Monthly Archives: February 2006 2

The site in the title of this post is not the official site of the Ann Arbor Public Schools. The site design however is a perfect clone of the official site. I found it yesterday on the ann arbor is overrated site. The site was put together by someone who doesn’t agree with the actions of the school board. I don’t live in Ann Arbor but from reading about the chaos surrounding the construction of the new high school, and the district finances in the newspaper I can definitely sympathize with whoever put up the site. I am actually glad we don’t live in the AA district. In spite of getting at least $2000 per student per year more than Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor seems to be in much worse financial shape than Ypsi. They have also completely mishandled the construction of a new high school including being millions of dollars over budget and a year late.

Now they are having a hissy fit over this parody site. They have sent a cease and desist letter to Godaddy the company hosting the site. According to district spokeswoman Liz Margolis the letter claims infringement of the the districts intellectual property. What a pile of horse-shit. This a parody and a protest. Their is no IP to infringe here. Whoever put up the protest site has every right to do so and the district should be focusing on solving there real problems. If they do that, there would be no need for this site. Hey Ann Arbor get over yourself!!!

Thoughtful podcasts

Among the many podcasts I listen to, there are some very thoughtful, thought provoking and informative shows. They all have a progressive political slant and promote skepticism. Skepticism is a good thing. You should always be skeptical of the things that people in power (be it political, managerial, or religious) tell you. As the old phrase goes, power corrupts. Anyone in a position of power tends to want to defend that position and maintain it. From a Derek and Swoopy in Atlanta, Georgia comes Skepticality, the first podcast I heard in this vein. They discuss various issues in the news and interview people like James Randi and Bob Carroll of The Skeptics Dictionary. Skepticality led me to Point of Inquiry which is produced by the Center for Inquiry. I recently heard a great interview on their with Richard Dawkins about his recent documentary The Root of All Evil?. Finally, I found Rabble Radio through the Canadian Podcast Buffet. The thing that drew me to Rabble Radio was that one of the hosts is from Hamilton, Ontario, where I grew up. They talk about things going on in Canada and regularly do stories in and around Hamilton. Even if you have never heard of Hamilton it is worth listening too for a Canadian perspective on events in Canada and around the world.

U.S. Intelligence Agencies Backed Dubai Port Deal

This headline

uae headline

is all the information I need to know that this deal must be stopped. The same people who told us that the weapons in Iraq were a slam dunk, are now endorsing this port management deal. This is not about racism, after all I am of Arab descent. This is about the fact that probably the most corrupt regime in the history of the United States wants to do a deal to give control of major US ports to a company that is controlled by a corrupt regime that helped funnel money to finance the biggest attack ever on US territory. Clearly the actions of the Bush administration have proved them to be incompetent and untrustworthy. If they say this is a good deal, it almost certainly is not.

I wish I had a camera in my head

If I had a camera attached to my eyes a port so I could plug in and download images I want to save, this morning I could have used it. As I turning onto Huron River drive by Rynearson Stadium into the sun what looked like one of the multitudes of Canada geese was flying ever the road. Driving into the sun all I could see was the familiar silhouette of a goose. Then I looked again the goos appeared to have 4 wings, 2 on each side of it’s body like a giant dragon fly. It was only after a couple of seconds once the perspective changed that I realized that it was actually 2 geese flying together and at first sight they just happened to be lined up so they appeared as though they were one. Damn I wish I had the camera in my head.

Smart Robot 2

My boss just forwarded this joke to me:

A man enters a bar and orders a drink. The bar has a robot bartender. The
robot serves him a perfectly prepared cocktail, and then asks him, “What’s
your IQ?” The man replies “150” and the robot proceeds to make conversation
about global warming factors, quantum physics, spirituality, environmental
interconnectedness, string theory, nanotechnology, and sexual proclivities.

The customer is very impressed and thinks, “This is really cool.” He
decides to test the robot. He walks out of the bar, turns around, and comes
back in for another drink. Again, the robot serves him the perfectly
prepared drink and asks him, “What’s your IQ?” The man responds, “About a
100.” Immediately the robot starts talking, but this time, about football,
NASCAR, baseball, supermodels, favorite fast foods, guns, and women’s

Really impressed, the man leaves the bar and decides to give the robot one
more test. He heads out and returns, the robot serves him and asks, “What’s
your IQ?” The man replies, “Er, 50, I think.” And the robot says… real
slowly, “So…………… ya gonna vote for Bush again?”

Orwell as warning or instruction manual? 4

I’m listening to a Radio Open Source program about George Orwell as I write this. Listening to the discussion of Orwell’s writing, particularly 1984, a thought struck me. One way of looking at 1984 is as a prophetic warning, a sort of literary Paul Revere. I think that was Orwell’s intent with the book. I believe that he may have seen the tale as what can happen to our world if we don’t pay attention. Another way that a reader could potentially view the book is as an instruction manual. I can imagine Karl Rove reading this book, and leaning back in his chair as a light bulb goes on over his head. “Aha! So this is my path to perpetual power!” thinks the turd blossom. The one distinct difference that Rove brought was in the nature of the newspeak. Traditionally doublespeak is thought of as euphemisms, fancy words with meanings contrary to what they really mean. In Rove’s world, the fancy language was replaced by “plain speaking” language. The true meaning is just as opposite however. Think of “clear skies” and “healthy forests”. One of the guests noted the danger of this. When language is used people see this as a red flag and check closer to see if they are being bamboozled. When someone like shrub “speaks plainly” listeners are lulled into complacency and don’t look past those plain words to the actions going on in the background. Just because someone uses plain language it doesn’t necessarily mean what it seems to say.

Valentines Day 4

Today is Valentines Day. This will be the 12th valentines day I have spent with my wonderful wife Jules and I love her as much today as I ever have. On this day 12 years ago I got down on my knee and asked Jules to marry me. We had already talked about it previously and decided we wanted to get married, but on valentines day I actually gave her a ring. Three months later we got married by the beach at sunset on Kauai. The wedding took place at Gloria’s Spouting Horn Bed & Breakfast on the south shore of Kauai. Our marriage got off to a beautiful start. Not a day goes by that I don’t treasure my life with Jules. I never leave the house without kissing my wife and telling her that I love her. As in all relationships between people we have had our disagreements, but we have had remarkably few serious fights. We have almost never gone to bed angry. After 12 1/2 years together, I can’t even imagine my life without her by my side. I love Jules with all of my heart and I am glad that we are soulmates, lovers and friends.

The truth about the Bush economy.

You may be “shocked” to hear this but George W. Bush and his administration have lied almost continuously about the state of the US economy since they came to power 5 years ago. As Paul Krugman has been saying consistently, the stats put out the bureau of labor statistics have been at best misleading if not downright bullshit. Well the bls has now published revised statistics about the job market for the period January 2001 to January 2006. Over at Paul Craig Roberts has posted a scathing indictment of the bush economy titled Nuking the economy. Here is a small sample:

No sane economist can possibly maintain that a deplorable record of merely 1,054,000 net new private sector jobs over five years is an indication of a healthy economy. The total number of private sector jobs created over the five year period is 500,000 jobs less than one year’s legal and illegal immigration! (In a December 2005 Center for Immigration Studies report based on the Census Bureau’s March 2005 Current Population Survey, Steven Camarota writes that there were 7,9 million new immigrants between January 2000 and March 2005.)

Just so you don’t think he is some lefty liberal like Krugman, here is his bio from the bottom of the article:

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.

Go over and read the article, it is not that long and worth the read. If you are having trouble telling when Bush is lying about something, just remember, his lips will be moving.