Tuesday, November 3, 2009

"No Weapons Allowed"

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!!

In fact, I said to the nearly-empty room, "I left my shotgun outside!" They all chuckled. Normal people, they.

Yet, I can imagine a similar sign in another place which caused outrage. Teabaggers, them folks.

Clear and Present Danger- Taxes

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.

Yes, that's what she said. Of course, this old teabag often opens her mouth before engaging her brain, but isn't that exactly the characteristic of the current junta of teabaggers.

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"

I wonder if there ought to be an additional requirement added to the list for those who seek a seat in Congress. An IQ of three-digits.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Old Math, New Math, Sensate Math

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.

In grade school we copied and copied stuff from our workbooks and 'practiced' the rote lessons until our fingers blistered from holding the pencils too tightly. Then we went home and did the same nonsense there for another hour. Memorizing 'facts' was little more than drill and kill. The 'math' lessons were appropriately called arithmetic which might have been useful if we intended to grow up and become shop keepers. For most of us, it was pure boredom and it killed any desire to move on to higher level math.

Thankfully, times have changed for most kids in school today, because teachers, textbooks and curriculum have been updated and math class is truly math, not just arithmetic. I came across a lesson at this LINK that would have been useful to me in 3rd or 4th grade. Rather than rote memory and mounds of practice sheets, this lesson clearly demonstrates the intricacies of mathematics in a relational format that actually makes sense to the student.

Note the subtle algebraic equations that accompany the 'fact families.' Note also the diagrams which begin lessons in geometry. The total set of mathematical relationships are offered to the student in one sitting. Wow! If only I had been born 60 years later, I might have become an aeronautical engineer!

GOP Congressional Ex-Candidate Endorses Democrat in New York

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

Recovering From Religion

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.

I would not recommend such a program for those who suffer religious OCD, as that is a much more serious syndrome that requires both professional counselling and drug therapy. However, RR sounds like a great first-step for those who have tired of 'religion' and the associated baggage requirement for 'belief.' With the many advances in science and technology, adults in this wired world find it almost laughable that they are required to believe in miracles, ghosts, the undead, blood sacrifices, flying angels, and an invisible God who hovers just above the clouds.

For those wishing to divorce themselves from all of this mumbo-jumbo, RR may be just the place to begin emptying that sack of beliefs that they have been dragging around for many years.

H.Res.870 - Expressing Gratitude for Teabaggers

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.

This brings back terrifying images of those numerous ceremonies when George W. Bush staged 'American Hero' photo ops and hung tin badges around the necks of Donald Rumsfeld, L. Paul Bremer, General Tommy Franks, George Tenet, and neocons Norman Podhoretz and Irving Kristol- honoring the idiots who brought the specious War on Iraq to our doorsteps.

What is most spurious about the current resolution is the necessity to 'honor' what every American citizen is entitled and encouraged to do- to peacefully and publicly assemble for redress of grievances. The First Amendment.

One could not imagine any Republican support for the millions of protesters of the War on Iraq who gathered on street corners, public squares and at the Capitol. No, not THESE people. The junta that now controls the GOP is self-serving ideologues who are only interested in their narrow agenda, rather than the interests of the citizens in general. This actions smacks of the awful pimping of Terri Schaivo at the hands of the right-wing of the GOP when in March 2005, a bill was passed by the GOP-controlled Congress to 'save the life' of the brain-dead woman. Recall how George Bush, in a carefully staged photo-op by Karl Rove, flew back to Washington from a vacation to sign the bill crafted for one citizen.

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.'

Teaching Homosexuality to Children

Crooks and Liars picked up on a fascinating story of an Illinois teacher suspended from his job.

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.

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