Thursday, August 20, 2009

Sea Sheperds Whale Wars on Animal Planet


Facebook post I felt compelled to chime in on --


Scott Randell (New Orleans, LA) wrote
at 9:23am on August 8th, 2009

I just joined, and I'm sure this will be my first and last post. The Sea Sheperd's are nothing but a bunch of whiny, nerdy, thugs. To protect something is one thing, to intentionally cause damage to someone else's property, while standing behind the lie "we're doing it in the name of saving the whales" is criminal at least. I watch Whale Wars, and like the show and the idea behind the show, but the actions and thought process of the crew and pirate Captain are deplorable.


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

Rip Ription wrote to support and back up his new pal,
Scott the sensational at 5:28pm on August 15th, 2009
Get them whales!
Right on, Mr. Randell! You're my kinna human, bubba!

Rest of ya, back off those righteous whalers! They're simply doing research to establish true numbers of declining whale populations. For each whale they kill, it can be firmly established via stringent scientific methodologies that's there's one less whale within that population. That's uncontested data my friends!

Just let them proceed, and eventually all the whales will be gone and there will be no need to continue the research! Alas, the Shepherds and whalers can then rejoice and reflect about the good ole days. Everyone wins! Except the whales of course, but screw them. This planet belongs to Homo Sapiens, period!

Animals were put here by the almighty for our exploitation and/or hunting pleasure. Make no mistake, all "non-human" animals are jealous of mankind cuz we got the thumbs! And if it weren't for Noah, they would not even be here!


I also stand behind the Japanese practice of shark finning. That's where they pull in those pesky man eating rascals by the hundreds, slice off the fins and immediately toss them back overboard to watch those nefarious creatures wiggle and squirm as they float to the bottom of their watery grave. It's really groovy to watch!Kill the baby whales too!

"Yah baybee, what do you think of that, mister bad ass shark monster! Not so bad ass now, are ya! Ahhh poor little sharky fish can't swim without its fin... boo hoo... Humans rule! Get use to it! After all, shark fin soup is what keeps us frisky so we can breed more humans insuring world domination!

Ya see kids, and most importantly, this also protects cute little seals, cuz those mean ole sharks eat them seals. Now the seals can breed profusely and over populate the worlds coastal regions, (just like they are now), and eat all those other pesky little pesca's that once permeated in OUR (humankind's) oceans! That leaves more room for us to swim and stuff.


Of course, no need to worry about seals depleting world fish populations cuz they're now in competition with "ah huh ah huh" The Man! (literally) -- Rulers of the World -- Dominate Species !! Let's hear for the top of the food chain! GooooOOO HUMANs!

Humanity is perfectly capable of wiping out all those other 'pesky little pesce' populations without the help of ball bouncing, obnoxious barking, fish munchin' seal punks. And we're making progress!
Whales take hours to die after harpooning
For example, there's now a 5 year moratorium on West Coast Salmon fishing. Some morons are actually trying to save those silly slippery slimy salmons! Piiifffttt... for what? Genetically altered farm raised salmons will do just fine! Though not as tasty as their soon to be extinct wild cousins, they're twice as stupid and put up no fight what so ever when being harvested! Now we can damn up those rivers and tributaries once used for spawning, and put to good use for HUMAN needs!

The moratorium's on Pollock and Cod fishing isn't working either... Muhahaha! Those (not so smart) schools of fish (the planets staple ocean bearing food source) are in rapid decline and with any luck, could be wiped out within the next decade! Be gone, cracker Cods and pesky Pollocks!

Of course Micky D's will have to seek another fish for the infamous "Fillet of Fish" sandwich, which we've all come to adore. I thinking goldfish, perhaps? We can genetically alter them to be huge, and the kids of the world can raise them from guppy-hood. As soon as they outgrow their goldfish bowl, instead of flushing them down the toilet, just send them off to your local McDonald's, and have 'em for dinner!

And those freaky tacky Tuna fishies? Haha, their days are numbered! Scientists claim that bluefin tuna, having been over fished for decades, is at risk of disappearing for good. Yahooooo! Those guys get real big, and take up lots of room in OUR oceans!

Let's get rid of them once and for all and set our sites upon those deceptively degenerate dolphin delinquents! Piffft... to think those permanent little friendly affixed smiles can keep them in our good graces... Oh contraire, monsieur dolphin din din... They taste every bit as good as Tuna and actually trust us enough to swim right up and say hello! "Look, it's Flipper! Did we bring some mayo and relish?" hehe... Just plug 'em with a harpoon and its dolphinfish casserole for dinner! Who's smiling now, tasty yet pathetic porpoise?
Don't save whales!
In closing, I again ask you to give those whalers a break - they're doing it for humanity, and i'm sure they have the whales best interest in mind. After all, they shoot them multiple times with a high powered rifle after the initial harpooning so they don't have to suffer as long. It's actually entertaining to take bets on how many bullets it will take to finally stop those stupid whales from floppin' around strugglin' to live 'n stuff.

Plus, I'm sure it's a hassle trying to pull them on board if they're still squirming and wigglin' for their life, so it's also a time saver thing. They are "WHALES" after all. Now, IMHO, that's professional whaling ethics, both merciful and chronologically efficient!

The trivial fact that endangered whales are worth a million bucks, (or a gazillion yen?) and those silly little Minkes are worth a mere quarter million is just a "maritime research bonus plan" coincidence.

One must look at the look at the bigger picture. Those obnoxious whale squeals can transverse thousands of miles through the ocean waters disrupting the sonar returns of the world's naval fleets which in turn, can have an adverse effect on mankind's ability to commit warfare on each other.

Get them whales!
Cuz let's face it peeps, as the world food sources get more and more scarce, it's only time before we look at each other and think; "Hmmm... I wonder how that person would taste filleted and grilled with garlic and lemon?

I'm told by an old cannibal pal that we taste a lot like chicken! And though clowns might taste funny, and divorced women might taste bitter, all in all, we're actually quite tasty and nutritious! Alas, the old adage comes full circle... "You are what you eat" And humanity beware, asking a fellow human in the not so distant future, "Hey, what's for dinner?" might take on a whole new meaning.

Eat Human

To your species be true,

Grand PooBah - "Everyone has an opinion - mine are simply the correct ones"

Member: UESIFF (Underground Evolution of Sarcastic Intellectual Freedom Fighters)

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Planet X Here We Come

2008 - Major Planet X Announcement - to be published in the peer reviewed Journal of Astrophysics and Astronomy - Read All About It - and remember, we already pegged this over a year ago. :)

Planet X

On a personal note, Hiya peeps!

And a big fuzzy wazzup to all our new found parishioners! I've spent the last hour going over some of the thousands (and thousands ---- and more thousands even), emails you all have sent the last couple months.

I am overwhelmed and humbled by your warm and supportive comments. Wow, what a groovy bunch of wacky thinkin' bipedal primates we are, huh? Connecting like this, all snugly like... thinking with a critical tint, no agenda other then saving and uniting our funked out and somewhat misguided species. I can deal with that.


Anydamnhow, I've done ZERO web marketing, nadda - just linked to a couple dozen of our other sites and low and behold, Shazaaam! The Church has taken on a life of its own! Over 150k unique hits monthly and growing two fold weekly! AND - over a quarter million now in our email list?


Yikes! Where did all you people come from? What am I suppose to say to all you folks? I'm just a ghost, a fleeting facade, pure and legendary in my own mind... I didn't think this concept would actually take off like a heat seeking missile of thought process conformity yadda yadda...


Sheesh, I've been really busy, ya dig? bla bla bla - thus our little Church blog wanders haphazardly through uncertain shards of ye' ole blogosphere suffering from serious data input neglect - a bad blog Poobah, so I am - BUT - That's all gonna change -


I'm going to do my very best to post at least three times a week so I can walk and talk like a regular bloody boomin' blogga, bruddah! Can I hava justa one -- Hallelujah!


Oh, I can feel it. **smirk** This of course will allow me the opportunity to communicate with my new found fellow Church Chums... That's the underlying vibe of your email's - Who am I really, how/why do I know certain things others might deem extraordinary, how did I arrive at various mathematical equations and when, bla yadda bla bla... To those type of inquiries I would say only this:


"DONT BELIEVE ANY OF IT! IT'S ALL BULLSHIT!"


and you really need to take our brief tutorial:


http://www.churchofcriticalthinking.org/critical_thought.html


Everything within this site (as far as you know) is for your entertainment purposes only.


http://www.churchofcriticalthinking.org/playtime.html <- see- we actually have games.


If the subject matter interests you, do some research, multiple sources kinna junk. Academia is your friend. Science is your biaach baybee, yah. Speak of it with others, it might just surprise you. Maybe freak you out a little - that's a good thing. Form your own conclusions based upon your interpretation. You'll be a better homo sapien space cadet cuzofit.


I'll only send a mass email under urgent church type congregation duress - (cuz I hate dem thar spammy thangs lik dat)


The way it's going - we should be a million strong by years end - that's freaking crazy! It does however, tell me that this project was not in vain, and that folks are actually really craving this sort of information.


The kinna stuff that makes sense and actually matters, ya know, like our survival as a species on this planet kinna junk. I'll also be researching and updating our news link:


http://www.churchofcriticalthinking.org/news/news.html


with relevant info as it becomes pertinent ---


Let's do this thing! Until next time my awesome churchcrit chums, remember to chant and spread to thy neighbor our Holy Creed, Scriptures, Gospel and Divine Doctrine:


"Kindness"


Yours Ever Devotionally,


Grand Whimsical Wizard PooBah

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Political Lies Tsk Tsk

No one is such a liar as the indignant man.
- Friedrich Nietzsche

George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Condoleezza Rice, along with a slew of administration underlings and a revolving-door cavalcade of brass hats from the Pentagon, have been making claims regarding Iraq for many years now.

They claimed Iraq was in possession of 26,000 liters of anthrax, "enough to kill several million people," according to a page on the White House web site titled Disarm Saddam Hussein.

They lied.

They claimed Iraq was in possession of 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin.

They lied.

They claimed Iraq was in possession of 500 tons, which equals 1,000,000 pounds, of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent.

They lied.

They claimed Iraq was in possession of nearly 30,000 munitions capable of delivering these agents.

They lied.

They claimed Iraq was in possession of several mobile biological weapons labs.

They lied.

They claimed Iraq was operating an "advanced" nuclear weapons program.

They lied.

They claimed Iraq had been seeking "significant quantities" of uranium from Africa for use in this "advanced" nuclear weapons program.

They lied.

They claimed Iraq attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes "suitable for nuclear weapons."

They lied.

They claimed America needed to invade, overthrow and occupy Iraq in order to remove this menace from our world. "It would take just one vial, one canister, one crate slipped into this country," went the White House line, "to bring a day of horror like none we have ever known."

They lied.

"Simply stated," said Dick Cheney in August of 2002, "there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction."

Liar.

"Right now," said George W. Bush in September of 2002, "Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of nuclear weapons."

Liar.

"We know for a fact," said White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer in January of 2003, "that there are weapons there."

Liar.

"We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction," said Colin Powell in February of 2003, "is determined to make more."

Liar.

"We know where they are," said Donald Rumsfeld in March of 2003. "They are in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad, and east, south, west and north somewhat."

Liar.

"The Iraqi people understand what this crisis is about," said Paul Wolfowitz in March of 2003. "Like the people of France in the 1940s, they view us as their hoped-for liberator."

Liar.

"No one ever said that we knew precisely where all of these agents were," said Condoleezza Rice in June of 2003, "where they were stored."

Liar.

"I have absolute confidence that there are weapons of mass destruction inside this country," said Gen. Tommy Franks in April of 2003. "Whether we will turn out, at the end of the day, to find them in one of the 2,000 or 3,000 sites we already know about or whether contact with one of these officials who we may come in contact with will tell us, 'Oh, well, there's actually another site,' and we'll find it there, I'm not sure."

Wrong.

"Before the war," said Gen. Michael Hagee in May of 2003, "there's no doubt in my mind that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, biological and chemical. I expected them to be found. I still expect them to be found."

Wrong.

"Given time," said Gen. Richard Myers in May of 2003, "given the number of prisoners now that we're interrogating, I'm confident that we're going to find weapons of mass destruction."

Wrong.

"Do I think we're going to find something? Yeah, I kind of do," said Maj. Gen. Keith Dayton in May of 2003, "because I think there's a lot of information out there."

Wrong.

Gen. David Petraeus, commander of US forces in Iraq, is about to give testimony before the Senate regarding the current state of affairs in that battle-savaged country. He is a political general, one of many America has seen and heard over the last five years, one who would leap nude from the Capitol dome before telling the real truth about matters in Iraq ... or who would speak using words fed to him by liars, and thus be wrong.

Remember: they lie. They all lie, from the top man down to the bottom. If their lips are moving, a lie is unfolding. If they say water is wet, get into the shower to make sure.

They lie.

Period.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Viridian Principles 1.0

A. Futurist principles



"Eat What You Kill"



It's perfectly acceptable to supersede some time-honored
tool or practice. However, you should take pains to fully
comprehend the thing you have rendered obsolescent. You
are removing some part, however modest, of the
infrastructure of civilization. You are destroying the
work of previous designers; you should offer them the
respect you yourself would hope for, under similar
circumstances. This is for your own good. You can't
comprehend your own accomplishment until you have fully
internalized and understood the accomplishment that you
are undoing.


"Avoid the Timeless, Embrace Decay"



Platonic visions of absolute reality, and Christian
visions of eternity, are very unhealthy for bipedal
mammals in a biosphere. Nothing physical is eternal.
It's very bad design to create some device which quickly
ceases to function, while its useless components persist
around us, ugly and dangerous. Entropy deserves our
respect and attention. Entropic processes such as
corrosion, rot, rust, degradation, delamination, and
disintegration should be closely studied, harnessed for
industrial use, and even aestheticized.


"Planned Evanescence"



"Planned Obsolescence" means that a product will be driven
off the market, within a known time-frame, by some
purported improvement. The Viridian principle of
"Planned Evanescence" extends this practice by demanding
that the product and all its physical traces should
gracefully disintegrate and vanish entirely.


"The Future is History -- Be When You Are"



The future is not a stage set. The past is not a sacred
myth. The past and the future are this place at a
different time. The future is advancing upon you, and the
past retreating, at a remorseless rate of one second per
second. You can seek understanding anywhere, but you can
only act in the moment. "You Own Modernity." It's easy to
get transfixed by romantic ideas of historical
inevitability: glamorous marches of progress, or gruesome
congenital declines. But your own epoch is your own
problem. If you call yourself "post" or "former," or
"neo" or "retro," you are begging for someone else's
troubles.


"History Accumulates"



The arrow of time moves only in one direction. As long
as civilization persists and our records multiply, we
have more and more history. The compost of history is
thicker for us than it was for our predecessors -- and
thinner than it will be for our descendants. We need
better ways to manage our increasing wealth of history.


B. Moral Principles



"Look at the Underside First"



Legions of people are paid large sums to promote the
positive aspects of commercially available products.
Very few people earn their daily bread by pointing out
malfunctions, bugs, screw-ups, design failures, side-
effects and the whole sad galaxy of trade-offs and
failings that are inherent in any technological artifact.
To counteract this gross social imbalance, a wise designer
and a wise critic will make it a matter of principle to
look at the underside first.


"Design For Evil"



Any innocent product which becomes suddenly genocidal in
the hands of a tyrant has been designed by a dangerous
naif. Every design process is incomplete unless it takes
into careful consideration what could be done with the
product by a dictatorial megalomaniac in command of a
national economy, a secret police, and a large army.


"Design for the Old"



The median age is advancing steadily around the world.
The 21st century will have a historically unprecedented
demographic structure. Short of catastrophe and mass
slaughter, we will never see the 20th century's youthful
demographics again. The senior members of society have
their own ergonomics and anthropometrics. If you don't
design for them, you're designing for an ever-shrinking
fraction of the world.


"Superstition Isn't Inspiration"



Creative inspiration isn't a lab product, but it doesn't
come from your fairy godmother, either. There's no
effective substitute for experimental verification and
reproducible results. A tarot deck can trigger strong
feelings of creative insight, but it doesn't convey
higher wisdom. Like horoscopes and ouija boards, it uses
suggestion to allow you to tell yourself a story that you
already know. Don't mistake mystic wish-fulfillment and
the promptings of your unconscious for objective evidence.
It's a breach of taste to imagine that the vagaries of
your own imagination are more interesting than the world.


C. Political Principles



"Viridian Inactivism"



Activism is an attention hog, and very time and energy
intensive. A better approach is to find the things you
are doing that intensify the problem, and just
cease doing them. Put in less overtime. Sleep late.
Have a nap after lunch. Burn less midnight oil. Park
your car, turn off all the lights in your apartment, and
go outside in the sunshine and read a book. Spend an
hour on your mascara if you feel like it. Don't allow
yourself to be spooked into Stakhanovite overdrive; seek
command of your own life, and enjoy being yourself.


"Do Less With Less"



We're altering the climate by burning too much fossil
fuel. We should struggle valiantly to find alternative
sources of energy, but it's rather more gratifying to
simply become less frenetic. What exactly are we doing at
the moment that is worth ruining the climate for? Relax.


"There's No One So Green As the Dead"



Zealous moralistic arguments about who is more-Green-than-
thou are very counterproductive. We're all adding to the
global CO2 load as long as we continue to breathe. Dead
people are the ultimate Greens (trumped only by people
who never existed in the first place). If you feel
helpless with guilt because of your bad environmental
habits, pause and think of the very brief time in which
you employ the earth's resources, and the long, long eons
in which you'll be just raw material again.


D. Principles of the Avant-technogarde



"The Biological Isn't Logical"



Design tends to follow the leading technical products of
its period; in an age of aviation, even pencil-sharpeners
are streamlined. Given this longstanding trend, the
coming bio-genetic technical revolution should produce a
biomorphic epoch in 21st century design. But the living
world was not designed by a teleological, rationalist,
reductionist process. The living world grew irrationally
through non-systematic, genetic exploration of niche
possibilities, pruned back by natural selection and
occasional massive disasters. So if you're building
distributed networks, learn from crabgrass.


"Augment Reality: Aestheticize All Sensors"



From the age of desktop calculation, through the age of
networking and bandwidth, computation/communication will
progress toward omnipresent, on-chip sensors, the
"intelligent environment" or "augmented reality." While
calculation is mathematical, and bandwidth is highly
technical, sensors must interact with the human sensorium,
and are therefore a strong aesthetic challenge. Sensors,
instrumentation, and mediated monitoring systems of all
kinds are the next aesthetic frontier.


"Make the Invisible Visible"



Our primary advantage over previous generations of artists
and graphic designers is that we can see much better than
they could. We can manipulate, store, create and analyze
graphic imagery with historically unprecedented ease and
power. This trend should be recognized, advanced, and
artistically exploited. Advances in instrumentation can
be used to change the zeitgeist. If carbon dioxide were
blood-red, our skies would look ominous indeed.


"Less Mass, More Data"



Physical resources should be replaced with information
when possible. If you always know where something is, you
don't have to chain it up. If it can see stress coming
and duck, it doesn't need to be sturdy. If it pops up
and vanishes repeatedly on signal, it doesn't have to take
abuse.


"Tangible Cyberspace"



The obverse of "Less Mass, More Data" is "Tangible
Cyberspace," introducing computer-generated artifacts and
processes into the basic texture of the physical world.
This transcends mere CAD-CAM, in that it seeks for a
profound new interrelationship of the computational and
the environmental. We seek to make the screen permeable,
and to turn "computers" into worldly, sensual entities.


"Seek the Biomorphic and the Transorganic"



"Nature" is over. There's not a liter of seawater
anywhere without its share of PCB and DDT, and an altered
climate will reshuffle the ecological deck for every
creature that breathes. A 21st century avant-garde must
deal with those consequences and thrive in that world.
We have already painted flowers. We want to know what a
flower means when a flower has onboard processing, amped-
up genetics, and its own agenda. Thus a central Viridian
aesthetic dictum: "A Rose is No Longer a Rose."


"Datamine Nature"



"Seeking Truth From Nature" was a rhetorical and
ideological support of the Pre-Raphaelites and Art
Nouveau. It worked well twice and can work again. Since
our understanding of natural processes has advanced so
hugely, there is a wealth of aesthetic novelty to be found
in previously invisible aspects of nature, such as
cellular metabolism, noninvasive medical imaging,
hybridomas and chimeras, artificial life entities, and
chemosynthetic life forms.


"Grow Complexity"



It is now absurdly simple to create graphic patterns of
any level of busy-ness and complexity. Without human
esthetic intervention, this art is puerile and ugly. A
Viridian aesthetic looks for patterns that are both
tasteful and previously impossible.


E. Research Principles



"Walk Through the Walls of Knowledge Guilds"



The boundaries that separate art, science, medicine,
literature, computation, engineering, and design and craft
generally are not divinely ordained. The most galling of
these boundaries are socially generated entities meant to
protect the power-interests of knowledge guilds. This is
not to say that that all research techniques are
identical, or that their results are all equally valid
under all circumstances: quantum physics isn't opera. But
there exists a sensibility that can serenely ignore
intellectual turf war, and comprehend both physics and
opera. You won't be able to swing a grant or sing an aria
by knocking politely at the stage door. They won't seat
you at the head of the table and slaughter the fatted
calf. But you can take photographs, plant listening
devices and leave. If you choose, you can step outside
the boundaries history makes for you. You can walk
through walls.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

FEMA - Caught in Bullshit Lie!

On Tuesday, FEMA held what was called a "news briefing" on the California fires, but the questions asked did not come from reporters. They were asked instead by FEMA staffers.

“It is not a practice that we would employ here at the White House or that we -- we certainly don't condone it,” Press Secretary Dana Perino said. “We didn't know about it beforehand. FEMA has issued an apology, saying that they had an error judgment when they were attempting to get out a lot of information to reporters, who were asking for answers to a variety of questions in regard to the wildfires in California. It's not something I would have condoned. And they, I'm sure, will not do it again.”

One reporter asked Perino who is responsible?

“Well, FEMA is responsible,” she said. “And they have accepted that responsibility, and they issued an apology today. They have admitted that they had an error in judgment. I would agree with that. They've issued an apology. And, you know, you'll have to ask them about why they decided to do that."

Why fake it? Apparently, the FEMA briefing was called with little lead-time and reporters didn't get there fast enough. Instead of acknowledging that reporters were not there they apparently pretended and even used the typical practice of calling a "last question."

The briefer, FEMA's Deputy Administrator Harvey Johnson, did not indicate that the questions were coming from staff who were in essence playing reporters. Six questions were asked and the phrasing and subject matter were not typical for a news briefing give and take.

Senior administration officials are looking into the matter and suggest the "intentions were good," but acknowledge that was not an appropriate "tactic."

The suggestion is that so many media questions had been coming in to FEMA and the briefing was a way to get information out. But instead of transparency, a senior FEMA official appears to have faked it.

Below are the actual questions and excerpted responses from Johnson:

QUESTION 1: What type of commodities are you pledging to California?
"So I think we're well ahead of the requirement and we'll be able to make sure that all the shelters that are stood up are, in fact, all sustained and have sufficient materials and quantities of commodities to make sure they meet the demand of the people who might seek shelter."

QUESTION 2: Sir, there are a number of reports that people weren't heeding evacuation orders and that was hindering emergency responders. Can you speak a little to that, please?
"So I think you're seeing more compliance and more conformance with expected norms of travel."

QUESTION 3: Can you address a little bit what it means to have the president issue an emergency declaration, as opposed to a major disaster declaration? What does that mean for FEMA?
"As an emergency declaration, it allows us to provide -- to open up the Stafford Act and to provide the full range of protective measures and all the things that they need now in order to address the fire, If the governor had asked for a major declaration, that would have talked about individual assistance and public assistance at greater levels. And at this point, the governor has not asked for that."

QUESTION 4: Sir, we understand the secretary and the administrator of FEMA are on their way out there. What is their objective? And is there anyone else traveling with them?
"..all the key leaders who are directing this effort and demonstrating a partnership through their effort will be out there at San Diego this afternoon. So I think it's a good demonstration of support, recognizing that our role is not to usurp the state but to support the state. And they'll demonstrate that by their presence."

[Off-camera voice asks for another question)

QUESTION 5: Are you happy with FEMA's response, so far?
"I'm very happy with FEMA's response so far. This is a FEMA and a federal government that's leaning forward, not waiting to react. And you have to be pretty pleased to see that."

[Staff voice off camera: Last question.]

QUESTION: What lessons learned from Katrina have been applied?
"I think what you're really seeing here is the benefit of experience, the benefit of good leadership and the benefit of good partnership; none of which were present in Katrina.

“So, I think, as a nation, people should sit up and take notice that you have the worst wildfire season in history in California and look at how well the state and local governments are performing, look at how well we're working together between state and federal partners."

Here's FEMA's statement from Vice Admiral Harvey Johnson:
STATEMENT
October 26, 2007

STATEMENT IN REGARDS TO FEMA'S TUESDAY PRESS BRIEFING
FEMA's goal is to get information out as soon as possible, and in trying to do so we made an error in judgment. Our intent was to provide useful information and be responsive to the many questions we have received. We are reviewing our press procedures and will make the changes necessary to ensure that all of our communications are straight forward and transparent.

At FEMA, our focus is disaster operations and, in this case, it means working closely with the State of California to support their response to the devastating fires. We're committed to being there for the State and being good partners. In working to do so we did not put enough focus on how we communicate to the public.

The real story -- how well the response and recovery elements are working in this disaster -- should not be lost because of how we tried to meet the needs of the media in distributing facts.

We can and must do better, and apologize for this error in judgment.

### END OF STATEMENT # # #

The Movie "Idiocracy" proving true!

I have this ongoing discussion with a reader who also just so happens to be a longtime Oakland high school teacher, a wonderful guy who's seen generations of teens come and generations go and who has a delightful poetic sensibility and quirky outlook on his life and his family and his beloved teaching career.

And he often writes to me in response to something I might've written about the youth of today, anything where I comment on the various nefarious factors shaping their minds and their perspectives and whether or not, say, EMFs and junk food and cell phones are melting their brains and what can be done and just how bad it might all be.

His response: It is not bad at all. It's absolutely horrifying.

My friend often summarizes for me what he sees, firsthand, every day and every month, year in and year out, in his classroom. He speaks not merely of the sad decline in overall intellectual acumen among students over the years, not merely of the astonishing spread of lazy slackerhood, or the fact that cell phones and iPods and excess TV exposure are, absolutely and without reservation, short-circuiting the minds of the upcoming generations. Of this, he says, there is zero doubt.

Nor does he speak merely of the notion that kids these days are overprotected and wussified and don't spend enough time outdoors and don't get any real exercise and therefore can't, say, identify basic plants, or handle a tool, or build, well, anything at all. Again, these things are a given. Widely reported, tragically ignored, nothing new.

No, my friend takes it all a full step — or rather, leap — further. It is not merely a sad slide. It is not just a general dumbing down. It is far uglier than that.

We are, as far as urban public education is concerned, essentially at rock bottom. We are now at a point where we are essentially churning out ignorant teens who are becoming ignorant adults and society as a whole will pay dearly, very soon, and if you think the hordes of easily terrified, mindless fundamentalist evangelical Christian lemmings have been bad for the soul of this country, just wait.

It's gotten so bad that, as my friend nears retirement, he says he is very seriously considering moving out of the country so as to escape what he sees will be the surefire collapse of functioning American society in the next handful of years due to the absolutely irrefutable destruction, the shocking — and nearly hopeless — dumb-ification of the American brain. It is just that bad.

Now, you may think he's merely a curmudgeon, a tired old teacher who stopped caring long ago. Not true. Teaching is his life. He says he loves his students, loves education and learning and watching young minds awaken. Problem is, he is seeing much less of it. It's a bit like the melting of the polar ice caps. Sure, there's been alarmist data about it for years, but until you see it for yourself, the deep visceral dread doesn't really hit home.

He cites studies, reports, hard data, from the appalling effects of television on child brain development (i.e.; any TV exposure before 6 years old and your kid's basic cognitive wiring and spatial perceptions are pretty much scrambled for life), to the fact that, because of all the insidious mandatory testing teachers are now forced to incorporate into the curriculum, of the 182 school days in a year, there are 110 when such testing is going on somewhere at Oakland High. As one of his colleagues put it, "It's like weighing a calf twice a day, but never feeding it."

But most of all, he simply observes his students, year to year, noting all the obvious evidence of teens' decreasing abilities when confronted with even the most basic intellectual tasks, from understanding simple history to working through moderately complex ideas to even (in a couple recent examples that particularly distressed him) being able to define the words "agriculture," or even "democracy." Not a single student could do it.

It gets worse. My friend cites the fact that, of the 6,000 high school students he estimates he's taught over the span of his career, only a small fraction now make it to his grade with a functioning understanding of written English. They do not know how to form a sentence. They cannot write an intelligible paragraph. Recently, after giving an assignment that required drawing lines, he realized that not a single student actually knew how to use a ruler.

It is, in short, nothing less than a tidal wave of dumb, with once-passionate, increasingly exasperated teachers like my friend nearly powerless to stop it. The worst part: It's not the kids' fault. They're merely the victims of a horribly failed educational system.

Then our discussion often turns to the meat of it, the bigger picture, the ugly and unavoidable truism about the lack of need among the government and the power elite in this nation to create a truly effective educational system, one that actually generates intelligent, thoughtful, articulate citizens.

Hell, why should they? After all, the dumber the populace, the easier it is to rule and control and launch unwinnable wars and pass laws telling them that sex is bad and TV is good and God knows all, so just pipe down and eat your Taco Bell Double-Supremo Burrito and be glad we don't arrest you for posting dirty pictures on your cute little blog.

This is about when I try to offer counterevidence, a bit of optimism. For one thing, I've argued generational relativity in this space before, suggesting maybe kids are no scarier or dumber or more dangerous than they've ever been, and that maybe some of the problem is merely the same old awkward generation gap, with every current generation absolutely convinced the subsequent one is terrifically stupid and malicious and will be the end of society as a whole. Just the way it always seems.

I also point out how, despite all the evidence of total public-education meltdown, I keep being surprised, keep hearing from/about teens and youth movements and actions that impress the hell out of me. Damn kids made the Internet what it is today, fer chrissakes. Revolutionized media. Broke all the rules. Still are.

Hell, some of the best designers, writers, artists, poets, chefs, and so on that I meet are in their early to mid-20s. And the nation's top universities are still managing, despite a factory-churning mentality, to crank out young minds of astonishing ability and acumen. How did these kids do it? How did they escape the horrible public school system? How did they avoid the great dumbing down of America? Did they never see a TV show until they hit puberty? Were they all born and raised elsewhere, in India and Asia and Russia? Did they all go to Waldorf or Montessori and eat whole-grain breads and play with firecrackers and take long walks in wild nature? Are these kids flukes? Exceptions? Just lucky?

My friend would say, well, yes, that's precisely what most of them are. Lucky, wealthy, foreign-born, private-schooled ... and increasingly rare. Most affluent parents in America — and many more who aren't — now put their kids in private schools from day one, and the smart ones give their kids no TV and minimal junk food and no video games. (Of course, this in no way guarantees a smart, attuned kid, but compared to the odds of success in the public school system, it sure seems to help). This covers about, what, 3 percent of the populace?

As for the rest, well, the dystopian evidence seems overwhelming indeed, to the point where it might be no stretch at all to say the biggest threat facing America is perhaps not global warming, not perpetual warmongering, not garbage food or low-level radiation or way too much Lindsay Lohan, but a populace far too ignorant to know how to properly manage any of it, much less change it all for the better.

What, too fatalistic? Don't worry. Soon enough, no one will know what the word even means.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID): Another Busted Gay Closeted Republican ...

Stridently anti-gay Idaho Republican Senator Larry Craig was revealed today to have been arrested on June 11th for lewd public conduct in the men's restroom of Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport. Craig pled guilty on August 8th.

Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) was arrested in June at a Minnesota airport by a plainclothes police officer investigating lewd conduct complaints in a men’s public restroom, according to an arrest report obtained by Roll Call Monday afternoon. Craig’s arrest occurred just after noon on June 11 at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. On Aug. 8, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct in the Hennepin County District Court. He paid more than $500 in fines and fees, and a 10-day jail sentence was stayed. He also was given one year of probation with the court that began on Aug. 8.
From the police report filed by plainclothes officer Dave Karsina, via TPM Election Central:
Craig then entered the stall next to Karsnia’s and placed his roller bag against the front of the stall door.


“My experience has shown that individuals engaging in lewd conduct use their bags to block the view from the front of their stall,” Karsnia stated in his report. “From my seated position, I could observe the shoes and ankles of Craig seated to the left of me.”

Craig was wearing dress pants with black dress shoes.

“I could see Craig look through the crack in the door from his position. Craig would look down at his hands, ‘fidget’ with his fingers, and then look through the crack into my stall again. Craig would repeat this cycle for about two minutes. At 1216 hours, Craig tapped his right foot. I recognized this as a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct. Craig tapped his toes several times and moves his foot closer to my foot. I moved my foot up and down slowly. While this was occurring, the male in the stall to my right was still present. I could hear several unknown persons in the restroom that appeared to use the restroom for its intended use. The presence of others did not seem to deter Craig as he moved his right foot so that it touched the side of my left foot which was within my stall area,” the report states.

Craig then proceeded to swipe his hand under the stall divider several times, and Karsnia noted in his report that “I could ... see Craig had a gold ring on his ring finger as his hand was on my side of the stall divider.”

Karsnia then held his police identification down by the floor so that Craig could see it.

“With my left hand near the floor, I pointed towards the exit. Craig responded, ‘No!’ I again pointed towards the exit. Craig exited the stall with his roller bags without flushing the toilet. ... Craig said he would not go. I told Craig that he was under arrest, he had to go, and that I didn’t want to make a scene. Craig then left the restroom.”

In a recorded interview after his arrest, Craig “either disagreed with me or ‘didn’t recall’ the events as they happened,” the report states.

Craig stated “that he has a wide stance when going to the bathroom and that his foot may have touched mine,” the report states. Craig also told the arresting officer that he reached down with his right hand to pick up a piece of paper that was on the floor.

“It should be noted that there was not a piece of paper on the bathroom floor, nor did Craig pick up a piece of paper,” the arresting officer said in the report.