Whom the Gods Destroy They First Make Mad Dept.

May 31, 2009

More silly, stupid or dishonest bovine excrement from the Christian right, History Revisionism Division:

In cosmology, we had to wait decades for the theism-friendly big bang theory to beat out atheism-friendly theories like the eternal universe model, the steady-state model, the oscillating model, etc. Piles of taxpayer money wasted trying to prove atheistic flights of fancy. But in the end, the evidence for the big bang was too much for the atheistic theories, and we beat them out.

I hadn’t realized Christians championed Big Bang against atheists.  Wait until the creationists learn about this.

Comments change: Newest first

May 31, 2009

Dear Readers, I’ve changed the way comments are displayed.  Newest comments will show up first, going to older comments as you scroll down.

If you have serious complaints, let me know — in commments.

Should the best high school students read Rachel Carson?

May 31, 2009

On the AP World History list-serv, a discussion on good books for a canon on 20th century stuff turned into a discussion on Rachel Carson, DDT and malaria.  That’s not the purpose of the list.

So, I offer this thread as a forum for that discussion, hoping some of the AP history teachers might participate.

Welcome, teachers!  Comments are open.

Domestic terrorists kill again, in Kansas

May 31, 2009

Bulletin from NPR:  A physician in Kansas who provided abortion services was murdered at his church today.

George Tiller was gunned down at Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita.

This sort of terrorism has been wonderfully absent from American of late.

Update:  Suspect captured.  News conference at 4:00 p.m. Central.

Obama fans, Democrats: Political stuff clearance sale!

May 31, 2009

Great idea.  Really.  There’s a lot of campaign stuff left over.  Rather than dump it, they’re selling it cheap.

Image from the Obama campaign site, June 2009

Image from the Obama campaign site, June 2009

Government and politics teachers can stock up on the stuff to decorate the room.  AP Government teacher Mrs. Richie, at Duncanville High School had a collection of bumperstickers that went back 30 years before she retired (where did that collection go?)

Or, maybe you just need tote bags to replace the plastic and paper choices the grocery store gives you.  Green up, cheap, at the Obama site!

Over at Republican National Headquarters, they’re having a sale on politicians, I hear. Entire Congressional committee minorities, cheap.  Izzat so?  Not really.  Really?

What’s a henway? Practical testing

May 31, 2009

Evan at Two Dishes but to One Table provides some salient commentary on the New York Regents test and practical math skills, with a little bit of Henny Youngman thrown in.  Though, I must admit my physics chops are rusty:  How many newtons to a chicken egg?  I’m almost clueless.

Warning to dilettentes:  Link to actual released Regents test included.

Quote of the moment: Mr. Mike’s everlasting humility

May 30, 2009

Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield, oil on canvas painting by Aaron Shikler, 1978 - Wikimedia image

Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield, oil on canvas painting by Aaron Shikler, 1978 - Wikimedia image

Beginning in March 1974 I had the great pleasure and high honor of interning with the Secretary of the Senate, Francis R. Valeo.  Valeo served because of his close relationship with the Majority Leader, Mike Mansfield, and working in Valeo’s office put one on the Mansfield team.  In an era before serious security with magnetometers in Washington’s public buildings — we didn’t even have photo identification cards then — Mike Mansfield’s signature on my staff card got me anywhere I wanted to go in Washington, including the White House.

People who knew Mansfield held him in very high regard.  I often tell people he was the best politician to work for, but in reality, he’s probably the best leader I ever worked with in any enterprise.  He respected every senator as a representative of the people of one of the 50 states, and that respect was returned.

In his office one afternoon he met with the a couple of members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the big bigwigs from the Pentagon.  Mansfield was a former sailor, marine and soldier — he had served in the Navy, Army and Marines.   He lied about his age the first time.  He had served in China and the Philippines, producing a life-long interest and deep expertise in U.S. affairs in the Pacific and Far East.

But this was 1974.  Mansfield had turned against supporting corrupt Vietnamese politicians early in the U.S. involvement in Vietnam.  Originally a supporter of Nixon’s policies, by 1974 his opposition to the war was the chief part of their relationship.  Still the military guys loved him.  An Army Colonel accompanying the group was anxious to explain to the young intern part of the mystique.

“You should see Mansfield in the formal meetings.  Everybody is always introduced, and their full rank is laid on the table.  ‘General Muckamuck.  West Point ’33, Columbia Law.  Admiral Bigship.  General Soandso, who recently got his third star.'”

“And then they get to Mansfield.  He’s the Senate Majority Leader.  And he introduces himself as ‘Mike Mansfield, Private First Class.'”

I asked Mansfield about it later.  He smiled, and said he might have done that a time or two.  He said that the big brass in the military need to remember as every senator does that they work for the American people.  Rank doesn’t make you right, he said.

Looking up a minor fact on Mansfield this morning I ran into this statement, which I’d never heard [quoting now from Wikipedia]:

This gentleman went from snuffy to national and international prominence. And when he died in 2001, he was rightly buried in Arlington. If you want to visit his grave, don’t look for him near the “Kennedy Eternal Flame”, where so many politicians are laid to rest. Look for a small, common marker shared by the majority of our heroes. Look for the marker that says “Michael J. Mansfield, Pfc. U.S. Marine Corps.”

Remarks by Col. James Michael Lowe, USMC, October 20, 2004.

The burial plot of Senator and Mrs. Mansfield can be found in section 2, marker 49-69F of Arlington National Cemetery.

For the sake of accuracy, I would like to know the occasion of Col. Lowe’s remarks, and who Col. Lowe is.  The link at Wikipedia is dead.  Does anyone know?


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