February 9th, 2010

me at yd
  • drcruel

CBS Should Have Punted on Focus on the Family Ad (xposted from my journal)

Wouldn't that make for great copy somewhere? Seems so natural, but I didn't see it in any of the coverage.

OK, so here's the thing about the ad. Yes, it avoided negativity and yes, it was a far cry from picketing abortion clinics. I feel CBS set a terrible precedent and has now placed itself in the position of arbitrating advocacy, which is not only an awfully clunky turn of phrase but a terrible position in which to be. And I have faith that anyone who hadn't previously heard of Focus on the Family and was fooled by the innocuous ad into visiting their website will immediately click on (no pun intended) the fact that they are a bigoted, hateful group. In short, while they can claim a propaganda victory for having arm-wrestled CBS into airing their ad, this will not help their eternal fund-raising efforts; the only people who care about their tiny victory are the ones who already donate to them. And we should therefore all be happy, because they spent $2,800,000 to accomplish absolutely nothing.

Which brings me to my point. If I did donate to Focus on the Family, I might reasonably be upset that they squandered $2.8m for a shallow and empty victory. Their budget is not unlimited, after all-in fact, they laid off 200 people towards the end of 2008, many of whom presumably have families upon which to focus. But even assuming that the castaways interrupted their busy schedules of peeping on their neighbors to see whether or not they really are nudist lesbian witches, blamed their unemployment on Obama or Illegal Immigrants or Jews and went out to find work in a more honest field such as used-car sales, one must question what a group that is so interested in children could have accomplished with $2.8m

Here's a short list of some of the things that Focus on the Family might have focused on with $2,800,000:

Giving flu shots to 560,000 at-risk family members in America
Distributing malaria nets to 280,000 at-risk families in Africa
Paying the annual salaries of 5,833 teachers in Afghanistan
Paying the annual fuel cost to heat 28,000 elementary school classrooms in Afghanistan
Providing 186,666 one-on-one weekly reading tutoring hours to inner city children in America
Installing 7,671 computers in girls' schools in rural Cambodia
Giving 77,777 of the children in refugee camps outside Darfur one year of schooling

This is why Focus on the Family disgusts me. It's not their odious views, their bigotry or their ignorance of basic Psychology. It's their hypocrisy, their shallow-minded obsessions and their constant, self-aggrandizing, media circus. It's the way they completely ignore the example of quiet, selfless service that Jesus set and twist his words so as to best suit their political agenda. I'm no theologian, but it was my understanding that the Scriptures they constantly cite as self-justification should be a shield, not a sword. And it should be finally obvious to the followers of Jesus that this despicable group is only Focused on Itself.

(no subject)

Damage to Brain's Decision-Making Area May Encourage Dicey Gambles

De Martino is especially interested in how loss-aversion applies to money. "My dream would be an economic theory that could capture the complexities of human behavior, based on real people and real brains rather than assumptions," he explains. De Martino's field of study is aptly named neuroeconomics. "It is a more biological view of social science," he says. "A lot of economic theorists think about humans as machines and forget about emotional processing."

I wonder if he's ever heard of the Austrian school. It sounds like he hasn't.

Representative Murtha's death allegedly the result of surgical error.

It is being reported that Representative Murtha's death from surgical complications is allegedly the result of a botched procedure. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports "Mr. Murtha was first hospitalized with gallbladder problems in December. He had surgery Jan. 28 at the National Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Md. He went home, but was hospitalized two days later when complications developed. According to a source close to Mr. Murtha -- confirming a report in Politico -- doctors inadvertently cut Mr. Murtha's intestine during the laparoscopic surgery, causing an infection." Under Republican proposals, what are the proposed limits for medical malpractice? Is this specific instance, can you even sue the military surgeons?

Jumpy beasts

New school theme: Academy of Learn English or Die?

North Carolina wants in on the action, too!

School secretary fired for speaking Spanish in violation of school's no-Spanish rule.
A former school secretary has sued Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, saying she lost her job at Devonshire Elementary when a new principal banned her from speaking Spanish to parents who can't speak English.

Ana Ligia Mateo claims she was hired as a bilingual secretary for the east Charlotte school in 2006. But when Suzanne Gimenez took over as principal in 2008, the lawsuit says, Gimenez "announced in a staff meeting that she would no longer allow Spanish to be spoken to parents by any of the faculty or staff."

This year 42 percent of Devonshire's 500 students are Hispanic. The school's Web site says that the school theme is "Academy of Cultural and Academic Diversity."
"The suit says after an encounter with another distraught parent who could not communicate, Gimenez "screamed at (Mateo) that she could not speak Spanish to any parents."

Mateo was sent to a conference room, the suit says, where Assistant Principal Kimberly Vaught told Mateo she knew Mateo could empathize with the parents because she "crossed the border just like them." Mateo, who is described in the suit as a U.S. citizen who is "Hispanic/Nicaraguan," said that was not true."
I think this situation was handled in probably the worst possible way. I'm guessing any suit by the former secretary will be nailed by the whole "wetback" accusation. I realize this may be asking a lot but I'd like some opinions stripped of commentary about the illegal immigrant component.

What should America's obligation be to residents who can't speak/read/write English?
  • dwer

What the hell is wrong with South Carolina lately?

No joke: South Carolina now requires ’subversives’ to register
Five-dollar registration fee for persons planning to overthrow US government

Terrorists who want to overthrow the United States government must now register with South Carolina's Secretary of State and declare their intentions -- or face a $25,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison.

The state's "Subversive Activities Registration Act," passed last year and now officially on the books, states that "every member of a subversive organization, or an organization subject to foreign control, every foreign agent and every person who advocates, teaches, advises or practices the duty, necessity or propriety of controlling, conducting, seizing or overthrowing the government of the United States ... shall register with the Secretary of State."

Source wants your paperen, pliss!

So... wait. Let's set aside that membership in "subversive" organizations is Constitutionally protected... don't the Tea-Baggers want to overthrow the currently constituted government of the US? I wonder if they'll have to register.

But more than that, do they really expect people to REGISTER here?

Of course, it all depends on what they decide is a subversive organization...
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(no subject)

Wal Mart Discriminates?

SILVERTHORNE, Colo. — A small group of West African men who came to the Rockies in search of economic opportunity are embroiled in a dispute with Wal-Mart, accusing it of a raft of discriminatory actions. Most say they were dismissed because supervisors wanted to give their jobs to local people in need of work.

...things changed in 2008 and 2009, when new managers took over the stores, according to the complaints as well as interviews here with four of the men, who continue to gather weekly at a cramped apartment and talk of their hopes of getting new jobs.

In January 2009, six complainants said, a new manager at the Avon store called a meeting of workers — virtually all West African — and said: “I don’t like some of the faces I see here. There are people in Eagle County who need jobs.” ...
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Uncle Sam loves the GOP

Efficacy of a Theory-Based Abstinence-Only Intervention Over 24 Months

Results  The participants' mean age was 12.2 years; 53.5% were girls; and 84.4% were still enrolled at 24 months. Abstinence-only intervention reduced sexual initiation (risk ratio [RR], 0.67; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.48-0.96). The model-estimated probability of ever having sexual intercourse by the 24-month follow-up was 33.5% in the abstinence-only intervention and 48.5% in the control group. Fewer abstinence-only intervention participants (20.6%) than control participants (29.0%) reported having coitus in the previous 3 months during the follow-up period (RR, 0.94; 95% CI, 0.90-0.99). Abstinence-only intervention did not affect condom use. The 8-hour (RR, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.92-1.00) and 12-hour comprehensive (RR, 0.95; 95% CI, 0.91-0.99) interventions reduced reports of having multiple partners compared with the control group. No other differences between interventions and controls were significant.

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What are the goals of sex education? It appears that the abstinence programs are yielding positive results compared to the other programs. If the goal is to prevent sexually transmitted deceases and teen pregnancy, does this  controlled study of young African Americans students show that abstinence program yields that result at a higher rate than its counter parts? 
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i am spock's frustration
  • yahvah

(no subject)

1) If any state makes any thing a tender in payment of debts which isn't gold and silver coin, then that state has broken the supreme law of the land vis-a-vis Article one Section ten.
2) All fifty states make federal reserve notes a tender in payment of debts.
3) All fifty states have broken the supreme law of the land.

Some of you want to say the U.S. constitution is irrelevant, or the interpretation of the U.S. constitution is somehow fallacious. I'd like to point you to Cornell Law School's site. Notice how there's a hyperlink in section nine for the direct taxes clause, and the link takes you to the sixteenth amendment. The U.S. went through the amendment process to invalidate an original law of the constitution, but the Federal Reserve Act merely went through Congress and then to the President's desk. The exact same thing happens with the war on drugs. We amend the constitution to prohibit alcohol, but we don't amend the constitution to prohibit a less harmful drug like marijuana.

Where's the irrefutable logic which shows how the U.S. doesn't have to amend the constitution?

Freeze on HIV spending sparks concern in Africa

Freeze on HIV spending (by the US) sparks concern in Africa.

Do you think this is a good decision? Do you think we should not have provided aid for this in the first place? What American needs that aren't currently addressed by the USG do you think should be funded with this money instead of for HIV treatment in Africa? Does this freeze go against any of Obama's promises? Any other comments?

Personally, I think US banks could have taken the hit first. This makes me wonder what kind of "change we can believeTM" we can expect now that we have a President who doesn't blink an eye at $1+ trillion deficits.