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Sunday, January 30, 2005

Poll Question

Of course, I don't have the code here to set up a REAL poll. So, I'd like you all to answer this question by leaving a comment with your estimation.

Here's the question:

When will American forces completely leave Iraq?

Thank you for your time and responses.


A Response To Why

As you all know, when you leave a comment, there is a character limit. Of course, it doesn't TELL you what or where the character limit is. So you don't at what point your comment will get cut off.

Carson left a wonderful response to my question in the comment thingy. And shockingly, most of it got cut off. He emailed me the entirety of it. I've decided it would be good to post it, as he sent the most comprehensive answer(s) to the question.

I'll be posting my response to his response soon hereafter. But first, a preemptive comment now. My question was "Why was it worth American lives to invade Iraq?". Most of Carson's answers seem more to answer the question of "Why did we go in?". I know the questions sound very similiar, especcially for those of you who graduated from anywhere in the Jones County School District. But they are very, very different.

Now, without further ado, the History Doctor speaks:

Here are some possible reasons why, whether they are correct or incorrect is nothing more than speculation.

1. The belief that Iraq possessed WMD. If Iraq possessed no WMD why did they so staunchly resist inspections?

2. A strategy put forth by some Neo-Cons to bring democracy or "friendlier nations" into power in the Middle East. First Afghanistan, then Iraq, later Iran, and finally Syria. By bringing a new non-theocratic democracy to the region they hoped to usher in a new "enlightenment" that the Muslim world has never experienced. In doing so they would weaken the appeal of theocracy and extremism. Of course, they neglected the idea of nationalism in their plans with Iraq. A large minority of Sunnis aren't quite ready to give up their special privilege that they enjoyed under Saddam Hussein. In addition the massive influx of foreign fighters into the country was something that they assumed wouldn't happen.

3. To prosecute the war against terror. It was a commonly held belief of many world governments that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. If in the future he allied with terrorist organizations he could possibly provide them with WMD or components to create WMD or funds to bankroll terrorist organizations.

4. To finish the job that wasn't completed after the first Gulf War.

5. The belief that the Iraqis no longer wanted to live under Saddam Hussein. Neo-Cons and many others believed that Iraqis would welcome coalition forces as liberators. They believed the Iraqis would be willing to fight for their own democracy and that they themselves would be willing to root out foreign and domestic insurgents.

6. Saddam Hussein refused to give up power. Most likely if he would have stepped aside and weapons inspections continued unopposed then there would have been no reason for the invasion.

7. Americans want cheaper gas.

8. People make decisions based on their own judgment regardless of the facts. For instance smoking. People choose to smoke even though they know that the cigarettes have addictive and harmful chemicals. They cost hundreds of thousands of dollars over ones lifetime and they have no useful benefit other than to stimulate and suppress. In the same period of the war in Iraq more Americans have died due to smoking than soldiers in Iraq. Why invade Iraq? Why Smoke? Because people make decisions that others don't understand regardless of the facts.

9. Virtually every day that a U.S. plane flew in the No-Fly zone over Iraq they were shot at. So it is difficult for us to say that Saddam was no threat to us, because every time a U.S. pilot was in the No-Fly zone, sanctioned by the U.N., his life was in danger. Being shot at is a threat. Is this a trivial reason, yes, but it is a reason.

10. To create a place in the Middle East for U.S. military bases outside of Saudi Arabia.
Are any of these reason true? I don't know. But it is a sad attempt to try to answer a question that can't be answered by someone who didn't make the decisions to go to war.
Good question though.


Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Please Tell Me Why

As we reach President Bush’s Second Inauguration, I reflect back on the first term. The standout, of course, is Iraq. Yes, I like my tax cut too, but Iraq is the big thing. Obviously.

Iraq also seems to be the reason that Bush is even getting a second term. After all the votes were tallied, the exit polls and questionnaires done, Iraq is the reason Bush was re-elected. As a country, We didn’t want to dump our President in the middle of a war. For better or worse, We were standing with him.

So here we are, one year and ten months (minus one day) from the Invasion of Iraq on March 20, 2004. I’ve seen the pictures, I’ve heard the stories. I love the guys I know who are out there fighting, and I wish nothing more than a swift decisive victory and a safe voyage home. But I cannot look at this saga without this one burning question: Why?

Why was it worth EVEN ONE American death to invade Iraq? This should be a simple question to resolve, but no answers come. As we went into war, all the “reasons” presented crumbled, even though the statues of Saddam crumbled too. There were no WMD’s, there was no threat. And yet, there stands this:

Number of Operations Iraq Freedom and Enduring Freedom casualtiesas confirmed by U.S. Central Command:


One thousand, five hundred and nine of our brothers and sisters, our fathers and mothers, our friends and our countrymen, our patriots, have died. The belief that they have died in vain tears my heart out. And yet, I can find no purpose, no answer, no recompense, no reconciliation.

I ask all of you, if you have an answer, please, tell me why this war is worth so much death. I’m not trying to start an argument. I just want an honest answer. Thank you.

God bless our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines. And God be with the families of our fallen Patriots.

The List


Tuesday, January 18, 2005

The Riverman Remembers Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

We haven't forgotten the good doctor down here at the River. He did great things, and that is to be admired. Salut.

On a related note, you know what I really like? Hearing rich white guys tell everyone what Dr. King would be for/against if he were alive today. I think that's great because they are totally in tune with the Dr. and know everything about him and are psychic.

Plying ratings from a dead man. Shameless.


Monday, January 17, 2005

A Brother's Pointless Death

This was written recently by a school teacher in Los Angeles

It's Official: My Brother Died in Vain

After two years, the government has called off its fruitless hunt for WMD.

By Dante Zappala

01/14/05 "Los Angeles Times" -- This week, the White House announced, with little fanfare, that the two-year search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq had finally ended, and it acknowledged that no such weapons existed there at the time of the U.S. invasion in 2003.

For many, this may be a story of only passing interest. But for me and my family, it resonates with profound depth.

My brother was Sgt. Sherwood Baker. He was a member of the Pennsylvania National Guard deployed a year ago with his unit out of Wilkes-Barre. He said goodbye to his wife and his 9-year-old son, boarded a bus and went to Ft. Dix, N.J., to be hastily retrained. His seven years of Guard training as a forward observer was practically worthless because he would not face combat. All he needed to do was learn how to not die

.He received a crash course in convoy security, including practice in running over cardboard cutouts of children. We bought him a GPS unit and walkie-talkies because he wasn't supplied with them. In Iraq, Sherwood was assigned to the Iraq Survey Group and joined the search for weapons of mass destruction.

David Kay, who led the group until January 2004, had already stated that they did not exist. Former United Nations weapons inspector Hans Blix had expressed serious doubts about their presence during prewar inspections. In fact, a cadre of former U.N. inspectors and U.S. generals had been saying for years that Iraq posed no threat to our country. On April 26, 2004, the Iraq Survey Group, at the behest of the stubborn administration sitting safely in office buildings in Washington, was still on its fruitless but dangerous search. My brother stood atop his Humvee, securing the perimeter in front of a suspect building in Baghdad. But as soldiers entered the building, it exploded; the official cause is still not known. Sherwood was struck by debris in the back of his head and neck, and he was killed.

Since that day, my family and I have lived with the grief of losing a loved one. We have struggled to explain his death to his son. We have gazed at the shards of life scattered at our feet, in wonder of its fragility, in perpetual catharsis with God.

I have moved from frustration to disappointment to anger. And now I have arrived at a place not of understanding but of hope — blind hope that this will change.

The Iraq Survey Group's final report, which was filed in October but revealed only on Wednesday, confirmed what we knew all along. And as my mother cried in the kitchen, the nation barely blinked.

I am left now with a single word seared into my consciousness: accountability. The chance to hold our administration's feet to that flame has passed. But what of our citizenry? We are the ones who truly failed. We shut down our ability to think critically, to listen, to converse and to act. We are to blame.

Even with every prewar assumption having been proved false, today more than 130,000 U.S. soldiers are trying to stay alive in a foreign desert with no clear mission at hand.

At home, the sidelines are overcrowded with patriots. These Americans cower from the fight they instigated in Iraq. In a time of war and record budget deficits, many are loath to even pay their taxes. In the end, however, it is not their family members who are at risk, and they do not sit up at night pleading with fate to spare them.

Change is vital. We must remind ourselves that the war with Iraq was not a mistake but rather a flagrant abuse of power by our leaders — and a case of shameful negligence by the rest of us for letting it happen. The consequence is more than a quagmire. The consequence is the death of our national treasure — our soldiers.

We are all accountable. We all share the responsibility of what has been destroyed in our name. Let us begin to right the wrongs we have done to our country by accepting that responsibility.

Dante Zappala is a part-time teacher in Los Angeles. E-mail: dante.zappala@lycos.com


Saturday, January 15, 2005

I'm Annoyed At Hannity...Again

If he wasn't such a loud, blatant liar and propagandist, he'd be easier to ignore. But he is, so I can't, so I write. This time it is, once again, about hypocrisy. More specifically, it is about double standards. The guy rants quite often about how horrible Liberals are, and how bad they are for having double standards about this and that. And of course, he claims complete purity in regard to this sin. Those of you with brains realize that is a bit of a lie. He proved this again, on tonight's Hannity and Colmes.

The issue was the recent governors' race in Washington State. After counting the ballots on election night, the Republican Dino Rossi was announced the winner by 261 votes. After a machine recount, his lead had dwindled to 42 votes. Then, after a hand recount, his Democratic rival Christine Gregoire won by 129 votes. I find that whole situation very odd in the first place, but that's not where my problem is tonight. And if you'd like to read more about the election story as it stood before you continue, you can click here.

Now begins my problem. Dino Rossi is now trying to have a new election decreed. I don't really have a problem with that; I don't know all the facts really to sort it all out. Besides, I don't live in WA, so it doesn't really matter. What gets me is that Hannity is vociferously FOR the new election.

Why? I can't find any writings of his reflecting what he said about it tonight, but this blog entry mentions the exact same points he brought up to defend that a new election was needed.

Some examples of the points (on the blog and also mentioned by Hannity tonight):

At least 1,200 more votes were counted in Seattle's King County than the number of individual voters who can be accounted for,

Some felons were turning out to vote.

People voted more than once.

Representative John Conyers sees many problems in the recent Presidential election in Ohio. He’s not asking for a new election. He’s not even asking for a recount. He’s asking for Congress to look into the “irregularities” in Ohio, and if necessary, take action. Click here for John Conyers' report on why he thinks there Congress should inquire into the problems.

Some of his points arguing for a Congressional inquiry in Ohio:

...the voting records of Perry county show significantly more votes than voters in some precincts, significantly less ballots than voters in other precincts...

...voters casting more than one ballot...

People who NOT felons were not being allowed to vote because the rolls listed them as felons.

Now, I recognize that some of Rep. Conyers' points are a bunch of race-card-pandering. But some, like the above, are quite legit. So, OH and WA have many of the same problems in their elections. Therefore, since Hannity has no double standard, he must be for a Congressional look into voting problems in Ohio too, right? Of course not, because he is a liar.

Now, I'm tired and going to bed. Why don't some of you email Mr. Hannity and ask him why he has this double standard? That'd be good.

Sweet dreams.


Thursday, January 13, 2005

The Bush Administration's Policy Of Propaganda
The Williams Case Is Not A Fluke

As I mentioned in a comment on my piece about Armstrong Williams, this is not the first or only instance where our Administration is trying to cast their postions and opinions as true, unbiased news. Click here to go to the page I took the following excerpts from.

The Government Accountability Office, an investigative arm of Congress, said on Thursday that the Bush administration violated federal law by producing and distributing television news segments about the effects of drug use among young people. The accountability office said the videos "constitute covert propaganda" because the government was not identified as the source of the materials, which were distributed by the Office of National Drug Control Policy. They were broadcast by nearly 300 television stations and reached 22 million households, the office said.

I'll be posting further examples as I find them.

NewsMax Gets It Wrong Again

This is no shock to me, nor should it be to anyone familiar with the right-wing "news" site, NewsMax.com. Here's the article I take issue with at the moment:


Here's the title of the article and the first paragraph:

Media Targets Armstrong Williams

When one of the nation's few African American commentators takes the Republican side, expect him to become a target.

So it is with Armstrong Williams.

The MEDIA targets Williams? How? Our government PAID HIM TO PROMOTE ONE OF THEIR WORTHLESS MONEY PIT PROGRAMS! People found out about it, people were not happy. He basically took a bribe. And these idiots say that the Media is targetting him? Ok, yeah, then they targeted Jason Blair with the NYT, and they targetted Bill Clinton too right?

When you're a big shot and you screw up and get caught, it shows up on the news. That's a pretty basic concept. Pardon me if i'm not shocked that the neanderthals at NewsMax can't grasp it.


Saturday, January 08, 2005

New Details on the Michael Jackson Case

I won't get into details here, as this is a family oriented site. Or some crap like that. Anyway, head over here to this page at The Smoking Gun, and read all the details. Of course, he's still completely innocent though.

Another Shocking Story: Someone Who Worked for Hillary Clinton Has Been Indicted

You can find the story here.

Well, it seems that the director of finance for Hillary's 2000 Senate campaign has been indicted on federal charges of filing bogus financial reports with the FEC. It's always sad to me that the little guys get indicted while the big fish, or sharks, are free to roam the ocean killing as neccessary. (not literally) I find it doubtfull that Hillary had no idea any of this was going on, but of course, that doesn't really matter. Remember, truth is irrelevant.

11 Year Old Students Forced to Be Strip Searched In School Because of a Lost Ten Dollar Bill

You can read the story here. Somehow, someone's $10 bill came missing. All the 11 and 12 year old students that were, I assume, around when the bill was lost were forced to strip to their underwear in a search for the bill. I'm sorry, but 10 bucks does not neccessitate a strip search.

When I was in high school our little clip on cop would often stop and frisk random kids for no apparent reason. In my opinion, when I was frisked it was more like molestation than a search. And now the jackboots who seem to run schools nowadays have the authority to strip search little kids to look for a $10 bill? Have we no standards of privacy anymore?

Talking Head Armstrong Williams Takes Money From the Department of Education to promote the NCLB Act

You can check out the story here.

Armstrong Williams a fairly well-known talking head, and he also has some TV show on a cable access channel that is now syndicated and a radio show. The DoE gave Williams $241,000 to plug the No Child Left Behind Act. This seems a tad reprehensible to me and, quite possibly, illegal as well. He made several appearances on CNN and other networks to discuss the NCLBA, among other things. Prior to and during these appearances, Williams did not disclose his contract with the DoE. Does this sound ok to anyone?

We have here our government bribing a journalist, or at least a person many people assume is a true journalist, so that he will spout propaghanda about their newest product. This is sick. This worthy of a KGB operation.

Remember kids, the government is good and does not lie to us or try to mislead us.


Sweet dreams.

I Didn't Vote For Bush Either...But Geez Lady. Get A Grip

Sen. Barbara Boxer wipes away (a probably fake) tear as she announced her objection to the certification of Ohio's electoral votes.


Friday, January 07, 2005

Hannity Lies Some More Re: Cupertino "Banning" Of US Constitution

Recently there was a Hannity and Colmes special entitled "Take Back America" or some crap like that. Here's a link concerning the overall situation and the teacher's appearence on the show, because I don't want to repeat the whole story again. Anyway, I found this good piece over at HannityIsAMoron.com. Enjoy.

Hannity lies about the banning the declaration of independence What else would you expect from this Serial liar?Hannity and Colmes had a broadcast from Cupertino, CA using the ironically titled "Take Back America" slogan. As many of you are aware in the News Stephen Williams, a Teacher is challenging his school after they barred him from teaching certain materials in his Classroom. The mainstream media picked up on this and miss reported the situation as "banning the Declaration of independence" which never actually happened. After a complaint from parents the Principle decided to review his lesson plans to make sure he didn't cross into "evangelizing". The school did not ban any founding document and there isn't any proof that anyone on either side can produce that says otherwise.

This is the reason Sean is dangerous, he is a history revisionist.

This is a bigger argument than Sean lying about the situation at that school, it's the rewriting of our history. The Founding fathers were a savvy group of men who knew the evils of state run religions, we can look no further than Iran to see what that's like for ourselves. The reason "creator" and "god" are ambiguous is to protect us from "Church Authority" and all that implies. The idea that this is a Christian nation founded by Christians isn't found anywhere in the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution nor is it found in the writings of our founding fathers. If this is a Christian nation, where is Jesus or Jehovah written in our Founding documents? Where in our founding documents does it say specifically that our rights are granted by Jesus Christ or Jehovah? No one can deny that many of the founding fathers were Christians of deep faith nor should we deny what quite a few of them were not Christian. To omit the fact that John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Ben Franklin were not Christians, to ignore a very important part of our history is a crime against every American.

Revisionists have to lie in order to sell their warped views. During the show Sean lied twice about James Madison and his stance on chaplains, Madison was against paying Chaplains because he believed that established a national religion and Madison never hired the first Chaplains it was a Committee that did so in April and May of 1789. Sean of course dismissed this and tried to move on. even when Mr. Williams said and I quote about the banning of the Declaration of Independence "[My students have] read the Declaration, so that's a little bit of a stretch", not for Hannity it isn't; he goes on to say it again, Media matters has the video of Sean lying AFTER he was told by the man who is suing the school to quote Mr. Williams again "a little bit of a stretch".

This isn't an attack against people of faith or Christians, it's against someone preaching to children presenting them a point of view that isn't supported by the facts. This question goes to the Methodist parents who will read this, do you want Pentecostals to teach your children about Christ and religion if their teaching are slanted to support their beliefs and not yours? for you Conservatives out there, the real ones do you want Government run schools preaching to your children or would you prefer to teach your children your moral values and not trust it some teacher's interpretation? I don't want some teacher to evangelize my children, if I decide to raise my Children in the Church I want them to read the bible, I want them to learn the values and Morals that make up who I am and trust that they make the right choices in life; that's my right as a parent and I will not demote that responsibility to a public school teacher and have their views forced on my kids, especially if I don't raise them as Christians. Our Currency didn't originally have "In God we trust" printed or pressed with those words, they were added later much like the Pledge of allegiance didn't have "under god" until 1950's but to say this is a traditional stance is absurd or to remove either from the pledge or our currency is some how sacrilege, what does it say about you? Is your faith so weak that you need to be reminded in whom you trust by looking at your change? Your faith should be stronger. I could care less if either stays or goes, words pressed on Nickels and Dimes wont change my Spiritual beliefs about God or anything else, I know where I am and what I believe reciting words won't change that.

This is not a petty Liberal Vs Conservative debate and if we treat it as such America will suffer for it. I don't trust man to speak for God, in Western civilization we had that it was called the Dark Ages. This country cannot slide into a theological nation, the balance needs to be kept or what America is now will disappear. They will use the bible to start wars, deny certain people health care, support slavery again, segregation of certain people will return. Women will return to being Property because it is all supported by certain interpretations of the Bible. People of all faiths hold very different political views from each other, I personally know Republican Atheists and Muslims as well as devote, very Liberal Christians in fact Socialism has it's roots in the Christian community so Republicans have not right to claim Jesus or faith as their own, what we as Americans have the right to claim is to practice those beliefs without the government telling us what to believe or pushing their God on us. God is not a Liberal or Conservative and we cannot let anyone speak differently to that, God isn't about privitizing social security it's what your faith or lack there of teaches you God is.

If anyone has doubts that Sean is a liar after reading this, you're in my prayers!

Here's my hate mail address, because I know I'm going to get some.

And the views expressed are mine and mine alone


Thursday, January 06, 2005

Anti-Semitism Series Post #3

Seeing a pattern here?

AP From YahooNews

Anti-Semitism Rising, State Dept. Says

Tue Jan 4, 3:27 PM ET
By BARRY SCHWEID, AP Diplomatic Writer
WASHINGTON - A rise in the number of Muslims in Western Europe, many of them poor and uneducated, is contributing to an increase in already deeply rooted anti-Semitism there, the State Department said in a report to Congress.

However, far-right groups still account for a significant proportion of attacks on Jews and Jewish property, the report said.
In eastern Europe, skinheads and other members of the radical political fringe are responsible for most anti-Semitic incidents, according to the report, obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press.
In Russia, Belarus and elsewhere in the former Soviet Union, anti-Semitism remained a serious problem, with most incidents carried out by ultra-nationalists and other far-right elements.
"The stereotype of Jews as manipulators of the global economy continues to provide fertile grounds for anti-Semitic aggression," said the report to the Senate and House foreign relations committees.
The report, which covered the period between July 2003 and December 2004, gave no worldwide totals but did include statistics provided by some countries.
There are dwindling Jewish populations in the North Africa and the Middle East, except for Israel, and there are few incidents involving Jews who remain in those areas. But Syria condones and supports "a virulent domestic anti-Semitism" as government-supported media demonize Israel and its leaders, the report said.

Continued here

Anti-Semitism Series Post #2

From Reuters

Remember the lovely "moderate" Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas that was going to bring about a time of peace now that Arafat is gone?

Palestinian Leader Assails 'Zionist Enemy'

By Nidal al-Mughrabi
BEIT LAHIYA, Gaza Strip (Reuters) - Moderate Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas called Israel "the Zionist enemy" for the first time on Tuesday after an Israeli tank killed seven Palestinian youths in a Gaza strawberry field.
The words were certain to stir concerns in Israel where images of Abbas embracing fighters during the campaign for a Jan. 9 election have led some to question hopes for reviving peace talks after Yasser Arafat's death.
The Israeli army said it had targeted militants who had crept into the strawberry field and fired mortar bombs into a nearby Jewish settlement in the occupied territory.
Palestinian witnesses and medics in Beit Lahiya, a north Gaza village, said the militants had vanished by the time the tank shell crashed and all the dead were youths aged 11-17 from two farming families. Four people were critically wounded.
The field, where farmers had been harvesting strawberries, was spattered with blood and body parts.
Word of the incident clearly angered Abbas, widely tipped to win the presidential election, as he continued campaigning in the Gaza Strip despite further fighting between militants and the Israeli army.
"We are praying for the souls of our martyrs who fell today to the shells of the Zionist enemy," Abbas told a rally in the south Gaza refugee camp of Khan Younis, a hotbed of militants.
It was Abbas's first known resort to the language of radicals sworn to Israel's destruction. Abbas, 69, long known as a relative moderate, has raised peace hopes since Arafat's death by condemning militant violence in favor of talks with Israel.
Violence has abated in the West Bank but intensified in Gaza and Palestinian officials said a fresh series of Israeli army incursions threatened to disrupt the election for a successor to Arafat that is critical to chances of reviving peacemaking.
"These attacks are seriously harming the election process," cabinet minister Saeb Erekat said as Abbas stumped in Khan Younis, where nine Palestinians were killed in an armored Israeli sweep at the weekend.
Israel says it is responding to intensifying mortar and rocket fire by roving bands of militants who have spurned Abbas's call for restraint to help him revive negotiations in pursuit of a Palestinian state in Israeli-occupied land.


Love those moderates....

Anti-Semitism Series Post #1

From the Jerusalem Post

Britons rank Israel 'worst country'


Jan. 4, 2005

British people rate Israel as the country least deserving of international respect, as well as one of the world's "least democratic countries," according to a recent survey.
Research company 'YouGov' carried out a survey for the British Telegraph, asking Britons to rate almost two-dozen countries on the basis of 12 different criteria.
The online survey was carried out on 2,058 adults across Great Britain between December 17 and 20.The respondents were required to rate the three best and three worst countries according to those criteria.
Israel was ranked number one country where British people would least like to live or visit on holiday. Out of several other criteria measured, Russia alone scored lower overall than Israel.
Israel gained the title of the world's least beautiful country and New Zealand the prettiest.
In addition, Israel was rated the most unfriendly country after France and Germany.
Australia, New Zealand and Canada were among the most favored countries.
Results regarding America were mixed, with 19 percent of Britons regarding the US as "most deserving of international respect," and 25% rating America as "least deserving of international respect."
More Britons ranked America as the least safe country than those who thought the same of Israel, Egypt or South Africa.
In response to the poll, Zvi Hefetz, Israel's ambassador to England, told Channel 2 that the poll was "not a big deal."
"I would not give it too much attention. Polls are a dangerous thing anyway. Other polls show that 49% of Britons wouldn't even like to live in their own country.
"I think this poll does more injustice to the British than it does to Israel," Hefetz said.
Israel's Tourism Ministry said some 131,000 Britons visited Israel in 2004, a 44% increase from 2003.
United Jewish Israel Appeal UK spokesperson, Beverley Kaye, commented to The Jerusalem Post that "this survey showed an interesting perspective bearing in mind the small sample number, which represents the number of Telegraph readers in the UK."


Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Another "Fetus" Death

You can find the story here

I'll summarize it for you if you don't want to read it. Recently in Michigan two teens, a male 16 years old and a female whose age is not given but is implicitly a minor, conceive a child. Over the course two weeks BOTH teens strike the mother’s stomach with a bat. The “strikes” apparently left no bruises, so it seems they were not severe enough to cause the girl pain.

After this two weeks, the girl miscarries. For some idiotic reason the girl talks about the series of events, post facto, at a high school leadership conference. Apparently she was giving a speech. It baffles my mind why she would get into this in the speech, but I digress. One of the adults supervising the conference hears the speech and of course calls the cops. They investigate, and according to the medical examiner the fetus was not viable at the time and was very premature.

I can’t tell by the article if both kids are arrested or not, but the boy is eventually charged. He is charged with “Intentional conduct against a pregnant individual resulting in miscarriage or stillbirth”. This is a felony punishable by up to fifteen years in prison under a Michigan law passed in 1999. Under this law, the person making the “intentional conduct against the pregnant individual” is liable for the felony. And, even though BOTH teens did the poking with the bat, under this law the pregnant individual can NOT be held criminally liable, EVEN IF SHE ACTED IN THE “CRIME”.

Now this brings up a couple of points I’d like to address. The first is the hypocrisy of the system and the double standard of “babies” and “fetuses” or “fetal mass” and so forth. Had the mother gone to an abortion clinic and filled all the requisite forms, paid the money, etc she could have terminated the pregnancy quite legally. Now, I realize that I’m assuming the age of the “fetus” is young enough to allow a legal abortion, but that is what the article seems to imply.

So, a mother CHOOSES to abort the baby, she simply CHOOSES to do by herself with the father of the child. And this is illegal. The same end occurs, the same intent is there, and yet the father is in jail. I simply don’t comprehend this.

As I’ve said before, there is only one way to stop this hypocrisy and double standard between abortion and murdering fetuses. A universal standard must be set as to at what age a fetus becomes a child. At that point, the child would attain all the rights of any other person. If the child dies, for whatever reason, someone is criminally liable for murder. This MUST be done.
The second issue I’ll be addressing is the double standard between men and women. Both teens did the EXACT SAME act with the EXACT SAME intent. I understand one can’t be charged for bruising one’s self, but the male is not charged with injury to the female, only to the fetus. Why then would not the woman be charged? As a mother does she have the right to hit herself until she miscarries? If so, then why not allow her to ask someone to help, if she so desires. Personally, I think neither should be charged or even arrested in this incident. But if charges are levied, they should come down equally.

Finally, I simply reiterate that we must set a certain limit on when a fetus becomes a child. It would be binding medically and legally. This would solve a number of problems, and moreover would solve the blatant duplicity so often exhibited in such issues.

I'm So Cool

I just took one of those Left Brain/Right Brain tests. As usual, I got a perfect 50 50 split. Here's my results:

Which Side Do You Use? You responded as a right brained person to 9 questions, and you responded as a left brained person to 9questions. According to the Hemispheric Dominance test, you use your left brain the most. The summary briefly describes your dominance type. Remember, this only represents half of the picture. After you read the description, click on the link at the bottom of the page to find out how to use this information to improve your study strategies. Do not forget to print your results, if your instructor has requested you to do so.Some of the traits associated with the left side of the brain are listed in the table. Not all of the traits will apply to you. Remember, we use both side of our brain, but your left sides gets the most exercise. Linear Processing information from part to whole; in a straight forward logical progression. Sequential Processing information in order from first to last. Symbolic Processes symbols an pictures; likes to use letters, words and mathematical symbols. Logical Processes information piece by piece using logic to solve a problem. Verbal Processes thoughts and ideas with words. Reality-Based Processes information based on reality; focuses on rules and regulations

he explanation of the results:

Left Vs. Right

Which Side Are You On?

Take The Hemispheric Brain Dominance Test

Basic Right Brain and Left Brain Characteristics

In general the left and right hemispheres of your brain process information in different ways. We tend to process information using our dominant side. However, the learning and thinking process is enhanced when both side of the brain participate in a balanced manner. This means strengthening your less dominate hemisphere of the brain. Listed below are information processing styles that are characteristically used by your right or left brain hemisphere. Read the information below to help you understand how your brain processes information. Pay attention to your less dominant style so that you can learn how to improve it.

Linear Vs. Holistic Processing

Logical Vs. Intuitive

Sequential Vs. Random Processing

Verbal Vs. Nonverbal Processing

Symbolic Vs. Concrete Processing

Reality-Based Vs. Fantasy-Oriented Processing


Linear Vs. Holistic Processing

The left side of the brain processes information in a linear manner. It processes from part to whole. It takes pieces, lines them up, and arranges them in a logical order; then it draws conclusions. The right brain however, processes from whole to parts, holistically. It starts with the answer. It sees the big picture first, not the details. If you are right-brained, you may have difficulty following a lecture unless you are given the big picture first. That is why it is absolutely necessary for a right-brained person to read an assigned chapter or background information before a lecture or to survey a chapter before reading. If an instructor doesn't consistently give an overview before he or she begins a lecture, you may need to ask at the end of class what the next lecture will be and how you can prepare for it. If you are predominantly right-brained, you may also have trouble outlining (You've probably written many papers first and outlined them latter because an outline was required). You're the student who needs to know why you are doing something. Left-brained students would do well to exercise their right-brain in such a manner.

Sequential Vs. Random Processing

In addition to thinking in a linear manner, the left brain processes in sequence. The left brained person is a list maker. If you are left brained, you would enjoy making master schedules and and daily planning. You complete tasks in order and take pleasure in checking them off when they are accomplished. Likewise, learning things in sequence is relatively easy for you. For example, spelling involves sequencing - if you are left-brained, you are probability a good speller. The left brain is also at work in the linear and sequential processing of math and in following directions.

By, contrast, the approach of the right-brained student is random. If you are right-brained, you may flit from one tack to another. You will get just as much done, but perhaps without having addressed priorities. An assignment may be late or incomplete, not because you weren't working but because you were working on something else. You were ready to rebel when asked to make study schedules for the week. But because of the random nature of your dominant side, you must make lists, and you must make schedules. This may be your only hope for survival in college. You should also make a special effort to read directions. Oh yes, the mention of spelling makes you cringe. Use the dictionary, carry a Franklin speller, use the spell checker on your computer. Never turn in an assignment without proofing for spelling. Because the right side of the brain is color sensitive, you might try using colors to learn sequence, making the first step green, the second blue, the last red. Or you may want to "walk" a sequence, either by physically going from place to place or by imagining it. For the first step of the sequence, you might walk to the frond door; for the second, to the kitchen; for the third, to the den, etc. Or make Step One a certain place or thing in you dorm room or study place, and Step Two another. If you consistently use the same sequence, you will find that this strategy is transferable to many tasks involving sequence.

Symbolic Vs. Concrete Processing

The left brain has no trouble processing symbols. Many academic pursuits deal with symbols-such as letters, words, and mathematical notations. The left brained person tends to be comfortable with linguistic and mathematical endeavors. Left-brained students will probably just memorize vocabulary words or math formulas. The right brain, on the other hand, wants things to be concrete. The right brain person wants to see, feel, or touch the real object. Right brain students may have had trouble learning to read using phonics. They prefer to see words in context, to see how the formula works. To use your right brain, create opportunities for hands-on activities, use something real whenever possible. You may also want to draw out a math problem or illustrate your notes.

Logical Vs. Intuitive Processing

The left brain processes in a linear, sequential, logical manner. When you process on the left side, you use information piece by piece to solve a math problem or work out a science experiment. When you read and listen, you look for the pieces so that you can draw logical conclusions. If you process primarily on the right side of the brain, you use intuition. You may know the right answer to a math problem but not be sure how you got it. You may have to start with the answer and work backwards. On a quiz, you have a gut feeling as to which answers are correct, and you are usually right. In writing, it is the left brain that pays attention to mechanics such as spelling, agreement, and punctuation. But the right side pays attention to coherence and meaning; that is, your right brain tells you it "feels" right.

Verbal Vs. Nonverbal Processing

Left brain students have little trouble expressing themselves in words. Right brain students may know what they mean, but often have trouble finding the right words. The best illustration of this is to listen to people give directions. The left brain person will say something like "From here, go west three blocks and turn north on Vine Street. Go three or four miles and then turn east onto Broad Street." The right brain person will sound something like this: "Turn right (pointing right), by the church over there (pointing again). Then you will pass a McDonalds and a Walmart. At the next light, turn right toward the BP station." So how is this relevant to planning study strategies? Right brain students need to back up everything visually. If it's not written down, they probably won't remember it. And it would be even better for right brain students to illustrate it. They need to get into the habit of making a mental video of things as they hear or read them. Right brain students need to know that it may take them longer to write a paper and the paper may need more revision before it says what they want it to say. This means allowing extra time when a writing assignment is due.

Reality-Based Vs. Fantasy-Oriented Processing

The left side of the brain deals with things the way they are-with reality. When left brain students are affected by the environment, they usually adjust to it. Not so with right brain students. They try to change the environment! Left brain people want to know the rules and follow them. In fact, if there are no rules for situations, they will probably make up rules to follow! Left brain students know the consequences of not turning in papers on time or of failing a test. But right brain students are sometimes not aware that there is anything wrong. So, if you are right brain, make sure you constantly ask for feedback and reality checks. It's too late the day before finals to ask if you can do extra credit. Keep a careful record of your assignments and tests. Visit with your professor routinely. While this fantasy orientation may seem a disadvantage, in some cases it is an advantage. The right brain student is creative. In order to learn about the digestive system, you may decide to "become a piece of food! And since emotion is processed on the right side of the brain, you will probably remember well anything you become emotionally involved in as you are trying to learn.

These are just some of the differences that exist between the left and right hemispheres, but you can see a pattern. Because left brain strategies are the ones used most often in the classroom, right brain students sometimes feel inadequate. However, you now know that you can be flexible and adapt material to the right side of your brain. Likewise, those of you who are predominantly left brain know that it would be wise to use both sides of the brain and employ some right brain strategies.

So there you have it. If you would like to take the test, click here.


Sunday, January 02, 2005

Stop Labeling Books Before You Read Them. Or At Least Not Before They Are Even Released.

Christine Todd Whitman is a former New Jersey governor. She also was the person Bush first appointed to head the Environmental Protection Agency. She has now written a book called It's My Party Too: Taking Back the Republican Party - and Bringing the Country Together Again. I have seen this book characterized on several websites as “another Bush bashing book”. The clever alliteration aside, this is a completely useless statement, and in this case not correct. At least it’s incorrect as I can tell so far.

The basic premise of the book is this:

Whitman gives the reader an inside prospective on how the Republican party has been “hijacked” by “social fundamentalists”, right-wing extremists, etc. She explains why this is a bad thing for the party and that to retain its power and legitimacy it must make genuinely reach more to the middle.

That doesn’t sound much like Bush bashing to me. Sure, she takes some swipes at the administration for being too far right and catering to fundamentalists and extremists. But again, that’s not bashing. She’s just telling like it is. Now, as I’ve chided, I too will delay final judgment until I can see the book. My point is simply that it’s sad that anyone who even lightly criticizes the current administration is always labeled a “Bush Basher” at best and traitorous or un-American at worst. It’s a sad state.

I Need Help

Yes we all know you need help badly…hahaha…ok I get the joke. Anyway, I need your suggestions. I’ve got part of a story here, but I have no idea where it’s going. I’d like you guys and gals to give me plot suggestions. Any input would be appreciated

Maybe December

By the riverman

Traction control. It’s amazing what technology can do for you. Or not. That’s all I could think about while I was spinning, “you know, if my car had traction control like my brother’s ten year old Saturn, would I be waiting to die right now?” Looking back, I find it hard to believe that I was able to construct such a line of logic in such a short, and chaotic, time. But that’s the last thing I can remember thinking. Traction control. The next thing I remember, is waking up in traction.

The snow had come in suddenly, as it always does in east Tennessee. If it comes at all. I think it was around the twelfth of January. I had watched the forcast that morning. High of 33, low of 19. Cloudy. Chance of rain or sleet. But no mention of snow.

I had dropped out of school the previous semester for no reason in particular. Which, and perhaps this was the problem, was exactly the same reasoning with which I had entered college in the first place. I’d lost track of the number of semesters I’d begun and never finished. I had thought of returning to school for the spring semester, but I’d long since given up that delusion.

It was a Friday, and I had nothing to do. As usual. I stayed home most of the day reading a few different articles of interest on the Web. Thoughts on the war, technology trends, political ravings. It was a cold, dreary day. The kind I liked, so I decided I’d head out for a bit.

My first stop, I decided, would be The Tablet, a small bookstore cum café that I’d begun to frequent as I grew more comfortable with the town.


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