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29251  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Nifong facing disbarment on: June 13, 2007, 08:54:07 AM
I am pleasantly surprised to see that the State of NC is going after this abusive POS.   grin

Ethics Hearing for Duke Prosecutor
Published: June 13, 2007
RALEIGH, N.C., June 12 — Two months after the North Carolina attorney general dismissed sexual assault charges against three former Duke University lacrosse players, the prosecutor who brought the case found himself in a crowded courtroom Tuesday, facing charges that could lead to his own disbarment.

Ethics Complaint (N.C. State Bar v. Nifong)

Dismissal of Charges (N.C. v. Finnerty, et al.)Michael B. Nifong, the Durham district attorney, was portrayed by Katherine Jean, a state attorney prosecuting the ethics case, as a politically motivated, overzealous prosecutor who made false statements to the public, news media, defense lawyers and the court in bringing a case with virtually no credible evidence.

“The harm done to these three young men and their families and the justice system of North Carolina is devastating,” Ms. Jean said.

Mr. Nifong’s lawyer, David B. Freedman, responded that the ethics case was not about the weaknesses of the rape case, but primarily focused on whether Mr. Nifong had asked a laboratory director to hide DNA evidence. Mr. Freedman acknowledged in opening statements that some of Mr. Nifong’s public statements “clearly were outlandish” — for instance, he called the Duke lacrosse team “a bunch of hooligans” — but denied he had said anything knowingly false or politically motivated.

Mr. Nifong, 58, a 29-year career prosecutor who was running for election when the case arose in March 2006, is expected to take the stand this week. He sat expressionless during the opening remarks, often holding his chin and cheek by thumb and forefinger. His wife, teenage son, brother and sister sat behind him.

Two of the three former students’ mothers watched opening arguments, with a group of defense lawyers and other supporters whose insistence of innocence had been upheld in April by the state attorney general, Roy A. Cooper, who called Mr. Nifong a “rogue prosecutor.”

The ethics charges were filed by the North Carolina State Bar, a state agency, asserting that Mr. Nifong hid and lied about DNA evidence and that his pretrial comments inflamed the community and prejudiced the defendants.

While the ethics charges are limited to certain areas, the witness list shows it will be putting the whole case on trial, at least to try to show Mr. Nifong knew some of his public comments were false. For instance, he repeatedly said he was certain a rape had occurred.

Benjamin W. Himan, the Durham detective who was lead investigator on the case, said in testimony for the ethics prosecutors on Tuesday that Mr. Nifong had acknowledged to him that the case was weak and relied on the word of a woman hired to strip at a lacrosse team party.

Mr. Himan said he had responded with disbelief when he learned that after a month of inconclusive investigation, Mr. Nifong planned to indict two students. “With what?” Mr. Himan said he responded. At that point, he said, the police did not even know whether one suspect had been at the lacrosse team party. (It turned out he was there but left before any rape could have possibly happened.)

Mr. Himan also said he was “shocked” and “upset” that an investigator for the district attorney later interviewed the accuser by himself, not inviting him as the police investigator. When he read the results of that interview, Mr. Himan said, “It didn’t make any sense to what she had previously told us.”

Joseph B. Cheshire, a defense lawyer involved with the case, said in an interview later that Mr. Himan’s testimony was “chilling” and showed the potentially unchecked power of the state to destroy peoples’ lives even if the evidence did not exist.

Mr. Freedman, one of two lawyers for Mr. Nifong, said after the hearing that he looked forward to cross-examining Mr. Himan on Wednesday and presenting his side of the case — including testimony from Mr. Nifong — later in the week.

Mr. Nifong declined comment.

A decision on the ethics charges may come by Friday or Saturday and could result in penalties as severe as disbarment.

In coming weeks, Mr. Nifong is also facing two separate reviews by Superior Court judges, one on whether to remove him as district attorney, the other on whether he lied in court describing DNA evidence.

The case was overlaid with charges of racism and class privilege because the stripper was black and poor, inflamed the community and much of the nation.

Victoria Peterson, a black activist from Durham, was ejected from the courtroom and courthouse Tuesday after she accosted one mother during the lunch break and said people still thought her son did something wrong and should have stood trial.
29252  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Wonder why Israel does not negotiate with these folks? on: June 13, 2007, 08:44:19 AM
NY Times:

JERUSALEM, June 12 — Gunmen of rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah sharply escalated their fight for supremacy on Tuesday, with Hamas taking over much of the northern Gaza Strip in what is beginning to look increasingly like a civil war.

Hamas fighters in Nusairat, in the Gaza Strip, defended a national security headquarters they had seized from Fatah Tuesday.

Five days of revenge attacks on individuals — including executions, kneecappings and even tossing handcuffed prisoners off tall apartment towers — on Tuesday turned into something larger and more organized: attacks on symbols of power and the deployment of military units. About 25 Palestinians were killed and more than 100 wounded, Palestinian medics said.

In one Hamas attack on a Fatah security headquarters in northern Gaza near Jabaliya Camp, at least 21 Palestinians were reported killed and another 60 wounded, said Moaweya Hassanein of the Palestinian Health Ministry.

After a senior Fatah leader in northern Gaza, Jamal Abu al-Jediyan, was killed Monday, Fatah’s elite Presidential Guards, who are being trained by the United States and its allies, fired rocket-propelled grenades at the house of Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, of Hamas, in the Shati refugee camp near Gaza City.

An hour later, Hamas’s military wing fired four mortar shells at the presidential office compound of Mahmoud Abbas, of Fatah, who is in the West Bank, a Fatah spokesman, Tawfiq Abu Khoussa, said in a telephone interview.

“Hamas is seeking a military coup against the Palestinian Authority,” he said.

Hamas made a similar accusation against Fatah. Hamas, which has an Islamist ideology, demanded that security forces loyal to Fatah, the more nationalist and secular movement, abandon their positions in northern and central Gaza.

Fatah’s leaders said Tuesday night that they would suspend participation in the unity government with Hamas, which began in March, until the fighting ends.

That agreement to govern jointly, negotiated under Saudi auspices, put Fatah ministers into a Hamas-led government in an effort to secure renewed international aid and recognition and to stop what was already serious fighting between the two factions.

But the new government has failed to achieve either goal, and it appeared to many in Gaza that the gunmen were not listening to their political leaders. Mr. Abbas is under increasing pressure to abandon the unity government he championed and to try once again to order new elections, which Hamas has said it will oppose by any means.

The head of the Egyptian mediation team, Lt. Col. Burhan Hamad, said neither side responded to his call on Tuesday to hold truce talks. “It seems they don’t want to come,” said Colonel Hamad, who has brokered several brief cease-fires between the two. “We must make them ashamed of themselves. They have killed all hope. They have killed the future.”

He said neither side had the weaponry required to produce “a decisive victory.”

Talal Okal, a Gazan political scientist, described what could be coming. “Tonight, we may find ourselves at the beginning of a civil war,” he said. “If Abbas decides to move his security forces onto the attack, and not to only defend, we’ll find ourselves in a much wider cycle.”

Fatah forces were ordered Tuesday evening to defend their positions and counter “a coup against the president and against the Palestinian Authority and national unity government.”

The streets of Gazan cities were once again empty of pedestrians and cars. People ventured out to buy food, but only to the next building, and parents kept children out of school.

At Shifa Hospital in Gaza, which Hamas gunmen patrolled, bodies of four Hamas fighters lay on the floor of the emergency room, including Muhammad al-Mqeir, 25. His closest friend called him a martyr, even though he was killed by another Palestinian, from Fatah. “They are not Palestinians, they are lost people,” the friend said of Fatah. Doctors said that the emergency room was overloaded and that the hospital was running short of blood.

After warning Fatah, Hamas attacked a Fatah-affiliated security headquarters in Gaza City, and declared northern Gaza “a closed military zone.”

An estimated 200 Hamas fighters surrounded Fatah security headquarters there, firing mortar shells and grenades at the compound, where some 500 security officers were positioned. The headquarters fell to Hamas. Hamas gunmen also exchanged fire with Fatah forces at the southern security headquarters in the town of Khan Yunis. There, the two sides fought a gun battle near a hospital. Fifteen children attending a kindergarten in the line of fire were rushed into the hospital, which is financed largely by European donations.

Angering Hamas, Fatah militants abducted and killed the nephew of Abdel Aziz Rantisi, the Hamas leader assassinated by Israel in April 2004.
(Page 2 of 2)

Hamas gunmen attacked the home of a Fatah security official with mortars and grenades, killing his 14-year-old son and three women inside, security officials said. Other Fatah gunmen stormed the house of a Hamas lawmaker and burned it down.

Fatah forces also attacked the headquarters, in Gaza, of Hamas’s television station, Al Aksa TV, and began to broadcast Fatah songs, but Hamas said later that it had repelled the attack.

In the West Bank, where Fatah is stronger and the Israeli occupation forces keep Hamas fighters underground, the Fatah Presidential Guards took over the Ramallah offices of Al Aksa TV and confiscated equipment.

Also in the West Bank, Fatah men kidnapped a deputy minister from Hamas, one of the few Hamas cabinet members and legislators not already in Israeli military jails, part of Israel’s effort to keep pressure on Hamas.

Since Monday morning, at least 43 Palestinians have died in the renewed fighting. More than 50 had died in the previous outburst last month that ended in a brief cease-fire mediated by the Egyptians.

A Hamas spokesman, Fawzi Barhoum, accused Fatah, in alliance with Israel and the United States, of trying to destroy Hamas and overturn the results of elections held in January 2006, in which Hamas won a legislative majority.

“They crossed all the red lines,” he said of Fatah after the second straight day that Prime Minister Haniya’s house was fired upon.

Sami Abu Zuhri, another Hamas spokesman, said: “Those we sit with from Fatah have no control on the ground. These groups have relations with the U.S. administration and Israel.” Hamas says it believes that Mr. Abbas’s aide, Muhammad Dahlan, is controlling the Fatah forces, and Mr. Zuhri said, “It’s an international and regional plan aiming to eliminate Hamas.”

Israeli officials are debating whether Fatah can stand up to Hamas in Gaza. They say they have been asked by Washington recently to approve another shipment of armored vehicles, weapons and ammunition to the Presidential Guards. But a senior Israeli official said Israel was worried that the weaponry would just be seized by Hamas, as much of the last shipment was.

“Hamas now has two million bullets intended for Fatah,” he said.

Israeli officials are explicit privately about their intention to damage Hamas and its military infrastructure in Gaza and try to give Fatah a boost at the same time. Israel, in retaliation for rocket fire into Israel from Gaza, has been bombing the buildings and facilities of Hamas’s Executive Force, a parallel police force in Gaza, that has not been firing rockets. Israeli officials argue, however, that the Executive Force and the Hamas military wing “share a command headquarters.”

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which deals with the 70 percent of Gaza’s 1.5 million people who are refugees or their descendants, said its ability to provide needed aid had been severely hampered by the fighting. Three of its 5 food distribution centers and 7 of its 18 health clinics were forced to close Tuesday, said its Gaza director, John Ging.

“The violence is compounding an already dreadful humanitarian situation,” he said, with 80 percent of the refugee population already dependent on aid.

Mr. Okal, who is now on the board of trustees of the Fatah-affiliated Azhar University in Gaza, said he would oppose Fatah’s pulling out of elected institutions, but added that he was not optimistic about Gaza. “We are heading toward a collapse — of both the political system and society,” he said.

29253  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Men & Women on: June 13, 2007, 08:33:58 AM
From an emailing by Glenn Sachs, who writes on these issues.  Sometimes I find him a bit of a weenie, but I do share with him the notion that men, manliness and fatherhood are under general attack in our culture.

June 12, 2007
Protest TIME Magazine's Father's Day Hatchet Job on Dads!
TIME magazine's new Father's Day hatchet job on divorced and separated fathers--"Daddy Dearest: What Science Tells Us About Fatherhood"--questions whether fathers "have done a good enough job to deserve the honor" of having a Father's Day. The contents page reads "Behavior: Why some animal fathers are more nurturing dads than many men are."

In the article, which appears in the June 18 issue of TIME magazine, Sarah Blaffer Hrdy and Mary Batten write:

"In the U.S., more than half of divorced fathers lose contact with their kids within a few years. By the end of 10 years, as many as two-thirds of them have drifted out of their children's lives. According to a 1994 study by the Children's Defense Fund, men are more likely to default on a child-support payment (49%) than a used-car payment (3%). Even fathers in intact families spend a lot less time focused on their kids than they think: in the U.S. fathers average less than an hour a day (up from 20 minutes a few decades ago), usually squeezed in after the workday."

The drumbeat continues--dads don't care, dads walk out, dads
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are stingy. All of these canards have been debunked many times, but that doesn't stop the mainstream media's attacks on fathers and fatherhood.

To write a Letter to the Editor of TIME magazine, click here.

Let's look at each of these accusations individually:

Criticism #1) "In the U.S., more than half of divorced fathers lose contact with their kids within a few years. By the end of 10 years, as many as two-thirds of them have drifted out of their children's lives."

In other words, dad's a cad who walks out and doesn't look back. The authors' assertions are contradicted by a large body of research.

We're not given a source for this information, but it is likely the highly-influential and highly-publicized study conducted by Frank Furstenburg, Ph.D. and his associates. Furstenburg used a large, representative national sample in his study, and he found that half of the children in his study had not seen their noncustodial parent--usually dad--during the previous year. Furstenburg labeled these men the "disappearing dad."

Arizona State University researcher Sanford Braver, who conducted the largest federally-funded study of divorced dads ever done, points out that there are many problems with Furstenburg's research:

1) Furstenberg's research is based only on custodial mothers' views--the fathers were never asked. I doubt many fathers would feel their angry ex-wives are a particularly accurate source of information about their bonds with their children.

2) Those who cited Furstenburg's research widely presumed it applied only or primarily to divorced dads, as did the TIME magazine article's authors. However, in his study Furstenburg did not distinguish between divorced dads and never married fathers. When Furstenburg's colleague Judith Seltzer later separated the two groups, she found that divorced fathers were more than twice as likely to have retained contact with their children as never-married dads.

3) The survey, which is used to condemn American fathers in June of 2007, was based largely on divorces which occurred in the late 1960s! A tremendous amount has changed in the area of gender roles in the past 40 years.

Braver's study found that--by either parent's account--90% of fathers had contact with their kids in the past year. Of those who lived within 60 miles of each other, there was virtually universal contact.

Moreover, Braver's research found that to the degree that divorced fathers' contact with their children is infrequent, the cause is very often not the fathers' lack of desire, but instead attempts by mothers to push their ex-husbands out of their children's lives.

According to the Children's Rights Council, a Washington-based advocacy group, more than five million American children each year have their access to their noncustodial parents interfered with or blocked by custodial parents. We get no sense of this enormous social problem from the TIME article.

Criticism #2) "According to a 1994 study by the Children's Defense Fund, men are more likely to default on a child-support payment (49%) than a used-car payment (3%)."

Whereas TIME magazine assumes that dads don't pay because they don't care, Braver found in his research that "unemployment is the single most important factor relating to nonpayment." Braver notes that his findings were "consistent with virtually all past studies on the topic" and that it "belies the image that divorced fathers don't pay because they refuse to though they are truly able to pay."

Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement data shows that two-thirds of those behind on child support nationwide earned poverty-level wages; less than four percent of the national child support debt is owed by those earning $40,000 or more a year. According to an Urban Institute study, even among fathers who experience income drops of 15% or more, less than one in 20 are able to get courts to reduce their child support payments. In the interim, arrearages mount, along with interest (10% or more in many states) and penalties. This greatly contributes to child support noncompliance.

The "child support vs. used car" comparison is spurious. For one, divorced fathers don't just pay child support--they sometimes also pay spousal support, and are frequently saddled with stiff and sometimes catastrophic divorce-related legal fees, often including those of their ex-wives. Also, child support alone often comprises a third or even half of a divorced fathers' take-home pay.

In California, for example, a noncustodial father of two earning a modest $3,800 a month in net income pays $1,300 a month in child support--almost $300,000 over 18 years. For the financial burden to be equivalent, the father would have to buy a hell of a lot of used cars. 

One more point--since noncustodial mothers' default rate on child support is higher than that of noncustodial dads, the "child support vs. car payment" statistic which is used to vilify fathers also applies to mothers.

Criticism #3) "Even fathers in intact families spend a lot less time focused on their kids than they think: in the U.S. fathers average less than an hour a day (up from 20 minutes a few decades ago), usually squeezed in after the workday."

We're not given a source for the assertion that "fathers in intact families spend a lot less time focused on their kids than they think," but it may have been taken, to one degree or another, from Susan Faludi's 1991 anti-male bestseller Backlash. In that book she contrasts what men and fathers do around the house with what Faludi says men "think" they do.

And who's to tell them they're wrong, that they don't do much, they only "think" they do?

Their wives, of course.

It never seems to occur to Faludi or Hrdy/Batten that perhaps the fathers' assertions of their roles are accurate, and that it's mothers--who often pride themselves on being #1 with the kids--are disparaging or downplaying fathers' role. It is likely that, to some degree, both fathers and mothers exaggerate their own roles, though we get no sense of that from the TIME magazine article.

The "lazy husband/uncaring father" stereotype is a myth. Census data shows that only 40% of married women with children under 18 work full-time, and over a quarter do not hold a job outside the home. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2004 Time Use Survey, men spend one and a half times as many hours working as women do, and full-time employed men still work significantly more hours than full-time employed women.

When both work outside the home and inside the home are properly considered, it is clear that men do at least as much as women. A 2002 University of Michigan Institute for Social Research survey found that women do 11 more hours of housework a week than men but men work 14 hours a week more than women. According to the BLS, men's total time at leisure, sleeping, doing personal care activities, or socializing is a statistically meaningless 1% higher than women's.

Despite the fact that fathers bear the primary burden of supporting their families, the Families and Work Institute in New York City found that fathers now provide three-fourths as much child care as mothers do. This figure is also 50% higher than 30 years ago.

The "usually squeezed in after the workday" slap is also spurious. Between dads working all day and the kids being in school, it's hard to see when a father would have much time to spend with his kids that isn't "usually squeezed in after the workday." The full TIME Magazine article can be seen here.

Again, to write a Letter to the Editor of TIME magazine, click here.

To discuss this issue on my blog, click here.
29254  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: June 13, 2007, 08:25:30 AM
Geopolitical Diary: Washington and the Musharraf Administration's Future

Great expectations have been attached to U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher's visit to Islamabad, which began on Tuesday. Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf is hoping the visit will help him sustain his faltering hold on power. Musharraf's opponents hope the Bush administration will help them eventually force Musharraf from office. The day of Musharraf's departure is imminent; he has simply made too many mistakes and burned too many bridges.

Yet, despite all of his eminent and obvious weaknesses, Musharaff's (many) opponents have not been able to eject him from the scene. This is in part because of an odd belief within Pakistani structures.

Many within the Pakistani political world believe that the player with the most irons in the Pakistani fire is the United States. Understanding that mindset is not particularly difficult. One of the commonalities in Pakistani governments going back to nearly the country's creation is that the United States has ultimately played the role of security supporter, if not outright guarantor. Regardless of whether the opponent was Soviet or Indian, the United States has played a critical role in Pakistani security, leading to the cynical view among many Pakistanis that their governments have been supported by three As: Allah, the army and America. And with the war in Afghanistan almost exclusively supplied via Pakistani supply routes, that does not appear about to change.

Therefore many Pakistani political players -- particularly within the military -- are unwilling to move against Musharraf, no matter how bad things get, without a green light from Washington, for fear they could get burned.

Ultimately, however, such thinking not only misses the point, it is simply wrong. It is Pakistan that holds the balance of power in this relationship, not the United States. And though Islamabad depends on financial and military assistance from Washington, it is Washington that cannot fight the war in Afghanistan without Pakistan, not the other way around. It is the United States that is bogged down in Iraq, not Pakistan.

Strategically, Washington would much rather count India as an ally. It is bigger, richer and the political culture is more similar. Yet the United States is fighting a war that requires troops and materiel to be moved through Pakistan. That means the United States will work with whoever happens to be in Pakistan's big chair, not because Washington wants to, but because it must.

The United States, then, is not allied with Musharraf the person, or the Musharraf government, but with the state of Pakistan -- read: its military. This means should Musharraf suddenly be out of the picture, the United States, after few heartburn-filled meetings, will simply hammer out a new deal with his replacement.

Put another way, the United States does not much care who runs Pakistan as long as there is stability in Islamabad; after all, it currently is supposedly enamored with a man who rose to power via a coup in 1999. And as soon as the various power players in Pakistan recognize that little fact, Musharraf's days truly will be numbered.
29255  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mil-blogs: Michael Yon and others (support our troops) on: June 13, 2007, 08:21:10 AM
These are perhaps the most interesting days of all to be in Iraq.  I'll keep the dispatches coming.  Please click here for latest: Death or Glory III of IV
To understand why I have maintained independence, please click here for Chapter 1 of my book "Danger Close."  Purchases of "Danger Close" support this site and are greatly appreciated.  Several chapters in "Danger Close" (first published in 1999) detail my early experiences with the press both favorable and unfavorable.

Very Respectfully,
Michael Yon
29256  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Kinda Lost on the Homepage. on: June 13, 2007, 08:11:40 AM
That's Original Dog Brother Lester "Surf Dog" Griffin  cool
29257  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Frmr Pres of Indonesia on the Holocaust on: June 12, 2007, 10:14:17 PM
I admit to being moved by this.

The Evils of Holocaust Denial
June 12, 2007; Page A17

BALI, Indonesia -- Today, religious leaders from many faiths and nations will gather here for a landmark conference in a unique place -- an island of tolerance, not terrorism. In a world in which religion is manipulated to justify the most horrific acts, it is our moral obligation not only to refute the claims of terrorists and their ideological enablers but also to defend the rights of others to worship differently: in freedom, security and dignity.

While there are many things that can be said and done to advance this cause, one issue in particular stands out as something we religious leaders must unite in denouncing: Holocaust denial. This denial is not a new phenomenon. Yet it is becoming an increasingly pervasive one. Long a hobbyhorse of the neo-Nazis and other figures from the fringe, it is gaining currency among millions of people who are either ignorant of history or are being misled by their media, their governments or -- sad to say -- their own religious authorities.

A scene from the liberation of Auschwitz.
In recent years, we have seen that notorious 19th century Russian forgery, "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," being widely disseminated in bookshops from London to Cairo. We have seen Hitler's "Mein Kampf" become a bestseller in Turkey. We have seen schools in Britain stop teaching the Holocaust for fear of offending their students. We have seen notorious academic frauds invited by the president of Iran to raise "questions" about the Holocaust -- as if this is just another controversy in which all opinions are equally valid. We have seen the Holocaust deniers use the fashions of moral relativism and historical revisionism to deny not just truth but fact, all the while casting themselves as martyrs against censorship.

Worst of all, we have seen Holocaust denial being turned to an insidious political purpose: By lying about the events of the past, the deniers are paving the way toward the crimes of the future. They are rendering that well-worn yet necessary phrase "Never Again" meaningless by seeking to erase from the pages of history the very event that all people of good faith seek never to repeat.

Let us be clear: The real purpose of Holocaust denial is to degrade and dehumanize the Jewish people. By denying or trivializing the murder of six million Jews by the Nazis and their allies, the deniers are seeking to advance their notion that the victims of the 20th century's greatest crime are, in fact, that century's greatest victimizers. By denying or trivializing the Holocaust, the deniers are seeking to rob Jews of their history and their memory -- and what is a people without history and memory?

Indeed, by denying or trivializing the Holocaust, the deniers are perpetrating what is, in effect, a second genocide. Extinguished as they were from the ranks of the living, Hitler's Jewish victims are now, in effect, to be extinguished from the ranks of the dead. That is the essence of Holocaust denial.

Yet even as we recognize the threat that Holocaust denial poses to Jews everywhere, we must also be cognizant of the peril it represents to people of all faith traditions. Nations or governments that historically have given free rein to Jew-hatred -- whether in Medieval Europe or Inquisition-era Spain or 1930s Germany -- have invariably done lasting damage to themselves as well.

Today, the countries in which Holocaust denial is most rampant also tend to be the ones that are most economically backward and politically repressive. This should not be surprising: Dishonest when it comes to the truth of the past, these countries are hardly in a position to reckon honestly with the problems of the present. Yes, the short-term purposes of unscrupulous rulers can always be served by whipping up mass hysteria and duping their people with lurid conspiracy theories. In the long term, however, truth is the essential ingredient in all competent policy making. Those who tell big lies about the Holocaust are bound to tell smaller lies about nearly everything else.

Holocaust denial is thus the most visible symptom of an underlying disease -- partly political, partly psychological, but mainly spiritual -- which is the inability (or unwillingness) to recognize the humanity of others. In fighting this disease, religious leaders have an essential role to play. Armed with the knowledge that God created religion to serve as rahmatan lil 'alamin, or a blessing for all creation, we must guard against efforts to demonize or belittle followers of other faiths.

Last year, Muslims from Nigeria to Lebanon to Pakistan rioted against what they saw as the demonizing of their prophet by Danish cartoonists. In a better world, those same Muslims would be the first to recognize how insulting it is to Jews to have the apocalypse that befell their fathers' generation belittled and denied.

Sadly, we do not live in such a world. Yet if radical clerics can move their assemblies to hatred and violence -- as was the case during the Danish cartoons episode -- then surely moderate and peace-loving clerics can also move theirs to rise above their prejudices and facilitate good relations between peoples of different faiths. In the words of the Holy Quran, which echo the story of creation from the book of Genesis: "Oh mankind! We created you from a single pair, male and female, and made you into nations and tribes, so that you might come to know one another, and not to despise each other."

Today in Bali, we look forward to hearing different ideas from diverse voices on how to advance this divine goal. Facing up frankly to the evil of Holocaust denial will be evidence that the conferees are "living in truth" and determined to act against hatred.

Mr. Wahid is the former president of Indonesia and co-founder of the LibForAll Foundation. Mr. Lau, a survivor of the Buchenwald concentration camp, is the former Chief Rabbi of Israel. Today's conference in Bali, "Tolerance Between Religions: A Blessing for All Creation," is cosponsored by LibForAll Foundation, the Wahid Institute and the Museum of Tolerance.
29258  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The 4th Circuit decision in Al-Marri v. Wright on: June 12, 2007, 10:03:51 PM
Tuesday, June 12, 2007 3:24 p.m. EDT

Unpack Your Adjectives
From a New York Times editorial today:

. . . grandiose . . . threatening . . . treacherous . . . dire . . . disastrous . . . powerful . . . relevant . . . strong . . . odious . . .

They left out "foggy" and "soggy." The subject is Al-Marri v. Wright, in which the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held yesterday that the U.S. lacks the authority to detain as an enemy combatant one Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, a Qatari national and U.S. resident alien who was captured in Peoria, Ill., and found to be "engaged in conduct that constituted hostile and war-like acts, including conduct in preparation for acts of international terrorism."

The U.S. Supreme Court has previously held that U.S. citizens can be held as enemy combatants, including one--Abdullah al-Muhajir, né Jose Padilla--who had been captured in the U.S. What distinguishes al-Marri's case, according to Judge Diana Motz, is this:

Al-Marri is not alleged to have been part of a Taliban unit, not alleged to have stood alongside the Taliban or the armed forces of any other enemy nation, not alleged to have been on the battlefield during the war in Afghanistan, not alleged to have even been in Afghanistan during the armed conflict there, and not alleged to have engaged in combat with United States forces anywhere in the world.

To Motz and Judge Roger Gregory, both Clinton nominees, that makes him a civilian. Judge Henry Hudson dissented:

Although al-Marri was not personally engaged in armed conflict with U.S. forces, he is the type of stealth warrior used by al Qaeda to perpetrate terrorist acts against the United States. . . . There is little doubt from the evidence that al-Marri was present in the United States to aid and further the hostile and subversive activities of the organization responsible for the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.

This makes clear the perversity of the court's reasoning. By its logic, alien terrorists are entitled to all the constitutional rights of civilians provided that they manage to stay out of Afghanistan and do their planning in America. The 9/11 terrorists, had they been caught, would have enjoyed more rights under this scheme than some low-level Taliban foot soldier.

So-called civil liberties advocates who are cheering this ruling ought to take a moment to ponder its possible consequences. The Constitution gives the president the power to suspend habeas corpus in the event of rebellion or invasion, as President Lincoln did in 1862. President Bush is not about to suspend the writ.

But let's say that two years from now America suffers another terrorist attack on the scale of 9/11, carried out by people who, like Al-Marri, did their planning within America and never set foot on a conventional battlefield. In the face of such an "invasion," does anyone doubt that, say, a President Hillary Clinton would suspend habeas corpus in a New York minute?
29259  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: World Trade Center Tower 7 on: June 12, 2007, 09:59:56 PM
I am quite busy with the run-up to our Gathering of the Pack AND I don't want to get in the way of the interesting exchange between Dog Brian and GM, but if I may be indulged in tossing an additional question to Brian:

I remember when I was a boy that my dad told me the story of the Great Train Robbery in England.  I forget the details, but the gist of it was that there was a spectacular robbery for a huge pile money. Apparently 9 people were involved. The reporters asked the inspector from Scotland Yard who was heading the investigation if he had any clues?  No.  Any evidence?  No.  Any theories? No.  Any suspects?  No.  Anything?  No.

"Still, I am confident we will catch them."

How could he be confident with no clues, evidence, theories, or suspects the reporters asked.

"9 people can't keep a secret" he replied-- and he turned out to be right.

The point is this Brian-- for the theories you are putting forth to be true, a lot more than 9 people would need to be in on the conspiracy-- and that many people can't keep a secret.
29260  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Al Gore in 1992 on Iraq on: June 12, 2007, 09:47:47 PM

Al Gore in 1992 on Iraq:
29261  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Help our troops/our cause: on: June 12, 2007, 09:46:05 PM

Washington Post
June 12, 2007
Pg. 1

Amid The Chaos Of War, Gifts Of Music

Thanks to Couple's Efforts, Troops in Iraq Get Instruments

By Peter Slevin, Washington Post Staff Writer

FERGUS FALLS, Minn. -- The e-mail from Iraq started this way:

"So, a friend in my battalion received a Fender Stratocaster from you guys. It was amazing! . . . It's been about 6 months since I have played and it was so awesome playing the guitar my friend got. He told me about you guys, so I thought I would see if maybe I can get my own guitar."

And that is how Sgt. Jason Low received an acoustic guitar from Steve Baker, a Vietnam veteran of modest means and powerful purpose. Baker and his wife, Barb, run Fergus Music, a shop here in a rural patch of Minnesota not far from the North Dakota line. Together, they have shipped more than 300 guitars, mandolins, harmonicas, drums and wind instruments to Iraq to ease the strain of the soldiering life.

Fifty more will soon be on the way, thanks to $800 raised at an Elks club spaghetti dinner and $1,500 chipped in by two local businesses. In response, the Bakers receive notes such as this one, sent April 17 by Luis Rivera:

"Yahooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! I have something to look forward to. Thank you very much."

Steve Baker served as an Army Ranger in Vietnam in the mid-1960s. Wiry and mustachioed at 62, and tending toward T-shirts and jeans, he moves between the music shop and the crowded back room where he keeps guitar-ready cardboard boxes and his computer, which seems constantly abuzz with e-mails from Iraq.

"This started as a fluke," Baker said.

In 2004, his stepson, a soldier in Iraq, requested a guitar, so he sent one. The stepson's friend wanted one, so he dispatched another. Pretty soon, the requests were coming faster than the newly christened Operation Happy Note could respond. The waiting list is now more than 150 names long.

The store does not generate enough income to do all the things the Bakers would like to do, but they manage. Steve Baker, who says he previously owned a music store before losing it in a divorce, had been repairing commercial refrigerators before he bought Fergus Music in 2003.

"I didn't realize how much of a going concern this wasn't," he says now. And that was before Happy Note.

"When you do something like this, you're not making money, you're losing it," Baker said of the volunteer project. He added, "I don't care."

The operation to send free instruments has benefited from the generosity of others, such as a woman in Elbow Lake who printed posters, no charge. Then there was the lucky moment when Barb Baker spotted a garage door company giving away bubble wrap. She filled their Jeep with it. In March 2005, the Bakers held their first fundraiser, and have brought in about $13,000 since.

The Bakers have boxed up violins, clarinets, bongos, harmonicas and stringed instruments, along with picks, extra strings and teaching guides created by Steve, who gives lessons in Fergus Falls and has a weekly band gig. When someone asked for cymbals for a military chapel, he took an $800 pair from the shop's wall and packed them up.

A soldier wrote to say that his wife wanted to buy him a Bach Stradivarius trumpet as an anniversary present. The Bakers found one and shipped it off. The acoustic guitars come from the factory, six to a box, for $31 apiece. The Bakers repack them in individual cartons. Postage is $20.80 and travel time is seven to 15 days. Attempts to find a political sponsor to lobby for free postage have so far failed.

"If we didn't have so much postage," Steve Baker said, "we could send more instruments."

As for who receives them, all he knows is that they're American fighting men and women: "I don't care where they're from. They're wearing the uniform. They're protecting us."

Baker's passion for the project has its roots in his experience in the Vietnam War and the years that followed.

"When I was in, nobody cared. I mean, Vietnam, my God," he said, recalling how some Americans swore at troops. "All I got was hooting and hollering, and I remember that to this day. There's no way I'm going to allow that to happen to these kids."

Happy Note is hardly the sole provider of musical instruments. Army Sgt. 1st Class Charles Covey, who asked the Bakers for help, explained in an e-mail that budget constraints have made it necessary for his 25th Infantry Division unit to appeal to private organizations for donations to support base recreation centers.

Between Baghdad and Tikrit, Covey said in response to e-mailed questions, soldiers have received about 100 acoustic guitars, "along with a couple of electric guitars, a bass and an old drum set. They were donated by Fender and the Charlie Daniels Band. (He is a big supporter of the Troops.)" Recent requests range from mandolins to a piano.

Camp Speicher, a military base north of Baghdad, holds informal jam sessions on Wednesdays and Fridays, Covey said, and the division band performs. He reported an increasing desire for electric guitars and keyboards, bass guitars and fiddles, and large amplifiers.

Alas, "these instruments are neither cheap nor easy to store," Covey wrote.

Robert Thierfelder filled one of the more unusual requests relayed to the Bakers. He sent to Iraq three practice chanters, similar to recorders, that bagpipers use to perfect their craft, along with instruction CDs and books. Thierfelder, who runs a bagpipe company, said, "It's the least I can do."

Army Spec. Nathan J.J. Hoskins sent word to the Bakers that two guitars had reached the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade at Camp Taji and were gratefully received. He told the Bakers they were doing "an awesome job. You bring joy to many troops that otherwise may be down in the dumps."

One glad recipient was Spec. Mark Gordon, who could hardly believe that a stranger thousands of miles away would send him a gleaming guitar just because he had asked. "Yet here I sit with mine," he wrote in an e-mail from Baghdad. To relieve stress, he said, he had played every day before he deployed -- so often that he felt it had become a way of life. But when he mobilized, carrying a guitar was out of the question.

After learning of Happy Note from an officer in his unit, he e-mailed the Bakers and quickly received an affirmative reply. He had to read it twice before it sank in. When the guitar arrived in a 3-foot-by-2-foot box, he considered it "satisfying and overwhelming that the kindness of the world has not diminished and people still care about us over here."

Now that he has the guitar, Gordon wrote, friends and battle buddies cram into his room to listen and play.

"The uplifting rhythm of all jazz and blues riffs calm my soul and warm my heart," he said. "It only takes one song to feel like I'm at home."
29262  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: New All.. on: June 12, 2007, 09:26:01 PM
Respects for your service!

I remember Sifu/Guro Bud from my days at the Kali Academy when I arrived in LA in 1982.  Not someone to mess with!

C'mon down to our DB Gathering of the Pack on June 24th in Burbank to get a feel for what your training is about grin
29263  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / WSJ: Un reto a los monopolios on: June 12, 2007, 09:21:22 PM

Una entrevista en ingles con una periodista bien informada sobre Latinoamerica
29264  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: June 2007 Gathering on: June 11, 2007, 09:56:53 AM
Pretty Kitty found this:

Providence Urgent Care Center
(818) 953-4488
3413 W Pacific Ave
Burbank, CA 91505

This might be more relevant for the dings, cuts, & bruises more likely to happen than a hospital.
29265  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: June 2007 Gathering on: June 10, 2007, 06:32:12 PM
Thank you Robert.

Changing subjects entirely, I was talking with C-Cyborg the other day as we were training on the mat at RAW/R1 and he expressed regret that there would be no walls, or better yet, corners into which to back one's opponent.  He remembered True Dog doing exactly that to him.

The fight area of this Gathering is, within a foot, identical to the space at RAW.  The difference of course being the absence of walls (but there are some 4x4 posts the padding of which I am working out with Dan Jackson).  The point I would like to make is this.  When back your opponent up against the boundaries of the fight area, PLEASE TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT (within the context of "Friends at the end of the day" of course!).  We are still looking for wrestling mats to stack around the perimeter.

I am toying with the idea of preparing some volunteers to patrol the periphery with Muay Thai pads or something of the sort to protect fighters as well as possible from hard landings outside the fight area and to push them back onto it.  What do y'all think?

29266  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Canis Bostonus..... on: June 10, 2007, 12:03:53 AM
If he didn't tell you, I'm guessing it must be because its his business  cheesy

More seriously now, we are doing some serious work.  He already has an excellent foundation with Guy Chase in Inosanto Blend Kali and Silat, in Muay Thai and in MMA-- including sparring with people whose names you would recognize as well as a few MMA fights. After the DB Gathering on the 24th, part of the plan is to prepare him to represent our "Kali Tudo" in the Cage.  He will be my principal training partner in our DVD Kali Tudo 2 (and perhaps 3) which we will probably shoot in August.

29267  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Boxing Thread on: June 09, 2007, 11:58:11 PM
Who won?

I saw a promo piece on HBO for it the other day-- it looks like the boxing folks at HBO are beginning to realize that MMA is a serious threat to their survivial and are starting to tighten up their promotional game.
29268  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: June 09, 2007, 05:54:12 PM

I found that very helpful in putting together data that for me was previously unconnected.  Thank you.

29269  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: World Trade Center Tower 7 on: June 09, 2007, 05:51:07 PM
Coincidentally enough it is the only one I have looked at so far  cheesy
29270  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Canis Bostonus..... on: June 09, 2007, 05:47:27 PM
At the moment the plan is for him to stay through November.
29271  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Ben Gay kills? on: June 09, 2007, 11:22:27 AM
MEDICAL EXAMINER: SPORTS CREAM CAUSES TEEN'S DEATH: A medical examiner blamed a 17-year-old track star's death on the use of too much muscle cream, the kind used to soothe aching legs after exercise. Arielle Newman, a cross-country runner at Notre Dame Academy on Staten Island, died after her body absorbed high levels of methyl salicylate, an anti-inflammatory found in sports creams such as Bengay and Icy Hot, the New York City medical examiner said Friday.

LBN news
29272  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: June 09, 2007, 11:19:54 AM
Woof C-Stray Dog:

I think your point most sound.

Snatching at random from this morning's news we find:

"LEBANESE TROOPS POUND ISLAMIC POSITIONS: Lebanon's army on Saturday pounded al Qaeda-inspired Islamic militants hiding in a Palestinian refugee camp in renewed heavy clashes following a few days of intermittent fighting. Black smoke billowed from the Nahr el-Bared camp in northern Lebanon where witnesses reported some of the heaviest army shelling since June 1, when the Lebanese army -- using tanks and artillery -- launched an offensive to drive the Fatah Islam militants from their positions inside the settlement."

I'm guessing if Israel were going after such a camp there would be a a general caterwauling and dramatic fotos and "outrage", but because its not Israel attacking these scum, nary a word or foto of this sort.

29273  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: World Trade Center Tower 7 on: June 09, 2007, 08:51:45 AM
Dog Brian approached me privately with some of his ideas before starting to post here.  I told him I found some of them quite fringe (and still do!  cheesy ) but decided to clear him to post them.  I forget the actual words or who said it, but the gist of what one of the Founding Fathers said when explaining the free speech of the First Amendment was that the solution for wrong speech was right speech.  Sure we're private sector here, but the principal is the same.

Apparently a lot of people are entertaining strange notions like these, so before they become part of American folklore, its time to shine the light of logic and truth on them.  And who knows, we may learn a thing or two from Dog Brian as well-- for example one of the URLs he posted seemed from a reliable site and was an interesting review of a book about the CIA intervention in Iran at the time of the Arbenz regime in 1953-54.  I didn't agree with everything it said, but it was well worth the time to read.
29274  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Newt with Chris Wallace on: June 09, 2007, 01:32:39 AM
Fundamental Change Needed in Washington
Fox News Sunday
Fox News Transcripts  June 3 2007
Chris Wallace   Newt Gingrich   
CHRIS WALLACE, HOST: Well, joining us now, someone who's always interesting and often controversial. But these days, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is directing his fire not at Democrats but at problems within his own Republican Party.

Mr. Speaker, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."

NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: It's good to be with you.

WALLACE: Let's start with your interview in The New Yorker magazine this week. And I want to quote from it at length. Let's put it up. "Newt Gingrich is one of those who fear that Republicans have been branded with the label of incompetence. He says that the Bush administration has become a Republican version of the Jimmy Carter presidency when nothing seemed to go right."

And later, there's this. "Not since Watergate," Gingrich said, "has the Republican Party been in such desperate shape. Let me be clear: 28 percent approval of the president, losing every closely contested Senate seat except one, every one that involved an incumbent -- that's a collapse."

Jimmy Carter? Watergate? Collapse? Are things really that bad?

GINGRICH: Well, let me say, first of all, nothing that I said in The New Yorker disagrees with things I said as early as December of '03 when I talked about having gone off the cliff in Iraq, things I said all through '04 in trying to get the Bush campaign team to shift from attacking Kerry personally to forcing a genuine choice over values and policies, to concerns I raised in December of '04, January and February of '05, about how they were approaching Social Security reform, through what happened at Katrina.

I mean, so what I said in The New Yorker may be compressed, but in fact, it is things that for the last three years I've talked -- I've warned all last year that I suspected we were drifting into a catastrophic defeat. I don't see any other way to read '06 except it was a defeat.

And if we don't have a serious, open discussion of where we are, I don't see how we're going to change.

Just take this week. An American with tuberculosis shows up at the border. We're in the middle of a debate over immigration and controlling the border. He shows up at the border. The computer says do not let him enter and only deal with him in a hazardous suit.

And the border patrol currently is so ill-trained, or the immigration service is so ill-trained, that the guy lets him in -- looks at him with his eyeballs and says, "you know, I don't think he looks sick," and lets him in.

You learn that there are three illegal terrorists in New Jersey who were in the U.S. for 23 years illegally, intercepted by the police 75 times in the last six years, and it was never indicated that they were here illegally.

You go through this list. You say to yourself this government -- I mean, not just the president. This is not about the presidency. The government is not functioning. It's not getting the job done.

WALLACE: But you compare George W. Bush to Jimmy Carter, which, as you well know, is fighting words among Republicans.

GINGRICH: Look, the functional effect in public opinion is about the same. Now, Republicans need to confront this reality.

If you were at 28 percent, 29 percent, 30 percent approval, and if things aren't working, and now you have a fight which splits your own party -- and this immigration fight goes to the core of where we are. If you read Peggy Noonan's column last Friday, which was devastating -- and I think it resonates with where the base of this party is right now. The base of this party is looking up going, "What are we in the middle of -- why are we ramming through an omnibus Teddy Kennedy bill, and attacking Republicans who criticize it, and calling us," for example, as one senator did, "bigots, when all we're saying is this government couldn't possibly implement this bill?"

There's no evidence at all that this government is capable of executing this.

WALLACE: We're going to get to immigration in a second. But White House spokesman Tony Snow pushed back at your comments this week.


WALLACE: And let's take a look at them. Here they are.


TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: When it comes to presidential politics, you know that the first rule is if you're running even in your own party, the first thing you do is you try to differentiate your product, and you always use the president as somebody that you're sort of measuring yourself against.


WALLACE: He says you're trying to carve out a place in the Republican debate by knocking the president.

GINGRICH: Look, Tony Snow is a great friend, and I admire him a great deal, and it's a nice try. In 1988, no one running for president on the Republican nomination tried to differentiate themselves from Ronald Reagan.

There's a lesson there. Ronald Reagan was enormously popular. The fact is that -- forget presidential politics. We as a country over the next 1.5 years half have to do dramatically better.

You just had a report from Iraq that's very sobering. You have a comment from General Sanchez that should alarm every American. You have the report today of the terrorists being picked up in New York who were trying to blow up the jet fuel.

And by the way, one of those terrorists was picked up on the way to Iran for a conference on Islamic behavior around the world.

WALLACE: Basically, what do you think is wrong with George W. Bush?

GINGRICH: Look, I think that he means very, very well. I think he's very, very sincere. But I don't think that he drives implementation and looks at the reality in which he's trying to implement things. And I think that's why you ended up with, "Brownie, you're doing a great job," when it was obvious to the entire country at Katrina that the Federal Emergency Management Agency had collapsed and was not capable of doing any job at that point.

And I think as a result, the administration has very, very high goals -- Democracy throughout the Middle East -- and very weak bureaucratic support for those goals, and the result is an enormous mismatch in just sheer implementation.

And this is, in the end, a practical country. Americans want their government to work.

WALLACE: You say that this president doesn't solve anything.

GINGRICH: He doesn't methodically insist on changing things. I mean, again, take the example last week. If somebody with tuberculosis, who is actually in the computer system, can't be stopped at the border; if you have three terrorists in New Jersey who have been here illegally for 23 years -- and the Senate, by the way, voted to sanction cities and counties not asking if you're illegal, an amendment to this -- what I think is an absolute disaster of immigration legislation -- you have to look at that and say, "We're not serious."

I just did, as you know, a novel on the second world war. I was out recently at Pearl Harbor and looking at the Missouri and looking at the Arizona, and they're sitting right next to each other. And the Missouri was our answer to Pearl Harbor.

We built an entire navy. We built an entire air force. We created the atomic bomb. We mobilized 16.5 million people in uniform. We won the entire war in less than four years.

Now, you look at the ruthlessness, the aggressiveness, the energy that we put into that war, and here we are 5.5 years after 9/11, and the fact is I would argue we're losing the war around the world with Islamist extremists and they are, in fact, gaining ground.

WALLACE: Let's talk about what may be the biggest problem that conservatives have right now with President Bush, and that is his support for comprehensive immigration reform.

Mr. Bush said this week that critics like yourself on the right are misrepresenting the plan. Let's watch.


PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: If you want to scare the American people, what you say is, "The bill is an amnesty bill." It's not an amnesty bill. That's empty political rhetoric trying to frighten our fellow citizens.


WALLACE: Empty rhetoric trying to frighten the American people. Your response?

GINGRICH: Well, the bill explicitly grandfathers in somewhere between 10 million and 20 million people. We don't know the number because the government has no idea how many there are -- again, an example of incompetence.

The government doesn't know within a million how many people will be grandfathered in.

They're all, in effect, made permanent temporary workers the day the bill is signed. They have to go through one day of filling out a form. There is zero possibility the federal government will be able to process those forms.

And it's simply, I think, disingenuous. I'm assuming that the president and his staff understand what this bill does. And if they do, what the president said is disingenuous.

This bill, in effect, grandfathers somewhere between 12 million and 20 million people. We don't know who they are. It would have grandfathered the three terrorists in New Jersey.

WALLACE: But some conservatives say, "You know, there's a lot to like in this bill." There is tougher border enforcement in the bill. Let me just ask the question. There is tougher border enforcement in the bill -- that it creates a temporary guest worker program, that it puts an end to the chain migration of families in.

Isn't a bill with those features better than no bill at all?

GINGRICH: No, because this bill creates a brand new system that gives between 10 million and 20 million people guaranteed access to the United States without any recourse.

I was in Dallas doing a book signing two weeks ago, and a federal prosecutor walked up to me, career bureaucrat, civil servant, not a political appointee, and said to me, with anger, the most effective tool they have in dealing with illegal gang members is deportation.

This bill would, in effect, guarantee 30,000 illegal gang members that they can stay in the U.S. by the following. You sign a paper that says I promise not to be in the gang anymore. Now, that is so out of touch with reality.

WALLACE: But the Bush administration -- and I know Commerce Secretary Gutierrez has said this, "Look, we're not going to deport 12 million to 20 million people."


WALLACE: Let me finish. It isn't going to happen. And so as a result, if you do nothing, if you stay with the system you have now, the 12 million people are going to stay here, and what you have is amnesty. It's just silent amnesty.

GINGRICH: Yes, but what they're saying, in effect, is we either have to do nothing or we have to do something fairly dumb.

Now, why can't we do a series of small, smart steps? Why couldn't they -- I'll give you another example. Democratic Governor Napolitano of Arizona wrote a column this week pointing out that they are cutting the number of National Guard supporting the border before they have actually met their goals at the border.

So the average American looks up and says, "Why can't you control the border tomorrow morning? Why can't you enforce the law?" I mean, you don't have to deport anybody. All you have to say is to American businesses, who are American citizens, "Obey American law or face economic penalties."

Now, the morning you do that, you begin to dry up the market for hiring people illegally.

Why couldn't you make sure that there was a fairly easy way to verify somebody was legally here so that, as rapidly as you do with an automatic teller machine with your credit card, you're able to know that you're hiring somebody legally?

Those things drive people -- you don't have to deport anybody. All you have to do is make it dramatically harder to get in the U.S. and dramatically harder to hire people illegally.

WALLACE: Let's turn to 2008. You suggest that the only way that a Republican in this current political climate is going to win the presidency is to run against President Bush the same way that Nicolas Sarkozy was just elected president of France running against the incumbent, Jacques Chirac, even though he was a member of Chirac's cabinet.

Do you really think the Republicans will nominate someone who is running against George W. Bush?

GINGRICH: No, I don't think you need to run -- in fact, I don't think you should run against President Bush. I think most of his major decisions have been very sincere, and most of them are decisions the average American actually would endorse.

I think what you do have to do is run in favor of radically changing Washington and radically changing government. And I think that all you have to do is look at the examples I've given you today where the government simply fails.

Look at New Orleans today and you can't possibly believe this is an effective federal program. And so I think...

WALLACE: But if you're not running against the president, you're certainly running against his record.

GINGRICH: Well, what Sarkozy said was that without -- he never attacked President Chirac. He never took him on at all. He said simply, "We have to have dramatically bigger changes."

I think the average American will tell you they want Washington changed very dramatically, and that doesn't always involve the president.

Eighty-two percent of the country believes we ought to have a dramatic change in earmarks in the Congress, for example. And I think 85 percent of the country believes English ought to be the official language of government. Those are not necessarily involving President Bush.

WALLACE: We've got a couple of minutes left. Fred Thompson all but announced this week that he is running for president. Are you satisfied with his credentials? Does the Republican field now have a true conservative?

GINGRICH: Well, first of all, there are several candidates who each bring their own unique strengths to this, and in terms of offering a very bold, dramatic vision, Governor Romney would be capable of it. I think Mayor Giuliani would be capable of it. I think Fred Thompson will be capable of it.

These are solid people. And over the next three months or four months, we'll see what they do. My entire focus -- despite Tony Snow's comment, my entire focus is on creating a solutions day on September 27th.

I'm going to be giving a speech at the American Enterprise Institute this Friday outlining the scale of change I'm describing. It is not pro- or anti-Bush. It is beyond the current presidency.

And it argues that in order for us to be effective, in order for us to apply the World War II standard of effectiveness, we have to have very relentless, dramatic change in American government.

WALLACE: Let me ask you, because the question a lot of people are asking is, "Is there still room for Newt Gingrich in the race?" You have been dropping a lot of hints recently, and let's put them up on the screen.

Two weeks ago, you said, "It is a great possibility" that you'll run. Then a few days ago, you said, "I'll probably end up running."

Mr. Speaker, it sure sounds like you want to get in this race.

GINGRICH: Well, I think when you see that there's nobody yet -- and we're giving all of our material from American Solutions to every candidate in both parties.

But when you look at -- for example, all the Democrats' proposals on health care sadly represent more big government, more bureaucracy, more Washington controls, which is a denial of the whole underlying reality of...

WALLACE: Right. I wouldn't expect the Democrats to adopt your strategy, but how about the Republicans?

GINGRICH: I would have to say that you have to look -- and I'm waiting -- I mean, I'm not out here trying to crowd anybody on anything. I'm simply suggesting we need to have some very bold proposals for fundamental change, and so far I don't see much of that.

I see some encouraging signs, but I think the key question is, is somebody prepared to stand up and say that the American people deserve fundamental change in Washington, and to outline a set of those fundamental changes that are big enough that people look up and say, "That's what I want."

WALLACE: And if you don't see that, you're getting in?

GINGRICH: I think after September 29th -- we're going to have two days of workshops on September 27th on the Internet and again on September 29th, available to anybody in the country, Democrat, Republican, independent.

After those two days of solutions-oriented approach, I'll start looking at it, you know, on September 30th.

WALLACE: Mr. Speaker, come on back and tell us what you decide.

GINGRICH: All right.

WALLACE: Thank you, as always, for coming in.

And we also want to note that you have a new book out, which you mentioned -- you can see it up there on the screen -- called "Pearl Harbor", a historical novel. And good luck with that, sir.

GINGRICH: Thank you.
29275  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Particular Stocks on: June 09, 2007, 01:05:29 AM
I have followed David Gordon's decision to exit from ISIS for now at about a 10% loss.  DG feels that it looks to be going down a bit further and, assuming the story, fundamentals remain as they are, will re-enter at that time.

MVIS is now a triple for me  afro
29276  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Wolves, Dogs and other canines on: June 09, 2007, 01:02:55 AM

Black Commonwealth's Attorney, who blocked execution of search warrant obtained by Sheriff's Office, playing the race card because his effort to protect Michael Vick got bitch slapped by the Feds.

Feds use warrant, search Vick's property

Associated Press
Posted: 11 hours ago
SURRY, Va. (AP) - Federal law enforcement officials descended on a home owned by Michael Vick on Thursday armed with a search warrant that suggests they're taking over an investigation into the Falcons quarterback's possible involvement in dogfighting.

More than a dozen vehicles went to the home early in the afternoon and investigators searched inside before turning their attention to the area where officials found dozens of dogs in late April and evidence that suggested the home was involved in a dogfighting operation.

Surry County officials had secured a search warrant in late May based on an informant's information to look for as many as 30 dog carcasses buried on the property. The warrant never was executed because Commonwealth's Attorney Gerald G. Poindexter said he had issues with the way it was worded.

That search warrant expired Thursday.

"What is foreign to me is the federal government getting into a dogfighting case," Poindexter said. "I know it's been done, but what's driving this? Is it this boy's celebrity? Would they have done this if it wasn't Michael Vick?"

Poindexter said he was "absolutely floored" that federal officials got involved, and that he believes he and Sheriff Harold D. Brown handled the investigation properly.
"Apparently these people want it," Poindexter said. "They want it, and I don't believe they want it because of the serious criminal consequences involved. ... They want it because Michael Vick may be involved."

Poindexter said he found out about a sealed search warrant filed in the U.S. Attorney's office about the time federal investigators executed it Thursday.

"If they've made a judgment that we're not acting prudently and with dispatch based on what we have, they've not acting very wisely," Poindexter said.

He said Surry County officials were preparing another search warrant for the property and that the investigative team planned to meet to make sure they had all the experts needed to make the search most effective.
"There's a larger thing here, and it has nothing to do with any breach of protocol," Poindexter said. "There's something awful going on here. I don't know if it's racial. I don't know what it is."

State police assisted investigators from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Attorney's office in executing the warrant, Virginia State Police Sgt. D.S. Carr said, declining to comment further.
Thursday evening, a state police evidence collection truck was parked inside the fence surrounding the house. Investigators could be seen carrying a large sheet of plywood and a box.

The U.S. Attorney's office would not confirm a search warrant was filed.
Messages left at Brown's office were not returned, and a dispatcher said he left for the day at around 4 p.m.

An after-hours call to Vick's attorney, Larry Woodward of Virginia Beach, was not immediately returned.

During an April 25 drug raid on the home Vick owns in the county, authorities seized 66 dogs, including 55 pit bulls, and equipment that suggested someone at the property was involved in a dogfighting operation.

A search warrant affidavit said some of the dogs were in individual kennels and about 30 were tethered with "heavy logging-type chains" buried in the ground. The chains allowed the dogs to get close to each other, but not to have contact, one of myriad findings on the property that suggested a dogfighting operation.

Others included a rape stand, used to hold non-receptive dogs in place for mating; an electric treadmill modified to be used by dogs; a "pry bar" used to open the clamped-down mouths of dogs; and a bloodied piece of carpeting the authorities believe was used in dog fights. Carpeting gives dogs traction in a plywood fighting pit.

Vick has claimed he rarely visits the home and was unaware it could be involved in a criminal enterprise. He also has blamed family members for taking advantage of his generosity. Vick's cousin, Davon Boddie, was living at the home at the time of the raids.
Vick, a registered dog breeder, has said in more recent interviews that his lawyers have advised him not to discuss the investigation.
29277  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Diyala Province on: June 09, 2007, 12:58:20 AM
Iraq's Dangerous Diyala Province
Unknown gunmen attacked the home of the police chief in Baqubah, Iraq, on June 8, killing the man's wife and 11 guards, and kidnapping three of his grown children. The chief, Col. Ali Dilayan al-Jorani, was not at home at the time of the attack.

Diyala province, the capital of which is Baqubah, is now the site of some of the worst violence in Iraq, in part because the foreign jihadists and the Sunnis have turned on one another there. However, the fighting, which pits the jihadists against Sunni tribes and Sunni nationalist militants, also is going on in the other central Iraqi provinces of Anbar and Babil, as well as in the country's capital, Baghdad. Meanwhile, the other conflicts that have been raging for years -- between coalition forces and jihadists, Shia and jihadists, and Sunnis and Shia -- continue unabated. Jihadists also are increasingly attacking Iraqi Kurds in the North.

Anbar province was once a haven for foreign jihadists and a major point on the so-called "rat line" used by the jihadists to enter Iraq from Saudi Arabia, Syria and Jordan. Coalition troops, in fact, engaged in frequent pitched battles with insurgents in Anbar's cites of Al Fallujah and Ar Ramadi, though they failed to permanently drive out the jihadists. Around October 2005, however, the Sunni tribes in Anbar turned on the jihadists, and the fighting between the two groups is now in full swing. The jihadists have struck back by attacking the tribes with suicide bombs, truck bombs and bombs laced with chlorine in an effort to coerce the tribes to fall back in line.

It does not appear to be working.

U.S. forces, however, enlisted the support of Sunni tribal leaders in Anbar, as well as leaders who have sought refuge in Jordan and Syria but retain influence at home. This has led to a major reduction in the number of foreign jihadists in Anbar. The tribal leaders started coming on board after the jihadists began attacking their tribes and disrespecting their culture in an effort to coerce them to cooperate. Once the tribal leaders started to ally themselves with U.S. and Iraqi security forces, young tribesmen joined the Iraqi army, police and provincial security units (PSU) that patrol the province. These recruits have been critical to the coalition's success in Anbar. The tribesmen in the PSUs have been especially vital to this effort because they know who belongs and who does not, leaving the jihadists with little sanctuary.

The situation in Anbar in recent months, along with the surge in U.S. security operations in Baghdad, has compelled the jihadists to regroup in Diyala province, where they historically have had some level of influence. In fact, slain al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was seeking refuge in Diyala when he was betrayed by Sunni tribes.

The situation in Diyala, however, differs from that in Anbar as regards the number of actors involved. In Diyala, the jihadists are encountering the Sunni nationalist militias, Sunni tribes (though the tribes are not as fully engaged as in Anbar), Shiite militias and increasing numbers of U.S. troops who are being steadily shifted from other provinces. Also contributing to the level of violence in Diyala are the Kurds, who want the province incorporated into a Kurdish autonomous region; the Iranians just over the border, who are supporting different factions in this fight; and the Shiite-on-Sunni fighting.

As a result of all this, Diyala has seen a significant rise in attacks since February -- and has now become one of the most dangerous provinces in Iraq for U.S. and Iraqi troops, their foes and civilians.

Violence also is increasing in Babil province, which lies on a fault line between the Sunni and Shiite areas. Not only has Babil witnessed some of the most devastating attacks against Shiite targets in the war, but the jihadists in Babil also have been fighting Sunni tribes as they try to maintain their position in the province.

This trend of Sunni nationalist-jihadist fighting reflects the growing momentum of political negotiations between Iran, the United States and the various Iraqi factions to reach a political resolution in Iraq. For the Shiite and Sunni factions to get on board with the deal, each side will have to deliver on its end of the bargain. For the Shia, it means reining in the militias -- a process that appears to be under way. For the Sunnis, this means wiping out the jihadists.
29278  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Islamo-fascismo en Latino America on: June 09, 2007, 12:55:11 AM

Spain arrests Syrian man for selling arms to FARC
By Michelle Nichols 32 minutes ago
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A suspected Syrian weapons dealer accused of arming militants from  Iraq to Nicaragua for decades has been arrested in Spain on U.S. charges of trying to supply Colombian rebels, authorities said on Friday.

The arrest of Monzer al-Kassar "finally brought one of the world's most prolific arms traffickers to justice," U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia said.
U.S. authorities were seeking the extradition of Kassar, 61, of Marbella, Spain, and two other men, Tareq Mousa al Ghazi, 60, of Lebanon, and Luis Felipe Moreno Godoy, 58, also of Marbella, who were arrested in Romania.
All three are wanted on charges of conspiring to sell millions of dollars worth of weapons to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
An indictment unsealed in New York on Friday said the men had agreed to provide the weapons for the FARC "to use to protect their cocaine-trafficking business and to attack United States interests in Colombia."
"They knew the weapons they agreed to sell were destined for a terrorist organization. They knew the arms were going to be used to kill Americans," Garcia told a news conference.
Colombia is the world's top producer of cocaine, with most of its crop destined for the United States and Europe.
A longtime Spanish resident known as the "Prince of Marbella" for his opulent lifestyle, Kassar has sold weapons to the Palestinian Liberation Front, Nicaragua, Bosnia, Croatia, Iran, Iraq and Somalia since the 1970s, the U.S. Embassy in Madrid said.
The three are also charged with conspiracy to kill U.S. nationals, conspiracy to kill officers and employees of the United States, conspiracy to acquire and use anti-aircraft missiles, and money laundering.
In 1995, Kassar was acquitted by Spain's high court of a charge of piracy in connection with the 1985 hijacking of the Italian cruise liner Achille Lauro by Palestinian guerrillas.
He was arrested at Madrid airport on Thursday on a U.S. request and appeared before a judge in the capital on Friday.
Prosecutors said Kassar and Ghazi met with two confidential sources working with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration at Kassar's home in Marbella in February and discussed the sale of weapons to the FARC.
The sources said they represented the FARC and needed the weapons to fight against the United States in Colombia. They requested assault rifles, sniper rifles, Makarov pistols, ammunition, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, grenade rounds and hand grenades.
Prosecutors say Kassar told the sources the weapons would cost between 6 million and 8 million euros ($8 million to $10.6 million) and offered to send 1,000 men to fight with the FARC against U.S. military officers.
He also offered to supply the sources "with C4 explosives, detonators, and experts to train the FARC to use them against these United States armed forces," the indictment said.
In March, prosecutors said all three men met again with the sources at Kassar's home where the men allegedly agreed to provide prices for "surface-to-air missile systems for the FARC to use to attack United States helicopters in Colombia."
DEA administrator Karen Tandy told reporters Kassar was a "notorious transnational criminal" whose motivation was "sometimes based on a shared ideology of hatred for America and what we stand for and sometimes purely for greed."
The U.S. government has designated the FARC as a foreign terrorist organization. The rebels have been fighting for socialist revolution since 1964 and have at times run large swathes of Colombia.
29279  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Palo Canario on: June 09, 2007, 12:54:05 AM
Hola Manuel:

Antes de nada, quiero ofrecerte nuestro bienvenidos a nuestro foro.

No he tenido mucho contacto con Aflonso recientemente.  Acabo de mandar por tu parte un email a Alfonso, pero parece que la direcion ya no sirve.  Tratare' localizar una manera de ponerme en contacto con el para que el sepa de tu interes.

La Aventura continua,
Crafty Dog
29280  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Venezuela Pol?tica on: June 09, 2007, 12:19:41 AM
There is now a thread on the Politics & Religion forum on Venezuela in English.  Denny is participating.
29281  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Mexico on: June 09, 2007, 12:18:09 AM
Lamento que otra vez lo siguiente sea en ingles, pero nadie esta' "posting" (?Como se dice "to post"?) en espanol.

In Mexico drug traffickers silence media

Chris Hawley and Sean Holstege
The Arizona Republic
Jun. 8, 2007 12:00 AM


When hand grenades began exploding outside its subsidiary in Sonora state,
the largest newspaper chain in Mexico decided to throw in the towel.

"For the good of all, I recognize the imperative need to make this painful
and difficult decision and announce the temporary closure of the Cambio
Sonora newspaper," Mario Vázquez Raña, president of Organización Editorial
Mexicana, told readers in a letter.

That was two weeks ago. The newspaper has not published since.

Across Mexico, a tide of drug-related violence is silencing journalists, one
of the few institutions that people still trust in this country racked by
police and judicial corruption.

Mexico was the deadliest country for journalists after Iraq in 2006, with
nine dead and three missing, according to the Reporters Without Borders
watchdog group.

The numbers of attacks have been rising since 2003, as reporters are
snatched from the street by armed men in SUVs or gunned down as they leave
their offices. Just in the past month, a reporter and cameraman disappeared,
another reporter received death threats and a newspaper office was attacked.

The repression is hampering anti-crime efforts and threatening to destroy
Mexico's free press, which had just begun to flourish after decades of
control by the Mexican government, some journalists say.

"Before, the repression was political. Now, it's coming from organized
crime, and it's targeting the very lives of journalists, " said Adela
Bello, publisher of the Zeta newsmagazine in Tijuana.

In some cases, attackers seem to be punishing reporters for specific
articles identifying drug-smuggling and other suspects. But other attacks,
like the Cambio Sonora grenades, seem to be aimed simply at sowing fear
among the news media, said Reporters Without Borders, which interviewed
reporters for its annual report.

"Journalists on the border were telling us they were afraid to write about
local crimes," said Lucie Morillon, Washington director for the group. "If
you know the mayor or a powerful politician is linked to drug traffickers
and you've just had a baby, you won't write that story."

Newsroom fear

In drug hotspots, many newspapers no longer write about drug-related crime.
Others bury news of shootouts and murders deep in the newspaper.

Nuevo Laredo's El Mañana newspaper stopped covering drug-related crimes
after a Feb. 6, 2006, attack on its offices with grenades and assault
rifles. Editors now review every crime story to see if it is safe to print,
editor Ricardo Garza said.

At Cambio Sonora, editors had stopped assigning drug-related investigative
articles more than a year ago, editor Roberto Gutiérrez said.

El Imparcial, the most prestigious newspaper in Sonora, cut back on its
drug-crime reporting after one of its reporters, Alfredo Jiménez,
disappeared in 2005. Now, the newspaper won't even talk about the issue.

In the past year, there have been at least 30 attacks, threats or attempts
to silence journalists or their employers, according to an analysis by The
Republic. And the incidents are getting closer to the Arizona border.

On April 16, gunmen killed Saúl Martínez, a reporter for the Interdiario
newspaper in Agua Prieta, just across the border from Douglas. Police said
he may have been involved in drug smuggling, a charge his family fiercely

Also in April, reporters in San Luis Río Colorado, near Yuma, filed a police
complaint alleging that lawyers for an drug-trafficking suspect were
pressuring them to change testimony about the 1997 death of a fellow

The attackers have been picking increasingly high-profile targets.

On April 6, gunmen killed Amado Ramírez, correspondent in Acapulco for
Mexico's No. 1 television network, Televisa. On May 10, they abducted
popular television reporter Gamaliel López Candanosa and his cameraman in
Monterrey, Mexico's third-largest city.

Since 1994, 15 reporters have been confirmed killed because of their work,
according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. The only conviction came
12 years ago, and only five cases resulted in arrests.

A main reason is that murder is not a federal offense under Mexican law and
state investigators often lack the tools or desire to hunt down journalists'

When journalist killings began to accelerate last year, the Mexican
government created an Office of the Special Prosecutor for Crimes Against
Journalists to handle such cases. But of 152 complaints investigated by the
office, only two have gone to court, special prosecutor Octavio Orellana
told La Jornada newspaper on May 16.

"More than a year has passed with no results. They haven't broken that cycle
of impunity," said Carlos Luria, Americas program coordinator for the
Committee to Protect Journalists.

Setback for democracy

Press watchdog groups say the pressure comes at a critical time, as Mexican
journalists were becoming more independent and aggressive after decades of
government control.

Until democratic reforms in the 1990s, Mexican presidents pressured the
media by controlling the flow of government advertising, manipulating unions
allied with the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or cutting off
newspapers' paper supply through the state-run newsprint monopoly,
Productora y Importadora de Papel S.A.

Mexicans now trust the mass media more than they trust President Felipe
Calderón, the Supreme Court, the police and nearly every other institution
in Mexico, according to a February poll by the Mitofsky consulting company.
Only universities, the Roman Catholic Church, the army and the National
Commission on Human Rights ranked higher.

Watchdog groups say the attacks on journalists are crippling Calderón's
recent efforts to crack down on drug crime in Tijuana, Nuevo Laredo,
Monterrey, Michoacán state and other hotspots.

Police corruption in these places is rampant, and journalists are often the
only source of solid information about drug lords.

"The drug traffickers are getting rid of people who tell the Mexican people
the truth, who keep them informed." Morillon said.

"You can't solve the drug problem if you don't have the proper information.

Failing to address the drug problem will lead to more violence, she and
others said.

"It will be a very unstable situation and very dangerous, "Morillon said.
"It's terrible for Mexican civil society, and that will affect the border

Silencing a giant

The May 24 closure of Cambio Sonora showed that even Mexico's biggest
newspaper chain could be brought to heel, analysts say.

"This goes beyond violence to the press," Lauria said. "It's limiting the
ability of Mexicans to communicate with each other."

Organización Editorial Mexicana, known as OEM, claims to be Latin America's
biggest newspaper chain, with 70 daily papers.

Gannett Co., which owns The Republic, has 102 daily newspapers.OEM also owns
24 radio stations, and Vázquez Raña, the company's president, briefly owned
the U.S. news agency United Press International in the 1980s.

Grenade attacks

The company's decision to close Cambio Sonora came after grenades exploded
in the newspaper's parking lot on April 17 and May 16.

The second grenade narrowly missed a reporter who was coming out of the
office. That attack came the same day as a confrontation between police and
drug smugglers that killed 23 people in northeastern Sonora.

OEM said it closed the newspaper because the Sonoran authorities ignored the
company's calls to put police around its office and failed to find the

The company said that it did not believe the move showed weakness and hoped
that the closure would force the Sonoran government to take action.

"The very fact that we are such a large and strong chain should prevent
people from seeing this as a sign of weakness," company Vice President
Eduardo Andrade said.

"What we are hoping is that this will make everyone reflect on the
responsibility of the authorities to provide security."

Sonoran Gov. Eduardo Bours said detectives are doing their best to find the
attackers and accused the company of overreacting.

"The two grenades are regrettable, no doubt about it, and I'm not saying
they aren't regrettable, " Bours told reporters at a May 28 news conference.
"But the reaction seems extremely strange to me, to say the least."

Newspaper officials still don't know the motive for the attacks. Cambio
Sonora had not published any investigative articles recently, said
Gutiérrez, the newspaper's editor.

"We don't have the slightest idea what the attacks were about," he told The
Republic shortly before the paper closed.

The newspaper had already taken precautions to protect its reporters after
the disappearance of El Imparcial's Jiménez, he said.

Crime stories ran without bylines, and the newspaper had struck a deal not
to run investigative pieces unless all newspapers in the region published
them simultaneously.

Andrade said the newspaper's reporters will continue to be paid during the
paper's closure.

"It's worrying how they have managed to intimidate these media," said
Navarro, the publisher of Zeta.

"It's getting more serious and more widespread.

"We've lost media in the northwest of the country and some in the center and
others. We're just going to keep doing our job and hope these gloomy
statistics end."
29282  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: World Trade Center Tower 7 on: June 08, 2007, 11:56:04 PM
From the GetofftheX forum:


Sadly, too many in the short time since 9/11 have, in their search for understanding, come to entertain and champion some of the most outlandish, lurid, infantile and offensive hypotheses ever to spread beyond the fevered ramblings of the maniacal. It is understandable for those who can not perceive of just how the physics of the events of 9/11 make sense, those who are ignorant will (more often than not) find the most comfortable perch to look at an event from rather than searching for truth that requires work to understand. We can be smacked in the face by events and instead of understanding the roots, we latch on to an emotion created by that event and blindly move on, learning nothing.

Human nature being what it is, some of these outrageous theories are predictable, but their spread lies not within the proof they say they have but within individual's general mistrust and poor opinion of the current administration and government in general. How do we combat this spreading meme that "9/11 was an inside job!", perhaps by starting with incontrovertible evidence.

A few weeks after 9/11, I had the thought (it seemed a little ghoulish to me at the time, necessary but ghoulish) that we should take all of the media generated that day and the days after by amateurs and pros and government agencies and compile it in DVD form and make it available to the public for the cost of the manufacture and compilation only. At the time I felt that even though I had seen enough of the 9/11 footage to last me till I died, I was afraid that visual evidence of this tragedy would be sanitized by the media for future generations, kind of like they were doing to movies and other things at the times, removing any reference to the WTC or it's image. I suppose my fears of that we wouldn't be allowed as TV viewers to see it ever again were pretty unfounded, but I still believe the idea has merit and today it would be useful as a tool to correct the distortions perpetrated by the ignorant and the deceitful.

With all that said, the intention of this post and future posts in this thread is to lay out the facts of 9/11 in visual format in a way that (hopefully) won't or can't be misconstrued by "Truthers" to advance the inaccuracies they purport to be truth in regards to the events of that day. I will start this post with a bunch of videos I found on YouTube that I had never seen before from 9/11, they offer a number of different views of the attacks and the aftermath, some of which completely blow a number of "Truther" arguments out of the water, but it is a little hard for them to see beyond their own agenda, or even look at the next video in the queue of videos related to the one they just posted. If any of you have additions please post them, but know this, they will be vetted to best of the abilities of those assembled here, which is an incredible array of dudes of who have way too much knowledge and time on their hands not to be able to debunk 99% of the BS floating on the internet concerning 9/11. Every admission will be looked at fairly, and those found wanting will be dumped, simple as that, if you have a problem with that, come into the locker room and bitch at me, and we can argue it there. Hell, I may even let you reiterate your case there, if you can convince me of it's merit. I'm a pussy like that.

So, let the truth begin!

First, let's point you all to THE clearing house for debunking the BS surrounding the WTC.

Now, for something that addresses one of the other attacks, this is an excellent amateur explanation of the attack on the Pentagon using data and images available on the web. The most gratifying part is it comes from one of the most unlikely sources, a web site and forum dedicated to UFO discussion and evidence called abovetopsecret. Trust me, this is worth the visit.

Remove the #'s around the link, I don't want this to become a direct link that might lead some of the other less sensible members of that site over here.


And now, several different compilations of video that don't get seen much on TV or anywhere else, for that matter. These are all from YouTube.

Here is an video that expands on part of one of the ones above where they are in the lobby of WTC 1 when 2 collapses, partially trapping them, listen for the sound of the fire extinguisher as they enter and think about what the camera man says he could have filmed as they walked in, but didn't.

This is a little more of that video with stuff cut from the first.

Another different collection of the impacts.

Here is video from Shanksville after the crash of United 93, the "Truthers" want to use it to show how there is no wreckage, but in fact you can clearly see the area is absolutely littered with debris, but the remains of the plane that you can immediately see are small because the plane was pulverized by it's high speed, high angle of impact with the ground. There were in fact larger pieces of wreckage found but they were scattered over a wide area due to the force of the impact.

I hope some of this helps answer any questions you may have had but didn't want to voice, or helps you "correct" any true believers you might cross paths with. This was a truly unprecedented event in human history, nothing quite like it had ever happened and God willing never again. It makes sense that people can't wrap their brains around it, but approaching six years on, we can not let the their lack of understanding steer public opinion.
29283  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Internet and related technology on: June 08, 2007, 11:53:23 PM
"drivers can download multimedia — including movies, images and songs"

Ummm, , , , Call me old-fashioned, I'd rather they watch the road than a movie.
29284  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Celebrities - Paris on: June 08, 2007, 11:47:43 PM
I was tempted to delete this thread when it was first posted, but left it to see what would develop. 

I certainly agree about the ratings sluts that most news organizations have become; indeed I go further in that I get irked by the crime as soap opera stories too  rolleyes

At this point I suppose there is a legitimate curiousity as to whether this vapid little , , , , was able to game her way out of prison with the system's wink and a nod, but overall for me its one giant OY VEY.
29285  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: MMA Thread on: June 08, 2007, 11:42:34 PM
Funny interview.

Any predictions on the fight?
29286  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: June 08, 2007, 08:06:01 PM
I've emailed Denny about the existence of this thread.
29287  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: June 08, 2007, 12:40:45 PM
I'm not familiar with the argument about the citizenship vel non of those born to illegal aliens.

Immigration, Part 2: “Subject to the jurisdiction thereof”?
Would it surprise you to know that more than 20 percent of children born in the United States are born to illegal aliens? As recently as 2002, that figure was 23 percent. Currently, all those children enjoy birthright citizenship and all its favors, despite the fact that there are legitimate questions about the constitutionality of such a right.

More on that in a minute.

Thursday morning, Demo Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid attempted to rally a test vote on the so-called “Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Reform Act of 2007,” but Republicans and a handful of Democrats refused to end debate on the legislation. Reid failed to muster the 60 votes necessary for cloture by a wide margin—only 32 Democrats and one Independent voted to close the debate. Thursday afternoon, Reid called again for a vote to end debate and move the legislation to the floor, but strike two. Rather than risk a third strike, Reid pulled the legislation—and it may not be back this year.

In other words, the Senate is a long way from passing an immigration bill of its own, much less coming up with something that can get through the House. Indeed, that’s the good news.

As I outlined in Part One of this series on immigration, the debate is nothing more than political pandering to 12 percent of the electorate—Latino voters—unless it begins with a commitment to secure our southern border and coastlines. As Ronald Reagan declared, “A nation without borders is not a nation.”

Only after the establishment of functional border security can a legitimate immigration debate take place.

At that point, immigration legislation must authorize and fund these priorities: enforcement of current immigration laws; immediate detention and deportation of those crossing our borders illegally; deportation of any foreign national convicted of a serious crime or seditious activity; a guest-worker program (with reliable documentation as a prerequisite) to meet the current demand for both skilled and unskilled labor; penalties against employers who hire illegal aliens; no extension of blanket amnesty or fast-track citizenship (new citizenship applicants go to the back of the line); the preservation and provision of tax-subsidized medical, educational and social services for American citizens and immigrants here legally; and the Americanization of new legal immigrants, including an end to bilingual education and a national mandate for English as our nation’s official language.

Currently, there are deportation orders for more than 600,000 illegal aliens, but virtually no funding or effort to enforce these orders. And while there are substantial penalties for hiring illegal immigrants, there is no funding or effort to enforce these laws, either.

Question: If there is no comprehensive effort to secure our borders and enforce existing immigration laws, what difference would any new legislation make, other than to shore up Latino voter constituencies?

While the swamp rats are sorting out that question, hundreds of thousands of immigrants are birthing children in the U.S. (more than three million at last count). It is assumed that they have a constitutional birthright to citizenship. As such, those children, and their attendant families, are served up a plethora of social services at taxpayer expense. They are also the anchors for a chain of migration because upon reaching age 21, the children of illegal immigrants can petition to have citizenship extended to the entire family.

But does the Constitution authorize birthright citizenship to illegal aliens?

The relevant constitutional clause concerning birthright is found in the 14th Amendment, one of three “reconstruction amendments” proposed after the War Between the States. The 13th Amendment banned slavery, the 14th ensured Due Process and Equal Protection under the law for former slaves and their children, and the 15th banned race-based qualification for voting rights.

Section 1 of the 14th Amendment (as proposed in 1866 and ratified in 1868) reads, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” It explicitly referred to children born to U.S. citizens and those born to aliens lawfully in the U.S. 

Why did the amendment’s sponsors insist on adding, “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof”?

For insight, consider the words of Sen. Jacob Howard, co-author of the amendment’s citizenship clause. In 1866, he wrote that the amendment “will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, or who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States...”

By extension, then, it is fair to conclude that, in addition to the children of those legally in the U.S. under the above exclusion, this would apply to the children of those illegally in the U.S. —until the Supreme Court took up the question of the rights of illegal aliens to taxpayer services in 1982. In Plyler v. Doe, the judicial activists concluded that “no plausible distinction with respect to Fourteenth Amendment ‘jurisdiction’ can be drawn between resident aliens whose entry into the United States was lawful, and resident aliens whose entry was unlawful.”

But Plyler v. Doe is historically and legally inaccurate. In the context of original intent, children born to those who have entered the U.S. illegally—those who are not citizens—are not “subject to the jurisdiction thereof.” One would hope, in the course of the current debate about immigration, that Congress and the courts would actually pay homage to the plain language of our Constitution.

Not much chance of that, though, especially when it’s not politically expedient.

Meanwhile, 12-20 million illegal aliens in the U.S. have hundreds of thousands of children, who are extended birthright citizenship—at an annual cost to taxpayers of between six and ten billion dollars.

On top of that, the “economic benefit” argument for “guest workers” is suffering a significant trade deficit. On average, the households of illegal aliens are paying about $9,000 in various taxes, and receiving about $30,000 in benefits—direct benefits, social services, public services and population based services like education.

Quote of the week
“In 1970, six percent of all births in the United States were to illegal aliens. In 2002, that figure was 23 percent. In 1994, 36 percent of the births paid for by Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid, were to illegals. That figure has doubtless increased in the intervening 12 years as the rate of illegal immigration has risen.” —Mona Charen

29288  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam the religion on: June 08, 2007, 11:41:59 AM
The Road to Reformation
By Fareed Zakaria

For those in the west asking when Islam will have its Reformation, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that the process appears to have begun. The bad news is it's been marked by calumny, hatred and bloody violence. In this way it mirrors the Reformation itself, which we now remember in a highly sanitized way. During that era, Christians of differing sects massacred each other as they fought to own the true interpretation of their religion. No analogy is exact, but something similar seems to be happening within Islam. Here the divide is between the Sunnis, who make up 85 percent of the Muslim world, and the Shiites, who represent most of the other 15 percent.

The dominant new reality in the Middle East today is the growing schism between these two groups. Look at the daily sectarian killings in Iraq, listen to the dark warnings of Saudi and Jordanian leaders about a "Shia crescent," watch the power struggles in Lebanon. Islam's quiet cleavage has come out into the open. At a recent demonstration in the Palestinian territories, opponents of Hamas taunted the Sunni Islamists as "Shiites" because of their links to Iranian-backed Hizbullah.

We in the United States have spent much time asking what all this means for Iraq, for U.S. troops in the midst of this free-for-all and for America more generally. But think, for a moment, about what the trend means for Al Qaeda.

Osama bin Laden and Ayman Al-Zawahiri, both Sunnis, created Al Qaeda to be a Pan-Islamic organization, uniting all Muslims as it battled the West, Israel and Western-allied regimes like Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Neither Zawahiri nor bin Laden was animated by hatred of Shiites. In its original fatwas and other statements, Al Qaeda makes no mention of them, condemning only the "Crusaders" and "Jews." But all ideologies change as they encounter reality. When bin Laden moved to Peshawar in the 1980s to fight the Russians in Afghanistan, he allied with radical Sunnis who had a long history of oppressing Afghanistan's Shiite minority, the Hazaras. (The novel "The Kite Runner" is about a young Hazara boy.) Even then, bin Laden didn't sanction anti-Shiite violence, nor did he add anti-Shiite accusations to his messages. But after the Sunni Taliban took power, Arab fighters under his command did support his hosts' anti-Shiite pogroms.

Iraq was the real turning point. The self-appointed leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi, had a poisonous attitude toward Shiites. In a letter to bin Laden, written in February 2004, he described Iraq's Shiite majority as "the insurmountable obstacle, the lurking snake, the crafty and malicious scorpion, the spying enemy ... The danger from the Shia ... is greater ... than the Americans ... I come back and again say that the only solution is for us to strike the religious, military, and other cadres among the Shia with blow after blow until they bend to the Sunnis." Zarqawi was drawing on Wahhabi Islam-and its offshoot Deobandism in South Asia-in which there is a deep and oppressive strain of anti-Shiite ideology.

Bin Laden and Zawahiri were clearly uncomfortable with this new line, and the latter reproached Zarqawi directly. Bin Laden remained largely silent on the matter, but by the end of 2004, both had decided that Al Qaeda in Iraq was too strong to rebuke. And, rousing anti-Shiite feelings seemed the only way to mobilize Iraq's Sunni minority. It also, crucially, made them see Al Qaeda as an ally. The trouble for Al Qaeda is that as a practical matter, loathing Shiites works in only a few places: principally Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and some parts of the gulf. Most of the rest of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims are turned off by attacks on their co-religionists.

So, an organization that had hoped to rally the entire Muslim world to jihad against the West has been dragged instead into a dirty internal war within Islam. Bin Laden began his struggle hoping to topple the Saudi regime. He is now aligned with the Saudi monarchy as it organizes against Shiite domination. This necessarily limits Al Qaeda's broader appeal and complicates its basic anti-Western strategy.

These emerging divisions weaken Al Qaeda, but they will help most Muslims only if this story ends as the Reformation did. What is currently a war of sects must become a war of ideas. First, Islam must make space for differing views about what makes a good Muslim. Then it will be able to take the next step and accept the diversity among religions, each true in its own way.

The United States should avoid taking sides in this sectarian struggle and aim instead to move the debate to this broader plain. We should encourage the diversity within Islam, which has the potential to divide our enemies. But more important, we should encourage the emerging debate within it. In the end it was not murder but Martin Luther that made the Reformation matter.
29289  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Geo Political matters on: June 08, 2007, 10:42:00 AM
Good research skills to find such an on-point piece GM.

Not to interrupt the flow between you and Brian, but a moment's tangent on Lyndon LaRouche:

A child of the political turmoil of the late 60s, I remember LaRouche, described in the article in your post as "a right wing extremist", as being part of the Trostky-ite Progressive Labor Party.  (I'm much less certain of my memory when I say I also remember him/his organization being in serious criminal legal trouble for fund-raising that basically came down to stealing from widows and orphans e.g. getting credit card information from old people, then running up their cards with donations to LaR and his movement).

From time to time one sees a table of his people hawking his writings and EIR-- which is a weird publication indeed.  To call it "Right Wing" slanders those of us who believe in free minds and free markets-- "fascism off its medications"  I think would be closer.

I've never, ever run across anyone who supports LaR.  The people manning these tables are some real drones.  Very disciplined, very relentless, and very angry-- especially when they run into someone well enough informed to call them on lies stated as facts.    This is something I do with good manners and good cheer, yet more than once I have felt an effort on their part to intimidate me.

Who are these people?  How do they make their money?  Where does LaR get his money?
29290  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Stratfor: Russia's Great Power Strategy on: June 08, 2007, 09:33:17 AM

Geopolitical Diary: Understanding Putin's Missile-Defense Offer

Russia and the United States have had some tense exchanges this week regarding a U.S. plan to create a ballistic missile defense (BMD) system based in Central Europe -- with Russian President Vladimir Putin at one point even threatening to point missiles at Europe if such a system were built. But on Thursday, Putin offered U.S. President George W. Bush what, on the surface, would appear to be a mutually beneficial alternative: Moscow and Washington could cooperate on the project, but base it in Azerbaijan instead.

The U.S. plan -- to construct BMD facilities in Poland and the Czech Republic in order to defend against a potential Iranian missile strike -- has run into many complications. Within NATO there are concerns that the system will not protect all of Europe, and that it unnecessarily provokes the Russians. Moscow, meanwhile, certainly does not want any system in Europe that at all impedes delivery of its own nuclear deterrent, even obliquely.

At first glance, a system based in Azerbaijan would appear to remove all of these problems. Its location on Iran's northern border would enable earlier warning of launches, and would provide a bigger arc of protection that could shield all of Europe and most of Russia. And, since Azerbaijan is not located between Russia and the West, such a system would not threaten the Russian deterrent.

Sounds like a great deal, right?

That's what we thought until we took a closer look at U.S. BMD technology.

The U.S. missile-defense system uses specially equipped ground-based radar stations to identify a missile launch, track it and coordinate an intercept. Getting an interceptor to the target takes time, so the sooner a BMD radar can pick up the missile and start tracking it, the more time the system as a whole has to spin up and engage it. In practice, this means that any Polish/Czech system would really be intended to guard the mainland United States and maybe the United Kingdom, but certainly not mainland Europe.

It's true that pushing the system closer to the Middle East would give interceptor sites in Europe more time to react -- but Azerbaijan is actually too close to Iran to be a base for interceptors. It is much easier to predict where a missile will go once it establishes its ballistic path -- that is, after its final booster cuts out. If Iran could launch from its northwest, the missile would already be ahead of the Azerbaijan site before Azerbaijan-based interceptors could engage it or even plot its course. Even for the most advanced interceptors, it would be a tail-chase from the start, which would require essentially near-instantaneous response time to the initial launch for any chance of success at all.

Think of a BMD system like a baseball field. In essence, the Polish/Czech facility would serve as an outfielder trying to "catch" a missile after watching to see where it is going. The Russians want the outfielder to stand in Azerbaijan, which would be essentially right next to home plate. Catching anything at such short range is difficult -- and, while the United States does have systems in development to operate at such distances, even when they are deployed they would only work as one component of a larger system. That means a functional BMD system would have to be based in Central Europe, where it could engage any missiles in mid-flight, not in Azerbaijan where it would have to target the missile's boost phase. It also means that Tehran can rest easy -- there is no U.S. military facility coming to Iran's northern border.

Thus, Putin's offer is really about shifting the European BMD system's coverage toward central Asia and into irrelevance. It is a political offer that -- though it will play well in international media as a show of friendliness -- has little real value. An Azerbaijani-hosted BMD radar would certainly have its uses, but only as a complement to a larger BMD system in Europe. It cannot function alone.

Besides all this, Putin's offer will come with strings attached that will make this deal a non-starter for the United States:

Moscow's specific offer is for the United States to use Russia's own radar base at Qabala, Azerbaijan. The problem here is that Russia knows a thing or two about espionage. Closely guarded American technological developments will be at risk, as will communication signals with any larger BMD system.

These communications and the site itself will remain exceptionally vulnerable to Russian interference -- anything from toying with locally obtained supplies to physically destroying key facilities. And a BMD system is just the sort of thing that must be at its best at the height of a crisis.

While Iran's military capabilities are a pale shadow compared to those of a first-world power, even Tehran could probably jam signals in and out of southern Azerbaijan -- making the whole exercise useless.

Washington certainly realizes all this. So why would Putin make the offer if he knows it will be practically useless to the United States?

The real goal is to turn Washington's BMD plan into a wedge issue for NATO. Many European states are concerned about BMD for myriad reasons, but the one commonality is a fear that the plan will unnecessarily provoke Moscow into being more aggressive with Europe. By being "reasonable" and "offering" to "cooperate" with BMD, Moscow can snarl Washington's European policy in a way that has not been done since the Cold War.

We do not make that comparison lightly. In the Cold War days, the Soviets regularly made offers that seemed quite reasonable at first glance, but would have gutted Western defense capabilities in practice. For example, while working fervently to develop nuclear weapons, Josef Stalin proposed putting all nuclear weapons -- which at the time meant Washington's -- under U.N. control. It sounded nice in a speech, but in reality would have opened up Europe to the Soviet Union's overwhelmingly superior conventional military capabilities.

Such Soviet positioning was regularly effective at hurling intra-Western relations into the thresher -- and that was back when there were only a dozen NATO members.

Now there are 26.
29291  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Cierre RCTV on: June 08, 2007, 07:39:20 AM
Gracias por mantenernos informados sobre los acontecimientos en Venezuela!
29292  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: New to the Dog Brothers Forum on: June 08, 2007, 07:32:46 AM
Capoeira is amazing.  Maestre Boneco taught at the Inosanto Academy for a time.  When he was in the room, all women's eyes and thoughts were on him  angry cheesy
29293  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Biologists make skin cells work like stem cells on: June 07, 2007, 08:28:55 AM

Published: June 7, 2007
In a surprising advance that could sidestep the ethical debates surrounding stem cell biology, researchers have come much closer to a major goal of regenerative medicine, the conversion of a patient’s cells into specialized tissues that might replace those lost to disease.

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From Skin Cells to Stem Cells
A Long, Uncertain Path for New Cell Technique (June 7, 2007)
Times Topics: Stem CellsThe advance is an easy-to-use technique for reprogramming a skin cell of a mouse back to the embryonic state. Embryonic cells can be induced in the laboratory to develop into many of the body’s major tissues.

If the technique can be adapted to human cells, researchers could use a patient’s skin cells to generate new heart, liver or kidney cells that might be transplantable and would not be rejected by the patient’s immune system. But scientists say they cannot predict when they can overcome the considerable problems in adapting the method to human cells.

Previously, the only way to convert adult cells to embryonic form has been by nuclear transfer, the insertion of an adult cell’s nucleus into an egg whose own nucleus has been removed. The egg somehow reprograms the nucleus back to an embryonic state. That procedure is known as therapeutic cloning when applied to people, but no one has yet succeeded in doing it.

The new technique, developed by Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University, depends on inserting just four genes into a skin cell. These accomplish the same reprogramming task as the egg does, or at least one that seems very similar.

The technique, if adaptable to human cells, is much easier to apply than nuclear transfer, would not involve the expensive and controversial use of human eggs, and should avoid all or almost all of the ethical criticism directed at the use of embryonic stem cells.

“From the point of view of moving biomedicine and regenerative medicine faster, this is about as big a deal as you could imagine,” said Irving Weissman, a leading stem cell biologist at Stanford University, who was not involved in the new research.

David Scadden, a stem cell biologist at the Harvard Medical School, said the finding that cells could be reprogrammed with simple biochemical techniques “is truly extraordinary and frankly something most assumed would take a decade to work out.”

The technique seems likely to be welcomed by many who have opposed human embryonic stem cell research. It “raises no serious moral problem, because it creates embryoniclike stem cells without creating, harming or destroying human lives at any stage,” said Richard Doerflinger, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ spokesman on stem cell issues. In themselves, embryonic stem cells “have no moral status,” and the bishops’ objections to embryonic stem cell research rest solely on the fact that human embryos must be harmed or destroyed to obtain them, Mr. Doerflinger said.

Ronald Green, an ethicist at Dartmouth College, said it would be “very hard for people to say that what is created here is a nascent form of human life that should be protected.” The new technique, if adaptable to human cells, “will be one way this debate could end,” Mr. Green said.

Biologists learned how to generate human embryonic stem cells in 1998 from the few-day-old embryos discarded by fertility clinics, a procedure the embryos did not survive. This source proved controversial, and biologists supported by federal financing were unable to explore the new opportunity until August 2001 when President Bush, in a political compromise, decreed that research on human embryonic stem cells could begin, but only with cell lines already in existence by that date.

The restrictions have caused considerable frustration among biologists and other supporters of research on embryonic stem cells. Indeed, the House is expected to vote today to increase federal funds for such research. If approved, the bill, similar to one approved by the Senate, would go to the president. The White House has already said that the president will veto it.

The new technique, when adaptable to human cells, should sidestep all these problems. James Battey, vice chairman of the National Institutes of Health stem cell task force, said he saw “no impediment at all” to federal support of researchers using the new technique on human cells.

Ever since the creation of Dolly the sheep, the first cloned mammal, scientists have sought to lay hands on the mysterious chemicals with which an egg will reprogram a mature cell nucleus injected into it and set the cell on the same path of embryonic development as when egg and sperm combine.

Years of patient research have identified many of the genes that are active in the embryonic cell and maintain its pluripotency, or ability to morph into many different tissues. Last year, Dr. Yamanaka and his colleague Kazutoshi Takahashi, both at Kyoto University, published a remarkable report relating how they had guessed at 24 genes responsible for maintaining pluripotency in mouse embryonic stem cells.


When they inserted all 24 genes into mouse skin cells, some of the cells showed signs of pluripotency. The Kyoto team then subtracted genes one by one until they had a set of four genes that were essential. The genes are inserted into viruses that infect the cell and become active as the virus replicates. The skin cell’s own copies of these genes are repressed since they would interfere with its function. “We were very surprised” that just four genes are sufficient to reprogram the skin cells, Dr. Yamanaka said.

 Stem CellsDr. Yamanaka’s report riveted the attention of biologists elsewhere. Two teams set out to repeat and extend his findings, one led by Rudolf Jaenisch of the Whitehead Institute and the other by Kathrin Plath of the University of California, Los Angeles, and Konrad Hochedlinger of Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Yamanaka, too, set about refining his work.

In articles published today in Nature and a new journal, Cell-Stem Cell, the three teams show that injection of the four genes identified by Dr. Yamanaka can make mouse cells revert to cells indistinguishable from embryonic stem cells. Dr. Yamanaka’s report of last year showed that only some properties of embryonic stem cells were attained.

This clear confirmation of Dr. Yamanaka’s recipe is exciting to researchers because it throws open to study the key process of multicellular organisms, that of committing cells to a variety of different roles, even though all carry the same genetic information.

Recent studies have shown that the chromatin, the complex protein material that clads the DNA in chromosomes, is not passive packaging material but highly dynamic. It contains systems of switches that close down large suites of genes but allow others to be active, depending on the role each cell is assigned to perform.

Dr. Yamanaka’s four genes evidently reset the switch settings appropriate for a skin cell to ones that specify an embryonic stem cell. The technique is easy to use and “should revolutionize the field since every small lab can work on reprogramming,” said Alexander Meissner, a co-author of Dr. Jaenisch’s report.

An immediate issue is whether the technique can be reinvented for human cells. One problem is that the mice have to be interbred, which cannot be done with people. Another is that the cells must be infected with the gene-carrying virus, which is not ideal for cells to be used in therapy. A third issue is that two of the genes in the recipe can cause cancer. Indeed 20 percent of Dr. Yamanaka’s mice died of the disease. Nonetheless, several biologists expressed confidence that all these difficulties would be sidestepped somehow.

“The technical problems seem approachable — I don’t see anyone running into a brick wall,” said Owen Witte, a stem cell biologist at U.C.L.A. Dr. Jaenisch, in a Webcast about the research, predicted that the problems of adapting the technique to human cells would be solvable but he did not know when.

If a human version of Dr. Yamanaka’s recipe is developed, one important research use, Dr. Weissman said, will be to reprogram diseased cells from patients so as to study the molecular basis of how their disease develops.

Beyond that is the hope of generating cells for therapy. Researchers have learned how to make embryonic cells in the laboratory develop into neurons, heart muscle cells and other tissues. In principle, these might be injected into a patient to replace or supplement the cells of the diseased tissue, without fear of immune rejection.

No one really knows if the new cells would succumb to the same disease process, or if they would be well behaved, given that they developed in a laboratory dish without recapitulating the exact succession of environments they would have experienced in the embryo.

Still, repairing the body with its own cells should in principle be a superior to the surgeon’s knife and the oncologists’ poisons. Cloning Bill Defeated in House

WASHINGTON, June 6 (AP) — House Republicans united Wednesday to reject a bill supported by Democrats that would make it illegal to use cloning technology to initiate a pregnancy and create a cloned human being. The parties accused each other of using the legislation to score political points before the House votes Thursday on a stem cell bill that President Bush says he will veto.

29294  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: WW3 on: June 07, 2007, 08:14:40 AM
Defeat’s Killing Fields

Published: June 7, 2007
SOME opponents of the Iraq war are toying with the idea of American defeat. A number of them are simply predicting it, while others advocate measures that would make it more likely. Lending intellectual respectability to all this is an argument that takes a strange comfort from the outcome of the Vietnam War. The defeat of the American enterprise in Indochina, it is said, turned out not to be as bad as expected. The United States recovered, and no lasting price was paid.

Skip to next paragraph
Alain Pilon
We beg to differ. Many years ago, the two of us clashed sharply over the wisdom and morality of American policy in Indochina, especially in Cambodia. One of us (Mr. Shawcross) published a book, “Sideshow,” that bitterly criticized Nixon administration policy. The other (Mr. Rodman), a longtime associate of Henry Kissinger, issued a rebuttal in The American Spectator, defending American policy. Decades later, we have not changed our views. But we agreed even then that the outcome in Indochina was indeed disastrous, both in human and geopolitical terms, for the United States and the region. Today we agree equally strongly that the consequences of defeat in Iraq would be even more serious and lasting.

The 1975 Communist victory in Indochina led to horrors that engulfed the region. The victorious Khmer Rouge killed one to two million of their fellow Cambodians in a genocidal, ideological rampage. In Vietnam and Laos, cruel gulags and “re-education” camps enforced repression. Millions of people fled, mostly by boat, with thousands dying in the attempt.

The defeat had a lasting and significant strategic impact. Leonid Brezhnev trumpeted that the global “correlation of forces” had shifted in favor of “socialism,” and the Soviets went on a geopolitical offensive in the third world for a decade. Their invasion of Afghanistan was one result. Demoralized European leaders publicly lamented Soviet aggressiveness and American paralysis.

True, the consequences of defeat were mitigated by various factors. The Nixon-Kissinger breakthrough with China contributed to China’s role as a counterweight to Moscow’s and Hanoi’s new power in Southeast Asia. (Although China, a Khmer Rouge ally, was less scrupulous than the United States about who its partners were.)

And despite the defeat in 1975, America’s 10 years in Indochina had positive effects. Lee Kuan Yew, then prime minister of Singapore, has well articulated how the consequences would have been worse if the United States had not made the effort in Indochina. “Had there been no U.S. intervention,” he argues, the will of non-communist countries to resist communist revolution in the 1960s “would have melted and Southeast Asia would most likely have gone communist.” The domino theory would have proved correct.

Today, in Iraq, there should be no illusion that defeat would come at an acceptable price. George Orwell wrote that the quickest way of ending a war is to lose it. But anyone who thinks an American defeat in Iraq will bring a merciful end to this conflict is deluded. Defeat would produce an explosion of euphoria among all the forces of Islamist extremism, throwing the entire Middle East into even greater upheaval. The likely human and strategic costs are appalling to contemplate. Perhaps that is why so much of the current debate seeks to ignore these consequences.

As in Indochina more than 30 years ago, millions of Iraqis today see the United States helping them defeat their murderous opponents as the only hope for their country. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have committed themselves to working with us and with their democratically elected government to enable their country to rejoin the world as a peaceful, moderate state that is a partner to its neighbors instead of a threat. If we accept defeat, these Iraqis will be at terrible risk. Thousands upon thousands of them will flee, as so many Vietnamese did after 1975.

The new strategy of the coalition and the Iraqis, ably directed by Gen. David Petraeus, offers the best prospect of reversing the direction of events — provided that we show staying power. Osama bin Laden said, a few months after 9/11, that “when people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature they will like the strong horse.” The United States, in his mind, is the weak horse. American defeat in Iraq would embolden the extremists in the Muslim world, demoralize and perhaps destabilize many moderate friendly governments, and accelerate the radicalization of every conflict in the Middle East.

Our conduct in Iraq is a crucial test of our credibility, especially with regard to the looming threat from revolutionary Iran. Our Arab and Israeli friends view Iraq in that wider context. They worry about our domestic debate, which had such a devastating impact on the outcome of the Vietnam War, and they want reassurance.

When government officials argued that American credibility was at stake in Indochina, critics ridiculed the notion. But when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990, he and his colleagues invoked Vietnam as a reason not to take American warnings seriously. The United States cannot be strong against Iran — or anywhere — if we accept defeat in Iraq.

Peter W. Rodman, an assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs from 2001 to March, is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. William Shawcross is the author of “Allies: Why the West Had to Remove Saddam.”
29295  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: June 2007 Gathering on: June 07, 2007, 06:59:51 AM
I stand corrected on "tatami"  embarassed cheesy

Good point on the shoes.  Yes.  Attention Fighters!  Please wear wrestling or other mat type shoes!
29296  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: New to the Dog Brothers Forum on: June 07, 2007, 12:10:45 AM
Welcome aboard Eric!
29297  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: June 2007 Gathering on: June 06, 2007, 11:12:02 AM
Salty Dog is confirmed  afro

Concerning the fight surface:  Subject to confirmation, it looks like our fight surface will be judo tatami mats.
29298  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Islamic Countries: on: June 06, 2007, 11:10:02 AM
There's a major front page piece in today's LA Times by a woman reporter on her experiences in Saudi Arabia.  I'm on my way out the door for a very full day of teaching.  Would someone be so kind as to cut and paste it here?

29299  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: June 06, 2007, 08:53:18 AM
Be Careful What You Sue For
June 6, 2007; Page A19

Pursuing a libel or slander suit has long been a dangerous enterprise. Oscar Wilde sued the father of his young lover Alfred Douglas for having referred to him as a "posing Somdomite" and wound up not only dropping his case but being tried, convicted and jailed for violating England's repressive laws banning homosexual conduct. Alger Hiss sued Wittaker Chambers for slander for accusing Hiss of being a member of the Communist Party with Chambers, and of illegally passing secret government documents to him for transmission to the Soviet Union. In the end, Hiss was jailed for perjury for having denied Chambers' claims before a grand jury.

More recently, British historian David Irving sued American scholar Deborah Lipstadt in England for having characterized him as a Holocaust denier and was ultimately so discredited in court that an English judge not only determined that he was indeed a Holocaust denier but an "antisemite" and "racist" as well.

On May 29 of this year, the potential vulnerability of a plaintiff that misuses the courts to sue for libel once again surfaced when the Islamic Society of Boston abandoned a libel action it had commenced against a number of Boston residents, a Boston newspaper and television station, and Steven Emerson, a recognized expert on terrorism and, in particular, extremist Islamic groups. In all, 17 defendants were named.

Those accused had publicly raised questions about a real estate transaction entered into between the Boston Redevelopment Authority and the Islamic Society, which transferred to the latter a plot of land in Boston, at a price well below market value, for the construction of a mosque and other facilities. The critics urged the Boston authorities to reconsider their decision to provide the land on such favorable terms (which included promised contributions to the community by the Islamic Society, such as holding lectures and offering other teaching about Islam) to an organization whose present or former leaders had close connections with or who had otherwise supported terrorist organizations.

On the face of it, the Islamic Society was a surprising entry into the legal arena. Its founder, Abdurahman Alamoudi, had been indicted in 2003 for his role in a terrorism financing scheme, pled guilty and had been sentenced to a 23-year prison term. Another individual, Yusef Al-Qaradawi, who had been repeatedly identified by the Islamic Society as a member of its board of Trustees, had been described by a U.S. Treasury Department official as a senior Muslim Brotherhood member and had endorsed the killing of Americans in Iraq and Jews everywhere. One director of the Islamic Society, Walid Fitaihi, had written that the Jews would be "scourged" because of their "oppression, murder and rape of the worshipers of Allah," and that they had "perpetrated the worst of evils and brought the worst corruption to the earth."

The Islamic Society nonetheless sued, claiming both libel and civil-rights violations. Motions to dismiss the case were denied, and the litigants began to compel third parties to turn over documents bearing on the case. In short order, one after another of the allegations made by the Islamic Society collapsed.

Their complaint asserted that the defendants had falsely stated that monies had been sent to the Islamic Society from "Saudi/Middle Eastern sources," and that such statements and others had devastated its fund-raising efforts. But documents obtained in discovery demonstrated without ambiguity that fund-raising was (as one representative of the Islamic Society had put it) "robust," with at least $7.2 million having been wired to the Islamic Society from Middle Eastern sources, mostly from Saudi Arabia.

The Islamic Society claimed it had been libeled by a variety of expressions of concern by the defendants that it, the Society, had provided support for extremist organizations. But bank records obtained by the defendants showed that the Islamic Society had served as funder both of the Holy Land Foundation, a Hamas-controlled organization that the U.S. Treasury Department had said "exists to raise money in the United States to promote terror," and of the Benevolence International Foundation, which was identified by the 9/11 Commission as an al Qaeda fund-raising arm.

The complaint maintained that any reference to recent connections between the Islamic Society and the now-imprisoned Abdurahman Alamoudi was false since it "had had no connection with him for years." But an Islamic Society check written in November 2000, two months after Alamoudi publicly proclaimed his support for Hamas and Hezbollah, was uncovered in discovery which directed money to pay for Alamoudi's travel expenses.

To top it all off, documents obtained from the Boston Redevelopment Authority itself revealed serious, almost incomprehensible, conflicts of interest in the real-estate deal. It turned out that the city agency employee in charge of negotiating the deal with the Islamic Society was at the same time a member of that group and secretly advising it about how to obtain the land at the cheapest possible price.

So the case was dropped. No money was paid by the defendants, no apologies offered, and no limits on their future speech imposed. But it is not at all as if nothing happened. The case offers two enduring lessons. The first is that those who think about suing for libel should think again before doing so. And then again once more. While all the ultimate consequences to the Islamic Society for bringing the lawsuit remain uncertain, any adverse consequences could have been avoided by not suing in the first place.

The second lesson is that in one way (and perhaps no other) we should learn from the English system and award counsel fees to the winning side in cases like this, which are brought to inhibit speech on matters of serious public import. Because all the defendants in this case were steadfast and refused to settle, they were eventually vindicated. But the real way to avoid meritless cases such as this is to have a body of law that makes clear that plaintiffs who bring them will be held financially responsible for doing so.

Mr. Abrams, a partner in the law firm of Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP, represented Steven Emerson in the case discussed in this op-ed.
29300  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: June 06, 2007, 08:47:49 AM
Well, lets forget about my effort at a particular example  embarassed and stay with the big picture.

Here's this from today's WSJ-- I don't agree with all its points, but think it makes one worth considering well with regard to guest workers:


The 'Guest Worker' Folly
June 6, 2007; Page A19

After years of inconclusive posturing and negotiation, Congress is finally getting serious about a comprehensive overhaul of U.S. immigration policy. The Senate proposal under consideration, to its credit, deals with all three crucial elements of the immigration policy challenge: what to do about the illegal immigrants already here (whom no one honestly believes we would ever deport); how we might secure the border and stem future illegal entry; and whom we should admit in the future.

The bill is a decidedly mixed bag, however, with elements that are good, very good and downright ugly. Unfortunately, the ugly element may fatally outweigh the rest.

First, the good: The proposed legislation's convoluted path to legal status for the country's estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants is probably the best compromise to be achieved between the adamant proponents and opponents of "amnesty." It is essential that all immigrants who are permitted to stay actually become members of American society. The legalization provisions, however imperfect, are better than the status quo. More good: On border security, the proposed bill would focus primarily on an electronically supported implementation of employer sanctions. This makes real sense, because employer sanctions have always been a far more effective means of stopping illegal immigration in its tracks than border guards or fences. Those who claim that employer sanctions haven't worked are unaware that they have never been seriously tried. If we mean it this time, employer sanctions will work.

Turkish guest workers in Germany.
Second, the very good: The most commendable aspect of the bill is its retreat from family sponsorship -- indeed any form of sponsorship -- as the only basis for admitting immigrants, in favor of a merit-based point system. The point system is predicated on self-sponsorship, with bonus points for criteria well within the ability of most potential immigrants to meet: English language proficiency, modest levels of education and a set of specific skills. Of all aspects of the current proposal, this is the most far-reaching and creative, because the current family and employer sponsorship system is seriously flawed, at war with our immigration heritage and a major contributor to illegal entry.

Because it sets aside "family reunification," this provision is being vehemently attacked by supposed immigration "liberals" as being cruel and unfair. They have it backward; it is the current system that is cruel and unfair, and it was designed to be that way. It was instituted in the 1920s for only one deplorable purpose -- to keep out the growing number of immigrants from "undesirable" countries, then meaning those from southern and eastern Europe. The family sponsorship criteria that immigration advocates so cherish were designed not out of concern for family values at all, but to skew the immigrant mix toward nationalities already here.

As it happens, by the time the U.S. expanded its quotas after 1965, Europeans were less interested in coming, and Mexicans and other Latin Americans had secured enough of a demographic foothold to give the family sponsorship feature a decided Latino tilt. But family sponsorship is also profoundly unfair, and a major spur to illegal entry, because most potential immigrants -- even from Mexico -- do not have close American relatives.

In any case, the immigration reform bill's deleterious impact on families would be minimal, because it sets aside enough slots to finally clear the entire backlog of current family-sponsored applicants, and would allow point-based admittees to bring their close relatives with them.

Now the ugly: The most ill-conceived element of the Senate bill is its provision for admitting hundreds of thousands of temporary, or "guest," workers. As many critics have already noted, since it is unlikely that all, or even a majority, of temporary workers would actually return to their native countries when their visas expired, the guest-worker mechanism means that we can readily anticipate the next wave of illegal residents -- and is unlikely that we will ever again entertain any kind of post hoc residency legitimation.

But even if all temporary workers went back home after their allotted stay ended, the notion of inviting millions of new immigrants to live in American communities with no possibility of their ever becoming Americans is an affront to our civic and immigration heritage. (The current legislation is quite clear that neither extended stays nor citizenship will be options for temporary workers.) Can our civil society -- so grounded in the notions of assimilation and civic participation by all Americans -- tolerate an army of permanent aliens in our midst? I believe not.

Western Europe's experiment with foreign labor recruitment in the 1960s and 1970s, under various guest-worker rubrics, should give us pause. While the individual nations' policies varied widely, they all shared with the Senate proposal two expectations: that imported laborers would not stay very long, and that they would not assimilate into the national social fabric.

True enough, the guest workers in Germany, France, the Netherlands, Scandinavia did not assimilate; but the majority have stayed, legally and illegally, residing in alienated economic and cultural enclaves, resentful of and resented by their unwelcoming host citizenry. If we are determined to replicate Western Europe's four decade old guest-worker experiment, we may soon reap the same civil discord it is experiencing today.

The temporary-worker provision has been included in the reform package supposedly at the behest of employers, especially those needing unskilled workers in agriculture and services. But if employers across America really need a larger labor force, this result could easily be achieved under the new point-based quota system. The quota could be enlarged by precisely the number of visas that the bill allots to temporary workers, and under the bill's Labor Department certification provisions, its criteria could be broadened to encompass the kinds of low-skill occupations that temporary workers would presumably fill. But the bedrock principle that must be sustained is that all who come to America must have the potential to become Americans.

As with all compromise legislation, no interest group, policy wonk (like myself), or partisan position gets everything it wants. There is now such a hunger for immigration reform across the policy spectrum that, regardless of our specific misgivings, we are all being asked to take the ugly along with the good and very good. But at this point I feel so strongly that the "guest worker" provision would be catastrophic that I would rather wait for a better bill without it.

Mr. Salins, a professor of political science at Stony Brook University, is the author of "Assimilation, American Style" (Basic Books, 1997).

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