Archive for: October, 2009

Seed Magazine in the Classroom: Grounds for Suspending the Teacher??

Oct 31 2009 Published by under Religion in Schools

Apparently, offering high school English students the chance to read an article on the Seed Magazine website is ground for suspension - at least if you're an English teacher in Piasa, Illinois.

According to several media reports, teacher Dan DeLong has been suspended with pay pending a Monday evening board meeting. The suspension came about when a parent complained about the content of an optional, extra-credit assignment that DeLong had offered students in one of his 10th grade honors classes. The assignment? Read an online version of an article by ScienceBlogger Jonah Lehrer that appeared in a 2006 issue of Seed Magazine. The article in question deals with homosexuality. In animals.

That's right. Apparently, Teh Gay is so offensive that students need to be protected from being permitted to read about it in any form whatsoever, even in animals.

The Superintendent of DeLong's school district is Larry Elesa. His email address is lelsea@piasabirds.net

HT: Jonathan Turley

12 responses so far

Orly Taitz gets slapped around by yet another judge.

Oct 29 2009 Published by under Flaming Small-Minded Stupidity

Great White, Tiger, Lemon, White-Tip, Hammerhead - you name a species of shark, and Orly Taitz DDS Esq. has jumped it. She hasn't just gone off the deep end, she's gone of the Challenger Deep. One of her more recent blog posts should be more than enough proof of that for anyone:

If Obama is not legitimate, neither are his appointments, including his pick of Biden. We will need to have a new election ASAP, before these diabolical psychopaths completely destroy US economy, currency and unleash some bio engineered swine flu virus as an excuse for martial law and suspension of our constitutional freedoms

(Constitutional Lawyer/Dentist Taitz is apparently ignorant of the 20th Amendment to the US Constitution - not to mention the fact that the Vice President is also elected, not appointed.)

However, if you're looking for more evidence for that, there's a quote in the most recent ruling throwing a birther case out of the courts that might help you out:

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30 responses so far

A Few Words on Operating Systems, Evil, File Sharing, and Kool-Aid.

Oct 27 2009 Published by under Misc

Yesterday, Greg Laden posted a short response to my post about the recently discovered Apple patent application for an ad-supported operating system. Some of the comments that people left on Greg's post raise issues that I want to respond to. Since I'm lazy, and writing something up in the software I use for blog posts is easier and more convenient for me than leaving a lengthy comment on his blog, I'm responding here.

Azkyroth brought up a two-year-old post of mine, writing:

Given his singularly mindless knee-jerk defense of simplistic anti-file-sharing moralization back in the day, I can't say I'm surprised.

While I had almost forgotten about that post, I still agree with the basic point that I was making, and I think that there is a parallel between my views on file "sharing" and what should be done with operating systems.

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12 responses so far

Apple's Ad-Based OS Patent Application: Not Evil.

Oct 26 2009 Published by under Misc

A number of people (including another blogger here at ScienceBlogs) have weighed in on the recent revelation of a patent application that describes a way to integrate advertising into computer operating systems. The patent application covers both traditional personal computer operating systems and a wide range of portable devices, including mobile phones. The system proposed in the patent application incorporates methods that ensure that the users will have to pay attention to the ads, and includes an option that would lock the operating system if advertisements are not locked. The patent was applied for by Apple, and the first-listed inventor on the application is Apple founder and CEO Steve Jobs.

I've read through a few of the (predictable) objections to Apple's plan. I was bemused both by the overwrought nature of some of the complaints ("evil", "burn in hell"), and by the fact that virtually all of the complaints about the possibility of an ad-based operating system appear on websites that are either directly or indirectly supported through ad sales. That aside, most of the objections seem to miss something very important - the potential that Apple's innovation has as a way of reducing the digital divide both within the USA and globally.

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18 responses so far

The Racists of Tangipahoa Parish

Oct 18 2009 Published by under Misc, Politics

You would think that it would be hard to find a statement more outrageous than hopefully-soon-to-be-former-Louisiana Justice of the Peace Keith Bardwell's attempt to prove that he's not a racist:

"I have piles and piles of black friends. They come to my home, I marry them, they use my bathroom. I treat them just like everyone else."

For that matter, you'd think it would be hard to find conduct more outrageous than Bardwell's repeated refusal to marry interracial couples. Unfortunately, this turns out not to be the case. It's almost painfully easy to find both more outrageous statements and more outrageous conduct. All you have to do is look at what other Tangipahoa Parish officials have said and done when confronted with the blatant racism of Keith Bardwell.

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36 responses so far

Orly Taitz Sanctioned For Frivolous Filings With $20K Fine

Oct 13 2009 Published by under Accidental

As some of you might recall, I've been keeping tabs on some of the continuing court antics of Dentist/Lawyer Orly Taitz, High Priestess of the Birther Movement. Her frivolous court filings - which start out at chiropteran excrement insane and go downhill from there - have been providing me with a great deal of entertainment lately. Of course, that's at least partially because I don't actually have to waste time and effort responding to them, and can stop reading them anytime I want (really, I can).

Apparently, not everyone has been as amused by Taitz's apparent inability to grasp subtle nuances of legal procedure (such as the inadvisability of responding to a contempt citation by accusing the judge of treason). Judge Clay Land, of the US District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, has just weighed in on her conduct, and he certainly doesn't seem to be as amused as I am.

If you've been keeping score, you might remember that Land recently ordered Taitz to show cause as to why he should not fine her $10,000. I suppose you could say that she succeeded beyond anyone's wildest expectations, because Land declined to fine her the $10K. She's on the hook for $20,000 instead. Land justifies this decision in a 43-page ruling that certainly pulls no punches.

I've pulled some of the more remarkable quotes from the ruling for your enlightenment and entertainment. It looks to me like the man certainly has a good grasp of the situation.

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15 responses so far

An interesting parallel between Intelligent Design and Birtherism

Oct 05 2009 Published by under Accidental, Humor, Intelligent Design

As I wrote that title, I realized that it's probably insufficiently informative - there are, after all, multiple parallels between Intelligent Design proponents and the crackpots dedicated defenders of the Constitution who continue to insist that Barack Obama is not eligible to be the President. Both groups, for example, have a blind devotion to a concept that has no actual basis in reality. Both appear to be remarkably skeptical toward the enormous amounts of evidence challenging their views while simultaneously demonstrating a remarkable credulity toward any evidence that might possibly be remotely construed as supporting their views, and both demand that they be proven wrong beyond an unreasonable doubt.

As obvious as the parallels between the two groups are concerned, I was actually struck more by their use of a similar tactic. Earlier today, I was watching the insane train wreck that is Orly Taitz reading through court documents in some of the not-yet-laughed-out-of-court still pending birther suits. One paragraph from one of the many motions filed caught my eye:

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15 responses so far

Orly Taitz and Tropical Storm Grace

Oct 05 2009 Published by under Humor

Earlier today, Birther Leader Orly Taitz took time away from her busy schedule to explain the connection between Barack Obama's birthplace and Tropical Storm Grace to this reporter:

"If you look, you will see that the storm is just like Obama. It has come from Africa and turned everything left. But it's not a legitimate storm, so it will not do anything significant."

When informed that the storm had actually turned to its right, Taitz replied:

"Look, if you don't know left from right there's really no point talking to you because you will never see what is so totally apparent - the storm that came from Africa will not harm the United States because the impostor Obama is here so the storm is refusing to risk damaging his reputation. If Obama was really a natural born American, the storm would have no problems damaging us. It just goes to show....."

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8 responses so far

An interview with me

Oct 02 2009 Published by under Uncategorized

I've been pretty quiet over here for the last few weeks - I've been (very) slowly getting used to a new job that's got me working from 0500-1300 - but I haven't totally disappeared from the blogwebtubeospheres. I found some time earlier this week to do an interview with Ava. If you're interested, it's up over at Paw Talk.

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