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Re: :[

Unread postby FF Fanatic 80 » Fri Aug 05, 2005 10:22 am

Maybe he can be the screw and the nut, and go f...

...nah, I'd rather not reserve a seat in the handbasket for myself =[

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Re: :[

Unread postby PriamNevhausten » Fri Aug 05, 2005 2:26 pm

"Well, if you don’t need a man, what’s left?"


Also, if you need one screw and one nut, I guess we can cut off one of his testicles, right? You can't do anything with two nuts, either.

Furthermore, it is possibly escaping his grasp that a lot of perfectly healthy straight women use lubricant in fairly standard, 'vanilla' sexual activities. I suppose they, too, get his condemnation. <p><span style="font-size:xx-small;">"It's in the air, in the headlines in the newspapers, in the blurry images on television. It is a secret you have yet to grasp, although the first syllable has been spoken in a dream you cannot quite recall." --Unknown Armies</span></p>Edited by: [url=>PriamNevhausten</A]&nbsp; Image at: 8/5/05 14:27

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still Dia

Unread postby Animala » Fri Aug 05, 2005 2:49 pm

I like how his knowledge of lesbianism comes from his teenage son, upstanding young man that he obviously is.

Tragic that he can't get a date. :{ <p>
to make the pain go away
i cut the universe
with ribbons
because that make perfect sense.</p>

E Mouse

Re: still Dia

Unread postby E Mouse » Fri Aug 05, 2005 4:08 pm

And aren't there kinda blood vessels everywhere?

And a woman's period typically involves a bit of blood loss in the first place?

Yay religious brainwashing! <p>

<span style="font-size:xx-small;">"Their rhetoric... You didn't put communists in his bed did you!" came Amber's indignant reply.

"Why not? All I had to do was open a gate to his bed and stick up a sign saying 'Hot virgin willing to make the ultimate sacrifice in the name of international socialist fraternity.'"</span>

<span style="color:blue;font-size:xx-small;">Excaliburned:</span> <span style="font-size:xx-small;">Ah yes, I'm thinking of having the USS Bob be preserved outside the Arena as a monument of sorts</span></p>

Dia McDia


Unread postby Dia McDia » Fri Aug 05, 2005 4:10 pm

State-funded pre-K programs recognize importance of good start
Gannett News Service
Aug. 1, 2005 04:30 PM

The states-led universal pre-kindergarten movement appears to be gaining steam.

Some states are moving toward using tax dollars to pay for pre-kindergarten education for all 3- and 4-year-olds, with an eye to making children better learners and future citizens.

Research from as far back as 1960s demonstrates 3- and 4-year-olds who receive high-quality education before entering kindergarten do better in higher grades and are more likely to finish school and stay out of prison, says Sherry Cleary of the University of Pittsburgh.

There is an immediate political consideration, researchers say.

Passed in 2002, the No Child Left Behind law has spurred states to consider offering universal pre-K because of increased testing and accountability.

Some governors propose setting aside more money in the coming year to allow many, if not all, 3- and 4-year-old children to attend pre-kindergarten programs.

More than two-thirds of states spent more than $2.5 billion on early childhood programs to build on the federal Head Start program's efforts to prepare low-income kids for school. Preparing younger children academically helps them do better throughout their school years, educators say.

States increasingly realize that children who get an early start will be better equipped to pass the third-grade tests, says Susan Catapano of the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

"The movement for public preschool programs was there before No Child Left Behind. But No Child Left Behind and accountability at grade three has definitely been given a boost," she says.

Meanwhile, the nation's 9-year-olds are better at reading and math now than 9-year-olds in 1971, according to a long-term assessment released July 14 by the Education Department. Experts say the results show that elementary schools across the country are doing a good job.

The best pre-K programs allow children to be creative, provide props like dolls and books they can play with, and employ teachers skilled in helping students learn new words and math and science concepts through play, not lectures, experts say.

Private pre-K programs can cost from $3,000 a year to $18,000 or more, says Steven Barnett, director of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J.

State-funded universal pre-K, under which parents who choose to participate pay little to nothing, seeks to provide that high-quality learning to all children.

Georgia was the first state to fund universal pre-K in 1995. The state used lottery revenue to cover all 4-year-old children, according the early education institute.

Oklahoma began its universal pre-K program three years later. West Virginia, Kentucky, New Jersey and New York fund pre-K for most residents based on family income, although increased funding has been a challenge as states face higher Medicaid expenditures.

Florida begins its universal pre-K program in August and Massachusetts will have its initiative in place by 2012, according to the institute's report, which is considered the most comprehensive survey of the universal pre-K movement.

Other states have more limited pre-K programs, with the exception of 11 that offer no funding.

About 740,000 children were in state pre-K programs in the 2002-03 school year, the period the report covered. That was an increase of 45,000 from the previous year, proving that universal pre-K is popular among parents.

The governors of Iowa, Hawaii, Louisiana, New Mexico, North Carolina and Virginia - states that lack universal pre-K - received high praise from the Pre-K Now advocacy group for proposing to increase pre-K expenditures in the 2006 fiscal year.

More than half of states also have developed teaching and learning standards, according to Victoria Carr of the University of Cincinnati.

The standards vary, but generally spell out things like what and how students must be taught and the qualifications pre-K teachers and their aides must have.

California, the most populous state, is now writing its standards.

Such standards, which would give educators a master list to assess how well pre-K centers are performing, should not culminate in formal testing, says Alan Simpson, communications director for the National Association for the Education of Young People.

"Our greatest concern is about what we consider high-stakes testing - for instance, a decision being made that a child isn't ready for kindergarten," he says. "Children have vastly different levels of skills and abilities. That's natural. Most of those differences will even out as kids get older, but an assessment that says some kids should be held back can be ... very dangerous and unproductive."

Some kindergarten programs already require such entry tests, experts say, adding that 3- and 4-year-olds must develop emotional stability and learn math and science through creative games and exploration, not through rote learning.

"Direct teaching - flashcards, worksheets, etc. - has no place in preschool," Carr said in an e-mail interview.

On the Web:, National Institute for Early Education Research., PreK-Now., U.S. Department of Education

<hr size=4 noshade align=left width="74%">,0,1163640.story?coll=orl-news-headlines-lake

Push for pre-K inspires new college degrees
By Stephanie Erickson | Special to the Sentinel
Posted August 5, 2005

LEESBURG -- Responding to demand for pre-kindergarten teachers, child-care providers and other early-childhood workers, Lake-Sumter Community College is offering two new degrees to help students striving for such careers.

Students at Lake-Sumter can choose from either an associate in science or associate in applied science degree, with one of two specializations: child-development-center management or preschool.

Students who begin the program this fall semester will be the first graduating classes of the two programs. Open enrollment began this week. Classes begin Aug. 23.

Students who plan to earn a bachelor's degree and ultimately teach in a public-school classroom can begin by enrolling for an associate in arts degree with an emphasis in early-childhood education before transferring to a four-year college.

But many students want to take a different route.

Students who want to earn an associate's degree, for example, but not work in the classroom -- perhaps work instead for a school-readiness program such as Head Start -- can choose from one of the two new degrees.

Because the degrees are not set up to transfer into a bachelor's program, there are fewer general-education requirements, with classes more specific to early-childhood issues.

The main difference between the associate in applied science and associate in science degree is the math requirement.

The applied-science degree is well suited for students averse to math.

"You'd be amazed at how many people come in and have a math phobia," said Diane Edwards, who heads the new early-childhood development degree programs.

Many child-care workers hold child-development associate credentials. Lake-Sumter officials said up to nine of those credits may be transferred into either of the new early-childhood degrees.

The degree courses integrate activities supporting language and reasoning skills for children from birth through age 8, including those with disabilities and limited-English proficiency. They are also designed to meet state mandates for the No Child Left Behind, Head Start and voluntary preschool programs.

Lake-Sumter's new early-childhood program, Edwards said, was a result of requests from the Early Learning Coalition of Lake County and local child-care providers combined with legislative requirements -- Florida's new pre-kindergarten program.

A constitutional amendment passed by Florida voters in November 2002 required a voluntary pre-kindergarten program for all 4-year-old children by fall 2005.

"Demand for the program is what drove its creation," Edwards said.

Copyright © 2005, Orlando Sentinel | Get home delivery - up to 50% off

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Pre-K Program
South Florida Sun-Sentinel Editorial Board
August 4, 2005
ISSUE: Upset parents take pre-K frustrations out on public school officials.

Don't blame South Florida's school districts for the problems surrounding the state's pre-kindergarten program. They didn't create this early education service that can't be used by most public schools.

The ire should be directed at state lawmakers who crafted this shell of an educational reform and foisted it upon an unsuspecting public. Currently, the new pre-K program seems more effective in frustrating parents than helping to educate 4-year-olds.

Most pre-K services are run out of private day-care centers or churches. Many parents, however, would prefer their children attend neighborhood public schools.

But, many school boards, including Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties, can't offer pre-K because their districts don't meet the state's class-size reduction requirements. Broward County meets the class-size requirements, but has a problem with money. There simply isn't enough state funding for pre-K for school districts to pay for teachers and supplies to operate a quality early education program.

State officials estimate that the pre-K program would allow providers to charge between $2,000 and $3,000 per child, a far cry from the money most educators believe is needed to operate a quality early education program. The issue of funding has cast a cloud over pre-K, and the Legislature must address it if the initiative is to become successful in Florida.

In 2002, voters passed a constitutional amendment that would establish a "high quality," free, universal pre-kindergarten program. The idea was to create a tool that would help pre-schoolers prepare for the rigors of a challenging academic experience from kindergarten through the 12th grade.

Unfortunately, the voters are still waiting.

BOTTOM LINE: The blame lies with state lawmakers and the governor who foisted a sham of an early education program on the public.

Copyright © 2005, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

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Re: Heavy

Unread postby BrainWalker » Sat Aug 06, 2005 12:11 pm

So, this isn't technically an article or anything, it came from one of those annoying emails that someone you know forwarded to everyone on their address book, but for once it was actually interesting. I'm sure everyone here is nerdy enough to be familiar with the product "Dust-Off"... that compressed air-in-a-can product popular among amateur computer-builders for keeping dust off of sensitive computer components. I'm also sure we're intelligent enough to know that inhaling the stuff is bad for you. But just how bad is it?

Pretty bad.
It's not just compressed air. It also contains a propellant. I think it's R2. It's a refrigerant like what is used in your refrigerator. It is a heavy gas; heavier than air. When you inhale it, it fills your lungs and keeps the good air, with oxygen, out. That's why you feel dizzy, buzzed. It decreases the oxygen to your brain, to your heart. Kyle was right. It can't hurt you. IT KILLS YOU. The horrible part about this is there is no warning. There is no level that kills you. It's not cumulative or an overdose; it can just go randomly, terribly wrong. Roll the dice and if your number comes up you die. IT'S NOT AN OVERDOSE. It's Russian roulette. You don't die later. Or not feel good and say I've had too much. You usually die as your breathing it in. If not you die within 2 seconds of finishing "the hit."
That's from It's amazing what people will put in themselves for a quick buzz, but what's even more amazing is often the side-effects that these people, nor the medical professionals that treat them, would ever think of. <p><div style="text-align:center">Image</div></p>

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Re: Heavy

Unread postby Zemyla » Wed Aug 10, 2005 6:35 pm

<span style="font-size:x-large;">Bill Includes More Daylight-Saving Time</span>
<span style="font-size:large;">Monday August 8, 2005 11:01 PM</span>

WASHINGTON (AP) - The nation will have an additional four weeks of daylight-saving time beginning in 2007. Some people are cheering while others worry.

The energy law signed by President Bush on Monday calls for daylight-saving time to begin three weeks earlier, on the second Sunday in March, and be extended by a week to the first Sunday in November.

Sponsors of the proposal say it will save energy because people won't have to turn their lights on as early in the evening. Sports enthusiasts also look forward more daylight in the evening.

But not everyone is thrilled.

Some parents and school officials worry that in mid-March their children will be waiting for school buses in the early morning darkness. Farmers complain the time change adversely affects livestock, especially dairy cows, disrupting milking schedules.

The electronics industry, meanwhile, is making plans to deal with the impact of the change on computer software and an array of electronic gadgets from the timing of VCR and DVD recorders to adjusting digital clocks on cell phones.

The last time the daylight-saving time schedule was changed was in 1987. <p>-----
Do not taunt Happy Fun Zemyla.

<span style="font-size:xx-small;">I think boobs are the lesser of two evils. - Inverse (Pervy)
Dammit, Dan, I'm not dating a damn NPC! - OOC Will (Will Baseton)
Of course! Anything worth doing is worth doing completely wrong! - Travis English
Ultimately, wizards and clerics don't say, "Gee, I want to become a lich because weapons hurt less and I don't have to worry about being backstabbed; that whole 'eternal life' thing is just a fringe benefit."-Darklion
But this one time I killed a walrus with my bare hands, and I suddenly understood spherical coordinates. - KnightsofSquare
Also, when you've worked a 36-hour shift as an intern you too just might pour yourself a catful of coffee and sit down to cuddle with your travel mug. -eirehound

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Re: Heavy

Unread postby pd Rydia » Wed Aug 10, 2005 8:07 pm

:[ <p>
<div style="text-align:center"> | encyclopædia dramatica</div></p>

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Re: Heavy

Unread postby BrainWalker » Thu Aug 11, 2005 12:07 am

Indeed. <p><div style="text-align:center">Image</div></p>

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It was the only smiley image I had readily available

Unread postby PriamNevhausten » Thu Aug 11, 2005 2:08 am

Image<span style="font-size:xx-small;">"It's in the air, in the headlines in the newspapers, in the blurry images on television. It is a secret you have yet to grasp, although the first syllable has been spoken in a dream you cannot quite recall." --Unknown Armies</span></p>Edited by: [url=>PriamNevhausten</A]&nbsp; Image at: 8/11/05 2:08

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Re: stem cells, Abu Ghraib, UN reform, + ...

Unread postby pd Rydia » Wed Aug 24, 2005 2:55 am

August 22, 2005, 2pm EDT

Harvard researchers announced Monday that they have found a way to fuse adult skin cells with embryonic stem cells, which could lead to the creation of stem cells without having to destroy human embryos.

The scientists said their early research shows that the fused cell "was reprogrammed to its embryonic state," reported the Associated Press. Such a breakthrough could eventually help defuse the bitter debate surrounding the ethics of embryonic stem cell research.

According to the journal Science: "If future experiments indicate that this reprogrammed state is retained after removing the embryonic stem cell DNA -- currently a formidable technical hurdle -- the hybrid cells could theoretically be used to produce embryonic stem cells lines that are tailored to individual patients without the need to create and destroy human embryos."

One of the lead researchers, Kevin Eggan, emphasized that the research is in the beginning stages.

"I can't stress enough that this technology is not ready for prime time right now," he said at a briefing Monday, according to the AP. "It is not a replacement for those techniques that we already have for derivation of embryonic stem cells."

He said it could be 10 years before the process is usable in people.

"There are still fundamental biological hurdles that have to be overcome," he added.

The goal is to create a stem cell that carries only the patient's DNA. The cells created in the process announced Monday carry the DNA of the stem cell and the embryonic stem cell used in the process, Eggan said.

Although the research involves the use of embryonic stem cells, the scientists said they hope it will tell them how an adult stem cell can be reprogrammed into an embryonic stem cell.

The researchers used laboratory grown human embryonic stem cells, such as the ones President Bush has already approved for use by federally funded researchers, to convert a skin cell into an embryonic stem cell itself, reported the AP.

The hybrid cells created by the Harvard Medical School team "had the appearance, growth rate and several key genetic characteristics of human embryonic cells," according to a summary of the team's work.

Doctors hope to someday use embryonic stem cells as a source of perfectly matched transplants to treat diseases such as cancer, Parkinson's and some injuries. However, some people object to the destruction of and experimentation on human embryos.

-- Compiled from wire reports and other media sources

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More Images Of Abu Ghraib
Aug. 22, 2005
This column was written by Ari Berman.

There's a new batch of photos from Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, and these are reportedly far worse than the sickening originals. Naturally, the Pentagon is trying to block their release.

The ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in October 2003 to make public 87 photographs and four videos depicting prisoner abuse in Iraq. The Pentagon originally argued that releasing the images would violate the Geneva Convention rights of the detainees; a supreme irony considering that the US originally denied these very prisoners Geneva Convention protections. The ACLU agreed that the Pentagon could black out "identifying characteristics," but a federal judge in New York ruled last week that DoD must explain publicly why it's concealing the images. "By and large, I ruled for public disclosure," said US District Judge Alvin Hellerstein. A final ruling is expected on August 30.

In court proceedings, Gen. Richard Myers argued that releasing the pictures and videos would give aid to the enemy: boosting al Qaeda recruitment, destabilizing governments in Iraq and Afghanistan and inciting riots throughout the Muslim world. But a number of high-ranking officers and civil libertarians countered by noting that much of what Myers predicts is already occurring on the ground, fueled in large measure by past and present U.S. behavior. "The attacks will continue regardless of whether the photos and tapes are released," testified former U.S. Army Col. Michael Pheneger. Myers, he said, "mistakes propaganda for motivation."

Last May, members of Congress sat in a dark room and viewed the images. Their responses begged for further elaboration. "It was disgusting," said Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson. "There were new ones that we hadn't seen before, and they're bad. I mean there's no doubt about that." Bad enough to show to Congress apparently, but not the American people.

The NewsHour's Ray Suarez said the images reportedly depict "assault, coerced sexual activity, rape, even dead bodies." Some may have originated outside of Abu Ghraib. Rep. Jane Harman said she saw videos of a prisoner banging his head against a wall and a group of men masturbating. "Some of the videos are more disturbing than the still photos that you've seen," added Sen. Bill Nelson.

Far from endangering American national security, the release of the horrific images could provide new impetus to the stalled Congressional investigations into prisoner abuse, and the Pentagon's failure to hold any high-ranking officers accountable for Abu Ghraib. An independent counsel with subpoena power is what's needed most right now to prevent images like these in the future.

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US sets last-minute drive to scrap UN reform plan
17 Aug 2005 21:03:22 GMT
Source: Reuters

UNITED NATIONS, Aug 17 (Reuters) - The United States has launched a last-minute drive to scrap much of a draft plan for comprehensive U.N. reform just weeks before it is to be adopted at a world summit, Western diplomats said on Wednesday.

One option put forward by Washington would be to return to square one and launch line-by-line negotiations on the document, the diplomats said, insisting on anonymity so as not to anger Washington.

But another top diplomat involved in the negotiations dismissed the others' concerns, saying the initiative was a negotiating tactic the United States fully expected would be rejected by U.N. General Assembly President Jean Ping, who is leading the talks.

"Their position is still evolving. They are looking at other ways forward," this diplomat said, also speaking on condition of anonymity.

The U.S. effort comes in the final stages of the drafting process, with negotiators last Friday unveiling what they hoped would be a near-final draft. Negotiations resume on Monday.

It also falls two weeks after the arrival at U.N. headquarters of U.S. Ambassador John Bolton, President George W. Bush's contentious choice to press for U.N. reform despite his inability to win U.S. Senate approval for the post.

The aggressive and sometimes abrasive Bolton is a longtime U.N. critic and a skeptic on the value of multilateral action who was accused by Senate Democrats of seeking to twist intelligence findings to advance Bush foreign policy goals.

The U.N. document, intended to serve as a blueprint for bringing the world body into the 21st century, touches on a broad range of issues from U.N. management reform -- a top U.S. priority -- to eliminating poverty, protecting human rights and ending the spread of nuclear arms.

Adoption of the document, currently weighing in at 38 single-spaced pages, is meant to mark the climax of a Sept. 14-16 U.N. summit expected to draw more than 170 world leaders to New York. Bush is among those expected to attend although he has not formally responded to an invitation.


Diplomats involved in the drafting process said they feared such an extensive rewrite at this point would reopen many contentious issues thought to be settled, and could end up sinking the document altogether.

"The U.S. objections are not unexpected, but it is very late in the process," said a diplomat close to the drafting process, who also asked not to be identified by name.

A U.S. official expressed surprise that other delegates would find it unusual that Washington would seek major revisions and line-by-line negotiations at this point.

"We have been giving our input and continue to do so," said Richard Grenell, spokesman for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. "It is a thorough and exhaustive process that we will continue to work on until it's finished."

The United States has been a regular participant in the negotiations, and diplomats involved in the drafting said Washington has had a major impact on the document to date.

They said that was why they were surprised to learn that the United States had at this stage circulated a document that proposed eliminated most of the latest draft and suggested starting line-by-line reconsideration with all 191 U.N. members invited to the table.

The drafting has been conducted informally to date, to keep the focus on the whole package and off the details.

"Their concern is that the draft is not in their view summit-worthy -- that it would be hard to convince Bush that it would be worth his while to come to New York to sign it," said an envoy involved in the talks, who also asked not to be identified by name.

"To be fair, they are not a voice crying in the wilderness," said this diplomat, adding that developing nations also had reservations about much of the text.

But the section of the document on development and poverty was the top target of the U.S. revisions, a tactic certain to anger developing nations, which make up the overwhelming majority of the U.N. membership, the diplomats said.

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Court Rules US Need Not Pay for Abortion of Doomed Fetus
By Dean E. Murphy
The New York Times
Friday 19 August 2005

San Francisco - While suggesting that its decision might seem "callous and unfeeling," a federal appeals court here ruled Thursday that the Navy need not pay for an abortion received by a sailor's wife, even though doctors said the fetus had a birth defect and could not survive.

The unanimous ruling by a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit came in the case of a 23-year-old woman who lives in Bremerton, Wash. Her name was not disclosed.

The woman terminated her pregnancy in 2002 after she learned that her fetus had no forebrain or cerebellum, a fatal condition known as anencephaly. Because her husband was in the Navy, the woman was covered under the military's health plan, the Civilian Health and Medical Program for the Uniformed Services, or Tricare.

But Tricare administrators said they were barred from paying for the abortion. Federal law prohibits payment for abortions except "where the life of the mother would be endangered if the fetus were carried to term." A regulation putting the law into effect specifically excludes payments for situations involving "fetal abnormalities" and mentions anencephaly.

Lisa M. Stone, who represents the woman, said she and her husband had an annual income of less than $20,000 and could not afford the charge of about $3,000 for the abortion. The couple sued, and in 2002 a judge ordered Tricare to cover the costs, allowing the abortion to go forward.

The government appealed to get its money back from the couple. Though lawyers for the Justice Department did not dispute the diagnosis of anencephaly, they argued that the Congressional restriction furthered the government's interest in protecting human life and warned against a "slippery slope" if courts tried to determine which abnormalities warranted an abortion.

Ms. Stone, the executive director of the Northwest Women's Law Center in Seattle, said the government's argument was "irrational at best and cruel at worst" because everyone agreed there was no chance that a fetus with anencephaly could survive or even attain consciousness.

In hearing the appeal, the three judges of the Ninth Circuit said the essence of the dispute was settled by the United States Supreme Court 25 years ago in Harris v. McRae. In that case, the court upheld legislation that forbids payment for abortions under the Medicaid program except when the mother's life is in danger.

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Lawyer Set to Challenge Vatican Status
Associated Press Writer

ROME (AP) -- The lawyer who is suing Pope Benedict XVI in Texas for allegedly covering up the sexual abuse of children by a seminarian said Wednesday he would challenge the U.S. diplomatic recognition of the Vatican if the pope is given immunity in the case.

The pope's lawyers have already asked President Bush to certify Benedict's immunity from liability in the civil lawsuit since he is a head of state - the Vatican city-state.

Attorney Daniel Shea, who is representing one of three boys suing the pope, told a news conference Wednesday that Bush could abstain from confirming Benedict's immunity. In that case, the judge handling the case, Judge Lee Rosenthal of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in Houston, would decide how to proceed, he said.

But if Bush grants the immunity, Shea said he would challenge the constitutionality of the U.S. diplomatic recognition of the Holy See as a sovereign state on First Amendment grounds.

"The Holy See is a church," Shea said.

Joseph Ratzinger - Benedict's former name - is named as a defendant in the civil lawsuit, accused of conspiring with the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston to cover up the abuse of three boys during the mid-1990s. The suit is seeking unspecified monetary damages.

The three boys, identified in court documents as John Does I, II and III, allege that a Colombian-born seminarian on assignment at St. Francis de Sales church in Houston, Juan Carlos Patino-Arango, molested them during counseling sessions in the church in the mid-1990s.

Patino-Arango has been indicted in a criminal case by a Harris County, Texas, grand jury and is a fugitive from justice, the lawsuit says.

Shea has argued in civil court documents that a May 18, 2001, letter Ratzinger wrote to bishops around the world was evidence that he was involved in a conspiracy to hide Patino-Arango's crimes and to help him escape prosecution.

The letter, written when Ratzinger was still prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, explains that "grave" crimes such as the sexual abuse of minors would be handled by his congregation and that the proceedings of special church tribunals handling the cases were subject to "pontifical secret."

While international experts say the pope can certainly claim immunity in the case and that ultimately Shea's suit won't succeed, lawyers for church sex abuse victims say the case is significant because it has gone further than other recent attempts to implicate the Vatican and high-ranking church officials in the sex scandal.

Shea acknowledged that a previous court challenge to the U.S. diplomatic recognition of the Holy See failed, but said it was because the plaintiffs - a lobbying group seeking further separation of church and state - didn't have standing, meaning they weren't affected by the issue.

"John Doe I, II and III have got standing and then some," he said.

He said Bush may also choose to abstain from the case because of the political implications it may have.

"The Evangelical community has been horrified at what they've seen in these cases, and I don't think his political base can stand him in effect providing cover for Ratzinger. But that's a political question," he said.

The State Department has said the pope already is considered a head of state and automatically has diplomatic immunity. Spokeswoman Gerry Keener said Tuesday that Benedict doesn't have to ask for immunity and Bush doesn't have to grant it.

The Vatican spokesman and Ratzinger's lawyers have declined to comment on the case.

© 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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Illegal immigrants and Social Security
April 10, 2005

If Americans ever succeeded in getting rid of illegal immigrants – deporting those who are already here and preventing the entry of others – there would be an outcry from Latino activists, civil libertarians and the business community.

But that's nothing. Do you know who might really be furious? The Social Security Administration. If not for the billions in payroll taxes that illegal immigrants are paying into the system, the funding crisis facing Social Security would be much more serious and much more imminent. It is all thanks to the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, which made it a crime for employers to knowingly hire illegal immigrants.

True, the law is a joke that is rarely enforced, and that should bother the law-and-order crowd more than it does. But by forcing employers to require Social Security cards – even bogus ones – IRCA did manage to rope illegal immigrants into the system. Last year, contributions by illegal immigrants made up about 10 percent of the Social Security surplus – the difference between what the system takes in and what it doles out.

According to a recent story in The New York Times, the numbers are startling. But they help explain why the U.S. government has tolerated illegal immigration for so long. It's the same reason that someone visiting Las Vegas tolerates a slot machine spewing out silver dollars.

Here's the drill: People enter the country illegally, promptly procure bogus Social Security cards from the black market, and use them to get jobs. Eventually they get paid, and those earnings generate W-2s that go to the Social Security Administration, which tucks them away in something called the "earnings suspense file." (The government does try to notify some of the larger employers that Social Security cards they've accepted appear to be phony, but that's about the extent of its efforts to figure out where all this money is coming from.) According to the best estimates of the Social Security Administration, the fund has kept track over the last 20 years of more than $300 billion in total earnings – the vast majority of them attributable to illegal immigrants.

Three-hundred billion dollars! You have to admit that's pretty impressive in a country where no one will admit to actually hiring illegal immigrants in the first place.

But those are just the figures in a ledger. The hard currency is the Social Security taxes that illegal immigrants and their employers pay on those earnings. That rings in at about $7 billion a year. Which is why you don't hear the Social Security Administration raising a fuss over illegal immigration. And to the degree that this arm of the U.S. government has friends in Congress, it could explain why you don't see many pieces of legislation calling for mass deportations of illegal immigrants. I mean, why kill the golden goose?

There is a whole separate discussion about what we should do with this money. Some would use the funds to reimburse local schools and hospitals for services they provide to illegal immigrants. President Bush has the best idea: We should leave the money alone. Why? Well, simply put: Because it's not ours. It belongs to the people who earned it, even if they earned it using fake documents. After all, the fact that the documents were phony didn't stop the employer – the homebuilder, farmer or whatever – from using the labor at what was presumably an inexpensive rate so that he could profit. Why shouldn't workers profit from their own labor to the greatest degree possible?

And so perhaps the most promising element of President Bush's plan to reform the immigration system is his idea to, from this point forward, create 401(k)-type accounts where Mexican immigrant workers could invest part of their earnings. There the money would sit until the workers returned to Mexico, at which point they could draw it out. Bush's plan would put an end to the current system, and that's what hard-line conservatives hate about it. They're basically admitting that Social Security needs to rely on ill-gotten goods just to stay afloat.

It's amazing. Some of the same people who are constantly complaining about how illegal immigrants are the ruin of the civilization, including some Republicans in Congress, have no more qualms about letting them continue to prop up Social Security.

And people wonder why we have so much illegal immigration. Not me. I wonder why we don't have more of it.

Navarrette can be reached via e-mail at
ruben.navarrette AT uniontrib DOT com.

<hr size=8 noshade align=left width="74%">

• Silence in the Fields - The U.S. government is allowing farmers to fill thousands of jobs with foreign 'guestworkers.' The conditions are hardly hospitable -- but those who speak out can be sent straight back home.
• Robertson called for the assassination of Venezuela's president
• Robertson continued to put words in Boxer's mouth -- and now Leahy's, too
• Japan's oldest anime uncovered in Kyoto
• Atlanta Olympics bomber apologizes to victims <p>
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Re: stem cells, Abu Ghraib, UN reform, + ...

Unread postby PriamNevhausten » Wed Aug 24, 2005 5:42 am

$3000 on a $20k/yr income? The mother's life was in danger, all right.

Also, this is the first thing I've heard about Bush: The Sequel that makes me think that he might not actually be quite so much of a git as he likes to present himself. <p><span style="font-size:xx-small;">"It's in the air, in the headlines in the newspapers, in the blurry images on television. It is a secret you have yet to grasp, although the first syllable has been spoken in a dream you cannot quite recall." --Unknown Armies</span></p>Edited by: [url=>PriamNevhausten</A]&nbsp; Image at: 8/24/05 6:08

The Great Nevareh

Re: stem cells, Abu Ghraib, UN reform, + ...

Unread postby The Great Nevareh » Wed Aug 24, 2005 1:38 pm

*Shrug* I doubt you have any real basis to say that Gawb (G. W. B.) is a git in the first place aside from the fact that you dislike his politics and the fact that the U.S. in general likes his presentation. <p>[---------------------------]
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Re: stem cells, Abu Ghraib, UN reform, + ...

Unread postby Animala » Wed Aug 24, 2005 3:04 pm

"*Shrug* I doubt you have any real basis to say that Gawb (G. W. B.) is a git in the first place aside from the fact that you dislike his politics and the fact that the U.S. in general likes his presentation."

I hadn't heard that. <p>
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Re: stem cells, Abu Ghraib, UN reform, + ...

Unread postby BrainWalker » Sun Aug 28, 2005 3:28 pm

Recent approval rating polls like that make me feel a little better. Maybe there's hope for our nation yet.


Last month, when I was waiting in the doctor's office for an appointment, I was thumbing through a magazine, and encountered an amusing little article. In it, it was stated that the President's approval rating had fallen below the 50% mark, and the magazine reached his wife for comment on the matter, adding that her own approval rating was quite high. Around 86%, I believe. Her response? With a laugh, "It's just like our grades in college." Swear to God. That put a smile on my face so big I almost hurt myself. It was hard to keep from laughing. But hey, if I had hurt myself, at least I was in the right place for it!

Anyway, on another topic, I read about this Spanish guy who's building a ghetto cathedral by himself in the paper today, and did a little more research on the matter. It's pretty interesting. There are a couple links at the bottom of that Wikipedia entry, and the second one in particular is worth a read. Damn, I've gotta respect that guy. <p><div style="text-align:center">Image</div></p>

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Thread Necromancy, and +1 Item of Interest!

Unread postby Nakibe » Tue Sep 27, 2005 2:03 am

DNA supports Evolutionary Theory.

... somehow I'm not too surprised. <p>
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"Anime is illegal in Canada but not in Japan and the U.

Unread postby pd Rydia » Fri Oct 21, 2005 8:42 am

Man sentenced in cartoon child porn case
Edmonton Journal
October 19, 2005

A 26-year-old Edmonton man has been spared jail time in what is believed to be the first case of cartoon child pornography in Canada.

Gordon Chin pleaded guilty in provincial court today to importing thousands of pages of a Japanese cartoon called Anime featuring characters that look like Pokemon and Astro Boy engaging in explicit sex acts. He purchased the cartoon over the Internet. Police seized 15 comic books in Vancouver destined for his Edmonton address. They also seized 63 more books at his Edmonton home and four binders of the cartoon printed off the Internet.

Some of the scenes reviewed in court featured adult cartoon characters having sex with tied up children, some in diapers. Other scenes portrayed adults using weapons while raping babies.

“Why would anyone want to look at stuff like this?” asked an angry Judge David Tilley. “I don’t think this is the kind of filth that should be available to the public.”

But he agreed to spare Chin any jail time because production of the cartoons didn’t involve the actual exploitation of real children. He handed Chin an 18-month conditional sentence, to be served in the community. Chin will also have to do 100 hours of community service.

Anime is illegal in Canada but not illegal in Japan and the United States. Defence lawyer D’arcy Depoe said Chin didn’t know the cartoon was illegal here.

© Edmonton Journal 2005
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IRA, Saddam trial, Korea peace talks, Rove, Court nominees..

Unread postby pd Rydia » Fri Oct 21, 2005 10:26 am,1280,-5352456,00.html

Report Says IRA Inactive, Observing Peace
Tuesday October 18, 2005 8:01 PM
Associated Press Writer

DUBLIN, Ireland (AP) - The Irish Republican Army has halted many of its underground activities - including bank robberies and vigilante attacks - and is broadly observing its July 28 peace declaration, two government officials who have read a confidential report told The Associated Press.

The assessment offers no firm conclusions, however, on whether the group has ended involvement in criminal rackets, which has emerged as a major new stumbling block in Northern Ireland's peace process.

The report from the Independent Monitoring Commission, a panel formed by the British and Irish governments to assess the activities of the IRA and other outlawed groups, is to be published Wednesday.

The experts, who include a former CIA deputy director and an ex-commander of London's Scotland Yard, reached broadly positive conclusions about the IRA's recent activity, according to the officials. They spoke Tuesday on condition of anonymity because they are barred legally from revealing the report's contents in advance of publication.

However, both officials said the experts could not say for certain whether the IRA is withdrawing from many of its traditional criminal rackets, chiefly the cross-border smuggling of fuel and cigarettes. Such activity, they said, was pervasive, but difficult to pin on the IRA as an organization rather than on individual IRA members.

The experts' assessment comes at a politically sensitive time in Northern Ireland peacemaking - and just four weeks after disarmament officials announced they had scrapped the IRA's hidden weapons stockpiles, a goal of Northern Ireland's 12-year-old peace process.

The British and Irish governments, which formed the Independent Monitoring Commission in 2003, say they will seek to revive power-sharing negotiations in Belfast if the IRA remains dormant through January, when the commission is scheduled to publish its next, more detailed report.

Northern Ireland leaders, both Catholic and Protestant, said the success of the peace process depends, in part, on the IRA's withdrawal from all illegal activity.

``There should be no space or excuse for continued criminal behavior of any kind,'' said Mark Durkan, leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party, which represents moderate Catholics.

``We want to see a credible report telling us there is no current or ongoing illegal activity from the IRA,'' Durkan told the AP. Like other members of the British Parliament, Durkan said he would see the report for the first time Wednesday, and didn't want to comment on its likely contents before then.

At stake is the revival of the central achievement of Northern Ireland's 1998 peace deal: a Catholic-Protestant administration. A four-party coalition involving Sinn Fein, the IRA-linked party that represents most Catholics, fell apart in 2002 amid arguments over IRA weaponry and activities. Protestants insist they won't share power again with Sinn Fein until the IRA disappears.

The four members of the Independent Monitoring Commission, who delivered their report confidentially last Friday to officials in the British and Irish governments, are to discuss their findings at a Dublin press conference Wednesday.

The British minister responsible for governing Northern Ireland, Peter Hain, is also scheduled to discuss the report's findings Wednesday at a Dublin meeting with Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern.

According to the officials, the report says the IRA has committed no major robberies in Northern Ireland since Dec. 20, when the group was widely blamed for the $50 million robbery of the Northern Bank in Belfast.

The IRA, which has never admitted involvement in crime, specifically denied carrying out that robbery.

The officials said the IRA has also apparently halted, as of July, its decade-old practice of acting as a limb-breaking vigilante force in its Catholic power bases of Northern Ireland.

Throughout its 27-year campaign to overthrow Northern Ireland by force, the IRA shot or clubbed criminals in the limbs in so-called ``punishment'' attacks. These served both to reinforce IRA control and deter public cooperation with the mostly Protestant police - a practice that continued despite the IRA's 1997 cease-fire. The attacks usually drew little attention because they happened frequently and were rarely fatal.

However, both officials told the AP the experts' report has documented a dramatic drop-off in ``punishment'' assaults in Catholic parts of Northern Ireland.

Ending such vigilante activity is considered an essential part of a major unresolved part of the 1998 peace accord: building Catholic support for the Police Service of Northern Ireland. Sinn Fein still rejects police authority and refuses to sit on a Catholic-Protestant board that is overseeing a drastic overhaul of the force.

Wednesday's report also will assess the violent activities of the province's other outlawed groups, chiefly the Ulster Defense Association and Ulster Volunteer Force, which wield authority and run criminal rackets in the most hard-line Protestant areas.

Both groups have been involved in much more violent activity than the IRA in recent years, including five Belfast killings of Protestants in internal feuding this summer. But they lack political clout and play no role in power-sharing talks.

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C B C . C A N e w s - F u l l S t o r y :
Saddam trial begins on murder, torture charges
Last Updated Wed, 19 Oct 2005 22:03:49 EDT
CBC News

Ousted Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein attacked the legitimacy of the special court trying him for crimes against humanity Wednesday as the trial began at a tightly guarded Baghdad courthouse.

* INDEPTH: Saddam Hussein on Trial

[sidebar: image
[Former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein speaks at his trial in the heavily fortified courtroom in Baghdad, Wednesday, Oct. 19. (AP Photo/Bob Strong)]

"I preserve my constitutional rights as the president of Iraq," said Saddam in answer to questions from presiding judge Rizgar Mohammed Amin. "I do not recognize the body that has authorized you and I don't recognize this aggression."

He went on to plead innocent to charges of premeditated murder and torture in connection with the 1982 massacre of 143 men and boys in the mainly Shia village of Dujail. The killings followed a failed assassination attempt aimed on Saddam.


"I think that Saddam will face the death penalty for the crimes he committed against us," the town's current mayor, Mohammed Hassan al-Majeed, said before the trial began.

If convicted, Amin confirmed Wednesday, Saddam and the seven co-accused members of his regime could indeed face execution.

After about three hours, Amin adjourned the trial until Nov. 28.

* FROM OCT. 18, 2005: Saddam's lawyers want trial postponed

Lawyers for Saddam had said Tuesday that they would seek a three-month postponement in the trial because they had not had enough time to prepare his defence.

They also object to the fact that the trial is taking place in an American-controlled part of Baghdad.

Belligerent former leader tussles with guards

Proceedings got underway at about 12:30 Baghdad time (or 5:30 a.m. ET) in the courtroom built out of Saddam's former Baath Party headquarters in the Iraqi capital's heavily defended Green Zone.

The 68-year-old former leader and the other defendants sat in three rows in the courtroom, surrounded by a metre-high barred enclosure. They faced a five-judge panel led by Amin, a Kurd from northern Iraq.

Saddam was combative as he stood and faced the judge, demanding the right to make a statement, complaining about how he had been treated in jail, and refusing to identify himself in response to Amin's routine request for his name.

Another accused complained that court officials had removed his religious head covering. The judge then allowed four of the defendants to put on their headdresses again.

[sidebar: image
[Iraqis hold pictures of people they allege were killed during Saddam Hussein's regime during a demonstration in Dujail, Iraq. (AP Photo)]

After the adjournment, Saddam briefly scuffled and argued with guards trying to escort him out of the courtroom. Eventually he was allowed to walk out without the guards touching him, merely following closely behind.

Other charges may be pending

This is the first time an Arab leader has been put on trial for crimes against his people.

Saddam will probably face other charges later, including gassing Kurds in the northern town of Halabja in 1988 and brutally crushing Kurdish and Shia revolts in 1991.

Saddam, who is a Sunni Muslim, led Iraq from 1979 until 2003. That spring, he fled the capital after a U.S.-led military coalition invaded the country, seeking evidence that he was experimenting with chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.

No such evidence has been found.

Saddam was arrested 22 months ago, when U.S. soldiers found him hiding in a hole in the ground near his hometown of Tikrit.

Copyright ©2005 Canadian Broadcasting Corporation - All Rights Reserved

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Seoul presses US on army control
The US and South Korea have agreed to speed up talks on giving Seoul greater control over its armed forces, which operate in joint command with the US.

The two sides said they would speed up discussions on "command relations and wartime... control".

Currently, a US general would command the joint forces in any future conflict, with North Korea for example.

Many South Koreans see regaining the wartime operational control of their military as an issue of national pride.

The control of troops issue dates back to the Korean war, when South Korea put the operational control of its forces under the US-led UN command.

South Korea took back the peace-time control of its troops in 1994, but the wartime control is still in the hands of the most senior US general in the country.

Earlier this month, South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun said he wanted more control over South Korean forces in wartime.

A BBC correspondent says the alliance is coming under increasing strain, but that Seoul says it is still committed to a strong relationship with the US.

[Shifting role
Today, we see the relationship between our two countries evolving
Donald Rumsfeld
US Secretary of Defence]

The announcement came in a joint statement issued by US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his South Korean counterpart, Yoon Kwang-ung, after they held an annual defence meeting on Friday.

It did not say when the talks would begin, or how soon South Korea might be ready to assume wartime control.

Mr Rumsfeld, who also met President Roh, said he welcomed South Korea's efforts to "take on more responsibility".

"Today, we see the relationship between our two countries evolving," he said.

But Mr Rumsfeld and other US officials played down the chances of the US giving up control soon.

Mr Rumsfeld and Mr Yoon also discussed North Korea, and said they hoped the military threat from Pyongyang would diminish as a result of six-party talks on its nuclear programme.

However, they said they were concerned about the North's "continued development of weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles, along with the danger of proliferation of those weapons, and technologies".

The BBC's Charles Scanlon in Seoul says there have been tensions over how best to deal with the nuclear threat from the North.

Polls suggest that many South Koreans see the US as a bigger threat to peace than the North.

The US is also restructuring its troop presence in Asia, as part of a plan to become more agile, and intends to withdraw a third of its troops from South Korea by the end of 2008.

The US, which has had a military presence in South Korea since the end of World War II, currently has about 37,000 troops in the country, to complement the South's own force of 690,000.

Story from BBC NEWS: ... 361068.stm
Published: 2005/10/21 12:39:43 GMT

<hr size=8 align=left width="74%" noshade>

Korea, U.S. agree to speed up talks on transfer of wartime command

Korea and the United States agreed yesterday to "appropriately accelerate" discussions on Seoul`s efforts to gain greater control of its national defense, including operational command of its forces in wartime.

The United States will continue to provide South Korea with a nuclear umbrella as protection against any attack, Defense Minister Yoon Kwang-ung and visiting U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said at a joint news conference.

After the 37th annual Korea-U.S. Security Consultative Meeting in Seoul, the two top defense chiefs released a 13-article joint statement stressing the defense alliance between the two countries.

"As to when the (wartime command) shift might take place, it would take place at that moment when the Republic of Korea and the United States decide it is appropriate," Rumsfeld said, adding that Korea was assuming an increased role in its national defense.

&#9650;U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (left podium) and Korean Defense Minister Yoon Kwang-ung (right podium) gesture toward each other during their joint news conference in Seoul yesterday. [Bae Sun-ji/The Korea Herald]

At the meeting, following up on issues agreed upon at last month`s Security Policy Initiative session, Yoon and Rumsfeld pledged "a seamless information exchange" to ensure a high-level counter-terror posture at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Busan on Nov. 18-19.

Reaffirming the two countries` decades-old "comprehensive and dynamic bilateral relationship," the two defense leaders noted that a solid combined defense posture should be maintained to secure peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia.

"We have made many adjustments in our relationship and alliance. We will strengthen our global posture to preserve the deterrent to over-aggression or nuclear blackmail," the U.S. defense secretary said.

Rumsfeld`s visit for the annual discussion comes at a sensitive time on the defense front, with South Korea preparing to take on wider defense independence in addition to preparing to take the lead in the upcoming round of the six-party talks on North Korea`s nuclear standoff.

President Roh Moo-hyun has signaled that he plans to end the U.S. right to control his country`s armed forced in case of war. Roh said during an Armed Forces Day ceremony on Oct. 1.that "we will exercise the right to our own wartime military control so the South Korean military can become an independent armed forces."

Since Roh came to power in 2003, he has repeatedly talked about the importance of Seoul holding wartime command of its forces.

Under a current agreement, South Korean troops would fall under the command of the USFK, currently led by Gen. Leon LaPorte, if a war situation developed. The South controls its forces in peacetime, having regained that right some years ago.

The annual review of the military alliance also covered the realignment and reduction of U.S. forces on the peninsula.

"Both sides agreed to exert greater effort to advance the relocation of USFK bases as planned, while noting that the successful completion of the relocation will serve as the cornerstone for the future of the ROK-US alliance," the statement read.

Under its global troop realignment plan, Washington plans to transform its worldwide military deployment that was based on Cold War-strategy into units equipped with sophisticated weapons and ready to move anywhere quickkly.

In accordance with the U.S. Global Presence Review, the two countries agreed last year to move U.S. forces stationed north of the Han River to Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province.

South Korea is scheduled to acquire sites to build a new garrison for U.S. forces by the end of this year. But the site acquisition is now in stalemate due to harsh protests by local residents and peace activists.

The plan also requires the United States to curtail its troop level in South Korea to 25,000 by 2008 from the current 32,500 and reposition them away from the border with North Korea.

Rumsfeld flew to Seoul from China Thursday on the second leg of a five-nation Asian trip that will also take him to Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Lithuania.

Rumsfeld will leave Seoul this morning after meeting President Roh Moo-hyun and Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon. He also met U.S. troops in Seoul.

The Seoul-Washington alliance, forged in blood during the Korean War, has shown signs of strains in recent years, as the allies argued over issues such as North Korea`s nuclear activities and the Iraq war.

In their joint news briefing, Yoon and Rumsfeld noted that North Korea`s continued development of weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles along with other dangers were behind serious security concerns in the region. They called for the communist state`s prompt return to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards.

(davidpooh @
By Jin Dae-woong

<hr size=8 align=left width="74%" noshade>

Report: Rove may face 'serious' jeopardy

NEW YORK, Oct. 20 (UPI) -- Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald is focusing on whether two White House officials tried to conceal their actions in the leak of a CIA agent's identity.

<small>[Related Headlines
• More Cheney links in CIA leak probe (October 20, 2005) -- More links to Vice President Dick Cheney's office have come to light in the inquiry into how a covert CIA employee's name was leaked to the ... full story
• Report: Bush rebuked Rove (October 19, 2005) -- U.S. President George Bush reportedly was angry with top aide Karl Rove two years ago over Rove's alleged role in the outing of CIA agent ... full story
• Rove to quit if indicted (October 16, 2005) -- Karl Rove plans to resign as President Bush's senior adviser if he is indicted in the CIA leak case. Time Magazine reports White House ... full story
•Rove makes fourth grand jury appearance (October 14, 2005) -- Presidential adviser Karl Rove spent four hours in his fourth appearance before a federal grand jury investigating the disclosure of a CIA ... full story
•Rove make fourth grand jury appearance (October 14, 2005) -- Presidential adviser Karl Rove on Friday testified a fourth time before a grand jury in Washington in the disclosure of a covert CIA agent's ... full story]

Fitzgerald is focusing on whether President Bush's top adviser Karl Rove and Vice President Cheney's chief of staff I. Lewis Libby Jr. tried to mislead prosecutors, The New York Times reported.

Citing lawyers involved in the case, the newspaper said Fitzgerald is considering perjury, obstruction of justice and false statement charges -- suggesting he may believe evidence gathered by a federal grand jury shows the two White House aides tried to cover up their actions.

Rove and Libby have been advised they may be in serious legal jeopardy, the lawyers told the newspaper.

Fitzgerald reportedly will not decide until next week whether to file any charges in connection with the 2003 leak of the name of CIA agent Valerie Plame. Columnist Robert Novak identified her after her husband, former ambassador Joe Wilson, publicly challenged the Bush administration's claim that former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has tried to buy nuclear materials from an African nation.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

Report: Bush rebuked Rove

WASHINGTON, Oct. 19 (UPI) -- U.S. President George Bush reportedly was angry with top aide Karl Rove two years ago over Rove's alleged role in the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame.

<small>[Related Headlines
• Rove to quit if indicted (October 16, 2005) -- Karl Rove plans to resign as President Bush's senior adviser if he is indicted in the CIA leak case. Time Magazine reports White House ... full story
•Rove makes fourth grand jury appearance (October 14, 2005) -- Presidential adviser Karl Rove spent four hours in his fourth appearance before a federal grand jury investigating the disclosure of a CIA ... full story
•Rove make fourth grand jury appearance (October 14, 2005) -- Presidential adviser Karl Rove on Friday testified a fourth time before a grand jury in Washington in the disclosure of a covert CIA agent's ... full story]
• Rove failed to tell grand jury information (October 9, 2005) -- A discrepancy between the grand jury testimony of Karl Rove and Time Magazine reporter Matthew Cooper is the reason Rove will testify ... full story
• Report: Rove assured Bush on Plame (October 7, 2005) -- Top White House aide Karl Rove assured President Bush two years ago he did not leak the name of CIA agent Valerie Plame, the National Journal ... full story][/i]</small>

The New York Daily News reports Bush rebuked Rove -- who has made a number of grand jury appearances in the case and could face charges stemming from the revelation of Plame's name in the press.

Citing sources, the newspaper said Bush was furious with Rove in 2003 when his deputy chief of staff conceded he had talked with reporters about the Plame leak.

"He made his displeasure known to Karl," a presidential counselor told The News. "He made his life miserable about this."

Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has until Oct. 28 to either file a report on the case, file charges or let the matter drop.

Plame is the wife of diplomat Joseph Wilson. Revelation of her name came after Wilson criticized the White House's Iraq policy.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

<hr size=8 align=left width="74%" noshade>

Taking Issue
By Neil S. Siegel
Americans Deserve Answers

“She should not be asked to give promises about how she would vote in particular cases... but there is no intellectually defensible reason for Miers to refuse to share her assessment of past Supreme Court decisions.”, October 20, 2005 · By nominating Harriet Miers to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, President George W. Bush may have unwittingly performed a public service. People on both the left and right are wondering who Harriet Miers is, what she believes, and whether she is qualified to serve.

The time is ripe for a bipartisan consensus that Supreme Court nominees must answer senators' questions about their views on important legal issues to earn confirmation.

No reasonable person would buy a used car without first learning important information about how the vehicle functions. Yet Americans are routinely told that they have no right to know what a president's nominee thinks about basic constitutional issues, even though a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court is at stake.

For instance, the Senate confirmed John Roberts without learning whether his current legal outlook is most like that of Justices O'Connor, Kennedy, Rehnquist, Scalia or Thomas. Almost without exception, everything Roberts said during his confirmation hearings was compatible with his being like any of them. But the same person cannot be all those justices. They span profoundly different breeds of judicial conservatism.

John Roberts' record was thin compared to that of most other recent nominees. But Harriet Miers' record makes the Roberts file seem overstuffed. And Roberts replaced Chief Justice Rehnquist, a change unlikely to move the Supreme Court significantly to the right.

Miers, by contrast, has been nominated to fill the most important seat on the court. O'Connor has cast the decisive vote in cases involving affirmative action, abortion restrictions, campaign finance reform, church-state separation and gender discrimination.

What does Harriet Miers think of those issues and myriad others? It's anybody's guess.

The White House will refuse to release documents from her service in the Bush administration. She has not worked in previous administrations in any capacity. She has not served as a judge of any sort. She has not signed relevant briefs or written law review articles. And with the exception of recent revelations about her past views on abortion, she does not appear to have otherwise taken stands on constitutional issues during her career. It is no coincidence that the president chose such a candidate.

So what should the Senate do? One option is to trust President Bush's judgment. Anyone who cares about our country's future should not regard that as an attractive alternative. No president warrants blind trust on matters of the utmost public importance, let alone a president with a disturbing track record of placing loyalty and friendship above competence and moderation.

A better option would be for senators on both sides of the aisle to agree that Harriet Miers will not be confirmed if she won't share her views on constitutional issues. She should not be asked to give promises about how she would vote in particular cases and for all time -- like the corrosive promise President Bush offered his base last week that she is a true conservative whose views won't change over the next 20 years. But there is no intellectually defensible reason for Miers to refuse to share her assessment of past Supreme Court decisions.

For all the rave reviews John Roberts received for his performance during his confirmation hearings, few people seemed to notice that he offered no coherent justification for his refusal to discuss his current views of past cases. He already has strong beliefs; how would it compromise his judicial independence to reveal them?

We know the sitting justices' positions on past decisions, yet no one thinks their independence has been compromised when they hear future cases. Justices, moreover, are free to evolve over time, as many do. And in any event, any promises that a misguided nominee made during a confirmation hearing would be unenforceable.

The truth lies in political calculation, not legal reasoning. Roberts wouldn't talk because he knew that he had the votes and talking could only get him in trouble. Miers won't talk unless she is convinced that she won't get confirmed without sharing her views.

If senators won't demand answers now, they should agree to do so after Justice O'Connor's seat is filled. No one knows how the 2006 and 2008 elections will turn out. Both Republicans and Democrats have a long-term interest in precommitting to an institutional insistence upon learning a nominee's core legal beliefs. Neither party will control the presidency and the Senate forever.

For the Other Side: (Oct. 19, 2006) Reticence is Right
Back to Taking Issue: To Talk or Not to Talk

About the Author: Neil S. Siegel is an assistant professor of law and political science at Duke Law School. Previously, he clerked for Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the Supreme Court of the United States and then-Chief Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. [More about Siegel]

<hr size=8 align=left width="74%" noshade>

• DeLay Making First Court Appearance Today - Tom DeLay to Make First Court Appearance Today on Money Laundering Conspiracy Charges in Texas [lunk]
• Qualifications for U.S. Supreme Court nominees . . . secondary to Democrats - If President Bush picked Jesus Christ for the U.S. Supreme Court, the liberals would crucify him again. It is obvious... [lawls]
• Google News Search for "Jack Thompson" - [oodles of fun!] <p>
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Unread postby pd Rydia » Tue Feb 21, 2006 4:57 pm

<big>BBC NEWS</big>
State-of-the-art shoes aid migrants
By Amy Isackson
The World programme, San Diego

Declarations of emergency in US border states like Arizona and New Mexico have kicked the immigration debate into high gear.

Artist Judi Werthein has walked smack into the middle of this controversy.

She is hoping to leave her footprint with a special "crossing trainer" she has designed to help illegal immigrants negotiate the sometimes deadly terrain they encounter when crossing the border from Mexico to the US.

Migrants waiting for dark to hop the border fence from Tijuana into San Diego start calling out their shoe sizes when they see the boxes in Werthein's arms.

People start emerging from their makeshift homes in rusted cars and the cement channel that runs parallel to the border fence and drains Tijuana's fetid run-off.

Some have been waiting for months in this no-man's land for their chance to cross into San Diego.

Tarantula risk

They call the act of crossing the "brinco" - literally "jump" in Spanish. And that is the inspiration for Werthein's crossing shoes, called Brincos.

The trainers are adorned with unusual items.

"The shoe includes a compass, a flashlight because people cross at night, and inside is included also some Tylenol painkillers because many people get injured during crossing," Werthein says.

The artist was commissioned by a cross-border arts exhibition called inSite to develop a project that "intervened" in some aspect of border life.

While researching her project, the Argentine native became fascinated by illegal immigrants' primary mode of transportation - their feet.

"If they go through the sierra, they walk eight hours. Their feet get hurt. There's a lot of stones and there are snakes, tarantulas. So that's why it is a little boot," she says.

The Brinco is an ankle-high trainer which is green, red, black and yellow.

An Aztec eagle is embroidered on the heel. On the toe is the American eagle found on the US quarter, to represent the American dream the migrants are chasing.

A map - printed on the shoe's removable insole - shows the most popular illegal routes from Tijuana into San Diego.

First new shoes

Guadalupe Elias has arrived at the Madre Asunta migrant shelter in Tijuana. Catholic nuns run the refuge for women and children making their way north.

After the 48-hour trip from her home in southern Mexico, Ms Elias' trainers are ruined.

She tells Werthein, who has come to the shelter to pass out Brincos, that she needs shoes that fit.

Werthein gives her a pair of Brincos - and Ms Elias begins to cry.

"I'm crying because you gave me these and almost no-one ever helps me," she explains, adding that she has never owned new shoes before.

A few days after passing out shoes for free to migrants, Werthein begins selling the shoes at a hip boutique trainer store in downtown San Diego.

The shop sells only limited edition trainers. A pair of Werthein's Brincos are displayed on a pedestal under glass with a price tag of $215 (£125).

Real incentive

Though the store is only about 15 miles (24km) from Tijuana, here the champagne-sipping crowd sees the Brinco as a vehicle for discussion - not transport.

Andrea Schmidt, of La Jolla, is buying a pair to display in her living room.

"I think they're historical. I think it depicts a very special problem. And I thought it was important to have them," she says.

But her husband, Joe, thinks her purchase crosses a line.

He says: "It does give them an incentive to come. Because these are probably the best shoes they've ever had in their lives."

Werthein dismisses complaints that she is aiding and abetting illegal immigrants.

She argues she is just provoking an important discussion. The real incentive for illegal immigrants, she says, is Americans' demand for cheap labour.

Story from BBC NEWS: ... 445342.stm

Published: 2005/11/17 13:02:29 GMT

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Unread postby Zemyla » Tue Feb 21, 2006 5:41 pm

Do they make the shoes with immigrant labor? <p>-----
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wtf PAS

Unread postby pd Rydia » Mon Jul 17, 2006 4:35 pm

The Leadership Council

Child Abuse Experts Applaud Legal Community for Rejecting Parental Alienation Syndrome

July 12, 2006
Bala Cynwyd, Pa.

People who care about abused children finally have something to celebrate. Two recent high profile legal publications have rejected “Parental Alienation Syndrome” (PAS), a controversial label often used to discredit allegations of child abuse or domestic violence in family courts. According to PAS theory, children's disclosures of abuse by one parent are reinterpreted as evidence of “brainwashing” by the other parent. The solution proposed by PAS theory is to immediately award custody to the alleged child abuser.

The newly revised, 2006 edition of "Navigating Custody and Visitation Evaluations in Cases with Domestic Violence: A Judge's Guide,” published by The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, includes a strong statement condemning the use of PAS which it calls a “discredited” syndrome that favors child abusers in custody determinations. [see excerpt]

At the same time the Spring 2006 issue of the American Bar Association's Children's Legal Rights Journal provides a comprehensive analysis of all legal case involving allegations of PAS. This definitive review concludes that science, law, and policy all oppose the admissibility of PAS in the courtroom. [Download PDF of article].

“PAS is junk science at its worst,” says Dr. Paul Fink, President of the Leadership Council on Child Abuse and Interpersonal Violence, and a former President of the American Psychiatric Association [see bio]. Dr. Fink explains, “Science tells us that the most likely reason that a child becomes estranged from a parent is that parent's own behavior. Labels, such as PAS, serve to deflect attention away from those behaviors.”

Judge Sol Gothard is glad to see that the legal community has joined other professionals in recognizing the harm that PAS can cause. Recently retired from Louisiana's 5th Circuit Court of Appeal, Judge Gothard has been involved in over 2000 cases of allegations of child sexual abuse. He states, “PAS has caused emotional harm, physical harm and in some cases, even death to children.” [read about Nathan's death; see also Jana Bommersbach. Parental Alienation. Phoenix Magazine, May 2006]

Joyanna Silberg, PhD, a Clinical Psychologist and Executive Vice President of the Council [see bio], has also seen first hand the long-term emotional damage this so-called syndrome has caused. “How do you explain to young children forced to live with abusers why the courts have considered them liars and ignored their cries for help?” Silberg has found that it can take years for these children to get past their feelings of betrayal by the system that was supposed to protect them. [see article about Tiffany; more children's stories]

Dr. Silberg views PAS allegations as part of a larger strategy in which abusive parents try to fool the courts, attorneys, child custody evaluators, and mental health professionals into believing that their children and ex-spouses are crazy when they raise concerns about safety. She notes the recent case of Darren Mack, accused of shooting his custody judge and stabbing his wife to death. Mack successfully convinced a custody evaluator that he was a loving parent with no violent tendencies, notes Silberg.

Stephanie Dallam, MS, a researcher with the Leadership Council, has spent the last 10 years researching PAS [see bio]. She traces the syndrome to a controversial psychiatrist, Richard Gardner, who described sex between fathers and their offspring as normal and natural. In his voluminous self-published writings, Gardner blamed abused children's suffering on our society's “overreaction” to sexual abuse, notes Dallam. [more on Gardner's views on pedophilia]

Dr. Paul Fink concludes, "Children suffer when law embraces a 'syndrome' just because a so-called 'expert' coined a snappy phrase. Increasingly, courts are seeing through the PAS charade and refusing to allow the courtroom to be used as theater for the promotion of junk science."

The Leadership Council on Child Abuse & Interpersonal Violence is composed of national leaders in psychology, psychiatry, medicine, law, and public policy who are committed to the ethical application of psychological science and countering its misuse by special interest groups. Members of the Council are dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of children and other vulnerable populations. More information can be found at:

More about Abuse and Custody issues

The Leadership Council © 2005
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Re: wtf PAS

Unread postby E Mouse » Mon Jul 17, 2006 6:09 pm

Wow. Scary stuff, but at least it's getting the knife. <p>

<span style="font-size:xx-small;">"Their rhetoric... You didn't put communists in his bed did you!" came Amber's indignant reply.

"Why not? All I had to do was open a gate to his bed and stick up a sign saying 'Hot virgin willing to make the ultimate sacrifice in the name of international socialist fraternity.'"</span>

<span style="color:blue;font-size:xx-small;">Excaliburned:</span> <span style="font-size:xx-small;">Ah yes, I'm thinking of having the USS Bob be preserved outside the Arena as a monument of sorts</span></p>

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Unread postby Zemyla » Tue Jul 18, 2006 7:21 pm,39020330,39279134,00.htm

According to this, a new law is being considered that would allow the courts to seize the computers of people who are "suspected cyber-criminals", and ban them from using the Internet, even if they are acquitted. <p>-----
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Unread postby pd Rydia » Tue Jul 18, 2006 8:12 pm


The two laws I knew of were the outlawing of firewalls and bothering (both unheeded).

So, basically, the gov't could kick anyone they damn well pleased off the mother-fuckin' internet WRFfle. <p>
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Unread postby Idran1701 » Tue Jul 18, 2006 10:46 pm

There is no law outlawing firewalls in the US. I'm not sure what you mean by "bothering". There certainly are anti-hacking laws, though; look at the Great Wyrm incident, which wasn't even performed with malice but still managed to all but shut down the then-fledgling Internet for a good day or two, at least. <p>

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</p>Edited by: [url=>Idran1701</A] at: 7/18/06 23:36

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Unread postby pd Rydia » Mon Jul 24, 2006 4:42 pm

I've been trying to find a source for you, Idran, but I can't seem to relocate it. I'll see if Mike can help me, since I'm pretty sure he also read it.

It was a bit of piggyback legislation sneaked into some sort of "letz protect our womens" something or other that very loosely defined online harrassment, and made it illegal. However, the only party that can do any actual prosecution on behalf of anyone is the government itself. It was an awfully convenient thing.

T'any rate:

Mystery of explosive star solved

By Ker Than
SPACE.comexternal link

( -- In February, a faint star a few thousand light-years away flared suddenly, beaming so brightly that for a few days it was visible to the naked eye.

The star is a stellar corpse the size of Earth, known as a white dwarf, and it is paired in a binary system with a red giant, a dying, bloated star that once resembled our sun. The red giant has been dumping gas onto the surface of the white dwarf, and every few years, enough matter accumulates to set off a giant thermonuclear explosion.

It was one of these explosions, called a "nova," that astronomers and stargazers detected earlier this year.

The two-star system, called RS Ophiuchi, is known as a recurrent nova because five similar eruptions have been detected before. The first observation occurred in 1898; the last eruption prior to this latest one happened in 1985.

The new observations, made using advanced radio and X-ray telescopes not available during the last outburst, reveal the explosion to be more complex than was previously assumed.

Standard computer models had predicted a spherical explosion with matter ejected in all directions equally. The latest observations instead showed that the explosion evolved into two lobes, confirming suspicions that the nova outburst produces twin jets of stellar material that spews out from the white dwarf in opposite directions.

"The radio images represent the first time we've ever seen the birth of a jet in a white dwarf system. We literally see the jet 'turn on,'" said Michael Rupen, an astronomer at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory who studied RS Ophiuchi using the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA).

As impressive as the nova are, they might just be precursors for a more violent supernova explosion that will occur in the future, scientists say.

The white dwarf's thermonuclear blasts are similar to those that occur on the surface of the sun, but they can be over 100,000 times more powerful. During each outburst, an amount of gas equal to the mass of the Earth is flung into space.

Some of this ejected matter slams into the extended atmosphere of the inflated red giant, creating blast waves that accelerate electrons to nearly the speed of light. As the electrons travel through the stars' magnetic fields, they emit radio waves that can be detected by telescopes on Earth.

The blast waves move at over four million miles (about 6.4 million kilometers) per hour. For a few weeks during each outburst, the white dwarf becomes a red giant.

"After the [thermonuclear explosion], the white dwarf will puff up into a red giant for a few weeks as the hydrogen that has been blasted into space fuses into helium," explains Richard Barry of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.
All eyes on Ophiuchi

Japanese astronomers first detected signs of RS Ophiuchi's latest nova on the night of February 12. Follow-up observations by radio telescopes revealed an expanding blast wave whose diameter was already the size of Saturn's orbit around the Sun.

In the weeks following, several radio and X-ray telescopes around the world tracked RS Ophiuchi closely, including the MERLIN array in the UK, the European EVN array, the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) and Very Large Array (VLA) in the United States, and NASA's Swift and Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer satellites.

Findings from the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer and the VLBA/EVN observations are detailed in two separate studies published in the July 20 issue of the journal Nature.

The red giant and white dwarf stars making up RS Ophiuchi are separated by about 1.5 astronomical units, or one and a half times the distance the Earth is from the sun. The binary star system is located in the constellation Ophiuchus, about 5,000 light-years away -- very close by astronomical standards.

"We have a ringside seat for this very important event," Barry told Barry is a co-author on another study on RS Ophiuchi that will appear in an upcoming edition of Astrophysical Journal.
Supernova precursor?

When the outburst is over, gas will once again build up on the white dwarf and the explosions will begin anew, perhaps in some 20 years time. It's unknown whether the white dwarf casts off all of its accumulated matter during each eruption, or whether some of the material is being hoarded and slowly increasing the mass of the dead star.

"If the white dwarf is increasing in mass then it will eventually be ripped apart in a titanic supernova explosion and the cycle of outbursts will come to an end," said Tim O'Brien of the University of Manchester, a co-author on one of the Nature studies.

White dwarfs must attain a critical 1.4 solar masses before they can explode in what scientists call a Type 1a supernova. The white dwarf in RS Ophiuchi is near this critical limit now, but it will still probably need hundreds of thousands of years to accumulate the final bit of mass, scientists say.

Because all Type 1a supernovas emit the same amount of light at their peak, they serve as important "standard candles" which astronomers use to calculate cosmic distances.

"Our understanding of these objects is exceedingly important as any miscalculation or uncertainty in the total light of output of supernovae could have a dramatic effect on our calculations of the scale and size of the entire universe," Barry said.

Find this article at:
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Unread postby Capntastic » Tue Jul 25, 2006 10:22 pm

Monopoly money will be phased out in a new version of the game in a bid to keep up with the times.

Instead players will use mock Visa debit cards to keep track of how much money they are winning or losing.

An electronic machine is provided, which allows the banker to transfer money from players and record their earnings and payments.

The new updated edition of the game is being sold along with the traditional cash version.

The revamped model will also include several changes, such as an increase in property prices and new fines like paying the congestion charge, to bring it upto date.

Chris Weatherhead, brand manager at Parker games, which makes Monopoly, said: "We wanted to design a more relevant version of Monopoly to reflect modern society.

"As the popularity of plastic cards increases when paying for goods instead of using cash, we wanted to reflect that in the new Monopoly."


While not as important as many of the articles here, this is still a pretty weird thing to happen to a classic game. I dunno if I like it, or not, but I don't think I'm willing to pay for it to see.

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Unread postby Idran1701 » Tue Jul 25, 2006 10:56 pm

Heh. That's actually kind of an amusing idea, I think. Plus, at least they're keeping the old version around too. <p>

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Unread postby pd Rydia » Fri Jul 28, 2006 8:31 pm

<small>A Foreign Affair
On the great Ukrainian bride hunt
Posted on Thursday, July 6, 2006. Originally from June 2006. By Kristoffer A. Garin.

“These are not American women,” our guide was telling us. “They do not care about your age, looks, or money. And you are not going to have to talk to them for half an hour and then have your testicles handed back to you! Let me tell you: over here, you’re the commodity; you’re the piece of meat. I’ve lived in St. Petersburg for two years, and I wouldn’t date an American woman right now if you paid me!”

It was three weeks before Christmas, and I was sitting in a Ukrainian business hotel with perhaps thirty men, mostly American and mostly on the later side of middle age, listening as a muscular, impossibly loud ex&#8210;radio D.J. who answers to “Dan the Man” promised that our lives were about to change forever. We were all strangers, but I knew at least one thing about these men: each was there because he was frustrated, angry, and tired of being alone. Each had decided that his best chance at happiness was to pay nearly $4,000 to a company called A Foreign Affair, which would ferry him through Ukraine on a two-week bride hunt, “like an alpha-male wolf,” as one testimonial for the tour giddily assured us, “having the sheep brought in.”

We were to be provided with cleanish hotels, temperature-controlled buses, a platoon of young female translators (most in miniskirts, each available for hire as a “full-time gal Friday” to manage our presumably busy dating schedules; Dan the Man warned that under no circumstances should we employ a translator whom we’d become attracted to, as she might want us for herself and sabotage our dates), and access to a “hospitality suite” within the hotel where we would find stacks of color-coded binders containing profiles of thousands of women in and around Kiev, each of whom had specifically expressed a desire to meet American men. In the coming days we would attend a series of social events engineered to bring our little group into contact with more than 500 of these Ukrainian Ladies—women, according to the tour agency’s literature, “prepared to leave the only life they have ever known.” This, then, was globalization’s answer to the mail-order brides of the Old West.

When the group had set out from JFK Airport the day before, it had not seemed like an especially friendly bunch. The first member I met, when I said it was nice to meet him, had shot me a challenging look and countered, “How do you know? I could be an axe murderer.” Fat-faced and bearded, he turned out to be a plaintiff’s lawyer with a fondness for describing his clients’ injuries in graphic, breathy detail (e.g., “The cops tasered a kid till they burnt the hair off his face”). Other attempts at small talk likewise fell flat until, finally, a few of the tour veterans—or “repeat offenders,” as one jokingly called himself—began to dispense advice. Some had been on as many as five of these trips before; at least two had brought home fiancées in the past, though they hadn’t actually married. They promised that we, too, would surely become repeat offenders once we saw what was in store. “Remember,” said one silver-haired gent in a well-cut suit and polo shirt, “they’ve only been liberated for ten years. They’re going through a social and sexual revolution like we went through in the 1970s.”

By the time of our orientation, my decision to come had started to feel like pure recklessness. Not only was I nearly ten years younger than the next youngest man on the trip; just three months earlier I had married the love of my life, and I couldn’t shake the sensation that my happiness and good fortune must be obvious somehow, dripping off me like exploding ink from a bank robber’s sack of cash.[1] Wanting to fit into the group as I’d imagined it, I had altered much of my grooming routine in the weeks before leaving. My beard was so untrimmed as to make me feel itchy and dirty; what little hair I have had grown longish, curled in unruly wings on the side of my head and the back of my neck.

Dan the Man smiled from the front of the room. He knew we were skeptical, a little scared, a little embarrassed to be here, and reasonably so. After all, what did our presence say about us? What could we possibly have in common, other than failure?

Tomorrow would be the first of our three “socials”: four-hour events with free champagne, where the ratio of women to men promised to be five to one or better. But today, we were reminded, was for relaxing, for settling in and getting comfortable with our companions. “Look around,” enjoined Dan the Man. “A lot of people come here thinking this is going to be some kind of loser patrol—but it’s exactly the opposite. These are professional, successful guys. These are great guys.” He suggested we each introduce ourselves, and we did.

“I’m a doctor, but I’m not a doctor anymore. Now I’m in the world of finance.”

“I raise avocados.”

“I’m a former soldier, a former professor, and now I’m a lawyer.”

“I’m a plumbing contractor.”

“I deal in finance.”

“I raise llamas, but I’m really a physician, and I have two beautiful boys and I think there’s nothing better you can do than raising kids.”

“I live in Texas but now I’m a welder in Iraq.”

“I own a construction company.”

“I’m a credit-card processor; I own two corporations.”

“I’m a farmer.”

“I work with real estate investments.”

“I write for a living—I’m a lawyer.”

I did not share the fact that I was a journalist, nor did I mention the wedding band concealed on a chain around my neck. Instead I stood and said: “My name is Kris, and I’m in advertising in New York City. I’m just here to see what happens, you know?”

Dan the Man nodded contentedly. “You see? I’m telling you, the camaraderie always ends up being a big part of this—I’ve had guys make half-million-dollar business deals on these trips,” he said. “Now, take everything you know about dating and throw it away. After a few days, you guys are going to become like American women! A woman you would have killed to have lunch with back in the U.S., she’ll be wanting to go out with you, but you’ll start noticing little faults—her ankles are too big, you don’t like the shape of her earlobes. And you will throw her back, because you have so many choices.”

Shyly, slyly, hopefully, the men around the table smiled; these damaged guys, so desperate to believe.

* * *

In one form or another, the so-called mail-order bride has been part of American life since colonial days. Even today, many of New Orleans’ older families claim to be descended from the “casket girls” Louis XV sent from France to wed Louisiana colonists in the early eighteenth century, the term derived from the chests the women were given to carry their few belongings. And although westerns and Harlequin novels have perhaps oversold the ubiquity of mail-order marriages on the frontier—much as the role of gunfighters in those days has been oversold—such unions, whether organized by religious groups or entrepreneurs, did take place throughout the pioneer era. Bachelor farmers wrote in search of wives not only to their support networks back East but all the way to the old country. The men’s magazines of the day advertised the services of marriage brokers right alongside ads for snake-oil miracle cures and such cutting-edge mechanical marvels as the chain-driven bicycle. In turn-of-the-century Chicago alone, police broke up as many as 125 fraudulent marriage agencies, seizing and burning “wagon loads” of photographs of fictitious brides.

During most of the twentieth century, however—what with manifest destiny having been achieved, and the focus of American life having shifted from mining camps and cattle ranges to cities, suburbs, and malls—the phenomenon all but died out, except for a small traffic, impossible to quantify, which seems to have focused on women from Southeast Asia. Companies like A Foreign Affair (AFA) have sprung up only since the mid-1990s, when their founders spotted vast opportunity in the contemporaneous collapse of the Soviet Union and emergence of the Internet. Whatever one chooses to call it, the bride’s road from Kiev—or Moscow, or Bangkok, or Odessa, or Cartagena, Lima, Krivoi Rog, Manila, and dozens of other places where the women are desperate enough to sign up—begins online, where a lonely man can search a functional infinity of inviting profiles and then purchase the contact information of the women he likes for a few dollars apiece (“ADD TATIANA (77631) TO MY ORDER”), or at a volume discount (“FIND MORE WOMEN FROM DNEPROPETROVSK”). From there, he can correspond with them via email or telephone, visit their country for the in-person meeting required to begin the fiancé visa process, and ultimately bring his chosen girl back to America within six to ten months. A full-service outfit like AFA can take a man from mouse-click to matrimony for less than $10,000, orchestrating everything from travel and hotel arrangements to legal services to home delivery of flowers and chocolate—complete with digital photos of the woman’s ecstatic reaction—while she waits for her paperwork to go through.

Steadily, the mail-order bride business has been industrializing, even as one recent poll indicated that three fourths of the American population is not aware that these so-called international marriage brokers (IMBs) can operate legally in the United States. The industry’s profile, however, has been raised considerably in recent years by, among other things, a number of well-publicized murder cases: in 2000, the killing of a twenty-year-old woman from Kyrgyzstan named Anastasia King, whose husband turned out not only to have had a restraining order against him from a previous mail-order bride but to be seeking a new, third wife through an IMB; in 1995, of a Filipina named Susana Blackwell, eight months pregnant, whose husband gunned her down outside a Seattle courtroom on the last day of divorce proceedings; in 2003, of a twenty-six-year-old Ukrainian named Alla Barney, whose husband stabbed her to death in front of their young son’s day-care facility.[2]

Today, it is estimated that well over 100,000 women around the world are listed on the Internet as available for marriage to Western men. (AFA alone lists nearly 30,000.) Wherever the women come from, such websites as A Special Lady, Chance for Love, and Latin Love Search tout their traditional values, their submissiveness, their willingness to put husband and family ahead of themselves. Google the seemingly innocuous search term “single women,” and five out of the first ten results will be websites offering to connect Western men with would-be wives from around the world. Unlikely as it might sound, at the outset of the twenty-first century, marriage brokering is growing increasingly less fringe, not more so.

* * *

We were lodged at the Hotel Rus, a massive structure perched on a hill at the edge of Kiev’s downtown, with a flashing neon sign on top and, as with nearly every establishment in Kiev, bouncer-doormen in black leather jackets. On arrival we had been told that, since the bouncers get a cut from the in-house prostitutes’ earnings, they would expect a $25 bribe if we wanted to bring any women back to our rooms during the course of the week; otherwise, the hotel would charge us for an extra guest. Our first two socials were to take place in the Rus’s banquet hall, which meant that in theory we wouldn’t have to leave the hotel for days, other than for dates.

As the orientation session finished, I noticed one of the men slipping out of the room, a hulking fellow in his mid-thirties with broad, goofy features and the kind of deep red sunburn one wears for a lifetime. He had introduced himself during the orientation, almost inaudibly, as simply “a farmer,” and now he was looking more than a little overwhelmed. I went after him and invited him for a beer at the hotel bar.

Over drinks he told me his story. He lived and worked on the family farm in the Southwest, where he had grown up and married very young, though his wife soon had enough of farm life and left him (“Guess that’s what you get when you marry a Mexican call girl,” he drawled with a mournful smile). Eventually, he had turned to the Internet and begun corresponding with a Ukrainian woman whose profile he had purchased from an online broker. She knew no English whatsoever, but they nevertheless wrote to each other for several months, running their letters through a translation website before sending them. It was an imperfect system, to say the least, and after a few major misunderstandings he had decided that if matters were to move forward they would have to meet. She was set to arrive at the Kiev central train station at 5:45 the following morning—at her own expense, she was taking a thirteen-hour train ride to see him. His plan had been to spend the first couple of days with her, missing the first social, and then, if the match didn’t work out, to try his luck along with the rest of the group. He was excited, he said, but what he had heard at the orientation had left him shaken.

If Dan the Man had hammered one point home during his talk, it had been to not get attached to any one woman before having gone to all three socials—and, above all, to not allow ourselves to be talked out of attending the full slate of events. We owed it to ourselves, he told us. Until we met a few dozen of these women, how could we responsibly make a choice? If there was someone we really liked, he suggested that we think of the socials as a barometer: “If you go through three socials and she’s still the one you’re crazy about, then that really tells you something. On the other hand, if you’re not still crazy about her, then that tells you something, too.” He warned us that he had seen it many times: men whose confidence had been so trampled upon by American women that they could no longer comprehend that they were worthy of stunning, intelligent, and much younger women. As if that were not enough, skipping the events would also be taken by Ukranian women as a sign of weakness. “They really like a guy that’s a guy here,” Dan had assured us. “If they talk you out of a social, they won’t respect you.” What we needed to do was to focus, to be disciplined. The really enterprising men would be going on six dates a day.

When Dan the Man swung by our table later that evening, my companion was apologetic as he inquired about arranging a taxi for his early-morning pickup: “I know I’ve done the opposite of what you said, but I can’t stand her up.”

Our leader sighed. “This is a long way to come for a blind date,” he said, his tone hectoring. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this before.” After he drifted away, I bought us both another round.[3]

Later that night, after a few hours of note-taking in my room, I made one last pass through the bar and found another of our group, a Midwestener whose construction company built guard booths for the Army. Even though it was well past midnight on what had been a grueling day of travel, the tie under his sweater retained its crisp knot and his gray hair was immaculately parted.

“Looks like there are a few professional women out in the lobby,” he said at almost the moment I sat down to join him. “Do you know how much they are? Do you think $100 would do it?” When I suggested he simply go outside and ask, he walked off into the lobby to do just that—leaving me alone in mid-sentence—only to return moments later. “The pretty one got in the elevator,” he muttered. “The others were a little chunky. So you don’t know how much for one of them, huh?”

He told me with a clinical chill in his voice about the time he had gone to Mexico on business and seen “The Donkey Show,” in which a female performer fellates and then copulates with a donkey. “I didn’t know a woman could take a donkey,” he said. “But she did. She took it.” He informed me that in Mexico the hookers had cost $40. When I asked him if he was really here in Ukraine looking for a wife, he just shrugged. [4]

* * *

At the first social the next evening, most of the men were already there when I arrived; wearing name tags, they clustered around the bar, as the women—200 of them or more—massed in a long line at the door. AFA enforces a strict policy prohibiting local women from attending more than one social during any single tour, and so each woman’s registration must be checked before she is allowed in. Violators risk an out-and-out ban from future events.

Nearly forty minutes passed before the women, trickling in ones and twos past the unsmiling attendants at the door, began to outnumber our group—plenty of time for bluster and small talk. “You ready?” the men asked one another. “What kind of numbers you think you’ll get?” They looked less like globalized predators than dateless eighth-grade boys at a school dance. Some carried Polaroid cameras slung over their shoulders to help them keep track of the women they would meet; many held folios full of pictures from back home—the dog, the house, the car, the local supermarket.[5] Several of the men stood near the entranceway, scanning the line with a more specific anticipation than the others; AFA had allowed us, if we liked, to anonymously invite women from the website so that we could check them out in person without feeling obligated to entertain them. Women thus invited are often told that they have been requested but not by whom.

Wandering back and forth I saw one of the more colorful members of our group, a fish farmer whose wife had died five years earlier and who saw no prospects in the tiny rural community where he lived. Unlike most of the men, who were dressed up in one way or another—some in business suits, others in blazers or a shirt and tie—he wore a T-shirt (red, white, and blue horizontal stripes, tucked over his vast beer belly and into his jeans) and a pair of Wranglers. He clapped me on the back and gestured toward the doors. “Nice, watching the stock come in,” he said.

Ninety percent or more of the “stock” looked to be under the age of thirty-five, and more than half of them a good ten years younger than that. Most had dressed to impress, though there were a variety of styles in play, from the demure to the outrageous. Roughly half of the women, especially the older ones, came dressed in evening attire, business suits, or simply slacks and sweaters. But among the younger ladies, exposed midriffs and plunging necklines abounded. In the Ukrainian manner, there were miniskirts, fishnet stockings, and vertiginous high-heeled boots; ruffles, sequins, and sheer, frilly sleeves. A pair of girls, neither of whom could have been over twenty-two, were covered in glitter and wore their hair in identically cut Cleopatra bangs. Heavy makeup, especially around the eyes and cheekbones, was de rigueur. Almost all of the women had long, straight hair. I had the distinct impression that many were wearing their one nice outfit for the occasion.

As the room filled in earnest, I encountered Dan the Man, and I marveled to him about the sheer number of women who had come out for the event. Are things really so desperate for them here in Kiev? I asked.

The money, Dan told me, is only part of the problem. Even for the women who can make a good living, he claimed, it was all but impossible to find a good man. He gave me a practiced mini-seminar on the shortcomings of Ukrainian and Russian men—how they drink, philander, alternately beat and neglect their women; how even if the men were worth a damn, the population has grown so out of balance thanks to war and a short life expectancy for males that there simply aren’t enough of them to go around; how men, in fact, are so scarce that more and more Ukrainian women are turning to lesbianism, so starved are they for sexual satisfaction.[6]

“Wow,” I said. “Well, I guess I’m going to go walk around.”

The banquet hall at the Rus holds about two dozen tables, and at each of them three, four, or more women sat and drank champagne and waited for one of us to introduce ourselves. “You have got to move,” we had been instructed. “If you don’t move, you can’t get the numbers.” And so the men circulated relentlessly, in keeping with the gospel of Dan the Man—writing down their favorites’ contact information on individual pieces of paper rather than on notepads so that the women could not see how many others were already on the list. As I wandered around the room, the men kept trying to pull me toward tables where they were speaking with five or six women. “This is Kris,” one said. “He has a very good heart.” Another introduced me as “one of his best friends.”

Ninety minutes in, the music grew louder and the D.J. began to stage dance contests, party games. In the first game, he and his assistant chose several long-legged, miniskirted ladies from the crowd to navigate a slalom of empty champagne glasses set up on the dance floor. Three finalists tried it blindfolded; the lucky winner received a cash prize amounting to more than two weeks’ pay for those in the room with jobs. “Oh my God,” one of the interpreters exclaimed, stunned. “She just got $100!” The men barely seemed to notice, but a ripple of anticipation spread through the overwhelmingly female crowd. So far out of line with the realities of Ukrainian life, the prize effectively underscored the extent to which these men held the key to another world. But the rest of the evening’s prizes—for the sexiest dancer, for the lady whose man did the best job using tinsel to decorate her like a Christmas tree—seemed to consist of chocolate bars, movie tickets, and the like. The point had been made, so there was presumably no point in going overboard.

By the time the social ended at 10:00 P.M., many of the men were positively radiant—the attention had transformed them, if only temporarily. The happy ones were positively brimming. A few left then and there on “dates” to local nightclubs, three or more girls in tow. The rest of us headed for the bar to compare notes. The taser-loving lawyer I’d spoken to at the airport showed off his Polaroids: “The twenty-five-year-old, I’m seeing tomorrow,” he narrated. “She was beautiful. Beautiful! And very intelligent.” Even as he spoke, the young woman in question passed by on her way out. Very pretty, and impossibly small alongside his bulk, she smiled at him and said good night, clearly not speaking more than a word or two of English. “See you Sunday,” he replied, waggling his sausage of a finger and speaking in a weird, coquettish singsong. “You’d better be here or you’ll be in trouble. I’ll have the handcuffs; if you’re not here, the handcuffs will be out.”

* * *

Historically, IMBs have declined to provide any information about their male clients to the women with whom they seek to match them; and, in fact, this one-sidedness has been a selling point. A New York&#8210;based advocacy group called Equality Now demonstrated it in stark terms in 1999, when they sent a blanket email inquiry to dozens of IMBs, purporting to be from a physician who had assaulted two ex-wives; his email asked whether this history would be an issue. Out of sixty-six responses, only three IMBs turned him down, and only two others expressed serious reservations about taking him on as a client; a few actually praised him and commiserated regarding the occasional need for violence when it comes to keeping women in line. Among the responses:

“Having also been accused of asult by western women, who are usually the instigaters of domestic violence I can tell you: A) don’t let it bother you and B) most Thais avoid confrontation, Buddhist philosophy, so they are not likely to start something that may end in violence.” (

“Thank you for your open and honest letter. I believe we all have skeletons in the closet and do not let them fall out when we meet someone. When I look into my past it also does not look too rosy. In heated arguments we all say and do things we did not mean, it does not make us a bad person. What I am trying to say is, let the ladies get to know the real you.” (

“We are an agency and our purpose is to try to help people meet each other. We never refuse any clients that come to us with the exception of incarcerated people. So the answer is yes we will do our very best to help you, as we do for everybody else, but you should try to work on these problem you have for your own benefit and the benefit of your future wife.” (

At the AFA orientation in Kiev, the point was made in a similar way when one of the men asked if the women at our events would have any sort of access to information on his age, financial status, or anything else in his personal history. “Oh no,” said Dan the Man, shaking his head emphatically. “Absolutely not. We don’t tell them anything. That’s your job.”

Again and again, my companions declared that they weren’t looking for a sex tour, and that neither were they simply looking for a servant to cook for them and clean their home—that it was a real companion they sought. Each consistently made a point of saying how intelligent their dates were, even if their outing had only lasted for half an hour and had taken place without a common language between them. One, a California contractor with a seething, hostile energy and the blue-eyed, mustachioed handsomeness of a 1970s porn star, summed it up thusly: “I don’t want someone that I’m going to run; I need somebody’s help. I need an opinion. I’m not out to pound a bunch of pussy. If that’s what I want, I’ll go down to the whorehouse.”

But what they really wanted, and what most imagined they would find in Ukraine, was a fusion of 1950s gender sensibilities with a twenty-first-century hypersexuality. Along with everything else, the men had heard that the women here were “wild,” “uninhibited,” that being with them was “a whole different ball game.” As always, Dan the Man had done his part to stoke this fantasy, peppering his talk of traditional values and wifely devotion with just the right amount of lasciviousness. “I’ve heard stories from all the guys who have been married to them, and they all say the same thing: they definitely are much, much, much more passionate, much more open-minded,” he told us at one point. “This guy, he’s been married for six, seven years and his wife is just as crazy, they have threesomes all the time.” The vision was Madonna and puttana rolled together, an American male desire shaped in equal parts by the Promise Keepers and Internet porn.

* * *

The glow from the first social having receded, many of the men found themselves a bit demoralized. A night on the town was one matter, but finding an actual wife was going to be more difficult than they had thought. Many of the women they had met, while friendly enough and certainly accessible for conversation, turned out to have had little or no interest in leaving Ukraine. They had come out to practice their English, or for the free champagne, or simply because they were curious. Even among the ones who had agreed to “date,” many seemed to be in it for little more than a free meal at a nice restaurant they would never be able to afford otherwise. It was hard to imagine that the men would be shocked by such innocent opportunism, but they were. “I wouldn’t say disappointed, but I got up with mixed feelings today,” the California contractor told me. Later in the week, another would confess that when the first date he had scheduled stood him up, he returned to his room and wept.

Beer after beer, the men analyzed their dates—whether the women had ordered pricey menu items, whether they had taken the official taxis from in front of the hotel or insisted on walking down to the street to catch a gypsy cab at a better price. A grizzly New Englander, who said he lived in a log cabin and tended to predict the imminent destruction of whatever American city came up in conversation, recounted a date that had raised several red flags. “Well, I took out a money girl,” he confessed. They had gone to T.G.I. Friday’s, a popular date venue. Apparently her appetizer had arrived before his, and she had set in on it without waiting. We all clucked and shook our heads—selfish, we agreed; a bad sign. To compound matters, for her main course she had made what everyone in the group agreed was the distinctly unfeminine choice of ribs. “Wow,” said one of the veterans. “I’ve never seen a Ukrainian girl order ribs.”

The conversations ranged from future finances and former marriages to politics, the economy, and whether or not Latin is in fact the root of “almost every language.” When I bought a beer for one of the men I had grown to sympathize with most, he gave me a big smile and said, “Thanks, whitey!” I stammered that I supposed I would take that as a compliment. “You’re goddamn right it’s a compliment,” he replied with a wink, clinking his glass against mine.

Every one of the men I spoke with said they planned to restrict their future wife’s involvement in their finances, and radically so. “You don’t ever let them touch your money, bottom line,” said one, to vigorous agreement from the rest of the table. “Set them up with their checking account that they use to pay all of the household supplies. You cover the core of the mortgages and the car and everything else. Never give them joint access.” When I remarked that the arrangement sounded more like an employer/employee relationship than a marriage, the group went a little quiet, and I suddenly found myself being accused of cultural intolerance—this at a table where “bluegums” appeared to be a perfectly unobjectionable way of referring to African Americans.

“You’re bringing all your value premises and laying them over relationships,” the New Englander objected. “You’re thinking about how you view it as, not what she’s looking for.” He became angry. “Have you been married and divorced before?” he continued, apoplectic now, forcefully jabbing his finger in my direction to punctuate each thought. “No? So you know nothing. When you’ve been fucked; when you let a woman take your life and everything you’ve worked for up to that point, and rip it out of your guts and then use the kids to keep fucking with you for ten years—then you’ll have been cauterized to learn caution. And that’s why I’m almost sixty and not married again.”

A God-fearing plumber, who would actually be engaged by the end of the week, agreed that I had no idea what I was talking about, but tried to soften the tone by warning me about the dangers I would face if I sought love back in the United States. “When she gets over it, you’re not going to know for two years,” he told me. “And at the end of two years, she’s going to have you so tied up, wrapped up, and packaged in such a neat little bow, that when she finally does tell you, ka-boom, you’re done, she’s already got the deck stacked in her favor before you even know what’s going on. That’s the truth. You can ask anybody that’s been divorced.”

Even the most likable of them approached the idea of marriage as if through a time machine. One, for example, a sweet-tempered, chubby Canadian businessman, spoke with passion and conviction about the female orgasm, and openly about loneliness; at one point he leaned over to me and whispered, “We’re all hurting in one way or another, that’s why we’re here. We’re all trying to make our lives better, we’re all looking for love.” He told me he wanted a genuine partner, but with the caveat that on the big issues—house buying, for example—he must be in charge, for the good of them both. “A ship cannot have two captains,” he insisted. When I suggested that he and his hypothetical spouse might eliminate the need for a “captain” by simply shopping for a house they both liked, he went silent for a moment before he managed both to concede my point and to reframe it entirely: “Actually, that’s an important thing you just said, because for a woman, she would take a lot of pride in her house. The kitchen area, the living-room area, the entertainment area, she’s got to be compatible with that. So that’s something I would gladly defer to a woman on.”

* * *

Our last scheduled group event was a trip to Vinnitsa, roughly three hours from Kiev, for the tour’s third and final social. The city’s primary claim to fame was having been the site of an infamous Nazi construction project; thousands of prisoners were put to work building a vast underground command bunker and subsequently murdered in order to keep its plans secret. This was not among the things Dan the Man told us about Vinnitsa, which was touted in our trip materials as a “bonus city,” though it was acknowledged that the place “has had its ups and downs.” What we were told was that this little industrial backwater was home to “motivated women” and was a “gem” when it came to romance tours. “Vinnitsa has much to offer for its guests,” read the literature, “but nothing compares to the beauty of the women. Don’t miss your chance to meet the girl of your dreams!” Around two thirds of the group had decided to make the trip; the rest stayed in Kiev for dates with women they had found in the binders or had met at the second social. Those on the bus traveled with high hopes. “I guarantee you that some of you guys will not be coming back tomorrow,” Dan the Man had promised.

On the road to Vinnitsa, we began to see roadside stands, one after another, selling straw brooms, kindling wood, or a few cans of food, the vendors huddled back from the road burning pitifully small fires to keep warm. With little cheer to be found in the bleak, unbroken landscape, Dan the Man walked up and down the aisle delivering his spiel. He joked that what we really needed were “extreme romance tours,” to places like Chechnya, Baghdad, Afghanistan. Of course, the joke had more than a grain of truth to it. We were visiting this place only because its population of 360,000 contained a critical mass of women desperate for new horizons. Indeed, the more miserable the place, the more capital a visiting man will have to leverage against his prospective wives; that was why we had left the United States for Kiev, and why we had left Kiev for Vinnitsa. One tour veteran had told me earlier that one of the best experiences of his life was being on the first Romance Tour into the Russian city of Novgorod, not long after the fall of the Soviet Union. “We were thirteen guys,” he said, his voice tinged with awe. “And almost four hundred women showed up. You could barely make it through the room.”

The social that night was held at a place called Club Pharaoh, a hole-in-the-wall that was apparently the largest nightclub in town. The level of skill and enthusiasm shown on the dance floor was astonishing—kick steps, turns, hair flips, all executed in nosebleed heels while crushed elbow to elbow into the crowd. The handful of men who had been lured out onto the dance floor were far out of their league but happy, swaying arhythmically on rooted feet as their partners danced circles around them. Unlike in Kiev, there was a noticeable group of women over forty—some of the most beautiful women of the evening, actually, in fur and mascara that they wore with surprising elegance; real catches, some of them, and embodiments of what so many of the men had said they wanted during the sessions at the hotel bar. With few exceptions, though, the men ignored them as they cycled through tables full of girls twenty, thirty years younger than they.

At one point I found myself next to Dan the Man, and I asked him, finally, if he had thought about the dark side of his industry. Had he heard about the killings? The cases of abuse? With an agility that must have come from his radio years, he immediately replied: “There’s no doubt about it, we have guys who come through here once in a while and leave a wake of women behind them, damaged, destroyed, used, and abused.” But then he added: “They talk about that in the media, of course—the women are being brought over from Ukraine and Russia, and they’re being treated horribly. That may be true in some cases, but why don’t you also do a story about the American men abusing the American women? It’s just not sensational enough, because it’s right there at home. So they make a big story out of this.”

Soon afterward I told him that I was going to make it an early night, that I wished him well. “I just hate to have a guy come all this way and not find what he’s looking for,” he said, before turning away with a shrug.

* * *

For the ride back to Kiev the morning after the Vinnitsa social, the men boarded the bus in high spirits, slinging duffels into the cargo hold and trading good-humored, hungover banter like some minor-league ball club on a winning streak. Again they compared notes: about whom they had gone out with, how far into the wee hours they had stayed at the nightclub, how much vodka they had drunk while French-kissing a twenty-five-year-old named Olga.

One of the most successful of the group, an importer from the Great Lakes region, was flush with his conquests, and he talked a blue streak about the different women he had met and slept with throughout the trip. He switched between describing his “girlfriends” and talking about the years he spent trapped in a “passionless” marriage to a “soft American woman.” His golf cap was turned backward, and he wore a leather jacket. “I’m moving from quantity to quality,” he told me. “I’m changing my strategy. After the divorce, I just went wild; I guess I’d thought I would never find someone again. I think there’s a good chance I’ll marry one of the girls on this trip.”

A few of the men paired off in animated, earnest conversations about life, marriage, women. “I’m not going to spend every bit of my life in America,” one was saying. “Because I’m sick and tired of being blamed for everything—the white man, you’re all responsible for everything. And American women are just rude, obnoxious. I won’t marry another American woman. I won’t do it. I’ll stay single first.”

A few rows back, another showed around photos of his front-runner with a moony, rapturous smile on his face. “Look at those eyes,” he said again and again as he held out a computer printout of her profile, even as a quarter-inch-thick stack of competing profiles sat in his lap. “She just melts me.” Quite a few of the men would find what they were looking for: by the time I left the group at the end of the first week (the full tour left several days of supported dating after the end of the group events), our tally of engagements would reach three—or six, if one includes the man who was engaged to three different women.

But when the urologist from Minnesota pulled out his video camera and started walking up and down the aisle, asking the men for memories from the trip, the chattiness evaporated.

“I’m here to see the world,” one offered, stiffly.

“I’m just visiting beautiful Ukraine,” another muttered, and everyone around him chuckled softly at the crazy notion.

About the Author

Kristoffer A. Garin is the author of Devils on the Deep Blue Sea, a history of the cruise-ship industry.

1. In order to move among these men without incurring suspicion, I had concocted an elaborate cover story that involved my having booked the trip in the aftermath of a bad breakup; between when I had paid for the nonrefundable trip and when the group was to rendezvous at JFK, my ex and I had decided to get back together. Since I was stuck with the trip, but didn’t want to ruin my chances of making things work, I would treat it like any other group tour and stay away from the women. The guys thought I was pretty absurd, but they accepted the story. If anything, I became a sort of mascot/fool for the group. [Back]

2. Such tragedies make for powerful headlines and fine political oratory, and in January, with Washington State, Missouri, Texas, and Hawaii all having already passed laws aimed at protecting foreign brides, President Bush signed the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act of 2005, or IMBRA. Under the new law, which a marriage broker is challenging in court, IMBs falling under U.S. jurisdiction would be required to provide prospective brides with detailed information on any client requesting their information, including a search of federal and state sex-offender registries and a copy of the client’s stated marital and criminal background. Nor would prospective brides have to rely solely on the IMBs for information; Homeland Security has always run background checks on Americans petitioning for a fiancé or spousal visa, and under the new law these results would be shared with their prospective wives, along with a pamphlet informing them of their rights, and the resources available to them, in the event of domestic violence. [Back]

3. The farmer never did come to any of the socials; he picked up his girl at the train station as planned, they spent the week together, and within a few days they were engaged. [Back]

4. The next day, on a guided walking tour of downtown Kiev, I approached him and asked whether he had gotten an answer to his question. In that same toneless voice he informed me that he had eventually hired one of the hotel prostitutes for $130 an hour and before I could stop him told me in graphic detail about what they’d done and, worse, what she would not do. Then a stray dog trotted past. “Oh!” he exclaimed, turning away from me suddenly and bending to hold out his hand with a radiant, ear-to-ear smile. “Look at the little puppy! Yee-ess! Who’s a cute little puppy?” [Back]

5. In the summer months, expats living in Kiev have told me, the outdoor cafés in the tourist district are aflutter with older American men showing these albums to their young Ukrainian dates. One NGO worker said he remembers eavesdropping on a dentist who was actually showing his would-be bride pictures of teeth. “You overhear them all the time,” he told me. “The girl’s feigning interest, but, God bless her, she’s giving him some attention—because a normal person like you or I would slit our wrists over such a conversation.” [Back]

6. According to the CIA’s estimates, the overall ratio of men to women in Ukraine is 86:100, as compared with 96:100 in Germany or 97:100 in the United States. But this statistic is heavily weighted toward citizens sixty-five and older; for Ukrainians fifteen to sixty-four, the ratio is a considerably healthier 92:100, a noteworthy gap, to be sure, though hardly a pretext for Sapphic revolution on a national scale. [Back]</ul></small> <p>
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pd Rydia
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Unread postby pd Rydia » Sat Jul 29, 2006 7:11 pm<ul>Saturday, July 29, 2006
Arrested for taking a pic of a cop arresting someone else
Thomas Hawk sez,

Apparently Philadelphia Police arrested Neftaly Cruz after he took a photo of them arresting a suspected drug dealer. One of Cruz's neighbors gave this recap.

""He opened up the gate and Neffy was coming down and he went up to Neffy, pulled him down, had Neffy on the car and was telling him, 'You should have just went in the house and minded your own business instead of trying to take pictures off your picture phone,'" said Gerrell Martin."

Our ability to photograph the police should be unquestioned. Without it things like the Rodney King incident might never see the light of day. If this occured as Cruz, his family, and neighbors allege, this is a clear abuse of police power and those resposible should be disciplined for this action.

Link (Thanks, Thomas!)

posted by Cory Doctorow at 07:26:09 AM permalink | Other blogs' comments</ul>
<hr noshade size=4 align=left width="74%"><ul>Cell Phone Picture Called Obstruction Of Justice
Man Arrested For Shooting Photo Of Police Activity

POSTED: 6:41 pm EDT July 25, 2006
UPDATED: 5:11 pm EDT July 26, 2006
-- A Philadelphia family said they are outraged over the arrest of one of their family members.

The family of Neftaly Cruz said police had no right to come onto their property and arrest their 21-year-old son simply because he was using his cell phone's camera. They told their story to Harry Hairston and the NBC 10 Investigators.

"I was humiliated. I was embarrassed, you know," Cruz said.

Cruz, 21, told the NBC 10 Investigators that police arrested him last Wednesday for taking a picture of police activity with his cell phone.

Police at the 35th district said they were in Cruz's neighborhood that night arresting a drug dealer.

Cruz said that when he heard a commotion, he walked out of his back door with his cell phone to see what was happening. He said that when he saw the street lined with police cars, he decided to take a picture of the scene.

"I opened (the phone) and took a shot," Cruz said.

Moments later, Cruz said he got the shock of his life when an officer came to his back yard gate.

"He opened the gate and took me by my right hand," Cruz said.

Cruz said the officer threw him onto a police car, cuffed him and took him to jail.

A neighbor said she witnessed the incident and could not believe what she saw.

"He opened up the gate and Neffy was coming down and he went up to Neffy, pulled him down, had Neffy on the car and was telling him, 'You should have just went in the house and minded your own business instead of trying to take pictures off your picture phone,'" said Gerrell Martin.

Cruz said police told him that he broke a new law that prohibits people from taking pictures of police with cell phones.

"They threatened to charge me with conspiracy, impeding an investigation, obstruction of a investigation. … They said, 'You were impeding this investigation.' (I asked,) "By doing what?' (The officer said,) 'By taking a picture of the police officers with a camera phone,'" Cruz said.

Cruz's parents, who got him out of jail, said police told them the same thing.

"He said he was taking pictures with his cell phone and that was obstructing an investigation," said Aracelis Cruz, Neftaly Cruz's mother.

The NBC 10 Investigators asked the ACLU union how they viewed the incident.

"There is no law that prevents people from taking pictures of what anybody can see on the street," said Larry Frankel of the American Civil Liberties Union. "I think it's rather scary that in this country you could actually be taken down to police headquarters for taking a picture on your cell phone of activities that are clearly visible on the street."

Frankel said Cruz's civil rights might have been violated.

"He was unlawfully seized, which is a violation of the 4th amendment the last time we checked," Frankel said.

Cruz, a Penn State University senior, said that after about an hour police told him he was lucky because there was no supervisor on duty, so they released him.

"They said if the supervisor was there I wouldn't be a free man and that he is letting me go because he felt that I was a good person," Cruz said.

Police told Hairston that they did take Cruz into to custody, but they said Cruz was not on his property when they arrested him. Police also denied that they told Cruze he was breaking the law with his cell phone. Cruz's famly said it has filed a formal complaint with the police department's Internal Affairs division and are requesting a complete investigation.

Copyright 2006 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.</ul> <p>
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Unread postby pd Rydia » Sun Jul 30, 2006 1:43 pm

The New York Times
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July 30, 2006
Disowning Conservative Politics, Evangelical Pastor Rattles Flock

— Like most pastors who lead thriving evangelical megachurches, the Rev. Gregory A. Boyd was asked frequently to give his blessing — and the church’s — to conservative political candidates and causes.

The requests came from church members and visitors alike: Would he please announce a rally against gay marriage during services? Would he introduce a politician from the pulpit? Could members set up a table in the lobby promoting their anti-abortion work? Would the church distribute “voters’ guides” that all but endorsed Republican candidates? And with the country at war, please couldn’t the church hang an American flag in the sanctuary?

After refusing each time, Mr. Boyd finally became fed up, he said. Before the last presidential election, he preached six sermons called “The Cross and the Sword” in which he said the church should steer clear of politics, give up moralizing on sexual issues, stop claiming the United States as a “Christian nation” and stop glorifying American military campaigns.

“When the church wins the culture wars, it inevitably loses,” Mr. Boyd preached. “When it conquers the world, it becomes the world. When you put your trust in the sword, you lose the cross.”

Mr. Boyd says he is no liberal. He is opposed to abortion and thinks homosexuality is not God’s ideal. The response from his congregation at Woodland Hills Church here in suburban St. Paul — packed mostly with politically and theologically conservative, middle-class evangelicals — was passionate. Some members walked out of a sermon and never returned. By the time the dust had settled, Woodland Hills, which Mr. Boyd founded in 1992, had lost about 1,000 of its 5,000 members.

But there were also congregants who thanked Mr. Boyd, telling him they were moved to tears to hear him voice concerns they had been too afraid to share.

“Most of my friends are believers,” said Shannon Staiger, a psychotherapist and church member, “and they think if you’re a believer, you’ll vote for Bush. And it’s scary to go against that.”

Sermons like Mr. Boyd’s are hardly typical in today’s evangelical churches. But the upheaval at Woodland Hills is an example of the internal debates now going on in some evangelical colleges, magazines and churches. A common concern is that the Christian message is being compromised by the tendency to tie evangelical Christianity to the Republican Party and American nationalism, especially through the war in Iraq.

At least six books on this theme have been published recently, some by Christian publishing houses. Randall Balmer, a religion professor at Barnard College and an evangelical, has written “Thy Kingdom Come: How the Religious Right Distorts the Faith and Threatens America — an Evangelical’s Lament.”

And Mr. Boyd has a new book out, “The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power Is Destroying the Church,” which is based on his sermons.

“There is a lot of discontent brewing,” said Brian D. McLaren, the founding pastor at Cedar Ridge Community Church in Gaithersburg, Md., and a leader in the evangelical movement known as the “emerging church,” which is at the forefront of challenging the more politicized evangelical establishment.

“More and more people are saying this has gone too far — the dominance of the evangelical identity by the religious right,” Mr. McLaren said. “You cannot say the word ‘Jesus’ in 2006 without having an awful lot of baggage going along with it. You can’t say the word ‘Christian,’ and you certainly can’t say the word ‘evangelical’ without it now raising connotations and a certain cringe factor in people.

“Because people think, ‘Oh no, what is going to come next is homosexual bashing, or pro-war rhetoric, or complaining about ‘activist judges.’ ”

Mr. Boyd said he had cleared his sermons with the church’s board, but his words left some in his congregation stunned. Some said that he was disrespecting President Bush and the military, that he was soft on abortion or telling them not to vote.

“When we joined years ago, Greg was a conservative speaker,” said William Berggren, a lawyer who joined the church with his wife six years ago. “But we totally disagreed with him on this. You can’t be a Christian and ignore actions that you feel are wrong. A case in point is the abortion issue. If the church were awake when abortion was passed in the 70’s, it wouldn’t have happened. But the church was asleep.”

Mr. Boyd, 49, who preaches in blue jeans and rumpled plaid shirts, leads a church that occupies a squat block-long building that was once a home improvement chain store.

The church grew from 40 members in 12 years, based in no small part on Mr. Boyd’s draw as an electrifying preacher who stuck closely to Scripture. He has degrees from Yale Divinity School and Princeton Theological Seminary, and he taught theology at Bethel College in St. Paul, where he created a controversy a few years ago by questioning whether God fully knew the future. Some pastors in his own denomination, the Baptist General Conference, mounted an effort to evict Mr. Boyd from the denomination and his teaching post, but he won that battle.

He is known among evangelicals for a bestselling book, “Letters From a Skeptic,” based on correspondence with his father, a leftist union organizer and a lifelong agnostic — an exchange that eventually persuaded his father to embrace Christianity.

Mr. Boyd said he never intended his sermons to be taken as merely a critique of the Republican Party or the religious right. He refuses to share his party affiliation, or whether he has one, for that reason. He said there were Christians on both the left and the right who had turned politics and patriotism into “idolatry.”

He said he first became alarmed while visiting another megachurch’s worship service on a Fourth of July years ago. The service finished with the chorus singing “God Bless America” and a video of fighter jets flying over a hill silhouetted with crosses.

“I thought to myself, ‘What just happened? Fighter jets mixed up with the cross?’ ” he said in an interview.

Patriotic displays are still a mainstay in some evangelical churches. Across town from Mr. Boyd’s church, the sanctuary of North Heights Lutheran Church was draped in bunting on the Sunday before the Fourth of July this year for a “freedom celebration.” Military veterans and flag twirlers paraded into the sanctuary, an enormous American flag rose slowly behind the stage, and a Marine major who had served in Afghanistan preached that the military was spending “your hard-earned money” on good causes.

In his six sermons, Mr. Boyd laid out a broad argument that the role of Christians was not to seek “power over” others — by controlling governments, passing legislation or fighting wars. Christians should instead seek to have “power under” others — “winning people’s hearts” by sacrificing for those in need, as Jesus did, Mr. Boyd said.

“America wasn’t founded as a theocracy,” he said. “America was founded by people trying to escape theocracies. Never in history have we had a Christian theocracy where it wasn’t bloody and barbaric. That’s why our Constitution wisely put in a separation of church and state.

“I am sorry to tell you,” he continued, “that America is not the light of the world and the hope of the world. The light of the world and the hope of the world is Jesus Christ.”

Mr. Boyd lambasted the “hypocrisy and pettiness” of Christians who focus on “sexual issues” like homosexuality, abortion or Janet Jackson’s breast-revealing performance at the Super Bowl halftime show. He said Christians these days were constantly outraged about sex and perceived violations of their rights to display their faith in public.

“Those are the two buttons to push if you want to get Christians to act,” he said. “And those are the two buttons Jesus never pushed.”

Some Woodland Hills members said they applauded the sermons because they had resolved their conflicted feelings. David Churchill, a truck driver for U.P.S. and a Teamster for 26 years, said he had been “raised in a religious-right home” but was torn between the Republican expectations of faith and family and the Democratic expectations of his union.

When Mr. Boyd preached his sermons, “it was liberating to me,” Mr. Churchill said.

Mr. Boyd gave his sermons while his church was in the midst of a $7 million fund-raising campaign. But only $4 million came in, and 7 of the more than 50 staff members were laid off, he said.

Mary Van Sickle, the family pastor at Woodland Hills, said she lost 20 volunteers who had been the backbone of the church’s Sunday school.

“They said, ‘You’re not doing what the church is supposed to be doing, which is supporting the Republican way,’ ” she said. “It was some of my best volunteers.”

The Rev. Paul Eddy, a theology professor at Bethel College and the teaching pastor at Woodland Hills, said: “Greg is an anomaly in the megachurch world. He didn’t give a whit about church leadership, never read a book about church growth. His biggest fear is that people will think that all church is is a weekend carnival, with people liking the worship, the music, his speaking, and that’s it.”

In the end, those who left tended to be white, middle-class suburbanites, church staff members said. In their place, the church has added more members who live in the surrounding community — African-Americans, Hispanics and Hmong immigrants from Laos.

This suits Mr. Boyd. His vision for his church is an ethnically and economically diverse congregation that exemplifies Jesus’ teachings by its members’ actions. He, his wife and three other families from the church moved from the suburbs three years ago to a predominantly black neighborhood in St. Paul.

Mr. Boyd now says of the upheaval: “I don’t regret any aspect of it at all. It was a defining moment for us. We let go of something we were never called to be. We just didn’t know the price we were going to pay for doing it.”

His congregation of about 4,000 is still digesting his message. Mr. Boyd arranged a forum on a recent Wednesday night to allow members to sound off on his new book. The reception was warm, but many of the 56 questions submitted in writing were pointed: Isn’t abortion an evil that Christians should prevent? Are you saying Christians should not join the military? How can Christians possibly have “power under” Osama bin Laden? Didn’t the church play an enormously positive role in the civil rights movement?

One woman asked: “So why NOT us? If we contain the wisdom and grace and love and creativity of Jesus, why shouldn’t we be the ones involved in politics and setting laws?”

Mr. Boyd responded: “I don’t think there’s a particular angle we have on society that others lack. All good, decent people want good and order and justice. Just don’t slap the label ‘Christian’ on it.”

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company <p>
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E Mouse


Unread postby E Mouse » Mon Jul 31, 2006 9:48 am

There's only one thing I can say to this.


Finally, evangelists that I don't feel the overwhelming urge to punch in the face! <p>

<span style="font-size:xx-small;">"Their rhetoric... You didn't put communists in his bed did you!" came Amber's indignant reply.

"Why not? All I had to do was open a gate to his bed and stick up a sign saying 'Hot virgin willing to make the ultimate sacrifice in the name of international socialist fraternity.'"</span>

<span style="color:blue;font-size:xx-small;">Excaliburned:</span> <span style="font-size:xx-small;">Ah yes, I'm thinking of having the USS Bob be preserved outside the Arena as a monument of sorts</span></p>

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Unread postby BrainWalker » Wed Aug 02, 2006 10:38 am

What Emouse said.

That makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. <p><div style="text-align:center">Image</div></p>

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Unread postby Dragon Sage007 » Wed Aug 02, 2006 11:19 am

I have given this article to two different preachers so far.

They were both greatly amused, enlightened, and gladdened. =D <p>
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Unread postby pd Rydia » Fri Aug 04, 2006 6:11 pm

Generals paint bleak picture for Iraq
All-out civil war possible soon, 2 top military officials tell senators
- John Koopman, Chronicle Staff Writer
Friday, August 4, 2006

Two of America's top generals now say the situation in Iraq could soon turn into a full-fledged civil war, an assessment most experts agree will prove true if the United States doesn't move quickly to provide security, jobs and an effective government in a nation long without any of those.

"We do have the possibility of that devolving into a civil war," Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in Washington on Thursday.

"Iraq could move toward civil war," said Gen. John Abizaid, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East.

It was a rare use of the term "civil war" by anyone in the top echelons of American government. Other officials, from President Bush on down, have long contended that the term is inaccurate to describe the kind of fighting that has taken place in the past year.

But Pace and Abizaid told the Senate committee that the violence in Baghdad is as bad as they've seen it since the United States invaded Iraq in March 2003. Pace expressed surprise that the situation had unraveled as far as it has.

"They're always surprised," John Pike, a military analyst who runs the Web site, said in an interview.

Pike said Americans tend to perceive war in terms of sports analogies -- that the rules remain the same and that everyone keeps score in the same way.

"In a war, you change the rules all the time," he said. "You change what you're doing in order to gain an advantage over the enemy. In sports, you assume it's a fair fight. But war is unfair. You never want to get into a fair fight."

Pace said the issue of civil war in Iraq is ultimately up to the Iraqis to resolve.

"Shiite and Sunni are going to have to love their children more than they hate each other," he said. "The weight of that must be on the Iraqi people and the Iraqi government."

Anthony Cordesman, a respected military analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said in an interview that it is still too early to determine the outcome in Iraq. Certainly, he said, Iraq could benefit from more U.S. troops on the ground to help with security and stabilization -- but only if they are properly trained and put into positions that will help the Iraqis.

"Boots on the ground is only useful if there are brains above those boots," he said, adding that the U.S. military is not well-prepared for many of its units to conduct counterinsurgency operations.

Acknowledgment that the sectarian violence in Iraq could devolve into civil war could not come at a worse time for the Bush administration. Just weeks ago, Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, had suggested that troop levels, now around 133,000, might be reduced by the end of the year.

Abizaid told the committee that troop reductions still might be possible. "But I think the most important thing to imagine is Baghdad coming under the control of the Iraqi government," he said.

The downbeat testimony at Thursday's hearings brought sharp criticism from committee members, even from supporters of the war. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., described counterinsurgency efforts as "whack-a-mole," in which generals try to curb violence in one area only to see it pop up somewhere else.

"It's very disturbing," said McCain. "And if it's all up to the Iraqi military ... then I wonder why we have to move troops into Baghdad to intervene in what is clearly sectarian violence."

The possibility of civil war in Iraq also led to a sharp exchange between Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Clinton told Rumsfeld he was "presiding over a failed policy" in Iraq.

"My goodness," Rumsfeld replied, then restated administration positions. "Our role is to support the government. The government is holding together. The armed forces are holding together," he said.

Michael O'Hanlon, senior fellow in foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution in Washington, said he still does not consider Iraq to be in a state of civil war. While some analysts have said the sectarian violence was an inevitable result of the war, O'Hanlon said that's an unfair assessment.

"Until 2006, you really didn't see a lot of sectarian violence in Iraq," O'Hanlon said. "There were a lot of predictions, but it didn't happen until the bombing of the mosque in Samarra. You had 2 1/2 years of history affirming that it would not happen, and it was tempting to hope that it would continue."

O'Hanlon said it is still possible to attain some degree of stability in Iraq, but "it's going to be violent for a long time to come."

Pike, from, said the sectarian violence and prospect of civil war is a tactic being used by those who do not want a democratic or stable Iraq. "The thinking is, if you turn it up a little bit, the Americans will turn around and go home," he said.

Pike said the stakes in Iraq remain high -- not just for the future of the region, but the lives of everyday Iraqis.

"We are preventing a genocidal civil war that would make Bosnia look like a day at the beach," he said. "That's something worth fighting for."

Pike said what looks like civil war now has actually been going on for decades, only in a different manner. Before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, the dominant Sunnis fought and killed both Shiites and Kurds at different times. It just wasn't as equitable before.

"Complex is a good word in connection with Iraq," he said. "Any comment about Iraq that does not include that word is incomplete."

Cordesman said the U.S. and Iraqi governments can do several things to turn the situation around:

-- There needs to be a well-accepted program of reconciliation to bring insurgents, militias and the government together.

-- The government needs to develop a jobs program, to get money into people's pockets and give them a reason not to fight.

-- Security must be strengthened and local government given more responsibility for taking care of their citizens, he said.

O'Hanlon, too, said there are many ways in which the American and Iraqi governments can suppress the violence and improve the lives of Iraqi citizens. He said they need to rehabilitate low-level Baath Party members, many of whom are thought to be members of the insurgency. In addition, an equitable oil-revenue sharing program needs to be put in place so that each faction has a good reason to make it work. As it stands, he said, the Kurds and the Shiites are overly concerned with taking as much of the profits as possible.

Cordesman said one of the major problems facing Iraq is that the U.S. military has never adequately prepared to conduct counterinsurgency warfare. The last war of this type was Vietnam, he said, and none of the current senior leaders in the military were around for that conflict.

"The only thing the commanders had in common after the fall of Saddam Hussein is that they were doing something they hadn't done before," Cordesman said.

The Americans, he said, were too slow to recognize the need for economic development in Iraq. They were hung up on the idea of using American contractors for rebuilding projects, and they didn't understand the need to develop an honest and useful criminal-justice program nationwide, among other things.

"They were too slow to give the Iraqis real security," he said. "There were a lot of things they could have done to make the whole thing viable. Nothing that happened was inevitable."

Contentious term

U.S. officials have long contended that the term "civil war" is inaccurate to describe the kind of fighting that has taken place in Iraq in the past year.

"What we've seen is a serious effort by them to foment civil war, but I don't think they've been successful." -- Vice President Dick Cheney, March 19

"We all recognize that there is a violence, that there's sectarian violence. But the way I look at the situation is that the Iraqis took a look and decided not to go to civil war." -- President Bush, March 21

"It's very alluring to politicians here to try to make the situation sound like civil war everywhere. No, there are parts of Iraq where life is proceeding with a fair degree of normalcy." -- White House spokesman Tony Snow, July 24

"It is not a classic civil war at this stage. ... Is it a high level of sectarian violence? Yes, it is. And are people being killed? Yes. And is it unfortunate? Yes. And is the government doing basically the right things? I think so." -- Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Wednesday

Chronicle news services contributed to this report. E-mail John Koopman at

Page A - 1
©2006 San Francisco Chronicle

<hr size=4 align=left width="74%" noshade>

-=- <p>
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E Mouse


Unread postby E Mouse » Tue Aug 08, 2006 1:38 pm

lol, use of accurate terminology that actually paints the US in a bad light. Who would have thought it was possible?!

As for the 'nail them white chicks' part... uh, this is why you find out about the individual. I never really assumed this, anyway... oddly enough, I always thought girls put sex stuff at a low priority, if they even cared in the first place. Darn my self-imposed innocence.

But to treat anyone as less than human based on their grouping alone... that's unacceptable. <p>

<span style="font-size:xx-small;">"Their rhetoric... You didn't put communists in his bed did you!" came Amber's indignant reply.

"Why not? All I had to do was open a gate to his bed and stick up a sign saying 'Hot virgin willing to make the ultimate sacrifice in the name of international socialist fraternity.'"</span>

<span style="color:blue;font-size:xx-small;">Excaliburned:</span> <span style="font-size:xx-small;">Ah yes, I'm thinking of having the USS Bob be preserved outside the Arena as a monument of sorts</span></p>

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Unread postby pd Rydia » Wed Aug 16, 2006 9:49 pm

VIDEO: Fox News Guest Claims ‘It’s Time To Have A Muslims Check-Point Line In American Airports’

Yesterday on Fox News’ Dayside, panelists Michael Gross, a constitutional law attorney, and conservative radio host Mike Gallagher debated whether profiling is the answer to fighting terror. As Newshounds first noted, Gallagher argued, “It’s time to have a Muslims check point line in American airports and have Muslims be scrutinized. You better believe it.” Gallagher’s suggestion was met with tepid applause from the audience. Watch it.


Shortly after 9/11, President Bush visited an Islamic Center in Washington, D.C. and delivered the following message to the American public:
America counts millions of Muslims amongst our citizens, and Muslims make an incredibly valuable contribution to our country. … And they need to be treated with respect. In our anger and emotion, our fellow Americans must treat each other with respect.
Bush would do well to remind some members of his conservative base of this message.

Full transcript&#058;
GROSS: Don’t discriminate based upon race, creed, color, country of national origin.

GALLAGHER: Let’s have a Muslim-only line.

GROSS: What uniform you are wearing. What we want to do is look at behavior. We want to stop people who behave wrongly.

JERRICK: Michael, I think you missed a Mike Gallagher line there. What did you just say about different lines?

GALLAGHER: It’s time to have a Muslims check-point line in American airports and have Muslims be scrutinized. You better believe it. It’s time.

GROSS: Of course, your prejudice, which means to prejudge when you say Muslims or any people of any faith should be treated unequally because of their faith. You are absolutely wrong. Most Arabs are not Muslims. Most Muslims are not Arabs. You don’t have your facts straight. And Mr. Gallagher, how would you feel if we had a line for the Irish which English people were doing during the I.R.A. problems.

<hr size=4 noshade width="74%" align=left>

News Hounds
We watch FOX so you don't have to.

Fox News Airs Call for 'Muslim-Only' Line
Reported by Judy - August 15, 2006 - 197 comments

A Fox News guest proposed having a "Muslims only" line for airport travelers, an idea that "Dayside" co-host Mike Jerrick called attention to it so that viewers did not overlook the proposal.

Conservative radio host Mike Gallagher suggested the idea during a segment Tuesday (August 15, 2006) with constitutional lawyer Michael Gross discussing racial profiling.

"Dayside" co-host Juliet Huddy set up the debate by noting that all terrorists have been Muslim extremists, and Jerrick claimed that some people oppose racial profiling as "politically incorrect."

"It’s not just a matter of political correctness, please," responded Gross. "It’s illegal, it’s unconstitutional, unethical, immoral, it shouldn’t be done. We do not in this country prejudge a person based upon their race, creed, color, country of national origin and it’s wrong to do so and it addition it’s not effective. It doesn’t work. It actually perpetuates the problem. That is, it separates us."

Gallagher responded that Gross's statements were "absolutely absurd" and claimed that the Traffic Safety Administration is aggressively targeting uniformed members of the military. "Let's have a Muslim-only line," Gallagher said, as Gross started to talk.

Jerrick asked Gallagher to repeat what he said.

"It’s time to have a Muslims check-point line in America’s airports and have Muslims be scrutinized. You better believe it, it’s time," Gallagher said, garnering tepid audience applause.

Gross attacked the proposal as "absolutely wrong" because "most Arabs are not Muslims, most Muslims are not Arabs. You don't even have your facts straight. How would you feel if we had a line for the Irish, which the English proposed during the IRA problems?" He pleaded not to turn the United States into a "tyrannical, imperial country." Still, a woman in the audience asked a question about being "politically correct" by not allowing racial profiling.

Gallagher claimed that opposition to racial profiling amounted to not wanting to hurt people's feelings.

"Most Americans want prejudice. Let’s be prejudiced against those who want to slaughter innocent American men, women and children. It’s time we start exercising some prejudice and stop these bloody terrorists," Gallagher said, this time drawing more robust applause.

The segment had all the attributes of a typical "fair and balanced" debate. Although Gross was effective with his comments, Fox News did all it could to favor Gallagher. Jerrick's set-up downplayed the significance of the issue by labeling opposition to racial profiling as merely "politically incorrect" rather than unconstitutional, creating a larger burden for Gross.

Then, when the two men first appeared on the screen, Gallagher's image was on the left and Gross's on the right. When Gallagher complained, Fox News flipped the images to accommodate him.

Nor did Huddy or Jerrick attempt to press Gallagher as to the specifics of the proposal. How, for example, would the airport screeners determine whether someone is a member of the Muslim religion? Or would Gallagher make all Arabs, including Christian ones, go in the "Muslim-only line"? And how do we tell who is an Arab? Jerrick might have asked Gallagher for these kinds of specifics when he asked him to repeat the proposal, but he chose not to, making the idea seem more plausible and feasible than it is.

And when it came time for the wrap-up, Jerrick went first to Gross, allowing Gallagher to go last so that his fear-mongering rhetoric could go unrebutted.

With such a lax journalistic performance, Jerrick and Huddy deserve to go from the national Fox News Channel line-up to that morning show for a Chicago station that Roger Ailes has planned for them. The sooner the better. <p>
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E Mouse


Unread postby E Mouse » Wed Aug 16, 2006 11:27 pm

Okay, who's the president of FOX, and what's his address so I can start sending my feces to his postbox? <p>

<span style="font-size:xx-small;">"Their rhetoric... You didn't put communists in his bed did you!" came Amber's indignant reply.

"Why not? All I had to do was open a gate to his bed and stick up a sign saying 'Hot virgin willing to make the ultimate sacrifice in the name of international socialist fraternity.'"</span>

<span style="color:blue;font-size:xx-small;">Excaliburned:</span> <span style="font-size:xx-small;">Ah yes, I'm thinking of having the USS Bob be preserved outside the Arena as a monument of sorts</span></p>

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Unread postby pd Rydia » Thu Aug 17, 2006 10:17 am

To attempt to be fair, the second piece is from a site whose apparent purpose is to keep an eye on FOX, and the first quotes the second (I included it because it has a video).

On the other hand...yeah. <p>
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Unread postby NamagomiMk0 » Thu Aug 24, 2006 7:31 pm

<span style="font-size:x-large;">Astronomers: Pluto just a dwarf</span>
By Dan Vergano, USA TODAY
Astronomers gave Pluto the Mickey Mouse treatment Thursday, classifying the world a "dwarf" rather than a full-fledged planet.
Like its cartoon counterpart, the celestial body became a sidekick when the International Astronomical Union meeting in Prague took a hand vote and decided to downsize the solar system to eight planets.

"Pluto is still Pluto; it is still the same scientifically interesting object at the edge of the solar system," says astronomer Richard Binzel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a member of the IAU's planet definition committee. "Science has advanced to the point where we realize there are lots of Plutos out there."

Last year's announcement that a world larger than Pluto had been detected — named UB313 and nicknamed "Xena" by discovery team head Mike Brown of the California Institute of Technology — put pressure on the IAU to redefine planets, says planetary scientist Will Grundy of the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Ariz. Over the last decade, some science museums and astronomers had removed tiny Pluto, which is smaller than Earth's moon, from the list of planets.

The IAU's new definition of a planet is that it must:

• Orbit the Sun

• Be big enough for its own gravity to compact it into a ball

• Have "cleared the neighborhood around its orbit," meaning it is not surrounded by objects of similar size and characteristics.

The last condition was added to a draft planet definition proposed by the committee last week that would have added three more planets to the solar system immediately: UB313, Pluto's moon Charon, and the asteroid Ceres, along with dozens more in the Kuiper comet belt in the next decade.

Instead, the orbit-clearing requirement means Pluto, Ceres and UB313 become "dwarf planets" under a second resolution also adopted. None have cleared their orbital belts of similar-sized objects. The new definition passed with 95% of the votes, says the IAU's Lars Lindberg Christensen.

"I'm of course disappointed that Xena will not be the 10th planet, but I definitely support the IAU in this difficult and courageous decision," says Brown. Others were less enthusiastic. "I think this is utter nonsense. How can we ever say whether something has cleared out its orbit?" says astronomer Sanjay Limaye of the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

Meanwhile, textbook and encyclopedia writers, including publication of the 2007 World Book Encyclopedia, have been awaiting the new definition. "I suspect kids are going to be more interested in Pluto now than before," says editor in chief Paul Kobasa. <p>"DO YOU THINK YOU CAN DEFEAT US? OUR TREASURE MAY BE HEAVY, BUT WE ARE LIGHT AS WIND. ONLY MAGICS MAY HURT US, BUT ONLY WE KNOW WHICH ONES." --Omoikane, Digital Devil Saga 2</p>Edited by: NamagomiMk0 at: 8/24/06 19:38


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