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28651  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Evolutionary Biology and Psychology on: May 18, 2005, 12:46:08 AM
Inventing Our Evolution
We're almost able to build better human beings. But are we ready?

Monday, May 16, 2005; A01

The surge of innovation that has given the world everything from iPods to talking cars is now turning inward, to our own minds and bodies. In an adaptation from his new book, Washington Post staff writer Joel Garreau looks at the impact of the new technology.

Some changes in what it means to be human:

? Matthew Nagel, 25, can move objects with his thoughts. The paralyzed former high school football star, whose spinal cord was severed in a stabbing incident, has a jack coming out of the right side of his skull. Sensors in his brain can read his neurons as they fire. These are connected via computer to a robotic hand. When he thinks about moving his hand, the artificial thumb and forefinger open and close. Researchers hope this technology will, within our lifetimes, allow the wheelchair-bound to walk. The military hopes it will allow pilots to fly jets using their minds.

? Around the country, companies such as Memory Pharmaceuticals, Sention, Helicon Therapeutics, Saegis Pharmaceuticals and Cortex Pharmaceuticals are racing to bring memory-enhancing drugs to market before the end of this decade. If clinical trials continue successfully, these pills could be a bigger pharmaceutical bonanza than Viagra. Not only do they hold the promise of banishing the senior moments of aging baby boomers; they might improve the SAT scores of kids by 200 points or more.

? At the Defense Sciences Office of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, programs seek to modify the metabolisms of soldiers so as to allow them to function efficiently without sleep or even food for as much as a week. For shorter periods, they might even be able to survive without oxygen. Another program seeks to allow soldiers to stop bleeding by focusing their thoughts on the wound. Yet another program is investigating ways to allow veterans to regrow blown-off arms and legs, like salamanders.

Traditionally, human technologies have been aimed outward, to control our environment, resulting in, for example, clothing, agriculture, cities and airplanes. Now, however, we have started aiming our technologies inward. We are transforming our minds, our memories, our metabolisms, our personalities and our progeny. Serious people, including some at the National Science Foundation in Arlington, consider such modification of what it means to be human to be a radical evolution -- one that we direct ourselves. They expect it to be in full flower in the next 10 to 20 years.

"The next frontier," says Gregory Stock, director of the Program on Medicine, Technology and Society at the UCLA School of Medicine, "is our own selves."

The process has already begun. Prozac and its ilk modify personality. Viagra alters metabolism. You can see deep change in the basics of biology most clearly, however, wherever you find the keenest competition. Sport is a good example.

"The current doping agony," says John Hoberman, a University of Texas authority on performance drugs, "is a kind of very confused referendum on the future of human enhancement." Some athletes today look grotesque. Curt Schilling, the All-Star pitcher, in 2002 talked to Sports Illustrated about the major leagues. "Guys out there look like Mr. Potato Head, with a head and arms and six or seven body parts that just don't look right."

Steroids are merely a primitive form of human enhancement, however. H. Lee Sweeney of the University of Pennsylvania suggests that the recent Athens Olympics may have been the last without genetically enhanced athletes. His researchers have created super-muscled "Schwarzenegger rats." They're built like steers, with necks wider than their heads. They live longer and recover more quickly from injuries than do their unenhanced comrades. Sweeney sees it as only a matter of time before such technology seeps into the sports world.

Human enhancement is hardly limited to sport. In 2003, President Bush signed a $3.7 billion bill to fund research at the molecular level that could lead to medical robots traveling the human bloodstream to fight cancer or fat cells. At the University of Pennsylvania, ordinary male mouse embryo cells are being transformed into egg cells. If this science works in humans, it could open the way for two gay males to make a baby -- blurring the standard model of parenthood. In 2004, a new technology for the first time allowed women to beat the biological clock. Portions of their ovaries, frozen when they are young and fertile, can be reimplanted in their sixties, seventies or eighties, potentially allowing them to bear children then.

The genetic, robotic and nano-technologies creating such dramatic change are accelerating as quickly as has information technology for the past four decades. The rapid development of all these fields is intertwined.

It was in 1965 that Gordon E. Moore, director of Fairchild's Research and Development Laboratories, noted, in an article for the 35th-anniversary issue of Electronics magazine, that the complexity of "minimum cost semiconductor components" had been doubling every year since the first prototype microchip was produced six years before. And he predicted this doubling would continue every year for the next 10 years.

Carver Mead, a professor at the California Institute of Technology, would come to christen this claim "Moore's Law."

Over time it has been modified. As the core faith of the entire global computer industry, it is now stated this way: The power of information technology will double every 18 months, for as far as the eye can see.

Sure enough, in 2002, the 27th doubling occurred right on schedule with a billion-transistor chip. A doubling is an amazing thing. It means the next step is as great as all the previous steps put together. Twenty-seven consecutive doublings of anything man-made, an increase of well over 100 million times-- especially in so short a period -- is unprecedented in human history.

This is exponential change. It's a curve that goes straight up.

Optimists say that culture and values can control the impact of these advances.

"You have to make a distinction between the science and the technological applications," says Francis Fukuyama, a member of the President's Council on Bioethics and director of the Human Biotechnology Governance Project. "It's probably true that in terms of the basic science, it's pretty hard to stop that. It's not one guy in a laboratory somewhere. But not everything that is scientifically possible will actually be technologically implemented and used on a large scale. In the case of human cloning, there's an abstract possibility that people will want to do that, but the number of people who are going to want to take the risk is going to be awfully small."

Taboos will play an important role, Fukuyama says. "We could really speed up the whole process of drug improvement if we did not have all the rules on human experimentation. If companies were allowed to use clinical trials in Third World countries, paying a lot of poor people to take risks that you wouldn't take in a developed country, we could speed up technology quickly. But because of the Holocaust -- "

Fukuyama thinks the school of hard knocks will slow down a lot of attempts. "People may in the abstract say that they're willing to take that risk. But the moment you have a deformed baby born as a result of someone trying to do some genetic modification, I think there will be a really big backlash against it."

Today, nonetheless, we are surrounded by the practical effects of this curve of exponential technological change. IBM this year fired up a new machine called Blue Gene/L. It is ultimately expected to be 1,000 times as powerful as Deep Blue, the machine that beat world chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997. "If this computer unlocks the mystery of how proteins fold, it will be an important milestone in the future of medicine and health care," said Paul M. Horn, senior vice president of IBM Research, when the project was announced.

Proteins control all cellular processes in the body. They fold into highly complex, three-dimensional shapes that determine their function. Even the slightest change in the folding process can turn a desirable protein into an agent of disease. Blue Gene/L is intended to investigate how. Thus, breakthroughs in computers today are creating breakthroughs in biology. "One day, you're going to be able to walk into a doctor's office and have a computer analyze a tissue sample, identify the pathogen that ails you, and then instantly prescribe a treatment best suited to your specific illness and individual genetic makeup," Horn said.

What's remarkable, then, is not this computer's speed but our ability to use it to open new vistas in entirely different fields -- in this case, the ability to change how our bodies work at the most basic level. This is possible because at a thousand trillion operations per second, this computer might have something approaching the raw processing power of the human brain.

Nathan Myhrvold, the former technology chief of Microsoft, points out that it cost $12 billion to sequence the first human genome. You will soon be able to get your own done for $10, he expects.

If an implant in a paralyzed man's head can read his thoughts, if genes can be manipulated into better versions of themselves, the line between the engineered and the born begins to blur.

For example, in Silicon Valley, there is a biotech company called Rinat Neuroscience. DARPA provided critical early funding for its "pain vaccine," a substance designed to block intense pain in less than 10 seconds. Its effects last for 30 days. Tests show it doesn't stifle reactions. If you touch a hot stove, your hand will still automatically jerk away. But after that, the torment is greatly reduced. The product works on the inflammatory response that is responsible for the majority of subacute pain. If you get shot, you feel the bullet, but after that, the inflammation and swelling that trigger agony are substantially reduced. The company is deep into animal testing, is preparing reports for scientific conferences, and has now attracted venture capital funding.

Another DARPA program, originally christened Regenesis, started with the observation that if you cut off the tail of a tadpole, the tail will regrow. If you cut off an appendage of an adult frog, however, it won't, because certain genetic signals have been switched off. This process is carried out by a mass of undifferentiated cells called a blastema, also called a regeneration bud. The bud has the capability to develop into an organ or an appendage, if it gets the right signals. Early results in mice indicate that such blastemas might be generated in humans. The program, now called Restorative Injury Repair, is aimed at allowing regrowth of a blown-off hand or a breast removed in a mastectomy. (Instances of amputated fingertips regenerating in children under 12 have long been noted in scientific journals.) "We had it; we lost it; we need to find it again" was Regenesis's original slogan.
Snooze and Lose?

There are three groups of people usually attracted to any new enhancement. In order, they are the sick, the otherwise healthy with a critical need, and the enterprising. This became immediately obvious when a drug called modafinil entered the market earlier this decade. It is intended to shut off the urge to sleep, without the jitter, buzz, euphoria, crash, or potential for paranoid delusion of stimulants such as amphetamines, cocaine or even caffeine.

The FDA originally approved modafinil for narcoleptics who fall asleep frequently and uncontrollably. But this widely available prescription drug, with the trade name Provigil, immediately was tested on healthy young U.S. Army helicopter pilots. It allowed them to stay up safely for almost two days while remaining practically as focused, alert and capable of dealing with complex problems as the well rested. Then, after a good eight hours' sleep, it turned out they could get up and do it again for another 40 hours, before finally catching up on their sleep.

But it's the future of the third group -- the millions who, in the immortal words of Kiss, "wanna rock-and-roll all night and party every day" -- that holds the potential for changing society. Will people feel that they need to routinely control their sleep in order to be competitive? Will unenhanced people get fewer promotions and raises than their modified colleagues? Will this start an arms race over human consciousness?

Consider the case of a little boy born in Germany at the turn of this century. As reported in the New England Journal of Medicine last year, his doctors immediately noticed he had unusually large muscles bulging from his tiny arms and legs. By the time he was 4 1/2 , it was clear that he was extraordinarily strong. Most children his age can lift about one pound with each arm. He could hold a seven-pound dumbbell aloft with each outstretched hand. He is the first human confirmed to have a genetic variation that builds extraordinary muscles. If the effect can be duplicated, it could treat or cure muscle-wasting diseases.

Wyeth Pharmaceuticals is testing a drug designed to do just that as a treatment for the most common form of muscular dystrophy. Will athletes try to exploit the discovery to enhance their abilities?

"Athletes find a way of using just about anything," says Elizabeth M. McNally of the University of Chicago, who wrote an article accompanying the findings in the New England Journal of Medicine. "This, unfortunately, is no exception."
Views of the Future

Ray Kurzweil, an artificial-intelligence pioneer and winner of the National Medal of Technology, shrugs at the controversy over the use of stem cells from human embryos: "All the political energy that has gone into this issue -- it is not even slowing down the most narrow approach." It is simply being pursued outside the United States -- in China, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Scandinavia and Great Britain, where scientists will probably achieve success first, he notes.

In the next couple of decades, Kurzweil predicts, life expectancy will rise to at least 120 years. Most diseases will be prevented or reversed. Drugs will be individually tailored to a person's DNA. Robots smaller than blood cells -- nanobots, as they are called -- will be routinely injected by the millions into people's bloodstreams. They will be used primarily as diagnostic scouts and patrols, so if anything goes wrong in a person's body, it can be caught extremely early.

As James Watson, co-winner of the Nobel Prize for discovering the structure of DNA, famously put it: "No one really has the guts to say it, but if we could make better human beings by knowing how to add genes, why shouldn't we?"

Gregory Stock of UCLA sees this as the inevitable outcome of the decoding of the human genome. "We have spent billions to unravel our biology, not out of idle curiosity, but in the hope of bettering our lives," he said at a 2003 Yale bioethics conference. "We are not about to turn away from this."

Stock sees humanity embracing artificial chromosomes -- rudimentary versions of which already exist. Right now, the human body has 23 chromosome pairs, with the chromosomes numbered 1 through 46. Messing with them is tricky -- you never know when you're going to inadvertently step on unanticipated interactions. By adding a new chromosome pair (Nos. 47 and 48) to the embryo, however, the possibilities appear endless. Stock, in his book "Redesigning Humans: Our Inevitable Genetic Future," describes it as the safest way to substantially modify humans because, he says, it would minimize unintended consequences. On top of that, the chromosome insertion sites could have an off switch activated by an injection if we wanted to stop whatever we'd started. This would give future generations a chance to undo whatever we did.

Stock offers this analysis to counter the argument offered by some bioethicists that inheritable genetic line engineering should be unconditionally banned because future generations harmed by wrongful or unsuccessful modifications would have no control over the matter.

But the very idea of aspiring to such godlike powers is blasphemous to some. "Genetic engineering," writes Michael J. Sandel, a professor of political philosophy at Harvard, is "the ultimate expression of our resolve to see ourselves astride the world, the masters of our nature. But the promise of mastery is flawed. It threatens to banish our appreciation of life as a gift, and to leave us with nothing to affirm or behold outside our own will."

Stock rejects this view. "We should not just accept but embrace the new technologies, because they're filled with promise," he says. Within a few years, he writes, "traditional reproduction may begin to seem antiquated, if not downright irresponsible." His projections, he asserts, are not at all out of touch with reality.

Adapted from the book "Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies -- and What It Means to Be Human" by Joel Garreau, to be published May 17 by Doubleday, a division of Random House Inc. ? 2005 by Joel Garreau. Reprinted with permission.
28652  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Well-armed People on: May 16, 2005, 10:40:48 AM

Barking Up the Wrong Tree:
Who Will Help the Helpless?
David Nissen Kahn, M. D.
?2004 All rights reserved.

In a recent article (Myths of the Gun?ght-2, Tactical Operator Newsletter, 8, 2; Nov/Dec 2004), combatives/shooting instructor Gabe Suarez observes, "First of all, Grossman's On Killing to the contrary, it is NOT unnatural for humans to kill each other. Historically, we've been doing it with skill and gusto for ages." And he goes on to explain:
The problem with this facet of the [Grossman's] study is that much of it is based on the study of police actions. [Actually, the work is based on historical analyses of military combat, but the conclusions are still valid.] In case you don't realize, police are NEVER trained to be gunfighters, or trained to call up their level of violence in "official" schools. In fact, most "offcial" schools, as provided by the state, are pure garbage. The officers that DO get further education generally do so on their own (a very small percentage at best). And of those who will have their minds right in a fight (because they are warriors at heart and they've decided beforehand to do so), are an even smaller percentage of that (sic).

As our lawyer friends have it, res ipsa loquitur, the thing speaks for itself. But we-the people who teach and support self-defense and personal security-aren't listening.
The unnaturalness Grossman talks about, the hardwired resistance to killing within one's species, appears real, and he makes a careful, logical case for it. Gabe really doesn't contradict it; in fact, he solidifies Grossman's argument. Untrained-or improperly or inadequately trained-people are much more likely to fail, to freeze or to hesitate when they are confronted with physical force. Grossman's whole point is that proper conditioning, not only physical but mental, is essential to getting desired responses to stimuli. Most people don't fight, much less kill, without conditioning. And that's the key. While we do pretty well with the people we train, we don't attract nearly enough of them. And that's our failure.
Most of the citizens who study any sort of fighting-knife, stick, gun, empty hand, whatever-have already decided that "it" might happen to them. They've confronted themselves and decided that they can hit back, or think they can, and want to. Even so, some people come to the event, whether in training or in real life, and wilt. Mas Ayoob thinks that, sometimes, it's a failure of technique. Maybe so, sometimes; but clearly sometimes it's not. Then it's a failure of will. And that's a failure of attitude and worldview.

Well, then, if supposedly well trained people can fail, what about the "average" person, sliding through daily life without a constructive thought about it. He or she's already given up before the fact. Who's helping him or her? Because they can be helped.

We all recognize that "having a gun just makes you a gun owner." But even having a gun-or any other tool-is a step ahead of most folks. As a bumper sticker reads, "When you buy a drill, you don't want a drill. You want a hole." The great majority of the population isn't able to use the tool, never mind to get the requisite skills, because they don't have the mindset to do it. And they don't have the mindset because they don't see that they need it . . . or, worse and more blameworthy, no one's shown them that getting it is an achievable goal. Or an appropriate one.
That's our fault. We smugly preach to the choir, educating, training and explaining ourselves to each other: we're isolated from the larger community. And, bewilderingly, we're not displeased with that. We've looked at Dave Grossman's well-argued, solid work and taken only part of the message. And we're guilty of failing to squeeze all the juice from what we have taken.

Gabe makes the point again that attitude is everything. Who among us doubts that? Sun Tzu said, "Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win." Well, of course. That's the whole point of all our exercises. But if we continue to keep the knowledge among ourselves, we disserve ourselves as professionals-and we disserve our society as well. We're in a situation akin to scientific investigation: unpublished, unused discoveries are trivial beyond puffng up egos. Especially in this unhealthy 21st Century environment, in which everyone is called to the battle-even though with silly, meaningless, colored coded "threat levels"-it is singularly important for people who know to evangelize people who don't.

Personal security, self-defense, safety must be demystified and made commonplace, acceptable and expected. Knowledgeable people realize that those things may be complex in practice, but they're simple in theory-and that that theory is the foundation of attitude, and that attitude and mental lifestyle are the keys to individual and group well being and survival.

If the face we present to the larger world is only that of the warrior-hard-bitten, grim, cold, disdainful of everyone else-then we surely lose our credibility with the very people we can help. Must help. True enough, much of what there is to be taught is bleak, and the great majority of people will never be joyous, exalted fighters. But so what? If they do the right thing and then spew up their breakfasts, defecate in their underwear and weep, who cares? The good guy isn't dead. The terrorist attack didn't kill awful numbers of people. And we've done a sufficient, professional job. Not every solution is elegant or precise or on script.

We must discard our reassuringly superior, self-congratulatory, dismissive attitude toward the "sheep people" and replace it with studied, sympathetic compassion. Most combatives instructors are busy-especially now-and they simply don't have time to preach to the unbelievers. Or, often, want to. So, some of their disciples must "get out there" and talk to and teach ordinary, everyday people how to think about their world and their security. Some of those people will be converted fully to the faith. And those folks will study the arts and expand the base. That'll be wonderful, and good for them.

But that's not the primary goal. The goal is to make everyone able to see problems and know how to decide what to do. When to run. When to call for help. And, for some, when to fight. Relatively few people will ever be armed citizens; fewer will become warriors; fewer still will be masters of any discipline, and even fewer will study more than one. But such niceties don't matter. We can be satisfied with ourselves and proud of our work if more people just understand and live in Condition Yellow-because most of the time, unglamorous though it is, that's enough. It's enough for warriors; it's enough for everyone else.

If we can achieve that-no matter how partially-we'll have fulfilled our professional obligation, and our moral one, too. Fewer bad things will happen to good people. Fewer people will be afraid of the world. And, eventually, the world will be a nicer, better place to live. That's a reachable goal. But we have to begin. No one else can do it. And no one else will try.
28653  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Homeland Security on: May 14, 2005, 07:24:59 AM
United States: The Questionable Merits of the 'No-Fly' List
May 13, 2005 1653 GMT

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) diverted Air France
flight 332 to Bangor, Maine, on May 12 after authorities discovered that one of the 169 passengers onboard matched a name on the federal government's "no-fly" list. The passenger and two of his family members -- a woman and a young child -- were taken off the Airbus A-330 flight from Paris to Boston at the Bangor International Airport, and the flight continued on to Boston. TSA officials later determined the "person of interest" was not the one on the list and he and his companions were released.

Although the no-fly list is meant to enhance security of air travel, its
effectiveness as a true protective measure is questionable. The list,
enacted in response to the Sept. 11 attacks and maintained by the TSA,
includes names of people suspected of posing "a risk of air piracy or
terrorism or a threat to airline or passenger safety." Passenger manifests
of airline flights are checked against the list and, if matching names are
found, the TSA can order the flight diverted and the individual detained.
Although it initially denied the list's existence, the TSA acknowledged in
October 2002 that it was, indeed, keeping -- and constantly updating -- such a list. The U.S. government declines to say how many names are on the list, but the number reportedly is as high as 31,000.

In April 2004, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a nationwide
class-action lawsuit challenging the no-fly list on behalf of several
people. The suit is based on the argument that innocent travelers whose
names appear on the list are singled out as possible terrorists. According
to FBI documents obtained in 2004 by the American Civil Liberties Union,
more than 350 Americans had been delayed or denied boarding since the list's inception -- and apparently all were false alarms. Once added to the list, people usually are unable to find out why they were identified as a security risk and are unable to get their names removed.

Exacerbating the issue is the problem that the names on the list often are
transliterations into English of names in Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew and other
Middle Eastern, South Asian and African languages. Considering that many
terrorists are militant Islamists, Arab/Muslim names -- in their phonetic
form -- appear frequently. Add to this the fact that many Arab/Muslim names are commonly used -- such as Mohammed, Ahmed and Ali -- and the system raises a red flag if it picks up even one part of the name: first, middle or last. Further complicating the system is the unusual number of birthdates on the first or last day of a given month, which stems from lack of accurate record keeping in some areas of the third world. A person may know the month in which he or she was born, but not the date. Clerks issuing identification cards, then, often assign the birthday as the first or last day of the month. It is no surprise, then, that birthdays often match.

TSA officials said the man detained on the Air France flight had a slightly
different spelling and the exact birthday of someone on the no-fly list.
Without elaborating, the TSA officials said the name in question belonged to a "serious bad actor" with connections to terrorism.

One of the most notable examples of the confusion over names occurred in 2004 when U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy was stopped and questioned at airports five times because the name T. Kennedy appeared on the no-fly list. The phonetically spelled name al Kannadi (The Canadian) apparently was the nom de guerre of an al Qaeda member on the list. It took the senator three weeks and a personal appeal to Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge before his name was removed from the list. If a prominent U.S. senator experienced these difficulties, it stands to reason that an ordinary individual with no high-level connections would find it nearly impossible to fix the problem.

Terrorists rarely travel with their real passports and make a point of using
many different aliases. The no-fly list would be effective if terrorists
used passports borrowed from individuals already on the list, such as those identified as having traveled to training camps or other safe havens.
Because the existence of the no-fly list is well known, however, someone
contemplating a terrorist attack likely would create a totally clean
identity, which is not difficult to do. The perpetrator would then "test"
the new document by taking a flight to see if it passed the security check.
The Sept. 11 hijackers took similar reconnaissance flights to observe flight
routes, times and airport/airline security measures.

In the fight against international terrorism, constant vigilance is
necessary -- though repeated false alarms call into question the
effectiveness of the TSA's no-fly list
28654  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Libertarian themes on: May 14, 2005, 06:58:58 AM
"You simply can not say one illegal substance should be more aggressivly attacked than another.
Wouldn't that be the same as a speeding driver saying GEE officer i was onley ten miles an hour over the limit what about the guy who was doing 130 that just flew by me...... Still guilty. "

Well it sure would make sense to me to say that the guy doing 130 should be more aggressively pursued by the police than the guy 10 over the limit.  Indeed most police don't bother to ticket the guy doing 10 over , , ,

Similarly it makes sense to me to note that there is a difference between pot and narcotics like coke and heroin.
28655  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / DBMA Camp 5/14-15: Short Impact Weapons on: May 13, 2005, 12:40:45 PM
Woof All:

Tomorrow at 10:00 the Adventure continues!  

I'm really looking forward to this one Cool

Guro Crafty
28656  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Geo Political matters on: May 13, 2005, 11:15:58 AM
Geopolitical Diary: Friday, May 13, 2005

Nikolai Patrushev, head of the Russian Federal Security service, claimed
Thursday that foreign intelligence services were planning further
"uprisings," along the lines of Ukraine's Orange Revolution, in order to
undermine Russian influence in the former Soviet Union. Patrushev
specifically charged that the foreign services included U.S., British,
Kuwaiti and Saudi agents.

"Foreign secret services are ever more actively using non-traditional
methods for their work and with the help of different NGOs' educational
programs are propagandizing their interests, particularly in the former
Soviet Union," Patrushev said before the state Duma. "Our opponents are
purposefully and step-by-step trying to weaken Russian influence in the
former Soviet Union and the international arena as a whole. The latest
events in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan unanimously confirm this."
According to Patrushev, the next target will be Belarus' head of
intelligence, Viktor Veger, who also said that the attempts were being kept suppressed.

In a sense, there is nothing controversial in this view. The United States
has made it clear that it supports democratic movements in Eurasia, and that it is prepared to support these movements financially. The Russians have long charged that the Saudis were interfering in Muslim Central Asia,
supporting what they call Wahhabi movements. The inclusion of Kuwait in
Patrushev's statement is interesting, but only to a limited extent. This is
an old story.

In part, this is about a difference in perspectives. The United States
claims that it is simply supporting democratic movements. Moscow's view is that this is an internal affair for these countries, that the United States
is interfering with its sphere of influence and that the U.S. love of
democracy is simply a useful justification for power politics. All of this
is not, as we have been saying, particularly new.

What is new -- and extremely important -- is that the head of the FSB said
this in Russia's Duma. He undoubtedly said this with the knowledge and
approval of President Vladimir Putin, and he effectively linked Russian
interests to those of Belarus -- the state that has evolved the least since
the fall of the Soviet Union. It is also Russia's buffer with NATO and is of
vital strategic importance.

But most important is that the charge was made. It is now official that
Russia views the United States and others as conspiring against its
interests, and that the various democratic non-governmental organizations are actually operating as agents of the CIA. Put differently, the democratic movement in the former Soviet Union is perceived as a plot by Western intelligence to destroy Russia.

Now, if that is the Russian view, obviously some consequences follow. If
these NGOs are in fact CIA fronts, then their suppression is not only
permissible, but imperative. But more important still is the fact that if
these charges are believed, the Russian government must believe that the United States in particular is its enemy. Given what was said and who said it, it is hard to draw any conclusion other than that the Kremlin believes that the United States is plotting to destroy Russia -- and that Russia is going to resist.

We call that a cold war. It may not look and feel like the big one, but if
the Russians believe the charges they are making (and they do) and the
Americans won't back off (and they won't), that will pit the covert forces
of the United States against the covert forces of Russia. Caught in the
middle will be political forces in third countries from Belarus to Central
Asia, as well as, logically, liberal forces inside of Russia. Moreover, if
this speech is to be taken seriously, the counter-action by the Russians
should start quickly, since delay would be irresponsible.

It will be interesting in the extreme as to whether any senior Russian
official reinterprets these statements to give them a more limited or benign spin, or whether they will simply let them stand. The former would indicate that Patrushev simply got carried away; the latter, that this is a
calculated declaration of clandestine warfare, with NGOs caught in the

This situation is getting very serious, very fast. At the least, we know
that President George W. Bush must have really convinced Putin that he is
gunning for Russia.
28657  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Libertarian themes on: May 13, 2005, 11:11:00 AM
Dillinger robbed banks because "That's where the money is."

Looking for drunk drivers coming out of bars seems to me to be equally logical.
28658  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Movies of interest on: May 12, 2005, 12:31:58 PM
Woof All:

Being a father of a 5 and 2 year old, my wife and I don't get out much, so the reviews I post rarely are of movies I have seen, so I just share reviews that seem interesting.


Memo to: Website Moviegoers
From: Matthew Wanniski
Re: A Great Film ? and That?s No Accident

Coming off the great success of his screenplay for ?Million Dollar Baby,? Paul Haggis takes the director?s seat to deliver another emotionally-driven, powerfully-told story: the Lion?s Gate release, ?Crash.? The film is ostensibly about racism and it examines the issue from all sides from the streets of Los Angeles. It comes at a time when most people may no longer consider it with any great urgency, if they ever did at all. Haggis? film shows that, sadly, racism is still alive and kicking, still impeding our progress, so preventing us all from living happy and peaceful lives.

The story begins with a carjacking (inspired by a similar experience that Haggis and his wife once faced), an event that sets everything in motion. Two young black men pause in their discussion of racism to steal a car from white District Attorney Richard Cabot and his wife Jean. Larenz Tate and rap star Ludacris play the carjackers, and it is their argument that sets the tone for the rest of the film. While Richard contemplates the political impact, Jean feels as if her sense of security as been violated, affecting her far more acutely than her husband. Brendan Fraser and Sandra Bullock play the victimized couple very well. Fraser?s emotionally stand-offish D.A. stands in marked contrast to Bullock?s Jean, who really makes you feel her trauma, her anger, and her fear. There?s a distance between them, which Haggis deftly reveals to be just one small piece of the yawning chasm between everyone in the film, between everyone in the city, a distance even between body and soul.

On the other side of town, black L.A. police detective Graham and his Hispanic partner/lover Ria, played by Jennifer Esposito, investigate the murder of a young black man, whose body has been dumped along the road. Don Cheadle, who also produced the film, plays Graham, a tired and jaded man who doesn?t quite have his life together as it seems. Like everyone else, he has his own demons to deal with, and he tends to push away even those he loves most. Like D.A. Cabot, his career comes first, much to Ria?s dismay. It?s a familiar coping mechanism these men seem to have, cutting themselves off from everyone else to avoid the pain of love and loss. Such actions do have a tendency to backfire, however, and the characters are forced to face the consequences of their selfish actions.

There are several moments of such intensity and emotional impact, that they hit you in the gut and leave you reeling, such as the dramatic rescue from the burning car of the black wife of a successful black television producer. Thandie Newton delivers a fantastic performance in this role. Her torment over being saved by a racist white cop, played by Matt Dillon?who had earlier humiliated her and her husband when they were pulled over for no other reason than that they were black?is so incredibly raw and real that it?s just devastating to watch. Terrence Howard, who plays her husband, another emotionally distant man more interested in his career than his marriage, offers a wonderful performance of his own as a man coming to terms with his own identity as a prominent black man who masks his race behind his success.

The most poignant performances, however, comes from Michael Pena, who plays Daniel, a Mexican locksmith, and Ashlyn Sanchez, who plays Daniel?s 5-year-old daughter, Lara, who is afraid of being shot and killed while she sleeps, supposedly safe, in her bed. Their scenes together are truly beautiful and heartbreaking.

The film also takes the time to explore religious tension in the form of a Persian shopkeeper who is treated poorly by white men who believe he is an Arab, and therefore must secretly be a terrorist.

A overwhelming sense of foreboding seeps into you as you watch, filling you with dread and the belief that this is all going to end badly. Haggis is a very clever filmmaker, however. He turns expectations on their head, defying audiences to figure out how things turn out in end.

It?s no accident that this is an extraordinary film. Haggis and co-writer Robert Moresco expertly weave together the lives of these seemingly divergent characters, and does so in an unpredictable way, forcing us to look at the world through different sets of eyes and then turning our eyes inward for a good, hard look at ourselves. The film suggests that we don?t know ourselves as well as we think we do. It?s an uncomfortable fact to accept. Reusing to shy away from edgy, controversial subject matter is a bold move, and it?s an environment in which these actors shine. Haggis pulls tremendous performances out of his actors, even from those playing minor characters. They all make it look so effortless. Come Oscar time, this will be the one to watch.

Rated ?R,? for language, sexual content and some violence.

Matthew Wanniski is a writer, editor and story analyst for Anonymous Content, a talent management and production company in Los Angeles. He can be reached at His Thursday reviews here have been appearing Fridays to a much wider audience at, and can also be found at
28659  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Unorganized Militia on: May 12, 2005, 10:46:35 AM
Woof All:

Our editor, Ron "Night Owl" Gabriel tells me the hero here used to be a bodyguard for Marcos. shocked

Crafty Dog

LOS ANGELES; Alleged Carjacker Meets Match; [Home Edition]
Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, Calif.: Sep 7, 2001. pg. B.5
 Full Text (204   words)
(Copyright (c) 2001 Los Angeles Times)
A stranded motorist apparently got more than he bargained for when he allegedly tried to rob a 65-year-old good Samaritan who stopped to lend him a hand in West Covina, the Los Angeles County district attorney's office said Thursday.

Authorities said Anthony Salinas, 19, of Azusa ran out of gas in a stolen car on a West Covina street Wednesday and was trying to push it to a gas station when Elio Bongon, a janitor from Fontana, happened by in his pickup truck. Bongon offered Salinas and his girlfriend a ride to the station and gave them $10 to buy gas.

At the gas station, according to police, Salinas pulled what turned out to be a BB gun and ordered Bongon to give up his money and his truck. Bongon refused and attempted to disarm Salinas, they said. The gun discharged during the struggle, with a BB striking Salinas in the shoulder, police said. They said Bongon wrestled the gun away from Salinas and began hitting him on the head with it.

Salinas fled but was arrested a short distance away.

The district attorney's office Thursday charged Salinas with carjacking, along with attempted carjacking and second-degree robbery in connection with the encounter with Bongon.

San Gabriel Valley Tribune (West Covina, CA)


Same story as covered by a more local paper
December 13, 2001
Carjacker gets 5 years in prison
Victim says he does regret trying to help Salinas
Author: Bill Hetherman Staff Writer
Section: Local

POMONA - An Azusa man who allegedly tried to rob a good Samaritan was sentenced Wednesday to five years and 10 months in prison.

Pomona Superior Court Judge Jack P. Hunt imposed the term on Anthony Salinas, 19. Salinas pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges of carjacking and attempted carjacking. An attempted robbery count was dropped.

The good Samaritan, 66-year-old Elio Bongon, was once a bodyguard for then-Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos.

Using his training in the martial arts, Bongon, of Fontana, disarmed Salinas after the defendant pointed a weapon at him that turned out to be a BB gun.

Bongon had a mixed reaction Wednesday to the sentencing.

"Actually, I forgive him, but he has to pay for what he has done," Bongon said. "I hope he will repent and not come out trying to get revenge against me."

Salinas' lawyer, Joseph Gibbons, said Wednesday his client is sorry for what he did and that he was under t! he influence of methamphetamine at the time.

"I've seen so many young people with drug problems," Gibbons said. "My client is not really a violent guy."

Three days before the attack on Bongon, Salinas stole a car from Javier Gonzales in the parking lot of a convenience store on Gladstone Street in Azusa, police said.

Salinas had one hand on what appeared to be the handle of a gun in his pocket, Gonzales told Azusa police.

Salinas was driving Gonzales' car when it ran out of gasoline on Sunset Avenue about 1 p.m. Sept. 5. Bongon, a janitor at Piano City at 210 N. Sunset Ave. in West Covina, helped Salinas push the car into the parking lot of the business.

"He told me he had no money to buy gasoline, so I gave him $10," Bongon testified at an earlier preliminary hearing.

Bongon said he drove Salinas to two places to buy a gas container. Without warning, Salinas pulled out a gun and pointed it at Bongon's right side, he said.

Bo! ngon said he grabbed Salinas' arm, got the gun away and beat him with the weapon until he ran away.

Police caught Salinas a short distance away on Yaleton Avenue when he pretended to be visiting someone and knocked on the door of a home he chose randomly, officers said.

Bongon said Wednesday he does not regret trying to help Salinas and will come to the aid of someone else in need if it happens again.

"I surely will," Bongon said. "I don't think everyone would, but in my opinion I have to do it."

-- Bill Hetherman can be reached at (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2236, or by e-mail at <A>[/url] .
(c) 2001 San Gabriel Valley Tribune. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank, Inc.
Record Number: 1253649
28660  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Humor on: May 11, 2005, 11:54:13 PM
Texas Chili Cook-off

If you pay attention to the first two judges, the reaction of the third judge is even better. For those of you who have lived in Texas, you know how true this is. They actually have a Chili Cook-off about the time Halloween comes around. It takes up a major portion of a parking lot at the San Antonio City Park. Judge #3 was an inexperienced Chili taster named Frank, who was visiting from Springfield, IL.

Frank: "Recently, I was honored to be selected as a judge at a chili cook-off. The original person called in sick at the last moment and I happened to be standing there at the judge's table asking for directions to the Coors Light truck, when the call came in. I was assured by the other two judges (Native Texans) that the chili! wouldn't be all that spicy and, besides, they told me I could have free beer during the tasting, so I accepted."

Here are the scorecard notes from the event:

Judge # 1 -- A little too heavy on the tomato. Amusing kick.
Judge # 2 -- Nice, smooth tomato flavor. Very mild.
Judge # 3 (Frank) -- Holy shit, what the hell is this stuff? You could remove dried paint from your driveway. Took me two beers to put the flames out. I hope that's the worst one. These Texans are crazy.

Judge # 1 -- Smoky, with a hint of pork. Slight jalapeno tang.
Judge # 2 -- Exciting BBQ flavor, needs more peppers to be taken seriously.
Judge # 3 -- Keep this out of the reach of children. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to taste besides pain. I had to wave off two people who wanted to give me the Heimlich maneuver. They had to rush in more beer when they saw the look on my face.

Judge # 1 -- Excellent firehouse chili. Great kick.
Judge # 2 -- A bit salty, good use of peppers.
Judge # 3 -- Call the EPA. I've located a uranium spill. My nose feels like I have been snorting Drano. Everyone knows the routine by now. Get me more beer before I ignite. Barmaid pounded me on the back, now my backbone is in the front part of my chest. I'm getting shit-faced from all of the beer.

Judge # 1 -- Black bean chili with almost no spice. Disappointing.
Judge # 2 -- Hint of lime in the black beans. Good side dish for fish or other mild foods! not much of a chili.
Judge # 3 -- I felt something scraping across my tongue, but was unable to taste it. Is it possible to burn out taste buds? Sally, the beermaid, was standing behind me with fresh refills. That 300-LB woman is starting to look HOT. just like this nuclear waste I'm eating! Is chili an aphrodisiac?

Judge # 1 -- Meaty, strong chili. Cayenne peppers freshly ground, adding considerable kick. Very impressive.
Judge # 2 -- Chili using shredded beef, could use more tomato. Must admit the cayenne peppers make a strong statement.
Judge # 3 -- My ears are ringing, sweat is pouring off my forehead and I can no longer focus my eyes. I farted and four people behind me needed paramedics. The contestant seemed offended when I told her that her chili had given me brain damage. Sally saved my tongue from bleeding by pouring beer directly on it from the pitcher. I wonder if I'm burning my lips off. It really pisses me off that the other judges asked me to stop screaming.
Screw those rednecks.

Judge # 1 -- Thin yet bold vegetarian variety chili. Good balance of spices and peppers.
Judge # 2 -- The best yet. Aggressive use of peppers, onions, and garlic. Superb.
Judge # 3 -- My intestines are now a straight pipe filled with gaseous, sulfuric flames. I crapped on myself when I farted and I'm worried it will eat through the chair. No one seems inclined to stand behind me except that Sally. Can't feel my lips anymore. I need to wipe my but with a snow cone.

Judge # 1 -- A mediocre chili with too much reliance on canned peppers.
Judge # 2 -- Ho hum, tastes as if the chef literally threw in a can of chili peppers at the last moment. **I should take note that I am worried about Judge # 3. He appears to be in a bit of distress as he is cursing uncontrollably.
Judge # 3 -- You could put a grenade in my mouth, pull the pin, and I wouldn't feel a thing. I've lost sight in one eye, and the world sounds like it is made of rushing water. My shirt is covered with chili, which slid unnoticed out of my mouth. My pants are full of lava to match my shirt. At least during the autopsy, they'll know what killed me. I've decided to stop breathing it's too painful. Screw it; I'm not getting any oxygen anyway. If I need air, I'll just suck it in through the
4-inch hole in my stomach.

Judge # 1 -- The perfect ending, this is a nice blend chili. Not too bold but spicy enough to declare its existence.
Judge # 2 -- This final entry is a good, balanced chili. Neither mild nor hot. Sorry to see that most of it was lost when Judge #3 farted, passed out, fell over and pulled the chili pot down on top of himself. Not sure if he's going to make it. poor feller, wonder how he'd have reacted to really hot chili?
Judge # 3 - No Report
28661  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Geo Political matters on: May 10, 2005, 12:07:05 AM

Debating Russia's Fate
May 09, 2005 23 13  GMT

It has been 60 years since the defeat of Nazi Germany. The leaders of the
nations that participated in that victory, along with those that didn't,
have gathered in Moscow to commemorate the anniversary. The gathering has a meaning that transcends the historical.

The question on the table is the future of Russia's relationship with the
West. The issue is simple: From Moscow's point of view, it is whether the
Russians squandered, over the past 15 years, the victory that was won at the cost of more than 20 million killed. From its erstwhile allies' point of
view, it is whether to take Russia seriously, not only as a global power,
but even as a regional power. How these questions are answered will
determine the shape of Eurasia for a generation.

From the Soviet point of view, World War II was simultaneously a catastrophe and a triumph. The catastrophe consisted of Josef Stalin's massive diplomatic and military miscalculations, which led to the occupation of vast parts of the Soviet Union by the Germans. The triumph was the fact that the Soviet Union not only won the war (along with its allies), it also emerged from the war as the dominant Eurasian power -- its borders effectively pushing into central Germany -- as well as a global power. It became the only challenger to the other great victor in World War II, the United States. Now the fruits of the victories of 1945 are gone.

Moscow's sphere of influence no longer extends to central Germany. In fact, it doesn't extend even through the former Soviet Union. The Baltics,
Ukraine, the Caucasus and Central Asia are all slipping from its hands. It
is not even certain that the Kremlin can hold all of the Russian Federation.
From Moscow's point of view, the current generation has squandered the
victory and betrayed the sacrifices of its greatest generation.

The leadership of the Soviet and Russian recessional did not undertake this course out of indifference or confusion. Mikhail Gorbachev, Boris Yeltsin and Russian President Vladimir Putin all pursued a calculated policy, dictated in their minds by irresistible reality. Following the analysis of Yuri Andropov, the head of the KGB in the 1960s and 1970s, they recognized that the Soviet Union was -- imperceptibly to many in the West -- slipping into economic and social catastrophe, caused by two things. First, the Soviet economy was inherently inefficient; geography and ideology combined to create a fundamentally flawed system. Second, the decision by the United States in the 1980s to directly attack this weakness by accelerating the arms race created a crisis of unsustainable proportions.

The Soviet Union was poor, but geopolitically and strategically powerful. In order to retain that strategic power, it had to devote an enormous amount of economic energy to sustaining its military forces and the economic sectors that underpinned them. The cost of strategic parity with the United States rose and threatened the rest of the economy with collapse. Very quickly, the Soviet Union would be both poorer and weaker.

Moscow made a fundamental strategic decision to preserve the Soviet Union by rebalancing the relationship between geopolitics and economics. Gorbachev attempted to implement this policy by effectively ending the Cold War in return for technology transfers and investments from the West. He lost control of the situation for two reasons. First, regardless of the level of Western investment and aid, the economic sclerosis of the Soviet Union was so extensive that Moscow could not effectively utilize the Western funds in any politically meaningful timeframe. Second, the United States was not going to allow the Soviets to recover from their weakness.

Washington pressed home its advantage. First, it made alliances, covert and overt, in Eastern Europe that essentially pried the region out of the
weakening Soviet grip. Second, the loss of its Eastern European empire
created a dynamic that led to Gorbachev's fall and the rise of Yeltsin --  
and the collapse of the Soviet Union itself. Retreat fed on itself, until
Moscow lost not only what it won in World War II, but also much more.

Yeltsin essentially extended Gorbachev's policies and deepened them. He
assumed that the economic benefits that Andropov had been searching for would materialize more quickly if Russia were not also responsible for
economic conditions in Soviet republics that lagged generations behind
Russia itself. In effect, Yeltsin continued to trade geopolitics for
economic relations with the West -- having abandoned the drag imposed by, for example, Central Asia.

Russians hoped for a massive improvement in their lives. While there was
substantial economic activity, wealth was not dispersed. The lives of
Russians outside of Moscow and St. Petersburg, as well as the elderly and
others who were not among the Westernized elites, went from difficult to
extraordinarily harsh. The reasons are complex, but they boil down to this: Capitalism is extremely rewarding, but it demands huge social sacrifices up front -- and Russia, having already paid the price of communism, had nothing more to offer. By this, we don't simply mean money; we mean the social dynamism that capitalism requires. Russia was exhausted by communism. Its social, political and legal structure could not change to accommodate the requirements of capitalism. Theft replaced production as a means of becoming wealthy.

Yeltsin could not have done anything about this had he wanted to. It was
hardwired into the system. As a result, there was no economic payoff in
return for Russia's geopolitical decline. Before the collapse of communism, Russia had been poor but enormously powerful. Afterward, Russia was even poorer and pathetically weak. Moscow had to struggle to hold on to Russia itself.

Geopolitics is not a sentimental game, and the United States is not a
sentimental country. It did precisely what the Russians had done in the past and would have done had the situation been reversed: It pressed its
advantage. Using a variety of mechanisms, such as NATO expansion, the United States first spread its influence into Eastern Europe, then into the former Soviet Union itself, in the Baltics. Washington has increased its influence in the Caucasus via its relationship with Georgia and others.The Americans moved into Central Asia -- first, through the development of energy resources there; then, as a side effect of Sept. 11, through the deployment of U.S. troops and intelligence services throughout the region.

Russian weakness had created a vacuum. The United States inexorably moved into it. Putin came to power in the wake of the Kosovo conflict, in which the United States had treated Russian interests with indifference and even contempt. He did not wish to reverse the Andropov doctrine, but intended only to refine it. He expected there never to be a repeat of Kosovo, in which the United States attacked Serbia -- a nation regarded by the Russians as friendly -- without ever taking Russian interests into account. Putin also intended to reverse the consequences of the economic chaos of the 1990s. But he did not intend to create any fundamental change.

In other words, Putin wanted to have his cake and eat it too. He did not
want to change the foundation of U.S.-Russian relations; he simply wanted to rebalance it. The two goals contradicted each other. The relationship could not be rebalanced: It was built around the reality that Russian leaders had been dealing with for a generation with declining success. Russia didn't have the weight to rebalance the relationship. Economically, it remained crippled. Militarily, it was impotent. The geopolitical consequence - decline -- could not be stopped. For the past six years, Putin has been searching for the Holy Grail: a no-cost, no-risk solution to Russia's problems.

The United States has followed a consistent policy from Ronald Reagan,
through the administrations of George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton and now
George W. Bush as well. It has sought to prevent, under any circumstances, the re-emergence of Russia as a regional hegemon and potential global challenger. This has been a truly bipartisan policy. Clinton and George W. Bush have sought to systematically increase American influence in what the Russians call their "near abroad" while at the same time allowing the natural process of economic dysfunction to continue. More precisely, they have allowed Russia's weaknesses to create vacuums into which American power could move.

The breakpoint came in Ukraine. Washington took advantage of pro-Western forces there to create a situation in which it, rather than Moscow, was the most influential foreign force in Kiev -- including raising pointed
discussions about whether to include Ukraine in NATO. Ukraine lies on Russia's southern frontier; if it becomes a NATO country, Russia becomes
indefensible. This, coupled with growing U.S. power in Central Asia,
threatens Russia's position in the Caucasus. The situation quickly becomes hopeless for Moscow.

This explains why Putin recently referred to the collapse of the Soviet
Union as the greatest geopolitical catastrophe in the 21st century. Western leaders expressed shock at the statement, but Putin was simply expressing the obvious. President Bush's travel itinerary surrounding Russia's V-E Day celebrations -- making his first stop in the Baltics and leaving by way of Georgia -- is intended to drive the point home. Discussion of internal Russian affairs -- the status of democracy there -- similarly drives home the inequality of the relationship. So, too, does the attempt to equate the Soviet occupation of the Baltics with the Nazi occupation, with Bush administration leaders saying that the fall of Adolf Hitler did not end oppression. All of this is designed rhetorically to put Russia on the defensive, just as it has been put on the defensive geopolitically.

The Russian decline and the U.S. exploitation of the situation have taken us to the breakpoint. If Ukraine is lost to Moscow, if Georgia becomes the
dominant power in the Caucasus, if events in Kyrgyzstan are extended to the rest of Central Asia -- all of which are very easy to imagine -- it will be difficult to imagine the survival of the Russian Federation. We will see a
second devolution in which parts of the Federation peel off. Russia, as we
know it today, will be finished.

It is not clear that the Russians have the will to recover. Putin seems to
be struggling with internal and external demons, and his heir is not
apparent. However, if Russia is going to make an attempt to recover, now is the time when it will have to happen. Another year and there might not be any chance. It might already be too late, but the Russians have little to
lose. It is really a case of now or never.

Russia will never have a vibrant economy. In the long run, centralized
command economies don't work. But neither does capitalism in Russia. A
centralized economy can do remarkable things in the short run, however.
Russia is particularly noted for short-term, unbalanced spurts -- sometimes with the government using terror as a tool, sometimes not.

It must always be remembered how quickly military power can be recovered.  Germany went from a collapsed military in 1932 to Great Power status in five or six years. Economic authoritarianism, coupled with a pre-existing skilled officer class, transformed Germany's strategic position. It is not wise, therefore, to assume that Russia cannot recover significant military force if it has the will to do so. It might not become a superpower, but Great Power status -- even with an impoverished population -- is not beyond its capabilities. We have seen Russia achieve this in the past.

It therefore makes sense that the United States has been consolidating and extending its position in the former Soviet Union during the past few
months. Russia can recover, but only if given time. The United States,
having no desire to see Russia recover, doesn't intend to give it time.
Washington intends to present Moscow with a reality that is so unfavorable that it cannot be reversed. Russia is close to that situation right now, but in our opinion, not yet there. A window is open that will close shortly.

The question is simple: Will the Russians grab what might be a last chance, or are they just too tired to care?

(c) 2005 Strategic Forecasting, Inc. All rights reserved.
28662  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Michigan Stickfighters????? on: May 09, 2005, 09:07:39 PM

Kalani is a well-regarded member of the Hawaii clan (Dogzilla) of the Dog Brothers.

Crafty Dog
28663  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Happy Mother's Day!!! on: May 08, 2005, 04:22:33 PM
And to those that made them mommies Cool
28664  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Well-armed People on: May 06, 2005, 12:22:50 PM
28665  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Geo Political matters on: May 06, 2005, 10:46:44 AM
And here's some key support for the notion about China and Russia getting together , , ,


Geopolitical Diary: Friday, May 6, 2005

The major unfolding geopolitical event at the moment is, of course, the
Russian celebration of V-E Day on May 9. Everybody who is anybody will be there, and there will be an enormous number of planned and impromptu summits. The most important visit will inevitably be George W. Bush's.  Russian-American relations are strained, and this summit will be an opportunity to see which way the wind blows in their relationship. Russia's behavior toward other countries will be heavily influenced by Moscow's perception of its future relationship with Washington. Therefore, many of the participants at the side meetings will be keeping a careful eye on this relationship.

To a great extent, the relationship now depends on Bush's view of Russia.
The Russians are more than ever locked into a position that holds that the
United States is moving in Russia's "near abroad" in an operation designed to undermine what Moscow regards as fundamental interests in its sphere of influence. Over the past months, beginning in Ukraine, the United States has supported forces that Moscow regards as antithetical to its interests.  Washington's argument -- that it is simply supporting the evolution of democracy -- is regarded as a cover for the constriction and destruction of Russia.

Bush's decision to visit Latvia and Georgia in the course of this trip has
particularly infuriated the Russians. The loss of its sphere of influence in
the Baltics and the Caucuses is of particular concern to Moscow, and these stops -- in the context of Russia's V-E Day celebrations -- are seen as a deliberate provocation. Putin has called the collapse of the Soviet Union the greatest geopolitical catastrophe in the 20th century. The geopolitical problem of the Soviet Union is characterized by these visits.

Leaders in Washington now must decide whether the United States can further constrict Russia or whether it should let up. Continuing to irritate Moscow simply generates further conviction that the United States is out to destroy Russia without actually doing it harm. In effect, the feeling that the fall of the Soviet Union was a catastrophe will be replaced by Russia's logical conclusion: the fall of the Soviet Union should be reversed. If the United States can render the Russians impotent, it doesn't matter how they react to Washington's moves. But if Russia is not impotent, it matters a great deal.

Russian leaders already have warned Bush not to come to Russia in order to condemn reversals on democracy. He also has been warned not to exploit the Soviet breakup to increase American influence further. Bush has gotten the message. Stories began to surface Thursday that Bush will warn the Georgians against provocations in South Ossetia, a region aligned with Russia. In addition, he will also tell the Latvians to work with the Russians.

Bush is pulling back, but only a bit. Warning the Georgians and Latvians
will neither restrain them nor convince Moscow that the United States is
not, in fact, seeking to surround Russia with enemies. A more fundamental issue is whether Tbilisi's demand that Russia withdraw its forces from Georgia -- and Moscow's counter, offering to do so in four years -- will be resolved. If the United States backs Georgia's demands, Moscow will not care what Bush says to the Georgians. The Russians will believe the American policy is continuing. If Washington forces Georgia to permit Russian troops to remain for a while, Moscow might be mollified.

The Russians have signaled clearly that they have reached their limit. Bush has not yet shown whether he will go for the kill or back off. If he will not back off, the most interesting meeting at the summit will be between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese Prime Minister Hu Jintao. Neither country trusts U.S. intentions at the moment, and it won't take much to push them into each other's arms. If Russia collapses, that doesn't matter. If Russia doesn't collapse, it matters a great deal.
28666  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Weird and/or silly on: May 05, 2005, 11:31:33 PM
Thursday, May 5, 2005


BENTON HARBOR -- A pop culture controversy that has simmered for decades came to a head when a middle school marching band was told not to perform "Louie Louie."

Benton Harbor Superintendent Paula Dawning cited the song's allegedly raunchy lyrics in ordering the McCord Middle School band not to perform it in Saturday's Grand Floral Parade, held as part of the Blossomtime Festival.

In a letter sent home with McCord students, Dawning said "Louie Louie" was not appropriate for Benton Harbor students to play while representing the district -- even though the marching band wasn't going to sing it.

Band members and parents complained to the Board of Education at its Tuesday meeting that it was too late to learn another song, The Herald-Palladium of St. Joseph reported.

"It's very stressful for us to try to come up with new songs for the band," eighth-grader Laurice Martin told the board. "We're trying to learn the songs from last year, but some of us weren't in the band last year."

Dawning said that if a majority of parents supports their children playing the song, she will reconsider her decision.

"It was not that I knew at the beginning and said nothing," Dawning said. "I normally count on the staff to make reliable decisions. I found out because a parent called, concerned about the song being played."

"Louie Louie," written by Richard Berry in 1956, is one of the most recorded songs in history. The best-known, most notorious version was a hit in 1963 for the Kingsmen; the FBI spent two years investigating the lyrics before declaring they not only were not obscene but also were "unintelligible at any speed."
28667  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Geo Political matters on: May 05, 2005, 10:58:41 PM
Here's an example of Russia being a pain in the a$$ for the US in a region outside of its true concerns , , ,

The Specter of Russian-Made Fighter Jets in Venezuela
May 05, 2005 15 09  GMT


Venezuela reportedly is looking to purchase Su-27 Flanker fighters from Russia instead of the less-capable Mig-29SMT Fulcrums it previously considered. This development would constitute a provocative move by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez -- one that would have serious implications in Latin America and beyond.


Venezuela has expressed interest in acquiring two squadrons of Su-27 Flanker air-superiority fighters from Russia, Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported May 4. The Venezuelans apparently are interested in the base model Su-27, which has been out of production in Russia since Sukhoi Corp. began producing the Su-30 variants for the export market. If a contract for the reported $250 million deal is signed, the aircraft -- 20 to 24 fighters -- would be transferred to the Venezuelan air force (FAV) from the Russian air force inventory.

Venezuela's interest in the Su-27 is significant in that acquiring the aircraft would make the FAV the most potent air force in South America and the Caribbean. The Flanker has a much longer range than the Mig-29SMT Fulcrum -- which Caracas also is considering purchasing from Russia -- meaning it can operate much further from Venezuelan air space. With a combat radius of nearly 1,000 miles, a Caracas-based Su-27 could participate in dogfights over Colombia, Cuba, most of Central America and the entire Caribbean Sea. Caracas' efforts to acquire advanced weaponry will alter the security environment in Latin America -- and give the United States more to ponder as it figures out how to deal with Venezuela.

Whether the FAV chooses the MiG-29s, the Su-27s or both, the new fighters will replace its aging F-16s, which the United States provided in the early 1980s. The F-16s, which the FAV deploys in two squadrons based at El Libertador air base in Maracay, spend most of their time on the ground because of low serviceability. The U.S. government stopped supplying the FAV with spare parts for its F-16s in 2001 after the Chavez government suspended military relations with Washington. Although the FAV has managed to keep some F-16s in the air despite maintenance difficulties resulting from the embargo -- a point of pride for the FAV -- the jets' long-term serviceability is in doubt.

In February, Caracas purchased 10 Mi-17 and Mi-26 helicopters and 100,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles in a deal worth $120 million. Unlike these purchases, primarily intended to support border and internal security requirements, Su-27s would have implications far beyond Venezuela's borders.

The Su-27 is a long-range, advanced fighter capable of deploying powerful weapons. With even two squadrons of such jets, the FAV could dominate the air forces of neighboring countries. In other words, it would become the most powerful air force in Latin America, far surpassing the capabilities of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Brazil.

Colombia always has eyed Venezuela with suspicion, but bilateral relations have deteriorated since Chavez came to power. Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Velez has struck a nonchalant pose publicly, claiming he is not worried about the regional security implications of Chavez's arms-buying spree. Colombian media, however, recently disclosed an internal Defense Ministry memorandum that confirms Uribe is quite concerned about the Venezuelan arms build up. The administration of U.S. President George W. Bush also has voiced its concerns repeatedly in Latin America, Madrid and Moscow.

Caracas initially had expressed interest in purchasing the MiG-29SMT Fulcrum, which has a range of 465 miles if external fuel tanks are not attached. The external tanks, which have a negative impact on the fighter's performance, also take up space on the aircraft that could be used for weapons. The Su-27's range on internal fuel alone is almost twice that of the MiG-29. With no need to carry cumbersome external tanks, the Flanker can participate in aerial combat with all of its external stores stations available for missiles.

Meanwhile, in even considering the sale, Russia has a "weapon" with which to exert geopolitical pressure on the United States. In response to recent U.S. inroads along Russia's periphery, Moscow might be deciding to muddy the waters elsewhere for the United States -- and Venezuela, as a sore spot for Washington already, is a good launching pad. Certainly, forcing the United States to channel its resources from Central Asia and the Caucasus in order to counter Russian-caused problems elsewhere would relieve Moscow of some U.S. pressure.

Russia had once hinted at supplying Tu-22M Backfire bombers to China, but later backed off the sale. More recently, Moscow agreed to supply Syria with the Strelets surface-to-air missile system, despite objections from the United States and Israel. Of course, the Su-27 deal could be called off, or scaled back like the Chinese Backfire deals have been, but the political implications of the sale of Su-27s to a regime that is openly hostile to Washington would keep Washington off balance without a fighter going to Venezuela.

Relations between Caracas and Washington have deteriorated markedly since Chavez came to power, especially as Venezuela moved closer to Cuba, aligning its military planning with Havana's. In fact, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently said she considers relations between Washington and Caracas beyond hope of improving. With the United States beginning to refocus its attention to issues outside the Middle East, Chavez believes his country could be targeted for U.S. intervention.

Long-range, heavily armed Su-27s in the FAV's possession, however, would complicate any U.S. military intervention in the region. Air superiority -- gaining and maintaining total control of the air over the battlefield -- is essential to U.S. military planning. In any U.S. operation against Venezuela, the formidable defensive obstacle presented by squadrons of Su-27s would have to be overcome before air superiority could be achieved. Moreover, the Su-27's long range would force U.S. air and naval units to operate further from Venezuelan skies.

If Chavez can acquire surplus Russian air force Su-27s for less than the cost of new MiG-29s, he certainly would get more bang for his buck, which would help ease the fiscal strain of his rearmament program. Combined with a huge militia reserve armed with new Kalashnikov and older FAL rifles, the Su-27 would provide another layer of defense between Chavez and Washington.

The specter of Chavez's air force operating the Su-27 would give Washington -- and its allies in the region -- plenty to think about.
28668  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: May 05, 2005, 05:06:27 PM
Peace Process in Crisis: Abbas' Dilemma

By George Friedman

The Israeli-Palestinian peace process is now facing its first serious crisis since the death of Yasser Arafat. The process may not survive. The problem is the same that has plagued previous attempts at peace: Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas is not able to guarantee that all Palestinian factions will honor an agreement.

The problem exists on both sides, obviously. There are Israelis who oppose the peace process as well as Palestinians. The Israeli opposition, however, is unlikely to derail the peace process so long as Prime Minister Ariel Sharon remains committed to it. Sharon is a man of the Israeli Right, and in many ways, historically, has embodied it. Many of his fellow Rightists are appalled at what he is doing, but in the end, this can never be more than a relatively small faction. When you are as far to the right as Sharon, your right-wing opposition is going to be more noisy than significant. Sharon can deliver if he wants to.

Abbas has a different problem: There is no equivalent consensus among the Palestinians. Instead, they are divided into three factions.

First, there are those who are prepared to accept a Palestinian state as a permanent solution and are prepared both to recognize Israel's right to exist and to permanently abandon a military option against Israel.

Second, there is the faction that is prepared to accept a peace agreement as a temporary solution -- perhaps one lasting for several generations -- but not a permanent one. In other words, this faction sees peace in terms of an extended cease-fire rather than as a permanent solution.

Third, there is the faction that will not accept even an extended cease-fire. This faction intends to continue waging war against Israel until it achieves its political ends, which for most include the destruction of the state of Israel.

For Israel, accepting the existence of a Palestinian state rests on a single premise: that there will be a state structure in place that can impose an agreement with Israel on all factions of the Palestinians. Most important, the Israelis expect a Palestinian state to suppress the third faction, which intends to continue carrying out attacks against Israel regardless of any political settlements. For Israel, unless there is a cessation of violence, the creation of a Palestinian state has no validity.

Sharon has a problem with his right wing, but in the end, he can control them. Abbas has a problem with his militant wing, but it is not at all clear that he can control them. The question of control is not theoretical. It has a simple, essential characteristic: Abbas must be able to disarm the militants, and his security forces must be able to halt attacks against Israel without the presence of the Israeli army.

It is becoming clear that Abbas is in no position to disarm the militants. Earlier this week, he ordered security forces to use an "iron fist" in containing Palestinian militants, after two armed Hamas members who clashed with Palestinian police were detained in Gaza on May 2. According to a PNA Interior Ministry spokesman, the men had rockets that they planned to launch against Israeli targets. Hamas then successfully pressured the PNA, with the help of an Egyptian official in Gaza, to release the two militants on May 3.

On May 4, Abbas' Palestinian Authority stated that it had no intention of disarming militants. Rashid Abu Shbak, head of the PA's security service, told a news conference that "we have no intention of withdrawing arms of resistance." Now, this did not come from Abbas, but it came from his security chief. Abbas can back off, but the statement is pretty blunt.

The problem is not that Abbas doesn't want to disarm the militants; the problem is that he can't. He simply lacks the force within the Palestinian community to prevail. Pushing the issue would trigger a civil war, and it is not clear that Abbas would win. If Hamas gives up its weapons, it loses its leverage in Palestinian politics. That won't happen.

Which means that the Palestinians are back where they started. Abbas cannot negotiate with the Israelis, because he can't enforce any agreements. Since this is what Sharon's old friends on the Right said would happen, Sharon will now be under pressure to halt withdrawals from the occupied territories. That will suit Hamas just fine, as it will undermine Abbas. It will also suit the Israeli Right.

It comes down to this: There is no consensus among the Palestinians as to what should happen. There are three strands of thought -- all with some base of support, and all of which are mutually exclusive. Israel could live with some sort of deal that includes the "let's have peace for a generation and then start the war again" faction. A lot changes in a generation. But Israel cannot make peace with a government that can't disarm Hamas.

Things are getting dangerous again. Actually, they never really stopped being dangerous.
28669  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Geo Political matters on: May 05, 2005, 03:53:47 PM
Mmm, not too impresed by this one Buz.

Stratfor thinks that the continued viability of Russia is in question.  It sees the recent failure of Russia to control the election in the Ukraine (including its presumed role in the attempted hit on the man who is now the President of the Ukraine, as well as various consumated hits) as leaving Russia in a nearly untenable situation-- increased by other democratic revolutions/movements in the FSU and Russia's near abroad.

Strat predicts that Russia will do its best to be a pain in the ass elsewhere (Syria, Iran for example) in an attempt to cause us to back off in "its" sphere.  

Wonder if its a coincidence that Bush chose Russian speaking Russian expert Condi Rice for Secy of State?

Also, as the piece gets around to noting, India and the US are growing closer in various ways.
28670  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Tom Bisio book - A TOOTH FROM THE TIGER'S MOUTH on: May 05, 2005, 09:51:08 AM
Thanks for the heads up on this!
28671  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: May 04, 2005, 08:58:15 PM
Capture in Pakistan: Tightening the Squeeze on Al Qaeda


Pakistani Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said May 4 that Islamabad captured Abu Farj al-Libi, one of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's closest associates. Al-Libi, a Libyan national, is accused of two assassination attempts against Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf. His arrest deals a serious blow to al Qaeda's operational capability -- and likely will increase U.S. pressure on Islamabad to get the final job done.


Pakistani security forces raiding a house in Pakistan's Northwest Frontier
Province have captured Abu Farj al-Libi and five other foreign al Qaeda
operatives, Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said May 4. Al-Libi, a Libyan national accused of having masterminded two assassination attempts against Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, is believed to be al Qaeda's third in command.

The capture in the town of Mardan of one of Osama bin Laden's top military commanders -- al-Libi replaced Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in the No. 3 post after the latter's capture in March 2003 -- likely puts al Qaeda's top leadership in a much more vulnerable position. Significantly, it also comes at a time when the global jihadist organization desperately needs to launch a major attack if it is to maintain its credibility, but is having trouble doing so.

Although Pakistani authorities appear to be closing in on the al Qaeda
leadership, al-Libi might be unable to divulge information on bin Laden's
location. Bin Laden and his top deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri -- seen in a
September 2003 al Qaeda videotape walking in a remote mountainous area -- would want to limit their travel to avoid capture. Bin Laden, in fact,
likely is hiding somewhere in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal
Areas, with the help of locals.

A leading operational chief such as al-Libi (the name is a nom de guerre)
would probably not have access to information regarding bin Laden's exact  location, since his duty to carry out operations puts him at greater risk of being caught. Bin Laden likely communicates with his operational leaders through intermediaries -- he would keep his location secret from al-Libi in order to avoid being tracked.

Al-Libi's capture comes at a time when Pakistani-U.S. relations are heating up over a planned joint operation against al Qaeda in northwestern Pakistan. As Stratfor has said, the time is ripe for a final offensive to capture bin Laden and relieve U.S. forces in the region. Though the United States is eager to get the operation completed, Islamabad is doing all it can to delay it -- and to make it appear that Pakistani authorities have the situation under control. It is quite likely that U.S. forces played a significant role in al-Libi's capture, and allowed Islamabad to take credit for the operation to avoid upsetting local sensibilities.

Pakistan responded quickly after U.S. Lt. Gen. David Barno, former commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, recently said Musharraf plans to launch an operation against al Qaeda in North Waziristan. Pakistani military spokesman Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan rejected Barno's statement, saying only the Pakistani government and army would decide when and where it should launch the operation.

As Pakistan experiences increasing domestic turmoil, Musharraf will push his claim that dialogue with tribal chieftains in the region is the safest way
to tame his domestic constituency -- and to weaken al Qaeda. This claim,
however, probably will not relieve U.S. pressure on him to act. Regardless
of whether Musharraf likes it, this significant capture will increase
Washington's determination to execute its military plans -- and finish off
al Qaeda.
28672  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / DBMA Camp 5/14-15: Short Impact Weapons on: May 04, 2005, 03:09:07 PM
Woof All:


10:00-12:130 Morning Session
12:30-14:00 Lunch  (a leisurely lunch spent in good friendship is a good thing! Also, the 12:30 starting time for lunch helps us avoid the noon lunchtime rushhour.
14:00-16:30 Afternoon Session.

In short, a 5 hours training broken up by a leisurely lunch.


Family man and finances?  I hear ya!  I went fot he big bucks in stickfighting!

As a born and raised New Yorker, much of my sense of "Walking as a Warrior" descends from various adventures growing up in NYC so it sounds like we are on the same page!  Anyway, the SIW material will first be for the members of the DBMAA (Dog Brothers Martial Arts Ass'n) but yes there will be a DVD/video after we are done with current projects (Kali Tudo Volume One)-- which will be finished in a matter of days-- Staff, Big Stick Los Triques; Double Stick Los Triques; Snaggletooth; Cycle Drills)

Hope to see more of you around here.

Crafty Dog
28673  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Movies of interest on: May 04, 2005, 12:42:55 PM
I think our Guv is not up to it physically any longer.  After his heart surgery, one suspects he may be leary of further use of hormonal supplements.

With a bit a vision, this could have been a powerful series, a barbarian James Bond (in the sense of a franchise) if you will.  But too late for that.

Suggestions for the new Conan?

I thought the Rock showed the capability for athleticism (always a weak point for the Guv IMHO) arrogance and sense of humor in that movie where he played a bounty hunter bringing back Jason Something Something from Brazil.
28674  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Homeland Security on: May 04, 2005, 05:07:25 AM

The Successful Prosecution of a Far-Reaching U.S. Indictment
April 27, 2005 1747 GMT

A U.S. district court in Alexandria, Va., on April 26 convicted Islamist
ideologue Ali al-Timimi on 10 felony charges stemming from his efforts to
encourage others to bear arms against U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Al-Timimi, the primary lecturer at the Dar al-Arqam Islamic Center in Falls Church, Va., urged his followers in late 2001 to travel to Afghanistan and defend the Taliban regime against the impending U.S. invasion. His conviction on a September 2004 indictment has proven that inspiring others to take part in militant activities can be prosecuted successfully.

According to the indictment, al-Timimi urged at least four of the 11 members of the Virginia Jihad Network (VJN) to take up arms against the United States and its allies. In doing so, al-Timimi apparently arranged for some VJN members to travel to the Pakistani section of Kashmir to train with the militant Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) group. During their training, some of the men fired assault rifles -- hence the firearms charges. No VJN member actually fought anywhere, but the LeT has been connected to other Islamist militant groups, which would explain a charge against al-Timimi for attempting to contribute services to the Taliban.

Rather than organize militant activity, al-Timimi provided the intellectual
impetus to others to take action against U.S. forces in Afghanistan. The
conviction is an example of the post-Sept. 11 shift in the United States
toward more aggressive action against those who provide support of any kind to terrorist or militant organizations. In comparison, the United Kingdom still maintains a rather lax legal attitude toward those who support terrorist activities. London recently tightened some laws that deal with aiding terrorist groups, but a major law that would have broadened police powers to detain suspected terrorists was voted down in February.

Another example of the U.S. shift is the case involving Lynne F. Stewart,
the attorney for blind cleric Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman who was convicted in February 2004 for her part in the 1993 World Trade Center attack. She faced five counts of providing material aid to terrorism for facilitating communication between the sheikh and his followers outside of prison and militants in Egypt.

Stewart allegedly used her privilege as Rahman's lawyer to bring one of his followers, Mohamed Yousry, along with her to meetings with the sheikh at his Minnesota prison. Rahman would pass instructions to his followers through Yousry and Ahmed Abdel Sattar. The two co-defendants in Stewart's trial also were convicted on various charges.

Al-Timimi was born and raised in the United States, as were a number of his followers. Among them were Randall Royer and Donald Surratt, who pleaded guilty along with others in March 2004 to terrorism-related charges for training at the LeT camp to fight U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Both were converts to Islam, and Surratt was a former U.S. Marine. In another case, U.S.-born Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, a 23-year-old from Falls Church, was arrested in Saudi Arabia and accused of being an al Qaeda member. He also was indicted in federal court for plotting to assassinate U.S. President George W. Bush. As U.S. citizens, they all were subject to anti-sedition and treason laws.

According to a 2004 survey conducted by the Institute of Social Policy and
Understanding, 8 percent of the 6 million to 7 million American Muslims
identify with any kind of Wahhabist causes. Of those who do, an even smaller minority support jihadist causes. Of course, as the Royer and Surratt cases have shown, an Islamic upbringing is not a prerequisite for supporting -- or taking part -- in jihadist causes.

Those two cases -- and especially the al-Timimi and Stewart cases -- have
shown however, that the U.S. legal system is now ready and willing to come down hard against those who never commit acts of aggression themselves, but whose speech or actions contribute to terrorism.


European Islamist Extremism and the U.S. Security Threat
April 28, 2005 1720 GMT

The U.S. House of Representatives held a hearing April 27 to assess the rise of Islamist extremism in Europe. The hearing, sponsored jointly by the
Committee on International Relations and the Subcommittee on Europe and Emerging Threats, is indicative of mounting U.S. concern over the threat posed by Islamist extremists to Washington's allies in Europe -- and to the United States itself. As European countries continue to isolate their Muslim communities, Islamist extremism shows few signs of abating.

Norwegian televangelist Runar Sogaard reportedly sought police protection
after he enraged many Muslims in Sweden by calling the Islamic prophet
Mohammed a "confused pedophile" -- referring to the prophet's marriage to a 9-year-old girl -- in a March 20 sermon in Stockholm.

Following the sermon, a letter posted on a jihadist Web site and addressed
to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, implored al-Zarqawi to come to the defense of Muslims in Sweden. The letter was signed "The weakened Muslims in Sweden," implying the writer's belief that the country's 350,000 Muslims are being persecuted. The author also claimed that Sogaard would soon be killed, ". just like in Holland with the Dutchman ." The "Dutchman" is a direct reference to Theo van Gogh, the Dutch filmmaker who was shot and stabbed Nov. 2, 2004, in Amsterdam, allegedly by an Islamist militant who reportedly was upset over a film van Gogh made that took a critical view of Islam.

The chairman of Sweden's council of imams, Hassan Moussa, issued a statement April 22 advising Swedish Muslims against taking the law into their own hands even though, he said, Sogaard's comments "injure millions of Muslims all over the world."

The atmosphere in Western Europe is conducive to the development of
extremist views in young Muslims for several reasons. First, lax immigration policies have allowed those with radical and isolationist tendencies to settle in European Muslim communities. Second, many Muslim communities find themselves isolated from the mainstream society in the European countries where they have taken root, which leaves them vulnerable to the introduction of extremist ideologies. Some Muslims who became radicalized in Europe have ended up committing acts against the United States. For example, Mohammed Atta, leader of the Sept. 11 hijackers, and Ramzi Yousef, mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center attack, both spent time in European universities, where, according to the 9/11 commission report, they came in contact with Islamist radicals.

Furthermore, Claude Moniquet, director of the European Strategic
Intelligence and Security Center, said during the joint committee hearing in Washington that some EU countries have been slow to reform the
asylum-seeking process and to coordinate among themselves to share
information about possible threats within their respective Muslim

These lapses can be exploited by Islamist radicals to gain footholds in the
EU countries' otherwise law-abiding Muslim communities. As long as these
conditions persist, Islamist extremism in Europe will continue to be a
security problem for the United States.
28675  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Movies of interest on: May 02, 2005, 08:47:21 PM
I enjoyed Conan 1 (Sandahl Bergman smiley o==8 ) simply by putting aside the knowing that it could have been so more more.  Howard's Conan is a figure deep in the dark primal archetypes.  If only someone had been at the helm with the vision and courage to have gone there something truly great could have been made.  Ah well, forward.

Conan 2 was a joke-- and a waste of Wilt Chamberlain.  PG Conan!?!  Oy vey.
28676  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Unbreakable walking stick / umbrella??? on: April 30, 2005, 08:02:04 PM
I have given a session on the heavy bag with full power baseball bat swings as part of the mix and it seems to both deliver power and hold up well-- certainly enough to last the first SD application wink

I'll be looking into price to us from the maker-- we may well wind up carrying this.
28677  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Movies of interest on: April 29, 2005, 11:49:07 PM
Woof Tuhon Raf:

A pleasure to be graced by your presence once again.  

I'm not familiar with the movie "Old Dog", but by its name and your recommendation I am favorably disposed.  What can you tell us about it?

Crafty Dog
28678  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / A forum 2,385 years ago on: April 28, 2005, 11:14:26 PM
Woof All:

The more things change, the more the song remains the same , , ,

The Adventure continues,

From LACHES, or Courage, by Plato (Written 380 B.C.E):

I should not like to maintain, Nicias, that any kind of knowledge is not to be learned; for all knowledge appears to be a good: and if, as Nicias and as the teachers of the art affirm, this use of arms is really a species of knowledge, then it ought to be learned; but if not, and if those who profess to teach it are deceivers only; or if it be knowledge, but not of a valuable sort, then what is the use of learning it? I say this, because I think that if it had been really valuable, the Lacedaemonians, whose whole life is passed in finding out and practising the arts which give them an advantage over other nations in war, would have discovered this one. And even if they had not, still these professors of the art would certainly not have failed to discover that of all the Hellenes the Lacedaemonians have the greatest interest in such matters, and that a master of the art who was honoured among them would be sure to make his fortune among other nations, just as a tragic poet would who is honoured among ourselves; which is the reason why he who fancies that he can write a tragedy does not go about itinerating in the neighbouring states, but rushes straight, and exhibits at Athens; and this is natural. Whereas I perceive that these fighters in armour regard Lacedaemon as a sacred inviolable territory, which they do not touch with the point of their foot; but they make a circuit of the neighbouring states, and would rather exhibit to any others than to the Spartans; and particularly to those who would themselves acknowledge that they are by no means first-rate in the arts of war. Further, Lysimachus, I have encountered a good many of these gentlemen in actual service, and have taken their measure, which I can give you at once; for none of these masters of fence have ever been distinguished in war,-there has been a sort of fatality about them; while in all other arts the men of note have been always those who have practised the art, they appear to be a most unfortunate exception. For example, this very Stesilaus, whom you and I have just witnessed exhibiting in all that crowd and making such great professions of his powers, I have seen at another time making, in sober truth, an involuntary exhibition of himself, which was a far better spectacle. He was a marine on board a ship which struck a transport vessel, and was armed with a weapon, half spear half scythe; the singularity of this weapon was worthy of the singularity of the man. To make a long story short, I will only tell you what happened to this notable invention of the scythe-spear. He was fighting, and the scythe was caught in the rigging of the other ship, and stuck fast; and he tugged, but was unable to get his weapon free. The two ships were passing one another. He first ran along his own ship holding on to the spear; but as the other ship passed by and drew him after as he was holding on, he let the spear slip through his hand until he retained only the end of the handle. The people in the transport clapped their hands, and laughed at his ridiculous figure; and when some one threw a stone, which fell on the deck at his feet, and he quitted of the scythe-spear, the crew of his own trireme also burst out laughing; they could not refrain when they beheld the weapon waving in the air, suspended from the transport. Now I do not deny that there may be something in such an art, as Nicias asserts, but I tell you my experience; and, as I said at first, whether this be an art of which the advantage is so slight, or not an art at all, but only an imposition, in either case such an acquirement is not worth having. For my opinion is, that if the professor of this art be a coward, he will be likely to become rash, and his character will be only more notorious; or if he be brave, and fail ever so little, other men will be on the watch, and he will be greatly traduced; for there is a jealousy of such pretenders; and unless a man be preeminent in valour, he cannot help being ridiculous, if he says that he has this sort of skill. Such is my judgment, Lysimachus, of the desirableness of this art; but, as I said at first, ask Socrates, and do not let him go until he has given you his opinion of the matter.
28679  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / An Untold Triumph on: April 26, 2005, 05:51:53 AM
Forwarded to me:

Dear ray and friends:  

It has been our goal to produce a documentary worthy of Public Television.  We had our Hawaii Premiere on Nov. 4 2002, which was wonderfully received.  It has since made the rounds of some 40 colleges around the mainland, Smithsonian, MacArthur's Museum in Virginia, etc.

And now, finally, it has been announced by NAATA that they will sponsor
the showing of "An Untold Triumph" on National PBS, on May 30th,
Memorial Day at 10:00 pm EST on the mainland and in Hawaii, it will be
at 9:00 pm on Channel 10.  (Mainlanders check with your local PBS
station for the channel and also the time of showing.)

Join us in the pride we, the production team, are experiencing with this
achievement.  We thank all of you who have encouraged us these many
years. (since '95)

Be sure to announce this significant date to "all your friends &
families". Our Director tells us that we are blessed to have our
documentary on National Public Television and on Prime time, We are told
that some 2 million viewers will see the story of the sacrifices and the
courage of the men of the Regiments in helping General MacArthur keep
his promise to the Filipino people "that he will return!"

The men of the Regiments are proud of the great giftedness & creativity
of the production team.  We owe them a debt of gratitude for keeping the
legacy of the lst and 2nd Filipino Infantry Regiments, US Army, for

Please share our reactions to the documemntary with us.    Fond aloha,
28680  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Evolutionary Biology and Psychology on: April 23, 2005, 12:51:10 PM

I found this piece fascinating.

I note tangentially that Konrad Lorenz made this point decades ago (in a form more subtle than this found here in that here the piece seems to argue for nuture over nature, which was NOT KL's point at all) but was belittled for thinking that genes were changed by environment (Buddenbrookism?)


Science Journal
Water-Flea Case Shows
That Ability To Adapt
Is What's Really Innate

Hells Angels have nothing on some water fleas. While these tiny crustaceans are best known for their uncanny ability to skim atop the water's surface, some also boast a "helmet" that makes them tough for a predator to swallow. But other fleas with the same DNA -- clones of the helmeted ones -- have no such armor. And the reason is shaking up the world of genetics.

The helmeted fleas live in a lab aquarium to which scientists added the chemical scent of fish, fleas' main predator. The fleas without helmets come from an aquarium with no fish in sight (or smell). The difference between genetic duplicates reflects the power of environment: It can elicit markedly different traits from the same DNA.

I have written in the past about how environment -- ranging from experiences to diet -- can alter DNA, putting the molecular version of a "not in service" sign on our genes so they remain silent and, as geneticists say, unexpressed. The water flea and other examples of "developmental plasticity" show that a given genotype can develop in any of several ways depending on what environment it's in. And that makes the notion of "innate" look more and more inane.

"If you have a gene with some purported effect, that effect depends on the environment in which it's expressed," says Eric Turkheimer of the University of Virginia. "Anything that looks genetic, because people with that gene always turn out a certain way, might not really be a genetic effect but an artifact of how few environments people with that gene have been exposed to. Once a new environment comes along it can change everything, so what you thought was a fixed effect of a gene isn't."

Oak-tree caterpillars that hatch in the spring, for instance, eat oak blossoms and grow up to look a bit like flowers. Caterpillars with the same genome, but which hatch in the summer, eat leaves and grow up to look like twigs. The different composition of blossoms and leaves affects what traits the caterpillars' genes produce. If you had never seen spring caterpillars, you would think their genome produces only twiggy caterpillars. But the twiggy look is, as Prof. Turkheimer says, only an artifact of how few environments those caterpillars have been exposed to, not genetic determinism.

In the past few years, scientists have found the first examples of such an effect in people, discovering how life experiences can alter gene-based traits once thought to be innate.

A certain form of a gene called MAOA, for instance, was so closely linked to aggression and criminality that it became known as a "violence gene." In a 2002 study, however, an international team of researchers followed 442 male New Zealanders who carried either of two versions of the MAOA gene. One version produces small amounts of MAOA, an enzyme active in the brain; a dearth of MAOA had been linked to criminality. The other produces high amounts of MAOA, as in a normal brain.

But the study found that men with the low-activity ("violent") form of the gene were no more likely to grow up to be antisocial or violent -- unless they had also been neglected or abused as children. In that case, they were about twice as likely to engage in persistent fighting, bullying, theft and vandalism. If they had the "violence gene" but were raised in a loving and nonabusive family, they turned out fine. A 2004 study by different scientists confirmed this.

In a 2003 study, geneticists examined claims that one form of a gene called 5-HTT is associated with depression and suicide. Instead, they found that people who carry this form are no more likely to suffer from depression than people with the "healthy" variant -- unless they also experience deeply stressful events. Two papers in 2004 confirmed this.

"These genes were not connected with aggression or depression, respectively, in the absence of exposure to environmental risk," says behavioral geneticist Terrie Moffitt of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and King's College London. "That different environments can produce different [traits] from the same genotype is now emerging in many fields of health research."

For example, she says, studies show that "the effect of a gene on cholesterol levels depends on environmental risk -- high or low dietary fat. The effect of a gene on gum disease depends on whether you smoke or not."

Exactly how life experiences affect DNA has been most precisely worked out in lab animals. Last summer, Michael Meaney of McGill University, Montreal, and colleagues reported that a gene that shapes how fearful, jumpy and neurotic a rat is can be altered by how regularly its mother licks and grooms it. Maternal care changes the chemistry of a "neuroticism gene," and the rat grows up to be mellow and curious. The genetic trait of neuroticism -- deemed innate because scientists had found a gene "for" it -- is reversible by environment.

"The whole subject of what counts as innate has just exploded," says science historian and physicist Evelyn Fox Keller of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "Historically, nature/nurture divided what was fixed from what could be changed. But what our biology really gives us is our plasticity, our ability to respond to our experiences. That's what's innate."
28681  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Crimes using knives on: April 23, 2005, 12:47:56 PM
Is the 21-foot rule still valid?


I received this via email from the Force Science Research Center, written by Dr. Bill Lewinski. It is an article about new research about the validity of the Tueller drill in dealing with knife wielding suspects.

Part 1 of a 2-Part Series

For more than 20 years now, a concept called the 21-Foot Rule has been a
core component in training officers to defend themselves against edged

Originating from research by Salt Lake City trainer Dennis Tueller and
popularized by the Street Survival Seminar and the seminal instructional
video "Surviving Edged Weapons," the "rule" states that in the time it
takes the average officer to recognize a threat, draw his sidearm and fire
2 rounds at center mass, an average subject charging at the officer with a
knife or other cutting or stabbing weapon can cover a distance of 21 feet.

The implication, therefore, is that when dealing with an edged-weapon
wielder at anything less than 21 feet an officer had better have his gun
out and ready to shoot before the offender starts rushing him or else he
risks being set upon and injured or killed before he can draw his sidearm
and effectively defeat the attack.

Recently a Force Science News member, a deputy sheriff from Texas,
suggested that "it's time for a fresh look" at the underlying principles of
edged-weapon defense, to see if they are "upheld by fresh research." He
observed that "the knife culture is growing, not shrinking," with many
people, including the homeless, "carrying significant blades on the
street." He noted that compared to scientific findings, "anecdotal evidence
is not good enough when an officer is in court defending against a wrongful
death claim because he felt he had to shoot some[body] with a knife at
0-dark:30 a.m."

As a prelude to more extensive studies of edged-weapon-related issues, the Force Science Research Center at Minnesota State University-Mankato has responded by reexamining the 21-Foot Rule, arguably the most widely taught and commonly remembered element of edged-weapon defense.

After testing the Rule against FSRC's landmark findings on action-reaction
times and conferring with selected members of its National and Technical
Advisory Boards, the Center has reached these conclusions, according to
Executive Director Dr. Bill Lewinski:

1. Because of a prevalent misinterpretation, the 21-Foot Rule has been
dangerously corrupted.

2. When properly understood, the 21-Foot Rule is still valid in certain
limited circumstances.

3. For many officers and situations, a 21-foot reactionary gap is not

4. The weapon that officers often think they can depend on to defeat knife
attacks can't be relied upon to protect them in many cases.

5. Training in edged-weapon defense should by no means be abandoned.


In this installment of our 2-part series, we'll examine the first two
points. The others will be explained in Part 2.

1. MISINTERPRETATION. "Unfortunately, some officers and apparently some trainers as well have 'streamlined' the 21-Foot Rule in a way that gravely distorts its meaning and exposes them to highly undesirable legal
consequences," Lewinski says. Namely, they have come to believe that the
Rule means that a subject brandishing an edged weapon when positioned at any distance less than 21 feet from an officer can justifiably be shot.

For example, an article on the 21-Foot Rule in a highly respected LE
magazine states in its opening sentence that "a suspect armed with an edged weapon and within twenty-one feet of a police officer presents a deadly threat." The "common knowledge" that "deadly force against him is
justified" has long been "accepted in police and court circles," the
article continues.

Statements like that, Lewinski says, "have led officers to believe that no
matter what position they're in, even with their gun on target and their
finger on the trigger, they are in extreme danger at 21 feet. They believe
they don't have a chance of surviving unless they preempt the suspect by

"However widespread that contaminated interpretation may be, it is NOT
accurate. A suspect with a knife within 21 feet of an officer is
POTENTIALLY a deadly threat. He does warrant getting your gun out and
ready. But he cannot be considered an actual threat justifying deadly force
until he takes the first overt action in furtherance of intention--like
starting to rush or lunge toward the officer with intent to do harm. Even
then there may be factors besides distance that influence a force decision.

"So long as a subject is stationary or moving around but not advancing or
giving any indication he's about to charge, it clearly is not legally
justified to use lethal force against him. Officers who do shoot in those
circumstances may find themselves subject to disciplinary action, civil
suits or even criminal charges."

Lewinski believes the misconception of the 21-Foot Rule has become so
common that some academies and in-service training programs now are
reluctant to include the Rule as part of their edged-weapon defense
instruction for fear of non-righteous shootings resulting.

"When you talk about the 21-Foot Rule, you have to understand what it
really means when fully articulated correctly in order to judge its value
as a law enforcement concept," Lewinski says. "And it does not mean 'less
than 21 feet automatically equals shoot.'"

2. VALIDITY. In real-world encounters, many variables affect time, which is
the key component of the 21-Foot Rule. What is the training skill and
stress level of the officer? How fast and agile is he? How alert is he to
preliminary cues to aggressive movement? How agile and fast is the suspect?  Is he drunk and stumbling, or a young guy in a ninja outfit ready to rock and roll? How adept is the officer at drawing his holstered weapon? What kind of holster does he have? What's the terrain? If it's outdoors, is the ground bumpy or pocked with holes? Is the suspect running on concrete, or on grass, or through snow and across ice? Is the officer uphill and the suspect downhill, or vice versa? If it's indoors, is the officer at the foot of stairs and the suspect above him, or vice versa? Are there obstacles between them? And so on.

These factors and others can impact the validity of the 21-Foot Rule
because they affect an attacking suspect's speed in reaching the officer,
and the officer's speed in reacting to the threatening charge.

The 21-Foot Rule was formulated by timing subjects beginning their headlong run from a dead stop on a flat surface offering good traction and officers standing stationary on the same plane, sidearm holstered and snapped in. The FSRC has extensively measured action and reaction times under these same conditions. Among other things, the Center has documented the time it takes officers to make 20 different actions that are common in deadly force encounters. Here are some of the relevant findings that the FSRC applied in reevaluating the 21-Foot Rule:

--Once he perceives a signal to do so, the AVERAGE officer requires 1.5
seconds to draw from a snapped Level II holster and fire one unsighted
round at center mass. Add 1/4 of a second for firing a second round, and
another 1/10 of a second for obtaining a flash sight picture for the
average officer.

--The fastest officer tested required 1.31 seconds to draw from a Level II
holster and get off his first unsighted round.

--The slowest officer tested required 2.25 seconds.

--For the average officer to draw and fire an unsighted round from a
snapped Level III holster, which is becoming increasingly popular in LE
because of its extra security features, takes 1.7 seconds.

Meanwhile, the AVERAGE suspect with an edged weapon raised in the
traditional "ice-pick" position can go from a dead stop to 21 feet on a
level, unobstructed surface offering good traction in 1.5-1.7 seconds.

The "fastest, most skillful, most powerful" subject FSRC tested "easily"
covered that distance in 1.27 seconds. Intense rage, high agitation and/or
the influence of stimulants may even shorten that time, Lewinski observes.

Even the slowest subject "lumbered" through this distance in just 2.5

Bottom line: Within a 21-foot perimeter, most officers dealing with most
edged-weapon suspects are at a decided--perhaps fatal--disadvantage if the suspect launches a sudden charge intent on harming them. "Certainly it is not safe to have your gun in your holster at this distance," Lewinski says, and firing in hopes of stopping an activated attack within this range may well be justified.

But many unpredictable variables that are inevitable in the field prevent a
precise, all-encompassing truism from being fashioned from controlled
"laboratory" research.

"If you shoot an edged-weapon offender before he is actually on you or at
least within reaching distance, you need to anticipate being challenged on
your decision by people both in and out of law enforcement who do not
understand the sobering facts of action and reaction times," says FSRC
National Advisory Board member Bill Everett, an attorney, use-of-force
trainer and former cop. "Someone is bound to say, 'Hey, this guy was 10
feet away when he dropped and died. Why'd you have to shoot him when he was so far away from you?'"

Be able to articulate why you felt yourself or other innocent party to be
in "imminent or immediate life-threatening jeopardy and why the threat
would have been substantially accentuated if you had delayed," Everett
advises. You need specifically to mention the first articulable motion that
indicated the subject was about to attack and was beyond your ability to
influence verbally."

And remember: No single 'rule' can arbitrarily be used to determine when a particular level of force is lawful. The 21-Foot Rule has value as a rough
guideline, illustrating the reactionary curve, but it is by no means an

"The Supreme Court's landmark use-of-force decision, in Graham v. Connor, established a 'reasonableness' standard," Everett reminds. "You'll be judged ultimately according to what a 'reasonable' officer would have done. All of the facts and circumstances that make up the dynamics between you and the subject will be evaluated."

Of course, some important facts may be subtle and now widely known or
understood. That's where FSRC's unique findings on lethal-force dynamics
fit in. Explains Lewinski: "The FSRC's research will add to your ability to
articulate and explain the facts and circumstances and how they influenced
your decision to use force."
28682  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / kalasag still taught? on: April 23, 2005, 12:44:21 PM
Guro Inosanto has shown some techniques in this area.
28683  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Homeland Security on: April 22, 2005, 12:04:20 AM
The updated list of US TSA permitted and prohibited items on US flights
may be found at:

Cattle prods and crowbars may not be carried onboard, and neither are martial arts or self-defense items permitted in carry-on luggage... including billy clubs, black jacks, brass knuckles, kubatons, night sticks, nunchakus or othermartial arts weatpons.
28684  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / An Untold Triumph on: April 22, 2005, 12:02:35 AM
28685  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Howl of Respect to our Soldiers/Veterans on: April 22, 2005, 12:01:41 AM
Although it seems that a goodly percentage of the British population has, to use Lady Margaret Thatcher's term, "gone wobbly", the same clearly is not true of the British Armed Forces, which have performed quite well in Iraq.

A BRITISH soldier who led a perilous bayonet charge on rebels in Iraq has revealed details of bloody hand-to-hand fighting in enemy trenches.

Corporal Mark Byles, 34, who will receive a bravery award for his service in Iraq, spoke publicly for the first time this week of the battle that left three heavily armed insurgents dead.

Cpl Byles, of Portsmouth, England, said: "I slashed people, rifle-butted them. I was punching and kicking. It was either me or them.

"It felt like I was in a dream. It didn't seem real. Anybody can pull a trigger from a distance, but I got up close and personal."

The trench battle ended with three Iraqis dead and eight captured.

Cpl Byles, who entered the trench with four other British soldiers, shot and killed two more insurgents who were firing from a second position.

On May 14, his battalion, known as the Tigers, was deployed to assist ambushed troops near a checkpoint on the main road between Basra and Baghdad.

When the squad's Warrior armoured vehicle was attacked, the corporal and another soldier jumped clear.

They immediately came under small arms fire and grenades. After linking up with four comrades, Cpl Byles identified the enemy in a drainage ditch about 200 metres away.

He said: "I decided the best way to attack was a full-frontal assault. It was my decision to fix bayonets."

It marked the first time British soldiers had gone into battle with bayonets since the Falklands War in 1982. His surprise order horrified his own men.

Cpl Byles, who has a six-year-old son, said: "They were under the impression we were going to lie in our ditch, shoot the enemy from a distance and they would run away.

"But I believe we caught the enemy on the hop that day and we had to take the fight to them."

As they stormed the ditch, Cpl Byles saw about a dozen rebels with weapons.

He said: "The look on their faces was utter shock." The 1st Battalion squad, the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment, quickly overcame the insurgents. Only when the adrenalin stopped pumping and grisly reality kicked in did Cpl Byles realise the horror of what had occurred.

He said: "The worst thing was collecting the dead, seeing the damage that I did to those people. Lots of our guys were just 18 or 19 and I had to tell them to treat the bodies like bits of meat, not human beings.

"I got back to camp after six hours on the ground, covered in blood from head to toe. The first thing I did was pull out a photo of my family."

The corporal, who estimated he killed between 15 and 20 insurgents in Iraq, revealed he was still haunted by the faces of the dead.

According to British Army estimates, about 30 rebels died at the checkpoint named Danny Boy, which is 15km south of the lawless town of Al Amarah. The British troops came out of the gunfight almost unscathed.

Cpl Byles has been recommended for a bravery award for his part in the skirmish by platoon commander Lt Ben Plenge, who said: "He showed immense professionalism under fire, bravery in the face of the enemy and strong leadership qualities."

The corporal, who denied he was a hero, said: "I have been an infantry soldier for 13 years. I've done it time and again in training -- it was second nature. I'm just glad I did my job."

The regiment has returned to Britain after seven months in Iraq, where they were attacked 863 times, lost two soldiers and suffered 42 injuries.
28686  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Movies of interest on: April 21, 2005, 06:05:08 PM
A Review of ?Kung Fu Hustle?

Apr 21 2005

Memo To: Website Moviegoers
From: Matthew Wanniski
Re: A Supreme Martial-Arts Film

There?s a Chinese proverb that goes: ?A single spark can set a prairie on fire.? Hong Kong comedy/action star Stephen Chow knows this well. He used it as the moral of his latest film, ?Kung Fu Hustle,? the follow-up to last year?s state-side release of ?Shaolin Soccer? ? the most successful Hong Kong-made film ever made on its 2001 release (only to be surpassed by ?Kung Fu Hustle? in February 2005). Miramax acquired the film a few years ago along with ?Hero,? but by delaying their U.S. release, they unintentionally yet ultimately ensured very big prairie fires when they finally hit theaters here.

Chow, an extremely talented and creative individual with outstanding comic timing and bold physicality (think Jackie Chan meets Buster Keaton), wrote, produced, directed, and stars in ?Kung Fu Hustle,? a story about discovering your destiny by tapping into the inner strength of the heart and the spirit. Chow plays Sing (coincidentally, the same name of the character he played in ?Shaolin Soccer?), a mop-topped wannabe gangster in 1940s Shanghai. He desperately wants to join the infamous Axe Gang, a group of top-hat wearing, Michael Jackson-style dancing thugs who are so brutal even the police hide when they stroll past. Brother Sum, the dapper leader of the Gang (gleefully played by Kwok Kuen Chan), will only accept Sing as a new member if he kills someone.

Sing?s trouble is that despite his best intentions, he?s just not very good at being bad. He?s tried, but eventually decided that a life of crime pays better. His rotund sidekick, played with a childlike innocence by Lam Tze Chung, fails to provide him with the edginess and toughness he seeks, and he?s troubled by the childhood memory of the young girl he once tried to defend (unsuccessfully) from a bunch of bullies.

Sing?s career begins to take a new path after witnessing the residents of a slum known as ?Pig Sty Alley? take on the Axe Gang and beat them black and blue. The residents are aided by the Landlord, played by martial arts veteran and Bruce Lee stuntman Yuen Wah (?The Chinese Connection?) and the perpetually house-coated Landlady, who is very humorously played by veteran actress and former Bond Girl Yuen Qiu (?The Man With the Golden Gun?). Three others join in the fight against the Axe Gang, exhibiting remarkable and improbable martial arts skills. It would appear that Pig Sty Alley is a virtual retirement home for kung fu masters, reminiscent of ?The Incredibles? superhero relocation program.

When The Axe Gang calls in the most notorious killer of them all, a man known only as ?The Beast,? to settle things once and for all, Sing ? a practitioner of the questionable ?Open Palm? style of Kung Fu ? realizes that his true destiny literally lies in the palm of his hand. Played with exceptional humor and athleticism by the famous martial arts master and 1970s actor Leung Siu Lung, The Beast ?like the Landlady? lulls his opponents into letting down their guard with his decidedly non-threatening appearance.

Stephen Chow delivers a truly amazing performance. His film combines a wonderful blend of comedy and action, and he easily draws fantastic performances from the rest of the cast. The exceptionally choreographed fight scenes are jaw-dropping in their execution and mixed with remarkable special effects that reflect Chow?s extensive influences, which include all the martial arts films he grew up watching, such as Bruce Lee?s films, but also ?The Matrix? trilogy, and (my personal favorite) Bugs Bunny. The result is a truly over-the-top movie-going experience unlike anything else out there.

Pig Sty Alley and its hardscrabble residents, including an effeminate barber with a disturbing inability to keep his rear end adequately covered, are all lovingly portrayed by Chow, in homage to the Hong Kong neighborhood where he lived as a boy. A place, he says, where ?there was much that was unknown and hidden underneath the ordinary neighborhood life.? This mirrors the unknown and untapped resources hidden within Sing as he determines what direction his life will take.

In many ways, ?Kung Fu Hustle? is very similar to ?Sin City,? in that both films are cartoonishly violent (though with very little blood and gore) and amazing visual spectacles. Both utilize revolutionary filmmaking techniques to deliver a highly unique style. Both will likely spark massive prairie fires throughout the filmmaking industry. While in the end, ?Sin City? appears to be about the never-ending cycle of violence, ?Kung Fu Hustle? is more upbeat. Despite its ?R? rating, it?s not about violence for the sake of violence or pandering to audiences? perceived bloodlust. It?s about redemption and transcendence. Of course, it also presents a world where such things are possible. It?s a hopeful message that will resonate loudly with audiences, whether they are fans of martial arts films or not. It?s one of the best films of the year.

Rated ?R,? for sequences of strong stylized action and violence.
28687  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Kids and Stickfighting on: April 21, 2005, 02:57:04 PM
Woof Oracle:

Dog Greg has had some good training with me and has fought well at our Gatherings.  Whatever decisions and arrangements you may or may not make are up to you and him.

Marc "Crafty Dog" Denny
Dog Brothers Inc Martial Arts.
28688  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / hello from france on: April 21, 2005, 02:50:36 PM
Woof Roger & Stephanie:

Glad you liked the Vid-lessons.  It will be my pleasure to see you here in Los Angeles AND to visit you in France.

Guro Lonely tells me your training is going very well.

Guro Crafty
28689  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / An Untold Triumph on: April 21, 2005, 08:49:20 AM
28690  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Unorganized Militia on: April 20, 2005, 11:18:48 AM
Sparks store clerk hurt after battling robber
4/20/2005 12:23 am


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A store employee was injured Tuesday during what appeared to be an attempted robbery at the Dhaka Convenience Store in the 2100 block of Victorian Avenue, Sparks police said.

The employee suffered head injuries and was transported by REMSA to Washoe Medical Center, where he was in the intensive care unit, police said.

It?s unclear whether any cash or merchandise was taken during the incident that happened about noon, police said.

An investigation found that a man allegedly took an aluminum baseball bat into the store with the intent of robbing it, police said.

The store employee also had a bat behind the counter and the two began fighting, police said.

Police said an employee from a neighboring business chased the man to a getaway car parked around the corner and provided a license plate information to a police dispatcher.

A 19-year-old man was being sought, police said. A warrant had not been issued Tuesday night.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Sparks police at 353-2225 and reference case No. 05-4877 or Secret Witness, which is anonymous and translates most languages, at 322-4900.
28691  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Weird and/or silly on: April 20, 2005, 09:25:32 AM
Beware of flying frozen sausages.

An Englishman learned that the hard way Monday afternoon, according to British wire services.

"He was driving his car when the offending item came through his open window and hit him on the nose," an ambulance-service spokesman told reporters.

The unnamed man, 46, had left work and was heading home to South Woodham Ferrers, Essex (search), east of London, when the meat missile entered his vehicle.

Despite having broken his nose, and losing a lot of blood, the driver declined to be taken to the hospital.

"It must have been an incredibly lucky, or unlucky, shot to get the sausage through a moving car window," commented the spokesman. "I have never seen or heard of anything like this before."

Police said they were looking into the incident
28692  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Well-armed People on: April 19, 2005, 10:48:14 PM
On this day (April 19 ) , , ,

This morning in two small towns just outside of Boston government forces
attacked bands of gun owners in an attempt to disarm them and restore public safety. The citizen bands disobeyed lawful orders to surrender their weapons and go back to the safety of their own homes where the government could better protect them.

As expected with so many hotheaded gun owners in one place shots were fired and people were hurt and killed. All of this could have been avoided if the citizens had only surrendered their arms and allowed the government to protect them.

The date was April 19, 1775, and the two small towns were Lexington and

On this date in Warsaw, Poland, Nazi authorities decided to finish what they had started in the summer of 1942: the annihilation of all Jews in the
ghetto. Only about 37,000 of the Jewish population's almost 450,000
remained, the rest having been removed to Treblinka and other labor and
death camps. The diseased and starved out population decided that if they were going to die, it might as well be on their feet.

The resistance, armed at first with clubs and Molotov cocktails and small
arms purchased clandestinely from the Polish army, held off the destruction of the ghetto for almost a month. Even then, some of the Z.O.B. (the Jewish Fighting Organization) escaped through the sewers before the Nazis flooded them. They joined other partisan groups and continued their guerilla war.

Today, let's all take a moment to ponder and remember these brave men, women, and children. Imagine how much more effective they might have been if they had not waited until they were starved, diseased, and more than 90% exterminated to resist? Trapped within their prison, they still held the most modern and ruthless military in the world for almost a month.

We should never take the Second Amendment for granted. We must never give up our arms. Every time you see or hear anti self-defense propaganda, remember young Mordecai Anielewicz and his 750 brave fighters. Remember April 19, 1943.
28693  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / how to choose a good rattan stick? on: April 19, 2005, 10:45:19 PM
Please forgive the advertisement, but right here at we sell three models of rattan sticks (the Top Dog, the Salty Dog, and the Crafty Dog) and also the Actionflex sticks.
28694  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / "Energy" drills and real contact stick fighting on: April 19, 2005, 11:39:34 AM
DP is the derogatory name some have for certain training methods such as sombrada, hubud, and for learned technique sequences etc.

Those of us who believe these methods have good use in our training have proudly and sarcastically taken up the name as well.
28695  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: April 18, 2005, 11:07:49 PM
Geopolitical Intelligence Report:  From Islamism to Post Islamism


From Islamism to Post-Islamism
April 18, 2005   1424 GMT

By Kamran Bokhari

Amid continuing efforts to resolve its post-Sept. 11 security crisis, the
United States and European countries increasingly are dealing with what once
would have been an unlikely array of political partners in the Muslim and
Arab worlds: Islamist groups.

Because they advocate the imposition of Islamic law in national politics,
Islamists -- or what Westerners formerly have referred to as Islamic
fundamentalists -- might at first glance seem to have little, if any, role
in the Bush administration's second-term push for democratization throughout
the world. But they are, in fact, among the United States' most potent
potential partners as Washington and others seek to conclude the jihadist
war and lay a foundation for relations with the Muslim world.

These efforts, which mark a significant shift in Washington's own
approach -- particularly in the Middle East -- will impact what has been a
long-running competition within political Islam: the struggle of moderate
Islamists of many varieties, who make up the bulk of the Muslim world, to
attain power without sacrificing their religious ideals or credentials.

As a political ideology, Islamism achieved its first major victory with the
Iranian revolution in 1979. At that time, in the context of the Cold War, it
was not perceived as the next great challenge for the United States or the
West. That perception emerged only with the Sept. 11 attacks and ensuing
war. For the past three and a half years, media attention to the issue has
created a perception -- correctly or otherwise -- that Islamism is
proliferating and poses a growing security threat.

Islamists make up a significant portion of the Muslim political landscape --
supported by believers who are concerned about the fate of Islamic values
and culture in the modern age, when Western and particularly American ideals
and culture seem to permeate the globe. Nevertheless, Islamist groups have
had little success in translating their popularity into votes and actual
political power.

But that is slowly beginning to change.

Mechanics of Moderation

Though logic dictates that some forms of radical and militant beliefs will
persist, Islamism on the whole increasingly is moving toward moderation.
This is evident in many areas -- including Lebanon and the Palestinian
territories, where groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas are bidding to play a
part in mainstream politics.

This shift has little to do with any external factors. Instead, it is part
of a natural evolution for groups that thus far have been unable to capture
the imagination of the masses sufficiently to take political power. Turkey
is the only Muslim state in which an Islamist group of sorts -- the Justice
and Development Party (AK) -- controls the government, but even the AK can
be considered an "Islamist-lite" party, since it is a more pragmatic and
increasingly moderate version of its predecessors, the Virtue, Welfare,
National Salvation, and National Order parties going as far back as 1970.

As democracies around the world have shown before, ideology is important to
voters, but not more important than the material interests of the people.
Politically, ideology is a medium that allows a people to secure their
interests; if it does not succeed in doing that, it will remain a peripheral

For example, in the Middle East, Fatah has become an acceptable partner for
the United States and Israel at the peace talks table, but support among the
Palestinians is splintered because the government has not been able to build
sufficient infrastructure. Conversely, Hamas commands a great deal of local
support because of the social services it provides; but in order to achieve
power within the mainstream, the militant group ultimately will have to
compromise its ideological stance on the existence of a Jewish state.

Defining Islamist Movements

Though its intellectual roots stretch back to the social, economic and
political upheavals of the late 19th century, Islamism emerged as a
political movement in 1928, when the Ikhwan al Muslimeen (Muslim
Brotherhood) was founded in Egypt, and spread from there to British India,
where Jamiat-i-Islami (Islamic Group/Association) was launched in 1941. By
the 1950s and 1960s, when most of the Muslim countries had gained
independence from their European colonial rulers, these organizations and
their counterparts in other states became serious political entities.

Islamist groups distinguished themselves from others -- which included
secular, nationalist and Marxist Muslim groups, to name a few -- by seeking
to establish or re-establish what they argued was an Islamic state in their
home countries. In other words, they wanted the state to implement Islamic
law. Beyond that, however, there is no agreement even today on exactly what
an Islamic state is or should be.

Not only are the reasons for this disagreement too vast to be explored here,
they also are less important than the means by which the various brands of
Islamists seek to achieve their goals. Though it is their attitudes toward
their religion and modernity that makes Islamists "moderate," "radical" or
"militant," it is their approach toward establishing their political goals
that defines their relationships with other Muslim and non-Muslim entities.

A vast majority of Islamists in almost all Muslim states are moderates: They
pursue the establishment of an Islamic polity through democratic means. At
the other end of the Islamist spectrum are the militant groups who want to
fight the incumbent regimes to attain power. During the 1990s, the militants
went transnational and began fighting the United States -- the main support
behind the existing Muslim regimes -- as a tactic toward this end goal. Al
Qaeda and its allies around the world represent the transnational jihadists.

In the middle are several groups that can be viewed as nonviolent but that
espouse a radical agenda. For example, Hizb al-Tahrir -- founded in 1952 by
Palestinians living in Jordan and now present in many parts of the world --
rejects the use of armed struggle but seeks to overturn the political
nation-state structure in order to re-establish the caliphate.

Intra-Islamist Contention

While the moderate, radical and militant labels refer to political
attitudes, the behavior of various Islamist groups can be classified as
either "integrationist," "isolationist" or "interactionist."

Moderate Islamists are integrationists, in the sense that they embrace the
existing structure and function of the state -- they are willing to work
within constitutional bounds to establish their Islamic government.
Moreover, they engage society by organizing themselves into various civil
society groups and reaching out to the public. The Muslim Brotherhood,
Jamiat-i-Islami and its counterparts in South Asia are key examples.

Radical Islamists are interactionists -- they interact with society to
foment popular revolution that would destroy the state power structure they
reject as illegitimate. They also seek out sympathetic elements within
existing state structures to support their efforts to oust those regimes.
But most radical groups reject both democratic and the existing autocratic
forms of government as un-Islamic, because they are secular systems. They
seek instead to restore the old caliphal/emiratic forms of governance --
though with some modifications to fit current realities. However, they also
reject the use of violence to further their political interests.

Militant Islamists -- most of whom are jihadists -- are isolationists. Not
only do they want to fight the state, but their operational needs for
secrecy preclude them from engaging the masses. Moreover, militant Islamists
subscribe to a top-down approach: The idea is to capture power and then
Islamize the state and society, Taliban-style.

Now, there are some exceptions to these rules. For example, both the
Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas and the Lebanese Shiite movement
Hezbollah maintain large militias and engage in violence, but they do not
direct their strikes at the Muslim state. Nor do they fit neatly into the
"jihadist" mold cast by al Qaeda, for various ideological, religious and
political reasons.

Their militant wings notwithstanding, neither Hamas nor Hezbollah seek to
establish an Islamic authority through armed struggle. They have routinely
acted as spoilers in the context of political developments from which they
were marginalized or excluded -- and as is now evident in the Middle East,
they seek to advance their position through electoral means.

Moderation Leading to Interface

Now, with the United States actively searching for political as well as
military solutions to its post-Sept.-11 security problems, the odds of
success for Islamists are greater than ever before. By adopting a more
democratic approach, it becomes possible for the Islamists not only to begin
working with other domestic groups, but to open up a channel of
communication with the United States as well. This already is occurring in
Turkey, Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.

The Bush administration's declarations that its war on terrorism does not
constitute a war against Islam or Muslims are much more than rhetoric.
Military action has been focused against transnational and local or regional
jihadists that have directly targeted the United States or its interests.
There is nothing in Bush doctrine per se that precludes Washington from
working with moderate Islamists -- but there are fears and uncertainty about
how to deal with nonviolent radical groups, which have evaded the spotlight
amid the manhunts for militants and political negotiations with others. The
fact that these radicals eschew violence but espouse revolutions that might
run counter to U.S. interests will complicate policymaking in this area for
some time.

Meanwhile, it is the moderate Islamists who present Washington's best option
for the future. As history has shown, non-Islamist moderates with whom the
United States initially thought to partner -- for example, Pakistani
President Gen. Pervez Musharraf and the Saudi monarchy -- do not necessarily
enjoy the support of the masses. Now, the strategy is to engage certain
types of Islamists in political dialogue, as Washington looks to use the
weight of the majority to counter the radical and militant fringes.

Toward a Post-Islamist Era?

Islamists always represented a small fraction of the more than 1 billion
Muslims worldwide, and militants are an even smaller subset. This situation
has been impacted, however, by the Sept. 11 attacks and subsequent events.

Now, militant Islamists are on the run, and the search for viable
alternatives -- as well as democracy movements -- is lending itself to
dialogue between moderate Islamist actors and Washington.

At the intellectual and ideological level, integrationists, interactionists
and isolationists are all locked in a struggle for supremacy. The
integrationists have the upper hand, since the militants are busy trying to
save their skins and the radicals -- though heavy on diagnosis and dogma --
offer no tangible solutions to existing political problems.

However, the outcome of the struggle will depend, to a great extent, on
Washington, which is fast moving away from an emphasis on military
operations to one on calibrated negotiations. The U.S. contact with the
moderates does risk delegitimizing them, but concrete political results and
social improvements in the Arab/Muslim world would be the antidote.

The marginalization of the isolationists and the interactionists will allow
the integrationists to gain the upper hand within the Islamist camp. But
that does not necessarily mean that in the end the Islamist agenda will win
the day. Once they have made the transition from opposition to dominance,
these groups -- as we are seeing in Iraq -- likely will not be able to push
their religious agendas too far.

As a practical matter, Islamists now are undergoing an ideological
transformation. The heretofore heavy and rigid emphasis on doctrine is
giving way under concerns about how best to turn doctrine into action.

When the dust settles, the Islamists likely will come to terms with the fact
that the Quran and the Sunnah merely provide broad normative principles,
which are applicable only through broad-based discussions, debates and
negotiations -- a process facilitated by a democratic framework.

As belief in a specific and timeless Islamic polity crumbles, an age of
post-Islamism likely will emerge. In other words, the Muslim world is on the
verge of embracing a version of modernity that is in keeping with its
Islamic ethos. This would differ markedly from the periods of secularism and
Islamism that followed the death of the caliphal age.

In this post-Islamist age, Islamist and non-Islamist Muslim powerbrokers
will mingle. And in this environment, pragmatism will temper ideology.

(c) 2005 Strategic Forecasting, Inc. All rights reserved.
28696  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Well-armed People on: April 16, 2005, 06:51:59 AM
French Cat:

Thank you for that post-- and all the best to you!  Happy & healthy hunting.

Crafty Dog
28697  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Unbreakable walking stick / umbrella??? on: April 15, 2005, 10:46:26 AM
They have been kind enough to supply me with a sample and I will be testing it soon.  If I like it and if we come to terms on price, we will carry it here in our catalog.
28698  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Nutrition, Diet Thread on: April 15, 2005, 10:44:49 AM
Too Much Water Gets Runners in Trouble
Dangerously low blood salt levels found in many marathoners

By Ed Edelson
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, April 12 (HealthDay News) -- Marathon runners who gulp down too much water during a tough race are doing their bodies no favors, researchers report.

A new study of competitors in the 2002 Boston Marathon found too many drank excessive amounts of water during the grueling 26-mile race, causing their blood salt levels to dip to potentially dangerous levels in a condition called hyponatremia.

In fact, one runner in that marathon, a 28-year-old woman, died from hyponatremia after finishing the race.

Although runners usually cited a fear of dehydration as the reason for their excessive water intake, the study "showed that there is a point where drinking too much can be critical," said lead researcher Dr. Christopher S.D. Almond, a pediatric cardiology fellow at Children's Hospital Boston. His team report their findings in the April 14 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Almond and his colleagues enrolled 766 marathoners in their trial and got blood samples from 488 of them at the finish line. Of those, 62 had abnormally low blood salt levels -- three of them low enough to be called "critical."

Abnormally low salt levels were more common in women (37 of 166, or 22 percent) than men (25 of 322, or 8 percent). Many of the affected runners drank more than three liters of water during the race, enough to raise their body weight despite the more than 26 miles they ran.

Based on that sample, 1,900 of the nearly 15,000 Boston Marathon runners that year had hyponatremia, Almond estimated.

Thinner runners -- those with a body mass index of about 20 -- were more likely to end up with low salt levels, the study found. That might help explain the higher incidence among women, Almond said, since it's believed women runners tend to drink as much water as men, even though their average weight is lower.

A racing time of more than four hours was also associated with abnormally low blood salt levels, the researchers reported.

Hyponatremics were not the champion runners, who completed the course in about two hours, noted Dr. Benjamin D. Levine, a professor of medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, and co-author of an accompanying editorial.

"Really fast people don't have time to drink water," Levine said. "The slower the athlete, the greater the risk, and the predominant reason for that behavior is that you have more time to drink."

Up to a point, drinking water during a race makes sense, Levine said. "These people are not idiots," he said. "They are following rules that say you have to drink a lot of water to stay ahead of your thirst. But athletes lose water at different rates and lose salt at different rates, so the general rule may not apply to an individual."

Detailed guidelines about water intake during long-distance races have been issued by USA Track & Field, an organization that covers the subject in depth, Levine said. Serious runners who build their lives around racing tend to be aware of those guidelines, he said.

For less devoted racers, "using your thirst as a guideline may be the best way to handle it," Levine said. "Don't worry about getting a little dehydrated. Drink if you are thirsty, but don't drink for the sake of drinking."

Almond said his study was not designed to produce recommendations about avoiding problems caused by excess water intake, but simply to make runners aware that those problems exist.

"If I could say one thing over and over, it would be safety, safety, safety," Almond said.

More information

Water intake guidelines for athletes are set out by USA Track & Field.

SOURCES: Christopher S.D. Almond, M.D., pediatric cardiology fellow, Children's Hospital Boston; Benjamin D. Levine, M.D., professor, medicine, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Presbyterian Hospital, Dallas; April 14, 2005, New England Journal of Medicine

Copyright ? 2005 ScoutNews LLC. All rights reserved.
28699  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Kids and Stickfighting on: April 15, 2005, 10:43:30 AM
Who is the rep?  Where is he/are you located?
28700  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Nutrition, Diet Thread on: April 14, 2005, 09:23:01 PM
That is funny.
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