Friday, June 24, 2011

Roundup

Once again, here's a collection of random things that have interested me lately.

Random Picture:

 Infographic by Third Wave Foundation

Articles/Posts:

1. 13% of H.S. Biology Teachers Advocate Creationism in Class:
The majority of high-school biology teachers don't take a solid stance on evolution with their students, mostly to avoid conflicts, and fewer than 30 percent of teachers take an adamant pro-evolutionary stance on the topic, a new study finds. Also, 13 percent of these teachers advocate creationism in their classrooms.

"The survey left space for [the teachers] to share their experiences. That's where we picked up a lot of a sense about how they play to the test and tell students they can figure it out for themselves," Michael Berkman, co-author of the study with Penn State University colleague Eric Plutzer, told Livescience. "Our general sense is they lack the knowledge and confidence to go in there and teach evolution, which makes them risk-averse."
The 13% isn't even the most troubling thing about this article. Instead it's the 60% of teachers who have to basically try and avoid taking a stance on evolution simply because of the controversy.

2. A Better World Is Possible With Socialism:
But with the world economic order in an increasing state of disorder as the U.S. economy falls back into a recession and Japan cannot seem to crawl out of one, a disorder where many countries throughout Asia have just experienced their worst economic crises in recent history and Argentina's economy has almost ceased to function, a disorder which promotes and intensifies world poverty and world war, it becomes increasingly urgent to raise the question that capitalism always prefers to dodge: Which system is superior, capitalism or socialism? where by socialism we mean the system as originally defined by its founders, Marx and Engels, and as it was elaborated by its supporters. We will argue that when the question is posed in these terms, socialism triumphs decisively. In particular, we will focus on socialism's ability to raise people's standard of living to a significantly higher level than what capitalism provides. But first we must have a clear conception of what socialists mean by the term "socialism."
3. Feminism For Bitches:
Feminism has to be for all women. Even women you think are stupid, naive, or "tragically unfamiliar with the content of Playboy." Even women who walk into the wrong room. Even women with bad publicists. Even women with no publicists. Even women who expect professional photographers and stylists to honor professional contracts without question. Even women who have lied. Even women who have bashed other women. Even women who you think have capitalized on their "female sexuality." Even women who "flaunt [their] junk for money and fame." Even women with cleavage on the cover of books. Even women who sometimes wear bikinis. Even women who don't perform all of these feats of "female sexuality" naturally, even women from whom it's all "an act." Even women you think are bitches. Even women who talk about it.
4. How to Stop People from Voting:
This year, an unprecedented wave of voter suppression bills hit statehouses across the country and garnered very little media attention in response, even as voting rights activists decried the shift. In 27 states, bills that will demand voters show identification, bills that require proof of citizenship, bills that will change processing of provisional ballots, and bills that are aimed directly at students were all introduced or moved through the legislative process. GOP proponents of these bills claimed they were simply protecting elections against fraud. This seems specious at best, given that there are no reports of system-wide fraud at the polls in the 2008 or 2010 elections.
Follow the link for specifics.

5. The Five Smartest Congressional Bills You've Never Heard Of:
During any given Congressional term, literally thousands of proposals never make it past the committee stage of the legislative process. In recent years, less than 5 percent of all bills introduced ultimately became law. The scope of proposals in Congress garnering considerable media attention is similarly narrow. The pieces of legislation that attract the most publicity from the beltway media—like Paul Ryan’s radically unpopular plan to scrap Medicare—tend to drown out more sensible ideas that hardly stand any chance of enactment without public pressure on lawmakers to move the agenda forward.

But behind the smoke screen of the news cycle, there are several genuinely excellent pieces of legislation that remain more or less entirely shrouded from public view. The bills below are among the more progressive efforts underway in our 112th Congress, with sponsors and co-sponsors representing both sides of the aisle. They warrant far greater attention than they’re getting.
I'm particularly interested in the 21st Century Civilian Conservation Corps Act (CCCA).

6. The Whistle-Blowers of 1777:
Today, the Obama administration is aggressively pursuing leakers. Bradley E. Manning, an Army private, has been imprisoned since May 2010 on suspicion of having passed classified data to the antisecrecy group WikiLeaks. Thomas A. Drake, a former official at the National Security Agency, pleaded guilty Friday to a misdemeanor of misusing the agency’s computer system by providing information to a newspaper reporter.

The tension between protecting true national security secrets and ensuring the public’s “right to know” about abuses of authority is not new. Indeed, the nation’s founders faced this very issue.
Videos:

Justin Bieber's Tricks For Picking Up Chicks:


Fox News False Statements:



The Last Thing I Learned From Gil Scott-Heron:


Lots of social commentary and as usual Jay is perfect.

Republicans Raise Taxes On Abortion:


Random Quote:
“Turn on the television. We have a wedding channel on cable TV devoted to the behavior of people on the way to the altar. They spend billions of dollars, behave in the most appalling way, all in an effort to be princess for a day. You don’t have cable television? Put on network TV. We’re giving away husbands on a game show. You can watch The Bachelor, where thirty desperate women will compete to marry a 40-year-old man who has never been able to maintain a decent relationship in his life. That’s what we’ve done to marriage in America, where young women are socialized from the time they’re five years old to think of being nothing but a bride. They plan every day what they’ll wear, how they’ll look, the invitations, the whole bit, they don’t spend five minutes thinking about what it means to be a wife. People stand up there before god and man even in Senator Diaz’s church, they swear to love honor and obey, they don’t mean a word of it. So if there’s anything wrong with the sanctity of marriage in America, it comes from those of us who have the privilege and the right and have abused it for decades.” — Diane Savino, NY State Senator

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