Saturday, December 25, 2004

Merry Christams

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Hip-Hop Lyric of the Moment

Today's Hip-Hop Lyric of the Moment is brought to you by The Visionaries:
It all began together
before we ever ran together
before we ever took a stand together
we understand that whether or not
we tether a knot for humanity
we must stand to weather the hatred. separation
it's easier to make than break it we're breakin'
stereotypes with the yes yall on the mic
get yourself right we're not all alike
but fall right into place face adversity
appreciate diversity nursery to university
past any degree see universally
dispersing the verse commercially or underground
one love bound by culture and sound
been around the world and no denying
we're all under the same sun so keep shining

The Answer to AIDS is Values

Shorter Star Parker: moral values will keep you from getting AIDS.
A recent Newsweek cover story has helped bring national attention to the HIV/AIDS epidemic among African-American women. Unfortunately, its superficial and biased coverage is itself evidence of the scope of the crisis on which it reports.
To be fair I haven't read the article in Newsweek that she fails to site, so I can't comment on that directly. I am still trying to decipher the meaning of her second sentence. I think it's a comment on the liberal media but I can't say for sure.
Newsweek leaves the impression that traditional values, rather than being part of the solution to this problem, contribute to its cause; that men are helpless victims and responsibility lies exclusively with women; that choice and responsibility play a minimal role in sexual behavior, and that we can think about this problem independently of the general cultural state of affairs of the country.
Tell us Star! Tell us how traditional values will deliver us from HIV! But no, she just teases us with more shoddy survey data, something I've come to suspect from town hall.
HIV/AIDS has migrated into the heterosexual community, and women now account for 26 percent of newly diagnosed AIDS cases, quadruple the incidence among women since the 1980s. Black women account for well over 70 percent of these cases. Last October, Gwen Ifill jolted listeners to the debate between Vice President Cheney and John Edwards when she pointed out that "black women between 25 and 44 are 13 times more likely to die of the disease than their counterparts."
I actually looked up the debate transcript and these are correct figures from the debate. I'll give Ifill the benefit of the doubt and say she properly did her homework.
AIDS is now the No. 1 cause of death among African-Americans between the ages of 25 and 44.
This is technically almost correct according to the CDC, scroll down to page 24 of 53. HIV trails heart disease by only 44 deaths per year. Star, although she doesn't realize it probably, pulls some mad trickery with the death statistics. Note how her stat. is for a 20 year time interval. What happens when you split that up into 5 year intervals?

Age 25-29: #1 cause assault(homicide), 31.2%
#4 cause HIV, 8.6%

Age 30-34: #1 cause assault (homicide), 17.6%
#2 cause HIV, 15.7%

Age 35-39: #1 cause HIV, 17.1%
#2 cause Diseases of the heart, 13.9%

Age 40-44: #1 cause Diseases of the heart, 18.6%
#2 cause Malignant Neoplasms, 16.4%
#3 cause HIV, 13.7%

What's sad is that in her moral values crusade for HIV she neglects some very troubling data. What happens when you look at the causes of death in age groups 5 years before and after her target range?

Age 20-25 #1 cause assault, 41.5%
#2 cause accidents (unintentional), 21.8%
#3 cause intentional self harm (suicide), 6.7%.

Hell, HIV in this supposedly highly sexually active age group doesn't rank until #6, and then it has less than half the percentage of deaths (2.9%) that are attributed to suicide. Finally, in the 45-49 age group HIV takes a dip back down to #3 with only 8.8% of deaths. Malignant neoplasms is number one at 21.4% and diseases of the heart is a close second with 21.3%.

As I said, technically she's right but when broken down into smaller age groups it only holds true for 35-39 year olds. Now let's get back to the article:
The "cold" that America has in this case is the ongoing politicization of our society and the breakdown of the traditional values that have been the glue that has held together the American family and our society. The symptoms of this "cold" are obvious: skyrocketing divorce rates and illegitimacy rates, declining test scores that result from a politicized and bureaucratized public-school system and politicization of our legal system that reflects the detachment of law from its moral foundations.

Whether we are talking about breakdown in family, education or law, the symptoms of this cold are more intense and protracted in the black community than in other communities. But it's important to retain perspective that black social problems are symptomatic of a national problem. Irresponsible sexual behavior has no racial boundaries. The rate of out-of-wedlock births among whites today exceeds the rate among blacks 40 years ago.
So how does all of this translate into solving the problem of HIV?
Health professionals are trying to get a handle on the precise channels through which the HIV virus is being transmitted to black women, and the picture that is emerging is complex. But the themes, drug use and sexual promiscuity, are clear.
Yes, because black women have this mysterious property that has fulmmoxed scientists for years; as a result, scientists still are not clear if sexual activity and exchange of bodily fluids causes transmission of the virus. It's a very complex transmission and I'm sure with hard work scientists will soon crack it.
It is also clear that in a world of abstinence, monogamy and sex exclusively within the framework of marriage, AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases in general would be rare.

Yet, such a world is such a remote possibility and so irrelevant to the Newsweek reporters that it does not receive a word of mention in the article.
It's also clear that if you never have sex or take drugs then the possibility of you contracting HIV drops to almost 0. There is still the possibility of getting HIV through the hospital during a blood transfusion, but that likelihood has rapidly diminished.
The only attention these reporters give to traditional values is to the claim that they make women submissive and therefore, supposedly, more prone to predatory male behavior. And, according to these reporters, traditional values intimidate men from admitting their homosexual behavior to the women with whom they have sex.
So these things don't happen then? Homosexual men aren't made to be ashamed about the lifestyle and forced to conform to a marriage they don't want, all for the sake of so called values? These same men then don't go our and have sex, get HIV, and pass it to their wives? That never happens?
One significant source of the transmission of HIV to black women traces back to the appallingly high percentage of black men who have done time in prison. Prisons are a breeding ground for homosexual behavior and HIV transmission. These men then return home and engage in heterosexual sex.

Yet, the Newsweek reporters never raise the relevance of prison outreach programs such as Chuck Colson's nor do they broach the sensitive area of screening of prisoners for HIV before they are released.
The Newsweek article probably didn't mention it because prison outreach programs won't keep you from getting HIV. It also won't prevent a prisoner from getting HIV if they are raped in prison. Also, you can screen prisoners for HIV, but the prisoners have to request it, and you can't inform their families about it, a violation of patient-doctor confidentiality.
The AIDS epidemic is symptomatic of a society spinning out of control. There is only one answer, and that is to re-establish our mooring rooted in personal responsibility and the traditional sense of right and wrong behavior. What can be the future for a society in which love and personal responsibility are displaced by sexual promiscuity and irresponsibility? What type of society will we be living in when we get to the point where few American adults will have grown up in a traditional family?
Silly me, I thought the way to get the AIDS epidemic under control is to prevent the spread of HIV and to find a cure for the virus. I guess Star is trying to argue that having good values will keep you from making choices that will put you at high risk for HIV infection. This is somewhat true but to claim that it is the way for stopping the AIDS epidemic is totally absurd. Also I am trying to decipher how she is equating the "downfall of society" with the AIDS epidemic.
Despite what the liberal elite in the media would have us believe, self-esteem programs among black women do not provide the answer to this social crisis. It is these same liberal elite that brought us the welfare state that accelerated the breakdown of the black family.
I don't know of any liberal media elites making this claim, most say we need to find a cure for AIDS.
Our efforts must focus on restoration of values and families in white and black communities. It's not an easy task. But if we lose sight that this is the only solution, we truly will be lost.
And if Star thinks that this is the only solution to the AIDS epidemic then we are truly fucked.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Great Stuff Tomorrow

I have a post that holds the answer to AIDS, but it will have to wait until tomorrow.

If I Say "Logic" a Lot, People Will Think I'm Smart!

Thanks to Rumsfeld new physics, I have to capacity to give you 6 new posts on Townhall articles, which means that I will only give you 2. The first is by Tony Blankley, who according to his biography is an "accomplished debater". Wow, this article will be tough to crack , so let's get to work. BTW, his biography is a perfect example of hackstabation, be sure to check it out. Now for the article
It is often observed that certain brilliant people "don't suffer fools gladly." But the more common experience of mankind is that fools don't suffer brilliant people gladly.

An excellent example of this phenomenon is the current attack on Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld by a legion of Washington little people: a pack of has beens, never weres and wannabees. In other words, sitting senators, retired generals and journalists who, whether sitting or standing are, regrettably, never retiring.
You tell them Tony, what the fuck do retired generals know about running an army anyway? They only dedicated their live to the service. But to be short, why don't you support the troops?
What they all have in common is a consuming hatred of logic (of course one often hates that with which one has no familiarity). And, what Donald Rumsfeld has in vast supply is logic: cold, undeniable, cruel, inexorable. Logic is that way. And people who express it may seem that way to the illogical.
Of course a statement like "one hates that with which one has no familiarity" might be seen as a little reductionist and if I dare, illogical? Also Tony seems to think that if he says "logic" enough people will think he is smart. Plus, giving logic interesting modifiers like cold, undeniable, and cruel means that it can't be argued with.
We all hate logic. I hate the logic that dictates that if I ingest more calories than I expend, the result is adipose tissue distributed at all the wrong parts of my body.
Apparently in the brain.
I prefer the illogic that if I eat enough steak, bacon, fried eggs and martinis on an Atkins diet -- calories won't count.
What's illogical about the Atkins diet? We studied it in our Biochemsitry class. Eating that shit and the corresponding result is perfectly logical once you know how it actually works! But hey, this is something with which Tony doesn't have any familiarity and thus by his logic he should probably hate it.
Several senators and congressmen who have been in town for decades hate Mr. Rumsfeld's logic that you fight a war with the army you've got. They prefer the illogic that cutting the size of our army in half between 1990-2000 should have no bearing on the size of the army you have in 2001. How dare Rumsfeld point out the consequences of their defense budget cuts.

That was then. They had good reasons to cut the number of Army divisions from 18 to 10, to eliminate legions of armored vehicles, to let the military industrial base shrink to the point where we can barely manufacture 500 armored Humvees (read: jeeps) a month (in World War II, we could produce almost 10,000 combat airplanes a month).
How dare we point out that Rumsfeld went to war on his own time table and had the opportunity to build up the army that he needed before going. How dare we point out that the contract that the Pentagon already had was producing Humvees under capacity:
• Former Republican congressman Matt Salmon of Arizona, a spokesman for ArmorWorks in Tempe, Ariz., said his company will finish a $30 million contract with the Pentagon this month to make 1,500 armor kits for Humvees. "We are at 50% capacity, and we could do a lot more," he said. "They are aware of it."

• Armor Holdings of Jacksonville told the Army last month it could add armor to as many as 550 trucks a month, up from 450, said Robert Mecredy of its aerospace and defense group. "We're prepared to build 50 to 100 vehicles more per month," he said.
And how dare we point out that the difference between WW2 and today is a massive national industrialization of the war effort to produce enough weapons and vehicles.
Transforming our military into a logical structure that can defeat the enemies we will actually face in the 21st century has infuriated the legions of politicians, generals, defense contractors, lobbyists and journalists who have encrusted themselves around the magnificent weapons and methods of bygone days.
What kills me about this is that the new Army structure is having a pretty difficult time dealing with the insurgency in Iraq, that's why motherfuckers be pissed. They're also mad because their weapons and methods of bygone days (like all that silly armor plating) might be pretty fucking useful right now.
He is, in fact, doing his job just fine. But we live in age of fraudulent sentiment and paralyzing political correctness. In such a time, Don Rumsfeld's greatest mistake is not sweetening his logic with sentimental treacle.

He could learn from Lewis Carroll's Walrus, who, before gobbling up the little oysters (which is the logical consequence of a Walrus meeting a plate of oysters), proclaimed: "'I weep for you,' the Walrus said. 'I deeply sympathize.' With sobs and tears he sorted out Those of the largest size, Holding his pocket-handkerchief Before his streaming eyes."

Perhaps Mr. Rumsfeld would have more friends in Washington if he had weeped before cancelling the Crusader cannon or explaining the realities of war. But without his cold logic, we would expose ourselves to the fate of the ever-sentimental little oysters.
"His greatest mistake is not sweetening his logic with sentimental treacle." Wow, what's there to say to that? I'll be sure to let these guys know how you feel.

'Liberal bias' targeted by college group

Thanks to Pandagon for the heads up 'Liberal bias' at colleges. This is now becoming one of my favorite topics. After reading the article I went to the SAF web site to see what they had to say. The first thing I noticed on their page was the banner reading "You can't get a good education if they are only telling you half of the story".

This epitomizes something that is wrong with the conservative movement to get "balance" at the university. At the college level you are in charge of your education, not the university. It is no one's fault but your own if you fail to find the other half of the story. Professors aren't going to hold your hand and point to every thing that you need to learn. Figure it out for yourself, for a bunch of conservatives that believe in personal responsibility this should come naturally.

Gary Johnston at the Pandagon Comments for this article has a great post:
I actually edited a conservative paper at my college, so believe me when I say there is NO crushing of dissent at universities. There's crushing of stupidity, sure. If you get assigned a paper on the effects of social security, say, and you turn in something about how socialism sucks and social security should never have been born, you'll get slapped. If you turn in something critical, well-researched, your critical thinking is rewarded.

Anyway, being outnumbered by liberal professors is an unalloyed good thing for conservatives. You simply have more chances to engage in debate and socratic dialogue if you're in the minority. A conservative student should pity the lefty student who agrees with everything his environmental studies professor says and comes out learning nothing.
More on this topic later.

Yahoo! News - Christians protest actions that play down Christmas' religious nature

Look politicizing Christmas is making me just as irritated as the commercializing of it.
This Christmas season, West has plenty of company. Christians and traditionalists across the nation, fed up with what they view as the de-emphasizing of Christmas as a religious holiday, are filing lawsuits, promoting boycotts and launching campaigns aimed at restoring references to Christ in seasonal celebrations.
Yeah, nothing reminds me more of the reason for the season than entitled Christians slapping lawsuits to force us to recognize a religion that is in the fucking majority.
Julie West is tired of being wished "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas." She's annoyed with department stores that use "Season's Greetings" banners, and with public schools that teach about Hanukkah and Kwanzaa but won't touch the Nativity story.

So last week, she sent a baked protest to a holiday party at her first-grade son's school: a chocolate cake with vanilla frosting and red icing that spelled out "Happy Birthday Jesus."
West notes that the teacher expressed some misgivings about the "happy birthday Jesus" cake, probably because West is a fucking wacko. I would have been more impressed if West had brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh. At least that would have been in keeping with the reason for the season.

TBogg's Red State Values

And this concerns something that we all love: Porn! I love this study, why? Because it looks at the reddest red place in America, Utah County:
There was never any doubt how the good people of Utah County, Utah, would vote on Nov. 2. It has long prided itself as a bastion of conservatism and family values. And so when voters were given the opportunity to choose between President Bush and Sen. John F. Kerry, 86 percent of them went for Bush, making Utah County the second most Republican county in the most Republican state in the country. Utah County has a population of roughly 370,000. Its largest employer is the Mormon-run Brigham Young University...

...Spencer, who describes himself as a devout Mormon, challenged the prosecution's definition of the community's values by subpoenaing records that showed Utah County tolerated the consumption of porn in several outlets: Utah County cable subscribers had ordered at least 20,000 explicit movies in the past two years; the Sun Coast Video store in the town of Orem was deriving 20 percent of its rental sales from adult movies, even though adult movies only made up 2 percent of the store's inventory; Dirty Jo Punsters in nearby Spanish Fork was racking up on average $111,000 dollars per year selling sex toys, blow up dolls and other adult fare; the Provo Marriott across the street from the courthouse sold 3,448 adult pay-per-view movie rentals in 1998 alone.
Damn, all those flaming liberal professors at Brigham Young University sure do consume a ton of porn. I mean that's the only possible explanation right? There's no possible way that a good conservative Christian county would engage in such wanton desecration of the flesh!

Bush's War

Great synopsis over at Kos, sometimes we need to have these sorts of things.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Yahoo! News - Male Fish Growing Eggs Found in Potomac

Health issue alert! If we want to get people's attention with our environmental legislation we need to make it a health issue. And things like this unfortunately make it easier.
The so-called intersex abnormality may be caused by pollutants from sewage plants, feedlots and factories that can interfere with animals' hormone systems, The Washington Post reported Sunday....

...The Potomac River is the main source of drinking water for the Washington metropolitan area and many upstream communities. It provides about 75 percent of the water supply to the 3.6 million residents of Washington and its Maryland and Virginia suburbs.
This is water that you drink too.
Endocrine disruptors comprise a vast universe of pollutants capable of driving a hormone system haywire. Some are hormones themselves — such as human estrogen from women taking birth-control pills or animal hormones washed downstream with manure — that can pass through sewage plants untouched.
So how does this relate to a direst health risk?
Authorities in West Virginia are investigating whether there is a link to higher rates of certain cancers in people there.

A recent survey of cancer in Hardy County, where some residents get drinking water from the South Branch, found rates of cancer of the liver, gallbladder, ovaries and uterus that were higher than the state average. All four cancers can in some cases grow faster in the presence of estrogen or chemicals that mimic it, cancer experts said.

Hip-Hop Lyric of the Moment

Today's Hip-Hop Lyric of the Moment is brought to you by Immortal Technique:
This shit is run by fake Christians, fake politicians
Look at they mansions, then look at the conditions you live in
All they talk about is terrorism on television
They tell you to listen, but they don't really tell you they mission

Yahoo! News - Bush: Iraq Bombers 'Are Having an Effect'

Well, someone give that man a cookie!
He said he understands why Americans have doubts about Iraq's ability. "They're looking on your TV screen and seeing indiscriminate bombings, where thousands of innocent — or hundreds of innocent Iraqis are getting killed ..." But Bush said those pictures do not reflect that 15 of Iraq's 18 provinces are relatively stable and that small businesses are starting up. "Life is better now than it was under Saddam Hussein
Yeah, and there is NO way for the chaos is those 3 provinces to spread if civil war erupts. Bush's magical force field of democracy will make sure of that!

Monday, December 20, 2004

File Under: I did not Vote for This

Mother Fuckers! I can't believe this shit. Well actually I can, unfortunately nothing Bush does suprises me anymore.

I'm just glad that there is an execuitive order that he made to authorize the use of torture, hopefully we now have something to sink Bush with. I can't wait for the moral relativist platoon to kick in and say again, that, well, this isn't as bad as what they did to us!

FUCK YOU!! All this goddamn bleating from the right about how Saddam is such a terrible person blah blah blah and now WE are using similar tatics. No correct that, BUSH is using similar tatics. I did not authorize this. I spoke out against this when I went to the polls in Nov. This is on Bush's head.

Thank God for the ACLU and other orgaizations like them. This shit pissed me off so much that I immediately went over to the ACLU web site and gave them a contribution. Merry Christmas to me. Torture is wrong and I refuse to remain silent about it this holiday season.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Pandagon: Speak Of The Devil

Fer FUCK'S sake! Look, videogames are rated! You want to enact legislation to limit minors getting those games? How about asking for ID when purchasing games that are rated M? Hell, it's done at movies all the time!

Daily Kos :: The definition of "theory" as in "theory of evolution"

Here's a pretty good analysis on evolution from the Kos diaries.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Hip-Hop Lyric of the Moment

Today's Hip-Hop Lyric of the Moment is brought to you by Black Star:
Knowledge Of Self is like life after death
With that you never worry about your last breath
Death comes, that's how I'm livin, it's the next days
The flesh goes underground, the book of life, flip the page

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | 'I don't know how it works'

Via Atrios, this article should peak some interest. There are some major problems with Dr. Hongyun's work and it doesn't have to do with his use of stem cells or the fact that Christian Conservatives are coming to him:
Van Golden, a Christian, anti-abortion Texan who has sold his house so that he can travel to communist, atheist China and have Huang inject a million cells from the nasal area of a foetus into his spine. According to Golden's doctors, his spine was damaged beyond repair in a car crash last Christmas. The damage to his nervous system was so bad that he has been in a wheelchair and racked by spasms ever since. But Golden refused to give up, even if it meant having to compromise his values. "This is the only place that offered us any hope," he says. "Everyone else offered only to help make me sufficient in that chair. But the chair is not my destiny. It is not ordained."
Van Golden's typifies the attitude of many Christian who are fine decrying the use of stem cell when they can't benefit from it. But when they can, all of a sudden that's some ordained shit. I digress though, as people like Van Golden are not the focus of this post. What is the focus is Dr. Hongyun's research methods. First off there are NO CONTROLS!
Complicating the debate is Huang's lack of statistical data and his refusal to carry out the double-blind trials considered necessary in western circles to rule out the placebo effect. The Chinese neurosurgeon says such tests are unethical because they involve cutting someone open and only pretending to treat them. "This would not be legal in China," he says. "Even if it was, I wouldn't do it. Double-blind trials only harm the patient."
First of all, people have done "sham" operations as controls before when researching parkinson's diseases (PD). PD is caused by a loss of dopamine producing neurons in the brain. One theory to alleviate the symptoms of PD is to introduce dopamine producing cells into the brain.

I was exposed to this research at a seminar at my department and the shit was hot, at least the theory and the methods. The scientists coated tiny spheres with a monolayer of engineered cells that produce dopamine. They then injected the cells into the brain hoping that the extra dopamine would alleviate the symptoms of PD; it worked, kinda. The problem was that the patients reverted back to full PD after a period of time. Another problem was that the sham operation also alleviated PD symptoms to that same level as the injected patients. The conclusion was that the injected cells did not do anything to the patients.

Controls like this are important in the experimental process. ESPECIALLY in operations. It may seem cruel and unethical to do sham operations but it's also unethical to subject people to expensive, unnecessary operations if they don't work.

My second problem with this report is that it doesn't track any patients longer than a few days. We don't know if these folks revert after the operation. For example graft rejection occurs to some extent in all graft recipients. These cells may exert an influence for a short time but then they may be destroyed by the body thus losing their effectiveness.

I liked what the article has to say about Dr. Hongyun
Huang says he simply wants to cure as many people as possible. Money, he says, doesn't come into it. He still treats Chinese patients who pay less than half of the $20,000 fee levied on foreigners. Although he is earning his hospitals a small fortune, he says he gets only $500 a month regardless of how many operations he performs.
and I am all for getting more exposure for stem cell research and therapies. However, the key is research, we have to use proper experimental methods to make sure that this procedure is not only safe but also beneficial.

Walter E. Williams: Higher Education in Decline

Shorter Walter E. Williams, leftist bias at college campuses cause high tuition costs. Which makes sense because hard core socialists believe in making a profit off of education.
College costs have risen dramatically over the last several decades. In many cases, it's difficult to find a college where per-student costs are under $20,000 each year.
A google search of "average per student cost, colleges, universities" found this and this in the first 5 hits.
For example, did you know that nearly 70 percent of students attending four-year schools pay less than $8,000 for tuition and fees?
Well, Williams sure didn't.
The average tuition for undergrads attending four-year public universities jumped 10.5 percent this year. That helped to push the average price of attendance, including room, board and fees, up $824 to $11,354.
WOW, even with a 10.5% increase in tuition cost the national average is 57% of Walt's estimate! Jeeze it's so hard to find a school with student costs under $20,000. Furthermore I think that this helps keep the cost of college in perspective, especially for money-grubbing conservatives:
Consider College an Investment
Did you know that, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics, people with a bachelor's degree earn over 70 percent more on average than those with only a high school diploma? Over a lifetime, the gap in earning potential between a high school diploma and a B.A. (or higher) is more than $1,000,000. What this boils down to is that whatever sacrifices you make for a college education in the short term are more than repaid in the long term.
Walt promptly breaks down in a rant about leftism on college campuses that has nothing to do with increasing college tuition costs.
That strong campus leftist bias goes a long way to explain mindless university courses like: "Canine Cultural Studies" (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill), "I Like Ike, But I Love Lucy" (Harvard), "History of Electronic Dance Music" (UCLA), "Rock and Roll" (University of Massachusetts) and "Hip-Hop: Beats, Rhyme and Culture" (George Mason University). There are many other examples documented by Accuracy in Academia.
See! Simply by looking at course titles one can instantly know that leftism predominates at the University level. I love how people still have the belief that college is strictly about class work and the content within. Walt, in a grasp at legitimacy, also wants to prove that when he was in high school he was smarter than today's typical lazy college student.
A Zogby survey was commissioned by the National Association of Scholars (NAS) to compare the general cultural knowledge of today's college seniors to that of yesteryear's high school graduates. The questions for the survey were drawn from those asked by the Gallup organization in 1955 covering literature, music, science, geography and history. The results were reported in a NAS publication titled "Today's College Students and Yesteryear's High School Grads." It concludes that "Contemporary college seniors scored on average little or no higher than the high-school graduates of a half-century ago on a battery of 15 questions assessing general cultural knowledge."
I don't suppose that it escaped Walt's attention that this survey studied general cultural knowledge rather that other things learned in college, like proper experimental design. Not to be slowed down, Walt then references 10 year old data to make a commentary on today's college students, because we haven't progressed since 1993:
A 1990 Gallup survey for the National Endowment of the Humanities, given to a representative sample of 700 college seniors, found that 25 percent did not know that Columbus landed in the Western Hemisphere before the year 1500, 42 percent could not place the Civil War in the correct half-century, and 31 percent thought Reconstruction came after World War II.

In 1993, a Department of Education survey found that, among college graduates, 50 percent of whites and more than 80 percent of blacks couldn't state in writing the argument made in a newspaper column or use a bus schedule to get on the right bus, 56 percent could not calculate the right tip, 57 percent could not figure out how much change they should get back after putting down $3 to pay for a 60-cent bowl of soup and a $1.95 sandwich, and over 90 percent could not use a calculator to find the cost of carpeting a room.
And it just don't stop there man! Despite the fact that Walt just took today's students to task for not being culturally aware he then references another study that looks at how culturally aware college students are:
The American Council of Trustees and Alumni's 1999 survey of seniors at the nation's top 55 liberal arts colleges and universities found that 98 percent could identify rap artist Snoop Doggy Dogg and Beavis and Butt-Head, but only 34 percent knew George Washington was the general at the battle of Yorktown.
Call me crazy, but I be the students that knew the George Washington question were history majors.
Americans as donors and taxpayers have been exceedingly generous to our universities. Given our universities' gross betrayal of trust, Americans should rethink their generosity as well as rethink who serves on boards of trustees that, in dereliction of duty, permit universities to become hotbeds of political activism and academic fraud.
Where the fuck does Walt get this and how does it have anything to do with his stats or the rising cost of college tuition? For such a seemingly well educated guy, you'd think he could pen a focused argument about the rising cost of tuition rather than an incoherent rant using decade old statistics. Rising cost of college tuition is a problem I'm just waiting for a decent article explaining the cause of that problem. I guess reading townhall isn't a great place to start.

Jesus' General: Teacher Refuses to Worship the State in the Approved Manner

Some people have such small boring lives.
After the board said it could take no action to interfere in a teacher’s right to remain seated during the pledge, one parent initially asked if he could go inside of the homeroom and stand alongside students.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Fox News Channel, Giving 'Em More Zell

Thanks to tbogg for this.
Details were scant. Kevin Magee, FNC's vice president of programming, told The TV Column, "We will plug him in wherever we can use him."
There's a "tool" reference in there somewhere, it's just too Goddamn easy.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

One of these things is not like the other...

One of these things doesn't belong. Scroll down to the comic posted on 11/16/04.

Pandagon: Taking A Joke

Pandagon points out that Megan Basham is a idiotic twat. She writes:
If a conservative writing team ever penned a joke about a Democratic black leader like the one made by Stewart's team about Clarence Thomas (a mocking classroom activity in the book instructs children, "Using felt and yarn, make a hand puppet of Clarence Thomas. Ta-da! You're Antonin Scalia!")
My question is: what part of that is a joke?

Yahoo! News - U.S. Missile Defense Test Fails

The first thing that comes to mind when reading this shit is that once we have this "system" in place, how soon will it be before our enemies advance to a technological point that our "defense" is obsolete and we have to upgrade? God, all this shit is just a multi-billion dollar cock tease for the right-wingers. As long as the illusion of security is in place, that is all that is necessary for these people to feel safe.

Yahoo! News - More GIs surviving battlefield injuries

Yahoo! News - More GIs surviving battlefield injuries I'm not going to lie, that is a good thing. But you owe it to yourself to look at the consequences. These people are forever changed because of their battle wounds.
Jordan described the increased survival rate as a "two-edged sword" because it forced doctors to make increasingly more difficult choices about amputations and left survivors to cope with the results.

"The ability to survive is something we ought to be thankful for, but the rehab is very tough for these kids and their families," Jordan said.
These injured soldiers have a lifetime to deal with their problems, which can take a heavy psychological toll on them. The right bleats that we must "support the troops" but leaves them to suffer with their injuries. We have to take their well being into consideration when they come back home with life changing deformations. We have to help them integrate not only physically but psychologically with society and especially their families. We have to care for these people and we need to elect officials that will enact legislation to do that.

Gay Teen Expelled From High School

Not Geniuses has a maddening story about a Teen who was expelled from his school because he was gay. Not only that, it was his principal who outed him to his parents:
The principle took it upon himself to out his student. “They tell my parents “I am struggling with homosexuality.” My mother broke down in tears, my dad wasn’t particularly thrilled…”
That principal way overstepped his boundaries, as a parent I would have had to some how remind him of his place, just how I might do that I'm not quite sure.

I feel a draft blowing...

With shit like this, who would ever think that we might bring back the draft. Thanks to J.C. for the tip.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Light Posting This Week

Unless something really pisses me off I will not be posting much this week. My girlfriend is in town and I want to spent time with her. Peace!

Yahoo! News - Iraqi Leader Criticizes U.S.-Led Coalition

Iraq's interim President Ghazi al-Yawer said that there could arise an "Iraqi Hitler". HE said it, not some "left wing nut job".

A Few More Bad Apples?

Yahoo! News - Group: 2 More Detainees Die in Afghanistan. How many fucking "bad apples" are there?

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Oh Hell No!

Thanks to Atrois for this link. Apparently, some motherfuckers are still stupid. Read the whole thing, there are some good parts like:
J. Gocht: "Pitts has won the respect of this old soldier, U.S. Army Special Forces, Vietnam, 1962-1966, and the admiration of his brothers and sisters in combat in the 278th RCT. Did you hear the 'hooahs' from all the assembled troopers after Army Spc. Thomas Wilson asked the question? Well did you? Hooah, Pitts, Wilson, and the 278th RCT!"

Ruth Costakos, Columbus, Ohio: "We are blessed to have a reporter like Mr. Pitts who cares about our troops and figures out how to get the truth out for all of us to know. That takes courage."
But then you have ass-hats like:
Ron Bean, Pachuta, Miss.: "He knew it was a low-life tactic to use a GI that was probably stressed out from having to go into Iraq. Oh, I forgot, anything to get a story. What happened to reporting the news instead of making the news?"
Probably the most despicable is Joe M. Richardson. He wants to support the troops by:
"The duped soldier should be put at the very front of the action, no armor. The cooperating sergeant's career should be over and maybe become MIA. Pitts and all his cronies should be executed as traitors. We are fighting a war, the debate is over, you’re either for us or against us, there is no middle ground. I say start executing the leftists in our country, soon."
Fuck him. Some how people are still under the deluded notion that if the question was planted then that automatically negates the validity of the question and the importance of the answer. It doesn't! Troops need armor. GIVE THEM FUCKING ARMOR!

Warren Throckmorton: Hey Kids! Want Good Sex? Try Abstinence.

Warren Throckmorton, who would like to offer moustache rides for free, gives us a gem on abstinence. Why do I feel like the guys who advocate abstinence couldn't get laid even with a fist full of fifties before marriage anyway? Well, that's neither here nor there. Regardless, Throckmorton hacks out an article that talks about the importance of teaching abstinence because sex will be better after marriage.
As a mental health counselor, I am really troubled by the numbers of adolescents that I have counseled who cried for days and hurt for years because they engaged in "safer sex" within dead end, unfulfilling relationships. Sadly, they learned that "safer sex" can be hazardous to their emotional health.
So the problem isn't the safer sex, it's the bad relationships. So why abstain until marriage, why not just have sex with someone who you care about?
I think the current political debate concerning abstinence vs. contraceptive based sexual education has failed to include an important variable in the discussion of what to teach in school: sexual well being.
Yes, but marriage doesn't preclude having healthy sexual well being now does it? So why is abstinence still the thing to do? Ah yes, the infamous surveys!
Since you won't hear this in school, here are a few survey findings from research concerning abstinence. According to 1996 data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health, lower sexual activity among adolescents is correlated with higher levels of well being. In fact, sexually active girls are over three times as likely to report depressive symptoms than their abstaining counterparts and sexually active boys are over twice as likely to report depressive symptoms. Amazingly, these two groups report higher incidence of suicide attempts; boys in particular are at 8 times the risk for a suicide attempt if they are sexually active.
First of all do I have to point out the obvious? That people who are depressed might engage in sexual activity more inorder to relieve depression? And that sexual activity might not be the cause of depression? I tried to find the study and I can only assue that Thockmorton means this one. If you read through the abstract they make it pretty clear that it's the family and school contexts that have a big influence on their children's sexual activity. Nowhere in the abstract do they account for sex-ed programs.

There is another survey cited by Thockmorton: sex survey Social Organization of Sexuality, by Edward Laumann and colleagues. This book actually sound really interesting but there is some caution that can be found here:
From Library Journal
Based on the National Health and Social Life Survey, a 1992 nationwide survey of 3432 American men and women between the ages of 18 and 59, this is one of two books reporting on the findings. This book is intended for professional social scientists, counselors, and health professionals, while Robert T. Michael and others' Sex in America, just published by Little, Brown, anticipates a more general audience. Beginning with the theoretical foundations, rationale for, and design of the methodology, the authors put the work in historical context as they assert its accuracy and generalizations, urging caution about interpretation and implications of their sometimes surprising findings. Though the study was designed largely to "fill significant gaps in our knowledge of sexual behavior associated with the acquisition of the AIDS virus," this book achieves a refreshingly readable examination of masturbation, sexually transmitted infections, cohabitation and marriage, fertility, and homosexuality. The text throughout is buttressed by graphs, charts, tables, diagrams, appendixes, bibliographic references, and author and subject indexes (not seen). For academic collections.
James E. Van Buskirk, San Francisco P.L.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Emphasis mine.
Concerning marital sex, the same report indicates that "a monogamous sexual partnership embedded in a formal marriage evidently produces the greatest satisfaction and pleasure." (p. 364). Further, religious women are more likely to report being sexually satisfied than non-religious counterparts. These are the women who are more likely to have waited until they can follow the teachings of their faith about being "embedded in a formal marriage" before they have sex. However, presumably abstaining works for those of all faiths and those with none.
Note that Thockmorton doesn't reference the page about religious women being more sexually satisfied in the survey. It was probably just a survey of his wife and he decided to call it good. Sheesh, I'm sure that there are plenty of atheists who would like to contest that view.
Instead religious people and those who favor abstinence until marriage are usually portrayed as prudish, repressed folks afraid to talk about sex, let alone practice it. Rather it appears those smiles may be more than religious euphoria.
Huh?
Given the positive health and mental health benefits of abstinence, it looks to me like these research findings should be prominently featured in sex education curricula. That is unless all we want to do is get latex around the problem.
The problem of latex and the problem of mental health are not the same thing.
So kids, want great sex? Now you know what to do. Or should I say: what not to do.
What to do: demand comprehensive sex education. What not to do: ask the deacon's wife if she is smiling because she just had sex.

HaloScan Comments

I added HaloScan comments and trackbacks to make it easier for the 0 people who read this to comment :-)

I Am Chuck Palahniuk's Bitch

So I'm at the book store and I see that there is a new edition of Fight Club written by Chuck Palahniuk. Of course I buy it. Even though I've read Fight Club 20 odd times I still have to have this new copy. Why? because it has a new forward by the author, a forward I haven't read yet because it is new stuff written by Chuck Palahniuk. If it is new and written by Chuck then I must simply have it. Anyway, if you haven't read it yet then please put it at the top of your list. The book is amazing...well that's why it is one of my favorite books.

Until tody, it really pissed me off that I'd become this totally centered Zen Master and nobody had noticed. Still, I'm doing the little FAX thing. I wrtie little HAIKU things and FAX them around to everyone. When I pass people in the hall at work, I get totally ZEN right in everyone's hostile little FACE.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

I fucked up...

The Poor Man points out something that I didn't think about when I wrote this:
If you think that liberalism is still a problem then conservatives need to start their own school. I mean what's stopping some of the elite rich from chartering their own university, publishing their own journals, and hiring strictly conservative teachers? Nothing other than they would rather whine about the problem then attempt to solve it. I'm not saying the this to be flippant about the situation. I am a huge supporter of education and I think that another university would serve America well. Even if it was a conservative university, as long as the education and research going on there is well done I have no complaint about it.
The more I think about it, as the Poor Man points out is that a Conservative University populated by wing-nuts will be able to champion their ideas by appealing to crap that has nothing to do with their work. They will get something published in their own journal and try to blame it on Liberal Academic Elites when their work gets torn apart. They'll whine about it and appeal to the uneducated GOP to cut our funding because we are opposing "balanced" studies.

Cervantes over in Atrois's comments wrote something that I wish I could have written so well:
Like Gary F. says. The reason there are comparatively fewer conservatives in academia than there are in government, think tanks, or among op-ed columns is because the theory behind the academy, in most departments, is to discover the truth. You have to do research, conclusions have to be based on some kind of data and at least minimal tests of logic. That isn't necessarily true, of course, in departments of literature and "cultural studies," or "political science" which is not a science, and many universities even have departments of theology, of which the departments of economics are a subdivision. But many fields of endeavor do have to be reality based, and there you go.

Guess what? It turns out that physicists, biologists, anthropologists, epidemiologists, tend to be liberals and vote democratic. They aren't getting their jobs because of politics - they have the politics they do because they know how to think critically.

In other words, we're right, and Dinesh D'Souza and his pals are wrong. That's why they have to get jobs in right-wing think tanks funded by Richard Mellon Scaife. They start their own journals, where they get to publish shit with no peer review and no accountability for the truth. Of course reporters can't tell the difference.

Short version: reality has a liberal bias.


And finally to put to rest the idea of Intellectual or Academic Elites let me say this. To get a university postition you have to have a PhD essentially. And according to the 2000 Census data found here, only 1.4% of males and 0.6% of femals have attained a doctorate degree. So by defination that is an elite degree to obtain. I have no problem being called an Intellectual Elite because that is exactly what I am working towards!

More Blue Stuff

Here'a another article on Red State Welfare

Friday, December 10, 2004

Christ Weary

Don't forget to check out Rude One's Christ Weary series. Some of it is pretty sad this week. But I do like this post, I feel like this right now:
I hated growing up with such hypocritical, hateful, stupid, spiritually bankrupt people. My ideas of spirituality involve a thoughtfulness, a degree of introspection, a value on the greater good, a premium on logic and kindness, and a generosity of spirit that was completely absent in that town. I think about all the potentially good kids who fester in environments like these, who lack the resources to develop critical-thinking skills and to ultimately get the hell out, and I am at once furious and completely bereft. What do we do?
We help those that we can. That's all I can offer right now.

College Liberals are EVERYWHERE!!!

Kinda like the boogie-man. Anyway, here is another commentary on the leftism of colleges and universities as taken by tbogg. In this article he dismantles "Sweet Meat" Shapiro. My beef is more with this article. And oh my god, some more studies came out decrying the amount of commie-pinkos in American universities.
No surprise, then, that when researchers checked the voter registration of humanities and social science instructors at 19 universities, they discovered a whopping political imbalance. The results, published in The American Enterprise in 2002, made it clear that for all the talk of diversity in higher education, ideological diversity in the modern college faculty is mostly nonexistent.
Man I'm so glad that they checked 19 Universities. I mean 19 is so representative! And how many of those 19 were Christian schools? I'm betting none.
So, for example, at Cornell, of the 172 faculty members whose party affiliation was recorded, 166 were liberal (Democrats or Greens) and six were conservative (Republicans or Libertarians). At Stanford the liberal-conservative ratio was 151-17. At San Diego State it was 80-11. At SUNY Binghamton, 35-1. At UCLA, 141-9. At the University of Colorado-Boulder, 116-5. Reflecting on these gross disparities, The American Enterprise's editor, Karl Zinsmeister, remarked: "Today's colleges and universities . . . do not, when it comes to political and cultural ideas, look like America."

At about the same time, a poll of Ivy League professors commissioned by the Center for the Study of Popular Culture found that more than 80 percent of those who voted in 2000 had cast their ballots for Democrat Al Gore while just 9 percent backed Republican George W. Bush. While 64 percent said they were "liberal" or "somewhat liberal," only 6 percent described themselves as "somewhat conservative' -- and none at all as "conservative."
So they do a poll of the political leanings of Ivy League faculty members and show that most of them are Liberal? What a fucking shocker since Ivy League schools are located in blue states!
Such one-party domination of any major institution is problematic in a nation where Republicans and Democrats can be found in roughly equal numbers. In academia it is scandalous. It strangles dissent, suppresses debate, and causes minorities to be discriminated against. It is certainly antithetical to good scholarship. "Any political position that dominates an institution without dissent," writes Mark Bauerlein, an English professor at Emory and director of research at the National Endowment for the Arts, "deteriorates into smugness, complacency, and blindness. ... Groupthink is an anti-intellectual condition."
I seem to remember something about a mote or a beam in an eye, something, ah well...Oh yeah, sounds like the federal government!
Academic freedom is not only meant to protect professors; it is also supposed to ensure students' right to learn without being molested. When instructors use their classrooms to indoctrinate and propagandize, they cheat those students and betray the academic mission they are entrusted with. That should be intolerable to honest men and women of every stripe -- liberals and conservatives alike.
I have been at a University longer than I care to admit. I have never once had an instructor "indoctrinate and propagandize". Furthermore, if a teacher is voicing their political views in a class that is hardly molesting a student while learning. At the collegiate level the student should be able to stand up and defend their position using logic and reason. Learning how to think is the one of the most important parts of college. Sure students will be intimidated by teachers but that will happen even if the student agrees with the teacher. Also, the age old concern of the teacher extracting some sort of grade retribution because a students disagrees with them is laughable. There are committees and ethical review boards at schools that handle that sort of misconduct by faculty, the student just has to lodge a complaint.

And finally in closing, Anne Neal, the president of the The American Council of Trustees and Alumni makes a pretty heinous statement:
"If this were a survey of students reporting widespread sexual harassment," says ACTA's president, Anne Neal, "there would be an uproar." That is because universities take sexual harassment seriously. Intellectual harassment, on the other hand -- like the one-party conformity it flows from -- they ignore. Until that changes, the scandal of the campuses will only grow worse.
Yeah, because I'm sure that my friends that have been raped and sexually harassed will find this an accurate comparison.

In parting I'd like to note the following:
1) Conservatives need to quit whining about rampant liberalism at universities when there are many good Christian schools. And these are not just fly by night diploma farms either. Some of these like Baylor, Presbyterian College, and Spelman are fucking excellent institutions. Send your kids there if you think there is going to be some sort of liberal brain washing going on at college.
2) If you think that liberalism is still a problem then conservatives need to start their own school. I mean what's stopping some of the elite rich from chartering their own university, publishing their own journals, and hiring strictly conservative teachers? Nothing other than they would rather whine about the problem then attempt to solve it. I'm not saying the this to be flippant about the situation. I am a huge supporter of education and I think that another university would serve America well. Even if it was a conservative university, as long as the education and research going on there is well done I have no complaint about it.

Yahoo! News - Dems to Study Possible Primary Changes

I don't konow too much about the primary process but I think that there is something in this article worth noting.
Democratic Party rules require that the two states have the first nominating contests each election year. Victory in those states typically brings momentum that will lead to the nomination, as happened this year when Sen. John Kerry (news - web sites), D-Mass., swept both states. Candidates spent much of the early campaign appealing to the interests of voters in Iowa and New Hampshire, two rural states where the population is predominantly white.
The face of America is rapidly changing. I think that we might need a primary process that gathers imput from more minorities that make up a large portion of the party.

Homeless Shelters Getting Iraq Vets

Thanks to Oliver Willis for this link. This is just sad that we already have Iraqi War Vets on the streets homeless. And before I hear any right wingers saying that this is from some sort of liberal commie web site: check the URL motherfucker. It's www.military.com. For all of the bleating by the wingers about how we need to support the troops why is there even 1 vet that is homeless? Why do I read this:
One out of every five was diagnosed with a mental disorder, according to the VA.
and then something like :this regarding research funding:
The total number of Research Project Grants (RPGs) would barely increase by 1.4 percent.
So we're not taking care of the troops and we're also reducing cutting edge research to help them live functional lives with their mental disorders. I did not vote for this.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Why Does Rumsfeld Still Have a Job?

Thanks to Atrois for the link. check this out. Apparently, the company supplying armor to the army for Humvees could increase production at any time. However, they are waiting for the order.
Jacksonville, Florida-based Armor Holdings last month told the Army it could add armor to as many as 550 of the trucks a month, up from 450 vehicles now, Robert Mecredy, president of the company's aerospace and defense group said in a telephone interview today.

``If they ordered more trucks, we'd build more trucks,'' Woodward said. ``We're not close to capacity. It might take some time to ramp up but we can do it.''

``If the Army would be up front about the number of Humvees needed, the companies would be able to set their production accordingly to meet the need,'' Keck said in a phone interview.
Jesus! And what does Rumsfeld have to say?
Rumsfeld replied that ``you have to go to war with the Army you have.''
Look, a commenter on Pandagon noted:
The decision to go into Iraq was totally voluntary, with preparations headed by, you guessed it, Donald Rumsfeld. Therefore, when someone bombs you and you have to go to war with what you have, it's different than when you decide to bomb someone on your own timetable.
That setiment needs to be trumpeted loud and clear. It also needs to be said when ever some ass hat blames this on Clinton "gutting the military".

A Circus of Faith

The Rude One has another great article up that can be found here. In it he has a great observation that I had not thought about before:
Let's be clear here, shall we? There are two primary reasons that "God" is mentioned so much in documents by the Founders of this country: one is convention - it's just what you fuckin' did. It's like saying, "Dear Electric Company," when, in reality, the electric company ain't that "dear" to you. The other reason is that the Founders knew they had to use propaganda in order to appeal to the yahoos living in glorified cabins in the woods of New Hampshire: if you invoke "God," then stupid people will think you're legit. The "Creator," whether "God" or "Jesus," is the shiny trinket that distracts the children so the adults can do their work. Whatever Ben Franklin may have believed about deities great and small, he knew that the masses had to be placated so that they could go about the work of building a fuckin' nation.
I had been thinking that all this stuff about God and religion is just masking bigger problems and allowing for the consolidation of republican power. If it can happen now then why couldn't the same old bait and switch be used before? Invoke God enough and people who have nothing else to cling to except their religion will come flocking to it. How else can you justify killing so many cillivans despite the fact that the sixth commandment orders Christians not to kill?

Study: Laptop heat a threat to fertility | CNET News.com

I'm always concerned about my balls, as you know.

Yahoo! News - Video Games Used to Relax Kids in Hospital

Cool story on Game Boy use before surgery. To plug it again, donate to Child's Play to help some kids out by sending toys and video games to Children's Hospitals.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Hip-Hop Lyric of the Moment

Today's Hip-Hop Lyric of the Moment is brought to you by All Natural
but if today were my last day
have I helped out the world that I'm leaving
and if this were my last breathe
could I postpone the breathing
but if I fail to inhale, that would just speed up the outcome
so I gotta try to take each breath, as if it were the last one

Love Won Out

I'm thinking about doing some investigative journalism at a Love Won Out conference. It should be awesome as it is "a dynamic one-day conference addressing, understanding and preventing homosexuality". I found it via Focus on the Family, so it is bound to be a life changing experience. I'll keep you all updated if I go.

I'm Not Going to Find a Cure to Cancer Becuase You'll Die Anyway...

Thanks Rumsfeld! Ass.

Activists Dominate Content Complaints

Bitches! Hat tip to Atrios. You can check out the PTC here. If you want a taste of their ridiculousness let me take apart one of their articles. Right off the bat the title doesn't look too promising.
Doing Your TV Math
By L. Brent Bozell III
President, Parents Television Council
12/02/04

The anything-goes gang is suggesting we live in a pretty hypocritical country if we can profess our desire for moral leadership and make our number-one smash on television the ABC smut soap "Desperate Housewives." When the red states profess a great concern for moral values and then embrace sleazy shows, that's hypocrisy, is it not?
As I said before, the issue isn't hypocrisy, it's you trying to control what I want to watch because you don't want to watch it.
No, it's not. The argument is disingenuous. Television today is so splintered, with so many choices, that a hit show - even a number one show - doesn't translate into broad (and never mind majority) appeal. "Desperate Housewives" attracts less than 25 million viewers a week. Out of an estimated U.S. population of 290 million people, that's less than one in ten Americans that cares for this allegedly massive hit show. That fraction of the country is a very lucrative fraction for ABC and its advertisers, but political and pop-culture theorists are drawing wild conclusions about an America riddled with hypocrisy with some rather addled mathematics.
This argument is disingenuous because the "math" includes households without TVs thus artificially suppressing the statistic. It also includes people like infants and those in comas who are highly unlikely to watch the show.
By the same token, a show like NBC's "Will and Grace" is ranked 20th so far this season, averaging about 15 million viewers. That's very good ratings for a TV show these days, but it's awfully flimsy to take those 15 million Americans - five percent of the population -- and say, voila, America favors gay marriage.
More fuzzy math as above. Try giving some real statistics that mean something. But Bozell is pissed because someone has the audacity to tell him that people who vote multiple times should only count as one vote:
The FCC is saying officially that if an organization mobilizes its members to complain, and ten, or 100, or 10,000 people complain, it is only one complaint. FCC boss Michael Powell earlier this year issued the greatest insult of all when he labeled those who file grievances - the very taxpayers who pay his salary - as producers of "spam." Congress needs to step in, exercising its oversight responsibilities to investigate a federal agency that is complicit in an effort to thwart the public will.
That's not the issue. If 10,000 individuals complain than that is something else but the FCC found
But when asked, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau said it could find only 90 complaints from 23 individuals. (The smaller total was first reported by Internet-based TV writer Jeff Jarvis; Mediaweek independently obtained the Enforcement Bureau’s calculation.)
And also that some people didn't even bother to watch the fucking program
“All but four of the complaints were identical…and only one complainant professed even to have watched the program”
And in a parting shot Bozell quips:
There is not a single, solitary community in America today that considers as acceptable placing sexual raunch like that found in "Married by America" in front of children in prime time.
That's something I can agree on. "Sexual Raunch" shouldn't be viewed by children. That's why I don't let them watch it. It's a good solution really, my children don't view any "depravity" but those who choose to watch it still can.

One more thing. Oliver Willis has joined the PTC as a non-donating member. I'll have to consider this.

Hip-Hop Lyric of the Moment

Today's Hip-Hop Lyric of the Moment is brought you by De La Soul
but, I was raised in those blue collar themes
havin' white collar dreams cause I see what it means
and though the meek shall inherit the earth but don't forget
the poor are the ones who inherit the debt

Here's What's Left: and What's Left is Right

Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley are Librul

Bruce Bartlett is a hack trying to make an argument for the idea that universities are over run with liberals. How does he do it you might ask? Well first he quotes a study done at Santa Clara University, a Catholic University, that looks at the party registration of the faculty at Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley. And guess what he found? Now before I let the cat out of the bag, just think about his sampling for a second. He looked at faculty party registration at two universities in an area of the US known for concentrated liberalism then he is able to extrapolate these findings to make a comment about rampant liberalism in college campuses. Ok, to be fair he does make the extrapolation using a similar but larger survey by the same guy. Would have been nice if he had someone else back up the data.

I guess Bartlett didn't bother to google "conservative colleges" or he might of found these three top hits. Or perhaps he forgot a place like BYU. Obviously there are a lot of universities with conservative faculty and students. It's just apparent that people like Bartlett don't care about that, they want conservative influence in traditionally liberal institutions. Look, let me put it this way. Any conservative student looking to go to a university is probably smart enough to use a tool like Google. Get off your ass and do your research to find a school that fits with your moral values.

But I digress, Bartlett says
Not surprisingly, the ideological orientation of college faculty skews heavily toward the left. According to a survey in the Chronicle of Higher Education, 47.9 percent of all professors at public universities consider themselves to be liberal, with another 6.2 percent classifying themselves as far left. Only 31.8 percent say that they are middle of the road, and just 13.8 percent are conservative.
In the very next paragraph he says:
Obviously, this puts the vast majority of professors far to the left of the population as a whole.
Well obviously, since 6.2 percent is now representative of a vast majority of professors as a whole.
Finally, it is essential these days to be taken under the wing of an established professor in your field and be mentored if you have any hope of getting a teaching position at a good school.
Yes because as in science how the hell are you going to learn how to do experiments if you don't have someone teach it to you?
With so few conservatives on the faculty -- and many of those hiding their politics to avoid retribution -- the deck is very heavily stacked against any conservative hoping for an academic career, no matter how qualified they may be.
This is simply wrong. In my field no one gives a shit what your political leanings are. Unless you are voting for someone who cuts NIH funding, a source of our salary. Hell, during my time doing this degree I have worked with some hard core conservatives. All I care about is: are they doing good science? If yes, then you are in. If no, then fuck you.
Unfortunately, fixing this problem will take a long time. It is certainly not amenable to a legislative fix, such as a quota for conservatives.
If conservatives demand this I don't know who I'll throttle first.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Yahoo! News - Fox to Provide News for Clear Channel

The over reaching arm of Fox continues to grow.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Hip-Hop Lyric of the Moment

Today's Hip-Hop Lyric of the moment is brought to you by Zion I:
Just a micro-cosm
Of a larger macro-problem
I sit with my pen and pad
Imagine ways to solve 'em
You can call me a dreamer
But I do not need a Beamer
To validate existence
I'm blessed in every instance

Here's What's Left: Priceless

Not only priceless but also awesome!

Daily Kos Red State Teen Pregnancy

Teen Pregnancy rates as supplied by Kos. Also note where Sexataxachesettes stands, especially in relation to Alabama.

Yahoo! News - Bush Links Saudi Attack, Iraq Election

Why do I get the feeling that if there was unrest in the Kingdom of Tonga Bush could still manage to link it to the importance of the Iraqi Elections. I'm going to put up a post later, hopefully, about what voting and democracy mean in light of what is happening in Iraq. I just really need to think about what I want to say.

Context is a Bitch

Thanks Rude One. Again, raise your voice.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

New Ruling by the US District Court-Torture is OK.

Apparently, Brian Boyle says that evidence gathered under torture is ok to use in court. I found this despicable, that we would use the very tactics we find repulsive to fight those tactics. Have we just lost all of our moral authority? I was so upset by this that I decided to press the one senator I knew had experience with torture-Senator John McCain.

I started by calling his Washington office (202-224-2235) with the following prepared script:
Hello, Deputy Associate Attorney General Brian Boyle acknowledged at a US District Court that the US is allowed to use evidence gathered under torture. Seeing as Senator McCain spent 5 years as a Vietnam POW and was tortured during that time, does he have a public comment regarding this new ruling on torture by the US District Court?
I basically just got shuttled to voice messages the 2 times I called, but I left a message and a return number. I'm still pissed about this ruling so I decided to send Senator McCain the following message.
Dear Senator McCain,

Recently Brian Boyle the Deputy Associate Attorney General acknowledged at a US District Court that evidence gathered under torture is admissible in court. The press release can be found at this link: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2&u=/ap/20041203/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/guantanamo_detainees

I find this ruling troubling for several reasons. One, I do not feel that evidence gathered under torture is reliable. Two, this sets a dangerous precedent in US courts where torture could be used against US citizens. Three, it negates the moral authority of our armed services who may have such tactics used against them in a time of war.

Senator, as a Vietnam POW you had first hand experience with the heinous acts of torture. I implore you to please release a public statement regarding this new ruling-the American Public needs your voice, wisdom, and experience.

Sincerely,
Irion
This ruling cannot go without comment. McCain seems to be one of the few sensible Republicans left. He has first hand experience with war, torture, and Bush's Goon Squad. Furthermore, he has White House aspirations. We need to put the squeeze on him and get him to speak against the Repub. Theocrats.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Light Blogging

I'll be busy this weekend so there will probably be very little blogging over the next several days. Have a great weekend everybody!

Yahoo! News - Bush Adamant on Iraq Election Schedule

It's all he has to hold onto anymore.

You Can't Talk About Your Mom Like That...

This is amazing. Make sure you read the linked article found here.

U.N. Rejects Call for Annan's Resignation

From Yahoo! News. It seems like this flap over Annan has to do with the Oil for Food (O.F.F.) program. Sure, if he did something illegal he should be held accountable. However, does anyone remember before the war any mention of problems in this program? I mean Powell had an opportunity to call out Annan during his pre-war address to the U.N. security council. He had an awful lot to say about WMDs, but some how problems with the O.F.F. program was missing.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

World AIDS Day

Remember that Dec. 1st is World AIDS day. We need to find a way to help people with AIDS. Please support legislators that are committed to fully funding scientific research. If you are able, please donate to a charity of your choice that will give money to AIDS researchers. And please, remember to protect yourself if you are sexually active!

Hip-Hop Lyric of the Moment

Today's Hip-Hop Lyric of the Moment is brought to you by Blackalicious.
I had a dream like martin luther king in adolescense
And now I'm out in tokyo and europe havin sessions
The final destination used to be my main question
But then I looked and all that I was searchin for was present

But I Thought it was the Trial Lawyer's Fault....

I am in a human genetics class where we have a total of three class periods this semester devoted to clinical studies about human genetics. We had a really interesting class today that got me thinking more about the rising costs of health care.

The teacher, who is a clinical geneticist, informed us that the US is one of the few nations in the world wealthy enough to support children who have birth defects. Now, what is interesting is that problems due to birth defects actually double by 7 years old. This means that the cost is delayed somewhat. He had also mentioned that a large portion of health care costs goes to caring for these children.

The teacher said that many 3rd world countries are unable to care for these children and even some segments of American society does not care for these children in order to keep their health costs low. He cited the example of Amish Americans that pool their resources and buy health insurance for the community as a whole. Even if a child has a mild defect, such as a congenital heart defect, that can be rectified by surgery, the parents will opt not to have the procedure. They choose not to have the procedure done because they cannot afford to put a lot of money into someone who will not be productive for the community, which relies wholly on manual labor.

I am not here to argue the right and wrong of what the Amish do with their children who have birth defects. I am just saying that with all of the flap about trial lawyers increasing the cost of health care, very little is going into the discussion about health care issues that ARE driving up health care costs.

To me, caring for these children isn't even an issue, we do it because life is precious and these children deserve a shot in life. However, to really combat the rising health care costs why don't we do something to decrease the amount of children born with birth defects?

Doing this is simple, we need to clean up the environment and get rid of toxins and hazards that cause birth defects. We need to educate mothers on prenatal care, especially the dangers of tobacco and alcohol on developing babies.

Overall though we need to take back the dialog on the cost of health care and figure out a way to meld it with environmental issues. We then need hammer every piece of environmental litigation as a health issue that will combat the increasing cost of health care through easy preventative measures. Finally we need to accuse the GOPers who oppose the environmental legislation of endangering the health of Americans and driving up health care costs.

Hazardous air pollutants increase cancer risks and thus drives up health care costs.

Air pollution increases cancer risks and thus drives up health care costs.

Urban air pollution increases birth defects and thus drives up health care costs.

Combinations of popular pesticides have been linked to Parkinson's disease and thus drives up health care costs.

The list can definitely go on and on.

Christ Weary

Rude Pundit has a series on the Earthly Acolytes of Jesus Christ. Here is part 1 and part 2. And don't forget the continuation of part 2 found here.

When you're done, head out to Blockbuster and rent Saved!. It's amazing.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Yahoo! News - HIV Infection Rates Unchanged in U.S.

Not wholly bad news. We could do better though.

Hip-Hop Lyric of the Moment

Today's Hip-Hop Lyric of the Moment is brought to you by Mos Def.
Visions occupy my synaptic space
Command and shake, to illustrate my mind's landscape
The tall grass, the low plains, the mountanous ridges
Thickets among the forests, rivers beneath the bridges
Presence of hilltops, lit up with tree tops

Christmas Charity

The two guys from Penny-Arcade are doing the second year of their Christmas charity, called Child's Play. This charity is an amazing undertaking, last year alone they raised $250,000 in cash and toys for the Seattle Children's Hospital. Please go read about them and if you feel so inclined then please donate. This year they will be spreading the joy to children at 5 different hospitals across the US.

More on Welfare

I had been thinking about the most common ammo used by conservatives against welfare. One thing that comes up is that these people need to get off their lazy ass and get a job. Well, that might be helpful if Bush could create some jobs for these people. It might have also been nice if those tax cuts had done a little more for job creation.