Penny Pritzker, Barack Obama’s ‘Fairy Godmother’

“Pritzker introduced Obama, the neophyte state senator, to the Ladies Who Lunch (that’s really what they call themselves) on Chicago’s Gold Coast. Obama got lunch, gold and better — an introduction to Robert Rubin. Rubin is a former Secretary of the Treasury, former chairman of Goldman Sachs and former co-chairman of Citibank. Even atheists recognized Rubin as the Supreme Deity of Wall Street.”

Truthdig, Penny Pritzker, Barack Obama’s ‘Fairy Godmother’

This is nothing more than proof that the Democrats and Republicans are in the pockets of the same wealthy contributing class. All of the finger pointing by elected Republicans is simply sour grapes because it isn’t them selling us down the river.

…Prove I’m wrong Republicans. Reject this nominee, and even further, back any number of grassroots attempts to change Washington politics forever by getting money out of elections.

Facebook status backdated to the blog. As expected, the Republicans in congress had no problem with this 1%er and convicted predatory lender getting the commerce job.

Buying Elections

In their (and the current systems) defense, they spent the money and failed; but the problem is that Romney was the candidate because that’s what the moneyed elite wanted. The base would have probably nominated Santorum in the end. Who knows? Do you really believe the base of the Democratic party wanted John Kerry as their nominee? The money speaks louder than the voices of millions.

Facebook

https://www.movetoamend.org/ (gives a privacy error which can be bypassed if you are really interested. -ed.)

https://wolf-pac.com/

http://www.rootstrikers.org

Multi-Level Marketing; No, It Doesn’t Pay.

I’m still going through the back issues of Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe. In addition to noting the passage of Perry DeAngeles (who’s unique take on the subject of skepticism marked the early episodes so powerfully) and running across the odd bit of trivia, the interviews are the things that keep me listening.

In episode #135 the interviewee is Robert FitzPatrick.  I wish I had run across this guy and his invaluable information before I signed up for Amway way back when; I would have saved myself a lot of pain, worry and expense.  Luckily the Wife and I are pretty savvy when it comes to counting pennies (I only wish I was that savvy when it comes to sales pitches. I’m getting there) and it only took a few months before we realized that the cost of the goods from Amway and their online presence Quixtar, even at the discounted rate, was more than equivalent quality products available from any big box retailer.

So many of the things that Mr. FitzPatrick related in the interview reminded me of my experiences with my ‘upline’ and Amway that I kept getting chills thinking about how close I was to buying into the whole twisted mindset of selling people something that I needed them to buy, simply because I needed them to buy it. It really is a cult mentality, and they are hardly the only group I’ve been part of that, in hindsight, look suspect on the cult score.

To this day, every time I’m confronted with a direct-selling scheme, I cringe. There are many more of these MLM schemes out there now than there have ever been in the past, and the internet appears to be the vehicle allowing these businesses to flourish.  We’ve come a long way from the days when the Amway guy could show up at your door, selling soap at a price where, in rural America, it seemed like a bargain since you didn’t have to go out and get it from a store in the nearest big city.  Amazon may not pay me to buy products from them, but it’s hard to argue that their prices are driven by anything other than fair market value.  More than I can say for most direct sell products. This whole article serves as a shameless plug for Mr. FitzPatrick’s site Pyramid Scheme Alert.  It really is too bad that no one takes the subject of these schemes seriously.


LastWeekTonightMultilevel Marketing – Nov 7, 2016

Ever wonder what is in all those self-storage units? Think about it for a bit.

Delusional Downsize DC or Follow the Money

The founder of Downsize DC unfriended me today because I dared to suggest that he should at least read this guy’s book. Apparently hiding from contrary opinions means that those opinions have no power over you.

But we cannot ignore this corruption anymore. We need a government that works. And not works for the left or the right, but works for the left and the right, the citizens of the left and right, because there is no sensible reform possible until we end this corruption. So I want you to take hold, to grab the issue you care the most about. Climate change is mine, but it might be financial reform or a simpler tax system or inequality. Grab that issue, sit it down in front of you, look straight in its eyes, and tell it there is no Christmas this year. There will never be a Christmas. We will never get your issue solved until we fix this issue first. So it’s not that mine is the most important issue. It’s not. Yours is the most important issue, but mine is the first issue, the issue we have to solve before we get to fix the issues you care about. No sensible reform, and we cannot afford a world, a future, with no sensible reform.

Okay. So how do we do it? Turns out, the analytics here are easy, simple. If the problem is members spending an extraordinary amount of time fundraising from the tiniest slice of America, the solution is to have them spend less time fundraising but fundraise from a wider slice of Americans, to spread it out, to spread the funder influence so that we restore the idea of dependence upon the people alone. And to do this does not require a constitutional amendment, changing the First Amendment. To do this would require a single statute, a statute establishing what we think of as small dollar funded elections, a statute of citizen-funded campaigns, and there’s any number of these proposals out there: Fair Elections Now Act, the American Anti-Corruption Act, an idea in my book that I call the Grant and Franklin Project to give vouchers to people to fund elections, an idea of John Sarbanes called the Grassroots Democracy Act. Each of these would fix this corruption by spreading out the influence of funders to all of us.

TED2013 – Lawrence Lessig: We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim

The reaction of  Jim Babka to this very reasonable counter-argument, the suggestion that government wasn’t actually the problem it was business manipulation of government which is the problem was a classic illustration of confirmation bias blinding someone to relevant facts. It is just too bad that libertarians and other small government types cannot understand that big business is as much or more of a threat as big government. That they are the ideological pawns of big business. 

Redefining Piracy

I know I’m wasting my time here because the entertainment giants have all stacked the decks in their favor and defined piracy as any activity that they don’t approve of, but just how many of these legally defined pirates profit from their activity? How many of them would have the money to pay for the entertainment that they share for free? How many people will have their abilities to function in today’s world hampered by these bumbling attempts to stop something that wouldn’t exist were the content simply made available when desired at a reasonable price?

Aren’t these media conglomerates simply shooting themselves in the foot, alienating potential future customers with harassment? The music industry has been forced to the table, and the low per-song price through iTunes and Amazon is the result of their capitulation to the new information reality we live in. The instantaneous access to information that the average user demands. The savviest of new bands now offer their music directly from their websites, and even offer free songs to draw people in. They do this because they know that their audiences want more access, more music, and they want it right now, not after they visit a store and make a purchase. Get your music from the source, cut out the middleman.

What piracy remains in the musical realm is the corporate properties that haven’t learned to play ball, want to charge more and won’t put their libraries online. Study after study has shown this; that if the content is available, people will pay for it. I balk at being forced to buy music libraries a third time (once on tape, once on disc, and again on unprotected mp3) I will still go to torrent sites to pick up copies of music that I’ve already paid for twice. However, with the emergence of remastered music that is of superior quality to CD, even I am admitting that I may have to buy the music again, for a fourth time.

No, the yelling and screaming about PIRACY! comes from the MPAA and corporate television entities these days. They still haven’t figured out that the game has changed. When the average movie goer starts boycotting corporate films and embraces independent content (something that is already beginning to occur) maybe they’ll figure it out.

If I download a song, never listen to it, and then delete it, have I profited? If I download a movie or television show, if I pay for a subscriber service, can’t access it, and then download a torrent copy of the exact show I already paid for, but then don’t watch or listen to any of it, have I stolen anything? The corporate property owners say you have, and you are a pirate. I’d simply like them to prove how the temporary existence of a file on a computer system represents anything other than a cost, not a benefit. If I can’t be shown to have even watched or listened to the files in question, but the files belong to the corporation that objects to their existence, I’d say they owe me storage fees for holding the information for me. But I’ll happily wave the fees and simply delete the files. Let’s see how many checks show up in the meantime.

Facebook & Facebook

Conspiracy Cults; Getting What’s Coming to Them?

This is for Steven Vandervelde who, in his infinite wisdom, decided to unfriend me in the middle of a conversation on his wall (conversation appended) I was in the middle of real life, of watching movies with family, when this conversation started.

I should have resisted commenting on his post (that was how I started the comment I had to abandon because of his actions) I have no fondness for trolls, and despise myself when I catch myself trolling. Still, I have to wonder if the conspiracy theorists (see appended conversation) understand just how nutty their words appear, when seen from outside the realm of the conspiracy initiated; the people who simply “know” that the forces of government are arrayed against them. In yet another example of my inability to keep myself from arguing with the terrified weapons holder (a phrase that should give anyone pause) I attempted to explain that it was completely rational to limit weapons to people who are trained and licensed to use and carry firearms. That there is no conspiracy at the UN to steal all our guns.

The UN exists exactly as I described; it was created specifically to echo the will of the victors in World War Two, it does what we (our government) tells it to. Everyone who isn’t part of the conspiracy knows this. No one is proposing that you should not be allowed to defend yourself. Even if they were, such a proposal would contravene centuries of US law and the founding documents of the government of the United States; not to mention the most recent decisions by the Supreme Court of the United States (District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570) which has reversed the presumption that you could render the population of the US defenseless, legally.

Can Not Be Done.

Not without changing the precedent, something that is quite rare. Let that sink in for a moment.

Before I leave this subject, I’d like to highlight another point. Recently the world was treated to a breath of fresh air commonly referred to as the Arab Spring. Third World regions such as the Middle East (my apologies to anyone who takes offense to this characterization) are historically the most despotic. They have some of the worst records on human rights, freedoms; and most importantly gun ownership. Yet these people, officially unarmed by law, managed to overthrow several governments and change the course of the region, politically.  What does that mean when it comes to the necessity of arms and the need to make government responsive to the people? For me, it embroiders an opinion that I’ve long held; that revolution need not be violent in order to be effective.

The US is obsessed with guns. We have been since Lexington and Concord. In the 1700’s, it was necessary to hold arms in order to be able to effect change. This adage was observed and utilized through numerous generations, and taken to heart by several successful dictators of the recent past, which the gunnuts (a term I use with the greatest of sympathy) have enumerated ad nauseum during the current debate about guns. But that doesn’t mean that guns are ultimately of any use to those who hold them.  It bears noting that Adam Lanza’s mother (who purchased the guns he used in his mass shooting) ultimately disapproved of the use he put her guns too after he killed her with them.

…and that really is the question before us. The people who are opposed to this discussion on the basis of the discussion itself want to frame the question completely differently; but the real question remains, “can we limit access to weapons and yet retain our ability to defend ourselves?” Experience and history seem to indicate that this is a viable possibility, despite the (nearly) insane rants of those who would have you believe that if the government keeps you from purchasing and owning an Abrams tank, they are restricting your right to defend yourself. That conversation continues, in spite of the insanity.

There is something about the arguments of the conspiracy minded, though, that inspired this entire rant. The paranoid, like a broken clock, is right at least once a day (twice a 24 hour cycle) and the paranoid among us are already onto the weapon that will be used against them.

It’s been suggested in a few of the previous conversations I’ve had on this subject, that the government was going to restrict access to weapons based on a judgement of sanity; that they would deem us all insane and thereby take away all our guns. I’ll give them partial credit here.  There are people who have guns today who are (to establish a clinical judgment) completely nuts. Those people really shouldn’t have weapons, and I hereby approve of the government taking their weapons away from them, in furtherance of the safety of the rest of us.

You know who you are.

The rest of us, those of us who are quite sane, should probably welcome a discussion of what measures should be taken to limit access to weapons. After all, we’ve seen more mass shootings in the last few years than we’ve seen previously in history; if that knowledge doesn’t give us pause, then I guess it’s time to go buy those Bushmaster’s with 30 round clips, as well as the fallout shelters, a year’s worth of dry goods, a water purification plant and a good solar power system. Too bad there aren’t enough electric cars available on the market to make a ‘self-sufficient’ system truly viable (the operation of a refinery being beyond the ability of a small group of determined individuals) much less there being no real investments to hold all those fake dollars we invented over the last few decades…

…But please, don’t let me dissuade you.  They are coming for your guns. Go run and hide. We’ll let you know when it’s safe to come out.


Here are the saved comments and my embroidered responses to them. If they can block me and pat themselves on the back, I see little reason not to make myself sound smarter and righter than they are on my own blog. Screw ’em.

Steven Vandervelde shared L Neil Smith‘s photo.

[Just say “NO” image removed by Facebook poster]

To Obama, Feinstein, Biden, Schumer, Reid, McCarthy, DeGette, and the rest of weird, sick, criminal anti-gun fetishests …

I am saying no. I’m saying no to the weapons merchants, the profiteers and their defenders in government.

L Neil Smith Anthony, were you born a useful idiot, or did you have to take lessons? Go read some history. Victim disarmament is the all-important prelude to genocide — in this case democide. Go look at Agenda 21 and see what this government and the UN have in mind for you. 9/10 of the human population must die, in their view, the view of every top-level gun-grabber in the world, to save their lovely Mother Gaia.

I chose not to drink the conspiracy kool aid that appears to have infected the balance of libertarian thought. This is a fact-based observation, not an ad hominem. That it appears to be an ad hom is not my problem.

L Neil Smith American Independence was the result of a conspiracy. So was the Federal Reserve System and the income tax. Look up “Jekyll Island”. Not to mention the Manhattan Project. Or the dirty tricks that kept Ron Paul off the ballot. Are you ignorant of what Obama’s death squads are starting to do? Better look that up, too. Holding your nose loftily in the air only make it easier for the badguys to cut your throat.

And you never answered my question

I did answer your question. The fact is that the UN does what we want it to do. It was designed to do what we want it to do. If you don’t understand that basic fact, there’s no point in addressing the various other fallacies involved in the conspiracy theories you allude to.

Steven Vandervelde if you actually had a point you certainly failed to make it, minus the ad hominem attack. Are you really that incapable of carrying on an intelligent discussion? Are we to suppose that you don’t support the right to self defense? Why do you call yourself a libertarian?

I don’t call myself a libertarian. Not anymore (not for quite awhile) Self defense? Self defense does not guarantee you a firearm, or else you’d emerge from the womb clutching one.

L Neil Smith I deal with them every day. Usually they’re cowards who simply don’t want to think about the murder and mayhem going on all around them. Or they’re too lazy to take charge of their own lives, which includes pulling their heads out and looking around. Natural-born Tories. Imagine one of them calling himself a libertarian!

Wonder what this guy is going to tell himself when Obama’s death squads become commoin knowledge.

Again I repeat, Not a libertarian. You gotta love the total lack of ad hom’s in their replies. So much more directly argumentative than my comments, not attacking the person at all. I really should try to emulate them I guess. Also, I’ve noticed a distinct lack of death squads since this back and forth occurred. Still waiting for them to appear.

L Neil Smith Anthony, I’m not sure I’d use the word “we” as promiscuously as you do. I agree that the evil fascist sum presently troubling us is widely distributed. I can’t tell which end is the dog and which end is the tail. The UN and the US government both approve Agenda 21. I’m not a part of the “we”, are you? I’ve written of UN officials and presidential advisers who agree that 9/10 of the population must be gotten rid of. I’m not a part of that “we’, either, are you?

I know that this is painful — it was for me — but get it through your head: you don’t live in Disneyland any more. You never did. The only way we’re gonna have the America we thought we had is to_make_ it, starting now.

Oh, and I don’t drink Kool-Ade. I drink Jameson’s.

I drink Kelt, myself. What alcohol preference has to do with a known cult reference is a matter of conjecture. I don’t think we should casually joke about the insanity of believing everyone is capable of handling firearms responsibly.  That they can and do hold these beliefs without question is one of the hallmarks of cult-like thought.

Oh, and Agenda 21?  Another baseless conspiracy theory.

Then you hear the knock on the door. They know. Four blue-helmets stand there, armed to the teeth. One of them hands you a slip of onion-skin reading “CITATION 36-H53.1: LEFT BATHROOM LIGHT ON DURING WORK SHIFT.” And without a word, you go with them. There’s no need to pack and no point in protesting. By nightfall, you’ll be farming wind at a Work Camp 100 miles outside of the city, and nobody will say a word about the new code-stamper at the factory on Monday. Because they don’t want to be next. And in the North American Continental Sphere, anyone can be next.

Skeptoid

The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

I was watching Deadliest Catch on Tuesday (We’ll miss you Phil) and during After the Catch they brought on fishermen from the gulf to talk about the impact of the oil spill. During that discussion, the captain of the Time Bandit pointed out that 25 years later, the fisheries affected by the Exxon Valdez have still not recovered.

This does not bode well for the future of the gulf. Here’s a TED talk on the subject.

TEDxOilSpill June 2010 Carl Safina The oil spill’s unseen villains — and victims

It’s been my opinion that “the other shoe” hasn’t dropped yet as far as the gulf spill goes. No one knows what the long term impact of this event will be, but judging from the aftermath of the much smaller Alaska spill I’d be surprised if there’s much fishing left in the gulf, at all. Which begs the question, what are we going to eat, and how are those people going to make a living? Something to think about.


December 2018 – Deadliest Catch is about the only television show that I miss watching since I cut the cable almost three years ago now. There really isn’t a place for it in my current daily routines. I could anchor it in time watching it on TV. The show was telling a story about last year’s catch on the Alaskan crab grounds. Having to wait until it is available elsewhere means the show is disconnected in time. It no longer has the immediacy, the implied shared experience that broadcast TV brought to us, the viewing public. Without that I don’t have a good reason to watch anymore.

If you are interested in the subject of the corporate malfeasance that resulted in the Deepwater Horizon disaster, check out the film of the same name, Deepwater Horizon. The film very adequately portrays the heartbreak of the survivors and the penny-ante betrayal of acceptable safety standards, the kind of business practices that are all too common in today’s world of big business.

Texas SBOE Destroys Education

Just got done listening to Common Sense 172. I generally agree with Dan on a lot of things. This is one time I think there’s more threat here than he’s willing to admit to.

As an example, here’s a quote from show Number 8:

“I’m not an intelligent design guy, I’m just an open-minded guy. I don’t mind a whole bunch of theories being thrown out there. I think we’ve really forgotten in this whole evolution thing is that the name of this whole evolution thing is the theory of evolution.

I’m not suggesting that Dan is a creationist, or even a christian. What I am suggesting is that the arguments of the Religious Reich (and I’ve heard this exact phrase come out of ID defenders mouths before) have seeped into the common arguments presented by average people who don’t necessarily understand what scientists mean when they use the word theory. Gravitational theory is only a theory too. But I wouldn’t suggest you jump off a building and expect to float. There is every bit as much science backing evolution as there is gravitation. Perhaps more. Dan has gone on the attack against science in the past (episode 5 for those with the DVD) albeit attacking pop science. And yet the scientific method is the only method that has been shown to be capable of determining what truth is.

Science is under attack here in Texas, more than history is. The SBOE has specifically gone on the attack against the scientific method itself, attempting to undercut the basis for our technological society. The stories coming out about the history textbooks just highlight what kind of mental neanderthals are serving on the SBOE, and what their real goals are.

Here’s a quote from the story in the NY Times:

In recent years, board members have been locked in an ideological battle between a bloc of conservatives who question Darwin’s theory of evolution and believe the Founding Fathers were guided by Christian principles, and a handful of Democrats and moderate Republicans who have fought to preserve the teaching of Darwinism and the separation of church and state.
Since January, Republicans on the board have passed more than 100 amendments to the 120-page curriculum standards affecting history, sociology and economics courses from elementary to high school. The standards were proposed by a panel of teachers.
“We are adding balance,” said Dr. Don McLeroy, the leader of the conservative faction on the board, after the vote. “History has already been skewed. Academia is skewed too far to the left.”

Excuse me if I don’t buy McLeroy’s arguments on the subject of the skewing of academia. His past support for inclusion of the teaching of creationism in science classrooms (which is distinctly NOT science) and his boards attempts to manipulate the definition of the scientific method so that Intelligent Design would meet the criteria, have shown that he is no friend of education, or our technologically based society either (which only exists because of the scientific method) which makes me question the justification for his chairing the board that dictates what Texas children will be taught in coming years.

The one thing I do agree with Dan on, on this subject, is the legitimacy of the existence of these types of boards in the first place. There isn’t any. They should all be disbanded, and the controls for what is taught should be handed back to the teachers and parents. The people directly involved in educating the children.

Because, trust me, education begins at home. No matter what the government schools set out to teach my children, they get an education in critical thinking from me.


I seem to have started an interesting thread over at the Common Sense forum. Still think Dan didn’t hit the SBOE hard enough. Jon Stewart did.

THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART – DON’T MESS WITH TEXTBOOKS – 3/17/2010

I’d like to put this in perspective. The rest of the nation is buying textbooks that meet standards set by a state whose students are not even close to the best performers in the nation.

Bureaucracy in action.


For those who might think I exaggerate the threat, here’s a list of the worst of the current changes proposed by the SBOE to the Social Studies curriculum, from the TFN website:

  • Religious conservatives on the board killed a proposed standard that would have required high school government students to “examine the reasons the Founding Fathers protected religious freedom in America by barring government from promoting or disfavoring any particular religion over all others.” That means the board rejected teaching students about the most fundamental constitutional protection for religious freedom in America. (3/11/10)
  • Even as board members continued to demand that students learn about “American exceptionalism,” they stripped Thomas Jefferson from a world history standard about the influence of Enlightenment thinkers on political revolutions from the 1700s to today. In Jefferson’s place, the board’s religious conservatives inserted Thomas Aquinas and John Calvin. They also removed the reference to “Enlightenment ideas” from the standard, requiring that students simply learn about the “writings” of various thinkers (including Calvin and Aquinas). (3/11/10)
  • Board conservatives succeeded in censoring the word “capitalism” in the standards, requiring that the term for that economic system be called “free enterprise” throughout all social studies courses. Board members such as Terri Leo and Ken Mercer charged that “capitalism” is a negative term used by “liberal professors in academia.” (3/11/10)
  • The board removed the concepts of “justice” and “responsibility for the common good” from a list of characteristics of good citizenship for Grades 1-3. (The proposal to remove “equality” failed.) (1/14/10)
  • Social conservatives on the board removed Santa Barraza from a Grade 7 Texas history standard on Texans who have made contributions to the arts because they objected to one of her (many) paintings — one including a depiction of a woman’s exposed breasts. Yet some of Barraza’s works had been displayed in the Texas Governor’s Mansion during the gubernatorial administration of George W. Bush in the 1990s. (3/11/10)
  • The board stripped Dolores Huerta, cofounder of United Farm Workers of America, from a Grade 3 list of “historical and contemporary figures who have exemplified good citizenship.” Conservative board members said Huerta is not a good role model for third-graders because she’s a socialist. But they did not remove Hellen Keller from the same standard even though Keller was a staunch socialist. Don McLeroy, a conservative board member who voted to remove Huerta, had earlier added W.E.B. DuBois so the Grade 2 standards. McLeroy apparently didn’t know that DuBois had joined the Communist Party in the year before he died. (1/14/10)
  • In an absurd attempt to excuse Joseph McCarthy’s outrageous witchhunts in the 1950s, far-right board members succeeded in adding a requirement that students learn about “communist infiltration in U.S. government” during the Cold War. (Board member Don McLeroy has even claimed outright that Joseph McCarthy has been “vindicated,” a contention not supported by mainstream scholarship.) (1/15/10)
  • The board voted in January to remove children’s book author Bill Martin Jr. from a Grade 3 standard about significant writers and artists because members confused the author of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? with another Bill Martin who had written a book about Marxism. An embarrassed board reinserted Martin into the Grade 3 standards in March. (3/11/10)
  • Board members added Friedrich von Hayek to a standard in the high school economics course even though some board members acknowledged that they had no idea who the Austrian-born economist even was. (3/11/10)
  • The board added a requirement that American history students learn about conservative heroes and icons such as Phyllis Schlafly, the Heritage Foundation and the Moral Majority. The board included no similar standard requiring students to learn about individuals and organizations simply because they are liberal. (1/15/10)
  • Board conservatives passed a standard for the eighth-grade U.S. history class requiring students to learn about the ideas in Jefferson Davis’ inaugural address as president of the Confederacy during the Civil War. (1/14/10)
  • In a high school government standard about “the importance of the expression of different points of view in a democratic republic,” the board added a requirement that students learn about the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms. (3/11/10)
  • The board’s bloc of social conservatives tried to water down instruction on the history of the civil rights movement. One board amendment, for example, would have required students to learn that the civil rights movement created “unreasonable expectations for equal outcomes.” That failed to pass. Other amendments passed in January minimized the decades of struggle by women and ethnic minorities to gain equal and civil rights. (Board member Don McLeroy even claimed that women and minorities owed thanks to men and “the majority” for their rights. Earlier in the revision process, a conservative appointed by McLeroy to a curriculum team had complained about an “over-representation of minorities” in the standards.) Under pressure from civil rights groups, the board partially reversed those earlier amendments. (3/11/10)
  • The board’s right-wing faction removed references to “democratic” (or “representative democracy”) when discussing the U.S. form of government. The board’s majority Republicans changed those references to “constitutional republic.” Board member Cynthia Dunbar also won approval for changing references to “democratic societies” to “societies with representative government.” (3/11/10)
  • Religious conservatives stripped from the high school sociology course a standard having students “differentiate between sex and gender as social constructs and determine how gender and socialization interact.” Board member Barbara Cargill argued that the standard would lead students to learn about “transexuals, transvestites and who knows what else.” She told board members she had conducted a “Google search” to support her argument. Board member Ken Mercer complained that the amendment was about “sex.” The board consulted no sociologists during the debate. (3/11/10)
  • Board member Barbara Cargill proposed a standard to the high school economics course requiring students to “analyze the decline in the value of the U.S. dollar since the inception of the Federal Reserve System since 1913.” After debate, the board passed a revised standard that requires students to “analyze the decline in the value of the U.S. dollar, including the abandonment of the gold standard.” References to 1913 and the Federal Reserve System were dropped. The board consulted no economists during the debate. (3/11/10)
  • The board approved a standard requiring students to learn about “any unintended consequences” of the Great Society, affirmative action and Title IX. (3/11/10)
  • In a high school U.S. history standard on musical genres that have been popular over time, the board’s bloc of social conservatives removed “hip hop,” equating this broad genre with “gangsta rap.” (3/11/10)
  • The board voted to use “BC” and “AD” rather than “BCE” and “CE” in references to dates in the history classes. That means students going off to college won’t be familiar with what has become an increasingly common standard for dates. (3/10/10)
  • The board removed Oscar Romero, a prominent Roman Catholic archbishop who was assassinated in 1980 (as he was celebrating Mass) by rightists in El Salvador, from a world history standard about leaders who led resistance to political oppression. Romero, they argued, wasn’t of the same stature as others listed in the standards: Nelson Mandela and Mohandas Gandhi. One board member argued that “he didn’t have his own movie like the others.” He quickly reversed himself — the film Romero, based on the archbishop’s life, was released in 1989 and starred actor Raul Julia in the title role. (3/10/10)
  • The board’s right-wing faction removed a reference to propaganda as a factor in U.S. entry into World War I. (The role of propaganda on behalf of both the Allies and Central Powers in swaying public opinion in the United States is well-documented. Republican Pat Hardy noted that her fellow board members were “rewriting history” with that and similar changes.) (1/15/10)
  • The board changed a “imperialism” to “expansionism” in a U.S. history course standard about American acquisition of overseas territories in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Board conservatives argued that what the United States did at the time was not the same as European imperialism. (1/15/10)

(source Texas Freedom Network TFN Insider: The List of Shame in Texas)

Some additional articles in the local paper.

College readiness overlooked in social studies fight
TEA posts latest version of social studies standards
Now’s the time to educate State Board of Education
McLeroy, Miller upset in SBOE elections

A compilation of my thoughts on the topic of the SBOE and the conversation with Dan Carlin’s forum community about this episode, cribbed from this and other threads preserved at The Wayback Machine: Archive.org

For the Last Time; Bob Barr for President

Bill Quick over at the Daily Pundit endorsed Bob Barr the other day.

I just dropped my absentee ballot in the mail box. After waffling around, first saying I wouldn’t vote for John McCain, then saying I would, I ended up voting for Bob Barr. Not because I think he has any chance of winning, or even because I think he’d be a great president – although he would certainly be a much better one than either of the two major candidates.
I voted for him because it was the only way I could think of to get my libertarian/conservative preference on the official record, in hopes that the GOP might see what it had thrown away with its nomination of McCain, and its general move away from conservative and libertarian principles.
I guess I ended up being convinced by my own arguments.

read more | digg story

I briefly came up for air from a 7 hour stint on my diversion of choice these days, and decided to visit some of my old haunts (like digg and blogger) for a brief reminder as to why I have need of some diversion. I noticed a shout on digg from Bob Barr to the article above, and while reading through the comments on the site, I ran across one (buried to the level of -9) which offered up the same old “thanks for voting for Obama” argument in response.

Here’s a little counter spin for you.

As a Texas resident living in Austin, I am surrounded by Yellow Dogs who voted for Kerry 4 years ago, and are dutifully touting their Obama stickers

[which have mercifully replaced the Kerry stickers. Leave the advertisement for an ‘also ran’ on your bumper for 4 years; what does that mean? I can’t tell the real Democrats from the fake ones?]

trumpeting their intention to vote for the guy with the best teeth and hair (like all Americans do) the man who will be the future president of the United States; as almost anyone who pays attention to politics could have told you the minute that Barak Obama became the clear Democrat favorite (until then, the next President of the US was going to be a woman) because the Republicans never stood a chance this time around; and stand even less of a chance now that the markets have tanked.

But none of this even touches on the fact that Texas will go for McCain. The Republicans could leave the top of the ticket blank and claim that we’d be better off without a President, and Texas would still go to the Republicans, because “nobody is better than anybody the Democrats would nominate”.

So, for all you Yellow Dog Democrats out there, wasting your vote for Obama in Texas; I just want to know, why? If you agree with Mr. Better Teeth and Hair then good for you, you did you research and know what you are getting into (you’re wrong, but…) But if you are voting for Obama because at least he’s not McCain, what planet are you living on?

The ultimate wasted vote is a vote for the lessor of two evils; especially when the majority of the voting population disagrees with you. To use the old adage; if two wolves and a sheep are voting on what’s for dinner, and you’re the sheep, why are you wasting your time voting? If it’s a life or death issue, better to be a well armed sheep when the wolves come knocking looking for dinner.

Politics has become quite blasé for me. I never was much interested in saying “I told you so”, and I’ve found myself repeating that phrase more and more often since 9/11. I got into politics because I wanted to see a positive change in the system; and in 15 years of activity, I’ve seen things go from bad to worse to imminent destruction. I no longer care about petty little things like who the next President will be. He’s going to screw things up at least as much as the last guy did; both candidates are blissfully oblivious to real problems, while attacking each other over meaningless twaddle. Obama chooses a dedicated socialist as his running mate, and McCain nominates a woman who is so backwards in her thinking I shudder to wonder what her presidency will be like after McCain kicks it

[my money is on him not even surviving to be sworn in, myself; in the almost incomprehensible reversal of fortune that would inspire Americans to vote for the ugly puppet]

But in either case; the baggage is so onerous, and the understanding of the real world around us is so absent, that I have no doubt that whichever screwup is elected, he’ll make the most mess possible before the downfall of the dollar brings his reign to it’s ultimate end.

So, excuse me, but I’m not wasting my time worrying about which lessor evil to vote for. I’m going to go out and pull the lever next to the ‘L’, again. Bob Barr at least talks about issues, and has the nomination of the only party dedicated to smaller government. The rest of it is just so much noise.

The reorganization of my priority list continues apace. Time to return to my W0W session.


This was my last post as a member of the Libertarian party. I find this odd, looking back. I remember there being a finality in my having to hold my nose and vote for Bob Barr. Hold my nose and vote for the presidential candidate for my party of conscience. I remember thinking “does this make sense? I thought the other guys were evil and we weren’t?”

Looking back eight years I wonder how I couldn’t see it. The libertarians in Texas and through most of the US are closer to conservatives than they are to liberals. Economics is to blame for this; economics and the influence of the Midwestern work ethic. Not even they can see it from inside. It is only from outside, from the vantage point of more accumulated knowledge on the subject of money and social systems that I can say that the mantra of small government forces them into proximity with conservatives who have adopted the same talking points.

As if government in the US isn’t already small.  We just pay too much for it, considering how much it doesn’t get done. 

FFrF Radio:Guests: Ernie Chambers and Katha Pollitt; Archive: America is not a christian nation, Evolution assaulted

Podcast Link.
August 23, 2008Guests: Ernie Chambers and Katha Pollitt
Saddleback abomination. Religious test for office. Homophobia on parade. Supreme misunderstanding.

5:20 Ernie Chambers 2nd appearance; discusses his case against god; omnipotence & omniscience precludes service. the case was brought specifically because courts should be open to any body for any reason (the way the law reads in Nebraska) he goes through a few of the counts against god listed in the lawsuit.

18:40 Catha Pollitt, flocking to faith; Obama’s complete betrayal of the constitution, with his announcement to continue the faith based initiative.

She qualifies her bile with her intention to continue her support for Obama. I find this blind subservience to any political faction sad & disgusting.


2007 Archive episode.
August 25, 2007America is not a christian nation

Convention blurb

5:15 theocracy alert. Texas pledge modification (how about no pledge? My children do not pledge) David Vidder, latest conservative hypocrite. Bill Moyers’ religious judgment error with Martin Marty. God’s warriors.

20:30 Ed Buckner has a chapter in Everything You Know About God is Wrong. America is not a christian nation. To some of us, this is not news. Decent interview all the same.



2006 Archive episode.
August 26, 2006The Evolving Religious Assault on Evolution: Lawrence Lerner

Neo-Nazis protesting on women’s equality day. Only Turkey has a smaller percentage of people who accept the proof of evolution than the US. Evolution left off list of acceptable low income US education grants. Pope sacks astronomer. Coulter smears Darwin (earns label of coultergeist)

Larry Lerner representing the Fordham Foundation and the report he co-wrote www.edexcellence.net on science standards in the classroom. The discussion revolves around the problems of setting and maintaining education standards, and the evolving nature of creationism.

Kristen Lems & Dan Barker sing The Preacher & the Slave

Freethinkers almanac.

There are those who say Dawkins goes too far in his attack on religion. That he fails to understand the true nature of religious mystery; that his criticism relies on a parody of faith that he himself set in place, and that people do not take seriously anymore. those who make that objection tend to belong to the mild kindly end of the religious spectrum. these days we should be in no doubt of what the other end of the spectrum is like and we might remember that no social structure ever gives up power because it wants to. If some parts of the christian church are decent and tolerant today, it is because the crusaders and inquisitors and witch burners have been shamed and stripped of their authority by the great critics of religion, some indeed who belonged to the church itself. But all of whom were accused in their time of going too far. -Philip Pullman

“we don’t trust numbers to build up a cause; rather we look at principles, to the truth and the right.” -Elizabeth katy Stanton