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30151  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Nat Geo Documentary on the Dog Brothers: Fight Club on: January 22, 2008, 01:04:24 PM
30152  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: January 22, 2008, 01:00:43 PM
English mosques are so extremist they'd be closed down in Baghdad, says IRAQ'S deputy prime minister

Certain English mosques are more radical than those found in Iraq and would be "illegal" in the war-torn country according to the Iraqi deputy prime minister.  The shocking remarks, made by Dr Barham Salih, related to mosques he visited in Blackburn and have angered Muslim leaders.  Dr Salih visited the east Lancashire town in 2005 as a guest of Jack Straw and made his remarks at a dinner party in Baghdad in November.

Shadow culture minister Tobias Ellwood, who attended the dinner, claimed the Iraqi politician said: "I am not surprised that you British are facing so many problems with extremists after what I saw in those mosques in Blackburn.  What I saw would not be allowed here in Iraq - it would be illegal."

The 41-year-old MP made the claims during a Westminster debate on terrorism.

He said: "I know Jack Straw well, but my eyebrows raise when you have a very senior Iraqi leader make comments like that.  I do not believe these comments can be dismissed out of hand. I was absolutely shocked.  He went inside the mosques, and said literature he saw would be illegal. He was quite clear.  The comments are only directed at a very small proportion of mosques in the UK - the vast majority of Muslims wouldn't want to be labelled."

Salim Mulla, chairman of the Lancashire Council of Mosques, reacted furiously to the comments. He said Dr Salih spoke positively about what he had seen in the town when they spoke during his visit.

He said: "We are going out of our way to bring the community together. Nobody is working harder than us at breaking down barriers.  For Dr Salih to make these sort of comments is not very helpful at all.  I don't know where he's coming from. He was very co-operative when he visited, and took lots of photographs. How many incidents have we had in Blackburn? He is talking a load of rubbish."

Dr Salih, a Sunni Muslim, was elected in January 2005 to Iraq's first democratically held elections in 50 years.  During his visit, in the run-up to the 2005 general election, he told voters to support Jack Straw, then Foreign Secretary, and not to turn against him because of the war in Iraq.  Salim Mulla said he could not recall which mosques, Dr Salih visited.
30153  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Evolutionary biology/psychology on: January 22, 2008, 09:16:22 AM
NY Times

As the candidates have shown us in the succulent telenovela that is the 2008 presidential race, there are many ways to parry for political power. You can go tough and steely in an orange hunter’s jacket, or touchy-feely with a Kleenex packet. You can ally yourself with an alpha male like Chuck Norris, befriend an alpha female like Oprah Winfrey or split the difference and campaign with your mother. You can seek the measured endorsement of the town elders or the restless energy of the young, showily handle strange infants or furtively slam your opponents.

Just as there are myriad strategies open to the human political animal with White House ambitions, so there are a number of nonhuman animals that behave like textbook politicians. Researchers who study highly gregarious and relatively brainy species like rhesus monkeys, baboons, dolphins, sperm whales, elephants and wolves have lately uncovered evidence that the creatures engage in extraordinarily sophisticated forms of politicking, often across large and far-flung social networks.

Male dolphins, for example, organize themselves into at least three nested tiers of friends and accomplices, said Richard C. Connor of the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, rather like the way human societies are constructed of small kin groups allied into larger tribes allied into still larger nation-states. The dolphins maintain their alliances through elaborately synchronized twists, leaps and spins like Blue Angel pilots blazing their acrobatic fraternity on high.

Among elephants, it is the females who are the born politicians, cultivating robust and lifelong social ties with at least 100 other elephants, a task made easier by their power to communicate infrasonically across miles of savanna floor. Wolves, it seems, leaven their otherwise strongly hierarchical society with occasional displays of populist umbrage, and if a pack leader proves a too-snappish tyrant, subordinate wolves will collude to overthrow the top cur.

Wherever animals must pool their talents and numbers into cohesive social groups, scientists said, the better to protect against predators, defend or enlarge choice real estate or acquire mates, the stage will be set for the appearance of political skills — the ability to please and placate, manipulate and intimidate, trade favors and scratch backs or, better yet, pluck those backs free of botflies and ticks.

Over time, the demands of a social animal’s social life may come to swamp all other selective pressures in the environment, possibly serving as the dominant spur for the evolution of ever-bigger vote-tracking brains. And though we humans may vaguely disapprove of our political impulses and harbor “Fountainhead” fantasies of pulling free in full glory from the nattering tribe, in fact for us and other highly social species there is no turning back. A lone wolf is a weak wolf, a failure, with no chance it will thrive.

Dario Maestripieri, a primatologist at the University of Chicago, has observed a similar dilemma in humans and the rhesus monkeys he studies.

“The paradox of a highly social species like rhesus monkeys and humans is that our complex sociality is the reason for our success, but it’s also the source of our greatest troubles,” he said. “Throughout human history, you see that the worst problems for people almost always come from other people, and it’s the same for the monkeys. You can put them anywhere, but their main problem is always going to be other rhesus monkeys.”

As Dr. Maestripieri sees it, rhesus monkeys embody the concept “Machiavellian” (and he accordingly named his recent popular book about the macaques “Macachiavellian Intelligence”).

“Individuals don’t fight for food, space or resources,” Dr. Maestripieri explained. “They fight for power.” With power and status, he added, “they’ll have control over everything else.”

Rhesus monkeys, midsize omnivores with ruddy brown fur, long bearded faces and disturbingly humanlike ears, are found throughout Asia, including in many cities, where they, like everybody else, enjoy harassing the tourists. The monkeys typically live in groups of 30 or so, a majority of them genetically related females and their dependent offspring.

A female monkey’s status is usually determined by her mother’s status. Male adults, as the ones who enter the group from the outside, must establish their social positions from scratch, bite, baring of canines and, most importantly, rallying their bases.
Page 2 of 2)

“Fighting is never something that occurs between two individuals,” Dr. Maestripieri said. “Others get involved all the time, and your chances of success depend on how many allies you have, how wide is your network of support.”

Monkeys cultivate relationships by sitting close to their friends, grooming them at every possible opportunity and going to their aid — at least, when the photo op is right. “Rhesus males are quintessential opportunists,” Dr. Maestripieri said. “They pretend they’re helping others, but they only help adults, not infants. They only help those who are higher in rank than they are, not lower. They intervene in fights where they know they’re going to win anyway and where the risk of being injured is small.”

In sum, he said, “they try to gain maximal benefits at minimal cost, and that’s a strategy that seems to work” in advancing status.

Not all male primates pursue power by appealing to the gents. Among olive baboons, for example, a young male adult who has left his natal home and seeks to be elected into a new baboon group begins by making friendly overtures toward a resident female who is not in estrous at the moment and hence not being contested by other males of the troop.

“If the male is successful in forming a friendship with a female, that gives him an opening with her relatives and allows him to work his way into the whole female network,” said Barbara Smuts, a biologist at the University of Michigan. “In olive baboons, friendships with females can be much more important than political alliances with other males.”

Because males are often the so-called dispersing sex, while females stay behind in the support network of their female kin, females form the political backbone among many social mammals; the longer-lived the species, the denser and more richly articulated that backbone is likely to be.

With life spans rivaling ours, elephants are proving to possess some of the most elaborate social networks yet observed, and their memories for far-flung friends and relations are well in line with the species’ reputation. Elephant society is organized as a matriarchy, said George Wittemyer, an elephant expert at the University of California, Berkeley, with a given core group of maybe 10 elephants led by the eldest resident female. That core group is together virtually all the time, traveling over considerable distances, stopping to dig water holes, looking for fresh foliage to uproot and devour.

“They’re constantly making decisions, debating among themselves, over food, water and security,” Dr. Wittemyer said. “You can see it in the field. You can hear them vocally disagree.” Typically, the matriarch has the final say, and the others abide by her decision. If a faction disagrees strongly enough and wants to try a different approach, “the group will split up and meet back again later,” said Dr. Wittemyer.

Age has its privileges, he said, and the older females, even if they are not the biggest, will often get the best spots to sleep and the best food to eat. But it also has its responsibilities, and a matriarch is often the one to lead the charge in the face of conflicts with other elephants or predatory threats, sometimes to lethal effect.

Hal Whitehead of Dalhousie University and his colleagues have found surprising parallels between the elephant and another mammoth mammal, the sperm whale, possessor of the largest brain, in absolute terms, that the world has ever known. As with elephants, sperm whale society is sexually segregated, the females clustering in oceanic neighborhoods 40 degrees north or south of the Equator, and the males preferring waters around the poles.

As with elephants, the core social unit is a clan of some 10 or 12 females and their offspring. Sperm whales also are highly vocal. They communicate with one another using a Morse code-like pattern of clicks. Each clan, Dr. Whitehead said, has a distinctive click dialect that the members use to identify one another and that adults pass to the young. In other words, he said, “It looks like they have a form of culture.”

Nobody knows what the whales may have to click and clack about, but it could be a form of voting — time to stop here and synchronously dive down in search of deep water squid, now time to resurface, move on, dive again. Clans also seem to caucus on which males they like and will mate with more or less as a group and which ones they will collectively spurn. By all appearances, female sperm whales are terrible size queens. Over the generations, they have consistently voted in favor of enhanced male mass. Their dream candidate nowadays is some fellow named Moby, and he’s three times their size.

30154  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Franklin: Children on: January 22, 2008, 08:27:30 AM
"And as to the Cares, they are chiefly what attend the bringing
up of Children; and I would ask any Man who has experienced it,
if they are not the most delightful Cares in the World; and if
from that Particular alone, he does not find the Bliss of a double
State much greater, instead of being less than he expected."

-- Benjamin Franklin (Reply to a Piece of Advice)

Reference: Franklin: Collected Works, Lemay, ed. (249)
30155  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Epidemics: Bird Flu, TB, etc on: January 22, 2008, 08:26:32 AM
KOLKATA, India : India's worst ever outbreak of bird flu could turn into a disaster, an official warned Tuesday, as five people were reportedly quarantined with symptoms of the virus.

Eight districts in the eastern state of West Bengal have been hit by the virus, and dead birds are being sold and locals said to be "feasting" on cheap chicken.

The state's animal resources minister, Anisur Rahaman, said authorities were "determined to cull all poultry in the districts in three or four days, otherwise the state will face a disaster."

More than 100,000 bird deaths have been reported, and teams are racing to cull two million chickens and ducks.

The Times of India reported five people in West Bengal have been quarantined with "clinical symptoms" of avian flu -- including fever, coughing, sore throat and muscle ache -- after handling affected poultry.

If the tests are positive, this will be the first case of human infection in India, home to 1.1 billion people and hit by bird flu among poultry three times since 2006.

Health officials in New Delhi said they were currently analysing blood samples from close to 150 people who have complained of fever.

On the ground, culling teams have been facing an uphill battle with villagers smuggling birds out of flu affected areas and selling them in open markets.

Thirty-year-old Sheikh Ali, a vendor in Birbhum's Gharisa market, 340 kilometres (192 miles) from the state capital Kolkata, said the sale of poultry had doubled in the past week.

"The prices of chicken have come down from 60 rupees to 20 rupees (1.5 dollars to 50 cents) per kilogramme (2.2 pounds).

"Poor villagers are feasting on chicken. At normal times, they cannot afford to buy as prices are so high. Now they are enjoying the meat," Ali said.

People typically catch the disease by coming into direct contact with infected poultry, but experts fear a flu pandemic if the H5N1 mutates into a form easily transmissible between humans.

Migratory birds have been largely blamed for the global spread of the disease, which has killed more than 200 people worldwide since 2003.

In Birbhum, police seized two trucks of smuggled poultry early Tuesday but culling teams were yet to arrive at the spot, an AFP correspondent said.

"Poultry owners are smuggling their birds out at night and transporting it to different places for fear of culling," said Shubhendu Mahato, a security guard at Arambagh Hatchery, one of the biggest in West Bengal.

Chicken shops had also sprung up along the main highways overnight with people crowding them, the AFP correspondent said.

Neighbouring Nepal, which has banned poultry imports from India since 2006, said its border posts were on high alert.

Bangladesh, which also borders West Bengal, was meanwhile battling its own serious outbreak -- with experts warning the situation was far worse than the government was letting on.

"Bird flu is now everywhere. Every day we have reports of birds dying in farms," said leading poultry expert and the treasurer of Bangladesh Poultry Association M.M Khan.

"Things are now very, very serious and public health is under danger. The government is trying to suppress the whole scenario," Khan said, adding that farmers were also holding back from reporting cases.


In a closely related vein

30156  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico-US matters on: January 22, 2008, 08:16:20 AM
New York Times

January 22, 2008

Mexico Hits Drug Gangs With Full Fury of War

RÍO BRAVO, Mexico —

These days, it is easy to form the impression that a war is going on in Mexico. Thousands of elite troops in battle gear stream toward border towns and snake through the streets in jeeps with .50-caliber machine guns mounted on top while fighter jets from the Mexican Navy fly reconnaissance missions overhead.

Gun battles between federal forces and drug-cartel members carrying rocket-propelled-grenade launchers have taken place over the past two weeks in border towns like Río Bravo and Tijuana, with deadly results.

Yet what is happening is less a war than a sustained federal intervention in states where for decades corrupt municipal police officers and drug gangs have worked together in relative peace, officials say. The federal forces are not only hunting cartel leaders, but also going after their crews of gunslingers, like Gulf Cartel guards known as the Zetas, who terrorize the towns they control.

The onslaught has broken up a longstanding system in which the local police looked the other way for a bribe and cartel leaders went about their business.

In Río Bravo, for instance, the state police station sits across the street from a walled compound that until recently was used as a safe house by Zeta gunmen. A deadly gunfight broke out when federal agents tried to arrest men carrying machine guns in a car.

As grenades exploded and gunfire ripped the air, Jesús Vasquez, 65, dived behind the dusty counter of his store. He hugged the concrete and prayed.

“It was ugly,” he recalled. “It’s the first time something like this has happened.”

President Felipe Calderón, who won office in 2006 on a promise to create jobs, has spent most of his first year in office trying to break up organized crime rings. To the consternation of some liberals here, he has mobilized the military to do it, sending 6,000 troops into Tamaulipas state alone.

As those troops, along with thousands of federal agents, have begun putting pressure on drug gangs, the midlevel mobsters and hit men have put up a surprising amount of resistance. Again and again, they have chosen to fight it out rather than surrender.

They have ambushed and killed more than 20 police officers this year. In the past two weeks, four federal agents and three Baja California police commanders have been assassinated, along with the wife and child of one of them, apparently in retaliation for arrests, law enforcement officials said.

That violence has spread to the United States. On Saturday morning, drug-smuggling suspects from Mexico killed an American border patrol agent, Luis Aguilar, 32, when he tried to stop their cars in sand dunes about 20 miles west of Yuma, Ariz., then fled back across the border. Michael Chertoff, the homeland security secretary, said the killing demonstrated how Mexican criminal organizations had responded to the crackdown on their operations with increasing brutality.

“The Zetas are defying the state,” said Jorge Chabat, an expert on narcotics trafficking and security at CIDE, a Mexican research group. “This operation in the north of Mexico in recent days has no precedent.”

It remains to be seen whether Mr. Calderón’s strategy will work in the long run. Many of the nation’s most-wanted drug kingpins continue to elude federal forces, often with the help of local police officers.

Some federal officers admit privately that they face an uphill battle as long as local police officers continue to tip off drug gangs about their movements. The threat became clear on Saturday when federal officials arrested four local policemen in Nuevo Laredo, along with seven civilians, and charged them with feeding the Zetas information over police radio frequencies.

“You cannot count on the local police,” said a veteran federal inspector in Reynosa, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of losing his job. “The problem lies in the state police. They are completely at the service of these guys.”

In Tamaulipas state, just south of eastern Texas, the government’s focus has been on strangling the Zetas. Founded by former Mexican commandos trained in the United States, the Zetas have long been the professional assassins of the Gulf Cartel, which controls the flow of drugs along the Gulf Coast and across the Texas border. The group is believed to have scores of members, though the exact number is unknown.

The gunmen remain a formidable force, the authorities say. Federal police commanders in the state must stay on the move and keep their location secret to avoid assassination attempts. The state federal attorney general’s office has been vacant for months; officials in Mexico City say they are having trouble filling the post.

Edgar Millán, a federal police commander who is in charge of tracking down the Zetas, said a contingent of 1,200 officers in Tamaulipas searched every day for members of the group, hitting specific targets believed to be safe houses and watching for cars carrying gunmen.

The federal police also run a system of 10 checkpoints on major highways in the eastern half of the state. Most of the time, they stop cars with tinted windows that carry two or more young men, hoping to make it harder for the gunmen to move.

But the Zetas have a sophisticated spy network as well, Commander Millán said in an interview. They employ taxi drivers, store clerks, street vendors and members of the local police to keep them apprised of the movements of federal officers.

Several times in the past four months, the police have been close to capturing the leader of the cartel, Heriberto Lazcano, only to have him slip away at the last moment, Commander Millán said. Two other important reputed cartel leaders, Jorge Eduardo Costilla and Miguel Ángel Treviño, have also eluded capture.

While the Gulf Cartel leaders remain at large, the government scored a success in Sinaloa on Monday when it captured Alfredo Beltrán Leyva, one of five brothers who are high-ranking lieutenants in the Culiacan-based cartel.

Though the big bosses have slipped through the dragnet — the offensive that was started against the Zetas in late November after a prominent local politician was murdered in Río Bravo — it has paid off in many respects, officials said. The police have arrested about 40 reputed members of the gang and seized dozens of machine guns, rifles, side arms, grenades and boxes of ammunition.

The federal police have also begun to submit local police officers to a battery of tests to determine who might be linked to organized crime. Among the tests are polygraphs, drug tests and the vetting of personal finances. The goal is to weed out collaborators.

Many people here say they welcome the federal intervention, even if it means having columns of troops patrol their streets. But others voice doubt that government forces can ever stamp out the cartel, given its infiltration of the local police. All the federal forces have accomplished, they say, is unleashing more violence.

“Living in Mexico has become very difficult,” said one man who had been searched at a roadblock near Matamoros. He spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of drug dealers. “Even Colombia is looking better.”

Others complain that the presence of soldiers and federal agents, along with the gun battles, has scared away American tourists, an important source of income. Last year, about six million fewer people visited border towns than in 2006; hotel bookings are down and sales of package tours have fallen steeply, according to the Association of Mexican Hotels and Motels.

“A lot of people used to come over the border to eat and buy things,” said Alfredo Tantu, 40, the owner of El Cazador Restaurant near Río Bravo, as the smell of roasting baby goat wafted from his kitchen. “Now, almost no one comes because of all this police action.”
30157  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Nat Geo Documentary on the Dog Brothers: Fight Club on: January 21, 2008, 04:58:16 PM
Guro Crafty -

I couldn't post to the "open" forum - probably need to set up a separate user name or something... Pls forgive laziness, but feel free to post this if you think it's useful...

Name: John
Occupation: Enterprise IT Management Consultant
Age: 45

"Higher Conciousness through Harder Contact"...(c)

I found the DogBrothers online a few days after my first serious fencing bout.  I lost the bout on points (I was a beginner) but an amazing thing happened in my mind as I got hit again and again...  And I was amazed and excited to find a group that had already discovered the magic I'd felt in that bout.  It didn't matter that I'd lost - the explosion in my mind at the moment of hard contact was the real win.

When I saw the reality in the Dog Brothers apprach, I focused on real contact fighting.  I've never looked back.  I've been studying seriously for about a year now -- which brings me to the second credo...

"Walk as a Warrior for All Your Days"

I'm no longer a young buck, and have family and professional obligations.  Dog Brothers give me a chance to keep on the Warrior path anyway.  The comradirie I experienced at the '06 gathering - as well as the EXCELLENCE of the training videos produced by Guro Crafty Dog give me the resources I need to continue on a Warrior's path.  I train for a gathering, not to win, but to face my own fears, give myself a target and a way to judge my progress.  Knowing the intensity I will face at a gathering motivates my training and changes how I train.

I train a number of "styles" because they suit my psychology, physiology, and geography.  To borrow a line from a Dog Brother shown in one of the training videos - "You have to train yourself".  This leads to the next Dog Brother credo:

"Smuggling Concepts Across the Frontiers of Style" (c)

The thing that excited me most about the Dog Brothers was that "anything goes".  If it's a good idea that really works in a fight - bring it to a gathering and try it out.  Don't say what "should" work in a fight unless you're willing to show up and bring your skills to a full-out trial against determined resistance.  Then we can talk about what does and doesn't work in a fight.

Dog Brothers is about "truth in combat" - not what looks good in a kata.  Distilled experience from hard-fought combat - as close to the edge as we can go...  That's my idea of reality.

...Of the Same Tribe...

Finally, the idea that our purpose is to support each other in being prepared to protect our partners, our children and even our country - is a goal that gives meaning to the quest.  To test each other without breaking each other - so that each member of the "tribe" can reach their potential - that's my idea of true brotherhood.

Even if I "lose" to younger stronger members of the tribe, I will have tested myself and know my abilities far better than I could by any other means.
30158  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Videos: Estudios en applicacion on: January 21, 2008, 04:52:04 PM
Continuando con el tema del clip de Holanda:

Pensando en soluciones, me parece muy importante la linea de mi ataque.  Aunque el asesino parece muy enfocado en su matanza, lo que me preocupa es la posibilidad de un movimiento spontaneo y riesgoso hacia mi si mi linea de ataque no lo tome en cuenta.

He aqui un ejemplo de lo que hablo:
El policia muestra corazon y huevos de hombre, pero por el proposito que pongo este clip aqui quiero que Uds presten su atencion a lo que hace SIN PENSAR la mano con el cuchillo-- el movimiento resulta estar muy cerca al sangre femoral/los partes sexuales.

Aplicando este concepto al caso en Holanda, pienso lo siguiente:

1) No hay tiempo.  Hay que actuar.  Cada golpe con el cuchillo puede ser el golpe que mate.
2) Si tengo mis propias armas, la solucion es distinta.  Si tengo pistola, una bala en la cabeza (con cuidado por donde vaya la bala) o si tengo cuchillo soluciones usando dicho herramiento.
3) Pues, es Holanda, entonces poco probable que la gente tenga pistola o cuchillo-- por lo cual la solucion tiene que ser de mano desnudo.  Aceptando eso, para quitar el asesino de su monte sobre la mujer, un patada "side kick" (estilo Jun Fan/Bruce Lee  cheesy) desde 0300 o 0900 me parece logico.  En cualquiera de las dos lineas que sea, hay que usar la pierna que no deje expuesta la sangre femoral.
4) Hay que gritar a los otros sacar de alli la mujer, mientras yo me mantenga listo para continuar la situacion con el asesino.

!Ojala que Uds entiendan mi espanol!
30159  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Islamismo radical y España on: January 21, 2008, 04:36:06 PM
Gracias por matenernos informados sobre acontecimientos de este indole.
30160  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mil-blogs: Michael Yon and others (support our troops) on: January 21, 2008, 09:17:34 AM
MY makes the NY Times!  Plus his most recent email letter:

Michael Yon covers the Iraq war intimately by staying with soldiers under fire.
Published: January 21, 2008
Michael Yon was not a journalist, and he wasn’t sure what a blogger was. He had been in uniform but not in combat, and he wanted to keep it that way. He went to Iraq thinking he would stay for a month, and maybe find a way to write about the war after he got home.

Enlarge This Image
© Michael P. Yon
Michael Yon, a former Special Forces fighter, writes dispatches and posts photographs from the front lines in Iraq.

Instead, he has spent most of the last three years in Iraq, writing prolifically and graphically, and racking up more time embedded with combat units than any other journalist, according to the United States military. He has been shot at, buffeted by explosions and seen more people maimed — fighters and civilians, adults and children — than he can count.

“The easiest thing in the world to write about is combat, because all the drama is there,” said Mr. Yon, a fit, ruddy-faced 43-year-old who was a Special Forces soldier more than two decades ago. He insists that he still does not really know the rules of journalism, but says he has recently, grudgingly, accepted that he has become a journalist.

His detailed, mostly admiring accounts of front-line soldiers’ daily work have won him a loyal following, especially among service members and journalists and bloggers who follow the war. One of his photographs showing an American soldier cradling an Iraqi girl injured in a car bombing (the girl later died) appeared on Time magazine’s Web site and was later voted one of top images of the year by visitors.

Mr. Yon, however, does not work for any organization; no news outlet pays him for the hundreds of dispatches and photos he has produced. He publishes his work on his own Web site, (some will appear again in a book set for release in April), and he also posts submissions from military people serving in Iraq. He says contributions from his readers have paid most of his costs, though he declines to say how much they have given.

Like most bloggers, Mr. Yon has an agenda, writing often that the United States’ mission to build a stable, democratic Iraq is succeeding and must continue. He rarely disparages those who disagree, though, and he does not shy away from describing the disturbing things he sees.

He sometimes criticizes United States forces, their Iraqi allies, and even decision makers in Washington; lately, he has warned that while the American focus is on Iraq, Afghanistan is being lost.

His upbeat outlook on the war has made Mr. Yon a favorite of the war’s supporters. But others in that camp have attacked him for insisting that Iraq is in a civil war, and for condemning American treatment of some detainees.

“His work has a remarkable, chin-out, unvarnished intimacy,” said Jackie Lyden, a National Public Radio reporter who has worked in Iraq. “He isn’t a guarded, diplomatically toned reporter; he can be very frank, and he questions his own assumptions.”

The Internet has fostered such citizen journalism, shaking up ideas about where news comes from, but few have taken on the expense and danger of working in a war zone. Mr. Yon’s daily expenses are small, but he has paid tens of thousands of dollars for computers, cameras, phones and body armor.

He went to Iraq believing that the mainstream news media were bungling the story, and he still often criticizes the media’s pessimism. But he has also praised particular reporters from major outlets, or defended the media in general, explaining how difficult and dangerous it is to cover the war.

Along the way, he created a niche outlet that is better reported than most blogs, and more opinionated than most news reporting, with enough first-hand observation, clarity and skepticism to put many professional journalists to shame.

“We saw the man lying face down, barefoot, in filthy, oily mud, human excrement all around him,” he wrote in 2005, describing the aftermath of a gun battle he had witnessed. “He had fallen in an open air toilet, where he lay, belly-shot,” Mr. Yon continued. “The man brought his hand to his head, and touched his forehead with his index finger, pointing right between his eyes. ‘Shoot me, shoot me,’ he said. ‘I want to die.’ ”

Col. Stephen Twitty, a brigade commander with whom Mr. Yon has spent time in Iraq, had high praise for his work, saying that he often takes the same risks as the soldiers he accompanies.


Frontline Blogger Covers War in Iraq With a Soldier’s Eyes
Published: January 21, 2008
(Page 2 of 2)

In his first year and a half of online writing, Mr. Yon carefully avoided a position on whether he thought the war should have been waged in the first place. He eventually said that he had supported it reluctantly because of claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

Mr. Yon aims some barbs at the military brass, but talking with him and reading his work, it becomes clear that he has also pulled punches, not wanting to undermine the war effort.

In an interview, he said that when he first went to Iraq, in December 2004, “I knew we were losing the war,” and that “it was worse than the news was portraying.”

He said that in the early going, the military mishandled both the fighting and the press, and that among field commanders, “I started finding quite a few that seemed to be dialed in and knew what they were doing, and I found quite a lot that were quite clueless.”

Little of that dark view made its way into his dispatches, especially in his first year.

Mr. Yon has spent much of his life traveling and immersing himself in new places. Along the way, he wrote and self-published a book about his childhood. He decided to see the Iraq war for himself after three of his friends were killed there in 2004, and the military decided that his book was credential enough to let him accompany a combat unit.

Since then, bloggers and independent journalists have grown in numbers in Iraq, while the mainstream media there has shrunk. Overall, the number of embedded reporters at a given time dropped from several hundred in the early going to a few dozen in recent months.

In 2005 and 2006, Mr. Yon went through a period of rocky relations with the military hierarchy, which at times tried to bar him from accompanying units. But since then, things have improved, and the military has generally become more conscious — and solicitous — of Internet journalists. To Mr. Yon, ever-hopeful about the war, that change is healthy for Iraq, as well as for him.

“If you have bad media relations, you don’t know how to run a counterinsurgency,” he said. “Now they’re very good at it.”

----- Original Message -----
From: Michael Yon
Sent: Monday, January 21, 2008 3:13 AM
Subject: Preparing for a return to Iraq

If you have trouble reading this email, go to the online version.

I am preparing to head back to Iraq at the end of this week.

We've added a lot of new material to the site in the past week, including updates on units I've embedded with and stories published during 2007, and links to news items, like a profile in the New York Times.

If you haven't been to the website recently, we have added new archive pages that can be accessed here.

News that my book, Moment of Truth in Iraq (which will be published in April 2008) is now available for special advance purchase has prompted renewed interest in my first book Danger Close, and we've republished the first chapter of that book here.

Also, at the suggestion of readers, my Dragon Skin body armor is up for auction on E-Bay. You can read why here, and follow the bidding here.

As always, reader support is greatly appreciated, especially as I organize and assemble the gear needed for this next embed. Without the generosity of readers, this mission could not go forward. And during this election year when important decisions will be made on Iraq, front line news will be critical for identifying political truth-tellers.

Thank you,



To change your email address or unsubscribe from this list, please click here.
If you want to forward this message to a friend, click here.
30161  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Franklin: Religion & Morals; MLK on: January 21, 2008, 09:07:21 AM
"In such a performance you may lay the foundation of national
happiness only in religion, not by leaving it doubtful "whether
morals can exist without it," but by asserting that without
religion morals are the effects of causes as purely physical as
pleasant breezes and fruitful seasons."

-- Benjamin Rush (letter to John Adams, 20 August 1811)

Reference: Americanism, Gebhardt (12); original Letters, Rush,
Butterfield, ed., vol. 2 (1096-97)

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’... I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character... And if America is to be a great nation this must become true.” —Martin Luther King, Jr.
30162  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Monster Garage on: January 20, 2008, 06:04:59 PM
Good find!

For those who don't know, the past two Gatherings were held in the warehouse that was the set for the show "Monster Garage"
30163  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Subject Headings on: January 20, 2008, 09:51:28 AM
Woof All:

I'd like to remind everyone to please put in a subject heading for each post-- this greatly facilitates ease of the use of the search function and thus the value of this forum as a research resource. 

Thank you,
Crafty Dog
30164  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Terrorist Tort Travesty on: January 20, 2008, 08:58:33 AM
Terrorist Tort Travesty
January 19, 2008; Page A13

War is a continuation of politics by other means, the German strategist Carl von Clausewitz famously observed in his 19th-century treatise, "On War." Clausewitz surely could never have imagined that politics, pursued through our own courts, would be the continuation of war.

Last week, I (a former Bush administration official) was sued by José Padilla -- a 37-year-old al Qaeda operative convicted last summer of setting up a terrorist cell in Miami. Padilla wants a declaration that his detention by the U.S. government was unconstitutional, $1 in damages, and all of the fees charged by his own attorneys.

José Padilla
The lawsuit by Padilla and his Yale Law School lawyers is an effort to open another front against U.S. anti-terrorism policies. If he succeeds, it won't be long before opponents of the war on terror use the courtroom to reverse the wartime measures needed to defeat those responsible for killing 3,000 Americans on 9/11.

On Thursday, a federal judge moved closer to sentencing Padilla to life in prison. After being recruited by al Qaeda agents in the late 1990s, Padilla left for Egypt in 1998 and reached terrorist training camps in Afghanistan in 2000. American officials stopped him at Chicago O'Hare airport in 2002, based on intelligence gained from captured al Qaeda leaders that he was plotting a dirty bomb attack.

President Bush declared Padilla an enemy combatant and ordered him sent to a naval brig in South Carolina. After a federal appeals court rejected Padilla's plea for release, the government transferred him to Miami for trial for al Qaeda conspiracies unrelated to the dirty bomb plot. Federal prosecutors described Padilla as "a trained al-Qaeda killer," and a jury convicted him of conspiring to commit murder, kidnapping and maiming, and of providing material support to terrorists.

Now Padilla and his lawyers are trying to use our own courts to attack the government officials who stopped him. They claim that the government cannot detain Padilla as an enemy combatant, but instead can only hold and try him as a criminal. Padilla alleges that he was abused in military custody -- based primarily on his claim that he was held in isolation and not allowed to meet with lawyers.

But enemy prisoners in wartime never before received the right to counsel or a civilian trial because, as the Supreme Court observed in 2004, the purpose of detention is not to punish, but to prevent the enemy from returning to the fight.

Under Padilla's theory, the U.S. is not at war, so any citizen killed or captured by the CIA or the military can sue. In November 2002, according to press reports, a Predator drone killed two al Qaeda leaders driving in the Yemen desert. One was an American, Kamal Derwish, who was suspected of leading a terrorist cell near Buffalo. If Padilla's lawsuit were to prevail, Derwish's survivors could sue everyone up the chain of command -- from the agent who pressed the button, personally -- for damages.

Padilla's complaints mirror the left's campaign against the war. To them, the 9/11 attacks did not start a war, but instead were simply a catastrophe, like a crime or even a natural disaster. They would limit the U.S. response only to criminal law enforcement managed by courts, not the military. Every terrorist captured away from the Afghanistan battlefield would have the right to counsel, Miranda warnings, and a criminal trial that could force the government to reveal its vital intelligence secrets.

America used this approach in the 1990s with al Qaeda. It did not work. Both the executive and legislative branches rejected this failed strategy. In the first week after 9/11, Congress passed a law authorizing the use of military force against any person, group or nation connected to the attacks, and recognized the President's constitutional authority "to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism against the United States."

In the spring of 2002, I was a Justice Department lawyer asked about the legality of Padilla's detention. There is ample constitutional precedent to support the detention of a suspected al Qaeda agent, even an American citizen, who plans to carry out terrorist attacks on our soil. During World War II, eight Nazi saboteurs secretly landed in New York to attack factories and plants. Two of them were American citizens.

After their capture, FDR sent them to military detention, where they were tried and most of them executed. In Ex Parte Quirin, the Supreme Court upheld the detention and trial by military authorities of American citizens who "associate" with "the military arm of the enemy" and "enter this country bent on hostile acts." If FDR were president today, Padilla might have fared far worse than he has.

None of that matters to the anti-war left. They failed to beat President Bush in the 2004 elections. Their efforts in Congress to repeal the administration's policies have gone nowhere. They lost their court challenges to Padilla's detention. The American public did not buy their argument that the struggle against al Qaeda is not really a war.

So instead they have turned to the tort system to harass those who served their government in wartime. I am not the only target. The war's critics have sued personally Donald Rumsfeld, John Ashcroft, Robert Gates, Paul Wolfowitz and other top government officials for their decisions in the war on terrorism. Other lawsuits have resorted to the courts to attack the telecommunications companies that helped the government intercept suspected terrorist calls.

It is easy to understand why CIA agents, who are working on the front lines to protect the nation from attack, are so concerned about their legal liability that they have taken out insurance against lawsuits.

Worrying about personal liability will distort the thinking of federal officials, who should be focusing on the costs and benefits of their decisions to the nation as a whole, not to their own pockets. Even in the wake of Watergate, the Supreme Court recognized that government decisions should not be governed by the tort bar.

In a case about warrantless national security wiretaps ordered by Nixon's attorney general, John Mitchell, the court declared that executive branch officials should benefit from qualified immunity. Officials cannot be sued personally unless they had intentionally violated someone's clearly established constitutional rights.

The Padilla case shows that qualified immunity is not enough. Even though Supreme Court precedent clearly permitted Padilla's detention, he and his academic supporters can still file harassing lawsuits that promise high attorneys' fees. The legal system should not be used as a bludgeon against individuals targeted by political activists to impose policy preferences they have failed to implement via the ballot box.

The prospect of having to waste large sums of money on lawyers will deter talented people from entering public service, leading to more mediocrity in our bureaucracies. It will also lead to a risk-averse government that doesn't innovate or think creatively. Government by lawsuit is no way to run, or win, a war.

Mr. Yoo is a professor of law at the University of California at Berkeley and a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. He is the author of "War By Other Means" (Grove/Atlantic 2006).

30165  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Nat Geo Documentary on the Dog Brothers: Fight Club on: January 19, 2008, 11:28:52 PM
30166  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Nat Geo Documentary on the Dog Brothers: Fight Club on: January 19, 2008, 08:02:29 PM
From Joe Cary-- I love that "Dog Quixote"  cool:

I've trained one-on-one with Guro Crafty Dog for two years. I first came to him as an informal student seeking to build my knowledge base for a character I was creating in a novel. I quickly recognized that DMBA was, in my opinion, the most efficient and effective martial art I had practiced or studied.  I thus continued my training to build on the character of me in real life. My early training mixed intensity and fascination with a dash of disturbing. Some things I learned I was hesitant to know, others I embraced with an artist's passion. As my training progressed, I came to respect and value what had first disturbed me, partially through recognition of the inherent value of survival skills, but primarily through the relationship that developed between Guro Crafty and me. My training went beyond the physical, and our conversations and shared stories offered constant insight into the "Tao of the Dog". The multi-disciplined way of DBMA renewed my atrophied instincts in many areas, the primary of which was a deeper sense of what it is to “Walk as a Warrior for all your Days”.
I've never participated in a Gathering of the Pack and don’t yet imagine I will (I've joked of lobbying for the Candidate-Dog name "Dog Quixote", as my eagerness often surpasses my skill). That said, my knowledge of, and respect for basic, primitive weapons (empty hand, sticks, knives and staff) has increased to a level I never imagined possible.  This comes in part from a newfound awareness and quiet confidence in the adrenal state, and an ability to recruit my entire body into action when push comes to shove, smack or slash. My time with Guro Crafty is an asset I will carry with me for all my days.

30167  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Survival issues outside the home on: January 19, 2008, 08:56:59 AM
3. New OSHA booklet is designed to protect first responders from chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear hazards. "Preparing and Protecting Security Personnel in Emergencies" is viewable at
30168  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: 4 Day DBMA Camp in Germany with Guro Lonely on: January 19, 2008, 08:46:54 AM
I'll need to check some things concerning my son's Cub Scouts etc, and this week we are extremely busy getting some new things ready for the website, so it may be a week before I get to this, but how does July look?
30169  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues on: January 19, 2008, 08:43:57 AM

Deputy did not act unreasonably in fatally shooting a man who had refused to submit to a pat down and then disarmed the deputy of his baton. Lewis v. County of Riverside, #06-55764, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 29148 (9th Cir.).$File/06-55764.PDF

City and its personnel were not liable for suicide of a man arrested for DUI and detained in a cell for intoxicated and combative prisoners.  The fact that he had fought with officers did not establish that he was suicidal. Branton v. City of Moss Point, #07-60653, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 76 (5th Cir.).
30170  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: January 19, 2008, 08:26:22 AM
I note that the level of  intel here from a retired Indian cabinet member, FAR exceeds just about anything that we read here.  Why is that?  If correct, and it reads to me like it is , , ,

Baitullah Mehsud Steps up Attacks in South Waziristan - International Terrorism Monitor---Paper No. 355

by B. Raman

The Mehsud followers of Baitullah Mehsud, assisted by some Uzbeks of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), have stepped up their attacks on the thinly-manned outposts of the Frontier Corps (FC) in different parts of South Waziristan. These outposts were withdrawn under a peace agreement signed by the Pakistani Army with Baitullah at the Sararogha fort in February, 2005. When President Pervez Musharraf ordered the commandoes of the Special Services Group (SSG) to raid the Lal Masjid of Islamabad in July, 2007, he also ordered the re-establishment of these outposts of the FC since he apprehended that the Mehsuds, many of whose children were studying in the two madrasas attached to the Lal Masjid, could retaliate for the commando action.

2.  Baitullah interpreted the re-establishment of these outposts as a bad breach of faith by Musharraf and announced that the Mehsuds would no longer be bound by the ceasefire agreement of February, 2005. Since then, the Mehsuds have unleashed a wave of suicide attacks not only in South Waziristan, but also in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), Punjab, Balochistan and Sindh. He had also resumed the guerilla attacks of his force on the para-military forces and captured nearly 300 of them. Under a fresh cease-fire agreement reached in November, 2007, Baitullah agreed to suspend his operations and release the captured personnel of the FC in return for the Government closing again the FC outposts re-established in South Waziristan, releasing all Mehsuds arrested in South Waziristan and the NWFP, and also Maulana Abdul Aziz Ghazi, the chief cleric of the Lal Masjid, and the students of the madrasas of the mosque arrested during the commando action.

3. Baitullah released all the FC personnel captured by his force. In return, Musharraf ordered the release of all but six of the Mehsuds arrested by his security agencies. He has not ordered the release of these six on the ground that they are under trial before the Anti-Terrorism courts and hence he has no powers to order their release. He has not agreed to release those arrested during the commando raid in the Lal Masjid. Nor has he agreed to withdraw the FC outposts re-established in the area. On the contrary, after the assassination of Mrs. Benazir Bhutto on December 27, 2007, allegedly at the instance of Baitullah, he has reinforced the FC posts in South Waziristan in an attempt to hunt for Baitullah.

4. This has provoked Baitullah to step up attacks on the FC posts. Though the FC consists largely of Pashtun tribals recruited in the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and the NWFP, these Pashtuns are looked upon by Baitullah and Al Qaeda as apostate for allegedly collaborating with Musharraf, who has already been declared an apostate by Al Qaeda since 2003. The FC comes operationally under the General Headquarters (GHQ) of the Army and administratively under the Ministry of the Interior.

5.  Between 1878 and 1903, the British set up the various tribal agencies, which, after Pakistan's independence in 1947, were constituted into the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). The British created in each agency para-military forces called militias recruited from amongst the various Pashtun sub-tribes in that agency. Thus came into existence militias such as  the Khyber Rifles (1878), the Zhob Militia (1883), the Kurram Militia (1892), the Tochi Scouts (1894), the Chagai Militia (1896), the  South Waziristan Scouts (1900) , the Chitral Scouts (1903) etc. Lord Curzon, who became the Viceroy in 1899, created the Frontier Corps to serve as the umbrella organisation of these militias and to co-ordinate their functioning in all the tribal agencies. This arrangement has continued till now. The Frontier Corps, whose General Headquarters are located in Peshawar, functions under the over-all supervision of the Corps Commander of the Pakistan Army at Peshawar.

6. As mentioned by me in my article of November 15, 2007, titled "The State of Jihadi Terrorism in Pakistan" (, a major blunder committed by Musharraf was the over-use of  para-military forces such as the Frontier Constabulary and the Frontier Corps in the operations against terrorists in the tribal areas. He wanted to avoid using the Punjabi-dominated Army for ground operations. While the Army is actively involved in the ground operations against the Baloch freedom-fighters in Balochistan, it was confining itself to the barracks in the FATA and in the Provincially-Administered Tribal Areas (PATA) of the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP). American officials and their counterparts in Pakistan often claim that Musharraf has deployed nearly 80,000 troops in the tribal areas. The Americans cite this as one of the reasons for their strong backing to the General despite his growing unpopularity.

7. What they do not mention is that many of these security personnel are the tribal members of the para-military forces, who come from that area, and not Pakistani military personnel recruited from other areas of the country. A large number of the Pakistani army personnel are used not for ground operations against the terrorists, but for providing physical security to American and other NATO military supplies to Afghanistan from the Karachi port after they are landed there. This has been creating resentment among the tribal personnel of the para-military forces, who feel that Musharraf, under US pressure, is making not only Muslims kill Muslims, but also Pashtuns kill Pashtuns, in the name of the so-called war on terrorism. The FM radio stations operated by pro-Al Qaeda jihadi leaders in the tribal areas have been repeatedly alleging in their broadcasts directed to the fellow-tribals in the para-military forces that innocent tribals are being killed in order to save American lives in the US homeland.

8. As a result of this, there has been a growing number of desertions of Pashtuns serving in the para-military forces.  Musharraf did use regular Army units to counter the supporters of Maulana Fazlullah in the Swat Valley, but afraid that the Pashtun soldiers of the Army too might start deserting their units like the Pashtun members of the para-military forces, he has been avoiding the use of the army in ground operations and has instead been relying increasingly on helicopter gunships. This has, on the one hand, resulted in an increase in the number of civilian casualties due to indiscriminate air-mounted actions and, on the other, further fuelled the resentment in the para-military forces, whose personnel are asking: Are the lives of the Army personnel more precious than those of the Frontier Constabulary and the Frontier Corps?

9. I had also written that Musharraf has so far not told his people and the international community that Al Qaeda and pro-Al Qaeda organisations in the tribal areas have been increasingly targeting Shias and Christians. Captured Shia members of the para-military forces are being treated with brutality and killed by beheading or by cutting their throats. Shia members of the civil society are also being targeted. The FM radio stations have been indulging in the most horrible anti-Shia broadcasts. Shias are being projected as American agents in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq. They are alleging that the majority of the prostitutes in Pakistan are Shias and projecting the Shias as the sect of the prostitutes in the Ummah. A highly reputed school for poor tribal girls run in the FATA by a Christian missionary organisation was targeted and forced to close through intimidation. There are no Buddhists in the tribal areas, but many historical Buddhist heritage sites are there. These too are systematically being attacked. Al Qaeda is trying to replicate Iraq in Pakistan by exacerbating the already existing divide between the Shias and the Sunnis in the civil society as well as in the Army.

10. In their renewed offensive in the wake of the assassination of Benazir, the Mehsuds and the Uzbeks of the IMU have been taking advantage of the low morale of the personnel of the FC. After overrunning the FC outpost in the Sararogha fort on January 15, 2008, they are reported to have overrun another post  of the FC located at a place called  Seplatoi in South Waziristan.  What is disquieting  is that whereas the FC personnel at   Sararogha put up a fight against the Mehsuds and Uzbeks and suffered fatalities before they were overrun, those ( 60 in number) at Seplatoi are alleged to have either run away or surrendered without even a semblance of a fight.

11. Of course, the Army has strongly denied this, but other reliable sources say this incident did happen. The declining morale of the Pashtun members of the Frontier Corps should be a matter of serious concern. Can it spread to the Pashtuns in the Pakistani Army? That is a question, which should worry not only Musharraf, but also the international community.

12. The time has come for Pakistan and the international community to review the physical security arrangements in Pakistan's nuclear establishments in order to look for signs of declining morale there. While Pakistan's principal nuclear establishments are located in Punjab and are guarded by carefully selected Punjabi soldiers, its nuclear waste dumps are located in the tribal areas of the NWFP such as Dera Ismail Khan and are guarded by the FC.

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail:
30171  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Nat Geo Documentary on the Dog Brothers: Fight Club on: January 18, 2008, 09:26:10 PM
The shame! The Shame! 

We have been mentioned in the NY Times
(towards the bottom)
30172  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Nat Geo Documentary on the Dog Brothers: Fight Club on: January 18, 2008, 08:34:09 PM
This email was sent to us and because it leaves me unsure as to the appropriateness of including the author's name here, I leave it out.  I do post it because I think it quite worthy of being included here.


Dear Dog Brothers,

Thanks for the message and the invite regarding the NatGeo blog. I feel
particularly unqualified to participate in this thing for NatGeo,
inasmuch as I want to. I have never been able to clear the time or money
to make a gathering or do any training aside from keeping what (few)
skills I have sharp on my own. My canine side is taken care of  in the
time I carve out for it, usually odd hours, and usually solo. I read
voraciously, I try out new things, and I have even been making some
sticks and practicing with improvised impact weapons or sharp pointed
things not normally considered for self-defense, but as far as formal or
organized, I am neither.

In pack terms, I am at best, a transient, and more than likely, an
outrider, or maybe even a fleacatcher. Definitely a mutt, with all the
best qualities of the breed.

If there was a qualification for being a "Spirit Dog," then I am there.
I get what you're all about and I applaud it. I refer friends and anyone
else who's interested not only to your site, but to dig deeper into what
you're doing and why. "Higher Consciousness Through Harder Contact" is
more than a motto on a T-shirt or sticker. It is an ethos, not so much
of overcoming fear or pain or anything as ephemeral as all that as it is
in becoming a better person by embracing those things and learning from
the experience. You sure as hell don't get that from movies or games or
TV. But physically? I am so far away from even what anyone might
consider proficient in sticks it is not funny. But that doesn't keep me
from wanting to come someday and join you all. I don't think we were put
on this planet to be spectators. I'll probably go to a nursing home
years from now going, "One of these days,....WOOF!"

People can take away your fun, your money, your job and your stuff. But
they can't take away the stuff that's packed between your ears and the
things that make your heart beat with purpose, and that is what I think
you folks are all about.

I'll be watching when this show comes on, or at least recording it for
when I get home.

Keep up the faith, keep up the great work.

Best regards,
30173  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Nat Geo Documentary on the Dog Brothers: Fight Club on: January 18, 2008, 07:06:55 PM
Poi Dog:
30174  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: January 18, 2008, 11:35:58 AM
Fred on the Bus
by Erick Erickson

Traveling through snowy South Carolina with Fred Thompson, I’m struck by the sense that finally, the man has arrived. The candidate so many conservatives were excited by early in 2007 is finally walking the land.

The Fred Thompson in South Carolina this week is the one America saw knock into Mike Huckabee as a pro-life liberal with “blame America first” beliefs whose economic policies would destroy the economy. And the crowds love it.

Though barely mentioned in the national media, Senator Fred Thompson has been on a barn storming tour crisscrossing South Carolina for more than a week. In a unique approach, he is not just going to major media markets, but to rural areas of South Carolina. On my first day on the trail with Senator Thompson, he drew a crowd of 180 people to a small Mennonite restaurant in Abbeville, South Carolina — population 26,000 with a median income of $15,370. He capped off the day at the Orangeburg-Calhoun County Technical College in Orangeburg, South Carolina with over 200 people braving a rare snow shower to hear him. The day before I joined him on the campaign trail, Senator Thompson’s campaign saw large capacity auditoriums overflowing with people standing outside the buildings waiting to get in.

The crowds are enthusiastic and relieved. Finally, the Fred Thompson they hoped for is on the campaign trail. “Saying the Reagan Coalition is dead is like saying the Constitution is dead,” Thompson began one speech, taking on Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee. “The Reagan Coalition was never about the man. It was and is about the principles and values we apply to issues.” He continued, “The issues may change, but the principles do not.” The crowd roared its enthusiasm.

Later in the day, an elderly gentleman asked Senator Thompson about immigration. Senator Thompson responded, “Securing the border is popular for a lot of candidates to talk about these days. They’ve changed their positions. I embrace change, but some of these guys are wearing out the road to Damascus.” The crowd ate it up. Thompson pointed out that he, unlike the other candidates, has been consistently supportive of increased border security and consistently opposed to lax enforcement.

It’s refreshing to hear Senator Thompson. He is not the candidate the media likes. He gives good sound bites, but he is plodding, methodical, and issue oriented. Senator Thompson’s is not a personality driven campaign. It is about issues, issues, issues. And it is conservative to the core. On the campaign trail, it seems Thompson has never met an issue he was ready to solve based on what he perceives as real conservative principles. Chief among them is that if government gets involved, it will probably make the situation worse. There is no pandering. John McCain may give straight talk, but Thompson gives no bull.

Since Mitt Romney’s call for a government plan to save the automotive industry, Senator Thompson has been on a tear blasting him as the candidate who tailors his message to whichever group he is talking to. Taking on Mike Huckabee, Senator Thompson points out that he likes Mike Huckabee, but his policies and agenda are full of empty rhetoric and policies anathema to the entrepreneurial spirit in the United States. He points out that he and John McCain are friends, but he has “strong disagreements” with John McCain on issues such as immigration and taxes.

Polling in South Carolina shows Fred Thompson gaining momentum in the state. The campaign staff has noticed the crowds growing since Fred Thompson took on Mike Huckabee in the Fox News Debate. The message is clear -- Thompson is the real conservative in the race.

There is an opening for Thompson. Mitt Romney has written off South Carolina, ceding the field to John McCain. Mike Huckabee is losing ground as voters learn more about his liberal record. Conservative rallying has begun to impact John McCain. There is a palpable sense in the crowds and among South Carolina reporters that the momentum is with Fred Thompson. And so the campaign soldiers on.

In Orangeburg, South Carolina, Fred Thompson fired up the crowds with humor and substance. After a long day of talking, he coughed and took a sip of water. “Yeah, I’m choked up,” Thompson said, “but I’m not getting emotional.” The crowd roared. Then Thompson went into his hallmark campaign routine -- questions from the crowd. Every event ends that way.

An attendee asked Thompson what he would do about Israel and the Palestinians. While complementary of the President, Thompson said, “Every President has thought he could solve the problem on the force of his personality, but he can’t.” He continued, “There are a lot of things that are possible in that situation, but one non-negotiable — the right of Israel to exist.” More applause. Another attendee asked about immigration. “A nation that cannot control its borders ceases to be a sovereign nation,” Thompson responded. The crowd drowned him out with applause. Then Thompson does what so many of the other candidates fail to do. He talks specifics and policies, mixed with humor and the recognition that what he is doing is rather unique.

It is a unique campaign. Like John McCain, who was written off for dead last June, Fred Thompson has begun a comeback. He has come back as the candidate everyone wanted to get in the race. In the process, he is owning the crowd.
30175  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Nat Geo Documentary on the Dog Brothers: Fight Club on: January 18, 2008, 11:18:22 AM
Posted on behalf of C-Scurvy Dog


I began my journey into martial arts in 1994 after watching a skinny Brazilian named Royce Gracie decimate his much larger opponents by using technique and leverage in what would later be called the start of the MMA movement that has since swept the country.  I was so impressed with this “new style” that I rushed down and began training with him the very next week.  After about a year of training in GJJ I also found my way into a school that taught muay thai kickboxing, JKD, shoot wrestling, freestyle BJJ and the Filipino martial arts as instructed by Dan Inosanto and his contemporaries. I was immediately drawn to incorporating these new techniques into my style which would later be the building blocks of many great mixed martial artists.


The only style I couldn’t seem to wrap my hands around at the time was the Filipino martial arts. I just didn’t see the practicality of the techniques being used in a real life environment. Enter the Dog Brothers. I witnessed my first Gathering of the Pack in 1996 when one of my training partners went down to test his skills against other like minded opponents. To say I was shocked by what I saw was an understatement. Here were guys fighting full contact just like I was used to watching yet they were doing it not only with various weapons but in a spirit of camaraderie that I had only previously witnessed with my time in the Army Scouts/Snipers. These guys were putting themselves on the line to see if their skills and techniques really worked under pressure and pulling it off with nothing but mutual respect and handshakes at the end of each fight regardless of the outcome. I had nothing but admiration for these guys but after watching several such events I thought to myself that I would never have the nerve to put myself into such a potentially dangerous environment even though I recognized the learning potential it entailed.


Ten years later and past what I considered to be my fighting prime due to age and a number of accumulative fighting injuries I again attended several more Gatherings of the Pack. This time I noticed that the fighters were not a bunch of young bucks in their primes but a broad range of guys who were actually from all walks of life and many of whom were not only my age but in many cases much older. Of course, this had always been the case but I had never been cognoscente of this fact. It was then that the realization of the Dog Brothers credo to “walk as a warrior for all your days” really sunk in. The next thing I know I found myself training with the North Hollywood Clan of Dog Brothers and three months later feeling the first solid strike to my body by a 1 ¼” rattan stick in a Gathering that instead of crippling me actually invigorated me and sent me into that adrenal state that I had previously only heard about. I have been hooked ever since and now as a candidate Dog Brother I have a different view on life and what it means to me to walk as a warrior for all of your days.


I know that I am by far not the toughest, youngest or strongest guy on the block. However I am fully aware of what I am and am not capable of through the intense testing and self enlightenment that the Gatherings provide. This gives me something that the tougher, younger and stronger guys may not necessarily have. Mind, Heart and Balls and the willingness to fight if need be regardless of the odds. I will carry this warrior mentality with me as I continue my journey through life and apply it not only to fighting but to any challenge that puts itself in my path. I have effectively found a higher consciousness through harder contact!

Tim “C-Scurvy Dog”
Landscape Architect
30176  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politically (In)correct on: January 18, 2008, 08:40:41 AM
Burglars have rights too, says
[British] Attorney General
by By Melissa Kite and Andrew AldersonA fresh row broke out last night about the rights of householders to fight back against intruders after the Government's most senior lawyer defended the rights of burglars.

Lord Goldsmith, the attorney-general, flew in the face of the Prime Minister's pledge to look again at the law with a view to giving homeowners more rights when he said that existing legislation was adequate.

He said that criminals must also have the right to protection from violence, prompting David Davis, the shadow home secretary, to accuse the government of being dangerously split on the issue.

Lord Goldsmith's intervention came as Sir John Stevens, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, dismissed fears that giving homeowners greater freedom when tackling burglars would lead to an "arms race" that would put them in greater danger.

He denied that a change in the law, which currently gives homeowners the right to use "reasonable force" when tackling intruders, would encourage burglars to become more aggressive.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Sir John - who last weekend came out in favour of the Right to Fight Back campaign, launched by this newspaper two months ago - said: "I am convinced that enabling householders to use whatever force is necessary will discourage burglars.

"The fact that a would-be intruder knows a householder can respond without the fear of being prosecuted will undoubtedly deter criminal acts." Sir John, who will step down next month after five years as commissioner, said fellow police officers were confident that it would act as a deterrent.

"We are on the ground," he said. "We smell it, we see it, we hear it. We know what we are talking about."

Last week, Tony Blair told the House of Commons that he would look at strengthening the law and a Tory MP has introduced a private member's bill to do so.

Lord Goldsmith, however, appeared to take issue with the Prime Minister's pledge to act. "We must protect victims and law abiding citizens," he said.

"But we have to recognize that others have some rights as well. They don't lose all rights because they're engaged in criminal conduct."

Mr Davis said: "They certainly do lose quite a lot of rights. The Government ought to make up its mind. The Prime Minister says one thing and the Attorney General says another.

"Of course all human beings have rights, but when somebody enters your home to commit a crime they give up a large portion of them."

Some critics of a change in the law have voiced concerns that burglars will feel they have to carry guns, knives and other weapons to protect themselves from householders.

Sir John, however, did not see this as a problem. "I have confidence in the good judgment and common sense of the public in knowing how far they should go."

He said that householders should be able to use whatever force is necessary even if - in exceptional circumstances - it involved killing the intruder.

He spoke of his regret about the repercussions over the verdict on Tony Martin, the farmer who shot dead one burglar and seriously injured another during a break-in at his farm in August 1999.

There was a public outcry when Martin was found guilty at Norwich Crown Court and sentenced to life in prison. The charge and sentence were later reduced to five years for manslaughter.

Sir John did not suggest that the jury had reached the wrong verdict, but added: "The Tony Martin case is unfortunate because it has skewed the debate [on the public's right to protect their home]. But it is a fact that burglars have acted with greater confidence since the Tony Martin verdict and that has to be a matter of regret."

Lord Goldsmith, however, warned of the dangers of using the Martin case to make bad law: "There are very few cases that have given rise to this problem. Besides Tony Martin, there's only one I know about.

"It's always possible to extrapolate from one case and think that something is happening across the country when it isn't."

Mr Blair's announcement of a review of the law came three days after the Conservative Party threw its weight behind a new parliamentary attempt to win more rights for householders to protect them from burglars.

The Telegraph revealed last weekend how Patrick Mercer, the Tory MP, would introduce a Private Member's Bill to change the law in favour of homeowners.

In an article in this newspaper today, Mr Mercer described Mr Blair's promise to consult before taking action as a "classic delaying tactic".

Michael Howard, the Tory leader, yesterday praised this newspaper's campaign. "I pay tribute to the highly effective campaign run over so many months by The Sunday Telegraph. It was the first newspaper to highlight this crucial issue and its persistence has been a key factor in winning this change to the law and in forcing Tony Blair's U-turn," he said. "We now need to ensure that Patrick Mercer's bill gets through parliament. The Sunday Telegraph's continued vigilance will be crucial in ensuring this."
30177  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / This day in Terrorism on: January 18, 2008, 07:46:42 AM
1982 Beirut, Lebanon:  Malcolm Kerr, President of American University, assassinated by Islamic Jihad.
30178  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Dog Brothers Tribe on: January 18, 2008, 07:13:06 AM
Woof Brothers:

Our webmaster is going to be taking care of updates this weekend.  Please check when he has done so to see if he has entered your name correctly.

Crafty Dog
30179  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / F. Ames: Licentiousness and Liberty on: January 18, 2008, 05:58:40 AM
"The known propensity of a democracy is to licentiousness which
the ambitious call, and ignorant believe to be liberty."

-- Fisher Ames (speech in the Massachusetts Ratifying Convention,
15 January 1788)

Reference: The Works of Fisher Ames, W.B. Allen, ed., vol. 1 (546)
30180  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Chess on: January 18, 2008, 05:56:10 AM
I've been having lots of fun playing with my children.

Anyway, saw this in the news:

Bobby Fischer, Former World Chess Champion, Is Dead

REYKJAVIK, Iceland (AP) -- Bobby Fischer, the reclusive chess
master who became a Cold War icon when he dethroned the
Soviet Union's Boris Spassky as world champion in 1972, has
died. He was 64.

Mr. Fischer died Thursday in a Reykjavik hospital, said his
spokesman, Gardar Sverrisson. There was no immediate word on
the cause of death.

Read More:
30181  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Movie Fights on: January 18, 2008, 05:52:12 AM
I liked that Donnie Yen fight. 

I almost went to see Eastern Promises when it was in the theaters, but as family man it can be hard to get out in the evenings-- so now I will wait for it to show up on sat-TV  smiley

Lucy Liu?  Maybe she got bit by the bug with the role in "Kill Bill".
30182  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Nat Geo Documentary on the Dog Brothers: Fight Club on: January 18, 2008, 05:48:57 AM
Here's Poi Dog's contribution:

It all started innocently enough.  One fine day in April 1995, a friend and training partner told me about a tape he'd just rented called 'Real Contact Stickfighting - Power'.  "Check it out, man, they fight for real," he said.

There's no way they were actually fighting, I thought.  They can't be.  I mean, I had already been training for several years in the Filipino martial arts and I knew how dangerous a stick strike could be.  A single stick hit to the wrist would break bones.  A hit to the knee would cripple.  A hit to the head would kill.  There's no way they were fighting for real.  I rented the tape, threw it in the VCR and hit play.

They were fighting for real.

The next day, I found an ad for the video series in a magazine and ordered the full set.  I immediately incorporated the drills into my training.  I nearly beat a palm tree to death in my backyard practicing full power strikes.  I told all my other training partners about these crazy guys who fought for real.  I tried to lend them the tapes.

I wanted to fight for real.

Problem was, no one else did.  I left Hawaii for college in New Mexico 2 years later.  In the summer of 2000, I found myself in Santa Fe, at the home of Arlan "Salty Dog" Sanford, one of the founding members of the Dog Brothers.  At a small park (one I recognized from the tape!), I stepped out for the first time against an actual Dog Brother.  I was sore for the next 3 days.  The welts disappeared after a week or so.  I couldn't wait to go back.

I was fighting for real.

I fought at my first Gathering in July 2002.  I've fought in 6 Gatherings so far.  I've trained with four of the clans - Santa Fe, Hawaii (I was there for the founding), North Hollywood and Hermosa Beach.  I made full Dog Brother July 2007.  I've been dropped from shots to the temple (through the mask) and to the back of the head (without the mask).  I've tapped to omoplatas and elbows to the face.  I was hit across the kidneys once so hard I had blood in my urine for a couple of days.  I have scars on my arms, thighs and shoulders from some of the stick hits I've taken.

Why the hell am I fighting for real?

It's not for the money, because we don't get paid.  It's not for the adulation from the legions of adoring fans, because there aren't any.  It's not for the crazy sex from hot anonymous groupies because there are none (I'm REALLY hoping this one will change).  There are no extrinsic rewards for doing this and I don't imagine that changing anytime soon.  I don't want it to change, ever (except for that groupie thing).

I fight for real because it grounds me in the essential qualities of being human.  I know great triumph and joy in successfully defending myself from a truly committed opponent.  I know the tragedy and pain of failing to do the same.  I know the fear and doubt that comes from standing alone against a man much bigger and stronger than I who is determined to test my courage and resolve.  I know the camaraderie and bond of the tribe, and know I will never actually have to stand alone.  In the chaos of struggle, I can give form to my inner demons, and exorcise them through the physical ritual of the fight.

Besides, it's fun as hell.
30183  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: 4 Day DBMA Camp in Germany with Guro Lonely on: January 17, 2008, 05:10:38 PM
Hmmmmmm , , , ,
30184  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Nat Geo's blog on: January 17, 2008, 04:01:38 PM
This from Peter Bouchard, who heads up the blog for Nat Geo on the show:


Greetings from the National Geographic Channel!  We want to hear from you about your experiences with Dog Brothers Inc.

What we are looking for is to hear about your experiences in this group and why you decided to join.  It doesn't have to be anything long, a short paragraph will do.  We'll pick the best ones and publish them on our channel's blog in a post leading up to the show and possibly as the show re-runs later through the year.

What we will need from you:

  - The short paragraph that was mentioned above

  - Your first name (We want to respect your privacy)

  - Your professional occupation

We can’t promise much, except an additional story that you will be able to brag to your friends about. We bet you all have some!

We look forward to hearing from you.

Peter Bouchard
NGC Blog

30185  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politically (In)correct on: January 17, 2008, 12:29:24 PM
Amateur dramatics group ordered by police to use plastic swords - and keep them under lock and key

An amateur dramatic group performing "Robinson Crusoe" has been ordered to lock up its PLASTIC swords - over health and safety fears.

Members of the Carnon Downs Drama Group are staging the pantomime which features several swashbuckling sword fights using toy cutlasses.

But the actors have been told the props - including a plastic spear and toy gun which fires a flag with the word 'bang' - are classed as "replica weapons".

Police have warned the troupe, based in Truro, Cornwall, the fake arms must be kept in a secure case in a "locked room" with restricted access.

As well as informing officers they had no "malicious intent" the group were told to notify the fire brigade and make adequate arrangements for security.

Organisers also had to appoint a named individual responsible for the prop weapons who must accompany them whenever they are moved.

The amateur players have been told all of the procedures form part a risk assessment in line with new legislation affecting film, stage and TV productions.

Director Linda Barker said: "In some scenes pirates are hitting each other with frying pans and sauce pan lids but there's no problem with them.

"We've got several wooden and plastic swords, two plastic spears and gun which cost £2 from a joke shop. But now we need to keep them locked away and fill out all sorts of forms.

"You can't have a play like this without a fight scene and you can't have a fight scene without a sword. It's ridiculous."

Co-director Elaine Gummow says she was told about the laws by the National Operatic and Dramatic Association.

She said: ""There was an article in a recent magazine about the use of weapons in productions.

"It told members that they had to carry out and follow new health and safety guidelines if any weapons, including replica weapons, are used on stage.

"It would be impossible to stage it without the use of a few swords and cutlasses, as well as a traditional pop-gun which emits nothing more than a flag which says 'bang'.

"It all seems a bit absurd but it is perhaps a sign of the times - health and safety is everywhere. All of us see there's a serious side to this, but I really don't think we pose a threat."

Cast member Steve Cleaver added: "It seems rather absurd and totally silly that pirates would not have weapons."

The Association advised members to contact local police and make them aware of their 'weapons' stash.

Devon and Cornwall police urged the Carnon Downs group to keep the props locked away.

PC Nigel Hyde, of Devon and Cornwall Police, said the props are classed as replica weapons and are considered dangerous.

He said: "I gather we've made a note and it seems a bit unusual. But other forms of replica weapons have been used to carry out crimes and the consequences have been serious."

The version of Robinson Crusoe is a traditional panto with a Cornish flavour and is set in Falmouth harbour.

It runs from January 22 and to January 26 at the Perran Ar Worthal Memorial Hall at Perranwell near Truro.
30186  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / DBMA DVD: "The Dos Triques Formula" on: January 17, 2008, 12:03:28 PM
Woof All:

Ron a.k.a "the Night Owl" and I are putting the final touches on the next
DBMA DVD "The Dos Triques Formula".

As many of you may remember, the term "Los Triques" is our neologism for
blending the initials "KKK".  For us, KKK are the initials of Kali-Krabi
Krabong, but of course the vile associations in America of these initials
made it necessary to develop another name for our blending of these two
arts-- hence "Los Triques" which, while sounding Filipino, simply means "The
Three Ks".

In "Dos Triques Formula" the "Dos" simply refers to the fact that this
material is for double stick.  As for the word "Formula", , ,  well, let me
see if I can explain.

As most of you know,  DBMA has as its mission statement "Walk as Warriors
for all our days" and in the real world this entails 360 degree awareness,
often with weapons involved.  It is my belief that the chance of success in
360 degree situations is greatly enhanced by the physical ability to operate
with either side forward.  To give a simple example, if I must operate in a
left lead (i.e. left foot forward) and I face one person coming from my
North, that is fine.  But if a friend of his approaches from my East and I
must fight him left lead I will be giving my back to the man to my North.
On the other hand, if I can shift to a right lead (probably while moving
Southeast), it will be much easier  for me to keep track of the man coming
from the North.

In DBMA the ability to fight with either side forward while moving in any
direction is developed in double stick.  Unlike single stick, we have a
weapon in front no matter which foot is forward.  Yes, very good fighting can
be done single stick in the off-lead (stick in rear hand) as we show in
"Krabi Krabong" by Ajarn Salty and in the "Los Triques" DVD, but in my
opinion this is less applicable to the requirements of 360 degrees.  And if
we don't care which foot is forward, we can use all the triangular footwork
which changes leads-- and if we can use all the triangles while moving and
striking (see "Combining Stick & Footwork DVD") we can manifest the
potential of the Art in real time.

In "Dos Triques Formula" I offer what I believe to be a formula of
tremendous simplicity and ferocity.  Pulling numbers out of the air wink
against what 95% of fighters do 95% of the time, you will have a clear and
simple way of seeing one of three basic structures and have three basic
combinations to use in conjunction with three basic triangles.

Mastering this material in training provides an underlying understanding of
footwork, zoning and striking that applies in all categories; not just
double stick, but single stick, staff, knife, Kali Tudo and streetfighting.

And because "It is Dog Brothers Martial Arts, if you see it taught, you see
it fought."(c)

As soon as we finish the edit, Cindy will design the box, Night Owl will put
together the promo clip, and we will send the master to the duplication
house.   We estimate we will begin shipping in two to three weeks.

The Adventure continues!
Guro Crafty

30187  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: January 17, 2008, 11:58:07 AM
I have zero tolerance with folks who praise Louis Farrakan.
WSJ Political Diary


When it came to illegal immigrants, Mike Huckabee spent his decade as governor of Arkansas as a compassionate conservative. He pushed for a bill allowing immigrant students in-state tuition rates if they went to state colleges, failed to complete an agreement to let state police enforce federal immigration law and criticized federal anti-immigration enforcement efforts. He dismissed as "racist" the motivations of sponsors of a bill that would have required state residents to show proof of citizenship to vote. He often said it was wrong to punish the children of parents who had entered the country illegally.

Well, that was then and now Mr. Huckabee is running for president. Competing in the hotly-contested South Carolina primary this week, he signed a pledge to support a plan that would send all illegal aliens home.

The pledge, sponsored by the advocacy group Numbers USA, commits Mr. Huckabee to oppose any path to citizenship for illegal aliens now in the country and to use law enforcement measures to deport them back to their countries of origin.

Numbers USA leader Roy Beck had previously been a critic of Mr. Huckabee's immigration record, calling it "poor" and "a disaster." But yesterday, he was all smiles at a news conference with Mr. Huckabee in South Carolina: "Probably, this is the strongest no-amnesty, attrition plan of any of the candidates," he told reporters.

But anti-immigration backers of the former Arkansas governor should be wary. He can and often does turn on a policy dime. Jim Gilchrist, founder of the border control group Minutemen, endorsed Mr. Huckabee in December when the candidate "looked me in the eye" and pledged to fight for a constitutional amendment to end birthright citizenship, which currently makes any child born inside the borders automatically a U.S. citizen. Now Mr. Huckabee says he doesn't support such an amendment and Mr. Gilchrist has been unavailable for comment to reporters asking how he now feels about his candidate.

-- John Fund
Has Romney Broken the Code?

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- One Republican who isn't changing his message after Michigan is Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts Governor finally hit pay dirt in an early primary by pounding away on jobs and the economy. His first campaign events here suggest he's sticking with the theme that won up north.

At the University of South Carolina yesterday, Mr. Romney launched into his now-honed stump speech about how "Washington is broken" and has failed to "secure the border," "fix Social Security" or "fight for every good job." Back in Michigan, Mr. Romney discovered that jittery voters responded strongly to promises to address the economy, especially those in the ailing auto sector who were quick to buy the argument that their problems begin in Washington. He continues to hammer away on that theme here, promising to cut taxes and reduce pork-barrel spending and insisting that "lobbyists" and "long-term politicians" are quaking "in their boots" after his Michigan win.

Can a weakening economy save Mitt Romney? It's too early to tell, since the South Carolina polls probably haven't caught up with the changing dynamics of the race yet -- they currently have him trailing John McCain and Mike Huckabee by ten points or more. But his crowd at the university was heaving -- so big that many couldn't fit in the main ballroom. And even if Grandpa Romney doesn't prevail in the end, attendees got an early view of another Romney politician in the making -- the governor's 20-month-old grandson, Parker, who delighted the masses by crawling into Mr. Romney's arms and burbling into the microphone.

-- Kim Strassel
Dr. Coburn Makes a House Call

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- This state was John McCain's Waterloo in 2000, in no small part because he struggled to gain traction with core Republican voters. The Arizona senator is now trying to avoid a repeat by shoring up his conservative credentials. One bulwark rolled out yesterday was an endorsement from conservative Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn.

Senator Lindsey Graham set the tone for a packed auditorium here in the religious Upcountry, introducing Senator Coburn as a "rock-solid fiscal, social and economic conservative," who represents "everything that was right about the Republican Party." Senator Coburn (just in case anybody was still missing the point) began his own talk by noting that his "credentials as a conservative are unquestioned" and explained that Mr. McCain was the only candidate who could be trusted on the crucial question of appointing conservative judges and protecting "innocent life." Senator McCain hopped in next, praising his own pro-life record and promising to "nominate the closest thing to a clone of [Supreme Court Justice] John Roberts." Only at the end did anyone mention what has been Mr. McCain's traditional selling point elsewhere, his qualifications to serve as commander-in-chief.

The Arizona senator needs all the help he can get from conservatives like Dr. Coburn. Parked outside the rally were a variety of protest groups, some waving signs about Mr. McCain's immigration positions, others waving confederate flags (the candidate's criticism of which earned him the ire of many residents in 2000). But unlike in his 2000 race against George W. Bush, several GOP candidates this year are seriously chasing the conservative vote -- including Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson. That may be Mr. McCain's salvation, and why he's currently the front-runner with support in the mid-20s.

-- Kim Strassel
The Biggest Loser

Michigan Democratic Senator Carl Levin fought tooth and nail to shake up the primary calendar this year and break what he called the "stranglehold" of Iowa and New Hampshire on the nominating process. But while the accelerated Michigan primary produced a contest of some significance on the Republican side, it was a complete flop on the Democratic side. The vote was virtually meaningless for the Democrats' presidential race, generating little local enthusiasm while producing a feud with the national party that has yet to be resolved.

Because most Democratic hopefuls acceded to the national party's request to keep their names off the Michigan ballot, Tuesday's turnout represented only 20% of the state's registered voting population and in real terms was only 4.8% larger than 2000, the last seriously contested primary. Compare that to the record-shattering Democratic turnout in both Iowa and New Hampshire this year.

Adding insult to injury, the Democratic National Committee voted earlier this year to strip Michigan of all 156 of its delegates to the national convention. While Mr. Levin remains confident the DNC won't make good on its threat and that Michigan's delegates will be seated in the end, the DNC took the unusual step of canceling the block of hotel rooms set aside for the Wolverine State delegation in Denver in August.

Florida Democrats, who casts their vote twelve days from now, are in a similar situation, having also been stripped of their delegates. But at least the Florida beauty contest will include all the candidates on the ballot, and the entire media universe will be watching the outcome, guaranteeing the Sunshine State a big impact on the presidential race as it hurtles toward a critical moment the following week on Tsunami Tuesday.

Not so Michigan. Even as Mr. Levin publicly urged Democrats to turn out Tuesday and register their choice between Hillary Clinton and "uncommitted," the eyes of his party were focused thousands of miles of away on the televised debate between the top contenders in Las Vegas. All in all, the outcome has not brought credit on Mr. Levin, who faces embarrassing question about whether the costs associated with his gamble were worth the unimpressive result.

-- Tom Bevan, executive editor

The Semi Natural

Sometimes it takes a well-connected journalist to articulate what a lot of people are feeling, but can't quite express in public.

Time columnist Joe Klein did just that when he used a Council on Foreign Relations meeting this week to suggest that "an element of unwitting sabotage" may be behind Bill Clinton's frequently unhelpful comments that have thrown his wife's campaign off-stride. According to the New York Observer, Mr. Klein suggested that Mr. Clinton may be "worrying" that "maybe she's going to be a better president" than he was. But Mr. Klein hastily added that Mr. Clinton is probably ambivalent about his wife's candidacy, because he also has been supportive in fundraising and other areas: "Consciously, I think that he sees her election as president as the final validation of his presidency."

Such amateur psychology would be meaningless if it were not for the fact that Mr. Klein knows the Clintons so well. He spent many long conversations with them during the 1992 campaign and afterwards. In 1997, he anonymously published the best-selling novel "Primary Colors," a thinly fictionalized retelling of Mr. Clinton's rise to the White House that later became a movie. In 2002, he wrote a largely positive non-fiction review of the Clinton presidency called "The Natural."

30188  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Emergency Tips and Emergency Medicine on: January 17, 2008, 08:45:19 AM
Sent to me by a friend at Border Protection:

STROKE: Remember The 1st Three Letters.... S.T.R.

My nurse friend sent this and encouraged me to post it and spread the word. I agree. If everyone can remember something this simple, we could save some folks. Seriously..

Please read:


During a BBQ, a friend stumbled and took a little fall - she assured everyone that she was fine (they offered to call paramedics) .....she said she had just tripped over a brick because of her new shoes.

They got her cleaned up and got her a new plate of food. While she appeared a bit shaken up, Ingrid went about enjoying herself the rest of the evening.

Ingrid's husband called later telling everyone that his wife had been taken to the hospital - (at 6:00 pm Ingrid passed away.) She had suffered a stroke at the BBQ. Had they known how to identify the signs of a stroke, perhaps Ingrid would be with us today. Some don't die.... they end up in a helpless, hopeless condition instead.

It only takes a minute to read this...

A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke... totally . He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the patient medically cared for within 3 hours, which is tough.

Thank God for the sense to remember the "3" steps, STR . Read and Learn!

Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke .

Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simp le questions:
S * Ask the individual to SMILE.
T * Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently)
(i.e. It is sunny out today)
R * Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.

If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE o f these tasks, call 999/911 immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

New Sign of a Stroke -------- Stick out Your Tongue

NOTE: Another 'sign' of a stroke is this: Ask the person to 'stick' out his tongue.. If the tongue is 'crooked', if it goes to one side or the other , that is also an indication of a stroke.

A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this e-mail sends it to 10 people; you can bet that at least one life will be saved.



30189  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Estudio: Ataque mientras esta' en coche on: January 17, 2008, 08:41:15 AM

Muchas errores obvias aqui, por ejemplo:

1) Estar alli'
2) No salir cuando se le da la oportunidad
3) Salir del coche

Pero tambien podemos

1) Ver en vivo un ataque por la ventana contra un persona sentada en su coche.  ?Como se puede defender este tipo de ataque?
2) Ver Jab-cruzada fuerte y agresivo
3) Ver ataque desde pie contra persona en el piso
4) Ver necesidad de pensar en 360 grados
5) estudiar el papel de los observadores-- ?que hacen?

30190  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Videos: Estudios en applicacion on: January 17, 2008, 08:34:36 AM
El nuevo fenomeno de clips en sitios como youtube nos ofrece una tremenda oportunidad para observar, estudiar, y preparnos mentalmente.

Para comenzar, he aqui en Holanda un hombre montado sobre un mujer tratando de matarla con un cuchillo.  Sepa que lo que se ve aqui' es muy, muy feo.  Fijense en las acciones, y falta de acciones, de la gente alli'.  ?Que harian Uds?

30191  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Mexico on: January 17, 2008, 08:29:32 AM
Guau Jose:

Buenisima idea.  Voy a abrir un hilo para este proposito.


30192  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / NY Times: Rudy's in trouble (Ya think?) on: January 17, 2008, 07:29:35 AM
For months, the Republican establishment in New York and New Jersey marched nearly in lock step behind Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former hometown mayor they were confident would become their party’s nominee for president.

But as Mr. Giuliani has plummeted from first to fourth — or worse — in some national polls, as he finished near the bottom of the pack in the nation’s earliest primaries, and as his lead evaporated even in Florida, the state on which he has gambled the most time and money, those Republican leaders are verging toward a grim new consensus:

If Mr. Giuliani loses in the Florida primary on Jan. 29, they say, he may even have trouble defeating the rivals who are encroaching on his own backyard.

“It’s pretty certain that he has to win Florida,” said Guy V. Molinari, the former Staten Island borough president, who is co-chairman of Mr. Giuliani’s campaign in New York.

Those supporters say they are confident that if Mr. Giuliani carries Florida or runs a very close second, he will remain the odds-on favorite to claim virtually all of the delegates from the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut primaries on Feb. 5, when Republicans in 22 states vote.

But if Mr. Giuliani is relegated to a distant second or worse in Florida, even some of his supporters acknowledge that New York’s primary one week later would most likely be up for grabs, with Senator John McCain of Arizona and former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts being Mr. Giuliani’s strongest rivals. Like Mr. Giuliani, both are fielding full delegate slates in all 29 of the state’s Congressional districts.

“If he carries Florida, he carries New York,” said Fred Siegel, a Cooper Union historian who has served as an adviser to the former mayor and written a largely admiring biography of him. But winning Florida would require “a miraculous comeback,” he said, adding: “I wouldn’t bet on it.”

With 101 delegates from New York, 52 from New Jersey and 30 from Connecticut, the region accounts for about 15 percent of the magic number needed for the Republican nomination. All three are winner-take-all contests.

Mr. Giuliani’s precipitous decline in national and state polls in recent weeks has prompted many of his leading supporters in the metropolitan area to raise questions about his strategy of largely ignoring early races in Iowa, New Hampshire and Michigan to focus on Florida. He received little news coverage during those primaries, then finished poorly in each.

“I think that a lot of what’s happening in general is the early campaigning in Iowa, New Hampshire and Michigan playing an active role, and the fact that Rudy chose not to compete,” said Guy F. Talarico, a Giuliani supporter who is the former chairman of the Republican Party in Bergen County, N.J. “People are focusing on that and saying, ‘When are we going to get in the game?’ ”

Still, once the campaign circles back to the metropolitan area, “I think he’s going to win New Jersey,” Mr. Talarico said.

A senior Republican strategist, who is allied with Mr. Giuliani and is working with Republican legislative candidates in New York, said Mr. Giuliani’s decision to circumvent the early primaries was a “big gamble” that for the moment looked in danger of failing.

“Who knows if it will work,” said the strategist, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he had not been authorized by the campaign to speak publicly. “But the danger is what you are seeing now. We’re obviously concerned.”

In Florida, a Quinnipiac University poll of likely Republican voters found last month that Mr. Giuliani was leading the pack with 28 percent, followed by former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas with 21 percent and Mr. Romney with 20 percent. But a follow-up survey last week found the race statistically tied among four candidates: Mr. Giuliani, Mr. McCain, Mr. Huckabee and Mr. Romney.

Mr. Giuliani’s poll numbers have declined in Florida even though he has invested heavily there. The former mayor spent almost $600,000 on television advertising in Florida between Dec. 8 and Jan. 6, second only to Mr. Romney, who spent $676,851, according to Campaign Media Analysis Group, a political advertising research firm.

Almost all of Mr. Giuliani’s spending came in the final 10 days of that period, when Mr. Romney stopped buying ads.

The race has also narrowed in New Jersey, according to a poll released this week by Monmouth University/Gannett. The poll showed Mr. McCain leading by 29 percent to Mr. Giuliani’s 25 percent, a difference that is within the poll’s margin of sampling error. In September, the same poll found Mr. Giuliani 32 percentage points ahead of his nearest rival, Mr. McCain.

On Wednesday, Mr. McCain vowed to compete hard in New York. “I’m going there a lot for money,” he said. “I ought to go there for votes.”

Page 2 of 2)

Nationally, a New York Times/CBS News poll released on Sunday found that Mr. Giuliani, who led the Republican field with 29 percent nationally in October and was tied with Mr. Huckabee at about 22 percent last month, had plummeted to 10 percent, behind Mr. McCain and Mr. Huckabee.

In New York, with its three million enrolled Republicans, polls indicate Mr. Giuliani’s edge was eroding even before the victories by Mr. Huckabee, Mr. McCain and Mr. Romney in Iowa, New Hampshire and Michigan, respectively. In October, Mr. Giuliani led his nearest opponent by a commanding 33-point margin. By last month, he was still ahead, but his lead had shrunk to 22 percentage points.

New public polls are expected to show the race has tightened even more, polling experts said.

“I have a feeling that the sag in Florida and the sag in New Jersey will probably be matched by a sag in New York,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac Poll, which plans to release a new New York poll next week.

It is unclear what impact Mr. Giuliani’s weak poll numbers and poor primary finishes have had on his fund-raising, as new quarterly campaign spending reports will not be filed until the end of the month. But his campaign reported last week that some workers had given up their paychecks for the month to help save dwindling funds. The campaign reported having $7 million in cash on hand at the time.

There are also concerns among Giuliani supporters that if he does not gain momentum before Feb. 5, he will have to spend precious funds just to win New York, where advertising is particularly expensive.

Anthony V. Carbonetti, Mr. Giuliani’s senior political adviser, said on Wednesday: “Rudy has a long history of fighting for New York, and with his track record and the campaign team we’ve put together here, we’re going to win on Feb. 5.”

Mr. Giuliani has some clear advantages in the region. In addition to having more organizational support from Republican elected officials, he is counting on the fact that in New York and Connecticut, Italian-Americans constitute about one-fifth of the voters in Republican primaries.

But while his popularity soared after the World Trade Center attack, Mr. Giuliani is still reviled by some New Yorkers, including well-organized firefighters who blame him for communications failures on 9/11 and Republicans who have never forgiven him for endorsing a Democrat, Mario M. Cuomo, for governor against George E. Pataki in 1994. Mr. Pataki won.

Mr. Pataki said through a spokesman, David M. Catalfamo, on Wednesday that he was “continuing to evaluate all the candidates and will make an endorsement sometime in the future.”

But several people who worked in his administration, including his former counsel, Michael C. Finnegan, have made their allegiances clear: They are running as McCain delegates.

30193  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Jefferson: Natural Aristocracy on: January 17, 2008, 07:22:40 AM
"The natural aristocracy I consider as the most precious gift
of nature for the instruction, the trusts, and government of
society. And indeed it would have been inconsistent in creation
to have formed man for the social state, and not to have provided
virtue and wisdom enough to manage the concerns of the society.
May we not even say that that form of government is the best
which provides the most - for a pure selection of these natural
aristoi into the offices of government?"

-- Thomas Jefferson (letter to John Adams, 28 October 1813)

Reference: Jefferson Writings, Lemay, ed., 1306.
30194  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: full contact medicine on: January 17, 2008, 07:21:17 AM
Woof Teetsao:

Very kind of you!

Please use the address here on the website:

Marc Denny
Dog Brothers Martial Arts
703 Pier Ave #664
Hermosa Beach, CA 90254

My email address is


30195  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / 4 Day DBMA Camp in Germany with Guro Lonely on: January 17, 2008, 07:04:52 AM
*Dog Brothers Martial Arts*

*4 Day Training Camp !!*

*15. May -- 18. May*

*Turner und Jugendheim Loreley
St. Goarshausen - Germany

Thursday 15. May: 12.00 lunch, Organized training from 14.00 until 17.00
+ 1h free Training
Friday 16. May: Organized training from 09.00 until 12.00 and 14.00
until 17.00 + 1h free Training
Saturday 17. May: Organized training from 09.00 until 12.00 and 14.00
until 17.00 + 1h free Training
Sunday 18. May: Organized training from 09.00 until 12.00 with the
chance for sparring afterward

200 Euro (price includes food and lodging!)

Please register before the 10th of May (sooner is better as space is

Christian Eckert
0049 (0)170 - 7521890

Wuff, wuff

We are looking forward to this training camp. Four days of intense
training and sitting around the campfire at night. The Loreley is the
perfect training location. Huge meadows and a big gym if it rains. Three
meals a day provided. Sleeping will be in log cabins (Bring your
sleeping bag with you!).

Each class will have a special topic (single stick, double stick, staff,
stick-grappling etc.). As last year the camp will conclude with a few
rounds of light sparring. This is a perfect way to get prepared for the
European "Dog Brothers Gathering of the Pack" at the end of September.

Space is limited so get registered as soon as possible. The camp is
primarily for DBMA members but friends of the pack are welcome (with
prior approval from Lonely dog).

See you there.....


Guro Benjamin "Lonely Dog" Rittiner und Dog Christian Eckert
30196  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Epidemics: Bird Flu, TB, etc on: January 17, 2008, 06:58:01 AM
Here is one interpretation of the meaning underlying the preceding article.  Comments?


( - A drug-resistant strain of a deadly staph infection found in some U.S. hospitals is now spreading among homosexual men, researchers said. A conservative group has characterized the problem as the result of "unnatural behaviors."

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, killed about 19,000 Americans in 2005 -- most of them in hospitals, according a report published in October in the Journal of the American Medical Association. But now the infection is popping up outside hospitals in San Francisco, Boston, New York and Los Angeles, according to Reuters.

"The medical community has known for years that homosexual conduct, especially among males, creates a breeding ground for often deadly disease. In recent years we have seen a profound resurgence in cases of HIV/AIDS, syphilis, rectal gonorrhea and many other STDs among those who call themselves 'gay,' said Matt Barber, policy director for cultural issues with Concerned Women for America (CWA).

Active homosexual men in San Francisco are considered 13 times more likely to be infected with MRSA than heterosexuals, researchers reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

"Once this reaches the general population, it will be truly unstoppable," Reuters quoted Binh Diep, a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco who led the study, as saying. "That's why we're trying to spread the message of prevention," he added.

"The human body is quite callous in how it handles mistreatment and the perversion of its natural functions," said Barber. "When two men mimic the act of heterosexual intercourse with one another, they create an environment, a biological counterfeit, wherein disease can thrive. Unnatural behaviors beget natural consequences."

He blamed television shows like "Will and Grace," which "glorify the homosexual lifestyle," and homosexual indoctrination in schools for the "laissez-faire attitude toward sexual deviancy."

"'Stay out of our bedrooms!' we're often commanded by militant 'gay' activists," Barber said. "Well, now the dangerous and possibly deadly consequence of what occurs in those bedrooms is spilling over into the general population. It's not only frightening, it's infuriating."

Barber called for parents to speak out against "politically correct cultural elites" who "endanger our children and larger communities through propagandist promotion of this demonstrably deadly lifestyle."

"Why does it take a potentially deadly staph epidemic for people to acknowledge reality? Will that even do it? Enough is enough!" Barber added.
30197  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: January 16, 2008, 09:55:51 PM
From the Muslim Observer

Unique Opportunity For Michigan Muslims
The American Muslim community can make a big impact on the political scene by voting in large numbers in the Michigan Primary on Tuesday, January 15. Every media headline makes us believe that the fight for the top position is between McCain and Romney on the Republican side. The democrats have no such match going on due the de-franchising of the Michigan democrats by the National Democratic Party, after the state decided to move its primary ahead. Edwards and Obama surrendered to the party bosses and dropped their names from the ballot and agreed not to campaign, except Clinton - she exhibited the courage to challenge the party leadership and has her name on the ballot.
The Muslim community in Michigan has a unique opportunity to beat the pundits by voting as a block for Ron Paul as the Republican candidate. The primary process in Michigan allows to pick either of the two ballots, Democrat or Republican, for the vote. This meets one of the goals of AMPEC, “Promote ideas and the people that are consistent with Muslim community thought. At the same time the Muslim community shall identify those elements that are highly undesirable for peace, stability and humanity, both inside and outside US, and ensure their failure right at the onset.” The Muslim community must very honestly understand that the system of governance in this country follows in the same general direction, irrespective of who is in leadership. With Democrats, the paths may be less treacherous than if the Republicans are in power, but are leading in the same direction! Unless the system gets an overhaul, there will be very little change in the way whole system operates in this country.
The Muslim community’s failure to recognize the importance of primary elections and their vital role in the overall elections process will mean that this year, as usual, a small minority of voters will make decisions for everyone else and the outcome most likely will not be pleasant for the American Muslims. Let’s beat the odds, let’s vote.
Ron Paul meets the Muslim community’s major concern about “War in Iraq” - an issue that every media outlet has ignored in the primary political campaign in Michigan. To the Muslim community, it is the source of major problems in America - security, jobs, education, healthcare, etc.; and the world peace. The Republican candidate who voted “NO” against War in Iraq, is against the Patriot Act and is in favor of bringing the troops back home - deserves our full support in the Michigan Primary; THAT CANDIDATE IS RON PAUL.
Vote Smart on January 15, 2008
Beat the political machine in Michigan - Vote REPUBLICAN and for RON PAUL

30198  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Demographics on: January 16, 2008, 03:30:28 PM
Woof All:

Mark Steyn's "America Alone" (which has its own lively thread here on this forum) powerfully brings demographic analysis to the table.  This thread seeks to keep the ball rolling on the matter of demographics.

This piece is from today's LA Slimes.  Note the rather contemptible thought process behind the reasons the experts give for the increase.


U.S. experiences baby boomlet in 2006
Almost 4.3 million births are reported, the most in 45 years. Hispanics accounted for nearly 25% of the increase.
From the Associated Press
January 16, 2008

ATLANTA -- Bucking the trend in many other wealthy industrialized nations, the United States seems to be experiencing a baby boomlet, reporting the largest number of children born in 45 years.

The nearly 4.3 million births in 2006 were mostly due to a bigger population, especially a growing number of Latinos. That group accounted for nearly one-quarter of all U.S. births. But non-Latino white women and other racial and ethnic groups were having more babies too.

An Associated Press review of births dating to 1909 found the total in the U.S. was the highest since 1961, near the end of the baby boom. An examination of global data also shows that the United States has a higher fertility rate than every country in continental Europe, as well as Australia, Canada and Japan. Fertility levels in those countries have been lower than the U.S. rate for several years, although some are on the rise, most notably in France.

Experts believe there is a mix of reasons: a decline in contraceptive use, a drop in access to abortion, poor education and poverty.  (A decline in contraceptives might be because people WANT to have babies!  A drop in access to abortion?!?  What kind of values see birth rates that maintain population as a failure to sufficiently abort?!?!?  What kind of values see having children as a sign of poor education?!?!?!?)

There are cultural reasons as well. Latinos as a group have fertility rates -- the number of children a woman is expected to have in her lifetime -- that are about 40% higher than the U.S. overall.  And experts say Americans, especially those in middle America, view children more favorably than people in many other Westernized countries.

"Americans like children. We are the only people who respond to prosperity by saying, 'Let's have another kid,' " said Nan Marie Astone, associate professor of population, family and reproductive health at Johns Hopkins University.

Demographers say it is too soon to know if the sudden increase in births is the start of a trend.

"We have to wait and see. For now, I would call it a noticeable blip," said Brady E. Hamilton, a statistician with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Demographers often use the word boomlet for a small and brief baby boom.

To many economists and policymakers, the increase in births is good news. The U.S. fertility rate reached 2.1. That's the "magic number" required for a population to replace itself.  Countries with much lower rates -- such as Japan and Italy, both with a rate of 1.3 -- face future labor shortages and eroding tax bases as they fail to reproduce enough to take care of their aging elders.  (And this is exactly why Europe has accepted so many Turks and Arabs-- see the "America Alone" thread.)

But the higher fertility rate isn't all good. Last month, the CDC reported that America's teen birthrate rose for the first time in 15 years.

The same report also showed births becoming more common in nearly every age and racial or ethnic group. Birthrates increased for women in their 20s, 30s and early 40s, not just teens. They rose for whites, blacks, Latinos, American Indians and Alaska Natives.

The rate for Asian women stayed about the same.

Total births jumped 3% in 2006, the largest single-year increase since 1989, according to preliminary data compiled by the CDC.  Clearly, U.S. birthrates are not what they were in the 1950s and early 1960s, when they were nearly twice as high and large families were much more common. The recent birth numbers are more a result of many women having a couple of kids each, rather than a smaller number of mothers, each bearing several children, Astone said.

30199  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: January 16, 2008, 02:12:35 PM
“Mitt Romney finally won the ‘gold’ yesterday, as he so effusively puts it, and the result is a Republican Presidential battle that is more muddled than ever. The most important story out of Michigan is that Republicans are still looking for a standard bearer. Mr. Romney has the immediate bragging rights with his victory, salvaging his campaign in the process. He was able to win in his native state, and to do so convincingly among Republican voters of all stripes. He helped himself by stressing the economy in a state that has lagged behind U.S. growth for years, even if he did go over the top with his pandering to the auto industry. Mr. Romney can’t stop jobs from leaving the state, no matter how often he claims he can... The result is a blow to John McCain, who was coming off a victory in New Hampshire and had won in Michigan in 2000... Mike Huckabee’s distant third means that he hasn’t yet been able to capitalize on his surprising Iowa victory. His political religiosity didn’t play well outside of evangelical precincts in either New England or the Midwest, and his attacks on President Bush’s foreign policy and corporations have pushed away parts of the GOP coalition... Another winner yesterday was Fred Thompson, who is competitive in South Carolina and is running as the conservative who can unite the GOP’s fractious wings. The former Tennessee Senator has laid out an impressive policy map, but he’s suffered in early contests because his heart and energy didn’t seem to be in the race. That has changed in recent weeks, especially with his pungent, quick-witted debate performances. If he can do better than Messrs. Romney and Huckabee among conservatives, he could surprise in the Palmetto State and give himself a genuine chance at the nomination. The abiding lesson from the last two weeks is that GOP voters are still sifting the field, searching for their next leader.” —The Wall Street Journal
30200  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Dangerous new MRSA on: January 16, 2008, 08:36:54 AM
S.F. General researchers follow strain of drug-resistant bacteria

Sabin Russell, Chronicle Medical Writer

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

San Francisco General Hospital researchers have been chasing the rogue strain of drug-resistant staph called USA300 since they first isolated it from a patient specimen seven years ago.

With every turn, the aggressive and persistent bug keeps getting worse.

Now, a new variant of that strain, resistant to six major kinds of antibiotics, is spreading among gay men in San Francisco, Boston, New York and Los Angeles.

City doctors first spotted the original USA300 during tests for patients treated at a walk-in clinic for skin infections in 2001. Since then, they have watched it morph from laboratory curiosity into the dominant form of staph infection in much of the United States.

"It stormed into town and just took over, displacing everything else," said Dr. Chip Chambers, infectious disease chief for the renowned hospital.

At first, USA300 hit the down-and-out: injection-drug users, jail inmates, homeless men and women. Today it is also infecting suburban moms, executives, doctors, athletes and children. It has turned up in tattoo parlors and newborn nurseries. People with HIV infection seem especially prone to it, but it also strikes patients, gay and straight, who have no previous health problems.
Staph infections are usually treatable but can be lethal. USA300 is as dangerous as they come - it can attack organs throughout the body, forcing doctors to amputate fingers, toes and limbs. Its most disturbing trait, however, is just how easily it gets around.

"USA300 has a tremendous ability to spread," said Francoise Perdreau-Remington, director of the molecular epidemiology lab at San Francisco General, where the strain was first identified. "It has been described in at least 44 states and is now spreading in European countries."

USA300 is one of a dozen distinct varieties of MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, now circulating. The first MRSA strain, resistant to the penicillin substitute methicillin, was discovered in 1961. It continues to evolve. More than 200 families of the strain have come and gone since. USA300 is shaping up as the worst of the lot.

The various MRSA families have been gaining strength as a public health menace for years.

MRSA infections used to be confined to hospitalized patients. But in the late 1990s, people began contracting them in community settings - in gyms, jails, schools and even at home. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calculated last fall that drug-resistant staph was killing 19,000 Americans a year - more than are dying of AIDS.

Tracking down new disease threats is Perdreau-Remington's specialty. The French-born microbiologist was recruited to San Francisco General in 1995 to create the lab because of her expertise in disease detective work at the University of Cologne in Germany. A key to her microbe hunting is the ability to compare new strains to old ones. Her lab at the San Francisco hospital stores a frozen cache of 16,000 germs taken from patients in the hospital and health clinics.

In 2000, San Francisco General had set up a special walk-in clinic catering to drug users and street people to handle the growing volume of skin and soft-tissue infections that were driving up costs in its emergency room.

Perdreau-Remington began running tests to find out what was causing so many infections. Her lab analyzed bacterial specimens to produce genetic fingerprints that look like strips of bar code. It was during that screening program, using samples from the clinic, that she found the genetic fingerprint of what would be called USA300.

The unique signature showed up on March 1, 2001. At first, it represented just one of 15 specimens on a standard computer readout, known as a "gel." When the same new fingerprint showed up in three of 15 specimens three months later, Perdreau-Remington remembers thinking: "Uh-oh, we have a problem."

She labeled the new strain the "S-clone."

By February 2002, six of 15 samples displayed the S-clone's signature. Among patients at the clinic, the new bug shortly thereafter outnumbered all others by a 2-to-1 ratio.

Perdreau-Remington soon learned that the bug had been lurking elsewhere. She began collaborating with her counterparts in Los Angeles County, where inmates of the largest jail system in the United States had been complaining of "spider bites." Samples of the skin sores yielded the same S-clone fingerprints.

Throughout the United States, other researchers were independently finding the same bug.

Fred Tenover, director of laboratory science at the CDC, remembers running a test that pooled drug-resistant staph samples from 12 states, including ones from prisons in Georgia, Texas and California and from a football team in Pennsylvania. "The patterns were indistinguishable," he said. "I looked at the gel and said, 'This can't be.' So we went back and retested them. It was amazing."
The fingerprints were identical to those of Perdreau-Remington's S-clone.

Tenover, who was developing for the CDC a uniform system for describing a dozen distinctive types of drug-resistant staph, named the emerging bug USA300.

Perdreau-Remington's early isolation of USA300 has made her lab at San Francisco General a world leader for the study of it. Once it became clear that a new strain of drug-resistant staph was loose, she set out to discover where it came from. She went back to her freezers and screened hundreds of samples of staph taken since 1996.

Her survey unearthed the earliest known sample of USA300. Its fingerprints were spotted in a frozen specimen taken from a man who visited the newly opened walk-in clinic at San Francisco General on Sept. 25, 2000.

Ominously, the strain that first appeared outside the hospital began to infect vulnerable patients inside as well. By 2002, USA300 accounted for 14 percent of staph infections acquired at San Francisco General, and the numbers keep rising.

"Now, more than 80 percent of MRSA infections in this hospital are caused by USA300," Perdreau-Remington said.

Under a powerful microscope, USA300 resembles a cluster of faintly yellow BBs - indistinguishable from other strains of drug-resistant staph. Like a fancier brand of automobile, however, this one is packed with options that make it potentially more deadly and easier to spread.

Toxic proteins carried by USA300 have been implicated in infections that destroy fingers and toes or cause the rare but frighteningly fast skin- and muscle-tissue destruction attributed popularly to "flesh-eating bacteria" - a condition known as necrotizing fasciitis.

Until recently, flesh-eating infections were thought to be caused by other bugs, such as Streptococcus. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2005 changed all that. Doctors at UCLA-Harbor Medical Center reviewed 14 cases of the frightening skin disease. All 14 had drug-resistant staph cultured from their wounds. Five samples were tested at Perdreau-Remington's San Francisco lab for strain type. They all turned up USA300.

When drug-resistant staph invades the lungs, it can cause a pneumonia that destroys lung tissue and kills a patient within hours. Last winter, the CDC implicated USA300 in outbreaks of severe pneumonia such as the one that killed six of 10 flu patients in Louisiana and Georgia last winter. Four of the dead were children.

Concern over USA300 is so great that Perdreau-Remington won funding to map the complete genome of the germ, identifying the entire coded sequence of genetic instructions that tell this particular strain of staph bacteria how to make copies of itself.

She chose a sample taken in 2003 from a wrist abscess on a 36-year-old patient who was also being treated for AIDS at San Francisco General. She picked that specimen because it seemed unusually resistant to treatment. It was labeled USA300 FPR3757 - using Perdreau-Remington's initials.

The gene map, published in the British medical journal the Lancet in February 2006, has yielded clues to why this strain spreads so quickly. The bug appears to have swapped genes from Staphylococcus epidermidis, a usually harmless staph species that is commonly found on human skin. Researchers theorize that, by stealing a trick from the milder staph bug, the malevolent USA300 may colonize on human skin more easily than other varieties of MRSA.

Further along the gene map are sections that produce resistance to the antibiotics tetracycline, erythromycin, clindamycin, Cipro and mupirocin, a topical ointment often used to kill MRSA colonies living in people's noses.

Perdreau-Remington did not know it at the time, but the sample she took - FPR3757 - was among the very first isolates found of the highly drug-resistant USA300 variant now spreading readily through San Francisco's gay community. The new bug virtually has her name on it.

USA300 - even the new variant - is treatable with some antibiotics. Perhaps the most important of these is vancomycin, an antibiotic reserved for the most serious staph infections. But FPR3757 is just a short step away from acquiring resistance to that drug as well.

Dangerous intestinal bacteria have already evolved resistance to vancomycin. Known as vancomycin-resistant enterococcus, or VRE, the bugs carry a "cassette" of genes containing all the instructions needed for bacteria to sidestep the antibiotic.

Perdreau-Remington's team has spotted on the USA300 genome a region that is primed to accept this vancomycin-resistance cassette. It could snap into place like a Lego block.

Drug-resistant bacterial strains have been labeled "superbugs," but most infectious disease specialists recognize that these bacteria are not doing anything remarkable. They are performing as they have for millions of years, using their enormous capacity to mutate and multiply to outmaneuver whatever biological or environmental threats they face.

Because both VRE and USA300 are circulating in hospital environments, some patients are probably battling both bugs at the same time. Given the propensity of staph germs to swap genes, these patients provide fertile ground for the evolution of an even more dangerous bug.

If USA300 were to acquire vancomycin resistance from VRE, the result would be a virulent new form of staph, which would spread readily outside the medical setting and be nearly impossible to treat.

Perdreau-Remington believes there's an urgent need for new drugs to combat such a monster.

"This is the horror scenario," she said. "We have very little time left."

E-mail Sabin Russell at

This article appeared on page A - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle
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