Friday, April 4, 2008

Protection Order...For a Duck?

You know, as much as I like animals and hate to see them abused by punk kids, I think a court order of protection for a duck is a little ridiculous. Can't the cops just go talk to the kids parents? Smack them with a mischief charge or something and have them do community service? That's just me, I guess.

Klein on Iraq

Joe Klein usually writes good stuff about Iraq. His most recent post over at Swampland includes some questions Congress should be asking Petraeus during his upcoming testimony. To whit:

*What exactly is the U.S. interest in a fight between Shi'ites? Are you planning to deploy U.S. troops in Basra or any of the other southern cities?
*Why should we take sides between two militias, the Mahdi Army and the Badr Corps, each funded by Iran?
*How deep is the Badr infiltration of the Iraqi Army? Why do most U.S. commanders on the ground refuse to share their mission plans with their Iraqi counterparts in advance?
*How do you create a national army if you don't have a functioning national government or, for that matter, a nation?
*With the foreign fighters and Al Qaeda largely contained--one last big battle looms in Mosul--just what exactly is the U.S. mission in Iraq?
*Do you believe that Iraq is a good location for the permanent U.S. bases that the Bush Administration and John McCain clearly desire?

What do you think the odds are of any these questions being asked? Yeah, probably about zero. Why do we keep reelecting these clowns to office?

Prestigious Teachers

Matt Yglesias responds to a post from Ezra Klein calling for making teaching more prestigious. I agree with Matt that this really is not a feasible endeavor. Trying to create elite teaching programs is not going to suddenly make people think that it is a worthwhile profession to enter.

Fixing schools is going to require a different tack which includes greater teacher flexibility within their classes, curriculums aimed at individual students rather than the big group in the middle, less interference from school boards, greater parental involvement, and economic reforms that bring the lower class up. Of course this is just a start and imagine how much of a furor would be created with any one of these. Someday I plan on making these a reality.

Until It Sleeps

I had my three-month visit yesterday for the multiple sclerosis study I am in. The study coordinators wanted me to see my neurologist as soon as possible because they thought I may be having a minor flare-up. He was able to squeeze me in yesterday, so I went to see him.

I've been getting waves of blurriness in my vision off an on. I've also been getting odd tingling sensations that come and go mostly in my legs. The doctor said that unless it gets worse it is probably a minor relapse and I don't need to get steroid treatments to calm it down. More troubling to me is the fact that I have lost 15 pounds since my visit in January. My diet has not changed, nor has my routine. The doctor says he isn't too concerned unless it continues. We'll see.

All I know is that this hasn't put me in the greatest of moods.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Spiderwick Chronicles

I took my daughters to see this movie last night. They enjoyed it and so did I. I do have to agree with Roger Ebert, though, that the PG rating is rather stretching things. There are some scary scenes which would probably not be good for younger kids. The pacing felt a little odd toward the end and more exposition and background info would have been nice, but overall this was an entertaining family movie.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Torture Beast Just Won't Die

A memo has just been declassified that reveals the thinking (or lack thereof) in this administration's quest for the right to torture. It's scary stuff. This most certainly needs to be out in the open so that the American people fully understand what Bush and his cronies have done.

Science Education...Or Lack Thereof

I think stories like this demonstrate a growing lack of basic understanding of science amongst a large chunk of our population. Yes, it is very tragic that so many children are being diagnosed with autism. Several major studies including independent ones have shown, however, that MMR vaccines are not the cause. That's not stopping people from going forward with lawsuits though. Apparently they all know more than the scientists. That's not to say that scientists never get anything wrong, but to disagree with so many different scientists and scientific studies is not just foolish; it is ignorant.

Monday, March 31, 2008

The Ladies

My mother and daughters tell me that the guy in this commercial is just like me.

Personally, I don't know what they are talking about. This guy isn't cool like me. Or something.

Back to the Grind

The worst thing, certainly, about being gone from work for a week is going back. When I went in this morning, I had about 120 emails requiring follow up and a dozen voice mails. Of course, I made little progress on these because numerous problems cropped up throughout the day so where I was worse off by the end of the day. When I left, I had 173 actionable emails sitting in my inbox. Sigh.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Torture Techniques

Andrew Sullivan has a post up about torture techniques the Bush Administration. I think it is important to keep hammering away on this issue. We can't just let it slide and forget about it. The President of the United States has authorized torture. The Congress has done nothing to stop it. This is not what America is about. I am ashamed of our country that torture is happening on our watch under the authorization of the Executive Branch and the condoning of it (by lack of action) by our legislators. We the people need to let our government know that we do not approve of torture and will not rest until it is no longer the policy of the USA.

Incidentally I was watching an episode of classic Trek tonight with my daughters, "The Cloud Minders." In it Kirk is visiting a planet to get a valuable mineral to save another planet. Anyway, the leader of the planet starts torturing someone and that sets Kirk off. He goes off on the guy and tells him that he will not allow torture.

Too bad Bush won't take some leadership lessons from Kirk. Personally, WWKD is one of my mantras and it hasn't led me astray, yet (provided I remember to ask, of course).

Two More Down

I finished two more classes today. I have one more left which is done at the end of April. It's hard to feel much of a sense of relief, though. I don't even want to look at the grades for my last few assignments since I really half-assed them. I am just feeling so burned out right now that I could barely muster the effort to do them, let alone do them well. I'm also way behind in my one remaining class.

I can't wait for May. I'm not taking any classes that month. A break is what I need.

Weekly Music Video

Jeff Buckley singing "Hallelujah" live. I could listen to him singing this song all day and not get sick of it.

Weekly Secret