These are just too cute to not share. Mousepads dedicated to that European nation so fond of wine and cheese, white flags, and Jerry Lewis. I give you the Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey Mousepad
Monday, March 29, 2004
Remember back in school, reading something in a textbook that just sounded wrong? Maybe it was a math problem with an answer that seemed incorrect, or a picture with the wrong caption. That seems to happen a lot. Some parents and educators say it's happening now more than ever, as publishers place more emphasis on profits than on text accuracy. Here are a few examples of some of the errors in today's school textbooks:
A map of North America showing the equator passing through the southern United States
A photo of singer Linda Ronstadt labeled as "a silicon crystal"; a previous edition of the same textbook had listed her as a "vacuum triode"
Two fundamental concepts from physics, energy and force, confused for each other
The plural form of "foot" given as "foots"
Mixed up acceleration and velocity, important and very different (simply, think of velocity as an object's speed and direction, and acceleration as the rate at which that velocity changes)
Photos of the Statue of Liberty in four editions of one textbook are inverted
An elephant's vocal sounds are too high pitched to be heard by humans, according to one text.
Sections on the periodic table of elements giving incorrect information about some elements' physical states (gas, liquid or solid) at specific temperatures
Aspirin is described in one book as a "synthetic polymer"
A biology textbook shows a human embryo with "gill slits"
One history book refers to Sputnik, the first Russian satellite, as a ballistic missile
This list could go on and on. You would think that these errors would be caught in the editing stage of publishing. Apparently not. What about the people who review and approve books for school systems... shouldn't they catch this stuff? Well, here's an interesting piece from the December 2000 issue of the American School Board Journal. My favorite passage:
"...the late Nobel physicist Richard Feynman described, among other things, his experience on a California textbook-adoption committee. He recalled the high ratings one book received, even though its pages were blank. (The publisher missed the deadline for submitting text, but sent a cover with blank pages so the book still would be considered.) Textbook watchers say many state and district committees still select books without anyone actually reading them."
A hardbound book with blank pages receives "high ratings." Unreal.
For more textbook errors, see this page (courtesy PhysicsToday.org) or this page or this page
Posted by Michael at 11:43 AM
Friday, March 26, 2004
This week I've been suffering from my semi-annual ear, nose and throat pain and discomfort party. That's meant my neglecting the blog. My apologies. I'm still do not feel up to ranting and raving, or scouring the web for interesting items to pass along, so I'm going to cheat. My longtime friend, and fellow Troup and Georgia Southern alum, Michael Wright send me an e-mail that I'm going to pass along to you, with a few parenthetical additions of my own. The words aren't his (I don't think), whoever wrote it certainly gives us something worth thinking about.
The Worst President?
Liberals claim President Bush shouldn't have started this war. They complain about his prosecution of it. They point out that Iraq didn't attack the U.S. and we shouldn't have went to war with them. One liberal recently claimed Bush was the worst president in U.S. history.
Most of these claims come from liberals in the Democratic party. Being an Independent I decided to take a look at history and see if using that criteria who else could be called the "worst" president.
Franklin D. Roosevelt (a Democrat) led us into World War II against Germany, Italy, and Japan. Neither Germany or Italy ever attacked us; Japan did. From 1941-1945, 450,000 lives were lost, an average of 112,500 per year. That's 1 Democratic President, 4 years and 450,000 American lives
Harry Truman (a Democrat) finished that war and started one in Korea. North Korea never attacked us. From 1950-1953, 55,000 lives were lost, an average of 18,333 per year. That's 1 Democratic President, 3 years, and 55,000 American lives.
John F. Kennedy (a Democrat) started the Vietnam conflict in 1962. Vietnam never attacked us. Lyndon B. Johnson (a Democrat) turned Vietnam into a quagmire. From 1965-1975, 58,000 lives were lost, an average of 5,800 per year. Finally in the 1970's Richard Nixon (a Republican) pulled us out of Vietnam. That's 2 Democratic Presidents, 1 Republican President, 13 years, and 58,000 American lives.
Bill Clinton (a Democrat) went to war in Bosnia WITHOUT United Nations or French consent. Bosnia never attacked us. The Clinton administration was offered Osama bin Laden's head on a platter three times by Sudan and did nothing. Osama has attacked us on multiple occasions (World Trade Center in 1993, U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, the USS Cole in 2000, World Trade Center again on September 11, 2001).
In the two years since terrorists attacked us, President Bush (Republican) has liberated two countries, crushed the Taliban, and crippled al-Qaida. He's put nuclear inspectors in Libya, Iran and North Korea without firing a shot. We have captured Sadaam Hussein, who slaughtered 300,000 of his own people. We've lost about 600 soldiers, an average of 200 a year. Bush did all this abroad while not allowing another terrorist attack at home. That's 1 Republican President, 2 1/2 years, and about 600 American lives.
Then the Democrats complained about how long the war on terror is taking, but...
It took less time to take Iraq than it took Janet Reno to take the Branch Davidian compound! That was a 51 day operation!
We've been looking for evidence of chemical weapons in Iraq for less time than it took Hillary Clinton to locate the Rose Law Firm records... in her own office!
It took less time for the 3rd Infantry Division and the Marines to destroy the Medina Republican Guard than it took Ted Kennedy to call the police and give himself up after he had an accident while drunk and sank his Oldsmobile in the Chappaquidik River killing the young lady who was his passenger!
It took less time for the U.S. military to take Iraq than it did to count the votes in Florida in 2000!!!
But for some reason the Democrats didn't complain about how long any of that took! Hmmm.....
Posted by Michael at 11:18 AM
Monday, March 22, 2004
As election year campaigning gets nastier, we can expect to hear more talks on President Bush's alleged failures in the War of Terrorism (note capital letters... it really is a war, and that's its name). In today's Washington Post, National Security Advisor Condaleeza Rice writes an open, detailed column recounting the administration's pre- and post-9/11 steps to destroy al-Qaeda. This is a must-read, especially if you are uncertain of our President's dedication to fighting terror. It's also a response to the sour-grapes, book-hawking fiction being spouted by former anti-terrorism consultant Richard Clarke. (Because you might have to register to see the article on the Washington Post's web site, I've reprinted it below.)
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9/11: For The Record
By Condoleezza Rice
Monday, March 22, 2004; Page A21
The al Qaeda terrorist network posed a threat to the United States for almost a decade before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Throughout that period -- during the eight years of the Clinton administration and the first eight months of the Bush administration prior to Sept. 11 -- the U.S. government worked hard to counter the al Qaeda threat.
During the transition, President-elect Bush's national security team was briefed on the Clinton administration's efforts to deal with al Qaeda. The seriousness of the threat was well understood by the president and his national security principals. In response to my request for a presidential initiative, the counterterrorism team, which we had held over from the Clinton administration, suggested several ideas, some of which had been around since 1998 but had not been adopted. No al Qaeda plan was turned over to the new administration.
We adopted several of these ideas. We committed more funding to counterterrorism and intelligence efforts. We increased efforts to go after al Qaeda's finances. We increased American support for anti-terror activities in Uzbekistan.
We pushed hard to arm the Predator unmanned aerial vehicle so we could target terrorists with greater precision. But the Predator was designed to conduct surveillance, not carry weapons. Arming it presented many technical challenges and required extensive testing. Military and intelligence officials agreed that the armed Predator was simply not ready for deployment before the fall of 2001. In any case, the Predator was not a silver bullet that could have destroyed al Qaeda or stopped Sept. 11.
We also considered a modest spring 2001 increase in funding for the Northern Alliance. At that time, the Northern Alliance was clearly not going to sweep across Afghanistan and dispose of al Qaeda. It had been battered by defeat and held less than 10 percent of the country. Only the addition of American air power, with U.S. special forces and intelligence officers on the ground, allowed the Northern Alliance its historic military advances in late 2001. We folded this idea into our broader strategy of arming tribes throughout Afghanistan to defeat the Taliban.
Let us be clear. Even their most ardent advocates did not contend that these ideas, even taken together, would have destroyed al Qaeda. We judged that the collection of ideas presented to us were insufficient for the strategy President Bush sought. The president wanted more than a laundry list of ideas simply to contain al Qaeda or "roll back" the threat. Once in office, we quickly began crafting a comprehensive new strategy to "eliminate" the al Qaeda network. The president wanted more than occasional, retaliatory cruise missile strikes. He told me he was "tired of swatting flies."
Through the spring and summer of 2001, the national security team developed a strategy to eliminate al Qaeda -- which was expected to take years. Our strategy marshaled all elements of national power to take down the network, not just respond to individual attacks with law enforcement measures. Our plan called for military options to attack al Qaeda and Taliban leadership, ground forces and other targets -- taking the fight to the enemy where he lived. It focused on the crucial link between al Qaeda and the Taliban. We would attempt to compel the Taliban to stop giving al Qaeda sanctuary -- and if it refused, we would have sufficient military options to remove the Taliban regime. The strategy focused on the key role of Pakistan in this effort and the need to get Pakistan to drop its support of the Taliban. This became the first major foreign-policy strategy document of the Bush administration -- not Iraq, not the ABM Treaty, but eliminating al Qaeda.
Before Sept. 11, we closely monitored threats to our nation. President Bush revived the practice of meeting with the director of the CIA every day -- meetings that I attended. And I personally met with George Tenet regularly and frequently reviewed aspects of the counterterror effort.
Through the summer increasing intelligence "chatter" focused almost exclusively on potential attacks overseas. Nonetheless, we asked for any indication of domestic threats and directed our counterterrorism team to coordinate with domestic agencies to adopt protective measures. The FBI and the Federal Aviation Administration alerted airlines, airports and local authorities, warning of potential attacks on Americans.
Despite what some have suggested, we received no intelligence that terrorists were preparing to attack the homeland using airplanes as missiles, though some analysts speculated that terrorists might hijack airplanes to try to free U.S.-held terrorists. The FAA even issued a warning to airlines and aviation security personnel that "the potential for a terrorist operation, such as an airline hijacking to free terrorists incarcerated in the United States, remains a concern."
We now know that the real threat had been in the United States since at least 1999. The plot to attack New York and Washington had been hatching for nearly two years. According to the FBI, by June 2001 16 of the 19 hijackers were already here. Even if we had known exactly where Osama bin Laden was, and the armed Predator had been available to strike him, the Sept. 11 hijackers almost certainly would have carried out their plan. So, too, if the Northern Alliance had somehow managed to topple the Taliban, the Sept. 11 hijackers were here in America -- not in Afghanistan.
President Bush has acted swiftly to unify and streamline our efforts to secure the American homeland. He has transformed the FBI into an agency dedicated to catching terrorists and preventing future attacks. The president and Congress, through the USA Patriot Act, have broken down the legal and bureaucratic walls that prior to Sept. 11 hampered intelligence and law enforcement agencies from collecting and sharing vital threat information. Those who now argue for rolling back the Patriot Act's changes invite us to forget the important lesson we learned on Sept. 11.
In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, the president, like all Americans, wanted to know who was responsible. It would have been irresponsible not to ask a question about all possible links, including to Iraq -- a nation that had supported terrorism and had tried to kill a former president. Once advised that there was no evidence that Iraq was responsible for Sept. 11, the president told his National Security Council on Sept. 17 that Iraq was not on the agenda and that the initial U.S. response to Sept. 11 would be to target al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Because of President Bush's vision and leadership, our nation is safer. We have won battles in the war on terror, but the war is far from over. However long it takes, this great nation will prevail.
The writer is the national security adviser.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company
Posted by Michael at 11:37 AM
Wednesday, March 17, 2004
A resolution came before the House of Representatives today, House Res 561, honoring "the valiant service of the United States Armed Forces and Coalition forces." Unbelieveably, it passed only 228-195. Only two Democrats voted to praise our military for their work. Louisiana's Rodney Alexander and Tennessee's Lincoln Davis were the only Democrats who voted to honor the bravery of the troops.
The summary of the bill...
The House of Representatives:
(1) affirms that the United States and the world have been made safer with the removal of Saddam Hussein and his regime from power in Iraq;
(2) commends the Iraqi people for their courage in the face of unspeakable oppression and brutality inflicted on them by Saddam Hussein's regime;
(3) commends the Iraqi people on the adoption of Iraq's interim constitution; and
(4) commends the members of the U.S. Armed Forces and Coalition forces for liberating Iraq and expresses its gratitude for their valiant service.
The fact that only two Democrats have enough character to support such a bill speaks volumes for the lack of character of the national Democratic Party.
If you know someone in the military, serving overseas or not, please pass along this information. Our brave men and women in uniform deserve to know who supports them and who just doesn't give a damn.
Posted by Michael at 7:59 PM
Tuesday, March 16, 2004
This site chronicles the good, bad and ugly of celebrity plastic surgery. Lots of before and after pics.
Create your own South Park character, courtesy Comedy Central.
Experts (of what, I have no idea) in England say that building windmill farms could lead to an increase in the number of reports of ghosts. Huh?
Finally, a boxer gets knocked out after dropping his hands to taunt his opponent.
Posted by Michael at 11:20 PM
Monday, March 15, 2004
...comes from Scottsdale, Arizona. A 17-year-old junior at Saguaro High School was suspended, then arrested and jailed, for wearing a baseball cap sideways. Marlon Morgan apparently was asked to turn the hat around, and when he pointed out other students wearing hats in the same manner, was suspended and promptly placed into custody by Scottsdale's finest. Gotta be tough with the sideways hat thugs, I guess...
In Other Happenings...
Two cousins, aged 70 and 85, kill each other in a duel over water rights in Mexico.
In Poland, a Benedictine nun is facing jail time for driving drunk... on a tractor.
An intellectually challenged crook in Winnipeg tried to break into a car... in the parking lot of the police academy.
Porn director takes day off to film PSA for Christian anti-pornography group.
A self-professed "vampire slayer" in Jacksonville, Florida shoots pizza shop worker.
Posted by Michael at 6:01 PM
Friday, March 12, 2004
I know this has been around the web for a while, but I like it enough to keep it going.
WHY I LIKE COWBOYS
It used to tick me off when the Muslim detractors in the Middle East, or the socialist detractors in Europe, Hollywood and others called our President a cowboy, but the more I think about it, the more glad I am that he is.
When I was a kid, cowboys were my heroes. Well, I mean the ones in the while hats, not the black hats, who were usually bad guys.
There was Tex Ritter, Tom Mix, Buck Jones...
Hopalong cassidy, The Lone Ranger...
Red Ryder, Gene Autry, and Roy Rogers...
Later, there was Marshall Matt Dillon, Big John Cannon, and the Cartwrights...
Paladin, Maverick and others...
Rawhide's Rowdy Yates...
What were the common attributes of these cowboy legends? Here are a few...
1. They were never looking for trouble
2. But when trouble came, they faced it with courage.
3. They were always on the side of right.
4. They defended good people against bad people.
5. They had high morals.
6. They had good manners.
7. They were honest.
8. They spoke their minds and they spoke the truth, regardless of what people thought or "political correctness," which no one had ever heard of back then.
9. They were a beacon of integrity in the wild, wild West.
10. They were respected. When they walked into a saloon (where they usually drank only sarsaparilla), the place became quiet, and the bad guys kept their distance.
11. If in a gunfight, they could outdraw anyone. If in a fist fight, they could beat up anyone.
12. They always won. They always got their man. In victory, they rode off into the sunset.
Those were the days when there was such a thing as right and wrong, something blurred in our modern world, and denied by many.
Now, that I am older, I still like cowboys..
They represent something good, something pure that America has been missing.
Many hate President Bush because he distinguishes between good and evil. He calls a spade a spade, and after 9-11 called evil "evil," without mincing any words, to the shock of the liberal establishment. That's what cowboys do, you know.
He also told the French to "put their cards on the table" (an old West expression), which they did, exposing their cowardice and greed.
The radical Muslims are wrong. In the Old West, might did not make right.
Right made right.
Cowboys in white hats were always on the side of right, and that was their might.
I am glad President Bush is a cowboy.
He got his man!
That's what cowboys do, you know...
Posted by Michael at 11:36 AM
Wednesday, March 10, 2004
Now that we know it's going to be John Kerry running against President Bush in November, it looks like we're seeing the President begin campaigning. Now we'll have at least one candidate talk about the issues and lay out a plan for the next four years. That's something we've certainly missed from the Dems.
John Kerry today referred to Republicans as "the most crooked... lying bunch of people I've ever seen." This from a man whose party likes to forget the other 40 nations that are working in coalition in Iraq, copmplaining that we're over there alone.
A party that blames President Bush for the economy's so-called woes, while forgetting that the Recession began under Clinton and ended in late 2001, under President Bush.
A party that keeps claiming that 2 million jobs have been lost in America since President Bush came into power, while the US Bureau Of Labor Statistics says there are tens of thousands MORE JOBS now than in January 2001. The same party that wants to roll back and eliminate the President's across the board tax cuts, then raise taxes, even though the tax cuts have revitalized the economy. Stock prices are back up near record levels, hundreds of thousands of new jobs have been created this year, and unemployment is lower than it's been in many years.
I suppose Kerry, being a Democrat, is so accustomed to crafting and perpetuating lies that he hears them even where they don't exist.
Posted by Michael at 11:35 PM
Monday, March 08, 2004
Hope your weekend was as full and rich as mine. I spent Thursday thru Sunday in Atlanta with work. First at an ag industry forum, then a work conference. Shannon attended part of the conference with me on Saturday. She was interested in seeing some of what my job involves. It was an opportunity to get dressed up and "hob-nob" a little.
A funny thing happened at the forum on Friday. We were asked by an ag industry group to shoot video of the Secretary meeting with the group. After about 30 seconds of shooting, one of her handlers decided we shouldn't be there. She told us that cameras make the Secretary uncomfortable. Odd, a national political figure who is uncomfortable in front of cameras. Besides, she hadn't cleared us to shoot video of her boss, so we really must go. We were asked to do this by the group she was meeting, and our obigations were to them, not the Secretary. We stayed as long as we dared, about another 3 minutes, before deciding to push the issue no further. Besdies, her boss knows our organization, and we rely on cooperation from government (especially her department).
By the way, if you love a good steak you have got to try the filet at Ruth's Chris Steak House. Without a doubt the best piece of beef I've ever had.
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Are you a true child of the 80's? Look here to find out...
The Hubble Spece telescope continues to take some incredible pictures. This could be one of the best.
Posted by Michael at 2:08 PM
Tuesday, March 02, 2004
Here in Georgia, and in nine other states, voters go to the polls today. Looks like JFKerry could all but lock up the nomination (think I've said that before) with a clean sweep today. Just a reminder of what people are supporting when they vote for Kerry, courtesy of the Los Angeles Times, February 17, 2004 (registration required)...
Once discharged from the Navy in 1970, he moved home to Newton, Mass., to make an unsuccessful run for Congress. Months later, Kerry became a leading voice in the nation's antiwar protest. He attended numerous rallies, including the Winter Soldier Investigation of 1971 in which 150 Vietnam veterans met at a Detroit hotel to trade stories of what they termed wartime atrocities by U.S. servicemen.
It was not the first time that Americans heard of war crimes. That same year, Army Lt. William Calley and 15 others were charged in connection with the 1968 attack on the Vietnamese hamlet of My Lai in which 347 villagers were slain.
On April 22, 1971, the day before he threw away [someone else's, claiming they were his] combat ribbons, Kerry testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, delivering a powerful message that... convinced many Americans their country was waging an immoral war.
Kerry's testimony was the lead news story on all three networks that evening, making him one of the faces Americans attached to the antiwar movement. Dressed in his combat fatigues and ribbons, he told Congress that U.S. soldiers had "raped, cut off ears, cut off heads … randomly shot at civilians … in a fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan." He later acknowledged that he did not witness the crimes himself but had heard about them from others.
The speech prompted the Nixon administration to open a file on Kerry, who was placed under FBI surveillance. It also brought him lasting enmity among some Vietnam veterans who say Kerry broad-brushed them as a group of maladjusted, dysfunctional losers.
Paul Galanti learned of Kerry's speech while held captive inside North Vietnam's infamous "Hanoi Hilton" prison. The Navy pilot had been shot down in June 1966 and spent nearly seven years as a prisoner of war.
"The Viet Cong didn't think they had to win the war on the battlefield," Galanti said, "because thanks to these protesters they were going to win it on the streets of San Francisco and Washington."
He says Kerry broke a covenant among servicemen never to make public criticisms that might jeopardize those still in battle or in the hands of the enemy. Because he did, Galanti said, "John Kerry was a traitor to the men he served with."
Now retired and living in Richmond, Va., Galanti, 64, refuses to cool his ire toward Kerry.
"I don't plan to set it aside. I don't know anyone who does," he said. "The Vietnam memorial has thousands of additional names due to John Kerry and others like him."
This nation is engaged in a worldwide war on terrorism, requiring the young men and women in our armed forces to risk their lives to protect this great land. They have a commander-in-chief that they honor and trust. They currently have a president who supports their work, cares about their needs and admires their patriotism and dedication.
With so very much at stake, how could we in good conscience but their lives in the hands of someone whose own words were used by the enemy to torture American soldiers of war?
I hope you will vote today. I hope when you do, if you choose to vote on the Democratic side, you will keep in mind the image of American soldiers and pilots being held captive, beaten and abused by Viet Cong troops. Remember American POWs being forced to hear John F. Kerry proclaiming over and over that our troops and his comrades were war criminals, rapists and murderers. Please keep that in mind.
Posted by Michael at 2:09 PM
Monday, March 01, 2004
Two nice weekends in a row... I guess I've been living right.
Because Shannon and I tend to disagree over some education-related issues (in spite of her best efforts to enlighten me) I wanted to pass along some education-related links this morning.
First, the nation's largest teachers union is crying like a wet baby because Education Secretary Rod Paige referred to the NEA as a "terrorist organization" that uses "obstructionist scare tactics." He has nothing but kind words to say about educators. His comments were directed at the union's leadership. But it seems, in the liberal viewpoint, that a knock against a union leader is a knock against the union members. By the way, columnist Armstrong Williams says Paige was right on the money.
In Massachusetts, opponents of school vouchers seemed to present the best argument FOR school vouchers, in this article from the Boston Herald. Hint: If you plan on writing a letter defending government schools, try to spell 'school' correctly. Especially if you're a student in a government school. As one school board member said, "If I didn't think a charter school was necessary, these letters have convinced me the high school was not doing an adequate job in teaching English language arts.''
A nine-year-old in Birmingham, Alabama has been suspended indefinately for bringing a weapon to school. The weapon in question - an inch-long plantic toy gun from a G.I. Joe doll. More information is available about Sun Valley Elementary School, courtesy of greatschools.net.
A sixth-grader in Belpre, Ohio is suspended for bringing the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue to school. More on his school, Belpre Middle School, here and here .
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LINK OF THE DAY
The Urology Team, a medical practice in Austin, Texas, includes Dr. Richard Chopp, who "has a very special interest in Vasectomies." Good name for him.
Posted by Michael at 11:17 AM