Talking Points for 22 August

Hello, Kate with you again today. Thanks to Steve for his moderating skills and to all of you who contributed to the blog overnight. Here are some topics to think about today… 

Yesterday’s cosmetic surgery post has been generating some healthy debate, keep your comments coming here.

A popular story on news sites and Olympic fan sites around the world today concerns the International Olympics Commitee’s investigation into the real age of Chinese gold-medal winning gymnast He Kexin. There are allegations that she may be 14, not the legally-required age of 16 needed to compete. Does age matter if ability proves she is already the best in the world? Or is there already too much pressure on kids to succeed at a young age?

American doctors recently warned about the side-effects of over-loading children with activities and laid-back Dutch parents have been cited as a reason the Netherlands topped a 2007 UNICEF child happiness survey of industrialised countries. In Egypt there are worries that pressure for children to succeed in summer sports club is overlooking the importance of fun.

Let us know what you think below…

118 Responses to “Talking Points for 22 August”

  1. 1 nelsoni
    August 21, 2008 at 19:33

    Hello everyone, Nelson here. Steve our moderator for tonight will join us later. Anthony in the US and I, with help from the other moderators will run things till he’s back. Please feel free to suggest debates or comment on current ones.

  2. 2 Dennis
    August 21, 2008 at 19:34

    Hi Steve and the rest of my dear friends!!!:

    I am currently nursing a bad cold!!!!


  3. 3 Julie P
    August 21, 2008 at 19:43

    Here’s an update about the missing girl in Florida.


  4. 4 nelsoni
    August 21, 2008 at 19:46

    I came across two interesting stories. Olympics: Horses are now doping. I wonder what this king was thinking Swazi women protest Royal spending spree.

  5. 5 Roberto
    August 21, 2008 at 20:01

    Re Horses:

    Horses have always been doped in competitions from the dawn of the ages.

    Big Brown famously blew the last leg of the triple crown this year when he was cycled off the steroids for the Belmont.

    Don’t know the rules for the Olympics, or even if or when they bother to test the horses, but the history of doping is there in spades.

  6. 6 Sheikh Kafumba Dukuly
    August 21, 2008 at 20:03

    @ Nelsoni. Nigeria tops India on Polio index. Swaziland king uses state funds to buy luxury for 9 wives. Citizens protest asking the goverment to use resources to treat people with HIV/AIDS.

  7. 7 Sheikh Kafumba Dukuly
    August 21, 2008 at 20:08

    Is our governmen doing more for healthcare delivery? The average citizen cannot afford basic health care but governments spent millions on weapons and luxuries.

  8. 9 nelsoni
    August 21, 2008 at 20:18

    @ Sheikh. many governments get their priorities wrong. About the polio out break, the traditional leaders of the Northern region choose to believe fallacies without considering the health of children.

  9. 10 Anthony
    August 21, 2008 at 20:20

    Wow, so the White House has told Russia to leave NOW!!! Russia has said it is gonna be another 10 days, so now Russia has become eviler? That and the whole Missile Defense in Russia’s neighbors land isn’t looking to good.

    I wonder what the U.S. would think if Russia struck a deal with Mexico and Cuba, and set up a bunch of missiles in those countries??? Hmmmm. Would we (the U.S.) be as understanding as we want Russia to be???

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  10. 11 nelsoni
    August 21, 2008 at 20:25

    @ portlandmike, correct me if I am wrong but I think texas has one of the highest rates of executions in the states.

  11. 12 nelsoni
    August 21, 2008 at 20:28

    @ Anthony, I understand that the Russian Parliament is meeting and may recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent countries very soon.

  12. 13 Julie P
    August 21, 2008 at 20:28


    Texas has the highest execution rate in the country. To date they have executed 405 people, with the next highest state at 98 people.

  13. 14 Anthony
    August 21, 2008 at 20:30

    @ nelsoni

    Really??? I thought if anything they would absorb them!!!

    Do you think the rest of the world will recognize them???

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  14. 15 Sheikh Kafumba Dukuly
    August 21, 2008 at 20:31

    @ Portlandmike. It is a tragedy for america to still encourage death penalty. It is a violation of human rights.

  15. 16 Anthony
    August 21, 2008 at 20:37

    @ portlandmike & Sheikh

    I don’t think it’s a tradedy. More people should be put to death. If you believe in God, kill him and let God judge. If you belive in the Evolutionary Theory, who cares, kill them like you kill cancer on a human body 🙂

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  16. 17 nelsoni
    August 21, 2008 at 20:39

    @ Anthony. Russia moves to recognize Georgian enclaves. Remember Kosovo? Tit for tat.

  17. 18 Anthony
    August 21, 2008 at 20:43

    @ nelsoni

    Geez, call me a worry wart, but to me all thats getting kinda scary.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  18. 19 nelsoni
    August 21, 2008 at 20:45

    @ Julie P. I thought as much. I remember that When Bush jnr was Governor, he did not grant clemency even once.

  19. 20 nelsoni
    August 21, 2008 at 20:46

    @ Anthony. Yeah It’s scary. If indeed it’s happens that way, It escalates the conflict to a whole new dimension.

  20. 21 Julie P
    August 21, 2008 at 20:49


    When I read the figures on the Indiana webiste, I was really surprised at the disparity between Texas and the nearest state for number of executions carried out. The next closest is Virginia and it’s a lot lower.

  21. 22 steve
    August 21, 2008 at 20:56

    Hi. I’m still alive. Interesting story on privacy modes for web browsers.


    would law enforcement be able to bypass these protections and see where people have been visiting?

  22. 23 nelsoni
    August 21, 2008 at 21:00

    @ Julie P. Do you know if is there is any study to show why Texas has very rates of executions?

  23. 25 Julie P
    August 21, 2008 at 21:02


    Not right off the top of my head, but I’ll look around.

  24. August 21, 2008 at 21:04

    OK now that yet another episode of WHYS “fluff” topics are over (didn’t ponder world peace, starvation, the poor, current news events, or even the disease of the day),let us get on with figuring out what English speaking people with internet access and a mind for politics think about this current event.

    You have a civilian population by every sense of the word. is it appropriate to attack them with a military attack? Now how about if those civilians are manufacturing weapons that will be used against your cause? In Pakistan it seems that the latest attacks were against factory workers at a weapons plant.

  25. 27 Anthony
    August 21, 2008 at 21:05

    This is kinda funny. CNN has a blog type thing kinda like the WHYS blog, but if you try to post anything that says the U.S. is wrong, weak, or bad/evil, they wont approve it. Try putting something about how the media in the U.S. is unfair and bias on that thing, you’ll have a better chance posting nude pics of Hillary Clinton!!!

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  26. 28 nelsoni
    August 21, 2008 at 21:06

    @ Steve, a subpoena could do the trick. I don’t think the data can be completely erased. A server somewhere would contain the IP addresses and browsing habits so realistically, it’s impossible to wipe out browsing history.

  27. 29 Amy
    August 21, 2008 at 21:08


    This isn’t scientific, but the saying is “Don’t mess with Texas.” You have to remember this is the same state where there are drive thru liquor stores.

  28. 30 steve
    August 21, 2008 at 21:09

    @ Nelsoni

    If that’s the case, wouldn’t this lead to more prosecutions, because people think the are “safe” and would be more likely to engage on online illegal activities, thinking they are safe, but in fact, aren’t?

  29. 31 nelsoni
    August 21, 2008 at 21:09

    @ Anthony, about the CNN blog thing; Differences in Editorial policies.

  30. 32 Amy
    August 21, 2008 at 21:11


    Sometimes a bit of “fluff” is needed when many things in the world look bleak. After all, you are the one who mentioned pudding wrestling 🙂

  31. 33 nelsoni
    August 21, 2008 at 21:12

    @ Steve. Thats correct. Absolute privacy while using the internet is not possible. That’s the whole idea. Make people think they are safe, then catch them with their pants down.

  32. 34 Anthony
    August 21, 2008 at 21:12

    OH, WHATS UP WITH ALL THIS HOOPLA about McCain doing better in the polls than Obama??? I think that HAS to be B.S.!!! Seriously!!! Whats going on with that!!!

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  33. 35 Julie P
    August 21, 2008 at 21:13

    @Blogging on CNN,

    I learned something interesting about blogging on CNN. I’ve sent in editorial comments on different stories they’ve had up and not ever got posted. Then one day I wrote a really short opinion on my blog about the VP selection process. That piece on my blog was on their Veepstakes section for week and a half.

  34. 36 Shirley
    August 21, 2008 at 21:14

    Statement on the passing of U.S. Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones. The same document also contains reactions from public officials on the passing Stephanie Tubbs Jones.

    * AP news article regarding her death
    * full coverage from the Cleveland Plain Dealer
    * official Congressional webpage of Stephanie Tubbs Jones
    * Congress.org’s bio page for Stephanie Tubbs Jones (contains official contact information)
    * Wikipedia article on Stephanie Tubbs Jones

  35. 37 nelsoni
    August 21, 2008 at 21:15

    @ Steve, I once Installed a software on my computer, my browsing history i deleted six months earlier, all resurfaced after few clicks.

  36. 38 nelsoni
    August 21, 2008 at 21:17

    @ Amy. Interesting. May be in my free time I will find out why Texas has the highest rates of executions in the states. @ Anthony thanks for the link.

  37. 39 nelsoni
    August 21, 2008 at 21:20

    @ Shirley, I ask this respectfully: did Stephanie Stubbs represent your constituency?

  38. 40 Shirley
    August 21, 2008 at 21:37

    I thought that Jeff Wood had got a stay of execution? But ABC has a story saying that Texas has not halted the execution. It could be a very recent devlopment, though: some activists are posting to an indpentent media site that the execution has been stayed.

    The Texas Coalition Against the Death Penalty is focusing on Jeff Woods’ case on their web site.

    Alternet has a page about Jeff and the case being raised on his behalf by activists.

    I have also heard that, in addition to being mentally ill, he was not present at the site of the murder but was in a truck outside and was not himself involved in the murder.

  39. August 21, 2008 at 22:03

    Hi gang ! :-)… Today’s on air topic and the comments on the WHYS blog about it have got me to think of so many things, and so many questions rose up in my mind, the most important of which is this question : What are the criteria of true manhood in our modern age ?! Are there any “global” criteria of true manhood in our modern age that all of us around the world would agree on ?! Is sticking to moral values (like kindness, mercy, goodness, nobility, ect., ect.,) considered to be weakness by modern day young males ?! Is the specie of “true noble gentlemen” facing the danger of extinction ?! With my love… Yours forever, Lubna…

  40. August 21, 2008 at 22:10


    There is a better then average chance I might have been being sarcastic about the pudding wrestling.

  41. August 21, 2008 at 22:10

    I just want to let the WHYS community be the first to know I am throwing my hat into the presidential race.

    I have a few platform issues that should make me an easy candidate to vote for.

    1) I am going to wage a war on all natural disasters. We have suffered at the hands of mother nature long enough. I a going to station troops all along the Caribbean to sit on the beaches and watch for developing natural disasters. And “plate tectonics”, that has to be stopped in its tracks.

    2) Good looking people will be forced to drink beverages with higher alcohol content. I am tired of competing for good looking women with good looking guys. This is supposed to be the land of equality. Let even the playing field.

    3) I plan on giving everything a 20% increase. So your wages, will increase by 20%. So will all of your bills. But in 4 years when I run for re-election I will just point out your wage increase.

    Willing to accept any plausible suggestion.

  42. 44 nelsoni
    August 21, 2008 at 22:13

    @ Lubna, Criteria for “true manhood” varies from culture to culture.

  43. 45 nelsoni
    August 21, 2008 at 22:15

    @ Dwight. Which presidential election?

  44. 46 Amy
    August 21, 2008 at 22:24


    I know you were being sarcastic 🙂 And you’ve got my vote if you can give me your health care plan – will that just be free for everyone? And I need to know your plan for stopping the plate tectonics – do you think we can build a deep enough wall that will prevent the plate shifts?

  45. 47 Count Iblis
    August 21, 2008 at 22:40

    Steve, the privacy mode is only useful for BEGGINERS who do not know how to use even the basic features their browsers already have to clear history, clear cookies etc. etc.

    Thing is that even if you do all these things, there are still hidden files on your computer that record your browsing history. E.g. the Index.dat files

    You cannot manually delete these files, because they are always in use when your computer is running (you can delete such files by starting your computer in safe mode).

    There are free of charge programs available that will delete all these files, like ccleaner

    Even if you have deleted the files, they will still be on your hard disk. All that has happened is that the space on your hgard disk on which the files are stored is now available to be overwritten. But as long as nothing is overwritten, the files are still there.

    So, to wipe the files out, you must overwrite them. But even that is not enough, because the hard disk is an analogue medium. The bits can be 0 or 1 but they are stored as magnetic fields. The exact values of the magnetic field strengts contains information about what was previously written and then overwritten.

    So, if you write a “1” and then overwrite it to make it a zero, it may be 0.01. But your computer rounds it off to 0. The difference between 0 and 0.01 betrays that there was a 1 there.

    To get rid of this hidden information, you must overwrite files a multiple number of times, preferably with random information. But the best thing to do is to avoid using a magnetic hard disk and use memory sticks or other forms of electronic memory.

    Now, for most internet users, all this is not so relevant. Deleting your index.dat files using e.g. ccleaner can be useful, though, as these continue to grow and grow without limit. This slows down your browser.

    I recently did that on an old computer of mine. Using a viewer for Index.dat files (see the wiki page on Index.dat, if you want to download that program), I saw that it contained references to websites I visited ten years ago fo the last time. After removing these files, it looked like my internet provider had increased the dowmload speed by a factor of two!


  46. 48 Shirley
    August 21, 2008 at 22:42

    Stephanie Tubbs Jones
    Nelson, no, I am not in her district. She did represent my political interests, and I have called her office in the past to express support and gratitude for her feisty pursuit of issues that are close to my heart. Her death came as a shock, and Cleveland will be hard-pressed to find someone to fill her big shoes.

    Saudi ban against women driving being to erode In order to bring attention to the issue, various Saudi media outlets have been focusing on stories of women driving out of necessity or simply because they want to and not as a form of protest. It might be working.

    The deal for the withdrawal of the US from Iraq seems to be in its final stages. However, I am very concerned about the insistence of the US on provisions regarding US involvement in Iraq’s economy.

  47. 50 nelsoni
    August 21, 2008 at 22:48

    @ Shirley. About Involvement of US in Iraqi economy, does crude oil ring a bell?

  48. August 21, 2008 at 22:48

    The Taliban in Pakistan have blown up, sixty-three people and dozens have been injured in twin suicide bombings outside Pakistan’s main munitions factory in the town of Wah. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7574267.stm

    How does a person come to believe that blowing themselves up, along with other innocent people, who never did anything against them, is a good idea?

    The only people that I know who are that self-righteous are people who became lost into a cult. Those bombers are convinced to murder others by “charismatic leaders” who are trying to convert the world. They see themselves as gods.

    I hope the leadership in Pakistan will bring a coalition together to stamp out the Taliban. They need to go for the top leaders. Start with Osama!

  49. 52 Julie P
    August 21, 2008 at 22:54

    What is it with the UK losing disks and memory sticks with people’s information on it? Does one have to exceptionally incompetent to work for them?


  50. 53 nelsoni
    August 21, 2008 at 23:04

    @ portlandmike, I wonder if those leaders who actually convince people to blow up them selves have any children. It will be very interesting if their own children are still alive while actively encouraging other people’s children to kill themselves.

  51. August 21, 2008 at 23:16


    Charismatic leaders usually believe that their children are also gods. Everyone knows that is a god’s duty to teach mere humans how to blow themselves up… for their dear god.

    Imagine that you convinced some poor believer to blow himself up in a humble market? People die, thousands of lives are changed for the worse forever, but tonight you celebrate!

  52. 55 nelsoni
    August 21, 2008 at 23:24

    @ portlandmike, the followers are stupid enough to believe them …

  53. 56 nelsoni
    August 21, 2008 at 23:26

    @ Julie P. Money spent protecting data is money thrown down the drain with incompetent staff in the mix. They are always the weakest link in the security structure. I feel so sorry for Gordon Brown.

  54. August 21, 2008 at 23:34


    “The True Believer” is the name of a book written by Eric Hoffer 50 years ago. Some people, even The People, get drawn into cults, revolutions, riots, for some common reasons. I’m not sure that being “stupid enough” is on the list.

  55. 58 Julie P
    August 21, 2008 at 23:42


    I agree. I wonder what the problem is? Could it be a policy problem with allowing too much data getting stored on devices or external storage devices that would allow for stuff to happen? Although now that I think of it a file folder with sensitive terrorist info was left carelessly on a Tube seat.

  56. 59 Venessa
    August 22, 2008 at 00:26

    portlandmike ~

    I’ve never understood how or why people get sucked into cults. My husbands best friend has a sister that is in one. She gave them everything she owns and I don’t believe the family has heard from her for a few years. She also has a couple children so you know they will be brainwashed.

  57. 60 Venessa
    August 22, 2008 at 00:28

    Steve ~

    That’s ridiculous. Healthcare professionals are there to provide a service for the patient regardless if they agree. If they don’t like it they should find a new field.

  58. August 22, 2008 at 00:33

    Yeah my dearest Nelsoni… But I am totally sure that there still exists some “global” criteria of what a “true man” should be like… Many of our Precious WHYSers yesterday on the WHYS blog (because it’s now 2:30 Am in Baghdad!) have justified the actions of Mr Bolt by saying that he’s still young and that we must give him a break, and that is actually worrying… So if you were a young male, does that give you the right to detach yourself from the superior moral values (like kindness, mercy, modesty, nobility, ect., ect., ) and behave the way you please expecting from everybody else to find excuses and justifications for what you do by saying that you’re still young and that they must give you a break ?! What are the standards (if there exists any) that we expect from our male youth to match ?! Now I must go to sleep… I do realise that a topic like this won’t be so popular here on the blog but I just felt that it does really need to be addressed… With my love… Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad… PS, our beloved Dennis, tons of “get well” wishes from Iraq to you my good friend…

  59. 62 Dennis
    August 22, 2008 at 00:42

    @ Losing persons data:

    It does not take a brain surgeon to place this memory stick in your briefcase….


  60. 63 Venessa
    August 22, 2008 at 00:42

    Sheikh ~

    I think when someone brutally murders another individual they pretty much give up their rights. I only wish the men that stabbed my father to death were in Texas and then I wouldn’t have to fight to keep them in jail. I have no pity for them and I could give a rats ass that they didn’t get to see their children grow up. Guess what my father didn’t get to see me beyond 10 years old and now I’m only a year younger than he was when he died.

    I don’t believe that everyone deserves to die and each case should be reviewed individually but to abolish the death penalty would be a mistake. Personally I’m not happy that my tax dollars are paying for someone else to live when they took another person’s life.

  61. 64 Dennis
    August 22, 2008 at 00:44

    @ Lubna and everyone else regarding my cold!

    I went to the doctors’ office on 21 August 2008, he prescribe me an anti-botic….

    Thanks for all of your thoughts!


  62. August 22, 2008 at 00:48


    Healthcare will be free, given by the state, and Jack Kevorkian will head up the whole project. Basically if you get to sick and are in too much pain, we will put you down. I had a veterinarian friend who convinced me it was the “Humane” thing to do.

    We will first pressure the UN to pass articles against the plates and see if they respond before any aggressive action is taken.

    Oh and I am running for and presidency that I am qualified for. lol.

  63. August 22, 2008 at 00:50

    More of my platform.

    4) I will call for congress to fund a national thermostat. I don’t want to just stop global warming, I want to control it. Being form northern Ohio some times winter is just too dammed cold and long. So we what the ability to turn the heat up for a few days in January. at the same time this Christmas we didn’t have any snow. Having the ability to turn down the global thermostat for a few days just to make snow for the holidays.

    5) I will work with congress to lower the national standards. we have gotten way out of control with the expectation that our kids are going to do better in life then we are. I will work to glamorize and legitimatize jobs in the fast food industry, Wal-Mart greeters, and FAA employees. With these moral increases we may find a decrease in illegal immigrants. Employers of this type of labor will see that they no longer offer “jobs that Americans won’t do.” Lets face it all of your kids can’t be doctors, lawyers, and sports superstars. for every one success case that raises up out of the slum there is 3000 that just don’t make it.

  64. 67 Dennis
    August 22, 2008 at 00:50

    @ Texas Execution Mentally Retarded [or challenged] man:

    i think that texas pretty much does not care about the morality and integrity…of anyone or anything in the justice system!

    for example: the state of texas, they executed 2 men from the country of mexico–after the international court of justice ask texas not to do the execution…..


  65. 68 Julie P
    August 22, 2008 at 01:41

    Outcome for the baby whale in Australia that mistook a yacht as its mother. The baby whale was euthanized.


  66. 69 Venessa
    August 22, 2008 at 01:44

    Julie that’s soooo sad but what I suspected would be the ultimate outcome. 😦

  67. 70 Julie P
    August 22, 2008 at 01:46


    Sadly, I saw that coming when I read the part that they had no idea how to feed it. That’s a real shame.

  68. 71 Jamily5
    August 22, 2008 at 02:07

    Now, make me your personal pilot and I’ll stuff the ballot boxes!

  69. 72 Roberto
    August 22, 2008 at 02:12

    Re “Don’t mess with Texas.” You have to remember this is the same state where there are drive thru liquor stores.

    ——— This is a huge diverse state.

    It’s also the headquarters of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, MADD, which has made a major impact on the use of alcohol while driving laws which have reduced drunk driving violations in the US and Canada. Pithy one liners may be fun, but are not descriptive.

    Yes, Texas has by far the largest number of executions, but the ones being executed are the most rehensible. I don’t care for the death penalty since too many convictions have proven to be wrongful convictions.

    Death penalty critics have never addressed the basic dilemma that some people should never ever be reintroduced into society and that the whole criminal justice system is broken. Guys like Charles Manson come up for regular parole release hearings which is criminal to even consider.

    Texas is only enforcing the law. Meanwhile the Feds ain’t enforcing immigration laws which have led to huge problems in the state. Maybe if Americans started voting for border controls and immigration reform, Texas might have enough money left over to create a better criminal justice and education system.

    Don’t see Americans stepping up to the challenge, so the current broken status quo remains. Thanks guys.

  70. 73 Dan
    August 22, 2008 at 02:26

    @ Nelsoni
    We went to Iraq for oil? Why am I paying $4/gal then and why did the Chinese sign, or are about to sign, a $1.5 BILLION oil deal with Iraq?

  71. August 22, 2008 at 03:13

    Anthony August 21, 2008 at 9:05 pm Edit

    This is kinda funny. CNN has a blog type thing kinda like the WHYS blog, but if you try to post anything that says the U.S. is wrong, weak, or bad/evil, they wont approve it. Try putting something about how the media in the U.S. is unfair and bias on that thing, you’ll have a better chance posting nude pics of Hillary Clinton!!!

    -Anthony, LA, CA

    I went onto the A360 blog, Anthony and they will not approve you if you have a wordpress blog and are signed in. It links back to your blog as does this one. And my blog is a lot about the current US election – and they have looked and won’t approve me for anything but the most obscure blogposts

    Best Political Team in News? Bah! The BBC beats them hands down every time.

  72. 76 Amy
    August 22, 2008 at 03:25


    Did you see the smirk on Duncan’s face. The man is sick. When it comes to the death penalty, I truly think this is the type of person (and calling him that is a stretch) they had in mind.

  73. 77 Julie P
    August 22, 2008 at 03:26


    The look in his eyes reads scary. He’s one really creepy looking dude.

  74. 78 Amy
    August 22, 2008 at 03:26


    You’ve got my vote. We need to come up with a neat campaign slogan so we can get some bumper stickers made. And I think that Jamily would make a fantastic pilot.

  75. 79 Bob in Queensland
    August 22, 2008 at 03:32

    Good morning all,

    For a rather different take on the Georgian situation from a prominent Ossetian, have a look at THIS. (The BBC ran this story as I was getting up this morning but for some reason I had trouble finding it on their site.)

    Back at the beginning of this story Georgia was portrayed at least partially as an aggressor against Ossetia then, after Russian intervened, that part of it seemed to disappear. As so often happens, maybe there are two sides to this one.

  76. August 22, 2008 at 03:41

    Bob, I blogged that Georgia had started this conflict.

    They were bombing and murdering the Russian residents long before Russia got involved – even killing Russian peacekeepers.

    What would anyone else do if their citizens were being slaughtered?

  77. 81 Bob in Queensland
    August 22, 2008 at 03:48

    Re: The death penalty in Texas

    For those who believe in the deterrent effect of the death penalty, it’s worth noting that Dallas is consistently ranked the most dangerous of the USA’s ten largest cities. Source.

  78. 82 Luz Ma from Mexico
    August 22, 2008 at 03:57


    Usually I am very careful about my opinion regarding the death penalty, but this case is completely outrageous… definetely the death penalty is the suitable punishment for this monster.

    God, what is happening with this world! Sad place indeed.

  79. 83 Bob in Queensland
    August 22, 2008 at 04:19

    Re: More confidential data lost in the UK

    The surprising part of this is not that data CDs and USB sticks and laptops go missing….

    …what’s appalling is that confidential personal data is allowed to be transferred to removable media in the first place. What possible excuse is there the any civil servant or politician to carry the private details of 25 million people who claim child benefit or the names of all prison inmates around with them? There should be far tighter restrictions on who can access this data–and where they can access it.

  80. 84 Julie P
    August 22, 2008 at 04:23

    @Luz Ma,

    I am the same way and I completely agree with you. Although I would be more than happy to be the one to throw the switch on this one.

  81. 85 Julie P
    August 22, 2008 at 04:25


    I wondering the same thing about the allowing sensitive data getting put on portable media. What one earth is going on?

  82. 86 Erik Simmons
    August 22, 2008 at 05:02

    im sick and tired of being afraid to walk home. we need more police in our communities in st.lucia!!!!!!!!

  83. 87 Amy
    August 22, 2008 at 05:32

    I have a question for all of you…… how many houses do you have?

  84. 88 Amy
    August 22, 2008 at 05:33


    I am sorry you feel unsafe in St. Lucia. It is a beautiful place.

  85. 89 Tom
    August 22, 2008 at 06:23

    It seems that the initial cause of the conflict in South Ossetia has been blanketed by the tidal wave of international politics and speculative talks on Russian imperialism and the new cold war.

  86. 90 Tom
    August 22, 2008 at 06:29

    @ Amy re houses,

    None. I live in an inner-city apartment, and an empty plot of land in the suburb.

  87. 91 Tom
    August 22, 2008 at 06:52

    @ Police…

    It’s one thing to have more police on the streets. It’s another thing for the community to have faith in the justice system.

    Men who bashed Sudanese refugee avoid jail

  88. 92 Shirley
    August 22, 2008 at 07:06

    US Withdrawal from Iraq?
    Nelson: About Involvement of US in Iraqi economy, does crude oil ring a bell?

    Oh most certainly yes. At times, it feels like at attempt at geo-political colonialisation, but you’ve reminded me of the implications of any oil agreements in terms of what seems to be a U.S. economic imperialism of Iraq.

  89. 93 Shirley
    August 22, 2008 at 07:08

    I would suggest that one interested in the concept of masculinity in Islam read “Being a Real Man in Islam: Drugs, Criminality and The Problem of Masculinity” by Yahya Birt. This text introduces question of male identity in Islam with discussion of social ills affecting modern Muslim men: “[O]ne in four of British Muslim prisoners have been convicted for drug-related offences.” The author, Yahya Birt, points directly at the failure of Muslim society itself to provide an appropriate rearing of male children, saying, “Commonly, the parents of these young men neglected their religious training, and instead left matters in the hands of the madrasas.” He asserted that this impersonal casting off of boys to communal educational institutes for their religious education and mundane sosialisation has resulted in a demoralised approach to religion among Muslim men. “There are some that mock religion openly. ‘We are young and now is the time for enjoyment.’ Others…say they want to practice but argue that the bad environment discourages them.”

    Number of words: 168

  90. 94 Shirley
    August 22, 2008 at 07:10

    Birt points out several distinctions between authentic masculinity and a vacuous, overdone sense of masculinity that lacks truly masculine principles. He says, “Negative masculinity occurs when a youth misuses his natural qualities of enthusiasm, strength and bravery to satisfy his own desires. He becomes selfish, ignores the rights of others and ends up disobedient to his Lord.” The biggest contrast that the author draws between authentic and inauthentic masculinity is that “negative masculinity is about showing off” while “manliness is closely related to futuwwa.” The author then proceeds to a very lengthy description of chivalry.

    Yahya Birt ends his text with a call to action for the Muslim community. He says, “The point is that we all have to pull together, and face up our individual and collective responsibility.” Like others ho have been discussing family issues recently, the author calls for an increased parental involvement in the lives of their children, even when they “fail”: “…not to cut them off out of self-righteous disdain or, even worse, indifference.” He also offers several suggestions for Muslims living in the West, including the open discussion of crime and drug use among Muslims, the appointment of English-speaking imams in the mosques,
    seven suggestions for Muslims living in the West, and the establishment of Muslim-run youth centres and drug rehabilitation facilities.

    Number of words: 218

  91. 95 Shirley
    August 22, 2008 at 07:56

    The Indian Points nuclear plants in New York sit atop a newly discovered intersection of two active seismic zones.

  92. 96 Bryan
    August 22, 2008 at 08:52

    Bob in Queensland August 22, 2008 at 3:32 am,

    Your link takes me to a site in Arabic with a photo of that chinless beanpole, Assad.

    I’d be interested in the correct link since the cause of the fighting is far more complex than the one portrayed by Will at 3:41 am. Here’s some info:


  93. 97 Bob in Queensland
    August 22, 2008 at 09:07

    @ Bryan

    The link works for me but as you can’t get to it the story is:

    The principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra and artistic director of the Mariinsky Theatre, Valery Gergiev, has led a concert in Tskhinvali. The performance was staged next to the destroyed parliament building in the bombed-out capital of South Ossetia.

    The concert featured selections from Tchaikovsky’s fifth and sixth symphonies as well as Shostakovich’s famous “invasion” theme from his sixth symphony.

    Opening the concert, Gergiev said: “We want everyone in the world to know the truth about the terrible events in Tskhinvali. It was a huge act of aggression on the part of the Georgian army. This is not yet a known story in the world but I’m sure the truth will be coming through”.

    He added: “If it hadn’t been for the Russian army there would have been even more casualties and victims. I am very grateful as an Ossetian to my great country Russia for this help. I hope we will see peace here for many decades to come”.

    The link that doesn’t work for you is to the “Russia Today” site, hardly impartial, hence my qualification.

  94. 99 Bryan
    August 22, 2008 at 09:46

    I tried again. Baffling how I get to Assad when I click on the link.

    Anyway, talking about impartiality, I was impressed with this BBC article on the presidential race:


    I guess Richard Lister is not a member of the BBC Obama fan club. But I can’t detect any bias in favour of McCain either in the article. Which is, of course, how it should be.

  95. August 22, 2008 at 10:00

    Hi Anthony
    Reyr August 21, 2008 at 8:20 pm comment.
    Thku so much for common sense. The entire Russian issue is being misinterpreted.
    It is very doubtful that Europe is united on the issue of South Ossettia.
    We are dealing with security in the Black Sea and Caucasus. The issue could be stretched to the Baltic Sea. Unification of Germany is not a one way stretch, by any means.
    Russia is the energy king of the world at present. Let us not disparage its role.
    Unfortunately, Russia may over-play its hand if it sells modern weaponry to Syria and tempts Iran into a new defense deal.
    The entire issue of Soviet disintegration has been misinterpreted in some parts of Europe and US. Were the Soviets all bad? The only tinge of culture in the Central Asian Republics is the Russian language and traits of Western civilizationbform the Soviet days.
    Many of the diplomats we are getting in Iran are from former East Germany. Russia has so much to offer the world, and the world has so much to learn from Russia that it is absurd to arm NATO to the teeth and teaze Russia with misiles in its former protectorates and territories.
    Hasn’t the world enough problems in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq without provoking further conflict? Where is Washington heading? What happens when the neo-Cons retreat? What if Obama withdraws all American forces from the Mideast, as he has hinted?
    The Black Sea and Caucasus are clearly within the sphere of Moscow’s influence and should remain so. I feel safer relying on Moscow as the sole guarantor of peace and security than treating with every Dick and Charlie who springs to prominence overnight through media manipulation, and a couple of bucks thrown into the bargain by Uncle Sam.

  96. 101 Katharina in Ghent
    August 22, 2008 at 10:06

    @ Amy

    How many houses do we have? You mean more than one??? I wish I was that rich! To answer your question: non, we rent our house.

    @ Bob

    I checked out your link, worked fine for me.

  97. 102 Roberto
    August 22, 2008 at 10:24

    Re Mexico:

    NPR is reporting the Mexico now has more kidnappings with fatalities than Columbia or Iraq.

    Americans have given an assist to these conditions by enabling the largest drug/human smuggling operations into America which has made these criminal cartels richer than the local governments of their regions. They have their own police/miltary units to enforce their own “laws.”

    You won’t see Obama/McCain do anything but dance around these issues which would require the type of leadership that might make them unelectable.

  98. 103 Shirley
    August 22, 2008 at 10:33

    House Ownership
    Katharina, you do know that Amy asked the question because John McCain apparently id not knw ho many houses he owns, right? He does own a handful of properties.

  99. 104 Bob in Queensland
    August 22, 2008 at 11:09

    Hi Kate!

    Re: Underage gymnasts,

    According to THIS ARTICLE the issue is that the younger bodies are more flexible and give the gymnast an unfair advantage. I’m not sure this is the whole story–surely the lack of maturity must compensate at least partially for the flexibility–but this could be one of the reasons it’s an issue.

    Add in the effect this must have on children so young, and it can’t be a good thing.

  100. 105 Bryan
    August 22, 2008 at 11:59

    Katharina in Ghent August 22, 2008 at 10:06 am

    @ Bob

    I checked out your link, worked fine for me.

    The KGB probably knows I support Israel, so when I try to access a Russian site they just divert me to Syria out of spite. LOL, as they say in the classics.

    There, I chatted.

    Akbar Javadi August 22, 2008 at 10:00 am,

    Countries, like people, don’t change their character that easily and to me Russia retains many of the negative aspects of the old USSR – the repression, the dictatorial government, the belligerence. And let’s not forget that Stalin killed millions of his own people. Putin is ex-KGB.

    As someone who supports Israel, I look at Russia with a great deal of apprehension because it has been arming and training Israel’s enemies for half a century. During the ’67 war, Russia put its considerable weight behind the Arabs and in ’73 Russian military personnel were in Egypt, advising and assisting the Egyptians. That’s before we even start talking about Syria and Iran.

  101. 106 Katharina in Ghent
    August 22, 2008 at 12:57

    @ Shirley

    No, I didn’t know that about McCain. Thanks for telling me. I’m not surprised, though, you do need to be seriously wealthy to even consider running for president.

  102. 107 gary
    August 22, 2008 at 13:01

    Lots of interesting chatter ’bout killing folks as punishment for crime and other reasons. Gdub, et al, thought some people needed killing in Iraq … and they’ve sure killed some! Anthony thinks lots more need to die – the “Evolution should work! Dang it all”! – kind of argument. Russians accuse Georgians of being ethnic cleansers – and vice versa. Yes, I can quote the commandment: “Thou shalt not kill.” Most folks who profess to believe in God think of this statement as mere suggestion, in spite of the clear absence of subclauses, exceptions, and other delimiting statements. As an old scientist (For all of you guys who know fundamentally nothing about science, we’re highly-educated people who are suspect of our own knowledge, and absolutely certain of our profound ignorance. Heck, any intinerate, bible-thumping preacher, or Islamic cleric, is absolutely certain he knows the mind of God! …Well anyway, where was I? Oh yes, People shouldn’t kill folks ’cause it never does any good. Yes. That was the point.

  103. August 22, 2008 at 13:05

    Hi Bryan
    August 22, 2008 at 11:59 am
    I sympathize with your first paragraph.
    Incidentally, Israel has a large percentage of Russian Jews and there is a great amount of support for Israel in Russia.
    Bryan the facts of life are not always pleasant and easy to digest for the Western world. What you term ‘repression, dictatorial government, belligerence,’ is second nature to the East. Also, ‘Stalin was Georgian’ and the world put up with Putin.
    During the ‘67 war the Egyptian air force didn’t leave the ground. Some attribute the defeat of the Arabs in the 1967 war to Russian procrastination.
    Russian or American military personnel, we have gone through it. This is part of the old tug of war between Washington and Moscow, and persists.
    At the end of the day, we in the Middle East must live with the reality on the ground. What happens if Russia cuts oil supplies to Europe?
    We are getting it from both ends at present. It is either the flames of war in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq which has left Tehran facing huge waves of refugees and drug traffiching: Or, Russia, Georgia conflict which disrupts stability in the region and sends oil prices sky high.
    You know the former Soviet republics are simply over-rated. Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria and some of the Balitc states will cause a lot of problems in the future. In terms of contributions to the EU, their combined effort still don’t match Turkish trade output. Some of them are sniffing around and reporting to Uncle Sam as if Europe didn’t exist.
    Why not come to terms with Russia? Long term peace is impossible without Russia, either through the European Union or a satisfactory accomodation between NATO and Moscow.

  104. 109 selena
    August 22, 2008 at 13:23


    State killing, for any reason, diminishes us all, IMO.

    What was that about scientists again? From my perch, they are just as certain of their truth as any bible thumping preacher. 🙂

  105. 110 Bryan
    August 22, 2008 at 13:53

    Akbar Javadi August 22, 2008 at 1:05 pm,

    Thanks for your response.

    Why not come to terms with Russia?

    What are Russia’s terms?

  106. 111 Roberto
    August 22, 2008 at 14:10

    Re US healthcare spending:

    NPR reports that Americans spent $2 trillion on healthcare last year.

    Did some quick research and doing a simple comparison the 2 trillion figure is:

    2/3rds the GDP of China, almost 3/4ths the UK GDP, 1.5 x the GDP of Brazil and Russia, a bit less than half than Japan’s GDP, 4x Saudi GDP, almost double GDP of India and Australia.

    Again healthcare established as a long time problem for 2 decades now, with no progress regardless of which party in power. Seen some tepid solutions from McCain/Obama, but bottomline is that any definitive solution offered in advance of the election will likely mean certain defeat for that candidate.

    In short, problem to be gathering momentum like a runaway train with engineers asleep at the wheel and passengers oblivious.

  107. August 22, 2008 at 14:27

    Hi Bryan
    August 22, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    Fair or foul, Russia wants a foothold in the Persian Gulf.
    Soft pedaling on the littoral states of the Gulf is no longer valid. Look what Arab money is doing to Pakistan, the same pattern in Afghanistan. What then?
    The Arabs must open up. Here’s our cue. Give the Russians a chance to do their bit.
    Moscow wants investment opportunities in Iraq, give it to them.
    Leave Bushehr Atomic Energy Plant in the hands of the Russians and exact safety measures and guarantees.
    Respect Russia’s sphere of influence in Eastern Europe and get on with the Job of building ties with the rest of the world.

  108. 113 Bryan
    August 22, 2008 at 16:13

    Russia wants a foothold in the Persian Gulf.

    You mean Russians want to walk on water like Jesus?

  109. August 22, 2008 at 16:33

    Hi Bryan
    August 22, 2008 at 4:13 pm
    I may be jumping the cue, but Russia has been looking for a warm water sea port for the last one hundred years.
    American and British supremacy in the air have deterred Moscow from
    any major aerial confrontation with the West, but Moscow is still a formidable foe on thwe gorund., There are major problems to solve in Asia, Caucasus and Eastern Europe. So many things can go wrong. Russia is indispensable to world peace. How is the world going to cope with over a billion Indians and 1.6 billion Chinese?
    There are so many challenges, including water supplies, food supplies and climate change which require careful planning, but also peace and stability. There is everything to be gained from taking Russia on board, and it is high time we did it.

  110. 115 Jens
    August 22, 2008 at 17:58


    that makes roughly 3500 dollars per person per year. It might seem excessive but think about how much brainsurgery costs. saying that this is what i pay roughly as my health insurance contribution

  111. 116 Shirley
    August 22, 2008 at 18:18

    Iraq: Free or Another Colony?
    Por-Sadr activists are protesting the new withdrawal agreement between Iraq and the U.S. Other than the withdrawal itself, though, not much time is devoted to covering the terms of the deal. Given that the title of the article referred to Iraqi concerns over the deal, one would have thought that controversial elements of it would have been described, at least briefly. However, the only references made were that the protesters “saying it would turn Iraq into a U.S. colony” and that they “fear that the pullout deal will bind the U.S. and Iraq in a long-term security relationship, instead of restoring Iraqi sovereignty.” A lot of fear, but no details of withdrawal agreement. Frustrating to read.

    Stehanie Tubbs Jones
    Her memorial service will be on Saturday, 30 August.

  112. 117 Roberto
    August 22, 2008 at 20:17

    Re brain surgery:

    Don’t want brain surgery, but the rapidity in which the US is eroding, perhaps some brown shirts to drag me off for a frontal lobotomy someday.

    Why would I want to pay 3500 dollars per year for an inferior healthcare system which restricts my choices? That would be a good deal in the US by the way. The current per capita average is $7000+ per person using 2 trillion/280 mil population. I was quoted a figure of $9000 to insure me and my now grown up kids 7 yrs ago.

    Current US policies would most assuredly bankrupt the average American if he has anything complicated done, leaving him without assets and home. Don’t want to live that bad. I’ve only seen a couple of docs a few times my entire adult life and fortunately blessed with good teeth. I don’t participate in the fraud except through my tax monies that pay for all the emergency room visits by those who can’t afford healthcare.

  113. 118 Emile Barre
    August 23, 2008 at 12:34

    Like any “championship tournament” the Olympics and Paralympics are all about who is the best in the world for two weeks. What matters to anybody who thinks about it seriously is who is the best over 52 weeks. The people who win their pieces of metal are deluding themselves if they think they are anything more than two-week-wonders. To inflict this metal mentality on the young amounts to child cruelty and a debasement of what sport is about.

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