22 April 2010

Let us readopt the Declaration of Independence…

Our republican robe is soiled and trailed in the dust. Let us turn and wash it white in the spirit, if not the blood, of the Revolution…Let us readopt the Declaration of Independence…Let north and south, let all Americans…join in the great and good work.
-Abraham Lincoln, 1854

Fights aren’t won in the ring; they’re won by running hundreds of miles in the early-morning darkness.
-Mike Denton, Bare Knuckles and Back Rooms

In Afghanistan war, a kinder, gentler night raid?
Gen. Stanley McChrystal has issued new rules designed to make night raids less invasive, as part of the broader Afghanistan war strategy to win over the population. Some soldiers say it’s hamstringing their ability to nab Taliban militants.

According to the new regulations, Afghan security forces must [be] in the front of every raid, ritually impure animals – such as dogs – are banned, and village elders must be warned “wherever possible.” Soldiers can only barge into compounds after exhausting other options and have proof that the inhabitants inside are not cooperating.

US soldiers, however, have complained that Afghan security forces are at best lax and often brutal; dogs are essential in sniffing out explosives; and village elders sometimes end up tipping off the Taliban. This gives insurgent fighters a head start to mask their bombmaking activities or blend into the population.

I think America has fallen into a trap. It is acting as PR for Bin Laden.

TM: You are saying that America has over-stretched itself?

SF: America has the material resources to extend its influence everywhere but it lacks the ideological and moral fiber to sustain this kind of domination.

TM: Why not? American culture is becoming increasingly universal. America, in any single year, exports hundreds of billions of dollars of cultural products to all corners of the globe.

SF: This is the problem with your understanding of culture. You are trying to calculate culture.

TM: Quantifying it….

SF: Yes! Culture is too precious to be quantified. We have to admit that power in the world is wielded by Western capitalism and secularism which tends to dominate by force. Its leadership is in America. Conversely Islam is power-less from a conventional perspective. However Islam has the devotion and a rich stable text...

French president backs veil ban
Sarkozy told a cabinet meeting on Wednesday that the veil "hurts the dignity of women and is not acceptable in French society".

"We're legislating for the future. Wearing a full veil is a sign of a community closing in on itself and a rejection of our values," he said.

Race factors into evaluation of Gerhart
When NFL scouts look at Gerhart, they see a 6-foot, 231-pound power back who ran for 1,871 yards and 27 touchdowns last season, getting edged out by Alabama’s Mark Ingram in the closest Heisman vote in history. When they look at Gerhart’s numbers from the NFL scouting combine, they see that he ran a 4.50-second 40-yard dash and registered a 38-inch vertical leap, both impressive numbers for a player his size.

Yet they also see a white guy trying to make it in the league as a feature back, something that has become increasingly rare in this era.

Race shouldn’t be an issue, of course, but Gerhart can’t help but believe that it has colored the opinions of at least some potential employers.

“One team I interviewed with asked me about being a white running back,” Gerhart says. “They asked if it made me feel entitled, or like I felt I was a poster child for white running backs. I said, ‘No, I’m just out there playing ball. I don’t think about that.’ I didn’t really know what to say.”

One longtime NFL scout insisted that Gerhart’s skin color will likely prevent the Pac-10’s offensive player of the year from being drafted in Thursday’s first round.

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