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health & medicalmoney

A quick hitt on Mitt

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Events have disappointed Massachusetts Mitt but not fatally. On the Monday before the Tuesday there were Rep Est douchebot gunslingers out on the airwaves openly speculating that if Romney couldn’t put Santorum away in Michigan!? Well, the muckies would have to entertain a late term abortion, drawing Romney out like a bi-racial bastard and replacing him, Torch-style… with whom? Jeb Bush seemed to be warming up but he did so by taking the contempt and revulsion Romney has for those who think the problem with the nation is excessive socialism, and doubling down. How this could be done, legally or even within existing Party rules is not discussed. As with the government proper, in the penumbras of Leviathan like the Party machinery there is not a disdain for the law, precedent or simple fairness. Rather these are alien concepts; really alinguist exhalations like the moan of a ghost to the bi-partisan, multi-racial and gender mixed claque of face-smilers and back-stabbers. Their enthusiasm for Jeb, the Chris Christie of the Dynastic Bushes, should be enough to cool the ignorant approbation his name and mug commands. But while Romney did NOT put away Rick, neither was he put away himself. It cost him some four times as much to earn his 41% as Santorum expended to get his 38% but what the hell? To Mitt, it’s only money. [Read more →]

religion & philosophythat's what he said, by Frank Wilson

The resurrection of the body

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I don’t know if anyone today remembers Walter M. Miller Jr.’s post-apocalyptic novel A Canticle for Leibowitz. It won the Hugo Award for best science fiction novel in 1961.

I was introduced to it the year before by my college freshman Latin teacher. I haven’t looked at it for more than half a century.

Recently, though, while searching for something to post on my blog as a “thought for the day,” I came upon a quote from it: “You don’t have a soul, Doctor. You are a soul. You have a body, temporarily.”

Now, one of the things I’ve found about riffing off quotes, as I do in this column, is that a quote that intrigues you will often just stop you dead in your tracks. [Read more →]

art & entertainment

20 thoughts on the Oscars, mostly involving blackface Billy Crystal

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Thought 1: Whatever your feelings on Billy Crystal in blackface, surely we can all agree it was less disturbing than the way his face looked the rest of the telecast. (He’s crossed that fine line between “Botoxed” and “embalmed.”)

Thought 2: Apparently, there was a production meeting when someone said: “We have two Best Song nominees, one of which involves Muppets… meaning we could have a song performed by Muppets, who are beloved by children of all ages. Instead, let’s feature some dumb-ass Cirque du Soleil thing and Billy doing blackface.” [Read more →]

terror & wartrusted media & news

The AP uses high quality journalism to prove that you needn’t worry about drones

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The United States of America, the world’s greatest force for good, has lately been using drones to bomb the crap out of Muslims in the Middle East. Drones are especially convenient tools because they are light, maneuverable, and unmanned. The government — the government that works for me, and you (if you’re an American), and does what it does for your benefit — has only increased the number of drones it’s used in those areas in which it is fighting kinetic military actions.

Some people have expressed concern that these drones that we’re using to bomb the crap out of Muslims aren’t only hitting those that our government has deemed to be the *bad* ones. Official numbers are difficult to come by, because they don’t exist, but some have estimated that, well, a significant number of innocent, non-terrorist Muslims, have been killed in drone strikes.

Well, the Associated Press has used some impressive journalism to discover that those people are full of beans. [Read more →]

art & entertainmentdrugs & alcohol

Whitney’s Law

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Whitney Houston is dead at 48 due to a self-administered overdose of warm, soapy water; to which she was addicted. It is unclear when she set off down this path. Many observers blame her widower, Bobby Brown, saying that before he came along Whitney took showers, ran through the car wash or just re-applied her hairspray. What cannot be denied is that hers was a daily habit involving gallon upon gallon of the substance she clearly felt was so sweet and embracing but wound up taking her precious life at a tender age. There has been some confusion and dissembling. It should be obvious why Big Bath would be interested in diverting attention from their own intoxicating wares and onto the drugs prescribed for Ms Houston by her doctors or perhaps onto those medicinal preparations from her herbalists. These monopolist robber-barons are already in a stink owing to the epidemic of bath-salts snorting among teens. They fear that their decades…. nay, CENTURIES of sloshing murderous tubs and fragrances onto a hapless humanity (at a tidy profit) might finally come to an end. [Read more →]

education

Mediocrity breeds mediocrity: SATs and a weakness in American education

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I was talking to a teaching colleague the other day — a man I respect and who I would unreservedly call the finest teacher I know. We were discussing a slight drop in our school’s SAT scores, particularly in the area of “Critical Reading” and he said, “The only way to improve this is to drill the kids on critical reading questions until they get good at them. Making them write a lot is not going to do it.”

This might have been a slight “dig” at me. I am not a giver of objective tests. I have my students write until their eyes fall out and roll off of the desk. I have them reach for Bloom’s higher levels of learning (analysis, synthesis and creativity) every day. The reason I have them do this is because no one else does — at least not enough teachers do. They don’t do it enough in grade school and they don’t do it enough in high school.

So, here we are in that all-too-talked-about place: being put in a position of “teaching to the test” so that we will look like a good school — so that our success with our students can be measured; so that benchmarks can be set in order for us to follow growth. Measuring progress and analyzing data can be really, really helpful, but when the principle behind producing the data is flawed, you have a problem. [Read more →]

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Davonte Neal doesn’t show up to his own recruiting announcement

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People often complain about the excesses in sports. The players make too much money, the games cost too much to attend, and the players behave too badly. Despite those antics, we hold these players up as role models to our children, protesting all the while that we are not doing so. Rather than finding ways to tone down the adulation, the fans and the media seem to be inventing new and worse ways to contribute to the phenomenon. Every February, a bunch of high school kids sign letters of intent to play football at colleges around the country. This has been going on for years, but now, in many cases, it has become a quite a spectacle. This needs to stop. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingmovies

Top ten things overheard at last night’s Academy Awards

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10. “Billy Crystal’s hosting? What, was Letterman busy?”

9. “For Jack and Jill, I thought Adam Sandler would be nominated for Best Actor and Best Actress.”

8. “The Tree of Life is up for a new award: Most Cryptic.”

7. “Somebody told me the stars of The Artist actually know how to speak!”

6. “George Clooney and Brad Pitt? What category is this, Most Hunky?”

5. “I thought The Iron Lady was such a lame sequel to Iron Man!”

4. “I want to see Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese duke it out!”

3. “This thing is lasting longer than a Kardashian marriage.”

2. “I love the new ‘anatomically correct’ Oscar; it’s so much easier to carry!”

1. “I hear in their next film, Meryl Streep and Glenn Close are going to play each other!
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

environment & naturepolitics & government

Bumper sticker energy plans

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virtual children by Scott Warnock

Shout it out: I’m a good enough parent, and I don’t care

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Has there ever been a time when there was such a hard-charging fury to be a great parent? Well, maybe it’s always been like this (see what Tolstoy thinks below), but many observers do see the rise of a stifling kid-centric worldview. Could it be that true greatness in raising kids is measured by a smaller yardstick than we realize?

[Read more →]

art & entertainmentpolitics & government

Jeremy Lin and Rick Santorum killed Whitney Houston

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My PC was on the fritz for more than a week, so it was hard for me to keep up with all the juicy February headlines. So many blog-worthy things have happened since Super Bowl Sunday: Whitney Houston died, Rick Santorum became a viable candidate for president, and America became obsessed with Jeremy Lin. I just bought a new laptop and I’m back. So what better way to tie all of these things together into one blog, than to give you an outrageous headline like the one above? [Read more →]

books & writing

Lisa reads The Mirage by Matt Ruff

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The Mirage is a fascinating book. It takes a situation we are all familiar with and turns it on its head and inside out. The reader has to re-imagine the world, and every page seems to throw out some new twist to be absorbed. It’s one of those books that leaves you feeling like there are layers to the story you haven’t uncovered, while still being very readable and entertaining.

“11/9/2001: Christian fundamentalists hijack four jetliners. They fly two into the Tigris and Euphrates Word Trade Towers in Baghdad, and a third into the Arab Defense Ministry in Riyadh. The fourth plane, believed to be bound for Mecca, is brought down by its passengers.”

What if America was the rogue terrorist nation and the Arab states were the world power? What if Osama bin Laden was a war hero and Dick Cheney was a terrorist? What would an Arab superpower look like? And what if none of it was real? [Read more →]

terror & wartravel & foreign lands

Notes on the Landscapes Spotted in the Backgrounds of News Reports

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Recently I started a daily ritual of watching Euronews after dinner. I’m not sure why I find the channel so absorbing, as when I actually lived in Europe I found it incredibly dull. And not dull in a smug, irritating BBC way but just… soul-crushingly boring, as is characteristic of anything that begins with the chilling prefix “Euro-”. Perhaps it’s only now, after years spent in a land where the news is delivered exclusively by pompous, Botoxed egomaniacs that I can appreciate the channel’s relatively understated style. Or then again, maybe I’m just digging the stuff I can see in the backgrounds. [Read more →]

all workhealth & medical

Phillipic against toil

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From Change we can believe in to It was like that when I got here. It’s not so great a leap, really. Who thought the ocean’s level was rising disastrously in June of 2008? Who believed that Obama’s seeing off the Hillary juggernaut would stop it? No one and no one. We have simply gone from optimistic nonsense to a fatalistic nonsense. Now, instead of a Bright New Tomorrow we are offered a Bleak Repetitive Today.

If you’re willing to put in the work, the idea is that you should be able to raise a family and own a home; not go bankrupt because you got sick, because you’ve got some health insurance that helps you deal with those difficult times; that you can send your kids to college; that you can put some money away for retirement.

That is as sound a bargain today as it was all those times in history when it has been proffered. Von Bismark was not the first and Obama will not be the last to do so. There are many, many, many reasons why this project cannot succeed, even on its own modest terms but putting those objections aside we can state with high confidence, even if it COULD be so, the equitopia where all are equal but a few are in charge, is a sentence of eternal toil for you and all your posterity.
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bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Linsanity brings out the racists

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I think I give people too much credit. I don’t necessarily expect to never encounter racism and bigotry in the normal course of life, but I somehow still manage to be surprised when it rears its head, especially when it happens in some kind of mainstream fashion.  Last week in one of my Good Sports stories, I mentioned the emergence of New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin, who came out of nowhere to dominate the sports news over the last couple of weeks. Lin, a Chinese-American man who played college basketball at Harvard, quickly became the target of ignorant headline writers and news people. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingpolitics & government

Top ten little known facts about United States Presidents

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10. George Washington never said “I cannot tell a lie” – though he did originate the phrase “gettin’ jiggy wit it”

9. President William Howard Taft was so fat, once, while entering the White House, he got stuck between two columns

8. During his Fireside Chats, FDR liked to roast marshmallows

7. Richard Nixon actually enjoyed lying to the American people

6. Bill Clinton was the recipient of more ‘Lewinskis’ than any other President

5. ‘Rough Rider’ was a nickname given to Teddy Roosevelt by his wife

4. George W. Bush was already reading at a third-grade level by the time he was nominated

3. Barack Obama has used the White House’s tanning salon less frequently than any other President

2. Abraham Lincoln was not gay – however, Mary Todd Lincoln was a man

1. Mitt Romney was unquestionably our worst President, irreparably destroying the country
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

politics & governmentreligion & philosophy

If birth control were puppies

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books & writing

Lisa reads The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories by Joseph Gordon-Levitt

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“The universe is not made up of atoms; it’s made up of tiny stories.”

It’s a great beginning to a very tiny book. The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories: Volume 1 by hitRECord and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Actually, the great beginning was the end paper. It’s full of tiny drawings and all the detail and work that went into it are just amazing.

Then, there are the stories — they are truly tiny. Maybe a sentence or two, with a drawing to go with them. They are sad and funny and wonderful. [Read more →]

his & hersmoney

A chain of two links

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Yesterday’s was a sunny post, optimistic and inclusive as befits the holiday. But now, when everyone is nursing a Love Hangover, and perhaps other sorts, it is time for The Rest of the Story. Let these two posts be married, to live and die and be buried but side-by-side for as long as the Coliseum should stand.

A thousand thousand old jokes were born of marriage. I was married by a judge but I should have asked for a jury, said Groucho. WC Fields was harsher still, I believe in tying the marriage knot, as long as it’s around the woman’s neck. With the masters consulted no need to quote further except to note the great philosopher, Al Bundy, favored gay marriage because, hey, why should they get off easy? So what’s it all about, Al-y? Isn’t it love? Of course, in part it is about love. But in part it is about money. It is also about the love…. OF the money, so the scales are a bit off center. [Read more →]

family & parentinghis & hers

Marriage overturned

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Proposition 8 was a heartbreaker for those who loved Candidate Obama the second best. His greatest admirers were those like Samuel Jackson who saw in him an ethnic reflection of themselves. His “message” didn’t mean shit to them. But a close second in devotion is that other bulwark of Democratic politics, the gay community. Though they tended towards Hillary (a known fan of sensible shoes), like many other key groups they saw in Obama a champion of their cause. They were as disappointed as the young hemp enthusiasts but much sooner. They knew on Election Day that Prop 8 had passed adding an Amendment to the California Constitution defining marriage as a union of one man and one woman.

The dissappointment was to some extent their own fault. Candidate Obama had never publicly supported literal gay marriage any more than President Bush had. Rather, like those who took cannibis for medical reasons and hoped to be able to take it legally in any setting, the gay marriage advocates assumed that a President Obama would indeed be actively on their side though his stock response to questions always was, “My position is the same as the President’s (Bush), civil unions.) No one believed it. I don’t believe it. What are the odds that Obama TRULY does not favor absolute equality of gay marriage? As an issue it is uniformly supported by his demographic; elite university graduates/government bigwigs. But an alliance of gays and their  more numerous allies is far from a majority; not even in a Democratic primary. It might be different if the balance of the electorate were, like me, flagrantly apathetic to marriage, gay or sullen. That is not the case. Mr. Hillary knew it although he clearly was hostile to all marriage. He made his accommodations with his own base on gay issues, recognizing two powerful blocks were and are opposed to “gay rights” as we know them. That would be the Catholics and the blacks. [Read more →]

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