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29251  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for Reps/Conservatives on: November 12, 2008, 05:08:08 PM
Are you serious?
29252  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: What would you like to see from DBMA? on: November 12, 2008, 04:41:51 PM
Yes, and moral and spiritual too.
29253  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / PD WSJ on: November 12, 2008, 11:51:28 AM
Can Newt Save the GOP?

Both the Democratic and Republican National Committees are likely to have new leadership next year.

Former Democratic Governor Howard Dean of Vermont is stepping down, having completely recovered from his unfortunate reputation as an erratic and wildly liberal 2004 presidential contender. As chairman of the DNC, he adopted a controversial "50-state strategy" that had the party pouring resources into states it normally didn't contest. His strategy paid off this year as Barack Obama won such states as Indiana and Virginia that had not voted Democratic at the presidential level since Barry Goldwater's landslide loss in 1964.

Unknown yet is whom Mr. Dean's replacement will be, but it's certainly going to be someone President-elect Obama will have confidence in -- campaign manager David Plouffe comes to mind.

On the Republican side, the jockeying to replace current GOP Chairman Mike Duncan has begun. Mr. Duncan has been a competent administrator and fundraiser but the widely perceived need for new blood in the wake of the party's second consecutive drubbing at the polls makes him unlikely to be re-elected.

Several candidates are lining up to replace him. Michigan GOP State Chairman Saul Anuzis is actively campaigning on a platform of reinvigorating the party's grass roots and returning to basic conservative principles. South Carolina Party Chairman Kalton Dawson is touting his fundraising abilities as he rounds up votes among fellow RNC members.

But several insiders believe the next RNC chairman must have some star power and an ability to get on national talk shows at a time when the new Obama administration will dominate media coverage. Former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, now chairman of the GOPAC conservative training academy, is allowing friends to make calls on his behalf. Mr. Steele is already a fixture on cable TV news shows and well known in Washington D.C. conservative circles.

But some Republicans are touting someone with an even bigger media profile -- former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. "The Republican National Committee has to ask itself if it wants someone who has successfully led a revolution," Randy Evans, Mr. Gingrich's personal attorney, told the Washington Times this week. "If it does, Newt's the one."

While it sounds implausible, many Republicans think a return of Mr. Gingrich to the national stage would be the jolt of energy the party needs. They point out that many were also skeptical that Howard Dean could sublimate his ego enough to become a successful party leader -- a worry clearly now proven wrong in Mr. Dean's case.

-- John Fund

Belushi and Ackroyd, They're Not

C-SPAN unearthed a remarkable video from its archives this week. Back in 2005, freshly minted U.S. Senator Barack Obama was part of a celebrity roast for his Chicago pal Rep. Rahm Emanuel, who is now about to become his White House chief of staff. The event, a charity benefit for an epilepsy foundation run by the wife of Obama strategist David Axelrod, provides an eerie preview of the new top players in Washington.

During his turn at the microphone, Mr. Obama took a risk and joked about an accident the teenage Emanuel suffered that caused him to lose part of his middle finger. "As a result, this rendered him practically mute," Mr. Obama joked about the famously profane Mr. Emanuel.

Mr. Obama also had fun with the fact that the young Rahm practiced ballet, quipping that his friend was "the very first to develop Machiavelli's 'The Prince' for dance. It was an intriguing piece -- a lot of kicks below the waist."

No dinner honoring a Chicago pol would have been complete without a few pokes at the city's rich tradition of political corruption. Mr. Obama obliged, noting that he was in awe of the fact that Mr. Emanuel had avoided appearing before a criminal grand jury. He chalked it up to the fact that Mr. Emanuel shared the same lawyer as Chicago Sun-Times columnist Robert Novak, who was then in hot water over the Valerie Plame affair.

All in good fun, but here's hoping that notwithstanding the jokes about Chicago, not too many of its cultural mores and patronage politics seep into the DNA of the Obama administration.

-- John Fund

Read Their Lips

It wasn't all bad news for conservatives on November 4th. Voters across the country decided the fate of scores of ballot initiatives dealing with taxes and government spending. With our friends at the National Taxpayers Union and Americans for Tax Reform, we've compiled some of the most important results. For the most part, voters aren't in a full-fledged tax revolt but they're a lot less enthusiastic about new taxes than President-elect Obama seems to be.

First, the defeats. Two of the most prominent anti-tax initiatives, one in Massachusetts to abolish the income tax and another in North Dakota to cut income taxes by 15%, failed by two-to-one margins. In a previous election, an initiative to abolish the Massachusetts income tax had come within four percentage points of winning. What changed? Carla Howell, who led the effort to repeal the tax, was quoted in the Boston Globe: "The teachers unions spent 100 times more on advertising than we did. The message to voters: advertising works."

Minnesotans were among the few voters in the country who said "yes" to new taxes. An initiative to raise the sales tax by 3/8ths of a percentage point pay for the arts was approved.

But otherwise, the left's crusade to raise revenues for new spending programs was mostly beaten back and in some cases trounced. Arizonans voted to ban transfer taxes on property sales by 77% to 23%. Maine voters repealed an alcohol and soda pop tax by 64% to 36%. Coloradoans rejected a teensy 0.2 percentage point sales tax hike to benefit the disabled by 63% to 37%. Floridians defeated a measure that would have allowed localities to propose new sales taxes to benefit community colleges by 57% to 43%. The left's latest crusade to impose "fat taxes" on McDonalds and other fast food purchases was clobbered in localities in North Carolina and Virginia, even as these voters helped elect Barack Obama. Finally, one of the biggest successes for anti-tax activists was defeating an amendment to gut the spending limits in Colorado's Taxpayer's Bill of Rights, despite huge money spent by the spending constituencies.

Though California was home to one of the nation's seminal tax revolts -- 1978's Proposition 13 -- the latest results in the Golden State were mixed. Voters inexplicably approved a high-speed rail bond of $10 billion, with at least another $30 billion of spending required to complete the project. This is a state that's already hopelessly mired in debt.

On the other hand, renewable energy may be a liberal and environmentalist panacea, but even Californians apparently aren't too eager to pay for it. Voters rejected $5 billion in renewable energy program bonds by 60% to 40% and thrashed a measure requiring all utilities to generate at least one-fifth of their power from renewable energy by 2010 (it lost by 65% to 35%). Colorado voters also crushed Governor Bill Ritter's tax on "big oil."

"We had some big victories last Tuesday," says National Taxpayer Union spokesman Pete Sepp. "We blocked a lot of bad things from happening." That's what Republicans in Congress will have to learn to do over the next four years.

-- Stephen Moore

Quote of the Day I

"Sarah Palin made a vast difference in John McCain's favor. Compared to 2004, McCain lost 11 points among white men according to the Fox News exit poll but only 4 points among white women. Barack Obama's underperformance among white women, evident throughout the fall, may be chalked up, in large part, to the influence of Palin. She provided a rallying point for women who saw their political agenda in terms larger than abortion. She addressed the question of what it is like to be a working mother in today's economy and society, and resonated with tens of millions of white women who have not responded to the more traditional, and liberal, advocates for their gender" -- political analyst Dick Morris in his syndicated column.

Quote of the Day II

"Now it's starting to get creepy. In an odd way, the selection of Rahm Emanuel as Barack Obama's chief of staff fulfills yet another plot line that unfolded during the final season of NBC's 'West Wing,' which must have been written by Nostradamus. As aficionados of the long-running show will know, Emanuel is widely cited as inspiration for the character of Josh Lyman, who becomes the chief of staff to the new president, Matthew Santos. And the real conspiracy theorists know why that's important: The Santos character is modeled after Obama. (The writers spoke repeatedly with David Axelrod while composing their prophetic plot lines.) This isn't the first parallel to emerge from the show. . . . At this rate, John McCain will be named as Obama's secretary of state. After all, that's how the season ends, with Santos picking his former rival in the ultimate gesture of bipartisanship" -- Lucas Grindley, writing at Government Executive magazine's "Lost in Transition" blog.

Voters vs. Tort Sharks

One heartening aspect of last week's election was a surge of voters taking a new -- and inspired -- interest in elections for state attorneys general. The public clearly has become wary of top law officers with ties to the tort bar who campaign to increase litigation and target the business community.

In West Virginia, a little known GOP lawyer Dan Greear came within a few thousand votes of knocking off state AG and institution Darrell McGraw, who now begins his 16th year in the job. Mr. Greear was supposed to be a write-off -- he was outmatched in funding, name recognition, and up against a powerful, populist AG who has long used his position to dole out political patronage (culled from legal settlements) to favored constituencies. Mr. Greear nonetheless managed to surprise the political establishment by nearly pulling off an upset. In the process, he educated a lot of voters about what their state's reputation as a legal hellhole was costing its economy. He also inspired a cowed West Virginia business community to take a stand against Mr. McGraw's pro-litigation agenda.

Mr. Greear may have lost, but his efforts will likely have a lasting impact. Call it the Eliot Spitzer effect: Mr. McGraw is now on notice that a lot more voters have been clued in to the game he's been playing and don't approve.

Meanwhile, sitting GOP attorneys general in Pennsylvania, Utah and Washington State handily fought off challenges from Democratic opponents who had campaigned in favor of bigger, nastier litigation. In Indiana, Greg Zoeller, chief deputy for the current attorney general, won the top slot in part by noting that his office never had been close to trial lawyers. His Democratic opponent, Linda Pence, was a trial attorney. In North Carolina, a pro-business Democrat, Roy Cooper (who as attorney general threw out the Duke rape case) was reelected in his race against a Republican personal injury lawyer.

Sadly, Missouri and Oregon both elected particularly anti-business Democrats to the AG's office -- for which they may eventually pay a price in lost jobs and investment. In the middle of hard economic times, voters elsewhere have figured out that they make their states more competitive by electing an attorney general committed to the rule of law, rather than to shaking down business for the benefit of special interest groups.
29254  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: November 12, 2008, 11:27:51 AM
FWIW I'd have put BBG's post in one of the Islam in Action threads.

Anyway, changing the subject completely  smiley

“Coming out” puts adolescents at risk
Encouraging adolescents with same-sex attractions to identify as gay has no scientific or ethical justification.
How should schools treat students who self-identify as homosexual? Today entire school systems in a number of states and counties promote “acceptance”. The demand for acceptance is based on the premise that patterns of sexual attraction – to the other sex or to same sex are determined at birth and unchangeable; therefore, everyone – the affected students themselves, their parents, teachers, and classmates – should be educated and when necessary pressured into accepting same-sex attraction (SSA) as normal and as healthy as the love between a man and a woman in marriage.

There is, however, no evidence to support the claim that SSA is genetically determined and unchangeable. If it were, one would expect that identical twins would always have the same pattern of sexual attraction. A study led by J. Michael Bailey based on the twins registry in Australia found that among male identical twins, when one twin had SSA, in only 11 per cent of the cases so did the other. This research virtually precludes genetic determination.

There is also no evidence to support the claim that SSA is unchangeable. There are numerous reports of people understanding the emotional conflicts that led them to SSA, successfully addressing these weaknesses and then experiencing a new pattern of sexual attraction. A large study of sexuality led by Edward Lauman found the percentage of people self-identifying as homosexual declining over time. Lisa Diamond found that patterns of sexual attraction are particularly unstable among women.

Those who support acceptance might argue that even if SSA is not genetically determined and changeable it would still be better for those experiencing these feelings to “come out” and be accepted as homosexual by the school community. This view ignores the very real risks that accompany coming out, particularly for males.

Vulnerable boys

Over 40 per cent of males who self-identify as homosexual (“gay”) before age 18 have been victims of sexual abuse or sexual assault. (Doll et al, 1992) An even higher percentage has suffered from untreated Gender Identity Disorder. (Zucker, Bradley, 1995) A study of the sexual behavior of 239 homosexually active males, 13 to 21, found that 42 per cent had a history of sexual abuse/assault. (Remafedi, 1994; Osmond, 1994) A study of 425 homosexual males, ages 17 to 22, found that 41.4 per cent reported an occasion of forced sex. (Halkitis, Wilton, Drescher, eds. 2005; Wainberg 2006) Forced sex rarely involves “safe” sex practices. (Kalichman, Rompa 1995)

Sexual child abuse and sexual assault have been linked to long-term psychological problems, including depression, sexual addiction, drug addiction, involvement in prostitution, and suicidal feelings. Some of these young men see their victimization as proof that they were “born” homosexual. Programs directed to acceptance rarely acknowledge or address these problems. When these serious emotional conflicts are not uncovered and treated, these males often act out in ways that are dangerous to themselves and to others. It is important to address this highly prevalent problem in young males with SSA.

At high risk of infection

Even if an adolescent male with SSA was not the victim of sexual abuse and did not experience untreated gender identity disorder GID, engaging in homosexual activity as an adolescent carries a high and truly unacceptable risk.

New statistics from the Centers for Disease Control reveal that the epidemic among young men who have sex with men (MSM) is raging unabated. In August 2008, it was revealed that the CDC had underestimated the number of new cases of HIV by 40 per cent. The report found that while new infections among heterosexuals and injection drug users are falling, new infections continue to increase in younger MSM. In 2006, the number of MSM aged 13-24 diagnosed with HIV/AIDS increased by 18 per cent over the previous year.

A study of sexual risk behaviors of young MSM aged 17-22 found that 22 per cent reported beginning anal sex with men when they were ages 3 to 14; of these 15.2 per cent were already HIV positive. Of those who began sex when they were 15-19, 11.6 per cent were HIV positive, while of those who began sex with men when they were 20-22, only 3.8 per cent were HIV positive. (Lemp, 1994) It is clear that every year a male with SSA delays sexual involvement reduces his risk of HIV.

Vulnerable young men may use the internet to seek out sexual partners. Out magazine, a publication targeted to MSM, ran an article by Michael Gross (2008) on how MSM are using the internet, posting pornographic pictures of themselves, and becoming addicted to the process of cruising on the web. Gross worries about the “health risks” and “psychological dissociation that’s characteristic of online social life.” Men may be looking for love but, Gross suggests, “You might as well train for a marathon by doing sprints in a minefield.”

Once a young man has exposed himself on the internet, whatever he has put up becomes part of the public record forever. The 15-year-old boy who realizes at 20 that his SSA was just a phase of his life related to weaknesses in male confidence will have those pictures follow him for the rest of his life.

HIV/AIDS is not the only disease affecting MSM. The number of sexually transmitted infections (STI) transmitted by homosexual activity is staggering. They include syphilis, gonorrhea, herpes, hepatitis B and C, lymphogranuloma vernereum and human papillomavirus (HPV), which has been linked to genital warts and a number of cancers. (Carter, 2007) HPV is transmitted by skin contact and therefore condoms provide only minimal protection. The much-touted new HPV vaccine protects against only four of the 100 varieties of this disease.

In some areas the increase in syphilis infections has been traced to an increased use of crystal meth and “high risk sexual behavior at resorts or bath houses, or through meetings initiated over the Internet.” (Brian, 2004; Klausner, 2000)

Not only are MSM at high risk for infection with HIV and many other STIs, the problem compounds itself in that infection with another STI makes a man more vulnerable to HIV and an HIV-positive man is more likely to contract another STI. According to a recent study, “HIV positive men who have sex with men are up to 90 times more likely than the general population to develop anal cancer.” (Cranston, Ross, 2007)

Recently, doctors in San Francisco traced outbreaks in San Francisco and Boston of multidrug-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MSRA), the flesh-eating bacteria, to homosexual activity.  It is also possible that a new, yet unidentified disease will find its way into this community. In 1980 before the first case of AIDS was identified, Dr. Selma Dritz, an expert on STI’s, looked at the behaviors of MSM and warned, “There are so many opportunities for transmission that, if something new gets loose here, we’re going to have hell to pay.” (Shilts, Randy, And the Band Played On). Her warning came too late; by 1980 the HIV virus was already spreading among MSM. Tragically, in spite of massive education the high-risk behaviors continue.

As treatment for AIDS has improved and life expectancy has increased, young MSM no longer fear HIV as they should. Many of those who start out planning to use condoms, fail to do so because they are drunk or are high on drugs or don’t want to send a message that they don’t trust their partner. If this is a pattern among adult MSM, it is not surprising that adolescent males who have sex with males ignore warnings.

Does education prevent infection?

A large study on the association of health risk behaviors and sexual orientation among adolescents concluded: “GLB youth who self-identify during high school report disproportionate risk for a variety of health risk and problem behaviors, including suicide, victimization, sexual risk behaviors, and multiple substance abuse use. In addition, these youth are more likely to report engaging in multiple risk behaviors and initiating risk behaviors at an earlier age than their peers.” (Garofalo, 1998)

Homosexual activists forced to explain why persons with SSA are at “elevated” risk for addictions, partner abuse, rampant promiscuity, anxiety, depression and suicidality usually blame the increased problems on the stress of living in a rejecting, “hateful and heterosexist” culture. (Cochran, Mays 2007) They then use these problems to justify pro-homosexual education in schools. However, if this view were true then one would expect to see lower levels of severe psychiatric illnesses in more accepting cultures such as the Netherlands, but this is not the case. (Sandfort, 2006)

The hope that identifying boys with SSA and providing them with HIV prevention education will reduce the risk of STI infections is not supported by the research. According to a review of studies of HIV prevention programs, “the efficacy of health education interventions in reducing sexual risk for HIV infection has not been consistently demonstrated…More education, over long periods of time, cannot be assumed to be effective in inducing behavior changes among chronically high risk males.” (Stall, Coates, Hoff, 1988)

Dr. Philip Alcabes, an epidemiologist, commenting on the latest CDC data to the New York Times said, “t looks like prevention campaigns make even less difference than anyone thought… HIV incidence did not decline as much from the 1980s to the 1990s as we believed despite the dramatic increase in condom promotion and so-called prevention education.”

He quoted an editorial in Lancet, a leading medical journal, that was even blunter: “U.S. efforts to prevent HIV have failed dismally.”

AIDS education, which provides children and adolescents with explicit information about the various forms of sexual behavior that spread the disease, may create curiosity and encourage experimentation among young men. Because AIDS education has also been used as a vehicle for promoting positive attitudes toward homosexuality, while at the same time ignoring the serious health risks associated with SSA, it is possible that the number of young men experimenting with homosexuality will increase.

As support groups in schools for males who think that they might be homosexual are being established, younger boys will be encouraged to "come out." This "coming out" will probably include engaging in sexual activity at an earlier age and more often. These young men may be attracted to the urban homosexual community, traveling to centers of homosexual activity where they are likely to encounter HIV-positive adults interested in engaging in sexual activity with attractive teenagers. This can lead to hustling (receiving money or compensation for sex) which is a high-risk activity.

A brochure, entitled Just the Facts about Sexual Orientation and Youth: A Primer for Principals, Educators, and School Personnel, was sent to school officials by a coalition of groups including the National Education Association. It claimed: “If school environments become more positive for lesbian, gay, and bisexual students, it is likely that their differences in health, mental health, and substance abuse will decrease.” This has not been born out by experience. Nothing could be more positive than the Harvey Milk school in Manhattan, which was set up to provide a safe environment for students with atypical sexual orientations and gender identities, yet in November of 2003, five male students were arrested. They had for some time been intimidating other students, working as prostitutes, blackmailing Johns, stealing from trendy stores, and involved with ecstasy and cocaine. (Cross, 2003)

Given the substantial, well-documented risks involved in engaging in homosexual activity as an adolescent and since a certain percentage of males who experience SSA in adolescence find that these feelings disappear in time, schools should not encourage adolescent males to “come out”, but, instead, offer positive support for addressing the serious emotional problems in these teenagers.


While adolescent females with SSA do not face the same risk for STIs as males, a significant number of these young women with SSA have been victims of sexual abuse or rape. (Bradford, 1994) SSA is even less stable among young women than among young men with some females finding themselves attracted to men and to women at different times in their lives. Many adolescent girls have crushes on female teachers or coaches. With time and growth in maturity these feelings resolve. Rather than assuming that every young female who ever experiences any SSA is permanently homosexual, schools should encourage young women to try to understand themselves and wait before identifying themselves as homosexual.

Finally, educators, like physicians and mental health professionals, have a serious responsibility to provide informed consent to their students and not advocate a lifestyle which has serious medical and psychiatric illnesses associated with it without warning students about such risks.

Dale O’Leary is a US writer with a special interest in psycho-sexual issues and is the author of two books: One Man, One Woman" and The Gender Agenda. She collaborated on this article with Richard P. Fitzgibbons, M.D., a psychiatrist and Director of Comprehensive Counselling Services in W. Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, and Peter Kleponis, M.S., a psychotherapist also based in Philadelphia.

* A complete version of this paper with footnotes can be found in the Backgrounders section of this website: Same-sex attraction in adolescents

29255  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Kurds on: November 12, 2008, 11:20:53 AM
A friend recently arrived in Iraq (Baghdad) comments he saw more Burkhas in the DC area than he sees in Baghad.

Iraq's Kurds have consistently been America's closest allies in Iraq. Our Peshmerga forces fought alongside the U.S. military to liberate the country, suffering more casualties than any other U.S. ally.

And while some Iraqi politicians have challenged the U.S.-Iraq security agreement, Iraq's Kurdish leaders have endorsed the pact as essential for U.S. combat troops to continue fighting terrorists in Iraq.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is committed to a federal, democratic Iraq that is at peace with its neighbors.

We have benefited enormously from the service and sacrifices of America's armed forces and their families, and we are deeply grateful. We are also proud to have shared in such sacrifices; my brother was among those severely wounded during the liberation of Iraq.

Last year, following a U.S. request, we deployed Kurdish troops to Baghdad. These troops played a decisive role in the success of the surge. Last month I once again visited Baghdad to meet with the leadership of the federal government. We stressed our commitment to developing an Iraqi state that abides by its constitution and that is based upon a federal model with clearly delineated powers for its regions.

In spite of all this, some commentators now suggest that the Kurds are causing problems by insisting on territorial demands and proceeding with the development of Kurdistan's oil resources. These allegations are troubling. We are proceeding entirely in accord with the Iraqi constitution, implementing provisions that were brokered by the U.S.

In the constitutional negotiations that took place in the summer of 2005, two issues were critical to us: first, that the Kurdistan Region has the right to develop the oil on its territory, and second, that there be a fair process to determine the administrative borders of Iraq's Kurdistan Region -- thus resolving once and for all the issue of "disputed" territories.

Unfortunately, ever since the discovery of oil in Iraq in the 1920s, successive Iraqi governments have sought to keep oil out of Kurdish hands, blocking exploration and development of fields in Kurdistan. Saddam Hussein's government went even further, using Iraqi oil revenues to finance the military campaigns that destroyed more than 4,500 Kurdish villages and to pay for the poison gas used to kill thousands of Kurdish civilians.

The Kurdish leadership agreed to a U.S.-sponsored compromise in 2005 in which the central government would have the authority to manage existing oil fields, but new fields would fall under the exclusive jurisdiction of the regions. Since then, the KRG has taken the lead with Baghdad in negotiations on a hydrocarbon law that is faithful to Iraq's constitution and is conducive to modernizing Iraq's oil infrastructure and substantially increasing its oil production.

We have awarded contracts for foreign oil companies (including some American ones) to explore our territory. In so doing, Kurdistan is not threatening the unity of Iraq. It is simply implementing the constitution.

The "disputed territories" have a tragic history. Since the 1950s, Iraqi regimes encouraged Arabs to settle in Kirkuk and other predominantly Kurdish and Turkmen areas. Saddam Hussein accelerated this process by engaging in ethnic cleansing, expelling or killing Kurds and Turkmen, or by requiring nationality corrections (in which non-Arabs are forced to declare themselves to be Arabs) and by moving Arabs into Kurdish homes.

The dispute between Baghdad and the Kurds over Kirkuk has lasted more than 80 years and has often been violent. All sides have now agreed to a formula to resolve the problem, to bring justice to Kirkuk, and to correct the crimes against Kurds committed by Saddam Hussein's regime. Iraq's constitution requires that a referendum be held in disputed territories to determine if their populations want to join the Kurdistan Region. Conducting a plebiscite is not easy, but it is preferable to another 80 years of conflict.

In today's Opinion Journal

Obama's Lame Duck OpportunityMischief in Minnesota?Same Old Berlin Wall


Business World: Obama's Car Puzzle
– Holman W. JenkinsThe Tilting Yard: Goodbye to All That
– Thomas Frank


Is Now the Time to Buy Stocks?
– John H. CochraneKurdistan Is a Model for Iraq
– Masoud BarzaniThis Election Has Not 'Realigned' the Country
– Jennifer MarsicoIf the pro-Kurdistan side should lose the referendum in Kirkuk, I promise that Kurdistan will respect that result. And if they win, I promise that we will do everything in our power to ensure outsized representation of Kirkuk's Turkmen, Arabs and Christians both on the local level and in the parliament and government of the Kurdistan Region.

Regional stability cannot come from resolving internal disputes alone. That is why expanding and deepening our ties with Turkey is my top priority.

My meeting last month in Baghdad with the Turkish special envoy to Iraq was a historic and positive development. There should be further direct contacts between the KRG and Turkey, as well as multilateral contacts that involve the U.S. We are eager to work with Turkey to seek increased peace and prosperity in the region.

I am proud that the Kurdistan Region is both a model and gateway for the rest of Iraq. Our difficult path to a secular, federal democracy is very much inspired by the U.S. And so we look forward to working with the Obama-Biden administration to support and defend our hard-fought successes in Iraq, and to remain proud of what the Kurdistan region is today: a thriving civil society in the heart of the Middle East. When we insist on strict compliance with our country's constitution, we are only following America's great example.

Mr. Barzani is the president of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
29256  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Al Franken stealing election? on: November 12, 2008, 11:17:56 AM
Second post:


You'd think Democrats would be content with last week's electoral rout. But judging from the odd doings in Minnesota, some in their party wouldn't mind adding to their jackpot by stealing a Senate seat for left-wing joker Al Franken.

Al Franken.
When Minnesotans woke up last Wednesday, Republican Senator Norm Coleman led Mr. Franken by 725 votes. By that evening, he was ahead by only 477. As of yesterday, Mr. Coleman's margin stood at 206. This lopsided bleeding of Republican votes is passing strange considering that the official recount hasn't even begun.

The vanishing Coleman vote came during a week in which election officials are obliged to double-check their initial results. Minnesota is required to do these audits, and it isn't unusual for officials to report that they transposed a number here or there. In a normal audit, these mistakes could be expected to cut both ways. Instead, nearly every "fix" has gone for Mr. Franken, in some cases under strange circumstances.

For example, there was Friday night's announcement by Minneapolis's director of elections that she'd forgotten to count 32 absentee ballots in her car. The Coleman campaign scrambled to get a county judge to halt the counting of these absentees, since it was impossible to prove their integrity 72 hours after the polls closed. The judge refused on grounds that she lacked jurisdiction.

Up in Two Harbors, another liberal outpost, Mr. Franken picked up an additional 246 votes. In Partridge Township, he racked up another 100. Election officials in both places claim they initially miscommunicated the numbers. Odd, because in the Two Harbors precinct, none of the other contests recorded any changes in their vote totals.

According to conservative statistician John Lott, Mr. Franken's gains so far are 2.5 times the corrections made for Barack Obama in the state, and nearly three times the gains for Democrats across Minnesota Congressional races. Mr. Lott notes that Mr. Franken's "new" votes equal more than all the changes for all the precincts in the entire state for the Presidential, Congressional and statehouse races combined (482 votes).

This entire process is being overseen by Democratic Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, who isn't exactly a nonpartisan observer. One of Mr. Ritchie's financial supporters during his 2006 run for office was a 527 group called the Secretary of State Project, which was co-founded by James Rucker, who came from The group says it is devoted to putting Democrats in jobs where they can "protect elections."

Mr. Ritchie is also an ally of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or Acorn, of fraudulent voter-registration fame. That relationship might explain why prior to the election Mr. Ritchie waved off evidence of thousands of irregularities on Minnesota voter rolls, claiming that accusations of fraud were nothing more than "desperateness" from Republicans.

In today's Opinion Journal

Obama's Lame Duck OpportunityMischief in Minnesota?Same Old Berlin Wall


Business World: Obama's Car Puzzle
– Holman W. JenkinsThe Tilting Yard: Goodbye to All That
– Thomas Frank


Is Now the Time to Buy Stocks?
– John H. CochraneKurdistan Is a Model for Iraq
– Masoud BarzaniThis Election Has Not 'Realigned' the Country
– Jennifer MarsicoMr. Franken and fellow Democrats are already waging a full-scale public pressure campaign to help turn the recount their way. That includes a push to turn what should be a straightforward count of existing legal ballots into a complete do-over -- mau-mauing election officials into accepting tossed ballots. The Franken campaign recently showed up before the Hennepin County canvassing board, demanding that its liberal members count 461 previously rejected ballots. To the board's credit, they unanimously voted no.

The Franken campaign has also been wrapping itself around Barack Obama's popularity to increase its recount potential. Minnesota has a voter intent law, which means that election officials can take a second look at ambiguous ballots. Mr. Franken's people are already arguing that a vote for Mr. Obama certainly indicated a vote for Mr. Franken. This can't possibly be true, however, because nearly every campaign poll showed Mr. Franken lagging Mr. Obama by five to 15 percentage points -- and on Election Day he trailed by 12.2%. Mr. Franken ran a nasty, polarizing campaign, and in any case he was part of a three-man contest.

The Coleman team is demanding the tapes from the voting machines on election night, and that's the least Mr. Ritchie can do. The Secretary of State should also investigate miraculous discoveries like the "forgotten" 32 car ballots. He needs to show voters, the press and the Coleman team that he's running a transparent process that focuses on previously counted votes, rather than changing the rules after the election is over.

With their party only three Senate seats from the 60 needed to break a filibuster (and two still not decided), Democrats have a political incentive to cut corners to steal a seat if they can get away with it. Mr. Franken and his left-wing allies also know that if Mr. Franken couldn't win election in this fabulous Democratic year, then the not-so-funnyman never will. If Minnesota wants to retain its reputation as a state with clean elections, it needs to run an honest recount.


Please add your comments to the Opinion Journal forum.
29257  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Vote Fraud (ACORN et al) on: November 12, 2008, 11:05:18 AM
Although this is from the NYT, it seems a fair point:
That’s Two for Me
Published: November 11, 2008

We’ve all heard of close elections. But consider the strange (and outrageous) case of the 2006 City Council election in Anamosa, Iowa.

According to census figures, Anamosa’s Ward 2 has nearly 1,400 residents, about the same as the town’s other three wards. The problem is that 1,300 of the ward’s “residents” are inmates of the Anamosa State Penitentiary. Minus the prisoners, Ward 2 has only 58 actual residents. A councilman won his election to represent the ward with two write-in votes: one from his wife and one from a neighbor.

While Anamosa’s case is extreme, the phenomenon is not. It is called prison-based gerrymandering when politicians draw legislative districts around prisons and count inmates — who are denied the vote in all but two states — as residents.

At the state level, prison-based gerrymandering exaggerates the political power of the mainly rural districts where prisons are built. And it dilutes the power of the mainly urban districts where inmates come from and to which they nearly always return. But as the Anamosa case shows, this kind of gerrymandering is also a problem within cities and towns.

Anamosa’s voters were so outraged that they have passed a referendum that will require its City Council members to be elected at large beginning in 2009. And other states and localities are beginning to wake up to the problem. But a study by the Prison Policy Initiative, an advocacy group, has found 21 counties across the nation where at least one in five people counted as residents were actually prison inmates.

The ideal solution would be for the United States Census Bureau to count prison inmates, not as residents of prisons, but at their actual home addresses. Until the bureau gets around to that, state and local lawmakers should make sure that prisoners are excluded from the population counts when legislative districts are drawn. The current arrangement undermines the most basic democratic principle of one person, one vote.

29258  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Our Founding Fathers: on: November 12, 2008, 10:54:15 AM
"Let us therefore animate and encourage each other, and shew the whole world, that a Freeman contending for Liberty on his own ground is superior to any slavish mercenary on earth." --George Washington
29259  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for Reps/Conservatives on: November 12, 2008, 10:48:47 AM
I think one of the key variables is how the Fed has printed too much money and has kept interest rates too low ((ROI should be greater than inflation + taxes).  Too much money at too low a price has been sloshing around the global system.   Conservatives (and Republicans) need to understand this and communicate this.
29260  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Our Founding Fathers: on: November 12, 2008, 10:35:07 AM
"It should be the highest ambition of every American to extend his views beyond himself, and to bear in mind that his conduct will not only affect himself, his country, and his immediate posterity; but that its influence may be co-extensive with the world, and stamp political happiness or misery on ages yet unborn."

—George Washington, letter to the Legislature of Pennsylvania, September 5, 1789
29261  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The First Amendment on: November 12, 2008, 09:29:38 AM
Schumer is an anus par excellence.

Looking at the bright side, if the Dems go for reimposing the FD, I think it is a really good issue for the Republicans , , , as long as we win on it.  Losing on the FD would be bad, very bad.
29262  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Internet and related technology on: November 12, 2008, 12:13:21 AM

That was a fascinating read.  Thank you.

29263  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: November 12, 2008, 12:04:53 AM

There are not many people I regard as both bright enough and educated enough to appreciate the book "The Way the World Works" by Jude Wanniski.

In his later years JW was something of a crank and an anti-semite, but in his prime (editorial writer for the WSJ, author of TWTWW) he was something else.  This bold book assays to reduce political economics to a series of principles/laws much as physics seeks to explain the physical world.

Anyway, the chapter on the causes of the Great Depression is simply brilliant.  It overlaps quite a bit with the points in the piece that you post, but offers much more.

Highly recommended.
29264  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Coming Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: November 11, 2008, 11:59:49 PM
Woof BBG:

Nice post!

May I be a tad anal and ask you to post it on the Free Speech (or is it The First Amendment?) thread?

29265  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: November 11, 2008, 06:29:28 PM
Woof BBG:

See entry number 42:

@ all:

This matter of vote fraud (notice how I have modified the name of the ACORN thread to the more all encompassing "Vote Fraud" is a profoundly important one.  It is the nature of things at this moment that the friends of dishonesty will try to sweep this under the rug.  I am hoping that our merry little band of truthseekers here will keep our eye on the ball and continue to share intel here on this issue.

29266  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Looking for fighters for stickfighting TV series on: November 11, 2008, 06:17:57 PM
Just a quick yip before turning to some other matters:

I had someone ask about nationalities.  OF COURSE all nationalities are welcome.  Already on board on Lonely Dog (Switzerland) and Red Dog (Germany).
29267  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DBMA Class at Inosanto Academy on: November 11, 2008, 06:14:08 PM
Looking forward to class this Saturday.
29268  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Libertarian Issues on: November 11, 2008, 05:54:19 PM
Exactly so-- it is the nature of things and that is exactly what makes it worrisome when they so much more knowledge that was previously private about people.
29269  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / R.I.P. on: November 11, 2008, 10:18:07 AM

Joe Hyams, Best-selling Author and
Martial Arts Pioneer, Dies at Age 85

Joe Hyams (June 6, 1923 - Nov. 8, 2008)

Best selling author of Zen and the Martial Arts -and numerous other
books, Hollywood insider, and veteran martial arts enthusiast, Joe
Hyams passed away, of natural causes, on November 8, 2008.

During his long entertainment career, Joe Hyams was the Los Angeles
Bureau Chief and Hollywood columnist for the New York Herald
Tribune and also actor Humphrey Bogart's best friend.

Joe Hyams took up fencing lessons in the 1950's and through those
classes he met film music composer Bronislau Kaper. In 1958, Kaper
introduced him to Ed Parker, who was teaching Kenpo in the weight
room in Beverly Hills Health Club. Mr. Hyams became one of Ed
Parker's first private students and also one of Mr. Parker's first
black belts.

Joe Hyams was the first person to introduce Bruce Lee into the
Hollywood community. He helped Bruce Lee, with whom he trained
privately get a foothold in Hollywood during Bruce's struggling
years. Mr. Hyams trained with Bruce Lee for two years, and when
Bruce left for Hong Kong to pursue his film career, he suggested
that Joe learn from Jim Lau, who trained him in Wing Chun.

A thorough treatment of Mr. Hyams life and times is being prepared
by his protégé, martial arts writer and editor John Corcoran.

29270  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Coming Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: November 11, 2008, 10:17:08 AM
IF BO backs off our missile defense in Poland he is going to have "pussy" tattooed on his forehead.

Geopolitical Diary: Obama's Visit to the White House
November 10, 2008
U.S. President George W. Bush has invited President-elect Barack Obama to the White House. Such visits are normal protocol, and wives are part of the visit. Many times such visits come later in the transition, provide for a photo opportunity that assures the country that the transition is amicable and leave policy issues out of it. It will be interesting to see if this meeting has more substance, because there are certain issues that are not only pressing, but on which Obama and Bush might need to coordinate — even if they have different policies.

The first is obviously the G-20 meeting to be held in Washington on Nov. 15. Labeled as Bretton Woods II by some European leaders, the meeting is intended to discuss the future of the international financial system. Some Europeans want to create a robust international regulatory regime — or as might be put by cynics, a means whereby the Europeans have increased control over the American financial system. The first meeting will not be the last. A process is going to be put in place at this meeting. Bush’s inclination is to resist the more extreme European demands. It is not clear what Obama’s policy is. Obama will not be at the meeting, under the principle that the U.S. has only one president at a time — and to hold open his options. But his presence will be felt. These talks will set up the process under which Obama will negotiate. Bush and Obama might want to discuss this.

Second, there is Iran. Prior to the election, the administration was leaking the idea that Bush would establish low-level diplomatic relations with Iran after the election and before the winner — now known to be Obama — takes office. The theory was that such relations were essential and that Bush wanted to take the onus of establishing relations away from his successor, freeing him to deal directly with the Iranians. The Iranians formally congratulated Obama on his victory — the first such congratulations since the Iranian revolution. Obama, at his press conference, reacted coolly to the congratulations, reiterating demands that Iran stop nuclear development and not support terrorist groups. Obama is again keeping his options open. However, if the leaks from the administration genuinely signaled a desire by Bush to open diplomatic relations to free Obama to negotiate while Bush takes the heat, then Obama will have to let Bush know that he wants this — or at least go on record with Bush that he doesn’t.

Finally, there is the question of a coordinated stance on Russia. The Russians have just announced that they intend to deploy Iskander short-range ballistic missiles in Kaliningrad as a counter to a U.S. ballistic missile defense (BMD) installation slated for Polish soil. Obama’s advisers have also insisted that their camp has made no firm commitments on this installation either way, repudiating claims by Polish President Lech Kaczynski that the new American president-elect had assured him of firm support during a phone conversation on Nov. 8. On Nov. 7, news leaked that investigators from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe have discovered the obvious, which is that Georgian troops started the war with Russia by attacking South Ossetia first. The deployment of missiles, the caution on BMD deployment in Poland and support for the Russian version of what happened in Georgia all combine to create new issues and opportunities in U.S.-Russian relations. It remains Bush’s responsibility to deal with this, but clearly, knowing where Obama wants to go on this would be useful to the transition.

The Russia question can hold, but the other two issues are pressing. It would be extremely useful to the international markets to know what the American position at the G-20 is going to be and whether it will remain the same after Jan. 20, 2009. The markets have all the uncertainty they need and could use a joint position. The Iranian recognition issue is critical. We suspect that Bush is prepared to move on this but needs an indication that this is the direction Obama wants to go. It is pointless and possibly harmful to open diplomatic relations if Obama is heading in a different direction.

All transition periods have important questions, but normally there is little need for coordination. Things will wait and if policies change, they change. In the case of the G-20 and Iran, that is not quite the way it is. True, the world will not end if Bush zigs and Obama zags, but in these two matters it would be enormously helpful if a seamless position could be devised. Russia is somewhat less pressing, but Obama already seems to have taken a position, and therefore the issue is in play.

The question is whether Obama is ready to define even preliminary positions on either the G-20 or Iran. Election rhetoric is very different from policy formation, and no president-elect, a week after his election, is quite ready to implement policy. But the G-20 is days away, and the situation in Iran is fluid. It will be interesting to see if the Nov. 10 meeting between Bush and Obama is tea and a tour, or a serious working session. Obviously, aides can work out a detailed coordination, but the principals have to seal the deal. We will find out on Monday what kind of transition we have, and what might happen in the interim.
29271  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Looking for fighters for stickfighting TV series on: November 11, 2008, 10:05:41 AM
Dog Tom's question about the token chux player brings to my attention something I should make clear:

Fighters do not need to be proficient in all categories; e.g. even if all you want to do is fight single stick, you should apply.  An apllication from fighters unusually skilled in in particulary weapons (e.g. Dog Tom and nunchaku) will be particulary welcome.
29272  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / J. Adams on: November 11, 2008, 09:59:43 AM
"Our obligations to our country never cease but with our lives."

—John Adams, letter to Benjamin Rush, April 18, 1808
29273  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: November 11, 2008, 09:56:21 AM
A fascinating conversation Rachel and GM.

Please forgive this momentary intrusion as I note the following:


JERUSALEM, Israel — The U.S. is providing Israel with high-powered X-band radar capable of detecting missile launches up to 1,500 miles away — and sensitive enough to detect small- and medium-range missiles being fired from Iran and Syria.

The radar will grant Israel about 60-70 seconds more warning time when missiles are launched. The system's massive range means targets as far away as southern Russia can be monitored.

• Click here to see exclusive footage the X-band radar system at work in Israel.

Every second of warning counts, as Syrian missiles can hit Israel in just four minutes, and Iranian missiles can reach Israel's borders in just 11 minutes.

Israel will not have direct access to the intelligence the radar collects. American satellites will be used with the radar, and only Americans will have access to the technology and the information.

About 120 American technicians and security guards will be stationed in Israel's southern Negev Desert to oversee the operation, the first time in the country's 60-year history that they've allowed a foreign military presence to be based here.

In September the U.S. Senate passed an amendment allocating $89 million for activating and deploying the X-band radar. Iran was quick to attack the funding in an editorial in the Tehran Times.

"If it were proposed that this fraction of the tax revenues should be allocated to reduce the pains in the hearts of one thousand owners of foreclosed properties in the working class neighborhoods of Chicago ... no doubt the same senators who enthusiastically and unanimously voted for the bill would have rejected it outright with no hesitation or mercy," the paper wrote.

According to military experts, the radar was intended to send a message to Iran, and to Israel as well. It shows Iran the U.S. is beefing up its capabilities in the region, and it also is intended to calm Israel and prevent it from rushing into a military strike.

Israeli military analyst Alon Ben-David said this was Bush's last gift to Israel.

"Having a U.S. force deployed permanently in Israel is a gift, but it also binds Israel. Israel will have to take into account the presence of an American force before considering any military action that might generate a response from the other side," he told FOX News. "But on the other hand, this is a very clear signal of the U.S. commitment to the security of Israel."


Carry on!
29274  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Libertarian Issues on: November 11, 2008, 09:25:35 AM
Nice follow up on this example of why some of us are deeply uneasy with the march of technology into our private lives , , ,
29275  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / BO lied about firing advisor on: November 10, 2008, 02:14:24 PM
Obama Lied About Firing Anti-Israel Adviser


Obama Lied About Firing Anti-Israel Adviser

In May of this year, Barack Obama fired Middle East adviser Robert Malley when it was revealed that Malley had been holding secret talks with Hamas.


One of Barack Obama’s Middle East policy advisers disclosed yesterday that he had held meetings with the militant Palestinian group Hamas – prompting the likely Democratic nominee to sever all links with him.

Robert Malley told The Times that he had been in regular contact with Hamas, which controls Gaza and is listed by the US State Department as a terrorist organisation. Such talks, he stressed, were related to his work for a conflict resolution think-tank and had no connection with his position on Mr Obama’s Middle East advisory council. “I’ve never hidden the fact that in my job with the International Crisis Group I meet all kinds of people,” he added.

Ben LaBolt, a spokesman for Mr Obama, responded swiftly: “Rob Malley has, like hundreds of other experts, provided informal advice to the campaign in the past. He has no formal role in the campaign and he will not play any role in the future.”

Ben LaBolt and the Obama campaign were lying.

Report: Obama Sends Advisor Malley to Cozy Up to Egypt and Syria


by Gil Ronen

( According to a report on Middle East Newsline, President-elect Barack Obama has dispatched his "senior foreign policy adviser", Robert Malley to Egypt and Syria to outline Obama's policy on the Middle East.

Malley reportedly relayed a promise from Obama that the United States would seek to enhance relations with Cairo and reconcile differences with Damascus.

"The tenor of the messages was that the Obama administration would take into greater account Egyptian and Syrian interests," an aide to Malley was quoted as saying. The aide said Obama plans to launch a U.S. diplomatic initiative toward Syria. Malley met both Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad "to explain Obama's agenda for the Middle East."

F-16s for Egypt
Aides to Malley also said that Obama told Mubarak that the United States would maintain military and civilian aid and sell advanced F-16 aircraft to Cairo. Egypt has not ordered F-16s in nearly a decade.

Malley was an advisor to President Bill Clinton and played an active role in the Camp David summit with Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat. He later published an article in which he laid some of the blame for the failure of those talks on Israel's doorstep.

International Crisis Group
In May 2008, Malley said in an interview that he had been in regular contact with Hamas, as part of his work for a conflict resolution think-tank called the International Crisis Group. This aroused ire and concern in pro-Israel circles, and prompted a spokesman for Obama to say that “Rob Malley has, like hundreds of other experts, provided informal advice to the campaign in the past. He has no formal role in the campaign and he will not play any role in the future.”

One of the sponsors of the International Crisis Group is billionaire George Soros, who sits on its board and its executive committee. Other members of the board include former United States National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and former general Wesley Clark, who called US support for Israel during the Second Lebanon War a "serious mistake" and said that "New York money people" - a phrase interpreted by many as a reference to Jews - were pushing the United States towards a confrontation with Iran.
29276  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Wilson and the Fed on: November 10, 2008, 12:52:02 PM
"I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated Governments in the civilized world no longer a Government by free opinion, no longer a Government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a Government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men."

-- Woodrow Wilson, after signing the legislation that created the Federal Reserve
29277  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for Reps/Conservatives on: November 10, 2008, 12:17:32 PM
Fair enough-- but I think the point here is that if BO had not dramatically and glibly shifted his tax positions during the campaign (and had McC not been so imcompetent as to let him get away with it) to where he was successfully pretending to be a tax cutter, McC would have won.

The larger point is that tax cuts, a key strand of Reaganism, remain quite popular across the political spectrum.
29278  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / PD WSJ on: November 10, 2008, 12:11:53 PM
Where Did All the Voters Go?

Everyone was predicting a record voter turnout this year. It didn't happen. About half of young people, for example, stayed home, though those who did vote went overwhelmingly by 2 to 1 for Barack Obama.

What also happened was that Republicans stayed home, falling to 28.7% of the electorate from the 30% in 2004. Democrats turned out in slightly higher numbers, representing 31.3% of the total vote, up from the 28.7% in 2004.

At least one Democratic strategist says he's surprised overall turnout did not increase over 2004, despite rabid anti-Bush feeling, Barack Obama's rock star candidacy and massive investments in get-out-the-vote operations (GOTV).

"It sort of calls into question some of the vaunted ground game discussion, the whole turnout machine," the unnamed Democrat told "The GOTV effort was redoubled in 2008 compared to 2004, but it did not seem to make that big of a difference." Among states where voter turnout actually declined this year were such battlegrounds as Ohio and Pennsylvania.

In historical terms, political scientist Curtis Gans says this year's turnout was about the same as the 1968 Nixon vs. Humphrey race as a percentage of the voting-age population. Factoring in the big increase in black participation since then, this year's turnout was actually below that of the 1960 and 1964 elections.

-- John Fund

At Least Al Franken Can Play Himself in HBO's 'Recount II'

What to expect in the stalemated Minnesota Senate race between Norm Coleman and Al Franken? Mr. Coleman now leads by a mere 238 votes after local officials corrected a few errors in their counts. Next comes an audit of selected precincts followed by a mandatory hand recount of 2.9 million ballots.

The first deadline comes today, when all 87 counties are scheduled to submit official counts. This should be the last time the vote count shifts before the official recount. Ballot challenges are all but inevitable. Minnesota isn't Florida -- the state uses optically-scanned paper ballots, so there won't be any hanging chads. But state officials expect to discover that election machines miscounted an unusual number of ballots because so many first-time voters are believed to have mismarked their ballots. By one estimate, two votes out of 1,000 may be mismarked, which would mean the machines improperly counted as many as 5,800 votes.

Ultimately, challenged ballots will go before a state canvassing board that consists of two state Supreme Court justices, two district court judges and is chaired by Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, a Democrat. Starting on Dec. 16, the board will review the challenged ballots to see if "voter intent" can be fairly determined. Barring legal challenges, Mr. Ritchie hopes the process can be wrapped up a week before Christmas.

But court challenges are almost certain. The Coleman campaign already lost a bid to discard 32 absentee ballots from heavily Democratic Hennepin County. The campaign says the ballots weren't properly secured and could have been tampered with. Both camps now are directing volunteers to keep watch on ballot boxes throughout the state. Meanwhile, Mr. Coleman is still trying to recruit an election expert to monitor the recount on his behalf. U.S. Attorney Tom Heffelfinger had agreed to take the job but bowed out after realizing it conflicted with his current assignment of investigating possible police misconduct at the Republican National Convention in the Twin Cities last summer.

Mr. Coleman, who was a Democrat until 1996, has experienced his share of unusual campaigns, so at least he's steeled for the roller-coaster ride. Not only was he bested by pro wrestler Jesse Ventura in the 1998 governor's race. In 2002, he was running neck and neck in the polls with popular Democratic Senator Paul Wellstone when Mr. Wellstone died in a plane crash less than two weeks before Election Day. To take Wellstone's place, Democrats quickly nominated former Vice President Walter Mondale, who held the seat from 1964 to 1977. But Mr. Coleman still managed to eke out a 60,000-vote victory.

-- Brendan Miniter

The Palin Factor

In the closing days of the election, it was an article of faith among the pundits that Gov. Sarah Palin had become a drag on the Republican ticket. Whether because of the "Troopergate" investigation or her primetime network interviews, Mrs. Palin's popularity with the public declined considerably. Once hailed as an inspired pick, Sen. John McCain's choice of the unknown Alaskan governor was generally viewed as a missed opportunity.

So now that we have piles of exit polling data to sift through, what can we say about Mrs. Palin's effect on the election?

Asked if she was "a factor" in their vote, 60% said yes, while 33% said no. Yet of those who said Mrs. Palin was a factor, 56% voted for Mr. McCain, while 43% voted for Mr. Obama. Even among independent voters (a group Mr. McCain lost by eight points) she was a net vote-getter for the Republican ticket among those independents who said Mrs. Palin was a factor.

Mrs. Palin, however, didn't come through with one big group of voters -- those who supported Sen. Hillary Clinton in the primaries. In the immediate aftermath of Mrs. Clinton's defeat, polls suggested that a good portion of these voters were ready to support the Republican ticket. It must have seemed too tantalizing a prospect for the McCain campaign to pass up by choosing a man as a running mate. Yet, in the end, Mrs. Palin didn't seal the deal with Hillary voters, who went for Mr. Obama 83% to 16%.

On other important voting blocs, such as white women, gun owners and Evangelicals, the McCain-Palin ticket performed about the same as the Bush-Cheney team in 2004.

The conclusion? Mrs. Palin failed to win the election for Mr. McCain, but that's setting the bar awfully high. Given the headwinds, Mr. McCain perhaps was lucky to do as well as he did -- and his showing might well have been worse without Mrs. Palin on the ticket.

-- Blake Dvorak,

The Mercurial Mr. Jones

Nothing illustrates the Republican party's fortunes in North Carolina since 1994 better than the career of Congressman Walter Jones, a Democrat turned Republican and now apparently turned Democrat again.

In 1992, Mr. Jones ran for Congress as a Democrat to succeed his father, Walter B. Jones Sr., who was retiring after a 25-year career. The younger Mr. Jones lost the primary narrowly. Sensing that political tides were shifting in the state, he ran in a reconfigured district in 1994 as a Republican and won.

But he was never a close fit with his new colleagues, opposing the Iraq war and routinely voting as a less-than-party-line stalwart on other issues. In 2006, Congressional Quarterly called him the third most likely Republican and eighth most likely House Member to defect from his party's caucus, doing so about 36% of the time.

That record of apostasy generated a primary challenge to Mr. Jones this year, but one he weathered with 59% of the vote and the continued support of GOP party leaders. He coasted to victory over a weak Democrat last week in a district that the Cook Political Report says leans about 15 points more Republican than the nation as a whole in presidential elections.

Mr. Jones has long hinted he might be a double-switcher, especially after he was denied an Armed Services subcommittee chairmanship in 2006. He admitted being approached by Democrats at the time but told The Hill newspaper: "I just take each day as it comes; I certainly think about where I will be a year or two, three years from now, but that's God's plan, not mine. . . . I think at the present time, because of the pro-life issue primarily, I am where I need to be. But I am an independent."

Well, it's been two years since that statement and, sure enough, Mr. Jones is poised today to rejoin the Democrats. The news couldn't come at a worse time for the North Carolina GOP, which just lost a U.S. Senate seat, a U.S. House seat and saw the state shift to the Democratic column for president for only the second time since Ronald Reagan's 1980 election.

Party switchers have an indifferent record of winning their next races, which clearly is why Mr. Jones is making his switch early so as to give voters as much time as possible to acclimate themselves to his latest change in political fashion.

-- John Fund

Quote of the Day

"[Barack] Obama, who is not without an ego, regarded himself as just as gifted as his top strategists in the art and practice of politics. Patrick Gaspard, the campaign's political director, said that when, in early 2007, he interviewed for a job with Obama and [campaign adviser David] Plouffe, Obama said that he liked being surrounded by people who expressed strong opinions, but he also said, 'I think that I'm a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I'll tell you right now that I'm gonna think I'm a better political director than my political director.' After Obama's first debate with McCain, on September 26th, Gaspard sent him an e-mail. 'You are more clutch than Michael Jordan,' he wrote. Obama replied, 'Just give me the ball'" -- New Yorker writer Ryan Lizza on "How Obama Won."

Extreme Makeover

The liberal news media apparently have some advice for John McCain on how to crawl back into their approval zone.

You'll recall that Mr. McCain was the toast of liberal pundits and journalists during the 2000 campaign and for many subsequent years. As he courted conservatives to win the GOP nomination this year, however, all that changed. The media wondered how Mr. McCain had wound up embracing his "dark side." But now that the election is over, he can redeem himself.

Christopher Beam, a political reporter for, offers a guide on how Senator McCain can "rehabilitate" his image following the alleged nastiness of the just-concluded campaign.

"The media, a group John McCain once called his 'base,' have fallen off the boat," Mr. Beam writes. "Now is the time to rebuild." He suggests Mr. McCain begin by acknowledging "mistakes" in his campaign (or what the media believe are mistakes) such as his choice of Sarah Palin as running mate. He should also write a tell-all memoir, painting his own campaign in unvarnished colors. In addition to working overtime now to support President Obama, he should also make it a point to "p--- off Republicans" by adopting political stances that please the media.

Mr. McCain is certainly getting similar strategy tips from many of his aides and confidants. Just how much of that advice he takes will tell us a lot about John McCain's need for media attention and approval.

-- John Fund

29279  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Jefferson on: November 10, 2008, 11:50:54 AM
"The republican is the only form of government which is not eternally at open or secret war with the rights of mankind."

—Thomas Jefferson, Letter to William Hunter, March 11, 1790
29280  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Looking for fighters for stickfighting TV series on: November 10, 2008, 11:48:32 AM
I should have mentioned that  embarassed

Please have try to have it in by December 1st.

29281  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Good manners, social graces, and etiquette on: November 10, 2008, 11:47:15 AM
Kind of a whiny bitch tone to this, but it addresses something I suspect many of us have felt.

All Apologies
Published: November 10, 2008

I SOMETIMES find strangers’ manners so lacking that I have started engaging in an odd kind of activism. I call it reverse etiquette: I supply the apology that they should be giving me.

When the ebullient young woman behind the cash register at the grocery store dropped my apple on the ground, she smiled nervously, picked it up and put it in my bag, but said nothing. So I offered, in a neutral tone of voice, “Oh, I’m sorry.” This did not elicit the remorse I hoped it would — she simply grimace-smiled and said, “That’s O.K.” So I added, “Sorry about that — I really didn’t mean for you to drop that.” At which she stared off into the mid-distance as if receiving instructions from outer space.

A few weeks later, the skinny, 20-something gentleman manning the cash register at the pizzeria told me, “I can’t break a 20.” So I asked, “Would you mind terribly if I went next door and got change?” He said, “That’s fine.” When I returned, no thanks or apology forthcoming from him, I said in a flat, non-sarcastic voice, “So sorry — I hope I didn’t keep you waiting?” Confused, he shook his head no. “I forget stuff sometimes,” I said — a cue that went unmet.

How did I get here? I’d feel like a marm or a scold if I told a stranger that he has bad manners; so instead I wage a campaign of subtle remonstrance. That this subtle remonstrance was, in its initial forays at least, mostly lost on my interlocutors did not faze me: being able to sublimate my irritation was its own reward.

But I like to think that in some instances my behavior, by causing others to wonder what I’m going on about, may help to carry out etiquette’s mandate: to promote empathy. It’s my distinct hope that the person who is apologized to when she drops my apple is a person who will have an epiphany the next time someone drops her apple.

And yet, placated though I am by the realization that I am providing others with gentle, time-released lessons, sometimes the angry little man inside me wants more. Much more. To wit, an apology.

So I have become more explicit in my acts of reverse etiquette. The other day I apologized to a tall, bearded man who slammed his duffel into me at Sixth Avenue and Eighth Street. Then I told him, “I’m saying what you should be saying.” He responded, in toto, “Oh, right.”

Though this response could not be described as “blanket-like,” it nevertheless gave me enough ground to see that I was on the right track. I realized that I just need to be even more explicit with people. So the other day, when a stroller-pushing mother semi-vigorously bumped into me at Sixth Avenue and Eighth Street — this corner is apparently the Bermuda Triangle of manners — I expressed remorse, and added, “No one says I’m sorry anymore, so I do it for them.”


“My idea is that if I say I’m sorry, then at least the words have been released into the universe.”

She stared at me with equal parts irritation and faint horror, as if I had just asked her to attend a three-hour lecture on the history of the leotard.

I continued: “The apology gets said, even if it’s not by the right person. It makes me feel better. And maybe you’ll know what to say next time.”

“Wow,” she said. (The tickets for the leotard lecture were $200, or $500 at the door.)

And then, finally, came the words I have longed these many months to hear: “I’ll think about it.”

Henry Alford is the author of the forthcoming “How to Live.”

29282  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues on: November 10, 2008, 11:42:37 AM
The Protein Pyramid

Published: November 10, 2008
Per capita meat consumption more than doubled over the past half-century as the global economy expanded. It is expected to double again by 2050. Which raises the question, what does all that meat eat before it becomes meat?

 Increasingly the answer is very small fish harvested from the ocean and ground into meal and pressed into oil. According to a new report by scientists from the University of British Columbia and financed by the Pew Institute for Ocean Science, 37 percent by weight of all the fish taken from the ocean is forage fish: small fish like sardines and menhaden. Nearly half of that is fed to farmed fish; most of the rest is fed to pigs and poultry.

The problem is that forage fish are the feedstock of marine mammals and birds and larger species of fish. In other words, farmed fish, pigs and poultry — and the humans who eat them — are competing for food directly with aquatic species that depend on those forage fish for their existence. It’s as if humans were swimming in schools in the ocean out-eating every other species.

The case is worse than that. When it comes to farmed fish, there is a net protein loss: it takes three pounds of fish feed to produce one pound of farmed salmon. This protein pyramid — small fish fed to farmed fish, pigs and poultry that are then fed to humans — is unsustainable. It threatens the foundation of oceanic life.

The report’s authors suggest that it would be better if humans ate these small fish, as many cultures once did, instead of using them as feed. That is one way of addressing the problem of net protein loss. The real answers are support for sustainable agriculture in the developing world and encouraging healthy, less meat-based eating habits as a true sign of affluence everywhere.
NYT editorial
29283  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stratfor on: November 10, 2008, 11:09:18 AM
Editor’s Note: The following is an internal Stratfor document produced to provide high-level guidance to our analysts. This document is not a forecast, but rather a series of guidelines for understanding and evaluating events, as well as suggestions on areas for focus.

1. The U.S. presidential transition begins: Between the crises in Iraq, negotiations with Iran, the war in Afghanistan, the slow-motion disintegration of Pakistan and Russia’s resurgence, U.S. President-elect Barack Obama is going to have his plate full on Jan. 20, 2009. In reality, it is full now. The Russians in particular are pulling out all the stops to impose a reality on the incoming American president. This means that unless Obama plans on letting the Russians ride roughshod over their near abroad, he not only needs to come up with a counterpolicy quickly, he needs to work with the outgoing administration to implement that policy well before Inauguration Day. That will require Obama and his team getting up to speed on not just Central Europe and the former Soviet Union, but also on Iraq and Pakistan — locations he needs to have at least partially locked down if he is to have a free hand to deal with Moscow. Our sources tell us that the Obama team was requesting recommendations from the Bush team less than 24 hours after the election results were made official. This is going to be the fastest transition in history — and it needs to be. Obama’s presidency will, for all practical purposes, commence next week. So watch, record and — above all else — probe accordingly.

Related Special Topic Page
Intelligence Guidance
2. The global financial summit: Obama’s first act as “president” will be to attend (so far in an unofficial role) the global financial summit Nov. 15 in Washington, where the Europeans will attempt to force a European-style financial management program on the American system. Obama may be more willing to hear the Europeans out on the topic than the Bush administration, but he is not going to give away the farm — certainly not so long as Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke are advising both Bush and Obama. (This goes doubly so for Bernanke, since the Fed chairman does not serve at the president’s pleasure; he will survive the transition’s head-chopping regardless.) We need to investigate to find out specifically what the Europeans are going to ask for at the summit — and what they plan to bring to the table in exchange.

3. Russia’s summits: On the day before the financial meeting, the Russians will be holding simultaneous summits with the European Union and the Commonwealth of Independent States. The summits will feature the Russians offering a series of carrots and brandishing a (larger) number of sticks. Before Obama can decisively take the reins, the Russians have a window in which to force their preferred world on their neighborhood. They will not spare the horses. Or the neighbors.
29284  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Support our troops on: November 10, 2008, 11:01:46 AM
"Gentlemen, you will permit me to put on my spectacles, for I have grown not only gray, but almost blind in the service of my country." --George Washington

On 10 November 1775, the Second Continental Congress resolved to create two battalions of Continental Marines for the War of Independence from Britain. In 1798, President John Adams signed the Act establishing the United States Marine Corps.

It is the soldier, not the reporter,
Who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the soldier, not the poet,
Who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the soldier, not the campus [or community] organizer,
Who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.

It is the soldier, who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.

-- Father Dennis Edward O'Brian, USMC

Semper Fi!

(In honor of our fellow Marines today, and in advance of honoring Veterans from all Service Branches tomorrow, at sunrise, we respectfully lowered, righted, and returned our flag to full mast. It is a beautiful day here in Tennessee, and our flag is waving briskly in the fall winds, a reminder of all that is still good and right with America.)

Tomorrow is Veterans Day.

We encourage all Patriots to set aside time and reflect on the sacrifice of our Patriot veterans and those serving today, and honor them accordingly.

On November 11, 1921, an unknown American soldier from World War I was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, in recognition of WWI veterans and in conjunction with the timing of cessation of hostilities at 11 a.m., November 11, 1918 (the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month). President Warren Harding requested that: "All ... citizens ... indulge in a period of silent thanks to God for these ... valorous lives and of supplication for His Divine mercy ... on our beloved country." Inscribed on the Tomb are the words: "Here lies in honored glory an American soldier know but to God." The day became known as "Armistice Day." In 1954, Congress, wanting to recognize the sacrifice of veterans since WWI, proposed to change Armistice Day to Veterans Day in their honor. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, former Supreme Commander in WWII, signed the legislation.

To honor those veterans who sacrificed all, an Army honor guard from the 3d U.S. Infantry (The Old Guard) keeps day and night vigil at Arlington. At 11 a.m. Tuesday, a combined color guard representing all military service branches executes "Present Arms" at the tomb for the laying of a wreath by the president, followed by "Taps."

More than a million Patriots stand ready, or are actively defending our nation today. These men and women were not drafted into service, but volunteered to serve.

Every Friday, in our Profiles in Valor section, we tell the stories of some of these volunteers from around the nation.

Today, we include some brief remarks from four uniformed Patriots who call our local community home -- bright young people who could have pursued promising careers in the private sector, like many of their peers, but who chose a higher calling of service to our great nation. Mr. Alexander asked each of them for brief comment about that calling.

MD, 2nd Lieutenant, USMC. Graduate, Harvard University
"My faith compels me to invest my life in some form of service to others. As a student at Harvard, I became increasingly aware of the sacrifices being made by Americans of my generation overseas. While we debated the merits of policy decisions, they lived them out, putting their lives on the line for our country. I had always been proud of my father and grandfathers for their military service in their generations' wars. My father served as a Marine machine gunner in Vietnam, both of my grandfathers served during WWII as did my great-grandfathers in WWI. I felt like I had a duty to do my part now. I joined the Marines because I wanted to serve as close to the point of impact as I could, where leadership and sacrifice make the greatest difference. Whether in the deserts of Iraq or the schools, churches and offices here at home, I believe that we are all called to give of ourselves in service to others."

DK, Lieutenant JG, USN. Graduate, United States Naval Academy
"The past two weeks have been the toughest in flight school -- three check rides so that I could be instrument and solo qualified in the helicopter. I can't believe I get paid to fly and am looking forward to my real job out to the fleet. Leadership involves constantly analyzing yourself and a willingness to constantly better yourself, not for your own benefit but for those who work for you. All of the young sailors, marines, aircrew who serve in our military have CHOSEN to serve. I want to work with these men and women and give them opportunities to reach their goals and exceed the expectations (or lack of expectations) that their families or friends or society has set before them. I get the chance to make a difference in their lives -- I get to trust them with my life -- and I get to serve not above them but beside them for a common cause. I have found that the best military leaders are those that have a strong faith. So many have seen the worst and the best of mankind and they just have no other option but to trust God and keep going."

RN, Captain, USA. Graduate, Princeton University
"I came home and told my parents I kind of felt like something was missing from my college career, and signed up in 2001. If I come back limbless or dead, that's my fate, but I worry about it happening to my guys. You live with them, you train with them, you eat with them, you dig fighting positions with them, you share misery with them, learn about their families and their girlfriends and their dreams and hopes, and they're good men, deserving of a wonderful future, and you want them to have that future. It has been very rewarding to see the improvements here in the last two years. We were the last pre-surge battalion to redeploy and the improvements have been dramatic. I have had the pleasure to get to know many Iraqis very well. Soldiers patrolling heavily populated urban areas, such as our current area of operations, spend a great deal of time getting to know shop owners, local leaders and ordinary citizens. We are routinely invited into homes for Chai tea and food. There is certainly some animosity among some Iraqis, but most that I have encountered appreciate our reconstruction projects and efforts to support the local governments and their desires in the community."

DW, Ensign, USN. Graduate, United States Naval Academy
"While there are a multitude of convictions that led me into Naval Aviation (including the events of 9/11), there is one that stands out. I'll try to state it simply: the defense of our nation is a necessary task, and that task demands service and sacrifice from individuals who are both willing and able to do the jobs that are required of them. I was not comfortable sitting idly by and trusting that someone else will do that job instead. I am a strong believer in putting one's skills to use in the best manner possible, and in my case I feel like my current occupation is the one I am best suited for -- both as a naval officer and a tactical jet pilot. I find myself obligated to another eight years of service. Fortunately, I'm enjoying every day of it, and I find it easy to sleep at night with a sense of accomplishment and pride in what I am doing and why I'm doing it."

Clearly there is a common theme reflected in the comments from these four service personnel. They are motivated to serve a cause bigger than themselves. They put their country, and those under their commands, first. They have taken an oath to defend our Constitution not as a formality, but with their lives.

John Stuart Mill wrote, "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. A man who has nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance at being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."

We are concerned that the next few years will be characterized by political leadership exemplifying precisely the character deficit that Mill describes.

We remain the proud and the free because American Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coastguardsmen have stood bravely in harm's way, and remain on post today. For this, we, the American People, offer our heartfelt gratitude and thanks.

"It's been my responsibility, my duty and very much my honor to serve as Commander in Chief of this nation's Armed Forces these past eight years. That is the most sacred, most important ask of the Presidency. Since our nation's founding, the primary obligation of the national government has been the common defense of these United States. But as I have sought to perform this sacred task as best I could, I have done so with the knowledge that my role in this day-to-day-to-day effort, from sunrise to sunrise, every moment of every hour of every day of every year, is a glancing one compared to yours. ... But it's not just your fellow Americans who owe you a debt. No, I believe many more do, for I believe that military service in the Armed Forces of the United States is a profound form of service to all humankind. You stand engaged in an effort to keep America safe at home, to protect our allies and interests abroad, to keep the seas and the skies free of threat. Just as America stands as an example to the world of the inestimable benefits of freedom and democracy, so too an America with the capacity to project her power for the purpose of protecting and expanding freedom and democracy abroad benefits the suffering people of the world." --Ronald Reagan

29285  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sharia 101 on: November 10, 2008, 10:53:05 AM
In their own words
29286  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Detroit Bailout? on: November 10, 2008, 10:34:05 AM
Remember, the Sharia Compliant Finance theme is to be continued over at Sharia 101:

In the Washington mind, there are two kinds of private companies. There are successful if "greedy" corporations, which can always afford to pay more taxes and tolerate more regulation. And then there are the corporate supplicants that need a handout. As the Detroit auto makers are proving, you can go from being the first to the second in the blink of an election.

For decades, Congress has never had a second thought as it imposed tighter emissions standards on GM, Ford and Chrysler, denouncing them for making evil SUVs. Yet now that the companies are bleeding cash, and may be heading for bankruptcy, suddenly the shrinking Big Three are the latest candidates for a taxpayer bailout. One $25 billion loan facility has already been signed into law, and Senator Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.) wants another $25 billion, this time with no strings attached.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid met last week with company and union officials, and they later sent a letter urging Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to bestow cash from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (Tarp) on the companies. Barack Obama implied at his Friday press conference that he too favors some kind of taxpayer rescue of Detroit, though no doubt he'd like to have President Bush's signature on the check so he won't have to take full political responsibility.

We hope Messrs. Bush and Paulson just say no. The Tarp was intended to save the financial system from collapse, not to be a honey pot for any industry running short of cash. The financial panic has hit Detroit hard, but its problems go back decades and are far deeper than reduced access to credit among car buyers. As a political matter, the Bush Administration is also long past the point where it might get any credit for helping Detroit. But it will earn the scorn of taxpayers if it refuses to set some limits on access to the Tarp. If Democrats want to change the rules next year, let them do it on their own political dime.

A bailout might avoid any near-term bankruptcy filing, but it won't address Detroit's fundamental problems of making cars that Americans won't buy and labor contracts that are too rich and inflexible to make them competitive. As Paul Ingrassia notes nearby, Detroit's costs are far too high for their market share. While GM has spent billions of dollars on labor buyouts in recent years, they are still forced by federal mileage standards to churn out small cars that make little or no profit at plants organized by the United Auto Workers.

Rest assured that the politicians don't want to do a thing about those labor contracts or mileage standards. In their letter, Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Reid recommend such "taxpayer protections" as "limits on executive compensation and equity stakes" that would dilute shareholders. But they never mention the UAW contracts that have done so much to put Detroit on the road to ruin. In fact, the main point of any taxpayer rescue seems to be to postpone a day of reckoning on those contracts. That includes even the notorious UAW Jobs Bank that continues to pay workers not to work.

A Detroit bailout would also be unfair to other companies that make cars in the U.S. Yes, those are "foreign" companies in the narrow sense that they are headquartered overseas. But then so was Chrysler before Daimler sold most of the car maker to Cerberus, the private equity fund. Honda, Toyota and the rest employ about 113,000 American auto workers who make nearly four million cars a year in states like Alabama and Tennessee. Unlike Michigan, these states didn't vote for Mr. Obama.

But the very success of this U.S. auto industry indicates that highly skilled American workers can profitably churn out cars without being organized by the UAW. A bailout for Chrysler would in essence be assisting rich Cerberus investors at the expense of middle-class nonunion auto workers. Is this the new "progressive" era we keep reading so much about?

The car makers say that bankruptcy is unthinkable and "not an option." And bankruptcy would certainly be expensive, not least for Washington itself, which could be responsible for 600,000 or so retiree pensions through the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. In that sense, the bailout is intended to rescue the politicians from having to honor that earlier irresponsible guarantee. But at least that guarantee would be finite. If Uncle Sam buys into Detroit, $50 billion would only be the start of the outlays as taxpayers were obliged to protect their earlier investment in uncompetitive companies.

* * *
If our politicians can't avoid throwing taxpayer cash at Detroit, then they should at least do so in a way that really protects taxpayers. That means handing a receiver the power to replace current management, zero out current shareholders, and especially to rewrite labor and other contracts. Anything less is merely a payoff to Michigan politicians and their union allies.

As President-elect Barack Obama prepares to enter the White House, he must ponder what to do about the world's trouble spots: Iran, Iraq, North Korea, the Caucasus. And, oh yes, Detroit.

On Friday, General Motors and Ford announced more multibillion-dollar losses in the third quarter; closely held Chrysler doesn't publicly report results. When GM, which seems in the worst shape, was 45 minutes late releasing its results, rumors spread that a bankruptcy filing was imminent. It wasn't, but the company says it could run out of cash in the first half of next year. Make that the first quarter if the current cash bleed continues. GM is lobbying furiously for emergency federal assistance, with Ford and Chrysler close behind.

Let's assume that the powers in Washington -- the Bush team now, the Obama team soon -- deem GM too big to let fail. If so, it's also too big to be entrusted to the same people who have led it to its current, perilous state, and who are too tied to the past to create a different future.

Associated PressIn return for any direct government aid, the board and the management should go. Shareholders should lose their paltry remaining equity. And a government-appointed receiver -- someone hard-nosed and nonpolitical -- should have broad power to revamp GM with a viable business plan and return it to a private operation as soon as possible.

That will mean tearing up existing contracts with unions, dealers and suppliers, closing some operations and selling others, and downsizing the company. After all that, the company can float new shares, with taxpayers getting some of the benefits. The same basic rules should apply to Ford and Chrysler.

These are radical steps, and they wouldn't avoid significant job losses. But there isn't much alternative besides simply letting GM collapse, which isn't politically viable. At least a government-appointed receiver would help assure car buyers that GM will be around, in some form, to honor warranties on its vehicles. It would help minimize losses to the government's Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.

But giving GM a blank check -- which the company and the United Auto Workers union badly want, and which Washington will be tempted to grant -- would be an enormous mistake. The company would just burn through the money and come back for more. Even more jobs would be wiped out in the end.

The current economic crisis didn't cause the meltdown in Detroit. The car companies started losing billions of dollars several years ago when the economy was healthy and car sales stood at near-record levels. They complained that they were unfairly stuck with enormous "legacy costs," but those didn't just happen. For decades, the United Auto Workers union stoutly defended gold-plated medical benefits that virtually no one else had. UAW workers and retirees had no deductibles, copays or other facts of life in these United States.

A few years ago the UAW even waged a spirited fight to protect the "right" of workers to smoke on the assembly line, something that simply isn't allowed at, say, Honda's U.S. factories. Aside from the obvious health risk, what about cigarette ashes falling onto those fine leather seats being bolted into the cars? Why was this even an issue?

When GM's bond ratings plunged into junk territory a couple years ago the auto maker sold 51% of its financing arm, GMAC, to Cerberus, a private-equity powerhouse. Then last summer Cerberus bought 80% of Chrysler from Daimler for just 25% of what the German company paid for the company a decade earlier. It looked like a great deal at the time, like buying a "fixer upper" house at a steep discount. Until, that is, you have to shell out big bucks to shore up the foundation, repair the leaky roof, etc.

Cerberus tried hard in recent weeks to sell Chrysler to GM, with government financial assistance. Controlling GMAC's lending to GM dealers and customers gave Cerberus enormous leverage at the negotiating table. Cerberus squeezed hard, say industry analysts and insiders, but the GM board balked. Last Friday the companies said the talks were off -- "for the moment," as the company's chief operating officer put it.

For the moment? How about, like, forever? Buying Chrysler would just give GM an excuse to delay the fundamental task of putting its house in order. Management would turn its energy to producing pretty PowerPoint slides with all the requisite buzzwords: synergies, transformation, downsizing, rightsizing and exercising. What's needed, instead, is exorcising.

A thorough housecleaning at GM is the only way to give the company a fresh start. GM is structured for its glory days of the 1960s, when it had half the U.S. car market -- not for the first decade of this century, when it has just over 20% of the market. General Motors simply cannot support eight domestic brands (Cadillac, Buick, Pontiac, Chevrolet, GMC, Saturn, Saab and Hummer) with adequate product-development and marketing dollars. Even the good vehicles the company develops (for example, the Cadillac CTS and Chevy Malibu) get lost in the wash.

Nevertheless, the current board of directors and management have stuck stubbornly to this structure. The lone exception was a dissident director, Jerome B. York, who resigned a couple years ago. He warned that without fundamental changes the "unthinkable" might happen to GM. Well, here we are.

Which brings us back to what the government should do. If public dollars are the only way to keep General Motors afloat, as the company contends, a complete restructuring under a government overseer or oversight board has to be the price.

That is essentially the role played by the federal Air Transportation Stabilization Board in doling out taxpayer dollars to the airlines in the wake of 9/11. The board consisted of senior government officials with a staff recruited largely from the private sector. It was no figurehead. When one airline brought in a lengthy, convoluted restructuring plan, a board official ordered it to come back with something simpler and sustainable. The Stabilization Board did its job -- selling government-guaranteed airline loans and warrants to private investors, monitoring airline bankruptcies to protect the interests of taxpayers -- and even returned money to the government.

As for Ford and Chrysler, if they want similar public assistance they should pay the same price. Wiping out existing shareholders would end the Ford family's control of Ford Motor. But keeping the family in the driver's seat wouldn't be an appropriate use of tax dollars. Nor is bailing out the principals of Cerberus, who include CEO Stephen Feinberg, Chairman John Snow, the former Treasury secretary, and global investing chief Dan Quayle, former vice president.

Government loan guarantees, with stringent strings attached and new management at the helm, helped save Chrysler in 1980. But it's now 2008, 35 years since the first oil shock put Japanese cars on the map in America. "Since the mid-Seventies," one Detroit manager recently told me, "I have sat through umpteen meetings describing how we had to beat the Japanese to survive. Thirty-five years later we are still trying to figure it out."

Which is why pouring taxpayer billions into the same old dysfunctional morass isn't the answer.

Mr. Ingrassia is a former Dow Jones executive and Detroit bureau chief for this newspaper.

29287  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for Reps/Conservatives on: November 10, 2008, 10:28:50 AM
For those here who think Reaganism' relevance remote:


Barack Obama won the White House by campaigning against an unpopular incumbent in a time of economic anxiety and lingering foreign policy concerns. He offered voters an upbeat message, praised the nation as a land of opportunity, promised tax cuts to just about everyone, and overcame doubts about his experience with a strong performance in the presidential debates.

Does this sound familiar? It should. Mr. Obama followed the approach that worked for Ronald Reagan. His victory confirmed that voters still embrace the guiding beliefs of the Reagan era.

During Reagan's campaign, the nation suffered from high unemployment and high inflation. This time around, data from the Rasmussen Reports Daily Presidential Tracking Poll showed that Mr. Obama took command of the race during the 10 days following the collapse of Lehman Brothers -- when the Wall Street meltdown hit Main Street. Before that event John McCain was leading nationally by three percentage points. Ten days later Mr. Obama was up by five and never relinquished his lead.

Mr. Obama's tax-cutting message played a key role in this period of economic anxiety. Tax cuts are well-received at such times: 55% of voters believe they are good for the economy. Only 19% disagree and see them as bad policy.

Down the campaign homestretch, Mr. Obama's tax-cutting promise became his clearest policy position. Eventually he stole the tax issue from the Republicans. Heading into the election, 31% of voters thought that a President Obama would cut their taxes. Only 11% expected a tax cut from a McCain administration.

The last Democratic candidate to win the tax issue was also the last Democratic president -- Bill Clinton. In fact, the candidate who most credibly promises the lowest level of taxes has won every presidential election in at least the last 40 years.

But while Mr. Obama was promising to cut taxes, the Bush administration took the lead on a $700 billion, taxpayer-backed bailout bill -- with very little marketing finesse. Few Americans supported the bailout, and a majority of voters were more concerned that the government would do too much rather than too little. In terms of getting the economy going again, 58% said that more tax cuts would better stimulate the economy than new government spending.

A Rasmussen survey conducted Oct. 2 found that 59% agreed with the sentiment expressed by Reagan in his first inaugural address: "Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." Just 28% disagreed with this sentiment. That survey also found that 44% of Obama voters agreed with Reagan's assessment (40% did not). And McCain voters overwhelmingly supported the Gipper.

The real challenge for the new president will be attempting to govern with a message that resonates with most voters but divides his own party. Consider that 43% of voters view it as a positive to describe a candidate as being like Reagan, while just 26% consider it a negative. Being compared to Reagan rates higher among voters than being called "conservative," "moderate," "liberal" or "progressive." Except among Democrats, that is. Fifty-one percent of Democrats view that Reagan comparison as a negative. There's Mr. Obama's dilemma in a nutshell.

Mr. Obama won the White House promising tax cuts, but he will be governing with a Democratic Congress bursting with desire for a more activist government. As he faces this challenge, he might remember the fate of another man who made taxes the central part of his campaign: the first President Bush, whose most memorable campaign line -- "Read my lips, no new taxes" -- was as central to his victory as Mr. Obama's promise to cut taxes for 95% of Americans. George H.W. Bush famously reneged on that promise. Voters rejected his bid for a second term.

Mr. Obama ran like Reagan. Will he be able to govern that way, too?

Mr. Rasmussen is president of Rasmussen Reports, an independent national polling company.

Please add your comments
29288  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Be on the lookout for these individuals on: November 10, 2008, 10:23:33 AM
Yeah, I remember Gorelick  tongue 

Forgive my senior moment, but please refresh my memory as to what the GSE is , , ,

If things go right, most of the names in the following piece should go to source information:
D.C. Watson: Jihadists In America: Their “Inner Struggle” Goes On

D.C. Watson updates his "Misunderstanders of Islam" list:
While the professional protesters masquerading as moderate Islamic lobby groups continue to cry out in anguish as a result of the rabid, (and invented) “Islamophobia” epidemic they claim is sweeping across America and most other Western nations, more misunderstanders of their peaceful and tolerant faith continue to make their way onto this running, yet incomplete slate of Muslims in the United States who have conspired to, or managed to carry out, their “jihad,” and have either been arrested, convicted, are on the run, or are deceased.

It would benefit this nation if American politicians and the American mainstream press considered the well-being of the American people who elect them to office, and who read, watch, and listen to their media product, instead of giving credibility to bullies who have taken over America’s Islamic community and appointed themselves its leaders, and who have made it a common practice to condemn not those who want to see the United States destroyed, but instead to condemn Americans who step up to the plate and confront Islamic jihadists and their supporters.

Thus far, in this arena, politicians and news sources have been a disgrace. The American public deserves better, much better.

It would also benefit this nation if the press and politicians obtained the perspective of Muslims living in the United States who are not associated with organizations such as the Council on American Islamic Relations, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, or the Islamic Society of North America.

And now, those who “struggle”:

Abdel Azim El Siddig: Financing Islamic terrorism (Missouri).

Abdelhaleem Ashqar: Criminal contempt and obstruction of justice for refusing to testify in 2003 before a grand jury investigating the Palestinian militant movement Hamas. Telephone records presented in the case records showed that Ashqar was in contact with Hamas leaders.

Abdikarim Warsame: Weapons and explosives charges. (Missouri)

Abdul Hakim Murad: Conspiring and attempting to bomb 12 airliners.

Abdul Rauf Noormohamed: Providing false terrorism tips to federal agents.

Abdurahman Alamoudi: Financing Islamic terrorism.

Adam Gadahn, convert to Islam: Treason.

Adham Hassoun: Conspiracy to murder, kidnap and maim people in a foreign country.

Adnan el-Shukrijumah: Wanted in connection with possible threats against the United States.

Agron Abdullahu: Conspiring to provide weapons to illegal immigrants.

Ahmad Abdelmomen: Aggravated assault, for beating his younger sister, breaking her back, and leaving her wheelchair bound because he was upset about her relationship with a non-Muslim boy. Their parents did not immediately call for medical assistance, believing that the beating was justified. (Michigan)

Ahmad Mustafa: Aiding Islamic terrorists (Missouri).

Ahmad Saad Nasim: Filing a false 'anti-Muslim' hate crime (Arizona).

Ahmed Abdel Sattar: Assisting an Islamic militant imprisoned in the United States with communicating with his followers in Egypt (New York).

Ahmed Barodi: Smuggling bogus passports into Saudi Arabia for the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood.

Ahmed Ibrahim Bilal: Pleaded guilty to conspiracy to aid the Taliban and to federal weapons charges. (Oregon)

Ahmed Mohamed: Teaching and demonstrating the making and use of an expolsive and destructive device, illegal transporting of explosive materials. (South Carolina)

Ahmed Omar Abu Ali: Terror-related charges, plotting to kill a U.S. President (Virginia).

Ahmed Ressam: Plotting to bomb the Los Angeles Airport on the eve of the new millennium.

Ali Abu Kamal: Shooting seven people on the Empire State Building's observation deck, killing one because he wanted to "punish America for supporting Israel."

Ali al-Timimi: Recruiting Islamic terrorists.

Ali Asad Chandia: Providing material support to terrorists or conspiring to do so.

Ali bin Mussalim: Investing funds for Osama bin Laden and Al Qaida.

Ali Hussein Darwiche: Involvement in a cigarette-smuggling ring that sent profits to Hezbollah. (North Carolina)

Ali Khalid Steitiye: Weapons and fraud charges. (Oregon)

Ali Mohamed Bagegni: Financing Islamic terrorism (Missouri).

Ali Warrayat: Aggravated assault and arson. Warrayat, a Muslim and former student at Arizona State, with a Qur'an and a Palestinian flag in his trunk, rammed his car through the doors of an Arizona Home Depot store, drove through the store to the section that stocks the flammable liquids, and sets it ablaze. Why? He was unhappy with his raise. Also noted in police statements was that Warrayat had referred to his religion on several occasions, and that a Qur'an was hanging from the rearview mirror inside his vehicle.

Amir Abdelgani: Seditious conspiracy, bombing conspiracy and attempted bombing.

Amjad Abunar: Arson, reporting a false 'anti-Muslim' hate crime (Texas).

Ayoub Hisham Ahmed: RICO conspiracy (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) in a case involving funneling money obtained through bank fraud to Palestinian territories. (Missouri)

Bassam Hisham Ahmed: RICO conspiracy (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) in a case involving funneling money obtained through bank fraud to Palestinian territories. (Missouri)

Bassem Khafagi: Visa and Bank fraud. Khafagi was a founding member and president of the Islamic Assembly of North America (IANA), an organization under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice for terrorism-related activities. He was also a community relations director for CAIR.

Basel Saleh Salem Kassem: Charged with making a threat on a public conveyance, screaming that he had a bomb in his bag after getting into an argument with someone on an Amtrak train (Virginia).

Basman Elashi: Conspiracy, money laundering and dealing in property of a terrorist (Texas).

Bayan Elashi: Conspiracy, money laundering and dealing in property of a terrorist (Texas).


Chawki Hammoud: Involvement in a cigarette-smuggling ring that sent profits to Hezbollah. (North Carolina)

Christopher Paul, aka Abdul Malek, or Abdul Malik: Providing material support to terrorists, conspiracy to provide support to terrorists, conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction. (Ohio)

Clement Hampton-El: Seditious conspiracy, bombing conspiracy and attempted bombing (New York).

Dawud Salahuddin, convert to Islam: Murder of a critic of Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini, saying the killing was "an act of war and a religious duty." Fled to Iran after the murder he committed (Bethesda, Maryland).

Derrick Shareef, aka Talib Abu Salam Ibn Shareef: Attempting to damage or destroy a building by fire or explosion, attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction against persons or property in the U.S.

Donald T. Surratt, convert to Islam: Conspiracy, terror support.

Dritan Duka: Conspiring to kill uniformed military personnel.

Earnest James Ujaama: Pleaded guilty of conspiring to supply goods and services to the Taliban.
Ehsanul Sadequee: Conspiring to provide and providing material support to terrorists. (Georgia)

Elbaneh Jaber: Pleaded guilty to charges of providing material support to al Qaeda. (New York)

El-Sayyid Nosair: Seditious conspiracy, murder in aid of racketeering, attempted murder in aid of racketeering, attempted murder of a postal police officer, use of a firearm in the commission of a murder.

Eljvir Duka: Conspiring to kill uniformed military personnel.

Emadeddin Z. Muntasser: Conspiracy to defraud the United States, tax violations, and making false statements by lying to the government to win tax-exempt status for Care International, an Islamic charity, and then using the nonprofit to distribute publications promoting jihad, and to support Muslim militants overseas. (Boston, Mass.)

Eman Zaeri: Threatening to blow up a local bus with a grenade in Las Vegas.

Fadil Abdelghani: Seditious conspiracy, bombing conspiracy, attempted
bombing. (New York).

Fadl Mohammad Maatouk: Conspiring to provide support to a terrorist organization. (Florida)

Faisal Al-Salmi: Lying to the FBI when he denied knowing 9/11 hijacker, murderer Hani Hanjour, who flew American Airlines flight 77 into the Pentagon. (Faisal Al-Salmi and Hani Hanjour were registered at the same time to use a flight simulator at a Phoenix flight school.)

Fares Khallafalla: Seditious conspiracy, bombing conspiracy and attempted bombing. (New York).

Imam Fawaz Damra: Obtaining U.S. citizenship by providing false information, concealing his ties to designated Islamic terror organizations (Ohio).

Fawzi Assi: Attempting to provide support to a terrorist organization.

Faysal Galab: Contributing "funds, goods and services to and for the benefit of Osama bin Laden and al Qaida.

Ghandi Hisham Ahmed: RICO conspiracy (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) in a case involving funneling money obtained through bank fraud to Palestinian territories. (Missouri)

Ghassan Elashi: Conspiracy, money laundering and dealing in property of a terrorist (Texas).

Gregory Vernon Patterson, convert to Islam: Plotting terrorist attacks against synagogues, the Israeli Consulate and military facilities in Los Angeles.

Habis Abdullah Al-Saoub: Seditious conspiracy, supplying goods to the Taliban. (Deceased).

Haider Mohammed: While in a bar in Palm Springs, began to yell that he was going to “kill all Jews."

Hamid Hayat: Providing material support to terrorists, lying to the FBI.

Hammad Abdur-Raheem: Providing material support to a known terrorist organization.

Hammad Riaz Samana: Plotting terrorist attacks against synagogues, the Israeli Consulate and military facilities in Los Angeles.

Hasan Akbar: Murder of fellow U.S. soldiers.

Hassan Abujihaad, fka Paul R. Hall, former U.S. Sailor: Supporting terrorism with intent to kill U.S. citizens, transmitting classified information to unauthorized people.

Hassan Moussa Makki: Pleaded guilty to racketeering charges and providing material support to Hezbollah. (North Carolina, Michigan)

Hazim Elashi: Conspiracy, money laundering and dealing in property of a terrorist. (Texas).

Hesham Mohamed Hadayet: With a .45 caliber firearm, went on a shooting spree at the Los Angeles International Airport while standing in line at the ticket counter of Israel's El Al Airlines, killing two people, including a 20-year-old unarmed woman. He also wounded four others, shooting an unarmed 61-year-old woman, pistol whipping an unarmed man, and stabbing a security guard with a six inch long knife he was also carrying. Side note: The wife of the murderer blamed the United States and its "hate for Islam" for the attack, saying that her spouse was a "victim of injustice."
Hesham Mohamed Hadayet: With a .45 caliber firearm, went on a shooting spree at the Los Angeles International Airport while standing in line at the ticket counter of Israel's El Al Airlines, killing two people, including a 20-year-old unarmed woman. He also wounded four others, shooting an unarmed 61-year-old woman, pistol whipping an unarmed man, and stabbing a security guard with a six inch long knife he was also carrying. Side note: The wife of the murderer blamed the United States and its "hate for Islam" for the attack, saying that her spouse was a "victim of injustice."

target="_blank">Hussein Ali Nure: Weapons and explosives charges. (Missouri)

Ibrahim Abu Mezer: Plotting to bomb New York subways.

Ibrahim Ahmed, Nashville, TN cab driver: Assault and attempted homicide, when after an argument with two non-Muslim passengers over religion, he attempted to run them over as they walked away from the taxi. He succeeded in critically injuring one.

Ibraham Ahmed al-Hamdi: "Virginia Jihad Network", weapons and explosives violations, carrying a rocket-propelled grenade in furtherance of a conspiracy to undertake a military operation against India. (Virginia).

Ibrahim A. Elgabrowny: Seditious conspiracy; assault of a Federal agent and city police detective. (New York).

Ihsan Elashyi: Illegal sales of computer equipment to known Islamic terror sponsoring states (Texas).

Ismail Yassin Mohamed while driving a stolen black Chevy Cavalier, he began intentionally ramming a blue and white taxi cab for several blocks until the cab crashed. The passenger inside the cab was critically injured. Mohamed then took off in the Cavalier and crashed it into a business. He then got out of the car and stole a school van. The driver of the van managed to get an 8-year-old boy out of the vehicle before Mohamed drove off with it. Mohamed crashed the van into another group of cars. Authorities said Mohamed was trying steal another car when witnesses pinned him down and waited for police. When asked why he did this, Mohamed replied..."Allah made me do it." Police ruled out road rage as a motive (Minneapolis).

Iyman Faris: Providing material support and resources to al Qaida (Virginia).

Imam Jamil Al-Amin: Murder, felony murder, aggravated assault on a police officer, obstructing a law enforcement officer, impersonating an officer, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Jeffrey Leon Battle: Pleaded guilty to conspiracy to levy war against the United States. (Oregon)

John Muhammad, sniper: Murdering Americans by sniper fire.

John Walker Lindh, convert to Islam: Providing support to the Taliban.

Jose Padilla/aka Abdullah al-Muhajir: Terrorism conspiracy.

Kevin James, convert to Islam: Plotting terrorist attacks against synagogues, the Israeli Consulate and military facilities in Los Angeles.

Karim Moussaoui: Possession or receiving of a firearm by a person admitted to the United States under a non-immigrant visa.

Kifah Jayoussi: Conspiring to provide material support and resources for terrorism and conspiracy to kill, kidnap, maim or injure people or damage property in a foreign country.

Lafi Khalil: Plotting to bomb New York subways.

Levar Haney Washington, convert to Islam: Plotting terrorist attacks against synagogues, the Israeli Consulate and military facilities in Los Angeles.

target="_blank">Maher Hawash: Conspiracy to supply services to the Taliban.

target="_blank">Mahmet M. Kadayifci: First and second-degree charges of falsely reporting an incident, and using a laptop to place the three bomb threats.

Mahmoud Kourani: Supporting the Islamic terror organization, Hezbollah, through fund-raising.

Mahmud Faruq Brent: Conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

Mandhai Jokhan: Attempting to blow up nuclear power plants in Florida.

Masoud Ahmad Kahn: Conspiracy to levy war against the United States, providing support to the Taliban.

Mazhar Tabesh: Arson, reporting a false 'anti-Muslim' hate crime (Utah).

Michael Julius Ford, convert to Islam: Opened fire at a warehouse in Denver, Colorado, killing one and injuring four others because he was "teased for being a Muslim and couldn't take it anymore."

Mir Aimal Kasi: Murdering two CIA agents, and wounding three others with an assault rifle near CIA headquarters. (Virginia)

Mirza Akram: Arson, reporting a false 'anti-Muslim' hate crime (Washington state).

Mohamad Atef Darwiche: Involvement in a cigarette-smuggling ring that sent profits to Hezbollah. (North Carolina)

target="_blank">Mohamad Fouad Abdallah: Sending anti-Semitic e-mails threatening rape and death to conservative TV commentator and blogger Debbie Schlussel. (Michigan)

Mohamad Ibrahim Shnewer: Conspiring to kill uniformed military personnel.

target="_blank">Mohamed Judeh: Weapons and explosives charges. (Missouri)

Mohamed Shorbagi: Pleaded guilty in federal court to providing material support to Hamas with donations through the Holy Land Foundation. (Georgia)

Mohammed Ali Alayed: After experiencing a religious awakening, he murdered his Jewish friend by slashing his throat.

Mohammed Al Hassan al-Moayad: Attempting to fund terrorist organizations (New York).

Mohammed Badwan: RICO conspiracy (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) in a case involving funneling money obtained through bank fraud to Palestinian territories. (Missouri)

Mohammed Hammoud: Providing material support for Hezbollah (North Carolina).

Mohammed Junair Babar: Pleaded guilty to five counts of conspiring to provide material support to Al Qaeda. (New York)

Mohammed Khalil Ghali: Conspiracy to commit offenses against the U.S.

Mohammed Mohsen Yahya Zayed: Conspiring to provide material support to the al-Qaeda and Hamas terrorist groups.

Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar: Nine counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to cause bodily injury after plowing a sport utility vehicle into a crowd of pedestrians, saying he wanted to "spread the will of Allah" (North Carolina).

Mohammed Saleh: Seditious conspiracy, bombing conspiracy and attempted bombing. (New York).

Mohammed Yousry: Providing material aid to terrorism and conspiring to deceive the government.

Mousa Abuelawi: Weapons and explosives charges. (Missouri)

Mubarak Hamed: Financing Islamic terrorism (Missouri).

Muhamed Mubayyid: Making false statements to the FBI, conspiracy to defraud the United States, tax violations, and making false statements by lying to the government to win tax-exempt status for Care International, an Islamic charity, and then using the nonprofit to distribute publications promoting jihad, and to support Muslim militants overseas. (Boston, Mass.)

Muhammed Aatique: Commencing a military expedition against a friendly nation, and using and discharging a firearm in relation to a crime of violence.

Muhammad Ibrahim Bilal: Conspiring to help al Qaeda and the Taliban. (Oregon)

target="_blank">Muhammad Salah: Obstruction of justice for lying under oath on a written questionnaire involving the shooting death in Israel of an American teenager, David Boim, who was killed by Hamas in 1996 while standing at a bus stop.

Mukhtar al-Bakri: Providing material support to al Qaeda.

Muthanna Al-Hanooti: Conspiracy to act as an unregistered agent of a foreign country, illegally purchasing Iraqi oil and lying to authorities after arranging a visit to Baghdad by three Democratic U.S. congressmen financed by Saddam Hussein's intelligence agency in the run-up to the Iraq war.
29289  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / His Glibness prepares to slip it to us on: November 09, 2008, 05:59:57 PM

"Yes We Can . . . Ban Guns"--Obama Announces Gun Ban Agenda Before The Final Vote Count Is In

Friday, November 07, 2008

Senator Barack Obama's presidential campaign slogan, "the audacity of hope," should have instead been "the audacity of deceit." After months of telling the American people that he supports the Second Amendment, and only hours after being declared the president-elect, the Obama transition team website announced an agenda taken straight from the anti-gun lobby--four initiatives designed to ban guns and drive law-abiding firearm manufacturers and dealers out of business:

"Making the expired federal assault weapons ban permanent." Perhaps no other firearm issue has been more dishonestly portrayed by gun prohibitionists. Notwithstanding their predictions that the ban's expiration in 2004 would bring about the end of civilization, for the last four years the nation's murder rate has been lower than anytime since the mid-1960s. Studies for Congress, the Congressional Research Service, the National Institute of Justice, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found no evidence that gun prohibition or gun control reduces crime. Guns that were affected by the ban are used in only a tiny fraction of violent crime-about 35 times as many people are murdered without any sort of firearm (knives, bare hands, etc.), as with "assault weapons." Obama says that "assault weapons" are machine guns that "belong on foreig n battlefields," but that is a lie; the guns are only semi-automatic, and they are not used by a military force anywhere on the planet.

"Repeal the Tiahrt Amendment." The amendment--endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police--prohibits the release of federal firearm tracing information to anyone other than a law enforcement agency conducting a bona fide criminal investigation. Anti-gun activists oppose the restriction, because it prevents them from obtaining tracing information and using it in frivolous lawsuits against law-abiding firearm manufacturers. Their lawsuits seek to obtain huge financial judgments against firearm manufacturers when a criminal uses a gun to inflict harm, even though the manufacturers have complied with all applicable laws.

"Closing the gun show loophole." There is no "loophole." Under federal law, a firearm dealer must conduct a background check on anyone to whom he sells a gun, regardless of where the sale takes place. A person who is not a dealer may sell a gun from his personal collection without conducting a check. Gun prohibitionists claim that many criminals obtain guns from gun shows, though the most recent federal survey of convicted felons put the figure at only 0.7 percent. They also claim that non-dealers should be required to conduct checks when selling guns at shows, but the legislation they support goes far beyond imposing that lone requirement. In fact, anti-gun members of Congress voted against that limited measure, holding out for a broader bill intended to drive shows out of business.

"Making guns in this country childproof." "Childproof" is a codeword for a variety of schemes designed to prevent the sale of firearms by imposing impossible or highly expensive design requirements, such as biometric shooter-identification systems. While no one opposes keeping children safe, the fact is that accidental firearm-related deaths among children have decreased 86 percent since 1975, even as the numbers of children and guns have risen dramatically. Today, the chances of a child being killed in a firearm accident are less than one in a million.
29290  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Emergency Tips and Emergency Medicine on: November 09, 2008, 05:08:17 PM
Just noticed this in C-Kaju's post of last year concerning tourniquets:

"No matter whether applying an ACE bandage, Pressure dressing or Tourniquet...  Always, check "PMS" (Pulse, Motor skills - ie. can you wiggle your fingers/toes and Sensation - ie "can you tell me what finger/toe I am touching?") distal to the wound site."

If I feel a pulse does is that a good thing, or does it mean that the Tourniquet is not tight enough?  huh 
29291  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Emergency Tips and Emergency Medicine on: November 09, 2008, 04:19:15 PM
Second post of the day:

Austere and survival medicine


Where there is no doctor


Where there is no dentist

Resouce listings:

First Aid Manual


Aprehospital spinal care manual from australia. 235 pages PDF.

This manual has been produced for training and educational purposes only and is not for sale. It
can be downloaded for printing (at no charge) at PSC

29292  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Sugar as an anti-biotic on: November 09, 2008, 02:54:48 PM

The use of antibiotics by the PHCP in the field has the inherent dangers of improper dosing and allergic reactions. The associated activities of preparing the N/antibiotic infusion and monitoring the N drip rates can be difficult during patient transport. Given these drawbacks, the use of granulated sugar for the treatment of infected wounds offers a practical, proven approach for wound care. The use of granulated sugar for treatment of infected wounds is recommended by some as a treatment of first choice. Sugar has been called a nonspecific universal antimicrobial agent. 8 Based on its safety, ease of use, and availability, sugar therapy for the treatment of infected wounds is very applicable to the needs of the PHCP.

Sugar and honey were used to treat the wounds of combatants thousands of years ago. Battlefield wounds in ancient Egypt were treated with a mixture of honey and lard packed daily into the wound and covered with muslin. Modern sugar therapy uses a combination of granulated sugar (sucrose) and povidone-iodine (PI) solution to enhance wound healing.

As with any traumatic wound, the wound is first irrigated and debrided. Hemostasis is obtained prior to the application of the sugar (PI) dressing since sugar can promote bleeding in a fresh wound. A wait of 24 to 48 hours before the application of sugar is not unusual. During this delay, a simple PI dressing is applied to the wound. Once bleeding is under control, deep wounds are treated by pouring granulated sugar into the wound, making sure to fill all cavities. The wound is then covered with a gauze sponge soaked in povidone-iodine solution.

Superficial wounds are dressed with PI-soaked gauze sponges coated with approximately 0.65 cm thickness of sugar. In a few hours, the granulated sugar is dissolved into a "syrup" by body fluid drawn into the wound site. Since the effect of granulated sugar upon bacteria is based upon osmotic shock and withdrawal of water that is necessary for bacterial growth and reproduction, this diluted syrup has little antibacterial capacity and may aid rather than inhibit bacterial growth.

So to continually inhibit bacterial growth, the wound is cleaned with water and repacked at least one to four times daily (or as soon as the granular sugar becomes diluted) with more solute (sugar) to "reconcentrate" the aqueous solution in the environment of the bacteria.

A variety of case reports provide amazing data supporting the use of sugar in treating infected wounds. Dr. Leon Herszage treated 120 cases of infected wounds and other superficial lesions with ordinary granulated sugar purchased in a supermarket. The sugar was not mixed with any anti-septic, and no antibiotics were used concurrently. Of these 120 cases, there was a 99.2 percent cure rate, with a time of cure varying between 9 days to 17 weeks. Odor and secretions from the wound usually diminished within 24 hours and disappeared in 72 to 96 hours from onset of treatment.

Photo 23: Sugardyne is a commercially available sugar/povidone-iodine com- pound. Its proven antimicrobial properties make it particularly useful for infected wounds encountered in the field. (Sugardyne donated by Dr. RichardA. Knutson; distributed by Sugardyne Pharmaceuticals, INC.,Greenville, MS 38701.)

Like Dr. Herszage, Dr. Richard A. Knutson has had very successful results from the use of sugar in wounds. One of Dr. Knutson's most unique cases is recounted as follows.
A 93-year-old man was treated at Delta Medical Center for a fracture of his right hip. Concurrently, he received treatment for an old injury to his left leg, sustained 43 years earlier in 1936, when a tree had fallen on the leg while he was chopping wood. He had sustained an open fracture of the tibia and soft tissue loss to the leg anteriorly. Although the fracture had healed, bone remained exposed, surrounded by a chronic draining ulcer 20 cm x 8 cm overall. The patient was able to recall the various treatments used in attempts to heal the ulcer-iodoform, scarlet red, zinc oxide, nitrofurazone, sulfa, and a long list of antibiotics-all to no avail. He said that he had outlived six of the surgeons who had advised amputation. He was started on sugar/pI dressings, and then changed to treatment with sugar/PI compound as an inpatient. After hip surgery, the ulcer healed completely in 13 weeks. The ulcer defect filled completely, and skin grafting was not necessary.
29293  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Looking for fighters for stickfighting TV series on: November 09, 2008, 01:42:01 PM
Hmmm, , , how about this:  You put together your resume and the rest of your demo reel, send it in, and if I think you have a shot at it and you are willing to pay my editor for the time it takes him to find your fight, then the answer is yes.
29294  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sharia 101 on: November 09, 2008, 10:31:09 AM
At my request, a couple of days ago GM posted some very interesting articles on the Bush administration's proposals regarding SCF (Sharia Compliant Finance) in the Political Economy thread, but now I am thinking that the subject really belongs here, and so I incorporate those posts by reference here and apologize for the inconvenience of having to look them up there  embarassed

Following up, here's this on Sharia Finance:
29295  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: November 09, 2008, 10:15:05 AM
This guy is very smart and very funny.  I hope he goes bigtime:
29296  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Looking for fighters for stickfighting TV series on: November 08, 2008, 10:49:40 PM

Woof All:

My name is Marc "Crafty Dog" Denny.  Some of you may know me as "the Guiding
Force" of "the Dog Brothers" and/or the Head Instructor of Dog Brothers
Martial Arts. .  Today I speak as Dog Brothers Inc.

I have been asked by a well established Producer with a good track record in
doing athletically oriented television series for major networks to help
develop a television show based upon stick and other weaponry fights, so I
am looking for fighters.  For the right men, this could be a very special
opportunity to build a career doing something you love.

For now I need to leave out the actual concept for the show.  Know that it
will be interesting and quite distinctive from shows like The Ultimate
Fighter, Fight Quest, and others of their ilk.  Trust me-- we will be
outside the box in many ways!

Although much of the fighting will be similar to our "Dog Brother Real
Contact Stickfighting" (see the fight clips at to get an idea) because
these fights will be professional there will be some important differences.

If you would like to be considered, we need to see the following-- all
submissions become the property of Dog Brothers Inc.:

1) a one page resume.  The resume should include the following:
    a) age, height, weight, citizenship, languages, website/mypage/etc. if
    b) martial arts background: systems, styles, teachers, fighting
experience, competitive athletic background etc.
    c) contact info

2) Photos:  a) Head Shot
                 b) Full Body shot.  Not to worry if you are not body

3) The ideal candidate will be capable in as many of the following areas as
possible, but it is understood that no one will be capable in all areas.
Demonstrate as many or as few of the following as you wish.  Know that if
you suck at it, you are better leaving it out altogether!

   a) Double stick
   b) Single stick
   c) Staff
   d) knife
   e) emptyhand skills: MMA or otherwise
   f) gun skills (pistol, rifle, paintball)
   g) other (e.g. sword and shield, whip, nunchaku, fencing, etc)
   h) footage that indicates your strength and conditioning level.

These skills should be presented both solo and against a partner/opponent.
If you have fight footage please include it. MAKE CLEAR WHICH FIGHTER IS YOU
(e.g. title on screen "I am fighter in blue shorts")

ATTENTION:  It is easy to develop a bit of diarrhea of the ego in assembling
such a demo disc.  KNOW THAT the people who will be watching this (e.g. me)
are well seasoned in these things and do not need to see a lot to size up
your movement and skills.  While some flash is fine (indeed it helps sell on
TV) remember that we are looking for fighters.

Know that if you run on too long, you run the chance of the viewer just
deciding to click on to the next candidate.   Remember, we will be looking
at a lot of these.  While the footage need not be shot professionally, it
should be easy to watch and hear.

4) Talk to the camera:  head/upper body shot, with good clear audio.   We
want to get a sense of why you do martial arts,  what your philosophy is,
why you want to do this, something interesting about yourself etc.  We want
to get a sense of your personality, so JUST BE YOURSELF.
Unconventional/colorful is OK.  So too is conventional/serious.  JUST BE

Please send your resume and Demo Reel/Disc to

Marc "Crafty Dog" Denny
Attention: TV Project
703 Pier Ave #664
Hermosa Beach, CA 90254

The Adventure begins!
Marc "Crafty Dog" Denny
29297  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues on: November 08, 2008, 06:30:16 PM
Just because he thinks Michele Malkin is?  cheesy  Anyway, I don't think he would do that with me smiley  I think he's a very nice person.  A bit confused on some of the issues perhaps, thinks with his heart perhaps, finds it hard to back down when overextended perhaps  but it is not as if he is the only one here with that quirk  wink  A bit more seriously, I'd like to give a gentle tug on the leash in request of moving on from further reference to JDN's failure to back up his accusations of MM.
29298  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: November 08, 2008, 06:09:54 PM

Good posts.
29299  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for Reps/Conservatives on: November 08, 2008, 09:56:13 AM
These words bear re-reading-- especially with BO about to give driver licences to illegals, and the vote to anyone with a driver's license:

"As for your point about the immigration thing there is probably a small *majority* of Americans (not only those on the "far right") who want the illegal immigration flood stopped.  And I agree with this stance.  I want to dispose of old laws that make it ok for people to come here illegally and utilize our hospitals to have babies who are thus legal citizens automatically.  Or for those who come here be able to bring 12 or what is it 18 relatives over to live here.  I bet more than 50% of Americans would still agree with this. 

"But!!!  I question if it is not *too late* for this because the voting power of the immigrants and particularly the Latino immigrants is now so huge they can make or break national candidates.  Look at California, New Mexico, Colorado, and possibly NY and NJ etc.
These states have huge Latino voters. 

"I feel we must be realists.  Some including Rove have felt if we get too strict with the Latinos we "will lose them for generations."
After seeing the Latino voting polls he appears to be right and that was even after W and McCain taking leniency.

"Rove was pointing out how Latinos have conservative values with regards to work ethic and family and religion.  While that may be true I see them wanting government sponsored health care and many government programs.  If they loved Repub. ideals so much they would vote for that party.  But many love the big government the Dems offer." 
29300  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for Reps/Conservatives on: November 08, 2008, 09:34:21 AM
Occasionally Coulter is still funny, but mostly I wouldn't even let her perform fellatio on me. cheesy

OTOH IMHO President Reagan remains profoundly relevant on many levels, not least of which is the , , , audacity of believing in free minds, free markets, freedom of choice, freedom of worship, the pursuit of happiness, and America.

Here's this from today's WSJ:

After the shellacking it received at the polls Tuesday, the Republican Party faces a choice. It can put the loss down to the country's fatigue with the Bush Administration and the bad luck of running amid a financial panic and shrug it off. Or it can choose a new direction, with new leadership, and retake the high ground it once occupied, especially on the economy.

Paul Ryan
These columns are devoted to ideas, not party, and ordinarily we would not insert ourselves into the internal debate over party leadership. But in the current political and economic climate, it is important that somebody offer an effective argument against the interventionist, antigrowth conventional wisdom that dominates the majority party in Congress. And if the Republican Party would offer that counterargument, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan seems to be the right man to make the case.

Mr. Ryan was first elected in 1998, and he has always won re-election comfortably in a state and a district that are not particularly safe territory for Republicans. Racine County, which represents the biggest piece of Mr. Ryan's district in southeastern Wisconsin, voted for Barack Obama, 53%-46%, but still voted to re-elect Mr. Ryan 62%-37%. He is, in other words, a politician practiced in speaking to and winning over voters who are not necessarily die-hard Republicans.

But the most important reason that Mr. Ryan is the right man at the current moment has nothing to do with electoral calculation. The 38-year-old Mr. Ryan cares about free markets and economic growth and can talk about those subjects in a way that makes sense without falling back on ideology, bromides or oversimplification. He engages these subjects with a vigor that befits his age, and while he has been in Congress for nearly a decade, his is a fresh face on the national scene, one not associated with the bipartisan failures of Congress.

Mr. Ryan is also an effective communicator on television, which will be an important outlet for reaching the American people and presenting an alternative to the economic ideas of Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi and Charlie Rangel. This summer, with a Presidential election well underway and his party in the minority, Mr. Ryan unveiled a far-sighted "Road Map for America's Future."

It is a remarkable document: Other politicians, including Presidential candidates, boldly declare their intentions to push any hard or painful choices off to blue-ribbon commissions. Mr. Ryan's Road Map puts into legislative language not mere general principles, but a plan to pay for all the promises we've made to seniors while preventing government spending from achieving French proportions. "I want to be the Paul Revere of fiscal policy," he said at the time, raising the alarm on our long-term liabilities even while President-elect Obama and others insist that there's nothing to see when it comes to the long-term insolvency of Medicare and Social Security.

More generally, the Republican Party needs a prominent figure who can discuss the full range of economic issues -- growth, the dollar, global trade and monetary policy included. The economy was the top issue on voter minds in this election, and Republicans lost. The party needs someone who can put these issues into a context that voters can understand and relate to. And looking at the national field, there seem precious few candidates for the job.

Mr. Ryan did not solicit our support, and we should note that he said Thursday that he isn't seeking the leadership job. John Boehner, the current leader, wasn't the cause of this year's GOP losses and is the favorite to retain his position. If that's what House Republicans want to do, so be it. Our job is to say what we think in any case. And Mr. Ryan's economic knowledge and youthful energy make him the best choice to pull his party in a more promising direction.
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