May 2007



A boy selling puppies out of a little red wagon camps out in front of the White House…George Bush, delighted at the boy’s entrepreneurship, strolls out to speak with him. “Say, what kind of puppies are those?” says Bush. “Republican puppies, sir,” says the boy. George Bush, delighted with the boy’s response, hands him a ten-dollar bill.

A week later, the same boy with the same puppies camps out in front of the White House again. Sensing a possible photo opportunity, George Bush approaches the boy again. “What kind of puppies were those again?” asks Bush. “Democratic puppies, sir,” says the boy.

Bush says, “What? Last week you said they were Republican puppies.” “Yes sir,” replies the boy, “but they’ve opened their eyes since then.”

student typingFrom The Nation Magazine: 

The deadline for applications for the second annual Nation Student Writing Contest is coming right up–this Thursday, May 31. Please help us spread the word about the contest.

We’re looking for original, thoughtful, provocative student voices to tell us what is the most important issue for young people in the 2008 presidential campaign. Essays should not exceed 800 words and should be original, unpublished work that demonstrates clear thinking and superior quality of expression and craftsmanship.

We’ll select five finalists (including at least one high-schooler) and one winner, who will be awarded a $1,000 cash prize and a Nation subscription. The winning essay will be published in the magazine and featured on our website. The winner will also be published by our partners at Campus Progress and Wire Tap. The five finalists will be awarded $200 each and Nation subscriptions and their entries will be published at TheNation.com. The contest is open to students at US high schools and to undergraduates at US colleges and universities. Entries (only one per student) will be accepted through May 31. A winner will be announced by September 4. Please send entries to studentprize@thenation.com.

Please tell the curators of this museum to study some science and join the 21st, 20th or 19th centuries. They’re making America a laughingstock!

New museum says dinosaurs were on Noah’s Ark

By Andrea Hopkins Sat May 26, 1:47 PM ET

PETERSBURG, Ky (Reuters) – Like many modern museums, the newest U.S. tourist attraction includes some awesome exhibits — roaring dinosaurs and a life-sized ship.

 

 

But only at the Creation Museum in Kentucky do the dinosaurs sail on the ship — Noah’s Ark, to be precise.

The Christian creators of the sprawling museum, unveiled on Saturday, hope to draw as many as half a million people each year to their state-of-the-art project, which depicts the Bible’s first book, Genesis, as literal truth.

While the $27 million (13.6 million pound) museum near Cincinnati has drawn snickers from media and condemnation from U.S. scientists, those who believe God created the heavens and the Earth in six days about 6,000 years ago say their views are finally being represented.

“What we’ve done here is to give people an opportunity to hear information that is not readily available … to challenge them that really you can believe the Bible’s history,” said Ken Ham, president of the group Answers in Genesis that founded the museum.

Here exhibits show the Grand Canyon took just days to form during Noah’s flood, dinosaurs coexisted with humans and had a place on Noah’s Ark, and Cain married his sister to people the earth, among other Biblical wonders.

Scientists, secularists and moderate Christians have pledged to protest the museum’s public opening on Monday. An aircraft trailing a “Thou Shalt Not Lie” banner buzzed overhead during the museum’s opening news conference.

Opponents argue that children who see the exhibits will be confused when they learn in school that the universe is 14 billion years old rather than 6,000.

“Teachers don’t deserve a student coming into class saying ‘Gee Mrs. Brown, I went to this fancy museum and it said you’re teaching me a lie,'” Dr. Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Centre for Science Education, told reporters before the museum opened.

A Gallup poll last year showed almost half of Americans believe that humans did not evolve but were created by God in their present form within the last 10,000 years.

Three of 10 Republican presidential candidates said in a recent debate that they did not believe in evolution.

Undated handout image showing a painting of a prehistoric crocodile (lower L) on a scale next to a human and dinosaur, released February 16, 2005. Like many modern museums, the newest U.S. tourist attraction includes some awesome exhibits -- roaring dinosaurs and a life-sized ship. But only at the Creation Museum in Kentucky do the dinosaurs sail on the ship -- Noah's Ark, to be precise. REUTERS/Handout

Reuters Photo: Undated handout image showing a painting of a prehistoric crocodile (lower L) on a scale…

 

You ever heard of this? I can’t find it anywhere besides Air America, but I really like it. Please email your representatives and senators and tell them to please put their money where their mouth is when it comes to “support the troops”.

“A Soldier’s Bill of Rights”

Unless a military action involving American troops is authorized, as called for in the Constitution, by a vote of Congress, the following rights shall, in all cases, be afforded to all members of the military of The United States.

1. SAFETY: As the Department of Defense has full authority to purchase the best state of the art weaponry, regardless of cost and the impact on the national treasury, to fulfill its mission, so too shall American servicemen and women be entitled to the best, state of the art armor and other protection, for themselves and each and all of their vehicles, regardless of cost.

2. PAY: All servicemen and women defending our nation shall be entitled to a salary and all other benefits equivalent to that paid to private contractors performing similar service on behalf of The United States government or military.

3. LENGTH OF SERVICE: Unless a war is duly authorized, as required by The United States Constitution, the President does not have any authority to extend tours of duty for any and all servicemen and women, in any branch, beyond the original contract of such service.

4. DEPLETED URANIUM – No serviceman or woman shall be forced to use or be in the vicinity of weapons containing Depleted Uranium until and unless the Surgeon General of The United States declares that such weapons have no impact on the short or the long term health of the soldiers.

5. REHABILITATION – All soldiers who are injured in a war not specifically authorized by Congress shall be entitled to the best, state of the art short term and long term care available anywhere in The United States, regardless of cost. Any funding requests necessary to achieve such level of care from the Veterans Administration shall receive the highest priority.

Who’s enjoying all these high gas prices? Not consumers. Not drivers. Not truckers. Yep, you guessed it …

high gas prices

Is it time yet for fuel efficient cars and alternative sources of energy?

People who know me online, from my other site, or who know me in person, know that I was abused for many years and that my mom is in jail on drug charges. They also know I am very smart and in all honors classes and that I now live in a violence-free home. And that I caused trouble in elementary school and got in a lot of fights. That said, this story from MSNBC hits me a little too close to home.


Boy who slept in trash bin is student of the year

DECATUR, Ala. — Eleven-year-old D.J. Graffree didn’t realize he was a child.

For much of his life, he was a cocky kid who didn’t need any adults to look after him or tell him what to do. He was always in and out of schools in his small town outside of Jackson, Miss. He spent a lot of times out on the streets.

At one point, he slept in a trash bin to stay warm.

Yet two weeks ago, D.J. was named Decatur City Schools’ Elementary Student of the Year.

D.J.’s face was bewildered when the honor was announced at the school system’s annual breakfast May 10. His cousin and guardian Patti Lewis’ face was first joyful, then tearful.

He later said it was simply luck that earned him the award.

When pushed further, he finally conceded it was more than that. “They like my behavior and my attitude,” he said.

The article says this about D.J.’s early life:

“He never had a chance to play or never had a birthday party,” she said. “He’s missed out on a lot of his childhood things.”

When Lewis went to visit D.J. and the rest of her extended family in Mississippi last year, she was shocked.

On that trip, D.J. broke down and told her everything about his life on the streets — about the drugs, being forced to steal to eat, and being whipped with chains. With his mother in jail, he had been shifted around to different relatives several times and had even run away from them.

….

When D.J. came to Decatur, he was placed in CASE Alternative School in Decatur. He had been kicked out of his last school system in Mississippi.

So when D.J. finally left CASE and came to fifth grade at Somerville Road Elementary, neither his family nor school
administrators knew how he would fare. He had a bad attitude, wouldn’t do his work and was disrespectful. Because of all of his time on his own, he resented authority and boundaries.

D.J. is in the news because he changed to a good student very quickly when he got a new family,. That’s great, but why didn’t it happen sooner? I know that the same night my mom was arrested, I got a social worker and a guardian-ad-litem and all kinds of people to make sure that I would be OK. And they stepped in when there were problems with my family later, and I am glad they did. Why didn’t D.J. have that instead of just getting shifted around?

In what other “civilized” country do children live like this? What other country lets them?


The US is number 1 !!!! (Is that a good thing?))

There is a new list out of all of the things that United States leads in. Unfortunately, the list excludes things like health care, education, press freedom and income equality. Instead, consider these items:

First in oil consumption:

The United States burns up 20.7 million barrels per day, the equivalent of the oil consumption of China, Japan, Germany, Russia, and India combined.

First in carbon dioxide emissions:

Each year, world polluters pump 24,126,416,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the environment. The United States
and its territories are responsible for 5.8 billion metric tons of
this, more than China (3.3 billion), Russia (1.4 billion) and India
(1.2 billion) combined.

First in external debt:

The United States owes $10.040 trillion, nearly a quarter of the global debt total of $44 trillion.

First in military expenditures:

The White House has requested $481 billion for the Department of
Defense for 2008, but this huge figure does not come close to
representing total U.S. military expenditures projected for the coming
year. To get a sense of the resources allocated to the military, the
costs of the global war on terrorism, of the building, refurbishing, or
maintaining of the U.S. nuclear arsenal and other expenses also need to be factored in. Military analyst Winslow Wheeler did the math recently: “Add $142 billion to cover the anticipated costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; add $17 billion requested for nuclear weapons costs in the Department of Energy; add another $5 billion for miscellaneous defense costs in other agencies … and you get a grand total of $647 billion for 2008.”

Taking another approach to the use of U.S. resources, Columbia University economist Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard Business School lecturer Linda Bilmes added to known costs of the war in Iraq invisible costs like its impact on global oil prices as well as the long-term cost of healthcare for wounded veterans and came up with a price tag of between $1 trillion and $2.2 trillion.

If we turned what the United States will spend on the military in 2008 into small bills, we could give each one of the world’s more than 1 billion teenagers and young adults an Xbox 360 with wireless controller (power supply in remote rural areas not included) and two video games to play: maybe Gears of War and Command and Conquer would be appropriate. But if we’re committed to fighting obesity, maybe Dance Dance Revolution would be a better bet. The United States alone spends what the rest of the world combined devotes to military expenditures.

First in weapons sales:

Since 2001, U.S. global military sales have normally totaled between
$10 and $13 billion. That’s a lot of weapons, but in fiscal year 2006,
the Pentagon broke its own recent record, inking arms sales agreements worth $21 billion. It almost goes without saying that this is significantly more than any other nation in the world.

First in sales of surface-to-air missiles:

Between 2001 and 2005, the United States delivered 2,099 surface-to-air missiles to nations in the developing world, 20 percent more than Russia, the next-largest supplier.

First in sales of military ships:

During that same period, the United States sent 10 “major surface combatants” like aircraft carriers and destroyers to developing nations. Collectively, the four major European weapons producers shipped 13. (And we were first in the anti-ship missiles that go along with such ships, with nearly double [338] the exports of the next largest supplier Russia [180]).

First in military training:

A thoughtful empire knows that it is not enough to send weapons; you have to teach people how to use them. The Pentagon plans on training the militaries of 138 nations in 2008 at a cost of nearly $90 million. No other nation comes close.

First in private military personnel:

According to bestselling author Jeremy Scahill, there are at least 126,000 private military personnel deployed alongside uniformed military personnel in Iraq alone. Of the more than 60 major companies that supply such personnel worldwide, more than 40
are U.S.-based.

And here are some things where we are no longer #1:

Not first in automobiles:

Once, Chrysler, General Motors and Ford ruled the domestic and global roost, setting the standard for the automotive industry. Not any more. In 2006, the United States imported almost $150 billion more in vehicles and auto parts than it sent abroad. Automotive analyst Joe Barker told the Boston Globe, “It’s a very tough environment” for the so-called Detroit Three. “In times of softening demand, consumers typically will look to brands that they trust and rely on. Consumers trust and rely on Japanese brands.”

Not even first in bulk goods:

The Department of Commerce
recently announced total March exports of $126.2 billion and total
imports of $190.1 billion, resulting in a goods and services deficit of
$63.9 billion. This is a $6 billion increase over February.

Like most of my political posts, this is cross-posted at Political Teen Tidbits and at YouThinkLeft.

When I get lazy, or busy with exams, I don’t think, write and then post. Instead I just pick the best of the day’s political cartoons and post those. Here ya go!

stamp mail email price

moderate republican

cartoons_051907_a1.jpg

Tinkie Winkie Jerry Falwell

cp-1.gif

no more bushies

wolfie world bank

elephants

Dua Khalil honor killingI have a boyfriend and my family does not want me to have sex with him. They say I am too young and so is he. (Kissing and hugging are fine, but hands must always stay above the waist.) They want me to be older, to be in love, and to be safe when I do choose to have sex. Maybe I will wait until I am married and maybe I won’t.

If I were to have sex at my age, they would be disappointed in me and angry with me. If I stayed out all night, I would definitely get grounded, lose internet access, and probably have a thousand new chores. But they would NOT kill me and NEVER let other people kill me because of sex, even if I had sex with a person of a different religion.

It is different in the middle east. There, girls can be stoned to death for having sex too early and with the wrong people. Look at what happened to Dua Khalil, a 17 year old in Northern Iraq. (She is the girl in the photo above.)
According to CNN:

Authorities in northern Iraq have arrested four people in connection with the “honor killing” last month of a Kurdish teen — a startling, morbid pummeling caught on a mobile phone video camera and broadcast around the world.

The case portrays the tragedy and brutality of honor killings in the Muslim world. Honor killings take place when family members kill relatives, almost always female, because they feel the relatives’ actions have shamed the family.

In this case, Dua Khalil, a 17-year-old Kurdish girl whose religion is Yazidi, was dragged into a crowd in a headlock with police looking on and kicked, beaten and stoned to death last month. (Watch the attack, and what authorities are doing about it Video)

Authorities believe she was killed for being seen with a Sunni Muslim man. She had not married him or converted, but her attackers believed she had, a top official in Nineveh province said. The Yazidis, who observe an ancient Middle Eastern religion, look down on mixing with people of another faith.

National Geographic estimates that thousands of women and girls are killed every year, because their families value family honor more than the lives of the women and girls.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of women are murdered by
their families each year in the name of family “honor.” It’s difficult to get precise numbers on the phenomenon of honor killing; the murders frequently go unreported, the perpetrators unpunished, and the concept of family honor justifies the act in the eyes of some societies.

Most honor killings occur in countries where the concept of women as a vessel of the family reputation predominates, said Marsha Freemen, director of International Women’s Rights Action Watch at the Hubert Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.

Reports submitted to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights show that honor killings have occurred in Bangladesh, Great Britain, Brazil, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Pakistan, Morocco, Sweden, Turkey, and Uganda. In countries not submitting reports to the UN, the practice was condoned under the rule of the fundamentalist Taliban government in Afghanistan, and has been reported in Iraq and Iran.

But while honor killings have elicited considerable attention and outrage, human rights activists argue that they should be regarded as part of a much larger problem of violence against women.

. . . .

The practice, she said, “goes across cultures and across religions.”

Complicity by other women in the family and the community strengthens the concept of women as property and the perception that violence against family members is a family and not a judicial issue.

“Females in the family—mothers, mothers-in-law, sisters, and cousins—frequently support the attacks. It’s a community mentality,” said Zaynab Nawaz, a program assistant for women’s human rights at Amnesty International.

Some organizations that are fighting to stop this violence against girls and women are UNICEF and Amnesty International.

UPDATE: You can also sign this petition and find out more from STOP Honour Killings.

Like most of my political posts, this is cross-posted at Political Teen Tidbits and at YouThinkLeft.

censorshipOur military spends a lot of time defending our rights and our constitution, or so they tell us. Soldiers don’t have freedom of speech because of the code of military conduct, but they used to at least have freedom of the press. There have been reports from veterans of the Iraq Occupation that they had difficult accessing certain (liberal) websites or listening to liberal radio from Iraq, but on Tuesday, the Pentagon made censorship an official and public policy, banning access to YouTube and MySpace among other websites. According to the AP,

Members of the military can still access the sites on their own computers and networks, but Defense Department computers and networks are the only ones available to many soldiers and sailors in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The ban does not affect the Internet cafes that soldiers in Iraq use that are not connected to the Defense Department’s network.

If this ban stands, there will be NO VIDEO AT ALL from Iraq shown to the rest of the world because of a reporting/photography ban by the Iraqi government.

A new Iraqi government policy implemented this month bans news photographers and camera operators from filming bombing scenes, meaning video taken by citizens and uploaded to YouTube could become the only imagery the public sees of such devastation.

Today, however, the people who started YouTube are fighting back. They are challenging the military’s contention that the ban reflected a bandwidth issue (rather than censorship of news to or from the occupation zone).

How is this different from the ban on showing flag-draped coffins on TV in the U.S.?

flag draped coffins

Sometimes it is hard to remember what rights our military is fighting to protect.

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    The Republicans who are into “family values” are also against single parent households. I was raised by my mom alone for 6 years and then raised by my brother alone after that, so I know that there can be problems. Single parents need a lot of support if they are going to have healthy families.

    Military families become single parent families during deployments, and there is a huge additional stress of fearing that someone will die in battle or by friendly fire, or that they will be wounded. So it shouldn’t be a big surprise that a recent study published in USA Today found that “Sending soldiers to war puts their children left at home at higher risk of abuse and neglect.

    According to the article, the kids being abused the most (or reported the most) were under 4 years old, and the “Abuser was usually the parent who remained at home while a spouse was deployed.”

What the article didn’t mention is what the military is doing about it for the kids who are already being abused, but they mention at least one program for the war-created single parents married to soldiers and marines.

At Texas’ Fort Hood, home to about 70,000 military family members, the post is now working with the Military Child Education Coalition to improve community involvement with military families, Boyce said. “The U.S. Army, like many American communities, takes a solid teamwork approach to assisting families who have a soldier deployed,” he said.

Let’s end the war, get the troops home, and get them and their families all the counseling they need to have a healthy family life. If so many have PTSD, they AND their families will need a lot of help.

 

I am SO glad that this wasn’t my school. Who would scare children like this? On purpose? Agh!

Read this from the Hufington Post. I hope they all get fired!

 

Teachers Stage Fake Gun Attack on Kids

AP | May 13, 2007 05:28 PM EST
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Staff members of an elementary school staged a fictitious gun attack on students during a class trip, telling them it was not a drill as the children cried and hid under tables.The mock attack Thursday night was intended as a learning experience and lasted five minutes during the weeklong trip to a state park, said Scales Elementary School Assistant Principal Don Bartch, who led the trip.

“We got together and discussed what we would have done in a real situation,” he said.

But parents of the sixth-grade students were outraged.

“The children were in that room in the dark, begging for their lives, because they thought there was someone with a gun after them,” said Brandy Cole, whose son went on the trip.

Some parents said they were upset by the staff’s poor judgment in light of the April 16 shootings at Virginia Tech that left 33 students and professors dead, including the gunman.

During the last night of the trip, staff members convinced the 69 students that there was a gunman on the loose. They were told to lie on the floor or hide underneath tables and stay quiet. A teacher, disguised in a hooded sweat shirt, even pulled on locked door.

After the lights went out, about 20 kids started to cry, 11-year-old Shay Naylor said.

“I was like, ‘Oh My God,’ ” she said. “At first I thought I was going to die. We flipped out.”

Principal Catherine Stephens declined to say whether the staff members involved would face disciplinary action, but said the situation “involved poor judgment.”

I like the message of peace.

Freckles

New mom and puppies

Mother’s Day Proclamation – 1870

by Julia Ward Howe Arise then…women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly:
“We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”

From the voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: “Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.”
Blood does not wipe our dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
At the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace…
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God –
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.
• More about the history of Julia Ward Howe and Mother’s Day

Bush goes to a elementary school to talk to the kids to get a little PR.
After his talk he offers question time. One little boy puts up his hand and George asks him his name.

” Stanley,” responds the little boy.

“And what is your question, Stanley?”

“I have 4 questions:

First, why did the USA invade Iraq without the support of the UN?
Second, why are you President when Al Gore got more votes?
Third, whatever happened to Osama Bin Laden?”
Fourth, why are we so worried about gay-marriage when 1/2 of all
Americans don’t have health insurance?”


Just then, the bell rings for recess. George Bush informs the kiddies that they will continue after recess.

When they resume George says, “OK, where were we? Oh, that’s right, question time. Who has a question?”

Another little boy puts up his hand. George points him out and asks him his name.

“Steve,” he responds.

“And what is your question, Steve?”

“Actually, I have 6 questions.

First, why did the USA invade Iraq without the support of the UN?
Second, why are you President when Al Gore got more votes?
Third, whatever happened to Osama Bin Laden?
Fourth, why are we so worried about gay marriage when 1/2 of all
Americans don’t have health insurance?
Fifth, why did the recess bell go off 20 minutes early?
And sixth, what the hell happened to Stanley?

 

United States Marines (heads bowed)

My brother is active military, so I am usually very quick to defend soldiers and marines, especially when I think that it’s their commanders that are giving them mis-information and possibly illegal orders. But stories like this one just get me angry and make me ashamed of the military and of the country. No matter what the marines felt, the behavior here has no excuse.

From the TimesOnline in the UK: “A US Marine yesterday told a court investigating an alleged massacre in the Iraqi town of Haditha that he watched a superior officer shoot and kill five civilians as they held their hands up in an attempt to surrender.

If the marine sergeant was telling the truth (after being given immunity) then an officer in his unit shot these civilians while they were trying to surrender! He will not be prosecuted even though “
Sergeant Sanick Dela Cruz … admitted lying about events in Haditha in November 2005, and said that he urinated on the head of one of the 24 Iraqi civilians killed by
his unit.” Is there a penalty for peeing on the head of a civilian that your unit kills?

According to Sgt. Dela Cruz, “Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich shot five Iraqis who
were trying to surrender and then told his men to lie about the killings.

Can we please end this STUPID war now and start the process of bringing honor back to our military?

 

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