Friday, November 16, 2012

dead blog imminent?

bloggy blog hurting... no new posts in a while... new projects going on... not sure what the hell I'm going to do with this one... oh well: enjoy the archives!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

cyberspace rant to a Ron Paul lover

my response to a cyber-dude who was claiming a conspiracy in the media and polling companies with regards to Ron Paul not being more popular, and ahead in polls. his argument is that on twitter he is BLOWIN' UP! - sj

"I appreciate and can relate to your passion, here, but a couple of quick things worth noting: 1) twitter is media. twitter is an awesome new medium and platform, doing things many other standard tv, print, and other entities cannot do. 2) Ron Paul uses that medium, and dozens of other mediums to get his message out. 3) retweets and mentions on twitter are incomparable to polling results. they have nothing to do with it. Most polls are conducted on the telephone. So the results you're seeing are coming from those calls. THEN, there are results you're seeing on twitter. Apples/Oranges. 4) There are PLENTY of unbiased polling entities in operation now, and there are many others that have some bias, for sure, but a) they are consistent, and b) it doesn't matter, because there are polling analyses that AVERAGE the wide spectrum of all of them! 5) Ron Paul would be more popular if some of his policies didn't suck ballz. His anti-gun control, anti-gay/lesbian marriage, being against a woman's right to choose, anti-civil rights stance, his anti universal healthcare, anti-public education, anti- EPA, are just some of his idiotic and anti-american views, thoughts and policies (not to mention, why he's a REPUBLICAN). Even his "states-rights" argument is utter bullshit, as most of those issues I mentioned shouldn't even be debated with that possibility in mind. 6) I have plenty I can argue is wrong with him, and I'll ALSO argue he is racist. If you've ACTUALLY read the Ron Paul Newsletters, you would be amazed at the litany of racist content and made up lies about african-americans (and other people) in them. And they were HIS newsletters. The fact that he plays the moron when pressed on this ("der... welp.. I never read 'em!") only makes him as much of an idiot as any other lying politician. 7) the many different media entities and mediums are HELPING Ron Paul's popularity; not hurting it. If not for them, he'd be just another crazy old loon from Texas, with a few good ideas, and dozens of terrible ones. Fuck Ron Paul"

Friday, January 6, 2012

Great week for America & Dems (bad, for everyone else)!

Happy Friday, all! What a fantastic week for Americans - and a bad week for Republicans, Tea Partyers, and many Libertarians (the ones who just. can't. stand any government interfence and regulating bodies)! Let me take a brief moment to give you two examples - from this week alone - detailing the differences between the Democratic party and Republican party (of which Ron Paul is a devout member). *WARNING: includes facts!

1) Dems, let by Obama, Nancy, Harry and all the others, two years ago, created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). That means what it says: a body, that protects YOU, the consumer, from getting ripped the *&^% off by financial institutions. Republicans/Tea Partyers/many libertarians voted AGAINST this regulating body ...and since the bureau's been established, those same powers have made sure the President could not put someone in charge of it. Based on their actions, the GOP/others do not want YOU protected from predatory financial corps. Well, mercifcully, Obama decided to do some "fillibusting, baby!" and he put a leader - Richard Cordray - in place to start going about the business of protecting all Americans. This guy is an aggressive defender of consumer rights, having brought AIG to it's knees, with a $1,000,000,000 settlement, when he was prosecuting them for bad business practices, as Attorney General, earlier in his career. WINNING! GOP/tea partyers/many liberatarians be damned!

2) Today's job report (just released): a net of 200,000 jobs were added last month, and the jobless rate fell to 8.5%, it's lowest level since Feb, 2009, which was just a couple of weeks after Obama took office, when began fixing the God-awful mess that 8 years of Bush and the republicans made, with their wholly-unnecessary Iraq war (which caused 5,000 unnecessary deaths to our american heroes, and unnecessary physical and mental wounds for life, to another 100,000 american heroes), and TWO failed tax cuts (which added over $1,000,000,000,000 to the deficit). The unemployment rate has dropped, consistently, for a nice clip now, and we're in a six-month stretch in which the economy generated 100,000 jobs or more in each month. That hasn’t happened since April 2006. April, 2006. For all of 2011, the economy added 1.6 million jobs, better than the 940,000 added in 2010. All of this is better than analysts expected. Why? Because the Dems, let by Obama, Nancy, Harry and all the others lead and legislated purposefully, with the goal of fixing the economy, implementing good ideas like the stimulus package (even FAUX news analsysts begrudingly admit the Stimulus/Recovery Act was successful), and the recent payroll tax cut, among other things (the GOP was against a tax CUT! ANYthing to ensure Obama's not re-elected)! ...policies and proposed legislation that the GOP, Conservatives and tea party (to a person!), voted AGAINST. Do not forget that.

In summary: Democrats good for America. Republican, Conservatives, Tea Party, many Libertarians, and some "Independents" bad for America.

"Enjoy your weekend, America!"


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Why Innovation Can't Fix America's Classrooms

Simple and Superb points in this piece from Marc Tucker at the Atlantic last week. Seriously. Our leaders have to get this notion out of their head that they/we know everything. We're losing on this one. Copy the countries that are winning. Like, "duh!" - sj

Forget charter schools and grade-by-grade testing. It's time to look at the best-performing countries and pragmatically adapt their solutions.

Why Innovation Can't Fix America's Classrooms
Dec 6 2011
by Marc Tucker

Most Atlantic readers know that, although the U.S. spends more per student on K-12 education than any other nation except Luxembourg, students in a growing number of nations outperform our own. But think about this: Among the consistent top performers are not only developed nations (Japan, Finland, Canada), but developing countries and mega-cities such as South Korea, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.

Even if we find a way to educate our future work force to the same standards as this latter group -- and we are a very long way from that now -- wages in the United States will continue to decline unless we outperform those countries enough to justify our higher wages. That is a very tall order.

You would think that, being far behind our competitors, we would be looking hard at how they are managing to outperform us. But many policymakers, business leaders, educators and advocates are not interested. Instead, they are confidently barreling down a path of American exceptionalism, insisting that America is so different from these other nations that we are better off embracing unique, unproven solutions that our foreign competitors find bizarre.

Some of these uniquely American solutions -- charter schools, private school vouchers, entrepreneurial innovations, grade-by-grade testing, diminished teachers' unions, and basing teachers' pay on how their students do on standardized tests -- may be appealing on their surface. To many in the financial community, these market-inspired reform ideas are very appealing.

Yet, these proposed solutions are nowhere to be found in the arsenal of strategies used by the top-performing nations. And almost everything these countries are doing to redesign their education systems, we're not doing.

The top-performing nations have followed paths that are remarkably similar and straightforward. Most start by putting more money behind their hardest-to-educate students than those who are easier to educate. In the U.S., we do the opposite.

They develop world-class academic standards for their students, a curriculum to match the standards, and high-quality exams and instructional materials based on that curriculum. In the U.S., most states have recently adopted Common Core State Standards in English and math, which is a good start. But we still have a long way to go to build a coherent, powerful instructional system that all teachers can use throughout the whole curriculum.

The top-performing nations boost the quality of their teaching forces by greatly raising entry standards for teacher education programs. They insist that all teachers have in-depth knowledge of the subjects they will teach, apprenticing new teachers to master teachers and raising teacher pay to that of other high-status professions. They then encourage these highly trained teachers to take the lead in improving classroom practices.

The result is a virtuous cycle: teaching ranks as one of the most attractive professions, which means no teacher shortages and no need to waive high licensing standards. That translates into top-notch teaching forces and the world's highest student achievement. All of this makes the teaching profession even more attractive, leading to higher salaries, even greater prestige, and even more professional autonomy. The end results are even better teachers and even higher student performance.

In the U.S., on the other hand, teaching remains a low-status profession. Our teacher colleges have minimal admission standards, and most teachers are educated in professional schools with very little prestige. Once they start working, they are paid substantially less than other professionals.

Many of our teachers also have a very weak background in the subjects they are assigned to teach, and increasingly, they're allowed to become teachers after only weeks of training. When we are short on teachers, we waive our already-low standards, something the high-performing countries would never dream of doing.

All this leads to poor student achievement, which leads to even shriller attacks on the profession and more calls for stricter accountability -- and that makes it even less likely that our best and brightest will become teachers. And that leads to low student achievement.

Thirty years ago, Japan was eating the lunch of some of America's greatest corporations. Those U.S. companies who survived figured out how the Japanese were doing it--and did it even better. The most effective way to greatly improve student performance in the U.S. is to figure out what the top-performing countries are doing and then, by capitalizing on our unique strengths, develop a strategy to do it even better.

The apostles of exceptionalism say we need more innovation. But our problem is not lack of innovation. Our problem is that we lack what the most successful countries have: coherent, well-designed state systems of education that would allow us to scale up our many pockets of innovation and deliver a high-quality education to all our students.

Playing to our strengths makes sense. Ignoring what works, simply because it was invented elsewhere, does not.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

It's Decorative Gourd Season, Motherfuckers

Wow. This will never ever never get old. - sj

It's Decorative Gourd Season, Motherfuckers
by Colin Nissan

I don't know about you, but I can't wait to get my hands on some fucking gourds and arrange them in a horn-shaped basket on my dining room table. That shit is going to look so seasonal. I'm about to head up to the attic right now to find that wicker fucker, dust it off, and jam it with an insanely ornate assortment of shellacked vegetables. When my guests come over it's gonna be like, BLAMMO! Check out my shellacked decorative vegetables, assholes. Guess what season it is—fucking fall. There's a nip in the air and my house is full of mutant fucking squash.

I may even throw some multi-colored leaves into the mix, all haphazard like a crisp October breeze just blew through and fucked that shit up. Then I'm going to get to work on making a beautiful fucking gourd necklace for myself. People are going to be like, "Aren't those gourds straining your neck?" And I'm just going to thread another gourd onto my necklace without breaking their gaze and quietly reply, "It's fall, fuckfaces. You're either ready to reap this freaky-assed harvest or you're not."

Carving orange pumpkins sounds like a pretty fitting way to ring in the season. You know what else does? Performing a all-gourd reenactment of an episode of Different Strokes—specifically the one when Arnold and Dudley experience a disturbing brush with sexual molestation. Well, this shit just got real, didn't it? Felonies and gourds have one very important commonality: they're both extremely fucking real. Sorry if that's upsetting, but I'm not doing you any favors by shielding you from this anymore.

The next thing I'm going to do is carve one of the longer gourds into a perfect replica of the Mayflower as a shout-out to our Pilgrim forefathers. Then I'm going to do lines of blow off its hull with a hooker. Why? Because it's not summer, it's not winter, and it's not spring. Grab a calendar and pull your fucking heads out of your asses; it's fall, fuckers.

Have you ever been in an Italian deli with salamis hanging from their ceiling? Well then you're going to fucking love my house. Just look where you're walking or you'll get KO'd by the gauntlet of misshapen, zucchini-descendant bastards swinging from above. And when you do, you're going to hear a very loud, very stereotypical Italian laugh coming from me. Consider yourself warned.

For now, all I plan to do is to throw on a flannel shirt, some tattered overalls, and a floppy fucking hat and stand in the middle of a cornfield for a few days. The first crow that tries to land on me is going to get his avian ass bitch-slapped all the way back to summer.

Welcome to autumn, fuckheads!

(click here for original post on McSWEENEY'S website)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

First the Creation Museum, now this: Ark Encounters Theme Park

Megan Carpentier's take on this is ... well, not sure what it is. All I know is, I couldn't stop laughing for a while. Check it out. Click on title of this post for the original Raw Story piece (and corresponding links). And next time you're in Kentucky, you can enocunter it in person! sj

Top 5 suggested attractions for the Ark Encounters Theme Park
By Megan Carpentier
Wednesday, August 10th, 2001

Between a 30-year property tax break, a county development grant and a 10-year package of state tax incentives, the Ark Encounters theme park seems set to open on time and under budget in 2014. The project, which is partially owned by the same people that brought us the Creation Museum, promises visitors a full size ark, a replica of the Tower of Babel (no word as to whether it will be felled regularly) and a petting zoo.

But what else might be in store? We had some ideas.

1. Can You Spot Your Daughter-In-Law?
Fun for the extended family! Inspired by the story of Judah, Tamar and Onan in Genesis 38, female visitors are invited into a room and given historically-accurate prostitutes' clothes. Once veiled, they are placed with similarly-dressed re-enactors by a shrine and encouraged to hit on their male relatives. Those who manage to escape with their father-in-laws' belts win (a.k.a., avoid a public burning)! In a comedic note, any men caught masturbating are struck by God's Lightning (TM).

2. Die Like An Egyptian
Inspired by the plagues God sent to torment the Egyptians in Exodus 7-11, visitors must make their way through an obstacle course that includes: swimming a river of "blood"; traversing a range filled with frogs, flies, lice, locusts and dead livestock; being sprayed with a substance designed to induce hives in all that encounter it (lancing the boils at the end got too messy!); a trail on which they are pelted with balls of ice as thunder crashes overhead; and a pitch-black room the leads to the exit. Eldest sons are then chloroformed to simulate death and the entire family is de-loused before exiting into a "desert paradise." (Please note: Jewish guests will be led straight to the desert after a brief wading excursion.)

3. When Is It Rape?
In this girl's-only exhibit, women are schooled on the finer points of Deuteronomy 22. After surviving ritualistic shaming for the sin of wearing pants (Deuteronomy 22:5), ladies are offered a range of dresses and skirts for purchase before continuing on to the Two Doors Of Decision. Women who choose one door are led to a field (22:25); those who choose the other are led onto a historically accurate street (22:23 and 28); all women are then "discovered" by a strange man who will attempt to put them in sleeper holds. Those who scream get to advance to the "wedding chapel" with their assailants, where they are reunited with male relatives; those who don't are pelted with rubber "stones" and forced to exit the park. Childcare services will be provided to families whose daughters don't pass, so they can continue enjoying the attractions while their daughters think about what they've done.

4. Wrestling With Angels
One of the most popular attractions at Ark Encounters, male guests are encouraged to doff their clothing to wrestle with the park's "angels" in a secluded room, away from friends and family, to experience the joy that Jacob did while wrestling an angel in Genesis 32:24-30. In order to preserve the verisimilitude of the experience, guests are paired exclusively with superhumanly attractive young men in the best physical condition, oiled so as to make it more difficult to win the wrestling match, and led to darkened rooms designed to look like a riverfront beaches. The match is ended when the "angel" touches the hollow of each guests' thigh: guests are encouraged to limp back to their families as Jacob himself did.

5. Cast Away
As Ark Encounters is no common theme park, the exit itself is an encounter with our Biblical past. Like Adam and Even before us, guests -- because who among us is not a sinner? -- are cast out from the park at the end of each day, as recounted in Genesis 3. Forced to walk over super-heated pavement three miles over a field filled with thorns and thistles, with dust and dirt whipped into the air with industrial fans, our guests will finally reach the parking lot three miles from the gate.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

without question, a clusterfuck.

Saw this recently on Greg Hagin's tumblr blog, Blisstortion (which is awesome), a quote from a Mother Jones piece. Sums it up quite nicely. - sj
"Republicans got the tax cuts they wanted. They got the financial deregulation they wanted. They got the wars they wanted. They got the unfunded spending increases they wanted. And the results were completely, unrelentingly disastrous. A decade of sluggish growth and near-zero wage increases. A massive housing bubble. Trillions of dollars in war spending and thousands of American lives lost. A financial collapse. A soaring long-term deficit. Sky-high unemployment. All on their watch and all due to policies they eagerly supported. And worse: ever since the predictable results of their recklessness came crashing down, they’ve rabidly and nearly unanimously opposed every single attempt to dig ourselves out of the hole they created for us."
Here's the whole/short piece, from Mother Jones: What if You Held a Class War and No One Showed Up?

Thursday, June 30, 2011

"Can't we all get along?"

I couldn't have said it better myself - although I sure have tried lately! on title of story for original piece and additional links. - sj

LeBron James, the Most Hated Athlete in America
by Buzz Bissinger
June 14, 2011

I was listening to the press conference of Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra Sunday night after the team’s humiliating loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the National Basketball Association finals. I knew of the media’s perverse obsession not only with the dismal play of LeBron James but also with James himself. I still thought the first question at least would have something to do with the Mavericks and how well they had played.


The first question was about James. The second question was about James. The third question was about James, all of them in the same vein of what went wrong with him and why had he been so lousy in the Heat’s six-game losing effort. The Mavericks? The who?

It was like that all through the finals for James, constant and withering criticism of his play, constant dissection of every comment and every body movement. Anthony Weiner’s sexting? James made him do it. The crumbling economy? Bankers were only taking James’ advice. Rick Santorum running for president? It came to him in a dream where James said, “You’re the chosen one, Rick. Not me.”

Starvation. Drought. War.

James. James. James.

He truly is the most hated athlete in all of sports.

Which is absurd.

In the 24-hour news cycle that brings out the starving rats feasting on instant analysis, everything James did was a portent of his being an arrogant assoholic.

Did you see that smile? What about the way he bent down to tie his shoelace? And how about guzzling from the water bottle during a timeout as if he was the only one who was thirsty? What a selfish bastard.

The rats ate up every crumb, regardless of the significance. The goal was to maliciously condemn him, and to that extent the media rats got their wish:

He is Public Enemy No. 1 of the tear-down culture in which human foible,

click here for rest or article

Friday, March 25, 2011

Cold Cave's new record

Cold Cave's new record, "Cherish the Light Years" will be released in a couple of weeks (April 5th), but band/label was/is cool enough to email those following them on various social networking sites/blogs, songs from the record (if not all) to stream on their respective sites, blogs and share on facebook. A few weeks ago I heard what I believe to be the first single from this record, "The Great Pan is Dead" and I like it a lot. Haven't heard another note off the record yet, however. If you haven't heard what these men & women are capable of yet, check out this song/video from their last record, "Love Comes Close." Positively fabulous. - sj

Friday, March 4, 2011

It's a Tea Party World - You Just Live In It!

clik on title of this post to take you to original post (if cliking on this pic isn't big enough). Tom Tomorrow is STILL the man!