Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Problems with Cults

I know that there are lots of different religions in this world.
I also know that there are lots of charlatans that take advantage of people seeking freedom from the pain of lonliness, isolation, pain or whatever.
I came across this testimony from a man, a fairly well known actor, who left the cult known as Scientology.
Here's my issue. I think that some so-called churches exist just for the benefit of the pastors or managers. I think that some so-called churches perpetuate a system of power over others with the sole purpose being to gain financially. There's no question that in any of the variety of polygamous groups, welfare fraud is a common problem. Likewise, cults prey on people who are missing something in their lives. And in the end, they become even less than they were. At any rate, despite the language, watch this video. It's pretty raw, but insightful.

Scientology: Jason Beghe Pt 2 from Mark Bunker on Vimeo.

A TAKS Upon Us

** High Priority **

There will be a staff roster for you sign off on acknowledging you have read and are aware of the following security guidelines.

Severe Weather TAKS Testing Protocol

1. Should a severe weather situation occur during testing, please remain calm. To display any kind of anxiety would be a testing irregularity and must be reported.

2. Please do not look out the window to watch for approaching tornadoes. You must monitor the students at all times. To do otherwise would be a testing irregularity and must be reported.

3. Should students notice an approaching tornado and begin to cry, please make every effort to protect their testing materials from the flow of tears and sinus drainage.

4. Should a flying object come through your window during testing, please make every effort to ensure that it does not land on a testing booklet or an answer sheet. Please make sure to soften the landing of the flying object so that it will not disturb the students while testing.

5. Should shards of glass from a broken window come flying into the room, have the students use their bodies to shield their testing materials so that they will not be damaged. Have plenty of gauze on hand to ensure that no one accidentally bleeds on the answer documents. Damaged answer sheets will not scan properly.

6. Should gale force winds ensue, please have everyone stuff their test booklets and answer sheets into their shirts...being very careful not to bend them because bent answer documents will not scan properly.

7. If any student gets sucked into the vortex of the funnel cloud, please make sure they mark at least one answer before departing...and of course make sure they leave their answer sheets and test booklets behind. You will have to account for those.

8. Should a funnel cloud pick you, the test administrator, up and take you flying over the rainbow, you will still be required to account for all of your testing materials when you land so please take extra precautions. Remember, once you have checked them out, they should never leave your hands.

9. When rescue workers arrive to dig you out of the rubble, please make sure that they do not, at any time, look at or handle the testing materials. Once you have been treated for your injuries, you will still be responsible for checking your materials back in. Search dogs will not be allowed to sift through the rubble for lost tests...unless of course they have been through standardized test training.

10. Please do not pray should a severe weather situation arise. Your priority is to actively monitor the test and a student might mark in the wrong section if you are praying instead of monitoring. I'm sure God will put war, world hunger, crime, and the presidential primaries on hold until after testing is over. He knows how important this test is.

Okay, just kidding, but honestly, sometimes the Texas Education Agency missives are just about this silly. Trust me, they are, but if i divulge what is actually going on, I would probably have to kill you, or risk losing my job. It's really become just that strange down here.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

This is NOT ART.

I teach art. I also happen to be a person who truly loves animals. I am not a nut. I am not a person who blows up labs or refuses to eat meat, but I don't think that humans should deliberately cause harm or pain to animals. This person who claims to be an artist, I personally think he's just a sadistic monster, claims that by paying poor Honduran children to catch this poor sick animal, and then to chain him up and watch him die is ART. This is cruelty. This is just as bad as the stupid STUPID hoax masquerading as art perpetrated by the Yale art student who pretended to repeatedly inseminate and abort fetuses. What is WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE? This is why I teach art rather than work as a professional artist. Frankly, the art communities of this world have become so jaded, so intimately entranced by that which is perverted or bizarre that art as beauty has become passe. I am ashamed to be on the same hemisphere as these sick and twisted media monkeys. I am more ashamed that they dirty the epithet of "artist" with their psychotic and cruel performances. Go here if you want to lodge a protest on this petition.
Facebook Protest Link

Monday, April 14, 2008

And It's Two, Three, Four, What Are You Paying For?

I came across this little website that outlines what the average family pays in taxes. Then it takes it to the next level and itemizes. I think you will be surprised at what we are shelling out on a per person basis for services that are wasteful or even unaccounted for. The site is linked in the title. Below is a tidbit.
"TO: Interested Parties
FROM: Jim Kessler, VP for Policy and Tess Stovall, Policy Advisor
RE: What You Paid For

If you wrote a check for more than $13,000, you would want to know exactly

what you were buying. As is it turns out, $13,000 is about what the typical working
age taxpayer paid to the federal government in 2007. That’s a lot of money for
anyone, but for a taxpayer earning about $64,000, that’s one-fifth of all earnings.
Yet nearly all taxpayers have absolutely no idea how that money is spent. At best,
they may see a pie chart which shows in broad categories how the federal
government spends its $2.9 trillion budget.

This document—essentially a receipt—shows exactly what the typical working

age taxpaying household gets for their money in dollars and cents. The question
taxpayers and policy makers should ask is “Are you satisfied?” Do you think
spending priorities should change or stay the same? Do you think you’re getting
what you and the country deserve for your payment?

What You Paid For
An Itemized Receipt for the Typical Taxpayer

The typical working age household (a household led by a person between the
ages of 25 and 59) earned approximately $63,960 and paid $13,112 in federal
income and payroll taxes in 2007.* Below is a sample of exactly what that $13,112
paid for. See our attached spreadsheet for far greater detail.
• Social Security: $ 2,662.94
• Interest Payment on National Debt: $ 1,085.29
• War in Iraq: $ 593.48
• War in Afghanistan: $ 159.82
• All other Defense: $ 2,008.01
• Medicare: $ 1,697.96
• Veterans Benefits and Health Care: $ 355.03

* The income figures are derived from a Third Way analysis of the March 2007 Current Population Survey of household finances for 2006 and adjusted slightly upward to incorporate flat, inflation adjusted 2007 income gains. The tax burden is based upon the “The Distribution of Tax Cuts: Updated Projection: 2006,” from the Tax Policy Center at the Brookings Institution and Urban Institute which shows that a filer with this income should expect to pay 20.5% of their income in federal income and payrolltaxes (not including the employer’s share)...."

"• Health care research (NIH): $ 132.70
• Aid to the public schools (No Child Left Behind): $ 107.55
• National Parks $ 12.25
• Roads and Bridges $ 77.15
• Renewable Energy Research $ 6.67
• International AIDS prevention $ 14.87
• The Space Program (NASA) $ 74.53
• Health Care of Low Income Families (Medicaid): $ 872.92
• Border Security Fencing $ .13
• Income Assistance for the Disabled (SSI): $ 164.95
• Agriculture Subsidies $ 98.80
• Environmental Protection (EPA) $ 34.50
• Heating Assistance for Low Income Families: $ 9.90
• School Lunch/Breakfast Program: $ 46.09
• FBI, DEA, and ATF: $ 41.46
• Pell Grants for Low Income College Students: $ 62.55
• The Post Office: $ 2.95
• Consumer Product Safety Commission: $ .29
• Members of Congress and Staff: $ 8.44
• The President and White House Staff: $ .18
• The IRS $ 48.53
• Pork Barrel Projects: $ 60.45
• CIA: $ ???.??+

+ If we told you; we’d have to kill you. All sources for program spending come from the agency
budgets submitted to the Office of Management and Budget for Fiscal Year 2009 with the exception of the following: War in Iraq and Afghanistan spending comes from the Congressional Research Service;earmarks/pork projects comes from Citizens Against Government Waste. All figures relate to fiscal year 2007 spending.

Why do we use “working age households” for this analysis? Working age households—households headed by people between the age of 25–59—represent approximately two-thirds of the adult population. Many younger filers (teenagers and the like) skew the median income level lower and many file separately so that they can get a lower tax rate than their parents. Old filers, particularly seniors, get most of their money through benefit transfers like Social Security, or other sources like pensions andinvestments. This income is taxed very differently than work income.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

We're Not In Kansas Anymore

As a departure from politics, how about a dose of REALITY? Last night our home had a brush with a tornado. The warnings went out and the wall cloud was visible. How we dodged the bullet is beyond me because two blocks north of us thirty foot tall trees were TWISTED from the ground. Roofs were missing and those big electric towers were torn and crumples like cheap toys. Serious stuff to those of us in the Belt Buckle of Tornado Alley. As just a caveat, no matter where you live, you owe it to yourself and your family to have a viable emergency plan. My son and I hid in the bathroom with our dog and realized that if the power went off, we had no battery powered radio to know when it was safe. It pays to know what is happening. Stay safe and make sure you know what is going on around you. My son living at college had no clue we were under a tornado warning with countless set downs. That kind of oblivious attitude could be dangerous. I am buying him a weather radio whether he likes it or not.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Where Are Our Heroes?

This isn't an empty question. I don't know if heroes exist on an everyday basis or if they are only recognized long after their acts of heroism. I am sure there are those whose simplest acts qualify as efforts above and beyond the norm. I am equally sure that most of us could and should do more, but we slog through our daily lives avoiding hard questions and major impasses. I guess that would be a good analogy for modern life, we seek to be like streams that flow around the damn with all the rising water rather than being the wave that breeches that same damn then crashes to the ground. I think many of our heroes are dying. The few WWII vets left are diminishing on an hourly basis, their stories untold. Korean War, Vietnam, Bosnia, Afghanistan, even the cops and EMT's on their daily tours of duty simply try to make it through the day. But unlike you and me, they have to wake up and do it all over again. Is is any wonder that our kids are so aimless? Their heroes are the "anti-hero"-the flawed thug sprouting hubris and regret. What sort of role model is this that works his actions for self over selflessness? There used to be a saying "Show me your friends and I'll show you your future." Instead perhaps it should be, "Show me your heroes, and I'll show you your fate."

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Al Sez: Skeptics Aren't "Real" Scientists-HA!

His HolierThanThouness the Enviropope AlGore I has said that global warming skeptics are intellectual lightweights unable to fathom the depth of the Global Warming scenario. Seems like most of the hot air is coming from him and his brain trust-such intellectuals as Leo DiCaprio. Wow. I am underwhelmed.
Global warming skeptics are not real scientists? April 3rd, 2008 · posted by Mark Landsbaum

Al Gore says global warming skeptics are not real scientists.

Zat so? How about these guys:

Dr. Edward Wegman–former chairman of the Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics of the National Academy of Sciences–demolishes the famous “hockey stick” graph that launched the global warming panic.

Dr. David Bromwich–president of the International Commission on Polar Meteorology–says “it’s hard to see a global warming signal from the mainland of Antarctica right now.”

Prof. Paul Reiter–Chief of Insects and Infectious Diseases at the famed Pasteur Institute–says “no major scientist with any long record in this field” accepts Al Gore’s claim that global warming spreads mosquito-borne diseases.

Prof. Hendrik Tennekes–director of research, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute–states “there exists no sound theoretical framework for climate predictability studies” used for global warming forecasts.

Dr. Christopher Landsea–past chairman of the American Meteorological Society’s Committee on Tropical Meteorology and Tropical Cyclones–says “there are no known scientific studies that show a conclusive physical link between global warming and observed hurricane frequency and intensity.”

Dr. Antonino Zichichi–one of the world’s foremost physicists, former president of the European Physical Society, who discovered nuclear antimatter–calls global warming models “incoherent and invalid.”

Dr. Zbigniew Jaworowski–world-renowned expert on the ancient ice cores used in climate research–says the U.N. “based its global-warming hypothesis on arbitrary assumptions and these assumptions, it is now clear, are false.”

Prof. Tom V. Segalstad–head of the Geological Museum, University of Oslo–says “most leading geologists” know the U.N.’s views “of Earth processes are implausible.”

Dr. Syun-Ichi Akasofu–founding director of the International Arctic Research Center, twice named one of the “1,000 Most Cited Scientists,” says much “Arctic warming during the last half of the last century is due to natural change.”

Dr. Claude Allegre–member, U.S. National Academy of Sciences and French Academy of Science, he was among the first to sound the alarm on the dangers of global warming. His view now: “The cause of this climate change is unknown.”

Dr. Richard Lindzen–Professor of Meteorology at M.I.T., member, the National Research Council Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, says global warming alarmists “are trumpeting catastrophes that couldn’t happen even if the models were right.”

Dr. Habibullo Abdussamatov–head of the space research laboratory of the Russian Academy of Science’s Pulkovo Observatory and of the International Space Station’s Astrometria project says “the common view that man’s industrial activity is a deciding factor in global warming has emerged from a misinterpretation of cause and effect relations.”

Dr. Richard Tol–Principal researcher at the Institute for Environmental Studies at Vrije Universiteit, and Adjunct Professor at the Center for Integrated Study of the Human Dimensions of Global Change, at Carnegie Mellon University, calls the most influential global warming report of all time “preposterous . . . alarmist and incompetent.”

Dr. Sami Solanki–director and scientific member at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany, who argues that changes in the Sun’s state, not human activity, may be the principal cause of global warming: “The sun has been at its strongest over the past 60 years and may now be affecting global temperatures.”

Prof. Freeman Dyson–one of the world’s most eminent physicists says the models used to justify global warming alarmism are “full of fudge factors” and “do not begin to describe the real world.”

Dr. Eigils Friis-Christensen–director of the Danish National Space Centre, vice-president of the International Association of Geomagnetism and Aeronomy, who argues that changes in the Sun’s behavior could account for most of the warming attributed by the UN to man-made CO2.

The aforementioned can be found at Amazon.com from whence this list was drawn. Gee, these fellas must be in Exxon’s pocket, eh?"

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Easy to Be Cruel

Big Oil is a massive Sitting Duck on the pond of government life. People see the prices rising at the pump, they hear tidbits about CEO's with golden parachutes and it makes for good politics for the Big Boys and Girls in DC to call these oil honchos on the carpet. I would agree, corporate compensation has been over the top. But likewise, they are the guys who end up carrying their heads after an especially vicious internal debate and they don't get paid that money for not having had any experience. Give the devil his due-these folks didn't just drop in on Exxon the day after getting their BA's. So for all the anger that the American public has for oil, oil pricing and such consider the following:
"Last year the big five oil companies made around $123 billion in profits. Pretty strong. But what was their profit margin? Around 9%. Same as the year before and the year before that. The politicians can't pander to the dumb masses by slamming profit margins ... so they play the dishonest game of slamming the gross profits, and the media lets them skate. They start talking about "windfall" profits. Tell me ... how is it a windfall profit when the profit margin is remaining effectively the same? Some windfall..."-http://boortz.com
While you are at it casting stones, aspertions and innuendoes (and at the same time being politically motivated by an increasingly biased major media) consider the Big Who Else is profiting from increases in oil prices. And that Big Who Else are ALL THE TAXING ENTITIES including Your City or Town, Your County, Your State and Your Nation. All tax rates are based on a per dollar sale. So for all those people who think that this hurts our country, think again. It hurts THE PEOPLE, but all those taxing entities are flat rolling in dough. And by the way, that money isn't necessarily coming back home because the way of porkbarrel spending is that money goes wherever the head guy or gal says it goes. So look for those cushy public works projects to head to states that the Democrats need in November. And that means, boys and girls, we are going to end up paying $4.00 a gallon so that the DNC can win. How do you like them apples?