Reproductive Rights

[Here’s an older article that is definitely still pertinent today, with the American Taliban’s fight to shut down women’s access to reproductive health care, closing down Planned Parenthood locations, withdrawing funding from women’s health. If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention!]

lady_justice_standingKeep your laws off my back! (out of my bedroom, out of their vagina) Here’s my take on a few things…

Where do these men get off thinking they can control what women do with their bodies? Controlling what access women have to taking care of their bodies and their reproductive systems? Men have no say! It’s like that bumper sticker,

If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament!

It’s not enough that Religious Right & pro-life (read as pro-male/anti-female) sycophants try to get Roe v. Wade repealed or reproductive rights curtailed, now they are trying to strong-arm pharmacies into following their male-centric views and Judeo-Christian/American Taliban nonsense.

This a new story about Pat Robertson and his legal support group (American Center for Law and Justice) coming to the aid of four religious nut pharmacists who had worked at Walgreen’s stores in Illinois, but were fired because they refused to fill prescriptions for the “morning after” pill, all because of their “religious views,” filling the prescription violated their religious beliefs. Here’s the link on Yahoo from the story carried by Reuter’s Health News.

Since when do pharmacists have a say in what medications a woman can put in her body? Yes, their job is to provide the female customer with factual information about the medications she’s taking, to make sure the drugs are not going to cause problems especially with other drugs she might be taking. Outside of that, she puts a piece of paper down on the counter, signed by her doctor or her own request, they fill it. Since when is it a pharmacist’s job to let their version of morality (their mores) enter the picture? If they can’t do their job according to the corporate guidelines Walgreen’s has in place, then they should leave and start their own pharmacy (or work at WalMart.) If a company’s policies conflict with my beliefs, I should address the company and try to reach some sort of an agreement (a compromise, a corporate statement/disclaimer, etc.), if that can’t happen, then I should walk.

But noooo! Here comes Pat Robertson, who believes that New Orleans deserved what happened to it by Hurricane Katrina because of the sins of the people of New Orleans and who believes that Ariel Sharon had what was coming to him because of his going against Robertson’s “god.” (Story here about how whacked this old fart truly is.) Good-old boy Pat steps in with his idiotic views and old-timey religion (read as white male of privilege using an established hierarchical structure to keep his sheep-like, no-thinking followers in place with the fire and brimstone, rath of “god” bullshit) and his deep pockets of money skimmed off his followers from his tele-evangelism shows. Old Pat brings his forces to bear and goes on the offensive against Walgreen’s.

Now, I have no great love for Walgreen’s — the stores are a blight on the land! Every corner you look, there’s another freakin’ Walgreen’s! Where in the hell did that one come from? Why do we need another one of these damned things so close by? But, ya gotta give ’em credit: they fired these religious zealots who where letting their religious beliefs get in the way of doing their job and serving the public, doing their jobs according to Walgreen’s corporate policies. Pharmacists do have advanced degrees and are supposedly intelligent people, but they are simply employees of the company. If they can’t follow the company guidelines and policies, then they need to take a freakin’ hike!

McCain’s Racial Epithet

[An older piece that acts as a reminder of the bigotry and small-mindedness of Arizona Senator John McCain, good to remember that this racist is running for Senate seat again. Hasn’t he done enough damage already?]

mccain_smallArticle from San Francisco Gate (SF Chronicle) is from the 2000 Presidential election era and has resurfaced during the 2008 election era. McCain’s use of the extremely bigoted and distasteful racial epithet, gook, to describe his captors during his Vietnam war imprisonment, is completely unacceptable.

Thank goodness for StirrdUp — I’m really grateful that their users found this little gem in the Chronicle’s archives.

I wonder how Asian-American voters feel about this use of this derogatory term? Let’s hope they turn away from a party that supports such hate language. I can appreciate all that McCain went through during the Vietnam war, but to continue to use such language almost thirty years later is unforgivable. I’ve always had a very low opinion of McCain, one of my state senators, but now I think he is just a pig. My opinion of the Republican party has also dropped many notches from its previously low position.

McCain’s Real Record on the War in Iraq

[Here’s an older article that provides a bit of perspective about Arizona Senator John McCain and his callous disregard for the will of the American people’s desire to get out of the endless conflict and war-making in the Middle East region. Let’s not forget his stance during this 2016 election cycle.]

johnmccain_highres1MoveOn.org, has forwarded an entry from a web site focused on spreading the facts that Vets Vote. Here’s a link to a fine article the VoteVets.org web site has posted that describes facts about John McCain’s Real Record on the War in Iraq. Very fascinating bit of journalism! I’ve posted the article (sent out by the MoveOn.org group) and posted on the VoteVets.org web site:

Senator John McCain presents himself as a maverick and a critic of the Iraq war. But a close read of his record indicates that his position on the Iraq war has consistently matched President George W. Bush’s.

Before The War:

McCain used many of the same arguments as Donald Rumsfeld, Vice President Cheney and President Bush when advocating going to war with Iraq.
McCain co-sponsored the Use of Force Authorization that gave President George W. Bush the green light–and a blank check–for going to war with Iraq. [SJ Res 46, 10/3/02]
McCain argued Saddam was “a threat of the first order.” Senator McCain said that a policy of containing Iraq to blunt its weapons of mass destruction program is “unsustainable, ineffective, unworkable and dangerous.”
McCain: “I believe Iraq is a threat of the first order, and only a change of regime will make Iraq a state that does not threaten us and others, and where liberated people assume the rights and responsibilities of freedom.” [Speech to the Center for Strategic & International Studies, 2/13/03]
McCain echoed Bush and Cheney’s rationale for going to war.
McCain: “It’s going to send the message throughout the Middle East that democracy can take hold in the Middle East.” [Fox, Hannity & Colmes, 2/21/03]
McCain echoed Bush and Cheney’s talking points that the U.S. would only be in Iraq for a short time.
McCain: “It’s clear that the end is very much in sight. … It won’t be long…it’ll be a fairly short period of time.” [ABC, 4/9/03]
McCain said winning the war would be “easy.” “I know that as successful as I believe we will be, and I believe that the success will be fairly easy, we will still lose some American young men or women.” [CNN, 9/24/02]

During The War:

Senator McCain praised Donald Rumsfeld as late as May 12, 2004, after the Abu Ghraib scandal.
Asked if Donald Rumsfeld can continue to be an effective secretary of defense,
McCain: “Yes, today I do and I believe he’s done a fine job. He’s an honorable man.” [Hannity and Colmes, 5/12/04]
Senator McCain repeatedly supported President Bush on the Iraq War–voting with him in the Senate, defending his actions and publicly praising his leadership.

McCain maintains the war was a good idea.

At the 2004 Republican National Convention, McCain, focusing on the war in Iraq, said that while weapons of mass destruction were not found, Saddam once had them and “he would have acquired them again.” McCain said the mission in Iraq “gave hope to people long oppressed” and it was “necessary, achievable and noble.”
McCain: “For his determination to undertake it, and for his unflagging resolve to see it through to a just end, President Bush deserves not only our support, but our admiration.” Plain Dealer, 8/31/04]
McCain: “The war, the invasion was not a mistake.” [Meet the Press, 1/6/08]
Asked if the war was a good idea worth the price in blood and treasure,
McCain: “It was worth getting rid of Saddam Hussein. He had used weapons of mass destruction, and it’s clear that he was hell-bent on acquiring them.” [Republican Debate, 1/24/08]
McCain defended Bush’s rationale for war. Asked if he thought the president exaggerated the case for war, McCain said, “I don’t think so.” [Fox News, 7/31/03]
McCain has been President Bush’s most ardent Senate supporter on Iraq. According to Michael Shank of the Foreign Policy in Focus think tank, McCain was at times Bush’s “most solid support in the Senate” on Iraq. [Foreign Policy in Focus, 1/15/08]
McCain voted against holding Bush accountable for his actions in the war. McCain opposed the creation of an independent commission to investigate the development and use of intelligence leading up to the war in Iraq. [S. Amdt. 1275 to H.R. 2658, Vote # 284, 7/16/03]
McCain praised Bush’s leadership on the war.
McCain: “I think the president has led with great clarity and I think he’s done a great job leading the country…” [MSNBC, Hardball, 4/23/03]
Senator McCain has constantly moved the goal posts of progress for the war–repeatedly saying it would be over soon.
January 2003: “But the point is that, one, we will win this conflict. We will win it easily.” [MSNBC, 1/22/03]
March 2003: “I believe that this conflict is still going to be relatively short.” [NBC, Meet the Press, 3/30/03]
June 2004: “The terrorists know that this is a very critical time.” [CNN, 6/23/04]
December 2005: “Overall, I think a year from now, we will have a fair amount of progress [in Iraq] if we stay the course.” [The Hill, 12/8/05]
November 2006: “We’re either going to lose this thing or win this thing within the next several months.” [NBC, Meet the Press, 11/12/06]
Senator McCain opposed efforts to end the overextension of the military that is having a devastating impact on our troops.
McCain voted against requiring mandatory minimum downtime between tours of duty for troops serving in Iraq. [S. Amdt.. 2909 to S Amdt. 2011 to HR 1585, Vote 341, 9/19/07; S Amdt. 2012 to S Amdt. 2011 to HR 1585, Vote #241, 7/11/07]
McCain was one of only 13 senators to vote against adding $430 million for inpatient and outpatient care for veterans. [S Amdt. 3642 to HR 4939, Vote 98, 4/26/06]
Senator McCain has consistently opposed any plan to withdraw troops from Iraq Senator McCain repeatedly voted against Senator McCain has consistently demonized Americans who want to find a responsible way to remove troops from Iraq so that we can take the fight to al Qaeda.
McCain: “I believe to set a date for withdrawal is to set a date for surrender.” [Charlotte Observer, 9/16/07]
McCain called proponents of a congressional resolution opposing the troop surge in Iraq intellectually dishonest. [Associated Press. 2/4/07]

The Future:

Senator McCain now says he sees no end to the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq.
McCain: “[M]ake it a hundred” years in Iraq and “that would be fine with me.” [Derry, New Hampshire Town Hall meeting, 1/3/08]
McCain on how long troops may remain in Iraq: “A thousand years. A million years. Ten million years. It depends on the arrangement we have with the Iraqi government.” [Associated Press, 1/04/08]
http://pol.moveon.org/ Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

Terrorist Michael Reagan

[Here’s an older article that dates back a few years, but really is quite relevant today! Exception is now we have a racist,homophobic, misoynist pig (Donald Trump) running for President using the same tactics and bombastic rhetoric. Some things never change.]

FAIR just sucked me in with their reporting of the step-son of our late idiot President, Ronnie Reagan. I knew Michael Reagan was a dickhead, but holy crap! If you didn’t know, Michael Reagan is a regular talk radio mouthpiece for the ultra-conservative crap that emanates from the Radio America shows broadcast nationwide, as well as having his own syndicated radio talk show and doing commentary pieces on Fox News — big surprise there! The reason for the title of this article is because of the story that FAIR reported about Reagan’s comments that called for murdering political activists, specifically Mark Dice (and his group) who is infamous for sending letters and DVDs to soldiers in Iraq which explain the conspiracy theory that the US government was responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Whatever happened to social discourse? What about disagreeing with someone? Disproving their theories and showing the errors in facts and logic? Apparently these accepted journalistic methods don’t sell sponsor’s products and attract the lunatic fringe that listens to shock-jocks like Reagan. But clearly, calling for the murder is stepping over the edge of acceptable social and political commentary as exhibited by these Reagan comments on his show (excerpted from the above FAIR article):

“We ought to find the people who are doing this, take them out and shoot them. Really. You take them out, they are traitors to this country, and shoot them. You have a problem with that? Deal with it. You shoot them. You call them traitors, that’s what they are, and you shoot them dead. I’ll pay for the bullets.”
“How about you take Mark Dice out and put him in the middle of a firing range. Tie him to a post, don’t blindfold him, let it rip and have some fun with Mark Dice.”

FAIR reports that the above comments aren’t the first time that Reagan has called upon listeners to murder: “On August 15, 2006, Reagan called for violently killing babies who were reportedly being named for the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah:”

“Naming their children ‘Hezbollah.’You know what I’d get ’em for a first birthday? I’d put a grenade up their butts and light it. Happy birthday, baby. Bye bye.”

FAIR further describes the following exchange. “In response to a caller who pointed out that children are not responsible for the names they are given, Reagan repeatedly asserted,”

“So what’s wrong with killing the mothers and the babies?”

How can this person be retained by Radio America and remain on the air? Seriously! The hate-mongering bigot Don Imus was removed from the air after his on-air comments about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team–Imus wasn’t asking anyone to kill the basketball players, he was just showing his racism and bigotry! Doesn’t the FCC have any rules (or guidelines, fer chrissake!) that are enforceable saying individuals cannot make death threats on public airwaves? How can the FCC allow Radio America to keep its broadcasting license? The other incongruous thing about Michael Reagan is his supposed Christian beliefs. Is this type of behavior and expression of Christianity what our religious and political leaders mean when they talk about “compassionate conservatism”? Compassion towards whom? Who would Jesus kill?
Care to comment and show your displeasure about the filth that Radio America is distributing across the American airwaves?
Call or email:
Radio America President Jim Roberts
703-302-1000 ext 215
Email: jroberts@radioamerica.org

Of course, I’m sure the Michael Reagan show episode being discussed here does not fall under the Obscenity, Indecency & Profanity guidelines, but I imagine that the FCC bureaucrats would be interested in hearing from the citizenry.

FCC Enforcement Bureau, Investigations and Hearings Division
Email: fccinfo@fcc.gov
445 12th Street, S.W. Washington, D.C. 20554 Toll Free: 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322); 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322) TTY

GW Bush – Our Disingenuous President

[An older article about the two-faced, double-speaking Republican party. American public short-term memory forgets this insane period in recent history and the bald-faced lies, misdirected half-truths that poured out of Bush’s mouth.]

bushtelefonoEl Jefe spoke at the recent (2006) State of the Union address about a number of things that are out-right lies or just more George BS to let the peepul know he is on their side. Like we can really believe what comes out of his mouth?!? Let’s look at some of the jingoistic un-truths spewing from Dubya’s pie-hole, shall we…
Health Care in the US

“Keeping America competitive requires affordable health care. Our government has a responsibility to help provide health care for the poor and the elderly, and we are meeting that responsibility. For all Americans, we must confront the rising cost of care”

And we are doing this without a free, national health care system — how? Bush has too many friends in the pharmaceutical business to really be taken seriously about this. If we socialize health care in the US (as our progressive, forward thinking friends in Canada), who stands to lose the most? The PharmaCons losing their nice, cushy government subsidies and kick-backs. The main thing that shows this is Dubya BS is talking about the poor: Little George could give a rat’s ass about the poor! Why else would he be gutting programs left and right and cutting funding to programs? He knows the poor don’t have a voice, so no danger, no foul! He just has to last another 1 1/2 years and then he can slink away with the millions he’s raked in off the backs of the poor and disenfranchised.

Bush on Energy in the US

Here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world.” and “We must also change how we power our automobiles. We will increase our research in better batteries for hybrid and electric cars, and in pollution-free cars that run on hydrogen.”

All fabulous sentiments, but they belie the fact that Bush and Klan have made their riches off of oil exploration and petroleum refinement. Mr. President, how can you make these false statements while promoting legislation for the following?

Exploration for oil and freedoms to drill in Alaska: umm, haven’t we made a big enough mess in the pristine Alaskan wilderness with the Pipeline, Exxon Valdez oil spill. Of course, one way to get around the environmental impact on-shore is to take the exploration off-shore. Brrrr…

Bush is so obvious when talking out both sides of his monkey-mouth: one side says, let’s focus on becoming less dependent on foreign oil and develop alternative fuels and energy sources; the other, uglier side says we need to open the wildlife reserves in Alaska for oil expoloration. Hmmm, maybe he’s not such a bald-faced liar after all, I mean Alaska really isn’t a foreign country we have to end our dependence from, we can do whatever the hell we want with Alaska, we own the damn place! CNN has an interesting article here.

Dubya also talks up a good storm about alternative fuels and fuel-efficient automobiles — jeezus cheerist! This is the same guy who made sure that the huge monster death machines on our roads (AKA Sport Utility Vehicles) were exempt from fuel efficiency standards. His buddies at GM, Ford, and Chrysler were whooping it up, I’m sure. Now, the SUV balloon has popped and the American people are selling their big-ass trucks and SUVs in massive numbers. Look at the car lots around town–not the mainline dealers, but the resellers and used lots: jam packed with trucks, SUVs.

In Bush’s mind, ostensibly confused and addled from his years of alchohol abuse and concaine use, atomic energy from nuclear power plants is good for the environment. Here’s an excerpt from a story carried by Portsmouth Herald:

“In an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Monday, Bush said he looks forward to working with Congress on an energy bill that includes incentives for the nuclear-power industry. ‘It [nuclear power] certainly answers a lot of our issues. It certainly answers the environmental issue,’ he said.”

Whoever is feeding this information to Bush is equally at fault, equally a foe of the American people. I mean really, our fearless leader can’t even pronounce “nuclear” (apparently, it’s a Southern thing or on par with Homer Simpson), how can we expect him to appreciate how dangerous and anti-life is is? Ya gotta give the guy credit! He is learned a few lessons from all his failed business ventures: ya gotta butter your bread on both sides. Here the president of a pro-atomic energy group comments (boot-licking lackey) about Bush’s pro-atomic energy policies.

Bush is also very comfortable with throwing business to his friends at General Electric so they can sell nuclear reactors to developing nations. What the fuck! We haven’t worked out a way to deal with all the toxic waste from our own nuclear reactors, how are we expecting developing nations to deal with this? Ship it back to us so we can bury in some huge-ass cavern 90 miles from Las Vegas? How’d you like to have that train passing through your neighborhood? Don’t worry, the government will have them transport the nuclear mess at night while you’re sleeping.

Bush on Education

“We need to encourage children to take more math and science, and make sure those courses are rigorous enough to compete with other nations. We have made a good start in the early grades with the No Child Left Behind Act, which is raising standards and lifting test scores across our country.”

There has been a great deal of coverage about the bullshit Bush spouts on education, especially his lack of support in funding NCLB. His disingenuous nature is clearly understood when considering how he asked for recent cuts to education programs, specifically asking Congress to completely dismantle the Enhancing Education Through Technology funding, but what we got was a 45-percent reduction in the programs funding. In essence, almost 3 billion dollars have been cut for education funding with the budget Bush is proposing.

Bush on Katrina and New Orleans

“the Federal government has committed 85 billion dollars to the people of the Gulf Coast and New Orleans. We are removing debris, repairing highways, and building stronger levees.”

By “we,” Bush doesn’t mean he’s rolling up his sleeves and lending a hand, no, he means his good friends at Halliburton and Bechtel who are doing the work on contract to the government. Bush wouldn’t want to see people of color getting ahead, having a say and being empowered in their communities, he’s too much of a bigot to let that happen. No, Bush can’t see having these repair and cleanup contracts going to minority-owned businesses who have a vested interest in their communities. A nice, fat dividend from the Halliburton and Bechtel profits line his and Uncle Dick Cheney’s pockets. Apparently, the profits they are making off of the contracts Halliburton has in the Iraq Regime Change aren’t sufficient for Dubya and Uncle Dick.

Bush on Gays and Gay Marriage

“They (the pepul) are concerned about unethical conduct by public officials, and discouraged by activist courts that try to redefine marriage.”

If the Bushites and Neocons aren’t actively fighting against gays having the right to marry (call it what you will, but it still is about commitment) or wasting tax-payer’s money introducing Defense of Marriage legislation at the ferderal and state levels, then they’re mouthing off about how evil gays are, how promiscuous gays are. If straight folk weren’t allowed to marry, wouldn’t they all be considered promiscuous and unable to commit? This is the same old story of demonizing the gay community, making them all out to be pedophiles and sexual deviants. Well, yes, if you aren’t practicing male-female, missionary-position sex, then you are a deviant and guilty of breaking the sodomy laws that were still on the books in 22 states until the US Supreme Court ruled that sodomy laws in all states are unconstitutional based on the Lawrence v. Texas ruling passed down on June 26, 2003.

Bush on HIV/AIDS

“A hopeful society acts boldly to fight diseases like HIV/AIDS, which can be prevented, and treated, and defeated.”

How this idjet hopes to accomplish this with abstinence-only education in schools, no promotion of safe-sex practices and condom use, I’ll never understand. George, of all people, should understand about prevention: he was an alcohol and cocaine abuser for years, a ripe combination for impaired judgment if there ever was one. He should understand that people aren’t perfect, that people slip away from their vows of abstinence — sex is a primary human urge, for christ’s sake. Was Laura Bush a co-abuser with George? What other explanation can there be for getting hooked with this immoral weakling who continues to ride on Daddie’s coattails.

I fear for our country. This pipsqueak of a man is using his office to further his own twisted, immoral agenda and make sure he leaves our country they way he left all of his failed business ventures: bankrupt! Let’s help him to the door of the White House while we can — he still has 1 3/4 years left in office: think of all the damage he can inflict on the American people and the world in that time! God help us! Give us the strength to do the right thing and begin impeachment proceedings on this man-ape as soon as possible.

Hell, Clinton only stuck a foreign object up a White House aide. Bush is taking this to the extreme: he’s doing the whole country and we’re taking it up the ass with a smile! Don’t you feel that?

The Nader Zombie has Arisen

[Here’s an older article that is once again pertinent during this current (2016) election cycle: This time around with Green Party candidate, Dr. Jill Stein, and the Libertarian Party candidate, Gary Johnson. I think, as much of the country does, that the stakes for our future as a nation are incredibly high: an America under the leadership of a buffoon like Donald Trunmp, or America under the solid, intelligent, strong leadership of Hillary Clinton?]

naderRalph Nader zombie to appear yet again and reek havoc in the electoral process. The 2000 election was pretty close, but Vice-President Al Gore was clearly the winner and would have had a much greater lead over Bush if Nader hadn’t sucked the number of important votes from Gore, especially in Florida. One of the darling slogans surrounding Nader at the time was, “A vote for Nader is a vote for Bush.” Republicans are jumping for joy again–votes will be drained off Obama (or Clinton if she goes any further after Texas and Ohio), giving McCain a chance.

It’s pretty incredible just how awful Nader looks these days. He’s 73 years old and looks every day of it–haggard, ghoulish, walking dead come to mind. This is me being bitchy, but really, think how much the office of president ages each person: can you imagine how much worse Nader would look after fours years in office? I don’t think he’s someone we would want to be the head of state–he might scare the bejeezus out of foreign heads of state and their children! Seriously, Ralph isn’t looking too terribly joyful in the above image from his campaign site. I’m thinking he’s on some serious anti-depressants, mood levelers, stoned? (Smoking some of the “commercial” hemp is so gung-ho to have legalized?)

I just can’t understand how Nader can really think that Barack Obama wouldn’t be great leader and wouldn’t be a real change from the political “business as usual” mentality. Obama has already shown that he has great leadership skills and genuinely fresh ideas and wants to affect a change in America.

Nader has been a courageous individual, speaking out against injustice, against corporate greed, speaking up for environmental protections and consumer safety. Nader is a great American, no doubt about it. But presidential material? The leader of our nation? A leader during this important time of national and international recovery?

Nader is simply too much of an individual and too divisive–he couldn’t get things done with either party. The 2008 election era is so different from the 2000 election period; There are so many more important issues and things at stake now: the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, the economy is in the dumps with the huge deficit that Bush is leaving his successor (unlike the 2000 campaign when there was still a huge surplus from the Clinton presidency), Al Gore was right about his environmental stance back in the 2000 election, our foreign policy is a shambles, on and on.

So, please Ralph, think about what is best for America at this critical time: please withdraw your decision to run during the 2008 presidential race.

High School Sports and Education

What Price Glory?

I believe that extra-curricular athletic competion (team/intramural sports) has absolutely no place on high school campuses. I don’t have any personal interest in athletic competition (aside from watching the occasional local minor league baseball), but what galls me most is the time, energy, and money taken away from students reaching for scholastic greatness, achieving their greatest academic potential and goals and being flushed down the shower stalls in all the locker rooms across the country.

If we are serious about preparing students to compete with Japan, China, Korea and European countries, to be the best they can be, to mentally challenge themselves, why aren’t we focusing more on education and less on sports? What purpose do high school sports serve in our society? I think all sports (high school, college, professional) are about the entertainment for the beloved peepul. Of course, individuals participating in athletics believe that sports is all about the challenge, being their physical best–that’s great! Do it on your own time! I feel we aren’t getting the most bang for our education buck.

So what do I propose instead of school sports? City and/or county sports leagues! Students interested in athletic scholarships (oxymoron!) can still get recognition for their jock prowess and be scouted in city/county leagues — just not in school athletic programs. Sure coaches can still be employed — to concentrate on physical education classes during school, not athletic competition for schools, but for county leagues.

What are other issues of doing away with scholastic athletic programs?

  • Concentration on academic excellence by teachers and ALL students. No more distractions from announcements, pep assemblies, team members dismissed from class to take the bus to “away” games.
  • Renewed funding for ARTS — imagine that! Money that has been bled off from fine arts (or anything not resembling NCLB content areas, i.e., math, english, and now science) could be taken from the funding for sports programs and redistributed for music, dance, art, photography, and drama.
  • Increased funding for classrooms — renewal and repairs to infrastructure (I know of numerous locations on the high school campus where I used to work where there are instances of termite infestation/damage and asbestos contamination (floor tiles, insulation, etc.)), new furniture, refreshed technology, new books, smaller class sizes, teacher and support staff salary increases, field trips and guest speakers.

What other benefits are there for doing away with sports?

  • No more rallies and pep assemblies — great time to get-outta-class and chance to screw off, be entertained by the cheer leaders doing their bump-n-grind routines.
  • No more early dismissal for sports teams and cheer leaders.
  • No more (or essentially repurposed) Student Government whose apparent sole purpose is to promote sports and sport spirit on campus; StuGov never does any promotion of academics such Academic Decathlon, National Honor Society, school clubs.
  • No more cheer leaders — bimbos will have to concentrate on school work and developing their intellect instead of their sex skills.
  • Money savings from:
    • buses being used less: gas and driver salary savings
    • lessened field/stadium maintenance — save the environment from all the weed/bug spraying, field painting/marking; savings from less mowing, salaries, sound equipment and infrastructure support and maintenance. Grounds personnel could then be repurposed for developing the campus environment, upkeep and beautification.
    • gymnasium being used only by P.E. classes or renting out to city/county leagues and outside organizations. Savings from sound equipment and infrastructure support and maintenance, less custodial staff salaries for bleacher setup, clean up after the sports pigs.
    • no more school/district Athletic Director (and staff) — savings from salaries, office space freed up, technology no longer being supplied, travel expenses.
    • no more athletic department support staff — office personnel (cheer leader wannabes), equipment manager.
    • no more sports uniforms and cleaning systems — incredible cost savings and less environmental drain (water, gas, electricity)!
    • no more time away/transportation for marching band and color guards.
    • no more marching band and color guard uniforms.
    • no more paperwork for students involved in athletics: sign up forms, permission forms, doctor/physical forms, no more review of eligibility.

All told, this country could see a rebirth in our school systems. Bill Gates was only partly right — I’m sure he was never involved in any type of athletic program during his high school career, so the amount of support and waste for sports has never crossed his mind.

Technology Haves Have-Nots

[Here’s an older article that is still pertinent in today’s world, where access to technology, not speaking about the Pokeman Online or Ingress, is what helps to give students an edge in how education is done.]

I have an article elsewhere on Beelybox about more students using cell phones and those students being technically savvy. What about the students who have very limited access or no access to technology at all? What happens to them in this flattened world? Here are some points to consider and ideas that can be implemented.

I read reports about the huge numbers of teens and tweens who have their own cell phones (thanks to the plans for $9.95/month for additional phones/lines.) OK, that’s great, I’m OK with this if their parents are. But what about the families and kids who can’t afford technology: cell phones, a home computer with access to the Internet? Where does this leave us as a nation: a nation of technology haves and have-nots! Of course, this is nothing terribly new–the whole Digital Divide has been discussed over and over again without much of a resolution.

Families do have access to computers and the Internet at their local library branch or school library (that makes systems available for community use.) But you don’t learn and be competent on a computer if you don’t have one available at home. You don’t gain enough skills to increase your potential for getting a better job unless you have a computer you can use and learn on every day.

How about schools releasing their old, used computers that are still viable (for word-processing, surfing the Internet, using email) instead of sending them to the warehouse for auction. What family will wait for the annual auction and have enough knowledge about what they’d be getting with a school cast-off? I think the school technology staff should be able to remove systems from Inventory and make them available to families identified from the free-lunch records. These are families who are known to have limited income and can be contacted to see if they could benefit from a well-used but functional system.

Of course, school districts can’t release older systems with intact licensed operating systems (read Microsoft Windows) and licensed productivity software (read Microsoft Office). That should never be a deal-stopper. The tech at each school could invite technology class students to help securely wipe the hard drives of the cast-off systems and install/setup a well-rounded Linux distribution that has low hardware requirements (Damn Small Linux is a great option as is Slackware Linux, others are described here.) The student who would be receiving the the old system could help in this work as payment for the system.

The tech students could also set up and maintain a tech support network through the school’s web site with links to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) via a wiki, discussion/help forums via a phpBB bulletin board system. They could even use the support structure to do house calls to these families and earn community service recognition for their resume/CV.

The foreign language department could involve students to translate the technology support info for non-English speaking families. Tucson has a large Spanish-speaking population and the tech students could work with the Spanish language class students to translate the wiki pages, the FAQs, and other pertinent info. Another opportunity for students to earn community service hours.

I have dozens of these older, viable systems sitting around because they’ve been replaced with a slightly newer system capable of running Windows XP. Isn’t this how we look out and take care of all the members of our communities? We can also take care of the community of current PC users who are being abandoned by Microsoft’s ending support for Windows 98 and the joke that is Windows ME. These folks may not be able to replace their older PCs, if they could they would have done so with systems that could run Windows XP. So, Linux is starting to look very good for these abandoned users. What are we waiting for?

Environment and You

Our day-to-day lives… What do we do that affects our local community’s environment?120px-biohazard

  • Our car exhausts smelly, noxious fumes because we haven’t taken the time/don’t have the money to tune up our cars.
  • We put plastics that are marked as recyclable materials into our regular garbage can.
  • We leave water running in our yard (the desert, you know!)
  • We have a tricked out sports ride with loud glass pack exhaust system.
  • Our car has a messy oil or coolant leak — there’s always a little puddle under our car.

You know what I’m talking about: the things you know are the right thing to do, but might take a little more effort on your part. Preachy? Well, maybe. But damnit, we all live in the same place, breath the same air, listen to the same noises (or lack of noises!), drink the same water – on and on…

We have so much in this country and there is also so much waste, so much taken for granted. What can you do to care for your planet?

Abortion Foes Make Their Big Play

[Another article that is still sounding like it was pulled from today’s news feed! When will this insanity end, right?]

Back Alleys and Coat Hangers

Apparently, South Dakota is hoping to put itself at the top of the list of places that women for choice (and their allies) will least want to visit anytime soon. Abortion foes are making their big pelvic push into the warm, moist nether regions of South Dakotan freedom of choice.

Big bucks from the Religious Right and anti-abortion/anti-Roe-v-Wade proponents are pouring into South Dakota, home of the incest and rape victims without voice or rights! Yes, under proposed legislation, women who are rape victims won’t be allowed access to abortion and the rapist will have the same visitation rights as a father of a non-rape child. How many women would want to live with that? Here’s an article describing this insanity! The New York Times (registration req’d.) has an in-depth article on the pumped-up pro-lifers who are just jumping for joy now that there is a set of true believers sitting on the Supreme Court bench. “It’s our time!,” I’m sure they’re blathering.

What’s next? Locking up condoms? Prescriptions for condoms? Mandatory abstinence pledges? If there was accurate sex education, promotion of safe sex practices in our schools and doctors’ offices, would abortion be necessary? If women were empowered with sexual choice and safe sex practices, how much of this legislation at the expense of womens’ health would simply not happen?

The pro-lifers are also very savy when it comes to using double-speak and outright lies to influence and emotionally blackmail women. They’re now spouting quotes from Martin Luther King, Jr. to further their cause. This is right out of the Bush, grab-em-by-their-cajones playbook! The only important thing in the pro-lifer’s mind is to ensure that their women are kept in subjugation — barefoot and pregnant, indeed!