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Member since: Mon Dec 1, 2003, 02:42 PM
Number of posts: 17,512

Journal Archives

That Time The Reagan White House Press Briefing Erupted With Laughter Over AIDS 13 Times

: Larry, does the President have any reaction to the announcement—the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, that AIDS is now an epidemic and have over 600 cases?
Q: Over a third of them have died. It’s known as “gay plague.” (Laughter.) No, it is. I mean it’s a pretty serious thing that one in every three people that get this have died. And I wondered if the President is aware of it?
MR. SPEAKES: I don’t have it. Do you? (Laughter.)
Q: No, I don’t.
MR. SPEAKES: You didn’t answer my question.
Q: Well, I just wondered, does the President—
MR. SPEAKES: How do you know? (Laughter.)
Q: In other words, the White House looks on this as a great joke?
MR. SPEAKES: No, I don’t know anything about it, Lester.
Q: Does the President, does anybody in the White House know about this epidemic, Larry?
MR. SPEAKES: I don’t think so. I don’t think there’s been any—
Q: Nobody knows?
MR. SPEAKES: There has been no personal experience here, Lester.
Q: No, I mean, I thought you were keeping—
MR. SPEAKES: I checked thoroughly with Dr. Ruge this morning and he’s had no—(laughter)—no patients suffering from AIDS or whatever it is.
Q: The President doesn’t have gay plague, is that what you’re saying or what?
MR. SPEAKES: No, I didn’t say that.
Q: Didn’t say that?
MR. SPEAKES: I thought I heard you on the State Department over there. Why didn’t you stay there? (Laughter.)
Q: Because I love you, Larry, that’s why. (Laughter.)
MR. SPEAKES: Oh, I see. Just don’t put it in those terms, Lester. (Laughter.)
Q: Oh, I retract that.
MR. SPEAKES: I hope so.
Q: It’s too late.

More: http://www.theeverlastinggopstoppers.com/2014/10/time-reagan-white-house-press-briefing-erupted-laughter-aids-13-times/#prettyPhoto

Finnish education expert critiques U.S. school philosophy at URI lecture

Snip> In a fundamental sense, Sahlberg said, the United States is asking the wrong questions. Instead of asking, “What will help students succeed in today’s economy,” the U.S. should be asking, “What will encourage students to be active participants in a democracy?” and “What will make them be lifelong learners?”

Sahlberg is also highly critical of the American emphasis on what he sees as a competitive, market-driven philosophy of public education, one that asks states to compete for federal dollars by agreeing to federally guided reforms.

Sahlberg also says that the growing popularity of school choice, in the form of charter and for-profit schools, undermines the traditional public schools by pulling valuable resources from students who need them most.

Finland’s educational model is antithetical to the accountability movement that has gained currency in the United States under both Republican and Democratic presidents.

In the United States, testing has become a keystone of the school-reform movement.

In Finland, students aren’t formally tested until they are 18, and children aren’t graded until fifth grade.

More at: http://www.providencejournal.com/breaking-news/content/20131210-finnish-education-expert-critiques-u.s.-school-philosophy-at-uri-lecture.ece

Finland's Revolutionary Education System

This may have been posted a few years ago but it's well worth watching if you haven't seen it.

Helping out my sister in this poll would be much appreciated

Her name is Margaret Chambers. She is also a strong Democrat. You should have seen her argue with my brother in law about how God awful Fox News is


ISIS Caught At Mexican Border, Be Afraid!

This is seriously making the rounds on my conservative family's Facebook pages here in New Mexico.

When An Officer Asks For Your License And Registration, I Bet You've Never Thought To Do What He Did


Maher / Affleck, Islam debate. I think both sides have valid points but side with Affleck a bit more

This was a fascinating debate for so many reasons! I found myself instantly on Affleck's side and yet something deep inside of me made me wonder if I wasn't being completely honest with myself? Why is it that as liberal who detests the religious right I find myself defending Islam which has adherents just as bad and worse? After some thought I determined both sides had a point but I still fall on Affleck's side a bit more than Maher's side on this issue and here is why.

It's not easy to explain and I suspect a lot of free-thinking, less than religious, liberals will understand where I am coming from. Or maybe not? The fact is I am totally cool with Christians believing their thing as long as it doesn't impact me and the rights of others here in the US and abroad. Unfortunately, a lot of lawmakers are making laws doing just that which makes the conflict at home more personal with Christians than with Muslims who are not the ones making things like abortion more difficult and preventing any action on things like climate change. At least not in the US, though I am sure many Muslims would if they were elected to office here.

For the most part I am also cool with Islam as long as it doesn't impact me and others rights here or abroad. Currently, Islam does seem to have a higher percentage of nut jobs than Christians and other religions but Affleck is correct that we cannot pigeon hole all Muslims into the extremist block and many Muslim countries do have more female leaders than we have in the US.

Let me be clear, because I would be lying if I didn't say that I hope eventually the world's population ends up rejecting most ancient religions to become free-thinkers and believers in the scientific method and reason. I simply think it would be a more peaceful, tolerant world with folks making much better decisions on things like climate change and human rights etc, etc. Just look at Norway and most other primarily non-religious country's. They are the most peaceful, have the least crime and have the least human rights violations. I however DO NOT believe anyone should be forced out of their religion. As the founders often said, probably not in these exact words: "Let a Religion thrive or perish on it's own merits without the help from the Gov."

I side with Maher on the idea that I do think radical religious adherents and even a lot of moderates are extremely harmful to this world but I think he is mistaken when he takes a side "against" one of these religions over another when both have texts have good and bad in them. I also think a lot of our current problems with Islam are "blow back" from dumb policies. All adherents of religions should be respected when they keep their religion to themselves. The current problems with Islam are more related to the leaders of the countries or small fanatical factions and what they decide to embrace in the Quran usually for personal gain. Don't get me wrong, there is some crazy shit in the texts of the Quran, and had those values not been there to begin with, the problems never would have had a chance to exist, but it's the leadership in each individual country that picks and chooses what parts they like and don't like. The Bible probably has just as many issues (not a religious scholar so I won't get into a point by point comparison) but I think periods like the Age of Enlightenment have helped carve out a larger, positive handhold on more, primarily Christian countries than Muslim countries AT THIS TIME! However, there were times in the past when it was just the opposite and Persia was much more enlightened than the Christian countries. So the current situation and issues with Islam vs Christianity is just a snapshot in history that can volley back and forth. Both Religions have had very bloody times and both bring some good to the table. Taking sides does no good but to divide even more. That may sound strange coming from someone who just admitted both religions have some major issues. The key point is respecting people's inherent rights to their religious freedom.

Because of philosophies like the Age of Enlightenment we in the US tend to value a live and let live attitude. People absolutely should be free to worship or not worship the way they like but it's when those religious beliefs start impacting science and civil rights or bring war is when the line is crossed. I think this is the value Affleck and most liberals connect with and why we defend "Islam" as having a right to exist even if we disagree with so much of what it stands for. It's the same reason I find myself defending the Mormon's from the Christians even though I think most of the beliefs the Mormons have are wrong. To me the Mormon's beliefs are no more unbelievable than the Christians, so I find it kind of funny when Christians laugh at Mormons. If I lived in a primarily Muslim country and heard Muslims disparaging Christians I would be arguing that Christians should be respected and allowed to live un-molested.

I found this debate an interesting one because quite frankly I can see both sides. I love Bill Maher and usually agree with him. This and the Israel / Palestinian conflict are about the only issues I don't see eye to eye with him on. I however don't think Affleck was being disingenuous and I think his stance is the more peaceful, responsible, intellectual one. It's rooted in the idea of believing unwavering in our unalienable right to believe what one wishes and be left alone by society as long as you don't stick your nose in other folks business. My guess is that Affleck also would like to see the world move away from ancient religions to value reason, science and free-thought, but he also understands very well that people have a right to believe as they wish. The track record of both Religions are bloody with a fair amount of good mixed in as well, but we all live together and we need to try our best to respect and love one another and get along. However, it would not break my heart to see more and more folks from both religions become more Unitarian and embrace free-thought. Attacking beliefs in an angry, prejudice sounding manor likely won't speed up that process.

Ebola spreads too slowly to be a major threat to a developed country

Many people are freaking out about ebola, but the fact is that there's no reason to panic because it spreads too slowly. Way slower than other infectious diseases. The graphic above shows it clearly: While a measles patient can infect a maximum of 18 people on average, an ebola patient can only infect two.

That's what basic R0 means—the "maximum number of people who can catch the disease from one sick person, on average, in an outbreak" when "everyone in the population is susceptible to the disease." This is also known as reproduction number or R nought.

Statistically, this means that the virus can easily be stopped in a highly developed country like the United States, which is why the CDC acted so cool about that patient in Texas. Sure, like any other deadly infectious disease, it's something you don't take lightly. But even while that patient was in contact with many people for days before getting quarantined, it's very difficult for the virus to pass from person to person. The measles or the flu pass easily because the viruses are airborne. But ebola requires actual extensive contact with "bodily fluids like blood or vomit."

So take a look at the graphic again, breath, and relax. And try not to touch any blood or vomit. Just in case.


John Oliver Demands to Know How Ayn Rand Is ‘Still a Thing’

Police kill John Crawford III and Ronald Ritchie changes his story

Note that this is old and the actual video of what occurred shows things more accurately but what I like about it is how it shows Ronald Ritchie is a fucking racist ass hole loser who was lying so blatantly he should be thrown in jail for what he helped cause.

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