Friday, May 30, 2008
His most memorable film role was as the outlandish Hedley Lamarr (who was endlessly exasperated when people called him Hedy) in Mel Brooks' 1974 Western satire, "Blazing Saddles." Brooks tapped Korman's kinetic comic chops often, including roles in "High Anxiety," "The History of the World Part I" and "Dracula: Dead and Loving It."
Korman's other films included two "Pink Panther" moves, "Trail of the Pink Panther" in 1982 and "Curse of the Pink Panther" in 1983; "Gypsy," "Huckleberry Finn" (as the King), "Herbie Goes Bananas" and "Bud and Lou" (as legendary straightman Bud Abbott to Buddy Hackett's Lou Costello).
In television, Korman guest-starred in dozens of series including "The Donna Reed Show," "Dr. Kildare," "Perry Mason," "The Wild Wild West," "The Muppet Show," "The Love Boat" and "Burke's Law."
Thursday, May 29, 2008
I'm thinking it would take the cost of therapy to a whole new level...:
Sexy Turkey HatWell, at least their hobby is mostly harmless. And they have good fun.
By popular demand this popular design is now available in a crochet pattern! For the ever infamous knitting version please visit our Etsy store. Our Turkey Tea Cozy is now available in crochet as well - also in our Etsy store.
There are some people, I am told, that have elegant Thanksgiving suppers. Then there are the rest of us.
Going to the in-laws for Thanksgiving this year.
Give them the bird.
HA HA - Well, its a thought.
Seriously though, it is a sexy bird. yes.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Rick Kieffe, owner of Kieffe and Sons Ford in Mojave and Rosamond, insisted Wednesday that he does not remember approving the ad, which he said was written by his longtime advertising writer and producer in Oklahoma.The guy doesn't even go to church. Sounds like the advertising exec who wrote that add is toast.
“It’s just something that went by us,” said Kieffe, who does not attend church but considers himself “a Christian spirit.” “We’re obviously sorry that it offends a given segment who identifies themselves as atheist.”
Airing on local AM and FM radio in eastern Kern County and the Antelope Valley, the ad has gained a lot of attention on the Internet, where blog posts go on and on about its pro-Christian, anti-atheist message.
The rest is here.
Granholm's Tax WarningA libertarian chestnut based on a gold-standard economy that really doesn't bear scrutiny in today's world. When the government takes through taxation, it doesn't shred the money or put in a vault somewhere, permanently reducing the money supply like the Kings of Old.
May 28, 2008; Page A16
It's no fun to kick a state when it's down – especially when the local politicians are doing a fine job of it – but the latest news of Michigan's deepening budget woe is a national warning of what happens when you raise taxes in a weak economy.
Rather it takes a certain amount of money, let's say $100, and uses that money to buy goods and services which, in long-term break-even spending, will equal the intake. In this case $100. Had the person taxed $100 kept his $100, in the long run what would happen? He'd buy $100 in goods and services.
Yes, there are short-run differences. Both States and individuals save. Both States and individuals deficit spend. In the long-run though, there is no difference to the economy if the government or an individual buys $100 of goods and services.
Officials in Lansing reported this month that the state faces a revenue shortfall between $350 million and $550 million next budget year. This is a major embarrassment for Governor Jennifer Granholm, the second-term Democrat who shut down the state government last year until the Legislature approved Michigan's biggest tax hike in a generation. Her tax plan raised the state income tax rate to 4.35% from 3.9%, and increased the state's tax on gross business receipts by 22%. Ms. Granholm argued that these new taxes would raise some $1.3 billion in new revenue that could be "invested" in social spending and new businesses and lead to a Michigan renaissance.Right because something important has happened in the economy. But you're not going to us this, are you?
Not quite. Six months later one-third of the expected revenues have vanished as the state's economy continues to struggle. Income tax collections are falling behind estimates, as are property tax receipts and those from the state's transaction tax on home sales.
Of course not. You have an ideology you need to spread, like a virus, because you've got something at stake: a high income you want to protect and an inability to see that income is part of an interrelated whole we call "society" and "civilization." One where, if run by selfish bastards, ends up with a gilded age of a few very rich and most everyone else in crushing, hopeless poverty.
Michigan is now in the 18th month of a state-wide recession, and the unemployment rate of 6.9% remains far above the national rate of 5%. Ms. Granholm blames the nationwide mortgage meltdown and higher energy prices for the job losses and disappearing revenues, but this Great Lakes state is in its own unique hole. Nearby Illinois (5.4% jobless rate) and even Ohio (5.6%) are doing better.Well, you add more "fun facts" to the table but where's the argument...
Leon Drolet, the head of the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance, complains that "we are witnessing the Detroit-ification of Michigan." By that he means that the same high tax and spend policies that have hollowed out the Motor City are now infecting many other areas of the state.Okay. Lots of coded rhetoric. But still no facts, no data, just whining and crying. And some unintentional irony, if the State "fattened payrolls" that means someone is making money. Or did this escape his notice? And how is this a bad thing?
The tax hikes have done nothing but accelerate the departures of families and businesses. Michigan ranks fourth of the 50 states in declining home values, and these days about two families leave for every family that moves in. Making matters worse is that property taxes are continuing to rise by the rate of overall inflation, while home values fall. Michigan natives grumble that the only reason more people aren't blazing a path out of the state is they can't sell their homes. Research by former Comerica economist David Littmann finds that about the only industry still growing in Michigan is government. Ms. Granholm's $44.8 billion budget this year further fattened agency payrolls.
Does he not understand what these people do with the money they get from their jobs? Here's a clue: they buy goods and services. In fact, unlike the rich who would tend to save the money where it would do no good to the economy (just get tied up in circulation in the stock market) this money will tend to be spent, generating MORE goods and services. Which is why Bush sent out the welfare checks in a classic Keynesian stimulus package. To get money into people's hands that are more likely to spend it on goods and services to jump-start the lagging economy that, by itself, lacks the robustness to stimulate itself.
There's another national lesson from the Granholm tax dud. If Democrats believe that anger over the economy and high gas prices have put voters in a receptive mood for higher taxes, they should visit the Wolverine State.If there is a lesson to be learned, the lesson is that the Rich engage in class warfare with concepts the average person doesn't understand. Lacking understanding, these individuals can't see they're being taken for a ride.
Just a few weeks ago taxpayer advocates collected enough signatures in suburban Detroit for a ballot initiative to recall powerful Speaker of the House Andy Dillon, who was one of last year's tax-hike ringleaders. Voters seem to think there would be rough justice if for once politicians, rather than workers, lose their jobs from higher taxes.
Now, do you want to know why Michigan is in trouble? The REAL reason? According to the FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF CHICAGO (written in 2005) the hand-writing was on the wall:
The economies of both states are automotive intensive, but Michigan to an even greater degree. Indiana’s automotive share dominates manufacturing inside the state, at 16%. But Michigan’s automotive sector accounts for 35% of its manufacturing employment. A weakening automotive sector, then, would be felt more sharply in Michigan.Essentially, Michigan has too much auto manufacturing and too many of them are American companies instead of foreign. And thus, sober, clean economic analysis based on facts by someone who wants to understand what's going on tells us the TRUTH of Michigan then, and paints a future of what could happen in Michigan.
On top this, the auto sector’s performance in Michigan has been worse. From 2001 to date, automotive jobs have fallen 24% in Michigan, compared to 8% in Indiana.
Indiana’s automotive performance is buffered by having a larger share of foreign auto parts and auto assembly plants than Michigan. According to senior economist Thomas Klier, 29% of automotive parts plants in Indiana are foreign owned, as are 2 of its 3 auto assembly plants.
Classic science verses religion understanding. Empirical evidence, rigorous modeling, paying attention to factors that are causal making testable predictions versus "taxes is EVIL rhetoric"that fails to note we've had tax hikes in bad-times before and they've done no harm.
The embarrassingly inept and dishonest way this column is argued, btw, the reason I stopped subscribing to the WSJ in the 1980's. The WSJ reporting is first class, but doesn't really apply to me or my business model (sole-proprietor CPA) leaving me with its worthless opinion section.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
And if all that wasn't bad enough, lets not forget the peace in Iraq is, substantially, at the pleasure of Al Sadr and other Iranian-backed militias. Or how we were called out by the Iraqis because our congressmen, including Democrats like the detestable Rahm Emanual, have started saying the Iraqis should finance the reconstruction of their country:
Mideast negotiations now bypassing Washington
By Warren P. Strobel and Hannah Allam
WASHINGTON — In a week of dramatic developments in the Middle East, the most dramatic development of all may have been the fact that the United States, long considered the region's indispensable player, was missing in action.
As its closest allies cut deals with their adversaries this week over the Bush administration's opposition, Washington was largely reduced to watching.
More painful for President Bush, friends he's cultivated — and spent heavily on — in Lebanon and Iraq asked the United States to remain in the background, underlining how politically toxic an association with the U.S. can be for Arab leaders.
Over the past few days:The Lebanese government, which has received $1.3 billion and political support from the Bush administration, compromised with the Hezbollah-led opposition, giving the Iranian-backed Shiite Muslim group, which Washington considers a terrorist organization, a greater role in running the country.State Department officials scoffed at the notion that the United States has been relegated to the sidelines.
Israel ignored U.S. objections and entered indirect peace talks with Syria through Turkey, another longtime U.S. ally.
The U.S.-backed Iraqi government of Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki deployed military forces to Baghdad's Sadr City slum under an agreement that specifically excluded U.S. troops.
Saudi Arabia, a crucial oil supplier and long a major buyer of U.S. weapons, is quietly closing what could be a multibillion-dollar arms deal with Russia, according to a U.S. defense official.
Demands like these are not only unacceptable but are in a sense meant to punish Iraqis for the destruction and devastation U.S.-waged invasion and occupation of their country has caused.I can't say I'm too sad about the US being bypassed and called out. I've long recognized that we're the biggest part of the problem in the region and not the solution. We've been blowing it up, literally and figuratively, for fifty-years. We can't fix it because none of them trust or respect us. And probably won't for decades.
Does it mean that the U.S. Congress wants us to pay billions of dollars for the reconstruction of bridges, hospitals, schools as well as cities, towns and villages U.S. warplanes and military might have destroyed? (snip)
Iraqis have been made to pay with their blood which has been flowing like rivers since the U.S. invasion. And shockingly the U.S. would like them to pay for the destruction it has inflicted on their country as if their blood is not enough.
The U.S. is morally responsible for the construction of Iraq but it is doubtful whether its political leaders have any more morality left. The whole Iraq war is morally wrong. It is too much indeed to ask the U.S. to get it morally right. [..]
As for Bush and his cronies, they need a good hanging. Then a fair trial.
RAVENA -- It's not every day that the state's largest source of toxic mercury pollution can tout a national environmental award. But it can only help to belong to the group giving the award.Mercury is, as most of us know, is a toxic substance that decreases fertility, neurological disorders such as lowered IQ, language, memory, fine motor skills and visual-spatial abilities. If your fetus is exposed to enough mercury, it can cause metal retardation. In addition to the aforementioned neurological disorders, mercury has also been linked to lung and kidney damage and even death.
The Lafarge cement plant in Ravena is one of 21 companies -- including coal-fired and nuclear power plants, plastics factories and petrochemical facilities -- to be honored for biodiversity conservation by the Maryland-based Wildlife Habitat Council.
A Lafarge press release announcing a news conference today says the award was just given for the company's 150-acre Deer Mountain Nature Preserve, an area of woods and hiking trails that opened near the plant in 1993.
However, the award came six months ago, according to a council news release last November. That was before Lafarge began facing increased criticism for mercury pollution from its Route 9W plant near Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk High School.
In America, approximately 7% of all child-bearing women have blood mercury levels high-enough that their pregnancy is at risk for one, or more, of those factors. In America, according to the EPA, 39% (in 2002) of all rivers are substantially contaminated by mercury. A few years ago every state, except Wyoming and Alaska had to issue mercury warnings with regards to eating fish caught by sports-fishing and/or drinking water in contaminated watersheds that is unsafe for human consumption; up from 44 states in 1993.
David W. Carroll, Lafarge vice president for environment and public relations, also sits on the Wildlife Habitat Council's six-member executive committee.In other words, to "green" themselves, the tainted members of industry found an "environmental" organization. Then they make some small, compared to their resources and externalized-costs, pro-environment contribution. Once the pittance is complete, they then award for minor accomplishments that are tremendously out-weighed by their huge, glaring faults. Kind of like buying a desktop publishing program and awarding yourself college degrees and certificates of awesomeness.
The 20-year-old group's board includes other industry groups like Monsanto, Exxon Mobil, DuPont, ConocoPhillips and Waste Management, along with the conservation group Ducks Unlimited.
In this case, Lafarge is the State of New York's biggest Mercury-emitter. One who is certainly not doing all they can, or should, do to re-mediate the hazards of their plant. Hazards that are especially troubling considering the local environment that includes a high-school.
As for including Ducks Unlimited as a tainted member, while on its face the accusation might seem to be a mis-characterizations, I believe differently. Ducks Unlimited is, essentially, a hunting club that seeks to preserve breeding populations of ducks for duck hunting. Yes, other species do get a free ride, but the purpose of the club is to maintain the unnecessary butchery of sport hunting. I know for a fact that many anti-environmentalists, like former Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, are members.
As an extra bit of irony:
Other winners chosen by the panel to receive the council's "Signatures of Sustainability" awards include DuPont and Anheuser-Busch Companies, both of which helped found the habitat council.Yeah, as we all know when groups, oh like politicians for example, get money from industry, they remain completely independent:
Council spokesman Brad Cardwell said awards were limited to the members of the council, which "self-submitted" their projects to the panel for consideration. He said the panel decided independently of the council's board.
These contributions are having an effect on policy making. On the average, for each $1000 contributed to an individual legislator, that legislator scored 1.82 points more pro-tobacco on a 0 to 10 scale. At the same time, legislators who support the tobacco industry are rewarded; for each 1 point more pro-tobacco, contributions increase by an average of $380. Republican legislators were more pro-tobacco than Democrats by an average of 1.39 points. As in most states, in New York State, progress in tobacco control begins at the local level. New legislation is generally passed first on Long Island, which inspires New York City to do the same. Legislation passed in New York City sparks progress in the upstate area, and until the Pataki Administration, at the state level. The importance of localities passing restrictions to initiate the momentum to pass state legislation is why preemptive state legislation is a major threat to tobacco control in New York State.Or not. Ooops. My bad. But I guess it explains the political process that lead to these quotes:
On December 3, The Washington Post reported that: "The Bush administration is working to undo regulations that would force power plants to sharply reduce mercury emissions and other toxic pollutants, according to a government document and interviews with officials."If the Republicans never hold the Presidency again, it will be too soon. While I'm not some "bleeding heart tree-hugger," we only have one planet. We screw this up, it's game over.
On March 16, the LA Times reported that: "Political appointees in the Environmental Protection Agency bypassed agency professional staff and a federal advisory panel last year to craft a rule on mercury emissions preferred by the industry and the White House, several longtime EPA officials say."
"The EPA staffers say they were told not to undertake the normal scientific and economic studies called for under a standing executive order. At the same time, the proposal to regulate mercury emissions from coal-burning power plants was written using key language provided by utility lobbyists," added the LA Times.
Monday, May 26, 2008
May 25, 2008 NASA's Phoenix spacecraft landed in the northern polar region of Mars today to begin three months of examining a site chosen for its likelihood of having frozen water within reach of the lander's robotic arm.I hope they have some color photos.
Radio signals received at 4:53:44 p.m. Pacific Time (7:53:44 p.m. Eastern Time) confirmed the Phoenix Mars Lander had survived its difficult final descent and touchdown 15 minutes earlier. The signals took that long to travel from Mars to Earth at the speed of light.
Mission team members at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.; Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver; and the University of Arizona, Tucson, cheered confirmation of the landing and eagerly awaited further information from Phoenix later tonight.
So, is hanging good enough for her? Or should we just go "biblical" and stone her?
Sunday, May 25, 2008
You know who does have credibility to talk about Clinton's comments? Robert F. Kennedy's son, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. This is what he said:I used to read more Leftward Blogs. But the hysteria and messianic fervor of so much of the Left that has coalesced around Obama has, at least to me, shown the "Left" is not really better than the right. And they certainly aren't part of the "Reality Based Community.""It is clear from the context that Hillary was invoking a familiar political circumstance in order to support her decision to stay in the race through June. I have heard her make this reference before, also citing her husband’s 1992 race, both of which were hard fought through June. I understand how highly charged the atmosphere is, but I think it is a mistake for people to take offense."Now, if you believe that the liars and smear merchants of the corporate media and the shrillosphere are reasonable and objective in taking such great offense to Clinton's comments, you are forced to conclude that Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who actually has a personal stake and personal feelings about the matter, is so in the tank for Clinton that he will give a free pass to the most despicable possible reference to his father. The opposite reading would be that RFK, Jr. is right, and that Clinton unintentionally used jarringly inappropriate language to restate what she has stated many times before, and that the hysterical hate-mongers of the corporate media and the shrillosphere have merely found yet another pretext to spew their hysterical hatred. I'll be blunt: the people using this incident to further promote their own despicable agenda by their own despicable means are every bit as despicable as their lies and distortions would make Clinton out to be. They are shameful. Their behavior is inexcusable. They like to accuse Clinton of being Rovian- and worse- but it is they who have most closely come to emulate the worst behavior of the worst Republicans. To whatever degree they have any political impact at all, they are a blight on political discourse, and they are systematically destroying everything the blogs were supposed to be. That some of them are now participating in the corporate media could not be more appropriate. They have become that which they were supposed to have been trying to change. I congratulate them on their success.
They're as bad as clowns like Charles Johnson, who comes up with crap like this:
Mainstreaming Terrorism to Sell DonutsBecause all black-and-white fringed ladies scarfs look exactly like this:
Fri, May 23, 2008 at 8:43:06 am PST
I didn’t believe this story when people first started emailing about it; but sure enough, it’s true. Dunkin Donuts, the venerable old fried dough seller, is the latest American firm to casually promote the symbol of Palestinian terrorism and the intifada, the kaffiyeh, via Rachael Ray: Dunkin’ Breakfast Choices
Only they don't:
At all. They're not even remotely the same, save they're both black-and-white.
Is there, really, any difference in they hysterical shrieking? They're all pretty much a bunch of bed-wetters. They just wet the bed about different things.
And you know what? Dunkin Donuts pulled the add. Because the right-wing bed-wetters in our ever-so-mighty blog-o-sphere spent a few days wetting on themselves.
Charles Johnson, you're a bed-wetting pussy. And you Messianic Obamabots, you too.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
No matter what Buchanan and the wing-nuts think. It was set up that way by our Constitution because our founding fathers knew that the tyranny of the majority could be a terrible thing.
BTW, I wish Jesee Ventura was running for President. I'd vote for him.
She talked about her husband running until June. If there was no other suble [sic] message', she would've then said 'and Bobby Kennedy also ran until June'. No, she instead brought up ASSASINATION - completely out of the blue!Apparently they seem to believe that Clinton is calling for his assassination... Another clear case of Clinton Derangement Syndrome which has now infected close to 3/4ths of the electorate.
The fact is, like it or not, Bobby Kennedy did run until June. Yes, his assassination, after his victory in the June 4th California Primary, did end his campaign, but the point is that he was still campaigning as he hadn't won the Democratic Party nomination.
In fact, the California primary was for the #2 position between Bobby Kennedy and Eugene McCarthy (Humphrey had sewn up a large majority of the "non-elected political machine delegates" (as only 13 States awarded delegates by election back then)). Prior to California, the race was slightly in favor of Eugene McCarthy and still in doubt after and we had more of June to contest. And while Bobby Kennedy managed to get a small lead, the race was for #2 was to continue through the primaries and into the convention. At the time of Kennedy's assassination, the delegate race looked like this:
Hubert Humphrey 561
Robert F. Kennedy 393
Eugene McCarthy 258
Getting us to the next point: People weren't getting hysterical and started beating the drum for McCarthy & Kennedy to withdraw in June and give it to Humphrey.
People understood, back then at least, that candidates have the right to run, no matter how much you don't want them to run. And no matter how many times the Obamabots try to exploit the Clinton Derangement Syndrome, it doesn't make their frothing at the mouth correct, or palatable. Albeit, does put a sardonic light on their "New Hope Change Platitudes Galore" (or whatever) rhetoric.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Boris Christoff - Song of the Volga Boatmen
Ещё разик, ещё да раз!
Разовьём мы берёзу,
Разовьём мы кудряву!
Ай-да, да ай-да, ай-да, да ай-да,
Разовьём мы кудряву.
Мы по бережку идём,
Песню солнышку поём.
Ай-да, да ай-да, ай-да, да ай-да,
Песню солнышку поём.
Эй, эй, тяни канат сильней!
Песню солнышку поём.
Ещё разик, ещё да раз!
Эх ты, Волга, мать-река,
Широка и глубока,
Ай-да, да ай-да, ай-да, да ай-да,
Волга, Волга, мать-река,
Ещё разик, ещё да раз!
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Bush signs bar to genetic discriminationAh well, even a broken clock can be right twice a day.
U.S. President George Bush Wednesday signed a bill barring employers and insurers from discriminating against people genetically predisposed to disease.
Surrounded by congressional members, Bush signed the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, "a piece of legislation which prohibits health insurers and employers from discriminating on the basis of genetic information," he said.
"In other words, it protects our citizens from having genetic information misused," he said, "and this bill does so without undermining the basic premise of the insurance industry."
Under provisions of the law, employers are barred from basing personnel decisions on genetic risk or predisposition to disease, and health insurers aren't permitted to deny coverage based on genetic information.
Bush thanked members of Congress for working on the legislation, singling out Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., who left a Boston hospital where he was hospitalized after having seizures during the weekend. Doctors later determined Kennedy has brain cancer.
"All of us are so pleased that Senator Kennedy has gone home," Bush said, "and our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family."
Monday, May 19, 2008
BERLIN: The destruction of flora and fauna is costing the world E2 trillion ($3.3 trillion) a year, or 6 per cent of its overall gross national product, according to a report published by German news weekly Der Spiegel.Good to know. I guess. Or perhaps just depressing.
The European Union and German environment ministry-led research, entitled The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity, will be presented today at the ninth conference of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity in Bonn.
Der Spiegel will present extracts from the paper, with the study's lead author, Pavan Sukhdev, a senior figure with Deutsche Bank in India, writing: "The world's poor bear the brunt of the cost."
Der Spiegel says German Chancellor Angela Merkel will announce a sharp increase in her country's funding to combat deforestation in line with Norway, which ploughs $US500 million ($530 million) a year into forest retention.
Deforestation - a huge factor in species loss and global carbon emissions contributing to climate change - is a central theme of this year's conference in Bonn, formerly the capital of West Germany.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Catholic Church offers therapy to 'cure' gays in PolandI'm just stunned at the silliness of this program. With tens of thousands of man-hours in psychological research into human sexuality confirming the "nature" hypothesis as best explanation, with over 1,500 documented instances of homosexuality across the animal kingdom, never mind humans, we still get this "it's a choice" crap.
The sixth-ever International Day Against Homophobia is held May 17, but many homosexuals in Poland will not celebrate it.
The Catholic Church has created rehabilitation centers in Poland to rehabilitate gay people and "get them back on the right path."
The Odwaga Center uses therapy, prayer and chastity to teach its patients to resist their homosexual impulses. Men at the center are taught to play football and women are taught to cook.
If it were a choice, do you not think that millions of gays who would love to have the ability to "flip a switch" and have a "regular heterosexual life" in order to escape the stigma and discrimination of homosexuality? It seems more than ludicrous for a Church based on a highly-dubious collection of stories, frequently altered to fit their agenda, to try to "cure" gays by prayer.
It's nature. It will always be nature. And no matter how many centuries you try to pray the gay away, it isn't going away. And, if praying could, for what do you think Ted Haggard would have prayed? Cheap meth and a hustler?
BRYAN, Texas — A minister from a Dallas-area Baptist megachurch was caught in an Internet sex sting and charged with online solicitation of a minor, police said Friday.It seems to go without saying that if you get a lurid, perverted sex story in the news, there's going to be a Republican lawmaker or some sort of Priest involved.
Undercover officers posing as a 13-year-old girl communicated with Joe Barron, 52, of Plano for about two weeks. The online conversations were sexual in nature, police said.
On May 6, Barron suggested meeting the girl in person. He eventually made the nearly 200-mile drive to Bryan on Thursday, when he was arrested. Police said they found a web-cam and condoms in his car.
Barron remained in Brazos County Jail on Friday on $7,000 bail. Police did not know if he had an attorney.
Barron is one of 40 ministers at Prestonwood Baptist Church, one of the largest churches in the country with 26,000 members. He ministers to married adults.
Mike Buster, executive pastor, said in a statement that the church had no record or knowledge of previous improprieties or saw any inappropriate behavior in the 18 months Barron was on the church staff.
Buster said church officials are fully cooperating with police.
"We are disturbed and saddened by the reports we have heard and we are praying for the Barron family," he said.
We've got the Christian Coalition's Klan-Loving, Gay-Bashing favorite-son, David Vitter, in Louisiana. You know, the man who repeatedly called for Clinton to resign and whose wife, Wendy, was critical of that evil ol' Hillary Clinton for not dumping Bill.
Bob Allen, the Republican Representative was caught trolling for sex in a men's room, about the same time Mr. "I'm Not Gay" Larry Craig was making more headlines. These, of course, happening on the heels of the page-buggering Foley's resignation. And, of course, who could forget Jerry Falwell's right-hand man, found dead in fetish gear and with a dildo up his butt. Other "Family Values" Republicans in the news the past couple of years:
Bruce Barclay (REPUBLICAN)- accused of using hidden cameras to secretly tape hundreds of sexual encounters, many with MALE “ESCORTS”
Matthew Joseph Elliott (REPUBLICAN)- convicted of Sexual Exploitation of a Child
Robert McKee (REPUBLICAN)- charged with Burglary After Alleged Unauthorized Videotaping
John David Roy Atchison (REPUBLICAN)- arrested for soliciting sex from a 5-YEAR-OLD GIRL
John Bryan (REPUBLICAN)- allegations that he had molested three girls, two were 12 – 15
John R. Curtin (REPUBLICAN)- convicted of molesting an UNDERAGE TEENAGE BOY
Richard Curtis (REPUBLICAN)- resigned from the House after reports of his sexual encounter with a male escort became public
Donald Fleischman (REPUBLICAN)- charged with two counts of child enticement, two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a child and a single charge of EXPOSING HIMSELF TO A CHILD
Larry Dale Floyd (REPUBLICAN)- arrested for allegedly crossing state lines to have sex with an 8-year old child and seven related offenses
Ted Klaudt (REPUBLICAN)- found guilty of four counts of second-degree rape of two teenage foster daughters
Ronald C. Kline (REPUBLICAN)- pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography. In 2002, charged with child molestation and under house arrest on federal charges of possessing child pornography
Joseph M. McDade (REPUBLICAN)- was issued a summons on a charge of exposure of sexual organs, also accused of exposing his private parts to two women at a beach resort
Patrick Lee McGuire (REPUBLICAN)- surrendered to police after allegedly molesting girls between the ages of 8 and 13
Jon Matthews (REPUBLICAN)- talk show host in Houston, was indicted for indecency with a child, including exposing his genitals to a girl under the age of 17
Joseph Monteleone Jr.(REPUBLICAN)- city councilman, was found guilty of fondling underage girls and asking them, to have sex with him
Armando Tebano (REPUBLICAN)- pleaded guilty to fondling a 14-year-old girl
Friday, May 16, 2008
Bush fails to win Saudi help on gas pricesI'm thinking knee-pads at a minimum. Maybe KY-Jelly...
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - President Bush failed to win the help he sought from Saudi Arabia to relieve skyrocketing American gas prices Friday, a setback for the former Texas oilman who took office predicting he would jawbone oil-producing nations to help the U.S.
Bush got a red-carpet welcome to this desert kingdom, home to the world's largest oil reserves, and promised to ask King Abdullah to increase production to reduce pressure on prices, which soared past $127 for the first time Friday. But Saudi officials said they already were meeting the needs of their customers worldwide and there was no need to pump more.
Their answer recalled Bush's trip to Saudi Arabia in January when he urged an increase in production but was rebuffed.
Saudi oil minister Ali al-Naimi said the kingdom decided on May 10 to increase production by 300,000 barrels a day to help meet U.S. needs after Venezuela and Mexico cut back deliveries.
The rest is here.
AN American mother has been indicted over a MySpace hoax that ended with a 13-year-old girl committing suicide after being spurned by a fictitious boy.Sucks to be her. Not that I feel sorry for her. Actions have consequences, even if you didn't intend them or were too stupid to foresee them. And when the consequences come from being vindictive, childish and reckless... I really don't have the empathy to spare.
Prosecutors say Lori Drew, 49, and others created a fake MySpace persona of a 16-year-old boy to woo neighbour Megan Meier for weeks.
She then abruptly ended the relationship and told Megan the world would be better off without her.
Megan's October 2006 suicide by hanging, just hours after she read those final messages, made worldwide headlines and prompted calls for social networking sites to crack down on cyber bullying.
Now, having this incredible, first-ever 'actual equality' ruling that puts Massachusetts and its 'separate but equal' civil unions statutes a tier underneath, what is Obama's official statement:
Barack Obama and Gay Marriage/ Civil Unions: Although Barack Obama has said that he supports civil unions, he is against gay marriage. In an interview with the Chicago Daily Tribune, Obama said, "I'm a Christian. And so, although I try not to have my religious beliefs dominate or determine my political views on this issue, I do believe that tradition, and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman."
Barack Obama did vote against a Federal Marriage Amendment and opposed the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996.
He said he would support civil unions between gay and lesbian couples, as well as letting individual states determine if marriage between gay and lesbian couples should be legalized.
"Giving them a set of basic rights would allow them to experience their relationship and live their lives in a way that doesn't cause discrimination," Obama said. "I think it is the right balance to strike in this society."
Sources: Chicago Daily Tribune, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
Barack Obama has always believed that same-sex couples should enjoy equal rights under the law, and he will continue to fight for civil unions as President. He respects the decision of the California Supreme Court, and continues to believe that states should make their own decisions when it comes to the issue of marriage.My basic reaction is: Fuck you and the horse you rode in on.
So much for all the Civil Rights work my grandmother did as a Columnist for the SF Chronicle. So much for the suffering others related to my grandmother were subject to because she did the right thing. So much for dead civil rights workers. Or Brown vs The Board of Education... Or all the people who suffered grief, harm, loss and deprivation to over-come a great social injustice.
Separate but equal...
And pandering to "State's Rights" like the Ku Klux Klan, the Separatists, the Wing-Nuts.... Jesus fucking Christ, he's hiding behind SEGRAGATIONIST PROPAGANDA after pretty much getting the nomination sewn up!
Will I vote for Obama despite his position of GLBT? I'm definitely not GLBT, so, for me, it's not a personal issue and I could, if I were less me, probably see past it.
But I am me, all me, and I don't see I need to vote for Obama. While I believe I owe the Country my vote, I do not owe the Democrats. With the huge Democratic majority likely in the House and Senate, I definitely don't owe my vote to Obama.
And I'm definitely smart enough to get past the childish guilt trip the Obama fans keep dropping on me when I express the position.
And, now that I've tracked down the Clinton response:
"Hillary Clinton believes that gay and lesbian couples in committed relationships should have the same rights and responsibilities as all Americans and believes that civil unions are the best way to achieve this goal. As President, Hillary Clinton will work to ensure that same sex couples have access to these rights and responsibilities at the federal level. She has said and continues to believe that the issue of marriage should be left to the states."Fuck her, too. You stand for all Americans or you stand for none.
Take the word "likely" out of the title. A plague on all their houses. I'm too old to put up with this pandering to homophobes and religious zealots.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
California overturns gay marriage banGood! Maybe the divorce rate will drop as low as the Divorce rate in Massachusetts (2.5% in 2002 according to the CDC).
by AP News
SAN FRANCISCO - The California Supreme Court has overturned a gay marriage ban in a ruling that would make the nation's largest state the second one to allow gay and lesbian weddings.
The justices' 4-3 decision Thursday says domestic partnerships are not a good enough substitute for marriage. Chief Justice Ron George wrote the opinion.
The city of San Francisco, two dozen gay and lesbian couples and gay rights groups sued in March 2004 after the court halted San Francisco's month-long same-sex wedding march.
The case before the court involved a series of lawsuits seeking to overturn a voter-approved law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
With the ruling, California could become the second state after Massachusetts where gay and lesbian residents can marry.
And, of course, comes the fun part: the heads of the Kool Kultural Konservatives exploding.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Yet we're going to pass a $300 billion farm bill, making growers perhaps the most undeserving welfare recipients in American history. Even worse is that many of the Republicans, who raped our treasury for six years, have suddenly remembered they're the party of "fiscal responsibility" and are against the bill, putting the blame squarely on the Democrats for this excess of Corporate Welfare. Frankly, this bill is so excessive that even George Bush, who hasn't met a big-business subsidy he didn't like, doesn't like the excesses in the pork barrel politics of this bill and has threatened to veto the bill unless the Democrats tone it down.
And while I wouldn't throw a bucket of piss on Bush if he was on fire, this is one of the rare occasions that he's right. There is no legitimate economic need for this bill.
Commodity prices have just about doubled almost uniformly across the board. Subsidies and price supports have taken all the risk out of farming. So, at this point in time, who wins with this pork-laden bill? Certainly not you and I as the cost of food is starting to spiral out of control. Even worse, we have to pay for this out of our taxes, even though right now one-in-ten baby boomers have to pay their necessary living expenses through credit, not income.
Even the positives of this bill are ludicrous. Increasing food stamp payments with one hand, while increasing the cost of food with the other is pointless. If anything, cut the food price supports and double the increase in the food stamp program. This will help the people who need it, rather than just putting them in the no-win situation this bill presents.
McCain has said he's voting against the bill. Clinton, I suspect, won't be the Democratic Party nominee, which gets us to Obama. Obama has ran as a pro-middle class, anti-lobbyist candidate (well, except when his elitist attitude breaks through). This is a perfect test to see what we'll get from Obama as a potential president. I'm very interested in seeing if he sides with the well-funded farm lobby over consumers and taxpayers. If history tells us anything, he'll end up voting "present" or won't show up at all while in Congress. As President, he'll probably side with the lobbyists, both actions being typical of him in the Senate and when he was a State Representative.
NRCC Chairman Tom Cole's Statement on Special Election Results in MississippiShorter Tom Cole: We're DOOOOOOOOOOOOOMED...
Washington -- NRCC Chairman Tom Cole released the following statement following the results of the special election runoff in Mississippi's 1st Congressional District:
"We are disappointed in tonight's election results. Though the NRCC, RNC and Mississippi Republicans made a major effort to retain this seat, we came up short.
"Tonight's election highlights two significant challenges Republicans must overcome this November. First, Republicans must be prepared to campaign against Democrat challengers who are running as conservatives, even as they try to join a liberal Democrat majority. Though the Democrats' task will be more difficult in a November election, the fact is they have pulled off two special election victories with this strategy, and it should be a concern to all Republicans.
"Second, the political environment is such that voters remain pessimistic about the direction of the country and the Republican Party in general. Therefore, Republicans must undertake bold efforts to define a forward looking agenda that offers the kind of positive change voters are looking for. This is something we can do in cooperation with our Presidential nominee, but time is short.
"I encourage all Republican candidates, whether incumbents or challengers, to take stock of their campaigns and position themselves for challenging campaigns this fall by building the financial resources and grassroots networks that offer them the opportunity and ability to communicate, energize and turn out voters this election."
Why? Because they thought Rove's plan would work because Bush got elected. They stupidly ignored Bush lost the popular vote and was installed by the Supreme Court and then, in the second election, he won for extingent reasons that had nothing to do with Rove's political strategy. Rather, they played the "vote for us or the terrorists would get you" card for the entire election cycle, including the obvious manipulation of the 'terrorist threat' system with all those warnings running up to the election. Warnings that stopped within days of Bush's re-election.
The truth is that Rove's plan was horseshit in its vision and implementation:
Component 1: Education Standards - The No Child Left Behind act has been a disaster. So much so that even heavily Republican states like Utah give it the thumbs down. You also have a huge majority of individuals, such as our family, that believe public education needs reforms, but not the anti-reforms Bush instituted. We took our child out of school, in part, because she (despite being in a magnet program and in all advanced placement classes) was spending most of her time studying for the annual standardized test so the school can avoid any NCLB act death penalties. Other parents have expressed the same dismay to the quality of their child's education because of the constant "test-driven" focus of the schools.
In this issue, Rove missed a very key component of the educational reform issue: People love their children's public school and they think the problem is "somewhere else." This has been shown in survey after survey - the majority of people are happy with their schools and believe the problem with public education is always "somewhere else."
Component 2: "Faith-based initiatives" - In other words, shit on the Constitution and buy the votes of the Conservative Evangelicals so you can keep yourself in power. This is one of the most idiotic strategies any country can take. The greater the fundamentalist presence in any government, the worse the nation performs. Fundamentalists are toxic to human rights, equality, education and progress. This has not only been demonstrated through-out history, but is readily apparent now. People like to think these conservative evangelicals are "just like us." No, they're not. They're very dangerous individuals subject to mob mentalities and will the first to don the Brown Shirt when that day comes.
Also of note, religious fervor in America is cyclical. We go through conservative movements on an approximate 20-to-30-year cycle. The greater societal response is to become more (net) liberal in the current cycle than the previous cycle. Each peak is less conservative and each ebb more liberal. Ultimately, the beneficiaries are the very people the conservative movement was deliberately harming. It's more than than a bit ironic to see the objects of derision win through the backlash against the inhuman positions of the conservative evangelical movement.
Component 3: Partially privatize Social Security - Oh yeah, that's a winner of an idea... Oh wait, maybe not. Since every Republican and Democrat since the days of Eisenhower have recognized that it would be political suicide to attack Social Security. Nor is like Social Security is actually in danger. That political football has been going on since the 1970's. Every time the actuarial tables need to be adjusted, and Social Security payments and revenues need to be adjusted, the problem gets fixed. Every time. Without privatization.
Component 4: Offer private health-savings accounts as an alternative to Medicare - Yes, first they broke Medicare. Then they failed to get the second part of plan into effect. It will be the Democrats, or nobody, who will fix Medicare and the Republicans will look worse for it.
Had Rove been the genius he thinks he is, he'd have gotten it all done at once. But he didn't, and he couldn't get the remnants of the Gingrich Libertarian-Conservative bloc on board.
Component 5: Reform immigration laws - The pro-business Republicans would love to fix this as it gives their Corporate Masters cheap labor to exploit. Every day Mexicans, as well people from other Central and South American countries, come up here to find work. They're very hard workers who will work for minimum wage in tough conditions so they can send as much money back to Mexico as they can. For business, these undocumented laborers are like manna from heaven - hard working, won't unionize, easily exploitable. With a pro-business Republican party in power, this should have been a no-brainer.
But Rove, once again, completely misunderstood his own party and his base. The problem here is that the Republicans have been openly deliberately dog-whistling to the racist, xenophobic crowd in their rhetoric for DECADES. Simply put, their base won't let them make this reform, and it's their damn fault for encouraging this behavior in their base.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
GOP Rep. Hits Bush On 'Signing Statements'I won't be surprised to see "balanced budget" proposals, lobbyist reform, filibuster protection and a whole host of other previously-unthinkable changes to the way government works coming from the Republicans. Maybe even some "kindlier, gentler" and "bi-partisanship" talk.
A House Republican lawmaker has fired a shot across President Bush's bow over his frequent use of "Presidential Signing Statements" to give his opinion on -- or to even express his intent to ignore -- laws passed by Congress.
Though signing statements have long been used by past presidents, they have become a source of particular controversy during Bush's tenure. Various press reports -- most notably a Pulitzer-winning series by the Boston Globe -- have documented Bush's aggressive use of the documents, prompting critics to deem the practice an unconstitutional end-run around Congress.
Now, GOP Rep. Walter Jones (N.C.) has introduced a bill requiring such statements to be disclosed more quickly and more publicly, and "require executive staff to testify on the meaning and justification for presidential signing statements at the request of the House or Senate Judiciary Committee."
Jones' bill obviously wouldn't ban the practice of issuing such statements, but it might provide House Democrats with nice fodder for more public excoriation of the Bush administration's alleged hubris and secrecy. It helps Democrats' case that Jones is a Republican, though the North Carolinian has made a habit of late of bucking his party, most prominently on the Iraq war.
Until they get in power again.
Monday, May 12, 2008
Brown seaweed is to blame for some of those cloudy days at the seaside, scientists believe. Stress among the plants can alter weather patterns, according to researchers at the Scottish Association for Marine Science and the University of Manchester.Not only does the kelp make clouds (reflecting sunshine), but it also helps to replenish ozone and can be used to make Agar-Agar which is, in turn, used in making many ice creams and other confections. It's even used in brewing beer as a clarifying agent.
On an overcast day kelp are comfortable when the tide goes out, as they stay damp until it comes in again. But on a bright day they dry, releasing iodide. The iodide rises, causing clouds to form overhead, sheltering the kelp from the unwelcome sunshine.
Frithjof Küpper, of the Scottish Association for Marine Science, who led the research, saidthat the salt helped to neutralise ozone in the atmosphere and, as it rose, “these chemicals act as condensation nuclei around which clouds may form”.
Kelp is found in large quantities in the Hebrides, Robin Hood’s Bay in North Yorkshire and Anglesey. Scotland’s kelp beds are among the most extensive in Europe, with the Western Isles and Orkney archipelago among the main centres of soda ash production.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
There was something interesting missing from Maj. Gen. Kevin Bergner’s introductory remarks to journalists at his regular news briefing in Baghdad on Wednesday: the word “Iran,” or any form of it. It was especially striking as Bergner, the U.S. military spokesman here, announced the extraordinary list of weapons and munitions that have been uncovered in recent weeks since fighting erupted between Iraqi and U.S. security forces and Shiite militiamen.I think the people that bashed Move On for the Petraeus/Betray Us ad need to apologize. The best apology would be a rock-solid contribution to their cause. Other than that, I'm completely not surprised to the mendacity of the in-the-Republican-pocket military or that the pathetic war-mongering from the gutless cowards who run this country tried to start another war.
….A plan to show some alleged Iranian-supplied explosives to journalists last week in Karbala and then destroy them was canceled after the United States realized none of them was from Iran. A U.S. military spokesman attributed the confusion to a misunderstanding that emerged after an Iraqi Army general in Karbala erroneously reported the items were of Iranian origin.
When U.S. explosives experts went to investigate, they discovered they were not Iranian after all.
These people are so off the deep end that everything they say needs to be triple-checked by indepent journalists. Which, of course, completely excludes 90%, including virtually 100% of TV journalists and all of Faux News.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Not just funny.
Now, I really don't like him as he's shown his true, spoiled-Hollywood-brat colors:
Or our share of jackeling assholes? Seriously. A lot of people have been rubbed raw by the obvious misogyny of this campaign cycle and the good-old-boy network blowing-off as "hysterical women over-reacting" when it is being pointed out.
hillary clinton: the psycho ex-girlfriend of the democratic party
As many of you know, I'm an enthusiastic Barack Obama supporter. I have never been so excited or inspired by a candidate -- or, really, any leader -- in my life, and I view this election as an historical opportunity -- maybe even a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity -- to not only save my country from the disaster wrought by Bush and Cheney, but fundamentally change how my government interacts with the rest of the world, and how it works for me and my fellow Americans.
Knowing all of that, I'm sure it will come as no surprise that over the last 10 weeks or so, I've gone from respecting to feeling sorry for to actively despising Hillary Clinton.
And allow me to just head something off right now that's already come up on Twitter: I'm not sexist. This isn't sexist. That's a stupid straw man, and if you try to make that claim, I will point and laugh at you.
Both of which you did.
So Mr. Wheaton, your comments, despite your denial, are in the form of classic sexism. That is, making the comments based on gender-specific insults instead of non-gender-based. It's like "women drivers." Or "Asian drivers." One's sexist, the other racist. As a white man, I've heard them both because I'm part of the "in-club." Or at least many people think I am part of the "in club" because of my gender, orientation and profession, not realizing I'm not interested in being part of their club because I'm not interested in their chronic, low-level bigotry and sexism. And, for the record, "psycho ex-girlfriend" is another of what I call "frat-boy misogynistic stereotypes" that are so often bandied about "innocently."
The fact is, that if Wheaton wanted to insult HRC all he had to say was "She's hanging around like a bad rash." Or, "she's worse than a bill collector." There's no gender bias in either of those insults. They don't pander to sexist stereotypes. They avoid race. And they have the benefit of being well-understood cultural metaphors.
See, it's easy to be insulting without being racist or sexist. Unless, of course, you're harboring a lot of that crap inside you and just pretending to be above it all. Like so many of us do, or have done, until the inadvertent, dog-whistle comment gives you away and you go into those dark places in your soul and stomp those elements into oblivion.
So, laugh all you will, frat-boy, you have stupidly shown your cards. And if you think I've misunderstood you post, maybe you've misunderstood yourself. Denial is a hell of a thing. Embrace your suck, maybe you'll get over yourself and stop your pandering/enabling of the worst elements of society.
The Internet has opened new avenues for research and for offering data of all kinds…as well as misinformation of all kinds. As was indicated in the October 2007 Acts & Facts, web surfers must be wary of "half-truths and hidden assumptions"19 on the sites that they visit.There is no such thing as "Creation Research." It's Christian apologetics in which people who are wholly unqualified to give even the meanest, most trivial scientific insight, give themselves a bunch of pseudo degrees and Lie for Jesus.
Even worse, is ICR has been lying to people, that I know of, since the mid-1980's. One of the people in my extended computer KNERDS club, when I lived in San Diego, had drunk the kool-aid and made himself annoying for some time. Then he made himself scarce after we took-apart the ICR lies he'd bring us in pamphlet form. Then he shut up about the whole thing. I guess he either thought we were unrepentant heathens doomed to a fiery post-mortal existence or that the head of the KNERDS club happened to be a public school teacher (authority) and had a Masters Degree in Biology (education) and was very like-able and quick convinced him. In either case, the whole issue died with a whimper.
What amazes me about the process though, is that after decades of being stomped by scientists that they still peddle the same lies. Every tract I've ever seen out of them has been refuted ad nauseum, many for over a hundred years. Yet they never admit their errors and move on. Instead, they construct new and more elaborate fictions to get around the rebuttal, or more commonly, just pretend nothing happened.
For those who've ever wondered about creationist claims, the toxic regularity by which they are raised, and the standard rebuttals to arguments that haven't changed in decades, if not longer, try here. It hasn't been updated since November, 2006, but then, neither have any of their arguments. Anyway, I just found that the ICR warning people of "lies and deceit", when that's exactly what they practice, and the 19 sites on their list expose them by name should be avoided to be one of the most ironic things I've come across this week.
Friday, May 9, 2008
CNN, the Pentagon's "military analyst program" and GitmoThe rest is here. A "site pass" is required, which you earn by watching the pop-up advertisement. Just wait for the advertisement to do its thing and the access to Salon will be in the upper-right corner of the advertisement.
The Pentagon has posted to its website the roughly 8,000 pages and audio tapes it was forced to provide to the New York Times regarding its "military analyst" program. Anyone who reads through them, as I've now done, can only be left with one conclusion (other than being extremely impressed with David Barstow's work in putting together this story): if this wasn't an example of an illegal, systematic "domestic propaganda campaign" by the Pentagon, then nothing is
PRESCOTT, Ariz. -- Sen. John McCain championed legislation that will let an Arizona rancher trade remote grassland and ponderosa pine forest here for acres of valuable federally owned property that is ready for development, a land swap that now stands to directly benefit one of his top presidential campaign fundraisers].You're running for President. You will be scrutinized. Keep your dick in your pants and your hands out of wallets and you'll avoid a lot of problems. But you can't help yourself. Which is just insane.
Initially reluctant to support the swap, the Arizona Republican became a key figure in pushing the deal through Congress after the rancher and his partners hired lobbyists that included McCain's 1992 Senate campaign manager, two of his former Senate staff members (one of whom has returned as his chief of staff), and an Arizona insider who was a major McCain donor and is now bundling campaign checks.
In social studies, yesterday, we studied man's impact on the environment, especially the oceans with a sub-set on coral reef issues; such as, pollution, tourism, reef-diving, over-fishing and global warming. All this reading was done at (a minimum) of high-school level.
We also studied the big business of marketing of unnecessary medical procedures and the undisclosed (and frequently unlooked for) side-effects and dangers of products and procedures (we did Lasik and cosmetic surgery). Like the Ocean set, all this reading was done at (a minimum) of high-school level.
There was no way my kid was going to learn that in any traditional school Not only would they pander to the lowest common denominator in the class, but experience tells me that there is no way any controversial subject would be introduced beyond a shallow, superficial and, frequently, dismissive way.
Sure, that might of been important to train the tradesmen and factory work-force at the turn of last century. After all, the factory worker of the day needed to know how to operate expensive, dangerous and relatively complicated machinery, but only to the extent he was trained. He further needed to be socialized into accepting orders from his "betters" without question to keep the factory running smoothly. But we're not there anymore, at least with our economy.
Making the traditional school problem worse is that the textbooks are crap (with frequent factual errors). Add in the state standards are written by people who have a lot of bad ideas they think are "good ideas" and further belittle children with the low-expectations that are fostered I'm absolutely unsurprised at the low achievement of our traditionally educated students.
Getting beyond that, the internally scattered pedagogy just further enhances the dysfunction. My daughter, who was in a 5th magnet school, was being quite ill-served by the natural structure of the system we have had since the days of Horace Mann. Never mind that about half her time was wasted on pep-talks, rallies, DARE and other useless exhortations; or that her teachers gave crappy, dumbed-down explanations, relied on excessive disciplinary procedures because they were control-freaks, what really peeved me were the frequent useless diversions into related areas, only to retreat from them. In math, for example, there were forays into statistics, overly-formal set-theory, overly-formal "math conventions" that nobody uses in the real world, or even the math world, and dumbed-down higher math that wasted weeks-and-weeks of time.
Even that could be forgiven if they built on that knowledge, but they didn't. To make an analogy, it was like getting three weeks of French, three weeks of Russian, three weeks of German then not going back to any of those languages for two years. Do you think the child was well served by exposing them to the basics of three unrelated languages then allowing anything they managed to get from the shallow course to atrophy into uselessness?
I don't. Yet that's what happens when you teach math concepts, like statistics, exponents and other higher-math concepts that you then abandon until 6th grade, at the earliest. Meanwhile, the more logical progressions from basic math to fractions was barely addressed and she'd never been exposed to negative numbers.
I'm so glad we're out of the traditional school rat-race. So much time is spent in class, so little is learned for the time spent. And what is learned is so often either wrong (history, social studies), or so scattered (math, science) that what you're learning is worthless. Worse than worthless, because you may end up deluded your children actually know something and have received a worthwhile education.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
A few weeks ago, devoted listeners of public radio* were treated to an episode of the award-winning radio series The Infinite Mind called "Prozac Nation: Revisited." The segment featured four prestigious medical experts discussing the controversial link between antidepressants and suicide. In their considered opinions, all four said that worries about the drugs have been overblown.I expected better of NPR. Then I remembered the Republicans have been doing their best to corrupt the last vestigaes of independent media in america by targeting NPR and PBS. Thank God for the Internet, because it's getting to where are few honest voices left in American media.
The radio show, which was broadcast nationwide and paid for in part by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, had the air of quiet, authoritative credibility. Host Dr. Fred Goodwin, a former director of the National Institute of Mental Health, interviewed three prominent guests, and any radio producer would be hard-pressed to find a more seemingly credible quartet. Credible, that is, except for a crucial detail that was never revealed to listeners: All four of the experts on the show, including Goodwin, have financial ties to the makers of antidepressants. Also unmentioned were the "unrestricted grants" that The Infinite Mind has received from drug makers, including Eli Lilly, the manufacturer of the antidepressant Prozac.
It is the most ‘challenged’ book in public schools and libraries for the second year in a row, according to the American Libraries Association.These objectors need to get over it. Homosexuality in nature is widespread with documented homosexual behaviors in a 1,500 species list of animals, including: penguins, seagulls, whales, dolphins, hyenas, big horn sheep, otters, fish, kangaroos and even hedgehogs. For further reading on homosexuality in non-humans, try: Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity by Bruce Bagemihl.
The ALA defines a "challenge" as a "formal, written complaint filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness."
"The complaints are that young children will believe that homosexuality is a lifestyle that is acceptable. The people complaining, of course, don't agree with that," Judith Krug, director of the ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom, told AP.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Arrhenius calculated, crudely due to the what could be accomplished in those days, that a doubling of carbon-dioxide would result in a five degree (Celsius) warming. This number is larger, but not greatly different, from the one-and-one-half to four-and-one-half degree warming we now currently estimate.
Combining these calculations with existing work suggesting that the burning of fossil fuels could significantly alter the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (Högbom 1894), Arrhenius later became the first person to predict the possibility of man-made global warming. Ironically, his prediction of global warming was based upon a steady-state useage of the fossil fuel use of the late 1800s. We can only hope that we can achieve enough reduction that his prediction comes true in a mere 300 years, one-tenth what he predicted.
GTA IV's First Week: 6 Million copies, $500 Million, (TTWO)But that might explain why the Internets have had less traffic lately...
Take-Two was hoping for a monster first week from their landmark franchise, Grand Theft Auto. Did they get it?
The NYT reports that Take-Two (TTWO) will announce today that GTA IV has sold 6 million copies in its first week, generating $500 million at retail. That works out to an average of $83 per unit, but GTA IV retails for $60 in the U.S. So we're assuming that a good chunk of those sales came from overseas.
Me, I'm re-playing Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II - The Sith Lords. This time as a woman (and finding the female character story arc much more developed). While, probably vainly, waiting for Lucas Arts to get off their butts and start having someone develop the sequel.
Well, at least Fallout 3 will be made. Although, for some reason, a certain small, but entirely vocal subset of the Fallout fans have already, despite not playing the game and there being very little information whatsoever, decided that Bethesda will complete and utterly ruin the project (they purchased the rights from Interplay who was never going to make the game) so much that even the joy they got from playing Fallout 1 and Fallout 2 will be retroactively extirpated.
Anyway, GTA is a great intellectual property for Take-Two. Not close to The Sims (100 million units - program & expansion) or that putrid Madden franchise (millions of shitty units every year), but it's starting to push some of the other top properties that have emerged in the past decade, like Half-Life.
Westboro Church members have failed to post bondsI shed no tears for their plight. Using your religion and freedom of speech to intentionally harm others isn't protected by the First Amendment.
The Associated Press
BALTIMORE - Two members of the Westboro Baptist Church have failed to post bonds needed to stay the collection of a $5 million jury award pending appeal.
U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett, on April 3, granted motions by Shirley L. Phelps-Roper and Rebekah A. Phelps-Davis to delay payment of the verdict for protesting a U.S. Marine's funeral. The postponement was contingent upon their posting $125,000 and $100,000 bonds, respectively.
Bennett also imposed a lien on the properties of the church and its founder, Fred W. Phelps Sr.
The sisters had argued for lesser bond amounts; Phelps-Roper said she would not be able to offer such collateral to the court.
As of 5 p.m. Monday, the deadline imposed by Bennett, the women had not posted the bonds, according to court records.
Sean E. Summers is an attorney for plaintiff Albert Snyder, the plaintiff. He said the sisters' appeal of Bennett's ruling on their motion to stay made it improbable they would put up the cash Monday.
"It would be counterintuitive to do that if they were going to post the money," Summers said. "It's hard to cry poor to the 4th Circuit if they've already paid the money."
Phelps-Roper confirmed her refusal to obey Bennett's order granting a stay and discounted that part of the proceedings. "All this collection stuff, it's a lot of fluffy talk," she said. "If I don't have no $5 million, you can't take no $5 million."
In November, a jury found that the Topeka, Kan.-based church intentionally inflicted emotional distress upon Snyder, of York, Pa. Snyder's son, Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew A. Snyder, 20, was killed in Iraq in March 2006.
Summers said he will file a motion with Bennett to execute on the sisters' property - houses and small bank accounts, according to their submissions to the court. But until Bennett rules on that motion and the Richmond appellate court rules on the appeal of Bennett's original ruling on the motion to stay, that property will remain safe.
"It's not going to happen immediately," Summers said. "The wheels of justice turn, but they turn slow."