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 Essays should not exceed 800 words and should be original, unpublished work that demonstrates clear thinking and superior quality of expression and craftsmanship.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.

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