Saturday, March 20, 2004

Road Trip USA (and Canada) 

I'm going on a road trip for the next two weeks, so I have recruited my friend Tay to cover the blog while I am away. There's also Corrente, Buck Hill, and Otters for your political fix, and then there is Mister Pants for news from the World of Yarn. A world of Yarn where Rodeo Clowns are King.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

No Child Left Behind, Etcetera 

Got this in my inbox. I've cleaned it up to anonymize it, but don't let that get too distracting:

"I am a grad student in [anonymized] school of urban education with a focus on secondary ed. Which means I student teach [...] at one of the local high schools. By chance, I have student taught at [...] two of the worst schools in the country. It has been an eye opening experience, one which many of our politicians should experience before they get on their soapbox about the state of education in our country and pass ridiculous school reforms such as "No Child Left Behind" (which is really quite funny). Anyhow, politicians really don't want the state of urban education to change, nor do most affluent individuals, (Republicans and so-called liberals alike), because to balance the scales of education would mean taking tax money from more affluent areas and spreading it around in the inner city. Who wants that? The more affluent communities fight such a policy because it would mean taking money out of the coffers of their child's education and thus take away any advantages they might have. No one really wants an even playing field. If we had an even playing field who would be our unskilled laborers and workers? Certainly not the white kids..."

"But anyways, pardon the preaching. I have just seen some serious shit since I have been teaching here. Very different from the world I grew up in and the education I received. Can you imagine going to school and not being able to take your school books home? Not even that, but having one book to share amongst 3 students while in class? What is [the city's] remedy? Scripted curriculum. Seriously. They made a deal with Kaplan and now all teachers have these cute little scripted lesson plans that they must teach verbatim and on the scheduled time frame so that our students have the basic skills to pass standardized tests. There is no literature or discussion to be had in the classroom. When I asked my principals, at the beginning of the year, when this new script would allow time for discussion, I was told "discussion has no place in the classroom." Eh??? The scary thing is that my students share this sentiment because this is how they have been taught for years."

I thought this was really, really interesting. I'm really interested in the idea about affluent neighborhoods rejecting the distribution of educational funding...

"Sexy" + "Urinal" = "Oxymoron"  

Virgin Airlines brings you a urinal shaped like a woman's lips.

"We expect the response to the urinal to be very positive. With everything we do, we want there to be a smile, and that's also the case in the clubhouse. The urinal is just for fun."

What could be more fun than pissing in a woman's mouth? The company that created the "sexy" urinal advertises it with: "This is one target men will never miss." Nice to see the misogynist market getting cornered, particularly the rich, business class misogynist.

c/o Bitch

The Coalition of the Misled 

"I personally think that today, Iraq without Saddam Hussein is a truly better Iraq than with Saddam Hussein," [Polish President] Kwasniewski told a small group of European reporters. "But naturally I also feel uncomfortable due to the fact that we were misled with the information on weapons of mass destruction." -AP

Poland has troops on the ground in Iraq. One of the biggest supporters, in fact. So, if Bush criticizes Kerry's position now, he's also criticizing Poland.

Chomsky On The Saddam Trial 

"The trial should bring to the bar of justice his associates, those who gave decisive and substantial support for him right through his worst atrocities, long after the war with Iran. [...] All of those people should be brought to justice. They're not all equally culpable but they were all critically involved - that includes European countries right through the 80s, including Russia and France, Germany and others, it includes, crucially, the United States and Britain all the way through, including 1991." -Hi Pakistan

I love that, especially the way it's phrased. "You know, I am really glad Saddam will be on trial, because it's important to capture and prosecute everyone who helped him out with those atrocities. That's why I would prosecute Donald Rumsfield, Dick Cheney, George Bush the Elder..." and so forth.

Surprise Endorsement for Bush 

In a surprise for the Bush Administration, it has been officially endorsed by Al Qaeda.

"Kerry will kill our nation while it sleeps because he and the Democrats have the cunning to embellish blasphemy and present it to the Arab and Muslim nation as civilization. Because of this we desire you (Bush) to be elected." -Reuters

The article claims that Al Qaeda chose Bush because "it was not possible to find a leader 'more foolish than you (Bush), who deals with matters by force rather than with wisdom.'" Maybe later, Al Qaeda will announce plans to start up a 527 group and invest $5 million into anti-Kerry ads in swing states.

Help Fight Terrorists, (or at least annoy them): Donate to John Kerry!

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Red Alert 

This is a short documentary about the "designer" of the Color Coded Terror Alert System. It's funny, and I don't post funny things here very often, so take advantage. -c/o Clowntech

Now It Really Gets Scary 

A new scoop on the Bush AWOL story has emerged, and it is scary as hell.

"Bush's pilot code was among those covered by Air Force Regulation 35-99, a previously undisclosed document recently obtained by The Spokesman-Review. Regulation 35-99 contains an extensive explanation of the Human Reliability Program. Human reliability regulations were used to screen military personnel for their mental, physical and emotional fitness before granting them access to nuclear weapons and delivery systems."

In other words, Bush may have been banned from flying planes because the Military didn't think he was emotionally stable enough to be in possession of a nuclear bomb as payload on his plane. It goes without saying, by the way, that he is now in charge of every nuclear bomb on every plane.

This is plausible given the Spectacle in Chief's cocaine addiction and obvious love of mass inflicted casualties provided he's not in any danger- but I am withholding judgment on the matter until someone in the press does their fucking job.

Thank You Mr. Kerry 

I've started up my own personal webpage to track donations made to John Kerry through this website. So if you want to make a contribution, feel free to make it here, so I feel like I am doing something worthwhile with my life. You can make one big one or just a couple of small ones, but it's important to give something. I'll track the donations and post important milestones.

Here's a reason why:

John Kerry is hitting Bush where they least expect it. Seems like an hour with Howard Dean goes a long way.

"When it comes to protecting America from terrorism, this administration is big on bluster and they're short on action. But as we saw again last week in Spain, real action is what we need. The Bush administration is tinkering while the clock on homeland security is ticking. And we really don't have a moment of time to waste." and "He pushed away our allies at a time when we needed them the most. He hasn't pursued a strategy to win the hearts and minds of people around the world, and win the war of ideas against the radical ideology of Osama bin Laden."

Winning Hearts and Minds? Yes please. Fighting the War with Intelligence instead of Bombs? Yes, please. By the time Bush rebuilds all the "established" fundamentalist Islamic states back from the Anarchy he leaves in the wake of their faux-liberation, the underlying principle of the culture in the region will be the alienation of Islam from Liberal Democracy and Secularism. In other words, Bush's plan isn't just morally corrupt, it also simply doesn't work.

Monday, March 15, 2004

Angry 15 Year Olds For Bush 

For whatever reason, a poll was taken of 12 to 17 year olds that show they favor Bush over Kerry. But I don't know if that's a Bragging Right.

(Yes, the blog, it's a parody.)

Please God 

I'm not a praying man, but please God, please, please, please, God, let it be the French that catch Bin Laden.

Little Darpa Has a Treat For You 

So we all know how much day to day technology comes out of military research. For example, building water powered missiles. I like this, because it means, essentially, a water powered combustion process. But a lot of people don't know precisely where this stuff actually comes from, or how.

The "Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency" (DARPA) is designed to come up with new technology independently of the evolutionary model of design- that means, they think of stuff they think will be cool in a war, and then try to invent it, as opposed to trying to improve existing technology. DARPA is a part of the Defense Department since Sputnik took off and we got all scared of the commies. All of their projects are public, however, in basic outline form, so I figured I'd take a look at what the future of our military is going to look like.

Here's a great one: Soldier Self Care (SSC) for Acute Intractable Pain
The Soldier Self Care Program explores methods for managing acute traumatic pain in the battlefield, focusing on those free of side effects that could hinder the warfighter's performance. These methods include, but are not limited to, non-allopathic approaches such as acupuncture, acupressure employing stimulation to release pain-relieving biomolecules, biofeedback, training, and meditation. East Asian techniques for combat medicine and pathways/mediators of pain meridian points are of particular interest.

The Dalai Llama must be thrilled. But sure, military use with a definite potential day to day application, right? But we're just getting started. Take a look at this beauty:

This program will develop a number of different strategic approaches to prevent the effects of sleep deprivation over an extended period of time, nominally set at 7 days (24/7). These approaches will capitalize on emerging concepts in neuroscience, neurobiology, cognitive psychology, cell signaling/regulation, noninvasive imaging technologies, and novel mathematical approaches to modeling and analysis. In short, the capability to operate effectively, without sleep, is no less than a 21st century revolution in military affairs that results in operational dominance across the whole range of potential U.S. military employments.

Imagine what that will do to the American Workforce! Praise Ye, The God of 200% Productivity. But here it comes folks, your worst nightmare:

The program will create new technologies for augmenting human performance through the ability to noninvasively access codes in the brain in real time and integrate them into peripheral device or system operations. Faaaaantastic!

So if they reinstate the draft after all this, get ready kids, cuz it's not going to be just a matter of being cannon fodder anymore. Now, you're going to be transformed into a full blown motherfucking cyborg. I really can't wait for that fucking war. I guess the thinking goes: tear out the humanity first and war won't be so bad. Which is what makes things like this so fucking scary in the first place.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Droppin' The Science 

The massive attacks in Spain last week are a very frightening revelation of how weak we actually are in the field of Terror attacks.

If you watch the news, you know that the Terror Alert level rises and falls based on several factors, one of which is the issue of "chatter", increased talk and communications on monitored channels and reports from insiders, etc. But prior to the Spain attack, there was no chatter, part of the reason why they initially blamed the ETA.

"Our understanding of al-Qaida is not as it should be," one well-placed source admitted yesterday. "There was no tangible lead." - the Guardian

There was a tape found near a dumpster near a mosque in Spain, with a videotape where Al Qaeda takes responsibility, saying: "You love life and we love death. If you do not stop your injustice, blood will flow."

Which is precisely why dropping bombs on the populations of these countries doesn't work. Not only does it kill people who have nothing to do with terrorism, but the "terrorists" it may kill (which would barely be 1/100th of any bombed population) consider it a glorious honor to die for Allah, while the people who are supposed to be "scared off" by the perpetual bomb storm sit around wishing one would fall on them, so they can be greeted by 70 Virgins in Heaven. While they're waiting for that bullshit party to come true, they'll point at the deaths of "innocents" to prove to moderates that "America is at war with Islam."

They're not afraid of death, and that concept is so completely foreign to Western Liberal Democracy that it cannot comprehend it. This makes us think we can fight terror through war- that we can fight terror through the fear of retribution, that we can fight terror by "scaring" the terrorists into "behaving." When the goal of terror is not the establishment of political order, or the foundation of a new state, or separation from an existing one, you can "win" by bombing the will for that state out of people- effective albeit corrupt and devastating. When the opponent is fighting for the glory that his death will earn them in a fictitious afterlife with 70 virgins to fuck, no war is going to stop it.

The real solution to the terror problem is clear: secularism. The secularization of the Hotbed Fundamentalist Regimes. I know, I know- there's a lot to be said for "respecting the culture" of any people. But that is very different from respecting the fundamentalism of any culture. No one ever said, you know- "Killing Jews? That's just what Germans do. It's their culture and you have to respect it." I am not going to argue that Western Culture is "superior" to any other culture, but Secularism is.

Like, totally.

First off, Secularism doesn't deny any religious reverence. America used to be a Secular country until the Blowjob Coup overthrew the winner of the popular vote. Secularism is, "in society, any of a range of situations where a society less automatically assumes religious beliefs to be either widely shared or a basis for conflict in various forms, than in recent generations of the same society." - Wikipedia

Here comes the liberal: If we're going to drop anything on the population of fundamentalist Islamic countries, it's science. What kills terrorism is secular education and what creates secular education are secular governments. But Bush can't do this because he depends on the survival of a particularly American brand of fundamentalists for a good sum of his votes. They're just Christians Fundamentalists, not Islamic ones, and- because of our wonderful history of secularism these people are so deadset against- they don't go around killing people like gangbusters in the name of Christ. They just annoy everyone with lectures on airplanes and random visits to your house to hand you magazines or brochures on the street.

The Problem is, Bush has already defined the War on Terror. While Clark and Dean didn't use the words "War on Terror" Kerry, of course, does. Which means that Bush will win even if Bush loses, unless Kerry can redefine the War on Terror into terms of not only a fundamental rot in the nation states that house extremists, but also argue that bombs aren't a means of establishing change in those states. Sponsoring a culture of secularism is, a culture that exists outside of the ruling regimes and eventually overwhelms it. It's hard work, but it's a hell of a lot less difficult compared to the Bush Doctrine of "Kill them faster than they spawn."

Sketchy Connection Contest 

Who wants to guess how soon until the polygamy murders come up in some Right Winger's column citing it as one reason why traditional marriage needs to be maintained?

Bonus points if it uses this as the thesis: "Because of this tragedy, America now knows that traditional marriage is a matter of life and death."

Sunday Blog Outsourcing 

New Blogs
Buck Hill was a new-to-me blog which was added to the lofty and sprawling blogroll to your left (as "Color Me Impressed"). The author comes off as young and hip with what y'all in the moderate stream would call a bleeding-edge political bent. It's good!

The other notable find this week is Odd Hours, which has more in-depth and independent research than your usual politblog as well as insightful Presidential horserace coverage (which is almost an oxymoron).

This Genius Thinks We Came From A Monkey
Pharyngula notes a Jack Chick Parody comic of the famously ridiculous "Big Daddy? (Picture of a Monkey)" Comic Brochure, including annotations with references to why everything Jack Chick believes in is wrong. In the original, a Creationist Student stands up to his sweating teacher in class. Because his professor simply hadn't thought of all the stuff that is "wrong" about evolutionary theory, Creationist PHd convinces him- with a few well-made observations that turn the caricature of an educated liberal prof into goo, and one of his classmates declares, "The system has been feeding us a BIG LIE! We really do have a soul!" The parody has its share of flaws, too- I never really could get a hold of the "no historical evidence for Jesus" thing. For one, it really doesn't make sense sociologically. Saying he's the product of a book is almost like imagining that Holden Caulfield could spawn 2000 years of massive social and political change. The fact is, the guy kind of had to have actually been around just for the Christ Meme to spread enough to the degree it did.

The Difference Is How We Laugh
Craptastic has your favorite pastime: Mocking Stupid Things Republicans say. Which got me curious: Has anyone ever done a "stupid thing Democrats say" round up for a few yuks at our expense? Google says: No. Instead, this happens:

If you vote Democrat, you should repent, ask God to forgive you, and tell your neighbors that you're sorry. The Democrats have aggressively led the effort to destroy the morality and law that was the foundation of this nation. The Democrats celebrate the most despicable perversions known to man. Better than 98% of all Democratic leaders are destructive.

So they do it funny weird, we do it funny ha ha.

Abstinence Ed Greatly Reduces Chances of Knowing What STD You've Got
Otters makes her obligatory Outsourcing appearance this week with a post on the subject of the effectiveness of Abstinence Education. The New results are in, and guess what, it still doesn't do a god damned thing. I don't know how depriving people of knowledge and the means to having safe sex is going to make more kids knowledgeable and safe! How? How is taking away the thing the same as giving people the thing? It never is. It never is.

Banning Edward Said; Update
Looks like HR 3077 is still in the wasteworks. Rubber Hose mentions it (by way of Juan Cole). I mentioned it way back in November, so I wonder what the hell is going on with it. This and the "draft" resolution which has been sitting out about twice as long. No wonder the trains don't run on time.

All You Need is Rove
Seems like the Bush strategy is: If we keep making ourselves look like idiots and the other guy looking brilliant, we'll win this thing! Edwardpig has some commentary on some Bush propaganda that made Kerry look good. Which is interesting, when you consider Bush's last ad was, essentially, about how bad the last four years have been. Seems a counter intuitive strategy. It's like they're running a fake campaign just so when the next election is rigged they can pretend they actually tried.

Rush Limbaugh Eats A Lot Of Food
It's fine and all, but man alive: $58.00 for lunch? "Make Me A Commentator" has the scoop on Rush's attempt to come off as a "man of the people" with a story that inadvertently reveals that he spends as much money on one lunch as a guy making minimum wage makes in a ten hour day.

The Post Modernism Police
This is the second Sunday in a row that I've pointed to a blog entry that discusses or uses the word "post modern", this time Musing Squared has a write up of one pundit's reference to "homosexuals" in our "post modern society". The author uses "post modernist" for no good reason, it seems, except to not use the word "hedonistic" which is what the article seems to talk about. The only thing post modern about this article is the level of sheer stupidity involved in writing it, which Musing rightfully skewers. "Gays are wacky, therefore they don't really want gay marriage because that would make them less wacky!" and that Gay Promiscuity is part of the whole "Gay thing."

Granny D
Granny D!

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?