Saturday, July 16, 2011

Welcome Back Carter

It was 32 years ago today. 
Jimmy Carter gave his infamous "malaise" speech.
It actually holds up pretty well, but nobody was in the mood for it at the time. 
No one wants to listen to sanctimonious hectoring about shared sacrifice from someone widely perceived as the root cause of the need for shared sacrifice. 

Here's a Jimmy Carter/Barry Obama mashup, assembled by some genius from the Laura Ingraham show. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Fix Is In

Ron Paul is now hitting the airwaves with this video rant about the debt ceiling.
I'm afraid it is too late. Boehner and Obama have met in private, and that's enough to guarantee that the fix is in.
When time permits, go to Vegas and try to place a bet that the government WILL raise the debt ceiling.
They'll laugh you all the way to Miami. Nobody in his right mind would take that action.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

In which Ron Paul gets Ben Bernanke to say that gold ain't money

Here's the most amazing video you'll ever see.

It explains why the stimulus didn't "work", other than in its intended purpose of helping Bernanke's buddies.
It explains why prices are rising.
It explains why our national debt is rising.

It reminds me of Clarence Darrow grilling William Jennings Bryan at the Scopes Monkey Trial.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

An apology for posting inaccurate information

I've probably posted this (inaccurate) chart a dozen times, and regret doing so. 
It shows public education spending going through the roof, while test scores remain flat. 

The cost of public education has indeed increased as shown. 
My mistake was in assuming that the miserable flatlined test scores were accurate.
Here's why I was wrong:

In the Atlanta Public School system, the administration held "cheating parties", in which they met at a teacher's home to change test scores. 

A similar thing happened in Pontiac, Michigan. 

Here's more on the Atlanta mess:
Teachers and principals erased and corrected mistakes on students’ answer sheets.

Area superintendents silenced whistle-blowers and rewarded subordinates who met academic goals by any means possible.
Superintendent Beverly Hall and her top aides ignored, buried, destroyed or altered complaints about misconduct, claimed ignorance of wrongdoing and accused naysayers of failing to believe in poor children’s ability to learn.

....For teachers, a culture of fear ensured the deception would continue.

“APS is run like the mob,” one teacher told investigators, saying she cheated because she feared retaliation if she didn’t.
The voluminous report names 178 educators, including 38 principals, as participants in cheating. More than 80 confessed. The investigators said they confirmed cheating in 44 of 56 schools they examined.
So.   I humbly repent of publishing that chart so many times.
The chart is inaccurate. 
Test scores have not remained flat despite the spending increases.  If Michigan and Georgia are any indication of what's going on in government schools, test scores have declined. 

My bad. 

Go here to read an outraged editorial about the pro-choice movement that wants to privatize the public schools and give students and parents some other options. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Some info on Michele Bachmann's "Re-Closeting" Clinic and the values conveyed by Jewish and Christian scripture

From ABC News comes this account of Michele and Marcus Bachmann's counseling center, a business that will help lead gay and lesbian clients back into the closet:

A former patient who sought help from the Christian counseling clinic owned by GOP presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann and her husband, Marcus, told ABC News he was advised that prayer could rid him of his homosexual urges and he could eventually be "re-oriented."

"[One counselor's] path for my therapy would be to read the Bible, pray to God that I would no longer be gay," said Andrew Ramirez, who was 17-years-old at the time he sought help from Bachmann & Associates in suburban Minneapolis in 2004. "And God would forgive me if I were straight."

In the past, Marcus Bachmann has disputed the clinic has treated gay patients this way. But Ramirez's account, which was first reported by The Nation, is similar to the counseling session that appears on new undercover video shot by a gay rights advocacy group last month. That footage shows another counselor at the Bachmann clinic telling a gay man posing as a patient that, with prayer and effort, he could eventually learn to be attracted to women and rid himself of his gay urges.
Here's why the Bachmann campaign is getting so much attention on this issue.  There's a guy in Iowa named Bob Vander Plaats who has gotten a few Republican candidates to sign a "pledge" affirming their belief in heterosexual marriage, the Defense Of Marriage Act, opposition to Sharia Law, and the like.  The "pledge" begins with the following preamble:
Faithful monogamy is at the very heart of a designed and purposeful order - as conveyed by Jewish and Christian Scripture, by Classical Philosophers, by Natural Law, and by the American Founders - upon which our concepts of Creator-endowed human rights, racial justice and gender equality all depend.
Does Bob Vander Plaats not own a Bible?  And if so, has he ever cracked the cover?  Please allow me to climb into the pulpit of the sepulchre for today's scripture readings, helpfully assembled by a website called

Abraham had 3 wives - Sarah, Hagar and Keturah

"Now Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar." Genesis 16:1

"And Sarai Abram's wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife." Genesis 16:3

"Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah." Genesis 25:1

Here's a brief summary of the marital career of King David, who made Newt Gingrich look like an amateur.  David had at least 18 wives - Michal, Abigail, Ahinoam of Jezreel, Eglah, Maacah, Abital, Haggith, and Bathsheba, and "10 women/concubines"

"Wherefore David arose and went, he and his men, and slew of the Philistines two hundred men; and David brought their foreskins, and they gave them in full tale to the king, that he might be the king's son in law. And Saul gave him Michal his daughter to wife." 1 Samuel 18:27. (See also 1 Samuel 19:11-18; 25:44; and 2 Samuel 3:13-14; 6:20-23.)

"David sent and communed with Abigail, to take her to him to wife. 1 Samuel 25:39

"David also took Ahinoam of Jezreel; and they were also both of them his wives." 1 Samuel 25:43

"But Saul had given Michal his daughter, David's wife," 1 Samuel 25:44

"Absalom the son of Maacah the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur;" 2 Samuel 3:3

"And the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith; and the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital; And the sixth, Ithream, by Eglah David's wife. These were born to David in Hebron." 2 Samuel 3:4-5

"And David took him more concubines and wives" 2 Samuel 5:13, 1 Chronicles 14:3

"And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; And I gave thee thy master's house, and thy master's wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things." 2 Samuel 12:7-8

"And David comforted Bathsheba his wife..." 2 Samuel 12:24

"And the king went forth, and all his household after him. And the king left ten women, which were concubines, to keep the house." 2 Samuel 15:16. (See also 2 Samuel 16:21-23.)

If you're reading this rant in a U.S. hotel room, chances are there's a Gideon Bible in the nightstand.  Here's an account of Gideon's record as a Baby-Daddy:

"And Gideon had threescore and ten sons of his body begotten: for he had many wives." Judges 8:30

Here's the wife count for Abraham's grandson Jacob, who had 4 Wives - Leah, Rachel, Bilhah and Zilpah:

"And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in unto her." Genesis 29:23

"And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also." Genesis 29:28

"And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid to wife: and Jacob went in unto her." Genesis 30:4

"When Leah saw that she had left bearing, she took Zilpah her maid, and gave her Jacob to wife." Genesis 30:9

And here's what Vander Plaat missed on racial justice and gender equality:

Deuteronomy 21:10-14 "When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and the Lord thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them captive, And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife; Then thou shalt bring her home to thine house; and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails; And she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife. And it shall be, if thou have no delight in her, then thou shalt let her go whither she will; but thou shalt not sell her at all for money, thou shalt not make merchandise of her, because thou hast humbled her."

Deuteronomy 20:14 "But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself"

And if you do go out and capture some foreigners, for god's sake please get 'em circumcised:

Genesis 17:13 "He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant."

Genesis 17:27 "And all the men of his house, born in the house, and bought with money of the stranger, were circumcised with him."

Mr. Vander Plaats and Mrs. Bachman, those are the traditional values conveyed by Jewish and Christian scripture. 

Those traditionas are wrong.  It's that simple.  They aren't wisdom, they aren't just, they aren't humane.  They're wrong.  Humans shouldn't own each other.  It's wrong.  Men shouldn't own women.  That is wrong.  I don't believe that it makes sense for someone to have 40 wives.  I don't think you believe it either. 

Those teachings aren't inspired.  They're the best that we could do at the time, based on what we knew. 

It's time to out grow them, not just on slavery and racism, but on the rights of our gay and lesbian friends. 
I almost forgot this one.  Mr. Bachman, why are you letting Michele out of the house so much?

Here's what happened when God saw that Eve had eaten from the Tree Of Knowledge, bringing sin into the world.  

Genesis 3:16   "To the woman, the Lord God said  'I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

Monday, July 11, 2011

Can you spot the difference between the genuine and the fake $100 bills?

This is a counterfeit $100 bill. 
Counterfeiters are printing them in China, and they are virtually indistinguishable from the ones that The Fed prints over on Blue Mound Road in Fort Worth. 

The FBI is working with the Secret Service to figure out how to stop these guys.  According to an agent that I met at a wedding, they're magnifying these fake bills to the size of a basketball court, and trying to detect little mistakes that will help distinguish these fakes from the real thing. 
This counterfeit money isn't backed by any commodity (gold, silver, etc.) and it could wreak havoc on our economy. 

This is a genuine $100 bill. 

There is almost no way to distinguish this one from the Chinese counterfeit one.  It isn't backed by any commodity (gold, silver, etc.) and it could wreak havoc on our economy. 

If you take either of these to a bank, you can swap them for 100 pictures of George Washington, or 20 pictures of Abraham Lincoln, or 5 pictures of Andrew Jackson.  The bank will not give you any gold or silver in exchange for them.  They are only worth what people think they're worth. 

Chinese counterfeiters and Ben Bernanke are both paying their bills with worthless paper.  All discussions of the new debt ceiling are fundamentally silly, because we've been paying our debts with worthless paper for about 35 years. 

In the meantime, don't bother looking at your paper money very closely.  All of it is fake.