Homeschool or Die, part 39

I think providing this public school experience is going to be a real challenge for most homeschooling parents:

A Los Angeles elementary school teacher was charged with committing lewd acts against nearly two dozen students after a film processor gave authorities bondage-style photographs showing children in blindfolds with their mouths taped, and some with cockroaches on their faces, authorities said Tuesday.

Mark Berndt, 61, was arrested Monday at his Torrance home and remained jailed on $2.3 million bail, according to a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department statement. The charges involve 23 boys and girls ages 7 to 10 between 2008 and 2010

In fairness to Mr. Berndt, the combination of cockroaches and prepubescent boys is pretty hard to resist… sweet Kinsey, but even the Marquis de Sade would probably be inclined to look at the guy askance and wonder what was wrong with him. Anyhow, I would be deeply skeptical of any man who voluntarily chooses to work as an elementary school teacher under the current public school regime. These days, I’d probably be more surprised to learn a male elementary school teacher didn’t have some sort of abnormal sexual orientation.


Do they really want to play that game?

Gay activists really don’t appear to be all that intelligent. Simply because they’ve been permitted to prance out of the closet with impunity for a few decades across a decadent and declining West, they suddenly think they can start discriminating against the majority of the population who believe, on the basis of considerable material evidence, that homosexuals are an immoral, abnormal, and disease-ridden section of the citizenry:

A restaurant in Knoxville, Tennessee refused to serve state Sen. Stacey Campfield, the man who sponsored the state’s “don’t say gay” bill, compared homosexuality to bestiality, and most recently told Michelangelo Signorile that it’s virtually impossible to spread HIV/AIDS through heterosexual sex. “I hope that Stacy Campfield now knows what if feels like to be unfairly discriminated against,” the Bistro at the Bijou wrote on its Facebook wall on Sunday.

Don’t get me wrong. As long as they leave the children alone, I have nothing for or against gays, and I completely support the right of the Bistro at the Bijou to not serve anyone it doesn’t want to serve. I’m a libertarian and I fully support everyone’s right to parachute into Hell, (or for our godless friends, into the Void), in the specific manner of his choosing. Of course, I also support the right of everyone else to choose not to do business with anyone, for any reason, and I am under the impression that, by definition, the population demographics don’t tend to favor the abnormally oriented. It strike me as being akin to bringing a toothpick to the battle of Kursk.

There is some seriously perverse illogic being exhibited here if the gay community thinks it can successfully justify practicing active discrimination against its political opponents while simultaneously decrying everyone else’s ability to exert their Constitutional rights of free association. And it also demonstrates a stunning lack of foresight – although I suppose that’s not really all that stunning among a community dumb enough to actively fight against quarantining the confirmed carriers of a lethal sexual disease – as one would think they would be far more concerned about importing millions of potential voters who believe homosexuals should have walls dropped on them than they are about the fairly conventional opinions of a state legislator.

The consequences of a Straight-Queer discrimination war are just too terrible to contemplate. Think about those poor straight Hollywood actors, choreographers, interior decorators, Broadway playwrights, elementary school teachers, and Republican senators, who would all find themselves shunned by their peers. I have no doubt it would make life very uncomfortable for Rand Paul and at least five or six other men across the country.


Selective and belated protest

Karl Denninger, himself a Catholic, points out the absurdity of the Roman Catholic Church finally finding something in Medicaid to which it can object:

The Church already supported this unjust law for decades. By supporting mandated cost-shifting of medical care and the tax system that funds it, most-particularly (but not limited to) Medicaid, the Catholic Church has long supported these procedures with their direct employment tax dollars as well as espousing the belief that the Church laity is morally (say much less legally) bound to pay said taxes despite the fact that some part of those taxes, no matter how small, is used to fund these procedures, drugs and devices.

You, Mr. Sample, along with the rest of the Bishops emitting this speech and all the prelates who gave this sermon (or any derivative of it) are hypocrites. Forced cost-shifting of “procedures that violate conscience” was just fine so long as it could be foisted off on the congregation and in fact was fine so long as it was “hidden” among the weeds!

The Church has been paying its employment taxes without complaint just like everyone else, even though Medicaid provides for birth control pills and other related services including, in some cases, abortion!

There has been no organized objection, no refusal to pay those taxes and no call for the laity to refuse to pay those taxes.

Now, Catholic Bishops and prelates, you see the price of your own hypocritical behavior and “forced charity.” Rather than stand on liberty, personal choice and conscience you have deigned to seize only on this specific instance in Obamacare while leaving the provision of Medicaid, which everyone has to pay for that has earned income or pays employees, including the Church, alone!

Where were you in the 1980s? In the 1990s? In the 2000s? When Obamacare was being debated — and Catholic Charities supported it? Oh, it was all ok then, because you felt Catholics had an obligation to cede our particular moral values for the “poor” and “less advantaged” irrespective of how that need for care happened and irrespective of personal liberty, freedom and morality.

Unfortunately, while most people are idiots, even non-idiots are completely incapable of drawing logical conclusions concerning the probable consequences of current trends. I remember how my father’s political activism was regarded with amused indulgence by a friend of his, who believed that his concerns about the creeping expansion of government were completely overblown. It didn’t matter how many new laws and bureaucratic outrages were cited by my father, they were always waved off as trivial and irrelevant. However, once the State of Minnesota announced its plans for revising health insurance, which had a direct and negative effect on this friend’s income, he suddenly became tremendously concerned about the terrible dangers of government involvement in the economy.

It was, of course, much too late by that time. And since he had never had any concerns about the effects of government expansion on others, he had neither right nor reason to expect anyone else would give a damn about their effects on him. Thus the State conquers, slowly, inexorably, laying one small brick at a time.

I think it is great that the Roman Catholic Church is finally being leashed and brought to heel. Perhaps now it will finally understand that a government that possesses the power to dictate to others in accordance with your wishes is a government with the power to dictate to you in accordance with the wishes of others. The Church has always been at its best when it is standing in opposition to the governments of the world, and at its worst when it is working in collaboration with them.


The deathwatch begins

Never let it be said that we are anti-science here. Let the record reflect that we have observed, we have hypothesized, and now we shall test the Curie-Hultgreen syndrome’s performance as a predictive model:

It is not a region known for its promotion of equal rights for women. However, a 28-year-old woman from Dubai has struck a blow for her Arabic sisters after becoming a train driver for the city’s Metro system. Not only is Mariam Al Safar the first female in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to get behind the controls of a train – she is also the first in the Middle East.

A pioneer! A female pioneer! I daresay I am more genuinely excited than the most hardened feminist about this. Needless to say, I shall be keeping an eye out for the eventual reappearance of Ms Al Safar’s name in the news.


The True and Obscure History of Psykosonik, part III

The enthusiastic response to our first collaboration, Sex Me Up, made Paul realize that somehow, we had inadvertently laid what could be the foundation of a pretty good band. The DJ at The Perimeter played the song every Friday and Saturday night at the height of the evening, and within two weeks, people knew the lyrics and were shouting out the climactic phrases. Of course, we didn’t have a name for the band, we didn’t have any other songs, and we didn’t have the ability to play anywhere even if we’d been asked given the fact that it was a two-man band, only one of whom had any significant musical talent. Fortunately, he had enough for the two of us.

Paul was just getting into reading Mondo 2000 at the time and I was a huge fan of William Gibson throughout high school and college, so it was natural that most of our ideas for a band name revolved around the cyberpunk theme, (which, strangely enough, was a neologism coined by the writer with whom I would later collaborate, Bruce Bethke). Most of our ideas came right out of Gibson; I can remember Burning Chrome and Chrome 23 being two of the potential names discussed and rejected. I really liked the name Mona Lisa Overdrive, but it was so obvious and recognizable that we never even considered it.  However, I did scan the cover of the paperback version, which later paid some unexpected dividends.

I think it was Paul who suggested stealing a line from our own song for the band name. In Sex Me Up, just before the guitar solo, by way of introducing it, I said “Go psycho sonic at the count of three.”  Paul liked the idea of using “Psycho Sonic” as a name since it was descriptive of the sound we wanted to create, combining fast dance beats, funky bass lines, rock guitar, and an aggressive attitude. We also thought it was a pretty good description of our partnership, since he brought the Sonic while I more or less provided the Psycho. We didn’t really have a musical model, as we both knew that the band we liked best, Duran Duran, was entirely outmoded, but to the very limited extent that we wanted to imitate anything out there, it was the EMF song Unbelievable. That wasn’t what we wanted to do, exactly, but it served as a useful reference point of sorts.

My one reservation about the name was that I considered Psycho Sonic to be too reminiscent of Sonic Youth, which I always thought was rather a lame name for a band, with shades of “Up With People” or “Hitler Youth”. For some reason, I never thought of Sonic the Hedgehog even though I had a Sega Genesis and the game had recently come out. But I liked the name as well as Paul’s reasoning, so we decided to put the words together and to further distinguish it by spelling it with “k” in the place of the hard “c”. Thus Psykosonik was formed.

We knew we needed more members and more songs, so we set about finding the former and writing the latter that winter. The second song we wrote was a bizarre melange of the cyberpunk motif and my political nihilism; it’s interesting to look back from the distance of 20 years, 10 of them spent writing national political commentary, and see what an unadulterated anarchist I was at the time. I scribbled down some lyrics, Paul laid down a fast beat and bassline over which we recorded some vocals, and I went off to the Bay Area for two weeks in a futile, but ultimately worthwhile attempt to convince companies like Creative Labs, Diamond, and Hercules to abandon their investment into video acceleration in favor of the radical new idea of 3D hardware acceleration.

Upon my return, the first thing I did was to drive to Paul’s condo to hear what he was promising was the finished version of Down to the Ground.  The end result was even better than I had imagined, as he had thrown in a Prince-like guitar solo in at the end and the final product was even more energetic than our first song.  I particularly liked the way the sampled crowd noise abruptly cuts off at the end, making it readily apparent that it isn’t real. We sat and listened to it five or six times in a row, when Paul mused that the two songs were so good, he thought we might be able to get a record deal on the strength of them.

Although a song named Down to the Ground can be found on the first Psykosonik album, it is a very, very different version than the one we originally recorded.  The album version is not a bad song, in fact, I still quite like what we usually called “the lush mix”, but in retrospect, I think it really tends to pale in comparison with raw energy of the original.

And yes, “Feel the blade of ’89” absolutely refers to the French Revolution of 1789.

The one thing we decided we absolutely needed if we were ever going to play live was a drummer; while neither of us minded electronics in the least, we both always thought it was lame when there was no visible percussion, especially for music that was going to be as percussion-heavy as ours was looking to be. Although Paul’s younger brother Nick had been his drummer in Smilehouse, Paul said that he was really impressed with how well Nick’s friend, who was barely out of high school, had managed to blend live drums with the programmed ones when we had played at the frat party. Apparently that is rather difficult to do well.  Since I didn’t know any drummers myself and found Mike to be likeable and extremely easy-going, I had no objections. We invited him to join the band and he accepted.

Thanks to his boosting of our two songs at the nightclubs around town, we’d become friends with the aforementioned nightclub DJ, who was a cameraman at the local ABC news affiliate during the day.  That New Year’s Eve, Paul and I ended up going out in a group that included him and his girlfriend Giselle. Paul noticed that Dan had some pretty serious music equipment at his place, which combined with his finely-tuned dance music sensibilities, sparked a discussion that culminated in an decision to invite him to join the band.  Psykosonik not only had two songs under its belt, it was now complete.


WND column

Default or Deutschland uber alles

Last week, Germany launched its most aggressive attack on another country since Operation Barbarossa in 1941. Der Spiegel led with a headline titled “Griechenland soll Kontrolle über Haushalt abgeben,” which has been misleadingly translated into English as “Germany proposes Greece relinquish some fiscal powers.” A more accurate translation would be: “Greece shall give up control over its budget.”


No global warming since 1997

As I have been repeatedly saying from the start, global warming has never been anything but another scientific hoax and an excuse to push global government:

The supposed ‘consensus’ on man-made global warming is facing an inconvenient challenge after the release of new temperature data showing the planet has not warmed for the past 15 years. The figures suggest that we could even be heading for a mini ice age to rival the 70-year temperature drop that saw frost fairs held on the Thames in the 17th Century.

Based on readings from more than 30,000 measuring stations, the data was issued last week without fanfare by the Met Office and the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit. It confirms that the rising trend in world temperatures ended in 1997.

Everything about the scientific consensus has been wrong, right down to their basic foundational assumption that CO2 levels produced higher temperatures. They don’t, and moreover, the conceptual model behind the theory has always been false.

This underlines one of my previous assertions. Science can only be trusted at the point when it becomes engineering. Which, of course, is another way of saying that science per se is not intrinsically reliable.


Adios Mr. Manning

There are rumors abounding that the Colts have decided to pass on the contractual option they possess on Peyton Manning for the low, low price of $28 million. There is an amount of sturm und drang about it, but the reality is that the Colts aren’t going to compete with or without him year, they paid him $26 million to do nothing last year, and the history of NFL players with neck fusions is not a salubrious one.

I think Manning’s best bet is probably to retire with his health and legacy intact, even though three-quarters of the teams in the league will be interested in him. The neck issue is just too dangerous. But regardless of what he chooses to do, I know the Colts will be wise to let him walk, which I’m anticipate they are planning to do regardless of what Jim Irsay is tweeting these days.


Mailvox: no shenanigan too small

MR has suspicions about a petty “mistake” by Bank of America:

I enjoy your blog immensely and I know many others do too, that’s why I’m writing you this email in hopes that if you’ve heard of similar stories in the past, then you can publicize them in an article or something.

I just happened to be checking my Bank of America account when I noticed a $5.00 Maintenance Fee had been assessed on one of my accounts. I called and had this fixed and they told me that it was a mistake on their part. My question is, are they making this mistake over and over again in hope of some people not noticing it?

Regardless, this has been the final straw and I will be closing my accounts with them before noon.

Any other BoA depositors noticing similar “maintenance fees” on their accounts? Considering that they are sitting on around 12% of all American deposits, an additional $60 per account per year could add up to a tidy little profit without much effort. And why shouldn’t they freely engage in such shenanigans, considering that it has been reported that the Obama administration and the Congress are planning to “punish” them for their mortgage and fraudclosure crimes by fining them cents on the dollar in lieu of any criminal or civil penalties?


Romney = President Goldman Sachs 2.0

The usual suspects have their sticky little fingers all over the supposed alternative to Obama too:

When Bain Capital sought to raise money in 1989 for a fast-growing office-supply company named Staples, Mitt Romney, Bain’s founder, called upon a trusted business partner: Goldman Sachs, whose bankers led the company’s initial public offering. When Mr. Romney became governor of Massachusetts, his blind trust gave Goldman much of his wealth to manage, a fortune now estimated to be as much as $250 million.

And as Mr. Romney mounts his second bid for the presidency, Goldman is coming through again: Its employees have contributed at least $367,000 to his campaign, making the firm Mr. Romney’s largest single source of campaign money through the end of September. No other company is so closely intertwined with Mr. Romney’s public and private lives except Bain itself.

I know I am shocked, SHOCKED, to learn that there is gambling taking place in the Washington establishment. It will be interesting to hear how all of the Romney Republicans who rightly deride Barack Obama as President Goldman Sachs will respond to the news that their favored candidate is owned by precisely the same corporation.

And it’s not as if Newt Gingrich is any better, being a Freddie Mac tool. You can complain about Ron Paul’s shortcomings, real and perceived, all you like. But the fact of the matter is that if you don’t support him, you are supporting more of the exactly the same thing that Obama is presently providing.

One could, of course, argue with the numbering system. There is a reasonable case to be made that George W. Bush was actually President Goldman Sachs 1.0, courtesy of his Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Paulson.