20071230

Benazir Bhutto - "Omar Sheikh, the man who murdered, Osama Bin Laden"

update on Saturday, Apr 17, 2010: More information about how her death was preventable here: http://www.hindu.com/2010/04/17/stories/2010041756041600.htm

According to a YouTube video posted by AlJazeeraEnglish on November 3, 2007, former Pakistan Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto, stated in an interview that Omar Sheikh murdered Osama Bin Laden.  It occurs at 6:10 into the video.  It's interesting to note that during the interview she was not corrected by the journalist.  According to the US Government Bin Laden is still alive.  I say this because Bin Laden is still on the FBI's Top Ten Wanted List.  Obviously there is an error somewhere.  Either Bhutto made a mistake in her statement and the media that published the video didn't notice or Bin Laden is dead and Bhutto was killed to silence her.  Perhaps the truth is somewhere in between.

20071227

College Bowl Pickem!

Late but I've been away from a computer for a while...

Rare Hero would like you to join their group in Yahoo! Sports College Bowl Pick'em!

To accept the invitation, just follow this link. For reference, here's the group information.

Group ID#: 45909

-- College Bowl Pick'em Commissioner
http://football.fantasysports.yahoo.com/bowl

20071204

2 posts in one!!!

First, here is further commentary on my previous post:
Today the Arizona State University State Press reported about a recent sexual assault. The reporter wrote about the crime in the passive voice.

"ASU police are investigating a sexual assault on a female ASU student that occurred on Alpha Drive early Sunday morning..."

This portrayal of the events takes the pressure off of the suspect. That opening sentence should have looked like this:

"ASU police are investigating a sexual assault, in which a male sexually assaulted a female ASU student."

Notice the change. This is a more honest portrayal of the crime but the reporter and editor failed to write it this way. Unfortunately the media often reports male on female sexual assaults in the passive voice.

For the original article go here.
For "my" edited article go here.
To write the state press to say they need to improve the way they report sexual assaults click here.

Second, on Saturday I went to the Arizona State University & Arizona football game.  Unfortunately I allowed myself to be a bystander.  I just stood there, doing nothing, while some guys were harassing some girls.  This was happening not more than 10 feet away.  I could see it clear as day but I just stood there and let it happen.  

How can I claim to be a champion of the oppressed if I remain silent?  Lesson is to never just be a bystander.  Take action.  I think about numerous times where I've failed to take action and they really gnaw away at my self respect, as if I'm shaming myself.

Male sexually assaults ASU student on Alpha Drive

Police don't think suspect affiliated with Greek Life
Originally by Matt Culbertson, edited by Rare Hero
published on Tuesday, December 4, 2007

ASU police are investigating a sexual assault, in which a male sexually assaulted a female ASU student. This occurred on Alpha Drive early Sunday morning — the third such investigation on fraternity row since September.

Police don't think the suspect is an ASU student, said Cmdr. Jim Hardina, an ASU police spokesman.

The suspect, described as a white male in his early 20s, met the victim, at a fraternity party on Alpha Drive after the ASU football game Saturday, Hardina said.

"This is an acquaintance rape that we're investigating," he said.

Police don't know if the suspect is involved with a fraternity, Hardina added.

Interfraternity Council President Davey Breitman said Alpha Drive saw "usual football game traffic" Saturday night.

"I absolutely want to see the individuals responsible for the sexual assault apprehended for what they did," said Breitman, a journalism and finance junior.

At a private IFC meeting Monday, fraternity presidents and delegates were told to talk to police about anything that would help the investigation, Breitman said.

Police told Alpha Drive fraternities that the suspect was not a fraternity member, he said.

"At this point, as far as we have heard and as far as what has been said, this (suspect) has no affiliation with Greek life," Breitman said. "It's just unfortunate that the sexual assault occurred near Greek facilities."

The Greek Community at ASU has seen bad publicity because of sexual assault allegations occurring on Alpha Drive, Breitman said.

In September, ASU police launched investigations into two separate allegations of sexual assault on Alpha Drive, both involving ASU fraternity members.

An investigation into an alleged assault on Sept. 14 involving the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity on Alpha Drive was closed two weeks later, and no one was charged.

"We weren't able to prove what happened one way or another," Hardina said in an Oct. 2 State Press article.

In the alleged incident, a Delta Sigma Phi fraternity member was suspected of assaulting an 18-year-old female ASU student.

A second investigation into a Sept. 18 sexual assault involving the on-campus Sigma Nu fraternity is still ongoing, but will likely be dropped, Hardina said in an Oct. 26 State Press article.

The case, involving a Sigma Nu fraternity member, will be resolved when blood tests show whether or not the victim of the alleged assault had date-rape drugs in her system, Hardina said.

"I doubt the blood will come back with anything other than alcohol," Hardina said.

Results from the test could take months, but ASU police have no evidence that an assault took place, Hardina said.

Breitman said any individual would take offense to the alleged sexual assault on Sunday.

"At this point we just want to see vindication for the victim," Breitman said.


I edited this because the article was written in a passive voice that focuses on the victim of the crime, not on the perpetrator. You can find the original article here: ASU student sexually assaulted on Alpha Drive

20071129

save some energy, save some green

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average American household spends $1,900 each year on energy costs. About half of that covers heating and cooling; the rest goes to lighting, appliances and home electronics. With that in mind, here are some big things—and smaller things—that you can do to make your energy dollar go farther:

The Small Things—



Seal up your home. Patch up and caulk any holes to the outside or your attic. Add weather strips to your exterior doors, as well as doors to the basement and attic. Consider adding insulation to your attic, and to your water heater and the pipes leading from it. Close the flue damper in your fireplace whenever it's not in use.


Maintain your furnace. Have a professional check and clean your furnace each fall to achieve maximum efficiency and safety. And remember to change the filter regularly (check the manufacturer's recommendations).


Turn down the thermostat. This is probably the easiest advice to follow. Set your thermostat between 66 and 68° during the day; even lower at night. The EPA indicates you'll lower your energy bills 5% for every degree lower you set the thermostat for the duration of the winter. Even better, buy a programmable thermostat. They cost between $30 and $100, depending on the features you desire, but they can save you $150 each year.


Replace your five most frequently used light bulbs. Get new ENERGY STAR bulbs, such as compact fluorescent ones, and save more than $60 each year in energy costs.


Power down computers and electronics when not in use. Some of these even use power when turned off—be sure to activate your computer's power management features to completely power it down when idle. Also unplug all chargers and power adapters when electronic items finish charging. Consider unplugging other electronics when they're not in use for a long period for time—microwaves and DVD players, for instance, use power even when they're not "on."

The Big Things—



Replace your windows. Depending on how many windows you replace, this could cost you $10,000 upfront. But windows are a major source of heat loss in wintertime, and upgrading to energy-efficient, double-pane windows can make a big difference in your heating bill, and make your house feel more comfortable.


Replace old appliances. If your furnace or boiler is more than 15 years old, consider a new one with an ENERGY STAR rating.

Do both of these and you might save up to 30% on your yearly energy bill, or $600 on average.

Follow these tips and you just might see some nice savings by spring! For more information, check out ENERGY STAR's Money Saving Tips, Bankrate.com, and The Motley Fool's website.

20071127

Opportunity for some college pick'em action

Here is your chance to show your worth on the fantasy field of play.

Just a little college football pick'em for the remainder of the NCAA football season.

You have been invited to join rdh537's Private Group in Yahoo! Sports College Football Pick'em.

In order to join the group, just go to College Football Pick'em, click the "Sign Up" button (or "Create or Join Group" if you are a returning user). From there, follow the path to join an existing private group and when prompted, enter the following information...

Group ID#: 41117
Password: justice4all

The commissioner of this group has sent the following note:
--------------------------------------------------------

--------------------------------------------------------

We will send you a confirmation with further details once you have completed the registration process.

-- College Football Pick'em Commissioner
http://football.fantasysports.yahoo.com/college

20071123

When upset...

When upset, don't pour the blame on something else. Instead of asking why is this happening to me? Ask yourself how can I improve this situation?

20071120

Last minute Turkey Day tips

As Turkey Day quickly approaches I wanted to offer but a few suggestions to improve the holiday, for everyone.

When preparing a meal consider purchasing goods from a local farmer's market. See the map below for locations in and around the Phoenix area and visit this Eat Well Guide for locations nationwide.


View Larger Map

If you choose to deep fry your gobbler I would recommend using an electric fryer, not a propane one. Just a suggestion.

Try not to buy anything on the legendary Black Friday. Friday is Buy Nothing Day. Avoid the consumer driven capitalist aspect of society and just relax. Maybe watch some football, spend time with the family, who knows.

Traditionally this time of year is a time to give to others that may not have as much as you do. Considering the current shortages that some food banks are facing this may be an opportunity for you to donate time, money, or food. If you are daring enough you could even drive around with some warm / hot food and just give it away to the homeless people wandering around. Just an idea.

Real Simple offers 40 ways to simplify thanksgiving. Check it out.

Ultimate Guide to Cooking a Thanksgiving Turkey.

I hope you find these holiday suggestions useful.

20071118

What is the most pressing concern for the US?

Barry Bonds and his alleged steroid use.

Bonds has been indicted.  This, is the most important thing our government can deal with right now?  Not, the rate of imprisonment?  The lack of access to health care for a majority of the nation?  What about the obstacles for a college education that many of our young people face?

No.  Barry Bonds and his alleged use of some performance enhancing drugs.  Shouldn't the MLB be policing it's own members?

For more on this please read: Indicted!

20071107

Road to Guantanamo

Watch this movie. Seriously.

Register for Classes

Register for Classes

Its that time again, read this how to article for some helpful tips.

20071106

Hack College

If you are a student, go to this site. Everyday and read.

Hell yes! I got set up with some cool videos, some cool revenue, and some wicked cool study techniques.

HACK COLLEGE

Target caves, but makes the right choice

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CONTACT:
Valerie Holford, (301) 926-1298
Mike Schade, CHEJ, 212-964-3680

TARGET TO SYSTEMATICALLY REDUCE USE OF TOXIC PVC IN INFANT PRODUCTS, CHILDREN’S TOYS, SHOWER CURTAINS, PACKAGING

Target Joins Wave of Other Retailers & Companies Moving Away from PVC, a Major Source of Exposure to Lead, Phthalates and Dioxins

After a national campaign by the Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ) and a coalition of health and environmental organizations, Target has agreed to systematically reduce its use of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic, commonly known as vinyl. The company is reducing PVC found in many of its owned brand products including infant products, children’s toys, shower curtains, packaging and fashion accessories. PVC commonly contains toxic additives such as lead and phthalates and is often made in China.

Target, the fifth largest U.S. retailer with $59 billion in revenues a year, is joining a growing list of dozens of companies including Wal-Mart, Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson, Nike, and Apple that are eliminating or reducing its PVC products and packaging. Wal-Mart just reached its two-year deadline to eliminate PVC from the packaging of its private brand products.

Recent reports indicate that the world stock of PVC in use contains 3.2 million tons of lead. Previous testing has detected lead in a broad range of PVC consumer products including toys, lunchboxes, baby bibs, jewelry, garden hoses, mini blinds, Christmas trees, and electronics. In September, Clean Water Action Alliance of Massachusetts tested over 50 toys and found that one in five was contaminated with lead. Ten of the 11 leaded toys were made out of vinyl. Wal-Mart has recalled PVC baby bibs and lunchboxes containing lead, and more recently Toys R Us recalled PVC baby bibs containing lead.

Over ninety percent of phthalates, reproductive toxicants commonly found in children’s toys, are used in the manufacture of PVC. Last month California joined the European Union and fourteen countries in banning the use of phthalates in children’s and infant’s products. Legislation to establish a national ban in the U.S. was just introduced in Congress and six other states including NY introduced similar bills over the past year.

  • Target has told CHEJ it is committed to systematically reducing PVC beginning with their owned brands. In addition to addressing their owned brands, they are collaborating with a variety of vendors and will also work with other suppliers whose products are sold at Target. The company is taking the following steps in their owned brands:
  • Eliminating PVC from a number of infant products and toys. Target children’s eating utensils and lunchboxes are now PVC-free. Target baby bibs will be PVC-free by January 2008. The company is phasing out phthalates in most of their toys by Fall 2008. They are also eliminating phthalates in baby changing tables by January 2008.
  • Replacing many PVC/Vinyl shower curtains with a safer PVC-free plastic, ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA). Target expects 88% of its shower curtains to be PVC free by this coming spring. Researchers at the EPA have reported that a new vinyl shower curtain, “can cause elevated indoor air toxics concentrations…for more than a month.” Customers have repeatedly complained on Target’s website about strong chemical odors being released from vinyl shower curtains purchased at Target.
  • Target will be 96% PVC-free in their placemat and table linen categories by Spring 2008.
  • Target soft-sided coolers are now PVC-free.
  • Reducing PVC in packaging. Target is reducing PVC packaging in the company’s Target brand dinnerware, travel accessories, toys and sporting goods. For food packaging, Target has a requirement in place to avoid the use of PVC when possible. In the media category (clamshells/blisters in electronics), Target is replacing the PVC clamshell with a modified paperboard/plastic packaging. For instance, iPod carrying cases sold at Target are being packaged in PVC-free packaging. The company is also asking their vendors to reduce the amount of packaging on their products and use materials that are easily recyclable.
  • Target has engaged their merchandiser buyers through the development and distribution of a new Sustainable Products Guide, which includes a specific section on issues surrounding PVC.

“Since millions of toxic toys were recalled, parents are now looking for safer products for their children. Companies should ensure that customers are not rolling the dice with their families’ health in the check out aisle. Target is doing the right thing by moving away from PVC and switching to safer alternatives,” said Lois Gibbs, Executive Director of the Center for Health, Environment and Justice. Gibbs founded CHEJ after winning the nation’s first community relocation of 900 families due to a leaking toxic waste dump in Love Canal, New York.

Over the course of the campaign, CHEJ and partner organizations held over 230 press conferences, protests, and flyering events at Target stores across the country. Two events featured a 25-foot rubber ducky outside stores in CA and NY. CHEJ’s online humorous animated video “Sam Suds” was seen over 50,000 times in the first month it was released.

On the day of Target’s 2007 annual shareholder meeting, CHEJ ran an advertisement in USA Today calling on the company to “stop ducking the truth about the dangers of PVC” and organized a protest with Ohio Citizen Action outside of Target’s shareholder meeting in Cleveland. Representatives of CHEJ, the Sierra Club, and Ohio Citizen Action attended the shareholder meeting, addressing the CEO and senior executives during the Q&A session. Petitions signed by over 10,000 Target customers were delivered to the CEO inside. To date, Target has been contacted by over 40,000 customers and concerned individuals about PVC.
Target’s mainstream investors have also expressed their concerns about PVC. A coalition of 16 institutional investors, coordinated by the As You Sow Foundation, sent Target a letter about the legal, financial, and reputational risks associated with their sale of PVC products and packaging. “We congratulate Target for taking these important steps in reducing the use of PVC”, said Michael Passoff, associate director of As You Sow. “These efforts will help protect both consumer health and shareholder value.”

Among the health effects of phthalates, found in many PVC products, are premature birth delivery, early puberty in girls, impaired sperm quality and sperm damage in men, genital defects and reduced testosterone production in boys.

“Study after study have found that chemicals in vinyl can cause health problems in children and adults," said Dr. Peter Orris, Professor and Chief of Service at the University of Illinois Medical Center Chicago. "While using PVC products, people may be exposed toxic additives like phthalates and lead and when incinerated, PVC is a major contributor to dioxin.”

The hazards of PVC are not limited to its use by consumers: it creates toxic pollution during its manufacture, harming workers and community members near PVC plants such as in Mossville, Louisiana. When thrown away, toxic additives like lead and phthalates can leach into the ground and nearby drinking water sources. When burned in incinerators, PVC produces dioxins and furans, chemicals that can cause cancer and are considered to be among the most toxic environmental contaminants known to man. PVC packaging can not be effectively recycled, and can contaminate an entire batch of 100,000 recyclable bottles.

In October 2005, Wal-Mart announced plans to phase out PVC packaging in its private brands by October 2007. Wal-Mart also stopped selling PVC lunch boxes and baby bibs over concerns that those products may contain lead. The company also supports an industry-wide standard to remove PVC from all products intended for kids, and is exploring PVC free materials for its buildings. Wal-Mart stated in a 2007 press kit that, “more and more studies show that PVC has toxins that can pose long-term health and environmental risks.”

Target Corporation has approximately 1,500 stores in 47 states.

###

The Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ) is a national nonprofit organization that provides organizing and technical assistance to grassroots community organizations nationwide. CHEJ was founded in 1981 by grassroots leader Lois Gibbs and was instrumental in establishing some of the first national policies critical to protecting community health, such as the Superfund Program and Right-to-Know. CHEJ’s PVC Consumer Campaign works with grassroots community, regional, statewide, and national environmental health and justice organizations from around the United States. The campaign is focused on preventing harm by shifting decision makers from producing, using and disposing of PVC consumer products and packaging and substituting it with materials that are safe for workers, communities, children and adults.

Planned Parenthood

No, I'm not talking about that awesome organization but I'm actually talking about planning for parenthood.

Oh yes, here are some words of wisdom that came to me as a result of some children that I recently encountered.

The decision to have a child should be a DECISION. No excuses for unexpected pregnancies, excluding some unfortunate experiences.

This decision should be well thought out. Many things to consider include having enough money. Education is a very important tool for a person to do well in life. I am no expert but I would expect the cost of a college degree in the United States to exceed $109K within a few years.

Another thing to consider is whether or not you as parents are physically well enough to have a child. Do you have any vitamin deficiencies, toxicities, and are you physically active? Plan it out and get healthy.

NO DRUGS OR ALCOHOL. Seriously.

I've seen way too many children that are at a disadvantage because of their parents horrible habits. So, stop being selfish and start planning this out. It shouldn't take college graduate to figure all of this stuff out.

For more information about the organization Planned Parenthood, visit the link.

20071103

Arizona Police Show Restraint

Arizona Department of Public Safety and Arizona State University Police Officers showed some restraint while dispersing the enthusiastic crowd at the end of the ASU and CAL football game.

Students rushed the field after the Sun Devil's victory to encounter stadium security and armed law enforcement. Security and police officers had no choice but to yield to the overwhelming number of people attempting to enter the field.

Bravo to these officers for not using the force they probably would have gotten away with.
Here are some pictures highlighting their restraint.
Students are shown here attempting to force the gates open while security resists.Students have by now entered the field and are being slowly removed out the south exits. Security and officers have formed lines.Stadium staff is being hassled for doing their job. Walking around with field access passes does not grant immunity.
----------------
Now playing: Liquid Cheese - Wander
via FoxyTunes

20071102

Houseplants to cheaply clean up your air

You probably know that houseplants enhance the beauty of your surroundings, but did you know that many actually clean pollutants out of the air? Basically, these plants work as nature's air filters by adding oxygen and humidity to your indoor environment.

Visit this Lowes page for more info.

20071101

ASU Fire


Just an update.

Tempe, Mesa, Scottsdale, and Phoenix fire crews were all present to deal with the blaze.

Arizona State Memorial Union on Fire


This is late breaking, literally. This fire started at about 12:30 - 12:50 Arizona time.

The second floor of Arizona State University's Tempe Memorial Union, erupted in flames today.

2 alarm fire.

Pictures will be linked after I find some.

Here are some local news links reporting the story.

NBC 12

AZFamily

In case anyone cares, I am fine.

Bee Movie

Fantastic!

Bee Movie is funny, informational, and maybe even heartwarming.

Here is a trailer:


The movie commented on the importance of the bee to the world's agricultural system. For more information on that please visit this article by alternet.

20071029

people and cell phones

As I sit in the computer lab there is a kid to my left.

He is with a group of other kids. I think they're in a fraternity or something. They kinda look like pledges.

All these kids are scattered about. But they're still talking and laughing with each other. One of them sends a text message, asks if this one got it yet, waits, waits, and then they laugh together.

Kinda reminds me of this family guy clip where peter and quagmire text each other at the opera


so annoying.

20071025

joe arpaio

This dude blows.

Many call him a criminal,
a fascist,
& a racist.

I may agree.

Check out this site.


October Project for Livable Communities e-livability

October 2007
In the News

Get out of the house on Oct 28 for Public Lands Day at South Mountain

The Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management host the Phoenix Outdoor Recreation Festival Oct. 28, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. at the South Mountain Park / Preserve Activity Complex, 10919 S. Central Ave. The free event marks the city’s official celebration of National Public Lands Day. Visitors to the festival can use the day to enjoy the monthly Silent Sunday event, which reserves the park’s roadways for non-motorized use. Many of the festival’s displays and activities are geared toward children, making it a fun and educational family event. Attendees will have a chance to enjoy live animals up close; take a hike; scale an outdoor climbing wall; attend special demonstrations; learn about proper nutrition and healthy activities and much more. More than 50 outdoor recreation and public land agencies will be on hand. Visitors also can purchase food and beverages. Event information is available online at http://phoenix.gov/PARKS/porf07.html or by calling (602)495-5458, (602)262-6713 (TTY). Silent Sunday, held one day each month, is an opportunity for bicyclists, wheelchair users, tots in strollers and in-line skaters to have the main roadways in South Mountain to themselves. More information is available online at http://phoenix.gov/parks/hikesoth.html.

Big remodel planned for busy north central Phoenix corner

In the Oct. 10, 2007, issue of The Arizona Republic, reporter Dolores Tropiano writes of a major redevelopment at one of Phoenix’s busiest intersections. “Plans for a prominent corner in central Phoenix include an entire remodeling and the possibility of a bustling restaurant hub for residents in and near the area. The strip center on the southwestern corner of 16th Street and Bethany Home Road is nearly 80 percent vacant, but that is about to change. Red Mountain Retail Group recently purchased the property for more than $6 million. They have plans for a major face lift and are considering the idea of creating a vibrant corner of restaurants.” Complete article: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/business/articles/1010biz-phx-bethany1010.html#.

New scorecard to reward Arizona's quality growth projects with priority funding

Arizona has accommodated its first 6.2 million residents quite well, but to absorb another 6 million by 2030 and keep the same quality of life it must rethink how to plan and "what kind of communities" people want, stressed Democratic Governor Janet Napolitano at a City Hall event in Casa Grande, halfway between Phoenix and Tucson. She said her multi-agency "growth cabinet" is working on a scorecard, under which "we will give priority for new discretionary dollars to communities that have really engaged in a smart growth planning process." Complete article: http://www.smartgrowth.org/news/article.asp?art=6254&state=3.

National Vacant Properties Campaign holds first annual conference

"Vacant properties are really a big problem in older cities and we look upon them, often, as a major resource for revitalization," commented Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation President Arthur P. Ziegler Jr. about the first annual conference by Washington-based National Vacant Properties Campaign (NVPC) in his city. He and other redevelopment advocates are confident Pittsburgh can successfully follow the best reclamation practices nationwide, with Smart Growth America (SGA) Executive Director Don Chen hailing Mayor Luke Ravensthal's buyback of more than 11,000 tax liens as a great initial step. Complete article:

http://www.smartgrowth.org/news/article.asp?art=6269&state=39.

Suburbia celebration – America’s first suburb turns 60

Levittown, Long Island held a 60th birthday bash for itself on Sept. 30, complete with parades, to celebrate its creation from a potato field for GIs returning from World War II. It would go on to become America's iconic suburb. Read the Oct 02 2007, article from Yahoo News: http://www.planetizen.com/node/27417.

The Building’s green, but what about the commute?

This article from Environmental Building News looks at the energy required to get workers from home to work -- often a use of energy that far surpasses that of the workplace itself. Read the Oct 04 2007, article from Environmental Building News: http://www.planetizen.com/node/27462.

City begins search for new Points of Pride locations

“Phoenix once again is looking for Points of Pride, locations throughout the city that evoke pride in city residents,” writes Michael Clancy in the Sept. 20, 2007, Arizona Republic. “It's a nice idea, conceived at a time when the city was struggling with recession and, as former Mayor Paul Johnson says, people needed to be reminded of all the good things in Phoenix. Still, the passing years make some of the points look silly or even just plain wrong.” The city wants input from the community. Residents can submit new Points of Pride by Nov. 9. Nominations are on the city's Website, http://www.phoenix.gov/pride2008. The Phoenix Pride Commission will review the nominations and select 10 locations that will be voted on by the public early in 2008.

Complete article: http://www.azcentral.com/community/phoenix/articles/0920phx-points0922inside.html

Best Practices

AARP Bulletin highlights Arizona’s program of taking steps toward health

This fall AARP Arizona is rolling out 10-week walking programs at three senior centers with large Spanish-speaking clienteles, according to the October 2007 issue of the AARP Bulletin. The programs, all in the Phoenix area, are part of an effort to involve the Hispanic community in AARP activities. Participants receive pedometers at the kickoff events and attend weekly check-ins, as well as milestone events to celebrate completion of the program. “Walking is a simple, practical and fun way to exercise,” says David Parra, AARP Arizona program coordinator. Call 602-262-5176 for more information. To enroll or to find out how to start a walking program – in Spanish or English – in your community. The AARP Bulletin can be read on the Web at: http://www.aarp.org/bulletin.

Tucson neighborhood transforming into a new urban environment

“Menlo Park neighborhood grew up around the base of ‘A’ Mountain, known by the Tohono O'odham as Chuk’son — the birthplace of Tucson,” write Mac Hudson and Matt Skroch in a guest opinion from the Sept. 20, 2007, Arizona Daily Star. “This birthplace is now undergoing a renaissance of redevelopment: the new-urbanist, mixed-use Mercado District; the UA Science Center/Arizona State Museum; the infrastructure of new streets connected to a new Santa Cruz River bridge; and the western terminus of a modern street car.”

“The next development in line in our historic neighborhood is 15 acres of vacant land west of the Santa Cruz River and south of Congress Street. After a year of meeting at kitchen tables, front porches and large meeting rooms, the Menlo Park Neighborhood Association has generated a consensus guiding vision for these 15 acres. Menlo Park envisions the creation of an urban environment Tucson has yet to embrace. We advocate for smart growth principles — compact, transit-oriented, walkable, bicycle-friendly mixed-use development with a range of housing choices. We want to see sustainable growth and green building that improves our neighborhoods and lessens its impact on the earth.” Complete article: http://www.azstarnet.com/allheadlines/202085.

Resources

Unique community dialogue project seeking participants

LISC Phoenix and the ASU Stardust Center for Affordable Homes want to create community dialogue about how to build neighborhoods that enhance sustainability, community character, affordability and livability. Using a presentation tool/workshop format that can be adapted for use by different communities, this project will propose strategies and solutions to engage residents, business leaders, and civic leaders. To participate in the civic engagement outreach campaign, call Sherry Ahrentzen at ASU at 602-496-1466.

Web glossary demystifies active living “language”

For those who want to walk the walk and talk the talk when using active living terminology, look no further than the handy glossary on the Active Living Website. There you will learn the meaning of arterial, mixed use and shy distance, as well as what CSD, ISTEA and TOD stand for. Go to: http://www.activelivingbydesign.org/index.php?id=10

Walkability experts give their picks for most walkable cities

America Walks is regularly asked to recommend highly walkable communities, to visit or to move to. America Walks Web editors asked two respected Walkability experts, Mark Fenton (host of the PBS series “America’s Walking) and of America Walks) and Dan Burden of Walkable Communities, Inc. (www.walkable.org). Dan is a leading expert and consultant in the creation of walkable settings. We suggest you look over their lists, and take particular note of communities you see on both—it’s a good bet they are places worth considering as very walkable. For more information on Fenton’s PBS series and Burden’s Walkable Communities: http://www.pbs.org/americaswalking/ and http://www.walkable.org.

Edited by:M.H. Brennan
Taken from PLC's e-livability

http://www.projectforlivablecommunities.org/

20071017

Live from WQAD

I've got to hand it to WQAD, a local news station from Moline Illinois.

They've brought us the perfect tool to help us make our pick from the horrible candidates that the Republican and Democrat political parties have to offer.

Here is the link.

And here is my top result:

Dennis Kucinich
Score: 53
Agree
Iraq
Immigration
Taxes
Health Care
Abortion
Social Security
Line-Item Veto
Marriage
Death Penalty
Disagree
Stem-Cell Research
Energy

-- Take the Quiz! --



Doesn't really show up well.

20071016

the vibrating phone

Vibrating cell phones are really annoying.

Especially when the person sets their phone to "vibrate only" instead of ringing. Sometimes these little technological wonders vibrate so hard I fear there are tiny little demons attempting to exercise their right to manifest into this world.

Seriously, if you are going to silence your cell phone, make sure you do it.

Thanks.

Gone Baby Gone

Good movie.

I recommend you watch it.

Its fairly dramatic.

20071003

September 11, 2001: A new theory.

I came across this concept in my Mesoamerican archaeology class a few days ago.

Leadership during these early times may have instilled a culture of fear in order to facilitate their agenda. For example, a high powered ruler may have warned of a nearby society that could be preparing to attack. Their only hope was to follow his leadership.

Civilizations have done this for a very long time.

Another concept is that this ruler was secretly in alliance with the neighboring "threat". Their working together allowed them to coordinate "raids" on each other's communities and therefore legitimize each other's threat and power.

This is daringly familiar. What if the United States Government allowed the incident to happen in order to push the neo-conservative agenda?

What if?

20071002

Fear of Copyright Infringement Hinders Educational Advancement

I was sitting in one of my classes today and some poor student asked the professor a question:

Would it be possible for you to post your PowerPoint Presentations online so we can have more complete notes?


A simple request. However, the instructor replied that he is unable to do that because he uses text from books or images that have copyright restrictions.

Has our society become so entrenched in the idea of intellectual property that educational advancement is hindered? Yes. Obviously.

Could I infer from this situation that education is not to be shared, that it is to be payed for? Yes I will make that inference.

Radiohead seeks to change one aspect of intellectual property, music. Their new album is available via DRM-free download for whatever price the consumer is willing to pay. Yes, the fans get to name their own price. Since the download is DRM-free the music fan is also able to play the album in their MP3 player, burn it onto many thousand CD's, copy it onto an infinite number of computers, etc.

In case you don't know what DRM is, here is the quickest primer: DRM is a technology that gives content providers control over access and distribution of media. Apple DRM technology strictly forbids songs purchased on iTunes from playing on multiple computers or multiples iPods.

Radiohead is essentially cutting out the middle man. They no longer need the help of a record label to distribute their music. They are popular enough and will probably "sell" lots of copies of their album. What is great for them is that they will probably make a considerable amount of money touring and selling merchandise. After all it is ticket and merchandise sales that drive a band's profits, not their record sales. The label benefits from record sales.

20070928

Managing Your Weight

Overweight, obesity, and weight-related problems appear to be on the rise in the United States. Obesity is now defined in terms of fat content rather than in terms of weight alone.

There are many different methods of assessing body fat. Body Mass Index (BMI) is one of the most commonly accepted measures of weight based on height. Body fat percentages more accurately indicate how fat or lean a person is.

Many factors contribute to one’s risk for obesity, including, genetics, setpoint, endocrine influences, psychosocial factors, eating cues, lack of awareness, metabolic changes, lifestyle, and gender. Women often have considerably more difficulty losing weight.

Exercise, dieting, diet pills, and other strategies are used to maintain or lose weight. However, sensible eating behavior and adequate exercise offer the best options.

Eating disorders consist of sever disturbances in eating behaviors, unhealthy efforts to control body weight, and abnormal attitudes about body shape. Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder are the three main disorders. Though prevalent among white women of upper– and middle-class families, eating disorders affect women of all backgrounds as sell as a number of men.

Source: Health. The Basics. Sixth Edition by Rebecca J. Donatelle. 2005

20070919

Dream Act

For those of you who wanted more inforamtion on the Dream Act status!
SENATE LIKELY TO VOTE ON DREAM ACT THIS WEEK!***IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDED***
Monday, September 17, 2007

Today, Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Richard Lugar (R-IN) will introduce the DREAM Act as an amendment to H.R. 1585, the Department of Defense authorization bill, which returns to the Senate floor for debate this morning. You may remember that the Department of Defense authorization bill was debated in mid-July but was pulled for reasons unrelated to the DREAM Act.

The DREAM Act would provide a 6-year path to permanent residence and eventual citizenship for individuals brought to the U.S. years ago as undocumented children if they graduate from high school and continue on to college or military service.This may be the best chance this year for the DREAM Act to become law (although most likely it will not be the last opportunity).

If the amendment passes, the DREAM Act would stand an excellent chance of becoming law this year. The amendment will need 60 votes to pass.We do not yet know when the vote will be, and it is possible that procedural obstacles could prevent one from occurring at all. But regardless, it is imperative for all DREAM Act supporters to call your Senators and click here to send an e-mail message to them today, and again tomorrow, and again every day until the vote occurs. You can find your Senators' phone numbers here.

This time, even more than the last time the amendment was set for consideration, anti-immigrant groups have come out swinging by spreading falsehoods about the DREAM Act in an attempt to inflame their base to intimidate Senators like they did in the Senate debate about immigration reform. But DREAM Act supporters are passionate too. We can and must fight back and match their intensity.

CALL BOTH OF YOUR SENATORS AND TELL THEM
"PLEASE VOTE FOR THE DURBIN-HAGEL-LUGAR DREAM ACT AMENDMENT TO THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION BILL SO THAT IMMIGRANT STUDENTS BROUGHT HERE AS CHILDREN CAN REALIZE THEIR POTENTIAL"

Your Senators' phone numbers are online at:http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

To send an e-mail message to your Senators please go to:http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/organizationsORG/NILC/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=12129

What else you can do:
Forward this message to every listserv and everyone you knowPost it on blogs, MySpace, Facebook, or other on-line networking toolsCall in to C-SPAN or other radio or television shows where there is some hope of a sympathetic audience (not anti-immigrant propaganda sites)

The DREAM Act in Brief:
The DREAM Act is narrowly tailored
It would apply only to individuals brought to the U.S. at least 5 years ago as children, who have grown up here, and who have remained in school and out of trouble. They could get a green card 6 years after graduating from high school if during that time they continue on to college or serve in the military.

The DREAM Act is not a "mini-amnesty"
At its core, amnesty is forgiveness for wrongdoing. That does not apply to DREAM Act students who were all brought here years ago as children. The DREAM Act rewards them for staying in school or serving our country.

The DREAM Act would benefit taxpayers
The DREAM Act would provide hope to immigrant students and lead many more of them to remain in school. As an example of the fiscal benefits of this, a RAND study showed that a 30-year-old Mexican immigrant woman who graduates from college will pay $5,300 more in taxes and cost $3,900 less in government expenses each year than if she had dropped out of high school. This amounts to an annual fiscal benefit of over $9,000 per person every year, money that can be used to pay for the education of other children. State and local taxpayers have already invested in the education of these children in elementary and secondary school and deserve to get a return on their investment

20070904

US Strategy to leave every child behind

No child will be left behind. We must educate them all.

Alternatively we can just deport them.

Virginia Gutierrez was aspiring to become a college student at Arizona State University this fall but unfortunately she got deported back to Nogales Mexico a few weeks ago.

Obviously she should be back in her home country right?

WRONG!

Her home country is the United States! She pays taxes in Arizona! She is a tremendous student and now has a far slimmer chance at anything resembling a future because of Amerikans' arrogance and ethnocentrism.

She received a citation for driving with her headlights off and having a busted taillight. Once the officer discovered she didn't have a driver's license on her the police impounded her vehicle. When she tried to retrieve it she was arrested for having a "fake" Mexican ID. Once they realized that she had no Social Security Number they convinced her to sign for a voluntary deportation.

And once back in Mexico she was reunited with...

Um no. Not exactly. According to a secondhand report I saw she was dropped off on a street corner. Since when is it ok to transport a young person away from her family without any money. This really ticks me off but there is something you can do:

In mid-August, Virginia Gutierrez, an honors graduate from North High School, was arrested, detained and then deported because of her immigration status. While in custody, Virginia was subjected to inhumane treatment, without any legal representation.

Virginia was literally dropped off on a street corner in Nogales, without any concern for her well being.

Virginia was awarded numerous scholarships to attend ASU. She looks forward to making a meaningful contribution to our community.

Join us as we call on our community leaders to both bring Virginia home and hold a community forum on immigration policy. Cases of inhumane treatment such as Virginia’s MUST become a thing of the past.

Wednesday, September 5, 445 pm, State Capitol (17th. Ave/Washington)

For more info, contact:

Reverend Brad Wishon
Gentle Shepherd Metropolitan Community Church
2604 North 14th Street (16th Street and Virginia)
623-570-6166 (Cell) / 602-864-6404 (Office)
Email: revwishon@aol.com
http://www.gsmcc.org/

To invade or not invade, that is the question.

Chris Hedges writes about what would happen should the United States act on it's plan to strike 1200 Iranian targets over a period of three days.

Iranian missiles will be launched at US and Israeli military installations in the Middle East.
Oil will be in short supply because it will become more difficult to ship it.
Hezbollah will launch rockets into Israel.
Israel will raid Lebanon and Iran.
Unpopular Pakistani President and US ally will probably be overthrown.

That sure wouldn't have worked out huh.

Iran: The Next Quagmire

Finally, a journalist worth his weight

It's about time that I come across someone's writing that puts forth a legitimate argument supporting the obvious that the official report for the incident in the United States on a Tuesday morning in September back in 2001 leaves out quite a bit of what really happened.

Their story doesn't add up and Robert Fisk calls them on it:

Questioning 9/11 ... With Caution

20070830

Free hugs?

Everything has a price:
A bowl of cereal at Cereality, $3.99
Burrito at Taco Bell, $.89
Place to live, $400/monthly.

A hug, $0.

Yes. It is true. I happened to be wandering aimlessly around campus today when I spotted a certain individual holding a sign.

Upon closer inspection, I could read the sign.

"FREE HUGS"

I took the gentleman up on his offer and wished him well with the rest of his day. This made my day.

But for some strange reason a vast majority of everyone else in the area did not purchase a free hug. There were plenty of empty Starbucks Coffee containers strewn about so I could tell people had money to spend but nobody wanted to pay the ultimate price of actually interacting with a complete stranger.

I should hope that if ever you see a "FREE HUG" notice you take that offer because there may come a day when a "FREE HUG" is just a memory.

god is Not Great: This book rocks!


I'm almost done reading this great book by Christopher Hitchens. The only thing keeping me from finishing it is, having to read stuff for my classes. You can guaran-damn-tee that Hitchens puts forth a tremendous argument against religion. He is able to point out the many fallacies within religion and so forth.

Pick it up at your local bookstore or check it out at your library.

god is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. Christopher Hitchens. 2007

20070828

EatWild.com

What would Jesus do?
Would he eat pork that grew up in a confined animal feeding operation that was fed a diet of mostly corn, corn byproduct, miscellaneous animal bits, and antibiotics?

No. Jesus was allegedly Jewish and Jewish people are forbidden from eating pork because god said so.

But what would you do?

Would you eat pork from a pig that has never had the chance to do what pigs do? Pigs, by nature, forage for leaves, grasses, roots, fruits, and flowers. Pigs are also mighty tasty, so for those of you that have never consumed pork, I encourage you to find some pork that comes from a pig that was able to do what it is that pigs do.

*Chipotle offers pork from allegedly free range pigs.

Visit EatWild.com for more info.
Also visit Polyface farms for even more info.

My evening at a Catholic mass

It was nearly 3 years since I had stepped foot in a church, but I managed to go twice in one day. My morning, as was previously told, was spent at a Seventh Day Adventist church. My evening, was spent at a Catholic mass. My afternoon was spent trying to wrap my head around all the fables I just heard that morning.

Riding a giraffe? Seriously.

To be perfectly honest with you I don't really have anything to say about the Catholic mass. I used to believe in all that nonsense but now I don't. It was just like any other Catholic mass anywhere else. There was singing, reading of the Bible, and an attempt to interpret those readings to promote the goals of the church.

I have my own problems with the church but many of these are based on unverified rumors.
One, although the church encourages living a life of poverty, as Jesus and many other prophets allegedly did, the church is credited with having a vast fortune.
Two, the church has committed several crimes against humanity. Namely, its suppression against science which resulted in a stagnant period of perhaps 400 years. Also, its ethnographic approach to indigenous peoples and its utter disregard for cultural independence.
And third, its views on women. Mainly that women are the cause of humanities downfall and existence in sin because Eve gave Adam a cursed apple.

I don't like religious organizations because I see them as hypocritical and I especially don't like the Catholic church.

20070823

My Day With Religion

I decided to attend some Christian services. One of which was held at a local Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Church, the other was held at a Roman Catholic Church.

First thing is to briefly summarize some key points of the SDA religion. It is a Protestant Christian denomination most often distinguished by its practice of observing the sabbath on a Saturday, instead of on a Sunday like most other Christian denominations.

Formally established in 1863 it formed out of the Millerite movement in the United States following the teachings of Ellen G. White. It is similar to most other Christian denominations with regard to the belief in the divinity of Jesus Christ, the trinity, and the infallibility of the Bible as the word of god.

Aside from its Saturday observance, it is distinguished by a belief in the unconscious state of the dead, a doctrine of investigative judgment, an emphasis on diet and health, culturally conservative principles, and its promotion of religious liberty.

The Roman Catholic Church is the first Christian church and traces its own origins to the community of Jesus Christ and his Apostles, more specifically Peter.

Like other Christian faiths this organization is similar in its belief in the holy trinity, the divinity of Jesus Christ, belief in one omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent and omnipresent god, salvation through the teachings of Jesus, and an emphasis of love and charity to others.

It is different from other Christian Protestant faiths in some other insignificant differences that aren't worth reviewing now.

Now, back to my experience. First the SDA service, it started out just like any other religious service. Various individuals, whom I assume to be people of power or influence within the organization, made a point to welcome me. I also assume this will be so that I am encouraged to attend again. There was singing, a march of children that disseminated into the congregation and requested money so that they could continue to run their youth program, there was a quotation taken from the Bible, there was a sermon, and there was another collection of tithe.

All in all, it seemed like any other Christian church but to be fair, I have not attended a religious service in quite some time so I could be mistaken in that regard.

What I found unfortunate was the sermon. The pastor preached about "God's Amazing Zoo". He (of course it would be a man at the head of the church) explained that god was so amazing because he had created, through intelligent design, a vast array of creatures that were to be cared for.

He explained how before, that infernal woman Eve condemned us all to lives of sorrow, the people lived alongside the animals. He spoke of how Adam and Eve could ride atop the backs of lions, bison, bears, and even giraffes. He even explained that there was no such thing as predation among god's creatures. I shudder to think how many young impressionable minds believed what he was saying.

After this service the organization hosted a lunch, which I understand happens after every service. People ate and talked. The pastor even came to my table and commented on how great it was for him to see the church's future leadership sitting together. I hadn't thought of it at the time but that may have been a joke because currently women may not take the position of an ordained minister, and I was sitting with women.

I'll write about my Roman Catholic experience next time.
LIVE WELL

20070813

Show some Compassion

Oh no, religion rears its ugly head yet again. This time it is concerning philanthropy.

Is religious involvement necessary to perform charitable works? No.

If religions is a pre-requisite for anything it is destruction but back to the discussion. Compassion International and their Christian Child Sponsorship program. It is a ministry that attempts to "release children from their spiritual, physical, economic, and social poverty" and to enable them to become "responsible, fulfilled Christian adults."

This organization unfortunately reaches 800,000 young and impressionable minds in 24 different poverty stricken countries.

Some of their commitments are to honor Jesus Christ, work with the local missionaries, impact each child's growth and development, teach the children about the gospel, and instill a relationship with god in each child.

For only $32 a month you have the opportunity to participate in the destruction of an indigenous culture and throw your money into a money consuming machine. For fiscal year 2005-2006 Compassion International had $246 million in expenses. By converting the non believers into the crime that is Christianity these unfortunate children may know the joy of a poisonous religion. They will finally have the opportunity to be rid of their primitive beliefs, once and for all. That $32 also buys you a travel agent, just in case you ever want to actually visit your "sponsored" child.

What disgusts me the most is how their AIDS initiative works: Prevention. Ignorant prevention.

These power mongers criminalize sexual freedom and create a sense of wrongdoing for doing what comes natural. Instead of promoting safer sexual practices they promote ridiculous faith based abstinence in the hopes that it'll stop the infections. They have no doubt done a great harm to these people by "teaching" them how condoms are ineffective at preventing HIV infection.

I implore you to stay away from faith based charities. There are plenty of other ways to help another human being without contributing to the lie that is Christianity, or any other religion for that matter.

20070731

Pollan preaches the truth

Will anyone listen to Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma?

Not congress. Despite his pleas and well educated research congress has passed another consumer non-friendly bill.

The FARM BILL!!!

A few years ago, an obesity researcher at the University of Washington named Adam Drewnowski ventured into the supermarket to solve a mystery. He wanted to figure out why it is that the most reliable predictor of obesity in America today is a person’s wealth. For most of history, after all, the poor have typically suffered from a shortage of calories, not a surfeit. So how is it that today the people with the least amount of money to spend on food are the ones most likely to be overweight? - Michael Pollan


Read Michael Pollan's entire New York Times article.

Read about the farm bill.

Econo Lodge double charges it's employees

A New Mexico woman, Maria, was startled to see the charges on her credit card bill this month when she noticed three charges from the Econo Lodge she worked at.

Here is the story:

She made one reservation for the night of July 3 and one reservation for the nights July 3 through July 5. The first reservation was for her husband's son and she did not intend to pay for that. Her husband's son had agreed to pay for it before he left. The second reservation was a gift for her son and she would pay the bill.

In order for the Econo Lodge to accept the reservations they needed her credit card information.

So when the bill came she was charged for three rooms: the room she had intended on paying for, the room her husband's son had already paid for, and a third room.

Since her husband's son had already paid for the room there was no need for the Econo Lodge to charge her credit card.

It is most frustrating to learn that a third room was charged to a third and unknown person. According to hotel staff this is what happened.

A woman came in late on the morning of July 4 and claimed that she was a relative of the Econo Lodge employee. She asked to receive the employee rate and to have it charged to Maria's credit card.

Econo Lodge obliged and without Maria's permission charged a third room to her credit card.

Maria is currently disputing the bogus charges with her bank and is attempting to have Econo Lodge remedy the situation.

I'll update when I get more info.

20070727

Pat Tillman, murdered in cold blood

Special thanks to Logan Murphy at Crooks and Liars to share this.

"The medical evidence did not match up with the, with the scenario as described"

"In other words, Pat Tillman was most likely murdered in the field. In cold blood. By other US soldiers."


Read the rest here.

And here.

And lastly, here.

20070726

Don't bother paying for ID Theft Protection services (100th post!)

If you're considering paying for an ID Theft Protection service, don't bother.

LifeLock, based in Tempe AZ, is in the business of ID Theft Protection. One of it's founders Robert J. Maynard has been suspected of identity theft. Customers who previously gave Maynard's other company, National Credit Foundation, sensitive personal information themselves became victims of identity theft and that company was suspected of stealing its customer's money.

Recently the Phoenix New Times published an investigative report suggesting that consumers don't fall for the hype of paying for protective services because it's free and extremely simple for people to do themselves. The article claims that they're a rip off.

Robert Hartle created ID Theft Services, Inc., a non-profit educational corporation, to educate consumers about how they can take action for little or no cost to monitor their credit report and resolve disputes.

It is obvious that company's like LifeLock take advantage of people's fear of identity theft.

I suggest you read the entire New Times article.

Don't steal my identity

The government does its part to prevent identity theft with this FTC's Identity Theft site.

20070725

98%

I came across this just now. Thought it was worth sharing.


Mail fraud, oh yes

This just in!

Anytime someone overcharges you and sends you a letter using the US Postal Service you can say, "no no, that is mail fraud. And that is illegal."

They will scamper off.

Read the whole story at the Consumerist

Economic growth or stagnant wages?

It is argued by several conservative leaders that the United States has had a period of economic growth and prosperity since 2000.

Look at the last 12 years of compiled data, 1993-2005. According to the Census Bureau median income rose from $31,241 in 1993 to $46,326 in 2005. An increase of $15,085. Ignoring all other information one would assume that a majority of Amerikans had an increase in income of $1257 each year.

Looks like an economic boom to me!

But the reality is different. Investopedia.com defines inflation as the "rate at which the general level of prices for goods and services is rising, and, subsequently, purchasing power is falling."

Inflation is important to understand because the above figures do not consider inflation.

Allow me to present the median income for the last 12 years of compiled data, 1993-2005, adjusted for inflation. Median rose from $41,562 in 1993 to $46,326 in 2005. An increase of $4764 over the 12 year period or $397 more each year.

Now look at the figures of median income since 2000, when the Republican party seized control of the government. In 2000 median income was $41,990, in 2005 it was $46,326. An increase of $4336 over the 5 year period or $867 each year. I would say it is a modest increase but still an increase.

Adjust for inflation and it doesn't improve. Inflation adjusted median income in 2000 was $47,599. In 2005 that decreased to $46,326. A decrease of $1273. That means that from 2000 to 2005 families earned $255 less than they did the previous year.

That is horrible! Lou Dobbs claims that the current government is waging a war on the middle class and as much as I think Dobbs is pushing his own agenda he is right. Current economic policy has been adverse to the general Amerikan population but has benefited the most wealthy.

Things do need to change or else the balloon will pop and things will really suck.

WTF? What do you mean race and intelligence?

OH NO! Low and behold I came across yet another alternative to Wikipedia and Conservapedia, Metapedia.

Metapedia claims to be an electronic encyclopedia of culture, art, science, philosophy, and politics. It also claims that it covers topics not usually covered in mainstream encyclopedias and has a purpose to influence the mainstream debate, culture, and historical view.

I was clicking away at the "random page" link and what would you expect I come across?

"Race and Intelligence"

Whole heaps of fury erupted within me. Could this be what I thought it was? Oh yes, Metapedia does not dissapoint.

Metapedia works under the bold assumption that there are distinct biologically different groups, or "races" that comprise the human species. It is further argued that intelligence among these "races" is also biologically determined.

Possible reasons for this may include that other "races" have smaller brains, inferior neuron structures, or other genetic deficiencies. It is further discussed that mainstream media portrays various "races" as equal so that it would appear that there are no differences, "As studies show, biological barriers are too strong to be overcome by mainstream culture."

This page even calls out my friends at the American Anthropological Association acknowledging a statement I will expand on further down the page.

To be most truthful with you, this page issued by Metapedia is hate speech rolled up in a nice pretty font. It is created by the same ignorance that wrestles against scientific fact. It attempts to present an argument that would justify actions to improve the human race.

It bashes on any measures taken to curb "racism" and discrimination, arguing that such actions are themselves ignorant and deny the obvious differences that render some people superior to others.

To truly understand the concept of "race" and its origins one must think relatively about the early relationships Europeans had with other populations. Especially those Europeans that made a living in the early Southern United States.

Would it make things easier for the leadership to assert control over a population if that population could be divided?

If your poor white underlings were somehow convinced that the black slaves they worked with were inferior, and that it was ok and actually encouraged by the Bible to discriminate against them, would it not make your job as a landowner and leader that much easier? Divid and conquer. It proved so effective that everyone started believing that people of different backgrounds were biologically different.

There is no biological evidence to show that any one ethnic group has a larger brain than another. This is just like how Sascha Baron Cohen brought up, with his character Borat, that Kazakhi women have smaller brains than men. It is absurd to think that could be true and it is absurd to think what Metapedia says is true.

The American Anthropological Association issued this 1994 statement on "race" and intelligence:

The American Anthropological Association (AAA) is deeply concerned by recent public discussions which imply that intelligence is biologically determined by race. Repeatedly challenged by scientists, nevertheless these ideas continue to be advanced. Such discussions distract public and scholarly attention from and diminish support for the collective challenge to ensure equal opportunities for all people, regardless of ethnicity or phenotypic variation.

Earlier AAA resolutions against racism (1961, 1969, 1971, 1972) have spoken to this concern. The AAA further resolves:

WHEREAS all human beings are members of one species, Homo sapiens, and

WHEREAS, differentiating species into biologically defined "races" has proven meaningless and unscientific as a way of explaining variation (whether in intelligence or other traits),

THEREFORE, the American Anthropological Association urges the academy, our political leaders and our communities to affirm, without distraction by mistaken claims of racially determined intelligence, the common stake in assuring equal opportunity, in respecting diversity and in securing a harmonious quality of life for all people.


When all is said and done, don't fall for the hype of those that would divide you amongst yourselves. Come together and take action to unify this planet and its people. Take action that shall preserve this species until there is no longer a suitable habitat for us.

Biologically, we are all one.

Click here to go to the AAA's website

20070724

Wal Mart will sell you anything

I began reading the Consumerist, an online consumer advocacy publisher, and scrolled down.

"Religious Action Figures Are Coming To Walmart" caught my attention.

For only $20 you can have your own Samson or Goliath, and Jesus himself, is only $15.


Figures will only be sold in stores where the Bible is the best seller, nothing like preaching to the choir, and nothing like taking advantage of Bible happy consumers.

Of course this is no more ridiculous than selling comic book action figures but at least comic books are much more interesting to read.

Have you ever read the Bible? If not allow me to tell you my interpretation of it, it is a long winded story about an incompetent god that created a planet.

!!!SPOILER WARNING!!!

The deity later reclaims the planet after most of his creations abandon their worship and praise. Accounts vary but the general idea is that god will take his believers to a vaguely described heaven for what may be an eternity. Depending on who you ask the non-believers are to either remain on the now godless planet or will suffer an eternal fire or damnation.

Quite unoriginal and unimaginative but what would you expect?

Wal-Mart heats things up

Earlier this summer Wal Mart sold a pair of yellow flip flop sandals to an Orlando woman.


Some point after that this woman, Kerry, begins wearing the sandals.
Seven hours later Kerry removes the sandals because they are burning her feet.


26 days later Kerry endured what appears to be a severe chemical burn on her feet.


I skipped the in between pictures because it gets graphic and I'd rather not have to look at them unless absolutely necessary.

See the pictures for yourself here: Pictures

Read an article by the Consumerist regarding this very situation.

Wal Mart took no responsibility for selling a dangerous product.

20070723

The Legal System

My basic understanding of the criminal system in the United States is as follows:
A person is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

I learned that from watching the syndicated tv show Cops for many years.

I've also learned that just because a person was proven guilty in a court of law it doesn't necessarily mean that they are actually guilty of the crime. There have been several wrongful convictions.

So now that animal rights activists are protesting Michael Vick and encouraging the Atlanta Falcon's opposing defenses' to "Sack Vick" I must ask the question:

Is a person really innocent until proven guilty in a court of law?

These activists serve a legitimate purpose but Vick is yet to be convicted of anything.

These people are attacking Vick not necessarily to condemn his alleged actions but to promote their own agenda.

View an article here: yahoo news

For future updates consider: savemichaelvick.com

20070719

My How the Tables Have Turned

Does anyone remember the Republicans condemning the Democrats for their use of the filibuster? Read the following quote taken from NewsMax.com's article Democratic Filibuster Unconstitutional?

"...it may have even created demand for the 'nuclear option' where senators will simply insist that what the liberals are doing is unconstitutional and will proceed to confirm these nominees." -Paul M. Weyrich
Now it is the Republicans who are using up their filibuster credits in a classic example of double-standards.

20070716

Homosexuality. Lets try to define it.

I was wandering through the internet not too long ago and I stumbled upon a bit of contradictory information. First I somehow wound up in the Conservapedia website. They claim that it is a conservative encyclopedia you can trust and that their truth shall set you free. It is an alternative to the obviously liberal Wikipedia.

Featured on their main page at that time was an article for homosexuality. It was presented in the first sentence that homosexuality is an immoral lifestyle defying the will of god.

However, from the day that I first read that to the day that I type this, the encyclopedia has changed its position. The opening line now reads homosexuality is an attraction to the same sex. That may be due to the controversy and ridicule resulting from the initial wording.

Wikipedia defines homosexuality as referring to either a sexual attraction, to sexual behavior, or sexual orientation. The encyclopedia goes off on many other tangents.

The Conservapedia article bases its position on what the Bible says. Four passages are quoted claiming that god has forbidden the "immoral lifestyle". Much data is presented to argue the case that it is an immoral lifestyle and that disease and disorder plague the population. They also present examples of people converting to a heterosexual lifestyle through their faith in Jesus.

This makes no sense to me. How can their truth be in direct contradiction to another internet encyclopedia? An internet encyclopedia with much more respect and authority than their own. My conclusion is that Conservapedia has presented no factual evidence and their position is a purely derogatory one.

Remember, people are people.

20070702

ASU Top Paid Employees

Ever wonder how much money universities pay their top employees?

Wonder no more!

Here is the list for Arizona State University at the end of its most recent academic year:


Are these salaries justified? Note that 2 of the top 5 people listed are no longer with ASU, former head football coach Dirk Koetter, and former men's basketball coach Rob Evans.

I will also point out that 3 of these 20 people are women, and that there are no women in the top 10. It would appear that there is a glass ceiling at ASU.

A very wasteful glass ceiling.

This information along with the fact that tuition is increasing at a rate much higher than inflation shows that the Arizona legislature needs to do more to funnel more money into higher education to relieve the burden off of the students and to do more to regulate salaries such that ASU remains competitive but also wastes much less money.

Car Alarm to Deter Burglary

I got this in my email and I thought I would pass it on. This could possibly help you with your personal security.

Put your car keys beside your bed at night. If you hear a noise outside your home or someone trying to get in your house, just press the panic button for your car. The alarm will be set off and the horn will continue to sound until either you turn it off or the car battery dies.

This tip came from a neighborhood watch coordinator. Next time you come home for the night and you start to put your keys away, think of this: It's a security alarm system that you probably already have and requires no installation. Test it.

It will go off from most everywhere inside your house and will keep honking until your battery runs down or until you reset it with the button on the key! fob ch ain. It works if you park in your driveway or garage.

If your car alarm goes off when someone is trying to break in your house, odds are the burglar or rapist won't stick around.... after a few seconds all the neighbors will be looking out their windows to see who is out there and sure enough the criminal won't want that.

And, remember to carry your keys while walking to your car in a parking lot. The alarm can work the same way there..... This is something that should really be shared with everyone.

Maybe it could save a life or a sexual abuse crime.

This could be useful also while overnighting in a motel!

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Corporate Hall of Shame: Wal-Mart, Ford, etc

I've never liked Wal-Mart. Their way of doing business really turned me away from their stores.

Now, Corporate Accountability International has issued their Corporate Hall of Shame!

Here is the list:
  • ExxonMobil has avoided paying $4.5 billion in damages as a result of their infamous Exxon Valdez oil spill. This is also a gracious recipient of several tax breaks and tax relief.
  • Halliburton is the greatest profiteer from the Iraq invasion, it has been awarded $20 billion in government contracts. This corporation is currently moving its headquarters from Houston to Dubai in an effort to run away from the money that it owes the United States.
  • Wal-Mart is a wretched company to work for. Most of Wal-Mart's workers are below the poverty line but their executives are raking in dough and living big.
  • Kimberly-Clark has denied its contribution to the destruction of the ancient forests in North America.
  • Coke drained water supplies in drought prone areas in India and undermines confidence in local water utilities.
  • Ford has awful fuel efficiency and pollution ratings and has blocked government efforts to improve auto emissions.
  • Nestle has denied its role in the obesity epidemic, drained valuable water supplies for its products, and uses child labor on its cocoa farms.
  • Merck kept Vioxx on store shelves 4 years after learning the pain medication causes heart attacks and has monopolized AIDS medications in Thailand.

Please visit the Corporate Hall of Shame for more info

Supreme Court: How much fun can they have?

Thankfully the supreme court has decided to turn back the clock to a time when segregation was common practice.

Not exactly but it is damn close. Today, the Court voted 5-4 to strike down integration in Kentucky and Washington.

It is bloody amazing how much these little buggers can accomplish when they put their mind to it.

Within a matter of days the Court has limited ethnic integration, upheld a ban on a necessary medical procedure for women, curbed student's free speech rights, allowed corporate money into political advertising, prevented taxpayers from challenging the constitutionality of the administration's faith based initiatives, and made it almost impossible for women to win claims of longterm sexual discrimination.

It would seem that people learn very well from history. They learn so well, that they take action to make sure that they have the opportunity to exert their will on others so that they can prevent any uprising.