I got this in mail today. I'm trying to express why it is offensive and fraudulent, but I'm rather annoyed about their attempted trickery. Apparently the producers of expelled can look up emails on public sites. It seems to me that they are trying to impersonate the NIH Office of Scientific Integrity. That office is involved in investigating fraud and in teaching of scientific ethics. The suggestion that this is NIH implies that the source is a trusted one and a message you should listen to. The email attempts to imply that NIH endorses the book mentioned and recommends viewing the movie, but instead it is creationists pretending to be the NIH. Instead of financing their harassment of us, they are just going to annoy the cats with thumbs who have much better things to do with our time.It's a lie and a fraudulent representation of the facts. What, personally, kills me the most, for all the "Ten Commandments" crap they beat around, they sure don't follow them.Dear Vanderbilt Department of Biology,
As educators, you will want to be aware of Ben Stein's documentary EXPELLED: NO INTELLIGENCE ALLOWED ( www.expelledthemovie.com), which recently opened in theaters across the United States. The film examines the destruction to careers and reputations of scientists who question the conventional wisdom about life's origin and development and instead hold to some form of intelligent design.
Intelligent design is widely regarded as the idiot-savant stepchild of creationism. Whether you think this is the case or not, the Center for Scientific Integrity would like to draw your attention to the controversy this film is likely to engender and to encourage you to use this film as an occasion for generating light rather than heat. The producers of this film clearly meant it to be controversial. It has the potential to greatly exacerbate the ongoing culture war. With the influence you wield, we ask you to encourage reflection and restraint.
For all the movie's flaws, it underscores the need for greater openness in the discussion of biological origins. We live in a free society that cherishes rational discourse. We are committed to arguing our ideas across the table from others without fear of reprisal or coercion. Science most of all should exemplify freedom of thought and expression.
The movie's chief flaw, in our view, is its failure to argue that intelligent design possesses real intellectual and scientific merit. The Center for Scientific Integrity has learned that to remedy this defect, the producers of EXPELLED have officially endorsed a book by William Dembski and Jonathan Wells titled THE DESIGN OF LIFE ( www.thedesignoflife.net). We urge that you watch this movie and read this book before weighing into the national debate that Ben Stein is initiating.
Biologist Massimo Pigliucci wrote almost a decade ago: "Neocreationism [intelligent design] should be a call to arms for the science community. The battle is already raging, and scientists and educators are still not sure if they should even bother paying attention." (BioScience 50(1) (2000):79-81) Pigliucci is right that we need to be paying attention. But let's put aside his warfare metaphors and emphasize instead civility and dialogue.
Jake Akins, Executive Director Center for Scientific Integrity ( www.centerforscientificintegrity.org) (Website under construction)
Advancing Freedom of Thought and Expression in Science
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Anti-Evolution Film Misappropriates the Holocaust
New York, NY, April 29, 2008 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today issued the following statement regarding the controversial film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed:
The film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed misappropriates the Holocaust and its imagery as a part of its political effort to discredit the scientific community which rejects so-called intelligent design theory.
Hitler did not need Darwin to devise his heinous plan to exterminate the Jewish people and Darwin and evolutionary theory cannot explain Hitler's genocidal madness.
Using the Holocaust in order to tarnish those who promote the theory of evolution is outrageous and trivializes the complex factors that led to the mass extermination of European Jewry.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
We have a Republican Party that continues to back the White House's delusions about Iraq at the expense of our military, our treasure, our safety, and our standing in the world.I'm not sure I'll read it. It's like, what took you so long? The five years of run-away activism in the "Special Prosecutors" investigations of all things Clinton should have told you this in the 1990's when you were still hanging out with Gingrich and the rest of those sleazeballs.
We have a mainstream on the Right that supports torture, that confirmed an attorney general nominee who is officially agnostic on torture, and that rallies behind a president who refuses to define what the very word "torture" means.
We have a mainstream that supports -- even applauds -- the behavior of thuggish Blackwater mercenaries, that supports the gutting of our civil liberties, that opposes universal health care, and that has views on immigration that wouldn't have been heard outside a John Birch Society meeting ten years ago.
can no longer be denied: the right-wing lunatics are running the Republican asylum and their madness has infected the entire country and poisoned the world beyond.
Monday, April 28, 2008
Sunday, April 27, 2008
VIENNA (Reuters) - Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and the government of President George W. Bush were to blame for the U.S. financial crisis, Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz said in a magazine interview.Yeah, the thing about tax cuts is the, essentially, accelerate the recognition of income at a lower rate. You might get a small bump in tax receipts in the short run, but you cannibalize from the future. Anyone who owns a retail business can tell you that if you have a sale, you get sales today, but after the sale, things get even slower.
"This man (Greenspan) has unfortunately made a lot of mistakes," said former World Bank chief economist Stiglitz, according to a preview of the interview to be published on Monday in profil magazine.
"His first one was to support all the tax cuts which were introduced under Bush -- they didn't stimulate the economy very much ... This task was then transferred more towards monetary policy, though then (Greenspan) created a flood of credits with low interest rates," Stiglitz was quoted as saying.
That's how Reagan's tax cuts in 1986 worked. And they caught up to us under Bush the First a few years later.
Yet, mysteriously, Alan Greenspan didn't notice.
Earlier in April, Greenspan said in an interview with CNBC television that the U.S. economy was in recession and defended his chairmanship of the U.S. central bank against charges that his policy missteps had laid the groundwork for the crisis.It was the "rational" that was the problem. It was Greenspan is an ideologue and all evidence and construction will be to support his second-rate ideology. Hence, the huge problems we face today as we finally ran out of bubbles to support our economy.
He said decisions during his charge had been rationally constructed based on evidence at the time.
Stiglitz said Bush's government was also to blame.Absolutely. The Bush administration was built of ideologues who have, over their careers, demonstrated massive incompetence. That the government has been one of the most corrupt, evil, secretive and incompetent in the history of the US should be no surprise.
"I reproach them, that the economy was not as resilient as it could have been due to the ongoing tax cuts and the huge costs incurred by the war in Iraq," he was quoted as saying.
He said it was a myth that Europe could decouple itself from the United States.
"Especially the weak dollar will continue to hit the European economy hard, because it will make it much harder to export," he said.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
BOLD = Read.
Italic = Not finished as I didn't like it or I wasn't required to finish it...
Otherwise not read.
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Crime and Punishment
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Life of Pi : a novel
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote (English lit., sorry.)
Moby Dick (English lit., again.)
Pride and Prejudice
The Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
War and Peace
The Time Traveler’s Wife
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
The Canterbury tales
The Historian : a novel
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
The Count of Monte Cristo
A Clockwork Orange
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath English lit.
The Poisonwood Bible : a novel
Angels & Demons
The Inferno (The modern Sci-fi one. The classic I didn't finish.)
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes : a memoir
The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake : a novel
Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : an inquiry into values
In Cold Blood : a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences
The Three Musketeers
From the Dictionary of the Religious Right:
Child, n., (CHYLD)
1. A potential Christian, especially if it's someone else's child.
2. A free, innocent being who must be taught shame and obedience.
3. The entire reason for existence of roughly 50% of humanity. (see:
Thursday, April 24, 2008
If we do decide to teach Intelligent Design along with evolution, let’s at least be consistent and give equal time to other supernatural theories. Here are a few suggestions:
The theory of relativity will be taught alongside the theory of divinity, which maintains that E = whatever God good and well pleases.
Gravitational theory will be taught alongside the theory of Deliberate Motion, which proposes that celestial bodies do not move as a result of gravitational force, but as a result of an Intelligent Mover pushing them around.
The germ theory of disease will be considered, but so will the Divine Retribution theory, which posits the existence of an intelligence who distributes diseases in order to punish sins. Of course, this will necessitate that medical schools give time to traditional pharmaceutical approaches to healthcare, as well as "faith-based" approaches, which will rely on prayer and the sacrifice of baby rams.
SAN FRANCISCO - What's black and white and warm all over? A penguin in a wetsuit, naturally. Sounds like a joke, but it's quite serious for biologists at the California Academy of Sciences, who had a wetsuit created for an African penguin to help him get back in the swim of things.
Pierre, a venerable 25 years old, was going bald, which left him with an embarrassingly exposed, pale pink behind.
I can empathize with that "going bald thing." Fortunately for penguins there aren't all the quack and dubious "cures" for baldness to titillate. Still, a bald butt has got to be ego shock, even for a penguin.
Unlike marine mammals, which have a layer of blubber to keep them warm, penguins rely on their waterproof feathers. Without them, Pierre was unwilling to plunge into the academy's penguin tank and ended up shivering on the sidelines while his 19 peers played in the water.
"He was cold; he would shake," said Pam Schaller, a senior aquatic biologist at the
Pierre's species of penguin is accustomed to temperate climates, unlike many of their cousins. The birds are nicknamed Jackass penguins because they make sounds similar to braying donkeys, quite startling the first time you hear it in an aquarium.
Schaller first tried a heat lamp to keep Pierre warm. Then she got another idea: If wetsuits help humans frolic in the chilly Pacific, why not whip up one in a slightly smaller size?
Staff at Oceanic Worldwide, a supplier of dive gear based in San Leandro, were enthusiastic about making a real penguin suit.
"We were really excited to do it," said Teo Tertel, company marketing specialist. "We heard most of these penguins only live to 20, and our little buddy there was already 25. Anything we could do to help them, we were all for it."
That was nice. And if I was a surfer dude, I'd definitely be throwing my business that way. But, we may be very successful mammals, but we're not top predators; and, having grown up in and near San Francisco, I'm really quite well aware of the Great White Sharks that hunt seals, and by accident the occasional surfer, in the surf off Stinson Beach.
Not authorized. Hmmmm... I would suspect otherwise. The authorization being an inconvenient, at least for the Republicans, document that does give Congress the over-sight power of the government we used to call the Constitution and is now known as "Antique Republican Toilet Paper" considering how often they use it wipe their butts. Regardless of the idiotic theories of John Yoo and the arm-chair apologists who argued the exact opposite, often quite vehemently, when Clinton was President.
Former DOJ Official Yoo Refuses to Testify
Former Justice Department lawyer John Yoo, who wrote the controversial legal memos authorizing harsh interrogation programs, will not testify voluntarily before the House Judiciary Committee -- paving the way for a possible subpoena and showdown over Executive Privilege. Yoo's lawyer has just informed House Judiciary Committee Chair John Conyers that he would not appear.
In a letter, Yoo's lawyer told Conyers he was "not authorized" by DOJ to discuss internal deliberations.
"We have been expressly advised by the Office of Legal Counsel of the United States Department of Justice that Professor Yoo is not authorized to discuss before your Committee any specific deliberative communications, including the substance of comments on opinions or policy questions, or the confidential predecisional advice, recommendations or other positions taken by individuals or entities of the Executive Branch," Yoo's lawyer, John C. Millian, wrote in a letter to Conyers.Yes. Of course they're not going to authorize it. Or investigate it. Because they're complicit in breaking the law. And one thing criminals aren't going to do is suddenly develop a conscious and dutifully investigate themselves.
This isn't a minor point, it's not just our own laws we're violating and we can retroactively change. We've signed treaties on torture that forbid these actions. Treaties, that we sign, have legal weight, that is if you believe in these words: "...all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution [of any State] or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding" found in that inconvenient document.
Clearly, the DoJ cannot investigate itself. Clearly our government, under the Republicans, is broken and being run by a bunch of criminals who don't care for anything but themselves.
Millian also noted that Yoo was involved in a lawsuit over the legal memos and that it would "not be appropriate" for him to testify while the litigation was pending.
Conyers invited Yoo to testify before the committee May 6th about the memos. He told Yoo the committee was prepared to subpoena him if he declined to appear voluntarily. Today's letter -- and DOJ's position that Yoo was not authorized to answer Conyers' questions -- is likely to lead to that next step.
Yoo isn't the only administration official the Judiciary Committee is asking to testify. After ABC News reported that top administration officials approved specific details of harsh interrogations by the CIA, Conyers sent another round of letters.
"New and troubling allegations suggest that the decisions on torture came from the highest levels of government," Conyers said after the ABC report. "These reports, if true, represent a stain on our democracy. The American people deserve to hear directly from those involved."
Those invited include former Attorney General John Ashcroft, CIA Director George Tenet, former Assistant Attorney General Daniel Levin and former undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith, as well as Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff David Addington.
I swear, they need to be impeached, arrested and sent off for War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity trials. And, at this point, I think that should include the complicit press as de facto agents for these criminals. The morally bankrupt "wanna-be cool kids" who seem more intent on re-enacting their high school fantasies about becoming popular by schmoozing the current "in-crowd" then standing up to them.
Kind of like Heathers.
Only, this isn't high school. There are real people being crushed by the "in crowd." Crushed to death.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Miami Vice: The government’s terrorism case against the so-called Liberty City Seven, a bunch of sad sacks who an FBI informant persuaded to dream big about taking down the Sears Tower in Chicago, collapsed last week when the judge declared a mistrial after the jury failed to come to a verdict after 12 days. As it turned out, the FBI’s informant was found to be deceptive in an earlier FBI undercover operation in Chicago, says former FBI special agent Jim Wedick, who helped the defense and has been critical of other terrorism investigations by his former colleagues.Roosevelt once said: "...the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory."
“The informant — Elli Assad — was suspected of not being truthful and after being asked to take a polygraph, failed the exam,” Wedick said in an e-mail. “Leaving the country, the informant later re-entered the country in Miami and seeking funds made contact with the Bureau and again offered to be an informant on international terrorism.”
The FBI has strongly defended its handling of the Liberty City Seven and other domestic terror prosecutions, which came under withering criticism in a Feb. 7 piece by Rolling Stone’s Guy Lawson, “The Fear Factory.”
Seems we forgot that when the twin towers fell. Well, most of us. But for us neurotic cynics, it's almost ambivalent, or perverse enjoyment, of the unfolding of the subsequent events. I've always suspected the feet of clay to be there, and now we can see just how shallow we really are as a country in these modern days. "Oh, protect Great Bush!" and so many of you voted for a man who was, clearly, incompetent to lead this country.
Even more, we have so strayed from even our myths about ourselves that we "debate" torture. And are attacking our own citizens in phony show-trials put on by the corrupt Republican-Bush Department of Justice.
This was, by the way, an end-quip on a much longer article about the 26 CIA agents on trial in absentia in Italy. For illegally kidnapping a man they sent to another country for torture. And how the CIA has abandoned its former station chief and the ruin his life has become.
Great guys those Republicans. Put you in the line fire, make money off of your sweat, your creativity, your backs, have you fight and die in wars, then toss you aside like a used condom when you've out-lived your usefulness.
Think about the ruin of our reputation. And the encouraged festering cowardice the Republicans would have you embrace this fall. And vote Democrat. Even if you hate them. Just pull the lever for that Yellow Dog.
MARGIN lenders such as the collapsed Opes Prime and Lift Capital and home loan mortgage brokers would be subject to tough new federal regulation under a sweeping plan to be unveiled by the Rudd Government.
Corporate Governance Minister Nick Sherry will seek rapid responses to a green paper detailing a commonwealth takeover of regulation in key parts of the troubled financial services sector.
This would ensure the new system could be approved at the October Council of Australian Governments meeting between the Prime Minister and the premiers and chief ministers.
Under the plan, the largely unregulated practice of margin lending - which contributed to the collapse or near-collapse of stockbrokers Opes, Lift and Tricom and the loss of tens of millions of dollars of investors' money - is likely to be overseen by the federal regulator, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
The failures were caused when the companies, and their thousands of clients who had taken out margin loans to invest in shares, were hit by tumbling stock markets. This triggered margin calls, which forced the clients to either sell shares or inject extra cash into their accounts.
I see this as a positive move for the Australian market and banking industry. Keeping the foolish investors in reign is, of course, not the real goal. A fool and his money are soon parted, no matter what regulations you may make.
Rather, the real goal is keeping the banking system sound when foolish managers and officers gamble with the money of others in risky margin loans. And while many of the libertarian bent will decry this regulation, the fact is that it's not the manager's money that's being gambled with, rather it is the depositor's money that the bank lends. And the government and the society at-large that suffer the greater consequences of the foolish speculative manager who, basically, stands to lose his job.
And then get another. And, as we've seen in crony capitalism here in America, no doubt to do it all over again.
I'd say enjoy. But that'd be wrong.
NORMAN SOLOMON: Often journalists blame the government for the failure of the journalists themselves to do independent reporting. But nobody forced the major networks like CNN to do so much commentary from retired generals and admirals and all the rest of it. You had a top CNN official named Eason Jordan going on the air of his network and boasting that he had visited the Pentagon with a list of possible military commentators, and he asked officials at the Defense Department whether that was a good list of people to hire.It was so obviously stupid and pointless from the beginning. And the "serious" media cheered it on. Like it was some high school football game.
EASON JORDAN [speaking on CNN]: Oh, I think it’s important to have experts explain the war and to describe the military hardware, describe the tactics, talk about the strategy behind the conflict. I went to the Pentagon myself several times before the war started and met with important people there and said, for instance, at CNN, here are the generals we’re thinking of retaining to advise us on the air and off about the war, and we got a big thumbs up on all of them. That was important.
NORMAN SOLOMON: It wasn’t even something to hide, ultimately. It was something to say to the American people on its own network, “See, we’re team players. We may be the news media, but we’re on the same side and the same page as the Pentagon.” And that really runs directly counter to the idea of an independent press, and that suggests that we have some deep patterns of media avoidance when the U.S. is involved in a war based on.
Idiots. One and all.
Every gun that is fired, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children -- Dwight D. Eisenhower.
And, fortunately, there is some hope left:
Tom Freedman discusses new polling about poverty and hungerOf course our politicians, especially the Republican ones, will ignore this. Those that do should assigned to the dust-bin of politics. Along with the multi-millionaire talk show hosts and pundits that "speak for America" when all they speak for is $$$$.
Last week we officially launched this Spotlight website and released new polling on what voters want candidates to do about poverty. There was a lot of good feeling as leaders like Jack Kemp, Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), and current DLC chair Harold Ford agreed on the need to take action. Now the hard question about the politics of poverty: will anything useful happen in 2008 and if so how?
The polling, www.alliancetoendhunger.org, seems to indicate there is a good chance for candidates to take action. A not insubstantial 7% of all likely voters say “reducing hunger and poverty” is the most important issue in deciding their next vote for Congress or the US Senate. That’s not as much as some traditional favorites like “Health Care” (18%) or “Education” (11%), but it’s more than conventional political wisdom would predict. Indeed, it’s greater than the number of likely voters who say the most important voting issue for them is the “Environment” (5%). And an astounding 42% said fighting hunger and poverty is the biggest moral issue – outpacing abortion, gay marriage as well as the environment.
The rest is here.
Oh, and please, don't' call it the "War on Poverty." This whole "war" thing. Total crap. And we seem to do nothing but lose them, anyway.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
The tip for this came in from TED. (TED talks.) Since it's been busy season, I've not had the chance to keep terribly connected.
Leading film-makers are seeking to change the way we think about other countries. This is one of a powerful series of films to be shown on Pangea Day, May 10, "the day the world comes together through film".
See all four anthems. Then visit http://www.pangeaday.org and register your screening for May 10. It's time to imagine a different world.
Here a French choir sings the United States national anthem.
I actually thought it was quite good and quite interesting because of the accents. And they sing it, properly, up tempo instead of drawn out.
Religion is ‘the new social evil’Whoops! Be careful for what you ask. You may get it.
A CHARITY set up by an ardent Christian to fight slavery and the opium trade has identified a new social evil of the 21st century - religion.
A poll by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation uncovered a widespread belief that faith - not just in its extreme form - was intolerant, irrational and used to justify persecution.
Pollsters asked 3,500 people what they considered to be the worst blights on modern society, updating a list drawn up by Rowntree, a Quaker, 104 years ago. The responses may well have dismayed him. The researchers found that the “dominant opinion” was that religion was a “social evil”.As a newly minted Unitarian-Universalist, I have no problem with this statement. Religion, as it is commonly practiced, seems to always end up about control, exclusion, scapegoating and a whole host of ills practiced by an intolerant-minority portion of the (enabling) majority on the weak, non-group minority.
Many participants said religion divided society, fuelled intolerance and spawned “irrational” educational and other policies.
One said: “Faith in supernatural phenomena inspires hatred and prejudice throughout the world, and is commonly used as justification for persecution of women, gays and people who do not have faith.”
It also seems the greater the stressers on society, the greater the calls of persecution. Whether it's gay bashing, or closing abortion clinics, or refusing to dispense birth control or trying to suppress science, when troubles appear, the minority, often barely tolerated, gets persecuted to a greater or lesser degree.
Many respondents called for state funding of church schools to be ended.Well, some of them. And that's the rub. Not all religious people are bad. Just some of them. But they also tend to seek power and dominated and control others by intimidation, lies or even just by being charismatic.
The findings contrast with Rowntree’s “scourges of humanity”, which included poverty, war, slavery, intemperance, the opium trade, impurity and gambling.
Poverty and drugs remain, but are joined by issues such as family breakdown, young people’s behaviour and fears over immigration.
Tom Butler, the Bishop of Southwark, rejected the indictment of faith. He said: “People meeting together, week after week, for worship, support and education in church, synagogue, temple, gurdwara and mosque can not only help people build local community but can teach children to become good citizens.”
However, Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, said he was “extremely pleased”.I don't think it's just Britain. A lot of the world has "had it" with religion. At least the way it's been practiced by a minority of practitioners the past few decades. I read, a few weeks ago, that the majority of Muslims in the middle east reject fundamentalist Islam and would like a change. Problem is, the fundies have the guns. And the will to use them.
“Britain has had it with religion,” he said.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
The Color of Plants on Other WorldsSo, I'm a science ficion geek. Sue me.
On other worlds, plants could be red, blue, even black
In trying to figure out how photosynthesis might operate on other planets, the first step is to explain it on Earth. The energy spectrum of sunlight at Earth’s surface peaks in the blue-green, so scientists have long scratched their heads about why plants reflect green, thereby wasting what appears to be the best available light. The answer is that photosynthesis does not depend on the total amount of light energy but on the energy per photon and the number of photons that make up the light.
Whereas blue photons carry more energy than red ones, the sun emits more of the red kind. Plants use blue photons for their quality and red photons for their quantity. The green photons that lie in between have neither the energy nor the numbers, so plants have adapted to absorb fewer of them.
It's a long article, well written and full of science. You can find it here.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Maker of Vioxx Is Accused of DeceptionYou know, I bet I could parrot the Company denials and the Libertarian position on the markets, courts, etc., really well right now... Isolated incident... See, government regulation doesn't work... Sue Merck... Blah de blah de blah...
By David Brown
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 16, 2008; A01
Two teams of researchers with access to thousands of documents gathered for lawsuits over the painkiller Vioxx allege that Merck waged a campaign of deception to promote its drug, moving slowly to warn of possible hazards while at the same time
dressing up in-house studies as the work of independent academic researchers.
The reports in today's Journal of the American Medical Association in effect accuse one of the world's biggest pharmaceutical makers of various forms of scientific fraud.
One study alleges that Merck gave the Food and Drug Administration an incomplete accounting of deaths in a clinical trial of Vioxx in people with mild dementia. Federal regulators eventually received the data, which added to growing evidence that Vioxx increased the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Simultaneously, Merck was using what the JAMA authors call "guest authorship and ghostwriting" to make it appear that research done by its employees or contractors was the work of scientists at medical schools and universities. That presumably gave the findings more credibility when they were published, in medical journals, boosting Vioxx's profile in the crowded painkiller market.
The FDA was never perfect, but Reagan and the wing-nuts destroyed it, and much of government, well it doesn't seem to work much at all... It certainly doesn't have the funding it needs.
So, our drugs kill us. Or they just don't really work with the claims of the effectiveness bolstered through ginned up studies as people who rely on the medicines die. Other drugs are poisonous as we get the materials from unregulated markets, like China. Our toys are covered with lead. Or are dangerous. Our consumer goods are full of heavy metals, not wired safely, or a made with substandard parts in sweat-shops barely one-step above slave labor. It's like we're living in a third-world country.
And yet we have the highest paid, by a massive margin, CEOs on the planet.
We really need to make a government that works. One that will support the middle class, not the elite. And, honestly, I'm at the point where I think we should just scrap the whole damn thing and try again. Maybe a Parliamentary system.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Pope 'led cover-up of child abuse by priests'If I were the head of the Department of Justice, I'd go after the Catholic Church under the RICO statutes. They deserve not one shred of mercy, only cold, hard justice.
The Pope played a leading role in a systematic cover-up of child sex abuse by Roman Catholic priests, according to a shocking documentary to be screened by the BBC tonight.
In 2001, while he was a cardinal, he issued a secret Vatican edict to Catholic bishops all over the world, instructing them to put the Church's interests ahead of child safety.
The document recommended that rather than reporting sexual abuse to the relevant legal authorities, bishops should encourage the victim, witnesses and perpetrator not to talk about it. And, to keep victims quiet, it threatened that if they repeat the allegations they would be excommunicated.
The Panorama special, Sex Crimes And The Vatican, investigates the details of this little-known document for the first time. The programme also accuses the Catholic Church of knowingly harbouring paedophile clergymen. It reveals that priests accused of child abuse are generally not struck off or arrested but simply moved to another parish, often to reoffend. It gives examples of hush funds being used to silence the victims.
The rest is here.
Monday, April 14, 2008
NCSE's counter-site to the hideous little propaganda film, Expelled, has been created. There are probably a score of reviews of the crap-fest propaganda film as well as a few articles, such as how they have lied and cheated to get interviews for the film.
Also, whenever you write about the movie, use this:
to make an embedded HTML hyper-link to refer back to the movie. If enough of do this, the NCSE site will be linked instead of the Lying for Jesus site run by the producers of Expelled.
Edit: Okay, having trouble with my HTML. I should be getting <> by using the HTML character references. But it's not working. Duh me.
Edit II: Ha ha. There's always someone on the Internet that knows more than you. And is willing to help. Whew!
As President, I will do everything in my power to ensure that those who serve today and those who have served in the past have access to the highest quality health, mental health and rehabilitative care in the world. The disgrace of Walter Reed must not be forgotten. … Whatever our commitments to veterans cost, we will keep them, as you have kept every commitment to us. The honor of a great nation is at stake.McCain when it counts:
Not only has he refused to support the 21st Century GI Bill, which the Veterans of Foreign Wars endorsed last June, he has consistently voted against increasing funding for the Veterans’ Administration, which oversees all medical care for veterans:And, of course, he wants his 100-years war, as well. I swear, he's gone so far off the deep-end he's hanging around these guys on the Flip-Flop Express:
– Voted AGAINST an amendment providing $20 billion to the VA’s medical facilities. [5/4/06]
– Voted AGAINST providing $430 million to the VA for outpatient care “and treatment for veterans,” one of only 13 senators to do so. [4/26/06]
– Voted AGAINST increasing VA funding by $1.5 billion by closing corporate loopholes. [3/14/06]
– Voted AGAINST increasing VA funding by $1.8 billion by ending “abusive tax loopholes.” [3/10/04]
– Voted AGAINST a $650 million increase in veterans’ medical care funding. [8/1/01]
He has 2% support? Wow, that's incredible. It should be 0%. After all, if successfully operating government for the good of the people was his objective, he's failed in every way possible.
The First Draft of History Looks a Bit Rough on Bush
President Bush often argues that history will vindicate him. So he can't be pleased with an informal survey of 109 professional historians conducted by the History News Network.
It found that 98 percent of them believe that Bush's presidency has been a failure, while only about 2 percent see it as a success. Not only that, more than 61 percent of the historians say the current presidency is the worst in American history. In 2004, only 11.6 percent of the historians rated Bush's presidency in last place. Among the reasons given for his low ratings: invading Iraq, "tax breaks for the rich," and alienating many nations around the world.
Bush supporters counter that professional historians today tend to be liberal and that it's too early to assess how his policies will turn out.
OTOH, if destroying the government and turning the US into a third-world banana republic was his idea, then he's done a "heckuva job."
Saturday, April 12, 2008
My favorite B-52's tune, Planet Claire.
Ah, yes, when they were young (I had hair) and just cashing in on their success. This was from 1983, about four years after I'd first heard Rock Lobster and three years after the SNL spot catapulted them into stardom.
A year or so after this concert the drummer died and The B-52's crashed. After that they spent the next twenty years bouncing in-and-out of the music scene with the peak being their hit album that included "Love Shack" in 1990 (or so). Love Shack was a nice tune, but, really, it really lacked the Dada-like, almost nonsensical lyrics of their earlier work.
Hopefully, their new album (Funplex, released a few weeks ago) will recapture their early energy. And, if not, at least it should be fun and better than 90% of the boy-band/faux gansta crap that gets released now.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced today that it has found hazardous levels of selenium in samples of certain flavors of the dietary supplement products "Total Body Formula" and "Total Body Mega Formula." The FDA has received 43 reports of persons from nine states who experienced serious adverse reactions using these products.Notice they didn't tell you this:
On March 27, the FDA warned consumers not to purchase or use "Total Body Formula" in flavors Tropical Orange and Peach Nectar and "Total Body Mega Formula" in the Orange/Tangerine flavor of these products after receiving reports of adverse reactions in users in Florida and Tennessee here). The adverse reactions generally occurred after five to 10 days of daily ingestion of the product, and included significant hair loss, muscle cramps, diarrhea, joint pain, deformed fingernails, and fatigue.
Selenium, a naturally occurring mineral, is needed only in very small amounts for good health. Selenium can boost the immune system. Generally, normal consumption of food and water provides adequate selenium to support good health. Excessive intake of selenium is known to cause symptoms to include significant hair loss, muscle cramps, diarrhea, joint pain, fatigue, loss of finger nails and blistering skin.
Pregnancy—It is especially important that you are receiving enough vitamins and minerals when you become pregnant and that you continue to receive the right amount of vitamins and minerals throughout your pregnancy. The healthy growth and development of the fetus depend on a steady supply of nutrients from the mother. However, taking large amounts of a dietary supplement in pregnancy may be harmful to the mother and/or fetus and should be avoided.And also in long-term chronic exposure because selenium concentrates. In California, many wet-lands have become highly contaminated with selenium-laced agricultural run-off and, consequently, the breeding bird populations have collapsed. Environmentalists have tried to get the poor practices that lead to this positioning stopped, but, so far between the rather pro-agricultural courts and laws and the Astro-Turf groups, nothing has been done despite the lessons that should have been learned at Kesterson NWR.
Studies in animals have shown that selenium causes birth defects when given in large doses.
Sometimes I feel like I'm living in a bad science-fiction, dystopian-genre story that ends with glassed in eco-preserves where the 8-remaining butterflies must be protected while humans live in squalor and starvation in their over-populated world-of-hovels eating yeast-cakes.
RESPECTED academic Don Aitkin has seen the ugly side of the climate change debate after being warned he faced demonisation if he challenged the accepted wisdom that global warming poses a danger to humanity.That's because he gets snared by a common fallacy common trap in which many educated people fall -- the errant belief that expertise in one area makes you an expert in all areas.
Professor Aitkin told The Australian yesterday he had been told he was "out of his mind" by some in the media after writing that the science of global warming "doesn't seem to stack up".
Declaring global warming might not be such an important issue, Professor Aitkin argued in a speech to the Planning Insitute of Australia this month that counter measures such as carbon trading were likely to be unnecessary, expensive and futile without stronger evidence of a crisis.It's really funny, certain areas get settled, in the scientific community, but some actors in the issue don't want it settled. So they muddy the water. In our lives, the three big "scientific controversies (that are not)" are:
The eminent historian and political scientist said in a speech called A Cool Look at Global Warming, which has received little public attention, that he was urged not to express his contrary views to orthodox thinking because he would be demonised.
He says critics who question the impact of global warming are commonly ignored or attacked because "scientist activists" from a quasi-religious movement have spread a flawed message that "the science is settled" and "the debate is over".
1. Darwin's Theory of Evolution - Over 150 years old, it is one of the most robust and established scientific theories in science. Yet it remains under attack by religious extremists, especially in the middle east and United States, to this day.
2. Smoking causes lung cancer - Tobacco "scientists" fought this in the industrialized first-world for decades, despite the evidence and scientific consensus arrived at well before it became "accepted scientific fact" by the Astro-Turf Organizations funded by big tobacco. Solely to protect their profits, big Tobacco still denies this link and promotes their lies about the health benefits of tobacco in many parts of the world.
3. Global warming - I could understand being a bit skeptical in the 1970's and even into the early 1980's. But that, at least in my case, came from my noticing the media's tendency for over-blowing tentative results of narrow papers into broad, hysteria-driven conclusions that were later refuted through more science. But we've got another 20 years of research and solid data and it's looking pretty grim.
He's a political science researcher and a denialist who, because of his position, is given more weight than he merits. You can read the rest of the classic "Argument by Personal Incredulity" fallacy here.
Professor Aitkin is a former vice-chancellor at the University of Canberra, foundation chairman of the Australian Research Council and a distinguished researcher at the Australian National University and Macquarie University.
Although not a scientist, he has brought his critical approach as an experienced academic accustomed to testing theories to a debate he says so far lacks clear evidence.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Coarsely chop first 7 ingredients in processor. Add wine and blend, using on/off turns, until orange is finely chopped but mixture is still chunky. Transfer to bowl. DO AHEAD Can be made 4 days ahead. Cover; chill.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
The Emperor Penguin colony where the movie “March of the Penguins” was filmed has been shrinking. The colony ( Pt Géologie) is located in northern Antarctica where temperatures have been steadily rising. In recent years, the ice has become too thin, and so it blows away before the chicks are grown. Therefore, fewer and fewer young penguins have been returning to live in this colony. Most Emperor Penguin colonies occur much farther south where temperatures are still very cold. This could change, however, if global warming trends continue.But those dirty, hippie scientists... Well, they'd say and do anything to promote their granola-eating, tree-hugging communist agenda...
More Penguin science here.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
To wit: Stein, Frankowski and pals say in "Expelled" that perfectly good scientists and educators are being stigmatized for wanting to teach their students creationism and "intelligent design" — in other words, junk science — in addition to or instead of conventionally accepted Darwinism. You see, Stein, like some other celebrities, finally has shown his true colors and they aren’t so pretty.Much fanfare. So far the fanfare has been brutal, with Expelled setting the bar high for "how it's not done."
The gist of Stein’s involvement is: He’s outraged! He believes in God! God created the universe! How can we not avail our students of this theory? What do you mean we’re just molecules?
What the producers of this film would love, love, love is a controversy. That’s because it’s being marketed by the same people who brought us "The Passion of the Christ." They’re hoping someone will latch onto an anti-Semitism theme here, since there’s a visit to a concentration camp and the raised idea — apparently typical of the intelligent design community — that somehow the theory of evolution is so evil that it caused the Holocaust. Alas, this is such a warped premise that no one’s biting.
The whole idea of Stein, a Jew, jumping on the intelligent design bandwagon of the theory of evolution begetting the Nazis is so distasteful you wonder what in — sorry — God’s name — he was thinking when he got into this. Who cares, really, if "Expelled" is anti-Semitic? It will come and go without much fanfare.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Climate target is not radical enough - studyNo wonder the Bushies and wingnuts have tried to silence Hansen. He tells you like it is, and he has the data to back it up.
One of the world's leading climate scientists warns today that the EU and its international partners must urgently rethink targets for cutting carbon dioxide in the atmosphere because of fears they have grossly underestimated the scale of the problem.
In a startling reappraisal of the threat, James Hansen, head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, calls for a sharp reduction in C02 limits.
Hansen says the EU target of 550 parts per million of C02 - the most stringent in the world - should be slashed to 350ppm. He argues the cut is needed if "humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilisation developed". A final version of the paper Hansen co-authored with eight other climate scientists, is posted today on the Archive website. Instead of using theoretical models to estimate the sensitivity of the climate, his team turned to evidence from the Earth's history, which they say gives a much more accurate picture.
The team studied core samples taken from the bottom of the ocean, which allow C02 levels to be tracked millions of years ago. They show that when the world began to glaciate at the start of the Ice age about 35m years ago, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere stood at about 450ppm.
"If you leave us at 450ppm for long enough it will probably melt all the ice - that's a sea rise of 75 metres. What we have found is that the target we have all been aiming for is a disaster - a guaranteed disaster," Hansen told the Guardian.
And while the right-wing spin machine hasn't had time to get the Astroturf wound up and fighing the war for Exxon, we know it's just a matter of time before the Astroturf will deride the paper. Nothing like a measured, fact-filled paper telling you something important which requires you to change your business/life-style model to get the corporatist and economic ideologues frothing at the mouth. In fact, I'm sure McIntyre and the rest of them at 'Climate Audit' are ready to put their Exxon money to use.
Even worse is that 'Climate Audit' won "best science blog" of 2007. When it's not a science blog. It's a junk-science blog based on lies and seems to be indirectly funded by Exxon through one of the right-wing think tanks, with one rumbling saying McIntyre's work is funded by an Exxon pass-through grant from the George C Marshall Institute (GMI). And while that's not established fact and remains a speculative charge, it's because McIntyre refuses to divulge his finances and answers with vague generalities, even though he's got a very strong association with big Oil and GMI.
Ah well, as Mencken said: "No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American middle class." And even if he's working for free, as he claims, he's a ideological clown and those that follow him down the path to disaster are rubes.
Monday, April 7, 2008
Sunday, April 6, 2008
The Green LightEveryday I hope someone finally gets the balls to do the right thing and hold them accountable for these horrible, un-American (well, supposedly, but that's another story) acts.
As the first anniversary of 9/11 approached, and a prized Guantánamo detainee wouldn’t talk, the Bush administration’s highest-ranking lawyers argued for extreme interrogation techniques, circumventing international law, the Geneva Conventions, and the army’s own Field Manual. The attorneys would even fly to Guantánamo to ratchet up the pressure—then blame abuses on the military. Philippe Sands follows the torture trail, and holds out the possibility of war crimes charges.
Seeing the run-up in stocks, and the rosy "it's all good" forecasts, like the brokerage houses in America, and their foolish SIV mortgage-backed securities built on the irrational belief of an ever-increasing values of homes in the real-estate market, the Australians prove that greed and foolishness in the financial markets is international in scope and that, no matter how many times bad times happen, nobody can learn the lessons of speculation and margin.
Not content to earn normal profits in a way that is sustainable, a number of Australian brokerage firms and banks repeat the mistakes of the Great Depression, which they also suffered the consequences of, and, more recently, Japan made in the 1980's:
Bad times always seem to flush out the truth. The soul-searching now under way among our biggest banks - and their counterparts around the world - should have taken place early last year when it was obvious the stockmarket boom was built on a mountain of debt.Like the US, the Australians had a large number of banks fold during the Great Depression for, from what I understand, pretty much the same foolish reasons our banks collapsed. What I don't understand is why the Australians didn't learn from the Japanese mistake as, since the 1960's or so, they've been much more tied to the economies and practices in Oceania than Europe and America.
They should have known better. After all, they were the ones lending the money, and it is not the first time this has happened. The difference now is that it appears that they have also been involved in lending out the shares, thereby fuelling the selling that has brought them undone
In brief, the brokers and banks engaged in a classic "easy credit" margin scheme where the customer borrows much of the purchase price of the share and tries to ride the increasing value to extraordinary profits though the economic concept of leverage. Briefly, if a share costs $30 and you borrow $20, you've got a $10 investment. When the share appreciates, it appreciates on the full value. Thus, when the share goes up $10, to $40, you've doubled your investment from $10 to $20, instead of a more mundane one-third increase (from $30 invested to $40 invested). Leverage, unfortunately, is a double-edged sword and can accelerate losses as well. Predictably, when these schemes go bad, they go very bad, as happened here:
Go wrong it did.And, making it worse, were the actions of the banks:
Late last year, the stockmarket was hit by massive selling. The banks began calling on those brokers for extra security. And the brokers started calling on their clients to top up their security. Some of their favoured clients had borrowed up to 80 per cent of the value of the shares they had bought. But the banks had loaned the brokers a much smaller percentage.
So Tricom and Opes had to begin doling out their own cash to the banks to cover the losses. And in the case of Opes and its star client, the former criminal lawyer Chris Murphy, the calls to top up security appear not to have occurred, even when the bank loans over Murphy's shares far exceeded the share prices.
One of Murphy's big punts was on Challenger Financial, backed by the Packer family. He reportedly borrowed $190 million to buy $250 million worth of Challenger shares. When the share price plunged from about $6.65 to $1.51, Murphy was in deep trouble and the bank began selling his shares, to which he seemed oblivious.
It appears Murphy and most of Opes's other clients didn't know two things. The first was that the shares they bought were held by the bank and not the broker. And the second was that ANZ, as one of the biggest share custodians in Australia, had been lending out those same shares to hedge funds which have precipitated massive falls on the stockmarket.Yes, because when it goes bad, the bank is going to protect itself. Even though its actions will make it worse for everyone. Including, ultimately, the bank itself as it further depresses the value of its collateral.
So the ANZ has ultimately been responsible for huge falls on the stockmarket that have jeopardised billions of dollars of its own loans, money it now is trying to recoup by selling the shares and thereby pushing share prices even lower.
What men want: thin's not inHere we are, size 12, size 14, both perfectly healthy and normal body types that speak of both fitness and abundance on a fundamental biological level that no ideology, no matter how well-meaning, can over-come. But that isn't going to stop someone from pissing on the parade because they can't accept biology trumps ideology:
More Australian men will choose size 14 over size eight when it comes to the body shape of their ideal woman, igniting debate on what it means to be thin.
Men's magazine FHM conducted an online survey asking whether its readers found a size eight, size 12 or size 14 model most attractive.
But Julie Thomson, general manager of eating disorders and body image campaigners The Butterfly Foundation, said such surveys were far more damaging to women than they were helpful.Fortunately though, not everyone is driven by the hormones, or their ideology. We are not computers or books or women's studies programs. We are humans. And we are attracted to each other, on a great extent, by our perceived reproductive fitness. Fortunately some of us can look at issues like this through the prism of science without immediately bashing others:
"It objectifies women and still perpetuates this ideal that men do look at women externally only," she said.
Flinders University body image expert Marika Tiggemann said the findings supported academic research on the topic on female body image. "We find women want to be thinner than what men find attractive," Professor Tiggemann said. "Men's idea of what is 'thin' is larger than that of women. Unfortunately, a lot of people think being thin demonstrates being in control or being disciplined, while being fat is a sign you're weak."Women diet to show-up other other women? I did not know that, though having watched and listened to my mother and her unhealthy dieting issues for a decade, I should have. But, even not connecting that in my youth, as an adult I'm not surprised. Men do all kinds of stupid things to their bodies to compete with other men, no reason women should be exempt. After all, they're people too. And one thing you can count on is that people will do stupid and unhealthy things for stupid and unhealthy reasons.
The editor of women's magazine Cleo, Nedahl Stelio, said that most women did not diet for men but for other women. "Most men I know would go for more boob over thinner thighs, but women, by nature, are competitive with other women," she said.
"And if the society and celebrity ideal is thin, that's what she's going to aspire to, just to get one up on other women."
Saturday, April 5, 2008
British officials gave warning yesterday that America's commander in Iraq will declare that Iran is waging war against the US-backed Baghdad government.His evidence:
A strong statement from General David Petraeus about Iran's intervention in Iraq could set the stage for a US attack on Iranian military facilities, according to a Whitehall assessment. In closely watched testimony in Washington next week, Gen Petraeus will state that the Iranian threat has risen as Tehran has supplied and directed attacks by militia fighters against the Iraqi state and its US allies.
The outbreak of Iraq's worst violence in 18 months last week with fighting in Basra and the daily bombardment of the Green Zone diplomatic enclave, demonstrated that although the Sunni Muslim insurgency is dramatically diminished, Shia forces remain in a strong position to destabilise the country.
"Petraeus is going to go very hard on Iran as the source of attacks on the American effort in Iraq," a British official said. "Iran is waging a war in Iraq. The idea that America can't fight a war on two fronts is wrong, there can be airstrikes and other moves," he said.
"Petraeus has put emphasis on America having to fight the battle on behalf of Iraq. In his report he can frame it in terms of our soldiers killed and diplomats dead in attacks on the Green Zone."
In remarks interpreted as signalling a change in his approach to Iran, Gen Petraeus last week hit out at the Iranian leadership. "The rockets that were launched at the Green Zone were Iranian-provided, Iranian-made rockets," he said. "All of this in complete violation of promises made by President Ahmadinejad and the other most senior Iranian leaders to their Iraqi counterparts."Funny, but I remember reading that while it was alleged they were Iranian munitions early in the fighting, further analysis indicated that they were not Iranian. Rather they were a mixed bag of Katyusha rockets (Soviet pre-WWII-designed weapon) and generic mortars bought on the black market and scavenged from the hundreds of munitions bunkers left unguarded in our poorly planned war and occupation.
I also remember all the lies the have come out of the mouth Petraeus. Lies about the worthiness of the Iraqi combat brigades when he was in charge of training them. Lies about the effectiveness of the surge. Really, just about everything.
Friday, April 4, 2008
This week's revelation of another secret Bush administration memo that seemed to eliminate any boundaries on the treatment of detainees added to the already substantial evidence that US military and intelligence interrogators have abused and perhaps even tortured prisoners rounded up during the "war on terror."Of course they're not going to look at the issue. This is America, land of the Myth. And the biggest myth we tell ourselves is how "good" we are on the world's stage, while ignoring just how horrible we have actually acted since the days of Woodrow Wilson. Even in WWII when we were trying the Nazi's for war crimes, we lost on some of the charges we laid against Admiral Donitz because Admiral Nimitz ordered the same exact thing!
Former Justice Department lawyer John Yoo wrote in 2003 that Bush's seemingly supreme authority in wartime trumped federal laws "prohibiting assault, maiming and other crimes," as the Washington Post reported. For constitutional lawyer Jonathan Turley, the latest memo should be more than enough reason for Congress to begin some serious investigations, but hesitance to really dig into Bush-authorized "war crimes" have precluded them from doing so, he says.
"It is really amazing because Congress -- including the Democrats -- have avoided any type of investigation into torture because they do not want to deal with the fact that the president ordered war crimes," Turley told MSNBC's Keith Olbermann Thursday night. "But evidence keeps on coming out.... What you get from this is this was a premeditated and carefully orchestrated torture program. Not torture, but a torture program."
Thursday, April 3, 2008
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Comprehensive sex education that includes discussion of birth control may help reduce teen pregnancies, while abstinence-only programs seem to fall short, the results of a U.S. survey suggest.Religion really should have no place in issues that are, essentially, scientific/fact-based endeavours. Argue about angels on the heads of pins all you want. But keep religion out of public policy, education and science as all it does is fall short and breed another generation of ignoramuses.
Using data from a 2002 national survey, researchers found that among more than 1,700 unmarried, heterosexual teens between 15 and 19 years old, those who'd received comprehensive sex ed in school were 60 percent less likely to have been pregnant or gotten someone pregnant than teens who'd had no formal sex education.
Meanwhile, there was no clear benefit from abstinence-only education in preventing pregnancy or delaying sexual intercourse, the researchers report in the Journal of Adolescent Health.
OBAMA'S DIMESTORE 'MEIN KAMPF'Doesn't she have a Clinton to bash?
Obama tells a story about taking two white friends from the high school basketball team to a "black party." Despite their deep-seated, unconscious hatred of blacks, the friends readily accepted. At the party, they managed not to scream the N-word, but instead "made some small talk, took a couple of the girls out on the dance floor."
But with his racial hair-trigger, Obama sensed the whites were not comfortable because "they kept smiling a lot." And then, in an incident reminiscent of the darkest days of the Jim Crow South ... they asked to leave after spending only about an hour at the party! It was practically an etiquette lynching!
So either they hated black people with the hot, hot hate of a thousand suns, or they were athletes who had come to a party late, after a Saturday night basketball game.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Iranian general played key role in Iraq cease-fireHonestly, impeachment is too good for Bush and Cheney. And the Neocons enablers of those two heartless idiots are, one and all, morons. That clown posse of idiots tricked our country into this loser of a war with the long-term results being limited to bankrupting our country and devastating theirs.
BAGHDAD — Iraqi lawmakers traveled to the Iranian holy city of Qom over the weekend to win the support of the commander of Iran's Qods brigades in persuading Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr to order his followers to stop military operations, members of the Iraqi parliament said.
Sadr ordered the halt on Sunday, and his Mahdi Army militia heeded the order in Baghdad, where the Iraqi government announced it would lift a 24-hour curfew starting early Monday in most parts of the capital.
The backdrop to Sadr's dramatic statement was a secret trip Friday by Iraqi lawmakers to Qom, Iran's holy city and headquarters for the Iranian clergy who run the country.
There the Iraqi lawmakers held talks with Brig. Gen. Qassem Suleimani, commander of the Qods (Jerusalem) brigades of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps and signed an agreement with Sadr, which formed the basis of his statement Sunday, members of parliament said.
Ali al Adeeb, a member of Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki's Dawa party, and Hadi al Ameri, the head of the Badr Organization, the military wing of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, had two aims, lawmakers said: to ask Sadr to stand down his militia and to ask Iranian officials to stop supplying weapons to Shiite militants in Iraq.
"The statement issued today by (Muqtada al Sadr) is a result of the meetings," said Jalal al-Din al Saghir, a leading member of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq. "The government didn't have any disagreement with the Sadrists when it went to the city of Basra. The Sadrist movement is the one that chose to face the government."
I'm thinking give them a fair trial then hang them. Just like the Nazis or any other tin-pot dictator.