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!