Folding, spindeling, and mutilating lauguage for fun since Aug, 2004
Monday, 05 October 2009

Duuuuuuudes!  Like, everyone has been down on libs for so long.  Like, harshing our mellow to the max, and all because we're like, lame and stuff.

But don't dispair mon frare...we're back baby!

'cause we totally went back in time and took over the Bible.  We're like rocken spiritual time-pirates.

You thought Bill and Ted had a great adventure?  Nu-uh!  Team lib totally went back in time and snuck the lovey-forgivy-sharey crap into the Bible! 

Uh-huh!  BAM!!  Yeah, take that, in yer face  Mr. Judgy-Mcvitriol Christian guys!

But uh-oh...Andrew Schlaffly's gonna take it back with an army of homeschool kids!  Bogus!


Get back in the funkey time-travel phone booth dudes!  We have to save the wimpy social gospel or we won't get to have a modern government or health care reform!

Monday, 05 October 2009 17:15:08 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [2] |  |  |  |  |  | #
Thursday, 11 September 2008

When I saw the headline "Not Holding Back: Why I didn't Redshirt My Kindergarten-Age Son"...I thought:

"Because he's too young to get eaten by a green slobbering space monster?"

"Because even though he's short, there's no guarantee that 'random surges in gravometric particle-waves' will go over his head"?

"Because Starfleet let one under-age ensign onto the bridge, and that is entirely enough?"  (BTW, Will Wheton is all grown up and is made of awesome)


Apparently, no.

Have you all heard about this?  Parents holding back their kids from starting kindergarten until age six so that they can be better at sports?



Thursday, 11 September 2008 09:05:19 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [6] |  | #
Sunday, 20 April 2008

In human society, the "Wingman" courageously distracts and entertains the desierable woman's less attractive friend, so that his partner can have a chance to move in on the prize.

And the fundies say that humans are uniquly altruistic, but that's nothing when it comes to the altruism of the side-blotched lizard.

The side-blotched lizard will go out and "distract" a rival by letting the rival kick his ass.  In  the mean time, his buddy gets to enjoy the harem of females uninterrupted.

LOL!  Eat your heart out human "lounge lizards" got nothin' on the real thing!

(hat tip:  A Blog around the Clock)


Sunday, 20 April 2008 08:28:42 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Tuesday, 05 February 2008

Martians are just so NICE!  They obviously want us to "Have a nice Day"

Darned nice of them to think of us considering they have that whole "nonexsistance thing" going on.  What a bummer, and they do something thoughtful like this...

...It just sort of makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  I mean, when you look at that how can you even THINK that it happened by RANDOM CHANCE?!?  Obviously, it was DESIGNED...designed by a giant five-year old with a Martian Magna-Doodle.

(Hat Tip: Jason Bock)

Tuesday, 05 February 2008 22:31:16 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] |  |  | #
Wednesday, 23 January 2008

I was just volunteering at Adventure Boy's school today, scanning in and re-shelving text-books that had been issued to students for the semester.  I finished early, and the lady I was helping out gave me some "new" (as in recently purchased) books.

I had to put an inventory number on them, stamp and date them, and then shelve them.

Guess what I found out?

Our richie-rich school district buys USED textbooks.

Now, I'm OK with that, as the books were nice and seemed just as good as new.

But it's just one more thing that irritates me when people talk about how our schools are "wasteful".              

Wednesday, 23 January 2008 12:00:29 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [5] | #
Sunday, 13 January 2008

One of my fellow Kung Fu students is in this group, and sent me an e-mail promoting a free show.  The full text follows below.

If you have a chance, I highly recommend it.  I've seen it and it is fun!


Hello from the PHYSICS FORCE and the University of Minnesota


  You received this message because someone you know feels you would enjoy seeing the Physics Circus admission FREE! The show will be presented one night only (Thursday, January 17th) at Northrop Auditorium on the U of M campus at 7:00 PM. Bring the family and friends, get a seat, and enjoy over an hour of great fun.


  For over twenty years the Physics Force has attracted standing-room only audiences. They have been featured on Newton's Apple, at the Minnesota State Fair, and at Disney World's Epcott Center. They traveled three times to Europe and appeared on German television as guests of the "Knoff Hoff" show. A trademark of their show is "bigger is better." Why implode a pop can when a 55-gallon drum is available?

Why shoot down a mythical monkey when the target could be a live person dropping from a scaffold 20 feet high! This program is a delight for parents, grandparents and children of all ages. Science teachers and their students are fascinated and so are those that know little about physics.


  To learn more about the group go to:


  Please consider sending this message to your friends inviting them to come. We have little budget for promoting the FREE show on Thursday the 17th of January at 7:00 PM, so please help us if you can by forwarding this message on to friends.


  Thanks in advance from the Physics Force gang: Dan Dahlberg, Hank Ryan, Jack Netland, Fred Orsted, Aaron Pinski and Jay Dornfeld.


Sunday, 13 January 2008 15:32:39 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [2] |  | #
Tuesday, 04 December 2007

Eden Prairie High School is ranked 12 out of 454 public High Schools in the State.

Interestingly, the school I graduated from is 112th.

Here’s an excellent resource for funding information on a state-by-state basis.

Here’s some quotes from the above link:

Minnesota rankings on per pupil expenditures, FY 2005:

  • 23rd Total per pupil expenditures
  • 15th Per pupil instruction and instruction-related expenditures
    (Includes salaries and benefits for teachers, teaching assistants, librarians and library aides, in-service teacher trainers, curriculum development, student assessment, technology, and supplies and purchased services related to these activities.)
  • 4th Per pupil percent instruction and instruction-related at 69.54%
    (This is the 70% solution figure)
  • 48th Per pupil student support services
    (Includes attendance and social work, guidance, health, psychological services, speech pathology, audiology, and other student support services.)
  • 33rd Per pupil expenditures for administration
  • 22nd Per pupil operating expenditures


And yet there is a constant hue-and-cry that we spend WAY TOO MUCH for education in Minnesota.

There is a sense that we are somehow particularly over-burdoned…and yet..

October 2004 (updated) - According to How Does Minnesota Compare?, Minnesota Center for Public Finance Research/Minnesota Taxpayers Association:

  • Minnesota is 8th in the nation in earning power and 27th in the nation in education funding. (2002).  In 1996 we were 5th, in 1997-14th, 1998-18th, 1999-18th, 2000-21st.

Yet Minnesota has pretty high achievement in education.

  • Minnesota ranks first in the nation for having the highest proportion of both 4th and 8th graders scoring at the highest two levels in math. The proportion of Minnesota 8th graders who scored at the highest levels in math increased by 74% between 1990 and 2000. (National Center for Education Statistics)
  • Minnesota ranks among the best – 4th out of 50 states – in the proportion of high school graduates with scores in the top 20% nationally on either ACT or SAT exams. (National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, 2002)
  • Minnesota public schools teachers are the most qualified teachers in the country. They rank 1st out of 50 states, based on 12 indicators of teacher qualification. (National Commission on Teaching and America's Future)



What’s our secret?  Well, this might have something to do with it:

  • Minnesota has the highest proportion of crumbling roofs of all states in the nation (62%). Thirty-eight percent (38%) of Minnesota schools have a building that needs extensive repair or should be replaced.  (American Society of Civil Engineers)


Still, we have a constant “grass-roots” public pressure to CUT public spending on education.

Is it any wonder that administrators that can manage funding increases for their districts? can command a higher level of compensation?

I recall one caller I talked to when I was volunteering to call and educate people on the need to finally pass a bond referendum to address deferred maintenance on the schools.  He insisted (and by insisted I mean yelled into the phone) that the only way to solve Eden Prairie’s funding crisis was to close half the schools in the district and issue vouchers.  Why would you do that to one of the most successful districts in the State, in one of the most successful states in the nation?

I ended the call when he screamed at me that I was “uneducated” and “blind to what’s really going on.”


Tuesday, 04 December 2007 10:20:39 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [4] | #
Tuesday, 06 November 2007

For those of you who have been wondering if the world opened up under my feet and swallowed me whole, or if the ferocious Neo-Nazi home-decorator squad came and got me, none of the above.

I've been cutting up deer, organizing my house, cutting up piles and piles of undonatable junk clothing into quilting squares, and trying to rid the yard of fall leaves.

Also, I've been volunteering as an ESL tutor.  So far, I've been teaching a Somali woman and a Ukranian man.  I highly recommend doing ESL tutoring for anyone who thinks that immigrants are just lazy slugs coming here to drain our society.  You wouldn't believe how hard-working and appreciative they are.  They are America's greatest fans, happy to be here, and looking forward to forging a great future in the "land of opportunity".  Programs can always use more tutors.

Oh yeah, and they've added three Kung Fu classes to my teaching schedule.  I've got my two special needs classes, two classes for typical children, and an adult class.  One of my classes has 20 students!  I might have a co-teacher as soon as one of the other second degree black belts returns from hernia surgery...but I don't know.  I might be on my own from now on!

Needless to say, time has been a little tight, but this Kung Fu teaching is starting to look more and more like a job than a marginally profitable hobby.

Tuesday, 06 November 2007 11:07:10 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [3] |  |  | #
Friday, 10 August 2007

Sure, atheists can DO math just as well as Christians.

And atheists can see the material beauty and majesty of math.

But Christian Math is just...more...ineffable.

I mean, without God, the numbers just add up...but WITH God...the numbers ADD UP. 

er sumptin'.

(double hat tip:  Pharyngula and Good Math, Bad Math)


Friday, 10 August 2007 21:35:44 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [4] |  | #
Saturday, 12 May 2007

We attended The Music Man last night at Central Middle School.  Adventure Boy is playing tuba in the pit orchestra.  They did a very good job, and it was a lot of fun to see the results of all of their hard work.  The costuming was very impressive, the Barbershop quartet was cool.  Overall the acting was good, the primary characters were very good, nobody did a bad job.

In particular, there was the scene where the local piano teacher, her Irish mother, and a young piano student are in the same room together.  I actually forgot, for most of that whole scene, that every actor in that scene were actually the same age.  The Irish mother seemed middle aged.  The young 20-something piano teacher seemed like a young 20-something, and the little girl seemed like a little girl.  Yet they were all seventh-or-eight-grade girls.

Also, the people sitting next to me (a couple of youth pastors) were very proud of their son, who played the creepy bald salesman who was after the Music Man.  The mother told me that he hadn’t wanted that role, because he had to play a mean, creepy character, and he was worried people wouldn’t like him.  He did a REALLY good job.  I had the creepy-crawlies after the scene he had with the piano teacher.  He is a very talented young man.  Too bad his mother tells me that he won’t be doing drama in High School, because he is afraid people will think he’s gay.  More proof that homophobia is everybody's problem.

Despite the enjoyability of the musical, it's educational value, and it's positive influence on Adventure' Boy's sense of fun with his music, it’s time for the Central Middle School’s run of The Music Man to end.  I don’t mind running Adventure Boy to five rehearsals per week.  I don’t mind shelling out check after check for a “crew” shirt or matching Converse All Star basketball shoes so he can be identified as a member of the pit orchestra, or pizza money for the all-day weekend rehearsals, and another for the cast party afterwards, or watching the list of unfinished schoolwork pile up on his school website (while the estimates of his grades drop no matter how temporarily).  I don’t mind him wandering the house humming the songs from the musical over and over and over again with his fingers working imaginary valves, or having to run to the store and by forty snack bars and forty drink boxes because it’s his turn to bring the after-rehearsal snack. .

But it’s starting to affect his thinking.

I was reading this introductory paragraph aloud to Rocky from the Blog “Think outside the cage

The Colorado Department of Corrections director told local officials Wednesday that inmate numbers are growing at a rate of “one prison a year” and more needs to be done to reduce recidivism before budgetary problems get further out of hand.


Adventure boy immediately sang out, with great dramatic flair, “What we need is a BOY’S BAND!”

Enough is enough.

Although, come to think of it, a band might not be such a bad idea after MIGHT stand a chance of getting the funding for it if you could somehow make it a "faith-based initiative".  A prison Gospel band?  Hmmm...

Saturday, 12 May 2007 08:55:38 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] |  | #
Thursday, 10 May 2007

It is unbelievable to me that we live in a country where a girl can be kicked out of school for refusing to say the Lord's Prayer at a school function, and Christians can continue to claim that prayer has been taken out of school, and that Christians are a "persecuted" minority.

Lies lies lies.  Doesn't the Bible say something about that?

You can watch the video of this girl's heinous crime here on YouTube

(Hat Tip:  Eclecticsanonymous)

Thursday, 10 May 2007 16:16:30 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [8] |  | #
Monday, 07 May 2007
    Today Grasshopper (4th grade) had a math assignment.  There were ten problems of about equal difficulty.  the most fun one, however, was the final one.  Using the functions; add, subtract, multiply and divide, parenthesis, and the numbers 1 -9, create a math problem where the answer is 100.  You can't change the order of the numbers.  There are several correct answers.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

How he did it:

((((1+2) x 3) x 4) +5) + (((6x7) +8) +9)= 100

basically, 41+59 = 100

uh huh.  fourth grade math.  And he's in the "average" group.

Not that long ago I was at a dinner where a vocal conservative said "We should just admit that public schools are a complete failure, shut them down, and let the private sector take over."  This guy's kid is in the same school district as my kids are.

My kid stuck with this problem with minimal help and encouragement, and solved it.  AND HAD FUN!  Failure?  I don't think so.

Monday, 07 May 2007 17:27:14 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Wednesday, 02 May 2007

Flashbacks to that one Batman movie.

Effect Measure has an article on Melemine, and the convention of adding the substance to food to boost the appearance of a high protein content.

But now there is talk of the Melamine not being that big of a deal, that there is a second chemical that reacts with a metabolite of the Melamine that has caused the crystals to form in the kidneys of the animals that have been affected.

This leaves a person wondering about the identity and source of the second chemical.

I get the feeling I should be worried about this, but for some reason my brain sticks on that scene in the Batman movie where the reporters are all wan and washed out and greasy and they are reading off the list of things to avoid mixing.  Something like: “Do not combine Shampoo with mouthwash and toothpaste”.

It DOES bother me that we’ve been eating plastic thinking that it is protein all this time.  If a US food producer did this to us, it would be called fraud.  China has some ‘splainin’ to do.

Also, note to you “anti-regulation” people out there…this is what happens when a government doesn’t regulate industry.

Oh yeah, and I'm ALSO put in mind of the sneaky and diabolical cleverness of "Famine" in the Book The Nice and Accurate Prophacies of Agnas Nutter, Witch By Neil Gaiman...where Famine is all chuffed with himself because he has anorexics starving themselves to death in the middle of plenty by binging on non-nutritious foodstuffs.  Melamine shows up in food tests as protein, but it has no nutritional value.

Wednesday, 02 May 2007 09:20:43 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] |  |  | #
Friday, 20 April 2007

I just heard on MPR a lead in that was discussing a view that Virginia Tech should not have let the shooter return to school after he was hospitalized with a mental illness.

Are people really saying that employers and schools have to be held responsible for decisions to not descriminate against the mentally ill?  I couldn't listen to the broadcast, but the teaser was either repugnant, misleading or both.

If someone's behavior at work or school is threatening and dangerous, then the employer/school should be responsible for dealing with it appropriatly.  Merely knowing that they have been hospitalized does not mean that they are responsible to not allow the person on campus/hire them.

How many people have been hospitalized for mental problems and gone on to live normal, productive lives and not treaten anybody.

Ugh.  I am so sad for the victims and the families, and for the whole terrible mess.  All this over-focusing on single issues is perhaps understandable, but it is inappropriate and will not produce outcomes that will be helpful in any way.  People need time to heal before they can respond rationally.

Friday, 20 April 2007 08:45:36 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [4] |  |  | #
Wednesday, 18 April 2007

ERV points out that "framing" is inadequate with some audiences and in some situations, such as dealing with the Discovery Institute on
"their" turf
.  This is because they cheat.

If Framing is a screw driver, you can't be sucessful with it in situations that call for a hammer.

You don't engage in a "framing" debate at a Discovery Institute event where the only purpose of having a counter argument is to bring in big names to add legitamacy to the event.  No matter how well you "frame" your argument, it's not going to have much effect when you have fifteen  minutes and the Discovery Institute has a couple of days.  As ERV pointed out, a Q&A that only allows students to ask screened questions is also not helpful.

In a closed system, this would be a disaster.  However, getting those facts out to any media coverage on the event would be a good start.

That's framing.

The Discovery Institute "frames" this event as a debate.  We need to get the word out that it is a sham.  Use analogies to sporting events.  The Discovery Institute is holding a track meet, invites world class atheletes, and then only allows them to run if they agree to run while wearing fat suits.  This is so their people can "win" and say they beat world-class athletes.

When the world-class athletes turn down the invitation, the Discovery Institute can say "they're afraid" when it is the Discovery Institute that is afraid of fair competition.

John Q public is going to say "Huh.  I don't blame them.  I wouldn't go to a track meet and run in a fat suit either."

Right now, if you get into an evolution debate with a rank-and-file creationist, they spew every single Discovery Institute talking point down to the punctuation.  But when you say "Oh, the Discovery Institute" they say "who's that?"

Now, when they hear something from the Discovery Institute, they are going to say "Oh.  Those are the guys who can't handle fair competition with their ideas. " and go in search of other information.

They still might be creationists, but at least their sense of fairness won't let them use DI talking points whereas before they were unaware of even where that information was coming from.


Wednesday, 18 April 2007 05:49:45 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [1] |  |  | #
Sunday, 15 April 2007

My  apologies to those not interested in framing.

PZ Myers has reacted to a Washington Post Op/ed by Nisbet and Mooney.

Far be it from me to disagree with Prof. Myers, but on this one, I DO.  Not his principles, but his interpretation of the framing agenda.  As one of the potential targets of "framing", I gotta say, it would be helpful for me.  You know who argues with non-scientist anti-science types most often?  Non-scientist pro-science types, that's who.  I would really welcome some good tools that would help me accurately argue with people who I encounter on a dialy basis who think they "know enough" to be consumers of science, and make decisions in ignorance that they don't even realize is ignorance.  I would like a faster, better way of getting to the meat of scientific matters.

Prof. Myers seems to view it as an attempt to silence or gag atheist scientists, or sugar-coat science.

I don’t see it that way at all.  I see it as asking the science community as a whole to order their priorities, and emphasize those priorities in their explanations of their work to the general public.

Let’s say you’ve got a house with a gecko infestation.  I choose gekkos because they are inherently funny, and I am trying to lighten the mood.  Yes, it is a ridiculous analogy.  Just roll with it.  In this case, I suppose geckos are analogous to the fact that while pursuing scientific knowledge, you will encounter challenges to any faith you might happen to hold, and there may be aspects to that faith that you will abandon as a result of those challenges.

You want to sell your house, and you want to present it to the largest portion of buyers.  You know that the geckos are going to be a critical point in the sales strategy.  Some people think geckos are cute, but wouldn’t want them in the house, some people will see the inherent benefits of having a houseful of geckos (no bugs, for one) so you would be best served to “frame” your presentation of the house by emphasizing the non-gecko attributes.  It has a large kitchen, it has numerous conveniently placed bathrooms…look at that lovely skylight, and then mention the geckos at a convenient time, after the people have had a chance to get ALL the information.  You can’t deny that the house has geckos, but maybe that fact doesn’t have to be at the fore-front of the discussion.

Now pretend your neighbor wants to sell his house, and his house is gecko free because he is unscrupulous about using whatever means are necessary to have a gecko-free house.  Poison, cats, bludgeoning them with clubs, etc.

He puts up a big sign that says “I want to sell you a house.  My neighbor just wants to sell you a big load of geckos.”

So what do you do?  You could put up a big sign and say “I want to sell you a house.  My neighbor is an evil bastard who likes to slaughter innocent animals.”  That is true, and it might convince some people to hear you out.  It’s a little mean, but it’s not like the neighbor didn’t deserve it.  Problem is, you’re going to attract a bunch of people who are interested in the fight and name-calling, and people who just want to buy a house are going to keep driving.  Calling a spade a spade can be refreshing and feel good, but if your primary goal is to sell your house, it might not be the best approach.

What about “Yep!  We’ve got Geckos!  And How!”

Well, it’s honest, and you’re going to get a LOT of interest in your house from Herptaphiles…but maybe you want a bigger set of perspective buyers.

What about a sign that says “spacious kitchen, ample bathrooms, gorgeous skylight, many recent improvements that my neighbor doesn’t have because he spent all his money on the latest gecko-killing gadgets”.

Get the people in the house, show them what you’ve got.  Let them look around.  Let them shop your neighbor’s house, too.  Let them see the geckos, but for Pete’s sake get them in the door.

Sure, some percentage of them will leave with a crawling case of the heebie-jeebies and beat a path to the neighbor’s house and embrace his anti-lizard agenda…but YOU will have a LOT more perspective buyers to choose from.  You may even change some minds about whether or not it is possible to live comfortably with geckos.

Sunday, 15 April 2007 07:42:56 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [8] |  | #
Wednesday, 11 April 2007

From Conrad Zero I get a link to this article in the Washington Post.

A world-class violinist playing on a priceless violin, posing as a street musician, and his value is only recognized by a few people...a handful who have dabbled at being violinists, and one who recognizes the musician.

People who rushed past, perhaps flipping spare change, perhaps trying to shout over the annoying noise of this bothersom begger...what would they have done if they had realized that they were getting a free front seat at a performance that they would never get another chance at again?

What do people simply throw out as useless, meaningless, even stupid...just because they don't have a reason to really look at it's value?

How much of our "junk science" is the public policy equivilant of a virtuoso with a nearly priceless instrument being ignored by commuters too busy to bother knowing what they are missing?

[UPDATE:  Michelle gives us a link in the comments to a blog entry that expands on the "framing" aspect of the WaPo story.  She says that in order for the audience to respond to a classical musician in a street musician setting, he needs to develop skills for presenting to that audience appropriately for the kind of audience they are, and in the situation they are in rather than actually expecting them to respond to a performance just because it is good and worthy of their attention.

This is EXACTLY what I've been trying to say.  Thank you, Michelle.

Quote from the blog entry:

A busker is someone who can turn any place into a stage. Obviously, Joshua Bell needs an actual stage. As a busker one needs to interact with those around, break walls of personal space, and lure people into a collective and spontaneous group experience on the street, in the moment, with you. A bad busking act is when the performer doesn’t make an effort to connect with the audience. Like musicians who play for themselves, not acknowledging the audience, just burying their heads in their instruments.

Wednesday, 11 April 2007 21:29:10 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [3] |  |  |  | #

Please inform the science-interested teenager of your choice!

Wednesday, 11 April 2007 10:27:48 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Friday, 06 April 2007

Go to and read this article that was the first article that I have been able to legitimately view at in several weeks.

Jon Sanders is getting his outrage on that a school district staged a mock emergency with the mock premise that Fundamentalist Christian Militants were storming the school.

For the record, Jay Sekulow is also outraged.

I realize that most of the “school burning” rhetoric on the right is hyperbole and such, but the fact remains that the lunatic fringe of the radical religionist right emits “lone nuts” with enough frequency that it isn’t unreasonable to assume that it could happen.  A person would have to be crazy to take “The Turner Diaries” seriously…and yet…Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols.  The Christianism of the KKK seems so wacky and fringy, and yet you have Lynx and Lamb Gaede making a living for their family singing their hate songs heavily laced with Christian Identity themes taught to them by their home-schooling mother and swastika-wearing grandfather.

In a country where Ann Coulter goes to college campuses and urges students to terrorize their professors, and some students do just that…why is it unreasonable to assume that Right-wing religionists who refer to public schools as an enemy to be destroyed might spawn a couple of crazed gunmen?

When the rhetoric of Randall Terry can cause a “lone nut” to assassinate an abortion doctor, or another “lone nut” to get a gun and go off to “rescue” Terri Schaivo, what makes it so nutty to think that the violent anti-public school rhetoric of the far-right loony fundamentalists could result in a violent school attack?

In his article, Mr. Sanders makes the remarkable assumption that educators are “leftist academics”.  I don’t know what school Mr. Sanders went to.  Maybe HIS teachers were all leftists, but there were very few in our school.  In particular, I’d like to introduce him to a certain English teacher at Bemidji High School in the ‘80’s who would rant and rave about immorality of today’s youth, teenage pregnancy, the immorality of union labor and the value of the profit motive, and the inherent moral supremacy of the capitalist system; a man who physically threatened my sister when she objected to him using the “N” word in class to refer to one of the few black kids in our school.  He didn’t preach his religion in the classroom the way he preached “patriotism” and capitalism…but he didn’t make any secret of his religiosity either.

Actually, come to think of it…Mr. Sanders would probably think of that guy as a flaming leftist too.

Anyway, Mr. Sanders does a whole lot of tortured rhetoric to make sure he hits all of the talking points about what “conservatives” want to believe “liberals” think…and then ends with this sentence:

Oh, and if they teach the kids to fear Christians, that'd just be gravy.”

As if it isn’t “Christians” that teach people to fear Christians.  I know that everything I know about Christianity was taught to me by Christians…both the good and the devastatingly, painfully, terrifyingly bad.

That said, the school should have known better than to portray the gunman as anything other than generically anonymous bad guys.  They should have remembered the fact that, as public servants, they can’t do ANYTHING without being subjected to any possible criticism. (Ask my dad, who was constantly swamped with equal complaints that he was always just sitting around at his desk (and thus, obviously, not working) and that he was never in his office and available (and thus, obviously, not working), or that he was a power-drunk busybody running around forcing communities to adhere to Minnesota State public health standards…(and thus, obviously, working too much.)

Additionally, they should have remembered the “ten percent turkey” rule.  In any population, no matter how you divide people up, by hobbies, interests, political affiliation, religious belief, etc.  There will always be the disgruntled few who believe that their group is the most hated and despised group in the planet.  They will be looking for signs of persecution and unfairness, and (surprise, surprise) seeing them everywhere.

Picking any group would just add grist for the persecutionist mill of whatever group you have picked.

“Oh look, they’re picking in the Christians/Jews/Muslims/Chess Club/Dog Fanciers again.”

It’s not as though it matters WHY the nutty gunmen are shooting up your school.  You don’t need their motivations to act out your simulated strategy.  Just keep it generic and get the job done…and try not to feel persecuted that the wacky right-wing Christian Militants can openly call you the enemy and vow to destroy you, but you have to be non-specific and general when it comes to identifying an enemy when doing a self-defense exercise.

You don’t want to develop a persecution complex.  It isn’t healthy.

Friday, 06 April 2007 20:07:09 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] |  |  | #
Friday, 30 March 2007

Grasshopper and I are spending 1/2 hour each morning listening to our Pimsleur Mandarine Chinese language tapes.  So far, we have learned how to ask someone if they speak English, and also intimate that we "know a little Mandarin".  As you probably know, in Chinese it is important which "tone" you use.  There is a rising tone, a falling tone, and a tone that falls, then rises.  Sometimes you can have a word that ends with a rising tone, followed immediatly by a word with a falling/rising tone.


It is difficult for Western ears.  We have heard the syllable "pu" in several situations.  Grasshopper (9) was trying to explain it to Adventure Boy (a newly-minted 14) on the ride to AB's traditional birthday dinner.


"Well, you see, there are several kinds of poo.  There's poo that goes up, that's weird.  There's poo that goes down, that's normal.  And then...(he pauses ominously) there's wiggely poo."


He spent the rest of the evening in off-and-on fits of giggles.

This morning, we learned a new phrase that, the first time we heard it, sounded for all the world like "poo shot out" to our unpracticed ears.

I had to pause the CD for a few minutes for Grasshopper to collect his wits about him.

At least learning Chinese is fun for him...right?

Friday, 30 March 2007 11:35:31 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [1] |  | #
Saturday, 24 March 2007

Meet Dr. Kenneth Poppe

He wrote a book with a picture of funny-looking DNA on the cover.

He describes, in his church newsletter, how he surreptitiously slips religion to his science students at a public school.

Someone using his name got their belligerent on in the comments section of a Pharyngula post. (No, I don’t think it was him, but it was such a cute little spoof of “Culture Warrior” posturing I thought I’d let you enjoy it too.  There are more farther down in the comment thread, as well.)

He was interviewed by Dr. James Kennedy of Coral Ridge Ministries.  Yes, THAT Dr. James Kennedy.  The one who advocates Dominionist ideas.

The Dr. James Kennedy who once said:

 "The Christian community has a golden opportunity to train an army of dedicated teachers who can invade the public school classrooms and use them to influence the nation for Christ."

He is NOT the same Ken Poppe that co-chaired the Task Force for the Episcopal Church that recommended that the EC continue to bless same-sex civil unions. (In case you were wondering)

(Hat tip: Pharyngula)

Saturday, 24 March 2007 08:12:31 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [2] |  | #
Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Here is some information on mercury, autism and immunizations .

Some right-wing anti-science libertarian types don’t like immunizations.  They don’t like immunizations to be mandatory, because they feel it denies them their “freedom” to not be immunized, and they suspect that “public health”, like anything that has the word “public” in front of it, is just a plot to take away their “freedom”.

Some lefty-tree-hugger anti-science –types don’t like immunizations because they are “unnatural”.

Some people are worried about mercury poisoning in general, and it is the trace amounts of mercury in the shots that worries them.

Reader, commenter, friend, and fellow blogger, Karen recently sent me a link to this article by John Stossel  at the Townhall website.  I found this article to be more interesting for what it DIDN’T say than for what it said.

First of all, Mr. Stossel starts out invoking the dreaded “Kennedy” name.  Booga booga booga.  Kennedy.  Gather the children and run for the hills.  Circle the conservative wagons.  There’s a KENNEDY involved.

Robert Kennedy Jr. is an activist against pollution in general, and has taken an interest in Mercury specifically (mercury is one or the waste products of fossel-fuel burning power plants).  I believe that he is in error where the facts are concerned when it comes to immunizations, but it is not due to an anti-industrial liberal commie plot that he’s involved in the issue.  It is not scare-mongering that brought Robert Kennedy Jr. into the fray.  It is good intentions, a real issue, and a not-so-subtle dose of mission creep.

Stossel goes on to point out that “As March of Dimes researchers put it, "Changes in diagnosis account for the observed increase in autism." Sure enough, California data show the rise in autism diagnoses almost exactly matches a decline in cases of retardation.”

As far as I know, and I'm no expert, this is true.  The advent of the Autism Spectrum model has caused a number of different diagnosis to be lumped together under the umbrella of autism.  Also, more children are being diagnosed with these disorders due to several factors.

Stossel goes on to blame one single factor: “"People that we once called quirky or geeky or nerdy are now called autistic," Dr. Offit said, "because when you give that label of, say, autistic spectrum disorder, you allow that child then to qualify for services."

Imagine that. A trendy diagnosis being driven by government-paid services.”

Of course it is convenient for Mr. Stossel to put the entire burden down to the avarice of government schools.  I’m sure that the extra funding per child diagnosed with a learning disability is one way to help offset the cuts that cause crowded classrooms and other woes, but that isn’t the only reason there has been a jump in the rate of diagnosis for these disorders.

One factor could be an increased awareness of the problems students with learning disabilities face, and the growing awareness that their potential need not be wasted if we only give them a little specialized attention and help.  Motivation to provide that help is at an all-time high in the school systems, even to the extent that it can become egregious and over-bearing if you don’t happen to believe that your child has need of their interventions.

Another could be the fact that in schools increasingly burdened with large class sizes and (unfunded) mandated performance requirements, there is less and less tolerance in the system for children who perform in an anomalous way.  Children who don’t hit the milestones on schedule used to have time to grow and develop.  There was some latitude for children and teachers to cope with small degrees of learning difference.  That latitude is disappearing.  There is no longer time for the geeky and the nerdy to get on board with their unique approach to learning.  They must conform or be “helped “ to conform.  The very existence of their school can depend on it.

Yet another might be the effect of “parent advocacy support groups" some of which are at least partly funded by the pharmaceutical industries, encouraging parents to procure a diagnosis (and treatment) for their children.  Far from being an attack on Big Pharma, the incidence of the diagnosis of learning disabilities is quite in their favor as the profit on an immunization is realized once or at most a few times, while the cocktails of drugs needed by a child with learning disabilities can become quite a bonanza for them. (Go to the CHADD website and find a parent support forum.  Just read for a while, it won't be long before you encounter at least one parent whose child is on several medications at a time.)

But all of that is very complicated, and addressing it would make it so that the burden would not appear to fall so neatly on the shoulders of the Kennedy family and the conservative bugaboo of a liberal public school kleptocracy.

But what ABOUT mercury poisoning?  After all, there are people who actually suffer the effects of mercury poisoning, and if they aren’t getting toxic levels of mercury from immunizations; where oh where could it be coming from?  Does anyone else know of some large, highly profitable business interest that could be poisoning our environment with mercury as part of the waste production they put into the environment?

Anybody?  Anybody?

Or were we supposed to just conclude that mercury isn’t that big of a deal and write all mercury fears off as anti-business liberal commie fear mongering?

Who knows, but the one conclusion I've come to is that I will go just about anywhere other than for a fair and balanced treatment of any complex issue.

Tuesday, 13 March 2007 20:32:59 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [4] |  |  | #
Monday, 12 March 2007

One of my Kung Fu friends is a guy from India.  He's just started a business where he pairs up people with master's degrees in Math with students here in the U.S. for tutoring sessions.  They work online together.  The tutor in India has the books that Adventure Boy's school uses, and she can help him with whatever chapter they are on.

Adventure Boy is getting the first of three free tutoring sessions this week.

I'm not sure what to think about this.  I like the idea of getting AB a math tutor, especially for the summer.  We could most likely not afford this level of expertise and time if we went with someone here...and there is the added benefit that it is on the computer, and it is totally interactive and he seems to be haveing an easier time paying attention than a face-to-face...

...but then there is the whole outsourcing thing.

And it's my friend's business, and I would like to give him my business because I know he's a good guy and he's a fair person...and I always prefer to deal with people I know and trust.  And if I can help a friend out by giving them my business I would rather do that if I can.

Dilemmas dilemmas.

On top of that, poor Adventure Boy had a day today.  School all day, with rehersal for the musical after school (he's in the pit orchestra of The Music Man), then he went to the gym to work out, came home and watched one half hour of TV, and then had an hour of math tutoring, and now it is after his bedtime.

Kind of a busy day for a thirteen year old.

Monday, 12 March 2007 20:56:55 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [1] | #
Saturday, 10 March 2007

He stuck a stick into a hornet's nest, and stirred it around real good.

And now a lot of REALLY SMART hornets are all abuzz.

But I'm guessing that, instead of running away and jumping in a lake like a sensible person (even cartoon characters know that's the appropriate response to the situation), he's going to just stand there swatting ineffectually at them while they outmaneuver him at every turn.

Or maybe he'll just whine and cry about how they are oppressing him for his religion.

Saturday, 10 March 2007 13:15:43 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [2] | #
Tuesday, 13 February 2007

I recently heard on Karen’s blog about a story where Oliver North supposedly was barred from taking footage of the Enola Gay at the Smithsonian.  I wanted to check out the truth of this, so I went to the first place I usually, look:  Snopes Urban Legends Reference Page.  I have a hard time believeing Oliver North about anything, and of course his involvement in the Iran-Contra thing makes me completely unsympathetic to him.  Still, if what he says is true in this case, it's a rather important thing to know, so I thought I'd look into it.

They didn’t have anything about the Smithsonian/Enola Gay story, but they DID have a few interesting Urban Legends about Oliver North.


1)      He was said to have predicted that Osama Bin Laden was the most evil man in the world, and that we (the U.S.) should assassinate him while we had the chance.  One variation of the Urban Legend asserts that Al Gore spoke against that plan, to the detriment of our entire country.  It’s false, of course.  The Snopes entry about this is fascinating.  It is amazing how all the politically paranoid conspiracy theories (of both the right and left) all sound alike.  Snopes actually has Oliver North’s statement of record denying the assertion that he had made the claims about Osama Bin Laden.

2)      He criticized John Kerry for his defensiveness about his war record (which, at least Kerry had one, and at least his men who served on his swift boat could stand proudly by his side and vouch for him.  That puts him miles ahead of Bush.) and for taking the final Purple Heart that allowed him an honorable discharge and thus to go home.  I’m not saying anything against North’s record, where he claims he declined the Purple Hearts that would have allowed him to leave.  That was his choice, and it was honorable, just as Kerry’s decision to go when he could probably have gotten out of going was honorable.

3)      He is also connected with the proliferation of an urban legend where a dead animal is being shipped for burial, but is mistakenly replaced with a similar animal when the workers think that they are responsible for the death of the animal.  Apparently, he uses the story in his lectures.


Along the lines of “Al Gore kept us from assassinating Osama Bin Laden”, I found an Urban legend that says that Bill Clinton intervened and convinced Israel to free Mohammad Atta, one of the 9/11 hijackers.  Needless to say, this was false as well.

As for North’s tiff with the Smithsonian, it appears to be a he/said/she/said sort of thing, with North saying that the Smithsonian’s decision was final, and the Smithsonian person saying that they needed to talk more to figure out how it can be done, and the rejection was for the specific plan.

This sort of thing raises the question of why does the Smithsonian feel like it needs to sell itself out for money?  We should answer that question and fix the base problem.  Either the Smithsonian needs more funding, or they need to be audited and have better oversight for their spending.  Or maybe both.

An operation like the Smithsonian is going to be a huge sink-hole of cash, and there’s nothing to be done about that.  It’s a huge operation and the maintenance alone has to be astronomical…much less funding ongoing projects, research and acquisitions.

 You’re not going to find a better place to take your kids and get them all revved up about the country and its history and the coolness of learning stuff.  If you want the Smithsonian museums to be glittering showcases of America, then you have to fund them generously, and there should be enough money for it.  If there isn’t we should find out why, and for certain access to our heritage should not be sold off to the highest bidder.

Proprietary access isn’t in the interest of the country, or the subjects like history and culture or science where the archives are an important tool for accessing information for disseminating views of history.

The same information can be illustrative in many different ways.  Allowing people with only one emphasis, or one viewpoint to have semi-exclusive use of that information is potentially damaging (just look what Conservative Libertarians do to Thomas Paine given half a chance.  They totally leave out all his social programs that he wanted, and the taxes he wanted for civil works programs, and just harp on his criticism of taxes, and leave out the part where he was against taxes that went to pay for wars, and to support a parasitic upper class.)

On the other hand, not having the Smithsonian be able to continue and expand its mission is also dangerous.  I think it’s pretty clear that if those for whom it is important don’t step up to the plate, and take care of things, then there will be little choice but to look elsewhere.

I certainly think that added oversight might be the best first step, as long as it is a balanced group made up of people who actually want the Smithsonian to succeed, which with this administration, I have my doubts.  They can recommend cuts or reapportionment, and additional funding.

Definitely something to keep an eye on.

Tuesday, 13 February 2007 21:26:29 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Monday, 05 February 2007

Ben at EclecticsAnonymous informs me that Evolution Sunday is coming up.

I don't advocate parishoner's pressuring pastors to address a particular subject from the pulpit, and certainly not political issues.  But this is an important social issue that affects our society, and it affects people of faith.  With the attacks on science education around the country, we know that they will come for the science books again, and everyone's children will be the poorer for it.

If you would like to mention it to your pastor/rabbi/imam (as Ben says) I'm sure they would like to know they have this opportunity if they would like.

Many scientists who are people of faith have come out and publicly said that there is no reason for science and faith to be incompatable.

Religious leaders who feel the same now have an opportunity to join them publicly and conspicuously and stand for the search for truth over willfull ignorance.

Here is the website with the pertinant information.

Monday, 05 February 2007 07:32:16 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Tuesday, 09 January 2007

My friend Karen has has an IM friend for three years now.  He's an Iraqi living in Iraq.  Formerly imprisioned by Saddam Hussein's government, he worked for a while for an NGO, and is now unemployed.

Here are links to a couple of the IM conversations that they had:

1 A conversation with an Iraqi

2 Further conversation with an Iraqi

3 Conversation with an Iraqi disclaimer


I just thought you might be interested.

[UPDATE:  The links, they have been fix'ed, and a fourth one added]

Tuesday, 09 January 2007 20:53:32 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [2] |  | #
Friday, 15 December 2006

Eden Prairie has now made it so that students have to have 54 credits to graduate.  The number used to be 48.

What does this mean for Adventure Boy (starting High School next year)?

It means that if he wishes to remain in Band, he will incur a greater "music penalty" than students have in previous years.

84% of his classes (as opposed to the 75% previously) will be required coursework.

Band, Orchestra and Choir are "elective" courses.  Beyond that, they are what are called "skinny" courses, meaning that they only meet for 45 minutes, and are paired with a 45 minute study hall.  I just attended a meeting where the High School gifted and talented councilor was very discouraging to the parents of high achieving students about their kids proceeding in music.

Our High School only has four 90 minute class periods per day.  This allows teachers to really dig into a subject, and reduces wasted time for things like classroom changes, getting students to settle down, that wasted last five minutes of classtime when you are winding down the days business, etc.  It is a good scheme, and much more efficient.  One years worth of material is covered in a single semester and in a more intensive fashion.  Students can concentrate study time at home as well, only focusing on four subjects at a time rather than dividing available study time and scheduling between projects and study for six subjects.

But because the music classes are only 45 minutes, they are worth only half as many credits, though they essentially committ all of the student's time for electives.

This means that if Adventure Boy wants to be in band, he will have no other electives in High School.  It will also mean that he has absolutly zero "wiggle room" should he fail a class (not that I'm worried, he's never recieved an "F" yet).  If he stays in Band throughout High School, he will not be able to take any other electives, and he cannot fail a single class or he will not graduate with his class.

Since he has been relegated to the lowest possible math track, and would like to catch up, he will most likely have to spend at least one semester out of Band., so that he can take additional math courses as electives.

Most High Schools when I was growing up had disincentives for studying music as well, but this just made it worse.

I am going to look into other options, like the Community Band, private lessons, and I'm wondering if you have to be in the regular band to try out for Marching band.  I would bet not.  Because it is a priority for us, and because we are willing to spend the money and time, Adventure Boy will have a music education.

Unfortunatly for families with fewer resources, I think this is just one more step in a multi-decade trend of sqeezeing out music education in the schools.  If student utilization of the program drops, then it will be easy to cut.  It's already happened in a number of rural school districts in the state.


Friday, 15 December 2006 09:54:18 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [4] |  | #
Monday, 11 December 2006
So, that would count out anything that results in lying, cheating, fraud, bullying and suicide, right?
Monday, 11 December 2006 14:45:37 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [8] | #
Monday, 04 December 2006
If they can make more money giving us what we think we want, rather than what we need, they will. Whose fault is that? And if we could stop it, but we like the pay-offs...once again, whose fault is that?
Monday, 04 December 2006 10:10:15 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [3] |  |  |  |  |  | #
Thursday, 23 November 2006

Bonnie Gasper, a resident of my congressional district, wrote a once-a-month column for the local paper (She has resigned.  She wrote her final column last week, and it's a doozy.  I'll see if I can find it for you).  She’s pretty radical, and she’s not long on research.  Here’s something she says in her column “The Myth of the Separation of Church and State”.


The process of undermining liberty started in 1947 when Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black (a former Ku Klux Klansman) redefined the First Amendment in Everson saying: “The First Amendment has erected a wall between church and state. The wall must be high and impregnable. We could not approve of the slightest breach.”

Black’s redefinition marked the beginning of a systematic elimination of anything “religious” (especially Christianity) from the public square.

Soon prayer, Bible-reading, the 10 commandments, religious topics, crosses and anything remotely connected to Christianity were banned from public schools and squares. (The city of Pittsburgh even renamed Christmas “Sparkle Season.”)

Unfortunately, those who wave the “separation of church and state” banner don’t realize they are attacking the very foundation upon which their liberty rests. It’s time people woke up and realized it before it’s too late.

I don’t know what public schools she is talking about when she said that anything remotely connected to Christianity is banned from public schools.

When I was in public schools in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s, we were handed Gideon Bibles in our school every year.  Every year, men in suits came into our schools, took up class time, and talked to us about the Bible, and gave us Bibles in school.

As a child I was told stories about how it was my job to be persecuted for Christ in a hostile world.  I brought Bible tracts to school.  I proselytized to my fellow students every day.  I brought my Bible to school.  Never once was I sent home, or reprimanded or persecuted in anyway (well, once I was made to scrub Bible-verse graffiti off the walls, but I don’t think that counts).  I’m surprised as hell someone didn’t kick my ass for being such an egregious twit.  They should have.  They really should have.  I would have learned my lesson sooner, and it would have saved me a lot of time.

Three years ago, I attended Grasshopper’s first grade classroom, and listened to a teacher read a story about how a little Guatemalan girl discovered the “true meaning of Christmas” by attending a Catholic Mass.

Throughout their grade-school years, my children said the Pledge of Allegiance, which includes the words “under God”.

Around the country, schools send home flyers inviting kids to join the Boy Scouts, and the Cub Scouts.  Scouting meetings and events are held in school buildings.  The Scouts require their members to believe in God.

But you don’t just have to take MY word for it.  Here is a link to a column by none other than Kirk Cameron about how he spent the day witnessing to a public high school with the permission of the principle.

The crowd had a few great questions, which I did my best to answer, always trying to point them back to the Cross. When the lunch bell rang, about thirty kids came forward wanting Bibles and answers to more questions. Joey and I hung around for another hour talking and praying with seeking students. It was wonderful to see what God did that day with the principal's permission.

Indeed, the de facto situation is that the “wall of separation of church and State” is a myth.  I don’t think it’s that big of a deal either way, but it’s annoying that smug, ignorant, self-righteous bigots can give out bald-faced lies like this and then use those lies to beat the persecution drum over nothing.

Thursday, 23 November 2006 08:02:26 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [2] |  | #
Thursday, 16 November 2006

Adventure Boy has always had a problem with Math.  Math has always been difficult, painful, frustrating and elusive for him.

Last year, the C- he eventually scored in Math was kind of a triumph.  The first time he had gotten better than a D in math.

This year, he got an A in Algebra for the first quarter.  Indeed, his lowest grade is a B-.  He has two "A's" (Algebra and Art) and the rest are B's and B+'s.

Yesterday he shuffled up to me with a hang-dog sort of expression and  presented me with a certificate informing me that he has earned an "honor point" in his Algebra class.

"What's this?"  I asked.

"I don't know, some stupid thing, I thought you might want to see it."  He answered.

On the certificate there is a list of attributes that go into earning an honor point.  Several of them were circled, indicating that those are the traits that earned him the Honor Point:

Consistent Effort, Initiative, Helpfulness, Positive Attitude, Participation.

If you get enough honor points, you become a "Student of the Month", and your parents can get one of those smug little bumper stickers to put on their car and brag to total strangers stuck in rush-hour gridlock.

Apparently, Adventure Boy told Rocky "That's the worst thing that can possibly happen to you."

So I guess if he WERE to earn enough honor points, and became a student of the month, I would probably not say anything to anyone about it.  But you know, I think Adventure Boy was still proud of himself, and secretly proud to get the honor point certificate.

Thursday, 16 November 2006 10:28:47 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] |  |  | #
Tuesday, 24 October 2006

Here's a blast from the past for me and my friends, Sue and Barb.

Wade Pilloud graduated with us from Bemidji High School.  He was also in my Confirmation class and attended our church.  He was also one of the small group of students that I went with on a trip to Germany my Senior year.  I didn't know him well, and I don't have any opinions of him that would be of any particular use or interest to the general public.

Wade is the K-12 principal of a school in Indus, MN (close to International Falls) who resigned after being put on administrative leave for shooting two kittens on school grounds.  They were orphaned, and Mr. Pilloud says he wanted to prevent them from suffering from a death by starvation.

Anyone who grew up n the country knows that it's not uncommon to find burlap sacks full of drowned kittens or puppies along the road, or to hear of people shooting, gassing, or otherwise "doing in" unwanted animal offspring that they can't or won't care for to "prevent suffering".

It is a common and wholly unremarkable attitude from the time and place that we were raised.  The fact that he thought this was the best thing to do is unsurprising to me.  The fact that he seemed to think it was natural, acceptable, and right to bring a gun onto school grounds and dispatch the animals himself (rather than call animal control to have them rescued by animal welfare professionals) is also unsurprising to me, as it is a natural outgrowth of the mentality and worldview commonly held by the majority of people in the place and time that we grew up.

I happen to disagree with it, which is perhaps a hint as to why I no longer live in rural Northern Minnesota.

I guess that's all I have to say about that.

[Update:  I just heard from an extended family member that her husband was going out to "put down" their ancient family dog, who has stopped eating.  She wanted to take the dog to the vet to be put down, but as her husband has recently been laid off, and they don't know when he will get a job, they don't have the funds to do it humanely.  So he is going to shoot the dog...the most "humane" alternative.  Luckily, her husband is quite competent with firearms, and is unlikely to botch the job.  Like I said.  Pervasive attitude.]   

Tuesday, 24 October 2006 12:20:29 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [2] |  |  | #
Monday, 23 October 2006
Enforcing proper conversational ettiquette = Sexual Harrassment; looking at both sides of an issue presented in the curriculum = indoctrinating students with your personal views; Peace = anti-patriotic. Got it. Anything else?
Monday, 23 October 2006 10:23:28 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [3] |  |  |  | #
Sunday, 22 October 2006
Anyone fooled?
Sunday, 22 October 2006 23:00:16 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] |  |  | #
Sunday, 15 October 2006

I read this article in the Agape Press, reviewing a book about how the Public School System is trying to destroy America.


Can you believe this is actually going on?  And I quote:


The author discovered that teachers often use open-ended questions to cause confusion in the mind of a child”


Oh my God!  If you ask open ended questions and cause confusion in the minds of a child, what next?  Will they start thinking for themselves?  Will they start believing stuff because they thought it through and tested it against the real world, and know that it’s right rather than relying on authority figures to provide them with pat easy answers?  We can’t have that.  What did they do to the last educator convicted of that sort of behavior?  What was his name?  Socrates? (you know, the guy many consider to be the father of western thought?)  Anyone remember what they did to him?


Oh wait.  I apologize.  I’m asking questions.  I might cause confusion.  Pardon me.  I’ll just make an unequivocal moral statement.


They made him drink hemlock, that’s what they did.  He was asking open-ended questions, causing confusion in the minds of young people, and so he had to be killed.


End of story.


But wait, you say?  We don’t have the proper political and social climate necessary for us to get the public to poison hundreds of thousands of educators?


No problem.  Just pull your kids out of public school, teach them moral absolutes, and make sure that they have complete revulsion for birth control, and no idea how the reproductive system can be managed at all.


After a couple of generations, of home-schooling and uncontrolled breeding, we’ll have the mob, and the mob mentality to go with it, and then…then…we start poisoning teachers.


We have to play the long game, but it’s OK.  God is on our side.


Sunday, 15 October 2006 10:01:10 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] |  |  | #
Saturday, 07 October 2006
(evil giggle)
Saturday, 07 October 2006 10:03:57 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Monday, 02 October 2006

Isn't it just frickin' cool that we can have something like This:

A plain-English-for-the-layman discussion of RNAi and the work done on it that won the Nobel Prize?

We live in a world where, no matter how much certain people would like to spread nothing but ignorance and superstition, knowledge on this level is out there, freely accesible to all.


Monday, 02 October 2006 16:10:01 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Tuesday, 19 September 2006
Takin' it over the limit, one more time.
Tuesday, 19 September 2006 09:08:21 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] |  |  |  | #
Sunday, 30 July 2006
An oldie, but goodie.
Sunday, 30 July 2006 11:02:41 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [1] |  |  |  | #
Sunday, 23 July 2006
...where the administration would rather they just not go.
Sunday, 23 July 2006 08:38:54 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [1] |  | #
Thursday, 01 June 2006
My trip to the Science Museum of Minnesota and their special exhibit, Body Worlds
Thursday, 01 June 2006 21:11:09 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [4] |  | #
Saturday, 13 May 2006
Paula works for the Minnesota AIDS Project. They are trying to make it so no one has to die of AIDS (or even GET HIV). The Fedral Government isn't being much help.
Saturday, 13 May 2006 09:27:03 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [1] |  |  | #
Saturday, 06 May 2006
AP, all keep your mits OFF!!
Saturday, 06 May 2006 09:27:57 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [5] |  |  |  | #
Friday, 05 May 2006
and we need all we can get.
Friday, 05 May 2006 00:04:43 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [1] | #
Thursday, 27 April 2006
Over easy? Scrambled? What?
Thursday, 27 April 2006 15:34:56 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [1] | #
Thursday, 20 April 2006
New and improved Dark Ages! NOW! With Family Values!
Thursday, 20 April 2006 12:27:52 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [2] |  |  | #
Saturday, 15 April 2006
...but without Walter Cronkite.
Saturday, 15 April 2006 06:53:09 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] |  | #
Thursday, 13 April 2006
Not that I'm against anyone bringing their Bible to school...mind you. I'm not for banning the Bible, or any other book for that matter...
Thursday, 13 April 2006 21:54:27 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [2] |  | #
It's clear that the Godless Atheistic School Board members hate our values and want to deny our children the right to hear about and worship his noodly greatness.
Thursday, 13 April 2006 10:09:51 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] |  | #
Tuesday, 11 April 2006
For your early morning voyaristic tendancies.
Tuesday, 11 April 2006 09:08:00 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Monday, 27 March 2006
cool new science blog, with one more example of how the study of evolution brings good things to life.
Monday, 27 March 2006 09:42:56 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Friday, 24 March 2006
some good links on the ID problem
Friday, 24 March 2006 20:35:49 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] |  | #
Saturday, 11 March 2006
The Republican War on Science.
Saturday, 11 March 2006 21:28:33 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] |  | #
Saturday, 04 March 2006
When did that become an oxymoron? OR: "Oh Carl Sagan, how I miss you!"
Saturday, 04 March 2006 14:26:58 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [11] |  |  | #
Friday, 17 February 2006
but not "Math is unecessary"
Friday, 17 February 2006 23:00:32 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [4] | #
Wednesday, 08 February 2006
Political officer at NASA was trying to control the free flow of scientific information to the public on religious grounds. But not any more.
Wednesday, 08 February 2006 07:06:41 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [1] |  |  | #
Thursday, 15 December 2005
Your baby might have the best computer in the house...but I bet the monitor is covered in drool-prints.
Thursday, 15 December 2005 11:07:50 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] | #
Thursday, 17 November 2005
My take on an article defending changing sceince standards to include ID.
Thursday, 17 November 2005 10:05:23 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [1] |  |  | #
Wednesday, 30 March 2005
Lobbing humor over the heads of the great unwashed masses in an intellectual game of keep-away.
Wednesday, 30 March 2005 16:54:55 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [0] |  |  | #
Sunday, 30 January 2005
...or something lke that...
Sunday, 30 January 2005 15:17:22 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [5] |  |  | #
Sunday, 02 January 2005
With apologies to Sir William Blake.
Sunday, 02 January 2005 21:19:56 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [16] |  | #
Friday, 31 December 2004
Or: reports from my life with extreme geekism.
Friday, 31 December 2004 00:06:37 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [1] |  |  | #
Monday, 13 December 2004
Just thinking about the current trends in public opinion of education policy makes my head spin. I don't know which direction to lash out in first.
Monday, 13 December 2004 10:42:30 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [8] |  |  | #
Friday, 03 December 2004
I know, we're probably all sick of it, but I had more, if you're interested, here's what I think.
Friday, 03 December 2004 14:07:02 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [4] |  |  |  | #
Sunday, 17 October 2004
...or asinine...depending on who you're referring to.
Sunday, 17 October 2004 09:25:12 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) | Comments [3] |  | #
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