Saturday, March 27, 2010

Rachel Corrie and the People of Gaza

UPDATE - June 5, 2010

How appropriate that the latest Free Gaza ship is named "the Rachel Corrie". And once again Rachel Corrie is murdered and raped by the Israeli Forces while offering her own body in defense of Gaza.
ISRAEL: "Our forces boarded the boat [Rachel Corrie] and took control without meeting any resistance from the crew or the passengers. Everything took place without violence."
Isn't this exactly what a rapist would boast about his victim after holding a knife to the woman's throat in order to force her to succumb to his will? - "There was no resistance... everything took place without violence."

What will it take for the nations of the world to send warships to accompany and defend aid ships en route to Gaza? - not unlike the federal troops which John F. Kennedy sent to force racial desegregation of southern schools in the U.S.

Racism has many faces - Apartheid, Zionism, Jim Crow. We should not be deceived by the de facto appearance of legality in any of these situations.

"We hold these truths to be self evident... All men are created equal!"

Jesus said: "Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets." - Matthew 7:12


[I'm sorry I could not bring myself to write in commemoration of Rachel Corrie at the time of the anniversary of her death on March 16, 2003. (The subject is just too close to my heart and I was not able to express my feelings.) But now as the Israeli tanks once again roll into Gaza which Rachel courageously defended with her own body, I finally feel compelled to speak out and join my voice to the chorus of others demanding Justice not just for Rachel but also for the Palestinian People which she grew to know and love. Rest In Peace, Rachel. Our thoughts and our prayers are with you, and with your family, and with the Palestinian People. And also with the Jews of Israel and all Jews all around the world. We pray for Peace and for an end to Zionism. ]

[Warning: There are graphic pictures of Rachel Corrie at the time of her death at the end of this post.]

Once more Pharaoh's chariots are invading Palestine. Once more Caesar's Legions are mercilessly slaying the Children of Palestine.

Again, and again, and again the People of Palestine are asked to sacrifice their lives. When will it end? When will the world put an end to this insane bloodshed?

The Caesar in Washington turns a blind eye while the criminal gang in Jerusalem proceeds in raping and pillaging. And when the criminals are finally condemned in the court of Justice, the Senators in Washington step up to defend them. And when the Palestinians rise up to defend themselves, they are called terrorists and are mercilessly slaughtered.

There is no Justice!

There is only the rule of Might makes Right. Might gives them the Right to "defend" themselves from stones and shouts with bullets and bombs. And tanks, and helicopters, and jet fighter craft and navy warships. Killing indiscriminately men, women, and children. Young and old. Weak and strong.

There is no mercy! There is no forgiveness!

There is only ruthless killing and more killing. Resulting in an endless river of blood. The Lion of Judea is on a rampage, devouring its victims by the thousands to satisfy its never ending hunger for conquest.

This is insanity!

Has the world lost its mind? Is there no one who will stand up against the madness? Not just speak up, but stand up. It is well past the time for this bloody sacrifice to end.

Jesus of Palestine

The Palestinians have been imprisoned behind walls and turned into little more than slaves and beggars. Bethlehem, where Jesus was born, is in the militarily occupied West Bank and was attacked only a few short years ago. The Church of the Nativity itself was a target. Although there is no one in the media that seems to want to recall this bit of unpleasant recent history. Nazareth, where Jesus grew up, is also in the occupied West Bank and suffers the same fate as the rest of the militarily occupied lands of the Palestinians.

The fishermen of Gaza, which sits along the shore of the Mediterranean, are not allowed to go out and cast their nets as they did in Biblical times. It is not a mighty storm they fear, but the Israeli Navy which fires upon them and seizes their boats and imprisons them for no reason at all - only for the crime of wanting to make an honest living and to feed their families.

The olive trees and orange orchards of Palestinians are deliberately destroyed in order to impoverish them and to symbolically castrate them as a society. Their homes are bulldozed indiscriminately, with only the weakest pretense of legality.

Rachel Corrie

Rachel Corrie who stood up against the Israeli bulldozers in Gaza was yet another victim of the brutality of the Zionist state. And to this day no one has been punished for this blatant act of murder. Her parents in their implacable quest for Justice have taken their case to the Israeli courts. This is after their requests for Justice have been ignored time and time again by Israeli officials and - even worse - American officials.

It is as though the family members of a brutal rape-murder victim were forced to kneel down before a judge and beg for Justice for their daughter. Does not the system of Law already have a duty to seek Justice on its own? Must the victim's family plead for the State to carry out its duty?

Rachel Corrie was not just murdered - she was brutally raped; just as the Palestinian People have been the victims of a systematic rape at the hands of the Israelis for over sixty years.

How long, Lord? How long? How long must the Palestinian People suffer?


An interview with Rachel Corrie conducted by Middle East Broadcasting Company on March 14th, 2003, two days before she was murdered by the Israeli Defense Forces.


Please visit the following websites for information on Rachel Corrie and the ISM (International Solidarity Movement) which she belonged to. I've also included a link to the Free Gaza Movement which has successfully broken through the Israeli Naval blockade of Gaza in the past.

The Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice
The International Solidarity Movement (ISM)
 Free Gaza Movement


I also highly recommend the blog called "In Gaza" which is written by a member of ISM named Eva Bartlett. She is an American-Canadian following in the footsteps of Rachel Corrie. Her blog contains many beautiful pictures of daily life in Gaza, along with pictures showing the horrors which Gazans must face as a result of the Zionist military occupation of Palestine.

 In Gaza

Here is an article about Eva Bartlett, of "In Gaza".
Eva Bartlett follows in the footsteps of Rachel Corrie

And finally here is an interview with Eva during the Israeli attack on Gaza in December 2008 to January 2009. One can only imagine what it would have been like to hear a similar report from Rachel Corrie, had she not been murdered by the Israelis in 2003.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Kabuki - US and Israel style

Kabuki - a form of traditional Japanese drama with highly stylized song, mime, and dance, now performed only by male actors, using exaggerated gestures and body movements to express emotions, and including historical plays, domestic dramas, and dance pieces.
In a recent post I described how the apparent conflicts between the US and China are highly dramatized for the consumption of the local audiences. Now it is time for the US to take on Israel in a WWF style showdown. [Please pardon my liberal mixing of metaphors.]

The US vs. Israel

Round 1: The US wrestler "Zionist Joe" heads to the Israeli corner to congratulate top Israeli wrestler "Bulldozer Bibi". Bibi pretends to shake hands with Joe, but then slams him to the mat! And the crowd goes wild. Joe gets up and tries to poke Bibi in the eye, but Bibi is to quick for him and fends him off by holding his hand up between his eyes. He then taunts Joe by saying, "Na, na, na-na-na." Rather than taking offense, Joe once again stretches out his hand in friendship and laughs. "You old rascal," he says. "That was some move. I never saw that coming."

The judges huddle as bikini clad girls prance around the ring announcing the upcoming Round 2. After a brief delay, the judges award 2 points to the Israeli side. Normally only 1 point is awarded for winning the round, but they award an extra point for the spectacular takedown.

Round 2: Emerging from the US corner is the formidable "Hillary the Obliterator". The Israeli corner looks slightly concerned and at first refuse to come out of their corner. After a brief huddle, they once again send out Bibi. The two meet in the center of the ring. Hillary stares down Bibi, but Bibi stares right back at her and never blinks. Then Hillary dances around the ring, wildly gesturing and beating her breast in imitation of an enraged female gorilla. Bibi sits in a stool in his corner and mostly ignores the outburst. Soon the bell rings to end the round.

Once again the judges huddle. Their seems to be some hesitation, but after a brief discussion the judges declare the round to be a draw and award 1 point to each team. The judges explain that they were highly entertained by Hillary's display of raw emotion, but that ultimately the tactic inflicted no harm on the Israeli wrestler.

The announcer steps to the middle of the ring. He holds up Bibi's hand as he shouts out, "and the winner by unanimous decision and still cham-pi-on is IS-RA-EL!" The mostly pro-Israel crowd goes wild, as the losing US team kneels and kisses the feet of the Israeli champion as is customary.

But seriously folks...

If you thought that you were seeing anything like a real conflict between the US and Israel over the issue of Israeli "settlements" in East Jerusalem, you're sadly mistaken. This whole controversy was scripted out in advance. Bibi needed an excuse to be able to tell his local ultra-right wing supporters that the US was pressuring him on settlements. Obama needed to be able to act like he was getting tough on Israel. Biden messed up the US response so badly, that Clinton had to be brought in to convince the Israelis and Arabs that the US was really angry over the incident. Of course we weren't, but it was important to pretend that we were.

As the Jerusalem Post reveals, the whole incident was designed to put a stop to a Likud Central Committee meeting on unfreezing settlement construction. Well, alright the article doesn't come right out and say that, but if you read between the lines the truth becomes apparent.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu received backing from his ministers and the parties in his coalition Sunday as he faced a deepening crisis in Israel’s relations with the American administration.

While officials in Washington were quoted as saying that Netanyahu would have to choose between his ties with US President Barack Obama’s government and his coalition partners, ministers and MKs took steps to ensure that he would not have to make such a difficult choice.

Despite American pressure, not one of the 30 ministers in Netanyahu’s cabinet has expressed support for freezing construction over the pre-1967 border in Jerusalem. A check among the five Labor ministers found that they were all in favor of continuing to build in neighborhoods like Ramat Shlomo and Gilo, where the American administration opposes building.

“The consensus in Israel supports continuing to build in Jerusalem and that’s not going to change,” a Labor minister said.

In a speech to the Labor Party’s executive committee at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds, Defense Minister Ehud Barak denied the charge made by Obama adviser David Axelrod that a decision to build 1,600 housing units in Ramat Shlomo was intentionally announced during US Vice President Joe Biden’s visit in order to humiliate him.

The technical mistake during Biden’s visit was not intentional but it was undoubtedly superfluous and dangerous,” Barak said. “Our connection with the American people and our relationship of respect with the American administration and the president are important components of Israel’s security and foreign relations.

“While we are ultimately responsible for our fate, our friendship with America is important for our security and for the chance to calm down the region, and this friendship requires us to behave with mutual respect and responsibility.”

National Infrastructures Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer suggested at the event that the escalating pressure from the Obama administration on Netanyahu would only increase the prime minister’s popularity ratings.

“The more Bibi is scolded, the more Right the people will go,” Ben-Eliezer said.

Netanyahu already received a political boost from the American pressure. He used it as an excuse to pressure hawkish Likud MK Danny Danon to postpone Thursday”s Likud Central Committee meeting that was set to focus on stopping the construction freeze in Judea and Samaria.

Danon had hoped that the central committee would pass a proposal demanding that the 10-month freeze that ends September 25 not get extended. But he caved into pressure from Netanyahu and agreed to postpone the forum on the condition that a new date for it be set within 30 days.

“I have no doubt that my proposal to restart building in Judea and Samaria would win a majority, but the prime minister is in the middle of an eternal struggle for Jerusalem, so I accepted the prime minister’s request to delay the meeting,” Danon said.

Netanyahu could receive another political boost from Obama if Kadima MKs use the American pressure on Israel as an excuse to split the party and join the coalition.
So Netanyahu postponed the Likud party's decision to extend the West Bank settlement "freeze". But at the same time he announces that, "The building in Jerusalem - and in all other places - will continue in the same way as has been customary over the last 42 years." It doesn't sound as if he is shaking in his boots after Clinton's rebuke.

And this is nothing new. Unfortunately, the corporate media has a selective memory. As recently as November of last year I highlighted a similar situation with regards to Israeli "settlements" in East Jerusalem in a post I called, "The Battle for East Jerusalem". Back then the State Department said it was "dismayed"; Clinton calls the latest Israeli move an "insult".

Maybe if Obama had done something to punish Israel for its assault of Gaza just before his taking office, then the Israelis would actually take the US seriously. Let's face it. The US doesn't get angry over Israel bombing Palestinians. The US doesn't get angry about Israel demolishing Palestinian homes. The US doesn't get angry over the Apartheid Wall through the West Bank. And the US never got angry before about the illegal Zionist takeover of East Jerusalem.

The only reason the US is angry now is because their is a perceived direct insult towards us by Israel. They can kill and maim as many Palestinians as they want and the US will remain silent. They can destroy Palestinian homes by the hundreds and the US will remain silent. They can even murder a US citizen - as in the case of Rachel Corrie - and the US will remain silent.

The show must go on...

The "peace process" must go on - not for the benefit of the Palestinians, but for the benefit of the Zionists. You might come to the conclusion that this is a battle between two factions of Zionists. Not even! They are not "battling" anymore than pro wrestlers are battling. They are just putting on a show. Either way, the Zionists win.

You see they need their "peace process" to maintain their cover for the Zionist expansion. And they pay their flunkies in the P.A. like Abbas well to play their part. Anyone Palestinian who offers real resistance is labeled a "terrorist", like Hamas. And that allows others who resist Israel to be labeled as "terrorist sympathizers" - like Rachel Corrie and the ISM (International Solidarity Movement).

So don't get all excited about these recent events and expect them to result in any substantive change in the US-Israeli relationship. Real change would be the US Navy breaking the siege of Gaza to deliver much needed food and supplies. And that's just not going to happen. Real change would be the US permanently cutting off all aid to Israel - especially military aid. Again, not happening.

Some have suggested that the US military is behind this new push. Well yes, the US military would like to see Israel give more credence to the "peace talks". This helps to soothe the feelings of the local Arab dictatorships. But there is no desire to see the creation of a real "Palestinian state" - even if such a thing were possible. The only goal is the very limited one of calming the feelings on the "Arab street". They don't want a group of "radicals" challenging the status quo dictatorships of such loyal US allies as Saudi Arabia, Jordan or Egypt. You already have some "radical" talk from the government of Turkey, and they don't want that spreading through other Arab and Muslim countries.

So yes "the show must go on". Next week there will be an AIPAC conference in Washington. Hillary and Bibi will go another round of fake combat. Eventually there will be new "talks about talks" between the sell-out P.A and Zionist Israel. More Palestinian children will be killed because they are "Hamas terrorists". The Goldstone Report will be forgotten in the midst of all this.

Eventually Israel will sufficiently provoke Palestinian anger to the point where there will be a new "terrorist attack" on Israelis that will result in deaths. No mention will be made in the US Corporate Media about how many Palestinian homes were destroyed or children imprisoned to cause this reaction. The names of the dead Israelis will feature prominently in the reports, while all the Palestinian victims over the years remain anonymous.

The Israelis will use these "terrorist attacks" against them to justify a new wave of violence and murder against the defenseless Palestinians. The media will depict this as a "cycle of violence", but in reality it is a carefully planned script. It is a cycle of gross deliberate provocation, followed by a minor retaliatory attack, followed by a wave of brutal state violence against the Palestinians.

Lights, camera... action!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The fall of Wall Street's Temple

The New York Stock Exchange - Wall Street's Temple

[NOTE: I wrote a comment over at DeepCapture yesterday and I so thoroughly enjoyed it that I decided to repost here and share it with others.]

Comment in response to "Evidence of murder at 383 Madison Ave." (The article discusses the use of Naked Short Selling to accelerate the fall of Bear Stearns.)

Frank Hope says:
If you ask me the game is deliberately made more complicated than it needs to be. In addition it appears that there are loopholes that are only available to a limited number of players with privileged positions. And you call that a free market?
If this market were anything close to being free, there would be hundreds of companies lined up to take over the top spot from Goldman Sachs. But because of barriers to entry created and maintained by government regulators, there is no competition in sight.
The game is rigged and on top of that the participants are gaming the system. Look at High-Frequency Trading, for example. Naked Short Selling appears to be only a symptom of a system that is corrupt through and through. We don’t need reform, we need a revolution. Too bad the system was not allowed to crash and burn in 2008. The term “creative destruction” was never more appropriate.
The heads of the Wall Street aristocracy must roll and there must be a new and open system put in place to replace it. With today’s computer and networking technology, this should be a snap. Give the job to Google and I’m sure they could come up with a better, more fair and equitable system in a month’s time. Heck it’s hard to imagine a worse system than what exists on Wall Street today.
Of course this would expose the King’s New Clothes and would send shock waves through the financial sector exceeding 10.0 on the Richter scale. Wall Street’s Temple would be completely destroyed – hopefully forever. And the City of London would disappear into the ocean along with it. Good riddance!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Bye bye Max and Stacy

[NOTE: I held off publishing this article for a few weeks to see if I would get a reply from Max and Stacy saying they had fixed the problem that does not allow me to post comments on their site.]

It's funny how things work out online. I started out as a big fan of Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert over at What happened?

I'll tell you what happened. I was suddenly and inexplicably blacklisted from commenting on their website. I'm sure you'll agree that's kind of a big insult and slap-in-the-face in the online world if it's done intentionally, but I'm sure you'll also agree that there are all kinds of technical issues that could cause something like this to happen unintentionally. And I have absolutely no reason to believe that this was done intentionally.

So I made repeated pleas for help to Stacy and Max to restore my commenting privileges. I exchanged multiple emails with Stacy on the subject. (Max doesn't usually reply to emails.) Despite her best efforts, the problem was not fixed.

Finally Stacy suggested that the problem was not a local problem with the MaxKeiser website, but a problem with the spam filter which is a service provided by Akismet. If what she was suggesting was true then that would lead me to be banned from commenting not only on MaxKeiser, but also on many Wordpress blogs and other sites that use Akismet as a spam filter.

So I contacted Akismet and after running a simple test, it was determined that they were not the cause of the problem. I let Stacy know the results, but she just (virtually) threw her hands up in the air and said there was nothing she could do about it. In the process she accused me of "threatening" her because I said that if they were unable to fix this problem, that I would no longer be able to support their site.

It's kind of like my saying to Toyota that if they don't fix their problems with cars that accelerate out of control leading to crashes and deaths, that I'm not going to buy any more of their cars. (I don't own a Toyota by the way, I buy strictly cars from American manufacturers.) That seems like a reasonable reaction that most people would have. You either fix your product or I'm going to take my business elsewhere.

I would hardly call that a "threat". Here's the definition of "threat" for reference:
a statement of an intention to inflict pain, injury, damage, or other hostile action on someone in retribution for something done or not done
I guess I should feel flattered in a way to think that somehow my lack of endorsement of could cause some sort of "damage" to Max and Stacy. For all the lack of manners when attacking others displayed by many on the web (including you - Stacy and Max), most people online remain amazingly thin skinned when they feel somehow insulted.

But then maybe they should feel threatened because Future News Today does appear on the first page of results on a Google search for "Max Keiser YouTube". It's true. I wrote a very flattering article about Max and Stacy back in April 2009 and it became fairly popular. Someone even "tweeted" it.

But that was long ago and Max and Stacy have become ever more popular since then. They attract hundreds of comments to every post. (And yes I'm envious.) They even have a new show on Russia Today.

Maybe this is a sign that in the "Year of the Tiger" it's time for me to move on. I mean, I could practically do the MaxKeiser show myself. I pretty much know what he will say before he even says it. And it does get frustrating after a while to here people speak the truth about the criminal fraud perpetrated by the Wall Street cabal over and over again, and yet nothing changes. Geithner has not even been fired. So it does feel as if Max and the rest of us have been pretty ineffective in our criticisms.

Of course I don't have any economic stake in this fight. I have never had any ads on my site, so I'm not making a nickel off this. For Max and Stacy, it's a way of making a living. I don't begrudge them that, it's just a fact. If I don't feel like their have been any significant developments to report, then I just don't post. Whereas Max and Stacy have to continually come up with new material to fill in their various shows.

Fortunately for them, there have been plenty of new economic developments of the "gloom and doom" variety which they specialize in. The latest of course being the problems in Europe - especially Greece. And Goldman Sachs seems to be everywhere at once whenever it comes to sleazy - if not criminal - business dealings which inevitably cause the rest of us to have to pay up for their crimes. (While they continue to get record bonuses with the blessings of President Obama.)

Maybe it's time to start paying more attention to humanitarian issues like the plight of the Haitians devastated by the earthquake, or the conditions of people living in Gaza a year after Israel's brutal assault. Or the horrible dilemma that the people of Afghanistan have been put in, with the never-ending American occupation of their country and the resulting corrupt puppet government of Karzai.

Finally, I'd be more than happy to be welcomed back into the family over at, but I'm not holding my breath. Too bad the internet can't be like Fantasy Island, where there is always a happy ending.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Police State USA preview

If you want to get a feel for what a Police State in the USA would look like, take a look at this video.

As I mentioned in my last post, I like college basketball. This is a scene from the University of Maryland following the victory of the Men's Basketball Team against their hated rival Duke. The Terp fans were out celebrating the win and have a reputation of getting rowdy and even breaking a few windows or setting a few fires.

One of the time honored traditions is to shut down Rte. 1 which passes right in front of the university. Now if you ask me, this is just a bunch of college kids out having fun. And most of it is harmless. It's a big spontaneous drunken street party. Yes, there is some relatively minor destruction of property, but so what!

Why not have the police shutdown the street so the kids can party harmlessly? Instead the police come in with full riot gear, beating their batons against their shields in a display of macho force.

And as can be seen on the video [5:20, 8:15], the result is the police getting out of control and needlessly beating up some college kids.

So instead of a few random acts of violence by students having a good time, we have organized violence by police getting their kicks they way they like it. You can't tell me these goons could not have arrested these kids that are shown on video without beating them with their batons. You can actually hear the cracks of the batons at 8:15. And there are a few extra gratuitous blows after the kid is already down on the ground and has already been beaten up by a gang of cops. If anyone else did this, it would be called a mugging. But when the police commit a senseless act of violence like this, it is always justifiable. And good luck ID'ing the cops that actually took part in this beating. They're all dressed like Darth Vader.

And what exactly was the point of bringing out the police helicopter? [7:20] They're college kids, not a bunch of terrorists. Oh right, it's the cops that are the terrorists. Now I get it. Use the helicopter to create a climate of fear of the authorities. Very 1984-ish. Nice one. And how much are we paying in taxes for that military-style helicopter? It's nice to know that all that Homeland Security money is being put to good use keeping a bunch of college kids in line. The sweeping spotlight was a nice touch. Too bad they couldn't have fired off a few rounds over the heads of the running kids. That would have made some nice video for the late night news.

And of course what would a police riot be without the traditional tear gas? [7:55] If the cops can't shoot live ammunition, then they have to find other things to shoot at their victims - "non-lethal" of course. It's not as much fun as actually beating them, but it's the next best thing as far as sadistic pleasure.

What would have happened if the police hadn't shown up to "keep the peace" and "maintain law and order"? Instead of a few broken windows, we have broken bones. Instead of a few college kids acting out violently, we have a gang of cops engaging in organized violence.

The main difference is that the cops are engaging in legal state sanctioned violence. Well actually it's not legal, but the chance of any of them getting punished for it by the legal system is near zero so it is de facto legal.

Personally, I am actually encouraged when I see a group of American young people out defying authority. It shows there is still a rebellious spirit in this country, and that they are not all a bunch of sheep whose souls have been crushed by the machine. There is plenty of time for that later when they get a job and become part of the corporate establishment.

You have to be a rebel to become a revolutionary. And we need revolutionaries in America more than ever. We need young people that will celebrate their victories out in public, physically, passionately. And not hide in their dorm rooms and celebrate by typing a few lines into a blog. That's not how you change the world!

One last note. Just as most of the kids were just out having fun and not causing any destruction of property, most of the cops acted professionally and were not out their cracking heads. On the other hand, I have to say that what the police did was provocative. And I think it could have been handled in a better way. In the words of frozenphoenixprod...

"If you bring out the riot gear before people riot, you're telling people they should be rioting..."

[A hat tip to "frozenphoenixprod" for posting this high quality video on YouTube. That's what citizen journalism is all about. Another hat tip to Ben Broman for posting this at Testudo Times which is where I first saw it.]

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A little March Gladness

Here's a story that I hope will cheer everyone up. As it turns out I love women's college basketball. I was looking up some stats on some of my favorite players and came across an excellent page at Fox Sports. Yeah, I know I have sworn to boycott Fox News, but there just isn't very good coverage of women's basketball - to say the least. So you get your information wherever you can.

The great thing about this Fox webpage is that you can sort dynamically by whatever stat your interested in. (I know that's a given in men's sports, but try finding this information for the women.) One of my beefs with the men's game is how badly they shoot free throws. When I watch the women play they seem to be making a higher percentage of foul shots. It's true that the women's ball is slightly smaller, but the free throw line is at the same spot and the height of the basket is the same.

There are a few women that are hitting over 90%, which is way excellent. Another thing that bothers me is players that hit a high percentage of 3-point shots and then miss their free throws. Well there was one woman that was hitting 91% of her free throws and 44% of her 3 point shots. She was one of the leaders in both categories. So why is she playing for Delaware?

Then I looked at her points per game: 26.9! That's Michael Jordan territory. Sure she's making that against inferior competition, but surely the free throw numbers can't lie. So finally I decided to do a Google search. I expected to find an undersized guard that couldn't make it into the big conferences because of her size. Wrong. She's 6' 5''!

Her name is Elena Delle Donne - not exactly a household name - but if she was playing in one of the major conferences she would be as well known as Tina Charles. So there's got to be a story here, right? And sure enough there is - and a great one at that.

I like to give credit to my fellow bloggers whenever I can, so here's a shout-out to Michael Lewis at Wide World of Stuff. He has one of the top ranked articles on Elena and provides some great links to stories in the New York Times and Sports Illustrated.

If you still think I'm overhyping this female athlete, just take a look at this. In a recent game against one of the top teams in her conference, Elena scored a whopping 54 points! That's just the most points scored this season in a Division I game - no biggie. That's more points than the whole Notre Dame team scored in their recent loss to Connecticut.

Somehow Delaware lost that game against James Madison, which tells you something about the caliber of the team as a whole. In fact Delaware is not even headed for the NCAA tournament. And they are in the middle of the pack in their CAA conference. At least they have a winning conference record at 10-7.

Of course you can't put up those kind of numbers and go unnoticed. And Elena has been recruited by colleges throughout the nation since she was in middle school. Eventually she chose to go to Connecticut, one of the top women's basketball programs in the country. So what happened? Why is Elena currently playing at Delaware?

ESPN did an excellent job of letting Elena tell the story herself in this mini-documentary on their "Outside the Lines" program.

Elena describes herself as "burnt-out". We're all familiar with that term. We talk about being burnt-out at work or burnt-out at school. It's almost a cliché. But I'm going to go out on a limb and speculate on the particular nature of being "burnt-out" as it applies to an elite athlete of the caliber of Elena.

I've been watching the Vancouver Olympics. There was one story in particular that grabbed my attention. It's an oft repeated story about Olympic short track skater Apolo Ohno. The story has become almost legendary and who knows the true details behind it, but the gist of the story is that Apolo's dad, Yuki, disgusted with his son's performance dropped him off at a remote cabin. There Apolo was left for eight days alone. His father had given him the task to decide at the age of 15, whether he was going to commit himself to a career in skating. According to the legend, Apolo came out with the resolve to commit himself to his sport and never looked back.

That's the way the story is told by the sports media. It is used as an inspirational story of the love of a father, and the dedication of a son. But I'm not so sure. I wonder about how young children are molded into elite athletes in the US sport system. I wonder about the pressures put on young, vulnerable kids to perform at an early age.

American society is all about pressure. How much pressure can you handle? The amount of pressure you can take seems to correlate to how successful you will be in life. Americans revel in rising to meet the ever increasing expectations. We take pride in our ability to handle life's challenges without complaining, as we push ourselves to the breaking point.

American society is all about competition and winning. "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing." Perhaps this explains American's obsession with being the best. It's a culture that perhaps can be compared to ancient Sparta. This wouldn't be so bad if this spirit of competition weren't then translated into militarism. But that's exactly what I'm afraid has happened to American society.

And this is what intrigues me about this story. This connection between athletics and militarism. I can't help but thinking that part of the training that a young athlete goes through is a kind of brainwashing. Similar to the initiation process that a young recruit goes through in the military. They are broken down mentally and physically until they are totally subservient. Then they are reshaped into the mold of a soldier.

It seems to me that something similar went on with Elena. It wasn't so much that she was burnt-out, but that she refused to fit the mold. She wanted time to find out who she really is outside of basketball. She wanted to be able to spend time with her older sister, Elizabeth, who has autism and cerebral palsy and was born deaf and blind.

Everyone told her she was making the biggest mistake of her life. How hard must it have been to walk away from all of that. It's not everyone who gets the kind of opportunities that she has had in life. And yet I applaud her for standing up to the pressures and deciding to live a simpler life.

If Elena had been born 50 years earlier, before the rise of women's sports, she would perhaps have been happy. She would have been "a natural", a skilled player at her game who would not have attracted that much attention. She would have excelled at basketball or some other sport and would probably have competed in college. Maybe she would have even participated in the Olympics as an amateur.

She would have received accolades from local newspapers and others in her sport. And after graduating from college, she would have pursued a "normal" life. Perhaps, inspired by her older sister, she would have become a special education teacher as she has talked about in interviews. Times were simpler back then. I'll let you be the judge as to whether they were "better". They were certainly different.