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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Since 2001, the U.S. and it's allies have killed or captured several top al-Qaeda operatives, including the architects of 9/11. But the group's leaders have eluded capture -- and a new generation is stepping in.

Breaking silence, the al-Qaeda leader last week offered a "truce" to the U.S.
** AT LARGE **
The audiotape provides no clues as to his whereabouts.

Bin Laden's No. 2 was the intended target of a Jan. 13 missile strike in Pakistan.
** AT LARGE **
Believed to be hiding near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

A top operative in Southeast Asia; captured in Indonesia in June 2002.
** AT LARGE **
Escaped from Bagram air base, July 2005.

Al-Qaeda'sleader in Iraq; has a US$25 million bounty on his head.
** AT LARGE **
Continues to elude U.S. commandos in Iraq.

Bin Laden's security chief, believed to have taken over duties of fallen aides.
** AT LARGE **
Thought to be afiliated with the Egyptian Islamic Jihad.

Serves as the terrorist network's operational planner.
** AT LARGE **
On the FBI's most wanted list, believed to be in Afghanistan.


Part of bin Laden's inner circle, he was chief of recruiting and operations.
Caught during a gunfight in Pakistan, March 2002.

The principal architect of the 9/11 attacks.
Arrested in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, March 2003.

Took over as No. 3 in al-Qaeda after Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's arrest.
Arrested in Waziristan, Pakistan, May 2005.

Headed operations in Southeast Asia; planned the 2002 Bali bombing.
Caught in Ayutthaya, Thailand, August 2003.

Helped plan the 2001 attacks; was a key member of the Hanburg cell.
Captured in Karcahi, Pakistan, September 2002.

Al-Qaeda's former military commander was responsible for bin Laden's security.
** KILLED **
He died during a U.S. air raid in Afghanistan in November 2001.

Pakistani officials said last week that the Jan. 13 U.S. air strike on teh village of Damadola may have killed as many as four al-Qaeda operatives. Pakistani had previously claimed that the strike, whcih killed 18 civilians and provoked anti-U.S. protests had missed its intended target., Ayman al-Zawahiri, bin Laden's deputry. Among the operatives believed to have been killed were ABU KHABAB AL-MASRI, a top bombmaker who ran a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan. Pakistani officials say that the strike also killed ABU UBAYDA AL-MISRI, an al Qaeda commander in Afghanistan, and ABDUL RAHMAN AL-MAGHREBI - son-in-law of al-Zawahiri.

(Source: WORLD/TIMEMAG by: Aparisim Ghosh)
posted by infraternam meam @ 9:23 PM   0 comments
Monday, January 30, 2006
The name of the show is American Idol.So why is it the bad singers we love?

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear;
Those of mechanics -- each one singing his, as it should be,
blithe and strong ...
-- Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

WE HAVEN'T SEEN ANY MECHANICS YET AT THE AMERICAN IDOL fifth season auditions. But there was a dental assistant. And a deputy sheriff. Twins - several sets. A husky-voiced Ukranian chanteuse desperate for a performer's visa. The inventor of the Cosmic Coaster, a floating beverage holder. ("Center it!" he coached judge Paula Abdul as she set her glass teetering on the contraption.) A white guy who said he flunked the audition because America is "prejudiced and racist." And "Flawless", a wispy-bearded dancer of limited talent who appeared to be a perfect candidate for the job of Britney Spears' eventual third husband.

Most shows in their fifth season have begun to flag in the ratings, and nearly every hit reality show has faltered this season. But American Idol pulled 35.5 million viewers, its biggest debut ever. What's more interesting than how much the audience has grown is where it has grown. As the show has aged, the audition episodes -- weeks of oddballs, naifs and some of the worst singers God ever cursed with larynges -- have become the most popular.

American Idol is really two shows. There's the American half, in which America turns up to petition Paula, Randy and Simon, that cruel trinity of fame gods. And there's the Idol half, which doesn't get going until March, in which the show hypes up to its 12 finalists, the better to have a marketable product after one of them becomes champion. So why do the worst singers draw higher ratings than the best? You can thank in part microcelebrity William Hung, who torured Ricky Martin's She Bangs during the third season auditions and ended up with a record deal. But more than that, American Idol is the TV show that best understands America's schizophrenic twin desire to celebrate underdogs - and to destroy them.

America, after all, is an overdog nation with an underdog mythology. We were founded when a scraggly, improvised army of renegades beat a superpower. Now we're a superpower that squashes scraggly, improvised armise of renegades. Our popular idea of a self made businessman is Donald Trump, the billionaire son of a millionaire. We cheer for Seabiscuit when the rest of the world knows that we're really War Admiral.

As for AI, the show that offers to the little guy is not shy about advertising its overdog status. On the season debut. host Ryan Seacrest narrated a tribute to the show's popularity. "What started as a simple talent quest become a national phenomenon", he said over video of seas of teen and twenty something applicants thronging stadiums and audition halls like pilgrims on the hajj."It's become a modern rite of passage, like going to the prom. You get your first car,you graduate from high school, and when we roll into your town, you audition for American Idol."

Seacrest's description may be self-serving and creepy one imagines herds of wannabe Mariahs staggering through the streets, Dawn of the Dead - style, answering AI's irresistible call -- but it's hard to argue with. According to the show, nearly half a million people have auditioned so far. But if the auditions have become the closest thing America has to a national-service program and yet so much of the show is devoted to the awfulness of the applicants, then American Idol's message is simple and unambiguous: America, you stink.

So why would 35.5 million Americans tune in to agree? The AI auditions tell Americans as a country -- with our massive army and troves of Olympic medals -- that it's OK to root for the overdog, because, face it, the underdog is usually called that for good reason. But they also make us, as individuals, feel better about our own place in the pack. The American ideal of opportunity for all, which AI embodies, may be a blessing or a myth. But either way, it can also be oppressive. Because the corollary is that if you don't achieve your dreams, it's your own fault -- you have your chance.

After winning the first season, Kelly Clarkson took the stage to sing her first single: "Some people wait a lifetime/For a moment like this". She was right. In fact, most of her audience is still waiting and probably always will. That's where the audition episodes come in: they show us that failure is not the end. Because of all the things that most bad auditioners have in common -- loud clothes, a taste for the oeuvre of Celine Dion - the greatest is faith. Insulted and denied, they leave believing that the judges are idiots and fame is around the next corner. That is how AI earns the American half of its title. It is a Whitmanian collection of strives, dreaming of their own Clarkson coronation, ready to wait a lifetime, if need be, for a moment like that.

(Source:TIMEMAG/Essay by: James Poniewozik)
posted by infraternam meam @ 10:58 PM   1 comments
PIERRE LAPLACE did'nt do science any favors when he let Napoleon provoke him. After reading the French mathematician's opus on celestial mechanics -- the movements of planets -- the emperor asked him why the treatise made no mention of God. Laplace replied, in a huff, that he had no need of that hypothesis.

Ever since, science has been saddled with the canard that it arbitrarily and a priori rules out the existenceof deity. But those who attack science as anti-God are fighting a mirage, say secular and religious scholars.

"It is a serious error to arbitratily insert God or the supernatural mysteries" says Richard Colling, a biologist and life long Christian at the fundamentalist Oliver Nazarene University, Bourbonais, Illinois. "But it is just as unjustified to claim science excludes God". As Barbara Forrest, a philosopher of science at Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammond, explains, "Science does'nt rule out anything a priori. Saying it does it false, and makes science look dogmatic."

Even to those who have never heard of Laplace, it's easy to get the idea that science startw with an atheistic, or at least agnostic, presumption. The quasigovernmental National Academy of Sciences says science "is limited to explaining the natural world through natural causes."The Natural Center for Science Education, a private group that defends the teaching of evolution, adds that science "cannot use supernatural causation in its explanations".

Although both definitions make it sound as though science rules out the supernatural from the get-go, what actually happens is that working scientists simply find that entertaining a supernatural explanation does'nt get them very far. In that sense, argues Thomas Clark, director of the Center for Naturalism, a nonprofit educational grpup in Somerville, Massachusetts, "Science doen't presume the natural-supernatural distinction; it generates it" by dividing what works from what doesnt'.

THE SUPERNATURAL is a dead end because science strives for testable explanation and predicitons: The sun will rise in the east because Earth spins west to east, not because "God wanted it that way". Because only the most arrogant would claim the ability to predict what He will do next, supernatural explanations fails as science. It isn't that they don't fit science's preconceptions, but that they don't get you anywhere in either deeper undersatinding or predictive power.

"What science is is settled methodically", says Prof. Forrest. "It's not that science rules out the supernatural as a precondition. But scientists want to apprehend the world, and there is no procedure for studying the supernatural. God is not a controlled variable."

Although science can consider any hypothesis, natural or supernatural, a scientist who entertained the possibility of the supernatural would quickly reach a dead end. Consider the hypothesis, "Angry gods make volcanoes erupt". It does'nt get you anywhere not positively (how do you know when God will be mad?) and not mechanically (how does the angry God make lava explode, out of the volcano?). Including unspecifiable processes does'nt advance understanding.

"Unless you specify the agent and its purposes and plans and characteristics, it's an explanatory dodge," says Mr. Clark. "Agents have to be described spefically enough to be verified".

THAT INCLUDES specifying when and how a supernatural agent intervenes in nature. If you want to credit the supernatural with designing human beings, for instance, you have to specify why it built in autoimmune diseases, spliced in repetitive breakage-prone DNA that causes awful diseases, and took away onr enzyme in the biochemical pathway that makes Vitamin C but left the rest to hang around uselessly. "Working in mysterious ways" falls short. A scientific explanation must account for why one thing happens and another does'nt.

If scientists do manage to tame the supernatural by specifying how it works and predicting wha tit will do next, the result may not be to the liking of those pushing for science to include God. The supernatural "will then generate reliable, predictive knowledge", notes Mr. Clark and become just another explicable, predictable force of nature, stripped of its awe and mystery.

Prof. Colling recommends another approach. Let science "explore the wonders of the natural world" he says. "God's existence does not require scientific evaluation".

(Source: Asia Edition/ Wall Street Jorunal/ Science Journal by: Sharon Begley or u can email her at sciencejournal@wsj.com)
posted by infraternam meam @ 10:09 PM   0 comments
I just came back from a 10-day vacation, and I think I need another vacation.

I went to Manila, to see my parents and celebrate with them their 65th wedding anniversary. It was a very small party,'cuz my parents does not like big party for their wedding anniversary. My father said, it has been done when they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. He wants a very quiet and only family affair.

We have some family relations that came from Winnepeg,Canada, to join the small gatherings and we had lunch at the Palms Country Club, where my sister is a member. It was very nice and was very festive. I was looking at my parents who are now 84 and 82 years of age. I can see the looks in their eyes and the glitter, talking to my mom's sister and her children from Canada.

I was asking myself, if we have already given the best for my aging parents. My eldest sister was telling me that we will give our parents the best things in life that they needed. My parents cannot go and fly anywhere, like before. My father had a quadruple bypass at the Heart Center five years ago and can no longer endure the long travel. MY mother has Osteo Athritis. She is now confined in her wheel chair.

We took them also for an intimate lunch at Highlands Ranch in Tagaytay City, wherein my eldest sister is a member. My parents are so happy, even if they don't eat much, I can see it in their eyes that they are having fun and is enjoying the company. We were all talking at the same time, teasing each other and telling stories of gone by. My father just kept on whatching and listening and laughs along with us. My mother is so secluded and so quiet. We are all worried about her. She does not want to do some exercise. The only time she goes on a short exercise is when she goes to see her therapist once a week at Asia Hospital. We are worried about her very much.

There was this Manny "PacMan" PACQUIAO fever in Manila when we were there. There's lots of people who paid 300pesos to see the fight directly beamed from Las Vegas. in a big screen theatre at all SM Mall Cinemas. I was inside the SM Southmall, when the this boxer won the fight. Hell broke loose inside the mall, people are holding small Philippine flag,and they were all yelling and shouting, but very orderly. The media went wild and frenzy. The mother of Manny Pacquiao was interviewed on live TV and she was so simple and her answer, although she was having hard time expressing herself in tagalog, is so simple and nice. They kept on showing on TV , the First Gentleman Arroyo and Mayor Lito Atienza of Manila at the arena in Las Vegas.

When Manny arrived in Manila, there was a huge crowd at the Manila city Hall and he was then taken into a float. There was a last minute hitch when one of the Pinoy boxers who was with Manny in Las Vegas was not given entry at the stage. His name is JACA, i forgot the first name. He was only accorded the courtesy of joining Manny at the float when one of the members of the media recognized him.

Then there was this special audience to some of the Philippine Military generals, wherein Manny was asked to sing. Then an audience with Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) at the palace. The president even called her grandchildren to meet Manny in person. The palace chef produced a snack made specially for Manny and given a name I cannot remember.

He was also paraded into the streets of Quezon City even if it was raining. Huge umbrellas are covering the figthers and the political luminaries.

There was also a special interview at the Hyatt Hotel suites where Manny is staying. The media interviewed the parents and the boxer himself, but I did not like how the interview and the requests by the media from the parents of the boxer was asked. The media is asking things from Manny's parents that is so childish.

At any rate, Manila and the entire Philippines has now a distruction for a while from its political bickerings among politicians. They have to take care of their hero for awhile and I am sure when these susbsides, the bickering will start again.

Now--- all young boys, wants to be like Manny "PacMan" Pacquiao, a boxing legend. He is only 27 years old.

The Chinese New Year in China town was also on going while Manny was the main even story. Tikoy (stickey gluttonous sweet rice) is being sold at bug supermarkets, with different flavors, unlike when I was a kid, it comes in one flavor only. Simple white and sweet. Now it comes in PANDAN flavor (from a Pandamus plant) green in color and UBE flavor (Purple yam), they even have Pineapple, Banana, and Strawberry flavor (yaaaakkkk)

I got sick while on vacation. It rained a lot at night and then during the day, the sun will come out and during lunch time, it will become steamingly hot and humid. Its good our compound has plenty of fruit trees and shade trees that my father ordered planted long time ago. I was not so hot about the mangoes cuz they are a little tart and not so sweet. My wife kept on eating the ripen tamarind and chico.The papaya came very refreshing and the watermelon. What I like best is the Guyabano (soursop).

Then its time to go. We left Manila on Thursday and have to head on to Hongkong and attend the Chinese New Year with some friends there. We have to say goodbye to our parents and sisters and all relatives. Saying goodbye to my parents is the hardest part. I told him i will see him again, without my wife this coming March.

In Hongkong, the only thing we did was eat and my wife kept on shopping. Not all stores are open. We went to the nite market and my wife had a ball. I am not a shopping fanatic.

Then we left Hongkong for San Francisco then Chicago on the 29th January.

posted by infraternam meam @ 4:35 AM   0 comments
OSCAR, don't forget......
.... these 20 performances that deserve to be remembered.

USA TODAY'S annual look at Oscar-worthy performances.
We asked 20 critics for their favorite performances of the year that are likely to be overlooked when OSCAR nominations are announced on Jan. 31.

Oscar Nominations are announced Jan 31, and the winners are announced on March 5. Meanwhile, here are some 20 performances our panel of critics say should not be forgotten.
(Vote for your overlooked actors at life.usatoday.com)


Likely Nominees:

* Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote
* Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain
* Ruseell Crowe, Cinderella Man
* David Strathairn, Good Night, and Good Luck
* Joaquin Phoenix, Walk the Line

But don't forget:

> TERRENCE HOWARD for his turn as a pimp with musical aspirations in Hustle & Flow.

> ROMAIN DURIS in The Beat that My Heart Skipped as a thug grappling with his loyalties to his petty criminal father vs. returning to the study of classical pianos.

> ANTHONY HOPKINS for his portrayal of an elderly motorcyclist who breaks records in The World's Fasterst Indian.

>TOMMY LEE JONES as a ranch hand who struggles to fulfill a promise he made to a good friend to bury him in his Mexican hometown in The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada.

> STEVE CARELL for his part as teh sweet middle aged man who has'nt had much luck in love in The 40-year Old Virgin.


Likely nominees:

* Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line
* Felicity Huffman, Transamerica
* Judi Dench, Mrs. Henderson Presents
* Charlize Theron, North Country
* Joan Allen, The Upside of Anger

But don't forget:

> Naomi Watts for her sad-eyed actress who falls for a giant ape in KingKong.

> Joan Plowright as a lonely widow who hires a "grandson" to impress her friends in Mrs. Palfrey at the Calremont.

> Vera Farmiga as the drug-addicted mother in Down the Bone.

> Juliette Binoche as the mystified wife who along with her husband, is being terrorized in the French Film, Cache.

> Connie Nielsen as teh wife of a soldier thought to be dead in Afghanistan who develops a bond with her husband's brother in Brother's.


Likely nominees:

* Paul Giamatti, Cinderella Man
* Jake Gyllenhaal, Brokeback Mountain
* Matt Dillon, Crash
* George Clooney, Syriana
* William Hurt, A History of Violence

But don't forget:

> Frank Langella as CBS chief William Paly in Good Night, and Good Luck.

> Alexander Siddig for his role as a Middle Eastern prince in the oil industry drama ,Syriana

> Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a male hustler in Mysterious Skin.

> Richard Jenkins for his role as Charlize Theron's tough-minded father in North Country.

> Borje Ahlstedt as a sad son in Ingram Bergman's, Saraband.


Likely nominees:

* Amy Adams, Junebug
* Cattherine Keener, Capote
* Michelle Williams, Brokeback Mountain
* Rachel Weisz, The Constant Gardener
* Maria Bello, A History of Violence

But don't forget:

> Robin Wright Penn, as a disillusioned pregnant, married woman who encounters an old flame in a supermarket, Nine Lives.

> Hope Davis as Gwyneth Paltrow's controlling sister in Proof or as Nicholas Cage wife in The Weather Man.

> Rachel McAdams as the critical sister in the The Family Stone, and the privileged daughter of a Washington bigwig in Wedding Crashers.

> Anne Hathaway as the take-charge Texas gal who marries Jake Gyllenhaal in Brokeback Mountain.

> Emily Mortimer as a mother who writes letters pretending to be a her deaf son's father in Dear Frankie.

(Source: USA TODAY/Claudia Puig)
posted by infraternam meam @ 3:45 AM   0 comments
Here's a nice info about the most copied and immitated product in the world:
Retail prices around Asia and Europe for a Louis Vuitton "Speedy" handbag in monogram canvass.

Quotations for this particular original product
Country ....... Currency Price ......US$ Price
Paris ......... E$385 ............ $473
Brussels ...... E$400 ............ $491
Frankfurt...... E$400 ............ $491
Rome .......... E$400 ............ $491
London ........ BP290 ............ $518
Hongkong ...... HK$4,450 ......... $574
Singapore ..... S$990 ............ $594
Taipei ........ NT$19,800 ........ $620
Tokyo ......... 71,400yen ........ $623
Sydney ........ A$840 ............ $631
Bangkok ....... 25,000baht........ $637
Shanghai ...... 5,200yuan ........ $645
Kuala Lumpur .. 2,450ringgit ..... $654
Seoul ......... 675,000won........ $700
Manila ........ 37,800pesos ...... $719

(Source: Abstracted from WALL Street Journal Asia)
posted by infraternam meam @ 3:26 AM   0 comments
Thursday, January 19, 2006
Want to lift your level of Happiness? Here are some practical suggestions from University of California Psychologis Sonja Lyubomirsky, based on research by her and others. Satisfaction (at least a temporary boost) guaranteed.

1). Count your blessings.
One way to do this is with a "gratitude journal" in which you write down three five things for which you are currently thankful -- from the mundane (your peonies are in bloom) to the magnificent ( a child's first steps). Do this once a week, say, on Sunday night. Keep it fresh by varying your entries as much as possible.

2). Practice acts of Kindness.
These should be both random (let that harried mom go ahead of you in the checkout line) and systematic (bring Sunday supper to an elderly neighbor). Being kind to others, whether friends or strangers, triggers a cascade of positive effects -- it makes you feel generous and capable; gives you a greater sense of connection with others; and wins you smiles, approval, and reciprocated kindness - all happiness boosters.

3). Savor Life's Joys.
Pay close attention to momentary pleasures and wonders. Focus on the sweetness of a ripe strawberry or the warmth of the sun, when you step out from the shade. Some pyschologists suggest taking "mental photographs of pleasurable moments to review in less happy times.

4). Thank a Mentor.
If there's someone whom you owe a debt of gratitude for guiding you at one of life's crossroads, don't wait to express your appreciation -- in detail and, if possible, in person.

5). Learn to Forgive.
Let go of anger and resentment by writing a letter of forgiveness to a person who has hurt or wronged you. Inability to forgive is associated with persistent rumination or dwelling on revenge, while forgiving allows you to move on.

6). Invest Time and Energy in Friends and Family.
When you live, how much money you make, your job title,and even your health have surprisingly small effects on your satisfaction with life. The biggest factor appears to the strong personal relationships.

7). Take Care of your Body.
Getting plenty of sleep, execercising, stretching, smiling and laughing can all enhance your mood in the short term. Practiced regularly, they can help make your daily life more satisfying.

8). Develop strategies for coping with stress and hardships.
There is no avoiding hard times. Religious faith has been shown to help people cope, but so do the secular beliefs enshrined in axioms like, "This too shall pass" and "That which doesn't kill me makes me stronger". The trick is that you have to believed them.


How happy are you? Sure, you may think you know, but this little test will help you keep score. The Satisfaction with Life Scale was devised in 1980 by the University of Illinois psychologist Edward Diener, a founding father of happiness research. Since then the scale has been used by researchers around the world.

Read the following five statements. Then use a 1-to-7 scale to rate your level of agreement.
1_____ 2 _____ 3 _____ 4 _____ 5 _____ 6______ 7 _____
Not at all True ///////Moderately true//////// Absoulutely true

A. In most ways my life is close to my ideal. 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/

B. The conditions of my life are excellent. 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/

C. I am satisfied with my life. 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/

D. So far I have gotten the important
things I want in life. 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/

E. If I could live my life over,
I would change almost nothing. 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/

TOTAL SCORE:_____________

31-35: Extremely satisfied

26-30: Very Satisfied

21-25: Slightly satisfied

---20: Neutral

15-19: Slightly Dissatisfied

10-14: Dissatisfied

05-09: Extremely Dissatisfied

(Abstracted from: THE NEW SCIENCE OF HAPPINESS/ TIME Special Section)
posted by infraternam meam @ 1:47 AM   0 comments
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Before anything, I want to emphasize that I have no intention of showing off to any of those who happen to drop by or happen to surf and come across this blog of mine.

Yes...this man who emailed me said that the blog is like a diary of oneself. Blog are supposed to be giving oneself daily activities and encounter in life.

No... I dont think that is true. And, furthermore, I will not give my entire life history and frustrations open for everybody to read. Personal diary entries are supposed to be personal. I want my privacy, even my family and my wife advised me to be very personal in things about our life. And so I did. I don't want to create a blog documenting anything about my life and that of my family.

No... Your email to me did not bother me at all. I like what you said to me in your email. But remember also, I could detect some jealousy in your email Sir! and, I have no intention of answering you thru your email address you have given me. I don't want to encounter any virus and maladies when I ventured into your email address. And so, I am responding thru my blog.

Yes... I blog what I have read. I like to read and wanted to share it with others. Do you have a wide scope of reading and do you have a big private library that I have? If not, you're one fellow who needs to read more and be in tune to other informations from other sources, and learn to build a private library. It cost money, but for me it is very gratifying. I hope it will be gratifying for you too!

Yes... I always put my source in what I read. Is there anything in my blog that I did not put the source? I don't want to be a copy cat nor have any intention of creating something--- putting my name on it, but then its not my work. The blog is an open world--- anybody could see what I enter in my blog and if I don't put the source of where I got it, I could face libel and litigations. I hope you understand the legal impediment of what I said.

No... I am not upset with you, nor am I intending to be angry with you. I have no intention on stooping very low for your own satisfaction and to people like you. I have other things to do in life and have no time to give problems to myself.

So, to end this comments/reply to you, I am what I write --- and you are what you say. But I have more intelligent things to say than you --- I assure you that.

Thank You....and Keep Up the Faith, if you have any.
posted by infraternam meam @ 3:28 AM   0 comments
Shift emphasizes intelligence gathering over combat skills.

WASHINGTON -- The three military service chiefs have been dropped in the Bush administration's doomsday line of Pentagon succession, pushed beneath three civilian undersecretaries in Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's inner circle.

A little noticed holiday week executive from President Bush moved the Pentagon's intelligence chief to the No. 3 spot in the succession. The second spot would be the deputy secretary of defense, but that position currently is vacant. The Army chief, which long held the No.3 spot, was dropped to sixth.

The changes, announced last week, are the second in six months and mirror the administration's emphasis on intelligence gathering vs. combat in 21st century war fighting.

Political motives questioned

Technically, the line of sucession is assigned to specific positions, rather than the current individuals holding those jobs.

But in its current incarnation, the doomsday plan moves to near the top three undersecretaries who are Rumsfeld loyalists and who previously worked for Vice President Dick Cheney when he was defense secretary.

The changes were recommended , said Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman, because the three undersecretaries have "a broad knowledge and perspective of overall Defense Department operations".

Thomas Donnelly, a defense expert with the American Enterprise Institute,said the changes make it easier for the administration to assert political control and could lead to more narrow minded decisions.

"It continues to devalue the services institutions", said Donnelly, saying it will centralize power, and shift it away from the services, where there is generally more military expertise and interest.

This is the new order of succession for the Defense Department if something happense to the secretary:

** Deputy Secretary of Defense/Acting Deputy - Navy Secretary Gordon England.

**Undersecretary for Intelligence - Stephen A. Cambone

** Undersecretary for Policy - Former Ambassador Eric S. Edelman

** Undersecretary for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics -- Kenneth J. Krieg

** Army Secretary - Francis J. Harvey.

** Airforce Secretary - Gordon England; Donald Winter has been confirmed by the Senate, but not sworn in.

** Undersecretary For Personnel and Readiness and the Comptroller - David S.C. Chu and Tina W.Jonas

(Source: Associated Press)
posted by infraternam meam @ 3:07 AM   0 comments
According to a 2004 survey by the Pew Intrernet an dAmerican Life Project, about 120 million U.S. adults use the Internet and about 32 million read blogs. However, only 38 percent o Internet users indicated they knew waht the term Blog means. A Blog,a contradiction of 'web" and 'log" is an online diary that people post for others to read. Blog readers make up 27percent of all Internet users. Many blogs allow reader to post their own comments.

*** 9 percent of Internet users said they read political blogs "frequently" or "sometimes" during the 2004 campaign.

*** 7 percent of users say they have created a blog or web based diary.

*** 57 percent of bloggers are male.

*** 48 percent are under age 30.

Blog readership shot up 58 pcercent between February and November 2004.

(Source: Abstracted from TIMEALMANAC)
posted by infraternam meam @ 2:58 AM   0 comments
Monday, January 16, 2006
An average person living in an industrialized nation has the genetic makeup and environment to enable him or her to live to the age of 87.

Start with 87 years. Depending on your answers to the questions below, add or subtract the appropriate number of years.

Are you optimist? Do you generally approach life with good humor? Are you able to let go of things that are stressful?

If no, subtrct five years. ________

Do you have at least some family members who have lived into their 90s or later? Exceptional longevity runs strongly in the families.

If yes, add ten years. ________

Do you set aside at least 30minutes a day, three days a week to exercise? Muscle-building exercises are particularly important.

If no, subtract five years. _______

Do you do things that are challenging to your brain regularly? It's important to take on activities that are novel and complex. ________

Do you have a diet that keeps you lean? carry extra weight is not conducive to longevity.

If yest, subtract five years._______

Do you smoke?

If yes, subtract five years. _______

TOTAL _______

(Source: Adapted from: Living to 100/ abstracted from:TIMEALMANAC with Information Please)
posted by infraternam meam @ 10:43 AM   0 comments
***** 1990 *****
Hank Ballard
Bobby Darin
The Four Seasons
The Four Tops
The Kinks
The Platters
Simon and Garfunkel
The Who

Gerry Golfin and Carol King
Brian Holland, Eddie Holland and Lamont Dozier

Early Influence
Louis Armstrong
Charlie Christian
Ma Rainey

***** 1991 *****
LaVern Baker
The Byrds
John Lee Hooker
The Impressions
Wilson Pickett
Jimmy Reed
Ike and Tina Turner

Dave Bartholomew
Ralph Bass

Early Influence
Howlin Wolf

Lifetime Achievement
Nesuhi Ertegun

***** 1992 *****
Bobby "Blue" Bland
Booker T. and the MG's
Johnny Cash
Jimi Hendrix Experience
Isley Brothers
Sam and Dave
The Yardbirds

Leo Fender
Bill Graham
Doc Pomus

Early Influences
Elmore James
Professor Longhair

***** 1993 *****
Ruth Brown
Creedence Clearwater Revival
The Doors
Elta James
Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers
Van Morrison
Sly and the Family Stone

Dick Clark
Milt Gabier

Early Influence
Dinah Washington

***** 1994 *****
The Animals
The Band
Duane Eddy
The Greatful Dead
Elton John
John Lennon
Bob Marley
Rod Stewart

Johnny Otis

Early Influence
Willie Dixon

** 1995 **
The Allman Brothers Band
Al Green
Janis Joplin
Led Zeppelin
Martha and the Vandellas
Neil Young
Frank Zappa

Paul Ackerman

Early Influence
The Orioles

***** 1996 *****
David Bowie
Jefferson Airplane
Little Willie John
Gladys Knights and the Pips
Pink Floyd
The Shirelles
The Velvet Underground

Tom Donahue

Early Influence
Pete Seeger

***** 1997 *****
The Bee Gees
Buffalo Springfield
Crosby, Stills and Nash
The Jackson Five
Joni Mitchell
The (Young) Rascals

Syd Nathan

Early Influence
Mahalia Jackson
Bill Monroe

***** 1998 *****
The Eagles
Fleetwood Mac
Mamas and the Papas
Loyd Price
Gene Vincent

Syd Nathan

Early Influence
"Jelly Role" Morton

***** 1999 *****
Billy Joel
Curtis Mayfield
Paul McCartney
Del Shannon
Dusty Springfield
Bruce Springsteen
The Staple Singers

George Martin

Early Influence
Charles Brown
Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys

***** 2000 *****
Eric Clapton
Earth, Wind and Fire
Lovin' Spoonful
The Moonglows
Bonnie Raitt
James Taylor

Clive Davis

Early Influences
Nat King Cole
Billie Holiday

Hal Blaine
King Curtis
James Jamerson
Scooty Moore
Earl Palmer

***** 2001 *****
Solomon Burke
The Flamingos
Michael Jackson
Paul Simon
Steely Dan
Ritche Valens

Chris Blackwell

James Burton
Johnnie Johnson

***** 2002 *****
Isaac Hayes
Brenda Lee
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Gene Pitney
Taking Heads

Jim Stewart

Chet Atkins

***** 2003 *****
The Clash
Elvis Costello and the Attractions
The Police
The Righteous Brothers

Mo Ostin

Benny Benjamin
Floyd Cramer
Steve Douglas

***** 2004 *****
Jackson Browne
The Dells
George Harrison
Bob Seger
ZZ Top

***** 2005 *****
Buddy Guy
The O'Jays
The Pretenders
Percy Sledge

Frank Barsalona
Seymour Stein

(Source:TIMEALMANAC with Information Please Borgna Brunner/Ed-In-Chief)
posted by infraternam meam @ 12:39 AM   0 comments
Sunday, January 15, 2006
Quality, timing rev 'Brokeback' buzz.

There's a moment in "Brokeback Mountain" when Ennis Del Mar tells his lover Jack Twist that the two must keep their relationship secret for fear of being caught "in the wrong place at the wrong time."

For the men )portrayed by Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, respectively) whose relationsip begins on a Wyoming mountaintop in 1963, the sentiment is true and, ultimately,heartbreaking. The Ang Lee-directed film, however, seems to have arrived at just the right point in the historical/cultural timeline of the movies.

"Brokeback Mountain" is up for seven Globe Awards, has topped many film critics' 10-best lists and has been named the year's best film by critics groups in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Boston. The film is expected to bea major contender at the Academy Awards. It's generating a groundswell of buzz among average moviegoers, as well.

Why is there so much interest in this film about gay cowboys -- and why now? Does the widespread interest in the film indicate that the mainstream public is willing to consider gay and lesbian issues as entertainment? Or simply the general public's desire to watch a well made and acted movie?

Richard Dorment, articles, editor for Giant, a New York City based pop-culture magazine, believes audiences will simply be moved by the film's powerful story and performances. "If Brokeback MOuntain' wasnt a really good movie - which it is first and foremost -- there would'nt be this buzz", he said.

Peter Lehman, director of the Center for Film and Media Research at Arizona State UNiversity at Tempe, agrees that the public had become more tolerant of gays. Still, he says, "There are explicit images of the characters kissing and expressing tenderness - this is a finally major breakthrough in Hollywood cinema".

"Brokeback's" setting should halp audiences deal with its serious themes, Leman adds, "The audience is less disturbed if the story is act in a different time or culture. They can watch the movie and feel that because it happened in 1963 Wyoming, they're removed from it and it's safe".

(Source: Abstracted from an article in the Scripps HOward News Service by: Rachel Leibrock)


The state of Utake is on the hot seat after a Salt City ara theatre complex canceled a run of "Brokeback Mountain" less that two hours after the theatre owner was informed of the film's subject.

In Melbourne, Australia, for the film's premiere there, star Heath Ledger told Australia's Nine National News: "Personally, I don't think the movie is controversial, but I think maybe the Mormons in Utah do. I think it's hilarious and very immature of a scoeity".

Ledger's comments were the latest in a flurry of reactions in Utah and around the world, since the Larry H. Miller owned theatre yanked the movie last week. Articles about the snub have made international headlines. NBC's Jay Leno and MSNBS's Keith Olbermann joked about it on the air this week. An Ohio movie critic wrote that he could "sniff bigotry from approximately 2,000 miles away."

Miller, who also owns NBA's Utah Jazz, had said nothing publicly about pulling the provocative film.

In response to the move, a Utah gay-rights organizaiton is encouraging its 2,500 members to shun Miller's businesses, which also include a sting of car dealerships.

(Source: Scripps Howard News Service; ASSOCIATED PRESS)
posted by infraternam meam @ 11:53 PM   0 comments
I'm arguing for basic American and Christian principles.

I RECEIVED A LOT OF NASTY HATE MAIL FROM REPUBLICANS. When I filter out the venomous obscenity and scatology, I find a theory not unlike that of the liberal left on separation of church and state. Stick with relgion, these irate folk tell me, and get out of politics. Clergy has no business expressing political opinions. I wonder what they think of the great political movements that have swept the country -- Abolition, Populism, Prohibition, Civil Rights, Reclaiming America -- all of which have had powerful and articulate clerical support. There was also, as best as I can remember, condiderable clerical agitation for the impeachment of President Clinton, a sinner as opposed to our present God fearing president.

Unfortunately for the theory of the separation of religion and politics, many political issues are fraught with religious and moral implications. It may be that the religiuos heritages of those who complain about my condemnation of the present administration have no teaching in their reliigon about issues like just wars, lying to the Americna people, kidnapping and torture. They have every right to complain when a clergy person from another heritage comes along and condemns and denounces an administration, that condones and even encourages it. I would appreciate it, however, if they's tell me the name of their denomination.

Those who believe, as do the people of the Catholic hierarchy, that tortures is a grave moral evil must be exposed for taking a public stand against a president and a vice president who claim the right of the commander in chief to authorize torture that does not lead to death (in Mr. Cheney's euphemistic phrase) and want to extend that priviledge from the CIA to the American military.

Published reports indicate that in the heady days after the World Trade Center attack the administration decided to assume that there were absolutely no limits to the power of the president -- constitutional, political or moral. Thus a confederacy of 13 CIA dunces kidnapped a Muslim imam from the streets in Milan, put him on a plane and sent him to Egypt, which would certainly tortue him. After month of abuse he was released with the explanation that he had been telling the truth all along.

There have been many more "redntions" (which means the outsourcing of torture) to torture centers. No one in Congress has bothered to find out how many. The Italian police now want, strangely enough, to indict the criminals who were working for the American government. Odd people , the Italians. Don't tey understand that the commander in chief is a God fearing man who can do anything he wants?

Torure has always been part of the human condition. The strong abuse the wask to seek information or to punish or for sheer pleasure. The Nazis, the communists, and the Japanese did it during the war. Presumably some Americans did it too, though not as an instrument of national policy. Qunatitatively our current addaults on human bodies as a matter of American right are much fewer than that of our former enemies. Qualitatively if even one man or woman is tortured by implicit or explicit cosent of the president of the United States, it is a grave sin and must be condemned.

Don't try to tell me that a president who approves of such behavior is a God fearing man. "Rendition" disgraces the president, his administration, the American people and out heritage as a free country. And don't tell me that I'm just arguing the politics of the Democrtic Party (which left it to Sen. John McCain to take on Mr. Cheney). I'm argying for basic American and Vhristian principles. As T.S. Elliott once wrote, when good does evil to fight evil it becomes indistinguishable from its enemy.

T. George Harris, the distinguised editior and publisher, fibbed to get into the Army at the age of 17 during World War II. From Niormandy to the Battle of the Bulge he flew as an observer in an artillery spotting plane for which he was awarded a medal and a battlefield commission in Bastongne. He wrote me recently that Mr. Bush's approval of torture spreads slime over the tradition of the American military.

I agree with Mr. Harris. Today we stand covered with the slime of George Bush and Dick Cheney for all the world to see.

(Source:CHICSUNTIMES/ Fr. Andrew Greeley/ e-mail: agreel@aol.com.)
posted by infraternam meam @ 1:30 AM   0 comments
Thursday, January 12, 2006
Why it's new rules barring gay priests turn Jesus' teaching on it's head.

THE ONE CONSOLATION THAT GAY CATHOLICS HAVE LONG HAD, is that the church hates only sin, not the sinners. Yes,, many of us are far from perfect and like most married, heterosexual Catholics, we have been known to have sex without without making a baby. But we were, as the Vatican assured us in official documents in 1975 and '86, "made in the images and the likeness of God",. The condition of homosexuality was, for many, "innate" and not in itself a sin. Gay people were "often generous and giving of themselves", said the Vatican, and the notion that gays could not lead celibate lives was an "unfounded and demeaning assumption",. The bar on any gay sexual intimacy was still firm -- ut it was the same bar that prohibited heterosexual couples from using contraception, or single people from masturbating, or any other nonprocreative sexual act. It was a coherent, if diffiuclt, doctrine -- and not bigotry.

In this confined and iften suffocating place, it was still possible, though never easy, to breathe the love of God as a gay Catholic. Our love of the church helped us overlook its intitutional rejection of the relationships we built and the families who embraced us as equals. For many of us, the presence of gay preist also gave immense comfort. Of mu three confessors in adult life, all turned out to be gay, although I had no idea in advance. I have known many gay priests, and I'm in awe of their service -- to the poor and needy, to the lonely and uneducated, to prisoners and parishoners who have all found grace through their ministry and sacrifice. Often, their outsider experience helped them realted better to the marginalized or the lonley or those taken for granted.

Recall the image of Mychal Judge, the chaplain for New York City's firfighters, carried away from the World Trade Center in the arms of brave men he minsitered to. Judge, a proudly gay man, gave his life for those he served. Under new rules from Pope Benedict XVI issued last week, Father Judge would naver have been ordained. Nor would thousands of other gay priests and bishops and monks and nuns who have served God's people throughout the ages.

In the past, all mattered for a priest, as far as sexual orientation was concerned, was celibacy. If a priest kept his vows, it did'nt really matter if he were refusing to have sex with a man or with a woman. All that mattered was that he kept his vows and had sex with no one.

But that has just changed. Even if a gay priest remains completly celibat, his sexual orientation is now regarded, according to a Vatican expert, as a threat to "priestly life". A gay celibate priest, accroding to the new rules is incapable of "sexual maturity coherent with his musculine sexual identity". He has" a problem in the psychic organization" of his sexuality, barring him from priestly responsibility. Gay seminarians can be spotted and rooted out because they allegedly have "trouble relating to their fathers, are uncomforatble with their own identity; tend to isolate themselves; have difficulty in discussing sexual questions; view pronography on the Internet, demonstrate a deep sense of guilt; or often see themselves as victims." No serious psychological date are provided to verify those assertations (and many would surely apply to countless heterosexuals as well). What the new Pope had done is conflate a sin with an identity. He has created a class of human beings who, regadless of what they do, are too psychologically and thereby morally "disordered" to become priests.

There is a simple principle here. The message of Jesus was always to ignore the sterotype, the label, the identity -- in order to observe the soul beneath, how a person actually behaves. One of his most famous parables was that of the Good Samaritan, a man who belonged to a group despised by mainstream society. But it was the despised man who did good, while all the superficially respected people walked on by. Jesus consorted with all of society undersirables -- with tax collectors, collaborators with an occupying power, former prostitutes, lepers. His message was that God's grace knows no boundaries of stigma, that with God's help, we can all live by the same standards and received the grace that comes from his love.

The new Pope has now turned theat teachings on its head. He has identified a group of people and said, regardless of how they behave or what they do, they are benetath service God. It isn't that they do that he is concerend with. it's who they are. They are the News Samaritans. And all of themn are bad.

(Source: TIMEMAG/ESSAY by: Andrew Sullivan/visit Andrew Sullian's blog, the Daily Dish, cna be found at andrewsullivan.com
posted by infraternam meam @ 11:14 PM   0 comments
What do some of the most productive peole on the planet do to stay focused, despite responsibilities and expectations that would stop most of us in our tracks? Sure, many of them have top-notch assistants or a big staff, but they also have personal strategies for staying sane and on task.
Some tips from the pros:


Secretary of State.
She works much like the NFL quarterbacks she so admire: boning up,calling the plays, relying on teammates, pushing forward. She trains like an athlete too; a junk free diet and daily workouts. A master multitasker and cell phone freak. Rice does not use e-mail or a Palm but carries her agenda in her head, big tasks, like Middle East talks, are split into small plays. "We got the first down", says an admiring colleague, because she's "relentless".



He once negotiated a book deal in 15 minutes, just the real estate mogul and late blooming TV star believes in slowing down and focusing when the office gets too frenetic, "I will literally take a breath and allow things to settle a bit." ,says Trump. He also sets aside quiet time each morning and evening for reading and assessing. During work hours, he may not suffer a foolish apprentice, but the Boss keeps his door opens to the troops.



Genetics Researcher.
Venter insists that constant challenge and exposure to new things are what keep his mind sharp at 59. "I thrive on external stimulation", says the man who launched a biotech firm and finished work on his authobiography last year while conducting oceanic research and running the genomic research institute he founded. "The breadth of what I do continues to expand, which increases the chances of assembling unique views of the world."



Journalist and Author.
To jump start his creative juices, the Pulitzer winner and best selling author (Den of Thieves) practices piano for an hour each morning. "The thorniest kind of music, like Bach, is best", he says. "It refreshes the brain because you can't do it unless you exclude everything else and concentrate", To stay creative, he believes, one must cultivate curiosity, "I love reading the paper with an eye to what's missing. I get all kinds of ideas from that".



President, California Institute of Technology
Even a man who won a Nobel at 37 can get flustered by the flood that overwhelms his in boxes. "My desk, my chairs, my floors are cluttered", says Baltimore, who at 67 still plays a big role in biomedical research. He copes like the rest of us; "You have a hierarchy of what's important, like your family, your dog, your friends, your students". As for lesser matters? "Those you let sit in the pile and see ifthey go away".

(Source:TIMEMAG/MIND 7 BODY by: Sonja Steptoe)
posted by infraternam meam @ 5:00 AM   0 comments
You've heard of the South Beach diet. Now get ready for the latest pound shedding plans from Sonoma County and Park Avenue. Based on each locald particular tastes, these new regimens aim to make dieting more palatable by mixing snob appeal with an occasional glass of Pinot. Here's a look at the "destination diests" and a few other loss books worth sampling.

No calorie counting. No points. No weighing. No measuring. No obsessing about low-carb or low-fat foods. Just small portions or sun drenched, California style cuisine, accompanied by red or white wine. Think gourmet, not gourmand. BUSSWORDS: Waves; Power Foods; Mediterranean Diet.

Wealth, priviledge and ease equal weight loss. But forget about liposuction and plastic surgery. This hardy regimen stresses daily aerobic exercises, high quality protein, calcium and the prohibition of all processed foods. Eat less but eat well. BUZZWORDS: Ladies Who Lunch; the Stop! Watch! Method of Exercise.

Monotony is magical. A Yale nutritionist says too many flavors stimulate our appetite control cells. Soothe your brain with flavor repetition, and you'll feel full with fewer calories. Think cranberry sauce and cranberry ice cream.
BUZZWORDS: Pineapple Day; Onion Day.

Rice is low fat, low sodium and low just about everything except fiber and calories. But what other diet dares to promise a 20 to 30 lb, weight loss per month? Let's hope the rice shipment is not on a slow boat from China.
BUZZWORDS: Ricers, Dieta; Mindfulness; Detox.

This plan offers up real food for real people. Here, home cooking is your best friend, and fast food is the devil. Attention, shoppers; cruising the right grocery aisle is the not so secret weapon. Steer toward the produce and away from sugary treats.
BUZZWORDS: Boot Camp; Pedometer Power.

QOD is medical jargon for "every other day" and it's the bases of this meal plan, to enjoy its spiritual and mental benefits, you will alternate a day of fasting on just 400 calories with another day of chowing down. But no ningering allowed and only one dessert.
BUZZWORDS: On Days; Off Days; Mini Meals.

(Source:TIMEMAG/YOURTIME by: Andrea Sacha)
posted by infraternam meam @ 4:37 AM   0 comments
Wednesday, January 11, 2006

BETE NOIRE (bet-NWAR):Literally, black beast; someone or something that one fears, dislikes, or characteristically avoids.

RE RIGUEUR (de-ree-GHUR): Absolutely by good form if nothing else.Two us in rigueur, a relative of our "rigor".

FAIT ACCOMPLI(fet-a-kom-PLEE): Literally, accomplished fact; a thing already consummated, so that fighting it is useless, and changing it impossible.

PAR EXCELLENCE(par-ek-sel-AHNSE): Above all others of the same type, literally by (virtue of its) excellence.

RAISON D'ETRE(ray-sohn-DETR):"Reason for being" justification for one's existence.

CARTE BLANCHE (kart-BLAHNSH) "White paper", a sheet that's blank except for a signature, with the implication that its bearer can write his own deal. A blank check, but also Blanket permission.

COUP DE GRACE(koo-de-GRAHS): Literally, stroke of mercy, the death blow, delivered to someone mortally wounded. By extension, any finishing or decisive act. Watch that word coup,it's a favourite word of the French, and it shows up again in coup d'etat, the sudden, and often violent, overthrow of a government, and coup de foudreliterally, ligthning bolt; figuratively, love at first sight.

ENFANT TERRIBLE (ahn-fahnt-teh-REE-bl): "Terrible child"; can refer to your standard issue brat or to anybody, typically a young artist or writer, who causes trouble and calls attention to himself through unconventional and boat rocking behaviour.

PIECE DE RESISTANCE (pee-ess-de-ray-zees-STAHNS): From the sense of "resistance" as staying in power, endurance. By extension, something of substance, toughness, or strength. Not, as a lot of people seem to think, the crowning glory, the "capper" in a can-you-top-this sequence of items. At the dinner table, it's the saddle of lamb -- not the cherries jubilee -- that is, or ought to be, the piece de resistance.

BELLES LETTRES (bell-LET-re): Serious literary writings --"beautiful letters"-- more "artistic" than "intelligence", especially essays and criticism, but including fiction, poetry, and drama. Today, tends to have connotations of the artificial, the effet, the old fashioned.

FIN DE SIECLE (fan-de-see-EH-kl): "End of century" specifically, the end of the 19th century, a period celebrated for its decadence in France.Not surprisingly, the phrase is now applied to the end of this century, too.

ROMAN A CLEF (ro-mahn-ah-KLAY): "Novel with key", in which people and events have been fictonalized, with any luck tantalizingly.

TOUR DE FORCE(toor-de-FORS): "Turn of Force", a display of virtuosity, an exhibition of skill, often undertaken by an author in a filed not his own just to prove he can do it.

AGENT PROVOCATEUR (ad-ZHEN-proh-voh-ka-TUHR): The undercover agent who infiltrates the trade union or political, pretending sympathy with its aims, and gets the members to do precisely those things that they can be punished or put away for.

CORDON SANITAIRE (kor-DOHN-san-ee-TAYR) The line, generally heavily guraded,between an infected area and a neighboring, as yet uninfected one. Applies likewise to the isolating of politically sensitive subject matter.

LESE-MAJESTE (lez-mah-shes-TAY): An offense or crime against one's rule or sovereign; treason. More commonly, any presumptous conduct or overstepping of authority. And that's the same les- you see in "lesion", ultimately from the a Latin word meaning to injure.

DOUBLE ENTENDRE (DOO-bl-ahn-TAHN-dr): Literally, to hear or to understand double; in practice, a remark with a racy, spicy, off-color undertone as well as a flat, seemingly innocent surface meaning. Actually, the French themselves say double entente, but that's their problem.

FAUTE DE MIEUX (FOHT-de-MEEUH): "For want of something better"; for lack of a workable alternative, ideal or guiding philosophy. "so much the metter", and for that matter", tant pis "so much the worse", expression of cynical resignation in the face of yet another new -- and questionable - development.

FORCE MAJEURE (fors-mah-ZHUR): Literally, "superior strenght". The irresistible force, totally out of your control, generally unexpected,and most important, serving to release you from your obligatiosn.Includes what Engliosh speaking insurance companies call "acts of God", as well as various forms of strictly human negligence and bad judgements.

AMOUR-PROPRE(ah-MOOR-PROH-pr) an old phrase --literally, "self-love" -- with an even range of meaning than the now-trendy narcissism, from simple self esteem, to a need for admiration by others, to out-and-out conceit , to neurotic slef improvement.

(Source: AN INCOMPLETE EDUCATION by: Judy Jones and William Wilson)
posted by infraternam meam @ 8:16 AM   0 comments
BONA FIDE(BOH-na-FIDE or BOH-na-FIE-deh): Done or made "in good faith", sincere, genuine.

CASUS BELLI(KAH-sus-BELL-ee):"Occasion of War". An event that justifies or precipitates war.

CUI BONO (KWEE-BOH-noh): "For whome (is it) good!". Question first posed by r Roman magistrate to make the point that one way to approach a crime is to determine who stood to gain from it. Oftern wrongly used to mean "For what purpose?"

DE FACT0 (deh-FAK-toh): "From the fact". In reality; actual; actually in power. A de facto government is not formally elected or installed, but is firmly in control.

DE JURE(deh-YOO-reh)"From the law". According to law,; in principle. A de jure government is duly elected and installed, but exercises no real power.

EX POST FACTO (EKS-post-FAK-toh): "From what is done afterwards". Formulated, enacted, or operating retroactively.

IN MEDIAS RES (in-MAY-dee-ahs-RACE): "Into the midst of things" Into the middle of a story or narrative; without background or preamble.

MEMENTO MORI (Meh-MEN-toh-MOR-ee)"Remember you must die". A reminder or warning of death; a death's head.

MUTATIS MUTANDIS (moo-TAH-tees-moo-TAHN-dees)"The things that ought tohave been changed having been changed." With the necessary substitutions having been made, the indicated variances considered.

OBITER DICTUM(OH-buh-ter-DIK-tum): "Thing said by the way", any incidental or parenthethical remark. In law, something the judge says in arguing a point, but that has no bearing on his decision. Plural: Obiter dicta.

NE PLUS ULTRA(nay-ploos-UL-trah):"not further beyond" .A farthest point, a highest pitch, a culmination; an impassable obstacle, and , implicitly, a suggestion to stay put or, better yet, turn back.

PARI PASSU (PAH-ree-PAH-see):"With equal pace". Simultaneously, equally, proceeding alongside.

PERSONA NON GRATA (per-SOH-na-nohn-GRAH-ta)"Person not pleasing". Someone unacceptable within a given context.

QUID PRO QUO (Kwid-proh-KWOH):"Something for something". a compensation, an even excahgne; tit for tat.

SINE QUA NON (sin-neh-kwah-NOHN):"Without which not". The indispensable element, condition, or quality.

SUB ROSA (sub-ROH-sah): "Under the rose"

CORPUS DELICTI (kor-PUS-de-lik-TEE): "The body of the crime". Tangible evidence of wrongdoing, including the body of a murder victim.

HABEAS CORPUS (hay-BEE-as-kor-PUS) "You have the body". a writ requiring that a person being detained be brought before a judege; meant to guard against unfair imprisonment, and constituting one of the most celebrated features in both British and the Amercian legal systems.

NOLLE PROSEQUI (NOL-leh-proh-SEK-wee) "To not wish to proceed". Statement that the prosecution does'nt want to pursue matters further; the writ ending court proceedings.

NOLO COTENDERE (NOH-loh-kon-TEN-der-eh) "I don't want to fight". Plea made by a defendant that's equivalent to an admission of guilt, but that allows him the legal option of denying the charges later.

DE PROFUNDIS (deh-pro-FUN-dees) "Out of the depths" of sorrow and despair, the first two words of Psalms 130. An especially bitter cry of wretchedness.

ECCE HOMO (ek-keh-HOH-moh)"Behold the man", the words first spoken by Pilate (John 19:5) when he showed Jesus, crowned with thorns to the mob.

NOLI ME TANGERE (NOH-lee-meh-TAN-geh-reh) "Touch me not", the words spoken by Jesus to Mary Magdalen.

NUNC DIMITTIS (nunk-deh-MIT-us)"Now lettest Thou thy servant depart, the words Simeon speaks to Jesus, satisfied that he'd finally seen the Mesiah.

(Source: from the book AN INCOMPLETE EDUCATION by Judy Jones and William Wilson)
posted by infraternam meam @ 12:25 AM   0 comments
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
Now that nobody thinks about taking Greek anymore, it's Latin, actually a more or less businesslike language, that comes off as the height of condition. And not just among lawyers, doctors, cardianls, and botanists, either. Here, all the shorthand forms (re to qua, e.g. to i.e., viz to vide)

Sawed-Off Latin Words and Abbreviations:

c.:--- Used to show that a date is approximate: "Died c. 1850," Short for circa, around. Also sometimes ca. Pronounced as SIR-KA.

RE.: --- Shorthand (and memorandumese) for "about", "concerning" : Re: your comment yesterday," From in re, in this matter. Pronounced RAY.

CF.:--- Meant to get you to compare something to something elase: "cf, page 20,"that is, look at it with an eye to the issue at hand. From the Latin confer, meaning consult. If you pronounce it, say the letters, "'cee eff' page 20."

FL.:--- "he (or she) flourished." Shows up on the brass nameplates of old paintings when it's known when an artist worked but not when he was born (for the record, n., from natus) or died (ob., from obeit, literally "went to meet"). And while we're on the subject note also: aet., from aetatis, at the age of, for when they know how old the artist was when he did it but not the calendar year it was done, or want to emphasize the former.

MS.:--- The abbreviation for manuscriptum, manuscript, in a footnote or bibliography. Not to be confused with, Ms.,the magazine or form of address. More than one manuscript? MSS.

OP.:--- The abbreviation for opus, work, used in cataloging musical works and designating either a single composition or a group of them that stand as a unit.

VS.:--- Against, in the courtoom as the stadium. From versus, sometimes also abbreviated v.

D.V.:--- God willing,. from Deo Volente. Admittedly not much seen these days, though show-offs of an antiquarian bent use it to mean "if nothing gets in our way."

E.G.: For when you're about to give (or be given) a bunch of examples: "citrius fruits, e.g., orange, lemom, lime." Does not guarantee completeness of list (no grapefruit , for instance) Short for exempli gratia," for the sake of example".

I.E.:--- For when you're about to explain (or have explained to you) the nature of something: "citrus fruits, i.e., those fruit trees of the family Citrus, with an inedible rind, juicy flesh, usually in segments and a high vitamin C content." Short for id est "that is" .

N.B.: ---For Nota bene, "note well". Calls your attention to something the writer thinks you might miss or not see the, in his opinion, enormouse significance of.

QUA:--- "in the capacity of", "considered as", as in "the filem qua film --"the film not as a story or an evening's entertainment, but as an act of movie-making, as cinema, as art. Pronounced KWAY or KWAH

SIC:--- A nudge, usually parenthetical, often gloating, pointing out how a third part got something wrong or gave himself away: "In his review of thenew Sylvester Stallone (sic) movie...." From sic "thus".

VIZ:--- Used after a word or expression clearly requiring itemization. Equivalent to our "namely" or "to wit". An abbreviation of videlicet ..."it is permitted to see".

Q.E.D.:--- The capital letters printed triumphantly by a person who thinks he's convincingly proven what he set out to prove a paragraph -- or a chapter, or a lifetime --ago. Short for quod erat demonstrandum, "which was to be shown". A favorite of geometry teachers and miscellaneous pedants.

R.I.P.:--- Right, on all the old tombstones. But it's short for Requiem in pace,"May he (or she) rest in peace". not "Rest in Peace".

ERGO:--- "Therefore", "hence". Unforgettable in formulation Cognito, ergo sum,"I think, therefore I am"

PACE:--- "With all due respect to" or "with the permission of", as in "Pace Mies, there are times when more is more". Used to express polite, or ironically polite, disagreement. Pronounced PAY-see or PAH-chay.

STET:--- "Let it stand", or "ignore all previous instructions to alter or correct,", "this is, after all, how we want it". A pritner's term, but one useful to anybody in a position tomake -- or notmake -- final changes. From a form of stare, "to stand". The opposite dele, from the Latin word for "delete".

VIDE:--- In reference to a passage in a book, means see or consult. A shortened version of quod vide, "which see", sometimes also abbreviated as q.v.

IBID:--- One of the old term paper nightmares. "In the same book, chapter, or passage". short for ibidem "in the same place" Unlike op cit.,short for opere citato, "in the work cited".

ET AL.:--- "And others", short for et alia "and other things", and et alii, "and other people" More specific than etc., short for et cetera "and the rest", "and so forth".

AD HOC:--- "For this thing", said of something impromptu, impoverished, for the matter at hand and that matter only. An ad hoc committee will probably last out only the season, an ad hoc solution implies that somebody is -- or ought to be -- working on a permanent one .Cf, pro tem short for pro tempore,"for the time being".

AD LIB:--- "To the desire"; in music, a sign that somebody can play a passage, or an entire piece,as loud and as fast as he wants. In show business, and without the period, a sign that somebody forgot his lines.

PER SE:--- "Through itself"; intrinsically, by dint or its very nature.

(Source:AN INCOMPLETE EDUCATION by:Judy Jones and William Wilson)
posted by infraternam meam @ 11:15 PM   0 comments
Are you at risk for heart attack or other coronary disease?

It's not really a question of whether you are or not -- because you are. All of us are. The larger and more important question, really, is how high your risk is and why.

The contributors to coronary disease are many and interrelated. Each rish factor present for you will raise your overall risk level. Sometimes, in combination, rish factors can raise your risk level dramatically.

Some risk factors you're simply stuck with; they're just part of what you are. But many other risk factors results from lifestyle choices, which you cna change to help lower your risk. That's why the American Heart Association urges you to be aware of the risk factors and to lower or eliminates as many as you can from your life.


Your Age: Risk of coronary disease increases sharply with age. For example, more than eight of every ten people who die of coronary heart diease are 65 or older. And older women who have heart attakcs are more likely to die from them within a few weeks than men are.

Your Genger: Men, take particular caution. Of coronary heart disease affects men and women -- and heart attack is the leading cause of death for both men and women -- currents stats show that if you're a man, your risk of heart attack is greater than that for a woman and you're more likely to have a heart attack earlier in life. Although the death rate for women increase after menopause, it's still lower than the rate for men.

Your Healthy and Racial Background: Did your parents have heart disease? If so, you're more likely to develop it yourself. Are you an African American? If so, you have a higher risk of heart disease and severe high blood pressure than do Caucasians. Mexican Americans, American Indians,native Hawaiians and some Asian Americans also have higher risk levels. Most people with a strong family history of heart disease have one or more other risk factors, too.


Tobacco Smoke: Do you smoke? Stop. Links between smoking and heart disease are well known and some of the numbers are simply astounding. If you smore, for example, expect your risk of developing coronary heart disease to skyrocket -- from two to four times that of nonsomokers. Cigarett smoking is powerfully linked to sudden cardiac death in patients who already have heart disease. It also acts with other risk factors to greatly increase the risk for coronary heart disease. Not even cigars or pipes are safe -- people who use them seem to have a higher risk of death from coronary heart disease. And exposure to second hand smoke increase the risk of heart disease, even for non-smokers.

High Blood Cholesterol: Do you know your cholesterol level? It's affected by age, gender and heredity, but also by your diet. In general, the higher your blood cholesterol, the freater your risk of coronary heart disease. When other risk factors are present, (such as high blood pressure and tobacco smoke), the risk increase even more.

High Blood Pressure: Most people know that high blood pressure is bad, but do you know why? High blood pressure rmakes your heart work harder to serve your body's needs. This can cause the walls of your heart to thicken and become stiffer. If you combine high blood pressure with other risk factors like obesity, smoking, high blood cholesterol levels or diabetes, you increase your risk of heart attack or stroke by several times.

Physical Inactivity: In inactive lifestyle is a risk factor for coronary heat disease. Regular, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity helps prevent heart and blood vessel disease. The more vigorous the activity, the greater the benefits. However, even moderate-intensity activities help if done regularly and over long terms. Exercise can help control blood cholesterol and obesity, as well as help lower pressure in some people.

Obesity and Overweight: The bad news is that people with excess body fat are more likely to develop heart disease and stroke -- especailly if a lot of the excess fat is at the waist -- even if other risk factors are absent. The good news isthat by loosing even as few as 10 pounds, these risks can be lowered. Excess weight makes your heart work harder. It raises blood pressure and blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels (which are unhealthy) and lowers HDL cholesterol (which is healthy)

Diabetes Mellitus: Diabetes is one of the most risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease, which is one reason why the spike in new diabetes cases has health officials so concerned. Most people with diabetes -- about three to four -- eventually dies from form of heart or blood vesel disease. Even when diabetics have glucose levels controlled, they remain at higher risk for heart diases and stroke. If blood sugar is nor well controlled, the risks are even greater.


Stress: Experts believe stress may contribute to heart disease because people under stress may tend to overeat, start smoking or smoke more than they otherwise would.

Alcohol: Drinking too much alcohol can raise blood pressure, cause heart failures and lead to stroke., although the risk of heart disease in people who drink moderate amounts of alcohol (an average of one drink for women or two drinks for men per day) is lopwer than in non-drinkers. Still, the American Heart Association doesn't recommend that non-drinkes start using alcohol or that drinkers increase the amount they drink.

(Source: EXPERIENCELIFEMAG/Cholesterol Nemesis by: Quaker Oats/ visit: www.quakeroatmeal.com)
posted by infraternam meam @ 7:59 PM   0 comments

1..What are my risk factors of heart disease?

2..Am I at risj for stroke?

3..What are the warming signs of heart disease and stroke?

4..Do I need to lose or gain weight for my health?

5..What is a healthful eating plan for me?

6..What kind of physical activity is right for me?

7..What is my blood cholesterol, and is it a healthy level?

8..What is my blood pressure, and is it a healthy level?

9..Whact can I do to lower my risk of heart disease and stroke? (If you smoke, ask for help in quitting).

10.If you're a woman ask, "What should I know about the effects of menopause on my health?"

(Source: American Heart Asso/EXPERIENCELIFEMAG)
posted by infraternam meam @ 7:49 PM   0 comments
Monday, January 09, 2006
The alleged rape of a Filipina by American serviceman brings back memories of criminal case past and exposes the defects in the Visiting Forces Agreement.

TWENTY-TWO YEAR OLD SISA N. (not her real name), a business management graduate of Ateneo in Zamboanga City, did'nt commemorate All Saints Day with a visit to her father's grave. On October 30,2005 she took advantage of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's "holiday economics" to see her mother and step sister in Olongapo City. She left her hometown of Zamboanga City, where she helps tend a family owned food stall at the Southern Commnand military headquarters, flew to Manila, and rented a car to drive to the former U.S. Naval facility, Subic Bay.

On the night of November 1, she joined her stepsister, who was with her boyfriend, U.S. serviceman Christopher Mills, at Neptune Disco & Karaoke Club in Subic's Legenda Hotel. Mills introduced Sisa to Daniel Smith and otehr American Marines who were on R&R after participating in a joint RP-US military exercise. She had several drinks, perhaps too many, and danced with Mills and Smith. At 10:30 pm, Smith brought Sisa to their rented van where they were joined by three other Marines.

As the van went around Subic, Smith allegedly raped Sisa while the Americans in the van allegedly egged him on. In her affidavit, she recounted her ordeal: "Pinaghahalikan ako. Hinipuan po ako sa aking maselan na parte ng katawan. Hinubad po ang ajing suot at puwersahang ginahasa. Samatalang akoy's nanglaban at sumigaw. Naririnig ko po ang kanyang mga kasamahan na tuwang tuwa." ( I was molested andkissed in different parts of my body andthen raped. While trying to shout and fight, I heard the others having fun).

The van's driver, Timoteo Soriano, in the first affidavit he submitted to prosecutors, said that on the way back to the ship, while Smith was allegedly raping Sisa, he heard Smith's companions shout, "Go, go, go Smith, go... At matapos na sabihin ang 'Go,go,go Smith go' ay nagtawanan ng malakas at talagang maingay sila? (They said, "Go,go,go Smith", and they laughed and were really noisy.) At around 11:40pm, Soriano was ordered to stop the van. "Binuhat itong si Sisa na parang baboy at ibinaba at iniwan itong si Sisa sa tabi ng daan at nakita ko na ang maong na pantalon ni Sisa ay nakababa haggang tuhod", (Sisa was carried like a pig, and was left on the roadside with pants pulled down to her knees).

A medical examination conducted on Sisa at the James Gordon Memorial Hospital in Olongapo City indicated the woman fought back. She had contusions on both arms and on her right leg. No spermatozoa was found since Smith used a condom, which was recovered by police.

After being informed about the incident, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) police took custody of the six Americans. But on November 2, a U.S. military commanded demanded custody of the six, citing the provision in the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) which states that "custody of any U.S. personnel over whom the Philippines is to exercise jurisdiction shall immediately reside with U.S. military authorities if they so request".

Leftist groups immediately staged protest actions condemning the incident, including the failure of the government to keep custody of the Americans. Joker Arroyo, a nationalist legislator, challenged the U.S. government to show it was as firm against "sexual terrorists" as they are against interntaitonal terrorists. "Ang move, nasa American government. Iyong sinasabi ng mga Amerikano, wala kayong anti-terrorism bill, malambot kayo sa terrorism... o eto ang sagot natin diyan: ano kayo dito? Sexual terrorits, anong ginagawa ninyo?" Arroyo said November 6. (The Americans accuse us of not having an anti-terrorism bill and we might was well answer: Sexual terrorists, what are you doing here?)

Two weeks after the alleged crime, the Arroyo govenrment delivered a letter to the U.S. embassy demanding custody of the six Marines. Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Rafael Seguis said that under the VFA, the Philippines could demand custody in "extraordinary " cases.

But just like the criminal cases involveving American military personnel during the colonial past, and from 1945 to 2001 when the U.S. still had military bases in the Philippines, there's a good chance the Americans will be able to escape Philippine criminal jurisdiction.

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, chairman of the Senate oversight committee on the VFA, said the Subic rape case shows four "extremely defective provisions" in teh VFA, whcih are "biased in favor of the Americans":

First, the provisions that waives passport and visa regulations for U.S. servicemen, which allows them to leave the Philippines without the knowledge and consent of Philippine authorities;

Second, the provision which allows the American government to request the Philippines to waive primary criminal jurisdiction;

Third, the provision which makes it compulsory for Philippine authorities, iof requested by the U.S. to turn over cutody of accused servicemen to U.S. military authorities;

Fourth, theprovisions where the Philippines waives the right to make any claims for loss, damage or destruction to Philippine property.

"On the basis of these four provisions, the Philippines Senate must review, and if possible revise the VFA", Santiago says, Because it has these four provisions that have implications derogatory of Philippine jurisdiction, which are not found in any of the Status of Forces Agreements (SOFA) of the U.S. with the developed states of the Norh American Treaty Organization (NATO).

Santiago, an international law expert, says the case has the potential damage bilateral ties between the U.S. and the Philippines, She says it is similar to the rape by three U.S. servicement of a 12 year old girl in Okinawa, Japan in September 1995.

"The U.S. should already be familiar with the community response. It has been very, very severe in Okinawa and in other Asian countries, and included the Philippe reactions as well". she says. "So before the matter gets out of hand, if the U.S. wishes to retain our level of cordiality, it must pay heed to the climate of public opinion within our country."

She criticized the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) for giving up custody over the Americans even without a witten notice form the U.S. side. "I get the impression that the DFA was stepping gingerly. I'm very sad that we take this attitude," she says.

"It makes us sound like we are still a mini-colony of the U.S. We're afraid to stand up for our rights. We're always worried that we might incur their displeasure."

Although the Philippine government requested it, Senator Santiago does not foresee the U.S. giving up custody. "That would present a physical problem on the ground. How are we going to wrest physical custody if they (U.S.) refuse? It will become a stand off". she says. The U.S., she noted, has given up custody of accused military servicemen in only a handful of instances.

Constitutional expert Fr. Joaquin says the provision in the VFA, which allows the Philippines to demand custody in extraordinary cases merely requires that the U.S. government take the request into account. "Ours is a beggar's choice", he says.

The rape case has given leftist groups in the Philipines a rallying symbol for anti U.S. and anti VFA protests. Since the case was reported, pickets havebeen held almost weekly at the U.S. embassy inManila. Rallies have also been held outside the Hall of Justice in Olongapo City during the preliminary investigation bearings.

"All Filipinios should stand in solidarity with the rape victim. We want justice to prevail. U.S. troops must be made accountable under Philippine laws," says Bagong Alyansang Makabayan secretary general Renato Reyes. "Whatever happens to the rape case. the VFA is already in question. Junking the VFA will be necessary if the U.S. refuses to turn over the suspecs to the Philipines."

The protests, however, have not reached the scale in Okinawa, where hundred of thousands joined street marches demanding justice. The widespread civil unrest eventually forced the U.S. to give up criminal jurisdiction over the three servicement. They were found guilty and sentences to seven years in a Japanese prison.

Dr. Walden Bello, a well known critic of U.S. foreign policy, said the Arroyao administration's failure to assert custody over the U.S. servicement shows it "has been more protective of the Americans that of the Filipina." Thus, he does not see the case becoming a major strain at the official level. He said the main impact of the incident is "going to be the further education of the people" about its relations with the U.S. plus "simmering popular discontent with the VFA".

Prospects for the Case
At the second preliminary investigation hearing last November 29 conducted by Olongapo City prosecutors, five of the six accused servicement, denied having gang raped Sisa. The main suspect, Smith, waived his right to file a counter affidavit.

Prosecutors are expected to file a case of rape against Smith. The trial woild have to be concluded within a year. A provision in the VFA states that "in the even Philipine judicial proceedings are not completed within one year, the U.s. shall be relived of any obligatiosn under this paragraph".

Sisa's lead counsel, Katrina Legarda, assailed those who negotiated and ratirifed the VFA for approving this provision in the agreement. "That is something which for me is atrocious, which means that they never practiced law when they did this VFA with the U.S. government". she says. "How can we finish this in one year? Yung preliminary investigation lang, the prosecution panel is allowed 60 days. That's too much. E, alam mo naman dito sa Pilipinas, and Christmas time, nothing ever happens."(Nothing usually happens during Christmas time in the Philippines)

The victims' mother, Susan, has appealed for public support in the quest for justice for her daughter. "We must show our unity because I don't want this to happen to other Filipino women, that they be treated like animals by foreigners. This is not just for our family, this is for all of us," she says.

(Source: FILIPINAS by: Isagani de Castro Jr.)
posted by infraternam meam @ 9:47 AM   0 comments
About Me

Name: infraternam meam
Home: Chicago, United States
About Me: I am now at the prime of my life and have been married for the past 25 years. Sickly at times, but wants to see the elixir vita, so that I will be able to see my grandchildren from my two boys.
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