Thursday, May 29, 2008
Court Orders Texas Children Returned
Now the Texas Supreme Court has ordered all the children returned. I'm not surprised just as I was not surprised at the actions of the social workers who took the children.
In general, social workers are a very self righteous bunch. They believe that what they think should be is absolutely what should be. And, therefore, they feel quite justified in their actions with little regard to rights or what is right.
Considering that social work is usually an easy major in college and the social work students probably fall in the lower half of the intellectual spectrum for college educated persons, social workers often have an inordinate amount of power.
Commonly, "social workers" that perform child protective services chores have only a bachelor's degree, not that persons with MSWs would necessarily be much better. People who enter social work are often on a "mission" to make the world a "better place."
The trouble is when their idea of what should be conflicts with your idea, they always consider their way superior. The Yearning for Zion Ranch case highlights several flaws in social worker mentally.
First, the ranch is based on some form of Christian fundamentalist belief and that's automatically bad. Secondly, part of the belief system had men in a superior position, really, really bad. And they dressed a lot like the Amish.
The social workers claimed to be concerned about under age girls being pregnant. If that's the case (and if it were legal, which fortunately it is not) they need to start raiding urban housing projects, rural Appalachian communities and a few places in Indiana. But fundamentalist Christian sects make easier targets. (Some teen pregnancy statistics HERE and HERE.)
Texas has 28,140 for girls 15-17 years old for 2004 - 10% of all pregnancies for that age group nationwide. It seems these social workers have plenty of work to do without violating the Constitutional rights of people at the ranch. Some of those "children" put in foster care were actually adults. Can you say "unlawful imprisonment?"
I found it hugely ironic to watch the liberal media, Nancy Grace in particular, ride this story into the ground. While they support gay marriage, gay adoption, gay parenting and such, the idea of a polygamist household was horrific to them. In principle, I find polygamy no more offensive than gay marriage. If they are consenting adults....
I also can't help but think, "Maybe this is the village Hillary Clinton was talking about." Of course, it's not. It's not a liberal utopia with all the desired "diversity" and men are in control. Horrors!
This is not to say there may be some wrong doing at the ranch. But, as with the child molestation problems with the Catholic church priests, you don't just wholesale round up everyone, you go after the law breakers. But these social workers, bastions of liberalism, prefer totalitarian tactics.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Man-Made Global Warming - Or Not
In fact, the tree rings testified that in the centuries before Europeans settled the Southwest, the Colorado basin repeatedly experienced droughts more severe and protracted than any since then. During one 13-year megadrought in the 12th century, the flow in the river averaged around 12 million acre-feet, 80 percent of the average flow during the 20th century and considerably less than is taken out of it for human use today.Of course, National Geographic can't avoid pulling global warming into the discussion. "Unfortunately, global warming could make things even uglier." Including this quote by "Pat Mulroy, head of the Southern Nevada Water Authority. 'It's like the impact of global warming fell on us overnight."'" But, wait! It's not attributed to global warming yet! Indeed, the article makes me wonder how much we don't know yet about normal climate cycles and changes that occur without any impetus from mankind.
The Colorado River basin suffered catastrophic droughts over 700 years ago when the impact of man was nil. At the least this should give us cause for reflection on the popularized notion of man-made global warming. Remember, cows create more "greenhouse gases that contributes more to global warming than the entire world transportation sector,..." yet all we do is focus on cars and trucks.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
More Songs to Remeber By...
I chose this version because it is performed by the U.S. Army Band.
Here the U.S. Marines play "From the Halls of Montezuma." Marines often face the first and greatest danger in battle. It's rare that I meet an Marine, past or present, that doesn't have a greater sense of confidence and strength than the average person.
"Anchors Away" Beginning with John Paul Jones' famous "I have not yet begun to fight," or something to that effect, till now, the U.S. Navy has played a pivotal role in our nation's freedom. The courage it takes to fight on a ship in the open ocean where death of the entire crew is a distinct possibility amazes me. Watching film on The History Channel of the Battle of Midway, Pearl Harbor and other naval engagements hammer this home.
This song is performed by the Mitch Miller Orchestra in 1957. Old fogies like myself remember the "Sing Along With Mitch" show on TV. Follow the bouncing ball!
Julia Ward Howe wrote the "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" during the Civil War as a replacement for "John Brown's Body." I like this version because it has scenes from WW II. Many people in my generation, including myself, have parents that served in WW II. Indeed, nearly the entire "Greatest Generation" served in some form or another, be it in the military or in a civilian support role.
Maxine Waters Threatens to Nationalize Oil Companies
If you're stupid enough to think for a second that government run oil companies would be an improvement, think DMV, food stamp office, IRS, Corp of Engineers and Katrina or any other "responsive" government agency you must deal with.
My other question concerning liberal Democrats and oil is this: both Barack
Companies don't pay taxes, consumers pay taxes.
Let Me Be the First....
I'm no more of a scientist than Al Gore but, certainly these earthquakes can be blamed on the more extreme contraction and expansion of the Earth due to
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
The Appalachian Problem
In a New York Times Op-Ed Column, Charles Blow suggests that Obama has an Appalachia problem that includes counties from New York State down to Tennessee – a region that is “whiter, poorer, older, more rural and less educated than the rest of the country,...Warner teaches at The New School in New York, and is the Goldenson Chair Emeritus at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. With such sterling credentials, Warner must know what he is talking about.
Given that so many geniuses seem to emanate from places other than Appalachia and that West Virginia has been the brunt of many such comments, I thought it would be fun to compare high school graduation rates. High school graduation rates can easily be seen as the foundation of an educated population. A sign that a group has the basic literacy, math skills, etc. to be considered fundamentally educated.
This Manhattan Institute report from 2001 provides some tidbits.
The national graduation rate for the class of 1998 was 71%. For white students the rate was 78%, while it was 56% for African-American students and 54% for Latino students.Huh! This can't be. The high school graduation rate for blacks in West Virginia is the best in the country!? A full 15 percentage points above the national average for blacks.
The highest rate of graduation among African-American students was 71% in West Virginia,...
The cities with the lowest graduation rates?
Among the fifty largest school districts in the country, Cleveland City had the lowest overall graduation rate with 28%, followed by Memphis, Milwaukee, and Columbus.None of those cities fall within West Virginia or Appalachia.
Here's a list from USA Today of the school systems with the lowest graduation rates. The largest school system in the country, New York city, has a graduation rate of only 38.9%. Pitiful. West Virginia's population be about 1.8 million and New York city's being 8.2 million according to Wikipedia, New York is failing on a grand scale.
In this list of high school graduation rates by state, West Virginia sits in the middle with a graduation rate of 73.4% compared to the national average of 68.6%. States ranking below West Virginia include Rhode Island, California, Washington, Indiana, Michigan, Hawaii, Delaware, New York, and Oregon where Barack
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Neanderthal Man Speaks
Robert McCarthy, an assistant professor of anthropology at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Fla., used ancient skeletons to reconstruct an approximation of the Neanderthal vocal tract — and then had a computer recreate the sounds it would make.Deciphering fossil clues to understand our prehistoric ancestors is a fascinating and daunting task. To hear a "conservation" with a Neanderthal click here.
"They would have spoken a bit differently," McCarthy tells New Scientist magazine. "They wouldn't have been able to produce these quantal vowels that form the basis of spoken language."
McCarthy explained quantal vowels as sounds that are recognizable as "a" or "o," for example, no matter how high- or low-pitched the speaker's voice is.
Monday, May 19, 2008
Hillary only got to speak at the old Maysville High School gym. Now used as the Mason County High School girls' gym. I can only surmise that this is another case of sexism that Hillary has had to endure. Of course, if Barack
And so it goes. The most important element of the Democratic primary is not the issues or what is best for our country but whether you're racist or sexist. Vote for Barack
Here's some of the remains of Hillary's speech.Like all other political speeches, mostly a bunch of garbage. I must admit, I admire Hillary's perseverance. It's much more admirable than Barack
(Picture taken later the same day as the speech.)
Complete and Utter Insanity
Dr. Norman Spack, a pediatric specialist at the hospital, has launched a clinic for transgendered kids — boys who feel like girls, girls who want to be boys — and he’s opening his doors to patients as young as 7.I don't go along with the sex change thing and a lot of other surgical changing of stuff. If you're gay, be gay. If you're flat chested, be flat chested. I happen to like smaller breasts. If your penis isn't big enough. Make a lot of money.
Spack offers his younger patients counseling and drugs that delay the onset of puberty. The drugs stop the natural flood of hormones that would make it difficult to have a sex alteration later in life, allowing patients more time to decide whether they want to make the change.
Learn to adapt. Dependence on surgical enhancements is the opposite of adapting. Yes, people with severe deformities or injuries deserve and need to be restored to normalcy but being a 6'4" transexual lesbian is not normalcy. Yes, I know such a person.
Fortunately, there are a few saner minds.
“Treating these children with hormones does considerable harm and it compounds their confusion,” said Dr. Paul McHugh, University Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry at John Hopkins University. “Trying to delay puberty or change someone’s gender is a rejection of the lawfulness of nature.”Hormones effect mood and thought tremendously. Giving children hormones will inevitably impact their moods and thoughts including those about gender preference.
McHugh said gender reassignment for children harkens back to the dark ages, when choir boys were castrated to retain their high-pitched voices. "It’s barbaric,” he said.
The belief that there is a cure for all forms of human suffering is absurd. Overcoming challenges and less than perfect circumstances provides much of the meaning in our lives, maybe all. If we looked perfect, learned everything with ease, performed all tasked with ease, and never felt any discomfort life would be meaningless. And, some things just ain't right.
Friday, May 16, 2008
She Shot a Hole in My Soul - Clifford Curry
During my high school days, soul music was my favorite genre. Otis Redding, Wilson Picket, Sam and Dave, Clarence Carter, The Temptations, The Isley Brothers, Smokey Robinson, Aretha Franklin, The Supremes, Ray Charles, Little Richard, Percy Sledge and a host of others touched my soul with the deep emotion of their voices. I still love them except for the Supremes.
More On the Ignorant and Racist
On Tuesday, Washington Post associate editor Kevin Merida published a front page article ostensibly decrying racisim in Indiana and elsewhere based upon spurious evidence. Merida, an African-American and author of a 2007 book that was fiercely critical of Justice Clarence Thomas, displayed subjective journalism at its finest with this “news” story. He also revealed an agenda on the part of the mainstream media — used the following day by Ruben Navarrette of CNN.com — to demean and label as “racist” anyone not voting for Obama.The liberal politicians and their supporters love perpetuate the racism portrayal because it garners votes while they do nothing. This is on method they use to maintain control over the masses. In "State of Fear" Michael Crichton's theme is "that political, legal, and media elites deliberately induce a state of unreasonable fear in the general population to keep themselves in power." This was also one of the themes in George Orwell's "1984." More and more I believe this to be true. It certainly brings a rational explanation to many of the otherwise puzzling actions of "political, legal, and media elites."
Ari Kaufman makes another good point.
But as a historian, I can’t help but think America is the least racist nation ever created, in spite of the stain of slavery. Many immigrants I know also concur. They’ll cite European history for ethnic insensitivity, and the racial intolerance in their native lands of the Middle East, Asia, or South America for examples.One thing I know for sure. My daughter is having her 12th birthday party tonight at her mother's house. It is a sleep over. Of the 10-12 guests 3 are black, 1 is biracial and the others are ignorant white Appalachians. A pretty diverse group.
Of course, it's more important for politicians to portray our country as sick and ignore just how healthy it really is. This attitude is apparent in the economy also. We would have loved to have this economy in the 1970s. I wrote recently how small towns share a diversity rarely seen in large cities. But the elitists love to look down their collective noses at the country bumpkins in order to satisfy their own egos. While, in the words on a commenter at Kaufman's post:
Despite all evidence showing America is not racist and their beloved Eurabia is as racist as anywhere, the Dems blame America if Obama loses, not his horrific, naive politics. They’re insulting to me, and to all Americans.Sounds like most latte libs I know. Having spent the last 18 years in a small town after living my first 39 years in a fairly large city, small towns win hand down.
But latte libs do NOT live in America. They live in their rich suburbs where no blacks are allowed, so thus, they gobble up this garbage as they bow to profs, NY Times writers and WaPo lying racial dividers.
Read the comments to Kaufman's article. Lots of good insight.
Hat tip to Instapundit
Cool and Not Cool
Joshua Packwood knows what it's like to be a minority.This is not cool.
Joshua Packwood, 22, will be the first white valedictorian at the historically black Morehouse College. This weekend he'll be the first white valedictorian to graduate from the historically black, all male Morehouse College in the school's 141-year history.
Fast-food giant Burger King announced this week that it fired two employees who posted libelous comments to public Web sites about the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), an organization pressing the company to pay a penny more per pound for tomatoes to boost pay for farmworkers. The company also told the News-Press of Fort Myers, Fla. that it has stopped using an investigative firm to spy on farmworker advocates.Burger King was paying people to spy on farmworker advocates!? Can it get much more ridiculous than this? They need to focus on making better sandwiches.
As a teenager I loved Burger King. Maybe my tastes have changed but the burgers usually taste as if kept in a warming oven too long and the breaded chicken sandwiches are far too salty. The fish sandwich just ain't what it used to be either.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Beverage Fights Bad Hairstyles
I also noticed that the drink dates from 1926. Afros must have been a fad back then too. Funny how fashion, even bad fashion, repeats itself.
Seriously, I'm not sure exactly why I tend to separate the syllables of words in the wrong spots. My closest guess is that it originates from the phonics training I received when I learned to read.
Phonics are great. You learn to pronounce words you've never seen or heard before. But divide the word improperly or put the emphasis on the wrong syllable and the results can be hilarious. Like pronouncing Atari at-a-ri instead of a-tar-i.
My other guess is I suffer from some sort of dain bramage.
BTW - Frostop is an excellent root beer.
From the "drag a $100 bill through a trailer park" comment during the Bill Clinton era to Barack
Curiously, one of the big justifications for the lefties' statements is educational attainment. At both post commenters made an issue of West Virginia having the lowest percentage of population with a bachelor's degree or better of any state in the Union, 16.5%. Comparatively, only 14.3% of blacks in our country have a bachelor's degree or better.
Imagine what the reaction if these elitist lefties spoke as derisively about blacks and justified their words by citing educational attainment statistics. There are at least two liberals/progressives out there who need to rethink some of their associations. It appears they are just beginning to realize just how bigoted the left is.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
In 1956, I attended a small private kindergarten on Sevier Ave. in Knoxville. Kern's Bakery was around the corner in what is now the Sara Lee Bakeries at 2110 Chapman Highway. The kindergarten playground behind the old house which the kindergarten was in was across a side street from the side of the bakery.
Every day at kindergarten I could smell the delicious aroma of baking bread. Kern's had a miniature Merry-Go-Round on a trailer which they would haul to birthday parties and other events where they would give kids rides and hand out small loves of bread.
Smelling the baking bread almost daily for an entire school year, I develop a love for bread which lasts to this day. I have a breadmaker which I use fairly regularly. And, it's all thanks to Kern's Bakeries.
Hat tip to Instapundit.
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Son's Sports Injury
The right inferior pubic ramus is the purple area labeled "4" in the image below.
My son was squatting with weights and the power of his muscles caused the bone to fracture. He should have a 100% recovery but it will take a minimum of 6 weeks. We are trying to see an orthopedic surgeon tomorrow. Presently he is on crutches and taking pain medication. The ER doctor said rest is probably all that will be required for recover.
I feel sorry for my son. He's been working hard to be ready for football in the spring. Although still a freshman, he has become one of the strongest players on the team. At the beginning of spring practice in March, the local paper said the head coach was "particularly excited" about my son and quoted the head coach as saying, "Alex is about 6-3, 230 pounds, with great feet and he's gonna be a good one."
I'm saddened that my son has worked so hard and had this set back. But, I realize that everyone has set backs and it's how you respond to them that makes the difference. My son has already expressed his relief that he didn't suffer muscle damage. I suspect I'll have to be careful to make sure he takes his recovery and rehabilitation slow enough. Just another reason why in many ways my kids are my heroes.
UPDATE: I took my son to see the orthopedic surgeon yesterday. He's going to be fine and could be back up to full speed in as little as 6 weeks. She (the orthopedic surgeon) gave a different name to his injury - fracture right ischial tuberosity. He has to use crutches for 4 weeks and be very careful about where and how he sits. Essentially, his hamstring muscle is stronger than the bone it to which it attached due to the fact that his is still growing and the attachment isn't fully fused yet.
Feeling the pinch of gas prices
My round trip to work and back each day is about 125 miles with most of it open highway with a 55 mph speed limit. I try to stay around 62-63 mph. By coincidence, this may the the speed at which my car gets its maximum fuel efficiency. However, for the 5 miles of interstate I drive, I crank it up to 75 mph.
How do I save money to make up for the increase in gas prices? My first move was to eat out less. If I drive slower and get another 1-2 mpg, I save 50 to 60 cents on my trip to work and back. If I don't eat out for lunch, I save $5-$6 or more in one meal packed from home vs. a restaurant. By taking the kids out less, I save $15-$20 or more per dinner.
The article linked to above does mention that some people are slowing down, maybe just not on I-40/75 in Knoxville.
Based on recent highway traffic volume trends, throttling back to 60 mph from 70 mph would likely reduce gasoline usage between 2 percent and 3 percent, which is about what happened when the 55-mph limit was imposed in the 1970s, said David Greene, a senior researcher at the U.S. Energy Department's Oak Ridge National Lab.Two things are wrong with Mr. Greene's observation. First, cars in the 1970s were in large part carbureted, fire-breathing, V8 behemoths. Today's cars are fuel injected 6 and 4 cylinder engines which already operate much more efficiently than the typical cars of the 1970s.
"We're talking about a 2-to-3 percent reduction in demand, which would mean a much larger percentage reduction in price, maybe 10 percent," Greene said.
Secondly, a 2-to-3 percent reduction in demand in the U.S. may not mean a reduction in price at all. The oil market is a global market. Much of the increasing demand is in China and India and it's not likely to slow down soon.
Truckers are taking steps to conserve fuel, including slowing down.
When long-haul trucker Rusty Wade pulled his rig into a Missouri truck stop recently, he noticed something strange.How bad is the pinch of gas prices? From the same article:
Of the 50 or so 18-wheelers parked in the lot, only five had their engines idling.
"That's only because of the high price of fuel," said Wade, an independent owner-operator from Brundidge, Ala. "A year ago there would only be about five that weren't running."
But with diesel fuel at more than $4.20 per gallon, Wade not only shuts his engine down to save money. He's also cut his average road speed from 60 to 56 mph.
And with good reason. The soaring cost of core essentials like gasoline, food and housing now account for 57 cents of each consumer dollar spent. That leaves Americans with a record-low 43 cents out of each dollar for discretionary spending, according to new figures from Wachovia Economics Group. That helps explains why new vehicle sales in the U.S. are at a 10-year low and why consumers are buying less clothing, shoes and big-ticket items like furniture and computers. With inflation up 3.2 percent from last year and wages stagnating, consumers are undoubtedly girding for a severe recession. The squeeze has forced small businesses to be more creative as well.One of the reasons for higher prices for wheat, soybeans and corn is the use of crops and cropland for ethanol production. A big thank you to our geniuses in Congress for our poorly thought out energy policy.
Since last year, egg prices are up 30 percent. Milk and cheese have increased 13 percent. Prices for wheat, soybeans, and corn have jumped 60-to-80 percent since last year on the Chicago Board of Trade, driving up the price of cereal, bread and other products.
Bread for the City, a Washington, D.C. food pantry, has already had 10,000 more visitors than last year and Lewis is one of the new ones.
Last night, I saw a story on a cable news network on how people were buying older 4 cylinder vehicles to help offset the cost of gas.
Unless I become an obsessive compulsive freak, slowing down will be a last resort and a very poor measure of the impact of higher gas prices.
The real question is will our officials in Washington get their heads out of their proverbial butts and develop and implement an intelligent energy policy which includes increased domestic drilling, refining and biofuels that don't make food more expensive, such such as algae based bio-diesel.
Friday, May 02, 2008
Chris Lofton: Genuine Superstar
But Lofton's greatest conquest came off the court.
He beat cancer.
The three-time All-American, in an exclusive interview with ESPN.com, revealed for the first time publicly that he played his senior season at Tennessee after undergoing surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from one of his testicles in March 2007.
He was diagnosed with cancer only a few days after Tennessee ended its 2006-07 season with a Sweet 16 loss to Ohio State in San Antonio.
I cried more this past year than I have my whole life combined. I cried a river this past year.
As one of the hardest working, most humble athletes in the country, Chris earned third team All-America honors while recovering from cancer!
Chris has inspired hundreds of kids in his hometown and doubtless elsewhere. This display of courage and dedication has inspired the rest of us.
God bless you, Chris.
Thursday, May 01, 2008
More Encourging Diesel and Biodiesel News
The diesel Jetta TDI gets an EPA mileage 35/42 mpg city/highway. But the interesting tidbit I came across was this:
More than half the new cars sold in Europe are diesels including luxury vehicles and sports sedans better known for flat-out performance.Of course, as usual, we're dragging our feet over here.
Another surprising bit of info was this comparison of a diesel SUV and a hybrid SUV.
Also, in the all important fuel economy category, the diesel pulled decisively ahead, at one point returning 26 mpg during a stretch of highway driving where the Tahoe could "only" eke out a 21.9 figure over that same stretch.A much simpler diesel out does the hybrid which has all the fancy electronics and environment threatening batteries. Plus, at this point, hybrids are not cost effective and leave a larger carbon footprint than standard vehicles when manufacturing and materials are figured in.
Plus, more information on how algae can be used to produce biodiesel fuel at a lower cost than petroleum based gasoline and diesel. The capability to produce all our vehicle fuel needs with algae produced biediesel is well withing our reach without using any current cropland. Algae farms/factories can be built in deserts and other places with plenty of sunshine.
Now if our Senators and Congress persons would get off their butts and actually do something other than make stupid climate change ads. Guess what, Nancy, you're supposed to be a leader and you ain't done squat.
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