Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Trolling at Pandagon

Usually I find something interesting, and today was no different. I would NEVER wallow into comments though, so it will be here that I make my comment.

Amanda Marcotte is venturing into the subject of home schooling. She read an article about it and everything(!); an interview with the president of the National Home Educator's Nework, Laura Derrick.

I didn’t expect the interviewer to hammer at Derrick about the issue of whether or not it’s wise for people to homeschool their kids if they are doing so with the intention of teaching them that Noah had a pet dinosaur or that Jesus founded America (and therefore feed them into upper echelon jobs in the Justice Department), but I figured it would at least come up. No luck, though.

There it is; that is the reason those of a religious persuasion home school. But, Marcotte does make an exception for the motives of left-leaning parents who homeschool:

None of that is to say that I think that all homeschoolers are fundie nuts intent on depriving their kids of a reality-based education. I’m quite aware that the concept of homeschooling is gaining some steam on the left, because it seems like it’s a good way to resist the problems with the public school system, particularly the issues of how the system prizes teaching compliant behavior over actual education, often to the point where one begins to think that kids are actually meant to get stupider in school.

Rightwingers homeschool to teach their children that Noah killed the dinasours, while left-leaning parents do so because they wish to put education over compliant behavior.

But, her main beef with homeschooling is that it means that women are stuck with doing more work for free.

. I honestly admire any woman who has the brains and energy to homeschool, make no mistake. But it’s frustrating to me that it goes without question so often that mothers are obligated to turn those brains and energy over to their children, keeping nothing for themselves, and not even getting that (meager) paycheck at the end of the day that professional teachers receive.

So, is life all about a paycheck? Too many feminists equate happiness and fulfillment in life with a nice salary.
Earlier in the article, Marcotte complains that the "social aspects of high school are based around reinforcing materialism", yet she complains that there is not material (cash) benefits for a mom who teachers her children? The benefits of homeschooling are definitely not material.



Yesterday I was good. Green drink (twice), berry drink (twice), veggie juice for lunch, and all veggie soup (home made, veg broth) for dinner. No salt - Sob! Hour walk after dinner.

I just made my berry drink for breakfast, and added 1/2 a banana. Yum, that really sweetened it up. I use frozen, unsweetened berries, and water blended, so it's pretty low cal.

A day late ....

Hate to re-run yesterday's news (I was TBTB*), but my head 'sploded when I heard about this :

Presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton outlined a broad economic vision Tuesday, saying it's time to replace an "on your own" society with one based on shared responsibility and prosperity.
The Democratic senator said what the Bush administration touts as an "ownership society" really is an "on your own" society that has widened the gap between rich and poor.

"I prefer a 'we're all in it together' society," she said. "I believe our government can once again work for all Americans. It can promote the great American tradition of opportunity for all and special privileges for none."

That means pairing growth with fairness, she said, to ensure that the middle-class succeeds in the global economy, not just corporate CEOs.

"There is no greater force for economic growth than free markets. But markets work best with rules that promote our values, protect our workers and give all people a chance to succeed," she said. "Fairness doesn't just happen. It requires the right government policies."

I've got two Reagan quotes that express my opinions on Lady Hillary's ideas:

We who live in free market societies believe that growth, prosperity and ultimately human fulfillment, are created from the bottom up, not the government down. Only when the human spirit is allowed to invent and create, only when individuals are given a personal stake in deciding economic policies and benefitting from their success -- only then can societies remain economically alive, dynamic, progressive, and free. Trust the people. This is the one irrefutable lesson of the entire postwar period contradicting the notion that rigid government controls are essential to economic development.

And, of course, this one: How do you tell a Communist? Well, it's someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It's someone who understands Marx and Lenin.

*To Busy To Blog.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sunday diet update

Since no one is much around, it won't bore anyone to hold myself accountable publically.

So, Saturday I did the diet/detox thing all day ... until dinner. Our plumbing backed up - huge ordeal, backyard dug-up, etc - so I was left without my kitchen. I ended up eating pizza at my sister's house. So, one bad night. Technically, that makes me off the detox- schtick, but since I'm not completely following it, I'm not gonna cry. Today I'm doing ok. Berry drink for b-fast. I didn't have my stuff for lunch, and instead had an energy drink. All for all, though ... with crises in the O'Brien kitchen, I'm not going to make a big deal.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Diet News

Ok, I'm doing the Martha's Vineyard Detox Diet. You can google it. Go ahead, I'll wait. Anyway, I ordered all the extra stuff I need, but couldn't get at the local health food stores. Acutally, I could have gotten some of it locally , but it was at least TWICE as expensive. Since none of it the stuff (green drinks, colon cleansing pills, digestive enzymes - etc) has arrived yet, but I don't really feel like waiting a week to start, I've kinda-sorta started the diet.

Basically, it's a fresh fruit/ veggie diet. That makes it sound a tad flakey.

Basically, the day is made up of Berry drinks (drinks made up of berrie), and Green Drinks (which can be rather nasty, but I can make du), and raw veggie juice. For "dinner" you make a soup (which you much) of veggie soup. Also included are colon cleansing pills (you are supposed to have colonics, but I can't really see me doing that.) And, here's a biggie, no caffeine or alcohol. Well, since I don't have everything yet - I did have coffee yesterday and today. But, other than that, I've been good. I honestly wasn't hungary.

The diet is, optimally, supposed to last 21 days (and many people end up losing 21 pounds), but we'll see how it goes day-by-day.

Anyway, I'll update every day. I know, you can't wait, can you?

March of the Hypocrites

Zombie went to hear AlGore speak on GLOBAL WARMING on May 23rd in San Rafael California. For all of us who couldn't make it, Zombie brings back pictures. I was awfully surprised to learn that a lot of these concerned citizens for global warming actually drive gas guzzeling automobiles. Blow me over. The picture above has two informative stickers on it, one says "Start Global Cooling", and the other "Start Seeing Bicycles." I dunno, do you think he meant he was gonna throw a bicycle in the back of that truck?

Another great picture:

One of these Gore supporters is a Che fan. Which one do you think it is? Perhaps both. Do you think they are aware of the 14 people Che personally executed (combat deaths are not included here), without a trail and due process of law? Do you think they know about the thousands he ordered to be put to death, again without a trail and due process?

"Crazy with fury I will stain my rifle red while slaughtering any enemy that falls in my hands! My nostrils dilate
while savoring the acrid odor of gunpowder and blood. With the deaths of my enemies I prepare my being for
the sacred fight and join the triumphant proletariat with a bestial howl!"
"Hatred as an element of struggle; unbending hatred for the enemy, which pushes a human being beyond his
natural limitations, making him into an effective, violent, selective, and cold-blooded killing machine. This is
what our soldiers must become … " Che Guevara

Funny, those two Gore supporters don't really seem to be down with "hatred as an element of struggle." But, I guess you can never tell, huh?

Both photos by Zombietime, whom I very much enjoy, and who has many many great photo-journal articles at his/her site. Also, you have to go here to discover Gore's secret message

Friday, May 25, 2007

Warning, Warning

I am starting a new diet. George may be interested, since she did something similar.

Better than Nirvana

Since it's been a WHOLE WEEK, I thought it would be OK to post a vid. And, it's neither APC or Radiohead (or Tool):

This version blows Nirvana's out of the water.

Us versus Them

Us : them

Psychological intimidation versus eye gouging, iron burning, limb removing ... the list goes on. When the intimidation went to far, there have been prosecutions in the US Military. Meanwhile, ACTUAL torture, the real thing, occurs every day in Iraq, with nary a word from ... anyone.

It's Friday, and I have a picture of a cat

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Edwards for President

Edwards on the GWOT:

“We need a post-Bush, post-9/11, post-Iraq military that is mission focused on protecting Americans from 21st century threats, not misused for discredited ideological purposes,” Edwards said in remarks prepared for delivery. “By framing this as a war, we have walked right into the trap the terrorists have set—that we are engaged in some kind of clash of civilizations and a war on Islam.”

Look, pretty-boy, it isn't some kind of clash of civilizations it IS a clash of civilizations. Terrorism, and the spread of Islam using intimidation and violence IS the biggest t 21st century threat. Their aims, as stated by co-founder of CAIR's Omar Ahmad:?

"Those who stay in America should be open to society without melting, keeping Mosques open so anyone can come and learn about Islam. If you choose to live here, you have a responsibility to deliver the message of Islam ... Islam isn't in America to
be equal to any other faiths, but to become dominant. The Koran, the Muslim book
of scripture, should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only
accepted religion on Earth."

That is their goal. Those who love Western Civilization - it's art (with forbidden images of PEOPLE), it's freedom, it's history, it's knowledge - should consider the goal of Global domination by Islam a "bad thing."

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Not Today

Tomorrow is the big day for truthers on "The View." Don't forget.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

This Week, on "The View"

A while back, when Rosie got going on her 9/11 Truther rant, she accepted the challenge to have "experts" on the show to discuss the moonbat theories pertaining to tower seven. Apparently, she wasn't entirely serious. On Thursday, the "Loose Change" idiots will be on The View. Not exactly experts, but perhaps I'm biased in favor of rational thought. Good Lt on Rosie's "experts":

Some nobody who dropped out of film school, another nobody whose scientific expertise extends to the point of remembering which Double Sausage With Cheese to deliver to which address, and some other nobody whose scientific expertise involves Drano and how to properly mix Pine-Sol and water.

To Rosie and the mentally handicapped minions that make up the Twoofer religion, these clowns are considered "experts."

Last night, I was explaining the truther movement to my husband, who was just baffled that this is actually a "movement." His reaction was to question that anyone (other than a small group) believed this garbage. Well, from the Loose Change blog:

400 leading professors, pilots, physicists, politicians, law enforcement officials, 9/11 victim’s families are all fighting for 9/11 truth. Crucially according to respected pollsters, ‘Zogby’ over 42% of the American population, now believe that there has been a cover up over 9/11. This is translating into practical problems for the US administration, which is now finding it difficult to recruit potential jurors in trials of terrorist suspects because so many ordinary people now no longer believe the official story.

A little bit further, these idiots compare themselves to Rosa Parks, Simon Wiesenthal, Winston Churchal, and Nelson Mandela. To see a bit of intelligent (well, one sided intelligence) discussion of the 9/11 conspiracy theories, start here. To read an article directly addressing Rosie's wacked-out theories, Popular Mechanics responds here.

First Hillarycare, now Hillary-preK

And, her new idea is just as bad as Hillarycare. Universal Pre-K.

"Every child - not just children whose parents can afford it - should have the same chance to succeed and to fulfill his or her God-given potential," Clinton said. "As President, I will establish universal pre-kindergarten education through a federal-state partnership, based on state flexibility, that ensures every four-year-old child in America has access to a high-quality pre-kindergarten program."

Every child DOES have the same chance to succeed as a pre-schooler, and they don't need to be enrolled in a state-run, taxpayer funded program. How hard is it for parents to read to their children? To teach rudimentary numbers and the ABC song?

And, what's with all this "God-given" stuff? Doesn't Hillary know for six years we've been criticizing Bush for using the "G" word too much?

Friday, May 18, 2007

Friday Video

Ok, now technically I'm not breaking any rules, because this isn't Radiohead or APC. It's Tool. And, they are coming to Detroit July 3rd.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

You know ... II

No ones around anyway. What would it hurt if I posted a Radiohead vid?

One of the Two Americas: The Rich One

I sure hope he bought some carbon offsets for that joint.

I think my favorite part is that he has a covered, enclosed structure leading from the main house to the "recreation building", which contains a basketball court, a squash court, two stages, a bedroom, kitchen, bathrooms, swimming pool, a four-story tower, and a room designated “John’s Lounge.”

It's good to be king. Especially if you're masqurading as a man of the people.

This and That

Paper Clips is a documentary film about a Tennessee middle school project in which the children collected paper clips to represent the Holocaust deaths. They created a memorial which consists of 11 million paperclips inside of a railcar. It is a worthy thing, but it reminds me how much attention the Holocaust gets, while the victims of Communism are virtually ignored.

If we study the Holocaust with the aim to never again allow such a thing to happen, then equal attention should be given to the victims of Communism. While 11 million killed by the Nazi's is frighteningly large number, death-by-Communism is nothing to slouch at.

At the low end, the total number is at least forty million since 1900. At the high end, communism may have been responsible for the death of 250 million people. China's "Great Leap Forward" alone was responsible for at least 30 million death.

I'm am not criticizing attempts by educators to teach the horrors of the Holocaust, although in my personal experience it was a well, and often taught subject. What bothers me is the lack of attention given to the evils of communism. Who hasn't read or at least heard of Ann Frank's Diary? Among adults, it is something with which just about everyone is familar. And, as fodder for for Hollywood, it has been well represented; popular (and award winning) films include Schindler's List, LIfe is Beautiful, The Pianist, Into the Arms of Strangers and several versions of the Ann Frank story.

Who remembers being taught, in their K-12 experience, about Communism? When have you seen it depicted in a Hollywood movie? From the Cato Institute:

Anti-Nazi movies keep coming out, from Confessions of a Nazi Spy and Hitler, Beast of Berlin in 1939 and on through The Great Dictator, The Mortal Storm, The Diary of Anne Frank, Sophie's Choice, Schindler's List, right up to the current Black Book. And many of these have included searing depictions of Nazi brutality, both physical and psychological.

But where are the anti-communist movies? Oh, sure, there have been some, from early Cold War propaganda films to such artistic achievements as The Red Danube, Ninotchka, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, The Killing Fields, East-West, and Before Night Falls. But considering that National Socialism lasted only 12 years in one country (and those it occupied), and Communism spanned half the globe for 75 years, you'd think there'd be lots more stories to tell about Communist rule.

And, there are a lot of stories to tell about Communist rule:

No atrocities, maybe? Nazis and Brits were vicious, but Communists were just intellectually misguided? Well, that seems implausible. They murdered several times as many people. If screenwriters don't know the stories, they could start with the Black Book of Communism. It could introduce them to such episodes as Stalin's terror-famine in Ukraine, the Gulag, the deportation of the Kulaks, the Katyn Forest massacre, Mao's Cultural Revolution, the Hungarian revolution, Che Guevara's executions in Havana, the flight of the boat people from Vietnam, Pol Pot's mass slaughter—material enough for dozens of movies.

And, unlike the Nazi's, Communism is still with us, making the subject matter that more relevant. But, I won't hold my breath waiting for Hollywood to tell these stories.

An excellent novel about life under Stalin (during the Nazi invasion) is Paullina Simons's The Bronze Horesman. For a more academic approach, try The Black Book of Communism, which is better taken in small bits.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Priorities in Media

We've heard more than enough about Nicole, Paris, Imus, and the Duke "rapists." The Imus kerfuffle, and the Duke non-rape case emerged as national morality plays for our edification; white men, especially, are all racists who want to rape nappy-headed 'hoes, or something like that.

But, not a peep about Christopher Newsom and Channon Christian who were kidnapped, raped, tortured, murdered, and mutilated by five black thugs. LaShawn Barber has this to say:

I’ve noticed that mainstream media are reluctant to report this story, especially when it first happened. In light of the blanket coverage the Duke “rape” case received, the paucity of coverage in this case seems a bit unbalanced. I mean, isn’t the brutal, black-on-white gang-rape, mutilation, and murder of two people more than or at least as newsworthy as a white-on-black gang-rape (which obviously was phony)? Even if the stripper’s allegations had been true, why was the Duke case burning up the airwaves while the Christian-Newsom case barely emits a spark?

What’s up with the lack of blanket media coverage? I’m not talking about a story here or there with case updates. The media should be swarming around this story. What happened to Christian and Newsom should be all over the airwaves and printing presses.

Yes, exactly. What is the deal? This story made the blogs a least a month ago, and despite being passed around, it still didn't make enough waves to warrant national attention.

Every time someone starts telling the truth about black crime, someone else comes out of the woodwork to remind everyone that a “few” black criminals don’t define the black community. From my perspective, it’s difficult to argue that point with a straight face. Of course, the murderous deeds and thuggish ways of black criminals shouldn’t define all blacks. But if you try to pretend that it’s not a serious problem that blacks commit a disproportionate share of crimes — an incontrovertible fact — or that the lack of blanket media coverage and outrage has nothing to do with race, you’re being willfully blind and foolish.

As I see it, black crime is so commonplace that it’s just not interesting to white liberal journalists, especially black-on-white crime. And white liberal feminists are more outraged when white men use a so-called sexist term than they are with black-on-white rape statistics. I have yet to hear a feminist condemn what was done to Christian.

Well, either incidents like this are either the expected behavior, thus not newsworthy, or the media has decided that this isn't a narrative they are interested in investigating. Reporters self-censor stories such as this because to do otherwise would encourage our racist society, they believe. The black man (and woman, in this case) can never be portrayed as a criminal. Especially in cases with sexual aspects; because of America's history of exploiting the idea of the black man as rapist. You see, we're not being told this story for our own good.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I Need Help

Perhaps there is a 12-Step program to get me off the crack of Youtube Radiohead and/or APC videos. I will promise to try not to post any more. But this song is really cool.

Is Coldplay just a rip-off of Radiohead? You decide.
Random Coldplay song:


Ha! I just read somewhere that Coldplay is "Radiohead for stupid people."

Update II:


In its early days, Coldplay could easily be summed up as Radiohead minus Radiohead's beat, dissonance or arty subterfuge. Both bands looked to the overarching melodies of 1970s British rock and to the guitar dynamics of U2, and Martin had clearly heard both Bono's delivery and the way Radiohead's Thom Yorke stretched his voice to the creaking point.

Unlike Radiohead, though, Coldplay had no interest in being oblique or barbed. From the beginning, Coldplay's songs topped majesty with moping: "We're sinking like stones," Martin proclaimed. Hardly alone among British rock bands as the 1990s ended, Coldplay could have been singing not only about private sorrows but also about the final sunset on the British empire: the old opulence meeting newly shrunken horizons. Coldplay's songs wallowed happily in their unhappiness.

I knew the similarities were too obvious for this to not have been already a debate. To be honest, I liked Coldplay. Until I heard Radiohead. I mean, REALLY heard Radiohead. I wasn't a fan of "Creep", and "Karma Police" didn't really grab me either, so I never investigated the band. And for that, I apologize.

Hocking Hills, Ohio

Yes, Virginia, it is in Ohio.

Monday, May 14, 2007

BIL Recommendations

What do you think?

It's the Silversun Pickups Lazy Eye

Music Monday

Radiohead Lucky live. Frak ya.

It's gonna be a glorious day.

Kilpatrick V Granholm

I missed days and days of news, but I opened my paper up to this gem:

Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick will ask for approval to open up to 25 charter schools in Detroit as part of what he calls an aggressive push to provide parents with quality education options.

YEA! Detroit schools, especially the middle grade on up, are horrible. Test scores are abysmal, as are the graduation rates. Sending my children to the DPS was never even a glimmer of a consideration. Efforts to improve the schools are fought tooth and nail. But, this is the fun part:

Kilpatrick, in an exclusive interview, said that by early summer, he will ask Gov. Jennifer Granholm and the Legislature to raise the cap on charter schools to allow his office to partner with cultural institutions and businesses in the city to create a string of small middle and high schools, the first of which would likely open in fall 2008.

Oh, I can't wait. If it weren't for the unions (auto and teacher's), Jenny wouldn't have gotten re-elected. "Beholden" is an understatmente. So, is she going to come up against the teacher's union and approve an increase of charter schools? Kilpatrick, mind you, is also a democrat, but he has come to realize that the Detroit schools are unlikely to turn around very quickly; especially since the unions are determined to protect it's own, not improve the schools.

Guess Where I Was

I was camping over the weekend. Great Prizes* for the first to guess where I was. Or, what state I was in.

*not really

Hint: Not Michigan. And, you would never imagine these hills and cave-overhangs would be in the state.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

For Sale

The talents of my friend Gail.

Beautiful English is an editorial and tutorial service for writers, publishers, educators, and students. All levels of English ability are welcome. Beautiful English is especially happy to work with people who write English as a second language.

She says she would be happy to work with homeschoolers as well.

Thursday Video

I know I'm posting way too many of these, but I've been obsessing over APC lately.

Here's Judith:

Really, honestly, how did I miss this band? Where was I? Someone dropped the ball here, and I refuse to take responsibility. I had heard Judith a few times on the radio, but didn't really know who did it, or the deal with the band. And finally, lastly, one more video for a just-breathtakingly-beautiful song (although the sound isn't as good on this one):

3 Libras

Dem Rundown

Truther John Edwards

Truther John Kerry

Why did neither of these men appear to have even HEARD of this before, and why (oh why) are they treating it as though it is worthy of serious consideration?

Obama's flub I will write off as campaign fatigue, unlike what the media does when Bush makes a flub.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

I had no idea

I had no idea that the tragedy in Kansas was this bad. With a loss of life that big, you'd think it would get a bit more coverage.

Update on my day

Attempts to vacuum shedding hair directly from my dog were met with disapproval.

Behold the Cutness

Baby Hedgehogs via the Mayor who finds content so I don't have to.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Blast From The (My) Past

Prefab Sprout When Love Breaks Down

Is there anything you can't find on Youtube?


Mystery of the cursor solved.

The Japanese have finally revealed a mystery for you.

How does the small arrow on your computer monitor work when we
move the mouse?

Haven't you ever wondered how it works?

Now,through the miracle of high technology, we can see how it is done. With
the aid of a screen magnifying lens, the mechanism becomes apparent.

Click on the link below and you will find out. The image may take a minute or
two to download and when it appears, slowly move your mouse over the light
gray circle and you will see how the magic works.

Turn up Volume on your speakers to hear the mouse working….

H/t: Kirby.

New Song for my iPod

Staind, covering Tool's Sober.

Here is Tool doing it:

Maynard is really cool, but Tool isn't on iTunes.

Here's Staind doing an acoustic version:

Pick On HuffPo Du Jour

From Robert Naiman:

If members of Congress voted on a timetable for withdrawing from Iraq based on whether more people in their districts favored or opposed such a timetable, it would pass the House by a margin of at least 418-17, and the Senate by a margin of 98-2. If only those members voted yes who represent districts where at least 50% of the public supports such a timetable, it would still pass with a margin of at least 329-106 in the House and 78-22 in the Senate, a three-fourths majority in both chambers.

Well, Mr. Naiman, that is why we have a representative democracy. Because, and pardon my French, people are really, really stupid. I mean, just look at the post below. I don't mean this in a Red State/Blue State way (like those all those asinine articles after the Bush election), I just mean that most people simply are not informed enough to make such decisions. We elect people who, we hope, are informed enough to make the educated decisions that we are unable to make. Of course, that doesn't always work out, but I certainly have more faith in a representative system than a pure democracy.

Cue Michael Moore

There is no terrorist threat in this country:

Six people were arrested on Monday in connection with an alleged plot to murder soldiers at Fort Dix, the U.S. attorney's office said.

Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Jersey, said the men are from the former Yugoslavia and were planning to "kill as many soldiers as possible." Five of them lived in Cherry Hill, he said.

Drewniak said the six were scheduled to appear in federal court in Camden later Tuesday to face charges of conspiracy to kill U.S. servicemen.

During a secret meeting, the men allegedly attempted to purchase AK-47s from an arms dealer working with the FBI and were arrested in New Jersey after officials learned of the plans, a law enforcement source said.

The undercover investigation followed the men, three of whom are brothers, from New Jersey to the Poconos, where they allegedly practiced firing automatic weapons, media sources said.

Officials raided the homes of the men, described as Islamic radicals, and said there is video showing some of the alleged planning.

Of course, these six men are probably innocent (I'm sure CAIR will rush to their defense) and this is simply another Rovian plot to swell up support for BushCo's illegal war for oil.

When you live in a Country where 35% of Democrats believe that Bush knew about the 9/11 attacks in advanced, and another 26% are not sure if he did or not, you know that we've gone around the bend.

Just to get this straight: Saddam, in NO WAY, had any affiliation with Islamic radicals and certainly was innocent of any charge in regards to WMD, but Bush was connected to 9/11? Because, you know, one is much more likely than the other.

Out of CCU

Yesterday, my dad got moved out of CCU (Critical Care, which is a step above Intensive Care) into a stepdown unit. Yea! He was there for two weeks, and yes, I met every single nurse that works there. My favorite was Maryann.

I was thinking of bringing them something as a thank you. Cookies? Flowers? What do you think?

Monday, May 07, 2007

Bad Children, BAD!

Remember The population bomb? It's baaaaaack. But, it never really left, did it?

HAVING large families should be frowned upon as an environmental misdemeanour in the same way as frequent long-haul flights, driving a big car and failing to reuse plastic bags, says a report to be published today by a green think tank.

The paper by the Optimum Population Trust will say that if couples had two children instead of three they could cut their family's carbon dioxide output by the equivalent of 620 return flights a year between London and New York.

Here's an idea; how about people stop flying back and forth from London to New York? I can't tell you how many times I've made that trip. Oh, right, yes I can; NEVER.

John Guillebaud, co-chairman of OPT and emeritus professor of family planning at University College London, said: "The effect on the planet of having one child less is an order of magnitude greater than all these other things we might do, such as switching off lights.

"The greatest thing anyone in Britain could do to help the future of the planet would be to have one less child.

It wouldn't be much of a help for the future of Western Civilization, but I don't think the greenies think to highly of all that stuff.

"The greatest thing anyone in Britain could do to help the future of the planet would be to have one less child."

Houston, we have a problem. I mean, how do you have less than one child? I know, I know, I'm joking. Still it does sound kind of funny.

Professor Guillebaud says that, as a general guideline, couples should produce no more than two offspring.

The world's population is expected to increase by 2.5 billion to 9.2 billion by 2050. Almost all the growth will take place in developing countries.

Oh yea, that's right; most of the developed countries already have fertility rates below population stabilization. EU average is 1.5. Sure, that's more than "less than one child", but it's getting close. Yes, more tricky is how to get all those muslims and brown folks to stop reproducing, since they are the ones with exploding populations.

Looking at the rankings of fertility rates, you don't see a "Western" country on the list until you hit 126, where you will find the United states a rate of 2.09. France is at 1.98, and Italy is at a paltry 1. 26.

Honestly, the most humorous aspect of this entire argument, is that reduced fertility rates means a total collapse of any institution or government based on a socialist model. You know, like welfare, social security, and nationalized health care. For those things, you need MORE children, not less. I honestly don't know how Canada is going to make it, with their paltry 1.61 fertility rate. While importing citizens from the Middle East may have seemed like a good idea, I don't think it's really going to pan out that great.

The Boring State of Music

I know I said I'm busy, but I just have to get this off my chest. Today's music really sucks.

I've been working to fill my iPod, and it should just be a lot easier. I haven't liked the pop chart since I was in sixth grade, and the Go-Go's were waterskiing their way into my heart. But then I discovered the Beatles, who spoke to my soul, and ever since then I've craved music that had a bit more than a good beat and a catchy refrain.

High school was U2, Alphaville, The Smiths, REM. College was more of the same. During grunge I was in heaven; that was the only time my taste appeared on the big charts. But now ... the top songs on iTunes are:

Maroon 5
Carrie Underwood
T-Pain (?)
Kelly Clarkson
Avril Lavigne
Ne-Yo (?)
Bon Jovi (am I having 80's flashbacks?)
Timbaland (?)
Huey (?)
Carrie Underwood

The ?'s are for bands I am totally clueless about. Perhaps the "Alternative" top ten would suite me better:

White Stripes
Fall Out Boy (a pop band if I ever heard one)
Dashboard Confessional
Plain White T's
The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
Green Day
Fall Out Boy (again)
The Killers
Snow Patrol

I'll admit, I *do* have a Dashboard Confessional song (or three) on my iPod, but really once you have a few, you kinda have them all. But the alternative list (and entire top 100 chart) is mostly boring, uninspired pop-drival. Blue October is the only band on the top 100 that even makes me pause and consider buying a song or two. The top 100 alternative list, to show you how shallow the offerings are, even has Nirvana on it. Kurt Cobain is how many years dead?

Now, I am certainly open to ANY musical recommendations because my 30 GB iPod ain't gonna fill itself. To give you a feel for what I've recently purchased, my last ten iPod downloads are:

"Blue", A Perfect Circle
"3 Libras", A Perfect Circle
"Faint", Linkin Park
"A Decade" (album), by Our Lady Peace
"The Outsider", A Perfect Circle
"Uncertain Smile", The The
"Small Blue Think", Suzanne Vega
"Love, Reign O'er Me", Pearl Jam
"The Spirit Of Radio", Rush
"Freewill", Rush

So, there you have it.

Crap to do

As in, I have lots of ...

Metal Monday

A Perfect Circle - Judith (live)

Friday, May 04, 2007

Heard in CCU 5 earlier today

Conversations, by my dad. The fog is lifting.

Friday Videos

Today I will be celebrating the awesomeness that is Radiohead. I came late to the Radiohead Appreciation Club but better late than never. If you were like me, you've heard "Creep" and "Karma Police", which I thought were just OK.

Paranoid Android (live) is first, and this is a pretty much FLAWLESS perfect performance.

A song that I'm currently addicted to is "Go To Sleep (Little Man Being Erased)":

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Pile of Crap at HuffPo

Liberals, at this point in time, hate the electoral college because they believe Gore should have won the 2000 presidency. It's amazing how one event can flip the world on it's head, but with this issue it has. Bush Derangement Syndrome began in 2000 and it continues today with nuttiness such as the push to eliminate the electoral college. One man, one vote.

Now, on to the pile of crap:

Our founding fathers hated cities. Many of them were slave-owners and felt that only people who had held this kind of responsibility should be allowed to vote. So they created -- through the Electoral College system and the Senate -- a semi-democracy that proportionally disenfranchises people who live in highly populated areas.

Oversimplification. Generalizations. Moving on.

Cities are places where many different kinds of people encounter each other -- where people are exposed to different ways of thinking, to new ideas. Our Founding Fathers didn't like that. To them, an agrarian society, where nothing ever changed, was the ideal society.

Cities contain the enlightened populous, while those stupid rednecks stew at their farms.

So what are the characteristics of agrarian societies, historically, and around the world? First of all, they oppress women. There is a very high correlation between agrarianism and the low status -- often slave status -- of women. It is only when urbanization and industrialization occur that the position of women improves. We in America are justly horrified by conditions in the sweatshops of Asia where so many of our clothes and shoes are manufactured, yet women in the Third World often view these atrocious working conditions as liberation, compared with slaving for nothing on a farm, bearing a child every year, and being beaten. They earn their own money, and are therefore more independent, have more power, more status, and bear fewer children.

Because there is NO oppression of women in cities, right? No women burdened with children and abandoned. No prostitution. Oh, right, that's ok because a woman is using her body for commerce.

The second characteristic of agrarian societies is that they are highly authoritarian. Husbands dominate wives, landowners dominate peasants, big landowners dominate smaller ones, and political leaders dominate everyone. All relationships tend to be hierarchical.

But, in cities, similar patterns NEVER appear? Landlords? Shop owners? Politicians? City Council Members?

The third characteristic of agrarian societies is that they are warlike. War as we know it, with standing armies, pitched battles, the taking of land by force, etc. was an invention of the agrarian era. Hunter-gatherers had occasional skirmishes, but land ownership was a meaningless concept to them, and without herds and crops there was no need for armies. As Robert O'Connell observes in his definitive book on war, we were free of war for most of our existence on this planet, and "its onset and continuation were dependent on levels of ecological adaptation that were inherently transitory". Today, when corporations are global, the economy is global, environmental issues are global, and all major problems faced by humans are global, when the nation-state is rapidly becoming obsolete, warfare between armies is increasingly meaningless. Terrorists are not national. They are not armies. They are utterly decentralized international networks of murderers. Europeans, who have lived with terrorism a long time, actually capture and arrest terrorists, through efficient intelligence and police work, while our clueless president -- still living in the past -- makes war on Iraq, creating a bloody catastrophe in the Middle East while destroying democracy at home.

Oh for craps sakes, now this is just getting ridiculous. How many riots have occurred out in the country? How many cities are plauged by gang-warfare? Cities are not inherently more peaceful than "agrarian" societies. Besides, people who live outside of the cities of the U.S. are not part of an "agrarian" society, so all this comparisons are silly at best. Those who live in the suburbs and further are still part of the fabric of the entire country. If they do not actually LIVE in a big city, they do have ties, whether through business or family. They may have lived a part of their life in the city, and then chose to leave. Others grow up in the country and decide they want to try life in a city. Anyway, moving on. Because this is where the stupid really starts.

The United States is the only non-agrarian nation -- the only nation outside of the Third World -- that regularly makes war on other nations. Except for Russia it could also lay claim today to being the most undemocratic industrialized democracy in the world.

We can certainly blame the Bush administration and the neo-cons for this blind retreat into the past, but a portion of the blame must be assigned to the lack of foresight of our Founding Fathers, who partially disenfranchised the most cosmopolitan and aware voters while giving undue weight to those whose knowledge and experience of the world is most limited. A large number of our elected representatives don't even have passports. They boast about never having left the country, as they make decisions about foreign policy.

People who live in the cities know more than the rest of you idiots. Of course, living in Detroit, I beg to differ because there is a whole lot of stupid here. You don't want me to start parsing SAT scores, and drop-out rates of city residents, do you? Of course, the author is fine with those uninformed voters, because they largely vote for democrats.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


Why? Just why do people paint the bottoms of their trees white? It's like a rite of Spring; the two trees in the front yard of this house get a fresh coat of whitewash. WHY?!? I suppose they deserve credit for attending to their yard, versus those who just let the whole thing go to pot.

Oh, and in the background you can see one of my favorite trees in the neighborhood. It's gorgeous. And, NOT painted white.

Don't forget, RR's submission for the SPRING CRAPTASTIC contest is here.

Craptastic photo coming soon

I got one ... I just need to be able to take the photo when none of my neighbors are watching. Hopefully my camera's telephoto lens is good enough.

Totally Unscientific Review of Canadian Health Care

It sucks. Or so said the six Canuks my husband sat down with yesterday. He does business in Windsor, and they talked him into having a beer before he headed home. With my dad so ill, talk of health care came up.

One man said he had to wait three years to get an appointment with a specialist for his asthma. Another said that the wait in ER routinely lasts 12 hours. Overall, they said that if they are really sick, they hop over the border and go to one of the hospitals in Michigan (actually, they mentioned Beaumont by name, which is where I donated my kidney.) The hospitals in Windsor are unable to deal with life-threatening illness, and the private ambulances and life-lifts routinely take them to the US.

So, if my dad had been in Canada when he got ill, he probably would not have made it.

That, my friends, is socialized medicine. Crappy care for all.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

It Fails Every Time It's Tried

"It" being socialism. Despite being the darling child of fiction writers and today's liberals, socialism is a disaster. And, the Kibbutzim of Israel are yet more proof of that:

In recent decades, kibbutzniks have grappled with crippling bank debt, membership attrition and the waning of the collectivist ethic on which the country was founded.

Now, in belated recognition of the demise of their utopian ethic and Israel's shift to capitalism from socialism, a majority of kibbutzes are scrapping their egalitarian salary schemes and allowing members to live each according to their own earning power.

That part about members living according to their own earning power is the key there.

"The contemporary kibbutz doesn't provide answers for life needs, and most important in my eyes, people's aspirations," said Mr. Rogalin. "The kibbutz creates too much friction. The secretariat dictates too many things to members. And people want more freedom to take responsibility for their lives."

The process has been quietly proceeding for years, though Israelis took notice two weeks ago with the privatization of Kibbutz Degania, the first kibbutz established on the Sea of Galilee in 1909. With two-thirds of the 273 kibbutzes across Israel already privatized, the change at Degania was a ringing reminder of the seemingly inevitable extinction of the kibbutz as Israelis know it.

See, they made a fatal mistake. They let people have a choice as to whether they could leave. You have to build a fence to keep them in. With dogs and Jack booted thugs. Didn't they learn anything from the Communists?

We didn't think if we were earning or losing money; we thought about what was good for the country," said Yossi Katz, now 83, the founder of Kibbutz Ga'ash."We were sure the entire country would become socialist."

Walking past the seedy building that housed Ga'ash's first chicken coop and the boarded-up old dining hall, he acknowledged that the kibbutz lifestyle could be oppressive and suffocating.

The kibbutz compelled members to turn over private possessions for public use. Children were even raised in communal dorms rather than in their parents' homes. Social life revolved around the dining hall. A kibbutz committee approved plans for higher education and careers. Whoever left was considered a traitor.

See, being called a "traitor" just isn't enough incentive to remain in a socialist utopioa. Gulags and stuff like that will do the trick. Although, at times I wouldn't mind a dorm for the kids.

"I know that if I work hard, that I'll earn the same as the person living next to me who works less," explained Sharon Tirosh, 31, director of human resources at Ga'ash, who also supports the change.

"There is something in the education, that begins at the bottom, that there's no point in being terribly successful.".


And, in a tangentally related article, which I don't feel like expanding upon right now, one in two Americans now receives income from government programs. That should frighten you. It does me.

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