Saturday, March 14, 2009

Education Reform

The Obama Administration is keen on education
reform. Their idea, however, seems to be just
throw a larger sum of money down the education
sink hole like Bush-Kennedy did with "no child
left behind" legislation. With all the money
thrown at education, the U.S. education system
still ranks behind the rest of our industrialized
co-nation partners. Apparently, the liberals
believe hands more money will make it right.

In my opinion gobs more federal money will not
change the situation. Perhaps it is time to think
outside the box, but therein is the problem, to
think! Real thinking seems to be non-existent in
the United States educational system from elementary
to secondary and through college. There is no
courage to stimulate children and young adults to
learn how to think. Courage is a key virtue, but it
is hard to do with the elitist system that permeates
the United States.

The Obama Administration continues shouting from the
roof top of the White House that all U.S. children have
the right to attend college. There is the myth, i.e.,
all children should go to college/university. College
is for the intellectual able, not everyone. At least
50% have no intellectual reason to be in higher
education. And, please, saying this does not make me
an elitist. And, don't give me the bull about
affirmative action. If a child in the eighth grade
cannot do algebra, the educational system ought to tell
this family that a career in higher education of science
and technology will not be possible.Today, a United States
entering college/university must have had calculus and
statistics in high school. This is a must if our education
system is to provide scientists and mathematicians on a
par with the rest of our industrial national partners.

Conversely, that same eighth grader above can take an engine
apart, find the problem, and put it back together. We
need people with that ability. We need skilled carpenters,
plumbers, electricians, and so forth. What we don't need
is the cost of sending these children to college. Yet, we
hear the Obama Administration saying we need to send our
children to college/university for a BA/BS. Many kids are
just not smart. Half of our kids are below average.
Intellecual ability varies, and kids
just don't do well. They can't pass the tests, so we
shrug and say the poor souls could if the tests were more
sensitive to their feelings. Make it fair, put them on the
Bell curve. The future of the United States depends on how
we educate the intellectual able students. With limited
financial resources we must not spend money to send every
student to college. Let the colleges and universities start
spending their huge endowments. Enough of this egalitarian
educational philosophy at the college/university level.
Reform the elementary and secondary school structure to
provide for a skill and service oriented society for the
majority of students and a way to promote the intellectual
able to come out of high school with the ability to think
and do advanced math and science to be successful in college.

The Un-doing of the Bush Nightmare

It has been a long, 8-year nightmare for us Americans [and much of the world]. The Bush presidency was simply awful. It was so atrocious that the Obama Administration has spent much of its time attempting to repair the enormous damage caused by the former president.

Oh, there are many Bush apologists and sycophants out there trying desperately to spin this pitiful presidency into something positive, something more than the facts portend. More than we witnesses to this painful history remember.

In fact, here is a preview of a NYT Magazine article that will be out Sunday:

NYT contributor James Traub explores the uproar over the soon-to-arrive "Freedom Institute" established by former President George W. Bush at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, which will sit astride his presidential library there. Critics on and off campus have denounced it for various reasons, including the fact that it has been set up to pursue and defend his policies and record, not for scholarly research.

It will begin operating this fall and the George Bush Foundation which runs it will name an executive director soon. Some profs at the school are half-convinced that Bush will appoint Karl Rove to the post. With that in mind, some there see Condi Rice as an acceptable alternative.

Another historian there charges: "The Bush circle has done so much damage to every institution they've touched, it would be naive not to worry about the damage they could do to SMU."

Traub points out "the prospect" of being identified "in perpetuity" with Bush's agenda "freezes the blood of some of the university's leading academics. Everything about the planned institute reminds them of what they detested about the Bush administration. It will proselytize rather than explore: a letter sent to universities bidding for the Bush center stipulated that the institute would, among other things, 'further the domestic and international goals of the Bush administration.'"

The prospect freezes the blood. And the mind as well as the soul. 'In perpetuity' is a frightening thought. Thus, Southern Methodist University is 'stuck' in the role of hosting a grotto to both incompetency as well as vindictiveness. A memorial to a clutch of ideologues who nearly ruined our nation from within and from without.

[graphic from sirenschronicles ]

Recession-hit Americans 'a little sick' of Iraq

Of course they are, six years after lots of them were cheering on the insipid war that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the other neocons trumped-up. My wife, my family, many friends and I not only did not cheer this war, we worked against its inception. We protested, wrote letters, spread the news of anti-war activities, and other pro-active measures to instruct the masses that the Bush preemptive invasion of Iraq was nothing more than an ideological and political stunt.

The pro-war propaganda from both the Pentagon and White House was enormous. The Media played right into their hands, especially the right-wing media who heralded the upcoming war like a Medieval pageant, with parking lot rallies, music and flags- lots of flags.

Emerson said it best 130 years ago: "When a whole nation is roaring Patriotism at the top of its voice, I am fain to explore the cleanness of its hands and purity of its heart."

CNN reports: (CNN) -- With Americans confronting an economic crisis, public interest in the nearly 6-year-old war in Iraq has dropped off over the past few years as conditions on the ground there have improved and the relevance to the average American family's pocketbook wears thin.

"This is already one of the longest wars in American history. There's nothing new in Iraq," said Steven Roberts, a professor of media studies at George Washington University. "We've read the stories of instability in the government a hundred times. Every single possible story has been told, and so there is enormous fatigue about Iraq."

Fatigue about Iraq. Perhaps,the American citizens have learned a lesson here. Sadly, don't bet on it.

White Male Privilege gets Senator in Trouble, Again

It's Louisiana Senator David Vitter again. Who doesn't remember that awful scene when he and his poor wife stood before the cameras while he pleaded 'regret' for using the services of DC Madame? Mrs. Vitter stared away from the cameras during his confession. Brings to mind Mrs. Craig and the men's room.

Apparently the white male privilege meme is over-active in Vitter, The TSA is investigating an incident at Dulles international Airport, reported by a gate attendant who reported that the door to the boarding bridge was already closed, but Vitter opened it anyway, triggering an alarm. The paper said an airline worker warned him not to enter the walkway, which led to a "tirade" by Vitter who "remained defiant." The senator left the area before airport police arrived.

Louisiana is becoming the southern version of Illinois. I suppose anybody arrogant enough to think that people elected them to office because they 'deserved to be elected' easily form an attitude of arrogance which, in white men, distorts their natural white male privilege way out of proportion.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Creationism Gibberish as Science

Fossil Equidae: a monobaraminic, stratomorphic series
Cavanaugh, DP; Wood, TC; Wise, KP. 2003


We performed a baraminological analysis on nineteen fossil equid species using a morphological dataset obtained from the published literature. From a baraminic distance correlation analysis, we found evidence that all nineteen species belong to a single monobaramin. The 3D ANOPA distribution revealed a linear trajectory of equid species with sixteen species in the main axis and three species in a side-branch. The order of species in the ANOPA trajectory closely corresponds to the order of stratigraphic appearance, indicating that the fossil equids form a true stratomorphic series. We interpret the strata as post-Flood, concluding that the equid fossil record evidences a rapid, post-Flood, intrabaraminic diversification.

Translation- the creationist 'scientists' who presented this article to the Fifth International Conference on Creationism, Creation Science Fellowship, Pittsburgh in 2003 have 'proved' that horses can swim.

Well, not only that, but, to be fair to the 'research,' it proves that the horse may not have lived 54 million years ago because, the earth is only 6,000 years old as the Bible says.

Those odd words in the abstract, monobaraninicbaraminological, and baraminic  may have been strange to your eyes. On-line dictionaries give a 'can't find' message when the word is toggled. However, Wikipedia gives us some help:  Baraminology is a creationist system for classifying life into groups not related by common ancestry, called "baramins". Its methodology is founded on a literal creationist reading of "kinds" in Genesis, especially a distinction between humans and other animals.

Well, that clears the air of any 'science' that the reader was hoping to discover.

Perhaps the 'flood story' helps us understand how the tapir, another of the odd-toed ungulates in the 'horse' family, is found in the rain forests of Brazil. Apparently it was an excellent swimmer, not unlike Michael Phelps.

That darned 'flood story' in the Bible seems to mess up lots of  'science' facts.  We know that it 'covered the whole earth.' As Genesis details:  The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days, and every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out. Perhaps the Brazilian tapir clung to a log on its 10,000 mile trip from Israel to Brazil, one hell of a ride.

But no, because everything was wiped out.  Thus the swim.  I wonder if the biblical tapir was more slender in 'those days' because it sure doesn't look like an olympic gold metal swimmer these days.

Kent Conrad- Hypocrite on Finances

Democratic senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota is now wallowing in the pig trough with that pile of southern senators and governors who decry the stimulus bill but hold out their hands for the money. Here's the news clip:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The chairman of the Senate Budget Committee is voicing concerns about President Barack Obama's increased spending on health care, calling it an already "bloated system."

Sen. Kent Conrad, a North Dakota Democrat, also said he worries that Obama's policy proposals do little to lower deficits in the second half of the budget's 10-year projections.

Conrad on Thursday addressed Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who was testifying in defense of the administration's budget policies. The Obama budget would increase spending on health care by more than $600 billion over 10 years.


What most Americans [and the citizens of North Dakota] clearly don't know about 'Federal spending' is that the state of North Dakota is one of those "bloated," fat-cat states that takes more Federal money than it sends to Washington. And, it is in the top 10 list of pig trough states. North Dakota gets back $1.65 for each dollar it sends to DC. That's a 165% return on the dollar; not bad, eh? North Dakota ranks #6 in Federal welfare.

Conrad hopes that this dirty little secret doesn't get told within the state so that his re-election chances do not diminish. Right now, his constituents think that he is a fiscal conservative- railing against 'government spending' when, in reality, his state is nothing more than a welfare state.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Blue Circadian Clock Plant

CLOCK-WATCHER. This mustard plant is genetically engineered to show blue in tissues where the protein CHE is active. CHE is a newly discovered component of plants’ circadian clock that helps plants tell night from day.Image courtesy of Steve A. Kay and of Science/AAAS

The story here

The Third Creation Story

Actually it is really the second creation story, but as Genesis already has two creation stories, this then would be the third. From NewScientist:

The search is on for a "shadow biosphere" - life forms that are unrelated to the life we know because they are descendants of an independent origin of life. We know for sure that life got going on Earth once, so why couldn't it have happened twice? Many scientists argue that there is no reason why a second genesis might not have taken place, and no reason why its descendants should not still be living among us.

So the appearance of an "alien" organism seems imminent - we may find one that arose naturally, or engineer one in the lab. Either way, it's a momentous step. Until now, biologists have had to base their understanding of life on the plants, animals and microbes that surround us, which all share a common ancestor. That doesn't give much perspective.

No it doesn't. I've often wondered if there weren't 'alien' life among us that looks so much like other 'life' that we assume it is all from a common ancestor. Of course, those 50's Sci-Fi films helped me imagine it all much better. I often joke that perhaps I, myself, am alien yet what proof would I offer to substantiate it? The article goes on:

Discovering - or engineering - a second genesis wouldn't just broaden our view of life. Alternative life forms could supply biotechnologists with fresh molecules and new functions that they could apply to practical problems. A synthetic, made-to-order living system might even serve as a self-maintaining, self-improving, adaptable assembly line for producing everything from pharmaceuticals to petrochemicals. Over the next four pages we first report on rapid progress in the lab, and then bring news from the field, as researchers race to make what could be one of science's most far-reaching breakthroughs.

How to hunt for shadow life was published on NewScientist a month ago and it is interesting reading. Astrobiologist Paul Davies says, "One way to do this is to look for organisms that break the rules of known biochemistry. For instance, all known terrestrial life builds its proteins out of amino acids with left-handed orientation. Organisms that use right-handed amino acids could very well be alien."

Davis goes on, "Along these same lines, shadow life could build itself out of chemical elements unused by other life. Davies expressed scepticism in the possibility that silicon could replace carbon in any life form.

"Rather, arsenic might make a good substitute for phosphorous, which links together individual DNA letters and stores cellular energy. Arsenic is poisonous precisely because it mimics phosphorous so closely."

Arsenic and old lace. By the way, I read somewhere the other day that some organisms living beside the geysers in Yellowstone render arsenic non-poisonous. Perhaps these creatures are aliens that Dr. Davis seeks.

Here's a tough ethical, moral, political and religious question that rises up to be answered: if scientist do find an 'alien' species or two, do the customary set of 'values' that we place on 'our' species transfer directly to these aliens or will there have to be a summit meeting to decide their fate? Heavy stuff to contemplate, for sure.

Interesting Day at the U.S. Immigration Center

This morning we took a woman from the African nation of Burundi to the immigration Center in Detroit to get fingerprinted so that she can receive her green card. it is officially called the USCIS Application Support Center, an inauspicious looking building on East Jefferson. Actually it is in a strip mall next to the Army Recruiting Center and the Payday Loan office. A Thai diner and donut shop is in the same string of connected buildings.

Driving from Toledo to that location is quite the nightmare as I75 ends in downtown Detroit during construction. Just ends. Of course, I knew that ahead of time so I was armed with my Google Map that took me north of the city and then down to the river. Naturally, there was fly in the ointment as the I94 ramp to I 75 was closed, forcing me to make some quick navigational rebooting. After some serious curves and many potholes, there we were smack in the heart of downtown Detroit.

There wasn't much traffic on Jefferson because, I suppose, the city is in the death throes, with the Big Three auto industry in dire straits. Rather than a massive traffic jam in the 'olden days' of Detroit, we zipped through as if it were a small town. We headed east on Jefferson and found the shopping strip and spotted the sign 'Support Center' above the door. Luckily our Burundian friend was able to spot the office because those two words could mean many different things.

A guard pointed our friend to a desk on the left and my wife and I took one of the 50 straight-row folding chairs on the right. A TV with "DO NOT TOUCH" droned away in the corner with some silly movie that no one was watching. The walls were gray cement block with a few cheap posters nailed to them. Our friend came back with a yellow card with a large "M" on it. "I have to wait until they call "M," she said. A family of 5 came in next, the father headed to the check in desk. He left with 5 clipboards and 5 pencils. He gave one to his three children, his wife and himself. They probably came from Syria or Lebanon. Each, when finished, handed it back to the dad who checked each line to see that it was correct.

An elderly Asian couple were already waiting, ticket number in hand. "Number 4129" the woman at the check-in desk called. A man in the back jumped up and was told to sit in the other room, farthest chair on the left. "4130" jolted a very dark-skinned man to his feet, Same message, on the left. A young Asian couple entered, father pushing a buggy, mother holding a 2-year old. When the father stopped the infant inside began to cry. He motioned for his wife to get the clip-boards while he soothed the child.

Letter "O" the woman at the desk called, and a tall blond man followed a lady to the other room. "I'm letter M," said our friend. "Doesn't M come before O?" Well, of course it does but those rules didn't apply here. I suggested that perhaps the letters were random.

"4131, 4132, 4133, 4134" were called and all but one of the family of 5 rose to enter the other room. The father stopped to inquire about '4135' and the desk-lady motioned for the eldest daughter to come with her family; she was quite relieved.

An hour had gone by and I decided to walk over near the guard to look into the 'processing' room. My wife cautioned, 'They said everyone was to be seated here." "I know," I said as i walked there, tired from sitting in the car and on the hard and uncomfortable steel chair. I pretended to read a sign on the wall, and quickly shot a glance in the 'secret' room on my way back.

"Letter M" a stocky uniformed woman announced. "Finally," said the Burundian. She had told us that she had a 10:00 appointment, but apparently everyone else there received the same message. Twenty minutes later she came back and we were allowed out of our chairs, and left the building.

The starkness of it all reminded me of how many immigrants to America faced those same stark conditions after landing past the Statue of Liberty. I also thought about those anti-immigrant groups who whine about 'those people' polluting their version of white, Christian America. Lots of thoughts went through my head as I sat on that  metal chair.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cuban Cigar Anyone?

Ah, the aroma of a fresh Cuban cigar!  Of course, if you possess one you could be jailed.  Communism, you know, as well as the Batista Cuban lobby in Miami. Oh, those Batistias, still angry about the Castro coup back in the 50's. Their 'good life' was interrupted, their mansions confiscated. Such an insult!

Obama has said he supports easing travel to the island and cash remittances from relatives working in the United States to loved ones in Cuba, but has resisted calls to lift the entire decades-old US embargo.

The budget bill would block enforcement of rules that keep Cuban-Americans from visiting their homeland more than once every three years, allowing them to visit once per year instead.

Sadly, nothing about the sugar, rum and cigar embargo yet. We have to keep 'punishing' Cuba, you know, for their communist government. Some punishment for the Cubans, eh?

Of course, on the Internet, Cigar One can sell them to you- through Switzerland. Yes, a Swiss/Cuban cigar sent right to your mailbox, all nice and legal. Those Swiss sure know how to make the money.

The Coming Evangelical Collapse

That is the title of an article yesterday in the Christian Science Monitor.  Author Michael Spencer begins:

We are on the verge – within 10 years – of a major collapse of evangelical Christianity. This breakdown will follow the deterioration of the mainline Protestant world and it will fundamentally alter the religious and cultural environment in the West.

Within two generations, evangelicalism will be a house deserted of half its occupants. (Between 25 and 35 percent of Americans today are Evangelicals.) In the "Protestant" 20th century, Evangelicals flourished. But they will soon be living in a very secular and religiously antagonistic 21st century

Oh, can you hear the crying and gnashing of teeth?  Whoa is we.   What did we do wrong? they ask.  We tried to be oh-so righteous, calling out everybody's sinfulness.  We obeyed Deuteronomy and Leviticus.  And now this!

Eli Eli lama sabachthani?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

"Vampire' Discovered in Mass Grave

NewScientist reports:

A SKELETON exhumed from a grave in Venice is being claimed as the first known example of the "vampires" widely referred to in contemporary documents.

Matteo Borrini of the University of Florence in Italy found the skeleton of a woman with a small brick in her mouth (see right) while excavating mass graves of plague victims from the Middle Ages on Lazzaretto Nuovo Island in Venice.

At the time the woman died, many people believed that the plague was spread by "vampires" which, rather than drinking people's blood, spread disease by chewing on their shrouds after dying. Grave-diggers put bricks in the mouths of suspected vampires to stop them doing this, Borrini says.


The woman died in 1576. It's hard to imagine these days with all of the science and technology that is available to us that humans believed in vampires and that a brick in the mouth would stop vampires from 'chewing on their shrouds.' Then again, modern humans seem to be capable of 'believing' in lots of nonsense and unproven 'truths' as long as some 'authority figure' says that it is true. Oh well, so goes life.

Stem Cells Replace Stroke-damaged Tissue In Rats

One day after President Obama negated George Bush's ban on stem cell experimentation, scientists announced that an effective stem cell treatment for strokes has taken a significant step forward. Scientists revealed how they have replaced stroke-damaged brain tissue in rats.

ScienceDaily reports:

The team of scientists is funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and led by Dr Mike Modo of the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London. The work, carried out at the Institute of Psychiatry and University of Nottingham, shows that by inserting tiny scaffolding with stem cells attached, it is possible to fill a hole left by stroke damage with brand new brain tissue within 7 days. The work is published in Biomaterials on March 9.

Using individual particles of a biodegradable polymer called PLGA that have been loaded with neural stem cells, the team of scientists have filled stroke cavities with stem cells on a ready-made support structure.

Wow! The next 8 years ought to bring more and more of these victories as scientists here in America are able to begin anew their experiments, unfettered by political ideology. The British scientists had no such restrictions.  Parkinson's and diabetes patients now have real hope that cures for their disorders will be discovered.

Temporarily Suspended Comments

The blog has been infected with a fundamentalist/homophobic virus once again. In the short time that my wife and I had dinner, coffee and dessert, 6 comments were left festering like piles of dog shit.  For the third time in the history of this blog, I am forced to amend the comment section due to an attack by oh-so righteous christians.

Hopefully, the 'fun' that the mother-son duo receives from such an invasion will subside and I will be able to open the comments again.

Until then, enjoy reading my postings and hold your comments for later.

Obama Wants to Overhaul Education

Well, it's about time. The idiotic factory model of schools that are in place in America needed to be changed when the Studebaker went out of production. He plans a major overhaul of the country's education system "from the cradle up through a career."

"We have let our grades slip, our schools crumble, our teacher quality fall short and other nations outpace us," Obama said in an address to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. "The time for finger-pointing is over. The time for holding ourselves accountable is here."

One can only imagine the uproar among the traditionalists, the ones in education who thwart change and innovation at every turn. He also pledged to boost federal support in the form of "Early Learning Challenge" grants to states that develop plans to strengthen early education programs. The GOP has traditionally been against early childhood education, preferring to spend money on prisons rather than early intervention.

He called for the promotion of educational "innovation and excellence" by renewing his campaign pledge to support charter schools. He called on states to lift caps on the number of allowable charter schools. Charter schools, publicly funded and publicly chartered can serve the needs of many children who do not fit the mold of the 'traditional' classroom. Church-sponsored charter schools as well as for-profit ones, however, have no place in a reformed educational system.

Let's see who will first complain about this plan. My hunch is that the GOP and the Federation of Teachers will be first out of the gate.

White Picket Fence Fantasies

Leonard Pitts of the Chicago Tribune penned a piece today he called, Memo to the GOP: Say You're Sorry.  Of course, today's Republicans never do; their arrogant righteousness precludes them from doing so. Have you noticed?

White Picket Fence Fantasies appears towards the end of his essay, shortly after this plum:

As many pundits and even party officials have noted, given the dramatic cultural and demographic changes under way in this country, the GOP faces a real possibility of being reduced to a regional party of limited national relevance unless it broadens its appeal beyond angry white men living primarily in the states of the old Confederacy.

Angry white men in the old Confederacy.  Still fighting 'the war,' you know, the War of Northern Aggression.  Just why DID the North attack Fort Sumner anyway?

The white picket fence fanticies- I'm getting to that, but you've probably already figured it out.  Mr. Pitts says, 

"The GOP has reliably been able to woo them [extreme social conservatives] by demonizing gays, people of color, Muslims, feminists and anyone else who did not fit their white picket fence fantasies."

Ah, the white picket fence of the 1940's when 'those' people knew their place in our society. The good old days of America. Seems like these old white guys would rather turn the clock backward so that they could be more relevant than they now are, you know- when white men ruled.

Change scares the hell out of them. Sort of like a touch of Asperger's or autism. The Rainman. The white picket fence. It was all so easy then.

Southern Legislators Hate the Government, Love the Aid

Senators Shelby, DeMint, Burr, Graham, Wicker and Governors Jindal and Sanford whine about 'big government' taking over our lives. Some have even called the current administration, 'socialist.' Even though they themselves are 'government,' they think that government in general is a bad idea. That's why, in an earlier post, I used the term GOP anarchists.

But wait! Like those TV infomercials, there's more! Hypocrisy abounds when Republicans speak. Guess which part of our nation receives more Federal dollars than they send to Washington. You got it- the South. In fact, Mississippi gets a 2 for 1 deal- two Federal dollars for every dollar it sends to DC. Jindal's state, Louisiana,  gets $1.85 for each $1 it sends to Washington. Alabama, Shelby's state, gets $1.63. Those whiners from South Carolina get 33% more than they send away. Damned Federal government!

Up North, where seldom is heard a discouraging word, the blue states get screwed! Michigan gets only 73¢ for each dollar it sends to Washington; New Jersey receives 65¢ and Connecticut 73¢. Illinois, Obama's state receives 78 cents. Why no bitching? I guess that, perhaps, the folks living there have a more generous spirit- a more Christian giving mind set.

Whiners drive me nuts! Especially two-faced whiners. It's time to grow up, Richard Shelby, and stop playing political games with the U.S. Treasury where MY tax dollars sit.

Monday, March 9, 2009

America is Less Religious- Say it Ain't So!

Yes, I'm afraid that it's true: More Americans say they have no religion. Apparently, we are re-joining the rest of the world, except for the expanding Islamic nations. The AP reports:

A wide-ranging study on American religious life found that the Roman Catholic population has been shifting out of the Northeast to the Southwest, the percentage of Christians in the nation has declined and more people say they have no religion at all.

Fifteen percent of respondents said they had no religion, an increase from 14.2 percent in 2001 and 8.2 percent in 1990, according to the American Religious Identification Survey.

My, oh my! What has become of us? Apparently our endemic motto, 'God Bless America' hasn't been too successful. Where is Kate Smith when you need her? No doubt, we're all going to Hell in a hand basket. Cue the choir, pass out the hymnals.

Northern New England surpassed the Pacific Northwest as the least religious region, with Vermont reporting the highest share of those claiming no religion, at 34 percent. Still, the study found that the numbers of Americans with no religion rose in every state.

More a-theists, fewer Republicans. That explains why there is a dearth of GOPers in New England, why it has become so blue on the political map. Heathens!

Here's a sobering statistic: About 12 percent of Americans believe in a higher power but not the personal God at the core of monotheistic faiths. Twelve percent? Holy cow! Holy smoke, too!

So the Bible-thumpers are pretty much on their own here in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Judas priest, who could have imagined that?
Well, actually it was predictable, as far as our 'founding fathers' noted back when they planned this non-religious nation in the first place. Apparently we were slooooooooow learners, eh?

Science Research Back After Eight Long, Political Years

With a stroke of his pen, President Obama brought science research back from the shadowy corners where George W. Bush had relegated it some eight years ago. Yes, real science returns to the White House after years of the phony church-science of political payback. President Obama signed an executive order today repealing a Bush-era policy that limited federal tax dollars for embryonic stem cell research. Obama's move overturns an order signed by President Bush in 2001 that barred the National Institutes of Health from funding research on embryonic stem cells beyond using 60 cell lines that existed at that time.

The religious right no longer holds the White House hostage, deo gracias. Finally, solid science research can proceed unfettered from political posturing. It is hard to imagine what a waste of time these past eight years has meant to those suffering diabetes, Parkinsons, spinal cord injuries and a whole host of other diseases and disabilities.

No longer muzzled by religious doctrine, the NIH is now free to pursue the study of stem cells with the support of Federal dollars. Free at last! Free from Taliban-like influence and regulation.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Anarchist Republicans

I heard something amazing the other day which caused me to laugh out loud at the TV screen. Some Republican congressman, whose name escapes me, was in a rant that 'most of government is a waste of our tax dollars.' He went on, dropping the usual GOP terminology in a castigation of government in general.

I thought to myself, here's a government official, being paid $174,000 [4 times the median American salary], bitching about government waste of tax money. What am I missing?

The current junta that holds the GOP hostage hates 'government' in general. The way they babble, one might get the impression that they'd rather enjoy anarchism. In fact, this junta really are anarcho-capitalists. Anarcho-capitalism advocates:

the elimination of the state and the elevation of the sovereign individual in a free market. In an anarcho-capitalist society, law enforcement, courts, and all other security services are provided by voluntarily-funded competitors such as private defense agencies rather than through compulsory taxation. Because personal and economic activities are regulated by the natural laws of the market through private law rather than through politics, victimless crimes and crimes against the state would be rendered moot. [Wikipedia]

Sound like the last 8 years? Been there, did that, watched most everything wash away, left holding the bag. Yet, undaunted by those failures, they continue to bloviate their idiocy once again. Here's the important question: will they, again, fool the people? Don't bet that they won't.

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