Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
Neuroscientists at UC-Irvine released a study in the journal Cerebral Cortex that says, "People with a particular gene variant performed more than 20 percent worse on a driving test than people without it - and a follow-up test a few days later yielded similar results. About 30 percent of Americans have the variant.
"This gene variant limits the availability of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor during activity. BDNF keeps memory strong by supporting communication among brain cells and keeping them functioning optimally. When a person is engaged in a particular task, BDNF is secreted in the brain area connected with that activity to help the body respond."
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
Last week, PBS aired the first in the 3-part series on evolution. It was fascinating to realize that there were human-like creatures as far back as 3.3 million years ago. An increase in brain size occurred about this time and has never stopped increasing in size or cognitive ability. We are the present end-product of this 3.3 million years of human evolution
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
I voted a few minutes ago- civic duty you know. But, what greeted me as I entered the building? A sign taped to the door, "NO WEAPONS ALLOWED." Can you imagine that? How un-American! No weapons at the polling place!!
Rep. Virginia Foxx [R-NC] opened her trap again on the House floor yesterday to claim that taxes are a much greater threat to the security of the United States than al Qaeda and/or other foreign terrorist groups.
Recall that Foxx was one of a handful of Congressmen who voted against the Matthew Shepard Act, claiming that the murder of Matthew Shepard was not a hate crime. While debating the act at the House of Representatives, which was attended by Matthew Shepard's mother, she called the incident a "very unfortunate incident" but also "we know that that young man was killed in the commitment of a robbery. It wasn't because he was gay". She continued that "It's really a hoax that that continues to be used as an excuse for passing hate crimes bills"
Monday, November 2, 2009
If you went to school in the 40's and 50's, math lessons were not only boring, but often futile for the less-than gifted student. High school was worse because the math teachers were under the impression that, since they 'got' math quite easily, the students should as well. I had some gaud-awful math teachers and, for me, mathematics was an ugly exercise.
Republican Dede Scozzafava endorsed the Democratic contender for a vacant New York congressional seat over the Conservative backed by Republican leaders one day after she withdrew from the race. Ms. Scozzafava announced yesterday that she is supporting Democrat Bill Owens in his race against Doug Hoffman, the Conservative Party candidate, in a Nov. 3 special election in New York’s traditionally Republican 23rd congressional district.
Dede Scozzafava, a state assemblywoman, had been handpicked by local Republican Party leaders and first backed by the national party. But the surge of conservative activists like Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh attacking Dede Scozzafava and endorcing Doug Hoffman’s independent bid for the congressional seat, energized his candidacy and money poured into his campaign.
Scozzafava stepped aside Oct. 31 after her lead in polls evaporated. Scozzafava said she was “outspent on both sides” as her fundraising foundered. Upon hearing the latest news, Newt Gingrich said, "How could she have accepted all that support? I'm very, very let down because she told everybody she was a Republican, and she said she was a loyal Republican."
Gingrich now backs Hoffman who had originally sought the Republican nomination, joining the Conservative ticket after his bid failed.
Republicans have just two other seats in New York’s 29 member House delegation. I see this latest trend as being quite telling when the Extreme Members in the Republican Party forces out moderate Republicans. I think that is very telling where the Republican Party is right now.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
I found an interesting topic and website dedicated to people who have decided that they have had way too much religion in their lives. Recovering Religionists™ is a website that offers the person help in moving away from the religious indoctrination of their youth. It looks like a similar program as AA or CA or any number of other anti-addiction programs that are commonly offered for those who are looking to improve their lives of addiction.
Republican Study Committee Chairman Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) today introduced — along with 75 other Republicans — a resolution to officially commemorate the 9/12 taxpayer march on Washington. Other sponsors of H.R. 870 include Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa.), and Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the party’s whip.
The names are all-to familiar to those of us who have been paying attention recently. They are the right-wing nuts sipping tea laced with hallucinogens. Add media comic Glenn Beck to the list, as he claims to be the instigator of the teabagger's get-together.
The GOP scoundrels are not all gone; many of them linger on. Hopefully, the citizens are more wise now than then, which may account for the plunging support for most things 'Republican.'
Bigotry is not a natural instinct, it is taught. Homosexuality is as natural as the sun in the sky, but ignorant, hateful people will never accept that fact. The suspension of this high school teacher in Piasa, Illinois is a perfect example of how this hatred and ignorance infests the minds of our children:
Why are some conservative folks so afraid of this stuff? Do you think Logan Murphy, writing at Crooks and Liars, makes a good point. Bigotry is not natural, homosexuality is?
Please leave a comment.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
"The Mysterious Islands': New Galapagos Film Challenges Evolution on 'Ground Zero' of Darwinism." That's the headline from the Creationists who 'created' this film to coincide with the 150th anniversary of Darwin's 1859 book, On the Origin of Species. All of Bibleland is abuzz and tickled pink that this new film will be the perfect tonic to allay the fears that this anniversary presupposes. An antidote to atheism, they say.
Back here in the real world, the anniversary is clearly a triumph of scientific investigation. Scientific inquiry, of course, is the wizardry of the Devil to those who 'believe' and who close their eyes, ears and minds to what the science community presents to the free-thinking people of the world.
No doubt the new film, The Mysterious Islands, will run non-stop at that quirky Creationist Museum in the hill country of Kentucky. The Christian Newswire says,
" As the world prepares to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin's landmark book, "On the Origin of Species," Vision Forum has unveiled details on a new documentary, filmed on the Galapagos Islands, that debunks the conclusions Darwin reached during his storied trip to this island chain during the voyage of the HMS Beagle. Shot and directed by the award-winning Jon and Andy Erwin of Erwin Brothers Motion Pictures, the 90-minute film, entitled "The Mysterious Islands," is set for release in early November, just weeks prior to the November 24 anniversary date of Darwin's influential book."
"Debunks," they write. It debunks Darwin; debunks science; debunks scientific methodology; debunks paleontologists, archeologists...
debunk: verb: expose while ridiculing; especially of pretentious or false claims and ideas.
False claims and false ideas. Ha! Pardon me while I laugh. OK, I'm in control now. What a hoot! And the filmmaker's claim? The odd life forms found on the Galapagos Islands show God's creativity.
Personally, the Galapagos Islands, Darwin and evolution are quite dear to me. Lo those many decades ago while I was in college, I signed up for a biology course titled, Evolution. It was offered at the large Jesuit University I attended. The professor announced the first day of class that each student would present a theme to the rest of the class. Nervous and muted laughter swept across the classroom. "Who will be first?" the professor queried. No hands. "Someone has to be first and it is an interesting topic: the Galapagos Islands." he said. Oddly, I found my hand shooting up. "Yes sir, see me after class." the professor said, and then went on.
What had I done? How did my hand get raised? I was unaccustomed to speaking and clearly unprepared to give a one hour university lecture on a topic that I did not even understand. Well, actually, it went quite well, if I do say so, and I received applause from my classmates at the end of the slide-show presentation [no Power Point back then].
Of this new film, some 50 years after my debut performance at the university, the article drones on:
"This October and November, Americans and other Westerners will be confronted with an unprecedented onslaught of pro-evolutionary propaganda as the major media and leaders of academia heap praise on Charles Darwin, the patron saint of evolutionism,"
Propaganda, they write. Is that so. Seems to me that the Creationists and fundamentalists have been deluded through propaganda for those 150 years and continue to propagandize generation after generation with their myth-telling to the children. The poor children are always the victims. And they grow up to, naturally, continue the cycle of myth-telling to the next generation. And so it goes.
"New pro-Darwin feature films will be launched, including 'Creation,' a major motion picture produced by atheists and starring an outspoken atheist that will present a negative perspective on the biblical account of origins."
The biblical account of origins. Oh, THAT account. Yes, read that, used to believe it as a child; Santa and the Tooth Fairy as well. Grew up. Turned on my brain, became a free-thinker, became excited about science, and am quite excited with each new scientific discovery that is announced.
"Told through the eyes of 16-year-old Joshua Phillips, "The Mysterious Islands" presents a remarkable quest to Darwin's Eden with Joshua, his father, and a team of scientists and investigators including Dr. John Morris, president of the Institute for Creation Research."
Creation Research? Isn't that an oxymoronical phrase? Imagine, a 16-year-old child of Bible-thumping, church-going parents, telling us that he sees God's creative genius at every turn on that mysterious island. The credibility is astounding!
"Christians look to Jerusalem, Muslims to Mecca, but for the followers of Charles Darwin, the Galapagos Archipelago is the spiritual homeland to their evolutionary faith," Phillips observed. "Our film -- shot on ground-zero of evolutionism -- will be a counter-offensive to the Darwin adulation that blows holes in the conclusions he formed while observing the wonder-filled creatures that inhabit the Galapagos Islands."
Oh, for sure it will, especially to the head-bobbing, brainwashed faithful. Don't miss this film. Check your local fundamentalist church for show times.
Friday, October 30, 2009
President Obama signed the Ryan White Act today, a bill that will fund critical HIV/AIDS treatment and some prevention programs. The House passed it 408-9. One can only imagine the intelligence of the 9 'Nay' members- all Republicans, of course, all Christians. Four from Texas, Wyoming, Tennessee, Georgia, Arizona and North Carolina.**
Right here in America, just 20 years ago, burning crosses, insulting remarks and death threats. Where did the ignorance and hate come from? Of course, it is not gone here in this nation. Bigots and hateful people still flock to church on Sunday, and write and say hateful things on Tuesday. Many call themselves Christians; Jesus is mocked.
Where are the strongest pockets of fear, ignorance, hate and bigotry against AIDS and homosexuals? Inside of the fundamentalist churches. Yes, right there, but the organ and the choir drown out the hate in their hearts.
Rep. Kevin Brady [TX] Saints Simons and Jude Catholic Church.
Rep. John J. Duncan [TN] Elder at Eastminster Presbyterian Church
Rep. Jeff Flake [AZ] Mormon
Rep. Ted Poe [TX] Church of Christ
Rep. Virginia Foxx [NC] Roman Catholic nut case
The document obtained by The Post offers the most detailed picture yet of a widening inquiry into the relationships between lawmakers and PMA, a lobbying firm founded by Paul Magliocchetti that has been under criminal investigation by the Justice Department. A year ago, the FBI raided PMA's offices and carted away boxes of records dealing with its political donations and the firm's efforts to win congressionally directed funds, known as "earmarks," for clients.
Together, the seven legislators have personally steered more than $200 million in earmarks to clients of the PMA Group in the past two years, and received more than $6.2 million in campaign contributions from PMA and its clients in the past decade, according to an analysis by Congressional Quarterly and Taxpayers for Common Sense.
The Post reviewed earmark and campaign records and found that the seven had each supported funding for PMA clients and also received donations.
While lawmakers received generous contributions, PMA used its growing influence with the panel over the past decade to become one of the top 10 lobby shops in Washington and took in $114 million in lobbying fees, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a watchdog group.
Several Hill staffers said they are confused by what appears to be a dual track, with the OCE and the ethics committee simultaneously pursuing similar questions.
Kaptur's spokesman said her office does not understand the duplication but is happy to answer all questions. "The congresswoman has always emphasized openness and transparency, and it almost goes without saying she will continue to cooperate with the OCE and, if it goes to the [ethics committee], with that committee as well," said Kaptur spokesman Steve Fought. "She has nothing to hide."
The article appears in the Washington Post today. Whether or not Kaptur has used
the power of her authority to provide earmarks to a power defense lobbying group
and in exchange receive kickbacks in the form of campaign contributions, this is
just further demonstration of how power corrupts. The continued use of taxpayer
money to benefit themselves has long been prevalent with our long term, for life
politicians. The real question is the influence of Congressional lobbying.
There is only way to change this out of control system of providing earmarks for
campaign contributions, namely, term limits. Moreover, the system will try to
bury these charges, ignore them, and hope people forget about it. Why do we continue to support people who take personal risks with taxpayer money?
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Where did we come from? What makes us human? An explosion of recent discoveries sheds light on these questions, and NOVA's comprehensive, three-part special, "Becoming Human," examines what the latest scientific research reveals about our hominid relatives.
Part 1, "First Steps," examines the factors that caused us to split from the other great apes. The program explores the fossil of "Selam," also known as "Lucy's Child." Paleoanthropologist Zeray Alemseged spent five years carefully excavating the sandstone-embedded fossil. NOVA's cameras are there to capture the unveiling of the face, spine, and shoulder blades of this 3.3 million-year-old fossil child. And NOVA takes viewers "inside the skull" to show how our ancestors' brains had begun to change from those of the apes.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
With the release of Sarah Palin’s new book, “Going Rogue" not only gives an enlightening, inside look of Sarah Palin’s political success after resigning her position as Governor of Alaska while being investigated for abuse of power, but it is also proving some surprising medical breakthroughs.
The Food and Drug Administration is now considering approving Sarah Palin’s book for some medial uses. The book is not only showing success curing “Chronic Insomnia” sleep disorder, but is also showing much success as a very effective laxative.
Sarah Palin has also made it known that she will accept personal checks for her book when she is selling it out of the trunk of her car so long as the checks are made out to “Ms. Cash!”
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
While listening to the evening news droning on with the same stuff, my right brain kicked in and came up with three ideas that are worth trying. After all, it couldn't get much worse.
But many Afghans, he wrote in his resignation letter, are fighting the United States largely because its troops are there — a growing military presence in villages and valleys where outsiders, including other Afghans, are not welcome and where the corrupt, U.S.-backed national government is rejected. While the Taliban is a malign presence, and Pakistan-based al-Qaeda needs to be confronted, he said, the United States is asking its troops to die in Afghanistan for what is essentially a far-off civil war.
Hoh said he decided to speak out publicly because "I want people in Iowa, people in Arkansas, people in Arizona, to call their congressman and say, 'Listen, I don't think this is right. "I realize what I'm getting into . . . what people are going to say about me," he said. "I never thought I would be doing this."
Hoh was assigned to research the response to a question asked by Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, during an April visit. Mullen wanted to know why the U.S. military had been operating for years in the Korengal Valley, an isolated spot near Afghanistan's eastern border with Pakistan where a number of Americans had been killed. Hoh concluded that there was no good reason. The people of Korengal didn't want them; the insurgency appeared to have arrived in strength only after the Americans did, and the battle between the two forces had achieved only a bloody stalemate.
Korengal and other areas, he said, taught him "how localized the insurgency was. I didn't realize that a group in this valley here has no connection with an insurgent group two kilometers away." Hundreds, maybe thousands, of groups across Afghanistan, he decided, had few ideological ties to the Taliban but took its money to fight the foreign intruders and maintain their own local power bases.
"That's really what kind of shook me," he said. "I thought it was more nationalistic. But it's localism. I would call it valley-ism."
"but the truth is that the majority" are residents with "loyalties to their families, villages, valleys and to their financial supporters."
Hoh's doubts increased with Afghanistan's Aug. 20 presidential election, marked by low turnout and widespread fraud. He concluded, he said in his resignation letter, that the war "has violently and savagely pitted the urban, secular, educated and modern of Afghanistan against the rural, religious, illiterate and traditional. It is this latter group that composes and supports the Pashtun insurgency."
With "multiple, seemingly infinite, local groups," he wrote, the insurgency "is fed by what is perceived by the Pashtun people as a continued and sustained assault, going back centuries, on Pashtun land, culture, traditions and religion by internal and external enemies. The U.S. and Nato presence in Pashtun valleys and villages, as well as Afghan army and police units that are led and composed of non-Pashtun soldiers and police, provide an occupation force against which the insurgency is justified."
This week, Hoh is scheduled to meet with Vice President Biden's foreign policy adviser, Antony Blinken, at Blinken's invitation.
If the United States is to remain in Afghanistan, Hoh said, he would advise a reduction in combat forces.
He also would suggest providing more support for Pakistan, better U.S. communication and propaganda skills to match those of al-Qaeda, and more pressure on Afghan President Hamid Karzai to clean up government corruption — all options being discussed in White House deliberations.
"We want to have some kind of governance there, and we have some obligation for it not to be a bloodbath," Hoh said. "But you have to draw the line somewhere, and say this is their problem to solve."
The foregoing is a letter of complete resignation of a career pentagon officer over
the continued presence of the United States in Afghanistan as published on MSN.com.
He has been actively conjoled by the Obama Administration not to resign with
Holbrooke even offering him a position to keep quiet. Hoh seems to be a man of
principle and can't be bribed for his silence.
After about eight hours of deliberations, a jury has found Carla Hughes guilty of two counts of capital murder. Hughes was charged with killing her lover's fiance, Avis Banks, who was five months pregnant.
Prosecutors say Hughes killed Banks and her unborn child. They accused Hughes of fatally shooting, stabbing, and slashing Banks with a knife.
Jurors asked only one question during deliberations: could the prosecution have called Hughes to the stand. The judge sent a note back to the jurors directing them to their jury instructions. Hughes decided not to testify in her own defense during the trial.
This is a very fascinating case, for one reason that a woman could end up on death row in Mississippi. But also for the question of soundness of mind. Could a person do what she did while enjoying soundness of mind? In the midst of such an awful rage, is it possible for someone to understand the difference between right and wrong? Isn't it possible that crimes of passion like this have a built-in temporary insanity?
What's your opinion? What do you think about that decision to not let her testify? Did they think the verdict might be not guilty and she could mess it up by speaking? It makes me wonder what kind of advice she was getting. They must have known which way the jury was leaning and might have benefited from her testimony.
What do you think? Please leave a comment.
Monday, October 26, 2009
We all know that Christian fundamentalists here in America don't like our democracy, but the Islamic fundamentalists are a bit more vocal about it. Yesterday in Kabul, there was an anti-democracy rally during which signs like the one here were raised. Reuters reports:
Protesters, claiming foreign forces had burned a copy of Islam’s holiest book during a raid in Maidan Wardak province last week, blocked traffic in Kabul for more than an hour. A spokeswoman for U.S. and NATO-led forces in Afghanistan said none of their troops were involved in the incident and blamed the Taliban for spreading a false rumor that a copy of the Koran had been burned.
Thick plumes of smoke rose above the crowd as protesters set fire to a large effigy of what they said was U.S. President Barack Obama. “Death to America. Down with Israel,” chanted one man at the rally, which was organized mainly by university students. Others threw stones and clashed with police but no casualties were reported.
“No to democracy. We want just Islam,” said one banner carried by protesters, many of whom shook their fists in the air.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Every year the Library of Congress puts on the “National Book Festival” on the Mall in Washington DC. For those who do not know, “The Mall” is the grassy area that is surrounded by the Capital, Washington Monument, Jefferson Monument, National Art Gallery, Air and Space Museums, and the rest of the Smithsonian Museums. The tents were set up on the Mall with scores of authors, illustrators and poet’s presentations on the National Mall throughout the day in Children, Teens & Children, Fiction, Mysteries & Thrillers, History & Biography, and Poetry & Prose pavilions. This year it was held on September 26, 2009 and there were authors like John Grisham (A Time To Kill, The Firm, The Associate), Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook, Message in a Bottle), Ken Burns (The Civil War, Baseball, Jazz, The Brooklyn Bridge, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea), just to name a few. People line up and speak with their favorite authors and get their book’s signed….for free! This was our second year attending and my family just loves this time together and we will do it again next year.
We park the car in the New Carrollton Station in the suburbs of DC and ride the “Metro Light Rail” and get off at the subway stop right at the Mall. It is the perfect “One Day Trip” to leave in the morning and be back home that night to sleep in our own beds.
Now what I really want to get to is that as we got on, sat down in our seats on the Light Rail, this “Poindexter Dweeb” type, wearing a clownish bowtie and vest without a suit jacket with pants that did not match any other piece of his clothing, stepped in our rail car and he was carrying his copy of the Glen Beck book, “Arguing With Idiots” so that everyone would see the cover.
Well it came to me how perfect this scene was pointing out the mind set of the type of people who read, follow, and believe the crap within the hard back covers of those pages. This obvious social reject lemming had found his voice and views within the pages of this extreme spouter of hate.
I then went on to think of those who present the counter side opinions like Bill Moyers, Charlie Rose, Bob Schieffer, George Stephanopoulos, etc. and none have ever dressed up like a Nazi to promote their books, shows, or the basis of their opinions. I want to continue by saying that Poindexter did not get off at the Mall to attend the National Book Festival, nor was Glen Beck invited to speak or sign his book. Poindexter was just making his own personal statement….and the rest of us in society were just laughing once again at his blatant display of stupidity.
People writing the constitution never dreamed we'd be letting men marry men and women, women. These two-somes are unnatural --and unnecessary and hazardous to health of body, mind, and the future of civilization, families and nations.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Young and budding physicists would be thrilled with a brand new scintillating bolometer this holiday season! Even more desirable than an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle!
"That dark matter has never been found is no deterrent to the physicists who are looking for it." That oddly constructed English sentence and head-scratching thought fairly well describes the work of particle scientists today. These physicists tell us an astonishing fact: only around five percent of what makes up the universe can be detected. Thus, they hypothesize the existence of a substance/force/entity named, dark matter- a name that sends chills down the spine of SciFi and Star Wars fans everywhere!
The theory contends that the motion of distant galaxies can only be explained by a gravitational pull caused by more mass than can be seen. Estimates of dark matter are about 20 percent of the universe. Curiously, the remaining 75 percent made up of dark energy, a repulsive force that is causing the universe to expand at an ever-quickening pace. [cue the music from Twilight Zone]
WiredScience says, "At the heart of Abancens’ team’s detector, which is called a scintillating bolometer and resembles a prop from The Golden Compass, is a crystal so pure it can conduct the energy ostensibly generated when a particle of dark matter strikes the nucleus of one of its atoms.
"To prevent interference by cosmic rays, the bolometer is sheathed in lead and kept underground, under half a mile of rock. It’s also frozen to near-absolute zero, the temperature at which all motion stops. At the edge of absolute zero, it’s possible to measure expected changes of a few millionths of a degree Fahrenheit."
----------------------------------------------end of article
Frequent commenter, Steve, linked an article in ScienceDaily titled, Is Unknown Force In Universe Acting On Dark Matter? This article begins, " An international team of astronomers have found an unexpected link between mysterious 'dark matter' and the visible stars and gas in galaxies that could revolutionise our current understanding of gravity."
It goes on, " "The dark matter seems to 'know' how the visible matter is distributed. They seem to conspire with each other such that the gravity of the visible matter at the characteristic radius of the dark halo is always the same. This is extremely surprising since one would rather expect the balance between visible and dark matter to strongly depend on the individual history of each galaxy."
Dr. Zhao at the SUPA Centre of Gravity notes, "The pattern that the data reveal is extremely odd. It's like finding a zoo of animals of all ages and sizes miraculously having identical, say, weight in their backbones or something. It is possible that a non-gravitational fifth force is ruling the dark matter with an invisible hand, leaving the same fingerprints on all galaxies, irrespective of their ages, shapes and sizes."
Steve wonders if what many refer to as 'God,' might be this 'force and/or balance in the universe. This line from the article is especially God-inducing: "Such a force might solve an even bigger mystery, known as 'dark energy', which is ruling the accelerated expansion of the Universe."
Surely this highly-technical and coldly abstract version of God/god is way-too impersonal and 'humanless' for the 'believers' among us. God needs to have a human face, human emotions, and, most importantly, preside as a punitive human judge- perhaps residing in the state of Texas.
Friday, October 23, 2009
The United Nations Human Rights Council approved the Goldstone Report, which accuses the Jewish state of war crimes against Palestinians. The Goldstone Report also accuses Palestinian militants of war crimes during the Gaza conflict of nearly a year ago. The resolution by the Human Rights Council endorses the Goldstone Report's recommendations that both the Israelis and Palestinian militants show the U.N. Security Council they are investigating the war crimes accusations.
Israel has rejected the report as one-sided and biased and says the Gaza war was a legitimate act of self defense in response to years of Palestinian rocket attacks. Israeli officials say opening a war crimes investigation would be tantamount to accepting guilt.
Prime Minister Netanyahu has ordered officials to prepare for a long diplomatic, legal and public relations battle explaining Israel's right to defend itself against terrorism. As Mr. Netanyahu put it, "We will delegitimize those who try to delegitimize us."
------------------------------------------end of article
Bill Moyer's Journal this evening featured Judge Richard Goldstone, author of the 'disputed' report. Judge Richard Goldstone served as the chief prosecutor of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda. He also investigated the South African apartheid system and was a member of the International Panel of the Commission of Enquiry into the Activities of Nazism in Argentina. More recently he was appointed by Kofi Annan, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, to the Independent Inquiry Committee, chaired by Paul Volcker, to investigate the Iraq Oil for Food program.
Goldstone's credentials are outstanding. His life has been endangered by those who do not wish the light of his investigation to uncover their dirty deeds; he is the ultimate muckraker. He has received countless death threats, especially while investigating white supremacy in South Africa, his native country.
It will be difficult for the United States to defend Israel from these charges, yet that is exactly what Israel is hoping that the United States will do. Israel has begun a smear campaign against Goldstone, attempting to 'kill the messenger.' The Obama Administration is placed in a tight spot especially because our nation has historically defended nearly every action that Israel has taken. Israel hopes that the US will veto a UN proposal that Israel set up a credible investigation of its own on this subject.
I would imagine that many Americans will be sympathetic to Israel and hope that Obama will order such a veto. Yet, it is amazing to realize that Judge Goldstone is himself a Jew and a Zionist, which he admitted to Bill Moyers. Many Israelis have branded him a 'traitor.' Clearly, his reputation for fairness and impartiality along with his previous courageous work in Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Argentina, and South Africa will make it difficult to charge Goldstone with incompetence.
Knee-jerk 'support' for Israel here in the US may this time be somewhat muted if those supporters open their eyes to the credibility of Judge Goldstone.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Incompetence, is there a stronger word? Stupidity mixed with arrogance, perhaps. Who do they hire at the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles anyway? Is there a competency test or is it the good old boy system? I think of my 5 grandchildren in the Ohio school system who must pass proficiency tests to move along, yet these adults at the BMV display no hint that they passed a competency test themselves.
Chief Simon Pokagon of the Pottawatomie is honored
Interestingly, we were not alone at the Inn. There was a large church conference going on [wasn't I lucky!] whose attendees enjoyed walking along the beach and sitting outside soaking in the warm rays of the October day. In fact, some did not leave for the 'afternoon talk,' choosing to find God outside in this beautiful fall day. I'm quite sure that black check marks were not earned for these unorthodox members, as they were from mainline Christian churches.
The quaint town of Angola brings back memories from the past, especially its curious roundabout in the center of town. Today the roundabout is the new trend for intersections, but Angola had one back in the 50's if not earlier. I have a most curious boyhood memory of seeing pneumatic tubes zipping money from one end of the store to another there in downtown Angola. I don't remember which store but surely the tubes have long disappeared. Perhaps the store as well.
Pokagon Park has a toboggan run that was also constructed by the CCC; today, it is updated and electrically cooled to extend the season. Going down was much more fun than dragging the heavy toboggan back up to the beginning.
The cabins are still available for those wishing to stay in more 'privative' surroundings. Many have been restored but this one looks like the one our family used those many summers ago. We would alternate between the lodge and the inn.
The buffalo, moose and deer no longer are penned up for wide-eyed children to examine, yet the Nature Center still offers children exciting 'adventures' deep into the woods or along the shoreline. I wonder if a child can still earn a badge for participating in one of the nature adventures.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
"It's the second planet outside our solar system in which water, methane and carbon dioxide have been found, which are potentially important for biological processes in habitable planets," said researcher Mark Swain of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "Detecting organic compounds in two exoplanets now raises the possibility that it will become commonplace to find planets with molecules that may be tied to life."
I often find a bag of dog shit on my doorstep each morning when I turn on my computer. Those who follow this blog regularly know what I am talking about. There was one this morning. Why 'they' send me one so frequently remains a mystery- I never open it. All of their creative bitterness goes directly to the recycle bin without seeing the light of day. Such a waste of talent and time! But then, who would want to look into a bag of poop on the porch anyway?
It's all too funny. Imagine- what 'church' would want to open its doors to women and those abominable gays! Jesus would weep and demand the same thing, as he often showed during his life. Yes, Jesus is happy with the way things are, the way his church has closed its doors to certain people throughout the years. Surely he supports and encourages that type of bigotry within his church.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
My wife and I spent two hours this evening making phone calls to the citizens of Ohio, urging them to call Republican Senator Voinovich, urging him to vote for health care reform. The gathering reminded me of the days we spent prior to the election; in fact, we were with many of the same people who worked for Obama. Tonight's event served as a great homecoming.
receiving the corporeal punishment of
spanking in Mississippi which gives it
bragging rights as a State with most
spankings. Spanking is generally in
areas away from the capitol of Jackson.
Jackson public schools reported no spankings
for 2008. My county reported 742 spankings,
but none in the largest city, Pearl.
There are 152 school districts in the State,
and spanking occurred in 110 districts.
As we might imagine, the research shows that
spankings take place in the more rural
parts of MS, especially in the poverty and
minority areas with white administrators.
Those who support spanking say that it is a
way to get a student's attention, that it
is an immediate consequence, it's embarrassing,
and it's the biblical way. On the otherhand,
those in opposition say that spanking is not
a scientific based process as there is no
study that shows physical punishment is effective.
In Mississippi a spanking, usually three whacks,
must be witnessed by an adult of a different
race. There is parental notification.
There is no doubt that there has to be order in
a public school. It would be nice if it was possible
to have a situation where students, teachers and
principals recognized and respected one another.
However, there are many disruptive kids, and the
school must be able to have a system of discipline.
And, the definition of disruptive runs the spectrum.
Moreover, there are many physical and mental
disabilities which impact the behavior of our
children. Many of these do not improve with a form
of corporeal punishment. What is a public school