Two weeks into my sophomore year in university I decided to meet up with an old friend from freshman year. She was a Muslim from Kuwait and a very interesting person to talk to considering her background. We were discussing various topics and came across the theory of evolution since she was now taking the same biology class as the one I had taken during my freshman year. She is very much into science so I decided to ask her opinion on the theory of evolution. Her response wasn’t very positive. I first I was surprised, but then I remembered I had learned the previous year that the Muslim world frowns upon the idea of evolution. I also learned that teaching evolution in the Middle East varies by state and is usually combined with creationist beliefs for the explanation of the origin of the universe. I am fan of evolution, but the conversation reminded me just how the Arab world is similar to the USA since there is a problem here with teaching evolution and God in public schools. Questions arise asking whether God should be taught alongside evolution, should we even teach evolution to our children, or does God even belong inside the classroom? Read more
Michael Stinnett - 9/03/2013: Legal rulings such as Citizens United and lax campaign financing laws have undermined the democratic process allowing wealthy donors to buy elections; so-called Super PACs are a pernicious influence on society and should be abolished. A Super PAC, or independent expenditure-only committee, “may raise unlimited sums of money from corporations, unions, associations and individuals, then spend unlimited sums to overtly advocate for or against political candidates. Super PACs must, however, report their donors to the Federal Election Commission on a monthly or quarterly basis – the Super PAC's choice – as a traditional PAC would. Unlike traditional PACs, Super PACs are prohibited from donating money directly to political candidates” (Super PACs). The recent ruling protects political spending by corporations in candidate elections, citing the First Amendment's protection of freedom of speech. In justifying the ruling, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote that “'If the First Amendment has any force, it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech'” (The New York Times). Read more
I spent a little time in California over the summer. It had been awhile. I remember going there as a kid and being so impressed. It seems that the days when everyone in the nation looked up to California, that magical land filled with perfect weather, sandy beaches, gorgeous women, and glamorous movie stars, have gone the way of the VCR and the cassette deck.
The first condition that I noticed was that the check stations, that used to manned by friendly, professional, state officials, who welcomed you to California and asked if you were bringing fruits or vegetables to or from that state, now look like the ruined shacks from Fallout 3. I was waiting to be attacked by "Mole-Rats".
Oh, and the rest areas are all closed so don't bother trying. You have no choice but to pee at truck stop as you're paying $6.02 a gallon for gas. Read more
NTSB confirmed fake pilot names of Asiana flight 214, which cashed in San Francisco last week.
The fake names were racially charged and phonetically offensive to all people but especially Asian people. Keep in mind the NTSB confirmed these names on Friday and KTVU a San Francisco Fox affiliate read them out loud without noticing something was wrong.
The station issued an apology on its website Friday evening. “We sincerely regret the error and took immediate action to apologize, both in the newscast where the mistake occurred, as well as on our website and social media sites".
Labor Day Demonstration against child labor - 1909
So if "class warfare" actually breaks out (we’re not talking about beheading rich folks .... yet!) with what "class" do you identify?
Are you "middle class, upper middle-class, lower class?" These are categories we love to use and always see in the corporate media.
These categories are based on how much you make and how much you consume. They assume you work. You have a job. If if are "lower" or "middle" class you cannot stay home and live on accumulated wealth or on income generated by others working for you. Yet rarely are such folks characterized as "workers".
The broad categories of class are better defined by your relationship to the process of the production of wealth.
You are either a worker, selling your labor because you have no other adequate source of income or you are an owner, a capitalist whose income is generated by others - i.e workers in your factory/corporation or your investments, or your accumulated wealth. Read more
Its March 18th, do you know where your podcast is? On this date in history back in1937, 298 school children experienced the worst gas of their lives, and not the kind that would provide their schoolmates with smirks, giggles, and sour smells. Their school, Consolidated School of New London Texas, had been built in 1930 and was in the middle of massive oil and gas fields and many of the nearly 1,200 students were sons and daughters of energy workers. The gas that troubled the school on that day was natural gas, there was an explosion, and those 298 students were killed, many of them instantly. This astonishing disaster was investigated thoroughly; findings revealed that raw gas escaping from leaking lines had accumulated in the dead space between the foundation and basement floor. The gas expanded due to a drop in barometric pressure and an electric spark from a switch in the manual training shop had triggered the explosion. It has been reported by history.com (caveat emptor) and others, that a cryptic message was found on a blackboard in the rubble, “Oil and Natural gas are East Texas’ greatest natural gifts. Read more
Flipping through radio stations last weekend, the dial stopped briefly on a Right Wing commentator. On hearing the man’s voice, I was instantly pushed into a state of angry defiance. Complaining bitterly to my friend about how stupid and deluded the radio personality was, I sounded nearly as pissed off as he did. Why the strong response on my part? I wondered.
Reflecting on the moment, I realized I experienced a momentary flashback to childhood, when I was verbally abused. The Right Wing commentator sounded exactly like my abuser- the words they said differed slightly, but the message was the same: hatred.
Right Wing pundits, like Limbaugh and Beck, have an identical tone in their voice as an abuser telling his/her victim she is worthless, shameful, or whatever. I call it “spewing garbage,” but I’ve also heard it called “spitting venom.” Whatever it’s called, the language has the sole purpose of bringing down one person or group of people while elevating another. It is aggressive, hateful, and I argue, evil. Whether spoken in a home or on a radio station, it is the same: language of the losers. Read more
[The following piece is a guest blog by global educator Laurence Peters. The views expressed here are his own, not those of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.]
In 1994, perhaps one of the most remarkable events of the 20th century occurred. The former leader of the anti-apartheid movement, Nelson Mandela, who was held captive for 27 years, was elected prime minister of South Africa. This peaceful handover of power was achieved not on the battlefield as many had feared, but because the world had divested from South African companies. Read more
About four or so months I attended a progressive town hall meeting hosted by my Rep. Eddie B. Johnson, with Rep. Barbara Lee from California. An old-aged attendent asked about the healthcare ruling (this was about two weeks before the final ruling) and Rep. Johnson answered, but I don’t remember the question or answer. That’s not important. What’s important is what happened afterwards.
The next attendant, a middle aged woman, assumedly Rep. Johnson’s supporter, asked what difference is the Obamacare tax mandate from other programs like Social Security. Both are “mandatory” she says, why aren’t the other programs, Social Security specifically, being challenged. How are they in law, she asked in confusion. After Rep. Johnson gave her an “answer,” (to be fair, she said we’ll see if it’s constitutional when the court rules) I whispered to her about FDR’s “court packing” controversy in the 40′s and how America copied the same socialist countries policies whom we had tension with. Read more
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Last week, eHarmony, a dating site, was hit with a lawsuit by Eric McKinley for allegedly discriminating against gays, lesbians and transgender. eHarmony did not offer an option for homosexual couples until recently after the settlement, which included a $5,000 payment to McKinley for grief and a one year complimentary membership; they also created a website titled Compatible Partners specifically for homosexual partners. Read more
On July 18th back in 1984, James Oliver Huberty carried several guns into a busy McDonald’s restaurant in San Ysidro, California, and opened fire killing 21 people and injuring 19 others. Although an act such as this is especially abhorrent, acts like it are unfortunately all too common. Last week, a teen was shot walking into a McDonald’s in Phoenix, Arizona. Earlier this month, a man was shot in a drive-by shooting driving his car in a McDonald’s drive thru in Daytona Beach, Florida. Prior to that, a McDonald’s manager in Jackson, Mississippi was shot by a customer claiming his order was incorrect. Talk about a “McFlurry” of shooting activity! Rather than shoot the manager, that angry customer could have just given him the “Birdie”. Read more
I think it’s probably safe to say that gay marriage is eventually going to happen in America, and I don’t mean state by state. What I mean is the end of DOMA and then legislation federally recognizing gay marriage as being legal.
If that happens, we can count on it being taken to the U.S. Supreme Court. What we then can pray for is that our conservative majority will surprise us again as they did with the Affordable Care Act and finally allow it to stand. Read more
Let's face it, I am a news junkie. I watch all sorts of news/infortainment/opinion programs every day, and I've been increasingly distressed to see the news programs degenerating into infotainment, more and more slanted to reflect the host's prejudices, and rarely being newsworthy to boot. Read more
Except that it isn’t really. I say that it isn’t really different because, although this post will seem to be about politics, in reality it will be about a common topic on this blog: Anti-science. And where is this anti-science? Sadly, it’s in the platform of a major party of one of the largest states in the country. It also meshes with the anti-science inherent in a lot of so-called “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) and all comes together in one place: The proposed 2012 Platform of the Republican Party of Texas. It’s all there, as you will see. Read more