhas and their Kukris on: February 02, 2008, 07:19:30 PM
I too heard this story.  The variation I heard had it as a LALO jump, 800 feet.  Surprised at the limited response, the officer berated them.  The Gurkhas countered by asking for 400 feet.  It was only then that the officer realized they thought the jump was to be without parachutes. cheesy shocked

BTW, in the early days of the current war against Afghanistan I saw a report in the newspapers of a squad of Gurkhas marching in formation through a firefight between a couple of Afghani factions into the British compound to rescue some diplomats , , , and no one fcuked with them.
28680  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Sacked for uncovering crucifix on: February 02, 2008, 06:25:41 PM
Porter sacked by hospital after he asks for 'multi-faith' prayer room crucifix be made visible

A hospital porter has been sacked after a row over a crucifix being covered up in a prayer room used by Muslims.

Joseph Protano, 54, was suspended four days after the incident last month at a children's hospital - and has since been dismissed.

The row centres on a prayer room available to staff and visitors of all faiths, which contains a statue of the Virgin Mary and a crucifix.

Mr Protano, a Roman Catholic who has worked two years at the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital, Pendlebury, entered the room when three Muslims were using it - two patients and a doctor.

An argument broke out after he asked them to remove a cloth covering the crucifix and statue and to turn a picture of the Virgin Mary face up.

He has now been dismissed for gross misconduct but he intends to appeal.

Police quizzed him for four hours last month, on suspicion of religiously aggravated assault, but he was released without charge.

He denies the allegations and must wait to see if police take any action.

He said he was unable to comment on his sacking as the police probe and his plans to appeal were ongoing.

But a friend said: "He was very shocked at the decision. He thinks he has been treated terribly.

"He loves his job and doesn't do it for the money - until recently, his employers were paying just £5.88 an hour.

"They are saying he should not have gone into the prayer room and it is alleged he used racist language, which he totally refutes.

"His pay has been stopped, even though he intends to appeal, and he has had to sign on for benefits."

The friend said Mr Protano went into the prayer room about six times a day to check that the statue and crucifix were not left covered because he felt could be upsetting for visiting Christian parents to find them covered up.

The case has angered many hospital staff, who think he has been treated unfairly.

Police said a file had been passed to the Crown Prosecution Service for a decision over any further action.
28681  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: VIDEO CLIPS OF INTEREST on: February 02, 2008, 10:04:47 AM
"Steven Seagal"
28682  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Gurkhas and their Kukris on: February 02, 2008, 08:35:22 AM
28683  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Franklin: Virtue; on: February 02, 2008, 07:57:55 AM

"I pronounce it as certain that there was never yet a truly great
man that was not at the same time truly virtuous."

-- Benjamin Franklin (The Busy-body, No. 3, 18 February 1728)

Reference: The Works of Benjamin Franklin, Bigelow, ed., vol. 1

28684  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Mai Sok vs... on: February 02, 2008, 12:57:21 AM
The closest to a Mai Sowk fight was the double tonfa vs stick fight seen on SCSFg #6.  The tonfas were often used in a MS manner and helmets were used instead of masks.

Salty one invited me to fight against his Mai Sowks (he had made a pair to his dimensions that were quite scary), but being fond of my ribs I declined.  For a stick to have equal capability, I wonder if a hardwood stick would be necessary.

Our goal is for no one to spend the night in the hospital, our goal is for everyone to leave with the IQ with which he came.
28685  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: February 01, 2008, 08:36:59 PM
Two post copied from another forum:

John McCain: The Democrats' Favorite Republican I got this email today and thought that I'd share the info with you guy's. I haven't had a chance to read all of the links, but I thought that some of you might be interested anyway.

John McCain: The Democrats' Favorite Republican (Video) (1min)

John McCain is a Liberal

"I believe my party has gone astray. I think the Democratic Party is a fine party, and I have no problems with it, in their views and their philosophy." - John McCain

McCain Calls Conservative Leaders 'Agents of Intolerance' (The Wall Street Journal)

"Neither party should be defined by pandering to the outer reaches of American politics and the agents of intolerance, whether ... on the left, or Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell on the right." - John McCain

McCain's Age (Townhall)

Age: 71

- McCain graduated 894th out of 899 in his class at the United States Naval Academy

Betrayal, deceit, corruption and John McCain (The U.S. Veteran Dispatch)

"While still married to Carol, McCain began an adulterous relationship with

Cindy. He married Cindy in May 1980 - just a month after dumping his

crippled wife and securing a divorce."

John McCain: The Geraldo Rivera Republican (Human Events)

McCain: I'll Respect Hillary (NewsMax)

"I Have No Doubt That Senator Clinton Would Make A Good President." - John McCain

The Real McCain Record (National Review Online)


John McCain Supports Embryonic Stem Cell Research (Audio)

McCain Softens Abortion Stand (The Washington Post)

"But certainly in the short term, or even the long term, I would not support repeal of Roe v. Wade, which would then force X number of women in America to [undergo] illegal and dangerous operations." - John McCain

Anger Issues:

Andy Card: I Have Seen John McCain's Anger (NewsMax)

John McCain: I Have Anger Issues (NewsMax)

John McCain's Temper Preceded Vietnam (NewsMax)

McCain Goes Nuts Near Senate Floor (NewsMax)

McCain's Out-of-Control Anger: Does He Have the Temperament to Be President? (NewsMax)

Vanity Fair Tiptoes Around McCain's Explosive Temper (NewsMax)


Juan Hernandez, Open borders Advocate Endorses McCain (HotAir)

Republicans for Al Gore (Environmental Protection) Endorses McCain (Press Release)

The New York Times Endorses John McCain and Clinton (Reuters)

Foreign Policy:

McCain considers setting benchmarks for Iraqis (Arizona Daily Star)

McCain falls asleep during the State of the Union Address (Video)

McCain: No 'Torture' for 9/11 Mastermind (NewsMax)

McCain to Close Gitmo: "The first day I am President" (Video)

McCain: Torture Worked on Me (NewsMax)

Global Warming:

McCain and Lieberman Push for New Anti-Global Warming Legislation (The National Center for Public Policy Research)

Senators McCain and Lieberman Propose Energy Tax (The National Center for Public Policy Research)

"No drilling in ANWR, nor in the Everglades, nor off the coast of Florida ... To think that drilling in ANWR is the solution to our incredible energy needs is frankly, is not keeping in the reality of what's there, and what it would take to get it out." - John McCain

"I always have a glass of ethanol before breakfast every morning" - John McCain

Illegal Immigration:

McCain Would Sign Amnesty Bill as President (Video)

John McCain gets a 'D' on his Immigration Voting Report Card (Americans for Better Immigration)

- McCain favors business lobbyists’ desires for foreign workers vs. protecting American workers’ wages and jobs

- McCain’s hopes of giving millions amnesty will saddle American taxpayers with huge costs of $20,000 per illegal per year

- McCain has taken the pro-amnesty position in nearly two dozen votes

- McCain only promises to make 2 million of the 12-20 million illegal aliens go home

John McCain Praises Pro-illegal Protests (NewsMax)

McCain aide touts 'Mexico first' policy (WorldNetDaily)

McCain: "Americans Will Not Pick Lettuce for $50 an Hour" (AFL-CIO)

McCain called plan 'amnesty' in 2003 (WorldNetDaily)

"I think we can set up a program where amnesty is extended to a certain number of people, Amnesty has to be an important part..." - John McCain, 2003

McCain: U.S. Should Welcome Illegal Immigrants (FOXNews),2933,123844,00.html

Michigan Crowd Boos McCain On Illegal Immigration (Video) (1min)



Juan Hernandez, Open borders Advocate Endorses McCain (HotAir)

Republicans for Al Gore (Environmental Protection) Endorses McCain (Press Release)

The New York Times Endorses John McCain and Clinton (Reuters)

Foreign Policy:

McCain considers setting benchmarks for Iraqis (Arizona Daily Star)

McCain falls asleep during the State of the Union Address (Video)

McCain: No 'Torture' for 9/11 Mastermind (NewsMax)

McCain to Close Gitmo: "The first day I am President" (Video)

McCain: Torture Worked on Me (NewsMax)

Global Warming:

McCain and Lieberman Push for New Anti-Global Warming Legislation (The National Center for Public Policy Research)

Senators McCain and Lieberman Propose Energy Tax (The National Center for Public Policy Research)

"No drilling in ANWR, nor in the Everglades, nor off the coast of Florida ... To think that drilling in ANWR is the solution to our incredible energy needs is frankly, is not keeping in the reality of what's there, and what it would take to get it out." - John McCain

"I always have a glass of ethanol before breakfast every morning" - John McCain

Illegal Immigration:

McCain Would Sign Amnesty Bill as President (Video)

John McCain gets a 'D' on his Immigration Voting Report Card (Americans for Better Immigration)

- McCain favors business lobbyists’ desires for foreign workers vs. protecting American workers’ wages and jobs

- McCain’s hopes of giving millions amnesty will saddle American taxpayers with huge costs of $20,000 per illegal per year

- McCain has taken the pro-amnesty position in nearly two dozen votes

- McCain only promises to make 2 million of the 12-20 million illegal aliens go home

John McCain Praises Pro-illegal Protests (NewsMax)

McCain aide touts 'Mexico first' policy (WorldNetDaily)

McCain: "Americans Will Not Pick Lettuce for $50 an Hour" (AFL-CIO)

McCain called plan 'amnesty' in 2003 (WorldNetDaily)

"I think we can set up a program where amnesty is extended to a certain number of people, Amnesty has to be an important part..." - John McCain, 2003

McCain: U.S. Should Welcome Illegal Immigrants (FOXNews),2933,123844,00.html

Michigan Crowd Boos McCain On Illegal Immigration (Video) (1min)

Open borders advocate Juan Hernandez has joined the McCain campaign (HotAir)

- Juan Hernandez, McCain Advisor: Mexico First! (Video) (4min)

U.S. Border Patrol Agents Angry with McCain (NewsMax)


Christian Leader James Dobson says 'no way' to McCain candidacy (WorldNetDaily)

"I think that gay marriage should be allowed if there's a ceremony kind of thing, if you wanna call it that. I don't have any problem with that." - John McCain

McCain: Same-sex marriage ban is un-Republican (CNN)


"I'm going to be honest: I know a lot less about economics than I do about military and foreign policy issues. I still need to be educated." - John McCain

McCain: For and Against Tax Cuts (Video)

McCain Boasts That He Voted Against The Bush Tax Cuts (Video)

McCain Would Vote Against Tax Cuts Again (The Club for Growth)

- McCain sponsored and voted for an enormous 282% tax increase on cigarettes in 1998

- McCain was one of only two Republican to vote against the $1.35 trillion tax cut in 2001

- McCain was one of only two Republicans to twice vote against permanent repeal of the death tax in 2002

- McCain was one of only three Republican to twice vote against the $350 billion tax cut in 2003

McCain’s Costly Tax on Energy (National Review Online)

- The EPA Estimates Sen. McCain's Plan Would Hike Gas Taxes By 68 Cents Per Gallon

- The EPA Estimates Sen. McCain's Plan Would Reduce United States GDP By As Much As $5.2 Trillion

McCain Rejects Anti-Tax Pledge (CNSNews)


McCain Can't Buy His Way Out of Votes Against Funding for Veterans

- McCain Voted Against $19 Billion for Military Hospitals

- McCain Voted Against Amendment to Provide $2.8 Billion For Veterans' Medical Care

- McCain Voted Against 2005 Amendment to Provide Guaranteed Funding Stream for Veterans' Health Care

- McCain Voted Against Establishing $1 Billion Trust Fund to Provide Improvements to Military and Veterans' Health Facilities

- McCain Voted Against Adding $1.5 billion to Veterans' Medical Services in FY 2007 by Closing Corporate Tax Loopholes

- McCain Voted Against Mandatory Funding of $6.9 Billion in FY 2007 and $104 Billion Over Five Years for Veterans' Health Care
28686  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: February 01, 2008, 05:26:09 PM
Kerry:  "McCain approached me in 2004 about being my VP candidate"
28687  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: February 01, 2008, 10:20:24 AM
A nicely made point on another forum:

I was intrigued by the reason the Witch gave last night for being against driving licenses for illegal immigrants.

From the transcript

"I do not think that it is either appropriate to give a driver's license to someone who is here undocumented, putting them, frankly, at risk, because that is clear evidence that they are not here legally"

"If you want to round up into four (million) people, how many tens of thousands of federal law enforcement officials would that take ... And how much authority would they have to be given to knock on every door of every business and every home? I don't think Americans would stand for that."

Lets read between the lines. Registration is bad for illegal immigrants as Republicans would use it as a database to round them up.

Now lets go back to 2000 where The Witch said:

"We license drivers before they get behind the wheel to make sure they can drive safely. We register cars to make sure someone is responsible for every vehicle on the road. But we don't do the same for deadly weapons,"

So we need to register guns but don't worry registration will not lead to confiscation. We should not register illegal immigrants as that will lead to deportation... Now how can someone be prepared to swear to "protect and defend the Constitution of the United States" when they have no regard for the 2nd amendment but will twist the rules to keep illegals here?
28688  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: January 31, 2008, 04:49:09 PM
Obama Comes to Earth?

Republicans may be on the verge of selecting a nominee, but Democrats are making plans for some long trench warfare.

Mark Penn, a pollster and key strategist for Hillary Clinton, told reporters on a conference call yesterday that he thinks "the search for delegates is going to continue... straight through to the convention."

Mr. Penn also told reporters that while Barack Obama has been basking in his endorsement by Ted Kennedy, there are signs that voters are starting to see Mr. Obama as just another politician: "I think there's a growing perception that Sen. Obama is on the attack."

Logistics also favor the Clinton campaign in the Super Tuesday primaries to be held next week. Mr. Penn noted that unions with six million members are backing the New York Senator and will be on the ground providing get-out-the-vote muscle and resources to deliver her supporters to the polls.

-- John Fund
Mitt Closes His Wallet

Nothing in yesterday's GOP presidential debate from the Reagan Library in California changed John McCain's front-runner status. Mr. McCain was clearly not particularly likeable or at the top of his game but he swatted away the criticisms hurled at him with ease. Mitt Romney was dragged into a lengthy defense on an alleged statement he made about a timetable for withdrawal in Iraq. As the old adage goes: if you are explaining, you are not gaining.

Mr. Romney has only a few days left to change the dynamic of the race before 21 states vote next Tuesday. As of yesterday afternoon, his campaign had purchased no television ad time in any of the Super Tuesday states. "If Thursday goes by without an ad buy, it will be a sign the Romney campaign is only going through the motions," says one TV advertising expert with ties to no candidate. "After all, we know he can write a check if he has to."

-- John Fund
The Candidate Who Memorized 'In Search of Excellence'

At last night's (blessedly) final Republican presidential debate, Mitt Romney had the look, and sound, of someone who knows it's over. While predictions in this political season have become a fool's game, I am going to venture that no matter how many states he competes in, Gov. Romney knows he will never close the five-point gap that separated him from John McCain in New Hampshire and now Florida.

Last night the famous Matinee Mitt smile of self-confidence seemed to have been replaced by a more relaxed, wistful glance over at the Arizona Senator seated next to him. That resigned, tight smile said something: I am smarter than you are, Senator, on virtually every issue other than who ran Pakistan 10 years ago, but I am still losing. Why?

Here's why. As was clear again in last night's debate, Gov. Romney's message on the campaign trail or on TV was a perpetual data-dump. Yes, Mitt was smarter than the other guys, but he had the smartest-kid-in-the-class malady of compulsively trying to show off his brain with what in the end merely amounted to a lot of policy details, a lot of "stuff." Did anyone ever understand his explanation of his Massachusetts health care reform?

Result: His message was disorganized. The bumper sticker was "Let Mitt Fix Washington," but the Mitt fix itself came across to audiences as a grab-bag of analysis, nostrums and pieces of supporting data pulled randomly from some folder in his brain. As Mike Huckabee might put it, the bane of the Romney candidacy was Bain & Company. Bain is the consulting firm where by his own admission Mr. Romney learned how to think about the world -- through the eyes of a management consultant. As any CEO who has ever hired one of these firms will tell you, they are fascinating guys to talk to but you wouldn't want them actually running your company.

The Romney candidacy never quite came into focus. Yeah, fix Washington, but beyond that a blizzard of technocratic data at every whistlestop. One can see why he'd be maddened losing to the almost stolid McCain candidacy. But no one could miss the McCain message: national honor, a duty to fulfill the nation's responsibilities and the real and present danger of an external threat. It's a mindset they teach in the military but not in consulting: Keep it simple, stupid.

Mitt couldn't. He's done.

-- Daniel Henninger
Quote of the Day

"One reality is likely to emerge for voters who care most about national security: John McCain enthusiastically supported the surge, the key course correction in a battle that all Republicans call the 'central front' in the war on terror -- and he did so at great political risk. Still, McCain had several moments [in last night's debate] that will anger conservatives. His line that he worked 'for patriotism, not for profit' is bad. Romney rightly suggested that small business owners will be offended at the implication that profits are somehow ignoble. McCain earns a lot of support because of his service -- military and political. But people know it without him touting his own patriotism. McCain threw a sharp elbow at Romney for laying people off during his time as a venture capitalist. It was unwise and undignified. I imagine his advisers all cringed at the substance and timing of it" -- Stephen Hayes, writing on last night's GOP debate at

Class of '94

The recent retirement announcements by Reps. Tom Davis (R-Va.) and Dave Weldon (R-Fla.) means that 28 Republicans in the House of Representatives will not be returning in 2009, and scratches two more members of the historic 1994 Republican freshman class from the House roster. Out with the tide is slowly going the Republican commando force that, led by Newt Gingrich and campaigning on the "contract with America," ended 40 years of Democratic control in the House.

In 2006, eight members of the 1994 class were either defeated or resigned in scandal. And the attrition continues. Along with Mr. Davis and Mr. Weldon, fellow 1994 classmates Barbara Cubin (R-Wyo.), Ray LaHood (R-Ill.) and Jerry Weller (R-Ill.) are retiring this year. Among the five, only Mr. LaHood was not likely to be seriously challenged. With their retirements, plus the recent appointment of Rep. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) to the Senate, the 73-member Republican Revolution class will have dwindled to 17 by next year.

The only remaining 1994 class member who is likely to face serious re-election competition this year is Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), whose toughest race may be in the Republican primary. In 2007, Mr. Jones was one of only two Republicans to join Democrats in co-sponsoring the non-binding resolution opposing President Bush's troop surge in Iraq. The same congressman who in 2003 pushed the House cafeteria to rename French fries "freedom fries" is now facing a challenge from the right for his stance on the Iraq war.

-- Kyle Trygstad,

28689  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Survival issues outside the home on: January 31, 2008, 04:30:03 PM
Biggs's Tips for Rich: Expect War, Study Blitz, Mind Markets

Review by James Pressley

Jan. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Barton Biggs has some offbeat advice for the rich: Insure yourself against war and disaster by buying a remote farm or ranch and stocking it with ``seed, fertilizer, canned food, wine, medicine, clothes, etc.''

The ``etc.'' must mean guns.

``A few rounds over the approaching brigands' heads would probably be a compelling persuader that there are easier farms to pillage,'' he writes in his new book, ``Wealth, War and Wisdom.''

Biggs is no paranoid survivalist. He was chief global strategist at Morgan Stanley before leaving in 2003 to form hedge fund Traxis Partners. He doesn't lock and load until the last page of this smart look at how World War II warped share prices, gutted wealth and remains a warning to investors. His message: Listen to markets, learn from history and prepare for the worst.

``Wealth, War and Wisdom'' fills a void. Library shelves are packed with volumes on World War II. The history of stock markets also has been ably recorded, notably in Robert Sobel's ``The Big Board.'' Yet how many books track the intersection of the two?

The ``wisdom'' in the alliterative title refers to the spooky way markets can foreshadow the future. Biggs became fascinated with this phenomenon after discovering by chance that equity markets sensed major turning points in the war.

The British stock market bottomed out in late June 1940 and started rising again before the truly grim days of the Battle of Britain in July to October, when the Germans were splintering London with bombs and preparing to invade the U.K.

`Epic Bottom'

The Dow Jones Industrial Average plumbed ``an epic bottom'' in late April and early May of 1942, then began climbing well before the U.S. victory in the Battle of Midway in June turned the tide against the Japanese.

Berlin shares ``peaked at the high-water mark of the German attack on Russia just before the advance German patrols actually saw the spires of Moscow in early December of 1941.''

``Those were the three great momentum changes of World War II -- although at the time, no one except the stock markets recognized them as such.''

Biggs isn't suggesting that Mr. Market is infallible: He can get ``panicky and crazy in the heat of the moment,'' he says. Over the long haul, though, markets display what James Surowiecki calls ``the wisdom of crowds.''

Like giant voting machines, they aggregate the judgments of individuals acting independently into a collective assessment. Biggs stress-tests this theory against events that shook nations from the Depression through the Korean War, which he calls ``the last battle of World War II.''

Refresher Course

Biggs has read widely and thought deeply. He has a pleasing conversational style, an eye for memorable anecdotes and a weakness for Winston Churchill's quips. His book works as a brisk refresher course.

What really packs a wallop, though, is his combination of military history, market action, maps and charts. It's one thing to say that the London market scraped bottom before the Battle of Britain. It's another to show it.

In May and June 1940, some 338,000 British and French troops had been evacuated from Dunkirk by a flotilla of fishing boats, tugs, barges, yachts and river steamers. The French and Belgian armies had collapsed; the Dutch had surrendered. Britain stood alone, as bombs shattered London and the Nazis prepared to invade. Yet stocks rallied.

Mankind endures “an episode of great wealth destruction” at least once every century, Biggs reminds us. So the wealthy should prepare to ride out a disaster, be it a tsunami, a market meltdown or Islamic terrorists with a dirty bomb.

The rich get complacent, assuming they will have time ``to extricate themselves and their wealth'' when trouble comes, Biggs says. The rich are mistaken, as the Holocaust proves.

``Events move much faster than anyone expects,'' he says, ``and the barbarians are on top of you before you can escape.''

Wealth, War and Wisdom is from Wiley (358 pages, $29.95).

(James Pressley writes for Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are his own.)
28690  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: January 31, 2008, 04:26:20 PM
Unfortunately not nominating him means we've lost the most effective advocate for winning the war in Iraq, preventing Iran's nuke program, and fighting Islamic Fascism.
28691  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Ecological Economics on: January 31, 2008, 04:24:14 PM

The free market requires that all costs of a transaction are born by buyer and seller.  Thus, pollution is a violation of the free market, and as such IMHO fair game for taxation, penalties, etc.  IN LIEU OF taxation of good things like income, profit, savings, inheritance, etc.

As for the problem of the public commons, the simple fact is that Marxist and State driven economies tend to have absolutely terrible records when it comes to protecting the environment e.g. Russia, China.  The simple fact is the the relatively free market economies tend to produce the standard of living which enables concern for the environment.

We have seen numerous examples of what happens when a forest is not owned--everyone cuts down trees before someone else does-- net result, no forest) and when a forest is owned--owners self-interest is to harvest at sustaining levels.  Did you know that the forest seen in the beginning of "The Last of the Mohicans" was filmed in a lumber company's forest?  This applies to animals too.  Where the Masai can make $ off lion and elephant related tourism, they stop trying to eliminate them. 

In short the argument of the piece you post is, IMHO, "the usual marxist tripe hidden under a swatch of green."  grin
28692  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Stock Market on: January 31, 2008, 04:07:10 PM
Good question there.

Re: David Gordon's call on VMW.  Tis a rare event for him to have a pick bomb as badly as VMW has.  OUCH (and I just read that GOOG, a big success story of his, is down 10% after hours today).  I'm following his advice on his blog on when and how to get out.
28693  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: January 31, 2008, 09:19:43 AM
I agree, but here's the problem: I like Romney's positions better than McCain's. I doubt his ability to debate either of Lady Evita or BO.  I agree with his immigration policies, but worry he has not accompanied them with word and deed that will enable the Reps to maintain competitiveness with the Dems for the Latino vote.  As hard line as I am on illegals, I am also clear that good immigration is good and necessary for the US-- and Romney has not really paired this point with his properly hardline comments on illegals. 
We saw this happen in California over an initiatitive some years back-- and now CA is a solidly Dem state.  I doubt his ability to not get buttf*cked by a Dem congress and the Dem controlled MSM into compromising on just about everything.  Current polls have McC beating both Lady Evita and BO, and Romney losing to both.

What to do?

28694  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: January 31, 2008, 09:11:07 AM

TORONTO - A Toronto-area man has been posting messages on the Internet supporting attacks against Canadian soldiers on Canadian soil, drawing the attention of RCMP national security investigators.
Police have advised the Bangladeshi-Canadian that he is under investigation for incitement and facilitating terrorism after he repeatedly called the killing of Canadian troops in Canada "legitimate" and "well deserved."
No charges have been laid, but counterterrorism officers are apparently taking it seriously, and the case has set off a debate inside government over where to draw the line between free expression and incitement.
"The promotion of hate and violence has no place in Canadian society, and it is an offence under the Criminal Code," Stockwell Day, the Minister of Public Safety, responded when shown a sample of the postings. "Our government carefully balances the right to freedom of expression with our duty to protect Canadians from harm."

Alarm bells about the online writings went off last September after German authorities arrested three Islamic militants accused of planning to bomb the Ramstein Air Base and Frankfurt International Airport.
That same day, Salman Hossain posted several messages about the plot on the comment board of a Toronto-based Internet site where he is a frequent contributor.
Although Mr. Hossain claimed in one of his communications with the National Post that he made the comments in a private online chat room, the messages can easily be viewed by anyone using a simple Google search.
"I hope the German brothers were gonna blow up US-German bases in their country. We should do that here in Canada as well. Kill as many western soldiers as well so that they think twice before entering foreign countries on behalf of their Jew masters," he wrote.
"Any and all Western soldiers getting prepared to enter Muslim nations like Afghanistan or Iraq should be legitimate targets by any and all Islamic militants either in the attacked nations or in the western nations --if there were any planned attacks against Canadian/ American soldiers by 'Muslim militants' in Canadian soil, I'd support it," he added.

"Canadian soldiers in Canadian soil who are training to go to Afghanistan or Iraq are legitimate targets to be killed. … Now it is POSSIBLE AND LEGITIMATE!! ... believe me, if we could have enough of our soldiers killed, then we'd be forced to withdrawn from Afghanistan."
In addition, he singles out Jews, writing: "When do I get to shoot a few Jews down for attempting to blow up dozens of mosques in America right after 9-11 … why f---ing target the Americans when the Jews are better?"

The author of the messages is a Mississauga university student in his mid-twenties who claims to know the infamous Khadr family and several of the men arrested in Toronto in June, 2006, on terrorism conspiracy charges. He confirmed to the National Post that he was the author of the postings but later declined to comment further on the advice of his lawyer. While he writes that he approves of attacking Canadian troops, he also says he would not do so himself.

Despite being visited by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and RCMP and told he was under investigation, Mr. Hossain has continued to post messages approving of attacks on Canadian troops.
Saying anti-war protests "will do sh$$," he describes a "mass casualty" attack on the home-front as "a well considered option" and "the best way to compel western soldiers to get out of Afghanistan/Iraq."
Such an attack "would be fantastic and would get the job done," he writes. "If someone gets the bright idea of committing such a wonderful act, it's NOT my responsibility in any way, shape or form."
He wrote, "I enjoy watching the blood flow from the western troops," and during Defence Minister Peter MacKay's Christmas week visit to Kandahar, he wrote: "I pray that the Taliban kill our Mackay motherf---er."
In other postings, he wishes "a merry 9-11, and I wish y'all many more merry 9-11s"; says "the Jews are literally the most treacherous nation on the face of the Earth"; says "I hate the Jews"; and claims "the filthy Jews carried out 9-11."

He rails at police, saying "you can't charge me for possessing a thought" and writes that he "honestly got a kick outta pissing off the RCMP … HAHAHA … i was laughing my ass off for provoking the RCMP."
The case comes as Canadian security agencies are struggling to deal with extremism among a minority of Muslim Canadians, particularly youths. Intelligence analysts believe much of this radicalization is occurring on the Internet.
"So what we are in the presence of is a ranter, informed by the usual conspiratorial views that are unfortunately part and parcel of extremist Islamist thought -- especially the core anti-Semitic notion of a giant Jewish conspiracy," said Professor Wesley Wark, a Canadian security expert.

But he said while the language is violent and crude, it is probably harmless venting. "On the other hand, there is always a worry that such speech could tip over into action by this person or others of like mind."
The RCMP would not comment on the probe, saying sensitive matters of national security were involved, but spokeswoman Corporal Cathy McCrory said the government was "committed to ensuring the safety and security of citizens and we will not tolerate those that seek to harm Canadians."
Canada's Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) does not specifically outlaw incitement of terrorism, although such a measure has been discussed by MPs.
Prof. Work, visiting research professor at the University of Ottawa School of Public and International Affair, said a debate on the topic is needed.
"It's high time we had a proper public airing of the pros and cons of further reforms to the ATA, including an incitement clause, and a public airing of the nature of legal powers needed to ensure prompt and effective monitoring of potentially harmful Internet traffic."
A few days after Mr. Hossain wrote that "we should do" a Ramstein-type plot in Canada, the RCMP contacted him. He spoke to them on Sept. 18 at his lawyer's office.

He later posted messages saying he was under police investigation, but he said that "cheerleading" for Muslim insurgents in Afghanistan "is every Muslim's right."
Although he did not tone down his rhetoric, he did make one change: His comments are now sometimes followed by a disclaimer that says he is not inciting violence but merely "suggesting" scenarios and he is not responsible if they actually happen.
"I don't see how the right to free speech includes deliberate
incitement to violence," said Bruce Hoffman, a Georgetown University professor and a leading international expert on terrorism, after reading the postings.
"One would think that [Canadian soldiers] are owed more than, 'Well, I don't think we can secure a conviction.' How demoralizing is it for soldiers to find out that people are openly advocating terrorism against them and yet the government who they serve won't do anything about it because it's either too much trouble or there's no guarantee they're going to succeed?"

Prof. Hoffman said the postings remind him of the material that incited Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. "Reading those, I was wondering, is there any Western country that would tolerate people posting things talking about staging attacks like this?"
He said that while there was no guarantee a criminal case would succeed, prosecutors might want to go ahead anyway, if only to send a message that "you can't openly advocate the murder of Canadian soldiers.
Four months after he met RCMP officers at his lawyer's office, the Mississauga man continues to make provocative postings. On Jan. 17, he wrote that, "If the Taliban had the capability to attack our troops in our own soil, which I personally hope they do in the future, then these pussies will be dead scared of sending any more troops in2 Afghanistan."
28695  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: January 31, 2008, 09:04:18 AM
Edwards Yay, Giuliani Eh
Each of the two bye-kus above this item links to an Associated Press story about the respective candidate's decision to withdraw from the race, and the contrast is quite striking. Here is the AP's Nedra Pickler on the lovely and talented Edwards:

Democrat John Edwards is exiting the presidential race Wednesday, ending a scrappy underdog bid in which he steered his rivals toward progressive ideals while grappling with family hardship that roused voters' sympathies but never diverted his campaign, The Associated Press has learned.
Wow, how did the AP learn that Edwards's campaign was "scrappy" and that it "steered his rivals toward progressive ideals"? That must've taken some heavy-duty research!

Pickler also credits Edwards with having "waged a spirited top-tier campaign against the two better-funded rivals." It seems that he "burst out of the starting gate with a flurry of progressive policy ideas":

The ideas were all bold and new for Edwards personally as well, making him a different candidate than the moderate Southerner who ran in 2004 while still in his first Senate term. But the themes were eventually adopted by other Democratic presidential candidates--and even a Republican, Mitt Romney, echoed the call for an end to special interest politics in Washington.
Who'd a thunk that "even a Republican" would endorse Edwards's bold new idea of "an end to special interest politics in Washington"?

By contrast, the AP's Devlin Barrett covers the Giuliani withdrawal straight:

Rudy Giuliani, who bet his presidential hopes on Florida only to come in third, prepared to quit the race Tuesday and endorse his friendliest rival, John McCain.
The former New York mayor stopped short of announcing he was stepping down, but delivered a valedictory speech that was more farewell than fight-on.
Giuliani finished a distant third to winner John McCain and close second-place finisher Mitt Romney. Republican officials said Giuliani would endorse McCain on Wednesday in California. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in advance of the public announcement.
Barrett notes that the former mayor's distant third-place finish in yesterday's Florida primary "was a remarkable collapse for Giuliani"--ultimately a matter of opinion, we suppose, but one with which it's hard to disagree. In describing Giuliani's background, he has some kind words, but they are much more tempered than Pickler's on Edwards:

Giuliani hung his bid for the Republican presidential nomination on his leadership. His stalwart performance as New York mayor in the tense days after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks earned him national magazine covers, international accolades and widespread praise.
Yet, Giuliani was always a Republican anomaly--a moderate-to-liberal New Yorker who backed abortion rights, gay rights and gun control in a party dominated by Southern conservatives.
Now it is true that everyone, even reporters, is human. If you spend a good portion of your life covering politics, you are going to develop feelings about politicians, and if you're not careful, they may slip into your news coverage. What bothers us about this Pickler dispatch--and about many other instances of media bias we've pointed to over the years--is that the reporter doesn't even seem to have bothered to be careful. It may not be possible for a reporter to achieve the ideal of perfect objective detachment, but that's no excuse not to try.

James Taranto WSJ
28696  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politically (In)correct on: January 31, 2008, 08:35:32 AM
 UK - Teachers not to assume children have hetero parents


Don't say mum and dad... teachers told not to assume pupils have heterosexual parents

By LAURA CLARK - More by this author » Last updated at 10:48am on 30th January 2008

Teachers should not assume that their pupils have a "mum and dad" under guidance aimed at tackling anti-gay bullying in schools.

It says primary pupils as young as four should be familiarised with the idea of same-sex couples to help combat homophobic attitudes.

Teachers should attempt to avoid assumptions that pupils will have a conventional family background, it urges.

It goes on to suggest the word "parents" may be more appropriate than "mum and dad", particularly in letters and emails to the child's home.

When discussing marriage with secondary pupils, teachers should also educate pupils about civil partnerships and gay adoption rights.

The guidance - produced for the Government by gay rights group Stonewall - will be formally launched today by Schools Secretary Ed Balls.

It states that children who call classmates "gay" should be treated the same as racists as part of a "zero tolerance" crackdown on the use of the word as an insult.

Teachers should avoid telling boys to "be a man" or accuse them of behaving like a "bunch of women".

This sort of rebuke "leads to bullying of those who do not conform to fixed ideas about gender", the guidance states.

At the same time, schools should encourage gay role models among staff, parents and governors. Homosexual staff should be able to discuss their private lives after the consultation with the head teacher.

In advice to gay staff, it states: "School culture and ethos determines how open staff are about their private lives, and you should therefore seek advice and guidance from your head."

The Department for Children, Schools and Families commissioned Stonewall to write the guidance jointly with lobby group Education Action Challenging Homophobia.

It says that pupils aged four to seven should "understand that not all pupils have a mum and a dad" and learn about different family structures. Advice to teachers of 11 to 14-year-olds states: "Schools should make efforts to talk inclusively about same-sex parents, for example, avoid assuming all pupils will have a "mum and dad". "When schools discuss marriage, they may also discuss civil partnership and adoption rights for gay people."

In a section on engaging with parents, it asks schools: "Do you talk about 'parents' instead of assuming all pupils have 'mum or a dad'?" The advice goes on to urge teachers to challenge every derogatory use of the word gay to avert homophobic attitudes. Examples include "those trainers are so gay", "that pencil case is so gay" or "you're such a gay boy".

One primary teacher quoted in the guidance said: "We hear 'gay' as a term of abuse every single day. The children may not know exactly what it means, but they know they are using it as an insult. That's why we need to tackle it at this stage."

Controversy over the semantics of the word erupted two years ago when the BBC ruled that Radio One DJ Chris Moyles was not being offensive to homosexuals by using the word "gay" to mean "rubbish". The advice says: "It is important for all staff to challenge pupils, explaining the consequences of using 'gay' in a derogatory way.

"It might be time-consuming at first, but a consistent 'zero-tolerance' approach to such language is central to achieving progress and an environment in which being gay is not thought of as being inferior."

It adds: "Schools need to make it clear to pupils that homophobic comments are as serious as racist comments, and homophobic incidents are as serious as other forms of bullying."

Teachers should use every curriculum subject to nip discriminatory attitudes in the bud. English lessons for teenagers, for example, could focus on the emotions of the gay Italian soldier Carlo in Captain Corelli's Mandolin. The guidance is being published five years after the repeal of Section 28 - the law which banned the promotion of homosexuality in schools.

Ministers promised the move would make no difference to the teaching of homosexual matters but some critics have claimed the gay lobby is having a growing influence on pupils. Next month is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History Month, where pupils learn about apparently gay figures from history including Leonardo da Vinci, Oscar Wilde and James Dean.

Mr Balls, who will launch the anti-bullying guidance at a Stonewall conference today, said: "I am proud the Government and the department are being robust about this. "It is our view that every school should have a clear policy on tackling all forms of bullying, including homophobic bullying."
28697  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: January 31, 2008, 07:42:27 AM
"He was too New York, too Italian, and he had too many wives."
DOROTHY KALIADES, of Queens, on the problems with Rudolph W. Giuliani’s presidential quest.


Looks like McCain is going to be endorsed by our Dem in Rep clothing governor too , , ,


Hillary's Smear Campaign
January 31, 2008; Page A17

Beginning with the South Carolina debate, and continuing as an applause line in many stump speeches thereafter, Hillary Clinton has accused Barack Obama of representing an inner-city slum lord while practicing law in Chicago. Of all people, Sen. Clinton should know better.

During the Whitewater investigation, Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr investigated the legal work performed by Mrs. Clinton, then a partner in the Rose law firm, on behalf of Jim McDougal and his bank, Madison Guaranty. Mr. Starr believed that Mrs. Clinton helped orchestrate the fraudulent land deal known as Castle Grande. He subpoenaed her billing records, hauled her before a grand jury, and relentlessly pursued her.

In her defense, Mrs. Clinton and her attorneys asserted that her involvement in the matter was de minimus. As one of independent counsels who preceded Mr. Starr, I was interviewed repeatedly on the subject. I wholeheartedly defended Mrs. Clinton.

I believed that the evidence revealed that Mrs. Clinton, who spent a total of only 60 hours of work on the case over a 15-month period, was not substantially involved in the matter and did nothing improper in her work on behalf of Madison Guaranty. In the end, no charges were brought against Mrs. Clinton because there was insufficient evidence to prove that she knowingly assisted anyone in the perpetration of a fraud.

Yet, when an opportunity presented itself in the debate, Mrs. Clinton, without so much as a blink of an eye or the slightest blush, denounced Sen. Obama for representing "Tony Rezko in his slum landlord business in inner-city Chicago." Her accusation invites scrutiny. Not so much for the truth of the accusation (the facts are quite straightforward and completely benign) but as a window into Mrs. Clinton's character and as a lens with which to see whether a Clinton presidency will be a vehicle for change.

The facts are well documented: Upon graduation from Harvard Law School in 1991, Mr. Obama, the first African-American president of the Harvard Law review, could have named his job at any law firm or corporate legal department in America. Instead, he selected a boutique civil rights law firm, Miner Barnhill & Galland, where he represented community organizers, discrimination victims and black voters trying to force a redrawing of city ward boundaries.

During his tenure at Miner Barnhill, the firm accepted the representation of the Woodlawn Preservation and Investment Corp., a nonprofit group that redeveloped a run-down property on Chicago's South Side. Mr. Rezko, not the client of the firm, was assisting Woodland with City housing redevelopment projects. As a junior associate, Mr. Obama was asked by his supervising attorney, William Miceli, to do about five hours of basic due diligence and document review. That began and ended his involvement in the case.

No one who has ever practiced law, let alone Mrs. Clinton, could argue, with a clear conscience, that these five hours on behalf of a church group that partnered with a man who at a later point in time would be alleged to be a scoundrel equated to knowingly representing a Chicago slumlord. Yet she could not resist leveling the accusation.

I suggest that this provides a window into Mrs. Clinton's character because notwithstanding the enormous suffering she had to endure when accused of wrongful conduct in her representation of Madison Guaranty -- a representation that appears to have been no more than a routine business transaction -- she is willing to behave no differently than did her Whitewater accusers if she can gain politically. She appears to have learned no lessons from the Starr investigation.

Mrs. Clinton's willingness to ignore the truth for short-term political advantage is exactly what breeds the partisanship that's paralyzed Washington for too many years, and the cynicism felt by so many Americans, especially the young. Getting ahead by any means possible is the strategy. Once elected, the candidate falsely believes that he or she will be able to set things right and govern differently. All that was said in the campaign is rationalized -- it will be forgiven and forgotten as part of the hyperbole of the election process.

Sadly, it just isn't so. No one forgets and no one forgives in Washington. (Ask John Kerry if he has gotten over the Swift boat smear campaign.) How you get elected defines who you will be once in power. Mrs. Clinton has shown us with this one simple, baseless accusation why it will be hard for her candidacy to represent a change. She appears too comfortable with the politics of personal destruction if she can gain a political advantage.

Mr. Zeldin is a former independent counsel and federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C. He has volunteered for Barack Obama in the Democratic primary campaign.

What McCain's Got
January 31, 2008; Page A16
Orlando, Fla.

In a time of Republican confusion, Sen. John McCain, reviled as an unreliable maverick, has won three GOP primaries. Florida showed why he's winning.

In the age of modern media, it is possible for anyone with access to Google to learn almost everything there is to know about a presidential campaign -- polls, strategies, stump speeches, background papers, bottomless punditry. What more does one need to know? If the day comes that campaigns are run only with Web videos, that is indeed all you'll need to know. But they're not. They are still worked town by town, from diners to bagel shops and in places like Sun City, Fla., where several hundred retirees gathered Saturday to hear John McCain.

John McCain beat Mitt Romney by 5.5 points in New Hampshire and by five again in Florida. Three months ago, Mr. McCain was a 10% cipher in Florida, with no organization and no donors. This week one saw why John McCain is basically five points better than Mitt Romney, or Rudy Giuliani, at the most fundamental job in politics -- connecting.

When Mr. McCain took the stage in Sun City, the applause was polite. When he finished, he got a standing ovation. He has been at this game a long time, and his ability to sense and ride the emotional flow of an audience is astonishing.

It discomfits some, including me, that Mr. McCain seems like a live, capped volcano. But in front of an audience like this, and before a younger group two days later at the Tampa Convention Center, he stood with that tight, little upper body of coiled electricity and plugged his message of honor, commitment and threat straight into the guts of his listeners.

Rudy Giuliani's antiterror message has been strong and credible, but it was almost an abstraction compared to the meat and potatoes of the McCain presentation.

He asks veterans to stand. About 70 men rise, to great applause. He's talking about the "transcendent threat of radical Islamic extremism" and from there to homicidal doctors in Scotland and arrests in Germany. "Al Qaeda is on the run, but they're not defeated!" He wraps himself, justifiably, in the "Petraeus" surge. And then, "My friends, doesn't the president deserve credit that there hasn't been another attack on the U.S.?" They are going nuts. It wasn't demagogic. He does it with tone and timing. You can almost see his eyes calibrating.

Retail politics still matter, and in an era of terror, war and loss of national self-esteem, John McCain is a retail politics powerhouse.

Some strengths and weaknesses emerged in the Sun City Q&A. The first question was about "our borders," and Mr. McCain brought down the house with, "Thank you, sir, and this meeting is over." The volcano then gets into a gratuitously testy exchange with an anti-immigrant speaker who was already being hooted by the audience. On Social Security, he reverted to the Greenspan Commission. That was back in 1982, and it produced a tax increase.

Mr. McCain is hapless on economics. The answer to why he nonetheless beat Mr. Romney by eight points with economic voters is in large part his effective denunciations of the Bush-GOP spending surge in the first veto-less term. There's nothing "maverick" about that. That spending is the main thing that drove the GOP base into its famous funk.

If Mitt Romney were capable of sadness, he should be depressed. He's very good. That famous, equivocal stiff on the debate stage isn't the same person who pitched himself to about 150 people Monday on the tarmac at the Fort Myers airport. This was an almost nothing stop, but he acted as if it were the first week of the campaign. He came across as energetic, alive, young, smart, informed and ready to work his tail off to "fix Washington." (His remark that Mr. McCain "will say anything to get elected" did have a few reporters exchanging glances.) He spent a long time after the speech immersed in the audience, chatting. He didn't have to do that. He may be unnaturally smooth, but Mitt's a heavy-hitter.

So why is he losing? McCain endorsements by Gov. Charlie Crist and Sen. Mel Martinez mattered in Florida. But an aide explained after the speech that in New Hampshire and Michigan they watched Mr. McCain rise almost in sync with Rudy's sudden decline. Indeed, the Romney candidacy may ultimately fall victim to the catastrophic Giuliani all-Florida decision.

Tuesday night, at the Giuliani wake in the Portofino Hotel in Orlando, a high official with the campaign said their internal polls had Rudy as the "preferred" candidate for many voters. But naturally, he said, most voters don't want to cast a likely losing vote. It is enraging some conservatives that marginally more of these Giuliani votes are migrating to John McCain. Mitt needed Rudy in the race.

Rudy just doesn't have McCain's national campaign skills, or desire. He arrived at the Fort Myers tarmac in the afternoon after Mitt Romney (Mitt was early, Rudy late). Gave a terrific stump speech -- terror, tax cuts, even threw in the Everglades. Rudy Giuliani didn't have supporters; he had fans. This clutch of fans was separated from him by a red felt rope, as you would see outside clubs in New York.

After the speech, he stepped off the small stage, took off his suit jacket, folded it for an aide and then, staying on his side of the rope with Judith, attached to him like Cling Wrap, he autographed "Rudy Country" signs. And never said a single word. Not a word, save one guy who forced a conversation. All they got from Rudy was an autograph and a grin, which never fell from his face. It was weird.

This will ever be a mysterious candidacy. You can say there was Rudy baggage yet to fall, that the success of the Iraq surge flowed to John McCain, that the half-baked Driving Miss Judy stories hurt, that he was low on money.

Still. He could have competed for a second or third in New Hampshire. Instead he decamped and settled for humiliation, finishing behind a Mike Huckabee whose public life is a dot compared to the Giuliani legacy in New York City. Rudy ran on that legacy, and one suspects came to realize New York was the peak. Running for president requires fire in the belly. But you have to show it on both sides of the velvet rope.
28698  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Big catch up post on: January 31, 2008, 07:16:37 AM
Wisdom and knowledge, as well as virtue, diffused generally among
the body of the people, being necessary for the preservation of
their rights and liberties, and as these depend on spreading the
opportunities and advantages of education in the various parts of
the country, and among the different orders of people, it shall be
the duty of legislators and magistrates... to cherish the interest
of literature and the sciences, and all seminaries of them."

-- John Adams (Thoughts on Government, 1776)

Reference: The Works of John Adams, Charles Adams, ed., 259.

“To judge from the history of mankind, we shall be compelled to conclude that... to model our political systems upon speculations of lasting tranquility would be to calculate on the weaker springs of human character.” —Alexander Hamilton
“In politics, as in religion, it is equally absurd to aim at making proselytes by fire and sword. Heresies in either can rarely be cured by persecution.” —Alexander Hamilton
"The prosperity of commerce is now perceived and acknowledged by
all enlightened statesmen to be the most useful as well as the
most productive source of national wealth, and has accordingly
become a primary object of its political cares."

-- Alexander Hamilton (Federalist No. 12, 27 November 1787)

Reference: Hamilton, Federalist No. 12.

Would it not be better to simplify the system of taxation rather than to spread it over such a variety of subjects and pass through so many new hands.” —Thomas Jefferson


"The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of
all the departments in one, and thus to create whatever the form
of government, a real despotism.  A just estimate of that love of
power, and proneness to abuse it, which predominates in the human
heart is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this position."

-- George Washington (Farewell Address, 19 September 1796)

Reference: George Washington: A Collection, W.B. Allen, ed. (521)


"The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time;
the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them."

-- Thomas Jefferson (Summary View of the Rights of British America,
August 1774)

Reference: Jefferson: Writings, Peterson ed., Library of America

"No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible
hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People
of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced
to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been
distinguished by some token of providential agency."

-- George Washington (First Inaugural Address, 30 April 1789)

Reference: resp. quoted


“The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of government, are justly considered deeply, perhaps as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.” —George Washington


"It is the madness of folly, to expect mercy from those who have
refused to do justice; and even mercy, where conquest is the
object, is only a trick of war; the cunning of the fox is as
murderous as the violence of the wolf."

-- Thomas Paine (The American Crisis, No. 1, 19 December 1776)

Reference: Thomas Paine: Collected Writings , Foner ed., Library
of America (97)

"There is no part of the administration of government that requires
extensive information and a thorough knowledge of the principles
of political economy, so much as the business of taxation. The
man who understands those principles best will be least likely
to resort to oppressive expedients, or sacrifice any particular
class of citizens to the procurement of revenue. It might be
demonstrated that the most productive system of finance will
always be the least burdensome."

-- Alexander Hamilton (Federalist No. 35, 1788)

Reference: The Federalist


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28699  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: January 31, 2008, 12:19:08 AM 180486&rfi=6

Muslim opening prayer at Iowa Statehouse raises concerns
By: Erin Ballou, Pilot Tribune Staff January 24, 2008

The Iowa Legislature started just over a week ago and some people were upset before the first issue was every addressed.
When the session began, a Muslim Imam began the prayer in the Iowa Legislature. This is where the controversy begins.
The prayer asked of "Victory over those who disbelieve," and "Protection from the great Satan" among other things.
Pastor Steve Smith of the Evangelical Free Church in Albert City is among those concerned about the Muslim prayer. Rev. Smith admits that he doesn't know about all the levels of Muslim but knows that the Jihadists believe those in the U.S. are the great Satan.
Rev. Smith also wants to point out the mention of "victory over those who disbelieve." He feels "this is a request in the Iowa Legislature for God to grant the Muslims victory over every non-muslim. Not a request for salvation." Smith takes it as a gesture not of prayer but more as a political statement, especially with the wars that have been going on in the Middle East.
"I'm not concerned about a Muslim Imam opening the Legislature in prayer but it concerns me with the statements that were made. He interpreted this prayer from his understanding of Islam."

Here is the text of the opening prayer, as transcribed by Radio Iowa:
Imam Muhammad Khan of the Islamic Center of Des Moines spoke first in Arabic.
"I seek refuge in God against the accursed Satan in the name of God, most gracious, most merciful," Khan said in English. Khan made no specific mention of the war in Iraq or foreign affairs, but he called God the "master of the day of judgment" and asked for "victory over those who disbelieve."
"As we begin this new a world with trials and tribulations, we ask you to open the hearts of our legislators and policy makers to make the right decisions for the people of Iowa," Khan said. "...We ask that you guide our legislators and give them the wisdom and knowledge to tackle the difficult problems that face us today in order to eliminate the senseless crimes on humanity. Help them, Lord, to solve the complicated problems in the State of Iowa so that we can be a model to the world."
Khan's prayer lasted about four minutes and he closed with a few words for legislators.
"On behalf of the Muslim community of Des Moines and Iowa, I wish you all the success in this year for making the right decisions for us," Khan said. Khan was the guest of State Representative Ako Abdul Samad of Des Moines, who is also a local Muslim leader.
Rev. Smith has urged others who may be concerned to contact their representative.
When asked about the prayer, Senator Steve Kettering replied in an e-mail that he had not heard the prayer, which did not take place in the Senate chambers.
"I cannot tell you what was said. I have received e-mail regarding this, but since it did not occur on the Senate side I do not have much information," Kettering said. " I should point out that the senate had a Catholic priest for their opening."
Representative Gary Worthan of Storm Lake said that he agrees with the concern being shown over the Muslim prayer.
He said that he has registered his concerns with the proper authorities.
As the father of two sons who have fought terrorism in the military, Worthan said the phrases mentioned earlier also jumped out at him and he said he shares concern for the same reasons as the constituents he is hearing from.
28700  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Nat Geo Documentary on the Dog Brothers: Fight Club on: January 31, 2008, 12:12:44 AM
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