Tuesday, May 31, 2005

I Learned Nothing, Absolutely Nothing from Cali Schools

I have forever been a "low scorer" in math. I blame this on the Los Angles Unified Babysitting, er School District. After my move to the East Coast, suddenly I spent the next 5 years playing various forms of catch-up. In an article from Captains Quarters, I see the fun people from California have learned absolutely nothing from their crappy school systems.

Lawmakers voted Thursday to ban school districts from purchasing textbooks longer than 200 pages.

The bill, believed to be the first of its kind nationwide, was hailed by supporters as a way to revolutionize education.

Critics lambasted Assembly Bill 756 as silly.

"This bill is really the epitome of micromanagement," said Assemblyman Keith Richman, R-Northridge. "(It's) absolutely ridiculous." ...

But Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg, a Los Angeles Democrat who chairs the Assembly Education Committee, said critics are thinking too narrowly.

Wow, what can anyone say. Thinking "too narrowly?" I wonder what my wife will say to this (she's an education major)...

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Hopefully In & Out

I'm leaving today for Oklahoma City. One of my wife's long-time friends is getting married this weekend. I'll post if I can, but my father-in-law's dial-up is hard to use when you get used to broadband connections.

Hear hear!

Investor's Business Daily has an awesome sum up of the Newsweek crap in "News Weak."

The real question is whether journalists are targeting America. The only thing being flushed down the commode these days seems to be media credibility.

Do I hear an 'amen?'

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

A New Addition to My Links

I decided to add another link today. Media Slander. The title says it all, but here's their statement of purpose:

The goal of Media Slander is to hold journalists and bloggers to high ethical standards regarding coverage of the War on Terror and other military-related issues. We plan to achieve this by highlighting bias, rumor and falsehoods that have been creeping into military coverage under the guise of objective news.

We by no means advocate censorship or the deliberate suppression of well-researched and relevant stories about the war and the military.

As much as journalists feel that they are the guardians of the First Amendment, its true protectors are standing watch in Iraq, Afghanistan and places no one will ever hear about. Journalists owe it to the true gatekeepers of our liberties to be fair, balanced, relevant and accurate in covering them.

I look forward to hear more from them.

Journalism 101 or What I Learned in High School, but a Pro Didn't

I like offbeat humor, and thus I was attracted this article from CNN.com on old laws. However, while reading it, I was suddenly distracted...and for once it wasn't my short attention span...it was these randomly inserted paragraphs:

Sunsetting was included in important sections of the 2001 U.S. Patriot Act, passed by Congress shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks to give law enforcement agencies more tools to fight terrorism. Congress is now debating reauthorization and seems likely to make some changes.

"These hearings on the Patriot Act are exactly the kind of thing you want. Government doesn't spend enough time on oversight, looking at what's been done and how it's working," Edwards said.

President Bush's 2001 tax cuts also included sunset clauses; its provision are supposed to expire in 2010. However critics charge that this time, sunsetting was little more than a smokescreen, allowing Republicans to keep the projected costs of the tax cut within limits set by a congressional budget resolution.

Why are these here? They don't fit in with the rest of the story. In high school, I'm pretty sure my journalism teacher would have put a red 'x' through those paragraphs with the message "not relevant." And this guy from Reuters is a pro? Hey, I have an idea, lets bring up something that points out critism of the Bush Administration that's only remotely relevant to the rest of the article. Nice call, guys.

Amnesty International Hates the US

I was going to blog about this article from CNN.com, but I see that LGF has beaten me to the punch...and it was a much better punch that I could have laid.

I Found a New Job

From Toothpast for Dinner:

Click to see the full sized one.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Why I'm a Libertarian

In the Washington Post they discuss the issue of convicted sex offenders getting medicaid to pay for viagra:

A federal agency began notifying states Monday that they do not have to pay for Viagra for convicted rapists and other high-risk sex offenders.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services acted one day after the New York comptroller's office said audits from 2000 through March found that 198 sex offenders in the state received Medicaid-reimbursed Viagra after their convictions. Their crimes included offenses against children as young as 2, Comptroller Alan Hevesi said.

AAAARRRRRRRRGGGGHHHHH! I didn't pay my taxes last year to pay for this crap. The main benefit of public companies is that they generally find stuff like this faster...it hurts profitablity. There's no similar drive in government programs...that is unless the media points out problems to the public. This is why I'm a libertarian (er...I should say, "right-leaning libertarian"). Anyway, Powerline says it better...

Monday, May 23, 2005

Two America West Pilots on Trial for DUI

From CNN.com:

Two former America West pilots charged with operating a plane full of passengers while intoxicated may have consumed alcohol and smelled of alcohol but they could still walk and see, their lawyers told a jury Monday.

I don't understand why they'd do something this stupid. As Airline pilots, they are pretty much at the top of thier career ladder. So they go and ruin a career because they went out and drank it up the night before. Good job guys. I only hope the replacements are more responsible.

Bear found in Pool

I have to say having a bear show up in your backyard could be exciting for a couple of reasons...but having a bear take a swim in your pool. That'd scare the crap out of me.

A 140-pound bear wandered into a suburban neighborhood and took a dip in a swimming pool before being tranquilized and returned to the wild.

Good News from Iraq

Chrenkoff has the newest edition of his awesome Good News from Iraq series. It's good to actually hear some good news when the mainstream media glorifies the bad. So sit back and read up.

Friday, May 20, 2005

When Bad eBay Happens...again, and again...

At a forum I frequent (toyotaunderground), someone posted this madness. My mom can be a bit of a packrat, but she's got nothing on this lady's crazyness. They need to call over cleansweep to take care of this unbelievable mess.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

My Photo Class

I just got back my last critque for my photo 1 class. I'm happy with my grade. Criticism welcome, as I want to continue improving my photo skills.

I think the toner I was using was just about done.

I'm very proud of this one. It took two rolls to get this one.

Dual toned Copper/Blue.

Another favorite shot of mine. Toned blue.

I like the mysterious quality here.

Both of these are double exposed on the photo paper.

I am Cow

This song is terribly catchy, and my wife and I catch ourselves randomly singing parts of it for the last couple of days.

I am cow, hear me moo
I weigh twice as much as you
And i look good on the barbecue
Yogurt, curd, cream cheese and butter's
Made from liquid from my udders
I am cow, i am cow, hear me moo (moo)

I am cow, eating grass
Methane gas comes out my ass
And out my muzzle when i belch
Oh, the ozone layer is thinner
From the outcome of my dinner
I am cow, i am cow, i've got gas

I am cow, here i stand
Far and wide upon this land
And i am living everywhere
From b.c. to newfoundland
You can squeeze my teats by hand
I am cow, i am cow, i am cow
I am cow, i am cow, i am cow!

It's by a group call the Arrogant Worms.

Dan, Dan, Dan...

Dan Rather was awarded the Peabody Award. Why, I have yet to figure out. However, this quote for Mr. Rather was...well, rather interesting (I'm sorry, I couldn't help myself):

Rather received extended applause after telling the crowd, "Never give up, never back up, never give in while pursuing the dream of integrity filled journalism that matters."

Yup, yup. Integrity. The words of the man who said," … I think you can be an honest person and lie about any number of things.” Yup, Dan...that's integrity alright.

But then there's something else that bugs me. The whole reason this award was given was for the Abu Ghraib scandle...which doesn't make any sense. They didn't "break" the story. The military did. So...why are they getting an award for something they only sorta did?

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

PETA and More Claims

Ah, yes. PETA. The name brings to mind images of rediculous ads comparing slaughterhouses to the Holocaust and the girl named goveg.org. Most of PETA's claims are out somewhere beyond the orbit of Saturn, so when they do come up with something that may actually be a valid complaint...most people ignore it.

A leading animal rights group has accused a northern Virginia laboratory of animal cruelty -- including charges of punching and choking lab monkeys -- and has produced a videotape to prove it.

The problem here is, like I said, nobody knows if this is really a problem...or is it Pamala Anderson boycotting KFC.

If they'd just get over the cute fuzzy animal thing and at least acknowledge them as a food source, they might get a little more crediblity. However, to me at least, they remain a weird fragment of society.

Toyota Recalls

As a fairly big fan of Toyota (my first car was a '91 Toyota Celica named Elsa - Rust in Peace), I was interested to see that they issued a recall. In fact it's the first recall I had ever seen from Toyota.

Toyota Motor Corp. has said it will recall about 880,000 sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and pickups worldwide, mostly in the United States, to fix a defect in the front suspension that could hamper steering.

Now recalls aren't terribly unusual...and I kinda prefer them, as I've witnessed the results when there's a known issue, and they don't recall it. Our old Ford Aerostar caught fire in the garage because the wire insulation chaffed away and caused a short near the alternator. It was an exciting episode I'd rather not ever repeat. It was also listed as a TSB (Technical Service Bulletin)...but never recalled. Recalls cost money, however, they may save you some customers in the future. As for me, I'm very wary of purchasing a Ford or Chrystler product. I'll probably stick with Toyota, Mazda, or Nissan for the time being.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

FlaK Central makes it big

I was looking at my referrals in my site meter, and found that I show up 3rd in a Google search. Woohoo!

I'm excited. And yes, I know it's minor and probably pathetic. Just let me bask in my "glory" for a couple minutes.

Monday, May 16, 2005

30 Minutes

I did. Today, I was able to run a full 30 minutes. I know today will be pretty easy when compared with Wednesday or Friday, but I'm just really happy I did it, nonetheless.

After about two weeks, I want to work on increasing my speed. I have not yet measured how far I'm actually running, but it I can get into the 3 miles in 20 minute range, I will be extremely pleased.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Newsweek Attempts to Follow CBS News

After the death of 9 people and wounding of around 100, Newsweek now says they screwed up the story about the flushing of a Koran down the toilet (I still want to know how they think you could flush a book down the toilet...I mean, really). The blogs are all over this, and so I referance them:

At Captain's Quarters:
That credence and the Newsweek report touched off riots across Afghanistan and Southwest Asia, costing at least nine lives and setting back American efforts to build diplomacy towards more moderate Muslim communities. Now we find out that after nine people lay dead and anti-American sentiment now runs as hot as ever, Newsweek says that it got the story wrong from the beginning...

At Powerline.

At Little Green Footballs:
Newsweek’s Evan Thomas tries to put a Band-Aid on their credibility, with a non-apology for their use of an anonymous source in the “Quran desecration” story: How a Fire Broke Out.

To add to the fun, Cox & Forkem has this:

St. Louis Post-Dispatch and it's Liberal Status Quo

Apparently, the recent purchase of the (for me anyway) local paper will not change the liberal editorial bias.

When Lee Enterprises Inc. agreed to purchase Pulitzer Inc. for $1.46 billion, it also agreed that the flagship St. Louis Post-Dispatch will keep its longstanding liberal editorial slant for at least the next five years, according to the purchase agreement mailed to Pulitzer shareholders Friday.

I must say that having a liberal point of view doesn't particularly bother me. It's when it's constant with no other points of view. I feel a good mix will at least let you see what the other side thinks. Instead, they are going to maintain a one-sided arguement. Oh, well. It's not like I get the paper all that often.

Bible Illiteracy in the US

The Weekly Standard has an excellent article on the current state of Biblical illiteracy in the United States. It covers some basic history as well as the sticky problems with any Bible courses in public schools.

But can you teach the Bible as mere "literature" without flattening and misrepresenting it? How will you address the differences (which go right down to the ground) between Jews and Christians respecting the Bible? (The question is not so much how to spare Jewish sensibilities--minorities have rights, but so do majorities; the question is how to tell the truth.) What kind of parents leave their children's Bible education to the public schools, anyway? How do we go beyond public schools in attacking a nationwide problem of Bible illiteracy?

It also covers my issues with the ACLU:

The teachers are strikingly confused about the legal status of Bible-teaching in public schools. The ACLU and kindred organizations are winning the fight to suppress religion in public--to ban it from the public square as religion has traditionally been banned under regimes that tolerate it only marginally; to force it indoors and under wraps, as minority religions have traditionally been treated by powerful majorities that threaten violence. The ACLU and friends are winning by court order and--more important--by confusion and intimidation. "It was not uncommon," says the report, "for educators to hold erroneous beliefs about the legality of using the Bible and Bible literature in public-school classrooms."

Friday, May 13, 2005

The Case of the Missing Finger Concluded

Well, it looks like my theory on where the missing finger found in the Wendy's chile was wrong.

Police say the finger that a woman found in a bowl of chili came from an associate of her husband's who lost the digit in an industrial accident.

This discounts my thoughts on the matter. Nonetheless, I hope she's fully prosecuted.

Another Star Trek Series Ends

Well, the last Star Trek spin-off is ending it's run due to sagging ratings. Sadly, we're left with no more than the reruns on Spike TV and the ultra expensive DVD collections (or the single episode of DS9 on VHS I own). Since I was 8 years old, there has been a continuing voyage of some kind...now, 17 years later, the Star Trek universe will go quiet again. So, what happened to one of the greatest sci-fi mainstays? Interestingly, the CNN article linked above give (to me, at least) a hint.

The original series had a Cold War between the Federation and the Russians, er, Klingons and a cheerfully naive approach to solving racial and political conflicts.

"Next Generation" (1987-94) had a post-Soviet view in which the Klingons were allies, and a politically correct view that the values of other cultures, no matter how weird or repugnant, deserved respect.

Both also shared a sunny idealism that humans had overcome their own conflicts, lived in peace, and were on voyages of discovery and knowledge for the sheer joy of it.

The optimistic view of a united future humanity that the original "Trek" offered began to crumble in earnest with "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" (1993-1999). The earnest morality of the first two series gave way to gray areas in which the good guys dirtied their hands with assassinations and other foul deeds in fighting a war for survival.

Moral relativism had crept into the sparkling "Trek" universe. Some viewers were dismayed; others enthralled.

What was that...moral relativism? I think this may have something to do with it. People like characters they identify with...and enough people have morals they line up with and keep, that they don't identify with those that change their morals when it's convinent. There's a lot of names for this...most of them are negative.

One thing, I think they miss is that the Next Generation characters respected others cultures, but they would act whenever a "human ethic" was broken. Heck, the first episode demonstrated this. They didn't let the guy who effectively imprisoned a giant alien to act as a city go. They hauled him off.

Besides, I think people generally don't want to be depressed about the future. Watching a depressing sci-fi movie like Blade Runner may be alright for a movie, but when shown once a week, it begins to grind on people. After all, half the purpose of a movie or show is to escape.

In the end, I expect that some future 'stardate,' we'll see another series come out. Hopefully, it's a good one...one that will last long enough to continue the mission to "Boldly go where no one has gone before."

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Oh, How I Hate Humidity

So I went out for my run today...and nearly died. Well, maybe that's an exaggeration. I thought I was going to die. Although the temp was just above 80...the humidity was obviously in the 140% range. I might as well have been trying to breathe water. Mix that with continuing to push myself physically, and you get the idea.

Anyway, since I'm on the subject of my workout, I suppose I'll show it off.

Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 30 min aerobic workout/ 30 min run
Tuesday, Thursday: 60 min aerobic workout

As for that 30 min run, I'm on week 9 of a 10 week program to run 3.5 miles in half and hour. The program looks like this:

Week 1: (run 2 min, walk 4 min) x 5
Week 2: (run 3 min, walk 3 min) x 5
Week 3: (run 5 min, walk 2.5 min) x 4
Week 4: (run 7 min, walk 3 min) x 3
Week 5: (run 8 min, walk 2 min) x 3
Week 6: (run 9 min, walk 2 min) x 2 + run 8 min
Week 7: (run 9 min, walk 1 min) x 3
Week 8: (run 13 min, walk 2 min) x 2
Week 9: (run 14 min, walk 1 min) x 2
Week 10: (run 30 min)

After the progress I've made, I'm amazed. When I first started, I could barely run the alotted 2 min. Now, I'm running nonstop for 14 min.

My plan is to begin to work up some speed once I get to the 30 min run. After a bit of that, start adding some weight. I'll keep posting every so often.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Uh, Did Sen. Biden Forget Something

In specialness.

Today on C-SPAN, Senator Joe Biden is making/has just made a speech on the proposed rule change on filibusters of judicial nominations - the "nuclear option." He made an interesting statement, that "we [i.e. Democrats] represent the majority of the American people." This is interesting and true. 51% of voters since 2000 have voted for Democrats, 49% for Republicans.

I could care less about who represents more in the Senate...but what scares me, is that Sen. Biden is *IN* the senate, and seems to have missed the whole point of said house. Hello, sir, the Senate is based on states...not population. If you want to have power based on population, then feel free to become a congressman.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Kerry Incites Anger...at Himself?

Sen. Kerry continues to campaign for the 04 election.

"Washington seems more and more out of touch with the difficulties the average family is facing," Kerry told the crowd of about 150 last week in Baton Rouge. ''Go out of here, take some anger and a little bit of outrage at the fact that Washington is not dealing with the real concerns of our country."

If I'm not mistaken, Sen. Kerry has been a part of Washington for the last 20 years. So...we need to be angry at him?

Too many movies

MAASTRICHT, Netherlands (Reuters) - Dutch police arrested six activists on Sunday who said they wanted to enter President Bush's Netherlands hotel and look for the suitcase which allows him to activate nuclear weapons.

"We heard Bush carries a nuclear suitcase and can push the red button at any time to set off atomic weapons. We find this extremely shocking," said Leo de Groot, a spokesman for the activist group.

The activists, carrying binoculars and wearing signs that identified them as "citizen's inspectors," mimicking the International Atomic Energy Agency's weapons inspectors, were caught by Dutch soldiers as they approached Bush's hotel.

Bahahahahahahahahaha...*breath*...Ah hahahahahahahahahahaha

The link.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Out for the weekend

I was hoping to blog a bit more this week, but I've been really busy. On top of that, I'm heading out to my sister-in-law's graduation later today. I might be able to bust out another post or so, but I have my doubts. I'll be back on sunday.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Disgusting Display of complete Idiocy

I'm fuming mad. Why? Well, a series of posts from blogs I frequent came to a head. Let's start backwards. This horrendous peice is from an interview with a captured Iraqi terrorist (note the lack of the word "insurgent") and speaks of what they did to an Iraqi police officer. The whole thing is here.

Interviewer: How did you punish him?

'Adnan Elias: We whipped him.

Interviewer: You whipped him?

'Adnan Elias: Yes, Muhsin did.

Interviewer: And you?

'Adnan Elias: I didn't whip him. I just stood there holding the gun.

Interviewer: Go on.

'Adnan Elias: They told us to take him to the house of Habib 'Izzat Hamu. We took him out there. We said to him: "Why did you do this and that… Why are you after us?" He answered: "It's out of our hands. We get orders." Then we were told to bring a knife.

Interviewer: You slaughtered him?

'Adnan Elias: Yes, sir. Habib 'Izzat Hamu got the knife. He slaughtered him, and when he was dead, he opened his shirt buttons and cut open his stomach.

Interviewer: Who opened him up?

'Adnan Elias: Muhsin, sir.

Interviewer: When a doctor performs an operation he wears a surgeon's mask over his nose and mouth.

'Adnan Elias: No sir, he didn't wear one.

Interviewer: He didn't wear one?

'Adnan Elias: No sir, he didn't wear one. He cut open his stomach and took stuff out.

Interviewer: What did he take out?

'Adnan Elias: I don't know, his guts.

Interviewer: Weren't you nauseous? Didn't you vomit?

'Adnan Elias: You mean Muhsin?

Interviewer: No, you.

'Adnan Elias: I was standing a little bit aside.

Interviewer: And he didn't vomit or get nauseous?

'Adnan Elias: No, sir.

Interviewer: What is he, Dracula?

'Adnan Elias: Huh?

Interviewer: Go on.

'Adnan Elias: Yes, sir. He opened him up, took stuff out, and put TNT and explosives inside. Then he sewed up his stomach with thick thread.

Interviewer: With thread?

'Adnan Elias: Yes. And a needle. He put the buttons back in place...

Interviewer: He buttoned him up.

'Adnan Elias: Yes, he buttoned him up. We were told to take him in the car near the square in Tel A'far. We threw him there and placed his head back on his shoulders.

Interviewer: My God!

'Adnan Elias: 15 to 30 minutes later they told his family to come and get their son. His father came with two policemen. They picked up the body and made no more than two steps – we were standing far away – Ahmad Sinjar pressed the button.

Interviewer: By remote control.

'Adnan Elias: The body exploded on them, and they died.

Interviewer: So his father and the two policemen died.

'Adnan Elias: Yes sir, and we took off.

Needless to say, that's really disturbing. Now on top of this, you have two complete id...phew...calm down...two individuals who write that they support this crap. The first can be found here. After reading some statements in her article, it's fairly obvious she doesn't have any facts straight...and only makes a feeble attempt to back anything up with a genaric referance to publications, but brings no specifics to the table. Then she claims that the US has been "carpet bombing" Iraq. Uh...yeah, right. She wouldn't know a carpet bombing if it slapped her in the face. Anyone whose seen an endless stream of 500 lbs bombs emptying out of a B-52 will tell you what carpet bombing *REALLY* looks like.

The first step towards adopting such a plan of action is understanding why supporting Iraqi resistance groups is the imperative flipside of our support for US troops-even if we don't know, understand, or agree with the politics of the resistance groups themselves.

Yeah, makes lots of sense, "I don't understand why you kill your own people, but I support you anyway." Wow...simply...wow.

The second article
is more disturbing, because this man says he would continue to support the terrorists in Iraq even if his son was serving there.

For myself, I can say without hesitation that I support the "insurgency", and would do so even if my only 21 year old son was serving in Iraq. There’s simply no other morally acceptable option.

Wow. So it's ok, if these guys go ahold of your son, shoved some explosives in his innerds and gave you a call to come pick him up? Wow.

Then he goes on to quote the Declaration of Independance to support his twisted view. The sickness exhibited leaves me speechless.